Ciaphas Cain: CAves of Ice - analysis and discussion thread

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Ciaphas Cain: CAves of Ice - analysis and discussion thread

Post by Connor MacLeod » 2007-01-27 02:38am

Well, I'm back to Cain for the second one. This one has actually been sitting on my Hard drive for awhile (parttly due to laziness and partly for other reasons.) but I plan to cover this one, and then probably start on the Gaunt's Ghosts novels.

Caves of Ice is a much shorter book compared to the other Cain novels, but despite that, its somehow managed to be packed full of TONS of technical data. Some of it i've coveed before (or others have covered) and I'll go over those again with some revisions, hopefully. I still enjoy the Cain novels (though having started the Gaunt's Ghosts books, ,i'm enjoying those as much too.)

Anyhow, onto the techie stuff.

Page 15
again mention of the word "Klom", described as "A Valhallan colloquialism" and its definition as "kilometres".

Page 17
A troopship would have been equipped to deploy a proper orbital sensor net, which would have been infinitely preferable, but the battered old freighter's navigational array would just have to do. Our deployment was a hurried one, made in response to a frantic astropathic message from the staff of the installation below us, so we had to make do with what we could grab instead of waiting around for the right equipment.
- Regiments frequently employ orbital sensors (or starships doubling in that role, although in the latter case I imagine its a warship or other military vessel and not civilian one.) for data collection. (We see simialr tactics in the Sabbat Worlds Crusade)

Cain also notes that this deployment was 'rushed', and probably does not constitute a standard setup.

Page 18

- According to Cain, the transportt the "Pure of Heart had a primary responsibility of orbiting over the refinery and feeding the sensor data into the 597th's tactical net, enabling them to "keep an eye on our enemies from above."

Page 20

- the Pure of Heart had no military dropships, so they converted heavy cargo haulers to the purpose: the front third of the ship was convereted into troop-carrying capacity ("five score seats") and the rest was for supplies and equipment (including "Sentinels, Chimaeras, and other vehicles - presumably such as Cain's Salamander.)

Page 22-23

- the cargo hauler Cain is riding in takes fire from Ork ground weaponry shortly after entering the atmosphere. Even accounting for probable reentry speeds (at least 8 km/s, but possibly as high as 13+ km/s) and the fact the Orks do not evidently understand (or care) about the concept of effective weapon's range, this is still many kilometers/tens of kilometers distant.

Also, according to Cain, it would have taken hours for the hauler to abort its current trajectory and return to orbit - the life support would give out long before they could return.

It should be noted, I believe, that the shuttle here was implied to be running on promethium (like alot of 40K vehicles of that size.) Not unreaosnable for a shuttle, however its chemical reactions would have to be extremely powerful - as Mike has noted numerous times, it takes a minimum of 60 MJ/kg to escape an earthlike gravity well (far more than modern gasoline or diesel) This, along with other evidence, tends to suggest Imperium chemical explosives and engines are probably alot more powerful than our modern equivalents (potentially at least - efficiency is still an issue.)

Page 29-30
The shuttles from the tankers are over five hundred meters long," I said, dredging up a half-digested fact from the largely ignored briefing slate. "And they land up to twelve at a time.
Tanker cargo shuttles are 500 meters long (which suggests that the tankers themselves are easily multi-mile.) The landing strip for the shuttles is also implied to be many kilometers long and maybe as many wide.

Page 30

- Sulla opens fire with her lasgun at a recently-spotted grroup of Orks. Relevant for the discussion insofar as a minimum range for lasguns is established later.

Page 31 -
"Hold your fire," I broadcast over the comm-net. Hardly neccessary of course, these troopers knew what to do, but I didn't want any mistakes. The orks came on regardless, running apparently tirelessly despite the treacherous footing and the biting wind which would have sapped the strength from an unprotected man in seconds. I began mentally counting off the distance. Two hundred metres, one hundred and fifty...

