Book 2 – Text Updates 043

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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 043

Postby Atomic » Sat Mar 12, 2011 4:09 am

MarbitChow wrote:But why does the effort involved in 'turning' the person matter to the story?
In a world where "mind control" is real (including Earth), why does turnamancy / mind control need to be nerfed for the sake of the story?
Totally not trying to put words in BLAND's mouth, but I totally get what he's saying... Turnamancy, as witnessed thus far, is remarkably powerful in just about every aspect of the comic. Skipping past Kingsworld (a few posters may have started having seizures upon reading that) and the enhanced speed for production (which is major, regardless of Shmucker-spending)... We're now getting a better look at a third major application of Turnamancy; the ability to convert units. En masse, at that!

We're past the point of converting a single Warlord (Duncan) who may, or may not, have had a low Loyalty score... We're now to Vanna being able to turn an estimated 12.5 units on a given turn. Maybe another 12.5 on a second turn? Even if we say it takes three turns, that's 25 units who could've had a very high Loyalty and now? Now they're loyal to a totally different side through a sparkle of some finger-tips. Bam. That's all.

It actually brings up some interesting questions about Archons... If Charlie was so worried about Gobwin Knob getting a hold of his secrets, are we correct to assume no one has ever captured or turned one of his Archons? I'd wanna say it'd be easier to turn a single unit then to turn twelve-point-five of them.

MarbitChow wrote:Wouldn't what occurs after the control is lifted have the potential to be as interesting?
You made the comment that cheaply converting characters makes the notion of character useless.
Couldn't their rationalizations while under it, and the their reactions once it's lifted add to their character?
I believe the character development after having said control "lifted"/the Turnamancy-spell being 'undone' would be great, but isn't that what we're getting to see through Decryption? Besides, who's to say there is any sort of 'lifting'? Duncan seems true-blue-FAQ... lol, rhymes... So who are we to say that it'll ever lift? If it takes a turnamancy-spell to turn a unit, who's to say it wouldn't take another turnamancy-spell to turn the unit back? For me, it just strikes too close to Decryption - but the difference is, Decryption is meant to be broken/overpowered.

So I dunno; I just feel like it devalues a character's loyalty/devotion/Loyalty (uppercase 'L') to their side when a simple spell or two can undo it all. I mean, are the characters even able to resist it? Could Don have Bunny cast three or four Turnamancy scrolls on Caesar with his back turned, and bam: Loyal as the day he was popped? Could Vanna (or any other Turnamancer) cast a few spells on their ruler to make their Overlord/King/Queen totally loyal to them-self? Perhaps Charlie is a Turnamancer, given the powers of a Thinkamancer by the Arkendish, who used enough magic on his ruler to give himself control over a side? Oh, sorry, my tinfoil hat was on!!

(AND WHY WOULDN'T IT BE? ALIENS!)

MarbitChow wrote:I guess I don't see why mind-control / -manipulation as a story-telling device cheapens the character at all.
If anything, it could add depth (reactions once manipulation is broken adding additional motivations) or pathos (we know the character is screwed, but the character can't see it themselves) or any number of complications that can advance plot.
Okay, I totally love the idea of a character who's been turned so many times between sides that they're mentally unstable, but in any other case? Why bother? If a character wants to turn to an enemy side, let 'em. If a character doesn't/wouldn't want to turn, why make 'em? ... Or better yet, why make it that easy? Make it a gradual process that takes dozens of turns. Not a small handful with seemly no repercussions. It just seems superfluous. Suuuuuuperfluuuuuous. Fun word.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 043

Postby BLANDCorporatio » Sat Mar 12, 2011 7:10 am

MarbitChow wrote:But why does the effort involved in 'turning' the person matter to the story?


So that personality can't change as often as underwear. Please bear with me a lil'.

The point of the original post was that in Earth, "mind control" is a very involved process. If it is fascinating to watch, it's because it is full on hardcore psychological warfare, gradual, intensive, creepy.

