The Let's Play Archive

Secret of Evermore

by Leavemywife

Part 38: Simply Simon, An Actual Chemist, Explains If The Formulas Are Viable!

Right, so I have time today! Alchemy roundup and some science facts!

This page has gifs for each spell. I'll be using the alphabetical order from it.

Acid Rain (Ash x 1, Water x 3) we've talked about :


(yes, ash is alkaline. Consists of unburnt mineral residues, including carbonates, which are alkaline in aqueous solution)

Atlas (Atlas Armlet x 1, Ash x 3) is called "Arnold" in German and the Atlas Amulet is called Arnitamin. If it is a vitamin, you could conceivably press it together with the as to make it a pill to swallow. Otherwise, I got nothing. Maybe you crush the amulet and use the alkaline parts of the ash to extract the strengthening agent, because (heavily) basic extractions are a common technique. Usually you boil something with potassium hydroxide though, the hardcore variant.

Barrier (Limestone x 1, Bone x 2) is called super shield in German. Limestone is calcium carbonate and bones are also heavy in calcium, so this probably gives you a bone armor. Or a stronger skeleton .

Call Up (Meteorite x 1, Dry Ice x 1): Meteorites can be any number of minerals, depending on where they come from. I suspect it's shorthand for "rare and limited". Though dry ice is very cold - it's frozen CO2, -78°C - and thus this calls comets to mind, which tend to consist of ice. And rocks. SPACE.

Corrosion (Mushroom x 1, Water x 3): I have no idea what kind of oxidizing agents you could make from whatever mushroom grows in Evermore when boiling them in water. As mushrooms are very diverse, I'm sure there's something you could extract from some species. Also this is called acid storm in German which is far more metal.

Crush (Limestone x 1, Wax x 1): I suspect this is less chemistry and more "literally form the fist by sticking rocks together". HELL FIST in German.

Cure (Root x 2, Oil x 1)
This is what I said about Heal:


For Heal, I'm even less of an expert, that's pharmacists' business. Generally though, natural cures can have some validity to them, because there tends to be a reason why people used this leaf or that root to chew on when plagued by headaches/gastrointestinal problems/severed limbs. Many modern drugs are derived by correctly identifying the compounds in the plants that are responsible for the healing effect, extracting them and maybe modifying them. For example: salicylic acid is found in the bark of the willow tree, and that was forever known as a remedy for various ailments. The acid itself, however, has side effects it taken directly, but if you modify it free hydroxy group by coupling it with acetic acid, most of those side effects disappear. You might know acetic salicylic acid as Aspirin.

So some root, some oil to cure various problems? Sure, why not.
Which I should have said about Cure. Heal uses water instead of oil, but you can extract water-soluble stuff with water too, of course. So same principle applies.

Defend (Clay x 1, Ash x 1) I said this:


Clay is, like many natural materials used in building, a complicated mixture of various compounds that happen to find themselves geologically; I once look over the entry for Calcium in the big lexicon of inorganic compounds, that had ~2 pages for where to find it, how its properties are as an element, and ~4 pages on the chemistry of concrete and lime. To be specific, clay mostly consists of sheet silicates, which are silicon oxides (like sand is) that are slightly malleable because of their crystal structure, especially when hydrated. Remove the water, remove the plasticity. I don't think slightly raising the pH (making it more alkaline) by adding ash would do much, and a quick look on clay brick techniques didn't reveal me any where you add ash into the mix, so maybe it's a shorthand for a fire connection and you bake yourself a clay armor on the spot.

Or it's a gameplay conceit because defensive spells are situational, so they give you one from common materials.
But judging by the animation, it's probably really just a liberal coating in clay armor.

Double Drain (Ethanol x 2, Vinegar x 2)

Simply Simon posted:

Yeah the next part kinda sucks. While I do like the looks of the area in general, it's also just not that interesting a time period for me at least.

Ethanol and acetic acid (non-diluted vinegar) couple together to form ethyl acetate, a common solvent. Most of my experience with it is using it together with other solvents for column chromatography, which is a separation method. I guess you could use it to extract shit from other, Drain it...and you need two different solvents for it...or rather, you should do an extraction at least twice, so it's a Double Drain...look, it's at least more scientific than the bees are.

Drain (Ethanol x 1, Root x 2)
Ethanol is also an organic solvent, so extraction, again.

Energize (Iron x 2, Crystal x 1)
"Crystals" are any substances with a repeating lattice structure. Salt is a crystal, diamonds too, it's a wide field. Crystals universally sparkle, though (it's because they have facets resulting from naturally flat surfaces in the lattices, and light waves which are periodic and regular interact with those periodic surfaces). So that makes sense for the animation - though you can also use them for generating light. With electricity (LEDs!). And you can make the cables from iron. I guess. "Cosmic power" in German - doesn't really help with the interpreation.

