Tag Archives: assasssins

Okay so I was wondering how for one of my fight scenes the twelve year old could beat an adult. There are two characters in the scene, one a renowned assassin trapped in the body of a twelve year old and a 22 year old information broker who’s armed with a knife. However, the info broker is kinda hesitant (he’s not a bad guy) although he knows what he’s doing. Any tips on how it should go? The child is aiming for the kill.

Well, you’ve got a serious problem and so does your assassin. (For purposes of the question, I’ll assume it’s a he, change to the appropriate pronoun as needed.) Although he has all his training, knowledge, and experience, he’s suddenly taken a huge hit to his coordination, speed, strength, weight, and bone density. Not only that, but because of his previous training in a much larger adult body, the reach he’ll expect to have versus the reach he’ll actually have are world’s apart. Even if he was originally trained as a child, the days where this could have helped him in a physical sense are long behind him. He’s going to have to adapt to work under an entirely different rule set, all of which will leave him vulnerable to getting killed if he tries to continue in his line of work in the same manner he would have as an adult.

He can’t fight the way he used to and the best choice for him (which he’d know) is to not fight at all. Assassin’s aren’t really trained for standup, straightforward scraps anyway. If he’s intending to kill the Infobroker (I’m not even going to ask why, but infobrokers are more useful alive), then he’s going to stalk him and kill him, preferably without the infobroker seeing him or he’ll use his child stature to get close to him and prove he’s not a threat before shanking him somewhere lethal.

In a child’s body, he’ll be much more reliant on surprise and he’ll be walking the razor thin line (which he’ll know) that if he gets caught, he’s dead as opposed to when he got caught before, he only might’ve kinda been dead.

No more jumping off rooftops. No more sniper rifles. He’s going to be limited to a very small subset of guns that don’t have much recoil. It seems weird to me that he’s not carrying a knife on his person, unless he has a rather thick skull and hasn’t gotten it through his head yet that things are no longer business as usual.

A child has two major means to beating an adult: surprise and superior force of arms. They can’t take them in one on one physical combat, it doesn’t matter how skilled they are or what they’re willing to do. Your twelve year old is about four to six years away from having a body that can use those skills. So, alternate approaches are necessary.

The Infobroker is not a bad guy, which is something he’ll pick up on because an assassin should be good at reading people and social situations. The Infobroker, like most non-psychopaths when faced with a small child, doesn’t want to kill him. He’ll use that to his advantage. Your assassin can do two things, engage in a game of cat and mouse by running away and coming back later at a more opportune time or he can curl up in a small ball and start to cry. The crying is a ploy to get the Infobroker to drop his guard, once that happens, he’ll take the knife and shank him.

If neither of these solutions work, the assassin will run with the purpose of leading the Infobroker on a merry chase to a place where he can fight to his own advantage. This may be a place he knows like an alleyway with a ready supply of objects that can easily become improvised weapons. A place with lots of people so he can convince the cops to arrest the infobroker and then sneak back in to offer him a means of escape from the precinct in exchange for information.

He can’t straight up fight him, but if the infobroker has something he wants, then the body he’s in is a convenient way to convince other people to do his fighting for him. This can be anyone from random bystanders, to crooks, to convincts in lockup, to policemen on the force. He looks small and innocent. He appears to be helpless. People who would have spat on him before will help him now.

The answer to the question is: the character must use the advantages he has access to and his brain, not the traditional combat skills he never used much anyway. Though, if he’s famous, he might not have been doing his job right anyhow.

This isn’t me saying don’t do this and I know it’s not what you were after, but it’s important to recognize the limits a character is placed under and how they use those limits to prove who they are. The most interesting thing you can do with a character who is exceptionally good at their job is put them into a situation where they have to use skills that they haven’t spent a lot time cultivating. You get all their experience but also force them to deal with the world in a new and different way. Your assassin can’t just pick up where he left off. This includes many of the combat skills he’s cultivated over his years in the profession, he has to deal with life as a child and with a child’s limitations. If he remembers what it was like to fight adults as a small child, then he’ll know what he’s in for. If he doesn’t, then he better learn quickly or risk not just death, but crippling injury.

-Michi

Got any tips for a character whose an assassin and uses underhanded tactics when fighting hand to hand?

othersidhewriting:

howtofightwrite:

I’d start by going through The Only Unfair Fight is the One you Lose posts:

Here, http://howtofightwrite.tumblr.com/post/52349151535/fight-write-the-only-unfair-fight-is-the-one-you-lose and here: http://howtofightwrite.tumblr.com/post/52428049557/fight-write-the-only-unfair-fight-is-the-one-you-lose

Beyond that, keep in mind, that for an assassin, they’re probably going to be killing any opponents as quickly as possible. Frequently, this means dispatching their foes before an actual fight can start.

If they do end up in combat, your character’s probably going to be looking for weapons to end a fight. If that’s a chair, lamp, toaster, or a handgun, then so be it.

I’m going to throw this one out there, since I don’t think we’ve mentioned it before: the head twist and break isn’t really a thing. Theoretically you can kill someone that way, but it takes a lot of force. And, from that position, it’s a lot easier (and quieter) to execute a choke hold and strangle someone to death that way.

Also, strangling someone takes a while. (And, no, this isn’t from personal experience.) Even after the victim goes limp, the character needs to keep choking them until the brain actually shuts down. Otherwise, they’ll just start breathing again, and recover.

I’d say look at Val Kilmer in Spartan and Tom Cruise in Collateral. Cruise is actually playing an assassin, while Kilmer is playing a government operative. It’s been a while since I’ve seen it, but the Thomas Jane Punisher film might also give you some ideas, there isn’t a lot of hand to hand, but that’s kind of the point.

