Predictamancy

Speculation, discoveries, complaints, accusations, praise, and all other Erfworld discussion.

Predictamancy

Postby TokraZeno » Wed Aug 17, 2011 6:15 am

I've been wondering this for a while; How does it work for Predictamancy?

Firstly, how does it physically work? Presumably it's similar to Intuition since Intuition is Natural Predictamancy (I think...). Just a feeling of what will happen, the specifics of which are to be interpreted by the predictamancer.

At least that's how you'd expect for a novice class. The "I so Predict it" with Janis in recent pages makes me wonder if a Master Class Predictamancer doesn't predict events so much as they actively manipulate them. Similar to the Future Sight attack from Pokemon games.

What other spells could you do with Predictamancy? Thinkamancy seems to have quite a variety. Short of increased crits/dodge, I can't think of anything. Ideas?
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Re: Predictamancy

Postby bladestorm » Mon Oct 29, 2012 10:13 pm

I was wondering more of the mechanics behind how the spells are cast. Some of it seems passive, in that they get visions of the future at odd times that they cannot control. Other aspects seem more controlled, such as the image of Marie seated before a glowing ball predictamancying. Do they have powers that are intentionally activated, such as doing a reading, looking at tea leaves, gazing into a crystal ball? Can they attempt to predict the future based upon a specific question or concept (Will the tower be attacked by air")? Do they have enhanced senses, like Wanda's croakamancy senses concerning a body, or Sizemore's senses regarding finding gems? To what extent do they have control over their visions of the future? And did Delphie's bullet-time dodging effect in combat have any repercussions as far as the future?
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Re: Predictamancy

Postby TazTheTerrible » Thu Nov 01, 2012 7:29 am

What knackers ME about it all is the long term predictions.

Because from the mechanics we've seen, these seem to resolve one way or another basically 100% of the time, or as good as makes little difference.

The thing is, that shouldn't be possible in a causal universe where you introduce the prediction into the actual universe. For prophecies in the short term that might work with some regularity and a reasonable error margin because of self-fulfilling prophecy effect and a sort of double bind situation being in place.

When it concerns a prophecy that can span many years though, it's simply not reasonable to expect those would resolve themselves with any kind of accuracy if we take the predictamancer view as true. This would be the "you can accept your fate or run from it but through various ways you'll end up at the same destination" view I'm talking about.

Logically this would lead to 2 possibilities as I can see them.

1) Predictamancers are wrong. There's really no such thing as free choice, even in small matters. Whatever you do you were fated to do from the start and all of Erf reality is predetermined. Prophecies and predictions are simply part of the workings of this system. When a predictamancers makes a prediction, they aren't making the choice to do so, they were fated to do so and fated to make exactly that prediction in exactly that way with all its respective results.

Or

2) Erfworld has deities of quasi-omnipotence with nothing better to do then mess with stats, rolls and character traits (and by extension decisions?) to make sure a certain script is followed. It would almost be impossible for it not to be a conscious person or persons, because these prophecies are following a narrative. That's not something a non-sentient force should be able to do except in the case of the first option.

Technically speaking, it is of course the first since this is a written work. Basically predestination is under control of the authors. But if that were to be made explicit in the writing it would be rather disappointing to me. I don't really think there's anything clever about pointing out that "Hey, this book you've been reading was a BOOK all along." No kidding. I think, hope, that that would be beneath Rob.

Option 2 seems more likely, but man would it ever be frustrating to live in a world like that. No wonder everyone in it seems to want to kill each other.

Of course there's also a third possibility of "We're never going to explain it". Personally I would find that a little disappointing as well.

Personal prediction though: The final climax will involve some sort of War against the Gods, where the remaining protagonists fight against Fate or the Titans to end their meddling with the destinies of Erf.
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Re: Predictamancy

Postby Sieggy » Thu Nov 01, 2012 9:22 am

The final episode of this season of Doctor Who had an interesting treatment of that in "The Angels Take Manhattan'. Fate, knowledge, and paradox all wound up in a tragisweet knot . . .
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Re: Predictamancy

Postby drachefly » Thu Nov 01, 2012 12:00 pm

TazTheTerrible wrote:Logically this would lead to 2 possibilities as I can see them.

