Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) - Episode 008

Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) - Episode 008

"Now here's an important thing, though," said Clay, pointing at the die. "Where did those 4s come from?"

Wanda looked down at the little brown enchanted pyramid and shook her head. "From you. You cast upon the die."

Clay grinned slyly. "So you're saying my juice had a physical effect on the way the die rolled."

"Yes."

"Yes and no," said Clay, grinning more broadly now. "It's not a direct effect, you see? The 4 is a Number. It had to come from somewhere."

Wanda put her hand on the workbench and stared at the dice some more. She could smell Clay's breath, and it wasn't good. More of the Signamancy of decay she had noticed on both Clay and Delphie. But she was tired of asking simple "why" questions. She was weary of learning, but still wanted to know. So, what could he mean...?

She folded her left hand over her right, on the edge of the workbench, still staring at the die. "The juice in your spell did not create the outcome, you are saying. Your spell did not create the 4. It...what?" What was the alternative? "Enabled it, somehow?"

"Honestly?" said Clay, "that's the nice way to say it. Whatt'm saying is that maybe that die would have come up 4s three times anyway. So maybe my spell did nothing at all, at least so far. That's why I say it'll roll high 'for a little while.' I don't know. But here's what I do know. And maybe it's kind of a secret of my discipline but I think it's important, and I wanna tell you."

He shifted in his seat. His feet were fidgeting, making the strained joints of the little stool squeak rhythmically. "Luckamancy doesn't create good outcomes, because that would undermine Mathamancy and Predictamancy. Mathamancy deals with real Numbers. If Luckamancy could just create Numbers out of juice, out of thin air, then every odds calculation would be off. Y'see?" Wanda thought she did. "So what Luckamancy actually does is steal Numbers from the world. Don't tell anybody that, okay?"

He paused, serious enough about this point to wait for Wanda to nod in agreement.

"Please. I'm really not supposed to talk about my work like this. But it's so interesting iddn't it?"

Wanda was not entirely sure she agreed. These were unfamiliar, esoteric concepts, and she had to admit that her eyes were glazing over from the overload. Clearly though, this magic was as complex and nuanced as her own discipline. She saw in Clay's face the same kind of illumination she recognized from her own journey of discovery. The things she had taught herself so far about Matter and Motion must have made her just as jubilant as Clay was about his dice and cards.

And this stuff Clay was excited about might even be more important, in the grand picture of the world. She should learn it, if she wanted to function as a warlord for her side. "Where do you steal the Numbers from?" she prompted.

"Well, the world," said Clay, looking a little less sure. "If you rolled all the D4s in the world a bunch of times, that one included," he said, pointing at the die, "you'd get an even mix of ones, twos, threes and fours. This little guy stole his roll from somewhere," he said, picking it up. "And I think the world is lazy, you know? I don't think it goes very far to steal good outcomes when I boost one of our warlords, you know?"

Wanda frowned, "Would it steal from our enemies?" She could see this boosting the effectiveness of Luckamancy.

But Clay rolled his eyes with exasperation. "If only. That's the one thing it really doesn't do. In fact we sometimes see the opposite. The enemy rolls better than they should or," and here he looked really pained, "...or we roll worse."

Wanda was horrified, "What, it steals Numbers from us?!"

"Not all the time!" said Clay, putting up a hand defensively. "I mean, it depends. The net effect is still good for us, because we're picking the right battles to win. But yeah it can be really hard on the rest of our side, sometimes. Especially unled and unboosted units. We...lose more of those kind of battles than we should. That's another reason we're not exactly conquering Erfworld right now."

When he saw the look on her face, he seemed to realize just why Luckamancers are not supposed to talk about such things.

Wanda didn't even know what to say. She just stared down at the dice, her brow wrinkled in consternation. Was Clay hurting them as much as helping? Was he actually worse than useless? And it was Delphie making these decisions as to who would receive a boost at the cost of everyone else? Why would that not be Tommy's call? Or Father's? It disbanding-well should be.

Perhaps fortunately, she did not have to say anything more to Clay. The doorknob turned at the other end of the room, and Lady Temple swept in. "Hello, dears!" Her voice was light and musical, but Wanda felt she could hear the edge of a dagger in it. Delphie's eyes fixed on the two of them together at the workbench for a moment, before she set down her satchel on the table.

Wanda instinctively moved a step away from Clay, who was rising with a grunt. "Uh, hey Delphie."

"Hello, Chief." said Wanda.

Delphie crossed the room like a breeze, talking the entire way. "Had a bit of a delay, talking business as I was with some peers. They're really so helpful at times, honestly. Hard to tear yourself away, sometimes, isn't it? Easy to talk a little more than you really should. Hello, Dear," she went up on tiptoe to kiss Clay. "You're in trouble."

