Book 2 – Text Updates 054

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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 054

Postby effataigus » Fri Oct 07, 2011 10:46 am

Hmm, with Wanda out of the hex...

JS could just evacuate the city except for a unit or two inside the garrison (with orders to blitz GK's position after the evac is complete). That would let the city fall into GK's hands, then they could retake it as per usual Erfworld combat. The difference would be that GK would be cut off from all of its casters and the decrypted bonus. Granted that could backfire hard if Wanda made it back in hex before the portal closed... but at least then they'd be back to Tram's evacuation plan (minus a lot of good archers that could now be decrypted).

coyotenose wrote:
Sieggy wrote:So you send them out the back door, out of the Atrium, out of the city (which is likely to fall) so that they're not uselessly wasted...

I don't recall seeing any way they could get out (could be mistaken about that) without passing the GK siege or going close enough to the dungeons that they could assume the Decrypted would get them.


http://www.erfworld.com/book-2-archive/ ... -04-07.jpg

This shows pretty clearly that they can get units out of the tower without going through the courtyard... as Sieggy was suggesting.

I'm with Sieggy on this one. Slately is failing pretty hard here tactically and morally. Luckily for him, his tactical blunders are being offset by blind luck (Ossomer turning) and Wanda' blunders (depriving the decrypted of her bonus)... Wanda's blunder is, in turn, a direct result of Parson's blunder (going through TMK in the first place).

Would just really suck to be those archers...

Tram: Evacuate with the King momentarily, men.
Slately: Belay that order. Stand firm while I prepare for my heroic evacuation from this tower as it crumbles around us... I want to play at being an action hero!
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 054

Postby kagato23 » Fri Oct 07, 2011 10:51 am

CaptC wrote:Well, I'm not going to get into a point by point moral quibble, lest I contribute to the reason I don't read this forum after today (until the next update.) But I will say this: Our difference of opinion is based strictly on world view. Cubbins might be an endearing character and his own man to you, but to me, ultimately, he's a video game character.

If Erfworld actually comes out as a playable game, and the units behave as Cubbins does, I shan't play it. There is NOTHING more frustrating and un-enjoyable in a strategy/tactical game than units doing stuff "because they know better." If I tell Cubbins to get on a unipegataur, he darn well better get on that unipegataur. Or I'll throw the game into the trash and never play again.


See though, I don't think a lot of us see it as a video game. Putting aside the larger implications of what it is or isn't, as a story and whatnot, this is a run more like a tabletop game then a video game. If it were a video game, for example, Parson would have save points. Further expanding on this, sometimes the NPC's, even those under your command, may not do precisely what you want, owing to the DM's (titans in this case) thoughts on how they'd react in this situation. You can't order the group of NPC paladins the king gave you authority over to ignore the burning orphanage sidequest cause you wanna get to the main story, their characters (unless the DM sucks) will act according to their own motivations.

Your thinking of cubbins as one of the many faceless units of a strategy game. But those have named characters too, and he's one of them! So even if we think of it as a video game, this is obviously a cutscene! You can't tell Aries to defend against Sepiroth's stab from behind any more than you can make Cubbins get on the mount. That's not how the story goes. He's a named unit with his own backstory and the closest friend of a party character! There's more then enough precedence for him to merit a death scene, if only for Ace's sake. You don't even get command again until the party's in the air and the towers falling.

coyotenose wrote:While some corpses are depicted as above ground, the sheer number of units Decrypted just in the time Parson and Ansom spend talking so far exceeds what we see just lying around their feet that we have to expect that some are either digging their way up or being "reassembled" above ground once the Arkenpliers locate them.

Without a different view of the battlefield and a clear listing of how many units' corpses survived the volcano well enough to be Decrypted, I admit it's just speculation as to whether the Arkenpliers facilitate physically "raising" the dead in addition to mystically raising them. But given the trope of how easily the undead dig out of their graves when reanimated, and how well it fits with "gameplay", I consider it likely.


See though, we don't know enough about Decrypted to fully know their anatomy. We know they dont' need upkeep, so one could assume they don't need to eat, but they might also just get rations for free due to arkenpliers. We lack the data to be sure if they wouldn't just suffocate if raised underground, be crushed again by weight, etc.

