Book 2 - Text Updates 035

Book 2 - Text Updates 035

The bigger, more boring warlord was off to the tower to talk treaties and niceties with his living relatives. Jack Snipe observed his flightpath with very little interest. There would be no treaties today, and certainly no niceties.

The good Lord Hamster had delivered his orders.

The city below was a rather pretty one. Jack craned his neck, tilting his head at birdlike angles from his birdlike position there in the sky. He wanted to fix the place in his mind. It was unlikely to exist in this form for more than a few more minutes. Such elegant design deserved a final chance to be appreciated by a practiced eye, before an elegant design of a different kind laid it low.

At the Court of Faq, they'd played riddles. Jack was more often admired for his ability to solve than to create them, although he had presented a few favorites in his time. ("How is a Luckamancer like a Naughtymancer?" "One rules the breaks; the other breaks the rules.") But even after having spent so many interesting turns studying tactics and "lateral thinking" (for that wonderful phrase alone, he was forever in his good Lord's debt), Jack had still missed his guess on this one.

Oh, it might have worked. With the last of his juice, they could have used baffles and screens to exhaust the air defenses. Having Lady Firebaugh decrypt the falling mounts would buy them all that much more time, that much more durability. Some of them might well have survived the turn, to flee home.

For a number of minutes he'd even been quite proud of the idea. But then he heard his Lord's plan, and he knew he had lost this riddle game before he ever began. The question, "how might we survive?" was the wrong one to ask. Parson had ignored it for, "how might we still win?" In answering the greater question, the lesser was also solved.

"I had it wrong," he said to Lady Firebaugh. By order, they were paired as closely together as their dwagons could hover, each holding a scroll in one hand and a weapon in the other. She was gazing upon her servant warlord at the tower. Her face was cool and expressionless as ever, but her body was tense. She did not like something she was seeing, but Jack couldn't imagine what. "I may never learn to solve riddles quite like our Lord Hamster. But I quite enjoy trying. Do you miss the old riddle games, Lady?"

"Very little," she said, not taking her eyes from the tower.

Jack tsked sadly, and turned his gaze to where she was looking. He put his cane across his lap, not loosening his grip at all.

"There are few things I miss about that time," she added unexpectedly. "Although, I am surprised..." She glanced at him, her brow low and her voice even lower. "There was one I thought we must have in common."

He raised a brow of his own, clamping down on a jester's grin. "Ah, the Princess. Queen, rather."

Her face was set in stone, or tried to be. Few besides a Foolamancer would have noted that her shoulders had twitched, her nostrils had flared ever so slightly. The Lady had issues. Jack turned in the saddle, brightening. There might be some fun to be had in these potentially final moments after all.

"Indeed," was all she said.

"Well. I can't say it was exactly lovely to see her again, given the circumstances," said Jack, turning his head around to indicate the predicament Queen Jillian had left them in. "But I suppose I can say it was inexactly lovely. Don't you think so?"

She wouldn't take the bait, but simply raised her chin. "Why did you not turn, and leave with her? She was taking trophies."

"Hm, well... Could I ask the same of you, then, Lady?" Eyes flashed. That cracked her a little. "Could it be the same answer? I mean, I wouldn't have minded so much counting myself among Queen Jillian's trophies. But I wouldn't much have enjoyed placing, oh...thirdish among them. I would say she left with the one she really came to take. It seems there is Ansom, and then there are ancillaries. And where is the glory in being a spare?"

At that, the Croakamancer actually raised the Arkenpliers a bit and glared at him murderously. This only caused Jack's grin to escape its minimal confines. "Oh, so very frightening, my Lady. Yes, I know. You would croak me to save one of these," he said, holding up his Healomancy scroll. "And perhaps, to have a caster puppet to play with. I do know it well." She glowered, but his grin was ear to ear now.

"Yes, all right. We do share the same old affliction," he said, looking down and smiling. "But mine was never quite so crippling. No, if you want to know the true reason I declined her offer, then riddle me this: How is Queen Jillian like Lord Hamster?"

