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hydraphantom
2018-05-22, 03:27 AM
Got into a debate with one of my mate about using industrial Gems and Diamond for spell materials.

He believes that industrial grade jewelry should be unusable in spells due to lacking the "magical power" that natural gemstones have, that's needed for using them as material in the first place.

I believe that chemically, industrial grade and natural gemstones are no different to each other and should be usable for spell material. In fact, the natural gemstone would be even more unpure that they need so much amount in the first place.

His argument is actually quite interesting to me because my antagonist faction could mass produce industrial grade diamond to mass resurrect their fallen comrades.

What do you guys think?

caden_varn
2018-05-22, 04:44 AM
You need a diamond worth x GP don't you? If so mass-producing drops the value, therefore you need more diamonds to resurrect people - so you get no advantage. In fact, it's a disadvantage, as someone where diamonds are rare can get away with a small stone to resurrect someone, whereas you need a wheelbarrow full of the mass-produced ones :smallbiggrin:

hydraphantom
2018-05-22, 06:00 AM
You need a diamond worth x GP don't you? If so mass-producing drops the value, therefore you need more diamonds to resurrect people - so you get no advantage. In fact, it's a disadvantage, as someone where diamonds are rare can get away with a small stone to resurrect someone, whereas you need a wheelbarrow full of the mass-produced ones :smallbiggrin:

Not exactly. For example, if the mass-produced diamonds only circulated as resurrection material by the ruling body, the value of it would not change much as it is not in the market?:smallbiggrin:

BWR
2018-05-22, 07:05 AM
It's a non-issue in my games because we think the way caden does: you need diamonds worth X amount, and the physical amount or origin is irrelevant.
Yes, we've thought about how if you use natural diamond in the quantities that a D&D games tend to suggest that they would quickly skyrocket in price, or how you could flood the market with cheap synthetic stuff or stuff mined on Paraelemental Mineral, and more, but it doesn't matter: you need a fixed GP value so that's what you have to pay.

Thankfully, my players are more concerned with playing the game rather than trying to find 'clever' work-arounds through magic or economics or whatever.

VoxRationis
2018-05-22, 07:18 AM
I'm kind of wondering what D&D setting you have where synthetic diamond is a material produced on a scale large enough for this question to be relevant.

I'd say that a particular DM is well within their rights to rule that chemical identity is not sufficient for magical power. Certainly it's not the case that the properties and composition of real-life diamond allow it to be expended for the purposes of resurrection. Whatever metaphysical laws work in your fantasy setting may well distinguish between origins in this matter.

hydraphantom
2018-05-22, 07:38 AM
I'm kind of wondering what D&D setting you have where synthetic diamond is a material produced on a scale large enough for this question to be relevant.

I'd say that a particular DM is well within their rights to rule that chemical identity is not sufficient for magical power. Certainly it's not the case that the properties and composition of real-life diamond allow it to be expended for the purposes of resurrection. Whatever metaphysical laws work in your fantasy setting may well distinguish between origins in this matter.

The antagonist faction has technology thatís close to modern level, hence the synthetic diamond mass ressurection.

VoxRationis
2018-05-22, 09:58 AM
My apologies; I did not read your post well enough. If it's your game, it's very much your decision whether synthetic counts, so long as your ruling is consistent (though having some explanation for your decision would be nice).

I would avoid, however, playing too faithfully with the rules about diamond value being necessary, unless the forces of magic are extremely mercenary in your setting, as taking monetary value (which is necessarily relative) as an absolute measurement of gem suitability can lead to absurd conclusions. (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0677.html)

khadgar567
2018-05-22, 10:59 AM
here is the more important problem with out proper tech or spells to identify the diamonds you can hit the jackpot by selling the industrial diamond to merchant then buy regular diamond thus effectively pull money laundering scheme and kill the parties chance to beat you by huge margin. as most parties gonna think they hit the jackpot when they find enough diamond to make resurrection no problem until cleric tries to cast the spell and fail several times. while you the big bad already cast it with no problem. thus each boss or lieutenant party kills can be easily resurrected by big bad while party needs higher and higher amount of diamond to do the same. as side affect of using industrial diamond in the spell your cleric might be fall from grace quite quickly thus no divine magic to party.

