A bug is whirling around my brain...

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A bug is whirling around my brain...

Postby Kreistor » Thu Jul 09, 2009 2:05 am

Can anyone recall if the term "razing" has ever been used in the comic? Something tells me yes, but I had no luck finding it. Anyone got that one on speed dial?
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Re: A bug is whirling around my brain...

Postby DentedHead » Thu Jul 09, 2009 2:26 am

In what context? As in Razing a city? Razing uncroaked?

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Re: A bug is whirling around my brain...

Postby Kreistor » Thu Jul 09, 2009 11:32 am

City.
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Re: A bug is whirling around my brain...

Postby doran » Thu Jul 09, 2009 1:59 pm

Since all the dialogue is now in the wiki annotation I searched for "razing", "raze", and "razed".
The closest I can see is the description of panel 5 of comic 3, and someone blue-linked it from "sacked" on the panel 4 of page 147.
Sacking is the closest it appears.
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Re: A bug is whirling around my brain...

Postby Cmdr I. Heartly Noah » Thu Jul 09, 2009 2:24 pm

As far as I know, all in-comic references use the term "sack" for "take to level 0/destroy."

What I call "conquering" a city, I think they generally use "take."

So.. you "take" a city, then ransom it back, claim it, or sack it. I guess.
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Re: A bug is whirling around my brain...

Postby Kreistor » Thu Jul 09, 2009 2:29 pm

That's all? Hrm... coulda sworn.

Well, we can be fairly certain Stanley razed Faq, so though the link shouldn't go to Razing, it is actually an accurate judgment of what happened. Sacking does not destroy a city... it's synonymous with "pillage", so all you do is take the valuables out and leave the buildings standing... or mostly not burning anyway. Razing makes the city uninhabitable. Since Stanley didn't keep the cities, and they did not return to Jillian after he left, then they're destroyed making them "razed", as well as pillaged and sacked.

Razing means little in Erfworld. A city returns in a Turn. Proper "razing" would include salting the land, making it non-arable. With no farmers to support it, the city can't sustain itself and might never be rebuilt. Like Carthage.
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Re: A bug is whirling around my brain...

Postby Cmdr I. Heartly Noah » Thu Jul 09, 2009 2:32 pm

I agree with your real-world definition, but I think the Wiki pages should reference the dialogue used in the comic.
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Re: A bug is whirling around my brain...

Postby Kreistor » Thu Jul 09, 2009 3:29 pm

Yes, and Rob is always hyper-accurate in his definitions.

No, he isn't. Don't read too much into a single word.
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Re: A bug is whirling around my brain...

Postby Cmdr I. Heartly Noah » Thu Jul 09, 2009 3:51 pm

What are you saying? That Rob used the wrong word, and the wiki should use the right one?
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Re: A bug is whirling around my brain...

Postby Kreistor » Thu Jul 09, 2009 4:22 pm

Rob doesn't always use exactly the right word all the time. This is a book, a novel, from which we are trying to figure out how a world works. But that does not mean Rob uses game terms, or redefines words. He's not going to redefine known words in order to confuse us.

For instance, are you contending that because Wanda said "sacked" the Rob means "sacked" is destroying a city in Erfworld? No, sacked means sacked. Assuming Rob redefined the term is assuming the author knows less about language than we do. Always a mistake to assume a professional writer knows less about language than you.

In fact, it doesn't even have to mean that tp remain absolutely correct. Wanda tells us Stanley sacked the city, and she merely leaves out that he razed the city too. She merely omitted a detail that, to an Erfworlder, really isn't that important. Razing doesn't mean much in Erfworld, when the city can be rebuilt in a day.

So, yes, it should link to Sacked, but no, it should not indicate that Faq was not Razed as well.

[Edit]
Noah, go back and read your response. You do not indicate what you think "sacked" means. You only say it should link to what is said, but we are having a disagreement/discussion over what it actually means. Someone thinks it means "razed". Is that you? Or are you actually in agreement?
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Re: A bug is whirling around my brain...

