Hiring Casters?

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Hiring Casters?

Postby Wymmerdann » Sun Jun 20, 2010 9:37 pm

Why doesn't Jetstone just hire five dittomancers, five shockomancers, and five thinkamancers for one turn, and blow Wanda's forces out of the sky with five trimancer linkups? You can send them home to the magic kingdom at the end of the turn so it wouldn't even cost you any rations, only their hiring fee. There's a portal to the magic kingdom in Slately's palace, so movement can't be an issue. it's less than 15 turns worth of a single caster's fees and it effectively guarantees victory.

So yeah, this appears to be the perfect opportunity for a no-risk, low cost caster spam.

Plus it would look awesome for Wanda's army to be nuked by a thunderstorm (or, you know, 10)
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Re: Hiring Casters?

Postby ftl » Mon Jun 21, 2010 12:52 am

We don't know anything about the mechanics of hiring casters.

However, we DO know, from experience, that Sides rarely have more than 3-5 casters at a time, hired or popped or anything. It seems likely to me that, just like the probability of popping a caster goes down to essentially zero after a side has 3 casters, something similar may happen with the cost of hiring a caster. Sides never end up having more than a few casters, and even the sides that get 5 have gotten them by capturing casters rather than popping or hiring. So I'm guessing there's some mechanical reason why not.

By the way, if it was possible, the exact same thing would have been available to anybody with a flyer relay - hire an army of casters, relay to wherever they need to go, relay back at the end of the turn. Wouldn't be limited to Jetstone.
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Re: Hiring Casters?

Postby raphfrk » Mon Jun 21, 2010 5:45 am

ftl wrote:We don't know anything about the mechanics of hiring casters.


Casters could just be very expensive. If I was a free caster, I would need a fairly large payout to put my life at risk. I could just stay in the MK and, make and sell, scrolls or whatever gets a caster can do to make money. As long as a caster makes a few thousand a turn, they can cover their own upkeep.

The only hired caster we have seen so far is Vanna, and she was only recently freed. She may be taking the contract in order to build up her initial capital, or maybe, Charlie just offered her lots and/or she is a bad negotiator.

I would definitely not leave a capital city with a portal, without a massively good reason. Frankly, she is crazy or just likes excitement a lot :). She may also have only agreed because she wants revenge.

Ofc, certain types of casters do need to be in the field. A foolamancer is useful mainly when in the field.
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Re: Hiring Casters?

Postby Wymmerdann » Mon Jun 21, 2010 9:05 am

seems likely to me that, just like the probability of popping a caster goes down to essentially zero after a side has 3 casters, something similar may happen with the cost of hiring a caster.


The hiring of the caster isn't a mechanic in the same way that popping is though, is it? I mean, a caster determines their own cost to maintain their upkeep and make a profit, not based on how many casters their employer has. The reason most sides wouldn't have more than 3 or so casters is that popping them is unlikely and barbarians can be disloyal. More important than either of those concerns is that in the long run is that casters are expensive. However we've no indication that hiring 15 casters for less than 1 turn would be more expensive than hiring 1 caster for 15 turns (which is certainly affordable). Spam-casters would have been ineffective at GK because their treasury was empty, but Slately's isn't. If Slately can afford 5(ish) casters in the long run, he can probably afford an extra fifteen for a turn.

Sides never end up having more than a few casters, and even the sides that get 5 have gotten them by capturing casters rather than popping or hiring
.
If Parson pulls off a survival for Wanda's crew to any reasonable degree, she will smoke Slately and decrypt the massive Jetstone army, giving her an army that is, by any standard we have seen so far in erfworld, unstoppable. From the strength of the Royals we have seen thus far, GK would utterly steamroll them, acruing greater numbers due to increasing buffs as they did so. If Slately is killed by Wanda, I see no reason, including Charlie, why GK couldn't conquer erfworld quite easily.. Furthermore casters attacking Wanda would be more powerful in the keep/tower thing and could not be attacked back. Even if they failed to kill her, they could retreat before the end of the turn, at no personal risk withinn the mechanics of the game we have seen thus far.

