Jun 02, 2023 6:58 PM
Kireh in Frostpunk
+ Show First Post
Total: 273
Posts Per Page:

What's the difference, and hopefully yes.


Why, magic is a charlatan's game and ancient superstition we now know better than to be duped by! While science is a careful study of the natural laws in order to apply them cleverly with human ingenuity. Science admits it's wrong when people learn more! Magic just says 'god wills it' or 'the hidden forces are mysterious' or something like that.

(A few people sheepishly give her ways to contact them after her announcement makes them realize they forgot to do that. Nobody mentions what their private concern was out loud, of course.)


"For my grand finale, I'm going to use my deeper mind-reading that gets your currently most-pressing fears and desires." She dons the pots solemnly and stands still. "With this technique, I can read anyone within two meters."


"By default, I will simply describe out loud what I learn. But for the very bravest, I offer to instead secretly plot to help you. By attaining your desires and avoiding your fears, or by redirecting your desires and soothing your fears. I will not break the law or my duties or my honor, and I can promise only a limited effort.

If you're interested in helping me help others this way, you may approach me now or later, and be prepared to have your intentions scrutinized."


People will line up for this as well, a bit more nervous than before! Having your desires and fears spoken out loud is a bit intimidating.

One of them pushes ahead. "Go ahead and plot for me," says the test pilot. "I'm sure it'll be fun!" She wants to be famous, to be spoken in the same breath as Nansen, Tesla, and Queen Victoria. She fears - Criminals, kidnapping, a knife against her skin. Something in that region.

Hardly anybody else is brave enough to volunteer about a secret plot- Just one other man, whose greatest fear is starvation, and whose greatest desire is to find a good wife.

People who willingly walk into her aura and don't want her to plot for them want: To be rich, to have sex with various people, to have everyone think they're virtuous, to show up their petty rivals, a simple life in the countryside, learn to be an engineer, to get a safe spot in a shelter, to be famous/nobility, to master their craft, more beer, to become a shift boss in the steel mill, to agitate for a labor union, to find their lost sister, to have the Queen knight them.

And fear: Freezing to death, being rejected by their families, going to Hell, starvation, violent crime, making a public speech, injury and disease, the police and the Army, growing old alone, drowning, not being able to make rent, spiders and mice and other vermin, not having enough food for their family, their children meeting some terrible fate.


She tells Debra and the man that she'll be able to plot for them better if she knows more about them. "I need to leave at eleven, but you can walk back with me. And I don't need to sleep, so you can stay the night and use my bed in the inn, if that would give us more time to talk - that offer is only for tonight, though."

Wants to be an engineer: "I've heard the library has some books you can learn from. I can help you study, and I know someone who might be able to tutor you, and if you show aptitude I might be interested in hiring you."

Wants fame and nobility: "I want to become nobility too! I hope there are ways we can work together on that."

Wants to master their craft: "What are your obstacles? Do you want to work faster and more intensely? Or I can read you while you work to see if your thoughts can be streamlined." 

Afraid of rejection by their family: "What would happen if they rejected you? Are you dependent on them?"

Afraid of going to Hell: "How do people end up in Hell here, or Heaven, or anywhere else?"

Afraid of the police and the army: ...well that's concerning, and reminds her of the Green Gulliman's statements about the 'jack boots'. She addresses the crowd: "Is it common to be afraid of the police and the army? Why? What are people doing about it?"


They both... Really don't think staying in her inn room is a good idea? They'll wait patiently for her to be done with the others, though. Well, the man, whose name is Daniel, will. Debra will wait impatiently, instead.

Wants to be an engineer says he doesn't really know where to start, and after all things are very busy these days.

Wants to master his craft is a glassblower, he thinks the problem is part insufficient tools and part bad habits and part simple inexperience. He thinks it'd be interesting to have her guide him as he works, if she'll accept payment in glass things.

The one afraid of rejection... Isn't, really, dependent on them. He has a job. But they're still the ones he feels closest to, the people he wants to spend time with and who he knows and, mostly, trusts. It's just that he can't live up to their expectations. (...And drinks too much maybe.)

