May 21, 2022 2:43 PM
is actually rather a lot
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Why are the prices so high, she assumes they're quoting them straight-across. 

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"Yes, but it's a surprising pricing anomaly given that you'd expect the supply of seventh-circles to be lower and the demand for their time to be higher."

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"Yes," says Fennelosa's impersonator, "but it's a surprising pricing anomaly given that you'd expect the supply of seventh-circles to be lower and the demand for their time to be higher."

         Shrug. "Kemi's mostly a researcher and hates having meetings in the middle of the day, or unexpectedly."

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On the scry, the person at the door of the temple visibly startles. "Sorry - did you just -"

      "I have a mysterious patron who likes Messaging people through a scry. Please answer him, whatever he said."

"Uh, I think I missed the window to reply to the Message."

       "He can hear you."

"Oh. Well. Kemi's mostly a researcher and hates having meetings in the middle of the day, or unexpectedly."
 

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Hm.  Not much of a detailed theoretical response, but then it didn't really need one and the person apparently understood the question... may not be fair anyways to expect that much of the initial-sales-direction-person in Golarion, Keltham isn't sure what Intelligence 10 or Intelligence 12 lets a person do.

"Alright, one quarter-hour of the seventh-circle's time, 100gp."  Keltham does have higher hopes for this test than for some others he's run; and with his emotional alarm level where it is, and Keltham's own ability to request a higher monetary salary obviously way above what it was a few months ago, he needs to just start spending money like seriously.

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"All right. Wait here, please, and I'll go and set that up for you."

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Does Cheliax think it has anyone better than Carissa-with-the-Crown personally at answering tricky economics questions on the spot.

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Possibly Abrogail-with-the-Crown but maybe not even then.  This is Carissa's to win or lose.

(Carissa Sevar and Asmodia have been given access to only-slightly-censored books of Abadaran theology by this point, with all of the economics in there unchanged.)

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All right, then, let's do this. 

 

While eating the lunch that was just delivered and absentmindedly but visibly to Keltham tweaking one of her headband-assistant designs. Keltham's not expecting her to be enhanced as aggressively as she is, and should hopefully conclude she can't possibly do all that at once. 

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Temos Sevandivasen is a Vudrani man in his late thirties or early forties who earned his cleric levels trying to set up functional financial institutions in Kumura, a Vudrani kingdom that'd just thrown off Kelish rule. He fled to Absalom when the neighboring kingdoms got threatened and banded together to conquer Kumura. 

 

He has been read in on the potential threat to the Inner Sea region from Cheliax, though not on any of the details that'd bind him to Abadar's obligation not to direct causal interventions at Ostenso. When a Chelish man walks into his office, his eyes narrow. 

"Osirion is offering up to 80,000gp, the personal protection of the Church and Pharaohate, and Axis or petrification to defectors," he says immediately to Fennelosa's impersonator. "I can leave with you now."

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This priest is not the first person to make that offer.  The impersonator is soul-sold, apparently loyal, and is under a complicated useful curse from a certain ninth-circle priestess of Asmodeus who once specialized in curses.  Nefreti Clepati could possibly break it, but she'd charge more than 80,000gp to try.

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Fantastic. 

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"I just have some economics questions," the man says. 

 

"I regretfully decline. We'll refund you."

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Offer him...more money?

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"I hear Abadarans always have a price. Name it."

      "Sure thing. A hundred souls of our choice, one of them yours."

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"Hi.  I'm attending by scry and am in something of a complicated situation.  Roughly speaking, I need theological knowledge, I need to know that theological knowledge is coming from an actual high-level priest of a god, I'm concerned about this scry being intercepted, and so I'm going to be asking you theological questions and then asking you to give money-commerce-pricing takes on the answers or rephrase the answers in strange commercial terms.  You can assume that my own knowledge of that field is extremely complete in underlying mathematical principle, but not that I'm familiar with any standard examples or technical terms of art being used here."

"If you're with me so far, talk about how that would have affected your pricing if you'd been pricing by detailed effort instead of by simplified flat rate, by way of helping me know that an Abadaran priest heard this question and responded to it.  I can hear you if you reply by voice, you don't need to use Message."

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Keltham is of course talking to Temas Sedavasen, in a room well away from the Ascendant Court. And this actor is just blindly but with high Bluff and a Glibness repeating what he's told by -

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Carissa Sevar, who is becoming pretty convinced tropes are real. Why don't they send someone to ask economics questions of a different priest of Abadar somewhere else, and offer this man dath ilani economic knowledge, someone else will have to handle both those arrangements as she's being Temas Sedavasen right now. 

 

 

Temas answers immediately. 

