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    Canonfire :: View topic - If you melted down Black Ice, would you get black water?
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    If you melted down Black Ice, would you get black water?
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    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Sat Jan 30, 2010 4:46 pm  
    If you melted down Black Ice, would you get black water?

    I was wondering what would happen if you melted down a chunk of Black Ice - would you get black water? Would it be drinkable?

    Also, what is the component that makes it black? Is it something mundane like charcoal or ink or is it something "mystical" that can't be defined? Like a Baatorian taint or something that stains the ice?
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Sat Jan 30, 2010 9:40 pm  

    It would be cool if you could melt it down and get a free mercinary company.
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    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Sun Jan 31, 2010 1:09 am  

    Well, if you've spent any time on a boat, you will hear of the black water tank, which is fed by the toilet! So... maybe, just maybe, if you melt black ice, you'll get that kind of black water. j/k

    No, i have no idea what you'd get. However, maybe some really pissed off water elemental deity decided to punish the tundra peoples by creating black ice and it is somehow cursed, so anyone attempting to drink it will be put into a coma or something.

    The Grey Mouser
    Master Greytalker

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    From: Orlane, Gran March

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    Sun Jan 31, 2010 7:21 am  

    Maybe you get something non lethal but non useful, like a black water like liquid that makes you more thirst as you drink. Water Water Everywhere and not a drop to drink.
    GreySage

    Joined: Aug 03, 2001
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    Sun Jan 31, 2010 8:15 am  

    The adventure "Raiders of the Black Ice" in Dungeon #115 features an encounter with a river made from "cloudy grayish-brown icemelt from the Land of Black Ice and the plains nearby." The brown probably comes from the soil of the plains, but the grayish hue might be from the ice (or it might just be soil). In that adventure, the black ice itself doesn't seem to have any special properties.

    The third edition hardcover Frostburn includes as a supernatural terrain hazard "ebony ice," which is ice suffused with negative energy. It gives undead creatures a bonus to attack and against turning attempts. This is clearly not what the Black Ice in the Land of Black Ice is primarily made of (or it would have been mentioned in Dungeon #115, which was built as a tie-in to Frostburn), but it's an example of black-colored ice that you wouldn't, I suspect, get black water from. My suspicion is that if you melted ebony ice, the negative energy would be released and you'd end up with normal water.
    Master Greytalker

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    Sun Jan 31, 2010 11:11 am  
    Unholy Ice?

    rasgon wrote:
    My suspicion is that if you melted ebony ice, the negative energy would be released and you'd end up with normal water.


    Okay ... here's a little stream of consciousness thought that i had, and since I just woke up about four minutes ago, nobody's allowed to laugh:
    The energy's bound in the ice right? What if it's kind of like holy water? When holy water is blessed, the energy is bound in the water ... so if it was frozen, would it still be - I don't know - Holy Ice? Then melted again? Still Holy Water? Could the Negative Energy ice be melted and have it be Unholy water? Or maybe there'd have to be some ritual that made it not loose it's properities? Although, there isn't one for Holy Water, and the "ritual" that made it unholy to begin with has already been completed ...

    I don't know, really, I was just riffing on the idea that perhaps the water would be detrimental to the living in some way, so that no body'd touch the stuff, or something. Granted, obviously not what the Land of Black Ice is made from, but I thought it might be kind of cool if there was something to it that made it dangerous.

    And now that everyone is likely stifling their laughter, Happy , I'm going to have a bowl of cereal. Laughing
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    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Sun Jan 31, 2010 11:17 am  

    If you look through the 1e MotP, you'll find many instances of black ice, rain, and the like. I used that as a basis for my "Into the Land of Black Ice" campaign, where the Blizzard of Black Ice was "planar fallout" from the summoning of the Rain of Colorless Fire. Istus is the Colorless and All-Colored, after all.

    If you are using 3e, then the Blackwater mentioned in Stormwrack might make an interesting addition.

