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Old 03-22-2021, 01:43 PM   #31
David Johnston2
 
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Default Re: [Magic] How much food can the Blossom spell produce?

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Originally Posted by Anders View Post
Should there be similar spells in the Animal college? Making an animal produce milk, or egg, or go into heat? What does the Hair Growth do when cast on a sheep or goat? Or a silkworm?
In folklore such spells are more often seen when applied maliciously to stop cows from producing milk or hens from laying eggs and Blossom is more useful for adventurers to provide them with emergency food. There is a risk in that it would be easy to kill animals by magically forcing them to overproduce.
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Old 03-22-2021, 02:39 PM   #32
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Default Re: [Magic] How much food can the Blossom spell produce?

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I'd be worried that a meal's worth of it would only provide one (or three, or however much your ratio goes for) meal's worth of the vitamins, though, albeit in correct proportion. I.e., one could live on Essential Food indefinitely but would be deficient if it was only one meal a week and the rest of the diet was deficient in something.
Would that not make the Essential Food less nourishing than many normal foods?
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Note that among the Plant spells is Body of Slime, which specifically mentions algae and slime mold -- this suggests that the GURPS default for "Plant" is broader than the scientific classification and the magic can reasonably encompass other "vegetable" lifeforms such as mold and fungi. That being the case, a scientific reader worrying about B12 in the diet could perhaps be assuaged by the inclusion of several yeasts and molds used for beer, bread, cheese and the like, with some specific yeasts or molds culturally noted as being important for a healthy local diet. Modern vegan B12 is commercially produced from bacterial cultures. The Mature spell could thus be useful to produce staples of this sort.
I don't think yeasts or molds will do. Purportedly B12 is only produced by bacteria (and archaea, but to most people those are also bacteria). However, slimy bacterial cultures probably aren't categorically different from slimy eukaryotic cultures from a magical perspective. (And algal slime might work, algae aren't supposed to directly synthesize the stuff but some do accumulate it.)
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Old 03-22-2021, 06:00 PM   #33
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Default Re: [Magic] How much food can the Blossom spell produce?

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Blossom (Magic, p. 162) is worded in a way that makes it sound like it can produce a full year's harvest in an hour if cast on an orchard. Is that really right? If so, what population densities could it support when combined with otherwise ancient/medieval tech? I got thinking about this for purposes of trying to explain how you justify huge populations of dwarves or whatever living deep underground with limited ability to get food from the surface. But it could also apply to explaining how huge elven cities could exist in the middle of a forest. Thoughts?
As it causes the plants affected to enter their autumn phase, and thus implies that all you're doing is getting the crop early, not more often, and it costs 2 energy per yard radius, it's considerably worse than Bless Plants, which costs half as much (thus allowing the caster(s) to affect four times the area per casting) and doubles yield.

Therefore, I think Blossom will have little effect on yields in general. What it might do is let armies loot crops to feed themselves at any time, by force-ripening them.
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Old 03-22-2021, 06:04 PM   #34
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Default Re: [Magic] How much food can the Blossom spell produce?

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You can get a good amount of protein from various nuts and beans, which would probably be how vegans normally get it.
Wheat has quite a lot of protein (much more than other common grains), so wheat and beans will do for protein (and soya beans are a complete protein source, so if you have access to those that problem is solved).
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Old 03-22-2021, 06:20 PM   #35
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Default Re: [Magic] How much food can the Blossom spell produce?

I thought I'd posted this straight after my previous posting but it seems to have gone clang.

What is the actual text of the Blossom spell? People here seem to keep asking about what one type of fruit would be a good nutritional staple. Is it only for a single type of plant at a time? Is it only for fruit? If you had an elf town in the forest, it seems to me it would be thoroughly elf-like to grow all sorts of edible plants together, to the extent that passing humans would think it was just an improbably well-stocked forest, and harvest them all together.

If it's specifically for trees (I'm just guessing here), then the answer is to plant nut trees alongside your fruit trees, as some people have said. There's your fat and protein, by the bucketful. Chestnuts are unusual in being mostly starch, and I once saw a permaculture farmer on a TV documentary claim that an acre of chestnut trees will supply as much flour as an acre of wheat. Useful, if true.
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Old 03-22-2021, 06:29 PM   #36
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Default Re: [Magic] How much food can the Blossom spell produce?

