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CelebrenIthil
2009-01-16, 02:57 PM
Heyas.
I'm starting this topic because I've noticed by reading around that pretty much everyone seems rock-hard certain Wanda would attune to the Arkenpliers given the chance for her to get them and all that.
But, has far as I know, the Arkenpliers only known power is to smite to undead to smithereens, and Wanda's main school of magic is Croakamancy, therefore quite the opposite.

Now I know Wanda is proeficient at much more than Croakamancy, and there isn't information about schools of magic being in opposite to each other and the such in the story so far... but the Arkenpliers don't strike me has being a weapon designed for Wanda really much.
For a powerful Uncroaker, having the power to destroy Uncroaked while there seems to be pretty much none other Uncroakers around to fight her... seems useless.
Maybe the pliers would radically change power/ pop new additionnal powers when attuning to Wanda/someone else but we don't know at all how the process works.

There, so what I'd like to hear, from you people that believe the Arkenpliers are destined to Wanda, is what hints/proofs/hunches you do have to back that theory up.
I'm quite curious because so far I've seen nobody explain why they thought such a thing.
Maybe there are signs I haven't seen, you might end up convincing me too.
But let's hear it, if you may!

DevilDan
2009-01-16, 03:07 PM
You may find this thread of interest: Wanda and the Arkenpliers (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=98339)

SteveMB
2009-01-16, 03:11 PM
Heyas.
I'm starting this topic because I've noticed by reading around that pretty much everyone seems rock-hard certain Wanda would attune to the Arkenpliers given the chance for her to get them and all that.

There was an earlier speculation thread on the subject, but IIRC it quickly drifted off-topic. Getting back to the subject...

Wanda's invitation/dare/plea to Ansom to "Touch me with them" (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0135.html) is interesting in this regard. Some people interpreted it as Wanda giving in to despair and urging Ansom to finish her off, but the wording doesn't seem right for that -- I'd expect something more like "Strike me with them" if that's what she meant. Another possibility is that she believes that she would attune to the Arkenpliers if given a chance -- or perhaps did attune to them sometime in the past but lost them somehow.

HandofShadows
2009-01-16, 03:32 PM
Another possibility is that she believes that she would attune to the Arkenpliers if given a chance -- or perhaps did attune to them sometime in the past but lost them somehow.

Or they where taken from her. Now I wonder who would do that? The person that has them now maybe? :smallmad: I totally agree with the Arkenpliers being attuned to Wanda already, which is why Ansom can't use them.

DevilDan
2009-01-16, 03:53 PM
Or they where taken from her. Now I wonder who would do that? The person that has them now maybe? :smallmad: I totally agree with the Arkenpliers being attuned to Wanda already, which is why Ansom can't use them.

If Ansom somehow managed to take them from Wanda and did not croak her, then why does he express surprise at her effect on the 'pliers here (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0133.html)? (If that is in fact what his line is meant to indicate, that something interfered with the arkentool.)

CelebrenIthil
2009-01-16, 04:25 PM
Thanks for the link DevilDan!
The Wanda tools, Stanley tools and Charlie Dish being real life companies and such is very amusing to know. Now, I'm wondering, are the writers of erfworld really that subtile or is it just the amazing power of wild mass guessing in all it's glory? Hmmm...

Anyhows, as for Steve, I don't think she'd need to say "strike" to mean "try and kill me with them". The mere touch of the pliers on undead makes them crumble to dust so one could expect that poking an Uncroaker with them might harm them good.

Also considering her words "it's nothing compare to what you've taken from me" (I know it's not what she actually said but I can't go look up the actual quotation because my internet is booping up and can't seem be able to open another window besides this one) and the fact she is the last of the extinc Croatan tribe, in the case the events being related and it's Ansom's fault, it just sounds like pure hate coming out. "Just you try to touch me with them, like you did with the others. And don't miss me or else I'll be there to get you." y'know, that kind of boastful comments you do before being killed.
But let's stop my own wild guessing here.

Also, considering Ansom's and Wanda's reactions in the fight, and the lastest implements of the story, I quite doubt Wanda was attuned to the pliers beforehand, or at least, not that Ansom stolen them directly from her.
He'd be a little more like "Hey haren't you the chick I stole the pliers from that I also didn't kill when I did?" when facing her otherwise, no?
He also did try to slash the pliers at her face (only to be blocked by her staff) so if he really knew and feared she's get attuned by touching her, I believe he might have acted otherwise. Now, being not a totally evil guy, having some crippled (female) ennemy on the ground asking him hatefuly to finish them (also considering the mysterious "what you stolen from me" comment) might have stopped him in his tracks with a bit of remorse, hence he's hesitating to poke her with the pliers.

Also, with Warlord Parson asking everyone to spill out any information that might help them with the fight, I think Wanda would somehow tell him if she knows she is attuned to the pliers.

On another hand, you've given me a lot to think about, thank you!

#94
2009-01-17, 03:23 AM
The logic behind the Pliars/Croakamancy link seems to be that the Pliars bestow some power over the undead.


"you go paf" technically is a form of control. if a little heavy handed and direct.

Capt'n Ironbrow
2009-01-17, 08:04 AM
In some rpg's a Necromancer (croakamancer) has both the power to make and to break undead, like in warhammer roleplay ed. 1. the Necromantic spells included both Raise dead and destroy undead spells.

Whispri
2009-01-17, 08:40 AM
If Ansom somehow managed to take them from Wanda and did not croak her, then why does he express surprise at her effect on the 'pliers here (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0133.html)? (If that is in fact what his line is meant to indicate, that something interfered with the arkentool.)
According to Jillian the Croatan were a peaceful Tribe, Wanda would have no reason to walk around armed as Ansom does. Indeed, the Arkenpliers could well have spent most of their time lounging around in a Temple. All it then takes is for Wanda to be in one of the other Cities at the time of the raid. On top of this, panicked Thinkagrams being sent suggest panicked orders (Ansom having stolen the Arkenpliers pretty much requires him to be the destroyer of FAQ, and that Jillian came pre-ensorcelled).

DevilDan
2009-01-17, 02:43 PM
According to Jillian the Croatan were a peaceful Tribe, Wanda would have no reason to walk around armed as Ansom does. Indeed, the Arkenpliers could well have spent most of their time lounging around in a Temple. All it then takes is for Wanda to be in one of the other Cities at the time of the raid. On top of this, panicked Thinkagrams being sent suggest panicked orders (Ansom having stolen the Arkenpliers pretty much requires him to be the destroyer of FAQ, and that Jillian came pre-ensorcelled).

You mean that Faq was a peaceful, "utopian" kingdom, right? I don't believe a single word has been said about Croatan.

Ansom has been suggested by some as the real conqueror of Faq. It's possible. I don't see how that necessarily requires Jillian to be under any specific spell assuming that he conquered Faq while Jillian was away--this would perhaps be needed if Jillian did indeed know that Faq had the 'pliers. This would also require the existence of a spell that modifies memories. That means that Wanda and Jack managed to escape somehow, which is possible: the magic kingdom is one option.

Eisen
2009-01-17, 02:44 PM
According to Jillian the Croatan were a peaceful Tribe, Wanda would have no reason to walk around armed as Ansom does. Indeed, the Arkenpliers could well have spent most of their time lounging around in a Temple. All it then takes is for Wanda to be in one of the other Cities at the time of the raid. On top of this, panicked Thinkagrams being sent suggest panicked orders (Ansom having stolen the Arkenpliers pretty much requires him to be the destroyer of FAQ, and that Jillian came pre-ensorcelled).

So, you bring up a good point. FAQ was a peaceful place.

Which always makes me wonder. Why the bloody boopl was Wanda there?

Also, a correction. Wanda's from the Croatans, and she was alied/working for/part of FAQ, but never has it been explicitly stated that the people of FaQ are, in fact, the Croatan.

I am interested in the implications of what you say about Ansom being responsible for FAQ being destroyed. It beings a few crackbrained theories to mind (like why Ansom is so hyper about killing Stanley. Even the "He's not really royal" bit seems too weak)

DevilDan
2009-01-17, 02:47 PM
According to Jillian the Croatan were a peaceful Tribe, Wanda would have no reason to walk around armed as Ansom does. Indeed, the Arkenpliers could well have spent most of their time lounging around in a Temple. All it then takes is for Wanda to be in one of the other Cities at the time of the raid. On top of this, panicked Thinkagrams being sent suggest panicked orders (Ansom having stolen the Arkenpliers pretty much requires him to be the destroyer of FAQ, and that Jillian came pre-ensorcelled).

You mean that Faq was a peaceful, "utopian" kingdom, right? I don't believe a single word has been said about Croatan.

Ansom has been suggested by some as the real conqueror of Faq. It's possible. I don't see how that necessarily requires Jillian to be under any specific spell assuming that he conquered Faq while Jillian was away--this would perhaps be needed if Jillian did indeed know that Faq had the 'pliers. This would also require the existence of a spell that modifies memories. That means that Wanda and Jack managed to escape somehow, which is possible: the magic kingdom is one option.

Wanda had every reason to reveal to Jillian that Ansom was the true villain, but somehow chose not to.

HandofShadows
2009-01-17, 03:08 PM
You mean that Faq was a peaceful, "utopian" kingdom, right? I don't believe a single word has been said about Croatan.

The people of Faq by all indications where the Croatans. As pointed out in another thread, the only people we have seen with "normal" eyes (they have a white of the the eye) have come from Faq. Jack, Jillian and Wanda.



Ansom has been suggested by some as the real conqueror of Faq. It's possible. I don't see how that necessarily requires Jillian to be under any specific spell assuming that he conquered Faq while Jillian was away--this would perhaps be needed if Jillian did indeed know that Faq had the 'pliers. This would also require the existence of a spell that modifies memories. That means that Wanda and Jack managed to escape somehow, which is possible: the magic kingdom is one option.

With Jillian gone most of the time she may well not have know of the arkenpliers being in Faq (they found them just a short time before Faq got wiped?) We have seen evidence of magic that alters a persons memories. Wanda used it on the guard outside the torture chamber so that he would forget Jillan and Wanda's girl talk. As for Jillian being "pre-spelled" I can see that happening, but not because of Faq. As for Wanda not telling Jillian about Ansom being the bad guy, that is a very good question. There may be something preventing Wanda from doing it, or she has already tried and Jillian cannot accept/belive it. She has a spell on her?

Eisen
2009-01-17, 03:20 PM
Someone brought this up in another thread, and I just turned my whole thoughts on Wanda and the pliers around. I really think she IS the one they attune to.

