Storytelling thoughts: Signature ability

Even though characters might have a wide array of abilities in their arsenal, in the key moments, some might ten to use something they know well, even more if it helped them out of sticky situations in a while. It can also say more about their characters as bad guys usually tend to use ‘instakill’ attacks, showing no emotion or remorse when using them (hello, Voldemort!).

For the good guys, the choice can be telling more about them, especially if they are forced to fight someone they don’t want to kill for any reason. Here, I could even mention the reprogrammed T-800 from Terminator 2 movie who, after being commanded to not kill anyone, was shooting people in the leg to cause non-lethal injury that would reliably prevent pursuit. Of course, this case is heavily seasoned with the cold approach of computers and finding the most efficient solution.

Now, I’ll move to my own experience. These days, it’s around 15 years since my first ideas and as it was not until 2015 I started to put the pieces together, the story went through several iterations in the early concept phases. The main hero and everything about him – skill set, personality, role, friends and family – went through at least four stages before I started writing, each having their own pluses and minuses.

In the early stages, the main hero – who still lacked even placeholder name, fact made easier by the fact I looked at the story through his eyes – was a warrior that somehow learned a few magic tricks, which allowed him to surprise his opponents and enemies. How many and how powerful these skills were changed a lot over time.

Due to his lower age, I wanted to show both the willing to risk by toying with magic (something very rare for a warrior) and unwillingness to kill. The risk element was even more in the fast that his signature move at that time was lightning strike that he learned to use on power that would stun or knock out the enemy, but without fatal damage.

It was much later when I decided to take slightly different approach to his skills (I guess maybe around 2012) and turned him into a paladin instead. Since then to maybe some late 2016, I was solidifying what I wanted his approach and skills to be.

In one of the iterations, he had a skill I later gave working name ‘final judgement’. The effect was that the victim was frozen in time for a split second during which he was judged by higher powers. If he was found evil, his soul was sent straight to hell and the body died while on (mostly) innocent person the effect was only short-term confusion. The reason I eventually scrapped that idea was that with powerful spells like that, it kills variety. When you have something that can destroy demon with a single incantation, why know more?

I’ll still not mention all his skills, but for now only one. It is my take on the iconic World of Warcraft skill, Hammer of Justice/Fist of Justice. The spell creates a spectral fist that he aims for the chest, the result being that the person’s breath is knocked out, leaving him temporarily unable to fight, which is great tool for capturing targets.

If the victim needs to die? Well, paladin is still a warrior, even if empowered by divine power, and he can still use his sword to lethal damage. As time passes, he learns more abilities for both offense and defense, but it’s not the time to mention them yet.

Fantasy thoughts: warrior’s weight

A few times, I found myself thinking about what would be the total weight of a warrior. People that are deep into history know how much does a suit of armor weight, and same for the weaponry, but what about the character itself?

So, my first thought was, what would be the figure model? Of course even warriors can be different, with more or less muscle mass or density or whatever. So the main thought was what is the figure model for the main character of my future fantasy story? Eventually, I decided that with his less muscle mass and more athletic than bodybuilder figure, hockey player would be good.

As the character in question is two meters tall elf, I was then thinking and searching who is one of the biggest hockey players, my search eventually leading to the Slovakian defensive player Zdeno Chára who is said to be the tallest player in NHL ever with 2,06 meters. Said player is at 116kg, which made me estimate that the slightly shorter fantasy character would be somewhere between 110 and 115 kg of body weight, and ending up somewhere between 140 and 160 kg when fully geared, depending on armor and weapons.

Now, there’s one mentioned character, a legend of the past, that was at 2,2 meters and had the barbarian body, which is closer to bodybuilders, and thus have more muscle mass and thus weight. Now using bodybuilder’s BMI instead of hockey player’s, said character would get to almost 150kg without gear, and close to 200kg with. For someone using full strength for his strikes, someone like that was truly a menacing sight on the battlefields.

Book review: Numen the Slayer

This is the first time I took part in the “free copy for review” thing. Apart from that, I was reading the author’s comments on creating the book on Goodreads and eventually on his own blog. So, it was slightly different, both because I watched it being written, even if from great distance (curse me for this metaphor).

Yes, I broke my own plan to only do re-reads in the rest of the year within less than two weeks. Anyway, let’s get to the review.

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“You might like this”

So, today, I am to share my thoughts about one of the things that can be useful, but can also cause you to facepalm hard. recommendation systems. What made me wonder about this more the last days? YouTube.

I was watching metal covers of game and film soundtracks, so as good as it could be, it recommended things to watch next. Since I have some other related things in my watch history (like best-of scenes or videos showing making game/film weapon replicas) it went quite well on pointing me to what I might know. Heck, I found some really good stuff there. Since I was in the rare mood when I felt like actually giving a thumbs up, I was logged in for all of the time.

Fast forward three days. I watch one of those things again. And that’s when the hilarity kicks in. Many of those were in the recommendation with the usual text “you might like this” (in my language). You don’t say? (I was so tempted to insert the Nicolas Cage meme…) Of course I might like this, I played it 10 times in a row the other day…

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Book review: Soldier saved

Fourth book in the Teralin sword series, and one that I went through really fast. I had it read some 30 hours within release, which says much I guess. Again, I’ll do my best to avoid even small spoilers.

Anyway, the fourth book follows the events of second book, starting a few months later when Endric returns to Vasha from his journey ‘to his roots’ in the third book. He would like to say he’s returning home, but he can’t be sure anyway. He was away for almost a year, and he returns to see that much has changed.

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