Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) - Episode 032

Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) - Episode 032

Even tea ceremonies have their natural limits. Royal patience might be infinite, but at least Royal stomachs and bladders are not.

As various members came and went from the table, words of idle conversation flashed and forked around Jillian like lightning in distant clouds. The game of Court was to hold the interest of Court, so the players kept playing. She was new in their midst, but that only made her a topic, rather than a new contestant. It was just as well with her; she hated this crap. She ignored their subtle jabs, and only spoke in answer to direct questions, the occasional lightning strike sent her way.

Her turn to hold the table came when all the Court members had returned from necessary ablutions. Brother Orwell appeared and sat, apologizing for his absence. Jillian knew that Lookamancy could be time-consuming, especially when an intruder might be veiled, and she respected his devotion to his Duty. Only Rusty was missing, although not really missed. She hadn‘t seen him since her return, and could do without that privilege.

In the past, some of her trouble at this table had certainly come from the way she spoke. She‘d learned by falling and floundering and failing in front of these faces: you don‘t yell. Whatever you feel, however important your point or dire your appeal, you do not shout at Court, or else you automatically lose.

Even knowing that, the dam of Jillian‘s frustration would often build up and burst anyway. Her word-battles here were usually lost in a rout. So she planned to keep it to the facts. Those were dramatic enough.

“The situation out there is...pretty bad, I have to say,” she told them. She tried to keep her eyes moving, making contact with each of them equally in a show of respect. Don‘t play favorites. She kept tight control over her delivery. Slow. Calm. Space between your words. Breathe. “We haven‘t seen the other side of Haffaton‘s territory; it goes way out past anywhere we‘ve ever scouted. I know you‘ve seen their scouts around here lately.”

There were nods, and Jack raised a finger, saying, “They‘ve been through, but they haven‘t seen us. Of that I‘m certain. They believe this city is a lake, actually.”

The combination of Jack‘s Foolamancy, Orwell‘s Lookamancy, and Marie‘s Predictamancy allowed Faq to remain off the enemy‘s maps. That system was pretty good, but not perfect. It could be overwhelmed. Jillian had listened to some of the legends about other bubble kingdoms, shuffled in among the stories she swapped with her patron sides. In those tales, things never ended well for those who tried to hide from the world, whatever clever tricks they were betting their survival on. But of course, no-one told stories about the sides that managed to stay undetected. It would be nice if they could find one of those. They could really use an ally right now.

“I know,” said Jillian, “and I believe you. But it‘s getting to the point where someone‘s going to want to go for a swim in the lake, for whatever reason. We‘re almost completely surrounded. We really need to do something.”

The King suddenly pressed his fingers together and chuckled softly. “Princess,” he said, smiling, “I am relieved to hear you say as much. You were recalled for that very purpose, you see.”

Oh? That seemed like...bait. But even though Jillian did not trust it, she couldn‘t help nibbling. “Really? So, um... Do you want to hear my plan?”

Her Father‘s smile broadened into real amusement. “Oh, no quite the opposite! There is already a plan for our predicament. But you are the only one here unfamiliar with it.”

Several at the table chuckled with the King. Jillian didn‘t. “Right. Everyone but the Chief Warlord knows the plan,” she said dryly.

“You‘ve been busy, of course,” said Banhammer facetiously. He liked to do that to her. “In any event, it isn‘t a war plan. It is an escape plan.”

Jillian tilted her head, evaluating him. She respected a good escape plan. “Escape for whom? And to where?”

“Well,” said her father, his smile going a bit sad, “not for me. But escape for Faq. An evacuation plan for when we can no longer avoid detection here.”

He gave her some time to absorb this idea, and her tactical mind took it and ran.

Evacuation! All right...let‘s see, depending on the timing, if they popped mainly megalos, how many turns before they could load up the bulk of Faq forces for transport? And how would that work, exactly? With this many commanders, they could distribute most of the treasury into individual purses, so unit upkeep could be maintained for oh, a dozen, two dozen turns, depending. That‘d be enough with the right destination city, but where exactly did they plan to go?