Some of the rage left her face, but she did not seem at all inclined to play along. After a moment she shook her head slightly.

Jack used the scroll to gesture all around them. "One has tabled the turn." Movement up ahead caught his eye. The forward stacks were shifting. He pointed the scroll that way, eyes twinkling brightly. A musical lilt crept into his voice. "While the otherrr..."

Comic - Book 2  Text Updates 035

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Recent posts... (See full thread)
As promised, one more post on the whole morality thing. No post quotes in this one, though there were some very interesting and quotable things said; this is more of a concluding statement from my side. It's too long as it is. There's a new update anyway.

There's some disagreement as to what Parson is breaking/challenging now. Is it a law? Is it a formalized, written down act layed down by some MK ruling body? Enforced by some authority in the MK? A legal basis for other acts, treaties this time, with sides connected by portals?

My assumption is yes; there probably are treaties of use, and there is a law inside the MK. But all this matters less.

There exists a rule of conduct (call it convention, or law, or house rule if you like) in the MK; agreed upon, to provide some of the basis for the MK's neutrality. It's a rule layed down by the people of the MK about how their kingdom should function. It is about how portals should be used. And while we can try an overly literal interpretation of it, I think it's clear that it's about how you do not send units (or casters, since only they can pass) through MK portals into cities you don't control. Sizemore is citing this rule to attempt and prevent Parson's run. By the maxim of relation, I interpret Sizemore to be bringing a relevant comment to the situation at hand.

Does the MK have a right to impose a portal-usage rule at all? If the portals were constructed by casters, the feeling of the forum tends to yes, and I agree. If the portals were made by the Titans, the feeling shifts no, and here I disagree. Here on Earth, a country has control about who's allowed in their airspace- but they did not construct the atmosphere!

Does a country have the right to say how to use resources that are located in/over what that country call own territory? The general view (not necessarily in this here forum) is yes. This way, we get some basis for peaceful functioning. My turf, I do what I want. Your turf, you do what you want; I ask permission, it's up to you to say yes/no. Unless we go to war :)

War is hell, they say, so in gowing to war, we chose the less moral route. Sometimes, maybe, we hope for a greater good out of it. I'm not discussing that here. Sometimes an evil is needed.

One thing war does not lack though is rules. Yeah, they say all's fair, yeah, war doesn't determine who's right. But there's such things as respecting the flag of truce, respecting parley (*cough*), humane treatment of at least a category of combatants, rules of engagement (*cough-cough*). Some of these rules exist to ease an eventual diplomatic solution. It's easier to get to negociate if you believe that a negociation will stay just that.

In practice, rules are bent and broken often. That does not make said bending or breaking moral.

The rule Parson is breaking now is about disrespecting how a neutral state wants to govern itself. I think it's well whithin a state's rights to chose its own house rules. Guests of that state should abide, unless they wish to declare aggression and face the consequences of disrespecting that state's rights. Because, we all agree, if this rule is broken the MK will get in GK's business something fierce.

Did Parson need to break this rule? My guess is no, there was at least one plan that could save the expeditionary force. And as someone said in this discussion, apparently Parson isn't going there because he has to. He's going for, GASP, moral reasons. As in, Parson is done thinking about Erfworld as a game and its inhabitants as pawns. He prioritizes his moral commitment, friends and allies first, and is willing to subject himself to the risk of combat.

It's actually a comendable intention. Too bad that to pursue it, he decides to break a neutral kingdom's "house rules", prompting a forumer here to compare the rules that a country uses to make itself function, to the house rules that his/her game group can decide on a whim to abolish. I thought that we were done thinking about Erfworld as a mere game.

Nearing the end. I'm not saying that Parson is evil. This act he does, is. It may be a necessary evil. Parson was brought to Erfworld to break the world after all. And its rules. I'd like to end by wondering what will Parson do with, or who he will leave the task of handling the, broken Erfworld. And to quote something that seems fitting-

V (of V for Vendetta) wrote:
Anarchy wears two faces, both creator and destroyer. Thus destroyers topple empires, make a canvas of clean rubble where creators can then build a better world. Rubble, once achieved, makes further ruins' means irrelevant.

