Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Chemistry III

This is a short rejoiner to last week's chemistry posts.  The solution was suggested by my rather brilliant future son-in-law, who conjectured to me last night that mithril or adamantium might be states of matter, and not elements in their own right.  As a diamond and a lump of coal are both carbon, and as ice and water are both H20, titanium (Ti) and mithril (also Ti) could be alternate states of the same element.

Running with this idea myself, I would rather that mithril and adamantium were alternate "magical" states of the elements uranium and radium.  The radioactivity of the familiar elemental form could be viewed as an enthalpic, or thermodynamic potential incorporated through connection with the negative or positive material planes, as understood by zarathustrian Magi.  Thus, we could conjecture that the development of zoroastrianism in the early first millenium BCE (the date of Zarathustra's actual existence remains in contention) was the development not only of human-usable "magic," per se, but a terrific alchemical leap forward in the comprehension of metals that did not take place in the real world.  We modern dwellers never quite made the connection that Zarathustra proposed, and we still haven't managed to calculate matter in terms of its magical properties.

This I like very much; it leads to a structural quality to how magic works, without necessarily deconstructing the manner in which ordinary physics (chemistry, mathematics, etc.) continues to apply to the game.

Do I like the fellow my daughter's with?  You bet I do.


Scarbrow said...

I'm glad you found the solution you were looking for. It's also quite similar to what I thought, though I didn't expressed it nearly as clearly as that.

I've always believed that if we were to successfully integrate magic into the physical world, we'd need some sort of thought contraption like that reality happens on several layers, and magic is a superimposed layer on current physics that is, just by chance, absent in our common, real-world experience.

Do you plan to make up a physics of these magical properties, so you will be able to calculate, say, the properties of the magical equivalent to sodium, or oxygen?

Alexis said...

No, it's beyond me. This was a thought experiment. It is up to someone else to do the work.

Anthony said...

Yall have a quaint little view of science :)

It seems like the obvious is being missed here due to some fundamental misunderstanding, especially from all the basic questions from that recent post about heating water in a sealed vessel. I say apply the physical laws we've already discovered to integrating magic.

The ability to heat/cool a metal instantly, with 100% efficiency (no waste, no entropy?) and no thermal degradation IS MAGIC. We can't do that in the real world. Just imagine being able to magically add or remove heat from a body and transfer it anywhere else with no loss... just imagine the possibilities; you don't need to invent a new system. Pick up some popular science magazines and just read about all the cool theories we have but can't realize yet with practical means.

Without getting into steampunk, imagine how spells can transcend period technology. Shocking grasp: the ability to refine aluminum. Reduce/enlarge: If we assume this happens on the molecular level, you've gained the ability to catalyze essentially any reaction. Or maybe perform quick and easy distillations and separations, even bypassing the limiting azeotropes of thermal separation. Oh oh oh, we could also probably affect density, miscibility, solubility, all types of neat properties. Then we just wander over to our literature and find out the "magic" result.

Where is the line between science fiction and fantasy? I guess I might have crossed it...