October Update

I’ve moved since the last update, and the inevitable hassle of packing, unpacking and dealing with unexpected problems ended up consuming a lot of my month. But everything is back to normal now, and I’m finally making progress again.

Thrall has undergone extensive revisions since the last update, to address some major plot issues that have been bothering me since I started writing it. The original version had a major problem with a shortage of interesting antagonists, but thanks to a suggestion from my beta reader that’s no longer going to be a problem. I had to switch a lot of scenes around and drop a few plot threads that no longer lead anywhere, but all that work is now finished. I’m finally feeling good about the flow of the narrative, so with any luck that will be the last major revision.

Meanwhile, I’ve written a couple of chapters of that superhero story I mentioned last time. My muse seems to be pretty interested in the idea, so it may end up being the next thing I publish after Thrall. But as usual, I’m not going to make any predictions until I’m a lot closer to publication.

127 thoughts on “October Update

  1. Always happy to read more of your work. So tell me, is there any way to become a beta reader? Perhaps one for a specific series?

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    1. Not unless you happen to live in Houston. I normally limit that sort of thing to people I know personally, because of the obvious risks involved in emailing manuscripts to strangers. I’ve also found that discussing impressions and plot ideas in person is more productive than having an online conversation, because there’s so much nuance that gets lost in text.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Pity but understandable.
        I too would have jumped on my one leg like a kid to be a beta reader and provide feed back.
        😀🎉

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      2. Definitely would be interested in being a beta reader if possible what would it take to become one other then living in Houston ? I live in the nw area

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  2. You could tie the two series together by having triggering event for superhero mutations being the very void Hecate pulled Daniel through as a backlash for how much Daniel managed to take.

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    1. Hm, I hope he doesn’t do that. Asimov and Heinlein both suffered from “link all my previous stories together” syndrome, and it really didn’t work.

      That said, there’s no reason, AFAIK, why the aftermath of Hecate’s summoning of Daniel couldn’t have dragged along some flotsam, possibly including people, who wound up in other parts of the DB world. They’d have to have been lucky enough to latch onto sorcerous element while traveling between worlds to avoid blowing up. That would allow for some interesting new elements to appear though (spacetime, energy, mind, matter, etc.) And without Hecate’s bargain, the castaways would arrive without a local language or any quest or explanation for what had happened (unless they somehow overheard Hecate’s explanation to Daniel).

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      1. And they would arrive at random places. If that includes up in the air or over or in an ocean, most combinations would not be viable. Even if you materialize on the ground during Fimbulwinter your survival is unlikely. You’d die from cold and hunger pretty soon, even if you don’t meet any hostile creatures or people.
        That said, I always found Daniel’s choices a bit odd.
        If you announced dropping me into Fimbulwinter and combat, my first choice would definitely be fire. Good, old fireballs are just too stereotypical for combat.
        And while healing is an obvious desire, I would not express it as “flesh”. More obvious would be “health” or indeed “live”. What would be your choices?

        And on the third hand, he really does not need objects. He needs information. A memory charm and half an hour with Wikipedia or an encyclopedia would really do wonders.

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      2. S.M. Sterling managed it. the link for his Island in the Sea of Time book and Dies the Fire is the wall of glowing “energy” surrounding the island of Nantucket. the series have little to no contact with each other after the wall disappears.

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      3. Stirling had that in mind from the get-go IIRC. In a case like that, where you have an obvious connection to exploit (the Dome over Nantucket). I don’t know that there’s any in-story connection which can be exploited in a similar way here.

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      4. Hecate pierced the wall between the worlds and now magic is coming in in lumps.
        Sure you can do that. But it buys you nothing. Just as in Stirling’s case. He wanted to give an explanation, and he had one ready. It adds nothing to the tale.

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  3. Keep up the great work. All of your books are well written and very entertaining, able to be read many times over. Can’t wait to see what you put out next.

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  4. So awesome to hear we MAY be getting close to BK4. Really looking forward to it.

    Any short stories in the works? Possibly detailing what happened after Daniel disappeared? I have this fantasy that Amanda had a cascade of bad luck after Daniel accepted Hecate’s deal.

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      1. Provided he really was transfered. For all we know Daniel may be a copy. And there is the question of corporal upgrades. His home world is likely to be lethal to anybody whose metabolism depends on magic. That banana may have been too much. I think there is a good reason Hecate sent an image.

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      1. You cannot positively know that the world is real. You may check it for consistency. But that works only one way. If you find it consistent you may still live in a high quality simulation or in a perfect dream.

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  5. Nice to see you updating a blog again. It’s reassuring to have a general idea what you’re working on and how the books are going, even if you can’t give any definite idea of when they’ll be done. So long as it’s going at a reasonable pace and we’re sure to find out what happens eventually, I’ll be satisfied.
    Keep up the good work.

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  6. Thanks for the update! great to be kept in the loop! hopefully your muse is on a roll and your able to go faster than expected, but don’t worry if it takes time to make happen.

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  7. The only book of yours I’ve read is Perilous Waif, twice now, and quite enjoyed it and checking periodically for a book two, mostly via Google search. I thought I’d comment here to add to your traffic in hopes you keep a blog going with updates.

    Sounds like PW2 won’t be any time soon but I’ll still check, just not as often. Perilous Waif, Sculpted Ship, and the Family Law series all have something similar I can’t really define that appeals to me.

    Looking forward to reading more about Alice Long and her adventures.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. EwB,

    Thanks for the update. If you get a spare minute, google LirRPG, its an awesome Genre that is gaining steam, the Facebook page has over 5k people and climbing. I have done beta reading there and also Edited for one of our authors. I think you would be amazed with the support you could get from our fans and authors.

    I am eager to add book four to my collection! Let me know if you are planning on doing a Hardback or Hardback Leather edition with either of your series.

    thanks,
    Zee/JD

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thanks for the link to the new site. Been looking for updates on the old one for over six months. I have read all your books multiple times i really enjoy them. I have to say don’t mind if it’s Daniel Black or Alice Long I enjoy them both and can’t wait for what is next.

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  10. I’m just digging into Perilous Waif, appx. 25% of the way through, and wanted to let you know how much I am enjoying the story. I usually stick to fantasy stuff like your Daniel Black books, but for some reason the Alice story really resonates with me. So often books that have as much technical worldbuilding information as you’ve put into this one are difficult to read. It’s certainly not the case with this novel, which is a feat in and of itself. I can easily say that this is my favorite space/sci-fi novel, mostly because of how well the thought processes and motivations of the characters manifest in your writing. Great books don’t just tell a story, they enrapture the reader to such an extent that he/she forgets that they’re reading in the first place. You’ve done that here, and masterfully so.

    Anyway, enough blowing smoke, I really just wanted to say thanks for writing the book. Even though I’d love to see another in the same universe, do whatever makes you happy.

    Eric

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  11. Good to know work on your books is progressing. Though faster would be nice slow and good is way better. Looking forward to the next book either DB oder AL. Please dont start another series if you can help it.

    Just reread PW and found about three spelling errors or missing words. Not much for such a long book. Anyway is there a way to get this to you in case you are interested in minor corrections?

    Cheers Baal

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  12. Things I am looking forward to / hope will happen / would like to see in the next book(s)
    – Daniel will levelup/alter/improve himself with flesh magic, the help of the empowered dryads, the mystic banana (= stronger, faster, more resilient, better senses, can channel his unlimited magic-mana better, more charisma, has a higher intuitive awareness of the supernatural…..one step nearer to the demigod/superhero weight class)

    – Improved personal magic items (additional ones? / adjusted to Daniel’s new power level…and that of his foes)

    – His entourage will grow in power (stronger coven members/spells, more and mana-pimped-out dark elves and dryads, more (stronger?) wolfen, perhaps a slight powerup for the pack-leader Gronir)

    – Fully developed Black Island/Citadel with thousands of inhabitants (OK….not fully developed…reading about upgrading the home base is too much fun, so give it to us continually in small pieces…new home/cave system for the dark elves?…evolved dryad-groves after unlimited mana infusion? Will this continual nature magic beacon in the middle of the citadel effect the living conditions/environment?…fleshed out barracks in the corner towers?…new housing blocks for influx of new inhabitants?…is the water/habour access -protected only by a portcullis- still there?……….)

    – (hell of a lot) more soldiers/military personnel…perhaps some elite units with exceptional officers (i.e. individual “knights” or “heroes” with superior abilities and magical equipment); more wolfen (!); other exotic individuals/heroes/groups/races

    – More (types of) interesting defence emplacements, personal weapons and armor, new skimmer-tank variants, second airship(?), radios, telescopes/scrying devices, bags of holding, skill items ….gadgets ….shiny thingies ….moremoremoremore (insert megalomaniacal Count von Count laugh here).

