Duke Forecastle, Part 2

Duke Forecastle, Part 2

Before the Port of Seaworld had shrunk away, when the red and blue bunting on Queen Eliteabit‘s dockside reviewing stand was still visible, Admiral Chequer turned to Lord Forecastle and gave him his mission orders.

“You are cargo, Lord Fawksull,” said the Admiral, mispronouncing his name as he always did. “Understand that. Your nominal position entitles you to nothing aboard my flagship, other than to handicap us by three move per turn. If we board an enemy ship, or we ourselves are boarded, then you will fight. Otherwise, you will stay in your quarters. You will give no orders to the crew. You are not in any sense the first mate of this vessel. If I find that you have asserted your authority as such, then I‘ll have the figurehead cut from the prow, put you in a dress, and tie your lubber body there in its place for the rest of the voyage. Am I understood?”

It had the air of a prepared speech. But then, Nelson Chequer could say, “pass the anchovy paste,” with formal gravitas. Forecastle indicated that the order was clear, exchanged one confirming look with the ship‘s navigator, Cat Harping, and fled below decks.

A few minutes later, he sheepishly reappeared on the quarterdeck, following a crewman. The man led him to the ward room where the first mate was, it seemed, more traditionally quartered.

---

Four turns passed before Forecastle was certain that Chequer was truly serious about his orders not to leave his cabin. He hadn‘t had a reason to test the order, but he figured that at some point someone would come by and talk to him, and perhaps set him free.

Nobody had so much as knocked. He didn‘t dine with the admiral; they didn‘t even bring him food from the ship‘s stores. They just let his rations pop for him naturally (and expensively). With the creaking and rolling and the tangy salt air, he had little appetite anyway.

He‘d given a lot of thought to why the Queen had assigned him to this duty, but he could only think that maybe someone in the Admiralty was settling a score with Chequer. Or was he himself simply viewed as expendable? Was he being punished for something? Was Chequer? Or was Seaworld so short of commanders that they truly had no recourse?

But if so, why place him on the flagship? There were two other ships in this group. The HMS Penman and the HMS Friend each had two seafarer warlords aboard. Why hadn‘t they assigned him there?

Perhaps that decision was related to the matter of move.

Each ship had an optimal crew size. Ideally, the crew would be entirely comprised of seafarers. For a given turn, the ship‘s total move was calculated by the total move of all seafarers in the crew, divided by a number that was determined by the ship‘s design and condition. Non-seafarers in the crew contributed only one move each to the total. As the ship moved to a new hex, all units aboard–both crew and passengers–had their move reduced proportionately, so that the ship and all units aboard reached zero move by the end of the turn.

So maybe it was simply decided to put him on the fastest ship, so as to slow down the attack group the least. But then, why not just make him a passenger and put another seafarer on deck? Maybe the Queen had intended this as an honor?

If so, she had missed the mark. This was more of an imprisonment.

His cabin contained six books, and he‘d read them all. One was about navigation, so he attempted to chart the Unsinkable II‘s progress on one of the three maps he found in the iron-bound trunk. But winds and currents had a partly random effect on a ship‘s progress, and nobody gave him the wind readings or current soundings. He got disoriented by some of the course changes they‘d made. By the third day, he could only guess at how much progress the ship had made toward Uwotmate.

The Admiral‘s own stateroom was on the same level as Forecastle‘s, right down the narrow passageway. He could hear Chequer enter his quarters at night and leave in the morning. Once, he had called out, “Good morning, Admiral!” just to remind the man of his de facto captive‘s existence. There had been no answer.

On the fourth night, he opened his cabin door, stuck out his head, and waited.

He‘d waited long enough to feel foolish, but not long enough to give up, when the Admiral‘s slow and measured footsteps finally descended the steps. The passageway was dim, and Chequer had his stateroom door open before Forecastle even realized he should say something.

“Admiral.”

Duke Forecastle‘s commanding warlord met his eyes. He wanted to come to attention, but he couldn‘t figure out a way to do that while poking his head out into the hallway.

