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> Apologies if this seems half-baked.
> I am wondering if it is possible, or even a common pattern, to be able to specify a set of objects (say tables) at time A, and later at time B to be able to know if that set of objects has had any changes.
> By any changes, I mean:
>   - removed fields
>   - added fields
>   - changed field values
>   - changed metatables and values in metatables
> Assume the ability to add C code to do this (i.e. it doesn't have to be done in pure Lua).
> Basically, I am asking if I can know if there have been changes to a set of Lua objects, from C, without having to proxy out everything in Lua to detect it there.

you could iterate over the table and calculate a checksum.  reiterate later to see if it changed.