Summer Update - 020

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Re: Summer Update - 020

Postby badninja » Mon Aug 10, 2009 2:15 pm

Oh this is not going to end well, I think that looking at Stanley as a mouse is wrong he is much more dangerous then that. I believe that the view that Don King showed will be his down fall at the hands of Parson.
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Re: Summer Update - 020

Postby Graydon » Mon Aug 10, 2009 2:28 pm

I think the egalitarian response is off for Erf.

Warlords restrain normal units; what restrains warlords?

Stanley became an overlord, and continued to act like a warlord. Because he is both fairly stupid and seriously insecure, this hasn't even gone as well as "drive his enemies before him"; it's almost got him destroyed, and the thing that's kept him from being destroyed is Wanda's destiny.

From what little we've seen of royalty -- Ansom, Banhammer, and Don King -- being royal gives you stat bonuses; it also gives you the capacity for diplomacy and long term planning. From what we've seen of Wanda and Sizemore and the Grand Abbe, casters can do long term planning but not necessarily diplomacy with non-casters. So to the extent there is anything other than violent conflict on Erf, it depends on royalty for its existence.

Jillian likes violent conflict -- she's good at it -- and deals with emotional complexity by any means at all other than thinking about it; the only time we've ever seen her deal with her own emotions directly, an archon had messed with her head. So she is, in that respect, a terrible royal.

But, this being Erf, she almost certainly has the capacity to be a good royal; it's not like our actual world were crown princes who were totally unsuited for the job got born all the time. So it's presumably Jillian's conviction that she's bad at it that makes her bad at it, or at least, as abysmally bad as she is, because she both doesn't see the point and doesn't care to try.

Y'all have noticed how much of Erfworld is about dealing with insecurity in self-image? Ansom, Parson, Jillian, Stanley, and Sizemore are all significantly about this. Vinnie and Wanda don't seem to be, but then again maybe we haven't found out enough yet about Vinne.
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Re: Summer Update - 020

Postby doran » Mon Aug 10, 2009 2:31 pm

I wonder if in his view, Charlie would be a rat?
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Re: Summer Update - 020

Postby Welf von Ehrwald » Mon Aug 10, 2009 3:23 pm

Glenn wrote:Here on Earth, the sort of caste structure that exists on Erfworld is based on a lie, because in a fundamental sense, the differences between the rulers and the ruled are really not that absolutely profound. That is why a lot of people reading this sympathize with Stanley; because they think that Stanley is fundamentally right to reject his world's social structure as arbitrary. Here, humans are neither wolves or mice, we are all just human. But we need to remember that, unlike humans on Earth, Erfworlders really are individually created to specification. It's at least plausible that they really are the products of intelligent design. Which means that the Titans may really have designed Royals to have a capacity for ruling that other Erfworlders like Stanley simply do not have. I think it's worth noting that Stanley has been, for the most part, an absolute failure as a ruler. If Wanda hadn't introduced Parson into this world, then Stanley would have lost every city he had when he became Overlord by this point. Is this simply an indication that Stanley is personally unqualified to rule, or does it indicate that the only people currently on Erfworld who are qualified to rule are Royals (and perhaps Parson who is a product of an entirely different evolution)? Perhaps the only way Parson could establish a real democracy on Erfworld is if he changes the rules so that everyone popped is a Royal?


The only thing that makes royals better than commoners are some better stats, that they can level easier and a certain knowledge of war and diplomacy. That is quite a advantage, but doesn't make them automatically better. Stanley was popped as a commoner, but he earned himself the promotion to warlord; and as far as we know he was very competent at that. As ruler he was a failure, no doubt. But he a bad start; the rebellion of the gobwins probably cost him most or all of the old court who could have counsel him. His most rusted advisor, Wanda, manipulated him to believe some crap about a titanic mission and pushed him into a war he could not win. The huge alliance that marched on him wasn't helpful, too.
And we have at least one example of an commoner who knows how to rule: Charley. And we know of a quite incompetent royal: Banhammer.
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Re: Summer Update - 020

Postby Yucca » Mon Aug 10, 2009 3:35 pm

Lothmar wrote:Not necessarily. I think he could easily break the cycle with the complete and utter genocide of all royals. That way it forces the world to adapt or perish in the resulting chaos. But that's probably a little extreme for parson...


