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Nan o’ War CH8: Yohojimbo

By Rutskarn
on Wednesday Apr 19, 2017
Filed under:
Lets Play


No one ever said it was a soft life in this nan’s Caribbean(!). This isn’t London, where you can converse safely in the street without fear of splicing through a cheese shop. This is a crucible where the truly ragged and desperate lose their health, their sanity, and sometimes their lives to build great fortunes. So when it comes time for mainland aristocrat to drop by and collect said fortunes, it pays to be wary of the local hazards, like wild pigs and coconut crabs and the mobs of righteous poor who want to beat the piss out of them.

As someone quite recently indentured, I understand the socioeconomic arguments for giving all those shot-silk custard-sucking bastards a kicking. Unfortunately, I’m too broke to join in. So I’m playing the other side of the market.

My business cards say, 'I personally promise you'll have a hit point at the end of the mission.'
My business cards say, 'I personally promise you'll have a hit point at the end of the mission.'

Me and those five other “mercenaries” are protecting this bonehead from the terrors of a midnight stroll through English-occupied Grand Turk. Apparently, the last time he was here he “had a run in with the local thugs.” Interesting story, which I can’t help but translate to, “The last time he got out of his carriage a couple stevedores asked him for the time.” Seriously, though. This dude can afford a trip to the Caribbean(!) under his own auspices and six bodyguardssix subcontracted bodyguards, which, I don’t even want to know what the Suspicious Overhead is–once he gets arrives. What am I supposed to pretend happened here? He stole Leroy Brown’s girlfriend?

So he starts strolling along into Dark Alley Boulevard, bold as brass, and my fellow mercs stack up on him in a dutiful anxious puppy swarm.

Then five dudes attack us.

Well, shit. I guess this guy’s the Scarlet Pimpernel.

I mean, jeez. We actually did just have to kill five armed assassins. One of them nearly gutted me with something called a “hanger,” which, at a guess, is not an experience that features in many modern-day tropical vacation packages. This guy absolutely has made some enemies.

Sincerely pissed ones, too. Assuming these killers weren’t contracted via the Suspicious System (“We’ll pay if you win, and you can’t, so we won’t!”), this was an extremely expensive and committed attempt on his life. I mean, how much quality muscle does one criminal enterprise really have access to this far out? For all I know these were the only five hitmen in Grand Turk.


I said, “for all I know, these were the only five…”

Right, here they come.

Look, I’m not feeling a lot of faith in the Suspicious Man on this one. If I see a nun standing on a porch I am cashing the fuck out.

I mean, holy crap, we’re not even in the alleyway anymore! We are on main street! There’s little bakeries and homesteads and shit, and these sods are boiling up a pot of blood and gunsmoke gumbo and not even pretending everyone can’t see them. Who thinks they’re getting away with this? What is going on here?

But our patron just keeps striding on, totally complacent, apparently unsurprised at the full-blown military action his arrival prompted, and in no obvious hurry to reach his destination. Which, five more dead men later, we do. This is an unhappy time in my life. Not because I’m killing people, but because it’s been obvious for the past minute or so exactly where this wealthy embattled turd was headed this whole time.

The gate leading out of town.

“Anything else?” As usual, just a question. This “friend” of yours–and I want your honest opinion, as a colleague and fellow entrepreneur–is he in any respect Oliver Cromwell? Because I’m trying to figure out why all of England wants him dead.

You know what, though? As trying as that was on my last remaining rational nerve, I didn’t actually break a sweat. Hours of grueling bloodshed in various Mount and Blade titles have put me onto the sublime path of martial supremacy: I wait until my dumbass comrades have got stuck in and then I circle round and stab everyone in the back. So I didn’t waste any time on that mission–at least, beyond the modest baseline.

In other words, this job was an unqualified success. Hit me with another.

So this noble, who remains nameless, owes the Suspicious Man money. And now Suspicious Man wants to hire a bunch of goons with clubs to go up against bodyguards with blades to beat him up.

