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Some more musings that are drifting around in my head.

"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!
Some more musings that are drifting around in my head.
Post by ThisName1   » Sun Jul 19, 2020 9:59 pm

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This is pretty much stuff that pops into my head as I listen to the series again. Probablly expressed some of the same ideas here before, but felt like doing a stream of conciousness style thing. So theres little to no research done when typing up these ideas.


1. I think that arcana cannot beat sharona in a war.

This comes with the caveat of "barring superweapons" and taking into account the fact that we don't know much about the naval combat on either side. But the more I think about it the only area that Arcana has over Sharona in conventional warfare is its air power.

Everything really comes down to guns and artillery vs crossbows and infantry dragons and artillery can be repurposed to anti-air. Where the inability for the Arcanan version to do indirect fire makes fortifications immensely more costly to take. With conventional artillery its only a matter of time to batter down most fortifications, particularly the standard forts that Arcana uses. Which if I remember correctly are shorter and thicker with no overhead protection.

But the biggest advantage I think the Sharonians have is training. One of the biggest advantages of a gun over other ranged weapons such as a crossbow or a bow is that you can, rather quickly, take a citizen and turn him into an infantryman and a trained one at that. Whereas at least according to an old history professor of mine, it takes much longer to make a good bowman or crossbowman. Although it is easier to do with a crossbow.

2. Reprisals against Arcanan personnel.

This is something that I haven't been able to get out of my head for a while. While re-reading HHNF I started thinking about young Syrail Targal and the fact that as a voice he has perfect recall. So he can identify with absolute certainty who killed not only his father but who killed folsar. I believe Sharona is going to end up with a lot of Arcanan prisoners and at some point those that committed war crimes are going to be caught. The thing that keeps coming into my head is what are the sharonians going to do.

We all know that in every war people are murdered on both sides. Nazi troops murdered surrendered allied personnel and american troops did the same to axis troops. So with that in mind if the knowledge of the arcanans actions becomes widespread, or at least credible rumors, then it becomes inevitable that some group of sharonian soldiers who have possession of some POWs will decide to get some payback.

Now add in people like Syrail who can point out those that participated in extrajudicial executions you have a receipe for atrocity.

3. Which side can field more men.

I think the union of arcana is bigger than the sharonian empire, but the arcanan military is traditionally made up of one ethnic group, the andarans. And large segments of the arcanan population have and want little to do with it. I'd think this would put a limit on the number of people willing to join to fight the war.

Whereas the sharonians seem to have a population that is not only willing but able to fight, baring political infighting at least. With all the smaller militaries to draw upon And this makes me wonder which side would find themselves having a manpower crunch first.

3. Will they use the armored trains that were constructed at the end of HHNF?

It seems odd tto me that all that time would have been sppent desribing the trains for them to not be used. The only use I can come up with is to push the the cut with them in conjunction wiwth the force that took the long way round. I mean I don't know how successfull it would be given the charges set to blow the cut. But I can see them trying it.

4. Mul Gurthak's plan will not succeed.

And its really all his fault, specifically his underestimation of the Sharonians. his whole plan seems to hing on a continued arcanan domination of the captured universes. But with him cut off from the harshu and his troops he has no way to activate his plans to kill the people who know too much. And I have a feeling the mutiny will do some to mitigate the effects of the abuses. Both in Arcana (particulary in andara) and in sharona. It shows that there are honorable people on both sides.

Another issue that he has to deal with is whether to try a counter attack with the forces at his command. If he doesn't than his plan may be discovered iin due time. But if he does he may not be able to win thus weakening his position and allowing the sharonians to get further.

5. Its going to be a royal bitch getting the sharonians back to the negotiating table.

If you look at thiings from the sharonians side the arcanans have attacked their civilian survey crew, absconded with the survivors, lied about the survivors, obstructed the negotiations, attacked whiile the negotiation were still going on and finally murdered, tortured and generally abused sharonian pow's. At this point there has got to be little to no goodwill left, and I wouldn't be surprised if the sharonians rejected at least the first attempt by the arcanans to negotiate again.

6. The arcanans back home are going to have mental whiplash.

First they hear about the initial encounters, than comes the news that negotiations are going on, then that the sharonians attacked and did horrible things to POWs, then comes news of their glorious victory over the dastardly sharonians. So their riding a high of righteous anger and victory.

