Book 2 – Page 13

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Re: Book 2 – Page 13

Postby Azukar » Sun Dec 27, 2009 12:30 am

Regarding this mystery caster...

Has there been speculation that it'll be Rocky horror-themed? Possibly Riff-Raff or even Frankie himself?

If we didn't already have a known Turnamancer, I'd put forward the possibility of Frankenfurter casting spells to the tune of "Leeeets doooo the Tiiiime waaarp agaaaain!"
---

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Re: Book 2 – Page 13

Postby Dr Pepper » Sun Dec 27, 2009 12:44 am

gameboy1234 wrote:
the_tick_rules wrote:I'm guessing it's been brought up but why would wanda wanna just erase a side?



Well, Jetstone is the primary opponent of GK right now. Jetstone is pushing the RCCII the hardest, acting as the leader and rallying point, they forced Hagar to join at sword point, etc. Dust Jetstone and you've dusted the biggest threat, and GK gets a lot safer.


Dust Jetstone and Haggar goes home, so that's two enemies down.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 13

Postby ftl » Sun Dec 27, 2009 1:17 am

Gah! I *was* wrong and nobody caught me on it! I didn't notice until now!

We DO learn something new about the bracer. The very first panel! Parson says "With the new intel, your odds of taking airspace then garrison drop from 99-something to 56."

This is significant. We know that the bracer did NOT already know the composition of the forces there, until Parson was told them. Previously to this, I don't think we had a specific instance like that - nothing changes except for Parson's intel, the bracer changes odds.

So I'm going to continue to disagree with
theseus2x wrote:First : Regarding the bracer - we've already determined it can do some form of predictamancy based on information Parson couldn't possibly have.


I'm going to continue to claim that it does not do predictomancy (doesn't have access to knowledge about the future) and doesn't do lookamancy (doesn't have priveleged access to the state of the world like a lookamancer would.) It does Mathamancy, as on the label - it combines knowledge that's supposed to be "already known" in a numerical way, and integrates it all into a numerical form that Parson wouldn't be able to do by himself, thus being able to give probabilities for complex events.


Also, all these calculations are quite likely to be irrelevant, because at least half the battle is going to be decided by the Jillian-Wanda-Ansom dynamic...
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Re: Book 2 – Page 13

Postby noxharrington » Sun Dec 27, 2009 2:11 am

Sinrus wrote:What you thought that the entire army was dwagons?

And on the subject of the bracer, I don't see what the big deal is. Parson can't just ask 'What are the chances of taking Spacerock,' he needs to enter in all of the useful information. So if he doesn't know something (like Jillian's surprise air force) it won't be included in the calculations. Also, since he doesn't know the caster type, he enters in 1 caster and the bracer calculates the odds for all caster types, then either averages them or just tells him a range.


What makes you think the bracer requires you to enter anything? We have never seen evidence of that. My impression is it answers questions when asked. Also, it seems to test the between-panel load limit to imagine that Parson asked separate questions about all different caster types "during" this update.

theseus2x wrote:Yes, there are a lot of things Parson can't know about Charlie, and a lot of future variables Parson and Charlie can't (presumably) know when making that sort of calculation. Yet the bracer gave them a number anyway, and both seemed to take it as a viable number, and not as the bracer's equivalent of an error message because it couldn't compute. :P This makes me think there's more going on here than just the bracer going "What the fuck...? You didn't provide X, Y or Z in this equation. Fine. I'll give you an answer that won't be worth bull----".


Yes, thank you.

ftl wrote:Do people really think we learned something new about the bracer here???

This is the most basic type of calculation there IS for it! "We know our composition of forces. We know the composition of the enemy forces, with one unknown variable. What are the odds of winning based on all the possible values of that variable."

That's... exactly the calculation that's easiest. Known forces on both sides, what's the odds of winning. The exact same calculation that it's been doing since day 1. The only twist is that they don't know the type of caster - but that's trivial, there's a small list of possibilities, the wiki in fact has a list of *all possible* casters it could be.


