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12:23 AM
@Geo really, use the sandbox and also read my Lessons thread.
@JDługosz Oh yes, I have read that thread certainly! Application of all its ideas to my question is not entirely clear, but I've certainly read it, and after the disaster of my first question I'm never going to post a question directly again without going through the sandbox.
@Geo “latency”. I don't know if a doctor has a special term, but a researcher would naturally use that word and be understood by his peers.
@JDługosz Good word. Thanks!
So, I've got a series of 7 requirements, each with a name, a bullet point, and a description of details. I guess that will simply be the bulk of my question, after I ask, "Is there a chemical that has these things?"
I feel confident that no one would call such a thing too broad.
The tricky bit is that I want the entire list of requirements, but that's too much to put into the title. On the other hand, if I put none of the requirements into the title, then the title would be too generic and not reflect the question.
12:38 AM
@Geo You might also get creative ways to get around the specifics you listed. Remember from my lesson: sometimes it's better to give the context rather than coming up with a complex set of requirements.
o/ G'day folks.
@JDługosz I just had a question crash and burn by not being specific enough.
Oh, that one.
I was excited by that one's original title, because I thought it was asking how magic using creatures would evolve.
@Geo just don't overdo it the other way.
@ATaco That is an interesting question.
12:41 AM
The short answer is "Life finds a way"
@JDługosz I guess in the sandbox I can do a bit of both and let the sandbox sort it out.
My dog doesn't want me to type.
On the other hand, my parrot likes to type.
I wrote a haiku about someone having violet eyes.
Can y'all figure out all the meaning?
hey there @ATaco
If magic exists from day 0, and magic is an incredibly powerful source that is accessible everywhere then it's almost definitely the case that creatures would evolve "magicsynthesis" rather than photosynthesis early on, as it's a more accessible and better source of energy. Which means instead of plants, you'd have immobile creatures which just use magic to turn CO2 and water into sugar and oxygen.
Haiku (5/7/5):
.   Black sunlight kisses
.   Bewitching turbidity
.   Defeats all gamuts
@ATaco We have discussed magivores on WB.
12:45 AM
Because they don't need light, they wouldn't have the same incredibly vertical shape of our plants, they'd likely be aiming for volume rather than surface area if magic is some sort of force they can pull from anywhere. Which suggests they'd likely clump together into big balls of magic processing blobs.
@ATaco Depends on how easy magic is to use. Some creature needs to luck onto using it before it can thrive through its use and spread.
Lucking onto using things is 100% of how evolution works.
@ATaco Of course, but some things are too hard to luck onto. You don't see any creatures evolved to run on nuclear power, for example.
But magicsynthesis isn't "eating" magic, it's using magic as a catalyst and a bit of extra energy in the synthesis of O2 and Sugars, which requires a lot less energy than simply creating matter.
And nuclear power is a lot less prevalent, not harder to obtain.
Of course, this is assuming that Magic is a field that can be tapped into from anywhere.
@ATaco The issue is not where it can be tapped into, but how one taps into it.
12:52 AM
Tapping into light was no easy task :P
But yes, if it is almost impossible to tap into on the cellular level, then the giant balls of magic plants might not exist.
mind if I toss in an idea for a WB.SE question, for that matter?
given a race of humanoids (say, reptilian or draconian) with some degree of sexual dimorphism but no obvious secondary sexual features (no kid-feeders on the chest, colorful crest, or whatnot), how would fashions for them go about emphasizing femininity?
That sounds rather unlikely, as many species are proud of their sex, regardless of how prominent it is. As such, any form of clothing would probably show this off.
The Decorator Crab might be a good example of an exception, however.
@ATaco aye, that's actually what I'm getting at here -- how would the females of such a species go about that showing off?
1:06 AM
You might actually find the females looking bland, whilst the males show off.
@Shalvenay It would just be random. It would be whatever social convention happens to develop, just as with any other fashion development.
In a humanoid society, you want anything that would show off class, or wealth.
@ATaco that is a point, yes
1:39 AM
That's a relief. Now I've got a much improved question in the sandbox and I can just wait to see what the sandbox makes of it. Time to relax for a while.
A: Sandbox for Proposed Questions

GeoChemical Weapon Against Magical Creatures? chemistrybiologybiochemistrymagic What real chemical could be a weakness for magical creatures? To balance the power of magic, a weakness ought to be introduced, like a vampire's weakness to sunlight. There should be some plausible mechanism of harm, s...

2:21 AM
posted on October 04, 2017 by Joe_Bloggs

Image source: http://verob.centerblog.net/rub-fonds--2.htmlTick. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Then a tumble. A wave of air. Moisture. A warm surface. I burrow. Tastes… rich. Follow the air in the blood. Children growing. They need food. Follow the air. Find somewhere tasty. Bite. Hang on. Wait. Give birth. Tick. So many children. We’re talking. Or is it just that we are? It’s hard to tell. I can

2:34 AM
Q: Let's put a backlink to the sandbox in the graduated answers!

