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The Giant
2009-03-17, 06:34 AM
New Erfworld is now up.

GooeyChewie
2009-03-17, 06:38 AM
Does this explain why Ansom seems to be able to counter everything with dumb luck? Because that's the way Parson set up his game?

daggaz
2009-03-17, 06:40 AM
Heh, uncroak the volcano. Bet nobody saw that one coming.. :smallamused:

Radar
2009-03-17, 06:41 AM
I totally wasn't expecting such a solution. :smalleek:

That and i really like the way Parson hesitates to put his idea in motion. He honestly didn't wan't to do this to Wanda and Sizemore yet the spell compells him to do so anyway.

edit: it's weird that Wanda seems to be excited about being a part of a link-up. :smallconfused:

Lazy Fat Man
2009-03-17, 06:46 AM
Hmm. Now I'm concerned about our poor dirtomancer and croakamancer, is there anyway to end a link without killing or at least severely incapacitating one or two of the casters. If not, then I hope he orders Maggie to not protect herself before the link.

TheTurnipKing
2009-03-17, 06:50 AM
Does this explain why Ansom seems to be able to counter everything with dumb luck? Because that's the way Parson set up his game?
This may be why the spell chose Parson.

stsasser
2009-03-17, 06:50 AM
Zombie volcano?

I like it!

Kilkrazy
2009-03-17, 06:52 AM
Zombie volcano?

I like it!

Zombie volcano directed by a master dirtamancer.

It might be like a massive heavy artillery battery!

ObadiahtheSlim
2009-03-17, 06:58 AM
Uncroak the volcano!? Thats pretty hardcore.

What a tweest!

RMS Oceanic
2009-03-17, 06:59 AM
And Parson goes for the Miracle at Brandenburg Maneuver.

I hope it works.

Mukashi
2009-03-17, 06:59 AM
Why am I getting the mental image of the Statue of Liberty from Ghostbusters II, with Parson at the joystick?

Justyn
2009-03-17, 07:00 AM
And here I was thinking that the volcano could only be resurrected by Sizemore digging down far enough... I can certainly say that I did not see this coming.

And I really hope that all three of them make it out. Maybe all three of them can be brought out by making sure that they all take enough damage to make them a little bit crazy, like Jack was.

Senex
2009-03-17, 07:04 AM
"Thinkamancer, Croakamancer and Dirtamancer."
Not "Maggie, Wanda and Sizemore".

Ruthlessness is a harsh mistress.

Lombard
2009-03-17, 07:06 AM
This strip is soo missing an extra panel where the idea comes to him with one of those little sound effect type of phrases that's a play on a meme or pop culture, etc..

Yeah I know thoughts don't make sounds. But in cartoons they do! :smallbiggrin:

Sieggy
2009-03-17, 07:06 AM
Zombie volcano directed by a master dirtamancer.

It might be like a massive heavy artillery battery!

Except that the casters are at the downrange end by definition. This would be a suicide tactic on the part of Parson, and I really can't see the summoning spell being able to force Parson to kill himself and his remaining forces in order to wipe out the remaining enemy. Unless Parson figures to use the portals to get away before the lava gets there . . .

BTW, why does everyone think that only casters can use the portal? I haven't seen anything that would indicate this, and from the picture of the portal room in the Magic Kingdom, I don't think it needs a caster to operate it - it's simply a portal from one place to another.

Sweetie Welf
2009-03-17, 07:06 AM
OMG
I honestly did not expect that. A linkup with the three casters was a possibility I considered, but not that it actually would happen. And not with a zombie vulcan.
Never I was happier that I decides to become a fanboy of erfworld.

Rollory
2009-03-17, 07:10 AM
W A T .

W A T .

W A T .

rianalnn
2009-03-17, 07:12 AM
Just when I thought this comic couldn't get any better. . . OVER the top. I hope it works, I so want to see THE RAGING VOLCANO WHAT HUNGERS FOR BRAINS :smallbiggrin:

Fuzzy_Juan
2009-03-17, 07:25 AM
Wow....talk about crazy enough to work. Wonder if it would have been easier on him if he would have just done that to start with. Guess he cared too much.

Calling them by their function and not by their name...now that was harsh. Ruthless indeed. I see shooting lava killing all the archons in the airspace...this is now over in the worst way.

Rhuna_Coppermane
2009-03-17, 07:26 AM
Heh, uncroak the volcano. Bet nobody saw that one coming.. :smallamused:

I sure didn't. :smalleek:

Raven777
2009-03-17, 07:27 AM
Except that the casters are at the downrange end by definition. This would be a suicide tactic on the part of Parson, and I really can't see the summoning spell being able to force Parson to kill himself and his remaining forces in order to wipe out the remaining enemy. Unless Parson figures to use the portals to get away before the lava gets there . . .

Stanley and his Dwagons would survive. Sounds like the spell can compel Parson to make the ultimate sacrifice of his friends and himself if it ultimately means victory for the leader.

Crod
2009-03-17, 07:31 AM
Nice and fast update, and very daring twist.

This is the first time I notice the difference in fonts (dialect?) between
Parson and the Erflings. So many details in this comic.

DigoDragon
2009-03-17, 07:33 AM
Oh wow, uncroak a volcano? So how much damage is undead lava going to do? :smalltongue: Apparently Parson isn't going to get his turn until he pries it off the coalition's dead hands.

afroakuma
2009-03-17, 07:34 AM
He may have called them by role and not name, but they didn't look like they minded...

perhaps he's starting to look a bit professional to them?

SatyreIkon
2009-03-17, 07:43 AM
Holy S***!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That's what I call lateral thinking. Kobayashi Maru-style all the way. :smallbiggrin:

Xenon
2009-03-17, 07:46 AM
can you smell what the volcano is cooking? MAGMA GOLEMS! bubble bubble boil and pwnage.

Solarious
2009-03-17, 07:48 AM
Sizemore's evolving expressions and reactions to Parson's orders is one of those great things about this comic.

"So are you explicitly ordering us into the Magic Kingdom?

Warlord?"

This is going to be hardcore.

Sieggy
2009-03-17, 07:50 AM
Wow....talk about crazy enough to work. Wonder if it would have been easier on him if he would have just done that to start with. Guess he cared too much.

Calling them by their function and not by their name...now that was harsh. Ruthless indeed. I see shooting lava killing all the archons in the airspace...this is now over in the worst way.

Hej . . . the Archons are out of move - if Parson pops the cork before their turn, they may NOT be able to retreat from the AoE. Remember Jillian bouncing off the hex side . . ? AND . . . can volcanoes erupt at night? No move, no fighting, those are the rules, but are natural phenomona governed by turn discipline? It would be nasty beyond words to be forced to sit there while everything about you goes up because 'troops not move at night' . . . That would be just the kind of cheat / exploit that Parson would be looking for.

I also have to wonder how many Archons are left . . . we only saw a total of eight since the dance-fight in the courtyard. It would severely chafe Charlie if he loses his entire contingent of Archons to this operation. Just ruin the profit line . . .

I can just see Stanley coming back tomorrow and finding a flaming caldera where his city used to be, but the entire RCC army effectively wiped out. If the Archons are gone, he has no way of knowing what really happened there, and it's not like Charlie is going to tell him the truth.

derfy
2009-03-17, 07:51 AM
Oh holy booping-

Oh that...could very well be game.

Gez
2009-03-17, 07:51 AM
This strip is soo missing an extra panel where the idea comes to him with one of those little sound effect type of phrases that's a play on a meme or pop culture, etc..

Yeah I know thoughts don't make sounds. But in cartoons they do! :smallbiggrin:

That's because the idea didn't just come to him, he had it before. Heck, who didn't speculate over this trimancer link up? Not for awakening the volcano, sure, but it was heavily speculated over. You could say it was a big Chekhov's gun all along.

No, what happened there is that, prodded by what Maggie and Wanda told him, he finally did resign himself to use this gambit he thought of before.

The Rose Dragon
2009-03-17, 08:01 AM
*sigh*

Two more people I gotta add to the list of people I want to have the babies of... :smallbiggrin:

BillyJimBoBob
2009-03-17, 08:04 AM
Wow, Sizemore looks almost pissed off at the idea of being ordered to leave.

My hat is off to those who speculated about the volcano being brought out of dormancy. I do not recall who they were, but I do recall reading at least one person theorizing about that.


BTW, why does everyone think that only casters can use the portal? I haven't seen anything that would indicate this, and from the picture of the portal room in the Magic Kingdom, I don't think it needs a caster to operate it - it's simply a portal from one place to another.We haven't seen anything explicitly, but it's obvious from context. Parson knows all of the rules now, that much is obvious. He is calling for spells and formations as he could only do if he was very familiar with the rules. If Parson says "I'm not a caster; I'll have to stay and fight it out", it's only because it is fact. You didn't see any of the casters looking puzzled at their leader stating an obvious untruth, right?

Xiander
2009-03-17, 08:10 AM
BTW, why does everyone think that only casters can use the portal? I haven't seen anything that would indicate this, and from the picture of the portal room in the Magic Kingdom, I don't think it needs a caster to operate it - it's simply a portal from one place to another.

In the newest comic parson states that he cannot leave through the portals because he is not a caster.

ghost81
2009-03-17, 08:15 AM
That is just . . . wow.

Eisen
2009-03-17, 08:15 AM
:smallamused:

Guess Parson DID get enough ruthlessness in his Luckamancy-Os.

Tensu
2009-03-17, 08:18 AM
DUN DUN DUN!!!

wow, someone actually saw "resurrect the volcano" coming? I tip my hat to them.

wadledo
2009-03-17, 08:19 AM
Cool, I was not expecting that at all.

raphfrk
2009-03-17, 08:25 AM
And I really hope that all three of them make it out. Maybe all three of them can be brought out by making sure that they all take enough damage to make them a little bit crazy, like Jack was.

Maggie apparently focused all the damage onto the other 2 during the previous breakup. Parson could give an order to minimise the chance of any of them dying. It might be normal that the 3 survive with slight damage as you say. Perhaps, Misty effectively took double damage and Jack took normal damage.

Another issue is that Wanda already has some mental damage due to the feedback from the suggestion spell on Jillian, so she may be more at risk. She may need to be slightly shielded relative to the other 2 on the breakup.

I think Misty may have also had damage due to Parson referring to her as an individual while she was linked-up (in effect, it could be that Parson rather than Maggie killed Misty). He would need to be careful not to refer to any of the three of them as individuals. Maybe he could come up with a name for them to prevent himself accidentally using the name of the one who is nearest to him.

Harr
2009-03-17, 08:28 AM
Well, it really depends on what he means by uncroaking the volcano.

If by uncroaking the volcano it means that the volcano simply won't be dormant any more and will erupt like an active volcano would do, then it was a given that having a volcano in the center of the story would mean that eventually it would be made to explode, and many people saw it coming a mile away.

However, if it means that the volcano will actually be an undead and will walk around, or drain XP, or hunger for brains or something undead-type that has nothing to do with actually erupting, then yeah, we can say nobody saw that coming for sure.

We'll just have to wait and see.

Tola
2009-03-17, 08:29 AM
...Bah. Lord of the Rings is far too deeply entrenched in my mind.(Hell's bells, looking at it, we even got the 'I am no man' deal I imagined for Ansom a few pages ago, though it wasn't who we thought.) I can plainly see the four of them, trapped on a rapidly melting rock, as the whole thing goes to pot. The question is only 'who'll do the rescuing: Archons or Dwagons?'

SteveMB
2009-03-17, 08:31 AM
BTW, why does everyone think that only casters can use the portal? I haven't seen anything that would indicate this, and from the picture of the portal room in the Magic Kingdom, I don't think it needs a caster to operate it - it's simply a portal from one place to another.

Earlier, Parson told Sizemore (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0114.html) that he intended to send the casters to the Magic Kingdom if the situation became hopeless. The only obvious reason to mention "the casters" specificially would be if only casters can use that route. The first panel of this page confirms that.

Mando Knight
2009-03-17, 08:35 AM
Uncroak the volcano? Yessss...

Wrecan
2009-03-17, 08:36 AM
"Parson Gotti, you just created a rampaging undead volcano that will smite your enemies -- and you, in a few moments. What are you going to do now?"

