Tidal Tactics

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Tidal Tactics
A shoreline showing severe coastal erosion. It's figurative, you see.
An abstract diagram, showing multiple arrows advancing on a red target in succession.

Tidal Tactics

Grand, overarching schemes are for the deluded—strategems based on wide co-ordination such as River Tactics or Dam Tactics will invariably fall in the long term. Malton Marzan is a city of entropy, of decay, and the maxim of Tidal Tactics relies on just that—the inevitable fall of every stand, the collapse of every fortification. Simply put, by hitting something over and over, it will crack, and you'll be able to destroy it.

Practised, as any sensible doctrine is, on the small scale on multiple fronts, the teachings of tidal tactics are simple—prolonged attack, time after time, will wear down any defense, and sap the resolve of the defenders. Ferals, death cultists, the quiet dead, even larger hordes, will all find themselves encountering resistance on some scale, and whilst "true" river tactics espouse the notion of a forcible current, there is not always the momentum to maintain one continuous assault. There are also times when a small horde or cult do not wish to move—he barhah need not be nomadic, after all. In this instances, time and again, the axioms of tidal tactics come into play.

"Water hollows out stone, not through force but through persistence."
—Ovid

The idea is simple—hit it hard, keep hitting it, then hit it again tomorrow. Ovid may have said it slightly more elegantly, but elegance is not the point of the doctrine. Crash with sound and fury at whatever obstacle presents itself, and bide time for another full crash again the next day. Your brood-mates will do likewise, until the inexorable tide breaches, and in its ravening swash turns all and sundry to bloodied flotsam. Break down the walls. When they are broken, break down the fixtures. When they are broken, break down the breathers. When they are broken, break out the cold ones.

Play by Play

Essentially, the doctrine boils down to dogged determination and sheer bull-headedness. Find the target, and come at them. Again and again, come at them. Your priorities should be roughly thus:

Tear down their playpen

Throw yourself at the barricades. As a feral, you will need to be sure that you have found a sufficiently weak target, or have formed a small cloud to aid you; otherwise you may encounter too much difficulty. With numbers—even two or three-fold—throwing yourself entirely upon the barricades leaves them either opened entirely, or sufficiently worn down to ensure the next set of claws finds easy home in the meat behind the shell. Learn to embrace spending 40–50 AP at a time smashing barricades—with a beachhead established, your next wave of AP will find their way inside also.

This is one of those times where death culting has no significant advantage, though a well-placed 'friend' to help you bash from the inside too is not going to hurt. This is a perfect moment to employ the lesser-used "what the fuck was that sound" technique of parachuting into a populated building to groan or bellow whilst inside, which can create this tactical situation from nowhere, as your calls summon a feral cloud to bash cades knowing one of their own is inside helping.

Break their fun toys

A portable diesel generator. These things are diesel-run, right?
This fucking thing. Kill it.

Smash their generator immediately. If your tide sweeps across a NecroTech Building, denying infallible combat revives mean you've instantly made things harder for the defense. If you break down a hospital, you reduce their healing output by one third. And even in a mall or police department, you've made inroads into curtailing their ammunition scrabbling. The main point of this, however, is to create an AP sink. For the eight or so AP you spend to send their funbox to Ahab, you've created for them the need to expend two or three times this amount to find and fuel a replacement. You also greatly aggravate the trenchcoating demographic—and remember, longer-term tidal tactics are as much a battle of will as a battle of combat.

For larger targets, when each breach is required to remain open for as long as possible, the wireless becomes a target at this stage too. The reasons here are two-fold—without a radio, survivors who do not metagame are likely to flee, even if only to find a replacement. In their absence, you have less meatshields to eat through before you can ruin and squat your new home. Secondly, those who do metagame will find themselves spending real-world time asking for back-up, and even a moment of inaction on their behalf can aid your cause.

And, of course, never forget the hi-and-die men. Parachuting and GKing are wonderful accompaniments to this stage, as your inside man can make short work of these toys with a knife with the same AP cost as claws, and can turn any firearms in their possession into a nice chunk of damage even before you start leaving teeth-marks.

Throw teddy from the pram

A clown. A sad clown.
Bonzo is sad because no one plays with him (the molestation is probably a factor here). Bellow and Groan to let him know there's a party going on.