VylixOne of the issue of Sandbox is decreased visibility because it is put in meta site instead of main site. As one of the users personally helped by the existence of Sandbox, I propose that we should add a link to the sandbox, either in the beginning or the end of questions that graduated from Sand...

4 hours later…
6:12 AM
I'm using the Sandbox to work on a question, and I've been making great progress, but I've been reading "Lessons in Writing Questions" and now I'm thinking that I might need more of a spiral. I've already got the real question in full detail, but I don't have any of the deep context for the question, and I'm wondering if I should add a whole new section on why I want the answer to the question and what role it will play in the world I'm building.
It could double the length of my question and no one has specifically advised me to do it, but I did get one comment that mentioned the XY problem and suggested my question might be an example.
I'm not sure if I should do it.
I could go on and on about the exact purpose of the question and the world that the answer will fit into, but none of that is really necessary information. It seems irrelevant, but on the other hand, not including context can also be bad.
2 hours later…
7:53 AM
How can work be so stressful and so boring at the same time?!?
8:10 AM
@JoeBloggs That's an amazing story on Medium! I imagine it would be a bit confusing at first if one hadn't seen the discussion on the Factory Floor.
I have no idea what it was about.
@Geo: It’s about a super-parasite killing humanity, from the parasite’s point of view. Gotta admit it’s not intended to be fully understood. :-)
@Geo It starts around here
@Secespitus: Thanks! It was a fun little exercise in creature design.
I might add that link to the bottom of the story...
BTW: there is a little typo at "Such a complicated a way".
8:20 AM
Seems like it ends on a bit of a setback for the parasites. Is that supposed to be a hopeful sign for humanity?
@Geo It stops with the parasite realizing that humanity will be wiped out in short time if he spreads like before
Not very hopeful
@Geo XY problem happens quite often. You feel a reader won't understand why your characters would do something so you ask why a war could break out, because your characters would surely act different in a war. (Silly example of off-topic questions, but I can't think of a good example right now.)
@Secespitus But it's not really an XY problem if asking the new question really does lead to a solution to the original question.
@Secespitus good spot on the typo. I can’t edit it from my phone for some reason but I’ll fix it ASAP. :-)
And if the parasite works out that humanity dying means it dies too then it might be able to do something about it. It does get smarter through the course of the story.
1 hour later…
9:49 AM
Q: Request to review answers on the 'names' question

Tim BStumped: What would replace 'names' in an alternate history? This question now has 30+ answers (a couple have been deleted), which means the odds are that only the top few have been viewed by most of the people looking at the question. Can we ask that some members of the community to take a few ...

3 hours later…
1:12 PM
So I just found a new book to add to my wish list:
2:02 PM
I can't find this one for sale anywhere: goodreads.com/book/show/17797577-geek-love
@JDługosz Looks like it got kickstarted, and then disappeared. Wonder if they ever shipped it even. Surprised they didn't at least put it on kindle store or Apple books or something.
@AndyD273 So the posted reviews?
Ah, listening to Dvorak's Serenade for Strings is playing.
@JDługosz this one has 350 reviews. I've been waiting for it to be published for years. I'm not saying that the one your looking for doesn't have real reviews, it's just surprising that there aren't copies somewhere.
Not even copies on ebay. Must not have been very good.
After thinking it over for a while, I've realized there's only one explanation for this:
Time travelers love my books.
Patrick Rothfuss is too awesome
@DaaaahWhoosh Lucky time travelers. WHAT HAVE YOU SEEN?!?!
2:17 PM
I remember taking my wife to see that performed. I made an impression, date-wise: it was Itzhak Perlman. Box seats. Hottest ticket in town, it turned out to be, the 25th anniversary of the Meyerson, with black tie cocktail party after. I don't know what impressed her more: the music, or meeting Darah, Duchess of York.
@DaaaahWhoosh Also a very slow writer.
@AndyD273 so how do they know exactly how many pages it has?
@JDługosz Fortunetellers.
Don't question the wisdom of the spirits
@AndyD273 If I was going to make up a number, I'd use a prime or other interesting number.
@JDługosz It's probably a rounded average of the number of pages of the first two books extrapolated for the purpose of not leaving the field blank and breaking the system. It's too round of a number to be believable.
Also fortunetellers are not that creative. They must only say what the spirits tell them.
3 hours later…
5:14 PM
Wow. My sandboxed question is going down in votes instead of up, even after it's been polished by advice from many comments and I really thought I had an acceptable question this time. I have no idea what's wrong with it.
