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Re: (TFT) Re: Demon slingshot
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- Subject: Re: (TFT) Re: Demon slingshot
- From: Peter von Kleinsmid <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Sun, 09 Apr 2006 14:53:27 -0700
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I haven't had time lately, but I'm catching up. Undead horses and others,
(PvK yanks out his old physical Advanced Wizard book from his TFT bag for
the first time this year, and flips to his home-made tab labelled
"Gates Magic Trade Removing Magic Items"... he brushes up...)
1) Radius of planet measured by something like Eratosthenes' technique,
could be good to 1% or so (Eratosthenes was).
Ok, so it is possible someone could make a similar inference, even though
most of the world world wouldn't even accept that the world was round for
hundreds or thousands of years thereafter. But someone _might_ infer
correctly, or get this info from Mnoren texts or just filtered down Mnoren
information taken on faith thereafter, and confirmed by such observations.
2) Surface gravity measured by dropping stuff in a drop tower, probably
also good to around 1%.
Assuming one accepts and understands Newtonian physics, acceleration, and
gravity - an advanced math talent not in ITL, ok.
3) Use Self-powered Flight or Carpet to go up to around 100km altitude.
Altitude verified by angular depression of apparent limb of planet (ie,
how far down is the horizon from straight level?). This also allows
incremental improvement of vacuum gear - go up until you turn blue, come
down, build a better vac-suit, try again.
Magic Carpets are stronger fliers than the Flight spell, but do you really
think they beat, say, a 1910 biplane for performance?
Some real-world ceilings:
Jet fighter (F-15 absolute ceiling): ~30km
Jetliner (Boeing 747): ~14km
Very good WW2 fighter (P51): ~13km
Biplane (Spad): ~7km
I guess if we assume Magic Carpets use levitation or contragravity or
something, then it would make sense they could float higher.
But then, how high is the atmosphere of your Cidri, and what do people have
to do to stay alive up there, and does a magic carpet ever stop working at
high altitude, or are you saying it'll do for a spaceship if you can only
keep the passengers alive?
4) Hang a launch gate out over the North pole and build the facility.
Sounds like an amazing feat in itself, especially if Cidri is super-enormous.
This still relies on having a good clock; I'm not sure exactly how to
solve this problem. Good pendulums are not bad, but you'll have to do
measurements down to sub-second values with good precision.
Not to mention mathematics. Modern aerospace teams have their work cut out
for them doing this even with banks of computers and hundreds of engineers,
However, if someone did begin this sort of experiment, and if it were
possible to specify gates that changed velocity or direction of velocity
while conserving amount of energy (which, I don't think is true),
Agreed, and note that any gate that spans more than a few hundred km does
exactly this even for people just walking through it, if referred to an
Ok, I'm re-appraising this having re-studied. The gate rules listed in AW
are all about whether it will do what it does or not, not how it does what
it does. The only parameters controlled by the wizard seem to be:
* Where is each side of the gate?
* What size is the gate (1 to 3 meters)?
* When should the gate transport someone/something, or not?
The two things the gate does are:
* Transport someone.
* Allow someone to step half-way to look through and possibly interact with
something on the other side.
After considering I think it's implied that each side is the same size and
shape, so it acts just like walking from one location to another.
Since there's no mention of needing to keep a consistent direction, it
should be possible to make a gate that takes someone moving north, for
example, and have them exit moving any other direction (although, it
doesn't say anything about vertical gates... the assumption throughout the
rules is that the movement is always horizontal).
Therefore, on re-reading and more reflection, it does seem to me like you
should be able to re-direct kinetic energy with a gate.
I'm _not_ sure though, that it follows that vertical gates would be
possible. It makes sense from a freefall perspective that they should, but
on the other hand, who wants to say it should be possible to use the 7-Hex
Wall spell to create a boulder in mid-air 3 meters over an opponent's head
to flatten him with? Kind of a lame point, but still, something to consider.
Back to modern physics, gates that are vertical (i.e. perpendicular to a
gravity field) have a constant and sustainable maintenance cost but an
exponentially increasing energy yield (energy = mass x velocity x
velocity), so it seems there is no conservation of energy, and in theory
you could have a perpetual motion machine, or as much kinetic energy as
you'd ever want (and more).
Here's a hypothesis:
Magic is accomplished by forces not included in modern physics, but they do
seem to usually involve energy exchanges and some limits. The more powerful
an effect, usually, the more energy required. So, inferring that we can get
infinite energy from Gates seems inconsistent. The description says they
allow people to walk from one place to another, not that they allow
cataclysmic kinetic energy attacks. The energy that creates a gate sets up
an unstable system that breaks down fairly often unless restabilized for
half the energy needed to set it up. The costs to the wizard are flat, but
perhaps it puts some strain on whatever system or energy field allows magic
effects in the first place. Like stringing a rubber-band tensely between
two pegs, suddenly you have a launcher that can launch many many paperclips
across a classroom. Sometimes though, one or the other end of the rubber
band may start to slip off, or the rubber band may need to be replaced. You
could even pull it really far back and let something heavy fly through, but
in that case you're going to stress the band even more and you'll get far
fewer shots before the band breaks. So maybe Gates are like this. the
description in AW covers the usual use, and maybe they do allow you to
build up some good kinetic energy, but maybe only so much - exceed more
than the kinetic energy of the usual maximum (say, 36 men running through
per 5-second turn at speed 12), and perhaps the Gate will just snap and
stop working, 50% (?) chance before or after transporting the last item.
That would reduce the weapon potential to that of a nasty and especially
versatile trebuchet, rather than a doomsday device (and also possibly one
that backfires), at 100 fST, and wizard time, etc, per shot.
What the limit is, though, would be entirely GM discretion. GM could also
of course say no limit, if they really like the idea. It could be what got
the Mnoren to decide to leave.
There could also be other side-effects, like yes, you can get lots of
energy, but it comes out of the local mana field, and you end up creating
large low-mana or no-mana areas where magic doesn't work right, or at all.
Maybe that's why the Wizard's guild leaves a few values out of the spell
formula which also explains why the taught version only allows horizontal
Even Reverse Missiles will probably be ineffective against the shock wave
and UV radiation, though it could be harsh on anybody around the exit end
of the targetting gate. (I assume the attackers would have sense enough
not to make the targetting gate 2-way.)
How about Control Missiles. ;-)
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