Predictamancy and Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

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

Predictamancy and Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Postby Vreejack » Mon Mar 17, 2014 5:14 pm

I am having this issue with predictomancy that seems to resolve very clearly in the Digdoug story.

We assume that predictomancers are useful for more than aiming attacks. When Homekey hired a predictomancer their king assumed it was worthwhile. So if a predictomancer makes a Prediction of something bad that is about to happen, it would be awful if that bad thing would not have happened without the Prediction. Rulers want to know what is going to happen; they don't want to have random serious events occurring (unless perhaps they are losing very badly).

If the predictomancer Predicts that Homekey will be assaulted by air, then I will assume that it was going to be assaulted by air EVEN IF THE PREDICTION HAD NOT BEEN MADE. Otherwise predictomancy is not something people would use except in dire circumstances. Otherwise, Homekey just hired some predictomancer to generate an enemy assault against their capital, one for which they were poorly prepared.

I have noticed that some people, and even characters in the story seem to think the reverse is true. Even Digdoug thinks that King Posbrake got himself into this position by hiring the predictomancer. But it seems smarter to assume that an attack was going to happen whether the side found out about it or not. This way, at least they are prepared.

There is another issue which also troubles me about the Homekey story. What about the aerial attack that inspired the Prediction? If we are assuming that the predictomancer simply saw what was going to happen, Prediction or no, then someone is planning an aerial attack on Homekey, and it is not necessarily Charlie.
So...Watashi wa mizugorō ga sukina koto o kiita, neh?
A Prediction is what would have happened had there been no Prediction. What is scary is that they are also what will happen in spite of the Prediction.
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Re: Predictamancy and Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Postby Lilwik » Mon Mar 17, 2014 5:24 pm

Vreejack wrote:Even Digdoug thinks that King Posbrake got himself into this position by hiring the predictamancer.
When Digdoug says, "I think Dove is helping us out of a problem that King Posbrake himself caused, before I even met her. Hiring the Predictamancer, I mean," he's talking about the problem of keeping the Predictamancer secret from Delkey. That has nothing to do with Predictamancy; it's purely political.
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Re: Predictamancy and Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Postby Godzfirefly » Mon Mar 17, 2014 5:47 pm

Vreejack wrote:There is another issue which also troubles me about the Homekey story. What about the aerial attack that inspired the Prediction? If we are assuming that the predictomancer simply saw what was going to happen, Prediction or no, then someone is planning an aerial attack on Homekey, and it is not necessarily Charlie.


I think your assumption may have one small flaw. We don't know that there necessarily had to be a specific aerial attack that the Predictamancy saw. Certainly, we've never been told exactly what Predictamancers get when they Predict...is it a text Prediction like a Fortune Cookie? Is it a video they see and they just don't tell all the details? Is it just certain knowledge, like we sometimes get in dreams, where there is no specific vocal or visual cue that provides the information? Who knows exactly what the information Predictamancers get really is?

It is entirely possible that Fate is just an outline of event types that have to happen to specific units, cities, and sides, and Predictamancers peek at that without getting details (possibly because the details haven't been decided, yet.) So, there really is going to be an attack, but who does the attack hasn't been decided. Since Homekey is working with the script and setting their own details before Fate does, it may be that the fake attack satisfies the script. And, since there isn't room in the script for two attacks, Fate doesn't arrange a second attack at all.

Now, I could be wrong, but I also might be right. So, I don't feel comfortable with the idea of discounting either possibility.
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Re: Predictamancy and Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Postby Lilwik » Mon Mar 17, 2014 6:32 pm

Godzfirefly wrote:Is it a text Prediction like a Fortune Cookie?
That's possible, but it would be pretty strange. Where is the skill in that? Just look at how Sizemore thinks of Dirtamancy in B2T45. Casters seem to have a deep and mind-expanding connection to their magic. Magic is probably not just like pushing a button and getting an answer.

Godzfirefly wrote:Is it a video they see and they just don't tell all the details?
That is certainly not possible. Why would a Predictamancer deliberately choose to keep important details secret?

Godzfirefly wrote:Is it just certain knowledge, like we sometimes get in dreams, where there is no specific vocal or visual cue that provides the information?
Something like that would be my guess, though not in an actual dream-like way. It must be some extra sense that reveals some things but not other things. It may be impossible to imagine.

