Book 2 – Page 63

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Re: Book 2 – Page 63

Postby drachefly » Wed Jun 22, 2011 11:16 am

Somehow I didn't catch that even on the second readthrough! Aaargh.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 63

Postby BLANDCorporatio » Wed Jun 22, 2011 11:24 am

If it was done as a linkup, and we know from a reliable source that "4 can't be done", I'd put ... say, 4 ... as the max amount of casters needed to link up to create the scroll.

Several of the parties mentioned (Thinkamancers, Predictamancers) were involved in the conspiracy without necessarily being needed to construct the scroll. Or am I to believe all Thinkamancers and all Predictamancers everywhere joined hands to build it?

No, chances are it was at most 4 casters, one of which was a Thinka, one of which was Hubble, and at most two others that needed to be brought in through Janis' connections. Said connections also being used to get a feel for what else is known by others, in an effort to control it.

It's also quite futile to pin the secrecy of a conspiracy on a character's ability to manipulate one specific person. We're not even sure Hubble wasn't supportive of the goals from the get go, so no manipulation necessary. In fact, the fact that Hubble knows better than the Thinkas (one of which was in the link!) what the scroll is about suggests to me that he doesn't need to be manipulated into being loyal.

So all this points to a few casters, working a very small amount of time to make a scroll. Said scroll could well be expensive, more expensive even than 500K Schmuckers if priced to match the juice expenditure. But not so expensive that NOBODY could afford it, which is what I'm getting at. IF the casters wanted to make more, there would be a market for it. Probably a small one, but larger than 0.

They don't make more, for their own reasons.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 63

Postby MarbitChow » Wed Jun 22, 2011 2:23 pm

Let's look at it from the market's POV for a second. Why was Stanley willing to spend 350,000 on the SPW scroll in the first place?
He was running out of time, and if he had to flee (which was likely), he couldn't take most of the treasury with him.

Sides can pop their own warlords. Some can even pop noble ones. When they do so, they occasionally get lucky and pop a caster.
Wanda was convinced to pitch the scroll to Stanley by Marie. Stanley was convinced by Wanda's sexy / scary / cunning arguments.
I don't think most rulers even understand that Parson is GK's real edge. Most of them just see two Arkentools and assume that's more than enough.
How do we know that there's even a market for these things?
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Re: Book 2 – Page 63

Postby BLANDCorporatio » Wed Jun 22, 2011 2:29 pm

MarbitChow wrote:I don't think most rulers even understand that Parson is GK's real edge. Most of them just see two Arkentools and assume that's more than enough.

How do we know that there's even a market for these things?


There isn't, in the comic, obviously. IF you just restrict yourself to econ arguments though, there could be. All you need is marketing. Explain that Parson's Dwagon relays and bizzare uses of Dirtamancy (might not go into details on this one) were not Arkentool based. Those incidents are in fact fairly well known, Charlie knows that Parson is dangerous therefore some publicity could bring other rulers to know what a PWL is able to do by thinking in their strange foreign ways.

After that, it becomes a matter of choice for the customers, as it always is. I find it plausible that some sides would, if given the option, buy a SPW, if only to deny the competition the advantage. Which is very reminiscent of our nukes, btw.

(The similarities continue of course. Nukes are heavily regulated in our world. Still, where there's a will there's a way, as countries like Iran and North Korea prove.)
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Re: Book 2 – Page 63

Postby MarbitChow » Wed Jun 22, 2011 4:00 pm

There's one group that's been left out of the conversation, who could have a direct impact on our theoretical get-rich-quick schemes: Mathemancers.
Hypothetically, if SPW were easy to craft, and a trio of casters had agreed to churn them out, and each one was guaranteed to come with a bracer, I suspect the Mathemancers who are now being put out of a job would be PISSED. :D
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Re: Book 2 – Page 63

Postby BLANDCorporatio » Wed Jun 22, 2011 4:56 pm

Hey that's a nifty point! :)
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Re: Book 2 – Page 63