1) They are have a connection to UnCroaking. even if it's just destroying them.
2) During the fight with Ansom, Wanda somehow neutralizes the pliers, if even temporarily. Note The first panel Here (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0133.html). She does something that holds the pliers at bay long enough for her Uncroaked to disarm and dismount Ansom
3) "It's less than you took from me...Touch me with them. Go on." Here I thought all this time she was asking Ansom to kill her in despair of her losing Jillian. Now....not so much. in light of other evidence I have to lean towards her wanting to touch them to get control of them.
4) Last. Not least. "Zhejiang Wanda Tools Co. Ltd., established in 1963, is a well-known company engaged in the production of all kinds of pliers for radio mechanics and ..." You're going to tell me it's coincidence she has the name "Wanda" and it matches the name of a plier manufacturer? Especialy when, after all, Stanley Works, Inc makes any number of tools...including hammers.

Oh...and here's one for you kids. "Charlie Ergen is the founder and CEO of dish network satellite. Jim Defranco and Charlie Ergen both started echostar together.."

So. Of the two attuned owners of ArkenTools, both of them just happen to have names that would connect them to the tools they wield. And now has have Wanda. And the Pliers.

Whispri
2009-01-17, 05:16 PM
You mean that Faq was a peaceful, "utopian" kingdom, right? I don't believe a single word has been said about Croatan.

Ansom has been suggested by some as the real conqueror of Faq. It's possible. I don't see how that necessarily requires Jillian to be under any specific spell assuming that he conquered Faq while Jillian was away--this would perhaps be needed if Jillian did indeed know that Faq had the 'pliers. This would also require the existence of a spell that modifies memories. That means that Wanda and Jack managed to escape somehow, which is possible: the magic kingdom is one option.

Wanda had every reason to reveal to Jillian that Ansom was the true villain, but somehow chose not to.
No, I mean the Croatan tribe. Wanda is a Croatan, ergo...

It's the panicked Thinkaram about the Dwagons, would a side with a Predictamancer send a desperate last message about a force that wasn't going to end them? As far as memory alteration goes, Wanda's actually used such magic on Henchman Mung.

And that's another reason why Jillian has to be under a spell for this theory to work. Although if Stanley ordered her not to breath a word about what happened...


So, you bring up a good point. FAQ was a peaceful place.

Which always makes me wonder. Why the bloody boopl was Wanda there?

Also, a correction. Wanda's from the Croatans, and she was alied/working for/part of FAQ, but never has it been explicitly stated that the people of FaQ are, in fact, the Croatan.

I am interested in the implications of what you say about Ansom being responsible for FAQ being destroyed. It beings a few crackbrained theories to mind (like why Ansom is so hyper about killing Stanley. Even the "He's not really royal" bit seems too weak)
A quiet place Faq, yes.

Why was Jillian there?

There is no reason to think she came from anywhere else, not to mention the business with the eyes.

It's certainly a very interesting line of thought.

SteveMB
2009-01-17, 05:23 PM
A quiet place Faq, yes.

Why was Jillian there?

Evidently, a ruler has to take pot luck where the personality of newly popped units is concerned -- sometimes you want a perfect little philospher-prince and you get a sword-swinging madwoman (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0091.html).

(Hmmm... I wonder if Jillian's use of "prince" rather than "princess" implies "he really wanted a boy" on top of her other father issues. I'm probably overanalyzing, but it's interesting enough to toss out a comment.)

Gez
2009-01-17, 07:01 PM
(Hmmm... I wonder if Jillian's use of "prince" rather than "princess" implies "he really wanted a boy" on top of her other father issues. I'm probably overanalyzing, but it's interesting enough to toss out a comment.)

Other than Erfworld being "familiar and safe", for Parson but also for the readers and the authors, is there any reason for having sexes in this universe where procreation is replaced by "popping"?

dr pepper
2009-01-17, 08:28 PM
According to Jillian the Croatan were a peaceful Tribe

No. According to Jillian, Faq was a peaceful city. Croatan has never been mentioned outside the character list.

Tubercular Ox
2009-01-17, 08:36 PM
(Hmmm... I wonder if Jillian's use of "prince" rather than "princess" implies "he really wanted a boy" on top of her other father issues. I'm probably overanalyzing, but it's interesting enough to toss out a comment.)

Google philosopher-prince. It's an idiom. I think its origin is Italian Renaissance philosophy, or possibly Classical Greek. I get the two mixed up sometimes. Either way, in this case "Prince" just means "ruler," the etymology for "Prince" being "First," as in First in the nation. Machiavelli's "The Prince" used the same connotation. So, yeah, I think seeing prince vs. princess is overanalyzing.


is there any reason for having sexes in this universe where procreation is replaced by "popping"?

Romance! Every good story needs romance in it! Plus, love is a great reason to hold a war in an aristocratic society, and marriage a reason to form alliances. As a wargame, Erfworld needs excuses for these things.

I'm an old man, but my inner 13-year-old girl will cling to any shiptease she can get.

DevilDan
2009-01-18, 01:37 AM
Actually, I think that "Philosopher-King" is the sort of concept that Plato was always pushing--or at least that's the phrase we use as shorthand for the sort of ruler Plato described and advocated.

Gez
2009-01-18, 03:13 AM
Either way, in this case "Prince" just means "ruler," the etymology for "Prince" being "First," as in First in the nation. Machiavelli's "The Prince" used the same connotation.
Umm, no.

"Of Republics I shall not now speak, having elsewhere spoken of them at length. Here I shall treat exclusively of Principalities, and, filling in the outline above traced out, shall proceed to examine how such States are to be governed and maintained."
You could argue that grand-dukes, kings and emperors can be lumped with princes here, but it is clear that book isn't intended to be about any kind of ruler in general.


Romance! Every good story needs romance in it!
That's why I said "familiar and safe for the readers and authors as well"...

Tubercular Ox
2009-01-18, 04:33 AM
Umm, no.
The origin of the word Prince is the Roman title Princeps (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Princeps). This leads to the Italian Il Principe. Translators love cognates, so it's translated The Prince.

By comparison, Greek thought predates Rome, which I should have remembered, hence Plato spoke of the philosophos basileus (Although being a native speaker Plato knew how to decline a greek noun). Without the "prince" cognate, it gets translated philosopher-king.


"Of Republics I shall not now speak, having elsewhere spoken of them at length. Here I shall treat exclusively of Principalities, and, filling in the outline above traced out, shall proceed to examine how such States are to be governed and maintained."

Why stop there? In fact, why START there? First paragraph of The Prince (http://www.gutenberg.org/files/15772/15772-h/15772-h.htm#book-prince) (pardon the archaic translation, copyright laws):


All States, all Dominions that have had, or now have rule over men, have been and are, either Republiques or Principalities. Principalities are either hereditary, whereof they of the blood of the Lord thereof have long time been Princes; or else they are new; and those that are new, are either all new, as was the Dutchy of Millan to Francis Sforce; or are as members adjoyned to the hereditary State of the Prince that gains it; as the Kingdom of Naples is to the King of Spain. These Dominions so gotten, are accustomed either to live under a Prince, or to enjoy their liberty; and are made conquest of, either with others forces, or ones own, either by fortune, or by valor.

Now supported, I stand by my original statement: "Prince" here merely means "Ruler." Which... seemed to be your point. So, what am I misunderstanding here?

Maybe you think I have connected the "philosopher prince" too strongly to Machiavelli's "The Prince"? If so, that's not my intention. The connection is that in both terms "Prince" means simply "Ruler," and not "Son of the king."

So when the King of Faq wanted a little philosopher prince, he wanted a wisdom-loving ruler, not a son who's next-in-line to be The Big Philosopher. I'm pretty sure Faq was far more concerned about Jillian being a barbarian and a free spirit than Jillian being female. Or, not. Maybe he did want a son. I just don't think the particular language "philosopher prince" can be used as evidence for that, given how tightly bound those two words are to each other. It's like "filthy lucre." You never hear of "sparkling lucre," and you only very rarely hear of just "lucre." There's a linguistics term for this joining behavior that I can't remember right now and it's really nagging at me.

DevilDan
2009-01-18, 11:56 AM
So when the King of Faq wanted a little philosopher prince, he wanted a wisdom-loving ruler, not a son who's next-in-line to be The Big Philosopher. I'm pretty sure Faq was far more concerned about Jillian being a barbarian and a free spirit than Jillian being female. Or, not. Maybe he did want a son. I just don't think the particular language "philosopher prince" can be used as evidence for that, given how tightly bound those two words are to each other.

I think one needs to be careful with one's words. "Barbarian" is used as a term of art in Erf to describe a unit unaligned with a side or kingdom, apparently.

I've said before that it wouldn't surprise me if there is very little sexual discrimination in Erf. Though we've admittedly seen very few female infantry, we've seen many female casters and commanders on both sides.

I do think "philosopher-prince" was intended as more of a set phrase only.

the_tick_rules
2009-01-18, 12:51 PM
I suppose it's entirely possible she could attune to the pliers. So what did ansom take from here. There doesn't really seem to be a good side in erf, just two different sides.

Tubercular Ox
2009-01-18, 03:34 PM
I think one needs to be careful with one's words. "Barbarian" is used as a term of art in Erf to describe a unit unaligned with a side or kingdom, apparently.

Touche. I'd do a failedit but it seems inappropriate in this circumstance.

gatitcz
2009-01-19, 12:42 AM
Ansom has been suggested by some as the real conqueror of Faq.

No way. If Ansom was the conqueror of FAQ, Stanley wouldn't have set it up as a backup for his side, he wouldn't have captured Jack, and Ansom would've known where he was going.

Anyway, I've always thought Wanda's ultimately a likely candidate for the Arkenpliers. Either that, or Ansom will finally attune with them for some turn-all-your-undead-against-you pwnage (I'm assuming they give control of uncroaked here). Which would potentially be a big flaw in Parson's current plan.

DevilDan
2009-01-19, 12:53 AM
Just to be clear, I don't particularly think that it's likely that Ansom took down Faq. He could be some arch-villain, I suppose, but I don't see it.

Tanaar
2009-01-19, 02:51 AM
Didn't I already do this thread?

Edit: Actually, it makes me all warm and fuzzy to hear my crazy-at-the-time idea being discussed as a popular theory. Proceed :smallbiggrin:

DevilDan
2009-01-19, 03:53 AM
Didn't I already do this thread?

