Dragon Army Problems
|@MrGrumpyPants: The barbarians are doing a terrible ritual, but I can't cross the wall to stop them. #dragonarmyproblems|| We have until Crane|
Although Commander Yao is the right person for the long term defense of the Empire, we need to help for him to make it through the first winter. In Cavalry Charge, we learned that there are five major things wrong which we can help with.
- Commander Yao could use a radiation accident to adjust his Personal Mastery Style, which is "Defender of the South". He's rolling for 9s on too many things. Status:
- Both the locals and the army have an entrenched habit of not coordinating with each other. Status: Done
- The Obsidian Warlord has his own forces in the area, and has overruled Commander Yao on a couple of issues (though they seem to have been good calls). Having the Warlord looking on critically after Lo Ping's execution is kind of freaking everyone out. Status: Warlord distracted in the Phoenix Isle.
- Soldiers still have the habit of calling the undead bandits even though the order is rescinded; this doesn't help their credibility, and it strains their relations with Commander Yao, who is starting to think they're idiots. Status: Possibly helped by renaming them Special Forces.
- The local Arcade forces are kind of thin on the ground. Status: Looking for ideas.'
Personal Mastery Style
was going to arrange a change of changed Commander Yao's personal mastery style during puttering after The Party Throws a Party.
During The Party Throws a Party we used the party mechanic to get the various groups to coordinate.
Zhu Cai Wen: I don't think I've heard any ideas on this. The two things I can think of are A) actually draw his attention somewhere else (sad for somewhere else) for a while, or B) do some kind of trickery to distract him for a turn or two of the war, during which we solve some of these problems, such that he comes back and things are much improved. (Cause a riot somewhere else? Get someone to issue a social invitation that he can't refuse? Get the Marked to convene a meeting somewhere else? Use the secret Marked Flash Code, which I don't think we have, to make him *think* there's a Marked meeting that he has to go to? Do something to screw up the Sea Lord who's re-blockading the Shrouded Isle, such that he has to go down and straighten it out?)
- Wei Han: How can we mess up the blockade, forcing the Warlord to go there?
- Li Merit: Hypothesizes that the Warlord problem will go away if we solve the other problems.
- Wei Han: I believe he has every reason to be here, even if the other problems are solved. He wants to have some impressive spider-like "win", doesn't he? He can't get that if he is absent.
The Warlord came to the Phoenix Isle for the fight against Mola Ram. At the end of the battle, he was going to take some troops on a patrol, and if there were not bandit problems head back to the front. We convinced the bandits to remain active so I expect that the warlord is currently distracted.
Zhu Cai Wen: I theorize that it would help for Commander Yao to explicitly address this in a memo to the troops, but I also theorize that a tone of "I understand why you're reluctant" might help more than a stern reminder to report facts. Plausible or not? My higher-energy theory is that we could use an incident that clarifies things; for example, if Commander Yao goes on a personal recon and sees zombies for himself, and everybody knows he saw zombies, then maybe they'll really believe it's safe to report accurately. Do I think that might be on the right track?
- Laura GM: A memo to the troops might need to have a better impact than the last memo on the subject Commander Yao sent out for it to really work properly.
- Li Merit: This can work, but we'll need lots of propaganda successes.
- Getting Commander Yao publically involved in a zombie attack might well be a good high-energy incident. (If only you knew someone friendly who dabbled in necromancy...)
- Mike GM: Given that he has a command HQ in Daizhou where he's running things from, rather than being on the Wall himself, he does not appear to be a lead-from-the-front person. He's probably at this point principally a tactician/strategist rather than a fighter. He's likely not a *poor* fighter, but he probably wouldn't start by running out to chop things himself, he'd likely send the people he thought were best equipped to deal with the problem, especially if numbers were a limiting factor.
- Li Merit: This should work, if it can be arranged.
- Shen Wei Han: I wonder if the straightforward method would work: tell Commander Yao that we've noticed this problem, and it could be solved by him being visibly seen _at_ a fight with undead? If he brings two people of his choice (which could include one of us) to the wall, I can bring the three of them to a fight on the wall and back.
- Li Merit: This should work, if it can be arranged.
Li Merit: Create a new name for "undead," and ask them to use the new term from now on.
- "Necromantic Operatives"
- "Northern Elite Forces"
- This would bemuse soldiers and make them think that the higher ups are idiots, but would be an easier behavioral shift. It would therefore be an easier/quicker propaganda campaign, but we would need buy-in from the military high-ups.
- Can we convince the high-ups?
We have presented this to Commander Yao's XO, and then to Commander Yao himself. "It can't do any worse," was Yao's reaction. We'll see how it goes.....
Zhu Cai Wen: Li Merit and I have been looking into this. The economic downturn in the Arcade is making it more difficult (i.e. politically expensive/risky) for the House of Benevolent Oversight to get forces in the field; and also, just as importantly, a lot of Arcade forces seem to be tied town watching the Sea Lord's forces (i.e. the blockade operation, which was operated out of the Port of Propitious Voyage until recently, and is now operating out of the Port of Auspicious Voyage). Since trust in the Dragon Army is low, it's hard to convince people that they shouldn't have Arcade forces standing by while the Sea Lord is running a blockade that nobody understands, having made the flimsy excuses for being in the Arcade at all. (Remember that when the blockade started, the excuse was "riots in the Port of Propitious Voyage".) I feel like we ought to be able to chip away at this, but I don't have a high-energy idea for it.
- Shen Wei Han: Can we get forces from other than the Arcade?
- Shen Wei Han: If we use disruption of the blockade to bring the Warlord here, we need to bear in mind what it might do to the Arcade's insecurity.
We need to move a minimum of 4 Chariots (the basic army unit) to fix this one. One favor from an Arcade House will move one chariot. Favors from other sources might be applicable, depending on how big the source is and whether it's something the Hon'eth Arcade might care about.
- (close to 1 chariot) The Arcade Houses want the favor from the House of Butler. (Takanata doesn't want to spend this.)
- (about 1/2 chariot) Promising some special performances by the Circus next season (easy for us because the Isle of Beauty is in the north, and the circus will be going on the southern route).
- (about 1 chariot *if done well*) We can ask the monks at the Temple of Eternal Dream to send dreams emphasizing the threat to the north, and then follow up with lots of personal persuasion of those people. The right way to do this is probably to concentrate on key people in one House.
- (as many chariots as we could afford...) We are financially capable of raising a Chariot--someone would have to spend a month of training time and spend 6 tael to set it up, and then it costs about 3 tael a week to maintain. Side benefit is that we could raise a military unit (normally very hard for randoms to do, but there's a crisis right now, which gives us the opportunity) which we could keep around later if we wanted; but that would be a big ongoing expense.
- (1 chariot) Anto has a favor from the House of Gainful Protection
- (??; probably a fraction of a chariot) Liet owes the party a favor from Monkeyshines
- (??) Xiao Fa thinks he might be able to generate something
- (Add an asterisk to a chariot) Favor owed by Yuwen Fire-Eye to Shen-Ji and Wei Han might be tradable for having her accompany a chariot unit as a battle mage, making it spiffy (thus the asterisk).