Postby Oberon » Wed Jun 22, 2011 11:14 pm

MarbitChow wrote:Unless you can fulfill these three criteria, I'll apply Oberon's criteria, and say that YOU FAIL. :D
C'mon now! I may say that I find a person's position to be lacking in supporting evidence, but I hope that I don't come across as someone who just says "YOU FAIL" or even an analogue of that position without at least providing some backing evidence.
ftl wrote:Likewise, it says nothing about using only guesswork for its basis. It is quite possible for a theory that uses only guesswork as its basis to be quite reasonable and not wild at all.
No. Just, no. A theory which uses only guesswork as its basis can be proven to have been correct by later research. That does not at all eliminate that fact that the theory, when it was advanced, could not stand on the basis of known evidence. I have said several, many times within this thread that I may be proven wrong by additional story material, but that the material which has been presented to date leads me to the conclusions which I have formed.
MarbitChow wrote:You have 'proven' nothing. You have 2 facts: that upkeep must be paid, and that the scroll was SOLD for 350,000. That's it. From that, you extrapolated a potential scenario that, when actually examined, is completely full of holes.

The price that the scroll was sold for is not the cost of the scroll. Items can be (and are) sold for less than they cost to create. (The XBox, for example, was initially sold for less than it cost to manufacture.) You cannot determine profit just from the sale price.
First off, please do not cite Xbox sale prices as if they had any relevance in this discussion. Most or maybe even all console makers sell their consoles at under cost with a model of game sales making up the profit model. This has zip to do with Erfworld or the discussion at hand. Bad analogy, bad!

Second, I don't need to prove this (that there is a profit made by selling SPW scrolls). I only need to cite that the facts as presented do not lead one to any other conclusion. If I am forced by speculation to assume that there is a cost to produce the SPW scroll, where should I set that value? I could not begin to guess. Is any value I set it at going to be accepted by everyone as being valid? It's very safe to say "No." So why should I even engage in that theorycraft? Again, I prefer to deal with facts. Until some cost for the production of a scroll/item/accessory/SPW scroll is made clear to the readers, we must assume that the only cost is juice. Yes, we do not know this. And this hurts. But in the absence of evidence we cannot invent facts, we can only attempt to draw logical conclusions based upon the evidence we have available to us.
MarbitChow wrote:You have done NONE of these things. You are Wrong, sir! Wrong! It's all there, black and white, clear as crystal! You lose! Good day, sir!
Indeed, I have done none of the asinine things you suggest. So sorry.
oslecamo2_temp wrote:And just to make sure Oberron doesn't evade it on the next post:
MarbitChow wrote:* You need to prove what the actual cost of the scroll is.

* You need to prove that the effect of the scroll is reproducible.

* You need to prove that there are casters that can recreate the SPW spell that also know of the bracer.

* You need to prove that either the original casters would risk their goal by recreating the scroll, or that there are other casters who know how to create the SPW scroll that would do it just for the cash.


There. We challenge you to prove all 4 of those, or you have no proof selling SPW for just money being viable.
I've freely admitted that I can prove nothing... Those posts came long ago, so if you are still dead set against me you needn't post "prove it or you suck" posts, you can simply quote me and say I suck...

But still:

* You need to prove what the actual cost of the scroll is.* Prove the actual cost of the scroll? How? We know it was sold for 350k smuckers, and with 500k spent there would have been a MK caster provided to use the scroll. After that, we have nothing. No hint of item creation costs, no rare and obscure ingredients, no time/turns required to produce an item. Really, nothing. You may assume any set of constraints which fit your own personal (dare I say it? I dare!) epileptic tree theory. But you've got the same nothing that I have got. The difference here is that I seem to be held to the standards of "proof", while everyone else's twitching tree is not. Go figure...

* You need to prove that the effect of the scroll is reproducible. * Prove the effect of the SPW scroll is reproducible? Really? Is a healomancy scroll reproducible? Is a shockomancy scroll reproducible? Is a foolomancy scroll reproducible? The story seems to indicate that this is so. There is no mention of scrolls having wildly random effects, after all. Casters are not seen to puzzle about the potential benefits of applying a healomancy scroll to an injured character, it seems to be a well known effect from a well known item. Why then would I be asked to prove that another item would not produce the same effect when cast for a second time? Let me flip this around: Please prove that a scroll should be considered to have a radically different effect the second (third, fourth, etc) time it is cast. Any citation from the source will do here.

