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Old 07-22-2016, 01:25 AM   #1
MIB.6361
 
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Default GURPS Magic: Create Food

A wizard in my game wants to use the Create Food spell on excrement.
Other than the disgustingness and depravity, it seems to be somewhat practical.

The spells description says "the closer the starting material is to food, the tastier the end result will be."

So, the question is, would you consider waste matter to still be "close to food" since it obviously once was?

If so, then it should be pretty tasty. Of course, the spell doesn't necessarily change the appearance or consistency of the material, it only impacts the nutritional value (making it food) and its flavor.
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Old 07-22-2016, 03:27 AM   #2
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Default Re: GURPS Magic: Create Food

There may be many bacteria present, possibly resulting in the wizard suddenly having a large supply of raw material. . . . .
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Old 07-22-2016, 05:37 AM   #3
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Default Re: GURPS Magic: Create Food

I'd put it at the bottom of all soft organic matter, comparable to starting with wood, tortoise shell, or shoes.

The trick is that excrement isn't just processed food, its food with the food removed. Yes, the process isn't complete, but it isn't great either.

Of course, this is a subjective call and how bland or not the food is depends on your absolute spectrum, but I wouldn't call poo really close to food.
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Old 07-22-2016, 06:32 AM   #4
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Default Re: GURPS Magic: Create Food

Poop may be chronologically "closer" to food than some other options, but the poop of omnivores and carnivores is mostly a bacterial sample with inedibles studded in it.

The poop of more inefficient digesters (elephants, I'm looking at you as prime offenders) is a lot more like the original intake, so if you consider cut grass, twigs, and leaves "close to food", elephant poop will be less close to food than that, but still pretty close to food. Cows are more efficient, so they leave less food.

But I'd consider the original, undigested grass, twigs, and leaves much closer to "food" for humans than omnivore poop (eg human poop). We actually eat some kinds of grasses, tree bark, and many kinds of leaves, and we like the tastes so much that we put more-or-less inedible ones in our edible food to enhance the flavor.

I'd also consider moderately decayed food to still be closer to the original than poop is. Decay adds toxins, but it takes a while before it removes the nutrients that we humans take out of the food (and often makes them more available).

The interesting question is will Create Food make extreme fermented foods more palatable for folks who don't like them? I'm thinking your classic stinky foot cheeses, century eggs, fermented fish, and that classic starvation food Hákarl (yes, I know it's a delicacy now - you all know it was invented by hungry people).
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Old 07-22-2016, 08:33 AM   #5
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Default Re: GURPS Magic: Create Food

Quote:
Originally Posted by MIB.6361 View Post
The spells description says "the closer the starting material is to food, the tastier the end result will be."

So, the question is, would you consider waste matter to still be "close to food" since it obviously once was?
.
The text of Purify Food might give use guidance. It says that that spell can be cast on any edible or formerly edible item and that it removes any unwholesomeness. If the whole item was unwholesome it vanishes entirely.

If you cast Purify Food on human poop it would remove all the bacteria and leave that fiber the dieticians always want you to eat more of. Termites and some ruminants have symbiotic bacteria that can break down cellulose but it's nothing to humans (except possibly a sponge to soak up unwanted cholesterol). Any cholesterol remaining would improve the nutritional value.

So poop would be on a par with "bacterially contaminated wood pulp" (with special added sulfur compounds for the aroma) and I would rate neither as very food-like. You're down in the miscellaneous organics department. If you used Purify Food on it to get down to the indigestible fiber you'd be al least a little closer.
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Old 07-22-2016, 10:28 AM   #6
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Default Re: GURPS Magic: Create Food

This is the GM's call, so I'm speaking as a GM, not an editor. I think it's a mistake to try applying a scientific view to magic. Symbolism is at least as important as chemical analysis here. And excrement is, by definition, what's left after you've already gotten all of the nutrition and "foody goodness" from what you ate. So it's about as far from food as organic matter can be, and would taste disgusting.
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Old 07-22-2016, 01:01 PM   #7
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Default Re: GURPS Magic: Create Food

All that aside, I would require a Will roll to eat this food. Why? Well, let's say I cut your food with a knife that had been used for circumcisions, or filled your cup with wine from a syringe that had been used for inseminating cows. Even if they had been thoroughly cleaned, would you feel really comfortable with that? (Thanks to Red Dwarf for the examples).
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Old 07-22-2016, 01:31 PM   #8
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Default Re: GURPS Magic: Create Food

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anders View Post
All that aside, I would require a Will roll to eat this food. Why? Well, let's say I cut your food with a knife that had been used for circumcisions, or filled your cup with wine from a syringe that had been used for inseminating cows. Even if they had been thoroughly cleaned, would you feel really comfortable with that? (Thanks to Red Dwarf for the examples).
Even ignoring the abstract issue, there's the immediate issue that the spell doesn't change what the subject looks like and probably won't change the texture either.
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Old 07-22-2016, 01:55 PM   #9
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Default Re: GURPS Magic: Create Food

Quote:
Originally Posted by PK View Post
This is the GM's call, so I'm speaking as a GM, not an editor. I think it's a mistake to try applying a scientific view to magic. Symbolism is at least as important as chemical analysis here. And excrement is, by definition, what's left after you've already gotten all of the nutrition and "foody goodness" from what you ate. So it's about as far from food as organic matter can be, and would taste disgusting.
To clarify, per the description, the spell does two things.
1: It makes something into "food" which I take to mean "edible and nutritious per the casters dietary needs."
2: It makes that same something taste "better" depending on how close that something already is to food.

So even excrement would be transformed into nutritional food.
However, it would still look and feel like poop and probably taste somewhere between "tastes like nothing" and "tasted like poop."
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Old 07-22-2016, 09:36 PM   #10
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Default Re: GURPS Magic: Create Food

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Johnston2 View Post
Even ignoring the abstract issue, there's the immediate issue that the spell doesn't change what the subject looks like and probably won't change the texture either.
So looks and has the mouth-feel of chocolate pudding? But it might taste as bad as unsweetened pure dark chocolate?
I can't imagine even highly metaphor ruled symbolic magical settings consider feces less like food than literal rocks.
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