Book 2 – Page 69

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Re: Book 2 – Page 69

Postby Kreistor » Wed Aug 10, 2011 8:51 am

MarbitChow wrote: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.


I think the White Wolf RPG's (Vampire, Wwerefwolf the Apocalypse, Mage the Ascension, etc.) had an excellent way of breaking this down. They separated mental capacity into three statistics -- intelligence, wit, and charisma. The last is obviously irrelevant to this particular discussion.

For those games, Intelligence is the stat you used for solving problems when you had lots of time. Wit is what you used when you needed to think on your feet, so Wit got used in Combat, and Intelligence got used out of combat, generally.

Being bad at long term thinking does not necessarily make you bad at short-term. Strategy, Critical Thinking, and HR are all out-of-combat thinking. IN-combat thinking is a completely different beast.

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.


No, you quite literally used this to try to prove Stanley was just Lucky. You even tried to Sin my criticism of this attempt into agreement tht he was Lucky.

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,


Plausibility is not evidence. That it might have happened that way doesn't mean it did happen that way.

His success prior to finding the 'Hammer is consistent with simple probability,


Plausibility is not evidence. That it might have happened that way doesn't mean it did happen that way.

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.


Prove that Critical Thinking affects Tactics. Prove that Human Resource Management has anything to do with Tactics (expounded on below).

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.


The author has said nothing about his Tactical abilities. That you try to link those three particular mental capacities to Tactics is interesting, but it doesn't even pass a cursory examination. Critical Thinking, the capacity to recognize assumptions and high order thought, has no place on the time-sensitive battlefield. HR Management is meaningless when you are restricted to using whoever is at hand.

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


Since we don't know how well he would have performed without the Arkenhammer, we don't know how much of his success was due to it.

Again, I do not deny that Erfworlders fail to recognize Stanley''s capacities. I believe that false belief is what has lead so many to underestimate him on the battlefield, and it explains some of why he keeps winning, and giving the perception of being Lucky.

It's this simple: his opponents know what the Arkenhammer does for him. His opponents know what dwagons do. His opponents can prepare for those things, after Stanley has used them often enough. And yet Stanley wins despite their capacity to prepare for him.

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


And yet he won before he got the 'Hammer. Remember my point about the usefulness of causing your enemies to underestimate you.

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 think his escape from Jillian was quite brilliant, actually. It demonstrated he is not as limited to the brute force tactics you want to limit him to, by demonstrating he can conceive of complex deceptions and does not suffer target fixation. It demonstrates that his pride is not more important to him than his survival.

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."


It's how I know Wayne Gretzky was exceptional. I don't know how Wayne thought when he deeked and dodged past the defense any more than I know how Stanley thought about his tactical decisions. Wayne scored where others wouldn't. Wayne passed, because he had a natural capacity to recognize when a teammate was in an advantageous scoring position.

But that didn't make Wayne a good General Manager. His failure at Human Resource Management does not make him a bad hockey player, does it?

Just a real world example of what we are talking about.

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".


Yeah, it is. Exploiting an advantage on the battlefield requires recognition that an advantage exists, and understanding how to use it tactically. We call it intuition, sometimes. I am not saying that there is evidence that Stanley did this anywhere, but I am saying you haven't got a clue what you're talking about here. oslocamo is absolutely accurate in this statement.

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.


Not on the battlefield. You don't have time to manage human resources there. You have no time to find the perfect person, so you use what you have near you to solve the problem you perceive. Figuring out how the non-perfect person can solve a problem with his sub-optimal skill set is Tactics, not Human Resources.

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.
[/quote]

Wanda and Jack weren't "handed to him". Wanda Turned when she saw he was going to win. We don't know exactly how Jack was captured, bit he was captured, which requires a choice by Stanley to capture him and attempt to Turn him.

We don't even know how Stanley gained the Arkenhammer. Was it literally found on the ground, or did he beat the sludge out of the previous owner? No clue. You can't even say that was Luck. But it wasn't Luck that he attuned... that was Fate.

We don't know how Maggie, Misty, Manpower, Phat-Singh, Ferdinand, Leeroy, and Toast were gained.

We aren't even close to knowing how Stanley gained his "subordinates". We know only two stories well, one story partially, and the rest are completely unknown.