The new thing for me is, we have never seen the bracer give a range of probabilities before. Maybe he asked about each and every caster type separately, but, as I mentioned above, that seems narratively off to me. It's not so much the fact that the bracer can yield probability ranges that changes things - it's the fact that, if it can, it has never done so before. That IS significant.

ftl wrote:Gah! I *was* wrong and nobody caught me on it! I didn't notice until now!

We DO learn something new about the bracer. The very first panel! Parson says "With the new intel, your odds of taking airspace then garrison drop from 99-something to 56."

This is significant. We know that the bracer did NOT already know the composition of the forces there, until Parson was told them. Previously to this, I don't think we had a specific instance like that - nothing changes except for Parson's intel, the bracer changes odds.

So I'm going to continue to disagree with
theseus2x wrote:First : Regarding the bracer - we've already determined it can do some form of predictamancy based on information Parson couldn't possibly have.


I'm going to continue to claim that it does not do predictomancy (doesn't have access to knowledge about the future) and doesn't do lookamancy (doesn't have priveleged access to the state of the world like a lookamancer would.) It does Mathamancy, as on the label - it combines knowledge that's supposed to be "already known" in a numerical way, and integrates it all into a numerical form that Parson wouldn't be able to do by himself, thus being able to give probabilities for complex events.

Also, all these calculations are quite likely to be irrelevant, because at least half the battle is going to be decided by the Jillian-Wanda-Ansom dynamic...


This is a very good point. Basically, every question Parson asks the bracer should be prefaced with "assuming I am in possession of all facts about the current situation..." So, I'm left believing that Charlie's "what are the odds it's worth it to use these questions" questions was completely worthless. Parson doesn't know what questions Charlie might ask, so the bracer must have no way of determining the potential value of these questions vs. what happened to the archons.

One more point in the 'bracer pretty much useless' column. It would probably be way more useful if it were more inclined to give a 'sorry, insufficient information' response instead of taking stabs at results it has no way of reaching. Or does it? I am pretty sure there is a full-on contradiction in these results somewhere. At the very least, they have been given unjustified narrative weight.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 13

Postby Sinrus » Sun Dec 27, 2009 4:12 am

noxharrington wrote:
Sinrus wrote:What you thought that the entire army was dwagons?

And on the subject of the bracer, I don't see what the big deal is. Parson can't just ask 'What are the chances of taking Spacerock,' he needs to enter in all of the useful information. So if he doesn't know something (like Jillian's surprise air force) it won't be included in the calculations. Also, since he doesn't know the caster type, he enters in 1 caster and the bracer calculates the odds for all caster types, then either averages them or just tells him a range.


What makes you think the bracer requires you to enter anything? We have never seen evidence of that. My impression is it answers questions when asked. Also, it seems to test the between-panel load limit to imagine that Parson asked separate questions about all different caster types "during" this update.


After 30-45 minutes of searching, I found this page. Panel 2, Parson is pushing buttons on the bracer. I win. http://www.erfworld.com/book-1-archive/?px=/125.jpg
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Re: Book 2 – Page 13

Postby Black » Sun Dec 27, 2009 4:17 am

This isn't a competition.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 13

Postby Sinrus » Sun Dec 27, 2009 5:38 am

Not any more, the competition is over. I won.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 13

Postby Jeivar » Sun Dec 27, 2009 5:47 am

Man, I just love how much of an utter wild card Jillian is in all of this. She's powerful, has powerful feelings for some of the biggest players in this mess and her successes or failures will have far-reaching consequences, but no-one truly knows what choices she'll make, because she herself has no idea. She's completely unpredictable, and even sneaky, sinister, cold-blooded Wanda can't control or predict her behavior with any reliability. EVERYONE is confused about her motives.

