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Here there be dragons...

"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: Here there be dragons...
Post by dwileye13   » Sun Aug 02, 2015 8:37 am

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Castenea wrote:
dwileye13 wrote:Don,
As usual you are right on and in addition the feeding of a Dragon is continuous (the old addage "never buy anything that eats while you sleep"). The feeding of locomotives is singular and the tons transported are very great. The Logistics will define success and defeat. When you park a locomotive there is no feeding until you need it.

These point alone will be the deciding factors, that and gattling guns I guess.

Partially wrong on feeding of locomotives, unless you are bringing a locomotive out of service for several days min, you do not want the boiler to grow cold. Large steam locomotives can take over 12 hours to go from cold boiler to operating temp. Also relighting the firebox tends to be a bit of a hassle.


Of course, you are corrrect but Maintenance is an absolute, It is different in an organic, keeping a boiler warm with a fire burning (though small) is much different than feeding your dragon or super horse a pittance. Parallels exist but if you stop the maintenance fire you later can bring the boiler back up Stop feeding your Dragon . . . . . do you really want a pissed off hungry Carnivore that weighs 40 tons outside your tent, how about 100 of them! :cry: :o
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Re: Here there be dragons...
Post by bkwormlisa   » Sun Aug 02, 2015 9:38 am

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On the feeding issue, I don't think dragons are so bad. Sure, Toralk has problems feeding them in the middle of a desert, but the Sharonians wouldn't have much more luck finding fuel there without shipping it forward. And dragons can eat almost anywhere but a desert, while coal has to be located and dug up. In a way, living weapons can actually be supported more easily than nonliving ones. (The fact that dragons have to be fed when not working acts against this, however.)

Fuel and spare parts are a horrible limiter on aircraft operations, and while trains probably take less maintenance, they still have problems there (along with rusting in wet climates). Living beings are still the best self-maintaining machines out there. That does a lot to offset the idle fuel requirements.
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Re: Here there be dragons...
Post by Astelon   » Sun Aug 02, 2015 3:04 pm

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n7axw wrote:The potential weakness of the idea is that it requires someone gifted in magic to make it work...


Not necessarily. If you can have the system activated by a "button" (like an infantry dragon) then any non-gifted pilot could work the controls (which could be purely mechanical). You would only require a gifted engineer to charge the system. If a gifted person is required to start and stop the system then you would only need one on the ground for launching and returning planes.

n7axw wrote:... we have hints that the further away from Arcana the magic is being used, the less effective it becomes.


This is true for most arcanan weapons, including dragons. But the plane could made to go faster than any living creature would be able to manage without serious magical protections. A dragon that tried to fly at eight hundred miles an hour would literally lose its wings, considering injuries happen at much slower speeds. Even three hundred miles an hour would be difficult for a living creature to reach.
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Re: Here there be dragons...
Post by n7axw   » Sun Aug 02, 2015 3:06 pm

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Everybody seems to be assuming coal and wood as fuel for steam.

Yet we have a kerosene pipeline being laid along the alternate route into Karys alongside the railroad headed in that direction that the Sharonians are planning to use to flank or trap Harshu out his blocking position in the gap... Wouldn't kerosene be better fuel for the bisons than coal? Most
Surely it can be hauled more economicly than coal even if you have to truck it with tankers or by rail from the pipeline head. Plus I would think that kerosene would be more efficient at producing heat than wood or coal.


Don
Last edited by n7axw on Sun Aug 02, 2015 3:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Here there be dragons...
Post by n7axw   » Sun Aug 02, 2015 3:17 pm

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Astelon wrote:
n7axw wrote:The potential weakness of the idea is that it requires someone gifted in magic to make it work...


Not necessarily. If you can have the system activated by a "button" (like an infantry dragon) then any non-gifted pilot could work the controls (which could be purely mechanical). You would only require a gifted engineer to charge the system. If a gifted person is required to start and stop the system then you would only need one on the ground for launching and returning planes.

n7axw wrote:... we have hints that the further away from Arcana the magic is being used, the less effective it becomes.


