Book 2 – Page 53

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Re: Book 2 – Page 53

Postby Lamech » Thu Feb 17, 2011 1:48 am

What does this mean? It means the vast, vast majority of people in Erfworld have no incentive to improve land, create new items, or pretty much do anything but what they're ordered.
They're duty to their side gives them all the incentive they need.

No property rights means no personal profit means no incentive to improve beyond what Duty calls, and Duty tends to only call for doing what you've always done very well because there's no basis for any other course of action.
Why would this be the case? Duty calls for them to do whatever benefits their side. Innovating and getting new and better items or whatever of course benefits a side.

I agree with Oberon that Erfworld seems set up to make innovation easy. But we run into problems when we consider the people and society. First units like wriggly aren't really bright or motivated to think. The masses of Erf won't be innovating. Warlords and casters will, but their are only a handful on each side, and they lose all that knowledge when they fall since they won't share much, so that gets us nowhere. In the MK we can get farther, but they don't have much motive to innovate. Casters are super-valuable and besides rations schmuckers don't have much use, so they will never starve. The only ones who will innovate are those like Issac. But then we are down to a few people. Innovation will crawl, also Erf history seems to be measured in 100's of turns. Most people on Erf do not seem to have had years to innovate. Let alone the decades needed to do much.

The problem is not that the nature of Erf discourages innovation, its that almost no one is around to do it.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 53

Postby MarbitChow » Thu Feb 17, 2011 1:54 am

Oberon wrote:
BakaGrappler wrote:The world has magic and Start of Turn healing, so there is no need for medical technology, or pathology. There go medical sciences and biology.
And yet someone took the time to figure out how to make a healing scroll and many other magic items, just for examples we've seen.
While I realize you are mostly arguing for the sake of arguing, your statement here doesn't contradict BakaGrappler's statement. Scrolls are just 'stored' spells. It's not a new technology, it isn't an innovation. The only innovation involved in a scroll is "Hey, I can spend juice *before* I need it, and store it so it doesn't go to waste." There's even a good chance that mages are popped knowing how to craft scrolls.

Oberon wrote:
BakaGrappler wrote:Siege units and cities are made from thin air? No need for engineers, carpenters, or architects.
And yet twolls can make highchairs for short people, picnic baskets, and armor, just for examples we've seen.
You're still supporting Baka's argument. A unit doesn't need to learn engineering when they can just pop a twoll or other unit with fabrication.

Oberon wrote:Again, just for examples we've seen, and all examples of how putting forth effort has a benefit. That natural cost-to-benefit relationship should encourage experimentation and effort being spent on many things, looking for the best benefit for the least cost, or looking to discover a heretofore unknown benefit. It should drive discovery, as the Side which makes the most efficient use out of its units will have a tendency to survive and prosper over its neighbors.
When math is considered magic, it's doubtful that cost-benefit analysis is even being done. But even if it is, why spend 100s of turns developing engineering skills when you can just pop a twoll? Cost-benefit analysis comes down in favor of ignoring innovation here.

Oberon wrote:Your argument seems to be the reverse of mine: I argued that with the entire bottom row and much of the second row of the hierarchy of needs provided seemingly without effort (popping at dawn), that Erfworld inhabitants have many hours freed up to seek out the remainder of the higher rows. In other words, to pursue hobbies, experiment, screw, and innovate.
Maslow's Heirarchy of Needs doesn't make any mention of experimentation and innovation. The higher levels talk about self-actualization. You're assuming that experimentation and innovation are part of those, but that requires a circular argument: in order for an typical individual to value innovation, and see being a better inventor as being a self-improvement, he must belong to a society when innovation is valued. I'll certainly grant you that they are more likely to screw around and pursue hobbies. How many of the idle rich in our own society are advancing human knowledge themselves (not just funding it), vs. those that are spending their money on mostly parties, hookers and drugs?

Oberon wrote:You appear to be arguing that because these things are provided without effort, that the inhabitants of Erfworld have become jaded and would see no need to try to, for example, build a better catapult. I don't buy that, especially when constant warfare is the norm. Warfare drove much of our own world's innovation, and I see no reason why it would not have the same driving effect on Erfworld.
Many people here have provided a number of potential reasons why it wouldn't have the same effect on Erfworld. It's painfully obvious that evolution doesn't occur on Erfworld; it's not that big a stretch to see why the competitive / cooperative synergy that drives technological advancement don't exist on Erfworld either: there's too much competition and very little cooperation.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 53

Postby GaryThunder » Thu Feb 17, 2011 2:08 am

And yet someone took the time to figure out how to make a healing scroll and many other magic items, just for examples we've seen.


Figure out? They were popped with that knowledge.

And yet twolls can make highchairs for short people, picnic baskets, and armor, just for examples we've seen.


By waving their fingers over it and using natural magic. Again, using knowledge they were popped with. You think they go to Twoll School or sit around thinking of new and interesting basket-weaving methods?

I think, although I can't provide a reference at this time, that it takes some resources invested to get the benefit out of the special terrain or areas. Sizemore spends juice or gobwins mine for the gems, marbits mine for gems, farms need to be "worked" (even if this means just standing there looking at them) in order to provide free or reduced cost rations, Parson has to walk the rounds of the city to reduce its upkeep cost and to make the empty buildings serve their purposes, and Sizemore and Maggie had to link and work together to create GK the city as they wished rather than presumably rather randomly. Again, just for examples we've seen, and all examples of how putting forth effort has a benefit. That natural cost-to-benefit relationship should encourage experimentation and effort being spent on many things, looking for the best benefit for the least cost, or looking to discover a heretofore unknown benefit. It should drive discovery, as the Side which makes the most efficient use out of its units will have a tendency to survive and prosper over its neighbors.


The problem is that all the effort-benefit equations are popped in their heads. They did not learn them, they just inherently knew them. That sort of thing would tend to produce a bit of incuriosity, and by "a bit of" I mean "total and systemic." Farmers (are there farmers?), if they exist, are popped knowing how to farm. Warlords are popped knowing how to manage cities. Casters are popped knowing how to link, or at least knowing that links produce powerful spells. That plus Duty and Obedience ensuring that units always do what they're told and pretty much do nothing but what they're told means that the only people who have the time, free will, mental capacity, or incentive to innovate are Commander-level units and up.

Imagine a guard. Guarding is his job. He stands in front of a door or a wall all day, then he goes to bed. When he gets up, he does it again. Possibly he moves around from time to time, but not always. He is an uncomplicated man who thinks or cares little about anything that isn't his job. Now imagine an entire society, an entire world 99% full of this kind of person, and you might see how society could stagnate a bit.

Your argument seems to be the reverse of mine: I argued that with the entire bottom row and much of the second row of the hierarchy of needs provided seemingly without effort (popping at dawn), that Erfworld inhabitants have many hours freed up to seek out the remainder of the higher rows. In other words, to pursue hobbies, experiment, screw, and innovate.

You appear to be arguing that because these things are provided without effort, that the inhabitants of Erfworld have become jaded and would see no need to try to, for example, build a better catapult. I don't buy that, especially when constant warfare is the norm. Warfare drove much of our own world's innovation, and I see no reason why it would not have the same driving effect on Erfworld.