“What is it, Warlord?”

Forecastle figured he should get right to the point. “Permission to leave my quarters, sir?”

Chequer straightened, holding the key to his stateroom in one hand and the doorknob in the other. “To what end?”

He‘d thought about his answer quite a lot. “Well, Admiral, to oversee the fighting units, for one thing. To drill them, establish procedure in case of a boarding? That sort of thing? If I‘m not going to do anything else on this ship, then–”

“And you‘re not,” interjected Chequer.

“Yes, sir. Then I think it would be prudent to meet and train with the units I‘d be leading in a fight.”

“Why?” said the Admiral. “So you can teach them what you don‘t know? You‘ve never seen any naval action at all, Duke Fawksull. Half of them are seafarers. So what are you going to teach them?”

Forecastle thought about it. “Maybe they could teach me, then, sir.”

The corridor fell silent, except for the gentle creaking of timbers.

“In the morning,” said Chequer. It came with the weight of an order, amending his previous ones. “Stay out of the way of my crew. In my eyes, the lowest one of them outranks you.”

The Admiral was in his stateroom with the door closed behind before Forecastle could finish thanking him.

Recent posts... (See full thread)
╒╦╧╬╩╦╦╛ wrote:
mortissimus wrote:
Could Parson gain a flight special if he exercised enough with Archons?



Define "exercise".


Hint-hint, nudge-nudge, wink-wink, say-no-more-say-noooo-moooooooooore.
BakaGrappler wrote:
╒╦╧╬╩╦╦╛ wrote:
mortissimus wrote:
Could Parson gain a flight special if he exercised enough with Archons?



Define "exercise".


Hint-hint, nudge-nudge, wink-wink, say-no-more-say-noooo-moooooooooore.



With close enough association maybe the flying special of the archons will just be rubbed off on Parson.
Lilwik wrote:
Dystopianman wrote:
As for specials, thats my prediction! I Predict that the "rules" for acquiring specials ARE hidden within the game's system (or in Stupidworld parlance, "physics") I believe that they are rare and/or undocumented causing a cultural belief or bias that such things are either impossible or so rare that they are considered an anomaly or the "work of the titans" just as a person ignorant of the germ theory of disease and modern medicine would consider a disease proof of God's disfavor which is how people used to look at diseases back in ye olden days here on Stupidworld.
Surely it's not physics. What you're talking about is psychology, entirely mental. Turning Forecastle into a sailor is a matter of picking up new skills, nothing like catching a germ. I'm sure the Admiral recognizes that in principle someone who wasn't popped as a sailor might become a sailor given hundreds of turns to pound the landlubber out of him, but of course he doesn't have the time or the interest to try to do that to Forecastle. It would surely be cheaper and give better results if they just popped a sailor instead of trying to train Forecastle.


Heh, that was bad context on my part. I mean to say that Erfworld rules = Stupidworld Physics. *beat* Come to think of it, you're right about gaining skills being largely a mental exercise but in Erfworld they have a very systemic rules based effect..gaining the skill/special is a mental exercise, but once the special is gained, new rules i.e. physics get applied to you in the form of bonuses and move (and whatever else you get for seafarer)....just like in Stupidworld gaining skills allows you to manipulate the applied physics that we have knowledge of (a helicopter being applied physics for example.) Huh, hadn't considered it that way before.

As for the other, I am talking about psychology, or more specifically, the psychology that becomes ingrained into one due to one's cultural background. In this case, this side is culturally biased against land units in favor of seafarers. Practical concerns and considerations aside, this is a pretty interesting window into cultural elitism and bias from an Erfworld perspective. Same thing happens in Stupidworld all the time. Anyways, while the Admiral agreeing with Forecastle's suggestion that his seafaring units might teach Forecastle something does imply that perhaps it is known within Erfworld that specials can be gained through training, the only confirmed benefit we know training gives is leveling. I suspect we'll have confirmation on the former by the end of this story though.
Dystopianman wrote:
Lilwik wrote:
Dystopianman wrote:

