Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) - Episode 046

Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) - Episode 046

Thirty-one glorious move, all by air. How many fugitives in the history of the world had a luxury like this? No worries about terrain penalties. Wind in her hair instead of bugs between her toes.

Jillian already knew that the enemy was no major sky power. If Haffaton could even muster a regular patrol of flyers, then she would never have been able to lead her forces as far around their edges as she had. So it was pretty empty air, at that.

They did have a decent ground network, though. She bombed two scouts on her first full turn with the yellow dwagon, but there was no guarantee she‘d seen them all. And besides, every time she took action against a Haffaton unit it was another red pin in their battle map, tracking her location and making it that much more likely they‘d be planning something for her up ahead.

There was that to think about. There was a lot to think about: stealth, misdirection, forage, and possible enemy engagements at every turn. Adventure of a lifetime, wasn‘t it?

She juked and weaved in her course, using some of the dwagon‘s move as slack. A route that generally led her home without being predictable would be her best bet. She didn‘t need to draw an arrow for the enemy pointing directly at Faq, but she did need to get there as soon as she could.

In theory, there were one or two options other than making it all the way home. If she could take a city–not just a city site, which she wouldn‘t have Shmuckers to build on, but actually capture a city–then she could claim it for Faq. This would reclassify her as a Faq unit and no longer as a Haffaton fugitive. It might even be possible to do it, too, given the lousy defenses she‘d seen at Diecast. If she found a soft target like that, she might have to go for it.

Seemed unlikely, though. And she would be risking another trap, maybe from air defense this time.

Even more unlikely would be meeting up with another Faq unit in the field. If Jillian could manage to stack up with any regular unit from her side, then she would be considered “rescued” and would be a Faq field unit once more. She would even pop new equipment, at the expense of the treasury, of course. But nobody from Faq ever went out in the field, except the ones she led. And she‘d managed to get every single one of those croaked.

Rescue was still a fantasy that teased her dreams, though. At night she frequently dreamed of running into some of her old troops, Chip, and Hedda...all miraculously alive. (She didn‘t ever dream of seeing Bart.) Or there were new Faq warlords, sent to fetch her. Once, it was even her father himself who came out to her aid. All ridiculous, but in her dreams she believed.

Her waking fantasy was revenge. In variation after variation, she played out her mental conquest of Haffaton. In the evenings after Haffaton‘s turn had ended, she talked about it for hours until she fell asleep, clinging to the surly dwagon‘s neck. Beasts were good listeners.

---

In the afternoon following her third full turn out, she had to shout those angry plans over the wind and pelting rain.

They‘d been lucky enough to find a stormy hex, with all but zero visibility from the ground. This meant sitting in the air getting drenched, with the bony leather spine-scale of the dwagon her only perch.

Her tailbone never stopped complaining, but she gave it no heed. She was a Chief Warlord. When the job called for it, any and all necessary suffering could be borne. Besides, a dwagon scale jammed in her bum still beat the snot out of Mistress Firebaugh‘s Box of Tricks.

“That‘s one thing she did for me!” she laughed at the dwagon. “Gave me a whole new perspective on suffering! Maybe I‘ll use it on her when we get back!”

The dwagon snorted and shook another bucket of rain from its head.

“Yes, ‘we!‘ You‘re coming, too! You‘re not my first choice, either, mister. But we need all the heavy flyers we can get!”

The dwagon grunted, twisting its head around, sniffing and snorting. This wasn‘t the first time she‘d seen it do this. She didn‘t know much about these units, but it seemed like it was smelling something. Campfire below, maybe? She couldn‘t see or smell anything herself, only the rain.

If there was someone on the ground down there, it didn‘t much matter. A unit with specialized natural Lookamancy might be able to spot them, which would be unfortunate, but Haffaton had already ended turn. Whoever was down below probably couldn‘t hit her, and definitely couldn‘t expect to receive reinforcements before she moved again.