You're not going far enough. Democracy takes one principle as it's bedrock foundation:

Jefferson wrote:We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal


In Efrworld people are objectively, undebatedly, and quantifiably UNequal. To have a true democracy you would need to have a side that is made out of one and only one type of unit.

Don King's analogy is perfectly apt for Erfworld. Different types of units are designed for different roles. Wasn't it mentioned somewhere that Royals have higher stats to begin? (I'm also thinking that I remember something about them leveling faster?) Maybe Royals were in fact specifically designed to be the leaders of Erfworld. Stanley is challenging that order. Not that that's a bad thing, (should a mouse find the ability to hunt wolves, it's only natural that it would) but it is in fact unnatural.
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Re: Summer Update - 020

Postby DevilDan » Mon Aug 10, 2009 3:40 pm

Welf von Ehrwald wrote:The only thing that makes royals better than commoners are some better stats, that they can level easier and a certain knowledge of war and diplomacy. That is quite a advantage, but doesn't make them automatically better. Stanley was popped as a commoner, but he earned himself the promotion to warlord; and as far as we know he was very competent at that. As ruler he was a failure, no doubt. But he a bad start; the rebellion of the gobwins probably cost him most or all of the old court who could have counsel him. His most rusted advisor, Wanda, manipulated him to believe some crap about a titanic mission and pushed him into a war he could not win. The huge alliance that marched on him wasn't helpful, too.
And we have at least one example of an commoner who knows how to rule: Charley. And we know of a quite incompetent royal: Banhammer.


I seriously question the idea that Stanley is truly a competent warlord. He may be a good soldier, but he seem to be a truly lousy general. He'd been relying on brute force for a long time, without even understanding that there was anything wrong with picking chief warlords on the basis of looks, for boop's sake.

Do we know if there is any such thing as a "court?" The rebellion is surely one of the biggest mysteries to us at this point. To suggest that Wanda is the cause of Stanley's religious delusions or even a major contributing factor is a leap. I can't, at any event, think of a single conversation between Wanda and Stanley that would support that.

Charlie is surely brilliant and skilled; he's a competent leader, apparently. He's also a ruthless, amoral mercenary; while he didn't switch sides in the conflict, he did so purely out of enlightened self-interest. And it didn't keep him from overcharging Don King so that he could make a contrary deal with Parson.

Was Banhammer incompetent? It seems he would ruled for a long time if Wanda hadn't betrayed him and Faq.
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Re: Summer Update - 020

Postby SteveMB » Mon Aug 10, 2009 3:47 pm

DevilDan wrote:I seriously question the idea that Stanley is truly a competent warlord. He may be a good soldier, but he seem to be a truly lousy general. He'd been relying on brute force for a long time, without even understanding that there was anything wrong with picking chief warlords on the basis of looks, for boop's sake.


That may be another thing that makes perfect sense in Erfworld terms -- perhaps "handsome and dashing" directly correlates to some element (charisma?) that makes some units inherently more suitable for promotion to Warlord.

OTOH, Stanley doesn't look particularly handsome or dashing, and he seems to have impressed King Saline enough to earn promotion to Warlord (this was before he found the Arkenhammer, so he clearly got the promotion based on Saline's opinion of his merits).
Is this a real holy war, or just a bunch of deluded boopholes croaking each other?
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Re: Summer Update - 020

Postby DevilDan » Mon Aug 10, 2009 4:26 pm

SteveMB wrote:That may be another thing that makes perfect sense in Erfworld terms -- perhaps "handsome and dashing" directly correlates to some element (charisma?) that makes some units inherently more suitable for promotion to Warlord.


That's a very neat and kind of scary theory.
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Re: Summer Update - 020

Postby BillMcD » Mon Aug 10, 2009 4:27 pm

essentially the king is another bigot that auto hates anyone not royal who is in charge of a side. it seems like the entire purpose of hunting stanley really is because he's not a royal. the plaid tribe was capping cities prior to stanley becoming the leader. but it seems the only concerted resistance came after stanley was put in charge.

maybe it was the alleged regicide angle that angered most of the other royals. either way i'm certainly on stanley's side.


