You are Noel Tiberius di Hazaran, silver-eyed warrior-queen of the realm whose name you share, and at the moment you can take some satisfaction in the notion that the latest proverbial spear-thrust from the north has been turned aside. Your present enemy is the same organization, once headquartered locally on the fortress-island of Lavinia several hundred miles to the northeast, which used to control you and all your ‘sisters’ - other girls and women who, like you, have had the flesh and blood of monsters implanted into your bodies. This gave you great power, but that power came with a terrible cost and for a long time meant complete subservience to the Organization’s authority.Now, things have changed. After being sent on a particularly obvious suicide mission meant to kill or awaken warriors who like you were considered ‘troublemakers’ by the Organization, despite your previous loyalty to their stated goals, your closest group of friends among the warriors and several other survivors parted ways with your previous masters. You settled in Hazaran, the homeland you and another of those friends shared, and took up residence in the ancestral seat of your father’s clan at Scaithness. With your blessing and your political support, the corrupt ruler who would consider himself king in your stead was run out of the nation of Hazaran, and so your duties have been twofold - to advise and support your selected regent in the capital on matters of state, and to protect your people from the monstrous yōma which you were ostensibly ‘created’ to fight.As your faction grew more established and began running missions of its own, it drew more attention from dissatisfied warriors. Defections, until then a rarity under the Organization’s iron-fisted management, began to sap at the Organization’s strength. The whole west of your region, from the west end all the way to the central provinces, came under your faction’s protection. Several lords positioned around the borders of your nation even went so far as to become Hazari, along with their lands.The breadbasket of inner Tarsus, the mineral wealth of Cuilan, the heady vintages and carefully-managed woodlands of the Sakian foothills, the rivers, ports, and industry of western Noroit - all these came willingly under the Hazari banner. At first slowly, then all of a sudden as their regional governors agreed to a series of deals. All these made Hazaran, already a self-sufficient and fiercely proud kingdom, into an unmatched regional power with its own standing force of half-blooded, silver-eyed warriors - one of whom wears its crown.The Organization, quite simply, lost control over the situation. That is probably what caused the mainland to step in.>1/2
>>5673343They have sent soldiers to your northern shores, seizing a foothold on the coasts of Sakia and spreading southwards. For quite some time now they’ve been probing Hazaran’s borders, finding that the mountains and fortified passes really made it impossible to cross with anything less than a full force assault. Which they recently mounted, to disastrous results.Eventually that led to the conflict that just ended, where you and your faction cut down a unit of awakened soldiers sent across into Hazaran to destroy outposts and assault the fortress at Scaithness en masse. They never made it.Their leader, Clarice, was once one of you - albeit never one who could be trusted. But she finally broke ranks with the Organization’s faction and betrayed the awakened soldiers, to their deaths and incidentally her own survival.“So, is that all, do you think?” Aurora asks you.[And can we trust Clarice?] Serana adds.You shake your head. “Only for the time being.”“I doubt we’ve really ‘gained’ Clarice so much as the Organization ‘lost’ her,” Laura offers.“I agree completely,” you tell her.“This seems like an opportunity,” Helen insists. “An opportunity to drive the Organization back into the sea.”>I think you’re right. We have to strike before they can put more awakened soldiers into service.>I think the key will be to turn Sakia against their invaders - and now IS a good time to do that.>I think we need to interrogate Clarice properly. She was presumably in the enemy’s confidence.>Other?
>>5673623>>I think we need to interrogate Clarice properly. She was presumably in the enemy’s confidence.Not like turn the screws to her but learn all we can about the enemy and its situation before we do anything. Information is power, and we need to have a rough idea of what the enemy has and can do, before we know what they will do and why.
>>5673623>>I think the key will be to turn Sakia against their invaders - and now IS a good time to do that.
>>5673623>I think we need to interrogate Clarice properly. She was presumably in the enemy’s confidence.
