Book 2 – Page 69

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Re: Book 2 – Page 69

Postby Angband » Tue Aug 09, 2011 12:48 pm

Kreistor wrote:No. It's more expensive to raise an Infantryman to Warlord than to pop a Warlord. Somehow, you have got to stand out to rate that expense.


It is more expensive in schmuckers to promote, but it is also much faster. If GK had lots of cash (which we know they did, due to historical mining of gems), then Stanley's initial promotion could just have come at a time when they really needed a warlord in a hurry and could not afford the time to pop one (such as for a unit in the field that lost theirs). Once he was a Warlord, the opportunity to stand out comes more into play. That was when Stanley found and attuned to the Arkenhammer, which explained his rise to Chief Warlord and then Heir. But he's not required to stand out while he was a rank-and-file piker.

Of course, the whole story begins with "Pick the most handsome and dashing one left and make him a warlord" so I don't see a problem with individual mooks having the ability to stand out -- we just have very little evidence for it.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 69

Postby MarbitChow » Tue Aug 09, 2011 1:27 pm

Angband wrote:Of course, the whole story begins with "Pick the most handsome and dashing one left and make him a warlord"

That may be signamancy. Since erfworlder's appearance changes to match their stature, it's probable that the better warriors are also the most attractive/heroic-looking.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 69

Postby Beeskee » Tue Aug 09, 2011 1:54 pm

Remember you can pop a dozen pikers a turn. It seems reasonable to think Stanley did something special as a piker, but even if he didn't, just surviving when you're an expendable unit is a sign of something. Plus, I doubt his king would have promoted a level 1 piker, so Stanley not only survived, he also leveled.

Before his king died, GK had a dozen cities, and presumably enough units to defend them all reasonably well, more or less, so Stanley wasn't his only possible choice.

As far as Stanley's methods of picking an appropriate piker to promote, well, those are STANLEY'S methods. I think we all agree he's a moron. :D Tho he's a moron who can follow orders and do a little bit of basic tactics and strategy on his own, enough to keep from getting creamed on the battlefield.


Yes, all this is just speculation. Hopefully somewhat based in what we do know about Erfworld, but I'm filling in a lot of blanks here.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 69

Postby MarbitChow » Tue Aug 09, 2011 2:15 pm

Beeskee wrote:Remember you can pop a dozen pikers a turn. It seems reasonable to think Stanley did something special as a piker, but even if he didn't, just surviving when you're an expendable unit is a sign of something.

It's a sign of probability working the way it's supposed to.

Assume 25% of your pikers get wiped out in every combat. Those that survive get experience. Those that die get replaced. Assume 1000 pikers for this example.
The odds of any particular piker surviving 20 encounters is (0.75 ^ 20) = 0.003. That means we can expect 3 pikers to survive all 20 encounters.
Now, having survived multiple encounters, odds are that those pikers have leveled a couple of times. This increases their odds of surviving additional encounters.
Level up enough, and you get made a warlord, which means you can now order all those around you to die before you do, increasing your odds even further.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 69

Postby Housellama » Tue Aug 09, 2011 3:32 pm

MarbitChow wrote:
Beeskee wrote:Remember you can pop a dozen pikers a turn. It seems reasonable to think Stanley did something special as a piker, but even if he didn't, just surviving when you're an expendable unit is a sign of something.

It's a sign of probability working the way it's supposed to.

Assume 25% of your pikers get wiped out in every combat. Those that survive get experience. Those that die get replaced. Assume 1000 pikers for this example.
The odds of any particular piker surviving 20 encounters is (0.75 ^ 20) = 0.003. That means we can expect 3 pikers to survive all 20 encounters.
Now, having survived multiple encounters, odds are that those pikers have leveled a couple of times. This increases their odds of surviving additional encounters.
Level up enough, and you get made a warlord, which means you can now order all those around you to die before you do, increasing your odds even further.


Yep. What's the difference between the private that gets blown away by the shrapnel from a hand grenade and dies, and the private standing right next to him that goes on to become a Sgt Major? Is it skill? Probably not. They both got the same training. Is it talent? Again, probably not. Dodging shrapnel moving at 25000 feet per second takes talent far beyond anything a human can manage. It's pure probability. That shrapnel was going to go through one space and not another. One private happened to be standing in that space and the other wasn't. Now maybe the private that survived was affected that experience. They say that survival becomes a habit after a while. The ones that survive tend to keep on surviving. Eventually, that private becomes a Sgt Major, and is telling other privates what to do, and it all goes back to not getting hit by that first piece of shrapnel.

