Daybreak Dev Diary #3: on gunpowder and firearms

You saw right! Alpha! Not even beta! xD

So I've decided to break tradition and open a scene to the audience prior to sending it through my lengthy editing and peer review process. The reason? It is one of the most heavily discussed objective topics in Daybreak. I mean, agreeing on subjective topics like gender issues is overrated; no one will know the correct answer until we truly break open the human skull*  and understand exactly what each and every neural pathway does. But on objective topics? It's important that we at least attempt to stay on the same page.

(*Proverbially! no Japanese or Nazi human experimentation! I'm annoyed every time "SCIENCE!" is given as the reason for anything; not funny at all when you've studied history. In fact one of the first things engineering school had forced me to read and discuss was whether Technological Determinism was good or even right. Oppenheimer did quote right after inventing the atomic bomb: "Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.")

The topic? Gunpowder, and the development of guns in a high magic setting.

...And by 'high magic' I don't mean silly places like Middle Earth where Gandalf casts like... all of three spells. I mean a setting where magic is infused into the society, altering industry, warfare, and everyday life.

There has been many who questioned my decision NOT to spread the development of firearms in Hyperion. I've touched upon the topic near the end of volume 1, but not surprisingly, a few simple lines were not enough for most people. Now that the latest chapter has introduced another firearm -- the mortar -- I figured this was a good opportunity to clear up the topic once and for all.

Thus, the following scene is meant to crack the discussion of "firearm or not" with clarity, at least pertaining to the Hyperion setting. I would like to get the readers' input, especially the naysayers, so I can address as many issues at once and not have to come back to this discussion again and again. Please keep in mind that this is still a narrative, and therefore I cannot go into exhaustive details; I'm not writing a schoolbook that reads like sleeping pills here.

If you're a Daybreak reader but would rather not read the alpha so you can better enjoy the final product: don't feel pressured since I perfectly understand; it's why I don't usually share alpha stage writing.

Oh, and also anyone who claims Kaede should be able to make a percussion cap better be able to tell me how they're going to make fulminate of mercury -- which can blow you up when done wrong -- using only high school chemistry knowledge. Because unlike some other light novels or webnovels out there, I'm not writing the omnipotent son-of-god.

Now, without further ado, the scene itself (remember that underline = telepathy):


"Hey Cecylia, I thought you had told me that Hyperion armies didn't use firearms-- I mean black powder armaments? What about those mortars then?"

(...)

"I believe I mentioned that elite and specialist troops used some black powder weapons," Cecylia's mental voice returned in her soft soprano. "The mortars are considered 'specialist weapons', just like the Knights Phantom's grenades."

Kaede hadn't even noticed until now, thanks to the auto-translation magic Pascal worked into the familiar bond. But the Imperial language word for 'mortar' literally meant 'arcing grenade launcher', three words slammed together in true Germanic fashion.

"But unlike the grenades, these aren't hidden inside some warded extra-dimensional space most of the time," Kaede countered. "So what makes them acceptable as effective weapons when other black powder technologies aren't?"

This time, it was Pascal who answered:

"It is not their effectiveness that is questioned; it is their reliability. Mortars make only a fraction of the Weichsel artillery forces, most of which are still equipped with traditional torsion siege engines. Their destructive capabilities are a blessing for battles, especially against troops in heavy armor. But as a specialist, support weapon, their limited deployment also means their loss could not decide a battle by itself."

"It's probably harder to grasp since you're from a world without magic," Cecylia patiently added. "But black powder's vulnerability to the elements means it's extremely susceptible. The smallest ember causes it to combust; the slightest spark ignites it; a mere splash of water renders it useless -- these are all effects that even the most basic of spells could conjure."

Kaede knew that there were many modern explosive compounds that mitigated or even avoided these pitfalls. But of course, since Hyperion never embraced the earliest form of gunpowder, they also lacked the incentive to research more stable chemical formulas. It had taken centuries on Earth before Alfred Nobel invented the first plastic explosive; on Hyperion, this process could take millenniums.

"But you also have defensive spells and wards to counteract that..."

"Sure, except most of those spells -- like the often used Legion Resistance -- only reduced the damage dealt by elemental magic; they don't negate it outright," Cecylia went on. "I mean there are spells that can, but those spells are also one, harder to cast and two, drains more of our precious ether reserves -- which is a fairly big deal when the Legion spellword duplicates the same effect across an entire squad or platoon."

It was one of those arguments that reminded Kaede: in war, or perhaps society in general, everything had to be considered in scale. It wasn't enough that a requirement could be met; the solution must also satisfy the objective in quantity to be truly effective.

"Soldiers also have body armor and padded clothes to help absorb the lingering damage that passes through, not to mention people could endure minor burns. But what do you think happens to the infantrymen who are trying to load a black powder projectile?"

Kaede shivered as that horrific explosion during the Air Battle of Nordkreuz replayed in her mind's eye: the sight of a fireball engulfing dozens of comrades, of mangled bodies, severed limbs, and burning carcasses. Scenarios like that didn't just kill the unfortunate troopers caught by the blast either; it also demoralized entire armies and made soldiers distrust the very weapons held within their hands.

The Knights Phantom were elites with exceptional gear, discipline, and morale. They could be entrusted to use the most dangerous and destructive armaments for equivalently high returns. But the average soldier or conscript farmer? Individuals who quaked in their boots from 'just' the looming death of a massed cavalry charge?

...They would desert their weapons and run.

"Combine this with the fact that black powder couldn't even be stored in large quantities," Cecylia continued. "I mean: destroying ten thousand arrows? That takes work, or at least powerful spells that few mages could cast. But ten thousand stones of black powder? Even a child could light a match. Then what do you do with those 'firearms'? Use them as clubs?"

"It'd be worse than a Lotharin army without arrows," Sylviane commented dryly.

The Rhin-Lotharingie military was heavily dependent on its massed archery, courtesy of a national sport that taught every self-respecting man how to shoot and hunt. The common recruit also came with axes, mostly of the treefelling variety. But without ammunition and forced to engage as light infantry, even a victory would leave the army in ruins.

An army that emphasized firearms only made this worse, as the Swedish Carolean Army of the 17th century learned that even muskets with bayonets were a poor replacement for proper melee weapons like the sword.

On Earth, early firearms like the arquebus were unreliable, inaccurate, and had a dismal effective range. Their greatest benefit over archery was that a conscripted farmer could be expected to become proficient within weeks of training rather than years. But on Hyperion, where massed deployment of gunpowder troops posed both unique logistical challenges and significant tactical vulnerabilities, it was unsurprising that the military establishment kept to their traditional ways.

"If that's the case, then what makes mortars so special that they could at least make a limited deployment?"

"There are two main benefits to mortars," Pascal began. "The first is that, like all other grenades, mortar shells are encapsulated. The casing wouldn't stop proper assault spells from detonating the powder, but it at least offers some protection from fire, and more importantly -- the weather."

Pascal had actually shown Kaede a Weichsel 'tandem-charge mortar round' yesterday. Within the thin iron casing were two cylinders of black powder separated by an air gap, held apart by light springs and secured with safety pins. When a shell was dropped into the mortar tube, its momentum would force the upper container to fall onto the lower one. This drove a flint ignition rod into the lower powder chamber where it scraped against a sharply angled steel file. The sparks would then detonate the lower charge, hurling the shell's remnants into the air while igniting the timed fuse to its upper powder chamber. Mortar gunners could even adjust this fuse through a screw on the side, with veterans aiming for the ideal 'airborne burst' where shrapnel rounds exploded just overhead the target to inflict maximum casualties.

It was an impressive design, despite its crude triggering mechanism. On Earth, it would take until the 19th Century -- half a millennium after the first arquebus saw mass deployment -- before the percussion cap was developed to allow for sealed cartridges that could fire reliably in any weather. Yet on Hyperion, the advancement of grenades had already bypassed that and went straight onto the modern 'tube mortars' first invented in World War I.

"The other benefit is that it is an indirect artillery weapon," Pascal highlighted the high trajectory firing arc that defined mortars. "This means we could fire it from within trenches and deep pits, where they would not only be hidden but also protected from most attack spells. A Resistance Screen could even be applied on top of the pit to protect the weapon and its crew from overhead spell bursts."

Kaede nodded in acknowledgment, her curiosity finally satisfied enough to move onto the next question:

"So apart from grenades, launchers, and flamethrowers, are there any other combustible weapons that Hyperion actually uses?"

"Satchel charges? I guess they're just oversized pillow grenades, hehe," Cecylia mused openly.

"Same with the bangalore torpedo javelins that Garona Hippo-Cuirassiers use," Sylv added, making the auto-translation magic adapt yet more foreign terms to Kaede's dictionary.

It was Pascal who finally found the answer:

"Mines."

Without proper firing pin technology, Kaede doubted Hyperion mines could self-detonate. But that never stopped the partisans of World War II from rigging manually-triggered minefields to devastating effect.

"Oh, and the Imperials have rocket carts that could launch salvos up to four dozen."

Pascal appended it as though it were an afterthought, but Kaede's eyes bulged upon hearing it:

"They have Katyusha Rocket Launchers!?"

"They took that idea from the eastern Dawn Imperium, actually," Cecylia clarified.

"It was impressive for about two battles," Pascal commented in a voice that was anything but impressed. "Before... I cannot remember the name, but she created a counterspell by adapting the self-guided Ether Seeker, which simply destroyed the visible rockets in mid-flight."

Once again, human ingenuity proved that magic and technology mixed in ways that would alter the development of both sides.


 

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116 thoughts on “Daybreak Dev Diary #3: on gunpowder and firearms

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  1. DarkUrg

    Just curiosity.

    What level of development of materials science and metalworking (well, their historic analogs actually) one can find in Hiperion?

    My blind guess is something at level of Napoleonic Era.
    If it's close to author's view, then even with explosives problems solved, firearms can't really offer much in terms of effectiveness. Forget about rifled barrels, principle was known from 15th-16th century according to wiki, but mass production started only in 19th mostly because metalworking techniques was too inaccurate before. Most of modern firearm mechanism also requires quite high precision of parts production. Also there is problem of barrel durability (and limited range and firepower because of it). So even with ideal explosives all you'll have is effective range of 100-200m for small firearm, and around 2km for cannons. Even for rockets effective range won't be much higher, mass-producted parts will have defects such as difference in thickness of metal tube and according changes in aerodynamics, so hitting even fortress-size targets from afar will be problematic.

    Reply
    1. AoriiAorii Post author

      I'm not a material science expert (or even hobbyist) so I can't tell the difference in steel between those centuries =P
      But precision shouldn't be a problem with magic-enhanced tooling. They already have the equivalent of an atomic watch; high accuracy machine tools should be easier than that.

      Reply
      1. DarkUrg

        But isn't magic tools more or less useless without magic-capable operator?
        If so, precision should still be a problem. To be exact, production of high-quality prototype is possible, but mass-producing of guns and especially ammo should have skyrocketing prices.

        Well, all that was just an example of people's tendencies to underestimate complexity of modern (or even not-so-modern) weapons and taking things (such as material quality) as granted. Just because someone can make decent gun (or even railgun) in his yard in our world doesn't mean that it's possible in another world, even with all required knowledge and some "magic" assistance. Without spending years or even decades for local industry advancement, of course.

        Reply
  2. Ved

    "I'm annoyed every time "SCIENCE!" is given as the reason for anything; not funny at all when you've studied history. In fact one of the first things engineering school had forced me to read and discuss was whether Technological Determinism was good or even right."

    MEH. Look, if you're appealing to my finer moral judgement when I'm in "SCIENCE!" mode, you're wasting your time.
    I'll assume Technological Determinism is something to do with the inerring and constant march of progress. And well, dog barking up wrong tree and all that. I'll not claim that nobility. I tend to view technology as a way of bringing up the average standard-of-living sometimes. Maybe. You gotta keep running in place though.
    Pandora's little box gets opened one way or another. Stealing the fire of the gods. Blah-de-blah.
    Well I'm a bit drunk at the moment, so I think you'll more or less get the gist of what I'm driving at.

    Also, I don't distinguish knowledge and wisdom. They're more or less 1-to-1 in my book, despite the prattling of wannabe philosophers. Insight is insight. You don't get to go spouting off that knowledge is a kind of power and dispute that wisdom is also a kind of power. You can hem-and-haw about the advisability of using power all you want, but then you're just splitting hairs on the kinds of insight that exist.

    "...And by 'high magic' I don't mean silly places like Middle Earth where Gandalf casts like... all of three spells. I mean a setting where magic is infused into the society, altering industry, warfare, and everyday life."

    Well, the elves did tell Samwise Gamgee that elves don't really view anything they do as "magic." It's just good ol' elven craftsmanship.
    I mean, to be fair, elves are almost demigods or something. But Tolkien did sort of imply that magic really was a matter of perspective. Sure there are gods zipping about, but to be fair, it's just how their universe works.