The closer they got, the more detail I could make out, and the less I wished I could see.
- The Orks were a minimum of two hundred meters away (actually farther) when Sulla opened fire. Cain deliberately ordered them to hold fire until they get closer. Its worth noting that this implies a bare-ass minimum of 200 meters for the Valhallan rifles, but probably longer, given what was implied in other sourcs (like Fifteen hours.) It is worth noting here, though, that the orks traveled some distance befoer Cain actually started counting (seconds perhaps, maybe a fwe minutes) so it could be longer ranged (250 meters, 300 meters, maybe even 500 meters.)

Page 32

- Cain comments that Ork axes, crude as they are, can shear through Astartes armour when driven by ork muscles. This either comments on the nature of 40K materials science, Ork Strength, or both.

Page 33

- a heavy bolter "tears apart" a couple orks, prior to engagement by the Valhallans at short range.

Page 33
I don't suppose they even knew what hit them: suddenly struck by the concentrated fire of a couple of score of lasguns, not to mention the unrelenting hail of heavy bolter fire, there was nothing much left of them apart from some unpleasant stains on the snow within seconds. Sulla ambled over to inspect the mess, and spat a small gobbet of ice on it.
There are 10 orks total (as mentioned by Cain on page 31), minus 2-3 already destroyed by the heavy bolter. There were also 3 squads or so disembarked (30 lasguns), probably plus the command section (andother 5-6 ppl IIRC) as well as the Chimaera with its heavy bolter (only one is mentioned, and the others probably weren't offloaded yet.)
The quote implies that the gunfire (lasguns plus the Chimaera's bolter) basically exploded and/or vaporized the orks in a matter of seconds.

The problem is, though, we dont know the actual ratio between lasguns and bolter fire. given above, its likely though that the bolters could only take out a 2-3 orks "in a few seconds", possibly a few less. which means that 4-6 orks were destroyed by the Valhallans.

Assuming 4 orks, and a mass of around 200 kilos per ork (about 2-3x more massive than a huhman, which may be conservative since other sourcese like Ghostmaker imply 400+ kilos for an ork), is 800 kg. Assuming 70% water composition, is 560 kg.

Conservative: Assuming the lasgun fire merely boiled that much water (boiling point), a minimum of ~200 MJ must be injected (remember, lasguns cauterize as well as explode, hence the conservative term) Assuming 40 lasguns ("a couple score", even though i mentioned above only 30, 35 with the command section were probably actually there and Cain might have been rounding up.) and 3 seconds worth of fire, we come out with a sustained output of 1.67 megawatts per lasgun.

Assuming total vaporization of the 560 kg mass, the energy input becomes 1.5 gigajoules (boiling point plus vaporisation) Again assuming 40 lasguns over 3 seconds comes out to 12.5 megawatts per lasgun.

Note that at least SOME vaporization should be considered liekly, so the low end is EXTREMELY low. It also ignores inefficiencies, number of orks destroyed, any armour the orks were wearing, etc.

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Re: Ciaphas Cain: CAves of Ice - analysis and discussion thr

Post by Brother-Captain Gaius » 2007-01-27 02:52am

Connor MacLeod wrote:Page 32

- Cain comments that Ork axes, crude as they are, can shear through Astartes armour when driven by ork muscles. This either comments on the nature of 40K materials science, Ork Strength, or both.
Various Ork materials (Codex: Space Orks, etc.) would suggest this is actually at least partially a function of "Waaagh! power" more than anything. Insofar as I know, there is nothing particularly unique abouts choppaz, big choppaz, and other large Orky weapons as compared to their smaller counterparts, save that Orks believe their larger size to be indicative of their capability to "chop up da Marine boyz."
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Post by Shroom Man 777 » 2007-01-27 12:29pm

They say that Armageddon Ork Hunters use Ork choppaz on Orkz because, well, the Orks think that their choppaz are really sharp and so the choppaz used by the Hunters tends to cause more damage...though this only happens to Orks and when used on something else, the choppers are really shite.

