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Leewei
2009-05-07, 08:04 PM
Decrypted Archons? Man alive, Charlie's in for some hurt.

Siosilvar
2009-05-07, 08:07 PM
Order of The Stick is also updated to show this page...

sysice
2009-05-07, 08:08 PM
Plus, there goes all the the theories that she could only decrypt one person at a time and still have them with memories and no lost levels.

Yay! First page!

AlterForm
2009-05-07, 08:09 PM
Someone booped up the comic posting. :smallbiggrin:

GoC
2009-05-07, 08:10 PM
This is way overpowered.:smallannoyed:

Bookkeeper@Arms
2009-05-07, 08:18 PM
Gotta agree with GoC on this one. We're talking full-tilt Game-buster with cheat-codes.

Wanda can now uncroak anyone or anything she wants with no limits, giving her side troops with full capabilities intact and no upkeep.

Including the enemy heavies. And that's not taking into account the fact that the decrypted troops are loyal to her side and have their memories from when they were enemies! Has anyone considered that little bit? Now when they capture an enemy unit, instead of interrogating they simply croak them and decrypt them. It's the Erfworld version of the Zombie Apocalypse!

But I'm still betting that Wanda will turn on Stanley.

Justyn
2009-05-07, 08:21 PM
This is way overpowered.:smallannoyed:

Gotta agree with GoC on this one. We're talking full-tilt Game-buster with cheat-codes.

Well duh! The Arkenpliers are a divine artifact! You know divine? As in, "from the gods"? Those things that put the "dei" into "deus ex machina"? And besides, I've said this before and so has Rob: ERFWORLD IS NOT A GAME. Erfworld is an alternate world that has game-like qualities superimposed onto it.

I find no fault in the Arkentools giving unmitigated boons: because they are divine, gods are all about unfair; and hell, the real world is all kinds of unfair, why would an alternate universe be any different just because it looks like a game to us?

Guancyto
2009-05-07, 08:21 PM
Wait, so there's going to be (aside from the ones outside the hex, of which there were many) the entire RCC, under Ansom's command, all with unswerving loyalty to Stanley/Parson/whoever but with all personalities and memories intact?

Erfworld wishing for peace? It just might get it.

Trixie
2009-05-07, 08:24 PM
So... shouldn't Wanda take a trip to a certain lake?

Or is it too late for this now?

Plus, what she intends to do with the 'tool? Was it just for the sake of owning one, or does she have thought about the phase between 1) and 3) Profit! ?

DevilDan
2009-05-07, 08:27 PM
Yes, the Arkpliers give an attuned unit like Wanda a great advantage. That's "progress," just as other advances did on Earth: bronze weapons, iron weapons, saddles, composite bows, navigational technology, mathematics, cartography, cannons, ironclads, submarines, strategic bombers, atomic and nuclear bombs, satellites, UAVs... Need I go on?


Erfworld is an alternate world that has game-like qualities superimposed onto it.

That's either simplistic or chauvinistic, possibly. Would you say Earth is an alternate world with non-game qualities superimposed? It seems to be that Erf was built as a game-like reality from the ex nihilo moment up.

Sweetie Welf
2009-05-07, 08:29 PM
Wait, Wanda said that she would attune to an arkentool, not the specific the pliers. Maybe she originally thought she would get Stanley's hammer.

Nathan W
2009-05-07, 08:32 PM
this updaed whale i was on the site
awsume^grams number
(sorry 4 the spelling)

GoC
2009-05-07, 08:32 PM
Well duh! The Arkenpliers are a divine artifact! You know divine? As in, "from the gods"? Those things that put the "dei" into "deus ex machina"? And besides, I've said this before and so has Rob: ERFWORLD IS NOT A GAME. Erfworld is an alternate world that has game-like qualities superimposed onto it.

I find no fault in the Arkentools giving unmitigated boons: because they are divine, gods are all about unfair; and hell, the real world is all kinds of unfair, why would an alternate universe be any different just because it looks like a game to us?

What I mean is that it's more powerful than any other artifact we've seen so far. Death is now cheap. You can send out your entire army to attack another one and you win regardless of who scored more kills! Attruition now doesn't exist. You can now freely risk valuable and unique units (such as casters) on the field of battle!

DevilDan
2009-05-07, 08:33 PM
So, did the presence of the attuned 'pliers prevent all these corpses from disappearing at the start of the turn?

Justyn
2009-05-07, 08:34 PM
Yes, the Arkpliers give an attuned unit like Wanda a great advantage. That's "progress," just as other advances did on Earth: bronze weapons, iron weapons, saddles, composite bows, navigational technology, mathematics, cartography, cannons, ironclads, submarines, strategic bombers, atomic and nuclear bombs, satellites, UAVs... Need I go on?



That's either simplistic or chauvinistic, possibly. Would you say Earth is an alternate world with non-game qualities superimposed? It seems to be that Erf was built as a game-like reality from the ex nihilo moment up.

It's neither, it's a fact. I got that from Rob's podcast over in the Toolbox section of the new Erfworld site. If I did misinterpret something, oh well.

Bookkeeper@Arms
2009-05-07, 08:39 PM
Wanda said she could decrypt units that couldn't otherwise be decrypted. She even decrypted Charlie's Archons.

Does that mean she can decrypt casters? Like Misty the Thinkamancer? Or the Elf Healers in the RCC ranks? Woo! Talk about strategic advantage!

And another aspect of decrypting. It means that Stanley's side has no incentive whatsoever to accept surrenders! In fact, they have every incentive to slaughter every enemy unit indiscriminately! Because they can be "converted" rapidly with full loyalty and with no upkeep cost!

Erfworld disliked Stanley before? Hoo-boy! His previous performance is going to look like Sweet Mary Sunshine compared to the follow-up!

Gez
2009-05-07, 08:43 PM
Wanda can now uncroak anyone or anything she wants with no limits

No limits? Then why hasn't she decrypted Bogroll? :smalltongue:


What I mean is that it's more powerful than any other artifact we've seen so far. Death is now cheap. You can send out your entire army to attack another one and you win regardless of who scored more kills! Attruition now doesn't exist. You can now freely risk valuable and unique units (such as casters) on the field of battle!

Not really. You don't want to lose your Plier-Attuned caster.


So, did the presence of the attuned 'pliers prevent all these corpses from disappearing at the start of the turn?

They'll disappear at the start of their own turn, which comes after GK's turn. Otherwise, attacking last would be the perfect way to prevent enemy croakamancer from doing anything at all.


Wanda said she could decrypt units that couldn't otherwise be decrypted. She even decrypted Charlie's Archons.

She meant non-sentient units like a wiener-rammer. She had uncroaked archons in the past.

Xorbon
2009-05-07, 08:45 PM
I'm touched by Parson's disappointment in not being able to bring Bogroll back.

Also, the revived troops seem to be bewildered.

Sweetie Welf
2009-05-07, 08:46 PM
I really need to become a tool.

It seems the gobwins and hobgobwins are also back. And KISS is back from hell.

But all these units seems really disoriented. Uncrypting is apparently kinda traumatic.

Starlong
2009-05-07, 08:55 PM
I would have thought that a volcanoe erupting would have destroyed/buried next to every unit unfortunate enough to get caught in the blast. It would appear not, so I wonder if the army they'll have at the end of this book turns out to be stronger than the garrison they had at the beggining.

They have at least three Decrypt Archons now, so probably...

Opal Tide
2009-05-07, 09:01 PM
Awesome page.

It also looks like Wanda will stick around with PArson for a while longer since she said she would keep him appraised of any limits she finds with the pliers.

The awesomeness of the pliers raises the question of how many other awesome things can the hammer do that Tool is unaware of. I can imagine how overpowering they would be if Stanley fully unlocked his tool (assuming there is more to unlock that is).

On somewhat of a tangent this raises the question of the nature and history of the tools. Since they are artifacts of the Titans, I assume they have been around since the beginning. Have they appeared throughout the history of Erf World, attuning to various world shakers before being lost for a time? Have others been attuned to them before croaking?

Can't wait for the next installment!

Gez
2009-05-07, 09:04 PM
I would have thought that a volcanoe erupting would have destroyed/buried next to every unit unfortunate enough to get caught in the blast.

As I have pointed out two dozen times in past thread, the volcano did not erupt in the city itself. See the blast? It's on the middle of the mountain face, not on the top. (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0150.html)

There's some lava and fire that reached the top of the city, but it's pretty clear that most of it has been channeled away from GK and towards the column.

Wadoka
2009-05-07, 09:08 PM
That one poor Archon doesn't look bewildered... she looks dismayed.

Wanda's abilities with the Arkenpliers appear to be much, much greater than any similar ability Stanley has exhibited using the Arkenhammer, or Charlie has exhibited using the Arkendish.

This brings a question to my mind about the creation of the Sides. What if... the Transylvitans were created by the Titans, using the Arkenpliers?

SteveMB
2009-05-07, 09:23 PM
It's neither, it's a fact. I got that from Rob's podcast over in the Toolbox section of the new Erfworld site. If I did misinterpret something, oh well.

The point I got from Rob's podcast is that Erfworld is a universe that works by gamelike mechanics, but that the people and personalities are the important thing, not the "gameplay".

Wolfwood2
2009-05-07, 09:46 PM
I think under most circumstances the Arkenpliers wouldn't be quite so overwhelming. If Gobwin Knob forces lose a battle, they still lose those troops and those of the enemy. Only if they win the field can they claim the corpses, and even then Wanda has to either be there or the troops have to haul the corpses back to her.

Still pretty potent, though.

AngryAngel
2009-05-07, 09:47 PM
First page post (maybe)! Wanda seems to be loyal (still) both to Parson and the Tool. I agree with others that Stanley hasn't yet discovered a fraction of what the Arkenhammer is capable of. Of course, he isn't nearly as smart as Wanda is.

And Wanda is hawt! That is all.

Gloverboy
2009-05-07, 09:55 PM
Guess thats the closest Wanda will come to thanking Parson.

RIP Bogroll. Decrypting may have been a little too disturbing for you anyways.

the Gobwin in frame 2 breaks my current estimation on the rules for corpses. Hmmm.

First page. Thats pretty special to me. Hello world.

Another_Poet
2009-05-07, 09:59 PM
http://img17.imageshack.us/img17/8996/goodidea.png

I really thought it was going to be a spoof comic. An OoTS comic with Erfworld type jokes, or an OoTS done by Rob/Jamie, or an Erfworld done by Rich, or a regular OoTS that somehow involves Varsuvius dueling Redcloak for a knob (???).

Any of these would've thrilled me. And the new Erfworld comic, as-is, is certainly good.

But somehow, after anticipating the awesome that would be a Stick/Erf crossover parody, no amount of uncroaked troops really seem to do it for me.

:(

ap

Limos
2009-05-07, 09:59 PM
I have a theory.

Perhaps the Decrypted units can only stay decrypted as long as they are in the same Hex as Wanda. Maybe if they leave her immediate vicinity they will croak again. Or maybe they revert to standard uncroaked if they leave her hex. Or they begin to rapidly decay.

Maybe having the arkenpliers gives Wanda a massive upkeep cost so that they literally can't afford to field units in any other way than decrypting them.

Otherwise I would agree that it is entirely gamebreaking.

Calmness
2009-05-07, 10:41 PM
I must say I'm really liking the new coalition uniforms. The Punisher design is a classic :smallbiggrin:. That Archon looks cute as well.

Half_Moon
2009-05-07, 10:45 PM
I don't think the Arkenpliers are that overpowered.

Stanley was Chief Warlord and it made sense that the tool which he attuned to was combat based and allowed control over dragons, levitation and throwing thunder.

Wanda is a croakamancer and her tool is caster based and allows her to augment her croakamancy powers with ability to decrypt units with no limit.

When comparing the two, it seems quite even, especially when you consider that sending Wanda into battle risks her being targetted and croaked.

The Old Hack
2009-05-07, 10:56 PM
I do not quite agree with the notion that the pliers are somehow 'gamebreaking,' at least not in the sense that they will break the Erf storyline itself. For one thing, it is too early to tell -- we have yet to see where the plot will go to from here, let alone precisely how tough the future opposition will be. For another Mission Impossible style defense scenario? Have the protagonists of Book 2 being those trying to keep from being overrun by the new forces of GK lead by Parson. But I personally would rather have Book 2 be about a different kind of struggle -- precisely what kind is open, just not the same kind of defense scenario.

For now, we seem to be just about at the wrap-up of book one. Near as I can tell, all we really have left to see is the return of Stanley, and possibly how he will react to what he finds. I rather hope we'll see that last, though it may not be necessary depending on how Rob and Jamie plan to start off Book 2.

Rest in peace, Bogroll. I had rather hoped to see you Decrypted as well. But that was not to be.

Lunaya
2009-05-07, 11:03 PM
Aww..Parson's really torn up over Bogroll. So am I, to be honest. :smallfrown:

Dang it, Rob and Jamie! Why'd you have to make him so likable if you were just gonna kill him?! *sob*

Snowgods
2009-05-07, 11:25 PM
I must say I'm really liking the new coalition uniforms. The Punisher design is a classic :smallbiggrin:. That Archon looks cute as well.

Yeah Except that the decrypted uniforms seem to match Wanda's


If this matches with previous uncroaked gaining parsons shirt, then this suggests that they are loyal to HER, and not Parson or Stanley

Zeku
2009-05-08, 12:00 AM
We have no reason to believe that Decrypted (noun) that have been killed a second time can be decrypted (verb) a second time.

This means that in order for the pliers to win a battle, the attacker has to already have enough units to win.

Not gamebreaking at all, in fact, it's weaker than the hammer by quite a bit, since the only way it can generate new units is by decisive battles against weak enemies.

dr pepper
2009-05-08, 12:00 AM
Ok, now we can find out what the full powers of an archon are-- by asking one.

MCerberus
2009-05-08, 12:09 AM
My theory is that they're under Unsom's command right now since he gives a higher bonus and is currently commanding them to gather for a speech.

Lunaya
2009-05-08, 12:13 AM
I do have one question. Is an Archon still an Archon when Charles is no longer in charge?

kagato23
2009-05-08, 12:17 AM
Yeah Except that the decrypted uniforms seem to match Wanda's


If this matches with previous uncroaked gaining parsons shirt, then this suggests that they are loyal to HER, and not Parson or Stanley


the current behavior of Ansom seems to suggest otherwise however. And Wanda herself seems reasonably cooperative still. If anything, she seems to be liking Parson more (he not only saved her ass, but he brought about her prophecy!), and has no problem giving her new pet warlord to him as a minion.

If they do obey her, it might be a moot point, at least for now. Her duty score is probably reasonably high at the moment.

Lamech
2009-05-08, 12:19 AM
Hey, wait a tick. Parson would have survived just fine if he didn't go through the portal, Wanda would have resurrected him. So why did he spend time in the magic kingdom? I see one of those fancy chevok's guns. Maybe.

And we have archons on GK's side. That hurts.

P.S. Look at the web adress its http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0159.html and OotS 159 was removed from the index. The erfworld is now at the top of the OotS index. And OotS 159 is skipped over by the arrows on 158. Thats odd, and interesting...

Smight
2009-05-08, 12:24 AM
Gotta agree with GoC on this one. We're talking full-tilt Game-buster with cheat-codes.

Wanda can now uncroak anyone or anything she wants with no limits, giving her side troops with full capabilities intact and no upkeep.

Including the enemy heavies. And that's not taking into account the fact that the decrypted troops are loyal to her side and have their memories from when they were enemies! Has anyone considered that little bit? Now when they capture an enemy unit, instead of interrogating they simply croak them and decrypt them. It's the Erfworld version of the Zombie Apocalypse!

But I'm still betting that Wanda will turn on Stanley.


there is a limit, you gota have corpses to decript, no corpses no units.

Devoured_Dude
2009-05-08, 12:44 AM
So if the Decrypted retain memories and personality, with the only change being a new loyalty to the side, Wanda doesn't need Ansom to win Jillian's heart...


Wanda can simply kill and decrypt Jillian. Or wait until Caesar kills Jillian and then decrypt her. It might take some of the fun out of dominating her, of course...

The Sandman
2009-05-08, 12:45 AM
The reason why the Arkenpliers may seem game-breaking is that, thanks to Parson's volcano gambit and to the scale of the battle, Wanda has literally thousands of corpses to decrypt. Under normal circumstances, you aren't going to have a total wipe of both sides, and you aren't going to have that many troops engaged in a single hex.

And as mentioned, Wanda needs a body to decrypt it; that means that Misty is unfortunately permadead, and also means that as soon as someone on the other side realizes what she can do they're going to make it SOP to try to burn their dead before retreating.

I would guess, by the way, that the Arkenhammer has some sort of power over life where the Arkenpliers have power over death. Remember Stanley's walnut-cracking experiment?

Name Lips
2009-05-08, 01:20 AM
I'm guessing, for limiting factors on the pliers:

1: Decrypted units, once destroyed, cannot be uncroaked or decrypted again.

2: Decrypted units no longer gain experience or levels.


There are other more obvious limitations...

3: Wanda must be personally present in order to decrypt units. This exposes her to attack, and if she dies, it's unknown when or if the pliers can ever attune again.

4: She requires a corpse to decrypt. In Erfworld this is more serious a limitation than one might realize - if a corpse isn't uncroaked or decrypted quickly, it vanishes. So unlike necromancers in other fantasy systems, she cannot find an ancient crypt or battlefield and decrypt an unlimited army of undead. She is limited to the corpses of the here and now. I mean, think about it... what if she had gotten the pliers and there hadn't been a huge pile of thousands of corpses for her to decrypt? She'd be a sitting duck.

5: Corpses must be intact. I have a feeling that attacks that maim, burn, or otherwise obliterate a target will become more valuable. Other factions might even take the initiative to destroy corpses before they're decrypted - after all, they're easier to hit when they're lying down with Xs in their eyes.

6: And here's the biggie. She can only decrypt on her own faction's turn. So no matter how many decrypted she has in her army, if she's attacked, she has to survive the battle and emerge victorious in order to, on her own turn, be able to decrypt the new corpses. That's fine if you're in a winning position - but not all battles are winners. And you can't leave the hex when it's not your turn, so no fleeing...

Kuddly
2009-05-08, 01:20 AM
Can these Decrypted be uncroaked if they die again?

Edit:




1: Decrypted units, once destroyed, cannot be uncroaked or decrypted again.



Are you sure? I don't really see any logical factors why they can't be decrypted again. Its not as though their beyond use and many of the factors affecting uncroaked are thrown out the window with the decrypted

Oslecamo
2009-05-08, 01:21 AM
Woot for more Wanda fanservice! Who said uncroackmancy had to be a nasty thing?:smallbiggrin:

Well, seems like the pliers are "evilgasm" power level. Not game-breacking, but enough for the rest of the world to be very afraid.

Wanda still seems to be loyal to Hamster at least, that's something.

Ansom also pledged his loyalty to Arsom, and now seems to be assuring the loyalties of his new decrypted army.

And yeah, as for Bogroll, he's dead, Jim. The coalition did it's homeworck on how to stop regeneration.:smallfrown:

factotum
2009-05-08, 01:31 AM
Are you sure? I don't really see any logical factors why they can't be decrypted again. Its not as though their beyond use and many of the factors affecting uncroaked are thrown out the window with the decrypted

The main logical factor is to limit the power of the Arkenpliers. Artifact of the Titans or no, if it has essentially unlimited decrypting ability then it becomes a smidge TOO powerful, even with the other limitations mentioned.

StrykerX
2009-05-08, 01:33 AM
Gotta agree with GoC on this one. We're talking full-tilt Game-buster with cheat-codes.

Wanda can now uncroak anyone or anything she wants with no limits, giving her side troops with full capabilities intact and no upkeep.

Including the enemy heavies. And that's not taking into account the fact that the decrypted troops are loyal to her side and have their memories from when they were enemies! Has anyone considered that little bit? Now when they capture an enemy unit, instead of interrogating they simply croak them and decrypt them. It's the Erfworld version of the Zombie Apocalypse!

But I'm still betting that Wanda will turn on Stanley.

There is one possible limit: do we know if destroyed uncroaked troops can be re-uncroaked? If not, and the same is true for decrypted units, then attrition is still possible. Not easy, since your own losses will replenish Wanda's troops (assuming her side wins the battle), but possible. You just have to wipe out decrypted troops faster than Wanda can produce them... which basically means either winning battles (to deny her access to the corpses) or surgical strikes by warlords (like Parson pulled on the siege units).

Remember, the coalition had vastly more production and resources than Gobwin Knob did. Even with the gems, GK still has only one city (which may limit their unit production capabilities). If the coalition stays together they may well be able to hold their own cities until they have a large enough army built up to take on the zombie horde. GK is now the strongest individual side, but that doesn't mean they are stronger than everyone else combined...

Devoured_Dude
2009-05-08, 01:33 AM
How long before Stanley and Wanda realize that a decrypted Parson would save them 1,000 Schmuckers per turn? :smalleek:

Killer Angel
2009-05-08, 02:29 AM
Poor Bogroll, i'll miss you.
Also, it's interesting to see that Parson is sad for the impossibility to Decrypt Bogroll... this could means that the "ruthlessness", ends with the combat?


Gotta agree with GoC on this one. We're talking full-tilt Game-buster with cheat-codes.

Wanda can now uncroak anyone or anything she wants with no limits, giving her side troops with full capabilities intact and no upkeep.

Including the enemy heavies. And that's not taking into account the fact that the decrypted troops are loyal to her side and have their memories from when they were enemies! Has anyone considered that little bit? Now when they capture an enemy unit, instead of interrogating they simply croak them and decrypt them. It's the Erfworld version of the Zombie Apocalypse!

But I'm still betting that Wanda will turn on Stanley.


First consideration: we still don't know what are the limits of the new troops; probably there will be some drawback still unclear.
One could be that the new units show Wanda's skull, not Hamster' symbol, so their "life" probably is binded to the arkenpliers... not so cool having 3/4 of your army totally dependent on a SINGLE commander.

