Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) - Episode 020

Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) - Episode 020

"What the enemy brings you, you usually don't know until they're on you," Fritz had said, back when they were still two days' ride from home. "But here, we've got the count. We know just what we're facing. It's like having a Lookamancer for once."

Wanda nodded. Father had sent them a full roster of Frenemy and Quisling's forces in Goodminton's airspace (though a few more were still trickling in). She and the warlords were poring over it around a tactical table, beneath the fluttering canvas of a dining tarpaulin. A weak sun rose over pine-stubbled, snowy hills. Un-Tommy stood nearby, as blank and unthinking as a golem. But it somehow still seemed right to have him in earshot.

"And what it tells us," Fritz continued, "isn't good. If they attack the city now, that's it. We'll disband in the field, and our shadows will never darken the ground again." Cakes nodded solemnly, and Mack looked down at the list and shook his head at the futility of such a battle. "But let's assume Lord Firebaugh can delay them until we arrive. Then we've got something of a chance. And that's assuming we have to fight at all. The Overlord may elect to pay them off."

Mack groaned, or was that a growl? "He won't do that. He won't empty the treasury just to preserve our alliance with these cheeseweasels."

"He'd be doing it to fight another turn," Cakes said grimly.

"Yeah, and with no treasury, 'another turn' would be about all we'd have," snarled Mack.

"If he does, he does," said Fritz. "It's not your place to say, nor even mine. I'm not Tommy." He glanced respectfully at Un-Tommy, still standing motionless beside the tarp pole. Fritz mashed his index finger down on the map of the capital in front of him. "We're planning a battle here. Now, I believe it's going to be a matter of forcing them to ground in the courtyard."

"They'll want the tower," said Mack.

"Aye, so we put enough men and warlords up there that they'll think the courtyard's softer."

"Meaning the courtyard will be soft," said Cakes.

"Not so soft as they think. We put top leadership and casters down there to meet 'em," said Fritz. "Then we can hit them from above and below all at once. It'll bring our heavies into play early. That should be enough to win out."

In the silence that followed, Wanda cleared her throat. She had a surprise that would change everything about this battle planning session.

"The tower has new spells on it," she said with a sly smile. "I've been having Clay and Delphie spend their juice on air defenses."

"Aye, I'm aware," said Fritz, "but it's nothing like what we'd need to shoot them all down. Not by a quarter, by my gut. Not by a tenth, if I'm honest."

Wanda's face fell. Her cheeks went flush.

The actual effect the new air defense spells might have on an enemy wasn't something she understood well. It was for a warlord to say how useful something might be in battle.

She'd told Tommy about spelling up Minnow Tower, and he'd said it was smart thinking. But he never said what kind of effect the raw Shockmancy they were storing in the tower might have in battle. He had let her believe that it might, in fact, be enough to save the capital. Was he only trying to boost her confidence?

Oh...and he must have also told Fritz just how pathetic those few extra spells really were, because Fritz wasn't even surprised.

She slumped on the camp stool, and tuned the rest of the meeting out. Another branch of magic she knew nothing about. And her assumptions about it had been terrible. Another ignorant misstep.

She looked up at Un-Tommy helplessly. Would there ever be as much time as she needed, simply to learn to do her job?

A little later in the meeting, Wanda took hold of a quill and stray scrap of parchment, and began to write a note.


The Chief Croakamancer held on tightly to the unfamiliar scroll, and followed the others out to the veranda atop Minnow Tower.

In the satchel at her hip, she had a sheaf of scribbled notes: two days' worth of hasty messages from Father, from Delphie, from Clay. She'd swallowed her pride and asked some of the most rudimentary questions about magic. Delphie withheld sarcasm and answered them plainly, if in flourished handwriting.

How much damage would one of their spells deal an enemy flying unit? What was the likelihood of hitting a given enemy? Could the enemy defend against spells? How much bonus did the tower provide to a caster? Could the enemy attack a caster on the tower? On, and on...

Father also seemed to be gaining an education as they went. His aversion to magic wore away a bit, as these basic spellcasting concepts turned clearer. His suggestions were brief, but often incisive. Over a number of hours, the four of them (and then five, as Wanda brought Fritz into the planning process) worked out a strategy which played to the cards in their hand.

