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 Post Posted: Tue Jul 01, 2014 12:21 pm 
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Selexor wrote:
Charlie doesn't have an endgame. He doesn't need an endgame. In fact he very specifically doesn't want ANYONE to have an endgame, because he essentially controls the game itself. If anyone else wins, he loses, but he himself doesn't want to win either.

So he's fallen too far in to want out?

Power-addict, much? :)

Also, so this post has some purpose, do we have a definitive reason for Charlie only having one single city in his entire "empire"? Is it for appearances, or have I missed something in this very thread?

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     Post Posted: Tue Jul 01, 2014 2:36 pm 
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    Selexor wrote:
    [Is awesome and totally on 0beron's same wavelength].
    Cool! I appreciate that :)
    Th Revanchist wrote:
    Also, so this post has some purpose, do we have a definitive reason for Charlie only having one single city in his entire "empire"? Is it for appearances, or have I missed something in this very thread?
    I think it's to further follow the theme. The Enemy usually has a central stronghold that seems vastly more secure and inpentrable than any one location should be, until the party figures out some key weakness they can use to strike it.
    Moreover, having the single city makes it easiest to maintain his role. With a single city, he can concentrate his defenses and have all defensive units in a single location. Compared to trying to defend multiple cities, this means that a smaller percentage of his budget is spent on defense, thus freeing up more funds to invest in his Archon network. And the Archon network is his source of Intel (#3 in my post), Power (#4 in my post), and Money (ability to be a scary Enemy).

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     Post Posted: Tue Jul 01, 2014 3:25 pm 
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    Well, his general policies make sense without any ulterior motives: Charlie maintains a huge army of very expensive units, but doesn't have the infrastructure of a side; it follows that he's always going to be trying to expand his operation and increase his income. At first blush, there's no reason to examine that further.

    But, recent actions suggest that he may have an agenda.

    My own pet theory, pretty much unsupported, is that he want to ascend to Titanhood. He's got the Arkendish, which I believe is a tool to let Titans playing inside the game have sysadmin access. Charlie has an understanding of what's behind the curtain, and he wants it. Possibly motivated by a desire to avoid his fated death, but possibly just because, you know, godhood.

    On the other hand, one thing I can't help but think of is, when he nearly died some archons came from an unknown side and took him away. We have no idea who that unknown side was, or why they intervened. It could be perfectly mundane, but that may be key to understanding our favorite Wizard.

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     Post Posted: Tue Jul 01, 2014 5:29 pm 
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    Hasufin wrote:
    On the other hand, one thing I can't help but think of is, when he nearly died some archons came from an unknown side and took him away. We have no idea who that unknown side was, or why they intervened. It could be perfectly mundane, but that may be key to understanding our favorite Wizard.
    Halmarks of a bad GM: they have to come up with really far-fetched but also strangely appropriate ways for The Enemy to get rescued when things go south earlier than they intended. And Erfworld is about tropes after all, so we have to do an omage to bad GMs as well :p
    Sorry, couldn't resist another way to continue my analogy haha. Honestly I do find that tidbit interesting. It takes place before Parson arrived though, so it's not actually related to my theory. Even The Enemy has to have a backstroy, because they were somebody before the campaign started and they became the Enemy.

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     Post Posted: Tue Jul 01, 2014 6:24 pm 
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    Tinfoil hat time.

    Maybe Charlie himself is just a puppet? He didn't become the Charlie we know until the attempt was made on his life and he was taken by the Archons. We don't know that the Archons had any part of the story before that point. Maybe Charlie is literally the Wizard, and not the man behind the curtain? Charlie said the jester was the only enemy worth fighting. What if Charlie had a "jester" that was removed in the same way, bringing him to the anti-jester side of the fight? Could he be being used by the true master of the Archons?

    Stanley ponders if Tool vs Tool is what the Titans would really want. But Judy says she was supposed to kill Charlie, which would be one attuned person killing another. If "supposed to" means "fated to" then that would be one attuned person killing another. Maybe the prophesy that "the tools are meant to be united" isn't saying brought together on one side, but taken by one person. The tools are meant to be in conflict. The Titans might be having a contest, and the winner of the contest is the one whose ArkenTool defeats the others. Charlie attuned to the dish, but he was about to be defeated, so his backer rescued him. His backer then removed his "jester," cluing him in to the real conflict of Erf and making him their direct agent. Charlie is now completely on the same page as his backer. Removing the jester removed the part of him that would cause him to resent, or rebel against, being controlled. He then did the same to Jillian, bringing her into line with "his" side, though she isn't clued in.

    I don't even know what I'm saying. I'm just making wild guesses to try to explain Charlie's rescue, and change in persona.

