Daniel Black Open Thread

There seem to be a lot of people who still want to talk about what Daniel ought to be doing and what enchantments he should be working on, so I figured I’d give you a better place to do it that the comments of an unrelated post. I may even answer a few questions, as long as they don’t give away anything I have planned for future books.

Of course, the answer to most questions of the form ‘why hasn’t Daniel done X’ is ‘he hasn’t had time’. At the end of Extermination it’s only been about three months since he was summoned, and he’s been insanely busy for that entire time. So his enchantment work has focused almost entirely on things he could do quickly, without having to spend much time figuring things out.

The other point I want to mention, though, is that Daniel isn’t intended to be some perfectly hyper-competent superman. He’s just a guy who had enough brains, imagination and determination to get the job done, at least so far. But there were several places where I intentionally had him do things that turned out to be a mistake because it fit his attitude at the time, or because he had no way of knowing better. That’s going to continue to happen in the future, although he is learning.

My inspiration for Daniel actually comes from some of the more capable players I’ve met in tabletop RPG games over the years. You know that guy who can debate everything from Napoleonic military tactics to advanced space launch technologies? The one who keeps bypassing the GM’s carefully constructed plot complications by doing something clever but sensible instead of just charging after the obvious plot hooks? The one who always seems to be overpowered, because he reads all the rulebooks and carefully min-maxes his  characters? That’s Daniel.

The trouble is, it’s a lot easier to talk about things than to actually do them. Real life doesn’t come with a rulebook, and just because you watched a video about something once doesn’t mean you can do it. So even with the huge cheat of mana sorcery, there’s going to be a lot of trial and error in Daniel’s future.

He’s still frustrated that he can’t remember how a Geiger counter is supposed to work…

4,497 thoughts on “Daniel Black Open Thread

  1. This probably has been addresses already, but hear are some ideas for functional magic that might take work and time initially, but be efficient long term. I know low priority ideas he has no time for. But these are items, needs, and functions that can improve the lives of his citizens. And once set up be overseen by a normal person, with minimal draw in Daniel’s magic and time. Most of these are boring everyday stuff to help civilizations function, and with Daniel’s limited manpower he must be as efficient as possible.

    Can Daniel create conjuring factories for non metal materials. Or create manufacturing machines that take in materials or items and do things with them to create an assembly line. Following are some examples.

    Materials to conjure
    – Copper as low value coins, in bar stock for manufacturing, and or pipes for plumbing
    – silver for coins, bar stock, or anything else
    – Gold coins, or a machine to take in all the gold they will get from crashing the aluminum (mithrill) market and transform it into coins, bars, and bricks. Daniel will wind up with his own Fort Knox.

    For Manufacturing
    Can he conjure ingots of alloys; or conjure. pure materials and make a machine to input pure materials and output an alloy. Here are some elements to conjure: carbon (for carbon steel, eventually carbon fibre, and many other uses), nickel (for allows), iron, titanium, copper (plumbing and wireing), aluminum, and probably many more skipping my mind.

    Can Daniel make conjuring machines for threads of synthetic material or carbon fibre, for clothing and manufacturing? The machine can have dials for size, colour, etc. Then winde onto a spool for output. Or conjure foam that can later be formed or cut into needed shapes like: cushions, padding, matresses, and more. How about rubber or plastics for manufacturing and making seals.

    Daniel should create magical machines that take inputted items or material, and build with or add to them. Like:
    – a machine where an item of clothing is placed on it and warmth enchantments are worked into it.
    – a machine that is a spinning wheel & dyeing equivalent, and loom. Where it takes in natural (cotton, wool, flax, silk), synthetic (carbon fibre, clothing synthetics, fibreglass, other), or other material. Turns them into threads of different sizes, material composition, strength, surface texture, even colour. Then outputs a woven cloth.
    – create an assembly line to make helmets. Machine 1: materials (carbon fibre, or metal alloys) come in and are formed into an outer shell. Machine 2: materials input: plastic, foam, woven cloth, output is a padded inner construct in different thicknesses to make different sizes. Machine 3: create a chin strap assembly. Workers can then put everything together. Machine 4: applies magic enchantments, wards, etc.

    Also Daniel should create machines to mass produce common items like:
    – Standardized large size interlocking lego-like building blocks to bulid rooms and appartments in the huge open spaces of his buildings. These can be made in different shapes, materials, surfaces, sizes, even colours. Blocks can be used to make: rooms, walls, window and door openings, shelves, desks, counters, etc. And can be assembled by a construction team of normal humans.
    – plumbing fixtures: pipes, sinks, fawcets, toilets, valves, joints, elbows, tubs, showerheads, drains, and lots more. The idea is that plumbers can take care of all the labour intensive assembly, and Daniel would only have to come in to check things and link it to the hot & cold water supply, and sewer.
    – lighting: 3 versions: a smaller light / lamp for housing, small rooms, offices. A larger ceiling mounted light for high traffic and large areas. And a flashlight or headlamp.
    – common appliances: hot plate, stove, grill, oven, fridge.
    – windows and doors to fit a standard size openings.
    – standard sized stackable containers, pallets, storage items
    – different sized: webbing, straps, rope, chain, hooks, ratchets, caribeaners
    – comon use items: chairs, tables, desks, shelves, cabinets
    – a writing and records keeping system: chalk and chalkboards. Long term low priority: paper or paper equivalent, stickers or lables, pen pencil or writing equivalent, binders, folders, hanging folders and boxes or filing cabinets to fit them, staples and staplers, paperclips or other item to keep sheets together, typewriters.
    – cleaning supplies: mops, buckets, towels, rags, soap, scrub brushes, brooms, garbage cans, dust pans.

    Much of this is with the idea where Daniel can build a machines he can leave running under the supervision of someone else, where they can turn it on and off as needed. So there is less demand on his time and magic, and he can start to build up an inventory. Also if he breaks construction down into an assembly line of multiple machine steps it will probably mean his enchanted machines will be less complicated, last longer, need less maintenance, and make fewer errors.

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    1. Plastic is a no go he can’t conjure that. Carbon fiber and carbon nanotubes he might be able to summon but carbon fiber by itself is pretty much a useless material. Carbon fiber needs to be glued or resin in order to make it a solid material as strong or stronger than steel. Otherwise it actually is very weak and not a very useful substance. Carbon fiber and carbon nanotube also comes in one color charcoal gray. However manufacturing carbon fiber material is actually quite easy you can do it with old clothes considering they’re made from natural fiber. Cotton 👖 things like that burlap will even work. Stick it inside of a baking pan bake it with a lid on and a hole in it so It can “out gas” until it turns charcoal gray the outgassing with the small hole is to prevent it from catching fire. Take it out of oven allowed to cool if you open the lid before it cools it might flash into flame you don’t want that. Spread contents into a mold or shape apply resin or glue be gentle with this process. After it has hardened you have a carbon fiber material in whatever shape the mold was you’re done.

      He has already proven that he is capable of summoning alloys he did it when he summoned a bronze amulet.

      He does not need a sewer system he’s already invented a magical flush toilet that banishes the waist. He can apply that same magic technology to any drain. There’s no need for him to consider building a sewer system.

      He’s already built several factory stones that conjures building blocks of several sizes that fit together like Lego blocks. He did that in book 3 it was even talked about how a architect has been using the stone blocks for finishing up internal spaces. That discussion took place after he went to retrieve the elves.

      Personally I think he should work on upgrading the forge for his people to increase their own productivity. Large auto hammers, blast furnaces and stones the Conger different types of metal iron, nickel, chromium, tungsten, aluminum, titanium, copper, tin, manganese and so forth. He should also create devices to make the people working there resistant to heat. Magic workman gloves so to speak. Magic metal cutting tools and drills. A way to shape metal with those same workman gloves like it’s as soft as clay or buddy. Large magic laiths and other machine tools.

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      1. I like your idea of more tools and practical applications to help non-magic users and the general population.

        Avilla producing a magic enfused Meal Ready to Eat (MRE). How great would it be to have a portable, easy to carry, tough to damage, meal that won’t go bad. It can have enchantments to heat it up when opened, provide strength, alertness, a health boost, and more. And build up an inventory so there is always a ready meal around. All the things a worker & soldier needs on a cold, rough, night shift, in hostile territory. Hell with all of Avilla’s hearth witch skills she might be able to make it taste good. As there is no plastic, a container for this magic MRE might be the toughest part. Maybe a thin nickel-iron container (lunch box) with multiple sections, an air tight as possible lid; and ties, latches, or catches to keep it closed. Avilla could prepare huge quantities of different foods, have her staff fill the sections with different items. Then have an enchanted conjuring machine banish the air to create a vacume seal, and place any spells on the container & food. This Aville prepared MRE comes enchanted in its own lunch box!

        Hand, power, manufacturing, maintinance, and industrial Tools:
        Mass Produced Hand tools. All can be magically infused to be lighter, stronger, hit harder, resist and not transfer heat or cold, etc):
        – hammer
        – pliers and tongs
        – clamps and vices
        – shears, scissors, chisels (can have a force blade)

        Multi-purpose power tools:
        – Hand drill and drill press
        – grinder (bench and portable)
        – belt sander (bench mounted and portable). With multiple belt course-ness.
        – lathe
        – band / table / chop saws
        – small Dremmel type tool for fine work and engraving

        For metal working:
        – forge/furnace: use Grinders plasma tech, with fine tuning temperature to get consistant high temps.
        – an oil bath quenching system
        – bellows, fan, air circulation
        – pipe extruder and bender
        – power hammer
        – sheet metal roller
        – heat safe: gloves, tongs, face shield, clothing, apron.
        – a welder (equivalent to oxy-acetylene)

        For carpentry (can use force blades with teeth for most cutting tools)
        – large scale circular saw to take felled trees to standard size lumber
        – other assorted saws
        – planer
        – nails or screws (then screwdrivers and/or impact driver are needed)

        For an Industrial kitchen or food manufacturing:
        – industrial sized appliances (oven, stove, grill, mixer, blender, meat grinder, shreders, slicers, pasta maker, vacume sealer, canner)
        – display and serving area with hot and cold temporary storage – chafeeing dishes etc.
        – knives (with a force blade probably will never need to be sharpened)
        – Chefs cutlery (tongs, spatulas, ladles, wisk, scoops, peelers, measuring cups & spoons, mixing bowls, and a lot more i can’t think of)
        – walk in fridge & freezer
        – high pressure water and steam cleaning dish washer
        – mass produced dishes and cutlery
        – pots, pans, trays, baking sheets, lids, strainers, etc.
        – he has conjured clay. Can he do a kiln and mass produce ceramic dishes and mugs. Or just conjure tons of clay, have workers fill moulds, glaze (not sure what’s in pottery glaze) them, and put them in the kiln.
        – he has also conjured glass. Can he make glass dishes?
        – and for the love of god a coffee maker!

        For sanitation:
        – floor cleaner
        – vacume
        – power washer
        – carpet cleaner
        – steam cleaner
        – laundry (washers and dryers)
        – soap (liquid, bar, and powder)
        – Can he conjure chemical clensers (bleach, ammonia, acetone, varsol, vinegar)? Or distill high proof alcohol?

        Again so much to do and no time to do it. It will be interesting to see if in the next book Daniel ever spends time on more comon use, or mass produced items. Such as the lego-like building blocks. Things that can be overlooked, but when mentioned everyone goes “oh yeah, forgot that. We need hundreds or more made now.” He could build many conjuring machine he can just let run. A cool machine would be a 3D photocopier; you place material in the input section, item to be copied on the top, and a copy comes out a chute.

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      2. Cam, we have not actually seen it yet, but I bet more than eighty percent of your lists are things available from Clan Nethwillin. If the clan does not already have or make the tools or materials they know where to trade for them and what to trade for them.

        What Daniel needs to do is provide Clan Nethwillin the home he has already promised them. They need a total habitat just like the dryads have, including the growing spaces. Nethwillin does not need human farmers to help with the growing spaces. They have bound human servants to do that. They have tools and forges and all sorts of equipment and what they don’t have with them they know where to trade for it.

        I hope we get to see this happen in THRALL. Clan Nethwillin settling into a magically empowered habitat of their own will almost certainly satisfy a LOT of readers’ questions about neat stuff Daniel ought to create.

