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Military Strength of both sides

"Hell's Gate" and "Hell Hath No Fury", by David, Linda Evans, and Joelle Presby, take the clash of science and magic to a whole new dimension...join us in a friendly discussion of this engrossing series!
Re: Military Strength of both sides
Post by PeterZ   » Fri Jan 13, 2017 11:06 am

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munroburton wrote:It seems to me that both sides are ultimately in a stalemate, which can only break if Arcana adopts technology for offensive use or if Sharona steals magic. Otherwise, neither of them can ever effectively threaten the other's heartlands.

Complicating the issue further is that both of them may have to develop their new sources away from their heartlands.


Or if either side finds a way to impose their physics upon the other's universe. Not sure how that would work, but any way to expedite the shift from one set of physics to the other would break the stalemate.
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Re: Military Strength of both sides
Post by thanatos   » Fri Feb 10, 2017 3:06 pm

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There are still a few more unknown variables in the equation but one at least cannot be denied and that is the relative size of the economy on both sides, which in turn impacts the overall logistics and manufacturing capability on both sides. When the US was able to land 4 tons of equipment and supplies for every ton of equipment and supplies that Imperial Japan could land anywhere in the pacific theater, they had basically won the war. The same would apply in this sort of war, in the narrow corridor through which both sides must fight. The portals would serve as beachheads in any attack on a given universe and would form strong points for both sides. But the ability to get troops, weapons, equipment and supplies to those strong points within a set amount of time would dictate the outcome of many battles.

There is one point however that really interests me however. Everything we've seen of Arcana and of Arcanan thinking indicates an essentially world wide medieval culture, both economically and culturally. The magical "technology" has essentially pushed the society forward, with many modern concepts such as "applications" and "PCs" being part of everyone's thinking. But they never thought to push the development of crossbows towards something less cumbersome and primitive (by our standards at least). Magic could aid in increasing the accuracy, speed and penetrating power of a bolt along with making the handling of the crossbows themselves easier. But they are still handling a weapon that has less range, less penetrating power and less accuracy than a bullet and which requires more frequent replacement of its ammunition and magical charges than a rifle. Arcana never thought of crafting a spell that launches a physical projectile or loading said projectile with another spell that makes it explode. The same applies to their other crew served weapons. And any army's tactics are dictated by the weapons it has at its disposal. Walls of pike- and musket-armed troops were rendered obsolete by rapid firing rifles. Cavalry charges became obsolete with machine guns and trenches. Radio and telegraph allowed for the instantaneous transfer of information over messenger birds and runners.

Sharona is far more accustomed to thinking in these terms than Arcana given that their Talents and scientific research have made much of this possible. Moreover, if the Arcanan attack made anything clear it was the vulnerability of the voices (and their long range communication system). A technological substitute for all of this would become a priority. Indeed, they have Talents that can teleport people across the planet, but the talent is rare enough that they developed other means of transportation (like ships, trains and possibly even zeppelins). And Jathmar displays a university-level understanding of scientific research. The tools and foundation are already there for Sharona to leap ahead scientifically while Arcana is still trying to match the weapons they've already seen and improve their logistics to the point where they can move at least as much combat power to any given front.

Given the point in which RTH ended (i.e. Harshu getting cut off while Sharonian forces seize control of all portals between him and Klian), the distance between Arcana and the front lines and the amount of combat power available to both sides within the Hell's Gate theater, the next book will likely see a desperate attempt by Arcana to relieve Harshu before Sharonian forces overwhelm his position. We might even see the young voice who got away in HHNF play a role in their assault through the portal. And we will probably see Sharona reach as far as Klian's position if they can get boats into position at the swamp portal. That the underwater battle that is hinted at throughout RTH, with cetaceans and water drakes battling it out. I also think that sending intelligent simians through the Fort Salby portal might occur as well, given the attention they received in RTH as well (or may be they're being prepped for book #5).
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Re: Military Strength of both sides
Post by PeterZ   » Mon Feb 13, 2017 12:27 pm

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I wonder, Thanatos, if the mindset you are interested in is a matter of the different ways each culture innovates and the fundamental rules they believe apply. Sharona believes that the universe works under universal rules. If a Sharonan understands the applicable rules, then any Sharonan can manipulate the rules to harness the desired effect. Arcanans believe that aether intrudes upon the world and so must be shaped to allow for complex effects. Only those with the Gift and training can harness these effects after discover a process that generates it.

Sharonans shift their understanding and vision of the multiverse to include any expansions of universal rules their research discovers. Arcanas search for visions and understandings to impose on the multiverse around them. Because of this difference, the Sharonans are much more likely to have adaptable societies able to shift to adjust to the changes their research discovers. Arcana, however, researches based small adjustments to their current vision and understanding. Their research always adds on to what already exists, since they shape the world around them. That research finds a unique process that allows for a desired effect. Their society then also changes in incremental ways that never faces exogenous forces that demand massive changes. Exogenous forces like a discovering steam or an IC engine that no one envisions.