"I'm going to the Magic Kingdom!"

TAG
2009-03-17, 08:46 AM
You know, now that there is no city to preserve, I wonder if Siezmore can tap back into the lava flows and "resurrect" the volcano (while the few living members of GK's defense escape) as a final killing blow to the coalition.

Heh I was right! (...sorta...)

Although since making the volcano active really just requires a big tunnel down to the magma flow I'm not certain why more than Siezmore is required (except for just raw magic power maybe). Even the theory of a huge volcanic golem seems to fall solely on his abilities.

los olvidados
2009-03-17, 08:48 AM
Man, back on Page 124 (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0137.html), the eighth panel, with the three casters and the shackles, it occurred to me that Parson may try the linking.

Now as to the link's purpose, that I did not anticipate.

raphfrk
2009-03-17, 08:48 AM
Except that the casters are at the downrange end by definition. This would be a suicide tactic on the part of Parson, and I really can't see the summoning spell being able to force Parson to kill himself and his remaining forces in order to wipe out the remaining enemy. Unless Parson figures to use the portals to get away before the lava gets there . . .


Alternatively, they may have some control over the eruption and direct it at enemy troops. Maybe they can get the dungeon to 'float'. Though those seem a little of a stretch.

Also, I wonder if the lava would contain the gems that the original GK had and thus if Sizemore survives (and they hold GK from the coalition and Charlie), he can go mining to restore GK's wealth. In theory, they should since that is what the original mines were made from. OTOH, gems are apparently left over by the Titans.

Hopefully, the volcano re-dies after a few turns, like all other undead, or the city may not only be lost but not be capable of being rebuilt.

This may also allow them to level up the city quickly. When they are talking about the library, they said that it just popped with all the books in place. With enough money it may be possible to 'rush-build' like in civilisation, so a building could be completed per turn (this would certainly be worth doing for the city walls).



BTW, why does everyone think that only casters can use the portal? I haven't seen anything that would indicate this, and from the picture of the portal room in the Magic Kingdom, I don't think it needs a caster to operate it - it's simply a portal from one place to another.

It could be a rule of the Magic Kingdom, only casters are allowed access, even if the portals could transport anyone.

The Minx
2009-03-17, 09:03 AM
What? You can uncroack volcanoes? But they're not alive... :/

Oh, try and uncroak it. He doesn't know whether it will work. But by law of plot it must. Gosh. :smalleek:


And Parson goes for the Miracle at Brandenburg Maneuver.

What?

Generalissimus
2009-03-17, 09:05 AM
This is a total bluff. A Deus Ex Machina. I was expecting Parson to win or lose within normal rules and strategies, not uncroaking something that is not even a unit.

Erfworld is finished for me. I do not want to read anymore strips.

Opal Tide
2009-03-17, 09:10 AM
Awesome, un expected update (both in substance and speed). It sort of reminded me of the following passage from Michael Bay's Rejected Dark Knight Script (http://my.spill.com/profiles/blog/show?id=947994%3ABlogPost%3A355506):

Bruce: We hack the internet
Alfred: HAck the internet?
Bruce: Yes, Hack the internet.
General: No one's ever hacked the internet before.
Bruce: There's a first time for everything
General: Okay, I like. but which internet do we hack?
Bruce: All of them

Only instead of internet, Parson and company are effectively hacking a mountain.

Can't wait to see what happens next!

raphfrk
2009-03-17, 09:18 AM
This is a total bluff. A Deus Ex Machina. I was expecting Parson to win or lose within normal rules and strategies, not uncroaking something that is not even a unit.


In fairness, the concept of linking the 3 of them was a reasonably predictable move and it was predictable that it would be powerful, even if it was unknown what it would do.

msb
2009-03-17, 09:27 AM
I just wanted to commend the authors. I mean, *really* commend them. This is such a wonderful twist. Actually this is one of the best twists I've seen. (And I'm a huge plot snob; I hate it when things are even slightly out of order.) This twist ties together and explains so many threads, and utilizes so many mechanisms set up previously. It makes things that previously seemed disappointing and pointless actually make sense. It puts a real stamp of order on the story, and makes it more exciting going forward. And it's genuinely surprising. That's no small feat -- there are *not* many plot twists in the universe that do all of these things well.

(I think this is true regardless of whether or not the volcano thing actually happens or how it turns out, btw.)

It's so nice to be not only not disappointed, but really surprised and excited.

Thanks.

Toloran
2009-03-17, 09:29 AM
What? You can uncroack volcanoes? But they're not alive... :/

Well, technically speaking, corpses aren't alive either. :smallbiggrin:

UltimatheChosen
2009-03-17, 09:39 AM
Well, technically speaking, corpses aren't alive either. :smallbiggrin:

Heh... Excellent point.

Aeryn
2009-03-17, 09:43 AM
Uncroaking a volcano doesn't mean we're going to get a shambling undead magma elemental - at least, I'd be surprised if we did.

There are two sorts of volcanoes - Active and Dead. Active volcanoes can erupt at any time, but Dead volcanoes no longer erupt. He's just going to activate this dead volcano, that's all, and the "Uncroak the Volcano" bit is a play on words.

I'm sure most of the people who posted do actually know that, but...it's hard to tell sometimes :P

Also - love the comic and where it's going! So close now to the end of this battle :)

shakes019
2009-03-17, 09:43 AM
Awesome, un expected update (both in substance and speed). It sort of reminded me of the following passage from Michael Bay's Rejected Dark Knight Script (http://my.spill.com/profiles/blog/show?id=947994%3ABlogPost%3A355506):

Bruce: We hack the internet
Alfred: HAck the internet?
Bruce: Yes, Hack the internet.
General: No one's ever hacked the internet before.
Bruce: There's a first time for everything
General: Okay, I like. but which internet do we hack?
Bruce: All of them


That sounds suspiciously familiar. (http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2007/07/16/)

On topic - I like the twist, although I would have preferred a "show, don't tell" approach to it. It makes me think that the plan is less likely to work for some reason.

The Glyphstone
2009-03-17, 09:46 AM
uncroak the volcano...

LOLWUT?

dragontape
2009-03-17, 09:46 AM
Wow, I can say i never saw that coming...

Considering the last link up gave Gobwin Knob an unmatched informational tool i'm curious to see whats going to happen next...

For some strange reason, the idea of Howl's Moving Castle comes to mind...imagine that, a moving capitol.

Ability to control dirt on a massive scale...1 Masterclass Dirtamancer
Ability to give the dirt a semblance of unlife...1 Masterclass Croakamancer
Ability to give the creature a brain...1 Masterclass Thinkamancer
The price to watch your very own volcano go "GEEMMMMSSS!!"...priceless

BobVosh
2009-03-17, 09:49 AM
Well, it really depends on what he means by uncroaking the volcano.

If by uncroaking the volcano it means that the volcano simply won't be dormant any more and will erupt like an active volcano would do, then it was a given that having a volcano in the center of the story would mean that eventually it would be made to explode, and many people saw it coming a mile away.

However, if it means that the volcano will actually be an undead and will walk around, or drain XP, or hunger for brains or something undead-type that has nothing to do with actually erupting, then yeah, we can say nobody saw that coming for sure.

We'll just have to wait and see.

I think you are missing the big picture. In fact, I'm surprised noone has mentioned it: Undead Volcano Dance Fight.

dragontape
2009-03-17, 09:51 AM
I think you are missing the big picture. In fact, I'm surprised noone has mentioned it: Undead Volcano Dance Fight.

Good sir you are a friggin GENIUS!

Ancalagon
2009-03-17, 09:54 AM
This is a total bluff. A Deus Ex Machina. I was expecting Parson to win or lose within normal rules and strategies, not uncroaking something that is not even a unit.

Erfworld is finished for me. I do not want to read anymore strips.

It's a DEAD vulcano. And there's the link to UNDEAD (uncroaked in this world), so it does make sense from the "cheating" perspective that parson is looking at this.

BarGamer
2009-03-17, 09:58 AM
I think you are missing the big picture. In fact, I'm surprised noone has mentioned it: Undead Volcano Dance Fight.

With gems and flaming rocks and hot magma instead of DDR arrows!

Where is Stanley??

Grey Paladin
2009-03-17, 10:02 AM
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v470/Shdow/CatapultTurtleDarkCastleGambit.png

:smallannoyed:

Wakky
2009-03-17, 10:16 AM
For those of you who are worried about the "backlash" from the link-up harming Sizemore or Wanda, I don't think you have much to worry about.

Maggie used safeguards to channel the damage of a broken link to Jack and Misti instead of herself. Parson is still pissed about this selfish behavior, so I wouldn't be surprised if he ordered Maggie to put safeguards on Wanda and Sizemore while leaving herself unprotected.

At last, vengeance for Misti's death!

Nekomata
2009-03-17, 10:28 AM
And Parson goes for the Miracle at Brandenburg Maneuver.

I hope it works.
More like forgotten super weapon... or Chekhovs Uncroaked Volcano.



For those of you who are worried about the "backlash" from the link-up harming Sizemore or Wanda, I don't think you have much to worry about.

Maggie used safeguards to channel the damage of a broken link to Jack and Misti instead of herself. Parson is still pissed about this selfish behavior, so I wouldn't be surprised if he ordered Maggie to put safeguards on Wanda and Sizemore while leaving herself unprotected.

At last, vengeance for Misti's death!
Or he'll just ask them to take their time and do it the right way, instead of just pulling the plug like the tool did.

Wrecan
2009-03-17, 10:35 AM
not uncroaking something that is not even a unit.
At its essence, all Sizemore does is make things that are not units into units. Dirt, concrete, crap, all were not units before Sizemore got a hold of it.

The plan, as I understand it is...
Maggie uses thinkamancy to link the three casters, thus increasing their powers
Sizemore uses dirtamancy to animate the dormant volcano
Wanda uses croakamancy to convert the volcano from dormant to alive.
Volcano erupts (possibly, thanks to Sizemore and Wanda's control over it, only at their enemies)

If magma enters the chamber, Parson shoves the casters through the portal to the Magic Kingdom and hopes the folks there can safely disentangle them from the link. Parson then offers his services to Charlie in exchange for not getting croaked. Charlie accepts.

Start Book 2, in which Parson, working for Charlie, must deal with an irate Stanley and an irate Jillian.

Of course it won't work out that way, as Stanley should return soon with the dwagons -- though he may return to find the Arkenpliers sitting in the midst of the rubble that once was GK, with a little bow on it and a "A Gift from Parson" card attached.

:smallsmile:

RMS Oceanic
2009-03-17, 10:36 AM
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v470/Shdow/CatapultTurtleDarkCastleGambit.png

:smallannoyed:

It's kind of the point of this update: The normal rules of this game haven't gotten anywhere, so it's time for the crazy stuff.

And "Miracle at Brandenburg" was the wrong one. I mean the Miracle of the Marne. "My right flank retreats, my center is in shambles. The situation is excellent. I attack!" It saved France from defeat in WWI. It also lead to the hell that was trench warfare, but still.

Lessaid
2009-03-17, 10:38 AM
I have no knowledge of the specific 'rules' concerning link-ups, but one would imagine that the trauma caused by breaking a caster link is likely to be much more if the link has been sustained for a long time. Bear in mind that the link causes the casters to abandon their sense of individuality while part of the link and that Parson's interactions with Misty jeopardised the link by making her think for herself.

Now unless Parson plans on keeping Wanda, Maggie and Sizemore together so that he can control the very erf itself [interesting idea...] I imagine the link will last 1 or 2 turns max. Therefore, it doesn't seem like breaking the link will necessarily have to have such an extreme backlash on its participants.

But we'll see, won't we? If I'm honest if I see anyone 'sacrificing' himself I think it's most likely to be Sizemore...

El_Chupachichis
2009-03-17, 10:42 AM
Couple of thoughts:

Since the Arkenpliers are buried in the rubble around the Volcano, will that "dust" the Uncroaked Volcano, or at least hurt it? Perhaps the entier area will collapse and suffocate everyone under tons of dust

Perhaps Stanley won't go to the Volcano, the Volcano will go to Stanley

Sizemore is getting the Thousand-Yard Stare a bit early. He's becoming a hardened veteran, possibly only dimly aware of his conversion from reluctant warrior, to possibly even one who seeks battle.

