In regards to spellcasters, the tree's wood would probably also be in demand. Almost as hard as metal, but flexible in ways that iron isn't. It'd make an awesome staff, really, and probably be great as a base material for wands involved in spells of lightning and storm. Go to Comment
Just don't get in the way when acorn season is upon it. Their little iron-heavy nuts get fired off forcefully enough to fly in 50-foot-long arcs. That'd be a bit painful, to say nothing of accidentally being in contact with the tree when it fires them off being a very, very shocking experience. Go to Comment
I suppose it might, but while writing it the origin amounted to 'Nature throws up strange things'. It's a plant with a particular niche environment, probably one easier to find than some of the incredible niches that lifeforms on Earth have evolved to use; if the kind of mineral-rich environment it relies on ceases to exist, it'll likely go extinct.
On the other hand, it might spread as a rather sickly-looking oak until it finds new mineral-rich areas, when the 'pathetic scrub tree' breed suddenly becomes a robust specimen again. Go to Comment
Presuming that a minor sheen is sufficient to set up a photovoltaic circuit, perhaps; but life is not known for being highly efficient on things that haven't spent a long, long time specializing.
Presuming that the environment in question is a perfect mirror of Earth as we know it (because we all know there's a dungeon over every hill with thousands of hefty pieces of gold, right?), then the tree will either go extinct or be a rather sickly-seeming tree, as I noted in response to Valadaar, above.
I would imagine that the oak is able to store an electrical charge in much the same way as an electric eel, which is known for dwelling in environments much heavier in ambient moisture than a tree dwelling in the mountains. Go to Comment
When it contacts normal matter (such as a planetary atmosphere) it explodes in a nearly-total conversion of mass to energy with the atmospheric gas. The result is a really bright, really high-energy upper-atmosphere detonation with pretty much no lingering radiation. The effects of the blast itself depend on the amount of antimatter involved, the ability of the magnetosphere to turn aside the energy of the blast, and suchlike.
I expect Moon and Siren can both give a better estimation of how much energy would irradiate the planet's visible surface, though. Go to Comment
Not nuclear; antimatter. There's really a huge difference in the quality of the explosion. Nuclear explosion, you get radiation from the blast, fallout particles, etc. Antimatter reaction, you get a lot less in the way of lingering radiation, because the mass gets converted into pure energy. A lot more bang for your buck, and it doesn't leave things uninhabitable afterwards. Go to Comment
That is a good point - although considering the velocity of a bolt launched from a ship-mounted railturret in hard vacuum, you might well just get a Column of Hard Energy as it tears down through the atmosphere and bleeds off mass in the process. Could be a hell of a way to sterilize things, really.
Gas and dust is ridiculously thin once you get away from most distinct gravity wells, though; on the order of a long atom every cubic meter. The odds of measurably degrading the bolt in hard vacuum, unless you're utterly insane and fighting with this in the midst of a dark nebula or the like, are negligible; even if you do, the energy release of such a collision, while impressive from the viewpoint of those who have no clue how much energy the building blocks of matter can pack, is fairly minimal. You'd have more concern, I'd think, if you were fighting in the Kuiper Belt or the Oort Cloud, where there may still be moderate amounts of loose material to interfere. But then, again, if you fight in a 'crowded' (from a celestial viewpoint) location, you're either brave or an idiot; in the temperatures out there, the molecular bonds in water get amazingly strong, and I rather doubt many ships want to be hit by steel-hard iceballs wandering along at cometary speeds.
Reaction jets on a gauss weapon - particularly gauss ammunition made of solid antimatter, which would have to be precision-generated without every *touching* the thing - just makes my head hurt, Moon. By the time you can do that with any reliability and not lose labs in the process, you can probably fabricate exotic particles with properties far more useful as weapons - particularly since such a reaction jet would likely need to use antimatter in the jet, which sprays extra mass across the field, which, if you fire these at even half the typically presented rate of a gauss weapon, means you're replacing a normal gas cloud with an antimatter cloud that is much, much more dangerous.
Yes, there should be a variance if you fire it through a dense enough cloud of gas; however, given both the velocities involved and the extreme high-band energies released, you'd likely have more to worry about if you were trying to be stealthy, as firing this through a dense cloud would be much like firing a tracer round, leaving a highly excited trail of gas behind it. Of course, firing antimatter rounds isn't exactly something you do to be stealthy in the first place - that kind of explosion isn't exactly quiet.
