Cryomancy is cool, ice is cool and ice mages too. But does it actually hold any utility other than keeping your food fresh, specially martially wise(?)

How could an individual with ice magic powers be able to use his magic in combat, a life or death situation where fleeing is not an option ?

The magic works like that : You can activate a part of your brain that enables you to turn air into liquid then solid ice by manipulating pressure or at least to drop it's temperature at the cost of calories, only the air you are able to directly ''see'' so freezing people to death from within is not an option.

Dropping 100 liters of air down by 10 C° costs 500 Kilocalories and causes extreme acceleration in breathing if this magic is abused it can fatigue or even kill the user.

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    By "turn air into solid ice" do you mean freezing the water in the air, or freezing the gases that make up air? In other words, is the ice block around 0°C or -220°C? Also, does it happen instantly? – Giter Nov 8 at 18:36
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    Can the mage use his particle speed manipulation to turn air into very rapid solid projectiles? – Alexander Nov 8 at 18:37
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    Maybe you are unaware of how many "air particles" there are. A brain can't do that, I know from personal experience. Calculating 100 things at once is already, well, the timescale you need before they hit each other.... They are also small enough to fall into the realm of quantum physics. I'm just giving you a word of caution: it's sometimes best to not offer scientific explanations for magic. You explain one aspect barely but ignore others, e.g. how you then manage to slow them. Why? It might be relevant for the story, otherwise, well, good luck – Raditz_35 Nov 8 at 18:42
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    Can you cool your opponent directly, even if it's just the surface parts that you can see? Destroying eyeballs wouldn't require cooling much volume and would be very effective in most combat situations. – Gene Nov 8 at 18:50
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    "Wheres my super suit?" – Sebastian Morfin Nov 9 at 15:00

10 Answers 10

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Internal damages

How about creating a lot of really small, sharp and pointy needles of ice ? Use the cryomancy to create them from thin air, then as stated in the comment, use air pressure to project them through your opponent skin (if some body parts are not protected by armor, etc...). This could lead to :

  • Damaged organs (possibly vitals).
  • Haemorrhage.

Moreover, as stated in one of those Quora's answer :

[], any kind of water is extremely hypotonic relative to blood serum, so you can expect immediate hemolysis of red blood cells (RBCs) — bursting of the cells due to osmotic swelling. RBCs are little bags of hemoglobin, and when free hemoglobin is released into the circulation it’s toxic to kidneys and can cause renal shutdown. You might even need emergency renal hemodialysis.

In addition RBCs are little bags of potassium, so serum K+ levels will rise and could cause cardiac arrhythmias including fatal ventricular fibrillation or ventricular tachycardia.

Add those symptoms to the pain and the numb cause by the cold of being pierced by dozens/hundreds of needles, and you'll have a pretty dangerous mage capable of disabling and killing its foes from a secure distance.

  • I find this good way to be killed. With given terms, you can get few kg of ice on good day, around 500 grams or less on bad - so you need to carry water and still cary not to waste time and energy while you make it. Ice has terrible physical properties for weapon mat. This needles, if you dont go big, will leave only skin damage on person with no protection, hard to go deep to stay inside target. – Artemijs Danilovs Nov 13 at 20:19
  • For induce said effects, ice will need to melt and get in targets bloodstream: melting takes time, you can take it out and as blood flows out of holes you make in your object of hate, same will do water. Yeah, he will bleed and be angry as hell. If you can use all that energy to deposit ice and push it, why not push some pointy metal? – Artemijs Danilovs Nov 13 at 20:19

Since there is a major energy drawback to using this power, one route for maximum combat efficiency would be to focus on Precision and/or Set-up.

Precison

Instead of forming huge chunks of ice and hurling/dropping them on your target, what about forming spikes from walls/ceiling, and simply creating a slippery surface to slide your foe into their own deaths / major injury?

It doesn't even have to be that complex, freezing the eyes of your enemy is another option, as well as freezing the air right at the opening of their nose, and when they breath/speak, freeze that as well and suffocate the target.

