Lesson #5 "The Battlepost "

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With Prof. Dr. Fritz von Stossenbaum Alkaseltzer
& Lieutenant Colonel Billy 'Doc' Holliday

Because of the Booming success of adding several guests to the last lesson (on Inspiration) I thought I could use some of this Booming in the lesson about Battleposts. Therefore I have invited my lifelong friend and Marine Lieutenant Colonel Billy 'Doc' Holliday to help us out on the inevitable Battleposts, because the Federation might be peaceful, some species want to be rebellious.

<Fritz> Welcome Doc, how are you this fine afternoon in the, always sunny, restaurant "the Dark Side of the Moon" (they’re sponsors… don't ask…)

<Doc> I'm here to kick ass and chew bubblegum… But I think I'll have some soup instead, Doc. Lemme just put my big cowboy hat here on the other half of the table.

<Fritz> Well we're glad to have you here and hope that you can enlighten us so that we can finally create those battleposts we always wanted.

<Doc> Sure thing Doc. Anything to spread the word on the greatest fleet in the universe.

<Fritz> So in how many wars have you been? I mean we all would know the Dominion war but were there any other obscure battles that the public might not know about?

<Doc> Oh yes, tons of those. I'm just not allowed to talk about them. But the Dominion war was the best of all. We really showed them where to stuff it, didn't we.

<Fritz> Well actually, didn't it cost thousands of lives and took two years, I mean that's not 'showing them'... but then again, those are politics and that's not why we're here. So could you tell us, what is The most important in a Battlepost?

<Doc> In the end, war is not about who's right, doc, but about who's left. And we are left. Anyways, the most important thing in a good, engaging battlepost is attention to drama and detail.

<Fritz> Please, elaborate, while I enjoy the patented tomato soup of the restaurant "Dark Side of the Moon", it really is delicious.

<Doc> I'll take your word for it. Well, nobody likes to read about a boring guy who taps in a sequence on a panel to fire his phasers at the enemy. Everybody loves to read about an exhausted, slightly injured soldier, who despite his pain, manages to concentrate on the moment and - with his wife and children back home in the back of his head - unleashes a barrage of flaming fiery phasers and truly terrifying torpedoes upon the enemy that has caused so much hurt and pain.

<Fritz> Exactly, so how would you establish a interesting and entangling Battleposts without making it to unbelievable? I mean we all know that a Tactical officer with only one arm and half of his face missing won't be shooting, but to what extend could we still make it believable?

<Doc> Try to bring a certain balance to your post. For every injury, pain or wound that would make it more difficult for your character to do his or her job, also put in something that would strengthen their resolve to go out there and Do their job. Like in my previous example - he was injured, exhausted and in pain .. But the thought of his wife and child back home kept him going. A character needs motivation to do what he or she does. And his family was his motivation to fire his weapons, despite being wounded.

<Fritz> Well I think that's clear, but then again I studied for this, so perhaps you could give us some examples of how to post, for example, a corridor battle with a boarding party. So I can sit back and enjoy this "Dark Side of the Moon"-Coffee.

<Doc> Alright, I'll give you a few examples. Here goes…

Whydah looked around at the situation. She told her marines to get their weapons and to deploy in the corridors. When the intruders came she fought alongside her men, firing her rifle, throwing a grenade, to try to keep them at bay.

Fritz's Comments on this: As you can see this is a small and uninteresting read, even at this length you are bored with the story before it ends, imagine what a two page filled with this would give you?

<Doc gives another example> Whydah looked around at the situation. She grabbed two compression rifles and leapt into battle, firing left and right, like a fury unleashed, killing intruders as they popped out of hiding. Soon she was wading hip-deep through their slain bodies, adrenaline flowing.

