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Glass sword

Discussion in 'Research' started by Gryphos, Aug 13, 2015.

  1. Gryphos

    Gryphos Auror

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    In my story the MC has the ability to make objects out of sand using magic. And she makes a sword, heating up the edges until they turn to basically glass, or at least some kind of glass-like material.

    My question is, what would feasibly happen if you were to stab someone in plate armour? Obviously it wouldn't work, but what would happen? Would the glass shatter? Etc.

    And in general I just want to know how a sword like this would really handle and precisely how ineffective it would be and in what ways.
     
  2. Mindfire

    Mindfire Istar

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    So are we talking mostly regular glass or super-strong magic glass? Because magic glass can do whatever the heck you want it to. The magical glass sword I feature in my work can shred plate armor like paper. But if you're talking glass that has mostly normal properties and is only a bit more durable than regular glass, than you're not going to have much luck against plate armor. Glass and naturally occurring glass, like obsidian, are really good at giving you super-sharp, even atomically sharp edges. But they're extremely light and brittle. A glass sword durable enough to hold up to being swung around would cut through an unarmored enemy like butter, but just about any armor would stop it dead. It would be too light to gather much momentum during the swing, so you're not going to brute force through the armor like you could with a metal sword. And even leather would probably be enough to defeat your razor edge. And since glass doesn't flex (well, depending on the type of glass), it's not going to absorb the shock of a blow very well, so I'm guessing it would be prone to breaking. Whether it shatters or just snaps depends on the glass I'd say.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2015
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  3. Gryphos

    Gryphos Auror

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    Cool stuff. And yeah, this is going to pretty much regular glass. Well,p perhaps a little magic since it was made using magic. It'll be maybe a teeny bit stronger than regular glass, but will obviously still have all the flaws you mentioned.

    You said leather would probably stop it. What about just cloth? I ask because I do want the MC to in the climax kill the plate armour guy with a glass sword by stabbing him in the unarmored neck. But the guy would have some cloth covering his neck, so I would need the glass to be able to cut through that.
     
  4. Mindfire

    Mindfire Istar

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    It should be able to cut through cloth provided it's not too thick. Think of your glass sword as a really big scalpel, because that's essentially what it is.

    One other thing, your glass sword will have an absurdly sharp edge, but it might not hold that edge for very long without regular re-sharpening, magical or otherwise. And I'd suggest you look into Mesoamerican macuahuitl, obsidian swords. They're not solid obsidian, more like wood inlaid with obsidian razor blades. But it should still be helpful as a model.
     
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  5. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    I like that weapon.

    At the same time, I feel sorry for any Aztec warrior who died dressed in a cute animal costume.

    [​IMG]
    "I shouldn't have made a cat suit. The bird suits allow for more peripheral vis–ack."
    [SUB]~last words of Astrophe the Cat Warrior[/SUB]​
     
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    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 10, 2017
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  7. Gryphos

    Gryphos Auror

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    Very helpful. I don't think sharpening will be a problem, since the way I'm imagining it, the MC will only ever use a sword once before throwing it away. Most of the time she'll summon a sword right before she plans on using it.
     
  8. wordwalker

    wordwalker Auror

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    Sensible. And that's assuming she can't summon fast enough to put new edges on the sword after each kill. (The step above that would be to hold the edge together at the moment she swung, and beyond that make true reinforced spellglass...)
     
  9. Miskatonic

    Miskatonic Auror

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    Also think about the idea of shards of glass getting stuck in the opponents flesh and some type of side effect that might cause. Like poisoning them, etc. Perhaps when an opponent gets stabbed the current sword shatters inside them.
     
  10. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    I can't help but feel that magical glass swords would be awesome.
     
  11. psychotick

    psychotick Auror

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    Hi,

    Glass swords and armour are all the way through Skyrim / Morrowind - but hey, they also think ebony is a mineral you mine so what can you expect?