Second: maybe the arkenpliers in wanda's hands ARE overpowered, and this could be a Zombiegeddon... can you imagine a coolest fight for books 2? the living world united against the unstoppable decrypt force?
Of course, Stanley and Parson could be on Wanda's opponent side...

Killer Angel
2009-05-08, 02:32 AM
A funny thing...
This strip is in OotS site, but not still in erfworld's

DoctorJest
2009-05-08, 02:46 AM
Well duh! The Arkenpliers are a divine artifact! You know divine? As in, "from the gods"? Those things that put the "dei" into "deus ex machina"? And besides, I've said this before and so has Rob: ERFWORLD IS NOT A GAME. Erfworld is an alternate world that has game-like qualities superimposed onto it.

I find no fault in the Arkentools giving unmitigated boons: because they are divine, gods are all about unfair; and hell, the real world is all kinds of unfair, why would an alternate universe be any different just because it looks like a game to us?

Lets also consider that Stanley's side now controls two such artifacts with attuned wielders. This may well confer a special bonus or power up to both items. This is not uncommon in these sorts of games, so it may not be uncommon in Erfworld, either. The fact that one side has two artifacts may well make both artifacts considerably more powerful.

Kilkrazy
2009-05-08, 03:21 AM
The point I got from Rob's podcast is that Erfworld is a universe that works by gamelike mechanics, but that the people and personalities are the important thing, not the "gameplay".

That makes more sense to me. I see the Erfworld series as a journey of emotional development for Parson. He is being forced by his experiences in Erfworld to confront aspects of his Earth life which he may decide to change if and when he returns there.

Kilkrazy
2009-05-08, 03:30 AM
There is one possible limit: do we know if destroyed uncroaked troops can be re-uncroaked? If not, and the same is true for decrypted units, then attrition is still possible. Not easy, since your own losses will replenish Wanda's troops (assuming her side wins the battle), but possible. You just have to wipe out decrypted troops faster than Wanda can produce them... which basically means either winning battles (to deny her access to the corpses) or surgical strikes by warlords (like Parson pulled on the siege units).

Remember, the coalition had vastly more production and resources than Gobwin Knob did. Even with the gems, GK still has only one city (which may limit their unit production capabilities). If the coalition stays together they may well be able to hold their own cities until they have a large enough army built up to take on the zombie horde. GK is now the strongest individual side, but that doesn't mean they are stronger than everyone else combined...

Also, there may well be a currently unknown artefact which opposes the Decrypting ability of the pliers.

robinmdh
2009-05-08, 03:49 AM
while i agree the arkenpliers aren't game breaking, please consider the following.

if "moving" a body means it will not disapear:

Wanda won't have to be in or even near the battle, the units left over can just pile the bodies up for convenient mas decrypting later when Wanda comes by.
Misty's body could still be there were parson buried her, decrypted it would seem logical that she could cast etc, and a lookomancer seems very handy (and scarce) and Misty could be an interesting character.
the mass uncroaking/decrypting must be something Wanda does a lot since GK mostly had uncroaked units on their side anyway

but Misty being able to cast is still doubtful even if he body still exists...

this would make the arkenpliers even more powerfull, but you indeed still need to win you battles otherwise you don't have any bodies to decrypt.

BLANDCorporatio
2009-05-08, 04:07 AM
... ERFWORLD IS NOT A GAME ...

Be that as it may, but Erfworld is a Story.

It is perfectly possible to devise a story in which the protagonist, armed with the power of the Gods Titans is curb-stomping everyone else effortlessly. I leave it as an exercise to the reader to figure out how interesting that can be.

You can argue that Parson and GK are in no position to curb-stomp everyone yet. It's a possible discussion, I for one say they pretty much can and have the advantage of the opponent's confusion for several turns (that multi-hex dirtamancy trap has everyone scratching their heads for sure) to allow them build-up.

In the end, when I whine "game-breaker", what I mean is that I see now that Parson has a lot of power in his hands. Waaaay too much, in my mind, to keep him as an interesting protagonist. For one thing, it makes his supposed uber-Warlordness superfluous.

So there.


I do not quite agree with the notion that the pliers are somehow 'gamebreaking,' at least not in the sense that they will break the Erf storyline itself. For one thing, it is too early to tell -- we have yet to see where the plot will go to from here, let alone precisely how tough the future opposition will be. For another Mission Impossible style defense scenario? Have the protagonists of Book 2 being those trying to keep from being overrun by the new forces of GK lead by Parson. But I personally would rather have Book 2 be about a different kind of struggle -- precisely what kind is open, just not the same kind of defense scenario.

I can agree to this- the switching protagonist idea. Have the storyline follow the struggle of the other Erfers now. Guerilla warfare against the Wombie Hordes.


Also, there may well be a currently unknown artefact which opposes the Decrypting ability of the pliers.

I will only quote you, but I am actually referring to everyone in the "not overpowered, let's imagine drawbacks" crowd.

Don't you think you're clutching at straws here?

Sure, it may turn out that, say, Jillian becomes attuned to the Ultimate ArkenTool, the Saw or whatever. And that the Saw can cause insta-kill on all decrypted and (to add some dramatic tension) to the Croakamancer that did the decrypting.

Fine, possible. All supposed drawbacks mentioned so far are conceivable.

BUT, as I said once, what we see is Parson's hand, and it's pretty much a straight Flush. Who looks likely to have the better hand? Parson. And if someone just pulls out a Royal Flush, well in real-life sleeves would be called forth to be inspected.

Bogardan_Mage
2009-05-08, 04:47 AM
Decrypting may look impressive, but let's not forget the power of the other Arkentools. We haven't seen Stanley tame a dwagon. We haven't seen Charlie summon an archon. Just because we now see Wanda decrypt thousands of units doesn't make that anything special. From the looks of it, decrypted are only as powerful as they were in life. So if you want a level 10 decrypted warlord like Ansom, you have to croak a level 10 warlord like Ansom. It wasn't easy the first time they did it, and it won't be any easier the next time. Finding a wild dwagon to tame seems comparatively simple, and the titans only know where Charlie's forces come from (from the narative's point of view they seem limitless). Yes, the pliers are powerful, but the hammer was also powerful, it was just wielded by an idiot. I rather expect that once Wanda is done with this batch of decryption we will see precious few opportunities for her to decrypt anything else, and thus the power of the Arkenpliers will be completely nullified.

BLANDCorporatio
2009-05-08, 04:54 AM
Decrypting may look impressive, but let's not forget the power of the other Arkentools. We haven't seen Stanley tame a dwagon. We haven't seen Charlie summon an archon. Just because we now see Wanda decrypt thousands of units doesn't make that anything special. From the looks of it, decrypted are only as powerful as they were in life. So if you want a level 10 decrypted warlord like Ansom, you have to croak a level 10 warlord like Ansom. It wasn't easy the first time they did it, and it won't be any easier the next time. Finding a wild dwagon to tame seems comparatively simple, and the titans only know where Charlie's forces come from (from the narative's point of view they seem limitless). Yes, the pliers are powerful, but the hammer was also powerful, it was just wielded by an idiot. I rather expect that once Wanda is done with this batch of decryption we will see precious few opportunities for her to decrypt anything else, and thus the power of the Arkenpliers will be completely nullified.

Why this hangup on lvl 10 Warlords?

For every marbit they, GK, kill, they accomplish:

- one less marbit for the opposition;
- one more marbit for GK, free of production cost (we know Wanda seems to be able to decrypt forever), popping time and upkeep.

For the love of God people, it's not the strong-on-paper units that make the most damage. Heck, in Heroes of Might and Magic 2 the best stacks you could somewhat realistically get where 20k skeletons! As for Starcraft, apparently the best unit is the crackling!*

*: not to be taken to imply that the Necromancy skill in HoMM2 or the crackling are game-breakers; the point is, they're awesome at what they do, despite their puny HP and damage ratings.

Bogardan_Mage
2009-05-08, 05:27 AM
Why this hangup on lvl 10 Warlords?

For every marbit they, GK, kill, they accomplish:

- one less marbit for the opposition;
- one more marbit for GK, free of production cost (we know Wanda seems to be able to decrypt forever), popping time and upkeep.
No. For every marbit they kill they take one marbit from the opposition and give said opposition one marbit corpse. If, and only if, they then manage to get Wanda to the corpse (or the corpse to Wanda) then they get a cost and upkeep free but let's face it basically useless unit.

For each wild dwagon they get Stanley to, they get a dwagon. I don't know if the costs or upkeep of dwagons has been mentioned, but it's safe to assume that it doesn't cost anything to tame it at least. The upkeep is low or nonexistant enough for Stanley to keep a large number of dwagons despite his financial troubles. And unlike decrypted marbits, dwagons are very powerful flying units. So why did Gobwin Knob lose when they had this unbalanced source of dwagons?

The answer is that Stanley wasn't going out to track down dwagons to tame. That wouldn't be practical. The same limitation exists for the pliers. They're primarily defensive, from what I can see. You can decrypt your fallen, and those of your invaders, but its power is sharply reduced when you start campaigning elsewhere, because you either risk Wanda by sending her to the front lines, or you have to keep transporting corpses back to a safe place where Wanda is concealed. Either way, not any more gamebreaking than the hammer. The situation you see at the moment is the best case scenario for the wielder of the pliers, and it will never happen again.

TazTheTerrible
2009-05-08, 05:29 AM
Yeah their power kinda depends on whether or not decrypted can be re-decrypted when they die. If yes, then a smart warlord will probably steamroll all over you with a plier-attuned caster under his or her command. If no, then the pliers are still strong, but not impossibly strong. Remember, Wanda can only be in one hex at a time and so many hexes per turn, and her ability DOES require corpses. The hammer and the dish seem to be able to generate dwagons and archons by themselves.

That means that the pliers really wouldn't be all that powerful in most circumstances. You'd have to go out and fight, probably piss people off in the process, and you could only decrypt units as powerful as you were able to kill. If you start off small, it would take some time to build up to a decent power. The hammer in similar circumstances would give you a huge headstart right from the get go. Puny city perhaps, but all of a sudden you'd have friggin dwagons flying around.

The pliers are more of an underdog weapon in some ways. The enemy will have the heavier hitters, but if you can survive that and win, all of a sudden you have them as well. And as long as you keep winning, then the stronger the forces you throw against the pliers, the stronger the plier-wielder becomes.

BLANDCorporatio
2009-05-08, 05:44 AM
No. For every marbit they kill they take one marbit from the opposition and give said opposition one marbit corpse. If, and only if, they then manage to get Wanda to the corpse (or the corpse to Wanda) then they get a cost and upkeep free but let's face it basically useless unit.

Yes, just like bats are basically useless.

Wrong. Every marbit, bat and gobwin counts.


For each wild dwagon they get Stanley to, they get a dwagon. I don't know if the costs or upkeep of dwagons has been mentioned, but it's safe to assume that it doesn't cost anything to tame it at least. The upkeep is low or nonexistant enough for Stanley to keep a large number of dwagons despite his financial troubles. And unlike decrypted marbits, dwagons are very powerful flying units. So why did Gobwin Knob lose when they had this unbalanced source of dwagons?

Financial troubles? He could afford to summon and upkeep Parson.

And it also appears that dwagons pop, but it takes time. So it could be that Stanley just couldn't make enough in time. Whereas, decryption provides units a lot faster after each engagement.


The same limitation exists for the pliers. They're primarily defensive, from what I can see. You can decrypt your fallen, and those of your invaders, but its power is sharply reduced when you start campaigning elsewhere ...

Defensive? Right now, if I were a smart warlord, I'd go barbarian hunting. In fact, I'd do hit and run attacks as fast as I could all over the map. Strike a village, kill everyone, decrypt, leave them there. Who cares that I won't be able to hold said villages, those troops cost me nothing but they will cost blood from my opponents to dislodge.

The pliers are as offensive as they get.


...because you either risk Wanda by sending her to the front lines, or you have to keep transporting corpses back to a safe place where Wanda is concealed.

No. Fast mounts- we have them. Veils- we have them. Hit, stealth decrypt and run ftw.


Either way, not any more gamebreaking than the hammer. The situation you see at the moment is the best case scenario for the wielder of the pliers, and it will never happen again.

The hammer, as we've seen it so far, functions as basically a high-level monster dwelling. The pliers can do much much more with what I've just described.

Foryn Gilnith
2009-05-08, 05:45 AM
Perhaps the Decrypted can no longer receive leadership bonuses? "morale effects", in D&D terms?


I do have one question. Is an Archon still an Archon when Charles is no longer in charge?

Who's to say Charles is no longer in charge? :)



P.S. Look at the web adress its http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0159.html and OotS 159 was removed from the index. The erfworld is now at the top of the OotS index. And OotS 159 is skipped over by the arrows on 158. Thats odd, and interesting...

I visit this site through http://www.giantitp.com/comics/ootslatest.html and the corresponding erf link. That's the only way I noticed the switchup.


How long before Stanley and Wanda realize that a decrypted Parson would save them 1,000 Schmuckers per turn? :smalleek:

Thi is half of why we're looking for limitations. If they decrypt him, he might only be a level 2 warlord - no superintelligence.



I will only quote you, but I am actually referring to everyone in the "not overpowered, let's imagine drawbacks" crowd.

Don't you think you're clutching at straws here?

...

BUT, as I said once, what we see is Parson's hand, and it's pretty much a straight Flush. Who looks likely to have the better hand? Parson. And if someone just pulls out a Royal Flush, well in real-life sleeves would be called forth to be inspected.

Nobody's going to pull a royal flush. Drawbacks are innate to the arkenpliers, at least for my understanding of the word "drawback". And sleeves are being called forth for inspection - namely, Parson's and Wanda's. The Arkenhammer has three flaws listed in its character writeup. Two of them are useless, but they're still flaws. Is it unreasonable to assume that the Arkenpliers would also have flaws? Is it clutching at straws to assume that the game mechanic of decrypting has some nuance and subtle balances?

Foryn Gilnith
2009-05-08, 05:48 AM
No. Fast mounts- we have them. Veils- we have them. Hit, stealth decrypt and run ftw.

Aside from the fact that the stealth part might break down if you need quantities of decrypted with any degree of haste, this sounds like something Parson could/would/should do. That is, if he wasn't freaked out by the mass deaths.

Miklus
2009-05-08, 05:49 AM
I'm guessing, for limiting factors on the pliers:
...

2: Decrypted units no longer gain experience or levels.

...


We know that uncroaked warlords can gain levels, Stanley complained about it at some point. So why should a "decrypted" warlord not?

Each Arkentool seems to have a superunit related to it. The Arkenhammer has the dwagons, probably the best combat unit there is and they fly too. There are also several kinds. The Arkenhammer could apparently one-shot Caesar and all his little bats too.

The Arkendish has the archons. They have been seen combatting dwagons, they fly too and have all kinds of magical abilities. The Arkendish gives an enoumous strategic advantage, like having a spy sattelite network.

The Arkenpliers can also generate a kind of superunit, but unlike the other arkentools you must have a freshly croaked unit at hand. It could only generate "Unsom" because GK has just killed him the turn before. And with some trouble, I might add.

So I don't think the Arkenpliers are that overpowered. Although if used correctly, you can run amok across Erfworld momentum-style.

BLANDCorporatio
2009-05-08, 05:59 AM
... So I don't think the Arkenpliers are that overpowered. Although if used correctly, you can run amok across Erfworld momentum-style.

Almost everyone keeps comparing the uber-units. I think this is wrong.

Yes, Archons and Dwagons are powerful. Suppose you have one of them, like a dwagon, and an opponent has a cloth golem.

You kill the cloth golem. The end.

Now, you with the pliers, and let's still give you a dwagon since GK has a few. The opponent has a cloth golem.

You kill the cloth golem. You have a cloth golem.

That is what makes the Pliers powerful. They don't need to summon uner-units. They summon the opponent's strength.

And considering the muscle that was thrown at GK lately, that is a lot.


Aside from the fact that the stealth part might break down if you need quantities of decrypted with any degree of haste, this sounds like something Parson could/would/should do. That is, if he wasn't freaked out by the mass deaths.

He is RUTHLESS.

(And I don't see why the stealth should break down by hasting, after all Stanley retreated in a hurry and it worked well enough for him. The only stealthy unit you absolutely need is Wanda anyway. The decrypted can be sacrificed by being left wherever they were. There's always the option to make more.)

Foryn Gilnith
2009-05-08, 06:07 AM
He is RUTHLESS.

(And I don't see why the stealth should break down by hasting, after all Stanley retreated in a hurry and it worked well enough for him. The only stealthy unit you absolutely need is Wanda anyway. The decrypted can be sacrificed by being left wherever they were. There's always the option to make more.)

He doesn't seem to be acting very ruthless in the last few panels. In the battle, maybe; but perhaps after recovering he's no longer using any of the sword powers, because he no longer needs leadership and no longer wants influence on his mind.

The point is that you don't sacrifice the decrypted, because you need them for your army. If you spend a turn hitting and running from an enemy and take a handful of decrypted, your army isn't going to grow terribly fast. And keep in mind the rest of the world sees you as a threat.
Stanley had all fast units, and all hard-hitting units. The decrypted (because the purpose of the assault is to obtain them) are liable to be neither.

Whispri
2009-05-08, 06:15 AM
It's good to see Wanda's getting a happy ending and the bandit army getting a seconed chance. Shame about Bogroll though.


Why this hangup on lvl 10 Warlords?

Because a level ten Warlord represents a powerful force multiplier. That's what makes the bats and other weak units dangerous.

BLANDCorporatio
2009-05-08, 06:21 AM
He doesn't seem to be acting very ruthless in the last few panels. In the battle, maybe; but perhaps after recovering he's no longer using any of the sword powers, because he no longer needs leadership and no longer wants influence on his mind.

The point is that you don't sacrifice the decrypted, because you need them for your army. If you spend a turn hitting and running from an enemy and take a handful of decrypted, your army isn't going to grow terribly fast. And keep in mind the rest of the world sees you as a threat.
Stanley had all fast units, and all hard-hitting units. The decrypted (because the purpose of the assault is to obtain them) are liable to be neither.

The fact that he isn't acting very ruthless, and that Sizemore would be much opposed (maybe) to my plan, makes me suspect a future rift. A conflict between Duty and ... well, Conscience maybe.

As for sacrificing the Decrypted, why, that is what they are made for! That's the whole point!

Imagine the Dwagon strike against the siege, but now with ArkenWanda. The siege is killed, and then decrypted. Sure it is slaughtered by the next turn but it goes down fighting. No real loss for ArkenWanda, but not only did the opponent pay for those units, now he pays to kill them too, in new blood!

The possibilities are endless!

I mentioned also barbarians, and small sides, because those will be easy to obliterate and convert in a more permanent fashion. But you don't need to grow attached to your decrypted. The goal is not to grow an army.

The goal is to create, in the mind of the enemy, the FEAR to attack! To inconvenience them as much as possible, to reduce, confuse, misdirect, delay their fighting force.

Having a big fighting force yourself is just one possible solution.

And this does not even begin to address my other speculation about the state of Erfworld. The RCC is dissolved and against all odds defeated by an "impossible" multi-hex dirtamancy trap. That will leave everyone scrambling for options, and in the confusion a new alliance is not, entirely, all that likely. Everyone would first want to know what happened, who exactly had a part in it (damn those Tardy elves, that's why they didn't show up!), could they do it again, could we find out how to do it. For a few turns, Stanley should be safe.


Because a level ten Warlord represents a powerful force multiplier. That's what makes the bats and other weak units dangerous.

Agreed, but in the rush to say how hard it is to get another lvl 10 warlord everyone forgets that GK has now several, as well as the fact that those weak and useless units are actually nothing of the kind.

So I am defending the honour of Marbits, Bats and Gobwins everywhere. Laugh in your citadels but the day will come when they will mob you down! The time of the lvl 1 units is nigh!

Bogardan_Mage
2009-05-08, 06:22 AM
Yes, just like bats are basically useless.

Wrong. Every marbit, bat and gobwin counts.
Marbit < Dwagon. That is the extent of my power related argument. You seem to be under the entirely mistaken impression that I had some "hang up" on level 10 warlords, no doubt stemming from my entirely mistaken impression that you actually had a logical reason for believing the pliers were overpowered.


Financial troubles? He could afford to summon and upkeep Parson.
Yes. All the while complaining how much it cost, and more importantly how little he had to spend. 500000 schmuckers would "literally empty the treasury". So 350000, the cost he actually payed, would have been some 70% of his wealth. Considering the number of dwagons he had, and how long he kept them, they'd have to be at least undercosted for their power. And if the pliers' units have no upkeep why should the hammers'?


And it also appears that dwagons pop, but it takes time. So it could be that Stanley just couldn't make enough in time. Whereas, decryption provides units a lot faster after each engagement.
But they're weaker, and they need a corpse.


Defensive? Right now, if I were a smart warlord, I'd go barbarian hunting. In fact, I'd do hit and run attacks as fast as I could all over the map. Strike a village, kill everyone, decrypt, leave them there. Who cares that I won't be able to hold said villages, those troops cost me nothing but they will cost blood from my opponents to dislodge.

The pliers are as offensive as they get.
Uh huh. And what do you get from that? Weak villages, and weak units. Not totally free, because you gave up the opportunity to send your armies to more profitable locations. A reasonable strategy, but it's not what I'd call "as offensive as they get". That rather strikes me as the most defensive approach to offense I've ever heard.


No. Fast mounts- we have them. Veils- we have them. Hit, stealth decrypt and run ftw.
Veils can be pierced. Wanda is precious. Still risky.


The hammer, as we've seen it so far, functions as basically a high-level monster dwelling.
In my very first post in this thread I said we haven't seen Stanley tame a dwagon. You are arguing that this means it must be weaker than the pliers? You are prepared to assume extensive powers of the pliers but not the hammer?


