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Avernum Story in General
Shock Trooper
Member # 3022
Profile #1
There isn't one. There are only what it says through the game, in the help files, and theories/conventions that scenario makers have agreed on.

The best source I can think of is:
http://www.sitemouse.com/users/drakefyre/vahnatai.html

Arancytar is compiling an "Encylopedia Emarian", but it is barely started yet.
Posts: 269 | Registered: Saturday, May 24 2003 07:00
The System is Down in General
Shock Trooper
Member # 3022
Profile #17
Polaris is back up again!

Yay!
Posts: 269 | Registered: Saturday, May 24 2003 07:00
An RP in the World of Avernum in General
Shock Trooper
Member # 3022
Profile #306
OOC: Sol can get a lookalike. No one knows what Taron and Linda looked like, anyways. It is doubtful that he would allow people like Taron around where they can interfere.
Posts: 269 | Registered: Saturday, May 24 2003 07:00
WTF are we still in Iraq. in General
Shock Trooper
Member # 3022
Profile #6
Er... In my very very humble opinion, we should not pull out. To do so would be to leave a power vacuum, and a further betrayal of the Iraqi people, distablise the region further, and sow the seeds of more conflict in the future.

We should pull out when we have established democracy, and when the Iraqi people are satisfied with the situation and want us out. And no later or earlier.
Posts: 269 | Registered: Saturday, May 24 2003 07:00
An RP in the World of Avernum in General
Shock Trooper
Member # 3022
Profile #302
So what are we to say of Linda?

Her actions seemed to influence so much of the Great Imperial Civil War, but viewed from another direction, she seemed to have done nothing at all.

She led no army to victory, and there was no glory for her. Her body was never found in the bloodbath at Coutharan Downs. Official imperial history airbrushed her completely out of the picture - she was a figure too dangerous to be allowed to persist.

But would the world be the same without her? Did not her brief candle set something alight?

Without her, would Sol have been the just Emperor he became? Perhaps she was a warning to us all, a reminder of our own mortality. A voice of caution, a conscience we lacked. Could it have been not just political cunning but shame that made him abandon his birthname, to become not Sol but Ironclad?

Without her, would our culture be as bright? Hawthorne attempted to remove the diversity of the Empire, but he was wrong. Perhaps Linda was a muse of sorts, her tragic tale one that inspires. Without failure, are we truly whole?

Perhaps her life had no meaning at all. Perhaps it was just another tale of madness, in a forgotten past. But perhaps something of Linda - the fool, the traitor and finally the patriot lives in us all. Perhaps she won after all, and we are living in her dream.

This book will never be read. The generations will never remember Linda. It will be hidden away, sealed in the deepest vault. But it will be kept secret not in shame, but as a treasure that we fear will flee from us, as the ages go by.

- Prazac, daughter of Hawthorne, of Ironclad, of Sol
Posts: 269 | Registered: Saturday, May 24 2003 07:00
An RP in the World of Avernum in General
Shock Trooper
Member # 3022
Profile #291
And so passed from the world Linda the Traitor. But she did not cry, she did not close her eyes.

No, she realised at the end how she was different from Karadas. And she realised that she had taken the right choice.

Where Karadas considered men, the innocent men to be just tools, used to satisfy his needless whims, she knew them as men. She knew that in the end, humanity was greater than power, greater than her life, perhaps greater than freedom itself. While the populist rebellion had failed today, one day it would rise up again, spared the worst fate of corruption Karadas would have brought to it. She had bought Warderson and Gideon the time, the men, to beat Sol.

By her sacrifice, some may escape this hell. Some will have a chance to surrender. Some already did - she could hear the army falling into disorder, men joining their enemy. Commanders bawling orders and soldiers refusing. She had saved countless lives, countless families. The lie of the Alliance had been sundered, the men captured cut free. Whatever orders they yell out, whatever storm they try to raise would be stained by it. Warderson would have a greater triumph, one that would dismay Sol himself. She wondered whether Taron would get away, would make sure it was worth it.

And as it all grew dark, it seemed to her that she could see a glimmer of the future. There would be a dark time, she knew somehow. But beyond, she saw a castle in a cave, a humanity reunited, an Empress of golden light, an age of freedom and peace.

And then she saw nothing at all.

[ Sunday, January 18, 2004 13:24: Message edited by: FZ ]
Posts: 269 | Registered: Saturday, May 24 2003 07:00
An RP in the World of Avernum in General
Shock Trooper
Member # 3022
Profile #289
From her vantage position, Linda saw the battle begin. It was as she feared. Bloody, and utterly fruitless.

It was time to end it. Cowardice was of no more use to her now. Bravery may be.

And the advancing men of the PIA saw in their way two lone figures, a man and a woman. They checked their charge a little in confusion. She was lucky. Their momentum were not yet built up, and they were advancing cautiously in fear of friendly fire.

And Linda pointed straight into the middle of their ranks, and screamed at the top of her voice.

"Traitors!"

Karadas' bodyguard regiment, at the core of the army slowed, and halted. The other regiments on either side, looking for support from the elite core, also halted. It was a majestic sight, an entire army halted in front of two people.

Linda knew that her time had come, and she addressed each group of the PIA seperately.

