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Shmuckers act more like phlebotinum than money.

Sure it is the standard of trade but thats because its the most constant and versatile resource out there. Money has no real value except that everybody else believes it has value. Shmuckers raises cities, creates units, promotes people, and maintains life without a second party. I'm sure it does many other things too.

Ossomer is going to Turn, throwing Wanda's supposedly perfectly loyal and titanically mandated army into chaos

Just look at how conflicted he is. And since it was already established that executing their prisoners to decrypt them is terrible for the armies morale and killing certain units can affect a whole side's loyalty, Ossomer turning (and being killed for it) might be enough to break Wanda's hold over her undead legions. This has great potential for future plots as well, since Parson has been working on how to create a side that can pay it's upkeep without looting it's neighbors.

  • Considering that in 9/30/11 Ossomer is now back in his Jetstone attire, this may not be WMG anymore.

Don's personal bat in the Spacerock tower will do something important.

Because it's the little things that make a difference sometimes. We keep getting references to the fact that it's there, and we know how strongly Don feels about the battle. At some pivotal point, its miniscule contribution to the battle will be what the tipping point that decides a key fight.

Tremmanis is going to either win this battle or fight Parson to a draw, leading to a final confrontation at Jetstone.

Tremanis is showing far more strategic sense than either of his brothers, and his diplomatic skills mean that he can bring leverage to bear on Parson that is unrelated to the military situation. This is especially likely if, as above, her manages to turn Ossomer.

When the four Arkentools unite under Parson's control, he will use them to "break" the rules and bring peace to Erfworld.

Wanda believes, at least, that the Fate of the Arkentools is to be brought together and used. Marie and Janis believe that Parson is the warlord Fated to bring peace to Erfworld, but the current physics of Erfworld (the upkeep mechanic mainly, the generally warlike nature of all units as well) make peace impossible. Parson could be the Perfect Warlord who is Fated to bring the Arkentools together, and using the four artifacts that created the world, change the rules of the world - break things hard enough - to allow peace to exist.

Each Arkentool is drawn to someone with a similar mindset of that tool.

Stanley wields the Hammer. He is also blunt, dense, and fond of using simple, direct, and crushing plans and has no head for subtlety. Wanda wields the Pliers. She's subtle, multi-purpose as a caster, and enjoys twisting and bending people to her will. Charlie uses/is the Dish. s/he's aloof, mostly neutral, and works with mostly celestial beings, there's not a lot yet really known about Charlie, but I bet they'll tie it tighter as we find out more.

Stanley really is holy, although he'll have to share the limelight

We know from Parson's Klog No.9 that royal empires can split into new sides; the implication is that overlord-led empires do not. Two arkentools have attuned themselves to commoner overlords; a third refuses to attune to Ansom, a royal (though it does end up attuned in Noble hands). Therefore Stanley and Charlie do have a holy mandate: to conquer all of Erfworld and win the game in a way that the royals never can. This also provides Parson with a way home; if Stanley wins the game, Parson's duty to serve as a perfect warlord will be obsolete.

Parson is in a hospital

He had a heart attack while preparing for his greatest Table Top Strategy Game scenario. The whole thing is his Dying Dream, not a result of a coma like he suspects.

  • It could well be- Saline IV is a hint, commented on in the strip. Life On Mars much?

Parson is not insane, nor is he dying. It's all real.

This is a whole hell of a lot scarier than the idea that Parson is hallucinating. What if it's all real? It would be weird for a world to be a bizarre mix of our culture's cliches, but what if? What if he's really murdering people and ordering armies and doing horrible things because he has to?

That's a lot more brutal than it was All Just a Dream, Dorothy...-Silverlocke 980

  • One thing to remember is that we, the audience, get to see events without Parson present in both Erfworld and Stupidworld. His gaming group, for instance, clearly watched him disappear. While that doesn't rule out All Just a Dream, it is awkward storytelling or cheating the audience, depending on how charitable you want to be.

In the style of Digimon, Erfworld is a simulation turned real

It was a simple strategy game with a real damn good framework and artificial intelligence (well, that's new), but Erfworld eventually became a full-fledged parallel universe without need for grounding in the 'real' world but still running on the simple strategy game rules.

This might mean that, as the game goes on, Parson will realise how much of a Crapsack World this truly is, with literally no point to existence but war, and end up trying to change things despite its going against all his instincts and experience.

    • Supported by the chief hippiemancer(Janis). She said that if Parson breaks enough rules, peace is possible. War simulation rarely have "peace mode".

The Arkenpliers will attune to Wanda

It just seems both appropriate and ironic. The pliers affect uncroaked; perhaps the awakened powers involve croakamancy.

  • Seems to be confirmed with the latest comic.
    • And at least one of its powers seems to be resurrection.

Wanda is working with Stanley because Ansom wiped out her tribe.

The cast page says she's from the lost Croatan tribe. Jillian can't believe Wanda would work with Stanley of her own free will, and it's implied they have some history together. But the enemy of my enemy is my friend, and the dialogue in this strip implies that Wanda has an axe to grind with Ansom. Whatever could he have taken from her that would cause her such grief, such hatred? He took everything. Everyone. Now Wanda won't rest until she's destroyed his world the way he destroyed hers.

