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Neutronium

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It's also mentioned on Champions Universe 6E p. 59, as a reprint for the general category of "uncanny metals."

 

I haven't found any official CU character explicitly stated to use neutronium weapons. Its great density would limit who could handle it. The only implicit user I know of could be the Warmonger, a "Galaxar" (cosmically-powerful humanoid) written up in Champions Beyond. The Warmonger wields an enormous axe called Starsplitter, "With a blade said to be made from the core of a dead star" (p. 45). CU 6E reprints that "Neutronium is even more durable than questionite, but much, much heavier — so heavy that an average trained athlete can’t easily lift a blade made of the stuff. Those who possess neutronium claim it comes from dead stars, though scientists have pointed out it’s not nearly dense enough." [That's where scientists theorize one could find real neutronium, super-dense matter made up entirely of neutrons.] The Warmonger's write-up suggests treating Starsplitter as weighing ten tons for game purposes, which sounds about right for CU neutronium. Since Warmonger has STR 120 even without augmenting it with his cosmic power, that weight would be no burden.

 

[However,  I "unofficially" brought the late Professor Muerte back from the dead, his official state in the present-day Champions Universe, in Digital Hero #44; and gave him an updated write-up and character sheet, including replacing his mangled hand with a morningstar mace made of neutronium, with questionite spikes. That seemed like a practical combination.] ;)
 

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I was thinking neutronium would be about 100x the weight of steel, so a neutronium sword might weigh 200 kg. I can't imagine it weighing literally a ton because 1) you couldn't carry it in an elevator, and 2) that is way beyond "an Olympic athlete can't lift this."

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Neutronium as explained by astrophysics is far, far, FAR, FAR!!!!!! more dense.  From 

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutron_star

 

Neutron stars that can be observed are very hot and typically have a surface temperature of around 600000 K. They are so dense that a normal-sized matchbox containing neutron-star material would have a weight of approximately 3 billion tonnes, the same weight as a 0.5 cubic kilometre chunk of the Earth (a cube with edges of about 800 metres) from Earth's surface.

 

Pretty clearly, this is totally unusable, so you get to define it however you bloody well want. :)  I love considering 2 levels of Shrinking, with the Normal Mass advantage.  That's a density anywhere from 30 to 80, in my book;  you can tweak the actual final size to get whatever density you want, long as you're not trying to tweak the effects.  The properties are entirely up to you;  there's no stable matter that has a density like this.  Defining what this does for you is harder.  Barrier is fine for physically small attacks that can be viewed as just pinging off the hard, dense surface as if off a shield, but it doesn't hold should the tank be ready to throw a car through you.  And it's expensive as sin, as you'd have to buy it One-Way Transparent.  Armor works correctly for that...you aren't gonna take any BODY but you are gonna take STUN from the car.  So perhaps a combination of hardened, impenetrable rPD and whatever else your points will allow to counter some of the STUN.

 

For a neutronium weapon,. even going with density 50-100...that much mass doesn't stop easily, to my mind, so I lean to requiring AP or Penetrating.  And given that an HA or HKA gets full STR, I'd tend to say it's got a lot fewer dice than you'd expect, because you have to take out 4 dice just to swing the darn thing!  

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2 hours ago, pawsplay said:

I was thinking neutronium would be about 100x the weight of steel, so a neutronium sword might weigh 200 kg. I can't imagine it weighing literally a ton because 1) you couldn't carry it in an elevator, and 2) that is way beyond "an Olympic athlete can't lift this."

 

It sounds like you're taking the word, "blade," from Champions Universe, as meaning, "sword." For all we know, the blade being referred to could be as small as a steak knife. Personally when I read that, I imagined something about the size of a KA-BAR knife.

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26 minutes ago, Lord Liaden said:

 

It sounds like you're taking the word, "blade," from Champions Universe, as meaning, "sword." For all we know, the blade being referred to could be as small as a steak knife. Personally when I read that, I imagined something about the size of a KA-BAR knife.

 

 

Seems reasonable.  Plus, the volume would be down to something like only nine-to-twelve matchboxes at three billion tons each.

 

Win-win!

 

 

:lol:

 

 

;)

 

 

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I was thinking that paradoxically, a neutronium weapon wouldn't necessarily do a lot of damage, since it takes so much muscle just to move it. I had a concept for a weapon-using hero, but I'm wondering if neutronium is too powerful as a concept for a standard superheroic campaign. I'm also wondering if neutronium is durable enough that such a weapon would be considered Unbreakable, or just Durable.

