Book 2 – Page 50

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Re: Book 2 – Page 50

Postby atalex » Sat Jan 01, 2011 10:48 pm

oslecamo2 wrote:He parleys only as a distraction while he prepares to deliver another blow. Like he did right now. Sending Ossomer to parley did bought Hamster several precious moments to put his plan in motion. But he never intended for a peacefull settlement. Crushing Jetstone is still his main objective.


Parson has repeatedly mentioned diplomacy as a viable strategy. He wanted to negotiate with Charlie but Stanley wouldn't allow it (or more accurately, Wanda told Parson that Stanley wouldn't allow it -- I have my suspicions about her honesty, but that's another thread). He also mentioned diplomacy, where feasible, as preferable to fighting (see http://www.erfworld.com/book-1-archive/?px=%2F124.jpg). The only reason Parson completely disregarded parlay in this case is because Prince Ossomer, heir to the King of Jetstone, expressly told him that his father was not seriously interested in parlay and would only offer insulting terms as prelude to an attack! Personally, I have no doubt that if Trem and Parson had actually had a chance to converse, Parson would have been pleasantly surprised at Jetstone's willingness to deal, and the two might well have hammered out (no pun intended) a mutually beneficial arrangement.

Tram's idiocy was in intending to hold an honest parley and then opening that parley with a lot of insults and useless bluster.


Tram's goal in insulting Decrypted Ossomer was assess his brother's altered personality and find out if there was anything of his brother left, or if he was merely "Ossomer-thing" as his father believed. Given how strikingly ambivalent Ossomer seems compared to the blind fervor of nearly every other Decrypted we've seen, I think he may have gotten some useful intel on that score. There is nothing at all out of the ordinary in opening a negotiation from a posture of overbearing strength, particularly when you actually believe you are in a position of overbearing strength. It allows you to come back later and act humble and contrite so as to let your opponent think he's beaten you. Remember, Tram himself thought the S-bombs were just "bluster" and perfectly understandable, since the dragons would still have been trapped in the airspace absent the Banana 'Sploit (I love writing that).

I really am astonished at how emotionally invested some folks are at the idea that Tram is an incompetent fool simply because he hasn't crushed Erfworld's "perfect warlord" who also happens to be the protagonist of the whole damn story! You're angry that Tram didn't just skip the conversation with Slately, skip the conversation with Charlie, skip the conversation with Ossomer, and just open up on Wanda with everything they had as soon as he got back to the tower thirty updates ago, which, given how the Banana 'Sploit works, was really his last opportunity to wipe out GK. At which point, presumably, Parson would have looked down at Maggie and said, "Well, that's the end of Book 2, I guess. Let's go down to the larder and eat a sandwich with Stanley."
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Re: Book 2 – Page 50

Postby Oberon » Sat Jan 01, 2011 10:58 pm

Sylvan wrote:I've read your position in multiple threads before this one, I disagree with it. I think Anson Gotti also thoroughly rebutted your belief that Tramennis was only opening the parlay with silly insults by demonstrating what Tramennis learned from said parlay. I think your argument that Tramennis did little to nothing to discourage an inevitable tantrum that could only have hit unimportant targets** qualifies as someone holding the idiot ball is rather silly.
I'm sorry you feel that I cherry picked your post. Cherry picking is usually done to attack some small portion of a post which might not be as rigorously correct as the remainder. I only quoted a portion of your post because I felt that the portion I quoted summed up your position, not as a means to attack a portion of your position while ignoring the remainder.

I disagree that any post from Anson Gotti (or anyone else) "thoroughly rebutted" my position on Tram's opening via insults. When time is of the essence, and when you have a primary objective that you have stated to your father is vital to the future of your entire Side, trading that time in the pursuit of a secondary objective, no matter how valuable the secondary objective might be, is nothing but pure idiocy. Nothing that Tram learned during his conversation with Ossomer has or had any value at all in comparison with achieving the number one objective of forming an alliance with GK. Nothing. If that simple value comparison is viewed by others differently, all I can do is disagree.

