Support the GITP forums on Patreon
Help support GITP's forums (and ongoing server maintenance) via Patreon
Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 30 of 71
  1. - Top - End - #1
    Troll in the Playground
     
    martianmister's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Turkey
    Gender
    Female

    Default Questions about Gourntonk and Ian Starshine

    1. Are they in cahoots? Is Ian a spy of Reptilia? Or, is he the source of the leak into reptilia?

    2. Did Tarquin scapegoat Ian for Gourntonk's assassination? If so, why? Reptilia is going to be their next enemy.
    Last edited by martianmister; 2013-08-29 at 05:15 AM.
    Spoiler
    Show

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Orc in the Playground
     
    pearl jam's Avatar

    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Tokyo
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Questions about Gourntonk and Ian Starshine

    2. Seems clearly to be yes based on what we see in the comic. The reason is probably simply that he needed both a scapegoat and something to hold over Haley's head and this takes care of both.

    1. I don't think this is likely. As in 2, I think Ian is merely a scapegoat that provides both cover for the crime and material for manipulating the OOTS.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Giant in the Playground Administrator
     
    The Giant's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Questions about Gourntonk and Ian Starshine

    Quote Originally Posted by martianmister View Post
    1. Are they in cahoots? Is Ian a spy of Reptilia? Or, is he the source of the leak into reptilia?
    Ian has absolutely nothing to do with Reptilia whatsoever. The "leak" in question is the ambassador himself, who was attempting to leak their plan to Empress (not knowing that she was not going to do anything about it). Knowing what he knew, he could easily have spread that information to other people once he realized the Empress was a patsy.

    Quote Originally Posted by martianmister View Post
    2. Did Tarquin scapegoat Ian for Gourntonk's assassination?
    Yes.

    Quote Originally Posted by martianmister View Post
    If so, why? Reptilia is going to be their next enemy.
    Reptilia is going to be someone's next enemy. But not necessarily that of the Empire of Blood. Why connect the dots between the ambassador's death and the upcoming invasion if you don't have to? If Tarquin takes credit for the kill and then invades, it confirms the Reptilian government's theory that he has something to hide. If some random extremist killed the ambassador and then some other country invades the next week, that could be related or not. It's tougher to tell.
    Rich Burlew


    Utterly Dwarfed, the sixth compilation of The Order of the Stick is now in stock. Order at Ookoodook (paper copies) or Gumroad (digital PDFs), or pick it up from your local gaming store.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Czech Republic
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Questions about Gourntonk and Ian Starshine

    1. Probably not, but it's certainly not impossible. Reptilia is, after the fall of The Free City of Doom, the sole independent country in the vicinity of Tarquin's empires, so it makes sense Ian would inform them.

    2. For above reason, Reptilia would have been attacked anyway. Gourntonk just gave EoT a good excuse.

    Edit: Swordsaged by the Giant
    Last edited by Mike Havran; 2013-08-29 at 05:32 AM.
    All thanks to half-halfling for the avatar.

    There must be some sense of order - personal, political or dramatic - and if no one else is going to bring it to this world, I will.

    Silent member of Zz'dtri's #698 Scrying Sensor Explanation Club.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BlueKnightGuy

    Join Date
    Oct 2009

    Default Re: Questions about Gourntonk and Ian Starshine

    Reptilia is going to be someone's next enemy. But not necessarily that of the Empire of Blood. Why connect the dots between the ambassador's death and the upcoming invasion if you don't have to? If Tarquin takes credit for the kill and then invades, it confirms the Reptilian government's theory that he has something to hide. If some random extremist killed the ambassador and then some other country invades the next week, that could be related or not. It's tougher to tell.

    That said, one might have to wonder how three empires with the same name scheme came to slow prominence, dominating country after country over time.

    Sure, it would take longer to detect, but one would really see it if they looked at a map 10-15 years ago versus one from today. That's not proof they're in cahoots, but it would eventually arouse suspicion from anyone familiar with and/or vaguely interested in that area of the continent of that period of time, if what existed before was a series of 20-30 nations vying for dominance which would get set up and then crumble within 1-2 years or less.