  • Wanda was conquered by FAQ, and he took Jillian from her, Jillian being the only one she ever truly cared for.
  • Ansom destroyed Faq. Jillian wasn't there and has only surmised Stanley's role in its destruction. Wanda originally held the Arkenpliers, and Ansom took them from her. Stanley probably arrived afterwards looking for the pliers and collected all the remaining casters.
  • If Ansom destroyed Faq, then wouldn't he be aware of it and realize that Stanley would attempt to flee towards there? Wanda being pissed at Ansom can all be attributed to the more recent choosing of Ansom/ hatred of Stanley by Jillian over the compulsion spell.
  • Apparently Jossed here. Her primary motivation for working with Stanley was to attune to an Arkentool.

Parson's world was created by the Summoning Spell.

As soon as Wanda was ordered to cast the spell, it created a world from which to draw a warlord who fit the terms. Parson's anagrammatic name is a clue that it's he who is artificial, not Erfworld. Another clue is that the narrator asserts facts about Erfworld, but not about Parson. This means that, for example, Elvis was created so that the Titans would seem to be Elvis impersonators, and so on.

Loyalty and Duty don't affect Parson at all

Everything he's done has been of his own free will. Hearing that he was compelled just gave him an excuse to try the tactic he'd wanted to, even if it was terrible. He'll have his own Heroic BSOD once he discovers this.

  • Jossed in the end of book one ... maybe.
  • Explicitly maybe. :) The explanation is clear, but the applicability depends on what you count as "free will".

Wanda engineered the downfall of both Banhammer and Saline IV

Think about it. She now claims to have ruined and destroyed more than Parson did with the volcano. Clearly, she had a hand in the destruction of Faq by selling them out to Stanley. She then engineered the Gobwin uprising and arranged for Stanley and the casters to be conveniently absent.

  • Well, Wanda just out and out confessed to selling Faq out to Stanley. So that's half confirmed. It would not be surprising if she admits to engineering the gobwin uprising...

There is going to be an Arkensaw

Had to be said.

  • Corollary - this will be Parson's home state. All of the other arkentools have attuned based on puns.
    • What puns exactly? I don't get what's punny about Stanley having the Arkenhammer, or the new attunement of the pliers.
      • To quote the ErfWiki: Stanley manufactures hand tools; Zhejiang Wanda Tools Co. Ltd specializes in making pliers; Dish Network formed by Charles W. "Charlie" Ergen provides satellite television service in the United States.
        • ...Damn. On another note, having an Arkentool attune to Parson would have interesting implications in its own right...
      • Then perhaps it should be noted that there is now a character named Ace Hardware. Or perhaps that's too obvious.

Wanda is going to form her own side

She now has an Arkentool of her own, just like three of the other faction leaders. Also, while she originally uncroaked units under the banner, colours, and "crest" of Lord Hamster, the Chief Warlord, she can now decrypt them wearing her red-and-black colour scheme and with her skull logo. Since Ansom and she both seem somewhat loyal to Parson, she'll take him and Sizemore with her, and possibly Maggie.

  • Possibly Jossed in the "summer updates" (these are canon according to Word of God). Stanley has returned home and the Decrypted army is his own, not Wanda's.
    • Note, however, that Stanley himself isn't exactly comforted by that, or even all the flattering communist-style propaganda posters in his honour that were plastered everywhere in the new Gobwin Knob. He's actually become incredibly edgy around Wanda and Parson- this might just be jealousy, but he could always inadvertently push them to desperate measures...
      • Wanda being a caster probably means she cannot form her own side (only commanders can do that).
        • Casters are commanders; I think you mean "warlord".
  • Further addendum. Stanley has mentioned that Wanda's Decrypted are loyal to her, not him.

The current "strategy game" is a prequel to an RPG-style plot

Parson plays (played?) tabletop games, so it's not much of a stretch to think that he played role-playing games as well as strategy games. The Arkentools would be the Plot Coupons of said RPG. Note that all three known arkentools are owned by characters who could be seen as villainous, regardless of whether they are. Stanley is a huge jerk and pretty nasty; Wanda is a croakamancer; Charlie has no problem with backstabbing. Parson, as the usual GM of his group (or so it appears), would most likely be the Big Bad. Who would the players (or Player Characters) be? Other people from Earth, or perhaps Jillian and Vinny and other assorted characters; note that Jillian has a Big Fancy Sword and is described as a barbarian, a common RPG class. And, of course, it's only Part 1, so it has to go somewhere after The Battle for Gobwin Knob.

  • Perhaps fitting since the first chapter seemed like the endgame of an epic fantasy plot, the kind of thing often used as backstory in a fantasy RPG.

Charlie is also an emigrant from "Stupidworld", like Parson.

Maggie warns Parson (on page 88) that "Charlie follows his own rules. He has an unknown agenda. He is really quite impenetrable and ... bizarre." She then explicitly describes Parson's pop culture references as "a match for Charlie's strangeness". A recurring theme in the story is the mutual perception of ridiculousness between Erfworld and Parson's ... and as we see at the end of Book 1, Parson is capable of breaking the rules of Erfworld - hence, "following his own rules" - if sufficiently motivated.