And with regards to "inevitable tantrum" and "unimportant targets": An act is only inevitable if you take no action to prevent it. And that action, diplomacy, is supposed to be Tram's strong suit. But instead of attempting to prevent the tantrum, Tram went after secondary objectives and gained nothing for that choice. And calling the atrium and the troops within it unimportant is like calling shmuckers and time unimportant. To repair the atrium will cost shmuckers, and to replace the troops will cost time. Neither being resources that Jetstone has in plenty right now.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 50

Postby Oberon » Sat Jan 01, 2011 11:11 pm

atalex wrote:Tram's goal in insulting Decrypted Ossomer was assess his brother's altered personality and find out if there was anything of his brother left, or if he was merely "Ossomer-thing" as his father believed.
You see, I don't think that Tram speaking with Ossomer was stupid. Just that the timing was stupid. Tram was already planning to demand Wanda and the 'pliers in his parley. Asking for Ossomer as well would have given Tram all the time in the world to speak with Ossomer. Tram apparently didn't think of this, or of the greater importance of communicating that this parley was going to be different than the typical royal parley. Which for a smart diplomat to overlook is the very definition of holding the idiot ball.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 50

Postby Althernai » Sat Jan 01, 2011 11:16 pm

Oberon wrote:When time is of the essence, and when you have a primary objective that you have stated to your father is vital to the future of your entire Side, trading that time in the pursuit of a secondary objective, no matter how valuable the secondary objective might be, is nothing but pure idiocy.

But time is not of the essence -- not unless you know about the loophole in the rules that Parson just exploited. As far as Tremmenis and everyone else in Jetstone are concerned, they have all the time in the world: the Gobwin Knob forces are sitting ducks and they can negotiate and/or blow them out of the sky at their leisure. Tremmenis's actions are of course a mistake, but all of them would be OK if not for Parson's exploit (well, except for saying "What can possibly go wrong?", but that was humorous). Without the falling trick, he could take his time and discuss all of the primary, secondary and tertiary objectives he wants.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 50

Postby Infidel » Sat Jan 01, 2011 11:27 pm

oslecamo2 wrote:Because GK's Chief Warlord is now Parson "I WOULD RATHER BLOW UP MY CITY AND TROOPS AND THEN JUMP INTO A PORTAL THAT SHOULD BY ALL MEANS KILL ME RATHER THAN PARLEY FOR ANY KIND OF TRUCE OR SURRENDER!" Hamster. He parleys only as a distraction while he prepares to deliver another blow. Like he did right now. Sending Ossomer to parley did bought Hamster several precious moments to put his plan in motion. But he never intended for a peacefull settlement. Crushing Jetstone is still his main objective.



Jack told Parson that any Parley terms offered by Jetstone would be intended to add insult to injury, and would not be a sincere attempt at parley. If Parson believed that Jetstone intended to parley in good faith, then we might not be having this battle.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 50

Postby Oberon » Sat Jan 01, 2011 11:30 pm

oslecamo2 wrote:
Oberon wrote:And also remember that Ansom wasn't offering a true surrender, just a formalized suicide.

How do you know that? Those were the words of a crazy man. While Jetstone is renowed for being an alliance master in a world of war.
I know that because of the authors revealing this to be the case via a great many examples. And citing the RCC as an example of alliance doesn't do much for your case when the RCC was specifically formed to do what? Oh, yeah...Destroy GK. Ansom wasn't offering an alliance, he was demanding a surrender. A surrender in which only the caster units had any real hope of survival. The only thing surprising is that Erfworld even has the concept of a surrender at all. The units lined up in chains waiting for a sword to fall have every right to feel betrayed that they weren't allowed to go down stabbing.
Althernai wrote:But time is not of the essence -- not unless you know about the loophole in the rules that Parson just exploited. As far as Tremmenis and everyone else in Jetstone are concerned, they have all the time in the world: the Gobwin Knob forces are sitting ducks and they can negotiate and/or blow them out of the sky at their leisure.
This has nothing to do with loopholes, known or unknown. Time was of the essence because it is widely known that royals do not parley in earnest. They parley only to offer insult, and then to attack. If Tram intended to parley in earnest, then the smart man would make some attempt to convey to the GK forces that doing as much damage to Jetstone as they could, while they could, was not going to be necessary.
Infidel wrote:Jack told Parson that any Parley terms offered by Jetstone would be intended to add insult to injury, and would not be a sincere attempt at parley. If Parson believed that Jetstone intended to parley in good faith, then we might not be having this battle.
Exactly! And who could have possibly convinced Parson of this? Tram, the smart diplomat?
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Re: Book 2 – Page 50

Postby fractal » Sat Jan 01, 2011 11:36 pm

Oberon wrote:I disagree that any post from Anson Gotti (or anyone else) "thoroughly rebutted" my position on Tram's opening via insults. When time is of the essence, and when you have a primary objective that you have stated to your father is vital to the future of your entire Side, trading that time in the pursuit of a secondary objective, no matter how valuable the secondary objective might be, is nothing but pure idiocy. Nothing that Tram learned during his conversation with Ossomer has or had any value at all in comparison with achieving the number one objective of forming an alliance with GK. Nothing. If that simple value comparison is viewed by others differently, all I can do is disagree.