    EDIT: I recall that the names of the nations keep changing. That provides extra cover. Still, the existence of 3 nations where there was previously so many is something that would be noticed, I would think.
    Last edited by Nilan8888; 2013-08-29 at 06:39 AM.
    What shall we do to fill the empty spaces
    Where waves of hunger gnaw?

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Orc in the Playground
     
    theangelJean's Avatar

    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Sydney, Australia
    Gender
    Female

    Default Re: Questions about Gourntonk and Ian Starshine

    Quote Originally Posted by Nilan8888 View Post
    That said, one might have to wonder how three empires with the same name scheme came to slow prominence, dominating country after country over time.

    Sure, it would take longer to detect, but one would really see it if they looked at a map 10-15 years ago versus one from today. That's not proof they're in cahoots, but it would eventually arouse suspicion from anyone familiar with and/or vaguely interested in that area of the continent of that period of time.
    Links: As per comic 758, the empires change names every few years, which would make it harder to detect. Which is part of why people always need new maps (and this particular cartographer happens not to keep old ones).
    I'm pretty much the opposite of concise. If I fail to get to the point, please ask me and I'm happy to (attempt to) clarify.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    ElfPirate

    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location

    Default Re: Questions about Gourntonk and Ian Starshine

    Quote Originally Posted by Nilan8888 View Post
    EDIT: I recall that the names of the nations keep changing. That provides extra cover. Still, the existence of 3 nations where there was previously so many is something that would be noticed, I would think.
    I don't think so, such a thing is par for the course on the Western Continent. Sure, you can see it if you're looking for it, but a casual observer doesn't see three steadily growing empires, they see a region that still changes hands every few years just like it always has done. If they look a bit closer they might notice that there are fewer countries in the region than there previously were, but for all we know the number of countries on the west coast (for example) has doubled over the same period. Bear in mind also that it's not simply a matter of changing the name, Tarquin goes through the whole process of "overthrowing" the previous ruler and "conquering" their land. The borders of the Empire of Blood are almost certainly different to those of Tyrinaria, what matters to Tarquin is how much land his team controls in total, not where the lines between them are drawn for the marks.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BlueKnightGuy

    Join Date
    Oct 2009

    Default Re: Questions about Gourntonk and Ian Starshine

    Links: As per comic 758, the empires change names every few years, which would make it harder to detect. Which is part of why people always need new maps (and this particular cartographer happens not to keep old ones).
    Right, which I addressed in my edit. Even provided the name changes though:

    1. Three Empires exist where there was 20-30 nations before

    2. When a nation is overthrown, presumably, the borders stay relatively consistent. The major cities remain within the borders of where they were. Or do these nations "trade" cities? If so that might have to be a recent addition to the plan: at one time when first starting out, each of the 3 nations probably wouldn't have been bordering one another for that to be an option. Otherwise he's constantly "losing" territory he has to take back over.

    3. Anyone dealing with these nations over time would start to notice the familiar faces in diplomatic relations. This would get clearer as time went on as you were gradually more likely to see them since they're gradually becoming the only game in town.
    Last edited by Nilan8888; 2013-08-29 at 06:55 AM.
    What shall we do to fill the empty spaces
    Where waves of hunger gnaw?

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Retired Mod in the Playground Retired Moderator
    Join Date
    Apr 2004

    Default Re: Questions about Gourntonk and Ian Starshine

    Quote Originally Posted by Nilan8888 View Post
    That said, one might have to wonder how three empires with the same name scheme came to slow prominence, dominating country after country over time.

