1. disasterspark

    disasterspark Active Member

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    Alternatives to military training for "tough" characters.

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by disasterspark, Jun 23, 2019.

    My characters are fugitives or part of a resistance trying to beat a dystopian military.

    I don't want them to be completely helpless should they encounter a soldier, but I also don't want them to have a fucking Death Star to obliterate any opposition.

    But whenever I try and come up with a plausible way for these fugitives to stand a chance, all I can really come up with is years of training in either police or military. Which for many reasons simply wouldn't work. I know there are alternatives but I'm not sure how to implement them without just going with the "years of police training" cop out, pun intended.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2019
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  2. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Have you tried researching resistance movements from the past, such as the French Resistance in WW2 (and in other occupied places as well, like Norway?) I'm sure you could pick up lots of ideas, as these people mostly didn't have military training or police training.

    Research nearly always yields more ideas than just 'thinking stuff up,' because you can only 'think up' from what's already in your head. Larning about the truth will spur lots of new ideas.
     
  3. AbyssalJoey

    AbyssalJoey Member

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    Realistically most members of the resistance will be civilians so at best they'll have some experience with gangs and at worse, they'll be completely useless so... how about having a few instructors that have military grade training (therefore being ex-military) and they are the ones that kinda train everyone else? Emphasis on the "kinda" cus' they're not going to attain the same level of proficiency (unless they have a lot of time and resources).

    You can also research historical resistance movements as @jannert suggests but unless your setting includes a helpful foreign government this has limited potential, especially if you model them after the French resistance.
     
  4. Lifeline

    Lifeline Going South. Supporter Contributor

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    I like your style :D

    If your characters have the right type of 'character', they won't be helpless. Never underestimate the mental component! If they can release what I call 'aggressive defense' they stand a much better chance to get out of tough situations. It's all about being willing to fight and then committing everything. Not holding back, intimidating the enemy with your will to fight, striking dirty: eyes, the bundle of nerves at the thigh, knees, slap to the ears.

    I'm very small, but my training partners consistently say they are afraid of me. They have the advantage of strength and reach, but I am the one who ends up controlling the fight; and not because I can fight so much better than they. It's all in the mind.

    Your characters are fugitives, and have been for years. They've been in desperate situations and have probably seen friends die. Give them that all-out mindset and dirty tricks, and I'd buy it.
     
  5. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, that's a good point. There were outside forces working to remove the Nazis as well. So the Resistance was trying to make it easy for these outside forces to invade, etc.

    However, there are many real instances in the past (and even in the present) where resistance movements existed/exist, and maybe were not successful (yet.) For example, take a look at what's happening today in world hotspots—such as the countries of Africa which are run by despots or military gangs? There isn't a lot of outside help happening in these places. What kinds of tricks do people employ who don't simply 'go along' with the people who rule the country?
     
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  6. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

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    Don't underestimate guerilla tactics, advanced knowledge of the area, and help from the local populace.
     
  7. Rainh

    Rainh New Member

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    Could you give a little more background to your setting? Depending on the style you could have a variety of "training" that is more tailored to your story.

    If it is something like the British Empire, maybe your heroes were Street urchins, who learned street fighting. This might not be useful against trained military, but it could be helpful against the average person.

    What is your characters motivation for joining the rebellion? This could also give you inspiration. Perhaps it is a Chinese style dynasty and your characters were monks such as the Sōhei. Because of their radical political beliefs they were kicked out.

    What is the level of technology and weaponry in your setting? How readily available is it to your heroes? By the time guns came around, military training was much less relevant. In the American Revolution, thousands of militiamen were used to great effect with very minimal training.

    And finally, have you considered if it is strictly necessary for your heroes to be proficient in hand to hand combat? Realistically speaking, most revolutions were comprised of mainly farmers and other non-military professions. There are a myriad of other strategies to use. In Israel, the Maccabees famously revolted against a much larger Greek and later Roman force, with great success, using Guerrilla tactics.
    Similarly, the Japanese ninjas were originally plain farmers, and yet they grew to be one of the great powers of Japan, using only espionage and sabotage. They made liberal use of arson, and used their intelligence networks to avoid direct conflict as much as possible.

    Hopefully some of this was helpful, or gave you inspiration for a direction to take. If you provide more details, I'm sure I or someone else could provide you with more relevant ideas.
     
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  8. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    if the resistance is has been going on for a while they could also have learnt the hard way - by experience. You can learn the theory of most warlike things from books (or the internet if that's a thing in your world) and then learn by trial and error how to apply them... its a darwinian process, the incompetent or unlucky die, and the survivors learn from their mistakes

    another option is that they are country men with country skills, hunting, shooting etc - okay deer don't shoot back but they are a lot harder to sneak up on than a man, and thee isnt that much difference between setting a trap for a rabbit and emplacing a booby trap for enemy troops
     
  9. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Spitting .45 caliber grammar.... Contributor

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    Hang on, hang on...

    (tests this theory)

    Crap, she's right!
     
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  10. disasterspark

    disasterspark Active Member

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    My characters are all fugitives. Before/While the dystopian government took over, there was a massive Resistance. But they failed when they were all babies, and the MC's parents had to raise him in exile. 7 years after that the mom goes missing/dies, and the dad remarries to a new lady in an effort to have a new, more normal life. They even have a kid too. Which is the MC's brother. Though the new girl had a stable income and they still loved each other a lot, the marriage never really worked out because he could never tell her who he really was, unlike the MC's mother, the girl would have reported Dad on the spot, since she was brainwashed with propaganda.

