Thursday 13 June 2013

More Sufficiently Advanced Chemistry

Following this earlier post, but going back to an earlier Cracked article,  here are some more inspirations for adventure-game wonders based on real chemistry.

Ferrofluids: Suspensions of iron particles in a liquid that form shapes when magnetic fields are applied.

  • An iron door that is solid only through the grace of magnetism; turning off the field collapses it.
  • Over here is a jug of some black oily material. Over there is a statue holding a detachable hilt that exudes an invisible magnetic field (going near, you feel the pull on your iron weapons and armor). Pour the jug on the hilt for a real Liquid Sword.
  • Flicking the switch means that the slimy liquid at the bottom of the pit rises up and forms nasty spikes.

Aerogel: Translucent, super-strong material that's mostly air.

  • Cloudy glassteel pane: you can kind of see through it to all that treasure on display, but not break it.
  • Or you can break it - but there's an angry air elemental inside.
Perfluorocarbons: Breathable fluids imbued with oxygen.
  • It's a pool with ... a manticore at the bottom?
  • I stashed my treasure under water at the end of this long tunnel. Suicide to try and swim, but only I know the water is breathable.
  • Potion of water breathing - but you have summon up the guts to inhale it right into your lungs.
Elastic conductor: Material that expands and becomes rigid when current is applied.
  • Wizard's bridge over a chasm. You need to cast a lightning bolt to extend it all the way, but hurry - it only stays that way for a round.
  • Curtains that part for anyone except the electric shock monster being held captive.
  • Gloves that enhance a shocking grasp spell with a floppy ribbon that turns into a blade, adding stabby injury to shocking injury.
Non-Newtonian fluid: "A liquid that turns solid when sufficient stress is applied."
  • "It's only a ten-foot drop, I'll just dive into this ... AAAGHHH"
  • You find a strange leather suit, that seems to be made of two layers with a little valve. Elsewhere you find a bottle of the fluid. It gives full mobility, works as plate mail against blows of all kinds, and can only be pierced by small soft scratches.
  • The giant can walk on this water, but you little guys just fall through.
  • Lair feature of a Great Old One wishing to outdo Cthulhu's non-Euclidean geometry.
Transparent alumina: See-through (if slightly cloudy) metal.
  • See above under glassteel doors and windows.
  • Metal bikinis and codpieces just got more interesting.
Carbon nanotubes: Nano-scale fibers made of carbon: incredibly strong, electrically conductive, and yeah, the Cracked writer gets overwhelmed by the Cracked style guide at this point and just gets stuck on "bur bur bur awesome mind-blowing bur bur bur" so here's the website of a company that makes them, and the wiki article.
  • +3 armor that looks like just a shirt and pants. Nanotubes.
  • The beast with nanotube fur ... equivalent to plate mail.
  • A sword with an invisible blade. It's just one nanotube.
  • The wizard installed some looong nanotube wiring in her castle to deliver fire and lightning damage to those below.

1 comment:

  1. These are much better than the old shocking door handle trap. "Dude! I said it was corroded!"

    I've actually done liquid breathing before. It's terrifying and awesome.