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SPOILER-Speculation for Road to Hell and beyond

"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!
SPOILER-Speculation for Road to Hell and beyond
Post by PeterZ   » Mon Jan 04, 2016 12:36 pm

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I am on my third re-read of RTH. The conflict is breaking down into understandable cultural responses given the events that transpired. The key difference is the degree that the means of mass communication allow for either a deeper understanding of events(Sharona) or are subject to severe editing/spinning(Arcana). This difference and the difference between respective societies that developed around those means of mass communication allow for mul Gurthik to incite both sides to commit to war. He manages information flow and the incredibly long communication cycle to goad the Arcanans to commit the initial resources to fight. His vague orders to 2000 Harshu and encouragement to Neshok fostered a cycle of abuse that will stick in Sharona's craw. That and the diplomatic ruse to set up the sneak attack will ensure the war is well and truly started.

Mul Gurthik's manipulation of the information flow appears to have succeeded in getting Arcana to support the war effort indefinitely. Even should the majority of Arcanans discover they had been lied to, there would still be enough support for the war. Shaylar's reaction to discovering that Arcanans would not care that they had been lied to suggests what the average Sharonan reaction will be to discovering that bit of knowledge. Each side has been prepared to view the other as barbarians.

That leaves the question of how the conflict will proceed both militarily and the changes that each society will impose on the other.

Militarily I see the Mythalans running the show initially. Their approach to war will be brutal and foster vicious responses from the Sharonans. I would not be surprised if magistrons will be sniped. Shoot enough healers and the Arcanans will be unable to manage the wounded. Dragon pilots and dragon healers are also on that list. The war will slog around in Mahritha for some time and naval battles will likely take place there. Seadrakes and cetaceans will enter the fray as well as simians. Mythalans will eventually unleash the genies on Sharona. Personally, I think that will be a big mistake as the Sharonans' mental abilities will have a counter for the artificial intelligences.

Societal changes will flow both ways. I believe Andrin will be forced to deal with Chava without killing him and tossing Uromathia into chaos. Not sure how that will work but my suspicions say it should involve the genies set loose. That may or may not involve adoption of magic in Sharona.

Arcana will face some serious changes as witnessed by Gadriel's discovery shooting the rifle in Arcana. I suspect that she will discover lots of possibilities to take advantage of the Sharonan processes. Those will likely mean ungifted Arcanans will be able to participate more in a magic based economy. Mythal will not like that one bit.

Anyway, that's my guesstimate and will likely be wrong. Anyone else?
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Re: SPOILER-Speculation for Road to Hell and beyond
Post by Terranovan   » Mon Jun 05, 2017 1:03 am

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I'm guessing that the people living in a universe get to set its laws of physics (at least WRT Arcanan vs. Sharonian) and a universe with shared occupancy has both sets of physical laws working somewhat.
I've noticed that djinns (Arcanan jackass genies) are inherently magical. What happens if they get sent to Sharona? Hopefully not a Battle of Wills with the nearest talent and the djinn winning to the style of "Voice chan Targal isn't in right now..."
Of course there'll have to be a control group, since this is an idea of - SCIENCE! - winning, and every SCIENTIFIC experiment MUST! HAVE! A! CONTROL! GROUP!
To properly control for the likely alternate variables, the control group would probably be djinns with bottles left on Arcana and being conned to believe that they're being taken to Sharona - especially with the most likely variable being the djinn faking death in the hopes that a stupid guard will open the bottle to check if it's empty. Are the bottles transparent enough to see from the outside if the djinn's dead?

A possible magical technology development - Jason first describes a firearm's operation as including "SOMETHING LIKE an infantry-dragon fireball inside the cartridge." - emphasis mine. Could Arcanan magic make a cannon-barrel with one end sealed, a round of physical ammunition inside, and an infantry-dragon behind it? They might be initially inclined to use steel bolts for ammo, but if they note that the Sharonians use lead pellets, they might experiment with those as well. Such a weapon would be called a "portal-breacher dragon", with the name abbreviated to "breacher" before the prototype's finished.
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Re: SPOILER-Speculation for Road to Hell and beyond
Post by SYED   » Sat Apr 14, 2018 10:57 pm

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How much of the available arcanan forces were deployed beyond hell's gate? I know most the dragons were sent. So was the cavalry. Those would have been the fastest units. Some were sent slightly back to feed themselves better. How much actual man power was sent.

So was the force that was planned to capture the escaped prisoners actually deployed. They might be on the hunt or they they could still be in transit between the portals. Say the escapees contact home with the info that Mul has been messing with the conflict. If the sharonans ask for him to stand trial for war crimes under the accords, I could see that causing lots of internal strife in the arcanans. So a non military way to strike a the enemy.

The thing is will they risk advancing into arcanan territory. With out the railroads, their logistics will be limited even with bison. Attempting to build tracks in contested regions will be unfeasible. Instead they will concentrate on holding that region, likely exploring the other portals to see if any lead toward known world's or other enemy holdings. If they can build logistics without the arcana being aware, it would give them an advantage in the future.