* You need to prove that there are casters that can recreate the SPW spell that also know of the bracer. * Why? Why must they know of the bracer? Because of the sale value of the bracer? Haven't the opposing positions already said over and over that generating money isn't, just cannot be, the goal of the SPW creators? So why am I saddled with an economic condition? Is it impossible that other casters may have the use of a PWL? Is it impossible that they may be in opposition to the original creators of the SPW scroll? I see some equivocation here, a bit of cake and eat it too. The first set of SPW scroll creators apparently didn't know that there was a potential 150k profit to be made over and above the sale price, and it it not reasonable to apply knowledge of that potential to any other SPW scroll creators, either.

* You need to prove that either the original casters would risk their goal by recreating the scroll, or that there are other casters who know how to create the SPW scroll that would do it just for the cash. * Again, why? What additional proof should be required to support the fact that creating and selling this scroll is an economic engine? Why speculate about motivations when one is presented to us, the very simple and easily understood motivation of cold, hard smuckers? In the absence of any cost for the creation being known, why is one assumed?
oslecamo2_temp wrote:Mancers aren't cold machines whose only purpose is to produce smuckers. Like already pointed out, all they can do with it it's get food.
Just get food? Such a politically evasive way to say that this is their means of sustenance. By "get food" you mean "live!" All they can do with smuckers is live.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 63

Postby Lamech » Thu Jun 23, 2011 1:20 am

Oberon wrote:* You need to prove what the actual cost of the scroll is.* Prove the actual cost of the scroll? How? We know it was sold for 350k smuckers, and with 500k spent there would have been a MK caster provided to use the scroll. After that, we have nothing. No hint of item creation costs, no rare and obscure ingredients, no time/turns required to produce an item. Really, nothing. You may assume any set of constraints which fit your own personal (dare I say it? I dare!) epileptic tree theory. But you've got the same nothing that I have got. The difference here is that I seem to be held to the standards of "proof", while everyone else's twitching tree is not. Go figure...
Presumably it took nothing more than some ink, paper, and whatever the handles are made of at most. So no noticeable costs raw material costs. But your forgetting the opportunity costs. There juice is not free. Even if they don't have a job they can dump it into items and scrolls. To maximize the chances of unraveling a link safely you need a bunch of thinkamancers. (At 50 rands a pop although we don't know what the conversion rate is or the amount of juice that chews up.) And its possible that is not truly safe or it thinkamancers can be used on the link-up too. Furthermore this spell involved predictamancy, lookamancy and findamancy, so either its a special 4 caster link or we have an unknown amount of unlinked casters tacking stuff on. Finally what else can a link make? Perhaps they could have made a scroll of "summon perfect harvest-able unit" that produces a million in rations. Or made a bunch of some super-cool magic item? How much do you think someone could get for say... a kingworld scroll, a volcano scroll, an eyebook, or Duncan's ear-warmer?
In addition there is the risk of a link-up.
Oberon wrote:* You need to prove that the effect of the scroll is reproducible. * Prove the effect of the SPW scroll is reproducible? Really? Is a healomancy scroll reproducible? Is a shockomancy scroll reproducible? Is a foolomancy scroll reproducible? The story seems to indicate that this is so. There is no mention of scrolls having wildly random effects, after all. Casters are not seen to puzzle about the potential benefits of applying a healomancy scroll to an injured character, it seems to be a well known effect from a well known item. Why then would I be asked to prove that another item would not produce the same effect when cast for a second time? Let me flip this around: Please prove that a scroll should be considered to have a radically different effect the second (third, fourth, etc) time it is cast. Any citation from the source will do here.
I think the items will likely be different. If the next warlord has high leadership and combat they won't need the sword and he probably won't have a wrist watch. They should still get a good warlord.
Oberon wrote:* You need to prove that either the original casters would risk their goal by recreating the scroll, or that there are other casters who know how to create the SPW scroll that would do it just for the cash. * Again, why? What additional proof should be required to support the fact that creating and selling this scroll is an economic engine? Why speculate about motivations when one is presented to us, the very simple and easily understood motivation of cold, hard smuckers? In the absence of any cost for the creation being known, why is one assumed?
There is the potential risk of a link-up and the opportunity cost of juice used. But even if they do think its a fair trade for the shmuckers the conspiracy would desire to NOT create another Parson that would potentially mess things up. Which would throw another cost against creating a second scroll. For a non-conspiracy caster its probably the ability to create a scroll. You need a thinkamancer of unknown skill level a lookamancer of unknown skill level, a third caster of unknown skill level. Then at least a predictamancer or findamancer of unknown skill level. Finally its possible other casters worked together while not linked to make the scroll. Presumably for everyone except Hubble a master-class could be found. Finally this group of casters would need to be willing to risk a link. And this other group of casters can't have a better way of making money.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 63

Postby ftl » Thu Jun 23, 2011 4:22 am

Oberon wrote:Again, why? What additional proof should be required to support the fact that creating and selling this scroll is an economic engine? Why speculate about motivations when one is presented to us, the very simple and easily understood motivation of cold, hard smuckers? In the absence of any cost for the creation being known, why is one assumed?