I guess the title is weak. It doesn't have a click-bait grab your interest title. If I saw it on a list I probably wouldn't click it. "Chemical Weapon With Particular Properties?"
@Geo What is wrong making something up?
It's too easy.
What's wrong with that?
If we always take the easy way out, we end up with a silly universe that a child could design, with no connection to reality, no research, nothing to engage the audience's mind.
You want magic, and magical creatures. They have no connection to reality.
The dragons in Harry Potter for instance have greatly engaged my mind with every reading.
The attempt to ground the Force in reality in episode 1 killed the sense of wonder I had for the force in the original trilogy.
5:23 PM
@sphennings Yeah, making everything real is boring, but it's also boring if not enough is real. It's important that the reader can learn something by reading, or at least see that the author has made some effort.
If I'm reading a Fantasy novel I'm going to assume that anything to do with magical creatures isn't real.
Telling me that dragons are susceptible to chemical x isn't learning anything.
@sphennings Miticlorians are not real. If they were a real thing, that would have made it less terrible. It would still be bad, but not so bad.
@Geo Saying that the force came from mitochondria instead of mediclorians makes the situation worse not better.
@sphennings Sure, you might assume that the chemical isn't real, but that opens the door for discovery. You can look deeper into the story and find out that chemical x is an actual thing and think back upon what you read with greater respect having learned something without even realizing you were learning something.
@Geo Because now not only is the sense of wonder killed by explanation it is hamfisted and incorrect.
5:29 PM
@sphennings Really? I'd kind of like it, actually. It's still unfortunate that they even tried to explain the source of the force. Totally unnecessary and inappropriate, but choosing for it to come from something that actually exists in cells at least teaches the audience something.
Really, how is saying that it comes from midiclorians any better or worse than saying it comes from "life"? Aside from going into unnecessary detail, it's really just the same. It's just saying it comes from a particular part of life instead of life in general.
I mean, if midiclorians were an actual part of life.
The fact that midiclorians aren't real means that not only are they wasting our time with pointless detail and destroying some mystery, but we're not even learning anything about cellular biology in the process. It the final layer of mistake on a cake of mistake, not an improvement.
@Geo You started by asking for a chemical that depowers wizards. There is no chemical that depowers wizards. Finding out that wizarddepowerium is a real chemical that doesn't work as you said it is tells me that I'm reading the work of an author who hasn't done their research.
What you are talking about doing is creating some technobabble. The best technobabble knows what it is and doesn't try to be anything else.
@sphennings Unless a real wizard shows up, no one can say that the chemical wouldn't depower wizards. It's not necessarily wrong, and every other detail about the chemical would be correct.
@Geo That statement is more wrong than saying "This chemical depowers wizards."
@sphennings The best technobabble uses as little creativity as possible and grounds itself in reality as much as possible. It's like lying. You don't want to make up more details than you need to.
@Geo By that logic Since you can't prove that there is an invisible teapot orbiting between Earth and Venus. It it isn't technically wrong to say "There is a invisible teabot orbiting between Earth and Venus."
@Geo So give your compound a name that sounds cool.
Then you've made up the minimum amount of detail possible.
5:40 PM
@sphennings I'm not saying it's not wrong. I'm just saying that we don't know that it's wrong. It's a what-if situation, just like speculative fiction. Maybe. We use our imagination to think of what could be, and this could be.
What's it do? It depowers wizards? Hows it work? Doesn't matter we just saved the world.
@sphennings But I need the properties of the chemical. It's not like midiclorians where there's absolutely no point in the story to mentioning them. The chemical needs to be mentioned and it needs to have properties. I have a choice to either make those properties come from real chemistry, or just randomly invent them.
@Geo That is the minimum amount of detail you can make up. You are wanting to also say "It's totally real, and has this mechanism of action...."
@Geo The property of the chemical you care about is that it depowers wizards. Everything else is irrelevant.
What are the seven properties it needs?
@sphennings I listed 7 important properties in my question. My universe requires all 7 of them. Perhaps I could include some others if I ever find a real chemical to use.
5:44 PM
I've never understood the point of technobabble. Either explain the phenomenon rigorously or use handwavium. Trying to merge the two and find some middle ground leads to misconceptions about how the real-world object actually works. It just confuses people and doesn't teach them anything. And then you get people asking physicists how to make a wormhole out of a black hole.
@HDE226868 The best technobabble is handwaving.
A: Sandbox for Proposed Questions

GeoChemical Weapon With Particular Properties? chemistrybiologybiochemistry To add verisimilitude to a fictional world, we need a real drug or toxin with particular properties. Using actual chemistry will be a bonus to people with knowledge of chemicals, and help educate the other readers. Therefo...

@sphennings If you include pure handwaving as part of technobabble, then I agree (and modify my original statement).
