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…

3,967 thoughts on “Daniel Black Open Thread

  1. “My earth magic couldn’t distinguish different isotopes of the same element, so conjuring enriched uranium wasn’t possible.”

    Exactly. So he must find a way to get away with conjuring ordinary uranium, which by implication Daniel can conjure. Hence I suggested abusing the M2M spell for alchemy.

    PS: I shortened the process a bit

    U 238 -(removal of a neutron) -> U 237 (beta decay with half life of 8 days) -> Np 237
    U 238 -(removal of a proton) -> Pa 237 (beta decay with half life of minutes) -> U 237 [see above]

    If you do this with U 235 you end up with thorium, so not a problem.

    And it is extremely interesting what one can find online:

    http://nuclearweaponarchive.org/Nwfaq/Nfaq12.html

    The key is the rate of spontaneous fission. It is very low. A gun type weapon with Np 237 looks possible.
    So, there is one key obstacle. If Daniel can tweak his M2M spell in the right way, he can build a nuke.

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    1. Oliver, do I understand correctly that you are dodging the U235 issues by converting U238 into bomb grade material?

      Given the TINY natural occurrence of U235, and the difficulty of separating it from U238, avoiding U235 seems like a smart strategy.

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      1. Yes, essentially like the Manhattan project did. Only that magic instead of a reactor is used for the conversion. And I get a better fuel in the sense that it is easier to use.

        Now. I cannot tell you whether Daniel has the necessary knowledge. Essentially you need to know that U 237 decays to Np 237 quickly. And you need to either know or be willing to try using neptinium as bomb material. I think we can assume as certain that Daniel knows that you can breed plutonium from uranium. But neptunium is rather exotic.

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      2. Daniel seems to be able to perform the key experiment you describe: removing a single proton from atoms of uranium, which will give him both proactinium 234 from thorium 234 from uranium 235 and neptunium 237 from palladium 237 from uranium 238.

        The quantity of uranium he needs to conjure seems acceptable. He could make two or four new “factory” blocks and have something like a hundred kilograms in a reasonable number of weeks. That’s plenty for small experiments right away, that would enable him to develop a continuous fuel making process he can walk away from, do other work, then return.

        Of course, he must be very careful to keep his factory blocks well separated from each other, keep his experiments very small, and keep his growing supply of fuel in small, well separated amounts.

        Now, will he know he has created neptunium?

        Can Daniel figure out how to count protons in random sample atoms?

        He’s likely to refine his fuel by banishing everything he does NOT want, so his early experiments might accidentally isolate something other than neptunium.

        Of course, there are all sorts of possible accidents in this kind of work.

        Suffice to say, Daniel probably can create a neptunium 237 fuel and device.

        What OTHER paths might he attempt?

        If Daniel can subtract protons from uranium atoms, can he add protons to uranium atoms?

        It seems to me that is his first experiment when he first establishes a supply of uranium.

        He will know the path to U235 is long, messy and wastes a lot of U238.

        He probably knows nothing about N237 but will know about reactors and U238 > U239 > N239 > P239.

        He will also believe that U239 to N239 to P239 is the historic path to a fuel that historically worked.

        We all know how stubborn Daniel is about pursuing what he remembers, right or wrong.

        What will happen when he tries to add a proton to raw uranium atoms?

        Everything he has done with his matter to mana enchantment involves tearing apart atoms, but for all we know he might be able to magically add neutrons or protons or both.

        Failing that, Daniel’s next experiment will almost certainly be to put a neutron source inside one of his force spheres with a quantity of uranium and create plutonium like researchers do in reactors.

        Finally, throughout all these experiments, we are assuming Daniel’s ability to banish materials he does not want will enable him to separate and purify his fuel.

        Anybody care to kick that idea in the teeth?

        This whole line of argument makes nukes a tempting option for Daniel, but everything we look at seems to suggest he could SO easily wind up neck deep in the Project From HELL that just keeps growing more complex, more time consuming and more expensive the more he works on it.

        I suspect it won’t ever happen, or maybe it will but only a tiny piece at a time. He might start accumulating uranium in the next book because he knows it won’t be quick and having some on hand will maybe be necessary some day.

        Then he will be forced to pursue a dozen other high priority projects, one of which will give him a single new insight into some other part of his nuclear research.

        Rinse and repeat through about three more books before he finally delivers that fancy, gift wrapped present to Gaea’s palace door….

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      3. I doubt Daniel has the educational background to do everything people are speculating about here. Give him Internet access and he could, but otherwise he has neither the time nor the expertise to seriously try.

        Here’s another option: anti-matter. Can he somehow “invert the polarity” of one of his summons’ and summon anti-iron? Then all this nuke business goes away.

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      4. Good points. Of course, he shouldn’t have been able to come up with matter to mana with a few hours experimenting and thinking. There’s probably some nasty destructive nuclear fission, fusion or other weapon his combination of elemental sorceries just happen to synergize that none of us has tripped over, yet.

        Or, something completely non-nuclear, but equally nasty.

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      5. Of course, he shouldn’t have been able to come up with matter to mana with a few hours experimenting and thinking.

        My assumption has been that the MtM effect was provided to him by the Mana sorcery itself. “My magic knows how to do all sorts of things I don’t understand” or words to that effect. He just has to come up with an idea and then see whether or not his sorcery will let him do it. He often doesn’t understand how it works though, unless he dedicates a lot of time to studying it.

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      6. Agreed, Jabrwok. Daniel even refers to his mana element sorcery as a “cheat” more than once. Of course he’s cheating himself out of certain types of potentially valuable understanding, but he’s also surviving all sorts of fatal and near fatal mistakes to some day have the time to study his magic more carefully.

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      7. If he goes the route of adding protons (or neutrons), the best starter would be Thorium 232 (essentially natural thorium). He would end up with Uranium 233. THe process is slower though.
        Gun assembly with Plutonium 239 is a very untried technology. Daniel might remember that plutonium is problematic and hence seek alternatives.

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      8. Gun assembly with plutonium is reputed not to work, or so the information most likely available to Daniel would imply. Explosive lenses and other means of highly compressing the fuel are associated with “Fat Man” and the first test detonation near Alamogordo. Daniel would have to believe he could use his force magic to quickly compress dense metal.

        That seems like another early test. Conjure a bowling ball of lead and squeeze it into a golf ball.

        Of course, if he can do that, what would you bet he just solved the magic battering ram issue?

        Off to complete another project….

        What nuke?

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      9. “Daniel would have to believe he could use his force magic to quickly compress dense metal.”

        He would have to believe that he can evenly and within a microsecond compress dense metal. His force magic, if it needs a millisecond to act, cannot do that. He could collapse a hollow sphere. Or use his earth magic to conjure a shell of core matter around the sphere of plutonium. But that requires precision. I doubt he could do it.

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      10. Okay, let’s say Daniel realizes historical explosive compression is beyond him.

        How could he finagle it?

        Separate the plutonium into two or more subcritical lumps, segregate them with atomically thin neutron reflecting force fields, then squish them together as fast as he can, REMOVING the segregation fields at the moment of penultimate pressure?

        Of course, his compression is ALSO force fields, so there are trapped neutrons being reflected into the combined masses. He could add an outer layer neutron source material, if needed.

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      11. Everyone just created and then ignored the 800 pound gorilla in the room. If he could conjure a large mass of something dense like a lead ball or any other metal. Then use his force sorcery to compress it to the size of a golf ball or smaller that opens an entire new avenue of weapons research he could follow. Some of which could easily surpass atomic bombs in distractive capability.

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      12. Not ignoring mass conjuring and compression, DaShoota. Just taking my time getting around to discussing it.

        There’s the possibility of combining conjuring and compression with helium-3 fusion, or other fuels for fusion. Whatever fusion Daniel tries will probably need compression, conjured elements, removing neutrons or protons, perfectly reflecting force fields, heat, etc.

        All features of his set of elemental sorceries.

        I’m still not done with huge, massive effects, either. Daniel probably needs to upgrade the matter to mana power supply for his big lump of Earth. He should probably also consider what other magic he personally can try to expand the reign of pain he can bring to a fight.

        Here’s another idea we’ve considered–dropping big lumps on monsters.

        Take a mortar shell, enchant it to conjure a hundred tons of nickel-iron when it stops rising and starts falling. Be very careful where you point that shot.

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      13. He doesn’t need to conjure that huge lump of iron. He could simply increase its weight it won’t fall any faster but when it impacts all that weight on the smaller service it won’t stop it will keep going. There is your penetrate around! That’s the idea I had when I thought about using the opposite of the weight management spell with melee weapons. Increase their weight on impact and they won’t move any faster but they’ll keep going.

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      14. Actually, how much mana Daniel must spend is half the question.

        The total question is, “how much mana must Daniel expend in order to achieve his desired effect?”

        Let’s make this one simple, for magical definitions of “simple”….

        Daniel is hovering at five thousand feet above a frost giant. He wants a quiet, fast means of execution. Should he:

        1) Conjure a ten ton bowling ball of nickel-iron and drop it on the frost giant?

        2) Conjure a ten pound bowling ball of nickel-iron and enchant it to weigh ten tons, then drop it on the frost giant?

        3) Conjure a ten pound bowling ball of nickel-iron and drop it on the frost giant?

        For purposes of this question, assume the mana costs are identical.

        I’m really hoping Option #1 is the winner.

        I don’t understand why Option #2 is not nastier than Option #1.

        Option #3 is ridiculous, I hope.

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      15. “What will happen when he tries to add a proton to raw uranium atoms?”

        Np 239 – (beta decay, 2.5 days half life) -> Pu 239

        But, is he able to specify which elements or isotopes to add a proton to?
        I guess not. And that means that he always will get the products of additions to U 235, Np 239 and Pu 239. And that means contamination with U 236, Np 236 and Pu 240.

        And the last one is a killer. Definitely no gun assembly.

        That is the beauty of the neutron removal from uranium. The only relevant side product is Np 236, which is even better bomb stuff than Np 237.

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      16. I agree. I really doubt Daniel’s magic can count protons, so he won’t be able to distinguish between atoms, and he tells us his magic cannot identify isotopes, so he won’t be able to add a proton or neutron selectively.

        With enough frustration from additive generation of isotopes that don’t work for him, there is a decent chance Daniel will at least try subtracting a neutron or proton and accidentally discover fissile neptunium.

        It won’t be totally accidental. His college physics probably at least once presented a complete (at that time) list of fissile isotopes, including their critical reaction behavior. Whether he remembers the correct isotope of neptunium or not, he will remember there was a list and he will remember some of the fissile isotopes have atomic mass smaller than 238.

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      17. “Separate the plutonium into two or more subcritical lumps, segregate them with atomically thin neutron reflecting force fields, then squish them together as fast as he can, REMOVING the segregation fields at the moment of penultimate pressure?”

        I actually wrote about that. In a nutshell, overcomplicated. Leave them at rest and have a reflector between them. No need to smash stuff together. Perfect reflection also keeps stuff subcritical. You can move them together at leisure to arm the bomb, but no need to move to actually fire the weapon.

        It depends on how quickly he can remove the reflector. We know it takes a millisecond to create the reflecting field. That is the physical equivalency to gun assembly. We have no idea how quickly he can cancel a spell.

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      18. Really? Placing the plutonium elements together is enough? I thought implosion was used in part to achieve compression. If compression is not required, then the reflecting force fields are all he needs.

        Of course, that assumes Daniel’s magic can actually produce enough of the correct plutonium isotope and his force magic can actually remove his shields instantaneously.

        The evidence is strong AGAINST instantaneous. Remember this from his first fight, in Avilla’s cottage?

        “Time to kick it up a notch. I let go of the shield, knowing it would take a few seconds to dissolve, and focused all my concentrating on forming a ball of whirling saw blades just outside of it.”

        Brown, E. William. Fimbulwinter (Daniel Black Book 1) (Kindle Locations 210-212). Unknown. Kindle Edition.

        The next obvious question is, “Can Daniel deliberately remove a shield instantaneously?”

        Nothing else he does seems to be instantaneous, so I say “NO.”

        Back to neptunium isotopes and a gun device.

        Better yet, on to a more precise, massively destructive non-fissile magical effect.

        We’ve been discussing compression and vacuum and reflecting force fields and removing protons or neutrons.

        What if Daniel conjures a volume of helium, removes a neutron from every atom, creating helium-3 and tries fusion?

        He has all sorts of methods for heating up the helium-3 and keeping it ultra-hot.

        Once he has a self-sustaining fusion reaction, release the force field.

        Sure, the reaction will break down immediately.

        There should still be quite an exit wound.

        Hmm…can he build a fusion-fission bomb if he adds an outer shell of fissile material?

        So many options to suck up so much time, effort and resources.

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      19. “If he could conjure a large mass of something dense like a lead ball or any other metal. Then use his force sorcery to compress it to the size of a golf ball or smaller that opens an entire new avenue of weapons research he could follow”

        He has followed that research. That is how his explosions work.

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      20. He’s only conjured naturally compressed matter. Can he compress it further? I don’t think he’s tried that yet. Also, could he summon a chunk of the Sun? Or Jupiter? Or a neutron star? We don’t know the range limits of his summoning ability. Perhaps he’s not summoning materials from the Earth, but rather creating them ex nihilo and their proportional difficulties reflect their commonality on a universal scale. If he’s creating or summoning the material from some sort of sub-space substrate of the universe in which distance isn’t a factor, then the possibilities expand significantly.

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      21. After combing through the relatively few descriptions of where Daniel’s conjured materials come from, the consensus seems to be similar to, “some sort of sub-space substrate of the universe in which distance isn’t a factor.”

        Remember this from FIMBULWINTER?

        “Where was the extra mass coming from, anyway? I had a dim sense that it was being conjured from some external source, just like with the hammer I’d made in my first battle. But beyond that I had no idea, and I certainly didn’t have time to figure it out now.”

        If the “external source” for the nickel-iron Daniel eventually learns to conjure were the actual Earth’s core, we’d need some accounting for the energy required to transport material several thousand miles UP. However, we know Daniel is able to conjure bronze. That alloy might occur naturally, but I wonder how rare this would be? It makes much more sense that Daniel is conjuring from the Earth elemental “plane” and that also explains why he cannot directly summon certain stuff like water, air, leather, food, etc. Pure water comes from the Water elemental “plane”, pure air from the Air elemental “plane”, etc.

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      22. “I doubt Daniel has the educational background to do everything people are speculating about here.”

        That is indeed the most serious obstacle. Strictly speaking you don’t NEED to know what we discussed here to do it. The knowledge founds the motivation. The key knowledge for building a nuke is that a perfect neutron reflector can lower the critical mass by a lot. We know for sure that Daniel has had that thought.

        Beyond that? He may have read a book on the Manhattan project and remember stuff or not. Impossible to tell.

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      23. That perfect neutron reflector is important for one more thing: assembly of a critical mass.

        The stumbling point there is removing the reflector fast enough that the critical mass does not blast itself apart before the reflector is completely gone.

        I had another thought on that. If Daniel simply stops powering a force shield it fades slowly over entire seconds. That’s MUCH too long for fission devices.

        We don’t know whether Daniel has any quicker way to eliminate a force shield. It seems doubtful.

        On the other hand, I wonder how fast Daniel can MOVE a force shield?

        Alternatively, how fast can Daniel DESTROY a force shield?

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      24. ” I thought implosion was used in part to achieve compression. If compression is not required, then the reflecting force fields are all he needs.”

        It is used to achieve compression. A critical mass is required. Increasing the density decreases the critical mass. That alone is enough. The Nagasaki bomb and Trinity worked that way.

        But yes, all indications are that canceling the reflector would be too slow. Maybe if the does something exotic, like generate the barrier within an enchanted loop and banish that loop.

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      25. Yeah, the more I think about it, implosion is probably to achieve the fastest possible assembly of critical mass.

        Any compression benefits are gravy.

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      26. “Take a mortar shell, enchant it to conjure a hundred tons of nickel-iron when it stops rising and starts falling. Be very careful where you point that shot.”

        I am afraid I have to point out that conjuring his gate’s plug takes several minutes.

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      27. I believe a hundred tons is significantly less than the mass of his gate’s plug.

        A few seconds would be enough, and if he has to scale it back to, oh, sixty tons, well, darn, only forty tons?

        It’s still a satisfying SPLOOGE!

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      28. “He could simply increase its weight it won’t fall any faster but when it impacts all that weight on the smaller service it won’t stop it will keep going.”

        No. You need momentum for that. It depends on speed and mass. Both are beyond your control with weight magic.
        Weight is good against lifting and deceleration due to friction in a steady state. If you have enough weight to smother your enemy, there is no point in dropping that weight.

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      29. I’m not understanding the objection, Oliver.

        Surely a mass of 100 tons at terminal velocity does more damage than a mass of 100 pounds does at terminal velocity?

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      30. “I believe a hundred tons is significantly less than the mass of his gate’s plug.”

        Is your meta goal keeping me at doing math and physics today?

        Anyway, the plug is 20 by 20 by 20 feet, that is 8000 feet cubic. Granite has a density of about 170 lb/ft^3. The whole thing weighs about 650 tons. Iron is about three times as dense. So a reduced version of the weapon may possible.
        However, I am sure Daniel’s plug is powered by a power stone. So, how many shells at a time can Daniel fire?

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      31. “Surely a mass of 100 tons at terminal velocity does more damage than a mass of 100 pounds does at terminal velocity?”

        Yes, it would. But we are not talking about a MASS of 100 tons. We are talking about a WEIGHT of 100 tons. Daniel accelerates like an object of human mass with his flight ring.
        I know that is counterintuitive. We know about zero-g in space, where changing the course of a spacecraft still needs fuel, but things still have no weight. We are looking at the opposite. As long as an object on a ballistic path (free fall essentially) impacts, weight is irrelevant.

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    2. Sooner or later Daniel will experiment with uranium and M2M. His findings about M2M and the curve of binding energy suggest that uranium is the best material in terms of power/volume. He may even modify M2M to find out whether taking a single nucleon from a nucleus is even better than converting the whole nucleus in terms of power (not energy)

      But how long will that take? I have no idea.

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      1. I suppose the uranium matter to mana experiment MIGHT happen when Daniel is researching a significantly more powerful enchanted item for Hecate’s personal use.

        Of course, both of them will recognize the irony of Daniel giving Her uranium bracelets, armbands, belt buckle, amulets or other jewelry. Even a gold item with some sort of uranium capsule inside it is likely to elicit a chuckle or two.

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    3. Dropping this here because i got tired of looking for the food and clothing thread.
      During crop rotation, cotton could be tossed in for clothing as well as grazing animals when the field is fallow. If they Stagger the rotation then the animals will be able to eat year around and a steady cotton crop could also be harvested. It may not be a lot of cotton but it may be enough to clothe the islands inhabitants, i’m not sure how much land it takes to create a shirt but it should be enough food for a small herd of cattle and sheep which would also produce wool.
      Danial may want to create a small animal area for individual families in each home, nonindustrial families liked to have chickens and pigs for extra eggs and meat. maybe add in fresh air and sanitation drains to keep the smell down. Rabbits would also be a good home crop.
      Make the living levels 2 story and on top of one room create a dirt patch for a garden with sunlight and water spells. He will also need to put chill boxes and ovens/stoves in each home as well as sinks, showers/tubs sanitation facilities etc… he has created more work for himself. (Fios! coming to your area soon!)

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      1. “During crop rotation, cotton could be tossed in for clothing as well as grazing animals when the field is fallow.”

        Why would you do that if you can just banish and reconjure pristine soil?

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      2. Not sure how good an idea a cotton crop would be. Cotton tends to absorb moisture and hold it close to the skin, a bad idea for winter conditions. Wool is a much better option as it wicks moisture away from the skin and is breathable. Look at materials used in winter sports (example, its a bad idea skiing in jeans).

        What is needed for cold weather:
        – breathable wicking base layer (modern ideal is merino wool and flexible stretchy synthetic)
        – insulating layer (options silk layers sandwiching down or fur or wool)
        – outer shell; ideally be water resistant, breathable, durable, and blend into surroundings. Not sure best material for this Daniel currently has or can conjure or buy, maybe dyed leather?
        – General clothing principles: good fit/cut, light weight, flexibility/ range of motion, durability. Probably best to coordinate with Avilla.

        Now spells on cloths can take care of all these problems (moisture wicking, breathability, wind & water resistance, camo, etc). But wouldn’t it be better to start from materials that are naturally better in the cold just incase of a dispell? All the material needs would effect farming and trade, as grown materials must be farmed and animals need to be fed. Plus cloths must be manufactured.

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      3. I’m not sure how well linen would work. I don’t know of it being used much in current winter wear. I think it is used as a breathable light weight summer fabric. And i am not sure how durable it is. It could be used as a shell for an insulating layer keeping down or another good insulator contained. Or as part of a base layer.

        I think a key for Daniel in everything will be starting with the thr best possible materials and design, then using magic to make it better.

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      4. What I remember about linen matches your comments.

        Ancient Egyptians wore all sorts of linen, from so thin it was almost silk to heavy, layered armor for spear and bow infantry.

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      5. “Banish and conjure pristine soil” takes us right back to the discussion of base state versus improved state.

        When Daniel conjures “pristine” soil it is NOT as good as soil that has been provided with dryad tender loving care for several months, plus the farmers’ TLC. Everything of value that the dryads AND the farmers put into that soil is thrown out when it is banished. Obviously, repeated banish and conjure is repeated waste.

        Organic farming, and there is probably NO other kind of farming in Varmland, is a complex, CONTINUOUS relationship between farmers, crops, amendments and soil. Then supercharge with dryads. If you throw away soil after using it for a season, you LOSE the value added components.

        That does not mean there won’t ever be a moment when Daniel banishes and replaces soil. I could imagine one of Oliver’s Gaea-created plant plagues digging in and becoming so nasty that Daniel, the dryads and the farmers decide it’s easier to just banish the diseased crops and soil, then start over with new soil and new seed.

        Ideally, however, traditional crop rotation cycles will replenish and improve soils over time, especially with dryad assistance. Daniel’s hothouse farms will be more productive a year later than they were initially. This trend will probably level off after ten or twenty years, provided the dryads, farmers and soils are not disturbed by Gaea’s or other’s machinations, or random natural events such as farmers always suffer and sometimes survive.

        Of course, this response depends heavily on my highly biased community organic gardening experience, plus my opinions on how Daniel’s conjuring magic works.

        Your mileage may vary.

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      6. Crop rotation to pasturage is also when the soil is replenished with animal manure.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crop_rotation

        With dryads encouraging more frequent harvests, the frequency of crop rotation will increase, although the period will decrease. Interesting agricultural possibilities, but the high level reminder in this case is that small to medium sized animals plus even a few larger animals like cows are a traditional and functional part of the crop rotation cycle.

        Dryads probably don’t replace that. The animals provide a necessary component, manure.

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  2. “Perhaps he’s not summoning materials from the Earth, but rather creating them ex nihilo and their proportional difficulties reflect their commonality on a universal scale.”

    Taken at face value the answer to that hypothesis is rather negative. We have clear evidence that aluminium is harder than nickel/iron. He says so in the book. Yet he could do copper without external aid.

    Here is a table of the abundance of elements in the solar system:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abundance_of_the_chemical_elements#/media/File:Elements_abundance-bars.svg

    You can see that that does not fit. The fit to the crust is even worse:
    https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Elemental_abundances.svg

    The chemical properties seem to play a role.

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    1. Check the spectrum readings from stars. Not every solar system has the same spectrum reading of elements in the same quantity. You cannot judge universal abundance of an element by one solar system even if it is the sol system.

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      1. The exact ones not. Broadly though, yes, it will work. Much of the peaks and throughs in those diagramms come from stellar nucleosynthesis. For example there is a direct path to carbon.

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      2. That’s a good point, Oliver. I’ve seen it used in science fiction, but it didn’t occur to me in regards to fanatasy magic.

        Looking at our favorite web page, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abundance_of_the_chemical_elements

        I see that nickel is not in the Galactic Top Ten but iron is. So are silicon and magnesium.

        Daniel finds stone very easy to summon, and nickel-iron to be the easiest metals mix.

        That leads me to believe his Earth element sorcery is based on the proportions of materials that make up the planet Earth. Note: that is MATERIALS, not elements.

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      3. Like I said his earth sorcery seems to have split itself during the acquisition phase. It seems to have a 2 tear summoning almost like its actually 2 sorcery’s instead of 1. You can see this in the difference between summoning pure iron and summoning meteoric iron/core iron.

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      4. That’s why I’m leaning toward “materials” occurrence rather than elemental occurrence, DaShoota.

        Pure iron is extremely rare on Earth, because it has been combined with oxides, chlorides, chlorates, sulfides, sulfates, etc. Nickel-iron is much more common than pure iron.

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      5. That’s my point. It seems like his earth sorcery has two tables of contents for two types of summoning. One for the elemental table one for materials found on planets/earth.

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      6. DaShoota, I wouldn’t even call it “two lists” at this point. Yes, Daniel finds it relatively easy to conjure “raw” stone or nickel-iron, both of which I’d call “materials” because we know he explicitly “removes the filters” when he conjures what he calls nickel-iron and it actually contains random other minerals.

        Yes, he sets up a “factory” to conjure gold, which in this context probably is a pure element, or aluminum, also a pure element. However, I would not describe these two sets of examples as coming from different lists. I’d describe these two specific pure elements as being rare enough in their natural state that Daniel must spend more mana to conjure them in any significant volume.

        Yes, there is a LOT more aluminum on Earth than there is gold. However, much or most of the gold occurs naturally in a pure state, while the aluminum occurs in minerals, locked into molecules with other elements.

        Daniel would find it MUCH easier to conjure bauxite or some other aluminum ores.

        Then what? He’d need to burn time and effort creating a process to extract the aluminum. Of course, he knows the dwarf-orks use SOME process, possibly even something magic similar to what Daniel does. It’s not worth his time to figure out an alternative when his matter to mana powered process is working well enough for his current wants.

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      7. Why should he develop a method to refine metal? I’m not saying he should. l’m just pouting out that his earth sorcery seems to be acting like 2 sorceries. That seem to be acting in tandem with each other as one.

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      8. Sorry, DaShoota, but I’m not suggesting that Daniel develop or steal a way to refine aluminum ore into ingot aluminum.

        I’m trying to point out a different way Daniel’s reality might achieve what you are trying to describe.

        If Daniel were to conjure raw bauxite, do you agree it would be MUCH easier than his conjuring pure aluminum?

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      9. That depends aluminum is not necessarily a rare material or element. But aluminum or as we know of it is not composed just of aluminum. It’s composed of several other elements including silica and various others. Create two separate charts one is basically the periodic table of elements. The other is a chart determining how rare materials are such as mineral ors. List the elements and materials from most common to least common. We know aluminums place on the periodic table I can’t recall what the or and it’s refine form stands from either a planetary or a cosmological rarity point? but the point remains which one of those two charts would give more material for the amount of energy being put into it or in other words how rare is the material compared to each other on the separate charts.

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      10. DaShoota, what I’m saying is you don’t need TWO lists–you only need ONE list with EVERYTHING in the Earth element on that list. Pure elements, alloys, mixtures, EVERYTHING that qualifies as “Earth”. Now add their proportional occurrences — and THAT is where we stumble.

        Is “Earth” defined by proportional occurrences of materials in Planet Earth? (Most likely, but uncertain.)

        Is “Earth” defined by proportional occurrences of materials in the Solar System? (Unlikely but not impossible.)

        Is “Earth” defined by proportional occurrences of materials in the Universe? (Possible, but uncertain.)

        There are several ores that would be considered “primary” for aluminum, and LOTS of minerals that contain some aluminum. ALL of them, plus pure elemental aluminum need to be on the ONE list, along with their proportional occurrences in the Earth element.

        If I am correct, PURE aluminum is VERY RARE. Sadly, we don’t know IF that is what Daniel uses to build INTREPID. The way I read it, Daniel used pure aluminum. There was no mention of conjuring alloy aluminum, or “raw, mixed” aluminum (if that even exists) or even creating alloy aluminum after conjuring pure aluminum.

        .

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      11. I didn’t say anything about need. The story is not always about what is needed but what actually happened. Just because he does not need his earth sorcery to subtly divided itself while he’s acquiring it does not mean it did not happen or that he would notice. That’s my point I’m debating and asking the question as to whether or not it actually did divide itself into the matter and the earth sorcery summoning sets. Not whether or not it needed too. The more I read about his summoning the more it seems as though he’s working from two separate lists when he’s using his earth summoning sorcery but they are so closely related that he doesn’t notice.

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      12. Well, another way to look at it is somewhere there may be a “super list” of all possible conjured materials.

        Each of the elemental sorceries could then be seen as a “window” that only looks at part of the “super list”.

        Then we have all sorts of possibilities like the “Matter” elemental sorcery materials list OVERLAPPING the “Earth” elemental sorcery materials list. Even more fun, maybe the overlap is totally random, both have pure aluminum but there’s no bauxite or other aluminum ores and minerals in “Matter”.

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      13. That’s pretty close to what I was envisioning. I was thinking there was some plane of existence with infinite quantities of a quasi-mass/energy and in infinite quantities and densities. And the conceptualized form of sorcery element gave whoever was using that elemental sorcery a way to summon that material and force it into a physical structure based on whatever that window was earth, fire, water, air, space-time, quantum etc.

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      14. The more we kick around ideas about where sorcery conjures materials from, the more I begin to think that “feature” of the “magic” universe is actually more important than mana.

        Sure, without mana the sorcerer cannot conjure, but without the source of materials to conjure, sorcerers are far more limited in what they can do.

