Difference between revisions of "Word of the Titans"

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p64 panel 3 seems to be a major hangup. Wasn't intentional and I agree that it's misleading. We'll clarify that for the book.
p64{{Erf|1|64|3}} panel 3 seems to be a major hangup. Wasn't intentional and I agree that it's misleading. We'll clarify that for the book.
For the record, the rule is actually pretty simple and I am amazed it's been such a sticking point for people.
For the record, the rule is actually pretty simple and I am amazed it's been such a sticking point for people.

Revision as of 11:58, 2 May 2009

This is a collection of posts made by Rob Balder on the Giant in the Playground Forums. It is copied here for easier reference and to save the valuable information. It is.. well, the Word of God.
Newer posts first. References to forum posts are mandatory.

How to make a reference to this information in another article: to make a link to post 6012585 - enter [[Word of God#6012585]].



We'll get this and other details codified and canon-ized in the wiki. Short answer: Cities have a limited menu of unit types they can produce. Gobwin Knob can pop most dwagon types, but couldn't produce, say, a gwiffon.

Many types of units also pop randomly in the wild as barbarians, and that's complicated. We did not see it happen in Book 1 at all, and it is fairly rare (can you imagine the cries of "deus ex machina" if we had seen it happen?)

Warlords can pop randomly in the wild, even more rarely. This is why Ansom would not necessarily think Jillian was a Royal, as randomly-popped barbarians are way more common than heirs and rulers who lost their capitals.

Natural allies pop more of their kind via moneymancy, converting Schmuckers directly to units. This is why they typically ally with a strong side that can pay them for their alliance, and/or they mine and farm and hunt and do various other money-making things in the wild.

Part of the fun in Book 1 has been revealing many of the facts of the world as Parson learned them, or as they served the story. But for Book 2, we'll have a more comprehensive world knowledgebase for readers to draw on. So it's time we can definitively answer some of these questions.[1]


You have to understand that the denizens of Erfworld don't see a lot of what a player would see in a game. Including XP. Leveling is a surprise to them, and XP (or the equivalent) is a theory (albeit a pretty solid one). The people are in the dark and guessing, and it's kind of hard to build an XP table by actually finding 10 new level 1 Marbits to croak, discovering that you level, then discovering through experimentation that you need to croak 50 to level again.

From a narrative perspective, the fudge factor is high. But that does not mean there is not one consistent mathematical system governing leveling. It's just opaque to the characters and readers at this time.

The general answer to your question is that power gains are linear and level requirements are exponential. It's not perfectly simple as all that, but to generalize, yes.[2]


The relative combat power by level is NOT logarithmic or exponential.[3]


Higher levels cost more, on a kind of exponential scale that may vary by a large number of factors including the type of unit leveling, the type and number and levels of units croaked, and other activities involving the leveling unit's special abilities that may not even constitute combat. But the main thing is that you should imagine something like a logarithmic curve (not saying it literally is logarithmic), whereby low levels are achievable with a little combat, but levels above 10 or 11 become extremely difficult to obtain, and something like a level 20 unit is completely unheard of. Also notable is that not all of the numbers are available to the units and commanders to calculate, and so the existence of a predicable system of leveling at all is in the realm of the theoretical Mathamancers. Units cannot actually predict when they are going to level (Jillian is being flippant when she tells the Archons, "Cmon, it'll be fun. You'll level." but it would be a reasonable bet they might if they took out a stack of dwagons.)[4]


p64Erf-b1-p64-p3Same-site.PNG panel 3 seems to be a major hangup. Wasn't intentional and I agree that it's misleading. We'll clarify that for the book.

For the record, the rule is actually pretty simple and I am amazed it's been such a sticking point for people.

  • You can move only on your turn, and you can cast only on your turn.
  • When an enemy comes to you on their turn, you can engage, and you can cast. This includes when they are attacking your city.

Why could Parson not have ordered a veil to be cast, even if the Foolamancer had been in the group with the wounded dwagons? It was not his turn, and they were not under attack. Once Jillian entered the hex, a theoretical Foolamancer within that hex could have veiled, but it wouldn't have been very effective at fooling her.

Why could Parson have his casters cast on the Coalition's turn, later in the story? His city was being attacked.