And there it is. The innocent splash of paint that turns the asinine street art into the viral sensation–the detail that completes the bigger picture. See if you can follow me:

So some green soft-dandy aristocrat rolls into town a few months back, and local ruffians with ties to, let’s say, suspicious men corner him and beat him up. So when he has to come back for business a month later, a local pillar of the community steps forward and says, dear oh dear, we’d all hate to see something like that happen again–why don’t I find you some protection? Set everyone’s mind at ease. But it won’t be cheap, oh no. I’ll have to pay them out two thousand piastres apiece, muscle’s not free, not ’round here, but just for you sir I won’t take nothing for meself. Credit? Oh, absolutely, your grace.

And so the day arrives and six bodyguards show up, and what do you know, fifteen assassins show up as well. Only they don’t attack all at once–they come in little waves. Somehow they all find this meandering route which the nobleman, who’s not from around here, has apparently decided or been advised to follow–but they all show up at the worst possible ambush spots.

Why? Why not compare notes and all show up in a single devastating offensive? It’s like they didn’t know the other teams existed.

And can you imagine how much you’d have to pay fifteen assassins? Unless you happen to know they’ll all die before you can pay out. All this is starting to seem a little bit, what’s the word? Dubious? Sketchy? It’ll come to me.

So the nobleman reaches the end of his bloody track, and of course the assassins took their toll on the bodyguards, what a shame most of them won’t live to collect their due, dear oh dear. But the service was rendered and the piastres are due–the full balance, of course, even for the dead, widows and orphans you know–what’s that? You don’t have the money yet? And now your house guard have arrived and you don’t expect you’ll need my services again?

Not a problem. Not a problem at all.

And then the nobleman’s out taking his air and exercise, and suddenly a mob of men with clubs fall on his men with swords.

And as the nobleman hits the bricks, bleeding and sobbing as his boys whittle the assailants down to what we’ll call a manageable headcount, one thought worms through the concussion: I need a better class of bodyguard.

And all that’s as may be. But, you know what? I just got paid twice for light work. I’ve got no real stake to complain here. So tell me, Mister Man, now that you’ve just got done speaking with the battered noble–have you got anything else on the slate tonight? Any other rackets?

In my mind’s eye, the Suspicious Man’s businesslike demeanor puckers, and his lips purse with the spittled ghost of a guffaw. But no treasonous noise escapes him. How’s that, Suspicious Man?

“It seems,” he says–and then his jaw squirms, and despite himself his eye burns with puckish glee. “It seems there’s a nobleman who wants some new bodyguards.”

Absolutely incredible. I can just picture the bossman standing there–cold somber–his paternal hand on the nobleman’s swollen, blackened shoulder. “Listen, mate. You’re going to want bodyguards for when you go home tonight. This town can be dangerous.”

Tonight’s been like getting paid to pose nude for a Dutch master. If you can get past the goosebumps, it’s frankly an education.


Comments (32)

  1. Daemian Lucifer says:

    And finally,we learn that spishy was the mastermind all along.Who wouldve guessed?

  2. Daemian Lucifer says:

    once he gets arrives

    Gets arrives??

  3. Shamus says:

    I really envy your skill at post titles. I laugh before I even open the article. I always spend ten minutes trying to come up with some fun double meaning, reference, or pun before I give up and call it, “Arkham City Part 11: Robin”.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Thats what you get with a college degree.

      • Nawyria says:

        50 grand well-spent.

        • ehlijen says:

          How much is that in Suspicious Man Missions?

          • Philadelphus says:

            Given the mean payout from the two missions shown here is 1.75 grand, that’d be about 28.57 spishie mishies.

          • Kamica says:

            Because I have nothing better to do right now, Imma do some research and get a close approximation.

            So, the only source I could find as to the value of a Piastre, is that in 1584, 1 Piastre = 120 Akche, and 200 Akche = 1 Guilder (Dutch currency, a lot more info to find about that, ’cause it’s one of the big currencies of the day). Unfortunately the Piastre-Guilder exchange rate changed radically between sources of various years, but I can’t find a better source, so I’m sticking with this.