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      15. I think earth was the element he held onto the longest because it had the most potential. If he held onto it long enough it could transition from the element of earth. To the elements of the periodic table and atomic structure. Which is what appears to of happened. Otherwise his sorcery would not have the ability to create the M2M enchantment instinctively which it did. I think he may have his earth element sorcery divided into 2 separate sorceries one is just too closely linked to the other for him to consciously distinguish the two. Especially if he’s running from a modern mindset that pretty much states that elements and element are the same thing. That might actually be where the divide originated from in his own mind in the first place.

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      16. You could be right, DaShoota. However, until I see something more dramatically different, I’m working with the assumption that pure aluminum is difficult to conjure because it is extremely rare to find pure aluminum on Earth. Gold, on the other hand, is almost always found pure, but there is very little gold compared with the huge amounts of aluminum and other common elements. Hence, gold is also difficult to conjure, compared with raw nickel-iron.

        Remember, what Daniel calls “nickel-iron” is NOT an alloy of nickel and iron. SOME of it is. Some of it is VARIOUS nickel-iron alloys. Some of it is Nickel-vanadium-iron alloy. Some of it is nickel-scandium-iron alloy. Some of it is just random mixtures of nickel, iron and other elements. All of which are mixed together with other bits of unrelated crap in a lump of what Daniel calls “nickel-iron”. That’s why I’m calling his nickel-iron a material. It would also be called a mixture. I’m sure there are other names. It could also be called an ore.

        Now, silver is tricky. Not only is it rare, it is relatively rare to find it pure. There are several ores which are compounds that include silver chemically bound to other elements. Hence, I’d expect silver to actually be MORE difficult to conjure than gold. Daniel just doesn’t notice this, because his tools are so brute force the difference is not very obvious.

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      17. ” It seems like his earth sorcery has two tables of contents for two types of summoning.”

        Yes. It looks to me like they are interacting in some complex manner. In particular the original ‘earth’ sorcery is blocking parts of the ‘matter’ sorcery preventing him from summoning the gaseous elements for example.

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      18. You are making an assumption we have no evidence either way. He has not yet tried to summon a pure gaseous element like oxygen or hydrogen. He has only attempted to summon compounds that are gaseous like air.

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      19. Air is a mixture, not a compound — https://www.quora.com/Is-air-a-compound-or-a-mixture-1

        Other than that, I agree with you, DaShoota.

        However, we all SUSPECT Daniel cannot directly conjure helium, yes?

        I would be surprised if Daniel himself does not SUSPECT he cannot directly conjure helium.

        I really expect him to setup a force field that he expands to create a vacuum, then conjures a glass or clear quartz vessel inside the vacuum, then creates a factory stone inside the vacuum, then enchants the factory stone with matter to mana and conjure helium.

        Hmm…then banish the factory stone and SLOWLY drop the force field?

        That seems wasteful, all for the opportunity to create helium filled party balloons for Bast’s first birthday.

        POP! POP-POP! POP-POP-POP-POP-POP-POP-POP-POP!

        “Wheeeee…EEEEEeeeeeck! My voice! Why is my voice all squeeeeeecky?”

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      20. I think Daniel believes he cannot directly conjure helium. He’d think of it as part of the Air elemental sorcery, which he does not have.

        On the other hand, I suspect he will soon be able to indirectly summon any element on the periodic table, by creating a factory stone, casting matter to mana enchantment on it and then adding an enchantment to conjure whatever element he wants.

        Since we know Daniel can now create enchanted items that summon fresh air and fresh water, it seems very probable he will be able to modify those two enchantments to conjure any pure element.

        I must wonder about the physical states of the elements he chooses to conjure. When he conjures hydrogen gas, does it come from the elemental sorcery of Air? When he conjures solid, metallic hydrogen, does it come from the elemental sorcery of Earth? I could imagine both water and ice being from the elemental sorcery of Water, but snow and rain coming from the elemental sorcery of Air.

        DaShoota, if we could confirm or correct some of these guesses, I bet we’d be closer to clarifying the idea you are working on, regarding one or two different lists of elements in Earth sorcery.

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      21. How do we know Daniel is prevented from directly conjuring gaseous elements or mixtures?

        Has he explicitly tried to do so?

        We know he was able to learn from Elin how to create an enchanted item that conjures fresh air or water for him.

        We also know he can banish air or water, using enchanted items.

        If Daniel tries to directly conjure helium and fails, then I’d agree with you and DaShoota, Oliver.

        Until then, we cannot know, though we can deduce that there’s a decent probability you two are correct.

        Frankly, I don’t expect to see Daniel spend much more time trying to directly conjure stuff he has not previously summoned that way. He has a much more “hands off” solution using his matter to mana powered enchanted items, that we already know can exceed what we suspect are limitations of his Earth element sorcery.

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      22. I hope he at some point try’s to summon metallic hydrogen. It would be an ideal rocket fuel and confirm or disprove my theory. It is a earth element just not a earth element from the earth. It is a part of the earth of gas giants.

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      23. Yes, that would be rather conclusive, not just for “Earth” material but also for distance being non-relevant to conjuring.

        Daniel might have to accept raw metallic hydrogen “ore” in order to see his factory hopper begin to fill, however.

        Remember that however many gas giant planets there are in the galaxy/universe, there are MANY more cubic PARSECS of tenuous gaseous hydrogen scattered throughout space.

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      24. Yes but unless he conjured enough of the pure gas element form for his voice to go all squeaky he may not know that he has succeeded.

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      25. We can probably rest assured that if Daniel decides to attempt conjuring hydrogen he will do so inside an empty container he believes will hold the gas.

        If he tries to conjure metallic hydrogen he’ll have to wrap it in force fields with powerful reinforcement, and he’ll probably feel the power drawn by that.

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      26. That’s debatable. Metallic hydrogen in theory should be stable in our atmosphere. Not necessarily saying it will be but in theory it should be. Which usually means it would last long enough for him to see it before there’s a huge rush he gets kicked out of the window. (Winding up talking like Donald Duck for half an hour.)

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      27. So Daniel, a man who went to college and showed great scientific knowledge had to learn an air freshening spell, because he tried to summon only air, not oxygen?

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      28. Oliver can you without any reference material recall from your memory what the composition of the air you are breathing is?

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      29. No.

        Daniel the running target for every goblin, troll, ogre, ungol, Frost Giant, felwolf, goblin shaman, corrupt human nobles, zealous human priests, undead warriors, skeleton warriors, Andregi warriors, Andregi shamans, etc., has been so busy staying alive by conjuring stone, bronze, iron, nickel-iron, quartz, glass and other materials to surround himself and his people with sturdy defenses or fling destruction at his enemies that he simply has not had time or inclination to TRY conjuring oxygen.

        He learned how to enchant items to conjure air and water because it was convenient when Elin was there showing him as part of the Groves’ hothouse project.

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      30. That nitrogen percentage reminds me. Daniel directly summoned air and water, BEFORE he combined work with Elin on the Groves’ hothouses. In fact, he did it back in Lanrest when he filled in one of his hasty barricades with dirt.

        He probably did not know he did it, but when he conjured SOIL, he also conjured AIR and WATER.

        Soil is a mixture of minerals, bits of wood, carbon, rotting vegetation, water and air.

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      31. re: summoning “soil”. We aren’t given an explicit breakdown of the constituents of the “soil” Daniel summons. It might be nothing more than rock dust and clay. There’s no explicit need to assume organics or gasses were included. A lot of the terms used to describe Daniel’s sorceries are fairly ambiguous, especially to people raised in a techno-scientific world.

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      32. I’m sure there are people who will read it that way, Jabrwok.

        I don’t. Soil differs from dirt by precisely the definition you give.

        Dirt is dead. It is sterile. In some cases, like simulated Martian or Lunar dirt, it is literally sterilized before experiments begin.

        Soil is alive. It contains bacteria and fungal networks, spores, seeds, rotting vegetation, carbon, etc.

        I’m inclined to believe Daniel conjures soil, for Avilla’s garden, just like he conjured sand to extinguish flaming gryphon barns. He might not explicitly understand it to be part of his conjuring, but implicitly, for me, the expectation is part of the spell.

        We’ll see if the author makes any statement on the subject.

        For example, I could imagine Avilla or the dryads might magically put life into whatever dirt Daniel might give them.

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      33. Dirt is dead. It is sterile. In some cases, like simulated Martian or Lunar dirt, it is literally sterilized before experiments begin.

        Soil is alive. It contains bacteria and fungal networks, spores, seeds, rotting vegetation, carbon, etc.

        Ok, that’s a valid point. I withdraw the suggestion. It does indicate that Daniel can produce living organisms, though the question then is whether he’s creating them ex nihilo, or literally summoning them from somewhere else.

        Which raises another question: when he banishes stuff, where does it go? He’s been treating banishment as if he’s annihilating the stuff, but if he’s simply teleporting it away, then he was irradiating something when he banished all his radioactivity experiments.

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      34. Yeah, I’ve always wondered if banishing is anything like borrowing money from the nice guy down the block and three days later your new partner Tony introduces himself by breaking your leg.

        “Wha?”

        We should probably treat banishing as if it is annihilating until we learn otherwise. That seems to be the way Daniel treats it.

        “Somewhere else” is what Daniel calls the place from which he conjures stuff. There seems to be an Earth element somewhere else, a Fire element somewhere else and a Flesh element somewhere else. Force and Mana have yet to demonstrate similar behavior.

        I tend to distinguish the “Classical Elements” Aether, Air, Earth, Fire and Water from all the Mana, Force and other “conceptual” elements and “Flesh” or “Spirit” or other “substantial” elements. That probably just confuses things, but I’m inclined to believe there are a few supporting observations in the story, like the severe limitations on Daniel’s ability to conjure small amounts of Flesh, compared with his vast ability to conjure enormous amounts of Earth.

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  3. “Daniel is hovering at five thousand feet above a frost giant. He wants a quiet, fast means of execution. Should he:

    1) Conjure a ten ton bowling ball of nickel-iron and drop it on the frost giant?

    2) Conjure a ten pound bowling ball of nickel-iron and enchant it to weigh ten tons, then drop it on the frost giant?

    3) Conjure a ten pound bowling ball of nickel-iron and drop it on the frost giant?”

    Really into physics today. And into the nasty part. Aerodynamics.

    Very well. Weight is just a measure for how hard gravity will pull you down. Now I suppose you know the experiment with the hammer and the feather performed on the moon? Yet obviously on the Earth you see a different result. The difference is aerodynamic drag. In an atmosphere a falling object will experience friction. It reaches terminal velocity when the forces of weight and drag cancel each other.

    So by conjuring weight you increase terminal velocity. In which way? Strongly non-linear. At normal drop speeds drag increases with the square of speed. At higher speeds with the cube of speed.
    If you indeed can achieve factors of over 1000 in weight conjuring, your ball, or better dart, will hit the sound barrier. Being solid metal it will survive that, but say good bye to your aim. And of course, if you really overdo it, it will heat up aerodynamically.

    When does this matter? Only when an object is falling down. And only then. So if you shoot a projectile out of a gun, the weight increase spell will only make it droop more. And it will not improve the effects while impacting. The target is still hit with a ten pound object, only at higher speeds.
    There is no way you can turn this into a weapon of mass destruction. It does not even make for a very good bomb.

    And it is not quiet. You get a sonic boom.

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    1. Okay, so the only mass worth dropping is an Earth core explosive that detonates slightly before contact with defensive wards.

      Or an asteroid of almost any size larger than a pickup truck.

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      1. I must say that any class of enemies walking through force blades, core explosives and sprays of molten lava will soon learn how to deal with bullets. The advantage Daniel enjoys with kinetic kill weapons will be short.

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      2. Some idiot shot me, but the bullet bounced off my shield as easily as the enemy arrows had. I ignored it, jumping onto the skimmer next to the gunner’s position.

        Brown, E. William. Black Coven (Daniel Black Book 2) (Kindle Locations 7265-7267). Unknown. Kindle Edition.

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      3. I like the idea of every other bullet carrying a dispell enchantment. For that matter, they could ALL carry a dispell if that makes conjuring them easier.

        Of course, it will only work until the bad guys think of something new. Consider the history of armaments races in our world and the fact that magic has been common in Hecate’s world forever.

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      4. Oliver, the defender would lose that duel most of the time, until Daniel loses control of his matter to mana sorcery and it is disseminated all over Kozalin, Varmland, Midgard, Skogheim, Valhalla, etc.

        There is simply no magic yet demonstrated that Daniel cannot overwhelm with multiple, massive assaults.

        Yet another reason for him to protect his secrets as well and as long as he can.

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      5. Don’t forget that he has demonstrated the ability to make enchanted stack mechanisms on the fly. Like he did against the zombie dragon.

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      6. DaShoota, what do you mean by enchanted stack mechanisms?

        I just revisited the fight with Varfin and don’t see any “stacked” or repeated enchantments.

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      7. re: “stack mechanisms”. I figured he meant arrangements of enchantments similar to the ones Daniel used to create his first Bouncing Barbie hand-grenade in Lanrest, or the excavation disk he used against the Dwarves.

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      8. Okay, I tend to think of that as an open or closed loop.

        I didn’t find anything like that in the fight with Varfin the undead dragon of Kozalin’s crypts.

        Did I miss it?

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      9. Yes when he was holding of the dragons breath weapon. In the middle of it he transferred the attack he was doing to his amulet. Effectively freeing himself to do something else. I don’t remember if he actually did anything else but he could have. It would be hard to beat someone who can set up a continuous attack and then transfer it to an object and then do something else to attack you.

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      10. He has the ability to create enchantments or fast spells and burn them into his amulet for a short period of time on the fly. He can also stack them separate spells they can work independently in an automated fashion. When fighting the zombie Dragon he set up a dispel on the fly then put it on his amulet. When attacking the dwarves ha did much the same thing but he used separate spells preset to launch them selves in a repeating pattern. During a fight he has the ability to set up magical attacks on the fly stack them and literally concentrate on doing something else while they do their thing. An ordinary wizard would not be able to do that. For them fighting Daniel would be like fighting three or four separate wizards perhaps less knowledgeable and skilled but each one highly overpowered and quantity has a quality all its own. He could in principal during a fight take a rock up off the ground and enchant it to constantly launch attacks at his enemy tie it into his power source then stick it in his pocket or drop it back on the ground and repeat.

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      11. Okay, I think I see where you are headed with this “stacked spells” ability, and I agree that Daniel has it. I think I see where he used it against Varfin, when breaking through the dragon’s protections with what was probably multiple dispels or multiple surges of mana into one dispel.

        I don’t think he needs to anchor a stacked spell in his matter to mana amulet, I think all he needs to do is create the stacked spell with a mana link to his amulet, then cast the spell and keep half an eye on the results until he no longer needs it, at which time he simply cuts the mana link.

        Your idea regarding Daniel enchanting a stone, linking it to his matter to mana amulet, then using the enchantment seems to me almost exactly what he did when creating stone “flashlights” in at least two instances, though I believe he powered them with ambient mana. Same thing, basically, he just has MUCH more power available from his amulet.

        The complexity of whatever enchantment Daniel wants to throw together on the battlefield is, however, a limiting factor. Creating Grinder required more than an hour, which won’t work in combat. Whipping up a floating, shielded bowling ball lava supply seems to have only required a few minutes, which might work if he has a few well-equipped and powerful allies to keep the enemy from interrupting him.

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      12. That’s pretty much my point. A wizard is a powerful and dangerous opponent especially if they have time to prepare. However Daniels flexibility and ability to turn essentially any spell into a fast enchantment gives him the edge in combat. Perhaps even more than his massive power sources. He might be able to still fight with a lesser power source if he still has his fast enchantment technique.

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      13. If I may, I think we are concentrating too much on Daniel personally while answering this question. That is not a viable strategy for him. We need to look at his people with the gear he makes them but without him.

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      14. Here is my basic question when looking at projectile weapons. Doesn’t this all break down to the simple equation F = m × a ? And here are my asumptions from discussions
        – the “m” remains constant? Could Daniel use magic to alter this and mske his shots hit harder?
        – Daniels magic is all about exerting attraction and repulsion forces (F) on the projectile? This would mean his weapons act like a rail gun.
        – “F” is applied only in the barrel or mortar tube?
        – Terminal or max velocity is reached when either no more accelerating force is applied (leave barrel) or resistant (drag) force = applied accelerating force
        – impact pressure = F / Area

        So here are some ways to improve his projectile weapons:
        – why not enchant the projectile itself to exert the attractive force in the direction the soldier points the barrel, and away from where it started? Then use some type of trigger at or after impact so it doesn’t keep going. This could also make the elevator vs escalator argument moot if Daniel just make an incline plane and alters gravity so it is alway perpendicular to the surface of that plane. Then no matter how steep the incline you are always “level”
        – enchant the projectile to dispel anything in front of it (air, shields, armour, flesh) to reduce drag or defensive armaments.
        Eh. Just some thoughts.

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      15. Absolutely agree, Oliver. Check out my comments on what Daniel might discover about how less than eager his soldiers may be to equip themselves with megadeath weapons.

        That leads me to believe we need to focus on Daniel’s allies and his friends. Continuing to empower all of Clan Nethwillin, the Groves and the Wolfen will probably net more bonuses more quickly than trying to create a more powerful army. What Daniel needs is a BIGGER army, and that will happen soon enough.

        I suspect Daniel will quickly find that Clan Nethwillin soon needs almost as many factory power stones as he does, maybe even more. Even the Groves will probably find they each need additional power for particular magical projects. Then there are INTREPID’s new sister airships, supposing Daniel builds them.

        Another obvious focus has to be Black Isle and Castle Black. Daniel needs to equip his home with serious heavy weapons, and I’m NOT talking about light autocannon or mortars, though he needs many more of each of those. No, I want to see some really powerful plasma beams, lava showers and other terrifying defensive weapons. He and his coven need to come up with some “locally strategic” curses and other magical attacks of the sort Cerise has described on several occasions. Much more powerful defensive wards, shields and other protections are also needed. Avilla has plenty to contribute, Elin too.

        Finally, Daniel must spend more time with his coven, crafting spells, enchanted items, wards, shields and other magical attacks, defenses, etc. Fortunately, it appears the author agrees with this observation, because Daniel has begun to spend time with Cerise and Elin. I want to see similar quality magic time spent with Avilla and Tina–who might just communicate some of Bast’s ideas on the subject.

        Ooh, that reminds me. Daniel needs to consult with Hecate to ask Her if there are spells or other magics he really needs to learn from Her. She has almost certainly had champions before, so who better to teach him what he needs to do that job better?

        Liked by 1 person

      16. I am shocked I agree with everything you just said! That’s never happened for me on any of these posts.

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      17. “Here is my basic question when looking at projectile weapons. Doesn’t this all break down to the simple equation F = m × a ? And here are my asumptions from discussions”

        Not all of it. The bullet has to have enough energy to do damage after penetration.

        “– the “m” remains constant? Could Daniel use magic to alter this and mske his shots hit harder?”

        Not in a time that matters. The gun makes the bullet. It takes a little less than a second.
        The flight time of the projectile is on the same order. Yet the projectile is not enchanted in his ordinary guns. Enchanted bullets take longer. So he’d suffer a significant penalty for making his bullets maybe 50% heavier. He’d better build larger guns.

        “– Daniels magic is all about exerting attraction and repulsion forces (F) on the projectile? This would mean his weapons act like a rail gun.”

        Yes. Hence making solid barrels is a bad design.

        “– “F” is applied only in the barrel or mortar tube?”

        For all we know yes. Daniel has found it very hard to work magic at a distance.

        “– Terminal or max velocity is reached when either no more accelerating force is applied (leave barrel) or resistant (drag) force = applied accelerating force”

        In the latter case making the barrel so long makes no sense. But that is the physics.

        “– impact pressure = F / Area”

        Yes. But that is another F, not the same one as at launching.

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      18. “– why not enchant the projectile itself to exert the attractive force in the direction the soldier points the barrel, and away from where it started? Then use some type of trigger at or after impact so it doesn’t keep going.”

        The distance Daniel can do magic at. His force magic tends to be limited to a few meters around himself. at the speed his bullets fly that spell would have about two milliseconds to detect a target, engage and pull.
        And leaving it on all the time means that the bullets fly into a constant headwind.

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      19. Remember force is not mass time acceleration but rather rate of change in momentum p = mv. change in mass also calls for force even if velocity stays the same. Conservation of momentum is a pillar of Newtonian dynamics that Daniel says still apply. [F=m dv/dt + v dm/dt]

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      20. “Remember force is not mass time acceleration but rather rate of change in momentum p = mv. change in mass also calls for force even if velocity stays the same. Conservation of momentum is a pillar of Newtonian dynamics that Daniel says still apply. [F=m dv/dt + v dm/dt]”

        There we have a problem. Conservation of momentum applies to force magic.
        But if you add mass and want to keep the momentum constant, the object has to become slower, right?
        But slower with respect to what? You have just killed the theory of relativity.

        – conservation of moment
        – conservation of mass
        – relativity

        You cannot give up just one. Two or nothing.

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      21. Daniel has seen enough gold and mercury, maybe also lead, to recognize any different “relativistic” features since he changed universes. I suppose that statement ought to come with a caveat: Daniel seems to believe his perceptions have not significantly changed since escaping his previous universe.

        Of course, how would he know?

        What’s your thought on “relativistic” features, Oliver? Gold seems still to be yellow and mercury is certainly still liquid. Daniel conjures his own lead, so we don’t know for certain if he has seen or touched any “native” lead.

        I’m guessing you may be arguing in favor of a bit more certainty in some Einsteinian physics.

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      22. “I’m guessing you may be arguing in favor of a bit more certainty in some Einsteinian physics.”

        You need to go to Dirac and others using Einstein.

        Essentially the chemistry and material properties of all heavy elements are altered by their electrons moving at relativistic velocities.

        Gold wouldn’t be yellow (That is not a freak thing. Cesium is also yellow) and rust much easier if the energy levels in its shells weren’t shifted by relativistic effects. Mercury would not be liquid and easier to corrode. And the crystal lattice of lead would be like tin (harder).
        Xenon would form much fewer compounds. You would have different minerals because the ion radii would be different.

        I could go on listing such facts from chemistry. In the end to really explain them, you’d have to calculate the orbitals with and without relativistic corrections. The correction is different for different orbit shapes (only the simplest orbits are circular), so that energy levels are shifted with respect to each other.

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      23. Yeah…I was thinking it might be something really fundamental, just like you present. So, from what we have already read in the first three books, are there any conflicts that readers with no difficult equations background would notice? I certainly didn’t notice any, but I did not complete the full first year of engineering calculus.

        I’m guessing the guys and gals with advanced physics, serious calculus and other 300 to 400 level college science classes are rolling in the aisles laughing their lungs out by now?

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      24. “I countered the same way I had before, with a dispelling that tore apart the magic of his attack before it could reach me. But this time it didn’t end after a second. Instead it grew, more and more of the unholy flame rushing towards me. I planted my feet and drew deep on my power tap, pouring more energy into my dispelling. My power stone was a machine that would never tire. I would, eventually, but I’d shaped spells at nearly this intensity for twenty minutes at a time when I built my stronghold. I doubted Varfin could keep up his attack for that long. So I gritted my teeth, and maintained the spell for the longest minute of my life.”

        Neither here or elsewhere in dragon fight did I find that Daniel created an enchantment on his amulet or elsewhere and transferred control to it — made it automatic or autonomous.

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      25. Look a little prevously in the fight.

        “Alright, so its magic was armored against dispelling. That made sense, most enchantments were pretty tough in that respect. I shaped a different spell, slammed a spike of concentrated magic into its protections and began to pry them loose with sheer overwhelming brute force. Blue sparks crackled across the dragon’s hide, and it whipped around to breathe a gout of black fire at me. Hah. I belted out another overpowered dispelling, and blew the magic of its breath weapon apart. The unnatural flame dissolved into broken bits of magic, intangible and too disordered to be any great threat.”

        Brown, E. William. Black Coven (Daniel Black Book 2) (Kindle Locations 6895-6899). Unknown. Kindle Edition.

        I’m not sure this is the best example, but it looks to me, and I think also to DaShoota, that Daniel casts a direct attack on Varfin’s protections, then ALSO casts a dispel against Varfin’s breath attack while continuing to pry open the dragon’s protections. Of course, Daniel is ALSO holding his Earth talisman up near the ceiling, looking for an opportunity to drop it. This seems to be “stacking” and I missed it the first time I looked for it because I was thinking about looping the SAME spell, not casting one DIFFERENT spell after another and maintaining them ALL simultaneously.

        That’s the sort of power Daniel has that few other magic users can match, except gods. It only gets worse for the bad guys when Daniel ALSO has enchanted weapons prepared for use with their own embedded matter to mana enchantments.

        Like

    2. “There is simply no magic yet demonstrated that Daniel cannot overwhelm with multiple, massive assaults.”

      That is true. The keyword, however, is multiple. Against a static defense Daniel will win. But a mobile foe is unlikely to give him a chance to keep landing hits.

      Like

      1. Definitely!

        Plus, you will notice that Daniel’s mobile “targets” are the ones who come closest to killing him.

        He’s even more vulnerable to surprise and counterattack than they are–they have mostly all grown up learning to dodge and strike fast.

        Like

      2. Demigods are definitely risky. A forty year old demigod might be about evenly matched with Daniel’s abilities, but not quite as powerful. Of course, the challenge is knowing how old the demigod might be, and how powerful. If the demigod has any patron or friends nearby don’t even think about combat.

        Obviously, Korak was the right demigod in the right place at the right time, and even so it was a near run thing.

        Daniel might actually be stronger than a few of the demoted gods and goddesses, but how would he know? They might be hiding enormously deep divine power wells that contain mana accumulated before the previous ice age.

        Like

  4. “I think earth was the element he held onto the longest because it had the most potential.” (quoting DaShoota)

    Now that is an interesting thought. To what extent could he have held onto the other elements? In case of flesh we have some indication. It looks like he would have achieved full shapeshifting.
    And if he lacked earth, could he cope? I think to a certain extent. For example with force and fire he could still melt sand and rock and shape it.

    If he had held onto fire for longer, what could he do? Arbitrary oxidation and reduction? Blackbody radiation without the requisite temperature? Melting stuff at room temperature?

    Still I must say that without force he would have died within minutes. Without mana and flesh he would have been dead within hours. Even fire in the form of warmth cloaks was likely necessary for his survival. Yet he held onto earth for the longest time and picked it first. The man has balls.

    And putting it bluntly, did Daniel pick an optimal combination?

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    1. “Focus!” Hecate’s voice sounded urgently in my ear. “Now! You have to give the power an outlet, or it’ll tear you apart.”

      Fear is a great motivator. I gathered my wits and tried to concentrate. An element. I needed an element. An easy one to start with. Earth. Cold, solid stone and warm, fertile earth. The essence of endurance, but it could be shaped in so many ways. Understanding blossomed from nowhere, along with a power unlike anything I’d felt before. It was instinctive, as easy as breathing, and it grew rapidly as I concentrated. Crystallizing around the concept of ‘Earth’ as I understood it, manifesting new applications as they flickered through my subconscious. But a mighty earth mage with no other abilities would be a tad limited, and I didn’t know how long I had to do this.

      I couldn’t even think about anything else for more than a split second without risking diverting the process to some other element that might prove useless. Fortunately I’ve played more than my share of fantasy role-playing games, so I wasn’t starting from scratch figuring this out. If this was the character creation screen of a new computer game, what would I look for?

      Flesh.

      Brown, E. William. Fimbulwinter (Daniel Black Book 1) (Kindle Locations 116-126). Unknown. Kindle Edition.

      Earth may have been chosen as the first wayDaniel thought of to quickly deal with danger, and he may have held on longer because of his fear of changing to something that would be a waste. However, the appeal of the story is in part his resourcefulness in using whatever magic/sorcery he has to solve a problem regardless of what particular capabilities he has and regardless of the problem.

      Like

      1. “Fortunately I’ve played more than my share of fantasy role-playing games, so I wasn’t starting from scratch figuring this out.” FIMBULWINTER

        I wonder how many of the people who read Daniel’s story have also played “their share” of fantasy role-playing games?

        My entertainment time over the last forty years has been split about evenly between reading and RPGs, though the Kindle and ebooks have been steadily tilting the balance recently.

        One thing very different from my RPG experience is Daniel’s ability to create his own caves, castles and other permanent structures. My gaming characters would fall in LUST with matter to mana powered castle building.

        I wonder if the author was influenced at all by PORTAL KNIGHTS or any of the other “fantasy builder” games now available on the internet. If any of these ever commence enabling gamers to form teams and design their own campaigns something like we used to do with pen and paper, my brother and I will vanish from most other pursuits.

        If I could start a game in Kozalin, or rural Varmland, and play as Daniel or Irithil or Captain Rain or Steelbinder, DAMN that would be fun!

        Oliver, that’s how you’d have to validate any “optimal” choice of elemental sorceries. Play Daniel, right from that hospital bed meeting with Hecate.

        Of course, we’d never hear from you or DaShoota or most of the rest of us again if such a game were ever to become available.

        Like

      2. I’m not sure we wouldn’t hear from each other. Especially if the online game could have conflicting factions facing each other. Solving discussions by going online and wage war on each other. (Just like real life politicians.)

        Like

      3. Ha!

        Imagine being able to set up competing game environments, your version of Daniel Black’s adventures versus my version. Play through the first three months and compare results.

        Like

      4. “Especially if the online game could have conflicting factions facing each other. Solving discussions by going online and wage war on each other.”

