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Old 02-15-2019, 07:29 PM   #301
Icelander
 
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Default Re: Antarctic Space Nazis Across the Multiverse

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'We prefer to call it "alternative reasoning."'
Nazi science... eh, Nazi thaumatology sneers at mere rational reasoning!

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I hope the PCs figure out what's really going on faster than I did, and that they don't tell the ASN when they do.
Ah, but note that allowing the Antarctic Space Nazis to come to their just desserts cannot ever be done without dooming millions of more or less innocent people. The PCs had a discussion about whether people in the Dreamland counted as 'people', in the context of Pacifism (Cannot Kill Innocents) or (Reluctant Killer) and reached the inescapable conclusion that if someone believes he is real and experiences a world that is real to him, he is real and the PCs don't have a right to decide those people's lives are of less value than the lives of people in the 'real' world.

And that's just the people of the Dreamlands that might not exist outside of the mind of one mortal girl on Earth. Worlds like Germania Hyperborea, if the PCs find out about them, are home to at least a hundred million people, maybe two or three hundred million, the overwhelming majority of whom are neither Nazis, nor even in any sense active contributors to the empire of the Antarctic Space Nazis.

Not to mention that every victory of the Lords of the Last Waste strengthens them and moves the world, all the worlds, closer to the eternal end, the finality of darkness and cold void that the Cold Ones bring.
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Old 02-15-2019, 08:07 PM   #302
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Default Re: Antarctic Space Nazi Outpost in Unknown Kadath, Plateau of Leng, Dreamlands

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It's probably going to look something like a miniature Eifel Tower, but it should be easy enough to leave passages through it for porters. Can the ASN sink bolts into the pillar to anchor the mast?
Considering that the architects and engineers from whom Monsieur Eiffel purchased the initial plans designed the tower to be (basically) a spectacularly beautiful radio antenna and airship mooring tower from the beginning, that seems entirely appropriate.
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Old 02-15-2019, 08:54 PM   #303
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Default Re: Antarctic Space Nazi Outpost in Unknown Kadath, Plateau of Leng, Dreamlands

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Considering that the architects and engineers from whom Monsieur Eiffel purchased the initial plans designed the tower to be (basically) a spectacularly beautiful radio antenna and airship mooring tower from the beginning, that seems entirely appropriate.
Fair enough, but note that between the 1880s and the 1930s, there was considerable advancement in the theory and design of mooring airships. The Zeppelin engineers among the ASNs would be familiar with the innovations in the years leading up to WWI and then later. Indeed, I suspect that almost all of the technicians and engineers from Zeppelin Werke would be used only to post-WWI designs and would regard mooring towers from the 19th century as of historical interest only.

From what I can find out, the early mooring towers and masts were much more expensive to make than the later, shorter masts, and the later methods were simply superior, informed by experience and experimentation. So it doesn't seem to be a case where 'gearing down' requires that the ASNs build a lower-tech design, as that would be more demanding of their limited infrastructure, not less.

The ASNs have the engineering knowledge, blueprints and even in some cases experience of constructing mooring masts by the later methods, but they lack the vast industrial infrastructure that made wrought iron or any steel alloy as cheap as it was on Earth in this era. They also have weight concerns in getting the materials there, perhaps not as severe as for a TL7 society designing for a moon landing, but still a situation where few efforts would be spared to design efficient solutions instead of massively overbuilding.

So I expect that the ASNs would do their very best to build an adapted version of a 1930s mooring mast and tractor, instead of building a design that from their perspective would be making up for inefficient design by overbuilding with a building material that is nowhere near as comparatively cheap for them as it was for the French.
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Old 02-16-2019, 03:05 AM   #304
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Default Re: Antarctic Space Nazi Outpost in Unknown Kadath, Plateau of Leng, Dreamlands

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For a 160 meter long rigid airship with a volume of 30,000 cubic meters or so, how much weight of metal and other construction materials are we talking for the structure?
This is not a trivial question (and wind loading will be a factor too).

This airship is smaller than most of the golden-age Zeppelins, though it's broadly consonant with development around 1913 - LZ17 and LZ18 fit in this length bracket - or the wartime P class.

I don't have good information about mast sizes, though. D'Orcy's Airship Manual (1917) from archive.org lists The World's Airship Sheds, but not masts.
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Old 02-16-2019, 04:31 AM   #305
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Default Re: Antarctic Space Nazi Outpost in Unknown Kadath, Plateau of Leng, Dreamlands

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This is not a trivial question (and wind loading will be a factor too).