@HDE226868 Sometimes you need a technician to be working on the device that does the thing.
@sphennings Sure.
5:47 PM
Yeah, there's no way to absolutely avoid technobabble in all cases. Sometimes the best you can do is minimize it.
If you want to show not tell you're going to need some fake words to describe what this device looks like when it's been opened up to be worked on.
Wait..... we still at it?
Especially if you're going to have the technician explain what went wrong.
I like to think you can make technobabble better by bring as much real stuff as possible into it.
"It's broken. It will be fixed today, provided we have the parts. Oh no we don't have the parts!" is boring dialogue.
5:48 PM
@sphennings Absolutely. No one would really talk that way. Takes the reader right out of the story.
If you're talking about a gofasterthanlightatron something that is physically impossible how do you "bring as much real stuff as possible"?
@Geo You don't. You make something up that sounds convincing and makes sense in the context of your story.
@sphennings Well, of course it need some magical something, but it also needs to be surrounded by stuff that could be real, like a ton of electronics and wires and computers and so on.
You just talk about the real stuff instead of the magical something as much as possible.
@Geo If we're talking about FTL it's probably not magical.
@sphennings Really? Well, it's probably not real.
Has there been any stories that explicitly invoke magic as their explanation of FTL?
@Geo It's superscience not magic.
@Geo The functional difference between the two is how it's presented to the reader.
@Geo This Is an example of the same functional scene dressed up with three very different genres.
5:58 PM
@Geo Just use insulin or oestrogen or progesterone as the chemical.
Insulin has to be injected. The other two can be swallowed.
I use insulin.
@Bellerophon That would have some interesting implications for the intersections of the set of wizards and the set of diabetics.
@sphennings That looks like a really fun exercise.
It's made by bacteria, stored in a bottle. It smells like melting plastic.
@Bellerophon Thanks for the tip! I'll look into those chemicals.
6:01 PM
@CaM It needs to be kept refridgerated too, correct?
I refrigerate it until I open the bottle. It has a much shorter storage life outside the fridge, yes.
But then I wear a 3-day supply in my insulin pump, which sits in my pocket all day. So that insulin averages somewhere near the 98f mark.
@Geo They will only work in a modern day setting as insulin can only be easily manufactured with fairly recent techniques.
@sphennings I can think of several chemicals that would de-power wizards at sufficient quantities. Alcohol. Insulin (hypoglycemia leads to coma which means no magic!). Arsenic. various snake venoms, especially the fatal ones. turkey + dressing, if post-Thanksgiving food comas are any indication...
@Bellerophon Do you mean just insulin or all of them? My universe won't have advanced medical labs.
@Bellerophon It can also be extracted. Pigs, Cows, and Sheep have all been used to provide non-manufactured insulin.
And since recombinant DNA is the tool of choice to get bacteria to produce it today, there's no reason <magic spell of insulin-making> spell couldn't exist.
...I forgot. Chloroform.
6:10 PM
@CaM It would kind of defeat the purpose of using a real chemical if it gets made by magic. It would be nicer to show the readers where the real chemical really comes from.
Alcohol. A drunk wizard is no good at spells.
Any substance that causes blindness, so de-natured alcohol, for instance. Any substance that causes paralysis, so various venoms.
@Geo How does creating the chemical by magic defeat the purpose. If I was capable of casting summon whatever chemical depowers wizards I'd be casting it before I went up against them.
@Geo yes, titles play a role in views, as I’ve mused in the Lessons thread. But that’s not the same thing as having a good/bad Q. If anything a bad Q that gets few views will draw fewer downvotes.
@CaM They didn't like my suggestion of bullets. Bullets are more effective than most other chemicals at messing with bodily systems.
Concentrated Magnesium (as is found in some cave pools). A highly potent, highly concentrated version of Milk of Magnesia, which induces diarrhea. They won't cast spells if they they're too busy going potty.
6:12 PM
@sphennings I just won't make that a part of the magic system. It's a bit excessive to allow magic to create sophisticated chemicals anyway.
@sphennings But it wouldn't serve the narrative purpose of the weakness to use bullets. It wouldn't be a secret weakness, it'd be the first thing anyone tried.
@Geo Create Food and Water is an iconic spell. There are many sophisticated chemicals that are integral to food.
LSD in sufficient quantities?
Completely unrelated, but worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/93998/… reminded me of the old "grind his bones to make my bread" thing. Which sent me down a rabbit hole to troynovant.com/Franson-JM/Essays/Bones-to-Bread.html where I found out that eating bone-bread is fatal (and why). So now that's a thing you know.
@sphennings True, but I have no particular need to include that in my universe yet.
@Geo Are your wizards not weak to bullets? It sounds from how you've described them that if they have a mechanism to be immune to bullets they would have a mechanism to be immune to most other chemicals as well.
