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Who neutered the Malazan army in OST?

#21 User is offline   sting01 

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 02:48 AM

Well, maybe it is simply a question of age, assuming you are all teenagers or your adults.

It was a time, not that far away believe me, a time when respect was an important thing of the life, not the one you do have I am sure for your parents or for old fart such as me, but something similar to the famous 'fairplay'.

To give you a real life exemple, I did play rugby when young, and while it was customary to have raw fight during the game, it was mandatory (morally mandatory) to hail the other team'players after the game. 2 exemples :
being 14 years I got selected to play with the 18 years old team. No need to say, that playing in the scrub (number 1, the leftest guy of the first line) my afternoon was similar to getting under a train every 3 or 4 minutes. Still after the game , I got hailed by my 2 direct opponments (no because I was outstanding, far of it, but by chere fairplay, as I was 5 or 6 years younger than them)., funny part we lost 106 to 4!!!! The other one during an important game (cup semi final), we scored a try, but the referee refused it. The game was almost finish, and that try was teh difference btw winning or loosing. The captain of the opposite team went to see the referee, and was adamant out try was valid, and he have to change his decision. So he did , we won, and lost the final big.

The reaction to the slaughter of the segulees is similar, as soldiers, the malazans are similar to a gifted worker who compete against a master builder. While they were going to be oblitarated as army when opposed to the segulees, they could barely accept such slaughter of thsoe master swordmen (I know I would feel the same).

For the munitions, well, how many real sappers (mean old school sappers) does the army have? Maybe it is the real problem, the old ones are gone, their cache with them; the new one never got any munition, so they were not able to hide some of them.
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#22 User is offline   the broken 

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 01:43 AM

The book is in front of me right now. Here are all the references to crying I can find.

1)Hektar 'poor bastards'. 'Poor fucking bastards'. This is directly after the blast. Some sympathy isn't that hard to believe. We've seen it from Malazans before.


2)Torvald Nom. And why not? He's not a stone cold killer like a lot of other characters.


3)Two regulars are crying while they attack a wounded Seguleh. Bear in mind that they are probably aware that they are about to die. In a meaningless fight after the battle is won, because what's left of the enemy... Just. Won't. Surrender.

4) A crowd of troopers basically hack the Seguleh to pieces. Any ordinary opponent would have surrendered, but she's forcing them to kill and die for no real reason.

5) Cpl. Little is crying, but that's because Sgt Hektar is dead.

6)K'ess POV. 'Curses, moans, and quiet weeping' from the Malazan troops. Well, 4,000 of them are carrying incapacitating wounds at the time...


That's all. A lot of these troops are raw recruits. Malaz is a big empire. Assuming all their troops react the same way is like saying that a US army regular who has done two tours in Afghanistan will react the same way to a bombing attack as a soldier stationed in Hawaii who's never seen combat.


RE: Lack of munitions.

This Malazan force isn't equipped for war.It's an occupying force hastily cobbled together when they realised the Legate was a threat. Up to then, there was nobody to fight on Genabackis. Brood's host is disbanded, the Domin is crushed, the Tiste aren't interested in expansion.

The imperial arsenal is destroyed in ROTCG, and with the deaths of either Toc or Laseen, the last signatory on the Moranth treaty is dead, so they stop honouring it. OST happens at the same time as SW. If you were Mallick, where would you send your depleted stocks of explosives?

a)a well defended continent with multiple fortified positions where magic is useless

:) A peaceful continent with no visible threats.
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#23 User is offline   Fist Gamet 

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Posted 16 July 2012 - 05:14 PM

View Poststing01, on 12 July 2012 - 02:48 AM, said:

Well, maybe it is simply a question of age, assuming you are all teenagers or your adults.

It was a time, not that far away believe me, a time when respect was an important thing of the life, not the one you do have I am sure for your parents or for old fart such as me, but something similar to the famous 'fairplay'.



Careful there, this is a generalised and sweeping statement that you cannot possibly assume with any certainty. You risk patronising the members by alluding to their ages as a reason that they do not understand. Respect and fairplay are, I believe, important to all ages and all people. All opinions have value and add to the discussion, and if you suggest that the ages of members is an important factor then you are liable to dismiss them more easily if you think them young.