    • The most obvious clue that Charlie is a human like Parson is that he's the only person able to stand up to Parson strategically.
    • He also understands Parson's netspeak (look at their first 'conversation'), while others, such as Sizemore, have no idea what 'kthnx' means.
      • Opinable. Sizemore's nick is ImInUrDirtz, that is sort of netspeak, and uses smiles like D: . Seems to be common usage, sort of a costume in Erfworld.
    • It's also indicative that he keeps himself a complete and utter secret from the rest of Erfworld, beyond his inner guard of Archons (who are all female and the ONLY unit that Charlescomm's one city pops; exactly the kind of thing a lonely antisocial nerd might want in his ideal world)-- he knows enough about Erfworld to know that he personally cannot enter the City of Heroes or any other Erfworld afterlife and has no idea what will happen if he dies there, but-- much like Parson, who openly expressed his desires to abandon his shitty Stupidworld life-- he'd rather be the head of Charlescomm than whoever he was in Stupidworld.
    • Also, Charlie is female. If hir face is going to be revealed at any point, there will inevitably be some sort of twist...
      • combining the two above theories perhaps Charlie is female, lesbian, and from earth. She might be from an area that is/was highly homophobic, making her want to leave earth for somewhere where she can have her own harem in peace.
    • Charlie appears to people in forms that are "forth wall breaking". When he appears to Tranennis, he shifts forms into things that we recognize from our word ("Stupid World"). It could be because Charlies is from Stupid World and he changes into things from his world because he likes those things. It's not forth wall breaking. It's foreshadowing.

The Titans don't "look like Elvis" . . .

Elvis was a Titan! And he returned home!

The Titans are the ones who're manipulating the game against Parson.

We know they didn't intend to leave behind that one extra gemstone, so they probably didn't intend for Parson to be summoned. We also know that Parson's been rather unlucky in battle. Perhaps they've realized that he could wind up ending wars on Erfworld, thus denying them the entertainment of watching said wars.

  • It's more fun to play then to watch, so perhaps the key players are avatars of the Titans.

The Arkenpliers will turn out to have a limitation that prevents them from making Parson's life too easy.

At a guess, any given individual can only be revived once with the pliers. That way, they're still a great aid to Parson, and they give him leeway to risk the lives of his troops.

  • Or the game will go out of its way to make it less useful. We've already seen that a badly damaged body can't be repopped, so...maybe certain units can fry their targets.
    • Said body belonged to a character with regeneration...
    • Explicitly retconned.
  • Revived units are turned to dust if killed again, so one revive is confirmed.
  • The way the current story is going, I think it most likely that the pliers have fulfilled their story-breaker power role by being used to escape the impossible situation at the beginning of Love Is A Battlefield...and the next challenge will be to defeat them once Wanda finally turns away from Stanley.

Bogroll will be back

This one sort of depends on the regeneration rules, but he was established as having that ability. Wanda said he couldn't be raised because there wasn't enough left, but he is a troll. His body was incinerated, but that may not be relevant in this setting.

  • Sadly, this is unlikely now, thanks to the author's using Retconjuration, the newly announced magic style (which was Retconjured into existence). Rest in Piece, Bogroll.
    • Also note that it was pretty explicitly stated that the entire reason for the apology/announcement was to make sure everyone knew he wasn't coming back. So...yeah.
      • Also, the point of destroying Bogroll's body was to dissuade people from believing he is not coming back, and then him being blown up was to further dissuade people from believing he was coming back.
        • All of which sounds like Suspiciously Specific Denial to me!
          • Unfortunately, while entertaining, Bogroll is simply not a relevant enough character to be brought back, given the level of Ass Pull this would require.
            • And on top of that, coming back from the dead would kind of invalidate part of the point of his death.

Charlie isn't attuned to the Arkendish, he is the Arkendish.

This one is simple: The Arkentools are implied to be self aware, and the Arkendish is one that has an unparallelled command of Thinkamancy. So what do you get when you have a sentient artifact with the powers of telepathy and mind control?

  • Supported by the fact that no one has seen Charlie save for the Archons specifically tasked with guarding his inner sanctum, and Charlie's goals are very simplistic and self-perpetuating. It really does fit the concept of a sentient artifact operating on it's own designs.
  • If this is true, maybe "Charlie" will be attuned to Parson.

Charlie is an atheist

The most recent summer update shows he doesn't believe in toolism, he never seemed particularly keen on the idea of a royal mandate in the past either. It has been implied that some units (although a minority) may not believe that the titans exist so it's not that far out there, I think.

  • It makes sense. He doesn't care for royal mandate because he's a non-royal ruler himself, and toolism is basically just a cult Wanda invented for her own purposes (although how much of her own message she believes is unclear). Charlie is not a very observant Titanist, if he is a Titanist at all. His true deity is the Shmucker.

Charlie is Parson on the 'outside'

Playing as the killer GM that he was planning to be. Setting up no losing situations for himself? No way to win for Parson in Erfworld except exploding the volcano and breaking rules? That's the only way Parson was willing to lose his game to his friends. And he's never shown and doesn't follow the same rules as everyone else.

  • Problem: if it's the same scenario as he was going to run, why does he seem to be on the opposite side from the one he was forcing to break rules to win?
    • He's not. The players were going to play as the defenders of his version of Gobwin Knob on earth and he would be the GM arranged against them trying everything he can to make them fail, which was (essentially) Charlie's position in the first book.

The Royals would have gone after Stanley regardless.

Even if Stanley had been a complete saint, he still would have become a target after Saline IV named him Heir, because he wasn't popped as one. Being Heir is a special status that can be conferred to anyone, defying the conventional method of going through a long popping process. It's completely legal, but rarely used because it flies in the face of what's perceived as "normal" for Erfworld. If that rank can be given to a "commoner", well... doesn't that make it just a little bit less "special"? If it's not the exclusive dominion of those who were literally popped for it...