First: No tools. This means two things, that tools cannot be used to create new technology and that tools themselves cannot be improved in some way. That kills 99.9% of innovation dead on the spot. You can't forge steel without a very hot furnace and special equipment, but neither that furnace nor the equipment exist (or lie dormant in the empty cities) in Erfworld. The need that they would have otherwise been created to fill has already been filled by magic. Worse yet, unworked metal itself probably doesn't exist in Erfworld, like iron ore or coal. If you can't mine metal, how can you forge metal? The fact that metal even has a melting point was probably news to many units as GK's volcano destroyed them.

Second: Improvements to technology broadly stem from the manufacturing portion of creating finished items. That is to say, people look at a process for creating something and say "This is really difficult and irritating, surely it could be made easier in some way." People are annoyed by how hard plowing a field is for growing food, so they design a more effective plow. If these people just stared at the already-in-existence plants in the ground until bread appeared on the table, they'd never get around to building a better plow. The lack of manufacture means that the biggest avenue for innovation is gone, and all the free time in the world cannot possibly be used effectively by those that have it. They don't become jaded because they have no idea that things could be better. A Stabber doesn't see a catapult attack a tower and think "Gosh, that could be much better if the ropes were broader, and there was a different kind of shot for it, and..." He thinks "That catapult is attacking the tower. That is how catapults work." If you were to walk up to him and try to talk about how it could be made better, he would probably blink and say "What...like becoming a higher level?"

Come to think of it, the level and bonus system is probably a huge factor in this whole mess. A level 1 Stabber and a level 10 Stabber look identical. They have the same muscle mass, the same nervous system (or whatever biology units have). Yet one is ridiculously tougher than the other, yet no physical attribute betrays this. I don't have explicit proof of this, but unless it's just a quirk of the art, all these units don't seem to vary much by level. These high-level Pikers look pretty much like any other Pikers we've ever seen. Sizemore gained two levels, but didn't change in physical appearance at all. And individual units radically fluctuate in physical strength depending on their bonuses: an unled Stabber is much weaker than that same Stabber stacked with a high-level warlord. Though he didn't gain any muscle, he becomes physically stronger, and then weaker again if he loses the bonus.

My point there is that things like tensile strength seem to vary more by level than by actual material. A level 10 Stabber's bones are very likely harder than a level 1 Stabber's bones, despite most likely being physically identical. The intangible property of the units' stats change their inherent physical properties more than anything else. A level 10 Stabber's armor is probably harder than a level 1 Stabber's armor, yet they were created the same way and they're, again, identical. Why would anyone try to learn how to, say, forge a harder metal when the hardness of metal jarringly fluctuates based on who's standing near you?

Third: Nobody would try to build a better catapult because nobody has ever built a catapult. They pop fully formed. If they're damaged, they get repaired automatically. If they're destroyed, you just pop some more. No units have, probably, ever dragged together logs and rope and nails (do those exist?) and brought out their hammers and saws and chisels (do those exist?) and built a catapult. And even if they did, they'd have been called idiots for wasting a lot of time to slap together something that appears from thin air, far more professionally crafted than a bunch of amateurs could possibly accomplish.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 53

Postby Lamech » Thu Feb 17, 2011 2:41 am

GaryThunder wrote:Figure out? They were popped with that knowledge.
This seems very much to not be the case regarding magic items. New ones get designed and invented all the time. Heolamancy is essentially their medical science.

First: No tools. This means two things, that tools cannot be used to create new technology and that tools themselves cannot be improved in some way. That kills 99.9% of innovation dead on the spot. You can't forge steel without a very hot furnace and special equipment, but neither that furnace nor the equipment exist (or lie dormant in the empty cities) in Erfworld. The need that they would have otherwise been created to fill has already been filled by magic. Worse yet, unworked metal itself probably doesn't exist in Erfworld, like iron ore or coal. If you can't mine metal, how can you forge metal? The fact that metal even has a melting point was probably news to many units as GK's volcano destroyed them.
You mention something about forges, and seem very much to imply Erfworld lacks them. http://www.erfworld.com/book-1-archive/?px=%2F036.jpg
Furthermore when you mention
By waving their fingers over it and using natural magic. Again, using knowledge they were popped with. You think they go to Twoll School or sit around thinking of new and interesting basket-weaving methods?
It seems that one does in fact need the correct technique and tools to forge items and one does not simply wave their hands. We also know from the mentions of drills that units do benefit from being trained in whatever their role is supposed to be. They do not pop with all the needed knowledge/training.

Second: Improvements to technology broadly stem from the manufacturing portion of creating finished items. That is to say, people look at a process for creating something and say "This is really difficult and irritating, surely it could be made easier in some way." People are annoyed by how hard plowing a field is for growing food, so they design a more effective plow. If these people just stared at the already-in-existence plants in the ground until bread appeared on the table, they'd never get around to building a better plow.
We know from a summer update, that Sizemore was asked about the quality of dirt. So while a better plow may not be useful in Erfworld farming, a better dirt is. So it certainly appears tools can make production go better. Also see the need for a forge.

Third: Nobody would try to build a better catapult because nobody has ever built a catapult. They pop fully formed. If they're damaged, they get repaired automatically. If they're destroyed, you just pop some more. No units have, probably, ever dragged together logs and rope and nails (do those exist?) and brought out their hammers and saws and chisels (do those exist?) and built a catapult. And even if they did, they'd have been called idiots for wasting a lot of time to slap together something that appears from thin air, far more professionally crafted than a bunch of amateurs could possibly accomplish.
Umm…

http://www.erfworld.com/summer-update-2009-archive/?px=%2FE037_NoIllustration.png "Defensive engines in various states of assembly were stacked in narrow" While the engines may not be specifically catapults similar things actually do need to get built in Erfworld. Soo... totally wrong again?

Yes many things get done in Erfworld. So what many things get done for us in Earthworld. Just ask an ecologist. We still innovate. Sure they might never build a plow, but that just means they'll spend more time building a better dirt.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 53

Postby fjolnir » Thu Feb 17, 2011 3:09 am

Interesting, a lack of TOOLS being the hindrance of innovation. We see what one tool did for innovation, the dish has created a virtual empire based on communication dominance. The hammer + Pliers brought blitzkrieg style warfare to Erf, we don't see much in the way of innovation in the way of just the hammer beyond "free move" in the dwagon relay...

Book 1(Bogroll making armor) This scene was put forth before twolls were retconjured into having fabrication.

The summer update is showing a city in the ending stages of being popped, without the troops to man specific siege units. This might hint at a greater level of making than is generally implied in the comic but for the most part it is exactly as we described...
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Re: Book 2 – Page 53

Postby Sylvan » Thu Feb 17, 2011 3:16 am

GaryThunder wrote:Come to think of it, the level and bonus system is probably a huge factor in this whole mess. A level 1 Stabber and a level 10 Stabber look identical. They have the same muscle mass, the same nervous system (or whatever biology units have). Yet one is ridiculously tougher than the other, yet no physical attribute betrays this. I don't have explicit proof of this, but unless it's just a quirk of the art, all these units don't seem to vary much by level. These high-level Pikers look pretty much like any other Pikers we've ever seen. Sizemore gained two levels, but didn't change in physical appearance at all. And individual units radically fluctuate in physical strength depending on their bonuses: an unled Stabber is much weaker than that same Stabber stacked with a high-level warlord. Though he didn't gain any muscle, he becomes physically stronger, and then weaker again if he loses the bonus.