Obvious Troll is Obvious. But some people got snagged, apparently, by a previous poster. You know who you are :)

Great plot twist, and also puts a whole lot of alleged boop-pulls by Ansom in context. It's as if the entire scenario was set up to force Cheats to win.

pendell
2009-03-17, 10:42 AM
Did .. did he just say "uncroak the volcano"?

*Pulls up a chair ,breaks out the popcorn*

THIS I gotta see. Maybe I'll buy the book after all.

Respectfully,

Brian P.

pdwalker
2009-03-17, 10:52 AM
unexpected.

Cool!

El_Chupachichis
2009-03-17, 10:57 AM
Of course it won't work out that way, as Stanley should return soon with the dwagons -- though he may return to find the Arkenpliers sitting in the midst of the rubble that once was GK, with a little bow on it and a "A Gift from Parson" card attached.

:smallsmile:

And that's what Stanley prefers... Battle and the loot/glory that comes with it. He might not care about the city if he gets control over another Arkentool, or the one Attuned to it.

Cadrys
2009-03-17, 10:57 AM
For those who were upset at Ansom's "plot armor", this perfectly explains it. The "GM" (world) WAS cheating, countering every within-the-rules stratagem with a barely-plausible escape.

Parson: We try to Uncroak the volcano.

GM: Wait, what?

Trixie
2009-03-17, 11:20 AM
Someone asked why Sizemore couldn't do it - well, because it is a DEAD volcano (foreshadowed in one of the early strips).

Now, I wonder how they will survive the explosion, as their position is exactly on the way of the lava, more than any other spot :smalltongue:

Sweetie Welf
2009-03-17, 11:28 AM
HEy, I found some hints in an old klog (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0041.html): "Melt Away/Insurgency", "Will become my first choice, the second I discover the ability to move these mountains. Talk to Sizemore about this". It was so obvious. :smallwink:

Tip: Listen to "Forever" from Queen whie reading the strip.

Kyouhen
2009-03-17, 11:35 AM
I think you are missing the big picture. In fact, I'm surprised noone has mentioned it: Undead Volcano Dance Fight.

The question here is which dance will it do? :smalltongue:

As for the uncroaking of the volcano... Wow. Parson has a good mind for obscure plans. I can't wait to see if this actually works.

Aquillion
2009-03-17, 11:41 AM
Wow, Sizemore looks almost pissed off at the idea of being ordered to leave.I don't think that's it. I think he's pissed at Parson's wishy-washy attempt to avoid making them do their duty. Sizemore himself has been forced to do terrible things recently, and he resents Parson's efforts to soften the blow of what's next.

At least, that's how I see it. I suspect that he also realized all along (from back when Parson first mentioned the possibility) that Parson wouldn't really be able to order them into the Magic Kingdom.

And I think the reason Wanda looks so satisfied in the second-to-last panel is because she's the one who summoned Parson. When he does well or takes charge, it reflects well on her abilities as a caster.

Hatu
2009-03-17, 11:44 AM
Hej . . . the Archons are out of move - if Parson pops the cork before their turn, they may NOT be able to retreat from the AoE. Remember Jillian bouncing off the hex side . . ? AND . . . can volcanoes erupt at night? No move, no fighting, those are the rules, but are natural phenomona governed by turn discipline? It would be nasty beyond words to be forced to sit there while everything about you goes up because 'troops not move at night' . . . That would be just the kind of cheat / exploit that Parson would be looking for.


The RCC still hasn't ended its turn: the only way Parson makes it to night is if his zombcano idea works right now. (Unless he has an even longer shot for the First Post-Last Stand, but I doubt that's in the cards at this point.)

As far as Parson's plan, it's interesting and far more satisfying than his plan to kill Ansom. I had wondered if the Eyemancer setup was only possible because the three casters shared an affinity for Eyemancy; apparently, that is not the case.

At the same time, this does nothing to help establish Parson's already suspect "perfect warlord" chops. Perhaps that's part of the point given Parson's comment about how his game could not be won 'properly,' but if so it serves to make the story a bit less interesting to me.

I like creativity as much as the next man, but I find creativity within boundries (self-imposed or otherwise) far more satisfying than utterly freeform expressions. If this has really just been a long game of Calvinball this whole time, it becomes a rather different story than I was hoping for.

-H

silas the monk
2009-03-17, 11:57 AM
Okay I am sure an uncroaked volcano can kill 3000 people. However cannot it do so before the red-haired warlord with the arkenpliers pulls its limbs off? Scissors beats stone for the first time ever?

Radar
2009-03-17, 12:08 PM
(...)

I like creativity as much as the next man, but I find creativity within boundries (self-imposed or otherwise) far more satisfying than utterly freeform expressions. If this has really just been a long game of Calvinball this whole time, it becomes a rather different story than I was hoping for.

-H
It's not really Calvinball, more like D&D[3.5] with all the splatbooks. There are rules and there are also numerous ways to exploit them to achieve insane levels of cheese.
Stacking multipliers was standard cheese. Zombie vulcano is most likely 1lvl kobold palladin cheese. :smallwink:

Danimal
2009-03-17, 12:38 PM
The question here is which dance will it do? :smalltongue:



Disco Inferno of course.

R. Malcovitch
2009-03-17, 12:42 PM
I was thinking more Rock Lobster.

Devoured_Dude
2009-03-17, 12:48 PM
Joanie: Don't do it, Fonzie! You'll never make that jump on water-skis!

Fonzie: Aaaaay!

(Motorboat revs engine)

Joanie: Look out, there's a shark in the water!

Fonzie: Aaaaay!

(Splash!)

Joanie: He made it! Unbelievable!

Fonzie: Aaaaay!

BobVosh
2009-03-17, 12:50 PM
Actually I'm curious about one thing. Bodies that are dead disappear after a turn, so how does raising it work if it doesn't count as dead?

Is it more akin to a coma-volcano? Would just pure dirtamancy be enough? Wanda is efficient at it, even if she doesn't like it, and we all know about Sizemore.

Lamech
2009-03-17, 12:58 PM
I'm wondering if the coalition will take this chance to screw up royally; shatter apart, pump arrows in to the archons, or maybe end the turn. It would be one way of resolving this with out Parson sacrificing so much. Probably not too likely though.
And if the volcano uncroaking does go through I wonder how controlled will it be? Will it be a massive artillery piece, or magma golems wandering around? A barely controlled eruption, incinerating everything except the dungeon? Or just the destruction of everything?

Anyway, this was totally foreshadowed. Maybe not the uncroaked volcano, but the tri-caster superweapon.

Shadow_Elf
2009-03-17, 01:16 PM
Uncroak... A Volcano...

Whoa...

I bet they send the whole thing up in flames, and then Jack and Stanley fly in on their turn and safe them from the eruption with the Dwagons. Then they can veil the Dwagons to make them look like smoke, and fly off. The RCC will think it has won at great cost, and the most important aspects of Gobwin Knob will be rebuilding their forces in Faq...

Of course, there's plenty of potential for a lot of other Awesome to happen.

fractal
2009-03-17, 01:18 PM
I figured Wanda was happy just because Parson was doing something he didn't want to do. It's the sadist in her.

ShinyBrowncoat
2009-03-17, 01:35 PM
Kudos to those who predicted the Maggie-Wanda-Sizemore linkup (not that kind of linkup -- get yer heads outta the gutter!) :smallwink:

I agree that the bit about "I was essentially gonna cheat them...Undermine everything they tried" explains Ansom's plot armor nicely. The Gods/Titans/ErfMaster has made Parson a player in his own "unwinnable" game, so it makes sense that the only way to win it is for Parson to do what he was trying to get his gamers to do.

darkgolem
2009-03-17, 01:41 PM
Sorry that's just silly.

I like erfworld and all that, and it is 100 times better than anything I could make, but I feel this random plot twist completely derails the story with an almost random 90 turn.

Thumbs down.

BarGamer
2009-03-17, 01:56 PM
Kudos to those who predicted the Maggie-Wanda-Sizemore linkup (not that kind of linkup -- get yer heads outta the gutter!) :smallwink:

But I like the gutter! It's cool in summer, warm in winter, plenty of food and games, and all my friends are there! (Apologies to Alan Dean Foster.)

NobodySpecial
2009-03-17, 02:28 PM
This is a total bluff. A Deus Ex Machina. I was expecting Parson to win or lose within normal rules and strategies, not uncroaking something that is not even a unit.

Erfworld is finished for me. I do not want to read anymore strips.

Whaaaa? No, this is PERFECT from the storytelling perspective.

Parson is without a doubt in some weird amalgram of his game, and he put it perfectly: There is no way for the PC's to win.

This explains every single piece of plot armor Ansom had, from the miraculous escape from the first trap to Jillian breaking free of the spell at just the right moment to croak all the dwagons to Jillian being able not only to catch Stanley but get ahead of him on mounts with much less move than dwagons to set that ambush to time standing still so he could get his backside saved from Wanda-impalement to Archons becoming virtual DDR terminals. We've been howling all along that Ansom was cheating, and we were right.

Kobayashi Maru. Ender's Game. Break the barriers of the contest. War has no rules. I'm reminded of a quote from one of my favorite books when I see this plan.

"Your job is to kill enemy soldiers and sailors - any way you can. That means strangling them at birth if somebody would invent a time machine!"

Parson ain't got a time machine....but he's got a volcano.

Carne
2009-03-17, 02:42 PM
Sorry that's just silly.

I like erfworld and all that, and it is 100 times better than anything I could make, but I feel this random plot twist completely derails the story with an almost random 90 turn.

Thumbs down.

Random? Sorry, that's just silly (to coin a phrase).

Let me count the ways...

Parson recognizes his situation, and suspects he may be in his own game? Check - right after he was summoned, and at various times throughout the strip.

In concert with that last point, Parson's description as "the perfect warlord" - who else would best qualify as that than the creator?

Tri-mancer setup shown and explained in great detail, including its super-powered status? Check (also explains the look of shock/horror on Sizemore's face).

Sizemore's power over dirt - already shown in detail on numerous occasions.

Wanda's power over death - already shown on numerous occasions.

The annoying habit of the RCC relentlessly beating GK back time and again is perfectly explained by Parson in this strip. Until today, this had been repeatedly demonstrated, much to the frustration of many commenters here. In hindsight, it makes a great deal of sense.


Parson already suspected that if Erfworld was in fact his game world (or based on it or vice versa) that everything he could do would be undermined and he'd be beaten back to a last ditch defense, as it was how he'd designed his game (he'd spent months on it, if you recall, plenty of time to determine what strategies and counter-strategies might be employed). So he also knew what it would take to beat the scenario.

Now let's put it all together. It's do-or-die time. He's on a dormant volcano, about to get croaked, with a powerful dirtamancer, a powerful croakamancer, a powerful thinkamancer. Sizemore has an affinity for learning about all magic schools. Wanda has the capability for all magic schools but sticks to croakamancy. Maggie can link them. And they're sitting on top of all the raw material you could ask for.

So. "Uncroaking" the volcano might be unexpected if you're thinking inside the box, but all the pieces are there, it just required Parson to put them together all at the right time, which is apparently when you're so desperate there's no other option.

Given that all of this has either been mentioned before or heavily foreshadowed, it's not a Deus ex Machina either. That would be if Sizemore was digging tunnels and just happened upon a long-lost buried Arkentool, or a Titan gem that was instantly converted to Treasury funds allowing the purchase of a buttload of new units, a city upgrade or an Ultimate Bomb-type "I Win!" button. People who mention "too random" or "Deus ex Machina" make me wonder whether I'm reading the same comic they are...


The way I see it going down: Maggie provides the link and whatever juice she can lend to the operation. Wanda supplies the power and the "uncroaking", and Sizemore manipulates the dirt and magma into an eruption, whereupon they're controlled either as barely controlled surgical strikes, or as a magma golem (as mentioned by a few posters earlier in the thread).

Twin2
2009-03-17, 03:02 PM
New Erfworld is now up.

http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y112/videodrone5000/Random_Crap/dirch2hj1.gif

Ironfist Orc
2009-03-17, 03:06 PM
Parson is going for a scorched erf policy, no?