Because the motivation of schmuckers by itself is INSUFFICIENT to explain what we've seen in-comic. Namely, the fact that SPW scrolls, other hired tri-links, and mancer hiring and purchasing in general seem to be the exception rather than the rule.

There must be some mechanism or motivation which prevents or disincentivizes repeated SPW casting (and other mancer activities); since we haven't been shown one, we must guess and assume and so on.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 63

Postby MarbitChow » Thu Jun 23, 2011 5:38 am

Oberon wrote:* You need to prove what the actual cost of the scroll is.*Prove the actual cost of the scroll? How? We know it was sold for 350k smuckers, and with 500k spent there would have been a MK caster provided to use the scroll. After that, we have nothing. No hint of item creation costs, no rare and obscure ingredients, no time/turns required to produce an item. Really, nothing. You may assume any set of constraints which fit your own personal (dare I say it? I dare!) epileptic tree theory. But you've got the same nothing that I have got. The difference here is that I seem to be held to the standards of "proof", while everyone else's twitching tree is not. Go figure...

Your theory has, as it's logical conclusion, the creation of multiple SPW scrolls. Since that has not been shown to exist, your theory is held to a higher standard of proof, because only one scroll has been created, and not for profit. Your theory does not match current facts, so it requires greater proof. That's not so hard to understand. We don't need to have ANY other theories. We just need to show that yours is wrong. Ours is the default position.

Oberon wrote:* You need to prove that the effect of the scroll is reproducible. * Prove the effect of the SPW scroll is reproducible? Really? Is a healomancy scroll reproducible? Is a shockomancy scroll reproducible? Is a foolomancy scroll reproducible?

The First SPW summoned a PERSON. We assume people are unique. If the scroll behaves exactly the same way the second time, it must summon THE SAME PERSON, i.e. PARSON. If it summons a different person, that person will have different strengths and weaknesses. A bracer might not be required to shore up their weakness, so it would not be included as part of the spell. They may have no weaknesses whatsoever. Your whole argument centers around using the scroll to get items and selling the items for cash. No items, no exploit.

Oberon wrote:* You need to prove that there are casters that can recreate the SPW spell that also know of the bracer. * Why? Why must they know of the bracer? Because of the sale value of the bracer? Haven't the opposing positions already said over and over that generating money isn't, just cannot be, the goal of the SPW creators? So why am I saddled with an economic condition?

You're saddled with an economic condition because your whole argument is based around economics. I would have thought that was obvious. You can't create a business model around an arbitrage if you don't know the arbitrage exists.

Oberon wrote:Is it impossible that other casters may have the use of a PWL? Is it impossible that they may be in opposition to the original creators of the SPW scroll? I see some equivocation here, a bit of cake and eat it too.

I think everyone on the forum would agree that the creation of a second SPW scroll to counter the first casting is COMPLETELY plausible (orchestrated by Charlie, for example). Too bad that's not what you're arguing. The creation of scrolls for items was the complete and total basis for your entire argument:
Oberon wrote:
effataigus wrote:Perhaps one could even make a profit deliberately summoning the most worthless conceivable warlords and then marketing the "Ooops, my bad" gimmie items that come in the mail.
You're a few hundred strips too late to be repeating my idle musings about Erfworld economics like that. 8-) :ugeek: :lol:

Here's where you quote effataigus regarding a money-making scheme for selling items. If they don't know that the creation of items is a side effect of the SPW scroll, it's really tough to use that as the center of your business model.

Oberon wrote:The first set of SPW scroll creators apparently didn't know that there was a potential 150k profit to be made over and above the sale price, and it it not reasonable to apply knowledge of that potential to any other SPW scroll creators, either.

But without that knowledge, there's no business model. That knowledge is kinda central to your whole position, honestly.