Translation: Stanley got lucky. If you prefer, call it the Will of the Titans. He survived. He leveled. He kept surviving. Repeat until he finds the Arkenhammer and/or gets promoted. He happened to be standing in the right place the first few times and didn't die. Someone had to. Someone has to win the lottery too. It just happened to be him. Winning the lottery doesn't take skill or talent. It just takes being the person with the lucky ticket.
"All warfare is based on deception" - Sun Tzu, Chapter 1, Line 18, The Art of War

"The principle of strategy is to know ten thousand things by having one thing." - Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of Earth, Go Rin No Sho
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Re: Book 2 – Page 69

Postby Lamech » Tue Aug 09, 2011 5:35 pm

Housellama wrote:Translation: Stanley got lucky. If you prefer, call it the Will of the Titans. He survived. He leveled. He kept surviving. Repeat until he finds the Arkenhammer and/or gets promoted. He happened to be standing in the right place the first few times and didn't die. Someone had to. Someone has to win the lottery too. It just happened to be him. Winning the lottery doesn't take skill or talent. It just takes being the person with the lucky ticket.
I'm sure some of it was luck. But I bet at least in part it was dedication. Look at what Stanley was planning on doing: learning on how to use the Arkenhammer. He goes out and gets dragons for GK. Compare to Artemis, she gets Jetstone knights, and gets them a high level warlord via training, similar to Stanley. Compare to what normal warlords do: When TV has its warlords retire, they go to manage, get fat and content. Not train waiting for when times will be desperate, and a high level warlord, and knights are needed. Slately hasn't trained up a pack of knights. And he is apparently despite thousands(?) of turns to train still low level. Even Wanda seems to prefer not spending time learning to best use her talents, and she hasn't even tried to learn what the pliers can do other than decryption.
I wouldn't be surprised if Stanley spent his early turns staying up late and trying to get that next level, new special, or another knight. Right now he makes sure to get GK their dwagons, and will soon be learning how to use the hammer. There is more than just intelligence to being useful in Erfworld.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 69

Postby ╒╦╧╬╩╦╦╛ » Tue Aug 09, 2011 7:48 pm

sleepymancer wrote:
╒╦╧╬╩╦╦╛ wrote:
Wanda Firebaugh in the cast of characters back on the giant wrote:"I did not say it was a stupid idea, Lord. But the strategic advantage of equipping infantry with scary hand puppets is lost on me."


In a world with dance-fighting, that proposal (which I assume was a hat tip to Elan) could be effective - especially if they were made by a Dollamancer.

Sorry to double post. this just occurred as soon I'd clicked send on the last.



Ha, yes dance fighting with scary hand puppets... now that makes sense. Or not. Even by Erfworld standards. I meen if it had been a good idea, wouldn't Wanda have approved of it, being a caster (competent in many feilds of magic) she would have recognised the intrinsic value of scary hand puppets. Wanda realy make it sound like he was about to equip his troops with standard-issue-scary-hand-puppets. But then again, no proof so I guess my example wasn't that good.

Meh.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 69

Postby MarbitChow » Tue Aug 09, 2011 7:50 pm

Lamech wrote:But I bet at least in part it was dedication. Look at what Stanley was planning on doing: learning on how to use the Arkenhammer. He goes out and gets dragons for GK.

Both of those actions are a direct result of feeling inferior to Wanda, as well as being suggestions from Parson. Stanley didn't start trying to figure out what the 'Hammer does until 100 turns after Parson was summoned, and then only because Parson asked. And the Dwagon gathering is a direct result of feeling threatened by Wanda's horde of decrypted. When we first meet Stanley, he's breaking walnuts with the 'Hammer. The fact that some of the nuts transformed was a lucky accident - he just wanted to crack some nuts. Stanley is a great combat unit - there's no question about that. But I still don't see any actual evidence of any above-average cognitive ability or skills. He's had everything handed to him, including Parson, and he's got no real idea what to do with it.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 69

Postby oslecamo2_temp » Tue Aug 09, 2011 8:26 pm

MarbitChow wrote:But I still don't see any actual evidence of any above-average cognitive ability or skills. He's had everything handed to him, including Parson, and he's got no real idea what to do with it.


Ok, let's imagine that since you've been born you've been given a pointy stick and thrown into battle after battle whitout any proper education besides how to stab things. Along the way you get:
-Titan artifact with several strange powers and nothing resembling an instruction manual.
-Manipulative backstabbing seductive sadomasoquist necromancer.
-A full kingdom droped on your lap because of your own allies suddenly backstabbing you for no aparent reason, when you have no adminastrative experience whatsoever.
-Eldrith horror from other dimension that speaks of strange alien ideas and seems to be able to easily twist reality in a whim.

Would you have any real idea what to do with it? Really? Considering he's still alive, I would say Stanley has been doing a pretty good job. Call it luck if you want. I'll call it good instincts. If you managed to survive all that Stanley has faced so far, you have to be doing something right.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 69

Postby Housellama » Tue Aug 09, 2011 8:49 pm

oslecamo2_temp wrote:
MarbitChow wrote:But I still don't see any actual evidence of any above-average cognitive ability or skills. He's had everything handed to him, including Parson, and he's got no real idea what to do with it.


Ok, let's imagine that since you've been born you've been given a pointy stick and thrown into battle after battle whitout any proper education besides how to stab things. Along the way you get:
-Titan artifact with several strange powers and nothing resembling an instruction manual.
-Manipulative backstabbing seductive sadomasoquist necromancer.
-A full kingdom droped on your lap because of your own allies suddenly backstabbing you for no aparent reason, when you have no adminastrative experience whatsoever.
-Eldrith horror from other dimension that speaks of strange alien ideas and seems to be able to easily twist reality in a whim.

Would you have any real idea what to do with it? Really? Considering he's still alive, I would say Stanley has been doing a pretty good job. Call it luck if you want. I'll call it good instincts. If you managed to survive all that Stanley has faced so far, you have to be doing something right.