    You really could draw parallels to Christianity and its thaumaturgists. Or hell, Isaac Newton, who was obsessive about that sort of thing, at least, until he settled down to a cushy tenure posting as the posterchild of the Enlightenment.

    "Oh, and also anyone who claims Kaede should be able to make a percussion cap better be able to tell me how they're going to make fulminate of mercury -- which can blow you up when done wrong -- using only high school chemistry knowledge. Because unlike some other light novels or webnovels out there, I'm not writing the omnipotent son-of-god."

    Mind you, while Kaede is not the omnipotent Light Yagami son-of-god, he does have the next best thing. Which is, to say, a very very wealthy genius and intellectually curious patron who thought nothing of giving her a good amount of rune magic, access to libraries and some sort of god-knows-what shapeshifting quicksilver weapon which was allegedly quite expensive. He also shot a dude off the back of a flying whale with a makeshift bow from said weapon. Supposedly quite a feat of athleticism and luck.

    Also: Prototyping. Lots and lots of prototyping.

    What I do propose, is that such a task needn't be quite so . . . athletic, for a reserve unit. Also: Fulminate of mercury by way of, I dunno magics, I suppose. You have alchemists. And a milquetoast doctor who killed a dude with thorny vines. No small feat that. To call that carbon chemistry is a vast understatement.

    Or at least, probably magics that can efficiently transfer heat to powder uniformly. Or any other reaction you want happening. More or less one of the problems of chemistry.

    You don't want gunpowder? Fine. I mean the whole point is to get a very very accurate projectile weapon to inflict meaningless violence on that dude over there. Gunpowder isn't the only means to an end. At this point, dying to your own gunpowder flask is hardly a concern when there are archwizards running amok who can melt you with acid rain.

    I'll admit, I am a shameless nerd for this sort of thing, so I do enjoy the exercise of it for its own sake.

    Reply
  3. MechEngr101

    First off, great story, keep up the good work.

    I like firearms and wouldn't mind the inclusion of similar tech, but for people that get bent out of shape over it you can always read something like Gun-Ota or Gate.

    Air guns:
    Air rifles may be viewed as toys today, but they have been used as weapons of war. And when I'm talking about air rifles, I don't mean the little .177 squirrel popper, I'm talking about .30 to .60 cal monkey bullets. Rifles dating back to the Napoleonic War and the Lewis and Clark Expedition were capable of multiple shots from an air reservoir and hopper fed projectiles. 20 to 30 rounds could be fired in rapid succession with an approximate 150yard effective range. This is with 1780's era technology.

    Modern large bore air rifles are capable of ranges out to 200 to 300 yards, 500yds has been achieved by some specialty air rifles.

    Piezo-electric initiators - or "How My BBQ Lighter Took out a Tank":
    Quartz and potassium sodium tartrate (aka Rochelle salt, as in Rochelle France) are 2 materials I know that will generate electricity when pressure is applied.

    The ubiquitous RPG-7 and many other munitions make use of this technology for point detonating fuze.

    Small Arms Primers and Cartridges:
    For priming compounds, what about diazodinitrophenol (DDNP) or lead styphanate, or potassium fulminate? All are better alternatives to the before mentioned mercury fulminate.

    Or just cut out the middleman, black powder in a contained space can be electrically ignited.
    Sealing the cartridge / primer is fairly easy, look at lacquered sealed primers / bullet cannelure on military surplus ammo.

    This is coming from a Mech Engr that has worked in aerospace R&D and weapons system integration.

    And I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express.

    Reply
    1. AoriiAorii Post author

      I think you technical knowledge far exceeds what most people can manage, and even overwhelms me a little xD

      Oh wow I didn't know air rifles were an actual thing O_O Though the Girandoni does note a lot of problems. I could actually pop these up and surprise Kaede as well (these guns really didn't leave much of a mark on history).

      Will probably use piezoelectricity at some point. As for the other primers: I'm no chemistry expert, but I'd guess there was a reason why mercury fulminate became the first?
      Yeah seals are easy; it's mostly the primer compound.

      Thanks~

      Reply
      1. Ebisu

        The BB gun in the Metro games is quite deadly at a distance, though introducing them may make Daybreak more steampunk-like. :3

        Reply
  4. WinterRED

    I think the discussion regarding firearms and magic can only go so far without considering the wider implications the existence of magic has on human society. This is especially true because you make it clear that only a select few are capable of using magic, and that the characters we have been following up till now could very well be part of a niche in Hyperion society.

    If I recall correctly, the Samarans do not have the innate ability to freely wield magic. However, you clearly mention in the conversation between Worldwalkers that the Samarans had "everlasting military might". Their special blood may give them an advantage in terms of healing, but it would hardly equate to "military might" (military stalemate maybe, depending on how much value the other nations place on the import of Samaran blood). This would have to mean that they have some sort of way to defend themselves against magic users without the use of magic - meaning technological inventions. Then the question becomes, "how much of this technology filters its way into neighboring nations?" and "how receptive are magic users of this technology?". As you pointed out in an earlier post, gunpowder (as well as the longbows of the English) faced quite a bit of resistance because of how society was modeled.

    tl;dr: While we can discuss the finer points of technological and magical progression as much as we want, we have to keep an open mind regarding other factors that affect the outcome. I for one, am VERY interested to see how you portray the Samaran society as well as that of Rhin-Lotharingie in contrast to Weischel. Also is Weischel suppose to be Prussia or France? I know Rhin-Lotheraringie is Britain, but I'm not sure about Weischel or Samara.The Caliphate, Imperials, and Nords are self-explanatory of course.

    Reply
    1. AoriiAorii Post author

      It's best not to over-discuss Samara because limited information has been given about the Grand Republic, and this info is scattered about due to a lack of in-depth discussions. Technologically, the only thing written is that (1) Samara have a higher level of technology than its western neighbors but is very stringent about export controls, which would slow down technological diffusion and (2) there are far less Samaran mages than other races (but not a complete lack thereof). Military might doesn't always equate to tech; my volume 2 author notes comment that Samara is inspired by a cross between Novgorod-Russia and the Mongols -- whose military finesse has nothing to do with technology.

      Weichsel is Prussia lol. It's way too militarily-obsessed to be France xD
      Rhin-Lotharingie is not-quite-France. The 'altered history' that produces Rhin-Lotharingie goes back much further. Basically, they're the Unified Celts that was never Romanized. Its vassal states represent Scotland, Wales, Brittany, and Occitania. But then, since England is the closest thing where Celtic culture truly mixed with Latin culture, Britain isn't wrong either.

      Honestly, the biggest trouble writing Rhin-Lotharingie is the lack of narratives about Celtic Gaul. Thanks Roman ethnic cleansing.

      Reply
      1. WinterRED

        Although I suppose it's rather taboo to talk about release dates, might I dare ask if we'll be seeing forays into Samara in the *near* future? I presume that we'll see a good chunk of Rhin-Lotharingie, but I'm interested to know if you're planning to do the whole continental tour =P

        Prussia does fit the image of Weichsel very well, I just wasn't sure if they had any interaction with the Northmen (In our world) like the Franks/French did; hence my confusion. I assumed Rhin-Lotharingie was Britain because the latest chapter mentioned a heavy emphasis on bowmen, something the English were renowned for (at least for a certain period of time).

        Lastly... you studied Electrical Engineering? May I call u senpai <3.

        Reply
        1. Hakurei06Hakurei06

          it's probably going to deal campaign near the Rhin-Lotharin/Cataliyan border regions and to be honest, even after the succession crisis is resolved by theend of the volume, they've got more business dealing with the Empire than Samara.

          Reply
        2. AoriiAorii Post author

          o_O uhh... uhhhhh... sure?? >///< I'm hoping to write a chapter with actual Samarans in it within 1 volume; but the Grand Republic itself won't be in anything for a while. Longbows are actually a Welsh tradition, aka whoever absorbs Wales acquires it; so in this world, it's Rhin-Lotharingie x) Prussia wasn't a thing when the Norse were still around. But they fought plenty with the Swedish Empire (because rich Baltic ports).

          Reply
  5. Quicksylver

    When it comes to technology in fantasy settings the thing I always ask is, "Why would this be invented?"

    The onus for invention is need. When magic is so prolific, why would nobles spend time trying to create a chemical explosive? This wasn't something that was necessary, it wasn't even an upgrade to current methods (magic). The spells and whatnot are a field of study unto themselves for improvement. Unless you had a non-magical society invent black powder and have the other nations decide to implement it due to seeing merits beyond their own magic, I can't see it making sense in the context presented. There's other reasons for the magicians in power to NOT want to import this kind of technology. Those with power don't want to lose it. You never want to give your commoner populace power that can be used against you, especially if there's social friction on multiple levels beyond just money and influence that people are born with.

    Reply
    1. AoriiAorii Post author

      ...and here's someone who is on the other end of the spectrum!
      Reason: got to do something with all this spare manpower who can't use magic!
      Also, you assume all inventors and researchers are mages.
      The ruling classes of Earth weren't keen on gunpowder originally you know; the knighthoods who controlled the medieval military even tried to ban the crossbow... but unlike magic vs gunpowder here the knights never came up with an effective counter, so pragmatism won out very quickly.

      In the end, you want a balanced compromise somewhere in between magic and technology as we know it. It's finding precisely where that in-between is that's hard.

      Reply
      1. Ved

        "Magic" is technology via another route.
        Arguably, even the idea of magic is itself something of a neologism.
        Okay, probably too daring a thesis. But eh. Magic is something you accuse of somebody else's superstitions, not your own.
        If it's your own, why then, it's just how the universe as you know it works.

        Reply
  6. Jseah

    How common are ways to store ether outside of a mage? Like Pascal's runes? (presumably the runes cost his ether to make, I doubt they're free or non-mages could make them) And how fast do mages recharge?

    EDIT: another relevant question would be how much runes cost. The expertise needed might take too long to educate into rank and file mages (who Pascal is definitely not).

    One of the things I've been thinking about magic and technology is a few key capabilities:
    1 - A method to store magic
    2 - A method to use magic
    3 - A method to gather magic

    We have seen number 2 in the runes Pascal uses. Katusyha rocket launchers might be a bit insane to try replicating with magic, but a magically powered crossbow (rune engraved arrows, primed by runes on the barrel, triggered by the string hitting it) would be a good substitute for a gun. And benefit from already developed crossbow technology.
    In fact, magical projectile weaponry either using magic for bonus kinetic energy or delivering a magical payload that could be effective enough to force enemy mages to counter with ether seekers. (and the rocket launchers could be cost effective simply because they don't require your ether but force an ether-consuming response, so you use the cheapest rockets you can get which are still dangerous enough to provoke a magically costly counter)

    For that matter, the rocket launcher concept could be reworked to launch ether seekers enmasse as counterspell and anti-air defense. Even if point 1 and 3 aren't present, no matter how heated a battlefield is, most of a war is still spent marching around and not spending very much magic. Time enough to add yet another layer of runes to the ether seeker battery. Or firebolt battery. Or or...

    Hybrid technologies like the flamethrowers are also a good payload for ranged weaponry to use, if only to force disproportionate ether expenditure in counters with respect to their creation. In fact, from what we've seen, especially with ether seekers, magic can be substituted for logic, detection and even control. Forget guided bombs, have people-seeking arrows (within reasonable deflection tolerances of course). Or arrows that carry magic disruption, saving on cost of a magical delivery mechanism.
    The mines Pascal mentions could be indeed automatic. The whole thing doesn't have to be physical. A magical trigger with a gunpowder payload works just as well... who cares how you did it as long as the enemy is raining down in little red chunks. Of course, that makes it susceptible to dispel, but then again if they're going to minesweep with magic, it becomes a question of which is more ether efficient. (especially since a minefield can be prepared with *yesterday's* ether reserves while clearing it uses *today's*)
    -> degrading runes mentioned next paragraph also means the minefield automatically de-arms itself afterwards

    Point 2 essentially allows you to trade off magic from the past against magic they have to spend now to counter it, assuming their magic isn't sophisticated enough to pre-program complex responses, which would allow you to prepare more generalized counters instead of trying to guess which particular attack pattern your enemy is going to use (read: the best one they think will get through your defence).
    It also allows you to use magical sophistication to substitute for physical sophistication, and from what we've seen, magic is almost as flexible as computers are. They might be missing a few critical steps but I doubt magical control is too far off from being Turing complete, especially if it can perform an interuniversal search with very much non-parameterizable criteria. Or magic is a wish-granting genie (a literal genie?) in which case usage would depend on genie diplomacy. And depending on how ether seekers work and can be reprogrammed (like ranging onto rockets), magic might have a whole bunch of sensors that could replace a lot of laboratory measuring equipment.
    Without long term storage however (eg. if runes degrade over a few weeks), it becomes an important concern on the theatre but not on strategic scale. How much magic you make your soldiers spend today in hopes you aren't ambushed and happen to need it now.