But this would be Human Resource Management, and an example of something I already admit he is poor at. Knowing who to promote requires strategic thinking.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 69

Postby MarbitChow » Wed Aug 10, 2011 9:41 am

Kreistor, I think my disagreement with you stems from what appears to be your underlying assumption, that success proves competence. "Stanley succeeded, so he must have been skilled." This is, to me, a logical fallacy. Since I doubt we will even be able to agree on this assumption, there seems little point in continuing. If envisioning Stanley as a devious tactician enhances your enjoyment of the story in any way, then I leave you to it. Since the story is about Parson, and Parson is clearly both better tactician and strategist than Stanley, I doubt that Stanley's tactical abilities (or possible lack thereof) will make any difference to events from this point forward.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 69

Postby Lamech » Wed Aug 10, 2011 12:16 pm

MarbitChow wrote:Kreistor, I think my disagreement with you stems from what appears to be your underlying assumption, that success proves competence. "Stanley succeeded, so he must have been skilled." This is, to me, a logical fallacy. Since I doubt we will even be able to agree on this assumption, there seems little point in continuing. If envisioning Stanley as a devious tactician enhances your enjoyment of the story in any way, then I leave you to it. Since the story is about Parson, and Parson is clearly both better tactician and strategist than Stanley, I doubt that Stanley's tactical abilities (or possible lack thereof) will make any difference to events from this point forward.
First normally people don't just get absurdly lucky. Its usually a sign of something. Its a principal used as the basis of all sorts of stuff. When analyzing a drug you don't look at the results and go "well maybe it was just really lucky". Yes looking backward at something makes it a lot harder but the point still stands. When you're saying something just got really lucky, its time to start looking for other reasons.

MarbitChow wrote: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.
He did something because he was feeling inferior to one of his units? Well Slately is pretty inferior to his sons and we don't see him changing. Don seems fairly inferior to Ceaser. Still doesn't change. Lots of overlord do less than their subordinates.

Anyway lets compare Stanley to the other overlords:
Queen Beau: When her side is in trouble she wastes all money, and suicides. Stanley: When his side is in trouble he uses his money on something useful and activates his back up plan.
Slately: Instead of fleeing the city so his son had a chance to fight back stays in the tower that was about to fall. Stanley: Actually understands how to flee when in danger.
Don: Attempts to waste money by sending it to a doomed side. Stanley: Saves money by looking for waste.
Jillian: Attacked GK's cities so the GK airforce would be guaranteed to try and end her side next turn. Stanley: Hasn't done anything quite that retarded.
Don: Trying to get top warlord killed. Stanley: Parson still alive and well.
So it appears to me that Stanley is the competent overlord of the story.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 69

Postby MarbitChow » Wed Aug 10, 2011 12:44 pm

Lamech wrote:First normally people don't just get absurdly lucky. Its usually a sign of something. Its a principal used as the basis of all sorts of stuff. When analyzing a drug you don't look at the results and go "well maybe it was just really lucky". Yes looking backward at something makes it a lot harder but the point still stands. When you're saying something just got really lucky, its time to start looking for other reasons.

"Normal people" win the lottery all the time, even though there's only a 1 in 17,000,000 chance of doing so.

If we picked Stanley out of the 1,000 pikers in my example, prior to his first combat, and bet on his survival, you'd be right - we would have been absurdly lucky to have guessed that he would do well. But that's not what I'm trying to demonstrate. The calculations I'm showing demonstrate that, by pure chance, with a 25% fatality rate, 3 in 1000 can still be expected to have survived. Let's pick one of those three, and call him Stanley. Stanley is lucky to be alive from his perspective, and if we would have picked Stanley to still be alive after 20 fights, we would have been lucky as well (since we would have had a 3 in 1000 chance of guessing correctly). However, Stanley's survival, as well as his two comrades, has been predicted based on probability, and doesn't require that Stanley was better in any way than the other 999 original pikers.

Since all 3 survivors have been through 20 engagements, they've all leveled up. Since they're higher level, it makes sense to promote them to warlord status, so their level bonus can be spread out over their whole stack. None of these guys is particularly skilled, but that doesn't matter, since we're grooming the Royal warlords for the choice positions anyway - these guys are just cannon fodder with small bonuses, just meant to improve their stack.