The same five of them now stepped out into the gray daylight and the chill breeze. This morning, Father had sent Delphie into the Magic Kingdom to buy the scroll Wanda now unrolled. It was a fairly hefty piece of magic, and it cost 18,000 Shmuckers, or close to a fifth of Goodminton's treasury. It was not offensive; she could cast it before Goodminton broke alliance. She hoped she would not fail.

The opposing (not for moments yet would they be "enemy") forces, seemed to take some notice of this gathering. There were some minor shouts to attention among the two masses of flyers, but no real alarm. They simply hovered in the air, well above the stub of a tower, and awaited some signal.

Wanda squinted, and began to recite the Dirtamancy scroll.

"Dobler," she incanted, "Tatum, Samuelsson, McSorley..." The tower rumbled. "Cobb!" Wanda shouted. "Rose!"

The tower rose indeed, far higher into the sky than it had stood before. Stone blocks and tiles sprang from nothing, widening the platform upon which they stood. The flyers of Quisling and Frenemy seemed to descend until they hovered at even height with the tower top. The opposition forces were milling confusedly, some of them drawing swords and nocking arrows in alarm. A bugle called Quisling to readiness. The memory of the spell faded from Wanda's mind.

It had been as effective as her effort at Rhyme-o-mancy, but it left her no better understanding of what she had cast. She had meant to pay some attention to the design of the tower as she cast, but it only looked like a bigger version of the old one. She shook her head in wonderment at having cast it at all. Meanwhile, Fritz crouched and raised up a great metal shield. Delphie and Clay stepped behind him.

Delphie's voice was high and quavering. "Lord, you should break with Frenemy. Now."

"Done!" shouted Father from just behind Wanda's shoulder. The flyers from the nearer group ceased to look like allies, and her heart pumped as it always did at first sight of enemy units. But boosted spells were already flying from the newly powerful tower, and Delphie...dottering, vain Delphie, was commanding all of the magic Goodminton could bring to bear.

Even through blinding blasts, Wanda's Croakamancy senses let her know that the first enemy casualties had been struck and were falling. She sensed broken skulls and wings and burst organs inside the bodies that spiraled down through the air toward the courtyard below. Two Buttresses and their mounted warlords were among the plummeting units, as well as half a dozen Moonbats and Wingnuts.

Delphie immediately leveled up to 5, and her spells became that much more potent. From a higher vantage on the tower, the ballista emplacements and archers, led by Cakes and Mack, let loose a volley. Missiles flew and slew. Frenemy had barely yet had time to comprehend that its ally of fifteen score turns was croaking its units mercilessly, let alone to adjust their stacks to their rapidly dwindling leadership and mount a counterattack.

Delphie was simply not missing. Not one single shot.

Wanda watched her work, but it was a blur. Somewhere in those notes in her satchel, there was a brief explanation of how Predictamancy worked in combat. It amounted to the caster using her juice to see things happen a second or two ahead, so that she could aim where the enemy would be, and to move where the enemy's return blows and arrows would not land.

Most importantly to this plan, a Predictamancer could know whether or not a shot or blow she was about to initiate would be a hit. If it wouldn't, then she simply did not take the shot.

And finally, there was Clay's boost.

A Luckamancy boost could have any number of specific effects on a unit's "dice." Defensively, it could affect their chance to be hit, the damage they would take from hits, their chance of receiving a critical hit, their chance of being incapacitated or croaked from a fall, et cetera. Or it could affect the enemy's outcomes: their defenses. This was the boost they decided to give Delphie.

Some return fire was coming in now, from Frenemy only. But Frenemy's forces were weak, in terms of their air to ground capabilities. Their Flying Lotuses were sending some blasts at Delphie. A few Goobirds approached the tower top and were shot down. Only one magic blast struck Fritz's shield. Delphie sidestepped the others as necessary, still casting in a kind of concentration trance. Her eyes and her hands danced.

Breaking alliance only with Frenemy technically allowed Quisling to attack the tower. But by doing so, Goodminton had signaled to Quisling that it still would accept a state of non-aggression with them. Delphie had yet fired no shots their way. The highest-ranking Quisling warlord seemed to want to wait for guidance from their Ruler, which is exactly what Firebaugh had said would happen.