Godzfirefly wrote:It is entirely possible that Fate is just an outline of event types that have to happen to specific units, cities, and sides, and Predictamancers peek at that without getting details (possibly because the details haven't been decided, yet.) So, there really is going to be an attack, but who does the attack hasn't been decided. Since Homekey is working with the script and setting their own details before Fate does, it may be that the fake attack satisfies the script. And, since there isn't room in the script for two attacks, Fate doesn't arrange a second attack at all.
Fate can't create an entire side out of nothing. If there's even a possibility of Fate arranging an attack, then the side needs to already exist and it needs to want to attack Homekey. And if that's true, then how would Fate stop the second attack? This theory seems to be giving Fate an enormous amount of control over events, like the power to start or prevent entire wars, but we've never seen Fate bellowing commands from the sky, so how is it giving its pawns their orders?
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Re: Predictamancy and Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Postby Godzfirefly » Mon Mar 17, 2014 6:42 pm

Lilwik wrote:Fate can't create an entire side out of nothing. If there's even a possibility of Fate arranging an attack, then the side needs to already exist and it needs to want to attack Homekey. And if that's true, then how would Fate stop the second attack? This theory seems to be giving Fate an enormous amount of control over events, like the power to start or prevent entire wars, but we've never seen Fate bellowing commands from the sky, so how is it giving its pawns their orders?


Fate probably could create things out of nothing, but probably wouldn't if it didn't have to. And, Fate seems to have quite a bit of control of the probabilities and numbers that seem to be the basis of Erfworlder stats...and those are often the basis for what Erfworlders make their decisions with. If Duty, Loyalty, and Obedience are stats with hidden numbers, who knows what other numerical hidden stats might be manipulable with the correct magic.

So, I would say that though the side that might otherwise have attacked Homekey certainly exists, it didn't have to want to attack Homekey at this current time. The Predictamancer wasn't using Lookamancy to say an attack is being currently planned (we don't know when the hypothetical other attack would happen, after all.) He/she was saying an attack would happen...which could easily mean that the planning is also in the future.

So, in that case, Fate doesn't need to prevent anything...it just needs to not inspire the attack. (And, before you ask further questions about how Fate might have inspired the attack, there are innumerable ways that don't involve bellowing commands from the sky. Something as simple as an unexpectedly large return from a mine giving Numloch enough Schmuckers to afford to hire Charlie would do the job, for instance.)
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Re: Predictamancy and Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Postby drachefly » Tue Mar 18, 2014 2:54 pm

There is a wild pop rate. If Fate needed to delay or speed it up within range available to numbers, it could do that. But the pop rates for large aerial forces acting as one is small to the point of insignificance.
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Re: Predictamancy and Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Postby 0beron » Tue Mar 18, 2014 3:14 pm

Fate doesn't need to do/create anything in order for the Prediction to be/come true. There may be multiple possible futures, and Predictamancy sees the elements that are common between all those possible futures (ie that which is inevitable). So it's possible that in some of those futures, hiring Charlie to attack themselves IS the Predicted air assault. In other futures, it's another side who has motivation to attack instead. By taking the current course of action, Posbroke is (possibly) steering the side towards one of those futures in which Charlie is the source of the attack and those other sides who might have attacked instead no longer have a reason to.

So lets illustrate this with an oversimplified example. There are 3 possible paths for the side to take, based on the actions of it's units.
A) Procceed as is, without this craft plan. They remain strong, eventually expanding their territory and fighting somebody with strong air forces. Desparate to save themselves, this "Side A" tries for a decapitation strike with their air forces. Prediction fulfilled
B) Hire Charlie to attack them. Prediction fulfilled. In the long run, this weakens them just enough that they never encounter Side A, so no second air strike.
C) Hire Charlie, but Peck screws it up and the parent side finds out. Send Charlie to go attack them instead of trying the trick, but they take advantage of the oppurtunity to destroy their child side before it gets too big. Prediction fulfilled

In all possible futures, the actions of units eventually lead to fulfillment of the Prediction. Fate wouldn't actually need to take ANY action at all in order for the Prediction to come true, Erflings will ensure that on their own.
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Re: Predictamancy and Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Postby Lilwik » Tue Mar 18, 2014 6:17 pm

0beron wrote:In all possible futures, the actions of units eventually lead to fulfillment of the Prediction. Fate wouldn't actually need to take ANY action at all in order for the Prediction to come true, Erflings will ensure that on their own.
That's my theory too, but the way you are describing it gives the impression that the fake attack might actually protect Homekey from the real attack. In order for the real attack to be Predicted, it has to be practically inevitable, no matter how Posbrake chooses to spend his resources. By that I mean only choices that Posbrake might actually make, not crazy stuff like walking through the portal, but even so wasting some lives and shmuckers in a fake attack really shouldn't be enough to take him off course to the real attack. There are so many other ways he could waste lives and shmuckers, and yet this would somehow have to be the only one that actually prevents the attack. It's possible, but the odds are surely very slim, so the fake attack seems like a terrible plan.