    Point 1 + 2 would result in huge military stockpiles of magic, built up in peace time and unleashed in war. And from what we've seen with magic that simple formations of mages can put out by themselves, huge would be on the level of razing entire countries.
    Strategic range spells (they might not be purely magical even) might be inefficient on an immediate battlefield with a limited transport and logistic budget, but a peace time construction would have no problems expending copious amounts of magic. The destruction would be enormous and battles short and brutal. High population countries would also hold a strategic advantage that only grows with time and population growth, but getting into wars with this sort of weapon flying around means you stop being high population very quickly.

    Even if strategic range magical artillery is not possible (and weather control counts as artillery), simpler things like storing magic to arm peasants with a couple of rounds of magical ammunition each would be devastating against an enemy who didn't have as much magic to shoot back or counter. It doesn't just extend to magical projectiles of course, spending peace time making a warehouse full of engraved dispel stones to toss into magical hazards on the field would improve army performance no end. Same same with defensive runes on small leather belts that you issue out to peasants marching to war. Or magic engraved swordstaffs.
    And if single shot wands are possible (the original summoning of kaede was more or less a complicated version of that), we're looking at magical katushya rocket batteries that shoot fireballs... and unlike 'made on battlefield with spare magic' versions, these ones would launch in counts of thousands. Or hundred thousands.
    (if a mage could create 5 fireballs runes in 1 day and regenerate the magic the next day, a single mage's output could theoretically produce just over 1.8k fireballs a year. A more realistic tax rate of 50% would mean that a company of 100 mages would be able to produce a 90 thousand fireball battery a year; that's probably enough to turn the target zone into a moonscape. And given the mage count we've seen in the latest battles, as well as the amount of magic they can put out, battlefields would look like Verdun but worse)

    If the incidence rate of magical ability is high enough, you might even start to see a market trading in raw ether. It would look a lot like our oil market.

    It's point 1 and 3 that truly make magical technology possible however. Depending on the prevalence of magic, 1+2 could still result in true magical technology, but from what I've read, there aren't enough mages. That means only 3 can do it. The mentioned ley line powering a huge weather spell could be one way of churning out more magic than your nominal income (regeneration of all the mages in your country). Especially if you find a way to store it.
    Natural magical phenomena you could bend to your purposes or distill down into raw ether would be ideal candidates of course. Not sure if I ever saw any, other than that ley line, which I still don't understand the mechanics of.

    Reply
    1. AoriiAorii Post author

      Runes can be fairly common, depending on where you go. Most mages use them in the Hyperborean nations; in the south only logistics people tend to use them.
      Ether regeneration rate depends on the person's capacity. I never bothered coming up with an equation =P
      Runes' material cost is minimum; the issue is (1) it does cost ether to make them and (2) they constantly drain ether due to diffusion. In contrast, gem magic is meant to resolve the problem of constant ether drain, however it has (1) expensive material components -- high quality gemstones and (2) is a fairly difficult technique.

      I'm not entirely sure there is a purpose to magically upgrading some of the weapons, like crossbows, since the whole purpose is that they can be given to non-mages to add supplementary firepower. Adding magical enhancement would mean nonmages can no holder operate them.

      Magic trigger for minefields is actually a nice idea, since a low-ether spell could trigger a massive minefield for far more effective damage. This may be expanded upon to use magical trigger for other devices.

      So, the Hyperboreans can manage 1+2 somewhat, as shown with the dragons' use of runic bombing payloads. They can stockpile large quantities of runes to be dumped en-masse. The downside to this is the rune-magic mages lack flexibility in combat. Also there are limits to their magic stockpiling too due to the runes' 'ether maintenance costs'.

      Honestly, past experiences has told me that it's best to avoid strategic range spells, because it won't take long before both sides become a wasteland. I like having an actual society to write about, not post-apocalyptic anarchy xD

      Tha main limitation of any spells powered by a ley-line is that, as noted in last chapter, the spell must be combined with the Projection Focus (power tap). The spell is specially cast, and the Projection Focus limits it to one location. Furthermore, ether must be able to cycle through the Projection Focus, into the spell, and then back, to constantly replenish power. It's good for defensive works and stuff like powering cities/industries, but it's useless as an offensive medium (unless you goal is to destroy everything within vicinity).

      Reply
      1. moutonslayer

        I don't know or I don't remember but there is a classificatin of mage in Hyperion ? So the idea of magical crossbow (if they have poor consumption of ether) can be an interesting idea because you can expand your manpower with low level mage (generally commoner, you always need cannon fodder) and accelerate the rate of new soldiers (you don't need the long time to train them, they just need to know how to operate a magic-tools).
        The mine can be controlled remotly with a specific signal (more like the use of C4), and I have a question isn't it possible to control the stability of a product with a magic spell (like reducing the indice of combustion or compact the black powder to create small ball that can be decompress when you want (A compact powder is more difficult to ignite than powder)).
        One thing wich is not shown in this dialogue is the copy of physical effect : for exemple the principle of a gun consist to accelerate a piece of metal by the creation of a overpressure (created by the gunpower) so the question can be 'is it possible to create a situation of the same type in a regular weapon using magic ?", or the creation of laser (the problem actually is the consumption) where the question can be : is there a general law who can explain the relation between the physicel energy (celerity=1/2*m*v²...) and the energy of ether needed to create the action desired. We can imagine the use of teleportation to create drop bomb in a guerilla welfare or the creation of railgun.
        The world of hyperion is very different of our world, in hyperion an individual can have more weight (you can choose the weather...) than in our world so it's surprising you didn't accentuate the role of guerilla welfare (apparently they don't use commando or solitary mage behind the line), in this situation magic tool like sniper (I speack of all distant weapon wich are accurate) can be determinant in the suppression of "dangerous individual" ennemies.
        Afterthat for strategic spell we can imagine different solution like the fusion of a drop of water (I don't remember the manga where this solution is used XD), the creation of big magnetic field (It can influence the activity of the brain) or the control of gravity to create black hole or inverse the gravity ^^

        Reply
        1. AoriiAorii Post author

          "Afterthat for strategic spell we can imagine different solution like the fusion of a drop of water (I don't remember the manga where this solution is used XD), the creation of big magnetic field (It can influence the activity of the brain) or the control of gravity to create black hole or inverse the gravity"

          Yeah... how about... let's not blow up this fictional world? I enjoy writing it you know =P
          Sometimes I wonder if the authors of those chuunibyou series even think what would happen if the major actors of every side starting throwing Spells of Mass Destruction. We have enough trouble trying to hold governments accountable; it's much harder to do so with individuals.

          Can magic be used to duplicate a technology? Probably. But is it worth it? Always think in Opportunity Costs.

          Reply
        2. Hakurei06Hakurei06

          Fusion with a drop of water? Negligible. Even in thermonuclear weapons the main purpose of the fusion material is to boost the efficiency of the fission reactions (including turning an otherwise useless hunk of metal into fissile material). If it was a strategic class weapon, annihilation seems more likely. Specifically, Mass-Energy conversion of a drop of water was used as a plot device in Mahouka by Our Lord and Savior Jesus Tatsuya Shiba.

          Reply
      2. Jseah

        Mmm, the thing is that runes operate independent of the operator. A runed crossbow made to fire runed arrows for supersonic crossbow bolts can be used by peasants... as long as your rune ammunition holds out. Then you're stuck with an expensive runed crossbow firing normal crossbow bolts.
        Alternately, if you're going the pure magic route instead of hybrid, you'd be handing out things like disposable dispel stones (in case enemies launch some slow burning AoE spell to block your advance), single shot disposable wands. Etc.
        Or charging up a spell battery, which would play a tactical artillery role similar to the rocket launchers. Or like you mentioned, bomb payloads.
        Even without spell artillery, you could simply create tons of runes, package them into a big ball of cloth, then use it as catapult ammunition. That should work as well as the bombing raid, only from siege engines.

        Even if the runes dissipate after some time (without costly gems which limits point 1), that still allows them to be stockpiled for use within their dissipation period. Or allow them to be topped up by a mage for maintenance, if creation takes longer than recharge.

        The point still stands that runes allow you to offset past *unspent* ether against today's.
        Like you said, runes are inflexible. If you prepared a Wind Wall spell in a stone to block arrows, that doesn't help at all against say, a fireball barrage. That means defending with runes is inefficient.
        But attacking runes is always efficient, unless you're making the runes on the spot to throw it at enemies. But they CAN'T effectively defend against your runes without using ether reserves, because runes are bad at defence. The runes you are attacking with are never made with the ether you are intending to spend on this battle, they are made with the ether you didn't spend yesterday when you weren't fighting.

        You spend Ether in the past to make runes, to force your enemy to spend Ether NOW to defend against it. Even if the runes don't deal much real damage, you weren't spending the Ether in the past on today's battle anyway! The runes are effectively free with respect to your army's ether reserves today.
        Once you use runes to blast down enemy shields or force them to spend ether to make shields or heal, then your army, which hasn't spent as much magic as them, blasts their half-drained mages with your full ether reserves.

        If the balance is in favour of defence, rune magic becomes an opening sequence in a battle, used to wear down the enemy or capitalize on weaknesses but not used to break armies.
        If the balance is solidly in favour of offense, eg:
        if rune magic attacks can still deal damage through barriers casted by mages, (bombs implies yes)
        or rune magic can be salvoed easily for a massive alpha strike, (again bomb payloads implies yes)
        or rune magic is simply too efficient (if one mage can keep a stockpile of runes of total effect that would require his full ether reserve or more to defend against)
        Then battles turn into massacres because rune magic can't defend against rune magic, and you don't have enough ether for traditional magic to defend against rune magic either! So rune alpha strikes end up wiping entire armies within minutes of contact.
        Tactics and good rune choice can change the ratios a bit or tip the balance into an offensive/defensive advantage though.

        Of course, if you made your army spend all their magic making runes and then got attacked by surprise... that could go a little badly. A partial solution there would be to have your army spend only half their magic making runes and keep their ether reserves at half maximum by crafting runes as their ether regenerates. A higher percentage would mean you can muster for combat faster, but also means your soldiers have to do things like stop every half hour to inscribe a rune. That could be distracting.
        And of course, if your enemy is a day or two away, you would completely stop rune production of course.

        Also, depending on how good the chemistry is, and the relative efficiencies of transmutation magic against explosion magic, it might be more efficient to transmute objects into explosive substances than exploding them directly. You can even just go for the biggest bang substance, since you don't care about stability at all. Like transmuting a section of ground into pure fluorine and magnesium dust. Dust explosion plus highly toxic byproducts.
        A bit like a certain signature move...

        It depends on how flexible a power source leylines are. And how flexible spells are. Especially if a power-transfer spell exists to move magical power from one spell to another. In particular, it may be possible to manufacture runes using power obtained from a ley line, even if a rune writing spell has to be constantly fed magic, there is a constant source right there.
        Such a device is not very useful in peacetime since runes don't last very long. But having one built in (or an army carrying one) would mean that a leyline can be commandeered to produce temporary ammunition. So as long as you had warning, any town with a leyline can be turned into an ammunition resupply point.

        At that point, since leylines are big sources of ether, an army defending a leyline producing runes will hold a major advantage because they can just blast away without care for ammunition.

        Strategic range spells are bad idea for the very reason you listed. (such things would occupy a place similar to nukes maybe? Just not quite as bad as ICBMs, as I doubt it would be cheap to make a spell have the range to circumnavigate the globe...)

        Reply
        1. AoriiAorii Post author

          I think much of those pros and cons have been shown in fiction already =3
          Huh. I haven't considered the use of Projection Focus as 'ammo stockpiling'... although they need more ether extraction efficiency first. The list of 'things to power' is only growing, just like our electrical demands.

          Reply
          1. Hakurei06Hakurei06

            A military base's power supply really shouldn't be run to capacity at any time but an emergency. If they're cutting it that close all the time, then they need to expand their infrastructure.

            Fun Fact: In the UK, the National Grid regularly has to handle massive, near instantaneous spikes (world record was about 2.8 GW) whenever the popular soap or sports program goes on commercial break or ends, because millions of Brits fire up their electric kettles at once to make tea. This phenomenon is often referred to as "TV pickup". Power transmission operators must be on standby to activate pumped storage hydroelectric generators or draw power from other countries via the relevant interconnector (IFA for France, BritNed for Netherlands).

          2. Jseah

            You wouldn't stockpile in peacetime of course. And with an imminent enemy attack, diverting all Ether extraction to military use (wall enchantments, ammo production, charging up limited use magic weapons, etc.) is only good sense.
            Or an army taking over a town in hostile territory would of course favour it's own ether requirements over the original inhabitants, especially if a reprisal is incoming.

            Like our economy, Ether rationing can be a thing.

    1. AoriiAorii Post author

      Nope! I do find love Russian music (both classical and folk singing) and their dour sense of humor~

      Reply
  7. Huggie

    I've been a reader since about the time you finished Volume 1 and I've been enjoying the series so far. I also like the whole Magic A Is Magic A.