And with regards to "inevitable tantrum" and "unimportant targets": An act is only inevitable if you take no action to prevent it. And that action, diplomacy, is supposed to be Tram's strong suit. But instead of attempting to prevent the tantrum, Tram went after secondary objectives and gained nothing for that choice. And calling the atrium and the troops within it unimportant is like calling shmuckers and time unimportant. To repair the atrium will cost shmuckers, and to replace the troops will cost time. Neither being resources that Jetstone has in plenty right now.

Here's why Tramennis has to open with insults (as far as he knows): He's about to open up tricky negotiations with GK. He wants them to feel like Jetstone will crush them, if it so chooses - to do this, he needs to project an attitude of confidence at least bordering on arrogance. When Parson attacks with the yellow dwagons, that's frustrating both because of the damage they deal, and because Tramennis has to croak them, reducing his bargaining power for subsequent negotiations. However, such a loss could still be less costly than appearing weak before GK.

Suppose that minus the strike force, a war between GK and the coalition is a coin flip. Jetstone isn't necessarily doomed, but that's a 50% (or worse) chance of survival for Jetstone. It is Tramennis's Duty to make sure that doesn't happen - these negotiations need to go well. The greater the possible surplus from peace that GK and Jetstone can achieve, the more important it is to seem ruthless and inflexible rather than weak and easily swayed, in order to claim a large share of that surplus.

By letting GK know that he will never bend or tolerate any insult, Tramennis sets the stage for GK accepting the worst possible peace terms that still give them something. In other words, he's trying to establish credibility in a deadly game of "Chicken" - he has to convince GK that he won't give in unless they give him everything he wants. His only mistake is that the game being played isn't the game he thinks it is.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 50

Postby Althernai » Sun Jan 02, 2011 12:13 am

Oberon wrote:This has nothing to do with loopholes, known or unknown. Time was of the essence because it is widely known that royals do not parley in earnest. They parley only to offer insult, and then to attack. If Tram intended to parley in earnest, then the smart man would make some attempt to convey to the GK forces that doing as much damage to Jetstone as they could, while they could, was not going to be necessary.

Again, I don't see the reason for urgency. The Gobwin Knob forces are sitting ducks -- there is practically nothing they can do so they don't really have anything better to do than to listen to his offer. They cannot cross zones and without that they cannot do any damage to Jetstone (except for the yellows which he thought about and decided that he would just tack the damages onto the final agreement). Tremmenis did everything right, the only problem is that Gobwin Knob can in fact cross zones.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 50

Postby GaryThunder » Sun Jan 02, 2011 12:43 am

Something I hadn't noticed earlier...

Look at Slately's expression in Panel 9, as he watches Tramennis react to the situation. He's thoughtful. Considering. Maybe starting to rethink his opinion of Tramennis. He clearly didn't think Tram was fit for the job when this whole mess started, but maybe he's changing his mind...

Not that it'll matter probably in the long run, but it's an interesting note.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 50

Postby Hatu » Sun Jan 02, 2011 1:20 am

Kyrt wrote:
Whispri wrote:Perhaps not, but he could at least be aware of the danger. Have his troops ready to react at the first sign of trouble.


Which would be? The problem is, as far as Erfworlders appear to be concerned, GKs ability to do ANYTHING was severely curtailed. They could only move within the hex. Their only method of attack was via the yellows. They were covered by 600 archers and several tower boosted casters.

GK...off turn...had two viable options.

The first was to use the yellows to attack. Tram dealt with this by having them move over the Atrium where they wouldn't spoil his parley.
The second was die. Tram helped with this by having 600 archers on hand.


Two points, one for each plan.

As far as Plan 1 goes, I still don't understand why Tram positioned his ground forces in atrium, then ordered them to evacuate as soon as the battle started. Why intentionally put troops in the line of fire if you plan to retreat the instant they take fire?

But the more important point is for Plan 2. Namely, what happens when they "die." Everyone knew dead bodies fall out of the Airspace zone, so why is everyone other than Parson so insistent that you can't move between zones out of turn?!? Sure, for mundane units it probably won't matter unless the ground force is massively outnumbered, but we all know Casters are anything but mundane.

