Book 2 – Page 9

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Re: Book 2 – Page 9

Postby John Thacker » Sun Nov 29, 2009 9:16 pm

Spot wrote:
BLANDCorporatio wrote:
Sokrotes wrote:To allow such a unique story character be killed so fast and then turned into the same boring thing Ansom is, a pod person, is just bad story writing.


Well, depending upon one's angle of view, *most* people in the regular world are just-as-much "pod people" as Ansom is.

*rant snipped*

Want to know what it'd be like to meet a "pod person" like Ansom in real life? Simply take a trip down to the mall and look around, (or take a look in the mirror).


Nice rant, but true or not that has nothing to do with the term "pod person." The phrase as generally used comes from the novel The Body Snatchers and all the movie versions of same. It refers to a member of an alien race that has duplicated an existing person, turning the original body into dust in the process. The replacement looks outwardly the same as the original person, but has loyalty to its (new) alien race and lacks the emotions of the original.

Thus, we see that the phrase has particular resonance with Ansom and this story, and also that your comment is quite wrong to say that *most* people in the regular world are "pod people." If they are largely the same as when they grew up, and remain recognizable to their close friends and family, then they're not pod people, even if they are boring and/or closed-minded. Indeed, by this definition, it would be more appropriate (though still somewhat silly and offensive) to call someone a "pod person" who has rejected the values she grew up with and who no longer "seems like the same person" to her parents. That's almost entirely the reverse of your rant.

Feel free to use some more appropriate phrase than "pod person" when making your original point, which would apply when discussing zealots staying within their original instilled values or those with Ansom's current zeal of the converted.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 9

Postby Ytaker » Sun Nov 29, 2009 9:21 pm

Nefesthientu wrote:Absolutely, because if Parson's interactions with Erfworld have taught us anything, it's that leadership is all about bonuses, and has nothing to do with your ability to accurately assess situations or come up with intelligent plans.

Fug's right. Tremennis wasn't introduced and shown to be smarter than Ossomer just for the writer's health. This will be important later.


Well actually... he discovered that victory wasn't additive it was multiplicative. And this was proved many times. In a big battle, it's about who has the higher bonuses. Smartness just helps you utilize your resources better, get a slightly higher bonus or lower the opponents. If you have a powerful warlord who has an advisor who's smart, you have the best of both worlds. They now lack a powerful warlord, which is gonna hurt them.

Smart people can advise, as Trem could have done. He wasn't notably good at evading the, all casters into one hex trap.

"They may not have thought to guard both portals. " by Kender.

Unlikely. They're really worried, as Size's update showed. And, even if Wanda broke through, there's a lot of casters for them to fight through in all of portal park. More likely, they've doubled the guard.

"Secondly, its not stated, but it looks to me like it took more than a few seconds, maybe a minute or two, for that many casters to gather in response to Parson and the trimancer entity entering the magic kingdom. For instance, there was apparently time for someone to run a message to Janis and then to bring her back."

Doubtful. He was right in front of the portal. That means that he didn't have a chance to walk further in. If he had a few seconds, he would have likely gone to check on the linked people. He was in fact standing right next to the entrance. If he had a minute, he would have left the entrance, especially since he would have been worried lava would get through. And, either they were in the area, or someone used thinkamancy, more likely. We don't know how large the place is.

"It sounds to be at least 100 though." A single portal has eight guards. http://www.erfworld.com/book-1-archive/?px=%2F141.jpg there are eight hippiemancers in that panel. Since there are eight varieties of magic, that suggests there may be at least 64 casters practicing magic. There are likely far more in their homes, or parks, or selling things. Several hundred at a minimum. The quickness at which they gathered a counter for Parson suggests there may be some military like force to defend portals. Maybe conflict zone portals have a guard?

Edit. 512 casters?

"it is likely that a capture foray like the one just attempted in-comic would be successful in netting 10-12 casters.... Not sure whether that would be worth enraging the magic kingdom, but it might be. :?"

