Gaunts Ghosts 1 - First and Only Analysis and Discussion

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Gaunts Ghosts 1 - First and Only Analysis and Discussion

Post by Connor MacLeod » 2007-04-17 06:48pm

Yep. I finally decided to get around to doing this again after being a lazy bastard. Well, not lazy. Technically I wanted to do some of those other articles before I started the first three (well four) Ghosts novels, since those are the calcs where the whole cauterization bit will come in big (the latter Cain novels too, but I haven't touched on those yet.

I have to say I like Abnett's first three novels the best. That said, let's begin!


Page 9

- Two Faustus-class Interceptors, described as being 100 paces long, 'serrated cathedral spires with spalyed flying buttresses".) They have mind impulse links but may not have inerrtial dampers (or if they do, they're not very efficient) given that they also have heart rate monitors. Given some statements in later novels where suspensors or other AG-like devicees are used in the suit, the latter seems likely.

Also at 100 paces long (or 150 meters), those "fighters" are probably small capital ships in their own right. This seems to resurrect the idea of "sublight" parasites like from Space Fleet, where larger ships (like Battleships) carried smaller destroyers as well as fighters.

By contrast, we know that Starhawk and fury class fighters are probably around 40-60 meters or so (Eisenhorn's guncutter was 80 meters long at 450 tons. Starhawks are 300 tons and Furies are 200 tons. And a Thunderhawk gunship, at least as per forgeworld stats, is around 120 tons and ~20 meters long.) Of course, lightning fighters and marauders are much less massive and smaller, but they are primarily atmospheric fighters (some of which can be modified for space-fighting capability.)

It woudl be interesting to know if they have any larger "fighters" than 150 meters, though. (possible.)

Page 10
The Astropath's brain was constantly surveying and procesing the vast wave of astronomical data which the ship's sensors pumped into it, and psychically probing the warp beyond. Small patrol ships like this, with their astropathic cargo, were the early warning arm of the fleet.
These small warships serve as scouts and patrol vessels for a fleet. Also of interest is apparently that astropaths have some connection to a ship's sensors (or at least the data acquired.) This may suggest Sensors are more than just purely electromagnetic (as other examples indicate.)
There had been worse. They'd gone through a nickel-rich asteroid field the previous week and the psyker had gone into spasms.
certain kinds of metals seem to cause problems with astropaths.

Page 11

- astropathic signals evidently require a fairly precise positioning to acquire and receive under these circumstances. Note, however, that this may be only a requirement for certain kinds of messages. AStropathic communication seems to have some similarities to radio and whatnot (indeed, the Astropath communication network seems to be vaguely internet-ish/telephone-ish in many ways - Eisenhorn's mail account in his novels) - which means that you could possibly broadcast in many ways, some more easily receivable (and detectable) than others.In this caes, we might consider this a "tight beam" transmission, which explains why precise positioning is needed.


Page 12

- Psyker activity seems to be followed by drops in temperature. The first time of many such occurences in Abnett novels.


- Faustus-class interceptors are armed with forward-firing plasma cannon and autocannon. Note that while it says "autocannon" here, the weapon seems to behave more like a bolter.

- The targets here (and one of the other interceptors) are a thousand kilometres away. Enhanced optics mangify the cockpit canopy's systems. Upper limit on weapons range (at least potential.)

Page 13

- again location seems to be important in receiving or relaying astorpathic messages. AT least in this particular method of communication.

- Again, the pilot is described as "being crushed into the cracked, ancient leather of his command chair.", implying that inertial dampers either dont exist or that if they do exist, they only dampen a percentage of the effects of acceleration (say like 90%, leaving the crew to feel the other 10%).

Given the likely fact that 40K capital ships accelerate in the hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of gees range (at the very minimum tens or hundreds of gees, andd that by old soureces mainly and for civilian ships), the fighters (which should have comparable if not better accel) are invariably going to *need* some form of acceleration compensation. and we know they exist (tanks, ,grav chutes, and jump packs use them for crying out loud.)

Page 13
In the tail turret, the gunner servitor traversed the twin auto-cannons, hunting for a target. He didn't see the attackers, but he saw their absence: the flickering darkness against the stars.

The turret guns screamed into life, blitzing out a scarlet-tinged, boiling stream of hypervelocity fire.
This tends to suggest that the enemy ships weren't quite beyond visual range, but they weren't distinct enough to be noticable except as dark indistinct blobs against the background, suggesting a weapons range for the autocannon of tens or hundreds of kilometers.