First, the Ironcladists.
"Followers of Ironclad, your emperor lives! Hugo has lied to you. He is coming to you now, with an army of glory, his horse is white! Why betray him now, when his victory is near? Why waste your lives to send yourself into Hell?"

Then, the Populists.
"To the people of Praglad, what have you done? Why do you follow this madman, against whom hundreds of your fellows have died to defeat? You have betrayed your future, your farms are in ruin from this scourge. This is not the time for death - this is the time for rebirth!"

Finally the Kylenians.
"And what have you done, followers of Dorian? You had a dream once, have you not forgotten? Your dream was that of an empire of gold, swept clean of corruption and injustice. That dream still lives, and not in the lies of your commanders! See them for what they are cowards, greedy cowards to even their own principles!"

And then she pointed at again, at the heart of her hatred, at the figure in shining armour and the old, frail man on the black horse.

"Yes, cowards they are. Let them face me, me an untrained woman. Let they no longer hide behind a shield of loyal and honourable men! I challenge them to a duel of swords alone, let this decide the battle instead of needless slaughter! I win, and you withdraw. I lose, and you carry the battle."

It was a risky plan, and perhaps an idiotic one. She had after all, no right to set such terms. Any minute now, Karadas would decide that he has had enough of this follly, and resume the charge. But the lines were silent now, as the men began to turn from the reforming AIA shield wall, to look upon their leaders. Linda could feel their shame, the pressure of so many eyes. She weighed up mentally the generals' inbred ideal of chivalric honour. Would they swallow their pride and let their men cut her and Taron down.

And before her, the lines parted. Amid minor disarray, Karadas came forth in his armour, wielding a greatsword of iron. Traitor faced traitor.

She grinned. "You ask me once, to send men for you, or after you, and I have kept my promise."

And as she mumbled something, a prayer perhaps, he drew his sword and swung at her.

She had barely had time to parry him, but his blow was clumsy, misdirected by rage. She had calculated well, ill-trained as she was, Karadas has not fought personally either for a long time.

She slashed in turn, and he parried her, adding a swift riposte that turn away some of her chainmail.

Sword clanged against sword again, sparks flew. A battle awaited another, a smaller one.

But he was the larger, the stronger, the faster each time, as time wore on, she grew tired, her movements slowed.

And he had her.

His sword found a hole in her torn mail, and plunged in. She doubled over in pain, began to fall forward, her blade clattering in the ground.

The world seemed to stay silent. Karadas raised his sword in triumph. His men were silent, there was little glory in killing a woman. Taron rushed forward.

And Linda got up, dropping the remains of a scroll of Arcane Shield. She picked up her sword again, felt the heat of the weapon her hands. And she hacked it across Karadas' arm, slicing away his sword hand.

And in the next moment, her sword was on his throat. Her head swam, but she held in it there, ignoring the blood that ran free from the wound in her chest.

She could see confusion among the troops now. Does that count as a victory or a defeat? Some began to desert there and then. Some captains began to fire on their fleeing soldiers. But most wavered, uncertain. Hugo, it was clear, had no intention to live up to the deal. She saw the order to fire passed to the archers, to kill them there and then.

And then they saw something else, what her distraction had hid. Out of the glaring sun that hurt their eyes, they saw the cold light of massed blades, of armor glinting in the sun. While the PIA's leadership stood paralysed and useless, they recognised the flags of the AIA, they saw the armored men, more machines than soldiers, level their pikes to charge. They saw their undefended flanks, their unwary rear. They saw their doom.

[ Sunday, January 18, 2004 11:56: Message edited by: FZ ]
Posts: 269 | Registered: Saturday, May 24 2003 07:00
An RP in the World of Avernum in General
Shock Trooper
Member # 3022
Profile #281
"To be a traitor is a glorious thing. It is to be free of the bounds of false loyalty, to expose the truth that lay in your character. But an Emperor can never be a traitor. There lies a hypocrisy of Imperialism."
The Republican Codex

But Linda was not interested. The time was past, for her to be making deals with petty wizards. She could see the desperation too in the mage's eyes. Endgame was near. She knew well enough that conquest was a one-shot deal, flunk it and the people will never trust you. You will be a loser in their eyes.

And so her gaze swung over the Ironclads and the AIA. If their alliance holds true, they may yet rebuild this wounded land. He heard other news too. Of the traitor general Karadras, and his massive army.

Fool. By his actions, he dooms the entirity of Praglad. Even if AIA could defeat them in battle, they would be too weak to take on the Solaran despots. And an alliance would be improbable.

But as he read more, she saw the lie that lay at the heart of the Alliance army, the enfolding intangibility that held their ranks. She saw at last their weakness, and how they could be undone.

So Linda, traitor to Sol, demagogue, moralist, will have one more betrayal. She will aid the AIA and Ironclad, for they offer the last glimmer of hope in the storm. And at the end, she would betray herself.

Linda purchased a horse, and prepared for the journey to the encampment of the main Hugoist Alliance army.

"So, Taron. Do you want to be a hero?"