If the Court had a plan, then maybe they knew the target already. But she was already nominating some pushover sides within a 20-turn flight that they could grab and take over. Brangelina and Bennifer were both pretty shaky. If they could take Bananastan and its huge treasury, they‘d be set for upkeep for ages. There was always money in Bananastan.

Jillian actually liked this better than her own plan, which was back to seeming kind of crazy in comparison. She‘d just never imagined they would be willing to pack up and leave here.

Oh wow, yeah. Actually fly away from Faq. She could picture it: a grand sky armada, an entire side on the move, on a quest for a new home. And she with her warriors protecting the ragtag fugitive fleet, like...like a battle star. Her father would finally see the worth she and her warlords–

“Wait,” she looked at Banhammer suddenly. “Whaddya mean, not for you?”

The King tilted his head and smiled even more wistfully. “Precisely what I said. When the time comes, the side will be yours to lead.”

In battle once, Jillian had taken an arrow right in the navel. This idea that she‘d become a ruler seemed to retrace that arrow‘s route. “Aw, no. Not me,” she said, looking around the table. She looked at her father with irritation. “Oh, what are you gonna do, abdicate?”

“No,” said her father. And for once, he was looking upon her without the condescension, just meeting her eyes. It was somehow worse than his usual I-know-more-than-you-ever-will smirk. He cleared his throat.

“I will be with the Titans,” he said with deep serenity and grace. “I give the table to Sister Marie.”

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Recent posts... (See full thread)
Saladman wrote:
perhaps that's how they capture Wanda.

The more I think about it, the less likely this seems. Given how powerful Wanda has helped Haffaton become, they would search desperately for the side that takes her. Which means if they capture Wanda in a raid, that same raid would have to destroy Haffaton....and given Haffaton's strength, I really doubt even FAQ's full force could launch a decapitation attack at the capital.
No, I think Wanda is going to be the poison pill her Father made her into and either destroy Haffaton herself, or purposefully let them become overextended so they collapse when attacked simultaneously from multiple fronts. Then FAQ picks her up as a Barbarian again, because Marie has been watching her. Heck, once Haffaton is destroyed she will likely go to FAQ willingly, given the chance to live peacefully after avenging her Side (even if unbeknownst to her, Signamancy, Luckamancy, and Fate have conspired to make her a poison pill even when she doesn't want to be)
Infidel wrote:
If signamancy is form equals function. Then a signamancer might just be able to change the form, and therefore the function of a unit or item. Temporarily turn a light unit into a heavy. Or maybe use all juice to turn an enemy unit into a sheep.


We already know that style of casting (adding/subtracting specials) is Weirdomancy.

Think about it in a more physical sense. Signamancer plants sign that says, "Stay off the grass," "No hippies need apply."... or in Erfworld terms, "No infantry permitted here," "Only heavies allowed to attack." Their signs can create restrictions and permissions contrary to normal rules. A good general can use such restrictions to gain tactical and strategic advantage.

mortissimus wrote:
If FAQ was to evacuate preemptively, why take all casters in the first place?


Depends on whether you are completely abandoning the idea of staying. If you are not, then yes, leave some behind. If you are completely abandoning, then don't.

0beron wrote:
Because that would be a big risk, for several reasons:


Overstating "big" there by a lot.

Quote:
To be guaranteed of taking the enemy capital, they're going to need every resource they can bring to bear.


There's a big assumption there. You're assuming the enemy has significant defenses. In the rock-paper-scissors world of combat having the correct offense can minimize defenses, and bringing extra resources that are vulnerable to the defenses creates loss where there would otherwise be none.

Quote:
Leaving ANY infantry behind, and 3 of their casters (all of whom have proven or speculative combat applications that are very powerful) will jeopardize that chance, and nothing would be worse than evacuating, losing, and being stranded in hostile territory.


