Steve Jackson Games Forums Talent/Spell of the Week: Mechanician
 Register FAQ Calendar Mark Forums Read

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.
__________________
OgreMap2

Freedom of Speech is not Freedom of Podium

05-20-2023, 12:22 PM   #32
timm meyers

Join Date: May 2020
Re: Talent/Spell of the Week: Mechanician

Quote:
 Originally Posted by tomc 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.
Really enjoying this exploration/exercise of physics and magic!!!

I am know imagining the philosophical and cultural tenants of wizards being a dogmatic elitist club. Their social standing and control/power would be highly threatened by such "out of the box" research and application of physics in regard to "magic".
The renaissance mechanician that explores the scientific minutia of spells could achieve some pretty marvelous results. If open tunnel does create a vacuum (even if greatly reduced from our reality results) could it be harnessed to do things like refrigeration or fixed wing assisted flight?

Example- Is the "Flight" spell really just a localized miniature "Open Tunnel" spell that is focused and maintained ahead of the wizard creating enough empty space to create low vs high pressure zones (wind) to propel oneself? The spells themselves are right next to each other in the book so I think I might be on to something here :) If so can Joseph the Mechanic find the one IQ 13 wizard who isn't a snob to help develop a low volume fan/turbine powered by a variation of these spells and become rich industrialists?

Looking at the spell lists will never be the same for me.

05-20-2023, 09:01 PM   #33
JohnPaulB

Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Portland, Maine
Re: Talent/Spell of the Week: Mechanician

Quote:
 Originally Posted by DeadParrot I would go the other way. Hard to imagine that being summoned to detect/remove traps would be that much different threat wise then being summoned to fight a Long Langkin. Plus the mention in ITL, page 137, paragraph 2 under Summoned Creatures that a summoned being has no will of its own. Without will, how could a Myrmidon resist the command to Detect/Remove traps? A Trap Myrmidon might be ST 8, DX 14, IQ 10, MA 12. Talents: Running(2), Detect Traps(2), Remove Trap(1), Unarmed Combat 1(1). 4pts not allocated. OTOH, spell cost would be a limiting factor. 2 ST/Fatigue pts to summon. From page 70, to attempt to detect a trap takes 6 turns = 6 pts. To attempt removal takes 12 turns = 12pts. Minimum total to summon and deploy a trap optimized Myrmidon for one trap is 20pts. More points if the first attempt to detect is negative and you move on to the next location to start detecting again.
I was imagining a trap that held a Gem of Summoning -Myrmidon. The trap is triggered, the gem is crushed and the Myrmidon is "summoned" (ITL P 158). The line "The creature summoned will obey the person who shattered the gem, just as an ordinary summoned creature obeys the wizard who bought it..." isn't what I envision for this trap. It would seem to be the trap-makers intent that the person who set off the trap would be the victim of this myrmidon instead.
__________________
- Hail Melee

Fantasy Chess: A chess game with combat.
Don't just take the square, Fight for it!

05-20-2023, 09:42 PM   #34
JohnPaulB

Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Portland, Maine
Re: Talent/Spell of the Week: Mechanician

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Axly Suregrip Mechanician tinkering will need rules similar to magic item creation rules. Well, at least in concept similar, in that it requires a sustained effort that requires a lab, costs time and money to then produce a lasting permanent item. There can be plans (like known books for spells/potion/magic items) for known items but also a set of rules to develop a plan for a new item. This will be a bit of work to write these rules. You don't want mechanicians to be too easy or powerful as it can create a imbalance in the game, but still good enough to reward a player that goes this path. So a automatic reloading crossbow seems a simple thing, but a crossbow that fires twice as fast is so much more powerful than a magical +1 crossbow. So, the process and expense for even this simple a thing should take the mechanician a lot longer than it would take a wizard to enhance a weapon. And at more cost. And finally the product must have some downside. Say the automatic crossbow weighs twice that a normal crossbow and thus requires 1 more ST to handle.
I see several things that need to be addressed with the broad concept of Mechanician before it can be coherently planned out.
• What will the GM tolerate in having mechanical devices and the introduction of new technology? If they can't stand the idea of anything competing with magic, then Tech it ain't happening.
• GURPS has the very helpful concept of Tech Levels. This lists some of the technology of certain periods on earth. Thus our medieval era would be Tech Level 3 during 600CVE to 1450 and include Algebra and scribe books, stirrups, steel weapons, etc.
• If your world (Or continent) is in a certain Tech level era, you might expect to find similar earth-type tech.
• Almost everything has been on Cidri once before: all types and tech creations. It may have been "lost", but it can be found again. Somewhere on Cidri, someone will be rediscovering it or smuggling it in.
• Other than GM and SJ restrictions, there is no reason that magic and tech can't theoretically be combined. If it can't be explained by Science (tech) or magic, then perhaps it is a metaphysical thing.
• Also the idea of needing Tools to make Tools. Sometimes you need a metal strong enough to be cast into a form durable enough to be lathed small enough to chip a diamond thin enough to fit through the eye of a needle. Maybe the technology is just waiting for these building blocks.