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Neutronium is an excuse for whatever level of break-resistance you need for your character. Just like questionite, kendrium, destreum, not to mention adamantium, vibranium, prometheum, inertron, etc. You should define your Focus as whatever works for you.

 

Also, if you're worried about the weight, how about neutronium plating? :sneaky:

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1 hour ago, Duke Bushido said:

Seems reasonable.  Plus, the volume would be down to something like only nine-to-twelve matchboxes at three billion tons each.

 

Win-win!

Well, the bigger problems are that real-neutronium is probably a fluid and that real-neutronium would explode very very violently outside a neutron star's massive gravitational field. 

Compared to that, a bit of weight is no big deal! 

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Right.  Don't worry about the physics or conventional metallurgy as you're far, far past either.  It behaves as you say.

 

If it's needing so much STR to move, then there's several options.  One might be a big OCV penalty;  another might be Extra Time, or some similar limitation...the stroke itself, and recovering from the stroke to return to a ready position, might both be affected.  I haven't played with the Real Weapons rules...doesn't STR Min say you only get to add the damage from STR above what's needed?  Fine, this needs maybe a 20 STR to wield, at 200 lbs.

 

Lord Liaden:  there are better approaches.  I had a character build dealing with carbon forms...graphene, carbon nanotubes, and the like have some *very* interesting properties.  Then I read Laurence Dahmer's Donsaii series...among other things, he was using various forms of carbon.  One of em was lonsdaleite...a disputed form of diamond that is theoretically *harder*.  Then you play games with graphene padding underneath, as a shock absorber.  And the density's the same as diamond...3.5.  For comparison, aluminum is 2.7 and titanium is 4.5.  Armor built like this might best be modeled as rDef plus Damage Reduction (say, Stun Only, and Only if the rDef isn't exceeded), as the structure distributes the impact.

 

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Hey, the OP was asking about CU neutronium. I was just exploring possibilities inherent in that. IMHO what approach would be "better" for a game character has more to do with someone's preferences in comic-book pseudo-science, rather than real-world science. If I had access to adamantium-vibranium alloy, I'd take that over your carbon nanotubes any day. :P

 

I remember E.E. "Doc" Smith's vintage space-opera novel, Skylark Three, in which a device designed to focus "fifth order" energy rays needed a lens made of neutronium sealed within crystallized aether. Pure bolshoi technobabble, but it sure sounds impressive. ;)

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Yeah, but when I know the actual stuff is wildly beyond the description, it bugs me.  Graphene's got lots of interesting properties;  the problem is producing the stuff.  That's where I'll cheerfully hand-wave and say "that's the character's power!"  Powers never need explaining in real-world terms. :)  Unless you want them to, in some manner.

 

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FWIW I agree with you, naming the CU metal "neutronium" invites that kind of unflattering comparison. It sounds like an idea from someone who watched too much TOS Star Trek, both from within and from outside the CU setting. ;)  For my own modified-CU games I changed the name. But officially, that's what we're working with; and I find sticking to that makes the most effective common frame of reference for discussions.

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I thought it would be cool to work within the CU framework, but if it isn't even name-checked on any character writeup, I'm fine with leaving it alone. One of the advanced steel alloys, an alien metal, or even orichalcum might work for my purposes.

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1 hour ago, pawsplay said:

I thought it would be cool to work within the CU framework, but if it isn't even name-checked on any character writeup, I'm fine with leaving it alone. One of the advanced steel alloys, an alien metal, or even orichalcum might work for my purposes.

 

Another trope uses the concept of the hypermassive elements with insanely large atomic numbers.  

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Island_of_stability

 

Some writers have even pushed to atomic numbers in the several hundreds range.  These should be incredibly dense, too, because all those protons and neutrons are in such a small space.  Or maybe you don't go completely with the magic number of electrons, and go with something with, say, 6 electrons in an outer orbit...which means you form a carbene ring with em.  

 

For exotic, extra-heavy materials, there's the tungsten bronzes.  IIRC they're very tough, and pretty darn heavy...density around 16 or so IIRC.  

 

And powers can be used to explain why some things work out...for example, hardness is resistance to being scratched, whereas toughness (or brittleness) refers to chipping or shattering.  Ceramics are very hard...but they're also pretty darn brittle.  I've broken more ceramic kitchen knife blades than I care to remember. ;)  It's the nature of the beast.  Yes, well, with powers, you can simply declare that differential tempering (a katana's body is covered in clay to keep it safe while the edge is tempered to be extra-hard, extra sharp.....and unfortunately more brittle) is the baseline but some Super has a power that allows it to be taken far beyond what the smith can do.  