While there is a lot of powerful battle magic, but energy can't go through the portal. It needs a solid medium to pass through.

I am wondering how common are portal loop situations like the one that allowed the sharonans to reclaim all the world's back to and including the portal cluster. Such a loop can only occur due to world's with triple portals or more. The arcanans have only discovered 16 I think. I think that he'll gate due to being a cluster, will mean more loops, either back in to sharonans territory or into arcana claimed world's. New border world are the safest option for attack, as they would be woefully underprepared for an invasion.
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Re: SPOILER-Speculation for Road to Hell and beyond
Post by ThisName1   » Sun Apr 22, 2018 6:21 pm

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SYED wrote:How much of the available arcanan forces were deployed beyond hell's gate? I know most the dragons were sent. So was the cavalry. Those would have been the fastest units. Some were sent slightly back to feed themselves better. How much actual man power was sent.


As far as I can tell there is a significant amount of arcanan forces being gathered by mul gurthak somewhere. Ostensibly to reinforce the arcanan expeditionary force but never sent forward. I get the feeling that Mul Gurthak is hoping that the AEF will get overrun and then he can use the forces at his command to show that andara should not be in charge of the military anymore in the hopes that mythal can pick up the job. Although I think he's underestimated Sharona.

SYED wrote:So was the force that was planned to capture the escaped prisoners actually deployed. They might be on the hunt or they they could still be in transit between the portals. Say the escapees contact home with the info that Mul has been messing with the conflict. If the sharonans ask for him to stand trial for war crimes under the accords, I could see that causing lots of internal strife in the arcanans. So a non military way to strike a the enemy.


They were deployed made a search and were recalled when they didn't find anything. The escapees and mutineers ran for the nearest portal to stop the tracking spells from giving them away. I think that the Sharonian advance has actually gone past the portal they went through to hide so they are now behind sharonian lines and I see the next book show then re-emerging. they are actually hiding with the survivors of the initial AEF ambush on the sharonian negotiators and their survival and the prisoner they took, on of the arcanan negotiators,are more explosive information.

SYED wrote:The thing is will they risk advancing into arcanan territory. With out the railroads, their logistics will be limited even with bison. Attempting to build tracks in contested regions will be unfeasible. Instead they will concentrate on holding that region, likely exploring the other portals to see if any lead toward known world's or other enemy holdings. If they can build logistics without the arcana being aware, it would give them an advantage in the future.


Advancing is going to be a pain for the Sharonians. the swamp portal is aptly named, and to get to the next arcanan base they have to traverse that and then, I believe, an ocean. If they can find any maps or get intel from their (soon to be) new prisoners locating the next base won't be hard, but if not then it'll be a crap shoot.

SYED wrote:While there is a lot of powerful battle magic, but energy can't go through the portal. It needs a solid medium to pass through.


Yes, and that's the sharonians main strategic advantage in my opinion. The arcanans have to actually get throught the portal before they can bring more than their crossbows to bear. While the sharonians can pound them with artillery. If I were the sharonians I'd go full WW1 and ring the swamp portal with trenches and obstacles to slow the arcanans down while the artillery puts in work.

SYED wrote:I am wondering how common are portal loop situations like the one that allowed the sharonans to reclaim all the world's back to and including the portal cluster. Such a loop can only occur due to world's with triple portals or more. The arcanans have only discovered 16 I think. I think that he'll gate due to being a cluster, will mean more loops, either back in to sharonans territory or into arcana claimed world's. New border world are the safest option for attack, as they would be woefully underprepared for an invasion.


I don't remember how many there were but I do remember that there aren't many, if any, more.
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Re: SPOILER-Speculation for Road to Hell and beyond
Post by SYED   » Sun Apr 22, 2018 7:20 pm

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How likely is it for the cluster to lead back to either side claimed territory? We know it is possible for the portal network to loop, so if it happens once, it can do so again. It offers an avenue of support yet unknown to the enemy.

Mul might be holding back forces, but the advance force did comprise most of their transport and flight capability, combined with their cavalry. So he could have a powerful force, but limited means to deploy it.
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Re: SPOILER-Speculation for Road to Hell and beyond
Post by ThisName1   » Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:15 am

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SYED wrote:How likely is it for the cluster to lead back to either side claimed territory? We know it is possible for the portal network to loop, so if it happens once, it can do so again. It offers an avenue of support yet unknown to the enemy.

Mul might be holding back forces, but the advance force did comprise most of their transport and flight capability, combined with their cavalry. So he could have a powerful force, but limited means to deploy it.



I'm going to guess that the chances of another "loop" connecting worlds controlled by arcana and sharona is very low. I've been looking at the books to find any mention of another loop but haven't found anything yet. I guess the chances are as good as the authors want them to be but I'd have to guess very low.

