Naval Power

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Naval Power

#1 Post by ActiveRadarIsCasul » Wed May 02, 2018 8:39 pm

What exactly is the tech level of the Human and Basitin navies? We've seen gallons, frigates, brings, etc, but we havent seen any evidence of gunpowder weaponry so that rules out cannons. Magic would be a reasonable ranged utility, but casters are an easy target and the Basitins can't use magic without great cost. Classical sailing ships are far too complex in their sails to safely approach at point blank and boarding range wothout risking a collision or ropes getting tangled together, so Marines are a poor choice. That leaves bows and crossbows, and archers need to be relatively close to their target to be effective. How do navies commence ranged warfare?
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Re: Naval Power

#2 Post by tony1695 » Wed May 02, 2018 8:51 pm

I think the best way to describe the situation is "necessity is the mother of invention". There has likely never been any significant naval conflict, so the relevant technologies/strategies were simply never developed, or exist as pure thought exercises. At least, that's my take.
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Re: Naval Power

#3 Post by Ddraig » Thu May 03, 2018 12:34 am

Given that, iirc, there was a major human-basitin war, naval combat technologies and strategies were likely delved into with fervor. At least recently, anyway.
The shown ship designs suggests that naval technology is in the era of the early Age of Sail, with the exception of cannons.
Conventional naval weaponry, I imagine, is rather similar to that just prior to cannon use on ships - catapults and ballistas supported by archers with marines as backup. Magical weaponry likely isn't a mage tossing spells - at least, not primarily - but instead a magical substitute for cannons (think Carver's enchanted gadget, but on a much larger scale and purposed toward the casting of fire and/or directed force at enemy ships). Said magical weaponry, in my mind, would serve similarly to a ballista - perhaps even just enchanted ammunition for a regular ballista, depending on scaling and mass production issues - and may be mounted on deck the same way cannons were in the Age of Sail.

Ultimately, it comes down to a few questions:
1) Just how prevalent ARE mages in Mekkan
2) How difficult is it to enchant magical weaponry
3) How difficult is it to mass produce enchanted items of weapons-grade strength
4) How difficult it is to shield a ship from magical attacks
5) How difficult it is to shield a ship from non-magical attacks (4 and 5 may effectively rule out anything except boarding if it's easy enough to shield)
6) Relative strength of enchanted weapons compared to the strength of an average mage (which is more effective to carry)
and probably something else I haven't thought of
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Re: Naval Power

#4 Post by MuonNeutrino » Thu May 03, 2018 1:23 am

Ddraig wrote:
Thu May 03, 2018 12:34 am
Given that, iirc, there was a major human-basitin war, naval combat technologies and strategies were likely delved into with fervor. At least recently, anyway.
Not just that, but the humans have fought several conflicts with the various keidran groupings, and they share lengthy continuous stretches of coastline at both borders. The war involving the basitin by necessity had to have had a major naval component, but there's no reason to assume that the human-keidran wars didn't involve coastal conflicts as well. If nothing else, waterborne transport is always extremely important, especially in these sorts of less advanced societies where vehicular/rail bulk land transport isn't a thing, and so disrupting that would be a major victory in wartime - commerce warfare is a thing in the real world, and I don't see any reason why it wouldn't be a thing here. Similarly, coastal raiding could easily be justified in support of that for disrupting land infrastructure (ports/etc) that supports seaborne activities (naval or commercial), or perhaps to attack economic or military centers that are within striking distance of the coast. (For example, Tom once stated in a stream chat that the wolf attack on Pinewood in chapter 12 that forces group B to flee was part of a seaborne raid, explaining the otherwise somewhat puzzling wolf attack in the middle of human territory.)

Anyway, apart from that, you basically said what I was going to - the critical point to naval warfare in TK is going to be how feasible magical armaments are. An important note is that magic in twokinds is capable of wider varieties of attacks than just 'throw metal balls really fast', which is relevant because solid shot cannon fire is actually relatively bad at sinking wooden hulled ships. You can beat the hell out of the hull with them, for sure, but in general you'll slaughter the crew via blasting hypervelocity splinters around and wreck the rigging/masts/etc faster than you'll actually put enough holes below the waterline to sink the ship. The real quick killer of wooden sailing ships is *fire*, and TK has already demonstrated that to be a common magical attack. What kind of range can you get on a fireball spell? How long is that relative to other spells or weapons like crossbows? How accurate can you make it? How practical would it actually be to pick out a mage as a target for counter-battery fire? How practical would it be to mass produce enchanted weapons, if you don't want to use mages? How practical would it be to shield against them? For that matter, could water conjuring spells be practical for fire-fighting? Etc, etc - as you state, there's a whole bunch of questions you'd have to answer to decide just how prevalent magic would be in the naval combat paradigm of the TK universe.
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Re: Naval Power

#5 Post by steelabjur » Thu May 03, 2018 4:14 pm

Ballista (large crewed crossbows that fire nearly spear-sized bolts), catapults, and Greek fire projectors (siphōns), were mounted on ships before the advent of gunpowder weapons and could prove still viable for naval battles despite the advanced ships. Catapults could be used to fire all sorts of nastiness onto an enemy ship, boiling water or oil, sticky tar, caltrops, jars of volatile Greek fire, etc.

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