And he couldn‘t be smelling a flying unit, either. She‘d swept the air of this hex for any flyers when she‘d arrived, and again after Haffaton‘s turn was over. Nothing.

Still, that seemed for all of Erfworld to be what the dwagon was indicating. She let it drift on its own through the downpour, curious what it thought it was doing. One end of this rainstorm was as bad as any other, right? There was nothing to see here but falling water and wisps of mist, and the only thing her nose was detecting was the ever-present drop of water on the end of it.

The weather was wild up here. It rained sideways, even upward at times. The cloud tops swirled in columns and sheets and whorls. The yellow dwagon beat its wings with some purpose now, moving them up to the edge of a particularly weird-looking swirl of cloud, like three little pillars.

It sniffed at the cloud. Jillian raised her hand to her forehead in a rain-visor salute. Three pillars, man-sized. Very like men, in fact... Or, even more like women.

Her hand slowly fell to her waistband, where she had tucked Bart‘s resized sword. Cautiously, she removed the thing, barely larger than a butter knife, and began pulling on the tip.

“Stop,” commanded one of the cloud pillars.

The sky filled with light, like a lightning strike that kept going. The dwagon roared, and Jillian did not heed the order. In a single swift motion, she had the full-sized sword raised and at the ready.

Their veil lifted, and three Archons glowed blue and mean in their crisp Charlescomm rain ponchos.

---

“While Chynna is on the call, are there any topics of no strategic interest that you would care to discuss?” asked the one named Wendy.

“Um, I don‘t think so,” said Jillian. “I‘ll think about it.”

As Chief Warlord of Faq, Jillian liked to think there was a kind of professional code between mercenary sides. There really wasn‘t. Charlescomm had an elaborate code their field agents followed, but it applied only to their own side. To competitors, they showed only the courtesy which followed rational self-interest. They didn‘t tend to accept constraints on their behavior that didn‘t involve binding contract language.

So they hadn‘t engaged. Not in a fight where nobody was footing the bill.

That was the relief. Yes, they were in Haffaton space, but they had not been hired to hunt down the fugitive as Jillian feared. Their mission was their own business, and details would not be discussed unless for the appropriate fee. Jillian could only guess that they‘d been drawn to this hex for the stealthy weather, just as she had been. They were sneaking around up here, too.

By their own standards, the Archons did behave professionally toward her, as they did toward everyone. Too much so. They were way too polished.

And they made it work for them. They were the bane of Jillian‘s existence half the time, because the sides that hired her were generally the ones who couldn‘t afford Charlescomm‘s rates. She rarely swung a sword for anyone who wouldn‘t rather have hired Charlie‘s Archons. Got to be a bit demoralizing.

She hated them. But wow, would she love to command a few of them.

“You have the right of first refusal,” they‘d told her, and of course she did refuse. Didn‘t matter how much hush money they wanted to keep them from contacting Haffaton; Jillian had no purse. She couldn‘t make a deal against Faq‘s treasury in the event of her successful escape, either. If her side had any kind of future left, then it would be just as deadly to give Charlescomm information about Faq as it‘d be to tell Haffaton.

Before the thinkagram, a moment came and went when Jillian considered attacking them preemptively. She would have the upper hand, but it might be close. Her own feelings about professional code aside, there‘s something about being cold and wet and wearing a few crappy pieces of stolen armor and carrying someone else‘s sword that makes you think twice about picking a battle with caster units.

So she waited, sizing them up and thinking about how she planned to fight them if Haffaton decided to hire them on the spot...which seemed increasingly likely, the more she thought about it.

“Chynna” kept her arms folded, head turned away, thinking silently. Perhaps she was even talking to Lady Firebaugh. Jillian shivered. The two that were screening for the one on the call kept their prim little made-up faces to her, the bonnets of their visored ponchos keeping them unnaturally dry.

“Are those things magical?” asked Jillian, out of jealous curiosity.