The pliers can do much much more with what I've just described.
Because we've seen them in their best possible scenario, and we haven't seen the hammer in a hex of a thousand dwagons, the pliers must be the superior tool.

This situation will never be repeated. Gobwin Knob's enemies will soon learn to counter the pliers by not allowing their dead to fall into the hands of the enemy. It seems likely (at least possible) that units can only be decrypted once, and if this is the case all your strategies become substantially less effective. Stop basing your assessment on what Wanda is doing right now and consider what we don't know: the power of the other arkentools and the true nature of decrypted.

Gez
2009-05-08, 06:25 AM
Yes, just like bats are basically useless.

Wrong. Every marbit, bat and gobwin counts.
If you can get them the 10th level warlords you don't understand why people are fretting about. :smalltongue:



Defensive? Right now, if I were a smart warlord, I'd go barbarian hunting. In fact, I'd do hit and run attacks as fast as I could all over the map. Strike a village, kill everyone, decrypt, leave them there. Who cares that I won't be able to hold said villages, those troops cost me nothing but they will cost blood from my opponents to dislodge.
Do barbarian villages really exist? What we know of Barbarians is that they're members of a defeated side who haven't been croaked or captured. If they're defeated, they don't have a village anymore, since it has been destroyed or seized by an enemy. If they still have it, then they're not barbarians.

Anyway, that plan still involve risking the source of your army -- the attuned plierer -- everywhere across the map. If you don't want to lose her to an ambush or to an enemy better defended than you thought, you'd have to conduct your attacks with overwhelming force. Which translates to a slow RCC-like column, which cannot perform hit-and-run attacks very well.

snafu
2009-05-08, 06:28 AM
So I don't think the Arkenpliers are that overpowered. Although if used correctly, you can run amok across Erfworld momentum-style.

In the old Microprose strategy game Master of Magic there were many ways to create a horribly broken wizard build that would easily demolish all the AIs in a very short time even on the hardest level.

Possibly the worst of these was to spend your entire points allowance on Death spellbooks. This let you start the game with the extremely powerful Wraiths spell. It summons a unit of wraiths, which are flying, life-draining, undead-raising, game-breaking horrors.

You'd begin casting on turn 1, and pour everything you had into it to get the summoning complete as soon as possible (it takes a little while, you're supposed to be a lot more powerful by the time you get this spell). Then you'd summon your wraiths.

If you ran across a rival wizard's city early on, of course you'd take it out then and there. His small early-game garrison of spearmen would be no obstacle. Then, as someone upthread suggested, you'd go barbarian hunting. The world is littered with unaligned towns and villages at the start of the game, but none of them have anything that can fight Wraiths. When you get to the last surviving wizard, he might by then have some units that could harm Wraiths - magic weapons, or energy blasts, or such things - but you'd also be bringing with you a colossal undead horde.

(Personally I preferred the item crafter's approach. It was possible to get casting bonuses that made the creation of items and artefacts so cheap that it cost less mana to make them than you recovered from breaking them. Result: profit. By continually making and breaking cheap magic swords, you'd end up very powerful, very fast. Then recruit a hero, enchant him the most powerful artefacts you can, and turn him loose upon the world!)

Gez
2009-05-08, 06:30 AM
Imagine the Dwagon strike against the siege, but now with ArkenWanda. The siege is killed, and then decrypted.

And archery gets their hitsies. On Wanda.

SteveD
2009-05-08, 06:36 AM
I'm less interested in game mechanics right now then I am that the writers seem to be making a point with the Decrypted units colour scheme. We know from the toolbox that Ansom's original colour scheme was going to be identical to the soldiers (black and red).

So are these units loyal to Wanda rather then Parson or Stanley? Previously uncroaked units displayed Stanleys colours and Parson's heraldry. That these new units would display Wanda's colours and heraldry would imply they are separate from this.

From previous strips I considered it unlikely that Wanda would turn on Stanley...now I find it a distinct possibility.

Other fans have been trying to figure out the Duty mechanic; how could Stanley have committed regicide if duty bound him to his ruler? But what if attuning to an arkentool actually does what Parson/Stanley suggested; chose an Erfworlder for a divine reason to be a ruler?

What if the Arkentools grant free will?

BLANDCorporatio
2009-05-08, 06:43 AM
Marbit < Dwagon. That is the extent of my power related argument. You seem to be under the entirely mistaken impression that I had some "hang up" on level 10 warlords, no doubt stemming from my entirely mistaken impression that you actually had a logical reason for believing the pliers were overpowered.

Flattery will get you everywhere :smallwink:!



Yes. All the while complaining how much it cost, and more importantly how little he had to spend. 500000 schmuckers would "literally empty the treasury". So 350000, the cost he actually payed, would have been some 70% of his wealth. Considering the number of dwagons he had, and how long he kept them, they'd have to be at least undercosted for their power. And if the pliers' units have no upkeep why should the hammers'?

Because the no-upkeep bit was delivered as a bit of a surprise info.


Uh huh. And what do you get from that? Weak villages, and weak units. Not totally free, because you gave up the opportunity to send your armies to more profitable locations. A reasonable strategy, but it's not what I'd call "as offensive as they get". That rather strikes me as the most defensive approach to offense I've ever heard.

Define profitable. We've seen Parson mount a strike on a siege column with good success- that was profitable. With stealth-decrypt, even more so.

Plus, having pockets of troops in places on the map can be a great asset to delay the enemy or deny, at least for some time, a patch of land or resource. Yes, this is very offensive. The point is, nothing is safe anymore. Pick any spot on the map that is lightly defended- there's got to be a few- and suddenly it belongs to you! Even if there are not many troops there, they are there to be willingly sacrificed and deliver inconvenience to the opposition. Thus, they (the opposition) can only grow weaker.

Of course you can mount conventional assaults too, with plenty of casualties and opportunities for decryption and army increase; but you don't have to think in those terms alone.


Veils can be pierced. Wanda is precious. Still risky.

Everything is risky- but this time, it looks like it's more than worth it!


In my very first post in this thread I said we haven't seen Stanley tame a dwagon. You are arguing that this means it must be weaker than the pliers? You are prepared to assume extensive powers of the pliers but not the hammer?

I argue that the hammer functions as a dwelling that produces units. I argue that the pliers function as something else, which turns out better. See a post above.



Because we've seen them in their best possible scenario, and we haven't seen the hammer in a hex of a thousand dwagons, the pliers must be the superior tool.

This situation will never be repeated. Gobwin Knob's enemies will soon learn to counter the pliers by not allowing their dead to fall into the hands of the enemy. It seems likely (at least possible) that units can only be decrypted once, and if this is the case all your strategies become substantially less effective. Stop basing your assessment on what Wanda is doing right now and consider what we don't know: the power of the other arkentools and the true nature of decrypted.

That is precisely what I am arguing against. For all I know, Jillian might be Titan and will Parson into defeat with the power of her mind. I do not base any conclusion on information not revealed yet.

What has been revealed is the power of the Pliers and until I see what weakness they are supposed to have the only rational conclusion is that they are one extremely powerful tool.

That is not all however- all of GK's assets, as well as the reasonable assumption (based on what Caesar found out from Bunny) that Erfworld is currently in a state of confusion, provide the supposedly perfect warlord Parson with enough options to curb stomp everyone with relative ease.

BLANDCorporatio
2009-05-08, 06:47 AM
And archery gets their hitsies. On Wanda.

Stealth. Decrypt. Dammit!


... If you ran across a rival wizard's city early on, of course you'd take it out then and there. His small early-game garrison of spearmen would be no obstacle. Then, as someone upthread suggested, you'd go barbarian hunting. The world is littered with unaligned towns and villages at the start of the game, but none of them have anything that can fight Wraiths.

Agreed. I must confess my thinking is clouded by the HORROR that Ghosts were in HoMM2. If I could get my hand on just one of those things, no peasant stack was safe! After which, armed with 2 20k stacks of ghosts, no AI could oppose me!

Bogardan_Mage
2009-05-08, 07:20 AM
Because the no-upkeep bit was delivered as a bit of a surprise info.
But not so surprising as to be unheard of.


Define profitable. We've seen Parson mount a strike on a siege column with good success- that was profitable. With stealth-decrypt, even more so.
I said "more profitable". More profitable than travelling to the four corners of Erfworld picking up weak villages. You have now applied my answer to a scenario that I was not referring to, but let's take a look at that anyway:

- Parson does his attack and retreat thing. Note that Stanley's objection is valid, the units attacking will not level. This is a (ahem :)) defensive strategy, which trades unit XP for targetting a specific type of unit (in this case, seige). But anyway:
- Wanda flies in with Jack and a fast mount to decrypt the seige. Everything else on the stack gets a chance to notice the veil (recall Transylvito's 300 chances).

More on this later.


Everything is risky- but this time, it looks like it's more than worth it!
The risk is revealling the woefully undefended cornerstone of your entire plan. There's usual risk that things don't work. This time the risk is that Wanda croaks, and your entire strategy that you place so very much stock in fails forever.


I argue that the hammer functions as a dwelling that produces units. I argue that the pliers function as something else, which turns out better. See a post above.
Dwelling? Either you're using that word to mean something other than I understand it, or your view of the hammer's function is so far removed from any other, popular or canon, that you really can't take it as fact. The dwagons don't live in the hammer.


That is precisely what I am arguing against. For all I know, Jillian might be Titan and will Parson into defeat with the power of her mind. I do not base any conclusion on information not revealed yet.
I wouldn't expect you to. However, your conclusion seems to be based on the assumption that no more information will ever be revealed. You complain that an overpowered Arkenpliers leads to a poor narrative, yet you reject all suggestions of how it might not be so overpowered. You have concluded that the story is ruined, and will not accept any other explanation. Why are you still here?


What has been revealed is the power of the Pliers and until I see what weakness they are supposed to have the only rational conclusion is that they are one extremely powerful tool.
You have seen it at its most powerful! You have, by way of comparison, seen the Arkendish make some phone calls and the Arkenhammer crack walnuts. Rather than assuming every battlefield will offer Wanda the same leisure as this one, or that the Arkenhammer is a dwelling (that doesn't even make sense!), consider the full power of the other tools. The hammer tames dwagons, much more powerful than any decrypted unit. Despite both of our baseless guesses we really don't know what restrictions are on that. The Arkendish has demonstrable power, Charlescomm is arguably the most powerful side seen in the comic.


That is not all however- all of GK's assets, as well as the reasonable assumption (based on what Caesar found out from Bunny) that Erfworld is currently in a state of confusion, provide the supposedly perfect warlord Parson with enough options to curb stomp everyone with relative ease.
Erfworld is not in a state of confusion. The Royal Crown Coalition does not comprise the entire world, Charlie's reference to the "Western Conflict" demonstrates this. Furthurmore, forces sent to the Coalition do not comprise the entire forces of the various sides. See Caesar himself and his Transylvitto buddies. Yes, Parson is no longer in charge of a doomed side. That doesn't mean he can't face challenges. He has a large army of decrypted, and a king's ransom in gems, but that's it. He's still got only the one city, and it's in ruins. That's a far cry from the entire world.


Stealth. Decrypt. Dammit!
Saying "Stealth decrypt" over and over again until it becomes even more annoying that it was to begin with won't make it any easier for Parson and Jack.

joosy
2009-05-08, 07:34 AM
Whoa. More questions answered, more questions (and decrypted units) raised.

I shed a tear for Bogroll. I think he deserves a hero's burial or at least a monument. At least set a roll of toilet paper on fire and flush it down the cesspit in his memory.

Not many limits to Decryption other than having croaked bodies available and those must be in relatively one piece. Thrilling and yet ominous.

Gk now has full fledged Archons (thanks for the donation, Charlie!), Weiner-rammers, probably Altruist Elves with their natural healing abilities, etc. . Looks like Sizemore will get a huge army of cheap labor in the form of Marbits and Gobwins, complete with tunnel bonuses to create a new dungeon, tunnels and mine for gems.

On the Arkentools. I think its been mentioned before that the ones we have seen appear to align themselves to various magic disciplines on the Fate axis

Arkendish - Thinkamancy
Arkenpliers - Croakamancy
Arkenhammer - Carnymancy (guessing of course, but I think Rob and Jamie gave us hints with the 'turning pigeons to walnuts' shtick)

That would imply that even though there is one more known Arkentool, there may be four more out there.

As far as being overpowered? Maybe but I think that is the point. I'm sure when Stanley attuned and got control over Dwagons that seemed overpowered. Same for Charlie and his Archons. They may seem unstoppable until the battle tactics are changed to balance things out. In this particular case, they may only seem overpowered because everything is extremely ideal for Decryption (lots and lots of croaked everywhere, no immediate battle threat, etc.)

Pure speculation: Since Predictamancy is in the Fate axis, I would GUESS that the Faq Predictamancer may have been attuned to that particular Arkentool. That is why they were able to make such spot-on and far reaching predictions. They realized that Faq would fall eventually but that it was necessary in order to bring about Faq's vision of peace to all of Erfworld. Of course, a simpler answer would be that the Predictamancer was just uber-awesome.

Eagerly awaiting the next page. Sad that it is coming to a close, but, given the 1 or 2 page a week schedule it may be mid-summer before Chapter 1 is truly over.

BLANDCorporatio
2009-05-08, 07:40 AM
I said "more profitable". More profitable than travelling to the four corners of Erfworld picking up weak villages. You have now applied my answer to a scenario that I was not referring to, but let's take a look at that anyway:

- Parson does his attack and retreat thing. Note that Stanley's objection is valid, the units attacking will not level. This is a (ahem :)) defensive strategy, which trades unit XP for targetting a specific type of unit (in this case, seige). But anyway:
- Wanda flies in with Jack and a fast mount to decrypt the seige. Everything else on the stack gets a chance to notice the veil (recall Transylvito's 300 chances).

More on this later.


No, let's settle this now. Who says that Wanda has to be there when the croaking gets done? From what we can see so far, it is possible to (all within one turn of course)

- send the shock troops (EDIT: Dwagons AND Archons apparently) against something they can easily defeat;
- NOW send Wanda; the veil is so that units further away don't see her;
- decrypt;
- retreat Wanda and you heavies, leave the decrypted.

See?



The risk is revealling the woefully undefended cornerstone of your entire plan. There's usual risk that things don't work. This time the risk is that Wanda croaks, and your entire strategy that you place so very much stock in fails forever.

I'd rather say that you aren't even trying to understand what I say. Which is why I "annoyingly" repeat stealth decrypt. My bad, I should be more clear apparently.



Dwelling? Either you're using that word to mean something other than I understand it, or your view of the hammer's function is so far removed from any other, popular or canon, that you really can't take it as fact. The dwagons don't live in the hammer.

HoMMx, and other games: "dwelling" is a structure that produces certain units. Likewise, it appears that the hammer grants Stanley the ability to pop dwagons. One just popped over GK this turn! Where did it "live"? In the sense that the hammer produces a certain kind of unit every turn (dwagon), it functions as a "dwelling".



I wouldn't expect you to. However, your conclusion seems to be based on the assumption that no more information will ever be revealed. You complain that an overpowered Arkenpliers leads to a poor narrative, yet you reject all suggestions of how it might not be so overpowered. You have concluded that the story is ruined, and will not accept any other explanation. Why are you still here?

ALL RIGHT, STRAWMAN.

If you'd have taken the time to read what I was saying, repeated to the point of "annoyance", is NOT that the story so far and up until and including now is bad. What I was saying is that, in order to remain interesting, I expect that either Parson will change sides, or Wanda will change sides, or that we will have a new protagonist hereafter.



The hammer tames dwagons, much more powerful than any decrypted unit. Despite both of our baseless guesses we really don't know what restrictions are on that. The Arkendish has demonstrable power, Charlescomm is arguably the most powerful side seen in the comic.

The Arkenpliers do something that the Hammer does not. The Hammer merely provides a powerful, but as we have repeatedly seen not invincible, unit. The Pliers open up entirely new strategic and tactical avenues for the Warlord commanding their power for which I have yet to see an effective counter.

We don't know what the Arkendish can do, true. It could have its own bonuses that are equivalent to the Pliers'. Haven't seen, won't comment.


Erfworld is not in a state of confusion. The Royal Crown Coalition does not comprise the entire world, Charlie's reference to the "Western Conflict" demonstrates this. Furthurmore, forces sent to the Coalition do not comprise the entire forces of the various sides. See Caesar himself and his Transylvitto buddies. Yes, Parson is no longer in charge of a doomed side. That doesn't mean he can't face challenges. He has a large army of decrypted, and a king's ransom in gems, but that's it. He's still got only the one city, and it's in ruins. That's a far cry from the entire world.

The RCC, meaning supposedly those sides closest to Stanley, are in a state of confusion. That is all that matters. Any other sides present in the world are a bonus for Stanley. They weren't in the RCC before, and they won't ally against Stanley in a few turns either (why would they?).



Saying "Stealth decrypt" over and over again until it becomes even more annoying that it was to begin with won't make it any easier for Parson and Jack.

Saying Marbit < Dwagon, or that you need to kill lvl 10 Warlords to be able to Decrypt them, is just as annoying trust me. This is to severely underestimate what GK can do right now.

Natio
2009-05-08, 08:00 AM
No, let's settle this now. Who says that Wanda has to be there when the croaking gets done? From what we can see so far, it is possible to (all within one turn of course)

- send the shock troops against something they can easily defeat;
- NOW send Wanda; the veil is so that units further away don't see her;
- decrypt;
- retreat Wanda and your heavies, leave the decrypted.

See?


We haven't seen Wanda uncroak units in a hex that gobwin knob did not control. We can then suggest reasonably that the same would be of decrypting and that in your scenario it would require the shock troops to take the entire hex for wanda to use this tactic.

How then would gobwin knob know where there was such a hex with a suitable target? Well unless dragon units are scouting everywhere and at risk of attack or another lookamancer is popped I don't think it would be that easy.

So Assuming gobwin knob gets another lookamancer we have the following invested in your supposed "game breaking theory".

Dragons for fast movement and we can have them double as the shock troops/heavies.
A lookamancer
A high level foolamancer
And Wanda, a high level croakamancer with an artefact.

Now this is a huge amount of power and smuckers invested in decrypting as many low level units as possible and they can't be everywhere at once. They are out in the field and it is possible that running such a tactic would bring down more attention than gobwin knob would want.

BLANDCorporatio
2009-05-08, 08:13 AM
How then would gobwin knob know where there was such a hex with a suitable target? Well unless dragon units are scouting everywhere and at risk of attack or another lookamancer is popped I don't think it would be that easy.

Lack of a lookamancer is a valid objection.

GK will have to do with Thinkamancy's ability to locate units (we know it works on multiple hexes, Maggie confidently announced no RCC units were left after the multi-hex trap that worked on hexes not controlled by GK).

But agreed, getting Misty nr. 2 is a high priority. (EDIT: and so is restoring the World Map Link, that was sweet!)




So Assuming gobwin knob gets another lookamancer we have the following invested in your supposed "game breaking theory".

Dragons for fast movement and we can have them double as the shock troops/heavies.
A lookamancer
A high level foolamancer
And Wanda, a high level croakamancer with an artefact.

Now this is a huge amount of power and smuckers invested in decrypting as many low level units as possible and they can't be everywhere at once. They are out in the field and it is possible that running such a tactic would bring down more attention than gobwin knob would want.

Love the scare quotes.

But glad you agree that it's a huge amount of power- because, except for the lookamancer, GK has it all. Used this way, it will not be weakened by engagements.

Now, my initial suggestion a few posts up is to "hunt barbarians". That should keep a low enough profile, until Stanley decides to take out some smaller side like maybe FoxMUD. It is reasonable to assume that nobody is planning, just yet, to gang up on Stanley again (what send our units to GK and get them obliterated again? no thanks we need to figure out a few things first).

SteveMB
2009-05-08, 08:19 AM
the current behavior of Ansom seems to suggest otherwise however. And Wanda herself seems reasonably cooperative still. If anything, she seems to be liking Parson more (he not only saved her ass, but he brought about her prophecy!), and has no problem giving her new pet warlord to him as a minion.

Thinking back, that might explain Wanda's bitter outburst (http://www.erfworld.com/wp-content/uploads/book1/124.jpg) ("You are not... the perfect warlord. Your plans... f-fail.") even though she clearly knew better (http://www.erfworld.com/wp-content/uploads/book1/006.jpg) than that when pitching the plan to Stanley ("Undefeatable?" "I... don't think so."). She thought the prophecy was on the verge of being fulfilled, only to have the Arkenpliers snatched away while still just out of reach -- that would make anybody angry and bitter, at least for the moment.

It also puts a different spin on Wanda's reaction (http://www.erfworld.com/wp-content/uploads/book1/020.jpg) to Stanley the Tool's new title -- privately, she's probably interpreting it in terms of Stanley's role as her tool in bringing the prophecy to pass.

Bogardan_Mage
2009-05-08, 08:21 AM
No, let's settle this now. Who says that Wanda has to be there when the croaking gets done?
Um, certainly not me.


From what we can see so far, it is possible to (all within one turn of course)

- send the shock troops (EDIT: Dwagons AND Archons apparently) against something they can easily defeat;
- NOW send Wanda; the veil is so that units further away don't see her;
- decrypt;
- retreat Wanda and you heavies, leave the decrypted.

See?
Are we or are we not talking about Parson's anti-seige strategy shown earlier? If we are not, then earlier my point stands. You are only going to be decrypting forces weaker than your own which, while useful, is not as gamebreakingly powerful as your scenarios that assume all forces are weaker than your own would have us believe.


I'd rather say that you aren't even trying to understand what I say. Which is why I "annoyingly" repeat stealth decrypt. My bad, I should be more clear apparently.
Do you think that veils are unbreakable? Because they are canonically not!