If it works then the people who were really going to attack Homekey would probably need to be there to witness the fake attack. That means that the real attack was either going to be from Delkey or Charlie, or else Homekey has so much luck that the fake attack is timed to happen on the same day as the real attack, and the fake attack causes the real attackers to change their plans. If it is Delkey maybe the attack is enough to convince them that Homekey is in trouble and doesn't need to be put in its place. If it is Charlie, maybe Homekey hired Charlie before Homekey's real enemy could hire Charlie, forcing Charlie to reject the second offer. Without knowing that one of these things is actually true, Homekey's plan seems like pure madness.

All of that is just assuming that Predictamancy is the only magic involved. Given what we've seen Carnymancy do for Sylvia, perhaps Dove's involvement changes everything. Perhaps the real attack is like the arrow aimed at Sylvia's head, and the fake attack is like the falling debris, and Carnymancy is exactly the discipline of magic you need to make sure that one deflects the other. What should be slim odds become a certainty, thanks to Carnymancy.
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Re: Predictamancy and Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Postby Taikei no Yuurei » Tue Mar 18, 2014 6:32 pm

I think Wanda makes a fairly good example of how fate and predictions work. If the trade had been agreed to from the start, Wanda would have worked under Olive, fulfilling the prediction. Instead, they fought, Olive won, and eventually got Wanda under her anyway.

In this case the three examples provided by 0beron, especially the first two, seem to make alot of sense. I feel it is also important to remember that, as far as we know, the prediction was only that a particular city would be attacked by a particular vector of a vaguely defined size.... with no time limit. It may well be attacked by Parson's dwagons 10,000 turns from when the prediction was made, after it has fallen and been rebuilt dozens of times, and is being held by a side that doesn't even exist yet.

I do however think that predictions in Erfworld seem to be self fulfilling to some degree. Digdoug for example.

If the prediction had never been made about weatherbug, based on by how narrow a margin they were beaten by, it is very likely that his presence would have made the difference and kept some of the living units alive, though it is still possible that he wouldn't have been enough. And if the prediction hadn't been made, there is no reason he would have been called away so suddenly like that.

But, the prediction was made, which means it will happen. Now, had the King not decided to save Digdoug, fate might have intervened and given numlock some good luck to make sure they won, or at least killed all living units as per the prediction anyway. But, because of the prediction, and because the King in particular -knew- about the prediction, he was called away, which virtually ensured the prediction would come true.

Same goes for the air attack. While the prediction could eventually happen by some series of events, it is being helped along because people know about it.

And think back to Wanda. If there had never been a prediction about her, would Olive have captured her? Would she have made all the maneuvers required for capture instead of simple croaking?

And with Parson... if Charlie hadn't had a prediction that Parson would defeat him, would he have taken the steps that made Parson -want- to defeat him? That put Charlie as a direct opponent of Parson?

So, is having a prediction made a bad thing? Does the act of prediction actually create a problem as opposed to simply reveal one? Or maybe... maybe predictions -aren't- real. Virtually every prediction we've seen come true has done so largely because of the prediction itself, because people knew about it. Marie is very casual about throwing predictions around, and while she seems to be a master, it might be because she knows that predictions are accurate because people believe they are, and thus act in accordance with them, and make them come true. At least at the grand scale. Perhaps predictamancy is actually more limited to things like delphie's super accurate attacks. Unlikely maybe, but possible.

For those that have read Harry Potter
Spoiler: show
this is very much how Dumbledore explains predictions to Harry. Many of the predictions in the hall of predictions hadn't come true, but Harry's, because it had been heard by Voldemort, did. If he hadn't heard it, it almost certainly wouldn't have come true.


So, it's interesting, but hard to say. I feel like predictions are self fulfilling, and perhaps even create an event where one might not have otherwise been, but I don't feel that means they're useless, because not all predictions are bad, and having foreknowledge of an event is good, even if you can't alter it, you can alter everything around it. If you're told your side is going to fall, spin off a new side from the entirety of your current side and then capture the old side. If you're told you'll lose a particular battle, pull out all but 1 of your units, then fight afterwards with the remaining forces or additional forces. Of course, both of these are examples of self fulfillment, so it is hard to say exactly how useful it is.

P.S. Fate can actually create a side out of nothing. It's called popping barbarians.
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Re: Predictamancy and Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Postby Lilwik » Tue Mar 18, 2014 7:21 pm

Taikei no Yuurei wrote:I feel it is also important to remember that, as far as we know, the prediction was only that a particular city would be attacked by a particular vector of a vaguely defined size.... with no time limit. It may well be attacked by Parson's dwagons 10,000 turns from when the prediction was made, after it has fallen and been rebuilt dozens of times, and is being held by a side that doesn't even exist yet.
There must have been a time limit that we're not being told about. It was probably quite vague since no one seems to know when the attack will happen, but Posbrake wouldn't be so excited about an attack that might happen 10,000 turns in the future. He must have asked the Predictamancer when the attack would be, and the Predictamancer must have given some sort of answer, so if 10,000 turns were a possibility then Posbrake would know about it.