Frenemy units fell by twos and threes, the victims of outrageously high damage outcomes and critical hit rates. Their remaining single warlord, badly burned by a lightning blast to his sword arm, looked up at Quisling's forces. They were hanging there, untouched and unmoving, offering no help.

He must have made a very easy decision. Frenemy escaped Goodminton's airspace with more than half their total units still alive; the battle was decisive mainly for the high-value targets they had lost.

Fritz stood atop the tall new tower, leaving his sword in its sheath. He signaled to Quisling by pointing to the horizon, with Delphie standing at his back, ready to cast. Before ten minutes had passed, they too had withdrawn from Goodminton's airspace.

The five of them, forgetting all ranks, decorum and history, laughed and embraced. For a moment, they were not Overlord, Chiefs and casters. They were a five-unit stack which had just beaten two armies.

Wanda had not cast a single spell in the fight, but that was in the plan as well.

Her juice had been intentionally preserved for the burned and broken spoils littering the courtyard far below.


Recent posts... (See full thread)
Morni wrote:
Predictamancer can be proving wrong. Ask one.. where will this unit be in 1 minute. and make that unit move so it's not there.

Here's the problem with that: we've never actually seen it tried. Right now, every prediction we've seen has come true. And with Balerion's interpretation of combat Predictamancy ("does this unit get hit by a spell in the next two seconds?"), it's entirely plausible that combat Predictamancy (ie short term predictions) are always correct. Something may happen to that unit that forces it to be where it was predicted to be, even if the unit tried to move elsewhere.

I'm open to the idea that short term predictions can be wrong, but I really don't believe that's the case. So far, Fate has been absolute, and without a really good reason to believe otherwise, I'm going to assume that short term is the same as long term. A Prediction is a Prediction is a Prediction. This is (so far) a unique case, so it's possible that this is different, but to assume that it is different right off the bat is not something I agree with.

Heh, I just realized I went from strongly arguing one side of the argument to arguing the other side of the argument. What can I say, Balerion made a great point.
0beron wrote:
Balerion wrote:
I think the example of the Jetstone battle is a good one; Marie knows its an important turn, and she can't see beyond it and has no idea what will happen. The future isn't firm, so she just can't see it; she doesn't see things that are going to be false later.

THIS however is a really good point of proof. It's not exactly the same situation (and of course Marie could be lying) but I think it's a better bit of evidence than "no prediction has been wrong yet" (If you're familiar with Hypothesis Testing in statistics, that's kinda the methodology I approach Erfworld with)

I agree that the lack of Predictions about the future is good data supporting absolute Fate. I didn't mention that because I had kind of assumed that was obvious. But it's a very good point regardless.

I completely agree with your suggested methodology, but when you are working with a limited data set, it's hard to do that directly. Hume would say that just because every prediction thus far has been right that doesn't mean they always will be. Investors preach that past performance is no guarantee of future results ...but it's certainly a booping good place to start.

If you assume the null hypothesis is wrong, then you have to provide strong evidence to support that. So far, I haven't seen a strong argument for non-absolute Fate that can't be countered by a logical, plausible argument that supports absolute Fate. Like I said, I'm open to the idea that the null hypothesis is wrong, but I don't think that the burden of proof has been met.
Well I think we've begun to entangle two words which need to be kept distinct in this context. "Fate" and "Future". Insofar as we have seen, Fate simply consists of certain conditions/states which must come to pass. These conditions/states obviously occur at some point in the Future, but not necessarily at a determined point, nor are they the ONLY thing the future holds.

If the Future and Fate are both set in stone, than Marie would be able to see past the Siege of Spacerock, Predictions could be more precise even in the long run, and Wanda wouldn't be able to defy/fall from Fate's "path" for her.

If we accept that Fate is absolute and unchangeable (which is something we have to take on faith alone, as no proof has been or is likely to be offered on the subject), then it is still possible that the path TO that Fate through the Future is NOT predetermined. And I would argue this is the case, because if both Fate and Future were predetermined, what would be the POINT of Erfworld? (Again, this second assumption is one I make also on faith, but there is at least some evidence in the fact that no long-term predictions have had a timeframe attached)
Also, this viewpoint I just explained is shared by Wanda. Wanda (and perhaps Jack to a limited extent) are the only "evidence" we have about Future and Fate, so the fact that Wanda believes the PATH to one's Fate is not predetermined is "proof" enough for me to back that camp.