Edit: Actually, it makes me all warm and fuzzy to hear my crazy-at-the-time idea being discussed as a popular theory. Proceed :smallbiggrin:

Offhand, I'd say that pointing out that something has already been discussed in a previous thread only heads of the discussion about a third of the time.

The probability drops down to perhaps five percent if you don't link to the previous thread.

And for the record, I think the creators would give us at least a single hint of some deviousness on Ansom's part or of some conflicted feelings with connection to Jillian. Rob and Jamie are classy that way.

HandofShadows
2009-01-19, 09:11 AM
Something occured to me. I think that Charlie might have already known that Wanda was attuned to the Arkenpliers. It's a little iffy, but it was only when Ansom got into deep trouble and Wanda had a real chance to get the Arkenpliers did he act. (If Wanda had gotten the Arkenpliers think of how hard it would have been to get them away from her ANd Charlie seem to want them for himself. Getting the 'pliers from Ansom would be a lot easier sicne he dannot use them). Of course it was also a situation where he could get Ansom over a barrel. But I think that Charlie is more than smart enough to have one act server two puposes.

DevilDan
2009-01-19, 11:45 AM
Something occured to me. I think that Charlie might have already known that Wanda was attuned to the Arkenpliers. It's a little iffy, but it was only when Ansom got into deep trouble and Wanda had a real chance to get the Arkenpliers did he act. (If Wanda had gotten the Arkenpliers think of how hard it would have been to get them away from her ANd Charlie seem to want them for himself. Getting the 'pliers from Ansom would be a lot easier sicne he dannot use them). Of course it was also a situation where he could get Ansom over a barrel. But I think that Charlie is more than smart enough to have one act server two puposes.

Charlie acted while Ansom could still hire him--before he was croaked or captured--and when Ansom was likely to be willing to pay extra. And if Charlie will be working for Ansom, he wants him to have the pliers.

Any way that this goes down, Charlie wins and has a chance of winning more. Or so Charlie thinks. But he doesn't want to strengthen Parson's hand in any way. (And he doesn't at any point plan to fight the RCC.)

Kreistor
2009-01-20, 12:38 AM
Charlie acted while Ansom could still hire him--before he was croaked or captured--and when Ansom was likely to be willing to pay extra. And if Charlie will be working for Ansom, he wants him to have the pliers.

Do not forget that Charlie is very much like Stanley. Not Royal. Attuned to an Arkentool. Leader of a side. That makes him very much a target for the Royals, if he ever presumes to strengthen himself.

So, no, I don't think Charlie cares overmuch if Ansom gains the pliers again. Nor does he care if RCC wins. Charlie only cares about his own units coming back alive. (He does show grief over the loss of Jaclyn.)

Charlie is not working for Ansom. Charlie's troops have been hired. Charlie works for Charlie. Ansom will never be able to order Charlie, only Charlescomm employees. There is a difference.


Any way that this goes down, Charlie wins and has a chance of winning more. Or so Charlie thinks. But he doesn't want to strengthen Parson's hand in any way. (And he doesn't at any point plan to fight the RCC.)

Charlie can lose. Any time one puts ones troops into battle, one risks losing. Charlescomm appears to have overwhelming firepower, but this fight is going to start getting messy. They won't have big targets like dwagons to aim their spells at. It's going to be small unit uncroaked, gobwins, or the like. And the fight will retreat to the dungeons last, and in there, flying is no advantage. Charlescomm will be out of their preferred element.

And yes, I think he'd be perfectly happy if GK revived. If you believe Charles is just a mercenary, with no greater plans, well, that means more employment. If he is not just a merc, and is interested in increasing his own power base, then GK serves as a strong distraction: while the obsessed Jetstone and co. wage war against Stanley, Charles is ignored and allowed to build up forces, while merc'ing them out levels them up. RCC forces get ground down in an war of emotion, while Charlescomm forces gain strength from constant fighting, but only when Charles knows he risks as little as possible.

Charles is in excellent position. Relatively ignored, and free to grow, ready to exploit the decimated armies of the Royals once this is all over. That is, so long as Charles doesn't realize Parson is the protagonist...

DevilDan
2009-01-20, 12:59 AM
Do not forget that Charlie is very much like Stanley. Not Royal. Attuned to an Arkentool. Leader of a side. That makes him very much a target for the Royals, if he ever presumes to strengthen himself.

I'd say that so long as he keeps working for them and helping them out of tight spots, Charlie's much less of a target. I guess it depends on how cynical one is, how likely one thinks it is for royals to attack any non-royal overlord on any trumped-up reason.

Everyone is a target, weak or strong, on Erf or Earth, so long as there is something to be gained from attacking him or her.


So, no, I don't think Charlie cares overmuch if Ansom gains the pliers again. Nor does he care if RCC wins. Charlie only cares about his own units coming back alive. (He does show grief over the loss of Jaclyn.)

Assuming that Charlie has no hidden motivations, he cares if the RCC wins to the extent that it'll get him paid and minimize his losses.

My impression is that calling it "grief" is a bit of an overstatement. He seemed to respond more as a breeder losing a prize animal.


Charlie is not working for Ansom. Charlie's troops have been hired. Charlie works for Charlie. Ansom will never be able to order Charlie, only Charlescomm employees. There is a difference.

I see: Charlie isn't working for Ansom. He's just being paid by Ansom to do something.


Charlie can lose. Any time one puts ones troops into battle, one risks losing. Charlescomm appears to have overwhelming firepower, but this fight is going to start getting messy. They won't have big targets like dwagons to aim their spells at. It's going to be small unit uncroaked, gobwins, or the like. And the fight will retreat to the dungeons last, and in there, flying is no advantage. Charlescomm will be out of their preferred element.

Charlie strikes me as a competent entity; he is taking a literally calculated risk. It's Parson's job to change those odds.

And it wouldn't surprise me to learn Charlie is sufficiently astute to target commanders and casters.


And yes, I think he'd be perfectly happy if GK revived. If you believe Charles is just a mercenary, with no greater plans, well, that means more employment. If he is not just a merc, and is interested in increasing his own power base, then GK serves as a strong distraction: while the obsessed Jetstone and co. wage war against Stanley, Charles is ignored and allowed to build up forces, while merc'ing them out levels them up. RCC forces get ground down in an war of emotion, while Charlescomm forces gain strength from constant fighting, but only when Charles knows he risks as little as possible.

Yes, but it is also in his interest to fulfill his contract: it means he gets paid and protects and improves his reputation. Bringing GK down could mean obtaining Parson, his bracer, casters, the arkenhammer, etc.

But he could also win if Gk prevails; conflict is good for a mercenary's business; but what would it cost him for GK to win at the moment?


Charles is in excellent position. Relatively ignored, and free to grow, ready to exploit the decimated armies of the Royals once this is all over. That is, so long as Charles doesn't realize Parson is the protagonist...

See my first point about not doing anything to antagonize the RCC unduly, assuming that Charlie wants to remain a mercenary in good standing--one who operates across Erf, apparently, given that he specified the "western conflict." Going after the people who just hired him would not look good on his résumé.

Yes, Charlie could be working other angles. He probably thinks that he's go all his angles covered; that may prove to be an expensive belief.

Tubercular Ox
2009-01-20, 02:32 AM
I see: Charlie isn't working for Ansom. He's just being paid by Ansom to do something.

As a neutral observer (I've barely read this thread), I'm going to support Kreistor on this detail. There's a huge difference between an employer and a client.

Greep
2009-01-20, 02:43 AM
hmmm... I must be reading too many of fangly's strip slays... When wanda said "touch me with them (the arkenpliers)" I was thinking something entirely different than most people. Ansom's "not having time to indulge in this" didn't help :D

Whispri
2009-01-21, 04:24 AM
No way. If Ansom was the conqueror of FAQ, Stanley wouldn't have set it up as a backup for his side, he wouldn't have captured Jack, and Ansom would've known where he was going.

Anyway, I've always thought Wanda's ultimately a likely candidate for the Arkenpliers. Either that, or Ansom will finally attune with them for some turn-all-your-undead-against-you pwnage (I'm assuming they give control of uncroaked here). Which would potentially be a big flaw in Parson's current plan.
We know it's possible for units to survive the destruction of their side, and Gobwin Knob seems to be quite close to Faq, so a good candidate for refugees to bolt too before the money runs out. Stanley would then learn about the Ruins from these refugees. As for it's use as a bolt hole, it's the last place Ansom would have looked, not even Tranlyvyto knew about the place after all.

Failure to plan for Acts of God is a flaw?

Kreistor
2009-01-21, 08:24 AM
I'd say that so long as he keeps working for them and helping them out of tight spots, Charlie's much less of a target. I guess it depends on how cynical one is, how likely one thinks it is for royals to attack any non-royal overlord on any trumped-up reason.

So Charles may never have any ambition? Parson says, "When a non-royal gets powerful, the royals like to gang up on him." Klog 9. Charles knows that. He either has it factored into his long term plan, so that he avoids royal attention until its too late for them, or he has no ambition. Charles strikes me as smart and cunning, and that rarely comes without ambition. Charles will give them their reason when he can't avoid revealing just how powerful he has become. When that happens, he needs the royals to be weak, and a good long war of attrition is the perfect opportunity for that.


Assuming that Charlie has no hidden motivations, he cares if the RCC wins to the extent that it'll get him paid and minimize his losses.

Mercs get paid win or lose. The longer the war, the more work they have and the more they get paid. And losing the war doesn't mean that harles loses units. Charles makes the most money if the war drags on, his own units take no losses, and his units perform the tasks assigned perfectly.


My impression is that calling it "grief" is a bit of an overstatement. He seemed to respond more as a breeder losing a prize animal.

"Sigh... it would be Jaclyn. I'll miss her." I don't think breeders "miss" their animals, if they have no emotional attachment. You go ahead and think what you want, but I don't think that sentence is one that a callous horse breeder would use. But hey, it is all up to the individual and how they want to interpret it. I just don't agree with you at all.


I see: Charlie isn't working for Ansom. He's just being paid by Ansom to do something.

Charles is not being paid to do anything. He is being paid for his employees to do something. My sister works at a contracting software company as a tech writer. Sometimes the contract calls for her to write manuals. When the company is contracted for that, the CEO and board are not themselves hired to do anything. They run my sister's company, and are never contracted to do anything. They may do things to ensure that their employees are fulfilling the contract, but they are not paid to do these things.


Charlie strikes me as a competent entity; he is taking a literally calculated risk. It's Parson's job to change those odds.