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      3. Danial needs to build the tools to build the tools so he can build the tools, I think his best option is to create a few mechamagical items and let the industrial revolution start.
        First He’s going to need high Quality Steel, Nickle iron is nice but if he really wants good stuff he needs steel. If his fresh air spell can be tuned to only produce oxygen then he could Develop a modified Bessemer process to pump the oxygen through and get good quality steel. He sells this to anyone who will buy it.
        Introduce the assembly line to his crafters and managers, this will improve their crafting and increase output. He shows this method to anyone who wants it.
        Develop rechargeable manna batteries ranging in size from Triple A to car sized with an attachment for recharging rapidly via contact or optional ambient (Much more expensive). Charge by Size and output.
        Develop a method of recharging Manna Batteries using stationary contacts connected to a Power stone that can be placed in Businesses and eventually homes. (think electricity but without the wires.) Charge by Mw (Manna watt)
        Develop a method to measure Manna Usage. Preferably measured from the power stone, (avoids tampering) and a method of tracking , connecting, disconnecting and managing power connections to power stones that doesn’t require him to manage. (think power company) Keep this method to verified trusted agents. (too much room for abuse)
        Develop Small engines, force magic used to turn a gear or flywheel, ranging in size from hand drill to Tractor. Make a few portable hand tools for his troops like Drills, sanders, power chisels, circular saws and chainsaws. Make them tough for combat situations and Sell the patents.
        Develop Licensing of ideas if it doesn’t already exist.
        Make a printing press! Share it with everyone.
        Develop Textile manufacturing, Make a Sewing machine. (may want to make the sewing machine first and endear himself to Avilla) (the Textile equipment may be a long term project).
        All this needs to be setup so that the general populace eventually has access, even then he may have to wait until education of the masses catches up.

        For long term planning he needs to start general education of his people. Reading Writing and math at the basic level for everyone. Maybe make the desire to learn one of the Island buffs, develop real magic schools and determine what percent of his population can actually use magic. can his flesh/manna sorcery enable magic use in non magical people? If it can then he needs to start enabling the children and working basic magic use into the schools. He will need to enforce child labor laws to ensure that his future workforce is educated. (also figure out how to magically copy the enclaves library)

        Each MRE could come protected by its own GBNR (Gingerbread Ninja Ranger) at the end of a month in the bush every solder would have their own battalion of rangers ready for combat! (if they didn’t get wet or eaten)

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      4. Creating a system to monopolize and control the flow of energy would be an unnecessary and ultimately futile idea. He is eventually going to become the head of the state/government that’s unavoidable at this point. He needs to think of a system of taxation that does not stifle the development and growth of the economics of his people in his region. The first concept of income tax as we know it and understand it today came about in a similar type of society to the one he is in now. Nobles and lords would tax their serfs usually by taking some portion of their product their labor if you will. It might be better and more efficient for him to implement a flat sales tax but this is all for after he begins the actual accomplishment of stabilizing the region. He does need to implement a school system that would put an phases on reading and writing and math. But that’s not necessary to build the type of civilization you’ve described. Education does not equal intelligence. An educated people can be incredibly unintelligent where as an intelligent people can be extremely uneducated. An intelligent people can figure out how to make a society work. But a highly educated yet unintelligent people inevitably will not. For enthesis on this all you have to do is look at every single socialist government that’s ever existed they always collapse even though education is free. Where as capitalistic society‘s and cultures have always thrived even when the population is highly under educated.

        In his current situation and with the people he is currently working with. The best possible society we could create for the maximum amount of advancement and development for its people would be a minarcocapitalist society.

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      5. Would that be anything like a Monaco Capitalist society?

        (Snicker)

        We have a totally wild card issue with Daniel’s combination of magic and nuclear physics.

        There’s no need for taxes in money or goods.

        Daniel or somebody happy to work with him can make whatever Black Island needs.

        I wonder how long it will be until Steelbinder and other Conclave members realize this?

        No, the only “taxes” Daniel absolutely needs are knowledge and bodies/minds.

        He needs to know everything he can cram into his head about Varmland’s magic.

        He needs to employ or ally with as many friendly beings as he can cram into Castle Black and other parts of Black Island.

        With Matter to Mana, knowledge, friends and allies, Daniel and they can make anything they need.

        Anything they cannot immediately create but really, really need yesterday, Nethwillin can acquire through trade.

        There will probably be exceptions to this, or we could hardly have an exciting story.

        Of course, the enemy will seek to create more and more exceptions.

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      6. This is true for right now but it will not last. The way events are moving and shaping up it seems as though Daniel and his organization is going to become the focal point of more and more authority. This will put him into a place to be thrust into power over either existing nations or he will have a nation built around him. Having unlimited resources of materials. This may suffice for the short term but all it really does is move the choke point. Unlimited resources is not an economy as his organization grows larger he will have to foster that economy. In many ways within the book you see him doing exactly that. The very statement he made to the elves about believing in the free market is one such statement. One action is the creation of his own marketplace. Then there’s a little matter of the economic warfare. Unlimited resources of material can be the fuel by which he gets his economy off the ground but like I said before unlimited resources is not an economy it’s just the fuel. Right now his greatest bottle neck is in skilled man power. Everyone is working towards their own survival as quickly as possible which makes that man power cheap for Daniel. However this is a temporary state as Daniel increases the likelihood of these people surviving and their comfort zone grows they will need other incentives.

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      7. Totally agree with most of what you’re suggesting, DaShoota.

        I just want to be clear that Daniel Black is going where no man has gone before.

        Unlimited resources is a concept that does not fit any economic theory, and probably shatters all sorts of demand driven formulae that Daniel does not remember, probably never saw, but nonetheless impact him and his attempts to avoid smashing Varmland’s economy before he’s ready to replace what he breaks.

        I don’t know what he’s going to do in the not so distant future, maybe only a few years away, when he is making decisions for most of what remains of Kozalin and Black Island is double or triple its current size, his metals producing magic factories have been pushing out aluminum, copper, gold, silver, iron, nickel-iron, and much more for many months and his growing spaces have doubled, doubled again and will soon double again. Whatever it is, it may not resemble any economy we have seen since the end of the last Ice Age.

        I wonder how much cropland a fully empowered dryad can bless?

        With Daniel’s matter to mana power supplies embedded in the dryad groves, what limits do they have? I bet they could feed all of Kozalin when Daniel is allowed to expand Black Island again. They are probably capable of more than that, especially with Clan Nethwillin’s expertise and much expanded magical assistance. There are probably more dryads, elves and other beings who could expand Black Islands capacity even more if Daniel’s allies can rescue them soon.

        If Daniel reverse engineers the Dark Portal and creates something more humane powered by his own technomancy he could eventually feed and defend most of the surviving humans of Europe. He could communicate directly with the others enclaves of surviving humans in China, India, Vietnam, Thailand, etc.

        Of course, he will be driven to something that big by the demands of the Hundred Thousand Years War.

        And equally certain, there will be backstabbing human treachery of similarly enormous scope.

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      8. Don’t forget that in the not too distant future there will be nations that will look upon what he is building jealously and attempt to acquire it for them selves through war instead of negotiation.

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      9. Yeah…that was my intent when I mentioned backstabbing human treachery.

        Even if Daniel gave them all his magical technology for free, there would probably still be idiots sending assassins after him.

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      10. Ironically, pun intended, Daniel does not need the Bessemer process.

        What does the Bessemer process do with oxygen? It “burns” carbon out of the crude iron/steel mix put in the cupola, creating relatively pure iron plus whatever random elements are in the iron ore. Phosphorus is bad, manganese is good.

        Daniel can produce pure iron without the Bessemer process, and without getting phosphorus or other bad stuff.

        All he needs to do is provide some enterprising smith with a magical furnace that cleanly melts metals up to about 2800 degrees Farenheit, plus a supply of pure metal casting beads and pure carbon to melt together.

        Some force grippers to handle a range of sturdy crucibles would also be nice to have.

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      11. It’s not completely covered in the books. But in book 3 it seems that he has figured out how to make himself fireproof. Or at least it ended at when he’s loading the elves onto his airship.

        So instead of coming up with some form of complicated metal manipulators just give the workmen amulets or gloves that make them immune to the heat and fire so they can handle it by hand?

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      12. Actually, I believe Daniel made his leather duster fireproof, but that would be an acceptable model for what you propose, DaShoota. Leather gloves and a leather apron is what steelworkers had before modern reflective materials became available. Daniel might be able to give them the trifecta: magically cooled cotton liners under magically heat-resistant leather with a heat reflecting outer layer.

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      13. Daniel’s crafters are already familiar with production lines. The first production lines were established in pottery factories in the Ancient Near East something like 2500 years ago in our world and theirs. The Carthaginians and the Venetians built armories to produce galleys using production line techniques.

        What Daniel needs to do is DELEGATE more projects to more of his smart, incredibly experienced allies and retainers.

        If they ask him how to make more of something faster and he realizes they ought to be putting together a production line, he can remind them about what they need to do and if necessary find somebody who knows how to make it happen…if that person hasn’t already been killed and eaten by the Andregi, or by a T. rex, or by a giant, or by a goblin, or…you get the point.

        He might need to put together a special purpose magical factory stone for some specific parts, but assembly and finish work could happen in a manual production line.

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      14. Mana batteries are a potential suicide technology for Daniel. HANDLE WITH CARE. Yes, he REALLY wants them, but they MUST be recharged using one of his Matter to Mana power supplies, or any source OTHER than ambient mana.

        Remember, the Conclave leadership explicitly told Daniel NOT to sell large numbers of any magical device that would draw down the local ambient magic.

        That’s a MUCH bigger issue for them than it is for him. They are not likely to back down from their position, and he’s already going to be in trouble with them as soon as somebody realizes the flamers his Nethwillin allies handed out to Kozalini commoners to fight Andregi are recharged with ambient mana.

        Think of the mana battery as another business opportunity. Daniel can sell fully charged mana batteries at a nice, friendly storefront in the public access part of Black Island. He can offer a discount if the customer trades in an exhausted mana battery for a fully charged battery. There’s no reason not to sell customers several fully charged batteries so they can be sure to have a spare when they really, really need mana.

        Daniel’s mana battery recharging power block would be deep in the heavily defended bowels of Castle Black, where no customer ever sees it, keeping the Matter to Mana component safe. If he needs to, or wants to, Daniel could put one or more remote chargers in the storefront, linked to his MtM power block. It would be simple for him to make the links very short range so nobody could benefit from stealing a remote charger.

        I really like this idea, which is not mine. Several of the other commenters have described variations on this theme several times in other discussions. It’s a fantastic way to spread goodwill and support for Daniel’s pantheon if he handles it cleverly.

        The Conclave probably will choose not to do anything like this right away. Some of them will surely buy Daniel’s batteries, put them in Conclave created devices and sell those to anybody, but the customers will have to purchase fully charged batteries at Daniel’s storefront.

        Of course, the Conclave can choose to buy another power block from Daniel to compete with him, once they fully understand what he is doing and some of the…political/theological implications.

        Eventually, the Asgard Church will be even more pissed at Daniel than they already would be if they knew everything he’s doing.

        Get in line.

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      15. I totally like the idea of hand tools powered by mana batteries. Force motors, force bearings and force locks would make incredibly robust and useful tools possible. Add the metallurgy experiments Daniel should start with one or more smiths and many fantastic possibilities emerge from OTHER PEOPLE creating nifty stuff.

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      16. “Licensing of ideas” would have to go through the Crown. That’s the ultimate secular legal authority in Varmland and the same would be true in France, Italy, China, etc.

        Daniel really, REALLY wants NOT to argue patent law in a DIVINE court.

        Good luck convincing all those monarchs to recognize patents and copyrights.

        Bear in mind that even in our world, patents and copyrights are merely tickets to court. Your lawyer(s) must defend AND WIN to protect your ideas.

        Imagine arguing a patent case in front of the Prince or one of the people he trusts to run his courts.

        Good luck with that….

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      17. A simple printing press would be a wonderful idea. Daniel could easily demonstrate the concept to some smith and turn them loose with it. He could share all sorts of science, engineering and technology ideas, even magical theory.

        Who wants to bet the Asgard Church kills the smith, smashes the press and puts out a contract on Daniel before the Conclave does?

        Bear in mind that most of the power elites of Varmland and elsewhere keep their power by keeping the people ignorant of much of what happens in their world. Spreading information about science, engineering and technology is the LAST thing most of them want. Anything they consider useful they want to keep for their own use and nobody else. Anything they don’t consider useful…isn’t.

        Also, remember that literacy won’t be common.

        Of course, Daniel knows about graphics and cartoons.