    Nitpick:
    Nobel invented dynamite first and I thought that's what he's generally known for (at least the press releases around Nobel prize time). He invented plastic explosives later. Dynamite (1867) is nitroglycerin mixed with diatomaceous earth (similar to kitty litter) and I don't think it's a plastic explosive. Gelignite (1876) was also Nobel's invention and probably considered the first plastic explosive.

    As for my analysis on the whole gunpowder debate, I am assuming standard Earth physics, with magic doing predictable (but physically impossible) things. I also need a few questions about the magic answered.

    Questions:
    Do Legion Repulsion spells (Vol 2 Chap 7) work on mass only or a momentum (mass x speed) basis? i.e. if you had a bullet going fast enough would it go through the spell defense? And about how much mass/momentum would it work on (is it based on mage strength)? Crossbow bolts and arrows are about 20g, ballista bolts are 26 kg. For reference, NATO 7.62x51 bullets weigh 10g (25.5 for the full cartridge), NATO 12.7×99mm bullets weigh 45g, and WWII destroyer guns (5 inch) were at the 24-25kg range.

    Why would air burst mortars be useful vs. troops much less heavy armor troops with Legion Repulsion spells? If I understand the spell right, it should deflect shrapnel as well as the exploding rock fragments mentioned in Vol 2 chap 7. Could the volume of projectiles be a factor? I'm assuming that the Legion Repulsion spells wouldn't deflect large rocks and if they explode into rock fragments, would the spell deflect some or all?

    Are Legion Repulsion spells integrated into the town wards powered by the ley lines? If so, how powerful would they be compared to mage casted legion repulsion spells? Should I think about ley line wards to be a bubble of protection or walls of protection?

    Why did development of explosives for mining stop at black powder? Was it easier/safer/cheaper to find a mage to go blast the rock at that point? Nitroglycerin, then dynamite and eventually ANFO (ammonium nitrate/fuel oil) were all developed for blasting through mountains and quarries safer.

    So far, I believe that you have made a convincing case of why small black powder weapons like muskets aren't used. Black powder have several problems in firearms. First has already been mentioned which is the smoke. Second, it has a detonation velocity of ~400 m/s, which limits the speed that it can push a projectile. Third, it's more corrosive than smokeless. Finally, there's the whole, "it's really easy to blow them up".

    Cannons were developed because they had a higher rate of fire than trebuchets or other siege equipment and could take down stone walls faster. In light of magic to ease a raid to blow up any black powder stockpile big enough to load a cannon, I can also see why cannons would be more difficult to keep secure than trebuchets or ballista or catapults in a standard (i.e. non mage) army and suffer the same fate as black powder troops. On the other hand, why wouldn't there be "specialist" mage troops who would travel with miniaturized cannon and powder who would specialize in wall destruction duty or to take out massed infantry formations? Would it just be easier to have mages to just destroy the target with a few spells?

    The mortars as describe do solve the mass quantity of highly explosive stuff laying around issue. Why haven't they worked out the direct fire mode? i.e. You have a tube and a trigger group that would push the flint into the same firing mechanism as described rather than having to drop the shell into the tube.

    To be honest, I think some readers want Kaede to make a modern gun to show these stuck-up aristocrats who's boss Dirty Harry style. I don't think this is going to happen as the chemistry to make smokeless powder and the primer for a self contained cartridge should be beyond Kaede's knowledge. I, on the other hand, would be immensely amused if Kaede was swaggering around with two ammo belts (holding 127mmx1206mm 37.6kg cartidges) strapped to her chest and swinging 2 tons of naval cannon that's 4x taller than she is asking people if they felt lucky. :D

    Reply
    1. AoriiAorii Post author

      I raised plastic explosives because they are well known as a 'safe' explosive. IIRC dynamite suffers similar easy-to-detonate problems? Safer than powder but still dangerous to transport.

      I'm actually undecided on whether Legion Repulsion spells work as a function of momentum (MV) or kinetic energy (MV^2); honestly, think of this spell as an 'energy shield vs projectiles'. If the latter, it would actually make powder weaponry more effective since it produces higher projectile velocities and thus wear down the 'shield' faster. No, shrapnel does not work any better against them. But in the absence of reliable defense-piercing, the best way of defeating armored foes is volume of fire; a single shrapnel shell can release damage proportional to a volley of arrows. Whether it's better to use high explosive or shrapnel shells against certain types of troops is something left to the battle chapters =P

      Mages don't need cannons to take down walls. They have matter transmutation spells like Disintegration. That's the reason why I gave the cities wards (mostly focused on their walls) so the first spell volley doesn't render them useless and allow attackers to flood in.

      I choose mortars precisely because they're indirect fire because direct fire weapons must be exposed to enemy fire in order to operate.

      (sigh) One of the traits that modern culture annoys me so is that we're so stuck up on believing that our culture is the 'right one' and others are 'wrong' and therefore we should prove it to them. To use a very recent line I've said to people:

      In the 1200s, Europe exported Christianity, for it is the only way for man to live proper and righteous.
      In the 1600s, it exported Imperialism, for only a society administered by superior white men could prosper.
      Today, it exports Democracy, for it is the only true method of social governance.
      Are we really moving forward?

      Reply
      1. Huggie

        So, the runic shrapnel rock/shells should be decently effective in taking out troops warded by Legion Repulsion.

        As far as "safe' explosives, dynamite is much safer than nitroglycerin with shock sensitivity decreased by ~5x. Industry standard is ANFO right now, which is essentially similar to a fertilizer coated in diesel and it takes TNT to set it off. The problem for dynamite is storage because the nitroglycerin eventually seeps out (weeps) and now you have nitroglycerin "blasting cap" covering all of your dynamite. I'm thinking you're also mixing plastic explosives. Nobel called it plastique because you can form it like Plasticine (modeling clay) and shape your charge (and explosion). C4 is actually mostly RDX (not nitroglycerin) and like TNT, much safer to handle. On the other hand, we could be having an unreliable narrator in Kaede.

        I don't think mortars will fit into the scenario as you have presented, unless warded against spells similar to the knight's phantom "grenade" bag and are much more similar to the runic weaponry described during the seige of Nordkapp (vol 2 chap 7).

        First:
        The area above the walls in Nordkapp were resistant to spells, so protecting against projectiles would make sense. While mortars could lob over the wall defenses as projecting them infinitely above ground would be a waste of ley line energy. However, having a repulsion "roof" would make sense in the normal day-to-day operation of a city to keep the rain, snow and hail out. Again, it's "defense" from above would be less because of the more vast square footage and maybe not as strong as you're now taking away power from reinforcing the walls. Again as part of the "bomb load" in Massive Strike (Vol 2 Chap 13), they could have runes for breaching the repulsion wards. Mortars should not make it past the repulsion "roof", unless they had mages there to take out the ward roof, or runes inscribed onto the mortars to do that.

        Second:
        The anti-Katyusha Rocket Launchers spell should also be able to be adapted to take out single or volley fire mortars. A small group of mages should be able to defend against the numbers that Pascal asked for in Vol 3 Chap 5. Cluster munitions or really fast shells (very high lobbing mortars, maybe stratospheric?) would increase the chances of an effective weapon in this case.

        Third:
        Runic weaponry seems infinitely easier to manufacture and Vol 2 Chap 15, Pascal made ~140 javelins overnight while riding (although I am unclear about how much time it was between the plan being accepted and interception of the skywhale group, but it should be short). While it would probably take higher quality gemstones to keep the spells active in the mortar shells, It'd probably be that way due to the lack of rune mages in Weichsel and the need to centralize production. This would add to the expense of the mortar shells.

        So, I don't see the case of using black powder air burst munitions over a rune inscribed rock that would be able to be warded, when it hits the ground, it would "bounce" up to the right height, and then explode with the inscribed sonic runes. And in that case, I can't see Weichsel doing that, unless these mortar teams are based around a rune mage, which would make them more rare (and expensive) than Knights phantom. Such a mage should be good at removing a ton of dirt to make the hole, good at enchanting the mortar shell, and then good at Clairvoyance so that he can target the enemy.

        Anyways, I'm not the person that you need to convince. This is your world and I think you're doing a wonderful job of building it. Other people seem to be caught up in some flavor of American exceptionalism and I'm not sure if there's a way to convince them as they have faith that they're right.

        Reply
        1. feha

          I hadn't really thought much on the entire issue, and suspended my disbelief for the sake of story. But reading your comments made me ponder the topic and accidentally 'invent' tools of warfare that seemingly would beat a few of the ones I have seen in use.

          While I can see the problem with black-powder based firearms, I do still wonder why there seems to be very few tools for the mages to increase the (war-related) efficiency of their ether-usages. I don't mean the trope of a staff/wand etc. for concentration purpose. Instead, it's rather that I can't help but think how launching fireballs etc. must have some intense energy-loss during transit to the enemy, and often be prone to wound and not kill the enemy.

          While some spells need rather advanced technology to be replaced (such as exploding fireballs for aoe attacks), I am curios why the ether can't be used in conjunction to a metal-tube to create an air-pressure launching a projectile akin to a gun. With some clever spells and a few simple mechanisms it should be possible to make the projectiles reach very high velocities and with proper training used similar to sniper-rifles, by which I mean that it's a way to sparingly use ether to take out unwarded (depends on how wards work really, and why arrows and mortars would work) high-priority targets from long range (and likely without the noise from the blast of gunpowder revealing your location).

          Many of the spells in general seem unnecessarily 'flashy' (as in the create more effect than *omph*) and I can imagine that for example light-based offensive spells would be capable of phasing out a majority as they are rather difficult to ward against with nearly no energy-loss over distance while being nearly instant. The enemies are not warded against light of the visible spectrum as its possible to see them, and while a lot of energy is needed to make a laser or similar that can be usable for destructive purposes I can easily see a siege-team assigned to conjure one burning down the city-gate. Even if its decided making string light takes too much ether for it being usable against infantry, with how they clearly can make their spells aim by themselves, it should be possible to make weaker ones intended to blind enemies similar to flash-bangs (except without friendly-fire and no need to waste energy lighting up anything but the eyes).

          To save ether it might be possible to create lenses from the moisture in the air to focus the suns rays on a single point, gathering the sunlight from a vast area. Seeing as strong (arch-)mages can summon entire storms it does not feel too far-fetched from what a team of specialized mages should be capable of.

          Even for crowds there are alternatives, such as instead of a defenders mages trying to break a ward to kill the attackers they could be used to immobilize it for the soldiers to then take care of. Or as they can build vacuum cleaners (as described in a very early chapter), what stops them ages from taking care of groups by generating vacuum at the eyes of the attackers to rupture the eyeballs instead of hurling a gigantic exploding fireball at them (some sort of innate magic-resistace living beings have maybe)? And how far from that would it be to manipulate the air around them to displace anything that isn't hydrogen and oxygen before letting a tiny spark into the group? I assume the regular ranged magics already do something similar (perhaps because magic cant be invoked from too far away?) but even then there is no need to telegraph the attack by having it burning in transit.

          tl;dr
          My point is that we hardly see any "magical tools" in warfare and while we have seen tools such as flying duplicating weapons, the energy needed to (in this example) create the mass to duplicate them and then also keep them in the air flying at lethal speeds ought to have possible applications that would be far more deadly. I doubt I can come up with the best ones while writing a comment, but armies with a long history of continuously trying to improve the usage of its "valuable ether reserves" should have started to focus less on 'flashy' spells (as in the cliché ones from fantasy stories such as fireballs) and more on ones that does exactly what it needs as unnoticeably as possible.

          Reply
          1. Huggie

            The question is why bother with "magical tools" aside from runic weaponry (volume argument here). They already have ether bolts (vol 2 chap 7) that can fly 300 m without the issue of gravity drop, wind correction, etc. etc. Kentucky long rifles had an effective range of 100 to 200m depending on the skill of the user. Also, these ether bolts can be cast all day (read easily replenished ether demands). These are point attacks and very similar to sniper rifles. The other thing is that you probably could make "sniper" range variants by hardening the ether shell so that it doesn't dissipate.

            Minie ball didn't really need to be developed until after the acceptance of the musket/cannon and having your forces at further range was better.

            You do bring up a good question about the vacuum cleaner and the runic stones. Can the runic stones be recharged with any ether or ley line mana or is it user specific?

            I'm not sure mortars are exactly quiet. Every youtube video I see them in action, all the troops put their hands over their ears when they fire.

            As far as I can tell from the story, wide area effects, like your suggestion of the lens, would drain much more ether than point effects like ether bolts. I'm not sure whether ether bolts are only visible magically or do give off light. Word of god should be able to tell us.

            Finally, for the question of why bother with "flashy" effects when direct injection of unstable ether works just as well. I believe that multiple targets, it's just easier to go for area of effect spells, thus you start getting transmutation of materials to work through real physics.

