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56

War is generally held to be bad for economies over the long term because war is inherently destructive and expensive. An army of (say) 10,000 people (I'll use this term loosely in the given context) still needs to eat, still has families to support, and still wants to live a long and useful life so as to continue to support themselves and their family. As ...


40

If dwarves have a steam engine, then it's not a big leap from there to a powerful defensive weapon: Filling any chosen tunnel segment in their domain with scalding superheated steam. In order to use this weapon, the dwarves do require insulated doors that will hold against attack for the few minutes required to roast their foes. Then they will require ...


39

Historically, militaristic castes - not even supersoldiers - ended up taking control of societies or organizations that created them. This shouldn't be surprising as they become essentially the same as any other skilled worker, your organization's viability and profitability relies upon them and they can substantially damage your reputation without anything ...


35

Make your own, Sorcerers Apprentice style Pickup truck, guns, ammo, food, radiation suit, 10 7kg Uranium bricks.(Federal government allows you to get 7kg at a time and possess no more than 70 in a calendar year reputable sources may do sales checks and block your shenanigans) Set this up outside a flooded quarry. Set up pumps to drain the quarry. As ...


30

There is no need for gunpowder to have ballistic weapons. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winans_Steam_Gun https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Girandoni_air_rifle https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steam_cannon While in our world these were mostly limited in deployment or purely theoretical, that is because we had and wanted to use gunpowder. If the dwarfs are ...


28

Siege is still an element of modern warfare. If a faction wants to get in a city and another one doesn't want to let them in, a siege is the natural consequence. We have had some famous examples in the recent years, just to cite a couple: The battle of Stalingrad The Battle of Stalingrad (23 August 1942 – 2 February 1943) was the largest confrontation ...


24

why invade at all? Most structures of a civilisation are probably going to be on a surface. It is, after all, more difficult to build underground than on a surface. That means that most items of value can be simply blasted from above. But you might not want to blast them from orbit because these items might also be of value to you. You might want to avoid ...


23

The classic Yew longbow was indeed a composite bow, with the bow stave carved from a section of the tree which contained both heartwood and sapwood. The sapwood is about 1/3 of the thickness of the bow and provides the tension, while the heartwood provides the other 2/3 of the bow and is strong in compression Cross section of a Yew branch showing how the ...


23

Flood a democratic country with nuclear weapons with clones. Make sure each clone gets to be registered as an elector. Candidate the master as president (or prime minister), and have the clones vote for him. Sure victory. Once he is in the war room with access to the nuclear suitcase, let him fire it with no mercy. Wait for retaliation.


21

Since you're talking about kingdoms, through most of European history until the industrial age, wealth was measured in land rather than industrial output, control of the land is what you're after. Kings didn't get to keep hold of land all that well, they kept having to give it to nobles along with titles as a reward for service, the trick is getting it back ...


15

Nothing unites like a common enemy. The rulers of both kingdoms have things set up so that they become very rich - they collect percentages of state run industries, a percentage of tariffs and levies, and people who want to do any sort of business need to make sure the rulers are happy (and paid) before they do it. Typical kleptocracy. One would think the ...


15

Two ways I see: The way of the Ancient Greek city-states As they can only really attack during certain seasonal time frames, the Greek model can be used: The Greek city-states did not have standing armies at first and would actually only really fight during times which did not effect the harvest (perfect timing = our harvest is fine but enemies is ...


14

Things like that have been used in niche applications. You mentioned ballistic shields. Before they were portable, they had wheels. With a little gun, they would be something like Gruson's pillbox. Crew-served weapons would come with shields, like this MG08. My conclusion from these examples is that pavise-style shields work only in very special conditions,...


14

Japanese Yumi Bicéphal [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons These were made of a composite of bamboo, leather, and other wood and definitely the same length as the longbow. Note, these did not typically use sinew and bone and developed in Japan because bamboo was plentiful, easy to harvest, and cheap as a material but did not do well as single piece ...


14

Simply throw the gateway into a river. Let's say there's 2000 cubic meters of water per second flowing out the river. After 12 seconds, there's 4000 cubic meters of flow, after 24 seconds there's 6000 and so on. As the duplicates are all created at once, there won't be any backpressure reducing the flow. After a day, you'll have imported 622 cubic ...


