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Reflecting Upon RTH -- SPOILER THREAD

"Hell's Gate" and "Hell Hath No Fury", by David, Linda Evans, and Joelle Presby, take the clash of science and magic to a whole new dimension...join us in a friendly discussion of this engrossing series!
Re: Reflecting Upon RTH -- SPOILER THREAD
Post by n7axw   » Tue Feb 02, 2016 10:29 pm

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PeterZ wrote:An obvious bit of intelligence is what the characters in a map mean. Find that out quickly enough and you can read almost all maps pretty quickly. Another pretty important bit is how many Voices both military and civilian are there nearby. Getting that information quickly enough speeds everything up remarkably.


With the voices, Harshu had two alternatives, I think. One was to kill the voices to prevent them from phoning ahead with their info. That was what the Sharonians themselves did about 1500 years prior to our story before they developed protocols for shutting the voices down.

The other is to stage their first operation against the portal itself, capturing anyone in the area as well as picketing the portal to intercept anyone attempting passage. Do that as close in time sequence as possible to the attack on the fort, Designating an isolated holding area for pows so that voices see nothing further to report.

The critical thing, I think, would be to prevent anyone from crossing the portal.

I agree with you about the maps.

Don

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When any group seeks political power in God's name, both religion and politics are instantly corrupted.
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Re: Reflecting Upon RTH -- SPOILER THREAD
Post by PeterZ   » Tue Feb 02, 2016 10:42 pm

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Don,

Between torturing for information and killing Voices, I believe killing Voices is the more gratuitous. You mention a workable solution for keeping Voices unable to communicate via Voice. I don't see an equally effective solution to torture for getting the information Harshu needs quickly.
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Re: Reflecting Upon RTH -- SPOILER THREAD
Post by n7axw   » Wed Feb 03, 2016 12:25 am

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PeterZ wrote:Don,

Between torturing for information and killing Voices, I believe killing Voices is the more gratuitous. You mention a workable solution for keeping Voices unable to communicate via Voice. I don't see an equally effective solution to torture for getting the information Harshu needs quickly.


We know that it happens all the time in real life. But should it? It's easy to rationalize it away in the name of expediency. But could it be that there are lines that once crossed bargain away our humanity and shouldn't be crossed for any reason?

Once the decision to attack was made, Harshu did need info... info provided by roads, scouts, etc. Armies have faced that same need going back into the mists of time and haven't always had pows to question. I think Harshu should have arrested Neshok at the first sign of torture and made do without his info gained in this manner.

And I might remind you that the cost of the info in terms of consequences back on Arcana could well be much higher than anything Harshu's command might suffer without the info.

What it finally boils down to is that the choices Harshu faced have a much broader implication than the immediate needs of his command.

Don

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Re: Reflecting Upon RTH -- SPOILER THREAD
Post by PeterZ   » Wed Feb 03, 2016 12:52 am

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I am not condoning it in any way. The attack was foolish and so anything that facilitated that attack was ultimately a waste. Especially the sacrifice of one's honor. My point was if an attack was indeed imperative for Harshu's superiors and they ordered him to attack with the forces he was assigned, torture addressed the tactical difficulties he faced. Killing the Voices was purely gratuitous. That he did not spend the time to find a non-lethal solution is damnable.

If we are talking about panic inducing treatment that does not involve injury or physical harm, then Harshu's choice of harsh interrogation becomes less damnable to me. Yes, its coercive but they are engaging in war. Wars kill people. Coercion in that way is far lass harmful to those questioned than physical torture or killing.
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Re: Reflecting Upon RTH -- SPOILER THREAD
Post by n7axw   » Wed Feb 03, 2016 8:29 am

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PeterZ wrote:I am not condoning it in any way. The attack was foolish and so anything that facilitated that attack was ultimately a waste. Especially the sacrifice of one's honor. My point was if an attack was indeed imperative for Harshu's superiors and they ordered him to attack with the forces he was assigned, torture addressed the tactical difficulties he faced. Killing the Voices was purely gratuitous. That he did not spend the time to find a non-lethal solution is damnable.

If we are talking about panic inducing treatment that does not involve injury or physical harm, then Harshu's choice of harsh interrogation becomes less damnable to me. Yes, its coercive but they are engaging in war. Wars kill people. Coercion in that way is far lass harmful to those questioned than physical torture or killing.


I'm objecting to phyical torture rather than scarng the c€€p out of someone. Sleep deprivation, good cop bad cop routines, tag team interrogation don't make nice, but also aren't torture as I understand it.

Don

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Re: Reflecting Upon RTH -- SPOILER THREAD
Post by n7axw   » Wed Feb 03, 2016 5:08 pm

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"He knew Commander of Two Thousand Mayrkos Harshu. Not well, but he had met the man, spoken with him--even been briefed by him once. What he didn't know was how the man he thought he knew could have lent himself to something like this, whatever the "military neccesity" which might have justified it. Gods! How could somebody as intelligent as Harshu fail to understand what this would do to the army--to the entire Union when it inevitably got out?!
And deservedly so."
--ruminations of Thankhar Olderham, RTH

This is what I have been trying to say in the torture discussion... straight from the mind of the Duke of Garth Showna himself.

Don

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Re: Reflecting Upon RTH -- SPOILER THREAD
Post by PeterZ   » Wed Feb 03, 2016 6:24 pm

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n7axw wrote:"He knew Commander of Two Thousand Mayrkos Harshu. Not well, but he had met the man, spoken with him--even been briefed by him once. What he didn't know was how the man he thought he knew could have lent himself to something like this, whatever the "military neccesity" which might have justified it. Gods! How could somebody as intelligent as Harshu fail to understand what this would do to the army--to the entire Union when it inevitably got out?!
And deservedly so."
--ruminations of Thankhar Olderham, RTH

This is what I have been trying to say in the torture discussion... straight from the mind of the Duke of Garth Showna himself.