    Sure, it would take longer to detect, but one would really see it if they looked at a map 10-15 years ago versus one from today....
    And I think that's the crux of the matter. The non-Elven part of the Western Continent has been in so much upheaval for so long that no one cares what the political map looked like one year ago, let alone 10 or 15. I mean, the cartographer can't be bothered to even keep the old ones in stock, so it takes someone as paranoid as Ian Starshine to think that the constantly shifting names and lines on the maps might mean something and actually pay attention.
    Last edited by Grey Watcher; 2013-08-29 at 06:57 AM.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Retired Mod in the Playground Retired Moderator
    Join Date
    Apr 2004

    Default Re: Questions about Gourntonk and Ian Starshine

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogardan_Mage View Post
    I don't think so, such a thing is par for the course on the Western Continent. Sure, you can see it if you're looking for it, but a casual observer doesn't see three steadily growing empires, they see a region that still changes hands every few years just like it always has done. If they look a bit closer they might notice that there are fewer countries in the region than there previously were, but for all we know the number of countries on the west coast (for example) has doubled over the same period. Bear in mind also that it's not simply a matter of changing the name, Tarquin goes through the whole process of "overthrowing" the previous ruler and "conquering" their land. The borders of the Empire of Blood are almost certainly different to those of Tyrinaria, what matters to Tarquin is how much land his team controls in total, not where the lines between them are drawn for the marks.
    True, I always imagined that Tarquin keeps up enough open hostility between the patsy empires to keep things plausible. Nothing that would cost valuable troops, but loots of raiding and sabre-rattling and such.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nilan8888 View Post
    ...

    3. Anyone dealing with these nations over time would start to notice the familiar faces in diplomatic relations. This would get clearer as time went on as you were gradually more likely to see them since they're gradually becoming the only game in town.
    This may be what tipped of the Reptilian ambassador, actually. Maybe they should invest in some Hats of Disguise?

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Orc in the Playground
     
    ClockShock's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2010

    Default Re: Questions about Gourntonk and Ian Starshine

    As the latest comic demonstrates (again), people can and do figure it all out. However, Tarquin seems pretty good at either keeping them in prison or assassinating them before it becomes a problem.

    And if another nation is at risk of unravelling the plot, they become the next target.
    (Avatar by Ava)

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    ElfPirate

    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location

    Default Re: Questions about Gourntonk and Ian Starshine

    Quote Originally Posted by Nilan8888 View Post
    1. Three Empires exist where there was 20-30 nations before
    Nonsense. There are 18 countries total at present and the Empires of Blood, Sweat and Tears comprise at most half of the inhabited area. So your estimate of the "normal" density is at least double the actual figure, and that's assuming that on this very turbulent continent there is such a thing as "normal" at all, and that the singular map we have is an accurate reflection of said normal state. Neither of these assumptions is tremendously valid.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nilan8888 View Post
    2. When a nation is overthrown, presumably, the borders stay relatively consistent. The major cities remain within the borders of where they were. Or do these nations "trade" cities? If so that might have to be a recent addition to the plan: at one time when first starting out, each of the 3 nations probably wouldn't have been bordering one another for that to be an option. Otherwise he's constantly "losing" territory he has to take back over.
    The three empires certainly vary their shared borders, not to do so would be uncharacteristically foolish of Tarquin. Your assumption that the empires started out separate is unfounded and unlikely; they were formed for the express purpose of working in concert so they likely began together and expanded outwards rather than began in totally different places and expanded towards one another.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nilan8888 View Post
    3. Anyone dealing with these nations over time would start to notice the familiar faces in diplomatic relations. This would get clearer as time went on as you were gradually more likely to see them since they're gradually becoming the only game in town.
    Tarquin makes no secret of the fact that he offers his services to many different warlords/kings/emperors/dictators/etc. Furthermore, anybody who lasts long enough on the Western Continent to start recognising familiar faces is going to be his own counterargument. Nobody who will be dealing with the Empire of Blood is going to be around long enough to connect any dots unless they're a) pulling the same con as Tarquin or b) legitimately doing what Tarquin claims to be doing (kissing up to whomever overthrows their previous lord and getting a new job there).

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Retired Mod in the Playground Retired Moderator
    Join Date
    Apr 2004

    Default Re: Questions about Gourntonk and Ian Starshine

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogardan_Mage View Post
    ...