This airship is smaller than most of the golden-age Zeppelins, though it's broadly consonant with development around 1913 - LZ17 and LZ18 fit in this length bracket - or the wartime P class.

I don't have good information about mast sizes, though. D'Orcy's Airship Manual (1917) from archive.org lists The World's Airship Sheds, but not masts.
What little I know on the subject may be summed up by Hepburn Walker Jr.'s paper on the history of Mooring and Ground Handling Airships from July 2, 1900 through September 1, 1939.

Judging from what stats appear there, though not enough for yours truly to actually answer my own question (largely because I don't know what calculations to perform to derive an answer from what stats appear), it seems that using the method the Germans invented and which the United States Navy eventually adopted as plainly superior to the much taller, earlier mooring masts, one does not need the vast height of 1900-1910 mast designs, let alone the British high mast designs of the 1920s, in order to moor airships, largely because they use docking rails and trolleys, i.e. mechanical equipment on the ground to to control the movement of the airships.

There were several generations of these mechanical systems developed and I don't know exactly which one best suits the technological infrastructure of the ASNs, but I note that there were many professional airship engineers, technicians and designers among the original settlers and that the ASNs have been building and using airships of increasing sophistication since their settlement. The matter of mooring and grounding them using their technological base is entirely a solved problem. I just have to determine how they solved it, which is likely to have been with some minor modification to real systems which existed by the time the ASNs moved to their new worlds.

The Antarctic Space Nazis would not be able to provide a tractor of the same power as an internal combustion one. Well, that is, they could, as the oldest of their engineers know well enough how to make such engines and they still have all the blueprints for younger engineers to follow, but I consider it unlikely that they would.

First, that would represent 'inventing' a new technology, as the vast majority of their working technicians and engineers are by the Year 51 unused to making engines powered by petroleum rather than coal, steam, electricity or Elemental Furnaces, and working with unfamiliar technology tends to cause problems. Second, the reason they rarely make internal combustion engines is that their petroleum industry lags well behind many other industries which were prioritized ahead of it in their plan to build up a technological infrastructure to match their knowledge base. Third, it would make them dependent on a supply of diesel or other petroleum-based fuel to Kadath Base, which presents operational problems.

So, I'm assuming that rather than powering the ground-based device with an internal combustion engine, they'd use a less powerful (by weight) Elemental Furnace engine or engines. Yes, that would get them fewer horsepower of mechanical engine power, but about a hundred Mi-gö beasts-of-burden who have been subjected to a treatment that removes their volition and much of their biological restrictions can supply as much horsepower as nine hundred adult men working at full power. I figure that this can more than make up for having a less powerful engine on the ground.

Unfortunately, just knowing that a mast of much lesser height would be sufficient to moor an airship with ca 30,000 cubic meter or 1,000,000 cubic feet volume using this method does not yield a precise height figure. Not to mention that none of the mooring masts in the paper assume that you already have a 30 meter pillar to work with. I note, however, that with rails and trolleys, let alone more sophisticated mechanical equipment on the ground, some of the mooring masts discussed in the paper are not much higher than 30 meters.

Indeed, the English method, where the 'high mooring masts for rigid airships' are 40+ meters, is discussed as being more of historical interest than having practical applications to mooring airships after WWII. Basically, the inventions of the Germans and Americans after 1911 to solve the same problems that the British tried to solve with great height eventually proved fundamentally superior. High masts of 60-70 meters were, in their way, very successful technology in the 1910s and even into the 1920s, but by 1926, it had become apparently become clear that high masts did not have any future for mooring rigid airships.

The Americans successfully tested a 60' (18.3 meters) stub mast in 1927, for USS Los Angeles / ZR-3, which displaced an awesome 2,764,460 cubic feet (78,281 cubic meters). And this worked well enough, better, in fact, than the older design of very high masts.

This suggests to me that despite having less powerful tractors or rail engines available, the ASNs could, using pure brute beast-power to replace their deficiencies in tractor power, get away with a far lower mast than 80 meters. Indeed, they might only need a modest structure on top of the already existing pillar. I just don't know if that structure needs to be 10 tons, 20 tons, 30 tons or 50-100 tons in weight (counting all wires and supports) and I don't know how high they should make it, because there are not examples in the paper of mounting an even shorter stub mast to an already existing structure.

It seems to me that mounting a stub mast of 10-20 meters to the side of the pillar, attaching it by means of a superstructure constructed on top of it and supported by means of a triangle or square of strong wires attached to points on the ground around the pillar, would be a plausible design. A system of rails and trolleys would then be built on the ground for a five-ton (or so) Elemental Furnace tractor device and the system would incorporate some or all of the hundred Mi-gö pulling on a system of ropes or cables to assist.