1) Predictamancers are wrong. There's really no such thing as free choice, even in small matters. Whatever you do you were fated to do from the start and all of Erf reality is predetermined. Prophecies and predictions are simply part of the workings of this system. When a predictamancers makes a prediction, they aren't making the choice to do so, they were fated to do so and fated to make exactly that prediction in exactly that way with all its respective results.


Any definition of free will that makes it something worth having is compatible with determinism. The only odd cases predictamancy/prophecy adds are those where the fact of someone later making a choice makes an appearance in their decision process of making that choice.
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Re: Predictamancy

Postby 0beron » Thu Nov 01, 2012 12:07 pm

There is nothing to really support this, besides meta-knowledge, but I think #1 cannot be true. If there was absolutely no free choice, then there wouldn't be as much point to the story, and it would leave readers extremely disappointed in the end, so Rob can't have Fate work that way.
If instead there are certain fixed events which must occur somehow, with details like when and where and who possibly somewhat flexible, then Predictamancy is still possible and valid, while still giving us as readers the satisfaction of knowing that character's "little choices" actually mattered.
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Re: Predictamancy

Postby drachefly » Thu Nov 01, 2012 2:48 pm

0beron wrote:There is nothing to really support this, besides meta-knowledge, but I think #1 cannot be true. If there was absolutely no free choice, then there wouldn't be as much point to the story, and it would leave readers extremely disappointed in the end, so Rob can't have Fate work that way.


That sounds like determinism. What is free will made of? Stable decision processes (note: you can also make other things out of stable decision processes). This is perfectly compatible with determinism.

Fate, here, is simply a mechanism by which certain elements of the future are observed prior to their occurring, in a self-consistent fashion.

This distinction would be tricky to write about, but it could be done.
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Re: Predictamancy

Postby 0beron » Thu Nov 01, 2012 3:02 pm

Sorry if I am repeating you Drache, but your post honestly confused me a little. What I am arguing against is the idea that every single tiny action is predetermined and part of Fate. Instead, I support the following idea:
Certain things are fixed and sure to occur, but the path units take to get to that point, as well as details like when and where may change as a result of actions taken by free will. Predictamancy lets you see those fixed events, either devoid of the mutable details, or including some of the mutable details that are subject to change.

Also Predictamancy can see very near future events (seconds ahead) because the actions/decisions involved in bringing those events to pass have already been made (and this aspect could even make use of the oddities of Erfworld time)
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Re: Predictamancy

Postby drachefly » Fri Nov 02, 2012 12:43 pm

0beron wrote:Certain things are fixed and sure to occur, but the path units take to get to that point, as well as details like when and where may change as a result of actions taken by free will.


Free will isn't on the implementation layer of the universe. It's a category of things that can happen, but as explanations go it's just a restriction on one's ignorance. So, even details can be fully deterministic without impacting free will.
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Re: Predictamancy

Postby bladestorm » Fri Nov 02, 2012 2:00 pm

Or it could just be that the Predictamancers are able to look at future possibilities. The more they see the same thing, the more likely it is to transpire. To use Delphie as an example:

She did ten readings into the future concerning the new heir. In nine of those, a caster was popped instead of a warlord. Of those nine, seven were born female. As the day of the popping came closer, all ten visions were a caster, and nine were female. She knew it was going to be a female caster.

Casting the readings upon the new caster, and playing out the various possibilities. She sees two paths where she immediately turns, and Goodminton is destroyed in the process. One vision involves trading off the new caster, but goodminton still falls 250 turns later. Three images of Goodminton fighting against Haffaton, all eventually losing and the caster joining the other side. One image of the caster destroying the side herself and then joining Haffaton. One image of a peaceful negotiation that the Overlord leads, with Goodminton being subjugated into Haffaton anyway, but at least the units are spared. One image of Delphie doing the negotiations, the caster turns to Haffaton, and Haffaton becomes a bubble side and lives a long happy existence. The last image was a trade negotiation lead by the Overlord that goes sour, everyone dies, and the caster is captured. End result of the prediction: Wanda will serve under Olive.

