Navigation/Sextants

During a recent discussion on fluffy kit to have about, the conversation moved to Sextants.

Would a suitable example (i.e. non-steampunky or perhaps an octant) suit Empire, since the stars are seemingly used for navigation?

Already sorted out a few bits of other suitable IC gear, but this was the one I’d appreciate wider thought on!

Well considering Astronomancy is a thing, I can just about see simple non-steampunk (?) sextants being appropriate.

What do other folk think?

mat.uc.pt/~helios/Mestre/Novemb00/H61iflan.htm might contain some assistance. Our tech level is broadly, what, 14th-15th century without the cannon?

Ah so you’re looking at mariners quadrants and astrolabes but Sextants are quite outside the rough tech level then?

Personally I’d be entirely fine with seeing a sextant (hur hur etc) being in play. In my ignorance I class it within acceptable tech levels…

I rather took the level of naval technology to be quite high in Empire.
Anyone with the Fleet resource can reach far flung nations in DT. The people who became the Highborn were great sea-farers and the Brass Coast are.

And it would be super awesome if you could demonstrate roughly how you’d use such a thing in the field.

*…Along with a pamphlet proposing the Egregore bond and it’s enforcement of cultural trappings impede further technological progress…

… XAVIER LIVES!..

… Runs away.*

For an alternative view, the Vikings were great sailors, raiders and traders, but not known to use sextants.

I keep meaning to bring a sunstone to Empire as a prop for my ship owning artisan.

We’ve got spyglasses. Sextants are basically like spyglasses right?

The important bit is to not make the if-then mistake (“If we have spectacles THEN we have GIANT SPACE LAZORS / submachine guns”)

So, for example, saying “IF We have sextants THEN we must be able to move navies across the bay of catazaar instead of moving them the way the rules say they move” is a recipe for either disappointment, or a punched crotch depending on who you speak to first.

If, hypothetically, I might want someone punched in the crotch, who should I send them to ask about this?
Off the record, like.

I was recently having a conversation about this with friends. Surprisingly even today for my maritime qualification I had to learn using azimuth mirrors(sextant). Its easy to point out that we can easily be able to find latitude in the empire. But we cant find longitude. This means single ships and traders can use this, a magnetic compass and dead reckoning to navigate to the foreign nations. But explains why fleets need to stay near land due to the inaccuracy of these methods.

So basically, Sextants are pretty much reasonable.
But Navys have to use landmarks to keep the fleet together and correctly positioned.

Excellent, shall endeavour to have a suitably frivolous Sextant (or similar) at E1…

And explain its land based use, no doubt to some rather confused PCs.

Shall avoid ‘accidentally’ combining it with several sets of glasses and forming an impromptu heat-ray on the battlefield.

The use of Day magic (or even a cantrip) to find out the exact time that the Sentinel Gate is going to open is already a thing. Which means that a low-ish mag Day ritual that divines the current time at a fixed reference point (such as Anvil) ought to be possible

And that means GIANT SPACE- … NO! not the crotch-punching…

To be honest, there’s been no need for the innovation of the calculation of accurate longitude within the Empire because we’re not trying to stop our navies being sunk in home waters while trying to sneak up on the perfidious Spanish. Maybe the great seafaring nations of the world do this, but they’re all foreign

Calculation of longitude from celestial bodies requires techniques invented by one or more geniuses, depending on how you do it. My headcanon is that math is a technology and, as we have a pre-gunpowder technical cut-off, we don’t have proof by induction, or calculus, and only just enough optics to build the Heliopticon. This has avoided the crotch-punching, at least so far

(Pocket-watches? They’re nice, but not very accurate are they? I have to re-calibrate mine at dawn, noon and dusk, from a book of tables that I keep in my tent. What? You don’t do that?)

The Empire has somewhat more mathematics than it does tech - blame Ylenrith and the needs of running a complicated bureaucratic economic system.

Doesn’t this all assume that the Empire exists on a landmass that, in turns, exists on a very-roughly-spherical planet? Cos, like, it needn’t…

Cf. profounddecisions.co.uk/empire-wiki/Setting_FAQ#What_is_known_about_the_Stars.3F

So the Empire is on a round planet that the sun and moon both circle, but as they don’t have magical influence no ones interested in them. Right :smiley:.

I stand corrected!

Word Of Raff was that we could have any maths we could do with setting-appropriate technology, and the mathematicians who play must be VERY AWARE that this should be taken in the spirit that it was given - that is, discussing advanced pure maths with Day Eternals is big and clever but pulling an Enigma machine out of your ass isn’t!

Example: I was challenged to demonstrate a mathematical concept to a Day Herald by physical actions alone.

Hummm, are we geocentric because we’re pre-Copernican and no one has realised we’re heliocentric yet, or has someone proposed we’re heliocentric and been conclusively debunked because we are genuinely geocentric?

“They are indisputably in orbit around the world”

We do definitely have the Northern Lights, though. Given geocentric world, then handwave handwave magic?