No, I think it's something fundamentally simpler than that: Stanley's a pariah because he refuses to be 'royal'.

Don King's not talking about being popped a ruler. He's talking about class - not caste. Speak well, act with decorum, be more than just a battle-leader: be a ruler, a figure who appears to be calm and in control even when he's not. Because that's what followers need: the appearance of control. Civility and etiquette go a long way toward giving the rank-and-file a sense of order in their lives, a sense of rightness. Look at GK's forces at the beginning of Book I: Gobwins, twolls, and hobgobwin knights, respecting only strength; spidews and other beasts; dwagons serving the wielder of the Arkenhammer... and what? Casters, capable of leadership in their own limited way, with the minion-creatures of their creation: uncroaked and various golem-types.

Stanley's not about egalatarianism. Stanley's about Stanley, and the creatures serving him know it. GK's forces are initially seen in a very tight spot, and so seem cohesive - this is very much in accordance w/Sun Tzu's philosophy of how to bind an army to itself and its leaders: burn the ground as you take it, so there can be no retreat. With no options, the soldiers remain cohesive out of survival instinct. With options, they become fractuous. Stanley's newer forces, the Decrypted, likely have no more individual capacity to disobey or question authority than the uncroaked do, even if they appear to retain more of their awareness. Webinar, decrypted, could never have questioned Jillian's (really) rank incompetence at any task greater than 'lead this attack'.

So I don't think what Don King is talking about it necessarily station-you-were-popped to. I think he's more talking about Stanley as a mouse because Stanley refuses to shoulder the obligations of royalty. He imagines himself to be a wolf, but he has yet to rise to the challenge. Everything Stanley does is for Stanley. He's a small creature, a mean little thing, because he refuses to become more. Don King could indulge himself, make everything around him all about him, the way Stanley does. He could use what he has - the teacup - and throw it away when it no longer serves his needs, uncaring... but he doesn't, because he has duties and obligations to his side. Think of each side as a society all acting in concert, all taking its cues from the ruler, circling around him like a wheel.

The center cannot hold - unless someone is there willing to make the effort to hold it. That's what Don King's doing by adopting the trappings of culture and decorum. It's what Ansom was doing by projecting the air of certainty and confidence in his side's superiority of purpose (and likely never realized he was doing it, because unlike Don King, he wasn't the ruler - he'd never even had to consider his position or his duties, because there was still someone above him to lay those duties out for him). It's what Stanley isn't doing, and it's why all of his paranoid suppositions about Wanda are going to come true.

Everything in Erfworld seems to flow from each side's rulers. GK's ruler is selfish and small-minded. He cares nothing for any of the individuals he employs - they are, fittingly enough, tools to be used and discarded when they're no longer useful. Don King is wrong. Stanley is not a mouse.

He's a shrew.
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Re: Summer Update - 020

Postby raphfrk » Mon Aug 10, 2009 4:33 pm

Yucca wrote:
Jefferson wrote:We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal


In Efrworld people are objectively, undebatedly, and quantifiably UNequal. To have a true democracy you would need to have a side that is made out of one and only one type of unit.


Not necessarily. In the real world, people are also unequal in their abilities.

However, the differences between people are small enough that it is easier to just go with a 1 person, 1 vote rule.

What is required for democracy is that the general public is more powerful than the government. If 10 nobles can kill 100 peasants with impunity, than you are going to have a feudal system. Once the power balance gets closer to 1 to 1, then there would be a shift to democracy.

This also includes coordination problems. The general public has organisational problems relative to a ruling class. However, as time goes by, the advantage that the government has is lessened.

In Efr, the monarch can kill with a thought ... that is more power than any RL King ever had.
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Re: Summer Update - 020

Postby shneekeythelost » Mon Aug 10, 2009 5:42 pm

I think Jillian is about to learn a very important lesson.

You see, he's trying to teach Jillian that niceties are required at times. Also, he's reverting back to slang, sounding more like vinnie, and less like Don Corleone. He's going to 'talk to her in a language she can understand'. And quietly educate her as to certain realities of life.