          2. AoriiAorii Post author

            "Casters must use their nerve system as conduits to form an internalized spell array by channeling ether through to shape the spell," she continued on. "Ether also slowly dissipates back into mana once released into open air, hence Aura Magic uses a casting focus to condense the magical output for a hardened 'shell'." -- Volume 2 Chapter 12
            Spells, including fireballs, remain ether until it reaches the target when it manifests into the spell effect (I think Lightning Blast is the only evocation spell so far that changing into physical existence at the point of origin). But yeah, the Arcane Focus -- often mentioned as a Casting Glove in vol1 -- is the only widespread 'tool' for spellcasting.

            The Battle of Nordkapp (v2ch7-8) actually discussed several spell combos that was meant to maximize the offensive power of ether by manifesting physics/chemistry. Same with the Prussic Acid attack on the skywhales. The reason why elemental bombardment is used at all (as mentioned many times in chapter) is because it's (1) fast, (2) easy, (3) suppresses target to buy time. Think of it as infantry spraying the target with machineguns to suppress them prior to a charge.

            When discussion the invention/creation/adaptation of any kind of tool, always keep in mind of energy exchange. Putting in more power than you get out of it is not a good tool. There's a reason why the military took so long to develop lasers: it's destructive capabilities suck compared to its technical difficulties.

        2. Owl

          I don't see much problem with some "loopholes" in defences, sometimes the cost/benefit ratio is simply not there, so maybe there is limited overhead cover because it simply isn't cost effective/energy effective? It's like trying to armour a tank to resist 125mm fire all around, sooner or later you hit a point of diminished returns in trying to push that hunk of steel.

          As for the anti-mortar team, you are assuming that there is already a formal unit designed to intercept projectiles and know that the enemy is going to use "X". More likely than not, in battles you would probably see the enemy use something first, then design a counter *for that specific scenario* and when the enemy sees that it no longer works, he changes to another tactic/weapon et infinitum. The unit that "counters everything" does not exist, you'll get a tactic, the enemy designs temporary countermeasures, you counter-counter, he counter-counter-counters. So unless it is a very, very common weapon, I don't see much problem with some loopholes.

          Reply
          1. Huggie

            How much harder is it to intercept a mortar shell than a small ballista bolt or 150-200 arrows? Man-portable mortars fired shells that weigh between 3 and 4kg.

            A mage should be able to transmute the outer shell casing into water and then the whole thing becomes a dud.

            I am assuming that there's a formal unit designed to intercept massed range attacks (archer or mage). Modification of that talent group to anti-mortar teams isn't that far of a stretch as you're trying to stop a kinetic projectile from getting close. So no, I'm not assuming a omnipotent defense group (i.e. Aegis shield group). I am assuming that there have been attempts at projectile warfare between armies and there areas that have success are the trebuchets and other siege machines (vol 2 chap 7) and levied archers (vol 1 chap 1). But those are either throwing big things or a lot of them.

            So my question is, are levied archers not used enough that the loopholes exist? or if not, are the defenses developed for levied archers not suitable for mortars?

            As far as town defenses, shouldn't they be warded against massed arrow attack that can be shot up and over the walls?

          2. Owl

            You ever seen a mortar round in flight? Hard to "cast" at something you can't see or don't know it is there until it lands. There is a reason C-RAM uses total computer control and radar. But that is the real world.

            For your point on the warding of arrows, I don't see why not, that is what I mean by cost/benefit. A thin screen (if it is economical to put up one) might be efficient against low energy arrows but "overload" on the heavier mortar round. In reverse depending on the technology, the screen might be biased against high energy projectiles, which might mean the mortar bounces while arrows get through. That is the problem with speculative tech, you sometimes have no idea what it can do or how it is set up.

            I can even think of how a mortar is useful, the "screen" is biased against *velocity*! The "slow*-ish round (yes you can retard a mortar payload, especially things like White Star Parachute) passes the screen, then blows and drives lots of shrapnel all over!

            Depending on how Aorii writes it, defences can do a lot of strange things and sometimes the counters have to be equally strange.

            Dune force field anyone?

          3. Huggie

            Speed of mortar projectiles is about 700 ft/s at the muzzle, which is about 1/2 the speed of black powder explosion. So, yes it's fast, it's twice the speed of an arrow. Do you need to target a projectile to repel it with a repulsion field? I believe the answer is no.

            Well, this appears to loop back to the nature of the Repulsion spell. Aorii has hinted at being able to overload any spell by repeating the attack that it just deflected. Repulsion spells should work against thrown Kukri (~0.5 kg vol 1 chap 11) and arrows (vol 2 chap 7) that don't have spells to pierce through the wards. Volleyed arrows should get through a repulsion field, it's a question of how many.

            So, scenarios where I think mortars would work. 1) As part of massed ranged attacks, where wards and screens are worn away due to mass fire. 2) Ambush, it costs too much to continually protect yourself. It'd be a hit and run tactic. 3) Situations where you need to get destruction on the other side of a wall. Here, you would still need massed attacks as they know you're coming.

            So as part of scenario 1, they would need LONG range. As part of scenario 2 and maybe 3, you would need speed and the ability to entrench really fast to get out of line of sight. To entrench quickly, I think you would need a mage to move the dirt, probably a cubic meter or two of dirt and then put up the wards to protect from resistance screen. So while it's not as bad as a mage using ether to make weapons work, you would need a mage per mortar. I expect the squad to be made of leader, gunner, ammo, and forward observer at a minimum with the mage as leader or forward observer.

            So maybe Aorii has Pascal planning ambushes?

          4. AoriiAorii Post author

            Yeah most towns would have Repulsion wards, so it's kinda a pain to shoot the defenders =P You pretty much have no choice but to mount a siege assault with melee troops, which is expensive (in lives).
            Repulsion wards are effective against all physical projectiles -- ranged combat often comes down to resource attrition. (Honestly, that ward is basically the popular scifi conception of a force field xD batter it until it drains out)
            Excerpt above just mentioned massed Rhin-Lotharingie archery.

        3. AoriiAorii Post author

          mmmmh, I'll switch to dynamite then. Wonder if calling it a 'safe' explosive would go too far xD

          Mortars won't be some all-powerful solution. They'll have the issue all physical weaponry does against wards. We'll see how well they actually perform when battle comes.

          The thing with Ether Seeker is that:
          "Ether Seeker was a simple, independent spell that relied on numbers over precision. As a 'cast and forget' type of spell, it was capable of autonomously hunting multiple incoming sources of ether -- so long as they weren't other ''Ether Seekers''. They disrupted en-route spells by interdicting them with unstable, foreign ether. However, their ability to find targets was limited by proximity, which made it important for them to cross paths with hostile spells." -- volume 2 chapter 13

          Rockets can be tracked by the naked eye, especially early rockets which were far slower than modern equivalents. Even veterans can't see artillery shells, just hear them coming.

          I need to discuss at some point but Gem Magic is a fairly advanced version of rune magic; my character sheets list it as "Compressed Infusion" talent. It's a difficult and high cost way of bypassing the constant 'Ether Diffusion' problem of runes that's not meant for mass production, since only few can do it. Not that even the Hyperboreans don't mention any widespread deployment.

          Reply
          1. Huggie

            Ooh. Just thought of a scenario for "mortars" as anti-personnel and repulsion ward.

            Shaped fragmentation charge with a timer. The concept should be a cross between a claymore mine, a shaped charge, and a airburst munition.

            The mortar has a plunger on the front end, a timed fused, and an aerodynamic shell. The description is similar to what you have in alpha above. You have compartment 1 as the "propellant" compartment. Compartment 2 is the air burst charge. The air burst charge has BBs (or shrapnel) with explosives then a backing plate that forms a cone (large open end towards the front, see shaped charge).

            So the "mortar", if the timed fuse hits, it explodes at optimal height (optimal height being about 10m to spread far enough without losing too much power due to drag on the fragments). If the plunger hits a repulsion ward first, it pushes into the compartment 2 setting off a flint mechanism to ignite the explosives. This should allow the first few mortar rounds to try and pierce the repulsion field and then the rest of the volley should make it through to detonate at the correct height.

            The advantage that this weapon has over an arrow volley is the concentration of projectiles in the area that you want (although that maybe a bad thing if opposing mages know to look out for the small rounds, perhaps warding runes would help) plus higher rate of fire.

            Defense, would be transmuting magic, fire, firemist combo, maybe modified ether seeker and repulsion ward at distances greater than 10m. While possible, defense would be difficult to maintain on a continuous basis. Again, counter-counter measures would be mostly rune wards (possibly provided by mage attached to the mortar squad/fireteam).

  8. Random Passerby

    I don't particularly see a way for firearms to develop unless they go the way of rail guns or coil guns. They're really the only concept that a high schooler could throw out, but it would rely on the foreign world to be able to realize it. At the very least, such technology would be novel enough that it does not suffer opposition from experience on the issue. Trying to prompt advancement on existing technology without technical knowledge is likely to sound like wishful thinking, unless you elicit ideas from a novel direction. For that reason, trying to push firearms would be wasteful effort.

    As such, the likely weapon advancements (from Kaeda) are either weapons using electromagnetics or radiation/lasers. In either case, it departs from the role of a standardized weapon anyone can use - they will fall into the realm of magic applied to science and would be dedicated magic weapons unless they create super batteries to store energy.

    Rail guns and coil guns are conceptually simple but technically difficult because you are simply using a magnetic field to accelerate an object. Simple in premise, but hard to actually make because of the magnitude of the forces involved. The US Navy's prototype rail gun is pretty intense, but railguns and coilguns have been part of sci-fI for a while.

    Radiation, is a much harder one in both concept and technical knowledge. I dont know anything about how you actual go about generating any Microwaves / IR / UV / X-ray / Gamma radiation. I just know that stuff exists and can be harmful in high quantities, I don't know how one goes about generating it. You can probably throw Lasers into here as well, but they have a similar issue in: how do you generate and amplify light.

    Regardless, Kaeda cannot really prove much of anything - railguns, coilguns, lasers, direct energy weapons - all of those require significant amounts of technical knowledge applied to the simple concepts being used. A high schooler may have the general understanding of how they all work, but none of them would ever be able to realize one from scratch. Someone would have to take a leap of faith and just trust on it based on highly primitive demonstrations. Using electric current to cause a compass to spin could probably be done as a proof of concept for magnetism.

    Considering all this stuff would require mages to begin with, why not just cast Firemist + Ignition a few times and call it a day? Though I guess a railgun would make for an intense siege weapon or anti-sky whale weapon, especially if you enchant the projectile and make it enlargen after firing. Firearms would need too much development in comparison to a novel direction, since there would be a need to overcome preexisting notions about guns and gunpowder before it can even be made viable.

    Reply
    1. AoriiAorii Post author

      The biggest difficulty here is that (1) Hyperion has no electrical technology base, so of course understanding of electromagnetics is at a minimum and (2) as you noted, electrical engineering is not something just anyone can get into. Does Hyperion even have the level of mathematics skill (ODE calculus) to support electrical engineering? I don't know xD

      I've had a fairly technical education and radiation is far beyond me, so I'm not even going to consider it as a possibility.

      Reply
      1. Bbdest

        Well, I can say I've had more experience with rail guns of them, and I have to agree on Aorii on this. I mean, capacitors (the only practical way of charging a rail gun) are complex: The resistance of it is measured in imaginary numbers, and was a pain in the ass to calculate. However, since I'm sure that electrical based magic exists (I haven't reread to find if it does exist), radiation based weapons is not far off. Radiation based weapons occur when the atoms are excited (usually via electricity), in which they release photons due to changing energy levels. However, it requires a lot of the same particles to achieve a noticeable effect. Lasers, on the other hand, is a can of worms that gives me a headache thinking about it.

        Reply
  9. NotteBoy97

    Seeing you mention that the Mongolian Empire never fell apart makes me wonder how would magic affect the greek city-states, the Persians and basically Hellenistic culture in general.

    Reply
    1. AoriiAorii Post author

      The Hellenistic world still gets conquered by the Romans, because better organization skills =P
      the Persians are still on the map~

      Reply
  10. Orick

    I think there is a fixation on the use of gunpowder for rifles, but my limited understanding of history suggests that it was the use of gunpowder in cannons that spurred on the development of gunpowder weapons not rifles. It's Anti-fortress weapons vs Antipersonnel weapons; the cannon forced armies out of the castle and onto the field. The ever expanding range of the cannons created the need to confront the enemy with Antipersonnel weapons.

    Even if one accepts the reasoning that gunpowder would have been limited in its combat applications the importance of ranged Anti-fortress weapons could not have been diminished. Gunpowder weapons aren’t the only type of Antipersonnel projectile weapons, and I can imagine pressurized gas/liquid projectile weapons coming into development; hell with the presence of magic things like crystallized energy are conceivable. the projectiles themselves could be developed to the point where they deliver something in the order of the white phosphorus shells or that rune-fire stuff.