Thus, if the specific events of even the near future are not predetermined, Predictamancy does indeed become a very tricky discipline. Here I think Balerion offered a reasonable hypothesis for near-future predictions. Again, no predictamancer has to our knowledge tried to defy such predictions, nevermind doing so with enough regularity to serve as a good test :p But for the moment I'm content to sign on with Balerion.
0beron wrote:
Well I think we've begun to entangle two words which need to be kept distinct in this context. "Fate" and "Future". Insofar as we have seen, Fate simply consists of certain conditions/states which must come to pass. These conditions/states obviously occur at some point in the Future, but not necessarily at a determined point, nor are they the ONLY thing the future holds.

If the Future and Fate are both set in stone, than Marie would be able to see past the Siege of Spacerock, Predictions could be more precise even in the long run, and Wanda wouldn't be able to defy/fall from Fate's "path" for her.

If we accept that Fate is absolute and unchangeable (which is something we have to take on faith alone, as no proof has been or is likely to be offered on the subject), then it is still possible that the path TO that Fate through the Future is NOT predetermined. And I would argue this is the case, because if both Fate and Future were predetermined, what would be the POINT of Erfworld? (Again, this second assumption is one I make also on faith, but there is at least some evidence in the fact that no long-term predictions have had a timeframe attached)
Also, this viewpoint I just explained is shared by Wanda. Wanda (and perhaps Jack to a limited extent) are the only "evidence" we have about Future and Fate, so the fact that Wanda believes the PATH to one's Fate is not predetermined is "proof" enough for me to back that camp.

Thus, if the specific events of even the near future are not predetermined, Predictamancy does indeed become a very tricky discipline. Here I think Balerion offered a reasonable hypothesis for near-future predictions. Again, no predictamancer has to our knowledge tried to defy such predictions, nevermind doing so with enough regularity to serve as a good test :p But for the moment I'm content to sign on with Balerion.

I understand your differentiation between Fate and Future. It's just hard to deal with something that is, by definition, always right. The thing bout an absolute Fate is that it cheats. That's the problem. No matter HOW you get from Event A to Event B, an absolute Fate argument can say that it was supposed to be that way the whole time. You have the present and you have a bit of the Future, but you don't have the pieces in between. You don't know how the story goes, so you can never be sure if what you're doing is what's written or not. Even if you try to change things, that may have been just the way it was supposed to go. That's why I say that Fate cheats. Predestination theories are really hard to argue with because they can always say "That's what supposed to happen."

However, an absolute Fate/deterministic future belief doesn't mean that choice is unimportant for the individual. Choices are ultimately what lives are made of. Most of the time nobody knows what choices have been written for them, so it really doesn't matter. From their point of view, life is just life. Written or unwritten, it doesn't matter because they are the ones living it. TO THEM, choices matter. Who cares about some wench in the sky pulling the strings? From a first person point of view, written and unwritten (Absolute and non-absolute) Fate are the same thing.

That's what Wanda realized. Wanda believes her Fate is already written. So instead of using the knowledge that Fate is showing her (in the form of Predictions) to fight and make life harder for herself, she's accepted that Fate is always right and makes the best choices for her to get to that ending. She believes that was going to get there regardless, might as well choose the easy path. The fact that her route from A to B was already written doesn't matter because she doesn't know what the route is. She accepts her lack of knowledge and makes the choices that make her life the least unpleasant. It's not fatalistic as much as it is efficient (from her point of view). Her choices may or may not be already written, but from her point of view, there's no difference. Either way she believes what she believes, and she chooses what she chooses.
One possibility in the 'where will I be in 1 minute' case is that if the prophecy would be self-defeating, casting auto-fails.
Perhaps there are events that loom so large in predictamancy that they obscure what comes next. Hence the predictamancer can only get a vague sense until that event is past.
Lamech wrote:
So, I have a question: Can clay make items that auto-alter units dice? Say a hat of critical strikes? Be good for in combat.

The only thing we have seen like that is Duncan's laurel. That required a three-caster link to create. I would imagine what you describe would require it as well.

multilis wrote:
Hit and run tactics are used in current age of instantaneous communication.