Unlikely. Wanda could easily die. A single caster may be capable of disabling a host of archons (what can a master class shockamancer do?) The first few casters they meet are likely to be highly leveled ones from militant sides, or guards, both of which can fight back. You'd need someone on the inside, with a strong shockamancy spell, as a start. And, there may be other defence mechanisms we don't know about, like a guard or a police force.
Last edited by Ytaker on Sun Nov 29, 2009 9:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 9

Postby sheepfly » Sun Nov 29, 2009 9:43 pm

Okay... with all the "Jack can't die!" and "Jack's dead get over it!" and "OMG you can't decrypt my favorite character!" posts flying about, I'd like to point something out.

If we (and Wanda) believe that casters retain their casting abilities after decryption, the worst possible outcome for GK in the short term, and the most likely to create more dramatic tension in this current plotline, is that
Spoiler: show
Jack is NOT dead but disabled or at very low health.

Unless some decrypted lofty/altruistic elves or a random decrypted Unaroyal healomancer were brought along with Dwagon-Warlord-Archon Armada of Doom, the only healing available would be from Wanda of all people. It's dubious that she would be able to heal more than a hit or two on a badly wounded unit even if she is pretty good outside her specialty.

Stanley and Parson will most likely want Jack out of the capital fight if he's near death. Parson because he has issues with the decrypted, Stanley because he wouldn't want HIS caster beholden to the 'pliers. Unless Wanda & Ansom defy orders, this means that their capital attack will lack the foolamancy Wanda seemed to be counting on, and the fight will be that much more dicey. Telling Jack to conserve juice on the highly risky "scouting" maneuver will have backfired and Wanda will be proven once again to be overconfident and sorely lacking in tactical judgment.
What would YOU say if you'd won with strength and duty and honor every time when suddenly a veiled flying zero-upkeep 100% recycled army of former friends showed up to croak you with massive numbers and bonuses and skulls with little pink flowers?

Yeah..
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Re: Book 2 – Page 9

Postby CelebrenIthil » Sun Nov 29, 2009 9:54 pm

sheepfly wrote:Okay... with all the "Jack can't die!" and "Jack's dead get over it!" and "OMG you can't decrypt my favorite character!" posts flying about, I'd like to point something out.

If we (and Wanda) believe that casters retain their casting abilities after decryption, the worst possible outcome for GK in the short term, and the most likely to create more dramatic tension in this current plotline, is that
Spoiler: show
Jack is NOT dead but disabled or at very low health.

Unless some decrypted lofty/altruistic elves or a random decrypted Unaroyal healomancer were brought along with Dwagon-Warlord-Archon Armada of Doom, the only healing available would be from Wanda of all people. It's dubious that she would be able to heal more than a hit or two on a badly wounded unit even if she is pretty good outside her specialty.

Stanley and Parson will most likely want Jack out of the capital fight if he's near death. Parson because he has issues with the decrypted, Stanley because he wouldn't want HIS caster beholden to the 'pliers. Unless Wanda & Ansom defy orders, this means that their capital attack will lack the foolamancy Wanda seemed to be counting on, and the fight will be that much more dicey. Telling Jack to conserve juice on the highly risky "scouting" maneuver will have backfired and Wanda will be proven once again to be overconfident and sorely lacking in tactical judgment.


Spoiler: show
Then again, Jack should be healed of all physical damage at the beginning of GK's next turn...
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Re: Book 2 – Page 9

Postby Spot » Sun Nov 29, 2009 10:09 pm

John Thacker wrote:
Nice rant, but true or not that has nothing to do with the term "pod person." The phrase as generally used comes from the novel The Body Snatchers and all the movie versions of same. It refers to a member of an alien race that has duplicated an existing person, turning the original body into dust in the process. The replacement looks outwardly the same as the original person, but has loyalty to its (new) alien race and lacks the emotions of the original.

Thus, we see that the phrase has particular resonance with Ansom and this story, and also that your comment is quite wrong to say that *most* people in the regular world are "pod people." If they are largely the same as when they grew up, and remain recognizable to their close friends and family, then they're not pod people, even if they are boring and/or closed-minded. Indeed, by this definition, it would be more appropriate (though still somewhat silly and offensive) to call someone a "pod person" who has rejected the values she grew up with and who no longer "seems like the same person" to her parents. That's almost entirely the reverse of your rant.

