66

Surely for the simple reason that, if you carried a crystal wand around in your trouser pocket, it would almost certainly break during normal day to day activities. A crystal sphere is fairly strong so long as you don't drop it from a great height. A crystal wand - less so.


62

Curium-247 Curium 247 is by far one of the most stable man-made elements with a half-life of 15.6 million years. It emits very small amounts of alpha radiation, but alpha radiation is mostly harmless since it lacks the penetration power to bypass human skin. A porous transparent coating as allowed by the OP may be recommended in commonly used areas just to ...


58

A piece of history The problem is that any material could devalue or increase in value. That makes the building susceptible to become less valuable over time. What you need is something that is expensive not just for its value as a resource. Make it valuable for its history. There's two ways to look at this. One is using relics and old buildings with history ...


51

Crystal is too good a conductor of magic. The wand acts as a resistor, slowing the flow of magic down. This allows the wizards to imprint their will onto it, and control it. A novice wizard has an extremely poor-quality wand, so that the magic tickles through slowly and is easy to control — the problem is, this also means that not much magic is flowing, ...


39

Baked Alaska Baked Alaska is a dessert where you take a block of ice-cream, cover it in meringue batter, and place in a super hot oven for long enough that the meringue cooks but the ice cream remains frozen. This requires fine temperature control -- beyond the ability of medieval blacksmiths. With temperature-controlling superpowers though it's easy-peasy....


39

Materials are irrelevant What matters is craftsmanship. On a galactic scale, all materials that exist are common. Theoretically all skills are also common, but getting the craftsman for hand carved oak beams is still expensive. As are hand embroidered tapestries on the walls, hand made stained glass windows (these are always expensive regardless), ...


27

MicroSD cards filled with legitimately purchased Music, Software, Movies, etc from your entire empire's history Superglued together into 1 cubic meter blocks, these make a great building material! Can be cut and shaped using conventional tools. MicroSD cards are 1.65 × $10^{-7}$ cubic metres. Costs \$670 for a 1tb card. A good movie compresses to about ...


21

Always be yourself, unless you can be Batman, then always be Batman Batman has a good few tricks up his sleaves for rapid descent, the two that are most interesting to us are the wingsuit and his ropes. Your average modern wingsuit isn't really designed for this stunt, it's more for entertaining yourself on much bigger falls, before deploying a full ...


21

Usage cases. Traditionally, Wizards and Sorcerers do different types of magic. As a result, they need different abilities from their paraphernalia. Wizards: Are generally journeymen. As a result, they generally don't feel inclined to carry a 20 pound crystal ball with "Fragile: handle with care" written all over it. Do smaller spells. While they ...


20

Gummy rollers This system relies on a sticky substance like tar or glue that could be used to slow a descent. I'm imagining something like paint rollers on the hands and feet, which would either be coated in a sticky substance, or slowly exude it from a reserve tank. As the user descends, the rollers peeling away from the wall will sap some of the downward ...


19

Size Matters The palace is a planet. One entire planet. To arrive you have to dock with the Official Arrival Space Station. Landing on the surface is strictly forbidden. The Space Station is the top of a Space Elevator, meaning it is stationary over a point on the surface. The reach the Elevator, you must walk across a big room with a glass ceiling giving ...


19

boolean permanent = true It seems a rather trivial question. You've made something that can shape, colour and add properties (flex, conductivity, etc.) to itself to your desire. How difficult would the next step be that you consider an object finished or permanent and the fog to obey? Probably you barely need to spare the thought. Only if you would actively ...


16

Vacuum Heat a block of iron just above its plastic transition. Next, heat the interior of the block to just above its vaporization transition so that you now have a deformable, and hence expanding, envelope of iron gas. (This would look like a glowing, more nearly opaque version of blowing a glass ball.) Cool the globe to room temperature. Now you have ...


16

It's not the materials It's the location. Most of the ISS is made of things readily available on Earth; Yet it was so expensive to build because of its privileged location (and harsh conditions). Having a palace in a low orbit over Sagittarius A* would be costly due to the absurd amount of ∆v required to reach it. Might have to sacrifice a few stars for a ...


15

Metamaterials The waste genuinely is just garbage. The catch is that the civilisation that produced it does seriously cool things with material-science, and while most of their waste can be recycled, a small amount cannot. Meta-Materials can have incredible properties, we manufacture them in various forms now in the 21st century so imagine the possibilities ...