OR, you could have a favourite of SF, the identity crisis story. Someone thinks they know who they are, everyone else thinks differently, and now they try and unravel the layers of deception and control. It's the same situation as having a character win the lottery: it's one thing for them to win the lottery and thus suddenly get out of a jam, and another for them to win the lottery and thus get in a jam. You're allowed things in the early set-up that you don't easily get away with later on.

OR, you could have the ability to mold someone's personality to your whims, granted to you by some powerful and unique alien artifact, or by you being one of the Endless running the universe. Meaning, you won't get to turn characters too often.

In the story of the latter kind, you'll find ... events ... just popping up to prevent turning from becoming too frequent, precisely to keep some significance to charcaters you created. It's one thing for a character to be turned once, that may well be ok, as your post indicates. But it's a story conceit that the dude(tte) who just managed to turn 20+ blokes with a flick of a finger will fail to turn the one guy with a name- and it's a story conceit I approve of.

Beeskee wrote:Free will is something that is hard to prove. Humans are a great big self-sustaining complex chemical reaction, when you get right down to it. How much of our "free will" can be proven to be real?


Which is why it's better to avoid "free will" unless you want to discuss philosophy. I think we just want to discuss control however, and how much Person A is able to control what Person B thinks and does.

To respond to the early part of your post, a similar thing happened sometimes in olden times. An army came, vanquished another army, and offered the captives a choice- join us or die. Quite a few chose the former. But you must understand, that kind of pressure into service was not a guarantee of loyalty. Troops obtained this way would be used on a front far away from their home or against neighbours they despised anyway.

The loyalty, or lack thereof, of the turned GK troops, is hard to ascertain at this point.

Shusagi wrote:Yeah, I think a decrypted have about as much free will as any other unit. It all comes down to that "loyalty" stat. In the end, all units HAVE to fight to preserve their side. The concept of free will is way beyond the scope of what's being discussed here- I think the better idea is to compare the varying degrees of choice between regular infantry, warlords, casters, the decrypted versions, etc. rather than get into the nitpicky philosophical debate, because unlike the debate of free will, the debate of the varying degrees of choice between the different unit types (and decrypted/non-decrypted) can actually come to a conclusion, while the free will one will almost definitely not.


You should be a mathamancer, as precise identification of what should be talked about is a necessary skill there.

Atomic wrote:So I dunno; I just feel like it devalues a character's loyalty/devotion/Loyalty (uppercase 'L') to their side when a simple spell or two can undo it all.


Simply put, yes. Wanda gets a pass because Arkenpliers. Vanna better be the most epic-levelled Turnamancer ever.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 043

Postby Althernai » Sat Mar 12, 2011 8:51 am

Atomic wrote:We're past the point of converting a single Warlord (Duncan) who may, or may not, have had a low Loyalty score... We're now to Vanna being able to turn an estimated 12.5 units on a given turn. Maybe another 12.5 on a second turn? Even if we say it takes three turns, that's 25 units who could've had a very high Loyalty and now? Now they're loyal to a totally different side through a sparkle of some finger-tips. Bam. That's all.

25 dwagon fodder units. Duncan took quite a bit more effort on Vanna's part (and Jillian suggests that it was indeed torture: "Vanna had done some good work to turn him, but the dungeon didn't much interest Jillian. Vanna didn't really know how to play right.") because he is much more useful than 25 infantry. Erfworld is a strategy game and the units do not have the same level of consciousness. Compare somebody like Vinny to somebody like Wriggley -- the latter doesn't really have enough personality to resist turning.

It actually brings up some interesting questions about Archons... If Charlie was so worried about Gobwin Knob getting a hold of his secrets, are we correct to assume no one has ever captured or turned one of his Archons? I'd wanna say it'd be easier to turn a single unit then to turn twelve-point-five of them.

He can communicate with even captured archons and the act of doing so has an effect similar to a drug so I don't think it is possible to turn a captured archon unless you find a way to cut them off from him, like that Thinkamancer temple.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 043

Postby MarbitChow » Sat Mar 12, 2011 11:47 am

How is turnamancy any worse than decryption?