But coming up they have jasaks official reports release, and the official government version of the initial encounters. They also have the info that the duke has, and the news about the sharonian counter attack. Many people wont believe much of the more negative versions, but with mul Gurthak wanting to emphasize the whole "andarans broke the rules" thing concrete evidence will make its way home.

7. Harshu might be able to get some of his people out.

I mean the sharonians wont be able to fully interdict all the portals in between the aef and safety. Si I'm wondering if harshu mightt try and get at least some of his troopers out. and if he does which ones. One thought that crept into my head was whether or not he'd try and get Neshok and Thalmayr (and others who violated the accords) out of harms way. See he strikes me as an honorable man and if its possible to get some people out does he send say common soldiers out or those most at risk of mistreatment and summary execution.

8. Wonder if we will get to see sharona through the eyes of an arcanan pow or two.

We know that Sharonian forces still have arcanan POW's and their bound to get a lot more. I don't think we will got a long trip montage like jathmar ans shaylar but it would be interesting to see one of the arcanans taken to sharona proper.

Well I guess that's enough for now. Especially since I have 6 different versions of this post saved in drafts.

On an unrelated note, anyone know how to delete a draft?
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Re: Some more musings that are drifting around in my head.
Post by tonyz   » Tue Jul 21, 2020 4:25 pm

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ThisName1 wrote:1. I think that arcana cannot beat sharona in a war.

This comes with the caveat of "barring superweapons" and taking into account the fact that we don't know much about the naval combat on either side. But the more I think about it the only area that Arcana has over Sharona in conventional warfare is its air power.


One wonders about special ops and things with night vision. But I think we should not underestimate the possibilities of naval power here. Sharonan logistics mastery depends on being able to send huge volumes of stuff down the lines from the inner universes... which is fine until they have to cross the seas. How good is Sharona at protecting ships from kraken attack? Do the Arcanans have weather magic they can use?

Also, we have seen Sharonan heavy weaponry (the big artillery, even if its main use so far has been as a bluff, plus rapid-fire smaller pieces). We have not seen Arcanan heavy weaponry, but we've seen some textual mentions and it's fair to assume that hastily-scraped-up out-universe forces would not have access to strategic weapons. So it could get rather ugly.

ThisName1 wrote:2. Reprisals against Arcanan personnel.

This is something that I haven't been able to get out of my head for a while. While re-reading HHNF I started thinking about young Syrail Targal and the fact that as a voice he has perfect recall. So he can identify with absolute certainty who killed not only his father but who killed folsar. I believe Sharona is going to end up with a lot of Arcanan prisoners and at some point those that committed war crimes are going to be caught. The thing that keeps coming into my head is what are the sharonians going to do.


It's going to be very interesting, particularly given how every Sharonan Voice (who wants to) will have experienced stuff like this directly, starting with the Fallen Timbers contact and going through a lot more of it. I don't think Arcana fully understands what a big difference this is going to make in during-war and post-war reactions.

Sharona should be able to identify quite a lot of people accurately: how much this will matter at the negotiating table is another factor.

ThisName1 wrote:]
3. Which side can field more men.

I think the union of arcana is bigger than the sharonian empire, but the arcanan military is traditionally made up of one ethnic group, the andarans. And large segments of the arcanan population have and want little to do with it. I'd think this would put a limit on the number of people willing to join to fight the war.


Unless someone makes a breakthrough in portal theory and discovers alternate routes into the enemy's universes, at some point it's going to come down to how many people can usefully be used at or through a bottleneck portal. Both sides have multiple fully populated planets, so I don't think manpower is likely to be a limiting factor in either side's ability to prosecute the war.

ThisName1 wrote:3. Will they use the armored trains that were constructed at the end of HHNF?

It seems odd tto me that all that time would have been sppent desribing the trains for them to not be used.


I think they will show up at some point when Arcana works on raiding Sharonan supply lines. They're not really useful in portal combat (too easy to disrupt the tracks they run on, particularly if artillery is in use in the near vicinity).

ThisName1 wrote:4. Mul Gurthak's plan will not succeed.

And its really all his fault, specifically his underestimation of the Sharonians. his whole plan seems to hing on a continued arcanan domination of the captured universes. But with him cut off from the harshu and his troops he has no way to activate his plans to kill the people who know too much.


Tend to agree. He's thinking of everything in terms of internal political maneuvering, and what its effect on the balance of power back home will be, because he didn't think the non-magical Sharonans would or could be effective against a magic-using civilization.