    Tarquin makes no secret of the fact that he offers his services to many different warlords/kings/emperors/dictators/etc. Furthermore, anybody who lasts long enough on the Western Continent to start recognising familiar faces is going to be his own counterargument. Nobody who will be dealing with the Empire of Blood is going to be around long enough to connect any dots unless they're a) pulling the same con as Tarquin or b) legitimately doing what Tarquin claims to be doing (kissing up to whomever overthrows their previous lord and getting a new job there).
    True, but it might raise a few flags if you always that Tarquin, Malack, Miron, Laurin, Catgirl, and Shoulderpads are ALWAYS in pairs with each other. Not enough to prove much, but maybe enough to start someone digging around until they start to find actual evidence of their collusion.
    Last edited by Grey Watcher; 2013-08-29 at 08:05 AM.

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Planetar

    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Raleigh NC
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Questions about Gourntonk and Ian Starshine

    Quote Originally Posted by martianmister View Post
    1. Are they in cahoots? Is Ian a spy of Reptilia? Or, is he the source of the leak into reptilia?
    No. They have nothing to do with each other.

    2. Did Tarquin scapegoat Ian for Gourntonk's assassination?
    Yes.

    If so, why?
    Pettiness and spite.

    Respectfully,

    Brian P.
    "Every lie we tell incurs a debt to the truth. Sooner or later, that debt is paid."

    -Valery Legasov in Chernobyl

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Czech Republic
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Questions about Gourntonk and Ian Starshine

    Quote Originally Posted by Grey Watcher View Post
    True, but it might raise a few flags if you always notice that Tarquin, Malack, Miron, Laurin, Catgirl, and Shoulderpads are ALWAYS in pairs with each other. Not enough to prove much, but maybe enough to start someone digging around until they start to find actual evidence of their collusion.
    Perhaps that is one of the reasons they change partners. It could arouse a suspicion if there is always the same pair around, but if it's a totally different pair it's entirely different matter. And I don't think there are many people with access to high nobility courts of all three nations who are at war.
    All thanks to half-halfling for the avatar.

    There must be some sense of order - personal, political or dramatic - and if no one else is going to bring it to this world, I will.

    Silent member of Zz'dtri's #698 Scrying Sensor Explanation Club.

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Orc in the Playground
     
    pearl jam's Avatar

    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Tokyo
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Questions about Gourntonk and Ian Starshine

    This is a tangent but I never previously noticed that the poster ID area for Rich is narrower than everyone else's with a correspondingly wider response area.

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    ElfPirate

    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location

    Default Re: Questions about Gourntonk and Ian Starshine

    Quote Originally Posted by Grey Watcher View Post
    True, but it might raise a few flags if you always that Tarquin, Malack, Miron, Laurin, Catgirl, and Shoulderpads are ALWAYS in pairs with each other. Not enough to prove much, but maybe enough to start someone digging around until they start to find actual evidence of their collusion.
    Again, it's not going to raise any flags if there's nobody there to notice them. The constantly shifting allegiances of the Western Continent mean that it's very unlikely in the first place that a dignitary will have a long enough posting to make these connections. At best you might recognise that Tarquin was also general for some other country you had dealings with a few years back, but that's not surprising because you're also likely working for someone else at this point. Swapping partners means that they have to go through an entire cycle for a "pattern" to emerge. I doubt there's anyone involved in the continent's politics who lasts long enough to witness that, and if there is that would likely make them a high priority target of Tarquin's!

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    NinjaGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2013

    Default Re: Questions about Gourntonk and Ian Starshine

    Tarquin's con doesn't have to work forever. Just long enough so that TT's empire isn't seen as a common enemy and gang-tackled the way Tarquin's first empire was.

    Just as a matter of looking at the map, they may be at a point where
    the charade no longer matters. The Great Barren Desert is a pretty good barrier against invasion, I don't think the elves are going to march across the Goaway Mountains, (which are probably held by drow) and even if the countries beyond Sandsedge and in the Dictatoria vicinity got themselves together, the BST empires look like they could at least hold them off.

