Wednesday, September 20, 2023

The Culture: Macris Talks Timekeeping, Part Two

As promised last week, Macris posted the follow-up.

As I said last week:

I expect to hear a novel, yet practical and easily implemented, alternative solution come next week. I am willing to entertain that solution in good faith if it delivers on that promise.

Next Monday should be interesting.

Here's the follow-up.

My reaction, summarized.

That's a lot of ways to avoid playing the game as it is written.

It is this simple: "You can't contradict what is already done."

Jeffro's "Always On" is how the game is written. Macris (correctly) notes that the full power of this rule could not be had prior to the Internet and easy connectivity to faciliate such a massive Braunstein game without it being a job unto itself- but it could be done locally and it was.

Why does Jeffro have it correct? Simple. Agency, believe it or not, has limits. The party that went ahead, did the thing, and is now on mandatory downtime due to Strict Timekeeping gets to have that win because they risked it and bought it fair and square- that victory IS THEIR PROPERTY!

They took the one thing you can't get back--Time--and risked it on an uncertain investment (the expedition) in the hopes of attaining a superior Return On Investment than any other option. That risk worked out in their favor, and they got the rewards that they sought. They broke it, they bought it, so now they own it. Now they have to pay off the debt, measured in Time, that they took out to make that happen- that's what mandatory downtime is about. Because they bought it, it's theirs. Simple as.

Every other proffered alternative violates this most basic principle.

Does this come down to the Referee saying "No, you don't." Sure, it does, and that's not only acceptable it's part of the job description for the Referee to do that; players do not get to act on information that their man could not have, and this entire scenario is predicated on exactly that sort of cheating. That is the limit to agency here, folks; you don't get to steal another's wins out from under them using "but Muh Temporal Paradox" as an excuse- What's Done IS DONE.

Only "Always On" works for this reason, and it's why Strict Timekeeping also means Strict Maptracking; you may not be able to undo the win, but there's nothing stopping you from being like Rene Belloq and ambush your rival after the fact to take what you can off him.

There is no viable alternative to what the Bros recovered from the Memory Hole.

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