Through successive waves, one or more of you is inside, ankle-deep in shrapnel, now what? Make noise. Bellow or groan, in that order, to draw nearby ferals in—not only for support now, but as additional waves if and when this breach falters. When you've made sure the dinner bell has been rung, it's time to attack.

First priority is to kill off those with the lowest HP, to quickly thin the herd. Survivors logging on will only see the death notices, not how much damage has actually been inflicted, so don't underestimate the usefulness of cheap kills for demoralising effect. After these opportunistic slayings, your priority is infection. Claw to grasp, then bite. Then move on. Try to attack in order of last active—namely, from lowest-listed to first-listed. Someone who may still be active during your attack is more likely to expend AP and lose a few HP to an infection whilst you're still there, and even 3-5 HP is essentially a few 'free' claw attacks for you if you choose to kill them then and there.

Once infections have been passed around like Kiss groupies, you can work on whittling down the 'smarter' survivors. The more skills a survivor has, the more of a nuisance they are to you. Killing those with Construction, full combat skills, combat revive skills, or any mix of these, will add longevity to your breach. It is not necessary to kill these as quickly as possible—simply dragging them outside will save you AP whilst giving you most of the same immediate benefits, provided they aren't presently active.

Remember, you aren't playing with the mindset of a strike team. You know you'll run out of AP whilst all of this is going on, and every step you take to maximise your AP efficiency whilst keeping their expenditure as high as possible is a step closer to getting inside easier the next time. That street treat you dragged outside for the 2 AP drag/re-enter cost instead of the 8ish AP to kill them outright, coupled with your noise-making earlier, is going to entice more claws to join in tomorrow.

Sorry Mario, your barhah is in another castle

So you've cleared the building and some of you still have AP to spare. What's to be done now? Well, for a start, loot and pollute. Turning it into a ruin may seem a risk, a 6 AP cost that takes a week of not being reclaimed before it breaks even, but it's not. It's a deterrent—a ruined building full of zombies is not something a casual or lone survivor will approach. You can even play it smart and tackle an adjacent building, saving 2 AP to retreat inside your ruin instead of conking out still outside, which will mean that even when the 'clean up' operation does arrive, by the time they clear out everyone squatting inside your ruin, repair it, and re-barricade it, the AP they've spent is AP they don't have to repel another wave. Once you log in to find yourself dumped outside a freshly-rescued building, you start from point one again. You always start from point one again. That's why you're using tidal tactics in the first place.

This is the stage where the cultist truly comes to the fore. Once the building is cleared of survivors, allow a friendly breather to barricade you all in—it can be done alone by one parachuting cultist, but a healthy one prepared to spend a lot of AP working past the inevitable interference can end up sealing quite a large number of the restless dead inside a building with some dedication. Once the cades are at Heavy Barricaded at the very least—though Extremely Heavily Barricaded is preferable—then the ruining begins. One Mexican Hat Dance later, and you've erected a beautiful Piñata, effectively turning the tables on your oppressors.

In Practice

Whilst all tactical doctrines are theoretical guidelines, it's always worth pointing out examples of the core elements in practice. A notable example of this is the siege of Blackmore 4(04)—a high concentration of survivors holding The Blackmore Building led to the adoption of an almost-fortnight-long series of waves crashing against the building, with GKing and culting wearing down the resistance. Although the end result was reached primarily due to the beachhead strategies of Zombie River Tactics, it was the trickling effect of tidal tactics, especially the summoning of increasingly greater zombie numbers through break-ins and bellows, that contributed to building this momentum.

On a less dramatic scale, longer-term application of these doctrines forms the core of several groups throughout the game, including the prime example of this, St. Ferreol's Hospital Noise Abatement Society and their attacks on, well, St. Ferreol's Hospital. Other noise abatement societies have also been founded with different targets. Evidence can also be seen in the hassle caused to the Escape movement by No Escape in the weeks leading up to the massed zombie river delta that eventually cancelled the movement out; and in the thousand tiny-scale break-ins only made possible by extended cade-bashing by feral after feral until one breaks in.

Oh look it's a shiny thing

Tidal tactics.png The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new.
This user or group espouses Tidal Tactics

Just slap {{Tidal}} on any page, anywhere, and it'll matter. You too can make a difference.

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