>>5673623>3d10 best of three
Rolled 6, 10, 2 = 18 (3d10)>>5674504
Rolled 7, 7, 8 = 22 (3d10)>>5674504
Rolled 2, 2, 4 = 8 (3d10)>>5674504
>>5673623“There’s something we still need to do,” you insist. “We haven’t yet had time to interrogate Clarice properly.”“Are you certain that’s wise?” Laura asks with a slight frown. “Depending on your definition of ‘interrogation’, it may lose us what little good will we already have with her.”“If it were that easy to lose it wouldn’t be worth having,” Helen counters. Of course, both have good points.[She knows more than she’s told,] Serana observes. And there lies the issue - regardless of what anyone here thinks of her personally, or even from a strategic standpoint, Clarice represents a largely untapped resource in terms of what she knows about your enemy and how to defeat them. Any details she offers could be parsed for strategic insight, and even if she avoids answering some of your questions the questions she refuses and how she goes about doing that will tell you more than you knew before you asked.“I agree,” you return to your initial point. “I intend to be careful about it, so as not to undermine our position, but I cannot leave the information she may be able to offer entirely on the proverbial table.”…So that’s the conversation which led to this one - where you, Helen, and your mother all find yourselves sitting across from Clarice, who is flanked on one side by Serana and on the other by Reika.“Well, you sure know how to make a girl feel welcome,” Clarice muses aloud. “So, are you going to interrogate me now?”“That’s the point of all this, yes,” you admit. “Though you shouldn’t confuse ‘interrogation’ for ‘torture’. We have no intention of simply beating anything out of you.”“Though a little light coercion never harmed anybody?” she replies with a smirk. “Is that what you’re trying to say?”“That would require us to have a better idea for how to control your reaction,” Sabela points out.“The only reason we’ve all agreed to a light touch is that we can’t predict how you’ll react,” Helen adds.>1/2
>>5675257“We need information,” you continue. “If we’re going to end this conflict we can’t remain on the defensive forever, and if we wish to make our next offensive successful we need to know all we can about our enemy.”“Alright, well if we’re all going to play nice,” Clarice replies with a cheerful smile, “then I suppose I’m just going to have to play nice too.”“What would you like to know?”>I want to know how the enemy’s resources are distributed. Where do we evade, where do we strike, what can we expect?>Striking and maneuvering are tactical questions. I want to get into the minds of our enemy, to form a better strategic plan.>We don’t know who runs our enemy’s operations - we can’t remove the head of the serpent if we don’t know where to look.>Other?
>>5675453>>Striking and maneuvering are tactical questions. I want to get into the minds of our enemy, to form a better strategic plan.
>>5675453>>We don’t know who runs our enemy’s operations - we can’t remove the head of the serpent if we don’t know where to look.
>>5675453>We don’t know who runs our enemy’s operations - we can’t remove the head of the serpent if we don’t know where to look.
>>5675535As a lead into>Striking and maneuvering are tactical questions. I want to get into the minds of our enemy, to form a better strategic plan.
>>5675453>Striking and maneuvering are tactical questions. I want to get into the minds of our enemy, to form a better strategic plan.
>>5675453>Striking and maneuvering are tactical questions. I want to get into the minds of our enemy, to form a better strategic plan.>We don’t know who runs our enemy’s operations - we can’t remove the head of the serpent if we don’t know where to look.
>>5675453>3d10 best of three
Rolled 4, 4, 7 = 15 (3d10)>>5676260
Rolled 4, 7, 7 = 18 (3d10)>>5676260
Rolled 8, 6, 7 = 21 (3d10)>>5676260
>>5676260“Where to strike and how to maneuver are tactical matters that must be determined by the course of battle,” you decide. “I want to know strategic information - I assume you know a lot about our enemy, including the way they think and approach situations.”“I want you to share that information, please.”“Well, these guys are losers,” Clarice answers with a shrug. “They’re losers and they know it, and it bothers them.”“Their whole campaign here is based on the fact that they already lost one war,” you recall.Clarice nods. “That’s right. Which presents opportunities, but also weakens their position.”“How so?”“They’re not supposed to be here,” Clarice informs you, “and they have a difficult time resupplying - because the world they come from hardly knows of them, they need to keep it that way to continue enjoying the benefits of their secrecy.”>So if we threaten their secrecy we can gain an advantage?>So if we strike at their supply lines, we can win?>Their nature as an organization determines how they fight…>Other?
