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How Deadly is Ice Magic

Discussion in 'World Building' started by ShadeZ, Apr 10, 2020.

  1. ShadeZ

    ShadeZ Sage

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    So working on a story with a main character who is a warlord who possessed powerful ice magic. However this made me think exactly how deadly is Ice magic? In media, it's common to see ice magic used to encase the enemy in ice but I can't imagine this would be dangerous to them at all but would moreso be a way of trapping enemies in ice. Now if it freezes blood that's a different story. Any ideas as to how ice magic could be offensively used in combat
     
  2. Orc Knight

    Orc Knight Auror

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    I'll put this in as it's gonna likely come up a few times. Your ice magic is as deadly as you need it to be. But being encased in ice and slowly suffocating or starving doesn't sound too fun. Or dying of hypothermia in it. Or having a giant icicle shoved through you. Or being slammed with a half ton of it in hammer form. Freezing blood is but one of the possibilities. On the plus side this warlord's likely got a good side business in chilled cellars and cold rooms.
     
  3. A. E. Lowan

    A. E. Lowan Forum Mom Leadership

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    Have you seen Disney's Frozen movies? Great examples of just the beginning of what ice magic can do. Or you can search for images of ice magic. There is a lot of inspiration out there.
     
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  4. ShadeZ

    ShadeZ Sage

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    Haha no, he does however use it to clot wounds faster on his allies, slow blood flow to slow the spread of poisons, and create shields, walls, and force fields of ice to protect his own men. He is actually well known in the books for having his own men's backs as well as being a fierce warrior toward his foes. He also invented a spell called Bulwark which as the name implies is a very strong defensive spell which allows him to create a massive wall of ice that buys him and his men time to recover.
     
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  5. Vaporo

    Vaporo Inkling

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    You don't think that fully encasing someone in a what is effectively a cryogenic stone block would harm them? Assuming their head is exposed to air, I'd give them five minutes tops before hypothermia and/or frostbite kicks in. And even then, could they breathe if their chest isn't allowed to expand or contract for being effectively fused with the ice wall?

    Someone can tell me I'm wrong, but I think cooling a wound down would actually slow the clotting process. As a rule, most chemistry works slower at low temperatures.
     
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  6. ShadeZ

    ShadeZ Sage

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    Ah lemme rephrase that. He freezes the blood on the wound so they won't bleed out so they can get a medic there.
     
  7. Sheilawisz

    Sheilawisz Queen of Titania Moderator

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    Hello Everyone!

    You really should read my war-themed Frozen fanfictions, in which Elsa easily kills hundreds of enemy soldiers with her Ice Magic powers. It's true that I took some artistic license with the magical powers for narrative reasons, but it was all within the capabilities that Elsa demonstrates in the first Frozen movie alone.

    A different style of Ice Magic is seen in my novel Alice into Darkness with a very different character, but very deadly as well.

    In a few words, Ice Magic is lethal simply because if you freeze living cells, you kill them. Even Hypothermia can quickly kill anybody, and that's nothing if compared with the horrible damage caused by severe freezing. Have you seen pictures of what frozen hands and feet look like? It's not only deadly, this is scary and it would be a particularly cruel way to murder your enemies with magic.

    I took it to a higher level in my Joan of England novels, but that's a very different thing.
     
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  8. Queshire

    Queshire Auror

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    I'm pretty sure I remember reading somewhere that freezing someone solid like you see in the comics would be pretty dangerous. Still, Ice magic could be incredibly useful for dictating the terms of battle. You could summon walls of ice as instant cover or to limit where the enemy can go, create slick paths of ice to trip them up or blinding snow storms. A lot of it requires you to be able to create ice out of thin air, but if you're trapping people in ice then you can presumably do that.
     
  9. ShadeZ

    ShadeZ Sage

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    Come to think of it, it is probably worth mentioning this character has hydrokenesis so while he specializes in ice he is also able to use water and vapor.
     
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  10. Vaporo

    Vaporo Inkling

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    Well if we're talking about completely freezing someone solid, then yeah. Instant death. No chance of survival. But...