I have a third option though that might also be valid. Wanda first raised every troop above ground, and had them assist in digging out everybody else, adding to the workforce as new units were unearthed. Since Decrypted are far more intelligent then Uncroaked, giving them search and retrieve commands and then leaving them to their own devices is viable.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 054

Postby zuche » Fri Oct 07, 2011 12:22 pm

CaptC wrote:But I will say this: Our difference of opinion is based strictly on world view. Cubbins might be an endearing character and his own man to you, but to me, ultimately, he's a video game character.


It doesn't matter what he is to either you or I. It matters what he is to himself, to Ace, and to those that knew him. I strongly suspect it also matters to Parson.

This isn't a game to them. It's not fiction to them either, or historical reenactment, or any of those other things that let us detach ourselves from real, personal suffering. It's not even chess, where each piece you offer will be returned to the board at the start of your next game. Death is real. Undeath is not considered pleasant.

CaptC wrote:If Erfworld actually comes out as a playable game, and the units behave as Cubbins does, I shan't play it.


Fair enough, but that's a game. What if Cubbins was a real person, as he is to Ace? What would you do then?

Let's take this back to the subject of noble conduct. You say that if Cubbins was under your command, he would be expected to both obey every order you gave and favour his survival over that of less powerful people -- or units, if you prefer. Ignoring the issue of whether the strongest piece is always the most valuable (we don't have enough information to determine whether or not that's the case here), where is nobility of spirit to be found if you must always put yourself ahead of weaker individuals?

You could make the argument that unquestioning obedience to your superiors and their ideals is where real nobility, or honour, lies, but if we were to look at this as a game, where does nobility apply to the player, answerable only to the final score? Consider Parson, a man who measured his worth by his how well he played games, as it's the only measure of success he recognizes in his life. Now that he's playing with real lives at stake, he's now reluctant to win at all costs in spite of being placed under a geas that requires this of him.

Does this mean that Parson become weak, or does it mean he's growing as a person?
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 054

Postby Goshen » Fri Oct 07, 2011 7:58 pm

MarbitChow wrote:
Goshen wrote:Perhaps. But it seems to me those troops could have offed those dwagons attacking the tower. Apologies if this was answered in an earlier thread. I'm surprised I didn't think of this until now.

Trem already figured out that if he sends anything against the coartyard that doesn't wipe it out completely, Wanda will just decrypt those forces, so they won't send in anything but overwhelming odds. They don't know that Wanda's not there right now, especially considering that even if they don't see her, Jack may just be hiding them.

That makes sense. I do remember the update where they showed the progress of Wanda's army with her leading it.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 054

Postby Goshen » Fri Oct 07, 2011 7:58 pm

coyotenose wrote:
Goshen wrote:Perhaps. But it seems to me those troops could have offed those dwagons attacking the tower. Apologies if this was answered in an earlier thread. I'm surprised I didn't think of this until now.



Scroll back to the aerial assault on the dwagons. They took a LOT of arrow hits. On the ground, with the dwagons able to reach them, the archers would have been mulched.

Y'know, the more I look at it, the more it sinks in just how bad a job Jetstone did of setting up to repel dwagons, owing to their presumption of superiority. What the hell guys? It was like you brought stakes and holy water to a werewolf fight, and just counted on suffocating the werewolves beneath your piled-on corpses.

Right. Thank you for the explanation.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 054

Postby multilis » Fri Oct 07, 2011 8:30 pm

Jetstone is nearly bankrupt, they might not be able to *afford* all its casters... they are already harvesting own units as food. In such a situation, if a caster is not easily traded for cash to another side, Cubbins may not be that valuable to them in future turns.

Another factor is the power of assassins... Jetstone already attempted to assassinate Sylvia. A side without leadership is easily slaughtered (GK 1, sizemore wins battle in tunnels). Not everyone dies when buildings collapse (GK 1, sizemore destroys the city). So possible Jetstone can now win control of air, and exploit it being their turn and their city to fly 5 feet over leadership and arrow it at point blank range till it dies and target is unable to fight back. (Shots fired by GK upward are blocked by zone boundary)

A small force of jetstone units all in personal stack of king and/or chief warlord could in theory wipe out an entire army of GK's below them, just as Ansom could single handedly make a breech through a bunch of low level units on wall.

Tram... what is his status? Jetstone does have a healomancer if they have time to organise selves.

...

