Monday, November 2, 2015

Extermination Teaser 3

When our men were finally in position Marcus, Oskar, Cerise and I all gathered on the roof of the keep. From that height we could see over the walls that fronted Kozalin’s harbor, and make out hints of what was happening on the far side of the city.

“From the signals we’re hearing, I think there’s a substantial army assaulting the walls,” Marcus said as he squinted into the distance. “The garrison is calling in reinforcements as fast as they can, but I don’t imagine they had time to get the walls fully manned before it started.”

“I can see people fighting on the wall in several places,” Cerise said. “Look, there are fires burning in the Trade District. That doesn’t seem like a good sign.”

I frowned. “I can’t imagine how they’d have gotten inside the walls that fast. Siege engines using incendiary ammunition, maybe?”

Marcus shook his head. “Light siege engines wouldn’t be able to loft a shot over the wall, and it takes hours to set up the heavy ones. It could be battle magic, but I don’t see why they’d waste it on that. As much snow as there is on the roofs there’s no hope of getting a fire to spread.”

“I think I’m going to have to check this out,” I said reluctantly.

“Probably best to put in an appearance,” he agreed. “We don’t want the prince to think you’re not going to contribute to the defense of the city.”

“You’re not going alone,” Cerise declared.

I frowned. “Are you sure you’re up to this?”

Three days ago we’d fought an undead dragon together, and she’d stolen so much power from the thing that she’d sprouted wings and scales. She’d spent the last two nights doing long rituals to rebalance her magic, and sacrifice the power she couldn’t handle to her goddess. She was pretty much back to her normal appearance now, but she looked exhausted.

“I can handle a scouting mission, and a couple of short fights,” she insisted. “If it turns into a long slugging match you can send me back here with orders for the men. But I don’t want you out there with no one to watch your back when we don’t know what’s happening.”

“Fair enough,” I conceded. I certainly wouldn’t mind having her along. My magical defenses were a lot better than hers, but underneath it all I was just a squishy human. Cerise, on the other hand, had the physical vitality of a demon and a solid set of personal wards against non-physical threats. We were pretty much perfect for bailing each other out of trouble.

I studied the remnants of the causeway for a moment. The stone was badly cratered, and two long stretches had been completely obliterated. We weren’t going to get any vehicles over that. But I didn’t want to pull any troops away from the defense of the island anyway.

“We’ll take your bike,” I told Cerise. “Just the two of us. We can leave through the water gate, and find a boat ramp to get off the river and into the city. If the Conclave is sending reinforcements to the walls they shouldn’t be hard to find.”

She nodded. “Sounds like fun. But I want to have Corinna bring her war band over here and help guard the keep until we get back. Just in case the enemy has a way to get over walls.”

“That’s fine. I don’t think they’ll be needed, but better safe than sorry. Marcus, if you need us to come back fire off one of the mortars. The noise should be noticeable from anywhere in the city, I’d think.”

Cerise’s bike was a recent gift, basically a flying motorcycle that hovered a few feet off the ground on a levitation spell. It was just big enough for two people, and had a top speed somewhere well north of a hundred miles per hour. Cerise had fallen in love with it instantly, of course.

She gunned the thruster as we cleared the iron portcullis that guarded the water gate, and sent us shooting out over the still water of the harbor. I held on tight behind her, and wrapped my force field around us both.

“Hey, you made the wind go away!” She protested.

“Just making sure we can’t get ambushed easily,” I told her.

“Like anything could hit us at this speed? You worry too much, old man.”

“That’s because you never worry at all, crazy girl,” I told her. “I have to do enough of it for both of us.”

“Better you than me,” she retorted. “Okay, there’s a ramp we can use. Hold on!”

I discreetly grabbed hold of the bike with a bit of force magic, just in case. But Cerise drove with the same preternatural skill she displayed in any physical ability, slowing just enough to stay in control as we cleared the ramp and flew halfway across the wide cleared space beyond. A moment later we were back on the ground, already braking and turning onto the street that paralleled the water front.

The harbor gate was still open, although a platoon of spearmen stood ready to close it at the first sign of danger. Unfortunately they didn’t know any more than we did about what was happening. We left them on guard and sped across the Temple District towards the commotion.

Nervous citizens peered out their windows at us as we passed. This part of the city had already seen one major battle, and they weren’t eager for another one. Most of the buildings were intact, but here and there we passed a fire-gutted ruin or a structure with doors and windows smashed in. Signs of the battles that had already been fought here.