Kill a unit to decrypt. Capture a unit to turn.
"Nobodies" can be turned / decrypted en masse. Named units get epic death scenes / turning confrontations. (Duncan's transformation took place over several turns, iirc.)

Erfworld is a place where Parson can be ordered to slap himself, and his body obeys,
Turnamancy seems like it represents a reason why Erfworld is a horrific place to live, rather than a plot mechanic.

And switching loyalties isn't the same as switching personalities.
Ansom was a fanatic before he changed sides. He's still a fanatic, but he seems to have more depth now.

Turnamancy can be used in combat, but it seems costly and chancy against higher-level units.
It can be used effectively against large groups, but only those that have already been captured.
Using it in combat puts the turnamancer at risk, and casters are supposed to be extremely squishy.

I don't recall seeing these objections raised when Decryption was introduced (especially since it brought back Scarlet/Sylvia), so why the hate for Turnamancy?
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 043

Postby Beeskee » Sat Mar 12, 2011 11:57 am

BLANDCorporatio wrote:
Beeskee wrote:Free will is something that is hard to prove. Humans are a great big self-sustaining complex chemical reaction, when you get right down to it. How much of our "free will" can be proven to be real?


Which is why it's better to avoid "free will" unless you want to discuss philosophy. I think we just want to discuss control however, and how much Person A is able to control what Person B thinks and does.

To respond to the early part of your post, a similar thing happened sometimes in olden times. An army came, vanquished another army, and offered the captives a choice- join us or die. Quite a few chose the former. But you must understand, that kind of pressure into service was not a guarantee of loyalty. Troops obtained this way would be used on a front far away from their home or against neighbours they despised anyway.

The loyalty, or lack thereof, of the turned GK troops, is hard to ascertain at this point.


For all we know, the loyalty of turned units is very low. So low that they could possibly be turned back simply by being captured by their old side. I think their low loyalty after turning was stated in one of the early comics or posts that talked about turning a unit.

And yeah, I wasn't trying to start a debate about free will. Philosophers have been arguing about free will ever since we had language complex enough to describe it.



As an aside, Kingworld was a link spell, between Vanna and Charlie (power limits unknown, presumably boosted well over an 'ordinary' caster by the Arkendish) - all the regular magic seems relatively balanced. Turnamancers can reduce turn 'cost' by 1/3 for popping units, I imagine moneymancers can increase money by 1/3. Ordinary uncroaking seems balanced too. Decryption is overpowered, but ALL the Arkentools are overpowered. They are, literally, game-breaking.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 043

Postby BLANDCorporatio » Sat Mar 12, 2011 12:28 pm

MarbitChow wrote:How is turnamancy any worse than decryption?


Because Decryption is made possible by a unique artifact that maybe was instrumental in shaping the world itself, and is a one-off affair.

Turnamancy is made possible by some random caster that may be any of the several such casters that must exist*. And there's no limit to how many times it can be applied.

*: some update said a side can have Archons produced, but unless a turnamancer is involved, it's very slow. Charlie's Dish circumvents that. Note, Turnamancer. Not "Vanna". Presumably there are more Turnamancers.

Not saying there are not bvious similarities, but to say that there are no significant differences is not correct.

MarbitChow wrote:And switching loyalties isn't the same as switching personalities.


You are not what you do, nor what you are loyal to, that is correct. But what you are controls what you're loyal to, so a change in the latter indicates a change in the former. It can be gradual (and why not, Heel-Face, Face-Heel, can be interesting).

It can be instant- but then, it better be rare. Decryption is rare. It can only happen once. Switch Loyalty around too much, it's meaningless. Try to find rationalisations for the current loyalty, only to speedily abandon them soon after, makes all that effort meaningless. If what a character (believes) they believe changes every time a Turnamancer is near, then they stand for nothing, not even themselves.

MarbitChow wrote:I don't recall seeing these objections raised when Decryption was introduced (especially since it brought back Scarlet/Sylvia), so why the hate for Turnamancy?


