Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) – Episode 071

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Re: Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) – Episode 071

Postby Tonot » Fri Aug 16, 2013 1:13 am

Shai_hulud wrote:To be fair, agreeing on definitions when a word has a fuzzy definition to start with is also an important part of communication. It's just really silly to not discuss those terms, and then act confused or insulted when people don't understand what the hell we're talking about. Which is sort of the only real reason why we bother with standardized language at all, since otherwise we would end up jabbering like Mediator Moties every time we wanted to talk about something.

:D We only wish we could jabber to the same effect as a Mediator. :D

Sure, I agree with you about our duty to clarify our words to one another when dealing with stuff, especially imaginary stuff like D'n'D rules and theology. That wasn't what Kreistor was doing of course, he was arbitrarily saying "When I use the term God it means what I want it to mean". The pure distilled recipe for miscommunication and/or confusion.

effataigus wrote:Can God create a species so intelligent that it can fathom God? Sure, part of omnipotence is the power to become fathomable.


Not if he is also Ineffable, which just as a matter of course any being who can create matter out of nothing by sheer act of will is. Which, regardless of people trying to avoid it, is exactly the description of capital G God, Creator God, be he Cronus or Yahweh or Allah or Brahma. They can do the inexplicable, they are ineffable. It means unknowable. So, he can't "make" a being who can know him.

Anyway, this is just meta-physical quibbling.


effataigus wrote:God with a capital G just means you're talking about something named God... not any specific iteration. The only names that are obviously a specific person in this forum are Rob, Parson, Tramennis... etc.

I, and the Concise Oxford Dictionary* respectfully and totally disagree with you.

Lipkin wrote: I don't mind being wrong, but being dismissed as stupid, and a lost cause, does not feel good.

I don't think you are stupid or a lost cause. =]
Not even wrong. Either. :P
* i.e. all those people who speak English correctly, too.
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Re: Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) – Episode 071

Postby Lilwik » Fri Aug 16, 2013 2:14 am

Tonot wrote:They can do the inexplicable, they are ineffable. It means unknowable. So, he can't "make" a being who can know him.
It's a small and maybe irrelevant point, but technically being unknowable only means that it cannot be known, not that it couldn't be known by counterfactual superior minds. A mind of a higher quality could surely know things which are unknowable to human minds, and some things which are unknowable to all minds are surely unknowable only because the minds required to know them do not actually exist. So even though an omnipotent being may seem beyond understanding, understanding must be possible for some possible mind of great enough capacity, otherwise the being would not be omnipotent for we would have found something it cannot do.
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Re: Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) – Episode 071

Postby Shai_hulud » Fri Aug 16, 2013 3:05 am

Tonot wrote: Which, regardless of people trying to avoid it, is exactly the description of capital G God, Creator God, be he Cronus or Yahweh or Allah or Brahma.
This sentence makes me want to punch things. Cronus isn't a creator god even a little... and YHWH and Allah are the same god... and I'm pretty sure Brahma is not "unknowable" since there are equal and even higher ranked entities in Hinduism.
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Re: Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) – Episode 071

Postby shamelessmerc » Fri Aug 16, 2013 10:55 am

Shai_hulud wrote:I feel the need to restate this for some sort of record. Lipkin does not appear to understand what science is, and arguing with him about whether science is real in the setting or not is like trying to explain to someone that minecrafts redstone isn't electricity.


I feel it's necessary to inform you that it is quite clear Lipkin has a much better handle on what science is than you do, which is why you keep having problems understanding him.

The main difference in science between Realworld and Erfworld is that in OUR world there are literally millions of highly trained practitioners of science, and millions upon millions more that have a reasonably good understanding of science (The really strict philosophical definition of science is unnecessary unless you are going to have a debate about what constitutes science ;) ) and we have a society that is entirely dependant on having a population that is mostly knowledgable about these things. Efrworld has exactly one person that has even a rudimentary understanding of the Scientific Method - Parson Gotti.