Escape (Wax x 1, Vinegar x 1)
No idea, sorry. Wax doesn't really interact with things much, it's a much too complex mixture of biological components to make sensible chemistry from, I don't think anything would happen if you soak a candle in vinegar (maybe it would slowly dissolve?), and how this makes you run away better...up to your guess.

Explosion (Ethanol x 2, Ash x 1)
Ash is associated with fire (even though it is what happens AFTER fire - should really be kindling instead) and ethanol is flammable.

Fireball (Brimstone x 1, Ash x 2)
Brimstone is simply an alternate name for sulfur, which is of course also associated with fire. That's far more alchemical than chemical of course.

Fire Power (Feather x 1, Brimstone x 1)
Feathers have a big surface because of the fine tendrils they consist of, and anything with a big surface in comparison to volume reacts more easily because reactions can only proceed at the surface of a material. A block of wood is far harder to burn than sawdust, and grains will burn slowly while flour explodes. Thus, feathers burn quick. Also Phoenixes, maybe.

Flash (Wax x 1, Oil x 2)
Should be self-evident.

Force Field (Grease x 1, Iron x 1)
No chemical interaction springs to mind (grease is just "something that makes things not stick together" and can be anything from oil mixtures to molybdenum sulfide which is just also non-stick), but I do begin to think of machinery. Maybe it's meant to evoke a technical forcefield.

Hard Ball (Crystal x 1, Clay x 1)
I think this is putting something hard (the crystal) but unwieldy (see: facets) into something soft (the clay) which you can shape into a ball (the spell) and throw. "Mud Bomb" in German.

Heal (Root x 1, Water x 1)
See above.

Lance (Iron x 1, Acorn x 1)
"Ivory spear" in German. Added flavor, I presume. I got nothing on the ingredients, acorns are weird compared to some of the simpler ones.

Levitate (Water x 1, Mud Pepper x 1)
These are some hot peppers...

Lightning Storm (Iron x 1, Ash x 2)
We again have the problem that Ash isn't really something you would use in a reaction, except for maybe its alkaline properties. You could think of batteries then, but that's very tentative. Iron is conductive of course (so...lightning), dunno how adding ash would improve upon that. But I'm shit at electrodynamics!

Miracle Cure (Root x 2, Vinegar x 1)
Roots again with some liquid - you'd not usually use acetic acid as a solvent, but you can certainly dissolve things in it (as in, use the acidic properties to break down some components). This might well get some agents in solution (aqueous solution, as vinegar is not what you'd call pure acetic acid) which you couldn't get out with neutral water. That's in some parts a solubility question (because acid = proton donor in the easier to understand definition = giver of positively charged ions, and once something is charged instead of neutral the highly dipolar water can dissolve it more easily) and in some parts you have an actual chemical transformation - for example the splitting of esters into their component parts, which would give you an alcohol and an acid, both soluble in water.

Nitro (Gunpowder x 1, Grease x 2)
Gunpowder is self-evident, grease is flammable if crude oil-based. Not too complicated.

One Up (Feather x 1, Root x 1)
No clue, sorry. Feathers are weird like acorns.

Reflect (Grease x 2, Iron x 1)
Iron is naturally reflective like all metals (due to some very complicated physics explanations), but of course only if it's polished. Like with grease for example! Could also give something a shiny sheen on its own, of course.

Regrowth (Acorn x 1, Water x 2)
Well, this is more a question of basic biology, isn't it?

Revealer (Ash x 2, Wax x 1)

Revive (Root x 3, Bone x 1)
I guess that's more of a mystical life/death thing. Also: dogz and bonez. "A dog's life" in German which is hilarious.

Slow Burn (Iron x 1, Brimstone x 1)
Combining iron and sulfur then igniting it does actually lead to a slowly burning chemical reaction! Especially if they are mixed stoichiometrically, meaning that they have the same atomic ratio in the mixed powders as in the final product, which will be pyrite (FeS2), or Fool's Gold.
This is called "flames of purgatory" in German.

Speed (Wax x 1, Water x 2)
Should have used grease and iron for this, then I could say "greased lightning lol". Alas, I can't.

Sting (Water x 2, Vinegar x 1)
Diluting an aqueous solution of acetic acid even further gives bees, that's just common knowledge.

Stop (Wax x 2, Crystal x 1)
The oscillations of quartz crystals are very regular and used in quartz clocks. You can also measure time with a candle marked in regular intervals. You will probably not get a meaningful reaction if you combine a random crystal with wax. If you hold various salts into a candle flame, you will get pretty colours though!

Super Heal (Ethanol x 2, Acorn x 1)
This just looks like the recipe for some gnarly-ass booze. Probably a Bavarian specialty that has subtle notes of hops, alpine herbs, earth and the inside of a dead body's asshole. "Giga power" in German.