Or you got very lucky. Stanley is the guy who won the Erfworld equivalent of the Lottery. He survived long enough to find the Arkenhammer. His king promoted him twice, (for reasons we could speculate about all day long but have no real proof to support) which came with a kingdom. A kingdom, by the way, that had some of the best natural gem reserves around. Wanda found HIM in FAQ and chose to support him. He took FAQ because he had a whole boopload of dwagons which he found by pure chance on the way there, not to mention Wanda. He had Parson dropped in his lap by third parties. He can't even claim tactical competence after getting the Arkenhammer. It's most likely the strongest combat item in Erfworld, and it lets him tame Dwagons. That's brute force, hitting a nut with a hammer until it breaks.

Stanley was GIVEN everything he has. He won the lottery. Stanley is surviving DESPITE himself. Had he not listened to Wanda, he'd be dead right now. Perhaps you can say listening to Wanda was good instincts, but she had to FORCE the issue before he did. Stanley is surrounded by people who keep Gobwin Knob afloat despite Stanley. Stanley was just the sod that won the lottery and happened to find them along the way. They are the ones that manage it for him so he doesn't blow his wad on scary hand puppets.
"All warfare is based on deception" - Sun Tzu, Chapter 1, Line 18, The Art of War

"The principle of strategy is to know ten thousand things by having one thing." - Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of Earth, Go Rin No Sho
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Re: Book 2 – Page 69

Postby Goshen » Tue Aug 09, 2011 9:04 pm

Housellama wrote:
oslecamo2_temp wrote:
MarbitChow wrote:But I still don't see any actual evidence of any above-average cognitive ability or skills. He's had everything handed to him, including Parson, and he's got no real idea what to do with it.


Ok, let's imagine that since you've been born you've been given a pointy stick and thrown into battle after battle whitout any proper education besides how to stab things. Along the way you get:
-Titan artifact with several strange powers and nothing resembling an instruction manual.
-Manipulative backstabbing seductive sadomasoquist necromancer.
-A full kingdom droped on your lap because of your own allies suddenly backstabbing you for no aparent reason, when you have no adminastrative experience whatsoever.
-Eldrith horror from other dimension that speaks of strange alien ideas and seems to be able to easily twist reality in a whim.

Would you have any real idea what to do with it? Really? Considering he's still alive, I would say Stanley has been doing a pretty good job. Call it luck if you want. I'll call it good instincts. If you managed to survive all that Stanley has faced so far, you have to be doing something right.


Or you got very lucky. Stanley is the guy who won the Erfworld equivalent of the Lottery. He survived long enough to find the Arkenhammer. His king promoted him twice, (for reasons we could speculate about all day long but have no real proof to support) which came with a kingdom. A kingdom, by the way, that had some of the best natural gem reserves around. Wanda found HIM in FAQ and chose to support him. He took FAQ because he had a whole boopload of dwagons which he found by pure chance on the way there, not to mention Wanda. He had Parson dropped in his lap by third parties. He can't even claim tactical competence after getting the Arkenhammer. It's most likely the strongest combat item in Erfworld, and it lets him tame Dwagons. That's brute force, hitting a nut with a hammer until it breaks.

Stanley was GIVEN everything he has. He won the lottery. Stanley is surviving DESPITE himself. Had he not listened to Wanda, he'd be dead right now. Perhaps you can say listening to Wanda was good instincts, but she had to FORCE the issue before he did. Stanley is surrounded by people who keep Gobwin Knob afloat despite Stanley. Stanley was just the sod that won the lottery and happened to find them along the way. They are the ones that manage it for him so he doesn't blow his wad on scary hand puppets.


Or maybe, Stanley is a tool! :P

Seriously, We know that there is at least one conspiracy (Jannis and ) that wants GK to dominate the world. Maybe the GTTMA also. They have considerable resources and apparent ruthlessness. Isn't it rather convenient that Stanley was able to find all those while driving so quickly and easily, right after he just stumbled upon artifact. This is starting to sound like the conversation around our favorite decrypted warlord "Red" surviving Sylvia's repeated arrows shot at her from luck that is so good, it can't be natural.

I think Stanley is pawn in this game, advanced to the far rank to be sure, but a pawn, nonetheless.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 69

Postby Housellama » Tue Aug 09, 2011 9:26 pm

Goshen wrote:Or maybe, Stanley is a tool! :P

Seriously, We know that there is at least one conspiracy (Jannis and ) that wants GK to dominate the world. Maybe the GTTMA also. They have considerable resources and apparent ruthlessness. Isn't it rather convenient that Stanley was able to find all those while driving so quickly and easily, right after he just stumbled upon artifact. This is starting to sound like the conversation around our favorite decrypted warlord "Red" surviving Sylvia's repeated arrows shot at her from luck that is so good, it can't be natural.

I think Stanley is pawn in this game, advanced to the far rank to be sure, but a pawn, nonetheless.


I freely admit that Stanley's probably being manhandled by Fate. All of the Arken-wielders are, in one way or another. Luck and Fate are two sides of the same coin. The only difference is whether or not it has an active force behind it.

