Digdoug - Episode 8

Digdoug - Episode 8

He‘d always meant to go.

At Follywood, they wouldn‘t let him visit the Magic Kingdom. Willis Circle, his Chief Thinkamancer, had ordered him not to ask or even to think about it. “I‘d know,” warned the little gray man. Digdoug didn‘t know if that was true, but he developed a habit of pinching himself whenever he thought about the place, just to be sure.

When Follywood traded him for Prince Pluss, the exchange was conducted at sea, even though he could more easily (and safely) have stayed home and crossed through their capitals‘ respective portals.

And since becoming a Homekey unit, Digdoug had spent eighty or ninety turns out in the field, with only occasional visits to the capital, often while passing through on his way to somewhere else. And frequently, like last night, he was pressed into social events or other activities that took him past the point of exhaustion and/or intoxication.

Still, truth be told he remained intimidated by the idea of the place.

Now here he stood, alone, in front of a glowing purple rectangle in the basement of the palace, surrounded by sacks of malt flour, garden tools, and broken cart wheels. He‘d been ordered to go, and that was that. He felt a bit sorry that he wouldn‘t actually be the first caster to pass through Homekey‘s portal–the Predictamancer had used it before him–but he was going, nevertheless. They would miss him at The Space tonight.

It looked like there had once been a stone step in front of the portal, but someone tore it out to make room for more crates. He didn‘t even have enough juice left from his tower improvements today to replace it, so Digdoug pushed a brass-bound wooden trunk in front of the portal and stepped up on it.

After three deep breaths, he put his hand through, then his face. Almost involuntarily, he stumbled completely through.

The ground was the first thing he noticed; this was not a terrain type he‘d ever seen before. There was a thick layer of soil that got progressively sandier until it touched the water table, which was of wet sand on top of the hardest bedrock he‘d ever felt. The trees here all sent deep taproots down to that water, but they spread broader roots all around them for nutrients. They played both wide and tall.

Then there was the creamy white sky, the unnatural spectrum of the leaf colors, and the disconcerting sense that the hex boundaries were much farther off than they ought to have been. The boundaries were...out at sea. There was an ocean nearby, but the groundwater below was fresh. And there were...

There were casters everywhere.

Dozens...no, more than two hundred portals stood around him in the grass, in seemingly random colors and positions. Each portal was rooted on a column of something as hard as diamond, which stretched down to that similarly tough bedrock. Casters strolled through this big, empty park, some of them appearing or disappearing through the shimmering rectangles. The air smelled sweetly of grass and leaves, with a whiff of sea salt.

He noticed a feeling of gravity from Homekey‘s own purple portal, almost a physical pull. His body knew that this portal he stood beside was the way home. His mind still knew very little, though.

He‘d been sure there would be some kind of initiation ritual here, if not a welcome committee then at least a sign to direct people where to find casters of various types. But casters just walked past him, in pursuit of their own business.

And he couldn‘t stop somebody and ask around. His mission was secret.

After a few minutes spent watching the parade of strange and often outlandish raiment on display, he considered returning to Homekey‘s library to re-read what the Titans had written about this place.

Instead, he decided to trust his sense of where his home portal was, and set out on a straight-line course without the slightest clue where he was going. Maybe he could try and find that Predictamancer they‘d hired. That would be some kind of start.

There were three ways to hire a barbarian caster, that Digdoug knew of. If your side had a Thinkamancer–or retained a barbarian one–then you could contact the Thinkamancers of the Magic Kingdom. They would locate a caster for you who was willing to meet your terms, and a Signamancer who would arrange the contract. For this, they would either charge you a fee or take a commission on the work.

Homekey didn‘t know any barbarian Thinkamancers. King Posbrake said there was a side called Charlescomm that offered this same service, but His Majesty had instead used a sending hat to get a barbarian Hat Magician to post the job for a Predictamancer. That was an even cheaper method. Unfortunately it was also slower, less certain, and less secure.

Sending your own caster here to negotiate was the cheapest and most secure way to do it, but Digdoug had been out in the field until yesterday. Ergo, his Royal mission tonight. Only he didn‘t know the place at all. Roads and trails led away from the park into the multicolored forest, but there were no signs to point the way.