At least the streets hadn’t been packed with refugees, like when I first arrived in Kozalin. The death toll among the civilians would have been a lot higher if we hadn’t gotten them into shelters before Hel’s attack.

We passed through another gate guarded by a nervous platoon of the city garrison, and entered the Trade District. Here there was less damage, but there were sounds of fighting close at hand.

“Head for the noise?” Cerise asked. “Or do you want to look around for a command post?”

“Considering how my last conversation with the prince went, I’d say it’s better to avoid him for now. Head for the noise.”

The commotion grew louder as we neared it, and I frowned. The shouts and clash of metal were familiar, but there was a lot of other noise. Deep-throated bellows from something I didn’t recognize, and the occasional tremendous crashing sound. What was going on?

Then we came around a corner, and found ourselves face to face with the enemy. Cerise turned the bike sideways and skidded to a stop as we both stared.

A block away the street was filled with a mass of huge, gray-skinned creatures lumbering towards us on four legs. Their heads were covered with bony armor, with a short horn rising up from the snout and two longer, lance-like horns projecting forward above the eyes. There was a group of hairy humanoids waving spears and javelins perched atop each of the creatures, which were considerably bigger than elephants.

They spotted us immediately, and the front rank broke into a charge amid a chorus of howls and jeering.

“Oh, crap!” Cerise exclaimed.

She spun the bike around, and headed back the way we’d come. But I was still staring numbly at the enemy.

“That’s a triceratops,” I muttered.

“A what?”

“Dinosaurs. They have frickin’ dinosaur cavalry.”

Cerise snickered. “Are you jealous?”


Our pursuers lumbered around the corner behind us. One of them tried to corner a little too fast, and ended up sliding across the packed snow into a shop that faced the road. The front of the brick and wood structure promptly collapsed, but the dinosaur pulled itself free of the falling debris without any apparent injury. So that’s what those crashing sounds were.

Damn. They had to be killing a lot of civilians that way, and most people would have a fire going in their homes. That explained the smoke, at least.

We could easily outrun them on the bike, but that’s not what we were here for.

“Get a couple of blocks ahead and then stop,” I ordered.

“You got it, Daniel. How are we killing these things? There’s too much light for me to shadow step, and my gun isn’t going to do much to an animal that big.”

“Pick off the riders,” I told her. “I’ll handle the dinosaurs.”

How was I going to do that? Well, first things first. I eyeballed the distance, and tossed my earth talisman down the street to land between us and the enemy. It immediately sprouted into a barricade of sharp iron spikes, spreading at my direction to fill the width of the street. Making it tall enough to physically stop a triceratops would take more time than I had, but I was pretty sure the beasts wouldn’t try to walk across something like that. If they did it would cut their feet up badly enough to cripple them, just like caltrops against normal cavalry.

Then I drew my revolver, set it for explosive rounds, and opened fire.

On that setting the bullets that my weapon fired were enchanted to conjure up a chunk of magma from the earth’s core when they struck something. The white-hot nickel-iron immediately exploded as it found itself no longer subjected to millions of atmospheres of pressure, flinging superheated metal everywhere with the force of a small bomb. It took a little less than a second for the enchantment factory in my weapon to create a new round, so I just held the trigger down and peppered them with a continuous stream of attacks.

The first blast struck the bony frill protecting the lead dinosaur’s neck, blowing a large hole in it and sending molten metal lancing into its back. It bellowed in pain, and charged at us. The second shot caught it right between the eyes, and then I lowered my aim and hit one of its forelegs with the third. It collapsed, throwing half its riders forward into the street.

The dinosaur next to it shied away from the crash, and then continued its turn right into a building when I shifted my fire in its direction. A couple more shots into its side and the beast went down, half-buried under a mass of broken wood and brick.

With the street mostly blocked by writhing dinosaurs their comrades had to slow down and work their way through instead of just charging us. I walked my fire back and forth across their formation, and it quickly dissolved into complete chaos.

Cerise pulled her gun from where she’d had it stowed, strapped to the side of the bike, and opened fire on the riders. As usual she picked them off with the inhuman accuracy of a Hollywood sniper, the big .50-caliber rounds blowing heads apart and punching gaping holes through their leather armor. At this rate we’d have the street cleared in no time.

Then a group of hairy forms dropped off the roofs to land around us.

