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The Giant
2009-01-09, 08:04 PM
Giant in the Playground - Now with Dual Comic-Updating Action!

DragoonKain
2009-01-09, 10:40 PM
Parson seems very stressed/angry.

Knight13
2009-01-09, 10:40 PM
Frankly, Parson's plans have been more or less flawless, they only failed due to Ansom's incredible luck and Charlie's god-like intervention.

Edit: Also, love the STHU sound effect when Parson slams his fist on the table. Shouldn't it be STBU?

DigoDragon
2009-01-09, 10:45 PM
Yeah, the perfect Warlord is all about knowing your imperfections and playing around them. Parson was worth every Shmucker. :smallsmile: Now let's see this final stand.

"They may boop our lives, but they'll never boop our freedom!"

RubberBandMan
2009-01-09, 10:47 PM
Nice tiny detail in panel 2, does "STHU" stand for "Shut the Hell Up"?

And parson would make a good boss, if he had any job he'd be willing to lord over. He yells at his guys for screwing up, then explains to them how they can help out, and his reasoning. Much better than Stanley.

DragoonKain
2009-01-09, 10:47 PM
Also, is it just me or is Parson looking more muscular? He's changed a LOT since the beginning of the comic, though that was only a few "days" ago.

hajo
2009-01-09, 10:49 PM
Two comic-updates is just too much stress for the forum...

Also, we learn a bit about real strategy :smallbiggrin:

I wonder what shockmancy does :smallamused:

Miklus
2009-01-09, 10:51 PM
And parson would make a good boss, if he had any job he'd be willing to lord over. He yells at his guys for screwing up, then explains to them how they can help out, and his reasoning. Much better than Stanley.

He is better than any boss I have ever had. He is not an idiot and he actually takes some personal responsibility. He even bother to listen to his underlings.

Whispri
2009-01-09, 10:59 PM
Wanda knew there was no such thing as unbeatable before she summoned him, she even told Stanley as much.

His plans haven't failed, a spell failed, thanks to Charlie. Ansom miraculously survived his recent charge thanks to powerful plot shields and Charlie. Wanda knew that too. Edit: Actually at any time prior to right now, the spell failure would have been it. Oh wait, there was the initial plan for the ambush of the fliers, but that was thwarted by Charlie being hired as well. Slack some cut him!

Wanda has a valid excuse thanks to the backlash, but her underlings?

Aquillion
2009-01-09, 11:07 PM
Notice how Wanda subtly deflected Parson's question about Duty -- there's nothing in the rules (at least as they were described to us) that would make whether it's hopeless or not relevant... she's simply not allowed to conceal important information like that. In other words, Parson pretty clearly caught her violating Duty, and she brought up his failures because she knew it would distract him from that decidedly uncomfortable question.

Moonshadow
2009-01-09, 11:08 PM
Poor Parson. His plans are genius, yet when uncontrollable factors intervene, he gets stuck with all the blame.


I bet Stanley is gonna go off at him too, once he returns.

Whispri
2009-01-09, 11:09 PM
Notice how Wanda subtly deflected Parson's question about Duty -- there's nothing in the rules (at least as they were described to us) that would make whether it's hopeless or not relevant... she's simply not allowed to conceal important information like that. In other words, Parson pretty clearly caught her violating Duty, and she brought up his failures because she knew it would distract him from that decidedly uncomfortable question.
Oh yeah, credit where it's due, she did shift the blame quite well. She's just lucky he didn't stop to think about those failures.

kreszantas
2009-01-09, 11:15 PM
This was my original definition of what Parson should be, perfection is not absolute winner every engagement. He must have a terrible win-loss score with all his actions. However he can care less about the little fights as long as it sets him up to win when it matters most, (or have we already forgotten the tunnels so quickly Wanda?) and that is when he is able to press the advantage Parson's way.

Been on vacation for 12 days, get back and not 1,2 but 3 updates while I was gone, well lots to say but I will save it for just this one.

Altima
2009-01-09, 11:19 PM
I lol'd at the comic. Orgasmed at the dual update.

At any rate, it's Wanda that feels hopeless. Apart from her suicidal behavior (Yes, I still think she was trying to get Ansom to croak her), it even says in her character bio thingamajjiger that feeling hope is not one of her fortes.

EDIT: Looks like RCC did take the courtyard (no thanks to Ansom). It even sorta looks like Duke Nozzle and the other RCC warlords are still bickering while all the soldiers are patting themselves on the back.

On the other hand, where at the elves? Those poor, poor eager elves. :smallfrown:

hajo
2009-01-09, 11:21 PM
"... unwilling to take the garrison" looks like a clue - with some foolamany, they might be able to scare the invaders off.
GK is built on top of a vulcano, so how about a simulated eruption ?

Altima
2009-01-09, 11:25 PM
"... unwilling to take the garrison" looks like a clue - with some foolamany, they might be able to scare the invaders off.
GK is built on top of a vulcano, so how about a simulated eruption ?

'Unwilling' usually refers to making the other side just crap out due to low morality. Such as making it the only way the RCC would win would be by choking GK's rivers with their dead. Besides, it can't be that powerful, or Wanda would've mentioned something about it.

If anything, it'll be a combination of spells, most likely.

Of course, odds are, Jack does come back next time...with a flight of dwagons.

PhantomFox
2009-01-09, 11:27 PM
Is it just me, or does Wanda seem... submissive in the last row?

ShinyBrowncoat
2009-01-09, 11:29 PM
Why one hour until the end of the world? Does Parson believe Ansom will attack the garrison this turn, without Archon support?

ShinyBrowncoat
2009-01-09, 11:32 PM
Is it just me, or does Wanda seem... submissive in the last row?

Or possibly impressed; maybe she finally gets what Parson is doing and appreciates his strategic superiority

Surprise!
2009-01-09, 11:32 PM
Frankly, Parson's plans have been more or less flawless, they only failed due to Ansom's incredible luck and Charlie's god-like intervention.

Edit: Also, love the STHU sound effect when Parson slams his fist on the table. Shouldn't it be STBU?

Shut The Hose Up

Eugenitor
2009-01-09, 11:42 PM
Parson: The Anti-Ender.

Cpt. Sqweky
2009-01-09, 11:45 PM
Am I crazy, or does panel 4 seem really familiar? Like a scene from a movie, or something.

Whispri
2009-01-09, 11:46 PM
Why one hour until the end of the world? Does Parson believe Ansom will attack the garrison this turn, without Archon support?
Waiting last turn did cost Ansom rather dearly. And he must know that a lot of Parson's units are wounded, that itself is good reason to move now.

DevilDan
2009-01-10, 12:21 AM
Edit: Also, love the STHU sound effect when Parson slams his fist on the table. Shouldn't it be STBU?

And don't forget that he didn't know about Charlie's existence prior to the first SNAFU.

It's a beautifully written monologue: I can almost hear him saying it.


He must have a terrible win-loss score with all his actions. However he can care less about the little fights as long as it sets him up to win when it matters most, (or have we already forgotten the tunnels so quickly Wanda?) and that is when he is able to press the advantage Parson's way.

Exactly. It's like "losing" the dwagon attacks on the RCC column: the important thing is to reduce his ability to take take GK.

Gambit
2009-01-10, 12:26 AM
Shouldn't that "crap" in panel 6 be a "boop"?

ShinyBrowncoat
2009-01-10, 12:37 AM
I hope the scrolls aren't game-changing in and of themselves...that would feel a bit like a...well, I won't say it. Perhaps he can find something in there to hold off Ansom this round, and Stanley returning next round with Jack and the remaining dwagons will give them a fighting chance.

I wonder if

it would be possible for a veiled dwagon stack to sneak-attack Ansom before the Archons can react, and maybe finally get the 'pliers for good this time? Wanda attuned to the 'pliers leading the remaining uncroaked still seems to me a necessary (if not sufficient) condition for Parson to win this against what are still very stiff odds.

T-O-E
2009-01-10, 12:42 AM
I was so happy when I saw that both Erf and OoTS had updated.

dr pepper
2009-01-10, 12:46 AM
Hmm-- what now? Wanda has Duty to Stanley, but not, apparently, to GK. She took the initiative to suggest the summoning spell to Stanley, but now she won't go beyond orders to offer Parson any options. She fought Ansom with enthusiasm, but is fatalisticaly expecting the city to fall.

My guess: Wanda isn't an official GK unit; if it goes down, she won't be affected. And yet she's bound to Stanley somehow. That inclines me towards the rescue idea. Wanda swore some sort of personal allegiance to Stanley, that kept her from dying with Faq. Now, she figures if GK falls, she'll just go join him in his new barbarian career.

PhantomFox
2009-01-10, 12:47 AM
Shouldn't that "crap" in panel 6 be a "boop"?

Nope (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0013.html). Crap is an allowable word.

BarGamer
2009-01-10, 12:54 AM
You know what you call a perfect plan, with no surprises, and you win with no losses? A simulation. Get booping real, Wanda.

"Conversion, division, and attrition." 'Conversion' is Croakamancy, that's easy. Or possibly the enemy deserting and allying with them? 'Division' is Parson playing more mind games, woohoo! Also, possibly making them split up into separate zones. And once he gets some booping COOPERATION, he can begin to use his resources to their fullest, and start working on that 'Attrition.'

Whispri
2009-01-10, 01:00 AM
You know what you call a perfect plan, with no surprises, and you win with no losses? A simulation. Get booping real, Wanda.
It really does look like a distraction on Wanda's part. After all, she didn't expect the perfect Warlord to be impossible to defeat (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0006.html). And if she's flat out giving up, well half-heartedness can be expected either way.


Hmm-- what now? Wanda has Duty to Stanley, but not, apparently, to GK. She took the initiative to suggest the summoning spell to Stanley, but now she won't go beyond orders to offer Parson any options. She fought Ansom with enthusiasm, but is fatalisticaly expecting the city to fall.

My guess: Wanda isn't an official GK unit; if it goes down, she won't be affected. And yet she's bound to Stanley somehow. That inclines me towards the rescue idea. Wanda swore some sort of personal allegiance to Stanley, that kept her from dying with Faq. Now, she figures if GK falls, she'll just go join him in his new barbarian career.
An Allied Barbarian you mean? As with the Gobwins?

She could just hop through the magic portal if it comes to it.

Aevii
2009-01-10, 01:18 AM
Why do people keep bringing up Wanda's "duty?" Remember the archon informed Jillian that Wanda was under no such effects-shortly before being vaporized.

Whispri
2009-01-10, 01:30 AM
Why do people keep bringing up Wanda's "duty?" Remember the archon informed Jillian that Wanda was under no such effects-shortly before being vaporized.
Assuming the Archon wasn't lying, wasn't letting the truth stand in for accuracy, and did not in fact have anything more to say before Jillian and Wanda interrupted her to death?

Then that doesn't actually matter as a Loyalty spell would only change the person she was Loyal too, it wouldn't enforce Duty. Duty is a separate form of Natural Thinkamancy as noted here (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0094.html).

SteveMB
2009-01-10, 01:41 AM
At any rate, it's Wanda that feels hopeless. Apart from her suicidal behavior (Yes, I still think she was trying to get Ansom to croak her), it even says in her character bio thingamajjiger that feeling hope is not one of her fortes.

I dunno -- somehow "touch me with them" doesn't sound right for that ("strike me" or "hit me" would fit better).


EDIT: Looks like RCC did take the courtyard (no thanks to Ansom). It even sorta looks like Duke Nozzle and the other RCC warlords are still bickering while all the soldiers are patting themselves on the back.

It looks to me like they're now at the inner walls (i.e. not in the courtyard, but holding the entire outer wall zone).

DevilDan
2009-01-10, 01:45 AM
As I understand it, the archon told Jillian that there were no loyalty spells affecting Wanda, which is what is usually done to induct valuable captured casters. All this tells us is that the story between Faq and Stanley is more complicated than Jillian suspected, which we've suspected for a long time.

In this comic (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0005.html), there's a hint that there is something that would compel her to follow Stanley's orders anyway.

Also, if we want to get technical, Duty (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0005.html) regulates how a commander discharges acts in relationship to his or her Ruler. I'm not surprised that Wanda is secretive and that she's devious and twisted enough to keep secrets and to rationalize or justify that behavior.

Fjolnir
2009-01-10, 01:53 AM
Duty is not a spell, (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0094.html)Jillian thought that Wanda was under the influence of some sort of Loyalty enhancing spell (IE, something that makes you more loyal to A over B), Duty is the requirement of every warlord to do their best for their Ruler no matter what. (possibly the dodge here Parson isn't overlord/king or whatnot of GK) though I kinda like that everyone thought that a "perfect warlord" always won no matter what, and all seemed to embarrassed to admit it before this point. Looking forward to seeing what shockamancy does (all we know is that it's also a naughtymancy (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0040.html)effect) I did like that the idiot squad out front was celebrating their job half finished too...

SteveMB
2009-01-10, 01:53 AM
Notice how Wanda subtly deflected Parson's question about Duty -- there's nothing in the rules (at least as they were described to us) that would make whether it's hopeless or not relevant... she's simply not allowed to conceal important information like that. In other words, Parson pretty clearly caught her violating Duty, and she brought up his failures because she knew it would distract him from that decidedly uncomfortable question.

Interesting -- as Whispri noted, Wanda knows better (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0006.html) than to think that any warlord is completely unbeatable. Either she's succumbed to complete despair and is arguing herself into staying there, or she's distracting attention from something.

It also seems to me that Maggie and Sizemore are agreeing with Wanda's comments, but they presumably don't know any better (Sizemore is specifically said to not know much about military stuff).

Hatu
2009-01-10, 01:58 AM
Frankly, Parson's plans have been more or less flawless, they only failed due to Ansom's incredible luck and Charlie's god-like intervention.


Yeah, I found it rather ironic that Parson's very reasonable stance on the fragility of plans stands in rather stark contrast to Ansom's fortunes thus far. Every time anything might throw a hitch into Ansom's strategy, he comes up with a patch for his plan, then just keeps hammering away until it works. So much for rolling with failure.

It's frustrating. I think the characters and world setup of this comic are easily good enough for us to enjoy watching Ansom and Parson go a few rounds for real. Let Parson actually set Ansom back on his heels for longer than a frame or two. Then let Ansom spot the flaw in Parson's plan and re-take the initiative. That would be great. Instead we've seen Parson facing off against an irresistible force that implodes his plans the instant it makes contact with them.

By now, it looks like the first time one of Parson's plans actually succeeds in forcing Ansom to change his strategy will also be the last. That's a shame.



Edit: Also, love the STHU sound effect when Parson slams his fist on the table. Shouldn't it be STBU?

I was thinking the same thing. :-)


Why one hour until the end of the world? Does Parson believe Ansom will attack the garrison this turn, without Archon support?

Maybe. It's not clear to me that Ansom could do so though. If the inner walls use the same game mechanics as the outside walls, it seems as though they would be nearly impregnable.

-H

Whispri
2009-01-10, 02:13 AM
A side effect of using those Foolamancy Spells: If as the result of this day's work Ansom and co. are given good reason to think there is a Foolamancer is the City, the story of Stanley's escape isn't exactly going to sound believable.

Krytha
2009-01-10, 02:41 AM
I like. Parson knows what he's doing.

headhoncho
2009-01-10, 03:12 AM
These last two strips have been... OK. Definitely better than the previous four or five.

Thrilled with the frequent updates, though.

Gez
2009-01-10, 05:13 AM
Nope (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0013.html). Crap is an allowable word.

Better example (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0006.html), since here it's clearly used as a profanity rather than figuratively as in "life gives you crap" or literally as in "crap golem".

Tobz
2009-01-10, 05:23 AM
To make the RCC unwilling to take the garrison, I guess it'd be enough to put everything they have left on the garrison walls. Untill Ansom decided to make a soft spot, RCC deemed the outer walls impossible to take. And that was with only the undead manning it.

With Parson, his casters, and the remaining elite units, gobwins and undead on the garrison walls, Ansom likely will hold a turn so he can include Charlie's archon's in taking the garrison, again putting all his pieces into position before striking.

slurpz
2009-01-10, 05:31 AM
Game-omancy lecture.

Aquillion
2009-01-10, 06:41 AM
Yeah, I found it rather ironic that Parson's very reasonable stance on the fragility of plans stands in rather stark contrast to Ansom's fortunes thus far. Every time anything might throw a hitch into Ansom's strategy, he comes up with a patch for his plan, then just keeps hammering away until it works. So much for rolling with failure.

It's frustrating. I think the characters and world setup of this comic are easily good enough for us to enjoy watching Ansom and Parson go a few rounds for real. Let Parson actually set Ansom back on his heels for longer than a frame or two. Then let Ansom spot the flaw in Parson's plan and re-take the initiative. That would be great. Instead we've seen Parson facing off against an irresistible force that implodes his plans the instant it makes contact with them.

By now, it looks like the first time one of Parson's plans actually succeeds in forcing Ansom to change his strategy will also be the last. That's a shame.
Um, what? Ansom has been every bit as adaptable as Parson. To name just a few:

His original plan was to feint the tunnels and use his siege to take the walls. Parson ruined this, and Ansom was forced to reverse strategies. Then Parson crushed him in the tunnels, and he was forced to shift his focus to the walls again. Then, after he'd clearly decided not to accept Charlie's offer, Parson forced him to accept an even worse version of it just to save his own miserable skin.

Parson has been winning. That's the point of his whole rant here. He just hasn't been winning enough, not yet. But he's put a huge amount of pressure on Ansom, forced him to abandon his strategy several times, and drastically shifted the odds from the absolute curb-stomping they were at the beginning. People keep saying that Ansom is saved by deus ex mechanica -- no. Ansom manages to avoid being utterly crushed by revising his plans and relying on Charlie, yes, but the real thing that's been saving his ass so far is the 25-to-1 margin.

SteveD
2009-01-10, 07:31 AM
Huh, did the writers just respond to the 'Parson's impotence' thread?

Iain
2009-01-10, 07:36 AM
Better example (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0006.html), since here it's clearly used as a profanity rather than figuratively as in "life gives you crap" or literally as in "crap golem".
Or, indeed, as an order :smallamused:

The sound effects seem to be based on real world sayings, phrases and suchlike, so probably aren't affected by the boop-censorship. Though I can't recall whether they have been censored some of the time.

Fafnir13
2009-01-10, 08:33 AM
Huh, did the writers just respond to the 'Parson's impotence' thread?

Maybe not directly, but it is certainly a good response to any reader anytime who starts to wonder the same thing.
Really, it's just a really good way for Parson to show that he is indeed the warlord promised. Can't wait to see how this turn ends.

Doran
2009-01-10, 08:38 AM
Yeah definitely not, that thread started in the last two weeks, and I remember pclips posting that book 1s script has been written long before that.

teratorn
2009-01-10, 08:39 AM
It smells like a klog is coming!

It's just me or do they like rather big when compared to Parson?

MalikT
2009-01-10, 09:11 AM
Look at the two orange units in the last panel, are they waving to the camera.

Doran
2009-01-10, 09:30 AM
It smells like a klog is coming!

It's just me or do they like rather big when compared to Parson?

Looking at the last panel of this (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0020.html), he does seem to have shrunk slightly, also gotten a little more muscular, although that could be the breastplate.

Lamech
2009-01-10, 09:47 AM
STHU: Shut the heck up

And now FOOLAMANCY, and HEALOMANCY! Lets see here dwagon doughnut of doom... Ansom walks into the doughnut and promptly gets smashed by 19 full-health dwagons, and loses horribly. Or maybe Parson would have shifted them anyway, so... Jillian stumbles on dwagons, and Wanda lets her past... I wonder what Parson is so mad about.

The buttons aren't working so no links...
And yeah Parson is warping to become an erfworlder. Note his pupils in page 20, and his height on page 21. The pupils are gone and he seems to have lost an head of heights.

Sunday
2009-01-10, 10:11 AM
Looking at the last panel of this (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0020.html), he does seem to have shrunk slightly, also gotten a little more muscular, although that could be the breastplate.



yeah but stanly is pretty short anyway. Wander seems to just come up to his sleeve. though the angle's do throw you off.... though it would be interesting if parson was slowly turning into a erfworlder.

TheWombat
2009-01-10, 10:13 AM
I know it doesn't seem likely but I noticed something in this thread that makes me have a theory about what's to come.

When was the last time we saw 3 casters together in one room? That was when Maggie was linked to Jack and Misty. If you put a Thinkamancer, Croakamancer and Dirtamancer together I wonder what sort of insanity that could bring.

SteveD
2009-01-10, 10:14 AM
...that or the artist is changing his style. :P

He does seem shorter compared to when he first arrived.

Edit: How do you think Parson plans to 'convert' the enemy? More mass-croakmancy?

Tweed
2009-01-10, 10:35 AM
Heh. I will tip my hat to the authors for this page. The first few panels seem like they were directed squarely at this forum and a few of us nay-sayers. Perhaps that's just egotism on my part.

MirEgal
2009-01-10, 11:03 AM
It seems that Wanda hides something.

Parson is a gamer and socially inept. He knows how to give orders, but not how to deal with people. It seems that a certain part of the comic is how Parson learns this skill (dealing with Stanley; talking to Maggie; talking to Sizemore...).

Maybe Parson will win once he knows how to deal with Wanda.