Now - here's where Stanley's luck comes in. He finds, and attunes to, an artifact. Now he's gone from Average Joe Warlord to SuperWarlord - he gets a massive combat bonus. Also, the city he's managing can suddenly pop Dwagons, so now he's got a cool new mount - more firepower! Plus, he can tame other Dwagons he stumbles across! Suddenly, he's not just winning, but CRUSHING the competition, since his units are significantly better, his whole stack has been upgraded to Dwagon riders, and he's throwing lightening and Rocking Out. With his lightening attack, he's dropping units like flies safely from range, and now he's leveling up faster. Since he's so successful, he's sent out on all the choice combats, earning him even more levels. All those victories rush his level past even the Noble Warlords, since even though they get more XP for the same amount of kills, he's killing 5x as many guys as they are. He becomes the highest level warlord in the city - so let's make him Chief Warlord, so his bonus extends to everyone.

The only "luck" that is required for this scenario to play out is finding the 'Hammer. There is evidence that other lucky / unlucky things that have happened to him (finding enough Dwagons to conquer Faq, or having a gobwin uprising take out Saline while he was away) may have been orchestrated by Charlie, for some as yet unknown reason. But Stanley can easily have gotten to where he is right now without any exceptional tactical ability, as shown by this scenario.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 69

Postby MarbitChow » Wed Aug 10, 2011 12:51 pm

Lamech wrote:So it appears to me that Stanley is the competent overlord of the story.
Well, I'll be willing to grant you "least incompetent", since you don't list Charlie in there anywhere, and I'd actually rate Charlie as "competent". :D
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Re: Book 2 – Page 69

Postby BLANDCorporatio » Wed Aug 10, 2011 2:02 pm

It's interesting how this debate on Stanley's competence, or lack thereof, is similar to the one about "what does it mean?" {that Sylvia had the Universe on her side during the encounter with Artemis}.

And the dissimilarities are fun. For example, in that other debate, it was Kreistor who said "Sylvia's apparent luck is just luck and has no deeper meaning". Now, it is Kreistor who disagrees with MarbitChow. Surely, Stanley's ascension to CWL must mean something (that he was a competent tactician, specifically), quoth Kreistor.

The things I said, or rather drachefly said, during the Sylvia debate still, imo, ring true. The story is, apparently, about Fate. And maybe free will. Those are major themes. Luck comes less into play. Stanley was Fated to become attuned and Overlord of a side. He didn't get there by being among the lucky 3-in-1000 pikers, even if that is a plausible interpretation. (Imo, it's more plausible to be among the 3-in-1000 lucky than it is to have arrows blocked by chance 3 times).

The flip side of that is that Fate cares less about personal skill as well, unless said Fate is somebody's plan and Stanley happened to fit the bill.
The whole point of this is lost if you keep it a secret.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 69

Postby Lamech » Wed Aug 10, 2011 2:07 pm

MarbitChow wrote:
Lamech wrote:So it appears to me that Stanley is the competent overlord of the story.
Well, I'll be willing to grant you "least incompetent", since you don't list Charlie in there anywhere, and I'd actually rate Charlie as "competent". :D

Hmm... forgot about him. He rates as more competent than Stanley. Well Stanley still seems to rate at number 2.
MarbitChow wrote:Now - here's where Stanley's luck comes in. He finds, and attunes to, an artifact. Now he's gone from Average Joe Warlord to SuperWarlord - he gets a massive combat bonus. Also, the city he's managing can suddenly pop Dwagons, so now he's got a cool new mount - more firepower! Plus, he can tame other Dwagons he stumbles across! Suddenly, he's not just winning, but CRUSHING the competition, since his units are significantly better, his whole stack has been upgraded to Dwagon riders, and he's throwing lightening and Rocking Out. With his lightening attack, he's dropping units like flies safely from range, and now he's leveling up faster. Since he's so successful, he's sent out on all the choice combats, earning him even more levels. All those victories rush his level past even the Noble Warlords, since even though they get more XP for the same amount of kills, he's killing 5x as many guys as they are. He becomes the highest level warlord in the city - so let's make him Chief Warlord, so his bonus extends to everyone.
Yeah no. He got the arkenhammer. Presumably at least some of that was luck. (Although some of it may have been skill, as Kriestor pointed out there are a bunch of possible way to get it.) But look at Wanda. She know how to do one, and only one thing with her pliers. (Besides hit stuff). Stanley figured out how to do a bunch of stuff with it. That isn't "luck"; that is competence.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 69