 

Another approach, and one I kinda prefer, is leave this alone for the most part.  Not sure it's ever needed.  Just leave it as a consequence of a power....a bo staff wielder with 3 levels of DI, that staff now has a density of 6 or 7, if we say his DI also impacts his items should he so choose.  Or a katana would have a density of 64 or so.  A glass or crystalline weapon's often considered cool, if unworkable...but with its density shot up from 4 to 32?  

 

Last part...over-explaining and making a lot of this overly easy (as D&D did with both mithril and adamantium) doesn't ever help. :)  "A small quantity was created in an industrial accident."  Classic supers creation trope, that's even easier to apply to a super material.

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The other uncanny metals are often name-dropped, though. Questionite is tagged a lot. Many of the blade-wielders use it, and Mechanon usually fashions his bodies out of it. Kendrium rather less often; but the hull of UNTIL's super-sub, the Aegir, is made from it. Most of Doctor Destroyer's tech is fashioned from his destreum alloy.

 

Interesting side note about kendrium: According to DEMON: Servants Of Darkness p. 68, the Black Scientists of DEMON are convinced kendrium has supernatural properties, and may even be related to the Atlantean metal, orichalcum. They've tried for years to discover the process of its manufacture, and push DEMON's leaders to sanction the kidnapping of its creator, Darryl Kendrick.

 

If you're interested in metal with a magical dimension, during periods in the Hero Universe time-line when ambient magic was high, including the Turakian and Atlantean Ages, meteoric iron (called "star-iron" during both ages) possessed exceptional supernatural properties, and many potent weapons and artifacts were forged from it. Since modern Champions Earth has relatively high ambient magic, that should apply again.

 

Speaking of the Turakian Age, the Elves of that time could craft their own mithril-analogue, an extraordinarily hard silvery metal called velandi. Obviously no one today knows how to make it, but artifacts formed of it could have survived.

 

Oh, I should also mention that the antediluvian Atlanteans and Lemurians both used a "magical metal" called hepatizon to build vehicles and golems. The goddess Hecate (written up in the PDF mini-book, The Hercules Force) has an army of golems called "Hepatizon Hoplites." Historically, hepatizon is believed to have been a type of bronze alloy, with a dark-purple patina; but Hero Games books say nothing more about their version of it than the above.

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TBH I still miss Questonite (not "questionite"), which was in use for Champions through Fourth Edition. Incredibly strong plastic rather than metal; could be made transparent or colored as desired. Questonite was more versatile in some ways than metals, and a nice change of pace from them.

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My first thought on neutronium weapons was ultra-dense projectiles.  Basically higher power versions of depleted uranium bullets.  That removes a lot of the "weapon is too heavy to lift or swing" problems since the bullets are relatively small (although they still couldn't be made out of pure neutrons for reasons already mentioned) and the power comes from the gun.  This would be especially appropriate for a weapon mounted on a vehicle or a mech.

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On March 12, 2020 at 1:10 AM, Lord Liaden said:

If you're interested in metal with a magical dimension, during periods in the Hero Universe time-line when ambient magic was high, including the Turakian and Atlantean Ages, meteoric iron (called "star-iron" during both ages) possessed exceptional supernatural properties, and many potent weapons and artifacts were forged from it. Since modern Champions Earth has relatively high ambient magic, that should apply again.

 

I actually tried really hard to avoid the "star metal" fantasy trope--- not that I have anything against it; quite the opposite: I liked it _lot_ as an interesting idea when I first heard it, and even toyed with adopting it for my own campaigns.  Today though, it seems that it's gone beyond even being a staple of fantasy and moved right in to pretty much being a mandate.   :(    Even the Order of the Stick had a gag with Star Metal a few years back.

 

Like any other GM, though, I _do_ have a rare and special metal with high magical affinities.  It's rare enough and difficult enough to get that minting it creates the most valuable coin in any non-human realm (humans are more interested in "the red metal," which can be tempered and refined into structures (and yes; weapons) with extraordinary strength-to-weight ratios).  Most "nuggets" of this "blue metal" magic ore are found in the sea, making one particular amphibious race _almost_ gatekeepers of this stuff (as DeBiers is the "gatekeeper" of diamonds, save that the blue metal actually _is_ rare and precious).

 

For Supers, I have my own "super metal" there, too.

 

While I _completely_ understand what LL is getting at when he says that a common tag or a published in-setting metal gives us all a handle on what something is / could be, I find that simply coming up with my own avoids _all_ preconception problems amongst players:  this is a thing unique to our world, and is not the same as a thing from a comic / movie / novel you once read, which is different from a thing in a comic / movie / novel that Joe once read that had the same name but was also completely different......

