Summer Updates – 046

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Re: Summer Updates – 046

Postby Incomptinence » Sun Oct 25, 2009 12:26 am

Lord Kasavin wrote: It would appear he's running a "bubble" business, and must either expand or collapse. Should that bubble ever burst or if he failed to expand, then he'd suddenly be confronted with an enormous deficit. Hence, why he's so concerned about the RCC2 not doing business with him.


It could just look like a bubble business from the perspective of a "normal" archon. You wouldn't really want them to know you are planning a cull them intentionally through dangerous missions no matter how loyal they are. Unless Charlie is still exploring the world the income from clients of all services should be fairly constant outside of hot spots what with the nature of the world and all. Making getting more archons than he can sustain is silly if that is the case. You can't depend on revelations on new ways to screw the customer to continue to raise your income forever. So either the world is big enough for 700+ turns of exploration and expansion to continue to increase his income, Charlie likes new archons too much for his own good or archon bread IS archons. To me Charlie seems more like the type who would want more money rather than more units, if he ends up in a situation like GK at the start of book one he could buy some MAJOR pain from the magic realm at the very least.

As for losses in the local region, he is probably concerned because it isn't sustainable rather than this being crippling to him. Charlie is a penny pincher who plays the long game, even a trivial loss of income in the greater scheme of his business would upset him gravely.
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Re: Summer Updates – 046

Postby Lord Kasavin » Sun Oct 25, 2009 12:59 am

Dancing Cthulhu wrote:
Lord Kasavin wrote:Hence, why he's so concerned about the RCC2 not doing business with him. He's not really worried about a military attack, his defensives are enormous. He's worried about loosing business, because he's so heavily leveraged as a mercenary providor that even loosing just the RCC is significant.


Although strangely he didn't seem too concerned with the RCI. From the looks of things if it weren't for Parson turning up Ansom might never have signed a contract with Charlie (or not a major one at any rate). It appeared Charlie had been waiting for some work (one side has finally met our price or whatever he said), but it was never a certainty. So missing out on work during that conflict apparently wouldn't have been a serious a blow.

I guess the circumstances are different with the RCII because he lost valuable resources in the RCI defeat and probably didn't get paid for any of it (well, maybe hiring the out the first three Archons, since that worked).


Some differences this time around. It's quite possible the RCC did hire him for Thinkagrams and whatever else they needed, and any side would still have hired him had the going gotten tough, which it didn't against Stanley. Or, maybe it did. We don't know if Ansom hired Charlie during the earlier phases of the war when Stanley lost his 10 cities. He first hired them in Book 1 to save Jillian, something that needed to be done several times earlier.

Now, nobody in the RCC2 is doing any business with Charlie. Furthermore, the indication is they will never do business with Charlie in the concievable future. Its one thing not to be hired. Its another thing entirely to know you can't be hired.
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Re: Summer Updates – 046

Postby Donoterase » Sun Oct 25, 2009 2:53 am

To quote Crichton in Farscape: Unique is always valuable.

Charlie's strategy would probably relate to that. Whatever he doesn't want in a display case can always be auctioned off.
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Re: Summer Updates – 046

Postby EvokeAnObject » Sun Oct 25, 2009 3:39 am

This most recent update suggests that Charlie is not the Arkendish. Recall from this page that not only does Charlie want the bracer with or without Parson, but Parson convinces Charlie to refrain from attacking by tantalizing him with the prospect of gaining the Arkenpliers. Obviously if Charlie were the Arkendish itself, he could not directly use either of these artifacts. Now perhaps he could instruct one of his Archons to use them on his behalf, but given the extreme efforts he has made to retain all power himself, this seems unlikely. Especially because there has not been any instance of a non-Warlord or Overlord using an Arkentool. For instance, Stanley was a warlord when he found the Arkenhammer. Not conclusive, but suggestive.