Honestly, I think it's the best thing that could ever happen to Jillian... assuming she survives.
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Re: Summer Update - 020

Postby DevilDan » Mon Aug 10, 2009 5:42 pm

BillMcD wrote:Everything in Erfworld seems to flow from each side's rulers. GK's ruler is selfish and small-minded. He cares nothing for any of the individuals he employs - they are, fittingly enough, tools to be used and discarded when they're no longer useful. Don King is wrong.


Stanley is beginning to show some signs of maturity, at any event. Better late then never.
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Re: Summer Update - 020

Postby Monan » Mon Aug 10, 2009 6:10 pm

Interestingly enough this update reminded me of the Titans as well as showed me a perspective on the "order of things" in Erfworld. But I thought, "So what is Parson?" a wolf, a cat, etc. Then I also thought was a Titan and their relationship with EW according to Jillian.

My conclusion? Humans make their strategy games and set the rules, create the characters/pieces and name them. And Parson is a Titan like Jesus is god according to Christians. Alnog with being a Titan he is also a game piece. Hence why he has to follow some of the Tools orders.

On another note Don King doesn't address the arkentools.
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Re: Summer Update - 020

Postby Ancient History » Mon Aug 10, 2009 6:32 pm

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all units are popped at first level."

"Yeah, but some of us weren't popped."
-Lord Hamster

Being a royal in this case means that Jillian, as much as anyone else, is a protagonist. Royals are apparently popped-to-lead, and their bonuses and advantages are designed for the type of lead-from-the-front lifestyle she's taken to. The behind-the-army planning that Parson and Don King have so far evinced, suggests that some characters realize the necessity of leading-from-the-rear, which might explain Don King's interest in Jillian - why send his own heir (if he has one, he might need to pop one) out to claim the cities of FAQ when he could, through diplomacy, get Jillian to do it for him (which would provide Transylvito with another ally, keep Jillian where Don King can keep an eye on her, and incidentally provide a moral victory by returning her to the "correct path" as it were).

If anyone besides heirs and overlords can reclaim a city, it hasn't been shown - and if Transylvito could have sent their Chief Warlord to claim the cities instead of just blocking Stanley, why didn't they?
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Re: Summer Update - 020

Postby SteveMB » Mon Aug 10, 2009 7:20 pm

Ancient History wrote:If anyone besides heirs and overlords can reclaim a city, it hasn't been shown - and if Transylvito could have sent their Chief Warlord to claim the cities instead of just blocking Stanley, why didn't they?

They intended to do just that. ("[N]o goin' back to Gobwin Knob until you show us your capital site, and we claim it. That's why Caesar came. " -- emphasis added). Remember, they didn't really believe Jillian's story, but were willing to deploy some warlords just in case (both just in case Stanley did show up and just in case the Faq city sites were real).

EDIT: If Don King intends to convince Jillian to restart the Faq side, and this is a change from the earlier plan of having Caesar claim the sites (thus gaining credit for a major success and perhaps getting to manage at least one of the new cities or decide who does), no wonder he stormed off in a huff when he (presumably) found out what the new plan was....
Is this a real holy war, or just a bunch of deluded boopholes croaking each other?
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Re: Summer Update - 020

Postby DevilDan » Mon Aug 10, 2009 8:07 pm

SteveMB wrote:EDIT: If Don King intends to convince Jillian to restart the Faq side, and this is a change from the earlier plan of having Caesar claim the sites (thus gaining credit for a major success and perhaps getting to manage at least one of the new cities or decide who does), no wonder he stormed off in a huff when he (presumably) found out what the new plan was....


Caesar wouldn't like any plan that involves negotiating or allying with Jill. His fantasy was probably personally beating on Jill until she revealed the location of the Faq cities and then croaking her.
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Re: Summer Update - 020

Postby BarGamer » Mon Aug 10, 2009 9:30 pm

DevilDan wrote:Caesar wouldn't like any plan that involves negotiating or allying with Jill. His fantasy was probably personally beating on Jill until she revealed the location of the Faq cities and then croaking her.


Nonono, Caesar would continually capture, torture, and release Jillian, because that's what she likes. Also, I fear a Wanda/Caesar alliance.
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Re: Summer Update - 020

Postby MuthSera » Mon Aug 10, 2009 10:43 pm

Glenn wrote: Perhaps the only way Parson could establish a real democracy on Erfworld is if he changes the rules so that everyone popped is a Royal?