DevilDan
2009-01-10, 11:28 AM
Huh, did the writers just respond to the 'Parson's impotence' thread?

I truly hope that that is not the case.


The sound effects seem to be based on real world sayings, phrases and suchlike, so probably aren't affected by the boop-censorship. Though I can't recall whether they have been censored some of the time.

Parson did use "WTB" once, presumably instead of "WTF."

SteveD
2009-01-10, 11:37 AM
Well maybe not that threat specifically, but it does feel like this strip is the writers responding to recent criticism of Parsons abilities, neatly tied in with addressing moral issues with the troops.

Still, 3 stips in a week; how awesome is that? Are they making a dash for the finish?

Nargrakhan
2009-01-10, 11:37 AM
Parson has been winning.

QFT.

Victory in this case does not mean Parson is mopping up Ansom's butt on the floor. Victory is that Parson has SURVIVED against impossible odds so far. Parson has been given the losing end of the stick, with forces withholding information and units (i.e. Stanley's group), yet he's still managed to delay the inevitable. Parson has been fighting his own side, just as hard as he's been fighting his enemy. Were the positions changed, with Parson holding the overwhelming superiority, then I'm sure Ansom would be a zombie by now.

Fact of the matter is: Parson is doing a damn well job of keeping the fulcrum of the battle on his of the table, even with the tremendous setbacks he's been thrown with.

Now he's going for the classic "demoralizing losses" against Ansom, that even the mightiest armies find terrifying: make the notion of victory so costly or horrific for the invader, they can no long achieve victory. Just ask the Soviets or Americans. How he pulls off that is not so clear, but I don't have doubt it can be done. As we all know: worst enemy to fight is the one with their backs against the wall.

What I'm hoping is that Ansom doesn't have a "deus ex machina" tactic or superweapon. Not be cause I'm against Ansom winning, but just that it will be anticlimactic IMHO. Cliché? Maybe. But it worked for the Americans in WW2 against Japan.


***EDIT***
On a side note: I think the biggest factor that makes Erfworld so different from Earth, is the lack of civilians. Everyone seen so far, is a combatant. IRL you get tons of innocent deaths. Even before war got "all civilized" (and I use the term lightly) since the advent of mass media to show other's suffering, many armies got demoralized in seeing bystanders getting slaughtered. Naturally there's tons of rape and pillage, but there's just an equal amount of mercy and negotiations to avoid unnecessary deaths. Not every invading force intend genocide... and Ansom doesn't strike me as someone with "barbaric intentions" of mass slaughter.

Hatu
2009-01-10, 11:41 AM
Um, what? Ansom has been every bit as adaptable as Parson. To name just a few:

His original plan was to feint the tunnels and use his siege to take the walls. Parson ruined this, and Ansom was forced to reverse strategies. Then Parson crushed him in the tunnels, and he was forced to shift his focus to the walls again. Then, after he'd clearly decided not to accept Charlie's offer, Parson forced him to accept an even worse version of it just to save his own miserable skin.


But Ansom never really changed his plans, did he? As you say, Ansom's original plan was to encircle GK, feint through the tunnels, then breach the wall at its weakest point and methodically crush Stanley's forces. Other than encircling GK, how has that changed?

When Parson attacked a bunch of his siege, Ansom countered by trying to wipe out Parson's Warlords (thereby saving his siege). Parson planned for that, but when Ansom fell into the trap he escaped by ... wiping out Parson's Warlords (thereby saving his siege).

Similarly, when he finally reached GK, Stanley began encircling it and used the tunnels as a diversion. Parson planned for that and crushed the force in the tunnels and massively bolstered his walls. Ansom responds by creating the weak point he was looking for himself, breaching the walls and methodically crushing Stanley's forces.

Yes, Ansom did have to come up with something to counter Parson's moves. But both times we've seen Ansom simply counter the moves rather than adjust his original plan. And both times the the first thing Ansom tries works and his original plan is right back on track.



Parson has been winning. That's the point of his whole rant here. He just hasn't been winning enough, not yet. But he's put a huge amount of pressure on Ansom, forced him to abandon his strategy several times, and drastically shifted the odds from the absolute curb-stomping they were at the beginning. People keep saying that Ansom is saved by deus ex mechanica -- no. Ansom manages to avoid being utterly crushed by revising his plans and relying on Charlie, yes, but the real thing that's been saving his ass so far is the 25-to-1 margin.

See, I can't agree that Parson has done anything close to winning. He has managed to have some good turns, but when any gains he makes on his turn are wiped out (or worse) on the following turn, it's hard to claim he won much of anything. With the route of the zombies, Parson hasn't even managed to inflict particularly lopsided casualties thus far, because Ansom inflicted lopsided casualties right back at him.

You say Parson has managed to avoid being utterly crushed thus far, but that's sort of the default state: Parson or no Parson, Ansom wasn't planning to assault GK before this turn anyway. On page 21 Ansom laid out his plans, saying it would take 5 days for the last of his forces to reach GK. Now, 5 days later, he's breached the city. Parson could have been playing pinochle with Stanley's Crap Golems all this time and he would not have been utterly crushed yet either.

So no, Parson has not been winning. Thus far he has changed the style of the battles, but Ansom's plan is actually still intact and functioning. Exactly the way Parson's excellent monologue assures us is unrealistic. :-(

-H

SteveD
2009-01-10, 11:47 AM
Speaking of odds, anyone want to gestimate what they are now that Ansom has lost 3000 troops and Parson has gained them?

Nargrakhan
2009-01-10, 11:50 AM
So no, Parson has not been winning. Thus far he has changed the style of the battles, but Ansom's plan is actually still intact and functioning. Exactly the way Parson's excellent monologue assures us is unrealistic.

Only with Ansom taking incredible losses in a battle that was expected to be a cakewalk. No one imagined Jetstone's forces being slaughtered like they were. Ansom took a MAJOR hit. It's like if an entire division of American forces in Iraq were suddenly destroyed in a single day. Would it mean the end of the American military? Hell no: there's more where that came from. But it doesn't mean – not by a long shot – that the invading force is in control.

Ansom's victory is not assured. That is Parson's victory.

mroozee
2009-01-10, 11:59 AM
See, I can't agree that Parson has done anything close to winning. He has managed to have some good turns, but when any gains he makes on his turn are wiped out (or worse) on the following turn, it's hard to claim he won much of anything. With the route of the zombies, Parson hasn't even managed to inflict particularly lopsided casualties thus far, because Ansom inflicted lopsided casualties right back at him.

Where did those zombies come from again?

Parson has made significant gains towards ending this destructive conflict while keeping himself and Goblin Knob intact. Stanley was facing 25-1 odds and he would've fled (as he did) as soon as things got rough leaving Gobwin Knob to his attackers. Parson has cost Jetstone the troops in the tunnels and an unconscionable deal with Charlie - not to mention 40% of his siege and some trust from his allies. Ansom has held together so far, but an unexpected flight of dragons (Parson's instructions to Jack) will change the balance sheet.

If he's shifted the odds from 99.9% certain doom to a 50-50 chance of survival, he's accomplished quite a bit. Add in the extra costs incurred by his enemies and he has been more than worth the price Stanley paid. Sometimes, "winning" can be nothing more than making yourself too expensive to get rid of... that's where I see Parson.

Iain
2009-01-10, 12:01 PM
Parson did use "WTB" once, presumably instead of "WTF."
Was that him saying it, though, rather than a sound effect? His speech is censored, I'm just not sure that the abbreviated real-world-reference sound effects are.
(I'm too lazy to look this up just now, so I don't really expect you to! I'm just musing.)

DevilDan
2009-01-10, 12:14 PM
Frankly, I find it boring to argue whether Ansom has adapted enough or not enough or whatever. It's just pointless to me. That said, Parson had no real reason to change his fork strategy of hitting the tunnels and surrounding the walls. For one, he didn't know that Parson was expecting it because he didn't know that Jillian had revealed his entire battle plan. And he lacked the imagination to think that Parson would counterattack after completely giving up the tunnels with barely a fight. He was gulled.

Like the Incas or the Aztecs facing the Cortez or Pizarro, Ansom lacks the experience and sophistication to match Parson's preparation even on the Prince's own playing field.

Hatu
2009-01-10, 12:31 PM
If he's shifted the odds from 99.9% certain doom to a 50-50 chance of survival, he's accomplished quite a bit. Add in the extra costs incurred by his enemies and he has been more than worth the price Stanley paid. Sometimes, "winning" can be nothing more than making yourself too expensive to get rid of... that's where I see Parson.

I really don't think the damage Parson has inflicted is anywhere near as decisive as people are claiming. Yes, Parson killed and animated a bunch of Jetstone troops. But he's also lost almost all of his dwagons, 60% of his Warlords, and convinced the RCC to add a lot of Archons to their forces.

Is that really a major change in the balance of power? Maybe, but it's certainly not a given. A well entrenched force is assumed to be able to inflict lopsided casualties on anyone attacking them, so in order for Parson to outperform the Leading Brand Warlord(tm), he has to do more than just croak a bunch of people. I'd say it's possible that Parson is in a worse position relative to his opponent than he was on Day 0.

That's not to say that Parson is a failure as a Warlord. But I do think it's a stretch to claim that Parson is winning simply because he isn't dead and has croaked a bunch of RCC troops. Parson had a 0% chance of being croaked before this turn (barring the Wrath of Stanley) and a 100% chance of croaking a bunch of RCC troops when they attacked GK. That's the bare minimum he needed to accomplish, not a sign of success.

-H

Whispri
2009-01-10, 12:58 PM
I really don't think the damage Parson has inflicted is anywhere near as decisive as people are claiming. Yes, Parson killed and animated a bunch of Jetstone troops. But he's also lost almost all of his dwagons, 60% of his Warlords, and convinced the RCC to add a lot of Archons to their forces.

Is that really a major change in the balance of power? Maybe, but it's certainly not a given. A well entrenched force is assumed to be able to inflict lopsided casualties on anyone attacking them, so in order for Parson to outperform the Leading Brand Warlord(tm), he has to do more than just croak a bunch of people. I'd say it's possible that Parson is in a worse position relative to his opponent than he was on Day 0.

That's not to say that Parson is a failure as a Warlord. But I do think it's a stretch to claim that Parson is winning simply because he isn't dead and has croaked a bunch of RCC troops. Parson had a 0% chance of being croaked before this turn (barring the Wrath of Stanley) and a 100% chance of croaking a bunch of RCC troops when they attacked GK. That's the bare minimum he needed to accomplish, not a sign of success.

-H
Where to start? Hmm, first off, the odds, without Charlie interfering, which he has done once again, then the odds of him holding of the RCC juggernaut this turn were about three to two. Against the numbers they're facing, those are good odds. Now Charlie has... with the exception of Ansom staying with the column, everything that's gone wrong for Parson since his summoning is the result of Charlie interfering. That's the problem, Parson's fighting two fires, and Charlie is a fire with a great deal of heavy air support. As for losses, Ansom can absorb a lot, but there's no denying his army has suffered heavily at Parson's hands. And while that army is still a major threat, if not for Charlie it would be stuck outside the City's Walls.

Hatu
2009-01-10, 01:18 PM
As for losses, Ansom can absorb a lot, but there's no denying his army has suffered heavily at Parson's hands. And while that army is still a major threat, if not for Charlie it would be stuck outside the City's Walls.

But Charlie was involved, and Ansom clearly considered using Charlie as a reserve before he began his assault. Indeed, given that he fought Wanda in the Airspace zone rather than the Outer Wall zone, it's possible that was his plan all along.

Again, I'm not trying to say that Parson is a failure as a warlord. I like the way Parson has been presented. I just find it odd that Parson gets a great speech about how strategy works even as that speech only applies to him. Ansom gets to do everything Parson says is unrealistic.

For all that Parson has tried, the situation we see basically what Ansom said it would be back in his initial strategy meeting. If Parson had forced Ansom to delay his attack, or to find a different way to assault GK the story would have been much more interesting and believable - even if Ansom was still able to breach GK in the end.

-H

BarGamer
2009-01-10, 01:21 PM
It really does look like a distraction on Wanda's part. After all, she didn't expect the perfect Warlord to be impossible to defeat (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0006.html). And if she's flat out giving up, well half-heartedness can be expected either way.

If Wanda was healed, dressed smartly, and not crushed under the weight of her own fatalism, I'd buy that. It's what she did to Summon Parson and distract Stanley so Parson could do the Dragon Donut of Doom. Here, she's probably on her last hitpoints, scuffed, and hopelessly emo. Instead, I imagine she underestimated how little Parson knew about Erfworld mechanics. OR, she thought he was playing her.

I speculate Stanley will croak some Archons, while Parson does something with his newfound game mechanics. Another Donut of Doom, please?

Alexei P
2009-01-10, 02:24 PM
Again, I'm not trying to say that Parson is a failure as a warlord. I like the way Parson has been presented. I just find it odd that Parson gets a great speech about how strategy works even as that speech only applies to him. Ansom gets to do everything Parson says is unrealistic.


25-1 strength superiority. Of course Ansom can afford to do stuff that's unrealistic for Parson - he's plain stronger. Under these odds, its only natural that Parson has to do the better part of hoop-jumping - Ansom can simply afford to absorb the shock and move on.

And let's not forget that Parson's last blow actually was nearly fatal. The Coalition was this close to shattering. This close. And it still might.

Scylfing
2009-01-10, 02:25 PM
Great speech. Here's a thought for something Parson might try with the newfound munitions:

The RCC has no communications with Jillian and Vinny's flyers now, right? So they can't confirm whether Stanley and his dwagons were where they thought they'd be. Why not use the Foolamancy spell to make it look like you're un-veiling stacks of dwagons within the courtyard (they're pretty sure GK has a Foolamancer), use the Shockamancy--assuming this is attack magic--to give the illusory dwagons breath weapons that actually do real damage with hit-and-fly style attacks again, and use Thinkamancy to spread fear and doubt among the allies?

You'd kill some and make the rest even more suspicious of everything they think they know about the situation and Ansom's plan, think that the whole thing with the fliers and Charlie was a set-up, possibly to the point where they accuse Ansom of duplicity. A well-timed Thinkagram to emphasize how Charlie's snatching away all the good loot in the deal with Ansom could push them over the edge.

reteo
2009-01-10, 02:43 PM
According to various sources in the comic, the RCC had a total of 9751 troops to spend toward the war effort, while Gobwin Knob had 782 (after the dwagons left), which was a 12-to-1 advantage for RCC. As of right now, given all that we know from what was said in the comic, the current tally of RCC is 6881 (after losing 2870 Jetstone troops), and the tally of Gobwin Knob is 3652 (after uncroaking that many troops in this turn). This changes the RCC's lead to a mere 2-to-1. So Parson evened the playing field by magnitudes, and is now seeking the information to even it further.

Additionally, that shift was at the expense of Jetstone, the leader of the coalition. This can provide a strong tool for further demoralization of the coalition as the battle progresses. I would say that while he's still not winning, there's certainly something to be said for his ability as a warlord.

Of course, the numbers might vary, as not all wins or losses have been accounted for, but that shouldn't really matter, as the balance has definitely been shifted. Not all the way, but certainly to a more manageable degree, whatever the positioning of the combatants.

The Glyphstone
2009-01-10, 03:00 PM
is that taking into account the effectivness of the troops, though? He's down almost 50 dwagons. plus however many golems Sizemore lost in the tunnels, which have to be worth far more than a 1-1 ratio versus the low-power Uncroaked he's acquired since losing them.

reteo
2009-01-10, 03:38 PM
Keep in mind that Both (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0096.html) sources (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0084.html) take place after Stanley leaves, so they take into account both the dwagons leaving and the loss of seige.

As for the golems in the tunnels, it's possible that there were some lost, although Sizemore was providing heals. Even so, I would give the variance of odds to vary within +/- 2 levels. There's no telling how many RCC forces were lost during the fighting retreat, it wasn't mentioned how many archons were added, no knowledge as to Parson's direct (in-stack, in-hex, with sword) leadership bonus, and of course, no telling how the return of Stanley would reflect on the resulting odds.

teratorn
2009-01-10, 03:53 PM
Of course, the numbers might vary, as not all wins or losses have been accounted for, but that shouldn't really matter, as the balance has definitely been shifted.

There were a lot of dead since then. Ansom may have deuncroaked a lot of the undead, Parson's cycling of forces near the wall may have killed hundreds, but in terms of quality Ansom still has a huge advantage.

A few of the air defences may be working. Not sure Ansom can do the same thing he did on the outer walls, but Parson made it look that the inner walls may fall rather quickly. I'd like to see troops pouring from siege towers directly onto the walls.

surtt
2009-01-10, 04:01 PM
...or unwilling to take the garrison...
I wonder if this might have something to do with Ansom's contract with Charlie. For example Ansom doesn't need to pay until the garrison is taken. If the price is too much for Ansom now that he isn't seconds away from being croaked or there is a clause in the contract that Ansom didn't realize.

reteo
2009-01-10, 04:18 PM
Well, much of the key information is unknown to us, but the essence is this: While Parson may not be changing Ansom's overall strategy, Parson has done a real number on the odds against him. No matter what we have, it's not likely the original 12-to-one (admittedly solely numerical) advantage they had when Stanley left, and certainly not the 25-to-one advantage stated by Wanda at the beginning of the comic.

Ansom may be using the same fundamental strategy, but he has had to adapt its particulars several times. In the donut of doom, it was not the archery units he brought with him that did away with the wounded dwagons, it was the flying reserve.

And the attack plan on the city was changed multiple times as a reaction to Parson's activities. Its fundamental nature was a two-pronged move, feint and attack, that would have had GK defending on two fronts. The reduction of the seige and Parson's maneuvering of units changed the order of feint and strike so that the strike came from the tunnels. As a result, 72% of Jetstone's troops were converted to GK troops for that turn. It also removed the 'feint' part of the plan, as there was no longer two fronts to use, so Ansom was reduced to one strategy: direct assault. In this case, Parson took one of Ansom's objectives away from him (taking the tunnels).

The assault portion of the plan had to be changed as well, because Ansom had fewer siege, and GK had more units to defend the walls. So, bombarding all sides changed to bombarding one point that Ansom would make into a weak point. This assault would likely also be more costly for the attackers than the defenders, especially with the fighting retreat.

So, to say that Ansom hadn't needed to change his plan is obviously not correct, as, as outlined above, the feint proved a disastrous failure, and was removed as an option, and the generall all-sides bombardment was changed to a focused attack on a single point Ansom had to personally weaken, and nearly lost everything to do.

As for the losses, keep in mind that Ansom lost 2870 troops in the tunnels, which was 3.5 times the number of troops that Gobwin Knob had total to begin with. So the combat ability is not necessarily as lopsided as it seems.

If anything, this whole battle reminds me of the Pyrrhic War, in which both sides were taking a nasty beating.

Finally, paraphrased from Vinny: "Don't write off the uncroaked. Sure, unlead uncroaked are real weak. But with a warlord bonus? Theyyy're... more like basic infantry units. Havin' the Chief Warlord in the hex adds another bonus, so every uncroaked we got here is like advanced infantry. The ones in Parson's personal stack'll have his full bonus, so they'll be almost like heavies. And we have a flippin' ton of uncroaked. Thousands."

Ya Ta Hey!
2009-01-10, 04:45 PM
...Thank goodness all that severe bodily harm, harsh reminder of personal tragedy and denial of closure, and quiet despair at the looming jaws of defeat didn't stop Wanda from slipping into a stylish tank top.

Nobody asked me, but its just kinda hard to see her as the twisted but calculating wielder of arcane death when she does that.

DragoonKain
2009-01-10, 04:50 PM
So what does everyone think Parson's stack will be when they engage?

Parson
Wanda
Maggie
Sizemore
Bogroll
Metal Golem
Metal Golem
Metal Golem

is what I'd guess.

SteveMB
2009-01-10, 05:03 PM
Well maybe not that threat specifically, but it does feel like this strip is the writers responding to recent criticism of Parsons abilities, neatly tied in with addressing moral issues with the troops.

Er, with the story planned out in advance, it was predictable that reactions (from both other characters and readers) would be to doubt Parson after he suffered a series of reverses.

Fjolnir
2009-01-10, 05:10 PM
the stack(s) I would see happening is :
parson
wanda
bogroll
and the 5 strongest nonwarlord undead left

Sizemore
7 golems

Maggie
7 heavies on defence
(she represents the entire command and control portion of the battle for GK besides parson himself, she's going to be as far from the front line as possible, protected by the strongest units they have)

Or

Parson
Bogroll
6 heavies/knights

Wanda
Sizemore
Maggie
5 heavies for defence
(this arrangement suggests that parson will be out leading from the front while the 3 casters use magic)

Altima
2009-01-10, 05:13 PM
So what does everyone think Parson's stack will be when they engage?

Parson
Wanda
Maggie
Sizemore
Bogroll
Metal Golem
Metal Golem
Metal Golem

is what I'd guess.

Sizemore and Wanda will, more than likely, be leading their own stacks (golems and uncroaked, respectively). Maggie doesn't seem much of a fighter.

I see Parson wading into battle with trolls and/or hobogobwins--they're all almost as tall as Parson. Bogroll was also foreshadowed nicely to save Parson's life.

Lastly, I do find it odd that Parson would be leading troops directly. It's already stated that all units in GK automatically receive his warlord leadership bonus (which was two before the spell was completed). So, really, all he'd be doing would be making himself a giant target.

