Hey all you fuzzy topped free traders!

Postby Axelgear on Tue Jan 02, 2007 5:34 am

<Manages to swagger upright>

Well DUH! *Hic* Any true schientisht knowsh nothin' ish foolproof...

Hang on... I got a Shobriety Shpell here shomewhere...

<A short moment later>

Much better. Now, as I was saying, any scientist can tell you that no theory is foolproof and no method entirely sound. As I have espoused for some time, no entire species can be mage-blind, as that would draw the line, meaning Lux would no longer be science but magic; for science is the pursuit of knowledge reachable by any being with curiousity and a mind. Therefore, should not it be open to ALL beings who can think freely?

The Mistwall is imperfect, and while it is a finite solution, EVENTUALLY something is going to happen gentlemen, mark my words.

<Uncaps a silver flask and drinks>
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Postby Aurrin on Tue Jan 02, 2007 10:35 am

Well there you have it, then.

We could have even less time than I had expected. I'd call for a vote, but I'd rather that the assembly had time to think this matter over carefully, as it hasn't been proposed in a while. I'd also welcome any suggestions anyone might have to offer on my proposal.
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Postby Earl McClaw on Tue Jan 02, 2007 2:46 pm

Gentleracs, again, I must remind you that our defenses are a side topic. Apparently there is a great deal of interest in them, so may I suggest they be taken up at a later session? Say this evening?

For the moment, however, the question before us is the relative merits of "Expansion" versus "Free Trade" (which I mention in alphabetic order).
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Postby Aurrin on Tue Jan 02, 2007 3:17 pm

On the contrary, my good sir. Defenses are a third option, a corollary to the free traders, but with a very different set of risks and benefits. Take care not to fall into the false dichotomy of 'Free Trader' versus 'Expansionist'. In a world of infinite variety and complexity, I would submit that there are always alternatives, including those which are a mix of others or are a different approach to the same goals.
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Postby LoneWolf23k on Tue Jan 02, 2007 6:41 pm

I think that the simple matter of our defenses not being as impenetrable as we previously thought in itself makes the Expansionists' plan unfeasible. If the Mistwall we have now are insufficient for the purpose of keeping outsiders away, would enlarging it really help?

We should instead be looking towards a different kind of defensive barrier.. Allies.

By finding strong, like-minded human powers, we can encourage them to look out for our protection in exchange for luxcraft weapons with which to defend their own borders.

Now, before someone brings up Sauron the Great Bloody Idiot or the Fakirs, I'm not talking about arming a wannabe tin-pot dictator with aims of world domination, or passing ourselves off as godlings, but of trading weapons with humans whom we might find to be agreeable sorts, with the proper nudging.
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Postby StrangeWulf13 on Tue Jan 02, 2007 7:49 pm

*coughs politely* Would this be a bad time to bring up our request for a budget increase? Some of the Guardsmen believe we should stock up on weapons, just in case someone does breach the mistwall... and that someone happens to be a powerful wizard.

People have claimed the patrol boats were a waste of money. Yet when the orcs attacked, they proved quite invaluable. Perhaps the artificers may be able to invent a land-based version of the boats, to defend our borders should they be breached? Luftships outfitted with weapons have served us well, but they don't have a lot of speed. Plus, height is not a guaranteed defense. All it takes is the proper angle and enough force. If a bow and arrow is insufficient, a ballista will serve nicely.

I'm not attracted to flying out of the sky, gentlemen. A ground-based weapon, portable and fast as well as powerful, would be a welcome addition to our war arsenal. I hope the council will see fit to extend us the funds we need to "encourage" a few of the eager graduates from the university to attempt such an endevor.
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Postby Shyal_malkes on Tue Jan 02, 2007 8:50 pm

it occurred to me that durring the recent questor's departure a detatchment from the artifactor's guild was sent to Freeman Downs in record time. although I am led to believe that such a contraption is light and not likely to be capable of carrying any large implements, such a swift device may find use in defensive applications.

I wonder as to the applications of larger fortifications or machines. I thought for a moment of a contraption that used a central pole turned by tree apes, and in turn, turned the wheels at the back and propelled the whole construct foreward while the foreward wheels turned so as to serve as guidence. but I am probably dreaming. (OOC. this was actually based off of a RPG battering ram design I heard about once)

perhaps an alteration of the mistwall itself. perhaps an increasing attack of lightning or something on whomever ventures the wrong way. not enough to harm unless they get too far inwards, but mostly just to scare and deter.

oh, too many ideas, too few solid plans.
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Postby Axelgear on Wed Jan 03, 2007 2:58 pm

If it's a prudent plan... I suggest we stay OUT of human affairs. Historical records show no matter what ignorance and fear results consistently in a lust for what the other has and a desire to destroy them if it is unattainable. We could appeal to their sanity, their intellect, their compassion, their desire for wealth, their religious sensibilities, but it won't matter. The only way to appease them would be turning them against others, resulting in inevitable bloodshed, no matter WHAT we do. Fear and ignorance are constants, the best we can do is avoid them. No matter what, when you alleviate it in one place, it WILL arise somewhere else. It is the knowledge of this fact that led me to becoming an Alcomancer I may add...

