Gods occasionally visit the mortal realm for particular reasons, such as certain festivals or to do battle against demonic forces in an invasion. In the case of the latter, a god has to be careful about controlling his divine energy. When gods fight on earth, they are required to keep their power levels low, and only escalate when absolutely necessarily. This is because they can accidentally cause natural disasters, or destroy the particular plane entirely.

The gods are so powerful that their human forms cannot completely contain their divine energy, which constantly oozes from them. Too much of this can be fatal for mortals. In one particular case during a battle between a god and a powerful demon, the deity lost control of his energy and flash fried an entire city. This city contained 50,000 inhabitants, who all burned to death in an instant. However, what is peculiar is that the bodies remained where they stood in the position they were in before death. The city looks like a place frozen in time, where you could see what people were doing right before they died.

As you can see from the write-up, I am trying to recreate a situation similar to Pompeii, the roman city that was covered in ash by a volcano and killed all the inhabitants. Instead of freezing people in the poses they were in with ash, Divine energy left a city of charred corpses frozen in time, still burning years later. How can I recreate this effect for this particular scenario?

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    $\begingroup$ Did you really mean to say "still burning years later"? Flash-burning everyone to death is one thing (roughly the equivalent of a nuclear blast), but to remain burning means burnable material is being consumed, which would seem to conflict with "frozen in time". $\endgroup$ Dec 2, 2019 at 17:53
  • $\begingroup$ What has this to do with world building? $\endgroup$
    – Slarty
    Dec 2, 2019 at 17:55
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    $\begingroup$ "a situation similar to Pompeye" hmm. "Oh my gawrshk! A vawlcayno! I'll skaves ya, Olive!"? $\endgroup$ Dec 2, 2019 at 18:10
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    $\begingroup$ @Frostfyre I know, but I'm sure you can see in this situation why might have thought about it and then decided not to... $\endgroup$ Dec 2, 2019 at 19:33
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    $\begingroup$ I think I should point out that, at Hiroshima where a nuclear blast did something like this, the people were gone and just shadows etched in buildings and other hard structures remained. Thinking about it: flash frying (removing the water) of something that is about 70% water is a leaves very little behind - as we see in Hiroshima. Pompeii is different because the bodies were covered with a material that replaced the water (ash) $\endgroup$ Dec 6, 2019 at 13:17

1 Answer 1


This is the kind of question for which an axe-cut approximation is well worth it.

Let's take a human, and observe how he/she is made by various things: muscles, bones, hair... well, let's approximate all of this with water.

And, since we want to generalize, let's take 1 liter of water, which conveniently weights 1 kg.

The heat of vaporization of water is about 2260 kJ/kg, to which one has to add the heat needed to bring the water to boiling temperature, which account to 4.2 kJ/kgK, that for going from 36 to 100 Celsius gives 269 kJ/kg.

Therefore to vaporize 1 kg of human you would need to supply 2529 kJ/kg.

If you want that to happen in 1 s, this means you need to supply 2529 kW/kg. If you want that to happen in 0.1 s, this means you need to supply 25290 kW/kg.

Take a scale, and help yourself.

  • $\begingroup$ Problem is that the old surface-area-to-volume issue raises its ugly head and you'll either get superheated entrails shooting out top and bottom, or your overcooked humans will split. $\endgroup$ Dec 2, 2019 at 18:12
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    $\begingroup$ @starfishprime if the god can rain butter and then batter down upon the city first, it should provide enough crust to contain the entrails. Human chicken Kiev! $\endgroup$
    – SRM
    Dec 2, 2019 at 22:52

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