1. freezemachine
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    freezemachine New Member

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    A battle without physical contact

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by freezemachine, Jan 22, 2011.

    Greetings everyone!

    This is my first time on the forums and I am visiting you with a dilemma in my plot line.

    My story is populated only with incorporeal spirits (ghosts.) I find that there is a need for certain battle sequences in which the spirits will fight with each other. Naturally, they cannot harm themselves in any way physically but I need some way in which they can interact in a "harmful" way with each other to give the reader a sense of drama.

    I've thought of some kind of telekinetic attack but I can't seem to convey a sense of danger when the characters cannot die.

    Thanks for any input ahead of time and yes, I'm crazy for attempting to write a story like this.
     
  2. Ellipse
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    Ellipse Contributing Member Contributor

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    How about a mental battle, or a battle of wills? Your spirits may not be able to die, but perhaps they can be incapacitated for time? Their version of being K.O.'ed is they could 'fade away' for a few hours and then reform later.
     
  3. -oz
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    -oz Active Member

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    Another idea to give weight to a mental conflict is where the loser would feel drained and unable to conjure up happy feelings. Losing memories is another idea, something that would sever their link to the mortal world or personal history, if they are ghosts of people.
     
  4. FrankABlissett
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    FrankABlissett Active Member

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    Or, you could simply have it as a contest of wit and will, where the loser loses political points, and the winner is more esteemed. The loser becomes a no-one, while the winner becomes a power broker.

    Imagine a Klingon challenging you to a duel - "you chose the weapon, puny human." "Okay - I chose words."

    So, you begin by doing the dozens. "Yo mama" this and that. The Klingon begins to lose his cool, so you remind him (and his friends) of the nature of the battle. When he objects, you talk circles around him. His friends now hold you in esteem, while he is no longer their alpha.

    -Frank
     
  5. ToxicWaste
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    ToxicWaste Member

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    The mind battle seems to be the way to go. Maybe the loser is "consumed" by the winner so instead of losing memories and what not, but is absorbed by the winner.
     
  6. nzric
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    nzric Active Member

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    I agree with the comments above. Basically it would come down to what the ghosts value, and a battle would in some way deprive them of that. Not sure if it fits in with the world of your novel, but the generic 'ghost' in modern literature/pop culture values:

    - Understanding of the world around them, especially being able to interact with people
    - Not repeating their past mistakes (the most tortured ghosts are ones who are stuck in a loop of replaying their own death)
    - being seen by people
    - able to influence their surroundings
    - being mobile (flying/walking), in particular outside their usual haunt (pun intended!)
    - working towards their "mission", i.e. resolving what is keeping them earthbound so they can move on
    - having hope
     
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  7. Midnight Pete
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    Midnight Pete Member

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    Freezemachine:

    How can there be a sense of danger if your characters cannot be harmed or killed? What is at stake? Is the battleground a physical place or some ethereal realm? In a realm of pure consciousness, like the Matrix, might there be a sort of subjective physicality? The Matrix is a realm of pure consciousness when you think about it, so anyone residing in it would feel that they have a body and experience bodily sensations. And in order for telekinetic attacks to have any meaning, there has to be some kind of tangible physical reality for the mind to act upon. If everything is incorporeal, the "kinesis" part doesn't apply. There was a sense of danger in the Matrix only because the characters perceived everything as physical.
     
  8. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Something I have in my stories may help if you do it in a spiritual way rather than the physical

    I have something called binding rope - when applied the rope binds the other individual placing them completely in the power of the person who bound them. Mentally, emotionally, physically etc. Only the person who bound them gets released. If that person is killed in battle they remain bound forever, they are then usually killed by their comrades rather than spend eternity in that state.
     
  9. freezemachine
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    freezemachine New Member

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    Thanks

    The input I received was fantastic, thanks guys.

    The route I think I'm going to go is a kind of binding, where the victor gets to imprison the loser in his own personal version of hell, such as burning or drowning to death over and over on an eternal basis, unless released by the victor. The loser would "feel" the pain as if he were flesh again.

    How does that sound for high stakes of battle?

    Still I have to figure out the actual "mechanics" of the battle since no actual physical harm can be conveyed while the tussle ensues. Any ideas on that would be appreciated as well.
     
  10. Leonardo Pisano
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    Leonardo Pisano Active Member

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    You can use some chemical reaction. They may not be dead but hampered in their moves, or slower in thinking, or losing some sensory signals. Mental as suggested can also be threatening, e.g., they cannot migrate to a higher level (power for instance).

    HTH
     
  11. lost123
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    lost123 Senior Member

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    They can lose their mind or the black hole suck them
     
  12. Paris_Love
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    Paris_Love Member

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    There could be something they care about at stake. For instance, each side is protective of some thing or someone in the material world, and they must work through these corporeal beings to get the desired results. That's how most gods operate in mythology and modern religious practices. You could also research how the Gods battled one another for ideas on dramatic battles between immortals.
     

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