New Erfworld Magic!

Speculation, discoveries, complaints, accusations, praise, and all other Erfworld discussion.

Re: New Erfworld Magic!

Postby Alcazabedabra » Sat Jun 13, 2009 4:40 am

Binty wrote:Royal Collision force


Heh. I'm guessing this is a pun. I like it.

As for MarbitChow's assessment of how Moneymancer spells would work, I think he's right on the money. Moneymancers would specialize in getting their side's money to work for them, in making battles and sieges less expensive, and generally keeping the coffers full.

Moneymancers also might be capable of a limited number of the natural Moneymancy skills that Overlords use. They could be useful as administrators for their side while their Overlords lead armies afield.
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Re: New Erfworld Magic!

Postby Binty » Sat Jun 13, 2009 8:04 am

We know very little about the resource management of Elfworld. We know gems = shmuckers which can be used to pop buildings and pay upkeep of units. Page 1 might be read to suggest money is used to pop units too. However, shmuckers is not the only resource unit we have Rands too... There might be others.

Without a more complete understanding of the resource system used in Erfworld, speculation about Moneymancy is difficult. Unless you've seen Rob's notes of course. So your speculation sounds as plausible as many other possibilities.

If you want to try filling in the gaps, imo the key consideration in Erfworld is that the mechanics need to work as if it were a turn-based stategy wargame. Now Elfworld isn't a game, but on the macro-level it operates like one, and so the abilities of any caster-class would need to be game-balanced. So I look at proposals like I am play-testing the system.
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Re: New Erfworld Magic!

Postby MarbitChow » Sat Jun 13, 2009 8:48 am

Binty wrote:We know very little about the resource management of Elfworld. We know gems = shmuckers which can be used to pop buildings and pay upkeep of units. Page 1 might be read to suggest money is used to pop units too. However, shmuckers is not the only resource unit we have Rands too... There might be others.

We've only seen Rands in reference to casters, and then only in the Magic Kingdom. A given unit can only carry (1000 x level) shmuckers, and it seems like shmuckers primarily end up under the control of the overlord for a side.

Perhaps Rands are the way that non-overlord units keep a personal treasury.

Or maybe Rands are just a way to prevent moneymancer casters from taking advantage of the system. If a moneymancer could convert items into shmuckers, but no other caster could, and shmuckers were used as currency between casters, moneymancers could have access to creating more money than other casters.

Rands may be a unit of currency that is immune to moneymancy. A Rand can neither be created nor destroyed by moneymancy, so their supply is regulated and thus their value is maintained. Shmuckers, on the other hand, enforce their own value through natural moneymancy, since it always costs X shmuckers to pop unit Y or pay upkeep for unit Z.
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Re: New Erfworld Magic!

Postby raphfrk » Sat Jun 13, 2009 9:41 am

Cmdr I. Heartly Noah wrote:I figured a Moneymancer just lets you buy troops like non-capital sides and barbarians do.


Like the spaceport for the Ordos in Dune. Maybe the prices vary and sometimes units aren't available.
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Re: New Erfworld Magic!

Postby Binty » Sat Jun 13, 2009 2:41 pm

MarbitChow wrote:We've only seen Rands in reference to casters, and then only in the Magic Kingdom. A given unit can only carry (1000 x level) shmuckers, and it seems like shmuckers primarily end up under the control of the overlord for a side.


But this is like having two points on a graph and fitting a polynomial to it. Are Rands caster or even hippimancer specific currency? Are shmuckers the only currency used by overlords? How many ways are shmuckers and rands generated? All we know currently is that gems are converted to shmuckers. Are gems the only source of shmuckers? We don't know. It's a known unknown.

In other games factions gain control of diverse resource generators. i.e. forests to generate wood units, mines for iron units and fields for crop units. Units are brought with some combination of resource types. In such games money (typically gold) can be used to buy specific resource type, so if you lacked wood production you could buy some to cover, but this is often inefficent. If Elfworld has a similarly divert resource sources and types than the posibilities of Moneymancy are a lot wider.

