1. TheSerpantofNar
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    TheSerpantofNar Active Member

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    Describing medevil combat

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by TheSerpantofNar, Mar 1, 2013.

    I would just like idea's or recommendations on how to get the feeling of brutality out of it.
     
  2. Oswiecenie
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    Oswiecenie Active Member

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    Never heard of medevils, but for medieval combat try this:

    http://www.thortrains.com/getright/Medieval%20Combat.htm

    It's actually the first result when you type 'medieval combat' in google.
     
  3. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    The best computer info isn't even a pale shadow of impact.

    Some Friday night, find a working cowboys' honky-tonk. Wait until about 10:00PM when the whiskey is just starting to take effect. Find a guy with the dirtiest pair of boots in the place and insult his wife. Barstools still have metal legs and if you're lucky, he'll hit you with one.

    After a trip to an ER, and possibly resuscitation, you will be an expert on the concept of brutal combat, clan warfare, the love of milady and what it's like to be hit forcefully with metal.
     
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  4. Sanjuricus
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    Sanjuricus Active Member

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    HA HA HA, soooo true!
    Please accept the gift of one internet with my thanks. :)
     
  5. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    Just be careful not to give the "blow-by-blow" of a sword fight between two characters. It works in film, but not in print. Each movement should be meaningful, have purpose, affect the story, etc.
     
  6. TheSerpantofNar
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    TheSerpantofNar Active Member

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    I'll do that then as I can over do it sometimes in blow by blow area.
     
  7. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    Well, you know what people say, "keepin' it real."

    I don't know how to use a computer or a forum to get realistic info on having your bell rung. But I will tell you this, yes, you do see stars...and little circles...and get tingling arms...:)
     
  8. Bimber
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    Bimber Contributing Member

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    10pm? when do you guys start to drink?
    Were i'm from its either 10am or 3am when you can find drunk people ...hmm guess we dont drink much in the pm zone, you could say we'r morning people

    as for the subject any kind of fighting be it with fists or swords forget everything you see in the movies about it, no matter how much you'r in shape after couple of swinging you feel like you just ran 10km in one breath, so every swing after it is an effort now imagine swinging a sword+armor on you.

    google medieval melee helps too
     
  9. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    When I said "Friday," I used to get to Joey's Anchor Inn about 5:30 or 6:00PM on Friday after work, and bars at that time closed about 1:30AM. I think they're open now until 2:30AM, longer on New Years.

    (It was more of a night time thing, most of our guys worked or went to the UW.)

    But I have to tell ya' how these naughty boys used to hoist them on Friday. By 10:00PM a lot of these guys had been pounding them down for three to five hours. One of the owners of our strip club is a member of my gym, and we reminisce about the bad ol' days. He tells me he had to break up three or more fights per night (those involving numerous guys at one time). Frankly, I didn't even remember being in his club much less knowing what I did. But some guys unwound on Friday night by getting drunk and fighting.

    I will say this. Every seam and patch on my colors has been ripped, and re-sewn several times with various colors of thread.

    I didn't sleep on those weekends (50 hours straight, yikes), we always found an after hours party. I used to drive the Interstate back to Milwaukee, work all day and then sleep the clock around until Tuesday.

    I will tell you this, you mix this kind of tired-from-work, non-stop drinking, young guys on testosterone, with Harley engines running all night, and you have a mix for disaster. And I don't remember a single show of force by cops to break up the carnage, not one example. It just ran its course until it burned out. It seemed so normal--then.

    We joke about it here, but if the OP could hop into his time machine and go back to the late 1960s he'd see enough brutality for several books.
     
  10. CrimsonReaper
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    CrimsonReaper Active Member

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    Combat is not about looking cool or showing what a badass you are. It is about killing the other guy and surviving so you can secure the objective/win. Screw fanciful descritions of movements and focus on the fact that you are trying to hack some dude's head off. Swords were not usually razor sharp. Sheer force HACKED parts off the other guy. It could be very tiring and was messy business. There would be blood. Not as much as your characters got covered in while playing Dragon Age, but still gross by today's standards.

    The buildup to a pitched battle could be frightening too. Your heart pounding out of your chest as the enemy crosses over the hill...Intimidation had its place to psyche up your side and potentially frighten the other side into submission BEFORE battle started, but once two hosts joined it was kill or be killed. Prisoners were often only taken in the ancient world if they were valuable. Ie knights or other people with RICH FAMILY that could pay a ransom. Remember, the word ransom originally meant the money paid to secure a prisoner's release. Hence the phrase "a king's ransom". Common soldiers could expect to simply be killed if they did not break and run once one side was clearly winning. It was not worth the cost/trouble to detain them. Thus many wiser generals would NOT corner the common rabble. They would let them slip away so they did not have to kill every last one of them. The Mongols took a more pragmatic approach and waited until the enemy broke ranks and then let the back specialized lines of horsemen run them down and kill them all (so the enemy could not reorganize for a counterattack).