Case in point, Goodminton. Bringing infantry to an air fight is a waste.

Quote:
Because they lack a Thinkamancer, the city might fall without warning. The evacuees would suddenly lose that treasury, and have nothing to create a new city with or pay upkeep.


The assumption is that the attackers take as much of the treasury as possible, the moneymancer converts to gems that can be carried into the MK, and so the treasury leaves with the casters.

Quote:
Sacking a city yields a huge amount of schmuckers. They may NEED to sack their own cities as they leave and get those schmuckers for the plan to work.


We don't know that it is "huge". And if the treasury is already too large to carry, extra is wasted.

Quote:
Whoever finds them would realize that they didn't find the Ruler, and would thus know the side still exists,


So what? Going to bust your plan in order to hunt down a newly created Side? If they flee, that means fewer losses now for the attackers. For Haffaton and its generally peaceable methods, this is a bonus. And they left cover the moment they left FAQ. Banhammer is not going to find another bubble side location, so he's out in the real world.
Kreistor wrote:

Quote:
To be guaranteed of taking the enemy capital, they're going to need every resource they can bring to bear.

There's a big assumption there. You're assuming the enemy has significant defenses. In the rock-paper-scissors world of combat having the correct offense can minimize defenses, and bringing extra resources that are vulnerable to the defenses creates loss where there would otherwise be none.
Quote:
Leaving ANY infantry behind, and 3 of their casters (all of whom have proven or speculative combat applications that are very powerful) will jeopardize that chance, and nothing would be worse than evacuating, losing, and being stranded in hostile territory.

Case in point, Goodminton. Bringing infantry to an air fight is a waste.

That was only the case because Goodminton attacked preemptively, defying expectations to gain the advantage of surprise. Frenemy and Quisling were hanging around in the airspace like idiots, FAQ would be deploying it's units where they are best suited. In an all-out city-attack, the offense would ideally be attacking both the walls AND airspace at once, if they can afford to do so. Also I said "to be guaranteed". FAQ could risk a smaller force, but given how much they're betting their survival on a move like that, I'd be wiser to pull out all the stops and give yourself the highest chance of victory possible.

Kreistor wrote:
Quote:
Because they lack a Thinkamancer, the city might fall without warning. The evacuees would suddenly lose that treasury, and have nothing to create a new city with or pay upkeep.

The assumption is that the attackers take as much of the treasury as possible, the moneymancer converts to gems that can be carried into the MK, and so the treasury leaves with the casters.

No, the post I was responding to was saying it'd be an advantage to keep everything in the treasury rather than carry gems/purses, so I was pointing out a possible weakness in that.

Kreistor wrote:
Quote:
Sacking a city yields a huge amount of schmuckers. They may NEED to sack their own cities as they leave and get those schmuckers for the plan to work.

We don't know that it is "huge". And if the treasury is already too large to carry, extra is wasted.

Jillian sacked Kona, a level 3 city, for 20,000. I'd call that pretty substantial. And as pointed out by an earlier poster, they have a Moneymancer so extra could be made into gems and then converted to schmuckers after a dozen turns.
"In battle once, Jillian had taken an arrow right in the navel. "

By the way, has this comic already had an "arrow to the knee" joke that I don't remember? Because if not, one of these days we will come across a Warlord that has been relegated to guard duty after a wound incurred in archery combat.
0beron wrote:
Lamech wrote:
Also when you can bring 8 casters to bear on a target.

Yeaaaaaah, cus a Lookamancer, Moneymancer, and Signamancer will be so useful in combat....LOL
Let us not forget the largest advantage of bringing 8 casters to a fight: Two trimancer links of awesome overpowered breakage.
A moneymancer in a trimancer link might be able to use shmuckers instead of juice to keep the awesome flowing longer.


I'd vastly prefer that the story lines were not intermixed. Finish one, then begin the other again.
Oberon wrote:
Let us not forget the largest advantage of bringing 8 casters to a fight: Two trimancer links of awesome overpowered breakage.
A moneymancer in a trimancer link might be able to use shmuckers instead of juice to keep the awesome flowing longer.