Because Decryption is not Turnamancy, for reasons outlined above.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 043

Postby the_tick_rules » Sat Mar 12, 2011 12:42 pm

Also turnamancy is reversable, just get another to undo it, decryption is a big question mark in it's permanency.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 043

Postby suryasm » Sat Mar 12, 2011 2:54 pm

It was, in fact, mentioned somewhere (too lazy to find the exact update) that units who have been captured and turned have a very low loyalty. So Turnamancy is not that overpowered. Furthermore, it is easy to see how Turnamancy can work without having to change a character's personality.

And, Turnamancy as we see it in Erfworld is in some ways very analogous to medieval battlefields. On those fields, most common troops were scum, and treated as such by their superiors, and desertion rates were incredibly high. Troops in those days didn't need to a reason to switch sides, merely an excuse (unless they were fighting for their homes). Consider this - how many people in this world is stuck in a dead-end life, because they can't see an alternative?

Now consider the life of a piker in Erfworld - generally treated as so much furniture or ammunition by those with true free will. You can't say they don't feel resentment at their treatment. How much loyalty can a cog have? All a Turnamancer might do is break the mental chain holding the troop to its side. Consider this -- perhaps all a Turnamancer really does is make a unit believe that change is possible. Perhaps reminds the unit about all the things that suck about his current life. The unit's own resentments will do the rest. No magical character transplantation necessary. Sure, his new life won't be much better, but at least he's working for someone he doesn't already dislike.

It also explains why turning a warlord or knight or leader unit is so very hard. These are units who are already in a position of power, they have an investment in the side they currently serve. And I bet even for the lowest units, a Turnamancer's success will vary on how good a leader is at inspiring Loyalty. From the way Duncan seems to look up to Jillian, I bet anyone trying to turn a Faq trooper will have their work cut out for them. Wanda on the other hand... not so much.

As for the Decrypted, I'm leaning towards them simply having a very high starting Loyalty. Because otherwise, they are under a mind control like in Isaac Asimov's Foundation trilogy, and Jillian is SOL. In there, servants of the psychic Mule are under mind control, know they are under mind control, have full memories, yet are unswervingly loyal. Such people remain loyal by rationalizing their experiences, by constantly finding explanations which logically support following the Mule, and discarding contrary evidence.

There is some hints that Decryption loyalty is like this, because Jack comments how dull decrypted warlords are. They are so eager to please Wanda that even if they are competent, they lose their spark of originality. I found this telling at the time because Isaac Asimov's Mule had a startlingly similar complaint about his own mind-controlled followers.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 043

Postby BLANDCorporatio » Sat Mar 12, 2011 2:58 pm

suryasm wrote:It was, in fact, mentioned somewhere (too lazy to find the exact update) that units who have been captured and turned have a very low loyalty.


Indeed. Very old update. No mention of Turnamancers in there however.The idea I got from that is that turning is possible- but it's especially easy when a Turnamancer is around.

suryasm wrote:Now consider the life of a piker in Erfworld - generally treated as so much furniture or ammunition by those with true free will. You can't say they don't feel resentment at their treatment. How much loyalty can a cog have? All a Turnamancer might do is break the mental chain holding the troop to its side. Consider this -- perhaps all a Turnamancer really does is make a unit believe that change is possible.


You're making this up, sorry.


But OTOH, I need to read the Foundation books.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 043

Postby suryasm » Sat Mar 12, 2011 3:16 pm

BLANDCorporatio wrote:You're making this up, sorry.


True, but I figured it was a reasonable explanation as opposed to the "character change" people were so up in arms about. After all, we have no perspective from a turned common soldier except Wrigley, and being a decrypted, he doesn't count. :mrgreen:

As for Duncan, we only get his perspective many turns after he has been turned, when he is already firmly pro-Jillian.

BLANDCorporatio wrote:But OTOH, I need to read the Foundation books.


If you do, stick to the original trilogy - Foundation, Foundation & Empire, and Second Foundation.