"I would not have charged a particularly elevated price to reflect the additional effort from phrasing my responses in economic terms, unless my comprehension of what you're asking for is substantially incorrect, which does seem plausible to me. I would have charged an elevated price to reflect risks to my person, my church, and surrounding parties if there is some kind of ongoing effort to deceive you or deceive me about something of importance. I would have charged an elevated price for receiving questions by Message, which I find viscerally unpleasant, and which make some sounds difficult to distinguish for me -- this isn't my first language. I'm going to cast Comprehend Languages in case that helps, which might reduce how much I'd be tempted to charge you for the Message-conveyance. The overall result is, I think, about a hundred forty percent of the price I did charge, which I'm actually regarding as something of a success of the case for flat-rate pricing given how unusual this case is."

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"I'd considered that price relatively high so I'm not bumping my own offer immediately, pending how this actually plays out.  Bit surprised you don't have piecewise effort-cost estimates, but I guess that's something you only have when you're trained to maintain a certain kind of coherence between all your prices... Go ahead and cast Comprehend Languages."

Keltham casts Detect Magic, just in case the Conspiracy was about to be really silly there and try to fake that.  Cantrips are nearly free.

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It's a real Comprehend Languages.

 

 

She knows how an actual Abadaran answers that, and unfortunately it's with a bunch of thoughtful commentary on what it means to have coherence between your prices, why you want that, what goes wrong when you try it, etc. The plan to make significant use of an actual cleric of Abadar was probably doomed from the start, given how much they've had to change Abadarism to not make Keltham immediately want to flee to Osirion. 

 

Fine. 

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"Businesses need to know the unit prices of the components of the things they manufacture in order to notice where their costs are highest, and in order to project how much fluctuation in the price of components will affect them. There's enforced coherence in the prices of goods, because there are markets in which they are freely traded among strangers, but nonetheless businesses sometimes manage to plan and purchase so as to not coherently value the different pieces of their supply chain. I have not seen it proposed to treat effort in the same fashion, I haven't seen a business fail of its failure to do so, and I'm uncertain what that failure would look like exactly. I specify this not to ask you for the information, which I'd need to pay you for, but in line with your request that I give Abadaran answers to the things you say."

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"Received, let me think a moment."

...nobody in Cheliax talks this way natively, or Keltham doesn't think so, and it's also not the Lawful answer that a Project member would give.  It's not of a complexity level where Keltham would have thought a 7th-circle was required for it; but then, he may have been a bit spoiled by talking to the likes of Carissa Sevar, who has 7th-circle spellcraft at 4th-circle within her own profession.  But Asmodia could talk like this given an Abadaran book and some stupidity assertions about the character she was playing, or so Keltham worries.

Oh, there's something he can do about that.

"Carissa, Asmodia," he says out loud, "I basically buy that this could be what a 7th-circle priest of Abadar is like, given that they've got to be selected on service and devotion and apparently often combat ability rather than just intelligence and wisdom and skill.  But I worry that either of you could improvise responses on this order."

"Asmodia, if I tell you that a central distribution, mean 0, deviation 1, corresponds to the maximum-entropy probability distribution with mean 0 and deviation 1, can you write up a proof of that as quickly as possible and poke me when you're done, and then write up any further obvious thoughts you have about your proof and poke me again?  Carissa..."  The problem isn't thinking of what she could do, it's figuring out what she could do that nobody else in the Project could do.  "Try to prove that two agents, if they have common knowledge of each other's probability estimates of a proposition - they know which probability the other estimates, they know the other person knows their probability estimates, they know the other knows they know, etcetera - must have the same probability estimate on that proposition, using the weakest assumptions you can get away with.  And before you ask, I'm not just having you maintain a cantrip with a heating stone attached to you because we're not in private and also there is for example such a thing as a Delay Pain spell that could be secretly cast on you."

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Why is he like this.

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"I wasn't going to ask. You are plainly the kind of innocent person who hasn't even mentally made an ordered list of which people you'd want around if you were in the mood to hurt me in public. Asmodia, do you have scratch paper?"

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No way in Hell can she pull that off simultaneously and she shouldn't even try, either Asmodia'll have to do both - but they'll lose bits on that, Keltham knows how smart Asmodia is, and Carissa wants Asmodia pointing out additional angles of Law - 

- or they'll have to get the other girls from the Project on it. Throw every enhancement in the book at them and have them try it -

- and, she can't help it, she has to look at a math problem with this headband on once in her life and she'll never get the chance again - 

- and for mine, start by imagining two people watching the same biased coin flip repeatedly, but privy to different subsets of results; quite obviously if they get running updates from the other person on the other person's new probability estimate they can infer the result they didn't see, as sure as seeing it themself, and if they don't get running updates they can't necessarily infer each individual result but make the same update - prove that - 

- it takes a lot of her Wisdom to stop there and refocus on the faith of Abadar.

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