LordEntrails
2018-05-22, 11:06 AM
I'm kind of wondering what D&D setting you have where synthetic diamond is a material produced on a scale large enough for this question to be relevant.

I'd say that a particular DM is well within their rights to rule that chemical identity is not sufficient for magical power. Certainly it's not the case that the properties and composition of real-life diamond allow it to be expended for the purposes of resurrection. Whatever metaphysical laws work in your fantasy setting may well distinguish between origins in this matter.
This was my thought as well.


The antagonist faction has technology thatís close to modern level, hence the synthetic diamond mass ressurection.
Huh? Who's the "antagonist faction"? Though I guess it really doesn't matter.

We're talking "magic" here. It is well within a DM's purview as to if origins matter in magical components. It's a lot like the discussion of "soul". Sure, two items my be chemically or physically identical, but that doesn't mean that in a fantasy setting that the two items are identical. Their may well be 'magical' or non-tangible traits to one object that are missing from another.

Personally, I don't like to take science and my knowledge of technology and apply it to my role playing.

Whatever the ruling, the DM should just be consistent.

Mark Hall
2018-05-22, 12:00 PM
A gem's value is determined by clarity, cut, color, and carat. Big but ugly is worth less than small and pretty. I don't see a problem with using industrial diamond in place of gem-quality, but you'll need a lot more.

gkathellar
2018-05-22, 01:11 PM
A gem's value is determined by clarity, cut, color, and carat. Big but ugly is worth less than small and pretty. I don't see a problem with using industrial diamond in place of gem-quality, but you'll need a lot more.

Well, that and its ability to pass synthetic testing. After all, if you can convince people that diamonds made to spec are functionally identical to natural ones, how is the diamond industry supposed to protect their artificially inflated prices?

Xuc Xac
2018-05-22, 02:00 PM
It's all a scam anyway. "Color" used to mean less color was more valuable. Then they hit on the marketing gimmick of calling the yellow ones "champagne diamonds" to raise the price in spite of the color. Now they're even trying to pass off "chocolate diamonds" as a thing.

It probably won't be long before they're trying to sell the badly cut and heavily included diamonds as "raw, rugged, more natural" diamonds.

Mark Hall
2018-05-22, 03:31 PM
I'll also note... there's a difference between "Industrial Grade" and "Manufactured" diamonds. Lots of natural industrial grade diamonds, especially before it was easy to make diamonds.

Wardog
2018-05-22, 04:39 PM
You probably need to come up with an explanation for how/why spells need gems.

Do gems have some esoteric quality, some sort of "spirit", that plays a role in the magic? If so, arteficial gems might lack that.

Do the gods require a certain sacrifice of wealth before the allow the spell to work? If so, then a spell that requires 5000gp of diamonds will still require 5000gp of diamons, even if you are using cheap diamonds.

Is it the physical properties of the gem that are important, in which case you may be able to get an arteficial gem that does the same job for less.

Or maybe arteficial gems can be used in spells, but they need to be made in a particular way that makes them more expensive than "standard" arteficial gems. Or you could have arteficial gems made by the Noldor, which work better than natural ones, and are consequently more expensive rather than less.

Mr Beer
2018-05-22, 10:51 PM
Gems need to be worth x GP, if your diamond is worth x GP, then it's OK by RAW whether or not it's an industrial diamond.

A GM can of course make up their own house rules regarding this.

Kaptin Keen
2018-05-23, 12:41 AM
What do you guys think?

Well - you're obviously trying to cheese it. Which is fine, if your GM allows it.