He stood there for a while with his hands on his hips. He was just going to have to ask someone, he supposed. He‘d just have to phrase it very carefully.

Looking around, he kind of half-waved to a woman who seemed to be heading the way he‘d been going (wherever that was). “Hey, uh, excuse me.”

The woman stopped and turned. She looked him up and down, seeming amused. Then she approached him with a big, friendly smile. “Yeah, hon? Whatcha need?”

She had on a charcoal-gray coat and boots, with gartered stockings and a bustier that showed off her cleavage. Perched in her curly black hair, she wore a big top hat that matched the dark gray of her raiment. It was because of the hat that he‘d stopped her. It had a black band with a little card sticking up out of it. Digdoug thought she might be a Hat Magician on her way to post a job. “Do you know where the, um, offers of contract are posted?”

She raised thin black eyebrows over her coffee-brown eyes. “The gigs board?” she said. “Sure, it‘s back that way.” She pointed over Digdoug‘s shoulder, a little too quickly and vaguely for him to tell exactly which road she meant. “You looking for work?”

Digdoug smiled. “Oh, no. Maybe...I might post a job. A gig.” That wasn‘t precisely true, but he was hoping that going there and reading the postings would give him some idea of where to find the right kind of caster.

“I was kiddiiing,” said the woman, grinning and touching his shoulder lightly. Her skin was ash white, but her face was pretty. She stood close to him, and that was quite nice. “I can tell you ain‘t free.”

“Free?”

She rolled her eyes, but held on to her smile. “Barbarian. Not my favorite word, okay? So what‘s the gig? Maybe I can hook you up. I know people.”

“Oh, um. Nothing in particular, really. Just doing some research. For my side.”

“Mmm-hmmm...” she said, narrowing her eyes and giving him a good-natured smirk. “C‘mon, spill. What kind of work you offering?”

So this was his welcoming committee after all. She seemed friendly enough, and for some reason he felt like trusting her. But his orders... “I really can‘t talk about it.” He shrugged apologetically.

“Well,” she laughed, “that makes it pretty tough to get what you want, doesn‘t it, hon?”

Digdoug had to laugh, too. “Pretty tough. Yeah.”

“How ‘boooout...if I guess?!” she said excitedly. She reached down and grabbed him by the wrist. “Gimme three guesses, and if I guess right, you gotta give me a prize, okay?” Digdoug started to shake his head, but she swept on. “Guess one: you need a...Moneymancer!”

He smiled and rolled his eyes. “No, we have one too many of those right now.”

She grinned slyly. “Ohhhh...rich side, huh? Then you need...a...Healomancer?”

He shook his head.

She pouted with disappointment. “Awww. That‘s too bad, I know a guy.”

“One more guess,” said Digdoug. He didn‘t remember agreeing to this game, but he had to admit it was fun. And he didn‘t think it violated his secrecy order.

Her nose wrinkled in concentration. “Okay, you din‘t use a Hat Magician or a Thinkamancer to post the job, so it could be one of those...”

“Are you a hat magician?” Digdoug asked.

She shook her head. “‘Zat what you need, then? Do I win?”

“Nope,” said Digdoug. “Sorry about that.”

“Aww.” She said again, letting go of his hand and making a mopey face.

“What kind of a caster are you?” he asked. “I thought maybe with the hat...”

She touched the brim of her top hat, and felt the little card there. There turned out to be three of them: playing cards, with their backs showing. She spread them apart a bit. “Yeah it‘s a magical hat, but I ain‘t a Hat Magician. What kind are you?”

“A Dirtamancer. Lord Digdoug Mole.” He wasn‘t sure if he should offer his hand, so he just vaguely touched his own chest to indicate himself.

She gave a little whistle of appreciation through her teeth. “Nice! Really? Holy crap.” Then she held up a hand in an apologetic gesture. “I mean, very nice.”

“Thanks,” said Digdoug. He actually had been about to take that the wrong way. “So what about you?”