I phrased that poorly. I was refering to the fact that a Ruler always has some idea what is happening to the side's units and can issue commands without any form of communication. In a situation like that, you can never destroy an enemy column and have the enemy be unaware of it. You'll never have an enemy make moves that rely on the assumption that they have support when the support has already been destroyed. If an enemy unit makes contact with you, their side will know your location, no matter how quickly or completely you destroy that unit. Once again, I'm not claiming there is no benefit to hit-and-run tactics, but they do sacrifice advantages in Erfworld.

In the modern era, hit-and-run tactics require those employing them to be able to disappear. They need to either blend into the civilian population or vanish into the wilderness. In Erfworld, there is no civilian population. In Erfworld a side can't vanish into the wilderness. In Erfworld, a side is tied to their cities, so the enemy always knows where to find them. If Lord Firebaugh loses his cities, he could go the barbarian route, but he would lose his treasury and production capabilities. On a barbarian's purse, he couldn't afford the upkeep of one caster, let alone three. Attrition would favor his enemies, since they can replace their losses and he could not. Also, in the modern era, guerilla warfare often depends on the enemy’s civilian population losing the will to fight. That won’t happen in Erfworld.

I am in favor of Goodminton employing such tactics. They're all about being strong where the enemy is weak and getting the most use out of limited resources. They could buy Goodminton time, but I just don't see guerrilla warfare being a winning strategy in Erfworld the way it can be on Earth. Without change the whole complexion of the conflict, Goodminton will fall sooner or later. A military genius may find a way, but Erfworld seems lacking in those.

multilis wrote:
Lots of turn based games similar to Erfworld. Eg I read of someone describing a Warlords 3 game where he was vastly outnumbered against AI and played hit and run to eventually win an impossible game.

I personally am now playing Age of Wonders 2 - Shadow magic (was only a few dollars with electronic purchase/download). I often set game to turn based classic, which is similar to erfworld to get rid of the advantages from moving before and after enemies on a turn, etc. Hit and run is one of the most powerful tactics when facing super strong enemies (that includes using small fast armies as distraction). Another is to convert some of enemy army to your side, any way you can.

I also play online multiplayer strategy games, including massively multiplayer. One of fun things is to be a lone wolf against a powerful alliance with many members... one of your advantages is humans in large alliance are more laid back, waiting for one of their allies to deal with you rather than risk hurting their own personal army. Usually you do lots of hit and run, and try to make sure that every player that hits you feels more pain than gain. (I usually pretend to be easy prey and wait for powerful pirates to try and rob me, so I play a fairly good level of enemy. You don't win all the time against much superior foes, but you can win. Almost always you can cause several times as many enemy to lose as well)

I did start my post with the caveat that I was using historical examples and they do not fit perfectly with how Erfworld works. While I play some strategy games, I don’t play them often, so I'm far from an expert on them. Therefore, I will concede the point that many of the game aspects of Erfworld may impact the situation in ways I may not expect. I've always been a student of history, so that's the prism through which I view military situations.

On the other hand, if we were watching Erfworld as a game, I would imagine it as a game where all the sides are controlled by AI. Parson is the first "player" in Erfworld. The reason I say this is because Ansom was thought to be one of the greatest military minds in Erfworld. If I were to compare Ansom to a historic figure, it would be John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough. He was certainly a general of outstanding ability, but he wouldn't be ranked among the great captains of history. Marlborough’s ambition and skill, both martial and diplomatic, propelled him from obscurity to prominence and transformed England from a peripheral to major power in Europe. His relationship with Prince Eugene of Savoy, perhaps the greatest military collaboration in history, reminds me of Ansom’s relationship with Vinny. While Eugene was probably the more clever and skillful of the two, it was Marlborough who was the de facto leader of the armies of the Grand Alliance during the War of the Spanish Succession, holding a discordant coalition together through the sheer force of his personality.

