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View Full Version : Ansom's next turn (day after 120) [spoilers and lots of speculation]



Kreistor
2008-12-14, 04:42 PM
I'm writing this between pg 120 and 121, just for future reference. Ansom has just fallen and been offered a new deal with Charlescomm.

Based on 86, Ansom had at his disposal (rounded for easier typing):
4000 Jetstone
1700 Unaroyal
1000 Sofa King
200 Foxmud
200 Hobbittm
30 Transylvito
15 Charlescomm
1900 Marbits
800 Elves
20 Barbarian

He has lost at least 1000 Jetstone (116.9 "a thousand uncroaked Jetstone infantry"). He has lost some unknown number of Marbits (only Jetstone and marbits entered the tunnels 97.7). He might have lost all of the marbits, but have to assume an insignificant number until some evidence appears.

He is losing the Sofa King. 117.4, "The Sofa King is Sofa-King finished here." Ansom was responsible for creating a weak point, but he has fallen and failed in achieving that goal, so the siege is about to fail. This will not help keep Sofa King in the alliance, so they'll walk unless their warlord was just being overly dramatic. I'm going to proceed as if Sofa King is leaving.

Transylvito was Vinnie and his bats, which got reduced to 8 (104.2). We don't know if Caesar or any of the other Transylvito forces will return with them. Barbarians were Jillian, her gwiffons, and orlies, which also got thrashed to unknown total numbers. Charlescomm was reduced to 0, when Jetstone released Charlescomm (103.8). archons dropped from 15 to 14, but they were reinforced based on Parson's mathemancy (I count 30 blue glowies in 105.7, but some more may be hidden by text boxes).

So, Ansom will be down at least 2000 of 10000 units, fully 20% of the alliance. He has the advantage of likely the most powerful air in the region, if he signs on with Charlescomm. (Not a given: the seige may be capable of rescuing him without Charlescomm support.)

Parson's city contained between 700 and 800 units in Klog 7, which does not mention any dwagons. He lost some to the tunnels, but not enough to cry about. Instead, he gained 1000 uncroaked infantry, more than doubling numbers. (Though not effectiveness. Some of those Golems will be far more powerful than a host of uncroaked.) Ansom had a better than 10:1 advantage with Stanley and the dwagons gone, but next turn he has at best a 5:1, if he didn't lose 1000 marbits. that should still be enough to take the city.

It looks like Stanley is coming back with only 6 dwagons, assuming others with less move didn't survive and couldn't keep up with him. His 6 dwagons may be further reduced next turn. (One of the reasons I don't think Ansom will sign the contract. It might kill Stanley, and that's not a good plot point.)

Further, tunnels no longer exists, protecting Dungeon zone from direct attack. Ansom is restricted to attacking garison from outer walls and airspace. The ground forces can not enter airspace, so the primary siege must attack Courtyard. This simplifies the defense immensely for Parson.

Okay, here's an idea. Would Prson succeed in pulling the same trick twice? Token resistance in the Tower, allow the air attack to succeed, then crash the Tower like he collapsed the tunnels? Sizemore should be able to undermine a structure. Can't see it succeeding. They're onto that kind of trick, or at least Charles is, and he'd possess the lion's share of the allied air forces with a really nasty contract in his back pocket.

Further, Ansom's personal effectiveness is down without the Arkenpliers. He also has to rely on others to win, which is against his nature. He's taken a hit to the ego, and that will have some sort of repercussion. A newfound lack of confidence might cause an overly cautious strategy, for instance. Or a newfound reckless anger may result in overly aggressive assault strategies.

Anyway, that's a lot of speculation.

slayerx
2008-12-14, 06:29 PM
97.6, Weibnar says that he is leading the "bulk" of the jetstone forces, which implies over half, meanign over 2000... why Parson did not uncroak that many is either he is greatly underestimaing how mnay uncroaked he as, of Wanda limited how many she uncroaked to make sure they would last atleast a few turns(where as uncroaking them might have made them last for too short a time) or to save magic power for any battle jetstone might bring on their turn

Also, the Sofaking was going to withdraw, but did not... Ansom started his charge without them leaving and thus they are still standing by him



Charlie is the biggest factor for Ansom right now... if the siege can't breach the walls then his superior numbers will mean nothing... however the achons, like all flying units can still attack... they can either go start for the tower garrison, or they can attack the uncroaked on the walls to allow the seige a way to break through

Godskook
2008-12-14, 06:35 PM
Charlie is the biggest factor for Ansom right now... if the siege can't breach the walls then his superior numbers will mean nothing... however the achons, like all flying units can still attack... they can either go start for the tower garrison, or they can attack the uncroaked on the walls to allow the seige a way to break through

Neither is an option until after GK's next turn though, for the Archons. They can't engage troops that are outside GK's airspace out of turn, and if they ally with Ansom, their next turn won't come until tommorrow(in-comic) and after GK during RCC's next turn.

MReav
2008-12-14, 07:38 PM
Alternatively, Parson has a lot more Uncroaked, but he might not be able to fit the entire uncroaked garrison on the parts of the wall visible to the coalition.

slayerx
2008-12-14, 07:47 PM
Neither is an option until after GK's next turn though, for the Archons. They can't engage troops that are outside GK's airspace out of turn, and if they ally with Ansom, their next turn won't come until tommorrow(in-comic) and after GK during RCC's next turn.

where do you get they can't attack? The way i see it, all those units are within the same hex. and the achons can take any action within the hex; they just be unable to leave the hex due to a lack of movement... not to mention their is no mention that the rules say that those joining an alliance does not gain the ability to move again on the turn of those they allied with which is their next turn.

Godskook
2008-12-14, 07:51 PM
where do you get they can't attack? The way i see it, all those units are within the same hex. and the achons can take any action within the hex; they just be unable to leave the hex due to a lack of movement... not to mention their is no mention that the rules say that those joining an alliance does not gain the ability to move again on the turn of those they allied with which is their next turn.

Either way, until their next turn, the Archons can only engage units that enter Gobwin Knob's airspace.

PClips is the Author. If you're curious about what else he said, just follow the quote back to his original post.

slayerx
2008-12-14, 08:10 PM
PClips is the Author. If you're curious about what else he said, just follow the quote back to his original post.
Ah i see, word of god... i probably should have kept up with that thread

seems that the only effect the archons can have then is taking out what little airforce Parson has left which at this point would include Wanda... possible interception between her and the arkenpliers...

Kreistor
2008-12-14, 08:38 PM
97.6, Weibnar says that he is leading the "bulk" of the jetstone forces, which implies over half, meanign over 2000... why Parson did not uncroak that many is either he is greatly underestimaing how mnay uncroaked he as, of Wanda limited how many she uncroaked to make sure they would last atleast a few turns(where as uncroaking them might have made them last for too short a time) or to save magic power for any battle jetstone might bring on their turn

Or the unled units broke and withdrew. 100% losses from any failed attack is kind of unreasonably destructive. We only know for certain that 1000 were croaked for certain. Yes, if it's more, then Ansom has bigger dificulties since he has fewer of his own units to command.


Also, the Sofaking was going to withdraw, but did not... Ansom started his charge without them leaving and thus they are still standing by him

He likely can't break alliance until the end of the turn. Ansom had not ended turn, so he was compelled to obey Ansom's order to breach the walls, against his own desires. (Note that I base this on Jillian not breaking alliance with Ansom until the end of turn in 93.9. Duke Nozzle was ordered to hold his ground, which prevented his flight with his units, and the only way I can see that working is if the alliance contract has not yet been broken. (In other words, you're allied for the entire turn, and can't break alliance half-way through a turn.)

Lamech
2008-12-14, 09:21 PM
Or the unled units broke and withdrew. 100% losses from any failed attack is kind of unreasonably destructive. We only know for certain that 1000 were croaked for certain. Yes, if it's more, then Ansom has bigger dificulties since he has fewer of his own units to command.
Withdrew? To where? They can't leave the tunnels... I assume Parson hunted them, and crushed them all, maybe not, but still...


He likely can't break alliance until the end of the turn. Ansom had not ended turn, so he was compelled to obey Ansom's order to breach the walls, against his own desires. (Note that I base this on Jillian not breaking alliance with Ansom until the end of turn in 93.9. Duke Nozzle was ordered to hold his ground, which prevented his flight with his units, and the only way I can see that working is if the alliance contract has not yet been broken. (In other words, you're allied for the entire turn, and can't break alliance half-way through a turn.)
Duke Nozzel isn't a Jetstone unit, so Ansom probably can't order him around. Even if, Ansom can give orders Duke Nozzel probably thought it went against his overlord's interests (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0094.html)...

So even if he can't break alliance he can simply take his units and leave.

DevilDan
2008-12-14, 11:05 PM
I believe it is quite likely that some RCC units in the tunnels were so damaged that they could not be uncroaked. They could have been crushed in tunnel collapses, burned up, etc.

slayerx
2008-12-14, 11:52 PM
I believe it is quite likely that some RCC units in the tunnels were so damaged that they could not be uncroaked. They could have been crushed in tunnel collapses, burned up, etc.

well, maybe, another thought is that wanda did not uncroak any units that were buried under tons of dirt... i doubt they would be much help form under there

Kreistor
2008-12-15, 07:57 AM
Withdrew? To where? They can't leave the tunnels... I assume Parson hunted them, and crushed them all, maybe not, but still...

We know units can withdraw. 116 shows at least five dwagons escaped the battle.

In 112.9, Hamster odrders the outside entrances sealed, but those entrances are still in the hands of alliance units. They are being "routed" in 112.8. According to dictionary.com, rout means:

"8. to disperse in defeat and disorderly flight: to rout an army.
9. to defeat decisively: to rout an opponent in conversation."

1-7 are noun forms. Routing means the enemy are fleeing, not being annihilated. At the time of that statement, tunnels were only being collapsed to destroy leadership, not to close the tunnels, which means escape was still possible. The order to collapse the entrances comes next, and Sizemore will have to fight his way towards those entrances, pushing routed units before him, out of the tunnels.


Duke Nozzel isn't a Jetstone unit, so Ansom probably can't order him around. Even if, Ansom can give orders Duke Nozzel probably thought it went against his overlord's interests (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0094.html)...

So even if he can't break alliance he can simply take his units and leave.

This comes down to the specifics of the agreement Sofa King signed. I am speculating that since Sofa King was not convinced, he was ordered, to not leave, that the agreement still stood, and he was required to finish the turn out under Ansom's orders. Nozzle's statement of withdrawl preceded Ansom's declaration of intent to attack this turn. There is nothing in that choice, especially given the other warlord's protests, that would convince Nozzle things were about to get better. I just don't think he would have agreed if he had any choice. He was committed to following Ansom's orders for the entire turn. Further, the orange-haired warlord protests vehemently against the plan, but she is unable to do anything except agree to it. With so much arrayed against him, the only way Ansom could get them to attack is if they are required to obey.

Such magical agreements are known to exist. 103.9 "I'm magically bound to give him twelve battle evaluations, whenever he wants." Being magically bound to obey the orders of the Leader of the Alliance is highly likely in this world.

Godskook
2008-12-15, 12:29 PM
We know units can withdraw. 116 shows at least five dwagons escaped the battle.

on their own turn. Those dwagons that escaped in 116 did so on Stanley's turn(and thus, the dwagons turn). It wasn't Jetstone's turn when Parson attacked Webinar in the tunnels, and we *KNOW* that non-GK units can't leave the city zone that they are in unless it is their own turn. So either (a) Parson left living jetstone troops in the tunnels, or (b) he killed them. There is no other possibility, except capture, which would be something too important to the story to skip telling.

DevilDan
2008-12-15, 12:44 PM
Nozzle's statement of withdrawl preceded Ansom's declaration of intent to attack this turn. There is nothing in that choice, especially given the other warlord's protests, that would convince Nozzle things were about to get better. I just don't think he would have agreed if he had any choice. He was committed to following Ansom's orders for the entire turn. Further, the orange-haired warlord protests vehemently against the plan, but she is unable to do anything except agree to it. With so much arrayed against him, the only way Ansom could get them to attack is if they are required to obey.

Such magical agreements are known to exist. 103.9 "I'm magically bound to give him twelve battle evaluations, whenever he wants." Being magically bound to obey the orders of the Leader of the Alliance is highly likely in this world.

1) We don't know what Duke Nozzle's actions are at this point or what they were when Ansom went on the offensive. I'm not sure at what point Nozzle indicated any sort of agreement.
2) The orange-haired warlord (orange warlord, from now own) strongly doubted their chances of taking the outer walls given the mass of uncroaked troops manning them; in defending walls, sheer numbers matter. This doesn't mean that she was threatening to walk away as Nozzle did. Furthermore, the calculations for breaking the walls change once Ansom is holding back the uncroaked. That's one reason why she might have "changed" her mind. Another is that she may be more warlike, that her kingdom is more committed or has more at stake (they could feel more strongly about Stanley as a threat), that she dislikes Stanley as well, et cetera. I can list more potential reasons if you'd like.
3) We don't know the nature of the alliance, as we don't know how common magical contracts are. It makes sense for Charlie to magically bind Parson, who has been his enemy, particularly because he was planning on asking for calculations that could harm Parson (and, in fact, his side) to some degree. But would similar contracts be accepted among putatively friendly kingdoms? It is possible that they may even find the idea that they need to be magically bound offensive, an insult to their honor as royals or nobles. And why would a king want to give absolute control of a sizable number of troops to another? When the RCC was being planned or negotiated, why would a king not want to give his representative, presumably a trusted and experienced warlord, some freedom of choice, relying on his or her judgment? It's not as if they were forced into joining the RCC, so why accept such an onerously absolute abdication of control?

Kreistor
2008-12-15, 01:43 PM
on their own turn. Those dwagons that escaped in 116 did so on Stanley's turn(and thus, the dwagons turn). It wasn't Jetstone's turn when Parson attacked Webinar in the tunnels, and we *KNOW* that non-GK units can't leave the city zone that they are in unless it is their own turn. So either (a) Parson left living jetstone troops in the tunnels, or (b) he killed them. There is no other possibility, except capture, which would be something too important to the story to skip telling.

We know they cannot voluntarily leave. Breaking and routing is normally a result on the result table in most war games. Typically, you compare attacker strength to defender strength, then look that up on the table, and roll to find out which of the several results occurs. Routing (breaking and retreating) is a result on that table, and so is not a choice the defender can make. It is involuntary movement, and normally it does not count against a unit's total move in a turn (since it is panicked flight, with dropped weapons and an every man for himself mental state... abject fear causing adrenaline has a way of overcoming fatigue).

Most battles in human history resulted in no more than 5% casualties on either side, because most battles end with one side running for the hills. If flight is not a possibility in erfworld, then any failed defense results in 100% losses, which only occured in special cases (ie. Romans annihilating Carthaginians near Carthage), where retreat was simply not possible (the Romans closed the circle, so there was no way out). We have only a few cases where attackers win. Yes, Jillian does kill all the dwagons, but that's a possible result on attacker-defender tables with excessive firepower on one side or the other. Breaking is only one of many results on the combat table.

I will believe there is no break and retreat movement when I see a unit lose and try to flee, slamming into a hex wall, or if someone specifically mentions it. Until that happens, we cannot be 100% certain. There are just too many alternative methods of writing game rules to know for certain.

Kreistor
2008-12-15, 01:57 PM
It's not as if they were forced into joining the RCC, so why accept such an onerously absolute abdication of control?

It's part of Natural Thinkamancy. Obedience. Units are compelled to obey orders. When Ansom takes charge and issues orders in 117, all debate ends. "DUke Nozzle, hold your ground." Suddenly Duke Nozzle is silent. "Begin the Breach. Here. Now. All units." The most anyone can do is insult him. All argument is ended. That's not natural: people previously adamantly protesting his strategy are suddenly subdued and obeying without question. That's obedience.

As the leader of the RCC, Ansom must expect his orders to be obeyed. Alliance appears to be a big deal. In a situation where there can only be one absolute leader, and all others are obedient, there is a need to very carefully negotiate contracts. In one where an ally can refuse commands and break alliance at any time, there is no such need for careful wording. And here we have a very carefully worded contract being presented to Ansom in 120... it very well may be to protect Charlie's units that join the RCC from things exactly like what Ansom just did to Sofa King, Unaroyal, et al., as well as to gain a huge advantage of some kind from Ansom.

SteveMB
2008-12-15, 01:59 PM
I will believe there is no break and retreat movement when I see a unit lose and try to flee, slamming into a hex wall, or if someone specifically mentions it. Until that happens, we cannot be 100% certain. There are just too many alternative methods of writing game rules to know for certain.


"Mop it all up, and seal the outside entrances." (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0124.html) If it were possible for Jetstone troops to flee from the tunnels off-turn, it was incredibly (literally, as in "I don't buy it") careless of Parson to leave sealing the tunnel entrances until that late.

The simplest interpretation is that "units can only move on their side's turn" means that units can only move on their side's turn. The only special case that has been revealed is that GK units shifting from zone to zone within GK doesn't count as "move"; that's a fairly straightforward mechanic for the defensive advantage of being in your own city. If some of the implications seem ridonculous, well, Parson agrees (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0070.html).

DevilDan
2008-12-15, 02:10 PM
As the leader of the RCC, Ansom must expect his orders to be obeyed. Alliance appears to be a big deal. In a situation where there can only be one absolute leader, and all others are obedient, there is a need to very carefully negotiate contracts. In one where an ally can refuse commands and break alliance at any time, there is no such need for careful wording. And here we have a very carefully worded contract being presented to Ansom in 120... it very well may be to protect Charlie's units that join the RCC from things exactly like what Ansom just did to Sofa King, Unaroyal, et al., as well as to gain a huge advantage of some kind from Ansom.

I agree that that is entirely possible; it's perfectly reasonable speculation. But I would also note that Red and the other female warlord did pause long enough to speculate that Ansom would be dead momentarily. They then seemed to decide to move forward. This interaction does not make it clear whether they could have disobeyed or not, but it does show that people don't just shut up and follow Parson's orders. Additionally, if leadership-capable units can choose to disobey orders from their overlords, why not give the same possibly beneficial ability to Coalition warlords?

I just don't see the overwhelming need for magical contracts of the form you describe. I can see some advantages and some disadvantages, and I am speculating that forming a coalition--cajoling and convincing and possibly even bribing other kingdoms to join up--doesn't make for the best environment within which to make members sign a very restrictive magical contract. That would just make joining the RCC a much harder sell. And don't forget that people switch alliances rapidly; we don't see Jillian signing a contract to join the Transylvito troops.

About "routed": it's pretty clear to me that RCC troops could not have exited the tunnels during GK's turn. They're either trapped--assuming, which we have every reason to do, that Sizemore had the time and resources to block every entrance.

Ben
2008-12-15, 02:37 PM
It's part of Natural Thinkamancy. Obedience. Units are compelled to obey orders. When Ansom takes charge and issues orders in 117, all debate ends. "DUke Nozzle, hold your ground." Suddenly Duke Nozzle is silent. "Begin the Breach. Here. Now. All units." The most anyone can do is insult him. All argument is ended. That's not natural: people previously adamantly protesting his strategy are suddenly subdued and obeying without question. That's obedience.

