Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) - Episode 014

Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) - Episode 014

In the deep hours of the night, Wanda walked alone through the darkened halls of Kiloton's garrison. Her boots clumped softly on a checkerboard of black and white marble, and the footsteps went echoing away.

Some of the men of Haffaton had tried to follow her upstairs, Larry among them. They had, in fact, tried a lot of things this evening. Apparently putting a hand inside the enemy's shirt was not a form of engagement that was prevented by Olive's spell. (Which shouldn't have been surprising, from what she understood of Hippiemancy's free-loving ways.)

Once this rule of engagement was established, though, she had her retort. Every man who attempted to put his hands on an unwelcome part of her body found himself with one of the Fellows fervidly trying to do the same to him. And with no chance to engage and defend themselves, the culprits were now spending the night either running from the lascivious crotch-gropes of the uncroaked, or curling up in a corner somewhere and enduring them.

The last few hopefuls who had followed her up the stairs were dissuaded by a line of uncroaked warriors, each holding their hands palms-up and wiggling their fingers obscenely.

"Good night, Larry," Wanda had said, without looking back over her shoulder.

"Awwnow, wait m'Lady..." But she'd rounded the corner and left him behind.

It had certainly been a party.

Revelry with the enemy, even in the name of talking peace, was a difficult thing for the average soldier. Or any soldier. After pinky-swearing that the recreational provisions contained no poisons or charms ("Oh now, but I'm not saying they won't intoxicate!"), Olive provided an array of spicy wines, fruity liquors, mushrooms, veiny blue cheeses, and baked treats for the company. Most of them also smoked at least a pipeful of peace. By this hour, few of the living were sober. Olive knew what she was doing, that much was clear.

Wanda strode a crooked stride through the opulent corridors, thinking about Haffaton's offer. This city was more impressive than the City of Goodminton, and it wasn't even their capital! Olive admitted there were not one but two level fives on her side. This enemy had Goodminton quite outmatched for a long fight. Why were they even offering peace when they could win with steel?

That was Olive's decision alone, Wanda suspected. She must wield enormous power at home. She said "Haffaton wants," not "Lord So-and-so wants." She had never even mentioned her ruler by name, or even gender. "Haffaton wants peace," she said. It really meant, "I want peace."

And so sweetly, with that voice like a wooden flute, she had also said, "Haffaton wants you, Wanda!" Which really meant--

Mm. Think of that. So why, then...

Why was she off somewhere now with Tommy?

As she walked down another empty hall, Wanda casually held out her staff and tipped a ceramic vase of dried orange flowers from its marble pedestal. The crash was painful to her wine-tenderized head, yet enormously satisfying. Really, even the pain of it was satisfying.

So Olive's spellsong did not prevent this form of engagement, either. Haha, then perhaps she could break enough stuff to slightly reduce the garrison's siege defenses. She swept a little sculpture of a typo fairy off its base and savored the clatter of pure destruction, then a potted plant, then an amphora. She batted a copper dish of sweetmeats against a wall, then whacked it flat. She found a portrait of some snotty-faced Haffaton warlord, and artistically added holes in his left eye and the middle of his pantaloons. punch punch

She plowed onward through the enemy corridors, thus disturbing the peace.

Eventually, she came to a large mirror in a brass frame. The other Wanda was in it. Oh, hello again. You look terrible my dear. Thank you, darling, and do shut up!

SMASH

Their offer made no sense. Again, all they wanted was her. Just the only daughter of Firebaugh, Overlord of Goodminton, the last side of the once-powerful Croatan Tribe. For this, they would let Goodminton define any length of treaty, any penalty for breaking that treaty, and even throw in the city of Plankton to boot.

A nice crystal decanter and glass set turned to diamonds and raindrops at the end of her staff. She was starting to get the hang of this weapon now.