>>5676943>So if we threaten their secrecy we can gain an advantage?
>>5676943>>So if we threaten their secrecy we can gain an advantage?
>>5676943>Their nature as an organization determines how they fight…Threatening their secrecy also threatens our secrecy, and I'm not sure at all that whoever won the war on the Continent will be amenable to our little island.
>>5676943“What would happen if they lost the benefit of their secrecy,” you muse. “Or at least, if we could make a credible threat along those lines?”There’s a pause as your sisters mull over this question.“What would happen to us?” Helen asks with a slight frown.“Point taken,” you acknowledge. “It doesn’t seem so far that we would be viewed as something to be destroyed, but we also can’t say how our existence would be perceived on the mainland.”[Particularly among the dragon-kind,] Serana observes.“That could be the place for diplomacy,” Laura suggests, “though it’s far from my place to push for it.”“I agree,” Valentina shrugs. “I believe in miss Noel’s ability… and in everyone else who supports her.”You nod once to acknowledge her show of support.“There’s one problem though,” Aurora muses.“How?” Justina adds.“Right,” Aurora confirms. “How would we get there? If we don’t have an answer to that question we can’t even make a real threat about it.”>We have a ship. This makes completion of that project all the more pressing.>We have a ship, but the Organization has better ships. Which we could ‘procure’.>The Organization must have ways of communicating with the mainland.>Other?
>>5677572>>We have a ship. This makes completion of that project all the more pressing.
>>5677572>The Organization must have ways of communicating with the mainland.Do they have ocean floor telegraph cables?
>>5677572>We have a ship, but the Organization has better ships. Which we could ‘procure’.
>>5677572>>The Organization must have ways of communicating with the mainland.
>>5677572“The Organization must have some means of communicating with the mainland,” you frown, thinking deeply on the matter. “It defies belief that for all the effort and sophistication they’ve shown, simply sailing back and forth is the best they could come up with.”“Fair point,” Helen admits, before glancing at Clarice. “Care to clarify?”“Oh, they get messages more regularly than you’d expect if they were just sailing around the world,” Clarice replies with a shrug, “even with those fancy steam ships they’ve got.”[Then how?] Serana signs.“How?” you translate quickly.Clarice, who had glanced at Serana, looks back to you. “That I can’t tell you, cause they weren’t dumb enough to ever let me know. They’re real paranoid about some little details like that.”“So they wanted to keep their means of communication secret,” Aurora summarizes. “That certainly screams ‘vulnerability’, doesn’t it?”“I agree,” Helen nods.“Do we believe them, though?” Zoe muses.“You think it could be a facade?” Laura guesses.Zoe nods. “It may seem foolish, but foolishness can be an occupational hazard of being human.”“Assuming this isn’t some fancy, multilevel ruse,” Valentina insists, “how do we approach the situation?”>Simple. We assault the heart of their operations and destroy anything we find there that seems fit to that purpose.>We need answers. And to get answers, we need to do deep reconnaissance. This one is going to be dangerous.>We feint. Create a situation that warrants communication with the mainland and look for any discernible signs.>Other?
>>5678131>We need answers. And to get answers, we need to do deep reconnaissance. This one is going to be dangerous.
>>5678131>We feint. Create a situation that warrants communication with the mainland and look for any discernible signs.Sounds like Midway's fake message about a failed desalination plant, confirming the Japanese code of AF. Perhaps start spreading misinformation?
>>5678205I'm concerned that we wouldn't even know what to look for. How do you detect signs of a radio usage when you don't know what a radio is?
>>5678131>>We need answers. And to get answers, we need to do deep reconnaissance. This one is going to be dangerous.
>>5678209How would you know it was radio and not undersea cables, or other methods?I guess the thing would be is to assert that tank crewman, are (not) using signal flags and that commanders aren't using runners to exchange orders.maybe some evidence that they were proactive during low / poor visibility or otherwise reacted quickly while under pressure, which would preclude an infantry phone, runner or signal flags.and that any Navy personnel that we recovered don't have any other ideas, as signaling lights or otherwise would be obvious, I don't remember if we recovered any of the wreckage(s) intact but could provide clues especially if we had a better idea of roughly where the outside was at in terms of technology, obviously they have access to rubber, internal combustion engines (and welding or rivets), so should have some industrial capacity, considering that it is unlikely that we would be up against entirely cutting edge forces especially if they were attempting to avoid attention as military equipment is quite expensive.