    Also remember that soldiers often were paid mostly via the time honored tradition of looting. So when it looked like they were losing it was time to bail. If they did not win, then they did not get to rape and steal everything not nailed down. Once a lord was killed, it was not considered out of character for those under his command to quit the field. They were there to serve their lord (their duty was then to his heirs), not some king they might have never met or some silly ideal they did not care about.
     
  11. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    For professional soldiers, yes. For everyone else, no. I'm not even sure the Vikings killed for anything else other than sport.

    Tilting, fencing, prize fighting, even cock fighting is all done for glory and prize money. And if you watch a drunk picking on someone you'll instantly recognize that the best blows he throws are for damage and intimidation.

    I never saw any fight in any bar at any time that wasn't just pure ego and a demonstration of machismo.
     
  12. TheSerpantofNar
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    TheSerpantofNar Active Member

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    Always picture medieval combat to be very savage in nature and your correct more people where maimed then killed. I guess i'll go with the it will be just a nasty and savage affair.
     
  13. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    I believe that you are correct. But to that suffering, consider this.

    We have the expression, "To the victor goes the spoils."

    If our premise is that 'combat' in its purest form is selfless and done by freedom fighters, then why would these honorable men sack churches, steal crops, ravage women or throw the conquered into bondage?

    You might swing a sword and then proffer that this was for the best on intentions, but more blood has been spilled over gold and women than for altruistic ideals.

    Ever see cars involved in a drag "racing for pinks"? There's more than honor on the line, the guy fights for some form of profit and status. Consider your own life. How many punches have you thrown to protect your wife, and compare that to the number you've thrown over spilled beer.
     
  14. CrimsonReaper
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    CrimsonReaper Active Member

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    Because the people they were doing it to were not people. The idea of all of mankind being one big happy family is new and not even universal now. Those people "over there" were not real human beings worthy of the same respect you afforded those within your own society. As the English might say, what's the problem with Scotland? It's full of Scots! The "vikings" (a generic term that actually was used to describe dozens of distinct groups) were no different than a dozen other sea-raiding cultures that traded and supplemented their income via stealing from people they did not live right next to (which led to wars or pesky vendettas) when they could get away with it. And they preferred, like most raiders, to hit poorly defended outposts. Churchs, staffed by NONVIOLENT people, were just asking for it. And that gold and other spoils was taken home to be reinvested in their hometowns. Your typical viking killed an English family, then brought the jewelry back home to give to his wife and children. He was not some slavering orc motivated only by bloodlust, but a member of his community completely capable of murdering your entire family of outsiders if necessary. After all, you and your family meant nothing.

    Steal crops? You mean forage supplies so the army in the field does not starve to death. Every side in every ancient war did that. They did not have the luxury of air drops. Fighting men need a lot of calories to keep in shape let alone actually to into battle.

    As for "bondage", would you prefer every man, woman, and child of your enemy have their skull cracked open on a rock? Slavery in the ancient world was often the "humane" alternative to genocide. Why slaughter your enemy when you can put them to work building stuff for your empire? Best way to civilize those savages.
     
  15. Bimber
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    Bimber Contributing Member

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    Some interesting points but think now in modern day we are much more bloodthirsty and savage than people back then, peoples lives now have much less value now then back then...

    Keep in mind we are talking about medieval times
    Amry vs Amry: Battles in Britain most recorded battles show not many died in battle back then, unless the cause was greater than just simple conquering, you would see maybe couple of hundred died top 1000 why? well why waste lives, it takes money to train troops and if you get them all killed even if you won the battle you leave yourself weak and a chance for someone else to jump on you, plus dead people dont pay taxes, they dont work the fields or do all the work that needs to be done, why kill a knight when you can ransom him and make a profit, if you defeat an army and just killed few of them and they surrendered tomorrow they will probably fight for you, might not be loyal but they will fight.

    It was not honor, well maybe they called it that though i doubt it, but more of use the situation how it will serve you best, so the victor takes the spoils and the defeated get to live another day and someday they might fight again and win and switch places.

    If some were tortured or made slaves... well what better way to put fear in your enemies or people, fear can be a strong ally.

    Today you can send two guys in an airplane to bomb a place and kill millions and it wont matter much as there are millions of more people now than back then, plus you dont need the work force like before everything is done by machine.

    Why rob a church you say? well as mentioned they were not defended is a good reason plus if its not your religion what better way to show "my god is stronger than yours, i will kill your priests and rob your churches if your god is powerful mine will protect me"

    Religion vs Religion wars are different as people view it good vs evil
     
  16. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    I will admit openly that I have a real problem with this type of plot in our recent modern experience. And frankly, the seemingly gruesome stories are usually written by people who haven't been in a fist fight since grade school. In many ways, the "fantasy violence" seems so romantic, it's the stuff of heroes and villains and quests where right always triumphs. In my heart I wonder how many of these tales stem from the writer getting one too many "swirlies" as a kid.