Parson's suggestion of "Why don't you create a theory and then test it?" was so revolutionary, so alien to the intuitive way the casters work, that it blew people's minds.

Here we don't have access to the raw data we would need to use the scientific method on Erfworld (ie. the inside of Rob's head) so we can't make falsifiable hypotheses and experiments to test them (the cornerstone of science) so we can't use the scientific method from here - the outside. The characters WITHIN Erfworld COULD, but they don't have the benefit of being raised in a scientifically literate society, like we do.

All we get are the drips and drabs that are the product of the narrative. Now we can debate their meaning, and formulate hypothesies, and have an intellegent debate on what the outcome is going to be, and the nature of Erfworld that we can glean from the details that Rob lets fall - but none of that is in any way "scientific".
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Re: Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) – Episode 071

Postby Tonot » Sat Aug 17, 2013 4:25 pm

Shai_hulud wrote:
Tonot wrote: Which, regardless of people trying to avoid it, is exactly the description of capital G God, Creator God, be he Cronus or Yahweh or Allah or Brahma.
This sentence makes me want to punch things. Cronus isn't a creator god even a little... and YHWH and Allah are the same god... and I'm pretty sure Brahma is not "unknowable" since there are equal and even higher ranked entities in Hinduism.



Edit to remove hasty words that were not fair.

OR . . . you could accept that I already said I don't believe in gods, they are fairy stories for the comfort of simple souls. I don't have to keep perfect track of the various contradictory stories of peoples delusions. Given they are all imaginary beings, your claims about "what they are" are just as incorrect as mine, you are to consider.

Neither one of us is "right" in our description, because they don't exist. However, I added the term "be he", which covers a multitude of sins, just you substitute the names of some creator gods that suit you.
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Last edited by Tonot on Sun Aug 18, 2013 4:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) – Episode 071

Postby Shai_hulud » Sat Aug 17, 2013 7:30 pm

Miscommunication on my part. I wasn't intending for you to interpret my statement as anger, I was trying to use hyperbole as a source of humor via exaggeration. I really like mythology for the same reason I like comics like this one. They are fun stories based in a magical fantasy world. I was just pointing out that your list is not a good list of creator gods, like adding Todd and Petunia to a list of super hero comics.
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Re: Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) – Episode 071

Postby Tonot » Sun Aug 18, 2013 4:45 am

Shai_hulud wrote:Miscommunication on my part. I wasn't intending for you to interpret my statement as anger, I was trying to use hyperbole as a source of humor via exaggeration. I really like mythology for the same reason I like comics like this one. They are fun stories based in a magical fantasy world. I was just pointing out that your list is not a good list of creator gods, like adding Todd and Petunia to a list of super hero comics.

*Raises hat, looks uncomfortable*

Please to accept my sincere apologies for mis-speaking myself offensively. Something I deplore in others, and as is usually the case, do so because I am aware of the egregious fault in my own nature. Your servant sir.
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Re: Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) – Episode 071

Postby Shai_hulud » Sun Aug 18, 2013 9:40 am

Nah, I keep forgetting that I'm not actually funny. Case in point, my attempt to joke about Joe Dirtamancer in the relevant thread. Nobody thought it was funny. T.T
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Re: Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) – Episode 071

Postby Tonot » Mon Aug 19, 2013 7:01 am

I wonder if you and I suffer from the same joke-deficiency?. I always (almost always wrongly) think my jokes are wildly funny, and though it has been a lifetime of handicap, it still cracks me up to crack me up and not see anyone else smile. =] I make unpopular crossword puzzles too, I am multi-untalented!. :D
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Re: Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) – Episode 071

Postby Shai_hulud » Mon Aug 19, 2013 10:32 am

A friend and me went to the movie Little Nicky and literally no one laughed through the whole movie except us. People just stared at us.
This was basically us.
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Re: Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) – Episode 071

