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Negotiation published on 13 Comments on Negotiation

Raise your blade. You just defeated a dragon hiding itself within a metal can. This vulpes will stand no chance!


Get low and scamper into the brush

Violet the Screeching Creature

Your fingers twitch above the handle of your sword. Your feet scream at you to turn tail and flee. But you know that a vulpes cannot be so easily outfought or outrun. To have the slightest chance of surviving this encounter, you will have to try something else…

Maybe you can talk your way out of this – if it can speak, that is. Take a deep breath, bow before the Titan, and respectfully start a conversation.


You recall once hearing a song about a silver-tongued mouse who talked their way out of being eaten by a basilisk. Perhaps you can do the same.

You stutter out a hello.

“Yes, hello, mouse,” the vulpes replies in a disarmingly smooth voice. “I heard you making a racket with that can over there. Did my ears deceive me, or do you consider yourself something of a dragon slayer?”

No sir, no, no, you are no dragon slayer, definitely not. You are… You are just…

Have you perchance seen a red hat anywhere? Thank you for your time!


You are just an ordinary, humble knight looking for a red hat.

“A knight? Ah, I see. You are Thimble Guard. I did not recognise the uniform, but I have heard the tales. And you say you have lost your hat?”

Honesty might be the way to go. You explain that it’s actually your commanding officer’s hat, and you will be in very big trouble if you do not find and return it.

“And where is your commanding officer now?”

Ah, maybe not too much honesty. Leading a titan to Solhill would certainly be a bad move. You start to mumble some vague lie, but the vulpes interjects.

“Solhill, is it? Did you come to investigate the missing shrews?”

Wait, what? Can vulpes read minds?

“No, I’m no mind reader. I just used some rudimentary deduction. See, the shrews of Solhill inhabit one of my many dens. And as such, they are bound, contractually, to pay me tribute in the form of food parcels. But tribute has not been paid for several months. And as per the terms of the contract, I am permitted to eat one (1) resident per day in lieu of the missing tribute. I will, of course, return to eat another resident tonight. The arrival of the Thimble Guard was an inevitability, but as you can see, there is little to investigate, for my actions are legitimate.”

The vulpes leans in close to you, his snout almost touching your own, and his putrid breath washing over you with every word. “I am a reasonable beast. And you appear to be a reasonable rodent. And I have no quarrel with the Thimble Guard. So I will offer you a contract: take your rodent friends, return to your mouse city immediately, and in exchange, I promise not to harm you or the Thimble Guard. For today, at least.”

What if you refuse?

The vulpes does not answer. He stares at you, with unblinking, golden eyes.

What do you say?


Appreciate, for a moment, the vile creature that is a landlord. You don’t have the luxury to insult him or refuse him, but recognize him, and remember that in his heart flows calculation instead of mercy. There may come a time when you have the option to show the landlord mercy, at that time, show him calculation instead.

They say they will return in the night to eat another. That leaves you with an opportunity to regroup with the Thimble Guard and set a trap. If they are to be believed, that is.

Ask in what manner do they notarize their contracts. Is it a verbal agreement, or must something be signed?

There is room to negotiate. If he is willing to give the Thimble Guard one day, perhaps they can figure out how to resume the flow of tributes? After all, if the vulpes eats one shrew a night… eventually, there will be none. And the vulpes will starve.

The vulpes sure seems proud of his deduction skills. Propose that if he can solve your riddle, you’ll take the rest of the Thimble Guard and leave, but if he can’t answer it then he has to leave Solhill alone. If he agrees, ask an incredibly dumb riddle.

Explain that, since you’re not the commanding officer, you don’t have the authority to negotiate on behalf of the whole squad. They might not honor a contract you make on your own, especially if you don’t come back with the hat. Besides, it’s in the titan’s own best interests to let you return and make a report to the squad: if you get eaten, especially if the whole squad never returns, they might send more than just a scouting group of the Thimble Guard next time, and the sweet* deal with Solhill will be thrown into jeopardy. But if the contract’s terms are communicated, it’s much more likely the shrews will resume their tribute: the details of the arrangement may simply have been lost with time.

*or savory Σ;♪

Pffft don’t let this nerd scare you off. Hold your ground, explain that you are in fact a dragon slayer who rode here on a glorious pigeon. Not in some basket but on it’s back. Tell it you want the commanding officers hat, and also like stop eating shrews dude totally a party foul move.