Feel free to use some more appropriate phrase than "pod person" when making your original point, which would apply when discussing zealots staying within their original instilled values or those with Ansom's current zeal of the converted.



Well, to me, the whole horror aspect of movies like Invasion of the Body Snatchers was that people were being robbed of their free will or robbed of their "agency", and turned into mindless drones who followed pre-programmed centralized directives.

What I've observed, is that when people use the term "pod person" (a cultural meme that *began* as an obvious reference to Invasion of the Body Snatchers, but which now exists on its own), they (a) mean it in a derogatory sense, and (b) are referring not specifically to situations that exactly mirror
a 50-year-old book and movie (or it's 30-year-old remake), but more generally to situations in which someone loses their "agency" or loses their ability to exercise free will.

So... for someone to *lose* their agency and free will, one has to have actually have had free will in the first place.

Ansom, both pre-decrypt and post-decrypt operated largely as an automaton, with pre-determined instructions input on one end, then filtered through a simplistic black-and-white arbitrary worldview in the middle, and outputs shown through his zealot-like behavior... with no serious introspection, self-examination, or free anything ever having actually occurred in his behavior.

In other words, the only difference between Ansom and 90% of the people that you'll encounter tomorrow in real life, is that Ansom has zero upkeep.

Isn't that a major theme of the comic we're reading?
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Re: Book 2 – Page 9

Postby ftl » Sun Nov 29, 2009 10:46 pm

Reuven wrote:Allight, I'm very new here but no one seems to have noticed the obvious.

Jack is perfectly fine.

What? You say not possible, look at him taking arrows?

Yes. That's exactly what the foolamencer wants you to see. Jack's fine. He's probably off tot he side of the hex, perhaps even has retreated to the other hex. We're seeing the illusion of him being injured.

He did it with stanley as they ran for FAQ, I'm pretty sure he's doing it here.


Thing is - when Jack was hit, he DROPPED his foolamancy. He and his entire stack were 'invisible' before he got hit. Heck, him being hit is what let Ansom be knocked off his mount in the first place!

It would be very strange for me to think that Jack dropped his spell and put Wanda and Ansom in danger. Him being hit and losing concentration would be a sufficient explanation for why it happened; however, if he didn't get hit, what happened with that spell makes no sense.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 9

Postby GobwinPie » Mon Nov 30, 2009 2:12 am

noxharrington wrote:[W]hen one unit engages one other unit [...] and they're all talkin' smack [...], that's nonsense, right? Or rather, storytelling? Surely any two Erf units [...] engaging each other know ahead of time who will win. Count up the Attack, count up the Defense. It's not rocket science. Heck, it's not even physics.


IIRC, aren't you only able to see your own side's stats? I can't find reference for this, but it would resolve the problem.

mutecebu wrote:Jack shouldn't die, if only because he has unresolved plot threads. (That, and, he's cool :))


I also believe it's unlikely that Jack is going to die for story reasons, but I should mention that there's no guarantee. After all, whatever Jack's backstory is, there are at least 2-3 characters that could provide some insight into it: Wanda, Jillian, and maybe Stanley. His plot armor has some holes in it.

Joe22c. wrote:Is anyone else surprised that Wanda (female caster) was able to use the pliers to hold back Ossomer's strike?


Maybe there's more to ErfWorld combat than just stats and random die rolls.
Or maybe that's just how one man fighting a fully operational stack (sans 1 caster) ends up, but I prefer the former.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 9

Postby ftl » Mon Nov 30, 2009 2:34 am

GobwinPie wrote:Maybe there's more to ErfWorld combat than just stats and random die rolls.
Or maybe that's just how one man fighting a fully operational stack (sans 1 caster) ends up, but I prefer the former.


I've always envisioned it the other way around. The units fight. They do what they can, use what weapons they have, use their wits and their cunning and their tactics.

And that all gets neatly summarized into a Stat. Hits, defense, and so on.

Wanda grabbing a sword with the pliers? You're *looking* at the artifact bonus. It's not just some magical number that erfworlders know - it is how battles play out.

