Duke Forecastle, Part 3

Duke Forecastle, Part 3

Duke Forecastle‘s tour of the Unsinkable II included learning a few new terms.

The ship‘s three masts, from front to back, were called the “foremast,” the “mainmast,” and the “mizzen.” The mastlike protrusion (“spar”) jutting out from the bow of the ship was the “bowsprit.”

The perpendicular timbers that held up the sails were called “yards,” and it was from there that the ship‘s “beam weapons” could be fired. These were blasts of Shockmancy stored in the masts, the total power of which was determined by the ship‘s design, condition, and crew, in much the same way that move was calculated. (A small degree of her offensive power was something else that Forecastle‘s presence in the crew was costing this ship.) Standard ship-to-ship tactics were to pull alongside an enemy vessel and fire a “broadside” of blasts at them all at once. But the spars could also be fired individually, and the bowsprit could shoot forward.

The bow in “bowsprit” was pronounced like “ow.” But the “bowline”–either the rope that was tied to the bow for some reason he instantly forgot, or the ever-present knot that shared its name–was pronounced “BOH-lin.” Similarly, the edges along the top of the ship were “gunwales” (pronounced “GUN-els” so as not to be confused with gun whales, one of the many types of sea monsters they might encounter out here). And yes, the upper front portion of the ship was called the forecastle, pronounced FAWK-sull.

Duke Forecastle missed his eponymous city.

He‘d chosen a group of six seafarers not attached to the crew as his guides. Below decks, the Unsinkable II‘s three hundred and ten passengers passed the time playing low-stakes games of cards and dice, composing and singing bawdy ballads, and generally being bored (and often drunk). He was forbidden from giving orders, but it wasn‘t hard to locate volunteers for such a simple little mission. Finding sober ones was only a bit harder.

The jolly group of six men and women showed him the ship, from bow to stern, fore to aft, keel to pennant, and port to starboard (“STAR-bed”) across the length of the beam (the widest part, at the “waist” of the ship). He learned the sailors‘ names (Lisa, Noel, Neko, Eric, Arbo and Sondre) but forgot which one was which before the tour was over.

He saw the main stem, the bulkheads, the belfry, the gangways, the hatchways, the tiller, the whipstaff, and most of the hold. They pointed out to him the trail board, the gratings, the brackets, the cat-head, the carlines, the knees, the spirketings, the chain pumps, the well, the capston, and the keeljon. On deck, they showed him the rigging, carefully pointing out the halyards, lifts, braces, buntlines, leachlines, clewlines, crosstees, futtock shrouds, tackle, spindles, caps, tacks, stays, trucks, crowfeet and stumps. They named each part of each mast, spar, and yard for him.

At some point, he began to suspect they were making up some of these terms for him as a joke. Shortly past that point, he ceased to care.

He supposed that he‘d had it in mind to acquire some functional equivalent of the Seafarer special just by watching and learning. He may not have been able to do anything about his effects on the ship‘s stat points, but if and when things came to battle he wanted to be ready. He wanted to learn enough to be a functioning member of the crew.

But somewhere between “knees” and “spirketings,” he was forced to conclude the idea was impossible. It wasn‘t that he didn‘t understand what he was seeing. It was that he couldn‘t retain so much detail all at once. A clear picture refused to form in his mind, showing him how all of these endless fixtures and bits worked together to be “the ship.”

He would have called off the effort, but Admiral Chequer and Cat Harping were both watching him closely from the quarterdeck, as were many of the crew. There wasn‘t much entertainment to be had on deck. The whispers and sniggers and occasional volleys of laughter from up in the rigging suggested that he was at least providing that service to the crew of the Unsinkable II.

So he took the full tour, feigning interest at every detail the sailors pointed to. When a halfway intelligent question occurred to him to ask, he would ask it. This would inevitably lead to an excruciatingly long and pointless answer, and a fight to keep his eyes wide open.

By the end of the turn, his neck was actually sore from nodding along.