  19. - Top - End - #19
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BlueKnightGuy

    Join Date
    Oct 2009

    Default Re: Questions about Gourntonk and Ian Starshine

    Nonsense. There are 18 countries total at present and the Empires of Blood, Sweat and Tears comprise at most half of the inhabited area. So your estimate of the "normal" density is at least double the actual figure, and that's assuming that on this very turbulent continent there is such a thing as "normal" at all, and that the singular map we have is an accurate reflection of said normal state. Neither of these assumptions is tremendously valid.
    You are wrong, actually:

    http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0758.html

    Quote from above comic "Spins of the Father":

    "When he first appeared on the continent, he (Tarquin) conquered eleven nations in eight months.

    It took a coalition of no less than twenty-six other countries to defeat him and drive him out"

    So, considering the other 11 have to be mutually exclusive (especially since this all happened in the space of a year or so): 11 + 26 = 37.

    And that's 37 minimum, since the coalition was NO LESS than 26. Could have been more.

    And I said 20-30, so there's actually 7 to spare in case any are based off continent, or crumbled in the space of another to take their place.


    The three empires certainly vary their shared borders, not to do so would be uncharacteristically foolish of Tarquin. Your assumption that the empires started out separate is unfounded and unlikely; they were formed for the express purpose of working in concert so they likely began together and expanded outwards rather than began in totally different places and expanded towards one another.
    But that would create another point of oddity when looking at the map: if the 3 nations started out back-to-back-to back, you'd be able to easier see the progressing 'stability'. Yes, the borders change, but since they started out so small, they wouldn't have been able to afford any large-scale changes for quite a while. The three would generally have to stay in the same place. Sure, the borders might move a hundred miles or so here or there like wartime borders of attrition, but the three countries would have to get significantly larger before things could start to look considerably different.

    If they started out in different areas, at least that way they could expand independently for a while.



    Tarquin makes no secret of the fact that he offers his services to many different warlords/kings/emperors/dictators/etc. Furthermore, anybody who lasts long enough on the Western Continent to start recognising familiar faces is going to be his own counterargument. Nobody who will be dealing with the Empire of Blood is going to be around long enough to connect any dots unless they're a) pulling the same con as Tarquin or b) legitimately doing what Tarquin claims to be doing (kissing up to whomever overthrows their previous lord and getting a new job there).
    Actually, I was thinking of the Elves in this scenario, not other nations in the southern half of the continent. THEY will have been around long enough to notice, and are the sort who would keep track of and eventually notice this changing pattern.
    Last edited by Nilan8888; 2013-08-29 at 08:59 AM.
    What shall we do to fill the empty spaces
    Where waves of hunger gnaw?

  20. - Top - End - #20
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    ElfPirate

    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location

    Default Re: Questions about Gourntonk and Ian Starshine

    Quote Originally Posted by Nilan8888 View Post
    You are wrong, actually:

    http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0758.html

    Quote from above comic "Spins of the Father":

    "When he first appeared on the continent, he (Tarquin) conquered eleven nations in eight months.

    It took a coalition of no less than twenty-six other countries to defeat him and drive him out"

    So, considering the other 11 have to be mutually exclusive (especially since this all happened in the space of a year or so): 11 + 26 = 37.

    And that's 37 minimum, since the coalition was NO LESS than 26. Could have been more.

    And I said 20-30, so there's actually 7 to spare in case any are based off continent, or crumbled in the space of another to take their place.
    Ok, so you're assuming that a different set of circumstances is the "normal" state. Doesn't make it any more valid. If anything, the map shows us that all of the Western Continent is less divided that it was when Tarquin was defeated, so how is the casual observer supposed to determine that the Empires of Blood, Sweat and Tears are the aberrations?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nilan8888 View Post
    But that would create another point of oddity when looking at the map: if the 3 nations started out back-to-back-to back, you'd be able to easier see the progressing 'stability'. Yes, the borders change, but since they started out so small, they wouldn't have been able to afford any large-scale changes for quite a while. The three would generally have to stay in the same place. Sure, the borders might move a hundred miles or so here or there like wartime borders of attrition, but the three countries would have to get significantly larger before things could start to look considerably different.

