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Bullets vs Breastplate

Discussion in 'Research' started by SeverinR, Dec 29, 2014.

  1. Jan Conradie

    Jan Conradie Scribe

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    O illustrious Queen of Titania
    You touch a very interesting point namely how to change history. I have done detailed calculations (though nothing as genius as my protagonist supposedly did) and settled on creating a forest-fire East of Tettenhall in 910. I actually think murdering King Edward the Elder would (1) be pretty hard for a stranger who cant even speak the 10th century lingua and (2) not have the desired effect because he had a succession plan in place, the turd! This particular battle can be changed by merely delaying Edward's army so that they join the battle too late. Actually it was a massive tactical blunder to allow two halves of a separated army to join before a battle, but that is what happens when soldiers are drunk. I don't necessarily want Edward to die, I just want to nip the rise of England in the bud.
    In terms of Hastings you are correct, changing that would have a massive effect but it would be much too hard. Killing William while surrounded by a few thousand vicious Normans would be out of the question. The protagonist has the easy ability to poison a large quantity of water but at Hastings that would not ensure anything even if it kills a hundred. William won because an archery champion sadly eliminated Harold. So 910 AD it is, and creating a forest fire would not be too hard if one can survive the journey. It was a dry month (the River Tame was almost dry) and there apparently was a handy forest in exactly the right place. I recently visited the site whereas Hastings (or Battle Town, to be more precise) I've never seen.
    This project is under ugly construction currently. I might place something else, which has already been exposed on the web, under "portfolios" on this esteemed board when I have time, but the quality on this board is slightly intimidating. :unsure: My minute little treasure of hard-copy published work is not in English, unfortunately.
    Sincerely,
    J.
     
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  2. Sheilawisz

    Sheilawisz Queen of Titania Moderator

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    Hello again Jan! I think that you are going to find this video here quite interesting.



    I once asked Skallagrim about this during one of his Live Chat sessions, and his expert opinion is that Medieval armor and shields would stand no chance against Victorian guns. As seen at the end of that video, present-day firearms are far more powerful! I still believe that any decent modern rifle would be a lot more effective than the revolver, so I would at least consider it.

    Anyway, if this was my story the protagonist would have a freaking AK-47 and that would get the job done quite well.
     
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  3. Jan Conradie

    Jan Conradie Scribe

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    Esteemed Queen of Titania
    That is really interesting. Moreso considering that the breastplate is much more advanced than 10th century mail. Good grief, you would send an AK47-wielding protagonist into the 10th century!?! :sneaky::D Would that not endanger the very fabric of time and turn your hero into a butcher? :) I'll have to change his name from Godspeller Jan to Vicious Jan. I think he could actually change the Battle of Hastings then, it's 100 miles less to walk...
    Problem is I have few instruments for realism, and the one I use is that I must be able to collect and carry the provisions my protagonist would have. I have actually collected all of it in pictures from nearby shops, and measured it etc. I even have some of it. And where I live, there is no way I could get my hands on an AK47! It is not allowed. Not that I wouldn't like to!
    Most interesting. I must make time to read something you wrote, it sounds like it would be action-packed. My benchmark apocalyptic fantasy is John Christopher's classic "Death of Grass". You'd like the fire-power those ordinary protagonists wield! I can recommend that book most enthusiastically.
    Cheers
    "Godspeller Jan"
     
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  4. Malik

    Malik Auror

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    Just adding real quick: my MC in my portal fantasy series carries a 9mm subcompact pistol on his swordbelt because, he says, "anyone who finds themselves in a fair fight deserves to lose."

    Modern-day jacketed ammunition would tear right through medieval armor, no question, and anything other than hollowpoint rounds would probably come out the other side and keep going for a while.
    However, he learns that there's a prohibition on using magic to do harm, and killing with magic is a capital offense. Since a handgun would definitely be construed as some type of magical device, he has to be judicious with it. So, one other thing to think about is how your MC is going to explain the thing away, especially in a superstitious and relatively uneducated society.
     