Kind of like how when the Ork Hunters use slugthrowers against Orks, they tend to be more effective since the Orks think the slugthrowers are worse than lasguns because bullets are noisier than lasers.
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Post by defanatic » 2007-01-27 05:25pm

Shroom Man 777 wrote:Kind of like how when the Ork Hunters use slugthrowers against Orks, they tend to be more effective since the Orks think the slugthrowers are worse than lasguns because bullets are noisier than lasers.
*think the slugthrowers are better than lasguns*

Weren't there some stats available on Necron weaponry? I haven't got the book here unfortunately.
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Re: Ciaphas Cain: CAves of Ice - analysis and discussion thr

Post by Stormbringer » 2007-01-28 02:55am

Brother-Captain Gaius wrote:Various Ork materials (Codex: Space Orks, etc.) would suggest this is actually at least partially a function of "Waaagh! power" more than anything. Insofar as I know, there is nothing particularly unique abouts choppaz, big choppaz, and other large Orky weapons as compared to their smaller counterparts, save that Orks believe their larger size to be indicative of their capability to "chop up da Marine boyz."
Given that Khornate Chain Axes are endowed with the same special rule in game and are said to have that effect as a result of sheer mass, the "choppa effect" is quite possibly nothing more than the results of swinging large chunks of very heavy (and possibly exotic) metal. At the very least, a choppa is a very dangerous with out any orkish gestalt effect.
Shroom Man 777 wrote:They say that Armageddon Ork Hunters use Ork choppaz on Orkz because, well, the Orks think that their choppaz are really sharp and so the choppaz used by the Hunters tends to cause more damage...though this only happens to Orks and when used on something else, the choppers are really shite.
That's considerably overstating it. We get a firsthand view of Orkish equipement in Death or Glory and while much of it is crude and often ramshackle in nature, the gear remains largely functional outside the presence of any Orks. A tech-preist as well as veteran PDF and Guard look it over and pretty much uniformally call it crude but functional. Orkish technology is considerably more functional than people here, particularly those trying to win versus debates, give them credit for.
Shroom Man 777 wrote:Kind of like how when the Ork Hunters use slugthrowers against Orks, they tend to be more effective since the Orks think the slugthrowers are worse than lasguns because bullets are noisier than lasers.
There are actually two reason for that which have nothing to do with any orkish gestalt effect:

1) Large caliber projectile weapons like those favored by the Imperium an the Orks themselves are likely more effective against Orks because they create a more damaging wound. A standard las-round for the most part seems to punch a rather direct, partially cauterized wound. A large caliber slug on the other hand is likely to create a much messier, uncauterized wound which will be more debilitating to a creature like an Ork. By way of analogy, look at the M-16 versus AK-47. The M-16 will penetrate body armor better but leave a relatively clean wound, the AK doesn't penetrate as well but the wound on the person is greater.

2) A noisy, chaotic battlefield is simply going to be more intimidating to an Ork. All Orks are extremely communal and most are extremely primitive in their reactions. It's quite likely that an extremely noisy, confused battle is going to adversely affect their psyches, effectively a lowering of fighting spirit and morale. The effect of noise, which will trigger a fight or flight in most beings animal brain, and confuse is to diminish the group morale and spirit which are critical to their fighting ability. In short, it's scarier and they screw up.

On the flip side, a large body of charging orks works themself up into a "Waagggghh" charge which is effectively a beserker state. They work themselves into a temporary frenzy, which is not at all unheard of in human culture, that results in an improvement in battlefield performance.