If you have a lot of spare time, I’d recommend looking at 24. Kieffer Sutherland looks like he’s using a mix of Krav Maga and some miscellaneous CQB training. The problem is, there’s a lot of show (about 18 hours per season), and only a tiny fraction of that is combat.

There’s some good stuff in Burn Notice, so long as you remember that the only real difference between Michael and an assassin is that the latter is getting paid to kill someone. On the whole, the show is a good primer for tradecraft, which is useful for writing an assassin. Also, it’s entirely plausible to have an assassin that’s unwilling to kill people (outside of a contract), simply because it would draw more attention onto them, in which case, Michael is a very good character to look at.

Anyway, hope that helps.

-Starke

Michi wants to add Karl Urban’s character from Red, and Bruce Willis’ character from Lucky # Sleven. Fact is, we have a wall of DVDs featuring hitmen and assassins of all stripes, so this is by no means a comprehensive viewing list.

Hmm I think time period and world setting out have a very big impact on it, like if it’s my mage that’s an assassin… hm… he’d have to go for quick and deadly spells.

While establishing how an assassin kills in their own setting is important, there are underlying principles in how assassins work that are actually much more important to getting a handle on than the surface dressing. Here’s the thing that’s most important to get a handle on when working with an assassin: they are not professional killers, they are professional murderers.

This is where we go: but isn’t all killing murder? Yes, but in the context that we’re talking about, it’s important to remember that an assassin’s kills are always premeditated. Their job description involves stalking their prey, getting to know them, their habits, their favorite foods, their friends, their families, their preferred way of getting to work, what buttons to push, while they look for the best method with which to dispatch their target. They will probably break into their house and their place of work, rummage through their personal effects, their mail, even their target’s trash if necessary, much in the same way a spy would. Except, of course, a spy’s goal is to acquire information and an assassin’s is to acquire knowledge of the target with the express goal of personally murdering them. Depending on who it is that they are being sent after and how easy they are to get to, the assassin may very well know their target better than the target’s own family does by the end of the experience.

An assassin’s kills are personal, even when they seem incredibly impersonal. They get to know their target as a person (whether they think of them that way or not) and that’s what makes them different from other the other professionals including your general SEAL wet-work teams.

Assassins don’t generally have a certain “style” or preferred method of killing someone. A good assassin is one that is capable of working through a variety of different methods and weapons, these will run the gamut from multiple different kinds of weapons/martial styles to a variety of poisons and bombs. Depending on what their client may want or what they assess to be the best route available, an assassin may become anything from the sniper on the clock tower, the terrorist planting the car bomb to send a message, or they may lay their target out in a bathtub with their wrists slit to make it look like a suicide. A good (if extreme) example from Elementary was the assassin in one of the later episodes who worked by killing people via “accidents”, he hacked a pacemaker to give a man a heart attack, he killed a man via pushing an air conditioning unit off an apartment rooftop, and finally (funnily) planned to kill a woman with a crippling bee allergy with her personal variety of kryptonite.

Flexible. Professional. Personal.

The reason why I suggested R.E.D. is for the Karl Urban sequence at the beginning is for the (very obvious) dichotomy present when he’s on the phone with his wife discussing their domestic concerns while he’s in the process of kicking the chair out from under a man he’s hung from the rafters.

The other important aspect of an assassin’s job is not just to kill but to remain anonymous during and after the killing. Assassins trade on their anonymity, people may know that someone killed their target but they won’t be able to pin down who it was or even prove that anyone did it at all. This is why the mage analogy doesn’t make sense, because you’re working under the assumption that a the kill will revolve around what skills the assassins have overall as opposed to the skills they need to get this particular job done. Depending on the setting, directly using magic to kill someone could be akin to setting off a nuclear warhead in their living room (I mean that via the spiritual impression left behind in it’s wake), it’s big, fairly flashy even at it’s most subtle, and easy to detect once you know what your looking for. More importantly, most spells will tie back to their owner in some way and by tracing that link in the energy remnants left behind the caster can become easy to locate. Even in a setting where magic is common, an assassin may choose a physical approach because it’s the best way to bypass the attacks their mage target is expecting.

If you really must couple magic with an assassin, I’d suggest choosing spells that don’t take the direct death approach. In the best scenario, the character will probably use spells that won’t directly effect their target but instead work subtly on the people around them, on random strangers, or lay the spell through inanimate objects that can be easily discarded during cleanup after the kill. This is, of course, still risky because there’s still a chance that even with the triggering object gone, the spell itself could still be recovered and traced. The assassin could use objects that were prepared by someone else, but similar risks apply. Most likely, if they do use magic at all, assassins will use spells that primarily enhance themselves such as nightsight, heightened senses, etc and probably ones delivered into their system via a potion of some sort.

The problem is that magic isn’t like a gun you buy from an arms dealer or with cash using a false identity from a WalMart two states over and dump into the Potomac after plugging some poor bastard in the back of the head. It’s a little more intense than the bullet or fingerprint left at a crime scene.

The best advice I have for writing an assassin is:

Don’t start with the assassin saying: how can my character kill someone? In fact, don’t start with the assassin’s character at all.

Start with and develop their target. Who are they? Where are they located? What under circumstances does the client wish for them to die?

It’s cliche to say that it’s business, but it’s also true. An assassin is a professional and their business is murder. Once you grasp who they are when they work (by planning out a fictional murder for yourself), figuring out who they are in their personal life (and the dichotomy between those two selves) will be much easier.

-Michi