So, Andara can remain largely a medieval society and Ransar can be a republic regardless of the technological level Arcanan magic allows. The effects that magic allows adds to both societies in incremental ways that allows for a great del more continuity that would exist in Sharonan societies. That an the more egalitarian nature of Sharonan tech, makes Sharonan societies much more fluid propositions than Arcanan societies.
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Re: Military Strength of both sides
Post by thanatos   » Tue Mar 07, 2017 9:27 am

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PeterZ wrote:I wonder, Thanatos, if the mindset you are interested in is a matter of the different ways each culture innovates and the fundamental rules they believe apply. Sharona believes that the universe works under universal rules. If a Sharonan understands the applicable rules, then any Sharonan can manipulate the rules to harness the desired effect. Arcanans believe that aether intrudes upon the world and so must be shaped to allow for complex effects. Only those with the Gift and training can harness these effects after discover a process that generates it.

Sharonans shift their understanding and vision of the multiverse to include any expansions of universal rules their research discovers. Arcanas search for visions and understandings to impose on the multiverse around them. Because of this difference, the Sharonans are much more likely to have adaptable societies able to shift to adjust to the changes their research discovers. Arcana, however, researches based small adjustments to their current vision and understanding. Their research always adds on to what already exists, since they shape the world around them. That research finds a unique process that allows for a desired effect. Their society then also changes in incremental ways that never faces exogenous forces that demand massive changes. Exogenous forces like a discovering steam or an IC engine that no one envisions.

So, Andara can remain largely a medieval society and Ransar can be a republic regardless of the technological level Arcanan magic allows. The effects that magic allows adds to both societies in incremental ways that allows for a great del more continuity that would exist in Sharonan societies. That an the more egalitarian nature of Sharonan tech, makes Sharonan societies much more fluid propositions than Arcanan societies.


Having reread HG, I also came across another aspect of Arcanan society that could further hamper their development. Gadriel comments to Jasak that Halatyn (and all magisters for that matter) zealously guards his research. The Shakira magisters and magistrons are even less willing to share their research and new discoveries, probably in order to maintain some sort of "technological" edge over their competitors, rivals and outright enemies. So how then would you disseminate groundbreaking changes and breakthroughs in technology? I presume that they might have something like patent laws on Arcana but I'm equally certain that enforcing them is an issue, particularly when some Gifted individual can recreate any spell or application of magic in the privacy of his home without anyone knowing about it.
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Re: Military Strength of both sides
Post by PeterZ   » Mon Mar 13, 2017 10:25 am

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thanatos wrote:Having reread HG, I also came across another aspect of Arcanan society that could further hamper their development. Gadriel comments to Jasak that Halatyn (and all magisters for that matter) zealously guards his research. The Shakira magisters and magistrons are even less willing to share their research and new discoveries, probably in order to maintain some sort of "technological" edge over their competitors, rivals and outright enemies. So how then would you disseminate groundbreaking changes and breakthroughs in technology? I presume that they might have something like patent laws on Arcana but I'm equally certain that enforcing them is an issue, particularly when some Gifted individual can recreate any spell or application of magic in the privacy of his home without anyone knowing about it.


Not sure that the breakthrough is disseminated at all. I do believe that the devices are created, but the actual spell is not. I may be wrong, but that's why recharging the more difficult spells is problematic. I doubt that there is something intrinsically preventing magisters and magistrons from replicating those spells. Some Gifted won't understand what the particular elements of the spell and Why it is important for the overall effect. There seems to be an interplay between the universal laws of physics and arcane technology, after all.

Complex spells then, are like unique programs written in a computer language specifically written for that program using a computer and interface that's idiosyncratic in all ways to the creator of the spell. Unless a magister or magistron understands both the program, the language and the idiosyncrasies behind the creation of the spell; copying the spell won't work. Copy write protections would have to register all those trade secrets so that the law would protect them from infringement. Better to keep the idiosyncratic elements secret.

Ransarans focus on producing magistrons argues this assumption is accurate. The magistron creates the animals and would know how to adjust any spells that are tailored for that animal. It is easier to buy enhanced animals than go through the effort to reproducing the alterations and spell work necessary to generate the desired effect. The magistron can patent the specific variety of animal to prevent anyone else from breeding and selling the enhanced animals commercially. Revealing secrets is not necessary to disseminating the innovation.

If there was a reliable way to safeguard magister's spells beyond withholding the secrets, the Shakira would be equally wealthy to the Ransarans as a whole. The Shakira wouldn't need to have an underclass to support them in their study and research into magic. Since the research into magic is the entire point of a Shakira's life, they would use the most efficient system possible to promote their research and the advancement of magic. Because this is not the case, one assumes that there is no effective protection to prevent the use of spells from being stolen.

I would suspect that production lines for basic spells that are no longer secret are open to anyone who wants to set one up. The more complex spells are far more difficult to obtain, even for the Army. That's why the Army had its own research facility to produce those effects it needed and could not get from the Shakira. Also why Gadriel was booted out of the Mythal Falls Accademy. If she had stayed, she would have had access to the base research necessary to replicate too many of the complex spells the Shakira controlled.
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