My point there is that things like tensile strength seem to vary more by level than by actual material. A level 10 Stabber's bones are very likely harder than a level 1 Stabber's bones, despite most likely being physically identical. The intangible property of the units' stats change their inherent physical properties more than anything else. A level 10 Stabber's armor is probably harder than a level 1 Stabber's armor, yet they were created the same way and they're, again, identical. Why would anyone try to learn how to, say, forge a harder metal when the hardness of metal jarringly fluctuates based on who's standing near you?



I think you're making very excellent points in most of your post, but this just doesn't sit right with me. It seems likely that different materials do have different properties in Erfworld. Remember Ace being disgusted with how Holly Shortcake worked Plush and Glass for war? Why do you assume for no reason that a level ten stabber has harder bones and armor than a level 1 Stabber?

Hit points and defense are not a numerical slider that tracks your health from 100% to dead. They are a representation of how well a unit can dodge, how lucky they are, what their experience about combat has taught them. Alright, yes, so in Erfworld you can apparently quantify this sort of stuff, and increase it magically by leveling, or having more leadership, or dance fighting but that doesn't mean that all of the sudden the material of the Stabber's armor or his bones changed. It just means he became better at getting the boop out of the way of dangerous boop. Or he got better at sticking his weapon into boop that is trying to croak him. Where does all this "his bones become harder" come from?

Edit after reading Lamech's post-

I wonder if being in a city gives any sort of bonus to fabrication? Is the forge necessary for a twoll with fabrication to say, make a chair, or does it just cut down the time by a significant factor compared to fashioning a chair out in the middle of the woods? (Please note, I am not a complete moron, I understand that in stupidworld a forge does not help to make a [completely wooden] chair at all. My point is that cities, perhaps especially level 5 cities, might provide bonuses to these sorts of things, possibly even in ways that aren't immediately apparently or don't make much sense in Stupidworld.)

Further edit-

Can a twoll even make a chair in the middle of the woods, if he has some trees or some similar, unworked material? Do Dollamancers get city bonuses? Could a Dollamancer make a golem or a siege engine out of some trees with no tools? Would it be like Sizemore digging through solid rock?
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Re: Book 2 – Page 53

Postby BakaGrappler » Thu Feb 17, 2011 3:19 am

The text said they were in various states of completion, but never said anything about people working on them.

For the sake of war rules, siege weaponry is probably made step by step, with each step popping in place of the last one. Like the hogs on the farms Parson talked about in terms of how the farms and livestock work. A new, fatter pig takes the place of the smaller one every day until it is done being "fattened up" and butchered.

It's just like RTS games, where a building is shown in various steps of completion, but no one is shown building it.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 53

Postby GaryThunder » Thu Feb 17, 2011 3:36 am

This seems very much to not be the case regarding magic items. New ones get designed and invented all the time. Heolamancy is essentially their medical science.


Scrolls are not science, scrolls are portable storage units, as MarbitChow argued. The basic design does not change. We don't know enough about Healomancy to consider it scientific or not - it could be as nuanced as Thinkamancy, or it could be as basic as "wave hands over unit until unit isn't wounded anymore." While I agree that new items do crop up as a result of links (Ace Hardware notwithstanding, it's clear that he's an aberration), links seemingly remain a largely unexplored field even among the notoriously knowledge-hungry casters. Likely because of the risk they present. Some units might boldly try new things, and we get results like the eyebooks, Duncan's headpiece, and Summon Perfect Warlord. But caster units being as valuable as they are, I can't imagine that sort of dangerous experimentation is at all common.

You mention something about forges, and seem very much to imply Erfworld lacks them. http://www.erfworld.com/book-1-archive/?px=%2F036.jpg
Furthermore when you mention
...
It seems that one does in fact need the correct technique and tools to forge items and one does not simply wave their hands. We also know from the mentions of drills that units do benefit from being trained in whatever their role is supposed to be. They do not pop with all the needed knowledge/training.


The armor-making bit was Retconjured, as fjolnir said. (Yes, yes, Tools for innovation. He's here all week, folks. Try the veal.) And forges are just one example, you could use any sort of field. A mason or an architect, then. Who knows quarrying techniques? (Quarrying is so far from mining for gems that it's absurd.) Who knows how to process unworked stone? Who knows principles of design and construction, of the necessity of load-bearing walls and the aesthetics of interior design? Nobody, that's who.

Knowledge is not the same as drilling, and drilling does not increase one's knowledge. The very nature of a drill is to repeat the same exercise again and again and again until your muscle memory takes over and you can do it without thinking. Drilling increases one's fighting ability, combat preparedness and battle tenor, but it doesn't increase their knowledge base. And "training" rather than "drilling" covers learning new techniques, the difference is distinct enough that a military man like Duke Lacrosse would speak precisely of which one he meant.

We know from a summer update, that Sizemore was asked about the quality of dirt. So while a better plow may not be useful in Erfworld farming, a better dirt is. So it certainly appears tools can make production go better. Also see the need for a forge.


I can't find the update you're talking about, but I'd bet hard cash that he was asked about it in the Magic Kingdom. Casters do innovate, as you mention, far more so than any other unit because they have the imagination, the breadth of knowledge and (in the Magic Kingdom) all the free time in the world. But most other units just think of that sort of thing as hippy-dippy caster nonsense and tune it out, if they are aware of its existence at all. A couple (score? hundred? thousand?) casters in the Magic Kingdom won't drive a global technology march. And anyway, I significantly doubt that tools are used for composting and mulching to increase dirt quality in Erfworld, I reckon it's one or both of "different hexes have different qualities of dirt inherent to them" or "Dirtamancers can magically affect dirt quality."

Umm…

http://www.erfworld.com/summer-update-2 ... ration.png "Defensive engines in various states of assembly were stacked in narrow" While the engines may not be specifically catapults similar things actually do need to get built in Erfworld. Soo... totally wrong again?

Yes many things get done in Erfworld. So what many things get done for us in Earthworld. Just ask an ecologist. We still innovate. Sure they might never build a plow, but that just means they'll spend more time building a better dirt.


You have failed to grasp yet another distinction, that between assembly and construction. Assembling a siege engine from prefabricated parts is wrenchingly different from pointing people at some trees and saying "Turn those into siege engines." Any schmuck with a set of instructions can slap together an IKEA desk, given a couple of tries, but give him a pile of raw wood and metal (even if you gave him all the necessary tools) and he'd never get it done. Units in Erfworld likely have "siege weapon assembly" as part of their general combat-oriented inherently popped skill set.

Besides, you think you keep siege weapons in the same state all the time? Trebuchets are practically constructed right there on the battlefield. Mangonels and onagers (old catapult types) can't possibly be kept in their active state when not in use, they'd break under the strain. Siege weapons can be complete and still be assembled and disassembled.


Edit: Found the update (I was right, it was the Florists in the MK who were asking Sizemore about soil quality), but it contains yet more evidence of my position:

"Smiles and warm welcomes used to be standard almost everywhere he went in the Magic Kingdom. Dirtamancy was among the most rare and useful disciplines here. Everyone needed a wall built, a garden tilled, a well dug, a foundation excavated. There were no city sites; construction was a manual industry."

