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Bawon von Howse
2009-03-26, 04:17 AM
new comic is up!

tomaO2
2009-03-26, 04:17 AM
Three threads, all in the same minute. *sighs* I would have won too if I hadn't taken more time in writing mine up then you did. Ah well.

Yikes, now it's all merged into one thread. I'd thought the Baron had gotten his up before Allerdyce. Okay, I'm erasing my duplicate post.

Crud, I was afraid of this.

Seems I was too hasty to call a win for Parson.

This fits pretty close to my worst case scenario except I thought that the mages would not be able to have time to escape if the volcano erupted and killed everyone in the city hex area. I also didn't consider Parson being about to escape through the portal, he still may not but it's worth a shot, compared to the alternative.

With no army left in the city, Vinnie still has enough forces to kill Stanley and win this war though, assuming he can find him.

Luck to Parson's escape attempt. I'd suppose this is when he'll be heading back to the "real" world. Man, this is the most brutal webcomic story ever. Almost no one lived through it and they're actually getting ready a second chapter to come down the pipe?

Allerdyce
2009-03-26, 04:17 AM
Oh man, not rocks falling! Is he going into the portal in that last panel?

Bawon von Howse
2009-03-26, 04:20 AM
Three threads! Normally there's 3 pages before I see a new comic!

..I guess uncroaking the Volcanoe didn't really work...

so what happens now, everyone dies, where does Parson go?

The way he's talking it sounds like he thinks he's going home, but I don't know. It would give the authors a way of getting him out of the comic so Erfworld can carry on without him.

I guess stanley will come home to find everything destroyed!

MuLepton
2009-03-26, 04:22 AM
So... no deal with Charlie.

Questions that popped up for me:
Are the casters still linked?
Where will Parson end up?

Koretsu
2009-03-26, 04:23 AM
What came to my mind was "What was that last order, and why did Parson abandon it?"

Bawon von Howse
2009-03-26, 04:25 AM
TPK!

Lol had to check this one up on Wikipeida :smalleek: ...it says...TPKs are often preceeded by the GM saying "Rocks fall, everyone dies"....

Bawon von Howse
2009-03-26, 04:32 AM
...on further reflection, it could seem that this is very much coming to an end...

...I can hear the music....the one that comes before the credits!

...that was the end of the battle...everyone's dead! ....Stanley is Absent but alive...other forces are scattered...with a masterclass Foolamancer, Stanley wont be found...

there is no more driving force, as in the pressure of the battle...the archons don't need to take GK as there's nothing there now...plus the newly animated volcanoe may be truely reawoken!

BobVosh
2009-03-26, 04:38 AM
I swear that this had better not end in a lost in magic kingdom type thing.

Killer Angel
2009-03-26, 04:46 AM
lol... TPK, followed by "Rock falls...". Man, that was great.
I wonder if Charlie knows the references.

The portal should be the one to the magic kingdom, so the 3 casters are safe (I think), and even Parson, but in this case why the last sentence? (the magic Kingdom are not Parson's home)

oball
2009-03-26, 04:47 AM
Rocks fall, everyone dies. (http://somethingpositive.net/sp05032002.shtml)

Mikalyaran
2009-03-26, 04:49 AM
i think that should satisfy everyone who hates Charlie always being the deciding factor. Parson gave him chances time and again to pick his side and he never did. now...so sorry Charlie...too late. I would really like to know what that last order might have been. Looks like a wrap up is in the wings for this story. Can't wait to see it and find out whats next! This comic consistently keeps me checking for updates. Such good work imo.

Radar
2009-03-26, 04:50 AM
So Parson can use the portal! :smallbiggrin:

Aside from that: this is sooo like a bad DM plan: "rocks fall everybody dies." Classic!

chaoschristian
2009-03-26, 04:56 AM
Ruthless Parson is buff.

MadMaw
2009-03-26, 04:57 AM
Noooooo! Don't let it end like this!

Still, when you're sitting in the heart of a (suddenly) active volcano, surrounded by overwhelming numbers of enemy, and happen to be standing next to a teleporter that may or may not work for you, your options are pretty limited. If Parson can use the portal, perhaps some of the henchmen could have too. Seems a bit mean to leave them behind.

I like the 7th panel where the SofaKing and the GK troop are working together to prevent the rock collapsing on them. Looks like auto-engage rules have their limits.

keeganknorr
2009-03-26, 05:08 AM
can someone explain this entire page to me, i'm not getting it....



But i want to!

tomaO2
2009-03-26, 05:09 AM
Oh, right.

MadMaw, I agree. How odd that the SofaKing and the other Warlord were both captured (not killed) but we spent exactly zero time focusing on them afterwards. That's very unusual. Just another sign that the authors are absolutely brutal to their creations. Anyone and anyone can die here. I... I rather like that about this comic. Keeps you on your toes.

It's funny that Vinnie survived, after all his talk about being prepared to die. Just another twist on a trope.

As to the question as to why Parson was saying, "there's no place like home". Non casters are not suppost to be able to enter the portal. There are four things that can happen.

Number one, Parson might be able to use it because he is not of Erfworld and get to the Magic Kingdom.

Number two, Parson might die in the teleportation process.

Number three, Parson might go back to where was taken from.

Point taken SteveD,
Number four, he gets sent somewhere else, an entirely random location.

Parson is clearly hoping for option three.


can someone explain this entire page to me, i'm not getting it....



But i want to!

It's simple. Parson had the mancers set off the volcano. When it explodes, it will kill everyone in the city. That includes the Archeons. Parson ordered the mancers to escape through the Magic Kingdom portal. He then told Charlie that he was killing everyone. Charlie tried to talk him out of it but it was too late. Parson then flees through the portal himself. We don't know what will happen to him yet.

User Name
2009-03-26, 05:11 AM
Hopefully this will put an end to the ridiculous "Charlie is Parson from the future" theory.

RubberBandMan
2009-03-26, 05:14 AM
I love this page. People are going to hate it, but I love it.

Parson has been gaming, and gaming hard. He's reached the point where he can win, he can destroy them all and win for stanley. His 'duty' forces him to do it, to cause the eruption and make everyone die because of the Tools leadership.

Then he understand that he can do it, he has the power, he can win... and says "Boop it", tells his friends to go into the portal, and leaves everyone (EVERYONE) caught holding the bag. Charlie? Not getting that warlord OR the artifact. Ansom? Dead. And the coalition? how many are going to be left, and what do they have to show for it? The tool still is out there, with however many dragons. As we've seen with Jillian, a high leadership with decent flyers can go solo, if no one is after them.

Parson was loosing the game, and instead of saying "look behind you!" and re-arranging the chessboard like he was 'supposed' to do, he just threw the board into the grass, dropped a smoke bomb and ran away. I love it.

The 'clinch' sound effect was a nice touch.

Edit: I think I misunderstand this page. I'm guessing the volcano is already uncroaked,and parson was going to ask for some other trick? Thinking that they were telling him it could be done, and he was about to order it... Oh well.

SteveD
2009-03-26, 05:19 AM
I can think of a 4th, toma. He gets sent somewhere different entirely.

So the next strip is going to be the volcano going off, burning all the archons to a crisp? And Stanley will see it from a distance?

I wonder what he was about to order them to do. Send him home?

User Name
2009-03-26, 05:26 AM
Edit: I think I misunderstand this page. I'm guessing the volcano is already uncroaked,and parson was going to ask for some other trick? Thinking that they were telling him it could be done, and he was about to order it... Oh well.

If he had some other trick that would have beaten the RCC even more he would have been forced to try it. The fact that he is now free to order the casters into the portal shows that he's done all he can.

HPV
2009-03-26, 05:26 AM
The portal should be the one to the magic kingdom, so the 3 casters are safe (I think), and even Parson, but in this case why the last sentence? (the magic Kingdom are not Parson's home)
Its a Wizard of Oz (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJ6VT7ciR1o) reference :smallwink:

Cool strip, conveys the situation very well! another good one Rob & Jamie, thanks. :smallsmile:

tomaO2
2009-03-26, 05:28 AM
Looks as if we will have 4 survivors after all.

We don't know if Parson will survive this yet, he entered the portal, he may not exit.

As for the mancers. They still have to break the link. This act may or may not kill all three of them.

Still lots of room for every single, major character to die in this story yet. Your cheers are premature. :smalltongue:

Swiftbow
2009-03-26, 05:30 AM
It looked to me that Parson was about to order Maggie to break the link and absorb the damage herself, but he couldn't bring himself to potentially kill any of them.

Bawon von Howse
2009-03-26, 05:31 AM
..well i hope Parson doesn't die in some horrible portal accident, that would certainly seem like a waste!

Possibly he gets a random port elsewhere in Erfworld, but that would also be odd!

...maybe the title for the 2nd book is: Erfworld - Parson in the Magic Kingdom!

Kaed
2009-03-26, 05:33 AM
Hopefully this will put an end to the ridiculous "Charlie is Parson from the future" theory.

Amen to that. Ameeeen.

If this isn't enough of differing personalities evidence, I don't know what else will.

Charlie refuses to lose, and betrays people as soon as the tide turns one way or another.

Parson refuses to let anyone win, shoves his pride and a possible victory aside just to spite Charlie.

By the by, refusing to lose and refusing to let someone win are different things.

Though I find it amusing that for once, rocks actually DO fall, and everyone dies.

Generalissimus
2009-03-26, 05:39 AM
And now, Parson escapes using the portal to the Magic kingdom. :smalleek:

My english is not good enough to explain my feelings about this comic, but I think it has a lot of arbitrariness in its writing. :smallmad:

Alexei P
2009-03-26, 05:47 AM
Oh, wow! I'm completely impressed! I had fun speculating what would follow after the last page. What the volcano would do, how the RCC would react, how Charlie would be forced to feel the sting of defeat...

...And they managed to get it all and more in a single page! Boopin' BRILLIANT!

I find it a very satisfying denouement. :smallsmile:

TheJustWiseSage
2009-03-26, 05:48 AM
As to the question as to why Parson was saying, "there's no place like home". Non casters are not suppost to be able to enter the portal. There are four things that can happen.

Number one, Parson might be able to use it because he is not of Erfworld and get to the Magic Kingdom.



Or it might consider him a mathemancer and allow him to use the portal because of that.

dr pepper
2009-03-26, 05:50 AM
Agreed on the order. Parson was going to say "ease out of the link, then go", but he changed it to "just go". But that makes sense.

After all, where better for the members of a 3way linkage to get unlinked but the Magic Kingdom?

Scene: 3 exhausted mages stumble out of a teleport station. A white smocked attendent sees them and yells: Code Blue, get a trauma team stat! Someone break out a scroll of Spiritual Replenishment. And get a specialist in Personality Reintegration!

As for where Parson ends up, i think he goes home and finds that the campaign maps and notes he made for the game he was planning have mysteriously burned up.

ghost81
2009-03-26, 05:51 AM
Generalissimo - to be fair we don't yet know where, if anywhere, he will turn up.

Based on his Wizard of Oz reference he seems to be hoping to get hom/wake up from the coma he's still partially thinking he's in.

About the comic - personally I loved it.

MuLepton
2009-03-26, 05:55 AM
And now, Parson escapes using the portal to the Magic kingdom. :smalleek:

My english is not good enough to explain my feelings about this comic, but I think it has a lot of arbitrariness in its writing. :smallmad:
Didn't you stop reading the comic (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5896861&postcount=48) anyway? :smallwink:

Killer Angel
2009-03-26, 05:55 AM
My english is not good enough to explain my feelings about this comic, but I think it has a lot of arbitrariness in its writing. :smallmad:



Well, it's a logic development of the awakening (uncroaking) of the volcano.
There's no safe place inside the caldera, all will be destroyed by lava or (i bet)a huge explosion... I don't know if it's a thing like Mount St. Helens, but in that case probably even the flying archons will be doomed, and I think we can say hello to the Arkenpliers (we all know that the safest way to destroy an artifact is to throw it in a volcano, right? :smalltongue:)

Radar
2009-03-26, 06:00 AM
Now that i think about it, it's somewhat similar to the closing scene of Beneath the Planet of the Apes - "Boop it!" and the world goes boom.

Nenec
2009-03-26, 06:09 AM
Didn't expect this at all. Cool.
I hope they'll all end in the magic kingom, so we can have another story/setting with them, but this comic is so brutal that I don't think it's gonna happen. I like it, you never know what's coming.
I also liked Oz reference, it's rare I can understand one.

Generalissimus
2009-03-26, 06:12 AM
Didn't you stop reading the comic (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5896861&postcount=48) anyway? :smallwink:

Yes, I was -and I am- very pissed with all the uncroaked-volcano-thing. But I had a... moment of curiosity. I was liking Erfworld very much, prior to the recent events.

Oslecamo
2009-03-26, 06:14 AM
As for where Parson ends up, i think he goes home and finds that the campaign maps and notes he made for the game he was planning have mysteriously burned up.

Nah, the show must go on baby! Hasmter is still bound to serve Stanley untill he's released or killed. Charlie himself is still there and screaming to be killed since he's bound to lose a big chunk of his force. And Vinnie and Jillian will probably want some revenge for Ansom's death.

I believe Hamster willl also find himself in the magic kingdom, and from there be contacted by Stanley and make plans to how to restart the quest for the arken tools. Hamster wants that deep inside.

What I find really disturbing in this strip is that the gobwins and the coalition remains had stop fighting and were desesperately trying.

As to why Hamster had so many trouble giving the order in the begginning, I believe it was because he was trying to word it in such a way to make sure that the mancers would run away this time. That or overcoming his ruthnless, wich was probably telling him to leave the mancers to die.

And for once, Charlie was the one geting the kick in the groin! Loved it!

Revdarian
2009-03-26, 06:19 AM
Parson can do Mathamancy and Predictamancy, we have seen this happen, so i don't know why people are amazed at him being able to take the portal.

LesterLester
2009-03-26, 06:27 AM
Wow, rocks fall, everybody dies...that can't be good for Parson's karma:smallfrown:
I haven't followed the discussion to this issue, but about the moralic implications of that deed and Parsons whole strategy? I had the impression that most units -even the tiniest marbit- have some kind of individual personality, so killing thousands of members of every race for the sake of his own live makes Parson not really a hero, doesn't it?
Well he may still view it as just a very elaborate game, but still... comments like 'GG' when who knows how many people on both sides die... *sigh*

Radar
2009-03-26, 06:28 AM
Parson can do Mathamancy and Predictamancy, we have seen this happen, so i don't know why people are amazed at him being able to take the portal.
Mostly because it's not Parson doing the Mathamancy stuff, but an artifact. Having a powerfull artifact doesn't make a caster.

edit: @LesterLester
Does war make anyone a hero?

Krelon
2009-03-26, 06:30 AM
Ansom was using a Thinkamancy(?) hat but that did not make him a caster. Parson is using a Mathamancy artifact, does that make him a caster?

I see the strip this way:

Volcano is already active and cannot be stopped from exploding.
TPK means ALL die (including archons).
Parson wanted to give some order but we have no idea which one and instead he sent the casters to safety.
The "Pff" is his relief that it is not the Tool on the line.
In the end he has 2 options A) to face death, B) risk using the portal... which, even with a 99% death rate for non-casters, is his best option. He hopes to get back to Earth obviuosly.

Do I miss(interpret) anything?

RinceBrush
2009-03-26, 06:36 AM
Why does the portal have to be caster-specific. I mean, It needn't be a "universe law" it can be just a prohibition noone ever thought of breaking in erfworld. I mean, it probably wasn't ever used as a escape route even by casters. Duty is followed by everyone, and probably, faced with a situation like the one in GK, warlords would always fight to the very end compelled by Duty. In this case Parson is free enough from the conventions of the world and is capable of enough lateral thinking to twist duty, decide he is more useful to Stanley alive than dead and consider the portal a escape route, instead of "the place where casters level up and buy spells".