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     Post Posted: Tue Jul 01, 2014 8:00 pm 
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    Lipkin wrote:
    The Titans might be having a contest, and the winner of the contest is the one whose ArkenTool defeats the others.


    That's a fun little idea. We see what, at least three titans in the first ever page. Other scenes have four titans inside of capital palaces as decorations. We know there's four arkentools, so it's entirely possible each had a single tool they used to craft the entirety of Erfworld.

    Here's my own tinfoil hat. What, as a god/creator, could possibly be a greater accomplishment than to create a self-correcting, self-repairing... and self-modifying system. Leaving the tools wasn't an accident, the titans want to see if Erfworld(ers) are ultimately capable of bringing them together to make something more than war. They want to see if they can modify the root existence of perpetual war, and the Arkentools may just be able to do that.

    I mean, the greatest "hack Erfworld" spell has to be a tetra-caster link of all the Arkentool's attuned centered on the Dish. Never mind 2 of the 4 tools have historically attuned to Warlords.

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     Post Posted: Tue Jul 01, 2014 8:04 pm 
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    Know what would be funny? And this is entirely off topic, but it would be funny if a non-speaking unit attuned to a tool. There is probably a rule that only humanoid units can use magic items, but even if a Gobwin of Marbit were to attune, that would be cool.

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     Post Posted: Tue Jul 01, 2014 11:11 pm 
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    Lipkin wrote:
    Know what would be funny? And this is entirely off topic, but it would be funny if a non-speaking unit attuned to a tool. There is probably a rule that only humanoid units can use magic items, but even if a Gobwin of Marbit were to attune, that would be cool.


    That would be cool. Also, I don't know that we've had any rules regarding nonspeaking units and items. Perhaps something to that effect is going on near SeaWorld, unlikely though it is.

    Although if it were anything worth mention, Parson would know something about it by now... Units using items, that is.

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     Post Posted: Wed Jul 02, 2014 3:46 am 
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    Well, there's "non-speaking" like Golems and Dwagons. But then there's "doesn't speak Language", which isn't the same thing. Stanley makes sure that Wanda summons a Warlord who speaks Language, and the reason that Parson goes on rounds specifically with Vurp is that Vurp speaks Language, which not all Hobgobwins do. Could be that all natural ally sides have their own language, or at least some of them. Or maybe specific unit types and species do. No real evidence yet. But either way, an Arkentool in the hands of a unit who can't communicate with anyone else is an amusing thought.

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     Post Posted: Wed Jul 02, 2014 6:34 am 
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    0beron wrote:
    Hasufin wrote:
    On the other hand, one thing I can't help but think of is, when he nearly died some archons came from an unknown side and took him away. We have no idea who that unknown side was, or why they intervened. It could be perfectly mundane, but that may be key to understanding our favorite Wizard.
    Halmarks of a bad GM: they have to come up with really far-fetched but also strangely appropriate ways for The Enemy to get rescued when things go south earlier than they intended. And Erfworld is about tropes after all, so we have to do an omage to bad GMs as well :p
    Sorry, couldn't resist another way to continue my analogy haha. Honestly I do find that tidbit interesting. It takes place before Parson arrived though, so it's not actually related to my theory. Even The Enemy has to have a backstroy, because they were somebody before the campaign started and they became the Enemy.
    You may have a point.

    My general feeling is, an important aspect of the Erfworld story is humanizing the characters in games. It's an immersive experience of being in a strategy game - but it's not just letting mooks kill each other, they have names, and feelings, and wants - which, as we've seen, bothers Parson to no end. From that perspective, it would follow that Charlie has a compelling backstory with real motivations.

    No real way, at this point, to tell which perspective is correct. If we keep seeing more GM-railroading like happened during the inferno, you're likely right; if the GMs are mostly uninvolved, then Charlie's history will matter.

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     Post Posted: Wed Jul 02, 2014 6:57 am 
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    The two don't have to be mutually exclusive. The essential premise of Erfworld, if we were to describe it to someone who'd never heard of it before, is "A hardcore gamer finds himself magically transported into a Game World with real people living by the rules of the game." All the aspects of a game are here - the Noble and Royal "Good" Guys, the Dragon-Riding "Bad" Guys, the barbarians and mercenaries and neutral races. Except that they're all living, breathing people with real lives and stories.

    Our theory here is that Charlie fills the role of The Enemy. The established mastermind behind everything whom the players must defeat, with seemingly-insurmountable power and knowledge. He's exactly what a GM like Parson would create to be the perfect non-player opponent in the game. But he can still have a backstory, just like every other character.