MY point is that Stanley's success has almost nothing to do with Stanley himself. Fate is just as good an agency to attribute that success to as anything else, and a better fit than most.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 69

Postby Kreistor » Tue Aug 09, 2011 10:45 pm

MarbitChow wrote:http://www.erfworld.com/book-1-archive/?px=%2F113.jpg

I don't see evidence of good tactics on Stanley's part - just on Caesar's. Jillian is doubtful that Transylvito can even win the encounter, but Caesar's tactics put their weaker units on equal footing. Stanley's tactics in this encounter should have been to concentrate all of his attacks on the warlords. Once they drop, the bats get cleaned up. 30 dwagons + knights + Stanley against Caesar would drop their bonuses rapidly.


The only reason you see any evidence of Caesar's "genius" is that Vinny tells you what he's doing. That no one tells you what Stanley is doing doesn't mean he's not doing something just as intelligent.

And, in the end, there are three results.
1. Stanley survives, so Transylvito failed.
2. Stanley doesn't get to FAQ, so Stanley failed.
3. Caesar got wrecked and Stanley came out unscathed, so Stanley won.

It's this simple: Stanley was unaware that there would be a fight. Caesar knew there would be a fight. With surprise, a good estimate of Stanley's strength, and time to plan, Caesar still failed. That is not an indicator of superior capacity on the battlefield.

Now, on the presumption that Stanley could direct attacks on the Warlords... we have repeatedly heard people discuss using weaker units to "screen" warlords. The most recent is the most telling: Ossomer can use Archons to screen him, forcing the archers and casters to take out Archons before hitting him. Stanley couldn't attack the Warlords because the Warlords could use bats to screen themselves.

Look, I'm not saying that Stanley isn't good in a fight. He's great - levels, dwagon mount and the artifact make him a powerhouse.
But I haven't seen any evidence that his knowledge of tactics extends beyond "grab the strongest units you've got and smash them against the strongest units they've got, and hope you win."


Because we have never seen a single order from him to his troops. We see glimpses of him fighting. We know Saline loved him because he won.

But I will never accept that much success is Luck. Remember, a losing battle means 100% losses. TOTAL ANNIHILATION. Which brings up this response:

Assume 25% of your pikers get wiped out in every combat. Those that survive get experience. Those that die get replaced. Assume 1000 pikers for this example.
The odds of any particular piker surviving 20 encounters is (0.75 ^ 20) = 0.003. That means we can expect 3 pikers to survive all 20 encounters.
Now, having survived multiple encounters, odds are that those pikers have leveled a couple of times. This increases their odds of surviving additional encounters.


Couple basic complaints about this example:
1. All battles must be attacks or defensive wins for your Side. A defensive loss means 100% losses to the defending Side. Never losing on Defense takes more than Luck for the Defending Side.

(Personally, I don't think Rob really understands that limitation of his combat system. Defending Units do not get to choose which Units attack them. It is the Attaker that can sway the combat to his advantage by knowing if the Defender has chosen Rock, Paper or Scissors, and consequently tailor attacker selection to ensure defender suffer a disadvantage. The defender advantage, the capacity to erect defensive breastworks has never made an appearance in the game so far. Anyway, I can drone on an on about this.)

2. The heaviest losses are always to the rookies. If your Side suffers 25% losses, 20% of those will be from the previous 25% replacements (80% chance of dying in first battle), meaning the other 75% only have a 5/75 = 1/15 = 6% chance of dying. 0.20x0.94^19 = 6%. 60 of those 1000 troops will have survived 20 fights. Not so rare.

3. Classically, medieval combats did not result in more than 10% losses to either side. There are always exceptions, but this was the most frequent result. 25% losses would be considered absolutely devastating. Our word "Decimation" comes from the Latin, which originally meant "lost 10%". A company that fled from battle was punished with decimation... 1 man in 10 was killed.

Translation: Stanley got lucky. If you prefer, call it the Will of the Titans. He survived. He leveled. He kept surviving. Repeat until he finds the Arkenhammer and/or gets promoted. He happened to be standing in the right place the first few times and didn't die. Someone had to. Someone has to win the lottery too. It just happened to be him. Winning the lottery doesn't take skill or talent. It just takes being the person with the lucky ticket.


Except you lack any evidence. Show me a description of Stanley configuring his army in any battle. Show him making a glaring mistake. Show us how he glaringly failed, and could only win with the advantages of Arkenhammer and dwagons overcoming his deficiencies.

Another point to consider: not only did raising Stanley cost more than popping a Warlord, that Warlord would have been Noble or Royal. Saline was Royalty, and he forewent a potentially Royal Warlord to Raise Stanley. Just another layer on what was actually sacrificed to put Stanley in a Leadership position.

Angband wrote:Of course, the whole story begins with "Pick the most handsome and dashing one left and make him a warlord" so I don't see a problem with individual mooks having the ability to stand out -- we just have very little evidence for it.


That probably says more about Stanley's evaluation of himself than anything else. I'm saying that Stanley wants to think of himself as dashing and handsome, and therefore raised such Units from the infantry to prove that he wasn't an accident... that someone else could do it, too, confirms his own self-worth.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 69

Postby Oberon » Tue Aug 09, 2011 10:50 pm

MarbitChow wrote:
Oberon wrote:People will only be able to tell us apart by looking at the post count. :x

That's not true at all. If an "oberon" is politely agreeing with someone, we'll know it couldn't be you. :D
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Re: Book 2 – Page 69

Postby Housellama » Tue Aug 09, 2011 11:57 pm

Kreistor wrote:
Housellama wrote:Translation: Stanley got lucky. If you prefer, call it the Will of the Titans. He survived. He leveled. He kept surviving. Repeat until he finds the Arkenhammer and/or gets promoted. He happened to be standing in the right place the first few times and didn't die. Someone had to. Someone has to win the lottery too. It just happened to be him. Winning the lottery doesn't take skill or talent. It just takes being the person with the lucky ticket.


