Fumo the Free - Part 1

If a warlord falls in the forest...

Fumo the Free - Part 1

 

The jokes Erfworld told itself were usually short, strange, and alive.

 

His name was "Fumo," this warlord. No title, no surname.  

 

His Sign was equally abbreviated, and the Signamancy of his raiment — shiny black boots, navy dungarees, a black leather jacket with gold epaulets, and a black bicorn hat — was a part of the joke. This was not even a seafaring unit. He was standing by himself in a tropical jungle hex, at zero move, being stung at irregular intervals by a colony of bulletpoint ants.

 

Fumo had given up on slapping himself. He was no longer pacing around the glistening underbrush to avoid being bitten and stung. The ants were everywhere. Instead, the warlord was using his cutlass to hack at the bark of a nylocnut tree.

 

They were only nibbling at him, Noah could see. But the ants intended to swarm the helpless warlord after sundown. Over the course of the night, they would eat him entirely. He would be gone before he could disband at sunrise. The ants had a plan.

 

Fumo did not. He only wanted a campfire, but all of the wood he could find was green or wet. So the warlord had chosen to try to use bark, unaware that he'd picked a tree which was as immune to fire as granite. He did not have the Ranger special. He had no specials at all. And he hadn't popped with any particular knowledge of plants or jungles.

 

Noah knew quite a bit about nature, and some things about the nature of Erfworld. Or rather, he felt that he knew. This was an important distinction, in which the feeling is arguably the superior knowledge. Before Paige, he'd known about the world's cruel indifference to all living beings, especially to those whose hearts were connected to no other. Date-a-mancy was a form of nourishment; units could starve for want of it.

 

But until the see birds, he hadn't known what the Lookamancers all must know...this thing about the people-jokes. It happened all the time.

 

Or were they joke people? At any rate, barbarian commander units popped in the wilderness as commonly as other ferals. Empty of purse and with a level 1's limited move, Noah guessed that more than four in five of them would live for only a single turn. In most cases, the Titans gave these poor units no chance of survival. None at all. It did not matter what choices they made or what outcomes they rolled. Like Fumo, their random points, specials, and equipment weren't often a match for the environment. It was possible to pop in a high mountain hex and be unable to move from there. Noah hadn't yet seen a warlord or caster pop in the ocean and immediately drown, but the idea it might be happening constantly gave him recurring nightmares.

 

Even barbarians who were in their element would depop unless they found a source of upkeep; with a few extremely rare exceptions, forage can only provide half the cost of a unit's next turn. It didn't matter if you'd filled your stomach. If your purse was empty at start of turn, then you were gone.

 

For the fraction who survived to see a second turn, it was often only by a stroke of fortune. Occasionally a free warlord might pop with the mining special, dig down, and be lucky enough to find a gem. A few might stumble upon a ruin and find treasure inside. This sort of improbable thing was Paige’s story (literally and literarily—he'd published her memoir to the libraries of the world). The Wifequeen had popped here on Nestlý, and this remote island happened to boast an abandoned capital site.

 

The greater portion of turn-2 barbarians managed to survive by finding someone to turn to. Either they encountered sided units and surrendered, or (once in a while) managed to Sign a contract for freelance work and remain free. Some sides even prefered that arrangement. Some Kings are especially picky about who may call themselves a subject of the King, and barbarians are not at the top of the list of most admired and desired.

 

And...another depressing discovery...some sides held barbarians in such low esteem that wild-popped warlords were welcomed only as target practice, a chance to level up their real commanders. Nearly as many barbarians met their end this way as by disbanding for lack of upkeep.

 

Fumo, it seemed, was not about to meet that fate (or Fate, if indeed the world does possess both a will and a heartless sense of humor). But “eaten by ants” was probably worse than “hunted for sport by a prince,” as a way to go back in the box (if indeed that’s where you went). Losing a fight with the local wildlife was a common ending to these stories. The island’s jaguars had nearly been the end of Paige.

 

Noah, of course, was powerless to help the warlord. These events had passed at least a tenturn ago. He could only sit beside the surf with the see bird in his hands and ask it, then what happened?

