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Old 06-15-2020, 11:02 PM   #31
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Default Re: Meteoric iron immunities

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Originally Posted by Kromm View Post
...Don't try to apply scientific thinking or you'll end up wearing it on your face like a smoothie from an uncovered blender....
This is probably the best advice I've heard, pertaining to fantasy role playing, in a long time. Thank you Kromm!
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Old 06-16-2020, 04:08 AM   #32
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Default Re: Meteoric iron immunities

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Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
A TL5+ civilization might be able to produce small batches of meteoric iron through teleportation, though it would be expensive and difficult. On average, only five percent of the original object makes it to the ground, so you could need to teleport a 80 pound object to get 4 pounds of meteoric iron. The Karman line is 100 km up, which would be a base 9 energy and -6 to skill, increasing to 18 energy and -12 to skill with Teleport Other.
The Karman Line is arbitrary, and there's no guarantee it will make any sense on a fantasy world.

One exotic 'pocket universe' my normally SF campaign wandered through had a world on a disk (think like a CD or a vinyl record, complete with whole in the middle), flying ships on the 'sea of air' in that central hole, and a "clearly artificial" (as one player decided) sun circling in it in on a path that was definitely not a conventional gravitational orbit. They had reason to suspect that the atmosphere went all the way up to at least the moon (on another not-an-orbit path not much lower than the sun's).

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Now, for the economics to work, you would the mage would need to earn a Very Wealthy wage, the gatherers would need to earn a Comfortable wage, and the mundane participants an Average wage. At TL5, that would be around $1.7 million per year, or exactly $11 per pound. Since they would not have an easy way of finding meteoric iron, magic does not sense it, they would probably recover only 50% of it, increasing the cost to $22 per pound.
Why would they recover only half? They know where they put it, they can see it coming down, and as long as they keep putting it in the same place it'll land in much the same place.
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Old 06-16-2020, 06:09 AM   #33
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Default Re: Meteoric iron immunities

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Why would they recover only half? They know where they put it, they can see it coming down, and as long as they keep putting it in the same place it'll land in much the same place.
If you can see a meteor coming down, you are tens of miles from where it landed. And the atmosphere is variable enough that "much the same place" amounts to a circle miles across too. That's a lot of area to search for a small object. Or lots of small objects - meteors almost always break up into strewn fields miles long and half a mile wide.
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Old 06-16-2020, 07:11 AM   #34
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Default Re: Meteoric iron immunities

If magic can't sense meteoric iron, you can just look for the big voids in what you do sense. If you want the iron to be undetectable while using magic, the universe has to go a step beyond "can't be affected by magic" to "creates an illusion to magical senses of something else in its place".

(And the "something" really needs to be reactive to its surroundings to blend in convincingly. If iron always looked like some particular kind of dirt, then you could just Sense Earth for that kind of dirt, which finds all iron in other sorts of soil, loam, clay, sand, organic matter, trace chemicals of the sort farmers and landscapers test for, etc. Pretty difficult for a lump of iron if you're trying to treat magic as physics just with a different name for energy; perhaps fairly routine if you have an near-animate and intentional force of magic or active gods.)
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Old 06-16-2020, 07:31 AM   #35
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Default Re: Meteoric iron immunities

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Originally Posted by malloyd View Post
If you can see a meteor coming down, you are tens of miles from where it landed. And the atmosphere is variable enough that "much the same place" amounts to a circle miles across too. That's a lot of area to search for a small object. Or lots of small objects - meteors almost always break up into strewn fields miles long and half a mile wide.
Which is why you only have some iron in the teleported meteor, and cast some equivalent of Featherfall on it as it falls (or, better yet, before teleporting it and with a built-in delay). Meteoric stone doesn't have an immunity to magic, so that should work just fine (bonus - you can use Detect spells to find it after it lands).