Postby Tonot » Tue Aug 20, 2013 2:10 am

I salute you. The most expedient possible way for you to say to me "Yes we do share the absolutely exact same joke deficiency". It were superfluous for me to add more. I will though, because I relish redundancy. A large percentage of my friends understand that a movie I say is funny, will be unfunny to them, and vice versa. Usual behaviour for them to say "OK, we will not go to it then" when I say how funny a movie was.
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Re: Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) – Episode 071

Postby Doctor Foreman » Tue Aug 20, 2013 10:31 pm

shamelessmerc wrote:The main difference in science between Realworld and Erfworld is that in OUR world there are literally millions of highly trained practitioners of science, and millions upon millions more that have a reasonably good understanding of science (The really strict philosophical definition of science is unnecessary unless you are going to have a debate about what constitutes science ;) ) and we have a society that is entirely dependant on having a population that is mostly knowledgable about these things. Efrworld has exactly one person that has even a rudimentary understanding of the Scientific Method - Parson Gotti.


The issue is a conflation of magic by Lipkin's definition of "the unexplained" and magic as "the natural laws of Erfworld".

Erfworld has natural laws, and its inhabitants formulate philosophies, strategies and technologies through understanding and exploitation of those laws. In this respect it is not fundamentally different from Stupidworld; the only difference is that Erfworlders choose to use the word "magic" for those natural laws - and remember that in Erfworld words don't always carry what we see as their face value.

What you are describing is a distinction in how Erf and Stupid society operate, which is more or less fair enough. Stupidworld has a rather useful information-processing technique called the scientific method, and Erfworld in general does not. The use of the word "magic" in the context of Erfworld is likely as not a reference to the fact that most inhabitants of Erfworld have no deep understanding of their natural laws and do not strive for it.

In this regard there's nothing objectionable about the original comment, but a statement like this:

Science is an observation of facts, and what makes Erf function is unobservable. Everything in our world has an answer that can be explained by science, whereas on Erf most things can only be explained by magic.

This is assuming things about Erfworld that haven't been substantiated by the narrative. What makes Erf function is almost certainly not unobservable. Any casting discipline examined in any detail reveals depths not found in your typical Warcraft-level fantasy. Croakamancy involves an understanding of anatomy. Thinkamancy manipulates grandiocosmic strings. Luckamancy is a discipline of numbers.

A statement like

Magic has rules we are not used to, and cannot understand beyond that they are

basically misses the point of Erfworld, which is a fantasy setting that has much more depth than the commonly-accepted 'wizard did it' trope. While units *claim* 'a wizard did it', the entire universe betrays a good deal of complexity beyond the claim.
"If you leave out important things or events that you know about, the story is strengthened. If you leave or skip something because you do not know it, the story will be worthless." - Hemingway
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Re: Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) – Episode 071

Postby Lilwik » Tue Aug 20, 2013 11:07 pm

Doctor Foreman wrote:Luckamancy is a discipline of numbers.
I wish Luckamancy were a discipline of numbers, because that would seem to make more sense. Actually Luckamancy is a discipline of Erf. I also wish I knew what that means. If we could only discover the meanings of the various axes we would be a long way toward understanding magic in Erfworld.
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Re: Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) – Episode 071

Postby Doctor Foreman » Tue Aug 20, 2013 11:31 pm

Lilwik wrote:
Doctor Foreman wrote:Luckamancy is a discipline of numbers.
I wish Luckamancy were a discipline of numbers, because that would seem to make more sense. Actually Luckamancy is a discipline of Erf. I also wish I knew what that means. If we could only discover the meanings of the various axes we would be a long way toward understanding magic in Erfworld.