I look forward to book 2 where more of Erfworld will be revealed. I am confident it will be worth the wait.
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Re: New Erfworld Magic!

Postby Cmdr I. Heartly Noah » Sun Jun 14, 2009 12:08 am

We know that sides and barbarians can mine and farm, which presumably produce Schmuckers directly, or perhaps there is some sort of open market where their goods are sold.
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Re: New Erfworld Magic!

Postby Binty » Sun Jun 14, 2009 2:41 am

Cmdr I. Heartly Noah wrote:We know that sides and barbarians can mine and farm, which presumably produce Schmuckers directly, or perhaps there is some sort of open market where their goods are sold.


Can you give a page reference for this?
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Re: New Erfworld Magic!

Postby Cmdr I. Heartly Noah » Sun Jun 14, 2009 9:38 am

Word of the Titans

6051503
...Natural allies pop more of their kind via moneymancy, converting Schmuckers directly to units. This is why they typically ally with a strong side that can pay them for their alliance, and/or they mine and farm and hunt and do various other money-making things in the wild."

So we know that barbarians do it. I assumed sides did it or did something equivalent to gain X Shmuckers per turn. That there would be a means of generating shmuckers that didn't involve gems.
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Re: New Erfworld Magic!

Postby Pax » Mon Jun 15, 2009 12:37 am

What we need is a copy of the Book of Erf, wherein all the rules of Erf are detailed and thoroughly cross-referenced. :geek:
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Re: New Erfworld Magic!

Postby raphfrk » Mon Jun 15, 2009 7:03 am

MarbitChow wrote:Or maybe Rands are just a way to prevent moneymancer casters from taking advantage of the system. If a moneymancer could convert items into shmuckers, but no other caster could, and shmuckers were used as currency between casters, moneymancers could have access to creating more money than other casters.


That is an interesting idea. However, it shouldn't matter much. If Schmuckers are reasonably liquid, then they should hold their value.

However, it is possible that Schmuckers are only really traded by Sides, so an individual caster wouldn't have access to that market. In that case, moneymancers may have flooded the magic kingdom's schmucker supply every so often, before arbitrage brings everything back into equilibrium. Eventually, the others said enough is enough.

Also, it is possible that the value of Schmuckers does vary lots. Stanley's new found wealth could depress the market.

Rands may be a unit of currency that is immune to moneymancy. A Rand can neither be created nor destroyed by moneymancy, so their supply is regulated and thus their value is maintained. Shmuckers, on the other hand, enforce their own value through natural moneymancy, since it always costs X shmuckers to pop unit Y or pay upkeep for unit Z.


This is the logic behind the gold standard.

If the value of gold rises above the cost to mine it, then more mines will be opened. This pushes the value of gold downwards. The effect is to keep the value of gold stable. (The value of gold becomes equal to the marginal cost of gold mining). Ofc, if a cheap way of mining gold was found, then the price of gold would drop.

In Erfworld, there is a tap in the other direction. If the value of Schmuckers drops below the value of the units they can pop, then everyone spends their schmuckers. Thus the value should remain reasonably constant (balanced by mining of gems on one side and popping units on the other.).

Btw, Rands may have been created by master class moneymancers. Moneymancers might have "banker" type personalities and regulate Rand supply like with something like a central bank. In that case, Rands would be a private currency in competition with the main fiat currency. The moneymancers might be able to create as many as they want, but they know if they do, nobody would ever trust them again (or use their currency).
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Re: New Erfworld Magic!

Postby MarbitChow » Mon Jun 15, 2009 8:22 am

raphfrk wrote:That is an interesting idea. However, it shouldn't matter much. If Schmuckers are reasonably liquid, then they should hold their value.

However, it is possible that Schmuckers are only really traded by Sides, so an individual caster wouldn't have access to that market. In that case, moneymancers may have flooded the magic kingdom's schmucker supply every so often, before arbitrage brings everything back into equilibrium. Eventually, the others said enough is enough.