“Our Rain-ment? Yes!” beamed the one called Carnie. “The Charlescomm All-Weather Rain-ment Poncho is the perfect gear for displaying your side‘s livery, even in extreme weather hexes. In addition to making the wearer comfortable and toasty dry, they also mitigate weather-related movement and combat penalties for the unit who‘s sporting them! Limited quantities are available for sale, at very reasonable rates for Dollamancy of this unique combination of value! Would you care to purchase one or more of these items today, on favorable credit terms against your eventual repatriation?”

A gust of wind plastered a sopping wet lock of Jillian‘s hair across her lips. She spat most of it out, staring at Carnie like a raptor. The dwagon shot two streams of rainwater out of its nostrils, squirting from opposite sides of its enormous head.

“No. Thank you,” said Princess Jillian, and spat out a few more strands of wet hair.

“Team meeting!” shouted Chynna cheerily, apparently having finished the thinkagram.

“Excuse us, Warlord,” said Wendy. The Archons pulled away into a huddle.

Jillian fingered the hilt of her sword, its bare steel on her leg felt as cold as one of Lady Firebaugh‘s stones. After a minute or so, the discussion broke, and the Archons began approaching her. She raised Bart‘s sword, and tensed her legs. The dwagon responded, rearing back and waving its claws.

The Archons appeared completely unfazed by the posture.

“Good news, Warlord!” said Chynna. “For you, I should say...haha! No, Charlescomm was unable to negotiate any sort of agreement with Haffaton this evening. So your status as a fugitive will receive no new challenges from that quarter.”

Jillian‘s sword arm slackened a bit. Her wet face broke into a smirk. “They couldn‘t afford you,” she said, feeling many things, but mostly vindication. “They‘re too poor! And you guys charge way too much.”

In the first dent Jillian had ever seen in a Charlescomm unit‘s professional demeanor, Chynna‘s smile vanished. Her shoulders stiffened, and her eyes went ice cold. “Actually, most times, when a client refuses such an offer, it is because the target is of little worth,” she said flatly. “We‘ll be moving on now. It‘s still our turn, and your presence compromises the security of our mission. Good bye.”

They turned and flew away. Jillian put away Bart‘s sword, and turned her dwagon in the opposite direction.

“You sure about the Rain-ment?” called one of them after her, tauntingly. “You look soaked!”

“Stick it in your toasty dry hole,” she muttered.

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Recent posts... (See full thread)
It seems reasonably likely that Haffaton is so big, Charlie actually borders them or is even surrounded. No doubt if this is the case he has made an arrangement with them for safe-passage of his units. Haffaton is weak on flyers and Charlie can only be attacked via the air if I recall correctly - not a great negotiating position for Haffaton.

We do know that he's close enough to GK that the RCC2 removes all his business in two entire directions, and also we know that GK (the city itself) was roughly three turns from the city of Faq via Dwagon (so top-end estimate would be 168 hexes but probably far less). We are also told that Charlie is close enough to GK that his Archons need to cut across their territory (and are intercepted).

We also know Transylvito does exist so Haffaton has not done their expansion in that direction.
Magothys wrote:
Quote:
The weather was wild up here. It rained sideways, even upward at times.

I'm guessing this is a reference to Ollie Williams?
I thought it was a Forrest Gump reference.
Lamech wrote:
Building things takes hundreds of turns in stupid world, I don't see any kind of dedication like that in Erfworld.
Tunnels are the only real example we've seen of this, with mining going on over a great many turns.
Lamech wrote:
Innovation is hard. [...] Most pikers or other low grade units can't really innovate, which means each side maybe has... 50 people to think on innovation? Almost all of it tied up in battle or their field of magick?
Issac and Ace are the only real innovators we've seen, and Ace strictly within the bounds of his caster class but assisted by Cubbins. Tram is an odd case. He has the informed ability to innovate non-traditional solutions to problems. Other than that, he is either shown standing stupidly about wondering what is going on, or being a quick thinker who catches on to the very serious implications of a changing situation before others do. Stanley is the only other innovator we've seen, his battle table trimancer link being called the shrewdest move Wanda had ever seen from him.
Oberon wrote:
Tunnels are the only real example we've seen of this, with mining going on over a great many turns.
True, but the tunnels are more of a side effect, than a goal. Sizemore mined out gems and tunnels got left behind. Sizemore didn't say... build an array of dastardly traps leading up to GK, or spend some juice every turn building new floors on the tower. Sizemore didn't create gardens in GK as far as wee saw.
Oberon wrote:
Stanley is the only other innovator we've seen, his battle table trimancer link being called the shrewdest move Wanda had ever seen from him.