    Ok it MIGHT be possible to freeze someone and have them survive. If you did it very, VERY carefully. The big problem is that expansion of water and the contraction of proteins and other structures causes damage. If you could freeze a person near-instantly, the water in their bodies wouldn't have a chance to crystallize and expand, effectively locking the body and its chemistry place.

    On the other end, if you could instantly thaw them, they should be able to resume life with a bit of help from a defibrillator.

    It's a massive IF, though. A person who went through that and survived would probably be bedridden for a while.
     
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  11. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    It sounds to me like you've already worked out how deadly is ice magic!
     
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  12. The biggest killer in frozen happens of screen after the movie ends in my opinion. It's the widespread famine that occurs because of the massive crop failure caused by the sudden winter. That could kill everyone not rich enough to import food or able to flee the country
     
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  13. psychotick

    psychotick Auror

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    Hi,

    Bit of an issue - if you don't have water vapor around you don't have ice. You just have cold. But cold is a capable killer. Just use the magic to freeze someone's lungs. They would turn to ice because there's plenty of water vapor in someone's lungs, and people would die pretty damned quick.

    Another thing, in science you can't unfreeze someone who's frozen and have them come back to life no matter how fast you do it. The simple act of freezing produces ice crystals in the cell, and they would break down the cell membranes. Speeding up the freeze thaw helps, but not enough. Think of a steak. Dry it out, chuck it in the freezer then thaw it out. Note the large amount of blood that ends up on your plate and the way the meat becomes pale. It's called freezer burn, and it's basically caused because the cell membranes have ruptured releasing the liquids inside the cells. Now imagine that was your brain!!! You see the problem.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
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  14. Vaporo

    Vaporo Inkling

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    Agreed, but I'm talking near-instant freezing. If I understand the physics correctly and you could somehow remove all of the heat from a body of water at once, no crystals would form. No expansion, nothing. The water would just... stop where it stood.
     
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  15. psychotick

    psychotick Auror

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    Hi,

    You're talking about glass formation. Unfortunately no one really knows how to do it outside of a test tube. But it involves taking water down to minus fifty or so extremely rapidly under precise conditions. And then the specimen has to be precisely handled. One tap - yes literally a tap - will cause rapid nucleation or ice formation.

    The next problem is that almost all the evidence we have of critters that can survive freezing - mostly frogs - suggests they do it by releasing large quantities of certain compounds - sugars commonly - into their cells before they freeze as a protection. But that amount and the substances released have to be precisely controlled. If you just flash froze a frog it wouldn't get up again.

    But if your story is a fantasy, go for it. I mean if you can battle dragons etc, why not.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
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  16. Malik

    Malik Archmage

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    Frozone was a badass. Just sayin'.

     
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  17. Sheilawisz

    Sheilawisz Queen of Titania Moderator

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    Wait! Wait wait... You have been reading my Joan of England novels, right? Well not really, since I keep the entire trilogy very secret, few people have seen even fragments of what is my most beloved story so far. However, I loved your comment! It's almost like you have been reading my story, even though I know that a similar scenario is part of other stories as well.

    In my Joan story, the Mages develop a weapon located at Surrey, England. The Ice Magic involved is so powerful that they can cause extreme cold and massive snowstorms against any country that defies the New World Order, which means crop devastation and famines with the potential to claim millions of lives.

    Any rebellious nation was in danger of even getting buried under kilometers of snow, so they just surrendered one by one, all in exchange for not only safe haven from the weapon, but also for the magical seeds that allowed to grow all types of crops on snow and ice.

    The world was conquered, and Snowball Earth soon became a reality anyway.

    Alice Layttel does freeze entire battalions instantly, but in fact Ice Magic does not need a total freeze to be lethal.

    If this style of magic could be focused against very specific areas of the body, like a laser, it would only take some frostbite damage to vital areas in order to be fatal. I would aim for the head, otherwise perhaps just the heart or the lungs. Again, it's scary to think about and not a pleasant way to die for anyone.