Also, it is possible that the value of Schmuckers does vary lots. Stanley's new found wealth could depress the market.

I think you're falling into the trap of attempting to apply Real World mechanics and theories to Erfworld. I'm not aware of any turn-based game that has a market. Prices are generally immutable - one infantry costs X gold, no matter how many gold you have. Since everything just pops, there's no possible concept of supply and demand - there is infinite potential supply, so the only limit is the amount of shmuckers you have access to.

It's actually the opposite of how the Real World works, in fact. In our world, money can easily be created. It's just an abstract method of quantifying the exchange of goods and services. In Erfworld, on the other hand, shmuckers are the only things that don't pop. Money is far more "real" there than it is here. There's no central government that is tasked with creating the currency. There couldn't be - everyone is at war. There would have to be a side that is aligned with every other side simultaneously. I'll grant you that the Magic Kingdom makes a plausible candidate for that role, but if Moneymancers created shmuckers magically, and shmuckers are used to pop everything else, moneymancers would be all-powerful. That's an obvious game-balancing issue, so I'd tend to reject it on those grounds.

raphfrk wrote:In Erfworld, there is a tap in the other direction. If the value of Schmuckers drops below the value of the units they can pop, then everyone spends their schmuckers. Thus the value should remain reasonably constant (balanced by mining of gems on one side and popping units on the other.).

We're dealing with a Game World reality here. Market Value would not be the determining factor for pricing. It would be the much more nebulous "Game Balance" that sets prices. If a marbit infantry is identical in stats to an elven infantry, they would cost the same. If the elf is marginally more effective, it would cost more. It makes no difference whether you have thousands of shmuckers or trillions - the cost per unit would remain the same, and you have whatever size army you can afford to pay the upkeep for.

raphfrk wrote:Btw, Rands may have been created by master class moneymancers. Moneymancers might have "banker" type personalities and regulate Rand supply like with something like a central bank. In that case, Rands would be a private currency in competition with the main fiat currency. The moneymancers might be able to create as many as they want, but they know if they do, nobody would ever trust them again (or use their currency).

From a game balance perspective, I'd lean more towards the idea of Rands being created by a linked Thinkamancer/Moneymancer/Changemancer scenario, where all the rands were created all at once. That way, any attempt to create more would involve cooperation between multiple casters, and require an element of risk.

I dislike the idea that the only check on a system would be "oh, we can't do that, because no one would ever trust us again". Erfworld nature appears to be similar to Real World nature in many regards (love, heroism, greed for power), and we've seen hundreds of examples of failures like that in our world (Enron, Bernie Maddof, etc.).
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Re: New Erfworld Magic!

Postby Binty » Mon Jun 15, 2009 11:28 am

Shmuckers can pop units and buildings, they pay for upkeep via natural moneymancy. They are hardwired into the system. If inflation/supply/demand affect them, then this aspect of Erfworld departs greatly from the turn-based-wargame model. It appears that shmuckers can be got via diverse resource gathering; mining, farming, logging, fishing. This is very typical for a wargame system. Following this typical game logic, some sources will be finite and high value (gems), others infinite/renewable but low value (timber) and/or take time to recover. i.e. If you log a forest hex you need to wait X turns to log it again.

These Rands however might be a form of barter-currency (local currency) between casters. Casters exchange training and spell-scrolls between each other in the magic realm and they make up a local currency to help this. This would make Rands outside the 'mechanics' of Elfworld. The value of local currency like this can be set either by individual barter or by group consensus.

On a side note: It might be surprising, but buying goods cheap and selling them expensive was seen as immoral and was explictly criminal in most of medieval europe. Buying in times of plenty and then selling in lean times at increased cost was seen as a form of usery. Long distance trade was accepted as the costs and risks of these endeavors clearly warrented an increased price. However, as Elfworld is not an histroical based wargame I would expect Elfworld society to follow 'modern' 'free market' attitudes to money.
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Re: New Erfworld Magic!

