Comic 78 - Try diplomacy, first

17th May 2018, 2:26 AM in Humble Beginnings at Humblestart
Average Rating: 5 (1 votes) Rate this comic
Try diplomacy, first
<<First Latest>>

Author Notes:

Morgenstern 17th May 2018, 2:26 AM edit delete
Though you do take your wand out, you attempt diplomacy first. You make it clear that you know the wood elf summoner is... well, a summoner. You ask why she needed to hire help, and what everyone's here for.

"N... none of your business!," the summoner yells.

The half-elf thief grins, chuckling slightly. "What? C'mon, tell 'em why you're here. You don't wanna talk about it?"

The summoner's face reddens, her tone and volume hiking up substantially. "Just take care of them! I'm paying you, aren't I?!"

She begins to cast, and the orc steps forward. You immediately make the motions to summon your tornado--not... entirely sure if you're aiming it correctly, but it pays off nonetheless. Wind spirals strong around the summoner. She shrieks, clearly confused--it's not a permanent solution, but it does throw her off whatever spell she was about to cast.

Valley moves forward to meet the orc... but the orc stops

and stomps.

It's one big, dramatic stomp, but just a stomp nonetheless. ...Or at least, it only looks like a stomp. You feel the ground shake. The grass before his feet unhinges, breaking apart. Hard chunks of rock and debris fly up in a harsh spray, a wave of earth blasting straight at Valley.

Valley instinctively plunges her stone zwei straight into the ground (an impressive feat on its own, as the weapon is NOT sharp), and ducks slightly behind it. The majority of the earth wave crashes into her wide weapon, and by gripping firmly onto its handle with both hands, she refuses to be pushed back by the force of the attack.

The dust settles. Though Valley did her best to block most of the attack, her zwei is not a shield--and you can see she took some damage from the move. With a grunt, she rips her weapon out of the ground, huffing.

"Cute!," Valley proclaims, visibly heaving. "Like, can I try? It was like... THIS, right?"

You had thought it was purely an act of physical strength--but watching Valley mimic the motions, you can see there's some specific technique to it--some esoteric method to the resulting force. ...A technique and a method that Valley replicates perfectly, on the first try.


With a stomp, Valley sends a wave of earth crashing into the orc. Without a weapon to defend himself with, and clearly not expecting this counter-attack, he takes the full brunt of it. It slides him backward, bits of stone cutting and battering him. He drops to one knee, if only for a moment before getting his bearings back. The orc starts to dig the dust out of his eyes.

Valley has learned Earthbreaker.

You realize that in all the commotion, and huge waves of dirt flying back and forth... you completely lost track of the half-elf thief. You turn, prompting Ranse to do the same... just in time to perhaps avoid one of you being stabbed in the back. The thief rushes at you from your flank with two daggers drawn.

"Wh... whatever," Ranse mutters, and pulls out the weapon she's been working on.


Ranse has finished work on the Pyrespewer.

The thief is given pause.


1977 17th May 2018, 3:15 AM edit delete reply
Second try on diplomacy.
I guess now they are more willing to talk.
Krylo 17th May 2018, 3:18 AM edit delete reply
Wind slash the summoner, and then suggest they surrender because they are not being paid enough for this.
Hambone 17th May 2018, 3:27 AM edit delete reply
First off: Fuck yeah, Valley, you're incredible.

Second off: Fuck yeah, Ranse, you're awesome.

Third, try and charm the chicken to fight for you! It's a fair fight right now, and that's no good; We gotta stack the odds against the enemy.

Also, we have re/deinforce. Does that mean we need a separate spell for curing a target affected by our poison, or can we simply dispel one of our own effects at will?
1977 17th May 2018, 5:28 AM edit delete reply
I guess poison has a duration so you have to wait it out and constantly heal against it.
As for curing it, the Cleanse Potion removes such and other statuseffects.
Guest 17th May 2018, 8:57 AM edit delete reply
As much as I love the charming the chicken idea, I don't think it will work
xenonni 17th May 2018, 1:06 PM edit delete reply
Lagrand has a spell that cures poison, so it may be that a spell is required to end our own poison effect.
Curse 17th May 2018, 5:26 AM edit delete reply
Hot damn! +1 appreciation for the ladies of the party! Hell, make that a +2.. each!

Now back to the battle at hand, I agree with the "you aren't being paid enough to deal with us" kind of diplomacy. Talking is a "free action" (hopefully) so we can continue to talk to them as we defeat them.

If the orc trys to use that earthbreaker technique again I suggest we use the wind wand to blow as much of the dust back at him as possible. If the theif makes a move I'm sure Ranse can light her up BBQ style. If any of the bad guys get close enough to us we should give them a touch of poison.

We would prefer to not use lethal force but we do have to defend ourselves.
1977 17th May 2018, 5:31 AM edit delete reply
We could even say "The summoner can only pay you if you actually win the fight"
Xylas_Incarnum 17th May 2018, 7:07 AM edit delete reply
Oh, wait a minute. This group's probably the thieves/off-brand-Chocobo rustlers we're supposed to be watching out for. ... well either that or the summoner wants to get plowed senseless by said oversized chickens or something. Come to think of it we still need to get that gob village some non gob women right?
Guest 17th May 2018, 9:51 AM edit delete reply
That's just what the farmer said.
Nieki 17th May 2018, 7:12 AM edit delete reply
We did try the nice way. (Also: Damn, but I appreciate our party more and more every day.) The Orc is currently stunned--to a degree--so I propose switching targets with Valley. I sincerely doubt that any summoner worth their salt is comfortable casting with a minitaur on top of them.

