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There is an ancient martial arts tournament called the kumite that takes place on an isolated island. This tournament brings together the greatest fighters of the various mortal realms to fight each other in IMMORTAL KONFLICT!!! Fighters include cyromancers, undead, fire-breathing ninjas, talking dragons, and monks. The combatants must fight to the death, with the winner gaining glory and honor for their respective realms.

Individuals who wish to stop this tournament from taking place or combatants wishing to cheat may try to Sabotage it by killing people before fights take place. Therefore, all participants are protected by a thin shield that covers their skin. This shield is unseeable, and is completely resistant to projectiles. Bullets, arrows, etc are unable to pierce this shield. However, physical blows such as punches and kicks are completely effective. This is to ensure that the fights are fair between combatants.

How could this shield be resistant to projectile weapons, but not be resistant to human contact?

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  • $\begingroup$ In your world, what is the difference between a bullet and a high-speed punch, or a high-speed poking with two fingers? $\endgroup$ – NofP Jan 12 at 13:47
  • $\begingroup$ Your world involves a lot of magic, right? $\endgroup$ – Sebastian Proske Jan 12 at 13:54
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    $\begingroup$ Think of the personal shields of Dune. $\endgroup$ – pojo-guy Jan 12 at 14:50
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Concept 1

Speed activation the shield activates like a seat belt from a car only with sufficient speed the projectile is stopped.

Problem 1

When your ninjas or so are able to swing their arms fast enough they might reach the speed of an arrow and do no damage.

Concept 2

The impact size matters when it is a small point like an arrow or an bullet the projectile is harmless.

Problem 2

Larger bullets or cannon balls will be effective. While daggers or sword stabs will be ineffective.

Concept 3

The weight of the hiting object will determine whether or not the shield will activate. When its the hand of someone he will weigh much more than a bullet or arrow.

Problem 3

Depending on weight of some smaller combatants it is not possible for them to do any damage. Also cannon balls are likely heavy enough to work.

Concept 4

The shield can detect if the attacking object/creature/person is connected to the ground. Only hits from the ground will be allowed/unprotected.

Problem 4

Jumping combatants will not be able to do damage with jump attacks. Projectiles which hit the ground and while touching it hit the target will do damage.

Conclusion

I cant come up with an always working solution but with a few restrictions some concepts could work.

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    $\begingroup$ Concept 1 is essentially the personal shield in Dune; the melee fighters learn to slow down their strikes just enough to avoid activating it. $\endgroup$ – Matthieu M. Jan 12 at 20:29
  • $\begingroup$ @MatthieuM. While this is true, Dune combatants fought with swords, not fists. And even with swords I'm sure the whole concept can be defeated by leather armor under the shield. $\endgroup$ – Rekesoft 2 days ago
  • $\begingroup$ @Rekesoft: The efficiency of leather armor would depend how much you can accelerate again once inside the shield, and whether you have ride-on effects such as electric shocks. $\endgroup$ – Matthieu M. 2 days ago
  • $\begingroup$ @MatthieuM. Its values were zero and none for both Dune and the OP' scenario, since the shield is just a few milimeters or less over the body, like a second skin, and no electricity or magnetic fields are used - it would be useless against non-magnetic weapons. $\endgroup$ – Rekesoft 2 days ago
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Some forms of Graphene would fit the Bill.

Graphene can be made to be see-through (dont know about invisible) and it's still light and extremely strong. Some versions of Graphene consist out of just two layers of Graphene and this already provides bullet protection! It is called diamene when you arrange Graphene like that. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.graphene-info.com/new-graphene-material-called-diamene-switches-flexible-harder-diamond-upon-impact%3famp

Now as much as it protects against bullets penetrating, it does not protect from the concussive force behind it. It might absorb some energy of the blow when breaking but otherwise it wont do much. Since you are already doing magic and Graphene is far from understood you could just claim a Graphene variant that fits the Bill perfectly has been found and every contestant has a thin layer over them, it could even be mixed with their skin up to a point

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Simple - the shields "cancel" each other out. If one surface of a shield touches another surface of a shield, the shields merge and a hole is opened. In this way, you can still adjust your clothes, scratch itches, eat, etc, while the shield is protecting you.

Of course, your opponent has an identical shield, so parts of your shield respond to it the same way as it would to your shield - that is, not protecting you.

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Are you sure you want invincibility from projectile weapons? Especially ninjas sound like fighters whos fighting style would likely involve them.

I'd rather give each and any tournament fighter a magic shield that protects from distance weapons as well as meelee. The arena where the fight's happen is as well protected by a magic shield over the battlefield that will stop any outside interference and will disable the shield given to the fighters once they enter.

This will totally protect your fighters outside the tournament fights and give them free choice of weapons during the fight. You might give some trusted guardians a counterspell so your fighters don't run amok on your island.

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  • $\begingroup$ I think he meant this shield to work mostly outside of the battlefield. $\endgroup$ – Soan Jan 12 at 16:12
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The shields are controlled by mages who manipulate some sort of energy to form a protective layer over contestants. Each contestant is assigned their own personal shield mage. The shields are on by default, and the mages turn them off during fights so the contestants are protected even when the mage is asleep.

Caveats:

  1. The mage has to be present and have perfect view during fights so they can turn the shield on/off as necessary

  2. If someone attacks the contestants during the fight, the mage would have to rapidly turn the shield on and off to block only external blows, but still let the opponent hit the contestant.

Solutions:

  1. The mages have their own dedicated seat area outside the ring (like an announcer's box in a stadium) which affords them the best view possible
  2. Maybe the mages have their own energy level which is the only thing allowed to penetrate the shield. They could douse the opponent in that energy shroud so they can get past the contestant's shield, while nobody else can. In that case, the mage doesn't even need to be at the fight once they've set the shield and corresponding 'key' up (by allowing the opponent past the shield). That would essentially work like a computer's firewall - you can choose to whitelist certain connections so the firewall doesn't block them out

CONCLUSION:

  • mages cover each contestant in a personal shield which blocks anything that isn't specifically allowed through

  • before each fight, the opponent is shrouded in a specific energy which lets him penetrate the contestant's shield. Once it is over, he is 'blacklisted' from the shield again

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Make it so all things going a certain speed and higher cant get through but slower things can. As long as you set it high enough, Bam! stops really fast projectiles like bullets and arrows while still allowing punching and sword fighting. you don't even need to set an actual speed just state that very fast moving things can't penetrate it.

A word to the wise though, maybe research the equivalent speeds of various objects so you don't accidently mess up and state something like "a thrown rock can't get through" but then allow some other object that moves at roughly the same speed to be used in fighting.

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