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Originally Posted by Rupert View Post
Wheat has quite a lot of protein (much more than other common grains), so wheat and beans will do for protein (and soya beans are a complete protein source, so if you have access to those that problem is solved).
Mushroom and prove the same amino acids your look for in protein as beans

Vitium D is another issue, as that is typical Fish, Red Meat, Liver or Egg Yokes (Assuming the setting doesn't have fortified foods)
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Old 03-22-2021, 06:45 PM   #37
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Default Re: [Magic] How much food can the Blossom spell produce?

Donīt neglect trace elements, without them you suffer and die also from malnutrition.
Then there is the fact that vitamins differ in water soluble and fat soluble, from the last the body has sometimes long reaching resevers, namely some B vitamins. Some Veganer think they need only plants as food, problems occure when their supply of this vitamins is dropping low, which happens often during pregnancy. Also the fat soluble vitamins are poisonous if you eat to much, the body has trouble getting rid of them. There are 11 of them which the bocy canīt make by himself.
For the essential amino acids, 9 exactly says the WHO, you too have a supply but after that you better refuel.

While Iīm neither a medical expert, nor a botanist I think half a dozen well chosen plants can be enough to keep you alive and in shape. That doesnīt mean that more variation inīt hwlpful, or wanted.
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Old 03-22-2021, 07:09 PM   #38
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Default Re: [Magic] How much food can the Blossom spell produce?

Thinking about it, Heal Plant might be sufficient to 'cure' a plant of the after-effects of Blossom. Purify Earth would definitely be necessary to replace the nutrients consumed by the plants in producing their crop.

You'd also need a large supply of water, because all those apples, nuts, etc. take a lot of water to produce. However the Rain spell should be adequate for this purpose.

If the desired crop can be obtained entirely from long-lived trees these alone should be sufficient. If short-lived bushes and the like are included every so often you'll need to replant and either allow them to mature naturally or run Pant Growth over the area (which is a rather energy intensive operation). Crops where the entire plant is harvested (grains, potatoes, etc.) will require this, and probably aren't a good candidate for this industrial application of Blossom, etc.

All these spells are area spells, and the highest cost is Heal Plant, so that is the one that sets the maximum area that can be managed with a single casting. Rain is really cheap. A ceremonial group can, assuming they don't try and get fancy and just cast each spell over the same area, manage a 33-yard radius area and the casting cycle is about 1-2/3 hours (ceremonial casting of these spells is slow). Adding Harvest saves a whole lot of labour and the wait whilst the produce is picked and adds about another 20 minutes to the cycle assuming it uses a different lead caster (so it can use the assistants not needed for the Blossom and Purify Earth spells). So two hours per cycle, plus a little more for Rain every few cycles.

Thus a ceremonial team can do three cycles per day and actually have real time off for their lunch break (rather than being forced to rest and recover FP) and for meetings that go over time and other sources of wasted time (and anyone who thinks that an organisation that's trying to do something that requires over 100 people to all be present and ready on time every day, etc., won't loose time to admin and other overhead is dreaming). Assuming they're sane and work a five day week, and that there are enough people to lead the ceremony that it doesn't grind to a halt when the lead caster takes a holiday, the team will do 780 cycles per year.

A 33-yard casting will cover about 20 trees, assuming the trees are 4 yards apart (Heal Plant says a tree needs at least a 3 yard radius, and healthy fruit trees usually need some separation). That's a lot of apples.
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Old 03-22-2021, 08:33 PM   #39
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Default Re: [Magic] How much food can the Blossom spell produce?

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Fun story, there was a temple of Indian gurus who had a reputation for surviving exclusively off a bowl of rice each day. They agreed to go to a hospital for examination, and they all fell terribly ill with malnutrition shortly after arriving and earring the rice there. Turns out a few rat droppings and dead insects in their rice was enough to keep them on the ragged edge of survival.
Yeah I'd bet good money they were sneaking the odd bowl of lentils and vegetables on the side until under 24/7 observation and that was what was keeping them going.
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Old 03-22-2021, 08:44 PM   #40
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Default Re: [Magic] How much food can the Blossom spell produce?

I dunno, if they knew they were cheating they wouldn't have signed up to demonstrate it under observation.
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