HoMMx, and other games: "dwelling" is a structure that produces certain units. Likewise, it appears that the hammer grants Stanley the ability to pop dwagons. One just popped over GK this turn! Where did it "live"? In the sense that the hammer produces a certain kind of unit every turn (dwagon), it functions as a "dwelling".
Ok, I was unfamiliar with that particular slang, but that seems reasonable. The use of the word "tame" suggests to me that that's not the whole story, though. But assuming you're right, Stanley is garunteed dwagons on a regular basis, while Wanda needs a fresh supply of corpses.


ALL RIGHT, STRAWMAN.

If you'd have taken the time to read what I was saying, repeated to the point of "annoyance", is NOT that the story so far and up until and including now is bad. What I was saying is that, in order to remain interesting, I expect that either Parson will change sides, or Wanda will change sides, or that we will have a new protagonist hereafter.
OR new information will be revealed that makes the pliers not quite as powerful as you now believe them to be. Why is that such a hard possibility to accept?


The Arkenpliers do something that the Hammer does not. The Hammer merely provides a powerful, but as we have repeatedly seen not invincible, unit.
So decrypted are invincible now are they? Even if they can be decrypted multiple times, it still requires Wanda to be there and yes a Foolamancer and a fast flying mount can be a good combo but it's by no means unstoppable.


The Pliers open up entirely new strategic and tactical avenues for the Warlord commanding their power for which I have yet to see an effective counter.
Then you weren't listening to me when I told you. The obvious counter is to not allow one's dead to fall into the hands of the enemy. Bogroll shows us it's possible for a corpse to be damaged beyond decryption. Maybe not all, but surely most opponents will be able to remove or destroy their dead before Wanda can decrypt them.


The RCC, meaning supposedly those sides closest to Stanley, are in a state of confusion. That is all that matters. Any other sides present in the world are a bonus for Stanley. They weren't in the RCC before, and they won't ally against Stanley in a few turns either (why would they?).
The RCC still isn't in a state of confusion, any more than Gobwin Knob is (and let's be fair, it is). They have garrisoned units still.


Saying Marbit < Dwagon, or that you need to kill lvl 10 Warlords to be able to Decrypt them, is just as annoying trust me. This is to severely underestimate what GK can do right now.
I said both of those things once, I have no intention of saying either ever again, and I said both in order to make points, upon which I elaborated when pressed. "Stealth decrypt" is a cutesy name you gave to your strategy and you seem to think it serves as a substitute for providing an actual defense of said strategy. Case in point, I was addressing your response to Gez pointing out a genuine flaw in your argument. You cannot remove a flaw by shouting "Stealth decrypt" over and over! Even if you don't understand that this is a flaw (which seems increasingly likely) your cutesy one-liner does nothing to remove this misunderstanding.

For the record, veils can be broken. That is the flaw. Saying "stealth decrypt" again won't remove it.

Gez
2009-05-08, 08:25 AM
Stealth. Decrypt. Dammit!
Then you have to risk two casters, not one.

We had seen before hand that casters were overpowered. People have said that about Wanda, about Sizemore, about Jack, maybe even about Maggie.

Yet they're not used on the frontlines, usually. Parson and Stanley did because they were basically all that they had left.

Now, if casters represent such a huge tactical advantage, why aren't they used more? Because they're extremely vulnerable.

"Stealth Decrypt" it just like "Stealth Uncroak". Everything you said about the possible use of decrypting to make expendable villages of the damned here and there just to annoy your opponents apply just as well with traditional croakamancy. The Decrypted are stronger units, but given your insistence on marbits, the unit's power isn't that important, is it?



Agreed. I must confess my thinking is clouded by the HORROR that Ghosts were in HoMM2. If I could get my hand on just one of those things, no peasant stack was safe! After which, armed with 2 20k stacks of ghosts, no AI could oppose me!

There is a huge difference between that scenario and Erfworld.
HoMM2 Ghost: turns fallen enemy units into more ghosts.
Erfworld Wanda: doesn't turn fallen enemy units into more plier-wielding Wands.

There's still only one unit capable of doing the conversion. And it still takes time -- it's not like the Trioxin spell where she raised all the croaked at once, here she has to decrypt them one by one, or by small groups at most.

In your scenario of attack, win, decrypt, retreat, time is an important factor since you want to do all that in just one turn.


No, let's settle this now. Who says that Wanda has to be there when the croaking gets done?

You, when you talked about things such as attacking the column.


The Arkenpliers do something that the Hammer does not. The Hammer merely provides a powerful, but as we have repeatedly seen not invincible, unit. The Pliers open up entirely new strategic and tactical avenues for the Warlord commanding their power for which I have yet to see an effective counter.

#1. It's not a new strategic and tactical avenue, it's merely a fresh layer of asphalt on an old one. It is quantitatively better than uncroaking (units have better stats, more unit types can be raised), but it's not qualitatively new. It's just a more powerful way of doing what could already be done.

#2. We have yet to see an effective use of that avenue in the first place. Counters will naturally arise once they'll be needed.


On many points, this reminds me of similar discussions every time Parson devised a new gambit. The Donut of Doom? The entire column was going to be destroyed one by one with no loss for Parson's side. The army of undead? Now the odds were even, and Parson had the homebase advantage, the Coalition would never manage to break the walls. Dance fight bonus to the uncroaked? No way the RCC would ever offset that one. Uncroaking the volcano? Great, now Parson will ride around the world ontop of a giant volcano golem with a city in its head, belching forth lava on every army and stomping enemy defenses like ants.

DigoDragon
2009-05-08, 08:30 AM
I must say I'm really liking the new coalition uniforms. The Punisher design is a classic :smallbiggrin:. That Archon looks cute as well.

This. I too think the new threads are a great look for the evil side... *ahem* I mean, for Stanley's side. :smallbiggrin: I also like the cute confused looks on the faces of the new troops.

Killer Angel
2009-05-08, 08:41 AM
- send the shock troops (EDIT: Dwagons AND Archons apparently) against something they can easily defeat;
.


I don't want to enter in a discussion on the tactic you suggest, but i wonder what is the actual power of these decrypted archons.
We know that their effective offensive capacity was given to them by Charlie (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0075.html)... so here we don't have overpowered archons, but only the "basic" version.

Unless Wanda can spend resources to empower them...

BLANDCorporatio
2009-05-08, 08:46 AM
Do you think that veils are unbreakable? Because they are canonically not!

They are harder to pierce when there's no one left in the hex to do the piercing. Plus, since there'd be no one left to retaliate, you don't risk Wanda being attacked, and there's a good chance she's not spotted by units further away. That's the idea.


OR new information will be revealed that makes the pliers not quite as powerful as you now believe them to be. Why is that such a hard possibility to accept?

Because, somehow, it seems both unlikely and unsatisfying. I have a fear that if the Pliers get nerfed in the following strip, there'd be some kind of rushed-balanced feeling to it.


So decrypted are invincible now are they?

Nope, not invincible. Recycled. It makes all the difference, because in so being they are dirt cheap, expendable, and immensely annoying to be on the business end of.


Even if they can be decrypted multiple times, it still requires Wanda to be there and yes a Foolamancer and a fast flying mount can be a good combo but it's by no means unstoppable.

It looks like a (too) good idea to me because you can swell your ranks for no expense easily against whatever neutral units or small sides happen to be in the neighbourhood. Heck, with its new army which is almost all of RCC (considered a large force when in its prime), GK can mount conventional strikes too. But it doesn't need to limit itself to this anymore.

It has mobility, firepower on that mobility, and the ability to leave inconveniences wherever it goes. An opponent cannot be sufficiently defended everywhere. The only weakness I concede is that GK has an impaired targeting ability until they complement Thinkamancy with Lookamancy.


Then you weren't listening to me when I told you. The obvious counter is to not allow one's dead to fall into the hands of the enemy. Bogroll shows us it's possible for a corpse to be damaged beyond decryption. Maybe not all, but surely most opponents will be able to remove or destroy their dead before Wanda can decrypt them.

If they are defending, and it is GK's turn on the attack, I don't think this will work. Unless the other sides start strapping dynamite to their troops.


The RCC still isn't in a state of confusion, any more than Gobwin Knob is (and let's be fair, it is). They have garrisoned units still.

Confusion is not lack of units. I say confusion because everyone in RCC thought they had the conflict in the bag, and in the end they lost everything. It would make everyone wonder what exactly happened there. It would make them interested in finding out, true ... Maybe, just maybe, also suspicious of others as well.

Nobody will attack Stanley while they have even a suspicion that he will be able to obliterate the attacking force again.

BLANDCorporatio
2009-05-08, 08:58 AM
IRT Gez, a few remarks:


We had seen before hand that casters were overpowered. People have said that about Wanda, about Sizemore, about Jack, maybe even about Maggie. ... On many points, this reminds me of similar discussions every time Parson devised a new gambit.

While I resent that implication, it's a valid point. Every once in a while, something happens and some of us will go screaming "imba"; when a counter was found, people screamed "not fair". Right?

It is unfortunate, we don't know much about Erfworld and we are getting surprised- not always pleasantly sometimes- as we find things out along with Parson.

However, at each step, it is interesting. The Donut of Doom MUST succeed, you see, the odds against GK are too bad to allow failure. If it succeeds we might just pull through this ... oops we lost Dwagons, what to do? Get back to the drawing board etc.

Right now, what I see is all the chips falling for GK. Too much is too much for me, which is why I expected that split, for what I repeatedly said were "story" reasons.

People, like you, expect a "gameplay" solution to this (perceived by me) problem of ArkenPlier UberPower (EDIT: more like GK uber-power, really). Wasn't Erfworld supposed to be not just a game, but a story? That's why I expect the solution to be story-driven, and imply that some split, or change in perspective, is necessary.


"Stealth Decrypt" it just like "Stealth Uncroak". Everything you said about the possible use of decrypting to make expendable villages of the damned here and there just to annoy your opponents apply just as well with traditional croakamancy. The Decrypted are stronger units, but given your insistence on marbits, the unit's power isn't that important, is it?

I thought uncroakeds were weaker than the originals, especially if hastily made. OTOH, it looks like Wanda can Decrypt units with lots of haste indeed, just look at the "With what army" panel.

Opal Tide
2009-05-08, 09:05 AM
Lots of good discussion going on over the arkenpliers, but I think we are all rushing to judgement. We are seeing them in an ideal situation: the attuned having free range over a massive battlefield where one of the largest armies ever assembled fell. I may be wrong, but I don't think this happens every day in Erf World.

It is certainly possible that there are limitiations to the pliers: must have control of a hex, must be done inside a city etc. They are likely not very large weaknesses (after all this is a boopin' artifact), but I do not foresee the pliers being as powerful as we are seeing now in more common circumstances such as pithced battles where the enemy has the potential to withdraw from the field. At that point (assuming decrypted cannot be decrpyted again) Wanda may not be able to replace her loses on a one to one basis.

A large enough army might be able to fight a series of battles sapping a decrypted army of its strength even if the enemy forces withdrew everytime (taking a tip from Parson's tactics). Granted I do not know if such a coaltiion could be organized and led in such a way, especially with Ansom out of the picture, but Erf world is big and this area was just one corner of it (part of the "Great western conflict"). Also, don't forget Charlie still has a lot of calculations left andmight be angry enough to reduce his rates to get revenge or at least to return Erf World back to a status quo he can continue to make schmuckers off of. He is a businessman afterall and could view such actions as a long-term investment to maintain the viability of his product.

In any event, Parson has the beginnings of a very potent force. Add Stanley's new found (and hopefully long lasting) empathy and dwagons, the newly discovered financial resouces, Ansom's intimate knowledge of foriegn factions and Erf World rules and many nearby factions weakened by the coalition's defeat and Parson is sitting pretty with time and resources to build up a strong army.

Several side notes:
-Jillian and the Vamps are still around. vinnie and his crew have come out of this conflict mostly intact and how they will react to decrypted and Arkenpliers may be ani nteresting wild card.
-What is the hippymancer conspiracy's end game?
-What will be the fate of FAQ?
-will the remainig factions pull a Stanley and try to summon their own perfect warlord(s)?
-Will Red/Scarlet show up as a decrypted unit forcing fans of her to change their witty acronyms?

The answers to these questions and many more on the next Erf World!

R.Is.D.Y.

BLANDCorporatio
2009-05-08, 09:25 AM
R.Is.D.Y.

"Red Is Decrypted, Yo!"/"Scarlett Is Now Decrypted, Yo!" :smalltongue:

mrlovanhey
2009-05-08, 09:28 AM
Heyyy, nice page.

I really like the stewardess hat on the skull logo on the decrypted archon's skirt.

Also, I really wonder what's going to happen when Stanley gets back. I'm beginning to believe that Wanda is completely autonomous and she is in the middle of making her own army, to be controlled and led by her. The skull logo, which seems to be hers, seems to confirm that.

So that makes me wonder because Parson is under Stanley's control, since he's his perfect warlord. Will Parson be forced to act against Wanda under orders from Stanley because Wanda's army is not under control by Stanley and Stanley is the type of guy who likes control (and owning arkentools)? If that is the case, why did Ansom state that he will act as Parson's captain. He must be able to see whether or not a unit is a member of his own side.
If they ARE on the same side, why do these unit not have Parson's logo, the hamstard? All the other uncroaked units so far have.

Monan
2009-05-08, 09:29 AM
This brings a question to my mind about the creation of the Sides. What if... the Transylvitans were created by the Titans, using the Arkenpliers?

Interesting question. I wonder it the Transylvitans have upkeep costs.

Another interesting thing to note is Wanda has maintained her "friendship" with Parson. Maybe she is grateful, thinks that he is a good person to be in kahootz with, or something else. Any thoughts?

Gez
2009-05-08, 10:15 AM
People, like you, expect a "gameplay" solution to this (perceived by me) problem of ArkenPlier UberPower (EDIT: more like GK uber-power, really). Wasn't Erfworld supposed to be not just a game, but a story?

And isn't that story coming to an end? One side has won, and they're getting the "happily ever after" ending, with newfound wisdom (for Stanley), newfound powers (Wanda), newfound army (Parson), and they'll get to conquer the whole world. THE END

Volume 2 will show us in detail why it didn't work that way actually. It'll be a different story. This one, the Battle for Gobwin Knob, is over.

raphfrk
2009-05-08, 10:29 AM
Then you have to risk two casters, not one.


Using the shock troops idea, why not do something like

- send out troops from city to a hex
- wipe out everything in that hex and also along the path followed
- send Wanda along that path to the hex
- decrypt eveything in the hex
- send Wanda back to the city

That lets them cover any hex that is within 1/2 of a dragon's move of any of their cities.

In fact, if she stays one hex behind them, she can be decrypting units while they kill the next hex.

One potential risk is if an enemy foolamancer hides units in a hex, so the shock troops don't kill them and they wait for Wanda to arrive.

BLANDCorporatio
2009-05-08, 10:41 AM
And isn't that story coming to an end? One side has won, and they're getting the "happily ever after" ending, with newfound wisdom (for Stanley), newfound powers (Wanda), newfound army (Parson), and they'll get to conquer the whole world. THE END

Volume 2 will show us in detail why it didn't work that way actually. It'll be a different story. This one, the Battle for Gobwin Knob, is over.

Waidaminnit- that could mean that we are actually in agreement. Who'd have thought?

**********************(end of reply)****************

Anyway, back to the business at hand ...

Due to repeated and heated popular request, here's a small list of tactics, each with a cutesy-name, that GK can employ for world domination! Feel free to add your own!

"Barbarian hunting": "Barbarian mercenaries wanted. Fat upkeep. Ignore the burly guys at the door."

We know there are such units as barbarians, nobody will miss them ... why not convert them to the cause?

"Workaholics Anonymous": with the new supply of decrypted Marbits and Gobwins, GK has the ability to dig for a lot of schmuckers fast. Stanley's coffers will be full in no time, so he could bribe the occasional neighbouring overlord for a respite. Though why it wouldn't be that overlord bribing Stanley to avoid ... accidents ... happening to the local mountain is beyond me.

Particularly since Marbits and Gobwins are better employed for

"Mambo Marbits of Doom": use a dance-capable unit (NOT necessarily Ansom or Wanda) and some Archons to lead a horde of dance-fighting Marbits. They have lots of those already anyway and can make more.

"Rock Insurance": convince other sides to pay to ensure that rocks don't fall and kill everyone.

"Village of the damned" (credit where it's due, a good name suggested by Gez!): attack village. Burninate. Decrypt. Leave it there as an annoyance to whoever happens to pass by, or save some units you find particularly useful. Then again, you might want the decrypted peasants to "Workaholics Anonymous" for Stanley and develop the village. Ultra-fast. All those free workers. Endless possibilities.

"Name, rank and number": it seems decrypted units remember things from their past life, and to Wanda's certain chagrin they are willing to share them. Will make up, somewhat, for GK's lack of lookamancy.

"Tardy Elves did it!": use foolamancy to disguise a small pack of troops as belonging to somebody else. Hey it worked in this world for WW2, and we don't even have Foolamancy!

"Stealth Decrypt/Uncroak": discussed ad-nauseam in previous posts. Whatever. It's possible.

"Diplomacy by Death" (ninjaed by raphfrk): conventional siege against encamped opponent/set battle against opponent, in which a retreat route is held by GK.

Start of turn: use units on the site to attack and inflict damage.

Then, fly Wanda in to decrypt anything that died. Stealth might not be necessary (she's not attacking, merely casting what amounts to a defensive (har-har!) spell- might not allow troops to defend out-of-turn). Retreat Wanda (stealth might be needed here to conceal her final destination).

Observation: it has been pointed out that we have seen Wanda decrypt only in hexes controlled by GK; it may not work on hexes still disputed, like in a battle. True, this remains to be seen. Pity, I was rather fond of "DbD".

Surely there are others. No mention on whether decrypted casters stay casters yet, or whether it is possible to disguise decrypted units as belonging to their previous side (not Foolamancy this time. Makeup). So many options tentatively lingering just beyond the horizon ...

Wolfwood2
2009-05-08, 10:48 AM
Something to consider is that Stanley's goal is not "conquer the world" but rather "gather all the Arkentools to myself". Arguably it was abandoning the usual Erfworld strategy of conquering whatever you can get away with in favor of overreaching to try and get Arkentools that brought him to the state where we first found him.

This makes it likely that Charlescomm will be a high priority target and that we'll get to see the powers of the Arkentools truly pitted against each other. It's also likely that Stanley won't countenance a slow consolidation and build strategy for very long.

For narrative reasons, I don't think it's very likely that Wanda will turn against Stanley. Wanda has just accomplished her one big goal. Stanley, on the other hand, still has a far-reaching goal that is guaranteed to produce interesting conflicts if he continues to pursue it.

HandofShadows
2009-05-08, 11:07 AM
Well Wanda has given us some more info. But we still don't have nearly the context we need to make full use of it. There has been a lot of talk about drawback for the Decrypted and here is one I have not seen: The Decrypted are no longer bound by loyalty and duty. Just a thought.
I didn't think that Bagroll would be back, but there was always an outside chance.

BLANDCorporatio
2009-05-08, 11:17 AM
For narrative reasons, I don't think it's very likely that Wanda will turn against Stanley. Wanda has just accomplished her one big goal. Stanley, on the other hand, still has a far-reaching goal that is guaranteed to produce interesting conflicts if he continues to pursue it.

I get the same vibe- Wanda has no interest in being the power on the throne.

So I am rather flexible as to who will split off from whom. My guess, all the way back when the strip with the vulcan explosion was new, was that eventually Parson or the Trimancer (ok, at least one of the components) will say boop this and leave.

I wonder how Sizemore feels about Decryption. It makes a lot of sense to aggressively hunt weak packs, kill them, and decrypt them. That cannot sit well with the poor guy.

DoctorJest
2009-05-08, 11:34 AM
That means that the pliers really wouldn't be all that powerful in most circumstances.

This is true. They are currently in a rather unique position, having the coalition's entire army laying dead with no opposition around. If anything was, in fact, the game-breaker it was still Parson's "uncroak the volcano" move. The pliers are only perceived as being game-breakingly powerful right now because they're taking advantage of the fallout from that earlier move. In NORMAL circumstances, the pliers seem to be considerably better than normal croakamancy, but by no means game-breaking.

BLANDCorporatio
2009-05-08, 11:55 AM
Heck, here's another one-

"Picking a Fight": remember how in one of the first strips, the Math/Luckamancy combo was said to be powerful? Calculate which battles matter most, bring your luckamancers to them?

Something similar is possible for GK too. They've got Mathmancy, so Parson can calculate which battle, if there are several, is important enough to send Wanda for a "Diplomacy by Death" type of thing.

Surely whatever army Parson has at any one point can croak some opposition, right? With the Pliers, what the opponent loses becomes a more threatening target than a zombie. Even if decrypted-s need a turn to come to their senses, they act as decoys because the opponent now has to spend effort and action points to croak them again. Even if they can't be re-decrypted, that's still a gain for GK.

Then there's the issue of production. Dwagons or Archons can lay waste to a city, but the Pliers enable GK to restore production almost imediately to its prior levels, as opposed to bringing in their own hard-popped and payed workers.

The Pliers rule like a giant ruling thing, and remember Wanda's not alone. GK has plenty of resources and abilities right now.

joosy
2009-05-08, 12:14 PM
I really like the stewardess hat on the skull logo on the decrypted archon's skirt.

I'm beginning to believe that Wanda is completely autonomous and she is in the middle of making her own army, to be controlled and led by her. The skull logo, which seems to be hers, seems to confirm that.


It does seem a possibility but killing Stanley without having an heir designate would turn them all Barbarians with no leader. According to Parson's notes they would freeze in place - not sure if that was just under battle conditions however.

The Gobwins were able to turn against King Saline IV as they were natural allies and can function without a designated Overlord, I believe. Stanley was able to return from his 'convenient special mission' along with the casters as he was now the Overlord of his side and retake control.

Wanda can't break alliance because she has no 'alliance' that we know of. She would have to break duy, obedience, and loyalty. That could outright disband her according to Parson's notes.

DevilDan
2009-05-08, 12:16 PM
My theory is that they're under Unsom's command right now since he gives a higher bonus and is currently commanding them to gather for a speech.