Defensively, the concept is the same. If you know where your opponent's attacks are aiming for, instead of completely stopping that force, redirect it using angled ice walls or simply liquid in the air. A Martial Art Style like Aikido would work well with this train of thought.

The whole goal here is to not exert a lot of effort, which could kill the user, but rather deliberately use precise force strategically.

Set-Up

Another, non-exclusive thought, would be to set-up your fights in a way that plays to your magic/strengths. Fight near a large body of water or a cold environment that minimize the energy you need to consume to drop the temperature farther.

Tools, like a bottle of water, liquid nitrogen cartridges, Water-filled vest, water balloons are all examples of how a smart user of this magic could prepare themselves for combat before it even happens. If given enough time before a fight within a set location, setting simple water traps could be lethal with the right circumstances.

All of these answers are only pertaining to dropping the temperature of the surroundings, if pressure were an option like suggested, there are a slew of other principles that could be applied depending on the circumstances.

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    Best answer in my eyes. Freezing the face is the first thing that came to my mind too and the other advices are pretty good too. I'm also thinking that an Ice Wizard could add sharp edges to anything he touches : a wood spoon could become a dagger with a small amount of ice on the tip. An Ice mage would need to be a pretty good close combat fighter and improviser. – Echox Nov 9 at 8:47

Combat styles can't be defined simply. They involve thousands of tiny features coming together. However, what you describe does seem to be sufficient to create weapons out of thin air and to direct them.

What you probably want to train in is a rope-like weapon, such as a metor hammer or dart or chain whip. Here's a video of what can be done with one by a mere mortal.

Now one of the major limits of the chain whip class of weapons is that you have a very limited set of things you can do to the weapon. The masters spend a lot of time honing these so that they can increase and decrease the length of the chain by wrapping it around their body. Your ice master would have one additional capability: the ability to slow it down and guide it. By summoning mass in front of the weapon (in the form of snowflakes?) you can change its energy and momentum in ways that normal masters of these weapons cannot. Thus, in a fight, nobody will be prepared for what you can do.

For example, an opponent might grab the chain. They think that they now know the length of the weapon (it extends from their hand to the end of the chain). They should know what directions the chain can travel. But if you can put a ball of solid ice in the way, you can half the length of the chain, causing it to whip around and strike the opponent right in the hand they used to grab the sash.

This would also be very effective for diverting opponents off balance. This is both physically adjusting them off balance like a Tai Chi or Akido practicioner would, and simply making a slipery surface under their feet.

Cooling a air requires means reducing its energy, and that energy has to go somewhere. Heating up something else can be a useful attack if it is controlled, or a side-effect if not controlled, or it can be handwaived that energy is used to power the skill, or counter its effects, or is directed deep undeground, into alternative dimension, etc.

Time for Physics: https://home.howstuffworks.com/humidifier1.htm A cubic meter of air at 100% humidty (and 25C) contains 22 grams of water. At 20C, it can contain 18grams. So dropping temp by 5C gets you 4 grams of liquid water per cubic meter, and your example of cooling 100m^2 of air by 10C gives you 800grams of liquid water (less than a kilogram). Turning it into ice will require sucking more energy out of it. I do not know enough physics to say how much, but I will assume 400 grams of ice, i.e. about a pound.

Simple combat use of 400g of ice is to drop it onto enemy from some height. If you have control, you can form the ice in some vulnerable location, e.g. over face to interrupt breathing and vision, or render their gear useless.

PS Freezing eyeballs like @Gene suggested is an excellent strategy if it is possible. Also freezing fingers. Do not have to completely freeze either, I bet a drop in temperature will hurt enough.

I am assuming the mage attracts moisture from a large area around him, both air, ground and potentialy a little from plants and animals nearby or this is going to be one bad magic.

