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Old 05-22-2024, 02:33 AM   #1
hal
 
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Default TL 2 Space Program

Fun “thinking outside the box” exercise using GURPS MAGIC for GURPS 4e, explain how a TL 2 society can put any individual into orbital space using spells other than Teleport or teleportation style spells.
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Old 05-22-2024, 03:23 AM   #2
The Colonel
 
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Default Re: TL 2 Space Program

Does gate magic count? Because that's the traditional one. But that might count as teleporting.

Flying ships are also traditional.
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Old 05-22-2024, 04:05 AM   #3
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A thick, airtight box of orichalcum (Essential Metal) should be doable; being inside of that will give the inhabitant the benefit of Vacuum Support, Purify Air will keep the air in the box breathable (I'm not sure what happens when you purify previously-breathed Essential Air, if it restores it to Essential status or to the status of ordinary air; if the former, you may want to start with Essential Air so that Purify Air only needs to be used 1/3 as often). Create Water and Create Food (and related) would allow you to survive; I assume there's some spell that would be suitable for cleaning out a chamber pot, but I don't know what it is. Flying Carpet allows you to ignore gravity, unless the GM deems it to not work outside of the atmosphere. All that will get you out of the atmosphere, and keep you alive, but won't actually get you into a stable orbit. For that, you need propulsion. One option, albeit a slow one, would be to have something like a polybolos (LT80, 82) with Animate Machine/TL2, with the hopper enchanted with Cornucopia (if that doesn't work, you may need Create Servant or similar to pull a bolt out of a Cornucopia container and drop it in the hopper). An alternative would be Create Fuel to create black powder (which isn't reliant on oxygen to burn) for a rocket. As Create Fuel actually transmutes something else into fuel rather than actually creating fuel ex nihilo, you'll need a constant supply of that Something Else - I suspect a combination of Create Water (which does produce matter ex nihilo) and Create Fuel would suffice. You'll need appropriate Knowledge spells to track where you are as well.
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Old 05-22-2024, 08:36 AM   #4
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Default Re: TL 2 Space Program

The orichalcum capsule will need a Move of around 8000 for orbital velocity. The Propel spell can do that as written (nothing says you can't use tech spells at TL 2), though at an energy cost of 400 for a 1-ton capsule and a skill 20 mage. So, ritual magic with a ground crew of spectators and mages to conduct the launch. Or you might make that the engineering section of your spacecraft, so you can do additional propulsion as needed on your journey. (Besides, there's got to be somebody onboard from whom the captain can urgently demand more power.)

Of course, a worldbuilder that wants magical spacecraft can simply invent new spells, perhaps scaling speeds using the SRT to keep the energy costs lower.

Or just ignoring mundane physics in the first place. Maybe you don't have to stay in a Newtonian orbit as long as your etheric flying carpet has some ether to push against; it can hover in outer space as easily as it can three feet off the ground. Picking and choosing random individual applications of real-world physical laws that must be ironclad while you're completing ignoring others in the magic systems is always a bizarre exercise. With worldbuilding, it seems simpler to me to define the desired end result, and then construct the justification and/or additional mechanics or changes that's reasonable enough to satisfy the people at the table. (See the spectre raised of the "munchkin discussion" in the currently-current Creating Gemstones thread. The goal isn't to invent a complete new set of laws of physics impervious to hostile and cynical attack; it's just to keep the group of consenting adults actually playing the game enjoying their hobby.)

Last edited by Anaraxes; 05-22-2024 at 08:42 AM.
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Old 05-22-2024, 09:05 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anaraxes View Post
The orichalcum capsule will need a Move of around 8000 for orbital velocity. The Propel spell can do that as written (nothing says you can't use tech spells at TL 2), though at an energy cost of 400 for a 1-ton capsule and a skill 20 mage. So, ritual magic with a ground crew of spectators and mages to conduct the launch. Or you might make that the engineering section of your spacecraft, so you can do additional propulsion as needed on your journey. (Besides, there's got to be somebody onboard from whom the captain can urgently demand more power.)
Propel looks like it's meant to be limited to propelling the vehicle at a speed it would be able to reach on its own, but it still needs a propulsion mechanism. If we're adhering to realistic physics (as you note, such may not be how things work in a setting with magic), anything with any ability to be propelled in space would have a Top Speed of c up there - in theory you could just mount a hand crossbow, no enchantments or ammunition necessary, to make the vehicle eligible for Propel (sure, it would take an incredibly long time to reach orbital velocity if continually loading and firing the crossbow, but you could get there eventually). But it would be up to the GM if such gaming of the system would actually work.
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Old 05-22-2024, 09:11 AM   #6
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Default Re: TL 2 Space Program

another possibility would be to use Create Earth and then Earth to Stone non-stop in a fantasy version of the Tower of Babel. It would take time - and it wouldn't require a whole heck of a lot of enchantments per se, although that would be nice.

As you build up higher, you discover that the air is thinner, and cooler. As you get up higher yet, you discover that you REALLY need air generating capabilities. Eventually, assuming that no one really mucks up badly, you have reached high enough into the air that you've attained the region that is vacuum relatively speaking.

Now the fun part would be "what happens with such a vast structure?" Would it affect the earth much as glacial ice helped to deform the earth due to its weight? Would you need to build it at the Antarctica to have it based upon land and be at the pole of the planet?

The thing about teleportation or gates or what have you is - if you teleport into vaccuum, will you be prepared to survive it? First person who teleports there successfully, ain't coming back. Ditto with a Gate. In fact, if the gate is near the surface of a planet, would the air rush through it with all the pressure at sea level and be pumped into space as a reverse vacuum?

Like I said, thinking outside the box. As for Technology spells? I think by virtue of the society itself being at TL 2, the mages won't be able to concieve of such spells - but hey, if you as a GM would permit it, then by all means, it counts.

I suspect that essential earth made into essential stone would be required for a tower built capable of reaching Geosynchronous orbit - but hey, something to consider.
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Old 05-22-2024, 09:27 AM   #7
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Yeah, a Space Tower of Babel would likely call for Essential Stone at a minimum. Possibly something beyond even Essential Metal - the only modern materials thought to be able to work for a space elevator are carbon nanotubes and similar, so you might need something more akin to Essential Diamond. The previously-linked gemstone thread suggests the idea of being able to use Earth to Stone in a sequence of Earth->Stone->Metal->Gemstone; in this case you'd be going Earth->Essential Earth->Essential Stone->Essential Metal->Essential Gemstone. So, use Create Earth alongside Shape Earth to build up the tower, convert it to Essential Earth, and then do either three small castings or one big one of Earth to Stone to create your Essential Diamond.
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Old 05-22-2024, 10:25 AM   #8
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Default Re: TL 2 Space Program

The energy requirements of this exercise seem to become prohibitive at the scale needed for space travel.

That said, for propulsion in the Zero G environment, I would look at the Pull and Repel spells.
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Old 05-22-2024, 10:38 AM   #9
Anthony
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anaraxes View Post
The orichalcum capsule will need a Move of around 8000 for orbital velocity.
Nothing about the OP requires orbital velocity, just being in space, so the answer is 'flight/hawk flight' plus something that allows surviving up there (I suggest Body of Stone).
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Old 05-22-2024, 10:55 AM   #10
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Default Re: TL 2 Space Program

Are you assuming the physics of our universe? Or if this is a fantasy universe, does it have elements of earth, water, air, and fire extending up to the orbit of the moon, and aether (or the fifth element) beyond that, in the heavens? Can human beings breathe aether? Are the stars distant worlds, or little lamps, or perhaps a race of celestial beings? Much depends on what kind of story you want to tell.
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