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Nature of Metals


Crel

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Something that I've been wondering for a while...

Just exactly how analogous are Glorantha's metals to the Earth metals we call them by? Does iron rust? Does copper and bronze tarnish? Are there canonical instances of alloys that don't exist on Earth? Or of straight-up unEarthly metals?

I know the in-world explanation for metals is that they're the bones of dead gods (except iron) from before Time, but it seems like most approaches to Glorantha I've encountered treat them basically like their Earth counterparts.

It also feels oddly... incomplete to me that tin doesn't have a Special Enchanted Rune Metal Property (c) like most of the other metals. Has there been an explanation for this before?

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The analogy to Earth metals is tenuous, IMO. A few of the colors are off, and Gloranthan Aluminum/Quicksilver have little to no identity with the real world metals by that name.

Gloranthan "brass" really is bronze. I use it for the mix of Ga-Metal and Ze-Metal that comes from volcanic deity bones or from mixing the metals (or refining the mixed ores).

There is no Gloranthan Mithril or similar, unless you count dragonbone or (blue) moonglow transformed into a metallic form. The "Qa-Metal" of Drastic Darkness isn't canonical and might be an instance of this metallic form of moonglow (or selenic rock).

 

Most Gloranthan writers are neither metal-workers nor material scientists and use real world metal analogs as their starting point. And those writers who have at least some background in material sciences get called out for boring readers when leaking some real world concepts over to Glorantha.

 

What property would the metal of the pale sky have to offer? Tin is a bit like less magical silver. Useful in alloys (bronzes) in already small amounts.

Pure tin is fairly rare as a material for cast items. Pure tin has been used for drinking vessels and plates (at least in the middle ages), but it doesn't survive longer periods at temperatures below 13°C without changing into a non-metallic, amorphous form that destroys any item thus afflicted. I guess that coastal Pamaltela could avoid such temperatures, so there might be some stuff there that could use enchanted tin. (Enchanted tin should be form-stable at any temperature).

For Mostali, the sky metal seems to be the natural form of food packaging, whether as foil or as can.

About as practical, but actually easier to cast and more durable than tin is pewter, an alloy of tin, lead, and optionally other semi-metals like antimon or arsenium. Once alloyed, the stuff is about as useful for food and drink in the real world as mercury-silver amalgam is as tooth filling. (But then, pewter vessels are a near optimal vector to kill people with acute lead poisoning as the forensic technician will have a hard time telling whether the lead is from the material or from stuff added to the food. Not really that useful for Gloranthan context, but might be something for Cthulhu or similar period games.)

 

Tarnish and patina of metals:

Tarnishing happens (Thanatari tarnish silver, irreversibly).

Would a bronze item like the Nebra disk have as nice a green tarnish in Glorantha?

 

Rust and hammer scale occur only in blacksmithing, and are nature's way to make iron gifts by the dwarves disappear over time.

 

I don't know which Gloranthan cultures smelt metals from ores rather than bones, or which go and recycle patina.

 

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honestly i generally assume the metals have little to do with the real-world ones except in the loosest way. Silver is shiny and white, lead is heavy and dull, copper is reddish. But lead isn't poisonous around foodstuff in my Glorantha, and in Canon Glorantha it lets you be sneaky. Sa-metal lets you float!

I think about them in a mythical sense: iron is magical in the way it smites magical beings. We still hang horseshoes in 2019. (I hung one for my mom a month ago.)

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12 minutes ago, Joerg said:

Gloranthan Aluminum/Quicksilver have little to no identity with the real world metals by that name.

Perhaps it's unironic then that that's one of the metals I find most appealing--it's the most unworldly. I like the story of Earth gods & Sky gods coming together to make the storm gods which then die lots for bronze deposits but the notion that the sky metal (tin) doesn't have magic properties just kind of buggers with my brain. It's one of these situations where we have Earth phenomena but a sufficiently make-believe Glorantha explanation for it (since there aren't molecules, but stuff happens according to the myths instead). And it sounds like most bronze deposits aren't actually in the shape of bones from that Godling Bone entry in the old Plunder book (I'm familiar with it from the Borderlands & Beyond reprint, not sure a page number right now), but rather more like what imagination says ore would be, random chunks of rock with metal bits in it.

5 hours ago, Joerg said:

Most Gloranthan writers are neither metal-workers nor material scientists and use real world metal analogs as their starting point. And those writers who have at least some background in material sciences get called out for boring readers when leaking some real world concepts over to Glorantha.

I know a little about metallurgy, etc. (but I am very much Not An Expert), but I don't really think I want to know about Gloranthan metallurgy; not exactly. I do kind of think we need to know more precisely what Glorantha's metals can do, but there's definitely some concepts material sciences brings to the table that don't feel relevant to me. And I suspect the nature of metals could change, if the right heroquesting was done deeply enough and in the right ways.