Except you lack any evidence. Show me a description of Stanley configuring his army in any battle. Show him making a glaring mistake. Show us how he glaringly failed, and could only win with the advantages of Arkenhammer and dwagons overcoming his deficiencies.


How does not failing equate to excelling? I never stated Stanley failed. I simply stated that he got lucky. More precisely, that he got to where he is primarily by the actions of agents other than himself.

You want an example of how Stanley couldn't have won without the Arkenhammer? The battle of the Gap is the perfect example. Compare how many dwagons Stanley left with and how many dwagons he came home with. Look at the panels of the bats covering the dwagons and the dwagons going down. The Arkenhammer is what defeated Caesar. MAYBE Stanley could have taken him, but considering the odds, I doubt it.

Now that I've given you an example, I'd like for you to provide a counterexample.
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"The principle of strategy is to know ten thousand things by having one thing." - Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of Earth, Go Rin No Sho
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Re: Book 2 – Page 69

Postby MarbitChow » Tue Aug 09, 2011 11:57 pm

Kreistor wrote:It's this simple: Stanley was unaware that there would be a fight. Caesar knew there would be a fight. With surprise, a good estimate of Stanley's strength, and time to plan, Caesar still failed. That is not an indicator of superior capacity on the battlefield.

Caesar originally planned to attack w/ Charlie's Archons as well, so that he'd have superior odds in his favor. When that fell through, he gambled that he'd still have enough to win, using superior tactics against more powerful units. Jack ended the fight before we knew for certain who would emerge victorious, but even though Stanley had better units, as well as a number of modifiers in his favor, he was losing. One simple tactic could have changed his odds dramatically: appoint the highest-level knight class unit with him to Chief Warlord, so that he got the in-hex Bonus that Caesar was capitalizing on. But he just bum-rushed, and busted out the hammer.

I assert again that Stanley is at best mediocre at tactics. I'll even grant that he may be perfectly average. In order to prove actual competence, you have to show him to be better than average. I'm not aware that any examples thus far that can't be explained by simply having overwhelming firepower, which will typically win in the face of all but genius tactics.

Kreistor wrote:I will never accept that much success is Luck. Remember, a losing battle means 100% losses. TOTAL ANNIHILATION. Which brings up this response:

Couple basic complaints about this example:
1. All battles must be attacks or defensive wins for your Side. A defensive loss means 100% losses to the defending Side. Never losing on Defense takes more than Luck for the Defending Side.

(Personally, I don't think Rob really understands that limitation of his combat system. Defending Units do not get to choose which Units attack them. It is the Attaker that can sway the combat to his advantage by knowing if the Defender has chosen Rock, Paper or Scissors, and consequently tailor attacker selection to ensure defender suffer a disadvantage. The defender advantage, the capacity to erect defensive breastworks has never made an appearance in the game so far. Anyway, I can drone on an on about this.)

My first draft of the above included the statement that we could assume that Stanley was always in attacking forces. I knew I should have left that in. Simply assuming that Stanley is always part of the assault force, especially after he has had some success, negates the total loss issue.

Kreistor wrote:2. The heaviest losses are always to the rookies. If your Side suffers 25% losses, 20% of those will be from the previous 25% replacements (80% chance of dying in first battle), meaning the other 75% only have a 5/75 = 1/15 = 6% chance of dying. 0.20x0.94^19 = 6%. 60 of those 1000 troops will have survived 20 fights. Not so rare.


So the odds of a Stanley-like figure emerging from 'pure luck' are even greater than I estimated them. I'm glad we agree.

Kreistor wrote:3. Classically, medieval combats did not result in more than 10% losses to either side. There are always exceptions, but this was the most frequent result. 25% losses would be considered absolutely devastating. Our word "Decimation" comes from the Latin, which originally meant "lost 10%". A company that fled from battle was punished with decimation... 1 man in 10 was killed.


So, over time, the odds of a decent piker leveling up are even greater than my original estimates, if we go with your assumptions. This is again an argument in favor of Stanley being lucky instead of skilled.

Kreistor wrote:Except you lack any evidence. Show me a description of Stanley configuring his army in any battle. Show him making a glaring mistake. Show us how he glaringly failed, and could only win with the advantages of Arkenhammer and dwagons overcoming his deficiencies.


There's no need to cite such an example. We're not trying to disprove his exceptionalism, because that's not the default position. We're just saying his no better than average, at best. The existence of the 'Hammer adequately explain his victories without him being exceptionally skilled. You need to prove that he is more than he appears.

Kreistor wrote:Another point to consider: not only did raising Stanley cost more than popping a Warlord, that Warlord would have been Noble or Royal. Saline was Royalty, and he forewent a potentially Royal Warlord to Raise Stanley. Just another layer on what was actually sacrificed to put Stanley in a Leadership position.