Postby raphfrk » Mon Jun 15, 2009 2:54 pm

MarbitChow wrote:I think you're falling into the trap of attempting to apply Real World mechanics and theories to Erfworld. I'm not aware of any turn-based game that has a market. Prices are generally immutable - one infantry costs X gold, no matter how many gold you have. Since everything just pops, there's no possible concept of supply and demand - there is infinite potential supply, so the only limit is the amount of shmuckers you have access to.


Well, assuming that sides can trade with each other, then there would be some kind of market. Would the cost of one of Charlie's thinkagrams remain constant over time (ofc he would vary prices for other reasons :) )?

In MMORPGs, there is a limitless amount of gold available by killing mobs. However, that doesn't mean that everyone has an unlimited amount of gold.

Gold farmers break this effect. The value of 1g becomes equal to the cost (in time) for a Chinese worker to farm 1g, unless you aren't willing to pay for it.

It's actually the opposite of how the Real World works, in fact. In our world, money can easily be created.


Well, that only works for fiat currencies, and even then, new loans that create money or only supposed to be given if secured against a real asset.

In Erfworld, on the other hand, shmuckers are the only things that don't pop. Money is far more "real" there than it is here.


Well, it must pop too, or nobody could have any. Things like farms and mines probably have a Schmuckers per turn stat.

However, it is a flow commodity. It enters the market by a source (like farms/mines) and exits the market when used to buy from an "npc". Real money circulates.

There's no central government that is tasked with creating the currency. There couldn't be - everyone is at war. There would have to be a side that is aligned with every other side simultaneously. I'll grant you that the Magic Kingdom makes a plausible candidate for that role, but if Moneymancers created shmuckers magically, and shmuckers are used to pop everything else, moneymancers would be all-powerful. That's an obvious game-balancing issue, so I'd tend to reject it on those grounds.


You can have a gold standard without any central world bank. However, in Erf, it is clearly an electronic-like currency that is game world enforced.

We're dealing with a Game World reality here. Market Value would not be the determining factor for pricing. It would be the much more nebulous "Game Balance" that sets prices. If a marbit infantry is identical in stats to an elven infantry, they would cost the same. If the elf is marginally more effective, it would cost more. It makes no difference whether you have thousands of shmuckers or trillions - the cost per unit would remain the same, and you have whatever size army you can afford to pay the upkeep for.


However, Schmuckers would still have a value. Charlie rents out his units on an X Schmuckers per turn basis.

As people spend them, they leave the game world, and thus become more valuable and similarly when they are sourced, they become less valuable.

It would be interesting if there is some balancing mechanism so that there is always Schmuckers available. If mines can be mined out and spent money is gone forever, then eventually, there would be no more Schmuckers. In Eve, they have a mechanism so that if when ore is mined it re-pops somewhere at random. Thus the amount of ore is constant, but you can mine out a system.

I dislike the idea that the only check on a system would be "oh, we can't do that, because no one would ever trust us again". Erfworld nature appears to be similar to Real World nature in many regards (love, heroism, greed for power), and we've seen hundreds of examples of failures like that in our world (Enron, Bernie Maddof, etc.).


Well, it would depend on how easy it was to counterfeit and the number of moneymancers required to make an additional unit.

Binty wrote:Shmuckers can pop units and buildings, they pay for upkeep via natural moneymancy. They are hardwired into the system. If inflation/supply/demand affect them, then this aspect of Erfworld departs greatly from the turn-based-wargame model.


There would be no inflation on the fixed price stuff. This would somewhat ground the pricing system. However, inter faction trades would be affected by the supply and demand of Schmuckers.
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Re: New Erfworld Magic!

Postby Arkenputtyknife » Mon Jun 15, 2009 3:19 pm

raphfrk wrote:
MarbitChow wrote:However, Schmuckers would still have a value. Charlie rents out his units on an X Schmuckers per turn basis.

As people spend them, they leave the game world, and thus become more valuable and similarly when they are sourced, they become less valuable.