Actually actually, I was referring to the fact that effective practice of Luckamancy requires a grasp of Numbers:

Clay Dice wrote:So what Luckamancy actually does is steal Numbers from the world. Don't tell anybody that, okay?
"If you leave out important things or events that you know about, the story is strengthened. If you leave or skip something because you do not know it, the story will be worthless." - Hemingway
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Re: Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) – Episode 071

Postby Lilwik » Wed Aug 21, 2013 12:17 am

Doctor Foreman wrote:Actually actually, I was referring to the fact that effective practice of Luckamancy requires a grasp of Numbers:
Clay Dice wrote:So what Luckamancy actually does is steal Numbers from the world. Don't tell anybody that, okay?
Even so, I can't imagine a way for that to be true while Luckamancy remains on the axis of Erf and specifically not on the axis of Numbers. Clevermancers who understand Numbers are called Moneymancers, not Luckamancers. Maybe the point is that Clay doesn't really understand Numbers at all, and he's just using his crude concept of Numbers to help explain Luckamancy to Wanda. He's more of a fan than a player in the game of Numbers; he notices that his magic has effects on Numbers, but he doesn't control those effects.
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Re: Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) – Episode 071

Postby Doctor Foreman » Wed Aug 21, 2013 12:47 am

Even so, I can't imagine a way for that to be true while Luckamancy remains on the axis of Erf and specifically not on the axis of Numbers.

Why not? Magic isn't simply a venue for casters to express power, it's the natural laws of Erfworld. Rulers budget and spend schmuckers without having Moneymancers, warlords guesstimate how many troops they need to win an engagement or how many turns a trip will take without Mathamancers.

Clevermancers who understand Numbers are called Moneymancers, not Luckamancers.

No, Clevermancers whose discipline is aligned with Numbers are called Moneymancers. There's nothing to prevent other Clevermancers from understanding Numbers. Wanda for instance is quite accomplished at disciplines of magic outside her own.

Maybe the point is that Clay doesn't really understand Numbers at all, and he's just using his crude concept of Numbers to help explain Luckamancy to Wanda.

This is a faulty hypothesis because Croakamancy isn't aligned with Numbers. By your logic, Clay's explanation should be incomprehensible to Wanda, but she seems to more or less grasp what he's saying.

He's more of a fan than a player in the game of Numbers; he notices that his magic has effects on Numbers, but he doesn't control those effects.

Eh? How is he not controlling the effects if he's consciously creating them? Affecting "dice rolls" is his whole discipline! And I put it to you that to be able to competently shift odds requires understanding at least on a basic level how odds even work in the first place.
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Re: Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) – Episode 071

Postby Lipkin » Wed Aug 21, 2013 1:25 am

Doctor Foreman wrote:
shamelessmerc wrote:The main difference in science between Realworld and Erfworld is that in OUR world there are literally millions of highly trained practitioners of science, and millions upon millions more that have a reasonably good understanding of science (The really strict philosophical definition of science is unnecessary unless you are going to have a debate about what constitutes science ;) ) and we have a society that is entirely dependant on having a population that is mostly knowledgable about these things. Efrworld has exactly one person that has even a rudimentary understanding of the Scientific Method - Parson Gotti.


The issue is a conflation of magic by Lipkin's definition of "the unexplained" and magic as "the natural laws of Erfworld".

Erfworld has natural laws, and its inhabitants formulate philosophies, strategies and technologies through understanding and exploitation of those laws. In this respect it is not fundamentally different from Stupidworld; the only difference is that Erfworlders choose to use the word "magic" for those natural laws - and remember that in Erfworld words don't always carry what we see as their face value.

What you are describing is a distinction in how Erf and Stupid society operate, which is more or less fair enough. Stupidworld has a rather useful information-processing technique called the scientific method, and Erfworld in general does not. The use of the word "magic" in the context of Erfworld is likely as not a reference to the fact that most inhabitants of Erfworld have no deep understanding of their natural laws and do not strive for it.

In this regard there's nothing objectionable about the original comment, but a statement like this:

Science is an observation of facts, and what makes Erf function is unobservable. Everything in our world has an answer that can be explained by science, whereas on Erf most things can only be explained by magic.

This is assuming things about Erfworld that haven't been substantiated by the narrative. What makes Erf function is almost certainly not unobservable. Any casting discipline examined in any detail reveals depths not found in your typical Warcraft-level fantasy. Croakamancy involves an understanding of anatomy. Thinkamancy manipulates grandiocosmic strings. Luckamancy is a discipline of numbers.

