December 18th, 2011

  • kazaera

Amateur pottery decorating

Setting: Fantasy world with pseudo-medieval technology (in particular, Tamriel from the Elder Scrolls series of video games)

Question: I have a group of people who, on a rainy day, decide to decorate their supply of plain pottery mugs with various... inscriptions. They may have been drunk at the time. My questions are:

- How can they do this? Keeping in mind they're all total amateurs, it can't be a process that requires too long because they're just doing it out of boredom, they're doing it to already finished mugs that were not made with this in mind, and this is pseudo-medieval land. They also have no specialised supplies, but they are mages.

- On which note: is it possible to decorate any kind of finished pottery using localised heat (a la pokerwork?) I thought it would be a cool application for a fire spell, but Google isn't turning up anything and thinking about it it doesn't seem quite logical. Maybe if the glaze was faulty? Or maybe they could use certain kinds of acids (they have a dedicated alchemist, so I could say they had some lying around)?

What sort of clay the mugs are from and how they were created is relatively flexible - I was originally thinking of ash glazes, then unglazed or only glazed on the inner part terracotta. They should be cheap enough in pseudo-medieval fantasy-land that the mages in question feel free to play around with them, but if necessary I can handwave an explanation.

Already looked: Checked the "decorating and glazing" section of the "Pottery" page on Wikipedia and clicked through to get more detail on the techniques, none of which seemed right. Tried various Google searches using keywords like "(finished) pottery decoration", "terracotta decoration", "pottery pokerwork", "decorating ceramic using acids". The closest I got was various articles about how to decorate ceramics as a hobby, but those use modern materials where I'm not sure my mages could approximate them (at least not without a lot of effort). The pokerwork search turned up nothing relevant, making me suspect it's impossible but I'd like that confirmed, and a lot of the more general ones are about the person creating the pottery decorating.

ETA: Thanks, I think I have enough ideas to work with - fire spells to do pokerwork on leather tankards and paints of some sort on unglazed or only glazed on the inside pottery. However, if anyone has more suggestions I'm definitely open to them!

Maintaining a police uniform

Place & time: USA, Alaska, present day
Googled for: various permutations of "state trooper uniform", "police uniform regulations", "police officer own uniform", "trooper uniform upkeep", etc. Also searched the Alaska State Troopers' website.

I have a scene in the story I'm writing that takes place in the home of an off-duty Alaska State Trooper and his wife, and I would like to find out if troopers are responsible for the cleaning & care of their uniform, or if that's handled through their workplace. Specifically, I wanted to have a plot-relevant scene with the trooper's wife ironing his uniform, and then realized I wasn't sure if the uniform actually would be washed and ironed like a regular piece of clothing, or if it would be in his home at all. And I can't seem to come up with search terms that are relevant, but not so vague as to be unhelpful.
my sexy geek glasses
  • trovia

ER doctors figuring out the cause for amnesia

The setting is 2006 in America. My protagonist is a 28-year-old male of excellent health who works as an ER doctor. Last he was seen by his co-workers, he was stumbling away from a party piss-drunk. The next day, he is found wandering the streets being disoriented, confused, and unable to tell how he got into that state. The paramedics recognize him and bring him to the hospital where he works.

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Googled: Any possible variation of amnesia, retrogade amnesia, dissociative state, fugue state, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, recovery and symptoms thereof. Wikipedia entries on the different kinds of amnesia. A lot of stuff on multiple personality disorder, obviously. Also I read the many entries tagged as "amnesia" and "multiple personality disorder" at this comm, and the many links provided in them. Found a lot on the typical symptoms of amnesia, how to diagnose amnesia in a differentiated fashion, also various rants about Hollywood amnesia. Typically though, amnesia seems to be caused by head injury in fiction, and that's just not what's happening here.