Lord Crush - Part 2

Lord Crush - Part 2

Crush could have done with some maps in here.

He could imagine roughly what was going on in the field, though. There were provisions in the Union agreement for the defection of a member side. Among the three sides that now made up the So-be-it Union, armies would be assembling with urgency and haste. In such a crisis, the unit limitations were lifted. They would all be popping cheap infantry.

Meanwhile, columns from Bullyclub would be streaming through Squashcourt territory on their way to the borders. Probably no real fighting had happened yet, but panicked communiques and inquiries would be flooding in to King Scrofula, demanding to know his intentions.

So his shackles did not bother Crush too much. And although the King was likely responding with threats and offers to Protip and Tapwater by now, he still hadn‘t given up on winning over his “guest.” The few fighters from Firstpost were languishing down in the musty dungeons, but the Chief Prisoner got to spend his time here in the library.

And it was not just a relatively pleasant way to pass the hours. The answer was in here, if he could work quickly enough to find it.

---

Nobody knew exactly why the Titans had created libraries.

A city with a good library enjoyed bonuses to magical defenses, and a few other small advantages. It was said that casters leveled more readily when your side had good libraries. Rulers gave libraries the same strategic consideration as other specialty buildings when configuring their cities.

Most warlords accepted this as the purpose of the feature. But despite the fact that all commanders could read and write, few of them actually read books. Even fewer wrote them. Only the rarest individual ever published one.

Books popped whenever a library was created or expanded. Each library contained the same three books of Scripture (“The Book of Canon,” “The Book of Retcon,” and “The Book of Fanon”), and an entirely random assortment of other volumes from all of the books which had ever been published.

The vast majority of books were dry historical records of sides and battles, which were automagically published whenever a side fell. Unfortunately, because Erfworld was so large and there had been so many sides in history, it was unlikely that a given library contained any book about a side you had ever even heard of. But they could be fascinating to read. Crush liked to imagine the lives of the people behind the turn numbers, city names, and battle statistics. There were lessons buried in those almanac tables. You could see historical patterns in the rise and fall of sides. He could study them for hours, lost in his imagination.

Automagical publishing was a form of natural Signamancy, but a Signamancer could also publish books that were authored by a person. It was an expensive spell, consuming a great many Shmuckers in addition to the caster‘s juice, so it was not done often. Typically, these manually-published books were vainglorious personal accounts by rulers, telling of their own heroic deeds and cunning. Heaping piles of hyperbole, lies, and rubbish, they were. But also entertaining, and Crush had his favorites.

Then there were books of natural philosophy. Sometimes a ruler would publish a catalog of all units and ferals known to their side, with points and notes about each. A side would be lucky to have popped two or three of these, as they could be extremely educational.

Other rulers published books of their own “wisdom,” often with language and structure mirroring Scripture. These carried pompous titles such as “The Way Things Ought to Be,” “The Secret,” “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Rulers,” and “The Titans Shrugged.” Crush didn‘t much care for these, but he read them anyway.

The book he‘d borrowed was like that: “The Principles of Peace,” by King Banhammer of Faq. Crush had found it loaded with lofty and impracticable advice for living and ruling. Most of it was useless sophistry, some of it bordered on heresy.

However, it did contain some hints about his own area of personal interest. “Faq,” it seemed, had been a bubble kingdom.

Between the pages of all these stuffy historical accounts, there were a few sides and alliances which had managed to find security and stability for long periods of time, as the So-be-it Union had.

Crush liked to study those cases, because every one of them could provide a valuable object lesson. The fact that each of those sides had a book in the library meant that they‘d all failed in one way or another. It seemed very important to study how that sort of thing could happen.

---

“Racket had a temper, you know,” the King had said to Crush during their “negotiations” that first evening. “He was vain, arrogant, demanding...but also quite sharp. And he knew how to have a good time. He loved the festivals. When he wasn‘t on about something, or cross with me, we could talk and laugh for hours. He was impatient with foolishness, but rarely foolish or unreasonable himself.

“I always felt that with time, his rage would diminish and his intelligence would grow into wisdom. He‘d have made an excellent king.”

Crush could see the pain in King Scrofula‘s eyes. But his capacity for sympathy was limited, given the circumstances.

“I cannot replace your son, Majesty,” said Crush. “He fell, and he is lost.”

“I‘m not asking that!” The King‘s fist was clenched. “Axe will stay Chief Warlord and heir! He‘s my son as well, Titans be praised. But I need someone around here to talk to. Someone with a brain in his head! I know Racket is lost!” He pounded his heavy fist on an oaken table, but then his eyes went distant and his voice softened. “I know it. But I cannot manage our plan without another such mind as his.