    – More worldbuilding/background. How is Black Island affecting (socially, economically, politically …) Kozalin and vice versa. Who seeks to start friendly relationships with Daniel, who is neutral/temporizing, who opposes him? How do they all this? Are there tensions between the Kozalin factions (different nobles, merchants, military, craftspeople, guilds, prince, mage conclave….)? Short descriptions of those groups/persons of interest. Is there something outside of Kozalin left? How do they do?

    – More magic background knowledge!! (let us learn with Daniel: new spells, exploring/using new materials better suited for enchantment like gold, platinum, rhodium, iridium….pearls, diamond, ruby, sapphire…. Tartarus steel, adamantium, orichalcum, badassium… other mystic, legendary materials and/or magic formulars/traditions/spells …How does it work?)

    ====================================================

    Can I suborn someone to speculate about Daniel Black’s personal magic items (even if the last book came out 18 month ago)?
    He has now:
    1.) amulet
    brass (?) amulet with his mana-reactor-enchantment and an auto-healing function and protective force screen enchantment amulet
    2.) sword
    Grinder (“light saber chainsaw”): stone handle, when activated very hot* plasma blade with rotating force buzz saws; has short range flamethrower function.
    *”like the surface of the sun” (=about 10.000°F/6.000°C ? // oxyacetylene welding torch has about 3.200°C)
    3.) gun
    one shot per second, unlimited ammo nickel-iron revolver (looks more like a sawed-off shotgun) with force magic aiming aid, mana-reactor-enchantment; optionally with 0.50 cal basic slug, exploding round or bouncing slug with force blades (3 chambers left for new ammunition types)
    4.) earth talisman
    flying stone, can summon (grow) rock and nickel-iron and force-constructs, can morph in desired form, controlled with ring
    5.) coat
    black leather coat with fire protection and armor enchantment
    6.) breast plate
    breast plate (nickel-Iron?) with fortification enchantment, comes with padded underwear with armor enchantment (like coat)
    7.) rings
    not sure about that (probably some of these functions are pooled in one ring)
    ring 1 curse protection enchantment
    ring 2 control ring for earth talisman, additionally remote control for mines in (old) gatehouse
    ring 3 homing device for grinder (flies into hand)
    ring 4 flight enchantment (sooo cool!)

    Will he improve them?
    Better material (e.g. platinum?) for his amulet?
    More mana output, bigger mana-battery, better shield, better healing, integrate curse-protection from ring, integrate cloaking/magesight-scrambler…? Like the ring he gave Mara? Direct connection to mana stones when at home?
    New ammunition types for his gun?
    Add curses (from Cerise) to bullets? Upgrade the firing rate or/and penetration?
    Upgrade the breastplate to better material?
    Adamantium, odinsteel, tartarus steel, orichalcum, badassium , mightymagicium, ohmygodtium…. and/or some armor/resistance enchantments (protection against lightning, cold, heat, curses…)?

    Will he enchant new ones?
    Magic boots?
    With movement-effects (speed, mobility, balance, stealth..)?
    Belt with a big metal buckle?
    With empowerment, toughness, protection effects (and another mana-reactor-enchantment incl. mana-battery)? Put the nifty flight enchantment there (instead of ring)?
    Implanted gem?
    “Save place” inside his body with last resort (escape/survival) enchantment…e.g. flight or healing or mana-battery for all-or-nothing-power-boost?
    Bracers? Or does that feel too martial for a wizard/Daniel?
    Bag of holding (space for ALL the plunder/trinkets/equipment/loot)?

    What do you think? What would you like to see?

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    1. To appear violet Grinder must be much hotter. Above 10 000K in fact. The human eye lacks good receptors for violet. That is the reason the sky is blue to us. To a neutral observer it would be violet. An object appearing violet to us due to blackbody radiation would be insanely hot. We might be seeing a side effect of the fire magic operating. Still we must assume Grinder’s flame is most likely above 8000K. I would not want to hold it without protective clothing and goggles. In fact it is most likely shaped like a cylindrical handle with a rather large disk or ovoid shape at the end to shield the user. And maybe a partially enclosed hilt, like on a cutlass.

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    2. I think, if I may take a stab at your question, that DB has made errors. That is inevitable.
      It looks to me that he has concentrated on fighting tough, stupid to average enemies in large numbers. Both in his personal equipment and in his troops. You may notice that he gave them guns instead of grenade launchers or field artillery. So they would do well against goblins or trolls, but one ungol or a dragon would kill them. A corruption demon or dwarves would lead to a disaster. This is not meant as a criticism against the author or DB. You need to make choices based on incomplete information and sometimes they will not be optimal and you cannot prepare everybody for everything and that adaption was necessary. But it needs to be corrected.

      DB looked very bad against the dwarves. Had the gate been open as they landed, it would have been over. Had the dwarves used lethal gas, he would have died without even a chance to fight back. Had an axe or the mage killer bolt hit a bit different, it would have been over. Had the golems in the cave been closer to the captives, he would have lost. Had Sefwin made an error with the summoning, things would have developed very badly.
      Generally his offensive capabilities were better. He still needs a way to deal with single tougher opponents with magic, like a bazooka and a few strong curses on storage. His defense was totally inadequate. The very first thing he needs is better, multilayered defenses, shields and wards.

      On a strategic level I think he has spent too much on making all his troops better rather than making a smaller elite force. And while doing that he has put too much effort on the offense rather than defense, mobility, operations and defense.

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      1. Sorry, about the SPAM (my post from October 24, 2017 at 7:46 am)

        Just wanted to say that I appreciate the new update.

        But with too many windows open…my computer stuttering/going down…me being overtired…I accidently copied some old posts from my list into this blog…
        .
        .
        .
        But….having seen first reactions to my inadvertently post….PLEASE share your thoughts/comments about cool magical items/powers for Daniel (and his inner circle)…..and the upgrading of Black Island….andandand!!

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      2. OK, there is one thing I do not get at all. So he is wearing a breastplate. But the only organ his amulet cannot heal he leaves unprotected. Why does he not wear a helmet in battle. This feels like the lack of seatbelts in Star Trek. He even wondered about being hit in the head, but still no helmet.

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      3. I assume it’s due to exactly the same reason.

        It’s way cooler!

        Picture the hero:
        …his breastplate with the lightning crest visible because the bad-ass black leather coat came loose in the intense fight…with one hand he smites his assailants with a sword made out of pure fire…the gun in the other hand spewing fiery explosions at the enemy wizards…his mystical force screen lighting up over and over again as untold attacks are repelled…a severe cut on his brow already healing…his hair blowing in the wind conjured up by the rampant elementals..

        Of course everything in slo-mo with a couple of gorgeous dryad-babes in absurd fighting poses (for decoration) in the background.

        See, waay better than your (totally valid) common sense!

        Besides a helmet is inconvenient and interferes with your senses (sudden death because of head injury does that too…but that’s beside the point).

        To sum up, I can say that you’re right…a helmet makes sense…but I don’t want one for him. 😉

        Perhaps a hat (Harry-Dresden-style)??

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      4. belt / belt buckle

        Daniel has a (mundane) belt with holders/pouches for his sword, gun and talisman.

        A belt with a big metal buckle would be a good receptacle for enchantments.

        It has enough mass to put another mana-reactor-enchantment on it to double his mana production! In addition to that another big mana reservoir wouldn’t hurt too. 😉

        In many fantasy stories/games the girdle is a place for empowerment, toughness and protection effects.

        For example:
        Strength, endurance, dexterity, speed… – boost (classically in association with an animal/beast metaphor: i.e. strength of the bear; stamina of the bull; dexterity/speed of the hunting leopard….)

        Skill, abilitiy – boost: Like Monkey Belt for not only more dexterity but also better climbing and tumbling skills. Or Belt of the Barracuda for superior (under-)water movement and water breathing. Or Belt of the Eastern Sun for basic knowledge in martial arts (or a boost to the abilities one already has).

        Protection from heat, cold, electricity, acid, poison, curses/magic in general….you name it. Since lightning seems to be a common attack mode for wizards, priests and gods he should prepare for that.

        Resilient skin. Light armor effect. Another layer (after force screen, coat, breast plate) of protection. Resilience of the dragon (triceratops? turtle? hardy beast/animal?…) for more resistant skin. Of course without ugly byeffects (visually or tactile)!!