HandofShadows
2009-03-17, 03:18 PM
Uncroak a volcano? Ok, I didn't see that one. But if you going to loose, why not go CrAZy and see if that might work! Adapt and overcome as the saying goes. And this might well work.
If the writer stays with the type of volcano GK seems to be (A Shield Volcano http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shield_volcano ) then it might be fairly controlable (as controlable as a volcano can be). Shield volcano's don't explode, they produce lava flows (Hawaii's volcano's are all shield volcano's BTW) and that flow could be shaped to hit the RCC troops. Heck if they wanted to mess with peoples minds they could make it look like Superjail, an structure supported by a large piller surrounded by a lake of lava. :D (would not surprise me if that happened at all)

I think that Sizemore and Wanda didn't want to be ordered away. It's not they are suicidal, I think they feel loyal to Parson (not the magicaly induced kind either). Sizmore seems surprised about the link, Wanda seems to be satisfied, probably for a number of different reasons. With Maggie, I'm not sure what she thinks. I kinda wonder though, if Stanly comes back ond boops things up, would Parson remove him from power? He is a Warlord Special and might be able to do things that normal warlords cannot do.

An odd thing I noticed is that Pastson looks a littel thinner than he did, still overweight, but a bit thinner, at least his face.

Oh, GREAT PAGE! TO the people that don't like it, well to bad for you.

Grey Paladin
2009-03-17, 03:21 PM
Erfworld is a game. The rules of the game are the physics of the world - unchangeable axioms.

There cannot be 'out of box' thinking, because the box is literally the limits of that reality. Establishing things such as turn order as facts and then pulling off this is like the author pulling the rug from under our collective legs.

Hatu
2009-03-17, 03:23 PM
I agree that the bit about "I was essentially gonna cheat them...Undermine everything they tried" explains Ansom's plot armor nicely. The Gods/Titans/ErfMaster has made Parson a player in his own "unwinnable" game, so it makes sense that the only way to win it is for Parson to do what he was trying to get his gamers to do.

I hope that's not supposed to be the case, because it makes no sense. If the game world itself were trying to enforce a no win scenario on Parson until he broke the rules, why did it let him finally kill Ansom? There was no reason to suddenly revoke Ansom's plot armor; Parson was still playing by the rules at that point. By this logic, the RCC should have spotted the obvious trap, or Bogroll tripped and missed Ansom, or Ansom luckily landed on a Mattress Golem; something along those lines. That's exactly what happened before, so it should have happened then as well.

It's an explanation that raises more questions than it answers.

-H

Sky_Schemer
2009-03-17, 03:33 PM
This is a total bluff. A Deus Ex Machina. I was expecting Parson to win or lose within normal rules and strategies, not uncroaking something that is not even a unit.

Erfworld is finished for me. I do not want to read anymore strips.

And, of course, it never occurred to you that the phrase "uncroak the volcano" might be a figure of speech, and that what Parson intends to do is for more mundane?

Zael Zuran
2009-03-17, 03:36 PM
Erfworld is a game. The rules of the game are the physics of the world - unchangeable axioms.

There cannot be 'out of box' thinking, because the box is literally the limits of that reality. Establishing things such as turn order as facts and then pulling off this is like the author pulling the rug from under our collective legs.

Not really. From the beginning, Parson has been the wild card, we just haven't seen him actively test how confined by the rules he is until now. As well as those forced by the game rules to obey him, by proxy.

Imagine playing checkers, but one player is also allowed to field a chess queen. Or blackjack with DRAW 4 UNO cards in the deck.

"E-1!"
"You sank my hotel on boardwalk!"

You get the idea. Parson isn't an Erfling. And alien beings with reality defying powers / knowledge are hardly new to the fantasy genre. I doubt he's about to go all Superman or Cthulhu on Erf, but I highly doubt he's just some fat guy who likes war games regarding the extent of his power.

Opal Tide
2009-03-17, 03:36 PM
Erfworld is a game. The rules of the game are the physics of the world - unchangeable axioms.

There cannot be 'out of box' thinking, because the box is literally the limits of that reality. Establishing things such as turn order as facts and then pulling off this is like the author pulling the rug from under our collective legs.

Actually the "box" that people speak of in this context is conventional thinking, not the fabric of theuniverse. If that was the case, outside the box thinking would be impossible for us on Earth as well. Parson is thinking outside of the conventional thinking box but may still be within the physics of Erfworld box.

We don't know it is impossible (i.e.: outside the Erfworld physics box) until he tries and fails (and even then it might still be possible under different circumstances). Who knows what hidden or previously unknown rules there are. Just because Erfworlders did not pop with that knowledge does not mean it is not acheivable.

Also, to paraphrase a former Sec. of Defense:

You go to war with the volcano you have, not the volcano you want to have.

Lamech
2009-03-17, 03:37 PM
Ansom had superior resource armour. And it ran out. And he croaked. He didn't have plot-armour. I think in this strip Parson was just taking a lesson from his game at home, "use out of the box thinking."

While I think the link was foreshadowed, I also think undead volcano is on par with giant killer teddy bears, glass unicorns, sourmanders, marshmallow soldiers and dwagons that shoot bubble gum. Utterly silly and random...


There cannot be 'out of box' thinking, because the box is literally the limits of that reality. Establishing things such as turn order as facts and then pulling off this is like the author pulling the rug from under our collective legs.
Umm... the erfworlders do NOT know the rules of the game, or at least not the rules of the magic system 100%; at the very start of erfworld a new spell was made. Its very similar to how we do not know the rules of our world. I wouldn't be surprised if Parson (or perhaps a more sutiable earthling) could make bombs, guns or catapults.

raphfrk
2009-03-17, 03:38 PM
Sizemore has an affinity for learning about all magic schools. Wanda has the capability for all magic schools but sticks to croakamancy. Maggie can link them.


That is an interesting point, I wonder if Wanda+Sizemore (skill+knowledge) actually give the link-up access to all magic types and not just dirtamancy + croakamancy + thinkamancy.

After the linkup, they/(it?) could say that the volcano cannot be uncroaked, but they have a better suggestion :p.

Texas Jedi
2009-03-17, 03:47 PM
Erfworld is a game. The rules of the game are the physics of the world - unchangeable axioms.

There cannot be 'out of box' thinking, because the box is literally the limits of that reality. Establishing things such as turn order as facts and then pulling off this is like the author pulling the rug from under our collective legs.

As has been stated many times in the thread this idea is not pulling the legs out from under us. This has been hinted at many times throughout the comic. This is similar to the Kobyashu Maru Parson is in a No-Win scenario. No matter The only way to "win" the Maru is to think outside the box. This is also like any type of DnD cheese. They are taking the rules and applying them different.....they don't have to break the rules. If there is nothing that says you can't raise the volcano (i.e. make it erupt) in the rules then it can happen with some GM or DM fiat.

James T. Kirk reprogrammed the computer so that he could win.
Sulu refused to enter the Neutral Zone (even though he didn't save the ship) He smelled a trap and didn't take the bait.


If the writer stays with the type of volcano GK seems to be (A Shield Volcano http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shield_volcano ) then it might be fairly controlable (as controlable as a volcano can be). Shield volcano's don't explode, they produce lava flows (Hawaii's volcano's are all shield volcano's BTW) and that flow could be shaped to hit the RCC troops.

Not to get picky but a Lava flow doesn't kill many people. You could outwalk most lava flows because they move very very slowly. The true killer of any volcano is the volcanic ash and gasses they release.

Ikialev
2009-03-17, 03:53 PM
totally saw that coming

No, wait.
Zombie volcano?
Does it make zombie lava?
And if yes, is zombie lava a mass of melted zombies, or reanimated dead lava?

The first one would be awesome.

Pointyleaf
2009-03-17, 04:17 PM
Erfworld is a game. The rules of the game are the physics of the world - unchangeable axioms.

There cannot be 'out of box' thinking, because the box is literally the limits of that reality. Establishing things such as turn order as facts and then pulling off this is like the author pulling the rug from under our collective legs.

I don't know, it seems pretty OK to me. If you can do a thinka-/looka-/foolamancer link, why not other links? Remember that the original link was "the shrewdest thing Stanley ever did", and that they could "cast spells no single caster can even comprehend".. but although this hookup is certainly foreseeable, who would think of a use for a croak/dirt/think combination?

ishnar
2009-03-17, 04:18 PM
For those of you who are worried about the "backlash" from the link-up harming Sizemore or Wanda, I don't think you have much to worry about.

!

I think there is no need to worry because the volcano will kill them all anyway.

elrod13
2009-03-17, 04:23 PM
BWA-HA-HA-HA!!!
This is great! Let the Caudillo whine!
I want to see a lava-zombie!

brob
2009-03-17, 04:23 PM
Honestly.

You. MAGNIFICENT. Bastards.

(Some of the speculation a couple of comments up about Sizemore's knowledge and Wanda's skills being complementary is really clever, too.)

I participated in some tooth-gnashing in a previous thread. Oh, look: a crow! I think I am a little peckish. Do you see me eating this crow? Yes, I AM eating this crow.

ishnar
2009-03-17, 04:28 PM
This is a total bluff. A Deus Ex Machina. I was expecting Parson to win or lose within normal rules and strategies, not uncroaking something that is not even a unit.




You must not play tabletop games much. In tabletop games, it's the players that think outside the box that are the most successful.

Same IRL. Alexander the Great captured Tyre, another supposedly impregnable city, by thinking outside the accepted rules and strategies. After all the normal rules and strategies failed, he built a land bridge to the city and took it. No one had ever built a land before, so no one even considered it before then. That's the problem with conventional thinkers, they think that the way it has always been done is the only way to do things, but it isn't.

Table top games are different from computer games because if there is no rule limiting something, it's theoretically possible. This is as opposed to computer games where if there is no mechanic explicitly making something possible, then it isn't. It's been implied from the beginning that erfworld is a tabletop RPG not a computer sim.

Also, if you think a bluff and a deux ex machina are the same thing, then you don't know what either are. First, this is not a bluff because to bluff there would have to be a dialog with the other side where Parson lies. This is not Duex ex, because: 1. it has been foreshadowed. 2. It falls within the character's theoretical capabilities. 3. it does not involve a 3rd party doing all the work.

DoctorJest
2009-03-17, 04:42 PM
Not to get picky but a Lava flow doesn't kill many people. You could outwalk most lava flows because they move very very slowly. The true killer of any volcano is the volcanic ash and gasses they release.

Lava Flow + Master-Class Dirtamancer = Lava Golems!
:smallbiggrin:

Texas Jedi
2009-03-17, 04:50 PM
Lava Flow + Master-Class Dirtamancer = Lava Golems!
:smallbiggrin:

Darn it! I keep forgetting that Erfworld isn't the real world.

Man, how I wish it was.:smallfurious:

Kender Wizard
2009-03-17, 05:01 PM
Don't know about you guys, don't have time to read the forum. However, I know my own reaction.

"and then 10,000 voices cried out 'Holy CRAP dude!' and 10,000 others answered 'and the destroyer is nigh'"

I officially can't WAIT till the next update!:smallbiggrin:

SteveMB
2009-03-17, 05:09 PM
Don't know about you guys, don't have time to read the forum. However, I know my own reaction.

"and then 10,000 voices cried out 'Holy CRAP dude!' and 10,000 others answered 'and the destroyer is nigh'"

I officially can't WAIT till the next update!:smallbiggrin:

Worst Case Scenario: Lava erupts; everyone dies.

Best Case Scenario: Lave erupts; casters control it so that it wipes out the attackers, spares the defenders, and leaves a rebuildable city site with replenished mines and clear ground for tunneling in a nice defensive configuration. Link is then broken with minimal damage.

What Will Happen: Beats me.

SteveD
2009-03-17, 05:09 PM
Uncroak... A Volcano...

Whoa...

I bet they send the whole thing up in flames, and then Jack and Stanley fly in on their turn and safe them from the eruption with the Dwagons. Then they can veil the Dwagons to make them look like smoke, and fly off. The RCC will think it has won at great cost, and the most important aspects of Gobwin Knob will be rebuilding their forces in Faq...