Probably this was not your intention, but it reads that way to me.
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#24 User is offline   tiam 

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Posted 16 July 2012 - 08:18 PM

View Poststing01, on 12 July 2012 - 02:48 AM, said:

Well, maybe it is simply a question of age, assuming you are all teenagers or your adults.

It was a time, not that far away believe me, a time when respect was an important thing of the life, not the one you do have I am sure for your parents or for old fart such as me, but something similar to the famous 'fairplay'.

To give you a real life exemple, I did play rugby when young, and while it was customary to have raw fight during the game, it was mandatory (morally mandatory) to hail the other team'players after the game. 2 exemples :
being 14 years I got selected to play with the 18 years old team. No need to say, that playing in the scrub (number 1, the leftest guy of the first line) my afternoon was similar to getting under a train every 3 or 4 minutes. Still after the game , I got hailed by my 2 direct opponments (no because I was outstanding, far of it, but by chere fairplay, as I was 5 or 6 years younger than them)., funny part we lost 106 to 4!!!! The other one during an important game (cup semi final), we scored a try, but the referee refused it. The game was almost finish, and that try was teh difference btw winning or loosing. The captain of the opposite team went to see the referee, and was adamant out try was valid, and he have to change his decision. So he did , we won, and lost the final big.

The reaction to the slaughter of the segulees is similar, as soldiers, the malazans are similar to a gifted worker who compete against a master builder. While they were going to be oblitarated as army when opposed to the segulees, they could barely accept such slaughter of thsoe master swordmen (I know I would feel the same).

For the munitions, well, how many real sappers (mean old school sappers) does the army have? Maybe it is the real problem, the old ones are gone, their cache with them; the new one never got any munition, so they were not able to hide some of them.


As Fist Gamet states a very sweeping statement.

I fail to see why your trip down memory lane is relevant either. You getting some respect off people who schooled you at rugby when you were a kid is very different from a fictional army being attacked by remorseless killer duellists who are then obliterated by a bombardment from your former allies. It is not a competition of skill, ala your builder reference, it was a life or death struggle between two forces not an honourable contest. The Malazan army are incredibly practical not some romanticized version of the samurai who are happy to be killed by a valuable opponent. If the Malazan army had received a last ditch piecemeal gesture from their former allies in the form of a load of munition they would have blown the Seguleh up themselves no doubt.
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#25 User is offline   worry 

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Posted 16 July 2012 - 08:56 PM

Isn't describing the entire "Malazan army" one way a sweeping statement too though? And isn't it generalizing to suggest that anything, let alone respect and fair play, is "important to all ages and all people" or that "all opinions have value"?

I'm not complaining, just learning English as a second language and wanted to know what those words meant.
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Posted 17 July 2012 - 06:41 PM

View Postworrywort, on 16 July 2012 - 08:56 PM, said:

Isn't describing the entire "Malazan army" one way a sweeping statement too though? And isn't it generalizing to suggest that anything, let alone respect and fair play, is "important to all ages and all people" or that "all opinions have value"?

I'm not complaining, just learning English as a second language and wanted to know what those words meant.


It is. In fact, this thread is full of "sweeping statements" and loose logic.

IMO, the fact that sappers have thrown sharpers at their enemies does is not equivalent to a humongous Moranth orbital bombardment. When a sapper tosses a sharper, the range is not that great. There's a chance the enemy will fire an arrow through his arm and he'll drop the sharper, killing his whole squad. It has probably happened plenty of times. Even if you get the throw off, you have time for a personal connection, time to see their eyes from afar before they explode.

There's risk, and there's emotion and judgement in the experience. In this way, it is not too different from firing a crossbow at your opponent.

Flying over the enemy, untouchable, on hundreds of quorls and dropping hundreds of cussers to completely level the enemy in a hundred craters... that is not like throwing a sharper at all. Not at all. This is something completely new, that the malazans had never seen before. Possibly the start of a new kind of warfare where you never see the emotions of the enemy you're about to kill.

