This is part 2 of a series. Part 1 can be read here. It's the same premise, in a different era.

Imagine that you live in France during the iron age. One day, you and five friends have the ability to magically induce redox reactions at-will.

Each person can use this ability to effect a total mass of 3 tons, per day. They can control the speed of the reaction, the scale of the reaction and remove the need for any activation energy.

The goal of you and your friends is to exert economic dominance over neighboring tribes using the least amount of this power.

You and your friends are in complete agreement about this goal and the means of achieving it. Nobody will be founding new religions around you or your powers. You have no foreknowledge of history. There are no particularly important figures for you to assassinate, though you could use this for warfare. Your environment and tools are otherwise typical of the time and place. The power can be used on yourselves, inanimate objects, and non-human animals.

How would you do this?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ 800-100 BC where more or less we land? $\endgroup$ – Artemijs Danilovs Nov 13 '18 at 1:56
  • $\begingroup$ @ArtemijsDanilovs That sounds perfect $\endgroup$ – user49466 Nov 13 '18 at 2:00
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ More precise timeframe lets us know who you deal with and what people would like to trade. Or I can just list what likely redox products you can make for trade or for your own nation or how to make no one want to go to war with you on the field. $\endgroup$ – Artemijs Danilovs Nov 13 '18 at 2:18
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ How much their intent can influence result? Can they do delicate, more complex reactions or are they closer to I have anode/cathode? They are OP in both, but first option makes them hundred times more versitile. $\endgroup$ – Artemijs Danilovs Nov 13 '18 at 2:53
  • $\begingroup$ @ArtemijsDanilovs The latter would be most useful. The setting is analogous to our iron age, but the actual tribes and peoples are different. And yes, they can complete delicate operations. I don't have any hard math or metrics for the delicacy/power tradeoff, but just assume that the more intricate the use of this power, the less of it they can use. So, a series of detailed microscopic uses would be as much expenditure as brute application across 2-3 tons of material. Apologies that I can't be more specific than that. $\endgroup$ – user49466 Nov 13 '18 at 3:50

To make it short, your friend have ability to transfer electron, not hindered by natural limits and costs. That translates to ability to take apart compounds and molecules and rearrange into new ones, in one or multiple steps. Limits are for you to decide. Some possibilities:

Abundant metals (Al, Fe, Ca, Na, Mg, K, Ti, Mn) can be produced from common rocks and minerals, clay. More rare ones from ores if you can find them. As they will be pure ( or close to) your metal quality is over the top. Cooperation with blacksmiths (coke and meaby pure O2 from you) and a lot of experiments will produce aluminium alloys and steel alloys. Weapons, armors, everyday goods, construction for your heroes to invent.

Glass and ceramics: as you can produce a lot different and pure oxides and salts, that enables you to research glass and ceramic production. Quality and colors above competition.

Fertilizers: as they discover what are building blocks of plants, they may try to help them grow better.

Organic compounds: they may find out and learn from plants and yeasts about production of sugars and ethanol. So you can use and trade sugars, alcohol. OP range: help then> copy how they do it> sythesis from CO2+H2O around you (CO+H2).

  • If you go and discover synthesis + Ox/red way, amount of products you can produce is too long. For note are fuels. Fischer–Tropsch process

In the end, what and how you discover depend on what story you want to tell.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.