I'd be very tickled if others follow in calling him Unsom.


Hey, wait a tick. Parson would have survived just fine if he didn't go through the portal, Wanda would have resurrected him. So why did he spend time in the magic kingdom? I see one of those fancy chevok's guns. Maybe.

I'm lost. No one knew that Wanda would attune to the pliers or what the effect would be. I assume that Wanda intuited or was somehow taught how to decrypt once she did attune but doubt that she had any inkling of their power before that.


So are these units loyal to Wanda rather then Parson or Stanley? Previously uncroaked units displayed Stanleys colours and Parson's heraldry. That these new units would display Wanda's colours and heraldry would imply they are separate from this.

From previous strips I considered it unlikely that Wanda would turn on Stanley...now I find it a distinct possibility.

Other fans have been trying to figure out the Duty mechanic; how could Stanley have committed regicide if duty bound him to his ruler?

I wonder if we're reading too much into the livery. Unrcoaking may follow one set of rules and uncrypting another.

I've always considered that Wanda would eventually betray Stanley. There's a lot more to all this than meets the eye, particularly with the whole prophecy bit and the questions surrounding Saline's death, Faq's fall, and Wanda's own willing service under Stanley. It's more interesting to assume that Wanda does have some plans beyond taking the 'pliers.

That said, Wanda isn't going to get rid of Stanley until he's a real obstacle or until she has someone else who she knows will be attuned and who will be easier to control. The big question is how Stanley will react to Wanda's mastery of the 'pliers; he's a hothead but, that little question aside, it shouldn't be too long before he's back to paying close heed to Wanda's advice.


Otherwise I would agree that it is entirely gamebreaking.

"Gamebreaking" when there is no game to break? It's reality, not a game. Plus, I think the point is to break Erf's established order. These are literally titanic upheavals—though perhaps they will not have as deep an effect as the introduction of Parson?

If this were a game, I'd be worried about "gamebreaking." As this is a story and as its writer has proven quite capable, I'm not particularly worried that current development or revelations will break the story...

AngryAngel
2009-05-08, 12:33 PM
I'm not sure I see the Pliers as gamebreakers. A huge advantage, yes, but we don't know enough about what they can or can't do to yea or nay yet. To my mind they're more like a Civ2 Wonder of the World, like the Pyramids, or Adam Smiths Trading Company. Both confer great advantages, but they don't guarantee that you'll win, only that you'll have a much improved shot.

teratorn
2009-05-08, 01:05 PM
This strip shows one important thing: Wanda plans to stay with Parson: «That would be well. You'll require a new one.»

It's quite fun seeing Wanda all happy and giddy. (Does she have a "crush" of some sort on Parson?)

The scariest part of this strip is that Parson now has siege. The ram-dogs, probably a few cloth golems. He can start attacking other sides immediately.

It's not clear that Parson'll get much out of it in the beginning. If Charlie still has a few archons he may be the one to profit the most: GK attacks city, Charlie asks how many archons and barbarians of kind X are needed to crush GK's army and Parson is compelled to say so.

Sarissofoi
2009-05-08, 01:06 PM
I dont see Pliers as gamebrakers too. They look as one in first sight and they are realy big advantage but they are not gamebreaking.
Possibility to raise dead enemies and enlist into our ranks are great. Possibility to revive our units also are great.
I have only one question.
It is possible to uncrypted dead uncrypted unit?
If yes this is huge advantage. Personnnaly I think this is imposibble due to Ucncrypte <=== upgraded uncroaked units, but I can be wrong.
BTW Boogroll cant be revived. This mean if body taken too much damage you cant Uncrypted it.
This give te possibility to counter Pliers by burning/decapitatning dead bodies. Also Uncrypted units should be killed for sure(if you cant Uncrypted them again) if they died.
This mean killing and Uncrypted own units is not smart. If you Uncrypted them now if they die you lost them and their exp.
Pliers give you big advantage when you have strong elite force(high leveled and experiened) because enemy need kill them twice(minimum).
BTW Pliers should be great for barbarian. You are free. You can hit and run. Killed enemies strenghten your ranks.

StClair
2009-05-08, 01:27 PM
Great comic.

To me, those last few panels say:
"A terrible thing has been brought into this world. Now evil will sweep across this land. And it's all because of you. Well done." :smallamused:

BillyJimBoBob
2009-05-08, 02:04 PM
I find no fault in the Arkentools giving unmitigated boons: because they are divine, gods are all about unfair; and hell, the real world is all kinds of unfair, why would an alternate universe be any different just because it looks like a game to us?[My bolds] Niven (I think it's Niven) has a quote which applies here: "The gods may answer your prayer. Or they may answer your enemies prayer. But they will always answer their own prayer."
Ok, now we can find out what the full powers of an archon are-- by asking one.That would be too easy. I predict we'll never be told all up front, because all the GK folks will just know and won't need to discuss it amongst themselves. They may drop hints here and there as the need arises.
My theory is that they're under Unsom's command right now since he gives a higher bonus and is currently commanding them to gather for a speech.No. Newsom is a Warlord. And the higher ranking units aren't jumping in to form up the new troops. It's only natural that he step in and pick up these kinds of duties, but that doesn't mean that Parson isn't the one in charge here as the Chief Warlord and ranking unit in the hex/city.
Also, it's interesting to see that Parson is sad for the impossibility to Decrypt Bogroll... this could means that the "ruthlessness", ends with the combat?Parson is still ruthless, but that doesn't mean that he can't show feeling. Go back and look at his face in the panel after he told Bogroll that his mission was to stay with Maggy and do what she told him to do. Parson had already arranged the veiling of Bogroll for the ambush on Ansom, and he was Not A Happy Camper About It(tm). That is ruthlessness, doing what is needed despite your feelings.

===================:smallcool:===================

On to the "The Arkenpliers are broken" argument discussion.

The Arkenpliers are not game breaking. And I don't care how powerful they are shown to be. They are powerful, and there is no denying that. They have a potent function in the decrypt ability, and lots of speculative uses for that potent function have been pointed out.

But that's in a vacuum. Power is measured against power, and we don't know who the Big Bad is for Book 2. Until we see who stands opposed, all that can be said is that GK is no longer weak compared to the forces we knew about. GK had been reduced to about 2 dozen units, tops, and a single city. Any sizable force would have overrun them with ease. Oh, they could just do the trimancer link again? Sure. That works until an opponent sends two or more forces with enough distance between them that the second is waiting for you to arrive when you take the portal back from the MK. And how often will the MK casters be willing to unravel your trimancer link for free? Or hold off on killing Parson outright for daring to return after his poor reception of the first visit?

So what we have now is a GK side with a single city but also with an army large enough to theoretically keep from being wiped out by any other side which decides to send an army their way.

And the rest remains to be seen, including the evaluation of just how powerful GK/Wanda/the Arkenpliers is/are in relation to whatever forces become arrayed against it in Book 2.

BLANDCorporatio
2009-05-08, 02:21 PM
On to the "The Arkenpliers are broken" argument discussion.

*at the Argument clinic* (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQFKtI6gn9Y)

"The Arkenpliers are not overpowered."
"Uh, yes, they are."
"No they're not."
"Yes they are."
"No they're not!"
etc etc ...

Gamebird
2009-05-08, 02:49 PM
I'm so happy to see so many updates and have so many questions answered.

The arkenpliers are awfully powerful, but I have faith in the author/artist that the story will remain awesome even if the protagonist has a bazooka added to his quiver.

Name Lips
2009-05-08, 03:14 PM
Heyyy, nice page.

I really like the stewardess hat on the skull logo on the decrypted archon's skirt.

Also, I really wonder what's going to happen when Stanley gets back. I'm beginning to believe that Wanda is completely autonomous and she is in the middle of making her own army, to be controlled and led by her. The skull logo, which seems to be hers, seems to confirm that.

So that makes me wonder because Parson is under Stanley's control, since he's his perfect warlord. Will Parson be forced to act against Wanda under orders from Stanley because Wanda's army is not under control by Stanley and Stanley is the type of guy who likes control (and owning arkentools)? If that is the case, why did Ansom state that he will act as Parson's captain. He must be able to see whether or not a unit is a member of his own side.
If they ARE on the same side, why do these unit not have Parson's logo, the hamstard? All the other uncroaked units so far have.

I do not think that is the case. After all, when Wanda uncroaked the Jetstone troops they displayed the Hamster logo, and this DID mean that they were under his command. However, it did NOT mean that Parson was an independent agent.

At this point I'm inclined to believe that the skulls indicate that they are under Wanda's command, but I have no reason to believe that this means she's somehow no longer loyal to Stanley.

fractal
2009-05-08, 03:38 PM
I do not think that is the case. After all, when Wanda uncroaked the Jetstone troops they displayed the Hamster logo, and this DID mean that they were under his command. However, it did NOT mean that Parson was an independent agent.

At this point I'm inclined to believe that the skulls indicate that they are under Wanda's command, but I have no reason to believe that this means she's somehow no longer loyal to Stanley.
Yeah, there's a good chance that Wanda can just choose the livery. Before, uncroaking was possible because Parson's strategy had tricked the troops into the tunnels, and then croaked them all. "Parson is awesome!".

This time, Wanda is decrypting the fallen masses because after ages of waiting, she finally acquired the Arkenpliers. "I'm awesome!"

Anias
2009-05-08, 04:34 PM
...The pliers are more of an underdog weapon in some ways. The enemy will have the heavier hitters, but if you can survive that and win, all of a sudden you have them as well. And as long as you keep winning, then the stronger the forces you throw against the pliers, the stronger the plier-wielder becomes.

Good point. They follow the same principle as a counter-puncher in boxing: you can floor your opponent if you can survive his hits...but you have to get hit first. Wanda can't decrypt anything without corpses, and she's going to need to fight (and thus lose units) to get corpses. While it might be a good trade if she can sacrifice a couple dozen weak units to get a powerful one, it usually means that she gains only a small number of troops (I'm assuming that decrypted can't be redecrypted, and that croaked uncroaked troops cannot be decrypted - the first would be a cheap cop-out and the second pointless because the uncroaked are mindless).


...For each wild dwagon they get Stanley to, they get a dwagon. I don't know if the costs or upkeep of dwagons has been mentioned, but it's safe to assume that it doesn't cost anything to tame it at least. The upkeep is low or nonexistant enough for Stanley to keep a large number of dwagons despite his financial troubles...

It's likely that Stanley's dwagons have NO upkeep. First, it appears that Stanley, Wanda, and Charlie, the 3 attuned wielders, can create large forces of arkenunits without any serious money problems. Second, Ansom (I think it's Ansom...) points out that "As long as Stanley wields the Hammer, the Dwagons will defend him to the death." That's a far cry from "As long as Stanley keeps paying them, the Dwagons will defend him to the death." Stanley, as much as he loves his dwagons (and as much as he loves his money), would be a little more cautious about trying to pop new ones (like the blue that just appeared) if his already-near-empty treasury was being drained by the upkeep of dozens of extremely powerful units.

Bookkeeper@Arms
2009-05-08, 04:54 PM
Lamech: You asked why Parson didn't stay in the Magic Kingdom. It's because as soon as he woke up, they ordered him to leave. Maggie stated that the MK "isn't a place for Warlords". I assume that the MK operates as a true neutral by never going to war and providing services to everyone else (a sort of magical Switzerland).

I'm still wondering - if Archons can be raised with their powers intact (the decrypted Archon was glowing and floating), then can casters? Like Misty and all those Healers in the RCC forces? And exactly how will the Magic Kingdom deal with that little fact? In our world, Magic Kingdoms are very touchy about their copyrights and perceived property being messed with by anyone. How's Erfworld's MK going to accept decrypted casters who owe their loyalty to someone besides the MK?

Still waiting to see if Stanley will go all Emperor Constantine on Parson.

Mentok
2009-05-08, 05:20 PM
I see the use of having Wanda near the hex of conquest to decrypt as a risky gamble. Far safer it is to have your conquering side simply ship any croaked back to the defended capital.

As for 'neutrality' in Magic Kingdom, casters show an obvious fealty to their leader like any other unit, and not the MK. It just happens to be a massive and exclusive neutral ground, and if it's not a place for warlords, it's likely because Parson is not a caster and his continued existence poses a threat to the status quo while he's there.

Doran
2009-05-08, 05:24 PM
I'm seeing a lot of interesting theories being generated in this thread and others, but in a month or two they'll be good as dead. So, to remedy this:


If you have an interesting theory, please post it to the wiki! (http://www.erfworld.com/wiki/index.php?title=Epileptic_Twees)

Seriously, there's tons of space, and resources on the comic itself, take
Word of the Titans (http://www.erfworld.com/wiki/index.php/Word_of_the_Titans): An ongoing collection of Jamie and Rob's erf posts.

There's also a page by page annotation project (http://www.erfworld.com/wiki/index.php/Category:Page_Annotation) and even one for panel by panel! (http://www.erfworld.com/wiki/index.php/TBFGK_1:1)

Lamech
2009-05-08, 05:37 PM
I'm lost. No one knew that Wanda would attune to the pliers or what the effect would be. I assume that Wanda intuited or was somehow taught how to decrypt once she did attune but doubt that she had any inkling of their power before that.


I'm talking from a writing perspective. Why would they have Parson be special and casterish. They had him spend two strips in the magic kingdom; no real reason, and violating the sanctity of it. He could have been decrypted, or just plain not been killed by falling rubble; parts of the portal room where intact. I just think that therefore Parson entering the magic kingdom had importance to the story. I could be reading too much into it, but smaller details have become important.

And the pliers having unlimited juice? That puts a new spin on the Van de Graff (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0125.html). I think Stanley may be able to spam it. Very painful.

Bogardan_Mage
2009-05-08, 07:58 PM
They are harder to pierce when there's no one left in the hex to do the piercing. Plus, since there'd be no one left to retaliate, you don't risk Wanda being attacked, and there's a good chance she's not spotted by units further away. That's the idea.
Right. So you're assuming that Gobwin Knob will win every battle they fight from now on. Your argument basically hinges off this. So if they are unable to win every battle (because, for instance, they're only decrypting bloody marbits) the pliers will be basically useless?


Because, somehow, it seems both unlikely and unsatisfying. I have a fear that if the Pliers get nerfed in the following strip, there'd be some kind of rushed-balanced feeling to it.
Disallowing multiple decrypts of a single unit is one suggestion I and others have put forth, and it doesn't feel like "rushed-balance" to me. It's not something that could be shown yet, is it? There have been other suggestions. You have made no effort to comment on these. You seem to mistake not acting on information we do not yet have with assuming it doesn't exist.


Nope, not invincible. Recycled. It makes all the difference, because in so being they are dirt cheap, expendable, and immensely annoying to be on the business end of.
Again, not if they can only be decrypted once.


It looks like a (too) good idea to me because you can swell your ranks for no expense easily against whatever neutral units or small sides happen to be in the neighbourhood. Heck, with its new army which is almost all of RCC (considered a large force when in its prime), GK can mount conventional strikes too. But it doesn't need to limit itself to this anymore.
Nitpick: it's not the entire RCC. We don't know how many corpses were fit for decryption, but Bogroll demonstrates that it's not all of them. I rather imagine that Gobwin Knob will have exactly as many as the plot requires.


If they are defending, and it is GK's turn on the attack, I don't think this will work. Unless the other sides start strapping dynamite to their troops.
Then that's what they'll do. If you can make cheesy strategies so can your enemies.


Confusion is not lack of units. I say confusion because everyone in RCC thought they had the conflict in the bag, and in the end they lost everything. It would make everyone wonder what exactly happened there. It would make them interested in finding out, true ... Maybe, just maybe, also suspicious of others as well.

Nobody will attack Stanley while they have even a suspicion that he will be able to obliterate the attacking force again.
With that I will agree. But failing to attack Stanley does not mean Stanley can easily conquer all of them. These are powerful sides, their capitals are likely to be heavily defended, especially if they chose not to go back on the offensive.

eminence_grise
2009-05-08, 08:06 PM
If you want my guess, I'm thinking that decrypted units turn to dust when croaked. Somewhat in keeping with the pliers' prior effect on uncroaked.

MadScientistMat
2009-05-08, 08:55 PM
I do not think that is the case. After all, when Wanda uncroaked the Jetstone troops they displayed the Hamster logo, and this DID mean that they were under his command. However, it did NOT mean that Parson was an independent agent.

At this point I'm inclined to believe that the skulls indicate that they are under Wanda's command, but I have no reason to believe that this means she's somehow no longer loyal to Stanley.

I think the reason the uncroaked wore the Hamster logo was a completely different reason: to avoid tipping off the RCC about their plot. After all, Charlie controlled their airspace and it's possible some direct RCC units could see into the city too. And if they'd noticed that just Parson and Bogroll were wearing the Hamster logo, they might have suspected what would happen. But with everyone wearing the Hamster logo, it's easier to dismiss it as just a uniform.

ishnar
2009-05-08, 09:15 PM
I think the reason the uncroaked wore the Hamster logo was a completely different reason: to avoid tipping off the RCC about their plot.

So you're saying that if they looked down on the city and saw only Parson and Bogroll wearing Parson's arms they would have suspected Parson was going to blow up the volcano?

That's just ridiculous. Sorry, but it is. The truth is, if parson put up a big sign saying, "If you attack we'll blow up the volcano." Ansom would have laughed, said "Yea, Right!" and attacked.

Saying that it protected Bogroll's attack is also no go. Bogroll wasn't chosen because he wore Parson's uniform, he was chosen for being Parson's size. They could have made any unit look like Parson in uniform, but if they were the wrong size, there might be problems with their motions not matching the apparent form.

Ansom isn't the type to suspect treachery when he's holding all the cards and Parson knew it.

Natio
2009-05-08, 09:36 PM
BLANDCorporatio you create scenarios that would with the use of the pliers create advantages for gobwin knob. Based only on what you think the pliers might be able to do and yet you do not accept the argument from others that the hammer and pliers might have more powers available to them because we haven't seen them do it yet.

All your strategies require either a suposed fear of the dirtamancy trap, a decent amount of barbarians easily findable or that you can decrypt in a hex that has your enemy in it.

With a dirtamancy trap as the RCC saw it you'd need to have the dirtamancer in the hex/es setting up the trap so I don't think people are worried about their own mountains blowing up. With the barbarians Julian is the only one we have seen so far and because barbarians are without a city they'd be hard to pin down easily. Lookamancy works with checking a hex and expending juice. They might be able to get a whole lot of hexes checked but it isn't a point and click solution. We also haven't seen wanda uncroak anything in a hex that her side controlled and with how decrypting works so slowly it might make it obvious to anyone in the hex. So to take a large hex gobwin knob needs to throw everything it has at it and then decrypt everything and hope killed decrypted can be raised again.

Leewei
2009-05-08, 10:26 PM
I think we need to know more before saying the Arkenpliers are overbalanced compared to other artifacts. For instance, decrypted units might croak their opponents in a way that destroys their bodies. In effect, you'd need 'regular' units in order to create new decrypted ones.

Even if the Arkenpliers work as advertised, the obvious drawback is that every other faction would want to stomp you before you reached critical mass.

Stanley might want to return to Gobwin Knob, not to defend it, but to make sure Wanda doesn't defect. He essentially left her there to die, after all.

Sarcose
2009-05-08, 11:33 PM
I apologize, for I lost my patience reading through the last page (I have a hard time perusing a complete topic sometimes), so if this has already been said disregard my part in this, but allow me to add my two cents:

Now, my entire experience with games like this comes from Age of Wonders and Warlords Battlecry, and not tabletop wargames like this seems to have been designed from (based on Parson's introduction into the story, that is), but if I was opposite a side capable of reanimating my entire horde, I would take pains to not put any strong units in any situations where they might be killed until I had a decisive victory.

And then; weak units. First, I am seeing the implication that trolling around for poorly-defended, neutral aligned towns will result in a lot of defended poorly-defended towns, rather than just taking what's left of the town and bringing it back with you to add to the sum of your force, and leaving the town itself undefended so those units don't sap your upkeep. But regardless, the main advantage you give to the other side when you throw lots of weak units at them, and believe me I'd be giving them lots of weak units to be animated, is that you are setting up a slaughterhouse for XP grinding. Considering that overwhelming force in most games is not a match for a few max-levelled units (in games of that sort the XP system given to units is often the game breaker), and based on what Parson said about force multipliers (which would be a benefit of highly levelled units), tons of weak units would give my heroes something to eat.

Indeed, creeping starts by sending out heroes with a company of weak units that will be destroyed by the first encounter, but will also whittle it down enough for the Hero to reap the entire bounty of experience and take down any further encounters virtually on his own. I know I'm speaking strictly in game terms here, and these are actually real people and the former coalition are not AI warlords who would easily and coldly regroup (using maphax), but the more weak units, the better for my grinding. Weak units are useful, yeah, but the battle for Gobwin Knob was won and lost not with tons of weak units, but tons of weak units with force multipliers piled on top. If we're talking empire-size trouncing here, using the Arkenpliers to take over the whole world, then what I'm seeing is that all these spread out weak units are no longer going to have the entire concentration of available force multipliers allowed them by regrouping into a siege, and what I'm seeing is that they will be revealed for what they really are: tasty, tasty XP.

Yodimus
2009-05-09, 12:18 AM
How long before Stanley and Wanda realize that a decrypted Parson would save them 1,000 Schmuckers per turn? :smalleek:

Just popping by and point out how frighteningly reasonable that would sound to Stanley.

Sarcose
2009-05-09, 12:24 AM
Just popping by and point out how frighteningly reasonable that would sound to Stanley.

Rather than coming up with reasons for why it wouldn't work, maybe we should speculate that this will be a major plot justification for Book Two.

ishnar
2009-05-09, 12:56 AM
Someone recently pointed out that we have word of god that this is NOT a game, it is a universe based on a game. So there is no attempt to make everything balanced.

Someone might just have the "Ark of the Covenant" and have an "I Win" button, provided they keep their ducks in a row.