I love her. :)

And Parson still can't avoid doing tremendous harm, much as he would like to. I look forward to seeing what steps he'll eventually take to have more control over how his strategic sense gets used.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 13

Postby The Shadow » Sun Dec 27, 2009 6:19 am

My two cents on some much-discussed topics:

First, regarding heirs. When Parson says "we aren't sure", I don't think it's a viable assumption that he means, "We aren't sure that Ossomer is the heir." In context, it seems to mean, "We aren't sure how the heir mechanic meshes with the decryption mechanic." Much the same way they aren't sure if a decrypted caster will be able to cast - it's never been tried before.

Parson clearly states what "we" (that is, GK) "aren't sure" about - whether Jetstone in the event of Slately's death would fall or convert to Toolism en masse. Tramennis being the new heir doesn't even seem to be on the table. Since Parson, Wanda, and Maggie all aren't stupid, and given that stats can be read, it seems clear that Ossomer still has the "heir" special, or whatever it is.

One thing we glean from this, I think, is that heirs can turn and still remain the heir. Otherwise this discussion would not be on the table, given that decryption is like turning only much more so.

Second, the calculator. I just stumbled upon what may be the only example thus far of what its use is like from Parson's point of view. I haven't seen anyone else bring it up: Summer Update 6. The relevant piece is:

Parson frowned, and played with his bracer. With some basic touch commands and subvocalizations, he was able to build a scenario. This city, this tower, a unit like me attempts a missile attack on a unit like Stanley, on ground in courtyard. Odds.

"One in about 5400, it says."


So it would seem that Parson does enter values into it, both by voice and touch. I'm guessing that it may be somewhat like giving orders to a subordinate - in other words, as he gets used to it, the process might get more and more "mental".

P.S. I guess I one-upped the "competition". Do I win something? :)
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Re: Book 2 – Page 13

Postby Dr Pepper » Sun Dec 27, 2009 6:27 am

You win a day at the spa and full body massage. For the massage you get the choice of Wanda or a twoll.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 13

Postby Hobgobwin » Sun Dec 27, 2009 7:25 am

Dr Pepper wrote:You win a day at the spa and full body massage. For the massage you get the choice of Wanda or a twoll.


Or, alternatively, a twoll dressed as Wanda.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 13

Postby Ninjaguineapig » Sun Dec 27, 2009 8:52 am

Ossomer, and by extension GK, know that Haggar doesn't want to be in this war. Maybe a Thinkagram to the King of Haggar could get them to switch to GK's side and break with Jetstone at the last minute. Even if the Haggar forces aren't substantial, a surprise attack from a supposed ally in tandem with the GK attack could crush the Jetstone column. Alternatively, since the Haggar forces are reserves, they're probably going to be waiting in or near Spacerock. They can break and occupy the city just when Jetstone needs them in the field.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 13

Postby noxharrington » Sun Dec 27, 2009 8:56 am

The Shadow wrote:
Parson frowned, and played with his bracer. With some basic touch commands and subvocalizations, he was able to build a scenario. This city, this tower, a unit like me attempts a missile attack on a unit like Stanley, on ground in courtyard. Odds.

"One in about 5400, it says."


So it would seem that Parson does enter values into it, both by voice and touch. I'm guessing that it may be somewhat like giving orders to a subordinate - in other words, as he gets used to it, the process might get more and more "mental".




Both very helpful. What this doesn't answer, of course, is to what extent Parson needs provide his own values for these factors and how much they are filled in for him from some store of Erfworld knowledge possessed by the bracer itself. The latter must be to a greater or lesser extent true. Who knows what values Parson might have been typing/subvocalizing/thinking for Charlie's potential future questions. I think that we now know (thanks both of you for doing the legwork) that the interface with the bracer is both manual and verbal and, possibly, mental. What we don't know is whether all he has to do is think something (very complicated) like "Charlie's future questions" and the bracer will assign its own values, or whether Parson himself has to assign some value to that. Parson is a very clever gamesman, for sure, but I don't think we should assume he's a straight-up Rainman-level mathematical genius like that would require.

