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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!
Military Strength of both sides
Post by Uniporpoise   » Sat Dec 31, 2016 10:55 pm

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Considering that the Arcanians have pretty much every disadvantage possible from extreme undersupply to what appears to be an upcomming coup they can't really compete with the Sharonians. However who is the stronger military power? Does the magic make up for lack of industrialization and mechanization?
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Re: Military Strength of both sides
Post by Eagleeye   » Sun Jan 01, 2017 11:15 am

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Uniporpoise wrote:Considering that the Arcanians have pretty much every disadvantage possible from extreme undersupply to what appears to be an upcomming coup they can't really compete with the Sharonians. However who is the stronger military power? Does the magic make up for lack of industrialization and mechanization?


I doubt that we've seen already all the hole cards the Arcanans have up their sleeves. And the Sharonians will have problems of their own; especially regarding the gigantic distances involved. Logistics, for example, would be a nightmare. Maybe, if Sharona developes an air transport capability of its own ... but that would need at least a decade, if not longer. After Sharona finished the Arcanan expeditionary force the war will have a break and be at a stalemate; at least as long as Sharona needs to develop the frontier universes to shorten the logistics.
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Re: Military Strength of both sides
Post by PeterZ   » Tue Jan 03, 2017 11:50 am

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Sharona actually has a strategic advantage with logistics. They can move much more massive amounts, but more slowly. Also, the Arcana equivalent of trains may require some sort of power net to be effective. No textev that I am aware of, just my speculation.

In any case, if this is true, then Sharona may actually be able to establish heavy hauling capabilities much more quickly than Arcana. The stalemate universe would appear to be where the apparent advantages of the Sharonan logistics are off set by the higher speed but lower capacity dragons. RFC will decide where that will be.
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Re: Military Strength of both sides
Post by Jonathan_S   » Tue Jan 03, 2017 2:35 pm

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PeterZ wrote:Sharona actually has a strategic advantage with logistics. They can move much more massive amounts, but more slowly. Also, the Arcana equivalent of trains may require some sort of power net to be effective. No textev that I am aware of, just my speculation.
Seems to require a source of charged spell crystals - and the cars appear self-powered as well as self-levitating.

But the crystals (or at least other spell crystals we've seen) seem to have a finite charge; so you need a replacement and/or recharging infrastructure. But apparently far less often than a steam engine needs coal and water, and quite possibly less often than even a Earth diesel-electric does - so you may be able to run a chain of floater cars a couple universes out and back before having to deal with the crystals again (presuming the distances between the gates aren't excessively long)
But it's unclear how much effort it takes to charge those spell crystals - so we don't know if Arcana might get into a spell-charging bottleneck if they have to massively scale up the forces they're supporting out on the end of their world chain.
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Re: Military Strength of both sides
Post by PeterZ   » Thu Jan 05, 2017 11:52 am

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Not just how much effort, but how specialized are the requirements to perform the task? How skilled does the magister have to be? Do the crystals require greater power and skill to imbue greater amounts of energy? Must the crystals powering sliders be charged specifically for sliders or are the crystals usable for powering all varieties of magic tools, like wagons?

Depending on the answers, Arcana might be seriously limited compared to Sharona or comparable. I suspect the answer is any disparity is only so large as to make the story more compelling.

Jonathan_S wrote:
PeterZ wrote:Sharona actually has a strategic advantage with logistics. They can move much more massive amounts, but more slowly. Also, the Arcana equivalent of trains may require some sort of power net to be effective. No textev that I am aware of, just my speculation.
Seems to require a source of charged spell crystals - and the cars appear self-powered as well as self-levitating.

But the crystals (or at least other spell crystals we've seen) seem to have a finite charge; so you need a replacement and/or recharging infrastructure. But apparently far less often than a steam engine needs coal and water, and quite possibly less often than even a Earth diesel-electric does - so you may be able to run a chain of floater cars a couple universes out and back before having to deal with the crystals again (presuming the distances between the gates aren't excessively long)
But it's unclear how much effort it takes to charge those spell crystals - so we don't know if Arcana might get into a spell-charging bottleneck if they have to massively scale up the forces they're supporting out on the end of their world chain.
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Re: Military Strength of both sides
Post by weberwolf   » Thu Jan 05, 2017 11:12 pm