No side has ever needed to spam casters more that Jetstone does now. None have had the ability to as easily use this tactic (turnbreaking appears to be unprecedented) as cheaply and effectively. None have been able to do so with so little risk to the casters (who literally CANNOT be harmed in this venture).

By the way, if it was possible, the exact same thing would have been available to anybody with a flyer relay - hire an army of casters, relay to wherever they need to go, relay back at the end of the turn. Wouldn't be limited to Jetstone.

Didn't Parson come up with this tactic of a relay? I mean, yeah others could do it, for sure, but it would never be as effective as obliterating a massive army of dwagons led by an artifact wielding cryptomancer, hovering half a turn away from erfworld domination, at little to no personal risk.

Casters could just be very expensive. If I was a free caster, I would need a fairly large payout to put my life at risk. I could just stay in the MK and, make and sell, scrolls or whatever gets a caster can do to make money. As long as a caster makes a few thousand a turn, they can cover their own upkeep.

Very expensive to maintain in the long term, yes, but for one turn, at no risk to personal life as Wanda cannot cross zone boundaries? I mean, from a casters perspective, the safer bet would be to kill wanda before she starts decrypting casters and using them to attack the magic kingdom. The safest thing to do would be to volunteer for jetstone. Even if they charge a reasonable (or expensive) fee, it's still affordable.

Ofc, certain types of casters do need to be in the field. A foolamancer is useful mainly when in the field.

As long as they stay in the tower, they are outside the zone Wanda is in and thus immune to her until next turn, by which time they can be gone. Inside a level five city's tower(is that the right term, damn) they receive a bonus to spellcasting if I remember correctly.

There has never been a more effective, easy or neccessary time to spam casters. I hope Trammenis thinks of it (though it is kind of anticlimatic).
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Re: Hiring Casters?

Postby GlueDuck » Mon Jun 21, 2010 9:28 am

Sure, maybe Jetstone could hire a bunch of casters to take out the fliers but why would they? As seen in the last text update Trammenis is already convinced that there is no way that Wanda's group is going to survive the battle so what would be the point in spending a bunch of schmuckers on casters that won't even be necessary? Not to mention that while 15 casters would surely be affordable it would still be quite costly and with the upcoming conquest of GK's territory and the big risk of the RCC 2 turning on itself once the threat from GK has been eliminated I don't think that Jetstone would like to throw away that much money.
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Re: Hiring Casters?

Postby raphfrk » Mon Jun 21, 2010 11:20 am

Wymmerdann wrote:The safest thing to do would be to volunteer for jetstone. Even if they charge a reasonable (or expensive) fee, it's still affordable.


There might be zone line issues there. Casters, as barbarians, move at the start of the day. Thus any caster that Jetstone hired may not be able to attack Wanda from the tower, as they would have already had their turn. It would be like where Jillian was not able to change zone until GK's turn ended.

Only the units of the defending side can cross city zones without needing move.
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Re: Hiring Casters?

Postby Wymmerdann » Wed Jun 23, 2010 10:15 am

If casters are hired in MK they can move into the city freely (as with alliances in part 1 to get extra move).

I think 1 trimancer link up would not go astray. Maybe just two thinkamancers to make link ups with the casters you already have, it just seems to make sense to overkill this, given the fate of the (erf)world hangs in the balance and you're facing a cunning line up of enemy warlords I would not put my egss in the *spam arrows* basket. Trammeniss should not either.

On a side note, if Wanda kills a small group of casters, decrypts them, can she invade the MK, using the buff she gives as a croakamancer with the pliers to overwhelm the casters, decrypting them as she does? If she can, she could feasibly conquer every single city that has a magic portal in the following turn via incursions through the portals. Her armies would have infinite move as long as they were attacking from the MK. Truly gamebreaking, as foreshadowed by the Hippymancer?
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Re: Hiring Casters?