Why, people are judged by Saint Peter when they die, and welcomed to the paradise of Heaven forever more, or condemned to Hell if they were sinners and did not repent. Oh, there's also Purgatory, which lets you into Heaven eventually. No, purgatory is heresy! No, every person's soul is predestined to Heaven or Hell by an omniscient God before they are even born! No, that's heresy, you bloody Calvinist! Why is a Calvinist in a bar! No, God is a lie designed to keep the People meek and compliant! (All participants turn on this last guy.)

(There is a short break while a pair of bouncers cool things down.)

Well, the people in power mostly only look after themselves, don't they? Everyone has a litany of historical abuses to cite. The Potato Famine, which was a horror beyond horrors because a bunch of aristocrats were lining their pockets. Jonathan Wild, who spent a decade organizing crime and bribing judges. The South Sea Company, which was a shameless scam from start to end. They conscript people sometimes, especially the bloody press gangs, literally kidnap you onto a ship and sail away, not a chance to pack or say goodbye. And one hears rumors of more recent incidents too- Beating a block of protestors outside a factory with truncheons so they'll go back to work, and the like. Victoria's a saint, bless her soul, but historically kings have been... Bad. King Henry VIII divorced and executed his wife and married another! Seven times!


Wants to be an engineer: "During the next week I'll have an engineering consultant you can talk you about where to start!"

Wants to master his craft: "I might accept payment in glasswork, let me ask my engineering consultant."

Afraid of rejection: "What duties do you have towards your family? Are you fulfilling them? It sounds like you feel bad because you think you have an infinite duty to please them in every way, which I suspect isn't actually true. In any case, I can help with your drinking problem."

Hm, so this universe has only moral alignment, and people aren't sure whether prophesy works...

She nods along to the complaints. What an interesting mix of Lawful and Neutral and Chaotic Evil... perhaps as to be expected in a universe with no systemic alignment. "Are press gangs legal?" If so, she wants one of her own.

Debra: "What do you imagine doing with your fame? Have you had particular bad experiences with criminals?"

Daniel: "What kind of wife do you want? What obstacles are in your way?" It would be convenient if Kireh knew how to make a Ring of Sustenance, or if Marra could choose a cleric here who worked the same as in Pharasma's Creation, but she'll just have to be creative...


Afraid-of-rejection knows his brother's wife and kids will suffer without him helping out, but... Will think about that. It's not like there's a contract or anything, and he's not married... But family is family. Quitting the drinking would be good, anyway.

There's some arguing back and forth about press gangs, but they're pretty sure it was a right specifically afforded to the Royal Navy. It's not used quite so much anymore, anyway, modern sailing is a more skilled job than it ever was before. And there haven't been as many wars lately. They seem to enjoy the chance to argue about things.

Why, being famous! Having people look up to her, having big parties, getting all the coolest toys... Oh, and saving people, yes, that too. Eh... Well, she probably does have to talk about this doesn't she? Fine, fine. Debra's expression darkens. Back in flight school she was blackmailed for a little while, then at one point kidnapped held hostage for a bit by a bastard of a man who mostly got away with it. If Kireh really needs the gory details, some other time?

Daniel would like someone - compatible. Calm and kind and who he can get along with, which isn't easy to judge from a distance. Pretty would be nice, of course, but a 'good family' would be more trouble than it's worth. The big problem is that he's - a bit of an idiot. He knows this and struggles with it. He doesn't recognize faces or voices, he doesn't recognize a lot of social cues without deliberate effort. Not quite to the point where a doctor would call him a mental cripple, and he thinks he's clever enough aside from that. He's a telegraph operator, you have to be a bit clever for that. But he doesn't know how to go about courting the acceptable English way, he'd be terrible at it, and courting someone and messing it up rather kills your future chances, doesn't it?

(Her total take in tips, when she counts it all up, is 14 shillings, 7 pence, and 3/8 pence (with the smallest coin in use being a 1/8 pence). Debra the test pilot casually dropped three of those shillings, and also bought a round for the bar a while back.)


Okay, she'll want to talk with Debra and Daniel more later, but that's enough for now, for her to start thinking.