The biggest hole in the last two books has been that we don't get to see his POV reacting to developments. (Also, his much-foreshadowed use of Bos van Hoven seems to have been a damp squib... unless there was some diabolical second purpose employed in sending him back to face truth spells which mul Gurthak must have known would have shown him up as the blowhard he is.)

ThisName1 wrote:5. Its going to be a royal bitch getting the sharonians back to the negotiating table.


So, so true. The rescued mutineers will help a lot in that, but it's going to be a while before Sharona's high command gives any credence to Arcanan truce proposals.

ThisName1 wrote:6. The arcanans back home are going to have mental whiplash.

First they hear about the initial encounters, than comes the news that negotiations are going on, then that the sharonians attacked and did horrible things to POWs, then comes news of their glorious victory over the dastardly sharonians. So their riding a high of righteous anger and victory.

But coming up they have jasaks official reports release, and the official government version of the initial encounters. They also have the info that the duke has, and the news about the sharonian counter attack. Many people wont believe much of the more negative versions, but with mul Gurthak wanting to emphasize the whole "andarans broke the rules" thing concrete evidence will make its way home.


The lag in communications time is going to be particularly painful for them here. People don't do well with lagged control responses. Sharona's communication tech lets them send messages down-world in hours where hummers would take months.

ThisName1 wrote:7. Harshu might be able to get some of his people out.


I regard this as virtually certain. Sharonans may have a very very few Predictive Distance Viewers, but targeting dragons flying evasive courses at high altitude at night is going to be quite a learning curve. Smaller portals would make it easier, of course.

ThisName1 wrote:8. Wonder if we will get to see sharona through the eyes of an arcanan pow or two.
[/quote]

Probably. Some of them have been travelling back toward Sharona since the first book and should be getting there relatively soon. We did get a few POVs from POWs in the frontier forts, but it's not the same thing.
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Re: Some more musings that are drifting around in my head.
Post by ThisName1   » Wed Jul 22, 2020 2:23 am

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tonyz wrote:
ThisName1 wrote:
1. I think that arcana cannot beat sharona in a war.

This comes with the caveat of "barring superweapons" and taking into account the fact that we don't know much about the naval combat on either side. But the more I think about it the only area that Arcana has over Sharona in conventional warfare is its air power.



One wonders about special ops and things with night vision. But I think we should not underestimate the possibilities of naval power here. Sharonan logistics mastery depends on being able to send huge volumes of stuff down the lines from the inner universes... which is fine until they have to cross the seas. How good is Sharona at protecting ships from kraken attack? Do the Arcanans have weather magic they can use?

Also, we have seen Sharonan heavy weaponry (the big artillery, even if its main use so far has been as a bluff, plus rapid-fire smaller pieces). We have not seen Arcanan heavy weaponry, but we've seen some textual mentions and it's fair to assume that hastily-scraped-up out-universe forces would not have access to strategic weapons. So it could get rather ugly.

Good point about the weather magic and possible arcanan heavy weapons. I don't remember anything specific about either being mentioned but even if its not we can assume they both exist.

By kraken I think you mean the Hydra's? They present an interesting thought experiment. If I remember correctly they mention hunting killer whales with them on arcana. and they mention how intelligent the whales are, and that they can kill hydras. My take is that they are hunting versions of killer whales as intelligent as earth ones not as smart as sharonian ones. And with the whales heading towards the front I see a confrontation between KW's and Hydra's. it will be interesting to see who comes out on top.

Another point on Navel combat is what will the ships be made of. I feel like the sharonians have metal hulled ships, but don't know what the arcanan ships are made of.

tonyz wrote:
ThisName1 wrote:
4. Mul Gurthak's plan will not succeed.

And its really all his fault, specifically his underestimation of the Sharonians. his whole plan seems to hing on a continued arcanan domination of the captured universes. But with him cut off from the harshu and his troops he has no way to activate his plans to kill the people who know too much.


Tend to agree. He's thinking of everything in terms of internal political maneuvering, and what its effect on the balance of power back home will be, because he didn't think the non-magical Sharonans would or could be effective against a magic-using civilization.

The biggest hole in the last two books has been that we don't get to see his POV reacting to developments. (Also, his much-foreshadowed use of Bos van Hoven seems to have been a damp squib... unless there was some diabolical second purpose employed in sending him back to face truth spells which mul Gurthak must have known would have shown him up as the blowhard he is.)


I really want to see Mul Gurthak's expression when he finds out about the sharonian advance. Especially if Harshu can't get many out, or he takes heavy casualties. might cause a little panic.