Away with our explosives then! Away with our destroyers! They have no place within our better world.

But let us raise a toast to all our bombers, all our bastards, most unlovely and most unforgivable. Let's drink their health ...

... then meet with them no more.
Ytaker wrote:
atalex wrote:
With all this arguing about the morality and likely consequences of Parson violating the MK's alleged neutrality, I'm going to laugh my ass off if Janice, armed with intel from the predictomancer, manipulates events so that no one ever even knows that Parson used the portal shortcut. It took 70 or so turns for the RCC to find out how they lost the Battle for Gobwin Knob and that was only because Charlie told them. If no one at Jetstone lives to tell how Parson entered through a portal, I think it's quite likely that the MK will privately let GK know that its portal access will henceforth be restricted but otherwise the MK will be more concerned with making sure no one ever finds out what happened.


Charlie and Trammenis both know he can enter the magic kingdom. They're both smart enough to consider the implications.


Yes, but no one listens to Charlie anymore, and Trammenis may be minutes away from croaking. Also, if no one sees him exit the portal on the JS side and he just "shows up" in the middle of combat, there could be other explanations that are equally plausible, especially if MK elects to conceal how he actually did it.
And a followup re BLAND's post:

Another interesting thing about MK is that some folks describe it as "a neutral kingdom." Interestingly for all its importance to the setting, we really don't know much about the MK. Although described as a "kingdom" there has been no hint of a king, or of any sort of government at all. It's population is exclusively caster, but that seems to be because, other than Parson, no non-caster can even go there. While there are hints that the MK as in institution has some hostility to GK and suspicions on the forum that Parson's run (I love that - "Parson's Run" with Burt Reynolds as "The Hamster") will provoke some kind of reprisal, it is also true that the only major figure native to the realm is deliberately encouraging Parson to break everything he can. Is Janis a loan wolf in all this? Or is there a much larger conspiracy to facilitate the breaking of Erfworld? Was the Summon Perfect Warlord spell something created by the entire MK or just a small group within it, and are its creators involved in Janis' plans? Is it immoral of Parson to abuse the portal network in the MK if the leadership of the MK is fine with it so long as their hands are clean?

We don't know the answers to any of these questions because so far, and I mean almost since the start of the strip, the true nature, structure and agenda of the Magic Kingdom has been like the dog that didn't bark, significant because of what has not been revealed.
dmorenus wrote:
I disagree. "You don't send a caster from the Magic Kingdom to enter a city you don't control." This distinguishes the move from sending a caster from an adjacent hex to enter a city you don't control.
You've got to love the English language... It appears as though there are (at least) two valid readings of the same text. I read it as describing where the caster is from, as in "Charlie hired a caster from the MK", but read as describing the route the caster takes is just as valid. I believe that my reading is correct, but even if I am incorrect until such time as Parson is proven to be a caster he isn't even violating the convention. And I maintain my position that allowing the GK expeditionary force perish to preserve a convention that he never agreed to preserve, and indeed just heard about 5 minutes ago, would be the immoral act. It's as though we are balancing the proper use of a bridge convention by a person who doesn't play bridge and when pressed to play wasn't informed of the convention against real lives and the potential future survival of the GK Side. I find it astonishing that some see the bridge convention as being the more valuable thing to preserve.
Smoker wrote:
To me its a bit like bombing the olympic games - you get the whole world, who all hate each other, to agree on one peaceful location, and one person spoils it for selfish reasons.

Yes I said selfish.
Meh. This is what is being called selfish: Preserving the lives of the majority of your Side's units, your air force of dwagons, your master class Foolamancer, and your 'Tool wielding master class Croakamancer who is the major contributor to your rolling advance to just past your former glory after a dozen or so Kingdoms decided that non-royals who grow too big need to be smashed to preserve the "Royal mandate", vs. breaking an agreement to which you are not even a party and just heard about 5 minutes ago. Again, I am really amazed that some people can call this choice "evil" or "selfish." Evil or selfish has nothing to do with it.

