Book 2 - Text Updates 021

Book 2 - Text Updates 021

Sylvia and Ossomer were warlords, and dull ones. Jack listened for a while, as they clambered over one another to "discuss" the tactical situation. They seemed more eager to offer ideas which would please the woman at the center of their universe than to seek out something which might work.

Unwilling to compete for a share of the fruitless conversation, he let his mind drift.

Jack's mind was its own favorite plaything. He had long enjoyed riddles, puzzles, complicated conundrums. In the Court of Faq, he would listen as the King's circle erected some complex philosophical structure, like a pyramid of crystal stemware. Then, as they stood admiring their work, he would speak a few sentences or pose a question. Suddenly their rhetorical construct stood upside down, balanced on one glass, as it were.

The rush to be the first to kick out the glass was always amusing.

The greatest challenge for his puzzle-minded mind had been piecing itself back together. He wasn't completely certain he'd solved that one. Could he ever be?

Ah, well. So be it. A convincing veil of sanity was all that most people could manage, anyway.

But his second greatest mental challenge had been working with the good Lord Hamster. For dozens of turns, he and the warlord had met in the Situation Room and gambled with the lives of imaginary millions. They had gamed scenarios from the fundamental to the ludicrous. They had fought epic engagements between unit types that didn't even exist.

"What if dwagons could tunnel?" his Lord would posit. "What if ships could travel on land?" And soon, Jack would be projecting a model battle in which dirt-burrowing dwagons clawed like sea serpents at the hulls of great wheeled galleons on grassy plains. Or a simple scenario would play out predictably, and Lord Parson would say, "Okay, now let's give all two thousand of those infantry the ability to cast like Archons, and see what happens." Marvelous. Marvelous.

So now here he sat, in the middle of just such an unusual tactical situation. He could hear Lord Parson's voice describing it. "You have a massive force of heavy flyers, knights, warlords, archons and casters in the airspace of a Level 5 capital. But it's the enemy's turn, and they have more than enough archers, casters and tower defenses to shoot you down. Can you figure out a way to get out of it alive?"

Jack glanced around. Habitually, he sought out the lines and dots of the scenery, the little hooks that other minds used to build their idea of the world around them. But perhaps that was not how he ought to be looking at things right now. Tactics. Remember...

The great swarm of dwagons kept together, holding formation over the outer walls, well away from the garrison and its tower.

Distance would not save them. The tower could strike any unit in the city's airspace. Within the airspace, they could only choose to deploy their stacks over the outer walls or the garrison. This cost no move, but its only effect was to determine which archers could hit them. And on whose heads their corpses would fall, Jack supposed. But of course, Decrypted leave no corpses. Hm.

"What is keeping them from attacking now," Ossomer said gravely, "is nothing more than procedure. My father would probably like to open fire, but he will wait for his Chief Warlord and all of his casters to return. They will likely offer ceremonial surrender terms. This will be a historic victory for Jetstone. The King sees few battles personally, and he will want to make the most of it before his Court."

A single involuntary chuckle escaped from Jack, and the others stared at him.

"The Titans did bless the Royals with many gifts," he said, "but around their ankles tied a stone called 'vanity.' If the King kept anything noteworthy beneath his crown, he would have blasted you by now." He pointed his cane at the Lady Firebaugh, who raised an eyebrow at him. "You are, by your own admission, the enemy's highest value target. What little juice I have remaining ought to be going to veil you, Croakamancer."

Lady Firebaugh sat straighter in the saddle, staring at him in a way she often used to make others shrink away. But he held her gaze. The chasm behind her eyes did not intimidate him. Could she look as long into the abyss of his own?

"No," said the Croakamancer, glancing away. "It wouldn't work. And if it did, it would not help. They have enough to shoot everything down, veiled or not. They have some flying mounts and warlords--"

"It is not quite as imbalanced as it appears," said Jack. "Consider. All of these dwagons are alive, as are most of the riders, as am I. We can take a great deal of damage before we are croaked. Defenses will be used, arrows will be used, juice will be spent on us. And then..."

He leaned forward and tapped the Arkenpliers with his cane, affronting the Decrypted and annoying Wanda. "...must be spent again. Provided you are alive. And quick enough to catch us as we fall."

Recent posts... (See full thread)
Dunham wrote:
So, question i don't think has been addressed yet: Exactly what strategy were Wanda's generals providing that were supposed to please her, yet not work?
The 'my father will offer ceremonial surrender terms" doesn't seem like it would please anyone or work, so what was Jack talking about?


I don't think we need to read too deeply into that.