As the leader of the RCC, Ansom must expect his orders to be obeyed. Alliance appears to be a big deal. In a situation where there can only be one absolute leader, and all others are obedient, there is a need to very carefully negotiate contracts. In one where an ally can refuse commands and break alliance at any time, there is no such need for careful wording. And here we have a very carefully worded contract being presented to Ansom in 120... it very well may be to protect Charlie's units that join the RCC from things exactly like what Ansom just did to Sofa King, Unaroyal, et al., as well as to gain a huge advantage of some kind from Ansom.

There's no real reason to assume natural thinkamancy is what's going on here. A simpler explanation is that they saw Ansom taking a huge personal risk, and some combination of 1) were shamed into joining in, and 2) weren't in any great risk themselves. If they try to breach the walls and fail, it's not like they lose the units they're attacking with (except for a couple that might get picked off by archers, but that's nothing significant).

I think most of the reason they were leaving (or bickering, or whatever) was because they'd lost confidence in Ansom's ability to lead. Seeing all those former allied troops now uncroaked and joining the other side would be demoralizing in several different ways. Ansom saw the alliance on the verge of collapse, and his reckless attack was his attempt to get that confidence back. If it worked (and it probably would have, if the air group hadn't dropped by), then it would have been seen as a bold and brilliant move.

As for what happens now, well, we'll have to wait and see.

Kreistor
2008-12-15, 03:05 PM
I agree that that is entirely possible; it's perfectly reasonable speculation. But I would also note that Red and the other female warlord did pause long enough to speculate that Ansom would be dead momentarily. They then seemed to decide to move forward. This interaction does not make it clear whether they could have disobeyed or not, but it does show that people don't just shut up and follow Parson's orders.

Natural Thinkamancy does not override your opinion. It skews your thinking. "Aye... so we should hasten." is a perfect example, similar to Wanda's spell on Jillian. Orange has changed her mind, immediately after being completely against it, and worse, she now thinks Ansom will die, meaning his weak point cannot exist. This should cause her to not attack, since it reinforces the idea that the siege cannot succeed, but we have a full reversal of opinion. that smacks of magic.


Additionally, if leadership-capable units can choose to disobey orders from their overlords, why not give the same possibly beneficial ability to Coalition warlords?

I do, but look at what Charlie says about leaving the coalition to Parson in 90.7. Reputation is important. Which is more important? Keping true to your Ruler's word, or losing some combat units? That's not an easy decision to make. When no units were on the line and Nozzle thought the turn was over, he threatened to break alliance. This wouldn't result in a reputation hit to his Ruler, because Ansom had shown signs of incompetence as leader of the RCC. When new orders came down from Ansom, orders that may well get his units killed today instead of tomorrow, he acquiesces?


I just don't see the overwhelming need for magical contracts of the form you describe.

I don't think it's part of the contract, personally. I think it's a Rule. Alliance is a Rule. It changes people's turn order. (This has been confirmed by pclips.) So Alliance has rules around it. I think that an Alliance has one leader, and all warlords must obey that leader. This means that you don't ally blindly, since it puts your units at risk if you ally with someone that has ulterior motives. Alliance is dangerous.


And don't forget that people switch alliances rapidly; we don't see Jillian signing a contract to join the Transylvito troops.

No, we don't, but Jillian is a barbarian, and for her, she only makes money being mercenary. Alliancce for her is only dangerous to her, and only her own reputation is on the line if she disobeys. Charlie wants a contract, though, and it specifically restricts the duration of the Alliance. Like I said above, Alliance has a technical meaning inside the rules: that much is certain. What the other rules around it are, I can't say, but right now, I think the reactions in 116 and 117 are only explicable by magical manipulation of attitudes.


About "routed": it's pretty clear to me that RCC troops could not have exited the tunnels during GK's turn.

We will probably find out. I can't imagine Ansom failing to go over his total strength once this day is over. Hopefully we're around for that bit of trivia.

Anias
2008-12-15, 03:42 PM
Natural Thinkamancy does not override your opinion. It skews your thinking. "Aye... so we should hasten." is a perfect example, similar to Wanda's spell on Jillian. Orange has changed her mind, immediately after being completely against it, and worse, she now thinks Ansom will die, meaning his weak point cannot exist. This should cause her to not attack, since it reinforces the idea that the siege cannot succeed, but we have a full reversal of opinion. that smacks of magic.

She didn't change her mind so much because of any magical binding, but rather as common sense. If your strongest character is a fighter, and the fighter charges at an enemy that he cannot defeat alone, what do you do? Do you run, and let him die for no reason? Are you magically bound to fight alongside him because you're allies? Probably not. More likely, Orange sees Ansom soaking up GK's defenses and distracting their troops, and realizes that this is probably a logical time to attack. It lets her troops assail the walls virtually unopposed, since Ansom is drawing away the defenders, and may let her save her powerful commander (whose mere presence strengthens the army considerably, and with whose death the entire army/coalition will collapse). So she's really just making a common-sense decision: if they're going to take GK, now's the time and this is the place.

DevilDan
2008-12-15, 03:44 PM
Natural Thinkamancy does not override your opinion. It skews your thinking. "Aye... so we should hasten." is a perfect example, similar to Wanda's spell on Jillian.

I would be very surprised if there are not significant differences in the application and rules of (1) loyalty, (2) being magically bound to fulfill a contract established with the thinkamancy master Charlie, and (3) suggestion spells. Minimally, a contract has very specific instructions/orders while suggestions spells operate on motivation and desire, an entirely different level.


Orange has changed her mind, immediately after being completely against it, and worse, she now thinks Ansom will die, meaning his weak point cannot exist. This should cause her to not attack, since it reinforces the idea that the siege cannot succeed, but we have a full reversal of opinion. that smacks of magic.

We DO NOT know that she was set on abandoning the siege. She is understandably upset and skeptical. I don't see that she reverses her opinion, but there is still the matter of run-of-the-mill non-thinkamancy chain of command. Plus, Ansom's assault could have very well provided a credible distraction, given his flight advantage, strength, chief warlord status, and artifact, perhaps just enough of a chance to breach the wall. She sees a chance, Ansom's charge, and decides to follow his lead and try to take the walls: a change in situation requires a reevaluation.


I do, but look at what Charlie says about leaving the coalition to Parson in 90.7. Reputation is important. Which is more important? Keping true to your Ruler's word, or losing some combat units? That's not an easy decision to make. When no units were on the line and Nozzle thought the turn was over, he threatened to break alliance. This wouldn't result in a reputation hit to his Ruler, because Ansom had shown signs of incompetence as leader of the RCC. When new orders came down from Ansom, orders that may well get his units killed today instead of tomorrow, he acquiesces?

Charlie is a mercenary: his reputation is important if he wants to keep raking in the shmuckers. A king would want to be seen as keeping his word, but neither a king nor a warlord's reputation benefits from making a foolishly doomed move. Again, Ansom probably had to do some wheeling and dealing to form the RCC: the kings have the upper hand, to some degree, and as such would not need to agree to such a constricting and possibly disastrous agreement. Armies and coalitions on earth don't need all these to function--yes, I realize that they don't need "duty" and "loyalty" either, but my point remains. We don't really know that Nozzle has changed his mind, but again, he could well change his mind because the others are choosing to follow Ansom, because Ansom's actions seem to improve their chances, because he doesn't want to appear like a coward, because he doesn't want to see the Prince of Jetstone fall, etc. Again, I can come up with more motivations, not including the fact that Nozzle still doesn't have official sanction to leave the RCC and the chain of command is still nominally in place.

And for all we know, Nozzle's first reaction was just drama, a hissy fit. He could have been threatening without intending to do it; the situation is dire enough that it is possible and even likely that he was serious, though.


I don't think it's part of the contract, personally. I think it's a Rule. Alliance is a Rule. It changes people's turn order. (This has been confirmed by pclips.) So Alliance has rules around it. I think that an Alliance has one leader, and all warlords must obey that leader. This means that you don't ally blindly, since it puts your units at risk if you ally with someone that has ulterior motives. Alliance is dangerous.

Of course changing sides changes a unit's turn order; what part of my argument challenges that? But, you're free to make up rules as I'm free to suggest that there's little or no proof of them and possibly no need for them.


Like I said above, Alliance has a technical meaning inside the rules: that much is certain. What the other rules around it are, I can't say, but right now, I think the reactions in 116 and 117 are only explicable by magical manipulation of attitudes.

Lots of actions have a correspondence to rules; that the point of having rules. All I can say is that I think that I've listed some other ways of explaining the reactions.

dr pepper
2008-12-15, 04:34 PM
"Demoralizing" is the word. If we pull back to the Titan's eye view of the game, we see that the Sofa King contingent has failed a morale roll, with a result of "Balk". But the presence of the Ansom unit, with its leadership bonus, made up for it and changed the result to "Stand Fast".

Kreistor
2008-12-15, 06:13 PM
I would be very surprised if there are not significant differences in the application and rules of (1) loyalty, (2) being magically bound to fulfill a contract established with the thinkamancy master Charlie, and (3) suggestion spells. Minimally, a contract has very specific instructions/orders while suggestions spells operate on motivation and desire, an entirely different level.[quote]

Note Parson's comments on his own desires in Klog 10, once he learns of Natural thinkamancy. "Am I just trying to win this war for Stanley? Thought I was just trying to survive it. What am I doing? [para] As bad as things get, I've been telling myself "at least I got my wish, I'm running a game for real now." But maybe I had more freedom working at Kinkos than I do now. How depressing would that be?"

Parson is not sure he is being manipulated by natural thinkamancy. It is subtle, like the suggestion spell.

[quote]We DO NOT know that she was set on abandoning the siege.

I didn't think she would. It's Nozzle that shows that big shift. But what you see ending is her protests, despite her misgivings. She thinks the siege will fail and Ansom die, but she sucks it up and does as ordered. I think she wanted more discussion, but once orders were given, she had to obey them, so her misgivings were irrelevant.


Charlie is a mercenary: his reputation is important if he wants to keep raking in the shmuckers.

Okay, I've seen a number of people making that statement, but I can't find the reference. Is there a strip where someone says, "Charlie is a mercenary."

Like Stanley, Charlie is attuned to an artifact. Like Stanley, he is not a Royal. (92.1). Charlescomm is listed as a Capital Side on page 86.10, not a "natural ally" like the mercenary barbarian Jillian. That means Charlie is a Ruler of a side, like Stanley, has a city, like Stanley, and is powerful in his own right (though not as powerful as Stanley maybe was). Charlie may be appearing mercenary, but he is not "a mercenary". He is the Ruler of a side, perhaps not as powerful a side as Jetstone, Unaroyal, or Gobwin Knob in its heyday, but he rules a Capital Side, nonetheless. He is clearly shrewd, secretive, and manipulative, none of which are the hallmarks of a mercenary.

Mercenaries are also notorioualy disloyal. Charlie, even after Ansom breaks their alliance, goes to Transylvito, not Gobwin Knob, to sell his services. He still wasn't changing sides, despite not being paid, after Parson's offer.

I think part of the confusion here lies in Charlie's lack of personal invovlement in the assault on GK. Where Ansom and the other Royals are out to bring down an upstart, or someone that was agressive against them (like Jillian), Charlie lacks a personal motive. This means that Charlie can gain more than normal from this, because where the others will receive the reeward of Stanley's corpse, Charlie has to be given more motive to risk his troops. In this instance, Charlie may appear mercenary, but that is not because he is a mercenary, but because he has the advantage of not being emotionally involved. He isn't driven to annihilate GK, like Ansom and Jillian, and some of the others in the RCC. (Transylvito is so interested in croaking Stanley, they send their Chief Warlord.)

Look at it this way: Charlie is in a tenuous position. He is almost exactly the same as Stanley. The only difference is that he does not seem to be overtly expansionary, or megalomaniacal. "When a non-royal gets powerful, the royals like to gang up on him." Klog 9. Charlie, if he becomes overtly powerful, will be squashed the way Stanley was supposed to be. Normally, that would make these two obvious allies, but Stanley wants the Arkendish, so there's no chance of that. Charlie would normally be perfectly happy watching from the sidelines, I expect: two potential enemies wrecking each other is always an attractive prospect, but he is on the RCC side. He is gaining several things by doing this. He's proving himself useful, potentially too useful to destroy. He's profiting without making the obvious winner hate him; thereby, not giving them an excuse to come after him next.

Describing Charlie as merely a mercenary is grossly underestimating him. He's probably happy with that.


Of course changing sides changes a unit's turn order; what part of my argument challenges that? But, you're free to make up rules as I'm free to suggest that there's little or no proof of them and possibly no need for them.

I was just clarifying that Alliance has a definition in the erfworld's rules of existence. It's more than just contractual.


Lots of actions have a correspondence to rules; that the point of having rules. All I can say is that I think that I've listed some other ways of explaining the reactions.

Yep, you have. Nothing is certain, though.

SteveMB
2008-12-15, 06:31 PM
Charlie may be appearing mercenary, but he is not "a mercenary". He is the Ruler of a side, perhaps not as powerful a side as Jetstone, Unaroyal, or Gobwin Knob in its heyday, but he rules a Capital Side, nonetheless. He is clearly shrewd, secretive, and manipulative, none of which are the hallmarks of a mercenary.

It's possible, perhaps even probable, that he has an agenda beyond simply raking in the shmuckers and improving his military resources (e.g. hiring Parson after realizing that he's particularly clever and therefore useful) in order to rake in even more shmuckers later.

That said, his most visible motives are mercenary (the very second frame with dialogue from him is about how one side in the current war "has finally met our price" (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0046.html)).


Mercenaries are also notoriously disloyal. Charlie, even after Ansom breaks their alliance, goes to Transylvito, not Gobwin Knob, to sell his services. He still wasn't changing sides, despite not being paid, after Parson's offer.

According to Parson, Charlie "made an offer they couldn't accept" (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0115.html) -- effectively breaking off from the RCC while maintaining plausible deniability. Again, there could be more to Charlie's game than meets the eye, but this is hardly an example of remarkable loyalty.

Kreistor
2008-12-15, 06:49 PM
According to Parson, Charlie "made an offer they couldn't accept" (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0115.html) -- effectively breaking off from the RCC while maintaining plausible deniability. Again, there could be more to Charlie's game than meets the eye, but this is hardly an example of remarkable loyalty.

Well, you don't mention it, but Ansom broke the contract with Charlescomm, so Charlie found himself no longer being paid. He then tried to sign on with another member of the RCC, maintaining allegiance to the RCC. Since no one had met their price in a long time, it was initially steep, so there's no indication that Charlescomm was asking any more than they had in previous turns.

If Charles is worried that he's on the Royal's hit list, then no, he would never be loyal. They know he's going to have that worry, so they are going to be concerned with him. Playing the mercenary makes it simple for the Royals to understand. They don't expect loyalty from him, but he doesn't move without being paid, so they don't need to worry about him, unless they have an enemy that might pay his price. Royals don't go after every non-Royal ruler, just those that become powerful. Appearing as a mercenary would make Charles a player, but not a threat to any of them individually. If he does something, they blame a different enemy, and don't take it personally like they did with Stanley.

Meanwhile, Charles' units gain experience faster than others (since he participates in more wars -- there are always more wars you aren't involved in thatn ones you are -- but his own territory is never at risk from his own expansion), his treasury grows, and he can build up for a serious move at an opportune time later.

SteveMB
2008-12-15, 06:54 PM
If Charles is worried that he's on the Royal's hit list, then no, he would never be loyal. They know he's going to have that worry, so they are going to be concerned with him. Playing the mercenary makes it simple for the Royals to understand. They don't expect loyalty from him, but he doesn't move without being paid, so they don't need to worry about him, unless they have an enemy that might pay his price. Royals don't go after every non-Royal ruler, just those that become powerful. Appearing as a mercenary would make Charles a player, but not a threat to any of them individually. If he does something, they blame a different enemy, and don't take it personally like they did with Stanley.

Meanwhile, Charles' units gain experience faster than others (since he participates in more wars -- there are always more wars you aren't involved in thatn ones you are -- but his own territory is never at risk from his own expansion), his treasury grows, and he can build up for a serious move at an opportune time later.

OK, I see what you're getting at. That makes sense, whether or not Charlie has an agenda above and beyond the obvious one of amassing wealth.

DevilDan
2008-12-15, 07:13 PM
Note Parson's comments on his own desires in Klog 10, once he learns of Natural thinkamancy. "Am I just trying to win this war for Stanley? Thought I was just trying to survive it. What am I doing? [para] As bad as things get, I've been telling myself "at least I got my wish, I'm running a game for real now." But maybe I had more freedom working at Kinkos than I do now. How depressing would that be?"

Parson is not sure he is being manipulated by natural thinkamancy. It is subtle, like the suggestion spell.

Possible. It still doesn't change the fact that now you're basing speculation on other speculation.


I didn't think she would. It's Nozzle that shows that big shift. But what you see ending is her protests, despite her misgivings. She thinks the siege will fail and Ansom die, but she sucks it up and does as ordered. I think she wanted more discussion, but once orders were given, she had to obey them, so her misgivings were irrelevant.

What we have is Nozzle shouting angrily or pleadingly at Ansom; please, wait until we see Nozzle before you suggest that he somehow did a 180-degree turn (again, assuming that his shouting was as sincere as we assume it to be, rather than posturing or a momentary reaction to bad news.)

Red might well believe that Stanley and GK should be taken down permanently. She is a warlord, probably an experienced one. It doesn't surprise me that she makes a snap decision to follow Ansom's gambit; it also doesn't surprise me that she takes all prevalent factor into consideration and decides to follow the leader of the RCC, thinking "it's now or never." The RCC will be weakened without Ansom and may well fall apart, so backing Ansom up is not without its logic.


Well, you don't mention it, but Ansom broke the contract with Charlescomm, so Charlie found himself no longer being paid. He then tried to sign on with another member of the RCC, maintaining allegiance to the RCC. Since no one had met their price in a long time, it was initially steep, so there's no indication that Charlescomm was asking any more than they had in previous turns.

As I understand it, Charlie quoted Don King a prohibitively expensive price so that he could make his deal with Parson without appearing to turn his back on his previous agreement with Ansom. And it's paid off, I'd say, because I'm willing to bet that whatever he extracts from Ansom now will be higher than the shmuckers he would have received from Don King. In addition, stopping Stanley would have probably meant a rapid end to this very lucrative conflict.

I'm one of those who think that it's likely that Charlie has some ulterior motive or motives, but we've yet to see any behavior on his part that cannot be explained by his "cover story" or persona as a very shrewd mercenary. The fact that he's as interested as he is in the pliers or in Parson is suggestive of other motives, but not conclusive proof that he is not what others apparently believe him to be.

A mercenary who, like a dishonest politician, doesn't "stay bought" will shortly find himself with no repeat business and with fewer and fewer new customers.