That requires that 2 of the 8 are thinkamancers. Faq doesn't have any.
We know a good deal about signamancy in Erfworld: we know that looks matter. It's a bit more serious than warpaint making you look more fearsome.

I expect a signamancer would be able to read much of the metainformation that is accessible to us, e.g. he could infer that sides with names like "Quisling" and "Frenemy" wouldn't be trustworthy allies, that Transylvito with all their casino and mob allusions will have a moneymancer, etc.

But by itself, that wouldn't be very powerful. Rather, I think they can take a proactive stance. If you want a moneymancer, for instance, a signamancer could expend juice to change the appearance (= signamancy) of your city to make it more likely. You might find it started to look suspiciously like an international banking headquarter, and what do you know, that warlord you were popping turned out to be a caster named Croesus Stiglitz or something.

It's very likely that Brother Labeler is essential to the side: by making it look like an elevated ivory tower bubble side, he's pulling the strings of fate to make it be an elevated ivory tower bubble side.

These are two sides of the same coin on Erfworld. Units can't just change their appearance to change their nature except in very limited ways, with makeup, warpaint etc, ("natural signamancy"). Nor can they prevent their true nature from being apparent. And when it comes to changing the look of an entire side, there's probably no equivalent of warpaint or makeup.

It could explain why they have so many casters, and the three-caster combo necessary for their existence. The comment about all sides with a signamancer looking neat and orderly is probably because one thing all sides want, regardless of niche, is efficiency.
MarbitChow wrote:
That requires that 2 of the 8 are thinkamancers. Faq doesn't have any.
Crap, I completely neglected to look at the FAQ casters before posting that. The disjointed postings of various story arcs are making it difficult to stay current.
0beron wrote:
Saladman wrote:
perhaps that's how they capture Wanda.

The more I think about it, the less likely this seems. Given how powerful Wanda has helped Haffaton become, they would search desperately for the side that takes her. Which means if they capture Wanda in a raid, that same raid would have to destroy Haffaton....and given Haffaton's strength, I really doubt even FAQ's full force could launch a decapitation attack at the capital.
No, I think Wanda is going to be the poison pill her Father made her into and either destroy Haffaton herself, or purposefully let them become overextended so they collapse when attacked simultaneously from multiple fronts. Then FAQ picks her up as a Barbarian again, because Marie has been watching her. Heck, once Haffaton is destroyed she will likely go to FAQ willingly, given the chance to live peacefully after avenging her Side (even if unbeknownst to her, Signamancy, Luckamancy, and Fate have conspired to make her a poison pill even when she doesn't want to be)

If Wanda's planning to posion Haffaton she's taking her own sweet time over it. I do so wish that so much of Wanda's story hadn't been skipped, it's not just that I'd've really enjoyed reading it, it's that her current frame of mind is so important when it comes to what happens next. Was she forced into Haffaton's service, or talked into joining? Does she still want to hurt Olive for murdering Tommy... or does she regard Olive as the Fate that released her from life's suffering?

I think it's a mistake to assume that Haffaton finished Goodminton. They may have done so, but they aren't the only suspects, there were five enemy Sides in the Battlespace and of course, Faq's Predictamancer got a good look at Wanda quite a while before the final Battle of Goodminton. Plenty of time for them to organize a bit of Fate fighting wouldn't you say? Wanda is after all, destined to destroy them.
I definitely agree, and part of me wonders if Rob is actually going to back-track at least a bit.
While Haffaton may not have been the ones to destroy Goodminton, they're definitely the ones who scored Wanda in the long run. Unless Rob specifically back-tracks far enough to show us who Wanda heard coming down the road, I think we can safely assume it was Haffaton. While it's very like Rob to throw a THIRD side into her backstory, if he doesn't tell us that then the rhetoric implies it was Haffaton to picked her up.