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Old 05-07-2017, 09:18 AM   #1
WaterAndWindSpirit
 
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Default Conjuring highly unstable compounds

So there are spells to conjure food, water and things like that.

So, why couldn't there be a spell to conjure something like Chlorine Trifluoride? How would such a spell work?
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Old 05-07-2017, 09:31 AM   #2
Kelly Pedersen
 
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Default Re: Conjuring highly unstable compounds

Dangerously. :)

More seriously, I see no reason why you couldn't research a spell that did that. Based on what I know of chlorine trifloride, it would do some amount of burning damage (with all the Incendiary modifiers), plus cyclical toxic damage, as it poisons you if it didn't burn you to death. For the energy cost, I'd put it at something like 2 or 3 energy per burning damage die, and just say it was creating relatively little ClF3 with each casting.
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Old 05-07-2017, 10:14 AM   #3
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Default Re: Conjuring highly unstable compounds

Quote:
Originally Posted by WaterAndWindSpirit View Post
So there are spells to conjure food, water and things like that.

So, why couldn't there be a spell to conjure something like Chlorine Trifluoride? How would such a spell work?
At what TL are you planning to come up with this? Chlorine was discovered in 1774, fluorine in 1810 (but not successfully isolated until 1886!), and chlorine trifluoride was first produced in 1930. That's historically TL5-6. At TL4 they didn't even have the concept of chlorine; the guy who isolated it called it "dephlogisticated muriatic acid air." I'm hesitant to think you can magically produce a substance you have no concept of.
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Old 05-07-2017, 01:35 PM   #4
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Default Re: Conjuring highly unstable compounds

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Originally Posted by WaterAndWindSpirit View Post
So there are spells to conjure food, water and things like that.

So, why couldn't there be a spell to conjure something like Chlorine Trifluoride? How would such a spell work?
I lump that under "Create Acid". And I put a "Create Base" in the Earth College for my games, but the Wizard is required to either be of a high enough TL that those concepts are background knowledge or have Alchemy/Chemistry at a 12.
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Old 05-07-2017, 02:21 PM   #5
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Default Re: Conjuring highly unstable compounds

It's magic, so it's more about the effects than specifics. It should be balanced against other destructive spells of similar energy costs.
If one gram does the damage of one pound of something created by another spell, then that's how much it should conjure/create.
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Old 05-07-2017, 03:11 PM   #6
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Default Re: Conjuring highly unstable compounds

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At what TL are you planning to come up with this? Chlorine was discovered in 1774, fluorine in 1810 (but not successfully isolated until 1886!), and chlorine trifluoride was first produced in 1930. That's historically TL5-6. At TL4 they didn't even have the concept of chlorine; the guy who isolated it called it "dephlogisticated muriatic acid air." I'm hesitant to think you can magically produce a substance you have no concept of.
But there is no problem in conjuring up a haunch of complex biological molecules specific to one or more species including bone, tendons, blood and muscle? Or wheat finely ground and beaten with eggs, sugar and leavening agents added and served with a buttercream frosting? I don't have Magic or Thaumatology so I am really just curious about what the spell limitations are and where that breaks down.
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Old 05-07-2017, 03:24 PM   #7
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Default Re: Conjuring highly unstable compounds

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Originally Posted by Joseph Paul View Post
But there is no problem in conjuring up a haunch of complex biological molecules specific to one or more species including bone, tendons, blood and muscle? Or wheat finely ground and beaten with eggs, sugar and leavening agents added and served with a buttercream frosting? I don't have Magic or Thaumatology so I am really just curious about what the spell limitations are and where that breaks down.
The spell limitations don't have a lot to do with realistic difficulty, though a plausible rule of thumb would be to base it on the $ cost of the item in the setting (so effect varies somewhat with TL).
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Old 05-07-2017, 03:54 PM   #8
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Default Re: Conjuring highly unstable compounds

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph Paul View Post
But there is no problem in conjuring up a haunch of complex biological molecules specific to one or more species including bone, tendons, blood and muscle? Or wheat finely ground and beaten with eggs, sugar and leavening agents added and served with a buttercream frosting? I don't have Magic or Thaumatology so I am really just curious about what the spell limitations are and where that breaks down.
No, why would there be? It's not about how objectively complex the task is in scientific terms; magic can do things vastly more complex than that, like turning a human being into a badger. It's about whether you have the concept of the thing you want to do. At least in Eurasia and North America, most people have the concept "badger," but even today, few people have the concept "chlorine trifluoride," and before 1800 no one did or could. If you don't know what to ask for no spell can give it to you.
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Old 05-07-2017, 04:04 PM   #9
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Default Re: Conjuring highly unstable compounds

After all, there's no canonical GURPS setting where spell magic coexists with high technology where a spell like this might occur or anything.
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Old 05-07-2017, 04:20 PM   #10
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Default Re: Conjuring highly unstable compounds

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If you don't know what to ask for no spell can give it to you.
Although whether this is a problem may depend on just how much creativity the magic itself brings to the exercise.

If you can, for instance, ask your magic to make a stone golem burn without telling it how, it might come up with Chlorine Trifluoride as the means. And after that you'd have a possibility for asking for more of the same. Spirit-assisted magic could produce that sort of thing pretty logically.
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