>>5678131You sigh, recognizing that the only path forward that leads anywhere good is, of course, the hardest one to follow. “We need information. And to get information, we need to search for it.”“You mean to reconnoiter,” Helen summarizes.You nod. “And I know that it will not be an easy task.”[Any presentation of a threat will ruin it,] Serana guesses your mind.“Precisely.”“How do you mean to do this, then?” Laura enquires. “There must be some way to execute a thorough search without presenting a threat - the only trouble is, our eyes and swords give us away as a threat pretty quickly.”>We rely on the local population to shelter us. High risk to be sure, but with some caution it’s the simplest solution.>We bypass their territory altogether. They think they have control of the seas - meaning they may not be watching them.>We need to establish a foothold in Sakia. Noventus can help us examine likely strong points to seize in a counteroffensive.>Other?
>>5678790>>We bypass their territory altogether. They think they have control of the seas - meaning they may not be watching them.
>>5678790>We bypass their territory altogether. They think they have control of the seas - meaning they may not be watching them.
>>5678251Yes, interrogating the sailors makes sense.>>5678790>We bypass their territory altogether. They think they have control of the seas - meaning they may not be watching them.
>>5678790“We could bypass their territory altogether,” you muse, turning your mind to thoughts of the sea. “The Organization clearly thinks themselves masters of the open ocean. They know we have nothing with which to challenge them.”[You think they may be lax?]“I certainly wouldn’t expect it,” Laura observes. “I think it could work.”“I would imagine that a second opinion would be in order?” Helen offers.You nod. “I don’t disagree. Fortunately, we do have a few experts in Hazaran’s official employ that could offer us some further information and perspective.”>3d10 best of three
Rolled 4, 8, 4 = 16 (3d10)>>5679736
Rolled 5, 4, 5 = 14 (3d10)>>5679736
Rolled 8, 6, 5 = 19 (3d10)>>5679736
>>5679736It takes two days for agents of the crown to track down the sailors and technicians, but in the evening of the second day you meet with them in Scaithness. You realize immediately that they’re on edge, concerned about why you may have summoned them here on such short notice, and so you address that concern immediately.“We’re going to raid the Organization’s foothold in Sakia,” you declare. “And we need your help to pull it off efficiently.”The bravest of them, a technician who once served on the ship that ran aground around the beginning of the conflict, speaks first. “What makes you believe we can help you?”“Our problem likely has a technological solution,” you insist. “We need a way to infiltrate undetected by sea.”“Oh, that’s easy then,” the technician shrugs. “Have you got any anthracite?”“Anthrawhatnow?” Aurora frowns.“You may know it as hard coal?”“Cuilan has several deposits with that problem,” you inform him. Then you notice Aurora staring at you in surprise. “I get biweekly output reports.”[Why a problem?] Serana asks you curiously.“Because it doesn’t really ignite,” you tell her.“That’s not true at all,” the technician tells you. “It just has a higher ignition temperature than normal coal, what we’d call ‘bituminous’ coal.”“Oaky, so let’s say we can get it hot enough,” Aurora presses. “Why’s it an advantage?”“Because it’s much purer than regular coal,” the technician explains. “When coal burns, it puts out a lot of smoke and soot because of the impurities. So when you burn anthracite coal…”“No smoke,” you summarize. “In a low-profile ship with a sealed topside and a steam engine driving two screws…”“On a dark night it’s almost as hard to see as a submersible,” the technician assures you. “Bring me a steam engine and I’ll show you how to get the ignition chamber hot enough.”>1/2
>>5680335Bring him a steam engine, he says… therein lies a problem. The only shipbuilding yard owned by Hazaran is all the way round on the south side of the island, meaning that to get there and then to get from there to the harbor on the north coast in Sakia will add probably around two weeks. That assumes, of course, that the ship you end up fitting the engine into is even seaworthy enough to make the journey under its own power.>Head for the west end. Hire out a yard closer to your target and fit the engine into a small ship.>A large pinnace, maybe fifty-foot, could be outfitted in Hazaran and carried closer to the target.>You mentioned a ‘submersible’. What is that, and would it be of any benefit to us in this case?>Other?
