Book 2 – Page 114

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Re: Book 2 – Page 114

Postby Kreistor » Mon Aug 05, 2013 11:46 am

0beron wrote:Well then let me know when a flame war breaks out, cus I sure as hell don't see one right now, I just see someone being needlessly defensive. I'll also add in that we don't HAVE flame war rules here, just a very broad "don't be a dick" rule. And I don't know what sheltered part of the internet you might be living if you try to argue that "calling someone's idea stupid" is classified as being a dick.


Yawn. Bored now.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 114

Postby Doctor Foreman » Mon Aug 05, 2013 12:03 pm

Zeku wrote:
or vaguely belittle others


dickish


I can make wimpy assertions with wimpy words, and strong assertions with strong words. I prefer the latter since it is more fertile ground for discussion. Get thicker skin.

There's a little thing called the "don't be a dick" rule. Now how would you characterize ascribing mental illness to people who don't share your real-life politics?

Describing the specific form of peace is the center and the true value of these discussions, if "peace" is the topic. Defining our terms exactly and making logical determinations is the only thing we can accomplish here.

Yes, thank you. Calling people hippies is unnecessary in that regard.

Im fairly confident (just my opinion) that the comic is going to define "peace" as unification under a single nation. Not only is it much simpler to present within comic, but it's also absolutely pregnant with real-world parallels, including the wonderful police state we're building in the more civilized parts of the world, along with decades of rhetoric about unity, diversity, one world slavery, etc.

I doubt simplicity of presentation is necessarily Rob's central concern, given that what much of the comic has been doing is introducing us to a world which is alien to our own not only in basic respects, but also non-obvious ones. This idea also neglects the story's implicit criticisms of Duty and Loyalty when observed through the lens of a real-world spectator. Remember that Parson can - and is even expected - to do things to units which in our world would be considered coercive and hideously unethical.

A single nation - even if economies of scale would allow for it, which under current conditions they wouldn't - really does little to liberate the sentient inhabitants of Erf from their enslavement to leadership. Assuming Rob has a coherent vision for an endpoint to the war as it now exists, I can't imagine him shedding the above-mentioned theme for such a contrived state of being, at least not without radically redefining how sides and Duty work.

Kreistor wrote:Long ago, someone issued me a challenge. "How would you attack Charlescomm, in Parson's place?" since I had undermined someone else's simplistic attempt.

Which one was this? I'd like to see if that person's idea was simplistic as you claim.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 114

Postby No one in particular » Mon Aug 05, 2013 1:46 pm

On a totally unrelated note...

That girl who's looking over her shoulder in the second-to-last panel... am I imagining here, or is that Mary Sagittari?
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Re: Book 2 – Page 114

Postby 0beron » Mon Aug 05, 2013 2:09 pm

Omg I think it could be! Upon reading back it appears that Mary had "streaks of white" in her hair, not necessarily the single streak that seems to show up in the first image of her. So I think it could still be her, that's definitely the kind of attention to detail Easter Egg Xin would do :)
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Re: Book 2 – Page 114

Postby ftl » Mon Aug 05, 2013 2:21 pm

I'm not even sure that Parson will bring "peace" as anybody wants it.

You wish for a Perfect Warlord to end war, you get a perfect warlord to end war, but that's not necessarily a blessing!

There's a bunch of dystopian options. One world side, evading the usual side-size limits via the Arkentools, permanent mind control via the Arkendish to prevent any rebellions. Or rocks fall, everybody dies - world peace not through unity but through destruction, if everybody's dead there's no war left. Or world peace through fundamentally breaking erfworld - Winning the Game and triggering whatever the endgame condition is, it's unknown what that is or whether anyone can survive it, if it even exists.

There's a few "traditionally good" options too, of course. World peace via an alliance of all sides, somehow made permanent and with everyone able to sustain themselves without war. World peace via breaking the rules of Erfworld somehow to make peace more profitable than war.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 114

Postby Oberon » Mon Aug 05, 2013 2:51 pm

El_Chupacabra wrote:Barring, of course, somehow Charlie calling in an absurd number of favors and the next book is "Dogpile on Parson" for 150+ pages. We don't know, but it's possible his contracts had some sort of reciprocation clause that could "draft" forces from empires far afield.
Charlie has no favors to call in. He deals in cold, hard shmuckers, and deals so hard with his customers that they tolerate him only as much as they need him. He could possibly pay for support, but you can be sure that anyone willing to aid him will set a price very dear.
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Zeroberon wrote:So we know with 100% certainty that THIS IS HOW TRI-LINKS WORK, PERIOD END OF STORY.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 114