A couple of them bounced off my force field, with a drain on my energy reserves that was far larger than it should have been. Another landed on the street next to us, and laid into my shield with an axe made of some glassy red substance. His first blow drained a gout of magic out of my barrier to strengthen the weapon’s enchantment.

Cerise flicked a blob of shadowy energy at him, and he dropped the axe to stagger back with a scream and clutch at his eyes.

“I love having unlimited power,” she commented with a grin. “I’ve got these guys.”

I laid down a barrage of force blades around our position before turning back to the dinosaur cavalry, hoping to take out this distraction quickly. They proved a little too durable for that, the blades slicing armor and inflicting deep wounds but failing to actually sever limbs. They continued beating on my shield, their crimson weapons shifting forms with every few blows. They tried axes, clubs, spears and even something like a morning star, ignoring their injuries as they tried to find a weakness in my defense.

But my amulet held deep reserves of mana to counter exactly this sort of attack, and it would take them several minutes to exhaust its energy and break the shield. Minutes they didn’t have, with Cerise standing safely behind my barrier laying down a barrage of black magic.

Her shadow rose from the ground to coil around her body, and she threw out a clinging mist that ate into their flesh like acid. Their shadows animated, catching at their feet and crawling up their bodies to strangle them. She threw more curses, blobs of dark magic that struck their targets in the face and crawled into their eyes. Or ate them, possibly. I wasn’t watching very closely, but the first guy she’d hit wasn’t moving anymore.

Most troops would have run away by that point, but these guys were in some kind of berserker rage. They howled in frustration, and tore into the barrier with frenzied intensity. But they didn’t seem to have a counter for Cerise’s curses, so I kept my attention on the remains of the cavalry force long enough to finish them off.

Another few dozen explosive rounds and the ones I could see were all dead. They’d never even gotten close to us, and by then Cerise had dealt with her opponents as well.

“We should do it like that more often,” she grinned. “It was pretty funny watching them try to get at me. I guess these guys must be those andregi the wizards were talking about.”

I took a moment to study the bodies. I’d heard the andregi described as ape-men, but really they looked more like Neanderthals to me. Over six feet tall, which was a lot bigger than the local humans, with barrel chests and heavily muscled limbs. Their legs seemed a little shorter than normal, and of course they were so hairy you could almost call it fur. They had heavy brow ridges, big square jaws and no facial hair at all, which was an odd-looking combination. Something about the shape of their skulls was different, too. Wider than a human, with lower foreheads that had a pronounced slope to them.

Their equipment was interesting. Elaborate leather armor that provided full-body coverage, but no shoes. Leather helmets, and long leather cloaks that looked thick enough to double as another layer of armor. Dinosaur hide, maybe? Whatever it was, the workmanship was quite good.

They had a lot of magic about them, too. Necklaces of beads, runes sewn onto their armor, bone ear and nose piercings, all anchoring a host of weak but useful charms. Little spells of protection and enhancement, and a much stronger one that seemed to be some kind of berserker curse. No wonder they’d just kept attacking, even when it was obviously hopeless.

The odd thing, though, was that none of them had a scrap of metal. All of their weapons were that glossy red stuff, which was heavily enchanted.

“Guess so,” I said. “Any idea what those weapons are made of?”

Cerise bent and poked at one thoughtfully. The enchantments had been bound to their wielders, and were starting to come apart now that they were dead. The stuff started to soften, the angular shapes of the fallen weapons slumping towards the ground.

“Oh! I get it. They’re made of blood.”

I blinked. “Seriously?”

I touched an axe that was rapidly becoming a puddle. Yep, blood. Still alive until recently, too.

“Seriously. Kind of an interesting technique, actually. They must have some big ritual where they bleed themselves to make their weapons, and then they’d have to feed them periodically. But it gives them a handy store of extra vitality, and I bet they can steal power from enemies they kill. Absorb their blood to heal themselves, maybe copy their powers, stuff like that. Good thing they didn’t know how to do much with the magic they were stealing, or I’d have had to work a lot harder to kill them.”

“Lovely. I hate competent foes,” I complained. “Why couldn’t they just be a bunch of dumb savages with sticks and stone axes?” She snickered. “Aw, now what fun would it be to kill wimpy guys like that? This way we get a challenge.”


  1. Agreed. fantastic. Wonderful evel. I never would have thought of using BLOOD for a weapon. I can't wait to buy the book.