Unless Jetstone was overwhelmingly certain that they could kill Wanda without killing her mount, there was *always* a chance that she'd survive the fall and wreak then havoc on Space Rock. Yet it sure seems like that possibility had never even occurred to Tramennis (or anyone else, for that matter) until he saw Wanda on the ground.

Hell, even that assessment is being generous. Even if Jetstone was CERTAIN they could pick Wanda off, they knew Jack was in the zone, too. Given that we know of Foolamancy, that means JS would have had to bludgeon their way through every rider, then every other mount before it could be certain Wanda was safely dead. Yet not only did we never see such orders mentioned, we actually saw Tramennis order his archers to target the Yellows directly.

Frankly, Tram's lucky that Parson had a much bigger plan in mind, or he might have lost to an even simpler trick.


atalex wrote:I really am astonished at how emotionally invested some folks are at the idea that Tram is an incompetent fool simply because he hasn't crushed Erfworld's "perfect warlord" who also happens to be the protagonist of the whole damn story! You're angry that Tram didn't just skip the conversation with Slately, skip the conversation with Charlie, skip the conversation with Ossomer, and just open up on Wanda with everything they had as soon as he got back to the tower thirty updates ago, which, given how the Banana 'Sploit works, was really his last opportunity to wipe out GK. At which point, presumably, Parson would have looked down at Maggie and said, "Well, that's the end of Book 2, I guess. Let's go down to the larder and eat a sandwich with Stanley."


Based on what we've seen of the harvesting exploit, it's not clear that targeting Wanda with massed firepower would have mattered in the first place.

It clear Jetstone was never in a position to kill her "instantly;" otherwise, they could have targeted and killed her the instant she entered the hex. We know it's possible to "screen" units, so presumably JS would have to either fight through the screen, or hope for enough lucky shots to slip through the screen, in order to actually kill Wanda. But Parson's trick is pretty quick to implement once it's started. So did they JS ever have enough time?

It's impossible to say for certain, but I'm skeptical. Parson had finished briefing Wanda on the plan just after Tram made his call to Charlie. So even if Tram had ordered the assault the instant he took command of the city's defenses, that's probably not enough to ensure Wanda's death before she hit the ground. Even if Slately had ordered the assault as soon as he realized GK was trapped in the hex, it might not have been enough; he'd have to wait until after Jillian's forces had left, and without the Archers (or Dittomancer) from Tram's forces, it would presumably have taken even longer to kill Wanda. So it may be that nothing Jetstone could have done would realistically have prevented Wanda from breaching the Garrison, though it might have forced her down in a less dangerous zone. Again, it's hard to say until we see Parson's battle plan in full.

But personally, I think JS was screwed the instant Jillian left; she mattered, because fliers could have could have strafed Wanda to death after she was grounded. At least, I think that's how the selective engagement rules work. Without Jillian, Jetstone's only hope was that Wanda wouldn't survive the fall, and unfortunately for them, Jack is too awesome to be thwarted by mere odds.

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Re: Book 2 – Page 50

Postby Oberon » Sun Jan 02, 2011 1:55 am

fractal wrote:Here's why Tramennis has to open with insults (as far as he knows): [Entirely reasonable proposal of why Tram did what he did snipped] [...] His only mistake is that the game being played isn't the game he thinks it is.
There is only one issue with your proposal, which you pointed out: Tram was wrong. Go read the definition of Holding the Idiot ball, and you'll see that the trope requires a character to fail in their arena, to act foolishly in an area in which they have been portrayed to be competent. So when the single character in Erfworld who is described as thinking differently than his peers in such a way that he is assigned to diplomatic missions, missions which his father the king feels have brought Jetstone more shmuckers than any of his other sons and daughters, when this character fails in his one area where he should be expected to be excellent, this is holding the idiot ball. That the single diplomat in a world full of carbon copy stabbers would so completely misread the most important diplomatic event of his lifetime, that is the very definition of holding the idiot ball.
Althernai wrote:Tremmenis did everything right, [...]
No, if Tram had done everything right he'd be discussing terms with Parson now, instead of trying to figure out what is happening to him. If he had even tried, I'd give him a pass. But he didn't even make an effort to be diplomatic.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 50

Postby Sieggy » Sun Jan 02, 2011 2:21 am

Trem thought his troops were safe in the Atrium. Since they were not needed for the battle, which was a purely air battle, their only function would be mopping up any wounded enemy units that were laying on the ground. And once those units started dropping, then the ground troops would be deployed. Even assuming that Wanda survived the enemy fire and made it to the ground alive, she would be immediately slain, as Duke Antium thought he was doing. And as Trem MAY STILL think he's doing. From our POV (Jack's), we could see him stabbing at emptiness.