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  5. Jan Conradie

    Jan Conradie Scribe

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    Hi Malik
    Yes, you are right about that. A considerable theme and portion of the story is out of necessity spent on Godspeller Jan's Christian credentials and of course his usefulness to the Christian leaders and causes in Mercia, Wales and Wessex because ending up on a pyre with the Bishop of Caester (largely fictional given that Caester apparently only briefly had a bishopry before the 11th century) whipping a crowd of superstitious pheasants into a frenzy would be his worst nightmare (apart from miscalculating and emerging between two stones at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean instead of in Britain). My impression is that mass superstitious action against unexplained powers were then as politically driven as it is now. Be an opponent of or a threat to the wrong people and you'll die in a witch-hunt before achieving your goal. Ordinary folk were too busy surviving, and too sparsely populated to posse the protagonist en masse without instigation. Two or three nuts could of course attack him but they would end up being those unexplained corpses mentioned below.
    However I think a carefully planned intervention with as little visible use of guns as possible might be more feasible than storming in with a machine gun and mowing down everyone until one gets to King Edward The Elder, and imagine the horror chapter that could cause in the Saxon Chronicles, to be pored over by too many medieval scholars. It could cause all kinds of anomalies in the course of history, like inspiring an alchemist to invent gunpowder in 911 AD and conquer the world. In my tale only the 5 warriors whose lives he saves, one widow he falls in love with and a few unexplained lone corpses in hidden forest coves would know about him wielding a hand-held Thor's hammer that kills at 100 m.
    Is your portal fantasy available for perusal somewhere? Sounds interesting. What is your MC trying to do, portal-ing around like that with a 9mm? Please just advise him to say away from Stonehenge and the Glastonbury mound in 910AD, we don't want unnecessary risk. :D My guy is a bit jumpy.
    Cheers
    J.
     
  6. Jan Conradie

    Jan Conradie Scribe

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    Oh dear Thor, I just investigated Joseph Malik's website and I am gobsmacked. I should not be chatting in this company, I am too much of an amateur.
    Great was my relief though to notice that there is no chance that swordplay-olympiad with a gun could cross paths with my scared little guy in 910AD. So I am at least safe from being skewered in that encounter.
    Salutè, Joseph Malik, thanks for taking time to talk to me, I am honored. Queens and best-selling novelists, what's next on this forum? This makes me think of a phrase from a Bernard Cornwell novel: "Lord Uhtred says I should speak to my equals. Then he sends me a goddess and a prince. I am honored."
    Me, fading into obscurity again,
    J.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2019
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  7. Malik

    Malik Auror

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    Everybody started somewhere. Your book sounds solidly researched and you're on the right forum to get the answers you need. Stick around. You're in good company.
     
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  8. Sheilawisz

    Sheilawisz Queen of Titania Moderator

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    Hello once again, esteemed Godspeller Jan!

    First, I want to ask you to stay and become a part of the Mythic Scribes community. We need new voices around here, we need more cool people and you seem very interesting so far. You see, several people in these forums share your passion for real world history and many others love to research in order to give their Fantasy stories that style of historical and believable edge.

    If your protagonist had an AK-47, perhaps a small supply of bullets could counter the weapon's severe hitting power.

    I researched quite a lot for my Joan of England trilogy some years ago and the effort was worth it, even though only a small part of the first novel takes place in the Fourteenth Century.

    If you are interested, you can easily find a limited selection of my novellas, novels and Fanfics at Wattpad!

    All of my stories have a certain dose of action, but they are not exactly action-packed as you may guess. Anyway, if you decide to stay and you need any kind of Moderator assistance, just send me a private message.

    S.W. Ellayn
     
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  9. Jan Conradie

    Jan Conradie Scribe

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    Thank you, O Queen of Titania!
    I assure thee I only appear to be cool. I am out of my league among you established, successful authors. :notworthy: I need to start reading here!
    Because all of you have been so kind to a stranger, I have now placed a little portfolio here, containing chapters from another, more complete, old novel of mine. For anyone interested to see a little inside my psyche. :D
    Gratefully yours,
    J.
     
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  10. Jan Conradie

    Jan Conradie Scribe

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    Thanks Archmage Malik. I am humbled.
     