    If they started out in different areas, at least that way they could expand independently for a while.
    You're still assuming, baselessly, that it's trivial for a casual observer to recognise continuity when the empire changes. Actually, for some reason you're selectively applying this only when the countries are near each other. When they're in different areas you're just assuming they'll "expand independently" without considering what that entails. The con as described by Ian and Tarquin relies on all three countries working in concert, they simply don't have the option of "expanding independently" if they want to avoid precisely the pitfall Tarquin was trying to avoid with the scheme in the first place. Remaining hidden from people who are unlikely to notice them in the first place is not more important than enacting the actual plan!

    Quote Originally Posted by Nilan8888 View Post
    Actually, I was thinking of the Elves in this scenario, not other nations in the southern half of the continent.
    Long lives and a stable yet geographically close location. Yes, the Elves are ideally situated to notice this one particular clue. It's still pretty circumstantial though, and the Elves are, in Hinjo's words, "slow to go to war". I really must stress that the strongest thing in Tarquin's favour is that nobody is looking for a grand Machiavellian scheme underlying Western politics. Not one that works, anyway. The clues are only worth something if someone is willing to examine them.

  21. - Top - End - #21
    Giant in the Playground Administrator
     
    The Giant's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Questions about Gourntonk and Ian Starshine

    Quote Originally Posted by Nilan8888 View Post
    Actually, I was thinking of the Elves in this scenario, not other nations in the southern half of the continent. THEY will have been around long enough to notice, and are the sort who would keep track of and eventually notice this changing pattern.
    Who can keep track of all those humans and their ephemeral political states? We have better things to do than track the political allegiances of fruit flies. Frankly, we don't care what those savages do amongst themselves, as long as they stay on their side of the mountains. One's as bad as the next anyway.
    Rich Burlew


    Utterly Dwarfed, the sixth compilation of The Order of the Stick is now in stock. Order at Ookoodook (paper copies) or Gumroad (digital PDFs), or pick it up from your local gaming store.

  22. - Top - End - #22
    Orc in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Wales, UK
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Questions about Gourntonk and Ian Starshine

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Who can keep track of all those humans and their ephemeral political states? We have better things to do than track the political allegiances of fruit flies. Frankly, we don't care what those savages do amongst themselves, as long as they stay on their side of the mountains. One's as bad as the next anyway.
    Well played, Sir Burlew

  23. - Top - End - #23
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BlueKnightGuy

    Join Date
    Oct 2009

    Default Re: Questions about Gourntonk and Ian Starshine

    Ok, so you're assuming that a different set of circumstances is the "normal" state. Doesn't make it any more valid. If anything, the map shows us that all of the Western Continent is less divided that it was when Tarquin was defeated, so how is the casual observer supposed to determine that the Empires of Blood, Sweat and Tears are the aberrations?
    Maybe. Unless the area occupied by the three empires was always traditionally the most contentious region and had the most states in it. In any case, that was the valid situation at one time.


    You're still assuming, baselessly, that it's trivial for a casual observer to recognise continuity when the empire changes. Actually, for some reason you're selectively applying this only when the countries are near each other. When they're in different areas you're just assuming they'll "expand independently" without considering what that entails. The con as described by Ian and Tarquin relies on all three countries working in concert, they simply don't have the option of "expanding independently" if they want to avoid precisely the pitfall Tarquin was trying to avoid with the scheme in the first place. Remaining hidden from people who are unlikely to notice them in the first place is not more important than enacting the actual plan!
    It's not that it is or isn't trivial, it's a matter of the amount of time this has been going on, and how much area it accounts for.

    Had Tarquin's scheme only been going on for 1-5 years, yeah, no problem.

    But this has been going on for... was it 25 years? A little shorter? A little longer? It just falls to reason that given the size of the area, given the timeframe and given the presence of stable nations, the chance of someone noticing something grows. Certainly, its far less given that the world is somewhere south of the renaissance in terms of social development and that to say the place in question has turbulent politics is a large understatement.