The ammo is "hypervelocity", implying multi km/s velocities at least (more like tens of km/s at least, given the possible range.)

Page 13

- By now the enemy has obtained "multiple target lock"

Page 13
The chin turret spat a thousand heavy bolter rounds a second.
The "autocannons" mentioned before again seem to behave like bolters (unless its the autocannons in the turrets and the heavy bolters weren't included in the armament.) A housand rounds a second is an insane rate of fire, however.

1000 rounds a second is an insane rate of fire for a weapon, even a rotary weapon, by modern standards (as I remember.)

Page 14
A second later, a rain of toxic and corrosive warheads, each a sliver of metal like a dirty needle, raked the Faustus end to end. They detonated the astropath's head and explosively atomised the observer out thorugh the punctured hull.
- "toxic and corrosive" warheads seem like an odd weapon to use against enemy, unless they where chaos ships. "Atomising" the observer (another crew member) would tend to suggest high MJ/low GJ level (vaporized or incinerated). Of course, they're merely projectiles and not energy weapons, so they don't rely solely on energy to do damage. (And the ship itself absorbed some of the damage before it atomized the crew member.. and it passed straight through him..)

Page 14
The corona of the blast (the interceptor's destruction) rippled out for eighty kilometres until it vanished in the nebula's haze
The "fireball" (vaporization) of the interceptor (I assume at least) was eighty kilometers in diameter. The enemy, it seems, never approached more than forty kilometers to the interceptor.

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Post by Beowulf » 2007-04-17 07:11pm

How long are your paces? 1.5 meters is a bit long for a single pace. I mean, that's almost someone's height! 66 meters or there about sounds much better. (A standard march pace is 22 inches heel to heel).
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Post by Teleros » 2007-04-17 07:17pm

1000 rounds a second is an insane rate of fire for a weapon, even a rotary weapon, by modern standards (as I remember.)
The Bushmaster can fire about 200 rounds a minute, although older guns like the MG42 could go up to about 1200 according to good old Wiki.

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Post by Kuja » 2007-04-17 07:18pm

Having just picked up the Gaunt's Ghosts Founding omnibus recently and having sped through the first two-thirds of it, I have only one thing to say regarding First&Only.






























HA HA HA HA HA HA HA FUCK YOU HELDANE HA HA HA HA YOU LITTLE CREEP HA HA HA HA HA YOU GOT WHAT WAS COMING TO YOU HA HA HA HA HA HA HAAAAA!
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Post by Lonestar » 2007-04-17 08:47pm

Heldane was the creepy horse-inquisitor from Eisenhorn, yes?
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Post by Kuja » 2007-04-18 12:09am

Lonestar wrote:Heldane was the creepy horse-inquisitor from Eisenhorn, yes?
Damn skippy.
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Post by Stormbringer » 2007-04-18 12:12am

Lonestar wrote:Heldane was the creepy horse-inquisitor from Eisenhorn, yes?
Yes. Though technically he orginated with the Guant's Ghost stories and then wound up in Eisenhorn.
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Post by Hotfoot » 2007-04-18 12:23am

Teleros wrote:
1000 rounds a second is an insane rate of fire for a weapon, even a rotary weapon, by modern standards (as I remember.)
The Bushmaster can fire about 200 rounds a minute, although older guns like the MG42 could go up to about 1200 according to good old Wiki.
There's also a big difference between per minute and per second.

As far as I know, the highest rate of fire on a modern non-metalstorm weapon is 6,000-8,000 rounds per minute, which is still just a fraction of the 60,000 rounds per minute implied by the weapon described.
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Post by Connor MacLeod » 2007-04-18 01:34am

Beowulf wrote:How long are your paces? 1.5 meters is a bit long for a single pace. I mean, that's almost someone's height! 66 meters or there about sounds much better. (A standard march pace is 22 inches heel to heel).
1.5 Seems to be a "Roman" pace, although from what I gather there is a modern version of that (Geometric pace). There is one other that is suppose dto be around 30-36 inches, but that's still going to be over 75 meters long. 5 feet seems to be the most common, and given 40K's rather common use of certain archaic terms (IE league) it seems to fit. IIRC later on in the book there is a battle fought at 100 "paces" too.

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Post by white_rabbit » 2007-04-18 03:15am

In the building trade we rough out a "pace" as about a meter.