Kreistor
2008-12-15, 09:09 PM
It still doesn't change the fact that now you're basing speculation on other speculation.

Let's look at the thread title and we see... "lots of speculation". You're pointing out the obvious.


What we have is Nozzle shouting angrily or pleadingly at Ansom; please, wait until we see Nozzle before you suggest that he somehow did a 180-degree turn (again, assuming that his shouting was as sincere as we assume it to be, rather than posturing or a momentary reaction to bad news.)

But speculating is fun!


In addition, stopping Stanley would have probably meant a rapid end to this very lucrative conflict.

The boon here being that Ansom can only blame himself for releasing Charlie in the first place. He won't know about the deal with Parson, since the only trade is communications (which I'm guessing the Arkendish gives Charlie a mastery of).


I'm one of those who think that it's likely that Charlie has some ulterior motive or motives, but we've yet to see any behavior on his part that cannot be explained by his "cover story" or persona as a very shrewd mercenary. The fact that he's as interested as he is in the pliers or in Parson is suggestive of other motives, but not conclusive proof that he is not what others apparently believe him to be.

There is his interest in Parson's plans. A true mercenary wouldn't be so intrigued by Parson's mysteriousness. "Sending up some fliers, Charlie..." Without explanation, Charlie sits back and watches it happen. A true mercenary says in response, "It'll cost you 2 thousand schmuckers." Charlie is intrigued by interesting events, and is less interested in the profit he can make from it. Ansom doesn't do anything interesting, so he'll never see that side of Charlie.


A mercenary who, like a dishonest politician, doesn't "stay bought" will shortly find himself with no repeat business and with fewer and fewer new customers.

Not entirely true. there have been some cases where mercs were released and immediately hired on with the opposition, much to the surprise of the side that released them. They generally only do that when they know the new side is going to win. (In one case the mercenary had the entire battle plan of the side that was stupid enough to decide they weren't going to pay him for the actual battle. The former employers got stomped, for obvious reasons.)

Mercenaries got away with a lot, mainly because it was understood that they were not trustworthy. They worked for the highest bidder. Sure, we can say things like "They would never work again", but that's not what actually happened. A desperate man will take desperate measures, and that can include hiring someone that is a proven backstabber.

But in this case, Charlie has stated clearly that he wants to retain his reputation, so he won't backstab Ansom (giving the Royals a good reason to hate him, and put him on the hit list, just to provide a second good reason not to betray).

DevilDan
2008-12-15, 09:45 PM
Let's look at the thread title and we see... "lots of speculation". You're pointing out the obvious.

Am I? We usually speculate based on facts, information presented as factual, or best-faith guesses. I'm pointing out here that we're speculating based on something over which Parson was quite ambivalent.


There is his interest in Parson's plans. A true mercenary wouldn't be so intrigued by Parson's mysteriousness. "Sending up some fliers, Charlie..." Without explanation, Charlie sits back and watches it happen. A true mercenary says in response, "It'll cost you 2 thousand schmuckers." Charlie is intrigued by interesting events, and is less interested in the profit he can make from it. Ansom doesn't do anything interesting, so he'll never see that side of Charlie.

Charlie is not dumb. How could he not be interested in a mysterious warlord of an apparently unknown race who is revolutionizing warfare in Erf, pulling off incredibly brilliant and unexpected plans that have helped GK consistently outmaneuver or seriously damage a foe multiple times its size?

MReav
2008-12-15, 09:50 PM
Charlie is not dumb. How could he not be interested in a mysterious warlord of an apparently unknown race who is revolutionizing warfare in Erf, pulling off incredibly brilliant and unexpected plans that have helped GK consistently outmaneuver or seriously damage a foe multiple times its size.

Yeah, if he had Parson on his side, he'd be able to start charging even more.

Kreistor
2008-12-15, 10:34 PM
Yeah, if he had Parson on his side, he'd be able to start charging even more.

Oh, it's more useful than that. His mathemancy would allow Charlie to more accurately determine how much he needs to achieve a goal, minimizing the number of resources he allocates, allowing him to fill more contracts. He can also avoid bad contracts, avoiding losses. (Lost resources are resources that no longer bring in money.)

But the Artefact will do that without Parson. Parson brings non-traditional strategic and tactical thinking. Mercenaries generally do not get to make their own strategies. They are execute a task the commander requires them to do. Mercenaries don't get a choice of how to perform the task. That makes Parson virtually useless to a mercenary. If Charlie wants Parson, it isn't to further his mercenary plans...

Sieggy
2008-12-15, 10:56 PM
Possible. It still doesn't change the fact that now you're basing speculation on other speculation.



What we have is Nozzle shouting angrily or pleadingly at Ansom; please, wait until we see Nozzle before you suggest that he somehow did a 180-degree turn (again, assuming that his shouting was as sincere as we assume it to be, rather than posturing or a momentary reaction to bad news.)

Red might well believe that Stanley and GK should be taken down permanently. She is a warlord, probably an experienced one. It doesn't surprise me that she makes a snap decision to follow Ansom's gambit; it also doesn't surprise me that she takes all prevalent factor into consideration and decides to follow the leader of the RCC, thinking "it's now or never." The RCC will be weakened without Ansom and may well fall apart, so backing Ansom up is not without its logic.

When the buglers call and your captain cries the charge, you spur your horse and follow . . . The RCC is a military organization. The General just went into battle. Red is following orders. Nozzle just failed a bluster check, and will also comply, however grudgingly though perhaps not after the turn ends, the way things are going.

But there's going to be some SERIOUS discussion tonight after turn ends. What transpires between turns end and first turn tomorrow ought to be good for at least 5-6 pages if not more . . . You have four major characters to deal with (Parson, Ansom, Stanley, Jillian/Vinnie) who all have to be woven into the narrative


[/QUOTE]As I understand it, Charlie quoted Don King a prohibitively expensive price so that he could make his deal with Parson without appearing to turn his back on his previous agreement with Ansom. And it's paid off, I'd say, because I'm willing to bet that whatever he extracts from Ansom now will be higher than the shmuckers he would have received from Don King. In addition, stopping Stanley would have probably meant a rapid end to this very lucrative conflict.[/QUOTE]

If he's a true gamer, the contract will have kickers in it unrelated to anything as mundane as schmuckers. Things that make great plot twists down the line.

[/QUOTE]I'm one of those who think that it's likely that Charlie has some ulterior motive or motives, but we've yet to see any behavior on his part that cannot be explained by his "cover story" or persona as a very shrewd mercenary. The fact that he's as interested as he is in the pliers or in Parson is suggestive of other motives, but not conclusive proof that he is not what others apparently believe him to be.

A mercenary who, like a dishonest politician, doesn't "stay bought" will shortly find himself with no repeat business and with fewer and fewer new customers.[/QUOTE]

I suspect that we should consider that since this is a game world, and awareness of this is fundamental to its nature, following the rules (and working exploits ruthlessly) would be necessary to function. I wonder if Parson should be asking about 'cheaters' at this point. Though . . . What if Parson were to take some KISS Knights, sally out, and burn the RCC encampment? That would be against the rules, as stated by Misty. Could that rule be physically broken? Or would the Knights simply refuse to go? If successful, what would be the reactions of others? Fear, hate, awe, or would it all be regarded as just a new set of revisions . . ?

Lamech
2008-12-15, 11:33 PM
Okay, wait, wait, wait... I'm confused here. Where exactly do we see Angry Red and Nozzle following Ansom into battle? The third warlord seems to be ordering the siege into battle; Red and Nozzle do no such thing on panel. On panel Red talks about the walls being unbeatable, and Ansom dying. Nozzle talks about leaving and Ansom being crazy. So can someone explain their reasons to me?

DevilDan
2008-12-15, 11:40 PM
Okay, wait, wait, wait... I'm confused here. Where exactly do we see Angry Red and Nozzle following Ansom into battle? The third warlord seems to be ordering the siege into battle; Red and Nozzle do no such thing on panel. On panel Red talks about the walls being unbeatable, and Ansom dying. Nozzle talks about leaving and Ansom being crazy. So can someone explain their reasons to me?

OK, yes, we're assuming that Red follow the lead of the unnamed female warlord in ordering the siege... on the other hand, the fact that the other one is giving orders suggests that she may be the highest one of the chain of command still giving orders among the RCC units. (Supposition again.)

Kreistor
2008-12-16, 10:12 AM
Okay, wait, wait, wait... I'm confused here. Where exactly do we see Angry Red and Nozzle following Ansom into battle? The third warlord seems to be ordering the siege into battle; Red and Nozzle do no such thing on panel. On panel Red talks about the walls being unbeatable, and Ansom dying. Nozzle talks about leaving and Ansom being crazy. So can someone explain their reasons to me?

Follow him into battle? As in fighting themselves? that's not what we're talking about. We're talking about Ansom's orders for the siege to begin at this spot, despite the misgivings of his warlords.

Had any of them disobeyed, it would have been shown. Instead, we see the entire siege beginning the assault, as Ansom demanded.

Godskook
2008-12-16, 11:14 AM
Had any of them disobeyed, it would have been shown. Instead, we see the entire siege beginning the assault, as Ansom demanded.

Not neccesarily. The Author left it pretty open ended so far as to weither or not Nozzle and Red pull out. That the Brunette followed Ansom's lead is no indication of Nozzle or Red doing the same, and we've been given no reason to think that they've changed their minds. I think speculation on this point is going to be pretty reaching since we have so little info on these two.

SteveMB
2008-12-16, 11:22 AM
Not neccesarily. The Author left it pretty open ended so far as to weither or not Nozzle and Red pull out. That the Brunette followed Ansom's lead is no indication of Nozzle or Red doing the same, and we've been given no reason to think that they've changed their minds. I think speculation on this point is going to be pretty reaching since we have so little info on these two.

Note that she was the one whose first reaction to the new developments was to try to come up with some plausible way to continue the attack ("Guess we'll have to... scrape up any remaining diggers and go in through the tunnles? Or wait them out?" (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0130.html)) -- the latter in particular implies that she considered her side committed to continuing the attack for as long as it took.

Kreistor
2008-12-17, 12:27 PM
Dead warlords can be made into uncroaked warlords. What I should have said is "assuming that Dora was riding on the third unipegataur." Anyway, let's try not to hijack this thread further. Yes, it was my fault to begin with.

Moved conversation from the Favorite Character thread.

Are you trying to say that you think Wanda could re-uncroak a warlord in order to raise it's power level after a weaker version of the spell was cast? that would be rather uncommon and unprecedented. Once a body is turned into undead in most systems, it is no longer viable for a different undead spell.

SteveMB
2008-12-17, 12:42 PM
Are you trying to say that you think Wanda could re-uncroak a warlord in order to raise it's power level after a weaker version of the spell was cast? that would be rather uncommon and unprecedented. Once a body is turned into undead in most systems, it is no longer viable for a different undead spell.

All we have to go on is the description of mass uncroaking as producing relatively weak uncroaked, and the depiction of Webinar and Dora in front of the horde of new units as Wanda casts the "Trioxin" spell.

The simplest interpretation is that Webinar and Dora are uncroaked warlords, but not as powerful or long-lasting as they would have been if Wanda had been able to give them more individual time and attention (as she did with the flying units).

DevilDan
2008-12-17, 12:56 PM
The simplest interpretation is that Webinar and Dora are uncroaked warlords, but not as powerful or long-lasting as they would have been if Wanda had been able to give them more individual time and attention (as she did with the flying units).

That's entirely possible.

I'm just throwing in a wild idea here, the idea that she could return to a unit on the turn in which it was uncroaked and juice it up a bit. Strictly fanciful speculation. The reason I did that is because I was unconvinced that a low-quality uncroaked Webinar would be a better choice than one of the other uncroaked warlords or a Knight.

Of course, there are other factors that informed the choice to include Webinar. One, he was a warlord and would be stronger than other cheap uncroaked. Two, he would get the croakamancer bonus that a twoll or hobgobwin wouldn not. And three, there is the matter of the psychological effect on Ansom of having to face Webinar.

Tangentially: I originally thought that higher-quality uncroaked were green while cheap-uncroaked were of a brownish color, but apparently all the uncroaked turned green by Ansom's turn, suggesting that this is only part of the process of decomposition.
http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0131.html

SteveMB
2008-12-17, 01:39 PM
Tangentially: I originally thought that higher-quality uncroaked were green while cheap-uncroaked were of a brownish color, but apparently all the uncroaked turned green by Ansom's turn, suggesting that his is only part of the process of decomposition.
http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0131.html

If you mean how they look as Wanda first animates them (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0128.html), I think that's a lighting effect -- note the ruddy glow from the wide-area spellcasting.

Lamech
2008-12-17, 02:48 PM
Are you trying to say that you think Wanda could re-uncroak a warlord in order to raise it's power level after a weaker version of the spell was cast? that would be rather uncommon and unprecedented. Once a body is turned into undead in most systems, it is no longer viable for a different undead spell.
I don't think "most systems" is really a good thing to go by... Also, in the pen-and-paper RPG system I play "slain" undead can be used for more undead as long as they haven't had their corpses destroyed. I also just checked the DnD 3.5 SRD, and undead corspes can be re-used except when animate dead spell is used; it mentions it specifically, but neither the undead type, create undead, or the epic level animate dead seed mention it.

P.S. Undead can't be kept around forever in Erfworld otherwise warlords wouldn't decay, or at least it wouldn't be a problem. We just don't know what else can perma-kill them.

Godskook
2008-12-17, 05:13 PM
P.S. Undead can't be kept around forever in Erfworld otherwise warlords wouldn't decay, or at least it wouldn't be a problem. We just don't know what else can perma-kill them.

I assume it is like in Halo. You can 'kill' the zombie things, but if you don't obliterate the body, they can be 'regrown'. That is why shotguns, swords, grenades and the pink-spike gun are all really good at taking them out.

Admittedly, I can't think of any magic based games where it happened, but it still would make sense. It also explains why uncroaked units retain pre-croaking injuries. Note that Manpower the uncroaked wears an eyepatch, yet Manpower the living did not. Croakamancy does nothing to heal them, merely to animate them. If there is nothing left to animate, I suspect croakamancy spells stop working.

Robak
2008-12-17, 06:48 PM
He wears an eyepatch because he was shot through the eye.

DevilDan
2008-12-17, 07:10 PM
He wears an eyepatch because he was shot through the eye.

Leading to that excellent line that sold me on this comic: "I can taste key lime pie." (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0002.html)

Kreistor
2008-12-17, 07:41 PM
I don't think "most systems" is really a good thing to go by... Also, in the pen-and-paper RPG system I play "slain" undead can be used for more undead as long as they haven't had their corpses destroyed. I also just checked the DnD 3.5 SRD, and undead corspes can be re-used except when animate dead spell is used; it mentions it specifically, but neither the undead type, create undead, or the epic level animate dead seed mention it.[quote]

It goes to Cocam's Razor. The simplest solution... in this case, the most common solution is the simplest solution. Most of Erfworld is standard. Dwagons do dragon things, and spidews do spider things. If we approach this from the "anything can happen" perspective, we'll never determine anything about the game system.

[quote]P.S. Undead can't be kept around forever in Erfworld otherwise warlords wouldn't decay, or at least it wouldn't be a problem. We just don't know what else can perma-kill them.

Yes, I know that. Did something I say suggest otherwise?


The simplest interpretation is that Webinar and Dora are uncroaked warlords, but not as powerful or long-lasting as they would have been if Wanda had been able to give them more individual time and attention (as she did with the flying units).

I agree with this. They perform really well against Ansom becuase they are with a Croakamancer, which provides a "huge" bonus to undead when leading their stack. (Klog 10)

Lamech
2008-12-17, 11:26 PM
It goes to Cocam's Razor. The simplest solution... in this case, the most common solution is the simplest solution. Most of Erfworld is standard. Dwagons do dragon things, and spidews do spider things. If we approach this from the "anything can happen" perspective, we'll never determine anything about the game system.
Most systems is bad to go by. Erfworld is not like most systems: it is differant and unique form many. Also most systems is bad for another reason; we don't actually have ways of taking good samples. In most of the game systems, and fictional worlds I know of undead are reuseable. Not so for you. We don't know for the authors.

If you could say the "overwhelming majority of systems", your argument would be stronger, but it is not the case here.

Kreistor
2008-12-18, 02:04 AM
Most systems is bad to go by. Erfworld is not like most systems: it is differant and unique form many. Also most systems is bad for another reason; we don't actually have ways of taking good samples.

Okay, either you know many systems and you know that Erfworld is different from many, or you don't know many systems and can't compare. You're trying to have it both ways.

I know many systems. Because of that, I am comfortable comparing. If you don't, then you shouldn't, plus you shouldn't be complaining when I do. You can't complain about what you are unsure of.


In most of the game systems, and fictional worlds I know of undead are reuseable. Not so for you. We don't know for the authors.

I never said corpses aren't reusable. I said you can't cast an undead creation spell on an undead, because it is no longer a corpse -- it is an unliving creature, which makes it an illegal target for the spell, which requires Object[corpse], or whatever the system decides to define a corpse as. The undead needs to be destroyed and turned back into a corpse first. Had such an event occurred for Webinar, then it would have been shown. With only one demonstrable raising of Webinar and his troops, then any suggestion of a second animate to make him stronger is entirely in the mind of the believer.


If you could say the "overwhelming majority of systems", your argument would be stronger, but it is not the case here.

No, it wouldn't. It suggests that I know most systems, and that is the purview only of the most obsessed gamers. Given the rarity of such a viable claim, I would be trivialized by those claiming I couldn't know most systems. I know many, and enough to know where to find the loopholes and abuseable rules. I know what works and what doesn't. I also know that it takes a lot of gameplay and testing to ensure a system does not have those holes.

And that's the weakness of Erfworld. It is not a complete system: it is designed to be used in a comic, and is not fleshed out and field tested. If you think a set of rules created by a comic writer can be perfect and unabuseable first time without playtesting, then you better not be a betting man. This rule system will have holes, and to the practiced, they will be glaring: that is, if he completed them and showed them to us, I guarantee you that I would find the loopholes. Only the arrogant think that they can create an error free system without playtesting. And only a fool bets that someone else without professional experience can achieve the ideal in anything. The only way the author can ensure we don't see those holes is to not let us know the specifics, and that's what he tries to do. That's why you'll never see a real Erfworld game to play. The author needs the benefit of the doubt to ensure that he has a perfect system for Parson to play in... a perfect system that simply does not exist, because every turn based game has abuseable rules. Parson's ability to find holes in the system are no more powerful than the author's ability to find the holes in a system. If he doesn't want any holes to exist in the system, then Parson will never find the holes, not because they don't exist, but because the author doesn't want them to exist. Those of us with the ability to find and abuse holes in games will merely laugh at Parson's inability to find the abuses he supposedly wants to find.