The woman looked away sadly. “Well, I‘m Dove. Lady Dove Barstool.” She offered her hand for a handshake, rather than a kiss. He shook it gently. “But I know you ain‘t here to hire a Carny.”

Digdoug blinked. “I‘m sorry? You‘re a Carnymancer?”

She smiled again, but there was pain in her eyes. That ashen skin of hers was like Thinkamancer Willis‘ had been. It was a bit of Signamancy that sometimes happened to units who‘d been through serious hardship, usually casters. “Yeah, but I really could help you find somebody, y‘know. Whoever you need. Really small commission, too. Tiny.” She held two fingers very close together.

Digdoug took a deep breath and let it out slowly. He leaned forward and whispered, “That‘s what we need. We need a Carnymancer.”

Her eyes went wide. “Get out,” she whispered back. “For what?”

“Can you–” Digdoug looked around and over his shoulder for anyone who might overhear (they were right out in the open, for Titans‘ sake). He just could not believe the sheer Luckamancy of it. “Can you help us cheat a Prediction?”

Recent posts... (See full thread)
I suspect that each branch of magic defines how certain things work, ie they help create the rules of Erfworld. Dirtamancers don't tweak the rules of how dirt sits. The rules of how dirt sits IS Dirtamancy. And Dirtamancers have power over that.

I think that Carnymancy is the exception. Carnymancers change how the rules work. Thy don't define any rules of their own.
Lilwik wrote:
Lipkin wrote:
Carnymancy tweaks the existing rules, which are already magical.
What does that mean? All of Erfworld is rules of one kind or another. Dirt sits on the ground as an inanimate foundation for everyday activities until a Dirtamancer arrives tweak that rule. Walls prevent units from seeing what is happening in other rooms until a Lookamancer decides to tweak that rule. All casters tweak rules, so saying that Carnymancy tweaks rules is saying nothing about Carnymancy. I expect you had something in mind when you said it; you weren't trying to say nothing, and I love theories of magic, so I seriously would like to know what you mean. Perhaps you had certain specific rules in mind, or perhaps you had a certain kind of tweaking in mind.

Now that we are so close to finally uncovering enormous insights into the true nature of Carnymancy, there may never be a better time to propose all of our favorite theories about the nature of Carnymancy.

The rules of Erf do not exclude the abilities of casters. The rule is not "Walls prevent people from seeing past them." The rule is "Walls prevent units from seeing past them, unless Lookamancy is implemented." The rule is "An incapacitated unit croaks at the end of turn, unless healed by Healomancy. Once healed, the unit is no longer incapacitated." Healomancy doesn't break the rule that a unit croaks after being incapacitated. The rule is that if you aren't healed, you die. Carnymancy tweaked the rule to allow the unit to continue being incapacitated for a number of turns. That's breaking the rules or Erf.

We know that the different branches of magic require far more than just saying a magic word to get an effect. Thinkamancy needs G-Strings. Croakamancy requires a conscious reparation of the corpses. There is a ton going on below the surface. Rules for how these things work, and reasons that things happen. Carnymancy thumbs it's nose at these reasons, and does things that it shouldn't be able to do. That's what bending or breaking the rules would mean. Doing things that should be impossible, based upon the understanding of every other magical discipline. I highly doubt there is such a thing as natural Carnymancy.

Edit: Ninjaed by GW. And much more concisely at that.
Lipkin wrote:
Healomancy doesn't break the rule that a unit croaks after being incapacitated. The rule is that if you aren't healed, you die.
Isn't that a distinction without a difference? Whether Healomancy is considered breaking the rule or not, it still amounts to doing the same thing.

Lipkin wrote:
Carnymancy tweaked the rule to allow the unit to continue being incapacitated for a number of turns. That's breaking the rules or Erf.
Does that actually say something about Carnymancy, or are you just saying that Carnymancy might do anything or everything and we have no idea what its limits may be or even what kind of limits it might have? If Carnymancy breaks the rules, then doesn't that mean that no rules apply to it, and isn't that just another way of saying that we don't understand it?

