No, absolutely not. The laws of the universe set the rules of the game. Gravity pulls you towards earth. The sun's rays provide heat and light. Etc. etc. It's not about fair and not fair, it's about being able to choose.
Gravity does not
pull you towards earth. Space pushes you towards earth. Gravity is, effectively, space's immune response to a foreign object, id est
matter. It is a matter of perception. Why does it matter? I'll get there in a minute.
In fiction, I have seen Fate work in one of three ways. The first is that Fate can be overcome. Fate is a chain drawing one towards something horrible, and the heroic protagonist is able to break the shackles and escape. I hate that interpretation of Fate, because it isn't
Fate. It is something done by, in my opinion, poor authors in an attempt to increase tension. It is cheap. The second option is that Fate is immutable and free will is an illusion. Every step is already predestined. The characters are simply actors in a play, and they cannot deviate from their parts. In this case, character qualities are meaningless, since they are going to do what they are going to do. Whatever stratagems or schemes Parson develops and the oppositions reactions are all already set in stone. It doesn't matter because whether they will succeed or fail has already been determined. In fiction, this is probably the closest to the truth, since the author is, essentially, Fate. I find this a perfectly acceptable approach, since, much like any story, the interest comes from watching things unfold. The third option, which seems to be the way Rob is going, is that certain events
are Fated, but the path is not. I tend to find this the most interesting, because it does allow different outcomes and adds weight to the characters' choices. The reader can appreciate the good choices that improved the outcome or agonize of the poor ones that soured the outcome.
It seems to me, and correct me if I'm wrong, the second or third option is what is bothering you. You feel Fate is cheating the natural laws to achieve its result. This is where the point about perception comes in. If it is the second option, Fate isn't altering the set rules of the universe; Fate is the rules of the universe. Everything that happens is just a set of dominos set in motion long ago. Parson's plan is already predetermined. Ansom's response is already pretermined. Everyone is just a particle interacting with other particles according to the physics of the universe. It isn't Fate chosing for them, though. It is the choice is a foregone conclusion given the series of events and circumstances. It is like that character is a hydrogen atom. The atom does not chose anything. It some circumstances, it will combine with oxygen to form water. In others, it will fuse with another hydrogen atom to become helium. In different circumstances, such as deep in the bowels of Jupiter, it will form a matrix with other hydrogen atoms to become metallic hydrogen. Elements in a star's core may believe they have a choice, but they'll keep fusing until they make iron, and then the star will die. They are simply particles reacting under the laws of physics in the environment in which they find themselves. If it is the third option, choices do matter. The GM may be determined that they all wind up before the King, but they can choice to enter the city through the sewers, sneak over the wall or charge the front gate. If they sneak in through the sewers, they may find a treasure that changes everything. If they sneak over the wall, they may save the King from an assassination attempt and have him in their debt. If they charge the gate, they'll be brought before the King in chains. In this case, ending up before the King isn't what is important, the how they got there is. That is choice. It is about the journey being more important than the destination. It's about reading the story instead of just jumping to the end. In this instance, choice may be the most important thing of all.
If Goodminton (well I say if) is doomed, it's Delphie who doomed them. Her actions made certain that the peace offer was refused. On both occasions, if she'd stopped pushing after her demotion, if she hadn't gotten Tommy so worried... he wouldn't have been so desperate to turn Olive, which is where the problems started. Never mind that the Kiloton ambush was a direct result of her plot. Delphie's 'help' was worse than useless, at every stage.
While I agree Delphie shares responsibility for the dire circumstances in which Goodminton finds itself, I don't think all the blame can be laid on her. Delphie was mistaken when she lied, since it ruined her credibility. Delphie was mistaken to inform Tommy about the details of the Prediction. Delphie was mistaken in her fatalism towards Overlord Firebaugh. She has made poor choices. Wanda was mistaken in her resolute determination to fight Fate, instead of working with it to reach a better outcome. Tommy was mistaken informing Larry of the Prediction, which probably led to Haffaton deciding not to continue diplomacy. Overlord Firebaugh was mistaken when he chose inaction. There were many mistakes made by many people which compounded on each other. Delphie did not have all the answers. She should have admitted that from the start. She did, however, act in her side's best interests, with what information she did have, to the best of her ability. The fact that she failed just makes her human. She failed, and she should have gone about it differently, but I can't fault her for trying.