Warfare in the 18th century was mostly stagnant and pedantic. Few leaders had the ability to follow the example of Gustavus Adolphus with imagination and energy. Most simply copied the external aspects of his military organization without realizing his true genius was the flexibility with which he employed his forces. For example, Gustavus’s army was highly disciplined. Instead of realizing the discipline was a means to an end, for many commanders, discipline became an end unto itself. Tactical perfection was considered to consist of the ability to form perfect lines and maintain these lines even during the heat of battle. Warfare was ruled by convention, and Marlborough, while very successful, was content to conform to convention. He can be compared to a general that can be listed as one of history’s great captains: Frederick II, King of Prussia. Frederick pushed the limits of warfare in his era. He innovated. He introduced speed and maneuverability to warfare that had become slow and plodding. Even he, however, was not able to completely break the shackles of his time. In the 18th century, armies consisted of vagabonds led by nobles. There probably has never been a period of history in which there was a bigger gulf between officers and the common soldiers. The soldiers were only kept in line with the harshest discipline. If given an opportunity, they would desert en masse. Losses from desertion caused greater attrition than those from casualties or disease. While Frederick was a military genius, his greatest weakness, a failure to pursue after a decisive victory, was caused by a fear that his army would melt away in desertions were he to unleash it in pursuit. It would take the ruthless genius of Napoleon Bonaparte to shatter completely the rigid system of 18th-century warfare and forever alter the conduct of war.

For the sake of this comparison, Charlie is Frederick the Great, and Parson is Napoleon.

multilis wrote:
In my opinion Wanda's side still has some chance, because their enemies are so sloppy and overconfident, likely don't trust each other, and also face external threats. Part of game is diplomacy... eg "render the enemy unable to unwilling to take the garrison/city/side" If any side that takes you fears being destroyed next, that can make them unwilling. So far Wanda's father seems fairly good at that part.

I’m not so sure able that. A couple of days after the update, it became obvious to me that Haffaton was behind the delay in the capital strike. If Frenemy and Quisling had taken Goodminton while Wanda was in the field, she would have disbanded. Haffaton wants Wanda keenly, so they had Goodminton’s “allies” wait until her column had reached the capital. Frenemy and Quisling have been collaborating with Haffaton for a while now, since before Wanda popped. They enabled Haffaton to seize Goodfinger. They have been feeding them information for some time. They’re in too deep to get cold feet now. Soldiers in the 18th century fought because they feared their officers’ whips more than the enemies’ bayonets. Haffaton seems like a regional power. Quisling and Frenemy are probably more afraid of what Haffaton will do if they don’t follow through with whatever arrangement they’ve made than what the other may be plotting.

multilis wrote:
In current situation Wanda's side wants to keep having smaller fights non-stop, because uncroaked decay but have zero upkeep. If you don't have many cities you have to replace troops by taking them from enemy, and you don't have to worry about the large converted army driving you bankrupt.

I’m not claiming Goodminton’s situation is hopeless, and I certainly don’t think Goodminton will fall immediately. I think they will last dozens of turns more. I do think their end in inevitable, though. While I love Fritz, he’s practical but not particularly brilliant or imaginative. I can’t see him coming up with strategies that play to his side’s strengths. A tactic that would work would be the same one Parson used in his siege raid, engage part of a stack, grab the bodies and disengage. I don’t think Fritz would think of something like that. Lord Firebaugh has repeatedly demonstrated that diplomacy is a weakness of his. He allowed his alliance to deteriorate to the point where his allies were actively working against him. Even when it became obvious they were, he refused to end the alliance simply because he had never broken an alliance in his life. He failed to come to a diplomatic settlement with Haffaton when it was advantageous to do so. Even though he has insight into the minds of his enemies, a very valuable trait, he has shown he is unable to seal the deal diplomatically.

Haffaton has the advantage of strategic initiative. Goodminton has the advantage of interior lines. Haffaton would have to be moronic to concede the initiative. Any strategy that relies on the enemy making mistakes is going to lose. In order for Goodminton to do this, Haffaton would have to divide their forces so that Goodminton could attack them piecemeal. Goodminton would always have to croak more than they lose or their force will eventually evaporate. They would always have to hold the field after the battle, or they won’t be able to claim the spoils. They would always have to have their most valuable asset on the front, an asset Haffaton wants badly. Haffaton can counter Goodminton in copious ways. They can consolidate and wait for the uncroaked to decay. They can keep their forces concentrated, so there isn’t any chance of Haffaton conceding the hex. They can move against multiple targets at once. Goodminton can’t defend everything, and they may spread themselves too thin trying. They could set another trap and capture Wanda. There are probably other ways that I’m not considering, but Haffaton and their allies will not just be sitting back and letting Goodminton pick their targets. They will be working against them.

multilis wrote:
" Haffaton will bring them in line" - Haffaton scored a chief warlord kill by using dirty backstab tactic, but then blundered the bigger fight. They sent an army that *should* have won which means big army, and as result Wanda's army is now stronger. Deep in enemy territory, Haffaton had all the time in the world to prepare, and they blow it so badly...

