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Eiko
01-08-2006, 03:04 PM
Hi everybody!

Does anybody of you know about a (al-)chemical substance they already had access to in medieval times and that immediately renders people unconscious when burned?
Also it would be great, if this gas would dissipate within a few moments...

It is used in a fantasy setting by a scholar/alchemist for a jailbreak.

Thanks!
Eiko

waylander
01-09-2006, 03:00 AM
Hi everybody!

Does anybody of you know about a (al-)chemical substance they already had access to in medieval times and that immediately renders people unconscious when burned?
Also it would be great, if this gas would dissipate within a few moments...

It is used in a fantasy setting by a scholar/alchemist for a jailbreak.

Thanks!
Eiko

Basically no such thing exists even today, as the Russians found out a few years ago when terrorists took hostages in a Moscow theater. You cannot simply render people unconscious with a gas without the significant risk of killing some of them. It's very difficult to get an even concentration of the gas for one thing, and people have sufficient differences in their body mass and metabolism for another. You'll end up giving someone a lethal dose while someone else is still awake.

Richard
01-09-2006, 03:14 AM
What Waylander said. You'll have to make one up from scratch.

veinglory
01-09-2006, 03:23 AM
You coukd make a nod to an exsiting fictional substance with this effect. there is one in a Sherlock Holmes story I could probably find the name of if you want.

rtilryarms
01-09-2006, 03:52 AM
The only thing available to put anyone to sleep back then was ether. It was called something else but you can google it.
Being heavier than air you can introduce it from the roof or hill.
A spark will exlode the gas and everyone dies. Must be what they used in Moscow.
Burning agents are probably not viable. Fumes are.

veinglory
01-09-2006, 03:59 AM
It also occurs to me that in a small room, onoe-on-one situation you could make the chance of accidentally murder much smaller by grabbing the person as soon as they are overcome.

Eiko
01-09-2006, 08:26 AM
The only thing available to put anyone to sleep back then was ether. It was called something else but you can google it.
Being heavier than air you can introduce it from the roof or hill.
A spark will exlode the gas and everyone dies. Must be what they used in Moscow.
Burning agents are probably not viable. Fumes are.

As much as I found, Raymundus Lullius discovered Ether 1275 and called it "sweet vitriol" - perhaps this is also what you, Veinglory, meant?
Alas, exploding the gas would be a serious danger in a room with braziers and torches...hmm.

Perhaps I will have to use some optical effect - like a medieval flashbang ;) or at least a flash made of magnesium followed by a phyisical knockout. While magnesium is not originally medieval, perhaps that could be accepted.


Thanks for the suggestions to all of you!

Eiko

rtilryarms
01-09-2006, 08:53 AM
Yes, except for Batmen TV episodes, nothing I know of will be effective for unconciousness in burning smoke form. Only anesthesia will do it. Now couple that with a dry-ice machine for a smoggy effect and clandestine extrusion maneuvers.....hmmmm

Medievalist
01-09-2006, 08:57 AM
There are frequent problems with burning materials in rooms without oxegen enough to feed the fire and sustain people--people would and did pass out from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Metane also was a problem; and in some parts of England, like Derbyshire, various natural sources of underground gas caused problems because of insufficient ventilation.

waylander
01-09-2006, 03:55 PM
[Perhaps I will have to use some optical effect - like a medieval flashbang ;) or at least a flash made of magnesium followed by a phyisical knockout. While magnesium is not originally medieval, perhaps that could be accepted. QUOTE]

A simple black powder charge slightly confined would produce a good bang (don't forget that anyone in a confined space with it would suffer significant effects on their hearing) and a learned scholar could well produce such a charge. It would seem like magic in a society that had not heard of gunpowder

Eiko
01-09-2006, 06:24 PM
A simple black powder charge slightly confined would produce a good bang (don't forget that anyone in a confined space with it would suffer significant effects on their hearing) and a learned scholar could well produce such a charge. It would seem like magic in a society that had not heard of gunpowder

Besides the disadvantage of attracting unwanted attention from outside the room (and inside of course) - I just wonder if the impact on the hearing of the effected person would also disorient him like a flash of light would ...?

Eiko
01-09-2006, 06:29 PM
There are frequent problems with burning materials in rooms without oxegen enough to feed the fire and sustain people--people would and did pass out from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Hm, sounds interesting, but the time to restrict ventilation and wait for the room's inmates to be knocked out from carbon monoxide would take too long for my setting. It has to be a speedy breakout.
But thanks!

waylander
01-09-2006, 06:43 PM
Besides the disadvantage of attracting unwanted attention from outside the room (and inside of course) - I just wonder if the impact on the hearing of the effected person would also disorient him like a flash of light would ...?

Isn't that what stun grenades do?

johnnysannie
01-09-2006, 07:23 PM
This may not be quite what you're seeking but opium pellets were sometimes burned to induce sleep and/or unconciousness. And by the Middle Ages, opium had been introduced into many parts of Europe. Candles dipped in mandragora (another name for mandrake) were also believed to induce a drugged state. Whether or not mandragora actually worked is open to speculation but in Dorothy Dunnett's Lymond series, such candles are used.

Eiko
01-10-2006, 12:12 AM
Isn't that what stun grenades do?

From what I understand it's the connection of an overload of the visual sense and the sound that disables orientation inside the ear. (I looked that up in Wikipedia.)

But I assume one of the effects would at least give a sufficient distraction to get the action going.

Eiko
01-10-2006, 12:15 AM
This may not be quite what you're seeking but opium pellets were sometimes burned to induce sleep and/or unconciousness. And by the Middle Ages, opium had been introduced into many parts of Europe. Candles dipped in mandragora (another name for mandrake) were also believed to induce a drugged state. Whether or not mandragora actually worked is open to speculation but in Dorothy Dunnett's Lymond series, such candles are used.

Yes, I came across that, too. But unfortunately opium takes too much time to get the desired effect.
Thanks.

arrowqueen
01-10-2006, 02:09 AM
How about a spot of witchcraft instead? The Hand of Glory always comes in useful for putting folk to sleep.

http://www.shanmonster.com/witch/wards_tools/hand.html

Eiko
01-10-2006, 08:33 AM
How about a spot of witchcraft instead? The Hand of Glory always comes in useful for putting folk to sleep.

http://www.shanmonster.com/witch/wards_tools/hand.html

Nice idea, but the man who wants those guards to be unconscious is a scholar and alchemist - so I want to show his personal unique dealing with the situation, that is with Alchemy or something like that.
The mixing of "fat from a hanged man" and his hair etc. is nothing he would really use...