Postby doran » Thu Jul 09, 2009 5:47 pm

I'd just redirect "Raze" to "Sack", and leave it at that till we have more info. Maybe add a small note explaining the difference.
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Re: A bug is whirling around my brain...

Postby Maldeus » Thu Jul 09, 2009 9:11 pm

Sometimes a word has a specific connotation due to the context of the game rules, even when other connotations would be possible given the use of the word in the normal English language. This wouldn't appear to be the case this time, but it's still worth noting.

"Sack," in terms of Erfworld, almost certainly means attacking the city and taking the contents of its treasury. Now, the act of attacking the city itself may reduce its level, and in fact, getting enough units in to successfully sack a city may more or less require the city to be very low in level. In that case, while "sack" and "raze" may literally mean "take the cities valuables" and "reduce the cities level to 1/0," they may effectively be synonyms.

Also, I don't think there's any possible way to raze a city like Carthage was razed. Salt would probably appear only in meals, and thus wouldn't be available in the quantities necessary to salt fields, and on top of that, since food magically pops and comes in varieties that could not be produced by the infrastructure Gobwin Knob could be expected to have (Parson's meals, specifically), it's safe to assume (though not proven) that shmuckers are converted directly into food. Thus, you'd have to find a way to salt the fields, collapse any mines nearby, depopulate any animals that can be hunted, and get rid of every other kind of income available (assuming there are any) before you could render a city uninhabitable. Even then, that's assuming the city can't just take whatever funds it needs from other cities belonging to the same Side. A city with no income might not be an economic asset to a Side, but it's still a potential military asset if it can produce troops that other cities on the same Side can't, or if it can produce them closer to a current or potential conflict, thus reducing the time between production of reinforcements and their arrival on the battlefield. Transporting shmuckers from one city to another might require a caravan, but it's also possible that it's just teleported over there at the whim of the Ruler (though some shmuckers may be lost in the process...Maybe).

It just occurred to me that with no logistics, several of Parson's strategies for fighting enemies are cut off.
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Re: A bug is whirling around my brain...

Postby Cmdr I. Heartly Noah » Thu Jul 09, 2009 9:48 pm

In the most recent update, the Transylvitans list the two things they do when they take Carport: Ransom it back, or Sack it.

I am assuming that every time someone Takes a city, they collect its treasury. I am assuming this is automatic. However, now that I am thinking about it, it may be that only Capitals have treasuries?

Either way, there are three apparent options once they hold the city: Ransom & release, Sack & Leave, or Claim. This is of course assuming that they don't automatically claim it for their own side when they hold it for a turn (in which case Ransoming would involve transferrence of ownership rather than just leaving - or, leaving undefended so the Carpudlians can retake it.

Whatever the specifics, for the two options to both be viable (and for their protection racket to work), Sacking has to be more than just taking what you want from the city, as I assume they take everything they want (assuming there is something to take) when they capture the city, before ransoming it. So, Sacking needs to be a negative result/deterrent beyond taking and/or holding the city. The only options that make sense are reducing its level or completely destroying it. In a broad sense these are the same option: reducing the city's level by one or more.

That is what I think "Sack" means, or should mean, or should currently be considered to mean, in Erfworld/wiki terms. I agree that taking a city to level 0, or destroying it such that it must be reclaimed and rebuilt (what I assume happened to Faq; worse than what happened to Gobwin Knob - pre-volcano, at least), would be best matched to the term "Raze," but since no one in the comic has used that term even theoretically or in passing, I'm disinclined to let that be the page title for something that could be better termed "Sack," which has been used several times.

I am not saying Rob doesn't know the difference; I was asking if that's what you were saying. Mostly because you've accused me of claiming Rob made a mistake of word usage before (even though I didn't).

(Not that I think he's incapable of a mistake, I just haven't found one yet).
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Re: A bug is whirling around my brain...

Postby Kreistor » Thu Jul 09, 2009 11:04 pm

Noah, just look at this thread....

http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=46337

No shortage of mistakes.

