Remember who told parson that -- peopel that believe in Stats. Is Obedience a "stat"? It's not a number, since it's not variable. You do what you're told, unless certain conditions are met. That's Natural thinkamancy, certainly, but no number represents variability.
Loyalty is an "unknowable" stat. If you can't know the number, and you don't know the mechanic, then it's not a stat. It's a theory.
And Duty? "Has higher affect [sic] on Warloards, highest on Chief Warlord." That's not a stat, it's a function of the job. Again, it's a Rule, but not necessarily a Stat.
Experience was confirmed as a theoretical stat by Word of the Titans.
See, I think it's both. I think a mathamancer/thinkamancer/date-a-mancer link might have more insight into it, but consider this... if we are wounded enough times, we die, yes? In this world, your hits are depleted. But both worlds would understand that an arrow into the head would, after making you taste key lime pie, kill you. It's a common point of understanding, but there are actual numbers that represent it. Good leadership does benefit an army in tangible ways, but in erfworld that takes on an actual quantifiable benefit. Now, if the stats are a cause or effect or a little of both is up to debate, but we know the numbers are there.
Because I think the mathamancers are right about the stats: They can't see them, but they are there.
Is it a "chance"? If it were random, we'd see random people converting when suggested they Turn. It hasn't been so. We see peopel Turning for good reasons, not randomly rationalized reasons. If it's not random, then the number is irrelevant. We can rate people's Loyalty in this world (mine is very low, according to some people), but real Loyalty is far more complex than a number. Some people will nto turn traitor for any amount of money, but the right girl can twist them around her finger and get them to do anything. And vice versa. Brainwashing can turn anyone, given time, but the same person that takes years to wear down may switch for very little cash. Loyalty is complex, and while the Erfworlders may convince themselves that there must be a stat or rule, it carries into the Free Will discussion.
Ossomer is a great example. Ossomer's hang-up is Honor, but he joined an Honorless side when he decrypted. If he really has Turned, did he Turn partially because he disagreed with his Side's tactics? In that case, tehre is no Stat... it's Free Will wearing down his Loyalty, just like it would in our world... no Rule or Stat required.
Love to talk more, but gotta go.
When I say Chance, I don't mean "80% chance to resist turning when offered, roll for bonus." But rather for the person asking, a realistic assessment of "Do I have a chance of turning this unit?"
No unit is going to turn just because they are asked, unless they really, really hate their boss . Lets pretend we know loyalty stats (I'm not suggesting this as fanon or anything, just trying to explain my hypothesis) And say, 20 is about as high as anybody ever gets. A 20 is no chance naturally. This unit will die happily before doing anything to hurt their cause, and there's nothing you can offer, or argument you could have that would sway this unit. By contrast, a unit with a loyalty of one might jump sides if he likes your livery. And then a unit with loyalty of, say, six might turn if she feels like she's being sent on a suicide mission that serves no purpose to the side, thus questioning if the side's worth serving. So by "Chance", I mean that say, a warlord with a hypothetical artifict that let them see this stat could look at an enemy caster and say "Loytalty stat 17? Boop, we just gotta kill this guy. No point wasting time.", but then looks at another stack and say "huh. That one's only an 8? Maybe I should make them an offer." Turnamancy spells, of course, alter this stat to various degrees for a time.
The thing is, I don't think the loyalty stat is static. Don Bruce mentioned the obvious way it could change. So using Transylvito, disbanding a popular and successful chief warlord is perhaps like an immediate -4 loyalty penalty to anybody who knows about it, -5-7 if they have a more personal relationship with the guy. In the real world, this works via psychology. "Why did he get rid of the best leader we've had in years? Maybe the King's lost it completely!" And that could be said in either world. But on Erf, this also results in the number changing. Did the number change put the thought in the units head or did the units thoughts decrease the number? Parson would likely argue the latter, Sizemore the former, and Wanda would say it's irrelevant because it was supposed to happen that way. Jack would probably be more interested making a riddle about it.
So, going off my lousy system, Lets say all Decrypted start at 20 loyalty when re-popped. But, then Ossamer's advice and counsel regarding an army he's an expert on is barely acknowledged, his new sides tactical sense is baffling, he's now pitted against people he'd been willing to die for hours ago, he's all but forgotten and abandoned in the new plan, and worse, he was party to an action he considered completely dishonorable, from a side that he'd thought just before was extremely dishonorable. He then witnesses the enemy he once called his side acting as honorably and admirably as he remembers them, while his sides actions are anything but, his and after his own father lays into him over this, he sees him finally becoming the sort of man he was raised to respect in this way, and just after an offer to turn or at least prove he still has the honor he's always held as important. All of these actions were shaving down his loyalty score, and then his perfect mistress abandons them all, not only lowering bonuses but seemingly pulling back during a battle the titans should be backing them on. And it was all too much, and his new loyalty score couldn't hold up to all of the incidents, and boom! Hello Radish, I'm back.
was it his choice to turn? Of course! As you said at the start of this, it's subtle enough that the riddle itself is irrelevant, he turned regardless of why. But much like a computer game, I do think the stats, though never shown, are there.