That assumes that it's better to have a level 1 royal warlord than to promote a level 5 to warlord status. There's no actual reason Saline couldn't have done both: promote Stanley while popping noble warlords. Stanley didn't get to be made Chief Warlord until after he had the 'Hammer, and if being attuned is a rare occurrence, you don't gamble with that once you've already got an attuned unit.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 69

Postby Kreistor » Wed Aug 10, 2011 1:38 am

MarbitChow wrote:Caesar originally planned to attack w/ Charlie's Archons as well, so that he'd have superior odds in his favor. When that fell through, he gambled that he'd still have enough to win, using superior tactics against more powerful units.


And he failed, because he was wrong. Everyone assumes Stanley is an idiot for some reason, but Stanley keeps winning. When you assume someone that is actually talented is an idiot, you're placing yourself at a disadvantage by underestimating your opponent. And a talented person that understands that effect can reinforce that false belief in order to raise his chances of victory. (Someone around here quotes Sun Tzu, "War is deception." There's another one, "Fail to know your enemy and you will only win half the time." A smart commander makes people think he's less capable than he really is.) And what's best is that when the fool loses, he'll call the hidden talent lucky, otherwise he would have to accept that he was actually wrong in his evaluation of his opponent... and lots of people cannot accept that they are wrong in their analysis of other people, even in the face of death. Keep calling him "Stanley the Worm" folks... because if you ever showed him any respect, you might actually beat him.

Jack ended the fight before we knew for certain who would emerge victorious, but even though Stanley had better units, as well as a number of modifiers in his favor, he was losing.


Maybe. Maybe not. Like you said, we couldn't know who would win because Stanley fled, so you shouldn't be saying that you think he was losing. (You're trying to have your cake and eat it too. Saying he was losing but couldn't be certain of losing is hedging your bets, but it's also indicates you're unsure in your position.) What was clear was that continuing to FAQ wouldn't achieve Stanley's purpose of restoring his Side in secret, because they obviously knew where he was headed. Stanley didn't necessarily flee because he was losing. Oh, hey, and here's one... notice that Jack didn't tell Stanley to flee. While Units can understand the intended orders without the Warlord speaking them, Warlords do not read the minds of their charges. For Stanley to escape using Foolamancy, Stanley had to have the idea and order Jack to perform the spell. It couldn't have been Jack's idea. Stanley did exactly what the RCC exected... charging through Jillian like an overconfident idiot... but it was a fake-out from the start. Exactly when and where the Foolamancy started has always been a matter of debate. What we do know is that Jillian did not kill Stanley's dwagon, because the armored red escaped. Tactical retreat in the face of superior forces is evidence of an experienced commander that recognizes the no-win scenario, and someone that is willing to accept the embarrassment of defeat in order to fight again another day. Stanley created a plausible scenario that preyed upon the Royals' arrogant disrespect of his ability, and used that conviction they couldn't be fooled to escape in the direction they were convinced he never would... back towards GK.

BTW, if there was any use in continuing to FAQ, and if Stanley was a blunt thinker like you suggest, Stanley could have used that Foolamancy to get close to Caesar and finish him off, eliminating that massive Chief WArlord bonus, instead of just escaping Jillian. Sound good? Sorry, it's not. Don would promote the next highest Unit in the Hex, so that all he could achieve is reducing the Chief Warlord bonus, not eliminate it.

One simple tactic could have changed his odds dramatically: appoint the highest-level knight class unit with him to Chief Warlord, so that he got the in-hex Bonus that Caesar was capitalizing on. But he just bum-rushed, and busted out the hammer.


Can't. Hobgobwins are Natural Allies, and not a part of GK Side. The only candidate was Jack, but he has no Leadership bonus to give Dwagons.

And again, you do NOT know what Stanley's Tactics were, unlike Caesar who gets a long description. No one describes Stanley's (beyond Jillian stating that Stanley had a stack of dwagons), but that doesn't mean he didn't have any tactics at all.

I assert again that Stanley is at best mediocre at tactics.


Again you propose solutions that fail basic Erfworld mechanics. Sorry, the only mediocre tactician around here is you.

My first draft of the above included the statement that we could assume that Stanley was always in attacking forces. I knew I should have left that in. Simply assuming that Stanley is always part of the assault force, especially after he has had some success, negates the total loss issue.


That decision is out of Stanley's Chief Warlord's hands. You can't choose to put someone in a position where he won't be attacked. All Units in range of attacking others are fundamentally in range of being attacked. When you Move a Stack into range to launch an Attack, the target, if it of the same type, can attack you on its Turn which comes before you can launch that attack. You're proposing Stanley survived a lot of offensive battles, while somehow avoiding all defensive ones. That's just a desperate attempt to find any plausible explanation for your position. That something is plausible is not evidence that it happened. It's not even evidence that it was the most likely explanation.

So the odds of a Stanley-like figure emerging from 'pure luck' are even greater than I estimated them. I'm glad we agree.


Pointing out the favoritism in your mathematics is not anywhere close to agreement on the issue under discussion.

So, over time, the odds of a decent piker leveling up are even greater than my original estimates, if we go with your assumptions. This is again an argument in favor of Stanley being lucky instead of skilled.