The faustus isn't the only time larger patrol craft are mentioned, the Souldrinker series has long patrol/skirmish vessels as well.
"toxic and corrosive" warheads seem like an odd weapon to use against enemy, unless they where chaos ships.
You can tell Connor hasn't been reading this stuff long :lol:

Chaos, as standard make it all poisonous and corrosive, because otherwise they just aren't getting job satisfaction!
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Post by Imperial Overlord » 2007-04-18 03:21am

1) There are larger fighters than the standard Lightnings et al. GW has released an air war game and there is a figure for a flying eldar monstrosity with force field defences and two pulsar lances, weapons which are used as gun arms on eldar titans.

2) It's been forever since I read First and Only, so the fact that I don't remember the autocannons behaving like bolters doesn't mean a whole lot. However, an autocannon in 40K refers to a weapon that fires large shells at a relatively high rate of fire. Unless the projectiles in question are rockets like bolters, then calling the weapons in questions autocannons should be fine (even if they are monstrous multibarrelled nightmares with a rate of fire that would make an assault cannon seem slow).
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Post by white_rabbit » 2007-04-18 06:29am

Imperial Overlord wrote:1) There are larger fighters than the standard Lightnings et al. GW has released an air war game and there is a figure for a flying eldar monstrosity with force field defences and two pulsar lances, weapons which are used as gun arms on eldar titans.

2) It's been forever since I read First and Only, so the fact that I don't remember the autocannons behaving like bolters doesn't mean a whole lot. However, an autocannon in 40K refers to a weapon that fires large shells at a relatively high rate of fire. Unless the projectiles in question are rockets like bolters, then calling the weapons in questions autocannons should be fine (even if they are monstrous multibarrelled nightmares with a rate of fire that would make an assault cannon seem slow).
I might sound bitter, but lets not forget the fucking thing also manages to be faster and more agile than everything else as well.

Bloody pointy ears.
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Post by Ford Prefect » 2007-04-18 07:40am

white_rabbit wrote:
Imperial Overlord wrote:1) There are larger fighters than the standard Lightnings et al. GW has released an air war game and there is a figure for a flying eldar monstrosity with force field defences and two pulsar lances, weapons which are used as gun arms on eldar titans.
I might sound bitter, but lets not forget the fucking thing also manages to be faster and more agile than everything else as well.
We're talking about the ... Vampyre, I think? While I'm not sure it's a hundred metres long (unless Eldar superheavy tanks are excruciatingly massive), it is a very large plane.
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Post by Imperial Overlord » 2007-04-18 07:47am

That is the Vampire and it is a huge beast, although probably not 100 meters long.

As for the interceptors being a kind of capital ship, no they aren't. They are larger than a standard fighter, but 40K small craft tend to be quite large. Its more comparable with the gun cutter and Tau manta vessels. By capital ship standards, a Cobra class destroyer is puny and they seem to average about a kilometer in length (although there is a reference to one pattern that is only about 600 meters long).
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Post by white_rabbit » 2007-04-18 08:58am

Ford Prefect wrote:
white_rabbit wrote:
Imperial Overlord wrote:1) There are larger fighters than the standard Lightnings et al. GW has released an air war game and there is a figure for a flying eldar monstrosity with force field defences and two pulsar lances, weapons which are used as gun arms on eldar titans.
I might sound bitter, but lets not forget the fucking thing also manages to be faster and more agile than everything else as well.
We're talking about the ... Vampyre, I think? While I'm not sure it's a hundred metres long (unless Eldar superheavy tanks are excruciatingly massive), it is a very large plane.
As with all eldar stuff, its as munchy ingame as it is in the background.

crashlanded Vampire craft take light external damage from direct Basilisk fire FFS.
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Post by starfury » 2007-04-18 01:51pm


We're talking about the ... Vampyre, I think? While I'm not sure it's a hundred metres long (unless Eldar superheavy tanks are excruciatingly massive), it is a very large plane
I think it was the vampire hunter variant with two pulse lances, a very large plane, but not much larger then the thunderhawk and still smaller then the fury inteceptor, I still of it being merely very large plane, not nearly small capital ship, though the Tau Manta dwarfs almost all the rest.
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Post by Adrian Laguna » 2007-04-18 03:25pm

Kuja wrote:Having just picked up the Gaunt's Ghosts Founding omnibus recently and having sped through the first two-thirds of it, I have only one thing to say regarding First&Only.
[snip huge text]
Lonestar wrote:Heldane was the creepy horse-inquisitor from Eisenhorn, yes?
He appears first in 240M41 and dies in 745M41. Assuming he's 20 when we first meet him, the guy lived five and a half centuries. You might get a lot of pleasure in seeing the Grim Reaper finally getting around to collecting, but damn that's a long life.

