Book 2 - Text Updates 015

Book 2 - Text Updates 015

Duke Antium had come to him to apologize, for failing in the skirmish with Ansom. It was sad enough to be funny, but not funny enough to laugh.

"I think apologizing to me in this situation is absurd, don't you?" said Tramennis. "Perfectly ludicrous." He tried to gesture, but the dwagon goo weighed down his arms and legs. In his career, he'd seen three men hit with the stuff, but not one of them had ever mentioned how heavy it was. Not that they'd lived long enough to get conversational. "Or are you just practicing your apologies to the Titans?"

The Duke bowed his head miserably. "Perhaps so, Your Highness."

"Adam..." Tramennis looked up at the man. "You seem bent on spending your last moments in this world with your thumbs jammed into the thumbscrews of guilt, and turning them as hard as you can...which is impossible, I realize...but that analogy had a lot more promise when I started this sentence, and it seemed likely to end with a witty bon mot about screwing yourself. That didn't work out, did it? Nothing has, today."

The Duke stared at him blankly.

"What I mean is...go get a camp stool and sit with me," said the Prince. "Let's talk a bit. If only so those don't end up as my last words."

Tramennis watched Antium head to a nearby tent and slip inside. He squirmed around to look at the rest of his forces, and sighed. There was a great deal of strength in this hex, all of Jetstone's top fighters and three of her four casters. All impotent. All likely to vanish at any moment. Most were keeping their distance from him, surreptitiously eying him where he sat in the dirt, helpless and pink. He really ought to be giving some kind of address or something, but what was there to say? He pictured himself trying to sound assuring and dignified in this position. Cringeworthy.

Sadly, when the Duke had returned and sat down, Tramennis couldn't think of what to say to him, either.

"So..." They sat in silence for a moment.

"Do you suppose we will have to give account of ourselves? To the Titans?" said the Duke at last.

Tramennis shrugged, the goo making a rubbery stretching sound. "I'd imagine," he said, "Why? Don't tell me you're a scorist." There was a persistent belief among some that the Titans (or perhaps the world itself) kept a running "score" on each unit, and that one's place in the afterlife was automatically assigned based on this hidden Number. There was no need to stand before the Titans at all, the more extreme adherents argued. No accounting, nothing personal about it at all. Tramennis had never liked the idea. It had little basis in Scripture, anyway.

Duke Antium looked away. "Well...a bit. I suppose."

"Bah," said Tramennis, gently. "I hope we do. I'd say they've as much to account for to me as I do to them."

The Duke's jaw hung open.

"Oh don't look so shocked, it's true. I want some answers," said the Prince. "I've lived quite a long time, for a Prince of Jetstone. I've seen bits of the world and tried to learn what it's for, but I don't think I'm much closer to knowing than on the turn I popped. Are you?"

The Duke frowned thoughtfully, but had nothing to say.

"I've a long list of questions," said Tramennis, "and I'll only answer theirs if they'll answer mine. 'What is music?' for example. It's more than just Rhyme-o-mancy; it has power over us all. What is its purpose? I believe I want to know that more than I want to know my own purpose. I think music is a more interesting creation than I am, at any rate. I shall ask the Titans why they made it."

The Duke sat frowning at the ground for so long that Tramennis was sure he had offended the man deeply, but then he looked up and said, "What else, Highness?"

Tramennis smiled wistfully. "'Why war?' Why must we survive only by making others perish? If the Titans can make anything and everything, why not give each of us a world? Make us a paradise filled with all our hearts' desires and let us live forever within it."

"That's the City of Heroes," Antium said resolutely, "this world is only a test. To prove ourselves worthy of such a paradise."

"Ehhh...I'm not convinced. I know that's the Scriptural line and all. But the City of Heroes never sounded like my idea of bliss. And it's a poor balance for all of the suffering and waste, anyway. All the ending of lives in pain and confusion and terror, you know?" He looked at the Duke, who eyed him strangely.

"Yes, I do know. Our lives are about to end that way."

"Oh right, I was taking your mind off of it," said Tramennis. "Sorry."

More silence.

"I just mean... I'm not a fool," said Tramennis, trying again to turn to face Antium more fully. "I take the world as I find it. But it's hard to accept this as the best of all possible worlds. And if it isn't, then why isn't it? Could the Titans do no better?"

The Duke shook his head. "I don't know, Highness."

"You know what I've always thought?" said Tramennis. "I've always suspected that perhaps it's up to us to improve upon it."

"Improve...upon the Titans' work?" said the Duke dubiously. "Highness, we are the Titans' work."

"I know! But perhaps that's the real test. Perhaps they want--"

The Prince fell over, into the dirt of the road.

Slowly, he raised his head. His arms were free. He sat up, then stood up, wide-eyed.

Into the glum and hopeless pall of quiet that had hung over the hex, one man shouted. Then several more. Two trumpets in harmony blatted out the signal for start of turn, and the air was alive with tumult. Spears were beating against shields, men and beasts roared. Tramennis grinned at Duke Antium.