We don't know what these tools are for. Are they meant to be a point of contention? Or are they there to give warring factions a reason to band together to fix some machine somewhere that can only be fixed by said tools?

So don't get too hung up on balance. They might be balanced, but there is not necessarily a need for them to be balanced. The Israel had the Ark, and yet they never took over the world. So there is more to winning than having an unbalanced artifact.

Sarcose
2009-05-09, 02:17 AM
Someone recently pointed out that we have word of god that this is NOT a game, it is a universe based on a game. So there is no attempt to make everything balanced.

Someone might just have the "Ark of the Covenant" and have an "I Win" button, provided they keep their ducks in a row.

We don't know what these tools are for. Are they meant to be a point of contention? Or are they there to give warring factions a reason to band together to fix some machine somewhere that can only be fixed by said tools?

So don't get too hung up on balance. They might be balanced, but there is not necessarily a need for them to be balanced. The Israel had the Ark, and yet they never took over the world. So there is more to winning than having an unbalanced artifact.

Mm. It's very hard imagining this story as specifically a story and not a game, especially when there are so many game-like aspects of it. Particularly because a certain subset of fans (including me) are hungrily devouring every new bit of information regarding the system in the hopes of someday playing the game Erfworld is based on.

Devoured_Dude
2009-05-09, 02:36 AM
Rather than coming up with reasons for why it wouldn't work, maybe we should speculate that this will be a major plot justification for Book Two.

Yes. I almost put my original post as a spoiler for that very reason.

BLANDCorporatio
2009-05-09, 02:37 AM
..And then; weak units. First, I am seeing the implication that trolling around for poorly-defended, neutral aligned towns will result in a lot of defended poorly-defended towns, rather than just taking what's left of the town and bringing it back with you to add to the sum of your force, and leaving the town itself undefended so those units don't sap your upkeep. ... tasty, tasty XP.

That's a good point, but I have developped a little my "village of the damned" idea.

It appears, as we see in the first strip, that you need units to dig for schmuckers. Probably, you need units as builders etc.

We also know that the typical outcome of winning a siege is to croak/disband any units from that city. So, if you, the conqueror, were to try and restore production in it you'd need to bring your own units and leave them there.

The Pliers will spare you of this effort, and allow you to restore production almost instantly to its prior levels. This can, and in the hands of a capable overlord will, result in a rapid economic growth.


All your strategies require either a suposed fear of the dirtamancy trap, a decent amount of barbarians easily findable or that you can decrypt in a hex that has your enemy in it.

Apart from the last one, those are reasonable assumptions. Many turn-based strategy games (which Erfworld was created to resemble, after all) have plenty of neutral units just sitting on the map waiting to be slaughtered for XP. As for the fear of the dirtamancy trap, c'mon. Stanley essentially unleashed a nuke in Erfworld, that would give everyone pause.


So to take a large hex gobwin knob needs to throw everything it has at it and then decrypt everything and hope killed decrypted can be raised again.

Nitpick: GK, originally, did not have a too shabby force itself. Thousands of goblins, some KISS, golems of all sorts etc. Charlie asked- how many archons it takes to destroy it. 14, as I remember, was not quite enough, but apparently not too far off either. Now, GK has those archons, plus dwagons. Therefore, I'd say that GK is in the position to attack even well-defended cities. Capitals, maybe not yet, but what they will kill at their first city they will raise again.

All the while keeping the golems, gobwins and marbits back to mine the schmuckers.

No, it doesn't need to throw everything.


Right. So you're assuming that Gobwin Knob will win every battle they fight from now on. Your argument basically hinges off this. So if they are unable to win every battle (because, for instance, they're only decrypting bloody marbits) the pliers will be basically useless? ...

Disallowing multiple decrypts of a single unit is one suggestion I and others have put forth, and it doesn't feel like "rushed-balance" to me. It's not something that could be shown yet, is it? There have been other suggestions. You have made no effort to comment on these. You seem to mistake not acting on information we do not yet have with assuming it doesn't exist.
...

With that I will agree. But failing to attack Stanley does not mean Stanley can easily conquer all of them. These are powerful sides, their capitals are likely to be heavily defended, especially if they chose not to go back on the offensive.

I'll reply to those more in bulk rather than split the post, if you don't mind.

Right now, Stanley is in the relatively safe position of having a few turns of guaranteed peace. How strong the guarantee is debateable, but we seem to agree nobody is going to attack yet. Therefore, he has time for development.

Now, as to what exactly he will be able to do, I had a couple of suggestions and then some. None of which really hinge on decrypted units being able to be re-decrypted. All that matters is that they are more powerful than simple uncroaked, more threatening targets as a result, very easy to mass-produce if you have the corpses, as the latest strip shows.

None of my suggestions hinges on GK winning every battle either. All it needs to do is croak something of the enemy's which I am sure is a possible goal. Plus, armed with his mathmancy bracer, Parson can calculate which battles are the most important to send Wanda to (again, remember that mention of the Mathmancy/Luckamancy combo; now it's Mathmancy/ArkenPliers). Finally, GK can, by using decryption, obtain an army of workers to restore production quickly in conquered cities- and it is my contention that it is able to take cities now with a fraction of its forces. In so doing, GK can grow very fast economically. At the very least, for a few turns, until the other sides discover the dynamite belt.

What my ideas hinge on is that GK will use its resources RUTHLESSLY. Which is bound not to sit well with a few people on their side.

Lamech
2009-05-09, 03:18 AM
@BLANDCorporatio: How quick would you attempt this? Immediatly sounds like a bad idea. Air and ground defenses need to be reloaded, and the structures rebuilt; with a viel Stanley can hide for a long time. I would suggest waiting and then striking. I would also like to point out that others in the world will see a powerful weapon for what it is. A unified attack force will probably destroy GK; especially right now. The RCC didn't throw everything they had at GK, and they were not the whole world. I think it would be very wise to misrepresent the power of the pliers. For example, after coming out of hiding make sure you have some "corspes" in the "quene".

Did that make any sense?

BLANDCorporatio
2009-05-09, 03:39 AM
@BLANDCorporatio: How quick would you attempt this? Immediatly sounds like a bad idea. Air and ground defenses need to be reloaded, and the structures rebuilt; with a viel Stanley can hide for a long time. I would suggest waiting and then striking. I would also like to point out that others in the world will see a powerful weapon for what it is. A unified attack force will probably destroy GK; especially right now. The RCC didn't throw everything they had at GK, and they were not the whole world. I think it would be very wise to misrepresent the power of the pliers. For example, after coming out of hiding make sure you have some "corspes" in the "quene".

Did that make any sense?

I will venture a "no". Bear with me.

What the former RCC members know is that they have sent a vast army to defeat Stanley. Not only did that fail, it failed utterly by getting all their units croaked. It is unlikely, if their leaders have any sense, that they will try to do this again any time soon.

Based on this I conclude that Stanley will have several turns of respite in which to redevelop GK. I think this is not controversial.

Further (and here just about everyone disagrees, but hey) I say that Stanley is in a position to grow his armies not only on what the restored GK will produce, but also on whatever neutrals/barbarians are around.

Yet more (with yet more disagreement, but that doesn't stop me), I say that Stanley is actually able to knock out cities from neighbouring sides. Not all of them can be strong, he has the army to take a city, and with the pliers he will restore the cities he conquers quickly. Thus becoming able to take out capitals too.

In conclusion, turtling is a wasted opportunity right now. Strike while the lava is still hot, you know.

There'll probably be a coalition against him again, eventually anyway. But by then it will be too late.

Kilkrazy
2009-05-09, 05:03 AM
I would not leave GK itself lightly defended while Jillian and Vinnie are a potential threat.

MickJay
2009-05-09, 05:06 AM
I'm still saying that Parson will likely end up fighting the power he created, one way or another. What kind of a plot would it be if he simply commanded a huge army of super uncroaked, aided by power of 2 artifacts, against forces that just had been dealt a major blow?

Anyway, does anyone else sense the conflict for Arkenpliers brewing? Will Stanley allow Wanda to keep them, or will he try to take them for himself, as he originally intended? If that happened, Wanda could just move out with her army to Faq (or anywhere else), and then Parson would likely end up fighting her.

BLANDCorporatio
2009-05-09, 05:08 AM
I would not leave GK itself lightly defended while Jillian and Vinnie are a potential threat.

You don't have to. There are wiener rammers, cloth golems, rock golems, dwagons, archons, gobwins, KISS, marbits, erfs of various sorts, spidews maybe ...

Not to mention the casters, and Conan Gotti too.

(EDIT: oh, yeah, also a level 10 Warlord)

Make a pick. Surely you can assemble a more than-decent attack force while keeping GK safe.

Turtling is wrong for GK, their cards have "offensive" written all over them. It only takes the will to do so.


I'm still saying that Parson will likely end up fighting the power he created, one way or another. What kind of a plot would it be if he simply commanded a huge army of super uncroaked, aided by power of 2 artifacts, against forces that just had been dealt a major blow?

Phew, finally something I can agree to unconditionally! Thank you.

Bogardan_Mage
2009-05-09, 05:42 AM
Now, as to what exactly he will be able to do, I had a couple of suggestions and then some. None of which really hinge on decrypted units being able to be re-decrypted. All that matters is that they are more powerful than simple uncroaked, more threatening targets as a result, very easy to mass-produce if you have the corpses, as the latest strip shows.
But you must admit being unable to redecrypt them will be a significant impediment. All your "march in with impunity" scenarios become "carefully weigh the odds and see if we come out on top" scenarios.


None of my suggestions hinges on GK winning every battle either. All it needs to do is croak something of the enemy's which I am sure is a possible goal.
Well that's what I thought initially, and I tried arguing under that assumption. If you lose the battle, Wanda becomes a target. And when I tried to point this out before you just assumed they'd win the battle! Which is it to be?


Finally, GK can, by using decryption, obtain an army of workers to restore production quickly in conquered cities- and it is my contention that it is able to take cities now with a fraction of its forces. In so doing, GK can grow very fast economically. At the very least, for a few turns, until the other sides discover the dynamite belt.
But they've got all those gems. Money isn't a problem any more. So this isn't really relevant.


What my ideas hinge on is that GK will use its resources RUTHLESSLY. Which is bound not to sit well with a few people on their side.
Then the problem is...

BLANDCorporatio
2009-05-09, 05:52 AM
But you must admit being unable to redecrypt them will be a significant impediment. All your "march in with impunity" scenarios become "carefully weigh the odds and see if we come out on top" scenarios.

Well that's what I thought initially, and I tried arguing under that assumption. If you lose the battle, Wanda becomes a target. And when I tried to point this out before you just assumed they'd win the battle! Which is it to be?

But they've got all those gems. Money isn't a problem any more. So this isn't really relevant.

"March with impunity" refers to Wanda, who can fly in, decrypt, fly out, while the battle is in progress. Since she won't attack on her turn, she is not subject to fire from opponents out-of-turn. I added the "picking the fight" thing because as it has been pointed out there's only one Wanda. Regardless, Parson could see where she'll be most useful.

Even if decryption wouldn't work on disputed hexes, there will be areas where GK will be able to kill everything on its start-of-turn attacks and that supposed limitation (we don't know anything either way, really) would not apply. We have seen Wanda uncroak after the golems killed in the tunnels, so the basic idea of this should work.

As for the money issue, one city at full production capacity is still less than a city and a village, each at full production capacity. The issue is not whether Stanley will have lots of money, the issue is whether Stanley will have so much money it becomes worhtless, as well as several, rapidly growing, villages/cities to pop units from. This surely must be quite a lot more relevant than you give it credit.

As for the problem, like many a time, is will and stomach. Which is what I've said for ages now, that I expect a split in the GK side.

Matuse
2009-05-09, 09:52 AM
To everyone who keeps mentioning Misty...can't happen.

Misty died a turn or two previously. Her body is gone. Poof. No decrypt.

ComradeTaro
2009-05-09, 09:55 AM
I find I agree with Dr. Stwangelove above more than those who argue against a highly aggressive strategy with the Arkenpliers. Just like tactics in this game, strategic advantage is gained multiplicatively, not additively, and GK has the Arkenpliers, the Arkenhammer, Parson for strategic planning, and Ansom as the point of the spear. It's a very potent combination, and I feel that the neighboring nations are going to learn a new term: blitzkrieg.

The first thing to remember is that the simple, obvious short term strategy of building defenses behind a veil is wrong. As Parson said when teaching Wanda and Sizemore about strategy, their goal is not to 'hold' GK but to render the enemy incapable or unwilling to take GK. The RCC has just suffered a shocking loss, losing all units committed to the war in one turn against a badly outnumbered opponent that was on the ropes. They don't know much about what happened. They are rattled, uncertain, and divided - witness the dissolution of the RCC.

When the enemy is on their heels you have to strike with the knife - when they are down you must kick them. Parson should look at the most weakened members of the RCC and pick one to be the next shock to his neighbors. Have Ansom lead a stack of dwagons, archons, and anything else fast and strong, with Wanda along for the ride. Just pile them into one immense stack o' doom, and leave everything slower at GK for local defense. Rampage through as much real estate as you can, decrypting whatever you kill as garrison units, while popping units as fast as you can in your new cities. He should be able to flatten one country in a tearing hurry; remember that GK was the finest defensive location, and his targets aren't.

After you've delivered two more shocks (Ansom as a GK warlord, and the quick flattening of a neighbor) Parson has a lot more latitude for diplomacy. It is better to be feared than loved, if you must choose, and assuming the Tool is willing to roll with Parson's program they've got a great hand. They can claim they're only after the Arkentools and offer alliance with select countries against their neighbors. Who wouldn't accept that offer from the side that defended Gk against impossible odds and then demonstrated a similar mastery of offense - and has two of the legendary Arkentools?

Kilkrazy
2009-05-09, 09:56 AM
Scarlet, however, should be capable of being decrypted. Which will make a lot of readers :smallbiggrin::smallbiggrin::smallbiggrin:

Fuzzy_Juan
2009-05-09, 10:38 AM
I agree about the massive counterassault to force their enemies into a fearful defensive position. At the same time, veiling GK into looking as it did before the battle while they rebuild would also be wise. Then the shock of their final victory will be overwhelming to any who don't see through the veil...not only did they win and turn everyone to their side, not only did they send newly turned troops to ravage coalition cities...but they were completely unscathed.

From the majority of scouts the coalition parties would only see the veil and crap themselves, only special units like the archons would be capable of noticing the ruse.

I am thinking that the remaining battle calculations owed to charlie will be used by those who oppose GK. They will likely be the focus of a story ark or two.


I am thinking the next general to oppose him will be needing to attack a certian site but need troops to come off of it...they'll ask charlie to spend a calculation to 'prove' that their stated force will be capable of taking a different force. Parson will send troops from the real objective to the other location thinking that he will be catching them in a trap since charlie wouldn't waste a calculation unless they were going to come...only, that is the ruse. It will be fun to see if he can anticipate that, or if he will be suckered. With misty out they can't reconstitute their supreme table and will have to get intelligence another way...wonder how long they'll wait before tryign to find another lookamancer.

MadScientistMat
2009-05-09, 10:44 AM
I wasn't referring to uncroaking the volcano, as much as Bogroll pretending to be Parson. Sure, it wouldn't have been obvious they were planning such a thing if Parson and Bogroll were the only two wearing such uniforms. But it's a lot less obvious if it looks like it's a standard uniform.

Raguzert
2009-05-09, 01:59 PM
Good strip. Funny how the big question is being obviously ignored, wanda seems to "like" the arkenpliers. While stanley is in a quest for all the arkentools... i doubt wanda will just give it, so i'm just waiting to see who parson will side with (my hope goes that he sides with stanley, along with everyone not decrypted yet)

BLANDCorporatio
2009-05-09, 03:42 PM
Scarlet, however, should be capable of being decrypted. Which will make a lot of readers :smallbiggrin::smallbiggrin::smallbiggrin:

Quite so, quite so. Hopefully she'll remember her name-tag too.

http://i580.photobucket.com/albums/ss243/BLANDCorporatio/Scarlet_new.png

The Pliers fought that conversion every step of the way. Not to mention the line art. Urgh.

Scarlett from Erfworld of course; so is the axe (dug it out a previous strip). Flaming skull from pycomall.com.



... Dr. Stwangelove above ...

Heh, I am almost considering changin my name, nice!

Bogardan_Mage
2009-05-09, 07:55 PM
"March with impunity" refers to Wanda, who can fly in, decrypt, fly out, while the battle is in progress. Since she won't attack on her turn, she is not subject to fire from opponents out-of-turn. I added the "picking the fight" thing because as it has been pointed out there's only one Wanda. Regardless, Parson could see where she'll be most useful.
She is subject to fire. She enters their hex, they can attack. Of course, they have to break the veil first, but if she's going to every battle to decrypt she's going to get unlucky eventually and then it's all over.


Even if decryption wouldn't work on disputed hexes, there will be areas where GK will be able to kill everything on its start-of-turn attacks and that supposed limitation (we don't know anything either way, really) would not apply. We have seen Wanda uncroak after the golems killed in the tunnels, so the basic idea of this should work.
There will, but they won't make enough difference for the pliers to be overpowered. They'll be weak units, and they'll be uncommon.


As for the money issue, one city at full production capacity is still less than a city and a village, each at full production capacity. The issue is not whether Stanley will have lots of money, the issue is whether Stanley will have so much money it becomes worhtless, as well as several, rapidly growing, villages/cities to pop units from. This surely must be quite a lot more relevant than you give it credit.
What I'm saying is that they already hinted at this. No longer will money be an issue for Stanley, they're probably the richest side in Erfworld according to Sizemore. Using the pliers to make money may be useful, but it's not really a revelation. From a narrative point of view, they basically told us to forget about costs. It doesn't really matter why.


As for the problem, like many a time, is will and stomach. Which is what I've said for ages now, that I expect a split in the GK side.
I don't think splitting is as easy as you think it is. I think dissent in Gobwin Knob will result in your brilliant cheese not being used, rather than the side splitting into a side that will use it and one that won't.

Wolfwood2
2009-05-09, 09:36 PM
Good strip. Funny how the big question is being obviously ignored, wanda seems to "like" the arkenpliers. While stanley is in a quest for all the arkentools... i doubt wanda will just give it, so i'm just waiting to see who parson will side with (my hope goes that he sides with stanley, along with everyone not decrypted yet)

Stanley might consider that having one of his subordinate using the arkenpliers is essentially owning them himself. Everything an Overlord's side has is his.

Dark Matter
2009-05-09, 10:40 PM
All this talk of Veiling Wanda is pointless.

1) You can move on your turn, other people CAN'T because their move drops to zero when they end turn.
2) Dragons can carry people and have large movement (btw they're currently short on dragons... they have two... hopefully they'll pop more).
3) You send in a powerful force & croak everyone.
4) After that, and only after that, you have Wanda fly from homebase to uncroak everyone... and then fly her back.

5) Ergo she's never exposed. She's never subject to attack. No risk.

And note she already did something very similar with Manpower the Temporary. He died, she flew over and uncroaked him, then she flew back and argued with Tool.

RE: Parson being Decrypted
I don't think it'd work. He's not really a unit, no one can see his stats.

Matuse
2009-05-10, 12:15 AM
Just to be nitpicky, but they have at least 3 dragons right now. Jack and Stanley are each riding one, and the one that popped at GK. Then, maybe there's a knight or two who survived Stanley's trip to FAQ (I don't think so, but it's possible).

Bookkeeper@Arms
2009-05-10, 12:43 AM
A notion occurs to me ...

Parson's 3D specs. His Warlord's Sword. His Mathamancy bracer. Where did they come from?!

Are we to assume that the Cosmic Forces of Erfworld simply slipped them into his morning Stupid Meal just to rectify some imbalance? If that were the case, why aren't there more artifacts (the bracer has been classed as an artifact) running around?

In fact, why is Parson's food customized for him to resemble Earth food? Even Code Red Mountain Dew?

Theory #1: The Titans Did It. Decrypted Ansom is right, and Parson is a true Tool of the Titans, to be used to rebuild Erfworld.

Theory #2: The Magic Kingdom Did It. They crafted the Summon Perfect Warlord spell; they were willing to sever the Wanda/Maggie/Sizemore link with maximum expensive help free of charge; and there is the Grand Abbie's cryptic statement about Parson breaking Erfworld. The Magic Kingdom set up the whole Perfect Warlord scam in order to bring peace to the world without getting directly involved. So they use their magic to slip useful things to him in his food, including luck.

Theory #3: Parson Did It. Unbeknownst to himself, he is a Titan, or has access to the operating systems of Erfworld. He is subconsciously affecting reality around him. Which is why everything is familiar to him, why his food is familiar, and why odd circumstances seem to help him. As his understanding grows, fewer of Erfworld's natural laws will affect him. Eventually, he'll be able to write new one, or edit the existing ones.

No matter how one looks at it, I don't think Parson's slated for obscurity on Erfworld.

Bookkeeper@Arms
2009-05-10, 01:10 AM
Another notion ...

Where did Wanda get all those corpses to decrypt? It was stated clearly in Parson's Klog that corpses vanish at the beginning of a turn. Did those corpses stay around because they were buried? So Misty the Thinkamancer could be decrypted.

So what will that do for Erfworld in general? Eventually some smart Croakamancer's going to devise a simple-to-use variant of Decrypting that doesn't require an Artifact (but it would probably work on only one unit at a time and be expensive). Would that mean that Erfworlders would start burying their dead in hope of a glorious decrypting and repopping?

Frogpop
2009-05-10, 01:24 AM
So Misty the Thinkamancer could be decrypted.
Lookamancer m'lord. (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0050.html)

teratorn
2009-05-10, 02:03 AM
Just to be nitpicky, but they have at least 3 dragons right now. Jack and Stanley are each riding one, and the one that popped at GK. Then, maybe there's a knight or two who survived Stanley's trip to FAQ (I don't think so, but it's possible).