I mean, some stats really are cut and dried. Move, for instance - you can move across some number of hexes, and then you run into a wall. But I personally think that many bonuses really are visible - we SEE how they work. Defense bonuses - you can see in the armor. Leadership bonuses, in the myriad of instantaneous tactical decisions that a warlord leading a stack has to make in the blink of an eye. (Left! Give me time to solo the blue!)

Of course, that's just my interpretation. To me, I think that makes a little bit more sense than "there are unseen stats that determine the result of a fight, and everything we see is either flavor text or a myriad of small additional bonuses." But I don't think we've ever gotten Word of the Titans on this, nor does it seem like something that would necessarily be described in-comic, so this is certainly a spot for rampant speculation :)
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Re: Book 2 – Page 9

Postby Dancing Cthulhu » Mon Nov 30, 2009 3:03 am

oslecamo2 wrote:Also, Jack is probably bleeding to death. Not yet dead, but if he doesn't receive some healing he's toast.


He might be able to hang on like Caesar did. Healing would be good though - but I don't think any of the healing types Wanda might have managed to decrypt after the volcano would be in the immediate vicinity. I'd guess they are hanging around with the ground forces if Wanda even brought them from GK (moving beyond can decrypted casters cast, I wonder if decrypted can be healed), since they don't sound like they would have fit in with Wanda's strike force of doom.

EDIT:Anyway, the main question now is, how fat is Ossomer's leadership bonus again? Because it's now going to work for GK, so the tables are kinda turned. The other side lost their chief warlord, GK lost an archon and some wounds. Not looking pretty for Jetsone


Not as good as Ansom's I imagine.

Kender Wizard wrote:It occurred to me then that we don't have a clear definition of what is and is not considered a caster.


I don't know, a caster is a caster is a caster (is a class). Archons, even though they can have some spell like abilities, are knight class. The Western Giants might use juice (like a caster) for what they do, though aren't casters either.

Still, even if GK could get Archons into the MG then it is their current stock of under 30 Archons vs an entire kingdom of casters. I can't see how that couldn't go badly for any attacker.

Reuven wrote:Yes. That's exactly what the foolamencer wants you to see. Jack's fine. He's probably off tot he side of the hex, perhaps even has retreated to the other hex. We're seeing the illusion of him being injured.

He did it with stanley as they ran for FAQ, I'm pretty sure he's doing it here.


Did he decide to hide himself before or after arrows started raining down? Presumably he was still with the group since we see his dwagon contributes to the shock therapy, and when he gets hit he the displacement ends, giving Oss a free shot at Ansom... the timing seems all off. I'm thinking he was hit.

Spot wrote:Ansom, both pre-decrypt and post-decrypt operated largely as an automaton, with pre-determined instructions input on one end, then filtered through a simplistic black-and-white arbitrary worldview in the middle, and outputs shown through his zealot-like behavior... with no serious introspection, self-examination, or free anything ever having actually occurred in his behavior.


I'm not quite sure Ansom was that bad pre-decrypt. He was certainly an ardent traditionalist and dedicated to his cause, but an automaton? He was still largely doing what he wanted to and in a way he wanted, he was still capable of forming and maintaining relationships (Vinnie, Jillian, his brothers), still full of opinon and so forth.

I'd think, if it could, pod person would relate more to a Wrigley like individual. Even then I'm not so sure it really fits in the setting (since they don't really have a choice).
And so my time with the Tardy Elves draws to a close, and I am let to ponder how the experience will... eh, I'll finish later. No need to rush.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 9

Postby GobwinPie » Mon Nov 30, 2009 5:24 am

Sorry to harp on this many pages after the fact, but it just got my attention.

Sokrotes wrote:To allow such a unique story character be killed so fast and then turned into the same boring thing Ansom is, a pod person, is just bad story writing.


This is a pet peeve of mine on this forum. There is a tendency for some posters on this board whenever they think the plot might not go the way they want it to go to simply whine and dismiss that possibility as bad writing.

Poppycock.

