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Pentallion

Heat Metal metallurgical question

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This is beyond my scope of knowledge.  My players are discussing the idea of their shaman casting Heat Metal (it's not in RQG, but it's in RQ3 as a Lodril spell, so I allowed it) on a spear tip and using the shaman power of spell extension to make it last for as long as they want it to.  Not hot enough to melt the spear, but hot enough to get the extra damage should the spear impale (I ruled the idea of Heat Metal is the damage comes from being exposed to the metals heat an entire round, so it would take an impale to get any damage out of it).

My question to any of you grognards out there with metallurgy, is how hot is too hot for bronze/iron that prolonged exposure would weaken the spear?

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RQ3 p83 (big Book) had the following values for the melting point. 

Zinc 4D6

Aluminium 6D6

Bronze 8D6

Silver 9D6

Rock, Glass  12D6

Nickel 14D6

Iron 15D6

I'd saw that the softening point is one or two d6 below that point (ie Bronze becomes soft with a heat of 6D6).

 

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Yeah, what @metcalph says would work well. You could also just halve the D6s for a less powerful version, so Aluminium would become softer at 3D6 but Bronze would top out at 4D6 and Iron would stand 8D6.

Whichever you prefer would work.

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41 minutes ago, Pentallion said:

I ruled the idea of Heat Metal is the damage comes from being exposed to the metals heat an entire round, so it would take an impale to get any damage out of it.

 

If you take the RQ3 version, don't forget that it is a touch spell, nothing prevents your player from casting this variable spell on the opponent's metal armor, dealing 1D6 damage per "level".

In this case, the damage will be dealt each round until the armor is removed.

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13 minutes ago, jps said:

If you take the RQ3 version, don't forget that it is a touch spell, nothing prevents your player from casting this variable spell on the opponent's metal armor, dealing 1D6 damage per "level".

Sure, but you have to overcome POW/Magic Points for it to work. But it's a good attack spell.

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Heat Metal is still part of Lodril's cult spirit magic in RQG and will appear in GoG. It's got a better scale, so you don't need ridiculous levels to melt bronze. Still variable with 1point being too hot to hold and 1D6 damage per round. At level 5 Bronze, copper, gold, and silver become workable at 6 they melt. Takes a minute to become red hot. So level 4 would have bronze red hot, but not soft and 4D6 damage per round of contact.

Remember it's the shaman who controls the spell extension and it's one spell per level (I'm sure the shaman has better spells to keep up permanently, like countermagic, protection glamour or vigour ). If they aren't around, you would have to use dispel magic on it or be really careful putting it down or inside any normal building. At night it would glow.

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1 hour ago, David Scott said:

Heat Metal is still part of Lodril's cult spirit magic in RQG and will appear in GoG. It's got a better scale, so you don't need ridiculous levels to melt bronze. Still variable with 1point being too hot to hold and 1D6 damage per round. At level 5 Bronze, copper, gold, and silver become workable at 6 they melt. Takes a minute to become red hot. So level 4 would have bronze red hot, but not soft and 4D6 damage per round of contact.

Speaking as a chemist with lab experience, "too hot to hold" means "I will rather take 2 points of heat damage to the hand than 2D6 acid damage from dropping this hot vessel.."

 

There are also tricks around handling too hot items. Robert Bunsen famously held blobs of liquid lead in his hand by letting them move around, not staying long enough in one place to do any damage.

You don't have to be Man-and-a-Half to be able to handle something too hot to handle. (And in case any of you who met me in real life might accuse me of sharing some of that ability due to my size, I am way too pale to fit into that niche, and I drink way too much tea to qualify.)

 

1 hour ago, David Scott said:

Remember it's the shaman who controls the spell extension and it's one spell per level (I'm sure the shaman has better spells to keep up permanently, like countermagic, protection glamour or vigour ). If they aren't around, you would have to use dispel magic on it or be really careful putting it down or inside any normal building. At night it would glow.

All it takes to keep it from lighting everything is a clay jar that easily fits around the weapon.

If this is limited to a single, signature party item, why not allow it. The Temple of the Wooden Sword set an example how heroic parties ignore limiting rules.

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Your spear shaft would have to be made of something pretty special to avoid becoming frangible charcoal in the socket of the head, and breaking off as soon as it struck anything with even small force. Firespear (another Lodrili spell) is meant to be cast on fighting weapons, is Rune Magic and could be Extended to year-long duration (followed by a short downtime before it gets recast, and the spear shaft wouldn't suffer, because the effect is 'designed' that way. Repurposing a Heat Metal as an ersatz Boon of Kargan Tor should take a similar investment in time, sacced POW and MP.

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You will be pleased to know that Heat Metal is a spell featured in the forthcoming RuneQuest: Gods of Glorantha.  Presently the spell softens bronze at 5pts and melts it at 6pts. 

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