All the other books (the prequel Prelude to Foundation and the follow-ups) were written by Asimov decades later in an attempt to reconcile the history from his Robot novels, the stand-alone Pebble in the Sky, and the Foundation history. As such, they are mash-ups where the story has to "fit" certain "facts", and are frankly utter dreck compared to the original trilogy.

"Pebble in the Sky", incidentally, was a superb stand-alone novel, which the follow-up Foundation books successfully ruined. And let's not even go into the preposterous hoops Asimov jumped through to reconcile the Robot novels to Foundation. I suspect the fans put him up to it, or he ran out of ideas :roll:
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 043

Postby Aquillion » Sat Mar 12, 2011 4:41 pm

Atomic wrote:It actually brings up some interesting questions about Archons... If Charlie was so worried about Gobwin Knob getting a hold of his secrets, are we correct to assume no one has ever captured or turned one of his Archons? I'd wanna say it'd be easier to turn a single unit then to turn twelve-point-five of them.
It's possible that all Arkentool special units are immune to Turnamancy.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 043

Postby shamelessmerc » Sat Mar 12, 2011 4:42 pm

Loving the free will debate so much I re-registered after about a year of lurking :-)

First off, it makes a lot of sense that lower level cannon fodder units are easy to turn at whim, in fact using a Turnamancer might not be necessary, just giving them the OPTION rather than executing them as was suggested before. And remember you do have to go to the trouble of capturing them (this was a kerb-stomp battle, which is not always the case), and your benefit is two dozen cannon fodder infantry with a proven low Loyalty stat. Not worth it unless you happen to be a very small side to whom every edge is worth fighting for (economies of scale kick in quite quickly if your side has a decent set of cities; yes - you *could* capture and convert that half dozen infantry, but it seems too much like hard work in the middle of your armageddon battle)

Second, it makes sense in real-world terms that higher level units would be harder to turn, as was said before they have a greater emotional attachment to the current regime.

Where this gets interesting is a high level unit that has been turned once

At the starting stage, he/she/it has the set of beliefs that are native to it's culture (Ansom believed in the divine right of kings)

After turning, it has a new set of beliefs, advancing upon the foundations of the old - "I see clearly now, you were right, Royalty IS obsolete!" (I know he was decrypted, it's illustrative)

For the cannon fodder units this new belief system might be no more than - "My given loyalty was to GW, but now it is to FAQ. My life is no better but no worse"

The only "turned unit" we have an insight into is Duncan, who seems to admire Jillian for her recklessness, but dislikes her command style and has no compunction about manipulating her for "the good of the side" which may be no more than intelligent self interest on the part of the unit. He seems to have a fair degree of "free will" probably even to the extent that he he could, possibly, fly off on a "scouting mission" back to his first home and defect back to them, IF he wanted to.

We know Wanda turned voluntarily to Stanley during the Fall of FAQ - and that Don King's former courtiers defected voluntarily when they got the message that they were permanently out of favour at court.

Probably the main reason the "unknown stat" of loyalty is considered to be low in turned units is that either they have been coerced and their heart is not truly with the new side, or that they are mercenary opportunists who may be playing you for their own agenda *cough* Wanda *cough*

The thing is, if you 'turn' a unit more than once, you probably end up with a unit that is more likely to defect than fight, as intelligent self interest does not go hand in hand with jumping on the grenade.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 043

Postby Atomic » Sat Mar 12, 2011 4:50 pm

Althernai wrote:25 dwagon fodder units. Duncan took quite a bit more effort on Vanna's part (and Jillian suggests that it was indeed torture: "Vanna had done some good work to turn him, but the dungeon didn't much interest Jillian. Vanna didn't really know how to play right.") because he is much more useful than 25 infantry. Erfworld is a strategy game and the units do not have the same level of consciousness. Compare somebody like Vinny to somebody like Wriggley -- the latter doesn't really have enough personality to resist turning.
First and foremost, I think we've got different ideas by what Jillian meant when she was talking about Vanna in the dungeon. My impression was that Vanna didn't use torture and, through extension, didn't know how to "play right" by Jillian's standards. It's obvious that Jillian quite enjoyed the dungeon with Wanda (Carrot and Stick, et al.), so there needs to be some difference. I'm not trying to say that there wasn't torture, but you can't just claim that there was...especially when we have no proof to back that up.