When he finally felt comfortable calling the outing to a close, he thanked the group of sailors for volunteering their time. “You‘ve done a quite, ah, thorough job of educating me on the ways of the sea. But I‘ll let you go now. You are dismissed.” He said it formally, but was careful not to put the weight of an order behind it.

They went respectfully, but in a hurry. No doubt they‘d have stories to tell below, about Duke Foolcastle‘s gaffes and his ludicrously ignorant questions, and about the jokes they had put over on him. (“Then I said, no that‘s not the ‘wall‘ sir, we call that the ‘spirketing!‘ Bwa-ha-har!”)

Forecastle crossed over the main deck, his bootheels clunking over the planks as he stepped around wooden barrels and coils of rope, and the taciturn sailors who did not make way for him. The pitch of the ship was gentle, and the late morning air was warm and breezy.

And the Admiral‘s eyes were still upon him.

He cast his own gaze down and made his way astern (or “abaft?” he still wasn‘t clear on that) toward his quarters. Chequer didn‘t have to worry; Duke Forecastle the Landlubber planned to lie in his bunk and pretend not to exist for the rest of the voyage, just like the man wanted him to. He opened the hatchway that led inside to the quarter galleries. Huh. He remembered those terms correctly, at least.

“Warlord,” said Admiral Chequer from the quarterdeck above.

Forecastle took a step backwards, into the sunshine, and squinted up at the man. “Admiral?”

Chequer was standing stiffly on deck, teeth bared into the breeze. Navigator Harping was standing at rest just behind him. The wire-haired woman tilted her head as she looked at him. “Dine in my stateroom tonight,” he ordered. Then he turned his eyes to the horizon and said nothing else.

“Yes, sir,” said Forecastle. After another moment, he ducked inside.

Recent posts... (See full thread)
0beron wrote:
Other People wrote:
[Jack is actually the smart one]
Very good point, perhaps I've been giving Wanda bit too much credit. Though I still get the impression she is tactically skilled as well, she played a huge role in keeping Goodminton alive, and obviously she had to contribute to the expansionist success of Haffaton even though we don't see it on-screen. Further, even though GK is just about ruined at the start of Book 1, I think it's still very telling that Stanley was consulting her rather that a council of junior warlords, indicating she's the tactical head of things. So I think that combined, Jack and Wanda both illustrate my original point. Casters who lack the Leadership special and thus have no numeric effects on their units, but still make masisve positive contributions to combat through the decisions they make.
The issue is that Wanda is hobbled by her fatalism. I suspect she's a lot smarter than we've seen; but she has no reason to apply it when she thinks the outcome is inevitable anyway.
Dystopianman wrote:
Parson is a Player, right? Was Judy one too?


How Parson announced he was a Player was by breaking the boop filter. Judy was subject to the boop filter. So maybe if she was a Player, she wasn't the same kind of Player Parson is.
Free Radical wrote:
Dystopianman wrote:
Agreed, but Erfworld still takes place within the paradigm of a tabletop strategy game. Some people from Stupidworld are -awful- at these games. If Judy was one of those people, what qualities and traits would she have possessed to make her so successful in this very alien world?

Judy didn't treat erfworld as a strategy game - she went through it as an adventure story. She croaked the Witch of Easteros as part of her summoning, attuned to the Arkenshoes, then used them to sneak into Westeregg's territory and croak the Witch of Westeregg. There's no mention of her leading an army or planning strategy, she used her unlimited Move and Olive's Hippiemancy to assassinate the enemy ruler, ending the side that way.


wih wrote:
Dystopianman wrote:
Parson is a Player, right? Was Judy one too?


How Parson announced he was a Player was by breaking the boop filter. Judy was subject to the boop filter. So maybe if she was a Player, she wasn't the same kind of Player Parson is.