And Wanda invented the cemetery.
Oberon wrote:
Issac and Ace are the only real innovators we've seen, and Ace strictly within the bounds of his caster class but assisted by Cubbins. Tram is an odd case. He has the informed ability to innovate non-traditional solutions to problems. Other than that, he is either shown standing stupidly about wondering what is going on, or being a quick thinker who catches on to the very serious implications of a changing situation before others do. Stanley is the only other innovator we've seen, his battle table trimancer link being called the shrewdest move Wanda had ever seen from him.

The problem isn't with a lack of innovation, it's in that the innovations aren't passed along. After Ace is decrypted and dusted, what other dollamancers are going to be concerned with Accessories? What happened to that turnamancer that made the paddleboats and why are those not more commonly used?

Given the raw power of trimancer links, if the innovation of using them were persistent, someone would have found a way to minimize the danger of using one. We have evidence of previous innovations, but no evidence of someone building upon someone else's innovations. Someone made the Staff of Suckage, Duncan's Laurel of Napster, and several other 'artifacts', but nothing gets passed down or built upon.

The closest we get is for a Side to have a particular method of warfare that they prefer. Jetstone prefers Infantry combat, and Ansom was particularly fond of using siege (in addition to the typical Jetstone setup). Apparently if something doesn't directly involve warfare, it's not worth teaching anyone else how to do it.

That may be how Parson will be able to break things enough to end war. Force other sides to be innovative, pass on that innovation, and continue progressing in an effort to stay ahead of the dread Hamster Parson.
bladestorm wrote:
Oberon wrote:
Issac and Ace are the only real innovators we've seen, and Ace strictly within the bounds of his caster class but assisted by Cubbins. Tram is an odd case. He has the informed ability to innovate non-traditional solutions to problems. Other than that, he is either shown standing stupidly about wondering what is going on, or being a quick thinker who catches on to the very serious implications of a changing situation before others do. Stanley is the only other innovator we've seen, his battle table trimancer link being called the shrewdest move Wanda had ever seen from him.

The problem isn't with a lack of innovation, it's in that the innovations aren't passed along. After Ace is decrypted and dusted, what other dollamancers are going to be concerned with Accessories? What happened to that turnamancer that made the paddleboats and why are those not more commonly used?

Given the raw power of trimancer links, if the innovation of using them were persistent, someone would have found a way to minimize the danger of using one. We have evidence of previous innovations, but no evidence of someone building upon someone else's innovations. Someone made the Staff of Suckage, Duncan's Laurel of Napster, and several other 'artifacts', but nothing gets passed down or built upon.

The closest we get is for a Side to have a particular method of warfare that they prefer. Jetstone prefers Infantry combat, and Ansom was particularly fond of using siege (in addition to the typical Jetstone setup). Apparently if something doesn't directly involve warfare, it's not worth teaching anyone else how to do it.

That may be how Parson will be able to break things enough to end war. Force other sides to be innovative, pass on that innovation, and continue progressing in an effort to stay ahead of the dread Hamster Parson.

I definetly agree that inovations fail to be passed on but I think your first two examples are rather weak. Paddleboats were known about even to FAQ so that wouldn't be side specific, and there are probably other turnamencers who specialize in various arries such as accesories, but accesories tends to favor a side with fewer units who are higher in power, like Charlie's archon's as opposed to a side that is many but weak. Granted giving your leadership strength to not be knocked out and to knock out their leadership is good, I just think othersides would be more open to the idea.

