Book 2 - Page 113

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Re: Book 2 - Page 113

Postby 0beron » Sat Jul 20, 2013 2:03 pm

Lipkin wrote:We know that all the units are lead, because otherwise they would be auto-engaging. My bet is one big stack.

Well as long as there is leadership in the hex, stacks won't auto-engage. The leadership doesn't have to be actually in the stack. But yes, the combined CWL and Wanda bonuses are likely way better, which is why we can suspect they're all stacked together.
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Re: Book 2 - Page 113

Postby Sky Schemer » Sat Jul 20, 2013 2:04 pm

Urf wrote:If I were Parson, I'd croak Janis and Isaac first, and immediately decrypt them. The rest fall like dominos.


Right. Because it makes total sense to attack his allies.
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Re: Book 2 - Page 113

Postby Tarvok » Sat Jul 20, 2013 2:07 pm

I'm thinking Parson isn't here for an offensive against the Magic Kingdom, but rather that the stack is there both to ensure that negotiation does, in fact, take place (as Jeftichew has demonstrated that he's quite willing to attack on his own authority, and Parson can't rely on Janis stopping the combat every time). The casters can attack, and probably even win, but many of them will fall, and casters seem to have a high regard for their own lives. So long as he just stands there looking intimidating, Parson has a number of points in his favor.

First off, the aforementioned value of life. So long as Parson doesn't make the first move, the casters will hesitate to do so. It's a bit like the scenario where a group of gangsters in a time of lawlessness are about to enter a house they know is occupied by one guy... and hear the cocking of a shotgun behind the door. The question becomes: who goes in first? Because they can certainly take this guy, but at least one of them is going to die, and none of them wants to be the one that sacrifices his life. Same thing here: first caster to cast against Parson or any of his units croaks. Sure, they can win, but the first caster to move dies... and none of them has loyalty or duty forcing them to sacrifice themselves.

Secondly, there's no guarantee that, so long as Parson doesn't start the fight, the MK casters are going to be united. First to fire may well be disabled by another caster, as the entire MK breaks out into civil war over the matter. To avoid this, they have to engage in Due Process, which means Parson has the opportunity to explain that this little garrison is intended only to guard their portal against other sides pulling exactly the same sort of stunt, now that he's demonstrated that it can be done and broken the taboo. How does he know that Jeftichew, for example, won't pass through or send someone through on Charlie's behalf? How does he know that Coalition casters (perhaps a foolamancer who dabbles in knife skills and the dark side of flower power) won't try to pass through? At this point, it is arguable that every side is justified establishing a defensive garrison around their portals to enforce the neutrality that Parson has violated.
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Re: Book 2 - Page 113

Postby multilis » Sat Jul 20, 2013 2:11 pm

Casters seem to have low level ranged magic attack that does serious damage per round similar to Archon shots, "Hoboken". (Nearly used book 2, page 110, and by maggie in end of book 1)

Jetstone hat caster was effective against multiple archons.

...

I don't think this works as pure negotiate, very easy to reasonably unite casters on idea of getting rid of non casters from kingdom, and casters likely win if first strike with overwhelming force... Parson would have to show that Charlie or someone else is bigger threat than him to MK to have a chance that way.

I think more likely Parson takes advantage of Jojo and friends trying to kill him so he can fight back. Afterwards he knows about Charlie's 600 archon force, Charlie's ability to block thinkograms, influencing Jojo to attack in magic kingdom, etc as possible way to drag Charlie in if diplomacy with rest.
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Re: Book 2 - Page 113

Postby Dante » Sat Jul 20, 2013 2:19 pm

Sky Schemer wrote:
Urf wrote:If I were Parson, I'd croak Janis and Isaac first, and immediately decrypt them. The rest fall like dominos.


Right. Because it makes total sense to attack his allies.

That's why it would work, no one would see it coming!

But I don't think that would be the most effective method. Likely the other casters will let him have his way with the Carnies, since they kind of started it and no one trusts them anyway. But once Parson has a small army of decrypted Carnymancers on his team, they'll come to regret that decision when he rigs their own disciplines against them and conquers the entire MK.
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Re: Book 2 - Page 113

Postby Mogster2 » Sat Jul 20, 2013 2:29 pm

Mikalyaran wrote:Also is this the first time we've heard of a caster being "Qualified"? Whenever folks talk about The Magic Kingdom I've always felt like there wasn't really any political structure we knew of. There should be some structure logically but there very little to indicate what it might be. But now we have this term which seems to hold some particular meaning. I wonder how one becomes qualified.