Only reason Caesar's stack got a bonus against the dwagons was because they weren't in the city (and likely Caesar was a very, very high level).

Doran
2009-01-10, 05:16 PM
Sizemore and Wanda will, more than likely, be
Only reason Caesar's stack got a bonus against the dwagons was because they weren't in the city (and likely Caesar was a very, very high level).

No, all units in the hex got a bonus from Caesar being there, his personal stack got the full bonus.

teratorn
2009-01-10, 06:22 PM
...Thank goodness all that severe bodily harm, harsh reminder of personal tragedy and denial of closure, and quiet despair at the looming jaws of defeat didn't stop Wanda from slipping into a stylish tank top.

It takes hours for Parson to go from the tower to the dungeons... the fight in the area between the walls is even over.

I guess Sizemore had to undress Wanda in order to apply the healing...

Maxymiuk
2009-01-10, 06:53 PM
I guess Sizemore had to undress Wanda in order to apply the healing...

...

That sounds all kinds of wrong given the context.

Though I'm more inclined to think that the "stylish tanktop" was what Wanda already was wearing under the armor (which Sizemore removed on account of it being busted in the fall).

DevilDan
2009-01-10, 07:54 PM
Interesting numbers. Whatever else, don't forget that Parson judged the fighting retreat as "good" and "low-cost" even if insufficient by itself to change the situation as a whole.

Aquillion
2009-01-10, 08:03 PM
...

That sounds all kinds of wrong given the context.

Though I'm more inclined to think that the "stylish tanktop" was what Wanda already was wearing under the armor (which Sizemore removed on account of it being busted in the fall).Actually, that reminds me... one thing that occurred to me last page was that it might be interesting if Sizemore is nursing a hopeless crush on Wanda. It would fit in with his generally despairing attitude, and would only sharpen his disagreement with Parson (for not being certain whether he was going to save Wanda or the walls.)

Not that there's much evidence of it, but somehow it came into my head.

Bawon von Howse
2009-01-10, 08:51 PM
We don't know how much 'juice' any of the GK casters have left...I can imagine that Wanda used quite a bit doing the mass uncroaking on GKs last turn...also, Maggie is invaluable in being able to relay commands to the troops, however given the proximity Parson should be able to lead the troops directly.

I would imagine that Wanda will be dropping some scroll based magic on the invaders (yay for shockamancy)...Sizemore will be leading the golems...shame there aren't any troops that directly gain a bonus in being led by a Thinkamancer!

However, as things stand at the moment, it looks like this particular battle will end this turn now; Parson will have to fall back to the dungeon after the courtyard is overrun by RCC troops...unless Ansom does the monumentally stupid move of ending turn now!...perhaps Stanley will arrive back to find the RCC defeated!

Eraniverse
2009-01-10, 08:51 PM
Sizemore and Wanda will, more than likely, be leading their own stacks (golems and uncroaked, respectively). Maggie doesn't seem much of a fighter.

I see Parson wading into battle with trolls and/or hobogobwins--they're all almost as tall as Parson. Bogroll was also foreshadowed nicely to save Parson's life.

Lastly, I do find it odd that Parson would be leading troops directly. It's already stated that all units in GK automatically receive his warlord leadership bonus (which was two before the spell was completed). So, really, all he'd be doing would be making himself a giant target.

Only reason Caesar's stack got a bonus against the dwagons was because they weren't in the city (and likely Caesar was a very, very high level).

Yea, golem and uncroaked stacks seem to make best use of the casters' bonuses. Plus Parson seems to favor mobile forces. He'd want his casters split for maximum utility.

As for Parson being a target? Big target + Foolamancy = Bait.

I expect a shock strike from him with twolls and Maggie in stack providing scroll support and battle coordination. Then blow the shockmancy reserve and use a foolmancy decoy in the aftermath to trick RRC into poor positioning. Probably getting them to overextend into the Tower after his decoy then cut em off with a concerted strike from the dungeon. Leave Wanda as a door stop, cycling in fresh uncroaked as she delays the outside forces. Parson rallies and wipes out the stranded Tower expedition. RCC forced to regroup and end turn.

Decius
2009-01-10, 09:23 PM
Bogroll imitates Parson (again), possibly with foolamancy assistance. Bogroll-as-Parson goes into the tower, with just enough escort to appear believable. A major RCC attack is mounted on the tower, putting everything of significance into it. Parson and the casters launch a counterattack, hitting the weak/wounded in the courtyard, uncroak the casualties, and wipe out the forces in the tower.

That's my theory. It has flaws, in that not all of the scrolls are used in a meaningful manner, but Bogroll does get to save Parson's life.

At some point, the "Regeneration" special that Bogroll has is going to come into play as well.

Why isn't Parson wearing his 3-d glasses? He needs all the information he can get right now. Plus, giving this rant while wearing those glasses would be downright hilarious.

Altima
2009-01-10, 09:53 PM
Why isn't Parson wearing his 3-d glasses? He needs all the information he can get right now. Plus, giving this rant while wearing those glasses would be downright hilarious.

My guess? They hurt his eyes. Look at what he sees through those glasses--it's just painful after so long!

Fjolnir
2009-01-10, 10:04 PM
I would only wear the glasses just before heading into battle, currently he doesn't need the unit stat info to be told what resources they have besides combat units, I assume he'll put them on when he goes afield though, because then he'll need them

headhoncho
2009-01-10, 10:17 PM
For whatever it's worth, I think Hatu is spot-on. Again.

DevilDan
2009-01-10, 10:44 PM
For whatever it's worth, I think Hatu is spot-on. Again.

There are two very big differences between the situation Ansom expected and the current situation: the number of troops on each side and the "fork" or "pincer" strategy (Parson is facing no pressure from the tunnels). And we certainly don't know at this point how many troops each side has lost in the taking of the outer walls and Parson's fighting retreat.

ralphmerridew
2009-01-10, 10:44 PM
At the beginning, Ansom (with a 12-25:1 numerical advantage) said he had four times what he'd need to take Gobwin knob, so he needed a 3-6:1 advantage. If he's down to a 2:1 numerical advantage, he might find himself coming up short at the end.

ReccaSquirrel
2009-01-10, 10:48 PM
I haven't read through all of the posts so this might not have been mentioned yet:

When Parson calculated the odds of Charlie taking Gobwin Knob, it was based on the information Parson knew of at the time. Parson has a lot more resources at his disposal than he was aware of. And, from what I can tell, the only real lost units since that calculation were the Uncroaked air units. Stanley, as much as I hate it, is returning and adds another wrinkle to that calculation.

quindraco
2009-01-10, 11:13 PM
I for one am extremely excited to learn about shockmancy; we've seen the other listed magics Wanda has scrolls for used, so we can talk here in the forum about possible uses for them, but none of us know what shockmancy does.

It's similar to croakamancy and deletionism in the same way lookamancy is similar to thinkamancy and foolamancy, respectively; which means I'm ok assuming it can be used to hurt people, but I'm not ok assuming e.g. it just lets you throw lightning bolts.

If it's a "Shock and Awe" reference, it might even e.g. be a spell for carpet-bombing, which would rock.

ReccaSquirrel
2009-01-10, 11:21 PM
I'm reflecting on the order of objectives that Parson laid down. I agree with him and his order of importance 100%.

Objectives:
Conversion of Enemy Forces - Includes Charlie and Uncroaking Enemy Units

Division of Enemy Forces - He's done well to demoralize the enemy forces and break the alliance apart. However, the alliance has not broken yet. With the most recent victory, it would take a powerful counter attack to break the alliance apart.

Attrition of Enemy Forces - Attrition of the right forces will create division of the enemy and give them units to convert by uncroaking.

Neutralization of Enemy Assets and Capabilities (Siege) - Destruction of siege means they can't breach the garrison. Clearly, this is very important.

Neutralization of Enemy Assets and Capabilities (Leadership) - Striking Leadership, particularly not Ansom will be good on two fronts. It will reduce the effectiveness of enemy units and it will help achieve Division of Enemy Forces by means of loss in moral. They already lost two leaders, how many of Ansom's allies need to be sacrificed before the allies start to break apart.

Plans Not Using Combat:
Ansom made a deal to Charlie and paid a hefty price. That "price" may be something that can cause Division of Forces. All it takes is a the cost of a Thinkagram or a loud shout.

Plans Using Combat:
Strategic strike on enemy leaders, particular the leaders in charge of siege units. Striking siege units would be seen by the enemy as a logical attack and thus not seen as a division tactic.

Attacking Charlie is a very risky tactic but would be extremely useful if it can be achieved. Charlie's aid has been paramount in Ansom's success. Eliminating them would have an extremely demoralizing effect on the outcome of the battle. I'm not sure how this could be achieved.

Attacking and eliminating as many siege units as possible is another extremely vital tactic. It is also the most obvious one.

Regarding the Enemy's Strength/Weakness:
Charlie and Ansom are giving the Alliance Air Superiority. However, the tunnel forces of the alliance were wiped out. Flank attacks could be available. As the enemy took the outer walls and are at the garrison, the siege units may be located at the enemy's flank. A full force flank attack might very well both exploit the enemy's weakness, destroy critical enemy resources, and demoralize (and thus create division) of the enemy forces. The Foolamancy spell could be all that is needed to successfully create a flank attack situation.

One final thought:
Imagine the following senario. Parson flanks the enemy and causes serious damage to siege capabilities. The units are uncroaked but instead of joining inside the garrison, the remain outside of the main walls. The enemy alliance has forces on either side of them AND have depleted their siege capabilities significantly/entirely. Would you rather fight your way out or fight your way in? This would definitely create a situation of division.

multilis
2009-01-10, 11:26 PM
Maggie might be able to do some trick with Thinkomancy to make enemy do wrong orders, also has been foreshadowed as "scary" magic field.

One way to win would be to convince Ansom that if Stanley is defeated, he loses as well because Charlie wins everything. (Make Charlie the bigger threat/more hated than Stanley, perhaps Hippymancy can help)

dr pepper
2009-01-11, 01:08 AM
I haven't read through all of the posts so this might not have been mentioned yet:

When Parson calculated the odds of Charlie taking Gobwin Knob, it was based on the information Parson knew of at the time. Parson has a lot more resources at his disposal than he was aware of.

Good call! Wanda's recalcitrance might just turn out to be key to sandbagging Charlie.

Loyal2NES
2009-01-11, 01:14 AM
I truly hope that that is not the case.



Parson did use "WTB" once, presumably instead of "WTF."I'm pretty sure some Orlies got off a "WTF" shortly before getting roasted. I apologize that I don't have the link.

Also... is that Webinar and his girl in the last panel? Did they get resurrected?

dr pepper
2009-01-11, 01:25 AM
Perhaps Shockamancy includes Power Word Static, which disrupts magical communications. That would really put a crimp in Charlie's effectiveness.

Winged One
2009-01-11, 02:06 AM
also has been foreshadowed as "scary" magic field.
I think Parson meant that he felt literal horror at the prospect of his thoughts not being his own. They'd have tried your idea by now if it was possible, though; Parson's already thought of false orders, and I can't think of any reason that Maggie wouldn't tell Parson that she could make Ansom think Stanley was dead if she could(double negative intentional).

Bilgore
2009-01-11, 02:09 AM
Parson seems very stressed/angry.

Almost ruthless, wouldn't you say? ;)

DevilDan
2009-01-11, 02:59 AM
At the beginning, Ansom (with a 12-25:1 numerical advantage) said he had four times what he'd need to take Gobwin knob, so he needed a 3-6:1 advantage. If he's down to a 2:1 numerical advantage, he might find himself coming up short at the end.

As an approximation; but that was a calculation based on having to face Stanley, the Arkenhammer, and a lot of dwagons. It was part of a presumably rough/rounded/conservative estimate that included a prong-attack and starting off from outside the outer walls.

And, of course, it didn't include having to face the ultimate warlord.

quindraco
2009-01-11, 03:01 AM
Perhaps Shockamancy includes Power Word Static, which disrupts magical communications. That would really put a crimp in Charlie's effectiveness.

I'm at least 50% expecting it to actually employ surprise as a weapon. Wouldn't that be a shocking development?

Lombard
2009-01-11, 04:30 AM
Hard to see why Parson is coming from with that speech. He killed a bunch of siege. Then he lost a bunch of dragons. He killed a bunch of troops in the tunnels. Then he lost the walls (the major defense of almost any fortress) without, as far as I can tell, taking out any enemy units. Every time he's won something big, he's shortly after lost something big. That only works when the odds are in your favor.

Xiander
2009-01-11, 07:48 AM
Hard to see why Parson is coming from with that speech. He killed a bunch of siege. Then he lost a bunch of dragons. He killed a bunch of troops in the tunnels. Then he lost the walls (the major defense of almost any fortress) without, as far as I can tell, taking out any enemy units. Every time he's won something big, he's shortly after lost something big. That only works when the odds are in your favor.

Let me put it like this: Parson is saying that he is doing his best but that he certainly cannot win if his own allies refuse to help him.

He is not saying that he is doing good, or that all his plans have been working satisfactory, but he does say that he has done something and that he can do more.
He is also saying that he thinks he is able to win, but only with full support from his casters.

Does that clear up where parson is comming from?

SteveD
2009-01-11, 08:08 AM
Er, with the story planned out in advance, it was predictable that reactions (from both other characters and readers) would be to doubt Parson after he suffered a series of reverses.

True, but that isn't to say that parts can't be re-written on the fly from reader feedback. For example; a while back people were trying to figure out exactly how many Ansom had lost in the tunnels. Then a few strips later we get told exactly how much Ansom lost in the tunnels. Another coincidence of storytelling, or a convenience of storytelling? We know the writers review these forums.

Lombard
2009-01-11, 08:52 AM
Let me put it like this: Parson is saying that he is doing his best but that he certainly cannot win if his own allies refuse to help him.

He is not saying that he is doing good, or that all his plans have been working satisfactory, but he does say that he has done something and that he can do more.
He is also saying that he thinks he is able to win, but only with full support from his casters.

Does that clear up where parson is comming from?

My take on it was that Parson is trying to explain why he's been doing a good job in the grand scheme of things...all things considered.. etc. But really, he hasn't, because Ansom makes Parson pay dearly for every gambit that Parson tries. My impression was that Parson wouldn't have been willing to trade those dragons for the siege if he knew he'd lose the dragons. So that's a whole mini-arc of the strip that GK would have been better off never having been attempted. Now Parson's got all these undead but he's lost the walls! Why? Because he tried something else he shouldn't have tried, which was putting those undead out these as bait for a warlord who seems invincible to them, or anything else for that matter. Ansom can still turn all those undead to dust the next move... people in this thread are talking about how the odds have improved but I don't see it considering that Ansom looked like he was going to take out all 3000-odd undead by himself, and oh by the way he's still got an army with him. So truly then, what has Parson's positive effect been other than to tease the readers into thinking he might gain some edge through strategy- he made a bad trade of dragons for seige and he's gained himself some units which are essentially worthless. It's been one long saga of fail... heck, Stanley couldn't even make an escape. Nope, sorry, didn't you know, they have uber-bats, lol.

But yeah. To summarize. Parson: trying to portray himself in this strip as a good warlord. The reality: he thinks he's a good warlord, despite all evidence to the contrary. I guess it makes the strip kind of interesting in that it's unique. Instead of being a strip about some conflict hanging by a thread, which I suppose would be standard or typical, it's a strip about someone getting pwned.

RinceBrush
2009-01-11, 09:41 AM
Just thinking...does Ansom need to take just the garrison in order to conquer GK or the whole city??

Because Parson has just a step from where he is an enormous set of convoluted tunnels that seriosly reduce the usefulness of the numerical superiority of the RCC and totally nullify the Air Superiority given by the alliance with Charlie (maybe even rendering the Archons almost useless, how strong are they on the ground?). A costly series of attemps to drive Parson's forces out of those tunnels (where al kinds of shockamancy spells would be highly effective, given the hostile environment and the fact that the RCC was aleady crushed there) would be the kind of thing that could divide RCCs leaders.

Plus, once being allied with Charlie is almost useless I think Ansom would start reconsidering his alliance with him.

To al this, add hit-and-run attacks on the surface with the Gölems and Stanley returning and the RCC might be in a kind of dead, annoying end.


PS: Because he didin't collapse ALL the tunnels, did he?? That would be an enormously bad move.

Lamech
2009-01-11, 10:28 AM
My take on it was that Parson is trying to explain why he's been doing a good job in the grand scheme of things...all things considered.. etc. But really, he hasn't, because Ansom makes Parson pay dearly for every gambit that Parson tries. My impression was that Parson wouldn't have been willing to trade those dragons for the siege if he knew he'd lose the dragons. So that's a whole mini-arc of the strip that GK would have been better off never having been attempted. Now Parson's got all these undead but he's lost the walls! Why? Because he tried something else he shouldn't have tried, which was putting those undead out these as bait for a warlord who seems invincible to them, or anything else for that matter. Ansom can still turn all those undead to dust the next move... people in this thread are talking about how the odds have improved but I don't see it considering that Ansom looked like he was going to take out all 3000-odd undead by himself, and oh by the way he's still got an army with him. So truly then, what has Parson's positive effect been other than to tease the readers into thinking he might gain some edge through strategy- he made a bad trade of dragons for seige and he's gained himself some units which are essentially worthless. It's been one long saga of fail... heck, Stanley couldn't even make an escape. Nope, sorry, didn't you know, they have uber-bats, lol.
Dwagons: This was a great move on Parson's part, and Ansom then got really, really lucky. First off Jillian had no more than a 50% chance of discovering the dwagons. Then she would have moved off if not for the Archons going against the rules. Finally, after all that Parson would have gotten the Arkenpliers, and killed Ansom were it not for Stanley's interference. And with those extra dwagons at base he probably could have flown a warlord out and hit the siege anyway! Stanley, and bad luck screwed him there, but I think that when the odds are supposed to be impossible and you lose 'cause of bad luck your doing something right.

Undead: Parson killed enough forces to take GK, and then some. Then that fighting retreat trick allowed him to use those undead to get some more free kills. If Ansom had say twice the needed force, Parson would have won. Again if your enemy started out with quadruple the needed forces, and is down to less than triple something clearly went right.

Ansom croaking undead: He wasn't able to with out Charlie's help, so using them as bait almost got Parson a new fancy warlord AND the arkenpliers. Plus had say the Arkenpliers landed on the wall and Ansom fallen really far, he could have died. There is a very good chance that Ansom got lucky. And no Ansom can't croak all of the undead, since he has to put up with archers they'll still kill him if he tries too much.

Look Parson has been doing a great job, in the dougnut he came close, but got unlucky and screwed by Stanley. In the tunnels and right now he has killed more forces than Ansom should have needed. Parson has been doing a good job, just not good enough for the HUGE odds against him.

FoE
2009-01-11, 10:34 AM
Parson has done as best as he can under the circumstances. He's managed to turn certain defeat into the slimmest hope for victory. The problem with you guys is that you see failure as an immediate reflection on Parson's ability to command, ignoring all the other factors that have come into play.

1) Parson was at a disadvantage from the get-go, being completely unfamiliar with the basic rules of Erfworld.

2) Parson's plan to trap Ansom would have worked had Wanda's spell worked as advertised. But victory might have still been possible if Stanley hadn't lost his temper and recalled all his dwagons back to Gobwin Knob; Parson could have attacked the following turn and croaked Jillian, Vinnie and Ansom.

3) Had Charlie not intervened, since Wanda would have croaked Ansom had it not been for the Archons. And yeah, he played into Charlie's hands, but he had no choice: he had an opportunity to take out Ansom, and he had to take it. At least he was aware that Charlie would probably turn on him.

Capt'n Ironbrow
2009-01-11, 10:46 AM
My take on it was that Parson is trying to explain why he's been doing a good job in the grand scheme of things...all things considered.. etc. But really, he hasn't, because Ansom makes Parson pay dearly for every gambit that Parson tries. My impression was that Parson wouldn't have been willing to trade those dragons for the siege if he knew he'd lose the dragons. So that's a whole mini-arc of the strip that GK would have been better off never having been attempted. Now Parson's got all these undead but he's lost the walls! Why? Because he tried something else he shouldn't have tried, which was putting those undead out these as bait for a warlord who seems invincible to them, or anything else for that matter. Ansom can still turn all those undead to dust the next move... people in this thread are talking about how the odds have improved but I don't see it considering that Ansom looked like he was going to take out all 3000-odd undead by himself, and oh by the way he's still got an army with him. So truly then, what has Parson's positive effect been other than to tease the readers into thinking he might gain some edge through strategy- he made a bad trade of dragons for seige and he's gained himself some units which are essentially worthless. It's been one long saga of fail... heck, Stanley couldn't even make an escape. Nope, sorry, didn't you know, they have uber-bats, lol.