The sort of thinking I have in mind is like "Only one in five among Umath's followers married the children of Whoever-the-Earth-Goddess-was (not Ernalda IIRC?) therefore bronze is made by one part tin to four parts copper." But if you learn a different story, you've got a different alloy or properties of metal. Usually it doesn't matter, but maybe there's times it does.

5 hours ago, Joerg said:

What property would the metal of the pale sky have to offer?

Great question, don't know. Enchanted copper's more enduring, like the earth in my imagination, so I reckon tin would have some property related to Umath's people pre-Storm Tribe.

5 hours ago, Joerg said:

About as practical, but actually easier to cast and more durable than tin is pewter, an alloy of tin, lead

I'd had electrum (Gold + Silver) in my mind as another metal of curiosity, but forgot about Pewter. Electrum made sense in my imagination as maybe a metal, when enchanted, associated with the Red Emperor as the union of the Dara Happan Empire (Sun, Gold) and the Lunar Way (Silver). Pewter would be interesting, because that'd be Air and Darkness, which is the some people in Esrolia pre-Belintar (the Kitori, I think?).

5 hours ago, Joerg said:

There is no Gloranthan Mithril or similar, unless you count dragonbone or (blue) moonglow transformed into a metallic form.

Dragonbone? Is dragonbone transformed into metal from something canonical? My take on the dragonewts entry in the Glorantha Bestiary was that it's basically bone-ish but harder, since they stick obsidian in it to use for some klanths. (... IIRC.) Could you elaborate?

5 hours ago, Joerg said:

Would a bronze item like the Nebra disk have as nice a green tarnish in Glorantha?

I assume bronze (& copper) tarnishes because the interior of the RQG core looks like tarnished bronze and it's a whole thing in the setting, but I don't actually know anything about it.

3 hours ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

I think about them in a mythical sense: iron is magical in the way it smites magical beings.

Where I'm at is I wanna know more, and know if they work like their analogues, but I wanna know the mythic explanation behind it. Iron obviously can't oxidize because Glorantha doesn't have oxygen--it has Air! But maybe it rusts because the trolls found/corrupted/ate and farted out a spirit that can eat away at iron.

On the topic of iron, how the heck did the dwarves invent a new metal in the first place? Is that noted anywhere? Is that a secret? That sounds like it might be a secret.

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11 minutes ago, Crel said:

And it sounds like most bronze deposits aren't actually in the shape of bones from that Godling Bone entry in the old Plunder book (I'm familiar with it from the Borderlands & Beyond reprint, not sure a page number right now), but rather more like what imagination says ore would be, random chunks of rock with metal bits in it.

Copper is in the earth, bronze can be smelted from it and tin, but the bones of the Storm-Earth tribe gods slain in the war against Chaos or whatever are already bronze.

Silver is also the sacred metal of some Sky deities: the worshippers of the unicorn goddess Yelorna, who are allied to the Sun Domers, has a distinctly prickly relationship with the Lunars because silver is Her metal. (Yelorna is Yelmalio and Yamsur's sister.) I'm not sure exactly how that works but it just goes to show that silver isn't entirely Lunar but also connected to other sky bodies.

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11 minutes ago, Crel said:

Perhaps it's unironic then that that's one of the metals I find most appealing--it's the most unworldly. I like the story of Earth gods & Sky gods coming together to make the storm gods which then die lots for bronze deposits but the notion that the sky metal (tin) doesn't have magic properties just kind of buggers with my brain.

So... Buggering might actually be involved...

Dara Happan theology is quite obsessed with the stories of the three brothers (let's call them Lodril, Yelm, and Dayzatar) lining up below the Sky Dome early on, but then Lodril taking a dive down and Dayzatar removing himself upwards.

There are a number of celestial metals. Gold, of course, for the sun. Silver, for the stars, and for the entities of the Celestial Court (including Uleria after whom that Gloranthan metallurgist named it), and Tin.

Now, when Lodril dove down, he apparently took Tin with him. And he infused the formerly at best moderately warm body of the earth cube with his hot molten... seed.

Because there is another story, untold by the Dara Happans if they can avoid it, and that is about Aether ejaculating into Gata. Apparently, that union took a whole lot of time. According to Dara Happan pre-Dawn reckoning, Lodril's descent occurred in10,000 YS. That's quite slow sex.

The Pregnancy that followed took about 20,000 years (YS), with Umath's birth and the dislocation of the Sky Dome caused by it happening around 30,000 YS. (Those numbers are taken from Guide to Glorantha p.125, those in Glorious ReAscent of Yelm lack the birth of Umatum)

 

I was talking about Brass before. Have you ever noticed that the Mostali don't have a Bronze caste? Their master alloyist and masters of heat are the Brass caste.