I was also under the impression that Parson is actively fighting against the mindset that two dozen infantry units are merely "dwagon fodder"...the whole, 'don't send somebody to fight a battle I'm not willing to fight myself'-spiel seems to give the impression Parson cares about individual units/people. A fact made veeeery clear throughout Book 1 when Parson was shaken up about the deaths of those he knew. And if Parson cares, why shouldn't we?

Erfworld is a world based on (in our eyes) the rules of a strategy game... It only seems like a game because the mechanics of their world are similar to what we use when we're playing a TBS-game. But past that, are you trying to say a character's personality is what gives them the resistance to turning? That seems... barbaric. Level? I might be able to understand (given that Levels are a clear-cut way of measuring a unit's increase in power/strength). But when you say "personality", what you really mean is "plot armor"... But let's compare Wrigley to Bogroll, shall we?

Assuming Bogroll was a Level 1 Twoll (if we're to assume he was always a Garrison unit, then that isn't too difficult a bet), are you saying that Bogroll would've been able to resist turning because he was more fleshed out/developed than Wrigley? ... That just seems silly and contrived. There needs to be a mechanic to back it up, just like with falling. Regardless of whether or not the story follows those mechanics, (plot/story should obviously come first), there needs to be something in place to give it the appearance that it's failing to work.

Althernai wrote:He can communicate with even captured archons and the act of doing so has an effect similar to a drug so I don't think it is possible to turn a captured archon unless you find a way to cut them off from him, like that Thinkamancer temple.
Whoa whoa whoa, hold your horses... The ability to communicate, via Thinkagram, with a unit? That means nothing when you've got Vanna-The-Turnamancer on payroll. Charlie could communicate with Decrypted Archons, so who's to say he can't just convert them back with a few sly words? ...and the same could be said about any other unit in Erfworld.

Are we to assume that Thinkagrams increase Loyalty, now? 'Cause even if Charlie's Thinkagrams do prevent a unit from being turned, who's to say Vanna couldn't just wait until the Thinkagram ended before casting her turn-y-spell...cause I'd be willing to bet a Level 1 Archon wouldn't have the "personalty" to resist turning! :lol:

Aquillion wrote:It's possible that all Arkentool special units are immune to Turnamancy.
Except we have nothing to prove that Archons are Arkentool-specific units... All evidence points otherwise.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 043

Postby MarbitChow » Sat Mar 12, 2011 5:35 pm

BLANDCorporatio wrote:
MarbitChow wrote:How is turnamancy any worse than decryption?

Because Decryption is made possible by a unique artifact that maybe was instrumental in shaping the world itself, and is a one-off affair.
Turnamancy is made possible by some random caster that may be any of the several such casters that must exist*. And there's no limit to how many times it can be applied.


But you said your objections are story-based, not rule-based or world-based.
(From a rule-based perspective, the ability to charm / seduce / control opposing units is a common element of many magic-based wargames.)

From the story's perspective, thousands of units, including 2 major and a number of lessor characters, have been decrypted.
Ansom, Ossomer, Sylvia - all have had their loyalties redirected.
Ansom appears to be much the same, only smitten by unrequited love now.
We don't know what the change did to Oss, but I assume we'll find out.

We've seen a couple of minor characters affected by Turnamancy.
From a strictly narrative perspective, decryption has significantly greater impact on the story than turnamancy has, even though it's 'rarer'.
From a purely functional perspective, the effects are about the same.
The ease-of-use perspective seems irrelevant to me, since only 1 turnamancer has been introduced into the narrative, and isn't nearly as effective as Wanda is in mass-converting.