This is true for most arcanan weapons, including dragons. But the plane could made to go faster than any living creature would be able to manage without serious magical protections. A dragon that tried to fly at eight hundred miles an hour would literally lose its wings, considering injuries happen at much slower speeds. Even three hundred miles an hour would be difficult for a living creature to reach.


I don't think that 800 mph is going to be in the cards for anybody, at least in the foreseeable future. In our own time, even jet passanger liners are only traveling about 500 mph.

What this implies is that Arcana is not going to be able to continue to advance toward Sharona much further than it already has by relying on magic.

Don
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Re: Here there be dragons...
Post by cralkhi   » Sun Aug 02, 2015 9:05 pm

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If transport dragons are far more available than battle dragons, what about using transport dragons as weapons platforms?
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Re: Here there be dragons...
Post by dwileye13   » Mon Aug 03, 2015 2:46 pm

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cralkhi wrote:If transport dragons are far more available than battle dragons, what about using transport dragons as weapons platforms?


Artillery seems to be very hard on transport Dragons or battle dragons for that matter. Perhaps higher altitude bombing could work!
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Re: Here there be dragons...
Post by Astelon   » Mon Aug 03, 2015 6:35 pm

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I only used 800 mile an hour as an example because it is the average speed at which modern jet combat takes place (IIRC the author intends to put our modern world into this at some future point). As it stands I don't see dragons getting much faster than they currently are.

High altitude bombing has been discussed previously. There was some question as to arcanan ability to set of any type of spell from a distance. All examples so far seen required the gifted engineer to activate/control the spell on location, even when it killed them.
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Re: Here there be dragons...
Post by n7axw   » Mon Aug 03, 2015 9:52 pm

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bkwormlisa wrote:On the feeding issue, I don't think dragons are so bad. Sure, Toralk has problems feeding them in the middle of a desert, but the Sharonians wouldn't have much more luck finding fuel there without shipping it forward. And dragons can eat almost anywhere but a desert, while coal has to be located and dug up. In a way, living weapons can actually be supported more easily than nonliving ones. (The fact that dragons have to be fed when not working acts against this, however.)

Fuel and spare parts are a horrible limiter on aircraft operations, and while trains probably take less maintenance, they still have problems there (along with rusting in wet climates). Living beings are still the best self-maintaining machines out there. That does a lot to offset the idle fuel requirements.


Your last sentence is true, but only to a point. Organic beings are also quite fragile and once something "breaks down" it can be very difficult and time consuming to "fix." It usually is not just a matter of coming up with relacement parts.

Don
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Re: Here there be dragons...
Post by bkwormlisa   » Tue Aug 04, 2015 6:25 am

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True to a degree. Organic beings tend to be able to go far longer without maintenance and under poor conditions than mechanical things, but once they are damaged or broken, they are almost always harder and more time-consuming to fix. It's a trade-off. Now, once you bring battle damage into it, the organic version almost always loses due to healing time vs repair time. But as long as there's no outright damage, organic being can on average go a lot longer without needing TLC.

At least, that's true on Earth and I'm extrapolating that to mean dragons and other genetically bred creatures are a resilient as the natural type. The only textev I can think of is that dragons tend to survive anything that doesn't kill them outright, but I don't believe there's ever been anything said about any of their creatures being fragile.
n7axw wrote:
bkwormlisa wrote:On the feeding issue, I don't think dragons are so bad. Sure, Toralk has problems feeding them in the middle of a desert, but the Sharonians wouldn't have much more luck finding fuel there without shipping it forward. And dragons can eat almost anywhere but a desert, while coal has to be located and dug up. In a way, living weapons can actually be supported more easily than nonliving ones. (The fact that dragons have to be fed when not working acts against this, however.)

Fuel and spare parts are a horrible limiter on aircraft operations, and while trains probably take less maintenance, they still have problems there (along with rusting in wet climates). Living beings are still the best self-maintaining machines out there. That does a lot to offset the idle fuel requirements.


Your last sentence is true, but only to a point. Organic beings are also quite fragile and once something "breaks down" it can be very difficult and time consuming to "fix." It usually is not just a matter of coming up with relacement parts.

Don
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