But . . . do Trem and Slately see him stabbing Wanda, or going postal on an empty piece of floor . . ? If the former, then Trem will think (especially after the volley kills him) that the threat is over, at least for a few crucial moments. If the latter, then Trem needs to start looking and pointing out targets. (BTW, I'm assuming that the ability to direct fire to a specific target is a function of a CWL's natural Thinkamancy). But if Jack can maintain the illusion of Wanda's lifeless body (full of arrows) for a little bit longer. . .

You're assuming that Wanda could decrypt across hex boundaries, if you think that she could decrypt all the units that fell before her. I doubt that would be the case, and I suspect that Trem would think the same way. If a unit was dead on the ground and she was still trapped in airspace, she could not raise them, ergo, no threat. And if she fell, it would be very unlikely she'd be in a position to raise anything before being set upon by ground units. As it would be now, if not for Jack . . .

An interesting thought, though . . . if Charlie is on one Thinkagram, can he listen in on another at the same time? Can he parallel process, or as omniscient as he seems to be, can he only take one call at a time? This is a possible exploit that Parson my want to make use of down the road. Since he was talking with Prince Sammy, then Jillian, then Trem while Parson was communicating with Jack & Wanda via Maggie, Charlie may know that SOMETHING was up (traffic analysis), but was unable to listen in directly, as he was otherwise occupied.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 50

Postby Althernai » Sun Jan 02, 2011 2:30 am

Oberon wrote:No, if Tram had done everything right he'd be discussing terms with Parson now, instead of trying to figure out what is happening to him. If he had even tried, I'd give him a pass. But he didn't even make an effort to be diplomatic.

There is nothing he could do to make Parson discuss terms with him. Parson was never interested in a discussion because he correctly assumed that any of Jetstone's offers would be less than what he could take by force. Jetstone would never let Gobwin Knob walk out of this with the Arkenpliers and Parson (who knows this) would never give them up so long as other options remained.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 50

Postby Althernai » Sun Jan 02, 2011 2:37 am

Sieggy wrote:An interesting thought, though . . . if Charlie is on one Thinkagram, can he listen in on another at the same time? Can he parallel process, or as omniscient as he seems to be, can he only take one call at a time? This is a possible exploit that Parson my want to make use of down the road. Since he was talking with Prince Sammy, then Jillian, then Trem while Parson was communicating with Jack & Wanda via Maggie, Charlie may know that SOMETHING was up (traffic analysis), but was unable to listen in directly, as he was otherwise occupied.

Charlie can only process one call at a time, but he made both Tremmenis and Jillian wait while he was eavesdropping on Parson (see here). Thus, Charlie knows the part of the plan we've seen so far, but because Parson tells his soldiers no more than they need to know, Charlie doesn't know that Parson & Co. are about to travel to Jetstone through the Magic Kingdom. Even the part he knows was sufficient to try to get him to recall Jillian and convince Tremmenis not to parley (but he failed at both).
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Re: Book 2 – Page 50

Postby Tiger » Sun Jan 02, 2011 2:58 am

Oberon wrote:
fractal wrote:Here's why Tramennis has to open with insults (as far as he knows): [Entirely reasonable proposal of why Tram did what he did snipped] [...] His only mistake is that the game being played isn't the game he thinks it is.
There is only one issue with your proposal, which you pointed out: Tram was wrong. Go read the definition of Holding the Idiot ball, and you'll see that the trope requires a character to fail in their arena, to act foolishly in an area in which they have been portrayed to be competent. So when the single character in Erfworld who is described as thinking differently than his peers in such a way that he is assigned to diplomatic missions, missions which his father the king feels have brought Jetstone more shmuckers than any of his other sons and daughters, when this character fails in his one area where he should be expected to be excellent, this is holding the idiot ball. That the single diplomat in a world full of carbon copy stabbers would so completely misread the most important diplomatic event of his lifetime, that is the very definition of holding the idiot ball.