But yeah. To summarize. Parson: trying to portray himself in this strip as a good warlord. The reality: he thinks he's a good warlord, despite all evidence to the contrary. I guess it makes the strip kind of interesting in that it's unique. Instead of being a strip about some conflict hanging by a thread, which I suppose would be standard or typical, it's a strip about someone getting pwned.

hmm... Stanley throwing the towel after the failure of the dwagon donut was a major setback for Gobwin Knob. it's true that a second raid on the siege would be delayed for another turn to get in fresh (well, ehm, not really so fresh) warlords (if they still wanted to repeat the tactic), but things could have been very different had Stanley remained at Knob with the dwagons. Ansom would still have attacked through the tunnels the way he did because of the siege equipment lost and Ansoms dusting of uncroacked would have been more easily stopped. Also, the twenty or-so Dwagons left could have been a greater deterrent to Charlie sending his Archons... heh, Parson wouldn't have even called Charlie and there'd be no change of coalition organisation at all!
Contacting Charlie was very risky, it has been both beneficial and counter-productive. Stanley could escape the ambush and head back to GK, but the Archons also saved Ansom's boop in the nick of time.

Parson's plans so far have been excellent, but, as he said so himself, you can never be sure about the enemy's reaction to your plans, just as he can't be sure about your reaction to his own schemes.

Parson has been smart, Ansom has been lucky... those luckamancy charm breakfast cereals... could that be Chekov's Gun? grandly introduced, yet it's effects have, as yet, not been seen.

MalikT
2009-01-11, 11:16 AM
Parson has been smart, Ansom has been lucky... those luckamancy charm breakfast cereals... could that be Chekov's Gun? grandly introduced, yet it's effects have, as yet, not been seen.

Has anyone ever thought that luckamancy charms were just breakfast.
If I'm not mistaken there is a cereal brand called lucky charms.

Whispri
2009-01-11, 12:18 PM
But Charlie was involved, and Ansom clearly considered using Charlie as a reserve before he began his assault. Indeed, given that he fought Wanda in the Airspace zone rather than the Outer Wall zone, it's possible that was his plan all along.

Again, I'm not trying to say that Parson is a failure as a warlord. I like the way Parson has been presented. I just find it odd that Parson gets a great speech about how strategy works even as that speech only applies to him. Ansom gets to do everything Parson says is unrealistic.

For all that Parson has tried, the situation we see basically what Ansom said it would be back in his initial strategy meeting. If Parson had forced Ansom to delay his attack, or to find a different way to assault GK the story would have been much more interesting and believable - even if Ansom was still able to breach GK in the end.

-H
I rather doubt that Ansom was planning to accept an 'Outrageous' bargain. And there's no telling what Parson helped Charlie into blackmailing out of Ansom. There could even be a 'When the going gets tough, the Archons hang back and eat popcorn' clause.

Yeah well, Parson has been having appalling luck and if he hadn't attracted the attention of the swarm, Wanda would have left to help Stanley and there wouldn't have been any hope of holding that wall.

The thing is, Ansom is trying to break into a Walled City, which means he has to go under, through or over the Wall. His tunnel forces were annihilated, his fliers sent on a wild Stanley chase. The only option left then is to break down the wall, which would have failed if not for Charlie. And quite frankly reducing Ansom to hiding behind an Archon's Skirt could well be regarded as quite an achievement.

The real problem is that the RCC can take the pain and keep on rolling, Ansom's plot shield aside, that's why they're dangerous. They started off with four times the numbers they needed to take the City. Bad news like that doesn't go away easily.


If Wanda was healed, dressed smartly, and not crushed under the weight of her own fatalism, I'd buy that. It's what she did to Summon Parson and distract Stanley so Parson could do the Dragon Donut of Doom. Here, she's probably on her last hitpoints, scuffed, and hopelessly emo. Instead, I imagine she underestimated how little Parson knew about Erfworld mechanics. OR, she thought he was playing her.
It is possible that her lack of hope is welling to the surface, but whether she's diverted his attention or she just needed a pep talk, she has good enough reason for her words.

Charlicat
2009-01-11, 12:46 PM
When Parson calculated the odds of Charlie taking Gobwin Knob, it was based on the information Parson knew of at the time. Parson has a lot more resources at his disposal than he was aware of.

Also, those were the odds of Charlie taking the tower. Charlie's Archons are now allied with the RCC, and thus subject to Ansom's orders...not Charlie's...regarding battle deployment and in-turn objectives. They're still a scary bunch which I'm hoping Ansom paid dearly for. I'm just saying there is also a slim possiblity that they will not be utilized quite as effectively as if Charlie were singularly calling the shots.

In the end, though, still quite a mountain to climb if Parson wants to save his boop.

Trixie
2009-01-11, 01:37 PM
Notice how Wanda subtly deflected Parson's question about Duty -- there's nothing in the rules (at least as they were described to us) that would make whether it's hopeless or not relevant... she's simply not allowed to conceal important information like that. In other words, Parson pretty clearly caught her violating Duty, and she brought up his failures because she knew it would distract him from that decidedly uncomfortable question.

You know... until you mentioned that, I thought she suffered 3D6 INT damage beforehand. But, if we also count her deflection when Stanley asked the same thing... There might be more than she tells going behind the scenes :smallwink:

And, seriously, how long will she stutter? It's gotten increasingly irritating in the last few strips. :smallannoyed:

dragontape
2009-01-11, 01:54 PM
I'm still waiting to see what can take down an Archon though. As far as we can tell, the archons are capable of wiping out one dragon each...then again, those were already weakened so that might be the cause but at the same time it leaves me to wonder.

Every TBS game has a whole rock-paper-scissors concept. One unit has a weakness to something else...I wonder what Archons are weak to. I'm kinda hoping it might be Shockamancy...zap them out of the air like moths to a bug zapper.

Trixie
2009-01-11, 01:59 PM
Really, it's just a really good way for Parson to show that he is indeed the warlord promised. Can't wait to see how this turn ends.

A Warlord that was promised? That would have explained some things, especially the coming of the dwagons :smallamused:

Whispri
2009-01-11, 02:23 PM
I'm still waiting to see what can take down an Archon though. As far as we can tell, the archons are capable of wiping out one dragon each...then again, those were already weakened so that might be the cause but at the same time it leaves me to wonder.

Every TBS game has a whole rock-paper-scissors concept. One unit has a weakness to something else...I wonder what Archons are weak to. I'm kinda hoping it might be Shockamancy...zap them out of the air like moths to a bug zapper.
One heavily wounded Dragon each. That's not really saying much when you think about it.

SteveD
2009-01-11, 02:30 PM
I'm still waiting to see what can take down an Archon though. As far as we can tell, the archons are capable of wiping out one dragon each...then again, those were already weakened so that might be the cause but at the same time it leaves me to wonder.

Every TBS game has a whole rock-paper-scissors concept. One unit has a weakness to something else...I wonder what Archons are weak to. I'm kinda hoping it might be Shockamancy...zap them out of the air like moths to a bug zapper.

I share the theory that the shockmancy spell might be useful in dealing with the Archons, but we'll just have to see. I'd guess Archons could be very fragile in terms of hit points, or as a small number of very powerful units could be vulnerable to large numbers of very weak attacks.

teratorn
2009-01-11, 02:37 PM
I'm still waiting to see what can take down an Archon though.

We've seen Jaclyn being zapped quite easily by the air defences. If shockamancy allows them to apply that kind of zap to arrows Charlie might regret entering the fight.

mroozee
2009-01-11, 03:07 PM
Just a side thought...

Parson owes his now-enemy Charlie 9 more Battlefield Probability Calculations. If I were Charlie, I would probably use all or almost all of them in this battle to make sure that I win and capture Parson and the Gauntlet.

So if I'm Parson, I have to seriously consider destroying or selling the Gauntlet. If there is anyone in the RCC who is Mathemancy-centric, and who might switch sides (or at least retire from the Coalition) for it, it could be a good move. Then, when Charlie asks Parson what the exact odds are for 19 Archons plus Ansom, the Transilvitians, Jillian, etc. against Parson, Stanley, Wanda, Jack, the Dragons, etc. he can just say "Boop... I dunno... about 50-50?" It might be enough to just threaten Charlie with this, actually.

primordial
2009-01-11, 03:40 PM
Looking at the last panel of this (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0020.html), he does seem to have shrunk slightly, also gotten a little more muscular, although that could be the breastplate.

I don't think Parson is getting smaller (look at him compared to Bogroll - no real change). Rather, I think some of the central characters are getting bigger - or more specifically, more maturely proportioned (I've mentioned this before). Look at the head-body ratio of characters like Wanda when we first meet them - they are toddler-like. But in this most recent page, Wanda is proportioned like a teenager.

I don't think this is simply the artist evolving his style - I think there's a deep-narrative cause that has not yet been revealed.

- jeff

Lombard
2009-01-11, 04:51 PM
Dwagons: This was a great move on Parson's part, and Ansom then got really, really lucky. First off Jillian had no more than a 50% chance of discovering the dwagons. Then she would have moved off if not for the Archons going against the rules. Finally, after all that Parson would have gotten the Arkenpliers, and killed Ansom were it not for Stanley's interference. And with those extra dwagons at base he probably could have flown a warlord out and hit the siege anyway! Stanley, and bad luck screwed him there, but I think that when the odds are supposed to be impossible and you lose 'cause of bad luck your doing something right.

Undead: Parson killed enough forces to take GK, and then some. Then that fighting retreat trick allowed him to use those undead to get some more free kills. If Ansom had say twice the needed force, Parson would have won. Again if your enemy started out with quadruple the needed forces, and is down to less than triple something clearly went right.

Ansom croaking undead: He wasn't able to with out Charlie's help, so using them as bait almost got Parson a new fancy warlord AND the arkenpliers. Plus had say the Arkenpliers landed on the wall and Ansom fallen really far, he could have died. There is a very good chance that Ansom got lucky. And no Ansom can't croak all of the undead, since he has to put up with archers they'll still kill him if he tries too much.

Look Parson has been doing a great job, in the dougnut he came close, but got unlucky and screwed by Stanley. In the tunnels and right now he has killed more forces than Ansom should have needed. Parson has been doing a good job, just not good enough for the HUGE odds against him.

If you find yourself having to say that someone got 'lucky' over and over again, there's a good chance you need to revise your definition of 'lucky'. Either that, or it's a good example of why people get incredulous or annoyed with the strip.

headhoncho
2009-01-11, 06:24 PM
If you find yourself having to say that someone got 'lucky' over and over again, there's a good chance you need to revise your definition of 'lucky'. Either that, or it's a good example of why people get incredulous or annoyed with the strip.

Spot on.

There's too much feast-or-famine swing in this strip, from my perspective.

reignofevil
2009-01-11, 06:55 PM
The very nature of turn based warfare means that every turn the advantage will either change, or things will look brighter. The same holds true for the enemy. If this battle was in real time, one side would have lost momentum, but since both are given as long (or at least a decent amount) of time as they need, the advantage is naturally going to swing as it has.

Aquillion
2009-01-11, 07:01 PM
Good call! Wanda's recalcitrance might just turn out to be key to sandbagging Charlie.On the other hand, remember that that was the chance of Charlie alone being able to take Gobwin Knob. Charlie + the Coalition is much worse.

...and it didn't include Stanley coming back, or Jack. And it didn't include a ton of uncroaked, or any of the losses over the last turn (not to mention upcoming losses); it was the chance for an attack on Charlie's last turn. So it's really hard to say.

Lamech
2009-01-11, 07:12 PM
If you find yourself having to say that someone got 'lucky' over and over again, there's a good chance you need to revise your definition of 'lucky'. Either that, or it's a good example of why people get incredulous or annoyed with the strip.
Erm... of course, people are going to get lucky over and over again thats how luck works, but they will get crap luck too. Ansom had a string of good luck at the dougnut. And he had a little more when he didn't fall a super long distance, and lived. And possibly some when Wanda landed badly. But he had crap luck when Parson pulled his gauntlet, and when Jack didn't croak or go too crazy. And again when Parson pulled his super-sword, and magic ceral. Both sides have gotten lucky breaks...

Finally, Parson HAS been doing a good job, if Ansom say had only double the forces needed this would be over. As Ansom says on page 101, the 10% of the siege he started with would be to few. Nor would he have enough infantry; Parson has killed too many already. Ansom is winning because of twelve to one odds, NOT because Parson is doing a bad job.

SteveD
2009-01-11, 07:25 PM
Something just occurred to me; is there a chance that the Dwagons would have enough move to get back to GW by the end of their next turn?

I always figured it would take the Tool as long to get back from the pass as it had to get there, however re-reading old strips I'd forgotten he'd recalled the Dwagons from the field before he set out; they had low move to start with. They can't have gone far on the first turn; thats one of the reasons why Jillian was able to catch up despite being a turn behind.

SteveMB
2009-01-11, 07:30 PM
Something just occurred to me; is there a chance that the Dwagons would have enough move to get back to GW by the end of their next turn?

I always figured it would take the Tool as long to get back from the pass as it had to get there, however re-reading old strips I'd forgotten he'd recalled the Dwagons from the field before he set out; they had low move to start with. They can't have gone far on the first turn; thats one of the reasons why Jillian was able to catch up despite being a turn behind.

Also, they may have had a fair amount of move left for the turn after Stanley escaped from the choke point ambush and was persuaded to head back.

SteveD
2009-01-11, 08:35 PM
That makes two big unknowns, so its a bit of a longshot.

But It would mean the tool would re-appear in Gobwin Knob airspace before the Archons had a chance to move or influence the ground fight. You think the tool could take them? Would be funny to watch an unsuspecting Archon being eaten alive by what she thought was a cloud. :P

Justyn
2009-01-11, 09:09 PM
And, seriously, how long will she stutter? It's gotten increasingly irritating in the last few strips. :smallannoyed:

For her it's been, what, two days? Besides, the stuttering has been getting better; compare her speech now to when she just woke up.

The Old Hack
2009-01-11, 09:11 PM
I'm still waiting to see what can take down an Archon though. As far as we can tell, the archons are capable of wiping out one dragon each...then again, those were already weakened so that might be the cause but at the same time it leaves me to wonder.

Every TBS game has a whole rock-paper-scissors concept. One unit has a weakness to something else...I wonder what Archons are weak to. I'm kinda hoping it might be Shockamancy...zap them out of the air like moths to a bug zapper.

One reason Jaclyn died might have been that it was specifically air defense used at pointblank -- it would seem logical that ground-based heavy air defense is something most air-based units would be vulnerable to, possibly dwagons as well. Apart from that, I suspect that Archons would do less well in, say, tunnel fighting against Marbits or Gobwins. As to the dwagons, possibly they could be classed as 'bomber' air units, leaving them vulnerable to Archon 'fighter' air units. In that case, the Archons might be extremely powerful against other air units and invaluable for air superiority, but less useful for ground assault. (Not useless, mind, just less useful, possibly simply through having a bonus against other air units that does not apply to ground units.)

Lamech
2009-01-11, 09:44 PM
Umm... is that a bandage on Wanda's arm?

Tubercular Ox
2009-01-11, 09:46 PM
So I've read the whole thread and don't know whom I am responding to specifically, but let's look at Parson's plans:

Successes.
Delete all the nearby siege. Exactly as planned.
Sow dissention in the ranks: Marginal. Could have been better except the Tool interrupted things. Although I'm suspicious about the real point of this maneuver. Parson was being awfully obvious with his insinuations.
Lure massive numbers of forces into the tunnels and annihilate them: Exactly as planned. Plus, Parson got a bunch of uncroaked, which he probably wasn't expecting.
Get Jack to bring back Stanley: Maybe Jack'd've done it anyways, but we're all looking hard for Stanley's return so it's something. Although it doesn't look like he's bringing any dragons with him. Except, as they say, the horse he rode in on.

Failures.
Returning Jillian to draw out Ansom: No real excuse for this one, just didn't work.
Trap opposition forces behind enemy lines: The failure of Wanda's spell isn't nice, but it could have just as easily been Webinar up there. The real boop is not telling Parson about the Veilomancy.
Pile a bunch of Dwagons on the strung out Ansom: Stanley took them away.
Get Charles to switch sides: Oh well. Had low probability anyways. But Charlie came back when the opportunity arose, which probably saved Stanley's life. Which, unfortunately, is kind of important.
Wipe out Ansom on the walls: Failure. Charles again. But at least there's a silver lining: We've got Ansom laboring under unknown conditions.

I probably missed some, I went through the archives pretty fast. But the vast majority of his failures have been a lack of education and/or cooperation. We have to excuse Charlescomm, they're not an ally, but Charlie's being rather a pain. He could be offering some sort of alliance, a my-trusted-adviser position, but instead he's just trying to dragoon Parson into service as some sort of property. Maybe that's just how Erfworld thinks, given the natural thinkamancy that goes on.

Anyways, the point is if Parson is a little upset that people, especially his own people, are not working with him, I can understand that.

Ansom, on the other hand, has had mostly a single plan and keeps plowing through with it even as losses mount up. Ran out of siege up front? Wait a turn for more to come. Your allies begin to suspect your motives? Use only Jetstone troops in the attack. Suffer massive losses underground? Attack the walls anyways. Charles abandons you? Sign an unknown contract when you realize how important air support is to your little flying carpet. The one time he actually did something different -- strike out at the retreating Stanley -- he had to be talked into it by Vinnie and Jillian.

And now for something completely different: Shockmancy. At first I thought it would be the emotional sense of shock but now I'm starting to think it might just be lightning bolts after all. It's made up of motion and matter, and it's Erf aligned, which, given the list under that column, seems to be rather biased toward here-and-now physical manipulation. I'm still undecided though.

dr pepper
2009-01-11, 10:54 PM
I wonder if Parson can simply avoid receiving contacts from Charlie, and thus avoid being compelled to commit mathamancy against himself.

Perhaps Maggie can create a block.

We're sorry, but the mind you are calling is not avaiable at this time...

or maybe the old fashioned way.

"Oh, hi, Charlie-- oops CRISH! CRISH! you're breaking up, CRISH! I'll have to get back to you, this dungeon is going into a tunnel."

Aquillion
2009-01-11, 11:06 PM
I wonder if Parson can simply avoid receiving contacts from Charlie, and thus avoid being compelled to commit mathamancy against himself.

Perhaps Maggie can create a block.

We're sorry, but the mind you are calling is not avaiable at this time...

or maybe the old fashioned way.

"Oh, hi, Charlie-- oops CRISH! CRISH! you're breaking up, CRISH! I'll have to get back to you, this dungeon is going into a tunnel."Only if he never looks at his EyeBook ever again.

Lemarc
2009-01-11, 11:13 PM
Erm... of course, people are going to get lucky over and over again thats how luck works, but they will get crap luck too.

When you talk about luck, are you talking about random chance happening to work out in someone's favour, or a sort of supernatural fortune which comes and goes, whereby someone can be "on a roll" or have periods of bad luck? Or are you talking about luck as a game mechanic?

Lamech
2009-01-12, 12:07 AM
When you talk about luck, are you talking about random chance happening to work out in someone's favour, or a sort of supernatural fortune which comes and goes, whereby someone can be "on a roll" or have periods of bad luck? Or are you talking about luck as a game mechanic?
I'm talking about random chance here. I'm saying that everyone gets both good luck and bad luck quite a bit. And that if we add all the bad luck up it seems like they got a lot; same with the good luck. So we have to look at both, and I don't think that Ansom has gotten consistant good luck.

Tubercular Ox
2009-01-12, 12:12 AM
Or are you talking about luck as a game mechanic?

Hmm... have we seen ANY casters on Ansom's side? I can't remember. Maybe they've got a Luckamancer hiding among the Superfluous Elves whose only job is to watch over Ansom. Parson's tried to croak him three times now. The Jillian trap, the donut (or, if Stanley hadn't pulled out, the follow up), and the fracas on the walls.

Winged One
2009-01-12, 12:39 AM
Ansom's luck might be a natural magic ability of either royals in general or Ansom himself. The summoning spell might even have been storing up luck for Parson until he really9001 needed it.

Whispri
2009-01-12, 01:37 AM
I'd chalk his luck up to some other fate being planned for him myself.


Returning Jillian to draw out Ansom: No real excuse for this one, just didn't work.

And now for something completely different: Shockmancy. At first I thought it would be the emotional sense of shock but now I'm starting to think it might just be lightning bolts after all. It's made up of motion and matter, and it's Erf aligned, which, given the list under that column, seems to be rather biased toward here-and-now physical manipulation. I'm still undecided though.
He didn't know about Vinny, more to the point one of the problems there was that Ansom whistled up some Archons to reinforce Jilian and Webinar, without them then perhaps Parson could have struck down the fliers while they were isolated. Of course there would have been nothing to stop Ansom from calling in enough Archons to make up for the loss, and perhaps some help for Translyvyto too. That's the big problem, every time Ansom runs into trouble he just recruits more allies than he had already to make up the loss. Even now there is more force he could bring to bear in the form of the people who tried to kill Stanley. Although given the way Ansom and Vinny parted, and given that Parson may be about to use Foolamancy in Gobwin Knob making their story look dubious, there could be trouble when they turn up.

Oh and with regards to the 'A' Dwagon destruction, I'll point out that Jillian wasn't actually looking for the Dwagons when she found them, that was dumb luck in it's purest form.

As for Shockamancy, I do think it's energy based thingamies. Fear magic sounds possible as well, but wouldn't that be Thinkamancy?

Lemarc
2009-01-12, 01:54 AM
I'm talking about random chance here. I'm saying that everyone gets both good luck and bad luck quite a bit. And that if we add all the bad luck up it seems like they got a lot; same with the good luck. So we have to look at both, and I don't think that Ansom has gotten consistant good luck.
I feel he's had more good luck than bad, but still within the limits of probability. And he does claim that royals are favoured by the titans.