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Post by Lancer » 2007-04-18 11:22pm

He might not have been biologically five and a half centuries old. Remember, time is more fluid in the warp (and even in portions of the webway, for that matter), and Heldane apparently travels around...a lot.

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Post by Connor MacLeod » 2007-04-19 02:20am

white_rabbit wrote:
"toxic and corrosive" warheads seem like an odd weapon to use against enemy, unless they where chaos ships.
You can tell Connor hasn't been reading this stuff long :lol:

Chaos, as standard make it all poisonous and corrosive, because otherwise they just aren't getting job satisfaction!
Ha ha hah. I was already aaware of that. the "they" I was referring to were the ones firing those darts, not the victims.

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Post by Connor MacLeod » 2007-04-19 02:29am

Matt Huang wrote:He might not have been biologically five and a half centuries old. Remember, time is more fluid in the warp (and even in portions of the webway, for that matter), and Heldane apparently travels around...a lot.
there's also relativity, and stasis (Jaq Draco in the Inquisition war novels employs both to extend his lifespan by centuries. I think Eisenhorn might have done something similar too.)

Its not inconceivable for life prolonging technologies to reach five centuries. IIRC Inquisitor Horst in Shadow Point was around that age, and Lord Rorken served as GRand master for the Inquisition in the Eisenhorn novels in one sector/sub-sector for like 300 years (and was head of the Ordos Xenos before that for an undefined period of time..) Extensions into the 300-400 year range don't seem all that unusual, really.

Hell, if you're willing to go the route of extensive cybernetic/augmentic replacements, you can live past 700 (or thousands of years) as the AM do, but IIRC thousands tends to be where they start going crazy...

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Post by Connor MacLeod » 2007-04-19 02:53am

Imperial Overlord wrote:1) There are larger fighters than the standard Lightnings et al. GW has released an air war game and there is a figure for a flying eldar monstrosity with force field defences and two pulsar lances, weapons which are used as gun arms on eldar titans.
I'm well aware that there are larger fighters than lightnings. I'm pretty sure that Imperium torpedo bombers are alot bigger than the starhawks and marauders, even.

As for the armaments, I've started to house a sneaking suspicion that the big fighters (like Furies and STarhawks and above) carry armaments comparable to or greater than a Titan's weapons. (IIRC the Thunderhawk can carry battle cannons or turbo-lasers, for example.) They certainly are of the size and mass of a super-heavy tank, at least.
2) It's been forever since I read First and Only, so the fact that I don't remember the autocannons behaving like bolters doesn't mean a whole lot. However, an autocannon in 40K refers to a weapon that fires large shells at a relatively high rate of fire. Unless the projectiles in question are rockets like bolters, then calling the weapons in questions autocannons should be fine (even if they are monstrous multibarrelled nightmares with a rate of fire that would make an assault cannon seem slow).
The quote said heavy bolter rounds, so I assume they're rocket-assisted ammo. Out of universe, I suspect its just an error on Abnett's part (he's made a few occcasional errors like that in his early books IIRC). In-universe, I suppose one can just assume that its an auto cannon using rocket propelled ammo similar to what bolters (or heavy bolters) can use, rather than being a literal bolter. IIRC Baneblades use rocket-assisted ammo, and Basilisks can be outfitted to fire bolter-like rounds too (probably Russes as well, though I've never seen direct evidence of it.)
As for the interceptors being a kind of capital ship, no they aren't. They are larger than a standard fighter, but 40K small craft tend to be quite large. Its more comparable with the gun cutter and Tau manta vessels. By capital ship standards, a Cobra class destroyer is puny and they seem to average about a kilometer in length (although there is a reference to one pattern that is only about 600 meters long).
Well, yeah, they do, but I suppose what I meant is that they look alot like small capital ships in other universes (corvettes or gunships in Star Wars). I suppose you might call them something more like "sublight parasites" used so often in the Weberverse (those were in Space Fleet, after all, and some of the novels like the Inquisition War and Eye of Terror made mention of them as well.)

Where is the reference to the 600 meter long Cobra from, exactly? From what I've seen most argue them around 1.5 km, but the exact reasons for this never become clear.

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Post by Connor MacLeod » 2007-04-19 03:02am

Hotfoot wrote:There's also a big difference between per minute and per second.