    In fact given the limited number of mages the magical equivalent of a gun would have been a natural progression given the need for such people as the samarans who have fewer mages. And once such weapons prove effective in combat against mages they would be in demand by weak nations who wish to deter more powerful nations. It would have been impossible to ignore the tactical advantages.

    What I’m saying is that Hyperion militaries seem to display an uncharacteristic reliance on mages. The natural flow of military doctrine as seems to be the case given the presence of military academies would have developed a system to conserve mage either by shifting much of the load to conventional weapons while elevating BattleMages to a strategic resource.

    Reply
    1. AoriiAorii Post author

      You mean like the modern military has an 'uncharacteristic reliance' on petrol despite England/France/Germany not having their own petroleum reserves? or renaissance armies actually choose to develop an 'uncharacteristic reliance' on the powder train? (as they replaced all the pikes/swords with muskets).

      The thing with siege on Hyperion: the walls aren't the tough parts. They do have Disintegrate spells which can make entire stone slabs vanish. It's the combination of obstacles backed up by wards. Could cannons prove useful here? Maybe. But then mortars are also siege artillery that fits the bill.

      I should counter that the moment you use magic as the energy source of developing weapons, then those weapons carry the same problem of relying on magic and therefore mages to stay maintained. Then I ask: how does the development of magical weapons improve the efficiency of destruction any more than the development of more advanced spells?

      The Samarans have a very different approach to military affairs that I've only dropped hints to thus far. Pascal had mentioned that they used "armored battle wagons" -- try a little creativity with the German linguistics here.

      Reply
      1. TTitan

        The 'uncharacteristic reliance' you mantions is odd, as the armament of an army cares not where it comes from but if it's there. Example: 15th century Netherlands had no iron deposits, no gunpowder of its own and a sparse amount of trees. but was stil able to fight of the spanish because of the income it gained thru trade.The north even got rich while the south was still a battlefield 150/250 km away.
        And wile armament may change over the century's, tactics rarely do. fire arms just incresed the range thus making it more effective.
        Line infantry used the principles as hoplite pikeman did. kill and halt the enemy while the cavalry flanks.
        The reliance of cavalry only changed because of it's ineffectiveness in WW1.

        P.S.
        If the samarans have so few Mages.
        Would it not make the "armored battle wagons" too few in number. Relative to the size of their country and army that they can muster.
        Making Blitzkrieg,Concentration of force,making a combined arms team and/or other usual tactics inifective?
        As for that regular people can't drive "armored battle wagons" set up defensive wards against magic based attacks or use it to kill someone.
        or is it going to be more in line of a moving fortress?

        Reply
        1. AoriiAorii Post author

          When Guderian wrote "Achtung Panzer!", he clearly didn't anticipate that the Germans would run out of oil, which they did because Europe lacked native oil fields (only sizable one in Romania which still couldn't supply enough). Resource trading is only effective when there are actually resources to buy (i.e. the British brought up all the chromium ore in WW2 just to keep it out of German hands). My point is military development gears towards what the establishment sees as most effective, not necessarily what they see as most plentiful. Even Russia and China didn't use human waves attacks due to abundance of manpower; they did it because the lower education quality of both countries made it impossible to compete qualitatively, thus quantitative was the only choice.

          I never said anything about how the wagons operated =P So you're making pure assumptions there. In either case, too early for me to bring them out for discussion. I have a rough outline of how they work, but not much detailed work because they're simply not pertinent to the storyline yet.

          Reply
      2. Orick

        Uncharacteristic reliance on a single combat modality

        The primary fuel for both WWI and WW2 was coal by the way not petroleum; coal powered ships, trains and factories thus making petroleum stockpiles sufficient to sustain a Short war. And by the way there’s all that synthetic oil the Nazi produced from coal; not that Uncharacteristic given that the petroleum powered automobile engine was relatively easy to produce and support. Britain and France actually controlled oil rich territories. The Nazi ran out of the ability to produce oil as a result of allied bombardment not due to lack of access.

        Military Doctrine is driven by experience and experiences during WWI changed the German approach to WW2 combat modalities. It’s not like we’re talking about stone age people; if they have academic institutions then the development of multi-layered combat modalities would emerge as a counter to enemies. It would be one thing if Hyperion experience long periods of peace, but as written wars are periodic and constant.

        Much as constant wars in Western Europe spurred on the development and advancement of war technologies and the industrial infrastructure that supports them the strife in Hyperion would naturally lead to the same result; be it spell development or conventional weapons. Consequently a BattleMage would be a rather expensive resource given the years necessary to train an equip them; in this sense the BattleMage is like a fighter pilot; an extremely effective finite resource. Today’s armies can’t move without air cover but air cover can’t produce victory on the ground

        If the mage is the artillery then we have to Compare a mage that takes 20 years from birth to the frontlines in contrast to a Cannon that takes weeks to produces. No guesses where military planners would choose to put their dollars since warfare always comes down to the allocation of competing resource needs. Reliance on the mage force amounts to putting all your eggs in one basket and humans aren’t nearly stupid enough to do that; not when their lives are on the line. Not to mansion that there are also commercial interest that would favour a mechanized military that is supported by productive industries.

        I don’t see how any strategist worth his salt would miss the fact that mages were a strategic asset as well as a strategic weakness; the longer the engagement the more likely that victory comes down to the interaction between non-mages, and the longer the war the harder it becomes to replenish the mage resource. A large country would naturally conclude that long term victory over a smaller country means depleting the enemy’s mage resource through a long war of attrition. Culture be dammed nations would even go as far as to institute polygamy to secure the strategic mage resource in the event of asymmetrical approaches to warfare.

        Reply
        1. AoriiAorii Post author

          I'm sorry, your comment comes off as if conscription of non-mages and widespread use of non-mages isn't a thing? That most land battles are not predominantly fought by commoner troops with magic support instead of only between mages. The modern military have both its low ground infantry and specialists that take many years of training (technical experts like pilots are a relatively new thing; the traditional limitation is the officer corps). Same with Hyperion. My notes (not in-fiction) actually coins the term MCO: magic-capable officer. Military hierarchy is designed to maximum the effectiveness of combat units while minimizing the need for MCOs.

          Reply
        2. Owl

          Actually, warstock of Germany's petrol reserves were only enough for one year at the start of the war. It dropped down to a low of 4 months just before Barbarossa from the figures I've seen. This was in a way why Hitler backstabbed Stalin, his oil reserves were in very low levels and he needed the Caucasus oil fields, hence Kursik and the amount of resources poured into it. When Edelwiess failed, the German army was left in worse straits. Coal to fuel was simply a drop in the pan from the amount the German war machine consumes on a daily basis.

          Reply
          1. Orick

            Before the invasion of Poland synthetic fuel met half the needs of Germany and once war broke out the NAZI captured oil stockpiles from defeated Countries; 1 million tons in France and and half million tons in the Netherlands. Plundered oil from France and the Netherlands more than replaced the oil spent in the Western Europe campaign. In May 1940, Germany reached an agreement with Romania to swap German arms for Romania oil at a significant discount. By 1941, Romania was exporting over half its oil to Germany, about 3.6 million tons per year.

            If half the pre-war need is a drop in the pan then you pan must be extremely small

            In fact, fuel was probably among the strongest arguments not to invade the Soviets. Even after Directive 21 was issued in December 1940, which called for preparations to be made to invade the U.S.S.R. by no later than May 1941, economic and military experts were still unclear on how the Wehrmacht was going to be able to fight its way to the South Caucasus with only weeks worth of fuel stockpiled.

            The invasion of the U.S.S.R was largely about ego; the Nazi had been too successful in the west with quick victories against unprepared western powers. The Germans had started to believe their own myths and started dreaming of a Global empire. They ignored basic things like Logistics and suffered 2 crushing defeats in the east; western Europe is relatively small in areal size at about the size of the original Sudan or DRC, but the USSR on the other hand was a vast territory and by the time the NAZI reached the outskirts of Moscow they were almost out of fuel.

            After they failed to gain control of eastern oil fields they went back to synthetic fuel especially with the Soviets on their heals at every turn.

            By early 1944, German synthetic fuel production had reached more than 124,000 barrels per day; that's not in anyway small.

          2. AoriiAorii Post author

            IIRC Germany actually sought to reach sufficient synthetic fuel production so they are no dependent on petrol imports before the war. Of course, they were nowhere close enough. For the most part though, the German war machine barely kept going using captured fuel supplies from occupied countries/territory... that is, until end of 1941/start of 1942. By all records, Case Blue was launched because they were running out of captured fuel, and the thrust into the Caucasus certainly did run out when they failed to capture the oil fields at Maikop intact.

            Keep in mind that while many of those fuel production numbers might sound high, Germany's heavy armor and air also consumed fuel at a ridiculous rate. Not to mention the thousands of support vehicles that had to use fuel just to transport fuel to the front, or, as noted by many front-line officers: German infantry only knew how to keep warm in the Russia winter by burning fuel.

          3. Owl

            "At the outbreak of the war, Germany’s stockpiles of fuel consisted of a total of 15 million barrels. The campaigns in Norway, Holland, Belgium, and France added another 5 million barrels in booty, and imports from the Soviet Union accounted for 4 million barrels in 1940 and 1.6 million barrels in the first half of 1941. Yet a High Command study in May of 1941 noted that with monthly military requirements for 7.25 million barrels and imports and home production of only 5.35 million barrels, German stocks would be exhausted by August 1941. The 26 percent shortfall could only be made up with petroleum from Russia. The need to provide the lacking 1.9 million barrels per month and the urgency to gain possession of the Russian oil fields in the Caucasus mountains, together with Ukrainian grain and Donets coal, were thus prime elements in the German decision to invade the Soviet Union in June 1941."

            Reference: W. Tomberg. "Wehrwirtschaftliche Erkenntnisse von 5 Kriegsjahren," (November 1944), pp. 58, 61; see also Speer’s remarks in Imperial War Museum, FDC 1, Interrogation of Albert Speer, 5th Session, May 30, 1945, p. 3.

            These numbers included conversion from coal. So if you are calling it a small pan, then so be it, though it looks to me like a huge pan and a few drops. 3.7 million barrels of synthetic per month, 7.25 million barrels usage per month. It's a losing proposition, you're only replacing less than half of what you are using with synthetic, the other 25% is from natural sources, but that still leaves a shortfall of 25%

  11. Pader

    Gunpowder may be considered too hazardous. But magically-empowered blowgun or railgun should be an option.
    Do you need to be a mage to trigger a precharged rune, or is it just the norm for safety reasons ?
    You would still need some Runelord to supply every dozen gunmen in advance, but the reach and accuracy may be worth it in the initial charge, before switching to conventional melee weapons. Cost and mass-production are serious flaws, but maybe Northmen considered it before ?

    On the whole, I too agree your arguments are sound enough. Explosives in Hyperion do not need to be chemical, unless you try to assassinate a mage with a bomb that bypass his/her ether sensitivity.
    While I am at it, I wondered for a while, is mana saturation on a battlefield a cause for sickness ?

    Anyway, thank you for the alpha treat !

    Reply
    1. AoriiAorii Post author

      No it's specifically mentioned in vol.2. that among the big advantages of runic magic is that anyone can activate a runestone as long as they know/can trigger the activation condition.
      I don't get the obsession towards railguns either. The biggest reason why the military took decades to build even experimental railguns is that the exchange ratio is terrible: aka you had to put in way more power than you get out of it. Hyperion (with it's lack of electrical infrastructure) certainly doesn't have superconductive coils.

      Reply
      1. Zhalfirin

        Technical nitpick:
        Railguns use neither coils (these are coilguns and are fairly different in approach) nor superconductive material (current superconductive material needs to be supercooled which would lead them to lose their superconductivity almost instantly from the frictional heating). There are such a thing as quenchguns, which are coilguns that use superconductive coils.

        More on topic:
        The biggest problem with practical railguns isn't about delivering enough electricity through them to drive a projectile to usable velocities, it's the ablation/erosion of the rails themselves from the extreme friction(and the heat this produces) as the projectile travels down the rails. This is because of a fundamental necessity that the projectile make contact with both rails to close the electric circuit. As such the rails become unusable after as few as a single shot and need to be swapped out.

        Creating a conductive material for use as the rails that can withstand the heat and friction and not need to be replaced every other shot is, for modern material science, a bit beyond it.

        But when you introduce magic you can make small believable spells that in turn allows something impracticable to become easily possible, in this case a spell that reduces or removes friction between surfaces. Now you no longer need any advanced material, only an understanding of the underlying principles, and it's not like the people of Hyperion don't know of magnetic fields or how to utilize them, since from the limited description of the Polarity Rail it is a train propelled by magnetic forces.

        As for powering it, modern one's use a large capacitor bank that can store enough electricity to meet the peak levels demanded and can release the stored electricity extremely quickly. We have seen that they have spells to create lightning (and even transform themselves into lightning in Reynald's case), so creating a spell to generate a fast discharging high power electric current shouldn't a problem for them.

