Jul. 28th, 2017 02:03 pm
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
[personal profile] beccaelizabeth
Today I am learning more about plants. Which is not hard, since I know very little about plants. But I started out wondering how specific you have to be when the recipe says "oak"... er, though, probably the instructions for things that are not food are not recipes. Plans? Spells, in some cases.

... so, yeah, it's the Granny was a better witch because she knew it didn't matter, Magrat was a better medic because she thought it did.

But the first part is 'build a stormworthy ship' and only the second part is magic.


Did you know there are a lot of things called Oak?

Like, a lot.

Possibly 600? If Quercus species are all oaks, which I don't know, it just says Quercus (oak) at the top of the list on wiki.

And looking up which sorts bo staffs are made of led to spirited debate about which works better in basic stick form, and also some argue about if the descriptions are slightly cheating, and quite a lot of annoyance about 'oak' that is in fact any wood at all but with a color. Which might not matter in interior decorating, except the ways it does, but certainly does matter when a key part of your day is how the stick will break.

I have absolutely no idea of it would break 600 different ways.

The thing about knowledge is any set of knowledge is, like, fractally huge. And you don't know what you don't know when you don't know it. And then you spend several hours wondering about the stickness of sticks.

Also today I ended up reading about tree diseases. Not very much, because bad, but there are species that might go the way of the elm, and it's pretty worrying.

And I was thinking how much magic handwaves in game rulebooks. I mean the equivalent of Cure Disease for plants, Heal Plant, would be a world changer.

That could be how a magic user Holds a stretch of land, if it would otherwise be blighted, in the plant disease sense, but they can magic it to grow plenty good. And then when a magic user screwed up or got ill or was unavailable, the land would go splat. And then people would try and steal the best magic users to keep their land healthy. And that's before even looking at the plant blessing and earth purifying spells.

... ooh, neat, Quercus coccifera was the food plant for the bug that made crimson. So that's a very specific bit of useful. Crimson was super expensive.

And the different oaks are associated with different ecosystems, which is why they grow where they grow, but also what grows with them.

Some oaks support bugs that seriously harm other oaks. Oak warfare, bring your own bug battles...

If you need specific species for your magic then you're either looking at some very precise weather control and fancy plant magic, or you've got a long supply chain. Or a reason to go questing.

It's actually still bothering me about more species of tree going away. I mean when it's from cutting them down it's enraging, but when they just die and they're still trying to figure out why, that's creepy.

Some trees get resistant strains left over, but you never really know, they might just all go.


Also I read a few paragraphs in http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/8668587.stm on how Britain got all oak obsessed back when they made Hearts of Oak a song, and oak was what you needed for ships to win wars with, the sort where everyone expected to get invaded. There was a hurricane that knocked a bazillion trees down, on top of years of deforestation from wanting to use it for burning and all sorts, and there was a panic we'd run out of ship wood. So then everyone went extra on planting oak trees, like dropping acorns wherever they went as well as planting land they actually owned. Oak trees everywhere. Because oak meant defence meant safety.

Oak probably meant Quercus robur. But then as well as species there's cultivars, varieties, fiddlier particular sorts. Endless details.

And you don't want only the one sort of tree to build a ship with. There's whole pages of sorts you could use. Only the pages with the ship recipes are not very specific as to species. They are a bit more helpful on which bits you can build with what. Masts are particular, apparently.

So if you end up in a whole new geography looking for parts, you're going to want particular functions. Probably figuring them out from a new place is a bit fiddly? But I don't know how fiddly.

I mean obviously if you're standard is 'stays afloat' then it's less fiddly than if you really need 'wins round the world races'.

But I think I've got a good excuse to send a character round the area a bunch, if they're looking for particular sorts.

Knowledge. So much of it, so small brain to pour it into. Is fun.


beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)

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