Taikei no Yuurei wrote:I do however think that predictions in Erfworld seem to be self fulfilling to some degree.
If Predictions are self-fulfilling, then why would Marie tell anyone about the fall of Faq or the death of Banhammer? She'd be killing her king, and Duty is supposed to prevent that.

Taikei no Yuurei wrote:If the prediction had never been made about weatherbug, based on by how narrow a margin they were beaten by, it is very likely that his presence would have made the difference and kept some of the living units alive, though it is still possible that he wouldn't have been enough.
That contradicts judgement of the warlords in the story, and they are the ones who should know. Only Digdoug thought he might have been able to help, and he's just a caster. Numloch's victory wasn't narrow; they took heavy losses, but they still wiped out Weatherbug totally. Numloch only withdrew because they ran out of enemies to kill and were still taking damage from Digdoug's traps. It's all pretty clear in DigDoug 6.

Taikei no Yuurei wrote:And think back to Wanda. If there had never been a prediction about her, would Olive have captured her? Would she have made all the maneuvers required for capture instead of simple croaking?
I think so. Wanda is a Croakamancer and Haffaton really needed low-upkeep units. Plus, Haffaton had its own Predictamancer and who knows what Predictions. Maybe Haffaton knew that Wanda was capable of attuning.

Taikei no Yuurei wrote:And with Parson... if Charlie hadn't had a prediction that Parson would defeat him, would he have taken the steps that made Parson -want- to defeat him? That put Charlie as a direct opponent of Parson?
We don't know that Charlie has a prediction like that. In fact, if Charlie did have a prediction like that then I think Charlie would have been smart enough to not antagonize Parson. The mere fact that Charlie knows that Parson is an enormously dangerous potato man should be enough to explain Charlie's actions.

Taikei no Yuurei wrote:Does the act of prediction actually create a problem as opposed to simply reveal one?
If Predictions are self-fulfilling, then creating problems is exactly what they do. I admit that it is possible, but it would be very strange when considered with the apparent design of Erfworld. The Titans seem to have made Erfworld according to strict and simple rules. All units pop to help their own side, unless predictions are self-fulfilling, in which case Predictamancers apparently choose to hurt their own side quite often.

Taikei no Yuurei wrote:Fate can actually create a side out of nothing. It's called popping barbarians.
You're right about that, of course. Thank you for the correction.
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Re: Predictamancy and Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Postby 0beron » Tue Mar 18, 2014 7:28 pm

Yeah Taikei you summed it up pretty well. They key factor here is that only certain aspects of the event are Predicted. There is no set "this air assault will happen" event. Rather, the Prediction could instead be worded "In all possible futures, this city will face an air assault." By hiring Charlie, Posbroke is attempting to deliberately chose which of those futures he travels to (though he is not aware of it on that meta of a level). Dove isn't "cheating" persay by altering the future or getting them out of the Prediction, she's merely chosing the manner in which the Prediction comes true.
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Re: Predictamancy and Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Postby Taikei no Yuurei » Tue Mar 18, 2014 9:08 pm

Lilwik wrote:There must have been a time limit that we're not being told about. It was probably quite vague since no one seems to know when the attack will happen, but Posbrake wouldn't be so excited about an attack that might happen 10,000 turns in the future. He must have asked the Predictamancer when the attack would be, and the Predictamancer must have given some sort of answer, so if 10,000 turns were a possibility then Posbrake would know about it.
He didn't consider the fact that he could make the air attack happen, why would he consider the fact that the air attack could be in the very distant future? Or even the fact that the attack might happen soon, but he wouldn't control the city at the time. It is true that he might have information about it being sooner rather than later given how he is acting, but we also haven't really seen that he is quite that inclusive of a thinker. (I won't say that he isn't smart or doesn't think of things out of the ordinary, as hiring a predictamancer shows at least the latter, and his determination to test things suggests the former)

If Predictions are self-fulfilling, then why would Marie tell anyone about the fall of Faq or the death of Banhammer? She'd be killing her king, and Duty is supposed to prevent that.

It's possible they don't know that fact. Or maybe they do, but some greater Duty (to the titans? to fate?) compels them to tell anyway. Perhaps part of making a prediction is that you are required to tell at least a certain number of people about it? And that telling allows the self fulfillment to begin. Maybe Predictamancers are agents of the Titans to continue War by setting the dominos of self fulfilling predictions in place which always seem to lead to combat?

That contradicts judgement of the warlords in the story, and they are the ones who should know. Only Digdoug thought he might have been able to help, and he's just a caster. Numloch's victory wasn't narrow; they took heavy losses, but they still wiped out Weatherbug totally. Numloch only withdrew because they ran out of enemies to kill and were still taking damage from Digdoug's traps. It's all pretty clear in DigDoug 6.
I'll concede this most certainly. For some reason I thought he had backing on that, so maybe this isn't a case of self-fulfillment, which would put my theory on shaky ground.