Yet you're talking about a world where even the laws of thermodynamics appear to have been kicked in the teeth. Now I happen to believe that the laws of thermodynamics and the laws of supply and demand are roughly on the same level. They're both emergent mathematical principles that arise, with apparent inevitability, whenever a large number of entities are allowed to interact in certain ways.

I can easily imagine a universe in which relativity, quantum mechanics, Newtonian mechanics, wave theory, basic chemistry, and any number of other laws don't work. I have a much, much harder time imagining a world where thermodynamics doesn't work, because it's an emergent property of just about any feasible system of interacting particles. Ditto supply and demand.

In other words, if the laws of thermodynamics don't work right in Erfworld, I don't see why the laws of supply and demand must necessarily work right, either, and no amount of arguing will be convincing.
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Re: New Erfworld Magic!

Postby Binty » Mon Jun 15, 2009 3:38 pm

raphfrk wrote:There would be no inflation on the fixed price stuff. This would somewhat ground the pricing system. However, inter faction trades would be affected by the supply and demand of Schmuckers.


We saw that when Charley had Ansom over a barrel; although the new contract may not have been about Schmuckers.

An interesting question would be why sides have mercenaries and allies rather than use the money to pop units directly. There must be a balanced advantage in doing this. Perhaps its an upkeep thing? Perhaps unlike buildings unit require time to pop.
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Re: New Erfworld Magic!

Postby Cmdr I. Heartly Noah » Mon Jun 15, 2009 4:25 pm

Binty wrote:We saw that when Charley had Ansom over a barrel; although the new contract may not have been about Schmuckers.


The contract was probably at a highly inflated rate; however it almost certainly also called for the capture of Parson + his bracer and their delivery to Charlescomm units. It's unclear which of these was the more infuriating to Ansom, but my money is on the "capture only" clause.

An interesting question would be why sides have mercenaries and allies rather than use the money to pop units directly. There must be a balanced advantage in doing this. Perhaps its an upkeep thing? Perhaps unlike buildings unit require time to pop.


We know that capital sides pop units based on time and not Schmuckers. Sides have allies because allies CAN pop troops with Shmuckers (and only that way) and the capital sides can't. The non-capital sides ally with the capital sides because the Capital sides have more Shmuckers. (Whether this is because cities produce Shmuckers or just that they use their free troops to get Shmuckers is unknown).

Even if all sides could insta-buy their own troops, there would be an advantage to using allies and mercenaries if the troops they hired had different advantages, but since they can't, hiring mercs and allies is the quickest way to grow an army (other than large-scale croakamancy).
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Re: New Erfworld Magic!

Postby raphfrk » Mon Jun 15, 2009 4:42 pm

Arkenputtyknife wrote:In other words, if the laws of thermodynamics don't work right in Erfworld, I don't see why the laws of supply and demand must necessarily work right, either, and no amount of arguing will be convincing.


They are completely different things.

If you have people trading, things that are scarce become more valuable. There is no reason why that would be "broken" by the Erfworld rules.

The value of schmuckers can't drop to far, as people would start buying units with them and it would push back up the price. Ofc, those units would then also be less valuable.
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Re: New Erfworld Magic!

Postby Arkenputtyknife » Mon Jun 15, 2009 5:03 pm

raphfrk wrote:They are completely different things.

I beg to differ; they are highly similar in character, due to their emergent nature and their reliance on interacting entities.

raphfrk wrote:If you have people trading, things that are scarce become more valuable. There is no reason why that would be "broken" by the Erfworld rules.

If you have hot particles interacting with cold particles, heat and entropy will be exchanged between them. There is no reason why that would be "broken" by the Erfworld rules.

Except that's exactly what happened.

raphfrk wrote:The value of schmuckers can't drop to far, as people would start buying units with them and it would push back up the price. Ofc, those units would then also be less valuable.

Unless, for example, there is some rule that prevents the price changing, or forces it to change. In the same way that there is a rule that makes Parson clean in the morning, despite all common sense and logic. Example: there could be a rule that declares that tomorrow, the schmucker will be worth half of what it is today. People start buying/selling like crazy? Can't do that. Against the rules. Or maybe they can do that, but the rules prevent the value of the schmucker being changed by it. It's crazy, insane, contrary to everything we know and understand, and completely Erfworld.

