Book 2 - Text Updates 047

Book 2 - Text Updates 047

A stiff and stoic Ossomer scrunched uncomfortably in the saddle of Ansom's carpet, hating it.

He could recall ridiculing his brother for using this conveyance, rather than a Unipegataur. It was awkward, and it looked unseemly. More to the point, a magic item would not fight or take an arrow or a blast for you, the way a proper mount would. Ansom claimed the versatility and range of the thing made up for that, but Ossomer disagreed. And just at the moment, he would have given much to have been mounted atop a living unit.

Because for that lack, he could now also blame the doltish thing for placing him up here. Here above the battle he floated uselessly, left out of Lord Hamster's purported genius plan. Out of the way of history. Hanging limply in space.

What exactly did it mean, that he had come to this place? It was not the first time he tried to make sense of the question.

The Titans had a plan, and that plan was expressed in the balance of power. Royal sides had held their supremacy since the dawn of Erfworld, but now the Titans had something different in mind.

Surely, that was well and good. It must be. In battle, he had fallen as a Royal and been re-popped in the service of the Titans' Tools. As a Royal, he had been an obstacle to the Titans' will. The Titans had un-gently shoved him aside.

So was that it, then? Was that his entire Erfly significance? A barrier removed?

Ossomer glanced down at the forces of Gobwin Knob, his side. The Lady Sylvia was stacking dwagons for...siege? It certainly seemed that way, with the purples bunched directly below his feet. Odd choice, using siege from the inside.

But his eyes traced upwards along the length of Jenga Tower, and he realized just how effective that tactic might prove. Father was still deployed there, as far as he could tell. The casters certainly were, standing around behind the ranks of arrow-spent archers, who looked bored and apprehensive.

At that very moment in the warlord's musings, King Slately did emerge from the tower interior. He stepped to the rear of the archer formations and began addressing his casters.

Ossomer's mouth opened a bit. It suddenly occurred to him that he was about to witness his father's demise. The tower could take a good pounding, but it would fall to that many purples. Father would fall with it.

And...Jetstone would fall with him.

Such a thought to think upon, in the sunshine of the late morning.

He peered over the city. Thousands of infantry, many of them troops he had led to victory against Haggar, were massing in the streets to counterattack the garrison. Beyond them, the pristine turrets and parapets of the outer walls stood impotent, irrelevant to the city's defense. Beyond that, orchards, green hills and the River Phoenix.

This view was so terribly familiar to him. The stone floor of this tower top had borne his boots more times than he could number. Inches now separated him from that enemy ground. He could see a slightly crooked tile he remembered in the stonework. It had irritated him, he recalled. A misfit in the otherwise perfectly ordered masonry.

Inches away, yes, but as unreachable as the stars. The tower top was impenetrable as a hex boundary until his side claimed the city. Enemy ground. Why was he lingering here?

"...is a chance! ... at least ... considering, Pierce!"

Ossomer raised his head. Lord Ace Hardware, the Dollamancer, was speaking animatedly to the group. Good man, that Ace. He looked away, so as not to draw their attention, and strained to overhear the conversation.

"...have the flyers...(something)," said the Pierce, the Healomancer.

"...could double the Unipegs if he flew (something)...!" said Ace.

"Yeah, that's true," nodded Lloyd, the Dittomancer. "...true."

"(something) leadership, come on," said Pierce. "...eager to fly against Ossomer? I think (something) nuts."

Ossomer's eyes widened, then sharply narrowed. They were talking about entering the airspace, attacking him.

...What?

Jetstone didn't have the flyers for that. With twenty-seven Archons under his Level 9 leadership, it was such a preposterous and remote possibility that he hadn't given it any tactical consideration at all. Nor, did he believe, had his Chief Warlord. Lord Parson had ordered the Archons to split into stacks of two and three, each with one unit with Leadership and at least one with Foolamancy, and to scatter around the airspace. That way, the casters and archers in the tower would have a longer and more expensive time shooting them down.

And that's if it should even come to that. It wasn't meant to; the flyers' main defense was in being irrelevant to the ground battle. Ossomer believed all of these tactical assumptions to be perfectly sound, and hadn't given them a second thought.

He glanced briefly over at the group, and for a terrible moment he locked eyes with his father. The King was staring upon him with an expression Ossomer had never seen on him. King Slately looked grim, which certainly he often did, but now in those eyes was the light of the hunter, a predator. His father was sizing him up as prey. He looked sharply away.