And you are correct that the advance AEF did take most of the available dragons, in fact he books mention that Mul Gurthak had to strip the dozen closest worlds to get the AEF those dragons. To be honest I think mul Gurthak has vastly underestimated the sharonians. And that, even more than transport, will limit his actions in the future.

Actually now that I think of it, I think that Mul Gurthak is going to get a major smackdown soon. If I'm remembering things right then his original plan was to use the war with sharona to disgrace the andaran portion of the arcanan military and then the Mythalans using that to take control. But I think the sharonian push is going to at least delay. And I'd really love to have Mul Gurthak try to mount a relief effort and fail miserably.
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Re: SPOILER-Speculation for Road to Hell and beyond
Post by SYED   » Wed Apr 25, 2018 7:29 am

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Even though they have yet to take back the last arcanan held fort, I bet as soon as the rail head returns to the main portal line, it will be expanded to connect to the existing construction as well as advanced all the way through hells gate. The line was already being built past the cut, not sure just how how far it got, but it could be beyond the arcanan range. Once the line has been completed to the front, aloe of war material will be more easily moved.

The arcanans likely placed their last fort close to the rail line, and I doubt they damaged it, so one of those armed trains could be very useful in an assault.

Mul might be aware of artillery, but he might not understand the numbers and scale of the weapons that can be established on a truly prepared choke point like the swamp gate. My money is that he believes a large enough and fully equipped force could easily deal with the sharonans retaliatory force. I bet a lot of his men are going to die attempting to force their way through.
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Re: SPOILER-Speculation for Road to Hell and beyond
Post by n7axw   » Wed Apr 25, 2018 1:07 pm

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SYED wrote:Even though they have yet to take back the last arcanan held fort, I bet as soon as the rail head returns to the main portal line, it will be expanded to connect to the existing construction as well as advanced all the way through hells gate. The line was already being built past the cut, not sure just how how far it got, but it could be beyond the arcanan range. Once the line has been completed to the front, aloe of war material will be more easily moved.

The arcanans likely placed their last fort close to the rail line, and I doubt they damaged it, so one of those armed trains could be very useful in an assault.

Mul might be aware of artillery, but he might not understand the numbers and scale of the weapons that can be established on a truly prepared choke point like the swamp gate. My money is that he believes a large enough and fully equipped force could easily deal with the sharonans retaliatory force. I bet a lot of his men are going to die attempting to force their way through.


The real problem for the Mul are the limits on dragons and other magic spells. As they are used up or lost in combat, they are not readily replaced. Some of the more potent spells, however, could be very dangerous to Sharonian armies in the neutral universes. That is the real issue known to the reader, but not Sharona.

Don

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When any group seeks political power in God's name, both religion and politics are instantly corrupted.
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Re: SPOILER-Speculation for Road to Hell and beyond
Post by SYED   » Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:27 pm

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Sure he might have some of the more powerful weapons available, but since he wants to shame the opponent., he won't have the war crime weapons, just those he can justify being used in the field.
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Re: SPOILER-Speculation for Road to Hell and beyond
Post by ThisName1   » Wed Apr 25, 2018 10:28 pm

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n7axw wrote:
SYED wrote:Even though they have yet to take back the last arcanan held fort, I bet as soon as the rail head returns to the main portal line, it will be expanded to connect to the existing construction as well as advanced all the way through hells gate. The line was already being built past the cut, not sure just how how far it got, but it could be beyond the arcanan range. Once the line has been completed to the front, aloe of war material will be more easily moved.

The arcanans likely placed their last fort close to the rail line, and I doubt they damaged it, so one of those armed trains could be very useful in an assault.

Mul might be aware of artillery, but he might not understand the numbers and scale of the weapons that can be established on a truly prepared choke point like the swamp gate. My money is that he believes a large enough and fully equipped force could easily deal with the sharonans retaliatory force. I bet a lot of his men are going to die attempting to force their way through.


The real problem for the Mul are the limits on dragons and other magic spells. As they are used up or lost in combat, they are not readily replaced. Some of the more potent spells, however, could be very dangerous to Sharonian armies in the neutral universes. That is the real issue known to the reader, but not Sharona.

Don

-


I've had many discussion with people over the years as to why mechanical methods of warfare are always better than biological. And it boils down to the fact that things take time to grow. How long does it take to grow a dragon? To train it? How about their horses and unicorns? Gryphons? If the war goes on for a while materiel shortages will bite the arcanans hard.

As to the doomsday weapons, I wonder how well they'd work at the front? We don't know what the reason for the guns not working right on arcana, and we have the reports saying that spells are a little off on the frontier. If the spells are sensitive than they might malfunction upon use, or not work at all. And the big issue is delivery method. You can't cast a spell through a portal, so if the portals are fortified enough then they can't be used without a direct attack first. Although now that I think about it using them like a nuclear landmine would be effective. Bury or otherwise hide one and then retreat and when the sharonians push forward, BOOM!

Actually given how badly gadriel reacted to whatever she discovered about the guns, I think its going to throw everything for a loop.
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