Knowing the side is screwed no matter which one she chooses, she pushes to try to get the one future where Goodminton survives intact. No such luck, since the fools around here get in the way. Another reading to see the eventual outcome of Goodminton, now that the caster has popped and is on the road sowing Goodminton's destruction. Ten more images. One has a male warlord named Gil finding the note, four have someone named Jillian finding the note, one has a saucy red-headed special agent named Gillian finding the note, one has a princess Jill and her Knave finding the note, one has a pair of warlord finding it, one has the entire Wrecd crew occupying Goodminton (and dying after eating poisoned provisions, but they still found the note), and one has some orc raiding the room and not finding the note (the hat is found 2500 turns later by Ansom when Jetstone rebuilds the city site and he splits off to form his own side). There's a good chance the note will be found. Further readings reveal more details about what happens after the note is found.

Or for the images of Wanda and the Arkentool. One of the initial images may have been Wanda with the Arkenhammer, prying it from Stanley's uncroaked paws after his failed attempt to attack Faq. One may have her wielding the pliers after Haffaton storms Jetstone. Four may have her prying the pliers from Ansom's body, but none of the four have Ansom falling in the same way. Two may show her ridng into battle with a flight of dwagons against Jetstone and claiming the pliers from Ossomer. One may show her attuning to the Arkendish after Haffaton destroys Charlie. Many different points in the time line, and the variable change due to how far out the events are, but in each of them she attunes to an Arkentool. In all but one of those, Faq gets destroyed, and half of them have her as a Haffaton unit. Safe bet, Haffaton is the agent of Faq's destruction, and Wanda attunes to an Arkentool.

Predictions may not be so rigidly set. Delphie may have known that the note would be found (90% chance), but not when. Delphie can know that Wanda will serve as a caster under Olive, but there are many specifics that are too vague to make out until the events in reality get closer to the event that will happen.

Parson is predicted to break war so hard that there will be peace of erf. No immediate details, no specific body counts in that equation, no time frame, and very little specifics. Similar levels of detail are found in the amateur predictamancy thread. The closer the event, the more detailed we make our predictions. Until enough events unfold that we are certain that Wanda is about to split off to her own side, we won't be trying to pin down the exact page in which she splits off. We know that eventually the possibility is there. Once we are within a few pages, we can start plugging in more details into the prediction.
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Re: Predictamancy

Postby ftl » Fri Nov 02, 2012 2:32 pm

That seems unlikely. Probabilities are the domain of mathamancy, not predictamancy.
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Re: Predictamancy

Postby drachefly » Fri Nov 02, 2012 6:10 pm

Yeah, that's so totally contradictory with the way predictamancy has been presented, I dismiss it.
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Re: Predictamancy

Postby bladestorm » Fri Nov 02, 2012 7:15 pm

ftl wrote:That seems unlikely. Probabilities are the domain of mathamancy, not predictamancy.

Sorta like how golems are the domain of Dirtamancy, not Dollamancy. We don't know the extent of most of the magick disciplines, but iit's fun to spectulate.

Mathamancy deals with Numbers, Predictamancy deals with Fate. Otherwise, they are both Hocus Pocus. no reason why probabilities can't apply to both. Mathematical computations vs images of actions yet to be taken. From what we've seen of Mathemancy, the results are interpreted as a number (72-79% chance of success, 34 Archons needed to take GK by air). Predictamancy answer questions with events. View the immediate future of Parson, and every image eventually has him going through that portal. Some images (easy way) will have him going through in two updates, some in two years (Hard way), and some require physical confrontation with hippiemancers and predictamancers screening him from shots from shockamancers, carnymancers, and thinkamancers (Jillian's way). All of them show him going through the portal, Easy way, Hard way and Very Hard way. Therefore, he will go through that portal, I so Predict it.
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Re: Predictamancy

Postby Sir_Dr_D » Fri Nov 02, 2012 7:25 pm

0beron wrote:Sorry if I am repeating you Drache, but your post honestly confused me a little. What I am arguing against is the idea that every single tiny action is predetermined and part of Fate. Instead, I support the following idea:
Certain things are fixed and sure to occur, but the path units take to get to that point, as well as details like when and where may change as a result of actions taken by free will. Predictamancy lets you see those fixed events, either devoid of the mutable details, or including some of the mutable details that are subject to change.