Postby gaiaswill » Wed Jun 23, 2010 10:21 pm

I'm thinking that just-hired casters are essentially alliances but with a unit instead of a side. That is, in the turn they are hired, they don't have any move and would have to wait until the next day/turn to act together. If Jetstone were to caster spam for a turn (a decent strategy, IMO), the time for that is already past.

But it is possible that MK casters simply aren't that interested in being hired out. The MK seems to me very much like an ivory tower sanctuary where it is easy to be divorced from "real world" concerns; I'd bet that MK casters oppose GK more on principle than any genuine concern. And we also don't know Jetstone's reputation as an employer, the casters' rates or how much is in Jetstone's current treasury.

The funny thing is with chapter 2's title and the "gravity drop exception", I don't think Jetstone's casters are as safe as you might think anyway.
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Re: Hiring Casters?

Postby splintermute » Thu Jun 24, 2010 2:32 am

Wymmerdann wrote:On a side note, if Wanda kills a small group of casters, decrypts them, can she invade the MK, using the buff she gives as a croakamancer with the pliers to overwhelm the casters, decrypting them as she does? If she can, she could feasibly conquer every single city that has a magic portal in the following turn via incursions through the portals. Her armies would have infinite move as long as they were attacking from the MK. Truly gamebreaking, as foreshadowed by the Hippymancer?

She could probably conquer the MK - we don't know if a caster can enter the MK through any portal, or just through an allied portal (it doesn't necessarily have to be your own side's portal, since Wanda was unperturbed by the possibility of Vanna passing through the JS portal). I don't think she'd be able to use the MK as a staging ground, though. There are probably rules in effect that keep you from exiting the MK through anything but your own side's portals. Otherwise you could just hire squads of ninja-shockamancers to assassinate opposing sides, or you could forego thinkamancers and hat mages, and just use your casters as messengers between capital sites in an alliance.
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Re: Hiring Casters?

Postby Welf von Ehrwald » Thu Jun 24, 2010 9:57 am

I think we can rule out the possibility of hired casters in trimancer links. There is always the possibility that the casters might croak or become crazy. I see no reason why someone should take a job that has a 5% chance of croaking, except when he has to, or is paid really well. if we assume that a caster has a upkeep of 500-1.000 schmuckers a turn, a 100 grands would only pay his upkeep for 100 to 200 turns. Actually most likley longer, because they can reduce their upkeep with food from the florists, but even for, say, 500 turns it's not worth the risk. And Jetstone probably can't pay that much. Also casters can have only a limited amount od schmuckers, so Jetstone had to pay a moneymancers first to convert the money into gems. And then the caster had to stock 100 K worth of gems somewhere.
Basically the above applies to hiring a single caster for battle. If a hired caster is in an hex outside a side offturn, he has no chance to run away if his allies lose the battle. which means either croaking or getting captured and mindraped.
If he stays in the city, he is much saver, but he's less useful for his employer. Offturn a caster has to stay in the garrison to get to the portal, because he can't cross city zones thus is not very useful in defending the city walls. And when the battle reaches the garrison, the battle is nearly lost and he might run away, anyway. Then the money is invested more effective in promotions, natural allies or other mercenaries like Jillian or Charley. Of course a hired foolamancer or shockamancer might cause hacov against an force of incoming fliers like GK's, but GK has Archons that are not affected by foolamancy and can roast any mage that is stupid enough to show up on a tower.
Before a battle casters still can be very useful. A turnamancer can speed up production in the capital, a shockamancer can endow the tower with defences, a dollamancer can produce armour and additional golems. Which might have happened, but simply we haven't seen that.
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Re: Hiring Casters?

Postby Turtlewing » Thu Jun 24, 2010 11:54 am

It's worth noting that the magic kingdom uses it's own currecny (to prevent moneymancy from ruining their econamy). it's possible that Jetstone doesn't have the rands to hire casters on that scale. Which is enteierly independant of how manny schmuckers they have.
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Re: Hiring Casters?