Ossomer turning back to Jetstone has huge potential also for pliers under right management... selling a service to bring back your dead into your service, better than ever (no upkeep). How much would Haggar pay to have Prince Sammy back?
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 054

Postby Sixty » Sat Oct 08, 2011 4:04 am

multilis wrote:(Shots fired by GK upward are blocked by zone boundary)


We sure about this? We know this is the case between hexs (aka the bridge when Oss was first captured) but are we sure this is the case in the city between zones? Defenders can re-deploy in the city from one zone to the other during the enemy's turn right? So not all hex to hex rules strictly apply.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 054

Postby BLANDCorporatio » Sat Oct 08, 2011 6:39 am

I just noticed kagato23's sig. Lol-worthy! Will there be P/P slash in the Fanfiction forum any day now?
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 054

Postby teratorn » Sat Oct 08, 2011 1:09 pm

MarbitChow wrote: They don't know that Wanda's not there right now, especially considering that even if they don't see her, Jack may just be hiding them.


Ossomer should know, he had to sense the drop in bonus just as soon as she left the city.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 054

Postby BCCroaker » Sat Oct 08, 2011 3:06 pm

I don't know if this has been gone into in another thread, but I was wondering if Charlie had something to do with Oss turning, him having a thinkamancy tool. Didn't he tell Jillian he could turn Ansom? And the decrypted Archons were worried about Charlie's next move being against them. He could have just been the last straw or all those thoughts Oss was having about being on the dishonorable side and being rejected by his mistress could have been planted or played on by Charlie. His kind of thing of thing, I would have thought.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 054

Postby drachefly » Sat Oct 08, 2011 4:31 pm

Cubbins' move makes perfect sense tactically, assuming he didn't notice Ossomer's turning. With him turned, they can take on the archons with little difficulty. With him still GK, it's a very rough fight indeed, and the archers are critical assets, especially if these are higher level.

As for being able to attack into airspace… it's not clear. Airspace couldn't attack into tower off-turn, but anyone may or may not be able to attack into airspace off-turn.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 054

Postby Sieggy » Sat Oct 08, 2011 5:39 pm

I just remembered where I saw Cubbins before . . . Al Jaffee (who is an institution at Mad Magazine) ran a short series back in the 70s (during the Viet Nam war) about Major Hawks and Private Doves. The major would order Doves to do something militarily useless, and private Doves would arrange that whatever it was that he had been ordered to do was completed, though with some kind of pacifist twist. Like when ordered to park the trucks at the motor pool, he arranged them so that their headlights formed a peace sign when lit, and the strip always ended with the Major's hat flying off . . .

Cubbins looks almost exactly like Private Doves, down to the uniform & cap.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 054

Postby CaptC » Sun Oct 09, 2011 12:53 am

Alright, breaking my own rule.

zuche wrote:
CaptC wrote:But I will say this: Our difference of opinion is based strictly on world view. Cubbins might be an endearing character and his own man to you, but to me, ultimately, he's a video game character.


It doesn't matter what he is to either you or I. It matters what he is to himself, to Ace, and to those that knew him. I strongly suspect it also matters to Parson.

This isn't a game to them. It's not fiction to them either, or historical reenactment, or any of those other things that let us detach ourselves from real, personal suffering. It's not even chess, where each piece you offer will be returned to the board at the start of your next game. Death is real. Undeath is not considered pleasant.


Look, I'm all for nobility, and sacrifice, and all that. But Cubbins did something completely nonsensical. There is no logical, moral or philosophical reason he shouldn't have gotten on the unipegataur.

More importantly, it's a game losing proposition. Rob needs to have something up his sleeve to salvage Cubbins in my mind. Apparently, Cubbins sacrificed himself for no game-like reason. And that's simply not acceptable in a game-like world.

zuche wrote:
CaptC wrote:If Erfworld actually comes out as a playable game, and the units behave as Cubbins does, I shan't play it.


Fair enough, but that's a game. What if Cubbins was a real person, as he is to Ace? What would you do then?


Disband him as unreliable, and pop something new, of course. If you're going to break orders, you need to do something intelligent. Otherwise, you are doubly deficient. (BTW, this is true in real life as well as a game.) Cubbins currently meets the definition of unreliable and ineffective (barring a reveal that redeems his actions.)