    As to whether they originally shared borders or not -- which is not a big point of contention for me -- it's that I think it would be harder for someone looking at two different maps, say 12 years into the plan, to look at three different nation-sections in different areas of the region that have generally grown, given some changes in borders, then to notice that a good area of the map has been dominated by no more than three nations at any one time, an area that continues to grow and can be traced back in size as you look at the maps.

    It's not that anyone would be looking for it. It's just that as time goes on with its infinite permutations, and the area under dominance grows more significant, the chance of someone noticing something becomes larger. They're not going to immediately assume some sort of collusion, but I'd think someone might see it as odd.


    Long lives and a stable yet geographically close location. Yes, the Elves are ideally situated to notice this one particular clue. It's still pretty circumstantial though, and the Elves are, in Hinjo's words, "slow to go to war". I really must stress that the strongest thing in Tarquin's favour is that nobody is looking for a grand Machiavellian scheme underlying Western politics. Not one that works, anyway. The clues are only worth something if someone is willing to examine them.
    Yes, that's all true. The strongest defense of most schemes is plain non-detection. And someone looking at the map is not going to instantly think "SCHEME!". But I don't think it's a large jump of logic that they would think something odd was going on.


    Who can keep track of all those humans and their ephemeral political states? We have better things to do than track the political allegiances of fruit flies. Frankly, we don't care what those savages do amongst themselves, as long as they stay on their side of the mountains. One's as bad as the next anyway.
    At the risk of annoyance though, how would the Paladins of Azure City fit into this take?

    Yes, the elves are stated (and in this case I can actually say 'you stated', so that's a novel change) to be "slow to go to war" -- which could mean a lot of things -- but in the end they did send people to help the humans of that nation.

    The most likely assumption that would come to mind is that, as a rule, the elves tend to think of humans south of the mountains as greater savages as those elsewhere.

    Although, it's an interesting irony if that's the case, since those humans (and lizardfolk) are those most poised to get in their face if they should ever get their act together (which is sort of happening thanks to T's scheme).
    What shall we do to fill the empty spaces
    Where waves of hunger gnaw?

  24. - Top - End - #24
    Giant in the Playground Administrator
     
    The Giant's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Questions about Gourntonk and Ian Starshine

    Quote Originally Posted by Nilan8888 View Post
    At the risk of annoyance though, how would the Paladins of Azure City fit into this take?

    Yes, the elves are stated (and in this case I can actually say 'you stated', so that's a novel change) to be "slow to go to war" -- which could mean a lot of things -- but in the end they did send people to help the humans of that nation.
    Because someone was asking for their help, over and over again, for a year. And they had a long term mutually beneficial alliance with the Azurites beforehand; they don't have ties with any of the humans in the desert.

    I think maybe you have this preconception that elves, as a general rule, are Good-aligned peacekeepers who watch the world and look for places to intervene if Evil is getting the upper hand, and that's just not the way things work here. They don't care what happens outside their borders unless someone makes them care, and nobody is doing that regarding Tarquin.

    For that matter, would they have helped the Azurites if they had been attacked by a neighboring human country rather than an evil sorcerer lich? Probably not. They would've looked at it as an internal human affair that's none of their business.

    Honestly, I'm not even sure I've ever understood the point of human nations in the first place. I say, i's about time those humans got their act together and formed one world government, like grown-ups. You don't see the gnomes running around fighting wars with each other, do you? No, because they're civilized.
    Rich Burlew


    Utterly Dwarfed, the sixth compilation of The Order of the Stick is now in stock. Order at Ookoodook (paper copies) or Gumroad (digital PDFs), or pick it up from your local gaming store.

  25. - Top - End - #25
    Retired Mod in the Playground Retired Moderator
    Join Date
    Apr 2004

    Default Re: Questions about Gourntonk and Ian Starshine

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    ...

    For that matter, would they have helped the Azurites if they had been attacked by a neighboring human country rather than an evil sorcerer lich? Probably not. They would've looked at it as an internal human affair that's none of their business.

    ...
    Just to clarify, this is because the Elves feel Xykon is potentially a threat to themselves, while a human nation from across the ocean could be fairly easily rebuffed, correct?