Let's look at Star Fleet Battles. This system simulated Star Trek battles. The basic Federation unit was a bit of a cow, and couldn't turn well, but its photon torpedoes packed a massive punch at close range, if the enemy could be placed in their limited field of fire. The Klingon unit was fast and lighter armed, but highly maneuverable and with weapons with wide arcs. The Klingon, if played well, played a game of jumping in and out of a range 7-8 combat, not letting itself get into the close range where the Fed torps would massacre it, and so it almost came down to whether the Klingon player made a mistake. (It was more complex than that, but with two equally talented players, this was often the deciding factor.)

Then came a player named Kaufman. In a tournament at a Con, he came in and flew the Fed Cruiser... in reverse. The Klingon maneuverability advantage was suddenly gone. The Fed could ensure the torps always faced the Klingon, who couldn't get out of the front arc. Part of why this tactic was so effective was that reversing costs were the same as forward movement. The designers decided this tactic was not desirable, since it promoted play inconsistent with the ST universe, so the reversing rules were changed to double reversing movement costs, and max reverse speed was limited to 1/2 max forward speed. This made it harder to use teh Retrograde, but not impossible, so it did not disappear entirely, but was not as clearly powerful. (The maneuver was called the Kaufman Retrograde from that time forward and refered to in the rules. Captain Kaufman was added to the SFB universe.)

There was another system I recently played -- Full Thrust. It had a ship costing system that was fundamentally flawed. It grossly undervalued wide arc weapon systems, and immensely overvalued movement. This could get into a long involved discussion, so basically, I was able to use those rules to create a low speed, heavily armed spaceship that out gunned a similarly priced high speed, small arc spaceship in every single arc: place that fast ship anywhere on the board at any facing and it always faced more guns than it could bring to bear on my slow ship. The game designers never understood that movement had no value in that system, and this extreme proved it conclusively: the fast ship coould never maneuver to a superior firing position. When someone took my argument to the designers, they argued that movement was a force amplifier, or some such BS, completely missing that maneuver is only a force amplifier when you can outgun the enemy by achieving particular firing positions where you outgun the enemy. Designers are, often, arrogant and overconfident in their own skill, needing blatant in your face demonstrations to prove the theories behind their creations are fundamentally flawed.

A designer that believes their system is perfect is one that is doomed to disappointment. There is always someone out there smarter, or more insightful, than you, and those people will break your system. There is no one blinder to the flaws in his own creation than the creator himself.

dr pepper
2008-12-19, 01:25 AM
I call foul on Kreister. How dare you bring cogent examples and rational analysis to an online debate!

Anyway, the mechanics are not a weakness of Erfworld, they're a weakness of our interpretation.

Lamech
2008-12-19, 02:26 AM
I never said corpses aren't reusable. I said you can't cast an undead creation spell on an undead, because it is no longer a corpse -- it is an unliving creature, which makes it an illegal target for the spell, which requires Object[corpse], or whatever the system decides to define a corpse as. The undead needs to be destroyed and turned back into a corpse first. Had such an event occurred for Webinar, then it would have been shown. With only one demonstrable raising of Webinar and his troops, then any suggestion of a second animate to make him stronger is entirely in the mind of the believer.
Bloody internet... how many posts did we spend debating that... I agree that it is unlikely for Webinar to be enhancable without re-croaking him some how. Although I disagree about what is all shown "On screen", but debating that would be pointless.




But I do have a second issue here...

Okay, either you know many systems and you know that Erfworld is different from many, or you don't know many systems and can't compare. You're trying to have it both ways.

I know many systems. Because of that, I am comfortable comparing. If you don't, then you shouldn't, plus you shouldn't be complaining when I do. You can't complain about what you are unsure of.
I know Erfworld is unique because mimicing everything that erfworld does would be impossible, especially with older computer systems or pen-and-paper/board-and-figures.

Alright here is my real problem though: you claim you are able to get a good sample and know what "most" games are like...


If you could say the "overwhelming majority of systems", your argument would be stronger, but it is not the case here. No, it wouldn't. It suggests that I know most systems, and that is the purview only of the most obsessed gamers. Given the rarity of such a viable claim, I would be trivialized by those claiming I couldn't know most systems. I know many, and enough to know where to find the loopholes and abuseable rules. I know what works and what doesn't. I also know that it takes a lot of gameplay and testing to ensure a system does not have those holes.
But you here say you can't apply that to knowing when a overwhelming majority has happened? That makes no sense what so ever; that isn't how statistics works... If you have a good enough sample to know when a majority has happened it should certainly be good enough to know when an overwhelming majority has happened. (When I say overwhelming majority I'm talking 80-90%, that may be a point of confusion.)
Nor would you need to know "most systems". One can extrapolate out from a smaller sample, than "most systems". And if one couldn't the exact same problem would exist for determing when a simple majority has been reached.

Hurrah for statistics...

Kreistor
2008-12-19, 08:47 AM
I know Erfworld is unique because mimicing everything that erfworld does would be impossible, especially with older computer systems or pen-and-paper/board-and-figures.

Please describe the difference between dragonbreath and a flamethrower. An archon's flight characteristics and a helicopter's. Book communications and a portable radio...

The point is that there is nothing unique about the tings happening in Erfworld. Have you ever seen the "Champions" (Hero System) rolplaying system? It is a point-based system with a highly flexible power system intended to allow you to create a character that will simulate any superhero or villain in any comic book you've ever read. In my experience, I have never found a power or ability that it could not simulate. Nothing is impossible in that system. Those of you that are familiar with modern D&D only are unaware of the plethora of systems that propagated and flourished during the 80's and early 90's -- you only know the few systems that survived the devastation caused by the trading card games of the mid-90's that killed many of the old gaming companies -- TSR, Avalon Hill, Hero Games, and many, many more. It is ironic that many youth think D&D is breaking ground with their new systems. Everything they are doing was done 20 years ago by people that saw the flaws in First and Second ed.

The point is that you're wrong. There have been systems that could simulate Erfworld. Erfworld is unique in the specific set of rules it uses, but none of those rules are individually unique -- they all would have been done somewhere by someone for some system.


Alright here is my real problem though: you claim you are able to get a good sample and know what "most" games are like...

If I used the word "most", I mis-spoke. I know many, but by no means anywhere near 1/2.


But you here say you can't apply that to knowing when a overwhelming majority has happened? That makes no sense what so ever; that isn't how statistics works... If you have a good enough sample to know when a majority has happened it should certainly be good enough to know when an overwhelming majority has happened. (When I say overwhelming majority I'm talking 80-90%, that may be a point of confusion.)
Nor would you need to know "most systems". One can extrapolate out from a smaller sample, than "most systems". And if one couldn't the exact same problem would exist for determing when a simple majority has been reached.

A representative sample? Well, that relies on sampling a random selection of all works, and that I did not do. I was heavily weighted towards Avalon Hill games. I saw very few of the most complex WW2 and civil war miniatures games. My sample was not random. I know bits and pieces of those games, and so there are fundamental weaknesses in my knowledge.

But I know enough to say that nothing in Erfworld I have seen so far has not been done in one way or another by systems I was once familiar with.

bdares
2008-12-19, 10:59 AM
Kreistor, I care little for the speculations which are the topic of this thread, but that post of yours is awesome.

Lamech
2008-12-19, 12:12 PM
If I used the word "most", I mis-spoke. I know many, but by no means anywhere near 1/2.
So... the entire debate was a misunderstanding...
GGGOOOO INTERNET!


The point is that you're wrong. There have been systems that could simulate Erfworld. Erfworld is unique in the specific set of rules it uses, but none of those rules are individually unique -- they all would have been done somewhere by someone for some system.
Most of the individual rules are not unique, but there are some things that are... things like losing communication with a chunk of your units. The AI nessecery to simulate that would be impossible with current tech. The amount of detail each unit has, and there being hundreds of them. All groupable into what ever formation is wanted while acting in real time? And how damage shows up on each unit? (Look at the damaged dwagons.) It comes from being its own world, the level of detail is just too high.

But thats besides the point by "unique" I meant "Erfworld is unique in the specific set of rules it uses," basically.

Kreistor
2008-12-19, 01:44 PM
So... the entire debate was a misunderstanding...
GGGOOOO INTERNET!

No mistake. Just a minor semantic difference. Many vs. most. This doesn't defeat any of my statements.


Most of the individual rules are not unique, but there are some things that are... things like losing communication with a chunk of your units.

Often simulated by pre-written orders. You write your orders on a sheet of paper, reveal them as they become active, and have to live with them if the situation changed in the meantime.


The AI nessecery to simulate that would be impossible with current tech.

Pre-written orders are impossible to enter? It's just a queue. It's often used in the production queus in RTS's. It's very, very easy. For a moving unit, set a path and you're not allowed to change it until they return to regions with communications.


The amount of detail each unit has, and there being hundreds of them.

Let's see, a 64K x 64k grid for movement, is 1 32 bit number per waypoint. 32 bit/vector, 8-bit for velocity, that's 9 bytes/location. Cal it a queue of 16 positions for 144 bytes. 1000 units is 144kilobytes. Hmmm, I think computers have had more than 144 kilobytes since '85, IIRC> The Commodore 64 was called that because it had 64Kb of memory.

I don't think you know what you're talking about. At all.



All groupable into what ever formation is wanted while acting in real time?

Been doing that since MoO2, which was more than a decade ago. COmputers have something like 32x more power now than then...


And how damage shows up on each unit? (Look at the damaged dwagons.) It comes from being its own world, the level of detail is just too high.

Haven't played Gears 2 yet? Much higher level of detail, and damage. Comics are low res images, and can't even come close to what a computer can do these days. That's not to say the Xbox 360 is anywhere close to top of the line graphics now, three years after it released.


But thats besides the point by "unique" I meant "Erfworld is unique in the specific set of rules it uses," basically.

So, what are you saying? It's unique in the specific grouping of rules it uses, but each individual rule may not be unique? Since we're analyzing this from a rule by rule basis, that means the lack of uniqueness in those rules allows us to compare to other systems due to potential similarities.

Kreistor
2008-12-19, 01:47 PM
Kreistor, I care little for the speculations which are the topic of this thread, but that post of yours is awesome.

Thanks. I assume you're talking about the OP? I like to prove that competent analysis of things on the Internet is possible, and so I try to post with references to start a thread, at least. (Having done so once, I don't need to for every point thereafter, if I know that when called upon, I can do so.) It forces out the people that haven't done their homework, and are basing their positions on their own desires instead of facts that can be proven.

DevilDan
2008-12-19, 02:32 PM
I wonder just how much Charlie knows about what happened in the tunnels. He certainly didn't have a ringside seat on that fracas, but he should have some idea about what Parson was doing.

Kreistor
2008-12-19, 02:53 PM
I wonder just how much Charlie knows about what happened in the tunnels. He certainly didn't have a ringside seat on that fracas, but he should have some idea about what Parson was doing.

Ansom didn't know his siege engines were being annihilated until the note got passed to him in 52.14. And these were in his alliance. Charlie was not even in the alliance in 112. So, no, I don't think there is any way he could know what was going on there.

Remember, it took a brilliant and unconvential linking of three Eyemancers to give Stanley his "unmatched communications and intelligence". Charlie would need the same, and so far, there is no indication he has duplicated this feat. We know that Stanley had to steal Jack, one of those Eyemancers, from another side he wiped out. Charlie is not expansionary, so would have to specifically create three Eyemancers of differing types. He lacks power, or the Royals would be all over him. So, no, even if he knew how to do this, I don't hink he would, merely because doing so makes him a threat to forces he cannot currently afford to make fearful.

Charlie thought Parson had no chance to not lose today, and especially didn't think he could attain the Pliers. If he'd known about the traps and prepared tunnel collapses, he wouldn't have been so certain of Parson's defeat. So, no, I don't think Charlie knew anything about what was about to happen in the tunnels. (But once he talked to Parson and lerned the odds of not losing, then he could have sat back and approached it from a position of knowledge. Something like this... "I know Jetstone is in the tunnels, and they have less than 40% chance of taking the garrison. What does Parson need to happen in the tunnels to prevent both that and a breach in the outer walls? Well, the only thing that stops the outer walls from being taken is a lot more forces on the GK side, so that means they need to uncroak a lot of infantry. So Parson is going to kill the Jetstone forces in the tunnel and uncroak them. How do you kill people in tunnels?" From there it takes some leaps of knowledge. We don't know if Charlie et al. know that GK has a Dirtamancer, so being able to figure out the specifics of Parson's plan depends on whether the enemy knows about Sizemore. But Charlie can at least figure out that there is something in the tunnels that the RCC didn't know about.

SteveMB
2008-12-19, 02:53 PM
I wonder just how much Charlie knows about what happened in the tunnels. He certainly didn't have a ringside seat on that fracas, but he should have some idea about what Parson was doing.

He'd see the results (the surviving Plaid troops and a boopload of uncroaked emerging from the tunnels), which would speak for itself.

DevilDan
2008-12-19, 04:24 PM
He'd see the results (the surviving Plaid troops and a boopload of uncroaked emerging from the tunnels), which would speak for itself.

Yes, but he doesn't know how the troops were duped, how Parson capitalized on his dirtamancer, the use of traps and collapses, etc.

Sieggy
2008-12-19, 05:25 PM
Yes, but he doesn't know how the troops were duped, how Parson capitalized on his dirtamancer, the use of traps and collapses, etc.

Doesn't matter. Having a thousand or so uncroaked on your wall defending it that had been sent in to take it makes enough of a statement . . . How is relatively immaterial compared to the fait accompli. Not knowing how enhances Parson in Charlie's eyes a LOT.

At this point, I think Charlies goals are (in descending order) Parson and the mathamancy artifact as a package, the Arkenpliers, and whatever cash can be generated from this little contretemps. Other than that, as far as Charlie is concerned, GK is someone else's problem.

DevilDan
2008-12-19, 06:36 PM
Doesn't matter. Having a thousand or so uncroaked on your wall defending it that had been sent in to take it makes enough of a statement . . . How is relatively immaterial compared to the fait accompli.

I am making the comment because it was suggested that a "similar" trap could be used against Charlescomm.


Other than that, as far as Charlie is concerned, GK is someone else's problem.

Except for whatever he is contracted to do by Ansom.

Kreistor
2008-12-19, 07:38 PM
I am making the comment because it was suggested that a "similar" trap could be used against Charlescomm.

Hrmmm... good point. If Charles doesn't know about the traps in the tunnels, he may fall for a Tower rigged to collapse. Parson retreats Tower defenders in the face of advancing Archons to Courtyard (which only makes huge sense to anyone watching this assault), Archons take the Tower (where a lot of the important stuff is I expect, like Stanley's living quarters, and the treasury which he would never let be far away), and boom, down goes the Tower and 30 or so Archons (and a rear guard of uncroaked, I imagine). This leaves only the Courtyard of all the Garrison zones) that Ansom can attack (making him predictable and irate). Tunnels are gone already, so Dungeon is unassailable without diggers (which I expect to be a slow process for the RCC, taking many Turns, well outside Ansom's patience threshold). Tower is down, so Airspace can't attack anything. Parson defends Courtyard, and retreats to Dungeon, where they think he's trapped. Sizemore then digs a tunnel (Dirtamancers can move a lot of dirt very quickly), move field units to an external hex, back to Outer Walls, and then down into Courtyard to close the circle, crushing the RCC army in between two pincers.

Even if Charlie doesn't fall for it, the Tower is still down so Airspace is useless in the attack. This could still occur, it's just Archons would be available for the attack from OUter Walls instead of eliminated.

Okay, I can fantasize. I doubt it would get that far.

Lamech
2008-12-20, 12:13 AM
Often simulated by pre-written orders. You write your orders on a sheet of paper, reveal them as they become active, and have to live with them if the situation changed in the meantime.
That is one way to simulate communication loss, but Erfworld doesn't do it that way. A warlord that got cut off would have to make descisions on his own. When Webinar was in the tunnels, he wasn't running off pre-set orders; he was thinking and acting on his feet. Here is a very clear example of Webinar taking inivitive (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0057.html). To simulate that one would need a full thinking AI.


Pre-written orders are impossible to enter? It's just a queue. It's often used in the production queus in RTS's. It's very, very easy. For a moving unit, set a path and you're not allowed to change it until they return to regions with communications.
Ansom does not have a quene; he is acting on his own. Webinar did not a quene; he was acting on his own. Sizemore was commanding his battles. Parson was able to ask his units any question he could think of. Even bogroll would need his own AI, giving him intitive to do things like make armour. And if bogroll needs an AI so does pretty much every unit. Which of course, would be running all the time.

Last time I checked we didn't have computers that could simulate, a single strong AI, let alone countless thousands.



Let's see, a 64K x 64k grid for movement, is 1 32 bit number per waypoint. 32 bit/vector, 8-bit for velocity, that's 9 bytes/location. Cal it a queue of 16 positions for 144 bytes. 1000 units is 144kilobytes. Hmmm, I think computers have had more than 144 kilobytes since '85, IIRC> The Commodore 64 was called that because it had 64Kb of memory.

I don't think you know what you're talking about. At all.
Erm... well the gas trap seemed to be chemically based so I could in theory argue one would need a unified theory , (which we lack)



Let's see, a 64K x 64k grid for movement, is 1 32 bit number per waypoint. 32 bit/vector, 8-bit for velocity, that's 9 bytes/location. Cal it a queue of 16 positions for 144 bytes. 1000 units is 144kilobytes. Hmmm, I think computers have had more than 144 kilobytes since '85, IIRC> The Commodore 64 was called that because it had 64Kb of memory.

I don't think you know what you're talking about. At all.
First off the units have memories, and what not, those would all need to be in there, otherwise take it like a drill (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0025.html), would be rather meaningless. That would eat up large quanties of memory, on any computer. Secondly, Erfworld is in three dimesions, not two. And one would need to hold the poses of each unit and so-forth. Although I'll take your word for it that the memory wouldn't be an issue.
The main problem would be processing power. One would need a lot of it, to run the physics simulations on each unit. I know a true good physics simulator requires large amounts of power, something that would be impossible to apply to a whole battle field.

And again the whole thousands of strong AI...

Kreistor
2008-12-20, 02:12 AM
That is one way to simulate communication loss, but Erfworld doesn't do it that way.

I believe you said it wansn't possible. So it is possible?


Ansom does not have a quene; he is acting on his own.

OH, you want talented AI's that control a variety of units, and kick your butt in doing so. I guess no RTS exists taht is a better player than you. Warcraft, Starcraft, Command and Conquer, etc -- none of these have AI's that control a variety of units and can optimize game play to defeat a thinking human being.

Sarcasm of course. Warfare AI's have been around for decades, and they are extremely talented. Heck, even Chess fits this bill. The best computer has already beaten world champions.


Parson was able to ask his units any question he could think of.

In the 80's, a program was written that simulated a particular method that some psychologists use to help their clients -- by asking questions in response to questions. It was so realistic, that some people that used it thought there was a person on the other end.

Answering questions is simply a matter of parsing and checking against a database. Simple stuff.


Even bogroll would need his own AI, giving him intitive to do things like make armour.

Played Fable 2? Your wife gives you gifts periodically. Wants sex. Grows bored of waiting for you while you're off adventuring, possibly threatening divorce. Fears you if you have an evil reputation. And more. And you can select from many men and women in the game to make them your spouse, giving a variety of likes and dislikes, responses to stimuli, and level of society you are expected to maintain.