Turnamancy seems to be completely in line with Thinkamancy: suggestion and mind control are already shown to be common.
So, factoring all of the above in, does it still make sense to single Turnamancy out for special hate?
(Or is it just getting some hate transferred because it enabled Kingworld? :D )
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 043

Postby Atomic » Sat Mar 12, 2011 6:42 pm

MarbitChow wrote:From the story's perspective, thousands of units, including 2 major and a number of lessor characters, have been decrypted.
{Snip snip}
We've seen a couple of minor characters affected by Turnamancy.
From a strictly narrative perspective, decryption has significantly greater impact on the story than turnamancy has, even though it's 'rarer'.
From a purely functional perspective, the effects are about the same.
The ease-of-use perspective seems irrelevant to me, since only 1 turnamancer has been introduced into the narrative, and isn't nearly as effective as Wanda is in mass-converting.

That's the thing, though... When has anyone (in Erfworld OR on these forums) claimed that Decryption was balanced or fair? It's not meant to be common-place in their world or easy to get a hold of. I mean, heck, we're witnessing it for the first time in however many thousands of turns Erfworld has existed.

But what about once we take Decryption out of the equation? The ability to turn high(ish) level Warlords/units becomes one of the single-most-powerful abilities in the game. It's also unfair to judge abilities/the usefulness of something based on the fact we've only seen it used on "minor characters"... From a narrative standpoint, it shouldn't matter how "major" or "minor" a character is; it should matter because it happens.

The usefulness of Turnamancy shouldn't be diminished because one side has access to Decryption, nor should it be diminished because we've only seen one Turnamancer. In all likelihood, Turnamancers make up (roughly) one out of every twenty-three casters out there. That's a lot of Turnamancers with a lot of turning capabilities. I'm surprised Gobwin Knob would've even let Jillian go back in Book 1; they could've just hired a Turnamancer for a few days, or bought a few scrolls with all the money they saved on the SPW-spell.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 043

Postby MarbitChow » Sat Mar 12, 2011 7:37 pm

Atomic wrote:That's the thing, though... When has anyone (in Erfworld OR on these forums) claimed that Decryption was balanced or fair? It's not meant to be common-place in their world or easy to get a hold of. I mean, heck, we're witnessing it for the first time in however many thousands of turns Erfworld has existed.


BLANDCorporatio was talking about it from a narrative perspective, I thought.
I don't want to drag in 'fair' or 'balanced' into the discussion, because Erfworld isn't game that requires balancing. There's no 'nerf' coming in the next patch.

Magic as a whole is common in Erfworld, but units that practice it are very rare as a percentage of the whole population.
Not artifact-unique rare, obviously, but still very uncommon.

Most major characters in the comic - Stanley, Parson, Charlie, Jillian, Don, Wanda, Sizemore, Maggie - are all unlikely to be the target of Turnamancy.
We're now at a point where we're going to pit Turnamancy against Decryption, and see which prevails.
I still don't get the hatred.

Atomic wrote:The usefulness of Turnamancy shouldn't be diminished because one side has access to Decryption, nor should it be diminished because we've only seen one Turnamancer. In all likelihood, Turnamancers make up (roughly) one out of every twenty-three casters out there. That's a lot of Turnamancers with a lot of turning capabilities. I'm surprised Gobwin Knob would've even let Jillian go back in Book 1; they could've just hired a Turnamancer for a few days, or bought a few scrolls with all the money they saved on the SPW-spell.


But the objections that were raised are from a storytelling point of view. Brainwashing is just as effective at 'turning' someone in our reality. It just takes longer, but then it takes longer to make bacon in our reality, too - it doesn't just pop.

