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  • Transforming an animal

    I've been wondering about this. If I were to transform a rat into a cow with a one-day duration, butcher it immediately and turn it into assorted cuts of meat, but the meat doesn't get eaten until the next day after the spell has worn off, what happens to the meat? Also, what if you eat the meat 1/2 an hour before the spell expires, what happens to the already partially digested meat in your body?

  • #2
    I'm of two minds on this.

    One would be to go with the most direct explanation; Patterning can transform a thing in full and retain that transformation when disassembled, but turns back when Duration expires and it would be as though you disassembled the original form along the same lines. It's inadvisable to consume something transformed in this way; even if both kinds are digestible, the sudden shift can mess up your systems.

    The other would be to follow the lead in Signs of Sorcery where magic can at times interact with living or just recently living materials in unusual ways that are as yet not the most well documented because exploring some of them can have ethical issues. Which would essentially just be taking a basic line about not consuming stuff and expanding it in several directions and odd interactions, in contexts even apart from what it's like to be digesting something when its form reverts.

    This could also be a thing that applies to matter in a non-living form; that an observing mage can find some very weird chemistry takes place when, say, you see what happens to the products of combustion when the duration of the spell that turned mercury into coal ends. How dramatic those results are can vary.

    I think the latter would be interesting to look at if it's the sort of thing players would be into (irresponsible Patterning or the consequences of a thing you changed getting messed up before it turns back could be a more unusual but intriguing form of an Act of Hubris), but in many cases it might be best to go with the most direct explanation.

    Well, most direct that doesn't let you off the hook for the significance of duration. I think there was a time in the past where I would have thought that reacting a transformed thing essentially made the change Lasting, but I don't care for it anymore, particularly when the rules have been tightened up so much.

    Yeah, yeah I think it's the argument that I would have made as a concession to the fact that in First Edition transforming liquids was something Matter could do at 2 dots (and similar for converting simple life forms), and it would be best to err on the side of not making things super complicated for starting characters. When such transformations of all kinds come at 4 dots anyway, I think it gets to be reserved as an issue players need to be cautious with.

    For definite, don't ever feed somebody something that was a dramatically different size. Food or its digested forms that suddenly gets a lot smaller within your system is the kind of thing I think should cause some nasty chemical imbalances, if not kind of tearing some molecules to shreds.


    I have approximate knowledge of many things.
    Write up as I play Xenoblade Chronicles.

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    • #3
      I was thinking of using It after a week's duration at least. In that time, even the constituent parts wouldn't be able to shift back, and by the time a week is up, any of that food that hasn't already been digested has been eliminated.

      It would be cool however, weight gain from all thise carbs and all the fat disappeared when this spell ended. I could make a fortune with that spell.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Spirin01 View Post
        I was thinking of using It after a week's duration at least. In that time, even the constituent parts wouldn't be able to shift back, and by the time a week is up, any of that food that hasn't already been digested has been eliminated.
        Under my premises, it's the kind of thing where I'd have it that duration ending while still in the system is potentially disastrous, while observations of it such substance being processed at least suggest it can be dubious. The sort of thing outside the normal mechanical resolution but where the logic of Signs of Sorcery suggests that it can get weird.

        And in any case a matter where mage ethics suggests that it's an issue to undertake such a thing without having a firm idea of the consequences of it in the first place.

        Originally posted by Spirin01
        It would be cool however, weight gain from all thise carbs and all the fat disappeared when this spell ended.
        I think that might be a reductive take on how the nutrition works. I also feel as though the sudden disappearance of large quantities of energy storing tissue is going to cause health issues, even apart from questions of any unusual pattern interactions from a spell ending like that.

        Originally posted by Spirin01
        I could make a fortune with that spell.
        How?


        I have approximate knowledge of many things.
        Write up as I play Xenoblade Chronicles.

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        • #5
          As to your 1st part, it was only a joke, I thought that might be obvious but I guess I'm sometimes too subtle.

          As to the 2nd part, I can part, theoretically if this could be done, I could sell my services to all the fat mages and other supernaturals And semi supernaturals like ghouls and sleepwalkers.