SteveMB
2009-03-26, 06:38 AM
What came to my mind was "What was that last order, and why did Parson abandon it?"

Whatever it was, Duty or whatever evidently did not force him to go ahead with it.

Ravenred
2009-03-26, 06:40 AM
Ooooh... didn't see a suicidal TPK coming.

As for the ruthlessness of killing all the gobwins, spidews and the like, they would have all died anyway, as the rules here don't appear to allow for surrender.

But still... that's 3000 sentient beings on Parson's conscience. I somehow... doubt that Parson will find himself back in Kansas. In terms of writing, that's letting him get off waaaaaay too easy...

Oslecamo
2009-03-26, 06:55 AM
Whatever it was, Duty or whatever evidently did not force him to go ahead with it.

Or perhaps duty stoped him from doing it. Maybe Hamster wanted to release himelf from Stanley's spell, or perhaps he wanted to do something wich wouldn't go to Stanley's best interests anymore, like ordering the mancers to rebel themselves and become free barbarians.

reignofevil
2009-03-26, 06:55 AM
Ooooh... didn't see a suicidal TPK coming.

As for the ruthlessness of killing all the gobwins, spidews and the like, they would have all died anyway, as the rules here don't appear to allow for surrender.

But still... that's 3000 sentient beings on Parson's conscience. I somehow... doubt that Parson will find himself back in Kansas. In terms of writing, that's letting him get off waaaaaay too easy...

Clearly you have forgotten the multitudes of other sentient beings parson has been indirectly responsible for killing.
Somehow I dont think karma applies here. :P

SmallFurryMamml
2009-03-26, 07:02 AM
Well he may still view it as just a very elaborate game, but still... comments like 'GG' when who knows how many people on both sides die... *sigh*

Well, the same may be said of any RTS then.

I have killed thousands of innocent zealots in my time :smalltongue:

davre
2009-03-26, 07:05 AM
What's that going "PISH" in the second panel? Looks like a crystal ball or something.

SmallFurryMamml
2009-03-26, 07:13 AM
Well he may still view it as just a very elaborate game, but still... comments like 'GG' when who knows how many people on both sides die... *sigh*

Well, the same may be said of any RTS then.

I have killed thousands of innocent zealots in my time :smalltongue:

Caen'ir
2009-03-26, 07:15 AM
What's that going "PISH" in the second panel? Looks like a crystal ball or something.

I was wondering the same thing.:smallconfused:

I liked this page, I wasn't expecting anything like this when they first retreated to the dungeon.

Kholdstare
2009-03-26, 07:15 AM
Maybe the "Special" part means that he isn't bound by Class-Specific options.

Either way, great strip. Really conveyed a sense of emotion with "GG" really showing the finality of it.

Ellye
2009-03-26, 07:36 AM
Parson is so epic in this strip. Great job.

HandofShadows
2009-03-26, 07:46 AM
Excellent page. The casters are safe and Parson may end up back home, in the Magic Kingdom or someplace else (somewhen else?)
Did anyone else get the "Sorry Charlie" line? Or was that one for us old farts.
The Archenpliers should be ok. It looks like GK is going to explode and that would mean the 'pliers will be blown away from GK. Don't think that the lava woudl damage them anyway, but they would be very hard to get buried under tons of molten rock.
The battle is not over and I think a few more curve balls are headed out way.

Grosaprap
2009-03-26, 07:47 AM
Registered just for this comic.

Man, just finished watching Kino's Journeys, BSG is over, and now this.:smallsigh: On the other hand, WOW, what a way to end the first act.:smallbiggrin:

Regarding the "unspoken order". It seems fairly obvious to me what Parson was going to say.

He knows unlinking can cause death. He also knows who was responsible for Misty taking the hit the first time, hint: Not Stanley:smallfurious:. He was going to order Maggie to either not attempt to protect herself this time from the backlash, or perhaps more ruthlessly order her to be the sacrifice for the other two. A bit of revenge for Misty. :smalleek:

But Parson changed his mind at the last second. He's still not as ruthless a warlord as he 'could be'.:smallamused:

The "PISH" btw, is the sound of one of the three glowing orbs you see in the previous page falling to the table and smashing, think lightbulb breaking noises.

jmsl
2009-03-26, 07:50 AM
I guess we got our Ender's Game ending after all. Parson got tired of the fight and blows up the mountain. Was he able to negate whatever Duty was limiting him because at least he's taking them with him? I wouldn't call that a victory, but Parson might, especially if he qualifies for the escape clause. Rocks falling aren't likely to take out the Archons, but it remains to be seen what else an undirected uncwoaked volcano will do, not to mention how long it will last. If the RCC ended turn would that end the volcano's power? It seems unlikely something that large would be sustainable, especially sans casters.

This reminded me again that I didn't understand why Charlie took the chance of letting Parson trick Ansom that last time. He stood to win a lot with Ansom taking all of the risk, but if he let Ansom fall he only stood to gain the arkenpliers at the risk of his own Archons. I know he was enjoying the show but this was endgame and he was committed by contract. Oh well. People make foolish decisions all the time.

VariaVespasa
2009-03-26, 08:04 AM
Interesting. The trimancer survives, but its safely (?) in the magic kingdom. But Stanley doesnt know that, and doesnt have any way to get there that we know of at the moment anyway. Parson still has the eyebook to get back in contact with either the trimancer or Stanley if he remains in or later returns to Erfworld. I'm not convinced the magic kingdom can seperate the trimancer again without it becoming barbarian first so they may stay linked up till either Parson or Stanley comes for them.

I doubt the arkenpliers can be destroyed by the volcano so someone will dig them up eventually, when/if the volcano ever calms down.

Lamech
2009-03-26, 08:19 AM
So Charlie seemed to have a way of saving Parson at the end. Hmm... Perhaps those Archons can teleport around. Perhaps he can use Parson's portal somehow.

Now results of this: (There pretty much the same toma's)
1) Parson ends up in magic kingdom. This makes sense, he picked up the magical ablity to make people fight better, when he came to Erf. Why not magic? Or maybe being "special" did it. Maybe being not of erf did it. Maybe "only casters" is a law of the magic kingdom. Maybe a full day's supply of luckamancy made him a caster.
2) Parson dies. He isn't a caster. The portal doesn't work. Or the magic kingdom's forces croak him as soon as he gets there.
3) Home. Makes story sense. Not really sure how it has been foreshadowed though.
4) Random spot. The portal does something freaking because Parson is "special" or because he is not of Erf.


Now we still don't know where Parson is. I wonder where he ends up. Also Stanley will get a nice regenerated city when he retakes it. Jack can viel it, besides who would want an active volcano anyway. A viel would probably need to be lava and smoke to work. Well Stanley did win.

BrianneAmazon
2009-03-26, 08:26 AM
Yeah, so apparently if you go long enough without logging in, your account gets deleted. Makes sense, I guess.

Anyway, did any other rugby players/fans notice that the rockfall went "scrum" in the third-to-last panel? Gotta love it.

Heavenfall
2009-03-26, 08:38 AM
Last couple of comics have been amazing. Each one in it's own made me go "Oh sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeit".

hewhosaysfish
2009-03-26, 08:39 AM
I get the feeling that...
The Arkenpliers aren't going to directly feature in Book 2, maybe not even in Book 3. They're going to be buried under the rubble of GK (and then under the rebuilt GK) and forgotten about for a while. Then they will become a MacGuffin.
GK will become the centre of everyone's attention again as everyone wants to dig for the MacGuffin (or maybe somebody does dig it up and everyone fights to take it). Some underdog will get them, attune to them and proceed to kick butt.

hajo
2009-03-26, 08:41 AM
TPK!
TPKs are often preceeded by the GM saying "Rocks fall, everyone dies"....

Total-party-kill ?

To summarize Parson's success so far:

Invading forces mostly eliminated (except Vinnie+Jillian)
Prevented enemy from conquering own city (for now + years to come)
saved the most valuable own assets (casters, eyebooks, artifacts)
(some) surviving own forces (Stanley, dwagons, unknown remaining funds)


Rulewise, the RCC did not gain "total control" of all the city-zones -
not during their turn (which has not ended yet), and if they end of their turn now, they have no forces left at GK.
So, GK is not conquered, and hardly anyone would want to now :smallamused:

BrianneAmazon
2009-03-26, 08:41 AM
Yeah, so apparently if you go long enough without logging in, your account gets deleted. Makes sense, I guess.

Anyway, did any other rugby players/fans notice that the rockfall went "scrum" in the third-to-last panel? Gotta love it.

SteveMB
2009-03-26, 08:42 AM
Why does the portal have to be caster-specific?

That was the implication I got from Parson's plan to send the casters through if the city was about to fall (even going so far as to say that he'd have to stay behind (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0147.html) in a hopeless fight after they escaped). OTOH, that could simply mean that Parson believed that he couldn't use the portal, and when push came to shove he decided to give it a try.

The mechanics of Erfworld didn't give him an obvious "no you don't" (like Jillian hitting the hex boundary when we last saw her). Parson's comment implies an end to the "Wizard Of Oz" dream, but I think that's just another "what the hell" idea -- I don't see this story ending with something as hackneyed as "it was all a dream" unless some really clever subversion is involved.

Stryyder
2009-03-26, 09:20 AM
That was the implication I got from Parson's plan to send the casters through if the city was about to fall (even going so far as to say that he'd have to stay behind (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0147.html) in a hopeless fight after they escaped). OTOH, that could simply mean that Parson believed that he couldn't use the portal, and when push came to shove he decided to give it a try.

The mechanics of Erfworld didn't give him an obvious "no you don't" (like Jillian hitting the hex boundary when we last saw her). Parson's comment implies an end to the "Wizard Of Oz" dream, but I think that's just another "what the hell" idea -- I don't see this story ending with something as hackneyed as "it was all a dream" unless some really clever subversion is involved.


I have a silly thought but isn't Parson the exact definition of a summoned creature? He was summoned from a different plane of existence to serve a purpose on the erfworld plane. He is bound by the summoning spell and can be by the very definition of his summoned status considered magical. My guess is this would allow him use of the portal.

ghost81
2009-03-26, 09:21 AM
Just a quick thought to those saying Stanley doesn't know where anyone is - it appears to me that Parson takes his Eye-Book through with him. If Stanley still has his he can contact him that way.

We've also seen Stanley contact Maggie Directly before - although this may not work if the link is still up.

DigoDragon
2009-03-26, 09:26 AM
So Parson, you just TPKed the Coalition forces and blew up Gobwin Knob, what are you going to do now?
"I'm going to the Magic Kingdom!" :smallbiggrin:


I'd pay money to see a full page spread of Stanley's face when he comes back to a lake of lava where his kingdom was sitting. That's going to be priceless.

TheJustWiseSage
2009-03-26, 09:35 AM
Ansom was using a Thinkamancy(?) hat but that did not make him a caster. Parson is using a Mathamancy artifact, does that make him a caster?

Do I miss(interpret) anything?

Whoa! Hold the Bus! It's a calculator watch after all!

In http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0060.html (erf0060)
it say the does the raw calculations exceedingly quickly, it still needs Parson to perform or devise the formulas to actually get any sense out of it.

Parson is effectively shouting something like "x = x/y * 100". It is him that actually does the Mathemancy. Treat it like a wand if you would, is it a wizard/witch that does the magic or is it solely the wand that does it?

And if it's the wand, why doesn't do it by itself?

Hence, IMO, it's Parson that's the Mathemancer here, with a Mathemancers wand if you would

Hatu
2009-03-26, 09:49 AM
This reminded me again that I didn't understand why Charlie took the chance of letting Parson trick Ansom that last time. He stood to win a lot with Ansom taking all of the risk, but if he let Ansom fall he only stood to gain the arkenpliers at the risk of his own Archons. I know he was enjoying the show but this was endgame and he was committed by contract. Oh well. People make foolish decisions all the time.

While Charlie's actions throughout the comic border on the inexplicable, I'm not sure what difference Ansom's presence would make here. If he couldn't survive Bogroll's attack, I very much doubt he could have survived the zombcano.

This strip left me rather disinterested. I love seeing Parson stick it to Charlie as much as the next man, but I'm not really sure where the story can go from here that makes much sense. Hopefully, I'll be surprised.

-H

Starwaster
2009-03-26, 09:50 AM
lol... TPK, followed by "Rock falls...". Man, that was great.
I wonder if Charlie knows the references.

The portal should be the one to the magic kingdom, so the 3 casters are safe (I think), and even Parson, but in this case why the last sentence? (the magic Kingdom are not Parson's home)

Kind of sad that people in this day and age don't get that reference, but I guess Wizard of Oz is more of a national hit than international.

At the end of Wizard of Oz, Dorothy, who was in a similiar situation as Parson is told she always had the power to go home. She only needed to click the heels of her ruby slippers together three times while chanting, "There's no place like home."

Mystyco
2009-03-26, 10:08 AM
Driving a Bus into a tree is different than driving it over a giant rift over a lava river with fire-crocodiles and meteors falling from the sky.

That's the difference between a stupid TPK and a cool TPK.

And Parson just made the bus go backflip.


anyway, Parson lost the city, become a mercenary and was probably allowed in the magic kingdom? dunno, it's more likely than just be able to pass between the planes because you're a planeswalker. i wouldn't like that :(

raphfrk
2009-03-26, 10:14 AM
comments like 'GG' when who knows how many people on both sides die... *sigh*

GG = good game?

Killer Angel
2009-03-26, 10:42 AM
Kind of sad that people in this day and age don't get that reference, but I guess Wizard of Oz is more of a national hit than international.

At the end of Wizard of Oz, Dorothy, who was in a similiar situation as Parson is told she always had the power to go home. She only needed to click the heels of her ruby slippers together three times while chanting, "There's no place like home."

It's my fault, but please remember that the Playground covers all the world. I've never seen the Wizard of Oz in original language, so i've missed the reference. :smallredface:
It's easiest for me to understand the references to D&D or web language, than the ones to films or TV (Leeroy), given the fact that the translations sometimes are not literally.
For example: thanks to my daughter, I've seen a dozen times "madagascar"... i've never understood the pun of the "New York Giants", until the time I see it in the english version.
Anyway, thanks.

Starwaster
2009-03-26, 10:43 AM
anyway, Parson lost the city, become a mercenary and was probably allowed in the magic kingdom? dunno, it's more likely than just be able to pass between the planes because you're a planeswalker. i wouldn't like that :(

Are we quite sure he becomes a mercenary at this point? His Overlord is still alive...

shadowdemon_lord
2009-03-26, 10:48 AM
GG=Good Game, TPK=Total Party knockout. Total Party Knockout is commonly used when all the player characters (PC's) die in the same encounter, and they have to be saved by outside forces. In this case, it's mostly None Player Characters (NPC's) that have all died, but it still applies. That was for all you none table top RPGers out there.

Anyway, very fitting strip. Parson is effectively duty bound to do anything and everything he can to stop the opposing forces from taking GK, so he enacts the ultimate pyrric victory. Volcano explodes, everyone (including those pesky archons), dies. I bet Charlie just lost a good chunk of his archons, and the coallition is completely destroyed. Of course, a bunch of kingdoms still exist out there that have reason to want Stanley dead, and Vinnie may still be searching for him (Transylvitto might also go home (if only to reassess) once they figure out that the Coallition doesn't exist anymore).

Without Transylvitto support, Jillian stands no chance against Stanley, so she might either die in a blaze of glory, or slink off to become a recurring villian (heroine?). I doubt another coallition will be sent after Stanley again, but it does seem likely that someone is going to try for vengeance alone (Transylvitto likely). I see Stanley eventually evading Transylvitto and claiming FAQ (with Jack again to veil it). Somehow the casters+parson are going to make it back to FAQ, and with a competent general under his command Stanley is going to start creeping back into power.

BarGamer
2009-03-26, 11:06 AM
GG = good game?