And why did they want her? "Oh, that's got to stay our secret," Olive smiled, her sultry eyes half closed. She did have such lovely lashes. She was perched beside Tommy on a wooden bench, cozying up to him. Larry was trying to do the same thing to Wanda, with less luck. Olive's perfume filled the air. The rest of the room was rowdy with drinking and gaming, contests of skill and strength between the rival armies. "But what's there to fear? Whatever horrible, evil thing you think we're up to, at least Goodminton will be safe from us, right?"

When the discussion reached this point, Tommy asked Wanda aside for a private talk. They found an unoccupied corridor off the banquet hall, beside a glowing candelabra of brass and beads. Tommy hunched over her and looked up and down the corridor with exaggerated secrecy.

"Look, I dunno what they're up to, but we're not trading you for anything, sis. Okay? But listen, I have--" His expression was eager, his breath laden with wine. He put his hand upon her shoulder. It was probably meant to comfort her, but the only real function of the gesture was to keep him standing. "I have a plan. Hows about I seduce her?"

Wanda looked at his grinning face for several long seconds.

"What?"

"Yeah!" exploded Tommy. "It's brilliant, right? She falls in love with me, and then I ask her to turn. And then she does! And then Father makes her Chief Caster, and Delphie's Prediction can come true, right? And, Titans, I'll have a...a girlfriend!"

Wanda blinked several times. Her chest felt tight. "I didn't think you knew. About Delphie's Prediction," she said slowly.

"Oh yeahhh," said Tommy. "She made sure Father and me knew. And yeah, I've been real worried about it. But y'see? This is how it's gonna come true. We'll just seduce her to Goodminton, and then everything else makes sense!"

From the expression on her brother's face, he was utterly convinced he had just hatched the most cunning scheme since the Titans imagined the world. And the truly galling thing about it was that, as rock-stupid as it was, it was exactly one more plan than she could think of.

Father and Tommy knew about Olive...

With a sudden sourness in her stomach, she took his hand from her shoulder, patted him on the head, and walked back in the direction of the party.

"So...go ahead, right?" Tommy called from behind her. "Wanda?"

"...Sis?"

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Aquillion wrote:
That reminded me: On the cast page before, Wanda was listed as being of the "Croatan Tribe (extinct)"

I'd forgotten that. Anyway, it's something of a spoiler for this, I guess, but you should know that already etc etc...


It says "Tribe: the (lost) Croatoan tribe"
pSycHOtic chICkeN wrote:
Smashing the chillaxe should be an option. If groping genitals is not an attack taking an instrument should be another option. If Tommy is getting action with Olive the chillaxe is probably not even being held.


Oh, good eyes! I completely missed that one! Stack with Tommy, max stack Uncroaked, you may be able to steal the chillaxe off her back.
Kreistor wrote:

First, it's not a goal to feel good, because feeling good is not a permanent state. World peace is a permanent state: once achieved, it does not need to be re-achieved over and over.

In this case, since the Means are the Status Quo (ie War and War), the Means are no different and thus not making things worse. The Means, when no more vile than what is currently happening, cannot be worse, and so cannot be a moral restriction to trying to end a vile status quo.

In other words, when your choices are:
1. permanent war
2. war with an end
war with an end is the moral choice.

Present a 3rd viable option and that can change.


Since that is not a definition of a goal I am familiar with (having to effect permanent, enduring change as opposed to simply a desired outcome),and given your follow up arguments, it sounds like what you meant is more "this particular end justifies their means" as opposed to "a good goal inherently -> means are good". Which I am unsure of; the details of their plan are sufficiently un-revealed that we don't know 1) what the extra costs actually are and 2) how likely their plan is to work. Both are necessary with pretty high exactness to say that their end will justify their means (I am including the expected duration of the peace they achieve as part of #2).
ftl wrote:
Goshen wrote:
Whispri wrote:

But can Wanda lead the Decrypted in a Dance fight?

