Full Item Description
Pantarbe is a vitrious green-gray stone that has moderate hardness and chemical resistances. It is easily carved and shaped, but has irregular cleavage. The higher the purity of the ore, the more pronounced the glassy sheen is. Metallic Pantarbe resembles vitrious iron with a green hue.
Pantarbe is a foundation material for the Cry-Of-Freedom RP in the moderated forum (pending). The material has always been present and it is the entire reason that there is a setting composed of drifing sky islands and airships flitting from one to another. Like hydrogen and helium, this material exists to create lighter than air ships, but unlike zeppelins and hot air balloons, these craft cannot be destroyed by a well placed arrow or a careless match.
Pantarbe is a very light material, but in direct sunlight, it does something rather amazing, it floats. Given the purity of the ore and the mass and the amount of sunlight reaching the stone, a pebble might drift around like a hailstone in slow motion while thick high purity slabs might drift up into the air heedless of silly things like gravity and physics. Also, the larger the piece and higher the purity, the longer the stone in question will hang in the air even after sunlight is no longer present, IE night or cloud cover.
The ore can be crushed and smelted, though at some difficulty, once freed of the stone matrix, it will fly away if not worked in darkness. The resultant metal, also called Pantarbe or Worked Pantarbe, is rigid and strong, but lacking in flexibility. It is highly efficient in retaining solar power making it the ideal material for constructing airships. A sufficiently large airship constructed with Purified Pantarbe can stay in the air overnight without fear of crashing to the ground. Smaller craft must beech somewhere.
In rare cases, nodules of almost pure Pantarbe can be found, so long basking in sunlight (IE Space) that though they have lost their floating attribute, they now emit sunlight. These stones can be used as currency like precious gems, and as tools to keep airships in the air even in dark conditions. Unlike normal pantarbe, sunstone is very brittle and cannot be shaped. Attempts to do so generally cause the stone in question to break into worthless chunks.
A Note on Mining
Pantarbe ore is important as it keeps the islands of the sky floating. If too much ore is mined from an island, the mass of the island countered the lift of the ore and begins to sink. These islands will either stabilize at a lower altitude when their bouyancy stabilizes, or will slowly crash into the sea. Thus while important, mining the ore is a double edged sword.
Plot hook: Ore thieves have been going to some of the smaller islands and started mining them until they drop; the PCs have been hired to find a way to stop these and keep the islands floating. Everything is not as it seems though when you find the thieves they are either beings that need to eat the ore to survive or people from the land down below trying to show the dying lands up here that there is land and freedom down on the ground.
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? Responses (24)-25
I like this; I had a similar idea a while ago, but it never went anywhere. You've articulated some of the the unformed thoughts I had on such substances quite well, and I like the way it involves sunlight in order to float properly.
Could someone refine the ore and use it to binds sizable pieces of rock and earth such that they could create their own islands? Is there ore that was too small to stay aloft beneath the ocean's waves, and if so, are there divers who make a living going after it?
There is certainly ore under the waves, on occasions islands of the stuff rise from the seabed, as for divers harvesting it, well i imagine the ocean to be somewhat like either Hell or Naboo, churning with all sorts of leviathan nastiness and brutish monsters that eat ships and divers. I like the idea of cobbled together islands and am toying with the idea of a sargasso like island, man made.
What if the material is created similarly to coral reefs, by some innocuous life form? It would be used to float the organism from the seabed, and gathered until it's too much, and another island floats miraculously out of the sea.
May be also the reason why no one ever succeeded to make artificial Pantarbe.
It is certainly an interesting idea, but unfortunately no. I see no reason that alchemists couldnt create artificial pantarbe, but I dont see a reason for it. Pantarbe is certainly valuable, but not in the sense of gold or silver, it is a foundation metal like iron or aluminum is to our world. (Iron and aluminum are also present in Epoa, just FYI)
Cool stuff! I especially like the pure pantarbe Sunstone blurb.
Grea idea overall. A mineral that can kick-start an entire new campaign (and apparently has!)
+.5 for the novelty of it.