        Elemental resistance. Can endure extreme meteorological conditions (from Antarctica to Sahara) without harm. Not a combat protection per se but a climate-hardiness-enchantment.

        So get a cool (magical beast) leather belt with a big platinum cowboy-style buckle!

        Other ideas/thoughts? Please comment/share!

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      5. boots

        I am not sure but I think he has enchanted his boots with a warmth effect.
        Wouldn’t rate that as a magical item so far…

        Apart from their main function (to warm and protect the feet) boots would be an obvious place for movement-effects.

        For instance:

        Enchantment for walking easily over loose snow, gravel, shifting quick-sands, mud, water…

        Fast movement / quick feet effect in combat situation (for overland travel he can fly).

        Pirate the flash step / body flicker effect from Leo (name? /the conclave adept with the platemail)

        Balance amplification effects. No problem with slippery surfaces, sloping floors, running the tightrope, fast skip though caltrops, maintain position at edge of the bottomless pit, moving/standing on roofs and other dicey, wobbly surfaces in general….

        Stealth effects. Sneaky bonus. Leaves no traces (even scent?). Less noise. Colour camouflage or invisibility.

        “Freedom of movement” effects. Protection against magical holding and hindering. Easy passage through natural environment. No snagging on thorns, branches… easy passage through dense scrub. Easy movement even underwater?

        Putting the light armor effect (see coat and breast plate) on the boots also can’t hurt. (I’m sure his occupational accident insurance recommends safety footwear.)

        So get some cool (dragon-/ungol-/impressive magical critter-leather) boots and Kick Ass and Take Names!

        Other ideas/thoughts? Please comment/share!

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      6. It seems to me you are speculating about how Daniel could turn himself into the most badass fighter on the planet. That I doubt to be his goal. He has to be good enough to be confident to win in all likely fights.
        But otherwise time invested in strategic research is better spent. He hit hardest with artllery and presumably the radiation weapon.

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      7. No, I definitively don’t want that “discussion” with him!!

        Believe it or not, I thought about that helmet, too (even if I didn’t know Magnetos civil name).
        But in my memory of the comics the helmet was more enclosed (like a mandalorian -star wars- helmet).
        Now that I see the cinematic version with an open front so you can see the face of the actor…..I ‘m forced to admit that it looks good….for a helmet.

        But I always envisioned someone like Harry Dresden when I read about Daniel Black.

        So I’m a little reluctant to deviate from this picture.…even if a helmet makes sense from a safety angle..


        https://i0.wp.com/neueabenteuer.com/wp-content/uploads/9783867622196.jpg?resize=350%2C200

        PS: Very, very cool answer (our post from October 29, 2017 at 8:06 am)! I was laughing out (very) loud while searching for “Erik Lehnsherr”!!

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      8. “ It seems to me you are speculating about how Daniel could turn himself into the most badass fighter on the planet. That I doubt to be his goal. He has to be good enough to be confident to win in all likely fights.
        But otherwise time invested in strategic research is better spent. He hit hardest with artillery and presumably the radiation weapon. “

        I believe that “all likely fights” will involve more and more (very) powerful opponents.

        This whole end of the world scenario Daniel Black was thrown in is basically a power play between gods.

        In order for DB, his subjects and hopefully a good chunk of humanity to survive this he will have to meddle in this power play.

        Even if he will never be able to stand up to a “real” god….in order to be a player on this stage he needs to bulk up his power pretty fast. Both on an individual basis (himself) and on a strategic (offence, defence, communication, transport, information procurement, shelter, food….you name it) basis, too.

        Everythink I’ve read from Mr. Brown (Perilous Waif, Daniel Black, FanFiction http://www.fanfiction.net/u/1960462/ShaperV) suggests that Daniel Black (being a totally broken, overpowered “Mary Sue” [fun-]character with an unlimited resources cheat) will of course improve exponentially in every area. 😉

        As with all this stories only the time pressure is limiting DB growth and keeps the narration exciting.

        I look forward to reading about Daniel constantly being under pressure and having to decide what/whom to improve next (and how).

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      9. Discussion? He talks. You listen, agree and obey.
        Harry Dresden needs to fit into an environment similar to our own. Daniel needs to fit into Varmland. There wizards wear full plate armor. Visually I think you better look at Darth Vader.

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      10. Now, Daniel is a programmer and understands the virtues of automation and mass production. Basically anything you can improve on equipment can potentially be shared among all your troops. If he spends time on improving himself it is just himself.
        Regarding the helmet itself I would personally actually go for a fully enclosed model. It seems like golem operators can see through the eyes of their automata. That means that if you invest enough magic your helmet needs no vision slits. Likewise I see no point in improving your own senses if you can see through the eyes of a falcon or hear through the eyes of an owl, which you can send on a recon mission, too.

        And two generic points if I may. DB still thinks like a modern SF fan. Guns are the primary weapons (except when he copies SF. Grinder is a buffed light saber.) and protection must come by fields or something else exotic. You see that in his guns having solid tubes. They work by force magic. There is no need to contain hot gases pushing a bullet out. On the contrary, getting air out of the way and preventing a low pressure region behind the bullet would improve them. Thus the barrels should have ventilation slits. And he can make armor that would stop a bullet and at least a catgirl or an elf could wear them (weight cancellation spells)

        So he still has not fully adjusted. I appreciate it. It is believable. But it needs to change. And in terms of story I think he needs more setbacks. He got a major one in Lanrest. He needs more of them and see some harder limits. For example Corinna should have died.

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      11. Though, when I reread what I wrote, I must offer a caveat. I based it on what I think DB would best do. That is not necessarily what DB think he needs to do.

        From my perspective, although DB is pretty smart, he acts quite foolishly quite often. Specifically he has no idea what he is fighting for. Lanrest was a first rank idiocy. Telling a sea serpent to, well, do indecent things to itself was not a wise move. Fighting zombies with infantry was not a sensible idea either. Going down into the catacombs knowing they were expected was also pretty foolish. Playing street fighting infantry in Kozalin was also not very wise; setting up a second healing station might very well have saved more lives. Playing James Bond in Skogheim was also questionable. Elves could have run the whole mission if he had given them flight rings.

        Mr. Brown we can be pretty sure intentionally introduced these flaws, as Demetrios pointed out part of them. But I am not a people person, so predicting errors based on character is hard.
        I suppose he will go for more dakka, when he should build field kitchens, ambulances, bird recon teams and radar.

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      12. Just to be on the safe side! 😉
        I’m not a native speaker.
        l don’t want to slight or criticize!
        I really, really enjoy this ongoing exchange!

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      13. ==>
        …Daniel needs to fit into Varmland. There wizards wear full plate armor. Visually I think you better look at Darth Vader.
        <==

        The only wizard with a full plate I remember is Leo. It’s his defining feature in the story. Probably other wizards wear armor, too.
        Even DB wears a breastplate, that protects his complete torso. Just not a fully enclosed tin can.

        So he has found a compromise between protection and mobility.

        And yes his head seems to be the least protected part of him…….but I still vastly prefer his current style!

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      14. ==>
        …. Likewise I see no point in improving your own senses if you can see through the eyes of a falcon or hear through the eyes of an owl, which you can send on a recon mission, too.
        <==

        I believe that DB as the main character will always face off against the toughest enemies.
        Even hundreds of henchmen with improved magical guns, armour, ordnance etc. won’t stand a chance in these boss-fights.
        So DB needs to improve himself in order to match the always increasing power level of his opponents.

        He should not rely on crutches for that (so get eyes like a falcon instead of seeing through the eyes of a falcon / better senses not for long distance recon but for recognizing danger or other critical details).

        Apart from that a long-distance reconnaissance widget for his troops (birds or the classic scrying spells, crystal balls, mirrors…) would be cool. Even if the current aerial reconnaissance (griffin riders from Konzalin) is probably adequate.

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      15. ==>
        You see that in his guns having solid tubes. They work by force magic. There is no need to contain hot gases pushing a bullet out. On the contrary, getting air out of the way and preventing a low pressure region behind the bullet would improve them. Thus the barrels should have ventilation slits.
        <==

        Wouldn’t there be the danger of dirt / foreign matter being sucked into the barrel through the slits?
        And what would be the improvement? 5 % higher velocity of the bullets? 10%? 15%?

        The main character has equipped his troops with enormously powerful weapons. With unlimited ammo! These magical guns can penetrate even legendary dwarven plate at distance. Unbelievable! Worlds apart from everything previously conceivable!

        For my reading-fun it’s not important if the mass-produced basic gun of the nameless troops hits a little harder or not.

        …not that I would not like to read about some variants/upgrades in the future…under barrel grenade thrower, pistols, sniper version with magic scope, suppressor, different bullets…

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      16. ==>
        And he can make armor that would stop a bullet and at least a catgirl or an elf could wear them (weight cancellation spells)
        <==

        The problem is DB with his unlimited mana-reactor and his mana-sorcery-cheat is totally overpowered.

        Give him time and he can (mass-)produce anything!

        Three months without interruptions and he has a golem army, remote controlled gun-drones, an airforce and an orbital bombing system…..

        The only tool (I can think of) for the author to keep the story interesting is to pressure the main character constantly.

        He has to incessantly jump in several directions at once. Strengthen the fortification, living space, food, administration, personal improvement , learning magic, the prince, the conclave, more troops, better equipment for troops, coven, defend the city, missions outside of black island…one problem/emergency after another!

        No timetable outlives the day. Not even middle term planning works.

        Against this backdrop I think DB has other problems than upgrading the already good armor of his henchmen.

        I really like this frantic pattern of the story.
        And I like talking about what he should do next or could have done better! 😉

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      17. ==>
        Lanrest was a first rank idiocy.
        <==

        I saw things differently…or perhaps it’s only your wording.

        DB with only very superficial knowledge about (his) magic and the world he was dropped in just a few days ago in general is trekking through the monster infested winter wilderness with a gaggle of refugees without any supplies.

        It seems natural that he heads to the nearest center of civilization (Lanrest) where he can take a breath, get an overview, take on supplies….and decide how to proceed.

        So no idiocy on DB’s part (IMO).

        But I agree with you that the whole Lanrest episode with the egozentric, tyrannical Baron, the aristocrats, the church and the monster assault was a “setback” for DB.

        I would say disaster, but the main character left town with an upgraded body, new and upgraded magical items, major upgrade for Cerise, spending money, an elite military unit, skilled new personnel….just before the main monster army (with dragons!) arrives….so maybe he got of with a black eye (and we got a dramatic last part of a book).

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      18. ==>
        Telling a sea serpent to, well, do indecent things to itself was not a wise move.
        <==

        Perhaps he could have stalled the serpent with a lie. Perhaps it would have demanded a security (e.g. magic oath)?

        But wasn’t that heroic? The constantly pressured hero is fed up with the cruel gods and their agents playing power games with humankind, draws his sword and bellows his challenge (while standing under a huuuge, divine sea serpent).

        “Not wise” is a good formulation. I agree! 😉

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      19. ==>
        Fighting zombies with infantry was not a sensible idea either. Going down into the catacombs knowing they were expected was also pretty foolish. Playing street fighting infantry in Kozalin was also not very wise; setting up a second healing station might very well have saved more lives. Playing James Bond in Skogheim was also questionable. Elves could have run the whole mission if he had given them flight rings.
        <==

        I don’t see a real alternative to his approach. In this situation there are no “sensible” solutions.

        Hunker down in the fortress? Abandon hundreds of thousands to their fate?

        He dispatches a troop armed with magic guns and a hover tank with a freaking canon to investigate the (undead) threat and so enables hundreds of refugees to seek shelter in his citadel. Furthermore they neutralized untold enemies who would probably have killed other citizen/soldiers.

        Hordes of zombies are streaming out of the catacombs. That needs to be stopped. It’s the job of a small elite strike team. He is by far the most powerful so of course he accepts responsibility and fights the existential threat himself.

        The same is true for the street fighting with the Neanderthals. Watch them slaughtering tens of thousands of humans or fight?

        This is genocide. Fight to the death. Men, women, little children (every human) are slaughtered. Every enemy you don’t neutralise will kill additional humans.
        Waiting for (theoretical) survivors instead of actively helping seems not very responsible (let alone a main character of a novel).

        As the famous philosopher “Uncle Ben” said: with great power comes great responsibility

        Like

      20. Carl Steinberg also wore plate armor. Now it was also said that cold steel interferes with some forms of magic. So there may be valid reasons not to wear armor, but in general if they can, they do wear it.
        Daniel may seek higher mobility, so he could wear chainmail, or a wooden dryad familiar or ask Cerise for those living shadows she is using. Many things are possible. But he needs to get over that 20th century mind set that sees offense fundamentally stronger than defense.
        Likewise the point about the guns. He does not at a certain point question his own assumptions. A bit more performance does not matter all that much.

        And it is true that he is the toughest fighter. But his fights are not the most important. He can retreat. The Black Citadel must be held. Quite soon it will hold his pregnant wives and children. That leads to his tactics.

        With Lanrest I mean his performance in the battle. Once he was seriously wounded and survived with luck only he should have used some caution. And if an experienced military commander, even if he is an asshole, hesistates to rush in, you might consider that he has a valid reason.
        The one thing you do not do is go berserk and then even divide your force up. You hold a bit back, fling fireballs, be ready to retreat and wait for reenforcements.
        Strategically he wasn’t going to stay anyway. Lanrest was not worth risking his life, or Avilla or Cerise in battle for.

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    3. And attacking the zombies in the catacombs was foolish. I am not a military officer. But the enemy expects you to go there. Did he really think that was the only source of zombies? And that he really would find them all in time to matter?
      No. You collapse the tunnels if you are an Earth mage, or flood them with sand or lava or even ignore them and just block and mine the entrances. But you do not go down out of communication with your forces.

      Likewise streeetfighting the Andregi, you give up your armor and mobility. He just should have ordered the skimmers to attack outside the walls. He himself should have joined the Conclave’s forces. An experienced military man, with millenia of experience suggested it. The other advisors agreed. There is a time to listen.

      Which leads me to a final point. The people of Kozalin are largely a liability. Most peasants are dead. The weather has changed. Come spring, goblins will again roam the land. There will be no next harvest. Loki has sea serpents. Nobody is going to import enough food to feed all of Kozalin, let alone all Varmland. Most of the people are going to evacuate south or, likelier, die. Not just in Varmland, all over the north.
      Yet there are over a hundred thousand people in Kozalin and still a high temple. Defending them in the long run is a declaration of war against Loki. He would need to take over the city, raze the temples of the Aesir and converted the remaining people by fire and sword. That creates an obvious problem with the Aesir and requires organizing a coup togetherwith the Conclave. And he can pull it off only when the Aesir no longer care or are unable to act. Again much easier if most of the people in Kozalin have died.

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      1. One expedient I’ve thought of, though I don’t know whether it would be practical, is to grow a nickle-iron dome over Kozilan. Once the entire city is enclosed, a temperature-control enchantment would make it livable, and then he could just add magical water and A/C and lighting systems (plus waste disposal) and a few underground agriculture areas.

        The dome would have to be built with one of those auto-growing enchantments like he used to expand Black Island, when he likened it to steering a tractor. The enchantment does most of the work, and with his power stones he should be able to put the whole thing together fairly quickly. He’d need support columns to hold up the dome, but then he could make the dome arbitrarily thick, so not much could smash in.

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      2. And then your enemies let loose a devourer or a pestilence or some immaterial threat. Or they use an earthquake to shake you to death inside the shell. There is very little point in doing this and it is a very obvious request to be attacked. It amounts to supporting one side in the war, which will turn on you if they still can after the war. Adherents matter in divine warfare and under those circumstances there can be no religious tolerance. DB needs to insist that people pledge fealty to him before he can save them in the long run.

        Like

  13. Thank you sir for the update. I hope the move and new residence is going well. I enjoy your books and blogs. Please, keep them both coming. Good luck and God speed

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  14. Good to see you’re still pounding away!

    🙂

    Hope to see more DB later.

    I always like these western world versions of the Japanese transmigration stories. They’re more robust than what the Japanese light novels offer; defined characters, more R and less PG, solid plot points and definitely more details of events.

    (don’t get me wrong, the Japanese transmigration stories are entertaining in their own way. More like a snack to hold me over for a full meal story)

    So make me that Buffet!!! Me hungry! rawwr!!

    laters!

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  15. I hope Mr. Brown is able to discipline his muse.

    Going off in a dozen different directions at once (Daniel Black, Perilous Waif, Horatio Alger story, superhero, smutty alien invasion story….) even while working on a specific project seems terribly unfocused and clashes massively with my severe Daniel Black addiction! 😉

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    1. I have a suspicion that his muse would enjoy a bit of spanking.
      But in the long run this is not good. I want a fifth book, so I do not want the muse being tortured into making a fourth book sooner at the cost of the fifth book. We waited a long time. We can wait a bit more. And when they come, we can enjoy other cool stories.

      Like

    2. Chris Hechlt has done this and I’ve lost any reason to read any more of his books because of all the different threads he has running in his Wandering Engineer’s Series. I followed the series (Wandering Engineer) because I love the main character I lost interest after reading a couple of books that were in the same universe but they didn’t really grab me like the original series.

      I read somewhere its to do with author getting writers block on a certain series so they switch to a completely different Genre. Some while switching can’t even finish what they start and just go off to another series. John Ringo has done it a lot with serveral of his exceptionally great stories leaving them unfinished stuck because the writing gods haven’t given him and ending to these series. He did try with Paladin of Shadows book 6 “Tiger by the Tail” but it fell in a heap. The second writer brought in just didn’t do characters right and it just wasnt’ the same.

      Mr Brown’s series maybe going down the same path, I’m seeing a pattern here.

      Like

  16. I shall say I’m looking forward to the next installment. I’ve re-read the current crop a whole batch of times, and am eager to see how it continues to roll out, so good luck in taking that muse in hand.

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  17. I’m a newbie to the E. William Brown party, but damn, I am a FAN! Perilous Waif is such a great, funny, fabulous listen (on audio) that I am in awe and can’t wait to work my way through your other series as I wait for book 2. Thank you for the best, most sleep deprived night of my life!

    Like

  18. What do you think of the next tentative Title “Thrall” Oxford dictionary meaning:
    (the state of being in someone’s power, or of having great power over someone.)

    What’s your thoughts?
    Who do you think it is?
    What have they got to do with Daniel and co?
    Who asks for help from the Daniel and co?

    All we do know from a throw away comment that Aphrodite was a Thrall in the Golden City of Asgard. Will she be the main focus of this story or is their someone else?

    Probably can’t actually make a good guess but it will fun to read peoples views on this topic, and see how close people come to the true answer.

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    1. I guess it could also be about the witches enslaved by Aesir priests (They’ve got an entire methodology worked out for it; it’s got to be an entire thing.) The priests are ostensibly on Daniel’s side (I guess we haven’t seen much of them since a lot of them were killed in book 2), but if they parade mind-controlled slaves in front of him, he will at least be fuming about it.
      There are also the spirits enslaved by Hel, people enslaved by Dwarves, Demons summoned and bound, and I guess one of the Drow servants might take Daniel up on his offer to buy their debts out.
      …it’s kind of a slave-rich world.

      I’d pegged a raid on Asgard as something for book 5 when Daniel had had the time to power up further – using Gaia’s bananas as an initial step – but Aphrodite does seem important enough to warrant a title referring to her.

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      1. I see the reference to Aphrodite. But I cannot really see why DB would risk anything for her. What would she have to offer? Beyond the obvious from a sex godess I mean.
        It would have to be something more complicated than a rescue mission. And I cannot see the Aesir using her as an infiltration agent. Too obvious.

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      2. Aphrodite can also be linked with a mission to help Idun with the dryads and the apples, The dryads can also be considered Thralls because they where captured from the Olympians and taken as spoils of war. (unless there are Norse dryads to in this universe). Why there is an sudden need to hurry on this mission is unknown, but for me a combined Aphrodite and idun mission is all that makes sense. Also what goddess essence was it Avila was made from? I don’t remember if it was a different Greek letter A goddess or the same as the one that where noted as taped in Asgard. If it is the same then there is a new starting point for having to go on the Asgard mission!

        On the sudden need, there is a chance Daniel was not as complete with his mission resulting in a lot of sick and dying, but not yet dead enemies and Gaea decides to send them out on a full out attack before they end up dead, because of this there is a sudden need to hurry up and save Idun.

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    2. Unless the next book is chronologically very short (less than a month with no hiatus in between – if I computed correctly), Bast will be born in it. That opens up the possibility that an agent of Ra comes into the play.
      The other possiilty is that his enemies having tried and failed with physical attacks now going for a mental attack. Whose side are the sirens on?

      Like

    3. There are two more famously bound characters, Prometheus and Fenrir. Mara’s third task could very well be to free Fenri. Does this have anything to do with DB?

      When I think about it, maybe. Depending on where dead Andregi go, Loki has excellent stuff for blackmail. DB killed a few Andregi fighting Korak. If they get a chance to report to Hel, Mara and DB are in deep shit, if Loki cares to pass on the reports. And Loki cannot in the long run keepan alliance with Gaea. Killing all humans would get his worshippers, too.
      And on the third hand why does Gaea keep a god eater in her dungeon? Did she expect to capture a demigod?

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  19. lol guess im the odd one out here still desperatly waiting for your next alice long book/books preferable twenty or so have read your other books sorry not rushing for them but willing to pre buy alice books any day

    Like

  20. I live in Houston and am a fan of both Alice and Daniel’s creative use of his gifted magik. I would be interested in being a beta reader.

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  21. So everyone’s talking about Daniel and his various power-up potentials, but no one’s asking the truly important question: when will Mara and Brand realize that they’re meant for one another?! We’ve got an obvious Romeo/Juliet set up there, and they’ve got the bickering “enemies” thing going, but with Daniel as a friend in common they’re inevitably going to come into contact with one another again, and given that their status as “enemies” is all legacy stuff from their parents, they might well go all rebellious-teens and start dating. It’s perfect! The beginnings of the new Pantheon: Prometheus, Hecate, Bast, Hestia, Brand, Mara, Idun, Aphrodite, and the new God of Magic, Daniel Black!

    Like

    1. Brand is several hundred years old. And for all we know he has a little wife at home. Quite likely some thralls.
      No, you are totally ignoring the growing bromance between DB and Demetrios, which will lead to a drama of jealousy in Captain Rain. He will try to murder Sefwin in a misplaced outburst of represeed self-hatred.

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      1. That would certainly make for an interesting twist, but it would make me drop the series like a hot potato, so I really hope it doesn’t happen (not that it’s likely to, thank Crom!).

        On a more serious note, I wonder a bit about the Abrahamic God (YHWH) and whether He’s worshipped in any part of the DBverse. Or maybe He’s the one with whom to treaty to which Hecate refers was negotiated. That would be theologically interesting. Pantheons a few octaves down, monotheist worlds a few octaves up, and the Neutral Zone whence Black derives getting psychic impressions from both. That’s probably beyond the scope of the story though.

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      2. If the gods of Egypt and other places exist, he possibly is worshipped, but as a storm god somewhere in the Levant. Monotheism as a concept in a world you can physically meet multiple gods is ridiculous.

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  22. Having both a Shield and a Helmet would make a lot of sense for DB. Not having these items is kind of funny, like seeing characters wearing plate-mail bikinis in some medieval fantasy novels. DB does have a “Force Shield” (and these seem to be very effective in this universe). But a material shield, if it is well enough made, would still be a significant asset. And a material shield could not be dispelled or bypassed in the same (layered defence). And not having a helmet (even an open one like maybe Magneto that would protect from the back) is just a serious oversight. Even modern soldiers wear them when they don’t wear much of other armour.

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    1. I am sorry, but no. Daniel’s force shields are crap. They are just crap with an incredible mana source behind them. Look what the Andregi shields actually did. They withstood half a dozen hits, each of which would have destroyed a tank. He needed to break through with brute force. Against a moving target with that level of shielding he’d fail miserably.
      His own shields could be overcome with a single enchanted axe.

      He has dozens of dryads who would beg to serve as his shield or helmet. And he could actually make a diamond visor (or reinforced quarz if you want to be less dramatic). It is indeed stupid. Especially as he is learning to neutralize weight.

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      1. Diamond is shit as armor material, its so hard that it breaks to easily. Furthermore to compare the Andregi shields with DBs shield is like complaining that a kevlarwest needs to be improved because it fails to stop tank shells which are stopped by tank armor.

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      2. He has these nice structural reenforcement spells. So as long as it is transparent, it matters less. He might also go for golem eyes.

        But his shields are bad. They do not hold up against the threats he is facing (and, unwisely, provoking).

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      3. If he just goes for structural reenforcement he should use something lighter than diamond.

        ALL shields we habe seen until now failed at one point or another.

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      4. Well, nobody is invincible.
        The point is that his shield with a mana source like the Andregi used, isn’t worth much.
        The Andregi shield system with Daniel’s mana source would be a splendid defensive system.

        Likewise look at the fight with the dwarves. He won because he improvised a physical shield. Daniel has an attitude problem where he builds defenses because he has to and thinks that the offense is in principle better than the defense. That attitude os an unquestioned survival of the 20th century. Realistic, but he needs to adjust.