You call that nitpicky? Stanley has 6 dwagons with him (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0128.html), plus the foolamancer and one knight. So GK now has 7 dwagons, plus at least three archons. Put Ansom on one of those dwagons and with his bonus that airforce should be pretty strong.

About the corpses, they should disappear at the onset of RCC's next turn, that is after GK's actual turn (the archons had already allied with RCC). It makes sense that they would last for a turn even after RCC is dissolved.

BLANDCorporatio
2009-05-10, 02:30 AM
All this talk of Veiling Wanda is pointless.

1) You can move on your turn, other people CAN'T because their move drops to zero when they end turn....
And note she already did something very similar with Manpower the Temporary. He died, she flew over and uncroaked him, then she flew back and argued with Tool.

Good point, and this has in fact been covered as a possibility; the veil was added as an extra-precaution, but it also serves another purpose. Wanda needs to retreat, and this can help conceal the "to where" part.


She is subject to fire. She enters their hex, they can attack. Of course, they have to break the veil first, but if she's going to every battle to decrypt she's going to get unlucky eventually and then it's all over.
...
There will, but they won't make enough difference for the pliers to be overpowered. They'll be weak units, and they'll be uncommon.
...
What I'm saying is that they already hinted at this. No longer will money be an issue for Stanley, they're probably the richest side in Erfworld according to Sizemore. Using the pliers to make money may be useful, but it's not really a revelation. From a narrative point of view, they basically told us to forget about costs. It doesn't really matter why.
...
I don't think splitting is as easy as you think it is. I think dissent in Gobwin Knob will result in your brilliant cheese not being used, rather than the side splitting into a side that will use it and one that won't.

Wanda taking fire: see a post above, from Dark Matter that I just replied to. I think he disagrees with you, and provides some confirmation for why I think Wanda is safe from attacks on her turn.

"Not enough difference": it's your opinion, my opinion is that the ability to transform everything the opponent loses into reinforcements for you is a very powerful tactic.

Money issue: we also know what usually happened when a city is conquered. GK now has the ability to redevelop conquered cities much faster than anyone else. You can't win by holding just one city, but if you can expand fast- and GK can expand much faster now than anyone else- the odds start looking a lot better. So much better in fact that I see that Decrypted Horde marching all over.

Finally, splitting is not supposed to be easy; but it could be hinted at, with Parson's current moodiness, for example.

Finally, cheese works! It works so well, that it's use is frowned upon as somehow unsporting. So yeah, guess GK has lots of cheese now :smallsmile:

ishnar
2009-05-10, 03:57 AM
A notion occurs to me ...

Parson's 3D specs. His Warlord's Sword. His Mathamancy bracer. Where did they come from?!

Are we to assume that the Cosmic Forces of Erfworld simply slipped them into his morning Stupid Meal just to rectify some imbalance? If that were the case, why aren't there more artifacts (the bracer has been classed as an artifact) running around?

Ok, first no one is assuming anything. The breakfast box itself stated that the spell was correcting the problems with summoning a not quite perfect erfwarlord. It didn't fix an imbalance, it fixed a broken Parson. And the bracer is not an artifact, it's only a magic item. Sizemore only said that it might qualify as an artifact, not that it was.

Still, ever since parson started getting items in his meal, I always wondered if the 5th arkentool might be hidden in the netherspace that food pops from. But gamewise, the food popping at dawn is just moneymancy. Converting money to anything is moneymancy in erf.




In fact, why is Parson's food customized for him to resemble Earth food? Even Code Red Mountain Dew?

For the same reason that Wanda gets sushi but stanley did not. Because the game pops culturally appropriate food.

Bogardan_Mage
2009-05-10, 04:15 AM
Wanda taking fire: see a post above, from Dark Matter that I just replied to. I think he disagrees with you, and provides some confirmation for why I think Wanda is safe from attacks on her turn.
Dark Matter assumes you croak everything in the hex which you still refuse to address. If you're going to just assume that they'll automatically win every conflict (even if you say that you don't assume that), I'm just going to ignore it until you justify it. If you don't croak everything in the hex, they're allowed to attack when a hostile unit enters the hex. This has been shown (and referenced by Word of the Titans) repeatedly.


"Not enough difference": it's your opinion, my opinion is that the ability to transform everything the opponent loses into reinforcements for you is a very powerful tactic.
Not everything. Gah! You keep apparently conceding this point and yet you never actually do!


Finally, splitting is not supposed to be easy; but it could be hinted at, with Parson's current moodiness, for example.
Could be, but I doubt it. Parson had much more motivation to jump ship when he was losing. If he ever had the power to split, why do it now?


Finally, cheese works! It works so well, that it's use is frowned upon as somehow unsporting. So yeah, guess GK has lots of cheese now :smallsmile:
Cheese works, but it makes for very bad storytelling on either side. Which I believe was your argument.

BLANDCorporatio
2009-05-10, 04:26 AM
Dark Matter assumes you croak everything in the hex which you still refuse to address. If you're going to just assume that they'll automatically win every conflict (even if you say that you don't assume that), I'm just going to ignore it until you justify it. If you don't croak everything in the hex, they're allowed to attack when a hostile unit enters the hex. This has been shown (and referenced by Word of the Titans) repeatedly.

Links.

The point is not that you kill everything, the point is that you don't use Wanda to attack. In that case, whatever enemy force remains will have no reason to do defensive fire on her, more so after doing defensive fire on the GK units that attacked at start-of-turn.

(ADDED: about "everyhting the opponent loses": that means, anything you get to croak, not necessarily battles won. Yeah, in a battle the two sides will trade losses, as in units croaked on the field. With the Pliers they can be quickly restored to their previous fighting stats, only now loyal to GK. A very nice source of reinforcements.)



Could be, but I doubt it. Parson had much more motivation to jump ship when he was losing. If he ever had the power to split, why do it now?

That was a game, a challenge! This is a slaughter of what he starts to view as real people.


Cheese works, but it makes for very bad storytelling on either side. Which I believe was your argument.

So, you do see what I am arguing for.

What we disagree on is whether GK has the power to unleash an oversized bucket of hurt on Erfworld. Fair enough, my argument has several steps and we are debating the very first one. "GK can do lots of cheese, more so this is its reasonable option, cheese makes for bad story-telling*, therefore GK will, by some plot action, either come to a state where said cheese is not an option or the protagonist switches sides/is switched".

In a nutshell that's it.

(*EDIT: the problem with nutshells is they lack nuance and I can just see a certain comment rearing its ugly head again. So a clarification.

Up until now GK was desperate. Outnumbered 25 to 1, surrounded, nowhere for most of them to go to. Parson HAD to find exploits, and it was always a case that GK did not seem in a position to afford failure.

Opinions, as they are wont to do, differ on this, but I say GK is far from desperate now. Quite the contrary.)

Zeku
2009-05-10, 05:25 AM
The stupid meal accessories are the remnants of the summoning spell. That is specifically stated on the meal that has the maze on it.

http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0118.html

It was a well crafted spell. So much so that it does it's job properly even when the caster is unaware of the specific requirements of both the casting and the object of the caster. "Fully automated." No doubt the exact wording of the spell has a monstrous quantity of logical checks and rechecks, like a big computer program.

torgen
2009-05-10, 02:44 PM
I'm lost. No one knew that Wanda would attune to the pliers or what the effect would be. I assume that Wanda intuited or was somehow taught how to decrypt once she did attune but doubt that she had any inkling of their power before that.



I have to disagree. Panel 9: http://www.erfworld.com/book-1-archive/?px=%2F122.jpg

If he touches her with the Arkenpliers, she will attune to them instead of being killed by them. She knows it, and Ansom realizes that she knows something that HE doesn't and weirds out over it. You can see in panel 10 that he is actually moving the pliers AWAY from Wanda, to the other side of his body.

torgen
2009-05-10, 02:51 PM
To everyone who keeps mentioning Misty...can't happen.

Misty died a turn or two previously. Her body is gone. Poof. No decrypt.

Wrong.

http://www.erfworld.com/book-1-archive/?px=%2F077a.jpg

Misty's body was moved. Not only moved, but buried in solid rock, and Sizemore knows where she is.

Wyvv
2009-05-10, 06:48 PM
Jumping into the "Are the pliers overpowered?" discussion/arguement, I'd like to point some things out that I think is very important to deciding this.

Are we talking about overpowered in Gobin Knob's position, or for any side at all?

If so, I get the impression that Gobwin Knob is not on the edge or side of the map.(Or perhaps Erf is round) It also doesn't seem they have much in the way of solid barriers, but instead are a good distance away from any side other then Faq and possibly Transylvito. Actually, now that I think about it, is having few close sides common on Erf? If it is, and I'm right about Gobwin Knob's surrounding area, the pliers ability to decrypt may not be as tactically valuable. Being attacked on multiple fronts would make it much more difficult to decrypt more units then you've lost. Something else to take into account is that they only hold a single level one city and need to expand quickly. Wanda with the pliers doesn't seem like a good choice for quick expansion, though following and decrypting would probably help reinforce the cities that have been captured.

If for anyside, without units like Dwagons and Stanley how hard would it be to ensure a win or keep Wanda safe so she can decrypt? To take advantage of Decryption it seems you need to be able to take out powerful units, or at least a large number of weaker ones. You'd be quite vulnerable to heavy hitters with less tactical versatility. If the enemy withdrew most of their units to a defensible position, the pliers wouldn't be much help taking the city. They'd nearly eliminate downtime, which is quite useful, but not exactly overpowered.

Do Decrypted get a huge bonus like uncroaked do when led by a croakamancer? If so :eek:

What units, if any, can't be uncroaked? It makes sense that golems of anykind might not be able to be uncroaked. Possibly other things of an elemental nature as well, like gumps.

Finally, we really haven't seen a good comparison of a strong units capabilities to a weak units. Without getting a good idea of how combat works from a statistics point of view, we have no idea how much more pwerful Decrypting is then Uncroaking. I'd wager the difference becomes more extreme as more powerful units are uncroaked/decrypted, but for most units, it may not make much difference.

Anyway, I think the pliers are a rather powerful tool, but the limitation of Wanda only being in one place at a time means it can probably be countered. At least when defending against them. I'm not quite sure how I'd go about attacking a city with Wanda and the pliers inside. Any failed assault would doom the entire siege. Isolate and build up forces for an overwhelming attack seems the only option to me.

Kender Wizard
2009-05-10, 10:57 PM
Just a few things I haven't seen posted before (doesn't mean they are't there, just haven't seen them):

First off, the strategy of moving Wanda in to uncroak in the middle of a battle may actually be practical. In regards to enemy fire, it seems that units can prevent others that they are protecting from being assulted till the guards are dealt with. Assemble a strong strike force (archons perhaps, with a warlord) to go with her with instructions to protect her from damage with their lives, and suddenly Wanda is a far tougher target and would likely survive going into a combat zone, assuming care was taken to prevent more than scattered resistance.

Second, judging from the fact that Wanda does not seem to have a limit on how many bodies she can decrypt (has done hundreds, if not thousands already) and that she does it very fast with little or no concentration (she holds a discussion during the decryption process with no problems, almost acting like she is just triggering the arkenpliers with no other input from her being needed), I would imagine that she can do this regardless of whose turn it is. Also, if placed on the attack, her guards/protectors(see above statements) could croak the most powerful of the enemy, she decrypts them immediately, and repeats till the enemy is routed. With care, this is a workable plan.

Lastly, the most important thing I think: Assuming that the pliers decryption is unlimited, and that aside from an adjustment in loyalty and attitudes the decrypted are normal erfworlders, the pliers could be the key to totally changing erfworld. I did not agree that a war of conquest would end all wars, because nobles (who could be popped and if GK grew large enough, probably would be popped) could break from GK eventually and create their own sides. If the above assumptions are true, the world could be completely remade with decrypted without really needing to expand GK, and because their loyalty as decrypted is absolute, they would never break into another faction... there would at last be peace in erfworld. (Ansom is proof enough of that for me, his loyalty had to be modified, even if he would naturally alter his beliefs in the fact of hard evidence, he had three uninterrupted seconds in which to ponder all of this before he stated his new firmly held beliefs- also, what good would the pliers be if the decrypted came back the same as they were before, they'd just try killing you again).

Azukar
2009-05-11, 03:19 AM
For all those claiming the Arkentools (and 'pliers in particular) are a deus ex machina, I humbly suggest a more appropriate term:

The Arkenpliers are a machinus ex dei.

No, I couldn't help myself.

Bogardan_Mage
2009-05-11, 03:22 AM
Links.
Rob: When it is not your turn, and someone moves into the space you're on (meaning hex or city zone), then you can engage them. (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=5448054#post5448054)


The point is not that you kill everything, the point is that you don't use Wanda to attack. In that case, whatever enemy force remains will have no reason to do defensive fire on her, more so after doing defensive fire on the GK units that attacked at start-of-turn.
They have every reason to use defensive fire on her, she's the single most important unit in all of Gobwin Knob! With your strategy, I wouldn't be surprised if Gobwin Knob's enemies set aside forces for the express purpose of assassinating her (not that they'd be likely to reach her, as most of the time she'd be well protected).


(ADDED: about "everyhting the opponent loses": that means, anything you get to croak, not necessarily battles won. Yeah, in a battle the two sides will trade losses, as in units croaked on the field. With the Pliers they can be quickly restored to their previous fighting stats, only now loyal to GK. A very nice source of reinforcements.)
I understand that. What I keep trying to impress upon you is that sending Wanda into a hex with hostile units is risky, seeing as your entire plan depends on an attuned Arkenpliers and she's the only one known to attune to them.


That was a game, a challenge! This is a slaughter of what he starts to view as real people.
Bull. Parson was scared and disturbed, even if he saw it as a game. He played along because he had no choice. Sure, he enjoyed the challenge but he genuinely believed that his life was in danger (and it was) and I'm sure would have welcomed the chance to switch to a less doomed side.


So, you do see what I am arguing for.

What we disagree on is whether GK has the power to unleash an oversized bucket of hurt on Erfworld. Fair enough, my argument has several steps and we are debating the very first one. "GK can do lots of cheese, more so this is its reasonable option, cheese makes for bad story-telling*, therefore GK will, by some plot action, either come to a state where said cheese is not an option or the protagonist switches sides/is switched".

In a nutshell that's it.
Aye. I and others have offered many plausible alternatives to overpowered pliers, which you have ignored. I believe your theory is not an elegant way of dealing with it, and that an overpowered enemy is every bit as bad for storytelling as an overpowered protagonist.


(*EDIT: the problem with nutshells is they lack nuance and I can just see a certain comment rearing its ugly head again. So a clarification.

Up until now GK was desperate. Outnumbered 25 to 1, surrounded, nowhere for most of them to go to. Parson HAD to find exploits, and it was always a case that GK did not seem in a position to afford failure.

Opinions, as they are wont to do, differ on this, but I say GK is far from desperate now. Quite the contrary.)
The last few strips are very strongly hinting that the comic is not going to be about a struggling underdog any more. I don't think this is a bad thing. Just because we started with impossible odds doesn't mean Book 2 has to artificially repeat those odds.

BLANDCorporatio
2009-05-11, 05:26 AM
Wanda with the pliers doesn't seem like a good choice for quick expansion, though following and decrypting would probably help reinforce the cities that have been captured.

The argument then would rather come to the opposite conclusion. Wanda with ArkenPliers is the perfect asset for a quick expansion. We know that units, unless they are very valuable casters, tend to get croaked or disbanded to avoid loyalty issues. Therefore, whoever takes a city needs to spend some troops to bring it back to whatever it was capable of in terms of production. Not so with Wanda, who can raise the population (or a significant portion of it) with all their previous abilities and no rotting in sight, plus with loyalty to GK.


Rob: When it is not your turn, and someone moves into the space you're on (meaning hex or city zone), then you can engage them. (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=5448054#post5448054)

They have every reason to use defensive fire on her, she's the single most important unit in all of Gobwin Knob! With your strategy, I wouldn't be surprised if Gobwin Knob's enemies set aside forces for the express purpose of assassinating her (not that they'd be likely to reach her, as most of the time she'd be well protected).

You assume they know about Wanda already. They won't at first. Plus, there's what Kender Wizard was describing above. Added to that is the instance when we see Jack's veil in action (http://www.erfworld.com/book-1-archive/?px=%2F114.jpg) (that page and the next battle pages. Bats, Transylivitan Warlords, Jillian, all primed to kill Stanley and no other distractions in all the hex. Stopped cold by "crypsis".

Don't knock it out just yet.


I understand that. What I keep trying to impress upon you is that sending Wanda into a hex with hostile units is risky, seeing as your entire plan depends on an attuned Arkenpliers and she's the only one known to attune to them.

Everything has a risk. Based on some of the mechanics of the game, it is mitigated. Plus, "my entire" plan is an overstatement on your part. I have yet to see you comment on the intelligence gathering possibilities of the Pliers, or the rapid expansion scenario. No, a casual dismissal as "irelevant" is not a cogent argument.


Bull. Parson was scared and disturbed, even if he saw it as a game. He played along because he had no choice. Sure, he enjoyed the challenge but he genuinely believed that his life was in danger (and it was) and I'm sure would have welcomed the chance to switch to a less doomed side.

Yes, he most definitely would have eh (http://www.erfworld.com/book-1-archive/?px=%2F098b.jpg)? Read that. I don't think it says what you think it says.


Aye. I and others have offered many plausible alternatives to overpowered pliers, which you have ignored. I believe your theory is not an elegant way of dealing with it, and that an overpowered enemy is every bit as bad for storytelling as an overpowered protagonist.

The antagonist doesn't need to be superpowerful ... though it sometimes helps ... The idea rather is that GK survived a furious attack and barely escaped the jaws of defeat. You don't expect this kind of situation to result in a complete turning of the tables.

As for what you and many others have offered, some of those things were actually good points which were used to refine the cheese I was proposing. And for that thank you all, it means the discussion is progressing somewhere (ahem, but see the last paragraph). Case in point, the "village of the damned" idea which changed from some nondescript leaving of sacrificial troops to a fast expand strategy.



The last few strips are very strongly hinting that the comic is not going to be about a struggling underdog any more. I don't think this is a bad thing. Just because we started with impossible odds doesn't mean Book 2 has to artificially repeat those odds.

Agreed. It doesn't have to be a struggling underdog, it's just that GK is, and of course you can disagree with me here, far far far from the underdog right now. It's where the smart money is.

However, we have the current front page of erfworld.com and therefore word of god from Rob Balder (sorry no permalink) saying that:


Book 2 takes place a lot of days/turns ahead of the end of Book 1. That's the "narrative distance" I mentioned in the GiantITP forums.

Whatever lies in the future for GK, we'll have to wait a while to see. Of course, book 2 promises to bring us more back story and therefore more food for speculation and disagreement. See you there!

Krelon
2009-05-11, 08:50 AM
on the overpowered discussion:

Imagine 3 sides starting the game:

1st with dish: popping free archons, unlimited communication/intel
2nd with hammer: popping free dwagons, combat moves (flight, lightning)
3rd with pliers: decrypting, dust uncroaked

Which side would you like to play?

All artifacts are possibly "gamebreaking", which means that the side controlling them has a huge advantage. Which one is "better" depends on the situation. At the moment the circumstances favor the pliers but don't forget that the circumstances are what a gamer dreams to pull off: lure a major force into a trap and turn it against your opponent by some means (decrypt/bribe/mind control/misdirect/...). Things like that don't happen a lot.

Moechi_Vill
2009-05-11, 09:12 AM
Two Important Points based on story facts

Free Will
Parson lacks effective free will, the spell effect is not completely dominant as he kindly requested the casters to leave, but largely discussions about what HE wants to do are overshooting his capacity for choice.

Power Balance
There are two other superweapons to oppose the Toolians, this is clear. Even if there wasn't there are ways, though hard they may be.
And most of all, 'Time and chance gets them all.' (The Bible).

Just my twenty cents ;^_=.

DevilDan
2009-05-11, 12:06 PM
I just think that therefore Parson entering the magic kingdom had importance to the story. I could be reading too much into it, but smaller details have become important.

I absolutely agree that we will learn more about why Parson was able to get into the Magic Kingdom. Rob could have easily come up with another way of saving Parson; I mean, even I could suggest one or two 'sploits.

I do have another thought on "uberpowered'/"gamebreaking." Maybe what we're witnessing now is just another step in Erf's version of this famous scene (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0001.html).

fendrin
2009-05-11, 03:06 PM
...an overpowered enemy is every bit as bad for storytelling as an overpowered protagonist.

Whoa, what? That's not just a classic, it's a staple!

Off the top of my head I can think of many epic tales that feature overpowered enemies:

Lord of The Rings
Star Wars
Erfworld Book 1 (:smallbiggrin:)
Pick your favorite Cthulhu Mythos story
Matrix
Dark Crystal
Predator
Dracula
Sword of Truth
Alien
War of the Worlds
Thomas Covenant
Any Star Trek episode/move/book where they face off against the Borg
Just about every horror story ever written

I could go on, but I think my point has been made.

teratorn
2009-05-11, 09:00 PM
The last few strips are very strongly hinting that the comic is not going to be about a struggling underdog any more.

GK has got two tools. The owners of the other two tools may join forces against them, and backed by Parson's battle calculations they know when and with how many units to fight. Parson severely handicapped his own side with those promised calculations. Parson may have tough times ahead of him, at least for the next seven battles.

Besides, we have Vinny and if there's an Erfworldian that can find a way to cheat that's him.

eminence_grise
2009-05-11, 11:49 PM
Free Will
Parson lacks effective free will, the spell effect is not completely dominant as he kindly requested the casters to leave, but largely discussions about what HE wants to do are overshooting his capacity for choice.


I suspect that if Parson were sufficiently motivated to look for loopholes, he could figure out a way to disobey effectively at a critical moment, despite the leash. Bending the rules is what he got hired for, isn't it?

eminence_grise
2009-05-11, 11:57 PM
I absolutely agree that we will learn more about why Parson was able to get into the Magic Kingdom. Rob could have easily come up with another way of saving Parson; I mean, even I could suggest one or two 'sploits.