More than we've seen from Bogroll.


And if bogroll needs an AI so does pretty much every unit.

Ah, now this is a trick. Only Bogroll needs that level of AI, so the way to do it is easy. You program one henchman AI. Each unit then gets a list of specifics that the Henchman AI uses to determine what to do differently for that unit. For instance, the gift thing. Bogroll has a short list of four things that he might give you. A different possible henchman gets a list of 4 other things. When the AI decides the henchman likes you enough, based on whatever is important to that unit (again, each unit only gets contstant modifiers, so that one might heavily favour physique more than beauty, kindness more than lawfulness, etc), it goes to the list of gifts and chooses one. In this case, Bogroll activates the "Impress boss early" code. Another AI might not do that, but instead save the gift for "Apologize for screwing up".

It all boils down to this: Bogroll is unique, but only in his differences. Since you will have one Henchman, you only need one general Henchman AI.

So it's been done.


Last time I checked we didn't have computers that could simulate, a single strong AI, let alone countless thousands.

You need to play more games. You're wrong.


Erm... well the gas trap seemed to be chemically based so I could in theory argue one would need a unified theory , (which we lack)

Yeah, you don't play games at all, do you. Crack open Gear 2. Rainbow Six Vegas 2. Both have gas grenades, true physics collision engines, etc. Graphics far beyond Erfworld standars (graphics are the real processing power gluttons... backing off on graphics has incredible results in improving AI).


First off the units have memories, and what not, those would all need to be in there, otherwise take it like a drill (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0025.html), would be rather meaningless. That would eat up large quanties of memory, on any computer.

Heh... you're trying to simulate people. Your initial statement said NOTHING of such a demand.

Quoted your earlier post:

Most of the individual rules are not unique, but there are some things that are... things like losing communication with a chunk of your units. The AI nessecery to simulate that would be impossible with current tech. The amount of detail each unit has, and there being hundreds of them. All groupable into what ever formation is wanted while acting in real time? And how damage shows up on each unit? (Look at the damaged dwagons.) It comes from being its own world, the level of detail is just too high.

Nothing in that statement said anything about you expecting a unit to have a "memory" of its entire life. You're trying to defeat me based on demands you never indicated you expected. You're changing the parameters after the response. I have pointed out how everything you demanded in the original post has been done. I've also done most of everything you already posted.

Now, I'll even face this one. You don't need a huge amount of memory to remember a turn based game. Unlike a human, these AI's don't need to remember details like facial expressions, smells, and other things unimportant to it. There are strict limits to what can be done, with numbers assigned to each event. 32000 different types of events is only 2 bytes. You then only need to remember the turn number the event occured on, and a number for each participant. That's not very much. And then it gets stored to the Hard Drive. PC hard drives are measured in hundreds of gigabytes now. A gigabyte is a thousand megabytes, which is a thousand kilobytes, which is a thousand bytes.

There are further tricks. You seem to think a memory must be assigned to every possible creature, since any creature could become a warlord. Not true. You only need to remember what happened to an army, and then when that unit becomes a warlord, create a back-history for it. Select events it participated in, decide where it was on the field, and voila, one unique memory. Now you only need to remember for the stack, or even army, cutting your memory demands immensely. (To 1/8th, at least, based on standards of stacking in 8's.)


Secondly, Erfworld is in three dimesions, not two. And one would need to hold the poses of each unit and so-forth. Although I'll take your word for it that the memory wouldn't be an issue.

Only need one more byte to deal with vertical position. trivial. No, you don't need to remember the exact pose a unit had at the time of an event, though games like Halo have done so. (You can play an entire Halo game and then afterwards watch it all over again, cutting and snipping, making a movie. It doesn't remember every frame, it remembers every keystroke and decision, recreating the visuals every time. Much more efficient than remembering the visuals themselves.)


The main problem would be processing power. One would need a lot of it, to run the physics simulations on each unit.

Not much has happened in the Erfworld universe that the Unreal 3 engine couldn't handle. It does thrown and fired weapon arcing (for bows and thrown weapons, slings, crossbows), not just straight line bullets. Can do melee (different weapons do different melee damage.) Fire breath, which can be modified for other types of damage. Explosions. Deformable terrain. Visible damage to units (most evident in the very sturdy Sires). Shields for defense. (R6 Vegas 2 uses the same engine, and implements soft cover -- walls and items bullets can pass through to hurt people hiding on the other side.) Vehicles -- land and flying. Flying animals. Moving walls. Mist and excellent bodies of water.


I know a true good physics simulator requires large amounts of power, something that would be impossible to apply to a whole battle field.

You use that word a lot. "Impossible", I mean. And yet, I don't think you know very much about what can and cannot be done, or why some things that can be don't simply are not.

Powerful Ai's aren't common right now for one simple reason: graphics. Graphics is the real cow of processing power: so much so, that most PC video cards have separate processors on them to offload the tasks from the primary processor, but even then, there's only so much they can do. Processing power doubles every couple years, so what do the game companies do with it? They double the number of polygons in the images, making it look better, instead of keeping the visuals the same and improving the AI.

That doesn't mean that what you ask for can't be done, it just means that games that do what you ask are not as popular as games that have beautiful graphics. Don't fall for the trap of "It hasn't been done, so it can't be."

Doing Erfworld is, frankly, easy. There's nothing there not present in other games. The one limiting factor is the graphics power. A game with 13000 units in the field can be done, but the problem isn't the AI, it's the graphics database that needs to sort through 13000 items to figure out which one a ray traces to. Choosing where 13000 units go? That's easy. Most are unimportant, so very simple, with a single decision made for the stack instead of for the unit, and the rest are few so they can have more processing power. It's that database that clogs it all up, so you need to drop the graphics in a major way to give power to the graphics database. How do you solve this? Fairly simply: you don't do 13000 units. You divide by 8 and do 1600 stacks. Many stacks are identical, so use standard patterns of units inside those stacks to simplify pose and relative position. And then you'll only notice the difference if you look at it hard and try to figure it out. (Gears 1 vs. Gears 2. But then, they didn't compromise on overall graphics quality, But they went from being able to only handle 15 creatures in a map at once to over 40.)

quindraco
2008-12-20, 10:50 AM
Kreistor, I think you have really interesting posts, but I have the opposite opinion you do of computer games in general, and I'm interested in the reasons behind your opinions......



OH, you want talented AI's that control a variety of units, and kick your butt in doing so. I guess no RTS exists taht is a better player than you. Warcraft, Starcraft, Command and Conquer, etc -- none of these have AI's that control a variety of units and can optimize game play to defeat a thinking human being.

I've played C&C, but I can't remember it. However, I promise you, both Warcraft and Starcraft had frustratingly stupid unit AIs. This was at least partially deliberate; Blizzard prefers their RTSes to have a heavy emphasis on micromanagement. Whatever the reason, though, there are a WIDE host of techniques, tactics, strategies, etc that your units should be able to work out for themselves, but don't. One that always got me was how a unit in Starcraft wouldn't act like one; if I grouped 10 space marines with 2 medics, then gave the group a move order, they thought like 12 individuals - and the medics could run faster. All the obvious hilarity ensued, as the medics ran in first to get chewed up, before the marines got there.

I personally have NEVER played an RTS in which I was satisfied with the AIs of my units (I prefer to minimise micromanagement, so as a consequence, it's hard for me to find an RTS I can truly enjoy).



Sarcasm of course. Warfare AI's have been around for decades, and they are extremely talented. Heck, even Chess fits this bill. The best computer has already beaten world champions.

Turn based is not the same as real-time; note that Erfworld has elements of both, since e.g. at night (when it is no one's turn) everyone can nonetheless plan tomorrow's battle (in Chess, it is always SOMEONE'S turn, and the faster they move, the less time you have to think). I totally agree with you that Erfworld's complexity is unknown - I would assume it's harder than othello, and not harder than go, but we don't know even that. Still, we're not talking about writing an AI to "win" Erfworld, but rather an AI that simulates personalities - note that all of the characters on the bio page have personality flaws listed. You can try to simulate something like that with gross simplification, but no, I don't think modern computers can really simulate the whole thing. We haven't invented the algorithms for that. They did in The Matrix, though!



In the 80's, a program was written that simulated a particular method that some psychologists use to help their clients -- by asking questions in response to questions. It was so realistic, that some people that used it thought there was a person on the other end.

Answering questions is simply a matter of parsing and checking against a database. Simple stuff.

I won't tell the google staff you said that if you don't. No AI has ever been written that can intelligently answer a question asked in common English, because common English is difficult (and sometimes impossible - the man saw a woman riding a bicycle; who was riding the bicycle, the woman or the man?) for a computer to parse. Eliza could do mediocre small talk - which was a big deal, I'll grant - but she wasn't even attempting to understand what you said, she just rehashed what you said and threw it back at you in the form of another question.

If you want a real nightmare introduced, in my dream Erfworld game, you're essentially Parson - which means you only type in the eyebook. You get to talk to units directly, using the computer mic. Now you have to solve voice recognition, too. :-P But that's one compromise I'm willing to make - hell, I'm typing to you right now.



Played Fable 2? Your wife gives you gifts periodically. Wants sex. Grows bored of waiting for you while you're off adventuring, possibly threatening divorce. Fears you if you have an evil reputation. And more. And you can select from many men and women in the game to make them your spouse, giving a variety of likes and dislikes, responses to stimuli, and level of society you are expected to maintain.

More than we've seen from Bogroll.

Doesn't that assume you can hardcode e.g. that late-night conversation Bogroll had with Parson? In which he says his dream is to save Parson's life, or similar? Remember, Parson is NOT choosing from a dialogue tree, he's entering his own dialogue on the fly. Bioware, to pick one example, would pay you infinity dollars if you could invent a system to deal with that.



Ah, now this is a trick. Only Bogroll needs that level of AI, so the way to do it is easy. You program one henchman AI. Each unit then gets a list of specifics that the Henchman AI uses to determine what to do differently for that unit. For instance, the gift thing. Bogroll has a short list of four things that he might give you. A different possible henchman gets a list of 4 other things. When the AI decides the henchman likes you enough, based on whatever is important to that unit (again, each unit only gets contstant modifiers, so that one might heavily favour physique more than beauty, kindness more than lawfulness, etc), it goes to the list of gifts and chooses one. In this case, Bogroll activates the "Impress boss early" code. Another AI might not do that, but instead save the gift for "Apologize for screwing up".

It all boils down to this: Bogroll is unique, but only in his differences. Since you will have one Henchman, you only need one general Henchman AI.

So it's been done.

Except for "it's been done" (which I disagreed with earlier), I agree with you 100% here. However you solve the Bogroll problem, the same solution should apply to everyone else.



You need to play more games. You're wrong.

Nothing more to discuss here, just don't want to skip anything.......



Yeah, you don't play games at all, do you. Crack open Gear 2. Rainbow Six Vegas 2. Both have gas grenades, true physics collision engines, etc. Graphics far beyond Erfworld standars (graphics are the real processing power gluttons... backing off on graphics has incredible results in improving AI).

None of your examples have true physics. Physicists don't have true physics worked out, first of all, so it's certain no computer games do (PV=nRT only under ideal conditions, you know). 100% correctly portraying a gas (or any even slightly complicated newtonian physics problem) requires solving the n-body problem.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N-body_problem

Again, infinity dollars to you if you can do it. Erfworld might very plausibly have simpler physics than the real world, and it might be entirely true that if it doesn't, the physics can be simplified to the level a computer can fake without too much loss in quality, etc. I don't think we have any hard evidence that Erf's physics are that simple, though, and I know I've never played a computer game (I've played both of your examples) wherein I couldn't find a way the physics engine was acting unrealistically (have you ANY idea how hard it is to correctly simulate collisions with liquids?).



Heh... you're trying to simulate people. Your initial statement said NOTHING of such a demand.

Again, I just don't want to leave something out; I agree that Erfers aren't people in general, thanks to the natural thinkamancy stats.



Quoted your earlier post:

Again, moving right along......



Nothing in that statement said anything about you expecting a unit to have a "memory" of its entire life. You're trying to defeat me based on demands you never indicated you expected. You're changing the parameters after the response. I have pointed out how everything you demanded in the original post has been done. I've also done most of everything you already posted.


Doodley do....



Now, I'll even face this one. You don't need a huge amount of memory to remember a turn based game. Unlike a human, these AI's don't need to remember details like facial expressions, smells, and other things unimportant to it. There are strict limits to what can be done, with numbers assigned to each event. 32000 different types of events is only 2 bytes. You then only need to remember the turn number the event occured on, and a number for each participant. That's not very much. And then it gets stored to the Hard Drive. PC hard drives are measured in hundreds of gigabytes now. A gigabyte is a thousand megabytes, which is a thousand kilobytes, which is a thousand bytes.

If we assume a persistent world, true turn number would be impossibly inefficient, since it tends to infinity. Far simpler to record how many turns AGO an event occurred, since that number maxes out at the number of turns the unit lives. Your numbers are also incorrect - gigabytes are 1024 megabytes, which are 1024k, which are 1024 bytes. In any event, I think "take it like a drill" is as simple to simulate as giving your computer game the ability to have macroes; the real issue here is your AIs developing their own macroes, not the space constraints of storing them. You can always buy more ram and more hard drives, and we're not assuming finite money, so far as I know.




There are further tricks. You seem to think a memory must be assigned to every possible creature, since any creature could become a warlord. Not true. You only need to remember what happened to an army, and then when that unit becomes a warlord, create a back-history for it. Select events it participated in, decide where it was on the field, and voila, one unique memory. Now you only need to remember for the stack, or even army, cutting your memory demands immensely. (To 1/8th, at least, based on standards of stacking in 8's.)

You can't gloss over "create a back-history for it". The best attempt I've seen at that used a large set of premade possibilities for each stage in a multiple stage backstory, creating an exponentially large set of backstories in which, somehow, backstories always ended up looking similar, because they were all variations on the same set. You could have a team of writers for every time a warlord was created, but that's a tad unwieldy.



Only need one more byte to deal with vertical position. trivial. No, you don't need to remember the exact pose a unit had at the time of an event, though games like Halo have done so. (You can play an entire Halo game and then afterwards watch it all over again, cutting and snipping, making a movie. It doesn't remember every frame, it remembers every keystroke and decision, recreating the visuals every time. Much more efficient than remembering the visuals themselves.)

Agreed, 3 dimensions has the same problems as 2 dimensions, just exponentially more so (of the same). Nothing newly impossible assuming infinite resources.



Not much has happened in the Erfworld universe that the Unreal 3 engine couldn't handle. It does thrown and fired weapon arcing (for bows and thrown weapons, slings, crossbows), not just straight line bullets. Can do melee (different weapons do different melee damage.) Fire breath, which can be modified for other types of damage. Explosions. Deformable terrain. Visible damage to units (most evident in the very sturdy Sires). Shields for defense. (R6 Vegas 2 uses the same engine, and implements soft cover -- walls and items bullets can pass through to hurt people hiding on the other side.) Vehicles -- land and flying. Flying animals. Moving walls. Mist and excellent bodies of water.

Unreal 3 involves FAR fewer combatants; I'm not convinced you're comparing apples to apples. Still, in theory it just means you need even more power in the computer, and we've been assuming infinite money so far.....



You use that word a lot. "Impossible", I mean. And yet, I don't think you know very much about what can and cannot be done, or why some things that can be don't simply are not.

That's why I've been assuming infinite money; what I think is interesting here is what truly CAN'T be done, not what's absurdly expensive.




Powerful Ai's aren't common right now for one simple reason: graphics.


Well, that and no one has ever written one. The best AI ever written would, for example, be worse at philosophical debate than Forrest Gump.



Graphics is the real cow of processing power: so much so, that most PC video cards have separate processors on them to offload the tasks from the primary processor, but even then, there's only so much they can do. Processing power doubles every couple years, so what do the game companies do with it? They double the number of polygons in the images, making it look better, instead of keeping the visuals the same and improving the AI.

Generally speaking, the GPU does the graphical work, the CPU does the AI work, so those demands don't interact so much. However, you're quite right that the AI department gets short shrift, since you can always just make the game PVP and give yourself intelligent opponents; physics, as an example, is harder to cheat at.



That doesn't mean that what you ask for can't be done, it just means that games that do what you ask are not as popular as games that have beautiful graphics. Don't fall for the trap of "It hasn't been done, so it can't be."

No disagreement here.....



Doing Erfworld is, frankly, easy. There's nothing there not present in other games. The one limiting factor is the graphics power. A game with 13000 units in the field can be done, but the problem isn't the AI, it's the graphics database that needs to sort through 13000 items to figure out which one a ray traces to. Choosing where 13000 units go? That's easy. Most are unimportant, so very simple, with a single decision made for the stack instead of for the unit, and the rest are few so they can have more processing power. It's that database that clogs it all up, so you need to drop the graphics in a major way to give power to the graphics database. How do you solve this? Fairly simply: you don't do 13000 units. You divide by 8 and do 1600 stacks. Many stacks are identical, so use standard patterns of units inside those stacks to simplify pose and relative position. And then you'll only notice the difference if you look at it hard and try to figure it out. (Gears 1 vs. Gears 2. But then, they didn't compromise on overall graphics quality, But they went from being able to only handle 15 creatures in a map at once to over 40.)

I would also point out that, graphically, computer animated stuff doesn't look nearly as good as hand drawn, assuming both look fake (and both always do). Erfworld looks BEAUTIFUL (thanks, Jamie Noguchi!). I for one would bitch and moan if someone shipped an Erfworld game with computer-drawn graphics.

To sum up: I agree that, in principle, we can do a reasonable job of simulating the necessary physics, if we assume we have infinite money to spend on our supercomputer. It's not impossible, and I have little interest in plumbing the costs of the hardware needed, high OR low.

I flatly disagree that humanity has invented AI worth a damn, and certainly nothing good enough to make anything like what we see in the strip happen spontaneously.

Which was a long-winded way of getting to this question: Why are you so impressed with game AIs? I realise it's a matter of opinion, but I'm honestly curious as to how these games, such as Starcraft, impressed you so.

Kreistor
2008-12-20, 04:55 PM
Kreistor, I think you have really interesting posts, but I have the opposite opinion you do of computer games in general, and I'm interested in the reasons behind your opinions......

Sure.


I've played C&C, but I can't remember it. However, I promise you, both Warcraft and Starcraft had frustratingly stupid unit AIs. This was at least partially deliberate; Blizzard prefers their RTSes to have a heavy emphasis on micromanagement.

Yes, the Blizzard AI had certain decisions that forced micromanagement, unfortunately. One bad one was the Cruiser (a flying space cruiser, not naval vessel). It had 2 guns -- one could hit ground targets and another air targets. Unfortunately, if you targetted a ground target, the ari gun never fired, and vice versa. To get full firepower out of it, you had to retarget the unit constantly.

