Topic Actions

Topic Search

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests

Thoughts on the storyline...

"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: Thoughts on the storyline...
Post by n7axw   » Thu Aug 20, 2015 5:13 pm

n7axw
Fleet Admiral

Posts: 5100
Joined: Wed Jan 22, 2014 7:54 pm
Location: Viborg, SD

Astelon wrote:Yes they lack the number of dragons necessary to attack sharonian forces at this time. However Arcana will be sending reinforcements as soon as possible, then they will have enough dragons to risk them (until a bunch more get killed).

I suspect that, based on potential travel times and the requirement to gather forces, we will see a major battle in Hell's Gate. Which incidentally would be an ideal place for both sides to fort up. Good for Arcana because the swamp Mahritha will be difficult for Sharona to cross. Good for Sharona because the small portal would make it difficult for Arcana to break through.

This of course leaves Sharona in sole possession of Hell's Gate, and it's cluster. Which a fair arbitration by a neutral party would give them anyways. It's just to bad there are no neutral parties (good for us readers though).


I have the impression that the overall numbers of battle dragons is low due to the way the breeding program was allowed to shrink due to budgetary constraints. Do you share that impression?

Yeah, if they fort up at Hell's gate, Sharona would get the cluster...although I doubt that anyone would be willing to develop it until the business with Arcana is settled.

Don
When any group seeks political power in God's name, both religion and politics are instantly corrupted.
Top
Re: Thoughts on the storyline...
Post by Astelon   » Thu Aug 20, 2015 6:45 pm

Astelon
Commander

Posts: 203
Joined: Fri Sep 12, 2014 7:13 pm

You are partially right about the number of battle dragons. Over the last two centuries the total number has been allowed to dwindle. That is far different than not having enough to risk in offensive operations once they are concentrated. Arcana's territory is huge, they may have hundreds of battle dragons spread throughout it.

Once it is clear they have a hostile power on one front, then battle dragons and tactical transports will be concentrated there. They may even end up with enough that they can afford losses in high risk attacks. They will almost certainly have enough to fight delaying actions, transport ground forces to combat areas, and harass advancing forces. Of course every time they risk dragons they will lose some of them. Once losses get high enough arcana forces won't want to risk them any more.
Top
Re: Thoughts on the storyline...
Post by n7axw   » Thu Aug 20, 2015 9:12 pm

n7axw
Fleet Admiral

Posts: 5100
Joined: Wed Jan 22, 2014 7:54 pm
Location: Viborg, SD

Astelon wrote:You are partially right about the number of battle dragons. Over the last two centuries the total number has been allowed to dwindle. That is far different than not having enough to risk in offensive operations once they are concentrated. Arcana's territory is huge, they may have hundreds of battle dragons spread throughout it.

Once it is clear they have a hostile power on one front, then battle dragons and tactical transports will be concentrated there. They may even end up with enough that they can afford losses in high risk attacks. They will almost certainly have enough to fight delaying actions, transport ground forces to combat areas, and harass advancing forces. Of course every time they risk dragons they will lose some of them. Once losses get high enough arcana forces won't want to risk them any more.


Agreed. The figure of 200 battle dragons is mentioned in the text, but it wasn't clear to me just how inclusive that figure is.

Don
When any group seeks political power in God's name, both religion and politics are instantly corrupted.
Top
Re: Thoughts on the storyline...
Post by bkwormlisa   » Sat Aug 22, 2015 7:00 pm

bkwormlisa
Commander

Posts: 183
Joined: Thu Jul 21, 2011 4:43 pm

I am less than convinced that dragons use no magic for flying. We know that they weigh up to 40 tons for the battle dragons (HHNF: Fort Salby would have to hold in the face of 30 to 40 ton battle dragons attacking), and that transports are larger. We know from the snippets that transports can haul up to 15 tons with no external assistance, and up to 60 with levitation accumulators (thus, the accumulators dragons can carry can hold up to 45 tons, though that may be many working together). We also know that battle dragons can sometimes take off on their tails from a clearing, and that smaller transports like Windclaw can take off (if barely) along a stream in a heavily forested universe. And dragons fly by flapping their wings, not through wind shape and speed. It's possible they coast at high speed, but 100 mph is possible only in very small airplanes (Cessna single and double person airplanes are 63 mph according to Wikipedia; jetliners are 150-180 mph for takeoff speed). The heavier they get, the faster they have to go. And dragons start off much slower than that.

Putting together their sheer weight, the fact that they fly like birds at least at takeoff, and the fact that a transport's wingspan is smaller than that of an open stream (not a river), I can't see how they could possibly have wings large enough for their weight. Sturdy enough for the weight is dubious but maybe possible given genetic engineering, but if Arcanan laws of physics are remotely like ours, there's no way around the need for enormous wing area to match the enormous weight.