A statement like

Magic has rules we are not used to, and cannot understand beyond that they are

basically misses the point of Erfworld, which is a fantasy setting that has much more depth than the commonly-accepted 'wizard did it' trope. While units *claim* 'a wizard did it', the entire universe betrays a good deal of complexity beyond the claim.

Croakamancy deals with anatomy. Ok, how? They spend juice to repair the damage to the anatomy, and reanimate the corpse. Ok, how? Hell if we know.

Thinkamancy manipulates grandiocosmic strings. Ok, how? Just does.

What's juice? Where does it come from? How does natural magic work? How does what makes natural magic work, work?

Any understandings that we gain about the laws of Erf must come through the lens of a caster, as they are the only ones capable of that understanding of magic. They say "here is the way it is," and we have to take their word for it, because non-casters don't have the senses to observe such things themselves. Perhaps magical items could be created that would make such things observable to a non-caster, but there would be little demand for them because they would have no military application, and they would still need to be made by a caster.

I'll grant you that Erf has more complexity than your typical fantasy setting, but it still only goes one or two levels deeper. It still feels like a hand wave to me. There are so many things that can't be explained by our understanding of how our world works, or are different from how our world works. It seems unreasonable to assume that anything would act as it does in our world and not at least entertain the idea that it could work differently.

I really didn't want to be drawn back into this argument, but apparently I can't help myself.
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Re: Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) – Episode 071

Postby Lilwik » Wed Aug 21, 2013 1:48 am

Doctor Foreman wrote:Magic isn't simply a venue for casters to express power, it's the natural laws of Erfworld. Rulers budget and spend schmuckers without having Moneymancers, warlords guesstimate how many troops they need to win an engagement or how many turns a trip will take without Mathamancers.
None of that explains anything about why a discipline of magic that's about moving numbers around should be on the Erf axis. We don't know exactly what the axes mean, but they have to mean something and at the very least I think we can infer that Luckamancy is not really all about numbers.

Doctor Foreman wrote:No, Clevermancers whose discipline is aligned with Numbers are called Moneymancers. There's nothing to prevent other Clevermancers from understanding Numbers. Wanda for instance is quite accomplished at disciplines of magic outside her own.
You're talking about disciplines and understanding as if they were different things, but you're not explaining it so that I can see what you mean clearly. Naturally some casters can cast outside of their own discipline; some Luckamancers can understand Numbers, and when they do they can cast Moneymancy.

Doctor Foreman wrote:
Maybe the point is that Clay doesn't really understand Numbers at all, and he's just using his crude concept of Numbers to help explain Luckamancy to Wanda.
This is a faulty hypothesis because Croakamancy isn't aligned with Numbers. By your logic, Clay's explanation should be incomprehensible to Wanda, but she seems to more or less grasp what he's saying.
Well Wanda's discipline isn't on the Numbers axis any more than Clay's discipline. There's no reason why it should be any more or less difficult for Wanda to know what Numbers are. Even warlords probably know what it means to steal Numbers. That doesn't mean that they understand Numbers in the sense of being capable of casting Numbers magic.

If I tell you that Alice doesn't understand economics, would you take that to mean that if you gave her a dollar she'd find it incomprehensible? No. So why should Clay's explanation be incomprehensible to Wanda just because she doesn't understand Numbers? Just like any discipline of magic, I'm sure that the Numbers axis is deep and complex; you can know what Numbers are without understanding how they work.

Doctor Foreman wrote:How is he not controlling the effects if he's consciously creating them?
How is a tricky question, but we know that he's not in control over the Numbers that he is moving around. When he boosts a unit, Numbers are stolen from somewhere. He knows this stealing will happen, but he'd prefer that it didn't since it's likely stolen from other units on his side. He has no control over how it happens, or else he would always take the Numbers from the enemy. Therefore I suspect that he's not consciously creating this effect. He's consciously boosting a unit, but the Numbers part is a necessary side-effect, like pushing water around when you are swimming. The Numbers change in response to the boost, not because Clay commanded the Numbers.