...What?

It was ludicrous! Slately had never croaked anything outside of a summary execution. Ossomer could fell him with a...a kick to the knee.

So why, then, did that look chill him so? The King closed with his Dollamancer, and spoke too low to overhear.

Ossomer looked around, in a rising panic. He was not currently stacked with anyone. Should they launch a bum's rush at him with all of their forces, they very well could croak or capture him, and return to the tower. With Luck, they would survive without taking too much damage from the Archons.

Titans. If he allowed that to happen, it would be the second time today.

That thought should have been mortifying. But the moment it occurred to him, a soft calm infused his stomach and chest, and flowed like warm pipe smoke up his neck to fill his head. If he allowed that to happen.

Of course, he could not.

But if the Titans allowed that to happen, it surely would Signify something.

He looked up at Father, prepared to stare him down this time. But the King had huddled with his casters and had his back turned. Still, that look was Signamancy. In a way that crowns and robes and scepters and thrones had never quite graced him with, his father now looked like a King.

Being Royal did mean something, after all. It meant taking the mantle of responsibility for the power the Titans had granted you. Ossomer had stood up all his life, straight as a marble column, to bear the weight of that responsibility. He knew that stance when he saw it, and Father carried himself that way now.

And he, slinking in the saddle after betraying a parley, no longer did. He'd had no answer for Tramennis' outrage, because he felt it too. He was shamed.

Below, Lady Sylvia was stacking with the forward purples. He imagined she planned to tumble all units in a shower of rubble, without thought for the protocols of Royal capture and execution, for bestowing dignity and honor upon a fallen enemy king in their final moments. Let soldiers and Commanders and Kings all fall together into a pile.

Had the Titans no use for such distinctions, in the Age of Hamster? No, surely they must.

Surely the new mantle of Titanic power must be carried with even greater majesty. In some important way, the disciples of Lady Firebaugh and the Arkenpliers were failing their Duty, and would pay the price.

He looked around the sky, at the distant scattered pairs and triads, and issued them no new orders. Leaving his sword in its scabbard, he pulled the carpet to the very edge of enemy ground. The Titans' will would be done, whatever might happen.

He looked down, and the odd-shaped stone tile again caught his eye. But for once, it looked as if it were meant to be where it was.

Comic - Book 2 - Text Updates 047

Recent posts... (See full thread)
Smoker wrote:
So really, none of the units pop from the tools.

Pigeons do. Stanley just hasn't tried to use them for anything.
udat wrote:
Setting aside the casters (as they seem more autonomous than most) aren't all units in Erfworld controlled in as "creepy" a manner as Wanda controls the decrypted and Charlie controls his Archons?
Standard unit ordering around has been shown to be less of a consciousness controlling effect, and more of a body controlling effect. Stanley ordered Parson to slap himself, and he did it, but he didn't want to. But when Ansom shouted out, furious with Wanda for telling him he would be left behind when she went to Jetstone with the fliers, "I will inform Lord Stanley!" (not an exact quote because I'm not looking it up), all Wanda had to do was say "No, you will not", and Ansom immediately repeated like a good little mind slave "No, I will not." Caesar and the TV warlords and casters can hold opposite opinions from Don all day long. Maggie can think Stanley is an idiot. But the decrypted all worship Wanda and do not seem to be able to think differently than she tells them to think.
Oberon wrote:
I don't think "only started changing when" matters. What matters is that the change has occurred. It was many turns ago, if timing matters, which it doesn't. If the example stood alone, we might be able to make allowances for Caesar's dislike for Jillian, or some other consideration might be made for the circumstances. But it is far from a stand alone event, it is instead the definition of Caesar's behavior.

"Only started changing when" started mattering when others started raising examples of his behaviour from the Royal Escort mission.

Quote:
Well, if you really feel that Don's estimation of unknowable stats makes things so, I can understand your position on Don's estimation of Caesar. But it just cannot be so, Don is basing his feelings on their long standing relationship, Caesar's position as CWL and heir, and other similar subjective judgements. Because with duty and loyalty, there can be no objective judgement. Don said in essence "Caesar has two things in abundance which I cannot see or measure." Riiiight....