"I know," said Clay.

"Don't go anywhere, Love." She touched him on the nose, and turned to Wanda. "Your quarters all right to talk?"

Wanda was expecting the suggestion to fall with the hidden weight of an order. It did.

One corner of her mouth curled up. "Yes, Chief"

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Recent posts... (See full thread)
Sir_Dr_D wrote:
Actually, I was just about to post back to say that after carefully rereading updates 7 and 8, I now agree with you guys. How you interpret those updates, depends on which sentences you pay attention to. And actually the following sentence means a lot. "I boosted his roll to a 4! I changed his odds, chose a way to describe the outcome of his choices" So the outcome of the choice changed, and not the actual choice.

I now see it like this:

Under normal circumstances the persons theoretical "roll" does represent their choices. With choice meaning small decisions in how they attack. Parry. countstrike, slice, as in Clays example.1's mean poor choices, 4 mean good choices. In this case 4 does not mean they got lucky, but just that they had a good atack.

But with luckamancy in the mix, it would seem as if some unseen force interferred with what would have normally happened. So that bad choice represented by a one, suddenly works as if it was 4. But the choice iteself did not change. Or something could go wrong, and that 4 doesn't have the effect that it should. This is exactly what happened in that Artemis battle.


Exactly. There's a random element to every action in Erfworld, as there is in Stupidworld. If you have a luckamancy boost, that random value becomes a controlled high value (at the cost of someone else's high value). Most likely, though, a correct choice with a luckamancy boost would be more effective than an incorrect choice, though the incorrect choice would still have an effect.
BLANDCorporatio wrote:
drachefly wrote:
Only if you consider conversion worse than death.


So, you're saying resistence is futile? I think not.

Before checking the link, I would like to point out that I was speaking of policies... as such, 'attempted' should be assumed to be prepended, and thus no claim was made on the futility of such resistance.
gameboy1234 wrote:
In game terms, I think it should work like this: Mathemancers should be able to tell you the odds, and tell you after the fact if Luckmancy was used to skew the odds. (This is detecting out of order rolls, or streaks, or whatever.) Depending how good they are, they might be able to do this real time, or it they're not so good possibly only after a battle was finished.

A really good Mathemancer should be able to pick up on enemy Luckmancy during a fight and tell their Overlord "Oh, they're using Luckmancy here to boost, those rolls are way messed up. Let's disengage from that battle and play defense to limit our loses. Over here now, their Luckmancy is costing them, so let's push ahead and cause some damage." This might require a level 12 master class Mathemancer, or it might require something a lot less, depending on how Rob sees his world.


Parson's bracer is seen as almost a Tool, since it can do mathemancy so effectively. Charlie calls it an artefact.

It would be interesting if mathemancers were able to do real-time calculations. Is knowledge of the underlying mechanics of Erfworld fundamental to mathemancers. Would they be more like physicists (but without needing the experimental side of things) than mathematicians.

For mathemancy to work at range, they would need lookamancy. Maybe mathemancers are front line troops for that reason.

It would be possible to make them pretty weak if they can only do calculations after the fact. They would also need some mechanism to collect data for the initial conditions of their models.
Parson's bracer is basically where I got the idea. I believe he does "real time calculations" several times during Jetstone's assault on GK back in book 1, all on one side's turn.
kiyote wrote:
Exactly. There's a random element to every action in Erfworld, as there is in Stupidworld. If you have a luckamancy boost, that random value becomes a controlled high value (at the cost of someone else's high value). Most likely, though, a correct choice with a luckamancy boost would be more effective than an incorrect choice, though the incorrect choice would still have an effect.


This is precisely it. Choices are choices, but there's still chaos and random events and the ever popular "hidden variables" that factor into the result of every choice. Let's say you're picking a lock, or even more simply turning a lock with a key. Even if you have exactly the right key in exactly the right lock (ie, exactly the right choice for exactly the right situation), there's still a chance of failure, as anyone who has ever broken a key off in a lock can tell you. Things like metal fatigue, air currents, random vibrations or any number of other circumstances can change a success into a failure and vice versa.

That's what Luckamancy manipulates. It doesn't make your choices better or worse. It makes your choices more or less effective.
Okay, so I get that Luckamancy is just mathematical slight of hand. That's how it doesn't mess up Mathamancy, because all the Numbers are still there, just rearranged. Everything is preserved, just in a different place. Mathamancy accounts for Luckamancy because it's most likely a probabilistic system, telling what could happen and might happen, rather than what will happen. Luckamancy just moves things down to the edges of the bell curve by swapping Numbers.