Brass is the metal of Lodril. Tin in Copper. And IMO the magic spilled over, and created Umath. So maybe Tin is the spent remnants of Aether's hot seed. The white spots on the dress/skirt/cloak/blanket of Gata. Possibly glows under darklight.

 

 

11 minutes ago, Crel said:

It's one of these situations where we have Earth phenomena but a sufficiently make-believe Glorantha explanation for it (since there aren't molecules, but stuff happens according to the myths instead).

Nitpick: not that there are molecules involved in Bronze.

11 minutes ago, Crel said:

And it sounds like most bronze deposits aren't actually in the shape of bones from that Godling Bone entry in the old Plunder book (I'm familiar with it from the Borderlands & Beyond reprint, no.t sure a page number right now), but rather more like what imagination says ore would be, random chunks of rock with metal bits in it.

This is one core point in which I disagree with the presentation of the metals of Glorantha. A lot of the "bronze" deposits are actually brass deposits, bones (or congealed remnants of liqufied bones) of the volcano/mountain gods which suffered a lot, among others by their storm cousins with similar bone structure.

The volcanic children of Lodril all are of Lodril's Sky and of Earth. Lodril himself has taken on much Earth. Only Orlanth is the Mountain Storm. The rest of the storm gods raged at and battered against the mountains, with Stormwalk being one of the most mutilated victims. But also Darkness (Argan Argar) came and fought the volcanoes, and so did the sorcerers and their water allies in the northwest. Brass is found in mountainous regions.

Yes, if the Gods War had a few battles fought with RuneQuest melee rules, then there would be heaps of hacked off storm god limbs strewn across the world, supplying vast amounts of bronze, too. In addition to all that brass.

 

In my opinion, "storm bronze" should be restricted to bits of metal which have growth lines. This is a layered, effectively damascened bronze, a structure only growth can create. Not even the Mostali have been shown to have recreated that.

This "storm bronze" can do things terrestrial bronze cannot, like being hammered into huge, two-handed sword blades which should be impossible for ancient terrestrial bronze working.

Then there is brass, good for mass-produced cast metal objects. This behaves more or less exactly like terrestrial bronze, and not at all like the glittery terrestrial brass which contains no tin at all but about a third zinc (a metal unknown to the Gloranthans).

11 minutes ago, Crel said:

I know a little about metallurgy, etc. (but I am very much Not An Expert), but I don't really think I want to know about Gloranthan metallurgy; not exactly. I do kind of think we need to know more precisely what Glorantha's metals can do, but there's definitely some concepts material sciences brings to the table that don't feel relevant to me. And I suspect the nature of metals could change, if the right heroquesting was done deeply enough and in the right ways.

Sure. Some of Aether's hot seed may be re-directed into a different lap, creating a deity of differently mixed elemental ancestry. Sounds like something a Eurmal quest might be about.

 

11 minutes ago, Crel said:

The sort of thinking I have in mind is like "Only one in five among Umath's followers married the children of Whoever-the-Earth-Goddess-was (not Ernalda IIRC?) therefore bronze is made by one part tin to four parts copper." But if you learn a different story, you've got a different alloy or properties of metal. Usually it doesn't matter, but maybe there's times it does.

That story fails to make sense to me.

Two of Umath's sons married - Orlanth and Storm Bull - and both married an Earth Goddess. The rest didn't exactly marry their spouses. Did Humakt have any spouses or indeed lays other than that Brithini chick that mothered Arkat? The Triolini matings of the Vadrudi resulted in western humans and in the air-breathing lesser merfolk. And as for Ragnaglar...

 

11 minutes ago, Crel said:

Great question, don't know. Enchanted copper's more enduring, like the earth in my imagination, so I reckon tin would have some property related to Umath's people pre-Storm Tribe.

Again, this leaves me confused. Tin is the metal of the (spent?) Sky. Why should it suddenly have Storm attributes?

Sure, I assume that Umath took all that magic of Aether into himself, and then he also divested of it generously in his matings with e.g. Mikyh the Beast Mother (Dragon), or with Kero Fin, Larnste's child from Gata (and hence his half-sister).

We have no clear information who could have been the mother of Vadrus, Humakt or Ragnaglar. Heortling Mythology has Kero Fin as mother of the Storm Gods except for Kolat, but that makes the Storm Bull son of Mikyh story somewhat weird. It also puts way too much focus on Dragon Pass and not nearly enough on Top of the World mountain. But then, it is Heortling Mythology, not Orlanthi Mythology.