Perhaps strategies that are heavily loaded with "I am always ready to give my life for you, mistress! We will stay with you and fight until our last breath!" Sure, sounds impressive, very nice to promise to put your life on the line for someone you love, but completely devoid of tactical planning and mostly empty bravado. Or maybe plans that come down to "we could croak two-thirds of their army before they croak us all!" Sure, again, sounds impressive - it's flattering to hear that even with a specialized strike force, you have the power to take down most of the army of a kingdom like Jetstone - but it's not *useful*, a plan that involves croaking nearly nothing and in exchange staying alive is better.
Speaking of which, I suspect the key insight is going to be something like - they DON'T need to inflict maximum casualties on the enemy. Just survive.

Something like spending the entire time doing evasive maneuvers instead of fighting.

Ooh, here's a crazy plan - Create a bunch of foolamancy dwagons. HOWEVER - have NO DWAGONS EVER ATTACK! Then, the archery on the ground will have no way of seeing which dwagons are real and which aren't, since Jack can happily make it look like some of the fake ones got arrows stuck in them too, or make it look like the real ones didn't. (If the archery successfully croaks some of the Dwagons, decrypt immediately. The decrypted ones, if they get croaked, get dusted and leave no bodies - immediately create a fake dwagon in their spot! Thus, for the duration of the entire battle, the archers will *never* have any idea whether they're firing at the right dwagons, and will never have any idea whether they hit any of them.) (I like this idea, actually! Maybe even possible! And it does take a crucial unusual insight that's worthy of Parson - that you can survive a battle by never firing a single shot, and that sitting there and taking hits is, in fact *preferable* to fighting back if it means you get to keep up the disguise.)
DoctorJest wrote:

Jack's statement about Wanda needing to be quick to catch them as they fall implies that they need to be decrypted while still in the airspace.

Has it been tested? If not then Jack may be best guessing rather than knowing.

Book 1, archons could not attack across a zone but could help dance fight across a zone in same hex with visual contact.
Quote:
Has it been tested? If not then Jack may be best guessing rather than knowing.

Decryption is relatively--or completely--unprecedented. I don't believe that that specific has been tested, so I, for one, think that when anyone talks about the less certain parts of decryption (does it work across zones, will the decrypted dissolve if Wanda dies, can decrypted be turned, etc.) they are, at best, guessing.
ftl wrote:
Unled units automatically engage other units in the same hex; but movement between hexes is done only when given orders from a commander or their overlord/ruler. So they wouldn't automatically go attack an army in an adjacent hex.


Standing orders from Stanley were to take or torch the city. Ansom, as CW, helped to interpret those orders, but with him gone, they're not just going to sit there.

ftl wrote:
I don't think there's enough Anti-air without him - if there was, then there wouldn't have been that big worry about Wanda taking the city by air!


Wanda wasn't going to take the city by air. The plan was to hit the tower and kill the king, not fight an army of archers. With the king dead and the city destroyed, all of his soldiers would be a complete non-issue. She had the movement to bounce through all the hexes and waltz right up to the tower, coupled with a force strong enough to rip Jetstone's heart out, she just ran into a wall before she got there, and now she's a sitting duck.

ftl wrote:
Remember, Tramennis knew perfectly well that Haggar was planning on betraying them. I think he'd be perfectly happy to let GK and Haggar's forces beat each other up - after all, that's exactly what Haggar wanted to do to them!


Tramennis appreciates irony, but I don't think he's that cynical. Sammy just basically threw himself on Ansom's sword to give them an opening (Which they took). Will he return the favor by letting them all die messily? I think most named characters would, but Parson wouldn't, and Tram won't either. Or maybe he will, he just doesn't seem like that big of a tool.
Reclaimer wrote:
Tramennis appreciates irony, but I don't think he's that cynical. Sammy just basically threw himself on Ansom's sword to give them an opening (Which they took). Will he return the favor by letting them all die messily? I think most named characters would, but Parson wouldn't, and Tram won't either. Or maybe he will, he just doesn't seem like that big of a tool.


I mean, he even had a philosophical discussion where he outright says he'd ask the Titans 'Why war?' and that the order of the day was 'the ending of lives in pain, terror, and confusion.' He doesn't reject war, but he feels that it could be better. He wouldn't let allies get slaughtered unless he was absolutly sure that they could defeat Wanda's unit and felt certin that her destruction would dust all the Decrypted at once, preventing the slaughter. Otherwise he'd just attack the clloum, then withdraw his units to the city and dig in, unless he can croak a few more units in which case he'll try.
Reclaimer wrote:
If he does return, he leaves Haggar... with their dicks hanging out, right in front of a ravening army of the undead, since they have no move left.


Where does it state that Haggar is out of Move? They were half a turn from the capital (implying they would have half move at that point) and I never got the impression that Expository Bridge was particularly far from Spacerock. Did I miss something?
ftl wrote:
Speaking of which, I suspect the key insight is going to be something like - they DON'T need to inflict maximum casualties on the enemy. Just survive.

Something like spending the entire time doing evasive maneuvers instead of fighting.