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      5. How do you know that the Andregi shield wasn’t just linked to a more powerfull power source than DBs amulett? If lets say the powersource of the shield was for example Gaia itself through a powerlink provided through the human sacrifices than the powersource of the shields could have been much more powerfull than DBs amulett

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      6. Good point. Steelbinder said so. He mentioned that human sacrifice could be used to strengthen the shields beyond the normal strength. Hence they were usually powered by something less powerful than human sacrifice.

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  23. I don’ see a problem with DB’s armor.

    He won a close quarter fight with a demigod without offensive weapons and without his complete armor set (only force screen).

    That’s really something!
    So I would say everything is adequate (so far).

    Of course the threat level will spiral upwards and he will have to improve (his armor also) to keep up with that.

    E.g. his main defence (force screen) is solely magic and thus highly vulnerable to anti magic penetration aids. He encountered those already twice (Lanrest + dwarfs).
    So add a curse protection on the outside of the force screen that disrupts the magic penetration aids or/and add further alternative armor layers (besides anti-kinetic cloth + breastplate) so at least one layer will protect against even the most exotic attack.

    Or/and increase his mobility/speed even more so can evade better…

    At the end DB is the main character in a novel. He will be in the thick of it. He will not stand on the sidelines while innocents are hurt just because fighting is risky or “not wise”.

    In order to hold the arc of suspense the author will have to come up with threats that can penetrate his protections no matter how strong they are.

    While it would be boring to use that statement as an excuse for doing/improving nothing….I don’t believe it’s critical for the story how high his armorclass is exactly.

    I can only reiterate that I strongly favor his current look/armor concept. Compromise between mobility and raw protection… multilayered… force screen….heavy breastplate for vital organs/torso…smoking gun…sword of fire…cool trench coat….no helmet.

    ….notwithstanding I really enjoy speculating about alternatives/enhancements!

    …and….okay…maybe having some super babes (dryards) wrapped around your body (for “protection”) doesn’t sound thaaaaat bad either.

    Like

    1. There is one DB. If you have to protect a unique resource your protection must be measured against the worst likely threat, not the most common one. The thing is, he has observed many better forms of protection. The dryads the nymphs wear. The destructive effect Leo used. The lightning as armor Steelbinder used. The destructive dome the Andregi used. Nothing. I cannot help but think that he is an attacker at heart.

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      1. Are those armors really better?

        Leo’s desintegration and Steelbinder’s lightning effects are ultimately not armor enhancements.

        They’re offensive enchantments. We don’t even know if their armor is enchanted with these effects. Killing your assailants will reduce the burden on your defense, but it doesn’t make your armor tougher.

        Apart from this I would like for DB to have a similar effect. But those effects are distinctive features of Leo and Steelbinder (IMO). So maybe DB could use rotary magma pellets or force blades or a force push….

        Is a destructive force field better/more energy efficient than DB’s defence version?

        Would that beat an antimagic penetration aid? Or would the antimagic trump this effect, too?

        Perhaps he could add a curse protection on the outside of the force screen that disrupts the magic penetration aids?

        DB speculated that the dryard armor would be better than “normal” armor. Is it better than enchanted armor, too? Even with DB’s cheating “I-have-unlimited-mana-and-superior-magic-insight” enchantments?

        I’d like to think that with upgraded dryards the protective effect will also be heightened. So perhaps DB could realise the familiar bond with Alanna (name?) and gain a bracer (?) that adds power to his protections (in addition to the other benefits (?) having a familiar would bring along).

        Besides I find the notion of having a portable, magically bonded, hot babe always with me all the time not unattractive, too. 😉

        All told I think DB’s protection is topnotch.

        Come on…a direct hit from a giant sized axe only took about 5% of his shield capacity….that barely registers on your mana bar….and his mana-reactor-amulet is constantly restoring the shield…and he has further (if weaker) protection layers….that level of protection is not problematic.

        But of course he should further improve it (e.g. cues: antimagic, more layers, dryard…)!!

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      2. The point is not being efficient. There is no point in DB being efficient. He has more mana than he can find uses for. He needs to be effective.
        Reflecting a giant’s axe with 5% but letting threw a mage killer bolt is no good.
        He’d be better of with a shield that takes 50% of his reserves in stopping that axe, but stopping the bolt, too. He is not a tank. You will lose some of them and you know it. He is an aircraft carrier. Those must not be lost.

        Quoting him: You need defense in depth.
        His shield does not offer that.

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      3. As far as we know DB’s armor (force screen + breastplate + kinetic defence effect) is the very best protection on the planet.

        It’s an easy allegation because we know absolutely nothing about any other personal armor (besides some very superficial observations).

        We know of exactly ONE weakness of this screen and that is weapons with “antimagic-enchantment”.
        And during the assault on the dwarven stronghold his “defence in depth” (breastplate) coped with the next bolt just fine.

        This “antimagic-penetration-aid” was already used twice to bring life-threatening situations for DB about. So this effect seems to be not that rare (or the author was just plain lazy).

        So I totally agree with you….DB needs to improve his protection in general and especially against the above mentioned threat!

        But we have no point of reference that any other armor is better. Would a wizard in a magically pimped tin can armor survive being the chewing toy of a divine sea Serpent…or all the other threats DB was exposed to? We simply don’t know.

        So I’d say his force screen (and his armor situation in general) is far away from being “crap”.

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  24. ==>
    Lanrest
    <==

    I agree that his battle performance was ill-advised.

    But he is an ordinary office worker thrown into a fantasy world just a few days ago!

    …Lanrest was not worth risking his life…in battle for…”

    If you were talking about a computer game I would agree. But otherwise what is that for a statement?

    Just because Lanrest is just a stopover for DB hundreds (thousands?) of lives are worthless / not worth fighting for?

    Demons, goblins, giants and other monsters are slaughtering the human population.
    DB –grown up with the moral standards of the Western world- tries to save as many humans as possible.

    Since at that time he had no effective ranged attacks he jumps recklessly…foolhardy…heroically into the thick of it.

    And yes I also think that standing back for some seconds and contemplate the best approach and healing up for some moments would definitively have been wiser!

    But we’ve got some suspense-packed pages out of it!

    So that’s well written (IMO) and suits DB’s character development.

    Like

  25. ==>
    And attacking the zombies in the catacombs was foolish. I am not a military officer. But the enemy expects you to go there. Did he really think that was the only source of zombies? And that he really would find them all in time to matter?
    No. You collapse the tunnels if you are an Earth mage, or flood them with sand or lava or even ignore them and just block and mine the entrances.
    <==

    That is one possible approach.

    But on the other hand catacombs hundreds of years old with untold (hundreds of thousands? millions?) of interred people will probably have several entrances.

    And even if there are other possible sources of undead… they are not known now and this has to be at least a major one, right?

    To venture into this dangerous environment and risk putting one’s head in the noose in order to clear/scout the threat may be risky or even foolhardy and there may be other approaches but IMO it was not as absurd as you imply.

    Besides everything worked out well. The reader got certainly more entertainment with the fight against a gigantic undead dragon instead of just observing DB putting in some stone plugs. Cerise got a nice upgrade and the party surfaced “coincidentally” next to the right location for the final confrontation with Mara.

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    1. Let me put it this way. If your ship has three holes and each one is big enough to sink you, there is no point in plugging only one in the time before you sink. If you are in that situation, you spend your time getting people into the boats.

      This was in hindsight extremely obviously a trap. If Mara had wanted to keep the cave a secret she would have incinerated not bribed that ghoul. I admit, it was fun to read, but thinking back, he and Cerise were fools. He could have seen that. Guards at the entrance can be seen as general caution. But at the time he heared that the Unraveller had paid three goats is was obvious going on was foolish.

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      1. From my point of view the burial catacombs were the only known source of undead at that moment.

        It was known that the demigoddess Mara did something there. Perhaps a magic ritual that will awaken hundreds of thousands if not halted?

        Whatever she did…undead hordes are pouring out of the underground.

        So yes I agree that it was not improbable (okay…in hindsight maybe even likely) that the location was defended/trapped.

        But I disagree that the answer to that circumstance is staying save by not doing anything dangerous.

        To solve/scout the problem DB had to press forward.

        Yes that is risky…life-endangering….and in hindsight often absolutely stupid….because you generally only realise that you overreached when the water’s up to your neck…. but avoiding every dangerous situation seems way to timid, weak, even craven for DB to me (even if other enlightened minds may say it’s only prudent).