Personally, I read "Quorum of the Qualified" as "Coalition of the Willing," which was Dubya's half-assed attempt to legitimize the US invasion of Iraq. Not totally sure what Jojo means in panel 7 tho'.

Also, I haven't seen the movie Joe Dirt, but does he say "Git 'r done"? I've only heard that from Larry the Cable Guy.
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Re: Book 2 - Page 113

Postby teratorn » Sat Jul 20, 2013 2:44 pm

Parson can have a few hundred decrypted soldiers, many of them archers. Golems and a few shockamancers might have a fighting chance but the rest aren't that much of a threat. The MK is finished unless they either croak Parson or reach some sort of compromise. And they need to do it now, next time he wins a major battle Parson could take thousands into the MK (and there are probably many corpses available near Jetstone he can access after he gets his move back).
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Re: Book 2 - Page 113

Postby Zeku » Sat Jul 20, 2013 3:05 pm

I don't understand your reply Oberon. What indications have we ever been given that casters could fight? Didn't the carnymancers go out of their way to specify that as a CWL, fighting was 'Parson's bag?' Subtle little hints everywhere that even when the CWL was completely alone in the MK, it was still a dangerous target that they needed to consider carefully before attacking?

What are they going to do against 10 stacked fighting units with bonuses? Or more?

You don't seem to respect my interpretation of the situation, assuming that I stupidly believe combat stats are the only things that matter. We're all nerds here, we all read a comic about the "non-obvious dominating the obvious," and we all appreciate the concept of an unexpected tactical decision, revelation, or situation-altering spell rendering any amount of physical force irrelevant.

The problem here is that casters don't have any offense or defensive abilities. They don't have high hit points, they don't have attack spells that rival a sword or a bow. Sure, normally a mix of casters and attacker would be utterly deadly, and the pure fighting force would be leveled. But without any means of attacking or defending, their magic is capable of nothing but stalling and whittling away at a superior force. Eventually the actual fighters get some measure of control back and then destroy the paper-mache enemies.

You claim that I'm making the mistake of believing that power = # of units, I claim that you're making the mistake of assuming that death can be dealt out without an actual attacker.
Last edited by Zeku on Sat Jul 20, 2013 3:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Book 2 - Page 113

Postby Balerion » Sat Jul 20, 2013 3:09 pm

0beron wrote:
Zeku wrote:What's interesting about this update is that it hasn't really dawned on anyone that Parson has practically won the game.
We assume that Parson can't beat the MK with this attack, but that's based on the assumption that all casters work the same way Archons do, possessing a powerful attack and defense.
That isn't true. They each have abilities, but they do not have good combat stats
Everyone in the MK is forced to negotiate or die, right now.

I really doubt that. Think of all the ways casters can render a unit ineffective. Predictamancers see the future and never miss, Thinkamancers can prolly stun, Carnies cheat. That's just the 3 groups present, assuming any of them attack.
Then what happens if casters cooperate? Even when not linked, their abilities can synergize to be better. Dittomancers double a Shockamancer's blasts, Healomancers keep everyone alive, ect.
Even if there is a moment of chaos at the start, the neutral bystanders are going to unite if there is a threat to their home, and that will be deadly.


If Parson pushed this, the reaction from the casters end would probably be blind panic. This is the one place in Erfworld where there simply isn't combat, and many of them have lived there for a very long time. Think of how quickly Banhammer's court would have reacted to a small army of elite troops materializing in the throne room (without duty to bind them) and I think there is a good proxy for what would happen here. The non-permanent members of the MK will almost certainly run home in the chaos; without a clear group to unite behind, escape will look a lot more attractive than standing and dying without a screen (especially when you factor in duty telling them not to waste their life in someone else's war). Assuming decrypted casters can cast, there should be enough time before a unified response emerges (and it will be a response mostly centered on each individual discipline, not a united response from the entire MK) to pull together enough of a power base to win the day, or at the very least retreat out of the portal with a few dozen new casters (also a win). I agree with you that an immediate united response would be sufficient to claim victory, esp with the thinkamancers pulling together say a shockamancer and a dittomancer. That alone could probably end the battle with everyone looking kinda charred from Parson's end. But I don't think the MK is set up for that kind of rapid response to aggression.