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     Post Posted: Wed Jul 02, 2014 9:18 am 
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    And now Selexor has switched places with me, putting more elegantly what I was trying to say :)

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     Post Posted: Wed Jul 02, 2014 11:37 am 
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    [quote="Selexor"The Noble and Royal "Good" Guys, the Dragon-Riding "Bad" Guys...[/quote]
    Are you saying those Royalist snobs are the "good guys"?! :)

    Now, in all seriousness, Rob has never actually gone out and said "Side x is evil, Side y is good", right?

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     Post Posted: Wed Jul 02, 2014 12:11 pm 
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    Th Revanchist wrote:
    Are you saying those Royalist snobs are the "good guys"?! :)

    Now, in all seriousness, Rob has never actually gone out and said "Side x is evil, Side y is good", right?

    Well, speaking exclusively in the context we're talking about here - as in, what roles the sides would play in a scripted game? Yes, Parson very specifically observes that Gobwin Knob fit the role of "Bad Guys".

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     Post Posted: Wed Jul 02, 2014 12:29 pm 
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    Th Revanchist wrote:

    Now, in all seriousness, Rob has never actually gone out and said "Side x is evil, Side y is good", right?


    "There is no "Good" or "Evil" side, smart guy. That is a myth. That's propoganda."

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     Post Posted: Wed Jul 02, 2014 12:37 pm 
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    In the story, it's correct that both sides have arguably evil and good actions, and that's not even delving into the wacked morality of Erfworld.
    But from a meta perspective, we were talking about Erfworld as though it's a all one big trope for what GMs and Players do, as part of our theory about Charlie being "The Enemy". In that meta sense, GK fits the image of "Bad Guys" while the Royals fit the image of "Good Guys", which is exactly what Parson observed. And Stanley's response is even right in line with a stereotypical "Bad Guy's" logic. It's all following the trope. That's all we were saying. We're not actually judging whether anyone in the story is good/evil.

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     Post Posted: Wed Jul 02, 2014 2:55 pm 
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    Exactly. Jetstone and Gobwin Knob aren't literally good and evil, or even vice versa. And Charlie isn't literally an enemy empowered by a GM purely to stand as Parson's enemy. But in the metaphor of the game, Jetstone represents the classical good guys, and Gobwin Knob represents the classical bad guys. That's what Parson was observing. And our theory here is that Charlie represents the Enemy in the game that would be controlled by the GM.

    Of course that goes alongside the actual characters, where good and evil is a whole sticky mess of morality. Even Charlie isn't evil. In fact, if we were to get into that, I'd say that's the point - Charlie is completely detached from Good or Evil. They're irrelevant concepts when talking about him. But at the same time that makes him so utterly amoral that, by definition, he automatically opposes Parson, whose morality is a significant recurring theme.

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     Post Posted: Wed Jul 02, 2014 4:53 pm 
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    Heh... This comparison is delving deeper and deeper, and keeps appearing more and more accurate. Almost makes one wonder if it isn't intentional...

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     Post Posted: Wed Jul 02, 2014 6:08 pm 
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    0beron wrote:
    In the story, it's correct that both sides have arguably evil and good actions, and that's not even delving into the wacked morality of Erfworld.
    But from a meta perspective, we were talking about Erfworld as though it's a all one big trope for what GMs and Players do, as part of our theory about Charlie being "The Enemy". In that meta sense, GK fits the image of "Bad Guys" while the Royals fit the image of "Good Guys", which is exactly what Parson observed. And Stanley's response is even right in line with a stereotypical "Bad Guy's" logic. It's all following the trope. That's all we were saying. We're not actually judging whether anyone in the story is good/evil.

    The irony being that Stanley is kind of right. Good and Evil are very much a matter of debate on Erf.

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     Post Posted: Wed Jul 02, 2014 11:14 pm 
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    And the thing is that not only does everyone think that they're Good and everyone else is Evil, they also have a reasonable point, from their own perspectives - anyone can be the Bad Guy if you try hard enough. Stanley is an egotistical idiot. The royals are elitist snobs. The big sides are bullies. The little sides are wimps. The powerful sides are thugs. The clever sides are untrustworthy. On the other hand, nobody that we've seen goes out of their way to be needlessly cruel or underhanded, with the sole exception of Olive Branch. From their own perspective, each side is trying to take out the "Bad Guy" while improving things for the people on their Side. Even if they're not good, they're trying to be.

    ...except, of course, for Charlie. The one who remains absolutely neutral at all times, who'll be reasonable or ruthless on a whim, who anybody can rely upon if they have the schmuckers, but who nobody actually trusts. Charlie is the only Ruler we've seen who completely disregards morality.

    And if you think about it, if Charlie is the only unit in Erfworld who's not at least trying to be any version of "Good", then that also makes him the closest thing we have to "Evil". Or at least, so utterly amoral that he might as well be.

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