1. Welcome to the Fantasy Writing Forums. Register Now to join us.

Stormtrooper Accuracy and other things to dodge

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by wordwalker, May 5, 2013.

  1. wordwalker

    wordwalker Auror

    1,474
    434
    83
    Something that's always bugged me is how so many movies (and other cheap storytelling) build drama by getting silly with the facts of a story, instead of using them to put in us in why that world ought to be so thrilling. But here's a couple things I worked out:

    Stormtrooper "precision shooting" is one of the biggest jokes in movies, how villains in (well, almost any film, ever) will go through crates of ammunition but can't hit the broad side of a Death Star unless the plot specifically calls for it, as the only way to let the heroes live through the story. Still, there's an easier way around this, as long as we're writing fantasy rather than fantasy-in-spacers'-clothing:

    Most guards wouldn't have ranged weapons at all. Without gunpowder and manufacturing, bows and crossbows were too hard to teach or build for ordinary troops, and a guard's usual job was to drive off or surround troublemakers, not put arrows in that one elusive MC. So the soldiers can close in with their spears (or clubs, often) and the hero can fight or dodge to keep from being surrounded--it's when he gets beyond the city and they send ranger squads after him that he starts having to do a full Dive For Cover.

    I always laughed at Star Wars armor too, and how useless it was. But just the fact that armor's given out to common troops usually means weapons have had time to get fairly good at penetrating it. So we ought to see guards' armor softening hits and making them harder to fight, but not invulnerable--and not all in what looks like full chain or plate armor just to make them look scarier than they are. (Meanwhile some heroes might avoid armor as long as they're more concerned about outrunning a dozen troops than fighting just two or three of them. Remember Aragorn in that leather armor-- but then suiting up in chain at Helm's Deep?)

    Anyone else have any pet peeves about "dramatic but absurd" story facts and how to fix them?
     
  2. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

    11,294
    3,699
    413
    I watched Expendables 2 last night, which not only wasn't a very good movie, but was one of the worst examples of the bad guys not being able to hit anything that I've ever seen. Lame.

    On the other hand, Shoot 'Em Up, which was a cool movie, actually had some funny commentary on this fact within the movie itself.
     
    Penpilot likes this.
  3. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

    4,358
    1,542
    163
    Narrativium - it affects the aims of Good and Bad guys in opposite but story advancing ways ...
     
  4. Feo Takahari

    Feo Takahari Auror

    1,908
    611
    113
    If the bad guy knows the heroes are getting stronger and learning more with each henchman they kill, why doesn't he attack them directly rather than sending gradually stronger henchmen after them? Traditional solution: he wants them alive so they can fulfill one of his goals. My usual approach: he does attack them directly, and they have to scramble to survive. (I've used a few others, though, like one in which the villains made it a fair "game" to determine if the human race deserved to live.)
     
  5. AnnaBlixt

    AnnaBlixt Minstrel

    53
    8
    8
    Peter's Evil Overlord List

    I think it's time to revive the Evil Overlord List...

    1, My Legions of Terror will have helmets with clear plexiglass visors, not face-concealing ones.

    2, My ventilation ducts will be too small to crawl through.

    And so on... =)

    Read it if you haven't. You'll love it.
     
  6. ecdavis

    ecdavis Troubadour

    121
    16
    18
    The cross-eyed 'bad guys' who can't hit the broadside of the barn always bothered me too. In my stories, getting injured is always a worry and my people do get hit by arrows, swords, clubs and so forth. Of course you have to have all your heroes and heroines looking beautiful and not all bruised and beat-up, so in a Fantasy world, I make sure there are a lot of healing potions and spells of healing. It insures that battle is more realistic.
    Back in the 70s when Star Wars first came out, I remember there was some discussion about just why Stomtroopers wore armor. I think their armor was said (back then, they've probably changed the reason now) to absorb some of the blast from blasters, so at least one shot wouldn't kill them. I remember in one of the Star Wars (I think it was Return of the Jedi), Darth Vader's armor scored a hit with a light saber and seemed to deflect it (though Luke chopped through his wrist later on). So I'm sure armor was meant to protect somehow.

    In Medieval type of fantasy settings, I always was amused with the infamous 'Chain-mail bikini' worn in the fantasy comics such as Red Sonja. Actually, her 'armor' was more accurately scale mail, but aside from very small portions of her breasts, she might as well have been naked. In my world, my people, including the usual buxom heroine types, wear the best armor they can find. They cover everything, as battle is not the type to show off your assets. No chain mail bikinis with push-up bra capabilities, but actual plate armor and chain mail.

    Chain mail was not as efficient as most fantasy lovers think it was, at stopping arrows.

    There were specific types of arrows used by archers for piercing chain mail that were very effective. Chain mail is often thought of as lighter in weight than plate armor and that is not the case. Chain mail would put all the weight on a wearer's shoulders, whereas well constructed plate armor distributed the weight much more evenly.

    Of course Stormtrooper armor is futuristic and would probably be classified more as plate armor, but seemingly made of some sort of high-impact plastic type of material. Since energy based weapons seems to be all that were used in the Star Wars universe, this would mean the armor would be geared toward absorbing energy.
     
  7. AnnaBlixt

    AnnaBlixt Minstrel

    53
    8
    8
    My theory on the armor when I saw the old Star Wars, was that they would protect decently from some shots, but mainly carry an air-supply and protect against vaccuum. This might come in life-saving handy when you're in a firefight in space, aboard a ship in empty space. If a wall is damaged, who would survive? The trooper in air-tight armor with a utility belt an air supply, or the rebel wearing a silly helmet and a smart-looking vest?
     
