"Speaking my truth": wrong answers and success

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Drassil
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"Speaking my truth": wrong answers and success

Post by Drassil »

In Series 4, more than one adviser told their dungeoneer to "say that you're on a quest for truth and justice". While that may have been because they couldn't remember their quest object, it's hardly an unreasonable code to quest by, especially when a quest could succeed or fail on the basis of saying what was correct and true.

That is, until Dickon's quest (Series 4 Team 6), when - with the "neutral" Dungeon Master's encouragement - a team presented something as being true when they knew it to be potentially false. [Video clip] They answered Mellisandre's question with whatever they felt like saying and were rewarded for it.

(That reward was being told the name of Oakley's son. Was it a consequential reward? In theory, yes: Oakley might otherwise have crushed Dickon for not being a "tree friend" or at least denied him a clue object hint. In practice, I doubt it: no Series 4 team ever failed to get through Level 1 safely, and Dickon's "Etruscan brandy" side-quest - bigger lie, bigger rewards - was arguably one that was not going to be wasted.)

I may have treated this as a joke in the past...
Drassil wrote: 27 Sep 2011, 18:28 [Setting: the Dirty Duck pub quiz.]

Motley: And the answer is... Camulodunum. Which means that by one point, Ogres N' Egg'eads 'ave beaten Smelly Melly And The Staid Maids - and they win our jackpot!

[Applause. Grimwold high-fives Grimaldine.]

Motley: 'Ard luck, girls, but I still loves ya! Congrats to the baldies and thanks for playin', everybody!

Gretel: You cow. You swore it was Caledonia.

Mellisandre: He... he lied to me...

Milly: Aye, whatever. Talk to the hand.

Molly: That's your foot, Milly.

[Mellisandre stands up.]

Mellisandre: I tell you he LIED TO ME!!

[She smashes a stool. Silence.]

Mellisandre: Go forth, everyone. [Twitch.] Don't let me keep you. [Cold laugh.] And if you ever see a boy by the name of Dickon, or anyone dear to him, you tell them, you kindly tell them, that MELLISANDRE MAKEPEACE PERHAPPENSTANCE WILL HAVE HER BLOODY VENGEANCE!!!

[Grimwold burps.]

Motley: [To himself] Fink I'll see who I can pick up in the Greenwood.
...but now I'm not so sure. Much as I like this team, this quest and the Crazed Heifer, I think something about Knightmare broke in that scene.

There was more to come in Series 7. This series was not content just to undermine the Knightmare tenet of "now your advisors will be your eyes" with sight spells and potions; if "truth accepted" was going to be trashed then Series 7 had to have a piece of that action too.

In early Series 7 quests, the Brollachan revealed that he could detect lies even when he didn't know the truth; as the series went on, that stopped mattering. This was demonstrated when Team 6 (Julie) found they didn't know the answer to one of his questions. We got a strong echo of Dickon and Mellisandre:

Treguard: "Remember, he knows nothing."
Helen: "Say it convincingly as if you know what you're talking about, Julie."
Julie: "[Castor was one, the other was] Receiver."
Brollachan: "Knowledge returned."

Some watchers may think that scenario is alright. Personally, I think it's Pollux. (Or Polydeuces.)

Back in Series 3, another Julie (Team 10) had given a single falsehood ("flying fox") and paid for it with losing status and a humiliating demise. Series 7 Julie went on to win, as Dickon had.

We live in a world where a distinction isn't always drawn between speaking the truth and "speaking my truth". Knightmare, it seems, saw it coming.
Knightmare: Kid-worthy, Naasty, Inspiring, Groundbreaking, Humorous, Treguard, Mesmerising, Adult-worthy, Rewarding, Essential.
Drassil
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Re: "Speaking my truth": wrong answers and success

Post by Drassil »

Drassil wrote: In early Series 7 quests, the Brollachan revealed that he could detect lies even when he didn't know the truth; as the series went on, that stopped mattering. This was demonstrated when Team 6 (Julie) found they didn't know the answer to one of his questions. We got a strong echo of Dickon and Mellisandre:

Treguard: "Remember, he knows nothing."
Helen: "Say it convincingly as if you know what you're talking about, Julie."
Julie: "[Castor was one, the other was] Receiver."
Brollachan: "Knowledge returned."
One quest later, Barry's Brollachan encounter on Level 2 hammered it home (no pun intended):

Treguard: "Whatever you do, don't lie to it."
Brollachan: "... Tell me, what is the name of the valley where Level 2 lies?"
[Smirkenorff had referred to the Rift of Angar. The team can't remember this.]
Barry: "What shall I say?"
Treguard: "Well, whatever you say, be convincing."
Brollachan: "I am waiting."
Daniel: "You've just got to be convincing."
Derek: "The Valley of Ramstaff."
Barry: "The Valley of Ramstaff."

Treguard was once an uncompromising and awe-inspiring authority figure. Here he is reduced to a doting uncle who contradicts himself in two consecutive lines to stop a team failing a challenge that seemed to be contrived so they couldn't fail it anyway. Lord Dunshelm and Hugo Myatt deserved better.
Drassil wrote: Back in Series 3, another Julie (Team 10) had given a single falsehood ("flying fox") and paid for it with losing status and a humiliating demise. Series 7 Julie went on to win, as Dickon had.
To expand on this:

Several teams' fates rested on their answer to a single question, be that a situation where they had to score 1/1 or a situation where they had to score 2/2. In other words, one wrong answer put them in losing status. Besides S3 T10, they included:
S2 T12, Level 2 - got a question about the elephant's memory wrong; didn't get the spell they needed to survive the wellway room. (0 out of 1 and their quest was done. Compare that to S2 T7 on Level 2: Merlin asked them for 3 truths and settled for 2; then they scored 1/3 on Bumptious' riddles; they earned the spell they needed to complete Level 2 and only failed it through their own error.)
S3 T4, Level 3 - got a question about Avebury wrong; fell out of a mountain cave
S3 T11, Level 3 - got a question about beetles wrong; zapped by Morghanna
S4 T3, Level 2 - got a question about about hibernation wrong; eaten by Ariadne
How many of Knightmare's eight winning teams had a confirmed life-or-death question like that? None. Three of them had a 'wrong answer OK' situation as described above (S4 T6, S7 T6, S7 T7); one of them had no questions in their quest at all (S6 T5, a terrifically unchallenging quest).