“He spoke very highly of you, Lord Crush. He said you had a fine command of strategy. And I could tell by your letter that you understood and respected him in turn. Please. Join Squashcourt, and become caretaker of this city. Help me plan this war, and fulfill our destiny.”

“I can‘t. Your plan is, um...evil,” said Crush, shaking his head, “for want of a better word. You can‘t turn on the Union.”

“I certainly can.”

“Well...yes, you can. You shouldn‘t. And it‘s ridiculous to align with the likes of Bullyclub. They‘ll use you to conquer all of us, expending your troops, and then conquer Squashcourt last. That‘s the way it goes with these kinds of things, I‘ve studied them.”

Bullyclub and the Union had gone to war twice. Each time, the fighting had taken place mostly on Squashcourt‘s lands. It hadn‘t been fun or profitable for anyone, but the Union had held them off.

“You know nothing of my friendship with Lord Maglite, Crush. Things have changed. This is the new way forward for both our sides.”

“I know the history of such arrangements!” said Crush. “You‘re almost certainly being used to break the Union.”

King Scrofula narrowed his eyes. “The Union will be broken. It will. And if you want Firstpost to survive that, then you will turn to Squashcourt and work with us–and Bullyclub–to conquer the other Union sides. We can arrange a new treaty to preserve your former side, if that is still your wish after you have turned.”

“I‘m not going to turn.”

The King looked at him in stern silence for a long moment. Crush met his eyes and did not flinch.

“The Mathamancy of this plan is clear enough,” said the King. “We only need one Union side to stay neutral while we conquer the others. That needn‘t be Firstpost. I am making this offer out of respect for my son. He would have wished for it to be you. If you refuse, I will make offers to the others.”

Crush blinked, thinking about Prince Racket. “‘Would have?‘ So he didn‘t plan this treachery?”

The King looked away. “It is my decision. Lord Maglite and I envisioned this arrangement after Racket was gone.”

“He would have been too smart to let you! This is a mistake, Your Majesty. But time remains to correct your course.”

Scrofula shook his head. “No. The plan is in motion. Bullyclub‘s forces are massed at our border. And ours are ready as well.”

“The Union can beat Bullyclub again.”

The King blew out a slow sigh through his lips. Crush could smell a trace of whiskey.

“Take the evening to consider the offer, won‘t you?”

---

That morning, Crush and his men attempted to walk out the city gates and head for home.

It was a mere formality, to force Squashcourt to break with the Union or let them pass as allies. Scrofula stood upon a high balcony overlooking the garrison courtyard. The King shook his head sadly, and spoke something inaudible.

Crush could now see the enemy stats on Prince Axe, and the nearly nine hundred soldiers who stood between his men and the gates.

“I surrender,” he said distantly.

Shackles popped on his wrists and ankles.

Recent posts... (See full thread)
No reason Charlie couldn't have 50 or so Archons assigned, to or some kind of golem specifically crafted, to read books and report anything interesting to him. Hell, he might not even need it reported, he could just absorb the information by osmosis by some sort of thinkamantic power. That said while this would be the sort of thing he'd think of, I don't think it'd be something he'd actually do.
There's no reason he couldn't but there's a reason he wouldn't have Archons assigned. Those ladies are expensive, and he needs them everywhere else. Being librarians is beneath them in terms of potential.

The golem is a possibility, but perhaps that hovers on the edge of the sentience/Life issue Maxwell encountered. Maxwell failed to truly give those golems Life independent of himself, and I'm not sure Charlie would be a fan of "lending" part of his own Life to the unit like Maxwell had to. That however is purely speculation on my part, it's uncharted territory and we don't know all the details of how it affected Maxwell or how Charlie feels about such things.

With either unit type though, the issue of time is still a potential factor. We have no idea how many books are in existence, but we can assume it's an extremely vast number given the slim odds of various book types popping. And we have no idea how quickly Erflings can read, so we can' figure out a rate either. There's just too little info for me to be comfortable speculating on the subject really. Personally I'm inclined to believe that the number of units required to accomplish the task would make such a venture economically inefficient, but bottom line is we just don't know much to point either way.
0beron wrote:
There's no reason he couldn't but there's a reason he wouldn't have Archons assigned. Those ladies are expensive, and he needs them everywhere else. Being librarians is beneath them in terms of potential.
Yeah, and so are half the things he uses them for. Hell he already has them sitting around his base. His main currency is information. Surely he can spend a little training xp to get that.

Quote:

With either unit type though, the issue of time is still a potential factor. We have no idea how many books are in existence, but we can assume it's an extremely vast number given the slim odds of various book types popping. And we have no idea how quickly Erflings can read, so we can' figure out a rate either. There's just too little info for me to be comfortable speculating on the subject really. Personally I'm inclined to believe that the number of units required to accomplish the task would make such a venture economically inefficient, but bottom line is we just don't know much to point either way.
New books are the important part of this equation. Most of the books just need to be cataloged not read. Unless Charlie wants information on Milquetoast he can just put that in his histories section.
Man, you guys are saying carnymancy does everything. Shifting which lot of books your signamancer draws for your library is clearly luckymancy. Even if carnymancy does do everything, luckymancers should be far better at that particular trick.