@sphennings Almost any chemical, except a chemical that directly attacks their ability to control magic.
6:17 PM
@Geo How do they control magic?
@sphennings Magic isn't real. I have no basis to decide that. But hopefully once I find a good chemical to be the weakness, I'll be able to say a little bit more about how magic is controlled.
@Geo We know magic isn't real. You can make up whatever rules you want. Including what chemicals affect their ability to control magic. It's entirely arbitrary.
@sphennings Really what I'd like to find is a biological system that could plausibly control magic, but my education on biology so limited. It's a bit of a problem.
@Geo As has been said before There is no biological system that can plausibly control magic.
I guess that's the question I'd really like to ask, but sadly it's too broad for this site.
6:21 PM
You're going to need to make it up.
@sphennings You can't say that without knowing how magic works.
Some faerie folklore suggests iron blocks magic. Therefore, take iron supplements?
How does your magic work?
@sphennings I'm saying I don't have enough knowledge of biology to invent the details of how it works inside a wizard's body. Externally, it just throws blasts of destruction, transforms things, and conjures things.
Iron has a long and varied tradition in the mythology and folklore of the world. == In Europe == === Cold iron === Cold iron is a poetic term for iron. Francis Grose's 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue defines cold iron as "A sword, or any other weapon for cutting or stabbing." This usage often appears as "cold steel" in modern parlance. Rudyard Kipling's poem "Cold Iron", found in his 1910 collection of stories Rewards and Fairies, used the term poetically to mean "weapon". "Cold iron" is historically believed to repel, contain, or harm ghosts, fairies, witches, and other malevolen...
6:23 PM
@CaM I've heard of that. It might be a fun reference to have magic be weak against iron. Like maybe the electric conductivity blocks magic somehow.
Iron swords, while too weak to use in combat, are perfect weapons against wizards... And an iron nail or two are great for making sure your imprisoned wizards don't escape (ouch!)
@Geo You need to either pick an arbitrary organ and then determine what chemicals affect it. Or pick an arbitrary chemical and determine what organs it affects.
@CaM Normal nails will do the job just as well.
@Geo Why don't you say "When wizards are exposed to X they can't cast spells?"
@sphennings I tried picking the vascular system, but it was a nightmare trying to find an appropriate chemical. I googled and googled and wandered around wikipedia. As for picking a chemical, I need the chemical to have certain properties, and I don't know enough about chemistry to find one of those myself.
@sphennings I'm just trying to pick a good X.
6:28 PM
@Geo It seems to me like attempting to explain the mechanism that wizards are deppowered is just confusing you and will by extent be confusing to your audience. At any rate this will probably just end up in a massive telling not showing exposition dump that will bore your readers.
@Geo Any and all X are equally good.
@Geo Ish kittens would be comical, tears of a loved one would be tragic.
I have no intention of telling this stuff to the readers. I just want to know it for myself, and let the readers look it up for themselves if they care to. It's about adding depth.
@Geo How are the readers going to look up X depowers wizards unless you include it in your story?
@sphennings It really should have some biological effect on the wizard.
@sphennings I'm going to name X and they can google it.
@Geo The biological effect is that they can't do magic.
@sphennings I meant a real biological effect.
6:30 PM
@Geo But X doesn't disrupt magic in the real world.
@sphennings ZOMG. AIR! Air prevents magic! That's why we can't cast spells!!!
@sphennings It might disrupt magic if there were magic.
@CaM It think you're on to something.
@Geo Everything might disrupt magic if there was magic. What's your point?
@sphennings I'm not sure. Why were you mentioning that it doesn't disrupt magic?
@sphennings by that logic, it could literally be anything that disrupts magic. Bacon. Cats. Air. Smog. Smaug. Cars. Technology above steam tech. Cholesterol. Salt. Pepper. Helium.
6:32 PM
@CaM Exactly!
ANYTHING AT ALL, since there's literally nothing that can be DISproven as disrupting magic.
@CaM Yeah, but reasonably it ought to have some biological effect on the wizard casting the magic. Just to give it some basis in reality instead of being some random silly thing.
There was an excellent fantasy series where wizards were destroyed by warm soapy water with a little lemmon in it. I laughed so hard when I read it.
@sphennings Which series?
@CaM It's entirely up to the author what disrupts magic. Some choose folklore for their inspiration, some choose hippy BS, some cribb off Eastern religions. It's all good if they are telling a good story
6:34 PM
Citric acid. So all your wizards have scurvy
@Geo I think it was called The Enchanted Forest Chronicles.
@sphennings I think anything is made better when its inspired by real science. Folklore isn't a terrible substitute, but it's not nearly as good.
@CaM The lemon was added because it smelled nice.