Tubercular Ox
2009-01-12, 02:06 AM
As for Shockamancy, I do think it's energy based thingamies. Fear magic sounds possible as well, but wouldn't that be Thinkamancy?

Well, my first thought was "It's naughtymancy." And while destroying the world in a rain of earth and fire is pretty naughty, it's not naughty in the same way croakamancy is naughty. I mean, un-erfing these terms, I read naughty as "taboo". Messing with the dead has always been taboo. You'd have to go nuclear before just setting fire to things was taboo.

Oh, crap.

Aquillion
2009-01-12, 02:25 AM
Hmm... have we seen ANY casters on Ansom's side? I can't remember. Maybe they've got a Luckamancer hiding among the Superfluous Elves whose only job is to watch over Ansom. Parson's tried to croak him three times now. The Jillian trap, the donut (or, if Stanley hadn't pulled out, the follow up), and the fracas on the walls.To be fair, though, targeting the leadership is an obvious strategy. If it were that easy, there wouldn't be any leaders left (the first one failed, quite reasonably, precisely because it's such an obvious strategy.)

Lombard
2009-01-12, 04:49 AM
I'm talking about random chance here. I'm saying that everyone gets both good luck and bad luck quite a bit. And that if we add all the bad luck up it seems like they got a lot; same with the good luck. So we have to look at both, and I don't think that Ansom has gotten consistant good luck.

Really disagree on that last bit. It does seem you're engaged in some sort of logical fallacy here where good or bad luck is ordained to come in streaks. A streak of luck is much less probable than any individual occurrence of a random outlier on a probability chart. That's why, when there seems to be a trend of 'luck', it's often best to re-examine the situation and assess whether the expected 'neither lucky nor unlucky' results were based on assumptions that are valid. In this case, many of us have been making the assumption that Parson really is a great Warlord and a better one than Ansom at that. However, how many times are we really willing to say that Ansom is 'just getting lucky' before we start to think that, hmm, maybe the reason Parson keeps having these setbacks happen is because it is Ansom who is in fact the better Warlord. This would mean that either Ansom is a lot more skilled than people give him credit for, or Parson is much less skilled than we may have thought, or a combination of both. It's certainly a more likely explanation for what's happened, if we take for granted that the strip's authors aren't trying to make us digest something rather implausible within the context of the world they've created. It also goes without saying that this more likely explanation sheds light on Parson's latest speech as being not much more than a lot of hot air.

Whispri
2009-01-12, 04:54 AM
Well, my first thought was "It's naughtymancy." And while destroying the world in a rain of earth and fire is pretty naughty, it's not naughty in the same way croakamancy is naughty. I mean, un-erfing these terms, I read naughty as "taboo". Messing with the dead has always been taboo. You'd have to go nuclear before just setting fire to things was taboo.
Erf isn't our World, there's no reason to think uncroaking is taboo there. Oh sure the madman hell bent on genocide doesn't approve, but what does he know?

Shockmancy, Croakamancy, Deletionism. That's Death Magic all. What other form of magic is directly involved in Death and Killing? Some create fearsome creatures and some are very helpful if your planning to kill people, but none of the others really sound like the sort of thing you'd mostly use to directly pile up, put to use, or unmake corpses.

Lombard
2009-01-12, 04:57 AM
Successes.
Delete all the nearby siege. Exactly as planned.

Umm I saw this and also noticed your list of 'failures' didn't include losing all the dragons he sent to kill the seige... lol are you making an attempt at spin-doctoring or is that just a massive oversight? The seige-killing and the dragons were a major story arc in this strip.

Aquillion
2009-01-12, 05:33 AM
Really disagree on that last bit. It does seem you're engaged in some sort of logical fallacy here where good or bad luck is ordained to come in streaks. A streak of luck is much less probable than any individual occurrence of a random outlier on a probability chart.Or, you know, the situation could just be really stacked against Parson. Which we knew from the very beginning.

Ansom hasn't "gotten lucky" as often as people are saying. He didn't get particularly lucky against the initial ambush (it was an obvious strategy, and just Parson's initial feint -- it wasn't a big deal, since it theoretically let them put their mole in the enemy camp anyway.) A big part of why that plan failed was because nobody had told Parson about Charlie.

Ansom got marginally lucky with the Donut of Doom, but his own attributes (in deciding to take a third option in the first place) and, perhaps more importantly, Wanda's secretiveness (she concealed the nature and limitations of her hold on Jillian from Parson until it was too late, which made it impossible for him to accurately evaluate the potential risks that her Gwiffions posed to his plan) were much more important. Parson could have placed the Dwagons elsewhere if he Wanda had told him enough to be worried about Jillian (note that contrary to what someone said earlier in this thread, there was no risk of Webinar swooping in to the rescue -- the Gwiffons are Jillian's units, not Jetstone ones, even when she's acting as a mercenary, and she could -- and did -- prevent Webinar from using them effectively.)

Ansom obviously had zero luck with his own plan to take out Stanley, or his attack on the tunnels (in fact, the tunnels went catastrophically against him, when Sizemore implied that there was a decent chance it could have gone the other way.) Ansom was also catastrophically unlucky to have Jack's mind restored exactly when it was -- everything would have ended then and there if it hadn't.

And in the most recent sequence of events, there was no luck involved at all. Charlie had made it clear to Parson that this was something he was considering doing already. It was an offer that Ansom had on the table. Word of God is that the entire area they were over was part of the walls -- the Arkenpliers couldn't have fallen anywhere else. If anything, Wanda is lucky to have survived getting hit by that many Archons, not unlucky to have been incapacitated. It was an extremely risky gambit on Parson's part, one he only attempted because he knew the potential benefits were high enough to justify it.

Whispri
2009-01-12, 07:12 AM
Or, you know, the situation could just be really stacked against Parson. Which we knew from the very beginning.

Ansom hasn't "gotten lucky" as often as people are saying. He didn't get particularly lucky against the initial ambush (it was an obvious strategy, and just Parson's initial feint -- it wasn't a big deal, since it theoretically let them put their mole in the enemy camp anyway.) A big part of why that plan failed was because nobody had told Parson about Charlie.

Ansom got marginally lucky with the Donut of Doom, but his own attributes (in deciding to take a third option in the first place) and, perhaps more importantly, Wanda's secretiveness (she concealed the nature and limitations of her hold on Jillian from Parson until it was too late, which made it impossible for him to accurately evaluate the potential risks that her Gwiffions posed to his plan) were much more important. Parson could have placed the Dwagons elsewhere if he Wanda had told him enough to be worried about Jillian (note that contrary to what someone said earlier in this thread, there was no risk of Webinar swooping in to the rescue -- the Gwiffons are Jillian's units, not Jetstone ones, even when she's acting as a mercenary, and she could -- and did -- prevent Webinar from using them effectively.)

Ansom obviously had zero luck with his own plan to take out Stanley, or his attack on the tunnels (in fact, the tunnels went catastrophically against him, when Sizemore implied that there was a decent chance it could have gone the other way.) Ansom was also catastrophically unlucky to have Jack's mind restored exactly when it was -- everything would have ended then and there if it hadn't.

And in the most recent sequence of events, there was no luck involved at all. Charlie had made it clear to Parson that this was something he was considering doing already. It was an offer that Ansom had on the table. Word of God is that the entire area they were over was part of the walls -- the Arkenpliers couldn't have fallen anywhere else. If anything, Wanda is lucky to have survived getting hit by that many Archons, not unlucky to have been incapacitated. It was an extremely risky gambit on Parson's part, one he only attempted because he knew the potential benefits were high enough to justify it.
Ranting on Luck, Plot Shields and decidedly minor antagonists was here.

Actually scratch that, the reason Ansom's called 'lucky' is that his victories, such as they are, are occurring through no fault of his own. Jillian's capture discovered? Webinar ignored his orders. Trap avoided? Vinny talked sense into him and he hired the Archons, cause you know, four times as much force as needed to take the City just aren't good enough odds. Dwagons discovered? Jillian stopped looking for them at just the right point to stumble on them by mistake. Jillian attacked the Dwagons? The Archons decided to work for free. Being disarmed, dismounted, and surrounded by Uncroaked? A force of Archons capable of taking the City on it's own turned it into a minor hurdle. Which is the problem. He started the battle with a massive advantage in numbers, the Dwagons are gone, and it still isn't enough for him to pose a threat on the strength of his own abilities. As War Leaders go, he's a joke.

As for Wanda and fall damage, her injuries could easily be the result to a critical if you want to bring luck into that little situation. And of course she was moving quickly and Ansom may benefit from his own leadership bonus. As far as Jack goes, it was actually harder to snap him out of it than a trained Thinkamancer thought it would be, if Stanley had flown into that hex veiled... As for the tunnel incident, that was Parson being brilliant, if there was luck involved he made his own. Ansom doesn't do that, he throws money at problems.

Aside: Actually now I think of it, why did Ansom even bother massing his fliers for a rescue attempt? I mean fine, once she was released, but he was readying his fliers before he knew that. How could he have gotten Jillian out of the dungeons without taking the City?

teratorn
2009-01-12, 07:42 AM
Ansom doesn't do that, he throws money at problems.
Yes, because he can. Whatever Parson does Ansom can buy his way out of it. Without Charlie, Parson would have finished Ansom a long time ago.

To be fair, at the beginning of the campaign Ansom thought he would need no strategy, just brute force. He didn't expect any surprises from Stanley's side. Charlie was his way to compensate for the Parson factor, something that was completely unexpected.


Aside: Actually now I think of it, why did Ansom even bother massing his fliers for a rescue attempt? I mean fine, once she was released, but he was readying his fliers before he knew that. How could he have gotten Jillian out of the dungeons without taking the City?
I'm more interested in knowing what that means in terms of game mechanics. If Jillian is captured shouldn't her gwiffons become neutral or something like that?

Lamech
2009-01-12, 08:00 AM
I'm more interested in knowing what that means in terms of game mechanics. If Jillian is captured shouldn't her gwiffons become neutral or something like that?
Apperantly one can capture leaders and not eliminate there side... and I'm betting if one does capture a overlord the remaining units can all be blackmailed.



Aside: Actually now I think of it, why did Ansom even bother massing his fliers for a rescue attempt? I mean fine, once she was released, but he was readying his fliers before he knew that. How could he have gotten Jillian out of the dungeons without taking the City?
If I would have to guess it would be a fient at Stanley and then rush for the dungeon. At which point they would run out the tunnels. Of course, doing so probably would have ended, really, really badly... air defenses Wanda's shockomancy, and her foolamancy. But they didn't know that.

headhoncho
2009-01-12, 08:38 AM
Actually scratch that, the reason Ansom's called 'lucky' is that his victories, such as they are, are occurring through no fault of his own. Jillian's capture discovered? Webinar ignored his orders. Trap avoided? Vinny talked sense into him and he hired the Archons, cause you know, four times as much force as needed to take the City just aren't good enough odds. Dwagons discovered? Jillian stopped looking for them at just the right point to stumble on them by mistake. Jillian attacked the Dwagons? The Archons decided to work for free. Being disarmed, dismounted, and surrounded by Uncroaked? A force of Archons capable of taking the City on it's own turned it into a minor hurdle. Which is the problem. He started the battle with a massive advantage in numbers, the Dwagons are gone, and it still isn't enough for him to pose a threat on the strength of his own abilities. As War Leaders go, he's a joke.


QFT. It's heavy-handed and dissatisfying.

And by the way, I think objectively we're supposed to understand that Parson is the perfect warlord, if only based on his (debatably) perfect track record in hundreds if not thousands of wargames. Assuming he was telling the truth, and we have no reason to believe he wasn't.

Of course, this might also be an illustration of how theory meets reality, but if that's one of the primary messages as opposed to a secondary or tertiary one, well, that would be dissatisfying as well, IMO.

fendrin
2009-01-12, 11:22 AM
Aside: Actually now I think of it, why did Ansom even bother massing his fliers for a rescue attempt? I mean fine, once she was released, but he was readying his fliers before he knew that. How could he have gotten Jillian out of the dungeons without taking the City?

Keep in mind he doesn't know about the lookamancer link. He may have been betting on the element of surprise: Punch through the tunnels to the dungeon, grab Jillian, and punch out before Stanley gets the message of an attack. From this (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0092.html), it seems he's done similar things before.


Apperantly one can capture leaders and not eliminate there side... and I'm betting if one does capture a overlord the remaining units can all be blackmailed.
Hmm, so maybe Banhammer is alive & imprisoned somewhere? Jillian wouldn't know, and Wanda may not want him to be released. The only other Faqian who might know is Jack, and we don't know enough about him to know his views on it one way or another.

It would certainly explain Wanda's evasions about Duty (3 times she has discussed Duty, and every time there is an evasion of some sort).

Charlicat
2009-01-12, 12:07 PM
Hmm, so maybe Banhammer is alive & imprisoned somewhere? Jillian wouldn't know, and Wanda may not want him to be released. The only other Faqian who might know is Jack, and we don't know enough about him to know his views on it one way or another.

Heck, for all we know Banhammer could be alive and well in FAQ and Jillian only went barbarian because she was disowned. The casters would be either allied or traded forces. It's strongly implied that FAQ is fallen, though. I'm very interested in having the FAQ backstory filled in. :smallbiggrin:

Suicide Junkie
2009-01-12, 12:54 PM
And by the way, I think objectively we're supposed to understand that Parson is the perfect warlord, if only based on his (debatably) perfect track record in hundreds if not thousands of wargames. Assuming he was telling the truth, and we have no reason to believe he wasn't.His perfect track record was implied by Wanda's weasel wording of an answer to Stanley.

http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0019.html
S: "And you're going to tell me you've won them *all*?
W: "He is alive, lord."
S/P: "Debatably"

No lies there, but a hearty helping of misdirection and CYA on Wanda's part.

I'm quite certain that he hasn't won every single game. Less than half would be more likely. If he had won every single game, then his players wouldn't still be around; playing with Parson as the GM under those circumstances would be nothing but an exercise in frustration.

Of course, he was really giving his players a huge advantage at the start. In order for the game to be interesting, that would have to be a close call after taking skill into account.
And that is what's important; not whether you won or lost heavily unfair games, but how many skill points you have and how unfair it has to be before you will be defeated :)

fendrin
2009-01-12, 01:23 PM
Heck, for all we know Banhammer could be alive and well in FAQ and Jillian only went barbarian because she was disowned. The casters would be either allied or traded forces. It's strongly implied that FAQ is fallen, though. I'm very interested in having the FAQ backstory filled in. :smallbiggrin:
I doubt Banhammer would have just disowned her... especially not while she was out with a bunch of troops. He could have waited until she returned and then disbanded her. That way he wouldn't lose the gwiffons.


His perfect track record was implied by Wanda's weasel wording of an answer to Stanley.

http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0019.html
S: "And you're going to tell me you've won them *all*?
W: "He is alive, lord."
S/P: "Debatably"

No lies there, but a hearty helping of misdirection and CYA on Wanda's part. To be fair, at that point there is no evidence that Wanda knows that Parson is referring to games and not real wars. If you take that out of the equation, what she is saying makes sense.


I'm quite certain that he hasn't won every single game. Less than half would be more likely. If he had won every single game, then his players wouldn't still be around; playing with Parson as the GM under those circumstances would be nothing but an exercise in frustration.So long as everyone knew the rules and the rules are simple enough that they don't need arbitration (like most TBSs, unlike most RPGs), there is no reason to think that just because Parson created the scenario that he had an advantage.


Of course, he was really giving his players a huge advantage at the start. In order for the game to be interesting, that would have to be a close call after taking skill into account.
And that is what's important; not whether you won or lost heavily unfair games, but how many skill points you have and how unfair it has to be before you will be defeated :)
Yes, I'd say that in Parson's scenario, the he would have been defending the GK-like city against a coalition of his players. As such, they would have the definite advantage. Really, the key to making any (strategy) game fun is to give each side a fair chance to succeed. In Parson's case, he gave himself a huge handicap in forces (though I would guess not 25:1), but that is counterbalanced by his defensive position and natural abilities. It's like in chess where sometimes the better player will start without some pieces to make the game more fair (usually when teaching the game or in casual play, obviously not in tournaments).

Olibarro
2009-01-12, 01:38 PM
So start telling me every skill, bonus or resource I might not know about.

"What I wouldn't give for a Holocaust Cloak."

Tubercular Ox
2009-01-12, 01:50 PM
Erf isn't our World, there's no reason to think uncroaking is taboo there. Oh sure the madman hell bent on genocide doesn't approve, but what does he know?

Well, it's circumstantial evidence but in http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0032.html Parson says "You've got all the classic evil creatures on your side," and Stanley doesn't come back with "What? What's wrong with undead?" Instead he goes on about there being no good and evil. Admittedly, it could have just as easily been "What's wrong with Hobgoblin death metal?" so, as I said, circumstantial at best.


Shockmancy, Croakamancy, Deletionism. That's Death Magic all. What other form of magic is directly involved in Death and Killing? Some create fearsome creatures and some are very helpful if your planning to kill people, but none of the others really sound like the sort of thing you'd mostly use to directly pile up, put to use, or unmake corpses.

In my heart of hearts I know you're far more likely to be right than I am, although I refuse to be convinced of anything until it shows up in the story, but the more I thought about it the more I liked my theory.

There are in fact four taboos in modern warfare: Chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear. Getting into the Delorean these translate to poison, disease, and befoulment. (Before the fortuitous discovery of uranium, salting the earth was popular) I'd love to see magic like that come about. It's got matter, it's got motion, it's got Erf, it's got Naughty. Sadly, it doesn't really have Shock, which, of course, is the most relevant descriptor, so I'll be vaguely disappointed when we find out what Shockmancy is.


lol are you making an attempt at spin-doctoring or is that just a massive oversight?
Possibly. I included it as "Trap units behind enemy lines" In my first draft of the post I very clearly described it as totally booped; that got lost in a rewrite.

Lamech
2009-01-12, 02:15 PM
I doubt Banhammer would have just disowned her... especially not while she was out with a bunch of troops. He could have waited until she returned and then disbanded her. That way he wouldn't lose the gwiffons.
If he was about to get captured, he might have handed all units in the field to her; this would minimize gains to his captor. And possibly prevent his captor from finding out about Jillian.

BillyJimBoBob
2009-01-12, 02:30 PM
Yes, I'd say that in Parson's scenario, the he would have been defending the GK-like city against a coalition of his players. As such, they would have the definite advantage. Really, the key to making any (strategy) game fun is to give each side a fair chance to succeed. In Parson's case, he gave himself a huge handicap in forces (though I would guess not 25:1), but that is counterbalanced by his defensive position and natural abilities. It's like in chess where sometimes the better player will start without some pieces to make the game more fair (usually when teaching the game or in casual play, obviously not in tournaments).I think his players were going to be playing the GK side. Parson speaks of having planned a no-win scenario for them, and that doesn't sound like they'd be playing the RCC.


Parson is a gamer and socially inept. He knows how to give orders, but not how to deal with people. It seems that a certain part of the comic is how Parson learns this skill (dealing with Stanley; talking to Maggie; talking to Sizemore...).

Maybe Parson will win once he knows how to deal with Wanda.Has this been shown in the strip? Parson seems to have close friends who he games with and who care about him. Casual players in a game you host aren't likely to be telling you that they are concerned about your obsession with gaming, it's counterproductive to their reasons for hanging out with you at all. Parson has seemed to form an easy friendship with Sizemore, and Misty very quickly looked to provide unasked for assistance to him, something people don't typically do for people who are unpersonable. And Parson even deals well with Maggie, even though he can't quite figure her out.

It's true that gamers are often portrayed as being socially inept, but I'm not sure that Parson has been shown to fit this part of the gamer personality stereotype.

fendrin
2009-01-12, 02:41 PM
I think his players were going to be playing the GK side. Parson speaks of having planned a no-win scenario for them, and that doesn't sound like they'd be playing the RCC.

Remember that his scenario is only similar to what is happening on Erf. If the RCC only had , say, a 4:1 numerical superiority, they would have already lost. The devil, as they say, is in the details. We do not have the details.

Bhurin
2009-01-12, 03:59 PM
I don't think Parson is getting smaller (look at him compared to Bogroll - no real change). Rather, I think some of the central characters are getting bigger - or more specifically, more maturely proportioned (I've mentioned this before). Look at the head-body ratio of characters like Wanda when we first meet them - they are toddler-like. But in this most recent page, Wanda is proportioned like a teenager.

I don't think this is simply the artist evolving his style - I think there's a deep-narrative cause that has not yet been revealed.

- jeff

THAT is a brilliant thought. Naturally, I had taken the change in artwork to be the product Jamie's refining art style. But like many I had also noted the changes in Parson's appearance, and suspected he may be being affected by his stay in Erfworld.

Like an introduced species into an unready ecosystem, something small can have profound impact on the world around it. If Erfworld is changing Parson, it is possible that Parson is changing Erfworld too.

Neat thought. Kudos.

Aquillion
2009-01-12, 04:16 PM
Ranting on Luck, Plot Shields and decidedly minor antagonists was here.