Of course, there's plenty of potential for a lot of other Awesome to happen.

I'd guess they veil the Dwagons to slip in, grab Parson and the Casters, then fight their way out and head back towards Faq to start a new city. Parson will likely do battle with the Red Warlord before this point and have the Pliers to hand.

Coincidence that Stanley escaped with just enough Dwagons to safely fly them all away?

Of course we don't know if Parson can control the eruption. I'd guess not, and that duty compels them all to die for Stanley if there's a chance of winning.


Not to get picky but a Lava flow doesn't kill many people. You could outwalk most lava flows because they move very very slowly. The true killer of any volcano is the volcanic ash and gasses they release.

Well if I was being picky, I'd point out that very few people killed by a volcanic eruption are standing inside the caldera when it goes off. :P

Doran
2009-03-17, 05:11 PM
I hope that's not supposed to be the case, because it makes no sense. If the game world itself were trying to enforce a no win scenario on Parson until he broke the rules, why did it let him finally kill Ansom? There was no reason to suddenly revoke Ansom's plot armor; Parson was still playing by the rules at that point. By this logic, the RCC should have spotted the obvious trap, or Bogroll tripped and missed Ansom, or Ansom luckily landed on a Mattress Golem; something along those lines. That's exactly what happened before, so it should have happened then as well.

It's an explanation that raises more questions than it answers.

-H

Hatu, in that case, Parson did break the rules, Ansom's rules. The ones about surrendering honourably. He basically played the opposing 'player' as far as he could, using Ansom's weaknesses against him. Now he's up against the scenario, playing the player won't work, as all the coalition has to do is attack and they win. Beyond that is Charlie, who is unlikely to easily fall for any of Parsons mindgames. That being the case, and with the summoning spell compelling him to try anything that has the slightest chance of working, it's time to think outside the volcano.

----

Parson is simply trying (again) something no-one has tried before, but rules for always existed. Physics still works even when no-one knows what it is.

Besides if we always knew the rules prefectly beforehand, for every scenario either
a) there would always be one best scenario, that someone would predict correctly every time, meaning the story would seem dull
b) People would complain Parson isn't choosing the best scenario and therefore isn't the perfect warlord. You can see some of this with D&D and in the OOTS forum.

It requires just the right amount of foreshadowing to make a twist awesome, and of course everyone's level differs. For me it was, for others it wasn't, fair enough, but I wouldn't let just one comic put you off an entire story

The Rose Dragon
2009-03-17, 05:12 PM
Worst Case Scenario: Lava erupts; everyone dies.

Even worse case scenario: The volcano turns out to be an Elvis Evil (Or Elder Elvis) and IA! IA! CLOTHULHU FHTAGN!

((A volcano made of cloth. Don't ask.))

kreszantas
2009-03-17, 05:20 PM
This goes all the way back to when Sizemore and Wanda were leaving the Magic Kingdom... Wanda to Sizemore... "Your such my opposite" Maggie provides the Life & Motion, Wanda provides the Motion and Matter, Sizemore adds his Matter to it (based on the erf axis) 1 life 2 motions 2 matters, opposite ways atoms repell or attract.

The Old Hack
2009-03-17, 05:28 PM
Ah. Rob and Jamie continue to surprise me even now, which is strange when you consider just how much of all this has already been foreshadowed. In one of the very first klogs, Parson was ruminating about whether the Erfworlders really knew their own world and how it worked or if they were merely following an Aristotle-like model because no-one had challenged it with anything better yet. In another (or perhaps the same one, even?) he stated that he felt convinced magic was somehow the answer if only he could work out how to use it. And then, just before the Donut of Doom, he was talking about finding an exploitable mechanic that would allow him to win. And now he is trying something no ordinary Erfworlder would ever have thought of...

The pieces were all there, and now they are fitting together. I am looking forward to seeing the picture they will show.

Name Lips
2009-03-17, 05:29 PM
You could outwalk most lava flows because they move very very slowly.

Erfworld movement rules.

The coalition can walk away from the volcano if its their turn and they still have move left.

If the volcano attacks when its not their turn then they are sitting ducks. They don't own the city so the best they can do is mill around helplessly in the courtyard, unable to escape even though the way out is unblocked and right there.

Parson and co. can outwalk the volcano on anybody's turn because they can move between zones of the city "for free." Except there's not much left of the city anymore. So maybe that won't help.

Units cannot move at night. Night should be coming soon. But we've seen people move between city zones at night - what about a night attack from the dungeons against the courtyard? What would happen? I'm not sure the rules cover this, which means it's "tryable."



But yeah I'm totally with the crowd that says this was foreshadowed. This one strip is the culmination of the foreshadowing of every major event of the preceding 146 pages. Every aspect, every nuance of the plan was there for everybody to see - if only we could think outside the box. We forgot that since this isn't a computer game, that means sure you have to follow the rules - but where there isn't a rule you can do whatever crazy s**t you want - even if it's making things up on the fly. That's the fun part of tabletop gaming - when players do stuff that isn't covered by the rules. That's where tabletop gaming beats computer gaming. Computers are bound by their rules - if there isn't a rule, it can't happen. Tabletop games are the opposite - they're at their freest where the rules end and player creativity begins.

BillyJimBoBob
2009-03-17, 05:31 PM
Whaaaa? No, this is PERFECT from the storytelling perspective.

Parson is without a doubt in some weird amalgram of his game, and he put it perfectly: There is no way for the PC's to win.

This explains every single piece of plot armor Ansom had, from the miraculous escape from the first trap to Jillian breaking free of the spell at just the right moment to croak all the dwagons to Jillian being able not only to catch Stanley but get ahead of him on mounts with much less move than dwagons to set that ambush to time standing still so he could get his backside saved from Wanda-impalement to Archons becoming virtual DDR terminals.No. It explains all of the above except for the DDR. Every other Ansom escape can be said to have been within the terms of the rules we were described, except that. The DDR is an abomination which was a direct contradiction of what we had just been told a turn earlier. Everything else I can accept, save that.

This maneuver by Parson was well foreshadowed. Not specifically, but in essence. The "no win" scenario was described by Parson right at the start, up to and including the players possibly having dosed him with LSD as their only means of winning the scenario, and as an explanation for Parson being in Erfworld.

I'll always resent the DDR, but I'll give it a pass.

TheMutant
2009-03-17, 05:31 PM
Wow, what a page. Parson's expression in the lower left panel is really nice.

Check out Wanda's expression on that last panel, though. She just got informed that she's gonna be stuck in a link that's going to subsume her identity and well might drive her mad or croak her upon the breaking thereof (and she's borne firsthand witness to the ouch of a broken Thinkamancy link). Yet she looks almost pleased. Curious.

BillyJimBoBob
2009-03-17, 05:43 PM
Not to get picky but a Lava flow doesn't kill many people. You could outwalk most lava flows because they move very very slowly. The true killer of any volcano is the volcanic ash and gasses they release.It really differs from flow to flow. Some lava you can walk right up to, other lava explodes trees at 20 yards. You can't make a broad generalization which is accurate in all situations here.

Pheldagriff
2009-03-17, 05:50 PM
I've watched many plottwists that left me frustrated and furious.
I wholeheartely enjoy this one.
It may be Deus ex Machina, but it is such a cool idea, that I don't mind.

VariaVespasa
2009-03-18, 07:28 PM
Coincidence that Stanley escaped with just enough Dwagons to safely fly them all away?

He didnt. When he left GK he said he could only take 3 of the KISS with him. Now, with fewer dwagons available, there's no reason to assume he can suddenly take 4 extra people, especially since he still has at least 1 of the KISS left with him. Parson being so large might be a problem too, or might not. It was gonna take 3 archons to carry him, but that may be because theyre smaller than dwagons, we dont know.

DoctorJest
2009-03-18, 07:30 PM
Wow, what a page. Parson's expression in the lower left panel is really nice.

Check out Wanda's expression on that last panel, though. She just got informed that she's gonna be stuck in a link that's going to subsume her identity and well might drive her mad or croak her upon the breaking thereof (and she's borne firsthand witness to the ouch of a broken Thinkamancy link). Yet she looks almost pleased. Curious.

She looks more self-satisfied than pleased. Smug even. Maybe she's just feeling proud that she called it that Parson had another idea and he was duty bound to try it. So it's an "I Told You So" look.

Sieggy
2009-03-18, 07:57 PM
Has anyone noticed the color of Parson's eyes in the last panel? I think that's the REAL ruthlessness kicking in, and the others are approving. Parson is realizing that the same Duty which drives him, drives them as well. They're willing to die as long as there's a chance left to hurt the enemy . . . hanging from a ledge with one hand throwing rocks with the other.

As long as they believe in Parson and each other, they can pull this off. I expect Parson's other cheat to be to cause the volcano to either unleash during the night (dunno how that would work, not technically being an attack) or at the very start of the turn in the morning, having worked all night to awaken the sleeping giant. I can't see it being just a 'link & go' thing where they could re-animate a dormant volcano this turn. However . . .

In the words of Baron Froderick Frankenstein, "IT . . . COULD . . . WORK!!!"

And remember, Plotomancy always trumps . . .

Suicide Junkie
2009-03-18, 08:26 PM
It really differs from flow to flow. Some lava you can walk right up to, other lava explodes trees at 20 yards. You can't make a broad generalization which is accurate in all situations here.And some Lava golems will ask for directions to your house in order to burn everything you own.

JazzManJim
2009-03-18, 09:01 PM
I agree that the bit about "I was essentially gonna cheat them...Undermine everything they tried" explains Ansom's plot armor nicely. The Gods/Titans/ErfMaster has made Parson a player in his own "unwinnable" game, so it makes sense that the only way to win it is for Parson to do what he was trying to get his gamers to do.

The only problem with that is (and forgive if someone's already made this point. I didn't see it if it happened) is that Parson is not a "player" in Erfworld, but a Unit.

Parson's game was set up where he would play the role of GM, outside the game. His players would likewise be outside the game. they could think outside the box because they *are* outside the box.

Parson, on the other hand, is not. When he was pulled into the game by Wanda's summoning spell, he became a unit, constrained by the reality of ErfWorld (movement limits, unit strength, bonuses, inability to curse, inability to go to the Magic Kingdom, possibility of being croaked).

Notice that every time he's tried to bend the reality of ErfWorld he's not succeeded because reality asserted itself, either through blocking him outright or by having his plans foiled by Ansom. If he succeeds in bending the rules in the biggest way yet, there's no logical reason we've seen thus far to believe that it will work any better than any of his other attempts have worked. He's not outside the game, so he can't do anything based on "meta gaming". That should include semantic games with what constitutes dead and alive.

Suicide Junkie
2009-03-18, 09:13 PM
The only problem with that is (and forgive if someone's already made this point. I didn't see it if it happened) is that Parson is not a "player" in Erfworld, but a Unit.

Parson's game was set up where he would play the role of GM, outside the game. His players would likewise be outside the game. they could think outside the box because they *are* outside the box. Parson is still free to *think* outside the box. He just can't change the world physics by fast-talking, bribing, threatening or drugging the Titans.

As said by earlier posters, "the box" isn't the physics of the universe, it is conventional thinking patterns.

DevilDan
2009-03-18, 09:49 PM
It's not likely, I suppose, but I'm really holding out for a single, volcano-sized golem.

That said, Sizemore may just be able to control whatever they manage to uncroak with a considerable degree of finesse.

Carne
2009-03-18, 10:13 PM
It's also, as ishnar mentioned on page 4, the possibly incomplete rule set.



Erfworld is a game. The rules of the game are the physics of the world - unchangeable axioms.

If this is Parson's world (essentially a simulation running on an unknown substrate, possibly Parson's mind; perhaps an alternate universe that Parson was imperfectly channeling and could only deduce a partial ruleset; something else entirely) then it's certainly within the realms of possibility that enough rules were forged to make the world viable, but at the same time still open enough to break out of Parson's defined "box" of rules. I would say this is what Parson means when he says "cheating" - it's not cheating per se, since rules aren't being broken necessarily, but it's out of the intended scope of the ruleset, and therefore not something he as GM can undermine with a "sorry, rules say you can't do that", or "and here's how the enemy reacts to that" (a la Ansom's plot armor).