 


Recent posts... (See full thread)
A backer story being mixed with a main story prolongue? This is blasphemy! And I love it!
Honestly, if I was Parson or some other ruler with scouts, I would hire as many level 1 barbarians as possible. Just giving them the mathamancy would make them loyal. "Dude you had an 80% chance of croaking on your first turn. Then you had an 80% of being murdered by a random side on your second turn. You're incredibly lucky you found my side. I'll make sure you're taken care of forever as long as you remain loyal". I mean, you rescue a poor sap from certain death and then treat him or her right? That's how you get loyalty right there. Plus, you don't waste turns popping your warlords AND you get some nice wartime perspective from a technically "foreign" adviser.
Thecommander236 wrote:
Honestly, if I was Parson or some other ruler with scouts, I would hire as many level 1 barbarians as possible. Just giving them the mathamancy would make them loyal. "Dude you had an 80% chance of croaking on your first turn. Then you had an 80% of being murdered by a random side on your second turn. You're incredibly lucky you found my side. I'll make sure you're taken care of forever as long as you remain loyal". I mean, you rescue a poor sap from certain death and then treat him or her right? That's how you get loyalty right there. Plus, you don't waste turns popping your warlords AND you get some nice wartime perspective from a technically "foreign" adviser.


If you have a lookamancer to see them pop and a dragon relay to save them, this is a good way to pop warlords without having to have your city take the time to pop them. Other combos would work too, but that seems like the easiest one.
Died of Dysentary
robc wrote:
Thecommander236 wrote:
Honestly, if I was Parson or some other ruler with scouts, I would hire as many level 1 barbarians as possible. Just giving them the mathamancy would make them loyal. "Dude you had an 80% chance of croaking on your first turn. Then you had an 80% of being murdered by a random side on your second turn. You're incredibly lucky you found my side. I'll make sure you're taken care of forever as long as you remain loyal". I mean, you rescue a poor sap from certain death and then treat him or her right? That's how you get loyalty right there. Plus, you don't waste turns popping your warlords AND you get some nice wartime perspective from a technically "foreign" adviser.


If you have a lookamancer to see them pop and a dragon relay to save them, this is a good way to pop warlords without having to have your city take the time to pop them. Other combos would work too, but that seems like the easiest one.


My thoughts exactly. That or archon scouts instead of the Lookamancer. Or witches maybe.
Thecommander236 wrote:
robc wrote:
Thecommander236 wrote:
Honestly, if I was Parson or some other ruler with scouts, I would hire as many level 1 barbarians as possible. Just giving them the mathamancy would make them loyal. "Dude you had an 80% chance of croaking on your first turn. Then you had an 80% of being murdered by a random side on your second turn. You're incredibly lucky you found my side. I'll make sure you're taken care of forever as long as you remain loyal". I mean, you rescue a poor sap from certain death and then treat him or her right? That's how you get loyalty right there. Plus, you don't waste turns popping your warlords AND you get some nice wartime perspective from a technically "foreign" adviser.


If you have a lookamancer to see them pop and a dragon relay to save them, this is a good way to pop warlords without having to have your city take the time to pop them. Other combos would work too, but that seems like the easiest one.


My thoughts exactly. That or archon scouts instead of the Lookamancer. Or witches maybe.


If you happen to be Charlie and have (had) unlimited power for thinkagrams you could make your scouting mission way easier. Leave signs describing how to contact you in any hex outside of other sides influence. Grab what you like, casters for example. Ignore/Sell/farm for xp the rest. Charlie could outproduce maybe all other sides of Erf simultanously that way. Throw in guns and taking over Erworld could only be stopped by Fate. Of course he does not want to take over Erworld but there is this really annoying warlord he wants to get rid off....
Carl wrote:
... That also, (given the context), confirm pretty well that bullet point ants are in fact wildlife, not a natural trap.


I agree. I think the no combat at night rule likely refers to the fact that units cannot move between hexes at night, not that they cannot croak or hunt. During the night phase in book 1, the Transylvito warlords released their bats to forage. Jillian was also about to murder someone in cold rage so I'm thinking that a unit that hides itself would probably be able to ambush and engage another unit at night time as long as they were in the same hex. We did see a bunch of dolls dogpile Jack and Parson when they were sneaking around and wouldn't that be considered a combat action?