    In Alice into Darkness there are Weather Mages by the way. Well, they are more exactly a type of Electricity-like Magic, but they have the ability to mess up weather and freeze entire countries if large numbers of them work together.
     
  18. Nighty_Knight

    Nighty_Knight Scribe

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    Ice magic will kill. So it’s pretty deadly. Imagine the physical damage you can do to a person if you can freeze body parts, them shatter them. Think about how dangerous something like liquid nitrogen is. Guess how much of our air is made up of nitrogen? Look at game of Thrones white walkers, so cold regular iron would shatter when their weapons impacted each other. Creating a mass of baseball sized hail can mess an army up, and directed at one person might not outright kill them, but it will beat them to hell.

    You can use it to freeze the water around incoming ships during a naval battle or landing. How dangerous would ice magic be during a rain storm? Using your surroundings and weather could turn into a huge strategic benefit. Use it to cancel out someone else fire magic, or even something as simple was an opposing force trying to light your buildings or surroundings on fire. It could also be used to create frozen ice bridges to cross areas rapidly that would normally require a boat.

    Also, if they can slow down molecules to create freezing and ice, could they speed it up and unfreeze rapidly? Possibly to a boil? If they can only slow it down, how widespread can the power cover? Could it possibly created an artificial winter and freeze over an entire area?
     
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  19. One thing you maybe should think about is the amount of power you want your characters to wield and where that power comes from. To taken Frozen as an example again, it takes something like the power of 115 atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima to freeze the Fjord like Elsa did. And she did it as an accidental afterthought that took no effort on her part.

    All in all, water is a pretty amazing substance and it takes a lot of energy to warm / cool it and even more to freeze or thaw it. That energy needs to come from somewhere. Of course, you can handwave it like Disney did and get away with it. But if you're aiming for realistic, then that is something to consider. Once you factor in energy and where it comes from then you can make ice magic as deadly as you need it to be. I think there have been a lot of interesting examples in this topic (asking writers how you can kill people apparently gives creative results...). You can go as big or a small as you need. And while completely freezing someone will work, just covering someones mouth and nose with ice will be pretty effective in killing (or at least taking them out) them and that takes a lot less effort. Also, if you are fighting an army, just making the enemy cold will slow them down and make them less effective.
     
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  20. ShadeZ

    ShadeZ Sage

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    This warlord is extremely magically powerful. To put it in perspective he beats three fire dragons in a fight at one point, dragons are naturals at using magic and are mid-high in magic power plus their physically very strong. The reason the warlord is so strong is he shares a close bond with the ice realm. The prince of the ice realm at one point feels threatened by the warlord and tried to lock him out of his ice magic and the ice realm itself won't let him lock the warlord out of its magic. Magic realms are somewhat sentient and can be attracted to certain types of humans resulting in the human having a very powerful bond with that magic type. Ice is the element of protection, loyalty, defense, and counter attacks. As a young man the warlord would evacuate villages that were under attack by dragons and would fight raiders who attacked travelers and villages near his home. The warlord became a warlord to protect kingdoms that were under siege by a massive enemy kingdom that has more land than it needs already and is attacking purely for conquest reasons.

    Because nearly all of his actions were driven by level-headed resolve to protect people or defend those who can't protect themselves he attracted the attention of the ice plane which marked him as one of its champions. This causes a number of side effects, when he is tense his skin gets very cold and often the room does too, ice monsters are subservient to him most of the time, he smells like snow and is very hard to track as a result, he doesn't leave prints in the snow or make sound in snow or rain type weather if he is trying to be quiet, he can cause intense weather like a white out, blizzards, flooding rain, deep snow, hail, freezing rain. He is known by the people to be a very violent and callous warrior but among the warriors who actually fought with him he is known to be extremely protective of his own men in battle usually using his magic to minimize casualties even if it means a tricky enemy will escape him. He is also known despite his reputation for causing carnage to prefer the peaceful solution if such is a viable option.

    I've got down what his defensive and general magic capabilities are just not how he could use it offensively so much. There is of course a lot of room to be creative due to how strong he is and since he can use magic pretty much as far as he can see.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2020
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