  26. - Top - End - #26
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BlueKnightGuy

    Join Date
    Oct 2009

    Default Re: Questions about Gourntonk and Ian Starshine

    I think maybe you have this preconception that elves, as a general rule, are Good-aligned peacekeepers who watch the world and look for places to intervene if Evil is getting the upper hand, and that's just not the way things work here. They don't care what happens outside their borders unless someone makes them care, and nobody is doing that regarding Tarquin.
    Well, although you addressed the point in the post, I don't think I see it in terms of good aligned peacekeepers so much as thinking, "hey... wasn't that part of the map over there more... divided last time we were looking at it? When was that, anyway?" And that if they were going to be interested enough in giving help to the Azurites (further away than what's going on down south... or at least I THINK they're further away), it might be, at the very least, a curiosity for a couple people in elven administration at some point along the way.

    But hey: if they don't care, they don't care. It's not like there isn't precedent for this ('what is this nation that begins with 'Ch' and ends in 'na' you speak of?'). But if something like this could happen in neighboring lands over 25 years without them noticing the overall consolidation of power... well, the elves only have themselves to blame.
    What shall we do to fill the empty spaces
    Where waves of hunger gnaw?

  27. - Top - End - #27
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Zeb's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Here
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Questions about Gourntonk and Ian Starshine

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Honestly, I'm not even sure I've ever understood the point of human nations in the first place. I say, i's about time those humans got their act together and formed one world government, like grown-ups. You don't see the gnomes running around fighting wars with each other, do you? No, because they're civilized.
    I think I would like to sig this.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    You don't see the gnomes running around fighting wars with each other, do you? No, because they're civilized.

  28. - Top - End - #28
    Giant in the Playground Administrator
     
    The Giant's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Questions about Gourntonk and Ian Starshine

    Quote Originally Posted by Grey Watcher View Post
    Just to clarify, this is because the Elves feel Xykon is potentially a threat to themselves, while a human nation from across the ocean could be fairly easily rebuffed, correct?
    Yes, that, with a side order of the idea that the lich is an unnatural abomination. That would get the more druid-y councilors on board. But humans fighting humans is just the Cirrrrrrrrrrrcle of Life.
    Rich Burlew


    Utterly Dwarfed, the sixth compilation of The Order of the Stick is now in stock. Order at Ookoodook (paper copies) or Gumroad (digital PDFs), or pick it up from your local gaming store.

  29. - Top - End - #29
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    littlebum2002's Avatar

    Join Date
    Feb 2012

    Default Re: Questions about Gourntonk and Ian Starshine

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Reptilia is going to be someone's next enemy. But not necessarily that of the Empire of Blood. Why connect the dots between the ambassador's death and the upcoming invasion if you don't have to? If Tarquin takes credit for the kill and then invades, it confirms the Reptilian government's theory that he has something to hide. If some random extremist killed the ambassador and then some other country invades the next week, that could be related or not. It's tougher to tell.
    Rich,

    I'm always impressed when you start talking about political or battle strategies. Trying to follow your mind is like trying to follow one of those spaghetti mazes, where you have to follow one strand of spaghetti through a whole bowl. I'm glad you dumb it down in the strip for us normal folks, but it's fun to see that, behind all that, you have incredibly intricate reasons for why these characters behave the way they do. i think a lot of that shows through in Tarquin. There's no way I could write a character like that, it's hard to think of complex strategies even if they're fake.
    Avatar by Gurgleflep

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Planetar

    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Raleigh NC
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Questions about Gourntonk and Ian Starshine

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Yes, that, with a side order of the idea that the lich is an unnatural abomination. That would get the more druid-y councilors on board. But humans fighting humans is just the Cirrrrrrrrrrrcle of Life.


    That ... song .. is now stuck in my head

    I CAN'T GET IT OUUUUUUTTTT!!!!

    *Bangs head repeatedly on desk*


    Tongue-in-cheek,

    Brian P.
    "Every lie we tell incurs a debt to the truth. Sooner or later, that debt is paid."

    -Valery Legasov in Chernobyl

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •