Thursday, December 20, 2012

Secret Santicore: Magical Materials

<Gus L (Santicore contributor himself) asks for: "A table or descriptions of new inherently magical materials used in the production of magical items. a slightly science fantasy feel would be nice but is not necessary. Some idea of the properties of each material and how it is used would make it far more interesting."

Here's what Bill A. came up with:

When I think of materials used in the production of magic items, my first thought is “magical weapons and armor.”  As such, this table is weighted towards magical weapons and armor, though I have tried to provide some other interesting substances as well.

Tarnwyrm Chrysalis – Every year, the giant Tarnwyrn grubs metamorphose into adult Tarnmoths, leaving behind the dried husk of their chrysalis.  It is said that the spent chrysalis retains something of its original transformative element, and that armor created from this chrysalis renders the wearer more resistant to mutative or polymorphic effects. 
Duplicating Reagent – This colorless, odorless, flavorless liquid is capable of mimicking most potions and other alchemical liquids.  Mix a flask of Duplicating Reagent with a flask of acid, and you now have two flasks of acid, both with the same potency as the original.  Mix a vial of Duplicating Reagent with one of Potion of Cure Light Wounds, and you now have two vials of Cure Light Wounds.  The user is advised not to try and use Duplicating Reagent as a “binder” to combine two other substances; trying to mix Alchemist’s Fire with a Potion of Inflict Light Wounds leaves everyone unhappy. 
Psiputty – This pink, rubbery, moldable substance picks up psychic impressions, and is commonly used to create “decoy” golems of prominent figures in danger of being assassinated.  Unless great care is taken not to stretch the putty during the imprinting process, the golems end up with bizarrely-distorted versions of the original’s personality.
Accelerex – despite producing no heat, this vibrant yellow-green substance creates a mirage effect similar to a “heat shimmer” around it, which quickly becomes uncomfortable to look at.  It’s often used to create edged weapons or projectiles as it creates a field of temporal instability around itself.  As such, wounds inflicted with Accelerex weapons develop weeks’ worth of gangrene in seconds, or age (or perhaps de-age!) the victim drastically. 
Mercurial Scarlet – this alchemical substance resembles red glass.  Exposed to heat, Mercurial Scarlet swiftly liquefies and evaporates.  Human body heat is enough to make this substance liquefy, and as such, Mercurial Scarlet is very popular with assassins for use as “vanishing” blades.  Additionally, anyone exposed to Mercurial Scarlet – such as holding a piece in one’s unprotected hand, or being stabbed with it – will experience first a “bleaching” as all color seems to fade away from their flesh, followed by a slow, and painful, “phasing” out of the physical universe. 
Null – this slate-gray metallic mineral is occasionally described, particularly when explaining its properties to laypeople, as “totally inert, full stop.” It does not conduct heat, electricity, cold, radiation, or even kinetic energy.  It is the proverbial immovable object, and as such cubes of it (Null naturally forms in cubic shapes; it is profoundly difficult and expensive to forge or reshape) are prized by alchemists for crucibles and anti-mutagenic amulets. 
Dealkahestine Steel – this glossy black metal cannot be burned by even the strongest of acids, and thus is favored by alchemists for use in storing powerful reagents.  It is also commonly used to forge weapons and armor for use in corrosive environments. 
“Tunnel Vision” – this tarry yellow-orange substance is either burned and inhaled, or else shaped into a lozenge and held under the tongue, by craftsmen of magical items.  While under the influence of Tunnel Vision, the craftsman can look at raw materials and “see” the construction process (resembling time-lapse film) before it happens.  This shaves 20% off the amount of time necessary to construct a magical item, though at an increased cost (representing the amount of Tunnel Vision used.  Users are advised not to look at people while under the influence of Tunnel Vision. 
Zanthryl – this silvery, gelatinous substance is commonly used in the production of armor, typically sandwiching a thin layer of Zanthryl between two layers of metal.  Zanthryl absorbs a tremendous amount of kinetic energy, reducing damage taken from melee combat, falls, etc.  Though illegal in many places, extreme-sports enthusiasts persist in “Z-Jumping” – jumping off high cliffs while wearing full-body membranous suits filled with Zanthryl, and bouncing away unharmed. 
Chilluminum – This metallic blue-black substance is non-conductive and thermal-invisible; maintaining a constant temperature equivalent to the surrounding air, it is invisible to infravision or equivalent; armor made from Chilluminum reduces the wearer’s chance of being detected via infravision, though it does not alter the ability to hide under any other circumstances.  It’s quite popular with science-fantasy ninjas.  You’ll never see them coming. 
Depleted Cecilium – This purple-blue metal features an unusual sonic resonance which renders it extremely popular in the creation of projectiles.  Arrowheads, crossbow bolts, sling stones or bullets made from Depleted Cecilium create a sonic dissonance upon striking a hard surface such as a wall or an armored foe, turning the substance into a sort of “tuning fork” for several seconds.  A few shots of Depleted Cecilium bullets against a load-bearing column can collapse a building.  An individual shot with a Depleted Cecilium round continues to take 1 point of damage per combat round for 1d4+1 combat rounds after being shot, as the Depleted Cecilium vibrates inside them.  A critical hit (or “exploding” hit, or what have you) is liable to cause internal organs to rupture. 
Metamorphic Gammaradium – This green-glowing teratophilic material is very rare and highly prized.  Armor forged from Metamorphic Gammaradium bonds with its wearer’s nervous system over a period of weeks.  Once bound, exposure to mutagenic substances and radiation allows the wearer two rolls on the relevant random mutation chart, with the wearer choosing which to take.  The armor reshapes itself to reflect physical mutations.  However, this comes with a price; every mutation knocks 1d6 years off the wearer’s natural lifespan.  Upon dying (of any cause), the wearer’s body is swiftly broken down into “primordial soup” which is then absorbed into the armor. 

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