I think over all, the evidence of a strong psychic gestalt in the Orks is overstated (or not supported by current material).
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Re: Ciaphas Cain: CAves of Ice - analysis and discussion thr

Post by Shadowtraveler » 2007-01-28 03:24am

Stormbringer wrote:Given that Khornate Chain Axes are endowed with the same special rule in game and are said to have that effect as a result of sheer mass, the "choppa effect" is quite possibly nothing more than the results of swinging large chunks of very heavy (and possibly exotic) metal. At the very least, a choppa is a very dangerous with out any orkish gestalt effect.
Wouldn't Khornate Chain Axes be, y'know, blessed by Khorne? There's quite likely a magic effect to them.

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Re: Ciaphas Cain: CAves of Ice - analysis and discussion thr

Post by Imperial Overlord » 2007-01-28 03:41am

Shadowtraveler wrote:Wouldn't Khornate Chain Axes be, y'know, blessed by Khorne? There's quite likely a magic effect to them.
They aren't magic weapons (although there are some magical chain weapons). They are massive weapons with rapidly moving monoedged adamantium teeth wielded by a superhuman wearing strength enhancing powered armour. As such, while I believe that Ork choppers are big nasty pieces of metal that you absolutely don't want to get hit by even when wielded by a blunt human (but a damn strong blunt human to be able to wield a huge choppa), are at least somewhat warp enhanced.
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Re: Ciaphas Cain: CAves of Ice - analysis and discussion thr

Post by Shadowtraveler » 2007-01-28 03:54am

Imperial Overlord wrote:They aren't magic weapons (although there are some magical chain weapons). They are massive weapons with rapidly moving monoedged adamantium teeth wielded by a superhuman wearing strength enhancing powered armour.
Maybe magic wasn't the right terms, but you'd think they'd still be blessed by Khorne, or at least in Khorne's name.

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Re: Ciaphas Cain: CAves of Ice - analysis and discussion thr

Post by Imperial Overlord » 2007-01-28 04:14am

Shadowtraveler wrote:
Imperial Overlord wrote:They aren't magic weapons (although there are some magical chain weapons). They are massive weapons with rapidly moving monoedged adamantium teeth wielded by a superhuman wearing strength enhancing powered armour.
Maybe magic wasn't the right terms, but you'd think they'd still be blessed by Khorne, or at least in Khorne's name.
Meaningless. Just about every Imperial weapon is blessed. Every marine combat knife and bolter is ritually blessed daily.
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Re: Ciaphas Cain: CAves of Ice - analysis and discussion thr

Post by 2000AD » 2007-01-28 05:08am

Stormbringer wrote: 2) A noisy, chaotic battlefield is simply going to be more intimidating to an Ork. All Orks are extremely communal and most are extremely primitive in their reactions. It's quite likely that an extremely noisy, confused battle is going to adversely affect their psyches, effectively a lowering of fighting spirit and morale. The effect of noise, which will trigger a fight or flight in most beings animal brain, and confuse is to diminish the group morale and spirit which are critical to their fighting ability. In short, it's scarier and they screw up.
An Armageddon ork hunter pretty much states so in Annihalation Squad. He says that according to the Ork mind the "zip zip" of a lasgun is a lot less effective than the loud bangs of an autogun. The lasgun and the autogun do a simular amount of damage but because it's a lot quiter the orks don't think the lasgun is as damaging, they don't 'respect it' as much as a gun that makes a loud noise. Hence why the ork hunters use autoguns when lasguns would be more reliable, easier to maintain and a lot easier to carry and resupply ammo for, it's purely psychological.
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Post by 2000AD » 2007-01-28 05:20am

The relevant passage from Annihalation Squad, page 613 of the Last Chancers omnibus edition, paper back:
"How come you use autoguns instead of lasguns?" asks Lorri, "Surely lasguns are more practical for extended patrols, what with being able to recharge the packs?"
Thorn smiles. The black and green camoflage twists across his face, his bright teeth showing.
"It's a platoon-by-platoon thing," he says, pulling his autogun off his shoulder and patting it. "Carrying ammo can be a bitch, you're right, but we don't mind trading that hardship for the psychological effect."
"What psychological effect?" asks Brownie.
"You have to understand how an ork thinks to fight him properly" says Thorn getting serious. "Autoguns make a lot of noise and bright muzzle flare, and that's something they can respect. There are not many things an orks scared of but you can be sure we're one of them. When a platoon lets rip with these beauties from hiding, the airs filled with hotmetal and it's an almighty din. Especially at night, when we usually operate. Orks just don't care about the pissy little zip-zip-zip of lasguns, it just doesn't register as proper weapons fire to them."
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Post by Major Maxillary » 2007-01-28 12:32pm