But here's what is puzzling to me. So, Parson asked the bracer a question, this time, specifically saying 'we don't know what kind of caster they have.' But he would have had no idea what kind of questions Charlie might ask. Yet this is the first time we've seen the bracer produce a range of probabilities. Right? Doesn't that seem weird to anyone else? If he had mentioned "we don't know what questions Charlie will ask," would the bracer have told him a fairly useless range of outcomes, one end assuming really bad useless questions (or that Charlie or Parson might die before getting to use them all) and the other really sharp relevant ones? Further, if Parson had left out his own uncertainty when asking the bracer this update's question, might it have given him a definite answer based on what caster is actually there, regardless of Parson's own ignorance of that detail?
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Re: Book 2 – Page 13

Postby raphfrk » Sun Dec 27, 2009 9:08 am

noxharrington wrote:One more point in the 'bracer pretty much useless' column. It would probably be way more useful if it were more inclined to give a 'sorry, insufficient information' response instead of taking stabs at results it has no way of reaching. Or does it? I am pretty sure there is a full-on contradiction in these results somewhere. At the very least, they have been given unjustified narrative weight.


The odds it gives are still the best guess based on the info present. This is still useful.

If it had zero info, then it gives a 50% response.

It might be worth asking something like "What is the worst case odds of taking the city assuming we are (un)lucky?". (though he would need some way to quantify luck).

This would give a range of possible outcomes.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 13

Postby BillMcD » Sun Dec 27, 2009 9:41 am

The telling moment will be when Parson finally asks his bracer, "What are the odds Wanda's going to go off half-cocked and completely muck things up?"
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Re: Book 2 – Page 13

Postby Ninjaguineapig » Sun Dec 27, 2009 10:25 am

99.99% repeating.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 13

Postby Dancing Cthulhu » Sun Dec 27, 2009 10:57 am

Azukar wrote:Regarding this mystery caster...

Has there been speculation that it'll be Rocky horror-themed? Possibly Riff-Raff or even Frankie himself?

If we didn't already have a known Turnamancer, I'd put forward the possibility of Frankenfurter casting spells to the tune of "Leeeets doooo the Tiiiime waaarp agaaaain!"


Underneath the white mage robe is... Tim Curry in fishnets, heels and a corset! :o

I'm sure Weirdomancy would be just as fitting with that reveal (based on name alone, since I have no idea what it does). :D

Ninjaguineapig wrote:Ossomer, and by extension GK, know that Haggar doesn't want to be in this war. Maybe a Thinkagram to the King of Haggar could get them to switch to GK's side and break with Jetstone at the last minute. Even if the Haggar forces aren't substantial, a surprise attack from a supposed ally in tandem with the GK attack could crush the Jetstone column. Alternatively, since the Haggar forces are reserves, they're probably going to be waiting in or near Spacerock. They can break and occupy the city just when Jetstone needs them in the field.


I'm not sure it would work for a couple of reasons -

1 - Contacting them via thinkamancy could be difficult/not quick enough if they don't have a thinkamancer, since it seems only Charlie can easily contact other sides that way.
2 - It would be interesting to see the effects of cloak and dagger in Erfworld, how quickly can a side break an alliance and begin attacking?
3 - The forces are substantial, they are the "massive column" half a turn away that Trem and Oss were going to hold GK up for, to give them the time to arrive. I doubt the ruler of Haggar is with them personally though, so that is another lot of communication that would need to take place before the column started misbehaving.
4 - Well, it is still GK trying to make them break. Whatever Haggar might be feeling about the alliance it would be pretty crazy, in one turn, to decide to stab an ally in the back because your enemy contacts you and says "hey, we know you're not happy to be there, why not betray Jetstone?"