I note that even without any mechanical devices or a very high mast, 700-1,200 men were considered sufficient for the ground handling of early airships. The more sophisticated systems were largely designed for labor-saving purposes. The 100 Mi-gö are the equivalent of 900 humans and so should be more-or-less able to handle landing the airship on their own, but the ASNs do not rely on that, as that would be inefficient and not as safe as having the mooring mast, mechanical systems and the brute power of the Mi-gö. The value of the ASN rigid airships with the most sophisticated Elemental Furnace engines is such that they would have routinely designed facilities for ground handling with redundant systems for a higher margin of safety.
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Old 02-16-2019, 07:23 AM   #306
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Default Re: Antarctic Space Nazi Outpost in Unknown Kadath, Plateau of Leng, Dreamlands

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It seems to me that mounting a stub mast of 10-20 meters to the side of the pillar, attaching it by means of a superstructure constructed on top of it and supported by means of a triangle or square of strong wires attached to points on the ground around the pillar, would be a plausible design. A system of rails and trolleys would then be built on the ground for a five-ton (or so) Elemental Furnace tractor device and the system would incorporate some or all of the hundred Mi-gö pulling on a system of ropes or cables to assist.
This relies on the lack of wind close to the pillar. If there is any wind in that area, the operation of mooring or unmooring becomes exceedingly dangerous, because you can't let the airship swing in the wind without risking it colliding with the pillar. Once you have the airship restrained, you're OK.

Are you thinking of a mast running up the side of the pillar, or sticking out horizontally from it?

I think I'd better also check what happens to the strength of steel at -80C.
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Old 02-16-2019, 07:44 AM   #307
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Default Re: Antarctic Space Nazi Outpost in Unknown Kadath, Plateau of Leng, Dreamlands

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I think I'd better also check what happens to the strength of steel at -80C.
Ah, that's a problem. There are steels that will serve just fine at those temperatures, but they're specific alloys.

Is the airship's rigid structure steel or aluminium? Aluminium is generally fine at low temperatures, but a steel airship framework intended for normal temperatures that's cooled to -80C is liable to shatter when it's hit by a strong gust.
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Old 02-16-2019, 07:53 AM   #308
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Default Re: Antarctic Space Nazi Outpost in Unknown Kadath, Plateau of Leng, Dreamlands

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This utterly relies on the lack of wind close to the pillar. If there is any wind in that area, mooring becomes exceedingly dangerous, because you can't let the airship swing in the wind without risking it colliding with the pillar.
Yes, but the same risk factors would seem to be present for every mooring done by German airships from the 1910s to the end of the 1930s (when the Germans ceased airship operations) and for American airships (by far the most numerous) from 1927 well into the 1950s. The very high masts chosen by the British and used by several others in the 1920s were one technology to moor airships, but not, it seems, ultimately the most effective.

The fact seems to be that ropes and cables attached to two or more points on the airships and some combination of men, tractors or rail-borne engines on the ground were sufficient to control the orientation of the ship as it moored or landed. Obviously, the rails and pulleys, even more so the powerful tractors and engines, are costly, but in the final analysis (according to Hepburn Walker Jr.) ultimately less costly, safer and more effective than the method of high mooring masts, which the United States Navy accordingly abandoned (except for one particular mooring tower which was used while it lasted, but all new mooring masts built in the 1930s and later were stub masts).

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Are you thinking of a mast running up the side of the pillar, or sticking out horizontally from it?
Well, I was thinking of a mast that ran up the side, through an external superstructure of some sort designed to support it, and extended further up the the pillar. The pillar needs external structures anyway, to allow lowering cargos down, and I imagined a system of a superstructure built on top of the pillar, fittting snugly and extending some distance down, relying on the apparently infinite capacity of the black stone to support weight, and also attached to supports on the ground by cables. Weights and attachments hanging on the sides where the mast was not could be used for both supporting the mast on the opposite side during high winds and for performing cargo-handling operations once the Amfortas is securely moored or when it is absent.

If a horizontal design would be more practical, I'm entirely open to that.

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I think I'd better also check what happens to the strength of steel at -80C.
A cogent point and a dire hindrance to any airship operations in these conditions.