Postby Oberon » Mon Aug 05, 2013 3:06 pm

Kreistor wrote:1. Charlie ruled a perfectly normal Side long before he ruled Charlescomm. He knows the value of Natural Allies from previous experience.
And Charlie doesn't rule a perfectly normal side any longer. Did you have a point to make, or were you just supporting the case against your stupid gobwins theory?
Kreistor wrote:2. The Archons that provided the intel on Charlescomm died at the Volcano Uncroak, and the Gobwin issue began after the end of B1. That's why they can provide no intel on the issue.
This is a complete non-sequitur. I made no reference to archons collecting intel.
Kreistor wrote:3. Charlie is smart, and capable of change. We can see that in his attitude change after his daughter attempted his demise, and his shift in command style in the creation of Charlescomm.
Please give a single example that shows that Charlie is in any way willing to change his mind regarding his policy of having nothing but archons and mindless units. Even his offer to Person of turning was suspect at best, and even if genuine it would represent a single unit. One which would have never seen Charlie, and would have most likely spent his entire, short existence in the field on rent to other sides.
Kreistor wrote:Especially now that Charlie knows Parson wants him dead.
Oh, especially now, eh? Charlie just held Parson's feet to the fire and offered him a "get the fuck out or die in a fire" offer, and you think that this especially makes Charlie know that Parson wants him dead?

You are a complete tool. To paraphrase Wanda Gerschwitz, apes may read Sun Tsu, they just don't understand it.
Kreistor wrote:Yawn. Bored now.
You misspelled 'boring'.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 114

Postby Kreistor » Mon Aug 05, 2013 3:30 pm

Everything I stated was direct on point as counter-argument towards your criticism, Oberon, especially the bogus "non-sequitur" claim, since it was you that referenced the Archon's force estimate of Charlie first, not me. You overlooked the data was dated and irrelevant. Looks like you need to keep better track of the chronology of the story, and be a lot more careful about your references.

I guess it was good for me to take a break and let you reveal your true colours. Seems others have a lot less tolerance towards you now, and have come to some of the same conclusions about your spin-jobbing. I don't think I'm going to take anywhere near the heat I did last time.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 114

Postby Balerion » Mon Aug 05, 2013 4:22 pm

Not sure if someone else has already said this (wasn't able to get on as soon as I had hoped after this went up) but this move feels like the biggest strategic blunder I have ever seen Parson make.

Going back to his own way of planning during book 1, what is the goal here? So far as I can tell, the only goal he has is "hear what the Thinkamancers have to say from a position of safety". To accomplish that goal, he pulls of a clever tactical trick to get soldiers into the MK. For solving the immediate problem, it is a neat, elegant solution. From any perspective thinking more than 10 turns out, it is also one of the worst possible decisions Parson could have made.

To begin with, the majority of the MK will now be firmly against him; there are specific factions and people who support him for whatever reason, but he just flat out said "fuck your rules, I'm going to do what I want. Don't like it, I'll kill you and have you reborn as Wanda's mind slave." If you want, I can list out all the ways they can make his life miserable (denying items, lowering rates to rival factions, passing along information etc) that are short of out and out aggression. At the same time, he just claimed the right to use any portal he wants whenever he wants to; soon as that word spreads around the world, GK is going to be looking at a lot of sides against it... with Charlie helping to fan these flames and coordinate through his own style. Jillian's raids and the near disaster this turn show that while GK is certainly powerful, unless Wanda herself is on the battlefield it can be beaten just like any other side, and there are plenty of examples of strikes on a leadership unit being successfully executed mid combat. Against a coordinated raiding strategy, GK is vulnerable (this could be handled, but it would halt expansion and potentially force contraction; not a good spring board to go after Charlie).

At the same time, Parson is never going to get another chance to move corpses into the MK. The instant he tries, the MK has no choice but to respond aggressively or they are lost (eventually the force there is large enough to easily destroy them). And all our theorizing about how the MK could lose this fight depended on them being panicked; with time to think, this force is no threat. And the advantage he gave up by revealing this secret is just sickening. He could have performed night raids on other sides; slip corpses into tunnels in the MK, go to the other portal, shove em through, decrpyt and destroy. Then use Jack to make the one caster who survives think it was Charlie's archons making a surprise strike. Or similar evolutions on the idea; the point is, he can't do anything like that now because the MK will prevent it.