Therefore, even if Stanley had simply been a ordinary piker who rose through the ranks to Warlord -- even if Saline IV had named him heir without the Arkentools being involved -- even if he had been a completely outstanding, wonderful person and modestly accepted whatever role he found himself in -- the Royals still would have viewed him with distrust and as a threat, because he wasn't one of them. His very existence was a threat, because it proved you didn't have to be Royal to become Heir, and that you could rise above your station.

  • Furthermore, this concept will be explored in-strip when another Heir-less side, desperate to ensure its survival, rewards another non-Royal by naming them Heir. This newly named Heir will face distrust and suspicion from Royals wary of "another Stanley", even if they show no signs of attuning to an Arkentool or any remote similarities to Stanley beyond their appointment as a non-Royal Heir.
    • It's been mentioned in one of the text updates that Transylvito's Don King doesn't have a purpose-popped Heir, but rather appointed one of his warlords as an "Heir Designate".
  • While true, the coalition wouldn't have been so big if he didn't spend so much time pissing them off.

Charlie is responsible for the death of Saline

Facts we know so far. Stanley hates Charlie with a vengeance. Charlie planned if not played a role in Jillian's coup involving the swap of natural allies over to Faq's side. Gobwins broke alliance for no known reason which resulted in Saline being killed when Stanley was out of the city. Now Stanley isn't exactly bright so this is the way I see it going down. Stanley naturally trusts the only other wielder of an arkentool and Charlie tells him there is another close to Gobwin Knob, so Stanley takes his dragons to hunt it down, as Charlie causes the natural allies to change sides. The reason for this would creating a conflict between Stanley and the royals because it looks like he committed regicide. This allows Charlie to make huge amounts of money and possibly get his hands upon another arkentool.

Either Erfworld molds itself to those in it, or their perceptions mold to its rules

It's been a while since I read the early strips, so forgive me if I've got some things wrong, but we know for certain that "time is relative" in Erfworld, and in the earliest strips we saw the end of Stanley's turn coincide with nightfall. Stanley's comparatively early in the turn order, and we know of no units--not even the vampires of Transylvito--that move at nighttime. My interpretation of this is that when someone's turn has long since ended and they should be asleep, if still awake they'll see stars when they look up. When an enemy soldier engages someone whose turn has ended, though, the sun is hanging high in the sky, having presumably teleported up there when enemies entered that hex. In case of TL;DR: whether or not the sun has set depends on whether or not you've been ambushed! The more complicated explanation for this would be that the sun physically moved in response to the soldier entering the hex. The simpler one would be that nobody here is really seeing the sun, and only their perceptions changed, which opens up some unpleasant possibilities. The only upside here is that we've seen scenes that lacked Parson and Charlie but maintained the basic structure of reality, so most people are seeing roughly the same thing.

    • We know from the summer updates that how units, like Rulers for example, appear is influenced by how others perceive them.
      • Which might be why Stanley is so touchy about his height!

Charlie is an avatar of Tzeentch

Let's see. He has some of the most powerful magic in Erfworld, seems to know everything, and is trickier than Gargoyles Xanatos/ His units wear blue, Tzeentch's signature color, and Charlie himself is never seen, remaining a mysterious faceless figure. He's a Lord of Change, using the conflicts of Erfworld for his own inscrutable purposes.

  • If anyone in Erfworld is an Avatar of Tzeentch, it's Parson. He comes from a realm where the "regular" laws of nature don't apply, his physiology and biology are totally alien (LIQUID CONMES OUT OF HIM WHEN HE'S HURT!!!). He has proven himself to be a masterful warlord and great manipulator, playing EVERYONE around him like a musical instrument in order to fulfil his objectives, and the LAWS OF TIME AND SPACE in Erfworld bend to his will, and there are words in his language that cannot be uttered in their universe.

In order to combat Parson and the forces of Gobwin Nob, the Royalists will summon the perfect warriors to fight against him. Namely, Parson's players.

I'm not entirely certain how this would play out, but, I feel like this would be an interesting turn of events. Parson gets to play out the game he wanted his players to experience, but with high stakes involved.

  • Well, Rob has said that he wants to do something with Parson's gaming buddies...

The Arkenpliers aren't attuned to Wanda, Wanda is attuned to the Arkenpliers.

How can I word this...Basically, Wanda of book 1 and Wanda of book 2 are COMPLETELY different, in more than just Character Development ways. Radically different personalities, so much so that Parson comments on it and is now scared of her, when he initially thought of her as one of the few sane people that he can talk to. I don't think that the tool became attuned to her, she was attuned by it. For some reason, it chose her.

    • Wanda's odd mannerisms at present are probably left over from the broken mind-control spell, possibly exacerbated by the later linking to uncroak the volcano while her mind was still in such a fragile state.
      • Plus, at the moment, we've pretty much only seen her from the decrypted viewpoint (with one or two exceptions), and she has to put on a regal, even divine air for them.
    • It may be more likely that this difference in Wanda's manner is a simple result of finally acquiring the power that she had long been seeking, rather than any specific change wrought by the Arkenpliers; she no longer sees the need to pander to Stanley, and she didn't take crap from anyone else to begin with. Remember, her first line upon picking them up describes her as having "wrecked and ruined more than you have" to obtain them, right after Parson blew up a Level Five city and the surrounding area, killing thousands. It's likely that we're just seeing what she looks like Beneath the Mask now.