In her future, she will do exactly that, seen way back in Book One: http://www.erfworld.com/book-1-archive/?px=%2F127.jpg


That was uncroaked, not decrypted. Unclear if the bonuses will be the same. I suspect so, but we've never seen her lead Decrypted infantry in a dance-fight, unless it happened in the summer updates and I forgot.


Also, leading uncroaked in a dance fight requires a master class Necromancer. Wanda is surely not yet master class.

However, back to the future at Jetstone, recall that Wanda's "Magenta" costume was for a dance fight. I assume she can also lead decrypted as well as uncroaked in a dance fight.
gameboy1234 wrote:
ftl wrote:
Goshen wrote:
In her future, she will do exactly that, seen way back in Book One: http://www.erfworld.com/book-1-archive/?px=%2F127.jpg

That was uncroaked, not decrypted. Unclear if the bonuses will be the same. I suspect so, but we've never seen her lead Decrypted infantry in a dance-fight, unless it happened in the summer updates and I forgot.

Also, leading uncroaked in a dance fight requires a master class Necromancer. Wanda is surely not yet master class.

However, back to the future at Jetstone, recall that Wanda's "Magenta" costume was for a dance fight. I assume she can also lead decrypted as well as uncroaked in a dance fight.

Moot point, she doesn't have the pliers either.

She had Archons and Hobgobwin Knights with her, who can Dance Fight regardless.
Balerion wrote:
Kreistor wrote:
In other words, when your choices are:
1. permanent war
2. war with an end
war with an end is the moral choice.

Present a 3rd viable option and that can change.


Since that is not a definition of a goal I am familiar with (having to effect permanent, enduring change as opposed to simply a desired outcome),and given your follow up arguments, it sounds like what you meant is more "this particular end justifies their means" as opposed to "a good goal inherently -> means are good". Which I am unsure of; the details of their plan are sufficiently un-revealed that we don't know 1) what the extra costs actually are and 2) how likely their plan is to work. Both are necessary with pretty high exactness to say that their end will justify their means (I am including the expected duration of the peace they achieve as part of #2).


"The ends justify the means" assumes that the means are worse than not trying to achieve that end would be.

If the Florists could gain their End by buying an ice cream cone, there would be no issue about ends and means. The means are much better for trying to end war (buying the ice cream cone) than for not (sitting back and letting everyone kill each other forever).

There is a second way to achieve an end to war: kill EVERYONE on Erfworld. If everyone is dead, there is no War. The problem here is that no one benefits from the Peace, since there is no one at all. In this case, the ends are achieved, but the means are more vile. A life at war is better than no life at all, to an Erfworlder. (Maybe not to some of us, but I'm in the "I'll make war if someone puts a gun to my head and I have no way to kill that person back" camp.) But it is a temporary victory, anyway: barbarians will pop, no memory of the previous wars will have been retained, and it will all start again.

Quote:
"this particular end justifies their means"


Not even close. The means are no different regardless of whether the Florists try or don't try. If they try to end the war, they make war. If they don't try to end the war, they make war. The means, when trying and not trying to achieve a goal, are exactly the same. You do not have to justify doing something you're going to anyway, but only with a change in motivation.

Motivation is the only difference. There is no change in means. It's not better means: it's not worse means. It is the SAME means.

If you are vilifying them for making war to end war, you can vilify them for making war when not trying to end war, which is what they did before summoning Parson. So vilify them and stop reading the comic, because to you, they can never be good: the world doesn't let them.

To me, trying to end war is a noble end. And I agree with them that there is only one means to get there -- total victory. Since there is no other means, and it is exactly what they would be doing anyway, it is the only way to make the Erfworld a better place.
Kreistor wrote:

"The ends justify the means" assumes that the means are worse than not trying to achieve that end would be.
If the Florists could gain their End by buying an ice cream cone, there would be no issue about ends and means. The means are much better for trying to end war (buying the ice cream cone) than for not (sitting back and letting everyone kill each other forever).

