Too far fetched?

2 months ago | AdamBolander (Member)

Here's how things go in my current WIP:

1. Guy wants to be knight, signs up for tournament to become one.

2. Guy gets into fight with bad guy, gets foot chopped off.

3. Guy is told he can't be a knight if he can't stand. Tournament is in three days.

4. Guy and a friend heat up some metal and graft a peg leg to his ankle.

5. Guy shows up for tournament barely able to balance, but in good enough condition to convince them to let him enter.

What do you think? Is getting your leg cut off, then replaced, and then fighting in a tournament too far fetched, even if he loses? I know in reality people would still be laying in bed after something like that, but most readers are willing to look the other way after they've been knocked unconscious, or shot with an arrow, so do you think this is pushing it too far?

Author of The Gray Ranger, The Slayer and The Sphinx, Juryokine, Amber Silverblood, and more! Read for free on http://www.bolanderbooks.com

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Page: 12

Responses

  1. LadyAnder (Member)

    Posted 2 months ago

    Too far fetched. Well that's just because loosing a body part is painful. Not to mention the chance of infection from the wound. Not to mention the bleeding that would cause. He would be anemic on top of that. I'm cringing even thinking about it. Not in the this is a terrible idea cringe, just the sheer amount of pain. And then the bone integrity down there would be weaken. And it's just...*shivers*

    A cross-genre fantasy stories about elves-->http://brotherhoodarchive.com
  2. AdamBolander (Member)

    Posted 2 months ago

    Like I said, I'm willing to bank on the usual fantasy fan's suspension of disbelief, same as when someone gets shot in a western and just shrugs it off. Unless you think this is going to push that suspension too far. Also like I said, he's going to lose almost immediately. This is more of a stubborn "I've been waiting forever for this and I'm not giving up now!" kind of deal for him.

    Author of The Gray Ranger, The Slayer and The Sphinx, Juryokine, Amber Silverblood, and more! Read for free on http://www.bolanderbooks.com
  3. LadyAnder (Member)

    Posted 2 months ago

    Well okay, if I shut the writer up in my mind for a moment and ask myself, would I believe the silly fantasy fan would suspend my disbelief for this if the context is right.

    It's basically:

    Entertained + all other fantastic stuff going on = I won't think too hard on it until the fridge logic sinks in.

    I suppose the fact that he does still loses probably balances the impossible. Now if he did win, I think people who are far less picky than I will probably quirk and eyebrow at that.

    A cross-genre fantasy stories about elves-->http://brotherhoodarchive.com
  4. AdamBolander (Member)

    Posted 2 months ago

    I originally intended for him to win by thinking creatively and outsmarting his opponents, but I was having trouble justifying that in my head. So I decided it'd be more "realistic" if he showed up, got his butt kicked, but then ended up impressing one of the senior knights who decides to train him personally because he's convinced he has potential despite his handicap.

    Author of The Gray Ranger, The Slayer and The Sphinx, Juryokine, Amber Silverblood, and more! Read for free on http://www.bolanderbooks.com
  5. Rhodeworks (Member)

    Posted 2 months ago

    As with most things, it depends on the execution.

    No idea is, in and of itself, too far-fetched. I mean, peg legs have been a thing throughout history! Let's walk through this.

    1. Sure.
    2. Okay. Whether it's bad luck it happens right before, or someone trying to sabotage him, either one can work.
    3. Makes sense.
    4. This is something you'd maybe want to set up earlier with some knowledge from his friend. Maybe he's a surgeon or a craftsman.
    5. Fine. Again, if the tournament's rules are basically just 'be able to hold a sword and stand' then he's fine.

    LadyAnder's criticisms are fairly sound ones. It depends on the story. If this is a more 'hard' fantasy, then you might want to reckon with the infection and the bleeding and so on. If it's not, it's okay to skip over it. There's heaps of things you can look at to get over some of them, too. Like, pain-killing herbs, or magic (if it's that kind of setting), or even just embracing the fact that it's a shoddy job, bad in the long run, puts him in a heap of pain, and he loses ANYWAY.

    But as fair as the general gist of it goes, it's hardly far-fetched. When people say something is far-fetched, they just mean the execution strains their suspension of disbelief: "unlikely and unconvincing."

    As the author, it's your job to make it convincing.