Postby gazes_also » Thu Jun 24, 2010 2:06 pm

splintermute wrote:
Wymmerdann wrote:On a side note, if Wanda kills a small group of casters, decrypts them, can she invade the MK, using the buff she gives as a croakamancer with the pliers to overwhelm the casters, decrypting them as she does? If she can, she could feasibly conquer every single city that has a magic portal in the following turn via incursions through the portals. Her armies would have infinite move as long as they were attacking from the MK. Truly gamebreaking, as foreshadowed by the Hippymancer?

She could probably conquer the MK - we don't know if a caster can enter the MK through any portal, or just through an allied portal (it doesn't necessarily have to be your own side's portal, since Wanda was unperturbed by the possibility of Vanna passing through the JS portal). I don't think she'd be able to use the MK as a staging ground, though. There are probably rules in effect that keep you from exiting the MK through anything but your own side's portals. Otherwise you could just hire squads of ninja-shockamancers to assassinate opposing sides, or you could forego thinkamancers and hat mages, and just use your casters as messengers between capital sites in an alliance.


The big unanswered question is whether a decrypted caster can still cast.
Sadly I suspect we may soon find out...
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Re: Hiring Casters?

Postby Wymmerdann » Thu Jun 24, 2010 11:55 pm

Pfft Slately has decided that his treasury is suddenly empty.

Never mind then.

Was this the first instance that we've been shown Jetstone is low on cash? I was under the impression they had rather a lot.

Welf your comment didn't really apply to our situation as part one (The last of the last of the last stands) showed us that you can move between city zones off turn because it requires no movement to do so. The fact that they retreated to the magic kingdom off turn also showed us that the use of a friendly portal to a garrison requires no movement. Keeping in mind that you could use all of a turn's juice to attack Wanda from the tower and then retreat to the MK before the end of the turn there would be NO DANGER in hiring yourself out as a caster to Jetstone. In fact, as I have already pointed out, there is a benefit, as Wanda poses a threat to the MK (though this will be made clearer with rules updates. If the tower could be attacked off turn, Wanda would have done so and defeated Jetstone by now.

There are probably rules in effect that keep you from exiting the MK through anything but your own side's portals. Otherwise you could just hire squads of ninja-shockamancers to assassinate opposing sides, or you could forego thinkamancers and hat mages, and just use your casters as messengers between capital sites in an alliance.


First bit makes sense, and we'll have to wait and see what the rules are. Second half makes less sense, as casters are less useful as carrier pigeons. Other forms of communication are not limited to between cities and thinkamancy has combat uses (and most importantly, seems integral to the trimancer linkup).

To swing it back the other way, Jetstone (Trammenis in particular) has been referring to Decrypted as "demons" and unnatural in the sense of being spell affects rather than people (puppets was a good one). If Decrypted are spell affects they may not be limited in terms of travel in the same way as ordinary units. Perhaps decrypted can accompany the artifact wielder wherever they can normally go, such as the MK. It would be similar to a hatomancer bringing his hats into the MK, except the Croakamancer's hats have swords and the illusion of free will.

It could be that the rules controlling travel in and out of the MK are not actually game mechanics, but rather rules imposed by those who control the MK. Evidence for this is the host of casters that confront Parson when he enters the portal. Why would they oppose the nature of a game mechanic, crafted by the titans, and refuse him entry to the MK? Surely they would only force him to leave if they had a tradition of imposing standards of entry, which would be unneccessary unless they felt a need to regulate access to the portals. It is therefore possible that the "hire a group of casters to assassinate a leader" is mechanically possible, but would not be allowed within the MK due to the decisions made by casters (essentially minor players) rather than the mechanics of the game. It is still possible that only casters (and for some reason) Parson can physically use the portals, but actual use of them in terms of which sides can come in and out of the Magic Kingdom at certain portals may be restricted by the community itself, rather than game mechanics. While the game mechanics are (meant to be) unbreakable, the rules of a community are fairly easily altered by slaughtering that community and decrypting them as soulless automatons.
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Re: Hiring Casters?

Postby ftl » Fri Jun 25, 2010 1:05 am

Wymmerdann wrote:
Was this the first instance that we've been shown Jetstone is low on cash? I was under the impression they had rather a lot.