Both of these theories hang nicely together, an adventure story is a different paradigm from a table top strategy game, yet both can be set in the same setting. This happens on Stupidworld as well. Huh, so is Erfworld that subjective to the individual Stupidworlder's ....no... Earthworlder's :P (Earthling is a shitty name anyways) individual perspective? How subjective is Signamancy anyways if thats the case?
Aquillion wrote:
The issue is that Wanda is hobbled by her fatalism. I suspect she's a lot smarter than we've seen; but she has no reason to apply it when she thinks the outcome is inevitable anyway.


We've seen almost every choice Wanda make backfire on her or fail somehow. I think it's Erfworld balancing the numbers, or trying to.

Spoiler: show
From the very beginning, with the way she dealt with the prediction on going to Haffaton, every choice made it worse and cost her brother's life, then her father's, and ended her side. Then at Haffaton, many more bad results, about the only good thing she did there was find the slippers. Then at FAQ, leading Stanley there without working with her side on the project, caused the fall of FAQ. Then with Stanley, coaxing him into questing for the Arkentools and losing a lot until Gobwin Knob was nearly extinct too. Then one more good choice in summoning Parson before beginning another series of bad decisions that alienated Jillian, nearly killed Parson and Stanley and ended GK, not to mention almost getting herself and Jack and everyone else killed at the battle for Jetstone, alienated Jillian again/more, almost trapped Parson in the Magic Kingdom, leaving the battle causing the decrypted Ossomer to turn back, DAMNIT WANDA just sit down and take a break already and stop making things worse. :D


After all that, anyone would have a strange attitude towards fate.
Free Radical wrote:
Judy didn't treat erfworld as a strategy game - she went through it as an adventure story. She croaked the Witch of Easteros as part of her summoning, attuned to the Arkenshoes, then used them to sneak into Westeregg's territory and croak the Witch of Westeregg. There's no mention of her leading an army or planning strategy, she used her unlimited Move and Olive's Hippiemancy to assassinate the enemy ruler, ending the side that way.

Considering the following passages together, it seems that Judy's success had a lot to do with being able to work with Olive, and that capability included either a vulnerability to being tricked by Olive and/or the ability to play con games, perhaps under Charlie's influence:

Quote:
“The Warlady Gale acquired the Arkenshoes from Bell’s body, and over a period of several turns she attuned to them. She then used them to infiltrate Westeregg and destroy Blair, capturing the Arkendish and returning it to The Wizard, as per their terms of alliance.”

Quote:
“In destroying Blair, Judy had the aid of el-Efbaum’s Hippiemancer, Olive Branch.”...."Beginning with Blair, [Olive] arranged or accomplished the croaking of eleven enemy rulers and at least two hundred warlords under false terms of parley, truce, or alliance, or via other dishonorable and perverse means."


The fact that Blair may have been the first commander croaked by Olive's trickery suggests to me that Judy may have had no clue that she was setting Blair up to die, that Judy may have had peaceful intentions in her mission to Westeregg.
Lilwik wrote:
Sky Schemer wrote:
Sure, he isn't going to earn a special in a couple of days, but it's something.
He's not going to earn a special ever. It's been made pretty clear in this part that specials can only be popped, not learned, and if you learn the same skills as people who have a special that still won't actually give you the special. I think it says that here: "He supposed that he’d had it in mind to acquire some functional equivalent of the Seafarer special just by watching and learning. He may not have been able to do anything about his effects on the ship’s stat points, but if and when things came to battle he wanted to be ready." Forecastle knows that specials cannot be acquired, only functional equivalents at best, and no matter how much he learns the ship will never react to him as if he had the seafarer special.

That's really weird. Is the seafarer special nothing but a label that gives a unit power over a ship, and the fact that it comes with knowledge and skills for ships just a coincidence? I mean, are the activities of the sailors pointless because only the fact that they are seafarers matters to the move of the ship? If another crew came aboard and did everything exactly as seafarers would, but without the seafarer special, then the ship would waddle along like it were manned by landlubbers, because no matter how much seafarer you put into a unit, you can't flip a switch and turn on the seafarer special that ships look for. I really hope I'm misinterpreting this.