Why could the Archons cast the DDR spell? They were part of the Coalition and it was now technically their turn. But they could not move because all of Charlescomm's units' move went to zero when Charlie ended turn. Move and hits are restored to full at the beginning of a side's turn, and (re)forming an alliance does not count as starting a new turn.

Why could the Archons "cast" the contract, when it was not their turn? Well, why could they still fly? It's not a spell, it's a natural magic. There's also a heavy dose of "talking is a free action" in that scene, another thing about turn based games that is silly but almost universally true. It's no sillier than food popping at the start of a turn.[5]


p129 panel 1Erf-b1-p129-p1Same-site.PNG, change "leading" to "guiding" or possibly "directing."[6]


Courtyard refers to the portion of the Garrison that is above ground, within the walls, and not in or on the Tower. Wanda is not in the Garrison zone at all in page 122. She's in the Outer Walls zone.

We've been attempting to avoid confusion by keeping it simple and avoiding unnecessary detail (like, for example, the fact that the Outer Walls zone also has parts to it, or that Parson's klog was referring specifically to attacks on the Garrison and that there are other sets of rules regarding movement by friendlies within the city).[7]


Note: p120Erf-b1-p120Same-site.PNG, Jamie did not draw the uncroaked Jaclyn in Wanda's stack and should have. It will be fixed for the book. She'll be in there in p121 and was in in p119. Just an oversight.[8]


Originally Posted by Godskook
If she is in the Airspace, how can she get close enough to a non-flier to make a contract?

I'll answer this one question as an example of "yes, we did think about this stuff before we started writing." And then I'll stop before I get any farther into the tar pit of explaining the rules while we are telling the story.

Do you remember when Ansom was getting word passed along through the column about the results of Parson's attack? That was not on the Coalition's turn, but physical notes were still being passed between hexes. Did we specifically show a note passed across a hex? No. The story didn't need it. Compared to showing the abortive celebrations of the Coalition's leadership corps, it's dramatically trivial.

But that's what happened. I thought about it. I knew about it. We didn't show it.

Now, if you are seriously hung up on whether or not Ansom could touch a magical button projected in the air by an Archon hovering just above the city wall, then you are not really granting us any license at all for a joke, you know? There's occasionally some humor in this comic. The EULA joke is meant to make you laugh.

But yes, okay. It is absolutely physically possible for the Archons to project an image into the air, which Ansom, standing on the wall top, can see and touch.

We are telling a story set in a whole alien universe here. We have mythologies and character histories and world mechanics backing this up, but it's the story that matters. I care ten times more about Sizemore's emotional state in the heat of battle than I do about whether or not a sourmander could spit acid across a hex boundary. (But I still know the answer.)

As this goes along, some mechanics are going to be unclear at times. Please trust that we've thought about these things to the extent needed to support the story. We're not going to pull any major cheapness in how we tell the tale, and we have not written ourselves into a corner. [9]


Okay, I know it's bad policy to explain as the narrative is going on. Maybe a sign of bad storytelling that I feel like I have to. My fault, if so. But I can't watch you guys squirm any more. Future pages will touch on some of this, but it's very, very simple.

   * You can only move when it is your turn.
   * When it is not your turn, and someone moves into the space you're on (meaning hex or city zone), then you can engage them.
   * Every side gets exactly one turn a day.
   * There is a natural turn order. When sides ally, their next turn is shared at the latest slot in the day of any of the allied sides.

On this day, Charlescomm has had their turn. The Archons ended that turn in Gobwin Knob's airspace. If they ally with Jetstone (I am not saying they will), then they do not get another turn until tomorrow, after Gobwin Knob's next turn. If they don't ally, they'll go before Gobwin Knob. Either way, until their next turn, the Archons can only engage units that enter Gobwin Knob's airspace.

I think the main thing that's confusing people is this:

   * If you own the city, you can move around in it without move cost.

That means even zone to zone, and even when it is not your turn, so the constraint does not apply to the defenders. Sorry if that's confusing, but it was more or less explained in a Klog.

I promise there is no long, complicated set of rules being made up to satisfy plot conditions. It's a simple list, and the plot will play out without breaking them, or inventing new ones.[10]