look at the M-16 versus AK-47. The M-16 will penetrate body armor better but leave a relatively clean wound, the AK doesn't penetrate as well but the wound on the person is greater.
That's not true. The M193 ball round is designed to tumble and break apart when it hits soft tissue, making a small entry wound, but shredding everything underneath. So you wind up with a very serious case of bleeding insides that you need to treat quick.

not much on penetration, but against unarmored opponents it'll at least make them bleed out.


When getting shot, the real damage isn't caused at the skin, but on the inside. most bullets are designed to either tumble or fragment inside you, the former being better against armor and targets behind cover while the later is better for targets that are unarmored. either way, what kills you isn't the bullet itself, but the blood loss that the bullet fucking your organs and/or tissue causes.
There is no such thing as 'too much firepower' because there is no such thing as 'negative dead'.

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Post by Stormbringer » 2007-01-28 12:39pm

Major Maxillary wrote:
look at the M-16 versus AK-47. The M-16 will penetrate body armor better but leave a relatively clean wound, the AK doesn't penetrate as well but the wound on the person is greater.
That's not true. The M193 ball round is designed to tumble and break apart when it hits soft tissue, making a small entry wound, but shredding everything underneath. So you wind up with a very serious case of bleeding insides that you need to treat quick.

not much on penetration, but against unarmored opponents it'll at least make them bleed out.


When getting shot, the real damage isn't caused at the skin, but on the inside. most bullets are designed to either tumble or fragment inside you, the former being better against armor and targets behind cover while the later is better for targets that are unarmored. either way, what kills you isn't the bullet itself, but the blood loss that the bullet fucking your organs and/or tissue causes.
I may be totally off on the commentary on real guns. I only know what I've heard from others discussing the subject which may or may not be accurate. So if it's not, it's not. It was simply meant to be an analogy.
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Post by Major Maxillary » 2007-01-28 03:06pm

Stormbringer wrote:
Major Maxillary wrote:
look at the M-16 versus AK-47. The M-16 will penetrate body armor better but leave a relatively clean wound, the AK doesn't penetrate as well but the wound on the person is greater.
That's not true. The M193 ball round is designed to tumble and break apart when it hits soft tissue, making a small entry wound, but shredding everything underneath. So you wind up with a very serious case of bleeding insides that you need to treat quick.

not much on penetration, but against unarmored opponents it'll at least make them bleed out.


When getting shot, the real damage isn't caused at the skin, but on the inside. most bullets are designed to either tumble or fragment inside you, the former being better against armor and targets behind cover while the later is better for targets that are unarmored. either way, what kills you isn't the bullet itself, but the blood loss that the bullet fucking your organs and/or tissue causes.
I may be totally off on the commentary on real guns. I only know what I've heard from others discussing the subject which may or may not be accurate. So if it's not, it's not. It was simply meant to be an analogy.
I understand, I'm just sharing that a standard from an AKM-47 would be less damaging to the tissue than a standard round fired from an M16A2.

now, 5.45, That's a whole 'nother can of worms right there.
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Post by Shroom Man 777 » 2007-01-29 12:34pm

So, the whole M-16 ammunition being more damaging to the tissue than AK-47 ammunition's the reason why some people are bitching that the M-16's lack of stopping power, why said people advocate rounds in the 6mm area, and why there have been some reports of American soldiers ditching their M-16s in favor of the AK-47?
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Post by SylasGaunt » 2007-01-29 08:47pm

It does do more tissue damage, the thing is that it makes you bleed out nastily and makes it harder for a doctor to patch the victim up.. but it doesn't smash into a target quite the same way a 7.62 round does.