>>5680455>>A large pinnace, maybe fifty-foot, could be outfitted in Hazaran and carried closer to the target.>>You mentioned a ‘submersible’. What is that, and would it be of any benefit to us in this case?Couldn't hurt to at least inquire about the submersible.
>>5680455>>5680464+1Maybe a semi-submersible, like a narco-submarine?
>>5680455>A large pinnace, maybe fifty-foot, could be outfitted in Hazaran and carried closer to the target.
>>5680455>>A large pinnace, maybe fifty-foot, could be outfitted in Hazaran and carried closer to the target.
>>5680455“I don’t think it’s necessary,” you muse with a frown, “but what would be involved in building one of these ‘submersibles’? I’d assume it’s a ship capable of traveling underwater?”“Well, there’s a few things involved,” the man replies thoughtfully. “You’re right of course, it’s a ship that can submerge. There’s two ways it can work - a diving ship where you’d have to plug the exhaust somehow and wouldn’t be able to move underwater, and a true submersible which can move underwater.”“How would it move if you’d have to plug the exhaust?” Aurora asks.The man bites lightly at the inside of his lip for a moment, thinking carefully. “Compressed air or battery power.”“We can’t do that,” you declare bluntly.He shakes his head. “Nope. Didn’t think so.”“What about a ‘diving ship’ as you called it?” Laura presses.“That would simply dive out of the way if the skipper thought she might’ve been spotted,” he answers. “The hard part would be waterproofing all the moving parts.”“As opposed to a surface ship with a low profile,” you nod. “Where you only have to worry about the screw shaft.”“Right.”“Then we could outfit a large pinnace to the south,” you decide, “and have a larger sailing ship carry it closer to target.”[That way it doesn’t have to be able to sail in the open water.]“Exactly.”“What?” the man asks, having missed part of the conversation.“Means it just has to float and move,” you summarize.“Ah, got it,” he nods. “Yeah, I think you can aim higher than that - but having a mothership would ease the construction requirements a lot.”>1/2
>>5681231“Good,” you nod. “I’ll have a suitable engine moved to the port, and a list of likely hulls written up. You and any technicians, craftsmen, or workers you need will leave as soon as possible.”>And when we get there, you’ll teach me how to operate it.>We’ll also need to put together a small crew of volunteers.>What else? We should have a backup plan and a distraction ready.>Other?
>>5681261>We’ll also need to put together a small crew of volunteers.
>>5681261>What else? We should have a backup plan and a distraction ready.
>>5681261>>We’ll also need to put together a small crew of volunteers.>>What else? We should have a backup plan and a distraction ready.I don't think these are exclusive.
>>5681261>And when we get there, you’ll teach me how to operate it.
>>5681261“Then we’ll need a crew of volunteers,” you decide, “along with alternates, and a plan to create a distraction. It would also be good practice to have a backup plan.”“Best to have a backup plan that can take advantage of the same distraction,” Zoe suggests.“So plan the backup first then decide on the distraction?” Laura summarizes.Zoe nods. “That would be my suggestion.”“I’m open to ideas of course,” you declare, “but my first idea would be to strike at the fuel they would use for their steam-powered ships.”“Isolate them here,” Helen muses, nodding along. “That plan has some merit, not all of it apparent.”“How do you mean?” Valentina asks curiously.“The idea would be to push the Organization into weakening its position with the local Sakians,” Helen rephrases. “Is that about what you were thinking, Noel?”“Something along those lines,” you confirm.>3d10, best of four
Rolled 3, 6, 9 = 18 (3d10)>>5682837
Rolled 10, 7, 5 = 22 (3d10)>>5682837
Rolled 9, 9, 8 = 26 (3d10)>>5682837
Rolled 4, 4, 7 = 15 (3d10)>>5682837