I think so. Wanda is a Croakamancer and Haffaton really needed low-upkeep units. Plus, Haffaton had its own Predictamancer and who knows what Predictions. Maybe Haffaton knew that Wanda was capable of attuning.
But would they have even known of the croakamancer? Would they have believed such a highly placed unit could even be turned? Would Olive have born the affront of a croakamancer working with her if not for the prediction? Similarly, would Olive have bothered keeping Jillian alive and trying so hard to turn her if she didn't think she would kill Judy?

We don't know that Charlie has a prediction like that. In fact, if Charlie did have a prediction like that then I think Charlie would have been smart enough to not antagonize Parson. The mere fact that Charlie knows that Parson is an enormously dangerous potato man should be enough to explain Charlie's actions.
Marie told parson that the entire reason that Charlie is so afraid of Parson is that Charlie knows there is a prediction that Parson will beat him, and that he knows from personal experience how effective a 'summon perfect warlord' is at defeating those they're up against. Actually, just did a bit of rereading and found out it was Jack who told Parson that Charlie feared him because he knew how powerful a perfect warlord that was fated to defeat someone was, and he was very scared because he has one of those coming after him now. Which amounts to the same thing. Parson is (apparently) fated to beat Charlie, and Charlie (equally apparently) knows about it. Now, Jack may not be the perfect source of this, as I don't know how he would know what Charlie does or doesn't know, but... well, his intuition and general knowledge of things he doesn't have any real business knowing is pretty good.

If Predictions are self-fulfilling, then creating problems is exactly what they do. I admit that it is possible, but it would be very strange when considered with the apparent design of Erfworld. The Titans seem to have made Erfworld according to strict and simple rules. All units pop to help their own side, unless predictions are self-fulfilling, in which case Predictamancers apparently choose to hurt their own side quite often.
There isn't anything that says the Titan's goal is everything being equal, or helpful, or equally helpful. In fact, the world seems decidedly created to create imbalance, and saddling a side with predictions seems exactly the sort of thing that helps maintain that imbalance.

Overall, I agree, it isn't the strongest argument ever, and it isn't even something I necessarily believe in entirely, but we have seen alot of evidence of predictions coming true largely (though not exclusively) because of the knowledge of said prediction in the first place, particularly those with longer deadlines. The attack on Weatherbug seemed to be fairly set no matter what was done, but only happened shortly after the prediction (perhaps even the same turn). The air attack on Homekey however, seems like it is only likely to come about because of the prediction itself, barring my own explanation that in the distant future it is virtually inevitable to happen. Still, Rob has time to show us another air threat that the prediction may have been talking about.
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Re: Predictamancy and Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Postby Lilwik » Wed Mar 19, 2014 1:03 am

Taikei no Yuurei wrote:Marie told Parson that the entire reason that Charlie is so afraid of Parson is that Charlie knows there is a prediction that Parson will beat him, and that he knows from personal experience how effective a 'summon perfect warlord' is at defeating those they're up against.
I've looked pretty hard for that and as far as I can tell it never happened.

Taikei no Yuurei wrote:Actually, just did a bit of rereading and found out it was Jack who told Parson that Charlie feared him because he knew how powerful a perfect warlord that was fated to defeat someone was, and he was very scared because he has one of those coming after him now.
You're talking about Epilogue 7. That is interesting, but neither Parson nor Jack are in a position to really know what they are talking about. They seem to be basing it entirely on Judy's story, and Jack wasn't involved in summoning Judy, nor was he involved in summoning Parson. I imagine that the Fate magic around Parson is quite complicated. We've never heard a Prediction saying that Parson will kill Charlie, and I don't think we're likely to hear one any time soon, since Marie seems to think that Parson needs help, and Charlie seems to think that Parson can be stopped.

Taikei no Yuurei wrote:Parson is (apparently) fated to beat Charlie, and Charlie (equally apparently) knows about it.
That isn't apparent. The story has gone out of its way to avoid letting us in on that secret. Marie says that Parson is in Erfworld to end all war. The Thinkamancers want Parson to beat Charlie, but that's not the same as being fated to do it. Isaac says that Parson is in Erfworld to accomplish three things (well, four) but never said what those things are. It's all very mysterious, with no clear answers.

Taikei no Yuurei wrote:There isn't anything that says the Titan's goal is everything being equal, or helpful, or equally helpful. In fact, the world seems decidedly created to create imbalance, and saddling a side with predictions seems exactly the sort of thing that helps maintain that imbalance.
It doesn't create an imbalance if Predictamancers are disbanded soon after they pop, which is what people would surely do if Predictamancers are magically forced to make bad self-fulfilling Predictions. But it's possible that Predictamancy really is the bad discipline, the discipline that the Titans created to see if people are paying attention. Dove said that Predictamancy is a trap. Maybe the right move is to disband your Predictamancer, but I'm going to want more evidence before I believe that.