Even though this is one of the very rare places in Erfworld where construction occurs without magic (are there any others?), it is entirely self-contained. No non-casters can enter the Magic Kingdom to learn from them. Side casters likely don't have any property in the Magic Kingdom to learn how to improve, and Barbarian casters rarely leave. When they are hired, the last thing the Ruler wants to hear about is how to properly build a wall, especially if it boils down to "Pile rocks on top of each other until you run out of rocks you can lift, or go find Sizemore and make him build the wall." The science of construction in Erfworld is quite probably contained to a colony of bored expatriate magic-using philosophers. Not an earthshaking group, socially speaking.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 53

Postby BLANDCorporatio » Thu Feb 17, 2011 3:48 am

Infidel wrote:Infrastructure--Labs {...} are not required to improve technology in a Middle-ages period. The water wheel. {etc, are required.} I thought that was what we were discussing, not...

...building cars in camelot. You claim the transistors out of flint argument was just a stylistic device, then you do it again? Tecchnological progress is not technological leaps. And I wasn't denegrating small leaps when I said just variations on a theme. I was denegrating mostly cosmetic changes.


Well, it was you who said "infrastructure is not necessary" and left it at that, then only in your latest post clarified what you were talking about- which is what I prompted you to do with the cars in Camelot exaggeration.

So it turns out that you do need some things to innovate, even at Middle Ages level. Some of those things are about already having a level of tech, and I stand by my point that tech progress, at least for the past two-three centuries is bootstrapping.

You need precision engineered things to build most of the things today, you needed to have goodish things already to be able to evolve them into those precision factories, you needed good tech before that etc. This covers the period of the industrial revolution until today. In this period, if anything, precision tech was/is scarce (!! yes. you still don't have a CPU factory in your basement, I presume, though you might acquire the knowledge that any one CPU designer has about the subject).

Previously, other things were scarce and thus slowed tech progress. Other posters have mentioned a few- like cheap energy. I think you mentioned another- widespread education that can produce the engineers to design/maintain the tech. This covers Europe's Middle Age.

The Ancient societies turn out to have been reasonably inventive, what slowed them down was simply being ancient and at a somewhat low tech level. So this covers the time all the way back until the widespread adoption of agriculture.

Before that, what slowed tech down was simply too few people in each community, and therefore few if any people affording to occupy their time with innovation. To say nothing of talking to other faraway innovators and sharing ideas. Innovators were scarce. Just how tough a leap to make agriculture was, and just how important a leap forward were the domestication of high energy yield plants (cereals most of them) and strong animals is a point well made by the "Guns, Germs and Steel" book by Jared Diamond. Which another poster (justamessenger I think) already recommended.

Plus, the vast migrations over the whole Earth needed some innovation. Various weapons, rope-making, boatmaking, needles, sowing, musical instruments ...

So now that we've covered all that time stretching quite far back, I also note that not once did I have to use "lack of curiosity" for anything. People are reasonably adaptive, have always been, and used whatever resources were available at the time.

Infidel wrote:I can think of no other excuse for 50,000 years of lack of significant progress, other than lack of curiosity, and a lot of cultural pressure to conform to the way things are, as opposed to a cultural impetus to make the way things are now, better.


Oi! Those two are not the same thing at all.

Infidel wrote:oh, and "Your on a deserted island, build a refrigerator," is a freaking Reality show crap. It's not real. That's why I dispise reality show crap.


:lol: Seriously, minor point, but you really did not see the show I'm talking about. It does not involve voting people off, for one. And, unabashedly, it's not about surviving, or building shelters, or the basics. It's exactly about trying to find low-tech solutions for various things we use high tech for and/or are not that primary to survival. Look it up, it is one of the more educational fares on tv.



Infidel wrote:And to answer your question, hindsight is 20/20. Any military historian who truly understands the strategies involved, and had the leadership skills necessary, could re-do any of those battles and come out better probably.


Too bad there will be no empirical evidence either way. Hindsight is kibitzing; we barely know for sure what happened 100 years ago, to claim 20/20 understanding of the circumstances of older is presumptuous.

And whatever the thread, the point I (think I) made at the start is that Parson has too easy a time to surprise seasoned warlords from Erfworld. He even does this by what seem to be "obvious" things. I doubt a time traveller from today to some past time would have quite as easy a job to impress the locals.

Infidel wrote:And poorly. And it is presumption and I hardly ever see the assumer be correct. The problem with reading between the lines is: there is nothing between the lines. Any reading between the lines is putting words in someone else's mouth, and that is presumption.


Subtext, undertones, overtones, communicative intent, dissimulation ... nothing between the lines? Seriously?

barawn wrote:Oh, and on the silly question (building a refrigerator on a desert island): it's not that hard. Build something that can hold vacuum (a ceramic would probably work well), make a few valves (tanned hide of some sort), and add a water wheel to pump down the pressure, and you've got the beginnings of a fridge. A better working fluid than water would be ideal, but if the container was strong enough, you might be able to get ice directly this way.


Funnily enough, they tried something like this. Using methanol (obtained from wood by one of the chemists) as the cooling agent. Not even a waterwheel for negative pressure, the design was simpler. It almost worked. Meaning, it produced cooling, but not enough to freeze water.

BakaGrappler wrote:I think a main reason there is no advancement in Erf World is because there is no such thing as "Extra People."{snip}

There is also the fact that everyone, everyone, is popped with full knowledge of the world in so far as they need to know of it. {snip}

The world is so streamlined that everything required to MAKE a civilization is already in place before the civilizations were even made. {snip}

I think the reason Parson is so good, is because he looks at stuff, and then tries things. Sometimes it even works. Who else in Erf World does that?


I apologize for the liberal surgery, I assume these are the main points of your post.

And they are fair- I wouldn't expect Erfworlders to have much use for Earthlike tech progress. What I do expect of them however is to really, really understand the ways war can be waged in their world. In this, they need to innovate and outcompete each other.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 53

Postby GaryThunder » Thu Feb 17, 2011 4:10 am

I think you're making very excellent points in most of your post, but this just doesn't sit right with me. It seems likely that different materials do have different properties in Erfworld. Remember Ace being disgusted with how Holly Shortcake worked Plush and Glass for war? Why do you assume for no reason that a level ten stabber has harder bones and armor than a level 1 Stabber?


He was disgusted with Holly for stylistic reasons, because he likes cool and badass accessories like a wrist blaster "that really lights up." He's a ten year old who's his own toy store. Anyway, consider cloth golems. Any unit who cares to find out knows that uniforms and raiment can be made of cloth, it's pretty soft stuff, yet it turns into heavy units through the application of judicious amounts of magic. The same cloth that would be a schoolgirl outfit on an Archon is now probably much tougher than flesh, maybe even harder than stone for powerful units. It's the same material with different properties.

Hit points and defense are not a numerical slider that tracks your health from 100% to dead. They are a representation of how well a unit can dodge, how lucky they are, what their experience about combat has taught them. Alright, yes, so in Erfworld you can apparently quantify this sort of stuff, and increase it magically by leveling, or having more leadership, or dance fighting but that doesn't mean that all of the sudden the material of the Stabber's armor or his bones changed. It just means he became better at getting the boop out of the way of dangerous boop. Or he got better at sticking his weapon into boop that is trying to croak him. Where does all this "his bones become harder" come from?


A level 10 Stabber has higher defense than a level 1 Stabber. I don't see defense acting as plot armor, here. I'm pretty sure defense increases the physical toughness of the unit, which concomitantly would increase the toughness of its body and armor. Consider Jillian's capture of Ansom: she lands her megalo on top of Ansom so hard that his Spidew, a heavy unit with Ansom's direct bonus, is crushed to death. Yet Ansom doesn't seem to have taken the slightest bit of damage. He didn't dodge, use expertise, or luck out of that; his ridiculous defense probably saved him. A level 1 warlord in Ansom's place probably would have been a greasy smear on the bottom of Jillian's megalo.