    Well, I like to handle real objects when I write. Not only does it give me a real, tactile sense of an object, but a truer visceral understanding. For example, I liked westerns as a kid. My experience with smelling a real horse was a tad offputting.

    So, you guys want to discuss brutal, real life fighting and gore. Here's a chance. Below is a real knife. It is made by CRKT from as a licensed variant of the Razel line from the Graham Brothers. I polished it for a client.

    It's not even one-third the size of a claymore or a katana, yet in the hands of a MA student, well versed in bushido disciplines, it can easily remove your hand with one swipe. This stuff is not just for the sci-fi realm of lightsabers, such tools actually exist.

    My issue is not simply the bizarre tales of knights errant, but not telling the entire yarn. No one seems concerned about a young soldier crawling off the battlefield--if he can--and the painful death he experiences. If he does live, what kind of life awaits him with only one hand, or one eye? You like the internet? You like typing with one hand? Imagine earning a living in your new role of "crippled serf."

    Why my tirade? I knew the soldiers coming back from Souteast Asia. We love this topic too much. At some point sanity needs to be included into our prose. Consider this, many folks own and carry Bagwell Bowies, a tool designed for confrontations. It's cutler even preaches proper techniques.
     
  17. Bimber
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    Bimber Contributing Member

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    Guess its why i avoid reading books that are set in modern time, at least with fantasy i can say "yeah sure he could kill 100 people he had that magic sword", if its in modern time then i expect it to be as real as it can be otherwise i would'nt enjoy it much, like scenes were bad guys shot at a hero and bullets keep missing him and all i can keep thinking is how the hell did those guys get that job, or worse if they are supposed to be trained soldiers.

    But guess how else would he be a hero, people like imagining heroes that beat the odds. Like to think their is honor in the world and all the other nice things we imagine.

    Makes me think how much different is Japanese literature than others, most often you will see a hero dies or it ends in a sad end, cause they like it real and teach life is tough and not always a happy end.
     
  18. TheSerpantofNar
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    TheSerpantofNar Active Member

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    Dark fantasy seems to be a lot more brutal then regular fantasy violence wise.
     
  19. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Actually, and this is coming from people who know far more about medieval melee combat than I do: limbs/heads were rarely cut/hacked off. It all comes down to how much force one can commit to a blow: it simply takes so much force to sever a limb/head that if you were to miss, you would leave yourself wide open to a counter attack and likely end up dead. Hence such "death blows" are mostly stuff of Hollywood movies because while it looks cool, in reality, it just isn't practical and is downright dangerous so most people who know how to fight even a little, don't take such risks; the mortality rate was just too high.

    Another thing about fights with swords was that they were short, to say the least. When I asked Guy Windsor (a local historical swordsmanship expert) if he knew any movies with realistic sword fights, he mentioned only one movie, the Duellists, mostly because in most movies, the fights are simply too long: there's parries, blocks, feints, what have you, stuff that didn't really happen or happened in significantly lesser quantities per fight than what the entertainment industry would have us believe. Fights were usually over within 1-3 seconds (in fact, just like street fights nowadays as the average duration of one hovers around the 3-second mark) and then that was it. Short, fast, brutal. But usually with both combatants still having all body parts attached to their bodies.


    Oh man, too true, all of that.

    Please note that I'm not referring to anyone in this thread or on this forum, just speaking generally:

    I think many of these tales also stem from a fairly nasty place: many people get some sort of "kicks" out of reading/writing/watching/talking about fighting. Be it of the medieval or contemporary kind. I guess some of it is because through art, we can safely experience this darker side of life and funny as it is, there's excitement in fighting and some like it. Or what they think it is because those who do experience real-life violence, quickly become disillusioned and usually lose their appetite for it. Most guys/gals I know who have a lot of real-life combat experience, don't really like to talk about it much and they aren't that interested in finding the most gruesome books/movies either unless they are seeking some kind of, well, peer support (you know, finding comfort in the notion that they aren't they only ones who have gone through these oppressive experiences).

    So people come up with these extravagant battles of glory and honor that have absolutely nothing to do with realism. This sort of fictional violence really sets my teeth on edge because through the glorification of violence, making it seem somehow cool, we do injustice on those who have experienced violence. Furthermore, we may encourage kids to go out and beat someone up just to experience what their favorite hero has. And to enjoy these over-drawn acrobatic acts of violence... well, it always feels like some sort of mental wankery to me (yeah, I'm guilty of liking some of it too but I always chide myself for liking it... honest!).

    This is all why I try to make my fight scenes as gruesome and, if not gory, as emotionally oppressive as possible: to make the reader feel sick to their stomachs, even afraid, praying they'd never have to experience anything like it or ever have their loved ones experience it. This is also my way of trying to ensure nobody reads one of my scenes and goes "oh, how cool! I wanna do that too!"

    Hm, I'm afraid I come off as a bit of a holier-than-though hypocrite here. I'm sorry about that, it wasn't my intention. I just wanted to offer one way to look at combat in fiction. Not the way, but a way. I'll shut up now...
     

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