Postby Housellama » Wed Aug 10, 2011 3:11 pm

BLANDCorporatio wrote:It's interesting how this debate on Stanley's competence, or lack thereof, is similar to the one about "what does it mean?" {that Sylvia had the Universe on her side during the encounter with Artemis}.

And the dissimilarities are fun. For example, in that other debate, it was Kreistor who said "Sylvia's apparent luck is just luck and has no deeper meaning". Now, it is Kreistor who disagrees with MarbitChow. Surely, Stanley's ascension to CWL must mean something (that he was a competent tactician, specifically), quoth Kreistor.

The things I said, or rather drachefly said, during the Sylvia debate still, imo, ring true. The story is, apparently, about Fate. And maybe free will. Those are major themes. Luck comes less into play. Stanley was Fated to become attuned and Overlord of a side. He didn't get there by being among the lucky 3-in-1000 pikers, even if that is a plausible interpretation. (Imo, it's more plausible to be among the 3-in-1000 lucky than it is to have arrows blocked by chance 3 times).

The flip side of that is that Fate cares less about personal skill as well, unless said Fate is somebody's plan and Stanley happened to fit the bill.


This has been my position in the Stanley argument from the beginning. Stanley's statement that he's one of the Titan's Chosen is actually correct. He's nothing but some dumb piker that got tapped by Fate to be The Dude. Nothing at all about Stanley himself is exceptional, except the fact that the Titans happened to pick HIM to be The Dude instead of the guy NEXT to him. Because of that, he's got the Arkenhammer, he can summon dwagons, he's got a kingdom and all these awesome people who support him, although I doubt even THEY know why...

Stanley's not smart. Stanley's not skilled. Stanley's not talented. You can call it luck and it's more or less the same thing, but it's not because Stanley EARNED it. Stanley won the cosmic lottery and the universe piled Awesome on him because Fate demanded that SOMEONE had to have it. It just happened to be HIM and not some other guy. End of story.
"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 sleepymancer » Wed Aug 10, 2011 5:07 pm

Kreistor wrote:
MarbitChow wrote: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.


I think the White Wolf RPG's (Vampire, Wwerefwolf the Apocalypse, Mage the Ascension, etc.) had an excellent way of breaking this down. They separated mental capacity into three statistics -- intelligence, wit, and charisma. The last is obviously irrelevant to this particular discussion.

For those games, Intelligence is the stat you used for solving problems when you had lots of time. Wit is what you used when you needed to think on your feet, so Wit got used in Combat, and Intelligence got used out of combat, generally.


Two things that occur to me on these: We are told that Stanley is an idiot but we may see that he acts competently sometimes. A mirror-parallel can be seen in the Ladies Detective Agency series in which we are continually told that the heroine is intelligent, yet she never displays any form of intelligence whatsoever. Her signamancy is truly powerful. For what its worth, my view on Stanley is that yes he got lucky, but he also has his skills at a certain level (as well as having his flaws), and has been promoted to beyond his competency.

Secondly, and this is completely off-topic, charisma's a social trait, the mental traits in White Wolf were Perception, Wits and Intelligence. (The social traits were appearance, charisma and manipulation). That doesn't change anything about your argument though, Kreistor! Oh we sometimes used intelligence for mid-combat explosion making, I recall one player blowing up a building via the gas mains and boiler with great fondness. The building was the Elysium.

╒╦╧╬╩╦╦╛ wrote:
sleepymancer wrote:
╒╦╧╬╩╦╦╛ citing 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.


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.


And despite no-proof I believe you're right, I just like my idea :p you know, Parson will propose it next book, and Wanda will say.

Wanda wrote:'Oh, that's so cool, lets get decrypted-Ace to make them


:P :P :P
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Re: Book 2 – Page 69

Postby Beeskee » Wed Aug 10, 2011 7:07 pm

Housellama wrote:Stanley won the cosmic lottery and the universe piled Awesome on him because Fate demanded that SOMEONE had to have it. It just happened to be HIM and not some other guy. End of story.


