So you want to SIM a fight scene.... | UFOP: StarBase 118 Star Trek RPG

So you want to SIM a fight scene….

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Writer's WorkshopThroughout my years as a SIMmer, this has always been my Achilles heel. Maybe because I am so used to writing in a certain way, I always found my character’s fight scenes to be way too drawn out. Most fights don’t last for very long. Consider for a moment being caught offgaurd and being hit from behind. You are still conscious, but your primary focus is on what just happened. Not the starry skies, not the blooming flowers, but on your present situation of what just happened to you, and either seeking out reasons why, or retaliation. In order to illustrate the difference between a good fight SIM, and a great fight SIM, I’m going to use a SIM of mine written a few years back and edit it in front of your eyes.

Fight scenes shouldn’t just happen. We all don’t just go to school and work everyday and happen to get into a fight with someone. There should always be reasoning for the fight. It should relate to the overall SIM in some fashion. In the following SIM, the reasoning is that my character entered a holodeck sword practicing scenario. An attack was imminent. It was why she was somewhat prepared for it. Here is the original SIM:

::With her sword in her left hand, Tracey held it in what she considered to be a defensive position. The noises in the distance were approaching, and Tracey’s heart began to beat stronger and her pupils began to dilate. Suddenly, and without warning, Tracey noticed the steel of a blade in her peripheral vision. Without thinking she put up her right, prosthetic hand as the tip of the enemy weapon struck her steel palm. Grabbing the sword, Tracey bent the weapon, and yanked it out of the enemy’s grasp. Tracey then kneed the enemy to the ground, placed her boot on his neck and placed her sword right between the holographic enemy’s eyes. All of it happened within 2 seconds.::

::As Tracey stood there, with the tip of her sword hovering millimeters from the ninja, Tracey shook her head.::

Townson: No, no no. I’m sorry. I did this all wrong. ::looking at her sword:: I really need to learn to use this.

This short scene did one thing of the three that we will discuss that a fight scene should do. It allowed others to witness what my character was like and showed her personality. However it didn’t allow my character to grow, and even in SIM, my character realized this and mentions it. And due to a lack of skill on the writer’s part, me, I added no emotion. In a fight scene, senses are very important, and try to use all five. I only used three; seeing hearing and touch. Let’s try to recreate the first paragraph using all five senses.

::Feeling the weight of her sword in her left hand, Tracey held it in what she considered to be a defensive position. She could hear the noises in the distance that were approaching, and felt her heart begin to beat stronger as her pupils began to dilate. As adrenaline began to flow through her system, she began to take better notice of the smell of the rancid air around her and the taste of her own bottom lip as she bit down on it lightly in anticipation. Suddenly, and without warning, Tracey noticed the steel of a blade in her peripheral vision. Without thinking she put up her right, prosthetic hand as the tip of the enemy weapon struck her steel palm. Grabbing the sword, Tracey bent the weapon, and yanked it out of the enemy’s grasp. Tracey then kneed the enemy to the ground, placed her boot on his neck and placed her sword right between the holographic enemy’s eyes. All of it happened within 2 seconds.::

Now I’ve added all five senses. But it is still missing something. Something very important. Emotion. Besides anticipation, there should also be some level of fear. Fear is a survival instinct. You wouldn’t want to be walking up to a fire-breathing dragon without fear. Toast would probably be a good adjective to describe your character shortly thereafter. In every fight, there should be some level of fear. So lets do some more editing, shall we?

::Feeling the weight of her sword in her left hand, Tracey held it in what she considered to be a defensive position. She could hear the noises in the distance that were approaching, and felt her heart begin to beat stronger as her pupils began to dilate. As adrenaline began to flow through her system, she began to take better notice of the smell of the rancid air around her and the taste of her own bottom lip as she bit down on it lightly in anticipation. Suddenly, and without warning, Tracey noticed the steel of a blade in her peripheral vision. Without thinking she threw up her right, prosthetic hand, fearing the blade of her enemy’s sword making contact with her unprotected torso, as the tip of the enemy’s weapon struck her steel palm. Grabbing the sword, more by instinct than skill, Tracey bent the weapon, and yanked it out of the enemy’s grasp. Tracey then kneed the enemy to the ground, placed her boot on his neck and placed her sword right between the holographic enemy’s eyes. All of it happened within 2 seconds.::

Now compare the original SIM, with what I’ve just edited. Do you notice a difference? Hopefully you do.

Things that you should remember when SIMming fight scenes are that all action is short, and intense and that nothing else is going on in your character’s mind other than that of what is happening around your character, and even that, it is what your character is paying attention to. Also remember, the character’s reaction to the event is more important than the event itself.

Practice SIMming fight scenes for your character, and see how they turn out. Of course, keep it to the holodeck. Fighting your captain may be detrimental to your character’s career!