Also Predictamancy can see very near future events (seconds ahead) because the actions/decisions involved in bringing those events to pass have already been made (and this aspect could even make use of the oddities of Erfworld time)


This is exacty how I see things,both for the short term and long term predictamancy. Long term predictamancy sounds similar to a dm railroading a plot. Certain things are going to happen, based on the story the dm wants to tell, even if he doesn't know how it is going to get there yet. The player can fight against the 'story outline' as much as he wants but eventually the dm will find a way to get the event to occur. Whether 'fate' in erfworld is a concsious entity or not is yet to be determined, but it does seem like erfworld wants certain events to happen.

Parson may find a way to go against fate, not by directly trying to break it like erfworlders do, but analyzing it and understanding how it works.
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Re: Predictamancy

Postby Sieggy » Fri Nov 02, 2012 8:27 pm

IOW, Rob is a Titan . . .
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Re: Predictamancy

Postby Nnelg » Fri Nov 02, 2012 11:58 pm

I think you guys are all looking at it the wrong way.

I presume that most of you are familiar with the visualization of time as a line which changes course in one direction or the other based on people's choices. But in this metaphor, you view the "future" as something special. Either it is unknown and/or mutable because of free will, or it is fixed and there is no free will.

But you have forgotten: if you are visualizing the timeline from an out-of-time perspective, concepts such as "past" and "future" no longer have any real meaning. Pick any arbitrary point in the "past". Now, declare that the new "present". Its "future" is fixed, at least from your point of view. Does that mean that nobody existing at that time had any free will? Why should beings at that "present" have any less free will than the "current" one?

So then, why do you perceive the "current" "future" being fixed from an entirely out-of-time perspective as being mutually exclusive of people existing entirely within said timeline having free will? It is not "predestination", no more than the "past" being fixed is "postdestination". There is no pre or post.


Information-only time travel does not violate this, either. Bear with me now, because I'm going to need a running start to explain why not.

Now, imagine history as a series of discrete events connected by cause and effect. Each event is an effect of one or more causes, and is a cause of one or more effects. For example:

Events:
You are hungry.
You make a sandwich to eat.
You eat the sandwich you made.
You are no longer hungry.

Cause/Effect Linkage:
Cause: You are hungry - Effect: You make a sandwich to eat.
Causes: You are hungry, You have made a sandwich to eat - Effect: You eat the sandwich you made.
Cause: You ate the sandwich you made - Effect: You are no longer hungry.

A string of events of arbitrary complexity such as this can be used to describe any series of real-life events for which all facts are known (as well enough as we can know them, at least). Therefore, the application of this model to a series of events cannot be said to be mutually exclusive with the existence of free will during said events, provided free will exists in real life.

But, you can apply this model to a non-causal system, but still have it converge. For instance:

Events:
Marie Predicts Jillian will be ambushed.
Jillian changes her course.
Jillian is ambushed.

Cause/Effect Linkage:
Cause: Marie Predicts Jillian will be ambushed - Effect: Jillian changes her course.
Cause: Jillian changes her course - Effect: Jillian is ambushed.
Cause: Jillian is ambushed - Effect: Marie Predicts Jillian will be ambushed.

The system still works out all right. It does not create a paradox, but most importantly, Jillian's knowledge of her future does not imply the non-existence of her free will any more than her knowledge of her past.


Of course, you might say "but if she has free will, then couldn't she have chosen not to have changed course? Or taken a third option altogether? Then she would have avoided the ambush." And you're right to ask such questions. It turns out that there's at least two different ways to view this.