Taikei no Yuurei wrote:Overall, I agree, it isn't the strongest argument ever, and it isn't even something I necessarily believe in entirely, but we have seen alot of evidence of predictions coming true largely (though not exclusively) because of the knowledge of said prediction in the first place, particularly those with longer deadlines.
To me that just sounds like it's coming from our inability to see as far ahead as Predictamancy can, since you specify long-term predictions. Predictamancy isn't just looking down the path that actually happens; it is looking down all paths, including paths that we can only speculate about. Long-term Predictions would surely need many possible ways to make them happen. We only see one way, and that tends to lead us into thinking that many events had to happen in just the way they did to get the Predicted outcome, but it's not necessarily true. The more turns that are involved, the harder it is for us to figure out all the many ways that an outcome could happen. We shouldn't confuse that with evidence that there really are only a few ways for it to happen.

For example, would Jillian have killed the ruler of Haffaton if it hadn't been Predicted? It's impossible to know because we've never seen what Haffaton would have been like without that Prediction. That Prediction shaped so many events in Book 0, but without that Prediction I'm sure that Jillian would still have wanted to kill the ruler of Haffaton, and that might still have lead to Jillian killing Olive somehow. Or perhaps Jillian would have killed Judy. There's too many possibilities for us to figure out any solid answers, since we don't have magic to help us.
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Re: Predictamancy and Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Postby Shai_hulud » Wed Mar 19, 2014 1:56 am

Lilwik wrote:
Godzfirefly wrote:Is it a video they see and they just don't tell all the details?
That is certainly not possible. Why would a Predictamancer deliberately choose to keep important details secret?
This is wrong. At least three different casters have outright stated that they restrict access to vital information from their rulers and sides, even if it would be bad for the long term health or survival of said side. And it was stated that this behavior wasn't unique to them, but was a behavior nearly all casters of their class engaged in too. Dishonesty on Erf is institutionalized, and has been for generations.


Lilwik wrote:
Taikei no Yuurei wrote:I do however think that predictions in Erfworld seem to be self fulfilling to some degree.
If Predictions are self-fulfilling, then why would Marie tell anyone about the fall of Faq or the death of Banhammer? She'd be killing her king, and Duty is supposed to prevent that.
No. We've seen people with loyalties to things other than their side. And we know loyalty works different than most rulers think it does. So why would you think that duty would stop that?

Lilwik wrote:
Taikei no Yuurei wrote:If the prediction had never been made about weatherbug, based on by how narrow a margin they were beaten by, it is very likely that his presence would have made the difference and kept some of the living units alive, though it is still possible that he wouldn't have been enough.
That contradicts judgement of the warlords in the story, and they are the ones who should know. Only Digdoug thought he might have been able to help, and he's just a caster.
Incorrect. Warlords canonically make terrible decisions about fighting with and against casters from lack of understanding of magic, for the same reason that casters often make poor decision in combat from lack of understanding of strategic goals and poor intelligence. Digdoug for instance says that nobody actually tells him anything, and then is frustrated when people don't realize he doesn't know anything about something they never told him. And at all three of Goodminton, Haffaton, and Gobwin Knob, warlords were either prevented from learning about magic, or didn't want to. People can't be expected to make correct decisions when information is so heavily segregated.
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Re: Predictamancy and Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Postby Lilwik » Wed Mar 19, 2014 2:24 am

Shai_hulud wrote:At least three different casters have outright stated that they restrict access to vital information from their rulers and sides, even if it would be bad for the long term health or survival of said side.
I'd like to know who said that and when, because that's quite a thing to say. I don't know what you could be referring to.

Shai_hulud wrote:
Lilwik wrote:If Predictions are self-fulfilling, then why would Marie tell anyone about the fall of Faq or the death of Banhammer? She'd be killing her king, and Duty is supposed to prevent that.
No. We've seen people with loyalties to things other than their side. And we know loyalty works different than most rulers think it does. So why would you think that duty would stop that?
It doesn't necessarily always stop it, but we really ought to have at theory about why Marie might want to kill Banhammer before we conclude that she actually deliberately killed him. Marie supported Banhammer's dream of life without fighting, so a motive is hard to figure out.
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Re: Predictamancy and Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Postby Godzfirefly » Wed Mar 19, 2014 2:53 am

Lilwik wrote:I'd like to know who said that and when, because that's quite a thing to say. I don't know what you could be referring to.