    Glass or obsidian has zero flexability and it can't bend. So when it hits something rigid like steel or bronze plate that resists it, it shatters. That includes obsidian and the volcanic glasses. But why use glass? Why not diamond, emerald or some such? I mean if you're summoning it, what's the difference? Or alternatively why not just summon a magic sword and leave it at that? Again back to Skyrim - think of bound weapons. They are pure magic but work like real weapons for as long as they are around.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  12. Gryphos

    Gryphos Auror

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    The reason it has to be glass is that she's not really summoning he swords out of thin air, but making them out of sand. Controlling sand is basically all she can do (luckily they're in a desert, so that's not exactly in short supply), so in order for her to make the edges of the sword sharp, she uses her powers to heat them up so they turn into glass. Only the edges, though. The rest of the sword will still be like sand, just hardened sand made solid though magical bullshit.
     
  13. Nobby

    Nobby Sage

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    A glass sword I have problems with. And the South American 'swords' were actually obsidian spiked clubs.

    But, if you have the ability to 'cast' glass, well a sling full of shards would probably pierce anything short of power armour, and if poison was involved...

    Yikes...
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2015
  14. Trick

    Trick Auror

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    In this case, would she be able to harden the edge in sections, leaving flex points to allow the blade more flexibility and improving the function of the weapon? Also, have you looked at something like glass fiber? If you could work it into your existing magic system, she could summon a glass fiber whip full of sharp, glass shards. That would be a formidable weapon.
     
  15. Reaver

    Reaver Kwisatz Haderach Moderator

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    I think the Aztecs should pay Maurice Sendak some royalties.


    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]
     
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  16. Nobby

    Nobby Sage

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    Hang on, you can tag images?
     
  17. Trick

    Trick Auror

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    @ Gryphos

    Okay, total nerd moment. I just imagined your MC summoning sand into a sword but instead of turning the edges into glass (which would imply that she also has fire/heat magic) she forms the sword in such a way that the blade is compact sand with the grains growing smaller and smaller toward the edge until they're almost microscopic. This would actually result in the semblance of a very sharp blade made of stone. However, the sand under control of her magic would remain, for lack of a better word, fluid. This would mean that her opponent might swing a blade to deflect her blow but her sand-sword would flow right over it, return to blade shape and cut them down. How freaking awesome would a fight be with a morphing sword like that?

    If you don't like the concept of a 'fluid' blade, that's okay, because I'll use it! Not with sand though, I'm not a thief. But your idea inspired this one so I thought I should put it out there.
     
  18. Gryphos

    Gryphos Auror

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    The fluid sword idea is pretty sick. Don't think I'll be able to use it in this story though, mainly because it would wasted here due to the MC in question never really engaging in a sword duel with anyone. As to not bothering with glass and just having 'sharp' sand, yeah that could work, but the rule of cool is telling me to stick with glass.
     
  19. Trick

    Trick Auror

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    Fair enough, i'm totally filing the 'fluid' sword thing away for future use. ...wait... I just thought of a way to employ it in my WIP. I'm psyched (because I'm a nerd, and proud of it).
     
  20. psychotick

    psychotick Auror

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    Hi Gryphos,

    Given what you've described could I suggest the idea of fulgarites. Essentially these are lightning generated glasses. Usually they look like rocks with little sparkly / translucent bits in them. But their constitution may not be pure silica - ie quartz or sand, which gives them other properties. Often they share properties with stone - too often pumice. And they never resemble swords and can't be fashioned into them. But they do often resemble long pointy spear like things.

    Now if she can create glass from sand why can't she create fulgarites? Basically it's just instantaneous flash heating of sand and other materials as caused by a lightning strike. And if she can somehow control the shape of that heating she could create a fulgarite spear - short spear perhaps. Given it's properties it can be thicker around the base, and as such used to parry swords if it catches the sword low down. It won't have an edge so trying to hack and slash is largely out. And it won't have a handle so even holding it will require skill. But with a pointy tip a man with some skill can find vulnerable spots in another man wearing armour, and stab.

    Also it could be quite spectacular as she doesn't so much summon it as direct lightning on the sand and pick up the result. Thus the entire fight becomes one of flash bang create flugarite spear, parry, stab, miss or break the point on armour, break spear and summon another with a flash bang as she rolls away ready to stab again.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
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