Also, note that Parson believes and Charlie confirms that the Archons, without any warlord, could take GK. Obviously Parson may have been wrong, and Charlie may have misled him if in fact GK would have just gone barbarian, but this would have been a fairly big point to be wrong about. Caesar going to claim Faq doesn't confirm one way or the other since Faq was not owned by any faction. In any event, given that most attacks on cities would involve a warlord, this question may not be very important.
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Re: Summer Updates – 046

Postby Dancing Cthulhu » Sun Oct 25, 2009 4:26 am

Lord Kasavin wrote:Some differences this time around. It's quite possible the RCC did hire him for Thinkagrams and whatever else they needed, and any side would still have hired him had the going gotten tough, which it didn't against Stanley. Or, maybe it did. We don't know if Ansom hired Charlie during the earlier phases of the war when Stanley lost his 10 cities. He first hired them in Book 1 to save Jillian, something that needed to be done several times earlier.


True, I was just going by what Charlie said when Ansom decided to call in some Archons to help Jillian - "One of the sides in the great western conflict has finally met our price" - it just made it sound like Charlie had been waiting for quite a while for someone to decide the RC needed his services, and as it was it was only towards the end of the campaign and initially but three Archons.

Now, nobody in the RCC2 is doing any business with Charlie. Furthermore, the indication is they will never do business with Charlie in the concievable future. Its one thing not to be hired. Its another thing entirely to know you can't be hired.


Indeed, the situation now is different and more worrying for Charlie, although I think he might be exaggerating his concern about the RCII relationship with him at the moment - that is his concerns are more then him worried about his finances and Archon upkeep if the RCII doesn't hire him soon (or if they don't hire him any more in the future. Or so they say).
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Re: Summer Updates – 046

Postby raphfrk » Sun Oct 25, 2009 7:38 am

Lamech wrote:If he knows what they do, and can attune... Sell? You kidding me? half a mil is the cost of a super-powerful mathamancy device. Charlie's upkeep costs that every two to five turns. If he could get all those archons with no upkeep? He could probably hire an around the clock turnamancer. And oh yeah, when archons are board they can hunt feral units. As an added benefit if Charlie somehow ends up with say... a croaked Stanley, he knows he can have a unit that will attune with the hammer.


In fairness, nobody knew what the pliers did until after Wanda attuned. Even now, he would need Wanda to make the pliers work.

Get the pliers, find someone who can attune, get Stanley and the hammer. Since Charlie was the best equiped to handle the fool...


Given the new info, that would be a reasonable strategy. But, the dish probably would allow him convert Wanda into a completely loyal unit, if he could capture her, so he wouldn't need to find someone who can attune.

Once done, he could have half of his units kill the other half and then have Wanda decrypt them.

One weakness in the plan is that the decrypted archons might have high loyalty to Wanda, so he would have to make sure that the loyalty spell on Wanda remains strong.

Also, it is unclear if decrypted Stanley would remain attuned, so it might be better to use the dish on Stanley too (and anyway, no point in having 2 links of loyalty, when he can ensure loyalty directly).
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Re: Summer Updates – 046

Postby Lamech » Sun Oct 25, 2009 8:37 am

This makes me wonder... there was about 50 archons at one hot spot. So... theres probably 11+ of them. Charlie must be busy, very busy. Yet, despite that he apperantly handles all of the ordering of archons, negotiating with clients when it is all fairly mundane telecom, and managing of everything? Something seems off, I don't think he has enough time. I wouldn't be surprised if the overlord didn't actually do all those things. If the "Charlie" who talked to Jillian and Parson is differant then the "Charlie" who talked to Far-away-kingdom-ruler the third.
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Re: Summer Updates – 046

Postby raphfrk » Sun Oct 25, 2009 8:39 am

Lamech wrote:This makes me wonder... there was about 50 archons at one hot spot. So... theres probably 11+ of them. Charlie must be busy, very busy. Yet, despite that he apperantly handles all of the ordering of archons, negotiating with clients when it is all fairly mundane telecom, and managing of everything? Something seems off, I don't think he has enough time. I wouldn't be surprised if the overlord didn't actually do all those things. If the "Charlie" who talked to Jillian and Parson is differant then the "Charlie" who talked to Far-away-kingdom-ruler the third.