Oberon wrote:* You need to prove that either the original casters would risk their goal by recreating the scroll, or that there are other casters who know how to create the SPW scroll that would do it just for the cash. * Again, why? What additional proof should be required to support the fact that creating and selling this scroll is an economic engine?

Look, if you want to reduce your argument to just "Hey, casters will make scrolls for cash", then there's nothing to debate. But that's not what you asserted. You said that there's an economic model in which SPW scrolls are manufactured just to get the cash from the additional items that come as a side effect of the casting. Other people have taken the position that you're wrong. They've taken the position of the null hypothesis: the default position, that there can be only one SPW. They GET to be the default position because what you hypothesize is not actually happening. I'm sorry if you feel that's unfair.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 63

Postby drachefly » Thu Jun 23, 2011 4:04 pm

Not to be too nitpicky, but 'there can be only one SPW' is in no sense a default position.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 63

Postby Beeskee » Thu Jun 23, 2011 4:27 pm

You can always apply Occam's Razor to it, and come up with a simpler conclusion. Especially since it's backed up by the plot. (In the hard-copy book it's spelled out explicitly.) The scroll was created to summon Parson, or a Parson-like being, with the Predictamancers involved able to verify that both the plan and scroll will work the way they expect, more or less.

Any cost attached is simply to make it seem like a 'real' offer to a desperate but wary side. If they had tried to give it to GK for free, then GK may not have taken the bait. Look at Parson's reaction to Jojo's free scroll. He's wary, wondering if it's a trick or delaying tactic. If Jojo had said "Psst, I'm selling a 'Return Home' scroll for half a mil. Have one of your casters stop by sometime later if you are interested." Parson may have been much more intrigued. Jojo's speech patterns didn't help, since several times he made it sound like it would KILL Parson, but Parson was wary before that.

If the MK mages just wanted to make money, they could do so without overly upsetting the balance of the world as well as creating things which would sell more frequently for the same or greater value. If something like the bracer would sell for a million or more, the mages could make mathamancy-based magic items like that and the laurel if they needed a huge boost to the treasury.

I think the SPW scroll is/was currently unique in the world, but may not stay that way. Depending on how much Parson figured out and wrote down, Charlie may have figured out or guessed correctly which casters he would need to hire to create a similar item. If he ever decides that he needs outside assistance on the Parson Problem, it may get recreated. And if Charlie knows how to make it, he can sell the information to other sides, especially if they are desperate like GK was.

The casting seemed to be modified by Stanley's demands. ("Someone who snacks on gwiffons and eats marbits for breakfast!" "Shock and awe them just standing on the walls." etc etc) so maybe the predictamancers were assuming (heh) a more traditional Erfworld warlord, like they probably knew it would deliver the results they wanted, but were unsure as to the exact methods. Like Janis knowing her side would fall but the details were cloudy.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 63

Postby MarbitChow » Thu Jun 23, 2011 5:34 pm

drachefly wrote:Not to be too nitpicky, but 'there can be only one SPW' is in no sense a default position.

Nitpicks are good. I'm actually going with 'The SPW will not be recreated for the item abuse exploit' as the default position, if you want to be technical. Oberon is attempting to prove otherwise via an economic arbitrage model.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 63