Parson prided himself on spending months designing his game, and one imagines he hopes that he's covered all possibilities. But, as we've seen, what is apparently his own game world manages to surprise even it's creator. Consider: if the rules were set with implied limits, then any simulation may fully implement the explicit behavior and not limit any additional emergent behavior. The volcano idea may just be an outlandish and last-ditch attempt to discover any possible emergent effects from the way the magic system works, specifically with a combination of Dirtamancy, Thinkamancy and Croakamancy.



There cannot be 'out of box' thinking, because the box is literally the limits of that reality.

Here there be dwagons. As above, the grey areas of the ruleset or sim are the areas in which emergent behavior manifests. With Rob's apparent interest in H+ or hi-tech/Singularity memes, it wouldn't surprise me if he's been reading about emergent behavior in complex systems with respect to simulations or AI, and translated some of that thinking (consciously or otherwise) into the story.



Establishing things such as turn order as facts and then pulling off this is like the author pulling the rug from under our collective legs.

I really don't see what this has to do with turn order (if that's really a specific bone of contention of yours) unless you're saying that you can't cast or attack/defend on your off-turn. We're already seen Sizemore tunnel around, pop up, cast a few scrolls, beat up some leaders and retreat to safety. We've been Bogroll tackle Ansom off his carpet and to his death (it wasn't the fall that killed him, just the impact :smallsmile:).




It's not likely, I suppose, but I'm really holding out for a single, volcano-sized golem.

That said, Sizemore may just be able to control whatever they manage to uncroak with a considerable degree of finesse.

I'm thinking "uncroaking" is just making the magma flow again. And magma being, essentially, melted rock, Sizemore should be able to control it like he does any other rock - make golems, manipulate, move etc.

dr pepper
2009-03-18, 10:14 PM
YESSS!

Agreed that this was properly foreshadowed and within the purview of what we have learned about Erf. Yeah regular wargames have finite rules. But once you add a gm, you've added flexibility. And yeah, the volcano is there, it's not mentioned in the rules of combat. Or magic as such. But erflings know what volcanoes are so we know that they work the same way they do here. And the fact that they do makes them fair game to work on, just as in real life we can say "hey, GM, i'm gonna try to set off the volcano". Now Parson's idea might turn out to be a bust, just as the GM could decide your idea wasn't feasible, but you at least get to broach it.

And yeah, the writomancy rules!

multilis
2009-03-18, 10:16 PM
"That said, Sizemore may just be able to control whatever they manage to uncroak with a considerable degree of finesse."

Yup, just like King Kong or Godzilla. Maybe Lava The Hutt will want them to animate a bride, then they'll split off into their own kingdom or roam the country as barbarians smashing and burning everything in their path.

Koury
2009-03-18, 10:43 PM
Just throwing this out there, as it was my interpretation of it, but Parson calling them by their class (Dirtamancer, Croakamancer, Thinkamancer) could be some sort of preparation for the link up. They lose their identities, right? That's what caused the problem in the first place when Parson asked Maggie her name.

Dunno, just a thought.

the_tick_rules
2009-03-18, 10:55 PM
Uncroak a volcano. I gotta say I never even hypothesized that.

Ragn Charran
2009-03-18, 11:07 PM
Ansom's carcass in alley this afternoon, Bogroll's club on smashed head. This coalition is afraid of me. I have seen its true face. The streets are extended craters and the craters are full of lava and when the drains finally scab over, all the RCC will burn. The accumulated filth of all their heroism and DDR will boil up about their waists and all the Unaroyals and Foxmuds will look up and shout "Save us!"... and I'll look up and whisper "No."

Kreistor
2009-03-18, 11:13 PM
It may be Deus ex Machina, but it is such a cool idea, that I don't mind.

This is not DeM. For a true DeM (Ancient Greek style), the Titans would have to come down and resolve the issue, because it was beyond the ability of those involved to solve (often because the plot was complicated by the actions of the gods). More modernly, any resolution that cannot be atrtibuted to the characters fits the bill. War of the Wrolds' conclusion using bacteria infection to destroy the invaders fits.

In this case, the idea is stemming from the protagonist. The resolution involves three characters. Breaking the rules, in this case, may merely being a recognition that local convention and tradition may have caused a rule to exist in the people, in which case it would take an outsider like Parson to propose it. Parson has proposed many things that the locals would not (attacking at night, for instance), and missed things the locals wouldn't (unaware of veiling troops, which would have saved the dwagons over the lake). So Parson proposing something the locals wouldn't think of is not outside the boundaries of his previously defined powers.

The only part that is outside the bounds of normalcy is the Link. It is previously disallowed. Why? Sizemore says, "It's a trick that only Thinkamancers can perform. A caster's will is subsumed into a... kind of psychological alloy quth the Thinkamancer. The joint mind they form can cast spells no single caster can even comprehend."

Okay, let's look at that. It takes Thinkamancers... no, it doesn't. The second sentence says "Thinkamancer". Jack was a Foolamancer, not a Thinkamancer. (I think isty was a Lokamancer, but not sure where that is written, but it's irrelevant. I only need to demonstrate not all three were Thinkamancers.) From waht Sizemore says, it's even limited to Eyemancers. It requires one Thinkamancer. We have one Thinkamancer.

Now, the link will allow for spells no single caster could understand. The resurrected volcano is certainly that. Overpowered? Sure. Godlike? Maybe. Beyond human capacity?

Probably not, given the right circumstances, but certainly not achievable in one day with kitchen utensils. A series of nukes buried below a caldera could weaken the cap holding the magma down and allow a volcano known to be pressurized to release prematurely.

How will the Erfworlders will do it? I doubt they'll say it can be done Parson's way, but I expect they'll find their own.

tomaO2
2009-03-18, 11:46 PM
I don't know about anyone else but I personally find the idea of uncroaking the volcano to be... horrifying. My mind is going into very dark places when I imagine how this will all end now.


Worst Case Scenario: Lava erupts; everyone dies.

What Will Happen: Beats me.


Even worse then that.

Worst Case Senario: Lava erupts; everyone dies. Vinnie and Jillian's group kills Stanley last remaining forces but not before Vinnie and Jillian both die in combat. Absolutely every major character and almost all minor ones die in an orgy of violence and then the book ends.

Final words from the author? "Remember that book two thing that we were discussing? GOTYA!" :smalltongue:

On a different note. Anyone starting to think that the ArkenPliers are nothing more then a big MacGuffin? Maybe in the next book they will show their power but there is not much of an opportunity to do that now and they could even be lost forever if they fall into the volcano's lava core.

This story has taken a very dark turn.

Yodimus
2009-03-18, 11:56 PM
Well that settles that then: Ender's Game it is.


toma - a MacGuffin implies that the pliers are a meaningless object that drives the narrative. Well, regardless of whether the pliers are meaningless, they certainly don't drive anything.

Jon Pander
2009-03-19, 01:13 AM
He didnt. When he left GK he said he could only take 3 of the KISS with him. Now, with fewer dwagons available, there's no reason to assume he can suddenly take 4 extra people, especially since he still has at least 1 of the KISS left with him.

Mung will be one of the ones to be saved. Mung is invincible. They'll need him in Faq. Faq has doors which need guarding too, after all.

Avilan the Grey
2009-03-19, 02:06 AM
Check out Wanda's expression on that last panel, though. She just got informed that she's gonna be stuck in a link that's going to subsume her identity and well might drive her mad or croak her upon the breaking thereof (and she's borne firsthand witness to the ouch of a broken Thinkamancy link). Yet she looks almost pleased. Curious.

I think it has been clear for a while now that she truly admires Parson.

RMS Oceanic
2009-03-19, 02:10 AM
On a different note. Anyone starting to think that the ArkenPliers are nothing more then a big MacGuffin? Maybe in the next book they will show their power but there is not much of an opportunity to do that now and they could even be lost forever if they fall into the volcano's lava core.

This story has taken a very dark turn.

The Arkenhammer was explicitly stated to be a MacGuffin on the Character Page, so the pliers being one too isn't too surprising.

Goshen
2009-03-19, 07:02 AM
Awesome twist! I love it.

Also love the way all the characters are in character in the second-to-last panel after Parson orders the link: the look of horror on Sizemore's face, the implacable efficiency of Maggie, and the sinister look of approval on Wanda. I'll bet she is looking forward to creating a mega-monster laying waste to the enemy...and being dominated by that hardcore Maggie. :smalltongue:

Manga Shoggoth
2009-03-19, 07:38 AM
This is not DeM. For a true DeM (Ancient Greek style), the Titans would have to come down and resolve the issue, because it was beyond the ability of those involved to solve (often because the plot was complicated by the actions of the gods). More modernly, any resolution that cannot be atrtibuted to the characters fits the bill. War of the Wrolds' conclusion using bacteria infection to destroy the invaders fits.

Nope. The point of War of the Worlds was that the Martians were overwhelming humanity, but beaten by disease. Disease was one of the big killers of invading armies - and this was well known at the time. It's hardly a Deus ex machina just because it wasn't foreshadowed in the actual text.

smilydeth
2009-03-19, 08:00 AM
I've played wargames like this.....

Scenario: Super-attrition has left me with two units.. enemy with four. One of my units is surrounded by the enemies four units, its my other units turn to fire. My fire-template is not big enough to hit more than 2 of the enemy units do to their spacing... but if I target "My" unit, I can hit all four and win the game. So I ask the GM, "Can I target my own unit?" After a few moments with his nose in the rulebook the GM responds, "Well the rules don't say that you can't." I won that game.:smallsmile:

I'm willing to bet that if you think about it... we've all probably been in the exact situation that parson is and asked the GM "Can I target my own unit or uncroak a volcanoe?"

abb3w
2009-03-19, 08:13 AM
The question here is which dance will it do? :smalltongue:


I don't know, but I'm guessing that in line with my earlier speculations (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=5844838), it will be to Elvis singing "SMOKEY MOUNTAIN BOY" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iq67_ts0H5s) :smallcool:

Additionally, I'll add support to the guess that it will allow replenishing the treasury (to the tune of "There's Gold In the Mountains").

abb3w
2009-03-19, 08:25 AM
I think there is no need to worry because the volcano will kill them all anyway.

History from our world would support that.

The main case I can think of for a "dead" volcano becoming "live" again? Mount Saint Helens. :smalleek:

A lesser second example would be the eruption of Vesuvius in 79.

Nekomata
2009-03-19, 09:58 AM
I'm willing to bet that if you think about it... we've all probably been in the exact situation that parson is and asked the GM "Can I target my own unit or uncroak a volcanoe?"
Except, Parson can't do that, can he?
He also can't "accidentally" disarrange the minis, claim that the scribble in his character profile has been a potion of water breathing all along, distract the GM with jokes while someone takes a sneak peak behind the GM screen, nor even try "How could they surround us? I had Mordenkainen's Magical Watchdog cast.".

Oh, he can exploit the rules, and pull some maximized cheese. But he can't actually break the rules.
If the volcano works, it means it has been in the rules all along. Perhaps noone knew or even considered it, perhaps it wasn't explicitly stated but is possible as a result of emergent behaviour, but it was there.

Pointyleaf
2009-03-19, 11:39 AM
Nope. The point of War of the Worlds was that the Martians were overwhelming humanity, but beaten by disease. Disease was one of the big killers of invading armies - and this was well known at the time. It's hardly a Deus ex machina just because it wasn't foreshadowed in the actual text.

Not only that, but the disease in WotW was half the point of the story - that the humans lucked out, that there are things we don't consider, and a nice ironic ending that tiny microorganisms can be powerful enough to beat something that mankind can't (and germ theory still being relatively new at the time the book was written).

Seriously, I think some of you people need to look up 'deus ex machina' again - it has to do with magical plot resolutions out of left field, not ones that fit extremely well with foreshadowing and plot development. >_<

MattR
2009-03-19, 12:00 PM
Uncroaked Volcano - few things spring to mind.

1) Will the mines at this site be replenished after the volcano has become dormant again?

2) how many turns will it be active for?

3) will the new trimancer be able to control just the contents of the volcano or the cone as well?