There is no direct measurement of Loyalty (note that "Duty" is not an unknowable stat, by canon), but that doesn't mean that an objective judgement can't be made. You're assuming that Don is somehow blinded by his feelings, as if he's holding an idiot ball for not seeing Caesar's disloyalty. Considering that you're suggesting that Don's plan for the loan is likely to be both ideal and rational, I can't see how you can argue that he's also blind and making judgements on feelings without having an objective rationale for doing so.
Squishalot wrote:
There is no direct measurement of Loyalty [...], but that doesn't mean that an objective judgement can't be made.
Um, yes, it most certainly does mean that an objective judgement cannot be made. Is Caesar's loyalty score 3? Is it 15? It is 100? Since Don cannot see it, there can be no objective measurement. Only subjective guesswork.
As an example of a stat which isn't visible and yet can be measured objectively, we have Parson's leadership. No one can see it, and yet we know it is 2 based upon the effect on other units. An objective measurement, and one which is impossible for duty.
Squishalot wrote:
You're assuming that Don is somehow blinded by his feelings, as if he's holding an idiot ball for not seeing Caesar's disloyalty.
No, I am not assuming that, at all. That's just a pile of crap you made up. I am citing fact: Since loyalty cannot be seen, no one can state for certain that anyone else "has loyalty in abundance." They can guess, they can make assumptions based upon past behavior, but they will never know if they have guessed correctly, and the best traitor is one who acts loyalty up until the point he carries out the betrayal, so relying on past behavior to guess at loyalty is also a flawed method.
Squishalot wrote:
(note that "Duty" is not an unknowable stat, by canon)
And I may be wrong, but I believe that by canon duty is not a knowable stat. You cannot cite that duty is knowable by citing the absence of a statement that it is unknowable. I do not recall duty being visible when Bogroll or Jack were viewed by the 3-D glasses of stat viewing, and I also do not recall a number ever being given to duty, while we've heard or seen numbers for level, attack, move, and many other stats. Parson listed the stats he saw when looking at units, and duty was not one of them. So unless you have an example to share?
I haven't seen anything that indicates loyalty, duty, or obedience, can be seen in the numerical way, they can only be hypothesized based on behavior.
Oberon wrote:
Um, yes, it most certainly does mean that an objective judgement cannot be made. Is Caesar's loyalty score 3? Is it 15? It is 100? Since Don cannot see it, there can be no objective measurement. Only subjective guesswork.

Objective (adjective): "Not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts."

Nothing there preventing Don (or anyone else) from being objective about it.

Oberon wrote:
No, I am not assuming that, at all.
Oberon wrote:
Don is basing his feelings on their long standing relationship, Caesar's position as CWL and heir, and other similar subjective judgements

You're assuming that a) Don is overestimating Caesar's loyalty; and b) that he is doing so because of a pile of subjective things. How is that not assuming that Don is blinded by said subjective things?

Oberon wrote:
And I may be wrong, but I believe that by canon duty is not a knowable stat.

http://www.erfworld.com/book-1-archive/?px=%2F084a.jpg - clearly identifies that Loyalty is unknowable, and says nothing about Duty, suggesting that it is knowable. Either way, the point was only made to explain why I was ignoring it for now.

Oberon wrote:
I do not recall duty being visible when Bogroll or Jack were viewed by the 3-D glasses of stat viewing, and I also do not recall a number ever being given to duty, while we've heard or seen numbers for level, attack, move, and many other stats. Parson listed the stats he saw when looking at units, and duty was not one of them. So unless you have an example to share?

Level wasn't viewable through the 3-D glasses either, yet we know that both Jack and Bogroll have levels. The absence of the information presented to readers says nothing about whether it's available to units or not.
Squishalot wrote:
Oberon wrote:
Um, yes, it most certainly does mean that an objective judgement cannot be made. Is Caesar's loyalty score 3? Is it 15? It is 100? Since Don cannot see it, there can be no objective measurement. Only subjective guesswork.

Objective (adjective): "Not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts."