As for the other, I am talking about psychology, or more specifically, the psychology that becomes ingrained into one due to one's cultural background. In this case, this side is culturally biased against land units in favor of seafarers. Practical concerns and considerations aside, this is a pretty interesting window into cultural elitism and bias from an Erfworld perspective. Same thing happens in Stupidworld all the time. Anyways, while the Admiral agreeing with Forecastle's suggestion that his seafaring units might teach Forecastle something does imply that perhaps it is known within Erfworld that specials can be gained through training, the only confirmed benefit we know training gives is leveling. I suspect we'll have confirmation on the former by the end of this story though.


This update has had me wondering about how Seafarer relates to plain Jane warlords riding on flying mounts on the one hand, and on the other, Dance fighting and Rocking Out. I would imagine Jillian is really good at 3D spatial thinking, making her a terror in aerial warfare, but there's no special involved in that. It's all just skill and practice. And yet I would totally buy that some warlords would suck at it, despite trying to do it and giving his regular bonus to his stack, while not actually understanding the tactics involved.

And then there's Dance Fighting and Rocking Out, which I want to say are specials you can learn, but I'm not positive.
We know that some units without the dance fighting special can dance fight if they are lead, so maybe a non-seafaring unit can receive a similar benefit from a seaman?
Dystopianman wrote:
Lilwik wrote:
Dystopianman wrote:
As for specials, thats my prediction! I Predict that the "rules" for acquiring specials ARE hidden within the game's system (or in Stupidworld parlance, "physics") I believe that they are rare and/or undocumented causing a cultural belief or bias that such things are either impossible or so rare that they are considered an anomaly or the "work of the titans" just as a person ignorant of the germ theory of disease and modern medicine would consider a disease proof of God's disfavor which is how people used to look at diseases back in ye olden days here on Stupidworld.
Surely it's not physics. What you're talking about is psychology, entirely mental. Turning Forecastle into a sailor is a matter of picking up new skills, nothing like catching a germ. I'm sure the Admiral recognizes that in principle someone who wasn't popped as a sailor might become a sailor given hundreds of turns to pound the landlubber out of him, but of course he doesn't have the time or the interest to try to do that to Forecastle. It would surely be cheaper and give better results if they just popped a sailor instead of trying to train Forecastle.


Heh, that was bad context on my part. I mean to say that Erfworld rules = Stupidworld Physics. *beat* Come to think of it, you're right about gaining skills being largely a mental exercise but in Erfworld they have a very systemic rules based effect..gaining the skill/special is a mental exercise, but once the special is gained, new rules i.e. physics get applied to you in the form of bonuses and move (and whatever else you get for seafarer)....just like in Stupidworld gaining skills allows you to manipulate the applied physics that we have knowledge of (a helicopter being applied physics for example.) Huh, hadn't considered it that way before.

As for the other, I am talking about psychology, or more specifically, the psychology that becomes ingrained into one due to one's cultural background. In this case, this side is culturally biased against land units in favor of seafarers. Practical concerns and considerations aside, this is a pretty interesting window into cultural elitism and bias from an Erfworld perspective. Same thing happens in Stupidworld all the time. Anyways, while the Admiral agreeing with Forecastle's suggestion that his seafaring units might teach Forecastle something does imply that perhaps it is known within Erfworld that specials can be gained through training, the only confirmed benefit we know training gives is leveling. I suspect we'll have confirmation on the former by the end of this story though.


Frankly, even if teaching specials were possible and even economical, it would still be pretty hard to overcome the fact that most units are popped for a purpose, that they love that purpose to the exclusion of all others, and that they often look down upon other types of units because of that. Certainly warlords are the exception, but in general I think it'd be hard to convince a Stabber (whose first and almost-only instinct is to stick a spear into an enemy unit) that dropping his spear in favor of a bow and arrow is worthwhile.