Raphfrk, as far as I can see, you don't have an argument. You're parroting the same real-world reasoning over and over again, and ignoring the fact that Erfworld not only breaks our rules, but jumps up and down on them and pounds into a million little pieces.
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Re: New Erfworld Magic!

Postby Binty » Mon Jun 15, 2009 5:09 pm

Cmdr I. Heartly Noah wrote:We know that capital sides pop units based on time and not Schmuckers.


Do we? Is this another wiki quote I've missed? We can say it is time based as evidenced by the popped dwagon, but I can't see in the comic where it says that the dwagon wasn't paid for X turns ago. Perhaps cities can just pop units without paying shmuckers, but maybe they can pop units instantly with shmuckers.

Cmdr I. Heartly Noah wrote: Sides have allies because allies CAN pop troops with Shmuckers (and only that way) and the capital sides can't.


Cities can only pop a limited menu of unit types; their own units require upkeep. There are many potential ways hiring mercenaries would be an advantage. However, show me the quote where capital sides can't pop units with shmuckers.
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Re: New Erfworld Magic!

Postby Cmdr I. Heartly Noah » Mon Jun 15, 2009 6:28 pm

Binty wrote:Do we? Is this another wiki quote I've missed? We can say it is time based as evidenced by the popped dwagon, but I can't see in the comic where it says that the dwagon wasn't paid for X turns ago. Perhaps cities can just pop units without paying shmuckers, but maybe they can pop units instantly with shmuckers.


If you could pop units instantly for Shmuckers, why didn't that even enter the conversation of what to do with the 500K Shmuckers in Stanley's treasury? He could pop a warlord or two or a bunch of dwagons or something to take with him to Faq. That in itself should be enough info. GK still had 150K after Parson's arrival. Upkeep probably wouldn't have been 50K for all of GK's units, including Parson's huge 1K/turn upkeep. So, why did Parson never even mention using the money to buy troops? It's not an avenue he would have left unexplored unless he already knew it was a no-go.

But if you need more, here's the Klog with everything you should need

(putting some stuff down that doesn't directly relate just for future reference/completeness)

1. Unit production takes time. It may also take Shmuckers, but that isn't mentioned, so I'm inclined to believe that time is all you need.
1a. Production time depends on unit quality.
1b. Only big cities (3+, maybe?) can produce Warlords.
- Note that GK was almost certainly level 5 at the time of the spell, and so should have been able to pop a Warlord were this possible. Now, Wanda may have thought it was too risky for the chance of getting a real strategist, but she said nothing of the option, so I'm inclined to disbelieve it existed.
1c. Units available for production depend on city "type."

2. Overlord (Ruler) sets unit production orders.

3. Warlords can be promoted (instantly) from Infantry units for "mucho shmuckero."

4. Parson is unclear whether or not cities can produce casters, which indicates Wanda and Sizemore are either unwilling to say or don't know.

What all this tells us is that (at least normally) a city produces units over a period of time relative to their quality. No mention is made of speeding up the process, even in part. When you consider the mention of instant promotion at high cost in Shmuckers, that makes the lack of a mention of a similar mechanic in unit production all the more unlikely.

Add to this the Word of the Titans

1. Cities have limited 'menus' of producable units.

2. Units (including Warlords) pop randomly in the wild as Barbarians.

3. Natural Allies pop units via moneymancy, converting Shmuckers directly into Units. This causes them to seek alliances or farm for $.

Balder specifically mentions Natural Allies having this ability. If captial sides could do it too, wouldn't they have been included in the discussion? "Like Capital sides, Natural allies..." is all it would have taken. Or just "Units can be popped via moneymancy," blah blah.

So, in conclusion, though there is no mention specifically that a city can't spend cash to insta-pop units, looking at the information in context, it's highly unlikely, though it could be the purview of Moneymancers, if we ever meet any.
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