"I knew Bogroll. He died making a difference. You, sir, are no Bogroll." Cubbins dies saving a throw-away archer. Really? Pointless from any viewpoint. I'm sorry to see him go, but if Cubbins is supposed to be Volume II's Bogroll, I'm extremely disappointed.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 054

Postby CaptC » Sun Oct 09, 2011 1:29 am

Disentangling two separate thoughts. "Noble Conduct" is apparently the theme.

zuche wrote:
Let's take this back to the subject of noble conduct. You say that if Cubbins was under your command, he would be expected to both obey every order you gave and favour his survival over that of less powerful people -- or units, if you prefer. Ignoring the issue of whether the strongest piece is always the most valuable (we don't have enough information to determine whether or not that's the case here), where is nobility of spirit to be found if you must always put yourself ahead of weaker individuals?


Dunno where this came from. My point: I don't care if HE thought he was justified, Cubbins's actions are pointless and ineffective. Stupid nobility is, at the end of the analysis, still stupid. (Of course, always barring redemption later in the story.)

zuche wrote:You could make the argument that unquestioning obedience to your superiors and their ideals is where real nobility, or honour, lies, but if we were to look at this as a game, where does nobility apply to the player, answerable only to the final score?


I make no such claim about unquestioning obedience. I'm fine with self-aware units. I'm not fine with stupid, self-sacrificial self-aware units doing inane things like not getting on a unipegataur when directly ordered to do so, and instead saving a pointless throw-away unit.

Cubbins is a bug to fix in the AI, not a noble hero.

(The gamer's honor is strictly irrelevant to any argument which interests me. How does that relate to Cubbins in any way, shape or form? One might offer that instead of playing a video game, the gamer's honor would best be served by doing something useful, but even I fear that line of thinking treads dangerously close to heresy.)

zuche wrote:Consider Parson, a man who measured his worth by his how well he played games, as it's the only measure of success he recognizes in his life. Now that he's playing with real lives at stake, he's now reluctant to win at all costs in spite of being placed under a geas that requires this of him.

Does this mean that Parson become weak, or does it mean he's growing as a person?


False dichotomy. Parson's insistence on sharing danger is the only way his effectiveness has been compromised, and even that isn't necessarily a bad thing - when every bit helps, getting his +2 warlord bonus into the battle hex is useful. Parson calculates and connives as well as he ever did. So whether or not Parson is growing as a person, he's not getting weak. When push comes to shove, Parsons still does pretty close to the optimal game action. Cubbins simply didn't. And that's not a good thing.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 054

Postby kagato23 » Sun Oct 09, 2011 3:36 am

he believed 2 archers were more valuable in the upcoming fight then himself, a fight wherein his king is fighting heirless and surviving as long as he can if not winning is necessary for the side's survival. Simple as that.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 054

Postby zuche » Sun Oct 09, 2011 12:49 pm

CaptC wrote:Alright, breaking my own rule.


Why are you telling us this?

CaptC wrote:Look, I'm all for nobility, and sacrifice, and all that. But Cubbins did something completely nonsensical. There is no logical, moral or philosophical reason he shouldn't have gotten on the unipegataur.


Sure there is. It can be demonstrated mathematically as 2 > 1.

CaptC wrote:More importantly, it's a game losing proposition.


Only if your metaethical system values the game above all, and maybe not even then. We genuinely do not know if there is anything Cubbins could have done in this battle that would equal or exceed what two archers could, with or without Ossomer's leadership bonus.

The tile that fell might not have signified Ossomer after all. It might have been Cubbins. If so, the result was again something unlikely: an arrow denied and a decrypted turned by something one we'd hardly have predicted.

But if your metaethical system values life more highly than the game, then we're back to 2 > 1.

CaptC wrote:Apparently, Cubbins sacrificed himself for no game-like reason. And that's simply not acceptable in a game-like world.


"That's just the way it is," isn't much of an argument when a world is undergoing changes such as this one is.

CaptC wrote:
zuche wrote:What if Cubbins was a real person, as he is to Ace? What would you do then?


Disband him as unreliable, and pop something new, of course.


I asked you what you'd do if Cubbins was a real person, and this was your answer? This is how you'd treat people?

Even if I found it acceptable to see people treated thus, it doesn't make much sense to disband someone that's about to die anyway, since you can't actually pop a replacement for him on the spot. That sounds spiteful, not intelligent.

CaptC wrote:If you're going to break orders, you need to do something intelligent.


No order was broken, even if Ace interpreted the intent of the one given correctly. On the subject of intelligence, math still tells the story.

CaptC wrote:(BTW, this is true in real life as well as a game.)


In real life, someone that acts in a manner that promotes their values above your own may still be acting intelligently. When we recognize that, we're more likely to make intelligent decisions ourselves.