I agree that Charles is competent, and probably a lot more than most of the other side's leaders. But there is risk in everything we do, from crossing the street, to walking up the stairs. There's always a chance something will go wrong whenever we do, or do not do, anything. War is no different.


And it wouldn't surprise me to learn Charlie is sufficiently astute to target commanders and casters.

That would depend on what Ansom wants his forces to do. Ansom is giving them orders now. We do not see Vinnie getting orders from Don Vito during this war. He gets his orders from Ansom, the RCC commander. When Jillian is fighting the wounded dwagons, the Archons do not get orders from Charles: they take orders from Jillian. Charles may have input to Ansom on ideas, if he wants to give them, but he will not have direct command over forces when he is not present on the battlefield.

As to whether the Archons can target leadership at a particular time and place depends on the situation. We've seen dwagons attack siege engines, however, they had the advantage of flight and ranged weapons. We have not seen any unit do anything that defied physical realities. If GK leaders are kept protected, then just because they lead a stack, that doesn't mean the enemy can walk up and stick a sword in their side. If the formation puts a 20 deep army in front of them, enemy infantry have to cut down that army before it can reach leadership. Sizemore can get to enemy leadership because he can move underground, giving him mobility to avoid that army. Wanda got to Ansom because she could fly past all obstacles.

If Parson retreats to the dungeons, flight will stop being superior movement. Dungeons are small, so this would put the Archons inside melee range if forced inside to fight. They can't bypass enemy armies to get to leadership, because enemy forces are physically in the way.


Yes, but it is also in his interest to fulfill his contract: it means he gets paid and protects and improves his reputation. Bringing GK down could mean obtaining Parson, his bracer, casters, the arkenhammer, etc.

And some of that may be in the contract with Ansom. Yes, he needs to fulfill his side of the contract, or else the quality of his future contracts will diminish. At least, up until the point Charles decides to become a power and take over the world. Then he can backstab a major army, and invade several kingdoms that just wasted large armies, leaving their homelands unprotected.


But he could also win if Gk prevails; conflict is good for a mercenary's business; but what would it cost him for GK to win at the moment?

Cost him? Nothing. But gain him? Nothing. His mercenary position dictates a longer war to increase profit and reduce the forces of all other involved sides.


See my first point about not doing anything to antagonize the RCC unduly, assuming that Charlie wants to remain a mercenary in good standing--one who operates across Erf, apparently, given that he specified the "western conflict." Going after the people who just hired him would not look good on his résumé.

You're still thinking he wants to be a mercenary forever. I don't think he does. He's the only truly competent person on the RCC side. The others are all emotionally attached to seeing Stanley fall, and so let that get in the way of fighting this battle well. I cannot imagine Charles has no ambition, since he looks to me like the most dangerous side on the board, regardless of his size. He's smart and cunning, and in the long term, that is not good for the Royals.


Yes, Charlie could be working other angles. He probably thinks that he's go all his angles covered; that may prove to be an expensive belief.

Certainly could. I've provided an example of how he could lose all of his Archons before. Parson battles the Archons in the tower, retreats to Courtyard, and crashes the tower, with all of the Archons inside. So yeah, Parson could make this expensive for Charlescomm.

HandofShadows
2009-01-21, 10:52 AM
You're still thinking he wants to be a mercenary forever. I don't think he does. He's the only truly competent person on the RCC side. The others are all emotionally attached to seeing Stanley fall, and so let that get in the way of fighting this battle well. I cannot imagine Charles has no ambition, since he looks to me like the most dangerous side on the board, regardless of his size. He's smart and cunning, and in the long term, that is not good for the Royals.

I don't buy it that Charles is planning to be a merc forever either. He has more than one card up his sleave and plays a long game. The reason that the Royals have not ganged up on Charles is because while he has the ArkenDish and has his own territory, he plays the mercenary and does not "rock the boat" as it where. As far as we know he has not any big claims about being the chosen of the Titans or anything similar. So the Royals leave him alone since he seems not to be a threat to them (and taking him out would be hard). Stanley on the other hand made huge claims and made himself a threat to the Royals belife that their rule was Divine Right. And he is a major putz while not in a fight and appointed people that hwre not very good at their jobs to be Warlord, thus undercutting his military.

DevilDan
2009-01-21, 12:22 PM
So Charles may never have any ambition?

I think it's very possible that Charlie is not all that he appears. I'd be very hesitant to make guesses at his specific strategic approach; he's smart enough to play the long game. And my deciding not to guess includes one very important factor: we don't even know how close his castle (city?) is to the "great western conflict." For all we know the reach--or potential reach--of his operations is Erf-wide. Outside of the arkentools--and, now, of Parson--we don't know that this conflict has any real strategic value to his putative plans in the least. It could be just another job for him too. Even if he is planning to take over Erf, strategic considerations, like growing his reputation or like pleasing the royals, could well take precedence over weakening the RCC further.


Mercs get paid win or lose. The longer the war, the more work they have and the more they get paid. And losing the war doesn't mean that harles loses units. Charles makes the most money if the war drags on, his own units take no losses, and his units perform the tasks assigned perfectly.

But that's precisely what I said! It's in his interest to get paid and minimize losses. His archons aren't support personnel; they'll be in the thick of it. We don't know that he's paid per turn, so we don't know that he wants this to drag on; if he did in any way act to drag the conflict out, he would then be in serious danger of angering Ansom or the RCC or Jetstone. And I certainly don't believe that Ansom is bound to pay a "deposit" if any archons bite it.

(Yes, he did mess with the royals when he demanded an exorbitant fee from Transylvito, but (1) he wasn't under contract or acting in contravention of one, (2) it was just the first time, the second time may draw real ire, and (3) he had plausible deniability in the form of mercenary greed as a motivation.)


"Sigh... it would be Jaclyn. I'll miss her." I don't think breeders "miss" their animals, if they have no emotional attachment. You go ahead and think what you want, but I don't think that sentence is one that a callous horse breeder would use. But hey, it is all up to the individual and how they want to interpret it. I just don't agree with you at all.

I did say it was like losing a prize animal; I didn't say that the man--if Charlie is a man--is a callous monster. But exhibiting some dismay is not the same as "grief." "I'll miss her" is what you might say when a coworker quits. This is a highly subjective read, but it jibes with "don't break anything of mine" or whatever it is that Charlie responds when Parson announced Wanda's sortie. Contrast that to Parson's palpable sorrow when holding Misty or his angered reaction to the archons beating Wanda down.

We could split the difference and think of the archons as his pets; "grief" was not exhibited, in my opinion, but that is also natural for a hardened mercenary who may lose troops on every job.


Charles is not being paid to do anything. He is being paid for his employees to do something.

Yes, Ansom is renting Charlescomm units.


I agree that Charles is competent, and probably a lot more than most of the other side's leaders. But there is risk in everything we do, from crossing the street, to walking up the stairs. There's always a chance something will go wrong whenever we do, or do not do, anything. War is no different.

As I implicitly acknowledged when I mentioned that he is taking a "literally calculated risk." Perhaps you thought that I meant "no risk" when I said "risk." Dunno.


As to whether the Archons can target leadership at a particular time and place depends on the situation. We've seen dwagons attack siege engines, however, they had the advantage of flight and ranged weapons. We have not seen any unit do anything that defied physical realities. If GK leaders are kept protected, then just because they lead a stack, that doesn't mean the enemy can walk up and stick a sword in their side.

And archons, like dwagons, can fly. It all depends on what Ansom does--assuming this isn't resolved until the RCC's next turn. I won't speculate that far into the future, but if Charlie thought he could take GK completely with his archons (based on Parson's calculations), then surely he'll stand more than a fair chance after GK has had to endure the RCC's assault. (Yes, there's the Trioxin spell to deal with, but, again, I'm not going to speculate much about something that far off in the future.)


And some of that may be in the contract with Ansom. Yes, he needs to fulfill his side of the contract, or else the quality of his future contracts will diminish. At least, up until the point Charles decides to become a power and take over the world. Then he can backstab a major army, and invade several kingdoms that just wasted large armies, leaving their homelands unprotected.

Ansom's ability to deliver on those unseen contract codicils may hinge on winning--such as turning over Parson and possibly his casters. The RCC losing may mean the loss of all the archons there, which may be a cost dearer than what Charlie is willing to pay.


Cost him? Nothing. But gain him? Nothing. His mercenary position dictates a longer war to increase profit and reduce the forces of all other involved sides.

Yes, that is one path. His strategy could be more complex. Securing Parson and his bracer and an arkentool or two could easily trump working a couple more turns. I suggest that those considerations might be of more importance than dragging this out.


You're still thinking he wants to be a mercenary forever. I don't think he does. He's the only truly competent person on the RCC side. The others are all emotionally attached to seeing Stanley fall, and so let that get in the way of fighting this battle well. I cannot imagine Charles has no ambition, since he looks to me like the most dangerous side on the board, regardless of his size. He's smart and cunning, and in the long term, that is not good for the Royals.

He is not on the RCC side; his troops are temporarily working with the RCC. I've always thought it possible that Charlie has ulterior motives; he's too interesting a character to be all that he seems. But we've no proof that any of that imaginary subtext will play a part at the moment other than his desire to acquire valuable resources. It is precisely because I don't think that he's an ordinary mercenary that I am trying to assess his potential strategic gains rather than merely tactical gains such as making a few more shmuckers or costing the RCC a few more units.

The fact that he may be as dangerous as you suggest means that he ought to be very careful to anger them in any way. He already tested the waters by turning on the RCC and Transylvito, though he did it without breaking a contract (which he may not be able to break if he is thinkamantically bound to fulfill them, but that's another story).


Certainly could. I've provided an example of how he could lose all of his Archons before. Parson battles the Archons in the tower, retreats to Courtyard, and crashes the tower, with all of the Archons inside. So yeah, Parson could make this expensive for Charlescomm.

At the possible cost of every single life on GK's side with the entire collapse of GK (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0086.html).

SteveMB
2009-01-21, 12:56 PM
And archons, like dwagons, can fly. It all depends on what Ansom does--assuming this isn't resolved until the RCC's next turn. I won't speculate that far into the future, but if Charlie thought he could take GK completely with his archons (based on Parson's calculations), then surely he'll stand more than a fair chance after GK has had to sustain the RCC's assault. (Yes, there's the Trioxin spell to deal with, but, again, I'm not going to speculate much about something that far off in the future.)