There are infinite universes. The 'support plan' was meant to sift through the options.

Okay, the spell itself only costs 350,000 shmuckers. The support plan was 150,000. That means that the support plan was probably really important. So let's assume there are infinite universes. (We already know there has to be at least two.) So there are multiple universes that fit Stanley's specifications for the perfect warlord. Such as, say, a universe where there's an incredible leader that literally eats the 'marbit' creatures for breakfast. The support plan sifts through the possibilities to find the warlord that fits the spirit of the summoning, instead of just the letter. So some where out there is the perfect warlord Stanley wanted...

    • In light of the new information on the Hippymancer-led conspiracy to bring peace to Erfworld, I think it likely that the support plan meant 'advisers and casters'
      • Stanley buys the support plan and ends up with Batman. Batman takes the 4 turns Ansom's column needs to reach Gobwin Knob to prepare, and then curbstomps him.

Ansom is a brilliant tactician... when in his element.

This shows that he does have a mind for tactics, or at least planning ahead in the event of the unexpected. So a few ways of explaining his luck based survival throughout the first chapter are:

1. He's used to only commanding units that follow his every order. Being in a Coalition/alliance means that he can't expect everyone to listen to his plans, so he goes with the lowest common denominator of plans in order to minimize infighting.

2. He specializes in heavy siege and infantry units. We know that his preferred strategy (which Ossomer calls him on) focuses heavily on siege engines and infantry, so it's reasonable to believe that he's very good with these units... but less so with others. This may also contribute to why King Slately refused to give him any casters.

3. Gobwin Knob's terrain was working against him. He's leading full stacks of units up a narrow path towards a city: There's no room to maneuver. In the above page, he's shown consider the terrain and group movements, but if he were to be in a situation where he's unable to move around, all he can do is keep marching forward!

  • There's another one we can add to that, which might be the most likely of all:

    4. Ansom was overconfident. It's clear in his briefing of the Royal Crown Coalition I commanders that Ansom was not expecting Stanley to have someone like Parson in command. As far as any of them knew, Gobwin Knob had no leadership corps left (except for uncroaked Warlords and, for specific cases, Casters--who are usually far more valuable in other roles than commanding stacks).

    We do know that Stanley has a poor mind for strategy and tactics, since Gowbin Knob lost the ten cities it originally had during his Quest for the Arkentools--he blew the whole thing off as Parson's job after summoning him, and we've seen Ansom's reaction to Stanley playing with the Situation Room's tactical board during the Summer Updates. Ansom was clearly expecting Stanley to be pathetically easy to defeat, which means that Ansom would not seriously plan and overplan like he usually does. In this light, combined with Ansom's prejudice against non-Royals and not (yet) knowing about Parson, falling for the Dwagon Doughnut trap causes Ansom to nearly have a BSOD; to Ansom, Stanley is "simply not that bright."

    It wasn't until Parson contacted him directly later on that Ansom realized there was indeed a new Chief Warlord in command, and as we've seen, Parson is very good at psychological warfare. Ansom was thrown off his game with Parson's first move, and Parson's further mind games (such as goading Ansom with the Thinkagram) only made him angrier and more predictable. Toward the end, Ansom was so riled and frustrated with Parson that Parson was not only able to easily read what Ansom would do next, but also why and Ansom's emotional state as well ("But ... They're going to attack. Ansom will make that mistake, just for pride. Just so he can avoid making the same mistake twice in a row.")

    After Ansom's decryption, in the Summer Updates we're told from Parson's perspective that Ansom's plans are usually fairly solid, and there was only one instance where he'd found one of Ansom's strategies to be a bad plan. That's pretty high praise coming from someone like Parson, although that still leaves us in the field of Informed Ability since the audience hasn't been shown Ansom's "solid plans" in action. Though we've yet to really see Ansom "in his zone," we can at least deduce that he had a serious case of hubris during the Battle for Gobwin Knob, and was not able to realize that he was dealing with a tactical genius or clear his mind.
    • Stanley is a decent enough tactician when he's leading a battle (he didn't get to be a Warlord for nothing). But Stanley has no mind for strategy, and being outnumbered 25 to 1 is not something that tactics can easily overcome.

Wanda and Jillian represent Parson's conflicted feelings over Ashna.

Apart from differences in coloring and hairstyle, Wanda and Jillian could be clones of each other, and they both share some resemblance to Ashna, Parson's girl-gamer friend from the real world. Wanda appreciates his intellect and tries to look out for him when she can (like protecting him from Stanley's wrath after disrupting the linked Thinkamancers) but is ultimately dispassionate; Jillian is hot-blooded and fiery but couldn't care less that Parson exists at all. The two sharing a Fate and a sexual relationship only links them further, as they really are two sides of the same coin.

Parson and Maggie have romantic feelings toward one another.

Parson particularly enjoys conversation with her, and she's his most frequent partner on his "rounds" during the summer updates between Book 1 and Book 2. n these same updates, he repeatedly complements her fashion sense, resulting in her coyly looking away and smiling. He's teaching her to loosen up and actually joke around a bit. And then, there was the whole "sex" conversation they had, during which: -She raised the issue of his sex life. -He asked if it was possible to command an Archon to have sex with him, hypothetically. -Her eyes //flashed// and she emphasized that he could do this with ANY unit. (which, what with the eye flash and the smile, is somewhat suggestive on its own) -He expressed distaste at with the entire possibility, finding it morally abhorrent. She found this odd, but "charming". -She then took him by the arm and continued chatting/joking with him about his sex life.