Look, I'm not actually trying to argue in it's favor. I'm just honestly curious as to why there seems to be a negative reaction to it. If there's no rational reason for it, and some people just hate the idea of it, that's fine. If some people weigh 'game imbalance' as well as 'narrative impact' when judging things, that's fine. If the reason is "because it's a big stupid-head that is stupid and all of it's friends are stupid", that's fine, too. I'm just trying to understand.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 043

Postby Oberon » Sat Mar 12, 2011 7:40 pm

CaesarVH wrote:25 stabbers plus two royal warlords.. and yet a similar sized dwagon can't carry one heavy?
Also note that "Hers could capture as many as twenty-five normal units" (my italics for emphasis). This tends to place the carry ability of megalos as a special, and one which is a variable ability, or there'd be no need to call out the specific carry capacity of her own mount.
Smoker wrote:3) Ansom has an angle: He wants to stay alive. If Jillian ever comes to believe that turning is impossible, then she might just as well "free" him from Wanda too. If he hopes to one day return to GK, he needs to keep Jillian believing that it is possible to turn him, even if he honestly believes it is not. Personally I doubt he's smart enough to see it this way, but its possible.
I didn't get this angle at all. Ansom goes out of his way to raise doubt in Jillian several times about the possibility that he can be turned. And he ends their conversation with a flat rejection of Jillian and her methods. He does not appear at all to me as someone who is playing his captor in an effort to remain alive.
And I'm confused by your opening and closing sentences. He has an angle, he wants to stay alive, but you don't think he's smart enough to recognize his own angle?
JimSox5 wrote:What is [Stanley] going to think when he comes back to find a city razed and his chief warlord gone to the front lines after pilfering the armory?
The sandwich has been a long time in the eating. But the CWL is often on the front lines (see Ansom leading the expansion of GK after Stanley stripped Parson of the title to give it to the new pretty boy who had just lost his entire coalition), and I'm not sure that the CWL gearing up from the armory can be considered to be "pilfering."
mp122984 wrote:
Sieggy wrote:. . . or you wind up with ghastly, eldrich undead food that will try to claw its way out of your gullet in one direction or another . . . :shock:

I keep thinking of Bio Meat in this scenario. o.o Actually, I've been thinking it ever since I thought the big plan was "Use popped meat rations to screen against the tower spells."
Sieggy's description recalls for me the immortality concoction in Rice's Ramses the Damned. As a conscientious ruler, he thought that immortal cows that would grow back severed portions might eliminate hunger in his kingdom. But the chewed and swallowed portions of the immortal cows in the stomachs of the test slaves was still alive and still immortal, and they all died horrible deaths from immortal meat induced stomach ache.
suryasm wrote:Now consider the life of a piker in Erfworld - generally treated as so much furniture or ammunition by those with true free will. You can't say they don't feel resentment at their treatment. How much loyalty can a cog have?
You make good points, even if you appear to be stretching the view we were given of Wrigley a bit wide. But do keep in mind that there is not a universal disparagement of the lower unit types. There has to be some level of opportunity, or Stanley would never have made CWL starting out as a piker.
How using capslock wins arguments:
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 – Text Updates 043

Postby elecampane » Sat Mar 12, 2011 7:59 pm

I'm not sure if anyone said it, but could it be that Vanna appraised loyalty of captured troops (something turnamancer should be able to do, imho) and it turned out to be low? It's perfectly possible under Stanley and in a newly captured city, I guess. And in that case mass-turning half of the captured low-level units doesn't seem to be that overpowered. I mean, Vanna is possibly a master-class turnamancer (probably, the best caster of late Unaroyal), and master class croakamancer was able to uncroak all dead in the hex in the single turn even without the arkenpliers. Sure, those uncroaked were weak and short-living, but turned units will probably have low loyalty.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 043

Postby fjolnir » Sat Mar 12, 2011 8:46 pm

Atomic wrote:It actually brings up some interesting questions about Archons... If Charlie was so worried about Gobwin Knob getting a hold of his secrets, are we correct to assume no one has ever captured or turned one of his Archons? I'd wanna say it'd be easier to turn a single unit then to turn twelve-point-five of them.

No one has turned one of Charlie's Archons because he has a combination of bribery (How much Will Charlie pay to get you back?) and intimidation on his side. He likely also has a steep penalty included in any of the missions where his archons are hired out that forbids the use of turnamancy by the hiring side as well.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 043

Postby GaryThunder » Sat Mar 12, 2011 8:47 pm

Loyalty has been described as "unknowable" by one of Parson's klogs.
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