If the mass of uncroaked are a problem, Charlie can just wait a few turns -- unlike Ansom, he doesn't have to worry about losing allies and hasn't been stampeded into rash action for fear of the next trick up Lord Hamster's sleeve.

DevilDan
2009-01-21, 01:04 PM
If the mass of uncroaked are a problem, Charlie can just wait a few turns -- unlike Ansom, he doesn't have to worry about losing allies and hasn't been stampeded into rash action for fear of the next trick up Lord Hamster's sleeve.

Excellent point. Parson would by then be significantly weaker than he's been at any point in the past.

Tubercular Ox
2009-01-21, 01:52 PM
If the mass of uncroaked are a problem, Charlie can just wait a few turns -- unlike Ansom, he doesn't have to worry about losing allies and hasn't been stampeded into rash action for fear of the next trick up Lord Hamster's sleeve.

Well, like we said in another thread, one of the nigh universal tenets of strategy is "keep excursions short," so personally I wonder about him waiting it out.

OT1H, the Math artifact has been valued at 500,000 schmuckers, and Parson himself was bought with 350,000 schmuckers. Parson's upkeep is over 1000 schmuckers a turn, which Stanley's pretty upset about. So Charlie might have the incentive to hang around.

OTOH, Charlie fully expected to be able to take the Garrison with a number of Archons in the teens. He was wrong, but look at the size of the RCC forces in comparison... those Archons had better have nigh crippling upkeep or they're broken and need to be nerfed. If units are more expensive in the field than they are lounging around at home -- and they probably should be -- Charlie may need to pull back if he's going to wait out the uncroaked. And giving Parson time to plan may be counterproductive for Charlie. Maybe Parson could even expand; I still think the next step after this battle is to claim Faq. Sure it'd be dangerous to split your forces, but just sitting still puts you in the Civilization position: Your opponent is gathering resources at a rate 22 times yours, if we're just counting Jetstone.

Even if Charlie does hang out to wait for the Uncroaked to recroak, with the Foolamancer Parson might still send off a delegation to Faq, possibly even following Stanley's original plan of just bugging out completely. Jack probably couldn't disguise that many units, though.

HandofShadows
2009-01-21, 02:36 PM
Anyone have speculation on what the Arkenpliers could do? The Arkenhammer tames dwagons, creaks lightning (a reference to Thor's hammer?) and about 20% of the time time turns birds into walnuts or walnuts into birds when it strikes them. (Very Lost Roomish if you aks me Lost Room (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lost_Room)).

The Arkendish makes Charlie the master of Thinkomancy. He is able to hack eyebooks and send messages all over the place. I assume it also in part, if not totaly, powers his Archons.

The Arkenpliers destroy uncroaked when it strikes them, but thats all we know. If Wanda gets her hands on them could we expect to see super powered uncroaked? Maybe it can bring a croaked person back to life?

DevilDan
2009-01-21, 03:13 PM
Even if Charlie does hang out to wait for the Uncroaked to recroak, with the Foolamancer Parson might still send off a delegation to Faq, possibly even following Stanley's original plan of just bugging out completely. Jack probably couldn't disguise that many units, though.

One point: Charlie doesn't care about taking GK or even defeating Stanley per se. He wants Parson and his bracer; he probably wouldn't be averse to taking an arkentool.

raphfrk
2009-01-21, 03:57 PM
The Arkenpliers destroy uncroaked when it strikes them, but thats all we know. If Wanda gets her hands on them could we expect to see super powered uncroaked? Maybe it can bring a croaked person back to life?

Hmm, so it has the opposite effect to the non-attuned version, rather than turning undead to dust, it brings them back to life. Maybe it has a 1/5 chance of doing that (similar to the bird/nut effect with the hammer).

Another option would be an insta-kill effect. It turns the target directly into an undead unit.

Alternatively, maybe, it prevents undead units from decaying. This would mean that the holder to the pliers could have a standing army that is made up of undead, whereas for a normal croakmancers, undead units are temporary.

teratorn
2009-01-21, 07:24 PM
If the mass of uncroaked are a problem, Charlie can just wait a few turns -- unlike Ansom, he doesn't have to worry about losing allies and hasn't been stampeded into rash action for fear of the next trick up Lord Hamster's sleeve.

Charlie knows Stanley is alive and can arrive in possibly two turns. I expect him to want to finish this soon. A possible threat to Charlie is if Parson kills most of RCC's archers, uncroaks them and they still work as archers. By the way, I hope heavies can be uncroaked. Wanda leading a bunch of cloth golems while riding a sourmander would be epic.

DevilDan
2009-01-21, 07:52 PM
Charlie knows Stanley is alive and can arrive in possibly two turns. I expect him to want to finish this soon. A possible threat to Charlie is if Parson kills most of RCC's archers, uncroaks them and they still work as archers. By the way, I hope heavies can be uncroaked. Wanda riding a bunch of cloth golems while riding a sourmander would be epic.

That's an intriguing enough image that it would merit delaying the resolution of this chapter. That said, I still think I was cheated out of uncroaked dwagons.

Godskook
2009-01-21, 08:32 PM
By the way, I hope heavies can be uncroaked. Wanda leading a bunch of cloth golems while riding a sourmander would be epic.

Actually, I hope that cloth golems *aren't* uncroakable. A golem is almost always held to not be 'alive' in the same sense as most other things are. One consequence of this is that a golem is unaffected by necromancy. Hopefully, Erfworld keeps this standard going.


That's an intriguing enough image that it would merit delaying the resolution of this chapter. That said, I still think I was cheated out of uncroaked dwagons.

Its time to play "Choose your response!", the game where I give multiple silly responses and you choose one.

#1:
There's still time.

#2:
And then Wanda will have nothing to up the coolness ante with next chapter.

Tubercular Ox
2009-01-22, 02:01 PM
One point: Charlie doesn't care about taking GK or even defeating Stanley per se. He wants Parson and his bracer; he probably wouldn't be averse to taking an arkentool.
Well... I'm not sure where I was headed, but if I recall... Stanley knows where Faq is. Jack, Jillian, Wanda... who else? If Jillian only released where the entrance pass was and not the location of the cities, Charlie would possibly have to hunt for them in the mountains. How many turns would that take? Sadly, probably only one or two. But with 3 cities to play with, the leadership could play three card monte. I don't know, Charlie is simply too powerful with those Godlike archons. How do you fight a unit that has so far oneshot every other unit it's come across? Forgive me for bringing in politics, but it's like Iraq: Powerful troops, but not enough of them. We're back to insurgency tactics. Stay spread so thin that Charlie can't put out enough patrols to keep up with you. But the rules that make you need to hang on to cities simply do not agree with insurgency tactics. How important is territory? Do you need "farms" for cities to draw in cash? I know you need mines, or at least can supplement income with mines, but there were mines under GK, making them totally defensible if similar mines exist elsewhere. And who knows how many more resources Charlie can bring to bear? He certainly doesn't need to farm Faq to keep his troops fed, so where does your insurgency strike to cause damage? There's no civilians to protect and feed, no infrastructure. And natural thinkamancy means the archons probably don't have morale issues.

OTOH, Jillian survives as a Barbarian w/o cities, so treasuries can be mobile. And the non-human units, the "Natural Allies," apparently never had cities, so there's gotta be a way to reinforce without cities to build units. The marbits went mining in the first comic, so mines exist outside of cities, too. The deep fade would work, if Stanley could tolerate it, but I still think there's no effective way to strike back.

Honestly, I really don't like Charlie, even less than Stanley. I realize he's got the same "Work for me or I keel you" line as Stanley, but, I dunno, Charlie makes it seem even less tolerable to me, he's got that "Ha ha! You can't hurt me!" attitude. But there's probably a different thread I should be in to talk about that.


#2: And then Wanda will have nothing to up the coolness ante with next chapter.

We're in spoilers now?
You say this responding to DevilDan? Two words: Uncroaked Ansom. Of course, that just delays the problem by one chapter.

SteveMB
2009-01-22, 02:19 PM
I don't know, Charlie is simply too powerful with those Godlike archons. How do you fight a unit that has so far oneshot every other unit it's come across?

Thos units were a bunch of heavily wounded dwagons (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0075.html) (powerful, yes, but down to their last few hit points) and some moderately powerful uncroaked (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0134.html) (most of which appear to have taken multiple hits each).

Also, Archons may be relatively fragile -- note that Jaclyn was apparently taken down with one hit even though Wanda only uncroaked a few units (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0108.html) that turn, thus allowing Jaclyn to retain more of her original strength and abilities (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0128.html).

DevilDan
2009-01-22, 02:49 PM
Yes, individual units like Sizemore--and certainly, overlords/heirs--seem capable of carrying some money. But we know that Stanley could not take with him, even with all his dwagons, the contents of GK's treasury prior to the purchase of the perfect warlord spell.

We don't know that Charlie is in any way interested in Faq; now that Transylvito and Jetstone know about Faq's existence, the Faq cities (one capital and two subordinate cities) are of even less value, probably. Faq only survived as long as it did possibly because it was hidden. Far too many people, including, of course, the kingdom's conqueror, whatever his or her identity.

Tubercular Ox
2009-01-22, 07:04 PM
We don't know that Charlie is in any way interested in Faq; now that Transylvito and Jetstone know about Faq's existence, the Faq cities (one capital and two subordinate cities) are of even less value, probably. Faq only survived as long as it did possibly because it was hidden. Far too many people, including, of course, the kingdom's conqueror, whatever his or her identity.

Well, I was just trying to consider what Parson could do to keep his mathamancy artifact and relative independence. I mean, sure, he has to work for Stanley right now, but eventually Parson will learn to manipulate Stanley almost as well as Wanda and after that Parson's virtually independent. Charlie... not so much, probably.

Kreistor
2009-01-22, 09:14 PM
Even if he is planning to take over Erf, strategic considerations, like growing his reputation or like pleasing the royals, could well take precedence over weakening the RCC further.

That depends on how far along he is. If this RCC army was wiped out and Charlie had enough forces, then he's ready to pounce now.Ansom is about to put him in a vital position, so a backstab here may be what he's ready for. With Stanley reduced as far as he is, he's not threat for a while, either. I personally would be dissatisfied if that happened, though. I want the victory over the RCC to be Parson's, not Charlie's. Still, if Parson does turn the tables first, Charlie might see the opportunity, and I'd be okay wtih that.


But that's precisely what I said! It's in his interest to get paid and minimize losses.

You sounded like you thought Charlie would want this to end quickly. That's where I was differing.


