1. Chaos Inc.
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    Chaos Inc. Active Member

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    Screwed again

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Chaos Inc., Aug 12, 2014.

    I have a situation in my story where my MC is going to be ambushed in his "den". He lives in a burrow under a tree with exposed roots in a mountainous terrain. There going to be about a dozen tribal warriors that surround the den and they're going to use a large rock to plug the entrance to the den and thus trap him in. Then they will torch the tree with him underneath.

    I've managed to get him out of another seemingly impossible situation while keeping the real reason why a secret. In this situation, the threat is suffocation which can kill him. I'm not likely to have an escape route because it's too easy and obvious. I want him to dig himself out but it doesn't feel clever nor does it advance the story. It's simply a problem that must be overcome.

    Once he get's out, however, there's the dozen warriors to deal with but I already have that sorted out. Do I lose anything by being generic in this situation or do I make overcoming some situations benign to keep his "escapes" from being too convenient?
     
  2. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    If digging is what's necessary, then go with it. Emerging into a group of hostile warriors is bad enough.

    Maybe they also plug an escape route, through the root or the trunk of a tree to the limb? So the protagonist had an escape plan, foiled. It makes the warriors seem a little more prepared for the conflict. Just a thought, not knowing much about the story.
     
  3. Nilfiry
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    Nilfiry Contributing Member

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    How about digging pass the warriors too? This character can obviously dig very fast.
     
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  4. Chaos Inc.
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    Chaos Inc. Active Member

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    No, just no... :p

    My MC isn't wise enough to do that, however, a hollow trunk might be something I mill over.
     
  5. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    How does burning the tree take oxygen from the ground? Have the MC survive the smoke, the burned tree trunk falls over, causing the warriors to be off guard just long enough for the MC to climb out through the new hole left by the fallen tree.

    :)
     
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  6. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    That's actually a good point, I think the roots of the tree don't burn when the tree is on fire.
    Actually, point of order, the whole tree usually doesn't burn down much past the trunk. You'll notice the ravages of a forest fire usually leave most of the tree trunks intact, if badly burnt. And the wind doesn't knock them over, so their root system would still be in place.

    I don't think the tree fire is a dangerous at it seems.
     
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  7. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Roots can burn, it's one hazard of camp fires if the campers are stupid enough to light the fire near a root. But when a tree burns to the ground the roots don't burn first and sometimes not at all.

    It takes a lot to burn a large tree trunk, you might have to play with that, make it one of those trees that has already burned some in the past.
     
  8. Chaos Inc.
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    Chaos Inc. Active Member

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  9. GingerCoffee
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    Burn those roots the guy inside could still make it but the tree anchor would give and the tree falls over. :)
     
  10. PensiveQuill
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    PensiveQuill Contributing Member

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    How well does a green tree burn? Have you ever seen a farmer attempt to burn a stump out of the ground? It's a futile exercise. The best they would do is smoke him, and perhaps that is danger enough in that.
     
  11. Chaos Inc.
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    Chaos Inc. Active Member

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    That is indeed the real danger he faces. They're also going to stab into the roots with their spears but that's pretty boring.
     
  12. Burlbird
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    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

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    He manages some times, he fails some times. From the point of the reader (well, me as the reader in this case :) ), if it isn't James Bond, I like to read about characters failing as much as overcoming the obstacles. However difficult the situation, some characters would always find a way out of it, unscratched and triumphant. Blah. I say let him bleed and piss his leg in fear. Let him suffocate. If he was a badass before, make him stumble on a peeble from time to time. Tragic flaws and that sort of things, you know... Don't need to end tragicaly, but some hubris is good for action :)
     
  13. Chaos Inc.
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    Chaos Inc. Active Member

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    I'm a fan of overcoming obstacles but with great consequence. If he digs his way out and rips out his fingernails and dislocates a few fingers along the way, is that a sufficient cost?
     

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