Nothing there preventing Don (or anyone else) from being objective about it.
Seriously? How exactly do you propose that someone guess at something, absent any facts, and not apply their opinions or feeling to make their evaluation? A person can attempt to apply logic, and I offered the example of observing past behavior to predict the current state. But I also offered evidence as to why that is a failed method. I'll invite you now to provide an objective example of how you might evaluate a person's loyalty or duty. Stupidworld or Erfworld, I don't care which. Every year when I take my corporate security awareness refresher am presented with many examples of people in trusted positions who performed admirably for years or decades, but for whatever reason later violated the trust placed in them. There is no possible example to provide for the people who have to date never violated that trust. If they are alive they may still fall victim to whatever motivations caused those others to betray the trust placed in them. And if they are dead then any violations of that trust may simply not have been discovered yet.
Squishalot wrote:
You're assuming that a) Don is overestimating Caesar's loyalty; and b) that he is doing so because of a pile of subjective things. How is that not assuming that Don is blinded by said subjective things?
You're making stuff up again... I am assuming nothing. I know for a fact that duty has not been shown to be visible and measurable. This is an objective statement. In contrast, you are assuming that because duty wasn't cited as being hidden that it must somehow be visible. This is your subjective opinion. I invited you to offer fact or evidence to support your opinion, and you chose to reply to other points and ignored that invitation.
Squishalot wrote:
Level wasn't viewable through the 3-D glasses either, yet we know that both Jack and Bogroll have levels. The absence of the information presented to readers says nothing about whether it's available to units or not.
Dragging level into the discussion does not support your opinion on duty. The two things do not need to function the same way, and I have already used Parson's leadership as an example of a not visible stat which can be objectively measured. You haven't provided any examples at all.

The absence of duty being shown when units are viewed with 3D glasses or being cited as being a specific number when discussing a unit in a textual context provides the opportunity to make an objective statement of fact: Duty has never been shown to be visible, not has it been referenced by a specific number. One can ignore that and decide for oneself that duty is visible, but lacking any evidence this is opinion, subjective, theory, tinfoilhattery, guesswork. It is not an objective evaluation.
Oberon wrote:
Squishalot wrote:
Oberon wrote:
Um, yes, it most certainly does mean that an objective judgement cannot be made. Is Caesar's loyalty score 3? Is it 15? It is 100? Since Don cannot see it, there can be no objective measurement. Only subjective guesswork.

Objective (adjective): "Not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts."

Nothing there preventing Don (or anyone else) from being objective about it.
Seriously? How exactly do you propose that someone guess at something, absent any facts, and not apply their opinions or feeling to make their evaluation? A person can attempt to apply logic, and I offered the example of observing past behavior to predict the current state. But I also offered evidence as to why that is a failed method. I'll invite you now to provide an objective example of how you might evaluate a person's loyalty or duty. Stupidworld or Erfworld, I don't care which. Every year when I take my corporate security awareness refresher am presented with many examples of people in trusted positions who performed admirably for years or decades, but for whatever reason later violated the trust placed in them. There is no possible example to provide for the people who have to date never violated that trust. If they are alive they may still fall victim to whatever motivations caused those others to betray the trust placed in them. And if they are dead then any violations of that trust may simply not have been discovered yet.
Squishalot wrote:
You're assuming that a) Don is overestimating Caesar's loyalty; and b) that he is doing so because of a pile of subjective things. How is that not assuming that Don is blinded by said subjective things?
You're making stuff up again... I am assuming nothing. I know for a fact that duty has not been shown to be visible and measurable. This is an objective statement. In contrast, you are assuming that because duty wasn't cited as being hidden that it must somehow be visible. This is your subjective opinion. I invited you to offer fact or evidence to support your opinion, and you chose to reply to other points and ignored that invitation.
Squishalot wrote:
Level wasn't viewable through the 3-D glasses either, yet we know that both Jack and Bogroll have levels. The absence of the information presented to readers says nothing about whether it's available to units or not.
Dragging level into the discussion does not support your opinion on duty. The two things do not need to function the same way, and I have already used Parson's leadership as an example of a not visible stat which can be objectively measured. You haven't provided any examples at all.

The absence of duty being shown when units are viewed with 3D glasses or being cited as being a specific number when discussing a unit in a textual context provides the opportunity to make an objective statement of fact: Duty has never been shown to be visible, not has it been referenced by a specific number. One can ignore that and decide for oneself that duty is visible, but lacking any evidence this is opinion, subjective, theory, tinfoilhattery, guesswork. It is not an objective evaluation.