        The printing press is another high risk technology that Daniel really will want, some day.

        Probably that day will not happen until after Daniel’s pantheon wipes out all immediate threats to his family and whatever empire he is forced to carve out to defend himself, his friends and his allies.

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      18. Textile manufacturing is going to be an interesting test of Daniel’s magic versus Avilla’s magic.

        I’d be tempted to bet Avilla and her apprentice(s) can produce more cloth and finer quality cloth than Daniel can, assuming he is somehow able to create a MtM powered magical factory that generates thread or cloth.

        As for the sewing machine, that’s another challenge for Avilla and her apprentice(s). Remember, Daniel and Cerise rescued a young hearth witch during INTREPID’s first mission. I suspect that girl went to Avilla for teaching and mentoring, though we have yet to see any confirmation. Sure hope we see that in THRALL.

        Given how quickly Avilla sews clothing repairs I doubt there is a sewing machine that could keep up with her creating new clothes. Her apprentice will eventually be just as good, and Avilla will get better.

        Bear in mind that however good with textiles and sewing Avilla may be, there is a magic using Nethwillin clan member who has at least two hundred years more experience and magical practice at this than Avilla.

        This seems like a no-win for Daniel and his magical machines.

        Let Avilla and Clan Nethwillin train and mentor more apprentices.

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      19. He should be able to create a machine to summon carbon nanotubes. He might even be able to create a machine to weave them into a pattern of cloth. It would be as lite as smoke and stronger than steel probably have a softer texture than silk to. Be a bitch to cut though. But as far as the clan of elves will be concerned that could be a plus.

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      20. Daniel knows that carbon nanotubes are important. He can probably visualize what nanotubes look like.

        He has no idea what a nanotube thread looks like, because nobody currently alive anywhere has any idea what that looks like.

        Stick with carbon fiber and resin. Those are technologies Daniel can easily demonstrate and I bet the dryads can supply him with decent resins. For that matter, Clan Nethwillin might have their own resin products better than Daniel knows about. They ought to be impressed with carbon fiber armor and other applications, but they might have something better already.

        Both the dryads and the dark elves are entirely capable of looking Daniel straight in the eye and telling him, “That is a marvelous material for armor, Master Black. Almost as good as what we were making a thousand years ago.”

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      21. The big difference is that it doesn’t require magic to make. aLiterally any peasant with access to glue or resin and an oven can make it from old clothes blankets burlap bags just any natural fiber. It can also serve as a rather cheap and available replacement for plastics.

        You are wrong anyone who knows what a carbon nanotube looks like knows what a carbon nanotube strand looks like. They’re the same thing just that one is longer than the other. All he has to do is build a factory that makes carbon nanotubes and doesn’t break them just make them very long and unbroken. Then he can weave them into thread then thread into sheets of material. Congratulation he has made a sheet of material is light as smoke stronger than steel and it probably feels softer than silk. Like I said before the only problem is it will be a bitch to cut.

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      22. Okay, I found an article that confirms there is a process for making carbon nanotube fibers of any length.

        https://www.technologyreview.com/s/416212/making-carbon-nanotubes-into-long-fibers/

        The longest single nanotube on record is half a meter — https://www.nanowerk.com/spotlight/spotid=31326.php

        Has Daniel ever seen more information than this? Not sure this is enough to help him create one of his magic factories, but he does know carbon nanofiber is possible.

        To make textiles, Daniel needs miles of thread. Not necessarily one thread many miles long, although that could be useful also, but miles and miles of many threads of various lengths to weave into textiles.

        He would have to experiment with that goal in mind, a wild guess or two how he might do it and the significant advantage of his magic to point him down paths nobody else can walk.

        Oh, except we don’t know whether he can manipulate or conjure pure carbon molecules of any sort, much less carbon nanotubes.

        It seems like he ought to be able to do it, but we have not seen him do anything similar, yet.

        Ironically, I bet Daniel, Avilla and Elin could work together to create magic factories that produce miles of spider silk, because they can easily find examples of that.

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      23. He should be able to summon carbon but we have no examples of that yet in the books so we don’t know. Even without being able to summon carbon he should still be able to create carbon nanotubes. He has said himself that his magic is really good at moving atoms around. Carbon nanotubes or a rather simplistic structure composed of individual atoms arranged to form a cylinder. He should be able to feed carbon into a factory he designs to convert it into carbon nanotubes. It would be like a nanoscale version of a pasta extruder. Carbon is fed in one end then it’s turned on carbon nanotubes that come out the other turn it off and it stops. He shouldn’t have to worry about forming it into a thread or fabric he’s got witches and elves for that all he really needs to do is figure out how to make the material. If it’s possible to turn it into a thread they’ll figure it out.

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      24. I think carbon nanotubes can create so many options as a construction material. A few questions?

        Must the weaved cloth use a resine to become rigid? Could it be left on its own as a cloth, a flexible glue added, or sandwiched between the equivalent to Mylar; to give more options and stay flexible. In current sail manufacturing carbon fibre is left flexible, layered on top of eachother, or loosely woven into a cloth and sandwiched between layers to keep it from unraveling. If you want to see a cool process look at 3D Lamination sails (3DL).

        If carbon fibre or nanotubes are to be used to resist compression, as a formed rigid part, or metal equivalent. It must cure in a controlled environment. At warm temperature under vacume, sucked into a form. Or the opposite compressed under incredible pressure in an oven or press. If left to cure in open air the end part is much weaker.

        When formed into a rigid part cut it with the magic equivalent to a band saw. In cloth form cut with a force blade, or an enchanted edge on shears. Kevlar and carbon cloth are cut into patters to make bullet proof vests. I think the tough part would be stitching them together.

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      25. Unless you want to make the carbon nanotubes rigid there’s no reason to use glue or resin on them. For carbon fiber yes for carbon nanotubes no. I was actually thinking Daniel could use carbon fiber materials to replace plastic for containers and other plastic objects. In the short term and the long term it might be a better option for him. The carbon fiber material doesn’t need to be superstrong to replace plastic. So it could be cured just by letting it sit in the air and letting the resin or glue dry. Sarah that matter the quality of the carbon fiber material is based on the binding agent that is used. Not necessarily the vacuum curing method or heat curing method.it just so happens that the strongest Glooze and resins your best under those conditions. However the elves may have a better option or glue.

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      26. Carbon-fiber cloth often need a binding or control medium added. As the threads are so slippery they tend to slide and move around within the weave, creating voids and clumps.

        The other problem is, along a cut edge of Carbon-fiber cloth the threads are so slick the weave unravels, and it would be difficult to stitch together. All seems would have to be glued as a wide joint.

        The other option is to weave incredibly tight (that leads to rigidity), or use thicker loose threads or yarns. Spinning carbon-fiber will be tough, as without a binding agent, under light use or manipulation there isn’t much keeping it together, strands will slide and separate.

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      27. Carbon fiber not carbon nanotubes. They have some similarities mostly due to being made from the same thing carbon. However they are different materials with some differentiation’s in behaviors as a material. Starting with that carbon nanotubes have electrical conductivity but carbon fiber doesn’t.

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      28. I like the idea of Carbon-fiber replacing plastic and metals in many manufactured item. It has a much higher strength-to-weight ratio. But there will be trade-offs.

        At what rate can Carbon-fiber be magically produced? Will Daniel have to build multiple assembly lines producing Carbon-fiber cloth?

        Plastic can compress to absorb impacts, while Carbon-fiber transfer it right through. I think a foam equivalent needs to be found. Can the Water Nature Spirits start to grow or farm sponges?

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      29. He doesn’t have to summon carbon fiber. Any natural source will do. He could use the stems of the plants that he is harvesting his crops from. Thrash them until they are soft. Then bake in an oven see previous method using old clothes made from natural fiber. Magic is not required!

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      30. Why would Avilla and Daniel have to compete in textiles? Can’t they link their magic like Daniel and Cerise did to get them flying. Or when Daniel and Eline are building groves? They could use the coven bond to combine their magic and jumpstart manufacturing and practical applications of Avilla’s skills.

        Daniel should sit down with Avilla, see if they can come up with a magical material conjuring and thread extruder. Then watch her weave, and try to develop a magic loom, Followed by brainstorming a magic sewing machine. I think if the process is broken down a lot can be accomplished.

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      31. Education will probably be the anvil upon which Daniel’s personal priorities and beliefs are hammered into a better fit with Varmland’s harsh realities.

        His ladies will be the hammers.

        We probably won’t see much of this if the author continues his stories at the pace set in the first three books.

        At the current rate, all seven books of the nebulous full series would only advance the timeline another three or four months…maybe less, and that means only Baby Bast could drive any big decisions.

        However, we can predict with confidence that Daniel WANTS to share as much of his knowledge as he possibly can with his children. We can also predict, somewhat less reliably, that he will WANT to share much of his knowledge with the children of his allies, friends and retainers.

        Of course, what Daniel WANTS to do will be heavily influenced by Hecate, through Cerise.

        Other goddesses will make Their opinions clear through Avilla and Tina.

        Bast will provide Daniel with some of the first and most direct expressions of many of these opinions.

        It would be fascinating to see how much the author decides the goddesses believe Daniel should keep to himself.

        I do hope we get to see that, some day.

        Hecate provided us with a glimpse of what is possible. She asked Daniel how much of his modern world he could re-create, and how quickly. It did not seem as if She was discouraging him at all. She seemed a bit disappointed, actually, that he could not do more and more quickly.

        It seems likely that however shattered and shat upon by Great Beasts the humans are at this inauspicious beginning of the Hundred Thousand Years War, what comes out of it, led by Daniel’s pantheon, should be vastly more advanced and powerful than the wildest comments we’ve yet kicked around.

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      32. Looking at the time line, and fast pace of in world stories; i am wondering if the author intends to end this story arch of “X” number of books around the time Baby Bast becomes cognizant of who she is. And the year and a day agreement between Hecate and Daniel, to act as prorector for Cerise is complete. It could be a satisfying conclusion to Daniel’s first odyssey.

        The only thing i couldn’t handle would be the author having Hecate come in and go:
        Hecate: “Well Daniel thanks a lot. The Aesir are delt with, my cult is back, the coven has lots of kids on the way. This is all great. So we’re done here.”
        Daniel: “What?”
        “Yeah, I’m good, and you have gotten really powerful, so back to your hospital bed.”
        Followed by Daniel loosing his s**t.
        “Come on Daniel, I’m DARK Hecate, DREAD MISTRESS. What did you expect? Don’t worry, some if your injuries have healed. And i will tell the girls by for you.”
        That would trigger a string of expletives from me to make a marine drill sergeant blush.

        I think Mr Brown has met a milestone of a very successful author. He has books with characters readers have become invested in (look at the quantity, quality, thought, and speed of posts on this forum). But there is an adverse effect; readers now have expectations.

        It would be cool to see where the author could take a second arch to Daniel’s story, addressing future long term issues raised in this forum. I forsee years of anticipating the next book. I just hope Mr Brown enjoys writing Daniel’s story, as much as I enjoy reading it.

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      33. I agree on most of it. Though I’m afraid he will wake up at the end of the series and it was all a dream. I would be so p;$|€|% .

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      34. Add enough wax to those Gingerbread Ninja Rangers and we won’t have to worry about them getting wet or eaten, unless somebody is really, really hungry.

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      35. I like the idea of jumpstarting an industrial revolution with magic. And making it so that others, with and without magic can come along for the ride.

        I agree steel alloys, and advancing metallurgy are needed to make durable consistent materials, with few ecclussions, voids, delaminations, cracks, etc..

        As far as tools go i think it has to start with a precision caliper. Any part needed must be built to tollerances not really seen in a midevil society. Maybe watchmakers. Then casting and machining tools. Like sand and wax casting, using tungstem, carbide or other stable at high temp materials for precision casting is tough. Reusable metal moulds will come later. Then the precision machining tools like a wheel or pattern controlled: lathe, drill press, and router. Finish it off with a sand or medium tumbler to wear off sharp edges.

        Making mana sources widely available to the general public, or creating a mana power grid and industry, could come with some devastating unintended consequences. Even though there is great need it should be approached in a methodical, step by step, and cautious manor. And may take time Daniel does not have. Keeping Mater-to-Mana, unlimited flows of mana, and mana batteries among a limited few i think is a good start, and should be slowly expanded.