Who cares how they got the kill? I’ve never really seen the logic to honor and rules in warfare. War means that the rules have been thrown out the window. At the start of World War I, the French wore vivid uniforms intended to dominate the morale of the enemy. They learned, to their horror, that machine guns don’t have any morale to be dominated. War is horrible and ugly. If a side or nation deems it necessary, however, trying to hold on to ideals instead of getting the job done will only lead to disaster.

Haffaton’s loss can be pinned on Larry. He had something to prove. Whether he was simply that obsessed with Wanda or he felt he had to prove his loyalty because he considered turning, he put himself at risk and Un-Tommy got a lucky critical. Without Larry’s leadership bonus, Fritz’s higher bonus prevailed. Also, Wanda stated that her force was stronger by unit count, which does not mean that her force is qualitatively stronger. The horde of uncroaked on the walls of Gobwin Knob were no match for Ansom, by himself, with the Arkenpliers and his carpet. Haffaton and her collaborators have made mistakes. Sending Larry to capture Wanda was one. Retreating from the “shock and awe” at Goodminton was another. The fact that Goodminton left a Frenemy warlord alive is telling. They needed Frenemy to retreat. They didn’t even have the firepower to shoot down one of their opponent’s forces. We have seen enemy warlords make poor decisions that have benefitted Goodminton, but Goodminton can’t rely on them to always make poor decisions. Goodminton isn’t even fully united in purpose. While they worked well together to deal with the immediate threat to their capital, there is too much friction between Wanda, Delphie and Lord Firebaugh for them to work to their best effect.

This conflict reminds me of the American Civil War. Haffaton seems better at diplomacy and better at keeping other sides out of the conflict. Haffaton, the Union, can afford multiple decisive defeats. Goodminton, the Confederacy, cannot afford a single disastrous defeat. If their army is destroyed, they’ve lost the war. Also, Goodminton doesn’t have a Robert E. Lee. If they did, they’d have a chance.

I’ll admit I may be wrong. I don’t claim to be an expert on any of this. This is just how I see the situation.

Berserkas wrote:
Making a note here, i think we can now safely assume that even Healomancers and every other caster class there is have pretty devastating combat spells/abilities.

Also, Wanda commented that every caster is popped knowing the hoboken spell. So every caster in Erfworld has some direct damage capabilities as well.

0beron wrote:
I would hazard a guess that Dirtamancy is not just limited to improving the quality of an upgrade bought with schmukers. With a powerful enough spell, a full upgrade without schmukers could be possible. Sizemore simply hasn't done this because either 1) he's not high level enough to have the juice for it, and/or 2)GK had schmuckers to spare, and needed his juice for other things instead.
Also I imagine that a proper upgrade has to be done at a particular time, whereas the spell can be cast at any point, thus allowing for this element of surprise.

I'm not claiming there is no limit the the upgrades that can be performed. I do think, however, that the effect of the scroll could have been, "this is the level 4 tower/city you would of had if you'd had a Dirtamancer." On the other hand, we know a Dirtamancer guides the upgrades themselves. Wanda didn't do that. It is possible the scroll itself did. Anyway, I acknowledge the likelihood that I'm wrong.

0beron wrote:
I agree with multilis. Because we don't KNOW what Delphi "knows" or if what she told is even the truth, we can't conclude what Fate has in store for Wanda in this phase of her life.
Delphi may have in fact seen something totally different, and made up what she has said so far in an attempt to alter Fate, and in the process set up pain in her own future. This possibility would still result in Wanda developing the same philosophy, but learning from Delphi's mistakes rather than her own.