And during this time, she has risked arguing with Stanley on his behalf when he was demoted/resigned from his position as Chief Warlord... And actually took the risky initiative of utilizing a loophole to brainwash Stanley into returning Parson's position.

    • Seconded that Maggie has feelings for Parsons. I don't think their reciprocated ... yet.

The Arkenpliers didn't allow Wanda to uncroak/decrypt the new types of units.

Her experience with one of the most unorthodox uncroakings in existence did. The Arkenpliers just turned the uncroaking into decrypting.

The fourth Arkentool is a Dirtamancy-aligned shovel, but it's not the Arkenshovel, and Sizemore doesn't get it (at first).

It's called the Arkenspoon, and Charlie took it from its original resting place. It's a spoon sized for the Titans, and Charlie can't use other Arkentools, being an Arkentool himself or having attuned to a different Arkentool and only having Archon units.

Charlie is Parson's dad.

Because that's just how these things go.

The story of Erfworld is really about the struggle between Parson and Charlie.

The leader of the Hippiemancers claims that Parson will break the rules of Erfworld that keep it in a state of perpetual warfare that makes true peace impossible. Charlie is an amoral war consultant who uses this warfare to increase his own power and fortune and he knows the rules of Erfworld inside and out. He is an embodiment of the system that Parson is meant to break. This is probably one reason Charlie is so unnerved by Parson: he knows that Parson can potentially ruin the system in Erfworld, and Charlie needs that system to survive.

Charlie is a living embodiment of Erfworld's principle of endless conflict.

Erfworld is a system designed to constantly drive war between its inhabitants. Charlie is the embodiment of that system; he lives only to drive conflict between Erfworld's sides, since that is what Erfworld is for (and hence, what he is for). He still needs to work within Erfworld's rules (embodying the rules means he needs to follow them), which is why he has to work as a side (albeit a side which stretches the definition of the term as far as it can go and still apply). He also has the Arkendish and almost exclusively uses archons because they are most suited to his purposes. This is why Charlie was initially excited by Parson (he imagined Parson's patently unique take on the rules could be used to drive conflict like nothing else) and ultimately horrified by him (upon realising that Parson is not only not constrained by the rules, he exists to actively break them).

Parson will get the chance to destroy Jetstone by killing its leadership, but he won't do it.

At the end of book 1, it's shown that Parson's sick of warfare and killing. Currently, Parson is in the middle of exploiting the rules in order to mount a comeback after Charlie's stunt left Wanda in great danger. Interestingly, however, the current Chief Warlord on the Royal's side is Tramennis the diplomat, who wanted to meet Parson and has also called for parley to discuss surrender terms (under the assumption that Wanda's position is hopeless), and Parson has decided to use the portals to and from the Magic Kingdom to supervise the battle in person. After Parson's little "food fight" is over, the Royals are going to have the tables turned on them, ending up surrounded by enemies and unable to retreat - at which point Parson will go onto the battlefield himself and take Tramennis up on his offer to negotiate.

  • Seconded! But he'll have to fight Wanda to do it, since she's gleefully going on to kill the command without orders (and even knowing Parson will disapprove). And we know that she has no Loyalty to anything but fate and herself.
  • Thirded, with the following twist: Either Slately or Tramennis will be killed during the battle, and as a favor to the surviving member, Parson will go over Wanda's head to keep the killed member from decryption (maybe going so far as to re-execute them himself)

Caesar will stage a coup.

During the summer updates, Don King really bought into the Royal line of thinking, and even tried to get his Heir Designate Caesar killed in a trap battle with Carpool. One of the drawbacks to a royal side is that a Royal heir can splinter off and form their own side, but one of the theories about how to "end" Erfworld is the elimination of Royal sides. Caesar would be more than likely to just stand aside in the Tool War, and let other factions beat the snot out of each other while strengthening his side, maybe even becoming completely neutral.

All units affected by Arkentools are loyal to their masters in the Stupidworld sense of "loyal" not the Erfworld sense of "Loyal"

This is why Ansom is so immune to normal Turnamancy: Jillian needs to convince him to turn away from what he sees as "the path of the Titans" instead of just using Vanna to zap him back to her side. Likewise, Charlie takes pains to make sure that the Archons worship him unconditionally, without relying on the innate Loyalty to a side that all units are imbued with upon popping. Stanley has it easy, as the dwagons he tames or pops are non-sentient and therefore can be controlled easier than sentient units.

  • I have a theory (available on the Erfworld wiki in the Speculation section of Turnamancy) that Turnamancy doesn't directly turn units, it just accellerates the processes that are already there (like Jillian trying to convince Ansom to turn).

The four Arkentools combine to activate some sort of creationism spell.

Possibly Retconjuration, if that's not a Red Herring Author's Saving Throw. The Arkenpliers give true life (if fragile, assuming you don't consider uncroaked units to be Came Back Wrong and decrypting to be a Cast From Hit Points version of normal life), the Arkenhammer gives spirit/souls (with the power of rocking out, and the difference between a world of golems and a world of beings), the Arkendish gives Natural and unnatural Thinkamancy (and natural Mathamancy, yadda yadda)... And the fourth Arkentool is based on the Stuffamancy side of things (Dirtamancy?), the actual "let there be erf" stuff, the fashioning of bodies from clay.