Not quite. A lot of people who win the lottery end up broke a few years later, because they don't manage their winnings, or don't hire someone to manage their winnings. Continuing that analogy, Stanley didn't just win the lottery, he also didn't lose it all afterwards. Yes that is due almost entirely to the people under him, and even then he almost did blow it due to pissing off too many sides at once. He also won the 'piker survival lottery' but he didn't blow it as a warlord, he accomplished something very rare, finding a unique item, all while staying alive in a world that is decidedly more deadly than ours while in a more dangerous position. It isn't just luck, there's a smidgen of something else in there too. I'll be damned if I know exactly what it is though. :) ("Fate" at least, and perhaps a tiny bit of some form of talent. Or the 'meta' stance - he survived because that's how Rob wrote the story.)

Again, I'm not saying Stanley is some sort of super genius or anything. He may have tripped over the Arkenhammer while taking a piss in the woods, but he didn't accidentally kill himself with it while learning how it works. :D
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Re: Book 2 – Page 69

Postby Housellama » Wed Aug 10, 2011 7:21 pm

Beeskee wrote:
Housellama wrote:Stanley won the cosmic lottery and the universe piled Awesome on him because Fate demanded that SOMEONE had to have it. It just happened to be HIM and not some other guy. End of story.


Not quite. A lot of people who win the lottery end up broke a few years later, because they don't manage their winnings, or don't hire someone to manage their winnings. Continuing that analogy, Stanley didn't just win the lottery, he also didn't lose it all afterwards. Yes that is due almost entirely to the people under him, and even then he almost did blow it due to pissing off too many sides at once. He also won the 'piker survival lottery' but he didn't blow it as a warlord, he accomplished something very rare, finding a unique item, all while staying alive in a world that is decidedly more deadly than ours while in a more dangerous position. It isn't just luck, there's a smidgen of something else in there too. I'll be damned if I know exactly what it is though. :) ("Fate" at least, and perhaps a tiny bit of some form of talent. Or the 'meta' stance - he survived because that's how Rob wrote the story.)

Again, I'm not saying Stanley is some sort of super genius or anything. He may have tripped over the Arkenhammer while taking a piss in the woods, but he didn't accidentally kill himself with it while learning how it works. :D


*facepalm* No. The reason Stanley didn't lose it afterwards is because HIS golden ticket wasn't a one time event. There was a place in Fate's little play that involved the actor getting, doing and being all these things. Fate needed someone to be The Dude. Someone who, no matter how stupid they are, gets to KEEP being The Dude. Because for whatever reason, The Powers That Be tapped that guy to fill that role. Stanly just happens to be that idiot. So Stanley, no matter how much of an idiot he is, will remain The Dude until Fate doesn't need him anymore. At that point, he'll survive or not by his own skill and talents.
"All warfare is based on deception" - Sun Tzu, Chapter 1, Line 18, The Art of War

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Re: Book 2 – Page 69

Postby Beeskee » Wed Aug 10, 2011 7:33 pm

I don't think attunement is a singular thing, I think other people can attune to the same tool as well. We don't know the specifics. But if Stanley believed he was invincible, he could have easily thought "I am teh greatnest!" and wandered into an epic battle alone just to prove how awesome he was and gotten croaked. He didn't.

Possession of or attunement to an arkentool isn't a guarantee of survival. Just because we haven't seen it happen yet doesn't mean it's impossible. But remember the pass battle, if Don had paid for the Archons, Stanley would have bit the dust then and there.