Don

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That's what really persuaded me into thinking Harshu knew mul Gurthak would have replaced him with Carthos unless he let Neshok have a free hand. Even so, Harshu set Neshok up to feed the dragon.

Had Carthos run things, the atrocities would have been worse and the culprits would have escaped justice. Mul Gurthak would have killed them, but they would not have been made to face justice.

Harshu was either trying to make a horrible situation less bad or Thankhar Olderham was totally mistaken in his judgement of a fellow senior officer. It makes more sense to believe the former.
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Re: Reflecting Upon RTH -- SPOILER THREAD
Post by brnicholas   » Wed Feb 03, 2016 7:21 pm

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PeterZ wrote:
n7axw wrote:"He knew Commander of Two Thousand Mayrkos Harshu. Not well, but he had met the man, spoken with him--even been briefed by him once. What he didn't know was how the man he thought he knew could have lent himself to something like this, whatever the "military neccesity" which might have justified it. Gods! How could somebody as intelligent as Harshu fail to understand what this would do to the army--to the entire Union when it inevitably got out?!
And deservedly so."
--ruminations of Thankhar Olderham, RTH

This is what I have been trying to say in the torture discussion... straight from the mind of the Duke of Garth Showna himself.

Don

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That's what really persuaded me into thinking Harshu knew mul Gurthak would have replaced him with Carthos unless he let Neshok have a free hand. Even so, Harshu set Neshok up to feed the dragon.

Had Carthos run things, the atrocities would have been worse and the culprits would have escaped justice. Mul Gurthak would have killed them, but they would not have been made to face justice.

Harshu was either trying to make a horrible situation less bad or Thankhar Olderham was totally mistaken in his judgement of a fellow senior officer. It makes more sense to believe the former.


There is another option, our introduction to Harshu was accurate.

Hell's Gate Chapter 43 wrote:Harshu was a throwback, one of those who bemoaned the fact that he'd been born into such "boring" times. He embraced what he believed was the true Andaran tradition, although Klian had always suspected that men like Thankhar Olderhan were truer keepers of that tradition. Harshu's version of it was heavily laden with the trappings of military glory, which there'd been precious little of in the two centuries since the Union was formed, and he seemed remarkably oblivious to just how
much that "military glory" had cost in lives, as well as money.


I'm inclined to think that Harshu desperately wanted to command in combat. Mul Gurthik gave him the opportunity to do so and he jumped at it. He told himself some other lies regarding protecting the Union but the truth is he went for what he wanted and ignored the consequences. That is why I call him a fool.

If he had been seriously thinking as you propose, Peter, he had far far less destructive ways of preventing Carthos from commanding an attack.

Nicholas
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Re: Reflecting Upon RTH -- SPOILER THREAD
Post by Astelon   » Wed Feb 03, 2016 8:34 pm

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n7axw wrote:With the voices, Harshu had two alternatives, I think.


There is actually a third option. Take out the voice relays, using speed and violence (killing the voice at the relay appears to be necessary), and hope that any voice at the fort doesn't have the range to reach the next relay. After that aerial patrols and the speed of the Arcanan advance would mean any voice you missed would get a message out.

Staging the operation against a portal, without severing the voice net, runs a good chance that the fort's voice would get a message out before the voice is killed or the fort surrenders.

I suspect Harshu desperately wanted to command troops in battle, and this desire allowed him lie to himself. He convinced himself that the ends justified the means, just like so many before him. I believe Harshu failed to fully calculate the costs, even accepting that he knows nothing of secret cabals. If he had correctly judged the costs he would have known that his career would have ended with him in jail.

Then again Harshu fully expected complete victory, with the Sharonians begging for terms; once they discovered they couldn't fight back effectively. In victory much can be forgiven, and Harshu may have believed that he would have been forgiven to some extent.
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Re: Reflecting Upon RTH -- SPOILER THREAD
Post by n7axw   » Wed Feb 03, 2016 8:43 pm

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brnicholas wrote:
There is another option, our introduction to Harshu was accurate.

Hell's Gate Chapter 43 wrote:Harshu was a throwback, one of those who bemoaned the fact that he'd been born into such "boring" times. He embraced what he believed was the true Andaran tradition, although Klian had always suspected that men like Thankhar Olderhan were truer keepers of that tradition. Harshu's version of it was heavily laden with the trappings of military glory, which there'd been precious little of in the two centuries since the Union was formed, and he seemed remarkably oblivious to just how
much that "military glory" had cost in lives, as well as money.


I'm inclined to think that Harshu desperately wanted to command in combat. Mul Gurthik gave him the opportunity to do so and he jumped at it. He told himself some other lies regarding protecting the Union but the truth is he went for what he wanted and ignored the consequences. That is why I call him a fool.

If he had been seriously thinking as you propose, Peter, he had far far less destructive ways of preventing Carthos from commanding an attack.

Nicholas


I tend to agree with you, Nicholas. But that doesn't mean that Peter is all wrong. Mul Gurthak was concerned that Harshu was more of a throw back to the old Andaran honor code than he had previously believed. That tends to be proven out by his actions sinse the attack on Ft Salby. He apparently intends to make sure the whole mess is reported to the IG including his part in it.

I agree that his aggressive nature and his desire for a combat command left him wide open to being manipulated into what mul Guthak wanted.

Don

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When any group seeks political power in God's name, both religion and politics are instantly corrupted.
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