High Tech vs. the Orb

Jon_Lincicum at stream.com Jon_Lincicum at stream.com
Wed Jan 18 06:44:33 PST 2006

Maximilian Wilson <wilson.max at gmail.com> 
Sent by: dragaera-bounces at dragaera.info
01/18/2006 01:41 AM

SKZB List <dragaera at dragaera.info>

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

>You ask what the purported military objectives are. I'm not sure. What
>are Sethra the Younger's purported military objectives? It appears to
>involve a lot of killing people and breaking stuff: probably
>establishing military credibility in the face of aggression by the
>other side, or else because you want something like the Pepperfields.
>Destroying the Empire itself is probably outside the scope of our
>objectives, but it hasn't really been well-defined what we're doing.

My thoughts were that either:

a) Sethra the Younger was invading this hypothetical Easterner Kingdom, 
and they were trying to defend themselves, or
b) The Easterners were coming west into the Empire to "deal with this 
agressive threat to our sovereignty, once and for all".

This second might involve killing or capturing these "tyrannical 
dictators" who lead the Empire, and replacing them with a Teckla-style 
republic under a new constitution.  (Any of this sound familiar?)

>nothing to do with storing energy in high-density packages. (Radio,
>for instance, doesn't require powerful batteries. You saw how useful
>communication systems were in /Sethra Lavode/.) Furthermore, all we
>actually know is that spell sticks were abandoned because somebody
>figured out how to make them all go off at once; whether that is
>because they were high-density energy packages or because they were
>delayed spells is unknown. The approaches I outlined were in fact

Things like radio are certainly worth mentioning--however, in most 
instances, I'd say that psionic communication beats it hands-down. Radio 
is not so much an "advantage" as it is a way for the Easterners to "keep 
up" with the Dragaerans. Still important, just not decisive.

>designed to test whether Dragaerans *can* make tanks go "boom" from
>two miles away by igniting their ammunition. If Dragaerans are in fact
>capable of catalyzing arbitrary high-energy packages from long
>distances, the war is lost anyway, because they can just melt your
>flesh by igniting your *bodily* energy. (BTW, the human body produces
>more heat than the sun, cubic inch for cubic inch. Of course there's
>an awful lot of sun.) So basically, we don't know what would happen if
>Dragaerans went up against high-altitude bombers, and I'd be an idiot
>not to try it assuming that I've developed those bombers already for
>use against the USSR-equivalent of the period. (Again, we come back to
>not knowing exactly the circumstances of the contact.)
>In response to your #2: I have other high-tech advantages which are
>reliant on high-density energy storage, but behind the front lines (in
>my manufacturing base, for instance). If Dragaerans can make them go
>*kaboom* at an arbitrary distance, yes, my situation becomes a lot
>uglier. In that case there's not much point in analyzing tactics,
>because strategically I've lost before the war even begins. I have no
>way to defend my homeland, period.

What really leaps out at me in this discussion is that sorcery seems to 
have no problems interacting with the physical world, but technology has 
not been shown to have any influence on sorcerous abilities.

This is not to say that some scientist, given enough time, might not be 
able to counter the effects of sorcery. Logically, sorcery that counters a 
physical effect (like, say, the Jenoine's force-field thingy in /Issola/) 
might be disruptable by another physical effect (An EM-pulse? Intense 
heat? Quantum teleportation?). 

Given that a sorcery seems to be able to operate with impunity against 
technology, however, while the reverse is not the case, leads me to think 
that the sorcerers would prevail. (Which may be why the Jenoine want 
access to it so badly...)

>In response to #3: When discussing Sethra's tactics, I was thinking
>more particularly of /Sethra Lavode/, where the stakes were a lot
>higher than in /Dragon/. We still didn't see her destroying armies
>with sorcery. In fact, her tactics were still very much as in
>/Dragon/, in spite of the fact that the enemy had no access to sorcery
>at all.
>And I suppose I should leave discussion at that.

In both cases, we're talking about "limited war", however. The civilian 
populations are not targetted, and there are other conventions that are 
being adhered to. It'd be interesting to see what tactics Sethra might use 
in "total war" where anything goes, so to speak.