        Why fight among each other? Give me a castle seed and I will give you my teleportation belt.
        I guess those willing to trade and cooperate would have an overwhelming advantage, were it to come to violent conflicts.
        It is hard to see what we would fight over, too. Who would run the risk of fighting and be much weaker after that? The best thing about each other’s realms would be the sorceries and magic techniques of the presumed leader. They will go away or become much harder to use, if you terminate the sorcerer. You cannot grow much stronger by conquest. If you want that, you can take a mundane kingdom. Or you create a bubble world.

        War would have to be based on ideology. Which question would be so important that you’d go to war for it? Slavery?

        Like

    2. Without his Earth element sorcery, Daniel would have died minutes after stepping outside Avilla’s cottage.

      He used his Earth element sorcery to create a mud puddle for the forest troll to fall in, then he used his Earth element sorcery again to turn the mud to stone. Then he used Earth again to conjure a big, stone hammer to kill the troll.

      Does he have an “ideal” combination of elemental sorceries? Probably not. Does he have an ideal combination of elemental sorceries for the DANIEL BLACK series? Absolutely. The entire story is constructed around the specific elemental sorceries, and the “amounts” of each sorcery Daniel chose. Every one of his elemental sorceries is used inside the first day he is in Varmland. Earth, Fire, Flesh and Force saved his life during combat. Mana enabled him to create his first matter to mana amulet, which enabled Earth, Fire, Flesh and Force to continue saving his life the next day.

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      1. How much is simply his using what he had and how much was that his magics were best choices. I suspect much of it was mainly the first. With cleverness, you could probably take a different set or emphasis in regard to sorcery and solve his problem. You could have fun doing this — like a game. The obvious set to try is fire, water, and air.

        Of course, mana sorcery is a key item as the story progresses, but not in first minutes.

        Like

      2. Actually, mana sorcery is absolutely critical immediately after Daniel’s first combat is over.

        Without mana sorcery, there would be no matter to mana enchanted amulet.

        Without that amulet, Daniel, Cerise and Avilla would have died in the forest.

        Like

      3. I cannot agree. A swamp was the method he used. That does not mean other options were not available. We know for sure they existed, because Daniel dealt with other trolls and giants by other means.

        And it is true that mana sorcery allowed him to take the path he chose. But was that the only path? He could have tried to fortify and repair Avilla’s house and deter more attacks. Had he picked air sorcery instead of mana, he might have flown away on a conjured cloud.

        The truly vital sorceries for now where force and flesh.

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      4. Sorry, Oliver, you won’t see much agreement about “most important” sorcery elements.

        Everybody has their own opinions about these, and the only way to test alternatives would be to experience the whole adventure from start to wherever.

        I’d recommend a role-playing game environment to at least test some ideas, but I don’t know much about computer RPGs these days. The games I play are more than ten years old. I played a LOT of paper and pen games, too, but they were designed forty years ago.

        Personally, I put Mana as most important, with Earth and Flesh very near it. Force and Fire are critical, but they are the elements I’d fiddle with first if I wanted to experiment.

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      5. “The obvious set to try is fire, water, and air.”

        Why actually? That seems like you are taking opposites. And that creates overlap. If you already have fire and air, why not make fog and condense it, if you need water? Or thaw snow?
        Isn’t the optimal strategy to go for distinct fields, so that nothing is wasted by having two ways of having the same effect and synergies can arise?

        I would always take two of the classical three, never all of them. Personally I’d say the combination air and fire would be the strongest and the idea of choosing fire if you are heading for an ice age would have a lot of impact on me.

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      6. I’ve given (too much) thought to which elements *I’d* pick, given what I know now. Obviously Daniel didn’t have that advantage, and I have no idea how I’d react without having read the books.

        That said, and given that we know an “element” can be just about anything (who thinks of Force/Kinetic Energy as an ‘element’?) I’d go with Matter, Mind (with an emphasis on IQ and memory, plus some of the classic mental powers like telepathy), Mana, Energy (including Kinetic), and, given time, SpaceTime. The Mind element would allow me to synergize the others and figure out stuff like biochemistry and bio-mechanics so the absence of an explicit Flesh element wouldn’t be a problem. Energy would cover the entire EM spectrum, so heat isn’t a problem, as well as kinetic, sonic, etc. forms of “energy”, Matter would cover Earth and Water and Air and Fire and everything else based on the Periodic table. SpaceTime would allow space expansion, gravity control, some precognition, clairvoyance, etc.

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      7. Instead of space time and energy I would just go with quantum. Essentially giving yourself the ability to turn into Dr. Manhattan.

        Like

      8. “Sorry, Oliver, you won’t see much agreement about “most important” sorcery elements”

        I wouldn’t want that. I want people to disagree with me for interesting reasons.
        In that question I suspect there is no easy answer. You might want to prefer a strategy of building a mighty castle. Somebody else would like to hide an a tropical island. And the importance of the powers would change in the long run. It has done so with Daniel.
        And it depends on the number of elements you expect to get. I am sure nobody would pick mana alone if he knew he was going into combat immediately on arrival.

        And yet, I suspect everybody here in hindsight considers Daniel’s choice of mana wise and would follow his example if he gets at least four elements, maybe even for three.

        And the opposite would also be interesting. Are there combinations or choices we can agree on are stupid? I suspect there are. Would anybody disagree if I propose that Daniel, if he had to forgo either fire or mana, he should have given up fire?

        “Obviously Daniel didn’t have that advantage, and I have no idea how I’d react without having read the books.”

        Well, could we give a guess at a typical choice at least? I still think that most gamers would pick fire initially, as you are dropped into combat and Hecate had talked about fimbulwinter.
        And did you base your choice on your magic turning out like exactly as you envision it? If the rules were that you do not know for sure what precisely your choice would result in, what would that change?

        If for example, Matter meant that you can go up and down the whole periodic table, but you get only the elements and no compounds (or only compounds whose composition you know), would you be in deep trouble or only disappointed in a major way?

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      9. Well, could we give a guess at a typical choice at least? I still think that most gamers would pick fire initially, as you are dropped into combat and Hecate had talked about fimbulwinter.

        I suspect most people with a general familiarity with the concept of “elements” coupled with “magic” would likely default to the classic four, earth, air, water, and fire. Possibly after getting the first, and experiencing exactly what it entailed as Daniel did, they’d vary their choices a bit.

        And did you base your choice on your magic turning out like exactly as you envision it? If the rules were that you do not know for sure what precisely your choice would result in, what would that change?

        If ‘matter’ occurred to me I’d probably still go with it. The Molecule Man would be my model in that case. But yes, my imaginary scenarios tend to have my preferred elements working as I want them to, especially the ‘mind’ element. I’ve always wanted to be able to learn new stuff quickly and easily.

        If for example, Matter meant that you can go up and down the whole periodic table, but you get only the elements and no compounds (or only compounds whose composition you know), would you be in deep trouble or only disappointed in a major way?

        Whether I’d be disappointed would depend on whether the ‘mind’ sorcery worked. The entire point of that was to allow leveraging of the other sorceries. Daniel’s sorceries appear to be shaped by his own notions of how his element would work, and I don’t think of ‘matter’ as just the Periodic Table.

        That said, speculating about the outcomes of speculative choices in a purely fictional setting is fun but unlikely to produce any definitive right or wrong answers:-).

        Like

      10. Well put, Jabrwok. Our guessing games would all make interesting ideas to pursue in a computer game design session.

        Like

      11. Well, you would have to rewrite the story from the beginning if you changed any of the elements Daniel chooses.

        Daniel used every one of his elements before the end of Chapter Two.

        I’m relatively sure you could replace Earth with Matter and not kill him immediately. He could not summon water, but he could use Fire or Energy to melt some swamp under the troll’s feet, then banish heat to freeze him in the pool. What do you summon for your hammer? Or, do you stick a Force blade in one ear, out the other and stir vigorously?

        Does that impress the goblins enough to make them run away?

        Maybe you need to stick a Force blade in one ear, out the other and then expand the blade into a balloon quick enough to explode the troll’s skull? That would impress me.

        Eew…try not to get any on you.

        Daniel would not need to summon a piece of obsidian to enchant as his first matter to mana battery. He could just pick up a rock. Okay, kick some snow around until he found a rock, then melt the ice so he could pick it up. He could put the matter to mana enchantment on a rock, banish a hole in the rock, thread a leather strip through it and wear it. EEeek! Freya’s tits! COLD! COLD ROCK!

        Daniel would probably be able to banish matter to create a cave for all the refugees. Would he be able to build a wall at Lanrest? It cannot be stone. What pure element could he conjure that is tough as stone and easy to summon? Remember, he has not yet seen the nickel-iron of the Red Conclave’s tower.

        Oh, my. Aluminum is a very common element in Matter sorcery, and Daniel is familiar with aluminum construction materials. Would he conjure a wall of aluminum?

        Like

      12. That should work. Seems like it’s a more finicky build, so it will probably take longer. He’s going to have to actually dig up the fill somewhere. I’d recommend taking advantage of the opportunity to dig a deeper moat.

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      13. “Daniel would probably be able to banish matter to create a cave for all the refugees. Would he be able to build a wall at Lanrest? It cannot be stone.”

        Sure it can. Dig up the ground down to rock. Gather them, heat them up to lava, shape them into walls and solidify them. Or do that with sand. Make it a double wall and fill the center with soil.

        For other materials silicon might be an option.

        Like

      14. Okay, but can he do that as quickly as raising a wall with Earth conjured stone?

        Seems unlikely, to me.

        Like

      15. “Okay, but can he do that as quickly as raising a wall with Earth conjured stone?”

        Latency or throughput? Daniel would put it into these terms.

        If you conjure stuff you can say: There be a wall and five minutes later there is a small wall.
        If you need to actual build it, you need to dig a quarry, make casts out of force constructs and convert and transport.
        Once that is set up it is a question of rate of conjuration versus digging, melting and pouring. Neither way is intrinsically faster.

        Now, earth sorcery has clear advantages. You can raise an island or turn ground into a swamp.
        But it is clear that it is always better to have an additional sorcery. The fun comes in when you are limited in strength and number of sorceries.
        Yet even with only force and fire (and a power source) you can in principle build walls in that manner.
        If your fire sorcery is sufficiently advanced, so that you can undo oxidation, you will even eventually be able to make metals. But you will need ores.

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      16. Okay, that’s pretty much what I was thinking.

        The route you suggest seems like it would work, in the sense that a different mix of sorceries could produce some but not all of the same results Daniel can, while also producing other results maybe Daniel cannot, until he sees them and figures out an appropriate enchantment.

        When you have finished building Lanrest’s wall with the melt, cast, pile up blocks then fill between walls approach, does your mix of sorceries enable you to fuse the whole thing together into one solid mass like Daniel’s walls are?

        Of course, you’d also need to make them self-repairing, although I’m not sure Daniel did that for Lanrest’s wall, or even for his first tower at Kozalin. I think that came with his Black Island expansion.

        Which brings up the next question: “Would Daniel even try to build Black Island with the mix of sorceries you chose?”

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      17. “Maybe you need to stick a Force blade in one ear, out the other and then expand the blade into a balloon quick enough to explode the troll’s skull? That would impress me.

        Eew…try not to get any on you.”

        This is your fault.
        There are ready made openings.

        Like

      18. I tend to think of “quantum” as a scale, like “metric”, so conceptualizing it as an element wouldn’t occur to me. What would it encompass?

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      19. Quantum physics, quantum mechanics, space-time, dimensional reality, vacuum energy, dark matter, particle physics etc.

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      20. Quantum physics, quantum mechanics, space-time, dimensional reality, vacuum energy, dark matter, particle physics etc.

        Physics at the quantum scale. Interactions of atomic and sub-atomic particles at the quantum scale, “not sure what “dimensional reality” means, nor whether “dark matter” is real), more atomic and sub-atomic scale physics.

        So like I said, “quantum” is a scale, which I wouldn’t be able to conceptualize as an “element”. I might be able to think of “physics” as an element, but I tend to think of elements in the Fimbulverse sense as things rather than processes or systems of measurement and prediction. Matter would cover most of the particle and sub-particle stuff, especially if given enough to time for it to accrete. I’d think SpaceTime would cover the dimensional stuff.

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      21. That’s the hole point as the lady said. Anything you can conceptualize as a element. Most people can’t think of force as an element. Until I read Fimbulwinter it never would have crossed my mind. Now the possibilities are open and my mind is wandering down strange paths;)

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      22. “When you have finished building Lanrest’s wall with the melt, cast, pile up blocks then fill between walls approach, does your mix of sorceries enable you to fuse the whole thing together into one solid mass like Daniel’s walls are?”

        Why would you cast blocks and pile them up? Transport the raw material to the construction site and melt the whole thing in place. You get a uniform wall right away. Having a loose filling between the walls has some advantages. Breaches fill in by themselves.

        But yes, I see no way to make that self-healing with fire and force alone. Other sorceries might allow it. Space time maybe, restoring a temporally earlier state.

        Like

      23. Good point about melting everything together in place right at the construction site. That works well with a wall when one is also digging at least some materials out of the bottom of the moat to make it deeper as the higher defenses go up. I’m pretty sure the fill between outer and inner walls is compacted at least a little. It needs to be somewhat compressed in order to absorb and dampen shocks impacting the outer wall.

        I’m not sure the Earth sorcery gives Daniel his enchantment for self-repairing architecture.

        He might have noticed that just about anywhere in Kozalin during the several days between finishing his first tower and the big expansion that created Black Island and Castle Black.

        Yet another reason Daniel really must make the time to wander around Kozalin shopping and studying whatever he sees. Literally anything could teach him some new enchantment that could be utterly critical in the future. Not to mention visiting the alchemists’ shops, the smithies, the bookstores, the magic users’ supplies shops….

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      24. “I’m not sure the Earth sorcery gives Daniel his enchantment for self-repairing architecture.”

        I think we can safely say that mana sorcery is combined with earth sorcery to extend the enchantment to conjured material. Just conjuring new material won’t do. The repair would work once. A sorcerer without that option could build specialised repair golems, but that is a much worse solution.

        That makes me wonder. What happens if you cleave Black Island in two? Do you get two copies?

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      25. I suspect you would have to separate the two parts of Black Island by some nontrivial distance, or they would knit themselves together again across the breach. At some currently unknown distance, but probably slightly more than the distance from one end of the breach to the other, Daniel’s enchantments would stop trying to rejoin the parts and start working on patching the holes in each part.

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  5. Up to this point, Daniel has pretty much been recreating earth weapons using magic. Mortars, guns, flame throwers, force bayonets, blimps, tanks, motorcycles or grenades. Or Daniel has just copied spells from other people (wards on keep, shapechange, water summoning, lights in gardens, etc).

    There are relatively few examples of Daniel doing something pretty new or creating spells that mimic pure science fiction or fantasy. Examples include Grinder, his personal flight spells or his radiation weapon.

    Ideas he can pursue: People have mentioned lasers (neat – but not really aligned with his magic), kinetic strikes (if he can conjure at a distance) and flying castles. Other options people can think of.

    Like

    1. A few that have occurred to me are:
      High winds 80-200 mph possibly in a snowstorm (could add to existing wind);
      Potassium and phosphorus created by factories on airship or skimmer and immediately dropped or sprayed could be used in many situations including aid in melting moat
      Ice melters designed to stay near the surface (buoyancy and anchoring)
      Fields of spikes rigged as landmines, bouncing Bettys with lava explosive(and landmines in general (including approaches to the pier))
      Warheads/bullets with multiple conjurers, simultaneous to aid in the problem of destroying conjurer
      Self-replicating enchantments
      Offensive enchantments including a battery
      Enchantments with built-in fault tolerance
      Vocabulary for describing aspects of enchantments (may already exist in which case he needs to learn it)
      Illusions for use in military and other training
      Use of reviewers in his design and development of enchantments
      Once somehow provided Cerise with his ability to see enchantment/mana needs to produce enchantments with capability tied to objects that others can use for this
      Factory for batteries
      Factory for stones like his combat stone for himself and others.
      Similarly a more specialized stone to replace cobblestones at key locations such that they can become obstacles/barriers when needed

      Like

    2. What one could do with overcharged air magic: weaponized tornadoes (right out of X-Men)
      Genuine ray guns (Grinder’s plasma function on steroids)
      nerve gas
      nukes

      For Daniel to go into a magic against magic duell is dangerous. He has no libraries of secret martial spells.

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      1. Daniel’s strengths depend on massively superior mana resources, incredibly quick adaptation to hostile magic, totally foreign fundamental concepts of science and overwhelming mass production of completely unfamiliar new weapons. His future weapons, spells and enchantments should leverage these advantages whenever and wherever possible.

        It’s worth noting, however, that Captain Rain is RELUCTANT to put Daniel’s weapons in the hands of recruits or even veterans, and those weapons are the LEAST deadly creations Daniel has come up with.

        One of the most difficult challenges Daniel will face as Ragnarok escalates the threats to Black Isle, is equipping his soldiers with weapons so terrifying THEY are afraid to pull the triggers. He will need to decorate the fighting tops of Castle Black with turrets and pintle mounted heavy weapons rigged so they cannot bear on Kozalin, so no stupid mistakes vaporize significant fractions of the city. Then he will be forced to override that rigging to fire on enemy-occupied sections of Kozalin. That’s going to be nerve-wracking. Expect some nasty cases of PTSD among the troops and maybe even members of Daniel’s coven.

        Frankly, Daniel’s ability to sleep undisturbed most nights is a testament to how busy/fatigued he has been and continues to be. While many of the dead he sees piled high in this story are enemy monsters seeking his liver, there have been many civilian and friendly forces casualties on his conscience, too.

        That butcher’s bill might come due, some day….

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      2. Hence he should strive to combine technology with numbers powered by superior mana.
        For example creating factory stones that make factory stones that make flying golems armed with lava throwers controlled by radio.

        While getting into a contest of death curses against wards is not a good idea.

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      3. Yes, definitely make LOTS of flying golems armed with lava sprayers and plasma beams.

        I’m not sure about the radio control, though. That needs too much human oversight. Maybe put some of those wandering murder witch spirits inside the command flying golems to lead the others?

        That ought to scare the enemy almost as much as it would scare Daniel….

        I agree, death curses against wards is not the way to go.

        Daniel has already demonstrated the proper tactics for that fight. Multiple high-powered dispels against wards and other protections are what he used against Varfin the undead dragon in Kozalin’s crypts. I wonder how well and how much Hel shares? She and Varfin are the only ones who could really tell anybody what happened there.

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      4. “Daniel has already demonstrated the proper tactics for that fight. Multiple high-powered dispels against wards and other protections are what he used against Varfin the undead dragon in Kozalin’s crypts.”

        Again we look at the same fight and draw opposite conclusions.

        Varfin was a single opponent and unprepared for that kind of fight. He had no wards.
        Yet it took Daniel the maximum he can channel for dozens of seconds to do lasting harm. Even against a broken golem his disspells were useless by his own admission.

        It looks to me that in an arms race wards against disspells, wards will win.

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      5. Oliver, you seem to have missed the fact that Varfin did, in fact, have protective magic and it was quite powerful.

        “Alright, so its magic was armored against dispelling. That made sense, most enchantments were pretty tough in that respect. I shaped a different spell, slammed a spike of concentrated magic into its protections and began to pry them loose with sheer overwhelming brute force.”

        Brown, E. William. Black Coven (Daniel Black Book 2) (Kindle Locations 6894-6895). Unknown. Kindle Edition.

        Wards are only one of many different protections wizards use to defend their spells, their property and their homes.

        Yes, this means Daniel must learn even more, different, fiddly special magics, as well as developing his own.

        So, yes, the “duel of magics” will require some finesse, but as in the Varfin example, even a well-prepared opponent can be overpowered by sheer force if it is applied correctly.

        Ironically, before he started drilling into Varfin’s magical defenses, Daniel was attempting and failing to clobber the undead dragon with a huge mass of stone and nickel-iron, reinforced by a force edge/blade.

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      6. “Varfin did, in fact, have protective magic”

        Sorry for being unclear. Varfin was equipped with protective magic. He did not have it. He could not actively adapt to Daniel´s disspells.

        You are correct, if you give Daniel enough time to probe and experiment, he will win.

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      7. I think I understand what you are saying.

        There were protective enchantments cast upon Varfin, but Varfin was not able to cast his own protective enchantments?

        I don’t believe we can be certain of that. In some mythologies, dragons are exceedingly powerful and capable magic users. In other mythologies, dragons depend heavily upon the magic items in their hoards. In still others, dragons are powerful magical beings that do not cast magic but are resistant to magic cast upon them.

        Etc.

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      1. Yes, a robot army is definitely required, ASAP.

        One of the other commenters pointed out BATTLEMECHS are likely to be somewhere in Daniel’s gaming experience. Even if he never played the games, the tabletops groaning under the weight of all those brightly painted HUGE models are impossible to miss at game conventions.

        Golems with axes and swords are fearsome. “Golems” with autocannons, mortars, rocket launchers, plasma beams and lava sprayers are AWESOME!

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      2. re: Golems. I don’t see Daniel using humanoid golems unless he lets himself be unduly influenced by the Conclave’s examples. There’s no need for legs when he has the skimmer effect. The arms are also fairly useless unless he wants the golems to be able to grasp stuff. Guns work better for killing people and breaking thing.

        I imagine his war-golems would look more like flying tanks with guns pointing in all directions.

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      3. I could easily see that. Just because he’s seen Battletech games does not mean he has to use them. He might even consider them briefly, compare them with the Conclave’s golems, then discard the idea and go on with his own skimmer tanks.

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      4. I don’t think he will go with big Mecha. I think given the option he’ll go with tanks and power armor. Like I said he might wind up with his own space Marines.

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      5. Yes, I could see Dark Elves in powered armor. I could even see dwarf allies in powered armor.

        I suspect Captain Rain’s men won’t make that leap. They seem doomed to be grunts.

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      6. Some will be doomed to be grunts but not all out of every batch there’s always a few who take to whatever weapons they’re provided with like a fish to water.

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      7. “I imagine his war-golems would look more like flying tanks with guns pointing in all directions.”

        If you want an optimal shape for shots and blades to glide of and optimal sensor coverage with a minimum of sensors, I would suggest something that is rounded in as many directions as possible. Like a cone or a rotational oval or a combination thereof with guns sticking out of the pointed ends and retractable blades along the equator.

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      8. Fine, if you want to go the giant tank route we can build an 80000 ton nickle iron BOLO with a 20cm hellbore plasma cannon as main armament mounted on a turret, force shields, 50 cal machine guns and flamers as small arms protection, mortars on the top and 20mm AA guns for top cover. Toss in some camouflage just to make life interesting and load a gingerbread ninja ranger in as the controlling intelligence.
        “Quick get behind that hill for cover we can regroup there.” Suddenly the goblins are flattened by the over pressure as the 20cm hellbore fires at the approaching great beast, the “hill” they were hiding behind lifts on its skimmer field and accelerates to 80kmh in anticipation of a return strike from an angry god.

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      9. Perfect.

        That scene is ready for Book Seven, “RAGNAROK”, and I really, REALLY hope we get to see Gaea’s LAST army crushed into a shade of purple gray…mud, by MANY of the BOLO or O.G.R.E. monster tanks.

        So poetic, monster tanks crushing monster beasts into gooey paste, spin in place and look for more.

        Like

      10. The juggernaut tank is coming run run for your green skinned assess! “Said the goblin commander”. “The ape man looks on in despair”. Oh great first a curse of invisible death that last for three months now this!

        Like

    3. Very advanced armor. His earth talisman would make quite some armor especially if he combined it with weight banishment.

      Unusual familiars. Riding into battle on a dinosaur is cool. Riding an ungol is cooler.

      On a related note his readiness to cooperate with other magical races is another strength. Do dragons have to be his enemies? And that question also extends to dwarves, I am sorry to say.

      Like

      1. I suspect Daniel and the nasty, slaving, arrogant dwarf-orks are fated to clash again some day. If nothing else, they and Nethwillin seem likely to do business in some of the same places, so random chance will bring them together again under less than auspicious circumstances.

        We have not yet seen Daniel visit the Faerie Summer Court. That might produce an interesting alliance, provided Elin’s doomed relatives are not of particular value to the court.

        Poseidon is out there in the ocean, somewhere. Are there mer-people, selkies and other people there, too? We know there are monsters and Great Beasts. If the oceans are three times the “surface” area of the land, are there three times as many peoples and people? How does Fimbulwinter impact them? What about Ragnarok?

        Will Elin become a connection of some sort with potential ocean allies?

        Like

      2. In the Nors mythologies dwarves were a very clannish race. To the point that each clan was a separate competing nation against each other. So no not all dwarves have to be his enemy some may come looking for his assistance.

        In point in the mythology there is a clan that is directly opposed to the one that Daniel had a conflict with. And they are even better at creating magical objects they are the guys that actually created Thors hammer.

        Like

      3. That seems like a potentially fun development, DaShoota. Sure hope we see that in one of the next books.

        Like

      4. Definitely hope it’s in the next book being a working class American Daniel needs good beer/ale and coffee. Finding ale/beer seems easier now than coffee. After all dwarf and ale/beer are synonymous with each other in Norse mythology.

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      5. “So no not all dwarves have to be his enemy some may come looking for his assistance.”

        Exactly, if it weren’t for the inconvinient fact that he is crashing a market vital to all clans.

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      6. Maybe that crashing market is part of the reason the potentially friendly dwarves are seeking out Daniel’s help?

        After all, Clan Nethwillin is supposed to be sneaky about crashing the mythril market. Not only are they instructed to keep everyone from even imagining Daniel might be the cause of that disaster, they are supposed to keep their own names out of the scrum.

        It seems to me Dark Elves are sophisticated enough to enjoy their revenge frosty cold.

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      7. You run on the concept that a crashing market makes no money. You are wrong. If the elves are smart and they don’t come off as stupid. They will sell through second and third parties that are dwarven clans.

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      8. “Maybe that crashing market is part of the reason the potentially friendly dwarves are seeking out Daniel’s help?”

        And what if they find out that Daniel caused their problems? After they are already on the island?
        No, that economic warfare is just an emotional stupid reaction. He should end it while he still can.

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      9. No, that economic warfare is just an emotional stupid reaction. He should end it while he still can.

        Aluminum is too useful to him, and too easy to produce. If he allows it to remain stupidly expensive then everything he does with it becomes a target for more raids. Presumably he could introduce it to the economy more slowly though.

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      10. I’m agreeing with Jabrwok, but there’s just about no possibility Daniel can put more airships into service without attracting attention from anybody who recognizes the metal, which information would almost instantly get back to the dwarf-orks, which puts Daniel at war with most of their clans shortly thereafter. I wonder if any of their clans do NOT work metal? Seems unlikely, but not impossible.

        Openly declaring himself an implacable enemy of slavers and slavery would be emotional stupidity. Note that Daniel has chosen sneaky over blatant, not that it will work for long. The humans he brings back to Kozalin from isolated castles, walled towns and other survivor groups will accidentally provide enough clues to raise suspicion while telling their stories to the Prince, nobles and other folk in Kozalin.

        Steelbinder will arrange another of those quick, unobtrusive discussions with Daniel to confirm the High Adept’s suspicions about mythril. It won’t take long for Steelbinder to combine the information available to him. How will HE react to Nethwillin crashing the mythril market? Is it a good thing for the Conclave? Does access to massive quantities of mythril enable any special magics or enchanted items?

        Or, did the Conclaves own treasury just take a serious hit? For that matter, did the Prince’s treasury take a hit when the price of mythril crashed?

        Oliver, you could be rather more than correct about this vendetta of Daniel’s and Nethwillin’s. They could easily annoy MANY more groups than just the obnoxious dwarf-orks.

        Hmm…I wonder if any gods or demigods would have reason to be annoyed at this turn of events?

        That “come to Jesus” meeting with Steelbinder might be followed by an even more serious meeting with Hecate….

        Like

      11. “Presumably he could introduce it to the economy more slowly though.”

        And he could find some dwarven allies with his introduction.

        Though you raise a point. Is aluminium really so cool? Will Daniel soon move on to titanium and scandium and titanium/lithium and aluminum/lithium alloys, so that that aluminium remains a minor component of his equipment?

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      12. Is aluminium really so cool? Will Daniel soon move on to titanium and scandium and titanium/lithium and aluminum/lithium alloys, so that that aluminium remains a minor component of his equipment?

        I suspect that that will depend on the ease of summoning of those other elements. Aluminum is fairly common, and so fairly easy to summon. I don’t know the relative abundances of titanium or scandium, etc. Unless he needs some characteristic of the Al/XX alloys that those elements would produce, I suspect he won’t waste his time when he’s already got an Al factory. That might change when he’s no longer running the Red Queen’s Race, but that’s not going to happen any time soon.

        Like

      13. More to the point, when Daniel does move on to titanium, will he utterly destroy the mythril market?

        What happens when he introduces iridium to the armorers’ market? It will probably need some form of mass or weight banishment, maybe as part of creating powered armor?

        Daniel will upset all sorts of long-established professions Real Soon Now.

        Ironically, if anybody succeeds in stealing his matter to mana enchantment, the avalanche of new materials, new ideas and new magics will only spread wider and faster.

        Like

      14. “You run on the concept that a crashing market makes no money.”

        That will make a lot of money. But what for? He can never spend all that gold. And what he needs he already conjures.
        He would get far more out of it, if he negotiated to join the mithril cartel in exchange for some cool magic knowledge.

        Like

      15. The enemy of my enemy is my friend/business partner everybody gets rich new cartel is created old cartel is destroyed. You are now in a position that money cannot buy easily or cheaply a position of power.