Correct. It's probably from Starcraft.

What does SCRUM mean?

Is this the end of Book 1, or do we have more strips left? What about Stanley, Jack, Vinnie, and Jillian? I don't think this is the last strip in Book 1, there are too many loose threads.

(On the other hand... Fanfic-ers, start your engines! XD)

raphfrk
2009-03-26, 11:10 AM
Whoa! Hold the Bus! It's a calculator watch after all!

In http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0060.html (erf0060)
it say the does the raw calculations exceedingly quickly, it still needs Parson to perform or devise the formulas to actually get any sense out of it.


My impression was that it was a combination of the guantlet and the watch. The gauntlet knows all the maths formulas and the watch can perform the calculations very quickly.

LesterLester
2009-03-26, 11:13 AM
GG = good game?

Sure, I know what GG means, I meant: Parson blew thousands of sentient beings of both sides to pieces and ends it with a 'GG' which demonstrates he really does not care much about it and still treats all this as a game. I guess that's my problem with his whole strategy. Tyring to kill as many enemies as possible with his small army for the sake of his own survival. The 'human' losses would have been way smaller if Gobwin Knob would just have fallen.

But of course we're not all Mr. Spock(The needs of the many, etc:smalltongue:) and nobody likes to sacrifice herself for the sake of some fantasy creatures which may only exist in Parsons Mind after all.

BrianneAmazon
2009-03-26, 11:23 AM
What does SCRUM mean?

In rugby, the scrum is kind of like a face-off. Both teams line up facing each other in a really tight formation, the ref drops the ball in the middle, and both teams crush in to get the ball. It can get rough.



Is this the end of Book 1, or do we have more strips left? What about Stanley, Jack, Vinnie, and Jillian? I don't think this is the last strip in Book 1, there are too many loose threads.


I agree. I'm REALLY wondering when Stanley and the dwagons are going to show up, and what he's going to do when he gets there.

BillyJimBoBob
2009-03-26, 11:25 AM
This strip left me very disappointed.

It's very common to show a character's development from ingenue to a confident veteran. Parson was no innocent, but at first he did not know the rules of Erfworld. We see that clearly at first, but just as clearly we see that he has mastered them by the last few turns. He is calling out spell use, troop formations, and tactics which have not been shown to the readers, which leads to the conclusion that Parson has now mastered the rules. This is why reversals such as "Jetstone troops can not dance fight" followed by DDR and "I'm not a caster; I'll have to stay and fight it out" followed by Parson ducking into the portal are just so sloppy and such poor writing that it spoils the otherwise interesting plot line and excellent art.

If Messers Balder and Noguchi read these forums, I hope that this is something they will take away which will greatly improve their writing.

You just can not have Parson say that he can't use the portal because he's not a caster and then have him use the portal two pages later without at least providing some kind of explanation as to why the the first statement no longer applies. Or the readers simply can never take anything Parson, or any other character for that matter, states as fact to be actually correct. And again, that's just poor writing.

And since no one else has brought it up, "Sorry, Charlie" is probably a reference to the tuna fish commercials (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_El2_enNFaI) of a few decades ago.

And I've always used GG as "good going" rather than "good game." I took it for Parson correctly laying the blame on Charlie for Parson having to resort to this final maneuver. GG is mostly said with a sense of irony, not as a praise.

raphfrk
2009-03-26, 11:31 AM
Sure, I know what GG means,


I meant it as a question :). From your previous reference to Parson viewing the world as a game, I made an educated guess.



I meant: Parson blew thousands of sentient beings of both sides to pieces and ends it with a 'GG' which demonstrates he really does not care much about it and still treats all this as a game.


OTOH, maybe he just meant it as an "F-you" to Charlie. He treated Charlie like Charlie treats everyone else. He gave Charlie what was agreed, but in the end, not what Charlie actually wanted.

fractal
2009-03-26, 11:36 AM
Sure, I know what GG means, I meant: Parson blew thousands of sentient beings of both sides to pieces and ends it with a 'GG' which demonstrates he really does not care much about it and still treats all this as a game. I guess that's my problem with his whole strategy. Tyring to kill as many enemies as possible with his small army for the sake of his own survival. The 'human' losses would have been way smaller if Gobwin Knob would just have fallen.

But of course we're not all Mr. Spock(The needs of the many, etc:smalltongue:) and nobody likes to sacrifice herself for the sake of some fantasy creatures which may only exist in Parsons Mind after all.
In war, no one ever sacrifices themselves for the sake of the enemy, that would just be stupid. They're trying to kill you and all you hold dear, their lives have negative value.

Adelhardt
2009-03-26, 11:37 AM
Oh, right.

MadMaw, I agree. How odd that the SofaKing and the other Warlord were both captured (not killed) but we spent exactly zero time focusing on them afterwards. That's very unusual. Just another sign that the authors are absolutely brutal to their creations. Anyone and anyone can die here. I... I rather like that about this comic. Keeps you on your toes.

It's funny that Vinnie survived, after all his talk about being prepared to die. Just another twist on a trope.

As to the question as to why Parson was saying, "there's no place like home". Non casters are not suppost to be able to enter the portal. There are four things that can happen.

Number one, Parson might be able to use it because he is not of Erfworld and get to the Magic Kingdom.

Number two, Parson might die in the teleportation process.

Number three, Parson might go back to where was taken from.

Point taken SteveD,
Number four, he gets sent somewhere else, an entirely random location.

Parson is clearly hoping for option three.



It's simple. Parson had the mancers set off the volcano. When it explodes, it will kill everyone in the city. That includes the Archeons. Parson ordered the mancers to escape through the Magic Kingdom portal. He then told Charlie that he was killing everyone. Charlie tried to talk him out of it but it was too late. Parson then flees through the portal himself. We don't know what will happen to him yet.


I'm betting on #5 (or perhaps better called #4a): Charlie high jacks the portal teleport and brings Parson to his own lair. Maybe that's the "other way" Charlie refers to that they can still resolve things.

[Edit]. PS. I thought "GG" meant "gotta go", which would maybe absolve Parson from still thinking all this is still just a game.

Kyouhen
2009-03-26, 11:48 AM
You just can not have Parson say that he can't use the portal because he's not a caster and then have him use the portal two pages later without at least providing some kind of explanation as to why the the first statement no longer applies. Or the readers simply can never take anything Parson, or any other character for that matter, states as fact to be actually correct. And again, that's just poor writing.


Sure you can. Let's look at it this way:

You're standing in a room that is about to collapse and/or be flooded with lava. The only exit has been blocked off, and the spell you just ordered is going to kill everything on the mountain. There is a portal that may or may not allow you access to the Magic Kingdom. What do you do? If your answer isn't "I try to use the portal" then you have serious issues. :smallannoyed:

dr pepper
2009-03-26, 11:54 AM
What I find really disturbing in this strip is that the gobwins and the coalition remains had stop fighting and were desesperately trying.



desperately trying what?

BillyJimBoBob
2009-03-26, 12:00 PM
You're standing in a room that is about to collapse and/or be flooded with lava. The only exit has been blocked off, and the spell you just ordered is going to kill everything on the mountain. There is a portal that may or may not allow you access to the Magic Kingdom. What do you do? If your answer isn't "I try to use the portal" then you have serious issues. :smallannoyed:Sure, the character trying is reasonable. But if the character has just stated definitively that he can not use it, there had better be some reason given as to why he was wrong and actually can use the portal which is plausible. Or again, poor writing.

dr pepper
2009-03-26, 12:07 PM
Yeah, it would probably have been better if in trying to send the casters away the first time, Parson had just said, "i'll have to stay and fight" without elaborating. Then at the end he could say "Sizemore said this thing is for casters only, hope he's wrong-- beam me up, Scotty!" as he leaps into the portal.

BTW: TPK stands for Total Party Kill, not Knockout. And i have the rare distinction of having survived one of those.

My character was killed and turned by a wraith who had himself been killed and turned only minutes before. So the GM allowed that due to his inexperience, it would take another melee round to exert mental control and in that melee round i took a post dying strike and destroyed him. That left me with a freewilled wraith. I phased though the ceiling of the dungeon and fled, leaving my body and those of the rest of the party at the mercy of the blood cultists that we had unwisely attacked.

ShneekeyTheLost
2009-03-26, 12:23 PM
Okay, to the people being confused by the 'GG':

In the Starcraft tournaments, GG, or 'Good Game', is generally a declaration of surrender. It's the end of the game. In this case, Parson admits that his side doesn't win... but then, who does?

TPK = Total Party Kill. What happens when everyone dies.
Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies = a statement, generally from the GM, saying "I don't want to run this anymore, you guys are nuts, so by GM Fiat with no chance of survival, everyone dies off"

Also, Parson DID go through the portal. In the final panel, if he hadn't been able to use it, he'd have slammed into the wall instead of mostly gone.

While I doubt it will happen, I want to see a certain castle (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALBeDjpF7mo). It is, after all, a Magic Kingdom in the Sky, right?

Now then, I don't know how anyone got any ideas of 'magma golems'. That's pure Dirtomancy, it's a golem, not an uncroaked. Wanda did the one thing she could... reactivated the volcano.

Since the volcano was capped, it's going to have a HUGE 'KABOOM'. Last one to do that was... Kilauea. The sound from the explosion of that eruption was heard some five hundred miles away. It had a greater force than the nukes that were dropped at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. If *ANYTHING* survives that, I call God Mode. What you are seeing is just the tip of the iceberg. It's building pressure, causing micro-tremors at around 4.0 on the Richter Scale. It's like the countdown to a shuttle launch... they're sitting about T-1 minute right now.

JLrep
2009-03-26, 12:33 PM
Sure, the character trying is reasonable. But if the character has just stated definitively that he can not use it, there had better be some reason given as to why he was wrong and actually can use the portal which is plausible. Or again, poor writing.

Parson basically said that his plan was for him and the rest of the non-caster units to stage a last-last-last stand in the dungeons, despite the fact that they would almost definitely all die; at the same time, he wanted to send the casters through the portal.

This did not happen, because the loyalty spell compelled him to try something he obviously didn't want to do, namely the zombcano trick.

This done, he did send the casters through the portal. The original plan to fight to the death is now moot, because everyone in the volcano, including himself, would certainly be killed by lava/collapse before getting a chance to kill each other.

Parson, as a caster, cannot, by the established game rules, use the portal. Going in should do to him whatever would be done to any non-caster who tried to use it (probably just spit them back out; maybe kill them). I don't see any evidence that he's thinking differently; the reason he jumped in the portal is on the off-chance that he is, as was about the first thing he said upon entering Erfworld, "Doing the Wizard of Oz thing." He said, "there's no place like home," not "time to see if Special status is all it's cracked up to be."

I concur with Kyouhen. You're trapped in a collapsing room. You are 100% sure that if you stay you will be killed by rocks, and you're 99% sure that if you jump in the portal then that will kill you.

Also, if this is Parson's absolute exit, that is, he wakes up/returns to his plane of existence/heads to the afterlife, doesn't it seem more reasonable for him to do so via a powerful magical portal than getting squished by rocks?

pclips
2009-03-26, 01:15 PM
Sure, the character trying is reasonable. But if the character has just stated definitively that he can not use it, there had better be some reason given as to why he was wrong and actually can use the portal which is plausible. Or again, poor writing.

Why do we still get this? Why can I always count on someone to say "bad writing" when there's no immediate explanation for a plot point as of the page it posts? We've had this since day one. In the first dozen pages, we had people writing off the entire book as useless, before the protagonist had ever appeared. We've heard it at almost every new development since.

Ansom's "plot armor" recently had lots of people calling me a hack. You don't hear that so much, now that Ansom is croaked and Parson suspects there's some overarching reason he couldn't win within the rules.

At some point, it should probably dawn on a reader of this comic that not all of the critical information comes in the form of foreshadowing and ground rules. Very often, an action that has been shown gets recontextualized later in the story. You can certainly complain and say, "that big badass red dwagon went down too easy!" but then you discover, "Oh, it didn't." It was a veil, a plot mechanism which had been extensively exposed and foreshadowed, but was used in a surprising way. Future details and data throw new meaning on what you've seen. There are details from more than 100 pages back which are still awaiting their full story context.

BillyJimBoBob: the explanation you're looking for is coming. Of course it is. But I am asking you, at what point will you trust us? At what point will you identify an important unknown and just have some faith that there's likely a reason for it which hasn't been shown yet? After this book is complete? 10 books down the line? Ever?

If we haven't done it by now, then I just don't know what we have to do to earn the readers' trust. That's a leeeettle depressing, my friend.

Occasional Sage
2009-03-26, 01:21 PM
Sure, the character trying is reasonable. But if the character has just stated definitively that he can not use it, there had better be some reason given as to why he was wrong and actually can use the portal which is plausible. Or again, poor writing.

If you're using this (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0147.html) as the evidence that Parson can't use the Portal, I read that entirely differently. What I understood Parson to be saying was more like, "You three are casters and not particularly valuable in combat (since you're here and not leading stacks); hence, duty does not compel you to stay and die fighting for no reason. I, however, am Chief Warlord and have a massive effect on this combat. Duty compels me to stay and go down with the ship city, despite knowing that I will lose, because it is the most statistically significant thing I can do."

IIRC, Wanda would need to actually lead stacks of uncroaked to give them the huge combat bonus. Parson gives a bonus by being Chief Warlord, but also by being in the same hex (or even city?) as stacks that he is not leading. That's a significant difference. Once the whole region is guaranteed to be destroyed, however, Duty no longer binds him to remain and get incinerated. Instead he is *allowed* to use the Portal to flee to safety (and perhaps rejoin Stanley later).

EDITED IN:

Why do we still get this? Why can I always count on someone to say "bad writing" when there's no immediate explanation for a plot point as of the page it posts? We've had this since day one. In the first dozen pages, we had people writing off the entire book as useless, before the protagonist had ever appeared. We've heard it at almost every new development since.

*snip*

If we haven't done it by now, then I just don't know what we have to do to earn the readers' trust. That's a leeeettle depressing, my friend.

Good answer. Hopefully, it doesn't later get classed in the STHU Folder (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5720108&postcount=7).

SteveMB
2009-03-26, 01:36 PM
If you're using this (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0147.html) as the evidence that Parson can't use the Portal, I read that entirely differently. What I understood Parson to be saying was more like, "You three are casters and not particularly valuable in combat (since you're here and not leading stacks); hence, duty does not compel you to stay and die fighting for no reason. I, however, am Chief Warlord and have a massive effect on this combat. Duty compels me to stay and go down with the ship city, despite knowing that I will lose, because it is the most statistically significant thing I can do."

Hmmm... I hadn't thought of it in those terms because Parson was describing what he'd do if he'd already tried everything and failed -- but I suppose it's possible that Duty would require taking as many of the enemy boopers with you as possible in that situation....

Faramir
2009-03-26, 01:54 PM
I concur with Kyouhen. You're trapped in a collapsing room. You are 100% sure that if you stay you will be killed by rocks, and you're 99% sure that if you jump in the portal then that will kill you.


I agree as well, but I'll add that I assumed he was just "lucky" that it worked. Perhaps (as one example) the volcano's eruption disrupted the wards preventing others from passing through the portal. All that luckamancy had to have had some effect.

rosebud
2009-03-26, 01:57 PM
Why do we still get this?Because if you're fully understood, you're not being enigmatic enough? :smallbiggrin:

I'm enjoying it, at least, and I'm expecting far more strips past this one! (I can't see how anyone could see this as the end of the story. And, as a user of mathmancy, I see him as perfectly welcome in the Magic Kingdom.)

I do hope the Arkenpliers show up again, though...

tomaO2
2009-03-26, 01:57 PM
We've had this since day one. In the first dozen pages, we had people writing off the entire book as useless, before the protagonist had ever appeared.


BillyJimBoBob: the explanation you're looking for is coming. Of course it is.