 

I don't have that problem when I say "upon closer inspection, you realize that Doctor Rottentooth's entire battle mech is layered in Collapsium plate...."

 

And then we get automatic plot-thoughts from that, too:  "Collapsium?"  The crown hasn't reported any major thefts of Collapsium....   Do you think he's got agents in the British Military?!"

 

 

 

 

 

On March 12, 2020 at 1:10 AM, Lord Liaden said:

 

Speaking of the Turakian Age, the Elves of that time could craft their own mithril-analogue, an extraordinarily hard silvery metal called velandi. Obviously no one today knows how to make it, but artifacts formed of it could have survived.

 

Oh, I should also mention that the antediluvian Atlanteans and Lemurians both used a "magical metal" called hepatizon to build vehicles and golems. The goddess Hecate (written up in the PDF mini-book, The Hercules Force) has an army of golems called "Hepatizon Hoplites." Historically, hepatizon is believed to have been a type of bronze alloy, with a dark-purple patina; but Hero Games books say nothing more about their version of it than the above.

 

See?

 

If you want magic metal, make your own.  It's _purely_ world-building; you don't even need mechanics for it: it does what it does, period.  To prove this, has anyone ever statted up questionite in a 4'x8'x1/4" sheet?   Or precisely how many pounds of it yields how much DEF?  BODY?  How does the thickness affect that DEF or BODY? 

 

Build the fancy improbable thing you want, it does what it does, and slap a name on it.  It's easier to give it a name unique to your campaign universe than it is to borrow someone else's because no one has any pre-conceptions about just what being made of that means.  To this day I can remember arguments about just what an AC _should_ be for a certain encumbrance of Mithril armor because of the particular damage and weight of two different mithril swords and one mithril dagger with a wooden handle......

 

 

ugh.   Just avoid that.

 

 

 

 

On March 12, 2020 at 4:31 AM, Lord Liaden said:

TBH I still miss Questonite (not "questionite"), which was in use for Champions through Fourth Edition. Incredibly strong plastic rather than metal; could be made transparent or colored as desired. Questonite was more versatile in some ways than metals, and a nice change of pace from them.

 

Completely agree!  Always hated the name, but loved the idea, _particularly_ that it was not just another "magic metal."  I found the uniqueness of that had a far more sci-fi feel than did any of the comic book metals-- it put me in mind of the old novels with "plas-steel" and "ferro-crete," etc.  I felt like the super-scientists of that world had legitimately _done_ something, and the the shared HERO universe had done something to mark itself with uniqueness rather than just re-naming what everyone else was already doing.  It felt innovative, and it's one of the few things who's absence I can physically _feel_ when I read the published material.   

 

 

 

2 hours ago, Ockham's Spoon said:

My first thought on neutronium weapons was ultra-dense projectiles.  Basically higher power versions of depleted uranium bullets.  That removes a lot of the "weapon is too heavy to lift or swing" problems since the bullets are relatively small (although they still couldn't be made out of pure neutrons for reasons already mentioned) and the power comes from the gun.  

 

 

Going by GB(i)'s comments above, the bullet could _be_ the power:  a controlled release from some sort of gravity bottle-- BOOM!--   A hyper-sonic, perhaps even relativistic!-- projectile with God-only-knows what sort of range!   :lol:

 

 

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2 hours ago, Ockham's Spoon said:

My first thought on neutronium weapons was ultra-dense projectiles.  Basically higher power versions of depleted uranium bullets.  That removes a lot of the "weapon is too heavy to lift or swing" problems since the bullets are relatively small (although they still couldn't be made out of pure neutrons for reasons already mentioned) and the power comes from the gun.  This would be especially appropriate for a weapon mounted on a vehicle or a mech.

 

Sure, it's possible, but accelerating the mass is still a problem.  Kinetic energy is mass * velocity^2...speed's better.  The other aspect:  say you have a round the size of a .30 caliber rifle round, but that masses 10 kilos.  What'll tend to happen is it simply blows through like nothing's there.  Small entry hole, small exit hole, not necessarily that much actual damage.  Oh, such rounds have their place,  Punching even small holes can compromise the integrity of the armor you're punching through, so an explosive round breaches a large chunk.

 

But it's certainly possible.  The rounds wouldn't necessarily be unmanageably heavy, as they could be quite small.  A high velocity round might be something like 2d6 killing, double armor piercing, plus 3d6 killing with conditions attached...the low damage is if it blows straight through, the high damage is if it hits and basically explodes something inside.  