        So other then a set of rails, some metallic projectiles, and a mage that only needs to have learned two spells(a Yeoman could do this, as I don't think they are generally trained to the same levels as noble's) it could be done.

        Just like it's real life counterpart I couldn't see these being standard battlefield weapons. With the power these projectiles have I wouldn't want them called in anywhere near me during a battle and on Hyperion I feel that the circular error probability of their artillery wont be as good as ours. So using them in close encounters or on small targets might be out, but for long range bombardment or larger targets they would be unequaled even by pure magical options. Even if you severely cut back the expected performance figures that these magic hybrid railguns would have to 30-40% of realworld designs they would be capable of hitting strategic targets upward of 40 km away. With a few of these, cities, encamped armies, Skywhales, anything large or near stationary would be at risk for enemies and at the ranges involved there will be no risk of retaliation. If we want get real crazy then you could have the Yeoman running it cast Float or Air Glide on the projectile before firing it, now it will drop slower from gravity and extend the firing parabola so it can travel much farther. Push it a little more and have the artilleryman learn a few rune magic spells, have them inscribe Dispel Barrier on it like Admiral Winter did for his earthquake runestones, so that the projectile can avoid any antimagic the enemy might try.

        Now after all that, I don't really expect railguns to appear on Hyperion (except maybe in the distant future). But the idea that such a thing COULD be made is what I like. It's the synergistic way that you can apply things to combine a fantasy worlds magic with real science to make something amazing.

        So I'm glad you made a discussion topic about firearms/modern weapons and their feasibility in your story. Talking and debating these points is, for me at least, almost as enjoyable as reading the story itself. Maybe in the future you can make one on how healing, medicine, and sanitation appear in Hyperion? (I have questions about Ether resistance and regeneration).

        Reply
        1. AoriiAorii Post author

          ummm...

          "...these mission requirements require launch currents of a few million amperes, so a typical railgun power supply might be designed to deliver a launch current of 5 MA for a few milliseconds." - Wiki

          I don't know too much about railgun design but I did study Electrical Engineering in college. Material limitations is one of the obstacles of power transmission. Any kind of high current transfer via electricity requires high-conductive material, and if the assembly is to be lightened enough for mobility the material would need to be superconductive so less volume is needed to transmit more power. Otherwise the sheer current forced through the rails would generate so much heat via electrical resistance that the material would distort, buckle, and melt outright.

          (IIRC even Civilization games use "superconductors" as the technological prerequisite for maglev rails and mass drivers)

          EDIT: I asked a technophile friend, and he also brought up the issue of plasma discharge as the current arcs over to the other rail, with enough heat to quickly ruin the device.

          Reply
          1. Zhalfirin

            Ohmic heating is a concern but it is reduced by the nature of how a railgun works. The point where Ohmic heating is taking place is the point between the rail and the projectile and the projectile is constantly moving down the rail, this leads to the heating being spread fairly evenly along the rail. Also to note is the projectile doesn't start from rest, the projectile is injected into the rails at some speed.

            As for arcing and the plasma damage that the rails experience, its not arcing between the two rails that is the problem, its arcing between the rail and the projectile being fired. This arcing occurs when the projectile and rail don't maintain a firm interface as it travels down the rail. It's the same thing seen on subway or cable cars when sparks come from the power rail/line that they draw electricity from as they travel. Provided that the rails are parallel and smooth, the remaining cause of irregular contact would be from surface wear from friction. Since I premised this concept on the use of a spell to greatly reduce or remove friction between the rail and projectile, the problem of arcing is also minimized at the same time.

            The introduction of superconductors wouldn't change the weight of the railgun at all since the majority of the weight isn't from the rails themselves (you actually design the rails to be as thin as you can tolerate to maximize the field strength). The majority of the weight would come from the insulating structure and the barrel enclosure, which has to be fairly strong as the rails aren't just pushing the projectile but directly against each other as well. While a superconductor may remove the consideration of Ohmic heat generation, the material would also have to withstand the repulsive forces and pressures generated from the firing which limits how thin the material can be. That said, a superconductor WOULD be good for a railgun for other reasons, alongside most high power devices/environments, in that with the elimination of resistive loses from the rails and cabling to deliver power would greatly improve the electrical efficiency (~25% of the stored power is lost to the rails and cable). So while a superconductor might be good, it's not necessary.

            As long as they can get Copper for the rails and Aluminum for the projectile, and couple them with no/low friction, then all that's left would be them putting together a working design.

  12. Evil Twin2146

    Forgive me if I'm wrong, but I thought ether seeker only countered spells. And if it is possible to change it to take out 48 rockets flying at you then why cant it be cavalry or just seeking out soldiers to injure?

    Reply
    1. AoriiAorii Post author

      Rockets are also filled with hazardous compounds and creates a very noticeable signature.
      1.Change the seeker's condition to home in on a high-heat reaction instead of external magic signature.
      2.Change the seeker's 'attack payload' to a high-voltage, low-current spike instead of hostile ether injection (to disrupt spells)
      3.Watch the rocket blow itself up.

      Reply
      1. Evil Twin2146

        Why can't ether seeker's target large ether reservoirs, people, and then inject a high current or hostile ether to the target? Or does a mages own ether protect them from this sort of attack?

        Reply
        1. AoriiAorii Post author

          It's mentioned that anyone who have their own ether (i.e. mages and familiars) have an "ether resistance" that naturally repel hostile ether, which is why one-shot-kill spells like Disintegrate doesn't work on most mages.

          Reply
          1. Evil Twin2146

            Guess I forgot about that. Is there a spell that can negate this ether resistance?

          2. AoriiAorii Post author

            No.
            I created the mechanic of Ether Resistance just so people can stop one-hit-killing each other with transmutation spells.
            Because seriously, most fantasy writers have no respect for human physiology.

            (To below: Dispel removes ongoing spell effects; not ether resistance; although 'Scorch-Ether Dispel' can technically lower ether resistance as it burns the target's ether away, but there are more complications to that spell)

          3. Sonoda YukiSonoda Yuki

            To an extent. I think the spellword was dispel, typically used in conjunction with catalyst, and "form" words like screen, field, or fragmentation. Burst and flare also seem like they'd work well, but if you have the raw power and talent try using catalyst disjunction, which hasn't- I mean, umm... Abracadabra!

  13. Dragon_ANGL

    Reminds me of the science vs arcana arguments of David Weber& Linda Evans' "Hell's Gate" series. Also, there are instances of magic and science working together, such as that magic highschool series (forget the name with the "flower" upper class of students), or the Time & Space Bureau of "Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha" (mostly seen in the 3rd season).

    Reply
    1. Dragon_ANGL

      I believe I now remember the LN/manga/anime's name, if people are interested; it's something similar to Mahou Koukou no Routtesei.

      Reply
      1. AoriiAorii Post author

        Jesus protagonist -___-
        All righteous, all knowing, and walks on water. Oh, and the entire purpose of the cast is to make him look cooler.

        Reply
        1. Hakurei06Hakurei06

          Okay, that settles it. Get alchemists to purify and uranium from pitchblende. Unlike here, it should be much easier to fission the U-238 we try to separate in uranium enrichment (Nuclear? Hah! May as well work from the thermonuclear model. we need lithium deuteride, though...). Detonation is via crystal shortly before deployment with a predetermined trigger. I wanna see an Oppenheimer or Bainbridge reference. :P

          Mages may protect themselves from Magic and known physical phenomena like schrapnel, heat, and the shockwave, but would they have countermeasures against radiation? and given the setting, I wouldn't rule out an effect like an Ethero-Mana Pulse (punpunpun) frying any magically conductive circuits if not killing mages outright. Most definitely overpowered, but it'd certainly be a much more viable route than turning black powder arnaments into a peasant weapon.

          Reply
          1. Hakurei06Hakurei06

            "purify and" was a remnant from when I figured uranium enrichment might be necessary.
            "magically conductive circuits"... whoops, I mean nerves.
            "arnaments"... I can't spell very well, alright?

          2. AoriiAorii Post author

            I don't know the first thing about radiation (other than it's a signature of weak force) so I'm not writing it =P

          3. Sonoda YukiSonoda Yuki

            :´(

            Crash course? I'm no expert, so while i couldn't give you a dissertation worthy of a nuclear physicist's interest, i could probably manage to relate the basics to the average layperson at least no worse than the next guy without any glaring errors.

  14. Anon

    As an avid shooter, I would be making my own smokeless cartilages and simple bolt action DMRs. I assume there's equipment to work metals and chemicals to make nitrocellulose and fulminate/TNT. However, I don't expect the average person to have the same chemistry knowledge as a chemistry major.

    Reply
    1. Huggie

      I don't think there's equipment to make the chemicals that you're talking about. I'm not sure there's a chemical industry at all.

      Chemistry and the chemical industry, I believe, came out of alchemy. When you could have spells that would turn lead into gold and make what ever other material you need, I don't think alchemists or proto-chemists would bother other than try to figure out better spells. The premium of really hard to make new materials would make it economically viable for mages to earn a living making raw materials. Then, there's no real economic drive to make it cheaper via chemical means. So, really, I take the whole magic economy as replacing most of the chemical economy.

      Black powder for blasting isn't all that great. There's an economic driver to get something better and safer. If a mage can cast firemist combo, and it's faster and safer than black powder, that would be it. Then the only reason why they would continue to use black powder is the lack of mages (i.e. price). There wouldn't be any driver economically or militarily to get better explosives.

      Reply
  15. Owl

    "Oh, and also anyone who claims Kaede should be able to make a percussion cap better be able to tell me how they're going to make fulminate of mercury -- which can blow you up when done wrong -- using only high school chemistry knowledge."

    Piezo-electric crystals. Basically impact fuses. Smash them, generate an electrical charge, off you go! I'm sure a world with magic can come up with something similar, fire magic or electrically charged crystals that trigger when broken. Timing charge could be similar to that of the old hand grenade, a slow-ish burning column of slow match in a metal tube until it hits the main body of explosives. But compared to a mage, why bother? A mage is a self-propelled, self-supplying artillery piece with flexible programming and self-defence/shielding capability.

    I'm still wondering why people even bothered with improving gunpowder in the first place unless it had a secondary purpose like China and their celebration fireworks and signal rockets.

    Reply
    1. Sonoda YukiSonoda Yuki

      Maybe why they bothered improving nitroglycerine? Rocks need blasting, and it's easy to make, but difficult to use... At least, as aorii discusses, safely and reliably.

      Piezo-electric.... Wouldn't sufficient noise set those off? I mean, perchlorates should be relatively stable compared to fulminates.
      As for magic and magic items, they have a very short shelf-life apart from the caster. So it's not much of an option as a peasant weapon.

      Reply
      1. Anon

        I don't think there are many ppl who how to make perchlorate salts from basic chemistry knowledge and equipment. Also it's going to be hard to make sealed primers that won't let these hygroscopic salts from soaking up water.

        Reply
        1. Hakurei06Hakurei06

          High temperature electrolysis of chloride salts... is probably over-simplifying things, but it shouldn't be wrong. I do get your point, though.

          Reply
      2. Huggie

        Piezoelectric are materials that produce voltage through pressure. This also works in reverse, where you can create pressure via voltage. I think the new bathroom scales (no springs) have this where they balance the voltage produced against the battery and tell you how fat you are. So, I think the idea here is, you hit it with the hammer, it generates a voltage and somewhere down the line you have to electrical plates close together and this would set off a spark. I think battery technology would make this easier than trying to work out how to make piezoelectrics to work as the voltages they produce are really small. Speaking of batteries, or Leyden Jars, I'm a little surprised they haven't shown up as a curiosity.

        Perchlorates are contact sensitive and are in the same class as fulminates, primary explosives. I haven't found the document where they tested how much more sensitive perchlorates are vs. fulminates. There is an ASTM test method (ASTM D 2540–70 Standard test method for drop weight sensitivity of liquid mono-propellants) because people are thorough.

        Reply
    2. AoriiAorii Post author

      Because there are always innovative people who will seek alternatives -- just at a much slower pace if they don't have proper funding. Also because explosives is always good for mining.

      Well, a timed charge is exactly as the timed fuse written above. I've actually never heard of piezoelectricity until now. Will have to read up.

      Reply
      1. Anon

        Made AP before in middle school. But, I don't think there's any oxidizers strong enough to did it in Kaede's case.

        Reply
  16. Owl

    I agree that in light of alternatives, no one in their right mind would use firearms. The arquebus and musket took literally 2-3 centuries to get it right and even then failed to get rid of all the shortcomings. When talking about firearms, people also think of modern copper based armour piercing rounds, but in the past, the old lead ball could *not* pierce heavy armour! It was a tradition for old Japanese armoursmiths to fire into a suit of new armour and leave the dent there as "proof" of the reliability of the new armour piece. I think European armoursmiths may have done the same. Then there is the "wall of smoke" problem where your shot actually blocks visibility for your followup until the invention of "smokeless powder". The only advantage to firearms was that it allowed conscripts grabbed off the streets a decent chance of killing the enemy, though with some risk to themselves too. If not for this, we would not be where we are now with guns. We only got reliable firearms in 1836 with the invention of breech loading guns and the first "modern gunpowder war" was the Russo-Japanese war of 1905, 450 years after arquebuses appeared in 1450s.