Actually scratch that, the reason Ansom's called 'lucky' is that his victories, such as they are, are occurring through no fault of his own. Jillian's capture discovered? Webinar ignored his orders. Trap avoided? Vinny talked sense into him and he hired the Archons, cause you know, four times as much force as needed to take the City just aren't good enough odds. Dwagons discovered? Jillian stopped looking for them at just the right point to stumble on them by mistake. Jillian attacked the Dwagons? The Archons decided to work for free. Being disarmed, dismounted, and surrounded by Uncroaked? A force of Archons capable of taking the City on it's own turned it into a minor hurdle. Which is the problem. He started the battle with a massive advantage in numbers, the Dwagons are gone, and it still isn't enough for him to pose a threat on the strength of his own abilities. As War Leaders go, he's a joke.

As for Wanda and fall damage, her injuries could easily be the result to a critical if you want to bring luck into that little situation. And of course she was moving quickly and Ansom may benefit from his own leadership bonus. As far as Jack goes, it was actually harder to snap him out of it than a trained Thinkamancer thought it would be, if Stanley had flown into that hex veiled... As for the tunnel incident, that was Parson being brilliant, if there was luck involved he made his own. Ansom doesn't do that, he throws money at problems.

Aside: Actually now I think of it, why did Ansom even bother massing his fliers for a rescue attempt? I mean fine, once she was released, but he was readying his fliers before he knew that. How could he have gotten Jillian out of the dungeons without taking the City?
I went over this elsewhere, but Ansom does have some important character attributes that have helped him come back from the things Parson has thrown at him.

First, and most importantly -- despite his pride, he is usually fairly quick to recognize when he's made a mistake, and to take whatever steps are necessary to deal with it, even if they're uncomfortable for him. He avoided Parson's initial ambush because he listened to Vinnie's advice that he was acting way too predictably where Jillian was concerned, and because he swallowed his pride and hired a common mercenary like Charlie. He escaped the Donut of Doom because he was willing to call in Jillian for help (well, sort of; there's more to that.) He overcame the catastrophic attack on the tunnels (which many of his allies saw as a game-ender) because he acted quickly and decisively in attacking the walls himself, not because of any random luck. He survived that attack because he recognized instantly what he'd gotten himself into, and agreed to Charlie's terms despite the cost (and the harm to his dignity) -- again, that's not random chance; for a proud character like Ansom, that's a fairly major achievement.

Second, he is confident and persistent. Twice already he's confronted situations (while in the Donut of Doom and after the attack on the tunnels) where those around him basically said things were over -- Vinnie advising him to abandon his stack and run or to make a desperate last stand, or Duke Nozzle about to walk away. Both times, he managed to take a third option and find a way to keep going, often by taking serious risks. This strategy does not always work for him -- he walked into the center hex of the donut of doom; he sent off an attack on Stanley that failed; he sent the troops under the city in the first place. But most people other than Ansom would never have gotten 'lucky', because they never would have taken those risks in the first place.

Third, he's (usually) very good at using the abilities of those around him. He avoids the initial ambush entirely because he listens to Vinnie, and he pays attention to Vinnie's advice when they're trapped in the Donut of Doom, too. He escapes the Donut of Doom because he makes good use of Jillian. He makes it past the catastrophe in the tunnels because he realizes what he has to do to keep the rest of the coalition on his side; and he survives that attack because he knows when to rely on Charlie. Most of these things (except, perhaps, Vinnie) grate on his pride to some extent, but he's still willing to swallow his pride and do it -- something that Stanley, for instance, never would. Stanley only listens to Wanda when she tricks him into it, would never consider using Charlie, prefers to do things himself, and couldn't keep a coalition together if it bit him on the ass. That's why, at the beginning of the strip, Ansom is winning and Stanley isn't.

Again, it doesn't always work (he relies on Webinar when he really shouldn't), but if he didn't rely on others to that extent he would have lost a long time ago.

Are there other factors? Sure. Ansom can't win an entire war solely on his own, no more than Parson can, and we were told at the very beginning of the strip that Ansom has better resources to rely on -- he knows the world, he has friends in the world, he has units and relationships and so forth. But to a great extent, these things (and the way Ansom makes use of them) are reflections of his personal character traits -- he didn't have to listen to Vinnie; he didn't have to hire Charlie; he didn't have to rely on Jillian (in all cases, other options technically existed, even if in Charlie's case at the most recent event it amounted to 'dither over his pride and die honorably'.) The fact that he recognizes when it is necessary to rely on others reflects well on him, and is one of the big reasons he's made it so far.

headhoncho
2009-01-12, 04:20 PM
Second, he is confident and persistent. Twice already he's confronted situations (while in the Donut of Doom and after the attack on the tunnels) where those around him basically said things were over -- Vinnie advising him to abandon his stack and run or to make a desperate last stand, or Duke Nozzle about to walk away.

But that means he either has stupid advisors or he's foolhardy and stubborn to ignore sound advice.

That's why the luck factor is so infuriating. Time after time. It's gotten beyond old, IMO.

Aquillion
2009-01-12, 04:32 PM
But that means he either has stupid advisors or he's foolhardy and stubborn to ignore sound advice.

That's why the luck factor is so infuriating. Time after time. It's gotten beyond old, IMO.Well, Duke Nozzle probably didn't know that Ansom had an offer on the table from Charlie (which seriously impacted Ansom's survival and success chances on the wall.)

His strategy in the Donut of Doom was certainly more risky than Vinnie was comfortable with. (He relied on Jillian, who Vinnie didn't fully trust; he relied on her finding the injured Dwagons quickly; and he took the risk that their combined stacks couldn't survive the next turn.) But at the same time, he wouldn't have been able to get lucky there if he hadn't recognized that he needed to rely on that sort of luck.

I don't see him relying too much on luck elsewhere (and it went horribly against him in several cases, like on the tunnels.) He wasn't relying particularly on luck on the walls -- he was relying on the fact that if he got very lucky he could do it himself, while if he got into trouble, he could agree to Charlie's terms.

fendrin
2009-01-12, 04:52 PM
His strategy in the Donut of Doom was certainly more risky than Vinnie was comfortable with. (He relied on Jillian, who Vinnie didn't fully trust; he relied on her finding the injured Dwagons quickly; and he took the risk that their combined stacks couldn't survive the next turn.) But at the same time, he wouldn't have been able to get lucky there if he hadn't recognized that he needed to rely on that sort of luck.

On the other hand, having Jillian hunt was a shrewd choice because if she failed, he could still take one of Vinnie's options. For that matter, if the wounded dwagons had been a little further away, he would not have been able to go assist her, and would have had to use one of Vinny's options anyway.

headhoncho
2009-01-12, 05:18 PM
(and it went horribly against him in several cases, like on the tunnels.)

Parson had a sound plan that he'd set up the turn before. He didn't need a ton of luck, he had great tactics.


He wasn't relying particularly on luck on the walls -- he was relying on the fact that if he got very lucky he could do it himself, while if he got into trouble, he could agree to Charlie's terms.

He had INCREDIBLE luck on the walls. Not falling just a little bit inside or outside the top of the wall, not being splatted as it was on the wall, the speed of how things developed (the undead air force not being in time, Wanda being knocked out and unable to grab the pliers a few feet away, etc. etc.). Again, I'm not sure how some folks are reckoning luck, but that's been most of what Ansom's been getting.

The utter uselessness of the thousands of undead is a separate issue, but also one that grates, IMO.

I'm still half-expecting the writers to pull a hidden Luckomancer out of the woodwork, in light of everything that's gone on.

Doomduckie
2009-01-12, 05:57 PM
But would that hidden luckamancer be a good thing or a bad thing in your eyes?

I think it could be interesting if done right, but then again that answer applies to anything- I would have said the same for Ansom dying in the wall rush or the like.

MirEgal
2009-01-12, 06:37 PM
Has this been shown in the strip? Parson seems to have close friends who he games with and who care about him. Casual players in a game you host aren't likely to be telling you that they are concerned about your obsession with gaming, it's counterproductive to their reasons for hanging out with you at all. Parson has seemed to form an easy friendship with Sizemore, and Misty very quickly looked to provide unasked for assistance to him, something people don't typically do for people who are unpersonable. And Parson even deals well with Maggie, even though he can't quite figure her out.

It's true that gamers are often portrayed as being socially inept, but I'm not sure that Parson has been shown to fit this part of the gamer personality stereotype.

Ah, I need to explain a little bit more what I am thinking of. You are speaking of friendship, but there is also another type of social skills. The skills of manipulation. Knowing how to bend others to your will and to prevent being manipulated by them. Sizemore doesn't have these skills (he wants real friendship instead), so Parson was able to use him from the beginning, even without knowing that they were never real friends, always leader and soldier. Both realized that kind of relationship when they where sitting at the fire (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0114.html). Maggie tried to manipulate Parson, but he was able to outsmart her (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0093.html) and now she accepts him as her commander. Wanda on the other hand still tries to manipulate everyone, also Parson. Parson will only succeed if he learns how to use Wanda regarding to his will. There is quite an irony in the fact that Wanda showed him (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0047.html) the direction to the art of manipulation.

Every military commander will tell you, you can have either real friendship or leadership. As a military leader, you need to use your people to achieve your goal.

Gamers often lack this skill, they are often not even interested to be successful within manipulation. That's often the reason they don't want to fit in with the "normal" society.

Aquillion
2009-01-12, 07:27 PM
Parson had a sound plan that he'd set up the turn before. He didn't need a ton of luck, he had great tactics.A sound plan does not automatically equal success. He gave his own chances to Charlie as good but not great -- around two-thirds. Sizemore, the person actually in charge of the battle, indicated that it was uncertain, and in the end it came down to a fight between the commanders. If Webinar or Dora had been a bit tougher or faster, Sizemore could easily have been croaked and the whole thing lost.


He had INCREDIBLE luck on the walls. Not falling just a little bit inside or outside the top of the wall, not being splatted as it was on the wall, the speed of how things developed (the undead air force not being in time, Wanda being knocked out and unable to grab the pliers a few feet away, etc. etc.). Again, I'm not sure how some folks are reckoning luck, but that's been most of what Ansom's been getting.

The utter uselessness of the thousands of undead is a separate issue, but also one that grates, IMO.The thousands of undead were specifically described as the weakest sort there is, since they were mass-revived. And Ansom had a weapon that turned them to dust on touch, and could fly. The fact that Parson lined up all the uncroaked on the walls like that rather than saving them for a surprise makes it pretty clear they were as much a psychological ploy as they were a military one.

Ansom might actually have been luckier to fall elsewhere, really. He's a combat-oriented warlord with royal blood (which increases stats), likely very high level. He can probably take several orders of magnitude more punishment than a frail caster like Wanda (remember, even Jack, a world-class caster, had half the hitpoints of a basic, generic garrison twoll. Casters seem to be very much made of glass in the Erfworld universe; the fact that Wanda was hurt by a fall doesn't mean that it would be more than a minor annoyance to Ansom.) Ansom's shrugging off that fall was a matter of him being tough, not a matter of him being lucky. Meanwhile, falling onto the wall put him in immediate danger of being overwhelmed by the number of enemies there.

Likewise, the fact that Wanda was able to disarm and dismount him so swiftly was, itself, luck working against him -- he's a very combat-capable unit, after all, so it can't be that simple most of the time. (She seems to have had some trick for one or the other, but not both.)

grumbleboom
2009-01-12, 07:47 PM
Gamers often lack this skill, they are often not even interested to be successful within manipulation. That's often the reason they don't want to fit in with the "normal" society.

I'm truly sorry if you actually feel this way about gamers.

Back on topic.

Quoting HeadHoncho - "That's why the luck factor is so infuriating. Time after time. It's gotten beyond old, IMO."

Luck unfortunately is a big factor in a lot of games, rpg or otherwise. The roll of a die, or a 10% chance to hit can have a big impact if you get that 10% eight times in a row. It can be viewed as a DeM if you want to, but really it is statistically possible and can be viewed as really lucky... annoyingly so to someone not expecting it.


As for the comic itself... Parson and his troops are in the dungeon. The Coalition is standing in the Courtyard.

A Courtyard which was until this turn torn to hell by Sizemore's caving in the tunnels. My bet is he opens some of those holes again to drop some of the coalition troops to their deaths. We know falling does damage and while we don't know how many hits a fall causes, it would weaken any unit that is affected.

So, lets look at this from a soldier's morale standpoint. Your army just lost 2000+ units in what should have been a cakewalk hit on the tunnels. You watch as those units climb to the top of the walls and then seemingly let you through without a fight. If the ground underneath you suddenly starts to open up and your still living comrades start falling to their deaths all around you, your "victory" at the walls becomes something your enemy LET you have.

Combine that with a Foolamancy you could be in decent shape moralewise...

I'm just saying that even though Parson is in a REALLY bad position right now, he does still have options. And some of those options could result in what he has to shoot for... a Draw.

headhoncho
2009-01-12, 08:04 PM
A sound plan does not automatically equal success. He gave his own chances to Charlie as good but not great -- around two-thirds. Sizemore, the person actually in charge of the battle, indicated that it was uncertain, and in the end it came down to a fight between the commanders. If Webinar or Dora had been a bit tougher or faster, Sizemore could easily have been croaked and the whole thing lost.

Winning a 59% die roll isn't a lot of luck. It's likely.


Ansom might actually have been luckier to fall elsewhere, really. He's a combat-oriented warlord with royal blood (which increases stats), likely very high level. He can probably take several orders of magnitude more punishment than a frail caster like Wanda (remember, even Jack, a world-class caster, had half the hitpoints of a basic, generic garrison twoll. Casters seem to be very much made of glass in the Erfworld universe; the fact that Wanda was hurt by a fall doesn't mean that it would be more than a minor annoyance to Ansom.) Ansom's shrugging off that fall was a matter of him being tough, not a matter of him being lucky. Meanwhile, falling onto the wall put him in immediate danger of being overwhelmed by the number of enemies there.
Likewise, the fact that Wanda was able to disarm and dismount him so swiftly was, itself, luck working against him -- he's a very combat-capable unit, after all, so it can't be that simple most of the time. (She seems to have had some trick for one or the other, but not both.)

<boggle>

Well, I suppose that's ONE way of looking at it...

Fjolnir
2009-01-12, 08:12 PM
there's also a hint that wanda is more combat capable than most casters, (given her chosen school of 'mancy I'm not surprised since to be most effective you need her closer to the front to get corpses to raise) though I agree she can't be as effective a warrior as ansom

noncaloric
2009-01-12, 08:26 PM
Parson's speech may hint one possibility for dealing with the archon problem. If Ansom cannot keep the contract, Charlie ceases to be in the Coalition. The most plausible even I can think of on these lines is that the contract demands the arkenpliers, and becomes void if Ansom loses them.

SteveD
2009-01-12, 08:34 PM
I'm just saying that even though Parson is in a REALLY bad position right now, he does still have options. And some of those options could result in what he has to shoot for... a Draw.

Eh? Parson can't go for a draw. If the battle reaches stalemate, then a good portion of his army dissolves in a few turns. Not good.

Anyway, aren't you guys taking this luck thing a little far? We barely know any of the actual combat rules of Erfworld, let alone how luckmancy actually works.

teratorn
2009-01-12, 08:38 PM
Winning a 59% die roll isn't a lot of luck. It's likely.


It's like playing Russian roulette with three empty and two full chambers.

headhoncho
2009-01-12, 08:55 PM
Anyway, aren't you guys taking this luck thing a little far? We barely know any of the actual combat rules of Erfworld, let alone how luckmancy actually works.

And this is exactly the problem. If a writer wants to have a world where everything works in a funky way, you either have to exposit and explain some of the funkiness, or you have to rely on a ton of suspension of disbelief. When you rely too much on suspension of disbelief for too long, when things just don't seem to make sense, it taxes the reader and eventually loses the reader.

You can't just say trust me. That doesn't work except for the absolutely most rabid and loyal fans. The average reader is likely to just give up in disgust.

Cpt. Sqweky
2009-01-12, 09:00 PM
You do realize that there's a third option, right? Assuming that the reader is smart enough to figure stuff out on his or her own without having to be led by the hand. You know, the way most good stories are told. (Or at least before Hollywood started assuming that everyone was as stupid as they were.) This may be a bit annoying for those too impatient to either try and figure it out on their own or just wait and see. But those people are losers anyway. Erm, I mean... If they can't wait, it's their loss and no one else's.

Hatu
2009-01-12, 09:08 PM
You do realize that there's a third option, right? Assuming that the reader is smart enough to figure stuff out on his or her own without having to be led by the hand. You know, the way most good stories are told. (Or at least before Hollywood started assuming that everyone was as stupid as they were.) This may be a bit annoying for those too impatient to either try and figure it out on their own or just wait and see. But those people are losers anyway. Erm, I mean... If they can't wait, it's their loss and no one else's.

In that case it would behoove Erfworld if the game mechanics were more consistent. At this point I have no idea how stack combat mechanics work, I'm fuzzy on movement, and the relative values of the various forces involved in a battle seem fluid at best.

I need some guidelines to work with if I must work all this out for myself. What I've seen is a lot of talk about how bad a situation is followed by that situation being swiftly and effortlessly resolved. Rules, when are mentioned, are honored mainly in the breach.

-H

quindraco
2009-01-12, 09:47 PM
And this is exactly the problem. If a writer wants to have a world where everything works in a funky way, you either have to exposit and explain some of the funkiness, or you have to rely on a ton of suspension of disbelief. When you rely too much on suspension of disbelief for too long, when things just don't seem to make sense, it taxes the reader and eventually loses the reader.

You can't just say trust me. That doesn't work except for the absolutely most rabid and loyal fans. The average reader is likely to just give up in disgust.

Tolkien never explained Gandalf.

I agree with you in principle, but for reasons I suspect differ from yours. ;) I flatly disagree that in general, a writer ALWAYS has to explain his funkiness. I think Gandalf had a couple ways to justify his mysteriousness. I agree that anything we see Parson do, in particular, absolutely must be explained to us, just like, to stick with my wizard example, by the time we saw him use his magic, Luke Skywalker's magic was fairly well explained.

For the case at hand - Erfworld - so long as we know everything Parson knows, I'm happy. The confusion we have is confusion he has, so it's sort of inherently realistic confusion. What I wouldn't mind is more klogs, which are Erf's version of internal monologues for Parson.

headhoncho
2009-01-12, 09:49 PM
You do realize that there's a third option, right? Assuming that the reader is smart enough to figure stuff out on his or her own without having to be led by the hand. You know, the way most good stories are told. (Or at least before Hollywood started assuming that everyone was as stupid as they were.) This may be a bit annoying for those too impatient to either try and figure it out on their own or just wait and see. But those people are losers anyway. Erm, I mean... If they can't wait, it's their loss and no one else's.

That's a major cop-out, I'm afraid, especially when a number of the critics have expressed themselves clearly and calmly. I would also note that show, not tell, only works when you're actually showing, and when the showing actually makes sense and is consistent.

Sorry my criticism of your beloved strip has caused you such upset that it has apparently led you to insult broad categories of people.

SteveMB
2009-01-12, 09:53 PM
As for the comic itself... Parson and his troops are in the dungeon. The Coalition is standing in the Courtyard.

Huh? From the last panel, they're standing between the two walls -- they still need to breach the inner wall to reach the courtyard section of the garrison.

teratorn
2009-01-12, 10:06 PM
That's a major cop-out, I'm afraid, especially when a number of the critics have expressed themselves clearly and calmly.

It's mostly becoming a sort of spam. All this complaining about Parson being inept and that the authors are doing a bad job is boring. I understand you're disappointed with the strip, I'm not.

Strangely enough it's clearly on topic for this particular strip, but it has been going for so long I can't keep interested in the discussion. This kind of arguing has been going since the donut of doom. I'm tired of it.

fendrin
2009-01-12, 10:52 PM
It's mostly becoming a sort of spam. All this complaining about Parson being inept and that the authors are doing a bad job is boring. I understand you're disappointed with the strip, I'm not.

Strangely enough it's clearly on topic for this particular strip, but it has been going for so long I can't keep interested in the discussion. This kind of arguing has been going since the donut of doom. I'm tired of it.

You know, I can't help but feel that most of the people complaining about Parson's failures would be much less successful if they were in his shoes.

I think we as a culture are too used to our heroes winning all the time. TV shows are serialized with the protagonist(s) winning at the end of almost every episode. Movies almost always end with the protagonist winning, even if there is some little bit at the end paving the way for a sequel. 'Genius' heroes win through dumb luck and the antagonists are almost always flat caricatures.

Erfworld is much better than that, but when people are used to drivel, quality becomes unpalatable.

Aquillion
2009-01-12, 11:22 PM
You can't just say trust me. That doesn't work except for the absolutely most rabid and loyal fans. The average reader is likely to just give up in disgust.Are you lumping everyone who disagrees with you on this into "the most rabid and loyal fans?"

headhoncho
2009-01-13, 12:04 AM
You know, I can't help but feel that most of the people complaining about Parson's failures would be much less successful if they were in his shoes.


Who says they'd be doing better? I think most of us agree that Parson is a great wargamer and WANT him to be doing better.

This is not a "Parson is so stupid" theme. This is a "Parson is getting hosed" theme.


Are you lumping everyone who disagrees with you on this into "the most rabid and loyal fans?"

Nope. Just the ones who seem offended that anyone could possibly take issue with this obviously perfect, incredibly consistent and wholly believable plot. The ones who insist there are no holes, and that persist in taking "trust me" time after time after time at face value while being incredulous that anyone else could possibly think differently, and believe that there's some kind of magic wand that will be waved to make all of the ongoing inconsistencies and dissatisfactions completely disappear.