I'd stick with folklore ingredients like salt or iron. Or things that mess with people's heads, like alcohol, some venoms, or various psychotropic drugs (not peyote, though. That CAUSES magic).
@CaM I may end up having to if it turns out that I can't get any help.
6:37 PM
I once played a fantasy RPG where my magic was because of my affinity to a bee god. Therefore, I had a rule that all my food required honey. ALL OF IT. My character also had no teeth. Stupid cavities.
@Geo That's an interesting idea that I wholeheartedly disagree with.
@CaM That's pretty cool.
But magic IS NOT SCIENCE. The two are not the same. That's why we're confused here. We don't know how to give you an answer that suits your requirements, since "googling a thing that stops magic" isn't actually a thing.
@sphennings You mean the idea that inspiring things by real science is an improvement?
@CaM What I'd really like is a survey of the systems of animal bodies with a view to how they might interact with a magic system. I get that's asking a lot, though, and it's impossible for someone who doesn't know a ton of biology. So now I'm trying to come at it from a different direction and just ask for a real chemical with some very specific real properties. For people who know about chemistry, that should be not asking too much.
Well, that's not really possible either.
Because there's never been a scientific study / survey of how animal parts and magic interact.
@Geo If my story has a house that walk around on chicken legs. We don't care how the giant chicken legs work. We accept that they are magic and move on. Any ham fisted attempt to scientifically explain them will just make anyone with even a minor amount of scientific literacy facepalm and likely alienate the reader.
6:41 PM
@CaM I'm not looking for a scientific study.
Also, there's no magic "system." There are dozens if not hundreds of different kinds of magical / folklore-ish / whatever "systems" throughout the globe and history. Each of which has different "rules" or laws or whatever. So there's no universal Law Of Magical Interferrence.
@sphennings That's why you don't explain magic like that. You have an explanation in your head that's part of the universe, and then you hint at it in your story so people who know the real science might notice what you're doing and appreciate your attention to detail.
As Doc Holliday said in Tombstone, There's no magical laws, Wyatt. "There's just life. Now get on with it." (I may be taking liberties just a bit there)
@CaM True, but all magical systems have a lot in common.
And we've offered up at least half a dozen different things that fit either science or folklore, but you seem to think we're letting you down by not offering up a scientifically accurate block to something that doesn't exist. So let me ask you an equally logical question. "What color is an invisible pink unicorn's left eye?"
6:45 PM
@Geo Not at all. In Some systems it's all about knowing the true name of something that gives you power. In another it's magic bells that give you power. In another it's waving a wand. In another it's memorizing something complicated and arcane.
@Geo There is nothing universal to all magic systems. You are welcome to prove me wrong.
@sphennings and in others its mixing fictional ingredients with hard-to-obtain real ingredients and then cooking them into a stew.
@CaM I'm not looking for folklore stuff (yet). What were the science ones? Insulin and so on were suggested. Was that all?
alcohol because it messes with your brain.
venom, because it can cause paralysis
@Geo I'm thinking you won't find an answer that you like until you decide how you want the magic to be generated. Like, if you were to decide "I want magic to be generated by the spleen." then you can look at things that affect the spleen
psychoactive drugs.
6:46 PM
@CaM I already suggested alcohol. He didn't like that.
@sphennings Everything you mentioned was about having power, wasn't it?
Compounds that impact other bodily parts, like concentrated milk of magnesium.
@sphennings Yeah, I can't use alcohol because it's too common. That's just a quirk of my universe.
Anything that causes unconsciousness, like cholorform or certain venoms
poisonous mushrooms
@Geo The magical thinking of the 12 steps program is based around the idea that you are powerless over alcohol.
6:48 PM
...but not "magic" mushrooms
@CaM Magic mushrooms would work too.
@sphennings Do they really think that? How odd!
@Geo It's step 1 of their 12 step program.
drugs that act as inhibition reducers.
Insulin, because it lowers your body's metabolism
A stone to the head.
a Faraday cage
Silver? Silver has some interesting properties, and if you shoot someone with an arrow with a silver arrow head in the heart, they'll die.
6:51 PM
gags (that was apparently used in Salem Witch Trial era to stop mages)
silver and gold have lots of magical properties.
Any of the elements known to alchemy: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alchemical_symbol
salt. (It was a ward against evil and used to block vampires, ghosts, and to make summoning circles)
@CaM Any of the elements not known to alchemy: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemical_element
A stern talking to.
Lead could also be interesting. Getting lead in your body can cause problems to normal people, but lead is also able to block radiation, so it could be that getting lead poisoning will have a bigger effect on a wizard.
A rolled up newspaper.
@AndyD273 That's a really interesting idea!
Saltpeter (used in baths during the Roman empire) en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niter
6:54 PM
@Geo What's really cool about lead is that it can be lethal in doses that can be shot out of a gun.
Anything radioactive, at all.