In fairness, the first twenty or so pages are critical to a webcomic. Most people make up their minds by then as to whether or not they like a comic. If you can't grab readers by this point, then you lose a lot of potential readers. Any complainants for that part should be carefully weighed.

I'm sot sure why we need a further explanation as to why Parson jumped though. He has been shown considering how his otherworldly status might change the rules for him. We also know that he has been infused with luckmancy (though it was useless during the fight).

Besides, when you are sitting on top of a volcano that's about to explode, a portal starts looking pretty good. At the very least, it looks like a less painful way of dying, assuming it worked like a Stargate with the iris closed on the exit.

Is further explanation really needed?

Walpurgisborn
2009-03-26, 02:00 PM
Why do we still get this?

Completely terrible writing. Having the Titans of Erfworld respond to criticism in the forums is a total Deus Ex Machina.

I am so disappointed. When the Erfworld Forums book comes out, I am not buying it now.

Occasional Sage
2009-03-26, 02:01 PM
Oh. My. Titans.

I think this officially gets spoiler tags.




Ansom's "plot armor" recently had lots of people calling me a hack. You don't hear that so much, now that Ansom is croaked and Parson suspects there's some overarching reason he couldn't win within the rules.


Rob, you explained the problems Parson is facing in-country way back here (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0038.html)! I remember lots of commentary on the "Kobayashi Maru" comment at the time, but nobody has brought it up since as the reason so much has gone wrong for Parson since he arrived. Very clever drop in.


Really after that, there's no other way that the entire plot could have gone. This was all explained in advance, and we (I think all) missed it the entire time.

FFF12321
2009-03-26, 02:02 PM
"GG" is not just a term for surrender. In fact, it can be quite the opposite. AFAIK, it is also used as a term to show respect to your opponent after the game is over. Example - in Guild Wars, after a PvP match, it is typical for everyone to say GG, especially if the game was close. It literally means good game, as in "That was a 'good game'" Winners are also free to say GG if their victory is ensured and immutable or as mentioned immediately after the fact. Here Parson is saying it in the both "That was a good game" way and that he has won this game.

Starwaster
2009-03-26, 02:04 PM
You know, I was actually undecided at first as to whether I liked today's strip or not. Lately, I've been increasingly disillusioned with it. Overall, I like the authors' story telling abilities, but not so much lately. The whole Ansom - Charlie thing... kind of annoying, but as someone said not a few posts ago, we've got people saying and doing things that are in short order contradicted in the story.

Ex. Parson saying, "I can't go through the portal" (err really? Ok...) shortly followed by "yes I can". I mean, sure we can say that he just did it out of desperation, I know if there was a portal I thought I couldn't go through and it was the only way out of a collapsing soon to be exploding mountain I'd be head first through it. But the way it's presented and in such short order just feels me jerked to and fro. If someone says something I can't take it seriously because I know in just 1-2 strips the exact opposite happens. That doesn't make for good story telling.

So... yeah. I liked today's strip. I'm with Parson all the way on this one.

First he gets dragged into this situation (though he had not a moment before stated he would 'port himself into a game world if he could), deprived of his free-will.

Comes up with some good solid (and sometimes awesome) strategies and they all fall flat. First because of Ansom and his +22 Plot Armor of Prismatic Invulnerability. And as if that's not enough... let's bring in CHARLIE and his fantastic archons of deus ex machina goodness! Charlie makes sure that no good plan of Parson's goes unpunished.

And as if that's not enough? He's also going to make Parson his... VERY... special friend. (and by that I mean his own personal bitch)

So good on you, Parson! Boop it. Boop THEM. Boop them ALL.

Rocks fall. Everyone DIES.:cool:

pclips
2009-03-26, 02:19 PM
Completely terrible writing. Having the Titans of Erfworld respond to criticism in the forums is a total Deus Ex Machina.

I am so disappointed. When the Erfworld Forums book comes out, I am not buying it now.

*bonk*

:smallbiggrin:

Ragn Charran
2009-03-26, 02:24 PM
Hmmm... I hadn't thought of it in those terms because Parson was describing what he'd do if he'd already tried everything and failed -- but I suppose it's possible that Duty would require taking as many of the enemy boopers with you as possible in that situation....

I'm with you, I assumed what he said meant he couldn't use the portal because of the nature of portals, but looking back it never says what is preventing him, or any combat unit, from using the portal. It could very well be duty and loyalty, and the units and Parson can use the portals, but they cannot use them to run from the fight.

Monan
2009-03-26, 02:25 PM
Oh, right.

MadMaw, I agree. How odd that the SofaKing and the other Warlord were both captured (not killed) but we spent exactly zero time focusing on them afterwards. That's very unusual. Just another sign that the authors are absolutely brutal to their creations. Anyone and anyone can die here. I... I rather like that about this comic. Keeps you on your toes.

It's funny that Vinnie survived, after all his talk about being prepared to die. Just another twist on a trope.

As to the question as to why Parson was saying, "there's no place like home". Non casters are not suppost to be able to enter the portal. There are four things that can happen.

Number one, Parson might be able to use it because he is not of Erfworld and get to the Magic Kingdom.

Number two, Parson might die in the teleportation process.

Number three, Parson might go back to where was taken from.

Point taken SteveD,
Number four, he gets sent somewhere else, an entirely random location.

Parson is clearly hoping for option three.



It's simple. Parson had the mancers set off the volcano. When it explodes, it will kill everyone in the city. That includes the Archeons. Parson ordered the mancers to escape through the Magic Kingdom portal. He then told Charlie that he was killing everyone. Charlie tried to talk him out of it but it was too late. Parson then flees through the portal himself. We don't know what will happen to him yet.

Remember everyone Parson has the bracer which might make him a Mathmancer. He certianly can perform mathmancy, he might be considered a caster as well.

Radar
2009-03-26, 02:30 PM
Why do we still get this? Why can I always count on someone to say "bad writing" when there's no immediate explanation for a plot point as of the page it posts? We've had this since day one. In the first dozen pages, we had people writing off the entire book as useless, before the protagonist had ever appeared. We've heard it at almost every new development since.

(...)
The shortes explenation would be: it's the Internet. Such comments are practicaly bound to happen due to sheer number of people gathered here.

The Rose Dragon
2009-03-26, 02:30 PM
Oh. My. Titans.

I think this officially gets spoiler tags.

You win the "Obsessed Erf Reader of the Year" Award. You should put it next to your "Loneliest Man of the Century" and "Never Gonna Get Any" Awards. :smalltongue:

Awesome catch, though.

Occasional Sage
2009-03-26, 02:36 PM
You win the "Obsessed Erf Reader of the Year" Award.


Yay!



You should put it next to your "Loneliest Man of the Century" and "Never Gonna Get Any" Awards. :smalltongue:


Thanks! I'll have to do that quickly, though, since my-and-my-wife's son is due in a month and I won't have a spare minute after that!. :smallwink:



Awesome catch, though.


Also thanks! But honestly, it was Rob's comment that caused the brainflash. No innate brilliance required. :smallfrown:

The Rose Dragon
2009-03-26, 02:38 PM
Thanks! I'll have to do that quickly, though, since my son's due in a month and I won't have a spare minute after that!. :smallwink:

Hence the tongue, you know.

I thought cloning was illegal, though. :smallbiggrin:

EDIT: Damn you and your edits!

Sweetie Welf
2009-03-26, 02:39 PM
Why do we still get this?

I think it's a statistical effect. Usually 80 - 95% of the reader are happy with the story, either because they get it, they think they get, accept everything that's cool, trust the writers or wait till they get an explanation. But the remaining 5% complain. It's like when you send a send a musketeer against an Archer at an 97% winning chance and still lose.

I'm perfectly happy with my assumption, that parson could do this because his "special" ability mentioned in the clock. He never found out what that meant, therefore his assumption that he couldn't use the portal. And he first did look to the door.

And for the DDR: that was something I liked. For me it proved why Stanley is such a impressive guy and how he rose in the ranks.

Maybe I'm wrong (again), but until now every explanation was either just as good as what I thought, or better.

But I'm still sad that all the gobwins must die. :smallfrown:

BarGamer
2009-03-26, 02:39 PM
Yeah, I'll have to agree with Occasional Sage on two of his previous posts. Given that Parson is a product of the American Educational System, what he writes/says may not be 100% clear to us. He's writing most of the Klogs for himself, and his orders to his troops.

The reason Parson contradicted himself on his saying he's not able to go through the portal is because he didn't want to do the link-up. Now that he did, he does. Granted, he might still be hoping that because he's not truly of this world, jumping through the portal might pop him back home. But more likely, he'll be going through the portal to see Maggie staring at him, waiting for orders. Possibly with a Hippymancer crying her eyes out, nearby.

Damn, you know what? Parson should've gotten a volcano golem or something to croak Jillian, take the ArkenPliars, and flee with them. Otherwise, he risks a Mount Doom-ish destruction of the ArkenPliars.

Edit: *Kicks his internet into working.* Stop timing out, darn you!

Occasional Sage
2009-03-26, 02:42 PM
Hence the tongue, you know.


Um... you don't know much about this whole process, do you? :smallwink:

Occasional Sage
2009-03-26, 02:51 PM
If I meant the tongue in that way, I would have used this one: :smallyuk:.

Aren't they great, folks? Let's give The Rose Dragon (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/member.php?u=33672) and Occasional Sage a big round of applause!

And now, back to your regularly-scheduled thread.

Ragn Charran
2009-03-26, 03:16 PM
Um... you don't know much about this whole process, do you? :smallwink:

XFD.

Congrats, by the way. It's worth the loss of free time!

MalikT
2009-03-26, 03:32 PM
Wow, great comic, didn't expect that.

I agree that only duty was preventing Parson from using the portal, not the rules.

Charlie slightly reminded me of HAL 9000, now I can't read this comic without hearing Charlie speaking with HALs voice.

I sincerely hope this is not the last comic, but in case this truly the end, what do you think which song should be playing during the credits? My vote is on Dirge for Planet (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDCNlqMgnvo&feature=related) by Firelake.

One Skunk Todd
2009-03-26, 03:33 PM
Re: The Arkenpliers

I wonder if they'll be blasted away from the volcano and wind up point down in a rock. Where only the attuned person can draw them forth. :) It only just occured to me (but has probably been brought up a billion+ times in the forums) that the pliers are a type of tool and Stanley is called "Tool" so maybe they're meant for him after all.

Hatu
2009-03-26, 03:34 PM
Hmmm... I hadn't thought of it in those terms because Parson was describing what he'd do if he'd already tried everything and failed -- but I suppose it's possible that Duty would require taking as many of the enemy boopers with you as possible in that situation....

I'm not sure that line of thinking really shakes out. Wanda is a Croakamancer, and most of Parson's surviving troops are still uncroaked. If he felt he had to stay behind to kill as many RCC troops as possible, there's no way he could afford to send Wanda off to the Magic Kingdom. Maggie maybe, but probably not Sizemore and absolutely not Wanda.

His text also seems to imply he is incapable of using the portal. "I'm not a Caster; I'll have to stay and fight it out." "But you guys have a way out. And I want you to use it." He makes it clear that they (casters all three) have a way out he does not. He even implies that he might offer to surrender himself if he thought anyone would actually accept it. That doesn't sound like he thinks he can contribute to the fight in a way that the three casters cannot.

I think it's fair to read this exchange as Parson believing he cannot use the portal.



Why do we still get this? Why can I always count on someone to say "bad writing" when there's no immediate explanation for a plot point as of the page it posts? We've had this since day one. In the first dozen pages, we had people writing off the entire book as useless, before the protagonist had ever appeared. We've heard it at almost every new development since.

Ansom's "plot armor" recently had lots of people calling me a hack. You don't hear that so much, now that Ansom is croaked and Parson suspects there's some overarching reason he couldn't win within the rules.


I would certainly not call you a hack; the scenario at the heart of Erfworld is a fascinating one, and you have done a superb job creating characters to fill it. Despite my concerns over the story, I've enjoyed Erfworld a great deal thus far. But I hope this does not mean we should take Parson's suspicions as the final explanation for Ansom's infamous plot armor. :-(

-H

Fjolnir
2009-03-26, 03:37 PM
OK this is something I should have said a while ago but for titan's sake it's going to come out now: the archons using DDR to allow the RCC to dance fight is no different than using a "learn to dance mat (http://shirt.woot.com/Derby/Entry.aspx?id=23701)" (where the steps are laid out on the ground for you) or something like the "do the hustle" album cover (http://franklarosa.com/vinyl/BigImg/hustle.jpg) (where the various steps are shown in picture for you to imitate) however the authors decided to go with a much more recent example of the idea, hence ddr. But the idea of teaching someone to dance via arrows and foot placement has been around since before video games were even close to being invented so STBU about it being a DeM already

BillyJimBoBob
2009-03-26, 03:58 PM
We've had this since day one. In the first dozen pages, we had people writing off the entire book as useless, before the protagonist had ever appeared. We've heard it at almost every new development since.

Ansom's "plot armor" recently had lots of people calling me a hack.First off, thanks for stepping in to the forum and replying. I'm sure you've got plenty of other things calling your attention, including creating more strips. :smalltongue:

You didn't get any of the above from me, I've even posted opposing the "plot armor" folks. I always thought that the way he got out of the situations people complained about was well represented within the setting. I have enjoyed the comic from the beginning, and I do love the premise and the setting and the art and the story. Thanks for creating it.

My only real barf prior to today (I have griped endlessly about the potency of Charlie and the archons, once they were shown again and again to have whatever power was needed at the time, but that wasn't at the 'barf' level) was at the DDR, which at least until now has seemed to have all of the same look and feel as my barf of today. It was only the strip before that Parson, who was at that time shown to my mind at least to have mastered the rules since he was calling out spells, tactics, and troop formations like he knew all the intricacies of them backwards and forwards. I'm well aware that everything doesn't have to be foreshadowed. That's why no one (that I recall) protested with a "WTF DeM!" that Parson was saying thing like "Sizemore, shock them and crap them", "Wanda, form a safety dance", etc. These were the things that showed me at least that we didn't need to worry about Parson's grasp of the rules, that he would never again be saying something like"Wait wait wait. What do you mean we can veil our troops?!"

But after Parson is shown to have this full grasp of the rules, when in the span of 2 strips we have Parson say "The vast majority of Jetstone troops can not dance fight", followed immediately by the vast majority of Jetstone troops dance fighting, I barf. It just doesn't support the Parson who has been shown to us. It would be like, after the opening scene of Return of the Jedi when Luke rescues Han from Jabba and is shown to be confident and masterful in his Jedi powers, that we'd again see Luke whining about some aspect of the Force with a "I can't do it, it's impossible!" I hope I've expressed this well enough in text to have conveyed my point.

BillyJimBoBob: the explanation you're looking for is coming.I am very happy to hear that. And once it comes it'll make obsolete my observation that "I'm not a caster; I'll have to stay and fight it out", followed almost immediately by Parson not having to stay after all looks and feels an awful lot right now like the same kind of situation regarding the "can't dance fight", "are dance fighting" reversal.

Perhaps the serial nature makes people more critical when things don't add up. I tend to think that I give the benefit of the doubt in most cases, and wait to see what will happen next. The DDR did get stuck in my craw, and I haven't seen anything presented yet as to why that was a justifiable reversal, and at this point in the story I'm not really expecting it. I'll be happy to learn why the portal worked for Parson when he pretty much explicitly stated that he couldn't use it.

And thanks again for the response.

ShneekeyTheLost
2009-03-26, 04:18 PM
Re: The Arkenpliers

I wonder if they'll be blasted away from the volcano and wind up point down in a rock. Where only the attuned person can draw them forth. :) It only just occured to me (but has probably been brought up a billion+ times in the forums) that the pliers are a type of tool and Stanley is called "Tool" so maybe they're meant for him after all.

You got it backwards.