What rules can be changed, and how? I get that the carnies aren't gonna say. I respect that they don't want to share their weakness. I respect that Rob doesn't want to show what all is coming. But I think they have to be tricky, because they have limits, even if they aren't telling.

I can see Charlie wanting a big library bonus for his Archons' specials as well as his own leveling anyways.
Manipulating what books you get when you create or upgrade your Library does sound more like Luckamancy. Changing what the books already are doesn't sound like Luckamancy.
Lamech wrote:
Hell he already has them sitting around his base.
They're not just "sitting around", they're in the Tower managing the plethora of Thinkagrams he gets. A necessary function, which other units could not do. So not really beneath them.

As for whether Carnymancy is really the appropriate school, I actually agree the Luck would be better for influencing which books a normal library pops. But rigging up a special library that contains all books is definitely something that breaks the rules, hence the domain of Carnies. I don't feel that Carnymancy can do everything, it can only mess with existing mechanics, and relies on links with other schools in order to mess with their mechanics. So for example JoJo rigged Incapacitation rules on Sylvia. Charlie+Vanna rigged Turn rules. But a Carny couldn't for example pop a unit. They can only manipulate things that are already in place, they can't create anew.
They might be able to, say, let you pop a unit that wasn't on your list of units the city pops, or let you pop units that conflict with your natural allies tho.
Right. Basically my point was that they don't seem to be able to do literally whatever they want, just abuse existing mechanics to do things the mechanic shouldn't.
0beron wrote:
Basically my point was that they don't seem to be able to do literally whatever they want, just abuse existing mechanics to do things the mechanic shouldn't.
I really don't think we've seen enough of Carnymancy to say what it seems to be able to do. I think we can make a complete list of everything we've seen of Carnymancy, because it's a short list:
  • Book 2, Page 21: KingWorld happens. Many people seem to think that was Carnymancy, but all we really know is that Charlie and Vanna were linked. Charlie might have contributed nothing more than Thinkamancy to the spell. It seems likely that he was doing the job of the Thinkamancer in that link, which suggests to me that he might be too busy to also contribute much Carnymancy. Even if there was Carnymancy in KingWorld, we have no way of telling how much of it is Carnymancy and how much is Turnamancy.

  • Book 2, Text 44: Stanley thinks about the Arkenhammer: "Wanda said she thought it was a whole mess of different magicks, what'd she say...Shockmancy, obviously. Rhyme-o-mancy because it rocked out. Carnymancy because it made big flashes and sometimes could make things disappear (he never could do it on purpose, though)."

  • Book 2, Page 63: Parson says, "Carnymancy. It's... the magic of rigging the game." Jojo confirms it.

  • Book 2, Text 51: An arrow is deflected from hitting Sylvia. A delayed Carnymancy effect?

  • Book 2, Page 66: Sizemore determines that the scroll is Carnymancy. Jojo said the scroll would send Parson home, but Jojo doesn't seem like a reliable source on that subject.

  • Book 2, Page 83: Isaac examines the scroll and says that it might send Parson home, but that it also might destroy Parson. It's not clear whether he means that the magic is dangerous because it is chaotic, or whether he means that his understanding of Carnymancy is not deep enough to fully grasp the workings of the spell.

  • Book 2, Page 86: Sylvia tells the story about her and Jojo. Jojo did something to save Sylvia, but it's not explicitly Carnymancy. Jojo "made a trade." Does that mean that Jojo used Carnymancy to do some sort of Fate trade, or is Jojo talking about making a deal with another caster for the magic needed to save Sylvia? I suspect that the magic really was Carnymancy because Sylvia certainly seemed like a rigged game to me.

  • Book 2, Text 59: Parson reads the Carnymancy scroll. "Of course this was a spell. Of course it was. And it was built like...a key that would unlock the spell that had brought him here. He could see what it was. It was a spell to break a spell and snap it back. It would...fling him home. And he knew how to cast it."

Have I missed anything?
What Jojo did to Sylvia first WAS Carnymancy. We don't know how he eventually saved her, but we know that keeping her alive for multiple turns while Incapacitated was Carnymancy. So that's one to add to the list.

The phrase/theme of "rigging the game" is what I feel inspires the broad definition of what we assume Carnymancy does, combined with the name itself. Schools of magic include literal and satirical interpretations of their name. Carnies in stupidworld cheat. Carnies in erfworld admit it's the magic of rigging the game. To me that points to manipulating with existing mechanics as being their primary power.