A very useful item to have. I can see wars breaking out for control of some of the floating islands.
OOoh, I like! There is an Anime series (I can't recall the name) with a similar world, but this will be prefect for RP!
Storm Hawks I think is the one you are thinking about.
Raises Hand, "Um. If sunlight activates the lift properties, how do the islands float? I mean they the metal inside the rock inside the islands."
Is it loose in the soil? However would that be enough "mass together" to generate lift?
Perhaps pantarbe has a resonance effect, and transfers some of the sunlight energy to nearby pantarbe, even through rock and stone and soil. However, if you want to actually USE it, you have to dig it up.
This would actually make things nice for airships, because they don't have to truly 'dock' at night. They can just keep themselves really close to an island (rope-attached to something to keep from drifting, of course), and the ship will just float on the island's stored up sunlight. Of course, then you've gotta worry about staging points for the Navies sucking all the sunlight from surrounding islands...
Pantarbe retains some of the energy gained from the sun, like a piece of stone or metal retains heat even after being removed from the source of heat. The larger the piece, the longer it retains this stored energy. Thus, the islands which are quite large are able to retain large amounts of this energy in the raw ore. Refined metal pantarbe retains this lifting energy moreso than raw ore. Small ships must put into an island for the night or run the risk of being lost to the ocean, while larger ships with considerable amounts of the metal are able to stay afloat overnight easily.
As for it's presence, pantarbe is a remarkably common material in Epoa, though this doesnt mean that it's refinable ore is available in large amounts. There is enough to keep the islands floating and to built a comfortable level of civilization.
A handy enabler material!
Probably easier to say that Pantarbe retains a permanent, but low lift, it aquired with it was created. Otherwise the question is when did the inner ore get exposed to the sun...
Conduction. As the surface layer absorbs sunlight, it transmits that essential energy to ore/metal that is not in direct sunlight. This process works both directions, at night or in darkness, that stored energy within is conducted outwards again. Larger pieces, such as islands and large ships have sufficient mass that the amount of energy they store is more than adequate to float them overnight, or in the case of islands, through storms that last more than a few days. Smaller pieces lack this mass conservation, and once the sunlight is removed, the piece drops back to earth. I can see the sunstones forming in a manner much like hailstones, rising and falling, slowing gaining mass, attaining a semi-crystalline structure, etc.
You know of course that this means an "enemey fleet" can hover above an island, just out of shooting range, and deploy the "Great Weapon".
The Great Weapon? A large cloud of black smoke. This will block direct sunlight and "depower" the island- letting it sink. The smoke will need to be reinforced/ reissued a couple of times (depending on winds) Sure it will take a day or three to crash an island. However the ability to cause an island to sink would be a terrible weapon. It would be a weapon of blackmail proportions.
Now if magic exists... this becomes a better tactic.. if you can generate enough power to blanket the area with dark.
If the island is small enough, a huge tarp would be more effective.
Or maybe this tactic can be used to cause an island to "tip" one way or another.
Actually a great thing would be to landmind the underside of an island with some bars. You then put a ship below the island's surface and have it use a concave mirror to reflect concentated light onto those bars.... lifting the island unevenly.
Also under the cover of darkness, mining from the underside of the island might be a terrible technique for war.
If nothing else, a darkness spell of some sort could make ship to ship combat rather interesting.
This is certainly possible but there are several factors that would have to be considered. The first and foremost being that no one is going to sit and let their island be sunk or tipped over. There will be resistance, and given the prevalence of flying creatures and aerial mounts/vehicles such a responce will be very common. But if said resistance is quashed, the enemy is free to persue their goals.
Sinking an island is a monumental task. The most common method is to simply strip mine the hell out of it and deplete the landmass of as much pantarbe as possible. This is not an overnight occurence but a process that takes years if not decades of concentrated effort. Darkness would certainly work, but it took more than three days of sunlight to raise an island, it's going to take more than 3 days of darkness to sink it. A concentrated effort several weeks long, an eclipse siege is possible, but requires a great amount of effort. One other thing, for every spell, there is Counterspell and Dispell Magic.
