Steve Jackson Games Forums Talent/Spell of the Week: Mechanician
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05-20-2023, 06:38 AM   #31
tomc

Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Carrboro, NC
Re: Talent/Spell of the Week: Mechanician

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Shostak Given that energy out is always less than energy in, that spike is going to deal less damage than the meager Magic Fist propelling it. Plus, you have the problem of equal and opposite reactions, making the mace recoil at the end of its lever handle if the spike is shot when triggered by using the mace to strike a blow.
First off, in my world, magic trumps physics. More on that below. But I was thinking of the spike firing from the end of the handle, through the top of the mace, to give it a one shot ranged attack.

I didn't think about recoil. What happens to the recoil when a regular magic fist strikes?

The spike fired from the mace would still do some damage, even if some energy is lost (converted to heat?). A force of a punch is spread over a 40mm x 40mm area, approximately the striking surface of the first two knuckles of a martial artist's fist. If you concentrate that force into the sharp point of a shaft, say 2mm x 2mm, it's spread over 4 sq. mm instead of 1600 sq mm. which is 1/400th of the area, and should have some serious penetrating power. Like arrows, nail guns, etc.

Here's my favorite magic vs physics question: What happens when Open Tunnel converts 8 cubic meters (a 1 hex volume) of rock into air? Do the molecules just swap one for one? If so, there's going to be some seriously explosive decompression as all of that gas seeks standard pressure. PV = nRT also tells us everything in the area is going to freeze solid.

What if the stone is just destroyed instead? Google says that 8 cubic meters of stone weighs 20,120 kilograms. E = mc2 says converting that much matter into energy would release 1.8 x 10^21 Joules. The atomic bomb used at Hiroshima released 1.5x10^13 joules. So our Open Tunnel spell would be about 10 million times as powerful as a nuke.* Goodbye Cidri. Not bad for a spell costing 10ST.

But none of this blather is as important as having fun. I think it's best to enforce enough realism that you aren't pulled out of the game by something that doesn't feel right.

* This is spur of the moment googling. Early morning, pre-caffiene caveats apply.
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