And what did he get from this? He can talk to the Thinkamancers a bit earlier than he could have otherwise. He was impatient and wanted to know NOW because Charlie had just tried to kill him, and for that he has tossed GK into a terrible long term political situation. And his honor guard won't be useful for that long; think what sizemore could do with his exploding crap golems. It doesn't take too many rogue casters willing to resort to violence to start winnowing down the force pretty rapidly. Or even worse, someone uses Hippiemancy to prevent them from engaging, and then uses Wanda's mind wipe spell to make them forget it happened. Parson thinks he has a whole guard with him, and when the assassins hit, that could be a rather nasty shock. Or when Jillian's Turnamancer finally figures out how to turn decrypted and spreads the secret to the MK, suddenly there is a large force there to make sure that Parson and his side can never enter again. Or Or Or....

the TL;DR is that I think this trick, while a good solution to his short term problem, was about the worst long term move Parson could have made.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 114

Postby Doctor Foreman » Mon Aug 05, 2013 4:40 pm

Can we drop the dick-measuring, please? It's getting grating.

To address your points regarding Charlescomm, Kreistor, I think you're seriously overestimating Charlie's adaptability.

Frankly, the way Charlie's "change" is described suggests less a man making sound strategic decisions and more one who is letting his insecurities begin to govern his thinking. I believe Olive's betrayal, his attunement, or both changed him in ramping up his paranoia:

Although he succumbed to some of the effects of her magic, the defendant’s father ultimately resisted her control.

Control, not attack. His mind was under threat.

"He withdrew into himself."

Spoken by Olive so not strictly trustworthy, but I suspect her testimony has at least a grain of truth to it.

For all his cunning, Charlie is a very conservative player. He prioritizes non-territorial means of power acquisition, hence weakening any incentive at conquest by a rival. His units - at least by the Summer Updates - are exclusively either mindless (golems) or high-value units ideal for mercenary work (archons), and even those are kept at arm's length. Casters, who are by nature inquisitive, are hired from the Magic Kingdom rather than kept around. He is, in effect, the closest a Ruler can get to a powergamer who prioritizes absolute defense over practically everything else.

All of this taken together strikes me as not merely being a body of methods to improve efficiency, but also an entire way of life fundamentally rooted in acting out one unit's deep-seated paranoia.

If there's a consistent theme in Erfworld about tactics and strategy, it's that even the supposedly "finest" minds are limited by their character. Ansom was unimaginative and easily provoked into preserving his dignity. Wanda makes stupid decisions because of her affection for Jillian. Even Parson, who apparently has the ultimate potential as a warlord, makes colossal, near-lethal blunders due to his alien ignorance but also his own emotional concerns. Charlie is certainly much brighter than most of his rivals, but this is tempered by a crippling inability to develop trust. No one likes Charlie, and I suspect the more they learn about him the less inclined they are to like him.

Nowadays, he's still sticking to the same approach: don't expose yourself to any risk, keep all your pawns at arm's length. And it's costing him: he's been resorting to straight-up extortion to get some Royals to do what he wants and is desperately trying to convince the others that he's on their side. While I can see sound arguments for diversifying and modifying one's defenses, I can also see a Charlie who, under dire threat, would withdraw further into his trusted means of defense. It's classic introvert behavior. True, he may have known the value of Natural Allies from previous experience, but lessons can be erased. People do absolutely stupid things, knowing better, because their character won't allow it.

Frankly, there's a much more thematically appropriate means of taking Charlescomm than "combined Air, land, and tunnel assault": deprive Charlie of customers, of Sides he can throw in Parson's path or pit against one another. Archons and golems are expensive to maintain turn after turn, as is a Level 5 city. Cut off his money supply and starve him out.

Balerion wrote:Going back to his own way of planning during book 1, what is the goal here? So far as I can tell, the only goal he has is "hear what the Thinkamancers have to say from a position of safety". To accomplish that goal, he pulls of a clever tactical trick to get soldiers into the MK. For solving the immediate problem, it is a neat, elegant solution. From any perspective thinking more than 10 turns out, it is also one of the worst possible decisions Parson could have made.

You're forgetting the fact that segments of the MK are already actively hostile towards Parson - there's already been a possible assassination attempt on him there. And since the Thinkamancers apparently will only consent to talking to him in the MK, he's got to go back sometime. Threatening anyone who attacks him is no different than the MK's existing system of responding with force to people who violate neutrality.

Part of this also depends on just what the Thinkamancers have to offer about understanding Erfworld. Frankly, Charlie has already violated things similar to MK neurality, such as having wiretapping capabilities on Thinkagrams and sending a Carny to engage a unit in the MK. Parson's merely taking the step of denying Charlie direct control of a space which he controlled indirectly.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 114

Postby drachefly » Mon Aug 05, 2013 4:46 pm

Kreistor wrote:Sorry, but that's not a valid interpretation. The "it's the idea called stupid, not the idea-maker" argument has never been accepted on any forum as a valid dodge around anti-Flame War rules.