1. We do not know Stanley's level at the time of Promotion to Warlord. You assume he was high, but you lack evidence and so that is an assumption.

2. We do not know how many enemies one must kill to reach any level, so we don't know how many battles he must survive. Leveling is proportional to kills, not battles. Sizemore leveled twice in one battle. It does not necessarily take a lot of battles, only a lot of kills, to gain high level.

3. We don't know what an exceptional level for an Infantry Unit is.

4. That you can reduce survival to a probability is not evidence that someone is lucky. That's like saying, "Hockey players have a 7% chance of scoring on each shot, so Wayne Gretzky must have been the luckiest hockey player ever, because he had only a tiny chance of scoring a record number of goals in that many shots." Wayne Gretzky was talent personified, and the evidence of his extraordinary goal count is evidence that he was supremely talented, not lucky. Exceptional results suggest exceptional ability.

Kreistor wrote:Except you lack any evidence. Show me a description of Stanley configuring his army in any battle. Show him making a glaring mistake. Show us how he glaringly failed, and could only win with the advantages of Arkenhammer and dwagons overcoming his deficiencies.


MarbitChow wrote:]There's no need to cite such an example. We're not trying to disprove his exceptionalism, because that's not the default position.


"We" aren't trying to do anything. "You" are trying to counter my statements that Stanley has talent on the Battlefield beyond the Arkenhammer and dwagons (which definitely made things easier). If you feel your opinion is all you need to impress me, you are grossly incorrect.

As for the idea of "default position"?

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Oh, you're funny. The very idea of a "default position" is absurd.

Kreistor wrote:Another point to consider: not only did raising Stanley cost more than popping a Warlord, that Warlord would have been Noble or Royal. Saline was Royalty, and he forewent a potentially Royal Warlord to Raise Stanley. Just another layer on what was actually sacrificed to put Stanley in a Leadership position.


MarbitChow wrote:That assumes that it's better to have a level 1 royal warlord than to promote a level 5 to warlord status.


Short haul, yes. Long haul, no. We know the system is exponential, taking more kills to reach the next level as you gain levels. A Royal, who levels faster than non-Royals, not only will gain levels faster and so close that gap just by being lower level, will potentially pass and surpass the non-Royal because of his leveling advantage. He requires fewer kills per level, and so can wind up higher level on a lower kill count.
http://www.erfworld.com/wiki/index.php/TBFGK_1 Here you can find all comic pages written as text for convenient quoting.

http://www.erfworld.com/wiki/index.php/Erfworld_Mechanics The starting page for accessing all known Erfworld "rules".
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Re: Book 2 – Page 69

Postby oslecamo2_temp » Wed Aug 10, 2011 4:14 am

Housellama wrote:How does not failing equate to excelling? I never stated Stanley failed. I simply stated that he got lucky. More precisely, that he got to where he is primarily by the actions of agents other than himself.


Taking advantage of what luck provides you is a sign of excelling. Compare Stanley to other rulers so far:

-When cornered, Queen Bea choose to spend her treasury in a mass suicide. Compare to Stanley, when cornered, spending his treasury in a high gambit, and then still having the backup plan of retreating to FAQ, which was essential for the volcano nuke to work, since if Stanley was still in the city, Hamster couldn't blow it up to turn the tables over the RC's overwhelming power.
-Don from Transylvito sends his chief warlord in suicide missions, and needed his whole leadership corps to threaten a rebellion in order to don't bankrupt himself. Compare to Stanley that does listen to Wanda, just asking for her to justify her reasoning.
-Jillian could have rebuilt FAQ long ago, but she chose to live as a barbarian on the edge of death, even if it meant leting her subordinates starve to death.
-Finally we have Slatley managing to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory because he apoints Mr. Diplomat as chief warlord (knocked out mere hours after the promotion), not to mention allowing high level commanders to be kept completely idle out of petty grudges, and now is also planning a suicide charge instead of a retreat as the situation calls.

So yes, Stanley using the luck he's given is a good sign. We see that other rulers have sliped in states of decay, happy with their status quo. Stanley is willing to take risks and to listen to his subordinates and try new outrageous maneuvers like summoning the perfect warlord and dwagon harvesting.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 69

Postby Beeskee » Wed Aug 10, 2011 4:29 am

I agree that now that Stanley is an Overlord, he's definitely falling short (no pun intended) in the skills department. I was talking about before that though. As a piker he survived and leveled, whether it was just pure luck, or luck and some actual skills. XP is granted based on the killshot so he wasn't just hanging back avoiding the shrapnel. From what we have seen of him in combat, he's relatively bloodthirsty and unafraid of battle, but not to the point of being overly reckless. Also, if he was just hiding every battle, he wouldn't have leveled as a piker. As a warlord he found a god artifact that every side would want, and managed to not lose it or get croaked, and impressed his King enough to be promoted to Chief Warlord.

Based on what we've seen, Stanley is barely qualified to be an Overlord, if that, but he was probably qualified to be a piker and warlord, and maybe a chief warlord as long as his king did the thinking. :D Which is sort of how the Peter Principle goes. It would be like someone who was a great employee getting promoted to management, where they didn't do so well but didn't burn the place down either, and finally getting promoted to a senior management position that they are entirely unqualified for and would do a horrible job at except they have lots of underlings fixing their mistakes. Stanley is lucky and has a lot of good people backing him up now, but he's also survived where a lot of other folks would have made a bad choice and gotten croaked.

