I, the Grand Sorcerer Alazam of the Guild of Arcanists, have invented a remarkable new spell! Using unique magical artifacts, I can create what I call 'living ice' - chunks of ice that grow and consume heat and magic as if they were alive.

Other, lesser cryomages can summon static ice to form barriers or spikes, but my ice is superior! My ice acts as plant life or fungus does - it will consistently absorb the heat from the room in order to grow. The cold will spread outwards, and the lump of ice will consistently grow in size.

This growth is very slow, however - at a rate of a few centimeters in an hour, and less in warmer environments. Very high temperatures such as fire will melt and 'kill' the ice permanently.

When the ice is entirely melted, it becomes inert water, yet large masses are difficult to melt as it absorbs heat.

Overall, the living ice behaves like a fungus which sucks up heat. It is not intelligent or sentient in any way. The growth happens in all directions equally, and any chunks taken from the mass will grow in the same way. Otherwise, this ice looks and has the same properties as the regular sort.

I am, I admit, slightly concerned about the possibility of living ice being left unsupervised, and eventually growing to an unstoppable size...

So then, remarkable though my power may be, I am unsure how to best apply it. What could be the best application for such a spell?

TLDR: There is a constantly expanding, freezing cold, ice-fungus which can only be stopped by fire. What can be usefully done with it?

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to the Worldbuilding Stack Exchange! While a good question, I personally would appreciate a TL;DR. Would that be possible? Just @ me when you're done. $\endgroup$ May 15, 2019 at 15:28
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ If the ice is killed by body heat, then you've just invented the chilled-drinks-with-fancy-shaped-ice industry and are about to become quite rich. If the ice is not killed by body heat, then you have invented an undetectable assassin's poison and sabotage tool, and your life is about to get very weird. $\endgroup$
    – user535733
    May 15, 2019 at 15:40
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    $\begingroup$ If you haven't read it Cats Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut touches on an ice called ice 9 that is very much like this. $\endgroup$
    – Eric
    May 15, 2019 at 15:42
  • $\begingroup$ @A Lambent Eye Done, I added a TL;DR $\endgroup$
    – user64987
    May 15, 2019 at 15:48
  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Worldbuilding.SE! We're glad you could join us! When you have a moment, please click here to learn more about our culture and take our tour. We need to convert this from an off-topic infinite list of things to an on-topic finite list of things. This means explaining your magic system, telling us about limits, and explaining your goals (how you'll judge the best answer). $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    May 15, 2019 at 16:26

5 Answers 5


You can sell it. People in warmer climates like having ice to cool food for preservation. Rather than having to haul it great distances they can just put this in a cool shaded place and chip off pieces once in a while.

Or put it in the lake your enemies use and watch them struggle with it while you laugh. Or put it in a river to block if from being sailed on.


In a couple of weeks you can create pathways over rivers and other bodies of water, or you can block boats from going up and down a river. This is useful in combat situations, when you have time to allow your plans to unfold.

You can also put some into trenches with soldiers waiting for war. Whether they are compromised by the cold, or by the fire they're forced to set, you will flush them out. Again, it will take some time, but that's not always a problem. You'll need to find a way to apply the "fungus" to something that can't just be shoveled out to a safe spot and set on fire (or something that isn't noticed until it's too late).

In the civilian world, use this for firefighting! As long as you get the amounts right, it should balance out properly so there isn't too little (the fire continues to rage) or too much (fire's gone but you've got a bigger problem on your hands). Ideally it would reduce the fire enough that ordinary methods are now manageable. Remember, it can take weeks to contain a large fire.

It could be used to prevent or slow meltdowns in nuclear power plants. The time scale may be too quick here but it's possible it could help enough to take the edge off. If in place and ready to apply at the beginning of a core meltdown.

Honestly though, the chance that the ice will get out of control over time is a very large risk. Either there needs to be a failsafe for it (can you, the Grand Sorcerer Alazam of the Guild of Arcanists, reverse it if you're on site?) or it needs to be used very very rarely and only for a few days at most.


The Ice as proposed would be a liability anywhere except areas in which the ambient temperature outside is enough to force the ice back. In desert-like climates, you could put it in a designated shady area just cool enough to allow it to grow but if it ventured outside it would melt.

Larger scale applications could create oasis's? oasi? oaset? oasises? Anyways, with a large quantity of sun shielded ice you could create pools of water in the desert to shelter life.

Basically, this is incredibly useful in the exact climates in which it cannot rampantly spread.


None! You are an artist!

Applications? Practicality? How droll! Please - leave the pennies and profits to the wart-removing witches and traveling conjurers. And let those aesthetes who are prepared understand your works for the marvels that they are! You are an artist; a créatif whose medium is magic. You cannot be bothered with mundanities like how many potatoes it can peel.


Air conditioning. However, the growth severely complicates domestic/industrial use - about a meter per day, as proposed, is too much. It would be better to invent slow-growing (or not growing at all) ice that still absorbs heat. Or some other better way to control it than fire, such as dependence on rare/magic nutrients.


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