Back at TBfGK, they did. Since then, they've fought a costly campaign for survival. We haven't seen any details of their finances since TBfGK.
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Re: Hiring Casters?

Postby splintermute » Fri Jun 25, 2010 2:52 am

ftl wrote:
Wymmerdann wrote:
Was this the first instance that we've been shown Jetstone is low on cash? I was under the impression they had rather a lot.


Back at TBfGK, they did. Since then, they've fought a costly campaign for survival. We haven't seen any details of their finances since TBfGK.

Also, they had to finance a campaign against Haggar in the interim.
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Re: Hiring Casters?

Postby Welf von Ehrwald » Fri Jun 25, 2010 11:33 am

[quote="Wymmerdann"Welf your comment didn't really apply to our situation as part one (The last of the last of the last stands) showed us that you can move between city zones off turn because it requires no movement to do so. The fact that they retreated to the magic kingdom off turn also showed us that the use of a friendly portal to a garrison requires no movement. Keeping in mind that you could use all of a turn's juice to attack Wanda from the tower and then retreat to the MK before the end of the turn there would be NO DANGER in hiring yourself out as a caster to Jetstone. In fact, as I have already pointed out, there is a benefit, as Wanda poses a threat to the MK (though this will be made clearer with rules updates. If the tower could be attacked off turn, Wanda would have done so and defeated Jetstone by now.[/quote]

That's true, but book 2 has shown us, that only units of the city's side do not expend move, allied units do. At least that's what I'm reading from Slatley's comment in panel 1. I hope that's not too far fetched.
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Re: Hiring Casters?

Postby Wymmerdann » Sat Jun 26, 2010 5:39 am

Touche Welf, Touche. Looks like allies need move to cross city zones. The casters would still be invulnerable if they left on turn though, the only mechanic we've seen that could render them vulnerable is a trimancer link with a turnamancer in it, which GK doesn't have (but could conceivabely afford).

Point's kind of moot now that Jetstone's poor though. Honestly, I thought it was a good strategy. :P.
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Re: Hiring Casters?

Postby Chit Rule Railroad » Sun Jul 18, 2010 3:12 am

Wymmerdann wrote:I mean, from a casters perspective, the safer bet would be to kill wanda before she starts decrypting casters and using them to attack the magic kingdom. The safest thing to do would be to volunteer for jetstone.


One problem is that the "safest thing" for a caster in the Magic Kingdom to do would be to convince some other caster in the Magic Kingdom to volunteer for Jetstone.

Also, in the Tower, they might be safe from immediate attack by GK (barring "It's Raining Men" exploits), but they're not safe from desperate action by Jetstone. One RCC2 side has already committed suicide on its own turn rather than fight GK, and the zombiecano showed that suicide can destroy a whole city. Also recall that GK's portal was in the Dungeon, and there might be some game-balance reason why it can't be in the Tower where casters get a bonus, and that would slow down their escape.

Moreover, the MK probably does not want to set a precedent of taking sides. For example, the MK casters would not be able to count on Jetstone finishing off GK (since the RCC2 might fracture as soon as Wanda croaks and GK is less threatening), and then they would have turned one of the richest (and therefore potentially profitable) sides around into an enemy when that may not be necessary. Right now, the MK doesn't like GK, but Stanley probably isn't even aware of a detail like that, let alone holding a grudge about it.
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Re: Hiring Casters?

Postby the_tick_rules » Mon Jul 19, 2010 1:16 am

Who says there are that many available? Plus jetstone is broke already, they can't afford what they have now. Plus in erf it seems you can't just spend money you don't have like we do.
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Re: Hiring Casters?

Postby Welf von Ehrwald » Mon Jul 19, 2010 11:55 am

the_tick_rules wrote:Who says there are that many available? Plus jetstone is broke already, they can't afford what they have now. Plus in erf it seems you can't just spend money you don't have like we do.


Some rich side should think about staring a banking business. As long as a side can mortgage their cities (and casters?) and there are magical binding contracts, that seems like a safe bet.
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