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Old 04-17-2024, 08:52 PM   #1
Fred Brackin
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Default Applied Magic: Armoury

Something that had occurred to me recently is the use of Spells from Magic to produce non-magical goods. In particular the Shape Metal Spell offers capabilities that even TL8 is only starting to verge upon.

For example, if the Shape Metal spell was known in Camelot they actually could have the anachronistic plate armor seen in the movies. Easily custom fitted to each Knight too.

However, What about chain? The Shape Metal Spell does say it works on liquid metal and shaped metal retains the shape it was put in without special concentration as long as the Spell is maintained.

Large bits of metal shaped this way would take an annoying amount of time to cool into solidity but what about wire suitable for making chain armor? You have your crucible full of liquid steel (whihc you can make with Heat or Fast fire)and you use Shape Metal to draw a narrow stream of liquid metal that's the right thickness for the wire that's right for chain armor. You can even turn the liquid metal into interlocked links that should cool into solidity in the minute long Duration of the Spell.

So you've not only bypassed the conventional drawing of metal into wire but the ends of your chain links don't need to be riveted together either. It prbably does need a Specilaized Skill or Technique to maically "knit" chain armor swiftly and efficiently this way but it only takes Magery 1 and the prereq chain isn't very long. That's not bad for doing away with the mundane armoury's annoying parts.

So, would you give this "shaped" chain armor another +1 DR? To my understanding if a link fails when stressed (such as in a hard thrust) it's most likely to fail at the rivet. Uniform strength all through the link would seem to amke it less likely to fail.
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Old 04-17-2024, 09:13 PM   #2
Anthony
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Berkeley, CA
Default Re: Applied Magic: Armoury

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
Something that had occurred to me recently is the use of Spells from Magic to produce non-magical goods. In particular the Shape Metal Spell offers capabilities that even TL8 is only starting to verge upon.
Shape Metal is quite unclear about how fine control it grants, but there's always Reshape. However, welds are quite capable of being stronger than the material being welded (modern mail can also make half the rings out of stamped metal with no gaps, but I don't think there's historical examples).
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Old 04-18-2024, 02:47 AM   #3
DanHoward
 
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Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Default Re: Applied Magic: Armoury

The vast majority of Western European mail from the Roman period to the 14th C was made of half riveted and half solid (punched) links - not because it is stronger, but because the mail is faster to assemble. When properly-riveted links are stressed, they tend to fail along the wire, not at the join, so there is a negligible difference in strength between punched, welded, and riveted links.
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Old 04-18-2024, 04:50 AM   #4
Varyon
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Default Re: Applied Magic: Armoury

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
Shape Metal is quite unclear about how fine control it grants, but there's always Reshape. However, welds are quite capable of being stronger than the material being welded (modern mail can also make half the rings out of stamped metal with no gaps, but I don't think there's historical examples).
Depending on how much fine control the GM deems Shape Metal gives you, it might also be possible to basically carve out the excess material and turn a sheet of steel into a mail "fabric" directly.

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Originally Posted by DanHoward View Post
The vast majority of Western European mail from the Roman period to the 14th C was made of half riveted and half solid (punched) links - not because it is stronger, but because the mail is faster to assemble. When properly-riveted links are stressed, they tend to fail along the wire, not at the join, so there is a negligible difference in strength between punched, welded, and riveted links.
If the links rarely fail at the join, that implies the join is stronger than the wire, which would mean it must have a greater concentration of material there. So something made of all punched links might weigh a bit less. Probably not much, but some. Offhand, looking at pictures of some ready-to-rivet links, they appear to have roughly 10% overlap. This overlapped bit is stretched thinner than the rest of the link, but there's also the mass of the rivet itself to take into account, so treating this as being roughly 10% heavier than a punched link may not be too outlandish. If a typical suit of mail is made half of riveted links and half of punched links, then somehow making one out of all punched links might be ~95% as heavy, for a -5% to weight. Alternatively, we could treat the default mail in LT as being all-riveted, in which case the half-and-half construction would be -5% to weight and the oops-all-punched construction would be -10% to weight. This likely overstates the effect, and honestly such small differences might be within the range of what individual craftsmen produce, but it could be a way to give an effect beyond a possible price reduction.


Another consideration - a common "stage magic" trick is to take two seemingly-whole metal rings and bang them together such that they become linked. There may be a spell to accomplish this directly with actually-whole metal rings, and repurposing that here would let you simply use punched rings and link them together.
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Old 04-18-2024, 02:49 PM   #5
DanHoward
 
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Default Re: Applied Magic: Armoury

Historically, the bloomsmith took the bloom from the smelter and hammered it into billets. Some of these billets were sold to the wire-drawers and plateners to be turned into wire and plate. These were then sold to link-makers to be turned into links and rivets. These were sold to the mailleurs who would weave the links into sheets of mail. The mail sheets were sold to the armourers (who also bought loose links and rivets from the link-makers) to be tailored into armour. The Romans had large fabricas where all of these processes (except for the bloomsmithing) were done at the same location.

You could use simple spells for each of these processes except for the last one.
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Old 04-18-2024, 07:57 PM   #6
Pursuivant
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Default Re: Applied Magic: Armoury

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Originally Posted by DanHoward View Post
You could use simple spells for each of these processes except for the last one.
A Purify Metal/Smelt spell could easily be derived from Purify Earth. Arguably, Shape metal might allow a mage to shape metal ores or blooms so that non-chemical impurities like slag inclusions fall out.

One way to keep Shape Metal from being too much of a substitute for mundane skills is to require a successful craft skill to make whatever it is you're trying to make using Shape Metal. A failed roll means that you get something that looks sort of like what you were trying to create but which includes flaws.

For example, if you're trying to shape a chunk of iron into a knife, roll against Armoury (Melee Weapons) to get anything better than a Cheap-Quality knife-shaped object as opposed to a blade you'd trust your life with.

Further enchantments might not be possible for items which aren't at least Good-Quality regardless of how they're created.

The exception might be if the mage effectively acts as an assistant to someone who knows what they're doing. In that case, the mage just shapes the metal so that it's the right general size and shape, gives it the softness of lead or gold and "commands" the metal to move in reaction to the craftsman's actions.

In itself, that would make a smith far more efficient, since they don't have to mess with tending the forge, heating or quenching work in progress to deal with changes to the metal as it's being worked or grasping a piece of metal with tongs to hot-work it. The smith would also spend far less time hammering the metal to get it to move the way they want it to and might even be able to stretch or bend metal billets by hand, as if they were taffy. The last trick would be extremely useful when doing final fitting of plate armor.

As a guess, a Shape Metal enchantment or an assistant who knows that spell would result in a 100% savings in fuel (not an insignificant cost) and perhaps 25% to 200% increase in efficiency depending on what you're making.

Fiddly work like mail would see the biggest efficiency boost, since you could just turn a billet of metal into a coil of wire, get the coil to bend and "pinch off" solid links and then link the solid rings rather than messing with riveting.
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