Stanley was called 'a tool' by Parson as a backwards insult, and probably also testing his ability to lie to Stanley.

Stanley accepted it because he has a major obsession about obtaining all the Arkentools, including the pliers. The title implies he wants ownership, not that he'll actually get it.

EDIT:

RE: Parson and Portal

Consider it like this: In horror flicks, you've got a guy in a room with a thing that is about to eat him. He knows the door is locked, but he still runs to it and tries to get it to open, knowing that it is already locked and probably won't let him in, because it's better than just standing there and being carved up, and there is a small chance, a 'luck factor', the "Maybe if I jiggle it right, it'll unlock and I can get through" thought process.

So, here he is, the volcano is about to blow up and boop everything in the hex. Sure, he knows the portal won't work for him, but it's better than just standing there, waiting to die. He quotes Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. He's hoping that this is his ticket to 'normalcy'. He's not expecting to end up in the Magic Kingdom, he's expecting to end up in his basement.

Doug Lampert
2009-03-26, 04:32 PM
At the end of Wizard of Oz, Dorothy, who was in a similiar situation as Parson is told she always had the power to go home. She only needed to click the heels of her ruby slippers together three times while chanting, "There's no place like home."
Silver Slippers. In the book they're Silver Slippers. In 1939 color was so new they made them Ruby to show off the color special effects. But the original sources trump remakes unless the remake is much better (and the movie isn't much better than the book), and not only was the 1939 movie not the original source, it wasn't even one of the first DOZEN movies made from the source.

Voyager_I
2009-03-26, 04:35 PM
Why do we still get this? Why can I always count on someone to say "bad writing" when there's no immediate explanation for a plot point as of the page it posts? We've had this since day one. In the first dozen pages, we had people writing off the entire book as useless, before the protagonist had ever appeared. We've heard it at almost every new development since.

If we haven't done it by now, then I just don't know what we have to do to earn the readers' trust. That's a leeeettle depressing, my friend.

It's even more depressing when you consider that one of the strongest early plot points was that Parson does not understand the underlying mechanics of Erfworld or how he interacts with them. This was one of the fundamental premises of the strip and has been reiterated many times throughout its length, yet people are still crying every time something happens that goes contrary to Parson's impressions.

VariaVespasa
2009-03-26, 04:36 PM
Why do we still get this? Why can I always count on someone to say "bad writing" when there's no immediate explanation for a plot point as of the page it posts? We've had this since day one.

Unfortunately you will always get this, to one degree or another. Its just the nature of people, and will likely only become moreso as the internet deepens and spreads its hold on the culture of the planet. There arent enough bats or dark alleys in all the world to provide the proper educational adjustments, so I'm afraid, unsatisfying as it may be, that you're going to have to learn to develop a certain mental distance between yourself and your fans so you can shrug off all the negativity and copious amounts of stupid rather than letting it wear you down. (Mostly the fans are smart and positive, but even 2%-stupid x lots-of-fans = lots-of-stupid. Sad but true)


To whoever wondered if this was the end of book 1, my personal guess is that while its obviously very close, I would think there are still 1-4 pages left to go. Possibilities include outside/distance shots of the volcanos erruption/explosion, Stanleys return/decision after seeing whats left of GK, maybe a few reaction shots from any leaders in the RCC that are outside the blast radius (They still didnt have all their troops up to GK yet so there may be some that survived), plus of course Jillian/Vinnie, the trimancer and Parson.

Personally I'm guessing there will be one showing the eruption/explosion because its just too enticing a shot to an artist to NOT draw it (maybe even a double-page spread) :P and one showing Stanleys reaction and his subsequent final departure from GK. The arkenpliers do survive, being sort of central to the plot and the world. Whether Stanley can just pick them up after the blast, thus feeding his whole "its the will of the titans" thing, or someone has to commit some serious archaeology to recover them later, or they were sent out of the battle zone after Ansoms death remains to be seen, but they will survive. This may or may not be shown in one of the remaining pages. I wouldnt be surprised if Jillian and Vinnie are not shown again in book 1. If they arent then theyre definitely involved in book 2. I doubt we get any around-the-world reactions. We may or may not get some more panels with Parson. The trimancer gets no more than a panel or two, and maybe not even that, unless theyre out of the series, which I doubt.

Goshen
2009-03-26, 04:44 PM
Why does the portal have to be caster-specific. I mean, It needn't be a "universe law" it can be just a prohibition noone ever thought of breaking in erfworld. I mean, it probably wasn't ever used as a escape route even by casters. Duty is followed by everyone, and probably, faced with a situation like the one in GK, warlords would always fight to the very end compelled by Duty. In this case Parson is free enough from the conventions of the world and is capable of enough lateral thinking to twist duty, decide he is more useful to Stanley alive than dead and consider the portal a escape route, instead of "the place where casters level up and buy spells". I think Parson is duty-bound to preserve himself and three valuable casters so they can all go on serving Stanley. His initial reluctance was probably not wanting to kill so many more people, but his ruthlessness carried him through.

The story is not over, but the fat lady is done warming up and ready to come on stage.

Roszlishan
2009-03-26, 04:45 PM
Why do we still get this? Why can I always count on someone to say "bad writing" when there's no immediate explanation for a plot point as of the page it posts? We've had this since day one. In the first dozen pages, we had people writing off the entire book as useless, before the protagonist had ever appeared. We've heard it at almost every new development since.

Ansom's "plot armor" recently had lots of people calling me a hack. You don't hear that so much, now that Ansom is croaked and Parson suspects there's some overarching reason he couldn't win within the rules.

At some point, it should probably dawn on a reader of this comic that not all of the critical information comes in the form of foreshadowing and ground rules. Very often, an action that has been shown gets recontextualized later in the story. You can certainly complain and say, "that big badass red dwagon went down too easy!" but then you discover, "Oh, it didn't." It was a veil, a plot mechanism which had been extensively exposed and foreshadowed, but was used in a surprising way. Future details and data throw new meaning on what you've seen. There are details from more than 100 pages back which are still awaiting their full story context.

BillyJimBoBob: the explanation you're looking for is coming. Of course it is. But I am asking you, at what point will you trust us? At what point will you identify an important unknown and just have some faith that there's likely a reason for it which hasn't been shown yet? After this book is complete? 10 books down the line? Ever?

If we haven't done it by now, then I just don't know what we have to do to earn the readers' trust. That's a leeeettle depressing, my friend.

Dear Mr. Balder:

First, I've been following Erfworld since it first came to GitP, and I've enjoyed both the writing and art. It's a fantastic project, and I always look forward to a new page.

Eliciting trust from a reader is, indeed, difficult. I'm afraid it must be done one reader at a time. Demanding trust from a reader is, I think, fairly arrogant - certainly on par with tossing around accusations of poor writing simply because one thinks there was inadequate foreshadowing of events.

For a reader who feels that any surprise rule is cheating, well, you'll probably never earn their trust. That sort of reader is looking for a surprises and plot twists, yes, but within the universe that the author has presented. In this context, Erfworld sends mixed messages. There's some attempt at it, for example, where for instance Parson's Klog notes that forest units can attack aerial units in a forest hex before it happens. For that kind of reader, any story element twist or resolution that makes use of an entirely new universe element will be read as a betrayal.

In some sense, it is a betrayal, as it betrays the expectations the reader brings to the story. Betrayal breeds bitterness. In a vocal community, some number of those who are upset will voice their displeasure. This raises the question of why the reader is disturbed by this sort of storytelling-by-ambush technique, and why its use in this context chafes so.

For myself, I can say it undermines the suspension of disbelief needed to enjoy a story. Consider what's happening in the reader's mind: he has some mental construct of the world that allows him to understand the story, and give context to the actions and events of the plot. By introducing an apparently contradictory element - something the reader has been told by a credible authority - the author drops a wrecking ball on that mental construct. It's jarring, unpleasant, confusing, and makes the reader stop enjoying the story and start analyzing his mental construct.

In some contexts, this is a legitimate device. Murder mysteries and action thrillers do it all the time. Both of those genres, however, conform to the approximately the same mental construct of a world that the reader himself inhabits. It's a much stronger mental construct, and the wrecking-ball of a contradiction does far less damage to that real-world analogue than to the frailer mental construct of a world with spidews, dwagons, gobwins, and twolls.

I realize that

If we haven't done it by now, then I just don't know what we have to do to earn the readers' trust.
is rhetorical. But it doesn't mean it can't be answered, and the answer is that, like Charlie Brown trying to kick Lucy's football - the reader can't trust you.

Certainly, the decision to employ storytelling-by-ambush belongs to the author and nobody else. But the author by definition has a much stronger sense and concept of the world - it's a lot easier for your vision of Erfworld to be unshaken by a plot bomb. What to the reader is a wrecking ball is to the author merely another facet of the world, enhancing the author's vision even as it shakes the reader's.

If it is unfair to accuse the author of 'bad writing', it is equally unfair for the author to chide the reader for being perturbed by an apparent contradiction. The author has constructed the world; the author has seduced the reader into his vision; and it is the author who has just dumped a gallon of cold saltwater on the reader.

I disagree strongly with the earlier statement that the writing is bad, I must agree that I would prefer my reading experience sans the occasional bucket of ice-water at plot-significant points.

Again, many thanks for the most thoroughly excellent comic!
Roszlishan

ishnar
2009-03-26, 04:50 PM
Sure, I know what GG means, I meant: Parson blew thousands of sentient beings of both sides to pieces and ends it with a 'GG' which demonstrates he really does not care much about it and still treats all this as a game. I guess that's my problem with his whole strategy. Tyring to kill as many enemies as possible with his small army for the sake of his own survival. The 'human' losses would have been way smaller if Gobwin Knob would just have fallen.


Bold added.

I've a few problems with your statements. First lets go for the bold. How do you figure? He's had plenty of chances to get out and save his own skin. He expected to die but continued on because his job isn't to survive, his job is to somehow stop the enemy from taking the garrison. And you do remember that he didn't want to do this, he tried to send the casters through without attempting to wake the volcano.

Besides, do you realize that the whole point of fighting a war is that one does not value the other side's members the same as one's own. "The human losses would have been smaller" Yes, for the other side, the losses for Parson's side would have been greater, because it would likely include the casters and Parson himself, where this way Parson was at least able to save the casters. Sure, nowadays armies might try to limit deaths to non-combatants, but the coalition is all combatants so there is no issue there.

Of course that said, I'll go on a quick rant and say the whole "don't kill civilians" rationalization is STUPID because it causes more deaths in the long run that more ruthless methods. I think it is just an extrapolation of the whole, "war is glorious" "war is a game" illusion perpetrated by songs, movies, and board games like chess. Wars are not fights between armies; Wars are fought between peoples, and the armies are just the arm of the will of those peoples. Crush an army and the other side just grows another army and you have a bigger more bloody war generations later when there are even more people available to die. Crush the people and the war is over forever. Civilians should be primary targets. Armies are for protecting one's own civilians from enemy armies and killing the other side's civilians. People that think a war is over just because the enemy has no army has'nt been paying attention to history.

And let's stop trying to impose RW morality to a game world. This is a game world, GG is completely appropriate. For all we know, when they go pop another twoll, it might be another Bogroll. Even if not, we can hardly assume that Erfworld is run by the same gods as this universe so morality would be completely different.


Sure, the character trying is reasonable. But if the character has just stated definitively that he can not use it, there had better be some reason given as to why he was wrong and actually can use the portal which is plausible. Or again, poor writing.


He act of stating definitively that he can not use it, before he tried, only proves that he was convinced that it would not work by all his advisers. There is nothing related to bad writing there. It's good writing. When someone is taken out of his environment and given a good advisor and nearly everything that advisor says turns out true, then it's human nature to assume that everything that advisor said WAS true, when advisors make mistakes too. Some very good stories revolve around this very theme of trusted advisers being wrong.

Also, an author does not have to spell everything out piecemeal for the reader, that would be bad writing. There is nothing unprecedented for a character to try something that shouldn't work, then find out later why it does. Heck, there is nothing unprecedented for a character trying something that shouldn't work, it works, and he never figures why it worked.


Why do we still get this? Why can I always count on someone to say "bad writing" when there's no immediate explanation for a plot point as of the page it posts? We've had this since day one. In the first dozen pages, we had people writing off the entire book as useless, before the protagonist had ever appeared. We've heard it at almost every new development since.

A lot of people aren't as well read as they think. Heck, a lot of people claim bad writing if a character is vaguely reminiscent of a character in a book, because they fail to recognize the value of archtypes and plot devices in the writing process.

And part of it is the page-by-page nature of posting a webcomic. Even though each page is supposed to be part of a large story, people attempt to judge each page out of context of the rest of the story. Also, just as important. People get emotionally involved in the story, and when the readers become infused with negative emotions with no "turn the page" resolution, those negative emotions will be redirected at the author. That's just the nature of webcomics, but a lot of people don't realize it, and even those that do realize it can become agitated enough to forget if they start caring too much for the characters.

My only problem with this comic is the shape of parson's face in panel 1. His left cheek is noticeably bigger than his right.

SPoD
2009-03-26, 04:51 PM
It looked to me that Parson was about to order Maggie to break the link and absorb the damage herself, but he couldn't bring himself to potentially kill any of them.

I agree with this. Something on Parson's face says to me that he was going to have Maggie soak the damage in retaliation for what she did to Misty when the link was broken last time. And then he decided not to.


But after Parson is shown to have this full grasp of the rules, when in the span of 2 strips we have Parson say "The vast majority of Jetstone troops can not dance fight", followed immediately by the vast majority of Jetstone troops dance fighting, I barf. It just doesn't support the Parson who has been shown to us.

OK, so, you don't accept any story in which the protagonist can be surprised or proven wrong. Got it.

Parson's grasp of the rules was still based on the information he received from his new pals. At no time was Parson granted magical rules knowledge that superceded that of Wanda, Maggie, and Sizemore. Therefore, if the three of them did not know Ansom possessed the ability to lead his troops in a dance-fight, then neither did Parson. It was a tactical mistake on Parson's part based on faulty intelligence, not inconsistent writing.

In other words, "Holy boop, guys. Plans DO fail!" Only in bad Hollywood movies do all of the hero's plans succeed without contest. Erfworld is about strategy and warfare, and sometimes, the enemy completely surprises you.

arch
2009-03-26, 04:57 PM
But after Parson is shown to have this full grasp of the rules, when in the span of 2 strips we have Parson say "The vast majority of Jetstone troops can not dance fight", followed immediately by the vast majority of Jetstone troops dance fighting, I barf. It just doesn't support the Parson who has been shown to us.

I thought it was pretty obvious when that strip came out that the RCC wasn't dancing, but were being shown how to, via the DDR arrows. I mean, really, does anyone actually think DDR is real dancing? :smallwink:

BillyJimBoBob
2009-03-26, 04:57 PM
OK this is something I should have said a while ago but for titan's sake it's going to come out now: the archons using DDR to allow the RCC to dance fight is no different than using a "learn to dance mat (http://shirt.woot.com/Derby/Entry.aspx?id=23701)" (where the steps are laid out on the ground for you) or something like the "do the hustle" album cover (http://franklarosa.com/vinyl/BigImg/hustle.jpg) (where the various steps are shown in picture for you to imitate) however the authors decided to go with a much more recent example of the idea, hence ddr. But the idea of teaching someone to dance via arrows and foot placement has been around since before video games were even close to being invented so STBU about it being a DeM alreadyI never called it a DeM. There is no functional difference between "can't dance fight, "are dance fighting" and "can't dance fight, "are dance fighting because someone laid down a learn to dance mat/album cover/DDR." Can't is can't, can is can. The point, if you missed it, isn't just the reversal of something which had just been said to the readers without any qualification, it's tied tightly together with the fact that it's Parson who said it for the readers to read, and Parson is now Knows the Rules Parson, and should know if his plans can be ruined by a learn to dance mat/album cover/DDR. We are far past the Parson who says things like "Wait wait wait. What do you mean we can veil our troops?" We are now at the Parson who barks out strategies for scrolls, spells, units, and stacking bonuses. Because he knows the rules now.

spite48
2009-03-26, 05:06 PM
If we haven't done it by now, then I just don't know what we have to do to earn the readers' trust. That's a leeeettle depressing, my friend.