    Fun fact, the modern 155mm artillery piece has ammo that is about 20 shots per ton. With a 6 gun battery, you can say that it uses roughly a ton of ammo every 3 shots. So why would anyone want to lug a ton of ammo for 3 shots when you have mages that can do that on their own feet? In fact, even "mortars" would be pushing it if you can have magical tools that replicate that effect to an extent. No lugging around the tube or ammo. Heaven for artillerymen! If there were firearms, they would probably be high risk/high efficiency mortars and portable artillery given to poor conscripts, the "poor man's mage" in other words.

    Reply
    1. AoriiAorii Post author

      huh, this is news to me. I've always read that one of the reasons for the rise of the arquebus was that it was a superior armor piercing weapon than any other ranged weapon? And they were comparing against the heavy arbalest by that time, which certainly had a reputation for piercing all but the toughest armor.

      The mortars are basically an attempt here to boost firepower with only a limited increase in vulnerability.

      Reply
      1. Owl

        From the wiki entry on aquebuses.

        "It was a common practice to "proof" (test) armor by firing a pistol or arquebus at a new breastplate. The small dent would be circled by engraving to call attention to it. However, at close range, it was possible to pierce even heavy cavalry armor, although penetration is heavily dependent on the power of the arquebus and the quality of the armor."

        I know the Japs use to do this, not sure if the Europeans did it as well.

        Of course, like all armour, there are always weak spots and if one round doesn't work, volley fire is there to ensure there is always round 4,5 and 6 following behind.

        Reply
  17. MochiMochi

    Also, The Dawn Imperium has been mentioned a few times in this series but will you ever cover them in the future. Based on what has been previously said, I assume that it is China's equivalent in the Hyperion universe. I am really interested in hearing more information on it such as its culture, level of development, technology, magic system, etc.

    Reply
    1. AoriiAorii Post author

      Actually...

      Seeing the biggest downfall of the Mongol Empire was humanity's short lives, you could say this China is more... Mongolified. Oh, and Japan falls, because in a battle between weather mages for the control of the Kamikaze, China's sophistication back then wins.
      I wish I had the opportunity to talk about them more xD

      Reply
      1. Sonoda YukiSonoda Yuki

        So the typhoons end up not being multiple freak accidents in their nature and also weren't to the benefit of the land of rising sun?

        Reply
      2. MochiMochi

        What about their magic system? You've already introduced Aura magic used by the Hyperions and Runic magic used by the Hyperboreans. Do the Dawn Imperium and the Cataliya Caliphate have their own magic system? The magic introduced so far seems like it has some basis in science. Will this remain true for the other 2 nations should they have their own magic system or will they be based around concept such as onmyoudo, etc. ?

        Reply
        1. Zhalfirin

          Not sure if my memory is correct, but I think the Aura magic system was created by the Dawn Imperium then adopted elsewhere.

          Reply
          1. AoriiAorii Post author

            Yep! And the caliphate is actually part of the "Imperial Tech Group" because most of their territories are formerly part of the Holy Imperium, which they adopted many things from.

  18. Mondo

    Honestly... the whole magic hinders technology theme sounds fishy to me. Wouldn't it be exactly the other way around if someone used his head?
    Magic seems to provide many shortcuts on technology.
    And there are a lot more non-mages in this world. So why don't they arm up with mage-technology instead of sticks and swords. If war is about what works, then shouldn't such mage-techs been deployed long ago?

    Reply
    1. Owl

      Mondo, it might work if there was a "need" but if magic was so all encompassing and handy that it solves the problem outright, then there is no need for "technology" to develop. In fact, why would you consider "magic" not technology? If it existed and had firm rules, it would be as much "technology" as electronics and thermodynamics!

      It is only us that separates "magic" and "technology" because we do not have magic. For a magic based civilization, magic would be technology. A proper demarcation would be "magical" technology and "electronics" technology or "chemistry" technology, push/pull factors between specific facets of technological development rather than "all-technology" vs "magic".

      Reply
    2. AoriiAorii Post author

      Because the pivotal bottleneck in the Hyperion magic system is the supply of ether; with few exceptions, magical power is only created through a spellcaster's soul. Give enchanted equipment to a non-mage and they can't even use it.

      Reply
      1. Owl

        Been a while since I read Hyp, forgotten/missed the part where non-mages can't use magical items. In this case, there would be a serious push for non-mage weapons, for peons to act as cannon fodder if nothing else.

        Reply
        1. AoriiAorii Post author

          Stopped because waiting for volume to finish or stopped for other reasons?

          Crossbows do fine for basic weapons, though is there even a need to optimize 'cannon fodder' for effectiveness?
          Also assuming the Roman Empire never fell and professional soldiering persisted, I believe Europe would never have relied on the use of levied cannon fodder as much -- that's mostly a product of the early, pre-Black Death feudal era.

          Reply
          1. Owl

            Stopped waiting for you. :P

            As for levies, that is very probable, especially if there is a social structure for habeus corpus present in law, so grabbing a Roman citizen off the streets for the armies is a no-no. However there have been exceptions where populations with decent levels of manpower and social/legal structure have resorted to shady tactics to fill manpower, like the British Royal Navy in the old days with the tales of being shanghaied and press gangs.

            I suspect the use of levies would actually depend on how desperate the country is for manpower compared to the enemy. Or how greedy the lord of the attacking country is.

          2. AoriiAorii Post author

            So spoiled by Krytyk. I don't update that slow xD
            Britain's issue is that their manpower is too low, so the Navy has to get it from somewhere. Their navy is quite qualitative after all

    3. Mondo

      If that's the case, then the pressure to develop technology and non-magical devices should still exist.
      There seem to be thousands- or at least a hundred normal soldiers for each mage. If you make just a small improvement on those soldiers which makes them able to kill two instead of one mage, you have a huge win.

      If the situation is like it is, a mage is an unbelievable important asset for artillery, communication and intelligence. If you make one hundred normal people able to take out a mage, which took years and years of training, then the motivation to create non-magical weaponry should be beyond belief.

      I call that a plot-hole and not a small one.

      Reply
      1. AoriiAorii Post author

        (1) you assume the mages, who control the current industrial, financial, legal, and educational sectors of major countries, would allow this to happen or even allow it to get started without nipping it in the bud. Doubly problematic if the research requires significant magical investment in the first place. Most nobles (especially those in power) were not keen to support peasant rebellions you know =P On earth, at least there's nothing keeping the peasant from dabbling in gunpowder.

        (2) who said that technology stopped advancing? I did build the Hyperion military machine with far better torsion weaponry than our traditional counterparts. For example Weichsel troops use compound bows that weren't invented on Earth until the 1900s (because bows went out of fashion early). The statement has never been that magic outright stops technological development, but that it changes the direction of development as certain branches prove ineffective due to conditions that our own technological development wouldn't have met.

        I have never been or will be a believer of the "technology solves all problems" camp of society, especially not when technology often creates as many issues as it solves (like our pollution issue or the coming Robot Revolution). In a society with no alternative we're forced to press 'seek technological help' button, but in a society with alternatives one would consider carefully which fork in the road to take. Magic doesn't outright replace technology on Hyperion, but it certainly represent an alternative field of 'technological advancement' to traditional technology.

        Reply
        1. Mondo

          So what if they control the industrial, financial, legal, and educational sectors of major countries? The world of Hyperion seems to be in an ongoing military and religious struggle between several factions.
          You want to tell us that none of those factions took the path of technological advancement because it poses a danger to the upper class? Nobody got tempted by their version of the *atom bomb of warfare*?

          And what's with those guys(Kaede's race) who don't have magic and just a long life? They aren't going all out for technology either? Shouldn't they be a high tech civilisation by now?

          I would find it funny though if it turns out that Kaede's body belongs to their princess and they turn up with airplanes and tanks, turning all fighting parties into dust in the blink of an eye.

          Reply
          1. AoriiAorii Post author

            uh, yeah... you're not even reading at this point, just ranting. The entire point that "magic is technology" and "an alternate means to advance technology" is entirely lost on you. But then, your first comment on this site was about how "our culture is superior to other cultures", so meh. I expect too much of humanity.

            Samara is noted to have higher tech, but not in the way you think.

          2. Mondo

            It may be a rant, but a reasonable one. The story so far hasn't given a sufficient explanation why the world of Hyperion is as it is.

          3. Owl

            Mondo, before you talk about Hyperion, tell us how our world ended up as it is? lol

            Earth has enough insanity and inanity on it's own to claim that it is all "logical".

          4. Mondo

            Your argument feels rather hollow and without substance. Which aspect of the world would you like to have explained?

          5. Owl

            Historically?

            Why was the Magna Carta signed? After all, a *King* is supposed to outrank and outmatch the Lords that proposed the treaty.
            Why did Hitler attack Russia when he was already facing the Allies?
            Why did the British attack the French in Mers-Al-Kebir?
            Why did communism fail?
            Why did AIDS get so prevalent if all it takes to wipe it out was to simply keep it in your pants?

            All these work on things other than "logic" or "supposed to be". The world is inherently chaotic and trying to turn it "logical" faces the same problem the communists faced in the past. Because the world has a habit of taking "logic" and shoving it somewhere the sun does not shine.

            Anyway your "major plothole" isn't really major. And why Aorii calls your replies a *rant* isn't because of the points you brought up, it is because when someone rants, he isn't listening to anything else. Is your mind open or closed to the argument? If it is closed, then nothing said can change your mind as there is nothing more stubborn than a man who has convinced himself of the "righteousness" of his cause. In that case, if you really can't stand Hyperion, then you can always go read something else. Unless you are telling me that some men in black balaclavas have you tied to a chair and are forcing you to read this. In which case I'll 1) lol at you and 2) Tell Aorii not to be so hard up for ratings. :)

            For a contemporary example as to how one tech can totally override another, when was the last time you used a slide rule? Most people use calculators and computers these days, the physical slide rule fell out of use when electronics became so convenient and cheap that everyone has a calculator and it could reliably replicate the slide rule's functions and more beside.

            Or vacuum tubes and semi-conductors though that is one branch of physics overwriting another branch of physics though semi-conductors can be said to be in electronics as well.

            Or if you want a "co-example" of 2 simultaneous tech, that would be airships and heavier than air craft. One fell by the wayside due to problems, the other advanced. Even now, the chance to go from one country to another by airship is still ultra rare even though airships are not extinct, just very, very low volume and niche.

            An example of a "success" would be the Concorde. It did the job and fairly well, just got killed by economics so sometimes it isn't the tech that is the problem, it is the cost. Or the TSR.

            Sometimes we just won't know why something was not successful, could be cost, could be politics, could be NIH, could be NIMBY. Things can get very complicated.

          6. Mondo

            You didn't manage to make a single point with your simple minded questions. Tomorrow you'll ask why the world is spinning.
            I suggest you read less fictions and open your ears during science and history lessons. Then the ways of the world wouldn't be such a mystery to you.

            And I never said that Daybreak is bad. I just pointed out a major plot-hole which needs explaining. If an author can't take criticism, then he should create a cult instead of writing a fiction.

          7. Owl

            You're not really listening are you....

            Maybe you should go somewhere else if reading Hyperion is giving you such pain. Aorii already answered you that physical technology development did not stop but somehow you seem to have ignored that. He even specifically stated that some of their tech was better than what we had when we were at that point in development. Learn to read, moron.

            Why don't you just go away to another site where you actually "like" the story? Don't come back, thanks.

          8. AoriiAorii Post author

            Owl. Stop feeding the troll. He'll pull you down to his level and beat you by sheer experience. It's obvious he has no interest in discussion, only dodging questions while flinging accusations so abstract its impossible to prove or disprove.

          9. Mondo

            He disqualified himself already at comment 2015.12.13 at 21:25
            But I realize that you don't want any criticism here, only fanboy-talk.

  19. MochiMochi

    I support your views on explosives and fireaems. Technology evolves in a logical manner where new technologies are created to counter what weapons are being fielded. For instance in Code Geass, 4th generation Knightmares (basically the mechs) were designed to counter tanks, which was the main weapon being used by every nation in the Code Geass universe at the point of the story. However as Knightmare became more widely adapted, Britannia developed the 5th generation Knightmares which were designed to counter other Knightmares. Therefore, I think your arguments in this case is sound.

    Reply
  20. Ein

    I think that your argument of firearm development is sound enough. People will use whatever technology that works, not the potentially works one - though scientific curiosity may unexpectedly propel technology forward.

    Reply