Industrial grade diamonds are way cheaper than those dug out of the earth - and not only because of the effort involved. There is also less romantic notion involved in industrial production - which, admittedly, is odd considering how diamonds are mined. But still, the mind attaches some sort of value to the fact that 'this tiny, shiny stone was buried underground for millions of years'.

What you sacrifice when you spend the stone for casting a spell isn't the gp value - it's the emotional value. It's the value assigned by sentients everywhere. And lets be honest, everyone hates industrial diamonds for anything other than drilling and polishing.

Knaight
2018-05-23, 12:51 AM
What you sacrifice when you spend the stone for casting a spell isn't the gp value - it's the emotional value. It's the value assigned by sentients everywhere. And lets be honest, everyone hates industrial diamonds for anything other than drilling and polishing.

They're less liked, but there's no shortage of people who think synthetic gem making is really cool, and tend to like them far more than mined diamonds. Granted, said group is generally not particularly willing to blow several months pay on a rock.

Kaptin Keen
2018-05-23, 08:03 AM
They're less liked, but there's no shortage of people who think synthetic gem making is really cool, and tend to like them far more than mined diamonds. Granted, said group is generally not particularly willing to blow several months pay on a rock.

Diamonds are, to all intents and purposes, really just more expensive glass. Why people are so keen on them is beyond me. Same for gold, for that matter, even if I dutifully buy my girlfriend gold jewelry.

Which ironically reminds me I owe her a birthday present.

hamishspence
2018-05-23, 08:16 AM
Diamonds are, to all intents and purposes, really just more expensive glass.



A piece of glass cut into exactly the same shape as a typical "brilliant cut" diamond, is not going to sparkle as much.

Worn as part of jewelry that suffers a lot of wear and tear (rings, for example) it's more likely to suffer chips, worn facet edges, etc.

Zircon is preferred as a diamond substitute over glass, for both these reasons - more sparkle, and harder.

Kaptin Keen
2018-05-23, 09:35 AM
A piece of glass cut into exactly the same shape as a typical "brilliant cut" diamond, is not going to sparkle as much.

Worn as part of jewelry that suffers a lot of wear and tear (rings, for example) it's more likely to suffer chips, worn facet edges, etc.

Zircon is preferred as a diamond substitute over glass, for both these reasons - more sparkle, and harder.

I feel like you're taking this way more seriously than I am. In some distant and unimaginable future, carbon will be compressed in artificial black holes into diamonds of a quality and rareness unachieable by other means, and the price of such a thing will be extortionate even for the percentile of a percentile of a percentile that owns half the galaxy - and it'll be no less silly.

But yes, I'm well aware that glass isn't really the same as diamonds.

Knaight
2018-05-23, 06:51 PM
Diamonds are, to all intents and purposes, really just more expensive glass. Why people are so keen on them is beyond me. Same for gold, for that matter, even if I dutifully buy my girlfriend gold jewelry.

Which ironically reminds me I owe her a birthday present.

That they're the hardest known chemical material* is enough to make them interesting on their own. So is some of the cool chemistry going on, starting with how covalently bonded crystalline macromolecules aren't exactly common, and continuing into how carbon bonding is just an interesting subject.

As for being a pretty rock, I suppose the combination of hardness and a really high refractive index is interesting enough. That said, moissanite is even sparklier, and while it's not quite as hard it's not like Moh's 9.5 is in any way too soft for basically any decorative purpose. Synthetic moissanite in particular can look good, though the nomenclature there gets weird.

*I just don't want to get into neutronium hardness here, hence that caveat. Hardest known material is arguable.

PhoenixPhyre
2018-05-23, 08:12 PM
I feel like you're taking this way more seriously than I am. In some distant and unimaginable future, carbon will be compressed in artificial black holes into diamonds of a quality and rareness unachieable by other means, and the price of such a thing will be extortionate even for the percentile of a percentile of a percentile that owns half the galaxy - and it'll be no less silly.

But yes, I'm well aware that glass isn't really the same as diamonds.

Diamonds aren't forever. Diamonds are metastable at room temperature and pressure. Graphite is forever.

