Session 4.17 - Creative Content Part 3: Swords, Hands and Eagles

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
Word was brought to him in Chapter 20, which is on the Nirnaeth Arnoediad.
Where? He knew about the battle, but not because Fingon sent word to him. When Turgon's hosts arrive, they are "unsummoned and unlooked for," so I assume he learned that there was going to be a fight from reports from the eagles.

It says the following:

But now a cry went up, passing up the wind from the south from vale to vale, and Elves and Men lifted their voices in wonder and joy. For unsummoned and unlooked for Turgon had opened the leaguer of Gondolin, and was come with an army ten thousand strong, with bright mail and long swords and spears like a forest. Then when Fingon heard afar the great trumpet of Turgon his brother, the shadow passed and his heart was uplifted, and he shouted aloud: 'Utúlie'n aurë! Aiya Eldalië ar Atanatári, utúlie'n aurë! The day has come! Behold, people of the Eldar and Fathers of Men, the day has come!' And all those who heard his great voice echo in the hills answered crying: 'Auta i lómë! The night is passing!'
It is explicit that Turgon was responding to no summons. What is less clear is how he found out at all. Since we know that he didn't let his people out, and none of the Elves outside knew how to get in, I'd say that @Rhiannon's suggestion is the only real possibility, barring Turgon quietly sitting on a palantir, or a suspiciously specific dream from Ulmo.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
See, this is my source of confusion. Would Fingolfin not be able to leap up on Morgoth's knee and attack him much as Gamora did the Abilisk? Is the sequence silly because it couldn't happen or is it silly based on execution? For example, I think we agree that Legolas shield-skating looks silly, but is it implausible that Legolas could do that?
Ah, maybe I wasn't clear. I don't think Gamora's leap itself looks silly. I was saying that some of the surrounding moves were a bit cartoonish (running on tentacles), but that if one could give a more 'serious' context to it, such a leap could look epic rather than simply over-the-top. And yes, I do think we could give Fingolfin a 'finishing' move where he goes all out and knows that if he fails, he's going to die. A desperate leap could work for that.

Leaping up on Morgoth's knee to launch to make an attack higher would probably be....well...silly looking. But launching from the ground, or even from Grond might be choreography that could be pulled off while maintaining the serious/tragic/epic nature of that fight. I'm not going to specify what absolutely won't work, because a lot of tiny details can make or break a fight scene - a lot of it is in the timing and camera angles, so you could make something work that would look silly if shot a different way.

As for believablity and physics....I'm not going to hold this project to the standards of absolute realism. You're allowed to do things on camera just because they look cool. Realistically, can you surf down a stone stairway on a metal shield? Well, probably not, no. That's the kind of thing that doesn't...last. But can you strap a stunt guy into a harness and make it look like he's surfing down the stairs? Sure, of course you can - movie magic. The stairs are steep enough to overcome the coefficient of friction, I'm sure, but you can't really expect someone to steer and maintain balance...not even an elf. There's a reason you go snowboarding on snow, not on stone steps..... And the trunk surfing is worse, because now it's just his feet doing the sliding, and the oliphant is a living, moving creature, so there's no way to predict how it will move its trunk in its death throes.

I am fine with elves running up a rock slope like a mountain goat. I am not fine with them running on walls/ceilings. There's likely a lot of in-between area that could look silly or great, depending on how you do it. And I'm very comfortable using movie magic and stunts to make it look like the elves can do impossible feats. I just...want to have a lot of subtle ones instead of some in-your-face video game ones.
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
Ah, maybe I wasn't clear. I don't think Gamora's leap itself looks silly. I was saying that some of the surrounding moves were a bit cartoonish (running on tentacles), but that if one could give a more 'serious' context to it, such a leap could look epic rather than simply over-the-top. And yes, I do think we could give Fingolfin a 'finishing' move where he goes all out and knows that if he fails, he's going to die. A desperate leap could work for that.