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Post by Enforcer Talen » 2007-01-29 08:57pm

On a quick sidenote, the book "On killing" states that the noise of firearms has an impact on human psych as well. The example he gives is the transition made from longbows to muskets, even though the 2nd were less accurate.
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Post by Elheru Aran » 2007-01-29 09:09pm

SylasGaunt wrote:It does do more tissue damage, the thing is that it makes you bleed out nastily and makes it harder for a doctor to patch the victim up.. but it doesn't smash into a target quite the same way a 7.62 round does.
Quite so. There's enough tales about insurgents absorbing several shots from a M16 and still going on for a fair while for me to give that quite a bit of credence. I know I'd rather have a round that'd put down my opponent rapidly than one that'll let him keep going for awhile even if he's going to bleed out eventually. I would presume the autoguns used in 40K are likely along the lines of the .50 Beowulf modification for the M-16.
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Post by D.Turtle » 2007-01-30 07:39pm

Elheru Aran wrote:Quite so. There's enough tales about insurgents absorbing several shots from a M16 and still going on for a fair while for me to give that quite a bit of credence. I know I'd rather have a round that'd put down my opponent rapidly than one that'll let him keep going for awhile even if he's going to bleed out eventually.
It is also mentioned in the book "Black Hawk Down", quoted from one of the marines or Delta Force soldiers (would have to look it up to be sure who).

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Post by Teleros » 2007-02-01 10:46am

Shroom Man 777 wrote:and why there have been some reports of American soldiers ditching their M-16s in favor of the AK-47?
That might also be due to ease of maintenance and reliability - the AK-47 is pretty famous on both those counts.

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Post by Connor MacLeod » 2007-02-02 01:56am

Regarding Ork weapons: While I'm prone to attributing many Ork innovations more to "Waaagh" power than functionality (fossil fueled fighters frrom shadow point, for example) Stormbringer did have a point about Ork weapons. They are rather functional in deaht or Glory and reasonably effective (though even there they are considered far less reliable and more dangerous than Imperium weapons.) and the fact that huhmans can use them would put limits on the projectile weapons due to recoil (more for slugthrowers than bolters, though.) So it may be WAAAGH power either improves reliability and/or performance (or maybe the increased performance comes with the WAAAGH's ability to operate them at levels that would make them unreliable for anyone else.)

It is quite possible, likewise, for the choppas to be able to shear through armor despite their evidently simplistic/crude design: great strength with a very hard/durable object with a narrow surface area (even if it is blunt relative to say, an IG bayonet or entrenching tool) - indeed, "shearing' does not enccesarily imply cutting ability, it could imply high pressure tearing through the armor. (And exotic materials like adamantium are unlikely to be unknown to the Orks.)

As for the 5.56 mm ammo and its effectiveness or lack thereof, from what little I have ever garnered: yes, it will fragment/tumble in soft tissue, and increase teh damage, but it will onyl do so if the velocity is sufficient (and, I presume, if its not a fully armor piercing round.) to ensure reliable fragmentation. And it seems the velocity issue is where the problem comes up. Velocity remains pretty good at fairly short ranges as I understand it, but at longer ranges, penetration and fragmentation become more difficult. What it means is that you have a lighter bullet punching through the atmosphere, and the atmospheric resistance, I believe, does tend to bleed off velocity more rapidly than in a heavier bullet. And at longer ranges, teh velocity drops off, so does the chance of fragmentation.

A 7.62mm bullet, by contrast, does have much greater mass/diameter, so even if it doesnt fragment or tumble, it still can do some nasty damage by sheer mass/velocity. The bullet is also probably designed to fragment/tumble at lower velocities anyhow, since the 7.62mm will by default generally have lower velocity due to the higher mass of the bullet.