If units didn't become physically tougher through gaining defense, then Ansom's imagined plan to take Warchalking by himself when buffed to hell would have lethally failed the first time he simply didn't see a random Stabber coming up from behind him. And units clearly become physically stronger through gaining attack, unless Vinny can normally kick a dwagon (his later dialogue indicates that he can't), so why wouldn't the opposite principle be true?

Besides, this is an RPG-like setting, where units seriously act like bags of HP that don't lose structural integrity until they croak. Consider Antium's last stand. Where a human would have collapsed from shock and probably multiple organ failure, Antium doesn't slow down a hair until he loses his last hit, at which point he dies instantly.

Edit after reading Lamech's post-

I wonder if being in a city gives any sort of bonus to fabrication? Is the forge necessary for a twoll with fabrication to say, make a chair, or does it just cut down the time by a significant factor compared to fashioning a chair out in the middle of the woods? (Please note, I am not a complete moron, I understand that in stupidworld a forge does not help to make a [completely wooden] chair at all. My point is that cities, perhaps especially level 5 cities, might provide bonuses to these sorts of things, possibly even in ways that aren't immediately apparently or don't make much sense in Stupidworld.)


Possible, but that's just another automatically-occurring magic mechanic as opposed to technological innovation.


And to BLAND:

And whatever the thread, the point I (think I) made at the start is that Parson has too easy a time to surprise seasoned warlords from Erfworld. He even does this by what seem to be "obvious" things. I doubt a time traveller from today to some past time would have quite as easy a job to impress the locals.


Other warlords respond to campaigns on a case-by-case basis. They sit down and plan out strategy after strategy for the conditions that will occur, but it never occurs to them to plan out strategies for conditions that aren't occurring. They can make quite complex and intelligent plans for any given battle or war they're about to fight, but they don't sit around in their off-time and plan for battles they're not going to fight (contingency planning for the battlefield is different than this). Parson runs simulations with Jack, learns new rules all the time and compares them with each other, thinks out of the box, deliberately challenges himself.

Short version: Most warlords ask "What now?" Parson asks "What if?"
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Re: Book 2 – Page 53

Postby BLANDCorporatio » Thu Feb 17, 2011 4:21 am

MarbitChow wrote:Many people here have provided a number of potential reasons why it wouldn't have the same effect on Erfworld. It's painfully obvious that evolution doesn't occur on Erfworld; it's not that big a stretch to see why the competitive / cooperative synergy that drives technological advancement don't exist on Erfworld either: there's too much competition and very little cooperation.


Meh on the too little cooperation thing. Obviously several sides are friendly enough to one another, coalitions exist etc. As for the reasons why the effect would not be the same, well, I'm growing old and forgetful. Please refresh my memory. I did notice some arguments to that effect on this page though, right here->

GaryThunder wrote:First: No tools. {snip}

Second: Improvements to technology {depend on improvements to finished products; snip}

Come to think of it, the level and bonus system is probably a huge factor in this whole mess. {snip} My point there is that things like tensile strength seem to vary more by level than by actual material. {snip}

Third: Nobody would try to build a better catapult because nobody has ever built a catapult.{snip}


Apologies for the liberal surgery again. I wanted to delineate the various discussions going on. Namely,

it's you (and others) vs. Oberon (and others) talking about technological progress on Erfworld.
then it's Infidel vs. me about technological progress on Earth (and why it was slow)
and finally there's me against whoever bites about "military doctrine" and its progress on Erf. Apologies if I don't use the correct term, what I mean to say is that body of knowledge about how to organize and use a fighting force, how to plan an attack, a defense, a battle, a war.

Because of that delineation, I can say this about your points- they are interesting, and I wait to see Oberon's response. But they do not refer to what I'm aiming at. None of them covers why (apologies) "military doctrine" would be so stagnant on Erf, that an outsider might just *PLOT* in and instruct people on the uses of falling.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 53

Postby BLANDCorporatio » Thu Feb 17, 2011 4:27 am

GaryThunder wrote:Other warlords respond to campaigns on a case-by-case basis. They sit down and plan out strategy after strategy for the conditions that will occur, but it never occurs to them to plan out strategies for conditions that aren't occurring. They can make quite complex and intelligent plans for any given battle or war they're about to fight, but they don't sit around in their off-time and plan for battles they're not going to fight (contingency planning for the battlefield is different than this). Parson runs simulations with Jack, learns new rules all the time and compares them with each other, thinks out of the box, deliberately challenges himself.

Short version: Most warlords ask "What now?" Parson asks "What if?"


:lol: Excellent, just what I was looking for.

What irks me about falling, for example, is that it's a reasonably frequent occurrence. Surely people have fallen off-turn, enough to notice* what Jack tells Parson later: there's a chance the fall is lethal, or incapacitating, or surviveable. Some of those survived off-turn falls must have been in neutral territory, as in, the fallen gets back to friends and tells the tale. And then, I'd expect the rumour of the crossing of zones off-turn (which, we are meant to understand, is a Big Deal in Erfworld) would spread.

*: notice I used "notice". Jack didn't need empirical experience to tell Parson what he did, maybe he was popped with the knowledge. Regardless, falls happen, so even if "Jack" or whover didn't know what the outcomes of falls are, they could have seen them, or heard from someone who did. To not notice what happened then means that Erfworlders cannot notice anything.

EDIT, PS:

The flier relay is an interesting example. I still refuse to believe that nobody, ever, in all of Erfworld, thought of this. But Erfworld is bigger than what we have seen, so it may be that other sides used the maneuver before Parson.

This even makes Earth sense. The Mongol system of horse relay (and I think the Persians used something similar, among others) is, in effect, the Earth equivalent. Not everybody had it. It made a lot of difference for those who did. It makes sense for some to not have it (maybe roads are poor; maybe distances are small; maybe there are too few horses/there's a pressure to keep horses for only some purposes and not "waste" them etc.).

Point being, those who didn't use a horse relay weren't just stupid. They had other reasons. And to set that horse relay up, those reasons would have to be addressed first, it cannot be that the civilizing hero just steps up, says "do this" and everyone is enlightened from the darkness of their ignorance. Said civilizing hero would have to fight their way against poor organization, poor roads, a sickly horse population, whatever. I'm going too far with this.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 53

Postby GaryThunder » Thu Feb 17, 2011 5:25 am

What irks me about falling, for example, is that it's a reasonably frequent occurrence. Surely people have fallen off-turn, enough to notice* what Jack tells Parson later: there's a chance the fall is lethal, or incapacitating, or surviveable. Some of those survived off-turn falls must have been in neutral territory, as in, the fallen gets back to friends and tells the tale. And then, I'd expect the rumour of the crossing of zones off-turn (which, we are meant to understand, is a Big Deal in Erfworld) would spread.


Falling and crossing zones is only possible within a city where it's separated into airspace, garrison, etc. There is no indication of an airspace-ground limitation for any non-city hex. Those units that have survived falls into city hexes from the city's airspace (no doubt some have, at some point) were probably either subsequently croaked in the battle or were considered minor outliers, and the incident wasn't ever looked at tactically.