Therefore, it is my suggestion we expand the mistwall and give the humans something in exchange without letting them know where it comes from. We also should marshal a group of troops to maintain a presence against humans SHOULD the need arise. Do not take a role in their affairs; appear like shadows and depart with our purpose completed. Be the creatures they dare not approach or harm for fear of harsh rebuking. That way, any losses suffered over time will be minimal.

When a human nation arises capable of proving itself worthy; free at least by the majority from ignorance, THEN and only then can we free ourselves from the Mistwall to them.

<Swigs from the flask once more, then is forced to sit down>
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Postby Aurrin on Wed Jan 03, 2007 3:54 pm

Oh yes. A 'group' of troops. And you expect them to stand up to an advancing human army with Whakadus, I suppose?

(*muffled snickers around the room*)

I find it odd that to know so much of humans, you have forgotten that they don't always react to fear by withdrawing. On the contrary: given the almost ludicrous difference in size, instilling a fear may just as probably cause them to hunt us down in force.

And no matter how you slice it, expanding the mistwall is theft of lands. Time and again I hear arguments, wherein it is referred to as 'expansion' or 'driving out', but the truth is that they are living, sentient creatures with just as much right to own property as we. The fact that our government is not the one writing the deeds is irrelevant. We hang our own for lesser offenses than what you suggest.

On the other hand, I cannot help but agree with his opinion on their suitability as allies. As my esteemed colleague earlier suggested, alliances with like-minded humans could help our position. Yet, from what we know of the past, finding such like-minded individuals in power is unlikely at best. Human kingdoms, barring considerable change in the interim, are ruled by an aristocracy, concerned foremost with attaining wealth through use of governmental power, usually synonymous with 'whim'. Many would not hesitate to use force to obtain what they want, making them especially dangerous to us as such usually send men into battle from the rear at little or no personal cost.

No, we must not reveal ourselves until revelation is not a matter of placing trust into an unknown entity. To do so exposes us to unacceptable peril.
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Postby Shyal_malkes on Wed Jan 03, 2007 4:02 pm

no, taking from the humans by expanding the mistwall they would notice, and giving them something in return just to sate our own conscious would not only make it easier to fuel their reactions financially but would also do nothing to sate their reactions, since they don't know it was us.

if ignorance is such a constant then we too are within it's grip just as much as the humans.

to me the Deus-ex-machina would be having a human or at least a non-racconan to do our dirty work for us. probably trading for gold with the humans and then using the gold to purchase the very land we intend to spread into. having him or her gather information about the land and see which lands would best serve our purpose.
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Postby Aurrin on Wed Jan 03, 2007 8:58 pm

Trading for the land and then expanding the mistwall would be acceptable from a legal standpoint. But they would become curious if the knew it was deliberately covered. As it is, many of them think this is a natural phenomena, which is why they do not investigate in force. That won't hold true for long otherwise.

As to flat-out taking of the land, no matter how much we 'give back', it would not make it acceptable because we are not in dire emergency. Our simple greed is not sufficient to justify theft, even if we give back 'restituation'. Government restitution for lands, historically, is a joke anyway, never even approaching the true worth of the land. If you had to pay it's true value, you wouldn't be very eager to buy it because you couldn't make much of a profit off of it.

And if you propose that we use secret liasons, you're practically inviting them behind the mistwalls. No group would be more likely to try to sneak in than the underworld with which you would invariable end up dealing to remain undetected. Do you really think they'd want to keep paying for the wonderous items that suddenly appeared from the misty depths? I'd thought the free traders were naive when they proposed openly approaching the outlying lands, but this takes the cake.
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Postby Shyal_malkes on Thu Jan 04, 2007 6:42 am

no actually, I'm not talking about just trading with beedy eyed sticky fingered hooligans froum outside as our secret trading partners. I'm talking about finding one or two young outcasts and housing and raising them here, away from the other humans outside. they grow up trusting us and learning our ways and our dilemas. they learn first hand what lux is and isn't so there is no fear. we raise them, wait until they are older, perhaps don't even use them but let them raise some families of their own and REALLY ingrain trust into them. then use as many as will come to be our secret representatives.

this problem is from a lack of trust on our side and an excess of fear on the other side. one side or the other will have to move eventually. and since if push came to shove we would probably be on the losing end, I suggest it be us.
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Postby Axelgear on Thu Jan 04, 2007 8:54 am

You fail to see that a group of only one hundred well trained soldiers is far more effective in many cases than an entire army. In many cases, in fact, a few hundred can take on thousands. Enchanted swords, shields, and the ability to throw fire should also put them far ahead of humans by any standing.