4) will maggie dare to pull hte same trick twice and damage Wanda and Sizemore when the link needs to be broken..

5) If stanley gets back before they do unlink will he even allow it to happen?

Sweetie Welf
2009-03-19, 12:12 PM
I'm considering to start a petition to ban the expression "deus ex machina" from the forum. :smallyuk: It violates my religious belief that there should be only a certain amount of repeating the same wrong thing over and over.

TCM
2009-03-19, 12:40 PM
Regarding Deus ex Machina:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2y8Sx4B2Sk

TheTurnipKing
2009-03-19, 12:47 PM
The question here is which dance will it do? :smalltongue:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-o15Xmaz2A

Hatu
2009-03-19, 12:53 PM
Hatu, in that case, Parson did break the rules, Ansom's rules. The ones about surrendering honourably. He basically played the opposing 'player' as far as he could, using Ansom's weaknesses against him. Now he's up against the scenario, playing the player won't work, as all the coalition has to do is attack and they win. Beyond that is Charlie, who is unlikely to easily fall for any of Parsons mindgames. That being the case, and with the summoning spell compelling him to try anything that has the slightest chance of working, it's time to think outside the volcano.


I don't really think that fits the way the story has gone. Parson's first plan upon becoming GK's chief warlord was to try to trick Ansom into a trap. That plan failed because Vinny intervened. When Parson finally does trick Ansom into a trap, the plan only works because Charlie et al. don't intervene. What changed between those to plans so that Ansom's indominable plot armor failed?

If we're supposed to attribute Ansom's continued lack of defeat to plot fiat, I want to know why that fiat suddenly disappeared before the stated cutoff point was reached.

-H

shadowdemon_lord
2009-03-19, 01:50 PM
The Donut of Doom trap wasn't explicitly to croak Ansom. The Donut of Doom was a bluff, a way to make Ansom think they were going to attack him, so that he would pull everything he could in his defense, instead of trying to find and kill the Dwagons. The real objective was to wipe the seige, and render the RCC incapable of breaching the walls. Once this was done, and the tunnel entrance collapsed the RCC would have lost all capability to attack GK. Killing Ansom would've been a nice bonus. And as to why Ansom died before the end of the story, well the world is cheating Parson, I.E. not letting him win. Killing Ansom did not put him in a postion to win, it would have however had he died at any earlier point.

Surprise!
2009-03-19, 01:52 PM
I find it odd how not a single person mentions keeping the link in their theories. I can't really think of an in game reason to do that. Linked casters are more effective and can create things that normal casters can't (eyebooks, troop movement table, zombcano). Why wouldn't a ruthless warlord forsake his hench men's individuality for power? Only way I could see it breaking would be Stanley because he misses Wanda or something. But if

the linked casters make a movable city (Thinkamancy=Control, Croakamancy (Animates the inanimate) Dirtamancy (Supreme control over rock)) Stanley may not give up on such a weapon. How effective of siege weapon would a giant floating volcano outside the walls be!

Lamech
2009-03-19, 01:55 PM
I don't really think that fits the way the story has gone. Parson's first plan upon becoming GK's chief warlord was to try to trick Ansom into a trap. That plan failed because Vinny intervened. When Parson finally does trick Ansom into a trap, the plan only works because Charlie et al. don't intervene. What changed between those to plans so that Ansom's indominable plot armor failed?

If we're supposed to attribute Ansom's continued lack of defeat to plot fiat, I want to know why that fiat suddenly disappeared before the stated cutoff point was reached.

-H

Ansom died because he ran out of resources. There was no Vinny to warn him, no Jillian to slay the dwagons, no Webinar to tell him this was a bad idea, and he had nothing more to offer Charlie.

Ansom hadn't survived because of plot fiat. Parson's speech about his wargame is simply about the need for out of the box thinking. It was not to explain the coalition's "plot armour" or any such thing. Parson had ended up in a no win senario, just like his players would have been.

TheWombat
2009-03-19, 02:08 PM
My post from 10 pages ago.


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

Well, the insanity is unveiled.

MattR
2009-03-19, 02:24 PM
I'm considering to start a petition to ban the expression "deus ex machina" from the forum. :smallyuk: It violates my religious belief that there should be only a certain amount of repeating the same wrong thing over and over.

I'd second a ban on the phrase, i think it's use is abused.

DevilDan
2009-03-19, 02:46 PM
I'd second a ban on the phrase, i think it's use is abused.

Za Internet, it iz diz theeng, where vat you talk about... just happens.

Zeku
2009-03-19, 03:05 PM
The pliers are buried in the rocks and should prevent the creation of an uncroaked entity around them. Of course, the volcano is not alive, it cannot become animated in the zombie sense.

Besides, there is a difference between uncroaking and making golems in Erfworld. Sizemore can make golems by his own power, while uncroaking has only worked on previously-living things, so far.

What does a necromancer, a geomancer, and a channeler create together? If we're allowed to imagine something extremely complex, I'd say flaming zombies, from the coalition corpses, but I'm not sure if a zombie can continue to function long while burning.

I think it's safe to assume that the city cannot be totally destroyed, so the damage will not be catastrophic. Destroying the coalition forces with magma will definitely finish off what remains of the city.

So yeah, I'm interested to see what happens next.

raphfrk
2009-03-19, 05:23 PM
they could even be lost forever if they fall into the volcano's lava core.


Maybe, Sizemore would find it if he re-does the tunnels.

Kreistor
2009-03-19, 05:34 PM
Nope. The point of War of the Worlds was that the Martians were overwhelming humanity, but beaten by disease. Disease was one of the big killers of invading armies - and this was well known at the time. It's hardly a Deus ex machina just because it wasn't foreshadowed in the actual text.

Foreshadowing removes DeM? No, you can foreshadow a DeM event. Knowing the gods are paying attention doesn't make their intervention any less relevant.

But I know it's DeM because I pulled the example from:

Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deus_ex_machina)

In Modern Uses section. While reading, you might want to refresh your knowledge of what is and isn't Deus Ex Machina. I think you may have some misinformation on the subject.

Why is WotW DeM? Because the plot resolution comes from a source that is not the Protagonist. If the Protagonist didn't exist, it would still end in exactly the same way -- the Protagonist didn't invent a microbe to affect the Martians: the Martians caught local bacteria that already existed. That's why it's DeM... the Protagonist doesn't solve his own problem, instead an external force must resolve the plot that has become too complex for him to solve. That's the old Greek problem: in their comedies, the plot would get increasingly complex until there was no hope for the protagonist to solve it. Then the gods come down and unravel everything: it is the event of god intervention that caused the term God out of the Machine to reference this type of resolution. In WotW's case, the god is biological in nature, but modern DeM allows that a pantheon of greek gods no longer is acceptable as a resolution to problems, so if you want a DeM resolution, you have to use something else as the intervening power.

ishnar
2009-03-19, 06:06 PM
Not only that, but the disease in WotW was half the point of the story - that the humans lucked out, that there are things we don't consider, and a nice ironic ending that tiny microorganisms can be powerful enough to beat something that mankind can't (and germ theory still being relatively new at the time the book was written).

Seriously, I think some of you people need to look up 'deus ex machina' again - it has to do with magical plot resolutions out of left field, not ones that fit extremely well with foreshadowing and plot development. >_<

Err, sorry, but I have to agree with the other that the disease in WotW WAS duex ex. It did resolve the plot, by saving humanity. It resolved the plot regardless of any actions humanity took. The disease, like gods, was something humanity has no control over--the common cold is incurable. And it is a resolution that was completely unexpected. And lets not forget that if someone gets a disease and dies it is often attributed as an "act of god"

ishnar
2009-03-19, 06:07 PM
History from our world would support that.

The main case I can think of for a "dead" volcano becoming "live" again? Mount Saint Helens. :smalleek:

A lesser second example would be the eruption of Vesuvius in 79.

That is basically what I was thinking. Dead volcanoes tend to go live again with a bang. But Parson could have the trio encapsulate them all in a shell of rock that might save them.

DevilDan
2009-03-19, 06:15 PM
Funny. I don't care if the ending to The War of the Worlds is an example of deus ex machina. It's just an excellent and groundbreaking story.

msb
2009-03-19, 06:31 PM
WotW has a deus ex, and the ending is terrible (in all versions).

This twist in Erfworld isn't anything like that. It's closer to a Kaiser Soze moment. It's not something that one could have predicted reading it, but *once* it happens it all makes sense. It's awesome.

The Old Hack
2009-03-19, 07:36 PM
WotW has a deus ex, and the ending is terrible (in all versions).

Not quite all. They manage to put a very interesting twist on it in the comicbook version of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Spoilerising it here:

In the second League collection, they face a menace which is in all ways similar to the one in WotW (and is an obvious tribute to same.) In this version, the alien invasion is defeated by deliberate biological warfare which incidentally also kills all the human survivors in the area. Afterwards, the nice government people responsible claim that it was the common cold and that the human fatalities were due to the last spasms of the dying invaders.

MattR
2009-03-19, 08:15 PM
Za Internet, it iz diz theeng, where vat you talk about... just happens.

o.O - don't you need a magic lamp and wishes for that to work... or at least a big stick.

mrlovanhey
2009-03-19, 08:33 PM
Parson mentions on this page, that in his game, the players were not meant to win by normal means. That the GM will always trump every move they make, by "cheating" them with rule blockades. It has been discussed that this has been happening through the entire story so far, which makes sense considering what Parson is saying now.

It just seems to me that whenever something happens that foils Parson's plans, Charlie has somehow been involved. Ansom's "plot armor" always occurred courtesy of Charlie. Zamussels breaking Wanda's spell (archons), and probably more examples than what I can think of right now.

So, if I'm not barking up the wrong tree with this, is Charlie then the "GM" of this scenario? Is he the factor that won't allow Parson to win by normal means.

I'm kinda picturing that at the end of the book, Parson and Charlie will meet face to face, and Parson will see...himself :smallsmile:

tomaO2
2009-03-19, 09:13 PM
toma - a MacGuffin implies that the pliers are a meaningless object that drives the narrative. Well, regardless of whether the pliers are meaningless, they certainly don't drive anything.


I don't understand how you can think that the pliers don't drive anything.

The whole reason for this war was stated as being Stanley's quest for the arkentools.

Parson's first plan was to capture the arkentools (and kill Ansom).

When Stanley confronted Parson over the whole evil thing, he said that his destiny was to get all the Arkentools and that Ansom was bringing the pliers to him.

Parson's second plan involved setting a trap for Ansom in the Doughnut of Doom. When Stanley found out that Ansom had fallen for it, he immediately wanted to get the pliers. Vinnie also stated that he thought the plan was to kill Ansom/get pliers. Remember, Parson has a different plan at first. The whole reason for the trick he pulled was to get Ansom in a vulnerable position.

Parson taunted Ansom over the fact that he couldn't use the pliers himself. This played a key role into why Ansom felt the need to grab Parson personally, fall for the trap and die.

Parson's third plan involved telling Charlie that if Charlie would give Parson more time, he would kill many solders, survive the turn and get the arkenpliers.

When Wanda was attacking Ansom and Ansom dropped the pliers, instead of killing Ansom she immediately left the area to get the pliers. If she had stayed to kill Ansom, he might not have had the time to sign the agreement.

Parson has had two goals, survive and get the pliers. The pliers are the reason for the war, they have been constantly chased after for the entire time and lets be honest, we ALL thought that the the pliers would be captured and attune to some member of team evil so that it could be used against Ansom's side. None of that happened.

How is this NOT a MacGuffin?

Tredrick
2009-03-19, 09:17 PM
I think part of the reason that Ansom's plot armor failed is that the writers feared losing the audience if they pulled another one. He had become an incredibly unsympathetic character and huge chunks of the audience wanted him dead. Killing him really did not change the overall plot, so they threw us a bone and saved themselves the trouble of losing the audience.

keybounce
2009-03-19, 10:43 PM
If the game world itself were trying to enforce a no win scenario on Parson until he broke the rules, why did it let him finally kill Ansom? There was no reason to suddenly revoke Ansom's plot armor; Parson was still playing by the rules at that point.