I think we have little choice but to rely on magical runes stabilizing the form and strength of the steel, regardless of temperature around it. Giving steel some levels of Temperature Tolerance (Cold) is fairly modest magic in RPM terms, about equal to the granting of Sealed to fabric, in itself a precondition for ASN airships (well, at least of the quality they have, and, anyway, such fairly minor magical enhancements that have major engineering implications are by far the most efficient use of having access to RPM effects).
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Old 02-16-2019, 08:15 AM   #309
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Ah, that's a problem. There are steels that will serve just fine at those temperatures, but they're specific alloys.

Is the airship's rigid structure steel or aluminium? Aluminium is generally fine at low temperatures, but a steel airship framework intended for normal temperatures that's cooled to -80C is liable to shatter when it's hit by a strong gust.
Well, I haven't really made up my mind. It depends whether you think the ASNs could have made enough Duralumin or similar alloys for a fleet of airships by Year 51 or not. It also depends on whether non-magical or lightly enchanted Duralumin would be superior to much more heavily enchanted steel.

The airships are a major enough investment that runercasters and alchemists would always be involved in the construction. The ASNs can use some minor magical enhancement on any material that the airship is made from, but working magically with bronze (not that I expect it would be used for airships) is somewhat easier than steel* (say about 20% cheaper to enchant it) and working magically with steel is much easier than working with an alloy of aluminum that is entirely foreign to any magical tradition.

The game effects are that any enchantment on aluminum will be at least twice as expensive as the same enchantment on steel, which can also be expressed as any enchanted item made of steel rather than aluminum being able to have approximately twice the magical enchantments in terms of energy points (which can often mean more than twice the effects).

The comparison would then be between an aluminum alloy that is maybe 30% stronger for its weight and a steel alloy that is 60% stronger for its weight, is 30% less affected by gravity and enchanted with Temperature Tolerance (Cold) and a Resistance +3 to many hazards attendant on airship operations.

As noted above, the Temperature Tolerance (Cold) effect is really a cheap modification, in magical terms. It demands the time of a powerful and sought-after individual, yes, but such individuals are going to be assigned to airship construction. So it becomes a matter of using their talents as efficiently as possible.

*Unless using a magical tradition where iron/steel is considered inert magically, in which case enchanting iron/steel becomes a nearly insurmountable problem. But the ASNs tend not to learn any such magics, as they are mostly the traditions of their enemies on Germania Hyperborea and, in any case, far less suitable to their needs than 'honest Aryan magic', in which steel is regarded as a mystical and powerful material in its own right, even if not as ancient as bronze.
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Old 02-16-2019, 08:41 AM   #310
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Default Re: Antarctic Space Nazi Outpost in Unknown Kadath, Plateau of Leng, Dreamlands

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Well, I haven't really made up my mind. It depends whether you think the ASNs could have made enough Duralumin or similar alloys for a fleet of airships by Year 51 or not. It also depends on whether non-magical or lightly enchanted Duralumin would be superior to much more heavily enchanted steel.

The airships are a major enough investment that runercasters and alchemists would always be involved in the construction. The ASNs can use some minor magical enhancement on any material that the airship is made from, but working magically with bronze (not that I expect it would be used for airships) is somewhat easier than steel* (say about 20% cheaper to enchant it) and working magically with steel is much easier than working with an alloy of aluminum that is entirely foreign to any magical tradition.

The game effects are that any enchantment on aluminum will be at least twice as expensive as the same enchantment on steel, which can also be expressed as any enchanted item made of steel rather than aluminum being able to have approximately twice the magical enchantments in terms of energy points (which can often mean more than twice the effects).

The comparison would then be between an aluminum alloy that is maybe 30% stronger for its weight and a steel alloy that is 60% stronger for its weight, is 30% less affected by gravity and enchanted with Temperature Tolerance (Cold) and a Resistance +3 to many hazards attendant on airship operations.

As noted above, the Temperature Tolerance (Cold) effect is really a cheap modification, in magical terms. It demands the time of a powerful and sought-after individual, yes, but such individuals are going to be assigned to airship construction. So it becomes a matter of using their talents as efficiently as possible.

*Unless using a magical tradition where iron/steel is considered inert magically, in which case enchanting iron/steel becomes a nearly insurmountable problem. But the ASNs tend not to learn any such magics, as they are mostly the traditions of their enemies on Germania Hyperborea and, in any case, far less suitable to their needs than 'honest Aryan magic', in which steel is regarded as a mystical and powerful material in its own right, even if not as ancient as bronze.
It might be against your usual method, but maybe the ASNs found a marvelous wood or what not (maybe a super-bamboo) on Jotunheim that they can substitute for metal in certain applications. Thus you can have plantations where airships are grown... so to speak.
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