Leaping up on Morgoth's knee to launch to make an attack higher would probably be....well...silly looking. But launching from the ground, or even from Grond might be choreography that could be pulled off while maintaining the serious/tragic/epic nature of that fight. I'm not going to specify what absolutely won't work, because a lot of tiny details can make or break a fight scene - a lot of it is in the timing and camera angles, so you could make something work that would look silly if shot a different way.

As for believablity and physics....I'm not going to hold this project to the standards of absolute realism. You're allowed to do things on camera just because they look cool. Realistically, can you surf down a stone stairway on a metal shield? Well, probably not, no. That's the kind of thing that doesn't...last. But can you strap a stunt guy into a harness and make it look like he's surfing down the stairs? Sure, of course you can - movie magic. The stairs are steep enough to overcome the coefficient of friction, I'm sure, but you can't really expect someone to steer and maintain balance...not even an elf. There's a reason you go snowboarding on snow, not on stone steps..... And the trunk surfing is worse, because now it's just his feet doing the sliding, and the oliphant is a living, moving creature, so there's no way to predict how it will move its trunk in its death throes.

I am fine with elves running up a rock slope like a mountain goat. I am not fine with them running on walls/ceilings. There's likely a lot of in-between area that could look silly or great, depending on how you do it. And I'm very comfortable using movie magic and stunts to make it look like the elves can do impossible feats. I just...want to have a lot of subtle ones instead of some in-your-face video game ones.
Ok, this gives me a better idea of where your head is at. In my view, film!Legolas' feats of agility struck me as possible for an elf, but failed in execution. The ability to walk on top of snow alone suggests a level of fine motor control of the entire body that is extremely far beyond what a human is capable of.

So, for an example of some feats of agility humans are capable of:


Ignoring some of the flashier flips, the leaps are something I probably wouldn't believe possible if I didn't see them. And remember, these folks aren't world-class athletes, just very fit (and daring) hobbyists. A lot of these moves require intense practice, but some of them are such that a mistake means falling to your death, so they have to be executed successfully the very first time.

Speaking of Fingolfin specifically, would you say he is capable of doing 1.5x better than these folks? 2x? 3x?

As to the whole sliding down weird things bit, it really is about controlling momentum and friction. I once accidentally "skated" down a concrete embankment in just my shoes, and I'm not really that coordinated. I just happened to hit it at the exact momentum, and managed to maintain the exact amount of friction to maintain an upright descent. Been trying to find video of someone doing something like this, but I'm having a deuce of a time getting my search terms right. I'm pretty sure that if I can do it on accident, there are people who can do it on purpose, and better. :)
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
Ok, this gives me a better idea of where your head is at. In my view, film!Legolas' feats of agility struck me as possible for an elf, but failed in execution. The ability to walk on top of snow alone suggests a level of fine motor control of the entire body that is extremely far beyond what a human is capable of.

So, for an example of some feats of agility humans are capable of:


Ignoring some of the flashier flips, the leaps are something I probably wouldn't believe possible if I didn't see them. And remember, these folks aren't world-class athletes, just very fit (and daring) hobbyists. A lot of these moves require intense practice, but some of them are such that a mistake means falling to your death, so they have to be executed successfully the very first time.

Speaking of Fingolfin specifically, would you say he is capable of doing 1.5x better than these folks? 2x? 3x?

As to the whole sliding down weird things bit, it really is about controlling momentum and friction. I once accidentally "skated" down a concrete embankment in just my shoes, and I'm not really that coordinated. I just happened to hit it at the exact momentum, and managed to maintain the exact amount of friction to maintain an upright descent. Been trying to find video of someone doing something like this, but I'm having a deuce of a time getting my search terms right. I'm pretty sure that if I can do it on accident, there are people who can do it on purpose, and better. :)
I don't know about parkour skills, but perhaps Fingolfin would have 2x+ motor control and reflexes. Remember that clip from Ronin where Sam tests Gregor's reflexes by knocking a cup off a table and Gregor catches it? Maybe the least of Elves could perform that with ease.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
Certainly, some parkour stunts would look cool and be on par with the Captain America enhanced gymnastics move kind of thing. Too much, and we're just remaking Assassin's Creed, which I do not want to do. There is no need for all elves to be into 'stunts'. As for sliding down things, a static-and-smooth concrete embankment is...a far cry from uneven stone stairs or a living (moving) Oliphant trunk or tentacle. A 'controlled fall' down an embankment with loose scree is easy enough to pull off. I am fine with elves being better than expected at maintaining their footing. I do object to the entire concept of Legolas taking down that Oliphant. But one advantage we'll have is that it's not just one 'hero' elf among an army of Men....it's actually an army of elves. So, we can make the elves somewhat cool, and that combined overall effect should be pretty awesome. All Peter Jackson did with elf armies was make them very coordinated/in-sync. We can do more than that, with less of the video game stunts. And hopefully wind up with something awesome that way?