Anyway, you're making a big assumption here. You're assuming that you need to take a city to "sack" or "ransom" it. From this: "What'd they pay us to pull out and not sack it last time? Forty grand? Easy money. No risk." We learn that it is more profitable to pay off a threat than let it sack you. If Transylvito had taken Carport, why would they accept an offer less than the sacking? Answer: "No risk" means they didn't attack. They didn't take and hold Carport, they moved up to threaten to sack it, and the Carpudlians paid them less than the sack to not attack. Transylvito gets less, but loses nothing, while Carport loses less. Not a win-win, but the losses are reduced.

Further, taking the city to control it costs the Side in some way. Benjamin says 250000 Shmuckers to take Carport. If they'd taken it every time they sacked it, then why would it cost anything more? Answer: they're not taking the city when they sack it. They're leaping in, grabbing the good stuff, and running. Remember that Transylvito Vampires fly, which means they are going to face light opposition in most cases. Only a few Sides have shown any numbers of flying units.

I think you need to go back and look at Summer 11 again. You've skimmed over some details.
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Re: A bug is whirling around my brain...

Postby Anton Gaist » Fri Jul 10, 2009 12:28 am

Maldeus wrote:Also, I don't think there's any possible way to raze a city like Carthage was razed.


I think it could be possible. From what we know so far, cities are a type of terrain. And as we now know, terrain types can be changed, but it's no simple feat. If by attacking a city its terrain type was changed to, say, desert, then that's pretty much a Carthage-level razing.
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Re: A bug is whirling around my brain...

Postby Maldeus » Fri Jul 10, 2009 2:25 am

Ah, Anton Gaist makes a fair point. Still, as far as we know, changing terrain type is triple-mancer link-up level magic, so it still wouldn't be an easy feat. The Transylvitans ransom is almost positively paid before the city is sacked, as Kreistor pointed out. I see very little room for leeway there. However there's still no need to believe that "razing" is anything more than a really, really bad "sacking."

Possible definitions of "sack," as far as I can tell:

1. Clearing out all units inside it without taking the treasury and without claiming. Unlikely, because the Transylvitans are implied to have more to gain from sacking than from ransoming, and the only reason they choose the latter is because it's no-risk. Further, the term "sacking" implies taking shiny things.
2. Clearing out all units inside it, taking part of or all of the treasury, but without claiming it. Plausible.
3. Claiming the city and looting the treasury, then pulling out all forces, leaving the city to be re-claimed.
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Re: A bug is whirling around my brain...

Postby Kreistor » Fri Jul 10, 2009 7:58 am

Razing a city is as simple as burning it to the ground, smashing the stones that make a building and carting them away, and leaving it in rubble. That doesn't take magic. We know they have wooden siege engines with wheels, so carts, cranes, or anything else that might be required are not beyond Erfworlders.

Given they can make food, I expect they have salt, too.

The problem is that the buildings can be rebuilt in a single Turn. That's the difference.
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Re: A bug is whirling around my brain...

Postby Cmdr I. Heartly Noah » Fri Jul 10, 2009 9:03 am

Kreistor wrote:Answer: "No risk" means they didn't attack. They didn't take and hold Carport, they moved up to threaten to sack it, and the Carpudlians paid them less than the sack to not attack. Transylvito gets less, but loses nothing, while Carport loses less. Not a win-win, but the losses are reduced.


Ok, I can accept this interpretation of this conversation. Sounds reasonable.

Further, taking the city to control it costs the Side in some way. Benjamin says 250000 Shmuckers to take Carport. If they'd taken it every time they sacked it, then why would it cost anything more? Answer: they're not taking the city when they sack it. They're leaping in, grabbing the good stuff, and running.


Another interesting interpretation. You have to pay X Shmuckers, say, 50k per level, to claim a city? Interesting. It would force you to "Raze" the city sometimes if you didn't want to leave it in the hands of your enemy.

But none of this addresses the actual recorded instances of complete destruction of cities and the terminology used (and not used).


