Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Metals of Doom & Tea Parties

LEAD: Lead is a popular building material, especially in the borders of the Second Lizardfolk Empire. It’s used for plumbing, fittings and reinforcement, water-proofing, roofing, weights, ballast, kitchenware, and even as tablets for important legal inscriptions. (In baroque legal system of the lizardfolk, “Lead Laws” are those generally passed by an assembly, and are amendable by fiat of the Empress and her consorts, while “Golden Laws” kept on gold tablets are said to endure for all time.)

Lead is also a popular metal for use in magical labs, as it’s extremely inert. Some alchemical formula require certain ingredients to only be touched by lead, and so a completely stocked lab will include such oddments as lead knives. Lead will also stop magical scrying or attempts to pass through barriers, and so is used to secure rooms against such.

Lead bullets are stored in massive armories throughout the empire, and disbursed to peasant levies (largely human) as the sling is one of the few weapons not forbidden to “lesser races” inside the empire.

BRONZE: While iron is the preferred metal these days, bronze remains popular, in spite of generally being more expensive to produce (being an alloy of copper and tin) and not as strong. This is partly due to there being an existing infrastructure based around the metal. Also, due to the associations of iron with the Necromancer and the Coming of the Ice, the Second Lizarfolk Empire has been slow to adopt the newer metal.

Bronze is associated with the heyday of the Elven Empire and the Third War Against the Monsters. Elves say they taught the science to dwarves, and that the nagpa stole it from them. The monsters insist it was first invented by nagpa sorcerers, and that a sly and wicked elf stole the secret. When Tiamat attempted to find and kill the thief, the gods and titans became terrified of the destruction She unleashed, and joined forces to imprison Her in the Red Moon.

IRON: Iron is growing in popularity in the Human Kingdoms, and in some places has completely replaced bronze. Bronze weapons and implements, however, are still cheap and readily available, mostly as surplus from the shrinking Second Lizardfolk Empire.

The dwarves first learned the secrets of forging iron. It didn’t become a common metal outside dwarven strongholds until the Necromancer taught it to his human allies. The gods now favor the metal and promote its use wherever their influence extends.

ORICHALCUM: Red orichalcum is among the oldest alloys. Its use in magical implements, jewelry, and weapons is older than even the First Lizardfolk Empire.

Orichalcum’s claim to fame is how well it takes and holds magic. While orichalcum will, in fact corrode into a brownish powder, enchantments that prevent this are easy to cast and last a long time. While bronze is associated with the height of the Elven Empire, orichalcum is associated with the heroes of its beginnings. For a brief while, the Elven Empire stamped an orichalcum coin, generally worth about 3 times the equivalent weight of gold.

While not every orichalcum weapon or piece of jewelry is enchanted, most items that are enchanted have orichalcum in them. The Red Moon that imprisons Tiamat is popularly assumed to be orichalcum.

ADAMANTIUM: Also called by some “titan’s metal.” It is extremely rare. It requires magic to work it and is impervious to nearly anything. It does not corrode, resists the actions of all mundane acids and bases, and tends to exhibit exceptional hardness and temper characteristics in weapons and tools. However, it’s almost always too heavy for mortals to weild, hence the reference to its use by titans.

Typically, adamantium is an architectural metal. When you absolutely, positively don’t want it to ever corrode, warp, or stress, you use adamantium. It’s also, like lead, proof against most scryings or magical attempts pass through the metal, though unlike lead it can’t be defeated by simple, mundane heating. A vault sealed with an adamantium door is a great find for adventurers; while they probably can’t transport the door back to civilization as part of the loot, chances are good that whatever the door guards is still there for the taking, if only they can get past it.

The Second Lizardfolk Empire uses ingots of adamantium as a store for wealth. These heavy disks, marked with an official seal verifying weight and purity, are said to each be equivalent in worth to 6,000 gold pieces.

Standard adamantium has a golden, oily sheen to it. It does come in other colors, however. White adamantium is more conducive to enchantment, but can, under extreme stress, suddenly dissolve into a fine powder. Green adamantium is rumored to hold natural venoms if it’s soaked in them for a month, which it will then slowly sweat over the next century, making it popular in locks or vaults. Blue adamantium is considered to have special stabilizing properties and is popular in fortresses and palaces in the Lizardfolk Empire. Black adamantium has a purplish sheen to it, and will take enchantments like white without the risk of it dissolving, but has a sinister reputation.

Photos by vintagedept and bjortklingd.


Natalie said...

Red orichalcum is among the oldest alloys.

Alloy? Alloy of what?

trollsmyth said...

Oddysey: Traditionally, copper, silver, dragon scales and fey blood. Typically, the scales of hydra are substituted for dragons, and not so much blood is required that elven smiths can't get their hands on enough for most jobs (still, you won't often see a full orichalcum breastplate or anything).

There are rumors of superior sorts of orichalcum, using the blood of titans as the bonding agent, but that's usually discounted as crazy rumor. Most titans are not terribly interested in parting with their blood so that mortals can make trinkets.

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