Ooh, here's a crazy plan - Create a bunch of foolamancy dwagons. HOWEVER - have NO DWAGONS EVER ATTACK! Then, the archery on the ground will have no way of seeing which dwagons are real and which aren't, since Jack can happily make it look like some of the fake ones got arrows stuck in them too, or make it look like the real ones didn't. (If the archery successfully croaks some of the Dwagons, decrypt immediately. The decrypted ones, if they get croaked, get dusted and leave no bodies - immediately create a fake dwagon in their spot! Thus, for the duration of the entire battle, the archers will *never* have any idea whether they're firing at the right dwagons, and will never have any idea whether they hit any of them.) (I like this idea, actually! Maybe even possible! And it does take a crucial unusual insight that's worthy of Parson - that you can survive a battle by never firing a single shot, and that sitting there and taking hits is, in fact *preferable* to fighting back if it means you get to keep up the disguise.)


If you had fakes and they were flying in a separate formation the arrows would shoot through the fakes. Also the switch from 8 yellow dwagons to 16 would tip them off that something is wrong. If the dwagons have the option of attacking either the ground or wall spaces then it is crucial that they make the attack so that casualties can be decrypted, both Jetstone and the dwagons.

A slight variation would be to make it look like the stack of 8 yellow dwagons are flying in 4 close pairs. One "pair" would really be 5 dwagons, one of the "pair" would be 4 dwagons in a tetrahedron pointing down with Wanda, Jack, and at least 2 archons in the center of the tetrahedron. The 2 archons would be able to prevent/slow a fall and also block a missile if one slips between the dwagons. It would look like the 4 of them were riding a yellow bobsled with dwagon hips making yellow walls and a dwagon head behind them. The other three "pairs" would have one complete fake, one real pair, and one mixed real/fake. The four "pairs" of dwagons should then fly corkscrews (that would be a quadruple helix) if moving distance or fly cloverleafs and variations if remaining close to one place. That way if anyone sees through the foolamancy they will lose track and also have a hard time communicating the information.

If electricity can cross the boundary it might be good to use blue instead of or in addition to the yellows. If they have brown they should use them for smoke screens but would not need to stack with them.

Other archons should put on Wanda's dance hair/helm and take the red dwagon and take Jack's clothes and dwagon. If they have an archon with foolamancy that should be the one who gets the hairhelm.

I would put Wanda and Jack in the yellow stack in order to maximize the distance from everyone. The yellows always fly higher so it would not look suspicious. The yellows should be able to launch battle crap without breaking formation.
Reclaimer wrote:
ftl wrote:
Unled units automatically engage other units in the same hex; but movement between hexes is done only when given orders from a commander or their overlord/ruler. So they wouldn't automatically go attack an army in an adjacent hex.


Standing orders from Stanley were to take or torch the city. Ansom, as CW, helped to interpret those orders, but with him gone, they're not just going to sit there.


I would be very surprised if it works that way. You're talking about orders being conserved between turns, for one - we've never seen multi-turn orders. Second, that isn't even an order - that's a vague directive. Orders would be more specific, like 'go to that hex' or 'fortify this position'. I would say yes, with no orders, a unit is going to sit in its hex and do nothing, autoengaging enemy units that enter. This isn't an AI-controlled game; I would be very surprised if, when left without orders, units decided to do things like spend move of their own free will. They'd wait for Stanley to give them orders, or if none come before the turn ends, then that's what it is.

Quote:

ftl wrote:
I don't think there's enough Anti-air without him - if there was, then there wouldn't have been that big worry about Wanda taking the city by air!


Wanda wasn't going to take the city by air. The plan was to hit the tower and kill the king, not fight an army of archers. With the king dead and the city destroyed, all of his soldiers would be a complete non-issue. She had the movement to bounce through all the hexes and waltz right up to the tower, coupled with a force strong enough to rip Jetstone's heart out, she just ran into a wall before she got there, and now she's a sitting duck.


She was going to take the city by air - UNTIL she found out that FAQ was there. Without FAQ's troops, the capital is underdefended and could be taken. It was Jillian's presence that made them adopt the slash and burn strategy - and Jillian's left, so Tramennis needs to bring his own troops back. Without him, there isn't a giant army of archers - the giant army is with Tramennis, and the city is underdefended. To be confident of taking out Wanda out without Jillian's help, Slately probably needs Trem back.
I found this point interesting. Ossomer claims that they could be blasted out the sky at any moment, but Slately will wait for Tremennis, just as a point of ceremony. This is exactly what Ansom did when he reached the walls of Gobwin Knob; he could have tried to bust straight in, but waited for his full seige so that he could do it 'properly'.

Im not saying that Slately is making a mistake, or saying that he could/cant do it this turn (edit: I mean, until Tremennis arrives), but it IS interesting to see the whole "Like father like son" thing happening here.