How about a small analogy: If you were about to take some action to save lives and preserve your army and your country (Side), would you care to be told that you mustn't, because all of the people you were about to offend by that action had decided amongst themselves and without your knowledge that that action was a bad thing for anyone to do? I hope that most people would choose to tell their opponents that they can decide amongst themselves all they like that you living, your army living, your Side living, is a bad thing. But that you were going to do what you liked anyway, selfishly (sarcasm), and preserve all of those things over their lousy agreement.
Pointyleaf wrote:
Re: the morality of Parson going through MK, it reminds me of the transition in warfare style in Europe in the 1700s-1800s. At the beginning, military officers were exclusively gentlemen, they were not specifically targeted by the other side, and if they were captured, they were ransomed. But by 1900, war was no longer a "gentlemen's game".. no special privileges for them, it was brutish for everyone.
Very nice analogy! In the most stereotyped examples of this, the "gentlemen" were utterly dismayed that officers were being targeted (by snipers, etc.) They had a disdain for the common unit *ahem* soldier, and the lives of their men were of import only as far as they could be spent to gain victory. Officers were to be captured and ransomed, not *shudder* specifically targeted for killing! Oh, woe! The convention is being selfishly violated by the opponent who discovered that killing off all the officers so easily visible in their shiny braid makes the men less effective as they lack the leadership and desire to continue the battle. How selfish of our opponents to desire to win with less casualties, why can't we all just line up and see who has the most men and can fire the most volleys with our straight lines of troops and let strategy and tactics be damned and left to lesser men? Why, why, why?
atalex wrote:
Ytaker wrote:
atalex wrote:
With all this arguing about the morality and likely consequences of Parson violating the MK's alleged neutrality, I'm going to laugh my ass off if Janice, armed with intel from the predictomancer, manipulates events so that no one ever even knows that Parson used the portal shortcut. It took 70 or so turns for the RCC to find out how they lost the Battle for Gobwin Knob and that was only because Charlie told them. If no one at Jetstone lives to tell how Parson entered through a portal, I think it's quite likely that the MK will privately let GK know that its portal access will henceforth be restricted but otherwise the MK will be more concerned with making sure no one ever finds out what happened.


Charlie and Trammenis both know he can enter the magic kingdom. They're both smart enough to consider the implications.


Yes, but no one listens to Charlie anymore, and Trammenis may be minutes away from croaking. Also, if no one sees him exit the portal on the JS side and he just "shows up" in the middle of combat, there could be other explanations that are equally plausible, especially if MK elects to conceal how he actually did it.


Yes they do, Trammenis did listen and got good intelligence. Trammenis is probably serving as an author's soapbox, in terms of his religious and political views- he's a diplomat rather than a warmonger, he believes everyone should have everything they want in heaven, he's smarter than charlie, earns more money for his father than any of the other sons- you really get the sense that the author likes him a lot.
BLANDCorporatio wrote:

V (of V for Vendetta) wrote:
Anarchy wears two faces, both creator and destroyer. Thus destroyers topple empires, make a canvas of clean rubble where creators can then build a better world. Rubble, once achieved, makes further ruins' means irrelevant.

Away with our explosives then! Away with our destroyers! They have no place within our better world.

But let us raise a toast to all our bombers, all our bastards, most unlovely and most unforgivable. Let's drink their health ...

... then meet with them no more.

You do know that this statement was to go in effect only at a hypothetical moment where an anarchic society had been achieved, right? Nothing with territorial "you can't come here because you're not the right type of person" laws comes anywhere near anarchic ideals.

Up until such a time, explosions were the guy's preferred method of contribution.
Raza wrote:
You do know that this statement was to go in effect only at a hypothetical moment where an anarchic society had been achieved, right?