He also is self-aware enough to know he needs a military genius backing him up, where other folks might have gotten offended at Wanda's suggestion and refused to allow the purchase. That suggests he's not as stupid as he lets folks think he is. :) Again, I'm not saying he's brilliant, just that he deserves a tiny bit of credit.

He reminds me a little of Nobby from Discworld. That character knows what he looks like and what impression folks will have of him, and is happy to let them think whatever they want. He knows he's not a genius but he's also not as dumb as he looks. ;)
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Re: Book 2 – Page 69

Postby MarbitChow » Wed Aug 10, 2011 5:07 am

Kreistor wrote:Everyone assumes Stanley is an idiot for some reason, but Stanley keeps winning.

The 'reason' people assume Stanley is an idiot may have something to do with the Cast of Characters page: http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erfcast.html
From the Stanley entry - "Weaknesses: Strategy, Critical Thinking, Human Resource Management".

When the author spells it right out for you, taking the opposing point of view requires extraordinary evidence. Since there's a pretty strong correlation between tactics, strategy, and critical thinking, knowing that he's weak in two (Rob's own words) means that assuming he's weak in the 3rd isn't a stretch. Stating that he is strong on tactics requires, at the very least, some evidence that he has used exceptional tactics at some point.

Showing that he's not strong on tactics simply requires that the other available assets and resources he has are sufficient to explain his success. I've shown how, assuming

Kreistor wrote:4. That you can reduce survival to a probability is not evidence that someone is lucky. That's like saying, "Hockey players have a 7% chance of scoring on each shot, so Wayne Gretzky must have been the luckiest hockey player ever, because he had only a tiny chance of scoring a record number of goals in that many shots." Wayne Gretzky was talent personified, and the evidence of his extraordinary goal count is evidence that he was supremely talented, not lucky. Exceptional results suggest exceptional ability.

False analogy. I'm not saying that Stanley is lucky because he survived. I'm simply stating that basic probability indicate that basic units will level up to the point where granting them warlord status makes sense as a regular occurrence without any requirement that the unit in question actually be exceptional. The bit of exceptional luck that Stanley received is finding and attuning to the 'Hammer.

There is no evidence of Stanley's exceptionalism prior to finding the 'Hammer. His promotion to Warlord is explainable simply by assuming he managed to achieve a few levels, and Saline wanted to use those levels as a bonus for multiple troops. Once he got warlord status and the 'Hammer, the artifact and the dwagons it provides is sufficient to explain his success rate and subsequent promotions.

His success prior to finding the 'Hammer is consistent with simple probability, and doesn't require that he be an exceptional tactician. His success after the 'Hammer is consistent with having access to an artifact and the additional resources it grants, and also doesn't require that he be an exceptional tactician. There is no evidence of him actually using any exceptional tactics - you admit this yourself, because you mention that we never see him giving orders. So, feel free to assume that Stanley is an exceptional tactician if it makes you feel better, but I don't see any evidence to back up that conclusion.

Kreistor wrote:"You" are trying to counter my statements that Stanley has talent on the Battlefield beyond the Arkenhammer and dwagons (which definitely made things easier). If you feel your opinion is all you need to impress me, you are grossly incorrect.

Well, my opinion, and Rob's actual description of the character. But hey, go ahead and imagine Stanley as a tactical genius without any evidence to support it whatsoever. If it increases your enjoyment of the comic, more power to you.

Kreistor wrote:As for the idea of "default position"? The very idea of a "default position" is absurd.

Don't like the word 'default'? Ok, then I'll say that your position deviates from the author's description of the character more than mine does, so your position requires more proof.

Saline promoted him to Chief Warlord, and later to Heir Designate, because he won lots of battles by using the 'Hammer and Dwagons:

http://www.erfworld.com/book-1-archive/?px=%2F079.jpg

Wanda flat out states that Stanley seemed to be an imbecile:

http://www.erfworld.com/book-1-archive/?px=%2F147.jpg

You yourself admit you have no evidence of Stanley actually using clever tactics, since you can't actually tell what orders he is issuing.

I'm clearly not going to convince you that Stanley is an unremarkable tactician. But you haven't actually shown any evidence of his exceptionalism other than "he's successful, so he must know what he's doing."

oslecamo2_temp wrote:Taking advantage of what luck provides you is a sign of excelling.

I hate to resort to a Monty Python cliche, but "no it isn't". Stanley is in an enviable position, clearly. But he got there by pure dumb luck - such overwhelming luck (finding an artifact, then finding the perfect warlord, then acquiring a SECOND artifact) that he would have to be supremely incompetent to squander it all. There's just no evidence that Stanley is the actual reason for any of the success of GK. Wanda, Maggie, Sizemore, Parson, Jack, Ansom - they are all carrying him along. Stanley has, again through luck, surrounded himself with competent people, so he also appears competent.

On Earth, there's definitely an argument to be made that a key leadership skill is knowing how to find and keep the right people to delegate to. But we know how Stanley acquired each of his subordinates, and in every case they were just handed to him (Sizemore popped on his side, Wanda sought him out, Parson popped by fate, etc.). Still no evidence of Stanley's exceptionalism.
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