Edit: Also bear in mind that while falling to cross zones may be plausible for Erf natives to think of, there's three important factors at work with Parson's plan, namely, the Arkenpliers, the harvest, and the heavy promotion. Parson's plan wasn't just to fall into the Atrium and hope things worked out all right, it combined multiple obscure rules (promoting units while mounted to a type that can't be mounted??) in obscure ways (killing a dwagon...for food...in midair) to achieve a very specific exploit. It's a fairly reasonable assumption that the heavy units sinking their dwagons and even the croaked dwagons themselves provided some protection to their riders so that more survived than if they had just flung themselves from their mounts. And the whole con would have completely failed had the Arkenpliers not been available to Decrypt all the casualties; Wanda's group never could have survived without that power. Falling in and of itself has little tactical value, but when combined with several other concepts, it can be extraordinary.

The flier relay is an interesting example. I still refuse to believe that nobody, ever, in all of Erfworld, thought of this. But Erfworld is bigger than what we have seen, so it may be that other sides used the maneuver before Parson.

This even makes Earth sense. The Mongol system of horse relay (and I think the Persians used something similar, among others) is, in effect, the Earth equivalent. Not everybody had it. It made a lot of difference for those who did. It makes sense for some to not have it (maybe roads are poor; maybe distances are small; maybe there are too few horses/there's a pressure to keep horses for only some purposes and not "waste" them etc.).

Point being, those who didn't use a horse relay weren't just stupid. They had other reasons. And to set that horse relay up, those reasons would have to be addressed first, it cannot be that the civilizing hero just steps up, says "do this" and everyone is enlightened from the darkness of their ignorance. Said civilizing hero would have to fight their way against poor organization, poor roads, a sickly horse population, whatever. I'm going too far with this.


One of the text updates, can't quite recall at the moment, said "Because of the extravagance of dedicating so many flying mounts, the idea was never considered." That may be true. Consider all the sides we've seen and their aerial strategies, and why mount relays wouldn't be appropriate:
Jetstone - Well, they would, but Jetstone seems very limited in flyers, and they're Royal and thus hidebound to tradition and slow to innovate.
Transylvito - Warlords fly, they don't use mounts. No relay possible.
Charlescomm - Same deal with Archons. Unless they can mount each other.*
Faq - Three cities within one turn's flight. What would be the point?
Gobwin Knob - Supply of dwagons was much more limited before Parson's trick, and frankly Stanley wasn't bright enough to implement such a thing (and his hiring policy for warlords wasn't good enough to select for those who were).
Haggar - This may have been a result of their infantry/heavy war footing, but they had pitifully few air units. Even if their "small flyers" were mountable, that's nothing like the kind of numbers needed for an effective relay system if the kingdom was any kind of reasonable size.


* Ha ha ha. Ha. I didn't notice that until after I wrote it.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 53

Postby Sylvan » Thu Feb 17, 2011 5:41 am

BLANDCorporatio wrote::lol: Excellent, just what I was looking for.
What irks me about falling, for example, is that it's a reasonably frequent occurrence. Surely people have fallen off-turn, enough to notice* what Jack tells Parson later: there's a chance the fall is lethal, or incapacitating, or surviveable. Some of those survived off-turn falls must have been in neutral territory, as in, the fallen gets back to friends and tells the tale. And then, I'd expect the rumour of the crossing of zones off-turn (which, we are meant to understand, is a Big Deal in Erfworld) would spread.


It is my understanding that taking off and landing in a zone you control off-turn is no big deal. (See the falling text updates, I think) So, it may not be as likely as you suppose that people have had a lot of instances where they are trapped in the air and unable to land to fight an enemy force. Basically, you have to catch a force of fliers off-turn in a hex they don't control. And, in those circumstances, even landing via a fall is probably not considered a good thing.

I don't think anyone doubted they could fall, but I think there have been debates enough in these forums as to why everyone falling all at once in a location where they could actually do any sort of good (the garrison) caught people by surprise. I mean, why would any native Erfworlder tell his air force to kill all of their mounts, leaving some of their riders to croak in a fall, when he could just wait for his turn and attack/land normally?

I imagine the falling exploit is about as common as the spell which shall not be named, and we already have a plot-relevant reason why trimancer links aren't explored more often.


BLANDCorporatio wrote:EDIT, PS:

The flier relay is an interesting example. I still refuse to believe that nobody, ever, in all of Erfworld, thought of this. But Erfworld is bigger than what we have seen, so it may be that other sides used the maneuver before Parson.


I think the summer text update with Ossomer and Tramennis revealed that it did happen from time to time, but was generally considered an "extravagant waste of fliers" or somesuch. Sure, Tramennis says he "cheated" but he is fond of wordplay.

BLANDCorporatio wrote:and finally there's me against whoever bites about "military doctrine" and its progress on Erf. Apologies if I don't use the correct term, what I mean to say is that body of knowledge about how to organize and use a fighting force, how to plan an attack, a defense, a battle, a war.


Well.... It has been implied that certain units (mostly casters) have a better idea of how to use their talents than their own rulers. Maggie considers it her duty to preserve her juice for emergencies when real-time instructions may be necessary, and Ace would prefer to work with Hardware rather than plush, for example. Parson could probably change a lot, but he has to make a saving throw against annoyance or die every time he asks the Tool a question. I think these factors may be a significant contributor to a lack of wartime innovation. (Directions from your ruler contrary to what you think is best, and having to follow those orders or die.... or maybe die following the orders)

Also there is the diminishing shmuckers point Parson mentioned. A military innovator who gets too greedy risks his neighbors all getting together to gank him, and if he can barely afford his sides upkeep while his neighbors are razing his cities for treasure an Overlord may simply not have enough time to figure out any possible "self-sufficiency hacks".


GaryThunder]
Consider Jillian's capture of Ansom: she lands her megalo on top of Ansom so hard that his Spidew, a heavy unit with Ansom's direct bonus, is crushed to death. Yet Ansom doesn't seem to have taken the slightest bit of damage. He didn't dodge, use expertise, or luck out of that; his ridiculous defense probably saved him. A level 1 warlord in Ansom's place probably would have been a greasy smear on the bottom of Jillian's megalo.[/quote]

She landed on Ansom with the specific intent to capture him. We have seen Jillian do this to another Warlord (land on him, but keep him alive, at least long enough for Jillian to lop off his head. Though it was implied that she had intended to save him for one of her new Warlords) in this text update.

No reason to assume Ansom can just rhinohide a megalogwif landing on him.

Also, recall how all those pikers stabbed Sammy at exactly the same time the moment he turned his head? I suspect that is what it means to have Prince Ansom's leadership bonus, since he can telepathically communicate orders and all. No reason to assume being in a stack with Ansom magically made the spears stronger either.

As far as the cloth golems still being golems, well, a caster did invest them with juice. I'm not saying that a caster who specializes in fabrication can't make materials stronger. After all, apparently even crap golems can be used in battle fairly well. But again, there is no reason to suppose that levels magically make a units bones stronger, or armor tougher.

[quote="GaryThunder wrote:
Besides, this is an RPG-like setting, where units seriously act like bags of HP that don't lose structural integrity until they croak. Consider Antium's last stand. Where a human would have collapsed from shock and probably multiple organ failure, Antium doesn't slow down a hair until he loses his last hit, at which point he dies instantly.


It looks to me like he is hobbling around, working desperately in his final moments on something akin to adrenaline. If you haven't read that post I linked about immersiveness, you should.

Maybe later I will quote some salient bits.

Lamech wrote: Duty calls for them to do whatever benefits their side. Innovating and getting new and better items or whatever of course benefits a side.