15

Unobtanium Any material the architects can come up with can be outdone. So, the real material should be shrouded in mystery. Covering it in plastic would help to deepen this mystery. Regular people and scientists would ponder about the nature of this unobtanium, but they would never have a clue. All their guesses would be lazily dismissed by the palace staff:...


14

Not a specific material but a set of techniques: Welding: you wouldn't have to worry too much about ruining the temper of metals if you could precisely control the location of the heat. Also, if you can control stuff at that degree, you could also do "cold welds." Just push some molecules from each piece of metal into the other until they are merged ...


14

Radial Predators and prey: On the planet they have evolved on, there also evolved a substantial variety of coiled radial life forms (animals or plants with motile functions). These forms use their coils as a spring function for their attack and defense mechanisms - generally a sizeable scything blade. Their body plan is such that as the spring releases, the ...


13

Actual gas cells in actual airships were made from the outer membrane of the intestines of cattle. Lifting gas is held in balloons or gas cells at a pressure only very slightly above the presure of the surrounding air. There is very very little pressure differential pushing it to escape. Any kind of barrier will work, especially if made airtight, for ...


13

How about...no materials at all? Okay, this isn't just an allusion to the namesake of this thread, hear me out: You take an entire planet, and spend years (or quicker with handwavium style tech) bleaching it of all life, completely purifying the water, and re-seeding it with specifically engineered fauna and flora making it the perfect garden world Maintain ...


13

If he tries to pass for an aristocrat without actually being one he will come to a bad end. Family ties were a paramount thing in those times, and he is worse than a bastard -- he has no father and no mother. One knight, no matter what armor he has, will be caught and slain by any half-decent squad of armsmen. His only chance is to bring lots of gold and ...


12

Of all the baryons listed in the page you quote, the only two having a lifetime not ending with a negative exponential are proton and neutron. All the others live for something like $10^{-10}$ seconds at most. If statistics matters, and we support it with the empirical evidence that none of those has been yet observed in our "low energy" world (meaning the ...


12

Android meat. Like ourselves, your android eats to obtain materials for its body, and oxidizable fuels to power its metabolism. For the body, in addition to carbon, silicon and other materials readily available in the environment, your synthetic androids contain some materials that are very difficult to obtain - including rare earths like yttrium and ...


12

Super pogo stick. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/554576141587551724/ Your soldiers carry pogo sticks on their backs. The unobtainium springs capture the energy of their descent, and when they are in a hurry give it right back; when they hit the ground they decelerate over a split second then bounce right back up nearly as high as they were. For long drops ...


11

IMO, Your only hope is silk However, What does it mean to not be replaced "too often?" What's "too often?" What damage are you imagining that would reduce the lifespan of the cloth? I'm ignoring that requirement since you're presumably looking for suspension-of-disbelief and not a factual solution (the robot puts a bit of a damper on the ...


10

The blacksmith’s own hands A medieval blacksmith is limited by tools, not the least of which is convenient vice grip. Sure, they had vices, but things would be so much easier if they could just hold small pieces of metal with bare hands when making forks, spoons, etc. I don’t know if the blacksmiths would stumble on techniques for new materials, but he/she ...


10

In general, semi-permeability is a necessary aspect of living things. Part of the definition of life is that it needs to be able to grow and metabolize things, and you can't do that without a way of getting things in and out of yourself. Even when biology does create an impermeable membrane, it tends to then take those membranes and fill them full of ...


10

It is not the material, nor the location, nor the size, that counts in the end. It is the sheer audacity to build it in the first place that makes it so memorable. There is only one Sphinx, and even though it is just made of stone, there will never be another one like it. Same with the Eiffel Tower, and the Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile. All made of simple ...


10

Good Footwear I'd need to find the article, but there's an observation that humans are continually breaking world records for speed and endurance. The hypothesis is that we are not evolving, but that our equipment (shoe padding, soles) is getting better. It requires less energy for us to run, so we can run faster, further, and longer. Looking at this chart ...


9

A few things come to mind from materials science. Purifying materials - To purify materials it is very useful to have a temperature gradient and move the gradient along the length of the material so the impurities would tend to stay in the molten or hotter region with the more pure material left behind. Altering material Properties - Using the skill to ...


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