        Like

      16. If Daniel builds his next airship out of titanium and quietly scraps the INTREPID, maybe he can let all the mythril nonsense fade away.

        Somehow, I don’t think the author has that in mind. Those dwarf-orks are entirely too convenient evil enemy minions. Daniel is almost guaranteed to encounter them again some day. Maybe he will be better prepared.

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      17. “You are now in a position that money cannot buy easily or cheaply a position of power.”

        You are in a position where you have ruined an unknown number of rich and hence powerful entities. For what? To punish the clan of an outpost you have wiped out already. I am sorry, this is deeply foolish.

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      18. Another of the author’s comments is appropriate, here. Yes, Oliver, it may be that Daniel is actually being foolish with his mithril vendetta. However, the author might be using this opportunity to teach Daniel WHY this is such a foolish temper tantrum. Daniel is allowed to learn by doing (wrong) in other cases throughout the books.

        I would point out, however, that Clan Nethwillin seems to immediately back the idea. If it was a truly stupid, dangerous folly that risked angering all sorts of gods, clans, nobles, royals and others, they should have known that. I suspect if that is true they will either figure it out quickly after they begin, or maybe even before they start the project.

        We cannot know what the author intends his world’s reaction to be. Maybe only the dwarf-orks will suffer badly, everybody else will applaud, cheer, whistle and stomp, while some people will even benefit from easier access to mithril.

        Like

      19. You should remember that economic war far is more about internal politics than external enemies if done right. For social species there’s always the concept of internal politics and struggle for power and authority. This is the true use of economic warfare. You and your allies make a fortune while you’re enamies lose a fortune and you maneuver your allies and yourself into a position of power ether behind the scenes or in front of the scenes. In a global economic and ecological system and potential disasters such as he’s living in it is an ideal form of warfare against this particular enemy. Like I said the clan he has a beef with is not the only clan. Probably one of the biggest and wealthiest but that breeds enamies that will be just to eager to except the potential for their clans ascension. There will also be members of the same clan that will look at what is happening and say. “This idiot can he not see what is going on we could use this to our advantage”! This is how governments collapse in the face of economic warfare to infighting and bad economic policies when they are incapable of adapting.

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      20. DaShoota, I could see that happening. I could also see other dwarf-ork clans being sucked into the mythril collapse. It is really easy to see both, plus some human merchants, nobles and royals getting their fingers burned.

        I’m really looking forward to seeing what the author does with all this.

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  6. “Frankly, Daniel’s ability to sleep undisturbed most nights is a testament to how busy/fatigued he has been and continues to be. While many of the dead he sees piled high in this story are enemy monsters seeking his liver, there have been many civilian and friendly forces casualties on his conscience, too. ”

    That raises a point I am slightly uncomfortable with.
    Daniel seems to take damage with almost no lasting trauma. So I need to ask.

    To what extent does being dragged through the void between the worlds, having a translation spell implanted and instant healing done on you with divine power plus wearing a healing device constantly for weeks plus a coven bond plus being declared a champion alter your mind and personality?

    Daniel keeps repeating that mind control by magic is impossible, but given the possibility of love spells and what they can do this looks more like a technicality than a material difference to me. So to what extent has Daniel’s mind been tinkered with?

    Like

    1. I’ll agree with all of that, Oliver and push it a little bit further.

      We know from the big healing session after INTREPID is invaded and Clan Nethwillin mostly captured or killed, that Daniel can reconnect a severed head and repair damage in somebody ELSE’s brain.

      How often have we been told Daniel is concussed and his healing enchantment “fixes” the damage?

      How do we or Daniel know if his current brain is the same or even similar to his previous brain?

      I suspect that Cerise’s brain is changed continuously before and during the story by her own magic and the influences of the abilities she absorbs from demons, dragons and felwolves. She might even need it to adapt to flight as well as she does. That could also explain how a teenager with minimal social contact is able to “mature” into Badass Murder Witch Cerise, High Priestess of Hecate, dom of Corinna, Mistress of Thorns.

      Like

    2. One more thought on this subject, Oliver.

      Even though he reminds himself that he’s NOT in a fantasy game, and death is very real, Daniel’s brain is a product of significant exposure to modern computer role-playing games.

      Maybe his trauma is somewhat reduced by looking at trolls, goblins, ungols, giants and other monsters as just that, “monsters”. Notice that very few opponents survive to flee Daniel’s menu of destructive magics — Mara, Jormungandr’s grandson, and a variety of critters Daniel ran away from, himself.

      Any monster that engages in a significant conversation with Daniel seems to have enhanced opportunities to flee.

      Arrogant monsters who boast and threaten and stubbornly attack are immediately raised to the top of Daniel’s endangered creatures list, Action Imminent.

      Like

    3. I pointed that out in a posting a long time ago. You can’t go through all he’s gone or is going to go through with out change. That’s not even taking into account the affect of all those people on the edge of his consciousness. If you go back and review the books you will see him change. It’s perhaps most easily apparent in the way he views the mercenaries leader From Book 1 to book 3. We should also keep in mind that before Daniel even met that goddess and went to that world. He was going through an experience that would cause PTSD, suicide or murder for a lot of other men. Or would see them ending up either in prison or under a bridge. He’s also smart enough to realize the possible outcomes of what would’ve happened if he would’ve stayed in the world he came from.

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      1. Yes, DaShoota, that’s exactly the sorts of stress I’m thinking of. Now, it seems as though the author won’t push PTSD or anything like it, so my thoughts on whether Hecate or Bast might help Daniel with that are probably not relevant. It does seem like we ought to have seen something by now, but lots of other books simply don’t feature this gooey chunk of reality, and Daniel’s story may skip it also.

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      2. His healing amulets might be dealing with it without his knowing. After all they did it with erectile exhaustion.

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      3. Yes, that’s what I’m hinting at with my comments about all the times Daniel’s healing enchantments and his Flesh sorcery have self-treated his many concussions. I’m betting his brain is slowly changing to something more resilient and better plumbed, probably better wired, also, than it was when he first talked to Hecate.

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      4. Interesting brute force healing that is capable of healing what is normally incapable of healing such as the nervous system and brain was applied during emotional or mental stress or damage caused by shock. It would form new connections and pathways as well as grow new brain cells repair damaged brain cells to allow him to deal with the mental stress. It would also have side effects of increasing his IQ possibly improving his memory as well as the speed of his thoughts.

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      5. “Healing” the various “features” of aging would also clean up Daniel’s brain. Even at thirty years old, Daniel might have had a few plaques, maybe some dead neurons from concussions in his youth and his recent automobile accident, certainly some inflammation from the accident…hmm…that’s one more incident of healing I missed.

        Remember, part of Hecate’s deal with Daniel is some “instant healing” before he charges naked and empty-handed into combat. Think about that situation for a moment….

        1) We know Daniel must have been at least somewhat concussed by the auto accident, so Hecate did some healing of his brain for him with Her magic BEFORE any healing from his Flesh sorcery happened. Maybe she did some extra “healing” to prepare him for the many shocks of the new life he was about to commence.

        2) Just saying…he charged up those basement stairs into a knife fight, empty handed and nekkid as a jaybird. Did I mention KNIFE FIGHT? Far too many stabby slashy things, MUCH too close to the family jewels!

        What sort of temporary or permanent boost to Daniel’s testosterone level did Hecate engineer while she was “instantly healing” his automobile accident damage?

        That might explain a LOT of Daniel’s relative lack of stress response to his new lifestyle. Maybe Hecate adjusted his brain to resist stress better?

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      6. That very first healing wasn’t his healing ether. It was probably a super charged version of what the locals do. Which is forcing the body to heal itself. So different side effects?

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      7. Yes, DaShoota, Daniel’s very first healing was definitely Hecate’s doing. She explicitly made that part of their first bargain. We have no idea whether “forcing the body to heal itself” is the “local” way of magical healing. It might be. It happens that is how Daniel’s enchanted amulet works when he is not directly taking control and enforcing priorities, like rebuilding lungs and kidneys, fixing leaky blood vessels, etc.

        Maybe his enchantment is derived from what he has seen of Cerise’s and Avilla’s personal healing, or the natural healing in Daniel’s own body, or maybe it’s just the way his Flesh sorcery works and a goblin shaman or Dark Elf healer would do something totally different. We cannot know for certain until the author tells us or Daniel sees some alternative form of healing at work, steals it, files off the serial numbers and adds it to his own….

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      8. Colin his healing works by replacing, repairing or regenerateing flesh. In the first book his amulet healed damage that could not be healed with out one or all of these. Quite a bit of it without him controlling it after he was burned. His fairy is reported to be one of or possibly the best healer in the country possible the continent. She said in book 3 that better be Daniel my healing won’t touch that. She said that after getting back from returning with the elves when she had a power amulet of her own to drow on.

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      9. DaShoota, I’ll have to look at that again, but I thought it was Daniel who directly used his Flesh sorcery element to replace, repair or regenerate flesh. His amulet just automatically dumps mana into pushing the body’s natural healing into overdrive, so a day’s worth of normal healing happens in a few minutes.

        I agree that actual material of some sort must be conjured as part of Daniel’s amulet healing him when he was unconscious. I’m not sure it’s actually flesh. Natural healing pulls nutrients from blood, which is generated in bone marrow. Maybe Daniel’s amulet conjures those nutrients? There must be fuel for the body’s whole metabolism also, which usually gets from food in the digestive system into the blood again, so that would also have to come from Daniel’s amulet automatically when he is asleep.

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      10. That particular incident is the best point I have found in the books. That can be used to study both his healing and his amulets healing.

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      11. Over time it may also increase the density and resiliency of his brain in response to physical injury. Making him more resistant to future traumas physical and mental. Truly fascinating line of thought.

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      12. I wonder if Brown has ever read S.M. Stirling’s Draka books. If so, and if Daniel has, then he’s got a template for a super-human design he could be working towards. Hopefully without the instinctive slavemaster mentality.

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      13. Daniel seems to have entered his new universe with strong biases against slaving and slavery.

        His recent experience with nasty, arrogant little dwarf-ork slavers seems likely to have…reinforced those biases.

        I’m thinking that if Ragnarok does not end the slavers, Daniel may take that up as a hobby to fill some of his new spare time.

        Like

      14. Being a gamer and computer programmer as well as an American he probably has more experience with comic books, video games, anime and table top games. Captain America, Master chief and space marines Longshot but maybe even Primark’s. I would mention some super soldiers in anime but I never watched it much so I don’t know any. But obviously Daniel is aware of it whether or not he’s a fan I don’t know.

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      15. We can guess he’s at least a fan of anime, DaShoota. His earliest references to his ability to transform somebody into a Dark Elf is something more like anime elf. Plus, it seems to me that bouncy catgirls are anime characters. Not entirely sure of that, since I’ve only skimmed a few books while shopping for comics years ago.

        Don’t forget the heroic villains of comic book universes. Dr. Doom and Magneto come to mind when considering Daniel’s abilities and adventures.

        Like

      16. Danial’s resistance to stress may be one of the reasons Hecate chose him in the first place, we never got a list of reasons that he was found acceptable and she didn’t really need a champion who balked at a little gore.
        Danial’s Attitude has been changing into a more bloodthirsty and intolerant level as the books progress, but most of this may be attributed to the protective instincts of a father and husband as well as the ruthless requirements of a good leader.
        As far as PTSD from his previous life, he was probably too drugged up and concussed to to be able to really get a good depression going and now that he has the coven he wouldn’t go back if she was screaming his name from a mountaintop in heaven, let alone feel bad about abandoning her…

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      17. He might try to find a way to avoid her if he ever found a way to travel between worlds. After all he still wants that copy of those manufacturing manuals.

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      18. If we are all assuming Daniel will eventually raise himself to a level of power and respect that simulates godhood, we also have to expect he will begin to be held to account for god level deals like the existing treaty.

        When he tells the judge he wasn’t there and didn’t sign any treaty, the judge will smile and inform him, “That’s an excellent argument, Arch Adept Black. Sadly, this is the sloppy, lazy way these treaties are made. ‘Not there’ and ‘Didn’t sign it’ don’t seem to be anywhere in the body or addenda. They should be. We’ll have to see to adding them…NEXT session of God Parliament. Guilty as charged.”

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      19. “His amulet just automatically dumps mana into pushing the body’s natural healing into overdrive, so a day’s worth of normal healing happens in a few minutes.”

        IIRC it fixed Daniel’s spine and replaced teeth during the battle of Lanrest. The body does not do that. The effect cannot be explained by speeding up healing alone. There are qualitative changes.

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      20. Oliver, whenever we look at Daniel’s healing we have to look carefully to see which parts of it we are explicitly told are the automatic healing performed by the enchantment he put on his amulet and which parts we are explicitly told are Daniel’s directly controlled Flesh sorcery.

        I suspect we cannot say his automatic healing enchantment is not capable of reconnecting a severed spine. In fact, I’m pretty sure he actually tells us it really does do that, and did equally dramatic healing of other body structure and organs automatically more than once in several books.

        “My spine was severed down near my waist. Damn. I needed mobility, and I levitating myself took too much concentration. I couldn’t fight and move at the same time that way. Alright, I’d have to try to fix it.”

        Then his attention wanders off to other events, until…

        “Oh. Maybe putting defense and healing on the same item wasn’t such a smart idea. The amulet was mindlessly dumping almost all of its energy into the healing spell, trying to fix everything that was wrong with me and leaving only a tiny trickle to recharge the shield. I’d have to change that later, assuming I was still alive. Finally, sensation returned to my legs. My broken bones weren’t really healed, but they were set firmly enough that I could move without causing more damage. That would have to do for now. I set myself down, and stood on wobbly legs.

        Brown, E. William. Fimbulwinter

        There was no part of that event where Daniel explicitly took action with his Flesh sorcery to directly heal his own spine. In fact, he basically tells us that happened through the automatic healing of his amulet enchantment because there was no available mana for him to do anything with. He was forced to wait for his amulet enchantment to fix him barely enough to move.

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      21. Yes that’s why I pointed out that point in book 1. Like I said it’s one of the best places to study his healing and his amulets healing.

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  7. One thought occured to me. What happens to dead Andregi? Do their souls go to Hel?
    If that is so, doesn’t she know (and Loki probably, too) who really fought Korak? Or were they just a few more dead among millions and nobody listened to ther stories?

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    1. Hel would find out that Korak fought a Dark Elf. The Andregi who died didn’t know Daniel, and I don’t think any of them heard his name.

      Of course Gaea believing that the Dark Elves killed her son would be trouble enough. But Mara killed at least one of those Andregi, which is yet another possible complication.

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      1. Yes, it sure will be interesting when we discover who knows how much about what happened in that torture chamber. It sure seems as if Daniel will be off the hook, but Mara is totally at risk. Of course, she and her brothers have probably murdered many other annoying Andregi for no reason at all, so she might reasonably be able to claim temper tantrum.

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    2. Actually, the situation might be worse than that. The dead Andregi spirits might go to Gaea. Remember that Hecate promised Daniel no other god than She could claim his soul, which certainly seems like incentive for Daniel to work hard keeping Her from being exterminated by Gaea or Odin.

      Gaea might well promise Her faithful Andregi something similar?

      Consider some other possibilities. All the Andregi in that torture chamber died in “combat” so, no, they would NOT go to Hel, they would go to Valhalla? That just seems…SO wrong! I wonder what other options there might be? Pluto got run out of Hades by Hel, Olympus was razed, the Titans drifted apart millennia ago…what do they promise their faithful followers today?

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      1. Pretty sure Hel collects ALL the dead, as long as they have souls… Remember the Andregi couldn’t be used to power the soul gate, so no soul, might be one of the reasons Gaia is so pissed off at Zeus over how man was created. Spirits don’t have an afterlife as such they just merge with the Either or get absorbed by their god i guess, but humans have one and now all the gods have to give up that power when they die. “Stupid Zeus and his stupid Souls”

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      2. I doubt Hel gets all souls. We know she won’t get Daniel’s as that one is beholden to Hecate. Likewise Cerise’s most likely.

        Further, I doubt Zeus created humanity, though he probably claimed to have done so. There are humans in the Far East and Africa, and their pantheons will have claimed to have created their worshipers too most likely. My understanding from the books is that Zeus *favored* humanity, and Gaea hates humanity because of humanity’s tendency to use fire and metal. The elves have said that Gaea “created” the Andregi, but they probably weren’t there when it happened, so the Andregi might just be Neanderthals which Gaea adopted and later modified (or not).

        I doubt these particular issues will be dealt with in the books.

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      3. True, the author probably thinks he and Daniel are done with endless refills of Andregi armies.

        Still, it would be hilarious to see the look on Daniel’s face when those millions of moaning undead Andregi shuffle out of a midnight blizzard….

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      4. $/&: );;(>| %{*}€| £73!: 83&@. Alright bitchs got to go. “Daniel said as the Saiter looked on open mouth.”

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      5. Grady, you might be right about the Andregi not having souls, but all we really know about them is they do not have HUMAN souls. The Dark Portal is apparently quite picky about the flavor and origins of the souls it consumes….

        As for Hel collecting ALL souls, no, that’s not how it works. Hel only gets the ones who die of disease, die of old age, die in stupid car accidents, die in their sleep….

        Valhalla gets ALL the faithful Asgardian warriors who die in battle. Remember the Valkyrie? The “CHOOSERS OF THE DEAD”? They decide which warriors go to Valhalla and which runaway cowards are left for Hel.

        Odin gets the best and Hel gets the rest…or so it was supposed to be.

        We won’t know until the last sword stroke of Ragnarok.

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      6. The dragon talked about the time it spent wandering about in Hel, so I’d say yes, it had a soul. I’d guess all sapients have souls.

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    1. OOooohh…Daniel didn’t think of that. All those hybernating Andregi died peacefully, so they all go to Hel.

      Unless they belong to Gaea, who might be able to convince Hel to raise them all as undead.

      UGLY!

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      1. Soldiers who don’t need to eat would certainly simplify the logistics, though I suspect that the living Andregi wouldn’t turn up their noses at Long Pig, so every time they sacked a town they’d be replenishing their food stocks.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You’re on to something there, Scipiotheyounger. No food, no water, no hygiene, just furious ravening appetite on the march. This could be hilarious. Imagine Daniel’s face when he realizes what he has created.

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      3. What would be the alternative? Not killing your enemies?
        He will just have to do it again. The second time if we can believe Cerise the sould is freed, will float around and dissipate within a few weeks.

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      4. Hey, once he gets over the initial shock, Daniel will have to shift his threat response up another level again.

        Can we say BOLO tread grease?

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      5. Green what do you mean my BOLO tread grease is green!? $95;$&,! €£#,|*> told them goblins and trolls don’t make good grease!

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  8. When dark elves arrive via airship to rescue a community, might the community see them as dark elve slavers trying to take advantage of the situation? How frequently will this occur? What countermeasures might be taken to prevent or overcome this adverse reaction?

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    1. Human crewmen might be included to help allay those fears. Of course many people might see slavery as better than starvation, or dying in a monster’s belly.

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    2. Great question
      I think this is a key challenge and opportunity to show refugees right from first contact that Black Island is a melting-pot of different cultures and races. Airship crews need to be diverse. Here are a few examples:
      – Nymphs for communication back to the grove or when come in contact with like refugees
      – wolfen for gunners, loader, and on ground scout
      – dark elves for comand, load masters, and navigation
      – Humans for loaders, contact with other humans, and crew

      This should decrease concerns when encuntering those worried about slavers. And is a great opportunity to show any refugee from the start the success and what is required for the integrated community Daniel is trying to build. It should also increase the available crew for multiple airships.

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      1. wolfen for gunners, loader, and on ground scout

        I don’t think the wolfen look particularly non-human. There’s been no indication that their powers manifest as visibly animalistic traits, and there’ve been conversations between Daniel and various wolfen about how they’re not sprouting hair in odd places.

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      2. Somebody who had been on starvation rations for a while might notice that the wolfen are particularly healthy in appearance, taller than normal for “humans” and have…attitude.

        Magic users and nonhumans would probably notice more interesting details. For instance, you can bet any prey animals or hunter-derived people will react to the wolf aspect of wolfen.

        I bet Tina knows whenever there are Wolfen anywhere near her. Of course, she’d have all their scents categorized and memorized by now, so she would also know WHICH wolfen are anywhere near her.

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      3. Plausible, but thus far not canonical. And even if true, how will any of that matter to peasants? Healthy people? We need to go where they came from! Cocky? Must be a great place! etc.

        Any stranded wizards might notice something amiss, but they seem generally rare. There weren’t any in Varo or Lanrest after all, and any who weren’t in Kozalin or another well-fortified and -supplied location are probably dead. Carl, for example, would’ve died had Daniel not shown up to take care of those trolls.

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      4. So you take members of races known or suspected to be enslaved by Dark Elves?

        To be blunt, your first priority is not having a panic or revolt in flight. In other words, show the Dark Elves right away and if they scare them away, very well, there are other villages.

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      5. Not a melting pot. These separate races can’t produce hibred children with out help. The cultures will adapt but it will stay vastly different and individual to each race. We say race but what we are talking about is actually different species with different psychology’s that are distinct to each species.

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      6. Daniel appears to be giving each species its own distinct space in his citadel, which makes sense. Diversity + Proximity tends to produce conflict. The peoples he’s gathered are all fairly cosmopolitan and tolerant, or sufficiently obedient to him, to minimize that, but controlling and limiting interactions will significantly reduce the risk of hostilities arising.

        We’ll likely see the species mingling in professional capacities and in the market, but otherwise keeping to themselves barring special, controlled, circumstances.

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      7. Well, yes, in general the species won’t interact much socially. Except for dryad revels and orgies. Oh, and worship of Dark Hecate, Mistress of Murder Magic and Mayhem. Big battles would probably qualify as professional encounters, as would military training and exercises, unless something like the Andregi Air Assault force breaks in to Castle Black again.

        We will probably find that some species have living quarters that others simply cannot easily share, like the naiads, for example. If any mer-people, selkies or other seafolk ally with Daniel, there could be underwater living quarters beneath or near Castle Black.

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      8. The revels are essentially religious services, and the humans are unlikely to participate for the most part. The elves might, and Demetrios certainly will, but regardless of who does, those activities will fall under the “controlled circumstances” header. After which each group will go back to its own Quarter and regale the stay-at-homes with entertaining stories about how Those People behave:-).

        As long as the food is plentiful, the various groups will probably soldier along well enough. But good fences make good neighbors, and Daniel is aware that the various species usually keep to themselves (he said as much when negotiating with Irithil).

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      9. One challenge with that scenario, Cam. It would work just fine with nonhuman survivor groups. However, Daniel is quite sanely trying to keep his well integrated community of nonhumans SECRET from other humans.

        He was quick to show off his new Dark Elf allies, because they are not reputed to be allied with Olympians or Asgard. The wolfen would probably be okay, but the nymph would have to stay hidden as a known Olympian nature spirit.

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      10. “Not a melting pot. These separate races can’t produce hibred children with out help.”

        That as a blanket statement is incorrect. Elin is clear evidence. Also Cerise suspected Mara to have an Ifrit in the family tree close to her.

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      11. “Not a melting pot. These separate races can’t produce hibred children with out help.”

        That as a blanket statement is incorrect. Elin is clear evidence. Also Cerise suspected Mara to have an Ifrit in the family tree close to her.

        The “without help” part addresses that. Sefwin has said that elvish women cannot bear children sired by non-elves. Daniel has speculated that he could get an elf with child. The examples of hybridization we’ve seen (Elin and Mara) are explicitly magical entities who may have a “natural” hybridization ability, but apparently elves and, probably, humans don’t. The situation with the Grove spirits is uncertain, though Daniel did war Demetrios against knocking up the human women, so satyrs may be able to impregnate other species (quite likely given that Demetrios has sons, but we’re show no sign of female satyrs, and Demetrios is apparently attached to Zoe the Nymph [presumably not exclusively though, given their natures]).

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      12. Good points, Oliver. Really, the only statement we have about halfbreeds is Sefwin assuring Daniel there is no such thing as a Half-Elf. The Dark Elves are such an esoteric example of sentient life forms that their ability or lack of ability to crossbreed should not be taken as universal.

        Of course, that does lead me to wonder how Elin’s parents were enabled to produce so many offspring. There almost had to be some magic involved….

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      13. “The “without help” part addresses that.”

        Not really. Elin’s father apparently abducted her to live in a lonely cave somewhere. Where would he have gotten help? He might be his own helper, but that puts us at the point, where we say that they can breed, if they so wish. Or, if one of them wishes. We can assume pretty safely that Elin’s mother did not wish to.

        What we know so far is only that elves and humans do not interbreed. Even elves and dryads is unclear. There may be a reason other than economics for elves to enslave dryads.

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      14. Elin’s father apparently abducted her to live in a lonely cave somewhere. Where would he have gotten help?

        Hence the rest of my comment regarding highly magical entities (faeries, gods, spirits, etc) possibly having a natural cross-breeding capability. The Grendlekin appear to be some kind of feral fae/human hybrid, and Elin’s mother was also a faerie. If all faerie can breed with non-fae creatures, then you’ll get some hybridization via that route, though AFAIK Elin’s the only faerie on Black Isle thus far. The Grove-dwellers might start popping out hybrids at some point, but we don’t have any canonical evidence regarding that possibility thus far.

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      15. It’s probably pretty safe to say that if a race has only one gender but appears to breed. That they have all of the children be the same race as themselves. Or at least those that are born the same gender as themselves. So they probably won’t be hibreds.

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      16. Demetrios has sons, two if I remember correctly. We MIGHT assume they are also Zoe’s sons. That would be a low order of certainty assumption, but not impossible.

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      17. We also have Mara’s brothers. So Andregi and Gaia can interbreed. And Cerise speculating about Ifrits and humans. It looks like everybody but elves and humans can interbreed.
        Though it has to be said that adept Tova needed fertility magic. So yes, there is something to the theory, but the highly magical can’t be that high.

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    3. Totally possible, even likely to happen. The only reason we don’t see it right away is Clan Nethwillin has more than one other stronghold of their own to evacuate. Rescuing their own people will probably take something like a month of steady flying, maybe two months.

      Then, unless Daniel or Hecate intervenes, Nethwillin will approach other Dark Elf clans. There will be at least a few others that Nethwillin can work with, and providing those with the sort of rescue Daniel promises would mean they owe Clan Nethwillin BIG favors in future dealings.

      At some point, however, an airship crewed and commanded by Dark Elves will have to approach a human castle or town and offer rescue….

      They will need a VERY convincing ambassador. Pellagia could do it. Will she have the time?

      On the other hand, Pellagia and an airship might visit a few other nonhuman survivors in the not so distant future.

      We know some of them are praying fervently to Hecate.

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      1. I think there’s an assumption being made here. While it’s true that some Dark Elves have a reputation as slavers, not all do. Avilla and Cerise had a history of trading with Nethwillin prior to Fimbulwinter, and presumably Nethwillin and other clans traded with other humans as well. The assumption that any Dark Elf one sees is likely to be a slaver may not be warranted, especially if the elves appear non-hostile. Presumably there are protocols for peaceful interaction (of course the slavers could copy those protocols and then violate them…).

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      2. Sneaky slavers! One more reason for Daniel to hunt them down and exterminate them in his spare time after Ragnarok.

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      3. The griffin knight might work. He and his mount would probably have to ride in the airship most of the time though. The griffins (gryphons, griffons) don’t likely have the range or speed to keep up with the airship on their own.

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      4. I am afraid I have to spoil the fun. Why bother? Daniel is nearing the food capacity of his isle. Kozalin already has a supply problem. Cities are falling.There won’t be enough airlifts of ordinary people to allow for developing and implementing sophisticated, nice plans.

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  9. It occured to me that there is one more consideration to take into account on what Daniel can conjure.
    We have it ex cathedra that conjuring and banishing are strictly paired. If Daniel could banish arbitary matter, why not use that as a weapon?

    Yes, evidence from absence. But still Daniel is not that dumb. You do not go to the trouble of developing glowing arrows if you just can start banishing what they hit.

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    1. He can banish flesh, water and minerals so maybe he just hasn’t thought of it yet. Also how fast can he banish stuff? You should also think of this it took you how long to think of this idea? A year more? For Daniel it’s been only a few months maybe less.

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      1. Daniel banished hundreds, possibly thousands, of tons of rocks falling on him in the dragon’s crypt, so banishment appears to go fairly quickly. He may be unable to easily banish enchanted or otherwise magical stuff, but I don’t recall whether we have any evidence of that aside from his difficulty in prizing apart the dragon’s enchanted flesh before he just tried dispelling the magic.

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      2. Another example of Daniel banishing LOTS of material is in his assault on the underground stronghold of the dwarf-orks in EXTERMINATION. In fact, it is a really clear example of how he uses Banish and Dispel to smash his way through magically protected and defended significant masses of stone and other dense materials.

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    2. It will be interesting to see him try using banish against moving, living or undead targets, some day. I suspect Daniel could not have banished Varfin the undead dragon without first destroying his wards and other protections. Of course Varfin resisted that, so by the time all the protections were gone, killing Varfin outright was probably simpler then banishing his entire bulk.

      Banishing part of Varfin probably would have suffered from the same issues. First pick the best part to banish, then break all the local protections, then somehow put the “banish” enchantment in contact with that part of Varfin long enough for the enchantment to happen–usually at least a second, maybe more with BIG things.

      Some targets are more likely to be worth banishing than others. The obvious example would be fixed defenses like the ones smashed by that oversized, overpowered garbage can lid Daniel and the leaders of Clan Nethwillin rode down into the dwarf-ork stronghold.