    It's set in the mid 2110's. Humanity has come a far way, even living on a different planet, and this pretty much gives me the green light to do what I want without worrying much about what actually happens.

    Many reasons, right now the motivation for two of them is a false accusation and being punished without due process. But I'm probably planning to change that too.

    Futuristic, but still similar to modern. Kinda like Star Wars but without the casual interplanetary travel.

    Probably yeah, because I like seeing fights.
     
  11. sleepindawg

    sleepindawg Member

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    Hmm, another place where I think I have something to add even though I'm still new.

    Aside from what the others have offered, you might also have one or two characters who just have a knack for taking the right actions at the right times to get them out of the worse situations and keep them in play.

    My $0.02 on the topic,
    The dawg
     
  12. Andrew Alvarez

    Andrew Alvarez Senior Member

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    This point is essential. History is full of examples of successful and failed guerrilla or resistance style movements, asymmetric warfare being a discipline on itself. In a futuristic setting, even meta-human conditions could be in play for justifying skills (like Dune's 'fremen' warriors, in a narrative which, precisely, prioritized melee over ranged combat). But, hands down, the best source of inspiration is actual military history.
     
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  13. AbyssalJoey

    AbyssalJoey Member

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    Yep, but if you want to write a successful resistance you (mostly) need to look towards successful examples; if you have a resistance running for decades without doing any real damage there is relatively little to learn from them (in this particular case)

    Indeed, but to use tactics you first need a tactician and they need to know how to shoot (is not that easy), not only that but without proper current military training people tend not to shoot to kill... actually, this is kind of important, I know this is fiction and all but:

     
  14. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    However, to a writer, even screwups are good to know about. Knowing what can go wrong (or fail) or what methods are either ineffective or suicidal can be helpful when constructing characters and their world. As a writer you can take steps to NOT allow the failures to happen.

    So ...what went wrong in these real scenarios? Not enough effective weaponry? People with personal connections that compromise their dedication to the cause? Too little experience? Too old, too young? Wrong tactics? Attitudes that make it difficult to follow through on certain operations. (Religious scruples, etc?) Simple bad luck? Outside influences (disease, weather, starvation?) Hesitation or fear at the wrong moment? Overconfidence? Betrayal? Lack of support among the local populace?

    There will be reasons for failure of a resistance just as there are reasons for success. It's good to learn about them.

    Any kind of research is grist to the writer's mill. You can always use what is real to aid your imagination as a fiction writer.
     
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  15. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

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    Hey, Lindybeige!

    I grew up hunting, so I forget this isn't a skill everyone's relatively proficient at.

    Use dehumanizing tactics, like night attacks, so they can't see faces, and remote equipment or explosives where the kills happen at a distance. Use the small percentage of your troops that don't have a problem with killing to your advantage. Use teams of people to do fighting, that way each person can offset the blame for the deaths. And give them a cause something to believe in. A smart charismatic leader would probably be your most important asset.
     
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  16. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Loved by a Sweet lady. :) Supporter Contributor

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    First Red Faction game, the miners revolt against the company, security staff, and later
    a hardcore military style merc group. So you can learn on the fly how to fight in a war
    of sorts, while it will be on a curve, it is possible to fight effectively against a trained
    combatant. Though when all else fails use rockets and mortars to keep things at range. :p
     
  17. Some Guy

    Some Guy Manguage Langler Supporter Contributor

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    Local knowledge of resources, hunting, camping. Think MMA classes, boy scouts, cadets, YMCA. My grandmother and mother taught me to shoot when I was seven, as well as dirt bike riding. Weapons are only good as long as you can shoot them. They require supply, which is a liability. They also give away your location. Improvised weapons might be inexhaustible. Making the enemy think you are there, or somewhere else, is a superior advantage even over advanced armament. Let the enemy feel the presence of thy weapons in the absence of thee. Tunnels and spider-holes beat the best US tech in Viet Nam. Wars are won in the will.
     
  18. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Spitting .45 caliber grammar.... Contributor

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    Makes you a resistance fighter how?
     
  19. Some Guy

    Some Guy Manguage Langler Supporter Contributor

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    Judo and self-defense classes taught me situational awareness. The "see the whole chessboard" thing.
     
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  20. Maverick_nc

    Maverick_nc Active Member

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    [​IMG]

    I, for one, am terrified of these resistance fighters.
     
  21. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Loved by a Sweet lady. :) Supporter Contributor

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    "Too Straight." -The Cinema Snob :D
     
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  22. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Spitting .45 caliber grammar.... Contributor

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    Got it. YMCA. Judo. Chessboard.

    Yep. As far as situational awareness goes, these dudes would probably confuse me long enough to get the drop on my ass.
     
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  23. disasterspark

    disasterspark Active Member

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    Yeah, especially that cowboy with the gun, along with the green dude with a flashlight. He can easily blind me with it, then the cowboy would simply shoot me, or worse, the security guard would just cuff me and use me for their sick pleasures.
     
  24. TwistedHelix

    TwistedHelix Member

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    Is the novel set in USA? Plenty of genuine militia exist who are very pro 2nd amendment. They would probably be able to survive that kind of dystopia (or die very fast in the 1st wave lol)
     
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  25. disasterspark

    disasterspark Active Member

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    Survival of the fittest my friend.
     
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