Page 800 - Cloud Wrangling

6th Sep 2016, 6:00 AM
Cloud Wrangling
Average Rating: 4 (1 votes)
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 6th Sep 2016, 6:00 AM edit delete
Newbiespud
Author: Winged Cat

Guest Author's Note: "Clouds in FiM are ephemeral matter that certain species can turn into solid objects. This would appear to be an unusual feature, not easily mapped to standard power sets that appear in most systems. Most of the FiM RPG systems I have seen as of this writing have at least a note about interacting with cloudstuff, if not specific mechanics.

"Tell us of any extraordinary uses of solid cloudstuff, or similar material in other universes. (My record so far: a cloudcabin that was made up to look like a floating RV, but actually contained so many lightning bolts that the changeling hive we drifted near, once they discovered the bolts, took it as a declaration of war.)"

Newbiespud's Note: Oh snap, it's page 800?!

36 Comments:

Joe the Rat 6th Sep 2016, 6:11 AM edit delete reply
Keep them stormies rollin', Squallhide!
Digo Dragon 6th Sep 2016, 6:13 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
In one of my D&D 5e campaigns, the party rogue kept a chunk of cloud around to use as his bed at night. And to float himself lazily along when the party traveled.

In one specific case, he hid inside it and when an enemy walked up to the cloud to inspect it, the rogue jumped out for a sneak attack.
Someone 6th Sep 2016, 9:00 AM edit delete reply
Beep beep, Imma cloud.
Digo Dragon 6th Sep 2016, 9:54 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
He did the 'yip yip' Avatar reference when Aang rides Appa. :3
Guest 6th Sep 2016, 2:26 PM edit delete reply
could he only sleep on it so long as he was pure of heart?
(Goku from DBZ ref)
Digo Dragon 6th Sep 2016, 6:15 PM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
More like full of sugar. :3

Only rogue I knew that would skip out on treasure for freshly baked cookies. Usually.
Blueblade 6th Sep 2016, 8:13 PM edit delete reply
For you see the real treasure is cookies.
Snacker 6th Sep 2016, 7:21 AM edit delete reply
This is my first time commenting, I think.

So I am currently playing in a Final Fantasy Pathfinder campaign, and I came up with what the GM and I think is a fascinating explanation of how airships work: cloud silver.

One in a thousand clouds is actually solid ice attached to a lighter than air metal called cloud silver, named after (or inspiring) the phase "every cloud has a silver lining."

The tricky bit is getting the cloud silver of course, which is what makes the stuff quite valuable. The first difficulty is getting to it, which either requires already having an airship, waiting on the side of a mountain and hoping that one of these solid clouds comes by and crashes into it, or having a flying mount or being able to fly yourself. Once there, then you have to deal with the creatures that often roost atop the solid cloud, which can range from some angry birds to clutches of dragons. Then comes the real tricky part: dealing with a substance that is much lighter than air.

Most mining techniques take for granted that the thing you are mining is going to fall to the ground after you mine it, and not fly off into the beyond. You have to be very careful to hold on to what you mine out. Each miner then ends up restricted to carrying no more than the counter to their weight and the weight of what they have on them, lest they fly off into the beyond. Finally you are restricted to what the airship or the like can counter out, often requiring powerful engines to lift a lot of counter weight of the ground and the ability to reverse the engines to force the airship back to ground when it is being pulled up into the sky. On top of all of this, you have to be careful to watch what the cloud does when you leave, as it will sometimes go crashing off to earth, releasing what cloud silver remains.

Pull all that off a dozen times or so, and you can build a new airship! Hope you didn't lose any while doing so.
Digo Dragon 6th Sep 2016, 9:56 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
Wow, that sounds pretty detailed, but I like that bit of worldbuilding.
Winged Cat 6th Sep 2016, 11:27 AM edit delete reply
What Digo said.

Though it seems you'd want a large tarp to throw over the cloud at some point, and for smaller clouds you could simply fire said tarp over the cloud (with a sufficiently powerful launcher - though lower-to-the-ground clouds would be easier to snag - and anchor to the ground, then haul in much like Applejack does here. You would need accurate launchers, but otherwise it would seem much easier and simpler (and thus cheaper, if accurate launchers aren't enormously expensive; if the aiming is mostly manual/you don't have artillery computers, crews that could snag clouds reliably could probably charge a good amount).