  6. AdamBolander (Member)

    Posted 2 months ago

    Thanks. In regards to your criticism of #4, the friend is a pyromancer who isn't interested in helping him so much as she just wants to cause as much trouble for her bosses as possible. They find a metal rod and a plate, and she uses her fire magic to mold the plate around his leg, then jams the rob into the plate and welds them both together, searing it to his skin in the process.

    As for the setting, it's your typical medieval fantasy setting, except the knights all have giant robots, so I doubt anyone will be confusing this with reality, haha!

    Author of The Gray Ranger, The Slayer and The Sphinx, Juryokine, Amber Silverblood, and more! Read for free on http://www.bolanderbooks.com
  7. TanaNari (Member)

    Posted 2 months ago

    1- No, just no. Knighthood does not get handed out like sports trophies. Knighthood is a title of nobility, and nobility is typically either a thing granted by birthright, or a thing granted by exceedingly outstanding military service over the course of years or even decades. Sure, in the modern world nobility means so little that the Queen can grant the title to whomever she pleases, even random musicians, but that's the modern world.

    But back in the day? Any medieval era ruler offers up the opportunity to win a noble title... and they face rebellion from their own current nobles who will feel both insulted and threatened. Commoners were considered inferior creatures... closer to animal than human. I want you to imagine a US president appointing a squirrel to the position of Supreme Court Justice. That's the level of absurdity in appointing a commoner as a knight.

    2. Unlikely. A sword going through bone that thick at that sort of angle in tournament armor is just not very likely at all. What would make sense is a foot wound that gets infected. More soldiers back in ye olden days died of gangrene than died in combat.

    In fact, some medieval soldiers took to dipping their weapons in animal or human offal, knowing that their soiled weapons would have a greater chance of causing a deadly infection and killing the enemy even if they survived the combat.

    3. We've already shot the knight thing in the proverbial foot. It will never happen. Standing or otherwise.

    4. That is not how peg legs work. In the Real World, amputated limbs were often cauterized- not by metal, but using hot coals. But more often allowed to heal naturally rather than with burning. Then the artificial limb (aka- peg leg) is put on using leather straps so that it can be removed. And you do need to be able to remove it, so that you can clean the stump and repair the prosthetic.

    *Grafting* the peg leg onto the body... guarantees death by infection.

    5. Recovering from an amputation enough to fight in just three days? Well... humans are *damn* tough animals, and there are many examples of extraordinary real world men who overcame far worse hardships. Like being mauled by a grizzly bear, then making a thousand mile trek on foot through wilderness to reach civilization. So that part is believable. It's everything else that's not.

    -----

    How I'd fix this setup to make it believable:

    1- Drop the tournament stuff. Most people roll their eyes at tournament arcs, anyway. Instead, make it *an actual, real war*. Depending on era, it may be a very small scale war... during the bronze age, it was rare to see an army with more than a hundred soldiers in it. Pillaging and/or being granted minor titles was a common means of paying soldiers in the ancient world. Especially pillaging... everyone loves a good pillage...

    Or, make him on the side trying to stop a pillage. That's just as viable.

    2- Swap out getting foot cut off by enemy, and have it be an infected wound that forces the doctor to amputate. It was very common back then (and 'back then' includes 'just about any point of history up to and including World War 2'), so having it happen to your character is to be expected. It *also* gives you a great opportunity to describe the doctor spending several minutes sawing through his lower shin. Without pain killers.

    3- He just lost a foot, it's reasonable that he'd be told he can't be part of the army since he can no longer march with other soldiers.

    4- Scavenging materials and cobbling together a peg is reasonable. It's not a complex science, really only requires some straps of leather, part of a bench, and a good knife.

    5- It'd be more interesting if the army left him behind and he manages to catch up to them later.

    -----

    That's what I'd do to keep things respectable with those of us who respect realism in our storytelling.

    Author of Price.
  8. AdamBolander (Member)

    Posted 2 months ago

    For any of that to work I would have to rewrite the entire story so much that it may as well be a completely different book.

    First off, he didn't lose his foot in the tournament. He encountered the villain outside of town, while not wearing armor, and had his foot cut off then.