[ Sunday, January 18, 2004 04:06: Message edited by: FZ ]
Posts: 269 | Registered: Saturday, May 24 2003 07:00
An RP in the World of Avernum in General
Shock Trooper
Member # 3022
Profile #275
OOC:
Clarify:
The populists are no longer a coherent military force. They are however, not defecting. (unless they are from the east and disordered anyway)
Their attitude is now that of apathy towards the war. If their cause does not win, then it matters not which of the corrupt imperialists do.
Populists wear no uniform, they are not usually professional soldiers. They only intend now to return home, hopefully in one piece. Whatever recruitment drive anyone is trying is likely to result in very little success. Or if it does, it will be filled with infiltrators, ready to turn on Karadras at Linda's word.
Linda and Taron have fled eastwards, to aid either Warderson, or Ironclad.
The insinuation of populist sentimentality is not a direct threat to Sol, or any faction. It may in the end weaken the Solaran will to fight, but no army will materialise.
700,000 men is an impossibility for ancient armies, simply due to logistics alone. It can only be a gross exaggeration of the numbers by propagandists.
Remember additionally that the AIA is Pragladian, consituting the professional soldiery at the time of Ironclad I. All that are left on Praglad are the dregs, the men too young to fight, and a basic garrison/private army.
Renaissance armies consisted of usually ~50,000 men. It was only in the first world war that we got so big, and that was with mechanised logistics, embedded supply lines and so on.
Finally, we can reference the avernum series themselves. Remember the shock that greeted Prazac's report of tens of thousands of dead?

[ Saturday, January 17, 2004 15:05: Message edited by: FZ ]
Posts: 269 | Registered: Saturday, May 24 2003 07:00
An RP in the World of Avernum in General
Shock Trooper
Member # 3022
Profile #266
OOC:

The portal was not closed on the solaran end. By the time the Solarans went to shut it off, the apparatus at the solaran end had already been removed.

The solarans are not going over to the populists wholesale. But dissent is spreading, and new ideas are coming in from the ex-populists. And there is always the 5%...

Even if they are not greatly hurt, they are still hurt to a degree. How much is another question. Needless to say, the lands outside of Solaran home territory are much harder to hold.

Is it? The populists have only taken one Solaran town, Lincoln, and done so bloodlessly. Subsequent conquests by Hugoists and Solarans have caused far more suffering. In the short term, there may be a flush of victory-fever, but in the long term, populist fervour, the populist ideal does not so easily die.
Posts: 269 | Registered: Saturday, May 24 2003 07:00
An RP in the World of Avernum in General
Shock Trooper
Member # 3022
Profile #264
It was a great surprise when the Solarans struck. The spread out nature of the Populist army help absorb most of the blow, and where a conventional army would be destroyed, they were merely smashed. But that was scant consolation.

But communications was still intact. With some effort, and from another little camp well out of the way, they took a quick roll call.

Lincoln Garrison: Surrounded and surrendered. All killed.

1st Division: 40 killed, hiding in hills.

2nd Division: Down to half strength, lying low in nearby towns.

3rd Division: Missing.

And so it went. Division aftr division. It would be impossible to gather them up again. Fortunately, the advancing Solarans did not touch the core reserves - either they knew nothing of them, or they were too concerned with conquering territory to realise that this is not how the populists fight.

Linda laughed at word of "Sol the Benevolent". But those conquests were perhaps beneficial to them, too. The Solarans, reliant on a large core to smash their enemy, were weakened by having to keep so many garrisons. And beneath the sycophants' cooning, refugees were fleeing under the cover of darkness, many to join the Coalition's cause. Still others, under the cover of swearing fealty to Sol, plotted vengeance. Ex-populists began to flood SAFT recruitment, melting back into the jobs they left, becoming invisible to the unaware Solaran searchers.

The Populists were not well trained in fighting, but surviving, taking advantage of disasters was something born into them.

And while the Solarans were concentrating on attacking south, word was spread northwards, gossip of Solaran lies and Populist martyrs. Whenever the local garrisons tried to crack down, the offenders were never to be found. Everyone was ready to sing Sol's praises.

And there were texts, too, copied by underground scribes and distributed by thieves guilds and merchantry. None were genuine, of course, and the tale soon were blown out of all proportion. Tales spread of Taron the Dragonslayer, Linda the Great Wizard and so on. Some collaborating writers and philosophers composed the Republican Codex, and word of it spread from the lowest peasantry to even high orders of government.

And so, beneath a cover of victory, a rot began to grow at the heart of the Solaran faction.

And when the mages arrived to close down the portal, they found the receiver missing, the camp empty. Some said it was destroyed, but others said that the populists have taken it, and are preparing a triumphant return.

And when the Solarans assaulted their backup command camp, they spotted a lone ship, sporting AIA colours, speeding rapidly southeastwards towards the new AIA bases.

In the words of the Republican Codex:

"They may kill us, they may toss our children into dark wet pits, but the light of hope is always alive. And as long as we hold the path in our hearts, as long as we do not allow ourselves to be corrupted, we will succeed. Even from Avernum, the land of the dead, we will win."
Posts: 269 | Registered: Saturday, May 24 2003 07:00
An RP in the World of Avernum in General
Shock Trooper
Member # 3022
Profile #257
At dawn, the silent group, the remnants of Taron's little squad arrived, sneaking slowly through Solaran guardposts, avoiding detection from watchtowers, meandering from populist outpost to populist outpost.