Wait, what? Are you saying that being a good diplomat somehow makes you able to predict that your opponent is about to exploit a loophole in the rules of the world in a way that nobody has ever thought of before? Because this whole "Tramennis is stupid" thing is becoming very tiresome. The only person who saw this coming was Charlie, and he gave Tram nothing but a nonspecific warning about how clever Parson was. Even Jack, who knows Parson and his way of thinking better than anyone else in Erfworld (including a certain warlord who learned of Parson's existence less than half an hour ago) had no idea what Parson was about to do until he got his orders. Parson thinking in ways Erfworlders don't, coming up with strategies Erfworlders can't, is arguably the entire point of the comic. Tramennis cannot in any reasonable sense be blamed for not realizing that Gobwin Knob could do anything other than S-bomb unimportant targets. If you take a moment to understand that you, the reader, have a privileged perspective that characters in the comic do not have access to, you'll realize Tram's actions are perfectly sensible for the situation he (and everyone else in the comic) thought he was in.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 50

Postby zilfallon » Sun Jan 02, 2011 3:40 am

Tiger wrote:
Oberon wrote:
fractal wrote:Here's why Tramennis has to open with insults (as far as he knows): [Entirely reasonable proposal of why Tram did what he did snipped] [...] His only mistake is that the game being played isn't the game he thinks it is.
There is only one issue with your proposal, which you pointed out: Tram was wrong. Go read the definition of Holding the Idiot ball, and you'll see that the trope requires a character to fail in their arena, to act foolishly in an area in which they have been portrayed to be competent. So when the single character in Erfworld who is described as thinking differently than his peers in such a way that he is assigned to diplomatic missions, missions which his father the king feels have brought Jetstone more shmuckers than any of his other sons and daughters, when this character fails in his one area where he should be expected to be excellent, this is holding the idiot ball. That the single diplomat in a world full of carbon copy stabbers would so completely misread the most important diplomatic event of his lifetime, that is the very definition of holding the idiot ball.

Wait, what? Are you saying that being a good diplomat somehow makes you able to predict that your opponent is about to exploit a loophole in the rules of the world in a way that nobody has ever thought of before? Because this whole "Tramennis is stupid" thing is becoming very tiresome. The only person who saw this coming was Charlie, and he gave Tram nothing but a nonspecific warning about how clever Parson was. Even Jack, who knows Parson and his way of thinking better than anyone else in Erfworld (including a certain warlord who learned of Parson's existence less than half an hour ago) had no idea what Parson was about to do until he got his orders. Parson thinking in ways Erfworlders don't, coming up with strategies Erfworlders can't, is arguably the entire point of the comic. Tramennis cannot in any reasonable sense be blamed for not realizing that Gobwin Knob could do anything other than S-bomb unimportant targets. If you take a moment to understand that you, the reader, have a privileged perspective that characters in the comic do not have access to, you'll realize Tram's actions are perfectly sensible for the situation he (and everyone else in the comic) thought he was in.


You aren't getting the point. He (or we) isn't saying that he's holding the idiot ball because he can't see the impossible. First, i suggest you read the definition of "holding the idiot ball" from Oberon's link. Holding the idiot ball and being a moron is different. Second, Tram DOESN'T NEED TO PREDICT THE IMPOSSIBLE. No one's blaming for him. All that's being said is, a character that's portrayed as a smart diplomat failing at the first diplomatic action means that he's holding the idiot ball. He could have stopped this mess and started a real parley easly, and then showed us his diplomatic skills. But he didn't. He had the choice, but he didn't.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 50

Postby atalex » Sun Jan 02, 2011 3:43 am

Oberon wrote:There is only one issue with your proposal, which you pointed out: Tram was wrong. Go read the definition of Holding the Idiot ball, and you'll see that the trope requires a character to fail in their arena, to act foolishly in an area in which they have been portrayed to be competent.


Yes, I can click on hyperlinks, thank you.

Oberon wrote:So when the single character in Erfworld who is described as thinking differently than his peers in such a way that he is assigned to diplomatic missions, missions which his father the king feels have brought Jetstone more shmuckers than any of his other sons and daughters, when this character fails in his one area where he should be expected to be excellent, this is holding the idiot ball. That the single diplomat in a world full of carbon copy stabbers would so completely misread the most important diplomatic event of his lifetime, that is the very definition of holding the idiot ball.


No. It. Is. Not. The very TV Tropes page you cite to describes "holding the idiot ball" as an act of incredible, willful stupidity that exists only to drive the plot in some way. Examples of holding the idiot ball include:

1. Willow and Xander failing to realize that Buffy has been replaced by a robot duplicate even though the Buffy-bot acts extremely unlike Buffy and has the same speech patterns as the robot duplicate they had encountered just 3 or 4 episodes before. Xander later fails to realize that it is a robot even when Buffy and the Buffy-bot are standing next to one another right in front of him.

2. Kirk not bothering to raise the shields in Wrath of Khan even though Khan's stolen ship was refusing to respond to proper hails and even after Saavik expressly reminded him of Starfleet regulations directing him to do so in that situtation.

