Tanks/battleships/airships in fantasy settings?

Discussion in 'General Weapons & Armour' started by Earth001, Sep 6, 2011.

  1. Earth001

    Earth001 New Member

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    Something I always wonder when I am watching fantasy shows like ATLA is why are there some fantasy nations with Tanks? I am always use to settings like LOTR where there where never tanks in the show but I find it odd that there are some fantasy world with tanks out there and it makes me wonder why that is. But what do you think of fantasy nations with tanks and battleships and other modern tech in fantasy worlds?
     
  2. Overread

    Overread Wolfing it up! Staff Member

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    Well Middle Earth probably would have had battleships, not the cannon kind, but certainly balista and catapult as well as ramming; however there simply wasn't any nation at the time of the story who were seafairing; even the elves were only making one last trip over the sea. With no nation really on the waves and with no large water bodies between the main combatants there is a clear lack of need for any kind of large navel investment -- save for in the last book where there are the raider ships brought up - however they are far more aimed at being light raiders than heavy warships.


    As for tanks they tend to go hand in hand with light steampunk nations - those nearer what we could consider the end of the romantic medivial world that most fantasy takes place in - entering near what we could call victorian ear stuff. I've no problem with tanks being present provided that they are clearly made into part of the storyline/worldbuilding and don't feel like a broken element.
    Warships are even more common in stories where navel battles are more extensive - from Robin Hobbs Liveship Traders (a good example of ships without cannon) through to more common displays of battleships with your typical rack after rack of cannon and shot.


    As for if I like them - I do - in the right fantasy story. Heck I'd like to see the steampunk/victorian type fantasy take a bigger hold and really get going - it seems to be more limited to the Japan anime/managa type market at present, but there is no reason it can't get into the western (esp since most receptions of it a very positive).
     
  3. bloodfiredeath

    bloodfiredeath Die by the Sword

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    I guess you could say that the Gigantic Elephant with pavilions on their backs loaded with Archers etc could almost be construed as an early form of "tank".
     
  4. C J Mcpherson

    C J Mcpherson New Member

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    Tanks are certainly possible in a fantasy world. I can think of several ways they could be created without deviating from continuity.
    They're steam powered.
    They're powered by collections of crystals or other arcane objects.
    They're strapped to the backs of dragons, rocs or elephants.
    It's really a question of the larger theme of the work. If it is trying for a medieval feel, then tanks and other vehicles are a definitive no. But if there is an element of technology verses magic or a more steampunk feel, then tanks are likely to exist. I believe the Incarnations of Immortality series are set in a world where both tanks and dragons are used in warfare.
     
  5. Overread

    Overread Wolfing it up! Staff Member

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    Weren't there some older "tank like" carriages made for war and pulled by horse teams? Or am I making something up from the depths of my mind (something from Ozland in Discworld I'll bet!")
     
  6. Greybeard

    Greybeard Geezer

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    There are surviving illustrations of tank-like contraptions. The most famous is DaVinci's. AFAIK, none were ever built because they'd be ludicrously ineffective. The closest the medieval world had to a tank was Jan Zizka's farm carts loaded with guns. Those did work, and drove the German knights mad throughout the Hussite Wars.
     
  7. Overread

    Overread Wolfing it up! Staff Member

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    I suppose the Roman era with well built roads would have been the only time one could field armoured devices like that and then they'd be limited to road use only - so elephants probably trumpet them with the added mobility they offered offroad.
     
  8. CPSennett

    CPSennett New Member

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    The difference is the technology bit of it.

    Elephants in LOTR were the tanks of the world, there was also seige weapons and the like. For me metal tanks and flint lock rifles or SMG's indicates enough work for engineering which for me ruins the "fantasy" as it starts to be more reality.

    Its a personal view but to have a tank you need a standard system of measurements as the bits need to be just right or it would shake itself to bits etc.
     
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