However, my point was not for friendly AI, but enemy. It takes a lot of time and learning to be able to defeat an enemy AI set to hardest difficulty. They are good challaenges until you finally figure the AI's out.


Whatever the reason, though, there are a WIDE host of techniques, tactics, strategies, etc that your units should be able to work out for themselves, but don't.

It's easier and faster to figure them out for them, and program the tactics in. I know of one Chess program that actually used old games to figure out and beat grand masters, so this can be done. But again, don't confuse what can not be done with what is not important enough to do.

Do we need an Erfworld simulator to learn new tactics? No, not really. If you are only playing once (Parson only plays once), we can program in a few dozen tactics and tricks and during the course of play, the player will not recognize that these were pre-programmed instead of figured out on the fly. It's when you replay that you learn that the AI is limited.


Still, we're not talking about writing an AI to "win" Erfworld, but rather an AI that simulates personalities - note that all of the characters on the bio page have personality flaws listed. You can try to simulate something like that with gross simplification, but no, I don't think modern computers can really simulate the whole thing. We haven't invented the algorithms for that.

Personality flaws come out in dialogue and action choices. With action choices, it's just a matter of making certain flawed actions are available to be chosen, then rating which personality types could choose them. Or setting up an aggression bar, and having flaws available to slide the current aggression around, so that an ovelry (or underly) aggressive choice is made.


No AI has ever been written that can intelligently answer a question asked in common English, because common English is difficult (and sometimes impossible

The simulation fails because you can't ask a character what their cousin did last Friday? We are talking about simulating a game here, something playable using the rules developed by the author. It needs to be able to select the same tactics in battle that we see, and answer questions about the game, but since we are, essentially, Parson, we oly need to interact the way Parson does. Consider Bogroll. Parson has already stated that Bogroll cannot answer questions about world rules. And Wanda won't answer. He could only ask those questions of Stanley. So, here we have an out for our question-answer database. We can simulate Erfworld by the very statements Parson makes about it -- we only need certain characters to answer certain questions.


If you want a real nightmare introduced, in my dream Erfworld game, you're essentially Parson - which means you only type in the eyebook.

Parsing issue. Not a problem.


You get to talk to units directly, using the computer mic. Now you have to solve voice recognition, too.

Tom Clancy's End War uses voice recog for unit orders right now. I haven't played it so I don't know how good it is. I do know that voice recog is a problem, in general, because accents make one person's words sound like different words from another person. Inside a limited regional dialect, voice recog is good. So if we limit it to mid-east english, our voice recog is not hard pressed, but it won't be playable by Scotsmen with think brogues.


Doesn't that assume you can hardcode e.g. that late-night conversation Bogroll had with Parson? In which he says his dream is to save Parson's life, or similar? Remember, Parson is NOT choosing from a dialogue tree, he's entering his own dialogue on the fly. Bioware, to pick one example, would pay you infinity dollars if you could invent a system to deal with that.

I don't think they want it. It is faster and cheaper to have limited dialogues with each character. The price tag for developing the best games is already over $100M US.


None of your examples have true physics. Physicists don't have true physics worked out, first of all, so it's certain no computer games do (PV=nRT only under ideal conditions, you know). 100% correctly portraying a gas (or any even slightly complicated newtonian physics problem) requires solving the n-body problem.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N-body_problem

You onlt have to solve the problem far enough that a human cannot perceive that something has been done incorrectly.

But note that game designers choose not to implement truly accurate physics: the engines themselves are capable of better accuracy. Corpses, for instance. In Gears, what wre 1/2 tonne corpses suddenly become feather light. This was a design decision, because had the corpse remained true, the player could never leave the room, being blocked by an elephant carcass. To progress the game, physics had to be changed. That does not mean the engine can't do 1/2 tonne corpses taht block rooms, it means that games need to be played for fun, not reality.

Compare how corpses work in Vegas 2 vs. Gear 2. Vegas 2 corpses don't become feather light, but you can walk through a pile five high as if they weren't there. The rules applied to a corpse are chosen by the designer, since multiple options are available. It doens't take infinity dollars to do this: it's already done. Compile in the object collision code you want for each item. Permeable, immovable, feather light, bouncy --- they've done about everything. So, yes, for our Erfworld we can create corpses that are physically the correct weight, requiring certain amounts of strength to move out of the way, and will fall accurately. And then disappear at dawn.


Again, infinity dollars to you if you can do it. Erfworld might very plausibly have simpler physics than the real world, and it might be entirely true that if it doesn't, the physics can be simplified to the level a computer can fake without too much loss in quality, etc. I don't think we have any hard evidence that Erf's physics are that simple, though, and I know I've never played a computer game (I've played both of your examples) wherein I couldn't find a way the physics engine was acting unrealistically (have you ANY idea how hard it is to correctly simulate collisions with liquids?).

And culd you tell by observation whether a particular item falling into a pool of liquid did so incorrectly, if it was out by even so much as 20%? No, you aren't an accurate measuring tool that knows physics yourself.

Let's just look at skipping rocks on a lake. I've thrown perfect spins that sliced straight into the water, but I was convinced I had done nothing wrong. If I played a rock-skipping computer game that was only accurate 4/5, and I got a perfect throw that sliced into the water, I wouldn't know any better, because this would be consistent with my observations of the world. There is a lot more forgiveness for an inaccurate physics engine than you seem to think.


If we assume a persistent world, true turn number would be impossibly inefficient, since it tends to infinity. Far simpler to record how many turns AGO an event occurred, since that number maxes out at the number of turns the unit lives.

120 years at 365.25 days per year comes out at ~43000 days. Tht's a 17 bit number. We can use a 24 bit and still have enough turns for more than the oldest record of modern humanity. 3 bytes. 6 bytes is enough to cover the expected age of the universe.


Your numbers are also incorrect - gigabytes are 1024 megabytes, which are 1024k, which are 1024 bytes.

Simplified for the audience. Don't need to blind them with unimportant details.


the real issue here is your AIs developing their own macroes, not the space constraints of storing them.

Like I said earlier, we do not need to do this. Parson gets one play, so when you play Erfworld, you get one play. That's not enough sample space to realize we cheated the AI.


You can't gloss over "create a back-history for it".

Yes, I can. the user is not aware of any inconsistent details,a nd has no ability to go back in time to determine incorrectness; furthermore, people do not remember things accurately. If a detail is wrong, humans will think "They're lying to cover something up", or "They're hiding from a personal truth to protect their ego." Accuracy is not always desirable. Humans are not accurate -- why should Erfworlders be? Inconsistency is consistent with real life.


Agreed, 3 dimensions has the same problems as 2 dimensions, just exponentially more so (of the same). Nothing newly impossible assuming infinite resources.

No, it's not exponential. Each dimension gets the same number of bytes to determine position in that dimension, making the problem linear, not exponential.


Unreal 3 involves FAR fewer combatants; I'm not convinced you're comparing apples to apples.

I'm using Unreal 3 to demonstrate that these engines change. Gears 1 could not do 40 units on screen at once. Epic demanded it for Gears 2, and they got it, with no apparent loss in quality elsewhere. This is partially because Gears 1 was a first generation game, developed before a lot of efficiency algorithms were developed. That allowed Gears 2 to be more powerful, because it more optimally uses the hardware. Gen 3 Xbox 360 games will do so even more, but then tradeoffs will ave to start being made.


That's why I've been assuming infinite money; what I think is interesting here is what truly CAN'T be done, not what's absurdly expensive.

But does it need to be? there are lots of things we could program for, that would never be used because a gamer doesn't do those things. Don't waste time doing what doesn't need to be done. understand the mind of the perceiver to know what he perceives to know what needs to be developed.

I was talking today while playing Horde, when someone interrupted and said, "Wow, we're on an island." The map was Blood Drive. I've played it 100 times, in various modes. "What?" I said. "Look over the edge of the wall. It's the ocean. For the first time, I looked over the edge. Sure enough, the hospital sat on a coastline. I hadn't noticed, because gameplay never took me to that edge when I was paying attention to the background. It wasn't important to develop, but they knew someone would, so they designed a background. And someone did notice that they had. But you know what? they didn't need to. The backgrounds in Gears have always been this way, even in gears 1. Tehy were there, if you bothered to look, and they were often beautiful vistas.


Well, that and no one has ever written one. The best AI ever written would, for example, be worse at philosophical debate than Forrest Gump.

But do we need philosophical debate on general topics? Parson says, "No." Different units discuss things only in theur purview. We could have one character that discussed philosophy, but none other did, and it would be consistent with Erfworld. That discussion could, then, have limited parameters, and still be accepted as Erfworld accurate.

Erfworld does not need to be as real as our own. The author has made that clear. Simluating it is far easier than simulating our world.


I would also point out that, graphically, computer animated stuff doesn't look nearly as good as hand drawn, assuming both look fake (and both always do).

Gotta disagree. Older graphics were bad, but the current engines are creating some very beautiful games.


Erfworld looks BEAUTIFUL (thanks, Jamie Noguchi!).

I disagree. It's minimalist, meaning the graphics engine doesn't need shading or lighting effects. Compare Erfworld to Spawn... Erfworld has none of the detail that comic expects.


I for one would bitch and moan if someone shipped an Erfworld game with computer-drawn graphics.

I think you underestimate what could be done. That sort of outline cell shading animation is rare, but it has been done. There was a game a few years ago, but drat I can't remember the name... X11? Something like that. Went entirely for comic book like visuals. Most people didn't like it, though I think it did exactly what they wanted it to. Too much apple and oranges.


To sum up: I agree that, in principle, we can do a reasonable job of simulating the necessary physics. if we assume we have infinite money to spend on our supercomputer.

I disagree. I think it's just a matter of selecting the correct attributes for the units you want from the already existing list.


I flatly disagree that humanity has invented AI worth a damn, and certainly nothing good enough to make anything like what we see in the strip happen spontaneously.

Hold it. You're looking for a "person simulator", not an AI. AI's that can make intelligent choices have been done, but in computer games, tehy often wind up being too smart, and have to be dumber down to human capacity.


Which was a long-winded way of getting to this question: Why are you so impressed with game AIs? I realise it's a matter of opinion, but I'm honestly curious as to how these games, such as Starcraft, impressed you so.

You misunderstand. We don't need an AI like the one you describe. We only need pieces of AI's that perform particular functions that an Erfworlder may perform. Lots of those functions we never see, so we can ignore. We know they go poo, but we never see it, so we don't have to write "Go poo" code. We don't have to write dialogues between enemies, unless the player has eavesdropping magics, and then we only write those conversations for the overheard discussions. Since those will be limited, we can script them, and the script will only be detectable in repeat gameplay. We do not need a "Intelligent Human Being Simulator".

You seem to think we can't cut corners and still result in the player thinking we wrote Ai for things that we scripted. We can cut a lot of corners, and the player will never know, inside a particular definition fo the requirements of the game. Change those requirements such that we are no longer "being Parson", then yes, we have harsher requirements, but we are also no longer simulating Erfworld, but the game that you think Erfworld should be.

Godskook
2008-12-20, 07:40 PM
Speaking as a long-time player of C&C, the AI was an absolute idiot, through the first 5 games in the series*. I've never played later ones, so I won't speak of them. The AI had zero adaptability, almost zero clue what I was doing, and relied heavily on unfair advantages to make the games challenging. The first game is the greatest tactical challenge, and even then, the enemy AI was predictable and baitable.

Don't get me wrong, I love the series. I just know that it was the tactical planning put into building the levels and balancing the units that made the series fun, not the enemy AI.

*Original, Red Alert, Tiberian Sun, Red Alert 2 and Generals

DevilDan
2008-12-20, 07:46 PM
"is unique, but only in his differences"

That is some deep Zen juju.

Lamech
2008-12-21, 01:56 PM
Well... I think we have differances on what level of detail would be needed. You seem to think that if unless it is looked at closely, it will appear to be accurate it is good enough. I don't know enough about computer games, and making them to know if that is true, so your probably right.

I on the other hand think that it has to be exact to count for a true Erfworld.

And one more thing that is my fault that needs clearing up...

You use that word a lot. "Impossible", I mean. And yet, I don't think you know very much about what can and cannot be done, or why some things that can be don't simply are not.
I believe the first time that was used, I added something like with current tech. I should have tacked that on to every time I used the word, and also tacked on "with resources that could be acessed for making a game. (Which have been researched so it would be quite a bit. Not the largest super-comp, but still significant. Univeristy level maybe.) Basically, I just got lazy.

It is also possible that impossible integrals (or other similar math type things) are involved in our current models for physics, or other phenomena, but I wouldn't know where...
Of course, you believe that a simulation can be close enough, so I assume you would claim an estimation technique would work, if the math was impossible.

Kreistor
2008-12-21, 06:41 PM
It is also possible that impossible integrals (or other similar math type things) are involved in our current models for physics, or other phenomena, but I wouldn't know where...
Of course, you believe that a simulation can be close enough, so I assume you would claim an estimation technique would work, if the math was impossible.

Impossible integrals? You want ot list one?

Integrals are, basically, the area under a curve. To calculate the integral, you break it up into tiny pieces, calculate areas, and add them up. There's a small error, but the smaller the pieces, the smaller the error. The more linear the curve, the less error, as well.

Yes, estimation techniques solve problems humans can't. Computers are math engines. That's all they do... add, subtract, multiply, etc. There is no math a human can do that a computer cannot.

I think there's something you don't realize. Erfworld isn't real. It is an invention of a human mind. It's rules are definable and presentable. It is not, like our own universe, subject to seemingly arbitrary physics or reality.

That makes simulating it much easier. Tomorrow, the Law of Conservation of Energy could fall. It's unlikely, but possible. That's not possible in Erfworld, because the rules are static, written by a man.

Anything written by a man can be performed in a machine. If you can think of it, we can write it.It might not be as exact as you want in theory, but it can be accurate enough that the human eye and mind can't tell the difference. We don't play games using machines to detect errors. It only needs to be good enough to satisfy the human mind, which is far less capable of detecting incorrectness than a mchine.

Lamech
2008-12-21, 07:52 PM
Impossible integrals? You want ot list one?

Integrals are, basically, the area under a curve. To calculate the integral, you break it up into tiny pieces, calculate areas, and add them up. There's a small error, but the smaller the pieces, the smaller the error. The more linear the curve, the less error, as well.

Alright I can't figure out how to upload the indefinite intergral symbol... so I'm doing to use "int(...)" and "e" is the e used in things like the natural log

Int(e^(-(x^2)) dx)

No elementry function exists, for that... seethis Wiki artical (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaussian_function). And erf(x) is pretty much the equivilant of saying "the answer is the answer..."


And the breaking stuff up into smaller and smaller pieces? Doesn't actually find answer, mearly an approximation... (I suppose an infinitly powerful computer might do the trick, but with current understandings of physics that would be difficult.)



Yes, estimation techniques solve problems humans can't. Computers are math engines. That's all they do... add, subtract, multiply, etc. There is no math a human can do that a computer cannot.
Humans are needed to do things like proofs and what not. That is how we find out how to do intergrals, that certain intergrals are not possible, and general solutions for a lot of problems. Computers can not do all math, by s long shot.

Aquillion
2008-12-21, 09:28 PM
There is his interest in Parson's plans. A true mercenary wouldn't be so intrigued by Parson's mysteriousness. "Sending up some fliers, Charlie..." Without explanation, Charlie sits back and watches it happen. A true mercenary says in response, "It'll cost you 2 thousand schmuckers." Charlie is intrigued by interesting events, and is less interested in the profit he can make from it. Ansom doesn't do anything interesting, so he'll never see that side of Charlie.No, there's a much simpler explanation for that: Charlie knew exactly what Parson was planning (not hard, from his perspective, especially with Archons watching Parson's every move.) And he did, as Parson said, "want it to succeed", because with the pliers snatched from Ansom, Charlie would be free to grab them himself without giving the appearance of double-dealing by immediately turning on someone who was employing him last turn.

SteveMB
2008-12-21, 09:36 PM
No, there's a much simpler explanation for that: Charlie knew exactly what Parson was planning (not hard, from his perspective, especially with Archons watching Parson's every move.) And he did, as Parson said, "want it to succeed", because with the pliers snatched from Ansom, Charlie would be free to grab them himself without giving the appearance of double-dealing by immediately turning on someone who was employing him last turn.

Also, if part of the "amended" terms is that Charlie gets possession of any magic items/artifacts from the spoils, then having Parson's forces capture the Arkenpliers means that he has clear title to them after the victory if Ansom signs the new contract.

Aquillion
2008-12-21, 09:38 PM
...although this begs the question of what Parson is thinking, since (when he said "you want it to succeed") he has to have realized that this was a possibility, perhaps even a probability. Does he have something up his sleeve, or is he just hoping Wanda will be all right?

Kreistor
2008-12-22, 01:06 AM
No, there's a much simpler explanation for that: Charlie knew exactly what Parson was planning (not hard, from his perspective, especially with Archons watching Parson's every move.) And he did, as Parson said, "want it to succeed", because with the pliers snatched from Ansom, Charlie would be free to grab them himself without giving the appearance of double-dealing by immediately turning on someone who was employing him last turn.

Archons watching his every move? From a different zone ATM, not over his shoulder, and even then not until this morning, so long after the plans involving the tunnels were already laid out and prep'ed. Charlie didn't know what Parson was planning.

Kreistor
2008-12-22, 01:28 AM
Alright I can't figure out how to upload the indefinite intergral symbol... so I'm doing to use "int(...)" and "e" is the e used in things like the natural log

Int(e^(-(x^2)) dx)

No elementry function exists, for that... seethis Wiki artical (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaussian_function). And erf(x) is pretty much the equivilant of saying "the answer is the answer..."

For a physics engine, the actual equation is unimportant. The value at a point is important. And that can easily be approximated by slicing it up and adding up areas. The error is also predictable, so can be kept below 1%.

Further, as x becomes larger, the value of e^(-x/2) ->0. The larger x is, the less area there is relative to the part from x=0 to x=1. That means the error, once it reaches a certain value, decreases. Basically, the accuracy of the approximation beyond x=10 increases since the curve becomes increasingly linear, where the approximation method is perfect.

And you can make it even faster. A logarithmic curve can be approximated by two lines, with a known error. A pair of lines is far more easily processed by a computer than an exponential. (Engineering uses this approximation method quite often. Error of 5% is acceptable in most cases, and the approximation of a logarthimic curve by two lines is something like 2-3%, well within Engineering standards.)

Oh, I know that these equations exist, and I also know that when a scientist needs a number from them, he turns to a computer approximation. Our simulated world? We could have an error on those equations of 10%, and you would never be able to notice... not without meaasuring equipment, in which case we aren't designing a game.

You're getting hung up on the equations, and are unable to see that though the equation isn't easy to develop, the value at that point on the equation really is just math, and computers are math machines. Integrals are just area under the curve. Derivatives are just slopes of curves. If all you need is the value at a point, then a math machine can do it, without solving the equation.