If there has been bad story writing in this comic so far, I haven't seen good evidence of it, and I don't see any indication that suddenly the writers are going to suddenly start. If Jack is dead, then they will make that death mean something (like they did for Misty), and they will find some other way of letting us know the mystery behind the man. It's not like no one's ever written a story where someone's character got developed posthumously before.

You might get upset with the loss of a great character (as would I), but I trust in Rob and Jamie's ability to make it work if they go that route.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 9

Postby BLANDCorporatio » Mon Nov 30, 2009 7:10 am

Spot wrote:{snipped for space reasons}

In other words, the only difference between Ansom and 90% of the people that you'll encounter tomorrow in real life, is that Ansom has zero upkeep.

Isn't that a major theme of the comic we're reading?


The whole quoted post above is very eloquent, but what I've left in the quote especially so.

And to keep on the Ansom, pod-or-not, thing- Ansom had a nice suggestion to get to ground lately. Again some proof of quick-thinking on his part. He's no worse for being decrypted, that we can see.
The whole point of this is lost if you keep it a secret.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 9

Postby robak » Mon Nov 30, 2009 10:32 am

GobwinPie wrote:This is a pet peeve of mine on this forum. There is a tendency for some posters on this board whenever they think the plot might not go the way they want it to go to simply whine and dismiss that possibility as bad writing.

Poppycock.

If there has been bad story writing in this comic so far, I haven't seen good evidence of it

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Re: Book 2 – Page 9

Postby theseus2x » Mon Nov 30, 2009 10:55 am

Reuven wrote:Allight, I'm very new here but no one seems to have noticed the obvious.

Jack is perfectly fine.

What? You say not possible, look at him taking arrows?

Yes. That's exactly what the foolamencer wants you to see. Jack's fine. He's probably off tot he side of the hex, perhaps even has retreated to the other hex. We're seeing the illusion of him being injured.

He did it with stanley as they ran for FAQ, I'm pretty sure he's doing it here.


Possible? Yes.

Regarding the Faq run - it is in dispute as to exactly when the veil started. Remember that you can't engage with foolamancy veils - you just pass through it like any illusion. Caesar, Jillian, the Gwiffons and the bats were all engaged with the Red Dwagon at various points during the battle. So the point at which Jack veils is very much in question.

Likewise, regarding the current dillemia, I am uncertain if Jack can cast a new personal veil showing himself getting hit at the exact same moment the original veil was dropped. To ask a more pertinent question : Why drop the original veil? Surely continued invisibility for the entire stack would be more valuable than just covering his own ass. The arrows *alone* shouldn't have dispelled the veil. The arrows incapacitating Jack? That would have.

So no - I don't think Jack's covering himself with a veil.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 9

Postby Ytaker » Mon Nov 30, 2009 11:06 am

GobwinPie wrote:This is a pet peeve of mine on this forum. There is a tendency for some posters on this board whenever they think the plot might not go the way they want it to go to simply whine and dismiss that possibility as bad writing.


There's a notably difference between killing off a character, and changing the direction of the plot. Especially on page 9 of the comic.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 9

Postby robak » Mon Nov 30, 2009 12:21 pm

And which of those is bad writing?
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Re: Book 2 – Page 9

Postby Lady Nerevar » Mon Nov 30, 2009 12:23 pm

what is the "direction of plot?" do you have some magical insight into what Rob plans to do with the story? if so, please share. until then, nothing can be "changed" because we dont know what the original direction was. For all we know Jack was slated to die since the first time we were introduced.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 9

Postby Casander » Mon Nov 30, 2009 12:35 pm

There is a difference between the Battle of FAQ Pass and the Battle of Exposition Bridge. At the Pass, Jack dropped all veils on his own initiative. At the Bridge, he dropped the displacement when hit. Even if the damage from the arrow was minimal and survivable, there are documented instances of bad consequences when spells are disrupted.

So regardless of whether Jack has juice left, it is quite likely that the disruption of his spell is as incapacitating as the arrow itself.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 9

Postby Ytaker » Mon Nov 30, 2009 12:53 pm

robak wrote:And which of those is bad writing?