OK, maybe the threshold's slightly lower than that, but that's the general mindset I'm talking about.

TamLin
2009-01-13, 05:26 AM
Two thoughts:

1. Personally, I couldn't care less about how the rules work or whether they're followed. I'm hard-pressed to come up with a less interesting element of the comic to discuss. Just my two cents.

2. If any of Parson's plans had worked 100%, the comic would probably be over by now.

MattR
2009-01-13, 06:27 AM
I feel the writers have been spot on when it comes to not revealing too much at once about the world, particularly when their protagonist is supposed to be learning things as he goes along.

Sidetracking to explain every rule would cause problems with pacing and the plot would lose momentum (the fact that new strips are posted slowly/infrequently is irrelevant since i believe the intentions of the writer and artist are that the whole story should be experienced in a much shorter period of time then we're accustomed to.)

It might help people take criticisms more seriously if they were outlined in more detail. Get to the specifics of what you don't like, rather then vaguely worded sweeping statements.

You can't divorce luck from combat engagements, this holds true whether its in the real world, tabletop games, rts games or erfworld. People provide that element of chance through freewill and their choices. In erfworld the majority of this comes from the decisions made by the chief warlord, warlords and casters.

teratorn
2009-01-13, 06:30 AM
2. If any of Parson's plans had worked 100%, the comic would probably be over by now.

That was my take at the donut of doom: there were many different paths Jillian could take, and in most she would not find the dwagons. In those stories Parson took out the siege and won easily. End of story. We're just following the one where she took the other path and the thing kept going. Same thing in this last arc, this was a scenario where Parson could have won. I'd rather think, «ok this could have finished here, but what if Ansom got lucky, could Parson still pull something else?».

Some people don't like it, no problem there, I just wish they wouldn't be nagging all the time with this being a flaw of the story and bad writing. It's one of the things which appeals to people like me and it bothers me the condescending tone of some posters implying that if I were a reasonable person with good taste I should «just give up in disgust.» It's been happening since day one and after 137 strips it's getting old.

SteveD
2009-01-13, 08:33 AM
Clearly you have no taste, tera. :P


Two thoughts:

1. Personally, I couldn't care less about how the rules work or whether they're followed. I'm hard-pressed to come up with a less interesting element of the comic to discuss. Just my two cents.

2. If any of Parson's plans had worked 100%, the comic would probably be over by now.

QFT.

Knowing every single unit stat and combat mechanic wouldn't make for a more interesting story. Unfortunately, given its posted on this particular site its what the audience craves.

SteveMB
2009-01-13, 09:51 AM
Knowing every single unit stat and combat mechanic wouldn't make for a more interesting story. Unfortunately, given its posted on this particular site its what the audience craves.

It'd be nice (and might happen eventually as the universe gets more developed), but isn't all that important as long as everything is internally consistent. (Not knowing all the rules makes it harder to tell whether it is internally consistent, hence some of the arguments that have cropped up lately. I just don't see any of the alleged problems, once the complications of action involving the side whose turn it is (Ansom), the side who owns the city and therefore doesn't need to expend Move to shift units within it (Parson), and the side that is neither of the above (Charlie) are sorted out.)

teratorn
2009-01-13, 10:19 AM
Knowing every single unit stat and combat mechanic wouldn't make for a more interesting story.

It makes sense for the first of a series of stories to show the rules as they are needed. It's easier for us to learn them if something failed spectacularly or some kind of exploit arrived because of them. But I get a little frustrated about not knowing the stats. I'd like to be able to anticipate the outcome of a fight between a dwagon and an archon. Heck, I'd like to know if Bogroll is a match for one of those cloth golems.

SteveD
2009-01-13, 11:05 AM
I get that too, but it seems lately that the more details the writers give the fans the more silly little things the fans find to complain about. I guess thats gaming geeks for you. :smallwink:

RinceBrush
2009-01-13, 11:29 AM
Good God people, it's a webcomic xDDDDD, it's something some guys are doing for pure entertainment and it's not meant to be some kind of masterwork of literature. I'm personally not a hardcore fan of this comic, but it's entertaining, the art is good and the comedy part is ok, so once in a while I drop by and read it. What I mean is those of you who were expecting Shakespeare either dedicate your time to read real, good literature that can satisfy your oh-so-developed tastes or demonstrate your profound knowledge of what's good literature by writing something and publishing it instead of playing the critic whose only pleasure in this life is ranting about how bad is other's people work.

Yes, the comic has failures, yes, it has holes and not everything is perfectly explained within a consistent set of game rules, thus giving the authors some freedom to take the story where they want. So what??

Seriously, some people in this forum are just one step away from your everyday Twoll xD.

headhoncho
2009-01-13, 12:11 PM
It might help people take criticisms more seriously if they were outlined in more detail. Get to the specifics of what you don't like, rather then vaguely worded sweeping statements.


They've been outlined ad nauseum in past commentary threads, and I'm well below the point where I would have even the slightest interest in dredging them back up (and I imagine most people, whether critics or supporters, would be happy about that).


Some people don't like it, no problem there, I just wish they wouldn't be nagging all the time with this being a flaw of the story and bad writing. It's one of the things which appeals to people like me and it bothers me the condescending tone of some posters implying that if I were a reasonable person with good taste I should «just give up in disgust.» It's been happening since day one and after 137 strips it's getting old.

I'm not at all saying anyone else SHOULD feel like this; I am merely expressing my view that *I* feel like this. It's a relevant point that a number of previously well-satisfied readers are becoming less so (some significantly), and if I were the authors, I'd want to know that. Personally, I find feedback on my own endeavors to be extremely helpful, and I don't typically find it threatening or a negative thing.

If you care enough to go back (and I can't imagine you do), there was a long stretch of time when I had nothing but effusive praise for this strip. I am not typically an overly negative person. It's probably a measure of how much I love this strip and its concept that explains why I'm so disappointed and frustrated right now.


Good God people, it's a webcomic xDDDDD, it's something some guys are doing for pure entertainment and it's not meant to be some kind of masterwork of literature...
Yes, the comic has failures, yes, it has holes and not everything is perfectly explained within a consistent set of game rules, thus giving the authors some freedom to take the story where they want. So what??
Seriously, some people in this forum are just one step away from your everyday Twoll xD.

It's being published and I wish the authors tremendous success with it, I hope they make a ton of money, because they deserve it for all the hard work they've put into this novel idea.

As for the rest of your rant, if you want to think people like me are trolls, feel free. You'd be completely wrong, but feel free.

Hint: hyperbole doesn't suit most arguments well. And I'm sorry if this disappoints you, but I'm not planning on going anywhere.

grumbleboom
2009-01-13, 12:14 PM
Huh? From the last panel, they're standing between the two walls -- they still need to breach the inner wall to reach the courtyard section of the garrison.

You are correct of course, but then the area where the fighting retreat occured would be considered part of the Outer Walls. The parade ground (the area we are discussing) is either Outer Walls or Courtyard. I'm going with the assumption that it is the Courtyard and not an extension of the Outer Wall zone. Sorry for not making myself clearer on that one.

DevilDan
2009-01-13, 12:15 PM
Given their track record, I'm perfectly happy to trust the creators and their judgment on when to reveal more rules and mechanics as the story progresses. I know I'd rather have them working on the story than on making up character sheets and appendices and charts, entertaining as those would be just by themselves.

And if the creators feel that they need to adjust the story then they can do so more easily if they haven't given us their rules wholesale: I'd rather they tell their story; the fewer constraints on them, the better.

(It just occurred to me that to really cheese off the rules lawyer here, the writer could eventually take a page (the first page, really) from OOTS and show a jump to a new edition of the rules in another chapter of the story. Wit the mature approach of Erfworld, that would really be interesting to observe.)

Lamech
2009-01-13, 01:18 PM
Given their track record, I'm perfectly happy to trust the creators and their judgment on when to reveal more rules and mechanics as the story progresses. I know I'd rather have them working on the story than on making up character sheets and appendices and charts, entertaining as those would be just by themselves.

And if the creators feel that they need to adjust the story then they can do so more easily if they haven't given us their rules wholesale: I'd rather they tell their story; the fewer constraints on them, the better.

(It just occurred to me that to really cheese off the rules lawyer here, the writer could eventually take a page (the first page, really) from OOTS and show a jump to a new edition of the rules in another chapter of the story. Wit the mature approach of Erfworld, that would really be interesting to observe.)
I think that having a good list of "rules" is a good idea. I would also have descriptions each unit's/unit-type's/person's ablities, both to keep internal consistancy AND help foreshadow. Ditto for what each school of magic can do. But I don't think it would be helpful to nail everything down... or stat everyone up.

The above is just what I think I would do; I have no idea what Rob has done, but I think that he has done a good job, with both the foreshadowing, and the consistancy.

DevilDan
2009-01-13, 01:28 PM
I think that having a good list of "rules" is a good idea. I would also have descriptions each unit's/unit-type's/person's ablities, both to keep internal consistancy AND help foreshadow. Ditto for what each school of magic can do. But I don't think it would be helpful to nail everything down... or stat everyone up.

The above is just what I think I would do; I have no idea what Rob has done, but I think that he has done a good job, with both the foreshadowing, and the consistancy.

Rob claims to have written out the rules extensively beforehand. They are useful for him to have; I don't feel like I need to know them in advance and am happy to learn them as the story progresses. As you say, he seems to be doing all right with consistency and using foreshadowing and arcs effectively.

Lamech
2009-01-13, 01:32 PM
Oh yeah, I don't feel the need to know the rules, and definitly not the stats of units in advance.

RinceBrush
2009-01-13, 01:48 PM
It's being published and I wish the authors tremendous success with it, I hope they make a ton of money, because they deserve it for all the hard work they've put into this novel idea.

As for the rest of your rant, if you want to think people like me are trolls, feel free. You'd be completely wrong, but feel free.

Hint: hyperbole doesn't suit most arguments well. And I'm sorry if this disappoints you, but I'm not planning on going anywhere.

Whatever, I'm not interested in arguing here, just to make clear my point:

1) It would be quite sad to wish this project to crash. I'm glad you have good wishes for the authors, though :D

2) I didn't say that people like you are trolling. Anyway, the reasons because someone takes the time to regularly write in the forum of a webcomic he doesn't like (I assume that when you say that given the path the comic is taking "the average reader is likely to just give up in disgust" that you, who I suppose are an average reader, don't quite like it.) are to me somewhat limited, and I can understand none of them.

3) You can repeat it with as much new convoluted and pretentious exppressions as you like, but the fact is that your point was made long ago, and the people likely to be convinced with your arguments already are, so it's pointless to keep dwelling on it.

I tried to keep to the facts as much as I could, hope you don't find it too hyperbolic :P.

headhoncho
2009-01-13, 02:22 PM
Whatever, I'm not interested in arguing here,

Uh-huh. Right.

This is a discussion forum. I hear that's what we do here, discuss things. And although it's the default tendency for any fan-forum, I also don't think an "amen chorus" is very helpful to anyone, since all that does is reinforce existing tendencies and habits that might otherwise be capable of improvement.

Obviously, YMMV.

dr pepper
2009-01-13, 02:25 PM
I think RinceBrush is saying that you have been playing to your own amen chorus.

headhoncho
2009-01-13, 02:53 PM
I think RinceBrush is saying that you have been playing to your own amen chorus.

It's not just me, and I've tried not to just rehash old stuff. There's usually enough new stuff to talk about when a new strip's posted.

Of course, some of the themes and parameters of the discussion will be familiar, but that's to be expected in a serial.

Good to see you around, by the way.

Lolindir
2009-01-13, 06:32 PM
I personally like that we don´t know everything. It keeps the element of surprise intact, we know what Parson knows (for the majority of the time) so we can think along, plus a story need a build up.

Having an actual game based of this comic would be awesome, but not before this project is finished. =)

SuperDuperHai2U
2009-01-13, 09:33 PM
It might be possible that shockamancy interferes with thinkamancy and temporarily severs Charlie's connections to his Archons? Pure speculations though.

dr pepper
2009-01-13, 10:22 PM
I already made that suggestion.

CaptC
2009-01-13, 11:36 PM
Two types of game players exist. The analytical player wants to play optimally, and thus wants to know the rules exactly. The dramatic player is playing a movie in his head as he plays the game. He isn't so much interested in the rules, or even winning or losing, as long as the result of the game makes for a satisfying conclusion.

When I demo a game at my game store, I NEVER explain the rules. That's because story trumps rules. If I explain the rules to someone who wants to hear a story, I lose them. But if I tell a story while I demo the game, the dramatic player is satisfied, and the analytical player gets a logic puzzle to solve: Given that story, what are the mechanics that let it happen?

BTW: I sell no video games at my store. It is all turn-based miniatures and board games. The ebb and flow of fortunes in this strip feel very familiar to me. On my turn, I will crush and tear and generally rampage around. You will do the same on your turn. The trick is, who's doing more relative damage?

IMHO, Parson's winning, but so far, not decisively. In every engagement, the losses Ansom takes are far more strategically important than Parson's losses.

Despite that, Ansom is being quite effective, in the same manner that General Grant was effective when facing General Lee. Lee had defeated all previous Union Generals because, simply, they gave up after Lee beat them once or twice on the battlefield. Lee ran RINGS around Grant tactically, and gave Grant a bloody nose in almost every battle. But Grant knew he had a huge material advantage, and simply didn't quit. Grant kept moving and taking horrible losses and advancing and taking huge losses and not quitting and taking horrifying losses until Lee suddenly didn't have anything left to fight with. Grant won the war despite losing almost all the battles.

Ansom might too. If he does, it's not because of "plot shields". It will be because Ansom simply, bloody-mindedly refused to accept defeat. And was willing to pay the butcher's bill.

Whispri
2009-01-14, 12:38 AM
Charlie being the Butcher.


Yes, because he can. Whatever Parson does Ansom can buy his way out of it. Without Charlie, Parson would have finished Ansom a long time ago.

To be fair, at the beginning of the campaign Ansom thought he would need no strategy, just brute force. He didn't expect any surprises from Stanley's side. Charlie was his way to compensate for the Parson factor, something that was completely unexpected.
And if they kept Ansom locked in a sad, sad little box, the RCC would be much more dangerous.

If he's counting on his enemy being stupid he's just asking for trouble. He may have realised the extreme danger now, but even if his 'No Hamster' mini-ranting self has, it's too late for thousands of his followers.


Keep in mind he doesn't know about the lookamancer link. He may have been betting on the element of surprise: Punch through the tunnels to the dungeon, grab Jillian, and punch out before Stanley gets the message of an attack. From this (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0092.html), it seems he's done similar things before.
Assuming that air units can enter the tunnels, he'd know about things like spotters. And if spotted, then he'd have to face every unit Stanley could throw at him, which included a lot of tunnel units. However...


If I would have to guess it would be a fient at Stanley and then rush for the dungeon. At which point they would run out the tunnels. Of course, doing so probably would have ended, really, really badly... air defenses Wanda's shockomancy, and her foolamancy. But they didn't know that.

Now an act of complete foolishness, that I can get behind.


I went over this elsewhere, but Ansom does have some important character attributes that have helped him come back from the things Parson has thrown at him.

First, and most importantly -- despite his pride, he is usually fairly quick to recognize when he's made a mistake, and to take whatever steps are necessary to deal with it, even if they're uncomfortable for him. He avoided Parson's initial ambush because he listened to Vinnie's advice that he was acting way too predictably where Jillian was concerned, and because he swallowed his pride and hired a common mercenary like Charlie. He escaped the Donut of Doom because he was willing to call in Jillian for help (well, sort of; there's more to that.) He overcame the catastrophic attack on the tunnels (which many of his allies saw as a game-ender) because he acted quickly and decisively in attacking the walls himself, not because of any random luck. He survived that attack because he recognized instantly what he'd gotten himself into, and agreed to Charlie's terms despite the cost (and the harm to his dignity) -- again, that's not random chance; for a proud character like Ansom, that's a fairly major achievement.

Second, he is confident and persistent. Twice already he's confronted situations (while in the Donut of Doom and after the attack on the tunnels) where those around him basically said things were over -- Vinnie advising him to abandon his stack and run or to make a desperate last stand, or Duke Nozzle about to walk away. Both times, he managed to take a third option and find a way to keep going, often by taking serious risks. This strategy does not always work for him -- he walked into the center hex of the donut of doom; he sent off an attack on Stanley that failed; he sent the troops under the city in the first place. But most people other than Ansom would never have gotten 'lucky', because they never would have taken those risks in the first place.

Third, he's (usually) very good at using the abilities of those around him. He avoids the initial ambush entirely because he listens to Vinnie, and he pays attention to Vinnie's advice when they're trapped in the Donut of Doom, too. He escapes the Donut of Doom because he makes good use of Jillian. He makes it past the catastrophe in the tunnels because he realizes what he has to do to keep the rest of the coalition on his side; and he survives that attack because he knows when to rely on Charlie. Most of these things (except, perhaps, Vinnie) grate on his pride to some extent, but he's still willing to swallow his pride and do it -- something that Stanley, for instance, never would. Stanley only listens to Wanda when she tricks him into it, would never consider using Charlie, prefers to do things himself, and couldn't keep a coalition together if it bit him on the ass. That's why, at the beginning of the strip, Ansom is winning and Stanley isn't.

Again, it doesn't always work (he relies on Webinar when he really shouldn't), but if he didn't rely on others to that extent he would have lost a long time ago.

Are there other factors? Sure. Ansom can't win an entire war solely on his own, no more than Parson can, and we were told at the very beginning of the strip that Ansom has better resources to rely on -- he knows the world, he has friends in the world, he has units and relationships and so forth. But to a great extent, these things (and the way Ansom makes use of them) are reflections of his personal character traits -- he didn't have to listen to Vinnie; he didn't have to hire Charlie; he didn't have to rely on Jillian (in all cases, other options technically existed, even if in Charlie's case at the most recent event it amounted to 'dither over his pride and die honorably'.) The fact that he recognizes when it is necessary to rely on others reflects well on him, and is one of the big reasons he's made it so far.
Couldn't be more pleased for you, but: As far as recognising his boop ups goes, he didn't even realise he was the target of the Dwagon trap until it was pointed out to him. Confidant and persistent? His hesitation last turn cost thousands of soldiers their lives. Using others? He sent Webinar to do a damn silly thing in a damn silly way despite his pleading and despite the Coalition Warlords. He made it past the resulting carnage because he screamed for Charlie after the price had gone up. And of course he didn't have to hit the Walls immediately, yes, the wiser heads in the RCC would have left at this point, but he'd still have a more powerful army than Parson's.

Take 'The Search', Jillian ditched Webinar when her best ranged units had 24+ move, and yet one of the Gwiffons would have had to be left in the donut, that means that pretty much any searching beyond heading straight for Ansom at the exact moment she did would have left the Dwagons beyond reach. 'The Search' if it had been properly carried out, would have presented Parson with a larger selection of potential targets on his next turn, nothing more. Fortunately for Ansom, Jillian ignored him.

The best thing the RCC could have done from the start is to have ignored Ansom completely. He's dependant on others to make things go right, and when left to his own devices, well... to be fair he's now fighting the best Warlord he's faced, but if the fliers hadn't been sent after Jillian, if he hadn't insisted on a halt last turn...


there's also a hint that wanda is more combat capable than most casters, (given her chosen school of 'mancy I'm not surprised since to be most effective you need her closer to the front to get corpses to raise) though I agree she can't be as effective a warrior as ansom
Why not? What's he done that's impressive? He's defeated healthy Dwagons with an Artifact boosted army backing him up, and wounded Dwagons... actually he just took down a couple of Warlords he could instadust according to Vinny. He took on the weakest sort of Uncroaked with a powerful Artifact that instadusts all but the strongest. He got beaten up by a girl and her toys. And then he briefly fought the weakest Uncroaked again before running away. Not the best of resumes all things considered.


The thousands of undead were specifically described as the weakest sort there is, since they were mass-revived. And Ansom had a weapon that turned them to dust on touch, and could fly. The fact that Parson lined up all the uncroaked on the walls like that rather than saving them for a surprise makes it pretty clear they were as much a psychological ploy as they were a military one.

Ansom might actually have been luckier to fall elsewhere, really. He's a combat-oriented warlord with royal blood (which increases stats), likely very high level. He can probably take several orders of magnitude more punishment than a frail caster like Wanda (remember, even Jack, a world-class caster, had half the hitpoints of a basic, generic garrison twoll. Casters seem to be very much made of glass in the Erfworld universe; the fact that Wanda was hurt by a fall doesn't mean that it would be more than a minor annoyance to Ansom.) Ansom's shrugging off that fall was a matter of him being tough, not a matter of him being lucky. Meanwhile, falling onto the wall put him in immediate danger of being overwhelmed by the number of enemies there.

Likewise, the fact that Wanda was able to disarm and dismount him so swiftly was, itself, luck working against him -- he's a very combat-capable unit, after all, so it can't be that simple most of the time. (She seems to have had some trick for one or the other, but not both.)
The Wall is only as strong as the number of troops standing on it. And there are thousands of the least uncroaked.