Wanda's Garden is a good example to be sure, because it serves no mechanical purpose. I doubt anyone else has done it. Save parson.

Now as far as Haffaton using the dwagon relay is concerned I doubt it, if they did especially if Wanda had used it, *she* would have known about the tactic even if not one other soul did, considering the number of flying units used by GK it would have probably been suggested or at least not as suprising when Parson uses it.
Just a few thoughts:

* We've had too much insight about the mechanichs on captured units and fugitives lately. Maybe it's setting the ground for something Ansom related. Or maybe even Parson if he goes through the portal and somehow gets captured (remember Charlescomm has it's turn before GK and also Jillian should have enough move to get back to the action in one turn)

* Haffaton and Charlescomm not getting to a deal might mean that either Haffaton does not care about the fugitive or that it already knows everything they want/need to know about Jillian. Considering everything we know about Wanda/Jillian that will happen afterwards, I'm onclined to think it's the latter.
Not Me wrote:
We've had too much insight about the mechanichs on captured units and fugitives lately. Maybe it's setting the ground for something ...

Possibly, but not necessarily. Rob knows from reading the forums that a lot of us just like to know how things work, so he is making the most of this opportunity to explain a mechanic to us. The Text Updates and Book 0 are directed more at the hardcore fans who like to know tons of detail on background and mechanics. So if this is "foreshadowing" anything, I think it's helping us have more understanding about Jillian's faked escape from GK back in Book 1, and why it was plausible but suspicious.
bladestorm wrote:
The problem isn't with a lack of innovation, it's in that the innovations aren't passed along. After Ace is decrypted and dusted, what other dollamancers are going to be concerned with Accessories? What happened to that turnamancer that made the paddleboats and why are those not more commonly used?

Given the raw power of trimancer links, if the innovation of using them were persistent, someone would have found a way to minimize the danger of using one. We have evidence of previous innovations, but no evidence of someone building upon someone else's innovations. Someone made the Staff of Suckage, Duncan's Laurel of Napster, and several other 'artifacts', but nothing gets passed down or built upon.

Erfworld as we know it is not built for sharing of information and 'progress'.

Everyone pops with all knowledge needed for his job, even the library pops with the city.
So not much incentive to learn more, or organize a school, research etc.

Casters and warlords are pretty much the only exceptions.

Also, why share any advantage with (potentially) enemy sides ?
hajo wrote:
bladestorm wrote:
The problem isn't with a lack of innovation, it's in that the innovations aren't passed along. After Ace is decrypted and dusted, what other dollamancers are going to be concerned with Accessories? What happened to that turnamancer that made the paddleboats and why are those not more commonly used?

Given the raw power of trimancer links, if the innovation of using them were persistent, someone would have found a way to minimize the danger of using one. We have evidence of previous innovations, but no evidence of someone building upon someone else's innovations. Someone made the Staff of Suckage, Duncan's Laurel of Napster, and several other 'artifacts', but nothing gets passed down or built upon.

Erfworld as we know it is not built for sharing of information and 'progress'.

Everyone pops with all knowledge needed for his job, even the library pops with the city.
So not much incentive to learn more, or organize a school, research etc.

Casters and warlords are pretty much the only exceptions.

Also, why share any advantage with (potentially) enemy sides ?


or you only know what you need, and what you don't know you learn as you need and if you're allowed to that knowledge.

Wanda didn't know her name until she said it.
http://www.erfworld.com/2011/10/inner-p ... isode-001/
Quote:
“I’m Wanda.” She said it definitively, although she didn’t really know her own name until she stated it aloud. “Lady Wanda Firebaugh. I am a Croakamancer.” This, too, she knew only as she said it, but it felt abidingly true. She could animate the husks of the once-living. Yes, she could.