For these reasons, I don't think any argument of "they use Moranth munitions alerady, they should be emotionally dead to this" has any merit.

View Postworrywort, on 14 September 2012 - 08:07 PM, said:

I kinda love it when D'rek unleashes her nerd wrath, as I knew she would here. Sorry innocent bystanders, but someone's gotta be the kindling.
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Posted 17 July 2012 - 07:38 PM

View PostMalaclypse, on 11 July 2012 - 07:27 PM, said:

I dunno, the Seguleh were ripping through the Malazan lines, which is in itself a bit ridiculous, these are duelists, not infantry soldiers....


Didn't matter in MoI when they were fighting armies.

re Bombardment....

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We've already seen the Moranth do this in Pale, in GotM ffs.


I know that we saw quorl mounted Moranth in action in MoI, but iirc they attacked the condors and did the air drop of the BBs and Dujek's troops into Coral. I don't think there was actually any bombardment.

Quote

I dunno, it was just lame.


A point that i suspect was lost in the way ICE wrote the scene was that the Seguleh were fighting artists, masters of combat. the best etc etc, for their time. The moranth bombardment rendered that all irrelevant and brought home the point that the Seguleh's old way of doing things was now just that.

As for the weeping, Broken made the point very nicely - it was hardly a great big crybabyfeste and there were a whole bunch of dead and wounded Malazans sitting around without much else to do but weep and bleed a lot.
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#28 User is offline   Ivan Kersovic 

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 09:01 AM

It's a little bit off topic but I've always found the idea of the Seguleh a bit weird. I mean they are master swordsmen, but they're still "human" and constrained by the limitations of what passes for physics in the Malazan world. Even if they're the greatest fighters on earth they're by their nature not soldiers, not designed to fight toe-to-toe in a battle line and therefore should be in serious trouble against a Malazan style force. Not because the Malazans are individually brilliant, but because the structure of a shield-wall denies the advantages the Seguleh have. In the real world we saw that time and again when highly skilled warrior cultures who fought their entire lives in single combat etc washed against Roman shield walls.

On top of this the Malazans have projectile weapons. I can understand (broadly) how a single segulah might be so awesome he can dodge an arrow, but a 175lb crossbow fires a bolt at 207mph, and frankly dodging that is impossible unless you magically disappear or can move at over two hundred miles an hour. Long swords are no good against the large front line infantry shields and roman style tactics used by the Malazans, and the space required to fight in the Seguleh style would mean that on the front line there would be 3 malazans for every Seguleh. No matter how brilliant they were it would be difficult to do anything but defend yourself when there are ranks of people with short swords and spears poking you, and crossbow bolts flying past. The Seguleh are also described as being lightly armoured. In any conventional war, the kind of "elite fighter" type is a bit misplaced really. I mean even Dassem Ultor would look a bit sick if he took an accidental crossbow bolt in the eye or someone dropped boiling oil on his head. Unless they're actually demi-gods or whatever I'm not really sure what the Malazans had to worry about.

It doesn't really matter, but it did feel to me like all of the tactical aspects from previous books were kind of dropped in the face of "Seguleh are badass" angle. I don't think the Malazans were neutered so much as the Seguleh were made vastly overpowered. In a straight up battle, discipline and training at fighting that kind of war are far more important than individual skill with a blade.
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#29 User is offline   worry 

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 09:48 AM

You don't have to move at >200 mph to dodge something that moves at 200mph, unless it's point blank. Just like you don't need to move faster than a train in order to get out of the way of one you see coming. And I personally think the Tyrant, being a Jaghut, tampered with them genetics scientifically and/or magically, all those generations ago.
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#30 User is offline   Ivan Kersovic 

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 10:05 AM

Well magic is a convenient deus ex machina for these things. And I know that, I was just exaggerating for the sake of emphasis. Even if you could move at a fast enough speed to dodge a single quarrel, that would be a bit hard if there were six hundred of you running in a mob, and a couple thousand quarrels in the air. I'm assuming the Seguleh can't see through people, so if the guy running in front of you dodged a quarrel you'd have a tiny fraction of a second to also dodge before you were spitted by it. If there were a thousand quarrels moving horizontally at a 25 yard range the only thing that would stop them would be a particularly strong shield wall. Crossbows are designed to punch through plate armour after all. This is the problem with the whole thing- spend god knows how long training to be the twelfth or fourth or whatever, then suddenly the guy running in front of you moves and the next thing you know there's eight inches of steel in your groin. You'd think the Tyrant would hire a few grunts to do the meatshield bit and save the Seguleh for what they're good at, fighting in tight spaces/attacking small groups/etc.
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Posted 18 July 2012 - 01:31 PM