I haven't posted in a while. I was one of the early readers who was unconvinced by what you were trying to do. You've won me over, and I trust you. I never bother replying to people like BillyJimBoBob, even though his comments are unfair, and I don't ask questions precisely because I've learned to trust the direction you are taking, and that all will be revealed at your pace.

So, thank you for a great webcomic, and don't feel that we're all as ungenerous as a vocal minority.

The Old Hack
2009-03-26, 05:10 PM
Why do we still get this? Why can I always count on someone to say "bad writing" when there's no immediate explanation for a plot point as of the page it posts? We've had this since day one. In the first dozen pages, we had people writing off the entire book as useless, before the protagonist had ever appeared. We've heard it at almost every new development since.
It's because people complain. Less politely, it's because some people don't have the minimal patience to see if there might be some reason why something previously thought impossible turned out to be possible at all. These are often the same people who scream 'jumping the shark' EVERY BLOODY TIME something happens they don't quite like. (You know, it's reached the point where I feel that there ought to be a subparagraph of Godwin's Law addressing jump the shark complaints, for these all but signal the end of any useful discussion.)

Me, I thought this page rocked. It was absolutely terrifying, in the best possible way. You've really got me on my toes waiting for the next one. :smalleek:


Ansom's "plot armor" recently had lots of people calling me a hack.
Well, I never called you a hack. I call myself a hack. There's an important difference. :smallamused:

Raguzert
2009-03-27, 08:35 PM
Hmm, what happened to those high odds of not losing GK? The comic is going on nice though!

VariaVespasa
2009-03-27, 08:46 PM
Hmm, what happened to those high odds of not losing GK? The comic is going on nice though!

Charlie happened. He interfered by saving Ansom up on the walls. But for that the coalition might not have taken the walls and GK would likely have survived the turn as advertised. And then Charlie interfered again with the DDR stuff, which cost GK the garrison fight and without which GK might well have survived as advertised.

And failing all that, there was STILL a 40% chance of losing GK anyway.

Earendill
2009-03-27, 09:16 PM
The way I see it, Parsons realized after the DDR episode that he was fighting against a GM similar to himself. In fact, Charlie is probably the instrument of the Titan GM in the game, the "tool" used by the GM to spoil his plans. That GM is ultimately Parson's opponent not the RCC.

Therefore he started lateral thinking - culminating with the volcano uncroaking.

I read the GG followed by the Alt F4 gesture of closing the eyebook as a sign of arrogance - of significating his victory to his enemy - the unseen Titan GM. I won - do your worst.

Technically, Stanley's faction won the battle and probably the war. A Pyrhic victory still a victory. Stanley's group has what it takes to rebuild a city (he planned to do it in FAQ), a large amount of his army, three recoverable casters (btw - if there is a place where the link can be safely broken, then that place has to be the Magic Kingdom, with all the casters around - that's why he must have changed his initial order to break the link) and maybe even a competent warlord.

Still - Parsons seems sure to end in his own world - "home". Why ? Because he understands how the GM's mind works (so similar with his) and he knows that he "won" an unwinable scenario - no point in continuing. Game over. Good game too.

dr pepper
2009-03-27, 09:21 PM
BillyJimBoBob: the explanation you're looking for is coming. Of course it is. But I am asking you, at what point will you trust us?


Well as i've said before i trust you to come up with a resolution that makes sense. Nonetheless, i reserve the right to speculate and nitpick.

Did you know that a lot of famous 19th century novels were originally magazine or newspaper serials? Imagine being an author back then. You get published only once a month, then there's 30 days of daily letters to the editor, personal letters coming to your door, telegrams demanding clarification, getting hassled in the streets, etc, etc. Be happy with your contemporary situation :)

dr pepper
2009-03-27, 09:30 PM
XFD.

Congrats, by the way. It's worth the loss of free time!

And congrats to the lucky baby who'll be getting Erf instead of Cat in the Hat read to him in his cradle.

Zagaroth
2009-03-27, 09:32 PM
regarding "can't dance fight" ruling, then them dance fighting. This is not a rules contradiction

Allow me to make an analogy, using DnD rules.

say... some one says something like "Dwarves can't fly." in a story. This statement is true. Dwarves have no flight speed listed, so racially speaking, they can not fly.

Unless they are enchanted with a fly spell, are wearing a magic item of flying, or happen to have a template that allows flight.

What he said "they can't dance fight." He was correct. Those units are incable of dance fighting. Just like the zombies were incapable of dance fighting. Not listed in their stats.

Both the zombies and the troops in question however, received boosts that added the stat of 'dance fighting' temporarily.

slayerx
2009-03-27, 10:19 PM
I never called it a DeM. There is no functional difference between "can't dance fight, "are dance fighting" and "can't dance fight, "are dance fighting because someone laid down a learn to dance mat/album cover/DDR." Can't is can't, can is can. The point, if you missed it, isn't just the reversal of something which had just been said to the readers without any qualification, it's tied tightly together with the fact that it's Parson who said it for the readers to read, and Parson is now Knows the Rules Parson, and should know if his plans can be ruined by a learn to dance mat/album cover/DDR. We are far past the Parson who says things like "Wait wait wait. What do you mean we can veil our troops?" We are now at the Parson who barks out strategies for scrolls, spells, units, and stacking bonuses. Because he knows the rules now.

Parson only knows the rules as far as those who can taught him...
He doesn't know ALL the rules, just the ones that Wanda, Sizemore, and Maggie and anyone else who was teaching him knows

If wanda, knows that a master class croakamancer can lead uncroaked in a dance fight, then Parson knows that a master class croakamancer can lead uncroaked in a dance fight...

If wanda knows that infantry units of the coalition can't dance fight by default like vinnie's vampires, then Parson knows that the infantry of the coalition can't dance fight by default like vinnie's vampires


HOWEVER, if Wanda DOES NOT know that archons can set up a DDR set that can teach any kind of human infantry how to dance fight, then Parson DOES NOT know that archons can set up a DDR set that can teach any kind of infantry how to dance fight

Prason DOESN'T know all the rules, just all the ones that Wanda, Sizemore, and Maggie know... and to assume that they know EVERYTHING is nothing but a blind assumption since we have never been shown that they know every single rule.... essentially your disappointment is cause by YOU jumping to conclusion that do not exist; there is NOTHING in the comic that actually leads us to believe that Parson knows ALL the rules, ALL the units and has overall infallible knowledge of erfworld

pclips
2009-03-27, 10:29 PM
You know, guys...that was just me in a cranky moment. I get them.

Good points, everyone. Thanks. :smallcool:

SteveMB
2009-03-27, 11:30 PM
I'm with you, I assumed what he said meant he couldn't use the portal because of the nature of portals, but looking back it never says what is preventing him, or any combat unit, from using the portal. It could very well be duty and loyalty, and the units and Parson can use the portals, but they cannot use them to run from the fight.

Yet another possible interpretation occurs to me -- a non-caster "can't" use the portal to go to the Magic Kingdom because it's not allowed (i.e. the powers that be in the Magic Kingdom prohibit it) as opposed to physically impossible. In that case, Parson may figure that he could wrangle an exception with the Mathemancy gauntlet, or something.

Oh, well, the truth will be revealed soon enough....

Suicide Junkie
2009-03-27, 11:37 PM
I presume that his duty restrictions prevented him (as a sword wielding unit) from leaving while there was a chance of him getting to stab something.
He couldn't order the casters to bail out until there was nothing more they could do, and presumably the same applies to him.

Hence the clincher of the entrance being sealed allowing him to leave.

ishnar
2009-03-28, 01:08 AM
In some stories, when the main character yanked from another universe has to face hopeless odds in the very first story, if the story continues, the second installment often has the protagonist in an even worse situation. I.e, this time the character might know the universe laws and politics etc, but they often start the second installment without the support of that framework.

It's not quite a trope, but if Erf continues, and I hope it does, then Parson might find himself in the middle of nowhere and have to think fast when Stanley stops paying his upkeep. He might have one turn to get a new sponsor, and be forced to take the first offer to come along. Of course there are lots of other ways it can continue. But I enjoy stories with people taken out of this universe, and finding themselves in another. Magic Kingdom For Sale, Spellsong Cycle, etc..

Glome
2009-03-28, 01:26 AM
It does look like the battle of Gobwin Knob is technically over. All that is left now is tying up the loose ends. Namely what happens to Parson and to the trimancers? What happens when Stanley gets back and/or contacts Parson. What is Jillian and Vinnie going to do now? And of course we are going to need some cool artwork of the aftermath of the volcano erupting from the outside, especially if it takes out the mob of archons stuck in Gobwin Knob airspace.

Titanium Dragon
2009-03-28, 01:31 AM
First off, at least we finally got a bit of resolution. Parson won a very pyrric victory, escaping with exactly four people.

Secondly, I'm not sure why people are speculating that Parson will die/be killed/be sent elsewhere. It seems very unlikely that the portal will take him anywhere other than the magic kingdom. Parson is the main character, and it is incredibly unlikely he will go away/die so easily. The only even remotely plausible thing to happen is him being sent home, but I doubt that for narrative reasons. As such, he will probably wind up in the Magic Kingdom.

As for his allies, I think the casters will be fine, though they may be a bit messed up for a while, which may explain the chapter break - we cut back in after they've recovered from the link. The five characters with the most character development haven't died, and I don't think they will for a while yet, and I don't think our thinkamancer friend will die either, as she's important for A) communication with the Tool and B) being another person who can tell Parson about the world. She's the most likely of the remaining characters to die though.

Kreistor
2009-03-28, 01:43 AM
You know, guys...that was just me in a cranky moment. I get them.

Oh, you have every right to complain about readers. Unlike paper books, you get your feedback instantly, instead of waiting for letters. Yes, some authors have websites, but most still do not. Some Blog, but I doubt you'll see many authors of novels use Twitter or give any indication of progress on the daily scale. The medium you chose gives you the desire to face your readers head-on, so the complaints are far more appropriately timed. (A novel author is writing his next story while reading respoonses to his previous book.)

But I think I have a little more insight, which I will add. Maybe it will explain what was frustrating to me, at least.

You chose a trope that is hardly new. Protagonist is pulled out of his own location to appear in an unknown place with unknown Laws. There's probably some Trope name for it. It has been done before.

Quantum Leap, Sliders, Gordon Dickson's Dragon novels, etc., etc. ad infinitum. You can even go so far as to include any book where the character leaves the comfort of a sedate home life and finds out just over the hill is a completely unrelated world (Lord of the Rings). But let's narrow it down to just stories where a human is plucked from a scientific world and thrust into a magical one.

What does one expect in a story of this type? Typically, the character will stumble through for a while, figure out how his uniqueness makes him powerful (and vulnerable) in this world, and in the end some moment of enlightenment occurs, then he either uses his uniqueness or an uncommon insight on local ability to win.

You didn't follow that formula. That sets up tension between expectation and reality. Parson, instead of his gaming abilities gaining him success, is countered easily by the locals. He does break tradition and deal damage, but it is never permanent enough to be recognized.In truth, Parson was doing an incredible job all the way through, generally dealing more than appropriate casualties and making RCC at least pay a heavier price...

But that's not actually what happened. It's not that Parson's uniqueness doesn't exist: it's that no local points out how good he is. Maggie once says that Parson's mind is GK's greatest asset, but that's all -- no explanation of what he'd done to deserve that praise. No one is seen talking in the halls behind his back about how amazing this or that was. Stanley is never given any time to evaluate his success, fleeing after only one day of Parson's command. I think you were trying to achieve that recognition via Charlie, but for me that alone wasn't enough. Charlie was talking to Parson, and saw insight into his mind that others didn't have. We needed feedback on what Parson's actions themselves had achieved, not Charlie's evaluation of Parson's potential. It's not so much that Parson's uniqueness didn't exist: it was that the locals did not seem to notice that uniqueness that made me feel that Parson was not really better than any other Chief Warlord. In fact, I saw this happening and tried to deal with it: I started the thread (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=99607) where I was trying to determine how many troops Ansom would have the next day (obviously 0 now), because I was trying to point out just how effective Parson was. He'd nailed 20% of the enemy troops in the tunnels and doubled his own numbers, but that wasn't pointed out by anyone in the world. That is a powerful achievement in any world, but "ho, hum... another battle lost." No one said, "Parson, that was incredible! You've given us a shot at this!" Parson should be thinking about his losses and the enemy's attrition, so it is perfectly okay for him to think, "Okay, I only lost 5% of our numbers, added 100%, and cost them 20%. 25:1 is now 5:1." Even if it is just Parson working it all out in his head, referencing those books in the library full of battles would do this job: I know you wanted to save up for that rant by Parson about perfect generals not winning every battle, but the rant didn't justify the damage to Parson's uniqueness. Parson's uniqueness is simply never established adequately, his successes are seemingly easily overcome, and so his presence in the world is never justified. Point out that he was actually being very successful despite the setbacks, and we have an underappreciated-by-his-ruler protagonist, instead of a repeatedly unsuccessful protagonist.

This leaves us with only failure by which to judge Parson. Since we don't see how successful he is by comparison to others in the same situation, he constantly appears to fail, because Parson points out his own failure. Failure is very easy to judge: we all understand loss is bad, and we don't need to know that others would have done badly in the same situation. Failure is less relative than success. And temporally, his failures come after his successes, so as is natural, we spend more time thinking about the failures and less about the successes.

Further, without access to basic rules, how can we determine Parson's uniqueness -- his inspired quality? Here's a basic question for you: Is GK a single hex, or multiple hexes? Simple question, isn't it? But nowhere is there a definite answer to that question. Is a zone constructed of multiple hexes in a city of many, or is it a subdivision in one hex? "Can't cast on enemy turn." (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0070.html) And yet that's not true... it's just written with insufficient context. Apparently that particular spell can only be cast on your own turn, but the sentence says, "And we can't cast on the enemy's turn," which suggests no spell casting at all on enemy turns. You only needed to include "it" in the sentence to fix that. (That sentence and subsequent violations confused the heck out of us for a long time.)