Doctor Foreman wrote:Affecting "dice rolls" is his whole discipline!
But how does he affect dice rolls? We don't know that. We've never seen inside Luckamancy nearly as well as we've seen Thinkamancy and Croakamancy.

Doctor Foreman wrote:And I put it to you that to be able to competently shift odds requires understanding at least on a basic level how odds even work in the first place.
Is understanding odds the same as understanding Numbers? I wish I knew enough about the Numbers axis to answer that. To me it seems that understanding odds is more the domain of Mathamancers. On the contrary, Luckamancers deal in luck, which isn't necessarily the same as odds. Clay even seems quite poor at predicting exactly how his boosts will help and he doesn't know how long they last. Unfortunately, I'm not sure exactly what luck is.

Lipkin wrote:I'll grant you that Erf has more complexity than your typical fantasy setting, but it still only goes one or two levels deeper.
How can we possibly know how deep it goes? Erfworld is still a work in progress as a story.
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Re: Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) – Episode 071

Postby Tonot » Wed Aug 21, 2013 2:00 am

Doctor Foreman wrote:Eh? How is he not controlling the effects if he's consciously creating them? Affecting "dice rolls" is his whole discipline! And I put it to you that to be able to competently shift odds requires understanding at least on a basic level how odds even work in the first place.



For some reason that irresistibly reminded me of Harry the Horse Affecting dice rolls at the craps games.
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Re: Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) – Episode 071

Postby Doctor Foreman » Wed Aug 21, 2013 2:08 am

Lipkin wrote:Croakamancy deals with anatomy. Ok, how? They spend juice to repair the damage to the anatomy, and reanimate the corpse. Ok, how? Hell if we know.

What causes gravitation?

Thinkamancy manipulates grandiocosmic strings. Ok, how? Just does.

Well, gee, we've had one, maybe two updates even mentioning G-strings. It's a bit unfair to assume we know everything there is to know about them, no?

What's juice? Where does it come from? How does natural magic work? How does what makes natural magic work, work?

How is this at all distinct from the question of why the laws of physics exist?

Any understandings that we gain about the laws of Erf must come through the lens of a caster, as they are the only ones capable of that understanding of magic.

How do you know they're the only ones capable? They're popped with intuitive knowledge, sure, but that's not the same thing. And all units engage at least passively in forms of magic; natural Dateamancy for relationships, natural Thinkamancy for duty, obedience, ruler-senses...possibly they have latent senses they can develop.

They say "here is the way it is," and we have to take their word for it, because non-casters don't have the senses to observe such things themselves. Perhaps magical items could be created that would make such things observable to a non-caster, but there would be little demand for them because they would have no military application, and they would still need to be made by a caster.

I can see plenty of military applications for items that would replicate caster senses. Charlie certainly would.

I'll grant you that Erf has more complexity than your typical fantasy setting, but it still only goes one or two levels deeper. It still feels like a hand wave to me.

OK, are you saying that Erfworld's mechanics are all just handwaves, or that the "truth" of Erfworld's natural laws is unobservable in a way that the truth of Stupidworld's natural laws is not? Because those are not the same thing.

You literally said that there were things about Erfworld's magic - that is, the natural laws by which Erfworld operates - that could not be observed. But this is also true of our own reality; there's plenty of things that aren't and may well never be observable in our own universe. So what is it about Erfworld that makes it unobservable in a way that Stupidworld is not?

There are so many things that can't be explained by our understanding of how our world works, or are different from how our world works. It seems unreasonable to assume that anything would act as it does in our world and not at least entertain the idea that it could work differently.

I have no complaints with the notion that we shouldn't assume Erfworld works the way Stupidworld does. I don't think anyone's been arguing that point. What I'm trying to understand (and, I suspect, the others who've been taking issue with your wording) is why the concept 'nothing is inexplicable, only unexplained' somehow applies to Stupidworld, but not to Erfworld ("There is no magic in Stupid World, only things science hasn't yet been able to explain").
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