A civil and well-moderated blog I frequent - the Whatever - contradicts that assertion. Smart people have dumb ideas too.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 114

Postby Balerion » Mon Aug 05, 2013 5:00 pm

Doctor Foreman wrote:
Balerion wrote:Going back to his own way of planning during book 1, what is the goal here? So far as I can tell, the only goal he has is "hear what the Thinkamancers have to say from a position of safety". To accomplish that goal, he pulls of a clever tactical trick to get soldiers into the MK. For solving the immediate problem, it is a neat, elegant solution. From any perspective thinking more than 10 turns out, it is also one of the worst possible decisions Parson could have made.

You're forgetting the fact that segments of the MK are already actively hostile towards Parson - there's already been a possible assassination attempt on him there. And since the Thinkamancers apparently will only consent to talking to him in the MK, he's got to go back sometime. Threatening anyone who attacks him is no different than the MK's existing system of responding with force to people who violate neutrality.

Part of this also depends on just what the Thinkamancers have to offer about understanding Erfworld. Frankly, Charlie has already violated things similar to MK neurality, such as having wiretapping capabilities on Thinkagrams and sending a Carny to engage a unit in the MK. Parson's merely taking the step of denying Charlie direct control of a space which he controlled indirectly.


They could have passed notes, or he could have appointed Maggie as a go between. He could have taken a few turns to negotiate with them regarding bringing them through his portal. In the end, he might have decided he would be forced to move in with bodyguards; but he might have been able to get by with only bringing his caster team, or found some other solution. Given the risks I see him courting with this tactic, not even exploring options that don't require declarations of war seems foolish :).

As to the assassination attempt already happening; notice that Janis isn't pushing for an enforcement council on the issue anymore. He could have tried to deal with those enemies through the MK system, but he just declared himself outside it; the implication is whatever you can do to him and get away with is fair game. And part of that is that he threatened enforcement councils, not just people like JoJo. Some of the MK is hostile to him, and the entire thing has been creeped out by wanda; in a propaganda war with Charlie, doing this makes it even more difficult for him to rally support to GK, and even easier for Charlie and the Carny crowd to spin in their favor.

Part of me wonders if this is intentional; Parson is used to games that end when you win the battle (ie each book ending would be the end of a game) and his tactical choices assume that in many ways. Things like betraying Ansom during a parley and putting troops into the MK will chase you for a long, long time, and he might not be used to thinking about it.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 114

Postby Doctor Foreman » Mon Aug 05, 2013 5:12 pm

Balerion wrote:not even exploring options that don't require declarations of war seems foolish :).

"Declaration of war" is not really the correct term for what he just did. "Declaration of freedom of movement", maybe.

As to the assassination attempt already happening; notice that Janis isn't pushing for an enforcement council on the issue anymore. He could have tried to deal with those enemies through the MK system, but he just declared himself outside it; the implication is whatever you can do to him and get away with is fair game.

Parson had already declared himself outside the rules of the Magic Kingdom when he used it to pass into Spacerock, which was more Maggie's fault than Parson's. (Recall the bit where he argues that the rules of the MK shouldn't apply to him, since they don't even recognize his right to be there in the first place.) I would argue that regardless of what he did after that, his enemies in the MK would be taking action to guard the GK portal and would take steps to put its casters in danger as well.

in a propaganda war with Charlie, doing this makes it even more difficult for him to rally support to GK, and even easier for Charlie and the Carny crowd to spin in their favor.

As I mentioned, Parson knows Charlie has already violated MK neutrality; just not everyone knows it. Although he doesn't want to let on what he knows about Charlie just yet, it's a card he may be able to play down the line to turn the wavering casters away from Charlie, if not necessarily to his own side.

Part of me wonders if this is intentional; Parson is used to games that end when you win the battle (ie each book ending would be the end of a game) and his tactical choices assume that in many ways. Things like betraying Ansom during a parley and putting troops into the MK will chase you for a long, long time, and he might not be used to thinking about it.

Well, as a real-world gamer Parson will be used to inter-player diplomacy, which probably includes backstabbing. I mean, off the top of my head, Risk is a game which can turn on a dime depending on your relationship with the other players.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 114

Postby Wraithlord » Mon Aug 05, 2013 5:42 pm

Doctor Foreman wrote:
Part of me wonders if this is intentional; Parson is used to games that end when you win the battle (ie each book ending would be the end of a game) and his tactical choices assume that in many ways. Things like betraying Ansom during a parley and putting troops into the MK will chase you for a long, long time, and he might not be used to thinking about it.