"Oh I suppose we'll have to table our philosophical discussion now," he shouted brightly. "Pity!"

The Duke's gape curled into a smile of wonder. "Yes, Highness!" He snapped to attention. "Orders, Highness?!"

Tramennis put his hands on his hips and looked up at Expository Bridge. He took a few steps toward it, and stroked his chin in thought. "The order of the day, Duke, shall be the ending of lives in pain, terror, and confusion!"

Recent posts... (See full thread)
I suppose chess would also be a similar situation. Your most important unit isn't that powerful really; but it's supposed to be you.
Another way of thinking about this could be something recently (as in the past five years or so) added to the card game Magic the Gathering: the "Planeswalker" card. Planeswalkers have been part of MtG literature for quite a while, but it's just now that they've become an actual class of cards (between creature cards, spells, artifacts, and lands). Planeswalker cards (besides being somewhat rare) are seen as a separate "player" when put onto the field. They have a certain amount of life, and can do things that either increase or decrease their life counter. Your opponent can attack that particular card directly as opposed to attacking you, and I'm thinking that's what Don King (and other rulers) could be similar to.

In other words, rulers are "players" that while independent of you, aren't able to "think" out of a particular mindset, but should have more to do than your "normal" creatures, spells, or weapons. That could explain why Don King is level 1 but considered a good ruler: he doesn't do much in the combative sense, but maybe his leadership or intellect makes him a very powerful ruler.
splintermute wrote:
What if the pink dwagon goo is contagious, and it roots the target and anyone who comes in contact with him? That might explain why no-one tried to help him.


Just mentionning that there can be safe contact with the rooted character and another or else Trammenis wouldn't have asked the royal messenger to scratch his nose for him then go on his way. But I'm fairly certain that touching the goo itself is not safe at all.
:)
Some games have spells/abilities such "entanglement", "Spider web", freeze, shock that prevent movement. If you fail to resist the effect, then you are unable to move for 1 or more rounds. In such games it is *impossible* for an ordinary allied unit to help you get out quicker, a *few* units have ability/spell "dispel magic" that *might* free you earlier if lucky.

Possible that everyone else knows they can't do anything to help T, just as they naturally know they can't move out of a hex when not their turn.
Quote:
She brought her only caster, who happened to be a turnamancer. That doesn't mean a thinkamancer wouldn't have been just as effective. Of course, as one of Charlie's allies, Faq doesn't have to hire thinkamancers.


Quite right. Since FAQ already had access to a Thinkamancer, or at least someone with unrivaled powers in Thinkamancy, one would assume Jillian would have went with that option if a Thinkamancer could do just as well as a Turnamancer.

Again, the comic and text updates imply that Turnamancers have a more direct affect on turning units than just decreasing the amount of turns used. Consider also that Jillian was obviously expecting Wanda to turn and be useful immediately. Her offer, after all, was "turn to me and we'll take Spacerock right now". The offer didn't change after Wanda's initial refusal, since it seems Jillian believed that refusal was due to Loyalty spells, which a Turnamancer could evidently remove immediately, with no extra turns required to help someone else turn Wanda and with no access to a convenient dungeon (Spacerock certainly wouldn't let them use theirs).
CorrTerek wrote:
Quote:
She brought her only caster, who happened to be a turnamancer. That doesn't mean a thinkamancer wouldn't have been just as effective. Of course, as one of Charlie's allies, Faq doesn't have to hire thinkamancers.


Quite right. Since FAQ already had access to a Thinkamancer, or at least someone with unrivaled powers in Thinkamancy, one would assume Jillian would have went with that option if a Thinkamancer could do just as well as a Turnamancer.

Again, the comic and text updates imply that Turnamancers have a more direct affect on turning units than just decreasing the amount of turns used. Consider also that Jillian was obviously expecting Wanda to turn and be useful immediately. Her offer, after all, was "turn to me and we'll take Spacerock right now". The offer didn't change after Wanda's initial refusal, since it seems Jillian believed that refusal was due to Loyalty spells, which a Turnamancer could evidently remove immediately, with no extra turns required to help someone else turn Wanda and with no access to a convenient dungeon (Spacerock certainly wouldn't let them use theirs).


I don't see loyalty, duty, control spells whatever as being total mind control, but rather as parameters within which the subject can act and think freely unless they try to act against the interests of the controller and are blocked, or face a choice where they will automatically act in favour of the controller. For example, Wanda could quite easily join Jillian in attacking Spacerock without conflicting with duty/loyalty - it's what she was there to do anyway - but she would have to be 'turned'; have blocks removed; before she could act against Stanley.

In book 1 Jillian was able to break from Wanda's influence and choose to act against her by a conscious act of will, so it is possible to break a hold without a turnamancer. So it maybe be possible for a person to choose to change sides but be unable to act against their old overlord because of pre-existing loyalty bonds (these may weaken over time as loyalty to a new overlord develops so that might be accelerated by a turnamancer).