Oh yes, I'm well aware. I'm aware also that Alan Moore was not intending to make a simple story of an untarnished protagonist. V is a monster, and V would agree to that; those are among his last words before committing suicide by cop, hiw work completed.
BLANDCorporatio wrote:
There's some disagreement as to what Parson is breaking/challenging now. Is it a law? Is it a formalized, written down act layed down by some MK ruling body? Enforced by some authority in the MK? A legal basis for other acts, treaties this time, with sides connected by portals?


We're told. "Forbidden by convention."

Convention isn't law or treaty. Its simply "the norm". Its not "you can't send casters"...its "you don't send casters". There is what appears to an "understanding". Nothing more.

Quote:
it's clear that it's about how you do not send units (or casters, since only they can pass) through MK portals into cities you don't control. Sizemore is citing this rule to attempt and prevent Parson's run.


By extending a princicple that previously applied only to casters to a warlord. Parsons called him on that attemtp to extend the interpretation of convention.

Quote:
Does the MK have a right to impose a portal-usage rule at all? If the portals were constructed by casters, the feeling of the forum tends to yes, and I agree. If the portals were made by the Titans, the feeling shifts no, and here I disagree. Here on Earth, a country has control about who's allowed in their airspace- but they did not construct the atmosphere!


Apparently Parson has a right to use the Portals which the MK doesn't recognise. Im that case, either the MK is disobeying its own laws or they are not in a position to make such a law. Either way, your analogy wrt country appears flawed. If Parson has a right, from whatever, to use the Portals, the MK has no right to stop him. It may or may not inconvenience them, or cause them trouble but that they, as individuals, don't recognise his right to make use of them or even want him there isn't enough to make the rule that states who cvan or cannot enter the MK irrelevant.

Which is where I think your system and analogy breaks down. These are not really nations or countries with defined laws. These are gamepieces and sides which follow laws written down in a game book and those pieces cannot change or break those rules.

Which is what it seems to me...simply put, the games rules allow certain units to enter the MK. As Parson can survive and enter, he has a right to be there and the other people who can do so have no right to stop him no matter what they feel.


Quote:
The rule Parson is breaking now is about disrespecting how a neutral state wants to govern itself. I think it's well whithin a state's rights to chose its own house rules.


House rules are not created by the game pieces themselves but by the players. The rule Parsons is breaking is a convention and which isn't actually binding on anyone beyond the fact that its convention.


Quote:
Guests of that state should abide, unless they wish to declare aggression and face the consequences of disrespecting that state's rights. Because, we all agree, if this rule is broken the MK will get in GK's business something fierce.


Actually, I'm not sure. The casters don't like GK...but its inhabitants have already shown hostility bey trying to deny Parsons right to enter the state.

Quote:
It's actually a comendable intention. Too bad that to pursue it, he decides to break a neutral kingdom's "house rules", prompting a forumer here to compare the rules that a country uses to make itself function, to the house rules that his/her game group can decide on a whim to abolish. I thought that we were done thinking about Erfworld as a mere game.


Erfowrd is a game world. It follows game logic. Its physical laws appear defined by gaming convention and rules. Parson bends those rules, but most don't appear able to break them at all. They have stats, movement limits, turns, etc and limitation on what can and cannot be done and when. Parson has to follow the rules...such as when he patrols his city.

Given that, the notion that there are laws as we know them is likely wrong.

Parson has a right to enter the MK because he can go there. Because he can go there, the game rules allow it. Because the game rules allow it, the people already there do not themselves have the right to deny him access. If they don't have that right, all they can really do is either get physical or fume.
BLANDCorporatio wrote:
Raza wrote:
You do know that this statement was to go in effect only at a hypothetical moment where an anarchic society had been achieved, right?


Oh yes, I'm well aware. I'm aware also that Alan Moore was not intending to make a simple story of an untarnished protagonist. V is a monster, and V would agree to that; those are among his last words before committing suicide by cop, hiw work completed.

'Monster' can have many different meanings. Personally, V is one of the few ethical rolemodels I'd accept in western pop culture.

The suicide by cop thing was a bit cryptic, but his ideals for the world in general made a lot more sense than his sense of personal destiny.
Jack is apparently left-handed.