      Maybe a really BIG banishment would be useful? Something like removing a cubic acre of battlefield plus everything on it.

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  10. And I think in hindsight that in Extermination we learned something about enchantments and factory stones.
    Daniel made amulets in silver. They came out much smaller. And that tells us something. You need a minimum of material to hold an enchantment. It depends on the element you use.
    Before that we only knew that the power output of power stones depended on the amount of material used.

    That implies that Daniel should go James Bond “The Man with the Golden Gun”

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    1. Don’t forget the ring Daniel made for Elin out of a gold coin. That was probably about the same mass of gold as the silver amulets he made for Clan Nethwillin. I bet Mara’s ring is about the same size.

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      1. Diameter yes. Thickness? Maybe. Maybe not. Gold coins come in all sort of sizes.
        And I am afraid Elin’s ring houses a different enchantment from the mana link. So no direct comparison.

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      2. Actually, Oliver, Elin’s ring and for that matter, Mara’s ring, seems to include a matter to mana enchantment as well as the other protections Daniel wove into them. That makes them eminently comparable to the Nethwillin silver amulets–the rings have approximately the same mass as the amulets and FAR MORE complexity. Maybe more raw power than the Nethwillin amulets, also. Not so sure about that.

        Clan Nethwillin’s silver amulets are small because Daniel made them small. I wish he would have given us the obvious comment about making them the size he did so that clan members would be able to include the amulets in their hair arrangements just like other tokens.

        Of course, Sefwin and her father could not have done that, so maybe the author deliberately decided to continue to refer to the silver bits as amulets instead of tokens.

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      3. ‘… and made the factory conjure silver amulets instead of the cheap nickel-iron all my military equipment used. That took a lot of power, but I found that the metal held the enchantment a lot better. As a result the amulets ended up being tiny little things, and I suspected the magic on them would last far longer than the power stnes they were tied to.’

        That reads quite like he let the enchantment dictate the size, thus he made the smallest possible.

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      4. I agree, Oliver, it sure seems like Daniel “let the enchantment decide” how big Clan Nethwillin’s amulets would be.

        It could also just be sloppy description, and Daniel made the actual size decision by a process of trial and retrial.

        If he did let the enchantment decide, we will probably see more indications in the future of similarly “smart” enchantments.

        Need I point out that this would indicate a significant improvement in one or more of his sorceries?

        Probably at least an example of beneficial synergies between his Earth and Mana sorceries.

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      5. “Need I point out that this would indicate a significant improvement in one or more of his sorceries?”

        Yes, you do need to do so. We have no idea whether he did that from the very beginning when he designed amulets for a purely magical function. Unfortunately he did so rarely, if ever.

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      6. True, but there’s a factor we tend to overlook, at least, I know I do.

        Remember the description of his sorceries in the first chapter of FIMBULWINTER as “intuitive” and Cerise’s observation in BLACK COVEN of his enchantments as “weird” and “burned into the metal”?

        I really must stop trying to think of Daniel’s magic as structured, especially NOT structured in anything like a “language”. Even when he is copying something Elin has showed him, what Daniel actually “burns into metal” or stone is an intuitively created “pattern” of magic, NOT symbols like the wizards of Kozalin would use.

        Remember when Daniel and Cerise are figuring out Tina’s magic. Something like what she does, but “burned into metal” with no letters or words at all is what Daniel does when creating an enchanted item.

        Hence, the size of Clan Nethwillin’s silver amulets might well be managed intuitively by the enchantment Daniel builds into the matter to mana factory stone.

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  11. I was wondering how Daniel’s optimal projectile weapon should look. I am still convinced the gun is not the model to copy for optimal results in the long run.

    Let me derive the design logically.

    – Daniel’s force magic is slow to start
    – it is powerful in terms of mass it can accelerate
    – weight of ammo is not a logistical issue
    – Daniel has heavy weapon and armored vehicles, which can fight in open areas
    – Daniel’s elite troops operate at scouts and at night
    – Except for Cerise nobody is an experienced marksman

    What is Daniel up against:

    – very though monsters
    – magically enhanced armor
    – force fields
    – wards
    – unconventional enemies like wraiths or skeletons

    Conclusions:

    1. Daniel should not design his weapons for engagements on open fields with volley fire in 19th century style volley fire. In such an area he should use the successor of the skimmer or field artillery. Infantry is for scouting and fighting in woods or built up areas. Daniel will also need something that is good for mounted combat, flying troops and paratroopers.
    -> Daniel’s standard gun is too long. It should be machine pistol sized. Slightly longer than an Uzi approximately

    2. Daniel has troops who need silence. Night fighters and scouts. Those troops are also far stronger than ordinary men. And Daniel hopes to make ordinary men stronger.
    -> Go with heavy SUBSONIC projectiles. The troops can handle the recoil. If not, put them on other duty. It also means shortening the weapon creates no technical difficulty.

    3. A bullet is shaped like a bullet because it has to have low drag at supersonic speeds and can rotate without tumbling, while still doing good damage at impact. And above all it has to be a gastight plug in a barrel. Nothing of that applies to Daniel’s weapons.
    -> Buil long thin rods with stabilization fins. That is the best shape for armor penetration. Hence we build tank guns with such ammo. The end result is closer to a crossbow’s dart than a gun’s bullet.

    4. Bullets droop in their ballistic path because they have weight. Daniel knows magic that makes weight go (mostly) away. Such a weapon would handle like a ray gun. Also its range would be limited only by drag slowing the projectile down. Having a dense dart with low cross section helps in that regard. If air sorcery can lower aerodynamical drag, so much the better. If you can see it, you can shoot it.
    -> enchant the darts. You can put also other selectable destructive and penetrative effects on it. If the power output and the complexity of an enchantment depend on the mass of the carrier, you want slow, massive bullets even more.

    [That applies to artillery, too. A ballistic path makes sense only if he wants to shoot over the horizon.]

    5. The rate of fire is not limited by force magic, but by the time it takes to conjure the bullet. That is a waste.
    -> include a magazine. It can fill itself by magic. You don’t care how long that takes, within limits. You can shoot a burst. And if you run out, use your spare magazine.

    6. Daniel knows how to transfer force.
    -> include a force monopod. It would take Cerise, Tina or a catgirl, maybe an elf or a wolfen to handle a machine crossbow at full auto. With a monopod, everybody can do it.

    I am also sure you can come up with logical paths to improve on the basic model.

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    1. I would also include a shot gun type weapon. They are great for close and medium ranges, breaching (blowing doors, locks, and latches); and high stress and fast reaction situations where soldiers need a high impact or dispersed projectile pattern (make up for less accurate shooting). Also an enemy may still be able to fight with a rifle round or dart penetration, but a shot gun slug or buck shot should have more stopping power. Hit targets will need more recovery time before they can get back on target. Add to that a magic magazine that reloads and allows for burst fire. Not all soldiers need a shot gun too. But 1 or 2 per team/squad makes each group more flexible and adaptable.

      I think there is debate over a lighter faster round vs a slower heavier round for medium to long range for infantry.

      I would go for the lighter faster round as many of his non-enhanced infantry sound malnourished with less muscle mass and stamina. So carrying a heavy primary weapon may be tough (or must be built up to). And this would allow infantry to carry larger magic clips (magic reloads of 100 or more rounds vs 30 or fewer). Thus longer bursts or faster cyclic rate. And less barrel climb with follow on rounds.

      A lot will depend on spacifics on how the author works out the magic in the novels. But I do think a bull pup design to max barrel length and improve handleability is the base design to build off for both rifle and shotgun. Love to hear others thoughts.

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      1. many of his non-enhanced infantry sound malnourished with less muscle mass and stamina.

        In the first book, during his first night with Captain Rain’s company, Daniel spends several hours enhancing his own physique to optimal human strength and endurance levels. Not superhuman, but better than any of his subjects are likely to be. I suspect that, if it occurred to him, he could enchant an amulet that would duplicate that process on anyone who wore it. Or maybe he’d use a bed or coffin-like chamber. Get in, go to sleep, wake up in peak physical condition with perfect eyesight/hearing/etc. Not quite Captain America’s Vita-Rays, but his peasants would become much better equipped as soldiers over night.

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      2. Jabrwok, this would be a really good idea that I would very much like to see Daniel do, just like several of us would like to see him put his automatic healing enchantment on a bunch of rings or hospital beds.

        Sure hope the author picks up on something like these some day. They just make sense. Of course, they also suck time…Daniel’s time.

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      3. “I would go for the lighter faster round as many of his non-enhanced infantry sound malnourished with less muscle mass and stamina. So carrying a heavy primary weapon may be tough (or must be built up to). And this would allow infantry to carry larger magic clips (magic reloads of 100 or more rounds vs 30 or fewer). Thus longer bursts or faster cyclic rate. And less barrel climb with follow on rounds. ”

        I would say that this is a mistake. Shooting ordinary human infantry is not a priority to Daniel. A light weapon is good, but a weapon that can penetrate the enemy’s armor is better.

        Secondly, his infantry is also not a priority. Wolfen and elves are simply more important.

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      4. Armored fighting skimmers and magic powered armor may be even more important than elves and wolfen.

        Whatever he builds should have HUGE guns and massive armor, backed by an entire linked matter to mana power block.

        Something like animated versions of the U.S.S. Iowa’s 16 inch gun turrets, zipping around on skimmer fields would be just about right.

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  12. So, how does Daniel or maybe Demetrios staff his units?

    In some cases, like wolfen scouts or a hypothetical Naiad underwater combat team, the nature of the mission determines that.
    But what about skimmer crews and line infantry? The Black Army is underofficered. And he might want a mage in each vehicle and each platoon. That argues for putting elves and humans together. Finally who will fulfill the role for wolfen troops and possible catgirl units? Dryads?

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  13. Someone said, that E William Brown said, that Thrall is being released in December. He said fall, which is September, not Winter.

    How far along is he? September is 2 months away.

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  14. BLACK ISLE COULD HOLD THOUSANDS of MORE PEOPLE — say, 3000 to 4500 more

    I did a post on food supply from Black Isle farming before, but evidently, some missed it. Basically, a sixth of an Imperial/US acre is generally considered a minimum per person and a fourth of an acre generous. Thus, let us take five people to an acre with one crop cycle per year as our working number. A ground-level acre of Black Isle one handles 12 floors of farmland so is equivalent to 12 acres. In addition, harvests are every few weeks, so let us say 15 times a year. Thus, an acre at ground level is equivalent to 12×15 = 180 acres of one crop cycle per year farmland that supports 5 people per acre, it should support 900 people or in the extreme of still nourished 1080 people (6 per acre).

    To jump over a lot of analysis, let’s just say additional space exists on the island for 5.5 new keep equivalents (150’x400’) – Daniel claimed six. Calculating, 5.5 x 150 x 400 is 330,000 square feet = 7.6 acres. If 4 of these ground-level acres became farmland (in addition to present 1 acre) this would support 5×900=4500 people (to 6×1080=6480 people).

    But, you say would 4 acres be available after housing all those people. Most of the people are former peasants and used to a small square footage per person, say <100 square feet. However, this would be hard for Daniel to accept, so let us say 200 (~14’x14’) per person, plus an equal amount for communal, production, and public space combined per person totaling 400 square feet per person. Housing and other space effectively have 18 floors out of an actual 20. Thus, an acre (43560 square feet) yields 18×43560 = 784,080 square feet. Dividing 400 square feet per person into784,080 this yields 1960 people. Thus, 4500 people would require 2.3 acres and 6000 would require 3.06 acres.

    The acreage for 4500 people seems quite doable because the addition 4+2.3 acres is enough under 5.5 new keeps or 7.6 acres, namely 1.3 acres, to allow a good safety margin including items such as external walls. On the other hand, 6000 would probably require tight rationing and some good luck. [However, note the situation might not be quite as austere as the numbers above indicate as the corner towers do not appear to be fully exploited.]

    The present population of the Black Isle is not stated but seems to be approaching 1000 or possibly a few hundred more. Even if it were presently 1500, the room appears to exist for 3000 more people (or if push it, even 4500 more). The 4500 would not be living a middle-class US lifestyle, but certainly, they do not expect or even imagine that they would.

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    1. Plus, we have the possibility that Daniel and Elin might make some sort of significant change that causes seafood to become more available to Kozalin and therefore to Black Island. That’s more protein and more ocean vegetation derived foods like gelatins and edible seaweeds.

      https://www.finedininglovers.com/stories/edible-seaweed-list/

      Also, there are the various merchant ventures we occasionally kick around. Will there be more airships? Will we see Clan Nethwillin restart the merchant network so rudely interrupted by stupid humans’ obnoxious gods and goddesses?

      Then there are the Prince’s plans for Kozalin’s merchant fleet, actually, probably for Varmland’s merchant fleet and ports. Suffice to say, there might be more trade in food goods than we generally consider. Yes, Fimbulwinter seems to have global impacts and it probably messes up growing crops just about everywhere, but some growing might actually continue happening near to the equator, and who knows how far ideas like Daniel’s enormous magic hothouse farms will spread? They may be secret, today, but Nethwillin is very aware of them and the many potentially lucrative business “opportunities” they offer.

      “Daniel, the envoy from the Son of Heaven is impatient to tour your gardens. Hospitality, she says.”

      Damn, not another one. “Which Son of Heaven is this one?”

      “Nihon, is what she said, I believe.”

      Oh, yeah. Trust the emperor of Japan to send an Imperial princess. She negotiates like Pellagia, moves like Cerise and in that almost there silk she’s almost as slinky as Elin.

      “Is she still demanding an heir of my body before she’ll discuss anything else?”

      “Um…yes?”

      Damn. The things I do for coffee and tea…and cinnamon and pepper and nutmeg…sigh…”

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      1. I wonder, at what point will Daniel turn a portion of Black Island into a seed vault? Or ask the dark elves to start collecting every different plant/seed possible to maintain as much biodiversity as possible?

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      2. Ouch. Good question, Cam.

        In one sense, Black Island actually IS a seed vault, and the best kind of seed vault. All the crops that his farmers will produce will also produce the seed for the next crop. He will rotate his basic sets of seeds multiple times EACH year instead of once every few years. Excellent for keeping seeds viable and even more so for developing new varieties if everyone so chooses.

        Of course, that does NOTHING for preserving wildflowers, wild grasses, forests, orchards and all the crops Daniel’s farmers are NOT growing. No sorghum? Sorry about that, it goes extinct. No coffee?

        “ACK! What do you mean there’s NO COFFEE? Find some, plant some, quick!”

        Now, you know what’s even worse. All the pollinators, predator insects, pests, vermin and other bugs are dying, also.

        Daniel’s hothouse farms will be little islands, very rich islands but still, not nearly as rich as the rest of northern Europe needs.

        We can probably forget about preserving the habitats and species of current day Europe, not that anybody other than a few refugee farmers actually have worried about them. A hundred thousand years of ice age will scrub parts of the slate clean, leave interesting islands and fringes all over the place and then repopulate with…something, three thousand human generations in the future.

        Eventually, Daniel’s Black Island hothouse farmers will attempt to acclimate some of their crops to outside growing conditions again, fail miserably, and petition Daniel to build more hothouse farm structures instead. After that many plant generations, and that many human generations luxuriating in lush, protective hothouse environments, nobody and no plant will WANT to go back outside to live. Visit? Maybe….

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      3. I guess my concern comes in with Daniel having to jump on a seed vault right away before things are lost.

        Do the dryads have bees or other polinating insects? Can bee hives be captured and moved into a hothouse?

        What about plants that prefer warm temps (oranges, bananas, coconuts, sugar cane, pineapple, etc).

        I think the big issue will be enough hot houses and long term storage for all the different plant species. Look at all the differed spices (Avilla will need this), or types of friut and veggies. Plus wheats and grains. Or even corn, olive or other oils. On top of that i still think eggs (needed for baking), and some dairy (milk, cheese, butter – for calcium and protine) will be needed. So those animals need to be housed and fed. And if we are looking for the necessities of life you have to include graines, barkey, hopps, potatoes, yeast, grapes, sugar cane, and COFFEE. Is life really worth living without beer, wine, booze and coffee?

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      4. Cam, I really suspect Daniel won’t have to worry about all those domesticated plants and animals you mention.

        His hothouse farmers will maintain all of those and Daniel will even build more space for them if he thinks they need it.

        I’m sure the dryads and nymphs know all about domesticated bees, plus all the thousands of varieties of solitary bees and ladybugs and walking sticks and so many others that help pollinate, defend and devour garden or farm crops.

        We can certainly count on Daniel and his farmers to try to keep as many fruit trees and nut trees and chickens, rabbits, cows, coffee trees, tea bushes and other food, medicinal or beneficial plants and critters alive. Remember, the dryads will certainly try to keep the fruit and nut trees viable–some of those are kin!

        It will still be only a tiny island of survivors. When the ice age glaciers are a kilometer high, as they were a hundred thousand years or more ago, much of northern Europe will be ground down to soil, clay, sand, gravel and bare rock.

        Then the millennia of great thaws will come, and Black Island will have to survive massive flooding, perhaps occasionally of the catastrophic variety but certainly of the miles and miles of muddy water all around them variety.

        That will redistribute some of the gravel, clay, sand and soil. Coastlines, too, in some places.

        The boreal forests and tundra will fade north, slowly giving way to advancing swamps, forests, prairie, etc.

        A new radiation of various species of plants and animals will advance with the different waves of green, some familiar and some new opportunists.

        Daniel’s farmers will have to contend with the new when they try to replant their old, pampered species.

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      5. “Plus, we have the possibility that Daniel and Elin might make some sort of significant change that causes seafood to become more available to Kozalin and therefore to Black Island. That’s more protein and more ocean vegetation derived foods like gelatins and edible seaweeds.”

        No. That is good for feeding Kozalin and for making a siege supply. But Black Island is a fortress. Nobody knows for sure how long fimbulwinter or a siege might last.
        The worst case they need to plan for is longer than stores can last and so bad that no outside resources can be brought in on a regular basis. All the isle’s food needs would have to be met from internal production. That is the limit to the population on the island.

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      6. You just made another assumption based on false or nonexistent data. We don’t know what the islands/fortress storage capacity is. We know that the elves have bags of holding. However we really should wait to see if the groves can pull off time control. Because these combined can have a huge impact on food stores capability and capacity.

        “Hand me that bag of holding. Sure why. I need some spices. OH good it’s only 4,000 years old. OOOH fresh pepper just like it was grounded yesterday!”

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      7. In an ideal world, Daniel would build up Black Island’s population to only those people he can feed with crops grown on the island. Sadly, the world in which he lives is rather less than ideal. Hence, he will innovate, and so will the people around him. If he finds he must have access to seafood or trade with distant ports, Daniel will find ways to make that happen, and there are several available to him.

        We already have some idea what airships can do for Black Island. There is an upper limit on the number of airships Nethwillin can operate, and that number is not large. Consequently, airships alone cannot transport enough food from unknown distant merchants to feed a significantly larger population on Black Island. Now, if enough magic bags of holding are used, I might need to adjust my statement, but even with near infinite transportation capacity it is still too easy for Loki to send enough storms to shut down air transport for weeks or months. Other airborne magical assaults may also be possible. Dragons could seriously disrupt air traffic.

        Sieges are blockades. The words are actually interchangeable under some circumstances, particularly the situation in which Daniel finds himself. Properly allied to certain of Poseidon’s folk, Black Island cannot be blockaded. Daniel himself is not far from developing the means to break the only blockade that matters, Jormungandr’s kin and the oceanic Great Beasts. If it gives him access to seafoods, access that could not be interrupted since the seeding, growing, harvesting and transportation would be entirely under water, Daniel could build submarine warships with very nasty weapons. In fact, Poseidon or other sea polities would be well-advised to ally with Daniel if only to influence where major undersea battles NOT happen. When Daniel fights, breakage can be…significant.

        As it happens, one of Daniel’s priority projects will soon have to be his ocean defenses again. His underwater defenses are woefully lacking. He knows Jormungandr’s kin are easily able to closely approach via the river around Black Island. Maybe there are other allies of Loki who can swim long distances but otherwise pass as human? The first serious assassination attempt might be, literally, amphibious. At the absolute minimum, Daniel and Elin need to work with Cerise and Avilla to develop some wards and other protections that focus on undersea threats. Pellagia’s naiads can help with that. I wonder if the naga should be provided an opportunity to swim in the river? Would that be good for the naga? Will encroaching ocean water eliminate that opportunity? Is the naga freshwater only?

        The Prince or the merchants will also soon begin to negotiate with Daniel or the Conclave or both to clear the river of “monsters” all the way to the North Sea, so ships can actually use the channel Daniel’s hot rocks have melted. Then there are the many challenges of sailing the Atlantic Ocean. It does not have to be Daniel who negotiates an alliance with some undersea empire. Maybe the Prince will use the Fairie Summer Court to treat with merfolk to provide clear passage for Varmland shipping?

        Ultimately, I’m not really expecting Daniel to feed the population of Black Island with only food produced on the island. He needs trade for the spices to keep Avilla healthy and he needs chocolate to keep Elin happy and he needs coffee to keep himself sane.

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      8. “You just made another assumption based on false or nonexistent data. We don’t know what the islands/fortress storage capacity is.”

        It does not matter.

        – you want to hold out as long as possible
        – the storage has to be filled. They have those great food surplusses Daniel is totally not selling.

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      9. “Properly allied to certain of Poseidon’s folk, Black Island cannot be blockaded. Daniel himself is not far from developing the means to break the only blockade that matters, Jormungandr’s kin and the oceanic Great Beasts.”

        A daring assumption if we go for the worst case. How good are Loki and Gaia at raising land? Or putting an iceberg at the mouth of the Elb? And how long would Daniel’s heat stones last under a serious siege? And for that matter can he afford to leave so many examples of the M2M spell outside if the enemy has undersea forces?

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      10. We’ve already pointed out that Daniel will someday need to replace all those self-powered hot rocks with warm rocks linked to a matter to mana factory block somewhere in the basement of Castle Black. He has more than enough range available to power heating stones all the way out into the North Sea.

        Before he does that, or maybe after, he needs to perform the same service for Kozalin’s moat. That’s his opportunity to dredge the moat also, and maybe fill it with interesting, hungry critters. The water’s warm enough for piranha….

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      11. IceBERG at the mouth of the river, no. Remember, the tip of the iceberg is all we see. There’s no room for a significant iceberg in the river channel. Anything Loki can actually put there, Daniel’s warm rocks will melt because of all the warm water already flowing down the river. Hmm….

        Sea ICE at the mouth of the river, definitely. If Loki can freeze the coast of the North Sea for a mile or so out from the coast and at least a foot or two thick, that is another chunk of water Daniel will need to sow warm rocks in. Plus, the channel will be deeper under the ice, so Daniel’s warm rocks will have to be bigger or hotter. Of course, the further out he gets, the more at risk he will be from Jormungandr’s grandkids, too….

        That might just force Daniel to start experimenting with submarine warships that drop warm rocks every ten feet. Enough trips in and out of that river and Loki can forget about ever blocking it again.

        It occurs to me that Daniel is creating an incredible heat bloom at the mouth of the river, no matter what Loki fiddles with next. I wonder what sea life disruptions there will be?

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      12. If Loki and Gaea raise the land enough to block the river or join Black Island to a shore with a new causeway, Daniel will have to demonstrate how quickly he can configure a matter to mana power stone for mass banishing, won’t he.

        This is actually a valid concern, and we could easily imagine the entire series of parries and ripostes playing out in some future book.

        Plus, that’s almost certain to provide MORE lava sprayer created casting molds for Black’s Frightfully Fearsome Fullsized Fighter Figures.

        “Would you like that in Bronze or Nickel-Iron, Madam? This week’s Special is Silver Plated Bronze.”

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      13. “Anything Loki can actually put there, Daniel’s warm rocks will melt because of all the warm water already flowing down the river.”

        Flowing down the river? Only if the Elb isn’t frozen solid. Otherwise Daniel is making a moderately warm lake. And even if it flows, raising the land only a few meters will reverse the flow.

        “Enough trips in and out of that river and Loki can forget about ever blocking it again.”

        Is it really wise to give Loki a pressing reason to develop a spell for cutting mana links? With numerous test objects you cannot banish if they are looked at without making them vulnerable?

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      14. Oliver, remember: “parry and riposte”.

        Daniel and Loki are already facing off against each other in the Great Game. Daniel’s moves are tentative and exploratory. Loki is distracted by all the other players. Every time Loki must deal with one of Daniel’s novelties, Hecate has an opportunity to nick something somewhere else. Odin may notice and get back a bit of His own, too.

        Daniel will have to learn how to quickly dredge new channel into upraised river bed, or tear down dangerous causeways that let armies march right up to his walls.

        It’s Ragnarok, and NOBODY has seen Daniel’s “A” game, yet….

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      15. Actually, over the 100,000 years or more of ice age Daniel has to look forward to, he will frequently re-engineer the flow and configuration of Kozalin’s harbor, its river channel, and the channel to the North Sea.

        Eventually, ice age climate will freeze most of the river upstream from Kozalin and there will be no significant freshwater flow for many years at a time. Daniel has already anticipated this, commenting to the Prince that eventually the harbor will be salt water, not fresh.

        I expect it won’t be long before Daniel is performing MUCH more significant channelization work than a piddling few meters of dredging through upraised river bottom.

        It won’t be long before all the Prince’s demands for viable ocean access will result in Daniel deciding that rather than continue struggling to keep an ice free channel open, why not just bring the North Sea to Kozalin?

        With only five miles or a little more of winding channel, Daniel could banish his way from Black Island to the North Sea, creating a vastly wider and deeper inlet that is saltwater the whole distance. Of course, that would destroy the freshwater aspects of the estuary, but the Prince’s demands have already ordained that will happen, eventually.

        This new, bigger ocean access would also give Daniel’s larger submarines the ability to enter and leave his sub pens without any surface dwellers noticing.

        That has all sorts of fun benefits.

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      16. “If Loki and Gaea raise the land enough to block the river or join Black Island to a shore with a new causeway, Daniel will have to demonstrate how quickly he can configure a matter to mana power stone for mass banishing, won’t he.”

        I am afraid getting into a straight power duell with multiple gods is not a recipe for winning.
        And disspells definitely work against banishments. Daniel had that problem himself.

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      17. Oliver, why would there have to be a straight power duel between Loki and Daniel?

        Loki has VERY clearly been avoiding direct involvement whenever He could act by indirect means. Loki has MUCH more important things to do with his time than messing with Daniel. So long as there is any convenient stooge to send instead, Loki will do that, first. I expect the quality of stooges to improve, although Loki would be smart to NOT send Mara. There’s a dynamic in the father sending his daughter to the potential mate/husband that even Loki will sense, maybe even completely understand.

        For that matter, we must remember that Loki has multiple obvious reasons and probably more than a few less than obvious reasons to keep Daniel and his coven alive. When Ragnarok finally ends, the surviving gods/goddesses will need human worshipers again, and who is likely to have the best supply of those in Northern Europe? Daniel is also a potential consort for Mara, which Loki may or may not realize. I’m inclined to believe He knows more than Mara or Daniel or both of them. Hence, as potential father-in-law, it is Loki’s JOB to test Daniel THOROUGHLY.

        Daniel is already at war with Gaea and he’s VERY unhappy with several of Loki’s minion species. For the moment, he has been able to keep those conflicts relatively quiet, and intends to continue doing so. He’s been circumspect about his increasingly dangerous assaults on Gaea’s minions and demigods. If he could, Daniel would let hostilities fade and stay quiet. The gods do, however, keep trampling him and his friends in Their stupid war. If the idiots force him to fight Them directly, he will show Them nastiness They do not expect.

        Yes, I expect the nuclear bomb project is still active, if only in the back of Daniel’s mind….

        As for Loki and Gaea messing with raising land or moving icebergs or freezing masses of sea ice, why would They bother? For that sort of blockade can do Them any good, they also need to blockade the air and land approaches to Kozalin and Black Island. For that, they will need two armies, one land army and one air army, or equivalents. Have They deployed either since Daniel destroyed Gaea’s reserve armies? We’ll find out in THRALL.

        Of course, none of this conversation is actually relevant to the actual story line. Daniel won’t be starting with a spitting contest over Loki’s boots. The first Daniel will know that he’s stuck with more janitorial work will be when Steelbinder asks him for a minute of his time at the end of the next Conclave meeting and negotiates some sort of trade for the river monster clearing job. Daniel’s mix of overpowering explodyness plus “weird” innovation is the perfect match for that work, and he’s already familiar with the route, so of course Steelbinder will seek him out after the Prince lays the job on the Conclave. Again. Now THAT should be a paint-peeling discussion….

        Now, what can Steelbinder offer that Daniel needs enough to burn a week or more upgrading the river channel instead of upgrading Black Island’s defenses?

        Or, more likely, while ALSO upgrading Black Island’s defenses!

        Sleep is overrated….

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      18. “It’s Ragnarok, and NOBODY has seen Daniel’s “A” game, yet….”

        If he has to show it, he has already made a grave mistake.

        Parry & riposte is stupid. I am sorry, but that is a strategy for 18th century coalition wars about positions of power or some limited territory. Both Loki and Daniel are fighting for survival. Proportional response is foolish. You strike as hard as you can as fast as you can. But you strike only if you really have to.
        In addition time works for Daniel.

        So if Loki really blocks the Elb, the best option for Daniel is to do nothing. I know, it sucks.
        If Loki really wants to kill Daniel, there is no point showing him a slow method will not work. He may try a fast method. Daniel can use the time.

        If Loki wants to wipe out Kozalin, let him. At the current point, he knows that Daniel is defending Kozalin. If he attempts a blockade anyway, it will be important to him and there is no point in telling him otherwise. Daniel should try diplomacy and extract some favor for agreeing to inaction.