But is Mathamancy infallible? What about Predictamancy? Can predictions be changed? Gah. Need more information on those two disciplines.
Housellama wrote:
Okay, so I get that Luckamancy is just mathematical slight of hand. That's how it doesn't mess up Mathamancy, because all the Numbers are still there, just rearranged. Everything is preserved, just in a different place. Mathamancy accounts for Luckamancy because it's most likely a probabilistic system, telling what could happen and might happen, rather than what will happen. Luckamancy just moves things down to the edges of the bell curve by swapping Numbers.

But is Mathamancy infallible? What about Predictamancy? Can predictions be changed? Gah. Need more information on those two disciplines.


Mathemancy is about probabilities. When you have a two outcome event with a 17% chance of one and 83% of the other, and the lower probability result happens, no one can tell you that it was really 25%/75%.

So, no, Mathemancy can never be right or wrong because it does not deal in absolutes, and so cannot be infallible.

Since Predictamancers whose Sides fall are considered failures, then you must be able to change the future that Predicts a Side's fall, so yes, it is not infallible.
Kreistor wrote:
Mathemancy is about probabilities. When you have a two outcome event with a 17% chance of one and 83% of the other, and the lower probability result happens, no one can tell you that it was really 25%/75%.


For one single event, that's true. What a Mathamancer might do, in the case where the same (type of) event happens several times is to check whether indeed the probability of the various outcomes is as expected. "Our Pikers have 60% odds of survival", a Mathamancer may declare. Somehow, 50% survive. Depending on how many pikers there were to begin with, a Mathamancer may calculate the odds of this happening, assuming the chances of an individual Piker were indeed 60%.
BLANDCorporatio wrote:
Kreistor wrote:
Mathemancy is about probabilities. When you have a two outcome event with a 17% chance of one and 83% of the other, and the lower probability result happens, no one can tell you that it was really 25%/75%.


For one single event, that's true. What a Mathamancer might do, in the case where the same (type of) event happens several times is to check whether indeed the probability of the various outcomes is as expected. "Our Pikers have 60% odds of survival", a Mathamancer may declare. Somehow, 50% survive. Depending on how many pikers there were to begin with, a Mathamancer may calculate the odds of this happening, assuming the chances of an individual Piker were indeed 60%.


The thing is, he doesn't... calculate, that is. He uses magic. The magic does that work... well, one would hope that somewhere magic comes into play. If he gets the wrong answer, it's probably because someone asked the wrong question.

But even if he reports a 60% survival rate, but 50% die, that is not outside the realms of normal statistical results. There is a finite chance of 50% surviving or 30%, so any result is not wrong because even 100% survival is not impossible (though highly improbable). That's where a lot of people go wrong with statistical analysis. They think it's about absolutes like other branches of math, but it simply is not. It deals with possibles, not inevitables.
Kreistor wrote:
BLANDCorporatio wrote:
Kreistor wrote:
Mathemancy is about probabilities. When you have a two outcome event with a 17% chance of one and 83% of the other, and the lower probability result happens, no one can tell you that it was really 25%/75%.


For one single event, that's true. What a Mathamancer might do, in the case where the same (type of) event happens several times is to check whether indeed the probability of the various outcomes is as expected. "Our Pikers have 60% odds of survival", a Mathamancer may declare. Somehow, 50% survive. Depending on how many pikers there were to begin with, a Mathamancer may calculate the odds of this happening, assuming the chances of an individual Piker were indeed 60%.


The thing is, he doesn't... calculate, that is. He uses magic. The magic does that work... well, one would hope that somewhere magic comes into play. If he gets the wrong answer, it's probably because someone asked the wrong question.

But even if he reports a 60% survival rate, but 50% die, that is not outside the realms of normal statistical results. There is a finite chance of 50% surviving or 30%, so any result is not wrong because even 100% survival is not impossible (though highly improbable). That's where a lot of people go wrong with statistical analysis. They think it's about absolutes like other branches of math, but it simply is not. It deals with possibles, not inevitables.


Actually, that's the problem. We don't KNOW what Mathamancers do. We don't have enough information. What we know is what Parson does. Parson is not a Mathamancer. Parson has an artifact. He 'cheats', using something that is created outside the agency of man. We have yet to find out any information about how the actual magic of Mathamancy as used by Erfworlders themselves work. So we have no idea what actually goes on when an Erfworlder does Mathamancy.

That's why I said it's most likely a probabilistic system. We don't actually know. Is it possible for Mathamancy to predict something that has a zero probability? We don't know. We know virtually nothing about actual Mathamancy. Don't confuse what Parson does with what a Mathamancer does. Similar effect does not equal similar cause.

As for Predictamancy, we know boop-all about it as far as actual solid information. Everything we say is speculation because we have yet to see a Predictamancer that is a reliable source. Every single one of them we have encountered in the story so far is a shifty, untrustworthy little git.