    As for the other kind of blackwater....ewwww... But that does leave the possibility of Greywater. ;)
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Sun Jan 31, 2010 11:41 am  

    I was a stoker in the Australian Navy, knew a bloke who was doing pipe maintence in the pump room when a corner elbow fractured on the BW system , sprayed him and the compartment with Black water.
    It erned him the nickname "lord muck"

    funny as hell untill we had to clean it up.
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    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Sun Jan 31, 2010 12:22 pm  

    I seem to remember a chat session or thread where we were discussing the blue bugbears of the Land of Black Ice. Someone mentioned argyria, which can result in blue skin due to chronic exposure to silver, mainly, afaik from people drinking colloidal silver. Silver occurs in the mineral argentite, which is according to wikipedia a "blackish lead-grey color". So maybe there is argentite dust in the black ice. Of course there is definitely something supernatural about black ice also, so it could just be magic.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Sun Jan 31, 2010 1:20 pm  

    I can remember discussing the subject of "blue bugbears" and argyria in one of my less lucid moments.

    I also remember talking about arctic squid and octopi in the same thread. I might be showing my ignorance but is there liquid sea water beneath the black ice? If there was what about having the sea water beneath being an enormous mating ground for arctic squid and octopi? The black colouration would be the staining from a massive quantity of discharged cephalopod ink and other fluids!

    If that was the case I wouldn't drink it, would you?
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Sun Jan 31, 2010 2:29 pm  

    I'm pretty sure that there's ground underneath, but that always leaves room for... tundra squid.
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Sun Jan 31, 2010 4:40 pm  

    I would say you get normal, transparent water.
    GreySage

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    Sun Jan 31, 2010 6:09 pm  
    Re: Unholy Ice?

    Icarus wrote:
    Could the Negative Energy ice be melted and have it be Unholy water?


    I don't see why not, actually. Depends on the needs of the DM, I guess.
    Black Hand of Oblivion

    Joined: Feb 16, 2003
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    Sun Jan 31, 2010 6:46 pm  

    I would say no, as unholy water is something that is specifically blessed by a god through the use of a dark ritual. Otherwise the evil folks in the world would be bottling the stuff, making commercial featuring every famous evil baddy out there, and selling it in markets all over Oerth as a cure for all of your "good guy" problems(i.e. those pesky sanctified altars, upper planar entities, etc.). Wink

    Besides, unholy water doesn't just embody a negative energy effect, but is evil too, and it ought to be a little more difficult to get your hands on than just by melting an entire land covered in a frozen version of the stuff. Making the Land of Black Ice a land of such pure evil that it permeates the ice on the ground is also bad idea. Even the Land of Iuz, where demons roam, is not flowing with rivers of unholy water.
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    GreySage

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    Sun Jan 31, 2010 7:10 pm  

    Well, keep in mind that Icarus and I agreed previously that "ebony ice" and Black Ice weren't the same thing; we're not assuming that the entire Land of Black Ice is covered with ebony ice.

    I agree that negative energy isn't necessarily evil. However, an evil/unholy region can attract negative energy (due to the massive presence of death or undeath). Again, I don't think the Land of Black Ice is particularly aligned with either negative energy or evil.
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Mon Feb 01, 2010 12:07 am  

    One of the main themes in my campaign is the reltion between negative energy and undeath. One of my players plays a necromancer who is trying to study non-aligned means to resurrect corpses for hard labor. He's at the moment exploring the ancient tomes of the Ur-Flan and the Nerullian religion, as they were the first to dabble in dead-rising magic, but he's trying to understand how the evilness and the negative plane energy are related and why.
    So it largely depends on how "religious" you want to play the unholy water effects. Is undeath, turning undead, consecrating grounds etc. just a purely "alchemical/elemental" system, or there is an ethical side to explore as well. It largely sums up to the question of why evil clerics are able to command undead and good clerics disrupt them?
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Mon Feb 01, 2010 12:31 am  

    Isn't there a realm of Black Ice in Graz'zt's plain in the Abyss, mentioned in the 3rd Edition Monster Manual? I find the tie-in could be potentially interesting since isn't the Demon Lord Iuz' father? I'm perhaps mistaken but Iuz actively avoids Blackmoor, no?
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Mon Feb 01, 2010 6:17 am  

    While it's interesting to theorize what it could be, don't discount the downstream impacts of what you decide.

    If it's anything different than simple water, there'd be a small period of time when the discoverer(s) would have a monopoly on the source of the substance.

    Then if whatever it is has value, you'd have the equivalent of a gold rush to the area... different factions would all be fighting to get there first, and hold their claimed territory.

