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Methods of Transport

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Saigonnus, Aug 6, 2015.

  1. Saigonnus

    Saigonnus Auror

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    I am curious whether a form of transportation is pivotal to a character.

    All characters have quirks and personality but do your characters have a preferred method of getting from point A to point B? Is it part of what makes them a memorable character; like Darth Vader in his custom TIE fighter, or is it simply a way to get around??


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  2. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    Maybe a bit. Somewhat.

    I have a character who is a Roman aristocrat, accustomed to living in the city. He gets assigned to a frontier legion and finds himself way up-country. Because he's the General, he rides a horse. His first horse is nothing but trouble and throws him at the first skirmish. His second horse, though, is a sturdy pony, very level-headed, and he comes to love that horse. This relationship parallel's the General coming to terms with, well, being a General.

    So, it's not a big deal, but it's just a touch of background that I use because he has to be on a horse and I didn't want simply to ignore that aspect.
     
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  3. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

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    Of course it depends on the character. Look at the potential in the opposite of what you propose — a character that has a phobia of horses or of travel over water, etc. How might certain phobias of travel methods influence the plot, the character development, interpersonal relations in a party? Comedic effects might be achieved also.
     
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  4. Brian G Turner

    Brian G Turner Scribe

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    IMO most characters will use whatever suitable transport is available.

    The Darth Vader TIE Fighter is a visual example that is unlikely to translate well to a novel.

    skip.knox and FifthView do make good suggestions, though. On the subject of mounts, I will always remember the scene in Colleen McCullough's First Man in Rome where she has Sulla riding into battle on a mule, while wearing a straw hat. :)
     
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  5. Trick

    Trick Auror

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    My MC rides a hover-vehicle called a Jumper. It's significant, I guess, because he's a thief and the first big thing he ever stole was the Jumper. However, later in the book, he ceases to need transport of any kind because of magic. But, I'll still have him use the Jumper nostalgically at least once and then it figures into a sub-plot twist at the end of the book so... it's definitely important but I could write it out of the book and still have almost exactly the same tale.
     
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  6. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

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    In Legend by David Gemmel, the great warrior Druss is famed for his ability to walk vast distances and then fight all day at the end. It is part of his legend. But it is a long way to Dros Delnoch and he's not as young as he once was. So he uses a horse for most of the way but makes sure to get off and loose the horse long before he is seen from the Castle as Druss HAS to be seen walking in.
    In that case his method of travel in integral to the character's development for the reader.
    And in D&L Eddings Sparhawk books, Sparhawk's horse [Faran] is almost his confident as well as his mode of transport. They have been through a lot together and I think that Sparhawk trusts Faran more then he trust almost anyone else. The relationship isn't just Transport and Rider but closer to Friends.
    I can see a mode of transport as adding to a character, like someone who refuses to fly or always wants to do the driving. It can be a glimpse into the world as they see it.
     
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  7. Mectojic

    Mectojic Minstrel

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    My book series is in an age just approaching the 20th century.
    There is just one character in the whole world who rides a motorcycle (he is testing a prototype). This makes him very cool, especially since everyone else has to use a boring horse.
     
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  8. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

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    I love early Motorbikes! When they hadn't really worked out all the kinks, there were some strange ideas.
    I hope your character has a good tool kit :p
     
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  9. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    That reminds me of Terry Pratchett's book Raising Steam, about the invention of the railroad on the Discworld and how it affects trade and other important issues. It's pretty awesome. :D
     
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  10. Saigonnus

    Saigonnus Auror

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    Thanks everyone for your feedback. The question arose when I was standing in a car dealership, looking at the different models offered, wondering if one says "this is me"... I couldn't help but translate that to a hypothetical for a story...

    I also couldn't help thinking about Darth Vader's TIE fighter... Or the Millenium Falcon, which basically helped to shape who Han Solo was.


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  11. K.S. Crooks

    K.S. Crooks Inkling

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    I let the terrain determine the mode of transportation to start. I have a map of my world and determine what would be the most likely means for the characters to go from one place to another. I usually decide on three then pick one that fits my situation or hasn't been over used in the story. My current series is a fantasy in a medieval setting. Travel is anything from walking to horse and wagon by land or boat, barge or ship on water.
    The one thing that needs to be considered when choosing a mode is the amount of time you want the characters to spend between locations. If the journey is as important as the task, then choose a method of transportation that will take more time and allow events to happen. The creation of new transportation is also a way to go. This can be a means to allow for situations not possible with conventional/real transportation.
     
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