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Old 06-19-2019, 04:05 PM   #1
Michael Thayne
 
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Default [Magic] Using Shape Earth and Earth to Stone in construction

I've been thinking about the impact Shape Earth and Earth to Stone would have on a setting, and I'm realizing a great deal about the spells is left unclear. Many of the most important questions involve fusing things together. For example, can Shape Earth fuse to pieces of stone together? Or even transform a rubble pile into a single continuous block? Similarly, if you pack a hole in a wall with dirt, and cast Earth to Stone, will the resulting stone be chemically bonded to the wall, or will it at best form a tight plug?

If the answer to these questions is "yes", it could help explain how bronze age (or even stone age) civilizations are able to build massive temples that in some ways resemble gothic cathedrals more than anything historically accomplished at that tech level. But Magic is extremely vague on what exactly these spells do.
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Old 06-19-2019, 04:16 PM   #2
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Default Re: [Magic] Using Shape Earth and Earth to Stone in construction

Even if shape earth and earth to stone can't form chunks that are attached to existing stone, you can do plenty with large shaped chunks of stone that aren't attached. to each other, just placed against one another.
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Old 06-19-2019, 04:27 PM   #3
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Default Re: [Magic] Using Shape Earth and Earth to Stone in construction

I've had similar questions come up with regards to shape earth on the smaller scale, can shape earth remove flaws from gems or combine smaller gems into larger ones.

My approach was to have the answer as part of the game world. In this particular world it works this way, but in another world it works the other way. I just consider the likely implications of each option and choose what I think is most appropriate to the setting.
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Old 06-19-2019, 04:31 PM   #4
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Default Re: [Magic] Using Shape Earth and Earth to Stone in construction

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Thayne View Post
Many of the most important questions involve fusing things together. For example, can Shape Earth fuse to pieces of stone together? Or even transform a rubble pile into a single continuous block?
I say yes to those.

Quote:
Similarly, if you pack a hole in a wall with dirt, and cast Earth to Stone, will the resulting stone be chemically bonded to the wall, or will it at best form a tight plug?
I'd say just a plug and it would need Shape Earth to unify it. But that plug is like inserting an oddly shaped brick so is still pretty good.
Good questions for the Magic Spells: Earth book
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Old 06-19-2019, 05:32 PM   #5
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Default Re: [Magic] Using Shape Earth and Earth to Stone in construction

Related question: How can power-based Shape Earth be improved to match the skill-based one?
Skill-based Shape Earth is based on dimensions, 1 fp per cubic yard with minimum cost 2. 2 cubic yards of stone, assuming 2.7 g/cc, weights 9072 lbs. To control the same amount of stone with Control, it would take 9072/10=907.2 levels (around 18,140 points)!
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Old 06-19-2019, 05:52 PM   #6
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Default Re: [Magic] Using Shape Earth and Earth to Stone in construction

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Originally Posted by Sorenant View Post
Related question: How can power-based Shape Earth be improved to match the skill-based one?
A lot of the problem is that shape earth is grossly overpowered, though the powers version may also be horribly underpowered. Consider the different shape spells:
  • 1 fp in shape air: affects 5 cubic yards of air (about 10 lb)
  • 1 fp in shape earth: 1 cubic yard (~2 tons, depending on the soil)
  • 1 fp in shape fire: affects less than a cubic yard of fire.
  • 1 fp in shape water: affects 20 gallons of water (about 170 lb)
If all the earth spells that affect cubic yards were changed to affect cubic feet they would be more on the same scale as other spells.
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Old 06-19-2019, 06:38 PM   #7
Michael Thayne
 
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Default Re: [Magic] Using Shape Earth and Earth to Stone in construction