  2. So we have to wait another six days? Well, five and a couple hours? Right?!
    Lol anyway, heres a funny thought, if the sun simply dissapeared, it would take eight minutes for us to know. And if seen in super slow motion, the center of the sun that is seen from our perspective would turn black, then spread to the outer ring/edge of it. The plave on the sun closest to us would be seen to dissapear first, though only by a couple seconds before the farthest place on the sun seen by us disappears. However, the odds of the sun simply disappearing are so low that they are not worth even pondering as an actual possibility. But for fun? Most certainly! If anything were to happen to the sun we would probably not like it... At all...

  3. Hm, wasn't there a big hole in the city wall, shoddily repaired? Probably where they came from.

    Daniel should tow one of the dead dinos home, afterwards - them's good eatin'.

    Guess dinosaurs must be warm-blooded, like birds, if they can handle the winter.

    1. Oh! And with his flesh sorcery! And the wolf people! The dino would have useful info. And the wolf people would get stronger with all those hearts. And i have commonly used for "and"(s) in this paragraph... Things in quotes don't count. Since they're being used as a quote/reference and all...........
      Dang it! That's five! Arrrrrrgh!

    2. I suspect other people would be compatible with dino hearts, than are compatible with wolf hearts; you'd likely end up with TWO magically-aspected groups. Which could be awesome. Question is whether Daniel has a use for big strong dino guys - close combat doesn't seem like his favourite tactic. For police/crowd control, maybe?

    3. That could work. But, it would also depend how the heart magic thing from hearth(?) magic works. Are different people compatible with different hearts to different extents? Would combining dino and ice wolf diminish one or both. What properties of their nature are most likely to be lost from the dino? Intelligence? If so, it might be better to have a different group. The dino people would be good gate guards since, if someone comes through the gate you are guarding and attacks you, range doesn't really matter or help when they are right next to you.
      Depending on what properties different hearts give and take, you could have an awesome warrior by combining certain hearts in a certain order. And note, to get a good property you do not need to lose another good property. Just make sure you don't absorb the bad properties of the hearts. Example, durable skin in exchange for weak skin. Or no resistance for cold resistance. Or visa versa. Also, heat resistance in general works for hot and cold. However, i am unsure about magical cold and/or heat resistance. It doesn't need to follow common universal laws since by it's very nature, it is using other universal laws. Or altering the laws that are in place. Or simply using them. Otherwise it wouldn't do anything.

    4. Thing to keep in mind here is that dinosaurs aren't actually supernatural critters like the fell wolves which gave the wolfen their sympathetic mutant powers were. They are just big dumb regular animals so its unlikely you'd get anything out of eating heir hearts but a very chewy meal.

    5. Well, I mean the core of Avillas ritual seems to be the willingness of those who partake in it. So ideally if legends say one can absorb the strength of the fallen by eating the hearts and do that with people who would it stop it from any other animal, magically oriented or not?

    6. Not stop, there'd probably just not be much of a point to it. The fell wolves were both big _and_ supernatural beasts. They had a lot of power to confer. Dinos otoh are large but that's it.

  4. Might just be me but a lot of the gear Daniel comes up with seems to have a very W40K design aesthetic. Coincidence, or is that his inner gamer geek shining through?

  5. Am i the only one who finds it ominous that Daniel decided to tie his entire arsenal to a single mana generator? Oh sure he's worried about technological proliferation, and it certainly helps guarding against that, however it seems to me that by addressing one risk he's set himself up for an equal if not greater one.

    He's created a giant single point failure source for his enemies to exploit. If they manage to knock out the generator or figure out how to 'jam' the mana transmission spells they can both effectively disarm (and immobilize) all of Daniel's military force in one fell swoop, then slaughter the lot at their leisure.

    As an engineer Black should know this, and taken basic precautions to elimin- or at least mitigate that risk through redundancy (backup mana reactors to take over if the primary goes down) and/or mana batteries (capacitors? magazines? clips) for all the guns 'n gadgets as independent emergency power sources, yet the thought apparently doesn't even cross his mind. Curious and curiouser. Me thinks i hear the hammer of Chekhov's gun cocking.

    1. I thought about this one to! Likely he has thought about this. Especially if he considered mobile power units! Its likely he'll outfit his coven with their own, he can make his own or draw from his weapons, and so forth. Its also a matter of time vs effect I'd wager, plus if someones gotten to his main unit then their are more problems than those guns will deal with.

