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Month Index: December, 1994

From:     Michael Sandy <mehawk@?????.?????.com>
Date:     Mon, 5 Dec 94 01:32 PST
Subject:  Re: Life
More on Storm Wood.

In my campaign universe there was a huge magical civil war about 500 years
ago that left many area blighted by warped magical energies.  Some magical
plants and animals evolved as a result of them, and some are 'natural',
having an evolved ability to work certain magic.  My premise is that if
magic is possibl in the universe, it is possible for living things to,
by accident, develop some magical ability.

In the case of Storm wood, a magical ability to withstand tremendous wind
forces created a dependance on that wind, and the tree will not develop
the magical ability without it.  Using the magic has a high biological
cost, or rather, imbuing that magic into the wood since it lasts until
the sap totally dries up.

The only way to get large quantities of Storm wood in usable form with
denuding the ridge is to use magic.

I haven't designed a Storm Wood ship, but it might take less magic than
a helm to power it.  For example, because it is so receptive to wind
magic, someone with a Ring of Air Elemental command using the Gust of Wind
power every round would be sufficient to power a small ship, providing
something else was providing lift.

A ship made from Storm Wood would likely be _more_ expensive than the magical
power source.  However, the mass of the hull itself wouldn't count against
the mass limit of the helm, enabling much larger ships.  Well, it would
count a little, but not much.

Flying the ship without a helm would likely be impossible, but _landing_
it would be doable because the lifting magic could be enchanted into the
very hull itself.  A 10th level mage casting Feather Fall could slow
ten tons of Storm Wood.

A Storm Wood ship would also get a lot more benefit out of rigging than
some ships.  The down side is the difficulty in obtaining spare timbers
to fix the inevitable battle damage.  It would get a lot more cargo
capacity compared to the hull mass enabling a host of designs.

One nasty idea I had was a small ship with Prismatic Sphere permanently
enchanted on it.  A 5 ton ship powered by a Major Helm, a high level
mage, and both fast and maneuverable...  Further, if the dimensions are
kept compact enough, Invisibility 10' radius would work on it.  The
spelljammers or other ships might detect it, but training weapons on
it while it makes a pass is both impossible and useless.

Of course, such a ship might exceed the cost of most fleets...  Or perhaps
it is flown remotely, with a Crown of Stars, or a mage using Project Image.

One of the things I introduced to my campaign was raw material magic.  Some
materials don't do magic by themselves, but radiate magic in a raw form
to a detect magic spell.  Such materials greatly aid in meeting the requirements
of Enchant Item spells that it be of the highest quality manufacture.

For example;
Deep Earth Water.  This water has been in the earth so deep, and for so long
that it is purified of all magical influences.  It can be stored for as
much as a month in high quality crystal without losing its potency.  Non-
magical items bathed in it are purged of magical influences, and magic fields
are usually rendered briefly inert.  If used carefully it can greatly
help the reliability of both Identify and Enchant Item spells.

Barrow Steel.  In the campaign universe I mentioned above, many steel making
techniques were lost.  Metal from that age is known as barrow steel
because you could toss it in a barrow for 500 years and it would retain
its temper, edge and hardness.  It can't be melted except in Dragon's Breath,
blast furnaces, and solar furnaces.  Because it is nearly unbreakable and
lasts nearly forever blades made of Barrow steel, even if they aren't
enchanted, are extremely valuable, and are passed from generation to
generation.  To lose the family Barrow Steel sword would be a tremendous
shame.  There are even a number of bardic tales about the fates of some
of these swords, like a sword that was used to jam a portculis, and was
actually _bent_ by it.  Another story might circle around a small notch in
the blade when it was used to cut a ship's anchor chain.  Someone who somehow
_broke_ an Enchanted Barrow Steel sword could spin any tale he liked to
explain it and the audience would ooh and aah.

On the general discussion of wildspace combat tactics, these:

A small flitter loaded to the gunnels with fireoil rams an enemy ship,
setting off the firetrapped cargo.  The pilot reads a Sepia Snake Sigil
scroll immediately before impact, and is rendered completely immune to the
effects of flame and collision.  Within a couple of days the heroic pilot
is retrieved by the victors, in stasis but otherwise unharmed.

The 3rd level Magic User spell, Item could be used to safely launch flamables
even in the phlogiston because the spell cancel only upon the impact with a
hard surface.

Somehow dropping a Wall of Stone into someone else's gravity plane would be
kind of scary, but you'd need a Stone surface to extrude it from.  You
could suddenly erect Wall of Iron, unsecured, vertical on their hull, and
the thought of violent maenuvers suddenly becomes less appealing.

Visible illusions become a lot more useful when your target doesn't _expect_
to hear anything.

There is, of course, the old standby of dumping a whole bunch of junk in
front of an enemy, but ensuring they can't dodge is the tricky part.

How about this for an artillery idea:  Right in front of the heavy ballista
is a small region with a permanent Enlarge Spell on it.  Any object passing
through will double in size for about a turn.

At what range do the majority of Wildspace combats take place?  Within
spell range?  Within Bow range?  Only within artillery range?

Michael Sandy

Previous Message: Re: SS database questions
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Month Index: December, 1994

SubjectFromDate (UTC)
Life    BriBri Superuser    03 Dec 1994 19:47:58
Re: Life    Michael Sandy    04 Dec 1994 10:44:00
Re: Life    BriBri Superuser    04 Dec 1994 14:33:23
Re: Life    RJPugh@???.com    04 Dec 1994 18:06:51
Re: Life    Michael Sandy    05 Dec 1994 09:32:00

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