Unless you are Ace Hardware and you are ordered to spend almost all of your juice making designs you hate and consider inferior.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 53

Postby BLANDCorporatio » Thu Feb 17, 2011 7:06 am

GaryThungder, Sylvan, since your posts cover mostly the same ground I'll address them together.

Falling: good catch on the no-zones in regular hexes. Hey, it's a patchy system, but it is what it is. So then we have a situation that may still happen often (in that update, Parson makes a list of possible falls), but is not as likely to result in immediate tactical advantage. Meaning, if somebody gets their fliers/riders above a city, ends turn, has some fliers croaked so that the riders survive to win the day ... probably was winning anyway. Unless, the byzantine bonus system of Erfworld means that some troops would have better bonuses when on the ground; or, when the enemy reveals, on their turn, that they have efficient AA defenses, which now the off-turn attacker will hope to avoid by falling. Surprises are possible in Erfworld's battle rules; quick, off-turn responses may actually be useful.

So I can imagine some tactical use, even without the big ingredient in Parson's plan, Wanda. There are other ingredients in Erfworld too. Healomancy scrolls, to recuperate whatever was shocked out of the sky and onto the ground during the battle. Or why not, weirdomancy scrolls to remove the flier ability without harvesting (mentioned in that update btw), though it would take a crazy prepared warlord to bring those along. Maybe they were expecting a defense made of fliers and instead found one made of shockamancy.

What you require is that Erfworlders have no tactical imagination. I find this dubious. For all the hierarchic structure, casters WILL disobey their rulers if they think they know better, for example (in direct contradiction to what, I think, Sylvan said). The whole "too good an innovator gets ganked" bit is implausible too. The too good military innovator becomes the powerful side that keeps satellites in awe and respect. There's no reason why a side in Erfworld would NOT be interested in observing and developping new tactics with the units it has available.

Finally, flier relay- we can agree that there are plausible reasons why the sides we've seen tend not to use them (except for GK, which farms dwagons; itself a useless tactic to anyone without an attuned Hammer). I must stress that this should be because said sides either have few/poor fliers, or are small, or other practical reasons. Not because they would never have thought of it, had mountable fliers been available in large supply.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 53

Postby Crarites » Thu Feb 17, 2011 9:22 am

multilis wrote:"Seems a stretch to me. Why would that thinkamancer not be valuable after the loss at GK? "

Jill can barely afford her turnomancer... needed help from Charlie, then needed to do a little plundering.

Uniroyal *didn't* plunder, instead they lost even more sources of income while withdrawing armies. Parson has already hinted that sides need to win at war in order to survive financially. (In his klog about self-sufficiency hack attempts)

So while thinkomancer would still be valuable, possible they could no longer afford.

(In most games mercenaries cost more upkeep than regular units to compensate for not having to pop them)



Unaroyal didn't plunder but also didn't need too. They lost many units in the field but kept the means to generate the cash for maintaining them. If anything Unaroyal should have been flush with cash until they started losing cities to GK encroachment. Unaroyal had sufficient smuckers right until the end as demonstrated be Queen B's actions.

Why even mention a thinkamancer in the first place if they vanish between acts. From a writing standpoint it makes little sense. Caeser could still claim Bunny was busy talking with various sides and began with Unaroyal. He does not have to mention a thinkamancer at all.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 53

Postby GaryThunder » Thu Feb 17, 2011 11:20 am

She landed on Ansom with the specific intent to capture him. We have seen Jillian do this to another Warlord (land on him, but keep him alive, at least long enough for Jillian to lop off his head. Though it was implied that she had intended to save him for one of her new Warlords) in this text update.

No reason to assume Ansom can just rhinohide a megalogwif landing on him.

Also, recall how all those pikers stabbed Sammy at exactly the same time the moment he turned his head? I suspect that is what it means to have Prince Ansom's leadership bonus, since he can telepathically communicate orders and all. No reason to assume being in a stack with Ansom magically made the spears stronger either.

As far as the cloth golems still being golems, well, a caster did invest them with juice. I'm not saying that a caster who specializes in fabrication can't make materials stronger. After all, apparently even crap golems can be used in battle fairly well. But again, there is no reason to suppose that levels magically make a units bones stronger, or armor tougher.


That doesn't make sense unless the megalo was capable of changing the density of certain portions of its body significantly and rapidly, and for all its power, I don't think they can do that. The megalo came down hard enough to kill a Spidew with Ansom's ridiculous direct bonus. Did it land iron-hard on the spider but marshmallow-soft on Ansom somehow? A blow that one-shotted a buffed-out heavy unit didn't even appear to wound Ansom badly, and he was already wounded even from before. I know megalos can land to capture, but I find it hard to believe that they can land to capture and land to crush in the same landing.

The Pikers stabbed Sammy because Ansom correctly took advantage of Sammy's distraction to order his personal stack of high-level Pikers to run him through. It wasn't automatic, and it certainly wasn't telepathic - he told them. Being in a stack with Ansom may not have made the spears stronger, but it certainly gave the Pikers greater strength to stab Sammy with. Leadership bonuses and the attack stat corresponding to skill rather than brute strength doesn't make sense when you consider, again, Vinny kicking a dwagon to death, and that sort of thing.


Falling: good catch on the no-zones in regular hexes. Hey, it's a patchy system, but it is what it is. So then we have a situation that may still happen often (in that update, Parson makes a list of possible falls), but is not as likely to result in immediate tactical advantage. Meaning, if somebody gets their fliers/riders above a city, ends turn, has some fliers croaked so that the riders survive to win the day ... probably was winning anyway. Unless, the byzantine bonus system of Erfworld means that some troops would have better bonuses when on the ground; or, when the enemy reveals, on their turn, that they have efficient AA defenses, which now the off-turn attacker will hope to avoid by falling. Surprises are possible in Erfworld's battle rules; quick, off-turn responses may actually be useful.

So I can imagine some tactical use, even without the big ingredient in Parson's plan, Wanda. There are other ingredients in Erfworld too. Healomancy scrolls, to recuperate whatever was shocked out of the sky and onto the ground during the battle. Or why not, weirdomancy scrolls to remove the flier ability without harvesting (mentioned in that update btw), though it would take a crazy prepared warlord to bring those along. Maybe they were expecting a defense made of fliers and instead found one made of shockamancy.

What you require is that Erfworlders have no tactical imagination. I find this dubious. For all the hierarchic structure, casters WILL disobey their rulers if they think they know better, for example (in direct contradiction to what, I think, Sylvan said). The whole "too good an innovator gets ganked" bit is implausible too. The too good military innovator becomes the powerful side that keeps satellites in awe and respect. There's no reason why a side in Erfworld would NOT be interested in observing and developping new tactics with the units it has available.


How often do you think an air force ends turn in an enemy city's airspace, knowing that that will lock them into the zone and let the enemy get a free shot at them, whether or not it's the enemy's turn? What could be gained from doing a ridiculous thing like that, in most instances? The two times it happened, Wanda's group got forced into it and Charlie got conned into it.

Healomancy scrolls are dependent on having a caster along in your flying group that's stuck in the airspace because you stupidly ended turn and left them (nearly) completely helpless and useless. If you used Weirdomancy to remove a flyer's special, it would just fall.