Postby Oberon » Thu Jun 23, 2011 8:40 pm

ftl wrote:There must be some mechanism or motivation which prevents or disincentivizes repeated SPW casting (and other mancer activities); since we haven't been shown one, we must guess and assume and so on.
I tend to agree. I've posted about the puzzle that all bi- and tri-mancer effects are not already cataloged. The MK especially and any sufficiently rich side has the means to research these combo powers, and the potency of the effects should drive this research. But there were of course nay-sayers who invented all kinds of reasons why this seemed implausible to them. If I cared enough I'd go back and see if there is any overlap of the personnel in this conversation :lol: because if there is no disincentive these effects should be known and not available as surprise twists in the story. The point then becomes, what is that mechanism or motivation or disincentive? Because it is unknown it calls into question the logical basis for the situation we have presented to us. It infringes on the willing suspension of disbelief.
MarbitChow wrote:Your theory has, as it's logical conclusion, the creation of multiple SPW scrolls. Since that has not been shown to exist, your theory is held to a higher standard of proof, because only one scroll has been created, and not for profit. Your theory does not match current facts, so it requires greater proof.
When you invent your own "facts" it's no wonder that you decide that my facts are insufficient. Where did you pull the "fact" that the scroll was not created for profit from? We know that not all of the participants in the creation are "in the know" about the whole change Erfworld scheme. Do you assert that they participated without any anticipation of a share of the sale price? And do you believe that even the casters who were "in the know" didn't anticipate a portion of the proceeds from the sale? If so, that's your typical baseless assumption repeating itself, while at the same time I'm expected to prove that there is no profit to be had from creating more SPW scrolls. Hypocrisy at its finest.
MarbitChow wrote:Look, if you want to reduce your argument to just "Hey, casters will make scrolls for cash", then there's nothing to debate. But that's not what you asserted. You said that there's an economic model in which SPW scrolls are manufactured just to get the cash from the additional items that come as a side effect of the casting. Other people have taken the position that you're wrong. They've taken the position of the null hypothesis: the default position, that there can be only one SPW. They GET to be the default position because what you hypothesize is not actually happening. I'm sorry if you feel that's unfair.
I'm afraid that I don't understand the distinction you've drawn. You agree that casters make scrolls for cash. I'll take it on faith that you'll also agree that casters make scrolls for profit. That is the same economic model I've proposed for the SPW scroll, only we have the sales price(s) and the value of the generated items for the SPW scroll and we do not have those figures for any other scrolls. We also do not have costs of any kind for any of these items. But using the figures I had available to me I extrapolated a business model out of repeating the same casting. Without knowing the costs, the profits appear to make repeated castings of SPW very lucrative. And yet I get piles of dissent. I only wonder why? This is just an exercise at deconstruction, after all. Deconstruction does not say "Well, Superman hasn't had his secret identity discovered, so it is clearly obvious that the fact that he does not in any way attempt to mask his face isn't important to the preservation of his secret identity." That is a ludicrous position to take! You cannot "prove me wrong" when I'm asking questions about the underpinning logic of the story by citing that the story doesn't support my questions... Superman looks exactly like TV personality Clark Kent, and they are both well known faces to millions of people, so why doesn't anyone notice this? Why would people who are close associates of both, such as Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen, fail to identify the act? There is only so much that stooping, acting clumsy, and raising the pitch of your voice can hide when your face remains identical in two personas, after all! The "default" position has no merit when it tries to prove its validity by citing itself as the "default" position.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 63

Postby ftl » Thu Jun 23, 2011 10:22 pm

Oberon wrote:
ftl wrote:There must be some mechanism or motivation which prevents or disincentivizes repeated SPW casting (and other mancer activities); since we haven't been shown one, we must guess and assume and so on.
I tend to agree.


If you agree with this, why do you look at all the various guesses that people have proposed and argue AGAINST them by saying it's just a guess or just an assumption?

I've posted about the puzzle that all bi- and tri-mancer effects are not already cataloged. The MK especially and any sufficiently rich side has the means to research these combo powers, and the potency of the effects should drive this research. But there were of course nay-sayers who invented all kinds of reasons why this seemed implausible to them.


Of course. Because, as I said,

ftl wrote:There must be some mechanism or motivation which prevents or disincentivizes repeated SPW casting (and other mancer activities); since we haven't been shown one, we must guess and assume and so on.

and then you said
I tend to agree.

so if you're agreeing with that, why on earth are you being derogatory to the nay-sayers who are doing exactly that? Guessing about the mechanism or motivation which is responsible for the lack of mancer trade?

because if there is no disincentive these effects should be known and not available as surprise twists in the story.


Plenty of the possible disincentives have already been presented in-story for other reasons. It would not at all be a twist if a character explicitly said "mancers don't generally sell tri-link services because tri-links are always a little dangerous." Because it fits right in to the world as we've seen it. This danger has never been explicitly stated as the reason why the MK does not sell tri-link services, but the danger has been shown before (misty's death, for example.) It would not be a twist if we found out that "many barbarian mancers have no need of interacting with traditional Sides, since they are able to buy rations with Rands; as a result, only a minority of casters bother with hiring themselves out." This has never been shown to us, but would be quite consistent with the picture of the MK we've seen, and so it would not be a twist. About the SPW spell in particular, it would not be a twist if we explicitly had a mancer from one of the conspiracies say "and this was our plan, and it required only one SPW spell, so we had all participants swear not to make another."

There's plenty of possible justifications that we could find out that would not be twists at all.

The point then becomes, what is that mechanism or motivation or disincentive?