Aquillion
2008-12-22, 01:30 AM
Archons watching his every move? From a different zone ATM, not over his shoulder, and even then not until this morning, so long after the plans involving the tunnels were already laid out and prep'ed. Charlie didn't know what Parson was planning.Not his entire plan, no. But from the point where Parson asked permission for her to lift off, figuring out Wanda's mission in this case (at least, the mission we've seen so far) was not exactly rocket science. Assuming he made that fairly obvious logical leap, Charlie had plenty of reason not to interfere with her -- any money he could try and extract from Parson pales in comparison to getting a shot at grabbing the Arkenpliers.

Kreistor
2008-12-22, 01:40 AM
Not his entire plan, no. But from the point where Parson asked permission for her to lift off, figuring out Wanda's mission in this case (at least, the mission we've seen so far) was not exactly rocket science. Assuming he made that fairly obvious logical leap, Charlie had plenty of reason not to interfere with her -- any money he could try and extract from Parson pales in comparison to getting a shot at grabbing the Arkenpliers.

You're of the "Charlie as mercenary" camp then. I am not. You can find my arguments to the contrary in this and/or the Wanda and the Arkenpliers thread. I give Charlie far more complex motives, which are currently hidden to prevent the Royals from taking him out next, just like Stanley.

As for figuring out the plan, yeah, that was very easy given what Parson told Charlie. But that has nothing to do with Archons spying on Parson. I was protesting the claim Archons were able to observe Parson planning his activities, not that Charlie is smart enough to figure out Parson is retrieving the Pliers, when Parson tells him that he's sending up a retrieval mission, and Ansom is in the Outer Wall alone, vulnerable, and with the Pliers. That after Parson asked if Charlie had any interest in the Pliers, and giving him a 60% chance of surviving the turn, using the Mathamancy artefact.

Aquillion
2008-12-22, 04:36 AM
You're of the "Charlie as mercenary" camp then. I am not. You can find my arguments to the contrary in this and/or the Wanda and the Arkenpliers thread. I give Charlie far more complex motives, which are currently hidden to prevent the Royals from taking him out next, just like Stanley.Yes, but the point is, you used the fact that Charlie didn't demand money from Parson at that point as evidence that he isn't really mercenary. I just pointed out that Charlie's actions (at least from what we've seen so far) could be much more simply construed as an effort to get his hands on the Arkenpliers and, possibly, a few other items of value without overwhelmingly dirtying his name. If anything, it's odd that Parson would bother grabbing the pliers under these conditions; Charlie has no reason to interfere with these favorable events for the sake of some pocket change, not when he intends to capture Gobwin Knob and take everything that isn't nailed down pretty soon anyway.

There are other interpretations, sure. But the simplest explanation seems to be that he's just grabbing as many valuable things as possible (Parson, remember, is not only valuable but has a specific shmucker value associated with him -- he's the 'output' of a 350,000 shmucker spell, so for anyone who has any confidence in magic, he's worth exactly that much.) There's a lot we don't know about Charlie's long-term goals or plans, and it's certainly been hinted at being strange and mysterious... but no deep complicated interpretation is needed for taking several valuable items and a capturing an eminently valuable unit.

bdares
2008-12-22, 06:53 AM
Not keeping up with the whole discussion, but as a Starcraft player I must point out that medics do not move faster than marines; same movement speed, but marines go twice as fast when they're stimmed. And the problem with moving everything at once is that after about 2 screens, they tend to form up a single file and really do get chewed up to a stationary clumped up group unless you can control them correctly as soon as the first unit in the line sees an enemy.

Also, I am not aware of why the feasibility of simulating Erfworld in a computer is relevant, but I am very confident that even a very detailed simulation could be handled. You might need a top of the line desktop, or more than one, but consider MMORPG games. They have tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of units. Each of those units display AI in terms of combat, know their location, current unit status (HP, move, speed, buffs/debuffs, items), interact with every other unit around them, etc. This can be done with a mere 10 (physical) servers, for all the thousands of players logged in at the same time. Adding more computationally expensive AI might be a challenge, but you could trivially multiply the number of servers by 100 or 1000, which is very feasible if you have the money. (WoW servers probably number in the thousands already.)

Oh, and one must also note that the mathemancy artifact that came with the 350,000 shmucker spell has been estimated to be worth at least three times that...

Kreistor
2008-12-22, 08:36 AM
There are other interpretations, sure. But the simplest explanation seems to be that he's just grabbing as many valuable things as possible

Actually, the simplest explanation is Duty. The Tool made it clear that his primary goal is the collection of all the Arkentools. Duty would force Parson (and Wanda) to find a reason to collect them. Note that neither has yet made a promise to Charlie that he will get the Pliers.

And Charlie never said he wanted the Pliers in the first place. Parson thinks he does, but if Charlie expressed interest, he did so off panel.

DevilDan
2008-12-24, 12:38 PM
Actually, the simplest explanation is Duty. The Tool made it clear that his primary goal is the collection of all the Arkentools. Duty would force Parson (and Wanda) to find a reason to collect them. Note that neither has yet made a promise to Charlie that he will get the Pliers.

And Charlie never said he wanted the Pliers in the first place. Parson thinks he does, but if Charlie expressed interest, he did so off panel.

I agree that Duty is a plausible explanation. But, particularly in the case of Parson, who has no religious identification with the Titans or their tools, they will value GK far more than they do the arkenpliers. He will take the pliers for multiple reasons, but he will view them solely as another asset in his defense of GK.

SteveMB
2008-12-24, 01:00 PM
I agree that Duty is a plausible explanation. But, particularly in the case of Parson, who has no religious identification with the Titans or their tools, they will value GK far more than they do the arkenpliers. He will take the pliers for multiple reasons, but he will view them solely as another asset in his defense of GK.

We know that Parson does have a magical compulsion to obey the Tool's orders (laugh at his lame jokes, not speak when ordered to remain silent). It's unclear whether this includes the obedience to the Tool's interests without the need for explicit orders (which would normally be part of Duty).

Also, we've seen Parson subvert obedience to literal orders (going overboard in laughing at jokes until Stanley got annoyed enough to rescind the order, getting someone else to order him to speak when the wording of the order left that loophole). It's possible that his current gambit of using the Arkenpliers as an implicit bargaining chip without any actual promise to hand it over to Charlie is another example -- if he's fully bound to obey the Tool's wishes, he can't expressly give up something more valuable to Stanley (the Arkenpliers) to save something less valuable to Stanley (Gobwin Knob).

Aquillion
2008-12-24, 04:13 PM
We know that Parson does have a magical compulsion to obey the Tool's orders (laugh at his lame jokes, not speak when ordered to remain silent). It's unclear whether this includes the obedience to the Tool's interests without the need for explicit orders (which would normally be part of Duty).

Also, we've seen Parson subvert obedience to literal orders (going overboard in laughing at jokes until Stanley got annoyed enough to rescind the order, getting someone else to order him to speak when the wording of the order left that loophole). It's possible that his current gambit of using the Arkenpliers as an implicit bargaining chip without any actual promise to hand it over to Charlie is another example -- if he's fully bound to obey the Tool's wishes, he can't expressly give up something more valuable to Stanley (the Arkenpliers) to save something less valuable to Stanley (Gobwin Knob).That's debatable. Parson is required to do what's in Stanley's best interests, whether he wants it or not -- Parson isn't require to believe the same things Stanley does, or hold the same opinions (at least, not unless ordered. Who knows what would happen then.)

If Parson reasons that it's in Stanley's best interests to hold Gobwin Knob, and that the obsession with the Arkentools is actually bad for his long-term success (and as Wanda pointed out early on, there's plenty of reason to think that), then he's perfectly able to prioritize Gobwin Knob over the Arkenpliers, possibly even against a direct order to the contrary. (We don't know how well the spell binding him matches the natural thinkamancy binding everyone else -- but Wanda, for instance, would definitely be able to go against a direct order from the Tool if she thought it would lead to his destruction otherwise.)

Kreistor
2008-12-24, 05:00 PM
If Parson reasons that it's in Stanley's best interests to hold Gobwin Knob, and that the obsession with the Arkentools is actually bad for his long-term success (and as Wanda pointed out early on, there's plenty of reason to think that), then he's perfectly able to prioritize Gobwin Knob over the Arkenpliers, possibly even against a direct order to the contrary.

Too many "if's" for me. But you're speculating on a theoretical situation, because so far, it does not appear that Parson risked losing GK to gain the Pliers. Though we do not know for certain that the siege will fail on this day, with Ansom out of the fight and the Pliers in Parson's hands, today's fight will surely be a loss for RCC, or at least in the evaluation of Ansom's allies it should be. So, Parson has probably gained the Pliers, possibly captured Ansom, destroyed at least 10% of RCC's forces but maybe up to 25%, possibly caused another 10% to head home, and retained GK. He's lost little enough that he hasn't noted it yet, and right now the major losses are being taken by extremely short lived uncroaked, retaining all of his living forces and longer duration uncroaked.

Let's put it this way, though. Which would impress Stanley more -- stopping the siege of GK or obtaining the Arkenpliers? I expect it is the latter. Performing the first task is what he expects of a genius Warlord. The second is above and beyond the call of duty, and evidence that the Titans were behind the choice of Parson. I think this, ultimately, is part of why Parson has prioritized the Pliers. In Ansom's hands, they are a symbol and a melee weapon, nothing more. Certainly, taking the Pliers away will cause dismay and lower enemy morale, and that's one of those inobvious advantages, depending on whether there is a morale system in Erfworld's rules. I think, though, that there was no one else Parson could manipulate mentally in RCC: anyone else he tried to break wold have been overruled by Ansom and prevented from doing anything rash. Ansom has no such check and balance, leaving him vulnerable, So, in the end, Parson may have gone for the Pliers because it was the only thing he could reliably attack.

Sieggy
2008-12-24, 06:23 PM
Too many "if's" for me. But you're speculating on a theoretical situation, because so far, it does not appear that Parson risked losing GK to gain the Pliers. Though we do not know for certain that the siege will fail on this day, with Ansom out of the fight and the Pliers in Parson's hands, today's fight will surely be a loss for RCC, or at least in the evaluation of Ansom's allies it should be. So, Parson has probably gained the Pliers, possibly captured Ansom, destroyed at least 10% of RCC's forces but maybe up to 25%, possibly caused another 10% to head home, and retained GK. He's lost little enough that he hasn't noted it yet, and right now the major losses are being taken by extremely short lived uncroaked, retaining all of his living forces and longer duration uncroaked.

Let's put it this way, though. Which would impress Stanley more -- stopping the siege of GK or obtaining the Arkenpliers? I expect it is the latter. Performing the first task is what he expects of a genius Warlord. The second is above and beyond the call of duty, and evidence that the Titans were behind the choice of Parson. I think this, ultimately, is part of why Parson has prioritized the Pliers. In Ansom's hands, they are a symbol and a melee weapon, nothing more. Certainly, taking the Pliers away will cause dismay and lower enemy morale, and that's one of those inobvious advantages, depending on whether there is a morale system in Erfworld's rules. I think, though, that there was no one else Parson could manipulate mentally in RCC: anyone else he tried to break wold have been overruled by Ansom and prevented from doing anything rash. Ansom has no such check and balance, leaving him vulnerable, So, in the end, Parson may have gone for the Pliers because it was the only thing he could reliably attack.

He went after the pliers mainly because Ansom was kicking ass and not bothering to take names with them, not to mention making a weak point on the walls. It has the additional bonus of being a nice little morsel to dangle before Charlie, which adds another variable to the equation. More variables = more wiggle room. Stanley's approval is low on the priority list . . .

I doubt Parson has been following this discussion thread, so it's debatable as to whether or not he's made the connection between the Arkenpliers and Wanda's possibility of being able to attune to them and become the Croakamancer of the Titans. Though if she does (and Charlie doesn't try to wrest them away) (or IF he does), I suspect he will do some SERIOUS re-evaluations . . . which may result in a seriously unpleasant surprise for Charlie (who, like Parson, may not be aware of what they could possibly do in Wanda's hands).

However, if I were Parson, either way, I'd pull all forces to cover before Charlie's turn tomorrow, which limits the amount of damage the Archons can do to his forces (being all airborne), or force him to send the Archons into close quarter combat. I suspect those li'l cuties are awesome at range, but in melee aren't so hot . . .

Kreistor
2008-12-24, 08:15 PM
However, if I were Parson, either way, I'd pull all forces to cover before Charlie's turn tomorrow, which limits the amount of damage the Archons can do to his forces (being all airborne), or force him to send the Archons into close quarter combat. I suspect those li'l cuties are awesome at range, but in melee aren't so hot . . .

Parson has four places to put his forces -- Outer Wall, and the three Garrison zones Dungeon (which defends against the now collapsed tunnels, so a fallback if the other two garrisons are taken), Courtyard (which can only be taken from Outer Walls which Parson still holds, so again not a place to pull his forces to), and Tower. Tower is the only Garrison zone charlie can attack from Airspace. Airspace can attack Outer Wall and then proceed to Courtyard. So, if Parson pulls back to Courtyard, Charlie can move to the abandoned Outer Wall and then attack Courtyard. or he can attack Tower directly.

Ansom would probably want Parson to split his forces. The only serious units he'll have that can attack Tower are the Archons. Jillians barbarians are smashed, and unless Transylvito sends Caesar and co. to reinforce Vinnie, it would just be Vinnie and bats. Don't need much defense unless Charlie threatens the Tower. But Charlie doesn't need to attack the Tower, he only needs to threaten it to weaken the Courtyard/Outer Walls. But I'll bet Ansom wants Parson's head next turn, so he'll order the attack.

Now, this is where it becomes interesting. Some think Charlie knows what happened in the tunnels, but there is no evidence that Charlie has exceptional battlefield intelligence, just the capacity to read the books. Sizemore got his sensitive orders from the Eyemancer, not the book, so Charlie wouldn't know about the traps and tricks. He knows Parson sealed te tunnels, but everyone knows that.

This leaves them vulnerable to the same trick. Allow Charlie to take the Tower... then collapse it. Sizemore undermines the Tower and down it goes with all of Charlie's Archons, closing off a second attack vector, forcing Ansom to attack from Outer Walls to Courtyard, only. It's the only route left.

DevilDan
2008-12-24, 09:22 PM
Ah, what a mix of arguments.

Let me just add that it is not clear whether mining the tower would leave the rest of the garrison intact.

Kreistor
2009-01-02, 09:15 AM
I'm writing this between pg 120 and 121, just for future reference. Ansom has just fallen and been offered a new deal with Charlescomm.

Based on 86, Ansom had at his disposal (rounded for easier typing):
4000 Jetstone
1700 Unaroyal
1000 Sofa King
200 Foxmud
200 Hobbittm
30 Transylvito
15 Charlescomm
1900 Marbits
800 Elves
20 Barbarian

He has lost at least 1000 Jetstone (116.9 "a thousand uncroaked Jetstone infantry").

We have a new number in 122. 2780 Uncroaked Jetstone infantry. Add 1000 Sofa King abandoning the fight, and Ansom is now down almost 1/2 of his original forces.

Further, this style of Siege is probably going to be harsh on the attackers. There will be more losses to consider, and since they are mainly being taken by weak uncroaked not counted into the Box Top figures, GK losses will be near zero. 10:1 becomes 5:1. Still enough for a Siege, but getting increasingly iffy.

DevilDan
2009-01-02, 12:21 PM
We have a new number in 122. 2780 Uncroaked Jetstone infantry. Add 1000 Sofa King abandoning the fight, and Ansom is now down almost 1/2 of his original forces.

Further, this style of Siege is probably going to be harsh on the attackers.

We don't know that Duke Nozzle has pulled out; presumably he at least needed to get in touch with his Overlord in order to obtain permission to do so, which is what he threatened before.

In addition, I have to wonder where Ansom is getting his figures. Could that be the total number of troops he sent in and could some of those have been too damaged (or buried in tunnel collapses) to be uncroaked? I ask because there's quite a gap between saying approximately 1000 and nearly 3000.

The difficulty of the siege will depend on whether Ansom can provide assistance. It seems, at this point, as if the RCC is not too far away from breaching the outer walls.

Kreistor
2009-01-02, 06:06 PM
We don't know that Duke Nozzle has pulled out; presumably he at least needed to get in touch with his Overlord in order to obtain permission to do so, which is what he threatened before.

In addition, I have to wonder where Ansom is getting his figures. Could that be the total number of troops he sent in and could some of those have been too damaged (or buried in tunnel collapses) to be uncroaked? I ask because there's quite a gap between saying approximately 1000 and nearly 3000.

The difficulty of the siege will depend on whether Ansom can provide assistance. It seems, at this point, as if the RCC is not too far away from breaching the outer walls.

The Box Top didn't differentiate between types of troops. The remaining Jetstone troops were probably siege, and so would have been useless in the tunnels, so they never went in.

And, yes, we don't know for certain if Sofa King is pulling out, but based on today's events, it's not any better. And depending on what Ansom gave up to Charlie, they may have less reason to stay in. Many wars have been fought for righteousness... and so long as profit is guaranteed...

DevilDan
2009-01-02, 09:47 PM
The Box Top didn't differentiate between types of troops. The remaining Jetstone troops were probably siege, and so would have been useless in the tunnels, so they never went in.

And, yes, we don't know for certain if Sofa King is pulling out, but based on today's events, it's not any better. And depending on what Ansom gave up to Charlie, they may have less reason to stay in. Many wars have been fought for righteousness... and so long as profit is guaranteed...

All I was saying is that Ansom may be counting troops lost by the RCC rather than uncroaked gained by GK.

The thing is, we don't know how much "time" has passed since Ansom told (ordered?) Nozzle to "hold his ground." It could have been an hour, it could have been ten minutes. If the walls go down, Sofa King troops will, at any event, probably be close enough to join the action even if Nozzle was holding them back.

Kreistor
2009-01-03, 09:43 PM
All I was saying is that Ansom may be counting troops lost by the RCC rather than uncroaked gained by GK.

Uhm... dude... did you actually... okay, here's the quote.

"Two thousand eight hundred and seventy... of Jetsone's finest fighters... are become abominations at your hand."

I don't know how in heck that does not mean 2780 Jetstone infantry are now uncroaked. He says clearly "become abominations", not "were destroyed" or "were lost" or "were maimed". Dying is not becoming an abomination. Abominations are a violation of nature: corpses are natural. And it was Sizemore that killed them, not Wanda, so he's blaming her for the actions of another?

DevilDan
2009-01-03, 10:36 PM
Uhm... dude... did you actually... okay, here's the quote.

"Two thousand eight hundred and seventy... of Jetsone's finest fighters... are become abominations at your hand."

I don't know how in heck that does not mean 2780 Jetstone infantry are now uncroaked. He says clearly "become abominations", not "were destroyed" or "were lost" or "were maimed". Dying is not becoming an abomination. Abominations are a violation of nature: corpses are natural. And it was Sizemore that killed them, not Wanda, so he's blaming her for the actions of another?

As I first wrote, I wonder where Ansom is getting his numbers.