There was a great many of them, having been formed into a highly decentralised pattern to protect from a sudden assault. By the time they reached the command camp, word had long spread of their return.

Linda ran forward in hope and joy, wishing to greet Taron in their success. But she stopped when she saw how the men were silent, how one of them was pale, and strapped to his horse...

Her shock turned to anger... and grief? "Damn the bastards! Damn them all!" She cried out.

"You know why I hate them? Because they are all the same. Sol, Hugo, you name it, they are all the same. They don't care if the people starve, the country goes to hell. They don't care if one man, a hundred men, die for them, die for some not worth dying for. Their lives are that of killing, of grabbing power, and when they have devoured everything, they devour themselves! Even the madmen to the East, they are like that too. They think nothing of stabbing each other in the back, nothing of what will happen if they win. They raid merchants, burn crops. They are all killers, curse them all!"

She sighed. There were tears, and she did not wish for the others to see them.

"Well I care! Maybe that's our weakness, but that's who we are! And we will not stop until we find each one of those power-hungry men, those devourers of life and tear them apart!"

There was a sound which interupted her, and with great effort, she could focus on it. It was a wheezing noise, a pathetic sound.

She stood in silence as the unconcious Taron struggled to breathe. And struggled to breathe. And struggled to breathe.

---

There was no wound, and the priests and doctors did not know what Taron's condition was, let alone how to deal with it. But he seemed to be in no immediate peril, and with some strong herbs and gentle smacking he was brought back into a painful awareness.

Linda had taken the time to compose herself, and adopt a tone of anger. After a while, they were able to relay what happened since their last meeting.

"So you were able to destroy the Doomguard?"

"I told you, I inserted the pheonix egg. The thing is as good as destroyed."

A look of sudden concern came over Linda. "Does it not seem too convenient for this mage to provide you with precisely the tool to destroy what I thought almost impossible to destroy?"

"Meaning?"

"Meaning, I don't know if that is destroyed after all. There is a strong chance that all you did was install a control crystal, or something else. It may not destroy the doomguard after all, and do something unpredictable."

But there was nothing they could do, for now. The doomguard was out of their hands, and if it wasn't destroyed, then whatever it did was the Solarans' problem. They continued to the next issue.

"I thank you greatly for delivering this secret to me. This secret, it gives us a chance now and with the recent changes around Praglad, a choice that can change everything. As we speak, an elite strike team is retrieving it for us. The camp had relied on secrecy for safety, but now we know its location... I am already have preliminary reports of a success.

But now we have a real problem. What to do with the choices we suddenly have. I wanted to strike Solaria, because it was close and our men were predisposed to attacking it. But this teleporter isn't just a weapon, it's a bargaining chip. Sol is still viable, especially as the Alliance would provide a distraction. And we can find out what did happen with the doomguard.

Or we can hit Hugo. He is perhaps even worse than Sol, and his hiring and firing had made him enemies within. He is too blinkered to see the threat, and our successes have shaken him to the core. Taking Imperius, now that his attention is focused on Sol, would be a great boost to our cause.

But there are other options. Vida may put aside her personal hatred, and aid us more actively. Ironclad... I thought him an innocent whose nobility was hidden by his councillors once, but now I am less sure. And Warderson, he is sending emmissaries to us, which should arrive soon. He is a wise man, perhaps, but he knows too little of the machinations of politics. And if he grows too headstrong, learns to love his power too much, we will have to fight him. He would be a worthy foe, but then he must die.

So what should we do? Flip a coin? Tell me Taron, for I may have run out of ideas."

EDIT: Reduced power of teleporter.

[ Friday, January 16, 2004 15:51: Message edited by: FZ ]
Posts: 269 | Registered: Saturday, May 24 2003 07:00
An RP in the World of Avernum in General
Shock Trooper
Member # 3022
Profile #251
Darchez sat at the table, sipping another glass of cool beer. He wasn't paying. It seemed in recent days that everything was going his way.

First, the profitable contract from Hugo. 100 AU per day! And better yet, since only he knew how to make the new fire-chemical the Alliance was deploying, he had endless potential to renegotiate. And now kind strangers are offering to buy beer for him.

"So this chemical cannot be reverse-engineered?"

"Not at all! The thing is genius, really, a mixture of several different ingredients by a special recipe. Mixed the wrong way, and boom!"

"And only you know how to make it?"

"Of course, the fewer people know, the more safe the secret is. Without me, they have no chance in hell of making any more than the small batch they are going to load onto the three ships."

His benefactor smiled. He didn't see what was funny.

"You see, I have certain... friends in certain places. Are you sure you don't want to help us? We'll double whatever Hugo is paying."

Darchez shook his head vigorously. Since someone was prepared to pay more, his little invention turned out to be even more valuable than he thought. 200 AU was not enough.

"I see." The other man frowned, and handed him another glass of beer.

He downed it quickly, spluttering as he tried to talk at the same time. There was a sweet aftertaste he didn't quite catch. Who knows what they put in beer these days.

"You see, I'm the best alchemist that has ever lived. I can't risk it, getting into this factions business. Sorry... but ah..."

He suddenly felt drowsy, and his head flopped involountarily to the table. Maybe his fatigue and long nights were getting to him. As his eyes began to close for the last time, he wonder why his companion was looking at him with an expression of impatience.