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Post by Connor MacLeod » 2007-02-02 01:58am

Page 35

- Amberley's subscript #1:
"Binary," as the tech-priests refer to their secret language, is one of their most sacred mysteries. Cracking it has long been a priority of the Inquisition, but so far even the most rudimentary syntax has yet to be established.
This is a subscript referring to Cain and a Ministorium official overhearing a group of Adeptus Mechanicus speaking in a "weird twittering language" that set Cain's teeth on edge. Not sure what to make of this precisely (Do they speak in a binary code or computer language, or do they just call it binary because its tech erlated and they dont understand the term?)


Page 41 & 42

- Promethium is used in many roles, from vehicles (Imperial Guard, Space Marine, and civilian) to some forms of spacecraft (some fighters, shuttles, spaceportt cargo haulers, etc.) Its also used to make everyday neccessities such as "dyes, plastics, and pharmacopoeia and mroe disturbingly the "synthetic protein bars which make up the bukl of the proletarian diet on some fo the drearier forge worlds." (yuck) More useful from a military standpoint, its "combustibility" is what makes it valuable (its "most holy use.") It is useful in weaponry such as flamers as well as a component in explosives.

Note that the implication (and observance) of it being used in spacecraft implies a far higher energy density than modern gasoline, diesel, or jet fuel - escaping the veloicty of an earthlike planet would require at least 60 MJ/kg, and probably more than that. Its quite probable that Promethium is comparable to or greater than hydrogen in terms of energy density (120-140 MJ/kg), especially given the level of destruction exhibited by flamers in the Gaunt's Ghosts novels.

Page 42:
Promethium itself can be produced in a variety of ways, and from an astonishing number of sources. Among the most common are the atmospheres of gas giant planets, subterranean deposits of ancient organic materials, and certain kinds of rare ices found only on the coldest of worlds.
- Promethium does not, ,as far as I can tell, seem to resemble modern chemical fuels in any way (IE its not gasoline, or diesel, or methane.) since it seems to be found on gas giants. Promethium might be a catch-all term, but somehow I doubt that too. If this is supposed to link Promethium to hydrogen, again, I am unsure.

Page 51

- another reminder that Jurgen, Cain's aide, is a psyhic blank, a rare attribute which renders him immune to daemonic possesion or psychic attacks.

Page 55
Either luck or the Emperor was with me, because she'd left it on full auto. As my panic-spasmed hand locked on the trigger a hail of las bolts sprayed the chamber, blowing chunks of ice from the walls and defeaning us with the roar of ionising air and ice flashing into steam. The creature screamed and fled, even more terrified than I was, and as the power cell died and relative silence descended on our ringing ears, Penlan stirred.
- Two details of interest. First, full-auto on a Valhallan lasgun seems to empty the power pack in a matter of seconds. We know the powerpack was full, but we dont know the exact number of shots. If we assume it took 4-5 seconds, and assume 50 shots (40-60 shots per pack seems to be average), the rate of fire on a lasgun seems to be around 600-720 RPM. If the timeframe is shorter, the rate of fire could go up to 800, 900, or 1200 RPM. or more.

The other interesting detail of note is that the lasgun impacts cause ice to "flash into steam" (there is mention of ice blowing chunks in the wall too.)
I took a glancec around the chamber. It looked bigger from down here, and the hail of las bolts had melted a number of small pits into the walls. Something seemed to be embedded in one, and I tried to focus on it, to stop my head spinning.
- here, Cain mentions that the lasgun had melted "small pits" in the wall, though above he mentions chunks of ice and vaporization (IE steam.) The best answer would probably be that all three (to varying degrees) occured. Note that some vaporization would be needed for fragmentation (blasting chunks), while you could expect some vaporization along with melting (if the ice/water reaches boiling point, which is likely.)