        Tactically you are right, Daniel needs underwater combat capability.

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      19. Oliver, we probably need to stop imagining that Loki MUST kill all the humans of Black Island and Kozalin.

        The more I think about it, if Gaea has Her way and all humans die, Loki loses.

        Gaea’s Andregi are FAR more numerous than Loki’s monsters, and better protected in Her pocket universe. She will become increasingly annoying to be anywhere near, the more power She has in Their relationship.

        Consider the possibility that Loki NEEDS humans to survive Ragnarok and what comes after. He just needs them to survive WITHOUT most of the Asgard church, the worst of the Asgard nobility, probably the Varmland royals, too, and maybe other European royalty.

        In fact, Daniel’s professed laissez-faire religious “rules” for Black Island must look rather promising to Loki.

        Then, remember Loki NEEDS to make certain Mara finds the “right” consort. She and her children and maybe also her consort are likely to form a very powerful part of His (next) pantheon. Where would Loki find anyone better than Daniel? Plus, if Loki plays His cards well, he might hook a subtle or even overt alliance with Hecate, Bast and the coven’s other patrons/matrons. Daniel’s coven is nothing to sneeze at, either, and if Mara became part of that?

        Then there is Prometheus. Loki cannot forget Him. If Daniel is “in play” because Prometheus wants Daniel there, what are the odds Daniel might be Loki’s BANE? What if Daniel is Gaea’s BANE? How much does Loki really need/want to keep his alliance with Gaea? Her monsters and armies are certainly helpful, even if Her army reserve has recently been massively depleted. How much does Loki know about THAT? Is Gaea a partner or a tool? With Loki, you never know….

        Loki has many reasons to be VERY CAREFUL how he deals with Daniel and Black Island. Kozalin’s humans are not quite as important, but would still be a very nice chunk of worshipers if Loki manages events properly.

        It’s also a challenge of the MOST important sort–winning the contest for the hearts and minds of Odin’s worshipers.

        Odin thinks He is fighting a war and defending Valhalla.

        What if He is actually winning that war, but losing His worshipers to Loki.

        That is exactly the sort of contest the Trickster God just LOVES to win.

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      20. If Daniel is going to put effort into melting something, the first thing he should melt is the portion of the moat closest to city walls on the landward side of the city. As it is close by, he could do this without having mana producers in each ‘rock’.

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      21. He doesn’t even need individual heating stones. A rust-proof nickle-iron cable that carried a heating enchantment along its length and was linked to his power stone would do it. Lay the cable, turn in on remotely so it all starts heating up simultaneously, et voila!

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      22. I like the idea, but what happens when some enemy magic user cuts the cable in half?

        Yes, it could be self-repairing.

        What happens when the “cut” is a huge missing section, carried away to be converted into swords and armor?

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      23. I like the idea, but what happens when some enemy magic user cuts the cable in half?

        Yes, it could be self-repairing.

        What happens when the “cut” is a huge missing section, carried away to be converted into swords and armor?

        As you said, the cut section could re-grow. Any parts taken away could auto-banish if moved a certain distance from the initial cable. And the whole thing is going to be very hot, so moving it won’t be the easiest thing in the world. No one appears to have fiddled with the extant heat stones after all.

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      24. Ooh. I like that auto-banish concept. That could have all sorts of interesting and useful applications.

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      25. “The more I think about it, if Gaea has Her way and all humans die, Loki loses.”

        Yes. Nevertheless Loki needs or wants to kill a lot of people. Hence the fimbulwinter. We do not know exactly what he wants or needs to destroy. Even if Daniel were to ask Mara or Loki himself, there is no way to verify the answer.
        And he did try to take Kozalin. He got the anchor. But still can he let a Great Temple next to the Conclave with the Dark Portal stand? Especially after Daniel’s radiation weapon, which he must suspect arrived through the Dark Portal.

        The Aesir are not going to blockade Kozalin. If we need to discuss the possibility, we are either looking at the medium term future (Ra?) or we are talking about Loki’s side. If Gaia finds out what happened to Korak, this may happen.

        Would Loki help Gaia against Daniel? Again maybe. So Daniel ought to prepare for that case.
        Loki may wish to present himself to the southern Europeans as liberator and just depopulate the north.

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      26. We keep looking at Loki’s forces as finite, that the Andregi were his largest force, that’s the wrong outlook, the frost giants who are Loki’s main force have an entire plain in which they live, Loki is bringing this army into Midgard in order to cross the bifrost, He actually attacks Asgard from one of Hel’s ships using her unending army of undead. (not really sure how that works, maybe it flies)
        https://norse-mythology.org/tales/ragnarok/
        Danial needs to stop looking at Quality in his troops and start looking for quantity, there is going to be an endless wave of giants and undead roaming about once Ragnarok finally starts and he’s really going to need giant slaying weapons as well as mass troop killers for the undead on the ground and in the water, the moat is really no obstacle to the undead.
        I think that Loki was just humoring Gaia by allowing her to use her pet project Andregi to make the first overtures in the war, he doesn’t really need that army to kill off Asgard, he already has several endless armies at his disposal. what’s an army of 7 million compared to billions of undead…
        Infinite repeaters, that fortress is going to need to fire enough bullets to utterly control the land and sky around it as far as they can see. Danial needs bodies to fire the weapons be they living or animated. (I vote for gingerbread ninja rangers, they can be set up as gun crews and have multiple crews managed by troops.)
        The lava bombs need to be used sparingly or have a builtin banish to remove the iron after it goes off or there will soon be an iron layer building up around the island.
        It’s going to be a target rich environment.

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      27. Grady, there are several good points in your comments.

        Whether the frost giants were tucked away in some sort of pocket world or they live in their own full world we do not know, unless sagas give us some answers to that. There may only be a few willing to follow Loki to Midgard, or there may be many. Don’t forget the Fenris Wolf, either. When it is released it is Odin’s BANE.

        Daniel is probably almost always stuck with prioritizing quality over quantity in his army. There just won’t ever be enough soldiers for him to match even a fraction of the numbers Hel, Loki and Gaea can field. Daniel needs to up his game a LOT with devastating weapons, so much that you will be right about him needing to frequently sweep the debris out of his moat.

        DALEKS! Daniel needs more bigger Daleks!

        Huge BOLO and O.G.R.E. skimmers, too.

        Gingerbread ninja ranger heavy weapons teams!

        Like

      28. Power armor wearing space Marines! He needs to up his soldiers abilities and quality by turning them into magical versions of power armor wearing space Marines. He needs to kick his super soldier program into high gear. He needs to match or surpass the super soldiers that Odin has available to him.

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      29. DALEKS! Daniel needs more bigger Daleks!

        Huge BOLO and O.G.R.E. skimmers, too.

        He needs to work with Steelbinder so he can figure out how Steelbinder controls his floating weapon-spheres. Those are described as zipping around so fast, and constantly changing shape while doing so, that I imagine Steelbinder wasn’t actively controlling them. They might have bound spirits controlling them, or there might be some kind of sub-conscious link which lets part of Steelbinder’s brain control them without his having to devote conscious attention to them. Regardless, if the technique can be scaled up, Daniel could mass-produce semi-autonomous Earth Talismans which could actively patrol the area around Castle Black and Kozalin. Not sure how they’d distinguish friend from foe, but that’s why he’d need to consult the Red Conclave. There was a wizard at the Temple when Mara was attacking whose spells *could* distinguish between friend and foe, so it can be done.

        Liked by 1 person

      30. “what’s an army of 7 million compared to billions of undead…”

        An army. Even with mages and combat animals.
        The undead are neither trained nor organized, nor do they even share a language. And what motivates them?

        “the frost giants who are Loki’s main force have an entire plain in which they live”

        How many are they and do they all obey Loki?

        “Danial needs to stop looking at Quality in his troops and start looking for quantity,”

        If you are outclassed, you are outclassed. There’s no point in spending a lot of effort to still be outnumbered beyond belief. You need to accept that the enemy has strengths you cannot beat him on. You need to find a way to make your qualities matter more, not beat the enemy at his own game.

        Daniel’s focus on artillery, mechanized warfare and weapons of mass destruction is correct. He needs even more quality.

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      31. Some of the undead may be MUCH more trained and better equipped than others.

        Roman legions will be disciplined, deadly mowing machines.

        On the other hand, mobs of Roman street beggars will be bodies…well, skeletons, unarmed and perhaps ephemerally useful as fragile obstacles.

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      32. I agree with Oliver on this one. He can never match their quality of numbers. So he has to overmatch them with quality of gear, technique, soldiers and strategies. That being said finding a way to offset his numbers with fast manufactured golem or gingerbread Marines might be something he should look at.

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      33. “Sargent crusty” let us get a good Kaydenc going. (I don’t know but I’ve been told. The dow she was made from was filed with mold.”)

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      34. “Roman legions will be disciplined, deadly mowing machines.”

        Why would they (that is real Roman legions made up from Romans – not late foederati from the North) fight for a Germanic godess? And by the time Hel gets them, most are old men decades out of practice. And you are demanding that they fight their own descendants.

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      35. Um, no, but I am suggesting you read the significant part of BLACK COVEN.

        “But the alarming thing was the endless stream of troops debarking from them. There were far more men than could possibly have fit in those ships, even if they were stacked like cordwood. They weren’t disorganized mobs like the undead we’d fought earlier, either. I saw disciplined companies of swordsmen, troops of cavalry, and even what I could swear was a column of Roman legionaries.”

        Brown, E. William. Black Coven (Daniel Black Book 2) (Kindle Locations 7105-7109). Unknown. Kindle Edition.

        Remember, historically, many, many more soldiers die YOUNG of disease than from enemies’ killing blows.

        Hel gets them all, apparently.

        Hmm…I wonder if this points us toward another sideways bit of timeline information?

        Was Pluto chased out of the Underworld and replaced by Hel BEFORE the end of the Roman Empire/Republic?

        Or, did Hel “inherit” all the spirits in the Underworld when She gave Pluto the boot?

        Oh, as for “demanding” Romans fight their own descendants? They spent rivers of blood assassinating, murdering and waging civil war on their PEERS. No Roman ever hesitated to kill another Roman simply because he or she was Roman. Now, familia…THAT could be an issue. Not always, especially if they were obstacles to inheriting a throne.

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    2. “a sixth of an Imperial/US acre is generally considered a minimum per person and a fourth of an acre generous”

      – with current or at least modern strains of plants.
      – with no space dedicated to non-food crops like flax
      – Daniel also needs to dedicate space to spice production
      – he also needs to leave space for the next bunch Hecate sends him, e.g. centaurs may need meadows
      – your safety margins for a siege are too low
      – the next bunch may eat more than humans

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      1. The scope of the numbers seems about right. Whether Daniel can build the next hothouse structure taller is also yet to be determined. Even one or two floors more would provide some of the “just in case” space some surprise additional group might need.

        Or, for that matter, as DaShoota has mentioned before, digging down before building up is an option. If Daniel starts building two levels down and completes his new hothouse farm two level higher than the first one, that will be four more levels of growing space, plus some taller full height Grove spaces if Hecate sends any dryads with Spruce or other tall tree types.

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      2. Yes, but he would weaken his foundation after he went to all of the trouble of making it immensely strong. And he’d spread his dryads thinner. Where is the point where increased space is less useful than keeping growing times short?
        And he gives up immunity to flooding attacks.

        The next group, however, might require volume as opposed to floor space. What if Hecate sends him sirens who need an enclosed heated open space to fly around? I would very much leave some ground uncovered.
        And there is a point where it is just better to make the government an offer they cannot refuse and buy more land and grow the island.

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      3. I’d expect Daniel can strengthen the foundation of Black Island rather more than he needs for some relatively shallow excavations before building a new structure.

        Plus, the lowest levels might actually be submerged and filled with seawater or fresh. Let’s see…
        – lobster, clam, oyster and other sea creature “ranching”
        – kelp farming
        – totally hidden shipyard and submarine pens
        – guarded and fortified access to the river for Elin and the naga
        – guarded and fortified access to Black Island for representatives of Poseidon’s sea folk or other ocean allies.

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      4. guarded and fortified access to the river for Elin and the naga

        The Naga is a snake woman, so I don’t think she’d like to go swimming in near-arctic conditions. We don’t have any evidence that she’s a particularly water-friendly snake woman either, but she was described as being in very bad shape when brought to the island.

        The Naiads would be helpful, and anyone with a heated wet-suit can learn to do some aquatic activities. Force-flippers which deactivate when the wearer is out of the water would be helpful too. Magical air-supplies mean no cumbersome tanks or re-breathers.

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      5. Yes. Elin and the naiads are probably the best candidates. Daniel really needs some friendly contacts with the merfolk, fae sea folk, selkies, etc. Yet another reason for that long neglected visit to the Fairie Summer Court.

        If he delays too long, and perhaps worse, if Elin delays too long, the Summer Court embassy will summon them.

        Elin’s story will have reached their ears by now.

        Somebody important will be curious to know if she is now an important player, rather than a discard.

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      6. Oliver, I totally agree there may well come a time when Daniel and whoever commands in Kozalin will make another deal for more land to add to Black Island.

        Of course, he will have to make sure he has enough army to defend his new, longer walls.

        Better make them ridiculously high and mount LOTS of guns or other tools of destruction all over them, especially automated defenses like lava sprayers.

        Hey, Daniel will have to get into the exotic statuary business. Some day all those lava molds will rot out and a little pressurized water will scrub them clean enough for him to fill with summoned, melted bronze.

        It’s a new hobby! Frightfully fiendish full-sized fighter figures.

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      7. I’m not sure why everyone assumes that going down with his construction is going to automatically fill with water? Danial made a Granite island and placed it on the bedrock, there will be no leaks, he can simply grow his Island Downwards by either banishing the underlying stone or converting it and continue to not have any leaks. Conversely if any water does get in he can simply banish the water. There are lots of deep mines in places where the water has to be removed.
        As for structural integrity Danial will have to plan for the weight of the ice as it compresses the rock around him, maybe if he goes deep enough before starting the greenhouses he can avoid this.
        Running out of Dryads is a problem, maybe they can sprout more? (Is this a Dryad seed issue? or do you take a cutting like a fingernail clipping and transplant once she’s big enough. “dammit they grow just like Ivy, frigging Dryads everywhere.”)

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      8. Maybe Daniel will solve his dryad shortage by rescuing the dryad thralls from Valhalla?

        I’m not assuming Black Island will automatically flood if Daniel starts his construction by digging deep, first.

        I’m thinking it might be great to put a submarine harbor there, plus all sorts of other water related activities, like seafood farms and exit/entry for Elin and the naiads.

        Of course, Daniel may only want one “wet basement” building.

        His other new construction might be dry from lowest basement to uppermost farming level.

        I’m not so sure Daniel will ever need to worry about supporting the mass of a mile of ice sheet above Black Island.

        He’s going to melt all that snow before it accumulates.

        Of course, Black Island and Kozalin will eventually be surrounded by that ice sheet where Daniel does not keep it from forming…maybe.

        Hmm….

        Then again, maybe Daniel won’t be bringing the North Sea to Kozalin after all.

        On the other hand, he might not have to worry about the river staying totally frozen upstream of him, either, after Fimbulwinter is done.

        Nice maps!

        https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/83/Last_Glacial_Maximum_Vegetation_Map.svg

        Oliver, I’m thinking your comments about hydrodynamics might be significantly more appropriate for Daniel’s ice age climate experiences. It looks like the Kozalin area will be very near the foot of the Scandinavian ice sheet for most of a hundred thousand years.

        A hemisphere “Ayer’s Rock” configuration for Black Island might not do the job. Daniel might want a tear drop instead. A really, really BIG and massively strong teardrop.

        Or he could just convert the whole island into a giant skimmer and zip away to Spain for a while.

        Maybe take a nice long vacation on Crete?

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    3. And one thing more. You have to figure that the transition to a siege state may be sudden and/or chaotic. People that happen to be on the isle would stay there. It is very bad for morale to throw them off the walls. They will have to be fed. If a fighting retreat needs to be fought, allies (part of the city garrison or the Conclave) are likely to end up on the isle. They have to be fed, too.

      The recruitment of locals means that they have family in Kozalin. You will have to end up taking in some of them, if Kozalin falls. And so on.

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      1. If the situation in Kozalin is so chaotic that any significant percentage of the surviving population comes to Black Island to live and then must stay, indefinitely, then all controls over the amount of space Black Island is limited to come under question. Daniel still must keep the perimeter as small as possible so his available troops can defend his walls adequately, but other than that, Black Island will almost certainly grow more as Daniel’s powers and responsibilities increase, particularly if Kozalin’s powers and responsibilities decline.

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      2. Daniel still must keep the perimeter as small as possible so his available troops can defend his walls adequately

        He only needs to defend this perimeter if said perimeter gives access to the inside. If the outside of his citadel is just a giant, sealed, self-repairing, nickle-iron dome, with no windows or other ingresses or egresses, then patrolling it becomes pointless. A watch-tower at the peak would be adequate and could be fortified out the wazoo.

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      3. Maybe. Look at the paragraphs in EXTERMINATION just before Brand’s short visit.

        Daniel was somewhat dismayed to discover how easily he was able to dismantle the tower he built first at Kozalin.

        Imagine how dismayed he will be six weeks or six months from now when he finds he must dismantle Castle Black and totally rebuild Black Island again as part of another enlarging project.

        The last thing Daniel needs is to give an enemy army freedom to climb all over his home, exploring to see how they might take it away from him.

        He needs to kill them before they set foot on his island.

        MORE lava sprayers!

        Daniel needs more lava molds for his Fearsome Frightful Fullsized Fighter Figure product line.

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      4. He should also invest in some anti fire measures. After all there’s still what comes after fimblwenter. Namely fire giants and their fire daemon ruler.

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      5. He should also invest in some anti fire measures. After all there’s still what comes after fimblwenter. Namely fire giants and their fire daemon ruler.

        He knows how to summon water thanks to Elin. Water cannon are thus an option. Given his power sources, massive water bombs from water summoned from the bottom of the Marianas Trench might be entertaining.

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      6. He wouldn’t have to dismantle the current set up, just grow the outer wall into a dome (or a sphere so he’s protected from below as well). Cover the exterior with remotely triggered lava sprays and he’s pretty safe.

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      7. The wall is just the extension of the island that he made in the first place. Why would he need to create a sphear out of his wallet?

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      8. The wall is just the extension of the island that he made in the first place. Why would he need to create a sphere out of his wall?

        My idea was that he’d gain maximum internal volume (not necessarily an issue given the Elves space-expansion magic) with minimum surface area, along with maximum wall thickness. The overall shape really wouldn’t matter so much as long as it was insanely thick, gave no direct access to the interior, was self-repairing, and has some kind of automagic defensive function.

        While you don’t win wars by defending, Daniel isn’t actually trying to win a war, he’s trying to survive one, so a focus on defense makes a lot of sense.

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      9. I am not so sure about a dome or spherical shape for the island. Due to the arch of the surface it would be tougher to keep watch over the outer surface. While with a square guard towers on diagonal corners would offer full view of the wall. And if there are towers on all 4 corners there would be over watch on all faces of the outer wall from 2 different angles.

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      10. I went with a sphere simply because it was geometrically simple. A cone or pyramid would work too, though if you wanted uniformly thick walls between the populace and the outside you’d have to arrange the populated areas in a matching configuration.

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      11. Cone or pyramid would work with a central guard tower at the top. But then how steep would the angle be. Could the walls be climbed? And where would the airships land?

        For overall shape i think a square footprint might be a better shape. Could go pentagon or hexagon but that would need more guard towers. Exterior walls should be very steep or vertical.

        The roof profile i think can be debated. I would recommend a section that is flat for airship take off and landing. And even a runway if Daniel ever develops faster lift wing flight (air craft carrier style needs less runway than most think – i believe 1 & 1/4 acher? But go for more just to be safe). Add in large heavily reinforced doors to bring craft into an inner hanger. I would recommend 2 hanger doors so there is movement through the hanger. To create fast load and unload, and a quick maintinance area. I would go hanger on same level as runway vs elevator as i think there is space. On top of the hanger an air control tower with observation, communication, and defensive abilities.
        Below the hanger through another defensive layer a warehouse complex. Access from warehouse to hanger levels is through elivators for specific use (personnel, munitions, material, vessels/equipment).

        The warehouse complex shoud be centrally located with access to: the front gate for access to Kozalin for trade. The elevators to the hanger for fast loading. The sea gate for when marine shipping gets going. Manufacturing locations so a buildup of equipment can begin. And hothouses so food reserves can be built up for a siege, increase in population, or greater need.

        The warehouse complex should have:
        – refugee intake area
        – dry storage (silos)
        – cold storage (frozen meat etc)
        – mass storage (consider how bags of holding can be used in all storage cases)
        – medical area (refugees or returning soldiers may need this – also a good idea for incoming refugees to get medically cleared before entering the island)
        – an armoury/munitions depo
        – maintenance area (where repairs can be made or things can be set aside for when Daniel can get around to it)
        – barracks
        – staging area

        I think that is pretty much it. A lot would come down to an expert in logistics meeting with an architect, engineer, soldier and others to see how everything can be optimized. Maybe a meeting of Daniel with his entire command staff & coven with a model of Black Island to get their best ideas out. Then break up into groups asking how each would attack or deffend. Do that a few times then put it into place. Maybe see if you can even get some devine input. I think it would be really cool to see how the author would approach this situation.

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      12. Yes and no he probably won’t be fighting in any big actions. However he has plenty of A-Holes he will eventually fight. No matter Who wins he has plans to and expressed a desire to as well as may have to clean up which ever faction is left. After all his patron is most likely building a pantheon of her own. If she is and plans to stay in Europe she will have to deal with whoever is left. That makes Daniel one of her most powerful weapons and he grows in strength as well as power by the day. (Eventually he will have to go forth and fight.) It’s just a matter of when and is he and his people ready.

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      13. Yes, and that general configuration might be very useful after Kozalin is utterly lost.

        While Kozalin is still populated and defended, Daniel may choose to maintain Castle Black as a looming, threatening presence glowering over the river approaches to the city.

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      14. “He only needs to defend this perimeter if said perimeter gives access to the inside.”

        But not necessarily voluntary access. That is, as long as an enemy could perforate your dome or, much worse, collapse it, you need to guard it.

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      15. But not necessarily voluntary access. That is, as long as an enemy could perforate your dome or, much worse, collapse it, you need to guard it.

        Sure, which is why you make it *really* thick, strong, and self-repairing. I’m not visualizing an Astrodome structure with a thin shell and a large open space inside, but rather a solid hemisphere of nickle-iron with artificial caves carved out inside it. The thinnest parts of the shell could be as much as 100 feet thick. Something that massive would be virtually impossible to crack, especially if protected with the kinds of multi-layered wards currently in place on the Black Citadel.

        There is no such thing as “perfect” of course, but Daniel wants to survive Ragnarok and the Fimbulwinter. A fortress like this would enhance his chances of that. It might also make him more of a target of course, but that’s not new.

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      16. “Daniel needs more lava molds for his Fearsome Frightful Fullsized Fighter Figure product line.”
        Each comes with its own controlling Gingerbread ninja Ranger free of charge!
        But wait there’s more! If you order now you will get a free Dryad sprout-ling (of I am Groot fame) to plant in your own garden for constant blessings. (not responsible for Marriage woes caused by use of this product.)

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      17. “For overall shape i think a square footprint might be a better shape. Could go pentagon or hexagon but that would need more guard towers. Exterior walls should be very steep or vertical.”

        How should I put this? That is the shape of Black Island if it is finally filled with buildings.

        And for the shape I am afraid I cannot fully agree. With the current design you always have the problem that there is an area very close to the wall you cannot fire on from the battlements. If you construct overhanging areas out of the battlements you always have something for the enemy to shoot off.

        The traditional solution is to have pentagonal bastions jutting out from the walls, so that you can fire at every spot on the wall from under cover. Daniel’s four corner towers can fulfill that function for the main walls, but they themselves now have an area enemies can shelter in. The towers really need to be deformed so that the outward facing corner goes out some way into the river to form an acute angle. The towers must have walls that can be covered from the main wall. And he really should add bastions in the middle of the main walls, so that losing the guns on one tower does not create zones of immunity.

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    4. And finally, how long will Daniel really care about size limits on his island? I suppose the real limit on the size of his island will be given by hydrodynamics. Things may get interesting if/when there is a spring thaw.

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      1. Things will be MUCH more interesting if there are ice dams and truly massive flooding once Ice Age conditions settle in.

        https://www.livescience.com/873-bursting-ice-dam-flooded-ancient-ocean.html

        Want to bet Loki could make something like this happen during a temporary thaw, ten or twenty thousand years from now?

        I suspect the volume of our Baltic Sea is similar to what poured out of Eastern Canada eight thousand years ago. Maybe there will be a full Baltic Sea covering part of old Varmland when the next ice age is done.

        There may be LOTS of hydrodynamics between now and then.

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      2. And finally, how long will Daniel really care about size limits on his island? I suppose the real limit on the size of his island will be given by hydrodynamics. Things may get interesting if/when there is a spring thaw.

        This is definitely something to consider. If the prince dies, or Kozalin looks like it’s about to go under, the 10 acre limit goes out the window. The Law is Silent when the Cannons Roar. Daniel could expand the island to an arbitrarily large area and then just enclose the entire thing in a giant rock dome. Imagine Ayer’s Rock with carve-outs inside for a population that can get its food, air, and water magically. No need to leave a link to the outside at all, and carving through a nickle-iron mountain to get to the gooey center would take a lot of work.

        Daniel, as the New King Under the (man-made) Mountain could also dedicate as much volume as he wanted to new farms.

        Finally, there’s no reason to assume that the new Ice Age will last 100K years. If nothing else Daniel could adapt his river-thawing technique and put (remotely powered this time) heating rocks all over Europe. It would take a long time, but heating stones that don’t have their own internal power source would be a lot easier to make than the ones he used in the river, and the whole project could probably be done in less than a century.

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      3. The Ayer’s Rock solution leaves Daniel with no active defense of his home. I suspect he will need to put soldiers and gunners and other fighters on the walls to keep his enemies off his walls, and that suggests he will need some walls. Plus LOTS of really BIG guns.

        Maybe Daniel only needs to thaw the parts of Europe closest to Kozalin and a few other favored cities.

        By the time he could actually do much about this continental warming project, most of the population of Europe will have died or found its own solutions to the new ice age, like moving somewhere else or forting up as Daniel has.

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      4. The Ayer’s Rock solution leaves Daniel with no active defense of his home. I suspect he will need to put soldiers and gunners and other fighters on the walls to keep his enemies off his walls, and that suggests he will need some walls. Plus LOTS of really BIG guns.

        Not necessarily. He’s aware of the concept of the electric fence, and given his powers he could likely put a lot of remote-controlled defenses in place, similar to the gatehouse he created. I don’t know whether he could arrange to electrocute anything that sat down on his dome, but pressure-sensitive lava mines might be an option.

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      5. Interesting thought, Jabrwok. Daniel has wards, shields and similar magic protections that function automatically. His magic healing functions automatically.

        All of his death-dealing magic weapons require a mind to make a decision and a finger to pull a trigger or push a button.

        I wonder how consistent he is with that?

        You might find he won’t do mines, except as remote-controlled items.

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      6. He has already done mines and yes he did in fact make them remote activated. It was towards the end of book 2 that he blows up his causeway to the pear.

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      7. Exactly, DaShoota. I think you know what I mean. Is there anyplace in the books where Daniel sets up a sensor connected to the trigger of an explosive? I can’t think of one.

        Every weapon Daniel makes requires a brain to actively decide when to activate it, and a finger to pull a trigger or push a button to make the decision reality. Okay, it was a ring on his finger and an intent interface trigger for the mines on his front door, but essentially the same thing.

        This behavior might be the author deliberately writing Daniel’s character as super cautious, or it might be the author unconsciously choosing NOT to leave dangerous toys laying about the landscape of HIS creation.

        Remember Princess Diana of Wales and the worldwide issue of leftover landmines from a century of warfare in our universe? There are still mines from World War One that have not yet been triggered, including the monster somewhere in Belgium. If I remember correctly, somebody has already found an unexploded bomb somewhere in Germany this year, just like last year and the year before that. I wonder when we will run out of those?

        Sucks to be the cultural anthropologist two hundred years from now who does not understand what 500 pounds of rusty ancient ordnance can do for his coffee break.

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      8. I can think of one. He put a lot of work into it as well. It’s the mortar rounds that he designed to take out the force fields of the ape men. He made proximity fuses for them.

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      9. Totally agree with you, DaShoota. Those mortar rounds could easily be made into mines and we are told in the story how quickly Daniel’s factory creates hundreds of them. Perfect model for autonomous mine production.

        For that matter, mortars could just as easily be used for mine laying whenever there are no enemies around Kozalin. When the enemy appears, switch from firing mines to firing live rounds.

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      10. As I said above, A hard-won and repeatedly confirmed truism of war is that one cannot successfully defend by staying entirely on the defensive. This means one must do more than fight people who are moving to attack one. Locally, this may mean vigorous patrolling, setting of ambushes placement of boobby traps and mines, psychological warfare, deception, and targeted killings.

        Usually, it also requires deeper, more distant actions psychological, diplomatic or military. In any case, one needs to try to maintain initiative and have the attacker responding to one’s moves.