Lodestones (magnetism sure looks like magic!)
I'm seeing a buncha close reviews on old questions
Are we finally closing old questions that are off topic?
And it can be real subtle too. you can get lead poisoning from water for instance, or absorb it through the skin if you touch things with lead too much.
The ground-up dust of murdered wizards that were mummified for just this purpose.
@AndyD273 Yeah, getting the lead into the body is a concern.
6:56 PM
The fruit of XYZ plant that is really bitter and unpleasant to eat and causes food poisoning
@Geo It's really easy to get lead into the body.
@sphennings Just move to Michigan
There's a whole industry that is dedicated to providing lead body delivery solutions.
Touching lead, or something with lead dust, and then putting your finger in your mouth will let you absorb it
you can breath in lead dust
6:57 PM
@CaM Or go to a music festival apparently. :(
Or drink from Roman fountains
@AndyD273 I guess it would be possible to use lead dust as an effective weapon.
@CaM They actually deliberately added it wine because it made the wine taste sweeter.
So yeah. In summary, there are literally hundreds of things out there that could easily fit your needs. Pick one. Or two. Or three.
And maybe pick 1, 2, or 3 that BOOST magic, as nature loves balance.
6:59 PM
@sphennings Oh yes, I've heard that lead tastes sweet. What a cruel trick of nature.
@Geo Don't powder the lead. That greatly reduces the effective range.
@CaM Oh yes, I'm writing all these suggestions down so I can research them all.
@sphennings I can't use ordinary bullets. It just won't work with the story I'm trying to tell.
My personal choice for things that block magic: Coconuts. But only if delivered by a Sparrow. Wait, African or European Sparrow?!?
@CaM Just buy the wizard a beer. Who's going to turn down a beer? They're probably actually pretty cool once you get to know them.
...but also remember that just because John Q. Public thinks substance X blocks magic doesn't mean substance X actually blocks magic. Wizards are crafty devils and are not above using propaganda to maintain their safety.
7:04 PM
Any wizard that is aware of their weaknesses is going to develop mechanisms to mitigate them.
Yeah. Saruman wasn't evil. He was just hangry for a Snickers and a good bottle of Kraken rum.
A couple hours ago someone mentioned bullets as a weapon… how about the blob creature on The Orville? How do you fight an army of blob creatures?
Hi @JDługosz ! You know about how to write questions. My sandbox question is crashing and burning and I have no idea why.
@CaM I know I wouldn't say no to a bottle of rum.
7:05 PM
@JDługosz salt.
@JDługosz Tequlia
@Geo I'll take a look at it tonight. Feel free to remind me in 6 hours or so.
@JDługosz Thanks!
@JDługosz 200 proof alcohol and a lit match.
@JDługosz sulfuric acid
@JDługosz If the series is any indication, just buy them some time on a paid porn site.
Besides. Why we gotta be all "DESTROY THE WIZARDS!" Why can't we summon and let summon?
Since it's a blob, I'd go with raising their temperature so they evaporate, or even boil away. They must have very thin skins to hold onto their moisture.
I bet a blob would die in a desert pretty quickly.
7:13 PM
@JDługosz Giant walk-in industrial microwave
@JDługosz A really big magnifying lens + sunlight
Or spread around some gasoline and lure the blobs into a area of flammable buildings, then burn the whole place around them, raising their temperature by thousands of degrees.
Nuke them from orbit
@AndyD273 ...it IS the only way to be sure.
Con them into eating a bunch of those "Do not eat" moisture absorbing packets.
Implode a star into a black hole, then shoot the blob out of a cannon into it.
7:15 PM
or eating those pellets that are used as stuffing for disposable diapers.
@CaM Good point! I wouldn't be surprised if uncooked rice would even kill a blob.
Liquid Nitrogen. Man, liquid nitrogen ought to be at the top of any deadly weapons list.
Feed it a ton of apple seeds. They contain cyanide.
@CaM So, you been watching The Orville? The last episode opening could have been a ST:TNG episode. Very little comedy, except for the captain's and helmsman's irreverent remarks. THe first batch were made together, without feedback from viewers, right? I wonder if he intends to sneak in his real Star Trek homage under the guise of his normal kind of work.
Anyone please entertain me for the next 30min so I can relax
7:29 PM
@JDługosz Yeah, I'm not sure. It feels very ST-ish, but with some PG humor added on.
@dot_Sp0T I suggest a bubble bath and vodka. LOTS of vodka
No chance to drink before next week
@Geo, @CaM, etc.: my daily plug for people to look over my current writing project: adobe.ly/2xu5qMf
DB Restore in progress.
@CaM that's what you do while waiting?
This is where I hang out while SQL Server chews away at LOG files, yep
7:37 PM
@CaM I mean www.thefreedictionary.com/wee entry No.2. Though you think it would have been No.1?