We don't need to know what Delphie "knows." For the purposes of this speculation, we only need to know what Delphie told Wanda, because it is the change in Wanda's beliefs that hints at the future. While it is certainly possible that Wanda has been told things off screen or will receive more information in future updates, as of right now Delphie has told the following to Wanda:

Delphie knew Wanda would pop as a caster.
Goodminton will be assaulted from the air.
Delphie will only be Wanda's Chief for a short time.
Wanda's Fate is tied to Olive, and Olive will be her Chief for a long time.
Lord Firebaugh refusing the original peace offer doomed Goodminton.
Delphie will croak, and Wanda will have an opportunity to reanimate her.
Wanda has a Destiny, is protected by Fate and doesn't need Luckamancy.
Fighting Fate is pointless. It will happen anyway, just in a more painful fashion.

I think that is all of them. The first three have happened. Future Wanda has fully embraced the last two. It doesn't matter what untold details Delphie may have left out, because it is only the information Wanda has access to that will impact her future beliefs.

Whispri wrote:
It's possible it's an as yet unspoken of mechanic, but no mention has been made of improving a City without increasing it's level. While Dirt magic may not be needed to upgrade a City, it helps. And lowers the cost. Indeed, the scroll's price tag may have included the entirety of that cost, material component style. Note that in the future era, Sizemore will be flying out to rebuild Cities Wanda burns to the ground, not to improve the ones she decides to keep. This really does suggest he can't improve them without Levelling them. Maybe not even that, if the Sites in question have some sort of hard Level limit.

In the case of Sizemore rebuilding razed cities, they were being razed because they produced less than desirable unit types. The whole reason he may have been needed was to "attune" the site to his side, so that they produced the same units as the capital. If Gobwin Knob had simply razed the cities and rebuilt without Sizemore, it is possible they would have produced their default unit types. I may be wrong, and it is an unspoken mechanic, but I wanted to point out the possibility that levelling the city was not the only way to interpret what happened.

0beron wrote:
Charlie cannot "project" through Archons...he uses Thinkamancy to communicate with them, and the Archons in his tower manage the connection when, "clients" contact him.

It was stated in one of the Summer Updates that Charlie can and does grant some of the functionality of the Arkendish to his personal archons. On the other hand, it is a Thinkamancy artifact. Thinkamancy is about linking units and sharing abilities and knowledge. The other Arkentools very likely don't have that ability.

Kaed wrote:
Berserkas wrote:
(although rations are mostly popped, poisoning food supplies is nigh impossible, but you can still cause real damage with them, as shown by Tommy's death. :| )

You don't know that. Maybe there's a Florist spell that causes an opposing stack/side's next rations popped to be poisoned. I don't expect the poison would be as strong as what killed Tommy, but definitely perhaps enough to weaken the enemy and making winning the battle more easy.

On the other hand, maybe the act of poisoning someone can only be done while entertaining another side 'peacefully', while providing them with rations, or by tipping your own unit's weapons with it. Perhaps the use of poison in Erfworld is by definition act act of betrayal. We don't really know enough to make assumptions yet. xD

Also, most sides seem to prefer not to rely on popped provisions, probably because those get deducted directly from the treasury. They prefer to take the food from farms and the larder and carry provisions with them. If they are carrying their food with them, it can be poisoned. A Florist might even be able to poison a farm, so all the provisions it produces are lethal.

0beron wrote:
Morni wrote:
So maybe Delphie saw that Olive Branch had a 97% chance of being Wanda's chief caster.. and took that as it's going to happen.

That is Mathamancy, not Predictamancy. They're very different things

When Parson first got his bracer, Sizemore told him that there were Mathamancy dependent sides that paired Mathamancers with Luckamancers. They would predict the crucial battles and then tilt their outcomes in their favor. Given that information, there does seem to be some overlap between Mathamancy and Predictamancy, in their utility if not their mechanism.
Myrtuh wrote:
Also, Wanda commented that every caster is popped knowing the hoboken spell. So every caster in Erfworld has some direct damage capabilities as well.

Almost every. The quote was almost every. We've thought of possible exceptions - that shockamancers might have something better, for instance - but it's still possible that Healomancers might not (all?) find it in their starting kit.
D'oh. I remembered that wrong.

Which casters don't know that spell at popping may not be based on type, though. We have seen that not all casters are created equal. As you said, maybe Shockamancers have something better, which I think is a brillant observation, or Healomancers don't have it. Conversely, it may be the casters that pop without that knowledge are simply below average, at least to start.
Oh sure, that was also considered. Could be each caster starts with N distinct elements drawn from a deck with many copies of Hoboken in it, or whatever.