... so rather than the linked caster idea, "Charlie" is just a brand name for the tower archons?
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Re: Summer Updates – 046

Postby BoopingCynic » Sun Oct 25, 2009 10:00 am

raphfrk wrote:
Lamech wrote:This makes me wonder... there was about 50 archons at one hot spot. So... theres probably 11+ of them. Charlie must be busy, very busy. Yet, despite that he apperantly handles all of the ordering of archons, negotiating with clients when it is all fairly mundane telecom, and managing of everything? Something seems off, I don't think he has enough time. I wouldn't be surprised if the overlord didn't actually do all those things. If the "Charlie" who talked to Jillian and Parson is differant then the "Charlie" who talked to Far-away-kingdom-ruler the third.


... so rather than the linked caster idea, "Charlie" is just a brand name for the tower archons?


But the arkendish does allow for an infinite amount of thinkagrams at the same time and giving some power to the tower archons. So it might be the same person at the same time timevor the "Charlie" that spoke far-off is an archon. Personally I think it's one person but I wonder how he manages it :?: . Maybe the arkendish gives an unbeliveably high int stat :ugeek: :ugeek: :ugeek: :ugeek: :ugeek: :ugeek: :ugeek: :ugeek: :ugeek: :ugeek: :ugeek: :ugeek: :ugeek: :ugeek: :ugeek: if there is one.
Also about him holding the dish it might be possible that it is like a cellphone that he holds and it makes the disk on his capital as an effect :) .
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Re: Summer Updates – 046

Postby Dahak » Sun Oct 25, 2009 10:19 am

Dancing Cthulhu wrote:
Lord Kasavin wrote:Which makes me wonder about the other services Charlie offers that aren't Archon specific - what % of his activities do they make up (not everyone is going to need to hire Archons). Intelligence perhaps? Communications?


Noticeably he charges multiple Archon upkeep turns per Thinkagram. Enough that it looks like he'd prefer to avoid doing too amany a turn.
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Re: Summer Updates – 046

Postby MarbitChow » Sun Oct 25, 2009 10:33 am

Random musings:

  • Just because Charlie has infinite thinkagrams, doesn't mean he's using more than 10-20 a day. Due to the Nature of Erfworld's relative time, he can get all of the thinkagrams one after the other, with no down time, as long as they are received in the right order. Assuming they last only 5 minutes, and he can easily knock off 120 in 10 hours.
  • Charlie doesn't micromanage - once he sends archons to a client, the client gives them orders from then on, and they obey the orders based on the level of service the client has paid. Managing the archons doesn't require much effort.
  • Charlie is a one-trick pony. By focusing on only one unit, he doesn't have to do a cost/benefit analysis about using different types of units. He can develop standard tactics and strategies that apply across the board. He doesn't innovate - the only question he ever needs to ask is "how many archons do I need to use to win?"
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Re: Summer Updates – 046

Postby HailGreen28 » Sun Oct 25, 2009 10:48 am

This little bit caught my eye. As Pasron was quizzing the Archons:

"He jotted down notes in the eyebook as they talked."

Please tell me he's not keeping Charlie updated on everything he finds out. That Charlie can't read the eyebooks at will.
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Re: Summer Updates – 046

Postby Anca » Sun Oct 25, 2009 12:03 pm

Jallorn wrote:What if the satellite dish is just trying to throw us off? All the other arkentools are holdable, why couldn't Charlie have chosen to design his fortress with a satellite dish?


The dish was CGI, like the other tools.
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Re: Summer Updates – 046

Postby Tharivole » Sun Oct 25, 2009 12:19 pm

Also about him holding the dish it might be possible that it is like a cellphone that he holds and it makes the disk on his capital as an effect


But it's called the Arkendish, not the Arkenphone. And the sattelite dish was CGI'd just like the other Arkentools were.
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Re: Summer Updates – 046

Postby raphfrk » Sun Oct 25, 2009 12:37 pm

Dahak wrote:Noticeably he charges multiple Archon upkeep turns per Thinkagram. Enough that it looks like he'd prefer to avoid doing too amany a turn.


That could be the optimal price. He may have discovered that a 10% cut in price only results in a 5% increase in sales.

However, mobile phone companies charge relatively little per call. If someone earns $10 per hour, they will earn around $80 per day. Their "upkeep" might be $50 per day.

A mobile phone call at $0.10c would be worth around one 500th of the average person's upkeep.