And yes, assuming the Sand Caster can push enough material in the way to absorb or deflect the antimatter bolt far enough from the ship as to have it safe despite the released energies, it would be a very good countermeasure. Go to Comment
This thing largely came about due to musing upon the effects of the Shards in modern and sci-fi weaponry. Like most of the weapon-items I make, it can undoubtedly use some work, and likely isn't anywhere near epic enough to do tribute to the Shards.
That certainly could be a plot hook, although probably not with Kuramen proper. They might even be used to deal with the more hazardous springs, since they can metabolize dangerous magical energies... Go to Comment
Prolific? Yes. Kuramen has been an on-again off-again project of mine for a while. More than anything else, Siren lending a hand has helped me quite a bit in visualizing it.
The races particularly amuse me, really; the Whisps were originally born from an idea not related, where I considered the 'classic D&D races' and what they might result in if a magical event gone wrong left the game region locked in an ice age. Gnomes, already having some magical tricks innately, became creatures that fed on raw magic to keep from freezing. Halflings became feral little nomadic hunters, a take which is likely to enter Kuramen as well, since both Halflings and Orcs are descended from Humans. Some other races were changed interestingly... They may or may not turn up as subs, and may or may not be part of this world.
And I take great pleasure in that compliment, Scras; I'm happy that the subs work on both of those levels. Go to Comment
This is an interesting idea, using the warm waters as a natural prison; since the prisoners are soaking wet and the temperature is so cold, as long as there's no way to get warm and dry they'd be stuck.
The bit at the end, though, seems needless to the submission itself; certainly there's some low humor possible if some poor jerk has to keep running out and subjecting himself to the frigid temperatures, but the sub could stand perfectly well without it.
How often do prisoners drown in the spring, if they fall asleep in the wrong spot? Are there any actual guards keeping an eye on it? How do they handle, say, a fire mage who could dry himself out and escape? Go to Comment
Thanks! Although, actually, your posts on Locastus were a source of inspiration for the workings of Thaumatechnology; while I've read Perdido Street Station and The Scar, those are my limits of delving into that world. Siren also deserves his major share of the credit, as the workings of magic are largely his; we've been bouncing ideas around the last few days regarding Kuramen.
I'm pretty sure my next Kuramen submission will be the Whisps... They used to be gnomes. Now, they're thaumavoric addicts - and if they overeat, they tend to explode in a messy magical mishap. Go to Comment
Goblins are there mainly because I didn't want it to be human-pioneered, I have a strong dislike of elves in general due to overexposure during the last several years with WotC's new-elf-race-every-supplement routine, and dwarves are more the stolid and cautious experimenters in a world where the wrong experiment can level a city; the idea of the goblin race, such as it is, descending from the dwarves also amuses me greatly, since in many settings goblins are among the top of the list for dwarven foes.
Expect to see Kuramen's take on the critters eventually, along with the orcish race, which descended from mankind. Go to Comment
The goblins of Kuramen are a bit of an odd species compared to 'normal' fantasy goblins in a lot of ways. They're direct descendants of the dwarves, but where dwarves are cautious, stolid, and change as slowly as the stone, goblins are impulsive, curious, and prone to doing things just to see what happens. They tend to have an overall higher fatality rate than their parent race, but they also breed more quickly. Dwarves tend to prefer areas of long-term stability; goblins, on the other hand, have found humans to be to their liking and can be found dwelling in larger cities alongside them. Go to Comment
Ouro had a magic system? I must've missed seeing it; I've mostly only read the piecemeal bits thrown up by Random Submissions, to be honest, but they inspired the flavor of thaumatechnology as a whole; the steampunk-gone-horribly-wrong feel was drawn off of that, what I've read of China Mieville's books, and a great deal of gibbering in the small hours after Siren shot my sanity. Go to Comment
I like this idea; it could easily be of us to all manner of sages, scholars, and the like, and in a cosmopolitan world I could easily see these becoming widespread if they aren't too hard to manufacture. I can also see more advanced versions, capable of doing the 'Babelfish' routine - translating between multiple languages in different directions - and possibly made as sets of reading glasses, turning up eventually.
Also, to expand on Manfred's idea, I can see this being an item where the creator needs to known the written forms of the languages in question, and I can see cheap knockoffs that sometimes provide the same kind of inaccurate translation as Babelfish, leading to some rather spectacular misunderstandings and/or the belief that the writers of the language in question were 'barbarians' who could put words together sensibly. Go to Comment
Pirates' many bejeweled rings and piercings actually had a practical purpose - when the pirate or sailor died, the rings could be taken off as payment for a proper burial, saving him from a watery grave. This could be tied into regional culture, or made into a quest (The Pirate's Lost Rings, etc.). Also gives treasure-seeking divers another thing to look for besides crusty old chests.