In addition, we know that battle dragons at least are spell accumulators (Gadrial told Shaylar so) to power their breath weapons. We don't know one way or the other about transports without breath weapons, but it seems logical that if you can build that into one type of dragon and include the equivalent of a complicated spell (to make the breath weapons), you should be able to build that into transports with another spell (levitation). It's far from impossible that dragons already had that ability before Mythalans made them into weapons, though we have no evidence either way.

Obviously, whatever levitation spells might be built into dragons aren't enough to hold their full weight. Indeed, in HHNF we learned that spells to hold them in a hover don't last that long, though I don't think we got a duration. But such spells could certainly reduce their weight, also reducing the needed wingspan and wing toughness, not to mention the effort needed to fly. So personally, I suspect they have been spell accumulators since they were transports and use the magic for levitation, but it's purely a supposition right now.


If I remember the interview correctly, Weber said that the physics is significantly different. He said Sharonian physics was Newtonian, with an infinite speed of light. Given that the human eye absolutely requires light to move at different speeds in different mediums, I'm not sure how he intends to make that work.

And I found the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCueWzQCMHk&feature=youtu.be It was in this thread http://forums.davidweber.net/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=6077 and the part about the multiverse is supposed to start at 1.54.56. I haven't had the time to go back and re-watch it, do I'm still operating on memory.
Top
Re: Thoughts on the storyline...
Post by Keith_w   » Sat Aug 22, 2015 9:00 pm

Keith_w
Commodore

Posts: 939
Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2012 11:10 am
Location: Ontario, Canada

bkwormlisa wrote:
</Significant amoumt of snippage for brevity>

If I remember the interview correctly, Weber said that the physics is significantly different. He said Sharonian physics was Newtonian, with an infinite speed of light. Given that the human eye absolutely requires light to move at different speeds in different mediums, I'm not sure how he intends to make that work.

And I found the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCueWzQCMHk&feature=youtu.be It was in this thread http://forums.davidweber.net/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=6077 and the part about the multiverse is supposed to start at 1.54.56. I haven't had the time to go back and re-watch it, do I'm still operating on memory.


Thank you for pointing out the interview, I had forgotten that it existed. Also your estimate of the time point was very accurate. I skipped forward to that point.

He did indeed say that Sharonan physics is Newtonian, and Arcanan is not, and that Sharonan physics will barely work in Arcana and vice versa. Also that the universes in between are neutral until significant amounts of humans who expect a certain set of physics rules to work are in place and then the balance tilts one way or the other as well as some other stuff that would probably count as spoilers if I mentioned it here.
--
A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.
Top
Re: Thoughts on the storyline...
Post by Jonathan_S   » Sun Aug 23, 2015 5:05 pm

Jonathan_S
Fleet Admiral

Posts: 6029
Joined: Fri Jun 24, 2011 1:01 pm
Location: Virginia, USA

bkwormlisa wrote:If I remember the interview correctly, Weber said that the physics is significantly different. He said Sharonian physics was Newtonian, with an infinite speed of light. Given that the human eye absolutely requires light to move at different speeds in different mediums, I'm not sure how he intends to make that work.

And I found the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCueWzQCMHk&feature=youtu.be It was in this thread http://forums.davidweber.net/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=6077 and the part about the multiverse is supposed to start at 1.54.56. I haven't had the time to go back and re-watch it, do I'm still operating on memory.
Certainly if the speed of light in any material was infinite then you'd have no refraction and eyes couldn't focus, lens wouldn't work, etc, etc.

But if only the speed of light in vacuum is infinite, while the speed of light in other materials is not, then I guess refraction might still work..
Top
Re: Thoughts on the storyline...
Post by Astelon   » Sun Aug 23, 2015 8:41 pm

Astelon
Commander

Posts: 203
Joined: Fri Sep 12, 2014 7:13 pm

bkwormlisa wrote:I am less than convinced that dragons use no magic for flying. We know that they weigh up...


Your numbers are a little off. Battle dragons weigh in at 40 tons, transport reach 60. The transports can carry 15 tons without assistance (accumulators) and double that (30 tons) with them.

You are also directly comparing aircraft with dragons, they don't actually make direct comparisons. When dealing with a living creature the calculations on speed and wingspan become much more complicated than those for an aircraft. In an aircraft the wings don't flap enabling you to measure the area and design of the wing and weight of the craft to determine its minimum flight speed. (Fixed wings also provides other advantages, ease of maintenance being one.) When dealing with living creatures you also have to calculate the speed at which it can moves its wings, as well as its forward speed and wing area. This enables a flapping wing to be smaller and do the same job. The speed at various insects and humming birds move their wings is what enables them to hover (also applies to a helicopter's rotor blades). This is also why a living creature (and helicopter) can take off from a standstill (take off from their tails).

As for the stream Mentioned in Hell's Gate we have no word on how wide it is. Using the stream as some upper limit on wing span seems to be meaningless at this time.