13

I'd like a way to justify having 100 meter long guns be able to throw out 1-ton projectiles at 30 km/s or better I don't understand your strange "tons", so lets use a nice easy measurement like a tonne. Your projectile will leave the barrel with a hefty $4.5*10^{11}$ joules of kinetic energy. If your coilgun only wastes 1% of that energy in heating the ...


13

Full Plate Medieval Europe had two qualities of knightly armor: a far-less-expensive full plate that wouldn't stop a bullet, and a much more expensive option - about 1/4 inch thick, with two layers - that was both easy to move in, and completely bullet proof. Much like Don Quixote running amok, a "lobster" in high-quality full plate was very challenging to ...


12

In principle, a siege is a strategy with the express goal of defeating your opponent through slowly attritting their forces. With modern warfare’s application of combined arms — the tactical use of land, air, and naval units simultaneously to achieve a tactical goal — the pace of conflict is so fast that battles are either decisive and fast or forces keep ...


12

Modern-day small unit warfare (where personal shields would be relevant) is based on mobility and fire-and-move tactics where the goal is to outmaneuver an enemy force to deny it a defensible front. To that end it is in the warfighter's interest to stay light on his feet while carrying as much ammunition as possible. During an assault on an enemy position ...


12

Trying to enforce loyalty and obedience is generally a bit of a non-starter, but there various ways you might get them to toe the line. Firstly, make sure the training is shrouded in secrecy and spread all sorts of ominous, yet plausible (and probably entirely false) rumours about what goes on. Do you training in highly secure, hard-to-get to regions... go ...


12

You haven't specified how far in the future you're thinking, so let's go with some Technology Indistinguishable from Magic: The Neutron Limiting Field (aka FissionBGone) Doctor Halle Toesis was working in her high-energy physics lab when she determined that running electricity through an antenna of exactly 14.2 HU (Halle Units) length, cycling at 14.29 GHz,...


12

"Plausible", "Hand held" and "Steam Powered" are mutually exclusive terms when you're dealing with steam power in the age of steam. Steam is big, it's heavy, if you're lucky it's self propelled, and even then the Winans Steam Gun didn't match the power of gunpowder weapons and its accuracy was terrible. If you want steam powered weapons, start with self ...


11

Forgotten Weapons, run by Ian McCollum, is both a website and youtube channel. He offers apolitical discussion on a huge variety of firearms, often talking about the history, variations, and mechanics of said guns. He is still active, and has done videos ranging from two-shot muskets to anti-aircraft cannon.


11

Tvtropes has an excellent article in their Useful notes section called "Gun Safety" as well as a write up of every military in the world, usually making an alliterative pun or historical joke in the title, allusion to a trademark weapon, or rhyming (the entry for the U.S. is called "Yanks with Tanks" while the UK's is "Brit's with Battleships"). https://...


11

Go the assassin route. Get them hooked on something, then control the supply to make sure they obey


10

To pull up an old but useful formula derived from work on shaped charge jets penetrating tank armour: $$P = L\sqrt{\frac{\rho_j}{\rho_t}}$$ $P$ is the penetration depth, $L$ is the length of the penetrator, $\rho_j$ and $\rho_t$ are the densities of the penetrator and target respectively. Note that this is different from the classic Newtonian penetrator ...


9

A lot of people seem to go a bit fancy, but there is nothing wrong with your dwarves using a standard pickaxe. Not only can they continue to work the mines, the sharp point of a pickaxe gives it very good penetration and the hours and hours of digging through the earth will develop all the necessary muscles for them to stab straight through armor. As an ...


9

As I understand it, the composite bow wasn't unknown in England, it simply couldn't stand up to the damp winter weather. The glues available at the time were very limited. Similarly, bows made from yew would dry out and lose their flexibility in hot, dry climates, where composite bows worked better. We tend to over-value technology and under-value ...


9

Why go Nuclear? Just go Toxic! Ok, so your bad guy wants to kill the world and nukes could do that sort of thing in a hurry. The problem is that it takes enormous amounts of technology, highly specialized know how to make your own, and nukes are the most jealously guarded items in the world. Toxic stuff, however can be found under your kitchen sink, and ...


9

step 1: acquire a car load of the most harmful greenhouse gases possible harmful gases could include: - Trichlorofluoromethane not only does this deplete the ozone and trap heat 4,600 times more effectively than carbon dioxide but it also breaks down into chlorine gas and is used as a refrigerant which could make it easier to acquire - Hexalfuoroethane ...


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