And the fear leading to massing of forces is exactly what I wish to avoid. Our options are the theft of lands, trading for them, or fighting for them. All result in conflict, it is just a question of WHAT we are willing to give up for this conflict. When a human is willing to fight to maintain the rights of a stranger, THEN and only then can we reveal ourselves.

We don't need trust, we can earn that. What we need is someone willing to listen fairly and not cry monster or fear us the moment we appear. To be cautious, be sure, but fear? Never.
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Postby Aurrin on Thu Jan 04, 2007 10:54 am

A group of 100 well-trained soldiers is only more effective in a few select cases. Outnumbered 10 to 1, and don't kid yourself into thinking they wouldn't send an army of a thousand or more, they'd still be outmatched. And the idea that a few enchanted magical weapons are going to place you ahead of them in every standing is pure bull. Ask our guardsmen about that sometime if you don't believe me.

No, if you want to keep a small group, you must give them a much higher advantage than just weapons. To create such select conditions, you need fortifications. Even then, 100 is insufficient overall, you'd need more on the order of 350: 50 real soldiers for every village, plus publicly trained militia backing.

Now, let me see if I understand our previous proposal correctly.

You want to kidnap a number of young humans, raise them to be our agents, and in fact breed entire families of human agents to act on our behalf so that we can acquire land unnoticed, disregarding the fact that humans can in fact tell one another apart and would find it odd that others were appearing out of the mists with unaccountable gold.

And you base this on the assumption that one or the other of us is going to eventually steal land, so it may as well be us first?

Here's a counter-suggestion. How about we actually do something to address our inability to trust others first, so that we can come out of the shadows altogether. Even if we were to do as you propose, it still leaves us open to the possibility of eventual discovery and invasion, because it does nothing to address the problem of our weakness behind the wall, and they're every bit as likely to follow humans into the mists as us: perhaps moreso, because human agents wouldn't even have luxcraft to give them a second thought.

This is quite possibly the most ethically shaky proposal yet.
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Postby MikeVanPelt on Thu Jan 04, 2007 11:13 am

I don't think Mr. Axelgear was proposing kidnapping at all -- just taking in some young homeless outcasts that the humans are not going to miss, and providing them with aid, a home and opportunities. Not taking them by force.

Obviously, we would have to be very careful about just who we approached. Outcasts may be persecuted innocents or good people who have just fallen on hard times. Then again, they may be outcast for very good reason. It's for this reason I'm a bit uneasy ... well, maybe just very, very cautious ... about this proposal.

If we were to attempt this, we would probably want to start with those who wander into the mist wall on their own. Like that young human wizard the Frog Mage reports.
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Postby Shyal_malkes on Thu Jan 04, 2007 11:47 am

isolation and lack of contact helps spawn and breed paranoia and misperceptions. having a human within the mistwall will allow our own people relatively safe exposure to allow them to sate their own fears and false suspicions.

how are we supposed to gain the trust of people if we steal their lands?
how are we supposed to avoind stealing their lands without purchasing them before we take them?
or, if we avoid the taking of lands and rely on goods, how are we suppsoed to establsh trade or contact with a people that hate us without first presenting them a face they will accept?
how are we to engender trust or displace fear without proving that it can happen first?

they do not know with any ammount of certainty that we are here, we know they are with great certainty. therefore we know more about them then they know about us.
we are in or are heading towards a situation we do not want to be in.
by knowledge and by necessity, we must act first. therefore we cannot wait for them to act. we must be the ones trying to establish contact with them.

being nice and civil to someone we have allowed into our lands is different then putting our guard down around them. and I support the idea of strengthening our borders. that someone would get past the outter edge of the mist wall does not surprize me, now if someone penetrated the inner edge I would be concerned. that is why I support the idea of increasing the strength of our borders.

the reason I suggest multiple people as our representatives is specifically for the purpose of having them eventually raise a family. that way the children can learn the terms and grow acustom to our ways from the beginning. (not to the point of doing the parent's job for them but with a new generation they won't start with the pre-assumptions of someone older). without any outside misconstrued influence they can then understand things from our perspective.