      Though between you and me >> << Im thinking someones gonna try, their hasn't been many spirits or other types bugging him yet.

    2. One of Daniel's biggest and most persistent weakspots is, that he has a lot of magical power but very little formal magical knowledge.

      He somewhat compensates this lack of book learning through scientific knowledge from our world and intuitive magic insight imparted by his inter-dimensional trip, but really he's an autodidact with what amounts to the thaumaturgic equivalent of a grade-school education going up against people/things with Phds in magic and _lots_ (as in decades if not centuries) of job experience.

      Which means no matter how well he plans his magical defenses there will be a multitude of gaping openings in them where he's functionally unprotected. He's been lucky so far because his opponents have all been deceived by his raw strength and talent. It simply never occurred to them that someone so powerful could possibly also be so _green_ they could just waltz up and sucker punch him out that way.

      Of course luck runs out eventually, and once they realize their error he's in for a world of hurt. More than one world.

    3. His biggest weakness is that of time. With a month or two of no outside demands he could make his fortress a near impregnable stronghold. With Cerise and rest of the girls along with several mana generators for the wards and self repair to the walls and such he could focus on being more proactive and less reactive.

      To continue your analogy if you take into account the amount of D&D and various other game magic knowledge he is atleast high school possibly uo to and associates degree.

      Sure he does lack knowledge of the finer points like wards and things but between his mana sorcery telling him if his ideas are possible and the rest of the coven they cover most of his deficiencies.

  6. Yeah, with a suitable base and a coven and nigh unlimited power im sure their gonna make some terrifying wards :3

  7. I think the risk here is that he CAN be "to" powerful to continue to be interesting.
    A character that can overcome any threat is boring.
    eg...Superman or Peter Petrelli(first 2 seasons of Heros).
    I am in agreement that time continues to be the major resource Daniel lacks.
    Personally I am less interested in the relationship drama and I have zero interest in the sexual narrative.
    That being said, I throughly enjoy the series and very excited for the next book. Hopefully more after that as well.

    1. I was afraid of that at first! But Im beginning to think its not a major concern. People (Including me) keep throwing around unlimited power but thats not accurate. His cheaty tap is alot like batteries, but it still takes effort to use whatever the batteries are in. As for his shield and healing its already clear he can't sublimate the preternatural power of the army hes facing. No, I don't think we have to be concerned to much.

      That being said, He's due for a power up. Im fully hoping he makes some strides to deal with what I can only imagine will be demi god and Great beast like threats, not to mention the gods if he finds himself wandering Yggdrasil's trunk. (If he didn't have a suped up dispel that dracolich woulda nomed him)

    2. > Personally I am less interested in the relationship drama and I
      > have zero interest in the sexual narrative.

      For my part i don't mind the pron. It gets a bit repetitive and the characters talking like refugees from a bad BangBros flick tends to put serious strain on my story immersion, but as long as it doesn't get in the way of or crowd out the actual plot i can roll with it.

      'Fimbulwinter' had the right, almost perfect, mixture titillation vs storytelling as far as i was concerned.

      With 'Black Coven' by comparison less would have definitely been more. Perhaps because the book as whole suffered a bit from a case of middle volume syndrome: too much setup and info front-loading competing for page space with and stalling out plot development. Trimming the fat on the bunga bunga might have freed up enough 'oxygen' to create a much smoother and natural overall story. Just my amateur 0.2 of course. YMMV.

    3. My personal preference is having interesting ideas + good story. I like it when the characters are overpowered since the story isn't particularly focused on their power or getting more power. It kinda like, oh he got more powerful... Which is fun! But it isn't a major deal. The emphasis on the story should be the story. And everyone has their own preferences for that. Haha. To be accurate, i like to see HOW the MC is overpowered. The cool ideas the author came up with to make it so. I have to agree that Daniel's essentially bottomless energy is not too overpowered. Since it needs something to go with it to do anything. I like the scenes of this book in general. (Ok, I'm done with the tangents and unintentional rambling... Someone might find it interesting... Maybe... :) (the end of that parentheses is both a ":)" and an end parentheses make)

    4. I'm going to have to do a blog post about power levels at some point. I'm of the opinion that Hollywood, and to a lesser extent recent written fiction, has gotten into a bad habit of pitting powerless characters against unstoppable foes and then having them 'win' via some nonsensical deus ex machina. This is a lazy method of artificially inflating the drama in a story, and the price comes in the form of an unsatisfying ending.