Alternately, they let you through the most wicked Rock concert ever, awesome enough to alter the work of the Titans. The Arkenhammer provides the rockage (and lead guitar), the Arkendish amps everything up (and is a drum), the Arkenpliers provide the backup dancers and archgroupies (their instrument depends on that of the Arkenwhatsit. Perhaps keytar?), and the Arkenwhatsit provides something (an actual stage, to be imbued with the idea of a stage that the Arkenhammer projects? If a dirtomancy shovel, it is obviously the bass). If this is the case, there's a two-to-one chance against it simply being a way to call down the Titans.

There are exactly four titans.

I always assumed so, but according to the Erfworl wiki there are only confirmed to be "at least three". It fits with the four (known) Arkentools that were left behind.

There is a fifth Arkentool, unknown to Gobwin Knob and the surrounding sides.

It's completely and utterly unimportant, but also completely and utterly inaccessable, and its only purpose is to subvert the Gotta Catch Em All mindset that Stanley and Wanda seem to have gotten into. The world is bigger than just the local conflicts (we know that supposedly nobody actually knows how far the land extends), and why else would the Stupid Meal have said "four known Arkentools" when it so rarely gives usefully comprehensive information?

The Arkenhammer is a Carnymancy artifact.

It's been guessed on the Erfworld wik already. It looks like a carnival prize (compared to the more realistic-tool looks of the Arkenpliers and the Arkendish), it does flashy things, and its ability to tame Dwagons is a reference to lion-taming. I'm mostly adding this guess to post the sub-guess that its ability to turn one in three walnuts it cracks into doves is a reference to not only making doves appear, but even more so that it is a reference to the shell game where something is hidden in one (or none) of three walnut shells, or a round nut is hidden under one (or none) of three containers. Additionally, mallets like less-squeaky versions of the Arkenhammer are used in Test Your Strength games at carnivals.

Guesses for the remaining Arkentool(s).

Most of these guesses assume that the visual aspect of the Arkentools have some relation to their function. Feel free to disregard the physical aspect portion of guesses for what the remaining Arkentool(s) might be able to do. Feel free to add your own ideas to this guess!

  • Fate-aligned Arkentools, following that at least two of the first three Arkentools specialise in Fate magics:
    • Predictamancy:
      • The Arkenplumb: A plumbbob on the end of a string that is used to guide palm readings, choose cards, or (most easily) dowse maps and what is in front of the Predictamancer for supplies and answers.
    • Dollamancy:
      • The Arkenchisel/Arkenneedle: Either way, they craft things that no unattuned Dollamancer could make (unworkable materials, addding attributes in wyays that would otherwise break the rules, that sort of thing). The Arkenchisel would be more likely, but the Arkenneedle would be more humiliating for Dollamancer Lord Ace Hardware.
      • Alternatively, the Arkendriver. It doesn't work on wood, and goes "vzzzoozzzozzzz" when it's working.
    • Changemancy:
    • Signamancy:
    • Carnymancy:
      • The Arkenhammer, as guessed on the Erfworld wiki. It looks like a cheap carnival prize, and tends to do flashy things that might go with the discipline of Carnymancy.
    • Healomancy:
      • The Arkentrowel: Fixes the cracks in reality, and heals what isn't there. Clevermancy allows the healer to dip their toes into Retconjuration the way it has been theorized in-world that the Arkenpliers allow an attuned Croakamancer to blur the Motion and Matter aspects of Naughtymancy (specifically Croakamancy) into Life, which Naughtymancy does not use.
      • Unknown name: Basically the Arkenpliers, but they may also be able to heal Decrypted.
  • The Arkenspork.

Each Arkentool has a Unit Type associated with it, and may govern the existence of the species throughout all of Erfworld.

  • The Arkendish is linked to Archons, being able to pop them much more quickly than any other Side.
  • The Arkenhammer is linked to Dwagons, being able to Tame and Incapacitate them with a single blow.
  • The Arkenpliers are linked to Transylvito Vampires. The lack of flight and blood-drinking are because they are Supremely Decroaked/Uncrypted/Re-popped into Vampires instead of naturally Popped (the latter is because they have no upkeep. I don't know why they would lose the former when the Archons kept their natural Flight, though. Perhaps Decrypted can only use Natural Magic that they already knew).
  • The Arkenwhatever is linked to Gobwins, and Charlie both has access to it and is screwing around with loopholes in the rules to use its non-Attuned link to keep the Gobwins out of the Gobwin Knob region post-Book 1.

There are no Gobwins left, and/or Charlie has nothing to do with their absence.

It's a common theory in other places that Charlie has something to do with the lack of Gobwins in Gobwin Knob after Book 1, and that it is either to mess with Parson or serve some additional purpose. I thought it might be worth an "In B4" guess.

Charlie is an uplifted marbit.

That's why his(her? its?) stand-in image during Thinkamancy calls takes the form of Marshmallow Bits when not providing some more blatant real-world reference indicative of a deeper meaning!

Charlie's real appearance will be based on Charles Xavier

Well, he is a Thinkamancer called "Charlie". Plus, Arkendish is like his Cerebro.

Jillian is/was a typical rebel teenager.