As far as I know, the highest rate of fire on a modern non-metalstorm weapon is 6,000-8,000 rounds per minute, which is still just a fraction of the 60,000 rounds per minute implied by the weapon described.
Well, in practice a bolter is probably going to have alot of similarities to metalstorm (essentially caseless), so the only real limit as far as I can tell would be how quickly you can load and ignite the rounds (The propulsion is in the round, after all.)

Non metalstorm guns (IIRC some 20-30mm guns get up to around 2500 Rounds per minute or so) That's MUCH slower than the above weapon, or even an assault cannon with their hundreds of rounds a sec (or other rotary guns, like what Bragg or Mathuin use in the Ghosts or Ravenor novels, respectively)

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Post by Imperial Overlord » 2007-04-19 03:07am

Connor MacLeod wrote: As for the armaments, I've started to house a sneaking suspicion that the big fighters (like Furies and STarhawks and above) carry armaments comparable to or greater than a Titan's weapons. (IIRC the Thunderhawk can carry battle cannons or turbo-lasers, for example.) They certainly are of the size and mass of a super-heavy tank, at least.
40K small craft are only small by capital ships standards. :D Yes, turbo lasers are Titan weapons, but they are mounted in clusters in the shoulder mounts of a Warlord class Titan. The whole arm of a Revenant (Eldar main battle Titan) is a pulsar lance, two of them and fly a flier would have be well, titanic. That was the point I was trying to get across.
IIRC Baneblades use rocket-assisted ammo, and Basilisks can be outfitted to fire bolter-like rounds too (probably Russes as well, though I've never seen direct evidence of it.)
Not as rapid fire weapons firing mid sized shells, but as big, slow firing and very scary cannons. But I get your point.

Well, yeah, they do, but I suppose what I meant is that they look alot like small capital ships in other universes (corvettes or gunships in Star Wars). I suppose you might call them something more like "sublight parasites" used so often in the Weberverse (those were in Space Fleet, after all, and some of the novels like the Inquisition War and Eye of Terror made mention of them as well.)
Yes, you're right about that.
Where is the reference to the 600 meter long Cobra from, exactly? From what I've seen most argue them around 1.5 km, but the exact reasons for this never become clear.
:D :D :D

I think it was either Black Admiral or NecronLord who found that reference. Remember that there is no single "Cobra" design, each shipyard builds there own pattern ship. Most references for the Cobra hold it at about 1km, but the 600meters and 1.5km are outliers. I'll see if I can dig it up.
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Post by Imperial Overlord » 2007-04-19 03:35am

Black Admiral, in this thread: Click

Unfortunately, no specific book mentioned for the Cobra.
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Post by white_rabbit » 2007-04-19 03:54am

The quote said heavy bolter rounds, so I assume they're rocket-assisted ammo. Out of universe, I suspect its just an error on Abnett's part (he's made a few occcasional errors like that in his early books IIRC). In-universe, I suppose one can just assume that its an auto cannon using rocket propelled ammo similar to what bolters (or heavy bolters) can use, rather than being a literal bolter. IIRC Baneblades use rocket-assisted ammo, and Basilisks can be outfitted to fire bolter-like rounds too (probably Russes as well, though I've never seen direct evidence of it.)
I always rationalised the tremendous ROF as a setup similar to Vulcan mega-bolters.

One pattern is essentially a multi-barrelled chaingun style, the other other pattern looks like a stormbolter with mini-chainguns instead of bolters.

As for 40k fighters mounting Titan weaponry, the Souldrinkers book describes various patterns of less popular fighter with Mega-bolters, plasma blast guns etc etc.

The black templars and other so inclined chapters also have Thunderhawk patterns which replace transport capability and dorsal weaponry with a huge fuck off laser cannon for use against enemy superheavies.
40K small craft are only small by capital ships standards. Very Happy Yes, turbo lasers are Titan weapons, but they are mounted in clusters in the shoulder mounts of a Warlord class Titan. The whole arm of a Revenant (Eldar main battle Titan) is a pulsar lance, two of them and fly a flier would have be well, titanic. That was the point I was trying to get across.
Ad-mech VIP shuttles have multiple turbolasers apparently as well.
I think it was either Black Admiral or NecronLord who found that reference. Remember that there is no single "Cobra" design
Well, there is a single Cobra design, which probably gets heavily modded depending on the shipyard its built at, but there are many many designs of escort.
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