Remember the ice bucket challenge? It is a method to simulate the ALS affliction. Just launching a large amount of ice water at an opponent could at the very least give you enough time to pass them by and flee, or give you time to retaliate and stab a knife through their helmet for example. Probably the easiest thing would be to have a mace, as a good hit at an essentially slowed or stunned enemy will at the very least incapacitate anyone on the receiving end even if they wear a helmet.

1 question though: where does the energy go? You could say that the energy extracted lowers the energy needed to draw water from your surroundings.

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    "Where does the energy go?" Actually that's half the problem. The other half is "Where does the entropy go?" Since you need a net positive entropy change, probably you have to give off a lot of waste heat to satisfy both of these issues. This would explain why Gray takes his clothes off, though. – Kevin Nov 9 at 0:24
  • When you consume calories at a high rate your body heats up and respiration gets faster, same for cryomancy. – Eries Nov 9 at 6:36
  • @Eries I meant the energy extracted from the water, not the burned calories. – Demigan Nov 9 at 6:47
  • @Kevin isnt that the same question in this case? The magic creates ice so energy is extracted from the air and water. To conserve entropy the question is "where does that energy go to keep a balance", which is essentially my question. – Demigan Nov 9 at 6:50
  • My point is that you can't assume the excess energy goes anywhere useful. No storing it up and using it for something else. – Kevin Nov 9 at 16:22

Attrition

In addition to more refined methods, just brute-force cold could be very effective. Apply as much cold as you can to somebody's immediate vicinity, then attack as normal. Cooling to even as warm as 2 C (~36 F) can have significant impacts on motor skills. If your cryomancer can get it much colder, and has at least average martial combat skills, this will swing any fight to his advantage within minutes.

If the basis for calling the magic user an "Ice Mage" is that they can rapidly lower the temperature of the air that they can see by manipulating the pressure down. I will assume that they can only decrease pressure and that they do so at great cost.

Non-lethal
Lowered temperatures have not been found to have notable effect on stimulus evaluation. [Integr Physiol Behav Sci. 1995 Jan-Mar;30(1):34-45], However, the temperature drop is only a byproduct of the real action- rapid pressure drop. Imagine someone charging at the mage, if they were to rapidly drop pressure, directly in front of the face, you could leave them winded at a fairly low cost.
The mage might, at relatively low cost, flash freeze the hands of the opponent.

Lethal
As @Gene mentioned, targeting the eyes would be a low cost means of really hurting the target.

Dropping ice from above might be a little too difficult and cost inefficient, but if they use the environment to their advantage, they might turn rain to hail.

If you were to continue dropping the pressure and lowering temperature near the face, I imagine you could also suffocate your opponent.

Disarm
Provided the target is using a metal weapon, iirc most metals are susceptible to risks of "brittle fracture" when exposed to rapidly changing temperatures. After rapidly changing the temperature of the metal on their weapon, it may fracture if you were to block with a weapon of your own.

If an Archer were targeting the cryomancer, a rapid drop in the temperature of the bow could cause the bow to break and split when it's drawn, possibly hurting the archer.

Regarding firearms, lubricant would become thick and the weapon may jam or at the least, become sluggish. Freezing a magazine may prevent the spring from feeding up into the weapon.

Hope this helps

You could condense air and use it as a cryogenic liquid, propellent or explosive or even augment fire with pure oxygen. You can be a silent killer: just displace oxygen with CO2 or N2. Possibilities depend on the level of technology & support and what enemies you are fighting against. Cryomages don't have to limited to just ice.

You could do a lot of crowd control with a small amount of water or ice. Like freezing surfaces creating slippery surfaces. If you are looking for direct damage then maybe try decreasing the temperature of anything on them. freezing a small surface of skin even a thin layer at 5 cm or so diameter at lets say -40 c can be very painful and cause quite a bit of shock and saps heat from surrounding areas causing more damage.

For a cryomancer i would say a fighting style of either ranged attacks or something a bit closure involving alot of grappling and holds so as to freeze the enemy while touching them.

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