His archons aren't support personnel; they'll be in the thick of it.

If they are casters, then yes, they are support personnel. Artillery is support. Casters are the Wf equivalent of artillery: stand back and boom lots of people from beyond their range. Remember, we have never seen an archon draw a weapon... we have only ever seen them use spell damage from range.

[/quote]We don't know that he's paid per turn, so we don't know that he wants this to drag on;[/quote]

How else would he be paid? By the task? Certainly backed up by the comic. Page 69. "We've got what Jetstone paid for. [snip] Luckily for you, they paid a lot." So how powerful the spells they used was directly related to the cash paid.More spells, then, mean more money. The longer the war, the more spells get cast. Anyway, my point is, there's pretty much no way a long war won't mean more money for Charlie. I don't think he's stupid enough to let himself into a contract where the longer the war, the less he got paid.


if he did in any way act to drag the conflict out, he would then be in serious danger of angering Ansom or the RCC or Jetstone.

But in a way expected of mercs. Remember, the Royals gang up to stop powerful non-royals. Just making them angry doesn't make him powerful, or a threat.


I did say it was like losing a prize animal;

You can't convince me. There's no connotation I see in his statement that suggests anything other than an emotional attachment and the loss of a friend.

Look at Parson and his reaction to Misty. And yet he uses Sizemore the way he has to in order to win. (The plan in the tunnels predates the "ruthlessness" from the sword.) Parson has an emotional attachment to those around him, but he must use them and maybe lose them. That's part of war for a general, or a prime minister. You must send off the people you know and love to do terrible things to your enemies so that the people you all love can live. That doesn't make anyone in that position a horse breeder.


We could split the difference and think of the archons as his pets;

No freakin' way. That's not a split difference: that's your position reworded. Horses are pets, too.


As I implicitly acknowledged when I mentioned that he is taking a "literally calculated risk." Perhaps you thought that I meant "no risk" when I said "risk." Dunno.

No, I thought you were merely stating the obvious, as if you made some sort of amazing revelation. I was merely pointing out that you were stating something everyone should know, and I certainly already did. After all, I at least can see one way the Archons can wind up dead.


And archons, like dwagons, can fly. It all depends on what Ansom does--assuming this isn't resolved until the RCC's next turn. I won't speculate that far into the future, but if Charlie thought he could take GK completely with his archons (based on Parson's calculations), then surely he'll stand more than a fair chance after GK has had to endure the RCC's assault. (Yes, there's the Trioxin spell to deal with, but, again, I'm not going to speculate much about something that far off in the future.)

It will be interesting to see how Parson overcomes the fundamental limitation on corpses: they disappear at the end of the turn. But casting can only happen on your own turn. So, Trioxin should only be usable on the dead on GK's next turn, tomorrow, not today. That means that GK will have to move all those corpses after RCC's turn today, in some way that it prevents them from disappearing.


Ansom's ability to deliver on those unseen contract codicils may hinge on winning--such as turning over Parson and possibly his casters. The RCC losing may mean the loss of all the archons there, which may be a cost dearer than what Charlie is willing to pay.

If Charlie couldn't handle the loss, they wouldn't be fighting. You never commit what you can't afford to lose, unless you are desperate, and as a merc, Charlie isn't desperate. He certainly doesn't want to lose anyone, and losing them would certainly hit the pocketbook due to lost income and resources, but in this case, Charlie must be willing to lose these forces on the hopes of gaining whatever he was contracted for.


Yes, that is one path. His strategy could be more complex. Securing Parson and his bracer and an arkentool or two could easily trump working a couple more turns. I suggest that those considerations might be of more importance than dragging this out.

If he's contracted for those, then it wouldn't matter if it was a short or long war, since he'd get them either way. He's contracted for up to 10 turns, which is 2x longer than the strip so far.


He is not on the RCC side; his troops are temporarily working with the RCC.

He has refused any possibility of switching sides, while he was contracted to no one. He won't switch sides further than neutral, which means he won't help GK. That makes him the enemy only, and that puts him on RCC's side, even when neutral. In Charlie's own words, "Switching sides in the middle of this or any conflict would damage my reputation too much." He said this while not under contract, which means even when not being paid, Charlie considers himself on the RCC side of this.


The fact that he may be as dangerous as you suggest means that he ought to be very careful to anger them in any way. He already tested the waters by turning on the RCC and Transylvito, though he did it without breaking a contract (which he may not be able to break if he is thinkamantically bound to fulfill them, but that's another story).

He can anger them in the right way, and he should. He needs to act the merc to the hilt, which means making Ansom mad that he is a merc and acts like one. If you are playing a role, you can't play only the nice side: if you fail to play the nasty side, you give yourself away.


At the possible cost of every single life on GK's side with the entire collapse of GK (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0086.html).

And in the words of Wanda, "But you can't take the treasury. If the city falls, Ansom will take the treasury." same thing applies here. If he does crash the Tower on their heads, GK might collapse. If he doesn't crash the Tower, the Archons will crush him. Might win vs. will lose. You don't need a rocket scientist to figure that one out. Oh, and on the bright side, if he collapses the Tower and Ansom still wins, Ansom gets a worthless, ruined city.

Hmmm.. that does lend me to another tactic. Controlled collapse of the Courtyard. Sizemore collapses entire sections of the city to smash enemy formations.

SteveMB
2009-01-22, 09:23 PM
It will be interesting to see how Parson overcomes the fundamental limitation on corpses: they disappear at the end of the turn. But casting can only happen on your own turn. So, Trioxin should only be usable on the dead on GK's next turn, tomorrow, not today. That means that GK will have to move all those corpses after RCC's turn today, in some way that it prevents them from disappearing.

Corpses that aren't uncroaked or moved disappear at the start of the next turn (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0084.html) (presumably meaning "the next turn of the side they belonged to in life"). So, any RCC casualties this turn will still be around for the duration of GK's turn.

(Also, we've seen at least one example (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0116.html) of a spell cast out of turn. Apparently, only certain spells (e.g. veiling (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0070.html)) are limited that way.)

Lamech
2009-01-22, 11:40 PM
Yes, individual units like Sizemore--and certainly, overlords/heirs--seem capable of carrying some money. But we know that Stanley could not take with him, even with all his dwagons, the contents of GK's treasury prior to the purchase of the perfect warlord spell.
I would like to point out heavies (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0028.html) can too, although it is refered too in a third way. (Are hobgobwins heavies? If not change too powerful normal units...)

DevilDan
2009-01-23, 12:55 AM
That depends on how far along he is. If this RCC army was wiped out and Charlie had enough forces, then he's ready to pounce now.Ansom is about to put him in a vital position, so a backstab here may be what he's ready for. With Stanley reduced as far as he is, he's not threat for a while, either. I personally would be dissatisfied if that happened, though. I want the victory over the RCC to be Parson's, not Charlie's. Still, if Parson does turn the tables first, Charlie might see the opportunity, and I'd be okay wtih that.

If so, why bother saving Ansom in the first place? (Yes, I can draw a few hypotheses, such as further weakening GK or to get paid, assuming funds are transfered immediately, but this is all getting farcically speculative at this point.)


If they are casters, then yes, they are support personnel. Artillery is support. Casters are the Wf equivalent of artillery: stand back and boom lots of people from beyond their range. Remember, we have never seen an archon draw a weapon... we have only ever seen them use spell damage from range.

I agree that they are likely to be best using ranged attacks; that doesn't mean that they won't be placed in danger.


How else would he be paid? By the task? Certainly backed up by the comic. Page 69. "We've got what Jetstone paid for. [snip] Luckily for you, they paid a lot." So how powerful the spells they used was directly related to the cash paid.More spells, then, mean more money. The longer the war, the more spells get cast. Anyway, my point is, there's pretty much no way a long war won't mean more money for Charlie. I don't think he's stupid enough to let himself into a contract where the longer the war, the less he got paid.

Ansom paid a lot because archons are rare and powerful, and therefore expensive, units who can apparently kick major butt. If they're casters, then they're probably even rarer and more expensive.


But in a way expected of mercs. Remember, the Royals gang up to stop powerful non-royals. Just making them angry doesn't make him powerful, or a threat.

That is Stanley's contention; it has hardly been proven.


You can't convince me. There's no connotation I see in his statement that suggests anything other than an emotional attachment and the loss of a friend.

The death of a friend would upset me; he sounds put out, perhaps disappointed, but not particularly distressed. But I agree, I probably cannot and could never convince you.


No freakin' way. That's not a split difference: that's your position reworded. Horses are pets, too.

Not to a horse breeder. This is getting us nowhere and it hardly is of great import. (Though I will add that Stanley reacted more emotionally to the loss of a dwagon too.)


If Charlie couldn't handle the loss, they wouldn't be fighting. You never commit what you can't afford to lose, unless you are desperate, and as a merc, Charlie isn't desperate. He certainly doesn't want to lose anyone, and losing them would certainly hit the pocketbook due to lost income and resources, but in this case, Charlie must be willing to lose these forces on the hopes of gaining whatever he was contracted for.

Yes, that's generally how both business endeavors and wars work. It's all a calculated risk. Just because he fields all those archons doesn't mean that he doesn't expect to see them again or that he's planning on losing each and every one of them in order to achieve his objectives.


He can anger them in the right way, and he should. He needs to act the merc to the hilt, which means making Ansom mad that he is a merc and acts like one. If you are playing a role, you can't play only the nice side: if you fail to play the nasty side, you give yourself away.

Oh, so if he's too good a hired hand then he is in danger of drawing their wrath and suspicions, while getting on their bad side on occasion is the surest way of making sure that they don't think that he's a nuisance? It's possible, just more complicated than the evidence would suggest, as with a lot of speculation.


And in the words of Wanda, "But you can't take the treasury. If the city falls, Ansom will take the treasury." same thing applies here. If he does crash the Tower on their heads, GK might collapse. If he doesn't crash the Tower, the Archons will crush him. Might win vs. will lose. You don't need a rocket scientist to figure that one out. Oh, and on the bright side, if he collapses the Tower and Ansom still wins, Ansom gets a worthless, ruined city.

Hmmm.. that does lend me to another tactic. Controlled collapse of the Courtyard. Sizemore collapses entire sections of the city to smash enemy formations.

Yes, but the point is to defend GK. Parson had already suggested fleeing and waging guerrilla warfare. Call it a puritan work ethic, but Parson actually wants to hold GK. The possibility of destroying the city is precisely why Parson doesn't want to use collapses against Ansom. Or am I missing the point?