In this thread, people have proposed plenty of possibilities. You shoot down each and every one of them demanding proof.

Because it is unknown it calls into question the logical basis for the situation we have presented to us. It infringes on the willing suspension of disbelief.


It would call into question the logical basis if the only possible resolutions were far-fetched and implausible.

As it is, many of the possible justifications would be quite consistent with the universe as we've seen it.

It would make sense if casters simply rarely needed to go outside the MK to have their upkeep needs met. With how powerful casters are, it wouldn't be at all surprising if, with ALL the different caster types available, there was some combination that could generate schmuckers or at least make rations! And then sell that for rands.

It would make sense if casters did not like entering tri-links because of the inherent danger. We've seen Misty die in a badly broken one. Why would any barbarian caster risk their life in a tri-link when they don't need to? Even if it's a low risk, it's way riskier than earning upkeep solo.

Are either of those the actual reason? I don't know yet. I look forward to finding out, if it ever becomes important enough to the story to know the details rather than the end result. But it certainly does not "infringe on the willing suspension of disbelief" if the details are left vague.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 63

Postby MarbitChow » Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:20 am

Oberon wrote:I've posted about the puzzle that all bi- and tri-mancer effects are not already cataloged. The MK especially and any sufficiently rich side has the means to research these combo powers, and the potency of the effects should drive this research.

The people doing the research are risking their MINDS and their LIVES. People don't risk their lives when they are idly curious. They risk them when they are ordered to, or when death is a more likely result than the risk taken. Casters are rare and powerful assets. Most rulers don't risk them unless there is great need. You only focus on the monetary part of the equation, while constantly ignoring all other motivations. What good does cataloging a powerful combination do if you destroy your casters in the process, or worse yet, reveal the knowledge to your enemies?

Oberon wrote:When you invent your own "facts" it's no wonder that you decide that my facts are insufficient. Where did you pull the "fact" that the scroll was not created for profit from? We know that not all of the participants in the creation are "in the know" about the whole change Erfworld scheme. Do you assert that they participated without any anticipation of a share of the sale price? And do you believe that even the casters who were "in the know" didn't anticipate a portion of the proceeds from the sale? If so, that's your typical baseless assumption repeating itself, while at the same time I'm expected to prove that there is no profit to be had from creating more SPW scrolls. Hypocrisy at its finest.

The scroll was created to summon a warrior to fight for peace. This information is directly revealed in the text update I've previously linked. Profit was not the motive. It may have been a side effect, but it was not the motive. You continuously ignore this basic established fact.
Oberon wrote:
MarbitChow wrote:Look, if you want to reduce your argument to just "Hey, casters will make scrolls for cash", then there's nothing to debate. But that's not what you asserted. You said that there's an economic model in which SPW scrolls are manufactured just to get the cash from the additional items that come as a side effect of the casting.
I'm afraid that I don't understand the distinction you've drawn. You agree that casters make scrolls for cash. I'll take it on faith that you'll also agree that casters make scrolls for profit. That is the same economic model I've proposed for the SPW scroll, only we have the sales price(s) and the value of the generated items for the SPW scroll and we do not have those figures for any other scrolls. We also do not have costs of any kind for any of these items.

Oberon - look, if you want to argue that YOU, from your near-omniscient perch, could, with all the knowledge that you have about this story, create a business model to make a killing off of SPW scrolls, I'll grant you that.
If you want to propose that Charlie will cause another SPW scroll to be created, I'd certainly agree with you.

But if you are truly proposing that there are characters in the story who will rip people from other dimensions, take the items from them that are supposed to make them effective, and sell those for cash, and this seems like a sound business model to you, then I suggest that you may want to have yourself tested for sociopathic tendencies.

You keep leaving out the fact that these are PEOPLE. You keep asserting, essentially, that these people will risk both their own and other people's lives, all for a quick buck, when there are obviously many other ways for them to get by. There's only one barely-justifiable reason to do it (for the cash!), and there are dozens of moral, ethical, and practical reasons not to - and we haven't established that the actual creators of the previous scroll even know of the item-creation side effect, let alone the potential value, to allow anyone (again, other than Charlie) to even contemplate formulating this 'business model'.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 63

Postby effataigus » Fri Jun 24, 2011 8:39 am

MarbitChow wrote:But if you are truly proposing that there are characters in the story who will rip people from other dimensions, take the items from them that are supposed to make them effective, and sell those for cash, and this seems like a sound business model to you, then I suggest that you may want to have yourself tested for sociopathic tendencies.