    This could lead to a great localized war of sorts... not necessarily something to be avoided, but keep it in mind.
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Tue Feb 02, 2010 2:13 am  

    I know it's fantasy but I like the idea of at least some basic "scientific" reason explaining the Land of Black Ice. I mean, we could say it is coterminous with the Gray Waste or something and the black stain is a mystical by-product of the Material plane touching with Hades but I'd prefer to stay away from that in this instance.

    Here's one idea of an explanation:

    The Land of Black Ice is really just rocky badlands made up of jagged, black rock. Due to the extreme cold of this northern region, thin sheets of ice freeze atop the surface of the rock. The ice is clear and almost invisible - revealing the black rock beneath. This coined the term Black Ice.

    This explanation follows closely to the real world term for black ice: ie. clear ice that freezes atop a road surface - revealing the black bitumen beneath.

    I don't know if my explanation is "scientifically" believable - as one might expect that, over time, the ice would soon build up and up and create a white layer of permafrost. Perhaps the Land of Black Ice could just be frozen during winter and squals coming in from the Drawmij and Icy Seas instantly freeze like glass on the flat, black rock?
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Tue Feb 02, 2010 9:07 am  

    smillan_31 wrote:
    I seem to remember a chat session or thread where we were discussing the blue bugbears of the Land of Black Ice. Someone mentioned argyria, which can result in blue skin due to chronic exposure to silver, mainly, afaik from people drinking colloidal silver. Silver occurs in the mineral argentite, which is according to wikipedia a "blackish lead-grey color". So maybe there is argentite dust in the black ice. Of course there is definitely something supernatural about black ice also, so it could just be magic.


    Funny you should say that. In heraldry (or perhaps more correctly, blazon), argent is the tincture of silver, and is commonly depicted by the color white. "Argent" derives from the latin argentum, itself borrowed from the greek, and roughly translates as "silver" or "white metal" Argentite itself, is really an ugly-ugly-nowhere-near-white rock.
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    Tue Feb 02, 2010 11:31 pm  

    Along these lines, you may find my description of "stygian ice" interesting on my Wondrous Materials webpage. Its a rare material that is found within the Black Ice. I didn't want to make the Black Ice itself magical because of its incredible volume. I would rather have magical materials with unusual properties as rare materials, and not as a deposit weighing billions of tons. ;)

    Denis, aka "Maldin"
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    Wed Feb 03, 2010 2:48 pm  

    Maldin wrote:
    Along these lines, you may find my description of "stygian ice" interesting on my Wondrous Materials webpage. Its a rare material that is found within the Black Ice. I didn't want to make the Black Ice itself magical because of its incredible volume. I would rather have magical materials with unusual properties as rare materials, and not as a deposit weighing billions of tons.


    I like your Stygian Ice - pockets of the Land of Black Ice that have been mystically infused with the planar energy of Baator (or so the savants theorize).

    I agree that the Land of Black Ice itself shouldn't be magical in nature. Have you come up with any theories as to why black ice is black? What physical component colours the ice in that fashion?
    GreySage

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    Thu Feb 04, 2010 5:11 am  

    Ocanthus, the fourth layer of plane of Acheron, is filled with shards of black ice too. One gets melted down in the computer game Planescape: Torment, and turns into standard River Styx water.
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Thu Feb 25, 2010 12:57 am  

    Perhaps my above example of Black Ice simply being clear, glass-like sheets of ice over black, rocky badlands can be explained by potent elemental forces of Air or Ice in the region that sustain the phenomenon.
    CF Admin

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    Sun Feb 28, 2010 3:58 pm  

    Or perhaps black ice is representative of the amount of oerth blood among its parts per million which Gygax once described as our real world's oil. A "theory," if the creators ideas can be called as such, that i very much dislike, as it is high in science and low in fantasy.

    Although, taking the scientific approach there are many arctic places, such as Alaska, with high concentrations of oil, or oerth blood.
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    Tue Jul 06, 2010 10:14 pm  

    This is the most recent thread I could find on the Land of Black Ice. I just found this blog article by Joe Bloch that gives a good hypothesis on it's origin. Check it out.

    http://greyhawkgrognard.blogspot.com/2010/07/land-of-black-ice-and-hollow-oerth.html
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Thu Jul 08, 2010 3:30 am  

    Thanks, mortellan. That was an interesting read. Smile
    GreySage

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    Sat Jul 10, 2010 7:01 pm  

    It really was. It's pretty fascinating, actually; it hadn't occurred to me that the rumored hollow Oerth and the Land of Black Ice might be so directly connected.
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