3. Nero in the new Star Trek movie traveling 100 years into the past to get revenge on the guy who was too late to save his home planet of Romulus from destruction ... instead of, you know, saving Romulus himself with his advanced knowledge of the future.

4. The "Skin Deep" episode of House, in which every doctor on the show failed to notice that the "female" patient was lacking a uterus but did have a pair of undescended testes in her abdomen despite numerous ultrasounds and scans.

All of these are examples of "holding the idiot ball," which refers to a character making a ludicrous mistake which no character of even average intelligence in the same situation and with the same training and experience could plausibly make.

Tram's big mistake was failing to realize that GK would use the parlay as cover for an incredibly risky surprise stratagem that blatantly violated Erfworld physics as he knew it in two distinct ways. And once he observed the opening moves of that stratagem, he immediately and quickly initiated steps to counteract it. I simply cannot characterize that as "holding the idiot ball" and I am baffled by the reasoning of anyone who does.

Oberon wrote:
Althernai wrote:Tremmenis did everything right, [...]
No, if Tram had done everything right he'd be discussing terms with Parson now, instead of trying to figure out what is happening to him. If he had even tried, I'd give him a pass. But he didn't even make an effort to be diplomatic.


Well since the act of sending Ossomer to begin the parlay with Tram and Slately was the trigger for the Banana 'Sploit, I really don't see how he ever had any opportunity to exercise meaningful diplomacy. You seem to have a strange, Manichean viewpoint on this topic: Either a character has near omniscience about the status, capabilities and motivations of his enemies such that he can anticipate and prepare for violations of known physical laws or he is "holding the idiot ball." Quite baffling.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 50

Postby Sylvan » Sun Jan 02, 2011 3:57 am

Oberon wrote:Here's what we saw:
Tram: Hi Ossomer. You look stupid, your Overlord is a jerk, and you ought to turn now. I say this now, taking my time you understand, because even though once I get you, the witch, the Arkentool, and the archons in the coming deal and I'll have all the time in the world to turn you then, I like to hear myself snark cleverly at your expense. Time is of no essence, because I'm about to offer such wonderful terms that Parson will have to accept. Then Parson won't need to crap bomb any part of my city, thinking that I'm only offering a parley intending to insult GK before killing the GK units. That would be such a foolish assumption for Parson to make, hahaha! ... Crap, Parson is attacking! Sure wish I hadn't wasted all that time dithering and insulting people instead of offering those great terms that will lead us to an alliance with the Side that can probably still wipe us out if we aren't friends.
Wait....friends....insults....NOOOOO What have I done!

Here is how some choose to interpret it:
Tram: Hi Ossomer. I'm a masterful diplomat, so you ought to turn now. I've got all the time in the world because even though I have discussed with my father how Parson can still attack parts of the city, I'm still really smart to try to turn you now instead of directing my efforts towards preventing that foolish action. It won't happen, anyway. Because I'm smart, and a diplomat, and stuff. No one in a desperate situation is going to interrupt my attempts to turn someone I could have just asked for as part of the lovely terms I was going to offer. I mean, you're a mere warlord and I'm already assuming that a masterclass caster and one of the three known Arkentool artifacts will be no problem as demands, so even though it looks as though I'm wasting time turning you now when I'll have time forever to turn you later, I'm really not wasting time, because I'm a smart diplomat. And there is nothing else I need to be doing right now, because I'm smart! You can't doubt this, Slately said as much only a few dozen updates ago! No, no, don't look at what I'm doing! The back story is the only thing that matters! I'm smart. And a diplomat. I can make deals. Even when I insult people. Turn, now, please. Oh cwap, Parson is attacking...


I understand your argument, I really do. I also disagree with it. I would be willing to offer relevant story points to suggest that you are not correct, but I have already seen a few forum pages of people trying to do that, to which you responded with the above. Once again, my position is that while Tramennis has made decisions that are less than optimal, I do not believe that he is acting inappropriate, out of character, or in any way not consistent with what we should expect of him based upon what the story has told us so far.

You also wrote......

*BBBZZZTTT* Wrong answer! Thanks for playing, and we have some lovely parting gifts for you. This fine idiot ball, just for starters! We were going to also award you with a years supply of hypocrisy, but it appears as though you're stocked up. Here, take this mirror of showing you exactly what you want to see as a consolation prize. Oh, damn, you already have one of those also.