Fritz's Comments on this: A bit better as the character now actually takes some action, but as all the people who’ve been here for longer can see, this is a clear cut case of Super Hero Syndrome. One will simply not attack a boarding party with two compression rifles, those are clearly two handed weapons…

<Doc know shows How it should be done> Whydah looked around at the situation. They'd been fighting these intruders for a half an hour by now and had reached a sort of stalemate. Half her marine squad was injured, some dead, but they've done similar damage to the intruders. "This is it !" she shouted through her pained and bloodied face, as she tried to give her men more inspiration. "We need to break this stalemate, and we need to do it Now ! Emerson, Lake, Palmer, take the left flank and hold position. Ronalds, Evans, Petrov, right flank. Wait for my signal then push through. Alright ? Semper Fi !" she conducted her men closer to the doorway, and signaled them to move out of sight right behind it, flanking it. then she opened the door, fired a few quick blind shots to get the intruder's attention and made a mad dash towards cover - taking a disruptor shot to her leg, and growling in pain. But her ruse worked. A few of the intruders took the bait and ran through the doorway to follow her, only to get shot by her team. The odds were slightly better now.

Fritz's Comments on this: As you can see this piece of writing is a bit longer then the rest, but it contains the flaw/mistake that makes the character so human. This is the perfect example of a Good Battlepost, or at least part of it.

<Fritz> That was really helpful Doc, I hope the readers think the same. I think we're almost done here, note the almost. A few lessons ago I explained the SHS, off course you know of the existence of this plague, but is are there any examples you could name of In Character SHS?

<Doc> Off course. Anything that makes a character look like a great big invincible hero without any weaknesses or balance is In Character SHS. I could name many examples. Like in that second example of a battlepost that I made earlier. Or, another example...
Doctor Casey Heart frowned a bit as he looked at the scan results for the unknown, never before seen virus that had incapacitated half his crew. "This looks like that virus I once read of in a medical magazine .. Let's see .. " He spent the next half hour mixing medicines, adjusting ratios, looking at scans, before he finished the anti-virus, and injected everyone with it.

Fritz's Comments on this: Yes solving an unsolvable virus infection being taken care off in no less then a whole paragraph (or thirty minutes as mentioned) is also SHS.

Or maybe:
Captain Shepard looked at her viewscreen. They were outnumbered and outgunned. She knew she had to do Something. "Helm, around them at full impulse. Don't get hit by their weapons. Tactical full phasers and torpedo's on my signal." She knew that this maneuver would catch the enemy ships off guard, turning the situation into their advantage.

Fritz's Comments on this: Again the typical 'Easy Way Out' approach by the Commanding Officer this time, while it is a good idea to turn around and make a run for it you can't order your helm officer to not get hit, perhaps mention erratic maneuvers, but that’s it. Also if you are severely outnumbered and outgunned I wonder if it’s even logical to start firing in stead of making a quick escape to the nearest Federation outpost.

<Fritz> I think these examples will even help explain more what SHS is and why it should be avoided, even more so in Battleposts. Ok conclusively, do you have any tips and tricks for us simple players that want to make our Battleposts interesting and exciting? Golden Rules of Battles? things that should NEVER EVER be done?

<Doc> Never Ever do things that your character should not be doing, unless it's absolutely necessary, and then keep in mind that they're not actually trained for this. Never Ever solve everything - leave enough for other people to solve. Every now and then, try to put a little mistake into your IC actions, to spice things up - nobody is flawless, and during stressful heat-of-the-battle moments small mistakes are easily made. Just make sure that these mistakes won't cause any real problems for others.

<Fritz> Thanks for this clear and helpful conversation, it's really appreciated by me and probably a lot of other readers as well. And you should really try this "Dark Side of the Moon" Apple Pie...

<Doc> Actually I should be heading back to my marine detachment. I've organized a boxing tournament and I gotta be in the finals. Thanks for the talk, doc. It was fun.

It was indeed fun and hopefully helpful to all that read it, This was yet another successful lesson in the Lessons In Superior Posting series. As always I bid you a fond farewell and if you have anything to say/write after this lesson, Don’t be afraid to Bug The Damn CO already!

Until Next Time,
Prof. Dr. Fritz von Stossenbaum Alkaseltzer
L.I.S.P. Professor
Starfleet Headquarters
"Shedding Light on the Dark Side…"

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