1. WritingInTheDark

    WritingInTheDark Active Member

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    What parts of a buildings' ceilings and walls are wired?

    Discussion in 'Research' started by WritingInTheDark, Jun 28, 2022.

    In my setting, anyone who has ghost-like powers, anyone who can phase through solid objects, is still vulnerable to certain types of attack. Namely being struck by silver, and elemental attacks. Which means that people with such powers have to make sure not to ghost through live wires. So I'm trying to get a sense of what parts of the walls/ceilings/floors of a building that electric wiring is generally run through so that when I write these characters, I can convey that they know how to not shock themselves.
     
  2. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin A tombstone hand and a graveyard mind Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Depends on the building, but electrical can be everywhere. Floors, walls, ceilings, you name it. The older the building, the more Frankensteined the electrical can be. I'd edit that plot point out if I were you. That shit is all over the place.
     
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  3. SapereAude

    SapereAude Contributor Contributor

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    Homer Potvin is correct. I'm an architect and a building inspector. There is electrical wiring literally everywhere in a building. It is in the walls, it is in the ceilings, and it is in the floors. And there is no way -- other than ripping the walls and ceilings open -- to know exactly where there are live wires.
     
  4. WritingInTheDark

    WritingInTheDark Active Member

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    Does that mean that when my character who can also see through walls looks for where the wiring is, basically any answer is fair game?
     
  5. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin A tombstone hand and a graveyard mind Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Assuming he can see through the exterior wall part while somehow keeping the interior parts visible--which, whatever, magic--it'll be tough to find a human sized gap that can be traversed without hitting an electrical component.

    Side note: how does any character pass through a wall without falling through the floor? Nevermind... not a real question.
     
  6. SapereAude

    SapereAude Contributor Contributor

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    Either I don't understand your question, or you don't understand your question.

    The only three answers I can conceive of to this question are 'Yes," "No," and "Maybe." As Homer Potvin has pointed out, if he can see through the walls, how can he see the wiring in the walls?

    If this person has the ability to pass through walls (meaning that he becomes incorporeal), how would passing through wires shock him? To get a shock, you have to touch the hot wire and the neutral wire (the "supply" and "return") simultaneously, or you have to touch the hot wire and a ground that's connected to the same ground as the building's electrical system. If he can pass through a solid wall, how can he have enough substance to make an electrical connection with the wires?
     
  7. evild4ve

    evild4ve Contributor Contributor

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    Would they ghost their way through the door into the maintenance cupboard and pull out all the fuses?
     
  8. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    Confirmed. I asked the internet installer once to drill through a wall and he totally noped out. They aren't allowed to because any part of any wall could have wires running through it. He drilled through the floor, but it was the 1st floor, the ceiling in the basement was unfinished so he could clearly see if there were any wires there. If it had been a 2nd floor or above I'll bet he would have refused.

    In fact rather than going through the wall he ended up drilling through a bunch of the ceiling joists in the basement and then up through the floor. There was a drop ceiling with acoustic tiles, the big foam ones you can just lift out, and he removed each tile along the way to make sure there were no wires.
     
  9. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    If they're vulnerable to electricity maybe they can also detect it through some natural sense, though it would be interesting because, if the current isn't flowing, maybe they can't tell until suddenly somebody flips on the lights.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2022
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  10. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    If he can see through walls like an X-ray, where there are shadowy forms of varying densities, rather than everything being completely transparent, he might be able to see wires as snaking lines of higher density than the surrounding materials. Or maybe he can see or feel the electrical field surrounding them as a sort of ethereal spray-glow or fog or something.

    It doesn't necessarily have to shock him—maybe the electrical field discombobulates him, scatters his essence or something, and it takes a while to T-2 back together, like mercury running together (only protoplasmicly).
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2022
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  11. WritingInTheDark

    WritingInTheDark Active Member

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    When I say "any answer is fair game", I mean that when I describe what the wiring inside the wall is like, wiring is so unpredictable that basically anywhere in the walls I say the wiring is would be believable?

    At any rate, I'm starting to think these characters would focus on ghosting through windows and doors in order to infiltrate buildings.
     
  12. Fervidor

    Fervidor Senior Member

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    Question, what does "vulnerable" mean in this context, exactly? Technically, we're all vulnerable to electrical currents but it'll take quite a lot to kill us. People survive getting struck by lightning all the time. So, like, will even small shocks seriously injure this person? That's a very considerable weakness.

    If they're that sensitive to electricity, wouldn't they also be very badly affected by electromagnetic fields? Because that is a whole other degree of problem. There's EMF radiation all over our society these days what with all the electronics and wireless devices.

    What I'm saying is, maybe passing through some live wires in unpleasant but doesn't cause real harm? I depends on what you're planning here. Is it a plot point or just a technicality you're trying to reason your way around?
     
  13. WritingInTheDark

    WritingInTheDark Active Member

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    A mix of both. I want to make sure that people fighting reapers (people with ghost powers) actually have a way to hurt them, so I decided that fire and extreme cold and electricity can still hurt them even when they're intangible. It then occurred to me that wiring could be a problem, but that also occurred to me as a useful limitation to the female lead's otherwise quite broken powerset it would be worth not hand-waving away.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2022

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