I don't like the idea of kidnapping and wouldn't push for it unless we were truely desperate. but I think finding someone who would be willing to come (mostly through scouts and the like) is a good idea.

a radical step? yes. but considering that this is an attempt to solve a problem that was only put off a solution must be met and it must actually resolve something, not make it worse, not put it off further, and not be so risky and haphazard that it requires even the weather to be perfect to work out.

am I just crazy?
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Postby Aurrin on Thu Jan 04, 2007 1:16 pm

In the first place, we know that fear can be displaced. Ennias Longscript was a rare man, but no so rare that what he showed of humanity cannot take root elsewhere. We can dispel fear when we can allow real contact. What you propose is still, when all is said and done, hiding. Whether altogether or just through proxy, you still want to hide, and little changes for the better.

If you want to do any kind of legitimate business with the humans, then you must be able to face them outright. In order to do that, you have to have strong enough defenses to take down any fear or greed-inspired attacks. Then, and only then, can a true base for communication and commerce be established. The fear need not disappear overnight: it will disappear in time with familiarity, first in the border towns and then further in. With our roads safe to travel by, we would be able to make at first limited, and then regular invitations to humans to come within our borders.

I agree that we must act first, but our actions must address the underlying problem.
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Postby Shyal_malkes on Thu Jan 04, 2007 8:48 pm

having a human representative is not an end all solution and I never intened it to be such, but rather a catalyst to further progress. open trade cannot begin with people who are afraid of us or are planning on stabbing us in the back when we aren't looking. using a human representative at first allows us the advantage of further knowledge.

a wall and armed guards don't do us much good if our enemy is predisposed to dislike us. with a representative (spy) we can effect their economy, their rumors around the pubbs, heck, we can start spreading literature of unknown origin into their societies. we can root out the most likely and the most unlikely to be good allies.

I know knowing is only half the battle, but without knowing that's a whole half of the battle you lose. and having human representatives would certainly help us in knowing alot more then we do now. and they would help us a lot more then any scout could.
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Postby BrockthePaine on Fri Jan 05, 2007 8:16 am

It would be to our benefit to take a page out of the human's own book on diplomacy. When the humans wish to make treaties with another human kingdom, they send an individual empowered to make decisions on behalf of their respective governments: an ambassador. He usually is accompanied by his family and a staff of aides. I propose selecting an area outside the Mistwall, preferably in unoccupied territory, and gathering human and other races' ambassadors. By gathering them all in one place at the same time, we can not only guage their reaction to us, but their reactions to each other. A carefully-calculated campaign of information and disinformation should give us information we might need to consider opening trade relations. Let us say we are from far away, but drop hints that we live somewhere closer (but not in Antillia).

But I hear scoffing from the back room: why should the humans come to the middle of nowhere, even if they know we're fishing for information? Sirs and madams, the humans, like us, are very curious; why should they NOT want to know more about us? They have a saying which is applicable here: "If you build it, they will come." Of course, they will be learning about us the same as we learn about them. We should make certain to control our release of information carefully: do we open from a point of strength, or of calculated disinterest? What would the human ambassadors respond to better? If we opened with strength, then the humans might regard us as a threat.

These are the things we need to know. Who among the humans is a threat? Who can be an ally? Who has what we want? Who wants what we have? Who are our neighbors, and what are they like? What is their motivation? Without these answers, we have no clear strategy.
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Postby Brannick on Fri Jan 05, 2007 9:48 am

My friends,

I believe Master Aurrin has hit the right of it. We must first learn to trust others before we can truely interact with the world on a common ground. However, as others have said, we cannot lead people who are not yet trustworthy into the mist wall, or let our presence be known.

Nor, can we take what isn't ours, and become common criminals.

But nothing says we can't reclaim something that was already ours. Our young questor is, at this very moment, looking for an abandoned Luxship trade post, some hundreds of miles from the edge of the mist wall. This is land we already own.

Granted, there will doubtlessly be squatters who believe they hold the land in good faith.

I propose, my friends, to take a group of stalwarts; volunteers all, to reclaim this outpost. While I'm not the young kit I was, I like to think these joints of mine have a bit of adventure left in them. It would be my intention to make some equitible restitution with whomever may be squatting on our tradepost, bring resupply as may be needed to our questor and establish some relations with the humans in the area.

We already know he's had some good contact with the locals, that is promising. In this way, we can take a barometer reading as it were, of the state of humanity, establish a bit of relations and not reveal ourselves en mass. The trade post should be far enough that it and the Mist Wall are not linked, but not so far that if our adventure goes astray we cannot out run our foes on a safe and circquitious route home.
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