Lipkin wrote:
Carnymancy thumbs it's nose at these reasons, and does things that it shouldn't be able to do.
No matter how mysterious Carnymancy may be, one thing that we can be sure of is that Carnymancy has certain capabilities and those capabilities are what Carnymancy should be able to do. The idea that Carnymancy can do things that it shouldn't be able to do seems absurd. Who is setting this standard for what Carnymancy should do, and why would you listen to that standards organization when you know that it's getting it wrong?
GWvsJohn wrote:
I suspect that each branch of magic defines how certain things work, ie they help create the rules of Erfworld. Dirtamancers don't tweak the rules of how dirt sits. The rules of how dirt sits IS Dirtamancy. And Dirtamancers have power over that.

I think that Carnymancy is the exception. Carnymancers change how the rules work. Thy don't define any rules of their own.

Jack mentioned a little riddle he once proposed: "How is a Luckamancer like a Naughtymancer? One rules the breaks, and one breaks the rules."

It's Naughtymancy (Croakamancy, Shockmancy and Retconjuration) that's been mentioned as "breaking the rules", rather than Carnymancy.

Carnymancy has been suggested as the magic of "fighting Fate", which might be where the confusion is coming from. I don't think it's actually the same thing as "breaking the rules" though.
A thing to remember here is that the magic system is really a parody of magic systems in other fictional worlds. As such it is not entirely supposed to make sense. I suppose that should not stop us from trying to make sense of it and we might be right - but that sense is likely to be one that has been through the looking glass.
Free Radical wrote:
Jack mentioned a little riddle he once proposed: "How is a Luckamancer like a Naughtymancer? One rules the breaks, and one breaks the rules."

It's Naughtymancy (Croakamancy, Shockmancy and Retconjuration) that's been mentioned as "breaking the rules", rather than Carnymancy.

Carnymancy has been suggested as the magic of "fighting Fate", which might be where the confusion is coming from. I don't think it's actually the same thing as "breaking the rules" though.


That's one of those quotes that doesn't really make sense any more, unless he's specifically referring to Retconjuration. Shockamancy in particular seems pretty straightforward.

I don't have the specific link, but doesn't Parson call Carnymancy the magic of rigging the game?
One that troubles me is that we need something different from what Jojo pulled with Sylvia. Jojo effectively deferred Sylvia's death. For a life that's not bad. We know we all die but getting an extension at full health is as good as it gets. But a side is potentially immortal so extending it's life does not quite cheat the prediction.
GWvsJohn wrote:
That's one of those quotes that doesn't really make sense any more, unless he's specifically referring to Retconjuration. Shockamancy in particular seems pretty straightforward.

I don't have the specific link, but doesn't Parson call Carnymancy the magic of rigging the game?

Yes, he did call it that. Here is the link. As you can see from context though, that's Parson's realisation that Jojo's talk about how "You can fight Fate. And win!" is referring to Carnymancy. Parson summarises by turning it into Stupidworld terms relating to Carnies, which Jojo admits is basically right. "Rigging the game" isn't "breaking the rules" either though.

As to Shockmancy seeming straightforward, I think Rusty Trombone could be described as breaking the rules of polite society in FAQ, which may or may not be a reflection of the discipline. I guess Jack might have had something other than how their magic works in mind with the riddle, but the important point was that the time we heard about casters "breaking the rules" had nothing to do with Carnymancers.
Free Radical wrote:
GWvsJohn wrote:
As to Shockmancy seeming straightforward, I think Rusty Trombone could be described as breaking the rules of polite society in FAQ, which may or may not be a reflection of the discipline.


I think this is the only way in which Shockmancy breaks the rules. It's a parody of evocation.
Parson calls them rules breakers, and Jojo agrees right here: LIAB 83:3
Quote:
Parson: Jojo, why are you so worried about it?
I thought Carnymancers were all about breaking the rules, right?

Jeftichew: I told you what rule you should break, Lord of the Hamsters.
We went to great trouble to supply you with the means to defy your Fate.


My current theory is that they don't really break game rules, but moral/legal ones, and Parson doesn't realize the subtle difference. Nor Digdoug's side.