---

Terence walked directly through the Alliance military guardpost. A group of heavily armed troops searched him for weapons - of course, he did not have any. No one would dare carry any, not when there is almost an entire army concentrated in this little port complex.

Going through the gates, he was checked again. Sniffer dogs this time. He had no idea what he could be carrying that would give off an odor, but the guards carried out their duty with an attitude of complete professionalism. Terence wondered if he should crack a joke, but thought better of it.

The final checkpoint was a new one. A couple of bored looking wizards lounged there, and as he stepped reluctantly up to the point, one touched his forehead with a palm, and muttered a brief spell. A mind-test, then. If he meant any harm to Hugo, or any member of the Alliance, he would be nailed there and then.

The wizard stepped back. No problem. He didn't mean any real harm - he was playing both sides, and both were paying well enough. He wasn't stupid enough to jeopardise his two incomes, or even his life. And so, he had done his best to ensure all the intelligence he provides were profoundly useless. The wizard made some excuses. Extra security today - the Ilai Hugo and the Dorian Kylen was docked, taking on more ammunition, blah blah. He could see the battleships, and the piled up barrels with mages here and there pleading with the workmen to be more careful.

A few meters in, and behind a corner, he dug under a rock as he always did. A scroll! New instructions from the Populist Coalition, then.

Strange. The paper was covered with strange symbols that he had never seen before. Yet somehow, he was able to read them, and for some reason, he felt a compulsion to read them out loud.

Damnation! A guard had spotted him, and was running towards him. But he had already finished reading, and with a soft whisper, the paper crumbled into dust.

A small bolt of super-hot flame darted from his hands towards the nearest pile of barrels.

As the conflagaration quickly enveloped the compound, and the stranded Ilai Hugo and Dorian Kylen began to sink below the waves, Terence took the opportunity to swear very very hard.

---

When the populist messenger finally arrived at SAFT headquarters, he had an additional message, enclosed in a small, sealed envelope.

"Since the Populist Coalition values the continued neutrality and open-mindedness of SAFT, we have taken the liberty of relieving you of some minor annoyances, which you will likely hear of very soon. We have left one challenge remaining for your personal enjoyment."

[ Wednesday, January 14, 2004 14:10: Message edited by: FZ ]
Posts: 269 | Registered: Saturday, May 24 2003 07:00
Free Will in General
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Member # 3022
Profile #45
quote:
I haven't heard of the non-local hidden variable but it sounds interesting, maybe you could offer a brief explanation?
Well, the best "proof" of QM we currently have is the Aspect experiment. Previously, detracters (notably Einstein himself) posed the issue of the EPR paradox as a disproof. What they said, essentially, that quantum uncertainty is an issue of measurement or knowledge only, and that hidden variables, or unknown factors work to give the appearance of uncertainty, when it is actually behaving normally. The Aspect experiment disprove pretty conclusively all local versions of the hidden variable idea - all versions where, for example, the particles are affected by a guiding wave that propogates at the speed of light. However, Bohm had an escape clause, with a non-local hidden variable. In short, the entire universe is interconnected instantaneously in subtle ways, which work to give the appearance of uncertainty, probablistic effects and so on. There are some advantages to this model, but also many disadvantages.

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qm-bohm/
Posts: 269 | Registered: Saturday, May 24 2003 07:00
Free Will in General
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Profile #38
Er... Radiant... are you sure about that?

I know a professor who works in chaos theory, and as far as he (and I agree) is concerned, chaos is defined in terms of the lyapunov exponent, or the rate of divergence of a give set of nearby initial conditions. If a system is chaotic, then it has a positive lyapunov exponent, and by definition the butterfly effect must be true - an infintessimal deviation must eventual overwhelm prediction ability. How long it takes depends on the size of the difference, and the precise lyapunov exponent of the system.

What you described appeared to be Kolmogorov complexity, which is related, but very different.

Additionally, though everyone agrees with the calculated outputs of QM, there is much debate over *how* it actually works. A number of interpretations (in particular, the Copenhagen interpretation) take the view, as you do, that Quantum uncertainty is about entirely random at fundamental levels. But there are other interpretations. Bohm espouses a non-local hidden variable, which has escaped disproof thus far. And Everett's many worlds interpretation sidesteps the entire issue. The Copenhagen interpretation is currently the most popular, but its position is really because it is there by default, the others having so far failed to generate a way to distinguish themselves from the other model.

[ Monday, January 12, 2004 14:43: Message edited by: FZ ]
Posts: 269 | Registered: Saturday, May 24 2003 07:00
An RP in the World of Avernum in General
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Profile #247
Seeing that without some "cooperation" from the Solaran defenders, her offensive had ground to a standstill, Linda began to send out messengers and couriers to those she feel she can deal with - the AIA, the New Ironcladists and SAFT.

The message given to each was practically the same, handed to them on a simple sheet of vellum.

"Linda of the Western Populist Coalition sends her regards. Better relations between us can be of mutual benefit, as we have common foes. Though one day, we may be forced to fight, it is better as men of honor today to act side by side. The Western Populist Coalition fully disowns the actions of the scattered eastern populist groups, but there are enemies within who would seek for the Coalition to take on a more extremist line. If you are men with foresight, respond to this message with a emissary of your own, or with magical telecommunications.