Page 56
It was a human hand, severed at the wrist, the stump scored with viscious bite marks.
- This provides us with our best estimate of the dimensions of the holes melted/vaporised in the ice. "hand sized" implies at least 10 cm in diameter, but the hand is open, so this is probably conservative (I'd say less than 20 cm.. so maybe 10-15 cm.)

Assuming a perfectly hemispherical crater 10 cm in diameter would melt/vaporise about .25 kg worth of ice per shot. 15 cm would melt/vaporise .8 kg of ice. According to the stats provided on SD.net, we can infer roughly .51 MJ/kg for melting, and 2.71 for melting/vaporization (at least.) This means melting is between 122-475 kilojoules per shot, while vaporization would be 650 kilojoules and 2.2 Megajoules per shot. The actual value falls somewhere between those to.

This seems rather low for lasgun values compared to other calcs I have done, but we know most lasguns have variable charge settings (even though Valhallan lasguns are never mentioned as having them it is a reasonable supposition.) It may also be that the lasgun accepts a lower overall "per shot" output for a much higher rate of fire.

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Post by Teleros » 2007-02-03 10:07pm

Prometheum sounds like something akin to oil etc, although as you've said you need a hell of a lot more energy from it. However it does sound like it is some sort of hydrocarbon-based chemical (or mix of chemicals?) given what they say it is used for (dyes, plastics etc). Given the energy it must contain it sounds like it has a lot more hydrogen than carbon in it.
The other possibility is that it contains something more exotic that gives it the extra energy, but from those passages it would almost have to be a hydrocarbon.

As for the binary language, I'm fairly certain it is actual binary code. I believe in "Dark Adeptus" it is described as being made of strings of 0s and 1s, but I don't have the book handy to double-check.

On another note, Jurgen also appears to be able to disrupt the blank fields of others: witness his effect on the pariahs in that necron tomb (the same as a culexus assassin's aura etc - ie it's not a psychic-based phenomena). My own theory is that his effect is not trained or controlled, and so interferes with the more controlled auras from the pariahs, I'm not sure how to explain it otherwise given that in CoI we're lead to believe the portal & aura are warp phenomena.

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Post by Stormbringer » 2007-02-03 11:18pm

Connor MacLeod wrote:Regarding Ork weapons: While I'm prone to attributing many Ork innovations more to "Waaagh" power than functionality (fossil fueled fighters frrom shadow point, for example) Stormbringer did have a point about Ork weapons. They are rather functional in deaht or Glory and reasonably effective (though even there they are considered far less reliable and more dangerous than Imperium weapons.) and the fact that huhmans can use them would put limits on the projectile weapons due to recoil (more for slugthrowers than bolters, though.) So it may be WAAAGH power either improves reliability and/or performance (or maybe the increased performance comes with the WAAAGH's ability to operate them at levels that would make them unreliable for anyone else.)
It seems most likely that the Orkish gestalt effect, such as it is, mostly extends to a boost to relative performance. The red goes faster phenomenon is probably the best, most consistently identifiable and quantifiable instance. And that is simply a relativley small (but significant) boost to the speed of such vehicles.

As for the fossil fuels, I would submit that if they are fossil fuels they are an extremely refined product. Imperial products like promethium are evidently heavily refined, to the point that calling them fossil fuels is probably erroneous.
Connor MacLeod wrote:- Promethium does not, ,as far as I can tell, seem to resemble modern chemical fuels in any way (IE its not gasoline, or diesel, or methane.) since it seems to be found on gas giants. Promethium might be a catch-all term, but somehow I doubt that too. If this is supposed to link Promethium to hydrogen, again, I am unsure.
It's almost certainly a catch-all for a family of products. We are talking about non-Mechanicus sources, which means they may not be party to the full details. Given the sheer range of promethium products it's unlikely that any one single real world analogue would fit.
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Post by Stormbringer » 2007-02-03 11:19pm

PS: Connor, I'm suprised you missed the joke about Soylens Veridens (sp?). :lol:
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