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Old 03-28-2019, 08:37 PM   #31
Anaraxes
 
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Default Re: Staff Spell Item Prerequisites

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Originally Posted by maximara View Post
The logic kind of breaks down when you start getting into the higher TLs.
Depends on how much transformation you're willing to allow after the material is no longer living. Fossilized stone and petrified wood was "once living" in some sense -- or if you want to get really extreme, carbon from an ancient race in another star system that's been fused into heavier elements all the way up to iron in a series of supernovas and finally got forged into your steel sword was "once living". But that may well not be true for magical correspondences, no matter how strictly "logical" it might be. Magic isn't physics or chemistry, and may well not be too impressed with convolutions of those modern definitions. "Once living" is a technical term only in the context of the magic system in the setting.
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Old 03-28-2019, 10:52 PM   #32
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Default Re: Staff Spell Item Prerequisites

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Originally Posted by Anaraxes View Post
Fossilized stone and petrified wood was "once living" in some sense -- or if you want to get really extreme, carbon from an ancient race in another star system that's been fused into heavier elements all the way up to iron in a series of supernovas and finally got forged into your steel sword was "once living". But that may well not be true for magical correspondences, no matter how strictly "logical" it might be. Magic isn't physics or chemistry, and may well not be too impressed with convolutions of those modern definitions. "Once living" is a technical term only in the context of the magic system in the setting.
The spell doesn't say "once living". It says "organic". While there is overlap in that Venn Diagram, it isn't complete by any stretch of the imagination.

And I doubt it means 'organic' in the sense that petrochems are 'organic'.
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Old 03-28-2019, 11:40 PM   #33
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Default Re: Staff Spell Item Prerequisites

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Originally Posted by evileeyore View Post
The spell doesn't say "once living". It says "organic". While there is overlap in that Venn Diagram, it isn't complete by any stretch of the imagination.

And I doubt it means 'organic' in the sense that petrochems are 'organic'.
Why not? By the time you can do anything useful with petrochemicals, you can do similar things with carbon compounds of more recent vintage. I think it might have said something about once living in 3e, not sure, but 4e just says organic. That does exclude some petrified materials (which no longer actually contain any of the original material) but it's not otherwise all that limiting.

In any case, the proper way to handle this is cast flesh to stone on someone, cast stone to metal on the petrified form, and forge the result into a sword.
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Old 03-29-2019, 05:10 AM   #34
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Default Re: Staff Spell Item Prerequisites

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I think it might have said something about once living in 3e, not sure, but 4e just says organic.
The wording in both editions is identical. And it doesn't say "once organic". It says:

"Any rod-shaped piece of organic material (wood, bone, ivory, etc.) up to 6 feet long. May be decorated with other materials, like gems and precious metals."

Quote:
That does exclude some petrified materials (which no longer actually contain any of the original material) but it's not otherwise all that limiting.

In any case, the proper way to handle this is cast flesh to stone on someone, cast stone to metal on the petrified form, and forge the result into a sword.
Why would a petrified person contain any organics? You just turned it all to mineral in the most thorough manner possible.
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Old 03-29-2019, 09:46 AM   #35
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Default Re: Staff Spell Item Prerequisites

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Why not? By the time you can do anything useful with petrochemicals, you can do similar things with carbon compounds of more recent vintage.
And all of those similar things would probably ruin the material's utility as a staff. The intent of the rule was clearly to use a strong connection to "nature" or "life". Synthetics need not apply even if the raw materials were "organic" in the sense of being carbon compounds.

Honestly the approach I'd take with the modern iteration of Magic is to simply go with a martial Style that has it's own idiosyncratic wizard sword spell.
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Old 03-29-2019, 10:05 AM   #36
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Default Re: Staff Spell Item Prerequisites

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Originally Posted by David Johnston2 View Post
And all of those similar things would probably ruin the material's utility as a staff. The intent of the rule was clearly to use a strong connection to "nature" or "life". Synthetics need not apply even if the raw materials were "organic" in the sense of being carbon compounds.

Honestly the approach I'd take with the modern iteration of Magic is to simply go with a martial Style that has it's own idiosyncratic wizard sword spell.
All of this talk led me to thinking about a hypothetical wizard who lost an arm and had a mechanical replacement arm made of various metals by thankful dwarves/gnomes/whatevers (the fantasy counterpart to a cybernetic arm).

Would the wizard be able to use the inorganic mechanical arm for touch spells or to extend his reach?

A proper answer to that would very likely be "It depends".
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Old 03-29-2019, 10:27 AM   #37
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Default Re: Staff Spell Item Prerequisites

If it doesn't, I might buy Magic Resistance modified as DR is for partial coverage. Even just 1 level will keep the wizard from casting through it, and it has the, not implausible, effect of making it better resist Wither Limb and the like. Alternatively, treat not being susceptible to spells like wither limb and not being able to cast through it as special effects which cancel each other out.

An additional concern arises here when using flexible rituals (TH37): if you cannot cast with the arm, you cannot use it for gestures and are thus at a permanent -2 to cast (Give the arm Temporary Disadvantage, Magery -2, -20%?).
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Old 03-29-2019, 10:36 AM   #38
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Default Re: Staff Spell Item Prerequisites

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Originally Posted by David Johnston2 View Post
The intent of the rule was clearly to use a strong connection to "nature" or "life". Synthetics need not apply even if the raw materials were "organic" in the sense of being carbon compounds.
So basically, you're saying 'organic' doesn't actually mean 'organic'. All we can derive from the examples in Magic is that they're valid TL 3 choices.
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Old 03-29-2019, 10:57 AM   #39
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Default Re: Staff Spell Item Prerequisites

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Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
So basically, you're saying 'organic' doesn't actually mean 'organic'.
It's been said many times, but terms used in GURPS Magic were never meant to align with the modern scientific use of those terms. There are many reasons for this, not the least of which is that most settings that would use those rules take place in a pre-modern science or alt-TL science universe. But also because the rules were written by a layman who never meant for the terms to be taken as using the modern scientific definitions.

"Organic" as used in GURPS Magic was meant to fit the laymen's definition: of, relating to, or derived from living organisms. It would never have been meant to fit the scientific definition: of, relating to, or containing carbon compounds.
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Old 03-29-2019, 11:01 AM   #40
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Default Re: Staff Spell Item Prerequisites

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So basically, you're saying 'organic' doesn't actually mean 'organic'.
"Organic" has several meanings (as I'm sure you know). "Containing carbon compounds" is a later bit of jargon evolved from the older "related to living things" meaning. For magical purposes, we can't even easily ignore the "integral element of a whole" meaning, especially since that meaning also reaches over to touch the "living" senses. (Field created by all living things, surrounds us, penetrates us, binds the galaxy together -- you know the quote.)
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