At least one is Delphi. And, of course, all the Thinkamancers restrict information about Charlie's ability to compromise Thinkagrams (something I'm sure Charlie is just fine with, by the way.) I'll gladly admit that hiding info because of Charlie's contract shouldn't count, though.
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Re: Predictamancy and Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Postby Lilwik » Wed Mar 19, 2014 3:05 am

Godzfirefly wrote:At least one is Delphi.
Delphie only hid things for the good of her side. She would never say that she would hide things even if it were bad for her side.

Godzfirefly wrote:And, of course, all the Thinkamancers restrict information about Charlie's ability to compromise Thinkagrams (something I'm sure Charlie is just fine with, by the way.)
That does seem like a real example, though I expect they don't think they are actually doing serious harm. That one is surely done through mind control, so it's probably a unique case.

Godzfirefly wrote:I'll gladly admit that hiding info because of Charlie's contract shouldn't count, though.
Especially since there's no clear reason to think keeping that secret was causing Gobwin Knob any harm.
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Re: Predictamancy and Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Postby Godzfirefly » Wed Mar 19, 2014 4:31 am

Lilwik wrote:
Godzfirefly wrote:At least one is Delphi.
Delphie only hid things for the good of her side. She would never say that she would hide things even if it were bad for her side.


To be truly fair, we don't know that. Not at all. We only know that she kept secrets from her ruler and tried manipulating his fate without his will. Nothing about the situation said it was for the good of her side, at least not all the secrets. And, we can definitely not say she would "never say that she would hide things even if it were bad for her side." Delphi's secrets had secrets...
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Re: Predictamancy and Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Postby Lilwik » Wed Mar 19, 2014 6:21 am

Godzfirefly wrote:We only know that she kept secrets from her ruler and tried manipulating his fate without his will. Nothing about the situation said it was for the good of her side, at least not all the secrets. And, we can definitely not say she would "never say that she would hide things even if it were bad for her side." Delphi's secrets had secrets...
I can't read Delphie's mind, but I can read what she said, and reading B0E24 makes me pretty confident about what other things she might say. She wanted people to understand that the lies she told were for the good of Goodminton, and surely that was actually true. The situation doesn't seem nearly as complicated as you make it sound.

Delphie could see that Goodminton was headed toward a confrontation with Haffaton that Goodminton couldn't survive. Delphie magically determined that if Goodminton popped a commander it would be a caster with a valuable and powerful Fate, but Overlord Firebaugh wasn't interested in popping a caster. He wanted to pop more cheap soldiers to fuel the war. Delphie managed to convince him to pop a commander, even promising him that it would be a warlord. She probably promised him that it would be a very good warlord, just what he would need. She had good reason to believe that he would never have agreed if he knew it would be a caster, since he disliked magic. Delphie waited for Wanda to pop, then went into the Magic Kingdom to negotiate with Haffaton for an alliance in exchange for Wanda. It's a pretty simple plan and if it had worked it would have saved Goodminton from being destroyed by Haffaton, at least temporarily. I see no indication that that Delphie was doing any deeper deception than that.

I suspect that most Predictamancers tell lies for the good of their sides. Their Duty must compel that sort of behaviour, because honesty is not really always best. The right thing to do always depends on the consequences of your actions. Rule-based ethics may tell you that lying is bad, but it only does that in a crude attempt to guide people toward the best outcomes, since lying very often leads to bad outcomes. A Predictamancer is beyond mere deontological ethics because a Predictamancer can view outcomes directly and needs no-one's guidance to find the best outcomes. If a Predictamancer knew that by lying to her ruler she would save her side, and that telling the truth would destroy her side, her Duty would be clear.
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Re: Predictamancy and Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Postby Taikei no Yuurei » Wed Mar 19, 2014 10:31 am

Lilwik wrote:
Taikei no Yuurei wrote:Marie told Parson that the entire reason that Charlie is so afraid of Parson is that Charlie knows there is a prediction that Parson will beat him, and that he knows from personal experience how effective a 'summon perfect warlord' is at defeating those they're up against.
I've looked pretty hard for that and as far as I can tell it never happened.
Indeed, that we me misrembering Jack.

