Reduce Temperature states:

You can reduce temperatures in a spherical area centered on any point within range. The diameter of the sphere is 1m for each point in your ... pool. ... +1 difficulty for every 5 C of temperature drop.

This power can be absurdly powerful with a little creativity, depending on how the physics of the thing work.

Reading the power, it's clear that it is intended to eliminate energy in an atmospheric area of potentially quite large scope.

I'm not interested in questions of balance, but on defining the power such that it's possible to imagine what can and cannot be done with it.

I would like the proposed framework to be able to answer the following questions:

  1. Would it make sense for this power to eliminate energy or move it? Eliminating energy violates physics rather badly. Moving it... makes the power kinda silly. The power is also remarkably stackable in both of these interpretations. Moving energy around means the power acts as a kind of "maxwell's demon"
  2. Does the energy transfer apply across the globe as a single entity or does it emanate from the center?
  3. What states of matter can it effect?
  4. Do enclosed regions block the effects of the power?

On one extreme, it's quite trivial to shatter buildings with a few minutes of concentration. On the other, you're a not hugely effective air-conditioner. I'm looking for the most self-consistent interpretation (one that breaks the fewest laws of physics).

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ How does this differ from the vast majority of other superpowers in MCB? They all violate the known laws of physics or they wouldn't be superpowers. Is there such a thing as breaking "fewer" laws of physics? There's just one, which we express with a metric assload of different formulas because we don't know how it all fits together yet. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk - SE stop being evil Feb 13 '11 at 0:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ It's not going to shatter buildings. Glass, wood, brick, and steel don't care so much about freezing that the building would "shatter". \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 13 '11 at 6:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ Depends how frozen and how fast. And whether you followed it up with smacking it with something, or if it comes into contact with a temperature differential. Liquid nitrogen anyone? \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk - SE stop being evil Feb 13 '11 at 14:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk Liquid nitrogen does cool things with shattering because the demo object is always mostly water. The problems buildings would have would be cracking due to different components contracting at different rates, assuming it didn't have build-in contraction joints like bridges do. Mostly that wouldn't be catastrophic unless the temp were cycled several times to increase the damage. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 13 '11 at 17:26

So, here are a couple of suggestions, based on familiar technologies.

Try treating it as a refrigerator. In this case, the mutant power lets you expand things. If it's metal, you expand the metal slightly. If it's air, you expand the air and vaporise droplets of suspended water.

All this cools the air, exactly like a refrigerator. There's a gust of wind and the cooled air rushes away. It warms up again and the water condenses, but crucially, away from that sphere.

That's not bad, but it has problems: it doesn't cope well with cooling metal, for example.

Instead, then, try treating it as a laser variant. Lasers (simplifying greatly and bastardising the science) raise a material to one level of activation; then to another level of activation; at which point, the material drops through both levels of activation, emitting a beam of light.

So, this way, the power puts energy into the material, which then emits even more energy, cooling it. (Instead of a laser, you could think of it as a microwave in reverse. Instead of the material absorbing a wave, which heats it, you cause it to emit a wave, which cools it.)

This time, the cooling happens through radiation. So, at the time of the power, there's a burst of radiation: perhaps light, if you want to be dramatic; perhaps simply radio or microwaves, which dissipate harmlessly.

To answer your questions, then:

  1. It moves it.(Yes, it's a sort of Maxwell's demon, although less so with the second version.)
  2. In both cases, it happens across the globe.
  3. Mainly fluids (refrigerator); anything (laser).
  4. Yes (refrigerator); no (laser).
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  • \$\begingroup\$ Cool. Which method do you think will produce the most interesting and fun results? \$\endgroup\$ – Brian Ballsun-Stanton Feb 14 '11 at 2:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ I like the laser, mainly because the air can glow briefly as it cools. \$\endgroup\$ – Graham Feb 14 '11 at 12:09

Not sure how many laws of physics it breaks or not, but probably the simplest way to do it is have it emanate from the chrome; something about their new enhanced metabolism allows them to slow their own particles down towards absolute zero. (Who knows where the energy's going, but who knows where it's going or coming from when someone makes darkness or fire). In this way at least it's limited to their super-metabolism and isn't "mystical rays of even cooling around me." But adhering to that interpretation may have a lot of implications for the power that will scuttle certain character concepts, but that may be OK.

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