    You don't become a knight just by winning the tournament, even though a lot of people (the main character included) thinks you do. The tournament is just a way for the knights to determine your level of potential and possibly take you on as a ward to succeed them in the future. You can do absolutely pitiful, but as long as something you did caught a knight's eye you have the chance of "winning" anyway. Likewise, if you win the tournament and are a complete smug douche about it, they very well may send you home because that's not the kind of person they want inheriting their legacy.

    Magnus Knighthood (that's what they call the knights in the giant robots) isn't passed down through family. A knight's son could enter the tournament and end up being chosen by his father, but other than that the title, and the robot, is passed down to whoever the knight personally chooses to take his place.

    I'll keep that in mind about the peg legs, though.

    Author of The Gray Ranger, The Slayer and The Sphinx, Juryokine, Amber Silverblood, and more! Read for free on http://www.bolanderbooks.com
  9. TanaNari (Member)

    Posted 2 months ago

    You should probably have mentioned it's a science fiction setting.

    In which case, the real SoD killer is... "they have the tech to build and maintain giant robots... but they can't reattach a severed limb? Modern technology can reattach limbs, and we're nowhere near giant robots.

    Also, who cares who has how many limbs as long as they can pilot the superweapon?

    Author of Price.
  10. Resheet Schultz (Member)

    Posted 2 months ago

    As long as the guy gets his ass kicked I don't see a major problem. Infection/pain/etc aside, you really need the full use of your legs for that kind of fighting.

  11. AdamBolander (Member)

    Posted 2 months ago

    They didn't build them, they were left behind by a race of ancient superintelligent beings. We figured out how to turn them on with pyromancy (this ties into the ones who built them being literally made of fire) and how someone can control it from the inside. We don't know how to make our own, though, since human civilization has only developed as far as medieval times despite there being giant robots. The conflict of the story is actually that those beings are coming back, they want to rule the world again, and they're not happy that we've been playing with their toys while they were gone.

    As for him having both feet, the Magnuses are made to mimick the movement of the person inside it. Two levers for the arms, two pedals for the feet, so having both feet is necessary for moving it around.

    Author of The Gray Ranger, The Slayer and The Sphinx, Juryokine, Amber Silverblood, and more! Read for free on http://www.bolanderbooks.com
  12. Sharkerbob (Member)

    Posted 2 months ago

    Alright, I'm not trying to have a go here, but I feel like whenever you ask one of these questions, there's always a ton of extra detail you leave out that complicates or twists around people's responses. You ask "is this possible"? without giving the full context to really assess the question in relation to the work, so when someone gives an answer, you have a whole paragraph or three to counter their point, and then suddenly, its almost asking a whole different question.

    I guess you don't want to front load the opening post with too much data, but the original question makes it seem like your asking for a medieval/historical fiction story, within a realistic grounded reality. Then a few responses later, "Oh, no, it's actually a sci-fi-fantasy-medieval setting, where the rules of knighthood are different to our own, and they have magic and access to supertech." Well, okay, that puts things in a completely new light. Yeah, some guy getting a peg-leg grafted on his stump is like the least unrealistic thing about this scenario, and I probably wouldn't spare my disbelief for it with all the other wacky stuff going on.

    And then it just keeps going:

    "But wait, they have giant robots, but can't graft limbs/make proper prosthetics?"

    "Oh, well, they don't actually build the tech, the robots are recovered tech from a previous civilization."

    What the...? Okay, once again, the context has shifted.

    I feel like its a bit of a struggle figuring out a satisfactory answer for your queries, because there's always more going on than you present at first, which colors how effective anyone's responses are.

  13. Rhodeworks (Member)

    Posted 2 months ago

    Excepting there's probably a dozen well-known sci-fi settings where there's tech that can't be produced but can be maintained and the rest of the society is somewhat primitive compared to it. Or settings where they, say, lack networked computers (or computers in general) but can still manage FTL travel.

    The answer is 'it's fine.' Even if it was a medieval setting, it could still work. Count me in as someone who assumed this was a fairly medieval/fantasy setting, however.

    If there's an issue here, it's that the setting feels like a cliche anime, and not so much the initial far-fetchedness of having a bad prosthetic fitted.

  14. Sharkerbob (Member)

    Posted 2 months ago

    I mean yeah, for what its worth, im willing to roll with whatever as long as its compelling and consistent.

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