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

Thu Jan 19 12:03:10 PST 2006

Maximilian Wilson wrote:

>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.

Less than relevant.  It takes quite a while to train a mob to be an 
army, no matter what you equip them with. 

>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

Uh, no you won't.  You'll have a nightmarish logistic train, with no way 
to make up the difference in the lands you seize, & a pretty fierce 
mountain chain at your back.  You'll need massive amounts of supplies, 
with no easy way to get them to the front in the necessary quantities.  
Bear in mind that the highest sustained rate of advance for an Earth 
army was that of Genghis/Subotai & the Mongols, back in the 13th 
century:  20 miles a day, for months.  Your advance will top out at 
about 250 miles from the nearest railhead or sea port.  And your advance 
will probably stick to easy terrain & bad roads.  The Chinese showed 
what happened to armies who do that in Korea in '50.

>4. 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.*

Oh?  How about random hit squads teleporting into your camps, offing a 
dozen or so people, then disappearing?  Don't think that's going to 
strike your army as being fast & brutal?

>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.

Dunno what you mean by "long-range tank warfare."  Tanks now days can 
hit out to 4000 meters or so with pretty good accuracy against inferior 
opponents (& in favorable terrain which permits said LOS); is that what 
you mean?  RPGs wouldn't be much use against foot soldiers, though, and 
certainly wouldn't be long-range.

>1. . . .If
>he can pretty much keep the rain off himself on a good idea, I grin
>and shoot him.

More likely, he makes it rain for days on end along your line of march.  
Cf the Wehrmacht's experiences with Ukrainian mud in '41.

>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.

Which makes you more vulnerable.

>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.

Sure.  But high tech hasn't *ever* fought sorcery, so far as we know.  
Learning curve for new battle experiences is ferocious.