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      2. That is true to a certain extent. Investigating the catacombs made sense. Going on as you should have concluded that you are expected to do just that did not make sense. Warfare is using your strengths. If you are good at blowing things up from a distance, you do not go into a confined environment where you cannot set off large explosions.
        Either there were portals, then you need to ask yourself, whether there will be only one and you can find it. If the answer to that is not so good, then stop going on. If there were just reanimated zombies, well then they were already reanimated and going down does no good while they are fighting on the surface.
        And had he met Mara, what would he have done? Fight her in a confined space while she has an army of zombies under her command and possibly prepared positions?

        The rest of the operation was even worse. You take your infantry out for recon in force. OK so far. He even rescued a few civilians. Nice, though not crucial. But then he lets them hold a defensive position. Why? There was no point in holding a tiny piece of the docks. And his walls were understaffed. He should have ordered a retreat after the initial battle. That would have secured the home base and conserved his strengths. The skimmers, which can safely retreat over the river could have defended the causeway.
        He blamed Captain Rain, but what for? He gave the man a mission that made ultimately no sense.
        If you want to slaughter zombies and have nice thick walls from which you can do that, if the need arises, you do not go outside your walls, unless you want to do something that matters.

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  26. ==>
    Likewise streeetfighting the Andregi, you give up your armor and mobility. He just should have ordered the skimmers to attack outside the walls. He himself should have joined the Conclave’s forces. An experienced military man, with millenia of experience suggested it. The other advisors agreed. There is a time to listen.
    <==

    If I remember right he had his skimmers deployed but recalled them because of poor viewing conditions (it was night).

    Then who are those advisors? They are aliens. A tree-woman and a goat-man. They are in the truest sense of the word inhuman.

    Even if you say they are just people (because the nymph is hot)…and ignore different thought patterns…think of their age.
    Let’s say they are “only” 2.000 years old and compare that with an assumed human life expectancy of 80 years. If you (as a human) put yourself into their shoes…how would you value the individual life of a being with a lifespan of mice (3 years)? An average budgie lives three times as long! **

    DB speculated that there were about 100.000 inhabitants (refugees included) in the fought over district.

    Should he really stop trying to help these untold humans because fighting is dangerous?

    Should he (anybody) really think hundreds of thousands of humans (Kozalin) are “a liability” and stop fighting just because future prospects for them are indeed bleak?

    Should he stop fighting because the forces trying to exterminate humanity may target him personally…even if a demigod, a powerful group of wizards, a prince with a whole troop of hero-level knights are also defending the same city?

    If DB really wants to avoid peril he should take his coven (and all the tree-babes and female dark elves), migrate somewhere safe and stay in bed for the next 100 years.

    While I won’t rule out that I would buy the book with that scenario….up to now the DB series was about a heroic character defending his people and humanity in the face of overwhelming odds.

    It may just be in the eye of the beholder whether you call it selfless/heroic or foolish/stupid.

    I for one would like suspense-packed stories about DB fighting overwhelming forces again and again on the brink of disaster….

    ** ratio 80 years to 2.000 years = 0,04 / 80 years x 0,04 = 3,2 years
    Average lifespan: house mouse 2-3 years / budgerigar 8-10 years (source wikipedia)

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    1. He had his skimmers deployed inside the city. He should have used them as a moving attack force against the Andregi outside the wall, just from a purely tactical perspective. If you are faster than your enemies, you do not voluntarily sit still.

      Now, this goes into the direction of ethics. Mankind has debated these issues for millenia. Anyway, I see two main issues. Firstly, who are his people? By the mechanics of divine warfare in this world, there are no non-combatants. You fight on the side of your gods merely by thinking. Considering all the people of Kozalin his people stretches the definition very much.
      Secondly, you have to be realistic. Millions have already died. Many more will die. This is Fimbulwinter and Ragnarök. DB is not going to reverse this and he knows it. People got to eat and the Andregi might be defeated, but trolls, giants and goblins are not. DB is one man and cannot feed that large an army. He is not going to defend more than one city at most. Even that is dangerous given his need to remain a neutral party.

      The best he can do is defend the people of Europe as a population to resettle the continent. To do so, he must survive.

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      1. He recalled his skimmers because of the darkness. The human crew was effectively blind. Instead he ordered his airship to harass the andregi outside the wall.

        Otherwise I totally agree with you.

        His people are (IMO) first his coven and then the people living inside Black Citadel (and there everyone named in the books before the faceless masses).

        Even his ability of defending Kozalin as a whole is questionable.

        And yes it’s Fimbulwinter and the situation is bleak and many, many more will die.

        I just can’t get to like your conclusion that he should hold himself back in this great measure.

        Yes he is the fulcrum of the survival for “his people” (even if they’re positioned better than anybody else with fortress, food, magical weapons, magical allies…), but should that prevent him from helping others…even if it is risky?

        But apart from agreeing or not if DB should be more “defensively-minded” or not….in a novel I would like to read about a hero (even if that word is way too cheesy) standing up to overwhelming enemy hordes even if it’s seemingly hopeless (or foolish).

        More drama!

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      2. Everything during Fimbulwinter is to a certain extent dangerous. And, as Hecate said, great risks bring great rewards. Missions like taking the Intrepid to Scandinavia were necessary (and fun to read). And the conservative action to indeed go to Kadur Osh to buy back his people would have been wrong.

        Yes, his tactics were overconfident. Mistakes happen.
        The fundamental problem is that he does not know when and what for to fight. He fights in pointless battles.
        And he is taking sides. And that would kill him, if it went on. He has to stay neutral, but that may likely mean writing off most of Kozalin, possibly even conspiring with the Conclave to kill them off.

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  27. ==>
    But he needs to get over that 20th century mind set that sees offense fundamentally stronger than defense.
    <==

    You mentioned that a number of times.

    Could you explain that for me?

    What do you mean by that? Why do you feel there is such a mindset?
    And if…why rethink that in DB’s position?

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    1. Because that is the ultimate lesson of the 19th and 20th century in warfare. No amount of armor will protect you from a bullet out of a military rifle. Tanks can kill each other, at least if they are close enough. Strategically with nuclear weapons and the ICBM there is also no defense. You can deter by stiking first or back or against bullets you can simply try not to be hit, by digging in for example.
      That is not the whole picture but it is the broad outline.

      Daniel was in the beginning forced into making a shield. It was a matter of immediate survival. He improved it, albeit only quantitatively, but as soon as he had a good defense, he concentrated on killing his opponents. Not only for himself, but for his men (not exclusively – skimmers are cool fortresses). Again the big picture only. That is not even entirely wrong. You cannot always defend. But you need to realise that defense in a certain sense is stronger. The enemy has to come to you. And he will never be able to defeat all his opponents. He will have actually defend himself. Retaliation is not feasible. Nor can he real hope to withstand the strongest blow his enemies can dish out. His only hope is to be too tough to be worth defeating.

      Now there are two things he gets wrong. First the technology is different. Magic is easier to do close by and he can negate weight and is not limited to purely material defenses. He can make armor that can stop a bullet.
      Secondly he to an extent got his priorities wrong. He is building a field army as a response force and artillery for home. But that is not his primary need. If his field forces get wiped out, that is very bad. But it is survivable. If the Black Island falls, he is defeated and likely at least his family is dead.
      He does not need a field army. He needs guards. If his men can kill monsters that is good, but not vital. If an enemy can sneak past or kill unnoticed his defense forces, this is likely fatal.

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  28. Now that DB may have slowed Gaia down he needs to build his own army and take the fight to Loki. He has the largest power source available for his own use. Keep upgrading his defenses but start building an army made up of all the different creatures of this world. He needs a proper stratagem and tactical plan to win this war and at present he has none.

    If he wants to more than survive he also needs Hecate to be more proactive even if it’s just providing better information about the Asier, Loki, Gaia and all the other players involved in the extermination of humankind. Information is very important at present and you can’t make good decisions without it.

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    1. DB has no compelling reason to take the fight to Loki. His mission is to protect Cerise and the rest of his family. Taking on Loki is just asking for all sorts of trouble. As long a Loki stays away from Kozalin (and what interest has he there now that the Veil Anchor is dust?) there’s no reason they should cross swords.

      Likewise, Hecate has no reason to stick her neck out. With the Aesir and Loki gunning for one another she and the remaining Olympians and Titans just need to stay out of the way and then come in to clean up whoever’s left.

      All DB might want to do is expand Castle Black (possibly underground, with power-stone empowered Force-Shock-Absorbers in case Gaia gets a clue) and take in more refugees. The Aesir don’t want to exterminate mankind, and whoever wins the war is likely to get the survivors as worshipers by default.