No, this is not something you should tell your significant other to avoid buying them jewelry.

Kaptin Keen
2018-05-23, 11:11 PM
Diamonds aren't forever. Diamonds are metastable at room temperature and pressure. Graphite is forever.

No, this is not something you should tell your significant other to avoid buying them jewelry.

I do tell her the old 'all gold was created in a supernova' bit tho =)

TheCount
2018-05-24, 01:28 AM
i think they should work.

my idea of why gemstones are needed for spells is that they reflect the mana in themselves and amplify it, just like they do with light.
(thats why they sparkle, no?)

though, that does rise the possibility that someone builds a mirror house or something with that kind of set up, but i dont know how big that would be...

Tvtyrant
2018-05-24, 12:56 PM
Got into a debate with one of my mate about using industrial Gems and Diamond for spell materials.

He believes that industrial grade jewelry should be unusable in spells due to lacking the "magical power" that natural gemstones have, that's needed for using them as material in the first place.

I believe that chemically, industrial grade and natural gemstones are no different to each other and should be usable for spell material. In fact, the natural gemstone would be even more unpure that they need so much amount in the first place.

His argument is actually quite interesting to me because my antagonist faction could mass produce industrial grade diamond to mass resurrect their fallen comrades.

What do you guys think?
Diamonds can't be made artificially, they are the harvested hearts of Earth Elementals. The older the elemental the bigger and more magical the diamond.

Kaptin Keen
2018-05-24, 02:09 PM
Diamonds can't be made artificially, they are the harvested hearts of Earth Elementals. The older the elemental the bigger and more magical the diamond.

Funny, because ... in my homebrew world, earth elementals have a heart of stone. If you have one, you can use it to summon more powerful elementals (as if having the Improved Summoning feat). But elemental princes have a heart of gold - find one of those, and a summoned elemental will remain indefinetely.

hydraphantom
2018-05-24, 07:17 PM
Diamonds can't be made artificially, they are the harvested hearts of Earth Elementals. The older the elemental the bigger and more magical the diamond.

Do you have a source for this? Never heard of this.

Tvtyrant
2018-05-24, 09:55 PM
Do you have a source for this? Never heard of this.

The source is my brain, and the point was that fantasy worlds don't always work on real world physics (especially relating to magic.)

Diamonds can be Gaia's tears, or fallen stars, or get their magic from the souls of the dead seeping into them.

TheCount
2018-05-25, 12:46 AM
The source is my brain, and the point was that fantasy worlds don't always work on real world physics (especially relating to magic.)

Diamonds can be Gaia's tears, or fallen stars, or get their magic from the souls of the dead seeping into them.

i remember stories where gemstones trapped mana inside them over time, but couldnt name them for my life.

Tvtyrant
2018-05-25, 02:00 AM
i remember stories where gemstones trapped mana inside them over time, but couldnt name them for my life.

There is Stormlight Archives, that one series about the fencing faeries where monks use stones for magic, Merlin, some others whose names I can't remember.

Anymage
2018-05-25, 02:28 AM
Your setting, your rules. But I do want to note that, barring very unlikely circumstances, you're unlikely to find modern tech without any magical support in a magic having fantasy world. Even if you ripped the modern, mundane state of New York and plopped it into a fantasy world, by the time they'd learned how to cast mid level spells there's a good chance they've also learned how to engage magic in their industry. If diamonds require some level of magic essence, an industrialized society might very well be able to focus mana into their pressurized carbon to complete the process.

Of course, we have no idea either how costly the mana focusing procedure would be or how much a shiny stone would be worth in a world where at least some of the value of a diamond is tied to their ability to be used to power magic effects. So ultimately, if you want this industrialized antagonist nation to be able to reliably resurrect people, you can find an excuse. If this is some sort of shared world thing, though, discuss where the costs are noticed. A society where resurrection was cheap and common would quickly become radically different from our own experience or even most fantasy.