Sometimes these concepts need to be debated before the nuts and bolts rules can be worked out.
__________________
- Hail Melee

Fantasy Chess: A chess game with combat.
Don't just take the square, Fight for it!

Last edited by JohnPaulB; 05-20-2023 at 09:57 PM. Reason: insert Tools to make Tools

 05-20-2023, 09:51 PM #35 JohnPaulB     Join Date: Jan 2018 Location: Portland, Maine Re: Talent/Spell of the Week: Mechanician You might have to envision what a Cidri Mechanician does. A Medieval Mechanician would probably have different things it could work on than a Clockwork Mechanician or a Steampunk Mechanician. A medieval Mech might need carpentry as a relevant additional mundane skill, while a Clockwork might need goldsmith skill, and a steampunk mech might want blacksmith mundane skill along with some science skills. __________________ - Hail Melee Fantasy Chess: A chess game with combat. Don't just take the square, Fight for it! https://www.shadowhex.com
05-21-2023, 06:39 AM   #36
tomc

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

Quote:
 Originally Posted by JohnPaulB Also the idea of needing Tools to make Tools. Sometimes you need a metal strong enough to be cast into a form durable enough to be lathed small enough to chip a diamond thin enough to fit through the eye of a needle. Maybe the technology is just waiting for these building blocks.
James Burke's "Connections" (TV series from the 70's), is a brilliant show about just this. He goes into all sorts of inventions that triggered other inventions, how one innovation here opened the door to a new invention there. Nothing is created in isolation, and the connections between human inventions can be most unexpected. He's also written several books on the subject, but the TV show was fascinating.

__________________
OgreMap2

Freedom of Speech is not Freedom of Podium

05-21-2023, 08:04 AM   #37
Bill_in_IN

Join Date: Dec 2021
Location: Indiana
Re: Talent/Spell of the Week: Mechanician

Quote:
 Originally Posted by JohnPaulB I see several things that need to be addressed with the broad concept of Mechanician before it can be coherently planned out. What will the GM tolerate in having mechanical devices and the introduction of new technology? If they can't stand the idea of anything competing with magic, then Tech it ain't happening. GURPS has the very helpful concept of Tech Levels. This lists some of the technology of certain periods on earth. Thus our medieval era would be Tech Level 3 during 600CVE to 1450 and include Algebra and scribe books, stirrups, steel weapons, etc. If your world (Or continent) is in a certain Tech level era, you might expect to find similar earth-type tech. Almost everything has been on Cidri once before: all types and tech creations. It may have been "lost", but it can be found again. Somewhere on Cidri, someone will be rediscovering it or smuggling it in. Other than GM and SJ restrictions, there is no reason that magic and tech can't theoretically be combined. If it can't be explained by Science (tech) or magic, then perhaps it is a metaphysical thing. Also the idea of needing Tools to make Tools. Sometimes you need a metal strong enough to be cast into a form durable enough to be lathed small enough to chip a diamond thin enough to fit through the eye of a needle. Maybe the technology is just waiting for these building blocks. Sometimes these concepts need to be debated before the nuts and bolts rules can be worked out.
This is a good summary of what needs to be taken into account for Mechanicians role to be framed or defined.

I have no problem with higher tech or with mostly magic and any combination in between. The limitations would be ensuring that it fits within the framework of the rules and the various tools and resources are available. Yes, you may need tools and material to make other tools that allow you to make things.

Blending magic and technology can occur even if it is generally frowned upon by the various guilds. There are always characters that tell them to plant their lips where the sun don't shine and do it anyway.

05-22-2023, 09:56 PM   #38
JohnPaulB

Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Portland, Maine
Re: Talent/Spell of the Week: Mechanician

Quote:
 Originally Posted by tomc James Burke's "Connections" (TV series from the 70's), is a brilliant show about just this. He goes into all sorts of inventions that triggered other inventions, how one innovation here opened the door to a new invention there. Nothing is created in isolation, and the connections between human inventions can be most unexpected. He's also written several books on the subject, but the TV show was fascinating. We now return to the topic at hand. :)
I've seen Connections and The Day the Universe Changed several times and own the companion books for both Connections & Day. The TV show is a bit dated due to the 70's styles, but the data is profound.
__________________
- Hail Melee

Fantasy Chess: A chess game with combat.
Don't just take the square, Fight for it!