Actually, to be precise, it's been made pretty clear that the common belief is that specials can only be popped. Your quote says nothing of whether that is actually the case. I think Erfworld uses the duck test; if it talks like a seafarer and acts like a seafarer, it's a seafarer.

(Also, am I supposed to be getting my forum badge for the latest Kickstarter yet? I haven't gotten a survey to fill out yet.)
0beron wrote:

So I certainly believe that Forecastle's efforts will indeed have a positive effect on his ship and side....but not one that can be measured with numbers. He'll never make it go faster, he'll never make it shoot harder. But he could make better choices.


I agree with all you have said, but have a minor quibble here...

We know from Digdoug (and book zero) that casters don't pop with a lot of inherent "warlording" knowledge; he had a bit of unfamiliarity understanding how the warlords thought, and how he could best help them. He slowly learned. Wanda and Jack, having been around a while have acquired most the knowledge warlords pop with. In short, they did with "warlording" what Forecastle is trying to do with "seamanship"

The reason they are not tactical geniuses is most warlords are NOT tactical geniuses, but schmoes with a Leadership bonus they use as a crutch instead of needing to develop sound tactics. If most warlords are not aware tactics is a thing, it is kind of hard to learn actual tactics from said warlords. So Wanda and Jack learned as much as they could, and then hit a wall when they reached the level of their teacher. Also, I am pretty sure this learning was just by osmosis, not consciously trying to learn what they could of being a warlord. I think it speaks something telling about actually trying to learn, rather then stuff just slowly sticking over the years. Both Jack learning from Parson, and Forecastle from the Sailors.

So. I am wondering of the "Seamanship" Special is being used like a crutch, Like Ansom was using his +10 Leadership Bonus as a crutch instead of developing complex tactics and strategy? I ask because Parsons genius CAN be measured with numbers; His Mathamancy Bracer has done so when it calculates the odds for Parson (and Charlie)
If it only accounted for his +2/+3 Leadership bonus, and the opponents probably greater Leadership bonus, then it would always give skewed results, which it does not. And the deference in success using Parsons Tactics versus Random Generic Warlords Tactics, is a Measurable number. Just one that takes magical calculations to resolve, as opposed to being visible to every commander in Erfworld. Remember the quote I am paraphrasing here?"His level is 2. It is 10. It is 0. It is 100. It does not matter."

So I am wondering if not Forecastle, then someone can increase a ships move and firepower by trying to apply ACTUAL seamanship to Erfworld (as opposed to/in addition to the Seamanship Special) like Parson is applying ACTUAL Tactics (as opposed to/in addition to the Leadership special)

By for example, charting all the high wind hexes, and their direction, and setting the sails to Stupidworld standards, to eke every bit of wind power, using the wind as a virtual crew member. Or something. Because it sounds like the ship almost exclusively moves "Automagically" using the crews move, with the wind only as minor flavor. And Stupidworld seamanship moved beyond needing that centuries ago.
Tathar wrote:
Am I supposed to be getting my forum badge for the latest Kickstarter yet? I haven't gotten a survey to fill out yet.


I was on the same boat and asked. Don't worry, Team Erfworld is applying badges backer by backer. It may take a while but yours will pop for sure.
bpzinn wrote:

We know from Digdoug (and book zero) that casters don't pop with a lot of inherent "warlording" knowledge; he had a bit of unfamiliarity understanding how the warlords thought, and how he could best help them. He slowly learned. Wanda and Jack, having been around a while have acquired most the knowledge warlords pop with. In short, they did with "warlording" what Forecastle is trying to do with "seamanship"

To be fair, there is a big difference between commanding units and seafaring. For one thing, casters are still Commanders, even if they have no leadership bonus. Lord Forecastle wouldn't be a Seafarer without the seafarer bonus.
I just learned that pew pew pew coming off ship masts is a real thing.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Elmo%27s_fire