Stanley could prove Fate exists by doing something blatantly suicidal and surviving every time. Like, say, jumping off a tall building 100 times and not croaking. But I don't think he'll do that. :D


There's no way we can prove or disprove our points, there's no evidence backing them up either way. My only real point is that Stanley isn't operating just on luck/fate alone, he must have some small amount of personal skills, even if as an Overlord he's been promoted beyond their capacity. My only evidence to this is his survival up to the point where he found the Arkentool, and possibly afterwards but it's uncertain how much luck or fate helped there.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 69

Postby oslecamo2_temp » Wed Aug 10, 2011 7:53 pm

MarbitChow wrote:
Lamech wrote:So it appears to me that Stanley is the competent overlord of the story.
Well, I'll be willing to grant you "least incompetent", since you don't list Charlie in there anywhere, and I'd actually rate Charlie as "competent". :D


Quite ironic because above any other ruler in Erfworld, Charlie staunchly refuses any kind of advisors only listens to his own ego, and that's starting to come back to bite him. ;)
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Re: Book 2 – Page 69

Postby Kreistor » Wed Aug 10, 2011 7:55 pm

Marbitchow wrote:Kreistor, I think my disagreement with you stems from what appears to be your underlying assumption, that success proves competence. "Stanley succeeded, so he must have been skilled." This is, to me, a logical fallacy.


And you think that your underlying assumption, that success proves luck is any less absurd?

Lamech wrote:He did something because he was feeling inferior to one of his units? Well Slately is pretty inferior to his sons and we don't see him changing. Don seems fairly inferior to Ceaser. Still doesn't change. Lots of overlord do less than their subordinates.


Stanley lacks self-esteem. It stems from the Peter Principle. He is in a position where his incompetence is showing, and there's no Saline telling him he's amazing anymore. His belief in himself is no longer being propped up by the praise he has received in the past. He has spent his entire existence winning... until he was in charge, and then he nearly lost it all. And it's not Stanley that saved his Side, it was Parson. Parson's success demonstrates what a truly intelligent person can do, but no Erfworlder appears comeptent enough to truly understand what Parson does, and that included Charlie (until Charlie saw what was possible and started changing the rules himself with the Turnamancer trick and Haggar blackmail). Why else give Ansom the lead, if not to ensure that he could understand what was actually happening?

Stanley's ego has taken an enormous battering. While Saline ruled, Stanley's dwagons extended Gobwin Knob's borders, but when in charge, he discovered it wasn't his dwagons that did that because they didn't stop existing, but he started losing. Truly, this fact should have reinforced his self-iage as a great Warlord... they lost because he stopped being a Warlord, so he was very important as a Warlord. But he sees that he is a bad Overlord, and his past successes don't make his life any easier.

It hasn't been said, but it is probable that Stanley cannot simply make someone else Overlord. Maybe there's a rule for an Overlord being captured that allows his Side to end wihtout his death, returning him to Warlord status... but Rob is pretty merciless so I doubt it. Stanley should go back to being a Warlord, which he obviously loved and gloried in, but he probably cannot.

Stanley's grandstanding is a response to that ego damage. He can't gain respect through his choices, so he demands it using his raw power and threat of death.

Anyway lets compare Stanley to the other overlords:
Queen Beau: When her side is in trouble she wastes all money, and suicides.


That's despair. She lost her daughter, first to death, second to Decryption, and third by ordering her destroyed. An emotional moment of self-destruction is not evidence of general incompetence. Bea was on Turn, so yes, she could have escaped... but to where? Her Capital would be captured with her in the field. There was no gathering of RCC to respond to the new threat. She did all that she could for the other Royal Sides... she prevented GK from becoming stronger at her expense. It is, probably, the only thing she could have achieved.

Slately: Instead of fleeing the city so his son had a chance to fight back stays in the tower that was about to fall.


Jetstone has survived an incredibly long time under Slately. How many sons has he lost now? Five? Eight? How many Turns would that be? How OLD is Slately?

You are right that Slately is not equipped to deal with this threat. He carries too much tradition in his baggage to understand what must be done for Jetstone to survive. Is it incompetence to recognize that the one son you have passed over for a lack of traditional values is the one son that could do what needs to be done to save your Side?

Don: Attempts to waste money by sending it to a doomed side.


Two doomed Sides, actually. FAQ is in it deep to him, and I don't see Wanda's rage at Jillian's rejection being unpunished. But again, Don is facing a new and quite impossible threat. Is there any correct answer? Is trying the only desperate solution to a problem incompetence? When you have no relevant experience with a problem, is it incompetence to implement a solution that is non-optimal?