Personally though I could imagine Haggar having planned on betraying Jetstone from the moment they learnt they were being let bring a massive column to the very gates of Spacerock - if the opportunity arose of course, what with GK's strike force of doom around. Back stabbing can wait till everyone is safe.

ftl wrote:This is significant. We know that the bracer did NOT already know the composition of the forces there, until Parson was told them. Previously to this, I don't think we had a specific instance like that - nothing changes except for Parson's intel, the bracer changes odds.


I think the closest, similar, occurrence is those calcs made at the outset of the Great Marbit/Gobwin mystery. Parson starts off with an answer that might well be accurate under normal circumstances but wasn't in actual fact (namely the Gobwins they should be seeing weren't there and that there was a good chance Charlie was involved in that).

Which just shows the bracer isn't all knowing and can/does have gaps the need to be filled in to give a more accurate answer. I wonder if Wanda is at all disturbed by the knowledge. If she hadn't followed Parson's gut on the importance of intel they would have followed Ansom's plan, which I imagine took some comfort in a calc that hadn't taken Jillian+glyers/mystery caster/Haggar into accound... but then again it is a sign of a good leader to be able to adapt on the fly, since not many of them have mystical bracers to help decide the way forward.

The Shadow wrote:Parson clearly states what "we" (that is, GK) "aren't sure" about - whether Jetstone in the event of Slately's death would fall or convert to Toolism en masse. Tramennis being the new heir doesn't even seem to be on the table. Since Parson, Wanda, and Maggie all aren't stupid, and given that stats can be read, it seems clear that Ossomer still has the "heir" special, or whatever it is.


Indeed, that makes sense. Although (I know I've wondered aloud about it in the past, whether it will be possible) it will be weird if an heir, after dying, decryption and now belonging to another side, can still inherit their former side when the current ruler dies. A side compelled to serve its king who in turn must serve Stanley as well as (more pressingly) Wanda who to some extent also serves Stanley...
And so my time with the Tardy Elves draws to a close, and I am let to ponder how the experience will... eh, I'll finish later. No need to rush.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 13

Postby theseus2x » Sun Dec 27, 2009 12:28 pm

Ninjaguineapig wrote:Ossomer, and by extension GK, know that Haggar doesn't want to be in this war. Maybe a Thinkagram to the King of Haggar could get them to switch to GK's side and break with Jetstone at the last minute. Even if the Haggar forces aren't substantial, a surprise attack from a supposed ally in tandem with the GK attack could crush the Jetstone column. Alternatively, since the Haggar forces are reserves, they're probably going to be waiting in or near Spacerock. They can break and occupy the city just when Jetstone needs them in the field.


I agree in principle. However, I think Haggar would want to be certain that Jetstone WAS going down before they'd turn. You really don't want to stab your enemy in the back, and then that enemy lives. It would be embarrassing.

Regarding the Heir :

Parson isn't stupid. The only times in the past when he's gotten screwed are A) When he doesn't know something. or B) When he's made assumptions based on what he's been told (i.e. Wanda telling him Jillian won't break the spell). He knows that. I really don't think he'd make the same mistake again. So if he thinks Ossamer is the heir, I'm thinking it means Ossamer is or was the heir.

Having said all that : Do we know Slately can't promote a new heir when its not his turn?
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Re: Book 2 – Page 13

Postby Ninjaguineapig » Sun Dec 27, 2009 12:40 pm

Is Ossomer still the heir? If Wanda croaks Slately, does Ossomer become King of Jetstone under GK?
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Re: Book 2 – Page 13

Postby theseus2x » Sun Dec 27, 2009 12:52 pm

Ninjaguineapig wrote:Is Ossomer still the heir? If Wanda croaks Slately, does Ossomer become King of Jetstone under GK?


Supposedly not - Ossomer is considered "dead" as far as Jetstone is concerned. So (in theory) if Slately dies, it will be Unaroyal all over again.
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