Wait, Wanda has duties, but there's been no fighting, what's she up to these days?
This is what we know. It has been five turns since the air battle. We haven't heard anything about Goodfinger or Goodminton's other city, although, at the time of the air battle, Goodfinger was likely to fall soon, and Overlord Firebaugh was considering razing it. There has been on action in the capital. Goodminton has sought
no action in the field. There are still captured units from the air battle that haven't turned. Wanda has not come up with any brilliant new ideas. Wanda ordered Clay to boost three scouts. Overlord Firebaugh gave Wanda a boon after the air battle. Wanda told her father she would be the field commander Goodminton needed. Fritz is practical but not imaginative, and he feels it is not his place to make strategic decisions. So, what are Wanda's duties?
Mind you, this is all speculation. First, it may be Wanda's duty to interrogate the prisoners and to attempt to turn them. We know Wanda had a talent for interrogation and torture at Gobwin Knob. This may be where she gets her start. It may also be where she discovers her sadism kink. We know Wanda is responsible for prisoners at Gobwin Knob. We also know Vanna is responsible for prisoners at Faq. Now, it can be argued these are special cases, Wanda's personal interest in Jillian and Vanna being a Turnamancer, but it also plausible that prisoners falling under the auspices of casters being the norm in Erfworld. The second possibility is that Wanda has become the de facto
Chief Warlord of Goodminton. Her father may still hope her to be the commander that will save their side. It was her brilliant plan that saved the capital. Unfortunately, she can't come up with another. Instead of trying to wrestle the initiative from their enemies, which is really their only hope, they are surrendering it. Patton once said that a good plan today is better than a perfect plan next week. Wanda doesn't realize this, so she is doing nothing while she tries to come up with a brilliant plan. Goodminton is scouting, though, so they are trying to keep tabs on enemy movements. Just because Goodminton has sought
no engagements in the field, it does not mean there have not been any. Goodminton's enemies are certainly moving, even if Goodminton is not. It may be that Wanda is looking for a weak, isolated enemy force she feels she can overwhelm. Goodminton seems to expect another air attack, so they are just sitting there waiting for it. So, Wanda may need to meet with Fritz and Overlord Firebaugh to discuss strategy, even if she hasn't come up with any good ideas yet.
There's a crucial difference. Gobwin Knob is not the side to which Wanda was popped. It's not part of her Tribe. She owes them nothing, no debt she hasn't repayed in spades, the Side would have fallen long ago without her. Also: Stanley, an idiot to whom she's reduced to serving as a concubine.
Gobwin Knob paid her upkeep for hundreds
of turns. They gave her free reign to do what she wanted, indulge in her hobbies
. While Wanda gave them Faq's three cities, which probably gave their treasury a nice boost, it wasn't her intention to do so. She may
have been behind the death of Saline IV. She certainly inflated Stanley's ego, encouraging him to attack his neighbors and claim a Titanic Mandate. She was an enabler to Stanley. She was also in control of the relationship with him. She dictated the terms. Any position in which she found herself, she put herself there. Wanda was probably more responsible for the dire situation Gobwin Knob found itself in than Delphie is for the one Goodminton finds itself in. Anything Wanda has done for Gobwin Knob has been solely in her own interest. Any benefit Gobwin Knob has reaped is wholely an unintended consequence. Of course, I'm splitting hairs here. My intention was to point out how Wanda once seemed irate over the idea of someone being loyal to Fate, when that is where her own loyalty will eventually lie.