Don may actually be more competent than he appears, or at least his Warlords believe. There is a fundamental flaw in every Royal Side -- it will inevitably split off another Royal Side. Don sees that the only hope to defeat GK comes from having many Royal Sides, not from large Royal Sides that will split under internal pressure. Trying to prevent the loss of Jetstone is only Don's recognition that a domino is falling, and he has nothing to stop it from landing on Transylvito next.

Jillian: Attacked GK's cities so the GK airforce would be guaranteed to try and end her side next turn.


No, her incompetence is in her Loves -- Battle, Wanda, and Ansom, not necessarily in that order. She needed to destroy Wanda... to save Jetstone, but also herself. So long as Wanda lives, Jillian will be incapable of achieving greatness.

One more...

I'll add Charlie. He is very good at being a mercenary. Non-threatening. Focused on profit. But is that competence as an Overlord? He has no Warlords or Casters, only his Archons that are more like slaves. His Side has only magically constructed automatons besides the Archons. Remember that CharlesComm is modelled on Charlie's Angels, and Charlie in that was modeled on Howard Hughes. Howard was powerful, a brilliant businessman, inventor... and a stark raving lunatic. Magnificent Charlie may be saving his pee in jars. Charlie is alone, isolated, Ruler of a single city... the Wizard in his Tower hiding from the world behind a wall of Thinkamancy.
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 MarbitChow » Wed Aug 10, 2011 8:16 pm

Kreistor wrote:
Marbitchow wrote:Kreistor, I think my disagreement with you stems from what appears to be your underlying assumption, that success proves competence. "Stanley succeeded, so he must have been skilled." This is, to me, a logical fallacy.
And you think that your underlying assumption, that success proves luck is any less absurd?

That's not my assumption. You want to assert that his current position is a result of artifact plus tactical skill. I assert that gaining the artifact alone is sufficient, and have shown the calculations that make it plausible that he could have reached a position where he could get the 'Hammer.
My assumption is that, statistically, at least 3 units in 1000 can achieve moderate success (enough to get promoted to warlord, at least) just by staying alive. No tactical skill is required. (You clarified that my assumptions were probably even above a realistic upper limit.)
I know you're not going to agree - that's fine. I'm just posting as one final attempt to clarify my position.
We KNOW Stanley is lucky (or guided by Fate, if you prefer that interpretation). He found and attuned to an artifact. That's the Erfworld equivalent of winning the lottery.
The odds of him getting the artifact are millions to one. I just wanted to show that the odds of him getting to a position where he could possibly acquire the artifact (without exceptional skill) are reasonable.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 69

Postby civilphil » Wed Aug 10, 2011 8:24 pm

Reading this argument is like watching two professors, both equally convinced at their rightness, get into a shouting match in front of their students. Meanwhile the students ignore them and log onto Facebook. :mrgreen:

Kudos to MarbitChow for being the one to try and walk away from it.

I mentioned it pages ago, but here it is again:

Rob Balder wrote:We have one rule in these forums: don't be a dick.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 69

Postby Beeskee » Wed Aug 10, 2011 8:34 pm

It didn't seem like anyone was being a dick. Arguing a point, even getting excited about it while arguing, doesn't mean people are angry at each other.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 69

Postby civilphil » Wed Aug 10, 2011 8:52 pm

Twas just a reminder from your friendly neighborhood Spiderman. ;)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SUtziaZl ... re=related
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Re: Book 2 – Page 69

Postby Kreistor » Wed Aug 10, 2011 9:20 pm

MarbitChow wrote:My assumption is that, statistically, at least 3 units in 1000 can achieve moderate success (enough to get promoted to warlord, at least) just by staying alive. No tactical skill is required.


Your "mathematical" argument is, essentially, "Let's assume Luck decides who wins a fight. If Stanley has only a 0.3% chance of surviving, then Stanley must be extremely lucky. Therefore he is extremely lucky." It's a cyclic argument. Stanley is assumed to be lucky so you can prove that he's lucky. It falls apart because the assumption that he has no Talent in combat or tactics is unprovable.
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 Beeskee » Wed Aug 10, 2011 9:24 pm

civilphil wrote:Twas just a reminder from your friendly neighborhood Spiderman. ;)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SUtziaZl ... re=related


I see your youtube video, and raise you one.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iIejAv3yA7o

:D
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