        As far as long term i think education will be a huge challenge and opportunity. The biggest boon to literacy was the advent of the printing press. Can the Nethwillin translation rings be loaded with reading and writing skills? If it has to be a non-magic evolution of education here are a few options. Immerse Black Island with signs that have pictograms, text and numbers. Many citizens may never have seen the written word. Get Aribic numerals out there. Signs like “elevator 100 m” text with an arrow and pictogram. Citizens will learn naturally. For instructing intro reading, writing, and numeracy; use a printing press to mass produce the equivalent of children’s books. Start with an alphabet, and counting. Build to books introducing pictures and text of common items.

        I also think scouting potential wizzard and teaching them is a great idea.

        You have lots of other great ideas too. The Gingerbread Marie’s could serve so many functions.

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      36. Excellent ideas but I don’t understand the concept behind wanting him to get out Arabic numerals. The Norse people already had a numeral system it would just need some polishing and some math thrown into it. If you’re looking to develop mathematic skills and intellectual capabilities the Greco Roman numerical system is superior. It’s difficult to learn to count to 10 in that system without learning to add and subtract. It’s the reason most mathematical methods where born from the Greeks.

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      37. Good luck with that.

        I’ll take just about anything over Roman numerals or spelling out the words for numbers.

        Okay…maybe not Egyptian. Sorry, Bast.

        http://www-history.mcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/HistTopics/Egyptian_numerals.html

        Actually, Daniel probably will have to write out whatever he wants in the format he knows before even trying to use other folks’ symbols to show them how to do what he thinks they might need.

        Hmm…maybe we need to see what Clan Nethwillin uses for a number system.

        Daniel might just make a splash there with calculus, differential equations and statistics.

        Ooh…imagine what those sneaky dark elves could do with statistics.

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      38. Nope, Bast is out of luck with the Egyptian number system.

        I think Clan Nethwillin already has probabilities, projections, statistics, macro & microeconomics. Daniel may get in a conversation with Sefwin’s dad, and his reply is “aw, that’s cute. My daughter learned that as an infant in her teens.”

        As a nerd i am all about bringing in calculus, maybe non-linear partial differential equations for a challenge. Or “oh crap, Daniel just tried to divide by zero with magic, whete did Varmland go?”.

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      39. Full disclosure I’m a big fan of the concept of base 10 math, and the metric system where everything can derived from water at STP, and the sun. Prepare to nerd out.

        I like the modern Aribic numeral system because:
        – it’s base 10
        – algebra anyone?
        – it steals from other system/languages/characters
        – the concept of significant figured
        – has a concept of the number zero. Not just a blank.
        – Fractions, decimals, and large numbers are easier to write and conceptualize (what is a third of 846,317,291.02? Now do it in greek)
        – quick shorthands: a line above a number for repeating decimals (ie writing a third in decimals)
        – symbol clarification (in Roman: is that a 5, or multiplication?)
        – clarity when working with complex formula (show the derivative or integral)
        – easiers to work with long formula
        – its easy to bring in leters and foreign characters to represent varriables (is that an “m” for mass or 1000)

        I will admit i have limited exposure to varried numeral system. Not sure what Cyrillic, Kanji, abstract Roman Numerals, the Norse, Native Americans, Aztecs, Incan, Mayan, African, or others used. Some characters and constants, can be brought in: congruent with, greater and less than, delta, infinity, and who can forget “pi”.

        I will admit Black Island will not need highly complex math right away. But if Daniel can supercharge an industrial revolution it might come in handy sooner than one might think.

        The modern Arabic numeral system adds a few more characters to the alphabet, and steals the best from others; but i think in the long run is more clear and efficient.

        End nerd alert. In my old age I’m down to memorizing pi to only 13 significant figures (not my old average of 43 – that was a bad joke).

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      40. North American natives didn’t have a written language or numerical system. In the 1700s, 1800s and 1900s they had men attempt to make them. They were burned for witchcraft.

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      41. I’m going to have to disagree with the whole free energy/metal idea, there’s no reason that Danial has to make his process free, to his people maybe but outside of that no freebies. The oil and Metal in the ground is free but it still costs us to retrieve it, you have to pay for processing as well as transportation and administrative costs.
        Just because he has a method that generates Manna that doesn’t cost him anything is no reason to assume that there will be no costs associated with distribution, his time alone is very valuable and he has to personally create every power stone, this alone takes several hours. Currently he is the only one who can atach items to the stones for powering again personal time costs, this could be handed off to a trusted agent and will have to be if he starts his own power company. There will be development costs associated with the re-chargers and placement costs as well as material, personnel and administrative etc… I’m not talking about a few Power stones for convenience or Mages toys, I’m talking about powering a civilization, He has to know that that’s exactly what will happen when word gets out that he can provide Manna. Controlling the Distribution and spread by applying a cost is only good business and prevents market destabilization.
        The same is true for his Conjuration Factories, Just because it is retrieved by magic doesn’t cut out the rest of the costs, transport, handling, administration, sales, future development etc… He also needs to charge an appropriate fee to avoid crashing the market like he did with aluminum…
        Danial is going to have to figure out a different medium of currency, precious metal is no longer precious.

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      42. Yes, Daniel is going to have to figure out a whole new economy, while also juggling all the economy-smashing effects of his magical technology.

        It does not matter that somebody still has to pay transportation costs to benefit from Daniel’s ability to conjure any metal, stone, glass or crystal, clay, soil, coal or petroleum.

        It does not matter that Daniel chooses to try to avoid wrecking Kozalin’s economy by accident.

        The truly unique properties of Daniel’s power source and elemental sorcery are literally Gods-like, and while they are not entirely “free” they are unprecedented in human economic experience.

        He does not have to go anywhere or search anything to obtain any mineral or metal or other Earth material he wants, anywhere he wants it in any volume he wants it–given enough time for him to conjure it.

        He can summon materials in whatever final shape and quality he wants, with whatever enchantments he designs, for assembly into the devices he builds or has somebody else assemble.

        There is virtually no possibility Daniel and his people will exhaust any element or material he sets up a magic factory to conjure. He’s drawing upon the proportional resources of the Earth, the Solar System or the Universe. That’s unlimited resources.

        Ironically, Daniel does not want precious metals to no longer be precious, because that would be even more inconvenient to him than anyone else. He and Clan Nethwillin are already cooperating to keep inflation low and distribute purchases over a geographically broad area, possibly even to different worlds or pocket worlds.

        Remember that all this largess will accumulate slowly. Daniel knows what the potential will be. Others, like Clan Nethwillin are figuring it out rather quickly. Steelbinder and Ward probably suspect. Reality, however, limits Daniel to the amounts of materials he and his friends and customers can actually use or sell and both are limited by the isolation of Kozalin due to its location and Fimbulwinter.

        There are all sorts of natural checks and balances, plus Nethwillin’s checks and balances, plus Daniel’s checks and balances at play in the current situation. It will be fascinating to see what the author does with it all, especially considering that Kozalin has barely begun to see what Daniel can do or will do.

        He’s only been in the city for about a month, right? Maybe a little more or less.

        Imagine the changes he will make in his next month!

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      43. That’s what I meant when I said that all he really did was move the economic bottleneck. It will catch up to him sooner or later he should prepare for that. I however do not believe that charging stations would be viable or reasonable. Eventually he could sell extremely low powered amulets like he gave to the elves that tap into a power stone whenever they’re in its proximity. Instead of selling power he could sell the tap. Before that however he should incentivize creative business wizards to try and create their own versions of a lower level power source. It’s going to happen eventually anyways he might as well make it part of the economy. It’ll be like going to the hardware store and finding out that they suddenly started selling power generators. It’s not going to be a nuclear fusion power plant or anything like that but a lot of other wizards might want to get one for their own personal use. Knowing something can be done is most of the way to figuring out how to actually accomplish it. Eventually a lot of his inventions are going to be replicated. Maybe not his techniques but they will find different ways of doing the same thing if they cannot do it exactly the way he does. He needs to exercise control over it not restrict it but he needs to guide it if you will. Maybe drop a few hints in the wizard school that there was a guy who figured out how to enchant an overhang to capture light and turn it into mana for his own personal use. Something around there maybe talk about one guy who turned a potbellied stove into a mana generator hooked into an amulet. Drop a few hints that push them into a different direction and starts them down this or that path.

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      44. “He does not need a sewer system he’s already invented a magical flush toilet that banishes the waist.”

        But he may want the stuff. Fertilizer. Salts. Carbon – maybe grow mushrooms on it. Feedstock for at least a rudientary chemical industry.

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      45. I don’t really think any of that would cross his mind for several years. Then I think he would do a cost-benefit analysis and decided it wasn’t worth it too much work for not enough gane for something he can find other options for.

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      46. True, sewer systems are a lot of smelly work. But i am curious. What are the Nature Spirits using for plant food and fertilizer? Do thry just conjure it? Where are the plants getting their minerals and nutrients?

        Long term soil is seeped of valuable compounds, nitrates, and minerals. I guess they can banish barren soil and conjure new teaming soil. But how much work is that; and will soil replacement effect the plants?

        Drains, sewers, and liquid waste should still be banished. But a limited excrement, compost, and fertilizer collection system may be an easy boost to agriculture. Some extra plumbing, storage tanks, delivery system, and a few workers with smell banishment and great showers; could boost crop output and increase soil longevity.

        This fertilizer system would better feed the plants, and ease the workload on the nature spirits, meaning they could oversee more crops. Thus increasing efficiency, potential crop size, and total agricultural output.

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      47. Plus, Daniel and Elin are adding MtM power stones for two groves and one naiad pool, to super power the dryads, satyrs and naiads. Corinna’s group gets some sort of similar power with Cerise’s participation.

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      48. A GBNR (Gingerbread Ninja Ranger) Wolverine model, with baked in titanium bones and corn Skewers embedded in each forearm, Carbon fiber laced Dough and a light coating of Carbon nano tubes (yellow and blue) Add in a dash of Tequila for “Flavor”. Enchanted with enhanced Senses and minor structural repair.
        Description: Has 2, 1 inch spikes in each forearm, superior Senses and the ability to self heal with just a dash of crazy.

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    2. DB has problems relater to:
      Organization: He needs to delegate numerous tasks/sectors within an organizational structure these include inventorying capabilities (particularly magical) of a Black Isle population, gathering information and planning related to current and future conflicts, clothing, internal security, city planning, etc.
      Food/Agriculture: food supply and preparation includes farming, animal hospontry, hunting, fishing), non-food agriculture products (e.g. plant and animal fiber), equipment and utensils needed, etc.

      He already has the beginnings of organizations for Black Isle castle or community, military, and external relations plus a smithy. I hope we learn how these develop as opposed to spats among coven. Of course, we are interested in technology, production, distribution, and use.

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      1. I actually don’t see Black Island/fortress growing much larger. Instead I see him expanding it on to the shore on each side of the river. I think he will eventually grow a city around his fortress that will eat the current city.

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      2. I could see that happening.

        On the other hand, Kozalin is wide open to attack from below and Daniel expects to have Earth element enemies.

        Maybe he can expand his major construction projects to the south bank of the river that has no city structure to get in his way. There is a LOT of space there to build whatever he wants. He could expand his port activities to the Docks Quarter of Kozalin and choose not to invest much effort defending it, while not putting much there to defend.

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      3. I think Black Island will stay as dense and contained as possible. As it is easier to
        build and defend a smaller area with thicker walls. Daniel will build up and out. Using small footprint appartments or towers blocks; versus 3 story or shorter dispersed construction.

        What will take up more volume as Black Islands population expands are agricultural hot houses. Grains and rice need lots of square-footage. Material for textiles and products can be grown, that needs more space. And if a meat or dairy industry evolve, lots of ag space will be needed for feed.

        Expanding along the warf, or into the harbour district might be the best idea. As there would be the same amount of land to defend. The population should be easier to manage as it was hit hard during Hel’s attack. And it’s less busy as sea faring trade has plummeted. Fewer refugees are arriving (now only those Daniel airlifts in – of which he keeps the best for himself), while people die from cold and attacks.

        Daniel could purchase land on the Kozalin side of the causeway and expand the gatehouse into a full keep complex – build a Mainland Black Keep. All within mutual support range of Black Island.

        Daniel will have to bulldoze existing buildings, but i think current occupants would prefer living inside a secure Mainland Black Keep. Daniel can continue to build high density housing and shelters, that are more defensible.