I also find the difference between the Chief Predictamancer of Goodminton and the Chief Croakamancer of Goodminton interesting. Delphie was manipulative, haughty and autocratic, but she was never thoughtless or cruel. While Wanda is not yet manipulative, we know she will be by the time she gets to Gobwin Knob. Currently, all the other adjectives describe her. She is haughty in her new raiment, enjoying the power it gives her. She is autocratic, forcing Clay and Delphie to change quarters and dictating most of their actions. She is thoughtless and cruel. She only cares about herself, her father and her side. She cared about her brother. She gives no thought to what others want. She tramples all over the feelings of others in her pursuit of her own desires. She does not care how much she hurts Delphie; she's upset because she things don't work the way she wants them to. Her orders may end up killing Delphie and Clay. She has forbidden them from entering the Magic Kingdom without orders. If they find themselves in a situation where they need to flee or perish, they'll perish because they can't flee. While I didn't like Lady Temple as Chief Caster, I think Lady Firebaugh is much worse. Maybe the job just brings out the worst in her. Maybe she will be more sympathetic in service of Haffaton and Faq. Anyway, enough pointless musing.
Oh! Guys! I just realised remembered something really relevant http://www.erfworld.com/book-1-archive/?px=%2F013.jpg
- Panel 6 - I guess that implies Sizemore has Fate as well - perhaps to wield a certain Arkentool - could be why Wanda has never mentioned sacrificing him like Jack? She could recognise that knowing her own Fate has severely messed her up and knows Sizemore's but doesn't tell him.
Sizemore could tell that Jojo's scroll was Carnymancy. I think Fate magic was just the type of magic the scroll used. I don't think it had Sizemore's and Wanda's Fate written into it. I took Wanda's comment to simply mean that the future of their side hinged on the scroll on the warlord it summoned. Of course, I could be reading too little
into the conversation.
A joke in one of my old gaming groups was to imagine the people of a Standard NPC Village going about their daily business when suddenly, they all change from black-and-white to color... and freak out, because that means that one or more PCs is/are nearby, and their quiet lives are about to become a lot more "interesting."
There is an Order of the Stick strip like that
. Thanks for reminding me of it. It's been a while since I read it.
This update really made me sympathize with Delphie for the first time. She's finally revealed her nihilistic inner turmoil; because of her Predictamancy, she has empirical evidence showing that her own life is entirely meaningless in the grand scheme of things. The universe plays favourites and literally doesn't care about Delphie in the slightest. If she ceased to exist, the universal script wouldn't be fazed, and she has to deal with the unfairness of this fact somehow.
I agree. This is the first time I've sympathized with Delphie.
Also, we did learn something about Predictamancy this update. Predictamancy is actually two different things. There is intuiting outcomes, and there is reading Fate. When I took high school physics, I remember a class where the teacher had a ramp and a ball. He told us that if we could tell him where the ball would land, he would let us out of class for the period. We did it. It wasn't seeing the future. It was all math. It was about calculating the acceleration due to gravity, the angle of the ramp and the velocity of the ball. Of course, there were tons of factors we didn't consider, such as the friction of the ball on the ramp, air resistance and air currents to name a few, but in the small scale of that experiment, they had negligible impact on where the ball would land. I imagine intuiting outcomes works like that. Ultimately, it is the same as Mathamancy. Will Firebaugh croak if stacked with us? Will this shot hit? Where will that unit be in two seconds? Where will the enemy shoot? The further in the future a Predictamancer looks, the more variables involved, the harder it is to get an outcome. Will the capital be attacked by air? Eventually. Will the capital fall in that attack? Maybe. Marie mentioned there are turns where everything is cloudy until something is decided. Wanda compared it to her own Croakamancy sense. While she can feel nerves and muscles, Delphie and Marie can feel outcomes. If you don't like an outcome, you change the action that will lead to that outcome. This is what allowed Faq to stay hidden for so long. Reading Fate is different. It seems to overshadow the other. It creates a current that draws everything towards it. Reading Fate discovers an outcome that is unescapable. It is like an event horizon. Once across it, there is no escape. At that point, it is simply a matter of where and when the event will occur. Anyway, that is the way it is starting to look to me. One is precognition, and the other is an immutable event.