That's a guess, we've no idea what his stats are. In fact, we've only seen the stats of two units and have no idea what they represent. Take this (http://dwarfstar.brainiac.com/ds_goblin.html) old game, in that one, attack is better when it's a high value, but defence is better when it's low. And what level is Bogroll? How is Casting ability measured and earned? These are things we do not know.

He lost to someone who knows what she's doing, same as with the Tunnels.

Fjolnir
2009-01-14, 01:00 AM
to whisp: I'm just talking straight level VS level, in melee combat the battle is generally skewed to the person with the better fighting ability and casters are generally squishy (in fact it's implied they are since nobody wants to "risk them" near the front lines)

Jural
2009-01-14, 02:44 AM
So... is shockamancy related to electricity or surprise? Heh!

Probably electricity, if only because Foolamancy and Shockamancy would be pretty darn similar otherwise... but not necessarily identical.

Whispri
2009-01-14, 03:27 AM
to whisp: I'm just talking straight level VS level, in melee combat the battle is generally skewed to the person with the better fighting ability and casters are generally squishy (in fact it's implied they are since nobody wants to "risk them" near the front lines)
Valuable isn't necessarily the same thing as vulnerable. For example, during the First World War, the Prince of Wales was too valuable to risk being captured, and it wasn't 'cause he was extra squishy.

Six hits could be the standard across the board allowance for Erf people.

DevilDan
2009-01-14, 03:48 AM
I do agree that casters probably are easier to stabbity-chop-chop than warlords, but the point is that casters don't derive their value from being in-hex or in-stack. Casters can be quite valuable--perhaps even more strategically valuable, as well--if they stay at home. Warlords have no other value except in the field.

kreszantas
2009-01-14, 04:50 AM
Totally Agree DevilDan, that is why the off-the-cuff remark made by Stanley of just sending Parson into the field carries more meaning... before Wanda made Stanley forget about that if only for 20 seconds (lolz).

fendrin
2009-01-14, 09:27 AM
Assuming that air units can enter the tunnels, he'd know about things like spotters. And if spotted, then he'd have to face every unit Stanley could throw at him, which included a lot of tunnel units.

The only restriction on the tunnels is only light units (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0109.html). We have no evidence that any of the fliers are heavies.

I presume he was using the fliers to avoid terrain issues & fights with ground-based enemies. As for spotters, they would be relaying messages while Ansom was moving through the tunnels/dungeon. In-city move is free for defenders, but not instantaneous. It is conceivable that Ansom could have found Jillian and been on his way out by the time Parson/Stanley found out, at which point it would be a race to the hex boundary, which the defenders cannot cross.

SteveD
2009-01-14, 10:20 AM
I do agree that casters probably are easier to stabbity-chop-chop than warlords, but the point is that casters don't derive their value from being in-hex or in-stack. Casters can be quite valuable--perhaps even more strategically valuable, as well--if they stay at home. Warlords have no other value except in the field.

Not strictly true. We know Uncroaked get a huge bonus from being lead by a Croakmancer. I'd guess the crap gollums would get a good bonus from being lead by a dirtmancer too. To veil troops the caster needs to be in-hex, and likely to cast distractions (we've already seen how powerful those can be).

grumbleboom
2009-01-14, 11:32 AM
Just realized that the combat mechanics in this game remind me of Heroes of Might and Magic 3. Each overworld hex was just a hex when you moved but it contained a large battlefield that you could move around in when combat started. It allowed the game to have a huge overland and underground maps, but still have tactics in the battles.

DevilDan
2009-01-14, 11:39 AM
Not strictly true. We know Uncroaked get a huge bonus from being lead by a Croakmancer. I'd guess the crap gollums would get a good bonus from being lead by a dirtmancer too. To veil troops the caster needs to be in-hex, and likely to cast distractions (we've already seen how powerful those can be).

I suppose I should have said that they don't derive their value solely on the front lines; I assume the relative value can vary from caster type to caster type, which is why I wrote that they could also be of value or perhaps even of greater value away from the battle.

SteveMB
2009-01-14, 11:54 AM
The only restriction on the tunnels is only light units (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0109.html). We have no evidence that any of the fliers are heavies.

I presume he was using the fliers to avoid terrain issues & fights with ground-based enemies. As for spotters, they would be relaying messages while Ansom was moving through the tunnels/dungeon. In-city move is free for defenders, but not instantaneous. It is conceivable that Ansom could have found Jillian and been on his way out by the time Parson/Stanley found out, at which point it would be a race to the hex boundary, which the defenders cannot cross.

Of course, if the Eyemancer setup existed at the time, that would be what Ansom thought was happening -- what was actually happening is that Stanley's side was either deliberately letting the "rescue" succeed (implied by Stanley's comment about "giving her up again" (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0045.html) -- emphasis added) or else plotting an ambush that didn't come off properly (perhaps because they deployed their forces incorrectly on their own turn and thus weren't able to properly spring the trap when Ansom swooped in to the rescue on his turn).

fendrin
2009-01-14, 03:44 PM
Of course, if the Eyemancer setup existed at the time, that would be what Ansom thought was happening -- what was actually happening is that Stanley's side was either deliberately letting the "rescue" succeed (implied by Stanley's comment about "giving her up again" (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0045.html) -- emphasis added) or else plotting an ambush that didn't come off properly (perhaps because they deployed their forces incorrectly on their own turn and thus weren't able to properly spring the trap when Ansom swooped in to the rescue on his turn).

Of course, Stanley could simply be rationalizing losing her in the first place. Given Wanda Jillian's relationship though, I have no doubt that Wanda convinced Stanley to let her go (or keep her prisoner in a city that was about to fall anyway).

DevilDan
2009-01-14, 04:00 PM
Of course, Stanley could simply be rationalizing losing her in the first place. Given Wanda Jillian's relationship though, I have no doubt that Wanda convinced Stanley to let her go (or keep her prisoner in a city that was about to fall anyway).

Probably. There certainly seems to be no reason to not execute a warlord, particularly a barbarian, once the interrogation is concluded.

koima
2009-01-14, 06:33 PM
I think that this strip is a reaction to all the complaining that's been happening on these boards. Parson's anger is actually Rob Balder's rage at us for nitpicking every detail while missing the point entirely. For Parson, the point is that a 'perfect warlord' can still lose. For Rob, the point is that an imperfect web comic can still be enjoyable. Parson's speech could be redrawn with Rob as the protagonist and would sound something like:

Us-Wanda: "You are not the perfect writer. Your stories... d-don't make sense."
Us-Maggie: "Mm."
Us-Sizemoe: "That is true, writer."

Balder-Parson: "Holy crap, guys! Stories don't make sense, if they did they'd be news or histoy. 'Perfect plot' does not mean that everything makes sense, that everything turns out the way you thought it would.

Look, you've taught me a lot, so let me teach you somethin, 'k? This is storytelling:

First... you have an idea in your head.

Then, you think up stories in support of that idea.

Then you do the best you can to tell the story, however you can, without messing things up in the translation from head to page.

You've got characters, climaxes, foreshadowing... lotta the time you respond to the work as it evolves, a mispaelled wurd might inspire a new direction you hadn't thought of, but you can't control how the audience will perceive the finished piece, you can't please everyone all the time. Sometimes they'll like it, sometimes, not as much, but you keep writing.

You have an idea. Okay?

But sometimes the audience doesn't like it or get it.

So the trick is to keep writing and hope someone enjoys it. Which is why some people read this comic and others don't. Now what is our goal here?"

Us-Wanda: "T-to kill time."

Balder-Parson: "Close. It's to enjoy the time we're killing. The objectives in support of the goal are, in order of importance: mastery of craft, empathy with characters, suspension of belief.

The web comic is a great way to get yourself out there, but it's not perfect. I'm doing my best as is Jamie. Sometimes you'll like it, sometimes you won't, but so long as you keep reading it means the good outweighs whatever deficiencies you have so shut up and enjoy the ride."

I for one like this comic, whatever problems it may or may not have and will keep reading it so long as this continues, I'm sure you'll do the same.

fendrin
2009-01-14, 07:55 PM
Parson's speech could be redrawn with Rob as the protagonist and would sound something like <snip>

That made me laugh, but I think your premise is false.
Parson giving this speech, at this point in the story, makes sense.
He's been able to get by without full trust from his subordinates, but now that it's the 11th hour, he needs them to trust in him and above all, not give up.

Whispri
2009-01-15, 02:55 AM
The only restriction on the tunnels is only light units (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0109.html). We have no evidence that any of the fliers are heavies.

I presume he was using the fliers to avoid terrain issues & fights with ground-based enemies. As for spotters, they would be relaying messages while Ansom was moving through the tunnels/dungeon. In-city move is free for defenders, but not instantaneous. It is conceivable that Ansom could have found Jillian and been on his way out by the time Parson/Stanley found out, at which point it would be a race to the hex boundary, which the defenders cannot cross.
Nor do we have evidence that any of the fliers are lights. Indeed, some have been seen engulfing Dwagon's heads and killing heavies in one bite. But for the sake of argument blah, blah, blah.

For a start they'd be spotted long before they entered the tunnels, Parson was told the column was in sight the turn before it reached the City. For a second, any units in the courtyard can march straight down. For a third, Ansom was expecting the Gobwins to be in the Tunnels and Ansom can't hit the Dungeons without complete control of those Tunnels. For a fourth, the Gobwins, who are mostly first level, have a tunnel fighting bonus that is strong enough to allow them to overwhelm Jetstone's finest soldiers. For a fifth the Knights were sent down to help a fight that had started in the Tunnels with Warlords and Caster in sight of each other, they could reach the Dungeons even more swiftly.

And even if Ansom could reach the Dungeons and Jillian before Stanley countered, how much move do those fliers have? Will they be able to escape the Dungeons? The Tunnels? If not in either case, they have to fight the entire Garrison. If they can, they're left a short distance from Gobwin's Knob, about to be attacked by every Dwagon Stanley commands with no time to heal after hitting the Dungeons. Unless you're expecting the Laws of Time and Space to be somehow Warped in Ansom's favour, you are speaking of a plan from the 'We're too lucky to die' school of thought. Of course Ansom being a Nitwit explains everything quite neatly.

datalaughing
2009-01-15, 03:50 AM
Well, now that we've seen Wanda's private magic stash, I realize that we've seen it before (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0030.html). I wonder what kind of magic she's using there. The container is orange, just like the one Sizemore is holding up in the most recent page. So it's probably one of the ones he listed. Sort of doubting it's Healomancy. I'd say Foolamancy is also unlikely. As is Thinkamancy. So, perhaps we've already seen a little bit of Shockamancy at work?

SteveMB
2009-01-15, 06:06 AM
Well, now that we've seen Wanda's private magic stash, I realize that we've seen it before (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0030.html). I wonder what kind of magic she's using there. The container is orange, just like the one Sizemore is holding up in the most recent page. So it's probably one of the ones he listed. Sort of doubting it's Healomancy. I'd say Foolamancy is also unlikely. As is Thinkamancy. So, perhaps we've already seen a little bit of Shockamancy at work?

Why do you think Thinkamancy is unlikely? The most straightforward interpretation is that this is the casting of the "suggestion spell" that is referenced later (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0093.html).

Whispri
2009-01-15, 06:57 AM
Why do you think Thinkamancy is unlikely? The most straightforward interpretation is that this is the casting of the "suggestion spell" that is referenced later (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0093.html).

The Colour of the Magic, both the Thinkagrams and the only other spell cast by a Thinkamancer have been Blue (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0116.html). The Dungeon spell (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0030.html) on the other hand...

Xiander
2009-01-15, 08:00 AM
The Colour of the Magic, both the Thinkagrams and the only other spell cast by a Thinkamancer have been Blue (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0116.html). The Dungeon spell (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0030.html) on the other hand...

And where does it state that school of magic and colour of the light produced when a spell is cast are linked in some way? I'm not saying they are not, just noting we have no proof that they are.

Whispri
2009-01-15, 08:30 AM
And where does it state that school of magic and colour of the light produced when a spell is cast are linked in some way? I'm not saying they are not, just noting we have no proof that they are.

It's hasn't been said as far as I'm aware, but no two magic types seem to have used the same colour and they don't appear to vary the colour in question. It's been blue for Thinkamancy, pink for Croakamancy (before anyone says 'but look at the glowing Archons', note the way the Uncroaked Archon glowed Croakamancy pink after being raised, the natural magic that floats them is likely tinted by their other magic), the spell in the dungeon being different from either.

Sizemore's magic might be a wossname in the the thingy, but even there his spade definitely glowed the same colour as the magic he used to heal the Golem. And Thinkamancy has always been blue.

koima
2009-01-15, 11:35 AM
Parson giving this speech, at this point in the story, makes sense.
He's been able to get by without full trust from his subordinates, but now that it's the 11th hour, he needs them to trust in him and above all, not give up.


I agree. I also think Rob is such an excellent story teller that he can jib his fictional characters while (secretly) jabbing us.

Am I reaching? Maybe. But I sensed definite passion in Parson's speech and not the cool twice-removed storytelling I'm used to.

fendrin
2009-01-15, 12:10 PM
I agree. I also think Rob is such an excellent story teller that he can jib his fictional characters while (secretly) jabbing us.

Am I reaching? Maybe. But I sensed definite passion in Parson's speech and not the cool twice-removed storytelling I'm used to.

Ah, but Parson is being passionate in a way he hasn't been yet. The transition from detached to engaged is also perfectly timed in the story. It parallels his transition from leading from the rear to leading from the front.

koima
2009-01-15, 12:39 PM
[QUOTE=fendrin;5645158The transition from detached to engaged is also perfectly timed in the story.[/QUOTE]

Agreed. Is this further evidence of Rob's ability to tell a great story greatly while laying the smack down on his detractors?

fendrin
2009-01-15, 01:39 PM
Agreed. Is this further evidence of Rob's ability to tell a great story greatly while laying the smack down on his detractors?

I suppose it could be taken that way, but I would say not.
The kvetching has been going on a long time. I don't think it's really gotten significantly worse enough recently to push Rob to add a previously unplanned page.

That and the way this page fits perfectly with flow of the story lead me to believe that this was part of the originally planned comic.

datalaughing
2009-01-15, 02:18 PM
Why do you think Thinkamancy is unlikely? The most straightforward interpretation is that this is the casting of the "suggestion spell" that is referenced later (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0093.html).

Jillian has been in GK's dungeon before, and I always felt like the suggestion spell was already in place before this particular visit, but it's entirely possible, even if it was in place before, that Wanda is using Thinkamancy there to manipulate Jillian through that same spell. So it could definitely be Thinkamancy.

SteveMB
2009-01-15, 02:26 PM
Jillian has been in GK's dungeon before, and I always felt like the suggestion spell was already in place before this particular visit, but it's entirely possible, even if it was in place before, that Wanda is using Thinkamancy there to manipulate Jillian through that same spell. So it could definitely be Thinkamancy.

Wanda's "very hard way" (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0030.html) comment at the time and Jillian's later "You went too far" (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0104.html) declaration give me the impression that this was a new escalation.

fendrin
2009-01-15, 02:38 PM
Wanda's "very hard way" (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0030.html) comment at the time and Jillian's later "You went too far" (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0104.html) declaration give me the impression that this was a new escalation.

The 'very hard way' could refer to anything extreme (such as the use of magic instead of just whips and such); Jillian's reaction was predicated not by the spell, but by the spell being revealed to her.

Of course I haven't given up on the extremely unlikely but possible idea that Wanda never cast a mind-control spell on Jillian. I'm stubborn like that. :smallredface:

Anon-a-mouse
2009-01-15, 02:59 PM
Some people seem not to understand the point of Parson's speech. A strategy does not need to guarantee victory to qualify as 'perfect'. A perfect strategy is simply whatever strategy gives the greatest chance of success.
If there are three possible options one of which gives a 1% chance of success, another of which gives a 3% chance of success and another which gives a 7% chance of success, a perfect strategist is anyone who would, given sufficient information, select the 7% option.
In fact in some games (like the 'coin game' if you get the wrong turn) a perfect strategist would lose.

When Parson joined up, Stanley was almost certain to be defeated. If Parson's strategy with the dragons had worked Ansom could not have assaulted the walls. He would have had to either attack the tunnels (and we saw how that worked out) or attack from the air against all the dragons. A stalemate would have been the most likely outcome. You can only judge the quality of a decision by the information available when the decision was made. The possibilty of forcing a stalemate when defeat was the most likely outcome was the right choice.

Parson's plan to defend the walls only failed when Ansom enlisted Charlie's help at such a great cost that Ansom hesitated to sign even when his life depended on it.

Parson has come close to victory against impossible odds twice. To suggest that he isn't the perfect warlord because he hasn't come up with strategy which guarantees victory means that either you don't understand the concept of 'perfect strategy', or that you are under the impression that there is some option available to Parson which would guarantee victory.

Lamech
2009-01-15, 03:11 PM
I suppose it could be taken that way, but I would say not.
The kvetching has been going on a long time. I don't think it's really gotten significantly worse enough recently to push Rob to add a previously unplanned page.

That and the way this page fits perfectly with flow of the story lead me to believe that this was part of the originally planned comic.
I do believe we have one theory that needs considering. Rob is pyschic and predicted the bashing, so planned to have this fit into the flow of the story. :smalltongue:

DevilDan
2009-01-15, 03:15 PM
Some people seem not to understand the point of Parson's speech. A strategy does not need to guarantee victory to qualify as 'perfect'. A perfect strategy is simply whatever strategy gives the greatest chance of success.

That would make it an optimal strategy, which just goes to underscore two things: 1) there ain't no such animal as a "perfect" anything, and 2) no plan survives the first contact with the enemy.

koima
2009-01-15, 03:31 PM
I do believe we have one theory that needs considering. Rob is pyschic and predicted the bashing, so planned to have this fit into the flow of the story. :smalltongue:

I wouldn't doubt it, he has so many projects and has been at it so long that predicting disgruntled fans would be easy.

headhoncho
2009-01-15, 03:34 PM
Wanda's "very hard way" (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0030.html) comment at the time and Jillian's later "You went too far" (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0104.html) declaration give me the impression that this was a new escalation.

That's my impression as well. New strip will be posted any time now, I bet. Can't wait!


I wouldn't doubt it, he has so many projects and has been at it so long that predicting disgruntled fans would be easy.

Based on what I've perceived, I would bet that Rob is a lot less sensitive and a lot more receptive to feedback (even critical feedback, so long as it's constructive) than some of his fans.

HandofShadows
2009-01-15, 03:41 PM
Wanda's "very hard way" (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0030.html) comment at the time and Jillian's later "You went too far" (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0104.html) declaration give me the impression that this was a new escalation.

A very good observation (One that I made as well). It really sounds as if Wanda pushed Jillian out of her "safe zone" by controling her with the spell. Wanda taking contol in the dungeon is part of the game, but not outside it. Even if Jillian did like it, it was to far for her to go.

Doomduckie
2009-01-15, 04:28 PM
A very good observation (One that I made as well). It really sounds as if Wanda pushed Jillian out of her "safe zone" by controling her with the spell. Wanda taking contol in the dungeon is part of the game, but not outside it. Even if Jillian did like it, it was to far for her to go.

That has to be true- there's a time and place for stuff like that, and Mind Control explicitly makes it 'all the time' and- something most people wouldn't notice- it removes the ability to have a Safe Word (something which I'm sure they had simply because like a hilt on a sword it's the most obvious solution to problems that arise).

Safe Words are Serious Business in a situation like that, so I could understand why she'd be angry and taking some alone time. And of course Wanda's completely incapable of seeing what she did wrong due to being a bit thick about these things, because she has trouble separating the game from reality.

That said I'm sure that things will turn out all right for Wanda since Ansom's a jerk and Jillian will figure that out eventually. :smallredface:

fendrin
2009-01-15, 04:59 PM
That has to be true- there's a time and place for stuff like that, and Mind Control explicitly makes it 'all the time' and- something most people wouldn't notice- it removes the ability to have a Safe Word (something which I'm sure they had simply because like a hilt on a sword it's the most obvious solution to problems that arise).

The spell doesn't work like that (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0045.html). It's more akin to the effects you would expect from being deeply in love than the effects of 'mind control'. That's why I'm still not convinced (though I realize that I, like the cheese, stand alone on this) that there ever really was a suggestion spell on Jillian.


Safe Words are Serious Business in a situation like that, so I could understand why she'd be angry and taking some alone time. And of course Wanda's completely incapable of seeing what she did wrong due to being a bit thick about these things, because she has trouble separating the game from reality.

You are making the assumption that they were smart about their play.
It wouldn't surprise me if they weren't.

I have a feeling (no real evidence, though) that the relationship developed after the fall of Faq, which means they've only played the few times Jillian has been captured (often enough to be commented enough, not enough to keep Ansom from trusting her). It also means that the line between torture/interrogation and play is less sharply defined than is healthy...


That said I'm sure that things will turn out all right for Wanda since Ansom's a jerk and Jillian will figure that out eventually. :smallredface: I suspect that one or the other of them (hopefully Ansom) will croak before she comes to that conclusion.

SteveMB
2009-01-15, 05:07 PM
I have a feeling (no real evidence, though) that the relationship developed after the fall of Faq

That is an interesting question for which we don't have any evidence either way. I could see the relationship developing before the fall of Faq -- choosing to be submissive to a subject could be a form of rebellion against Jillian's unwanted status as royal heir....