Heck, it's even possible that specials represent that a given unit has the mental capacity for the option. It may be that Stabbers are so hard-wired to spears that they'd be unable to hold the bow properly, no matter how hard you try to teach him/her. Sort of like a learning disability (though clearly not a Stupidworld version of one.) It may be that, without the additional mental abilities granted by the promotion to Warlord, a normal infantry unit just doesn't have the mental capacity to even consider an option other than to use the weapon they were popped with.

Just look at the very few normal infantry we've seen the perspective of in the comic. The stabber that was decrypted, the archer on Spacerock's wall, etc. None of them had any real concern besides croaking enemies in their specific style, and there was even the hint that the instinct to do so was so strong that without specific orders from leadership they'd do so without even thinking of alternatives. That isn't the kind of mind that I'd think would be capable of stepping outside its comfort zone to learn a new skill...
Economical is exactly the right word. Gobwin Knob bought the Heavy special for the Gobwin Knights and the Field Unit special for Lord Hamster. They were emergency purchases instead of planned ones, which tells me that upgrades and adding specials is very expensive compared to popping the proper unit in the first place.
There are probably specials that are incapable of being "promoted" into, as well. If FAQ had been able to, I'm sure Jillian would have given herself the Flight Special a looooong time ago. So what that tells me, is that there are...

Ranks: Stabber, Warlord, Chief
Unit designations: Stabber, Archer, Digger, Knight
Sub-Classes:Normal, Heavy
Assignment: Garrison, Field unit (Garrison units having less upkeep)
Specials: Flight, Archery, Movement terrain bonuses.

Classes can be promoted upward in ranks, but without a cheat, a Warlord probably can't become a Digger, with the Digging special. Specials seem to either by traits that a specific class is popped with, or that an aberrant bit of chance causes a unit to be popped with. Artemis immediately cast off her finery, and grabbed a bow and riding leathers. It was in her nature to grab that bow because she was popped with the special. Erfworlders are apparently inclined to dive into their specials and their roles upon being popped, so I think I can say THIS with certainty:

IF a unit IS able to learn a Special, not a single unit in Erfworld seems inclined to try.

It takes a Stupidworld's mind to look at the Rules/Laws of Erf and say, "Hmm, maybe I should take a technical course in Archery, and get that special." They are pretty much incapable of thinking in those terms.

And if Seafaring WAS something that could be taught, don't you think Nelson would have had Forecastle apprenticed immediately upon joining the crew to get those 3 move back right away?
nargbop wrote:
Economical is exactly the right word. Gobwin Knob bought the Heavy special for the Gobwin Knights and the Field Unit special for Lord Hamster. They were emergency purchases instead of planned ones, which tells me that upgrades and adding specials is very expensive compared to popping the proper unit in the first place.

Heavy is not a special according to Parson Glasses.

Quote:
Ranks: Stabber, Warlord, Chief
Unit designations: Stabber, Archer, Digger, Knight
Sub-Classes:Normal, Heavy
Assignment: Garrison, Field unit (Garrison units having less upkeep)
Specials: Flight, Archery, Movement terrain bonuses.


I would use Class instead of Unit Designation; Weight Class instead of Sub-Class; and Light rather than Normal(since that's a term that appeared in the story already.)

EDIT: And Change Warlord to Commander and Stabber to Infantry.

EDIT2:On another note Weirdomancy seems to be related with the manipulation of Specials so Learning new Specials might be a form of Natural Weirdomancy.
Godzfirefly wrote:
... the archer on Spacerock's wall, etc. None of them had any real concern besides croaking enemies in their specific style, and there was even the hint that the instinct to do so was so strong that without specific orders from leadership they'd do so without even thinking of alternatives. That isn't the kind of mind that I'd think would be capable of stepping outside its comfort zone to learn a new skill...

Actually, she would like to lead, someday. Although, she might have been popped for that potential with the streak in her hair being the corresponding signamancy. I don't really disprove your theory at all.

Stanly... has been trying to learn. He has been getting... a little better. At least he isn't so bad that he can't wield a hammer instead of a spear, so I'd imagine most lowly stabbers could learn another weapon at least, if not show an interest in leadership.