So, in other words, you would agree that your low estimation of Caesar's Loyalty and Duty scores is just as invalid as anyone else's, right? ;-)

Also, regarding the visibility of Duty, when the concepts of Duty and Loyalty were both formally introduced, only Loyalty was called out as an invisible stat. This heavily implies that Duty is different from Loyalty in that respect. While not direct evidence, only a fool would argue that the implication is not there.
Sylvan wrote:
To be completely honest, I am slightly baffled by your post, abb3w. The first thing I thought of when I read it was a quote from a book I read recently (The Wise Man's Fear, one of the most excellent pieces of fantasy I have read in years, including Erfworld) that said "he writes as though he is afraid someone reading will actually understand him".


Nah. Using non-technical terminology would just take too much typing.

Sylvan wrote:
I think part of the root of your argument is that "pain is bad and therefore ought to be avoided" does not mean "we ought to use avoiding pain as a justification for providing answers to 'moral' questions".


No; that "pain is bad compare to the lack of pain" is (1) an oversimplification and (2) an assertion not justified from prior axiomatic premises, but rather requires (or must itself be taken as) a new additional axiom.

Sylvan wrote:
Personally speaking, I don't see the flaw in Harris' argument that you do. What I'd like to ask is what you perceived his 'ought' to be. I heard it as Harris saying "Reality is objective, therefore we ought to base our morality on objective standards." Well, that and "Traditionally our morality is defined by the suffering of intelligent things, therefore our objective measurements ought to be based on what causes something to suffer/prosper".


Which is more or less what I understood. And wanting to use objective standards is fine, on one level. The catch being, having an "objective" mechanism to answer questions about how the universe IS does not give a full basis for ordering choices of what OUGHT to be done. True, it is useful, insofar as ordering of choices is easier if you can agree what the choices ARE; and for those who take a consequentialist approach, for determining what the consequences will BE. However, that there are choices and consequences is insufficient; one also needs some additional axiom to indicate which of the possibly orderings is the ordering you're talking about.

Or in other words, he can show that this IS fairly close to what humans mean by "ought"; this does not, however, necessarily imply that this is what OUGHT to be used to order choices. (There's further subtleties with the differences between the "fairly close" of instinctive/traditional morality, but those are more cosmetic.)

Which is an annoyingly abstract point, I will admit.

Sylvan wrote:
I'll take it as a given that "tradition" has nothing to do with objective morality


"Nothing" overstates it. Tradition is a body of data, giving some indication what societies of various degrees of historical persistence have used for orderings.

Sylvan wrote:
, but I think Harris makes a lot of sense when he describes how we have different standards of morality concerning things like rocks, plants, insects, animals, and then fellow primates/human beings.


Which bears on the relation of Haidt's "INGROUP" metric/flavor/dimension of morality rather more than here.

Sylvan wrote:
Maybe the issue here is a matter of semantics with regards to the words "absolute morality"?


Actually, it's more semantic with what is meant by "morality" and associated order-related concepts (good, evil, purpose, et cetera).

Sylvan wrote:
I don't think he claimed that we are as of yet capable of ordering these measurements into any form of orderly or partially ordered set


He seems to think we can order the choice set of {"kill all the humans slowly and painfully", "let the humans live in relative comfort"}, with "kill all the humans slowly and painfully" being better "let the humans live in relative comfort". So... wrong.

Sylvan wrote:
My apologies if this post is simply a lack of imagination/cognition on my part, I just honestly don't get what you are trying to say and don't see any illogical leap from "this is how it is" to "this is how it ought to be" present in the video linked.


From the classic:
David Hume in A Treatise of Human Nature wrote:
In every system of morality, which I have hitherto met with, I have always remarked, that the author proceeds for some time in the ordinary ways of reasoning, and establishes the being of a God, or makes observations concerning human affairs; when all of a sudden I am surprised to find, that instead of the usual copulations of propositions, is, and is not, I meet with no proposition that is not connected with an ought, or an ought not. This change is imperceptible; but is however, of the last consequence. For as this ought, or ought not, expresses some new relation or affirmation, 'tis necessary that it should be observed and explained; and at the same time that a reason should be given; for what seems altogether inconceivable, how this new relation can be a deduction from others, which are entirely different from it.
abb3w wrote:

Or in other words, he can show that this IS fairly close to what humans mean by "ought"; this does not, however, necessarily imply that this is what OUGHT


I'm not sure there's a distinction there.

"Ought" is a WORD. Words are what people use to describe things. Once you have described what humans mean by "ought", you've described the word "ought" and what is meant by it.