As to if he will pull the trigger... I can't see any reason to have done this without intending to follow it through to its bloody conclusion. Remember, he has to retreat through to his new capital at the end of the day, and he just decrypted the troops which would have given him a prayer of holding that city in the MK and they can't come back with him. This feels like an all or nothing strike to me.
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Re: Book 2 - Page 113

Postby PapaSloth » Sat Jul 20, 2013 3:22 pm

It was a little dark on my monitor, so I tweaked the gamma a little bit on a version of the last panel with enhanced detail: Image
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Re: Book 2 - Page 113

Postby zyxophoj » Sat Jul 20, 2013 3:25 pm

Well, isn't that fascinating. I am reminded of Belgium's neutrality in World War 1.

Much as I love speculation, I feel completely unqualified to call the result of this possible fight. I don't know who is on which side, just to point out the most obvious problem here. Also, I have no clue what half the casters here can do in combat. I suspect that there would be so much weirdness and hurling of game-breaking tricks at each other that you don't need a perfect warlord in this fight; you need a perfect calvinball player.
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Re: Book 2 - Page 113

Postby Lipkin » Sat Jul 20, 2013 3:28 pm

0beron wrote:
Lipkin wrote:We know that all the units are lead, because otherwise they would be auto-engaging. My bet is one big stack.

Well as long as there is leadership in the hex, stacks won't auto-engage. The leadership doesn't have to be actually in the stack. But yes, the combined CWL and Wanda bonuses are likely way better, which is why we can suspect they're all stacked together.

Nope. Stack needs to be directly lead.

"For instance, groups of units get a stack bonus that maxes at 8, so you see a lot of 8-man formations. Stacks without a leader are forced to autoattack when in contact with units from non-allied capitals. I don't know how melee works without a Warlord in the group. With a Warlord the fight can be directed, or the group can choose not to initiate a fight."


http://www.erfworld.com/wiki/index.php/TBFGK_40a
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Re: Book 2 - Page 113

Postby ManaCaster » Sat Jul 20, 2013 3:31 pm

Zeku wrote:What are they going to do against 10 stacked fighting units with bonuses? Or more?

You don't seem to respect my interpretation of the situation, assuming that I stupidly believe combat stats are the only things that matter. We're all nerds here, we all read a comic about the "non-obvious dominating the obvious," and we all appreciate the concept of an unexpected tactical decision, revelation, or situation-altering spell rendering any amount of physical force irrelevant.

The problem here is that casters don't have any offense or defensive abilities. They don't have high hit points, they don't have attack spells that rival a sword or a bow. Sure, normally a mix of casters and attacker would be utterly deadly, and the pure fighting force would be leveled. But without any means of attacking or defending, their magic is capable of nothing but stalling and whittling away at a superior force. Eventually the actual fighters get some measure of control back and then destroy the paper-mache enemies.

You claim that I'm making the mistake of believing that power = # of units, I claim that you're making the mistake of assuming that death can be dealt out without an actual attacker.

Sounds like you think casters are only good for field effects, a massive force multiplier, but incapable of actually deciding anything on their own.

I'd say that depends on the discipline. In at least a few cases, I expect that dealing with casters is more like dealing with a Glass Cannon. That Dirtamancer could handle defense. Heck, given that Dirtamancers can use Terrakinesis, that Dirtamancer could probably handle attack. A Carnymancer's abilities are indeed a lot more subtle, but they can still nudge the outcome. The Dollamancers could create golems. Dittomancers could double attack power. Judging by what Cubbins did, Hat Magicians are no pushovers. I presume most Eyemancers are on Parson's side, but theoretically, the Foolamancers and Lookamancers could wreak havok on their senses. The Hippiemancers are theoretically on Parson's side, but I doubt they'll like this and could theoretically stop his units from attacking. Shockamancers are the fighting unit, their damage output is probably massive. And of course, the Healomancers can keep their units alive. Their only real weakness relative to other units is the fact that they probably tend not to have a lot of durability.
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Re: Book 2 - Page 113