The too good military innovator becomes the powerful side that gets teamed up on by all other sides for being too big of a threat. There's a Chinese saying: "The nail that sticks up gets pounded down." Besides, consider it from the units' perspective. Demonstrate how awesome you are at combat so your Ruler will be impressed and send you into every meatgrinder campaign he can find! And in return, you get...um, you get...I'll think of something, no doubt.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 53

Postby coyo » Thu Feb 17, 2011 12:21 pm

multilis wrote:
Does Jillian have a turnomancer? Depends on how you count mercenaries hired from magic kingdom. If Charlie doesn't provide cash anymore, Jill may lose the turnomancer once the money runs out from razing.


This comment is well taken, though its Transvylvito that is providing the cash. I see trouble for Jillian in Slateys "I have to go talk to a friend" comment. I suspect her gravy train may soon come to an end soon after that conversation.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 53

Postby justamessenger » Thu Feb 17, 2011 1:16 pm

So many issues to reply to, I am not going to take the time to enter the quotes from everyone.

Knowledge (popped vs trained vs based on observation) and innovation: It seems to me that, as previously posted, casters in the MK have far more time to contemplate, trade ideas, etc. and that this is why they, of all the units, have not only greater opportunity, but greater likelihood to learn more and adapt. As mentioned by another poster, the differences in Dollamancers in JS is interesting insofar as it may be that different casters, even within the same school, may have differing approaches to using their magic. Holli liked cloth & glass, Ace likes wood and metal. This may also apply to the Thinkamancers, such as was suggested with Isaac's musings, as well as other schools of magic. HOWEVER, even in that instance, the interest of the other Thinkamancers seemed tepid at best. Perhaps this is what differentiates the 'Great Thinkers' from the rank and file Thinkamancers.

As to the average troop unit, though, it is more likely that they are popped with the basic knowledge of 'swinging a sword, 'setting or jabbing a pike,' 'dodging a blow' at the time they are created and that the drilling subsequent to that may give them greater experience (and may even lead to leveling to some degree, which makes them more proficient).

As to innovation, Ace is another great example: He may have a different take on things than his predecessors, but even more importantly, he has convinced Cubbins to provide him with materials to pursue his creations. During downtime this is a relatively inexhaustible supply of resources to draw upon, which, in turn, allows Ace to continue pursuing his side projects. The question is this: does this indicate original thinking, or does this indicate that Ace is merely working from a different template than those that work with other materials? Wood and metal are more predisposed to creating personal weapons/equipment than other materials. I am not sure how we can determine this with any sort of certainty without additional information from the comic itself.

Looking at the matter of the unassembled siege engines, I am not sure that the ability to assemble them is something that is learned rather than something that is popped. Do we have any examples of one unit training another in such matters? I don't believe that to be the case. Without that additional information we can only assume that they are popped with the knowledge until something comes along that alters that premise.

Regarding fabrication, have we seen anything fabricated (other than Ace's projects) that was not specifically needed? Bogroll had an obligation (duty to Parson) to help equip his liege lord, and prepare him for battle. Most units are popped with their equipment, whereas Parson was not, so he had to have such things provided to him. Sure, there have been highchairs, sandwiches, etc., but those were also specifically designed to fill an immediate (and very obvious) need. A taller chair for Stanley to sit at a table is analogous with Slately's pole and hook to retrieve his robes from the rack. I am not convinced that this goes very far as an indication of innovation.

Tactics:

Blandcorporatio makes some very good observations about the falling exploit and the relay. As Tramennis indicated, regarding the latter, other sides have utilized this method of travel, but it requires 'extravagant' allocations of flying units that most sides are not likely to have access to, given the costs involved of supporting units capable of effectuating that trick. The falling exploit seems fairly obvious, as every unit must know about falls. Given that a fall of three feet is the same as three hundred, it is quite difficult to believe that it is unknown to many, if any, units in Erfworld. The next part of that question goes to whether or not anyone had even thought of mounting a unit onto another flying unit and then promoting it to heavy in order to bring both to the ground. This occurred to Parson only after he experimented with it himself. Thus far we have seen no indication that anyone else has experimented with or explored this particular stratagem. Also, the notion of risking mass casualties while harvesting one's mounts is likely to be sufficient deterrent for any side not in possession of the Arkenpliers, as they alone provide any chance of taking the dead units and returning them to full effectiveness. So, while I agree with Blandcorporatio that certain aspects may have been obvious, the way to effectively exploit that mechanic is simply not available to any side not able to call upon the attuned powers of the 'Pliers.

In short, as previously stated by others, innovation requires interest and opportunity. The interest may be present in various and sundry units, but the opportunity to pursue such musings is very limited, to the point that only casters seem to have access to the resources of time and materials to dedicate to such pursuits. Parson is set apart because he brought a wealth of experience and knowledge with him when he was brought to Erf, rather than being popped as a native. Charlie is still the unknown quantity, as we know precious little about HIM, rather than his operations. He may be capable of making many of the same leaps as Parson, though we do not know that with any confidence. The ability to recognize another individual's tactics is not the same as inventing them oneself. On the other hand, given how much information Charlie can access (which is far beyond that of any other individual we have encountered thus far, including Parson), it may be that he can, in fact, put pieces of the puzzle together himself without needing any third party to show the way. Again, just not enough information to form any type of concrete opinion.
"Fairy Tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten."
- G.K. Chesterton

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Re: Book 2 – Page 53

Postby justamessenger » Thu Feb 17, 2011 1:57 pm

BLANDCorporatio wrote:
The Ancient societies turn out to have been reasonably inventive, what slowed them down was simply being ancient and at a somewhat low tech level. So this covers the time all the way back until the widespread adoption of agriculture.

Before that, what slowed tech down was simply too few people in each community, and therefore few if any people affording to occupy their time with innovation. To say nothing of talking to other faraway innovators and sharing ideas. Innovators were scarce. Just how tough a leap to make agriculture was, and just how important a leap forward were the domestication of high energy yield plants (cereals most of them) and strong animals is a point well made by the "Guns, Germs and Steel" book by Jared Diamond. Which another poster (justamessenger I think) already recommended.

Plus, the vast migrations over the whole Earth needed some innovation. Various weapons, rope-making, boatmaking, needles, sowing, musical instruments ...

So now that we've covered all that time stretching quite far back, I also note that not once did I have to use "lack of curiosity" for anything. People are reasonably adaptive, have always been, and used whatever resources were available at the time.


Also, it should be noted that Jared Diamond also documented the loss of technology when it was no longer needed, or suited to the newer environments/circumstances. As was the case for certain types of domestication of crops and animals in the Polynesian islands. This is very possible for Erfworld as well, that ideas may have been spawned only to subsequently fade away, given the apparent lack of effective transmission/retention of the information.

BlandCorporatio wrote:

Infidel wrote:oh, and "Your on a deserted island, build a refrigerator," is a freaking Reality show crap. It's not real. That's why I dispise reality show crap.


:lol: Seriously, minor point, but you really did not see the show I'm talking about. It does not involve voting people off, for one. And, unabashedly, it's not about surviving, or building shelters, or the basics. It's exactly about trying to find low-tech solutions for various things we use high tech for and/or are not that primary to survival. Look it up, it is one of the more educational fares on tv.


I think another perspective would be Gilligan's Island (of all things). There we had an actual scientist, who was also apparently adept at hands-on, practical application of his
knowledge, who tried many times to create tech that he KNEW worked from the existing materials at his disposal, only to run into many barriers that could not be overcome. Knowlege, in and of itself, is insufficient to realize new tech if the resources needed to make it work are not available.
"Fairy Tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten."
- G.K. Chesterton

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