To review, you start by crafting the item(s) you want out of normal iron with all the magic assistance you desire, and use Shape Earth or similar to surround it/them with a protective layer of rock (note you can "flow" the stone around and into crevices of the iron item(s), making the whole mass solid without any air pockets to ker-splode from being heated, and you can then just use Shape Earth or a disintegration spell or magic acid or whatever to free the meteoric iron item(s) once it lands) . You then do some ceremonial casting to put some sort of slow-fall spell on the outer layer, with a built-in delay (ideally "activate x yards above the ground," but "activate in y minutes" can also work). You then do further ceremonial casting to teleport it high enough that it becomes incandescent upon re-entry (or whatever requirement you have for "meteor"), possibly waiting to finish the spell until the timing is right for the delay to work. The rock teleports up, becomes a meteor streaking through the air, then gets slowed down to land safely. You can use Detect Magic to track it while the slow-fall spell is active; if you don't think it'll last long enough for you to find it in a timely manner, you may want to include something in the meteor that makes it easy to track, such as a small magic item, a bit of precious metal, etc. Doing all this isn't going to cheap, of course, but may allow for items that are basically impossible to craft without magic at TL DF, or perhaps can result in a reduced cost for meteoric iron (AlexanderHowl's suggestion, which I suspect would have a lower yield-per-dollar than the above, implied roughly a CF of +1, as it doubled the cost of raw materials from ~$5.50 to $11).

Of course, I think we're veering a wee bit from the topic of discussion due to my mostly-a-joke suggestion. It sounds like the intent was that meteoric iron was largely something of a plot device, but I see no problem with a semi-scientific analysis of the way meteoric iron roughly works. Just don't be surprised if you wind up with odd results.
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Old 06-16-2020, 08:03 AM   #36
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Default Re: Meteoric iron immunities

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Originally Posted by thrash View Post

It also assumes that the minimal, scientific definition of "meteorite" has any bearing on its (anti-)magical properties.
Exactly.

As far as Dungeon Fantasy is concerned, the defining properties of "meteoric iron" are: (1) it's magic-immune, and (2) it's recognizably iron.

That's it, that's all.

The adjective "meteoric" is a fanciful one applied by simple folk blindly struggling and reaching to explain the weird properties of an otherwise normal-seeming material. It falls into the same category as "fairy" and "dragon's" and a bunch of other words thrown around with abandon. If you really believe that "fairy stones" were carved by fairies or that "dragon's root" grows only where there be dragons, I have a bridge to sell you.

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The moral of the story is that every named item in a dungeoncrawl has to be considered on the basis of what happens if the PCs take it.
Yep. This is why, when I wrote I Smell a Rat for the Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game, I bothered to list prices for the padlocks, strongboxes, long-burning torches, and even metal sheeting on the doors. Also for scraped-off magic paint. Heck, I even gave a value for sewer flotsam and smashed furniture.

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Now for the nasty edge case - can I use Blink to *avoid* a hit from a meteoritic iron sword?
I'd say "yes" because Blink isn't cast on the sword and isn't a defense that interacts with the sword in any way (the way magical force fields and Blocking spells that count as blocks and parries are), but one that interacts strictly with the defender.

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Originally Posted by Anthony View Post

Meteoric means "of, related to, or consisting of meteors". The word "meteor" predates the modern astronomical concept (from a latin root meaning "a thing in the air") and in DF could perfectly well refer to iron rocks that fall from cloud giant castles. Or celestial iron, normally found on Earth because it's what Zeus' thunderbolts are forged from but also possible in other things forged by Hephaestus.
Or anti-magical iron that never had anything to do with the sky or the air, but which common folk were at a loss to explain and so jumped to the conclusion that the gods must've chucked it down from the heavens to mess with wizards who were getting cocky.

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If magic can't sense meteoric iron, you can just look for the big voids in what you do sense.
Fortunately, informational magic in GURPS doesn't work that way. It isn't like sonar or radar that builds up an image in which you can spot gaps. It's a direct seeks-this-specific-thing-and-offers-no-context-at-all kind of effect. I'm fond of meteoric iron needing to be painstakingly searched for by prospectors, who have to hire a wizard to come along and confirm their finds. That helps to explain the high price.

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Originally Posted by Varyon View Post

It sounds like the intent was that meteoric iron was largely something of a plot device
Yes. As I said:

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Originally Posted by Kromm View Post

I will go on record as saying that this is very much one of those "power of plot" things, as magic is wont to be.