        The limiting factor will be what land the Prince is willing to give up. Would a Mainland Black Keep be considered Daniel’s territory, under his ownership, command and control? Would those moving from the harbour district into a Mainland Black Keep have to change allegiance to Daniel? How will his new citizens and the Prince take that? Will Daniel become a Lord within the kingdoms Nobility? Kozalin get stronger and more defensible, but loose land and prestige (royalty tend to have egos).

        I am not a huge fan of expanding across the river. As it might disperse to much and be overextend. It might be just to far to mutually support both sides of the river in low visibility or storms. On a new shore Daniel would be starting from scratch and that has its own benifits and challenges.

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      4. Why does everyone keep thinking that the prince is going to have a say in what happens to the city in book 4? He’s already dead at the end of book 3. Daniel has to worry about the king and the princess. Both of which are in a different city. Also since Daniel is a land owner he’s already nobility that’s actually the definition of nobility in such a society as that they’re also referred to as landholders. Owning land in modern Western civilization is not really considered much of a big deal. But before say 200 years ago it was an extremely big deal and that’s how these people view it.

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      5. I have to disagree on a few points.
        The big one is: why create conflict with Kozalin or the royal family, when there is an enemy trying to exterminate humanity?

        Daniel is trying to stay on friendly terms with Kozalin. He gets:
        – intel, and Gryphon Knight reports
        – an outer barrier to absorb attacks
        – easier access to, and relationship with the Red Conclave (i am guessing the Conclave and Royalty have a mutual offense and defense agreement)
        – gain valuable skilled immigrants from the city
        – possibly purchase land to expand on.

        He also wants to avoid someone going to the Aesir Church and calling down Brand, Vali, Thor, or a bolt of lightening to rid them of this meddlesome wizzard. I don’t think he can handle that, yet.

        Future progress becomes more difficult if the two parties actively despise eachother. If he can keep it cordial with a few considerations, meetings, negotiations, and purchases; i think it’s a plus. Daniel now has access to experienced advisors to help in this, so he should deligate as much as he can. The goal is to stay off the divinity’s shit list, and concentrate on battles he must fight. I think it’s effort well spent.

        Is the prince dead at the end if book 3? I wasn’t sure if he sent the raiding party to Gaea’s relm, or was part of it? I’ll have to check that. I was assuming he was still alive.

        I was looking at nobility as a member of a governing peerage, like a house of lords; independent from a person owning land. My bad, pushing my concepts on midevil magic culture, thanks.

        Should he be attending court? In this political system does Daniel have total control over Black Island? Can Royalty come in and make demands, like the tax farmer in Lanrest? Can Kozalin confiscate things, or make claims under eminent domain? Daniel’s responsibilities outside Black Island still seem on a case by case basis. Lot of potential topics for book 4.

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      6. Cam, I think you are right on target with most of your comments about Daniel’s interactions with the Prince and Kozalin nobility, especially all the potential rights the Prince or other royal agents probably still exercise over Black Island.

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      7. If the books are holding true with mid evil feudal culture then yes he should be “holding court”. But only if somethings cannot be handled by a vassal such as a night under his service. Yes royalty can come in and make demands primarily for soldiers. He should already have his own tax collectors. He does that’s the person going around collecting rent. He has a host of other rights that I’m not sure that he is himself aware of. Such as the right to declare war upon another Noble. Although in order to do that he must file a claim with some royal official or office. That’s actually where the modern concept of a declaration of war originally came from.

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      8. Not that he would waste the time and effort, but Daniel is not technically able to declare war on a noble since he is not noble.

        With no title granting him nobility, he cannot fill out the paperwork.

        Damn.

        He’ll just have to kill them first and then file a complaint somewhere nobody can find it.

        Hey–it worked at Lanrest…so far.

        Daniel has made no effort to declare himself noble.

        He has only done what the Conclave does by putting his retainers and himself in livery, and accepting the respectful address of “Lord Wizard”.

        You will note that Steelbinder obviously does NOT consider himself or his Conclave to be part of the aristocracy.

        The Conclave exists, among other reasons, to defend wizards against the idiot aristocracy, and they explicitly tell Daniel that.

        I have the distinct impression that Steelbinder considers nobles and royals to be necessary but annoying nuisances, not respected peers and certainly not superiors.

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      9. For purposes of declaring war, nobility and aristocracy are the same thing, DaShoota.

        Mind you, that’s just MY interpretation and opinion, but I’m confident I could dig up some convincing references.

        My bachelor’s degree in history was more about development and technology than feudal rights, but there was some overlap. Then again, I keep tripping over more about medieval, Renaissance and Early Modern social practices in great fiction series like Eric Flint’s RING OF FIRE novels, short stories and the GRANTVILLE GAZETTE. They have wonderful bibliographies and LOTS of fact articles to support the 163X universe back story.

        I’m agreeing with your comment about “declarations of war” and how they need to be registered with the Royals to be recognized. That “registration” part can probably be ignored, but the “recognize” part and both sides needing to be able to point to at least one shred of nobility is an absolute requirement.

        Remember how Cezary’s cousin slit Daniel’s throat and left him to burn under a dead troll? NOBODY in Lanrest believed Daniel was noble. Hence, when he attacked Cezary, Daniel committed suicide. Every noble in that flea-bitten rat pack was duty bound to kill him, as soon as convenient. From that moment forward, only Daniel’s exercise of magic power would keep him alive, and as soon as he slipped up…GLURK!

        That mentality is what we are looking at if Daniel whacks ANY noble in public. His is not noble and cannot publicly kill nobles. Period.

        Steelbinder and Ward and all the other Coven wizards have exactly the same problem. Power and land do not make them noble, aristocratic or anything like it. The Coven’s power and Steelbinder’s clever use of power politics is what keeps his members alive in spite of accidental or deliberate tiffs with Kozalin’s nobles. They cannot even attack nobles in public. That goes DOUBLE for even raising a sword, or Grinder, against the Prince, which is why Daniel is in the royal doghouse after Avilla’s little problem.

        Daniel is lucky that only the Prince’s guard witnessed that. Even though some of them are probably noble, they are all under the Prince’s thumb.

        Until they’re not.

        Don’t think for a second that Steelbinder won’t toss a relatively useless wizard to the noble wolves from time to time. Daniel has dodged this because of his matter to mana power which the Coven DESPERATELY needs, and his battle mage prowess which even the Prince recognizes.

        Reluctantly.

        Wizards must keep one thought firmly in mind whenever near nobles.

        Don’t. Ever. Slip. Up.

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      10. It actually depends on what time you are taking about. Through most of the feudal period having land and vassals is what made someone nobility. At a certain point aristocracy and nobility became interchangeable. But that was not originally the case. An aristocrat was a bureaucrat with the title of one form or another granted by nobility or serving in a court originally. I am not sure you are the historian so you’ll probably be able to pin down the time at which that changed. However I think it was around the 1200s that they became interchangeable. Originally the very titles of nobility it’s self actually told of how many people they had control over and how much land they had control over as well as what status those people held. It was a bit like a pyramid at the base you had Lord‘s who usually only had knights and peasants working under them sometimes landed knights but usually not. They tended to serve as the vessels of the a higher Lord and so forth and so on all the way up to royalty. The highest I think they were Dukes but I’m not sure where actually usually cousins, uncles or some relative of the actual ruling number of royalty. I think that this begins to change just before the enlightenment but I’m not sure. It could have been the Black Death that actually changed it.

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      11. Yeah, and all those titles were different, for different reasons in different countries. England has earls who might be related by marriage or maybe not and are almost separate petty kings back in Saxon times, but not quite. Austria has archdukes from almost that far back who are the brothers, uncles, etc., of the emperor as you mentioned. And it’s almost never that simple, because what’s the point of nobility if it isn’t complicated beyond imagining.

        When we describe the landed nobility as being defined by the land they held, yes, when you dig back into the 800s or thereabouts it can be all about seizing and holding lands by right of arms. Some of them did it in the name of the king, some in their own names.

        Notice, however, that even in the follow-up to an invasion like the Norman conquest in England, “right of arms” was confirmed before or shortly after by the king or some other noble granting some sort of title to the landholder, and frequently said title existed before the new landholder arrived. Except in totally new lands like the Americas, lands had legal descriptions, names and titles. This was a critical social requirement for all sorts of activities from determining marriageability of landholders to who owed taxes or duties and how much. There was a huge incentive for the king to make sure his tax collectors knew every duty for every parcel of land in the kingdom, and the same for every level of dukes, earls, counts, viscounts, barons, petty barons, knights and squires.

        Varmland when Daniel arrives is LONG after the period when “right of arms” decided who held which parcel of land and titles were created them. Varmland has been settled for centuries and its nobility’s and fiefdoms’ titles are ancient by the time Daniel arrives.

        Of course when Daniel arrives a significant number of those ancient titled nobles are monster poop, and more will soon join them.

        Not that this will change the behavior of those not yet eaten.

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      12. But we should remember that the Society Daniel finds himself in is far from the enlightenment. So pre-enlightenment probably pre-Black Death would be closer to the society or type of civilization he finds himself in just add magic.

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      13. Varmland’s culture “level” is totally scrambled by the author’s descriptions of various people. Of course, “totally scrambled” is what I’d expect to see when travelling across the slice of life in Varmland that Daniel visits the first month or two he is there.

        The peasants could be from 900 AD or earlier in our world, they seem so poor. Of course we could find equally poor serfs in East Prussia or Russia in the 1700s.

        On the other hand, the merchants and trades people could be much more modern, as recent as 1400, easily, especially those booksellers, spice traders and weapons makers in Kozalin. Remember, even in Lanrest the baron owned a set of plate mail armor. That’s at least 1200s and the Baron might have been a wee bit obsolete compared to the Prince, so Kozalin may be a century more advanced, or better.

        Then we have the Conclave, which could be comparable to our 1600s but without printing presses and other amenities despite immense material wealth as represented by their nickel-iron tower.

        Lanrest’s castle/keep and walled town is barely 900s, but the Prince’s city is more like 1500s and so are his ships.

        Clearly, we cannot say ALL of Varmland is early Medieval.

        On the other hand, we can definitely say that LOTS of Varmland peasantry seems early Medieval.

        Okay, WAS early Medieval.

        They are mostly monster poop, now.

        On the other hand, Varmland’s nobility seems to me to have a broad range of records and traditions and titles and behavior that rests on at least fifteen centuries of development since the fall of the Roman Empire.

        These guys are NOT crude Vikings. Some of them are at least as advanced as William the Conqueror and the Prince seems to be about on a par with Phillip II of Spain or Charles V of Austria.

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      14. Yes it is very interesting to think about the various levels of the culture of that people and Daniels place within it especially with his new title “Lord wizard”. Big questions what does that title mean, what will it mean in the future, what does the people yet to be turned into monster poop opinion really matter?

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      15. Yes, and there is every possibility Daniel Black will become “High Adept Black” soon enough. Only a few years after that he’ll be “The Black Archmage” as his expertise, knowledge and projects continue to expand and enhance his power and reputation.

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      16. I’m not sure it will really take that long with the progression of the story so far and the speed it is moving. I think that the guys in charge of the conclave will simply create a new title combining nobility and wizardry for him. He might even get arranged to be married to the Princess in the royal family. Politics is a perpetual battle, burden, and bitch.

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      17. Or he could just make political alliances and kill the remaining nobility take the royal princess and declare himself king. You know take power the old fashioned way. It would probably take 1 day maybe 2 at the most. He could probably do it fast enough so that the Gods wouldn’t recognize what was happening until it was too late. But that would bring down their wrath pretty fast. Unless he did it win the battle on the Golden Fields took place. Then went to clean up the survivors of that battle right after it. I actually think that might be his patrons plan. Taking into account the suggestion she dropped during his coven/marriage bonding ceremony.

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      18. IIRC, there’s nothing in Book 3 to indicate that the Prince is dead. Someone mentioned that the Patreon previews indicated that the Prince had died, but as far as we know, that’s not yet canon.

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      19. Oh, my.

        So much to comment on.

        Where does it say the Prince is dead at the end of Book Three? I agree he MIGHT be dead if he was stupid enough to ride with Brand into Gaea’s pocket world, but where does it say he died?

        Actually, Daniel also has to worry about whatever Royal chamberlain the Prince normally leaves in charge of Kozalin while out swinging a sword. That chamberlain will be a high aristocrat or even some sort of semi-royal cousin, and there is no way to know how picky that one will be about details of Royal charters like Daniel’s land grant.

        No, Daniel is NOT an aristocrat, as any and all actual aristocrats will immediately tell anyone who asks such a silly question. Daniel himself would not make that claim.