For all the pitfalls in assessing eight series' worth of quests as one, this is Knightmare at its least fair.
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Pooka
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Re: "Speaking my truth": wrong answers and success

Post by Pooka »

I've seen it said in various places (and I agree) that the general consensus should be that the early series (ie. the Mogdred era) placed a large amount of reliance on riddles to determine whether a team was safe or not.

I can do nought but agree - the quests you've mentioned being placed in losing status as the result of one incorrect answer to a riddle (or a general knowledge question, such as Owen's "beetles" question of Mugg's "Avebury" one) often being in the first few series. You mention the team talking to Melly being let off for not knowing the answer - if I remember correctly, Treguard gave them a hint there too! - which was, as far as I can tell, a team incorrectly answering a question and not being penalised for it.

Wall Monsters - although not actually eating anyone - did occasionally omit information as a result of missed questions, leading to a lack of hints which led the dungeoneer to their death. Merlin did the same once as well, as the team lacked magic to get them through. I do wonder what would happen if a Weeping Door was given an incorrect answer when they needed a correct one. We didn't see much of Doorkis (Doorcas - sp?) or Dooreen, and it was never explicitly said that they required two or three 'truths' to open, whereas Dooris opened with one.

In Dooreen's case, she was encountered once and given three truths, and opened. As a Level 3 obstacle, I doubt she would have opened with one, but then how would the team have died in that situation? Just let their life force slip away like it did in Series 1 and 2?

Starting in Series 4 (and lasting to the end of its run), there was an increase in rooms designed to kill dungeoneers, ie. floor puzzles. Throughout Knightmare's run, the Block and Tackle, the Corridor of Blades, Causeways, the Trial by Spikes, Play Your Cards Right, the Raining Fireballs and Slice Me Dice Me all claimed at least one victim. Lord Fear alluded to a lot of these machinations to be of his own design (which suits his technomagical nature). As opposed to riddles, these were now the things to fear. There was a clear shift here to being fleet of foot (as well as wise and keen) and Knightmare came to being less reliant on riddles.

While Brother Strange did ask for proverbs and wouldn't take one he already knew (and Snapper-Jack never managing to take a fool one series later), the Brollachan was completely ignorant and knew absolutely nothing - so while he did appear on walls and ask questions, he wasn't ever going to actually kill anyone (I doubt there would have been a death animation for that!). Julie and Barry both required a hint from Treguard to guess the answers. But I see a loophole here.

Treguard advised Barry not to lie to the Brollachan. But if he didn't know an answer, giving an incorrect answer wouldn't, technically, be a lie. He gave the Brollachan wrong information (using a very convincing voice) without actually knowing that it was wrong. It can't realistically be classed as a lie.

I never saw the Brollachan as being a threat, despite the fact that he looked menacing. He was probably just a test character to show off the V-Actor headset and they needed something to do with him. He was never realistically going to kill anyone if he didn't know the answers himself.

So, overall, I see your point and there's a lot of fascinating "what-if?" discussion to be had about this. But with the shift towards floor puzzles and only a minority of characters asking questions in later years, that's part of Knightmare's evolution. You're right insofar as it wasn't fair. But Knightmare rarely was.
Pooka - teacher, writer, comedian, musician, geek, and full-time Knightmarian.
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Mystara
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Re: "Speaking my truth": wrong answers and success

Post by Mystara »

Drassil wrote: Treguard was once an uncompromising and awe-inspiring authority figure. Here he is reduced to a doting uncle who contradicts himself in two consecutive lines to stop a team failing a challenge that seemed to be contrived so they couldn't fail it anyway. Lord Dunshelm and Hugo Myatt deserved better.
I have always found the idea of "you can make it up, as long as you're convincing" very odd and not at all in keeping with Knightmare, which was famously rather unforgiving when it came to getting things wrong.
Personally, I wonder if there was something else behind the scenes happening. Perhaps they needed to keep the team alive a little longer to wait for the next team to arrive? Hugo Myatt's apparent contradiction suggests to me that he was also confused by what was going on and instructed via earpiece.
Drassil wrote: Several teams' fates rested on their answer to a single question, be that a situation where they had to score 1/1 or a situation where they had to score 2/2. In other words, one wrong answer put them in losing status.
Truth acknowledged.

Or, indeed, I vaguely recall that some of the early series needed 3/3 to command the wall monster in order to get a clue necessary to know which of two clue objects to take? So without getting all three clues right, you'd have a 50/50 chance of losing - though whether that actually results in any deaths, I couldn't immediately tell you.

I'm undecided on the questions. On the one hand, they very clearly slow down gameplay (especially when being handed three questions per clue room). On the other hand, floor puzzle after floor puzzle (as in Chevalier) would kill teams off very quickly. Probably the best balance would be to have single questions quite frequently. But then, either failure has no consequence or you need to hit 100% of them in order to win.
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