Postby Venthus » Sat Jul 20, 2013 3:55 pm

I'm more intrigued by how Sizemore appears ready to fight. Earlier, he was making a bit deal about having to kill, being ostracized from the MK community, and losing his faith in Parson's sense of morality. Janis helped him through most of that, but it still seems like a large jump from the understanding that Parson is committing atrocities in the name of the greater good to personally raising your hand, as the aggressor, against the MK.
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Re: Book 2 - Page 113

Postby 0beron » Sat Jul 20, 2013 3:57 pm

Zeku wrote:You claim that I'm making the mistake of believing that power = # of units, I claim that you're making the mistake of assuming that death can be dealt out without an actual attacker.

....and a caster isn't an "actual attacker"...?
Let's take a stroll back through the comic shall we?
  • Cubbins: Single-handedly croaks over 2 dozen Archons in a single shot
  • Delphi: Single-handedly croaks dozens of mounted units, never missing a shot
  • Wanda-Sizemore-Maggie: Croak an entire army with a single spell
  • Maggie: Influences the mind of her own ruler
  • Olive: Croaks a high level warlord with a single kiss, "No Fort save allowed"
  • Wanda: Overwrites a unit's memory
  • Sizemore: Burns several stacks alive, croaks dozens of others in cave-ins
  • Orwell: totally blinds a high level Warlord
  • Jack: Innumerable examples of illusions, misdirection, and deceit
All specific examples of devastating combat applications of spells, nevermind all the uses we could think up given the clearly defined abilities of disciplines. If you don't think a caster counts as an "actual attacker" I have to wonder what comic you've been reading.
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Re: Book 2 - Page 113

Postby Lilwik » Sat Jul 20, 2013 4:11 pm

Lipkin wrote:We know that all the units are lead, because otherwise they would be auto-engaging. My bet is one big stack.
Even if the leadership needs to be in the same stack to avoid auto-attack, Parson has access to three or four croaked warlords. There's no reason to think that he needs all the decrypted units in one stack to avoid auto-attack.

I can't believe that Parson is planning on starting a war in the Magic Kingdom. As far as I can tell, Parson doesn't need to attack the Magic Kingdom at all, so whatever this is it won't be an extended conflict across multiple turns that leaves Parson's troops exposed to counter-attacks. Parson wouldn't be doing whatever he is doing if there were the slightest chance that he might lose. He must have something more up his sleeve.

Isaac seems to still support Parson. I find it hard to believe that any caster would support a war in the Magic Kingdom unless compelled to do so by orders. Surely the Predictamancers saw this coming too. They knew something huge was going to happen, and conquering Spacerock is not huge. Whatever this is, it is something that some of the Magic Kingdom supports, which almost guarantees that it's not a wave of death, destruction, and decryption that will wash across the Magic Kingdom. Instead, I think that Isaac knows that Parson's little army isn't nearly enough to go to war against the Magic Kingdom. We've seen groups that size wiped out by a simple combination of Shockmancy and Dirtamancy. Isaac finds it "fascinating" because he doesn't know what Parson is trying to do any more than we do.

Maybe Parson is counting on having enough soldiers to prevent the Magic Kingdom from attacking him while he does another march from portal-to-portal, this time carrying a croaked army to Charlie's portal. I find that hard to believe, because Parson knows that Charlie's capital is defended by an enormous army of golems and I doubt even a croaked army would take Charlie completely by surprise. That would be another unnecessary attack with serious risks of failure, so Parson's plan can't be that simple, either.

Parson has one more trick to show us. I just wish I could imagine what it could be. I'm going to be on the edge of my seat all the way to the next update.
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Re: Book 2 - Page 113

Postby Tarvok » Sat Jul 20, 2013 4:13 pm

multilis wrote:I don't think this works as pure negotiate, very easy to reasonably unite casters on idea of getting rid of non casters from kingdom, and casters likely win if first strike with overwhelming force...


First srike with overwhelming force is highly unlikely. I would imagine that trying to get MK units to work together is a bit like herding cats. They're all intellectuals, all independent (those who don't have Duty to a non-MK side, anyway), completely leaderless. First they'd have to deliberate. Then they'd have to decide. And Parson, Wanda, Sizemore, Maggie, and possibly even Jack would participate in this process. Many casters (particuarly the hippemancers and the thinkamancers) would prefer to start by asking nicely. I don't know if you've ever worked with a committee, but it's a very time consuming and highly uncertain activity.