It sounds like whatever the summoner's problem is is very humiliating, so having a flamethrower, a match for her muscle, and the ability to cut her in half might be enough to get her to talk.
Iago 17th May 2018, 8:02 AM edit delete reply
Agreed with the second and last chance to talk this one out.
Clearly we are overqualified, they can see that, but we aren't unreasonable. And they really don't feel like criminal masterminds.

If there's a way to resolve this without bloodshed, let's find it. Whatever it is you're looking for, elf, maybe we can help. I don't think a summoner would need help getting a chicken, so I'm more thinking of the minitaur girls - and I'm sure we could introduce them, put a good word in ...
Could be wrong though : magic is weird and so are elves.

If talking doesn't work out, neutralizing the summoner might be enough : the mercs have no stake in this beyond their payment. So either have Valley tackle her, or use the wand to make her pass out by thinning the air around her, if doable (taking her breath away, as it were).
I'd rather not kill her outright, if possible.

And indeed, do absolutely take the time to tell our ladies just how awesome they are, once this has all calmed down.
Guest 17th May 2018, 10:47 AM edit delete reply
Agreed, lethal force should be reserved for monsters, or if we have no chance at diplomacy
Tentechoes 17th May 2018, 8:08 AM edit delete reply
Lets talk it out again ;0; surely with our advantage, they would back down. (Reeeee im loving our pals more and more)
Guest 17th May 2018, 8:54 AM edit delete reply
are we 100% sure the orc is a guy?
1977 17th May 2018, 9:03 AM edit delete reply
Does it matter?
Guest 17th May 2018, 10:34 AM edit delete reply
Pretty sure, yes.
Ghest 17th May 2018, 11:01 AM edit delete reply
Like, 98.3% sure or something. Why do you ask?
Twyll 17th May 2018, 9:08 AM edit delete reply
I agree with one last try at diplomacy. The elf seems embarrassed about why they're here-- maybe say something embarrassing we've done to convince them that seriously, there's no reason to be embarrassed around *us* of all people? I mean, we were kidnapped by a slime!
1977 17th May 2018, 9:23 AM edit delete reply
No, no, no, we weren't kidnapped, we decided to let the slime bring us to their leader, there is a biiig difference:)
Twyll 17th May 2018, 4:20 PM edit delete reply
Eh, it started out as a kidnapping and then turned into us just kinda going with it, so XD I would consider "kidnapped by a slime" truthful enough for embarrassing story fodder.
Tech 17th May 2018, 11:09 AM edit delete reply
Poison the orc.
lil Joshu 17th May 2018, 12:12 PM edit delete reply
lil Joshu
Might I recommend a new outfit for Ranse now?
Ghest 17th May 2018, 12:44 PM edit delete reply
I like a reinforced lab coat.
Guest 17th May 2018, 2:38 PM edit delete reply
Maybe later, if we can find good gear.
Gallstone 17th May 2018, 1:10 PM edit delete reply
Cyclone both the Orc and the Summoner, then talk to the thief.
Point out how you've got a lot of firepower and muscle to use against her... and she doesn't have a flank going.
If she gives up, it'll be easier to deal with the other two.
Ghest 17th May 2018, 1:16 PM edit delete reply
Unless he has more tricks up his metaphorical sleeves it seems like Valley has the upper hand.
Gallstone 17th May 2018, 3:44 PM edit delete reply
Not something that has a direct bearing on the current situation, but ... should we consider seriously Ranse's objections to Lagrand?

My immediate reaction is "no", or at least, "not until we know more about witches in general from personal experience".
Still, look at the inspiration we've gained from uh, 'interacting' with various people.
Je ne sais quoi is a part of Nast's essence.
Reinforce from what we may hope was a friendly innkeeper girl.
Deinforce from Valley, who enjoys smashing stuff and generally being badass.
Identify from Ranse, for whom identifying things is part of her essential skillset.
And from Lagrand, we get ... Poison.

Yes, I know, poison occurs in nature. It's a valid tool for survival for several predators. Still, it makes me feel just a teensy bit suspicious.
If the nature of the people who inspire Nast is an essential part of the inspiration they give, is Poison simply a sign of Lagrand's being in touch with the wild, or something more sinister?

I'm not saying we should shun him or boot him from the party, but I think we need to find out more about him and witches in general.
1977 17th May 2018, 4:05 PM edit delete reply
Have you seen the new LORE TAB?
Right now it only explains all the classes of our partymembers, OTOH that means Witches are already explained in greater detail.
Once the other categories are finished it will be really helpful.
Gallstone 17th May 2018, 4:20 PM edit delete reply
I had not!
Very interesting...

And the bit about the Warrior describes Valley to a T: she really did pick up "Earthbreaker" lickety-split!
Gallstone 17th May 2018, 3:49 PM edit delete reply
"Working on a ranch like this is, like, what most minitaur women end up doing. Laying around all day, totally stuffing your face, getting milked... having a bunch of babies. Like, it does sound totally fun, but I wanted to fight? Like, I wanna be a warrior."

Quoting Valley on the previous page... and now we know why Inzo keeps saying she's a lazy cow.
Because this sounds exactly what most cows do in real life; eat; laze around; have calves; get milked.
And this is what sentient creatures have been made to do, 'thanks' to archmage Wargog. o_o
Cloudy 17th May 2018, 4:25 PM edit delete reply
Imagine being that half elf.
You sneak behind the enemy party
You’re about ready to stab em in the back
This seemingly indifferent nerd turns around
Spots you
Says “Whatever”
Pulls out some chopped up bug bits
And starts spraying fire at your face

Um, further diplomacy
She seemed embarrassed
Plus whatsherface was teasing her
Maybe she’s got a thing for one of the Mini’s and wanted to steal her away from her ranch life to live in nature with her
Maybe not but I like to be hopeful that this whole thing isn’t really all that malicious of an attack