High Tech vs. the Orb WAS Re: the honing of Vlad

Maximilian Wilson wilson.max at gmail.com
Tue Jan 17 18:34:24 PST 2006

On 1/17/06, Jon Lincicum <lincicum at comcast.net> wrote:
> Would a higher tech level really cause the Empire any problem?
> Would anthrax, atomic weapons, Sarin gas, Tanks, high explosives,
> particle weapons, etc be very effective against a little Elder Sorcery?

Hmmm. If I were in control of a 21st-century military, tasked with
taking on the Dragaeran Empress, what would I do? Assume there are no
funny "technology doesn't work around sorcery" effects, a la Harry

Advantages that are mine:
1. Mass production. If I can make an effective weapon, I can put it in
the hands of more troops she has sorcerers. Sorcerers can do this too
(spell sticks), but probably not with anything fancy.
2. Mobility. I'll have a much better logistic train than she will, and
I can move my troops from place to place more quickly. At minimum this
means I'll be able to achive higher force concentration when on the
3. Information. I will probably have better intelligence capabilities
than the Dragaerans, better communication systems, and more ability to
integrate information into a coherent picture.
4. Lifespan. If the war is sustained enough, I have more capability to
absorb and replace losses. I expect this to have more effect on morale
than on actual operations, though. My method of waging warfare will
probably seem very fast and brutal from the Dragaeran
perspective--early on, Vlad mentions a fellow Jhereg who "works" about
once a decade, and yet Vlad carried out forty-something assassinations
in the course of 4-5 *years.*
5. High tech. My huge technological base ought to give me *something*
that's usable, even against sorcery. I'd probably try out long-range
tank warfare, see if it worked; long-range artillery, same way;
high-altitude bombing. This is mostly about testing the limits of
Dragaeran sorcery. I'd probably also try the straightforward strategy
of ambushing a Dragaeran army on march with a company of soldiers
firing automatic rifles and launching RPGs. If I were forced to face
Dragaerans on their own terms, their superior size would make it iffy,
but I might try body armor. (There have been interesting,
nemourlon-like developments in that area recently. Armor which is
rigid only when struck.) That's playing to their strengths, though. I
may also have superior night vision technology, judging from /Dragon/.

1. Sorcery is very common among Dragaerans. The key question is
exactly *how* good the average Dragaeran can be expected to be. If a
typical soldier is good enough to set off the ammunition in a rifle at
300 yards, my options become more limited. Same thing if the typical
soldier is good enough to see in the dark as if it were daylight. If
he can pretty much keep the rain off himself on a good idea, I grin
and shoot him.
2. Teleportation magics. Dragaerans aren't able to mass-teleport
armies (see /Dragon/), but I can't effectively defend my perimeter
from individual infiltrators. I may have to disperse my forces widely.
3. *Powerful* sorcerers exist among the Dragaerans. Then again, even
Sethra doesn't seem to be able to make armies fall over dead. This
will probably affect my morale more than my operations, although if I
make the wrong mistakes it may also make them more costly, e.g. if
Sethra drops an amorphia bomb onto my central command post.

Keep in mind that Dragaerans have fought armies of Easterners in the
past, and it was less than a cake-walk, judging by TPG. High
technology could make things a lot harder on the Empire.

Max Wilson

Be pretty if you are,
Be witty if you can,
But be cheerful if it kills you.