Also, nice. Drawing inconsistencies and typos. That's the same thing as saying Rob doesn't know a word he's using. And it's the same as saying Rob is intentionally trying to confuse us.
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Re: A bug is whirling around my brain...

Postby Erk » Fri Jul 10, 2009 1:16 pm

It's always appeared rather obvious to me.

First, thinking in terms of real-word vocabulary is useless. In fact, it's more confusing. Games use different definitions; this is an old standard. Consider words like "save", "pass", "turn", and "disband", none of which have the same meaning in a strategy game as they do in 'real life'. Also consider erfworldy words like "decrypt", "barbarian", and "pop": once again, they have their own meaning that has nothing to do with the dictionary definition. I think falling to dictionary definitions for erfworld terms is obfuscating and helps not at all: part of the charm of Erfworld is that it is "so close, and yet so far away".

Anyway. The Warlords series of games, which are very similar to Erfworld mechanics in many regards - as openly 'fessed by Word of Rob - has the terms 'sack' and 'raze'. Sacking a city reduces its level without destroying it, for a monetary bonus to the sacker. Razing a city destroys it, making it unusable for any side in the future (although erfworld, unlike warlords, appears to include a rebuilding mechanic). I've always assumed from context that it was pretty much the same in Erf.
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Re: A bug is whirling around my brain...

Postby Unclever title » Fri Jul 10, 2009 2:00 pm

Erk wrote:First, thinking in terms of real-word vocabulary is useless. In fact, it's more confusing. Games use different definitions; this is an old standard. Consider words like "save", "pass", "turn", and "disband", none of which have the same meaning in a strategy game as they do in 'real life'. Also consider erfworldy words like "decrypt", "barbarian", and "pop": once again, they have their own meaning that has nothing to do with the dictionary definition. I think falling to dictionary definitions for erfworld terms is obfuscating and helps not at all: part of the charm of Erfworld is that it is "so close, and yet so far away".


Actually, I'd think not using dictionary definitions for discussing Erfworld terms is a little like throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

All of these terms in games are originally based upon the English they came from, yes, they have different connotations in games and in Erfworld they even have differently described definitions to Erflings because the Erflings describe them in ways they understand, based upon their own experience. However the definitions do translate so definitions in English (especially colloquial definitions) have a great deal in helping us to understand.

Take the verb sack as an example. To plunder (as a town) especially after capture; to strip of valuables, loot. Synonymous with, though not equivalent to, ravage.

Basically speaking it implies taking valuables by force as opposed to by stealth. It has little to do with destroying something completely as in razing.

Now the context of course is what defines things further.
Dewey wrote:"What'd they pay us to pull out and not sack it last time? Forty grand? Easy money. No risk." Transylvito had been taking Carport and sacking or ransoming it every dozen turns for as long as most of them had been alive.


So sacking in Erfworld terms is not the same as razing in Earthworld terms, basically if Carpool had been repeatedly destroyed what's the value in rebuilding the city? Would they even have the funds? Transylvito would eventually have been unable to use Carpool as a dependable (however tenuously) source of income by repeatedly destroying it. And destroying it without taking it would have likely been a dumb move. Cities one way or another produce money for the side owning it, Transylvito was just "making a withdrawal" from another side's account.

Actually this kind of strategy along with Caesar's mentioning of Benjamin in context lead me to believe that Transylvito might well have a moneymancer. This might be the entire reason they are threatening Carpool like this instead of taking it. Now Ben might just be a Mathamancer... but I think SOMEone in Transylvito has the shrewdness of a banker...

Anyway, long story short I agree with Erk there about the Erfworld definitions with razing and sacking. We don't have any real evidence of the city necessarily being reduced by one level, but this seems likely to be a significant threat to a city and not to mention that a sacking is probably a better solution in the financial long run than razing to keep a city under control, don't let it get high enough level for it to pose a threat.

I do disagree heavily with the idea of ignoring real world vocabulary. You just need to know how and where to apply it.
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