Book 3 - Page 46

Book 3 - Page 46
Comic - Book 3 - Page 46
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LordAcme wrote:
A few thoughts on the general Charlie vs the world situation...

Charlie has now 600 Archons, with upkeep costs of hundreds to low thousands each. Let's lowball that to 500 each. So Charlie pays, on the low end, around 300,000 schmuckers for upkeep. PER TURN.

And he's been in business for thousands of turns. Let's lowball that to 2000. Assuming he started with one Archon and raised the level over time to the current 600 in straight linear fashion, his average Archon count for 2000 turns has been 300, making his average upkeep per turn 150,000.


Hi there,

First, I wanted to say that this was an awesome piece of theorycraft. It's nice to see someone work through things quantitatively. Kudos. (Rest of my post will not live up to it, alas.)

But let me shine a light on an assumption here: that Charlie's profit margin has been constant over time. If Erfworld is large compared to the size of his operation then -- sure, why not? He can keep expanding, popping more Archons, providing services to more and more sides. But obviously at some point that has to saturate, and as you approach that point the profit margin goes to zero. It's conceivable that Charlie's in that bind, where he has to work harder and harder just to stay afloat. My instinct is that he's not -- he's smart enough to see that trap coming and tail off his growth beforehand -- but we don't actually know.

Seeing the upkeep number really brought home to me how precarious Charlie's situation might be. Imagine if peace breaks out in some region of Erfworld, or if a growing number of sides conclude that contracts with Charlie are more trouble than they're worth, or for that matter if the continued fighting reduces city levels so that they're not producing as much and sides just plain can't afford to hire him. He's got huge per-turn costs (plus I'm guessing sunk costs in each Archon). If most of his income is a steady flow of small contracts then okay, he can downsize gracefully, but if he's living off infrequent big contracts such that his balance varies quite a lot, that starts to get scary.

(Edited to make it clear who I was replying to...)
Just to chip in on the Charlie's Finances discussion, a reminder about Rule #3: "We are in the business of solving problems for our clients. (Corollary: Creating problems for our clients creates business.)"

Charlie isn't the kind to rely too heavily on a single source of income, and is definitely not the kind to trust the market to direct itself. He's a carnymancer, and he's always rigging the game.
Charlie not only supports his own units, he is paying out to various natural allies. He is either sending money their way, or they have no real use for him. One or the other.

I get a distinct impression that the numbers simply do not add up. Unless, of course, 'more than 200' actually means something like 1200 sides. Or else the sides we have met are atypical. Because I don't see the sides here having that much excess income. Granted, they've been at war for the last hundred turns. Maybe most other sides are at peace. (Like the So-be-it union.) But then, what are they doing with that spare income? Buying thinkagrams? Communication is far more urgent in wartime than peace.

I mean, 200 side times 1k shmuckers per turn to spare -- and going Charlie's way -- comes to just about enough to cover upkeep on his archons!

Just. Not. Seeing it.
Vorteks wrote:
Wow. Lilith found a way to benefit her side and "Mistress Wanda" even from captivity. Bravo.

And she just cost Charlescomm 150,000 schmuckers
.


125,000 schmuckers. Charlescomm had already paid 25,000 schmuckers before she said anything.

I wonder if there's a currency symbol for schmuckers.

ROZ
ManaCaster wrote:
There is a popular theory that says Charlie is fighting a Fate curse, or in other words, the very spirit of the world itself. Many fans reject this theory because they don't like the idea of an invisible impersonal puppet master pulling threads, but it's the only lead that's been given to us.


I don't really like it either. I think Charlie's "fight Fate" thing is metaphorical- he's fighting against the game system that (as Parson is coming to recognise) is set up to ensure a world of endless war between small and middling states with no lasting peace and no unifying conqueror. "Fate" is the system that the Titans created, not an actual being.

Since at least part of the caster conspiracy involved in summoning Parson has "peace on Erf" as a goal, this tends to suggest that in some ways Parson and Charlie are actually allies in search of the same goal although they are pursuing it in different ways and may or may not be able to coexist.
Arky wrote:
I don't really like it either. I think Charlie's "fight Fate" thing is metaphorical- he's fighting against the game system that (as Parson is coming to recognise) is set up to ensure a world of endless war between small and middling states with no lasting peace and no unifying conqueror. "Fate" is the system that the Titans created, not an actual being.

Since at least part of the caster conspiracy involved in summoning Parson has "peace on Erf" as a goal, this tends to suggest that in some ways Parson and Charlie are actually allies in search of the same goal although they are pursuing it in different ways and may or may not be able to coexist.