So I was reading a thing where Stephen Hawking now thinks that black holes might not actually be black. As in there might not be an event horizon as people have been thinking, but actually have an "apparent horizon".
:) I do not broadcast my bodily functions. Much.
I wanna see a black hole. Safely mind you. And no, not the kind you find on certain Russian websites that I never visit.
@CaM You referring to the event horizon observation missions?
If there's something visible in an event horizon, I think that'd be an awesome thing to see.
Or an event horizon that's consuming another star.
8:01 PM
@JoeBloggs you're too generous good sir
8:17 PM
The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) is a project to create a large telescope array consisting of a global network of radio telescopes and combining data from several very-long-baseline interferometry (VLBI) stations around the Earth. The aim is to observe the immediate environment of the Milky Way's supermassive black hole Sagittarius A*, as well as the even larger black hole in Messier 87, with angular resolution comparable to the black hole's event horizon. == Overview == The EHT is composed of many radio observatories or radio telescope facilities around the world to produce a high-sensitivity...
Hmm, I wonder if they got results in April? The article needs updating.
Please anyone want to converse with me?
@dot_Sp0T Hold, please. An operator will be with you shortly. Your call is very important to us.
Am holding
Please enter your account number followed by a pound sign. Then your birthdate. Then your phone number. And your mother's maiden name. And your dog's grandfather's uncle's name. So we can better route your call.
8:29 PM
Yes, I am still on the line. Please talk to me
Please describe the problem you are experiencing?
Intense loneliness and a need for distraction
Check this out: writingforums.org/threads/… A bit of context for my Haiku. Anyone here figure it out?
Have you tried upgrading your social life to version 7.0?
<--- has no social life, so I'm not a good resource here
So.... projects... What are you working on lately?
.   Black sunlight kissing
.   Bewitching turbidity
.   Defeats all gamuts​
8:33 PM
I'm studying computer engineering. I don't think the social life package can applies to my current build.
ooh, sorry. Yeah.
As a senior systems engineer, I can confirm that social life doesn't run on that platform.
No it's just that I don't get to actually take much part in chat during the busy hours right now due to classes and prep-work
I suggest taking up a hobby. tabletop RPGs are a possible contender. Or writing that Twilight fanfic, er, I mean, that sci-fi epic.
8:35 PM
@CaM That's one reason I want to work in "geek" characteristics in two of my characters — A is some kind of engineer for pushing the envelope in building scientific instruments, and B is into language.
language as in historical, modern, or fictional languages? I've been to Cons that had panels on fictional languages. Like tolkien elvish.
This might be too far before your time to get the reference, but geek became chic, in college, I kept getting invited to come set the clock on her VCR.
@CaM it's not that I don't have any hobbies, god there are too many. It's just taht during the semester there's almost no time for anything social aside from learning groups - and those are very focused. But thanks ^^
@CaM English lang and lit, poetry. Huge vocabulary to match the STEM geeks except for specific jargon, thinks about things in complex ways. Also learns different languages easily and is fluent in several.
learning groups in college. Wow. I wish I'd done that instead of the internet and booze.
8:39 PM
@CaM Uni. And guess why I changed majors and basically restarted after 3 semesters? :D
She's actually an MBA, and her creativity and drive at being a tycoon is very analogous to the STEM geeks' focus on their projects.
@dot_Sp0T What is a "learning group"?
@JDługosz a group of people that pretend to work on assignments or rehearse this week's lecture in subject xyz while trying to find an excuse for beer and cardgames
@JDługosz What is black sunlight?
@Bellerophon I'm referring to this: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black-body_radiation
The sun actually is black, in a sense. Think about the element in an electric stove or an incandescent light: it glows when hot, but the underlying color is neutral, if you could see it.
well it's quarter to 11 already again. Thanks for the talk! cheers o/
8:48 PM
good luck!
Is chat being dodgy for anyone else?
No, so far it hasn't successfully dodged anything from me. Refresh the site? Aim better? Stop rolling 1s?
I think it is my internet.
Or my die.
@Bellerophon My Internet connection is extra good. Yesterday I noticed a TV show downloaded at 35 megabytes per second, which is faster than normal. I ran SpeedTest and found I could get 350 megabits per second, on some servers.
@Bellerophon Your die?
I'm getting 1.4 mb/s download and about 6 upload.
@JDługosz Die as in dice.
8:56 PM
@Bellerophon what's the connection with chat and network access?
@JDługosz Earlier I said chat was being dodgy. CaM replied I should stop rolling ones. In DnD (and other RPGs) a bad dice roll would allow the enemy to dodge.
Yeah, it was a D&D reference, where a 1 on a d20 (20-sided die) is a critical failure.

Die is singular; Dice is plural.
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