(If someone else said this, then I apologize, I didn't see it)

The rules are only enforcing a "You cannot win" on Parson; they are not enforcing a "you will survive" on Ansom.

By the time that Ansom was finally taken out, Parson still has not won.

A much better question: What will cause the volcano to fail? I think at this point we can conclude that Charlie, not Parson, will win.

joosy
2009-03-19, 11:35 PM
I think part of the reason that Ansom's plot armor failed is that the writers feared losing the audience if they pulled another one. He had become an incredibly unsympathetic character and huge chunks of the audience wanted him dead. Killing him really did not change the overall plot, so they threw us a bone and saved themselves the trouble of losing the audience.

I think its fairly obvious that they aren't making this up as they go. I mean even the Weiner-Rammers were depicted way back on page 22 panel 1. Even the dead volcano and the link were mentioned 'way back' then. If you go through and read the entire comic all at once you will see Rob and Jaime laying the ground work for the many twists and impending climax. Whatever is going to happen next has most likely been carefully fleshed out months ago.
===============

My own speculations:

I believe the Golem's and the uncroaked infantry (being the weakest examples) may lose their respective bonuses from Sizemore and Wanda during the link thus rendering the GK troops that much more vulnerable.
We will see if that adds to the heightened drama/tension over the next few installments.

It can also be fairly surmised that the link-up and volcano uncroaking will succeed. To what degree is yet to be seen. Hopefully the night of the living volcano gambit will be able to take out all of RCC and maybe Charlescomm forces as well. but that would be too easy and give those who enjoy using Latin words to scream "Dues Ex" -- perhaps they should just say "Bunkus! Nonsuch! Gibberos! Gobbleygoos!" instead :)

One other possible twist is for the RCC remaining commanders to end turn and wait for Charlescomm. Given that they are probably enraged over Ansom's death and the recent shakedown Sizemore gave them, I doubt that.

If this Volcano Gamble doesn't pan out; there is still night, then Transylvito/Jillian's turn and THEN GK's turn.. and THEN Charlie/what's left of the RCC's turn.

I do hope that Misty's death is not a precursor for Sizemore's -that would be make me as sad as when Spock died at the end of Star Trek II. But maybe burying him (a previously unknown practice in ErfWorld) will revive a Dirtamancer - that would make me as happy when Spock lived in Star Trek III.

In any case, I have (and continue) to thoroughly enjoy this comic - both the clever writing and the beautiful artwork. The forums have proven amusing as well with the silly speculations and intense arguments over trifles. It's almost as fun to read as the early flamewars from USENET (yes, the internet existed before Internet Explorer :)

glenstorm74
2009-03-19, 11:48 PM
I'm not in the crowd that loves Erfworld, but I'm not a hater either. Still, it seems like this story has gotten away from the authors. Didn't the original storyboard call for 100 comic strips? Yet here we are at strip 147 and the story still isn't done yet. Did changes along the way weaken the plot?

Perhaps the idea that the next book won't incorporate the characters we know here has pushed the story an unexpected direction.

I guess this story arc has "jumped the shark" for me. I just don't believe any more. For example, Parson with Wanda and dance fighting zombies was originally too much for the RCC to handle. Now, we have the same situation, minus Ansom, and the RCC is suddenly able to run over GK forces? Even if you argue that GK lost a terrain bonus, the RCC also lost a lot of leadership.

Or consider the rout in the tunnels. The units there broke morale when the leadership was killed. Now we have a situation where the RCC is down to 30% of its original forces, with only three chief warlords (Tarfu, Red-Head, and the Superfluous elf) and most units are wounded, yet morale hasn't broken? I would expect morale to break on some of the factions.

Meh. Just my two coppers. I'm mostly looking foward to the next book, though.

SeraphRainy
2009-03-20, 12:20 AM
for everyone who thinks this was unexpected or dues ex or even just way out of the blue. Your wrong. This is the ultimate strategy complete with tangible world, moral and even psy-ops. Erf and all its pieces/units is the tangible or the bord with markers. The moral of troops and units clearly came into play with all the character movement like the tool running off or jillian breaking the spell. AAAAAnd the psy ops has been going on back and forth.

Now Parson was considering all of these aspects and did a good job, yet just as in his own game creation it was undermining his actions to a certain point. Not cancelling them out fully just shrugging them off. (or taking half damadge.) Yet in all that striving and carefull planning Parson missed an aspect of the battle or was just unable to make use of it. That aspect was the assumption that the rules were the way to win.

If you have read su tsu's works you know that you are to define your enemies choices this is in essence strategy. Erf as a whole was a mindgame to define Parsons choices, by presenting him with rules it set a ridgid construct for a way of thinking rather than even letting the idea of odballing his moves, erf put forth a template for battle. To win the game he was not expected to follow it and thus the GM defined his choice so that the only way to win was to realise he couldnt.

This is realy a hard but brittle campagne setting. For example one of my GMs had us fighting a mechanised monster. We shot it hacked at it and blasted it. But did not scratch the thing. It instead of rolling to soak damadge (white wolf system) had a certain amount of auto soak. If we had kept shooting it trying to wear it down conventionaly we would have failed because it couldnt get unlucky or stop soaking. But as soon as we got the idea to hit it with a huge unlikely attack it was crushed. This was because we exeeded its auto block capability. Like a crustaition its insides were weak and its armor was brittle if hard.

The battle for GK is the same it was impossible to stop the train of the RCC by conventional tactics or even reeeeaaaaly gooooood strategy. Yet as sooon as parson worked around the GM and schemed something truly off the scenario becomes possible.

Now you may say, "Well his other schemes were oddball and wayyyy out there, why didnt they work why did ansomes "plot armor" show itself time and time again?" Well his plans werent oddball enought they were a twist on conventional strategy that was carried out effectivly and so they were undermined accoringly. (even the Bogroll scheme went awry a little. We can see that Parson at the very least hoped that he survived but obviously no luckamany for our favorit Twoll.)

So this Amazingly wrong and sideways plan along with the explanation make perfect sense if it still doesnt to you I want you to take a step back and imagine your playing a campagne like this and you did what Parson has, but you just figured out what the whole game was about and now youve brought forth your amazing imposible plan to out cheat your DM/GM. It should help you understand the mental strategy known as expanding your box, [to include excluding the rules](IE: youve suprised the DM/GM enough with your plan that it just might work.)
If your one of those people who read this and say, "But I would have done different from parson, or thought different, or my schemes are so random/strategy so good that it wouldnt matter ooooor even the well thats not a fair game."
"Well then arent you a good little unique gamer, who should go find an imagination or at least dust yours off."

dr pepper
2009-03-20, 01:32 AM
Exactly. I once was in a low level game where the party was cornered inside a dungeon room with a cockatrice trying to break in. At that time it was SOP for my characters to carry flasks of fresh blood. Well i splashed the blood where the edge of the door touched the wall, and some splashed through so that the cockatriced touched it. The blood became stone, which glued the door shut, Eventually it went away, we chiseled ourselves free, and were able to successfully retreat. That kind of playing used to be considered normal.

BillyJimBoBob
2009-03-23, 03:28 PM
Exactly. I once was in a low level game where the party was cornered inside a dungeon room with a cockatrice trying to break in. At that time it was SOP for my characters to carry flasks of fresh blood. Well i splashed the blood where the edge of the door touched the wall, and some splashed through so that the cockatriced touched it. The blood became stone, which glued the door shut, Eventually it went away, we chiseled ourselves free, and were able to successfully retreat. That kind of playing used to be considered normal.Except that your flask of fresh blood (and just exactly how is "that kind of playing" considered "normal"? Where and how did your character get the stuff?) would quickly become a bottle filled with a blood clot, which would not pour or even splash out of the bottle.

dr pepper
2009-03-23, 04:17 PM
and just exactly how is "that kind of playing" considered "normal"?

It was normal for players to try to come up with new and unprecedented ways to turn the system to their advantage. The blood glue was one of several i came up with. Another was to take a nuisance magic item (one with no intrinsic power) and attach to a mace. Because there were creatures that could only be hit by magical weapons, but what kind of magic was not specified.

Here's another that wasn't mine: the rules stated that genies could create almost any substance but the more durable something was, the shorter the duration its existence. So one player who had a genie came up with the idea of having it create a slab of metal 30 feet above an opponent's head. Sure, it would disappear next melee round, but not before it did significant damage.


Where and how did your character get the stuff?) would quickly become a bottle filled with a blood clot, which would not pour or even splash out of the bottle.

Slaughterhouse blood, tightly stoppered, and obtained just before heading for the dungeon. Yeah, i thought of that.

The point is that these techniques were not listed in the rules, but the rules allowed them.

And yes, a lot of gms changed the rules later in response. But there were always more exploits to discover. After all, while the GM has the wider viewpoint, the players have more brains.

At least that's what i always tell my players.

HPV
2009-03-23, 09:45 PM
Here's another that wasn't mine: the rules stated that genies could create almost any substance but the more durable something was, the shorter the duration its existence. So one player who had a genie came up with the idea of having it create a slab of metal 30 feet above an opponent's head. Sure, it would disappear next melee round, but not before it did significant damage
*grin* yep, totally appreciate the lateral thinking style of RP- have come up with or witnessed loads over the last 20 years, but one of that came to mind after reading the above was a one of my mates, playing a druid in a 1st Ed high level dungeon bash, who had a bunch of oak tree Quaal's Feather Tokens (http://everything2.com/title/Quaal%2527s%2520Feather%2520Token) on his character sheet (just cos he was a druid *shrug*).
The rest of the party were pretty disparaging about him carrying around such a boopy magic item, until our first tricky encounter, where he threw one of his feather tokens down on the head of a monster and, by dint of the feather suddenly turning into an oak tree that wanted to be taller than the ceiling, pile drove the beast into the floor.
Good times, though maybe you had to be there *shrug*

Doran
2009-03-23, 10:42 PM
I don't really think that fits the way the story has gone. Parson's first plan upon becoming GK's chief warlord was to try to trick Ansom into a trap. That plan failed because Vinny intervened. When Parson finally does trick Ansom into a trap, the plan only works because Charlie et al. don't intervene. What changed between those to plans so that Ansom's indominable plot armor failed?

If we're supposed to attribute Ansom's continued lack of defeat to plot fiat, I want to know why that fiat suddenly disappeared before the stated cutoff point was reached.

-H

Hatu, what changes between those two traps is that Vinney isn't there to advise Ansom anymore, as he went to try to croak Stanley. In addition, Parson's needling of Ansom drove a rift between the two. Parson's first trap only failed because he had incomplete info about Vinnie. For the final trap, the only other possible source left is Charlie, and he decided to let the trap happen.

After Ansom is played, Parson is now against the scenario.

dr pepper
2009-03-24, 12:26 AM
*grin* yep, totally appreciate the lateral thinking style of RP- have come up with or witnessed loads over the last 20 years, but one of that came to mind after reading the above was a one of my mates, playing a druid in a 1st Ed high level dungeon bash, who had a bunch of oak tree Quaal's Feather Tokens (http://everything2.com/title/Quaal%2527s%2520Feather%2520Token) on his character sheet (just cos he was a druid *shrug*).
The rest of the party were pretty disparaging about him carrying around such a boopy magic item, until our first tricky encounter, where he threw one of his feather tokens down on the head of a monster and, by dint of the feather suddenly turning into an oak tree that wanted to be taller than the ceiling, pile drove the beast into the floor.
Good times, though maybe you had to be there *shrug*

Yeah! Sounds like we both played in the same kind of environment.

Here's another of mine. I was running a low level game in which two of the characters were working together as intelligence assets. Or so they liked to call themselves. They were getting a small payment from the central government of the Empire (there's always an Empire) to help fix a municipal election in an outer province. One of them, a magician, had previously acquired a scroll with some fairly useless spells. Such as Null Scentibility. Well the scroll had been made by a member of a species with extra powerful senses. Anyway, finding themselves hunted by the town watch, they were able to pry open a sewer access and climb in. But the watch was taking its sweet time moving on, and their surroundings were getting really hard to bear. But then the mage remembered he had Null Scentibility. And it was an area spell, too, so it covered both of them. Thus they were able to breath easily while waiting out the search. Just a reminder that no spell is useless in the right context.