Well, as a real-world gamer Parson will be used to inter-player diplomacy, which probably includes backstabbing. I mean, off the top of my head, Risk is a game which can turn on a dime depending on your relationship with the other players.

On a somewhat off-topic note, there is also the actual strategy game of Diplomacy, which is completely focused on alliances and betrayals and so forth.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 114

Postby Lipkin » Mon Aug 05, 2013 6:09 pm

I know we all seem to think it's confirmed that Charlie can hack thinkograms.

Is it possible this isn't the case? We know he can shut them down in some way, but we've yet to see it confirmed. What if he maintains a connection with the decrypted Archons in some way? He'd be able to know Parson was the new Chief Warlord through them.

Has there been information that Charlie could ONLY have known through listening in on a thinkogram?
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Re: Book 2 – Page 114

Postby ftl » Mon Aug 05, 2013 6:19 pm

On a different note, this move establishes Parson as an equal to the casters. After all, nobody's policing where Jojo goes in the MK! Parson is simply demanding for himself the same rights all the other casters have.

On one hand, it antagonizes some casters; perhaps it would have been better to lay low and let them think they're in charge of the MK. On the other hand, this lets him and casters negotiate as *equals*. Not as Big-Shot-Caster Telling Parson How It's Going To Be.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 114

Postby Kreistor » Mon Aug 05, 2013 7:27 pm

drachefly wrote:
Kreistor wrote:Sorry, but that's not a valid interpretation. The "it's the idea called stupid, not the idea-maker" argument has never been accepted on any forum as a valid dodge around anti-Flame War rules.


A civil and well-moderated blog I frequent - the Whatever - contradicts that assertion. Smart people have dumb ideas too.


(Couldn't find it. There's, like, 20 forums/blogs of that name.)

If the forum is "civil", then they'll never see the consequence of permitting it. The big problem with it, from a Mod standpoint, is that many people do not accept the split-hair argument, and see it as a direct insult to their intelligence, and consequently respond in the way they think they've been attacked... which is Flame War. Forums I've been on, where controversy is expected, that do no accept the split hair at start, see the resulting Flame Wars, identify the "stupid idea" post as the origin, listen to the Appeals of the participants, and then redefine it as "Invitation to Flame War" and it becomes a violation. But hey, on a "civil" forum, you don't have to worry about that, eh? It's easier to make "stupid idea" the violation than to Moderate all the new Forum participants that don't realize your forum's interpretation.

It's easy, after all, and everyone can claim any idea is stupid, without justification, so it's the product of a weak mind. Calling an idea stupid is not a counter-argument, and only reveals the inability of the poster to debate, so it's a self-defeating claim in the first place. Truly "stupid" ideas are trivial to counter, so the poster doesn't need the insult: it's obviously stupid, so a decent counter will reveal the falsehood of the idea to all, and the readership will realize it's stupid without prompting. It doesn't take a brilliant mind to counter a "stupid" idea: anyone can. But when you see "stupid idea" with no simple, obvious counter-argument, you've got someone that is only trying to provoke Flame War after having his butt kicked.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 114

Postby Tonot » Mon Aug 05, 2013 10:07 pm

Kreistor wrote:Anyone still want to still claim I'm at fault for my nastier arguments? Do I get to take off the kid gloves?


If you know they are [subjective term]nasty[/subjective term] that means you think they are nasty and that you are at fault with them, right?. Asking other people to approve your actions in retrospect, when you know they are "nasty" seems wrong.
What you get to do, is make your moral choices, surely?. If you think it is proper to take off or for that matter wear kid gloves, it ought to be without considering how others act, again, surely?.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 114

Postby calyad » Mon Aug 05, 2013 10:20 pm

Holy cow! The jester is Charlie!!

Has anyone mentioned this before?

He's a jester--perfect for a carnival, eh? Carnymancer? -- and he keeps being a weird lucid wildcard that tries to help Jillian!
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Re: Book 2 – Page 114

Postby wih » Tue Aug 06, 2013 5:05 am

Re: Hacking Thinkagrams

It might be best to distinguish what we mean by "Hack". It seems to me that maybe people are talking at cross-purpose. I would speculate that he would have to know about a Thinkagram to intercept it, sure. But that doesn't mean he would have to know about it to tap it, maybe the g-strings keep their vibrations after the message is received.
I would suggest we distinguish between him "listening in" (Tapping, perhaps?) and "cutting you off" (which is more along the lines of Hacking in my books). One may not necessarily have to happen at the time.

Then again, if he was expecting communication to be happening in the area (he may be monitoring it as he knew there was to be a battle there imminently), he could have been prepared to intercept communications on immediate notice.
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