There is a second way to achieve an end to war: kill EVERYONE on Erfworld. If everyone is dead, there is no War. The problem here is that no one benefits from the Peace, since there is no one at all. In this case, the ends are achieved, but the means are more vile. A life at war is better than no life at all, to an Erfworlder. (Maybe not to some of us, but I'm in the "I'll make war if someone puts a gun to my head and I have no way to kill that person back" camp.) But it is a temporary victory, anyway: barbarians will pop, no memory of the previous wars will have been retained, and it will all start again.

Quote:
"this particular end justifies their means"


Not even close. The means are no different regardless of whether the Florists try or don't try. If they try to end the war, they make war. If they don't try to end the war, they make war. The means, when trying and not trying to achieve a goal, are exactly the same. You do not have to justify doing something you're going to anyway, but only with a change in motivation.

Motivation is the only difference. There is no change in means. It's not better means: it's not worse means. It is the SAME means.

If you are vilifying them for making war to end war, you can vilify them for making war when not trying to end war, which is what they did before summoning Parson. So vilify them and stop reading the comic, because to you, they can never be good: the world doesn't let them.

To me, trying to end war is a noble end. And I agree with them that there is only one means to get there -- total victory. Since there is no other means, and it is exactly what they would be doing anyway, it is the only way to make the Erfworld a better place.


I think the biggest point of difference we have on this is that you are assuming all wars are equal. To use examples from our world, look at WWI and WWII vs say border skirmishes. Both might be called war... but that term contains two vastly different circumstances.

Applying that idea to erfworld, it looks to me like sides are generally squabbling over level 1s and 2s, but don't typically enter outright wars of annihilation (look at Carpool and Transylvito's dynamic, as with Jetstone and Haggar). The state of constant war is one of skirmishes more often than battles to the death of nations. I think that is part of the reason the Unaroyal incident is looked on with such horror. The war to achieve peace will end a ton of lives, and a ton of sides; there is pretty much no avoiding that. It will not be business as usual. It will represent a dramatic uptick in violence and destruction.

And it may be worth it. The florists may be right that one last blast of death and destruction is worth it for the peace that will follow. But we lack the information to accurately weigh those costs and benefits. If the war to get peaces lasts 2k turns, killing 3-4x the number of people that normally would have died in that period, for 1k turns of peace... do we call that worth it? It could be, but it gets complicated.
BLANDCorporatio wrote:
Kreistor wrote:
I have always been of the belief that the treal Conspiracy behind this is the Predictamancers. I just don't find their intent to create Peace worthy of everyone else's accusations of manipulation and evil. Manipulating everyone into not killing each other isn't vile, to me.


I thought you were asking about the Predictamancer stuff, and I presumed to know why various people (me, or Housellama calling "every Predictamancer we've met is an inusfferable git" etc) were less than warm about that caster group.


Bwahahahahahaha! +1

For the record, I don't trust the Predictamancers, but I'm not sure that I would qualify them as Evil. Manipulative, absolutely. But I don't know enough about them to say evil. The Thinkamancers, cold bleeders that they are, seem closer to evil so far than the Predictamancers, but even they aren't bad. The Predictamancers aren't trustworthy, but so far they don't seem evil

BLANDCorporatio wrote:
If you meant to ask about Florists then I have no idea. It didn't seem to me that "teh forumz" assumed a poo-poo stance at them, with the possible recent exception of atalex. It may well be that "we"'ll decide Florists are insufferable gits too, but there's hardly a consensus forming in that direction right now.


As far as the Hippies go, I have no particular opinion of them as a group. Olive as an individual, however...
Re: Hippiemancers.

I think you guys are looking at this all wrong. I don't think the Hippies as a whole (based on the evidence we've seen) are working to end the endless war in one big bloody burst. I think that they are playing the long game.