In a case like Duncan, if you have gained a new warlord it would be important to locate and remove all blocks to him acting with less that 100% loyalty to you if you want to trust his judgement and use him as soon as possible, and Jillian needed an experienced Warlord (here's a thought - that might have been the primary objective in attacking Jitterati). It looked from the earlier text update as if Duncan had had all of the Jitterati characteristics removed from him and these perhaps caused him to identify with them and be loyal. He seemed pretty happy with his new mental state so I don't necessarily see 'dungeon' as synonymous with 'torture chamber', just a prison to lock up potentially useful units until their loyalty can be assured. Vanna looks more like a parole office than a torturer,so maybe she talked Duncan into letting her do the 'attitude adjustment' without resistance. That might be something Jillian would admire and consider 'good work', as finesse and subtlety are things she lacks but appears to be trying to develop.
CorrTerek wrote:
Quote:
She brought her only caster, who happened to be a turnamancer. That doesn't mean a thinkamancer wouldn't have been just as effective. Of course, as one of Charlie's allies, Faq doesn't have to hire thinkamancers.


Quite right. Since FAQ already had access to a Thinkamancer, or at least someone with unrivaled powers in Thinkamancy, one would assume Jillian would have went with that option if a Thinkamancer could do just as well as a Turnamancer.

She wouldn't have gone with that option, since it would have meant disclosing her alliance with Charlie, which she wasn't prepared to do at that point, for some reason.
gazes_also wrote:
I like this one, a change of scene and pace from the last few pages.
Rob subtly sticks a couple of points in here that answer the fury on the forum over the last page.
GK's turn is definitely over, the effects of the goo attack has disappeared, it's not frozen or reordered - it's over.
Tram philosophizes that Maybe the rules are not what they appear to be or what we assume they are, they are not as fixed as we think and that the world can be changed and should be changed.

I think he is just rallying the troops at the end, I think he's too smart to go charging over the bridge without checking with Slately to ask 'what the heck just happened?' In fact, I think he may even make the offer again to Ansom to change sides now that the balance of power has shifted. I have this crazy idea that in Book 2 there may not be a large scale battle and aside from the odd skirmish or character fight conflicts are dealt with by negotiation between characters on different sides who really don't want to fight each other - now that would be different for Erfworld ( and would fit with the title).

He's a likeable character, but why wasn't he heir before this if he is the oldest?
My theory is that in a highly dynastic kingdom like Jetstone the chief warlord and senior warlords are always princes, this tends to lead to a fair bit of princely attrition ( as mentioned by T, he's lived a long time for a Jetstone Prince), and the need to have several available at anyone time. If three is the optimum number which is usually maintained there would develop a degree of specialization in type of prince, with each suited to different roles. Ansom Ossomer and Tramennis are just the latest iterations of those types. Ansoms are flamboyant and charismatic, Ossomers are grim, implacable and vicious and Tramennises are cunning and devious. The natural order of things would put a dominant 'O' type as first choice when an heir croaks, 'A' type next and 'T' type last, so it tends to alternate between Os and As. Tram has seen at least one set of older siblings perish and be replaced by the younger ones. This has given him his rather world-weary view on life. So why are the cunning princes never in direct line for the throne? Maybe someone that smart and devious is more likely to make a move to overthrow the king, but he's handy to have around because if, as in the current situation, both other heir types have fallen then the situation is so desperate military skill won't be enough to save the kingdom, it's going to take guile, cunning and imagination.


I think the choice of Ossomers and Ansom were mainly to do with Slately's view of what a king should be.

Quote:
The strong, shining crown was the ideal, and the little fat man the real.


Despite Trems smarts he simply dosn't look like Slatley's ideal vision of a king. So more then anything the apointed heir is probably the son Slately wishes he was the most.
gazes_also wrote:
...
In a case like Duncan, if you have gained a new warlord it would be important to locate and remove all blocks to him acting with less that 100% loyalty to you if you want to trust his judgement and use him as soon as possible, and Jillian needed an experienced Warlord (here's a thought - that might have been the primary objective in attacking Jitterati). ...


The attack on Jitterati got Jillian several things;
- besides for the warlord,
- eliminate a nearby side and gain their resources and territory, thus buffering the core of FAQ even more
- alliance and help of the mountain giants

I suspect that Charlie scouted the idea out and suggested it to her, having already set her up with Vanna. He knew what she could do.
And we've believe that Charlie is behind the issue of the missing gobwins, a similar issue to the mountain giants.
My hunch on Trem is that he had at least one older brother. This older brother was heir and was croaked. After the older brother was killed, Slately chose Ansom instead of Trem as the new heir. The only reason I think this is that if Trem was Slately's first son then he would have likely become heir right away and as he isn't stupid, would have likely stayed as heir when Ansom and Oss were popped.