The Seguleh are indeed human (possibly modified, as Worrywort said), but they are inhumanly skilled (the good ones are, anyways). Yes, our real-world warrior societies failed against infantry formations, but the Seguleh are better than any of the warrior societies our real world had. Look at how Skulldeath fights against overwhelming numbers in TCG - it doesn't matter that there's a wall of shields and bodies, he just jumps over it, stepping lightly on some guy's head while flicking swords downwards to slice necks, then he pivots on that soldier's head and leaps off to elsewhere. The Seguleh are like that, but even better. They could jump over the shield wall and cause havoc in the middle of the formation, or they could just stay ever-so-slightly out of reach of the shield wall, wait until there's the barest inch of a gap for half a heartbeat as one soldier shifts their weight a tiny bit, and like a blur the Seguleh would extend a sword into the gap, cutting off a shoulder, and withdraw before any soldier had time to react and stick a spear forward.

View Postworrywort, on 14 September 2012 - 08:07 PM, said:

I kinda love it when D'rek unleashes her nerd wrath, as I knew she would here. Sorry innocent bystanders, but someone's gotta be the kindling.
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#32 User is offline   Ivan Kersovic 

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 02:42 PM

I understand what you're saying- is that although they are human they act in a way which is totally impossible for humans to act. In other words they can defy the basic laws of physics/biology. I don't mind the explanation that they are physically superior to us as humans, but if they're supposed to be like us (just skilled to perfection) that still wouldn't help them. No matter how amazingly skilled you are you can't dodge crossbow bolts, you can't stick a sword into a gap which doesn't exist, you can't slash a slim sword through an armoured helm, you can't leap ten feet in the air, you can't change direction in midair and so on. If they stood away from the wall waiting for a gap they'd get skewered. The way shield walls work is to close the gap and push themselves against the opponent, preventing them from having room to manoevre. The whole amazing samurai warrior technique works really badly against a shield wall. And even if they were all that brilliant that they could slip into the tiniest opening, they wouldn't go through the wall like a knife through butter. It would take time and all that time there would be javelines flying, spears poking, crossbow bolts and arrows falling. It would be impossible not to take casualties when you're talking that kind of situation and the armour the Seguleh have.

The fact is that the Seguleh might look human, but they act in a way that is physically impossible for a human to replicate. I'm just trying to make a point that the reasons the Malazans got drummed so badly is as a plot device to force the Moranth to do what they did. Without a horrific slaughter there wouldn't be any counter-point to the bombing and so on. To do that the Seguleh had to be promoted from "the best swordsmen in the world" to "demigod-like forces of nature that can dodge bullets and cut through oak shields with nary a bit of effort".
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Posted 18 July 2012 - 04:28 PM

View PostIvan Kersovic, on 18 July 2012 - 09:01 AM, said:

It's a little bit off topic but I've always found the idea of the Seguleh a bit weird. I mean they are master swordsmen, but they're still "human" and constrained by the limitations of what passes for physics in the Malazan world.


I think you may be trying a bit too hard to apply 'real world' logic and limitations to a fantasy series where otherdimensional sons of the creator of the universe hang out in flying castles and shag dragons when they're bored.

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Even if they're the greatest fighters on earth they're by their nature not soldiers, not designed to fight toe-to-toe in a battle line


The major plotline in MoI that introduced the Seguleh says otherwise.

Quote

and therefore should be in serious trouble against a Malazan style force. Not because the Malazans are individually brilliant, but because the structure of a shield-wall denies the advantages the Seguleh have. In the real world we saw that time and again when highly skilled warrior cultures who fought their entire lives in single combat etc washed against Roman shield walls.


