how do you handle combat? feel free to share a scene or two!


im curious to see how people have handled siege warfare, or if anyone’s touched it at all. not the battle part of the siege, but the parts leading up to it. managing food and resources, doing your best to avoid things catching on fire from the stuff the enemies are throwing over the walls, stuff like that


Mmmm management of food and resources I think is unlikely to find. Not because it isn’t relevant, but because dealing with these numbers is difficult and doesn’t seem relevant for the soldiers in the siege. Even the commanders would likely have people dealing with this and reporting the food and resources as ‘good to go or not good’.

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of course, i mean in the event of food being “not good” and getting more is out of the quartermasters’ hands

or the quartermasters could be dead and the commanders dont trust any of their soldiers enough to manage everything


I suspect it doesn’t feature that much because it’s not glamorous, glorious or dramatic. In a way, though, doesn’t it get covered in a way in the GoT books, where Baratheon is trying to get to Winterfell through the winter snow and his force is all freezing and starving to death (sorry, only read the books, not seen the TV show, and can’t check on names)?

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there’s plenty of ways to make a defensive siege dramatic, and fantasy doesn’t have to be glamorous or glorious, it can be dark, gritty, and realistic too

idk, i’d like to see it portrayed more bc its an interesting topic to me, there’s plenty of ways to have it fit into a fantasy novel i’d think


I totally agree and it’s something that’s probably under-represented. David Weber touches on the importance of logistics a bit in his SciFi ‘Armageddon Reef’ series. What I was trying to say is that it’s harder to keep a reader’s interest (and possibly the writer’s interest too) if you’re saying ‘well, we had a month of doing very little then started having to eat rats because we’d run out of meat, after another couple of months we’d run out of rats so…’ It can be done, just not the easy or obvious route.

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ohh i see, sorry i misread haha

part of my curiosity comes from a novel i have planned in which the main character spends most of his time doing just that; defending and taking castles and cities, so i was wondering if there’s any popularized literature that touched on that beyond the big epic battle for the city


One of Glen Cook’s “Black Company” books has them holding a fortress that’s under siege. I think it’s in the compilation “The Many Deaths Of The Black Company.” If you’ve not read his work, you really must, although this is jumping in about 2/3rds of the way through the story arc.

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sounds very interesting. i’ll look into it, thanks!


My preferred way to write combat is to make it hopeless. This isn’t to say that the characters cannot win, but they do not get an easy fight. Ever. There has to be some kind of price.

My last combat scene was two chapters ago. Ava, the doctor, had just been kidnapped by an old friend she hadn’t realised was hunting her for her bounty, and was dragging her tied up and with a heavy backpack strapped to her across a hostile desert full of slavers and nasty four-legged insectoids that like eating humans. And then suddenly, friends arrive! Rescue time!

Well… sort of. Two of Ava’s friends are pretty tanky warriors (from a tanky warrior race) who carry massive heavy weapons. It looks like a pretty dead cert. But she’d underestimated just how good her kidnapper was.

So we end up with the third friend, who is defenceless, trying to reach her and untie her, but who gets knocked out with a single swing from the kidnapper’s very hefty weapon. Kidnapper takes on said tanky warriors, leaves one unable to stand and defeats the other. As he goes to kill her, she pulls a dirty move that is incredibly dishonourable and stabs him with the katana on his belt.

Now, the warrior race is all about honour and this is a thing of massive ongoing importance to those two characters. And tanky warrior woman completely throws hers aside when she fights dirty. If she hadn’t done something that was out of character for her (because she cared about Ava more than her honour) she would have died, and Ava probably would too.