Wow!! Interesting thought!!!
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Re: Summer Update - 020

Postby x1372 » Mon Aug 10, 2009 10:54 pm

Definitely liked this update. Nothing quite like a little exaggerated mockery to show someone how ridiculous they're acting.

Just because Jill doesn't like to focus on tact and diplomacy doesn't mean they aren't important.

The "wolves and mice" argument is an interesting one. It would be interesting to see how many of the royals are hoping for Stanley's demise out of a belief in their own superiority and how many are in the same boat out of enlightened self interest. After all, if any standard piker can come to rule a kingdom and achieve equality or even superiority to the current rulers, the current rulers will have to watch out far more for attacks from within by their own ambitions subjects. Stomping down on Stanley could easily be seen as a way to show that such things are unnatural and extremely short-lived.
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Re: Summer Update - 020

Postby vdragan » Mon Aug 10, 2009 10:57 pm

I was wondering when we would get a serious 'political philosophy' entry. ladies, gentlemen, children of all ages, that just happened.

I like the knee-jerk response that Don King elicited in some of you folks. I think it's fairly clear what his point is here: etiquette is pervasive throughout society. there are certain levels that Jillian is opposed to (like 'taking tea'), but there are certain levels whose absence shock her. We are all the same. We can criticize 'unnecessary ritual' all we want, but we're actually being hypocritical. We're criticizing only the unnecessary ritual that we are not accustomed to. And when you get down to it, the entire fabric of society (stuff like language, law) is just one giant layer of unnecessary ritual that we've all agreed is necessary due to fun things like education and the ostracism of those who do not conform (i.e: criminals, mental patients, or just that guy you don't talk to because he doesn't want to shower). Not to say there's no good reason why it's there: it's there because without it, like Don King says, it's ugly. The only thing that we have left once you strip away the unnecessary ritual is an animal: snarling, biting and tearing, stopping at nothing and no one to get what they want.

As for the Royal vs non-Royal, wolf and mouse analogy, I'll give you it's a bit harsh and carries some ugly connotations, but there is a lot that we find ugly in it that erfworlders wouldn't. The whole reason why liberal philosophers, most notably John Stuart Mill, argued for democracy and freedom of expression, the reason why Ayn Rand likes competition so much isn't because they are good in and of themselves. Mill and Rand would both sneer at that kind of a claim. They both back up their conclusions in logic ("A is A" with Rand and utilitarianism with Mill). All these things are best because they are the best system we have of bringing the cream of the crop to the top. Otherwise we just get rulers that are increasingly more inbred, increasingly more incompetent, and increasingly more afflicted by hemophilia (see the Louis line throughout the ages). In Erfworld none of the things are factors. What you see is what you get. We need some surprises to come up in order for us to remain sympathetic to the characters, but there are some fun features (like the auto-attack one) that mean that many things which make us human are subverted in this world. The pikers aren't subjugated underlings, yearning for a chance to overthrow their masters and live in peace and harmony. They are pikers. They pike. Unless they get tapped to be warlord, that's what they do. Bogroll wants to serve. So do the knights. Applying our versions of human rights here is kinda jumping the gun a bit, dontcha think?

The Grand Abbie has faith that if Parson breaks enough things, the killing might stop. But it could go either way. The killing might just get worse. Like whoever it was who suggested all the royals get killed thus forcing everyone to lead themselves or die. We already had that happened a couple of times on Earth. It was called the Reign of Terror. and the Cultural Revolution. We also got the United States, and modern democracy, but that's built on much more conservative grounds than most imagine. At any rate, this isn't a political theory forum.

Don King is trying to explain to Jillian a principle above and beyond 'revenge on Stanley' or just 'getting by'. And he's doing it rather forcefully. But that's how some of the best lessons are learned. Jillian is very much a child in many ways. In the flashbacks to the Banhammer days she looks like an adolescent whose parents "don't understand" her. And then she got left out on her own, which didn't exactly help her mature emotionally (you don't have time for that when you're busy trying not to get yourself disbanded by running out of schmuckers for upkeep). Lookin' like Don King is going to become the kind of father figure that Jillian needs.

Aaaand I'm gonna stop writing now. I never thought a webcomic forum would cause me to pull out my dusty ol' poli theory. Well done.
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