The impression I got from Book 0 is that Charlie, Olive and the el-Efbaum-Haffaton alliance originally wanted to "conquer the world for peace." After Charlie attuned to the Arkendish, he decided that peace was the last thing he wanted. Then Olive either tried to unattune or croak him, defected to Haffaton, forced Charlie to flee and found Charlescomm and the rest is history. The big question is, why did Charlie change his mind? Did the perspective of the Arkendish convince him peace was impossible? Did he just get greedy and decide to use his newfound knowledge to game the system? While we don't wholly know Charlie's motivations, one of the few facts we do know is that he doesn't want peace. Okay, we don't know that since Olive was an unreliable narrator, but given the way it was delivered, I'm inclined to believe it. Anyway, he seems to be supporting and profiting from Erfworld's current state of perpetual war. Of course, that's only my interpretation. The only character outside of Charlie himself that may have any answers is Wanda, and she can't tell us.
I don't think it was specifically stated that the goal was conquering the world with the aim being world peace, but it might be.

Perhaps after attunement, Charlie understood conquering the world is infeasible or impossible, so he lost interest in that, and went about making world peace another way?
Mrtyuh wrote:

The impression I got from Book 0 is that Charlie, Olive and the el-Efbaum-Haffaton alliance originally wanted to "conquer the world for peace." After Charlie attuned to the Arkendish, he decided that peace was the last thing he wanted. Then Olive either tried to unattune or croak him, defected to Haffaton, forced Charlie to flee and found Charlescomm and the rest is history. The big question is, why did Charlie change his mind? Did the perspective of the Arkendish convince him peace was impossible? Did he just get greedy and decide to use his newfound knowledge to game the system? While we don't wholly know Charlie's motivations, one of the few facts we do know is that he doesn't want peace. Okay, we don't know that since Olive was an unreliable narrator, but given the way it was delivered, I'm inclined to believe it. Anyway, he seems to be supporting and profiting from Erfworld's current state of perpetual war. Of course, that's only my interpretation. The only character outside of Charlie himself that may have any answers is Wanda, and she can't tell us.



What happens in ga,es like Erfworld when you reach peace/ world domination?
The Game end.
Charlie may be trying to prevent the end of the world.
Sure he could just say out loud "Peace is doom, stay at war, save yourself." but no one listen to oracles.
Arky wrote:
ManaCaster wrote:
There is a popular theory that says Charlie is fighting a Fate curse, or in other words, the very spirit of the world itself. Many fans reject this theory because they don't like the idea of an invisible impersonal puppet master pulling threads, but it's the only lead that's been given to us.


I don't really like it either. I think Charlie's "fight Fate" thing is metaphorical- he's fighting against the game system that (as Parson is coming to recognise) is set up to ensure a world of endless war between small and middling states with no lasting peace and no unifying conqueror. "Fate" is the system that the Titans created, not an actual being.

Well, no, Fate isn't an actual person per se in this theory either.

Wanda says he used Carnymancy to save his life at a terrible price. Sylvia's life was also saved by Carnymancy at a price Jojo refused to tell her and we saw some really weird stuff involving her. What is your interpretation of that?

Mrtyuh wrote:

The impression I got from Book 0 is that Charlie, Olive and the el-Efbaum-Haffaton alliance originally wanted to "conquer the world for peace." After Charlie attuned to the Arkendish, he decided that peace was the last thing he wanted... The only character outside of Charlie himself that may have any answers is Wanda, and she can't tell us.

Wanda claims he developed a pacifist attitude. Olive claims Wanda's perspective is 3rd hand.
I don't know that Charlie ever cared about conquering the world for peace. The story we have is this:


  • * Haffaton was ruled by Lex Doothis and was a typical Erfworld side when it encountered Efbaum.

  • * Charlie ruled el-Efbaum, which was caught between Westeregg and Easteros and was kept busy holding them off.

  • * Olive was an Efbaum unit.
    • + Which is to say, she was not involved with Haffaton's early expansion, and only became influential after the witches were croaked and Charlie got the 'Dish.(see: IPTSF Text 66)


None of that is contradicted by Olive during her trial.

In IPTSF Text 68, Wanda's telling of the story goes that "Once he’d acquired the Arkendish, something apparently changed in him. He lost his will to fight. The side suffered and faltered, even as neighboring Haffaton expanded all around it," even going so far as to call his new attitude "pacifistic."

Olive's telling claims that "... after we’d finally beaten Easteros and Westeregg, he talked of uniting the world. It was his dream. To see Erfworld under a single treaty of alliance, a world that would not fight. That was what he wrote to me, in letters, before Judy and I returned the Arkendish to him," but then "Once he attuned, he changed quickly. Within twenty turns, he was neglecting most of his duties as Ruler. He had an opportunity to expand Efbaum through the lands of our fallen neighbors, but he allowed Haffaton free reign to take all of those cities."

Depending on how much of Olive's testimony we believe, Charlie dreamt of a peaceful Erfworld through alliance, not conquest. After attuning, when given the change to (semi)peacefully expand his side by claiming the cities of the fallen Easteros or Westeregg, he let Haffaton have them.

Charlie's attunement didn't make him into a warmonger. If anything, it made him more peaceful, which frustrated his expansionist daughter enough to try and croak him.