Most of the ferals in the book appear seem to have some kind of sentience, or at the very least have the ability to join a side. I wouldn't be surprised if all the ferals in Erfworld count as units that can be tamed and convinced to join a side. If that is the case, you'd be better off taming the ants by feeding them Fumo rather than hiring him on. Ants are hard workers, naturally efficient, and they'll happily clean your dirty dishes.
Bandaid wrote:
If you happen to be Charlie and have (had) unlimited power for thinkagrams you could make your scouting mission way easier. Leave signs describing how to contact you in any hex outside of other sides influence. Grab what you like, casters for example. Ignore/Sell/farm for xp the rest. Charlie could outproduce maybe all other sides of Erf simultanously that way. Throw in guns and taking over Erworld could only be stopped by Fate. Of course he does not want to take over Erworld but there is this really annoying warlord he wants to get rid off....


It really does seem like Charlie is wasting his resources. He could have an entire army of barbarians and free casters at this point. Loyalty is easy for him to garner just out of straight up fear for his power like with Claud and Ivan. Yet he doesn't. He used to want to be Erfworld's savior, but now he's just interested in surviving. One has to wonder what would have happened if his daughter never poisoned him.
Awesome update. I relish every time we hear more about how Erfworld 'works'.

Also enjoying the discussion in this thread about the meaning of: "barbarian commander units popped in the wilderness as commonly as other ferals."

In this post I will plead that the numbers of popped commanders are waaaay smaller than most people in this thread have assumed.

Most of the guesses about the numbers of popped commanders seem way off. Most base this on the chance of dwagons popping in the Minty Mts. Which Parson guesses to be one in two hundred. Stanley says: "I guess" and shrugs. So the guess may be incorrect. Anyway, it is the only number we have to work with.

I consider it entirely likely that terrain types have different chances for specific unit types to spawn.

The only commander I know of to have spawned (in canon), is Tisha, and she spawned in a ruin. Maybe barbarian commanders will spawn only in ruins, with about a 1/200 chance. If so, it would explain why no-one, including our protagonist who is famed for exploiting any advantage, actively gathers leadership that way.

An extra argument: GK had completely depleted its leadership at the start of Book 1. If if had been at all possible to reliably encounter barbarian Warlords (m/f) and offer them to Turn for upkeep, Wanda and Stanley would have discussed that option.

It has been suggested that maybe the Loyalty of Turned barbarians is low. Perhaps, but Thinkamancy and Turnamancy can affect Loyalty. GK has a Thinkamancer and could have hired a Turnamancer from the MK to improve the Loyalty of any Turned barbarian commander. That would have undoubtedly been MUCH cheaper than the scroll of Summon Perfect Warlord (m/f).

As a matter of fact: hiring a Findamancer and linking them with their Lookamancer and Thinkamancer would have probably amounted to a Summon Any Barbarian Warlords Around Here NOW spell. And would still have been cheaper. And m/f.

The fact that neither Wanda and Stanley nor Parson tried/tries to find barbarian commanders, means that the chance of finding any are tiny. This story would not have existed if Warlords were that easy to come by. Both m and f.
As for the survival rate of dwagons:

With an assumed 1/200 chance of a feral dwagon spawning for any given hex [source], and assuming Stanley can reach about 600-700 hexes on his armored red dwagon and still return to GK, Parson says that there should be three dwagons available for His Toolship to tame. Clearly, that means freshly popped ones. Apparently, Parson knows that a feral dwagon would survive only one turn.

Or he forgot to include dwagons that have popped in earlier turns that haven't depopped yet, but that is not a very Parson-like thing to do. Or a very Rob-like thing to do, which amounts to the same thing.

So I assume it is safe to say that feral dwagons will depop if their upkeep is not paid the next turn. This may be true for any feral. However, in that case a Double-headed Eagle has no reason to break Alliance when its Luckamancy reserve is full. It would have to remain allied, or depop the next turn for lack of upkeep. Which would imply that some freals do NOT need upkeep and can subsist by foraging.

Governor Fawksull (Duke Forecastle) wondered whether the Double-headed Eagle he encountered was the same one he had tamed while shipbound. This implies that he believed fearals capable of surviving without upkeep.

Feral tribes CAN exist without upkeep: "Tribes have no purse and keep no Shmuckers. When they are in an alliance, their allied side pops rations for them from its treasury. But a feral tribe must hunt or gather or farm or mine." [source]

So the question is: can all feral creatures survive by hunting / gathering? Or only some types?