            That amounts to 1 Piastre being 0.6 Guilder.

            Now, the Suspicious Men, as of yet, have paid/offered:
            3 000 Piastres
            7 000 Piastres
            2 000 Piastres
            1 500 Piastres

            So the average of that is 3 375 Piastres
            Which is 2 025 Guilders

            Using a handy calculator I found Here, I was able to establish that 2 025 Guilder in 1670, has the same purchasing power as
            €24 005.42
            Conversion rate of Euros to USD is currently pretty equal, so you end up with $25 744.85

            So basically, on average, it’d be about two Suspicious men.

            So basically the exchange rate is 2 SM = 1 CD

            EDIT: While I’m at it, let’s make a conversion rate for Piastres to USD! 25 744.85/3 375 = $7.63(Roughly)

            So 1 Piastre = 7.63 USD

            So the suspicious men basically paid
            $22 890
            $53 410
            $15 260
            $11 445
            Also, staying the night at the tavern costs about $534.10 Note that this is for the entire party.

            I can’t find any other fun ones (though I guess I could do the 15 000 piastres Lucas de Piedrahita offered: $114 450)

            • ehlijen says:

              *stunned applause*

            • Bropocalypse says:

              Also, staying the night at the tavern costs about $534.10 Note that this is for the entire party.

              I’m curious what economic situation exists in Nan’s Caribbean(!) to support an inn with this rate.

            • Viktor says:

              See, I think the long conversion you’re doing misses the point. A room in a cheap inn costs 70 P. A cheap motel is $50, but this is in city limits, so $70 sounds about right if any companions sleep on the couch. A couple hundred rounds of ammo are a couple hundred P, a terrible vehicle is 1500 P, and a weapon is 300 P. So one Piastre has the same purchasing power as a modern US Dollar.

              Honestly, look at this game. Do you really think the devs sat down and priced out all of the gear and goods according to historically-accurate economics, or did they just stick numbers in front of them that sounded reasonable and then find-replace “dollars” with “piastres”?

    • Bloodsquirrel says:

      So what your’e saying is that he’s Robin’ the spotlight from you?

  4. Jarenth says:

    As a bonus, there’s no way that nobleman doesn’t recognize you, every time — I have to assume you stand out a little. It must have been an interesting experience to get beaten up on day two by his erstwhile bodyguard, and then see you again on day three.

    You think he takes it personally? Or is this just Caribbean business as usual?

  5. Philadelphus says:

    Are there coconut crabs in the Caribbean(!)? I was under the impression they’re only native to the South Pacific.

    Also I liked the Scarlet Pimpernel reference.

  6. James says:

    One begins to wonder why you need to return to the sea at all. I think the Suspicious Man has it right, why risk the dangers of the sea when you could extort dumb nobles and thugs?

  7. Ninety-Three says:

    is he any respect Oliver Cromwell

    Is he in any respect Oliver Cromwell? There’s gotta be a word missing somewhere.

  8. Cybron says:

    Taking notes for the next time my players want to play a rogue centric campaign here.

  9. Christopher says:

    Man, I love this Suspicious Man conspiracy.

  10. TMC_Sherpa says:

    Well he IS the baddest man in the whole damn town

  11. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

    That was wonderful. Lousy randomly generated quests being turned by masterful weirdness into -not crap programming -but the original milkman conspiracy.

    Oh, that was wonderful.

  12. Grudgeal says:

    To be fair to (Oliver) Cromwell, only *half* of England wanted him dead.

    …Actually most of England *didn’t* want him dead, the royalists drawing much of their geographical support from Scotland and Wales (the Stuarts being originally Scottish).

  13. Zak McKracken says:

    Wow, so that went not at all as I expected, but maybe that was to be expected from this game?

    Seeing how the previous mission went, and how escort quests _always_ go wrong the first time, in any game, I am mightily impressed at how Carry-Bean(!) manages to subvert my expectations in unexpected ways, by not completely botching the job.

    I could imagine that some developer actually lined the quests up like this because they thought it was funny. I think far too few games use this sort of storytelling through sidequests.

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