Quote

... it did feel to me like all of the tactical aspects from previous books were kind of dropped in the face of "Seguleh are badass" angle. I don't think the Malazans were neutered so much as the Seguleh were made vastly overpowered. In a straight up battle, discipline and training at fighting that kind of war are far more important than individual skill with a blade.


Perhaps stop thinking of Seguleh as outmatched Goth barbarian swordmen running out of the woods in the film GLADIATOR and hurling themselves against a Roman sheildwall formation, and consider thinking of them as sword-specialized Shaolin monks with brains and entire lives spent training.

View PostD, on 18 July 2012 - 01:31 PM, said:

The Seguleh are indeed human (possibly modified, as Worrywort said), but they are inhumanly skilled (the good ones are, anyways). Yes, our real-world warrior societies failed against infantry formations, but the Seguleh are better than any of the warrior societies our real world had. ...


Exactly.
People keep coming back to 'the Seguleh only fight as individuals'. No, they don't. We saw, again and again in MoI, that they are more than capable of coordinating their tactics.
The fact that their culture places an emphasis on the individual warrior doesn't change this. Their reflex may be the individual challenge, but they can be more than competent team players.
See also Rell in RCG.

View Postworrywort, on 18 July 2012 - 09:48 AM, said:

... I personally think the Tyrant, being a Jaghut, tampered with them genetics scientifically and/or magically, all those generations ago.


Seconded. There's a comment from Duiker or Fisher in TtH that suggests this as well.

View PostIvan Kersovic, on 18 July 2012 - 10:05 AM, said:

Well magic is a convenient deus ex machina for these things. ...

View PostIvan Kersovic, on 18 July 2012 - 02:42 PM, said:

I understand what you're saying- is that although they are human they act in a way which is totally impossible for humans to act. In other words they can defy the basic laws of physics/biology....


That's like saying gravity is a convenient d-e-m in the real world. Magic exists in Malazanland. It's fact incorporated into the story, not convenience.


Quote

...the Seguleh had to be promoted from "the best swordsmen in the world" to "demigod-like forces of nature that can dodge bullets and cut through oak shields with nary a bit of effort".


They can be beaten, as we've seen again and again. It's just a lot of work.
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#34 User is offline   amphibian 

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 04:54 PM

Shaolin monks are useless. They are a triumph of marketing more than they are actual skilled warriors.

But carry on, the rest of your points make sense.
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#35 User is offline   Abyss 

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 05:40 PM

Shaolin Monks AS SEEN ON TV!~

...so there...


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#36 User is offline   worry 

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 06:52 PM

Look, I don't know about the Shaolin monks where YOU grew up, but the ones here are all totally awesome. Not a day goes by where I'm not impressed by some local Shaolin monk displaying his skills along the roadside or at the market. I was even looking to join up one of these days until I read the brochure and it didn't list any of the fees outright, cuz you know what that means.
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#37 User is offline   Ivan Kersovic 

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 07:27 AM

Abyss I totally agree with you that in Steven Erikson's world the idea of supernatural swordsmen who can do insane things is by no means unusual and the Seguleh (especially in MoI) are super awesome characters. I was just trying to respond to OP a little that apart from the munitions lack the Malazans acted like they should have done, and the authors just promoted the Seguleh from "very good swordsmen" to demigod like abilities. I mean Goth swordsmen were highly skilled fighters as well you know. A lot of Germanic tribes were warrior cultures who trained their entire lives to fight, and they did beat the Roman army a few times when they isolated them and forced them to fight in a style more suited to the indidual hero type warfare the tribes preferred. I'm happy to accept that they're "a race apart" of engineered superhumans who can dodge crossbow bolts and so on, if that's what Erikson is getting at. I thought he was going for the human aspect though. And I mean just for comparison, there are a tad under seven billion people in the world, and after decades of training the best athletes compete in the Olympics and so on in their own fields. But you wouldn't expect even the best, most amazing human athlete out of a population of seven billion to do the things the Seguleh do. Even the pinpoint ligament severing stuff, never mind dodging projectiles at close range.