How very lovely, indeed. It is always convenient to be able to choose the point of view that supports any given theory of yours, even when that point of view has to change from opinion to opinion.

Why anyone would constantly carry on defending the undefendable is only understandable in the context of blind, fanboy logic where nothing the character can do or say is able to be criticized, because it says right there in the text that he is a smart guy. Excusing time wasting bantering as being "totally in character" doesn't make the character smart.


...and others. Also, in that post above where you are arguing with Kyrt, King Slately knows that Bea's female caster spoke to him in a male voice and asked to not be disturbed. So, yes, I don't find it as far fetched as you do that Tramennis knows or at least assumes she was linked, nor is Kyrt such a terrible hypocrite for thinking Tramennis can distrust Charlie's motivation with one hand but granting that Charlescomm seems to be orchestrating this battle with the other.

But enough has been said. I stated before (in my first post, actually) that I think you are a bit of a dick. I don't really think I can have a serious discussion with you. Hopefully the above helps to illustrate why.

Oh, except this deserves repeating....

atalex wrote:No. It. Is. Not. The very TV Tropes page you cite to describes "holding the idiot ball" as an act of incredible, willful stupidity that exists only to drive the plot in some way. [...] which refers to a character making a ludicrous mistake which no character of even average intelligence in the same situation and with the same training and experience could plausibly make.

Tram's big mistake was failing to realize that GK would use the parlay as cover for an incredibly risky surprise stratagem that blatantly violated Erfworld physics as he knew it in two distinct ways. And once he observed the opening moves of that stratagem, he immediately and quickly initiated steps to counteract it. I simply cannot characterize that as "holding the idiot ball" and I am baffled by the reasoning of anyone who does.

Well since the act of sending Ossomer to begin the parlay with Tram and Slately was the trigger for the Banana 'Sploit, I really don't see how he ever had any opportunity to exercise meaningful diplomacy. You seem to have a strange, Manichean viewpoint on this topic: Either a character has near omniscience about the status, capabilities and motivations of his enemies such that he can anticipate and prepare for violations of known physical laws or he is "holding the idiot ball." Quite baffling.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 50

Postby atalex » Sun Jan 02, 2011 4:00 am

zilfallon wrote:You aren't getting the point. He (or we) isn't saying that he's holding the idiot ball because he can't see the impossible. First, i suggest you read the definition of "holding the idiot ball" from Oberon's link. Holding the idiot ball and being a moron is different. Second, Tram DOESN'T NEED TO PREDICT THE IMPOSSIBLE. No one's blaming for him.


Honestly, I really do feel like some people are blaming him. The level of vitriol directed at Tram by some folks is vexing, and repeatedly linking to the same TV Trope page isn't helping. You don't get a prize or anything if TV Tropes adds this incident to the "Idiot Ball" page, and personally, if somebody did add Tram's actions during this sequence to that page, I suspect the moderators would say "No, that doesn't go here. That was just a logical misstep resulting from limited information."

zilfallon wrote:All that's being said is, a character that's portrayed as a smart diplomat failing at the first diplomatic action means that he's holding the idiot ball. He could have stopped this mess and started a real parley easly, and then showed us his diplomatic skills. But he didn't. He had the choice, but he didn't.


When, exactly did he have the choice to start a genuine parley?!? Parley's probably been going on for less than a minute. And it was never meant to be a genuine parley from GK's perspective -- at the instant that Parson learned that JS would probably offer a parley, he decided use that as cover for a sneak attack.

If Tram had walked up and said "Hello, Ossomer. Father and I have talked it over, and we've decided to surrender and convert to Toolism. Where do we go to get our new black uniforms? By the way, yours looks really good on you!," everything else would have played out exactly the same except that Ossomer would have had even fewer lines. He'd have just sat there in slack-jawed wonder as S-bombs started falling onto the Atrium roof behind him.

BTW, can we all agree that Ansom, Sylvia and every other member of the RCCI was holding the idiot ball for even thinking about besieging GK in the first place. I mean, they knew or should have known that GK had a thinkamancer, a croackamancer, and a dirtamancer who could form a trimancer link capable of waking up the volcano. What morons they turned out to be!
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Re: Book 2 – Page 50

Postby Angband » Sun Jan 02, 2011 5:04 am

The Archons are stuck up in the airspace, but they do have one spell they could cast to help defend the ground troops with the units in the tower: Flash Mob. We know the spell can be cast across hex boundaries, so should presumably work across city zones too. While it isn't GK's turn, the archons have now been attacked, so they should be able to cast it off-turn.

Plus, boobs.
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