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
A lot of the problem is that shape earth is grossly overpowered, though the powers version may also be horribly underpowered. Consider the different shape spells:
  • 1 fp in shape air: affects 5 cubic yards of air (about 10 lb)
  • 1 fp in shape earth: 1 cubic yard (~2 tons, depending on the soil)
  • 1 fp in shape fire: affects less than a cubic yard of fire.
  • 1 fp in shape water: affects 20 gallons of water (about 170 lb)
If all the earth spells that affect cubic yards were changed to affect cubic feet they would be more on the same scale as other spells.
IMHO the comparisons to Shape Air and Shape Fire don't make any sense (the purpose of those spells is fundamentally different), and Shape Water is clearly underpowered (you can move water faster with a bucket). A more useful comparison is probably vs. shovels. Going by the digging rules in Campaigns, a mage with Shape Earth-14 can do the work of around 5 strong (ST 12) men with shovels and picks. That's fine but not amazing—the mage probably wants to get paid better than unskilled laborers, so it won't revolutionize your economy. The thing that maybe makes Shape Earth a big deal is doing things that you can't do very well at all with low-tech methods.

Oh, another question about Shape Earth: once you've cast it once on some stone, does the stone now count as "worked", raising the cost of re-casting it on the same chunk of stone?
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Old 06-19-2019, 06:50 PM   #8
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Default Re: [Magic] Using Shape Earth and Earth to Stone in construction

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
A lot of the problem is that shape earth is grossly overpowered, though the powers version may also be horribly underpowered. Consider the different shape spells:
  • 1 fp in shape air: affects 5 cubic yards of air (about 10 lb)
  • 1 fp in shape earth: 1 cubic yard (~2 tons, depending on the soil)
  • 1 fp in shape fire: affects less than a cubic yard of fire.
  • 1 fp in shape water: affects 20 gallons of water (about 170 lb)
If all the earth spells that affect cubic yards were changed to affect cubic feet they would be more on the same scale as other spells.
I'm curious about peoples thoughts on this wording.
Make simple changes to the shape of the object(s) or move it at a Move of 1 for 1 FP. Complex shapes may require a penalty or another skill and weight is limited to 10 lbs. or 1 hex, but can be increased at Ą2 for each +1 FP (spending up to Magery squared).

At the lower end its cheaper to cast but the high end makes it potentially industrial in power. Though that would likely require ceremonial magic.
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Old 06-19-2019, 06:55 PM   #9
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Default Re: [Magic] Using Shape Earth and Earth to Stone in construction

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Thayne View Post
IMHO the comparisons to Shape Air and Shape Fire don't make any sense (the purpose of those spells is fundamentally different), and Shape Water is clearly underpowered (you can move water faster with a bucket).
You can't move 170 lb of water in a second with a bucket. Being able to do things fast is independently useful.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Thayne View Post
A more useful comparison is probably vs. shovels. Going by the digging rules in Campaigns, a mage with Shape Earth-14 can do the work of around 5 strong (ST 12) men with shovels and picks.
You're comparing the ability to move soil in an hour with the ability to move it in seconds, and while you're at it move it a considerable distance and build other structures. Also, you assume that mages have to use personal fatigue. If you set 'team of men led by a mage in ceremonial casting' and 'team of men with picks and shovels' to equal value, each team of two workers (one pick, one shovel) accomplishes 40 cf per hour (1.5 cubic yards), and can provide 12 fp per hour, so if we ignore the extra utility of everything else shape spells can do, it argues for 8 fatigue per hex or 0.3 per cubic foot. Toss in utility and speed and 1 fp per cubic foot seems entirely competitive.

If you just want what workers can do, well, Dancing Object on a pick and shovel would cost you 8 fp for an hour (4 fp per extra hour) and lets you move 90 cf per hour, but that's way less convenient than being able to shape it.
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Last edited by Anthony; 06-19-2019 at 07:01 PM.
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Old 06-19-2019, 08:50 PM   #10
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Default Re: [Magic] Using Shape Earth and Earth to Stone in construction

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
Even if shape earth and earth to stone can't form chunks that are attached to existing stone, you can do plenty with large shaped chunks of stone that aren't attached. to each other, just placed against one another.

If if the GM ruled the rocks can't be fused together via Shape Earth, it's not much of a limitation. Simple dovetail joints, finger joints, pegs, joists, arches, and various basic techniques could create massive structures from many parts. Also, a clever player could simply fuse molten rocks together with the Fire college-at least with the Heat spell at skill 15.
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