      I prefer more of an RPG approach, where you create a protagonist who actually has a somewhat reasonable level of firepower compared to his enemies. Being the underdog is fine, but he should be strong enough to plausibly pull off a victory using some combination of brains, determination and tactical skill. This makes for much better fight scenes, and allows me to make the bad guys actually competent instead of having them trip and fall on their own swords in the last chapter.

      Of course, since Daniel is trying to survive Ragnarok that standard means he has to have the potential to actually matter in a war between gods. So yes, he ends up being a pretty powerful character. But don't worry, he's still well below the level where I'd start having trouble coming up with challenges for him.

  8. Why won't time go faster. I can't wait for this book to be released

    1. It's all your fault! Because you're watching the clock it's going _slower_. Stop ruining things for everyone, mark! (c:

      Seriously though anybody have an idea when tomorrow to expect the release? Just past midnight ? Around noon? In the evening? EST? PST?

      I know last time it took about half an hour after the US release to filter down to the local Amazon shops around the globe.

    2. Sorry I can't help it. I just really want/need to read it besides I bet your clock watching just as much as me :)

    3. I just realized everyone is commenting today! I didn't look earlier! Wow! We are busy! And time does that... It is a rather abusive little... I mean, time is wonderful! Please speed up!... Please!? (Tears)
      It is sad that i am actually partially serious here... (Though fairly exaggerated) (not crying! No! My computer can not get wet!)

  9. Midnight PST, or 3 a.m. EST. Amazon's english ebook server is in California. You can try to get an account in Amazon Japan's system, but early releases were still greyed out on proper release day last time I checked. Some authors play this game with Amazon where they'll have an unposted active download link to the book, and the author will post it on his site for a day or 2. It's kind of dickish though.

    1. So another eleven hours, or 8 a.m. for me. I can do that... as long as mark stops watching his clock. (c:

    2. Nope not going to happen :)

    3. I think Extermination will be epic :3. Finally they can get into some development!

      As for all us clock watchers. Well, four games of League of legends should narrow that 6 hour gap down

  10. I'm staying up till I get this!!! Took tomorrow off work so I can curl up and read.

  11. No :( went to bed thinking it would be out when I got up. Stupid stupid clock go faster. And yes I've got a feeling this books going to be epic too

  12. I hope it comes out soon. I thought it would come out midnight east coast (New York) time, but no luck. Hopefully it will come out midnight Houston Texas time which is where William Brown claims to live, instead of the West coast time that this blog runs on. 3 minutes I hope.

  13. Speaking of developments - technological that is - anyone want to speculate what important (re)inventions by our latter day yankee in nobody's court we'll see in this volume and/or which tricks he missed last time?

    My contender for the first is: radios.

    Daniel's done a decent job on the arms armor and mobility front as well as making good progress on infrastructure and logistics, but the one area his team has zilch until now is communication. Which was okay so long as everybody on Team Black was crammed into a couple of barges within shouting distance of oneanother or later doing static defense from a single strong point were runners could pass messages at 'good enough' speed, but once you combine motor transport and offensive operations radio communication or some techno-magical equivalent becomes crucial, and a _huge_ force multiplier. The obvious way to go about it, aside from reinventing actual radios, would be to modify the mana transmission spell. If you can transmit power over long distances you can also transmit information. In fact you already are. Use the energy transmitted through the spell link to stimulate vibrations in a crystal tie that to a speaker/microphone combo and voila: two-way radio with at least thirty mile range. Okay more like a wireless telephone line since it would only tie two specific receiver/transmitters together but that can be solved by a central 'switchboard' - manned or automated - that patches people through to oneanother.