Anyway I think you missed my point- I wasn't trying to argue that the Seguleh don't have some sort of inherent magical ability, or are non-human. Just that they are precisely that, and you can judge that by the inhuman way that they act.
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Posted 23 July 2012 - 11:49 PM

View PostIvan Kersovic, on 18 July 2012 - 09:01 AM, said:

It's a little bit off topic but I've always found the idea of the Seguleh a bit weird. I mean they are master swordsmen, but they're still "human" and constrained by the limitations of what passes for physics in the Malazan world. Even if they're the greatest fighters on earth they're by their nature not soldiers, not designed to fight toe-to-toe in a battle line and therefore should be in serious trouble against a Malazan style force. Not because the Malazans are individually brilliant, but because the structure of a shield-wall denies the advantages the Seguleh have. In the real world we saw that time and again when highly skilled warrior cultures who fought their entire lives in single combat etc washed against Roman shield walls.

On top of this the Malazans have projectile weapons. I can understand (broadly) how a single segulah might be so awesome he can dodge an arrow, but a 175lb crossbow fires a bolt at 207mph, and frankly dodging that is impossible unless you magically disappear or can move at over two hundred miles an hour. Long swords are no good against the large front line infantry shields and roman style tactics used by the Malazans, and the space required to fight in the Seguleh style would mean that on the front line there would be 3 malazans for every Seguleh. No matter how brilliant they were it would be difficult to do anything but defend yourself when there are ranks of people with short swords and spears poking you, and crossbow bolts flying past. The Seguleh are also described as being lightly armoured. In any conventional war, the kind of "elite fighter" type is a bit misplaced really. I mean even Dassem Ultor would look a bit sick if he took an accidental crossbow bolt in the eye or someone dropped boiling oil on his head. Unless they're actually demi-gods or whatever I'm not really sure what the Malazans had to worry about.

It doesn't really matter, but it did feel to me like all of the tactical aspects from previous books were kind of dropped in the face of "Seguleh are badass" angle. I don't think the Malazans were neutered so much as the Seguleh were made vastly overpowered. In a straight up battle, discipline and training at fighting that kind of war are far more important than individual skill with a blade.


The Seguleh fight in one widely spaced line, so there's no 'guy in front dodges' problem.

We see how they fight from Bendan's perspective. He tries to stab, his arm gets sliced. He looks out over the shield, he almost gets scalped. Shields aren't transparent, the soldiers have to see what they're doing.

The problem here, is that The Malazan Empire isn't the Roman empire, and the Seguleh are neither Goths nor Olympic Athletes. An Olympic fencer would be hopeless in a fight to the death. And to a Seguleh, fighting is their religion, they spend their entire lives training to excel in combat, not just competition season.


Quote

And even if they were all that brilliant that they could slip into the tiniest opening, they wouldn't go through the wall like a knife through butter.


They don't. It does take time.

The shieldwall soldiers have to see what they are doing. Which means they have to look out over the shields, which means exposing their eyes. And against Seguleh, sgt. Hektar is the result.
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Posted 27 July 2012 - 05:52 PM

I think that being a Game Master (GM) for Wu, it would be a cool campaign to pit the Seguleh vs Malazan army.
Whatever "real world" logic is stretched to fit the rules set by SE and ICE.
This is how I envision battles when reading these novels.

For me, it is less interesting to debate logic whether a sword can get past a crack in the shieldwall. In gaming terms, these attacks are made with dice rolls.
The GM and players know the rules, accept the outcome of the roll, and moves on with the story, or fight, or battle, or campaign to see the results.
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#40 User is offline   IgnatiusKruppe 

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 07:01 PM

I FEEL feel like it was mentioned several times through MBOTF that the Moranth's bombing, like the Imass slaughter at Aren, was something people had a hard time stomaching.Is it that different from the respective responses to Dresden/Tokyo and Hiroshima/Nagasaki? There's something about diminished discrimination in slaughter that messes with people's heads.. Of course, on the flip side,one cute blonde = 10,000 child soldiers when it comes to the Giving A Fuck Quotient for a lot of people.

As far as the Seguleh being duelists and not infantry, we've seen Segulehs efficacy vs armies in MOI.
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