        Daniel is “Lord Wizard” or “Lord Adept” to the aristocrats and everyone else because they all recognize his publicly displayed powers and the power of the Conclave he seems allied with.

        Until they don’t.

        Land “owning” is NOT the definition of nobility. Land HOLDING and then forcing, buying, sneaking or trading for a title from some putative local authority is the definition of nobility. Some of them extracted their titles and rights from the Church, some from the King and some from fantasy history.

        The TITLE is the key. An aristocrat craves physical confirmation of what his or her ancestor first stole/earned/imagined. The title does not have to be a document. It could be a famous sword, a sigil carved into a castle wall, a signet ring and/or all sorts of other trivial or significant objects of dubious history.

        Check out Britain’s Order of the Garter — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order_of_the_Garter

        “Various legends account for the origin of the Order. The most popular involves the “Countess of Salisbury”, whose garter is said to have slipped from her leg while she was dancing at a court ball at Calais. When the surrounding courtiers sniggered, the king picked it up and returned it to her, exclaiming, “Honi soit qui mal y pense!” (“Shame on him who thinks ill of it!”), the phrase that has become the motto of the Order.”

        There is no title of nobility associated with the Prince’s grant of land to Daniel, at least none the author has shared with us, yet. Daniel has pissed off the Prince so much that future grants of title are highly unlikely. If any title is granted, it is not likely to be heritable.

        Now, there is another traditional method of gaining “title” to a kingdom. Kill everyone with a claim, occupy every important place with your own troops and defend your claim against all comers for several generations, preferably until nobody raises any more claims.

        Of course, Daniel may outlive MANY generations of normal humans, so his claims will eventually have much more force than others, but don’t expect that to impress the Asgard Church if it survives Ragnarok.

        If Daniel’s pantheon beats all others, confirmation by his Gods of his rule over the kingdom he carves out would, of course, have the power and significance of a “title” and might be signified by some physical object or document.

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      20. I totally agree. I think a lot of noble titles originate from essentially:
        “I’m the king.”
        “No your not!” turned into a corpse.
        “I’m the king.”
        “Yes you majesty.”
        “Good choice Baron.”

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  2. Now that brand has proven that placing a enchanted item inside your body doesn’t effect the magic. Daniel should put his amulet and rock rings inside his body. Right now Daniel’s biggest problem is that without those items he’s just a extra smart mage but if he can place  enchanted items in his body to increase healing and strength and …. that would put him on equal footing with demigods which is what he needs with how many stong enemies he has. Plus hecate proved that gods are only about a 1,000 times stronger than him so if he can find a way to hook his amulets up in parallel like batteries he might be able to increase his magic output a 100 fold. And with all that safe inside him he’d effectively be a demigod.

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    1. Actually, Daniel is one step ahead of Brand’s example.

      Remember when Daniel and Cerise were working on improving her ability to fly?

      That was a combination of Cerise adjusting the conflict between her dragon magic and her demon magic, but also included Daniel embedding “weight reducing” magic in her person.

      He should be able to do the same thing for himself, which would significantly amend all his ring, amulet, coat, armor and other enchantments.

      The one big challenge he faces is a suitable mass to convert into mana. He cannot use bone, muscle, organ or other tissue because he knows the matter to mana enchantment can become a neutron bomb with one significant accident and Daniel is living proof that significant accidents happen all the time.

      Most likely, he could get away with several titanium-encased capsules of relatively small mass distributed throughout his body so he could discard one or more of them quickly without losing ALL of his power at once.

      What he puts inside the titanium capsule I don’t know. Maybe silver, maybe gold, maybe platinum, but whatever it is it needs to be robust and hold spells really, really well.

      Why the titanium capsule?

      Titanium is medically neutral to the human body.

      This has been known for several decades, so Daniel ought to be aware of it.

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      1. Two reasons for putting the enchantment on the gold or silver inside the titanium.

        1) The titanium is a non-allergenic layer of metal protecting Daniel’s body from the silver, gold or platinum he puts inside. Yes, people can be allergic to silver and even gold. I’m not sure about platinum, but why take the risk when Daniel can summon atomically pure titanium which he will know is surgical material?

        2) The titanium is a layer of armor protecting the silver, gold or platinum from damage that might break the enchantment. I’m expecting this capsule to be rather robust, probably the size of a .45 caliber pistol cartridge.

        As for putting the enchantment on gold or silver, remember when Daniel began experimenting with enchantments on silver and then gold, he discovered those metals “hold” enchantments better than anything else he has tried, and gold works especially well. Cerise confirms that in another conversation with Daniel about “normal” wizard methods for creating enchanted items.

        We believe Daniel’s matter to mana enchantment works on gold because he created Elin’s ring from gold and we believe it provides Elin with matter to mana powered protective enchantments.

        If I remember correctly, Mara’s ring has a huge mana battery instead of matter to mana, because Mara generates mana to spare for charging it and for obvious reasons Daniel does not want her dangling an example of his matter to mana enchantment in front of Loki, Gaia and other OppForce deities.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I think that the ring he gave the shapeshifter demigoddess was a MtM power source.I’ll have to re-read that section and see if I was wrong in my assumptions. What I’m actually interested in is because she’s a conjoined twin. Will the healing function of the ring eventually build a new body for her sister? Daniel might get a visit from not one but two Maras.

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  3. Dang your right I completely forgot about the enchanting you body thing. The titanium pellets idea is great I just hope he can find a way to amplify the MTM output. Daniel is smart and lucky but he keeps getting into situations where he has to fit head on even when he tries not to and eventually his luck is gonna run out and almost has several times now. It’s far past time he gets a permanent upgrade that can’t just be ripped of his neck. His opponents are literally gods those guns and that castle aren’t going to help him when he has to fight a god.

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    1. DB brass amulet “couple pounds” presumably 2 pounds so 0.4 cubic inches. The very small silver disk does a tenth, so if that reflects silver 5 times brass, the 0,08 cubic inches and gold even smaller. Possibly capsule embedded in the body might be small but not that small, say 0,05 cubic inches or a cube 0.37 inches on a side.

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      1. Don’t expect any matter to mana capsules Daniel embeds in his body to last a hundred years, or even ten years.

        Gold is plenty useful for something small that only needs to last a few months or years before Daniel replaces it, maybe even replaces it with something better.

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      2. Don’t forget Elin’s ring.

        The volume of that is rather small also, roughly the size of the gold coin Daniel manipulated to create it.

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      3. Couldn’t he just enchant his own body so that it has a MtM function built into it and converts water in his body? Then any healing function that he puts on himself would take care of preventing any damage. Especially if it’s just consuming the water and it’s not the enchantment itself that is the power source like it is with his amulets.

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      4. DaShoota, imagine Daniel does place the MtM enchantment on part of his body.

        Now imagine one of Daniel’s really, really BAD days, when he winds up 99 percent dead.

        What does that do to his MtM enchantment?

        If the enchantment is sufficiently broken to start spewing neutrons, positrons and other particles, how easy is it for Daniel to get rid of?

        Oh, and once he gets rid of it, what will he use to power the healing spells he needs to fix himself?

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      5. I was actually thinking that the spell does not convert what it’s actually attached to into energy. Instead it would convert something that is contained inside the object it’s on into energy. That way if something damaged or broke the enchantment it would just quit working it would not have a power source to spew out harmful radiation from. Of course he would need some form of metaphysical magical back up battery power supply to repair the damaged enchantments so that he could finish the job of repairing himself.

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      6. Yeah…that illustrates the OTHER problem.

        Daniel knows that enchantments are held best by gold, so far.

        Silver is also good at holding enchantments, but not quite as good as gold.

        How well does flesh hold enchantments?

        We know it works well enough to work for Cerise, but how much of a special case is she?

        She frequently, maybe even weekly works to assess her current physical and metaphysical configurations and is constantly “balancing” the evil she has “consumed” with the power level she wants available for her spells.

        The MtM amulet she has from Daniel probably significantly helps Cerise to reduce the amount of demon, and now dragon, she deliberately “keeps” since that power level is more than made up by the mana flow from her amulet.

        Still, Cerise is a chaotic mix of what she was born to be, what she has learned, what she “eats” and what Daniel has given her.

        She might not be the best example of how Daniel could enchant his own flesh or some metaphysical aspect of his person to generate mana from the matter of his body.

        During combat.

        During embarrassing FAILURES in combat.

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      7. Not sure if consuming water in the Mater-to-Mana enchantment within his body is the best idea. Water is constantly moving through the body, being used, or changing shape and forms. This could complicate the Mater-to-Mana process.

        He could consume stored fats as the energy source for the Mater-to-Mana reaction. Most of the time fats are stored dormantly. And the human body can build up an excess of stored fats (or is that just me).

        He might get more efficient mana out of fats over a simple water molecule. And that process would resemble existing boldly functions, and fats can be replenished easily through diet.

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      8. I picked water because it is expendable in the body. in a way it is in the body but not of the body. So in theory he could put the enchantment on his body. Having it consume water in the body. But if it ever got damaged because his flesh was damaged then the enchantment would have no power source to convert into harmful radiation it would just stop working. So far Daniel is putting his enchantment on objects that the enchantment is converting into energy. He has yet to put the enchantment on an object that converts something inside it into energy. That’s what I was shooting for with the water idea as kind of a safety feature.

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      9. Sorry, DaShoota, but I don’t see any reason to believe Daniel’s MtM enchantment would break “gracefully” and just stop working. He seems more than a little worried it will break just enough to spew horrible radiation, particularly after what he found during his radiation weapon research project.

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      10. You could be right after rereading those parts I came to the same conclusion. He may have to put it on something that isn’t easily broken like his soul.

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      11. So far the concept of enchanting Daniel’s soul, to run a matter-to-mana generator fuelled by his waste is by far the winner.

        I did think about it a bit more. In conceptually idiot-proofing it I came up with one problem. What happens if something goes wrong in the MtM process, and Daniel has to crash banish the entire generation process; essentially scraming the reactor? That might have negative side effects on his soul?

        Maybe numerous titanium coated gold pellets, implanted into Daniel, with a multi-triggered scram banishment spell is a better idea. As the pellets are safely dispersed within Daniel’s body; while not being a part of it (i am stealing this concept – sorry i forgot whose idea it was). This scram function is a valuable safety feature. The 1 bottleneck catastrophic failure point is eliminated. There is redundancy (say that again), and back-ups.

        If a workaround can be found awesome. Otherwise – with more thought – I would go for a safer option.

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      12. I wasn’t actually thinking about making the enchantment a part of his soul. More like on his soul in the same way clothes is on a body. So that he could banish it if he needed to. Though I think he needs more experience with working on souls to do that. I still think it is within his capabilities. But there’s another option he could attach the enchantment to itself. He learned how to do that from his death witch though it probably needs refinement.

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      13. Attaching an enchantment to itself?

        Is that part of what Cerise showed Daniel about ranged spells?

        My concern about attaching an enchantment to a soul or to itself is durability.

        We know Daniel found that silver and gold accept enchantments more easily than other materials and hold those enchantments better. That is partly from Daniel’s experimenting with Clan Nethwillin’s linked MtM silver amulets, partly from Daniel’s experience creating Mara’s and Elin’s gold rings and also from Cerise describing to Daniel how a “normal” wizard creates new enchanted items.

        For something as dangerous as the MtM spell, Daniel probably wants to be very confident his enchantment is on a robust and durable material.

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      14. This works for me, Cam, but the gold pellets should have something like titanium around them.

        Gold creates allergic reactions in some people, and Daniel should know this.

        He also knows he might live a hundred thousand years or more.

        Not smart for him to create a habit of teasing his body’s immune systems, no matter how good his magic healing may be.

        Titanium is well known to be non-allergenic, or significantly less allergenic than gold.

        It’s also decent armor for those soft bits of gold.

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      15. One more caveat–a SCRAM spell is a good idea, but there should be one for each capsule as well as a total SCRAM for all capsules so he can choose to banish only one at a time if at all possible.

        He is well and truly screwed if he banishes ALL of his embedded capsules and does not have an amulet or ring or some other MtM enchanted object on him or linked to him.

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      16. Colin, i like you ideas.

        How about:
        – a “gone to hell” scram where all the implanted pellets are banished
        – a separation scram for any that leave the body, move a certain distance from the brain, or are cut off
        – a field scram that banishes pellets Daniel waves his hand over
        – and a 1 at a tme pellet scram

        Then carry a back up amulet that is supercharged, and a link to a M2M block in a secure location. So belt and suspenders anyone?

