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- Subject: (TFT) Lightning
- From: Jay Carlisle <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Mon, 24 Oct 2011 14:07:22 -0700
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Lightning drives me crazy.
I'm having a very hard time knowing what to do with it.
An average (very loose average) lightning bolt is about 3 miles long, an
inch wide, carries around 500 mega-Joules of energy (~1 kiloton explosion),
and lasts about 30 microseconds while heating surrounding air to over 30,000
There's some pretty complex stuff going on in there but from a practical
p.o.v. standpoint a Figure isn't likely to 'perceive' leader or return
strokes so I'll leave the argument about dc vs. ac lightning for a tech
level that can account for ball lightning and go with the simple data rather
than get into positive lightning etc.
It's still a mega-pop from a numbers viewpoint as 1 mega-Joule is something
around 1 ton moving at 100 mph (more Car Wars stuff).
The u.s. averages around 100,000 thunderstorms per year producing about
20,000,000 cloud to ground strikes.
Lightning is the number 2 weather killer in the u.s. behind floods
nationally and possibly number 1 if the Pacific Northwest wasn't counted.
The odds of being struck in the u.s. is about 1 in 300,000 per year with
around 100 killed and 1000 injured (often disabled for life) each year.
It appears there are a couple of things going on here as far as I can tell.
One thing is the 15,000 to 20,000 foot length involved for a bolt to reach
the ground it seems.
Wikipedia suggests the power output to be something like a mega-Watt per
meter which is over 133,000 ST being spit out really quickly across the
Applied to a square-hex that's about 45,000 ST per square across the hex or
very roughly 10,000 ST per scale-square (3.25).
Joe isn't going to survive that.
However, many more people seem to get hit with ground propagated effects
than actually get smacked with lightning directly.
This certainly helps mitigate damage down to something like a 1 in 10 kill
ratio but doesn't help with the concept of 'Missile Spell' at ALL.
If one takes the concept of magic/technology being roughly equal ah la
Clarke (and implied in Cidri) then the technology required in current times
to control mega-Watts is indicative of the ST, IQ and material components
necessary to control a 'Lightning Bolt' as described in nature.
This actually makes quite a bit of sense I think as folks very quickly start
to pair down their descriptions of Lightning Magic from thunderstorm
lightning very quickly in discussion, nobody expects to wield lightning from
the heavens... to start with anyway it seems.
But it still takes more than 3 mega-Volts to breakdown air electrically even
if your just counting in Melee-hexes.
This bugs me.
It's like Giants.
The surface area of the foot opposed to the volume of the body is somewhat
To break this limit without any thought or reasoning behind the decision to
do so for a 'visual effect' has some real danger when intellectual
Pumphrey's show up and start trying to poke holes in the structure of your
campaign as the paper-thin walls become evident really quick-like.
Lightning as a Spell is firmly twixt this rock and hard place it seems too
The Dark Lord in his ultimate form vs. the ultimate Hero's upon whom the
fate of the world-age depends apparently has armour that acts like a Faraday
Cage and uses his mastery of the Lightning Spell to play his Theme music as
he walks into battle...
Voiced by 'Dan Halen' rather than Mr. Jones though...
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