    My candidate for the 'best missed trick' category is the revolver cannon (

    We know Daniel put 25 mm guns in a rotating turret on top of his Mk.I APC/AAA prototypes and they impressed the heck out of the locals with their fire power, but lets be honest a cycling rate of 120 rounds per minute is kind of anemic for that type of weapon. The bottleneck to getting moar dakka was identified as the guns ammo mini-factory /spell taking half a second to summon a new bullet. Now we know Daniel's personal sidearm houses multiple
    ammo-facs in a revolver drum arrangement allowing him to easily switch between different ammo-types with a twist of the cylinder. If we take that type of multiple bullet-fac drum, scale it up to 25 mm, integrate it with the APC turret cannon, add a spell to make the drum spin at 120 rpm (which is fairly slow) when the trigger is held down, and another spell that has a fac fire whenever it lines up with the barrel then the autocannon's
    cycling rate goes up by 120 rounds a minute per 'chamber'. For a classic six chamber drum that means 720 rounds per minute. Which is still chicken feed compared to the four-figure monsters like the GAU-8 Avenger that General Electric builds into the Warthog but hey baby steps. For extra points you could make the bullet facs modular and removable, like cratridges, so the gunners could create and switch out ammo mixes on the fly, tailoring them to the situation
    and type of enemy as they encounter them.

    1. Just remember the rate of fire for ALL other firearms in Daniels world is ZERO.
      The British conquered a lot of our world with a musket that had a rate of fire of approximately 6 rounds per minute.

    2. No need for any revolving parts for a revolver cannon. You are thinking in terms of a weapon that needs a chamber to contain an explosion. For a force enchantment that isn't needed. If you can conjure multiple bullets in a row (in generators right next to the barrel but not inside it) you can accelerate the whole group. You can have multiple such chambers arranged around a central barrel. In fact it is hard to see why you absolutely need a physical barrel. Something with holes in it should conduct the magic as well and would lower air resistance. You have no hot gasses to contain. Your weapon is a railgun, not a firearm.

    3. The same actually applies to the mortars. They are most likely absurdly heavy for the task they need to do. There is no need for a solid tube. A mesh would make more sense. That is a good example for not knowing and considering the implications of magic. You could make a bazooka based on that principle. Just blow out an equal mass of sand out of the end of a mesh tube. Possibly even a magic shaped charge warhead by controlling the sequence and shape the metal is conjured in.

  14. I was doing some calculations and it appears that with about perfect conversion, 1 gram mass will lift about one 2 story house 1 meter per second for 1 year in standard gravity. I got the impression that the average power output of his amulet was giving energy about the amount to lift an average house 1 meter per second in standard gravity. Since the described amulet used for most of book 2 is "a few pounds" or between 1 and 5 kilograms, that means that if the matter to energy enchantment has an efficiency of 10% (which is what I had guestimated), the amulet would last "a few centuries" or between 1 century and 5 to 10 centuries. My gut feeling was that the amulet would last millenia, instead of centuries, but the calculations based on speculative numbers indicate that the indicated centuries were a quite accurate estimate of how long the amulet would last. Did you run the calculations before publishing the book? Also, from my research voley fire was only effective as a psychological tactic (or perhaps firing faster by having half the line get out of the way, which wouldn't work with a 1 hz fire rate) and psychological tactics like that only work when an enemy might retreat or run away. Since most of the enemies are inhuman monsters that don't know fear, I was a little put off by the implications that voley fire was important for guns that had a fire rate of greater than 60 rounds per minute.

    1. Volley fire had more than psychological effect. For one when dealing with an enemy using massed ranks it also served to disrupt his formation, and, if done the way the British did it, maintaining a continuous stream of fire.

      You are however correct though that fast repeating arms, in this case semi-automatics really, have largely rendered the practice obsolete as the individual fire rate rose so much each individual soldier effectively became the equivalent of a front-loader era firing line.

      It can still be useful for conscript armies as a way to compensate indifferent individual marksmanship with volume of fire. Militaries comprised of highly trained longtime service professionals tend to be small, expensive, and very vulnerable to quality erosion when faced with protracted wars of attrition.

    2. Why would you assume that monsters have unbreakable morale? Creatures like goblins and trolls aren't necessarily any braver than humans.

      But aside from that, I think Grimmelhausen has it right. It isn't really essential for weapons with a high rate of fire, but it has some modest practical benefits. It also gives Daniel's half-trained soldiers something to concentrate on other than the size of the onrushing enemy horde, which can sometimes be a valuable morale booster.

      As for the calcs, I use a two-step process. First I figure out what numbers sound reasonable to me, and that's what Daniel uses. Then I actually look up numbers and do the math, to find out what would really happen. So far Daniel has always gotten close enough to compensate for his mistakes with magic, but sooner or later he's going to fumble one of these engineering challenges...

    3. Volley fire was used for devastating effect during the war between the states even though technology allowed for greater accuracy.
      It also allows for those with limited training to have something to focus on other than the oncoming enemy.

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