  8. Yellow

    Yellow Minstrel

    74
    14
    8
    I absolutely hate when the girls falls in love with the hero after 3 conversations and 10 minutes of watching him shoot/gruesomely kill anything that moves.

    Oh, and space ships being destroyed in a firey explosion while in the vacuum of space is another one, along with evil soldiers who wait for their turn to fight the hero. Just gang up on him will wou? There's like 20 of you and only 1 of him!
     
  9. glutton

    glutton Inkling

    553
    92
    28
    Mine tend to be beaten/scarred up to hell, lol. :p
     
  10. Sparkie

    Sparkie Auror

    1,439
    318
    83
  11. Androxine Vortex

    Androxine Vortex Archmage

    986
    85
    28
    One thing I hate is when I see a character in full plate armor have the same dexterity and balance as an Olympic gymnast. or how a new hero emerges who has never used a weapon in his life and he single handedly kills five elite swordsman at once.
     
  12. AnnaBlixt

    AnnaBlixt Minstrel

    53
    8
    8
    I really hate...

    When the villain feels a compulsive need to explain his entire plan to the hero before killing him... while inside his inner sanctum... probably waving around the artefact that is his one weakness...
     
  13. Nameback

    Nameback Troubadour

    140
    68
    28
    My general rule of thumb is: make it something that the protagonist does that enables them to triumph (or at least survive) rather than something that the antagonist doesn't do. Success should hinge on action, not inaction.

    If your hero can dodge arrows with supernatural speed, or deflect blaster bolts with a lightsaber, then that's all well and good--but never hinge the outcome of the story on the bad guys just randomly missing. If your hero is going to survive, then give them a reason to survive. Whether that reason is magic, armor, dexterity, divine intervention--hell, even a rock to hide behind!

    The only time I think it's OK for someone to randomly fail at a critical moment is if you're attempting to make a thematic point of the arbitrary, non-narrative nature of real life. In which case it usually works better to have your protagonist fail in a random way, because we're not usually expecting that.

    edit: Although, one thing I have always wanted to do is build up a big threat (but not the ultimate antagonist) that the heroes must face, and then have it collapse before there's ever even a confrontation. For example, there's a giant army on the march towards an unprotected city, and the heroes are racing to the rescue, only to find that the army turned around and left because their ranks were ravaged by malaria, plague, and dysentery.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2013
    Androxine Vortex and Jabrosky like this.
  14. Feo Takahari

    Feo Takahari Auror

    1,908
    611
    113
    I'd like to propose one exception: noted villain flaws. If a villain is vain, or greedy, or petty, these things can be used to manipulate him or her into making mistakes. (Then again, it's probably better if the protagonists actively capitalize on these flaws, rather than invoke them by accident.)
     
  15. wordwalker

    wordwalker Auror

    1,474
    434
    83
    Amen! Challenging a character ought to mean putting him in a situation where he has to earn his victory-- and if we start noticing that heroism less than how absurd part of the situation is being to give him a break, it's time to rewrite the situation so it doesn't need training wheels.
     
  16. Saigonnus

    Saigonnus Auror

    1,651
    552
    113
    Heck, even a warrior in a suit of Chain mail having the same dexterity of an unarmored, unencumbered foe. Another thing I find annoying is that a lightly armed/armored somehow chooses to go toe-to-toe with a larger, more heavily armored adversary instead of using creative measures to eliminate him quicker (i.e. knock him down, attack the armpit etc.)
     
  17. glutton

    glutton Inkling

    553
    92
    28
    Well it could be the armored warrior is just that far superior to their opponent that they're still more agile in armor... or to look at it from the flip side, the unarmored fighter is that much worse than their opponent (like if you put me up against someone who's actually dexterous wearing armor, I'm sure they'd still outmaneuver me easily because I have like a 5 Dexterity in DnD terms lol).
     
  18. Shockley

    Shockley Maester

    722
    136
    43
    There is a thing in Japanese culture where they will draw samurai charging through volleys and volleys of arrows, untouched and breaking a few with their swords. Also, they would have these massive bags that would flow out from their horses that would serve to catch arrows as well.

    Considering how influenced Lucas was by samurai culture and films, I wonder if this is the origin of the trope.
     
  19. SeverinR

    SeverinR Vala

    3,531
    535
    113
    Basically most action movies have the bad guys shooting alot of rounds for not.
    The worst is the person shooting on level terrain and the bullets hitting around the feet of the target.
    Maybe if you pointed the gun at the person instead of trying to hit his boots, maybe you would hit him.

    If shooting down on someone the bullets could hit the ground near their feet, and it would show how close they are coming, level shooting bullets continue past the target unseen unless they hit something.

    Only good guys aim. To explain why the bad guys miss they make a point of the hero aiming.

    A-team heros; one team shoots alot of bullets/bombs with the intent to scare the other side, not to hurt anyone. Cases of ammo, and grenades used and all the targets are a little sore from dodging or the momentum of the explosion throwing them around.
     
  20. SeverinR

    SeverinR Vala

    3,531
    535
    113

    Warning: link is to Bobcat Goldthwait, adult language
    Bobcat Goldthwait - Star Wars Fans Are Uber Nerds - YouTube
    Star wars uber nerds. He mentions the fiery explosions in space at the end.
     
Loading...

Share This Page