Confidentiality is essential."

---

Towards the east, the tactics of the populists grow more desperate, but also more dangerous. Many groups now attack merchants without warning. Some raiders have been reported to throw fire-bombs at crop carts instead of attempting to rob them, attempting to deny the AIA supplies at risk of their own starvation. The guerilla war begins to get ugly.
Posts: 269 | Registered: Saturday, May 24 2003 07:00
An RP in the World of Avernum in General
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Profile #244
Damn. The wrong people fell into the trap.

Linda immediately relayed orders to her strike teams to delay their plans. The remaining defenders were quietly withdrawn, but had suffered some casualties. A thin stream of refugees escaped with them, but the majority were left to the pillaging of the Kylenians. The strike teams maintained their position, restlessly waiting her command.

Stupid Kylenians... why do they have to ruin everything?

After a few hours, it began to rain, putting out the fires of two attacks on Lincoln, and turning the ill-maintained paths into a nightmare of trodden mud. For now, the Kylenians were unlikely to leave, and the Solarans were unlikely to sally forth from their defensive positions. Camping in scattered tents and hiding in smaller nearby towns, the populists waited.

---

On the East, a sufficiently large number of rowdier populist easterners had become motivated to do something about Warderson's force. Seeing the disembarkation of the troops as a stage of weakness, they begin to mount a campaign of arson and vandalism to disrupt the army's operations.
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Profile #239
Lincoln fell without a fight, its small garrison fleeing, perhaps wisely towards the main Solaran defensive line. Within days they would arrive, and tell of the populists' capture. Linda did not worry about this. In fact, she counted on it.

As she rode through the town, she assessed the mood of the ordinary people. Not that bad. Most had stayed indoors in stubborn passivity, but there was even some around, cheering the incoming troops. No doubt these were the ones who had relatives put to the sword and fire by Solaran lackeys. But it still cheered her heart a little, reassured her that she was on the right side. Hopefully, the bigger cities would show more support.

The discarded weapons of the fled garrison were quickly picked up. A rough wooden pallisade was produced in hours, and Linda assigned the defenders to their respective tasks.

She wondered if Sol would take the bait. She was not hopeful.
Posts: 269 | Registered: Saturday, May 24 2003 07:00
Free Will in General
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Profile #26
quote:
The example I was thinking of specifically was weather prediction. It's my understanding that in the early days of using computers to predict the weather, minor changes to the initial conditions quickly produced radically different results as one extrapolated further ahead (the famous "butterfly effect".) However, newer models which take into account a larger number of climatic factors tend to display much less chaos. (Of course, you could well say that meteorologists still get weather predictions drastically wrong on occasion, but given how limited knowledge of the initial conditions is in this case I'd still say they're doing a pretty good job.)
Er... no. The chaotic nature of the system has not changed. What has changed is the accuracy of our measurements. What some literature overblows on chaos is the unpredicatability. Chaos does not make it absolutely unpredictable - rather, there is a prediction window that depends on the accuracy of the measurements, and the lyapunov exponent of the system. What chaos is about is systems exaggerating effects from what appeared to be insignificant. The butterfly effect still works, just that we keep better track of our butterflies, and learn to work around it, keeping to only certain limits of forecasting where it is not visible, for example.

quote:
I still fail to see how a random process can mediate what we experience as free will or how it can account for consciousness, especially when at best it probably plays only a minor part in brain function; it seems to me that at most, quantum effects may cause or prevent the firing of a few individual neurons in each impulse.
The key this is that quantum effects make things less a matter of actual instance, but more of probabilities. Thus, it is not certain whether something occurs, though we can work out how likely it is. That gaves us the "free" part of free will. Of course, as you corrected stated, it doesn't do the "will" part of free will. Perhaps nothing will, perhaps nothing is already enough. This is why I said there can be no decisive answer. We may find out if the brain has a freedom to act - whether that act is according to will is anybody's guess.

But the prevention of the firing of even a single neuron is very significant, because brains have no CPU which plans out everything, and so we have redundancy. One neuron fires, partially due to the influence of another firing. Take out the initial impulse, and a whole cascade may not happen.

quote:
FZ: Lysenko is correct. Quantum uncertainty only exists on a very small scale. As soon as you work with bigger things, uncertainty disappears and is generally replaced with common sense (balls thrown to the left will always land to the left).
Yes, but you didn't click on the link. It is true that decoherence tends to remove the quantum wierdness in most cases. But the jury is still out on whether that is true of the brain. The links I gave are two articles giving drastically different assessments of this.

quote:
Anyway, you seem as if you know what you're talking about. Are you a neurologist or a physicist? I'm just a lowly biology student and have only just finished my first year at university.
And my final point is... er no, or at least only as a personal interest. Meaning of life and stuff. I just read physics articles, think, hang around on physics forums and talk to physicists alot. On no account listen to be because of an aura of authority and suchlike. Always check up on stuff yourself.
Me do maths, really.
Posts: 269 | Registered: Saturday, May 24 2003 07:00
Free Will in General
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Profile #21
quote:
I'm saying that if the brain were sensitive enough for quantum effects to be significant, something like a minor knock on the head would drastically change your personality.
I think we need to be aware that there are two levels here. We have the hardware of the brain, the way the neurones are joined to each other, the synapses and so on. Much research suggests that these established pathways decide much of our memories, and personality etc. We then have the software part, the pattern of synchronised electrical impulses that occur when the neurones fire. There isn't room for uncertainty effects in the first, but in the latter, as we have a large number of essentially quantum interactions happening all the time, probabilistic effects can be significant. At a large scale view, your "personality" will be unchanged.