All I'm wondering is how he knows this exact number; I know how he knows how many troops he sent into the tunnels, but I don't know how he knows how many were raised. Does this mean that there s some rule suggesting that any croaked unit, even those lost in tunnels or burned to a cinder, are still uncroakable? Or does it mean that he knows to a single unit all the troops that GK has too?

We know that the Warlord spell has provided Parson with accurate enemy troop counts, but that could have been a function of the Warlord spell or of the eyemancer meld.

You must really have a low opinion of me if you think that I can so completely misinterpret a simple line, or is this a willful misunderstanding on your part?

Godskook
2009-01-03, 11:16 PM
You must really have a low opinion of me if you think that I can so completely misinterpret a simple line, or is this a willful misunderstanding on your part?

I just made the same non-willful mistake in another thread.

Kreistor
2009-01-05, 03:04 AM
As I first wrote, I wonder where Ansom is getting his numbers.

He knows how many went in, since he picked that number. I'm guessing that he knows that exactly 0 came out.

Aaaaand... in armies it is the officers that are trained to count enemy troops. He should know about how many are arrayed against him.

OR....

How does he know when it's his turn? Some things it seems a Chief Warlord just knows.

Aquillion
2009-01-05, 03:17 AM
It could just be something you automatically know once you're in the same hex / zone as the enemy, at least if you're a warlord and there's nothing special preventing you from knowing (like cover or hiding or veiling or something.) In the same way that warlords see unit stats when looking at them, he could automagically see what's openly present in a hex while he's there.

That might seem odd, but it fits with most other wargames -- in general, you know exactly what you're up against unless some specific mechanic is at work that would prevent it.

Alternatively, it could just be the number he sent in, and the point we're supposed to take away could the that Ansom memorizes exactly how many lives have been lost because of him. Or something.

DevilDan
2009-01-05, 02:21 PM
He knows how many went in, since he picked that number. I'm guessing that he knows that exactly 0 came out.

Aaaaand... in armies it is the officers that are trained to count enemy troops. He should know about how many are arrayed against him.

OR....

How does he know when it's his turn? Some things it seems a Chief Warlord just knows.

Yes, he knows exactly how many troops he lost. So the question is whether each and every single one of those was "uncroakable." As I speculated, perhaps every unit croaked, no matter how battered or mangled, is uncroakable.

If he's counting all the uncroaked arrayed against him, how would he know which were not GK uncroaked and which were former Jetstone/RCC uncroaked?

We know that Parson needed the Erfway wrapper to find out the troops arrayed against him... but we don't know if that's true for every chief warlord. I also speculated that the information on the wrapper could be tied to the eyemancer link. I think that we won't know until we get to observe a normal Erfborn chief warlord more closely and see things from his or her perspective.

I'd just add that we don't know that every unit doesn't know when his side's turn begins. (I think that's the case.)

SteveMB
2009-01-05, 02:55 PM
We know that Parson needed the Erfway wrapper to find out the troops arrayed against him... but we don't know if that's true for every chief warlord. I also speculated that the information on the wrapper could be tied to the eyemancer link. I think that we won't know until we get to observe a normal Erfborn chief warlord more closely and see things from his or her perspective.

That information arrived after the link was severed and Misty (the actual remote-intel gathering member) was croaked. In fact, the Stupid Meal data received prior to the severing of the link pertained to Erfworld mechanics in general, not to the specifics of this battle.


I'd just add that we don't know that every unit doesn't know when his side's turn begins. (I think that's the case.)

I would think that cleansing, rations, and (when applicable) healing would be a clue that your turn's side just started.

DevilDan
2009-01-05, 03:06 PM
That information arrived after the link was severed and Misty (the actual remote-intel gathering member) was croaked.

Oh. I apologize for my mistake.


I would think that cleansing, rations, and (when applicable) healing would be a clue that your turn's side just started.

I thought that at least some if nor all of those occurred when a day began.

SteveMB
2009-01-05, 03:15 PM
I thought that at least some if nor all of those occurred when a day began.

Healing is specifically described (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0052.html) as a start-of-turn event. Also, Parson's rations arrive at the start of his turn (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0118.html), not at dawn (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0116.html), after Charlie disengages from the RCC and becomes an active side with a turn between dawn and Parson/Stanley.

(The apparent inconsistency of Jillian healing at dawn after interrogation was directly addressed by Rob on the Bloopers thread; prisoners adopt their captor's schedule for those "game mechanics".)

DevilDan
2009-01-05, 03:49 PM
Looks like I'm slipping. Thanks, SteveMB.

Aquillion
2009-01-05, 06:11 PM
Speaking of healing, I wonder if Wanda will heal completely at the start of their turn, as long as they can stabilize her until then? Or is 'incapacitated' too serious a status to be healed that way, like with her backlash damage?

DevilDan
2009-01-05, 06:54 PM
Speaking of healing, I wonder if Wanda will heal completely at the start of their turn, as long as they can stabilize her until then? Or is 'incapacitated' too serious a status to be healed that way, like with her backlash damage?

A status ailment, huh? Seems odd if it came from strictly physical damage.

Lamech
2009-01-05, 07:49 PM
@/\

One of the damage results could be "incapacitates" or perhaps "5 points of damage, can only incapacitate"

Kreistor
2009-02-04, 03:43 PM
Okay, this day isn't over yet. It's still the same day as 120. There's lots more fighting in the offing. And it looks to stand as a historically massive loss of life for the RCC side, even if they were to win in the end. (Not likely.) Of course, Parson might be wrong.

Ansom is now down two more Warlords (and at least 7 retinue and infantry from the Shockmancy spell and moderate unknown from the crap golem explosion), which are probably being taken by Sizemore back to GK for uncroaking in the new day (perhaps its more important for Parson to have these two warlord corpses than 1000 more infantry). This has dropped the bonus to his breaching units, and may force Ansom himself to step in and lead the breakthrough to make up the loss. Ansom is facing uncroaked with a large leadership bonus from a Master Croakamancer, Full Warlord bonus for being in the city with the Chief Warlord, Dance Fight bonus, potentially a warlord bonus from the uncroaked warlords that performed the retreat, and since Parson is right there with them, he must be adding yet another bonus (otherwise he wouldn't need to be close with his bonus affecting the entire city). Ansom's breaching units are currently going in with only a partial Chief Warlord bonus (for presumably being in the same hex as their Chief Warlord, Ansom). Both sides will have equal stacking bonuses at the +8 cap, which may or may not act to counter each other.

The restrictive nature of the breach makes this ideal for a small force defense. Only X number of units can pass through that opening at a time, and they are facing units that are better strength and defense due to bonuses, and in enough numbers that there will be no gaps. So long as nothing changes, this will be the meatgrinder Parson predicted.

Remember, too, that unlead units in contact with unallied units must attack. With the Sofa King and Blue Girl leaders gone, that leaves only Red that we are aware of in the vicinity (though she is oddly in a different location, so she may not be in position to lead the breach ATM). Misty hasn't acted yet, so I'm expecting that's going to play in here, unless Misty rips a scroll off at Ansom instead. If their actions leave the RCC army leaderless, Parson may find two things. One, he'll grind a much larger amount of enemy units than he would have with leadership that could end the attack when it is apparent it can't succeed, and two, they can't stop attacking even if Parson wanted them to, so he may find that he may have bitten off more than he intended. The enemy does have overwhelming numbers, and that does count for something.

Regardless, in a few strips I expect the numbers are going to be very different on both sides.

Godskook
2009-02-04, 04:20 PM
two, they can't stop attacking even if Parson wanted them to, so he may find that he may have bitten off more than he intended. The enemy does have overwhelming numbers, and that does count for something.

Um...the rules don't specify that, exactly. From what I remember, an unlead stack is only forced to continue attacking if there is something in-range to attack. If Parson keeps the RCC forces in the courtyard when he croaks all the warlords, theres nothing that says that if he retreats to the dungeon, all RCC troops in the courtyard must follow. Then there is also the ambiguity surrounding what happens when a lead stack disengages from an unlead stack. We don't know if the unlead stack is required to pursue, or if they can then choose not to pursue.

Kreistor
2009-02-04, 04:59 PM
Um...the rules don't specify that, exactly. From what I remember, an unlead stack is only forced to continue attacking if there is something in-range to attack.

Why remember? It's in Klog 4. "Stacks without a leader are forced to autoattack when in contact with units from non-allied capitals." The definition of "in contact" is obviously not stated; however, it must at least include within reasonable attacking distance. It may range as far as "within sight of", or "in the same hex of and aware of the loation of". Certainly, all the units at the wall must be counted as in contact with the enemy.

Ansom's last order to the leadership was "When the entrance is breached, rush your infantry. All of it." Then the leaders given that order are klled. The breach forms later, in the next strip. And then we see the infantry pouring through, without a leader issuing the order.

There are two possibilities

1) Ansom's order caused the infantry to rush through. If so, then there is an order causing all infantry to charge the breach in place, and only Ansom can countermand that. (Well, maybe not even that. Sofa King units may only listen to Sofa King Warlords, in which case Ansom is screwed.) You might think that this system allows non-command units to disobey orders in the face of insurmountable odds, but I don't. You can't even run away from a battle if you're defending, since you can't get out of your hex. Given that units are forced to autoattack in a given circumstance, there really is no free will involved in the determination of a unit's actions.

2) No order is forcing the infantry forward, so it is already autoattacking because it is in contact with unallied units.

Either way, an order from a Leader has to be given to stop the attack. Both situations require the same solution.

SteveMB
2009-02-04, 05:17 PM
You can't even run away from a battle if you're defending, since you can't get out of your hex.

The existence of multiple zones within a city, which can be traversed without expending Move by units of the city's side but not by units of other sides, would seem to create an exception for city-defense battles.

Kreistor
2009-02-04, 05:39 PM
The existence of multiple zones within a city, which can be traversed without expending Move by units of the city's side but not by units of other sides, would seem to create an exception for city-defense battles.

A potential exceptionm certainly. But everywhere else, you hit the hex wall if you try to give up battle and run home to mommy.

Godskook
2009-02-04, 08:34 PM
Why remember? It's in Klog 4. "Stacks without a leader are forced to autoattack when in contact with units from non-allied capitals." The definition of "in contact" is obviously not stated; however, it must at least include within reasonable attacking distance. It may range as far as "within sight of", or "in the same hex of and aware of the loation of". Certainly, all the units at the wall must be counted as in contact with the enemy.

That. Is. My. Point. With an unclear definition of "in contact", it means that if Parson can 'break contact' with RCC forces(after killing all commanders), the RCC might not continue attacking, and certainly don't have to, according to the rules.


Ansom's last order to the leadership was "When the entrance is breached, rush your infantry. All of it." Then the leaders given that order are klled. The breach forms later, in the next strip. And then we see the infantry pouring through, without a leader issuing the order.

There are two possibilities

Actually, at least a third is possible. That any RCC troops without representative warlords are integrated into Ansom's direct command.


Either way, an order from a Leader has to be given to stop the attack.

Says who?

Kreistor
2009-02-04, 09:33 PM
That. Is. My. Point. With an unclear definition of "in contact", it means that if Parson can 'break contact' with RCC forces(after killing all commanders), the RCC might not continue attacking, and certainly don't have to, according to the rules.

And how exactly does Parson break contact? He would have to retreat to do that under any definition of "contact", since breaking contact means making distance between you and the opposition. That would give Ansom Courtyard, since Parson would have to retreat away from the enemy, given his restricted location. And that option ends Parson's chance to make uncroaked out of corpses. He wants a sea of dead bodies at that breach. He'll hold that until everything he can kill is dead, or it's all over. Retreating the current army into the dungeon means he has lost.

Saying "breaking contact" and achieving it are two completely different things.


Actually, at least a third is possible. That any RCC troops without representative warlords are integrated into Ansom's direct command.

Direct command is a meaningless state in this system. It's "Stacked with a leader" or "leaderless". Ansom's not at the breach according to 126.12, or he might have been killed. The troops may become his responsibility, but without his immediate presence, they don't get immediate orders. Just being in the under command structure under Ansom doesn't mean they get telepathic orders binding them to his will. Or are you suggesting that they do? To you, what does "direct command mean", when Ansom is shown flying away from the units you're saying he is now supposed to be directly commanding?

(For an example of direct command, take a look at Wanda in 127. That is Wanda directly commanding her uncroaked.)

Besides, we have yet to see troops lead by an allied warlord from another side. Right now, it looks like Jetstone troops need Jetstone warlords, Sofa King troops will only obey Sofa King warlords, and so on. You're suggesting Sofa King units are now obeying a Jetstone Warlord. In every case I know of where Ansom adds his bonus to an allied stack, there's an warlord of that ally in that stack. (Eg. Jillian with the Orlies and Gwiffons over the lake. Tarfu with the elves in 58.) We are likely to find this out one way or the other, soon. If Ansom can take command at the breach, he probably will: any problem he can directly fix, he usually does, especially if it is dangerous. If he can't, he'll probably make a point of finding someone that can, loudly, and we'll know the answer.


Says who?

So, you believe that troops without leadership can willfully stop attacking despite contact with enemy units, and that Klog 4 lies? They aren't forced to autoattack? They have free will and Parson lied to us?

Or you believe that they can disobey orders, contrary to Klog 10? Check under the heading "Obedience". They can disobey if they believe it goes against the leader's interests, but we're talking about infantry with no knowledge of what's in the best interest of a Chief Warlord. They don't know anything that would let them decide something was against such a person's interest. This is a clause for people like Jillian and Wanda, who have direct contact with the leaders they are to obey. The order to attack the breach is perfectly reasonable, even if it seems too hard to achieve. "Ours is not to reason why, ours is but to do and die." They aren't allowed to disobey out of self-interest, by Klog 10. Either they can use that clause not to attack in the first place, or they can't. No half-measures. Just because your attack begins to go badly that doesn't allow you to change your mind half-way through the attack and decide, "Oh, this never was in his best interest, so I don't have to attack like the first 20 stacks." The attack begins and ends with the first sentence, "Units are compelled to obey orders." Compelled. If you can get out of attacking a hopeless situation just because you're going to die, then you aren't being compelled. A perfect example is the wood elves attack on the dwagons. Stack after leaderless stack commited suicide attacking that hex. They knew they were going to die, just like the rest. They still went. They were compelled. Just as the infantry attacking that breach are, for one reason or another.

There is little free will for ground pounders in this system.

Suicide Junkie
2009-02-04, 11:09 PM
I'm seeing three distinct possibilities regarding Ansom and RCC strategic command:
1/2) The warlords queued up an order to rush the breach... or did not.
A/B) Ansom can provide strategic direction to the allies without their warlords relaying the orders... or not.

1A and 2A)
Ansom will start out by ensuring that the troops really are rushing the breach.
If things go really bad, he can tell them to stop entering the courtyard in order to cut his losses and limit Parson's gains.

1B)
The troops are going to rush in there no matter how bad it gets. Parson wins a heaping pile of uncroaked with which to fend off Charlie and slaughter the surviving RCC units. Provided he doesn't get overrun before the end of the turn.

2B)
The troops are just going to stand around watching Ansom holler.
Parson doesn't get as many bodies to uncroak, but will have to fight fewer enemies before his troops heal.
Ansom will have some cannon fodder during Parson's turn, but they won't stand a chance against superior über-uncroaked numbers.

Kreistor
2009-02-16, 09:21 PM
Well, this thread has become highly suspect. With the pullback to Dungeon, there's no reason for Ansom to hold anything back. Ansom will hammer everything he's got into that fight. The only reason he might wait is to bring in the Archons, but that gives Parson a turn to do something. No way will Ansom let Parson have a chance to take back momentum. This fight will be decided today.

If Parson loses, well, this story arc ends and a new one begins, wherever Parson goes.

If Parson wins, he'll have an immense number of corpses to use to reinforce GK against anything Charlie could do.

Kreistor
2009-03-11, 08:49 PM
Err... uhm... okay, so RCC just lost Ansom. How does Ansom hold his next turn if he's croaked?

RCC is now terribly committed. The breaking city will have splintered their forces. No clear second in command to take over.

From the feast in 101 (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0113.html) we know that there are five major commanders. Ansom dead 132 (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0145.html). Sofa King and blue girl dead 126 (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0139.html). Orange Girl and one with no close-up remain, leaving only lesser commanders for all the other participants at GK now. Vinnie is not here, and Jillian probably wouldn't be considered as a merc. Charlie is also just a merc, and there's no identifiable commander amongst the Archons.

It still hasn't sunk in that Ansom is really croaked. I can't think this is permanent, but without Archons to assist directly, we don't know of any casters with RCC that might cast a Raise Dead equivalent. We also don't know of anyone with flight that could get Ansom's corpse into Airspace. This is really feeling permanent, but I just can't let myself believe it yet.

Heh, but I did call Tower collapse. Wrong reason: he killed infantry instead of Archons, but he still did it to kill RCC troops. Score half a point for me. Heh...

The state of affairs at the end of today is going to be very, very strange. Charlie is allied with Jetstone, but there is no Jetstone left, that we know of. Maybe some siege. Where will RCC's turn shift to? Will everyone have to re-ally with the new commander, changing tomorrow's turn position? Breaking alliance with Charlie frees him, and may require a new contract. Of course, that gives Charlie the option to go it solo against annihilated RCC and GK forces... Charlescomm is taking no hits right now, and may be the only unsmashed force left after this. If he is loose and moves before Wanda, he won't be facing massive numbers of uncroaked, and Stanley will not have returned. I expect the contract was signed with RCC as a whole, not with Ansom personally, since it seems binding on the all of RCC to keep Parson alive. (Like that'll be easy to enforce now that everyone has lost major infantry. And he killed Ansom with a ruthless trick. There'll be lots of emotion in the commanders that may find themselves in Parson's presence.)

Then there's the Pliers. Orange Girl has them for the moment. But she's going to have to go into Dungeon, Sizemore's domain, to lead. If she's smart, she sends them to the rear and hiding, but she seems emotional to me. She'll try to use them, and they could find their way to Parson yet. I doubt she's up to Ansom's capabilities in melee. Just a feeling. Lacks obvious weaponry. Seems to be a rear eschalon commander.

Heh.... Stanley may be reforming a new side in Faq yet. There's not much left of a city at Gobwin Knob.

He's really dead isn't he?

How is Charlie going to take this? He'll be impressed, for certain, but reputation is important for Charlie. Will he still want Parson after this? Pulling that switcheroo with Bogroll makes Parson untrustworthy to enemies. Would Charlie want a Warlord with that kind of rep? Parson's playing this to win, so he doesn't care about his rep from Charlie's perspective. I don't think Charlie has really gauged Parson's ruthlessness. If Charlie is looking at a paradigm shift, where he ends his merc ways, then Parson's ruthlessness is very useful, but if not, that kind of ruthlessness is not profitable. I expect Parson can choose to tone the ruthlessness down, but it is the appearance of ruthlessness that counts, not the ability to be ruthless at command. Others can't tell you chose to be ruthless.

Anyway, it is certainly looking more like RCC, except for Charlie, will have no turn tomorrow. They win or lose right here and now.

Kreistor
2009-03-28, 02:53 PM
Guess the answer was "0". That is all.