The changes in physics go back to exactly what changes, and how. Can their be changes that disable guns, and still lets things burn normally, yes there can. But we want an interesting story, and if the changes become to great, say unpowder doesn't work in arcanan physics, then Sharona has no chance to drive the war to a successful conclusion (if you can't hit the enemy at home you can't win). Likewise if Arcana loses the mobility advantage that their dragons bring them as they get closer to Sharona, then they will get mopped up by the sharonian troops, even if they have similar weapons. Sharona will still have steam transport while Arcana does not.

From a story stand point the two sides have to be able to effectively fight each other in every universe sooner rather than later, or they will come to the conclusion that war between the two sides will never be fought to a conclusion. Unless that is the reason they stop fighting, but I hope not.
Top
Re: Thoughts on the storyline...
Post by n7axw   » Mon Aug 24, 2015 8:06 pm

n7axw
Fleet Admiral

Posts: 5100
Joined: Wed Jan 22, 2014 7:54 pm
Location: Viborg, SD

Astelon wrote:
bkwormlisa wrote:I am less than convinced that dragons use no magic for flying. We know that they weigh up...


Your numbers are a little off. Battle dragons weigh in at 40 tons, transport reach 60. The transports can carry 15 tons without assistance (accumulators) and double that (30 tons) with them.

You are also directly comparing aircraft with dragons, they don't actually make direct comparisons. When dealing with a living creature the calculations on speed and wingspan become much more complicated than those for an aircraft. In an aircraft the wings don't flap enabling you to measure the area and design of the wing and weight of the craft to determine its minimum flight speed. (Fixed wings also provides other advantages, ease of maintenance being one.) When dealing with living creatures you also have to calculate the speed at which it can moves its wings, as well as its forward speed and wing area. This enables a flapping wing to be smaller and do the same job. The speed at various insects and humming birds move their wings is what enables them to hover (also applies to a helicopter's rotor blades). This is also why a living creature (and helicopter) can take off from a standstill (take off from their tails).

As for the stream Mentioned in Hell's Gate we have no word on how wide it is. Using the stream as some upper limit on wing span seems to be meaningless at this time.

The changes in physics go back to exactly what changes, and how. Can their be changes that disable guns, and still lets things burn normally, yes there can. But we want an interesting story, and if the changes become to great, say unpowder doesn't work in arcanan physics, then Sharona has no chance to drive the war to a successful conclusion (if you can't hit the enemy at home you can't win). Likewise if Arcana loses the mobility advantage that their dragons bring them as they get closer to Sharona, then they will get mopped up by the sharonian troops, even if they have similar weapons. Sharona will still have steam transport while Arcana does not.

From a story stand point the two sides have to be able to effectively fight each other in every universe sooner rather than later, or they will come to the conclusion that war between the two sides will never be fought to a conclusion. Unless that is the reason they stop fighting, but I hope not.


I listened to that interview where RFC made the distinction between magic and newtonian physics. Far be it from me to argue with our illustrious author, but I admit I'm struggling with this.

To oversimplify, if the old apple falls off the tree and conks you on the noggin, that's Newton. In Sharona, that works. What happens to the apple in Arcana and why, bearing in mind that the majority of Arcanans aren't gifted? I'm having difficulty grasping the notion that there aren't some basics that remain the same wherever you are.

Don
When any group seeks political power in God's name, both religion and politics are instantly corrupted.
Top
Re: Thoughts on the storyline...
Post by Astelon   » Tue Aug 25, 2015 8:51 pm

Astelon
Commander

Posts: 203
Joined: Fri Sep 12, 2014 7:13 pm

In this discussion about physics I keep coming back to the apparent similarities between the different universes. Matter and chemistry seem to be the same, everyone can see and hear without noticeable changes, things still fall (and occasionally someone gets hit in the head by an apple). This is why I believe there is a base line physics that every world we have seen uses.

Evidence seems to indicate that magic and psionics (mental talents) are in addition to base line physics. (There is of course room for debate.) This has me wandering what physics we have that might not work on Arcana or Sharona; and about changes in physics over time (maybe explains why we have legends of magic but it doesn't exist today).
Top
Re: Thoughts on the storyline...
Post by n7axw   » Wed Aug 26, 2015 8:02 am

n7axw
Fleet Admiral

Posts: 5100
Joined: Wed Jan 22, 2014 7:54 pm
Location: Viborg, SD

Astelon wrote:In this discussion about physics I keep coming back to the apparent similarities between the different universes. Matter and chemistry seem to be the same, everyone can see and hear without noticeable changes, things still fall (and occasionally someone gets hit in the head by an apple). This is why I believe there is a base line physics that every world we have seen uses.

Evidence seems to indicate that magic and psionics (mental talents) are in addition to base line physics. (There is of course room for debate.) This has me wandering what physics we have that might not work on Arcana or Sharona; and about changes in physics over time (maybe explains why we have legends of magic but it doesn't exist today).


What you are doing is about the only way of making sense of it. The actual amount of change would have to be pretty small for people to function from one universe to another.

Don
When any group seeks political power in God's name, both religion and politics are instantly corrupted.
Top

Return to Multiverse