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      17. Yes, these all seem to be enchantments on objects we KNOW that Daniel can do.

        The enchantment anchored to itself, or to Daniel’s soul would be better, but we are not yet sure that is possible.

        For that matter, we are not sure which body parts, fluids or semi-solids his MtM is capable of working with.

        It would truly suck if only his bones contained acceptable matter for his MtM enchantment.

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      18. Well, if death doesn’t break souls, that seems to make them rather durable.

        However, I bet separating the soul from the body would break the enchantment’s connection to what it uses for matter, if that matter is inside the body.

        Maybe the MtM enchantment could be directed at the air around Daniel and his soul?

        There’s water vapor in air.

        It’s not as if Daniel needs a LOT of atoms at any given moment.

        The water vapor around him would refresh continuously as he uses it up.

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      19. Yes, eating food from Avilla’s kitchen would certainly add a few inches to MY belts and waist.

        However, no, this does not fix the fundamental problem with Daniel using any of his own body for matter in the MtM enchantment.

        Daniel is constantly getting injured and more frequently of late the damage is induced by magic weapons, enchanted ammunition, etc.

        It would be super easy to imagine that Wizard Slayer bolt he caught with his chest in EXTERMINATION not only coming close to killing Daniel but also breaking and corrupting his personal MtM enchantment, causing it to spew hot steam, hot neutrons and hot grease all over the insides of his peritoneum.

        Ouch.

        Probably not the best time to have to figure out how much of his gut he suddenly needs to scrub clean of magic and then banish to get rid of hot stuff while fighting a horde of nasties and simultaneously removing a death dealing instrument of mage destruction from between his ribs as he desperately struggles to heal the wound he no longer has MtM power to fix because he just expunged and expelled his broken MtM enchantment.

        Eek.

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      20. Winner!

        Well…until some evil resurrected murder witch casts a spell on him that blasts his spirit out of his body.

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      21. Excellent idea it would extend to other concepts to. Effectively giving him the ability of implants with out the objects in his body. Maybe he could find a way to actually armor his soul while he is at it. He has already come across monsters and devices that damage that part of his self.

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      22. See I was thinking he would make small airtight pellets fill them and place the enchantment on them to use what’s inside. Then he could spread them throughout his body each with a mtm enchantment, healing and something else like one of those body modification enchantments to help sight, hearing, strength, speed. We know enchantments placed on the amulet don’t take any effort of will when they run and this would give him a massive amount of mana from all the small pellets aswell as permanent body modes and almost instant healing. Plus if one gets damaged from the lose of a arm or something he has a bunch of extras and doesn’t loose all his magic and enchantments

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      23. I wouldn’t because those little things can be damaged or lost. He however has encountered only a few things that can damage the soul. Also as long as his head is still viable his soul will remain with it and continue to heal it keeping himself alive. Reminds me of an old movie 🎥🍿. (There can be only one!)

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      24. I like the idea of setting his enchantments on his soul/spirit but I don’t remember anyplace in the books where that seems to happen. Can anybody point to a page reference?

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      25. When he helped his death witch with her flying he added force sorcery to her. It was talked about and then demonstrated when they were training.

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      26. Okay, I see where the issue of soul comes in. Daniel does tell Tina he’s going to ram his massive magical might deep into Cerise’s soul to manipulate her flight magic. He might only have been titillating Tina, or he might have been serious that he sees Cerise’s magic is anchored in her soul. When Cerise describes how she consumes magic and power from her kills she does mention that she eats their “essence” which seems like it might take us back to souls again.

        I think we have to conclude that flesh peoples’ magic might be anchored in their souls. That could have very interesting ramifications for those spirits of dead murder witches wandering around the dockyards and other battle sites of Kozalin after Hel’s armies were crushed there.

        At the same time, we have to hold out the possibility that some or all of some other beings’ magic might be anchored in their flesh. That seems to be the way Daniel sees Avilla’s personal magic at the beginning of FIMBULWINTER when he is basically ignorant and just beginning to explore his powers.

        Of course, with Avilla being an immortal confection golem, why would this be a surprise? Then again, her immortality is due to a tiny fraction of the essence of Aphrodite, so maybe Avilla’s magic is soul bound also.

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      27. That is effectively what he did, when he boosted Cerise’s flight magic, isn’t it?

        Though if you take the idea to the logical conclusion he should not use his own body whenever he might go into harm’s way, but move his soul to a combat construct with all imaginable features coming out of Avilla’s gingerbread magic.

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      28. move his soul to a combat construct

        This touches on an idea I’ve had. Daniel needs to build himself a reliquary/horcrux to which his soul will revert should his body be destroyed. Something which will allow him to create a new body for himself. The reliquary would be kept in a secure location (pocket universe?) with all the resources needed for him to rebuild himself. As he’d already have a soul-link to it, he could also keep a MtM power source in that location to draw upon as needed.

        What range limitations that would impose, if any, remain to be seen. Perhaps his link could be maintained via a ring or amulet which he carried around all the time. Something more durable than his body which would automatically transfer his soul to the reliquary should his brain be destroyed.

        A related possibility would be having the reliquary operate as a neural augment, so his soul/consciousness is running on both his meatware and the reliquary simultaneously. Losing his meat-brain would be an inconvenience, but not crippling. Something like the mk2 Ndoli Jewel (http://greg-egan.wikia.com/wiki/Ndoli_Jewel).

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      29. Casually risking a familiar makes perfect sense for just about any Varmland wizard except Daniel.

        Remember his exceedingly cautious inspection of potential psycho-domination when Alanna was briefly Daniel’s super-powered dryad familiar after the earthquake wrecked parts of Kozalin’s defenses?

        What would you bet he’d be almost equally protective of a semi-sentient super-powered feline familar?

        On the one hand, he’d probably keep ramping up the familiar’s physical prowess, senses, magic and skills.

        On the other hand, he’d also probably treat them like a best friend and risk himself before risking them.

        Just observing past performance, not recommending or pushing anything here….

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      30. Coming way out of left field here. But wouldn’t it be cool if Bast sends a giant white tiger that appears as Tina is giving birth, to act as a guardian/playmate. Daniel could spend some time upgrading Erika’s (i think that was the name Tina was thinking for her daughter) new friend.

        Tina introducing her daughter: “This is Erika, Daniel and my daughter. Whatever you do, don’t say anything mean, or look angry at her.” As an enormous white tiger – 6 feet tall at the shoulders – silently prowels in the background with its tail whipping back and forth.

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    2. I really really like the whole soul idea except that it doesn’t actually fix the problem. My problem with the amulet was that it’s easy to destroy or steal and he doesn’t keep any backups with him. The soul idea will make it harder to destroy but honestly not that hard I mean think about the mage killing arrow that probably would have dispelled any active enchantment on his soul and that’s just one normal weapon of the dwarfs. He’s going to have to fight gods who can probably see magic like him and will know how to dispel enchantments on his soul. Until he can find a way to strength his soul putting a enchantment on it is counter productive. But a bunch of pellets spread out casts a wide net and makes it so the only way to cut him off from his make is to completely destroy his body which he actually does know how to strength he just hasn’t had to time todo so.

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      1. If the enemy can disrupt his soul, the mana supply is Daniel’s least problem. And is there evidence that enchantments on souls are easier to disspell than those an material objects?

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      2. “And is there evidence that enchantments on souls are easier to disspell than those an material objects?”

        The evidence may be lacking for how difficult it is to corrupt enchantments anchored in gold or in souls, but the risk remains.

        Daniel deliberately “broke” many of his MtM enchantments, probably in specific, planned ways, when he was trying to create deadly radiation.

        I’m betting he didn’t have time for much in the way of chaotic damage assessment.

        He really, really needs to experiment someplace FAR away from Black Island with targeting a “test” MtM amulet and a power block to see how difficult or easy it is to corrupt the enchantment in combat, in strategic magic exchanges and other potential assaults Elin or Cerise or Sefwin and others will suggest.

        To be very proactive, Daniel ought to bring in Ward and Steelbinder or their Conclave proxies to also test, especially since they have an…interest in the outcomes.

        Maybe he should not include them in the next round of tests — the ones where he anchors MtM in the soul of a bound and chained felwolf and targets THAT with all sorts of magical mayhem.

        You know there’s going to be at least one more “test” as well — Daniel and/or Cerise will eventually hunt down a few murder witch souls. Recruiting them won’t be easy. Some of them may well be the sort of stone cold killers who come much too close to murdering Daniel before Cerise or Hecate Herself rips them a new one.

        That should give Daniel new insights into the nature of mana wells, magic, enchantments and spirits/souls.

        Frankly, I’m looking forward to seeing how the author defines souls and spirits.

        Are they the same thing?

        Maybe, maybe not.

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  4. Some enchantments appear to cover large volumes such as weight banishment or structural reinforcement for the latter both in enchantment location and its effect. However, MtM is very local down at the atomic level in its effect. Its size appears to approximate the object size. Supposedly damage anywhere within the size of the enchantment can result in damage to the enchantment and change its actions — in MtM’s case potentially cause a disaster.

    Tolerance theory tells us we want redundancy, heterogeneity, and separation/isolation. Redundancy and separation imply multiple MtM processes in spread out locations. They could be totally redundant so any one would be “enough” or operated such that some minimum number would be enough (e.g. 3 or seven). Having “excess” capacity as the result of needed redundancy can also provide more capacity when more than the minimum are working. For example, five capsules each with half the production of his amulet would be in the best situation 2.5 as productive as his amulet.

    Locations and natures of units should also be designed to deal with dismemberment including separation of his head.

    Heterogeneity should include the use of batteries –which also have their own requirement to match amulet — and MtMs with varying tradeoffs between susceptibility to damage and production per volume. While some MtM process and batteries could be colocated, many batteries could be physically separated but still recharged by MtM processes — presumably multiple processes. Batteries in the extremities instead of MtM would also reduce the probability of capture or observation of an MtM enchantment.

    Some MtM processes could be in harder to damage units such as solid titanium and others in more easily damaged but more productive ones where the capsule is almost all gold. Likewise for batteries.

    Batteries worn elsewhere such as his belt, helmet, or boots are also a possibility. Finally, the choice of continuing to wear his amulet still exists. Even if he decides to not have MtM in an amulet, he should continue to wear a lookalike amulet possibly with merely a battery and other enchantments, not MtM. This will reduce the likelihood of individuals looking for or finding what is in his body.

    Separation and redundancy make banishment of units that become dangerous less drastic to the overall system. Replacement units — unenchanted with MtM but possibly ones already functioning as batteries could be carried ready to be enchanted and placed inside a body as needed. This last points to the need to place internal units in others in addition to Daniel, most urgently Cerise. If needed, these could even be moved among bodies.

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      1. That’s a good idea! They’d be easier/safer to banish, also. Of course, they might not be in direct contact with Daniel’s body, so he’d probably link to them like he does to a MtM power block. That might put a relatively small upper limit on the number of swallowed mana generators/batteries anyone could effectively manage.

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      2. That’s not only an excellent idea, Oliver, but Daniel will almost certainly be forced to enlarge his own mana well.

        Then there’s the issue of when he will be forced to recognize his own DIVINE mana well, if that actually is a distinctly separate thing. After all, the dryads have already begun discussing what and how they should sacrifice to him in his divine aspect, not to mention determining what IS his divine aspect? There is probably already a trickle of prayer and reverence directed toward him from at least a few people on Black Island and in Kozalin.

        It seems all the gods and goddesses have enormous wells. We believe they accumulate continuously over many years and over vast numbers of the faithful, or small numbers of very powerful priestesses in the case of Hecate.

        Since Daniel now seems compelled to oppose Gaea, he will need to be very sneaky and very well prepared, so it makes perfect sense for him to use his mana sorcery and flesh sorcery to maximize his own mana well(s) as much and as often as possible.

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      3. Is there any canonical evidence that worshipers are anything more than anchors? My understanding was that the only things the gods needed worshipers for was to secure their link to the Earthly plane, not as a source of power, though I suppose that that’s a possibility. I just don’t think we have anything explicitly supporting that contention aside from Cerise’s sacrificing of power to Hecate, which isn’t quite the same thing as just believing and praying.

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      4. Short answer, Jabrwok, is “Maybe.”