Against a clear aggressor, my money is easily on the Magic Kingdom. But getting them to aggress as a unit? Difficult under the best of circumstances. Under the current circumstances, with Parson serving as pawn, final hope, and any number of other roles to many of the casters (hippiemancers, thinkamancers, and predictamancers at a minimum), it would be impossible. So long as Parson holds his peace, so will they. The only hope the Carnies have is to create confusion that convinces enough people Parson started the fight... and even then, it would be a mess.
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Re: Book 2 - Page 113

Postby Taikei no Yuurei » Sat Jul 20, 2013 4:21 pm

A huge part of me wants to call this out as Foolamancy from a decrypted Jack, but Parson didn't know if Jack would be able to cast or not, so whatever his plan is, it seems like a major gamble to count on that working out. Then again, the idea of Jack putting up illusionary forces, allowing the Carnies to attack, then having Parson come out after they've used their spells and say "Look, they just attacked unprovoked, I'm a total victim here."

Big thanks for the lighter pick PapaSloth. I think it was intended to be so dark you couldn't see well, but I like getting to see the people. Do we have any idea who the two decrypted in the front are? They're placed very prominently, but I don't recognize them. Some Kickstarter 'appear in the comic' people maybe?

Edit: Oh, and P.S. I have to agree that despite casters having low stats, they're far from helpless in combat even without screening units. Maggie took down two units with a single Haduken before they could get to Parson (or would have been able to get to her). Even if that's the best spell the casters can throw right now, a dozen of those flying at Parson would likely be a quick end.
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Re: Book 2 - Page 113

Postby 0beron » Sat Jul 20, 2013 4:24 pm

Taikei no Yuurei wrote:A huge part of me wants to call this out as Foolamancy from a decrypted Jack

Haha, already called that back on the first page :p Glad to know I'm not alone!
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Re: Book 2 - Page 113

Postby atalex » Sat Jul 20, 2013 5:04 pm

0beron wrote:Let's take a stroll back through the comic shall we?
  • Cubbins: Single-handedly croaks over 2 dozen Archons in a single shot
    {**}while firing off all of a fully charged tower's stored magic at once.
  • Delphi: Single-handedly croaks dozens of mounted units, never missing a shot
    [**]from a fully charged and recently augmented tower.
  • Wanda-Sizemore-Maggie: Croak an entire army with a single spell
    [**]from a trimancer link.
  • Maggie: Influences the mind of her own ruler
    [**]outside of combat, as part of a sneak attack, against a target who appears particularly vulnerable to mental manipulation.
  • Olive: Croaks a high level warlord with a single kiss, "No Fort save allowed"
    [**]We don't know that there was no Fort Save. Olive was almost certainly a higher level than Tommy.
  • Wanda: Overwrites a unit's memory
    [**]Do you mean the low-level hobgobwin in Book 1?
  • Sizemore: Burns several stacks alive, croaks dozens of others in cave-ins
    [**] with traps and scrolls that depended on sneak attacks and targets psychologically unprepared for such
  • Orwell: totally blinds a high level Warlord
    [**]a clever adaptation of the caster's otherwise non-combat field of study, one unforeseen by said Warlord who had previously maintained an almost total indifference to the utility of magic in combat and which nevertheless resulted in Orwell's immediate incapacitation
  • Jack: Innumerable examples of illusions, misdirection, and deceit
[**]have any of Jack's illusions ever led directly to the death or even injury of anyone else?

All specific examples of devastating combat applications of spells, nevermind all the uses we could think up given the clearly defined abilities of disciplines. If you don't think a caster counts as an "actual attacker" I have to wonder what comic you've been reading.


There are spells which have utility in combat. And then there are combat spells which actually damage or kill other units. For purposes of this debate, I'd say the latter are the only ones to matter, because if you aren't damaging the enemy directly, then you will inevitably lose in a war of attrition. The strength of any caster lies in versatility, but all other factors (level, move) being equal, a caster who does not specialize in combat spells is in trouble against a non-caster who, by his very nature, was popped only to kill other units.
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