http://arxiv.org/abs/quant-ph/9907009
http://arxiv.org/abs/quant-ph/0005025
Articles discussing quantum decoherence in the brain. First says no to quantum effects. The second refutes the first and says yes. Notice the *massive* difference in the results of the two calculations. (8 orders of magnitude!)

quote:
As far as chaos goes, there's evidence that it's not as important as pop science suggests.
Well, it depends. Some of the initial hysteria has died down, but the field is definitely significant, especially in finding out about emergence properties and such like. Complexity theory does not attack chaos theory, rather it complements it by tackling the issue from a different direction - complex systems can exhibit simple behaviour. In any case, it is generally accepted that the brain is enormously complex, and so very sensitive and unpredictable. It would be worthwhile to specify some specific cases, so I know what you mean by "flawed assumptions".

[ Friday, January 09, 2004 15:20: Message edited by: FZ ]
Posts: 269 | Registered: Saturday, May 24 2003 07:00
Poll in General
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Profile #24
Erika for me. Rentar is good, but she is on the last count just too simple - her motivations in the end boil down purely to vengeance, and she is a weaker character than Erika, relying on consul from her allied crystal souls. She has never experienced personal hardship, never had a real personal ambition, never had friends or colleagues, strong personal enemies. Erika had - her motivations are never deeply understood, and she has a sense of inner conflict, cloaked by the arrogant assurance from knowing that you are the best mage in Exile/Avernum, perhaps the best human mage. Erika was Exile/Avernum's fire. Rentar was just a good archmage.
Posts: 269 | Registered: Saturday, May 24 2003 07:00
Free Will in General
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Profile #19
quote:
I find it implausible that quantum uncertainty effects in the brain are significant. After all, quantum uncertainty mostly works on the scale of individual subatomic particles, whereas even a single neuron consists of countless billions of atoms, and we lose neurons every day with no major changes becoming evident. If the brain were that sensitive to small changes it simply couldn't function.
I don't see how this makes sense. You seem to be saying that quantum effects can't be significant, because they will be too significant. How about "just significant enough"? ;)

In essence, we don't know. We do know that the brain is pretty chaotic, and may in theory be able to pull up uncertainty through the scales, magnifying small quantum fluctuations. I think some recent research on rat brains found just that... though I can't find the article.

Of course, this question will never be answered decisively. Pros can always hide behind the subjective experience, and declare material investigations to be neccessarily limited. Antis can always hide in loopholes in the theories, and hidden variables.

[ Friday, January 09, 2004 15:00: Message edited by: FZ ]
Posts: 269 | Registered: Saturday, May 24 2003 07:00
An RP in the World of Avernum in General
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Profile #232
(OOC: Er... wasn't that rather too easy, and supremely anticlimactic? Come on, an entire populist army destroyed in 6 lines, and no opportunity for any response/fight back/anything? I would have expected at least several days/posts for Linda's army even to get close enough to engage with the Solarans. Additionally, the populist army is too loosely ordered to destroy utterly, especially if you are defending. More likely that you just destroyed an initial strikeforce.)

IC:
Which made it all the more interesting when the women they captured was eventually found to be an one-eyed whore called Millie.

Linda was pessimistic about the future of her campaign, but she still had a plan. And the first part worked perfectly. For all the much renowned training of the Solaran army, one thing had crept in without any teaching. Arrogance.

And in this case, they performed admirably. It was only arrogance that could make them underestimate the populists so much that they considered a 60 man scout troop to be an entire army. It was only arrogance that could have led them to send such inflated reports to their commanders.

And perhaps in that arrogance, there would be some weakness. The probing strike had cost her some fierce warriors, yes. But only warriors that are otherwise useless, who cannot follow commands, for whom hatred had already blinded him. Men who fought like madmen were one thing. Men who were madmen were quite another. Perhaps their suicidal attack had sown some seeds of fear in the Solaran lines. Perhaps they provided some martyrs to revive the populist cause. Perhaps they even fooled the Solarans into weakening their southern flank for the real attack force.

But that was too much to hope for. What the probe had given her is an insight into how the Solarans are defending their land. Defense in depths seems to be the key - weak units to sponge up the initial shock of the attack, and then a deployment of reserves to surround and counter. A formidable plan, one that would no doubt crush any conventional force.

She must be unconventional, then. There, in the reports, must be a solution. An answer to the puzzle. Frederic's reserves appeared not to cooperate well with the current garrison. The counterattack focused too much on non-essential troop formations.

So she formed a plan. Divided her forces. And found a target.

At the small, tactically insignificant farming village of Lincoln, where forest met river, the hammer will first fall.