          In case you missed it, that also was a joke.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Spirin01 View Post
            I've been wondering about this. If I were to transform a rat into a cow with a one-day duration, butcher it immediately and turn it into assorted cuts of meat, but the meat doesn't get eaten until the next day after the spell has worn off, what happens to the meat? Also, what if you eat the meat 1/2 an hour before the spell expires, what happens to the already partially digested meat in your body?
            Turning an animal into another animal requires Life. I could see the argument that killing the animal afterwards is, metaphysically, a big enough change to its pattern that it could no longer change back because it's no longer even really the same thing.

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            • #7
              I think keeping it unreliable would be the most interesting approach. Strange interactions occur and no one can guess what exactly will happen.

              But I don't think the risks would be eliminated after the food being digested and eliminated". A lot of the materials on the food you eat are kept inside the body, and not only in the form of fat. After 1 week, depending on how the conversion back occurs, you should have sudden losses inside the liver, blood stream and cells all around the body. This could lead up to lesions if the matter lost becomes a vacuum, or embolism if it becomes air.


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              • #8
                There really isn't any guidance on this in the books, so far as I've seen.

                Point not yet raised, however: Symbolically, "dead meat" is a significantly different thing from "living beast" to the point that Life can't transform it anymore. The spell no longer applies, as it's just entered the purview of Matter. (and Death...)

                So, your question is really more like: Does a rat-turned-cow turn into a dead rat immediately upon slaughter? If not, well, you simply have beef, not time bomb rat beef.

                Other edges to ponder:
                Consequences of the transformation: Cows shed cow hairs. When they drop off, they aren't part of the cow anymore, so do those revert to rat hair? I'd rule no, at my table, because that is a normal consequence of a cow.

                Similarly, would blood dripped be rat or cow blood? If blood from a wound remains cow blood, it also makes sense that a chunk of the cow taken by a puma, say, would remain cow meat until it became mountain lion stuff.



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                • #9
                  Originally posted by thenate View Post

                  Point not yet raised, however: Symbolically, "dead meat" is a significantly different thing from "living beast" to the point that Life can't transform it anymore. The spell no longer applies, as it's just entered the purview of Matter. (and Death...)

                  I think the implications raised by that offer too many weird situations of prematurely ending spells by sufficiently changing their subjects that it's a bad scene.

                  If intricate metaphysical explanations for why a transformed being stays like that even when dead until the spell's duration ends, I'd attach it to an idea that a dead Pattern still retains Forms consisting of the information "was once a living thing", and a Life spell can still define the nature of those Forms until it ends.

                  I think this can reasonably apply when the setting also includes dead things that were very much never alive, so that there's some information that sets those apart from the formerly living. I'd also see such an interconnection in the descriptions of how both Moros and Thyrsus see the respective Arcana, the manner in which Life and Death intertwine; if Moros see Life in terms of something that creates an attachment for the dead, I could see them perceiving a transformation spell as a particularly acute example of such, a lingering attachment to something that... well, in certain terms is momentarily more real than its natural form was.


                  I have approximate knowledge of many things.
                  Write up as I play Xenoblade Chronicles.

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                  • #10
                    The system explicitly allows for spells to continue without effect if Withstood or a Clash overrides things, meaning a spell needn't be able to function to exist. The spell doesn't prematurely end in such a case, it simply ceases to maintain its effect.

                    I simply point out that a spell without any viable target ceases to function.

                    The transformation itself is retained as far as it goes, but no further, so I'd rule that a cow that converts into a carcass becomes a cow carcass as cows normally do. The spell no longer has any bearing on it, one way or another, but the spell lasts until the duration ends. (I could also see ruling it as simply ending the spell and you get a dead rat, but nah.)

                    (I do find it strange that you think that having a spell jump arcanum purview raises more strange implications than having a spell only affect the targets that it's capable of targeting. I'm curious to hear an example or two to see where your head's at, 'cause I don't see it.)


                    Grump, grouse, and/or gripe.

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