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Essentially, the Arcanans' sliders are electric powered roads. They pull electro-magnetic power from the home systems or from gifted beings. Where the net is set up, they can draw directly from it like electric trolleys. If the slider is not in a 'netted system, they require batteries/'crystals'. All their tech is battery powered, if no gifted can power it personally, and that gets draining, quickly. As we know, having to haul batteries everywhere gets very limiting away from the grid.
So basically, sharonans are fossil fuel users, who can send men/materiel in a few directions,at a decent speed, with high loads, a great distance, while the arcanans are renewables users who can go any direction for a short distance at high speed, with higher loads=lower endurance/speed and vice versa.
Arcana magic is arcane electricity. their manufacturing depends on it and has even greater advantages than we currently have, minus, i think, the interconnectedness of our electric grid.
Lastly, manually making crystals is slow and expensive, not industrially mass produced like we do for batteries. If they start doing them in mass, a number of issues will be vastly reduced, when away from the grid.


PeterZ wrote:Not just how much effort, but how specialized are the requirements to perform the task? How skilled does the magister have to be? Do the crystals require greater power and skill to imbue greater amounts of energy? Must the crystals powering sliders be charged specifically for sliders or are the crystals usable for powering all varieties of magic tools, like wagons?

Depending on the answers, Arcana might be seriously limited compared to Sharona or comparable. I suspect the answer is any disparity is only so large as to make the story more compelling.

Jonathan_S wrote:Seems to require a source of charged spell crystals - and the cars appear self-powered as well as self-levitating.

But the crystals (or at least other spell crystals we've seen) seem to have a finite charge; so you need a replacement and/or recharging infrastructure. But apparently far less often than a steam engine needs coal and water, and quite possibly less often than even a Earth diesel-electric does - so you may be able to run a chain of floater cars a couple universes out and back before having to deal with the crystals again (presuming the distances between the gates aren't excessively long)
But it's unclear how much effort it takes to charge those spell crystals - so we don't know if Arcana might get into a spell-charging bottleneck if they have to massively scale up the forces they're supporting out on the end of their world chain.
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Re: Military Strength of both sides
Post by PeterZ   » Fri Jan 06, 2017 10:51 am

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The crystals aren't just batteries but also the motors, drive shafts, propellers, shock absorbers, steering systems and other specialized system required to turn arcane energy into a material effect. Does the arcane energy require shaping to be stored in a crystal for use as a 'battery'? In a power network, a spell can draw power directly. Crystals store energy for specific spells/material effects. That means producing crystals for one function requires a separate production line than for crystals generating different effects.

So while Sharonan steam systems can use coal or kerosene to function, arcanan systems outside a power grid have to make a complete system powered for a given duration in each crystal. The steam system exists absent fuel. The arcane system reverts to a blank crystal.

This difference does have implications in a war requiring extended logistics.
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Re: Military Strength of both sides
Post by n7axw   » Sun Jan 08, 2017 11:21 pm

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Adding on to this, the Arcanan advantage with the dragons seems transitory. They can be shot out if the sky...apparently fairly easy targets. Also they cannot be quickly replaced sinse they can only be grown and trained.

The Sharonians will probably eventually have an airforce It might take twenty years which doesn't mean much now. But the dragons have shown the need and Sharona will eventually figure out how to get it done.

Also, at this point, Sharona has much better leadership, at least on the military level. Apart from that one expeditionary force that penetrated deep into Sharonian territory, we really haven't seen much from Arcana.

Sooo...advantage Sharona. At least so far. How well that holds up and how decisive it proves remains to be seen.

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: Military Strength of both sides
Post by PeterZ   » Tue Jan 10, 2017 10:57 am

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I wonder how well steam engines will work deep into Arcana territory? We know complex chemical reactions will be impacted, but how will simpler reactions and/or mechanical devices? The current Sharonan advantage suggests that Sharona can push the border back some few worlds at least. Once the advantages and the logistics equalize the amount of forces each side can bring to bear, we get down to politics.

A part of me hopes we get a fast forward. Another part of me really wants to see Chava's balls slowly rendering on a rotisserie. I suspect the latter is most likely given the pace of the books so far.
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Re: Military Strength of both sides
Post by munroburton   » Thu Jan 12, 2017 12:35 pm

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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.
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