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I see no problem with a semi-scientific analysis of the way meteoric iron roughly works. Just don't be surprised if you wind up with odd results.
As I also said:

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Originally Posted by Kromm View Post

Don't try to apply scientific thinking or you'll end up wearing it on your face like a smoothie from an uncovered blender.
This is a case where I expect the reader to accept author fiat and not bother to dig.
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Old 06-16-2020, 08:27 AM   #37
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Default Re: Meteoric iron immunities

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Or anti-magical iron that never had anything to do with the sky or the air, but which common folk were at a loss to explain and so jumped to the conclusion that the gods must've chucked it down from the heavens to mess with wizards who were getting cocky.
I've always assumed that people in setting *do not* call this stuff meteoric. The idea that meteors (a phenomenon in the sky) have anything to do with stuff found on the ground is seriously anachronistic in a fantasy setting after all. The idea that meteorites were rocks that fell from the sky and were associated with meteors in some way is an early 19th century concept, though the assortment of holy stones (bethels) that supposedly fell from heaven, some (though not all) of which actually are meteorites allows you a little leeway on that if you insist.
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Old 06-16-2020, 08:46 AM   #38
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Default Re: Meteoric iron immunities

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Originally Posted by malloyd View Post

I've always assumed that people in setting *do not* call this stuff meteoric. The idea that meteors (a phenomenon in the sky) have anything to do with stuff found on the ground is seriously anachronistic in a fantasy setting after all. The idea that meteorites were rocks that fell from the sky and were associated with meteors in some way is an early 19th century concept, though the assortment of holy stones (bethels) that supposedly fell from heaven, some (though not all) of which actually are meteorites allows you a little leeway on that if you insist.
To be honest, I don't worry about TL when I write fantasy. Dungeon Fantasy is TL Olden Times, which vaguely defaults to TL3 but blends in TL2 and TL4 all over the place, with dashes of TL0-1 and TL5 – and even pinches of TL(4+2) and TL(5+1) – where that seems fun. There may well be lens-grinding, telescope-making gnomes somewhere doing observational astronomy, and proto-steampunk dwarves forging iron in new and exciting ways. Toss in spells and the seeming need for magic-workers to invent double-speak to impress the plebes, and I'm sure that "meteoric" is absolutely fine as a term even in-setting. It just doesn't have to mean what it means to us as modern-day readers, or even be accurate within the game world.

Actually, a conceit of mine is that because magic messes up science and technology so thoroughly, TL ceases to have meaning and it all runs together . . . and because TL all runs together, divinatory magic is doomed to reveal almost nothing useful about science and technology. It's all a headachy hodge-podge that nobody can decipher, and it's a tossup who's nuttier: spellcasters and prophets who purport to have discerned or been shown the truth, or artificers and alchemists who actually believe their systems and calculations are founded on something more stable than whimsy and a divine sense of humor.
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Old 06-16-2020, 09:25 AM   #39
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Default Re: Meteoric iron immunities

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Fortunately, informational magic in GURPS doesn't work that way... It's a direct seeks-this-specific-thing-and-offers-no-context-at-all kind of effect.
True enough, as far as Basic magic Seek spells go. And the phrase "meteoric iron" does tend to impose the context of DFRPG and thus Basic magic. I've wandered further afield into the anti-magical-phlebotinum-of-the-setting and other supernatural senses (perhaps based on Detect, Para-Radar, or what-have-mage).

Still, it's not entirely clear even sticking with Basic-style magic that there aren't other ways than Seek to take advantage of anti-magic to help find MI. Earth Vision presumably can't see through MI any better than any other magical sense, but suddenly not seeing through the earth to the distance you expect because that's where the chunk of MI is buried is still useful information for Alexander Howl's estimate of difficulty of searching for the Iron That Fell To Earth (Unless It Didn't). Earth to Air would make for a quick and easy means to sort out the MI from all the boring iron and gold while mining, perhaps Move/Alter Terrain even to excavate the entire region of the crater to leave the unaffected bits behind in a nice pile.

The point was merely that negative properties can sometimes be as useful as positive ones for detection and manipulation. One nice thing about Basic magic is that the spells are often open to creative application.
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Old 06-16-2020, 10:55 AM   #40
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Default Re: Meteoric iron immunities

Only if the voids are large enough to matter. A four pound piece of iron is a pretty small object to find over a square mile (it is around one cup in volume). As for the economics, they are based on the Teleport Other spell, so it does not matter in the object is mostly iron or mostly taffy, though a worked sword will likely not survive the process regardless of its protection.

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