And all the fighters do pay a price. Kat, who gets knocked out, has to deal with a blunt force head injury which thankfully doesn’t have further complications. Rei, the first character to be defeated, survives with a non life threatening leg injury. Ruka, on the other hand, sustains a serious wound that threatens to stop her fighting ever again, later nearly dies from it, and also loses the honour she has by resorting to cheap tactics.


hopeless combat is always fun, in one of my future novels i have a scene written out where my mc who is a village nobody tries to take on a renowned military commander from an enemy kingdom. by himself. with no sword.

the commander accepted the duel offer, laughing the entire time, and even gave the mc a sword

then proceeded to kick the living shit out of him, the fight didn’t last very long

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Oh, losing fights is so much fun! Especially when the stakes are high.


i agree, a character who wins every fight they’re put in gets boring, because you never feel a sense of urgency, since you know they’re gonna come out on top

very important to lose a couple fights just to remind your readers (and yourself) that your mc isn’t god. unless they are.


In most scenarios in my stories, being bailed out counts.

For the record, most of my battles can only be described in one way: chaotic. They are often multi party free for all firefights where the only impression you get is what they scream loudly above the frenzy: “Die now bitches!” “Silent fools, I’m trying to sleep in here!”, “Show me all your rage!” and “I’m gonna freaking KILL YOU ALL!” are all flung out in the same scene in rapid succession, interrupted only by the sound of windows breaking, collapsing ceilings and swords being broken and reforged together on the fly.

Hilariously, if someone gets a gun, everything goes silent. Guns are everyone’s weakness. Otherwise, they’ve leveled mountain ranges.

And yes, there’s enough power to fell entire cities but not through magic, but rather physical strength. Most of my heroes could manhandle Marvel and Phoenix with a flick of their wrists and then rip the Infinity Gauntlet off Thanos arm… or rip his arm, Gauntlet n’all, with a gentle pull.


being bailed out can be good for awhile, but you still get that same loss of urgency, at the very least you need injuries for awhile, with exceptions for op characters

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Hard. This is a high powered multiverse I am dealing with. Most people have high speed regeneration. There are deaths and loss, but its usually because of a set up. Having them actually die from battle is near impossible unless they are fighting normal humans, since they cannot harm them due to a system that compels them not to hurt humans and renders them vulnerable to human attacks, though they are still able to use their powers for escaping. Unless this was some sort of Crisis Core like setup with an entire platoon gunning them down, they won’t really be “at risk of dying”.

To top things off, the main hero will literally revive as long as the prophecy the story revolves around is incomplete, so there’s no way to get a sense of urgency from him. However, he does lose his family during a trap setup, but they actually survive and they reunite afterwards.

Death is extraordinarily cheap and reversible in my works since they run on the premise that bodies can be manufactured and discarded like clothing and souls themselves are simply indestructible. Destroying one is impossible because you’d be destroying a consciousness, and a consciousness is something I call in universe a “net force”. Once a consciousness/soul exists, it can’t ever cease to be.

Also, the afterlife is your soul travelling to a new body somewhere else in the multiverse. If you opt to keep your memories, you can literally attend your own funeral in a new body, so long as you can travel to your home world, which is easy given travelling the multiverse is literally free to almost anyone.


that falls into the “op character” category then lmao

personally overpowered stuff isnt for me but more power to you, your system sounds quite interesting

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Well, it’s a very “epic” multiverse, so overpowered is pretty normal to them. Even humans after the end of the first series I have planned become much stronger, to the point someone like you or me could easily outrun a Vespa at top speed and lift a Prius with someone’s help.


I love well thought out fight scenes.
Writing out how every move will effect the other down to the anatomy damage they will receive and how that pain carries to affect their next move.
The style/how varies depending on the character and their abilities but I almost always severely injure the favored character. My characters good or bad always take damage to make them more realistic. Tragic and graphic deaths that move someone to weep or cringe at the scene are my favorite to lead up to with suspense. I just enjoy the reaction I get from readers when it blindsides them but in a good way.

I also love Reading well thought out fight scenes. I enjoy when a writer expresses the physical and mental health during a fight scene with detail. Not just saying they were hurt in the side or the wind knocked out of them and moving on to the next move but when they express how the pain feels going through the character’s body, impacting their performance and questioning what their options are next.


i like this as well, harsh and realistic fights are something i try to strive for, usually with long lasting injuries that’ll affect them in future

killing off a character randomly in the heat of combat is always an old classic