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      11. True I get the impression from the books that this series is going to encompass multiple smaller wars. All connected to but not necessarily an actual part of Ragnarok itself. A true magical world war. Even the powers that don’t take part in Ragnarok seizing the opportunity to settle old grudges claim new territories or conduct smaller wars against enemies without being noticed by larger powers. Who are themselves engaged in something going on in the world.

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      12. All of them dragged kicking and screaming “NOOOOOOOOOooooooooo…….” into Ragnarok by the many different global impacts, population dislocations, food crop production interruptions and other catastrophes of Fimbulwinter.

        Loki needs to stay hidden really, really well for a very long time.

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      13. Yep and some of the miner powers will find themselves under siege when what was once worthless land starts being fertile farmland. If the author is being realistic you will see Egypt and Iraq start marching over Africa until they come up against somebody more powerful or powerful enough to holt them. I wonder what the Zulu empire looks like in that world?

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      14. Or Egypt and Libya will grow more green and more fertile from the Mediterranean coast south into the Sahara, just like they were ten thousand years ago…for a while.

        Ra will have to wonder how long it can last, and will know that won’t be long enough.

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      15. “In any case, one needs to try to maintain initiative and have the attacker responding to one’s moves.”

        Yes, but that does not mean attack. If you need to attack, you have already missed the ideal outcome. Sun Tzu explains that. The best way to beat an enemy is to be where he needs to be before him. And the best way to kill an enemy is to make him attack a prepared position he is not equipped to take.
        On a tactical level, the defense is stronger.
        We see the attack as taking the initiative, because the attacker ordinarily has the choice of location and time. But not necessarily. Initiative is taking that choice away.

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      16. On this issue I will have to both agree and disagree with Oliver. That is perhaps one of the most optimal strategies but you should never limit yourself to a finite number of strategies. Sun Tzu also said attack the enemy when and where he is weakest as well as have him attack you when and where you are strongest.

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      17. Yes. I suspect if I were to read Sun-Tzu the “attack where the enemy is weak” is part of a larger strategy of confusing the enemy about your intentions, abilities, knowledge, etc.

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      18. Absolutely true.

        We see that over and over again in the strategies of Napoleon, Davout, Lee, Grant, Rommel and Guderian, Patton and, sigh, Montgomery or even MacArthur. Put your army where you believe the enemy commander intends HIS army to be, and make it bloody impossible for him to take that position away from you.

        Daniel has guaranteed that Black Island is where the enemy army wants to be–not today, but soon. When he either absorbs or otherwise accepts all of the surviving population of Kozalin and grows his home to fit their needs, Daniel’s army will be defending the last fertile ground in northern Europe and the last large block of living humans in northern Europe.

        The gods will want access to his humans and the gods’ armies will want access to his food supplies as well as other materiel.

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      19. Maybe not remember the Gods have each other to deal with. They may save him and his people for later. After the big enemies namely each other have been dealt with. Especially if they see that Daniel has other problems to deal with like a raging war clan of dwarves or a pocket universe filled with ape men out for his blood. Or maybe even a faction of the fairy court. If he has enough to deal with then I think they will think they can afford to save him until later it could be to their benefit after all if there are humans left.

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      20. It looks like Oden’s section may go that way. If Daniel can convince Loki’s faction to do that then all he will have to deal with is the small wars against his enemies. He will have to fight against them himself eventually anyway with his forces. It’s just a matter of time.

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      21. “He has already done mines and yes he did in fact make them remote activated.”

        Indeed. And his shells detonate automatically (automagically?). Having somebody on the trigger is a design preference, not a necessity.

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      22. “Automagically” I like that word!

        Oliver, you are correct, having somebody on a trigger IS a design preference, not a technical requirement.

        That is exactly my point.

        I strongly suspect that either Daniel or the author has chosen this design preference, consciously or unconsciously, for every weapon Daniel has made.

        Please find me an example of a weapon Daniel has made that WILL detonate if he forgets where he put it and steps on it himself.

        That’s extreme paranoia.

        I’d actually expect the rationale is more like NOT wanting some twelve year old kid to randomly detonate an earth core material anti-golem mine somewhere in Kozalin.

        Okay, what he really wants, at ZERO DAWN THIRTY WITH NO COFFEE, is to put one under the Prince’s chair at the insane strategy session…but that would NOT be politic.

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      23. “I don’t know whether he could arrange to electrocute anything that sat down on his dome, but pressure-sensitive lava mines might be an option.”

        Why does the dome have to be physical? A physical dome can come down on you. And Daniel will have to ward it anyway. So why not do something like that orange destruction field the Andregi used at the Battle of the Gate, when Brand made his entry?

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      24. Why does the dome have to be physical? A physical dome can come down on you. And Daniel will have to ward it anyway. So why not do something like that orange destruction field the Andregi used at the Battle of the Gate, when Brand made his entry?

        I’m trying to apply the KISS principle, and spherical, iron ball with a few, relatively tiny, caverns in the middle will be a tough nut to crack. By all means, add wards, but if the wards go down, you’ve still got a hundred meters of nickle-iron between you and whatever wants to eat you.

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      25. Daniel probably won’t need to worry about massively over-armoring Black Island immediately.

        However, there might well come a point in the far future when he needs all that mass to avoid being swept away by an even more humongous flood.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missoula_Floods

        There is a decent chance Daniel could receive advance warning of an ice dam and growing lake/inland sea, given all the airships, flying Cerise and flying Daniel, gryphon rider aerial scouts, etc.

        For that matter, Hecate might warn him.

        Judging by the maps of the most recent ice age maximum extent of the Eurasian ice sheet, Kozalin sits not far from the leading edge of the ice and the nearby river channel is likely to be massively overloaded some warm spring day.

        That day won’t necessarily be a hundred thousand years away, either.

        Random warming events during ice ages are just as reasonable as random cooling events during intervals.

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      26. Of course, initiative can be achieved in many ways, a lesson some WWI French Generals never seemed to understand. Attacking an enemy straightforwardly is generally a bad choice whether one is on the offense or defense. However, ambushes can often be a good defensive strategy that seizes the initiative. Simply moving around can cause the enemy to feel a need to respond by moving as well (or in some other fashion.

        Daniel appears to miss the obvious. For example, he mined the causeway, but not the approaches to the causeway or more generally land and sea approaches an attacker might take (except perhaps he has a few he wants enemies to take). In addition, he has not tactically prepositioned concealed or disguised copies of his earth talisman in order to be able to immediately create barriers to enemy movement in those locations when useful (without having to visit them amidst a fight and have only one talisman to utilize.)

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      27. “Please find me an example of a weapon Daniel has made that WILL detonate if he forgets where he put it and steps on it himself.”

        His radiation weapon.

        Every weapon Daniel has made so far is intended to be aimed. Thus including a trigger is only natural.
        Mining the causeway with autonomous mines makes and made no sense. He is using it.

        The utility of mines in a land that is currently covered under several feet of snow and has people who can cast detection spells and scry for stuff is limited. In addition some of his enemies are not even physical.

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      28. Daniel’s specific use of his radiation weapon is a perfect example of a carefully defined target zone, deliberate aiming process and very personal trigger decision. If I remember correctly, the device even had a button to arm it.

        Now, I do have to agree that Daniel could easily convert that weapon into a completely autonomous device.

        More to the point, that weapon is a complete proof of concept that Daniel is utterly capable of creating effective mines and other autonomous weapons whenever he wants to.

        So why has he NOT created autonomous mines?

        The snow is not relevant. Daniel’s or Cerise’s magic sensing enchantments are easily capable of working through any amount of snow. Personally, I think it’s the matter to mana powered factories. Before them minefields were a LOT of work to create and deploy. With them, combining factories with airdropped mines will be a nightmare for any future army that approaches Kozalin. Note that “airdropped” includes skimmer dropped, MUCH enhanced over Daniel’s “hot rocks” river ice melting project. With a couple skimmers and a factory on each, Daniel could put DENSE minefields on all the land around Kozalin. For that matter, attach a mine thrower to a mine producing factory, mount several of them on the walls of Kozalin, and the city could scatter mines from moat to a mile or more out all by themselves.

        Imagine the potential for multiple, semi-autonomous layers of minefields around Kozalin. Daniel could make that city utterly unapproachable any time he chooses. He could build a mine factory, load it on INTREPID and airdrop mines to make the approaches to Kozalin impassable for miles around. Ditto the river and North Sea approaches.

        Daniel can even make his mines self-banishing on command or on timer or both.

        Daniel can have incredibly complex, or very simple triggers–just look at his “special” mortar rounds.

        Keep in mind also the variety of “mines” Daniel could design from memory. Your concern about enemies remotely sensing a mine are addressed by mines triggered by sensory magic. Is the mine too far from the target when a sensory magic triggers it? Claymore mine. Shotgun trap. Cannon trap. Guided missile trap.

        Cerise would cheerfully provide all sorts of area curse enchantments for more trap options. I bet there would even be enchantments provided by the Conclave as soon as they see what Daniel has done.

        Flamethrower traps for Frost Spirits. Lava FOUNTAIN traps for Frost Spirits!

        Endless cycles of traps, counters and more sophisticated traps.

        What will the trap look like that Daniel creates to destroy Leviathan?

        Big boom. VERY big boom….

        So, will Daniel build autonomous weapons, sophisticated or otherwise?

        It will be fascinating to see whether that happens in some future book.

        The more it does NOT happen, the more I must wonder about Daniel’s or the author’s intent….

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      29. I think autonomous weapons have great potential, but also great risk.

        I think if the author includes them he may have to show an example of great success (a great beast taken out by a huge mine, or a pack of ungols taken out by a cluster of claymores, or spirits taken out by a Cheris designed death magic mine).
        As well as a great failure. Such as a group of refugees hearing about Black Island running with smiles on their faces to safety triggering personnel mines. Then Daniel fighting the guilt and trying to figure out a better trigger to differentiate friend from foe. Or a potential ally approaching Black Island, triggering mines, causes casualties, becomes furious, and a potential emeny from a possible friend.

        Could be some tough thought provoking and engaging situations. Also showing consequences.

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      30. I don’t think that is a scenario we should put to much wait in. Daniel like most Americans will consider marines to be a weapon of the past with a possible exception to water mines for shipping. We can see more anti-personnel munitions for his motors any cannons he developed and possibly grenade launchers if he ever comes around to building them. Any advancements Daniel makes in weapons design and technology will probably be along the lines of what is considered drones in his mind. He’s obviously a sci-fi fan so I would expect something the droid army’s from the Star Wars franchise. Since he is an anime fan giant Meck suits and I think that’s something in anime at least I have seen it on YouTube). We can also expect that he is a 40 K fan otherwise he wouldn’t have invented a flaming plasma chane sword variant of a light saber. Let’s see what else is he oh yes he’s a computer programmer so I would say he’s probably a fairly avid computer gamer so halo, StarCraft, World of Warcraft pretty much any variance of a video game that would’ve been out in the last 5 to 10 years. Then there would be influence from movies I’m pretty sure he would’ve seen the first few avengers movies not to mention all the other varieties of movies to come out in the last 30 years. I actually expect him to build his own version of the terminator. Metallic Indo skeleton golem with living flash on the outside to make it look real. 😎

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      31. “So why has he NOT created autonomous mines?”

        Need. A mine with a mind behind it is a better weapon. For example you can let a part of a hostile force pass and then use the mines to separate them. An autonomous mine is for situations where you plan not to be present when the weapon is needed. Or you use them as robust watchdogs. No need if you have wards.

        That was his intent in Skogheim. Hence the radiation weapon, once armed, acted without further intervention. Around Black Island he or his forces fully intend to be present.

        Furthermore, command and control. Minefields and barely trained ex-peasants mix badly.

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      32. I definitely give you command and control.

        It’s not just the peasants and minefields issue, either.

        The Prince’s first reaction whenever the enemy breaks and runs is to sally and harry them away.

        That’s not going to mix well with minefields, despite the best of intentions.

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      33. The Prince’s first reaction whenever the enemy breaks and runs is to sally and harry them away.

        That’s not going to mix well with minefields, despite the best of intentions.

        Daniel could create minefields which could be remotely deactivated and then reactivated. Just cutting the power links (if the mines were linked to the power stones) would do it.

        If power-stone links can be activated remotely then he’s got a fix for his communication problems. A power-stone enabled noise-maker which makes a sound in response to the link being activated or deactivated. Add Morse code or some equivalent and Presto!, long-range comms. Of course if he can link mana over long distances then the same linkage technique should allow him to link magical noise-makers/receivers. He just needs to sit and think about it a bit.

        Back to the minefields, he could try growing them in place. Like his castle-seed, he plants a minefield seed which sends out tendrils to create a sub-terranean network. Shoots go up to just under the surface and grow mines at their tips. When a mine is detonated, just grow another in place. He could also grow razor-wire barricades that way, or even walls.

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      34. I agree that Daniel or somebody else COULD have the ability to switch a minefield ON or OFF but think about the opportunities for treachery, stupidity or accident in that. All of which will be DANIEL’S FAULT (whether it actually was, or not) as far as the Prince is concerned…provided he survives the example.

        Your thoughts on the manipulation of matter to mana stone power links are interesting. I see how being able to remotely re-connect may be critical to making that work. Maybe “pulsing” a link from weak to strong and back again would give a Morse code opportunity without totally cutting the connection?

        Possibilities…remember the “Engine Room Signal” from movies that include steamships? Great big dial with associated bells and several different states from “Full Astern” to “Full Stop” to “Full Ahead”. I bet Daniel could make more sophisticated versions of that sort of communications system using sympathetic enchantments.

        Your suggestion regarding razor wire and walls deployed, triggered and banished remotely seems like it ought to be possible. Not only that, it seems like something Daniel has already mostly figured out for his Earth talisman. If he mass manufactures lots of remote powered and controlled versions of those they could be another useful defense for the approaches to Kozalin.

        They have the added advantage of not immediately killing some idiot who accidentally triggers them, unless the idiot is truly unlucky.

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      35. Minefields and barely trained ex-peasants mix badly.

        The “barely trained ex-peasants” issue is one with which he needs to deal, and he doesn’t have to do much personally. He could establish a school and put Elin and Avilla in charge of it. Teach all the kids (such as have survived) and any adults with the time, how to read and to basic maths. Offer advanced vocational training for anyone with time and inclination. Building a printing press to provide take-home instructional materials would help too, and he probably wouldn’t have to do it himself. Tell Elin and Oskar about the idea and let them hash it out between them.

        Daniel’s stressed the ignorant nature of his human followers a lot, but that’s a correctable problem, and he’s got the resources to start correcting it now. He could even recruit tutors from Kozalin, or Elves (or both), to teach small classes.

        Like

      36. All of which is true, Jabrwok, and makes perfect sense for the future 100,000 years we’ve been kicking around in these conversations.

        Don’t expect to see more than a few migrant thoughts on the subject in the books.

        This traditional alt-hist “build a school and they will modernize” meme has a completely different, MUCH LONGER time scale than the three books we have read so far.

        The first book was, what, two weeks of time?

        Then an interlude between books of maybe another two weeks?

        Then, maybe three weeks in the second book?

        Were there a few days between Book Two and Book Three?

        Book Three might be four weeks long.

        About three very busy months.

        Don’t get me wrong, I fully expect Daniel to perform a personal brain dump of technology, science and all sorts of other information through some sort of schooling, eventually. I’m looking forward to it, actually. Somehow, I suspect we won’t see the typical public school or boarding school story line. I’m suspicious it will look more like golem tutors for every kid, and then apprenticeships like crazy for teenagers.

        Gingerbread Mentors!

        “My dog ate my teacher,” instead of the homework, or, maybe, “…AND my homework!”

        Elin and Avilla must be a big part of that, but the whole coven will be involved. Clan Nethwillin, as a relatively intact community, will also have much to contribute. Daniel will, of course, be suspicious of their motivation and methods, but he will desperately need their resources.

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      37. I realize that schooling is not something that Daniel can dedicate his time to, but Elin at least rarely has much to do aside from the occasional medical station. I could see her running a clinic in the mornings and then teaching classes in the afternoons. Tina would likely be useless as a teacher, but as a day-care provider she could be very helpful. Avilla has plenty of responsibilities keeping the Secret Service and the Coven fed, and training up her maids. I could see her teaching some Home Economics classes, especially if she can slip in some Hearth Witchery training at the same time. She’ll eventually have other Hearth witches to help with domestic duties and possibly with teaching.

        Cerise has too many other responsibilities to be a teacher of anyone other than Hecate’s new worshippers.

        The gingerbread golem thing is amusing, but absent more canonical information I’m not sure how useful they’d really be. Small steel golems would make more sense if Daniel decides to go the golem route, and if they can be made semi-autonomous, or be remotely controlled (ala UAVs). Once he has a design, he could just mass-produce the parts and then have some workers assemble them, or they might be self-assembling and able to cannibalize parts from other golems, or combine to form larger units (Transformers, Roll Out!).

        Like

      38. Jabrwok, I like your idea of mass produced small, nickel-iron golem mentors for Black Island’s kids.

        Avilla seems to know how to imbue golems with relatively sophisticated autonomous behavior. The Conclave has similarly skilled apprentices and adepts. Between them, the creation of some sort of sturdy golem is assured.

        Combine the golem behavior management system with the sort of complex translation enchantment Daniel found on the ring Clan Nethwillin loaned to him for the mission to Skogheim. This will require Daniel works together with a few of Clan Nethwillin’s magic specialists and with his coven to create a simple guardian golem that imprints on the kid to whom it is assigned, then provides the kid with some answers for some questions, as well as a full instruction set for reading and arithmetic. Probably other features as well. Daniel will tell you, TOO MANY features.

        Avilla will smile and ask for another feature.

        Obviously, this project would require LOTS of quality time for development, testing and deploymet. Daniel will be pulling his hair out learning how to mass manufacture the most complex parts of it. Sub-assemblies will almost certainly be required.

        Again, the concept of “teaching” as in anything that looks like a classroom is utterly foreign to everybody in Kozalin except Daniel, the Chinese embassy and maybe the Fairie Summer Court embassy.

        Hmm…oddly enough, somebody in the Groves might remember the Socratic Method as well as how education happened in old Greece and Rome. I wonder how much of that survived into pre-Fimbulwinter times?

        There has been no mention yet of the University of Padua, although the Devourer maybe ate it.

        Like

      39. Jabrwok, I like your idea of mass produced small, nickel-iron golem mentors for Black Island’s kids.

        I wasn’t actually thinking of the golems as tutors but rather as soldiers. I didn’t make that clear in my comment though. Golems as tutors raises a problem. If golems can do whatever they’re teaching, why bother teaching it? Just use the golems to do the work (and pray they never develop sapience and decide to rebel!).

        Golem servitors also risk the problem that Clan Nethwillin saw in other elf clans that became too dependent on their retainers: decadence. Such a situation invites Lotus Eater’s Apathy for the majority of the citizenry. Why work if everything is free because the golems/robots/slave-caste do all the work? And if the golems can’t even imagine (due to lack of cognitive capability) rebelling, then such reliance is very safe. The only people who would work are the upper echelons of the cognitive elite, who would work because they wanted to and would soon(ish) come to see the dependent classes as a waste of resources.

        For an SF treatment of the potential threat, see The Humanoids by Jack Williamson.

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      40. I’ve read THE HUMANOIDS and enjoyed the stories.

        I don’t expect golem mentors to be able to perform what they teach, beyond simple examples.

        Think of them as elementary school rote memorization tools, but a lot more entertaining and engaging.

        It is worth remembering, however, that Avilla IS a golem.

        If the coven ever gets back to Cerise’s ideas about “rescuing” a few wandering murder witch spirits, we might see a few fully sapient golems interacting with intelligence and experience.

        That could make for some interesting exchanges between kids.

        “My mentor is a witch.”

        “What? Too much homework already?”

        “No. She’s a real witch. Okay, a dead real witch, but still a witch.”

        Like

      41. In all probability the bulk of the children learning to read and write in Daniels schools at least at first will probably be orphans from the city. They won’t have parents to go home and complain too.

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      42. So true, although there will probably be a lot of ad hoc adopting.

        Of course, the ungols have been deliberately picking out children to kill first.

        This really is a terrorist war in the OLD fashion, as well as good old slaughter and mayhem.

        Like

      43. What do you mean old fashion? Terrorists today still targeting children more than adults. For example look at Germany, Sweden, France, Britain or should I say the UK etc. Some of the first and most heavily targeted people are the children.

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      44. Good point…well, nasty point. Now that you remind me, yes, I’ve read that today’s terrorists do target girls, girls’ schools and they kidnap boys into their armed gangs and I’m sure there is more nastiness.

        Sadly, I had thought deliberate casual slaughter of babies and children was part of the barbarian past, but it’s not at all surprising to find I am wrong in that assumption.

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      45. It happens any and every time there is a cultural invasion. More often actually then when there is a military invasion. This is usually because any people that would allow a cultural invasion has lost the will to protect themselves their borders as well as their children. While a populous under military invasion will seek to protect themselves their children and eventually repel the invaders.

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      46. “I realize that schooling is not something that Daniel can dedicate his time to”

        Elves have retainers, whom they train. They can do literacy and basic math. Even geography.

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  15. Oliver, I just tripped over another consideration for Daniel’s healing enchantment and its seeming ability to repair a severed spine.

    https://newatlas.com/gene-therapy-spinal-cord-injury/55067/

    Obviously, this does not suggest that just dumping extra “healing power” into a natural healing process should be expected to result in a correctly repaired spine.

    On the other hand, it does point at the sort of “intuitive” healing we might expect from Daniel’s flesh sorcery.

    We are still left with the suspicion that Daniel’s healing enchantment is scary very smart….

    Like

    1. The amulet does several things beyond normal healing. It would be odd if it used a different principle for each operation.I think we have to accept that it works by identifying an ideal state and works by using flesh magic to form the body into that state.
      It is unclear to me how that ideal state is determined.

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      1. I think it would have to be preset by Daniel. He has changed his body from its original form. If it healed him back to that he would have to redo his body every time his amulets healed him.

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      2. DaShoota, it seems to me that Daniel DOES have to rebuild his “combat ready” body every time his amulet heals him back to what his enchantment appears to use as his “normal” template.

        Check it out and let me know if you find an example of him being healed from catastrophic damage all the way to “combat ready”.

        He seems to use two different processes. First–heal. Second–combat ready.

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      3. I got the impression that was just to speed the process up. Closing off arteries so his sorcery didn’t have to keep summoning blood. Things like that. Basically directing it so it works faster by not wasting energy.

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      4. Yes, I agree Daniel intervened in his own healing process to speed it up and to quickly heal immediately life-threatening issues like punctured lungs, severed spines and smushed kidneys.

        That does not change the baseline. His automatic healing enchantment brings him back to “normal” and then he has to use his “super exercise” to make himself combat ready.

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      5. Yes, I’d take that period when Mara wore Daniel’s amulet as indicative of my DNA suspicions.

        Mara’s DNA is demigoddess when she walks around looking like a combat ready fashion model.

        When she takes her kitsune form her DNA is kitsune.

        Daniel’s automatic healing enchantment looks at the underlying DNA of whatever being it heals.

        IF this is true, Daniel’s crafting of that enchantment would be an excellent example of his “intuitive understanding” of his Flesh sorcery aided by his Mana sorcery.

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      6. I wonder if the one he gave her at the end of book 3 will eventually grow her twin her own body? (Food for thought.)

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      7. In the mythology the fox wemon of Europe are not called Kitsuné. They are called Thol. Otherwise they are almost identical in the mythology. Although in Europe the name has some slightly different spellings from language to language (Thal, Thul, Thol etc.)

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      8. You are welcome. Years ago when I first ran across it I was surprised to find it to be almost identical to the oriental mythology of what appeared to be the same creatures.

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      9. Totally agree, Oliver.

        I suspect the “ideal state” is determined the same way our world’s future scientists will do it.

        Genetics.

        Read the DNA anywhere in Daniel’s body and you have the blueprint for what “ideal” is supposed to look like.

        This must somehow also be related to Daniel’s shape changing “templates” or Tina would slowly revert to human because of the healing enchantment on the amulet or ring she wears.

        Ditto the wolfen, who are living experiments in continuous genetic modification.

        For that matter, Gaea’s bananas must also change DNA among many other features.

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      10. The more I think of it, the more I’m inclined to believe Daniel’s automatic healing is driven by the blueprints of his own body’s DNA.

        Remember his most catastrophic self-healing experiences? When his magic finishes rebuilding his body he always ends up back at “normal” state. He has to ADD the several hours of intense, magically driven “exercise” to pump up his muscles and sinews, increase the density of his bones, etc.

        There is NO “template” or DNA “blueprint” of “strong Daniel”…yet.

        He plans to “keep” some of those aspects of his Dark Elf transformation.

        If I’m even somewhat correct, Daniel will need to modify ALL his own DNA to make that happen.

        It will be interesting to see how well that works for him.

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      11. This is the first place I noticed Daniel’s pattern of healing and then rebuilding.

        “I tackled those fractures next, carefully fusing the bones back together one at a time. Another pass, replacing scars with healthy tissue and washing away the poisons flooding my bloodstream. Then I was free to tackle rebuilding my muscles, replaying the same shaping I’d done in the refugee camp just a few days ago. That extra durability had probably saved my life. But even a sturdy human was still pretty fragile against the threats I faced, and it almost hadn’t been enough. Could I do better? Well, I could make my bones stronger. Not invulnerable, but strong enough that they wouldn’t keep breaking so easily.

        Brown, E. William. Fimbulwinter (Daniel Black Book 1) (Kindle Locations 3359-3364). Unknown. Kindle Edition.

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      12. Almost. But then the next paragraph shows him backing away from changing his own DNA, without actually mentioning that specifically.

        “My flesh sorcery held other options as well, but nothing that suited my circumstances. Trying to magically enhance my strength or durability would take days, and was tricky enough I was leery about trying it out for the first time on myself. If I made a mistake there I might not get a chance to fix it.”

        Brown, E. William. Fimbulwinter (Daniel Black Book 1) (Kindle Locations 3365-3367). Unknown. Kindle Edition.

        And then he creates Grinder.

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      13. Probably picking in choosing aspects of any potential super soldier transformations that he possesses in his sorcery. He might wind up doing it after he has had a chance to experiment on some of his more adventurous soldiers?

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      14. “There is NO “template” or DNA “blueprint” of “strong Daniel”…yet.”

        Neither is there a template of ‘weak’ Daniel. He gives himself the condition he would get after years of training. However, his genetics is still his in that state.
        The human body is determined by genes, nutrition, childhood conditions and physical activity (and likely other things). There is no reason for the amulet to prefer one result of these factors over another.

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      15. Yes, Oliver, that’s it exactly. IF my guess is correct, Daniel’s DNA is not changed by those brief periods of “super exercise”.

        If he wants “super soldier Daniel” to become his new “normal” he must change his DNA.

        At the end of Book Three, it appears his best chance of doing that involves “keeping” some of his Dark Elf transformation, which I submit would be keeping some DNA and not keeping other DNA.

        Good luck with that.

        “DAMN IT! PINK AGAIN!!??”

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      16. “IF my guess is correct, Daniel’s DNA is not changed by those brief periods of “super exercise””

        If it isn’t changed, how does the amulet know whether to restore supertrained Daniel or untrained Daniel? If it goes by DNA only, it cannot.

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      17. Oliver, it is my theory that Daniel’s healing enchantment can NOT rebuild “combat ready” Daniel.

        First, that “super exercise” is NOT healing, it is magical hyper exercise.

        Second, dense bones and stronger sinews, cartilege, etc. are NOT healing, they are customizing.

        Third, Daniel’s healing enchantment can ONLY work with the wearer’s current DNA. Neither the hyper exercise nor the customized dense bones and stronger sinews, etc., are modeled in Daniel’s DNA.

        He has to rebuild them every time his body is wrecked by massive trauma.

        In Book Three, while he is transformed into a Dark Elf, Daniel considers several of the beneficial aspects of the Dark Elf template and decides to try to keep them when his mission to Skogheim is finished.

        We don’t get to see if he succeeds with that idea, because the book ends before he gets back to Kozalin.

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      18. “First, that “super exercise” is NOT healing, it is magical hyper exercise.”

        ‘Mimicking the effects of normal excercise, as he stated. Supertrained Daniel is a result of his DNA to a certain environment done by magical means. Untrained Daniel is a result of another environment. Daniel is six feet tall. That is a result of his DNA and nutrition during his childhood. How would the amuket know his nutrition during childhood or how much he trained. Certainly not from his DNA.

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      19. Bluntly, no, Daniel “supertrained” is NOT simply an environmentally superior state of the same DNA.

        Consider any athlete who sustains injuries.

        Normal healing does NOT return them to their highly trained condition. In fact, merely by engaging in bed rest while recovering, the athlete’s general condition slowly deteriorates because they are unable to maintain their daily regime.

        After their injury heals they must train and exercise and usually perform additional physical therapy to return themselves to a state of readiness for competition.

        Combat readiness is a state of training, exercise, mental conditioning, diet and I’m sure other important considerations I don’t know, but your drill sergeant will.

        Incidentally, this points out something we ought to see Daniel doing at least occasionally–daily exercise, even if it is only a few minutes of his hyper exercise.

        He needs to find a professional soldier who can train him every day.

        Ooh…just thought of who will be telling Daniel this to his face, any day now.

        Sefwin.

        Daniel made her responsible for duties that include both his security and his physical well-being.

        BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA….

        He is SO screwed, and NOT in fun way!

        Sefwin is very likely to be a seriously tough exercise instructor, and the several centuries old professional she engages for SERIOUS combat training will be something else entirely.

        Is the universe really capable of sustaining reality in the presence of a three hundred year old VERY Senior Sergeant Major?