That's more money than she was expecting!

She goes back to the inn.

She prays to everyone on her list except the Lords of Hell - this is a totally different universe that Asmodeus might not know about yet. She asks Lissala for guidance on the sin magic here, but, as expected, doesn't get a response. Lissala is, unlike Marra, able to give visions, but She's even weaker than Marra.

Kireh thinks about separating people who can be awesome from the boring pointless masses... studying petitioners to find each urge towards Good and Evil, Law and Chaos, Awesomeness and Boringness, Diversity and Uniformity... choosing paths for petitioners (Gofiere, Cantor, Sietaziz, part of a Regulator or Rector)... guiding mortals... punishing new petitioners for their failings in life... Saint Peter, I'm from a different universe with a different judge. I would like to trade with You. The judge of my universe prefers souls to have clear alignments. If You like that too, or if You prefer complicated cases, tell me how to make my followers more clearly Evil by Your standards, or more interestingly ambiguous. I want to know more about Hell and how to arrange a suitable fate for my followers, in Hell or elsewhere. There might be other things You can do to pay me that I don't know of.

She prays briefly to "God" and Jesus Christ, just in case the restrictions on prayers stretching across alignments is different here (and either of Them is still alive). Prays to the god of sparkiness as best she can aim, asking to cooperate on using Waltana.

She reviews the rest of her queued items without much progress. Discards the ones about her petitioners in Stonepeak.

There's not enough time for a long rest, but she spends the rest of her curfew lying on the bed, stretching her body and working her mind, enjoying being such an awesome creature as a Cantor.

And now to see the chemist! If they're not open yet at 6am, she wanders around looking for criminals, people from the tavern who want to talk more, or anyone else interesting. Is the shipyard close enough to stroll through in case the workers want to talk to her about their union?


The chemist opens at eight! This early, most people are dull and groggy. All the people who wanted to keep talking to her from the tavern last night ended up giving addresses to call at.

It's not hard to find the shipyard, and the place is- Impressive.

It's a somewhat sprawling complexus of docks, warehouses, cranes, and factories along the bay. Much of the city is focused on it, with vast streams of workers heading that way. There's a fence or gatehouse with men checking papers before most of the actual industrial areas, but the roads leading around the area are open. While the passing workers do shout a few questions at her, everyone seems focused on getting to work and being productive. There's a real sense of urgency in this district of the city, compared to further out.

There is steel everywhere. Vast quantities of the metal, being used for everything. Bridges. Cranes. Gatehouses. The ships themselves. Carts. Tools and machinery. Signs.

She can see tugboats belching smoke from their short funnels as they move around, pushing barges full of materials or larger ships. There's a long line of slipways, with over two dozen vessels built to the same pattern under construction- The earliest one a bare steel skeleton, the latest looking essentially complete. Dozens of men swarm around each slipway, with engineers and overseers crowding around as they work. Gargantuan automata, masses of metal stomping around on four slow legs, look almost spindly from this angle despite their obvious strength and power. They tower thirty, forty feet in the air, walking with great thumps, hauling heavy loads, lifting large pieces of metal for the ships, with slow, ungainly movements and frequent pauses as if they're stopping to think. At the far end of the dock, past more stringent security and what looks like actual fortification, guarded by very soldierly-looking types in blue uniforms, are several ships that seem rather different in character.

One of the pairs of I.E.C. guards, wearing I.E.C. uniforms with a prominent patch, will approach her if she lingers much.



Probably not much for her to do here, though. She looks around long enough to attract the guards' attention and gives them a nod as they approach.


"We don't need suspicious characters hanging about, much less so-called mind-reading ones. State your business here, or leave if you have none!" The one in front brusquely demands.


"With what authority are you speaking? I'm just looking around peacefully, on public property. I won't mind-read anyone without their consent."


"The I.E.C. The Imperial Exploration Company is in charge of major industrial areas for the duration of the emergency. I'm sure they appreciate that."


"In other words, this is not public property? I didn't see any indication of that. How might I avoid trespassing in the future?"


"You're not trespassing, you're loitering. We'll put up signs if we must."