Granted, this assumes nothing's nesting on the cloud, but smaller clouds are less likely to have things on them (since there's less room to nest). Further, the launcher is essentially anti-air artillery, so different ammunition can chase away most such nesting things.

Once you have it all under tarp, and the tarp is securely anchored to the ground, just melt the ice out. Then you have the problem of transporting the cloud silver to the airship manufacturing site (unless you're fortunate enough to have the cloud drift near enough to said site before snagging it), but that can be handled by putting enough ballast on the ground transportation.
Snacker 6th Sep 2016, 12:09 PM edit delete reply
That seems like a good idea, but it is a bit harder in settings where clouds act a little more "normally" compared to MLP. Putting a tarp on a cloud that is about a mile up, and almost as wide would be tricky. Add to that needing the ability to haul the thousands-of-tons object all that distance, and do it all with FF level tech (talking 1-6, rather than 7+), and it starts to look impossible.

Tarps would be needed for mining the cloud itself though.
Dusk Raven 6th Sep 2016, 3:40 PM edit delete reply
Given that a little ways back I was cooking up a JRPG-style setting and wondering whether to include airships or not, that's actually a neat little bit of magitek I may include - if you don't mind.
Snacker 6th Sep 2016, 10:33 PM edit delete reply
Go for it Dusk Raven. I am more than fine with you using it.
Winged Cat 6th Sep 2016, 5:01 PM edit delete reply
Like I said, lower-to-the-ground clouds would be easier (though a good magitek cannon should be able to hit something a mile away). And ground-fired tarps would probably best be for clouds much smaller than a mile across.

Let it be said, though: this would be specialized, heavy equipment, most likely with trained crews (though your average PC should have a shot - no pun intended - of operating it).
Joe the Rat 7th Sep 2016, 6:04 AM edit delete reply
I'm always looking for ways to put things in the air. Consider this borrowed.

One of the modes of flight I've put together for my world is Sky Marble. It's an alabaster-colored stone that when exposed to water (or water elemental energy) will float in the air. A Cistern for lift and a Wind Well for movement, and you can fly. This is what cloud giants use to build the foundations of their castles.

I also have Eastern Bloc Sky Elves that use a combination of Bio-Punk (Seed-Punk) and solar power battery crystals to keep their entire culture aloft. Being able to repurpose Spelljammer deck plans is a bonus.
Specter 6th Sep 2016, 8:30 AM edit delete reply
Specter
In a pathfinder game with rules similar to Metal Gear Solid (or the trench coat rules of Shadowrun if that helps), our group had to figure out how to get into a highly scrutinized fortress without being detected. One of our characters comes from a homeland similar to that of Silent Hill (the foggy part at least) and asked if we could capture some clouds and stuff them into bottles so that we could use them as (the inevitable) fog bomb.

Catching the mostly incorporeal material, very hard. Stuffing them into small bottles for greater concentration, very costly. Altering the properties of the clouds with a combination of magic, water, and personality (we threw partial souls into them), worth it.
Pablo360 6th Sep 2016, 9:36 AM edit delete reply
Pablo360
I want to make a MasterCard joke right now, but I can't think of one.
Digo Dragon 6th Sep 2016, 10:06 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
Nuclear fuel for the proton ether net array: $23,000

Miniaturized torus magnetic containment unit: $78,000

Alchemical Engine to tame the horrors of the Silent Hill fog to do your bidding: Priceless.

There are some mad science experiments money can't buy. For everything else, there's Mastercard.
WuseMajor 6th Sep 2016, 11:07 AM edit delete reply
In the RPG Exalted, in their setting, it gets cold enough in certain areas of the North that lightning freezes on the way down and breaks up into chunks when it hits. Frozen Lightning and other strange materials are used in lots of the magical items.
Winged Cat 6th Sep 2016, 11:30 AM edit delete reply
I've played Exalted. Frozen lightning is basically found batteries, not malleable cloudstuff. Right element, though.