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      1. There still is a great temple and quite a lot of worshippers left in Kozalin. So there is really no reason DB and Loki should clash, but there is a reason for Loki to eventually attack Kozalin, if hunger and cold do not do the job.
        By that time Daniel has to do something about Kozalin or come to an agreement with Loki about the city. He cannot simply let if fall, as the Dark Portal in enemy hands would be a major threat.

        Gaea is a totally different story. Things could get interesting once she realizes if she wants to use her sleeping army, it has to be now. I doubt the alliance between Loki and Gaea will last long beyond her army, as Loki wants worshippers of his own. And it will be most interesting to see what her new daughter will actually be like.

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    2. Why should DB fight Loki? Loki fights the Aesir not humanity (like Gaia does), the difference seems at first small but Loki does not want humanity to go extinct (which is why he protects his human worshippers) so he will be after the war probably quite open for peacefull relationships with DB and Co, while his relationship with Gaia would quickly deteriorate.

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      1. You guys a missing the point here, Loki has caused all that is happening in the world at present, you think he’s going to let another power source live in the same universe as him. Sh&^t No once he’s sorted out the Aesir and their Allies an things settle down he will be going after DB and his entourage.

        So what’s that old adage “Prepare for the Worst hope for the best”

        At least a Contingency Plan should be put in place if its the Worst that happens it’s ready to go.
        And
        Reseach – everything from coms, shields, flight, teleportation.
        Upgrade, Upgrade, Upgrade

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      2. He will have to let them live. He is not going to topple the gods of Egypt, the East, North America …
        Now he might be more intolerant in Europe. But even then, the best time to strike is at a weakened foe after Ragnarök.
        Until then, the priority is survival by neutrality.

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    3. Well, here is a list of Daniel’s likely and confirmed enemies:

      * anybody with a hoard of mithril
      * Gaea
      * Ra
      * Elin’s uncles
      * the Aesir (once they read Brand’s report and hear about a mysterious new plague among the Andregi)
      * anybody who wants to steal the M2M enchantment
      * the King of Varmland
      * the ice giants
      * the goblins
      * the winter wraiths
      * the Ungols
      * the powers in the Void

      Adding the man with whose daughter he has been in bed to the list without a dire need does not look like a good idea to me. In fact I think crashing the mithril market is a bad idea.

      Like

  29. Thanks for the update. I’m eagerly awaiting the next book and these updates really help with the anxiety of it. You said in your September post that you’ve decided to never post a release date estimate again because they tend to be wrong. A good compromise that I’ve seen other authors use is to just ballpark percentage completion. That way you don’t have guess at a release date and risk disappointing people by being wrong. Even load bars for software installation or downloads don’t go up at consistent rate. So getting stalled between 80% done and 90% when you got from 50% to 80% in half that time wouldn’t attract the sort of disappointment that missing an estimated release date would. On the other hand, a percentage completion estimate gives your fans more information to go on (and therefore make the wait easier) than saying something like “still working on it, will give release date when it’s about to be released”.

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  30. I first want to say how much I enjoyed Perilous Waif. I downloaded via audible and have listened several times now. I must say I think your story is easily one of the best I have read. Nano-scale tech and AI have tremendous potential and they both play a central role as they should.

    I am sure you have already considered this and may be holding it back for when the story reaches a grander scale as alice begins to attract the attention of the greater powers such as the Dominion and Poly-technic Swarm.
    My thought was that since you limit yourself to physics as we know it for power generation and took the line that a technology to easily stablize beta layer antimatter is not the route you wanted to go then the ultimate power source would be Dyson Swarms constructed by Von Neumann concept of machine replication. A single system fully converted and making use of the planetary mass and solar energy available could construct millions of those sentient battleships or else construct such a large network of solar powered defense stations and artificial habitats that trillions could live in that system alone and have a force to protect it that significantly dwarfs even what you hinted to the Poly-technic swarm to be like. Perhaps that is your vision for this swarm. I do not know. I just personally enjoyed the mental exercise of visualizing what nearly unlimited energy and materials could give you and what we may one day ourselves be able to harness. In any case i eagerly await your next work in this series and if you find time i would love to hear any ideas you had if you are one that shares such information. I have no skill at prose but i do like to visualize new technologies. I think it would be interesting if your nanite bodies each functioned a bit like cells and had some level of processing ability and awareness of their own and that they collectively coprocess and all the nantites together are also quantum qubits that together run all of necessary calculations that make up the awareness of the person. If they are all linked an entangled state and qubit functionality would be possible. If alice forinstance were to be damaged and many were destroyed you could have it limit her processing/mental abilities proportionally to the amount lost until she regenerates. I am conflicted about the future of organic matter in such stories which is why i turned my attention to Nanites which would effectively be artificial cells not just tiny machines. I would like to see an artificial lifeform with all the complexity it suggests. We did it all over and the right way. Something organic but perfected a complete understanding physics and of life itself. Then again in my vision the line between human and android would no longer exist or at least cease to be meaningful. I am ofcourse an idealist and realize many would want legal slaves and some humans would resist the new order of life.

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  31. Well EWB is falling into the same trap as DB over worked and under paid well not really like DB but it becoming a trend. Here’s hoping we get something before Chrisie.

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  32. Can’t wait for the next Daniel Black book, here’s hoping it comes out this year, and just ignore all the folks trying to tell you how they think the story should go, you’re doing great.

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  33. How do you people look at the what-ifs of the series? For example if at the very beginning Daniel had decided that they would be unable to escape the Goblins and if he can hide magical stuff he can hide himself and the girls, would you have still liked the series?
    How essential is it that Daniel prefers an active and open solution? Would he still be appealing if he preferred a sly, indirect approach? Or if he were the cool, calculating and cynical type?

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  34. Everything written here is pure speculation and a lot of peoples idea’s on what they would like the main character to do but in the end its really just a whole lot of fun. Anyone who takes these comments to seriously are in for a lot of disappointment. I love reading the comments of others, seeing how they saw each book thru there idea’s about this and that its fun.

    What I’d like to see is more books in this series but I’ve got the feeling we may only see one or two more in this series, if that, just my opinion but its not worth much so I’d take it with a pinch of salt hehehe LOL

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  35. reposting to this blog

    Something that might be handy, in either DB or Alice stories, Borazon (Boron Nitride) originally patent in the 50’s by GE, but they did not know how to mass produce it until recently. hard? 17 percent harder than diamond far more chemically and thermally stable than diamond (melting point above 5000 Fahrenheit) better than diamond, for coating tools should be great for CNC tools

    A bi-phase cable using say tungsten carbide, as the softer material, the thickness of a finger could pull an ocean liner, or stabilize an asteroid. (vacuum or atmosphere? chemically stable, doesn’t affect the stuff.)

    a thin wire of the stuff could slice through flesh, like it was nothing, with hardily any pressure, anchoring it is tough, Say sapphire coated hooks? But you’ve got to coat the wire, otherwise the cut flesh would have a really good chance of closing back up.(yeah, the “edge” is that fine) think almost monomolecular

    great spacesuit or ship hull material, Coat a t-shirt, and should be bullet resistant, but hell of an impact damage point. great surgical tools

    Takes lot’s of energy to make, though. commonly looks like a brown diamond crystal.

    Ah,BTW, would be really tickled to “see” Dark Elves in DB stories wear aviator sunglasses

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  36. I was wondering about an aspect of Varmland.

    Magic is at least partially genetic. Magic is useful in battle. So why aren’t the nobles trying to get some magic into their blood lines? Are other countries different?

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  37. Re-reading the Daniel Black books yet again and something has been bugging me. Daniel often mentions that while he can summon stone and metal, he can’t summon food. But his Flesh element allows him to summon blood and tissue for his own body and for that of anyone else he heals, should why can’t he just summon steak and pork as well? A factory that extruded sausage would solve a big part of his food problems. He could probably feed all of Kozalin too.

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    1. Living tissue is more complicated. I think he cannot do it outside the corresponding matrix, nor have we seen him transfer the full functionality to an enchantment. His amulett has never regenerated a full limb. That was done by manual intervention. Granted it may have been possible and just have taken weeks.

      He could in all likelihood take a pig, cut of its legs and regrow them pretty much indefinitely, but that does not help all that much. And it would be pretty gruesome.

      I mean he also conjured fertile soil. That means he created microorganisms by earth magic. So it is definitely possible just not for DB at present. What might work is taking a cow and magically enhance her udder to indirectly conjure milk.

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