Another thing regarding the Magic Kingdom that seemed to escaped notice at the time. Janis and Spock appeared to be ready for Parson when he arrived, and already had their plan worked out. This smells of Predictamancy to me. This shouldn't be terribly surprising, Predictamancy was involved in the Summon Perfect Warlord spell in the first place, they'd be remiss to not research a few questions like "so, what's gonna happen when somebody actually casts this thing?"

DevilDan
2009-05-12, 02:19 AM
Predictamancy was involved in the Summon Perfect Warlord spell in the first place, they'd be remiss to not research a few questions like "so, what's gonna happen when somebody actually casts this thing?"

Maybe Parson truly isn't a unit in the literal sense, but something more related to magic than to a fully instantiated game unit. (An emulated unit?)

Moechi_Vill
2009-05-12, 02:34 AM
I suspect that if Parson were sufficiently motivated to look for loopholes, he could figure out a way to disobey effectively at a critical moment, despite the leash. Bending the rules is what he got hired for, isn't it?

He was hired for being 'perfect' in his area. What's the point of a half-million schmucker spell if it's loyalty effect is not strong?

I'm sure he could weasel out of parts of it, but to do so completely he'd need help - and either way it would be a guaranteed long and difficult, perhaps tedious process.

HandofShadows
2009-05-12, 03:35 AM
Another thing regarding the Magic Kingdom that seemed to escaped notice at the time. Janis and Spock appeared to be ready for Parson when he arrived, and already had their plan worked out. This smells of Predictamancy to me. This shouldn't be terribly surprising, Predictamancy was involved in the Summon Perfect Warlord spell in the first place, they'd be remiss to not research a few questions like "so, what's gonna happen when somebody actually casts this thing?"

Actually I had noticed and remarked on the fact Janis and Co. seemed to be waiting. In addition to a predictimancer Janis could have been watching the events at GK with the help of an Eyemancer.

raphfrk
2009-05-12, 04:04 AM
Parson severely handicapped his own side with those promised calculations. Parson may have tough times ahead of him, at least for the next seven battles.


Parson can also do the same calculations (and isn't limited to conserving the number of calculations he uses). This means that the field is slightly more balanced when he is fighting Charlie. However, Parson is "the perfect warlord". Being able to calculate probabilities is only one part of this.

Also, the deal he made was clearly worth it. He managed to prevent Stanley from being croaked and prevented Wanda from taking his few remaining flying troops to him.

OTOH, without the deal, the Archons wouldn't have been around to interfere with the battle in GK itself (but Stanley croaking would have made that irrelevant.)

Kilkrazy
2009-05-12, 04:17 AM
He was hired for being 'perfect' in his area. What's the point of a half-million schmucker spell if it's loyalty effect is not strong?

I'm sure he could weasel out of parts of it, but to do so completely he'd need help - and either way it would be a guaranteed long and difficult, perhaps tedious process.

Parson can probably do what he likes providing he believes that it serves the ultimate best interests of the Tool. Remember that Parson was prepared to risk visiting the operations room while banned from the sight of Stanley, because he knew he needed to place orders.

That isn't 100% free will, however it may be as close to it as people in the real world get, who have a bank manager or are married, and so on. I mean, no-one really can do anything they want, we all operate under different kinds of constraints.

raphfrk
2009-05-12, 04:46 AM
Parson can probably do what he likes providing he believes that it serves the ultimate best interests of the Tool.

Tie him up and gag him, as he is his own worst enemy? Ofc, he can "end [Parson] with a thought".

Moechi_Vill
2009-05-12, 06:28 AM
Parson can probably do what he likes providing he believes that it serves the ultimate best interests of the Tool. Remember that Parson was prepared to risk visiting the operations room while banned from the sight of Stanley, because he knew he needed to place orders.

That isn't 100% free will, however it may be as close to it as people in the real world get, who have a bank manager or are married, and so on. I mean, no-one really can do anything they want, we all operate under different kinds of constraints.

People in this world are free to get fired and have their children starve, that is the oldest freedom since 'by the sweat of your labor shall you eat your bread'.

Of course I see your point, perhaps freedom in Erfworld is represented by the freedom of power and the higher you get the more of it you have. But in traditional terms it seems mostly restricted to feelings and the ability to break alliance and turn traitor against as per one's loyalty ratings.
However Parson is also under spell compulsion so in a way he has less freedom than the cannon fodder.

BillyJimBoBob
2009-05-12, 01:00 PM
And the bracer is not an artifact, it's only a magic item. Sizemore only said that it might qualify as an artifact, not that it was.Sizemore thinks that it might be an artifact, and Charlie just calls it an artifact after learning what it can do. It is an artifact.
You assume they know about Wanda already. They won't at first.That's not really relevant to the discussion. Casters are known to be potent and expensive units, and we've twice seen enemies call for their troops to engage casters. If Wanda is spotted by a Warlord, they are going to direct forces against her. It won't matter in the slightest if they know that she is a croakamancer, or has the 'Pliers, or can decryt units. It will just happen because that's how targets are prioritized.

eminence_grise
2009-05-12, 01:06 PM
Actually I had noticed and remarked on the fact Janis and Co. seemed to be waiting. In addition to a predictimancer Janis could have been watching the events at GK with the help of an Eyemancer.

Oops, obviously I missed your comment. Sorry, but you know how it can be with these billion-post threads. :smallsmile:

fendrin
2009-05-12, 01:25 PM
Sizemore thinks that it might be an artifact, and Charlie just calls it an artifact after learning what it can do. It is an artifact.

In erf terms, 'artifact' vs. 'magic item' is a matter of origin (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0035.html), not power.

The bracer (and glasses & sword, too) was made by a spell, so technically is neither a magic item nor an artifact. It is, presumably, something new.

BLANDCorporatio
2009-05-12, 01:42 PM
That's not really relevant to the discussion. Casters are known to be potent and expensive units, and we've twice seen enemies call for their troops to engage casters. If Wanda is spotted by a Warlord, they are going to direct forces against her. It won't matter in the slightest if they know that she is a croakamancer, or has the 'Pliers, or can decryt units. It will just happen because that's how targets are prioritized.

Which has so far proven very unsuccesful against a guarded but clearly visible and looking for trouble Sizemore- twice. Parson may have been desperate to send Sizemore to the front on those occasions, but considering how well he fared it is amazing casters don't lead armies more often. Possible anti-cheese, that.

And that was when the caster not only was a visible target, but the opposing units were not, at that very moment, engaged and kept busy by GK troops.

DevilDan
2009-05-12, 04:34 PM
In erf terms, 'artifact' vs. 'magic item' is a matter of origin (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0035.html), not power.

The bracer (and glasses & sword, too) was made by a spell, so technically is neither a magic item nor an artifact. It is, presumably, something new.

Wait, how do we know that they are not magic items?

Moechi_Vill
2009-05-12, 07:35 PM
Wait, how do we know that they are not magic items?

They were created by Titans, if you are referring to the Arkentools.

DoctorJest
2009-05-12, 09:30 PM
Jumping into the "Are the pliers overpowered?" discussion/arguement, I'd like to point some things out that I think is very important to deciding this.

Are we talking about overpowered in Gobin Knob's position, or for any side at all?

If you happen to be in possession of an entire city filled with thousands of corpses and no opposition at all... then I can see how the pliers might be considered overpowered. Under normal circumstances, however, I don't believe they are. They're just being used under currently ideal circumstances.

Alot of the "OMG!" over the pliers is because of the circumstances caused by Parson's gambit with the volcano, not because of the inherent power of the pliers themselves.

Are they powerful? You bet! They're a tool used to fashion the world itself, and as such are immensely powerful. Are they OVERPOWERED? I doubt that, especially since we haven't seen everything the other tools can do.

DoctorJest
2009-05-12, 09:31 PM
They were created by Titans, if you are referring to the Arkentools.

They weren't. They were referring to Parson's glasses, calculator, and sword.

Sizemore says that the mathamancy device might qualify as an artifact. Charlie goes right out and calls it an artifact. I'm of the mind that they're probably artifacts.

fendrin
2009-05-12, 10:19 PM
They weren't. They were referring to Parson's glasses, calculator, and sword.
Quite right. We know they are not magic items because they are made by the spell not 'a mortal'. Two of the three (the glasses and the armband) are things that no 'caster would ever create (the former because it replicates an ability all 'casters and warlords already have and the latter only works with Parson's watch).


Sizemore says that the mathamancy device might qualify as an artifact. Charlie goes right out and calls it an artifact. I'm of the mind that they're probably artifacts.

That depends on how an artifact is defined. If it is 'an object with magical properties not made by a mortal' then yes. However, if an artifact is 'an object with magical properties made by the titans' then no. We don't have that definition, so we don't know. It seems to me that Parson's items fall into a linguistic gap. They are technically neither magic items nor artifacts, but there isn't a word to cover that. Sizemore essentially says he doesn't know what to call it, and Charlie probably called it an artifact because that's the term Parson used in his sales pitch.

Bogardan_Mage
2009-05-13, 01:59 AM
You assume they know about Wanda already. They won't at first.
No, I assume that they'll know about Wanda eventually. It only has to be eventually.


Added to that is the instance when we see Jack's veil in action (http://www.erfworld.com/book-1-archive/?px=%2F114.jpg) (that page and the next battle pages. Bats, Transylivitan Warlords, Jillian, all primed to kill Stanley and no other distractions in all the hex. Stopped cold by "crypsis".
They weren't "stopped cold", they started trying to pierce the veil. And they pierced it, contrary to your apparent belief that it cannot be done. They didn't do so before Stanley had left the hex, it's true, but unlike your plan, my plan doesn't rely on working out perfectly in every battle. It relies on working out, by chance, once, and then never being needed again.


Everything has a risk. Based on some of the mechanics of the game, it is mitigated. Plus, "my entire" plan is an overstatement on your part. I have yet to see you comment on the intelligence gathering possibilities of the Pliers, or the rapid expansion scenario. No, a casual dismissal as "irelevant" is not a cogent argument.
Are you arguing that the other uses are broken to the extent that having them at Parson's disposal will make the story unworkable? If not, then I don't think they are relevant. And if so, I don't think you're right.


Yes, he most definitely would have eh (http://www.erfworld.com/book-1-archive/?px=%2F098b.jpg)? Read that. I don't think it says what you think it says.
But you think his opinion has changed?


The antagonist doesn't need to be superpowerful ... though it sometimes helps ... The idea rather is that GK survived a furious attack and barely escaped the jaws of defeat. You don't expect this kind of situation to result in a complete turning of the tables.
And yet it has, whether you are right about a schism or not. This line of argument baffles me, as it's quite obviously not what happened.


Agreed. It doesn't have to be a struggling underdog, it's just that GK is, and of course you can disagree with me here, far far far from the underdog right now. It's where the smart money is.
The smart money does not get placed with so many unknowns on the board. What is the position of Jetstone, of Transylvito, of Charlescomm? Gobwin Knob is in a position to rapidly recover. There are other sides in the world, though, and they are not in need of recovery.


Whoa, what? That's not just a classic, it's a staple!

Off the top of my head I can think of many epic tales that feature overpowered enemies:

Lord of The Rings
Star Wars
Erfworld Book 1 (:smallbiggrin:)
Pick your favorite Cthulhu Mythos story
Matrix
Dark Crystal
Predator
Dracula
Sword of Truth
Alien
War of the Worlds
Thomas Covenant
Any Star Trek episode/move/book where they face off against the Borg
Just about every horror story ever written

I could go on, but I think my point has been made.
There is a difference between overpowered and merely powerful. None of them are gamebreakingly broken. I notice a few of them (among those with which I am familiar) have major and somewhat arbitrary weaknesses (Lord of the Rings, War of the Worlds...) I find that somewhat appropriate.


GK has got two tools. The owners of the other two tools may join forces against them, and backed by Parson's battle calculations they know when and with how many units to fight. Parson severely handicapped his own side with those promised calculations. Parson may have tough times ahead of him, at least for the next seven battles.

Besides, we have Vinny and if there's an Erfworldian that can find a way to cheat that's him.
Do you know what context is?

teratorn
2009-05-13, 04:38 AM
Do you know what context is?

Maybe not, but I know when a poster is clutching at straws.

Goshen
2009-05-13, 05:08 AM
Wrong.

http://www.erfworld.com/book-1-archive/?px=%2F077a.jpg

Misty's body was moved. Not only moved, but buried in solid rock, and Sizemore knows where she is.
Woah! :smalleek: Can a decrypted caster cast? Probably!
It will be good to see her, again.

BLANDCorporatio
2009-05-13, 05:21 AM
irt. Bogardan Mage:

I guess the only way to settle the (over)powerful issue is to play Erfworld several times and count outcomes; second best would be some spreadsheet crunching. Since none of those options is available, we'll stay undecided for a while yet.

You seem to agree that GK is in a position to rapidly recover its former strength. I say yes to that, adding that it could recover very easily at the expense of everyone else by employing all those things we've discussed (or not) about, like battle reinforcements through decryption, rapid city-rebuilding, intelligence gathering, and any ideas perfect Warlords Parson and Unsom come up with; all GK needs is competence in battle not perfection in either battle or diplomacy.

Whether Parson would gladly continue this game: here, probably not. His attitude changed, it is made obvious on his face, in his words. A klog would be definitive, but it is not necessary at this point. Can he get out of his obligation to Stanley, can someone or something cancel that, what about the other GK-ers? Something's got to give, too much build-up. We're in for an interesting Book 3 (no typo).

irt. Bogardan Mage and teratorn:

Well, I don't understand. Who's dissin' who and why?

teratorn
2009-05-13, 05:40 AM
irt. Bogardan Mage and teratorn:

Well, I don't understand. Who's dissin' who and why?

Beats me... but then I don't know what context is. :smallcool:

RMS Oceanic
2009-05-13, 05:53 AM
Woah! :smalleek: Can a decrypted caster cast? Probably!
It will be good to see her, again.

I do believe a klog said bodies decay completely one turn after death, if not altered by magic in anyway.

teratorn
2009-05-13, 05:58 AM
I do believe a klog said bodies decay completely one turn after death, if not altered by magic in anyway.

It's not clear, «corpses which aren't uncroaked or moved just disappear at the start of the next turn (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0084.html).» What's moving? Picking Misty in his arms would allow her body to remain an extra turn? By moving one might be able to keep a body for a few turns. I wonder if they'd smell.

BLANDCorporatio
2009-05-13, 06:11 AM
Beats me... but then I don't know what context is. :smallcool:

Why, I am also a chatterbot with context-free grammar, pleased to meet you!

raphfrk
2009-05-13, 07:10 AM
There was an update (http://www.erfworld.com/wiki/index.php/Croaked) to the wiki on this issue.

Corpses disappear at the start of their side's next turn.

teratorn
2009-05-13, 08:13 AM
There was an update (http://www.erfworld.com/wiki/index.php/Croaked) to the wiki on this issue.

Corpses disappear at the start of their side's next turn.

Well, but what amount of "moving" is needed? And RCC finished but units were still there in the morning.

A better phrasing would have been that they "survive" one enemy's turn.

raphfrk
2009-05-13, 08:21 AM
And RCC finished but units were still there in the morning.


It is the start of their respective side's next turn, so Jetstone troops (for example) wouldn't de-pop.

However, you do make a good point. Charlie moves before GK, so the Archons should have de-popped.



A better phrasing would have been that they "survive" one enemy's turn.


Maybe, "Bodies depop at the start of their side's turn (or at dusk if their side was destroyed), as long as all sides have ended turn since the last time the corpse was moved".

fendrin
2009-05-13, 08:52 AM
There is a difference between overpowered and merely powerful. None of them are gamebreakingly broken. I notice a few of them (among those with which I am familiar) have major and somewhat arbitrary weaknesses (Lord of the Rings, War of the Worlds...) I find that somewhat appropriate.

If by 'overpowered' you mean 'undefeatable' then I am right with you on none of those enemies not being overpowered. Seriously though. GK, even with Wanda and the 'pliers, is nowhere near as powerful as Sauron. I mean, Sauron was immortal. The only reason he lost the war with the elves is because his hubris got the better of him. Seriously, fighting on the front lines without using the invisibility power of the ring? Foolish. If it hadn't been for that, he never would have lost the one ring and would have had to trip and stumble into the Cracks of Doom in order to be destroyed. Stick a sword in Wanda and she's croaked. Seriously, no comparison.

Letifer
2009-05-13, 10:47 AM
Hmm, the pliers would entirely change the way troops are put on the field. Looking at the old maps, troops tend to be put in groups of 8 as I believe that's the max group bonus. Doing that now means you lose. A huge group of GK can just go hex by hex through all of your troops replacing loses and adding new troops every step of the way with decrypted. Unless the enemy can mount attacks without loses (something that can be prevented with proper planning), attrition no longer applies to GK.

Zombie apocalypse for the win!

DoctorJest
2009-05-13, 12:11 PM
It is the start of their respective side's next turn, so Jetstone troops (for example) wouldn't de-pop.

However, you do make a good point. Charlie moves before GK, so the Archons should have de-popped.

Nope, because Charlie joined the RCC so his turn moved to the same turn as theirs. Parson even commented on it that "our turn is next. Charlie at least did that for us by joining Ansom".

fendrin
2009-05-13, 12:22 PM
Hmm, the pliers would entirely change the way troops are put on the field. Looking at the old maps, troops tend to be put in groups of 8 as I believe that's the max group bonus. Doing that now means you lose. A huge group of GK can just go hex by hex through all of your troops replacing loses and adding new troops every step of the way with decrypted. Unless the enemy can mount attacks without loses (something that can be prevented with proper planning), attrition no longer applies to GK.

Stacks of 8, yes, but you can have multiple stacks in a hex. In fact, we have no indication what (if any) limit there is to the number of units that can be in a hex.

Bogardan_Mage
2009-05-14, 09:29 PM
irt. Bogardan Mage and teratorn:

Well, I don't understand. Who's dissin' who and why?
I responded to you. Teratorn responded to me stating what was basically my argument, but taking my statement out of context so it looked like I was arguing against it. It pokes rather more holes in your argument than it does mine, and I was annoyed that it was used as though it was arguing against me when I had just be arguing the exact same thing against you.


If by 'overpowered' you mean 'undefeatable' then I am right with you on none of those enemies not being overpowered. Seriously though. GK, even with Wanda and the 'pliers, is nowhere near as powerful as Sauron. I mean, Sauron was immortal. The only reason he lost the war with the elves is because his hubris got the better of him. Seriously, fighting on the front lines without using the invisibility power of the ring? Foolish. If it hadn't been for that, he never would have lost the one ring and would have had to trip and stumble into the Cracks of Doom in order to be destroyed. Stick a sword in Wanda and she's croaked. Seriously, no comparison.
So you also agree with me but think you don't? You agree that BLANDCorporatio's fears are unfounded?

SteveMB
2009-05-14, 09:48 PM
Stacks of 8, yes, but you can have multiple stacks in a hex. In fact, we have no indication what (if any) limit there is to the number of units that can be in a hex.

Presumably there's some limit -- of some reason why putting too many units in a hex is a Bad Idea -- or else the multi-hex "column" formation wouldn't have existed.

BillyJimBoBob
2009-05-15, 09:40 AM
[Ordering troops to "engage that caster!"] has so far proven very unsuccesful against a guarded but clearly visible and looking for trouble Sizemore- twice.
True, but not relevant to the point. You seemed to be indicating that Wanda would not be targeted until her newly expanded powers had been displayed. This is not the case. As a caster she will be attacked with whatever resources can be brought to bear against her. She looks to be a fairly significant character in Book 3 (or whenever the story resumes with GK after Book 2) and so will probably enjoy a fair amount of plot armor. But she will still be attacked as often and as vigorously as any wise opponent is able to muster.
Presumably there's some limit -- of some reason why putting too many units in a hex is a Bad Idea -- or else the multi-hex "column" formation wouldn't have existed.Something in the game mechanics might discourage larger stacks. Such as traps, or any "AOE" type effect.

Rockphed
2009-05-15, 10:55 AM
Firstly, I love Stanley's brutal takeover of Faq. Yelling "Stop! ... Hammertime." while zapping a balloon pants wearing creature just screams class. The only way to make it better would be repeated claims of untouchability.

Furthermore, while I was looking at the cast page, I noticed that both Stanley and the Arkenhammer have "Taming Dwagons" listed as strengths. Does this mean that Arkentools align with people who share at least one strength with themselves? Perhaps the power of the arkentool is determined by the degree to which the tool's strengths and those of the wielder align.

DevilDan
2009-05-15, 10:55 AM
Quite right. We know they are not magic items because they are made by the spell not 'a mortal'. Two of the three (the glasses and the armband) are things that no 'caster would ever create (the former because it replicates an ability all 'casters and warlords already have and the latter only works with Parson's watch).

That depends on how an artifact is defined. If it is 'an object with magical properties not made by a mortal' then yes. However, if an artifact is 'an object with magical properties made by the titans' then no. We don't have that definition, so we don't know. It seems to me that Parson's items fall into a linguistic gap. They are technically neither magic items nor artifacts, but there isn't a word to cover that. Sizemore essentially says he doesn't know what to call it, and Charlie probably called it an artifact because that's the term Parson used in his sales pitch.

In other words, there's no real reason to believe that the spell-created equipment for Parson should not be classified as magic items, just the desire to call them artifacts. Why couldn't they be magic items? They are a byproduct of a spell created and cast by mortals.

Don't forget we are talking about two different things, the bracer, glasses, and sword are not directly what puzzles Sizemore: it's Parson's calculator watch, which uses semiconductors, "magic" from Parson's world and thus new to Sizemore.

Now what I find cool is that the items pop with the food, so that the perfect warlord spell is seen to integrate with the existing magic system that deals with upkeep, that provides food for regular Erf units.