These tactics are certainly viable for eliminating smaller islands, but larger ones would likely be safe from such ventures, but a force capable of even mounting such an effort is likely to secure the capitulation of the islanders, effectively becoming either a deterent or terror tactic.
Short Answer: Yes these tactics are possible, but are difficult and costly.
Then these same tactics would work for ships though.
Sure some might have some excess solar energy, but you can make a prolong battle, and a couple of skiff shading it from above with the tarp or darkness tricks. Besides the smoke would have the same advantages as clouds as defensive tactics. However the longer they were in obscured sunlight, the less time they would have "after dark."
A tactic we used to use in Galactic Conquest (okay this is a game so old it did not make it on wikipedia). Most ships could not stray too far from a system. If they did, they would "become lost"/ run out of fuel/ run out of supply/ etc. So the trick was to have your "star ships" run a prolong battle slowly withdrawing, but still engaged. Eventually they would "run out of fuel" and disintergrate or you would pounce on them as they had to make that desperate run back to their system.
I could see the same thing with comming of the night.
It gives me the same feel as the battles on Barsoon with Radium Rounds at dawn.
I'm going to add alot of this to the forthcoming Epoan Warfare/System submission.
Ooops Forgot to vote
There are some glitches here. For instance you need an additional theory as to why islands start to float in the first place, seeing as how no sunlight ever reach the depths.
One could be that warmth from the sun activates the pantarbe, and that undersea volcanoes generate enough heat that chunks break loose and float into the air. That would also mean that big enough bonfires could save the day... For as long as you have fossil fuel at least.
Also, fog and clouds might cause a problem.
I would suggest that the pantarbe remains energized for a long period after exposure to sunlight / energy, and that only after a long period would it began to plummet noticably.
Like this example of a relatively pentarbe rich island:
Extremely energized (volcanic eruption): Rapid rise
Highly energized (weeks of schorching sun): Noticable rise
Very energized: unnoticable rise
and vice versa for lack of energy.
Oh man, now you're talking. I've had an idea like this for floating rocks and flying islands and airships for a while now, but this post just got me really thinking about it again. Unfortunately, I am a physics kind of guy, and trying to figure out how Pantarbe could function in a physically accurate way has been making my head hurt for the last few days. I'm almost to the point where I'm ready to give up and say "It's magic, deal with it!"
Here's my thing... My brain wants to figure out how it works. Buoyancy is out, obviously. Here's what I've got, so far:
A: There is a certain magic field that the planet gives off, and the Pantarbe is repelled from it. This works from a physics standpoint, but you have to frame it one of two ways. Either the field stops at a certain altitude (which means airships just sit on top of this layer of magic--which makes this setting no more than high seas adventure without the seas), or its an r-squared kind of phenomenon (which gives you more or less a constant upward or downward acceleration depending on the amount of Pantarbe present and the total weight of the craft--not exactly conducive to any sort of precision manuevering or "sailing"). Both of these have problems, as I've stated.
B: A certain quantity of Plantarbe is capable of lifting a certain weight to a certain altitude. This doesn't work physics-wise, unless instead of an r-squared phenomenon from the center of the planet, its more of a magic feld which decreases in magnitude linearly with altitude above the sea. You can handwave this by saying that the magic field propogates upward through sea with little trouble, but in air it begins to weaken. Then a certain amount of upward force from the plantarbe-field reaction balances with the downward gravitational force on the craft. Thus a certain mass with a corresponding mass of pantarbe will equilibrate at a certain altitude.
I think B is the best way to go about it. So, a fully loaded vessel will cruise lower than an empty vessel, and some (albeit slow) altitude changes are possible--I imagine by shading your pantarbe arrays, you would slowly begin to lose altitude. It wouldn't be a combat worthy manuever (unless your pantarbe lost its charge fast--maybe for very small individual plates this would be an option).
Alright, as you can see, I'm being a huge geek about this. But even though this post is pretty old, its gotten me back on track on this story idea of mine, and has really gotten me thinking more than almost any post I've read. And for that, it definitely gets a 5.