CaptC wrote:Cubbins dies saving a throw-away archer. Really?


No, not really. He died saving a second person. Take another look at the art. Those are not throwaway units behind Cubbins. Those are people, with feelings and friendships and lives they're about to lose. You may see their value only in terms of the martial role they were popped to fill, that isn't the only legitimate value anyone (those about to die, Cubbins, another reader, or the creative team) may assign to them.

As you noted in your next post, you don't care if Cubbins thought he was justified. Let's turn this around: Why should Cubbins care what you think? Who are you, that your values are more important than his when it comes to choosing what he does with his life?

So what if you're the guy playing the game? We've seen people act that way with real lives as playing pieces before. It may be necessary to do so in some circumstances, and there are times when mere practicality might justify such sacrifice, but a person's life is still much more than a commodity their commanders can spend as they see fit.

Optimal and suboptimal is all well and good as a value system for an actual game, but this is no longer a game. There are real lives at stake, as well as the right to self-determination. Such things are damned inconvenient to people who only value winning, which may explain the contempt many people have for the sort of hard-core gamer that seems to understand nothing else.

Parson chose to face the same risks as those he's directing now face. Cubbins chose to die so that others might live. This might displease both of their rulers, and it's possible that both were bad tactical choices. In real life, however, there are often things we value more highly than tactical superiority. This is not an illegitimate view so long as we recognize what's at stake, as both Parson and Cubbins did.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 054

Postby youngstormlord » Mon Oct 10, 2011 5:49 am

Awesome update. It might be tactical decision of our little Hat magician... or it might be decision of the heart. The last archer was female 8-) .
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 054

Postby Fishy » Mon Oct 10, 2011 6:26 am

Coming at it from the other angle, remember the stakes. The king has no heir, and he's about to go into direct combat. If the king croaks in that engagement, the side ends.

That means Cubbins dies. The Prince dies. Cubbins' best friend Ace dies. The archers in the tower die. People Cubbins have never met die. People in cities Cubbins has never seen die. Everything that Jetstone was, and is, and could have been dies.

Plug that into your profit/loss/expected value calculation, and you get a divide-by-zero error. The value of 'the king survives the upcoming engagement' is infinite. If Cubbins' actions increased the odds of that happening from 98% to 99%, then the expected value he's added to the Jetstone Cause is 1% of infinity, which is infinity. From an optimizer's perspective, Cubbins is justified if the cost of his action- his life and everything he might hope to accomplish in it- is less than the expected value, which is zero from his perspective, and infinite from Jetstone's.

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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 054

Postby BLANDCorporatio » Mon Oct 10, 2011 8:03 am

Fishy wrote:Plug that into your profit/loss/expected value calculation, and you get a divide-by-zero error. The value of 'the king survives the upcoming engagement' is infinite. If Cubbins' actions increased the odds of that happening from 98% to 99%, then the expected value he's added to the Jetstone Cause is 1% of infinity, which is infinity. From an optimizer's perspective, Cubbins is justified if the cost of his action- his life and everything he might hope to accomplish in it- is less than the expected value, which is zero from his perspective, and infinite from Jetstone's.

Min-max 4 life, yo.


Aaaarghhhh. Whatever the take everyone has on whether Cubbins did the tactical right thing, I cannot resist pointing out that the above is wrong.

IF we assign infinity to the value of the King's survival, then 98% odds of survival and 99% odds of survival both bring infinite expected value. So does 1% chance of survival, for that matter. So expected value is not enough.

Also, the value of the King's survival, in and of itself, is not "infinite", by which I mean, it is not in and of itself justification for sacrificing units*. Imagine a scenario in which the odds of the King's survival in this battle were 100%, as long as ALL other Jetstone units are sacrificed. Would the King take that strategy? Probably not, because it would make it very likely for the King to be offed at the nearest opportunity by roaming barbarians or whatever. Maybe the lonely King could pop new units in a jiffy, maybe there's no immediate threat in the region he's fleeing to etc- but already that is adding, and admitting the necessity to add, issues concering the time after the battle to the calculation. And it is in this way that "long term useful" units may find themselves favoured for saving, alongside the King.

EDIT: *: which is imo a mathematically horrible way to go from one idea to the other, but I think that Fishy says, since the value of the King is infinity, the value of anyone else is irelevant.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 054

Postby drachefly » Mon Oct 10, 2011 9:24 am

Yeah, it's a really bad idea to begin working with infinite utilities.
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