Ofc, thinkagrams are a little more high maintenance. If you need an operator for every call, you can't charge $0.10 each.

It looks like to do client to target calls requires an archon at the client or at the target to handle the link. However, a Charlie -> client call can be handled by the dish directly.

What he should start doing is handling "text" messages. A warlord (or maybe other unit) could contact Charlie and pay 10 schmuckers per word and then they would pass on the message. This wouldn't require an archon to be near the client or the target.
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Re: Summer Updates – 046

Postby Quanton » Sun Oct 25, 2009 12:43 pm

Is this the first time Rob's used the spelling 'Schmuckers' instead of 'Shmuckers'? Is that a typo?
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Re: Summer Updates – 046

Postby Graydon » Sun Oct 25, 2009 1:24 pm

BoopingCynic wrote:Charlie is probably an overlord but is also a thinkamancer because he refers to himself as such, because of the arkendish it is more cost and time efficient to just make archons and keep the city accessible only by air for defense. As for the lack of warlords he might just be saving money and because of the arkendish he doesn't need one to control the archons or their creations :idea:.


I'm not asserting that a mancer could not be an overlord; I'm noting that you can't become an ruler/overlord unless you are already royal (and thus very expensive to pop) or your existing ruler/overlord promotes you. If Charley was not already royal (and from Don King's comments, I'm going to say he was definitely not royal), and didn't get promoted to heir by a then ruler/overlord, he can presumably hold the city by possession (he, personally, is in it, and has no opposition there) but can't do other, overlord things, like appoint/create warlords, accept the service of mancers, or, most important, have units do the natural thinkamancy version of Duty toward him as their legitimate ruler. The only reliable units are the Dish-derived ones. (Which makes hiring Parson even weirder.)

So Charley may not be able to expand; you need the whole natural thinkamancy Duty thing to hold a multi-city side together, and he can't do that. If I were Charley, I'd be decidedly worried if anyone figured that out. And, given Natural Signamancy, anyone who sees him will figure it out.
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Re: Summer Updates – 046

Postby hajo » Sun Oct 25, 2009 1:26 pm

raphfrk wrote:What he should start doing is handling "text" messages. A warlord (or maybe other unit) could contact Charlie and pay 10 schmuckers per word and then they would pass on the message.

We have seen message-hats and the eyebooks.
Most likely, they come with high setup-costs, but then no cost per message/session.

But cost aside, security is a concern - if someone can read/hear your messages,
or even just knows who talked with whom, such info can be very valueable.
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Re: Summer Updates – 046

Postby Pax » Sun Oct 25, 2009 1:28 pm

Steve-D wrote:I hate having to ask for jokes to be explained (with all the cultural references in Erfworld I guess some of them are only going to make sense to Americans).

But can someone explain the last bit?

MaryAnn and Ginger were the two attractive female characters on an old, long-running sitcom called "Gilligan's Island". And by old, I mean "from teh days of black-and-white television".

The "three hour tour" comment is a direct reference to the theme song, and premise, of the series.

Aha, watch this; it's the old B&W version of the opening credits/song. I can't find a GOOD version of the color one, which actually mentions MaryAnn, sorry.
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Re: Summer Updates – 046

Postby raphfrk » Sun Oct 25, 2009 1:35 pm

Graydon wrote:I'm not asserting that a mancer could not be an overlord; I'm noting that you can't become an ruler/overlord unless you are already royal (and thus very expensive to pop) or your existing ruler/overlord promotes you. If Charley was not already royal (and from Don King's comments, I'm going to say he was definitely not royal), and didn't get promoted to heir by a then ruler/overlord, he can presumably hold the city by possession (he, personally, is in it, and has no opposition there) but can't do other, overlord things, like appoint/create warlords, accept the service of mancers, or, most important, have units do the natural thinkamancy version of Duty toward him as their legitimate ruler. The only reliable units are the Dish-derived ones.


Barbarian warlords can also claim cities. I think if Charlie was a barbarian, then he could claim a city.

If a warlord claims a city, then it is presumably added to the side that he is part of. Barbarians aren't part of a side (or at least they are Rulers of their tiny 1-stack side).

However, if he was a barbarian caster, then maybe he might have been prevented from claiming the city as only warlords can do it.
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