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I'm working on a setting in which magical objects can be conjured, but will disappear once the spell that created them is no longer maintained. I'm curious about the specific effects that would happen if a person ate a conjured meal, and then had the food disappear after being digested. Would they die? Hunger? Indigestion? Implosion?

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closed as primarily opinion-based by kingledion, Lio Elbammalf, L.Dutch, Mołot, James Mar 16 '17 at 6:13

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ Conceptually, magic conjuring is not something you can justify or explain with physics. If matter 'dissapeared' then the nearest analogy in physics would be that its energy was converted to matter by $E=mc^2$. In that case, when the food dissapears, the person explodes with the force of thousands of atomic bombs. If you don't want this to happen, we're no longer using science, so you can pretty much do whatever you want. In that case, there is no 'correct' answer, so I'm going to vote to close this as 'opinion based.' $\endgroup$ – kingledion Mar 16 '17 at 0:10
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    $\begingroup$ The problem here is that no one can tell you how your magic works. So, you decide the rules really. $\endgroup$ – Lio Elbammalf Mar 16 '17 at 0:31
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    $\begingroup$ @LioElbammalf Note he already has defined what happens, it vanishes. The question is what happens to the human body after the magic molecules making up the food vanish. $\endgroup$ – Anketam Mar 16 '17 at 2:11
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    $\begingroup$ I don't think science and magic mix well here. Personally, I use "my body is my temple" approach and once something truly becomes part of character's body (ie nutrients in bloodstream), other magic rules no longer apply. But that's just my solution, not an universal answer. $\endgroup$ – Mołot Mar 16 '17 at 6:04
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    $\begingroup$ @Anketam But vanishes how? Simply as if it wasn't ever there? Or in a flash of energy? Does it leave anything behind? I feel these aren't questions we can answer because they're so story dependant. We can give ideas but that borders on ideas pooling. $\endgroup$ – Lio Elbammalf Mar 16 '17 at 9:02
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It will not be very dramatic. The person perhaps will only suffer a headache, but they could go on a sudden death. It depends on how much magic food they ingested, and how long does that magic food to disappear.

For example, if the food goes puff in the stomach, the person will feel hungry again. Doing this too much may develop an ingestion disorder that could lead, for example, to gastritis or ulcers.

However, perhaps the food disappears a while later. The nutrients disappearing suddenly from the bloodstream means the organs will not be receiving them, the body would respond by increasing the flood pressure and resourcing to nutrient reserves. The person would feel lightheaded at first, followed by the increase in blood pressure, headache, perhaps a slight fever.

It could make for a strange way to diet. You could eat certain amount of magic food, have your hunger satiated, and you will not get fat because it goes puff. In the end, it is similar to bulimia, except you do not have to vomit. If you rely only on this, you end up with mal nutrition.

It could be worse. If the food takes long enough to disappear (about a few weeks) and the person eats large quantities, the nutrients would be an important constituent of the cells in the person. In addition, when they disappear, the cells die. This could mean intracranial hemorrhages, or a cardiac arrest. It could mean blood getting into the lungs. It would require immediate medical attention if the person has a chance to survive.


Ok, but all the above is without considering what happens when the magic items go puff. This depends on the explanation for magician invocation in your setting.

For the explosive twist, the conjured items dissipate in heat and radiation; although that means that virtually any magic item goes in flames.

Well, we need to consider how fast they disintegrate, because it could not be just flames, but a nuclear explosion. For example, you could say that magic items just deteriorate very fast after they safe period is over.


Addendum:

Below I present some notable effects of missing vitamins (Warning: linked Wikipedia articles of illness, meaning potentially disturbing imagery):

  • Lack of Vitamin A can give you Nyctalopia (night-blindness) and Keratomalacia (characterized for opaque cornea). It will make you blind.
  • Lack of Vitamin B1 can give you Wernicke–Korsakoff syndrome, Peripheral neuropathy and Beriberi
  • Lack of Vitamin B2 can give a series of inflammations an irritations, including Angular cheilitis and Seborrhoeic dermatitis
  • Lack of Vitamin B3 can give you Pellagra.
  • Lack of Vitamin B5 can give you other skin problems such as Paresthesia.
  • Lack of Vitamin B6 can give you Anemia, Peripheral neuropathy (again), Convulsions and Seborrhoeic dermatitis (again)
  • Lack of Vitamin B7 can give you Dermatitis and Enteritis, it has been associated with depression and Nausea.
  • Lack of Vitamin B9 and B12 can give you Anemia (again), Peripheral neuropathy (again), Glositis and Diarrhea.
  • Lack of Vitamin Bt can give you Muscle atrophy
  • Lack of Vitamin C can give you Scurvy
  • Lack of Vitamin D can give you Rickets, it is also associated with Kidney stone disease because Vitamin D is necessary for the absorption of Calcium that would end up in the Kidneys otherwise.

I am lifting this list form a documentary research I was doing a while ago. Do not consider this an exhaustive list. In addition, I never got to looking into the effects of the deficiency of minerals.

You may also want to look into Hypoglycaemia, if the magic food is very sugary.

For the death cell, you may want to look into Apoptosis, and Aplastic anemia. Also the missing cells could mean all sort of abscesses (holes in organs).

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  • $\begingroup$ What happens to that which was previously chemical energy stored in the food, and is now spread throughout the body? Some of it was converted to heat. Would the person cool down? What about any feces or similar excrements? @Jonathan, it could be that your entire world was thusly conjured. $\endgroup$ – can-ned_food Mar 16 '17 at 4:16
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    $\begingroup$ @can-ned_food I understood it as being the matter that disappears. The energy released by it should not be traceble... but maybe it is, ask OP. The thing is, you can't really revert the effects of it, for example the person tasted the food, it created a memory, would that go too? What if the person took some decision based on the food, will that be undone? No, I don't think so. So, I don't expect interactions with this matter (such as transfering heat) to be reverted. $\endgroup$ – Theraot Mar 16 '17 at 4:38
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A viable way for this "magic" food to disappear would be for it to come from and change into an abundant gaseous element such as nitrogen. After the period of time the magic that rearranged the subatomic particles has worn off or whatever it would seemingly dissolve into thin air, creating a nice magical effect. would expand, seemingly dissolving into nitrogen.

72 percent of the body is water which is replaced after about 16 days and the body solids are replaced in 8-11 months so the result depends on the time it takes for the food to disappear.

If the food disappeared in a matter of minutes, the result would be similar to a case in which a woman took a small shot of liquid nitrogen. Her stomach expanded and exploded inside her and left her close to death.

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  • $\begingroup$ How were other people able to drink them before this incedent? $\endgroup$ – JDługosz Mar 16 '17 at 6:55
  • $\begingroup$ The liquid nitrogen was actually floating on top of the actual beverage, making a nice smoky effect. They were supposed to wait for it all to evaporate before drinking. $\endgroup$ – Gnorshk Mar 16 '17 at 7:08

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