It's not so much bad writing as, destruction of resources. Jack and Charlie are probably my two favourite characters, with Jillian as a long third. They both have huge mystery around them, interesting minds, interesting powers. If he destroys one of them, he's decreased my enjoyment of the comic by huge amount. My current favourite moment in the comic was when Jack pulled down his veil (second was the dittomancer, because he's just so fun to listen to).

My favourite times during the summer update were Jack talking to Parson about purpose- "What's the cure to curioisity"-"Getting croaked" and Charlie's convos with Stanley. And third was the sex talk. Fourth was the chats about mechanics in erfworld with the casters. In the first book, my favourite moments were the croaking of the volcano (magic), Jack's recovery, love is the wisdom of the fool, the foolishness of the wise, Jillians I will not betray you speech, and Charlie's conversations with Stanley.

If he removes one of the characters, no more moments like that. He'd have to have something pretty big to fill the gap. I doubt he does. Good characters are rare. Parson is boring because he has no interesting opinions, except around Charlie. Maggie is utterly boring, with an implied habit of zinging Parson but actually generally having no opinion and serving as an exposition of plot or mechanics tool. She's uttered two interesting comments so far in the story. "You'll explode" and the sex thing, which would be funny for anyone. Wanda is unsympathetic, and only fun around Jillian (distinctive actions- lesbian domination sex, volcano) with maybe one interesting moment when she explained how she manipulated Stanley. Likewise with Ansom, for Jillian and the vampy dude. Stanley is mildly interesting. Sizemore and his hippie pal are utterly boring and dull. Too nice. No edge, or opinions of any import. Hippie might be interesting if she did more stuff behind the scenes, xanatos style, but she seems to have done approximately nothing for 200 updates. Charlie and Jack are really the only especially good characters.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 9

Postby DevilDan » Mon Nov 30, 2009 2:00 pm

Ytaker wrote:"It sounds to be at least 100 though." A single portal has eight guards. http://www.erfworld.com/book-1-archive/?px=%2F141.jpg there are eight hippiemancers in that panel. Since there are eight varieties of magic, that suggests there may be at least 64 casters practicing magic. There are likely far more in their homes, or parks, or selling things. Several hundred at a minimum. The quickness at which they gathered a counter for Parson suggests there may be some military like force to defend portals. Maybe conflict zone portals have a guard?

-snip-

Unlikely. Wanda could easily die. A single caster may be capable of disabling a host of archons (what can a master class shockamancer do?) The first few casters they meet are likely to be highly leveled ones from militant sides, or guards, both of which can fight back. You'd need someone on the inside, with a strong shockamancy spell, as a start. And, there may be other defence mechanisms we don't know about, like a guard or a police force.


I always assumed that the caster were one of the many shown earlier to be using the portals at any time. There was no need for guards in portal park until it was shown that at least one non-caster could get in. The hippiemancers were just hanging out or meditating or practicing, right?

Wanda can get as many casters as she wants into MK. But I doubt archons could survive the portal.

Ytaker wrote:
robak wrote:And which of those is bad writing?


It's not so much bad writing as, destruction of resources. Jack and Charlie are probably my two favourite characters, with Jillian as a long third. They both have huge mystery around them, interesting minds, interesting powers. If he destroys one of them, he's decreased my enjoyment of the comic by huge amount. My current favourite moment in the comic was when Jack pulled down his veil (second was the dittomancer, because he's just so fun to listen to).

[etcetera]


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Re: Book 2 – Page 9

Postby Ytaker » Mon Nov 30, 2009 2:30 pm

DevilDan wrote:
I always assumed that the caster were one of the many shown earlier to be using the portals at any time. There was no need for guards in portal park until it was shown that at least one non-caster could get in. The hippiemancers were just hanging out or meditating or practicing, right?

Wanda can get as many casters as she wants into MK. But I doubt archons could survive the portal.


They had wands, and they were standing at Gobwin Knob's portal. I doubt they were random people. Not all casters carry wands, as we've seen. And yeah, they seemed to be doing hippie meditation.

DevilDan wrote:Eloquent defense of fan service...


Yes, I'm arguing that the story would be better if Jack stayed alive because I, a straight male, want to see him naked. That makes sense.
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