        For canonical evidence, try searching on these hints:

        1) I vaguely remember Cerise explaining that Hecate gains mana from Her priestesses’ sacrifices of “entire Asgardian towns” during the thousand year guerilla war between Olympians and Asgardians.

        2) Plus, of course, we know Cerise absorbs “essence” from her kills through her athames and sacrifices whatever she considers too much of that to Hecate.

        3) Alternatively, we see references to prayer powered “holy ground” when Daniel and Avilla approach the Asgard church where Cerise is being tortured.

        4) I vaguely remember we see more references to prayer powered “holy bindings” on the doors of the Asgard church in Kozalin when Mara smashes them open.

        So, yes, there probably is canonical reference or inference both for prayers powering magic just like mana (maybe they ARE mana) and sacrifice powering a goddess — again, maybe that IS mana.

        5) Plus, there is always that human sacrifice powered Dark Portal. Is it literally burning “soul” power? Is it draining a human of all mana?

        Magic 8-ball says, “Answer is unclear.”

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      5. I’ve been thinking of the relationship between Gods and worshipers more like a symbiotic life insurance policy. Mortals get an afterlife possible reincarnation and the God gets an anchor to make them harder to put down.

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      6. I think the “anchor” concept is canon — Hecate and Bast confirm it.

        The “flow” of mana and/or “prayer power” from believers to gods and goddesses is more of an inference from a variety of subtle hints, starting with the “believer” concept, the purpose of church buildings, altars, shrines and some other back story information we see throughout the three books.

        First and foremost, I don’t remember any place in the first three books that prayer is specifically described as empowering the gods in any way. If anybody else finds something like that I’d like to see it.

        Second point, we have no idea whether “prayer power” even exists, much less what its relationship is with mana. I would not be at all surprised if the author considers them to be the same thing: effectively, both are mana in that case. On the other hand, Asgard church altars are obviously used for sacrifices. Hecate’s shrine altars certainly are also. The “faithful” of one god or goddess can clearly be “fuel” for another. There must be other “fuels” for gods with less bloody natures. Nature gods, for example, probably accept vegetable or grain sacrifices, which takes us back to that energetic discussion of whether mana infuses EVERY form of life in Varmland. That could be all there is. Temples, churches and shrines house the altars where sacrifices empower gods, and prayer power does not exist at all. In that case, numbers of faithful would become very important. Winning battles, tearing down holy places, desecrating altars and even utterly wiping out one building to replace it with one’s own make sense.

        Third point, we know human sacrifice can power the Dark Portal, and Sefwin tells us Dark Elves can burn “life force” when they have no more mana and ambient mana is not sufficient for needs. If prayer comes from the soul, and “life force” is similar, does sacrifice whole or in part “use” a person’s internal magic? That seems to be the case. Presumably, Sefwin might have recovered her spent “life force” over time if Daniel’s flesh magic were not available to heal her quickly. If souls/life force can be ripped out by sacrifice or deliberately expended in extremis, can souls/life force be offered to the gods? That seems like prayer to me. It also seems like it could be entirely mana.

        Sure hope some of this becomes a bit more clear in THRALL.

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      7. Yes, I thought I remembered something like centuries of prayer power shattered in an instant by the Unraveller.

        Of course, we are still left wondering if the ward are:
        1) special divine spells driven by prayer
        2) normal spells crafted by holy enchanters using mana derived from prayers
        3) normal spells any magic user could cast, powered by mana directly generated by prayers

        I could get behind any or all of the above, but it would sure be nice to know for sure.

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      1. And the advantage to redundancy in the instance of dangerous MtM enchantment corruption is that you can banish the bad capsule/amulet/ring/belt/etc., without stripping ALL your MtM resources in the middle of a fight.

        Like everything else in the Daniel Black stories, there’s a learning curve and something that looks like an optimal balance, then a crashing THUD when ten tons of SURPRISE! squash him flat.

        Need a new optimal…NOW!

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      2. Absolutely, and we know Daniel has been smashed, bashed, splattered unconscious on several occasions.

        It’s a good thing he can heal radiation damage.

        Sucks for the people around him if he decides NOT to heal them.

        Cleanup will also totally suck, until Daniel finally remembers or invents Geiger counters.

        He has to banish everything he cannot or does not heal and even suspects might be radioactive, unless it’s enemy territory or someplace he just doesn’t care about.

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      3. I wonder how catastrophic “catastrophic” could be?

        Miniature mushroom cloud?

        Destroy a whole building mushroom cloud?

        “Wow, look at that city burn!”

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    1. Let’s look at a variety of approaches that might be taken within a redundancy, heterogeneity, separation framework including safety and security issues.

      –Primary sources of mana: MtM, ambient mana
      –Storage of mana: Batteries/reservoirs, within enchantments within items, and within native mana storage within mana using entities: people, human-like entities, creatures, demons, demi-gods, gods
      –Locations: Remote fixed (Black Isle, Red Conclave), remote mobile (e.g. skimmers, airship), worn/carried, artificial within people or mana users, enhanced native magic mana capacity, native mana capacity, ambient environment, other artifacts locations (e.g. storage rooms, lost artifacts, landmines)
      –Transmission: within distance limits, mana can potentially be transmitted, shared, or combined among any of these location types. The largest distance limit mentioned has been thirty miles.

      As has been mentioned, the obvious unexploited location is as enhanced native magic mana capacity. While MtM has physical and safety problems associated with incorporating it into enhanced native magic fetures, batteries do not appear to. Apparently, immense battery capacity (sometimes referred to as reservoirs) could be included within DB or his allies as enhancements to native magic. If such native magic actually has physical locations in body then this would produce a need to address redundancy and separation. If native magic enhancements were subject to countermeasures then heterogeneity could be called for.

      However, heterogeneity of locations all or most of whom are concurrently accessible to DB (and allies as appropriate) is the obvious approach and even better after enhancing native magic mana capacity. Why should not DB be able to use enhanced native capacity, embedded items in his body, worn or carried items, plus larger mobile and fixed sources as well as ambient mana all at once or as needed?

      I addressedMtM and batteries embedded in his body in another post. However, means of wearing artifacts other than or in addtion to amulets needs to be explored and exploited. For example, anywhere used to hide many or for smuggling could be used. In addition, body orifices are possibilities including swallowing. Items could be disguised as or in innocent, unimportant, and/or inexpensive items. Items that normally carry a small expected amount of mana might have a disguised large amount.

      Finally, even non-mana-users could be exploited to carry or embed items. A guard or maid might accompany principal and also carry/embedded mana sources or storage possibly in innocent items or private areas. Even animals might be used for this.

      To add to the confusion of enemies, DB might construct conspicuous but unnecessary facilities such as large mana transmission towers or giant false mana producing complexes. Of course, items about which intelligence may have beeen obtained by opponents such as his amulet could be deceptively repurposed or made simply empty of significant mana.

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      1. “Why should not DB be able to use enhanced native capacity, embedded items in his body, worn or carried items, plus larger mobile and fixed sources as well as ambient mana all at once or as needed?”

        – carrying capacity
        – detectability
        – R&D effort
        – possibility of sabotage

        For example, if you have implanted a mana battery, but your enemy has a locator spell for batteries or the gold they are made of while you need to hide, game over.

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  5. I am so far behind. I have to start reading from June 21st, and I can’t build up the strength to do it. There are 500+ posts that I have to read, and some are the length of a booster rocket.

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      1. Well he did state in his July Update that he will start posting teaser bits of the book here on the blog.

        Did I misread that? Is “blog” suppose to be taken as Patreon Page?

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  6. It FEELS like I have been waiting for years for the 4th book to come out…..
    …oh wait it has been almost 3 years … cries in corner looks over at William Brown and asks ” Y u do dis”
    ya anyway really looking forward to this next book.

    would be so cool if Daniel made a paratrooper like unit and did a Market Garden somewhere

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      1. I don’t think so, people are just building up the hype for the release of the book. I am guessing that the two chapters posted should have those comments entry full by now. By the way have anyone go see the reviews of the books on goodread??? I can’t believe that the most liked there of Book one ins a negative review!!!!!

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  7. I think one of the major areas that The Black Citadel could improve is their vehicles. For example the skimmer tank/APCs should be given more specific roles perhaps a light attack variety with little or no transport capacity to support the conventional forces they are allied to and then a larger type as a transport for Daniel’s forces. Both would get good mileage out of a BMP3 style turret with the heavy autocannon he has developed coaxial to an 80mm or so cannon with various ammo types since they don’t really have to worry about ammo or melting barrels. I would also make some kind of flatbed utility truck equivalent for moving supplies and such. As for the airships I like the idea of it turning into a ground vehicle once the lift cells are off this gives good flexibility and makes it easier to get under cover. However as Daniel points out it is relatively slow and vulnerable from the top. This could be mitigated by placing the majority of the ship around the cell like armor with cargo areas underneath for ballast. The resulting ship would be mostly hollow but the square cube law would work in favor of building it really big, and mitigate the loss of lift by placing armor all around. Add some bow and stern thrusters for turning and lateral movement and turrets for point defense. That would serve as a fairly well protected base model the could then have various modules added to the bottom to tailor it to the current mission. e.g. artillery since LoS is less of an issue, cargo, troop bays, passenger cabins. These large airships could largely replace conventional fleets and render the frozen water ways moot, they would also be able to reach areas unaccessable to maratime vessels, as demonstrated by the rescue of Nethwillin.

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    1. He should just get rid of the lift cells all together. With the new dragon flight magic he learned it is more a liability for a ship than an asset. Maybe keep the lifting cell enchantment for a backup but shut down most of the time.

      Making to many different types of skimmers is more trouble than it’s worth for him. Especially since he is the only one with them for now. Maybe 2 types. One type for command and power source protection one for everything else. More like an APC with attachments for whatever the locals can make as a wagon or sleigh.

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      1. DaShoota, wasn’t Daniel’s “dragon flight” magic still rather dependent on Daniel’s brains and learned flight skills?

        I believe he spent a day crashing into trees, bushes and other obstacles to aerial navigation, just practicing how to not quite kill himself while trying to fly.

        Airships with some sort of lift cell seem likely to remain necessary until Daniel or Nethwillin recruits some sort of spirit to continuously provide the magical equivalents of avionics and auto-pilot.

        Even that might not quite do the whole job. He might need two or three spirits for each flying machine if they need to sleep or rest a few hours each day. If a spirit is required to provide avionics and auto-pilot, there cannot be any times when the flying machine does not have a conscious and attentive spirit at the helm.

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      2. Most of that time was spent learning to fly his body. (It is not aerodynamic.) He was going at several hundred miles per hour to.) At treetop hight or sailing ship mast hight. A large ship that moves at a top speed of 100 to 200 miles an hour at high altitude and considerably slower at lower altitudes shouldn’t be to hard. He will need to train up some elvish pilots though.

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      3. The draconic flight gimmick that Daniel learned from Cerise was a weight-banishment. Whether that has any significant effect on mass or inertia isn’t explicitly mentioned, though given the descriptions of Cerise’s and Daniel’s crashes, those elements seem unaffected. Seems implausible, but this is magic we’re dealing with, so the rules are different.

        Elimination of the lift cells would allow for greater streamlining and more speed. At that point, aerodynamics becomes a concern though, and dealing with that problem is not yet worth the time Black would have to dedicate to it.

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      4. Guys, it’s not just aerodynamics, it’s also avionics.

        Nethwillin’s ambassador already explained this when he first boarded INTREPID.

        Daniel cannot put that kind of huge air transport together until after he figures out how to ethically and technically bind a spirit to interface between the pilot(s) and the physical/magical control surfaces/engines of the machine.

        Alternatively, he can find some living creature that is capable of shape changing to a very large volume when supplied with enough mana.

        The whole point of building a big, robust airship like INTREPID is the incredibly simple controls and very little needed in the way of avionics, aerodynamics, etc.

        You want an alternative?

        Remember that undead dragon Daniel and Cerise destroyed?

        Imagine them binding it instead of smashing it.

        Now power it up with a nice big mana stream from one of Daniel’s matter to mana power blocks.

        I bet Daniel could turn that critter into a humongous air transport.

        Of course, that would also be an enormous time suck of a project.

        Colin

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      5. You have the conversation with the elves on the airship backwards. Daniel was the one to explain aerodynamics and aeronautics to the elves. They just took it up fast because they were instinctively familiar with it after possessing birds.

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      6. The weight banishment magic seems like some form of gravity control to me. He also got a magic that grabs the air better than his force magic.

        Like

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