The two groups they got in bed with (in this case figuratively speaking) were the Predictamancers and the Thinkamancers. The two groups that are best at dealing with long term plans and consequences. Predictamancers are built around long term plans and consequences and the Thinkamancers have the brainpower to calculate plans to get from Point A to Point B all the way to Point Q better than any other 'mancers. The Hippies bring the ability to facilitate those plans to the party. Look at Olive. They are the perfect go-betweens, the perfect seducers, the perfect spies. They are the Spanish Inquisition using peace and free love and flowers instead of surprise and fear and intimidation. Combine this to what Janis said to Sizemore. "Does the fact that you can't be Level Infinity mean you can't keep improving in that direction?" That's a long game outlook if I ever saw one.

Slow, steady progress. Gathering all the pieces. Moving everything around to board to the right places. Bring all of it to a head and you get Parson. The Game-Changer. The man who can break war and study peace. "Because if he breaks things enough, there may be peace in Erfworld after all."

Ends justify the means? Maybe. But I don't think they see it that way. They see it as a waiting game. Erf has been like this for tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of turns. Either peace comes, or it doesn't. If they don't make it happen, maybe it never will. The world is going to be like this anyway. They aren't hurting people. They are just changing how the hurt happens so that events line up to bring Parson in so that maybe the hurt can stop in the end.

Just my opinion. YMMV
drachefly wrote:
Could be that their capitol is a 5 and they have it mainly producing royals, which pop slowly. That would make it not a major production center.

I guess it would depend on one's definition. I'll use Civilization as an example. If I have a city that can build a wonder in 18 turns, I would considerate a larger production center than a city that built 3 pikemen in the same period of time. While the later produced more, it's production potential is less. It has less shields available to devote to production. In Civilization, my capital, although one of my largest cities, is often not one of my largest production centers. The location I prefer for my capital is someplace that can churn out a steady stream of settlers early game. I want a place where I can balance growth with production. Later, I'll found cities that can maintain a high population and have a large number of shields to churn out other units. I know it is an imperfect example, since, in Erfworld, there are specific sites on which a side can build cities, but the impression I got was that different cities may have different strengths. For example, Warchalking's value is its farms, which produce food. If Stanley levelled Warchalking to a Level 5, it wouldn't necessarily become a city capable of great unit production. It may simply produce more food. I may be wrong, but that is the impression I got.

Whispri wrote:
I'll say this for Croakamancy though, it appears to outstrip the Arkenpliers in terms of piling bonus on bonus thanks to the dance-fighting at higher levels of ability.

Uncroaked only keep about half their levels when reanimated, if the Croakamancer devotes a substantial amount of attention to them. Decrypted keep all their levels. The number of Uncroaked that can be created is limited by the caster's juice. The Arkenpliers have unlimited juice. Only certain units can be Uncroaked. It seems even Cloth Golems can be Decrypted. While a Master-class Croakamancer can lead Uncroaked in Dance Fighting, I'm willing to bet a force made with the Arkenpliers from the same pool of bodies would end up being stronger, even without that bonus.

drachefly wrote:
Croakamancers also get the bonus leading decrypted.

I just wanted to point out, Uncroaked and Decrypted get a huge bonus from a Croakamancer. Parson implied it's larger than the bonus golems get from being led by a Dirtamancer. This may be something to keep in mind while debating the merits of various types of casters.

pSycHOtic chICkeN wrote:
When Wanda tried to use her staff in combat it was "like stirring honey". Probably safe to assume the heavy object would fall like an object sinking through honey.

Smashing the chillaxe should be an option. If groping genitals is not an attack taking an instrument should be another option. If Tommy is getting action with Olive the chillaxe is probably not even being held.

I disagree. I doubt the spell altered physics so much as the attacker. The staff moved as though in honey because Wanda could not force herself to swing it with any significant force. I imagine that Parson's stategy at Spacerock would work. Get a bunch of yellow dragons and crap the garrison until all units were croaked. You aren't attacking units, you're just letting the crap fall. It would probably be more effective, since the defenders couldn't retaliate.