"Ey, boss, isn't this a bit..." The other one trails off, hesitantly.

"She's disrupting work, look, they're gawking instead of riveting over there! This isn't a park, here, it's serious and heavy work. Not safe for just anyone to be about! If you'd like to contribute to the survival of everyone around you, main office is right off College Green, they will sort you out."


"I'm looking at the shipyard because I'm interested in engineering, which is neither 'no apparent purpose' nor an illegal intent per the Vagrancy Act of 1824. And other people's responses to my presence is not my problem.

Anyway, I'm leaving now - which way is College Green?"


The guards will furnish her with directions. It's hard to miss, big square just downriver on the right of the fork in the center of Bristol.


"Hello. I was directed here by some of your guards, about how you might have use of my services?" She can explain who and what she is, if needed. "I'm also interested in buying plans for a shelter."


The IEC office is hectic.

However. They had instructions for this. They'll show her to a private office where a bespectacled man will meet her and say, "There's currently a lot of confusion in the IEC about a lot of things. Exceptions to the expected course of things as large as you are, were not expected. I am at liberty to furnish you designs for some pieces of survival equipment, by order of Her Majesty such that all may prepare. However, I'm unclear on what services you might offer that an ordinary laborer cannot, and what intentions you might have in offering them."


"Indeed, you should not employ me as, say, a blacksmith, and probably not on some common labor that I can do slightly more efficiently by foregoing safety equipment for cold or electricity. My best assets are my mind-reading and my skill at using it. I could screen people for critical technical or leadership positions. If legal, I could search for the disloyal more generally.

I can help people improve their skills and motivation. I'm about to start such a project with an engineer in my employ, and don't yet know its success... Are you aware that there exist both trained and intuitive engineers? My impression is that intuitive engineers can be overlooked. If a lot of people claim to be intuitive engineers and it's too expensive to offer them all work-trials, I can identify the genuine ones.

Once the cold sets in, I can travel between shelters as a courier, or to provide a service to every shelter which would not be valuable enough if I could only do it at a single one. Checking for rebellion and lawbreaking among the shelters' leaders would be the obvious task.

I want to build my own shelter so that I can rule it absolutely, as much as is permitted by law. To that end, I offer my services for money, or to barter for information, materials, equipment, or legal permission.

Regarding the designs that you're not willing to divulge, I have some comments - I am not attempting to extract hints from your reactions; I'm keeping my eyes and ears pointed away from you. If the machinery is dangerous" like a Wish spell "I could swear to use it only for limited purposes and keep it secret. If you want to deprive your enemies of the knowledge I could swear neutrality in conflicts and keep your secrets. If using your secret technology depletes a common resource, I can compensate you. If it has psychological effects that are against Her Majesty's interests for her subjects, I could try to correct them?"


"I think positions of high influence and trust are off the table," he says with finality. "I'm also not actually aware of the reason for redacting individual designs- I was, however, told that the primary reason is complexity, likely inability for individuals to do anything useful with them in time, and secondarily, yes, powerful technologies proving dangerous to our interests in factional hands. By intuitive engineering, do you mean the so-called spark of genius? One of which disrupted operations just yesterday..." Suspicious staring!


"The one intuitive engineer I've talked to used the term 'spark of genius', yes. I'm guessing that my engineering consultant is the person you're referring to, who I am confident is genuinely an intuitive engineer. I hope to inspire her to more Lawfulness in the future.

I believe that plans which are too intricate for a trained engineer might still be useful for a 'spark of genius'.

Have you considered a treaty against combat uses of your secret technology? I would be willing to sign such a treaty and use violence to enforce it. My mind-reading and emotional control could be devastating in a lawful war against an enemy without the countermeasures used in my world."


"That's above my pay grade. We explore and build shelters, not fight wars. Now. Copies of the plans are a shilling or two each, per design, for the paper and clerical time." 

He hands over a printed list.

Survival Lamp. Standard Prosthetic Limb. Survey Beacon. Radiotelegraphy Set. Steam Lorry.

Mining drills. Drainage pumps. Ventilation pumps. Hunting equipment based on northern explorer feedback. 

Total: 273
Posts Per Page: