Book 3 - Page 267

Stark imagery

Book 3 - Page 267
Comic - Book 3 - Page 267
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Crisco wrote:

Or, perhaps as with every dictator/tyrant/etc, they're just afraid of power being in any hands that aren't their own. "It's okay for me to do it, but I'll crush anyone else who even tries" is classic oppressor behavior. Is Charlie dangerous? Absolutely, and maybe it will take some outside the box ideas to beat him, but that doesn't make it okay to quarantine or destroy any non-standard knowledge and kill people who practice/study/whatever anything outside the lines.

Don't get me wrong, I think they go way overboard. Some of their secrets don't even seem to have any logical reason to exist beyond keeping secrets for the sake of keeping secrets. But their concerns are understandable at least. Imagine every Erfworlder having access to nuclear power. It would be great if every Erfworlder could have that and was wise enough to not abuse it, but that isn't really possible. And beneath the surface, Erfworld is unbalanced enough that with a little creativity, an equivalent situation wouldn't be that hard to create.
qq wrote:

And this is where Charlescomm age becomes pretty important. But count it not in turns, but in number of sides that expired in that time. Was it 100, 1 000, or 20 000, who knows. But because books left after side is destroyed to not include all expenses, each side creates some "accounting void" that can't be tracked. It should depend on lifespan of side, but let's assume that it's average of 10% of average treasury, so bit over 30k per side. And if Charlie were to be 20k sides 'old', then it's possible for him to tap into over 600mil of unaccountable Schmuckers that might or might not have disappeared into nothingness. And that's not even touching on all 'accounted' mercenary expenses, that might or might not clearly state who was that mercenary and how much he was paid.


I see what you're getting at but there's one significant problem with this theory: whoever ends a side is the one who gets to plunder's that sides treasury. While it's certainly possible that Charlie's ended his fair share of sides in his day (I mean, it's business as usual in Erfworld) his reputation seems counter to that.

Consider Haffaton in it's heyday. It was known to be huge and to have ended pretty much every side it came across during it's expansion. Contrast with Charlie where he's your 'Battlespace Solutions Provider.' The most negative thing commonly known about him is that he tends to come out ahead in his deals no matter how they go and that you shouldn't deal with him (but he's always an option if you really need a deal.)

Plus it's probably way more profitable to have a weak side trade you almost all of it's treasury in order to keep it from going under for a few turns and then selling services to their opponents who'll be the ones plundering that nigh-empty treasury.

You can even apply the 'kill the sheep for wool or shear it and come back later to do so over and over' metaphor to this practice as well. Ended sides don't have treasuries they can trade for your services after all.

As for any 'accounting voids' that pop up from sides ending, remember the Mathamancy theory: everything returns to 0.

Metallicat wrote:

I'm not sure which theory of 'original 99 sides thing' was referenced. If it was the idea that Charlie was one of them, I'm pretty sure that isn't the case. None of the originals remain.


The former. The original poster in this thread that I saw that from implied that Charlescomm could have been one of the original 99 sides, to which I was stating that we know this absolutely isn't true. Hence the theory part :)
ManaCaster wrote:
Crisco wrote:

Or, perhaps as with every dictator/tyrant/etc, they're just afraid of power being in any hands that aren't their own. "It's okay for me to do it, but I'll crush anyone else who even tries" is classic oppressor behavior. Is Charlie dangerous? Absolutely, and maybe it will take some outside the box ideas to beat him, but that doesn't make it okay to quarantine or destroy any non-standard knowledge and kill people who practice/study/whatever anything outside the lines.

Don't get me wrong, I think they go way overboard. Some of their secrets don't even seem to have any logical reason to exist beyond keeping secrets for the sake of keeping secrets. But their concerns are understandable at least. Imagine every Erfworlder having access to nuclear power. It would be great if every Erfworlder could have that and was wise enough to not abuse it, but that isn't really possible. And beneath the surface, Erfworld is unbalanced enough that with a little creativity, an equivalent situation wouldn't be that hard to create.

Their concerns are understandable, but their methods aren't. Their hands are no safer than any others, they're just more secretive and, when that doesn't work, oppressive. Let's twist your scenario to actually fit their MO:

Imagine if only one person so much as knew nuclear power existed. This person runs up to the GM and goes, "hey guys! Check out this awesome thing I discovered! I can do so much stuff to help people with it!" Rather than praising their accomplishments or even acknowledging them, they condemn the one that created it, either to silence or to death, on a whim. Then, they take that nuclear power for themselves, and use it whenever they see fit, answerable to no one but each other. They disregard the laws of the land which they themselves (literally them, not their representatives or anything like that, but every single one of them) agreed to for everyone's protection, all because they see any life other than their own as lesser and/or insignificant.

The only thing that separates them from Charlie at this point is general perception. Charlie keeps his secrets for the money (and whatever his end game is), but the GMs are arguably worse. They murder members of their own discipline just for exploring within that discipline (regardless of what happened after the badness spell was put on her, its mere existence was the reason Bunny died - precipitated by her exploring in a link with Bill. All this, of course, to protect their knowledge. No strategic objective, just "learning stuff is bad, mmkay."), they take very few actions that aren't clearly motivated by nothing aside from self-interest, and rarely benefit anyone not them unless by fringe benefit and/or accident, and they're just generally dicks. RVC may be the worst among them, but that doesn't make the rest of them 'good.' They're tyrants in all but name.
The original 99 sides were all Royal, and I'm fairly certain that, whatever Charlie is, it's not Royal.
Knavigator wrote:
Quote:
Strings and fragments enjoined serially as a single non-sentential form

That's how I'd describe an artificial neural net.

This is probably something I'll explore more on my "What *is* Erfworld?" thread on Everything Else, but it seems to me that, for instance, random stabbers are pretty dull. They have a name, a purpose, the ability to interact verbally, basic knowledge of Language, and not much more. Something that might be created by a random NPC generator with a weak AI based on a template. As a unit continues longer, gains XP and levels up, increasing its stats, its neural net is learning more and more. A city can pop a stack of them every turn.

Notice that a warlord, caster, or heir takes a lot longer to pop. What if part of that extra time is extra time taken by the NPC generator to create something smarter? I mean, from a balance standpoint a game developer wouldn't want sides to be able to pop super-warlords every single turn, true, but maybe the system can't pop one much faster -- at least not without a Turnamancer, which could indicate resources coming from elsewhere. Or it could be that whatever time it takes is padded, so that if a Turnamancer assists then it just cuts the padding.
It just occurred to me - whatever the Minds call 'hacking' or 'modding,' Erfworld itself doesn't qualify it as breaking the world. The changes aren't reverted at dawn.
This update proved me probably right on two things, so I'm pretty happy with it.

viewtopic.php?p=222167#p222167
Quote:
1) Deisaac will most likely download everything from Ivan and transmit it as pure information to Parson. The current page's signamancy is a reference to Matrix 3, but specifically it proceeds the plot resolution where Neo is used as a trojan horse to allow an external force to target Smith for destruction. The threads of the GMTTA will dissipate at the end of turn (similar to how Slately's double was able to function as king for the remainder of the turn), leaving Isaac a gibbering idiot. My impression is pineapple's mind is stuck in the transfusion, which is why pineapple's coherent in mindspace but moronic in meatspace.


viewtopic.php?f=2&t=13455&p=192367#p192367
Quote:
I'm still debating if this, assuming it's correct, is because casters have a duty to keep their magic in keeping with some grand design (similar to how one of the charges against Olive was weaponizing Hippiemancy) or if it's a reference to forcing people to role play when they're ignoring in-game lore to minmax.


I'm very interested to see if this book will end with definitive proof (for or against) my belief Erfworld's real antagonist is The GM (fate) in the form of something breaking it.
greycat wrote:
WanderingMathamancer wrote:

In a battle between a state 8.1 (or whatever it is at that point) and an eldritch monster the size of a city, I'd put my shmuckers on the monster in the first round. I don't think a thinkspace fight between Charlie (plus Arkendish) and BT would even be close.

You've lost me. Is Big Think not the eldritch monster in this analogy? Are you saying Charlie (with 'Dish) is the size of a city? Do you think he could actually beat the Deiform being, if the Deiform were to attack him (somehow, if they were in the same hex) right now?

Charlie described the dish as an ancient giant monster that answers to his call.
wakko wrote:
Anomynous 167 wrote:
wakko wrote:
If a unit of GK (Ivan) helps (by making a suit of armor) a unit that he knows wants to attack/harm Charlescomm, would that be a contract violation? Charlie was very careful about how he provided guns to FAQ, I don't see how building this armor for Big Think would slip past the contract.

Charlie didn't provide Jillian with guns: she found them under the shade of a coolabah tree.... Also I was initially planned to start a huge argument with your post, but under closer inspection it appears at no point I am in disagreement with you.


I guess I needed to clarify. I know that Charlie didn't directly provide the guns. He let them be found, had to be extremely careful so that it wouldn't cause a contract violation, but still ultimately made it possible that Jillian was able to obtain them.

And I'm just saying I don't see Ivan using those same precautions, so I think this will cause a contract violation (or at least I don't see how it wouldn't if Charlie was required to be so careful to not cause one).

As you stated you don't disagree, just wanted to clarify for anyone else reading this.


Maybe being in State 8.1 (or 8.2 with Claud) will allow them to override the contract? This page states that a State 7 can allow certain violations to the Grand Bargain, so I don't see why a higher state couldn't do the same.
Crisco wrote:
The only thing that separates them from Charlie at this point is general perception.
I think that you also have to include how they perceive themselves in that "general perception". The GMTTA have always, even in the privacy of their own thoughts, felt it necessary to ascribe their motives to some purpose greater than their own welfare and safety. Charlie doesn't. Whether you feel one of those is "good" and the other "bad" is irrelevant to the fact that they are in fact different.
qq wrote:
Yes, size of his treasury would make him a target, but I honestly doubt it would create any worldwide alliance. Because, as you've said, people are stupid. And because, as you've forgot to mention, Charlie is dangerous.
Every ruler on Erf is "dangerous". The question is one of exact degree. Charlie is not a military match for the rest of the world (or even in a head to head matchup with GK), but he has the majority of the schmuckers that exist in Erfworld. That's a situation it is absolutely crucial to hide.
qq wrote:
Ben is ONE Moneymancer in ONE city. To his benefit, his side is older than Charlescomm (not necessarily older than Charlie), but I honestly doubt he made any attempt of trying to find Charlescomm income from history books. At most he looked at his known assets, deals he made, prices he used in negotiations, and estimated it from there, with historical data playing no part in it at all (and I kind of doubt in his ability to process such data, not being Mathamancer)
Ben didn't need to look in history books to figure out the approximate size of GK's treasury which we know was mostly the unexpected result of an unconventional tri-link for an entirely different purpose. History books wouldn't have done a lot of good in figuring out the size of GK's treasury, and Ben didn't need them.

Your contention has been that CC's treasury is mostly the result of precisely the kind of activity that does get into history books, over a long enough period of time for those history books to be the best way of calculating the Charlie's net worth to within a few percent. My contention is that people have done just that and the answer looks a lot like "as much as 20 million", with the vast majority of the treasury + gem hoard left inexplicable by normal methods. Eventually, the comic will reveal that Charlie does indeed have novel sources of income which will go a long way to helping Parson solve the economic problem of peace on Erf. Or not.

I simply decline to bet on "not".
wakko wrote:
If a unit of GK (Ivan) helps (by making a suit of armor) a unit that he knows wants to attack/harm Charlescomm, would that be a contract violation? Charlie was very careful about how he provided guns to FAQ, I don't see how building this armor for Big Think would slip past the contract.
Because the intent is to save Deiform (and consequently Ivan) from burning out, not to enable an attack on CC. Indeed, the creation of a bedrock armor is clearly a diversion from launching an immediate all-out assault on CC, Ivan's not just saying "don't tell me what you're going to do with these guns that I have no other reason to give you, wink wink", he's actually trying his level best to convince Deiform not to attack CC. Hell, if the contract were fair GK should be getting paid for distracting Deiform from it's mission of vengeance. Doing what is necessary to get Deiform to defer attacking CC until after Ivan is extracted from it is not in any way causing damage to CC. It's like when Lilith spotted Isaac which let Deiform track her connection to Wanda, to see Charlie's message, to target the archons. GK didn't get charged for that because it was all Deiform's own idea, using GK units who were actually, consciously, sincerely doing their best to avoid violating the contract as unwitting pawns.

We can see instantly that the "Stark Imagery" has offensive applications which are every bit as crucial to the story as the utility in keeping Deiform (and linked casters) alive. But the clear intended purpose is the life/link-support/preservation functions. Meanwhile Charlie was selling the 'intent' of inviting Jillian take a break to see some trees (which she'd already seen, and had no desire to see again) combined with the 'intent' to leave some guns under those trees so...his archons wouldn't get tired out carrying them?

No, it doesn't take a State 8 to bend or twist anything. Charlie provided a loophole big enough to drive a puppet ruler on a megalogwiffon through it, Ivan and Claud are now being pulled through that loophole by a mild-mannered caster possessed by an angry protean god.
Metallicat wrote:
A hypothetical alliance to steal Charlie's huge treasury runs into problems fast. First, whichever side begins the plan risks Charlie finding out, and playing a "natural disaster card" like he did with King Dickie. Whether the side was taken down directly by Charlie, or by one of his bribeable allies, the result would be the same. Dead Kings tell no tales.
Except that they clearly do, and those tales are compiled in libraries across Erfworld. No one ruler has to be the "first" to suggest making an alliance to take out Charlie if everyone knows the basic facts which make such an alliance perfectly obvious. Which is why Charlie is so intent on making sure nobody knows.
Metallicat wrote:
Second, what are the odds that the alliance would really be a team, with that kind of payoff at the end? The backstabbing potential is simply too great.
Only when victory was basically assured, and only if nobody was smart enough to hire a competent Signamancer to draw up the contracts.
Metallicat wrote:
Third, Charlie can just escape. The gems and the Arkendish are mobile, and the treasury could be spent in the fight, before he just takes over a distant capital site and begins again.
That this is the most plausible problem speaks to how desperately hopeless Charlie's situation would be. Charlie and over 500 million schmuckers of gems are not the most mobile thing in the world. I'm sure Charlie would try this as a last resort. But last resorts are often left till last for the perfectly obvious reason of being desperate.
Metallicat wrote:
You'd need an alliance in the Magic Kingdom, like the Thinkamancers, to try to pull off a successful anti-Charlie team. So far, that hasn't worked nearly as well as Isaac and the others hoped.
The Predictamancer and Hippimancy alliances seem to be doing somewhat better...but at this point I think we can say that even the GMTTA didn't go down as easily as Charlie hoped.