You keep leaving out the fact that these are PEOPLE. You keep asserting, essentially, that these people will risk both their own and other people's lives, all for a quick buck, when there are obviously many other ways for them to get by. There's only one barely-justifiable reason to do it (for the cash!), and there are dozens of moral, ethical, and practical reasons not to - and we haven't established that the actual creators of the previous scroll even know of the item-creation side effect, let alone the potential value, to allow anyone (again, other than Charlie) to even contemplate formulating this 'business model'.


People risk their lives for cash often... and we live in a world where going broke isn't always fatal the next morning.

They need not summon a person from another dimension. In fact, I'd be very curious what items the SPW scroll would have to give a loaf of bread to make it a perfect warlord. Though the spell did seem to have a bit of personality to it (a la the writing on the back of the Luckamancy Charms), and I wonder if it would give a middle finger to you if you intentionally miscast it.

I am not nearly as money motivated as I am curiosity and toy motivated. Depending on how dangerous the link is and how readily available my caster buddies are that weekend, I think it would be great fun to chill for a weekend storing up juice, cast the spell, and see what crazy otherworldly technology comes in the mail. Then again, I would feel pretty bad after Lieutenant Loaf got the Yeast of Sentience, Whole Grains of Wholesale Slaughter, and some Mr. Potatohead arms and legs, and then it had nothing to fight. Could let it play violent videogames or something, I guess.

Crawling around in storm drains and sewers is arguably risky, but show me a 14 year old or older boy who hasn't tried it or wanted to.

Ok, I got sidetracked from the point I was making, which was to say I think your other arguments were stronger!
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Re: Book 2 – Page 63

Postby MarbitChow » Fri Jun 24, 2011 9:07 am

effataigus wrote:People risk their lives for cash often... and we live in a world where going broke isn't always fatal the next morning.

Sure: soldiers, mercenaries, ice truckers, "deadliest catch" fishermen... there are a lot of examples where people do very dangerous things for money.
And most of these dangerous tasks are things that any person can be taught to do.
Casters are different. The number of PhDs who are risking their lives for cash in our world is, I'll wager, extremely low - and our world has 6 billion people.
Casters have other, easier methods of making money that don't involve risking their lives, let alone other people's.

effataigus wrote:They need not summon a person from another dimension. In fact, I'd be very curious what items the SPW scroll would have to give a loaf of bread to make it a perfect warlord.

Warlords have to be able to speak. They are commanders. By definition, you must be summoning a sentient person. Note that "willing to be summoned" was a condition that STANLEY placed on the casting - we don't even know that it's inherent in the SPW scroll.
The more we examine this topic, the more I become convinced that what is proposed is not just highly unlikely in the current setting, but morally wrong (which, I'll grant you, has never stopped a business model in the past).
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Re: Book 2 – Page 63

Postby BLANDCorporatio » Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:29 pm

MarbitChow wrote:Casters are different. The number of PhDs who are risking their lives for cash in our world is, I'll wager, extremely low - and our world has 6 billion people.


Well, you know what they say. If you see a physicist running, start running and don't stop.
The whole point of this is lost if you keep it a secret.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 63

Postby effataigus » Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:56 pm

MarbitChow wrote:Warlords have to be able to speak. They are commanders. By definition, you must be summoning a sentient person. Note that "willing to be summoned" was a condition that STANLEY placed on the casting - we don't even know that it's inherent in the SPW scroll.

And aren't you at all curious what the SPW scroll would come up with to compensate if the target couldn't give commands?? The spell's willingness to guarantee its end of the bargain is fascinating, and I'd love to see how far it could be pushed!

You might force the spell to give an inanimate object sentience... which I find (while riddled with moral pitfalls) to be mostly an admirable thing. I'd rather be a bread golemn than bread, I think. Unless I was dinner, I guess.

PhDs that risk their lives for money... *might* be a smaller fraction of the pool of PhDs than non-PhDs that risk their lives for money of the pool of non-PhDs... I'd believe the statistic if it were one, anyway. However, as a card-carrying member of the pool of PhDs that risk their lives for curiosity, I'd also buy the argument that PhDs are more likely to risk their lives for intellectual pursuits (such as testing ramifications of magic) than non-PhDs.
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