Lilwik wrote:
Taikei no Yuurei wrote:Actually, just did a bit of rereading and found out it was Jack who told Parson that Charlie feared him because he knew how powerful a perfect warlord that was fated to defeat someone was, and he was very scared because he has one of those coming after him now.
You're talking about Epilogue 7. That is interesting, but neither Parson nor Jack are in a position to really know what they are talking about. They seem to be basing it entirely on Judy's story, and Jack wasn't involved in summoning Judy, nor was he involved in summoning Parson. I imagine that the Fate magic around Parson is quite complicated. We've never heard a Prediction saying that Parson will kill Charlie, and I don't think we're likely to hear one any time soon, since Marie seems to think that Parson needs help, and Charlie seems to think that Parson can be stopped.
Taikei no Yuurei wrote:Parson is (apparently) fated to beat Charlie, and Charlie (equally apparently) knows about it.
That isn't apparent. The story has gone out of its way to avoid letting us in on that secret. Marie says that Parson is in Erfworld to end all war. The Thinkamancers want Parson to beat Charlie, but that's not the same as being fated to do it. Isaac says that Parson is in Erfworld to accomplish three things (well, four) but never said what those things are. It's all very mysterious, with no clear answers.
We haven't heard the prediction, but when Parson asks Issac "How many predictions am I fulfilling?" after being told he was only allowed to be summoned because he was going to defeat Charlie, Issac replies "Three. Well, four." which to me indicates that he is in fact predicted to defeat Charlie. Perhaps not croak him, but defeat him, and likely in a big way, not a way that could be interpreted as just in some random battle or anything like that. And Charlie is all about information. I'd be exceedingly surprised if he hadn't heard the prediction somehow. Possibly just from hiring a predictamancer of his own. And either way, people are acting on the prediction(s) surrounding him.

Lilwik wrote:
Taikei no Yuurei wrote:There isn't anything that says the Titan's goal is everything being equal, or helpful, or equally helpful. In fact, the world seems decidedly created to create imbalance, and saddling a side with predictions seems exactly the sort of thing that helps maintain that imbalance.
It doesn't create an imbalance if Predictamancers are disbanded soon after they pop, which is what people would surely do if Predictamancers are magically forced to make bad self-fulfilling Predictions. But it's possible that Predictamancy really is the bad discipline, the discipline that the Titans created to see if people are paying attention. Dove said that Predictamancy is a trap. Maybe the right move is to disband your Predictamancer, but I'm going to want more evidence before I believe that.
And thus do Predictamancers continue.

Lilwik wrote:
Taikei no Yuurei wrote:Overall, I agree, it isn't the strongest argument ever, and it isn't even something I necessarily believe in entirely, but we have seen alot of evidence of predictions coming true largely (though not exclusively) because of the knowledge of said prediction in the first place, particularly those with longer deadlines.
To me that just sounds like it's coming from our inability to see as far ahead as Predictamancy can, since you specify long-term predictions. Predictamancy isn't just looking down the path that actually happens; it is looking down all paths, including paths that we can only speculate about. Long-term Predictions would surely need many possible ways to make them happen. We only see one way, and that tends to lead us into thinking that many events had to happen in just the way they did to get the Predicted outcome, but it's not necessarily true. The more turns that are involved, the harder it is for us to figure out all the many ways that an outcome could happen. We shouldn't confuse that with evidence that there really are only a few ways for it to happen.
Indeed, and there are some predictions that are likely inevitable even without anything special around them. But we've learned from Delphie (among others) that Fate is a force that can apply pressures of various kinds. Delphie was sad that Goodmintion had no Destiny, and thus anything could happen to it. That meant Fate wasn't going to apply any forces on it except to fulfill other predictions. So, does making a Prediction generate that force from Fate, or does it simply reveal something Fate is already doing? Quite possibly the Prediction itself is one of Fate's tools. A Predictamancer sees a prediction when knowledge of it would cause people to start acting in a way to fulfill it. And as I said earlier, not all predictions are bad. Some are good, which could be the balancing factor, we've just mostly heard about bad ones. But Wanda getting an arkentool? That was good.

Lilwik wrote:For example, would Jillian have killed the ruler of Haffaton if it hadn't been Predicted? It's impossible to know because we've never seen what Haffaton would have been like without that Prediction. That Prediction shaped so many events in Book 0, but without that Prediction I'm sure that Jillian would still have wanted to kill the ruler of Haffaton, and that might still have lead to Jillian killing Olive somehow. Or perhaps Jillian would have killed Judy. There's too many possibilities for us to figure out any solid answers, since we don't have magic to help us.
It is impossible to know, but it seems distinctly less likely. After all, there were several times when Olive would have croaked Jillian if not for the prediction surrounding her. It is possible that if Olive hadn't known about the prediction, Jillian could have eventually killed Judy or Olive through some other means. It is also possible that if the prediction hadn't been made, it never would have happened. Perhaps it would be better not to put it that Predictions are entirely self fulfilling, but self fulfillment seems to be the easiest route for a Prediction to take. Wanda could be an example here of this really. If she had gone along with the Prediction, it would have been fulfilled very easily, but since she didn't, it was much more difficult for Fate to fulfill, though even there Fate had help from Olive attempting to fulfill it.

Personally I feel that Predictions are a serious knot to deal with, and while I wouldn't necessarily say that not dealing with Predictamancers at all is the right course, I think they should be used to make Predictions with extreme caution... and with a carnymancer by your side ;P

P.S. Of course, to some degree we're dealing with much more serious philosophical questions about the nature of how the universe and time and quantum mechanics and such actually works, which I highly doubt any of us are even vaguely qualified for.
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