[ Wednesday, January 07, 2004 12:43: Message edited by: FZ ]
Posts: 269 | Registered: Saturday, May 24 2003 07:00
An RP in the World of Avernum in General
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Profile #226
The only side unaware of the return of the Aizoan fleet was Linda's, much to her consternation. Just as her orders were beginning to have an effect on the overstretched Solarans, a whole new army appeared to shift the whole political landscape.

For all the bravado of the populists, she had no illusions. If the populists were to attempt to take power any time soon - even though in theory they were militarily ready - they can in no way form a credible government. Men who rose to prominence due to personal bravery and hatreds are ill suited to real administration.

And as the days wore on, and the more militant Eastern populists win victories - against all expectations, mind you - the less control she had over what was essentially a band of rabid dogs.

She feared the day that she would no longer control the mob, and the mob would control her. A mad, glorious war then, a war without end or purpose. A true betrayal of what the populists should believe in.

And she had enough of betrayals for one lifetime.

The Solarans were bound to fall - their empire rested only on fear now, and without Aizoan help his words were useless. And Ironclad had the army he wanted - no use for a people to love him anymore. The Kylenians had melted into misguided and ruinous militarism. And so must they follow. If they cannot resist the tide, they can only join it, and hope that there is a bright dawn after the dark storm.

In the end she assented, and as her captains cheered at some action, she hid her tears of defeat.

To march north, then. With an untrained army, used only to defeats. With a force equiped with makeshift arms and only enough crossbows for a quarter of the men. With fortified outposts ahead - fortification that in one of fortune's ironies she had helped build.

How Jehan Sol would laugh. She wished he would laugh himself to death. Perhaps Taron will appear with the doomguard and save them. Perhaps Sol was too busy fighting on other fronts. Perhaps the assassins would kill her before she sees all her men die.

At dawn, the western populist army slowly gathered. Crossbows were dug up from hiding holes. Spell-scrolls were removed from town libraries. Fencing was pulled up as makeshift shields. Kitchen knives were stripped from mess halls. And in the streets, wives threw flowers, sang for the safe return of their husbands, their sons.

Linda sang in her head too, as her force sloshed in their trail of mud. She sang a requiem for the brave, stupid old men and boys who were to be her honor guard into the lands of the dead. Her unready army laughed and chanted as though they had already won.

"Death to Sol!"
"Long live the people of Praglad!"

---

The eastern populists had spies, too. They cared little for the army which just landed - just another few shiploads of evil imperialists to grind to a pulp. Things were going well, and they lounged in their captured Alliance goods.

From a distance, they heard of the army now heading north to attack Solaria. There was silence first. Surprise at such audacity from men they had considered cowards and collaborators. Some voices were raised to send aid, and other to deny it - after all, the west never helped the east when they were in need. After a day, they made their decision.

They resolved to do nothing.

(OOC: Arancaytar... where are you...?
Also omlette, you can try to contact Linda with your scrying mages...)

[ Tuesday, January 06, 2004 13:38: Message edited by: FZ ]
Posts: 269 | Registered: Saturday, May 24 2003 07:00
An RP in the World of Avernum in General
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Profile #218
Linda looked over her reports once more. So far the Solaran assassins have proved elusive. Intelligence had confirmed when they crossed the Solaran border, but after that, they appear to have disappeared into the rural areas.

But there was still hope. Once that entered the towns, they will doubtlessly be found. A solitary "accomplished mage" will not be able to hide well in a town where few have even seen magic being performed. And accomplishments will mark a man out, making him easier for agents to spot.

The best thing to do about this, then, is to ignore it.

She turned to the next few reports, which detailed the "acquistion" of weapons. To avoid antagonising SAFT, she had assigned populist-loyal raiders to attack shipments only after they have left SAFT hands, and to minimise casualties. This was already bearing fruit, with an entire batch of crossbows being diverted to populist recruits. Not enough, of course, but having such simple to use weapons would offset her disadvantages in training and discipline.

Next few reports. Solaran troop dispositions. It appeared that Alliance attacks to the north are making Sol bolster his northern flank by transferring men and material from the southeast.

Perhaps then this would be the perfect time to put some more pressure on our emperor...

Linda smiled to herself.

---

Far to the northeast, the battle around the Solaran defences had descended into a confused three way melee. Eastern populists were perfectly happy to kill any imperialists they meet, Solaran or Alliance. In a matter of minutes, all semblence of battle lines had been broken into an utter free-for-all.

However, such confusion worked to the advantage of the populists. Without any space for manuever, any territory to defend, all armies were equal. Populist axemen and spearmen excelled without any real shield wall defenses, and imperial advantages in cavalry were nullified by the lack of room for organise any real charges. As the battle wore on, Alliance archers and mages, traditionally the strengths of an imperial army, became liabilities as the undulating battle lines left no real targets, instead making them obstruct their own forces.

When finally additional Solaran forces came into play, and the populists began to dissolve cluster by cluster back into the surrounding wilderness, they had managed to loot much of the Alliance baggage train, and struck many painful blows against their more vulnerable units.

All in a day's work. Now it was simply left for the imperialists to kill each other, and everyone will be happy.

---

There would be no stop to it.

There was another note the next day, laid carefully under Jehan Sol's pillow.

"We can strike whenever, and wherever. With love from Linda."
Posts: 269 | Registered: Saturday, May 24 2003 07:00

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