  11. psychotick

    psychotick Auror

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    Hi,

    If your preferred method of stopping / changing the outcome of this battle is to slow down an army, why not just equip your guy with a lighter and a pack of fire starters? You mentioned a river and a dry forest to start a fire in, why not add to that. Give him an extra week in the past and have him burn some bridges - (and I don't mean metaphorically!) Then set your forest on fire as well.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
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  12. Jan Conradie

    Jan Conradie Scribe

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    Hi Auror Psychotick,
    You are remarkably, astonishingly close (reading my mind?): This guy IS equipped with a lighter, fire-starters and a few other provisions. The gun is not there to slow down the battle, the gun is there to help him survive long enough in order to fulfill his quest.
    Typically of such stories, the worm-hole-portal is not conveniently located next to the battle-scene, he has to travel at least 247 miles to get there, and 10th century Britain is a very hard and dangerous place for a normal guy from 2019.
    Elsewhere on this forum I described some of the events in the story where the gun is supposedly used, and not being an intentional murderer it nearly costs him his sanity. The spiritual hardship of ending up killing people to survive, turns out to be much worse than the very harsh conditions he faces.
    The actual skirmish described with the 18 Danes supposedly (this is all still under construction while I listen to sage advice) takes place AFTER the main battle as he joins some refugees going South via Wales, to give him a better chance to get back to the portal in one piece in a Britain he has thrown into utter anarchy. As a side-story the idiot (which many protagonists devolve into at times) also tries there to keep the young Aetheling Athelstan alive in order to keep Britain divided for generations to come. If Athelstan dies there would be a high probability (according to his "masterful" calculations) of the Empire of Denmark merely replacing England's role in history, ending up with results similar to the ones he is sworn to destroy.
    And of course he also wants to get back to that widow whom he erroneously fell in love with, who lives South-West of Latocetum (today the town called Wall). Complications abound.
    An interesting question is: If these side-issues his own heart increasingly takes him into, lead to more people being killed by .38 Special revolver (as opposed to killing against his wishes necessitated by mere survival) then is he turning into a cold-hearted murderer?
    I think (hope) many here would agree with me that if one time-jumps from today to 910 AD and then has to travel more than 240 miles to start a forest-fire on a certain day in a certain place, the chances of survival and success would be slim without a superior weapon? And THIS guy is fanatic about his quest, he wants to make SURE.
    Finally, in the back of his mind, the protagonist thinks that if he fails (which in reality would always be a possibility) then he can simply assassinate King Edward the Elder with the gun and get it over with. Armed with less, he would have no chance. A mere assassination would be ineffective as mentioned elsewhere, but doing so in the week before that battle in 910 AD, should have the desired effect on the battle too. But he does not start out as an assassin, he starts out as an astro-physicist with a fanatic quest to change the world by braving Britain in 910AD and by starting the right forest-fire.
    Cheers
    Jan
     
  13. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

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    I do recall seeing an episode of some show where they analyzed a breastplate from the period of early firearms to discover it was modified and capable of stopping those old lead balls. The trouble was, the armor would be expensive as hell and still only protect a portion of the core where thickest. This, of course, means nothing against anything remotely modern.

    In the Sister Continents I have arrowheads which are a bit like depleted uranium anti-tank rounds, due to a peculiar magical quality. Their penetration against wooden objects, however, is diminished. Magic is so much fun.
     
  14. Jan Conradie

    Jan Conradie Scribe

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    Thank you Auror, I concur that a .38 special long-barrel revolver with the right ammunition would be good enough.
    In my view magic makes it too easy. But that's just me, it is clear that the current trend in books is against me. What I am embroiled in with constructing this story, is how to use (or not get killed by) the APPEARANCE of magic, which is what almost any technology would be if a time-traveler took anything with him to the 10th century. I concluded that it would be unavoidable if the traveler had any human contact (like waiting in Viroconium for the moment to influence the events of August 910) that he would be perceived to be a wizard. His life would be in grave danger due to superstitious folk, BUT it could be an advantage for survival, like doing tricks for money (or rather hack-silver) to buy food. It would not be possible to pack enough provisions in a rucksack to survive the 4 months in England that I envisage the traveler would need, and he would have no skills to sell (feudal hierarchy would furthermore make earning a living almost impossible). Therefore he may have to resort to selling "magic" tricks. How to make technology that one can stick in one's back-pocket today, seem like magic in 910AD...that is the challenge. It is keeping my imagination very busy at the moment.
    I have, for example, found a set of lights-USB charger-Solar-panel that is so small it would easily fit in my rucksack..with a cell-phone that would of course find no reception, but do you realize how "magically" powerful a charged smartphone can be?
    Not to mention the information one could store on it, for example about mushroom-hunting, maps and medieval herbs.
     

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