Now look at Parson's failures. Why do they happen? Various events occur. Jillian overcomes a spell. Charlie signs on to an alliance. Ansom comes up with an inspirational spell use. It's a variety of reasons... not just Charlie, or Ansom as some seem to think. None of these seemingly remarkable reversals are impossible, but some of it is dissatisfying. You saved the worst for last -- Ansom's DDR trick. Jillian finding the dwagons, breaking her spell, and having the firepower to take on 30 even injured dwagons was a push. Charlie offering a new deal so much more in his favour exactly when Ansom needed it was a stretch. But DDR was the straw for me. You'd gone too far. Of course, you had done it on purpose: there was an explanation in the wings. You knew the DDR thing was too much, and that's why it was last. There is no way Ansom, a Warlord, would be able to come up with a creative use of a spell in that manner to solve that problem. He's a traditionalist -- a Royal convinced of his own superiority -- and that type of person is not creative outside their area of expertise. If he'd had a magical advisor along to give him that idea, hey, no problem there. It is because of his traditionalism that we must decide that this DDR trick was already known and used by Ansom at some other time. It is the only justification for his knowledge. But even that is inconsistent. If Ansom knew about it ahead of time, why weren't they using it during the breach, or in any other battle? Parson tells us this system is all about stacking bonuses, which Vinnie (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0125.html) clearly knows well enough. Ansom's forces can dance fight thanks to the DDR trick, so they should be dance fighting whenever possible, if Ansom cares for his men the way Jillian suggests, but he doesn't. Instead he saves it as a response to Parson, inspired only when Parson himself finds an exception allowing uncroaked to dance fight. Thus, the last straw -- I had to decide whether Ansom was a traditionalist that just had inspiration, or a callous, general that had been holding back: obviously the latter was contra-indicated by all of the evaluations of Ansom by characters in the story. Now you know that whatever force was acting against Parson may have given Ansom his inspiration, and that's why the story had to come to a head quickly because the inconsistency was becoming glaring. But it could have been handled better, by Parson himself. Why is he not complaining that no one told him Ansom's DDR trick could be done? Why is no one shocked when Ansom does something they've never seen done before? It takes an exception to allow Wanda to Dance Fight her uncroaked: why isn't Wanda telling Parson that others can do it too, with the right magics ahead of time? She avoids revealing combat knowledge, but this is magic and inside her expertise. She knows enough about a lot to know this, if anyone did know. Parson's complaint and Wanda's, "I've never seen that before, Parson! I think it's new!" would have hinted at something deeper. When something really exceptional goes on, the characters that are there should be making note of it, if only to try to explain it so they can deal with it (especially in war where you may want to use their trick against them in the future). Instead, Parson takes charge and orders responses to deal with the problem... responses he really doesn't have the knowledge to recommend without feedback from experts. If he doesn't know enough about magic to know DDR is possible, he doesn't know enough to counter DDR, so he should be asking if anyone has ideas on how to shut it down. That's the opportunity to bring in that hint that something deep and mysterious is happening, and retain those that recognize the problem.

That lack of consistency is how you break the reader's trust. You know why Ansom came up with DDR, but I think you're keeping too much private and expecting too much suspension of disbelief. You're stacking too many unknowns together. You could have included that in the comic. Ansom sees the Dance Fight, says, "We did something at OrgChart once that might work here,", asks the Archons if they can do simple veils, and then the DDR appears. Now he's a traditionalist without inspiration. You sometimes respond to inaccurate speculation on the forum, but there are a number of issues that should never have occurred. The layout of GK, the size of a hex, basic geography -- keeping any of this private adds a layer of mystery that stacks with the real mysteries, frustrating the reader. Rules speculations on things that you have already fully explained, but are misinterpreted are the same problem. If people are misinterpreting what they are seeing because the medium is limited, and it was vital that they got it right, then it needs to be set right. Add a Klog or two... low art levels, so they're faster to produce. But these non-plot mysteries nag at us..., stacking another mystery where you didn't intend one. These just serve to aggravate the main mystery... when it goes unexplained like the other things, then it all gets lumped into, "The author doesn't know what he's doing. He's hiding as much as he can so that he can figure out what it needs to be later." The 12th Cylon in BSG was this way... they sat down during the hiatus and discussed every single character, before settling on the last Cylon. It waws not chosen ahead of time, and they even discussed the speculation, choosing to eliminate anyone the fans had high expectations of it being (which eliminated Gaeta and Starbuck).

So what we needed was a clearer battle evaluation, to demonstrate Parson's uniqueness. Too many of the rules go unmentioned preventing understanding of how powerful the protagonist is. Rules intended to have been fully explained by now that are not properly interpreted need to be clarified. (It is the responsibility of a writer to write so that there can be no misinterpretation, not the responsibility of the reader to understand the intent of the author. In other words, if you aren't understood when speaking, it's your fault not the listener's.) And find some way to indicate that you are not following the common theme when writing a story in a genre with a common formula.

Tarian
2009-03-28, 02:22 AM
Just a quick reply and some of my thoughts.

First off, I liked the comic.

Secondly, it was with the addition of Charlie's forces that allowed Ansom to pull off his dance fighting trick. Without the Archons, he couldn't summon the DDR arrows for his troops.

I also think that Parson did show his usefulness, as he turned a hopeless situation into a TPK while knocking out the enemy warlord at the same time.

That being said, I don't think that pclips *should* reveal all the potential events in the game. Granted I don't like things coming in too far from the outfield. ex. if aliens came down and lasered the RC Coalition just because they felt like it. That being said, a little bit of patience can go a long way in alleviating some of the questions in a story.

Should everything be revealed/obvious from the start? Obviously not, otherwise there isn't much point to the story.

I like the way the story is going currently, and if nothing else, it's worth reading just for the beautiful artwork. Great job on the comic, looking forward to seeing more.

~Tarian

User Name
2009-03-28, 03:36 AM
Guys, "GG" obviously means "gotta go".


is no way Ansom, a Warlord, would be able to come up with a creative use of a spell in that manner to solve that problem. He's a traditionalist -- a Royal convinced of his own superiority -- and that type of person is not creative outside their area of expertise.

So leading a dance fight, something that warlords have repeatedly been shown to be able to do, is outside of Ansom's, a warlord's, area of expertise?

foog
2009-03-28, 03:36 AM
But after Parson is shown to have this full grasp of the rules, when in the span of 2 strips we have Parson say "The vast majority of Jetstone troops can not dance fight", followed immediately by the vast majority of Jetstone troops dance fighting, I barf. It just doesn't support the Parson who has been shown to us. It would be like, after the opening scene of Return of the Jedi when Luke rescues Han from Jabba and is shown to be confident and masterful in his Jedi powers, that we'd again see Luke whining about some aspect of the Force with a "I can't do it, it's impossible!"

Not really. You are ignoring the fact that Parson was beamed into a universe that was out to get him. So the better Star Wars analogy would be that it is like Luke rescuing Han only to find several hundred stormtroopers when he turns around, and after defeating them through incredible feats of luck and prowess, he turns back around only to find the frikking Death Star parked beside him. With a moat. Filled with sharks armed with laser beams. Ultimately, the DDR bit doesn't make Parson lose his cool, nor does it fly in the face of what Parson does/doesn't know about Erfworld mechanics. It is simply another roll of the crooked dice. It's no different than Ansom's plot armour, which you said you are fine with.


Anyways, I just registered today to throw that out for ya BillyJimBoBob. And also to heap insane amounts of praise on Rob and Jamie. I love this comic. I want to bear its children. From the very first frame with the Elvii titans, I was hooked. (Over beer last night I was trying to describe Erfworld to a gamer friend. I mentioned the Titans-as-Elvis as an example of the absurdity and attraction of the comic. "Fat Elvis or skinny Elvis?" he asked. "Fat Elvis, of course," I replied. "OK, I'm sold" sez he.) The art and writing blow my socks off. I'm constantly amazed at how intricate and clever the whole damned thing is without ever getting top-heavy. It even manages to throw out some nice lowbrow yucks here and there too. And even though I'm sad that it's winding down, I'm thrilled at how consistently great it's been and I'm stoked for book 2. Rob and Jamie, you guys rock.

Jon Pander
2009-03-28, 03:44 AM
I have a silly thought but isn't Parson the exact definition of a summoned creature? He was summoned from a different plane of existence to serve a purpose on the erfworld plane. He is bound by the summoning spell and can be by the very definition of his summoned status considered magical. My guess is this would allow him use of the portal.

Has anyone considered that maybe Parson's stats of 'Special' might include being able to use portals despite not being a caster? 'Special' seems pretty open ended could explain how he was able to use it :)

Jon Pander
2009-03-28, 03:58 AM
Completely terrible writing. Having the Titans of Erfworld respond to criticism in the forums is a total Deus Ex Machina.

I am so disappointed. When the Erfworld Forums book comes out, I am not buying it now.

I'm going to assume you're making a funny.

Architect
2009-03-28, 04:07 AM
Guys, "GG" obviously means "gotta go".
That was my first impression, but "good game" is also a valid interpretation. It's a relatively minor issue that only the creators can answer, I think.

So leading a dance fight, something that warlords have repeatedly been shown to be able to do, is outside of Ansom's, a warlord's, area of expertise?
Parson was commenting that most of Ansom's units can't dance fight, but uncroaked led by a master-class croakamancer can. Warlords can't lead a dance fight unless their units can innately dance fight ([at least Vinnie's] Transylvito's vampires and Charlie's Archons) or they can control their units' individual movements (via croakamancy or DDR-like veil).

Regarding the DDR-like 'inspiration', it's possible that Ansom asked the archons if they could communicate dance fighting movements and the archons (or Charlie) came up with the DDR-like solution. It isn't necessarily a fact that Ansom came up with it and the archons seem to be very knowledgeable.

BTW, I suspect that since the Coalition's turn isn't over, Charlie can still move his/her archons (do we really know Charlie's gender?) out of harms' way since he/she suspects what Parson has done. I don't know if Charlie can save any other Coalition units. I'm not sure what this means regarding Charlie's intent to acquire Parson. Charlie doesn't choose scenarios in which he/she can lose... and it's possible that this is the closest to a loss that Charlie has faced. I suspect that Parson has now become a must have on Charlie's list. It's one thing to be respected by an opponent. I can even understand the head-hunting behavior as it pertains to the real world. However, it's going to become damn freaky if Charlie becomes obsessive... and given the plot, not unlikely.

I would have to agree with Kreistor's impression. We don't really get a strong message from the strip that Parson is indeed the perfect warlord [given Stanley's limiting search filters] or even an exceptionally capable warlord. Heck, I don't think that Parson himself believes it. Perhaps that is the point of the author. In that given situation, no warlord could appear adequate. That said, I have enjoyed the strip. It's a nice bit of fantasy with art that is neither boring or 'edgy'. It all works well together to tell the story.

Side-point: Wanda is an instrumental part of the story. She's the one that found out about the spell to grab Parson. She's the one that chose Parson (based on Stanley's criteria). She protected Parson from getting disbanded. She was an essential part of defending GK and arguably the most important caster. Moreover, she did this without any magical compulsion. Yet, I don't recall complaints about her "plot armor." Heck, why shouldn't there been a DeM complaint regarding her? People don't typically complain about characters they like. That's how I viewed the complaints that came up regarding Ansom.

WarriorTribble
2009-03-28, 04:47 AM
Guys, "GG" obviously means "gotta go".I disagree. Rob used gotta go/got to go at least once here (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0126.html) "G2G DED." I'm hedging my bets in good game.

Architect
2009-03-28, 04:56 AM
I disagree. Rob used gotta go/got to go at least once here (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0126.html) "G2G DED." I'm hedging my bets in good game.
"G2G" = "good to go"

WarriorTribble
2009-03-28, 05:01 AM
"G2G" = "good to go"How does "good to go dead" work?

Architect
2009-03-28, 05:04 AM
How does "good to go dead" work?
"G2G DED" translates to unit named "good to go" is dead.

WarriorTribble
2009-03-28, 05:13 AM
"G2G DED" translates to unit named "good to go" is dead.How do you figure? The Oryls don't seem to have individual names, and I find people usually use pronouns to refer to themselves in games.

Earendill
2009-03-28, 06:47 AM
I disagree. Rob used gotta go/got to go at least once here (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0126.html) "G2G DED." I'm hedging my bets in good game.

"Good game" fits the context a lot better then "got to go". I've seen and used it many time in this precise context. A fierce battle that came to an end. The opponents saying this simply state that it was just a game and there are no hard feelings.

It is Parson's way to communicate to Charlie (in fact to the Titan/GM/force behind Charlie) that he considers the game over. It's metagaming, just like the use of TPK and "Rocks fall...." (strangely how Charlie understands all those gamer terms - telepathy won't do as explanation).

My guess is ever since he discovered that Charlie hacked the eyebooks (something that does not fit the system) he must have realised that Charlie was just the "tool" of this GM, a tool that was introduced in the game specially to counter his strategies. So the real enemy is behind Charlie.

jmsl
2009-03-28, 06:48 AM
I know one of the problems I had with the story, which reflects more on me than the tellers, is how much it avoids neat connections. Our minds expect every semi-important thing or person in the story to have more importance than it does. We love our tropes, even as we make fun of them, since we've been raised on a steady diet of them. Messy stories where there isn't a deeper meaning behind every interaction feel very different. Prime example: Wanda not getting the pliers. Parson doesn't become a Marty Stu and demolish his enemies.

Another more serious problem, I feel, is lack of "time" to show characters more. We got a little bit of character development for a lot of characters, but I think it was stretched too thin. Ansom, for example, never seemed to show that he was an arrogant prig except in his two conversations with Parson (one real and one veiled troll). Maybe if he'd been stuck up about conventions? Charlie is another obvious one. We saw a hint of his personality in his willingness to play both sides, and to back off to watch Parson work, but his motivations were still too vague. Wanda plays the enigma but we got a little out of her. Jack I suppose is too minor a character, but we never find out much about him either.

The conflict between showing the action and the people left me feeling like the story was rushed despite being longer than originally suggested. As a result, while I still mostly enjoy the story, I lost connection with the characters. But then I wasn't looking at it from the point of view of a gamer admiring or disdaining Parson's strategic skills as so many appeared to on this forum. We may be close to the resolution of Parson's story, but no one else has been explained, except for those that didn't have any great mystery around them, like Sizemore or Bogroll.

My criticisms don't mean I'm right and Rob is wrong. It's just a partial explanation for why I'm not as satisfied with the story, despite following along excessively.

Kreistor
2009-03-28, 08:07 AM
So leading a dance fight, something that warlords have repeatedly been shown to be able to do, is outside of Ansom's, a warlord's, area of expertise?

No. That's not what I'm talking about.

Wanda giving zombies, a unit that can't dance fight normally, dance fighting because she is a master class croakamancer is an exception.

Ansom invents a way that nullifies Wanda's exception as an exception to the rule. Now Ansom can give any other unit dancce fighting.

If Ansom can do that, why is Wanda's exception an exception? Every intelligent unit can be given dance fighting now, not just infantry but anything with a brain. Archers. Siege. Giving units dance fighting is now the rule. Is there an exception? Can Sizemore give his golems dance fighting now? Why not? They're just as smart and controlled as uncroaked.

That's what the problem is. The rules get broken to invent DDR. Ansom is not a caster, but he is given the inspiration to create a whole new type of spellcasting. Traditionalists are not inventors. They don't come up with new and unique strategies. They look to their past and what their fathers taught them to solve problems. Ansom broke type: that's why the athor had to end it right away and reveal Parson's suspicions. We needed an explanation for why he had that idea: and since the reason was that someone was screwing with Parson, the plot becomes resolved.

Occasional Sage
2009-03-28, 09:47 AM
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For a reader who feels that any surprise rule is cheating, well, you'll probably never earn their trust. That sort of reader is looking for a surprises and plot twists, yes, but within the universe that the author has presented. In this context, Erfworld sends mixed messages. There's some attempt at it, for example, where for instance Parson's Klog notes that forest units can attack aerial units in a forest hex before it happens. For that kind of reader, any story element twist or resolution that makes use of an entirely new universe element will be read as a betrayal.

In some sense, it is a betrayal, as it betrays the expectations the reader brings to the story. Betrayal breeds bitterness. In a vocal community, some number of those who are upset will voice their displeasure.


There is a vast difference between vocalizing upset ("This is a surprising twist and I don't like that!") versus trashing the author ("What kind of cut-rate hack screws up his own story RIGHT AFTER telling us that things work another way?!"). Pclips isn't upset about the first type, but the second. Gripe all you want about the STYLE of the comic, but he's shown that he knows what he's doing. Rob is good at this. He knows what he's doing. Complain about it all you want, but acknowledge that apparent contradictions aren't mistakes.


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This raises the question of why the reader is disturbed by this sort of storytelling-by-ambush technique, and why its use in this context chafes so.

For myself, I can say it undermines the suspension of disbelief needed to enjoy a story. Consider what's happening in the reader's mind: he has some mental construct of the world that allows him to understand the story, and give context to the actions and events of the plot. By introducing an apparently contradictory element - something the reader has been told by a credible authority - the author drops a wrecking ball on that mental construct. It's jarring, unpleasant, confusing, and makes the reader stop enjoying the story and start analyzing his mental construct.