But I do agree that some subtle really-good-reflexes and really-good-balance could be worked into many scenes (not just action scenes) to help give an 'elvish' feel to our elves. Riding horses without bits or saddles is also something that a human can do, but an elf can do more easily. I've ridden bareback before. I've also fallen off when the horse I was riding bucked and I had no stirrups to catch myself with :p.

Not surprisingly, the guys who ride the Lipizzaner stallions are better equestrians than I am, and can manage to keep their seat (without stirrups!) when their horses rear and jump.

I've also never had a horse listen to me this well. But then...I am not a horse trainer, and have never owned a horse myself.

This is the Cowboy Up competition at Calgary Stampede. In it, the horse and rider must complete an obstacle course that changes. Some tasks must be completed by the horse, others by the rider. The goal is to have a horse that responds well to commands and does not get 'spooked' by the various obstacles. While I imagine elves would be pretty good at this, there's nothing 'elvish' about this contest, either.

For humans, this is an exhibition/show (I have no idea what's going on here, but those are some pretty horses)...whereas for elves, sure, that's just running around in a field playing with horses, not the result of countless hours of training....or maybe it is, but the elves have countless hours to spend that way. If you told me this guy was an elf, I wouldn't disbelieve you.

Can you ride a horse without a saddle and bridle? Sure!
 
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amysrevenge

Well-Known Member
As far as doing stunts all the time - if everyone you know was an A+ parkour allstar, including, like, your grandma, it wouldn't be cool anymore. It would just be normal, so you wouldn't flaunt it.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
If you ever listen to actors talk about stunt guys, they'll tell you the stunt guys are all crazy. That they take a beating and keep on going. So, yeah, if you imagine the elves are all stunt guys who are pretty like actors, then....close enough, sure.
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
How about accuracy? Would an Elf be able to pull off a Private Jackson-style shot (approx. 400m) with ease?
So, one thing that makes a good sniper is patience, and being able to wait for wind conditions, target facing, and other factors to align. This is extremely difficult with a bow for number of reasons, but the most important is fatigue. Holding a drawn bow for any length of time is very difficult.

The following video from LindyBeige is pretty tongue in cheek, but I think it illustrates the issue nicely:


The question becomes, do Elves have the same problem with lactic acid buildup that humans do, and to what degree? Does Calaquendi endurance play a role in this?

Another issue involved in pinpoint accuracy is arrow oscillation.


Of course, I wonder if Elves are able to tune into that oscilation, enabling them to almost shoot around objects under the right circumstances.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
So, one thing that makes a good sniper is patience, and being able to wait for wind conditions, target facing, and other factors to align. This is extremely difficult with a bow for number of reasons, but the most important is fatigue. Holding a drawn bow for any length of time is very difficult.

The following video from LindyBeige is pretty tongue in cheek, but I think it illustrates the issue nicely:


The question becomes, do Elves have the same problem with lactic acid buildup that humans do, and to what degree? Does Calaquendi endurance play a role in this?

Another issue involved in pinpoint accuracy is arrow oscillation.


Of course, I wonder if Elves are able to tune into that oscilation, enabling them to almost shoot around objects under the right circumstances.
Perhaps Elves don’t have as much of a problem with lactic acid buildup, and in this case could hold an arrow far longer than a human? They would still have a problem with lactic acid, since Fingolfin loses his duel with Morgoth because he tires and Morgoth is able to pin him down and crush him.
 
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