Godskook
2009-01-23, 06:00 AM
The death of a friend would upset me; he sounds put out, perhaps disappointed, but not particularly distressed.

Charlie said 4 things about that situation:
1.A sigh - pure emotion
2."That would be Jaclyn." - This is Charlie saying 'she had a name, Parson, she isn't just a d00dz to me'. Also slightly emotional, and shows that Charlie viewed his Archons as more than mere possessions.
3."I'll miss her." - This is very personal here. Had he wanted to talk of Jaclyn in any matter of impersonal or business way, he'd of said 'she'll be missed' or worse 'she was useful'. Instead he chose to admit a personal relationship with Jaclyn.
4."You gave us a bloody nose there, Parson" - Now, having satisfied his emotional attachment, he changes settings, and talks of "us" or Charlescomm as a whole. Note the change in scope. To Charlie on a personal level, its "I'll miss her", but to Charlescomm, she's a "bloody nose". Sure, he separates his personal attachments from his business sense a little, but as a mercenary, that is essential to functioning, and a sign of maturity on his part, not of callousness. Also, consider the fact that Charlie is talking to a warlord that has proven to be smarter strategically than 90% of the characters shown to date. Admitting emotional attachment to his Archons could get them killed. I'm sure he knows this, and yet still, he showed emotion.


Not to a horse breeder. This is getting us nowhere and it hardly is of great import. (Though I will add that Stanley reacted more emotionally to the loss of a dwagon too.)

Consider the difference in setting. Charlie is talking to an enemy chief warlord who could soon be shooting at his Archons. Stanley is talking to a subordinate that is under his complete control, at least as far as he knows. Can we really expect them to express their emotions with equal sense of freedom, given the difference?

Kreistor
2009-01-24, 02:18 AM
Corpses that aren't uncroaked or moved disappear at the start of the next turn (presumably meaning "the next turn of the side they belonged to in life"). So, any RCC casualties this turn will still be around for the duration of GK's turn.

Ah, yep. I misread that. You're right. No corpse worries.


If so, why bother saving Ansom in the first place? (Yes, I can draw a few hypotheses, such as further weakening GK or to get paid, assuming funds are transfered immediately, but this is all getting farcically speculative at this point.)

But it's fun to spec! Going to let this branch die, though.


I agree that they are likely to be best using ranged attacks; that doesn't mean that they won't be placed in danger.

Everyone's in danger during war, but the uestion will be how much danger. Ansom using the Archons in suicidally stupid ways is going to be prohibted in the contract.


Ansom paid a lot because archons are rare and powerful, and therefore expensive, units who can apparently kick major butt. If they're casters, then they're probably even rarer and more expensive.

That is nothing like how that quote reads. The question and answer "Whatcha got, girls?" "We've got what Jetstone paid for, Warlord. Luckily for you... They paid a lot." suggests that there is a sliding scale for hiring the Archons. If it was a flat fee for any service, then the response makes no sense. It would be "Everything we have." or something like that. Or since they always bring their best, Jillian asking the question makes no sense in the first place... the Archons always have the same power level. We can see that Jillian does not know what to expect from the Archons, which means she knows that how much they are willing to do is variable.

BTW, Charlie has 30+ Archons. That's not rare: it's only rare in that only Charlie seems to have them.

It's the same as dwagons. Dwagons are rare for everyone else -- basically no one else has them save Stanley. But Stanley had 60, which is not a small number.


That is Stanley's contention; it has hardly been proven.

At some point, YOU have to trust the author to not lie to us. If you aren't going to accept the things Parson says in his Klogs, then stop participating in this. You'll never be certain of anything, ever.


The death of a friend would upset me; he sounds put out, perhaps disappointed, but not particularly distressed. But I agree, I probably cannot and could never convince you.

I'll leave that to Godskook. He pretty much summed it up. You're reading into it what you want to read into it.


Not to a horse breeder. This is getting us nowhere and it hardly is of great import. (Though I will add that Stanley reacted more emotionally to the loss of a dwagon too.)

We did not see Charlie's reaction to hearing of Jaclyn's loss. We hear his response much later to an enemy when he decides to call him up to talk business. Of course Charlie's emotions are held in check. A CEO is not about to cry in front of a potential client.


Oh, so if he's too good a hired hand then he is in danger of drawing their wrath and suspicions, while getting on their bad side on occasion is the surest way of making sure that they don't think that he's a nuisance? It's possible, just more complicated than the evidence would suggest, as with a lot of speculation.

If Charlie took GK in one turn, then yes, he might be demonstrating more power than Ansom et al. were aware of. He is showing that he has enough power to conquer an enemy city quickly, and he's got the mobility to get there while ignoring terrain. Yeah, that's suddenly a threat.

But making them angry by referring to the letter of his contract? That would be typical Merc style.


Yes, but the point is to defend GK. Parson had already suggested fleeing and waging guerrilla warfare. Call it a puritan work ethic, but Parson actually wants to hold GK. The possibility of destroying the city is precisely why Parson doesn't want to use collapses against Ansom. Or am I missing the point?

So long as GK is still a city, it's a win. Wrecked, GK can be rebuilt. Conquered by Ansom, there's no point in having any buildings standing at all. I don't know how much 150000 schmuckers can do, but I doubt it's very little. Rebuilding a city is a major effort in our world, taking years or decades, but in Erf who knows what magics Sizemore could bring to bear for rebuilding?

Don't forget Parson has this new ability called Ruthlessness. Crasing the Tower would definitely qualify as a ruthless move.

HandofShadows
2009-01-24, 08:36 AM
That is nothing like how that quote reads. The question and answer "Whatcha got, girls?" "We've got what Jetstone paid for, Warlord. Luckily for you... They paid a lot." suggests that there is a sliding scale for hiring the Archons. If it was a flat fee for any service, then the response makes no sense. It would be "Everything we have." or something like that. Or since they always bring their best, Jillian asking the question makes no sense in the first place... the Archons always have the same power level. We can see that Jillian does not know what to expect from the Archons, which means she knows that how much they are willing to do is variable.

On page 67 one of the Archons states that they where not being paid for Magic Security and thats it's seperate.

Kreistor
2009-01-24, 11:06 AM
On page 67 one of the Archons states that they where not being paid for Magic Security and thats it's seperate.

Obviously, I had forgotten that. Thanks. It certainly backs up the pay for services, not per unit, theory.

We now have Ansom demanding Parson's capture. His survival must be in Charlie's contract. I can't see anything else changing his mind at this point.

Kreistor
2009-01-24, 11:35 AM
And now my question on where Courtyard begins and Outer Walls ends is answered. There is a second wall around the Courtyard.

Why the author would hide that boggles my mind. It's hardly a secret. everyone in the cimic knew about it.

I still have a problem with why air cannot attack straight down on Courtyard, and can't skip the Tower. That still seems arbitrary.

SteveMB
2009-01-24, 12:01 PM
We now have Ansom demanding Parson's capture. His survival must be in Charlie's contract. I can't see anything else changing his mind at this point.

Yep. After that Thinkagram, I'm sure Ansom would croak him personally if it was fully his decision.


And now my question on where Courtyard begins and Outer Walls ends is answered. There is a second wall around the Courtyard.

Why the author would hide that boggles my mind. It's hardly a secret. everyone in the cimic knew about it.

Garrison - can only be attacked with total control over one of the other zones. If the zone you attack from is outer walls, then garrison walls must also be breached. (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0109.html) (emphasis added)

Kreistor
2009-01-24, 10:09 PM
Garrison - can only be attacked with total control over one of the other zones. If the zone you attack from is outer walls, then garrison walls must also be breached. (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0109.html) (emphasis added)

So, brainiac, tell me without hindsight where the garrison walls are. I mean without using the latest comic. I personally thought the wall Wanda fell past was the garrison wall, and when I said that, no one suggested there was a second wall. Got any way of demonstrating that I was wrong before 126? You might have impressed me if you'd pulled that quote out of your hat before Christamas, when the arguments were occurring, and put your money behind a second wall theory, but you're not one to place bets on anything.

Frankly, the author has gotten too used to playing things too close to his chest. Sometimes, when you want people to understand what they're seeing, it's best just to draw them a map, instead of leaving things to the subtleties of an artist's rendering. (He actually did that with the dwagon ring trap. He needed us to see what he was describing, so he drew a map for us in the comic itself. Why not draw a map of GK? I can't imagine Parson didn't see one at some point.) This is a perfect example of hiding something that there was absolutely no reason to keep hidden. If this were a complex interaction between characters' personalities, with all their personal secrets, then yeah, don't put the cards on the table. Motivations and plots need to be held back and revealed in their proper time. But this isn't one of those. This is a battle for a city. I want to understand it -- the choices they make, the tactics they choose. The risks they take. I want to agree with them as they are made. I want to identify with the protagonist. But I can't do that if the most basic information, the way the world is built, is treated like a puzzle to be solved -- hinted at and spoken of in obfuscation. I can't do that, if I know less than Parson does about what his units can do.

Someone mentioned Deus Ex Machina in another thread. Well, let's look at 126. Parson wants Sizemore to go deal with enemy Leadership. We presuppose that since Sizemore is going, then a Dirtamancer can get there, and we expect underground. But now we have this large explosion from a clay creature... something not typical of earth magics. This surprises us, because it was unpredictable. And that is where the Deus Ex Machina accusation starts to hold sway. With so little knowledge of what Dirtamancers can do, we could not predict this kind of magic. We knew he could heal golems, create traps in tunnels, but powerful offensive magics is not typical of the traditionally most defensive magic -- earth. Author is creating a problem with no limits on the solution, since Sizemore no longer has a direct correlation to our expectations -- and that is in essence what Deus Ex Machina was. The problems became to complex to untangle, so some force large enough to solve it was introduced arbitraily to remove it. In 126, it's really minor. What Sizemore does is surprising, but not beyond my expectations of him, at least in terms of the results. Oh, I could have predicted any number of massive damage spells, such as the earth turning to quicksand, sucking everything down to be buried alive. Same result, different effect. I was not about to predict Sizemore could create mushroom cloud explosions, but I did expect him to have area effect spells that could wipe out one or more stacks at a time. By not creating a whirlpool of dirt under their feet, Dirtamancy now can duplicate the effects of a traditionally fire spell, meaning Dirtamancy is no longer limited, since we can't say for certain what it cannot do. Still, the point is that Parson knows about these things now: he has had long conversations with Sizemore about magic that we are not privy to. Parson knows what Dirtamancy can do, wihtout doubt he would have ensured Sizemore told him at least that. Only we are being kept in the dark on this subject. This is distancing us from the protagonist. We can't relate to his decisions, because we can't make the same decisions... we lack his information. We can't relate to his problems, because he knows what we don't.