But here, that's part of the whole POINT. When we're blindsided by a rule that screws over what Parson has planned, that's making us feel what Parson is feeling. It's not anything HE expected either, and now we're getting to empathize with him. That's good storytelling. If we were given precise text of all of the relevant rules he planned to exploit and all of the rules that would be used against him to crush his plans, and given them RIGHT BEFORE seeing the plan go into effect, why would we bother reading? There's no drama left. Do you really want a story with no surprises?


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I realize that


If we haven't done it by now, then I just don't know what we have to do to earn the readers' trust.


is rhetorical. But it doesn't mean it can't be answered, and the answer is that, like Charlie Brown trying to kick Lucy's football - the reader can't trust you.


Try substituting "faith" for "trust" and you'll understand where Rob is going with this. I don't trust his story for a second. Not a bit. I know he's going to subvert and twist every expectation the reader has, no question.

I do, however, have faith in his storytelling, in his skill as a writer, because he has reliably shown us reason to in the past. That's what is frustrating him here: that people phrase their complaints in ways that don't draw that distinction.


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Certainly, the decision to employ storytelling-by-ambush belongs to the author and nobody else. But the author by definition has a much stronger sense and concept of the world - it's a lot easier for your vision of Erfworld to be unshaken by a plot bomb. What to the reader is a wrecking ball is to the author merely another facet of the world, enhancing the author's vision even as it shakes the reader's.


Obviously, this is one of the things I like about Erfworld. I like the effect that this style is creating, and don't find that it detracts from the story as a whole.

It amazes me (very pleasantly) that despite *dis*liking something so central to the fundamental structure of Erfworld, you still enjoy it a lot. I really don't understand how that's possible, but I think it's great that we can come from two entirely different mindsets and still like this thing we're seeing made.



And congrats to the lucky baby who'll be getting Erf instead of Cat in the Hat read to him in his cradle.

That would be mine. If Rob is on this side of the continent, maybe he'd read it to baby Finn.... If not, I guess Dad'll have to do. :smallwink:

Nekomata
2009-03-28, 11:04 AM
I have a silly thought but isn't Parson the exact definition of a summoned creature?
Oh, right.
So if he's killed, he'll reform back on his home plane, right?

SteveMB
2009-03-28, 11:39 AM
And congrats to the lucky baby who'll be getting Erf instead of Cat in the Hat read to him in his cradle.

Explaining page 28 should be interesting.

(I mean, the whole "shoutout to the style of a different work by the same author" thing is a bit complicated. What did you think I meant? :smallwink:)

Zeku
2009-03-28, 12:14 PM
Pclips:

I try to think in terms of percentages. Imagine all the dumb stuff on the internet. Somebody, somewhere, thinks all of that is cool. It's fine to take people seriously, but it's possible to retain a humble social identity and not take everyone seriously.

There may be a theoretical piece of work that doesn't piss anyone off, but I would probably just call that 'selling out, with high production values.'

Kreistor
2009-03-28, 02:34 PM
There is a vast difference between vocalizing upset ("This is a surprising twist and I don't like that!") versus trashing the author ("What kind of cut-rate hack screws up his own story RIGHT AFTER telling us that things work another way?!"). Pclips isn't upset about the first type, but the second. Gripe all you want about the STYLE of the comic, but he's shown that he knows what he's doing. Rob is good at this. He knows what he's doing. Complain about it all you want, but acknowledge that apparent contradictions aren't mistakes.

If, and only if, there is an explanation given. Let's look at 64.3 (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0070.html). Quite clearly, in the presence of experts in the field of magic, Parson says, "And we can't cast on the enemy's turn." And yet, that is violated. What's more it is never noted by anyone in the comic that it was violated. That's the killer. Parson says "we" can't cast on enemy turn. Not "he", and it isn't treated like one spell can't be cast, but all spells can't be cast. What may have been intended is that "And he can't cast it on the enemy's turn," but there is no way what was really said could be interpreted in such a limited fashion. By using "we" it indicates more than just Jack, and infers all spellcasting off turn is disallowed.

By never noting that something changed, that casting on enemy turn is possible with many types of spells, the reader feels left out. This may be a case where the rules were changed to prevent a Parson victory somewhere (though I think this (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0105.html) is the first instance of off-turn casting after that statement). But where is Parson saying, "Why were you able to do that?"

Those of us that noted the deviations, the inconsistencies, were never given satisfaction that we were correctly interpreting the comic. That is never good: success goes unrewarded, even ignored. That makes the smartest readers feel stupid, and that can't be good for long term reading.

"Trust me, I know what I'm doing," doesn't work for me, not in the face of unexplained inconsistency. It is a demand for faith, a demand that the reader stop thinking, and that I refuse to do. If I correctly interpret the comic, that should be rewarded: I shouldn't feel confused about being right.

What would have been lost by noting these inconsistencies? Along with the casting out of turn, there's also:

Ansom signing the contract. (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0133.html). Here we see the Archons in Ansom's face, despite being in different zones. Now we know from this (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0134.html) that the Archons cannot cross zones to assist Ansom; however, tehy have just cast a spell that Ansom could interact with. Here we have a fine detail of what can happen across a zone line that is confusing. Had the contract been physical, it was already established it could have crossed a wall barrier, so not an issue. This, howeve,r is a spell in possession of the Archon. It should not corss the zone barrier, and Ansom should not cross the zone barrier, lacking flight at that moment. A rule is broken.

So, if Parson's theory is correct, the world is cheating to ensure that Parson can't succeed. Any plan formed within the rules is doomed to fail, because the world wants the player to cheat. All of these changes that we see, all of these violations, are put in place to make Parson do the same (Ironically, he doesn't. Linking is part of the rules, and there's no written limit on what linked casters can achieve. So we don't know that Parson actually cheated. He jsut did something non-traditional.)

Would confirming the reader's discoveries that the world was not as it seemed change that? No, we don't know what Parson was planning for his players. Us knowing that the world was lying to Parson wouldn't change that: it might even raise our interest level by trying to get us to explain why Parson was being lied to. Instead, the author took the tactic of ignoring any inconsistencies. Parson was not ignoring them... he had figured it out, which wasn't hard because he already knew what his plans for his game were. The similarities to his upcoming game would put that foremost in his mind. Despite being something Parson would consider early on, he says nothing, which is atypical. Parson has no problems discussing possible tactics and analyzing the world for loopholes with others, but he doesn't speak of his suspicions that the world may be conspiring against his brilliance until the last moment?



But here, that's part of the whole POINT. When we're blindsided by a rule that screws over what Parson has planned, that's making us feel what Parson is feeling.

Not true. Parson knew his rules for his game, knew the parallel was pretty strong between hsi game and this world very early on, and would be trying to watch for other parallels trying to figure out if he was just in a hospital bed. Parson was not blindsided with the conspiracy against him: only we were. Our feelings are nothing like his.


That's good storytelling.

Any storytelling that causes readers to leave out of frustration is not good. And that haas happened with this comic. Lots of people have posted about Ansom's plot-armor and quit. Or got frustrated with trying to figure out rules and quit. Storytelling that does not get to finish the story is a failure.


If we were given precise text of all of the relevant rules he planned to exploit and all of the rules that would be used against him to crush his plans, and given them RIGHT BEFORE seeing the plan go into effect, why would we bother reading? There's no drama left. Do you really want a story with no surprises?

No drama? No, we'd be left with a question: why is Ansom being allowed to break rules? We have this rule right here. Wanda says she has no idea how Ansom was able to do something he normally could not. So why? That's drama. It's not the same drama, but it leaves the reader with an unanswered question to figure out, not one that they got the right answer to but you ignore their intelligence.


Try substituting "faith" for "trust" and you'll understand where Rob is going with this. I don't trust his story for a second. Not a bit. I know he's going to subvert and twist every expectation the reader has, no question.

Why? Have you read his work before? I haven't. I don't know Rob's style, so I don't know what to expect of him. What I know are the tropes and the style, and those set up particular expectations. As a new author, certain things have to be achieved the first time he writes a story. He needs to prove he will give evidence of what he is trying to achieve. He needs to prove that his characterization is consistent. And so on. Rob did little of that, because he maybe felt that hiding a lot of things created mystery and made the reader want more. What he hasn't learned is that too much mystery about mundane aspects of the story inspires frustration and drives readers to something more satisfying.


I do, however, have faith in his storytelling, in his skill as a writer, because he has reliably shown us reason to in the past.

When? What comic, book, etc.? I've never heard of him before. Why should I give trust to someone that has not proven anything? And even then, authors can be one hit wonders, or decide to experiment. Trust is earned, not given.


That's what is frustrating him here: that people phrase their complaints in ways that don't draw that distinction.

And an author that fails to learn from those complaints is doomed to repeat them. If readers are frustrated, there is a darned good reason for it. They are being pressed too hard, asked for too much, or incapable of understanding. Are any of those the reader's fault? No. Communication in this medium is one way, from author to reader. If the reader fails to receive the correct message, the fault is entirely with the author. The reader cannot control the words, nor indicate that something was unclear. An author that chooses to see that failure as the fault of the reader will never improve his storytelling such that the reader remains a reader: the reader has free will and can end the communication. Failure to retain the reader means ending ones career as a writer.

Stories where trust is required in order to continue the story need something to fill those gaps where the main story must pause. Often, that comes to something exciting. Part of the mistake in this story is that in broad periods where trust is required, excitement is nonexistent. There are conversations and discussions, mostly of unimportant matters, where there could be skirmishes between side characters. There's a formula used for Star Trek: the Next Generation. Each episode had, generally, two stories. There was a main story involving the ship, and a character development story involving a character. Really, it is the Scooby-doo formula. We find out about the main plot, the party splits, and while one party solves the mystery, the other distracts, provides comic relief, and engages in conflict with the antagonist. Erfworld is missing that side plot... it might be a KISS senior officer trying to track down an RCC infiltrator, or an RCC diplomat trying to convince a third party to come over to the RCC as an ally.

For instance, early on, Parson was learning a lot, but unable to participate. Rob could have presented that period where Stanley was commanding as an instructional lesson. As he sits over the map making decisions, Parson watches, asks questions why, we get rules explained, and we have the opportnity to see how battle orders turn into reality at the character level. A newly raised KISS warlord takes a platoon on a scouting mission, for example, and we see him hunting an erf unit in the woods. The same result is achieved, but with visceral combat and a side plot to retain interest. Smething as simple as following a pair of maligned KISS soldiers through the story, seeing their minor problems and attempts at surviving this ordeal could retain the interest of the reader, despite the main plot stalling as Parson learns the system.


Obviously, this is one of the things I like about Erfworld. I like the effect that this style is creating, and don't find that it detracts from the story as a whole.

There will always be someone willing to read something: people who are convinced the creator is the next sliced bread. Just because one person likes it, that doesn't mean the story actually was generally good. Some delicacies taste horrid, if you haven't grown up with them. The question an author interested in writing as a career must decide is, "How many readers do I have to retain?" Parson is a grim example. Hamstard has few readers. He's not going to make a living off the merchandise. Does one of those readers like it? Probably. But one person liking something doesn't make it good.

If an author needs the reader to trust him in order to retain the readership, then the story has not been interesting to retain the readership on its own. A story must stand on its own legs, earning trust as it is written. Demanding trust is the hallmark of someone that is incapable of earning it.


It amazes me (very pleasantly) that despite *dis*liking something so central to the fundamental structure of Erfworld, you still enjoy it a lot.

With the truth revealed, I like it less. For the same reason I am displeased with BSG, actually. We have a world where the characters had little effect on the outcome. Something was conspiring to ensure events happened in a certain way. It is a form of that tragic, overused Deus Ex Machina -- a subtle form, but nonetheless, there was an overpowering, overactive entity guiding events, in this case against the protagonist instead of resolving the problems, so it's not actually DEM. What we have is something ensuring Parson can only succeed if he does what he wanted his players to do in his game... well, not exactly. Parson doesn't break any rules, in the end.

I think the frustrating thing here is that the revelation of the plot is so simple. It comes down to a single paragraph. And it wasn't something Parson figured out: it was something he already knew, and merely hadn't told anyone about. That's not the protagonist being exceptional or smart. I, as a reader, could not have puzzled out that mystery. The speculation could not have lead me there, because the facts the resolution is based on is entirely internal to the protagonist's mind. The author creates a story where it is natural to specualte, analyze, determine... but denies the people most attracted to it any possibility of figuring out the plot. It's like an Agatha Christie story where a vital clue to resolving the plot is in Poirot's mind, and he never bothers telling it to anyone.

BillyJimBoBob
2009-03-30, 12:30 PM
He act of stating definitively that he can not use it [thew portal to the Magic Kingdom], before he tried, only proves that he was convinced that it would not work by all his advisers. There is nothing related to bad writing there. It's good writing. When someone is taken out of his environment and given a good advisor and nearly everything that advisor says turns out true, then it's human nature to assume that everything that advisor said WAS true, when advisors make mistakes too. Some very good stories revolve around this very theme of trusted advisers being wrong.You and I disagree on this point. If advisers are shown to be capable of being wrong, then you can make a great story where adviser error is a major plot hinge. But if the advisers are shown as always having been right, then you may not make a good story by suddenly revealing that their knowledge is flawed. The author has various means to convey information to the reader, but unless the story revolves around those sources being always in question they must establish some trust about at least some of those sources. So far the 'mancers have been that trusted source.

There has been only a single case of one of the 'mancers being incorrect about a point of magic (Wanda, regarding the unbreakability of the spell on Jillian), and in that sole case Parson had both a differing opinion and his own gut instinct pointing him to the correct information. So as a matter of consensus all information Parson has received from the 'mancers has been correct.

This is necessary, or we'd have to have situations where Parson gives an order only to have it questioned for reasons of accuracy.
Parson: "Wanda, reform in the portal room and set up a Safety Dance."
Wanda: "What the hell are you talking about? There is no such dance!"
-or-
Parson: "Sizemore, shock them and crap them."
Sizemore: "Lord, it just doesn't work that way."


Also, an author does not have to spell everything out piecemeal for the reader, that would be bad writing. There is nothing unprecedented for a character to try something that shouldn't work, then find out later why it does. Heck, there is nothing unprecedented for a character trying something that shouldn't work, it works, and he never figures why it worked.Agree with your first two sentences, and strongly disagree with the third but I'll replace "unprecedented for" with "wrong with" since I don't care to discuss some specific work you may have in mind where this is the case. That would be an example of poor writing, to leave a plot important reversal unexplained or unresolved.

Here's an example from Harry Potter, which I'll spoiler.
Harry's wand is broken. He fails to be able to fix it using another wand. The famous wand maker tells him it can not be fixed. But then he fixes it. The author doesn't go into any detail at all about how this is possible, but leaves it to the reader. Is this poor writing? Not in this case. The wand he uses to fix his broken wand is a wand out of legend, the most potent wand ever known. This kind of reversal of stated story fact is quite acceptable, since the reader has all the facts at their disposal to understand how it could come to pass that what they were told has been reversed.This is not the case with the DDR. If archons can let Warlords lead non-dance fight capable troops in a dance fight, then Ansom shouldn't be the only one to think of this, the warlord telling Anson that he doesn't trust him should know this also. And so should the GK 'mancers, and by extension Parson. So Parson shouldn't be telling Bogroll "You know what I learned? Most of the RCC troops can't dance fight" (not an exact quote), he should know that the archons can let Ansom lead them in a DDR to get the dance fight bonus and reverse the advantage Parson worked hard to get by stacking the bonuses of his own leadership bonus with Wanda leading undead and dance fighting. And it's really irrelevant that the universe is against Parson, that plot point can be set up without resorting to such reversals.

And to all the "Do you really hate a story without surprises?" posts above, that is a question which does not apply here. It is quite possible to surprise the readers without telling them something is impossible and then showing them that it is, for reasons unexplained, possible after all.