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Dresden_Stormblessed

Bridge question

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Anyone remember specifically how the bridgemen lay down the bridges? I remember there being several in the front with the bridge on their back and becoming targets for the Parshendi. But how did they do it? These bridges have to be extremely heavy, and move from plateau to plateau of different heights right? They can't just throw it across or lay it down and push it over the edge right? A bunch of dudes with these massive bridges and getting them to different heights and such is just really confusing to me.

Do we know the dimensions or specs on the bridge? How big were they? What were they made out of? How many bridgemen were used per bridge?

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The tops of the plateaus are more or less the same elevation, more like the Mesa regions of the American Southwest, a relatively level Plain with chasms and canyons carved into it. 

The bridges were built wildly different depending on the Highprince, it was one of the main points of contention between Dalinar and Sadeus.  The Bridge 4 bridges were built with relatively light wood and stripped of all extraneous components (like shields or any form of fortification).  They were run to the edge, then dropped and pushed forward out over the plateau, ideally with the bridge being twice as long as the span to be crossed. 

Dalinar's were significantly heavier (and slower) and were drawn by chulls; they're described as being "built like siege towers, with enormous wheels and armored sections where soldiers could push.  At a Chasm they unhooked the chulls, pushed the machine forward by hand, and ratcheted a crank to lower the bridge.  Once the bridge was set down, the machinery was unlocked and pulled across.The bridge was built so they could lock the machine onto the other side pull the bridge up, then turn and hook the chulls up again" (TWoK, Ch 26).

As far as how many it would take, they said they manned them with 35-40 but it took a minimum of ~25 to carry, and occasionally soldiers had to pitch in to get them back after heavy losses. 

 

 

As far as what a coordinated and determined group of people can lift by hand, Ye Internets recently showed me this video of ~80 Amish folks moving a reasonable sized house by hand.  Because Human Determination...

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Here's a series of sketches by Ben McSweeney kind of illustrating how they work (Ben one of the SA illustrators)

Q1GhwkC.jpg

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Brandon mentions in a couple of WoBs the mechanics of the bridges that Kaladin and the crew were carrying but most of the material didn't make it into the actual book.

Quote

Questioner

How does a bridge crew set a bridge down across a chasm in front of them?

Brandon Sanderson

So... I may have to act this out.

*Proceeds to act it out, no video available*

I am Kaladin, running at the front of the bridge, right? Now there's a chasm there. I'm going to step out to the side and grab the poles to the side, and lower the front bridge down. Then these guys are going to lower theirs down while I run around to the back and grab the poles on the side, which extend out. And we're going to get several ranks and then we're going to shove together.

We're waited on this side, remember, we've got the weights that roll to one side or the other. So it's weighted on this side, so we get it over and then plot it down. We're looking for a place where we're a little bit above-- with the paths, alright? And then we go to the other side, your reposition the weights or the poles or whatever it is on the thing so that it's heavier on this side and then get everyone and then you pull it back across and then you can lift it.

Questioner

Okay, great, thank you very much.

Brandon Sanderson

Now also keep in mind a couple of things: 0.7 Earth gravity, a very important aspect for actually making this bridge weight work for carrying it; and it is a soulcast wood. The only way to get the numbers to work if you've got engineers, the weight-- you actually have to realize that we've got a wood that is slightly stronger, yet lighter, than what-- it's like a-- Peter came up, it's like a balsa, there's a soulcast wood that is really a great wood for this sort of thing.

That doesn't mean it's light, it's still a really heavy book

Questioner

*Laughter*

Brandon Sanderson

A really heavy bridge.

source
Quote

Brandon Sanderson

Ben's interpretation posted in this thread is the canon one. I wish I'd gotten a picture into the books. One of my regrets for Book One is not thinking to put a diagram.

One thing I worked with when writing the first book were heavy counterweights that you locked into place on one side of the bridge (at the sides) then pulled off and carted across to lock on the other side of the bridge, to change the center of gravity for maneuvering the bridge. They broke the flow too much, so I think I cut all references, but you can head-canon them if you want. I think you'd realistically need something like that to get across some of the wider chasms.

The math on bridges is a bit tricky, regardless. Even with Roshar's gravity, we had to use a Soulcast wood (one that doesn't exist on earth) for huge sections of the bridges to get a strength/weight ratio that would actually work. (Meaning, it could be carried by the numbers of bridgemen we needed after some were killed, but was still be strong enough to ride across.)

Footnote: The 'interpretation' in question is from Ben McSweeney, found here: http://i.imgur.com/Q1GhwkC.jpg
source

 

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The diagram mentioned in that second WoB is the picture I posted :)

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Weeeeh, this really helps a lot, been reading tWoK two times now and I still didn't really get it XD

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Just a extra bit of detail I found on my holiday reread:

"All mobile bridges were made of a kind of wood called makam.  It had a deep brown color, the grain almost hidden, and was both strong and light."  ---WotK,Ch. 30.

 

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On 12/14/2018 at 10:05 AM, Weltall said:

That doesn't mean it's light, it's still a really heavy book

Truest words ever spoken by Sanderson.

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