The first is the omniscient, out-of-time perspective. In our omniscience, we know exactly where the ambush is, and that therefore Jillian will be ambushed if and only if she changes course. If Jillian decided not to change course after receiving Marie's warning then the ambush would never have taken place, and therefore Marie wouldn't have Predicted it, and therefore Jillian wouldn't have changed course anyways, and therefore Marie wouldn't have Predicted it, anyways. And thus, we see the system converge to a point where all cause and effect is balanced. Of course, neither Jillian nor Marie see any of this. Existing within the timestream itself, they only see the result of convergence.

The other view is within the timestream itself. Casting ourselves in the role of Jillian, and assuming we are in the result of convergence as apposed to a paradox, we therefore know that the course we choose will be the one that leads to an ambush. Because if it weren't, then the prediction wouldn't have occurred. The situation effectively becomes Schrödinger's ambush, lying simultaneously along each path we might take, until the point at which we choose one. This example also shows us an intriguing, yet also somewhat disturbing phenomenon: the more we know about the future, the less we can be certain of the past (which includes what we normally call the present, since every moment we perceive passes before we can comprehend it).



Heh, now I've lost track of what I was trying to say.
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Re: Predictamancy

Postby Sieggy » Sat Nov 03, 2012 9:08 am

In other words, as Delphine said, what is fated to happen will happen, and you can choose an easy course to that eventuality or a hard one. Your choice of path is free will, but your free will does not alter what fate has decreed. Que Sera. Sera, but how you get there is an expression of your free will.

Like skiing down the mountain - you're going to get to the bottom. How fast, how fun, and in how many pieces you get there is your choice.
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Re: Predictamancy

Postby 0beron » Sat Nov 03, 2012 9:12 am

I think Nnelg is suggesting something different from Sieggy's mountain metaphor. He is suggesting that your precise path is "predetermined". The path is still a result of your free will, but it can be predicted with 100% accuracy before you do it.

Again, I feel that even this would be disappointing if it were true, because the end result is really the same as a scenario where you didn't have free will in the first place. In any universe where every event can be perfectly predicted and one path was always "meant" to occur, it means the story had no point.
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Re: Predictamancy

Postby Nnelg » Sat Nov 03, 2012 11:34 am

0beron wrote:I think Nnelg is suggesting something different from Sieggy's mountain metaphor. He is suggesting that your precise path is "predetermined". The path is still a result of your free will, but it can be predicted with 100% accuracy before you do it.

No, not before. Nor after. You're still applying temporal concepts to an out-of-time perspective.


Sieggy's understanding it a bit better, it seems. From an entirely in-time perspective, you know now, and you know (because of predictimancy) some point in the future. You know that the actions you will based on this knowledge will ultimately result in the event you have knowledge of taking place.

So, one way to look at it is that your free will is expressed in how you choose to get there. For instance, instead of trying to avoid the ambush, one could choose the path where the terrain is least favorable to prospective ambushers; keeping your units on high alert, ready for combat at a moment's notice.


But remember, this view is only for a completely in-time perspective, in which the majority of neither the past nor the future is known. From an omniscient, out-of-time perspective, the path seems fixed. But in actuality this is just the ultimate culmination of the choices made by those with free will, not something set "beforehand" (remember that outside of time concepts like "before" and "after" have no meaning).
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Re: Predictamancy

Postby Nnelg » Sat Nov 03, 2012 3:14 pm

0beron wrote:Again, I feel that even this would be disappointing if it were true, because the end result is really the same as a scenario where you didn't have free will in the first place.

Yes, it is. :lol:
Now you're starting so see what the whole philosophical debate on what "Free Will" actually means is about.


In any universe where every event can be perfectly predicted and one path was always "meant" to occur, it means the story had no point.

The thing is, we're looking at things from outside the universe in question. It's not that one path was "meant" to occur, it's that only one path does occur. There is no "always", either, since again we're looking at it from the side.
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