Exalted does have cloud cities, but IIRC those are usually "floating island" type enchantments (perhaps with ordinary clouds around them).
remial 6th Sep 2016, 2:30 PM edit delete reply
I had a character throw frozen lightning at a Fireblooded member of the wild hunt who was after me.
He _really_ should have just let the chunk of lightning hit him. Thawing it was a bad idea.
ANW 6th Sep 2016, 12:25 PM edit delete reply
I was thinking that today was a Monday.
Labor day mixup.
Ever did that before?
Dragonflight 6th Sep 2016, 2:11 PM edit delete reply
In an old D&D campaign we ran once, the PCs found a vampire nest in a port city. One of the vamps had its coffin under the floorboards of a warehouse in the dockyard.

The snarky character in the party got this beatific expression on his face, and led us on a quick trip to acquire parts. When the vamp left that night for a location we knew of ahead of time, we snuck into the warehouse, and did a few things. We cut out the floor under the coffin in a pattern just *less* than the coffin itself, so that the coffin would stay suspended under the floor. Second, we cut out the bottom of the coffin and replaced the satin interior with a semisolid cloudlike illusion. It would fool casual contact, but not support the full weight of a person. Third, we cut out the remaining floor under the coffin and above the water.

Then we hunted down the vamp and trashed him. True to form, when he was reduced to low hitpoints, he turned to smoke and zipped back to his coffin, where he reconstituted back into solid matter.

At which point he then fell through the bottom of the fake bed and into the water...

It was probably the most work ever put in to kill a single vamp, but it was easily the most fun.
Winged Cat 6th Sep 2016, 5:03 PM edit delete reply
Did you set up a pool of holy water under the warehouse, for the vampire to fall into?
jy3 6th Sep 2016, 5:27 PM edit delete reply
Doesn't need to be holy if it's running.
DanielLC 6th Sep 2016, 5:49 PM edit delete reply
In Fallout Equestria, the Grand Pegasus Enclave makes a lot of their stuff out of clouds, including terminals and locks. Good luck hacking a terminal when your hooves move right through it.
Digo Dragon 6th Sep 2016, 6:16 PM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
How does a cloud lock work? Does the latch it's on not go through the lock?
Blueblade 6th Sep 2016, 8:11 PM edit delete reply
Cloud locks:
Pros: Nobody has ever been able to pick a cloud lock.
Cons: One strong wind or wave of the hand later and it's gone.
Evilbob 6th Sep 2016, 9:51 PM edit delete reply
Evilbob
MAGIC.

Although, to be fair... at that point you have to wonder why they'd go through all that trouble of magicking a cloud-lock to a solid container...
Digo Dragon 7th Sep 2016, 5:20 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
And that is really the big picture-like question I have here. Why is the Enclave putting that much effort into making stuff out of clouds when they could instead focus on say, leading the rebuild of Equestria.

In the Fallout Equestria RP I'm in, this is one of those questions my character has. For all the effort the Enclave puts into keeping themselves afloat (hoo hoo) on their cloud cities, which are running out of resources and usable cloud space, they could of spent it putting Equestria back together.

I guess it follows the actual Fallout enclave's idea of purity and not mixing with the "mutated" ground pony population. My character never gets a straight answer from the only Enclaver he's managed to talk to that didn't try and shoot him. ^^;
Blueblade 6th Sep 2016, 8:08 PM edit delete reply
"What's a clouds Ac?"...
That is a question I never would of thought that I would hear... Ever.
However I'm gonna guess that clouds Ac is less than that of the darkness.
Winged Cat 6th Sep 2016, 10:27 PM edit delete reply
Things that don't dodge and don't have actual armor, natural toughness, or the like tend to be pretty easy targets, yeah.
Digo Dragon 7th Sep 2016, 5:22 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
One big area effect Gust of Wind outta do it.
Someone 7th Sep 2016, 6:41 AM edit delete reply
Well, you didn't hear it, so it still counts.
Blueblade 6th Sep 2016, 8:16 PM edit delete reply
Rainbow got the score wrong.
It's her: Infinityzillion
Clouds: 9

Thank you! Thank you! I'll be here all week folks!
XD
Happy_Balor 7th Sep 2016, 5:47 AM edit delete reply
I had a character in a 3.5 game, an unarmed Pegasus Warblade named Steelwing, who'd use clouds in place of bedrolls whenever the party camped in the wild. He had used them to travel in his backstory some, but that was mostly because he was 'letting fate and the wind take me where it will'.