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5 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

If you want magic metal, make your own.  It's _purely_ world-building; you don't even need mechanics for it: it does what it does, period.  To prove this, has anyone ever statted up questionite in a 4'x8'x1/4" sheet?   Or precisely how many pounds of it yields how much DEF?  BODY?  How does the thickness affect that DEF or BODY?

 

I've actually gotten questions along those lines from gamers on the Champions Online forums, although usually for real-world reference, e.g. the melting point of questionite. Some folks might find those details important for a particular scenario they want to run; or because it adds to their sense of verisimilitude in the setting; or because being "lore-accurate" matters to them; or they're just curious. Generally speaking I agree with you, though. :)

 

5 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

Completely agree!  Always hated the name, but loved the idea, _particularly_ that it was not just another "magic metal."  I found the uniqueness of that had a far more sci-fi feel than did any of the comic book metals-- it put me in mind of the old novels with "plas-steel" and "ferro-crete," etc.  I felt like the super-scientists of that world had legitimately _done_ something, and the the shared HERO universe had done something to mark itself with uniqueness rather than just re-naming what everyone else was already doing.  It felt innovative, and it's one of the few things who's absence I can physically _feel_ when I read the published material.  

 

For my own modified-CU games, I swapped questonite for Darryl Kendrick's kendrium. Changed nearly nothing from the published books, but added that distinctive element we both appreciated.

 

I can't speak to who among the early Hero Games creators came up with the name, "questonite," or how; but I don't know if you ever read the classic Super Agents supplement for Champions and Danger International from the late great Aaron Allston, combining rules for both games (pre-4E). One of the agencies from that book, a private security firm called StarGuard International, was founded by Dr. J.A. Quest, the son of the inventor of questonite -- hence the explanation for the name. Dr. Quest Jr's write-up mentioned that he was a blonde man in his thirties at the time of SA's writing (mid-1980s), but as a boy he traveled the world with his famous scientist father having adventures... :whistle:

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3 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

 

I've actually gotten questions along those lines from gamers on the Champions Online forums, although usually for real-world reference, e.g. the melting point of questionite.

 

When I stop to think about HERO gamers, I have no choice but to believe you.  Though thinking back, the only one I can recall seeing for myself was Sir Viss, five or six years ago, wanting....  Was it the BODY or the mass?  Of a cubic hex of each of the HERO unobtaniums.   Threw me for a loop then, and it still sort of does now.  :lol:

 

 

 

 

3 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

Generally speaking I agree with you, though. :)

 

Thank you, Sir.  That means a lot, considering the source.  :D

 

 

 

 

 

3 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

don't know if you ever read the classic Super Agents supplement for Champions

 

Picked it up the very day I first saw the BBB in my local game store.  Picked them both up, actually. 

 

I remember how disappointed I was to find that it was not a stand-alone game like Star HERO was....    :(

 

 

3 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

and Danger International from the late great Aaron Allston

 

Read that one when I first picked it up about two years ago.  No; seriously.  I didn't own it until I made a job swap that came with a modest sign-on bonus, which I used to plug a few holes in my collection. 

 

 

 

3 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

 

 

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On 3/14/2020 at 7:28 PM, Duke Bushido said:

 

When I stop to think about HERO gamers, I have no choice but to believe you.  Though thinking back, the only one I can recall seeing for myself was Sir Viss, five or six years ago, wanting....  Was it the BODY or the mass?  Of a cubic hex of each of the HERO unobtaniums.   Threw me for a loop then, and it still sort of does now.  :lol:

 

1 cubic meter = 100 x 100 x 100 centimeters, or 1M cubic centimeters.  Which is totally convenient.  Take the density...grams per cubic centimeter == metric tons per cubic meter.

A cubic hex is 8 cubic meters.  So a cubic hex of steel is ~ 64 tons...and even a cubic hex of water, plain old boring water, is 8 tons.  And even air?  A cubic hex's worth of air comes in at just under 10 kg, with the usual temperature/pressure provisos when talking about air...

 

Other metals:  gold and tungsten, 140-150 tons.  Silver would be 80, copper 70ish.  Titanium 40, aluminum 20.  Oak would be about 5 1/2 to 6 tons.

 

A cubic hex is actually quite a bit.

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Sure.

 

But what good does that information do you, game-wise?  Other than "can I lift it," I mean.  What's the BODY?  The Defense?  At what point do those things change?   If I cut it to 1/4 its height and spread it across four hexes, what have I done to it in game terms?

 

 

It's just useless information.   Decide what you need it to do, and it does that.

 

 

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