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      20. A 300 years old Drill Seargent in optimal physical condition as a personal instructor….shivers…… thats punishment rigth there, it will be better for Daniel to fase tha Big snake butt naked HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

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      21. Is the universe really capable of sustaining reality in the presence of a three hundred year old VERY Senior Sergeant Major?

        He must be bald. He must be loud. He must be crude. He must be an elven version of R. Lee Ermey!

        Drop and give me 50 dirt bag!

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      22. Gunny is EXACTLY who I was thinking of when I wrote that comment.

        He made so many of the old stories real, in his movies and TV shows.

        It’s sad that he’s gone now, but what he did stands a good chance of living forever.

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      23. Don’t assume Sefwin picks an old Dark Elf “Gunny” to train Daniel.

        I keep wondering about Demetrios’ sons, who are reputed to have lots of military experience.

        Imagine an old, old Greek line sergeant who cut his teeth on bronze shields and iron-tipped spears as a hoplite before Marathon….

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      24. “Normal healing does NOT return them to their highly trained condition.”

        Well, yes, but the amulet is not normal healing. It cannot be. Normal healing won’t restore a spine or teeth. This is getting in circles. If the amulet restores the state your body should be, according to DNA, then we have to ask which state? Your DNA determines a state according to an environment. Which environment?

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      25. This is the problem: “Your DNA determines a state according to an environment. Which environment?”

        I don’t agree about the environment part.

        Can you prove it?

        Can you provide an example?

        If the DNA template is directly mutable by the environment, there are no rules and anything is possible.

        You must have rules and they must be real enough to function predictably and reliably, or biology fails and nothing is stable long enough for reality to function. That is how science is allowed to work and in this new world of Daniel’s, how magic works as well.

        Something like a baseline DNA template is required for Daniel’s healing enchantment to function in the way we see it in the story.

        Fiddling about with environment-dependent states adds too much unnecessary complexity.

        Natural solutions are elegant.

        Elegance is one hint that a solution may be viable, maybe even actual.

        Like

      26. DNA defines the limits of the organism. If everything goes right, then the height, fitness, neural structure, etc. of the organism will match the maximum potential defined by the DNA. That said, DNA is not a computer program, it’s more akin to a recipe, so many things can interfere with the optimal expression of said recipe. Hormonal or other teratogenic conditions in utero, nutrition during youth, chemicals in the environment, physical and psychological stresses, etc.

        I’d guess that Daniel’s healing magic operates based on the optimal version of his DNA given “normal” developmental conditions. Excess nutrition is not something for which DNA evolved (hence obesity being a problem in wealthy societies). Likewise fitness training consciously designed to produce an athletic physique. Left to its own devices, his healing magic would likely produce a relatively fit man, but not a super-soldier, nor a mal-nourished waif, as both of those extremes require extreme conditions for which the DNA is not optimized, though they fall within its range of functionality.

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      27. Yes, Jabrwok, that describes neatly what I have in mind.

        Part of what I’m thinking is from the author and game designer point of view, where some simply stated rule is needed in order to evolve a story or game mechanics with consistent events and results.

        Part is looking for a function in Nature that might fit the rule I need for the events and results I want to create, or see already created by an author.

        DNA seems to work in this situation, but it may not be the ONLY explanation, or even a full explanation.

        Though I really am looking forward to some sort of interesting little side story where Sefwin works with Avilla to schedule Daniel for daily or at least regular exercise and training by a grizzled old veteran who has literally seen it all.

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      28. Several examples of the body changing because of environmental conditions affecting the expression of genetic traits. Lets start with skin color as your skin is exposed to sunlight or ultraviolet light it pigmentation increases. This is a direct response of a genetic trait inside of your genome designed to protect you from ultraviolet radiation. Cold as you are gradually exposed to cold the blood corpuscles in your skin increase in number and size maximizing the amount of warm blood gets to the surface of your skin. This protect you against frostbite this is another adaptation that is a genetic expression that can be turned off and on by environment. There’s lots of other examples. Everything in the human body that is capable of changing because of effort or environment is caused bye a genetic trait that allows that change to occur. All because of a environmental condition that exist at the time.

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      29. DaShoota, none of the environmental conditions you described change your DNA.

        In fact, as I believe you point out, it is your DNA that enables your body to adapt, as much as it can, to changes in environmental conditions.

        That is the whole point of the discussion about Daniel’s healing enchantment.

        If his enchantment needs to find rules to guide how it heals an injury, where does it find the rules?

        I’m suggesting that DNA is the obvious place to look.

        “Environment” is not encoded anywhere in the body, and neither are reactions to environmental conditions.

        Changes in melanin, eye color, hair color, muscle tone and such are not encoded.

        They can be measured. There are some body functions that monitor and manage them. Those are reactive functions, not programmatic functions.

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      30. “I don’t agree about the environment part.

        Can you prove it?

        Can you provide an example?”

        – height
        – jaw size
        – pigmentation
        – red blood cell count
        – bone density
        – cardiovascular fitness
        – immunity against infections

        Do I need to go on?

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      31. You forgot the changing in the DNA after recovery from virus infection. Every time a human recovers from a virus they have a small change in their DNA. It’s part of the process called microchimarism.

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      32. Now THAT is the one and only DNA change anybody has pointed out.

        Of course, it is also the only DNA change Daniel will NOT experience, because his healing amulet protects him from viral disease.

        Irony.

        Maybe we would see confused results from Daniel’s healing enchantment if it was placed on somebody currently suffering from a viral infection, resulting in some of their DNA being minutely different from the rest of their DNA.

        Of course, the confused results would probably also be minute….

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      33. No, what you need to do is explain your logic.

        None of the changes you list are encoded anywhere in Daniel’s baseline DNA.

        To the extent that any of them happen due to hyper exercise, that still does not encode them in Daniel’s baseline DNA.

        You need to explain where your idea are actually encoded, and how they would be accessible to Daniel’s healing enchantment.

        It makes some sense that Daniel’s modern understanding of biology and genetics inform his Flesh sorcery and his Mana sorcery sufficiently for Daniel to intuit a way to shape his enchantment to “read” DNA information.

        Where are the data describing “environmental conditions” stored inside a human body in a readable format?

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      34. “To the extent that any of them happen due to hyper exercise, that still does not encode them in Daniel’s baseline DNA.”

        That is precisely thr point. It tells us that the enchantment needs more than the DNA can deliver. Hence it must be based on additional factors,

        “You need to explain where your idea are actually encoded, and how they would be accessible to Daniel’s healing enchantment.”

        Plausible candidates
        – a virtual environment that Daniel presets
        – restoration of the state when the amulet was put on
        – it cretes an optimal result

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      35. Plausible candidates
        – a virtual environment that Daniel presets
        – restoration of the state when the amulet was put on
        – it creates an optimal result

        Something like Elin’s amulet which allows her to hold her shape would be likely. Daniel was, presumably, able to encode Elin’s preferred shape into her amulet, so there’s no reason he couldn’t do the same for his own. Get himself into his ideal configuration (including Dark Elf upgrades), encode *that* configuration into the amulet as his “default”, and let it restore him to that condition whenever it fixes him.

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      36. Jabrwok, we can hope the author describes that process in Book Four. It would answer MANY questions.

        However, just this much breaks my DNA-only theory completely.

        “The healing effect had been a lot more troublesome than I’d first expected, because none of my girls were human. Each amulet had to be tuned to the specific biology of the wearer in order to work properly, and getting them to handle things like pregnancy and shapeshifting gracefully had taken some serious thought. A targeted healing spell was one thing, but there were a lot of ways an always-on healing field could have undesirable side effects. Fortunately my flesh sorcery had been up to the task.”

        Flesh sorcery is a wonderful, POWERFUL thing.

        The next paragraph is even worse.

        “Mine is helping me hold my shape, just like you hoped,” Elin told me. “I can feel it activating to restore my proper features whenever I start to change. The control interface is a bit complex, but I believe I can master it easily enough.” “Control interface?” Cerise asked. “Mine just lets me turn the healing field and mana feed off and on. What does yours need controls for?”

        “In theory I can designate what shape I wish the amulet to consider normal,” Elin explained. “It’s quite an impressive enchantment, especially since it operates entirely via intent control.” Cerise whistled appreciatively. “Intent control? That’s some serious wizardry there.”

        “Metamagic sorcery,” I explained. “I’m cheating shamelessly. If I had to figure out how to make that work on my own it would have taken years.”

        Brown, E. William. Extermination (Daniel Black Book 3)

        So, while the healing enchantments MIGHT use DNA for a template, each amulet must be customized to work PROPERLY for each wearer, especially wearers of different species.

        Hence, the amulet Mara stole from Daniel certainly worked for her, but it did not work “properly”. There would eventually have been complications, the severity of which seems to be in doubt. She transformed AFTER she grabbed it, but was still able to use it until Daniel turned it off. Sadly, this only becomes MORE complicated when we consider that he was able to create a healing enchantment on the ring he gave Mare, WITHOUT direct reference to her body, DNA, etc.

        That ring is a REMARKABLE example of Daniel’s wonderful Flesh sorcery.

        Plus, note that Elin’s amulet is helping her to hold the CHANGED STATE that Daniel created with her choices.

        This is exactly the “optimum template” Oliver has been arguing for, and means his version of the healing enchantment must be possible.

        It’s magic.

        Like

      37. No, Oliver, YOUR version of the healing enchantment requires more data than DNA can provide.

        MY version of the healing enchantment is perfectly happy with ONLY the data in the wearer’s DNA.

        For my version, the difference between baseline DNA healed Daniel and “combat ready” Daniel is adequately explained by Daniel using his hyper exercise enchantment after he is healed.

        You will note that Daniel’s hyper exercise enchantment is created separately from his healing enchantment, and we don’t actually see him put his hyper exercise enchantment on his amulet. That’s because his hyper exercise is not automatic.

        It is more like meditation.

        Daniel has to actually think about taking time to perform hyper exercise. The hyper exercise actions are distinctly different from healing.

        I could easily build the two enchantments I’m guessing about here into a game or a story, as is, and they would cover all the instances of use that I have seen in the first three books, plus a lot more.

        I have no idea where you would find a source for the additional “optimizing” data your version of the healing enchantment would require, and still have the description match what we have seen in the first three books.

        Plausible candidates
        – a virtual environment that Daniel presets
        ………There is no indication of this anywhere in the story.

        – restoration of the state when the amulet was put on
        ……….This would fail for injured patients putting amulet on for first time.
        ……….This would horribly fail on diseased patients putting amulet on for first time.
        ……….Only heals somebody who is in good or optimal condition when first putting amulet on.
        ……….If someone was fatigued and malnourished when they put on the amulet?
        ……….Does the amulet reset whenever removed and replaced?
        ……….Does the amulet reset when moved to another person?
        ……….Does the amulet reset when the person transforms from human to Dark Elf?

        – it cretes an optimal result
        ………..Where does the amulet find “optimal” template?
        ………..What is “optimal” template for Daniel after he transforms from human to Dark Elf?

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      38. Let’s look at a concrete example.
        The wearer loses both legs.

        The amulet has to regrow them. And now it has a problem. How long are the legs to be? It can look into the DNA, but does that tell you how tall and how long as a consequence your legs are supposed to be?
        Unfortunately, the answer to that is negative. Height is determined by genetics, childhood nutrition, the age puberty sets in and the amount of hard physical work as a child (only naming the major factors)

        How tanned will his restored legs be? DNA won’t tell you

        Any horn on the regrown soles? Again DNA won’t tell you.

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      39. The DNA debate has been resolved entirely in favor of your arguments, Oliver.

        “The healing effect had been a lot more troublesome than I’d first expected, because none of my girls were human. Each amulet had to be tuned to the specific biology of the wearer in order to work properly, and getting them to handle things like pregnancy and shapeshifting gracefully had taken some serious thought. A targeted healing spell was one thing, but there were a lot of ways an always-on healing field could have undesirable side effects. Fortunately my flesh sorcery had been up to the task.

        Brown, E. William. Extermination (Daniel Black Book 3) (Kindle Locations 949-953). Unknown. Kindle Edition.

        More to the point:

        “Mine is helping me hold my shape, just like you hoped,” Elin told me. “I can feel it activating to restore my proper features whenever I start to change. The control interface is a bit complex, but I believe I can master it easily enough.”

        “Control interface?” Cerise asked. “Mine just lets me turn the healing field and mana feed off and on. What does yours need controls for?”

        “In theory I can designate what shape I wish the amulet to consider normal,” Elin explained. “It’s quite an impressive enchantment, especially since it operates entirely via intent control.” Cerise whistled appreciatively. “Intent control? That’s some serious wizardry there.” “Metamagic sorcery,” I explained. “I’m cheating shamelessly. If I had to figure out how to make that

        Brown, E. William. Extermination (Daniel Black Book 3) (Kindle Locations 954-962). Unknown. Kindle Edition.

        “I’m cheating shamelessly,” covers pretty much everything.

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      40. “……….This would fail for injured patients putting amulet on for first time.
        ……….This would horribly fail on diseased patients putting amulet on for first time.
        ……….Only heals somebody who is in good or optimal condition when first putting amulet on.
        ……….If someone was fatigued and malnourished when they put on the amulet?”

        All true, but what does that tell us? So the amulets have weaknesses one might hope to avoid. Yet that does not tell us that the enchantments has those weaknesses. Remember it the first of its kind. You can hardly expect it to have no flaws.

        Like

      41. Actually, it turns out that my arguments were specious and yours were correct.

        The healing enchantments are miracles of anticipation, foresight and flexibility.

        No flaws have yet been detected.

        Like

      42. Maybe this sorcery there based on as an intuitive genetic engineering capability? It would explain some of the shape shifting.

        Like

      43. “She transformed AFTER she grabbed it, but was still able to use it until Daniel turned it off.”

        But did she put it on before or after transforming?

        I am afraid there is a danger of overreacting here. DNA does play a role. The amulet is clearly not tightly linked to a person. It might just be specific to the species and losely coupled to the person.

        The amulet made for Mara is an interesting case. It may indeed be just a reduced version that only bolsters healing.

        Like

  16. In trying to analyze possible population composition and size for a future Black Isle, I compiled a working list of occupations. At present, I do not intend to imply that all will be occupied nor if they are, that this will be by separate people. I need to address what occupations should exist and numbers of occupants.

    CANDIDATES FOR POSSIBLE OCCUPATIONS ON BLACK ISLE

    Airship Crew, Alchemist/Apothecarist, Architect, Armorer (include Bowyer?), Artist, Author, Baker, Banker and Moneylender, Basket Weaver, Bird Handler (e.g. Falconer), Blacksmith, Body Disposer, Bookbinder, Brewer, Bricklayer, Butcher, Buyer, Candlemaker, Carpenter, Cargo Handler, Cartographer, Castellan, City/Isle Planner, Clerk, Clothier, Constructer and Repairer, Cook and Kitchen Worker, Container Man, Diplomat, Dyer, Engineer, Engraver, Entertainer, Farmer, Farm Blesser, Finances and Treasury, Fisherman, Fishmonger, Fire and Rescue Workers, Fruitier, Fuller, Furrier, Garbageman, Glassblower, Grocer, Gardener, Government (Covenment) Minister, Grain Merchant, Haberdasher, Head Housekeeper, Healer, Herald, Herbalist, Hunter, Immigrant Recruiter and Processor, Innkeeper, Intelligence Officer, Interpreter, Jeweler, Lacemaker, Launderer, Lawyer, Leatherworker, Librarian, Locksmith, Lord, Mason, Master of the Wardrobe, Mercer (Textile Merchant), Metalsmith (e.g. copper, silver, gold), Miller, Messenger, Miner, Mistress, Naperer (Household Lindens), Navigator, Needleworker, Nurse, Painter, Paymaster, Picker and Peddler, Preserver, Priest and Priestess, Playwright, Politician, Potter, Rat Catcher , Records Keeper and Accountant, Sailor, Salvager (e.g. Stripper of Enemy Dead), Scribe, Secret Service and Security, Seamstress, Servant and Maid, Shipwright, Shoemaker, Space Allocator, Spicer, Soapmaker, Soldier and Officer, Stone Carver, Store Worker, Spy, Spy Catcher, Tanner, Teacher, Towne Crier, Ground Transporter including Transport Driver and Maintainer, Vintner, Warder, Warehouser and Storer (Larderer), Waterman or Sewer Worker, Weaver, Wet Nurse, Witch, Wizard or Sorcerer, Wood Carver, and Woodworker.

    Like

      1. Oliver, why would Black Island NOT employ any butchers, dyers, fullers or tanners?

        Dying will be needed, because dyes in this era are not permanent. They must be replaced, probably more than once during the lifetimes of the sturdier clothing. Fullers are much the same, as they clean and maintain clothing, especially uniforms, which is needed much more often than dyes.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fulling

        Cerise told Daniel that the tannery would need to be outside the housing area, probably because of smells. Okay, STENCH(es). At the time there was no tanner, but the assumption was there clearly needed to be several to keep the soldiers’ equipment needs supplied. Blacksmiths need leather too, although Daniel will show them better devices than bellows for creating forced drafts of air. If Black Island is to be truly and totally self-sufficient, there will need to be cobblers, also.

        Butchering will be needed because the wolfen and Nethwillin hunters will bring felwolf meat and other wild game to Black Island for trade and sale. There probably will need to be a butcher’s shop, with Daniel’s soon to be famous refrigerated retail coolers. The ones with glass doors that he will have to make because that’s what Daniel KNOWS a butcher store cooler looks like, right? GROAN. No matter how much field butchery the wolfen and other hunters do, there will always need to be more “artisan” butchering done to properly present the meat to customers.

        Yes, the candlemaker job is indeed obsolete, however, it is now ARTISAN work and Daniel’s existence will be MUCH easier if he makes DAMN sure Avilla and other ladies can always find adequate supplies of romantic dinner candles.

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      2. “Oliver, why would Black Island NOT employ any butchers, dyers, fullers or tanners? ”

        Lack of raw materials and market size. Daniel does not keep a herd of sheep. There won’t be wool or hides in the quantities needed to employ a specialist. The same is true of dyes.
        And cleaning and fixing of clothing is one of the things that screams for the application of hearth magic in advanced enchantments.

        Also there is the question of priorities. Not having dyed clothes is a nuissance. Not having ropes or metal goods may mean death.

        Finally in a society where candles are everyday means of lighting for poor people, candles are not romantic.

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      3. Is Daniel’s army going to stop wearing uniforms? Are the people going to stop wearing clothes? It does not make sense that Black Island would have NO ability to create textiles. We might not see the sheep or the flax or the cotton, yet, but they will have to be there a few years from now and for a long time after that. Timing is everything. Black Island’s population in the beginning was too small to duplicate the efforts of trades people in Kozalin. A month later, Black Island’s population is growing like crazy and Kozalin’s trade quarter has been invaded how many times?

        Black Island might soon be the ONLY place around Kozalin where some trades survive, and that by random chance or fleet feet–or both.

        Obviously, these are opportunities for international trade, if merchant ships or Clan Nethwillin’s airships are ever allowed to return to normal commercial activities.

        Now, cleaning and maintaining clothes or uniforms by magic does, indeed, scream for some sort of factory produced magic item created by Avilla and Daniel working together. I like that idea.

        Hmm…that leads me to wonder what Avilla’s granny and Cerise’s mentor traded TO Clan Nethwillin years ago.

        Okay, I’ve already explained why there will definitely be butchers. You have to believe somebody, somewhere in Kozalin or even Black Island has tasted dinosaur steak by the end of Book Three.

        What would you bet that roast haunch of tyranosaurus has appeared on the Prince’s feasting table?

        The tannery might be another opportunity for some sort of magic intervention. I bet Avilla would also be the “go to” specialist for that sort of enchantment. Everybody living on Black Island will share an enormous sigh of relief at the realization there is no need to build a tannery there…provided the magic solution is not as smelly as the traditional one. It should be really difficult to create a magical tannery that is somehow MORE stinky than traditional tanneries.

        Here’s another application of candles I had forgotten.

        “An intricate design of chalk and candles stretched across most of the floor, with three points radiating out from it.”

        Brown, E. William. Black Coven (Daniel Black Book 2) (Kindle Locations 5690-5691). Unknown. Kindle Edition.

        And another.

        “Ah, well. I was already here. I opened the door, and stepped into the chapel. A few candles provided a dim light, illuminating the stone altar I’d shaped to Cerise’s specifications.”

        Brown, E. William. Extermination (Daniel Black Book 3) (Kindle Locations 2295-2297). Unknown. Kindle Edition.

        Sometimes, ritual and worship require candles.

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      4. “Is Daniel’s army going to stop wearing uniforms? Are the people going to stop wearing clothes? It does not make sense that Black Island would have NO ability to create textiles.”

        Linen, hemp or possibly cotton. Less need for space. But then no fulling. And yes, if having dyed uniforms requires a lot of space and raw materials, they will wear plain uncolored linen or hemp.
        And they will likely take in a lot of women. They can spin.

        The factor is again one of siege warfare. If you can have a full production chain, for example, from the field of linen or hemp to the finished clothing, you prefer that over anything that needs imports.
        Yet if you determine that you do need imports, then Daniel is rich and space can be dedicated to other productions. Daniel will never import hides for a tanner. He’d take fully tanned leather to his specifications.
        All or nothing.

        Again for candles, can he keep enough bees for a useful supply? If the answer is no, you do not have a candlemaker, but you fill two separate store rooms with candles.

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      5. I suspect we are also running face first into a stone wall of utter differences.

        Daniel may try to organize supplies in a modern way familiar to him, but nobody else in Castle Black will pay much attention to that. All of them are used to LOTS of “do it yourself” and some trading, but very little buying. Captain Rain and Sergeant Thomas are probably exceptions to that. Some of what Daniel babbles about is familiar to them.

        Daniel almost certainly won’t even need to consider who’s making the candles.

        Avilla will set her apprentice(s) to the ritual candle making and many other household tasks.

        If any clothes dying is done, Daniel won’t even notice, unless the odor is particularly strong some day.

        Now, the butcher’s shop will require Daniel’s direct attention for the coolers, but he’s also going to have to make the shelf space in them extra roomy because felwolf haunch and dinosaur ribs are HUGE.

        I don’t know if linen or hemp will be sturdy and warm enough cloth for Daniel’s soldiers. Even with warming spells, he and his coven mates are frequently cold, bordering on frostbite. Fimbulwinter is COLD!

        On the other hand, wool requires sheep and sheep require space. It will be interesting to see what the author does with THAT conundrum.

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      6. Now, the butcher’s shop will require Daniel’s direct attention for the coolers, but he’s also going to have to make the shelf space in them extra roomy because felwolf haunch and dinosaur ribs are HUGE.

        He doesn’t need to build freezers. It’s Fimbulwinter after all, so there’s plenty of ice available. Just build cold rooms and have the ice brought in from outside.

        I wonder if Elin could summon ice. It’s just water in solid form after all.

        Like

      7. Ha!

        I don’t see that replacing Daniel’s existing refrigerator enchantment, Jabrwok, but a never ending box of block ice, crushed ice and other ice is both a good thing and another opportunity for Daniel and Elin to share enchanting and enchantment knowledge.

        She could even do ice sculpture, to refine her control of summoning ice.

        Hmm…I wonder if Elin can create an ice golem?

        What would you like to bet something out of this becomes another weapon technology for Daniel when he needs it?

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      8. “Butchering will be needed because the wolfen and Nethwillin hunters will bring felwolf meat and other wild game to Black Island for trade and sale.”

        And that is an illusion or a short term thing. Kozalin has a hundred thousand people. The dead dinosaurs will be eaten in a few weeks. The forest in reasonable distance from the city will be hunted empty.

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      9. The supply of dead dinosaurs, dead felwolves and other dead monsters seems to have been regularly replenished during the three MONTHS of Daniel’s experience in his new world. The ability to harvest this wealth of healthy proteins has significantly IMPROVED during that same time.

        Skimmers make a HUGE difference in the speed and effectiveness of recovering meat from a battlefield. Even Daniel’s ski vehicles that he surplussed will be important for that.

        Odds are pretty fair the butcher will be kept busy for at least another few YEARS unless Ragnarok ends rather soon.

        Poultry, rabbits and other small meat creatures will probably also increase in numbers over that period, if only on Black Island. Pigs are also likely. We’ve already discussed sheep. Goats are another likely small farm animal.

        Some of the small animal butchering will happen in home and community kitchens, shortly before mealtimes.

        The rest will look like a somewhat cleaned up Medieval market, inside nice, secure buildings.

        Suggesting that people will stop participating in this normal, traditional experience is sort of like suggesting they will all grow gills and start breathing water.

        Not impossible, but highly unlikely.

        Oh…speaking of gills, there will also be a very healthy seafood market as soon as Daniel is compelled to clear the monsters from the river, estuary and nearest parts of the North Sea.

        That project will probably happen early in Book Four.

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      10. “The supply of dead dinosaurs, dead felwolves and other dead monsters seems to have been regularly replenished during the three MONTHS of Daniel’s experience in his new world.”

        And during most of the time the Andregi held the land outside the city. Humans got what was killed inside the city and what was left after the Andregi had been beaten back. Whether that what was left after the Conclave used its cloud of destruction was edible is dubious.
        The Andregi had a lot of carnivorous T-Rex analogues with them. What did they eat? Only the animals killed in the final bombardment will clearly be available to people. And Daniel is not one to not leave them to the Kozalini.

        Regarding felwolves you may notice that Daniel had to fly over a hundred kilometers to even find them for essence extraction. There are none left to eat.

        Regarding small animals, yes they will keep them. As far as practical. And there is little that animals can be fed with that is really unfit for human consumption in a starvation situation.

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      11. And one thing more, should Black Island or Kozalin ever come into a siege again specifically targeted at them, Daniel or Tavrin will have to ban hunting and possibly even fishing. One of their enemies is a godess very good at bioengineering. What she can do if she tries to make parasites is not a pretty thought.

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      12. Maybe we should look at the things that wear down, are essential and Daniel cannot easily produce

        – shoes & boots
        – cloth
        – rope
        – boats
        – ceramics (pots, plates, cups and stuff)
        – various metallic objects
        – glass wares
        – soap and other cleaning supplies
        – magical supplies
        – furniture

        Black Island has what its magic users can conjure and what can be grown on site. Hence mineralic and metallic raw materials are available in bulk. Plant fibers are available to a moderate extent. Wood and leather need to be imported.
        Daniel may need to introduce the steel-hulled boat next.
        And a few beehives in the agricultural areas look like a good idea.

        Like

      13. Daniel can make metal and glass stuff easily enough. He didn’t want to make armor because of all the fiddly bits, but a factory that turns out plates, bowls, and utensils would be trivial, whether made of metal or glass or stone. Boats too, either steel or aluminum. Big ones would be a challenge to mass produce, but he could build a hangar and turn the whole building into a giant factory to construct large objects.

        His primary limit is going to be organics. He can apparently summon bacteria and such in soil, but doesn’t appear able (per authorial fiat) to create meat or comparable stuff (leather). I don’t think Avilla can make such things ex nihilo either or she’d have just created her own spices and honey rather than waiting to get to Kozalin to buy them. She *might* be able to pull a “loaves and fishes” stunt where, if given a sample, she can cause it to multiply (ala her creating thread to mend torn clothing that was missing bits). In that case, the supply of organics becomes a non-issue as well, especially if Daniel can incorporate that magic into one of his factories. Then it’s just a matter of getting an initial sample.

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      14. Good, several of those types of products are actually being produced on Black Island.

        – shoes and boots are purchased in Kozalin, but Avilla knows how to make them with magic (and leather?)
        – cloth probably purchased as needed
        – rope probably purchased as needed
        – boats probably purchased as needed, but skimmers replace them in many roles
        – ceramics probably purchased as needed, but Daniel can mass produce if required
        – metal tools, kitchenware, etc. purchased as needed, but Daniel can give smiths metal
        – glassware probably purchased as needed, but Daniel can mass produce if required
        – soaps and other cleaning supplies see Avilla for purchase or spell
        – magical supplies purchased as needed or see Clan Nethwillin
        – furniture made from locally harvested timber or purchased as needed.

        Wood is already being harvested from local trees by Black Island ad hoc foresters.

        I’d be very surprised if the Dryads are not managing bees, butterflies and other insect pollinators themselves.

        As for iron hulled boats, yes, Daniel can make them.

        I’d rather he made titanium hulled boats, but that might be too rude….

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      15. Regarding steel, if he can get the recipe from the blacksmiths or the elves then he can conjure the relevant pure elements and just mix them in a crucible. He can conjure lava and magma, so he might be able to conjure molten pure iron.

        I don’t know enough about metallurgy to have an informed opinion on the topic, but he knows *of* steel, and might know enough to experiment if the locals’ knowledge is insufficient. Of course the more he has to experiment, the greater the opportunity costs associated with whatever he’s doing.

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      16. Actually, I might have a solution for Daniel’s “steel” issue.

        Build a matter to mana factory that has a “slot” for a sample of steel.

        Have the smiths or the elves provide a “good” sample of what they want.

        Enchant the factory stone to reproduce whatever metal is in the slot.

        Turn on the factory and wait…and wait…and wait while it produces a few pounds per hour, maybe a few pounds per day, of metal identical in composition to the sample.

        If he needs more metal faster, create another factory.

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      17. We know Daniel can make glass.

        We know Daniel can make bronze.

        If Daniel can make bronze, he can make a variety of steels.

        Of course, he has only a vague idea what “steel” actually IS and he will need to work with Oskar for a while to create a set of reliable samples they both agree have desired properties that Daniel can consistently reproduce.

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