The way she discribes herself and the fact that her description was as blatently as contrary to her father as possable reminds me of that steriotype. She appears to love her father deep down and genuenly share his ideals. If you listen to the Don Kings description of what she is like it sounds like she rejects all the royalty stuff just to reject it, she actually seems to buy the Don Kings description of how the world should work. As she grows up and her rebel phase is coming to a close she is now becoming something like the daughter her father wanted.

The fourth tool is a teapot or kettle and somebody from TV will attune to it.

The Titans are the real villains of the comic

The Titans created a world where conflict and suffering are the inevitable outcome of the world's mechanics for their own entertainment -- taking the hobbies of a wargamer like Parson and playing them with living, sentient, suffering lives instead of bits of pewter. When, in spite of the odds, some societies apparently managed to develop into more than military machines (e.g. Faq under Banhammer), the Titans decided to stir the pot, so to speak, by leading people to the Arkentools stir up wars and challenge royalty. Toolism and Royalism are both correct in terms of the Titans giving both a mandate to rule. The problem is that the Titans are moral monsters who gave mandates to both the Attuned and the Royals knowing full well that the contradictory Titanic mandates would lead to war and death -- which is the reason they created Erfworld in the first place.

Both Toolists and Royalists are playing by the Titans' rules. Parson's ultimate battle will be to reject the Titans, help the Erfworlders claim the world as their own, and find some way of breaking the rules so much that the Titans lose their power. Both of the Titanic factions (Toolist and Royalist) will reject this (although whether they will put aside their differences and make peace with each other to stop Parson is another question -- most likely not). On the other hand, Parson will not be without allies who see that there is more to what's right than the Titans' will. Sizemore is one probable ally, along with Janis. Other less expected allies might be Ossomer[1] and Charlie [2].

More than one person can attune to the same Arkentool, and/or one person can attune to more than one Arkentool

Parson, for example, would truly be the Perfect Warlord if he could attune to all the Arkentools. He seems to have managed not to touch the 'hammer or 'pliers yet, somehow, so it's still on the table.

The Real World puns and shout-outs will eventually become unrecognizable to Parson

As time moves on in Earth society, memes and puns will show up that puzzle Parson instead of being instantly recognizable to him. He'll realize that Erfworld shares a connection to this world, and either try to figure out what it means for both worlds or what it means for him personally. Probably both.

Charlie's being paid in full for the use of his Decrypted archons

We've already seen that Decryption removes a unit's upkeep cost to its controller without eliminating the goods and services (such as field rations) paid for by that upkeep, meaning that the Arkentools can directly add value into the economic system. Note the implication that a force outside the known world and with potentially unlimited cash is now paying upkeep to and receiving loyalty from the unit. The Decrypted archons believe that their permanent service, including potential opposition to Charlie's forces and following suicidal orders, is being paid for by an extremely expensive standardized contract (such a contract type exists, though Charlie... discourages its use).

The guess is that the easiest way to Decrypt archons (which theoretically means opposing an Arkentool oriented towards mental connection, if not control) means letting this be correct: Charlie is actually getting paid for those archons, and paid highly. In fact, this is the exact reason he can now afford to be doing work that isn't purely mercenary.

Stanley will promote Maggie or Parson to Overlord and become a Warlord

He misses participating in battles. Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) reveals casters can also be rulers. Maggie is based on a real-world politician, so she seems likely, but it might make a better story to have it happen to Parson instead.

There are eight Arkentools

Given what we know about the Arkentools we can assume that attunement is governed by Fate magic. Now if it turns out that each Arkentool is, itself, a representation of each type of fate magic that would mean that there are eight tools. We can be sure or infer that the Pliers are the representation of croakmancy and that the Dish is the representation of Thinkamancy. The problem is that we don't know what the Hammer represents, but we can make an educated guess that it's Changemancy. However, until we know for sure what changemancy is, this theory has holes. The alternative is that the Hammer is the representation of carnymancy.

Erfworld isn't a single world, it's a collection of worlds

Each different world represents a single aspect of our world. Parson is in the world based around war. Units and objects don't really "pop" and "depop", they are actually teleported between worlds. Schmuckers are the Global Currency for all the worlds, not just all the sides in war-world.

For instance, to elaborate on how farms work, whenever a war-world pig "depops," it's actually teleported to a "food preparation" or "service industry" world that handles butchering pigs. They butcher the pig, and the pork is teleported to the larder of whichever side originally owned the pig. The Schmuckers that the war-world side paid for the butchering is actually paid to the unit/side/corporation/whatever that butchered the pig in food-prep-world.

There's also a "nursery" world, where people are born to parents, just like here. They grow up, go to school, choose a profession that some other world needs, and are transported to that other world when a side in that other world needs a unit. They arrive with Identity Amnesia, but with all skills (and their name) intact.

Of course, these worlds provide services each other, in addition to war-world. Nursery-world raises butchers like it raises soldiers, and food-prep-world takes pigs from nursery-world's farms.


  1. Who said, Book 2 Page 3, that if the Titans were on the side of Wanda, Charlie, and Stanley, the Titans were wrong (which demonstrates a rejection of the divine command theory of metaethics), and who possibly showed Book 2 Page 73 that he could break decryption's influence.
  2. Charlie may be a mercenary (but then, even Banhammer's Faq did some mercenary work), but if all he cared about were his own power and wealth, he would have probably conquered some cities beyond CharlesComm (although, being smarter than Stanley, he wouldn't take on the whole world at once), so perhaps, in addition to having no affinity for Royalism or Toolism, he has some desire for peace.
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