A protagonist appears smart when he uses all the information that we have in a way that we did not expect. And by "we", I mean the readership. Parson, right now, isn't smart to me. He is merely knowledgeable to things I don't know of. I can't say that he used the elements in a way I could not have, since I am not given the opportunity to solve the problem on my own. As a game player, differing from Parson only in profession and rotundness, I like the challenge of solving the problem. Parson, and the author, appear smart if they can impress me. Right now, they can't. I can't solve the problem, because I don't have all the information that Parson does. I get dribs and drabs as the author sees fit to mete them out. There are questions I could ask Parson right now that he could answer, and that fact distances me from the protagonist.

Think about the fantasy books you have read. Most begin with the protagonist knowing little or nothing. They're a child, or a monk, or something not involved deeply in the interactions of the world where the problems they are about to solve occur. Frodo is a happy-go-lucky hobbit in a pristine farm community. Richard Cypher is a woodsman on the west side of a magical curtain, away from all things magical. Rand Al'thor is a farmer's son in the far west, forgotten province of a kingdom. And so on. this creates a connection between the reader and the protagonist -- we know little so they know little, and this provides connection and empathy with the reader. As the story progresses, they learn how the world works, we hear those conversations and learn how the world works with the protagonist.

But not in this strip. Parson mentions conversations and how frustrating it is to get real information. Let's look at Wanda's horded spells. He now knows what each and every one of those do. But we don't. Bam, one solves a problem for him. Ain't he smart? Can't say, because I don't know if I would have thought of using that spell in that situation, since I don't know what they are in the first place. This is the kind of thing that makes this tale feel more like a narrative or documentary than like a story. How can I relate to Parson, if I can't let myself think like Parson? Parson complained in his Klogs about how little information he could get out of people, but now we see that he has vast amounts of information that we don't. His complaints seem, well, diminished and whiny. I don't know how little he knows, because he knows more than me. I don't know where his knowledge begins and ends. What can Maggie do? Jack? Wanda seems obvious, but can she make one of her undead explode like an artillery shell? Rip the skeleton out of a living creature to become her own uncroaked? With Sizemore's explosion, expectations change. Dirtamancy isn't llimited to earth magic alone, so what can't it do? What can't Croakanancy do?

An author I read a long time ago (I think it was Simon Hawke but I may be wrong) wrote a series in which he had an antagonist wizard that could do anything -- all powerful demigod guy. Sounds standard, right? Simon was an english prof, and he did this on purpose. In the final chapter of the last book, the antagonist took over Simon's publishing company and edited the ending such that the protagonist stopped fighting and went to live idyllically somewhere... without defeating the antagonist, while the antagonist ensconced himself in our society, for nefarious reasons of course. This was an object lesson to his students... you must create delimiters on the abilities of your creations, or they can do anything, and the reader can imagine them easily solving their problems with abilities the author conveniently forgets in order to resolve the story. Right now, with Sizemore's mini-nuke, the delimiters are off. And that's a bad thing, ultimately. The character without limit achieving or failing to achieve something feels arbitrary, unpredictable. Sauron was not all-powerful, even with his ring... he was a physical reality that could be cut and temporarily destroyed. Lord Rahl was a man, limited by overconfidence and a ticking clock. And whatever Rand is fighting, it still is catged in a decaying prison. The point is that delimiters are important in fiction. The readers need to know what is allowed and what is not, or god is inherently in the machine.

Really... sometimes the best choice is to just draw a friggin' map.

ShneekeyTheLost
2009-01-24, 11:12 PM
Someone mentioned Deus Ex Machina in another thread. Well, let's look at 126. Parson wants Sizemore to go deal with enemy Leadership. We presuppose that since Sizemore is going, then a Dirtamancer can get there, and we expect underground. But now we have this large explosion from a clay creature... something not typical of earth magics. This surprises us, because it was unpredictable. And that is where the Deus Ex Machina accusation starts to hold sway. With so little knowledge of what Dirtamancers can do, we could not predict this kind of magic. We knew he could heal golems, create traps in tunnels, but powerful offensive magics is not typical of the traditionally most defensive magic -- earth. Author is creating a problem with no limits on the solution, since Sizemore no longer has a direct correlation to our expectations -- and that is in essence what Deus Ex Machina was. The problems became to complex to untangle, so some force large enough to solve it was introduced arbitraily to remove it. In 126, it's really minor. What Sizemore does is surprising, but not beyond my expectations of him, at least in terms of the results. Oh, I could have predicted any number of massive damage spells, such as the earth turning to quicksand, sucking everything down to be buried alive. Same result, different effect. I was not about to predict Sizemore could create mushroom cloud explosions, but I did expect him to have area effect spells that could wipe out one or more stacks at a time. By not creating a whirlpool of dirt under their feet, Dirtamancy now can duplicate the effects of a traditionally fire spell, meaning Dirtamancy is no longer limited, since we can't say for certain what it cannot do. Still, the point is that Parson knows about these things now: he has had long conversations with Sizemore about magic that we are not privy to. Parson knows what Dirtamancy can do, wihtout doubt he would have ensured Sizemore told him at least that. Only we are being kept in the dark on this subject. This is distancing us from the protagonist. We can't relate to his decisions, because we can't make the same decisions... we lack his information. We can't relate to his problems, because he knows what we don't.

First off, they aren't clay golems, they're crap golems. He's not a traditional 'earth' caster, his main speciality is dealing with... biological waste. It stands to reason that he would be able to use... biological waste... in his attacks. The Crap Golems had been in numerous scenes and even a couple of Klog's. Quite frankly, I was wondering when he was going to finally use them, other than as a distraction in the tunnels. All of his other golems were, likewise, already introduced. They have been a known force for quite a while, so you cannot claim he simply 'introduce new concepts'.

I won't say I was surprised, but I fail to see how it was a deus ex machina. He sacrifices a rather powerful golem which had shown itself to be nearly invincible to physical damage (which would have been quite powerful to use as a 'damage sponge' if he had gone for more conventional tactics), and I was wondering why crap golems were so powerful and difficult to produce, considering the considerable... er... supply of materials to build one with.

And please, you mean to say you've never seen a thread going downhill quick as being referred to as a crapstorm (okay, I'm using the Erf term rather than the one more normally used on the internet here, but I'm sure you get the picture)? This is perfectly acceptable to me.

Dirtomancy has NEVER been stated as a 'primarily defensive' school of magic. I really don't know where you got that from, other than possibly reading too much Wheel of Time (and even there, Earth governed some pretty nasty stuff).

DevilDan
2009-01-24, 11:50 PM
Good lord, that was some wall of text. But it amounts to whining about old issues. If you don't like the story, then feel free to put all that in the "disatisfied with erfworld" thread.

If you've paid attention, you'll notice several shots of Erf that show GK's layout and where the inner walls are visible.

As to the exploding crap golem, it doesn't annoy me because ait isn't changing the course of the battle in a significant way in my opinion.


At some point, YOU have to trust the author to not lie to us. If you aren't going to accept the things Parson says in his Klogs, then stop participating in this. You'll never be certain of anything, ever.

I guess I'm the silly sort that likes challenging stories and characters and situations with some substance.

dr pepper
2009-01-25, 12:26 AM
Yeah, dirtamancy is not exactly the same as earth elementalistic magic, albeit it shares a great deal. For one thing we've all seen Sizemore utilizing chemistry (or possibly alchemy) to blow people up. I suppose Kreistor would say that wasn't enough forshadowing Scratch that, let's not be snarky.

Anyway, it's not a long stetch to imagine that crap golems can produce large amounts of methane, so the bomb is a natural extrapolation.

SteveMB
2009-01-25, 02:30 AM
I personally thought the wall Wanda fell past was the garrison wall, and when I said that, no one suggested there was a second wall.

Huh? I distinctly recall several people noting that the battle was taking place around the outer walls, and that the garrison walls (the square inner ones (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0117.html)) were quite a ways off.


put your money behind a second wall theory

Theory? The phrase "If the zone you attack from is outer walls, then garrison walls must also be breached." explicitly mentions two separate and distinct walls. I have no idea what you're getting at here.

Godskook
2009-01-25, 05:30 AM
So, brainiac, tell me without hindsight where the garrison walls are. I mean without using the latest comic. I personally thought the wall Wanda fell past was the garrison wall, and when I said that, no one suggested there was a second wall. Got any way of demonstrating that I was wrong before 126? You might have impressed me if you'd pulled that quote out of your hat before Christamas, when the arguments were occurring, and put your money behind a second wall theory, but you're not one to place bets on anything.

Ahem, no hindsight involved:
http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=101347

Admittedly, DevilDan didn't post the statements found in that thread that speak of garrison walls, but he read it. Hence, no reason to say harsh things to him for saying something that has been known to him for what? weeks at least, and this is assuming that the thread I found is the first time its presented on the boards. I'm sure if DD did a search of his own posts, he could find himself saying it too, back then.

Kreistor
2009-01-25, 06:01 PM
Ahem, no hindsight involved:
http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=101347

Admittedly, DevilDan didn't post the statements found in that thread that speak of garrison walls, but he read it. Hence, no reason to say harsh things to him for saying something that has been known to him for what? weeks at least, and this is assuming that the thread I found is the first time its presented on the boards. I'm sure if DD did a search of his own posts, he could find himself saying it too, back then.

I see no mention of the word "garrison wall" in that thread. Which message are you referring to? The picture? It shows walls, but it lacks any actual reference to the text. I asked the creator specifically to explain what I wasn't seeing, but he declined to answer me.

Doran
2009-01-25, 07:29 PM
Kreistor, here are some panels from earlier comics showing two separate walls

Erfworld Page 21: Panel 6 (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0021.html)

Erfworld Page 119: panels 8 and 10 (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0132.html)

Wanda leaves the square walls, and moves towards the curved walls where Ansom is fighting.

teratorn
2009-01-26, 12:38 AM
Kreistor, here are some panels from earlier comics showing two separate walls

Erfworld Page 21: Panel 6 (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0021.html)


I remember that at the time we even discussed the fact that the inner citadel was present in Parson's model seen in #16 (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0016.html). We were speculating on the reality of Erfworld by then. Wow, that sure was a long time ago.