So I went back and did a little reading and what I think happened with Vos Hoven is that Mul Gurthak got too clever. I have a feeling that you can slide around the lie detector spells by not outright lying but shading the truth a bit. And Mul Gurthak overestimated Vos Hoven's ability to dissemble.
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Re: Some more musings that are drifting around in my head.
Post by Eagleeye   » Wed Jul 22, 2020 7:09 am

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ThisName1 wrote:Another point on Navel combat is what will the ships be made of. I feel like the sharonians have metal hulled ships, but don't know what the arcanan ships are made of.


First, kudos to two very thoroughly thought-out posts! I took the liberty to shorten your 2nd one, because I only wanted to answer one aspect you brought up.

If I remember correctly, the ship Hundred Olderhan and his 'guests' used to travel to the first Portal on their way to Arcana-Prime was build from wood ... which would make sense and fit perfectly into a society which uses crossbows for distance weapons. That doesn't mean they don't have ships built from iron or steel - but so far, they did not appear in the books. Maybe because of interferences with the Sarkolis-crystals they use for their spellware?
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Re: Some more musings that are drifting around in my head.
Post by ThisName1   » Fri Jul 31, 2020 2:07 am

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Eagleeye wrote:
ThisName1 wrote:Another point on Navel combat is what will the ships be made of. I feel like the sharonians have metal hulled ships, but don't know what the arcanan ships are made of.


First, kudos to two very thoroughly thought-out posts! I took the liberty to shorten your 2nd one, because I only wanted to answer one aspect you brought up.

If I remember correctly, the ship Hundred Olderhan and his 'guests' used to travel to the first Portal on their way to Arcana-Prime was build from wood ... which would make sense and fit perfectly into a society which uses crossbows for distance weapons. That doesn't mean they don't have ships built from iron or steel - but so far, they did not appear in the books. Maybe because of interferences with the Sarkolis-crystals they use for their spellware?


Wood also would have the advantage of being easier to source on the frontier. And if most of the hauling is done by dragons maybe they haven't put the research into ship tech.
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Re: Some more musings that are drifting around in my head.
Post by Castenea   » Sat Aug 01, 2020 12:55 pm

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ThisName1 wrote:Wood also would have the advantage of being easier to source on the frontier. And if most of the hauling is done by dragons maybe they haven't put the research into ship tech.
Funnily enough the actual answer would be maybe. While yes there would be a lot of easily obtainable wood on the frontier, whether it is the best material would actually depend on the speed and throughput of supply lines and availability of specific types of skilled labor. Building and maintaining a wooden ship requires supplies of wood with specific characteristics (generally available anywhere there are forests, so not normally a showstopper) and skilled wood workers. Metal can actually be better if your ships are built from standardized components and can readily source spare parts.

While it is not clear in the books I get the impression that Sharona uses interchangeable parts to a much greater extent that Arcana. For this discussion an example would be: is the forward hatch cover for your yacht a standardized part you can order out of a catalog or custom fitted by a master carpenter?
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Re: Some more musings that are drifting around in my head.
Post by ThisName1   » Thu Aug 06, 2020 12:38 pm

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Castenea wrote:
ThisName1 wrote:Wood also would have the advantage of being easier to source on the frontier. And if most of the hauling is done by dragons maybe they haven't put the research into ship tech.
Funnily enough the actual answer would be maybe. While yes there would be a lot of easily obtainable wood on the frontier, whether it is the best material would actually depend on the speed and throughput of supply lines and availability of specific types of skilled labor. Building and maintaining a wooden ship requires supplies of wood with specific characteristics (generally available anywhere there are forests, so not normally a showstopper) and skilled wood workers. Metal can actually be better if your ships are built from standardized components and can readily source spare parts.

While it is not clear in the books I get the impression that Sharona uses interchangeable parts to a much greater extent that Arcana. For this discussion an example would be: is the forward hatch cover for your yacht a standardized part you can order out of a catalog or custom fitted by a master carpenter?


I think the sharonians use standard engines transported forward and installed in wooden hulls built at the front of the chain. I'm fairly certain that there's a mention in the books about that. I really think it comes down to transport priorities. and now that I think about it it's more likely that, given a railroads higher carrying capacity when compared to a slider or a dragon, Arcana is more likely to use wood. Although they probably have magic doodads to make the wood stronger.

Sharonia probably uses wood for a while until infrastructure become more developed and either there is a source of local iron or steel, or the carrying capacity to transport the ship parts becomes available.
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