 

11 minutes ago, Crel said:

I'd had electrum (Gold + Silver) in my mind as another metal of curiosity, but forgot about Pewter. Electrum made sense in my imagination as maybe a metal, when enchanted, associated with the Red Emperor as the union of the Dara Happan Empire (Sun, Gold) and the Lunar Way (Silver). Pewter would be interesting, because that'd be Air and Darkness, which is the some people in Esrolia pre-Belintar (the Kitori, I think?).

Pewter is Sky and Darkness. Argan Argar, or his mother Xentha. Or perhaps they are Sky and Shadow, as neither of these two seems to be a Cold deity.

Electrum (50% each silver and gold) is the terrestrial world's first coin alloy, from the middle Iron Age. (Not necessarily the first monetary exchange token, though.) Red (18 carat) Gold and Yellow (18 carat) Gold are similar, with 75% gold and 18% and 7% of the other two, respectively (18% copper for red gold, 18% silver for yellow gold). (White gold uses nickel, and platinum coating, and is not available in ancient technology, regardless of the Lord Foul novels.)

 

11 minutes ago, Crel said:

Dragonbone? Is dragonbone transformed into metal from something canonical?

Gods' bones are metallic. Dragons are in some sense peculiarly shaped gods. Why shouldn't their bones be metallic, or have the potential to have a quasi-metal made from them?

Second Age Glorantha is in no way canonical, but I find the notion of "sung dragonbone" interesting enough to consider it for a weird outlier for Gloranthan metallurgy. Not that Berthalor, the Seshnegi author of the Metals of the Gods treatise, would have been exposed to any sung dragonbone.

 

11 minutes ago, Crel said:

My take on the dragonewts entry in the Glorantha Bestiary was that it's basically bone-ish but harder, since they stick obsidian in it to use for some klanths. (... IIRC.) Could you elaborate?

The Klanth is a (wooden?) club with obsidian, yes. But the dragonewt (samurai) great-sword, the Korff, is explicitely made of dragonbone, as is the sword-breaker Gami (also resembling well-loved Eastern martial arts weaponry).

Humans don't produce either korff or gami, but the more primitive klanth is a ritual weapon of the Orlanthi, and features in the Aroka quest.

 

11 minutes ago, Crel said:

I assume bronze (& copper) tarnishes because the interior of the RQG core looks like tarnished bronze and it's a whole thing in the setting, but I don't actually know anything about it.

Same here. I haven't found any positive evidence that copper or bronze gain that signature bluish green patina we love in copper roofs across European buildings, or indeed the patina of the Nebra Disk (after conservators had their way with the item dug out).

 

11 minutes ago, Crel said:

Where I'm at is I wanna know more, and know if they work like their analogues, but I wanna know the mythic explanation behind it. Iron obviously can't oxidize because Glorantha doesn't have oxygen--it has Air! But maybe it rusts because the trolls found/corrupted/ate and farted out a spirit that can eat away at iron.

But Gloranthan air is oxygen - the sharp-maker. The question is rather whether Gloranthan air has the equivalen of nitrogen, an inert substance that taken for itself would smother breath rather than sustain it.

 

11 minutes ago, Crel said:

On the topic of iron, how the heck did the dwarves invent a new metal in the first place? Is that noted anywhere? Is that a secret? That sounds like it might be a secret.

Good question.

Iron was made without the direct participation of Mostal, but from the concerted efforts of all eight (types of) ancestral mostali. The Iron Crucible was the first attempt at mass production of Mostali. Iron Mostali aren't true mostali, but closer to other dwarven constructs in their mythical history. They make up the ninth caste.

Mostal was in disrepair at the time, and Death had probably been released. The Sword Story has the original Sword (or a good copy) given to the mostali, who re-shaped it into an axe. This means that the mostali had Death in their smithy around that time, and may have used it (or copies of it) to make their new ninth caste.

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7 minutes ago, Brootse said:

I have a vague recollection that dragonbone (from Dream Dragons) disappers after some years. Is it still canon? Or do the dragonewts use True Dragon bone?

Dream Dragon carcasses fade away as a whole, whether leather, meat or bones. I think this is still canon.

But yes, the dragonewts use True Dragon bone for their advanced weaponry as far as I know. It's not like it is a rare commodity in Dragon Pass, with the Dragonspine dividing the region. What is rare is the abiltiy to refine it through song (and probably also dance and irrational behavior). The EWF humans may have copied that from the dragonewts, but this knowledge was lost in 1042 in the mass utuma, alongside the full ability to understand and speak Auld Wyrmish.

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51 minutes ago, Joerg said:

This "storm bronze" can do things terrestrial bronze cannot, like being hammered into huge, two-handed sword blades which should be impossible for ancient terrestrial bronze working.

Chinese used two-handed bronze swords.

 

57 minutes ago, Joerg said:

I haven't found any positive evidence that copper or bronze gain that signature bluish green patina we love in copper roofs across European buildings, or indeed the patina of the Nebra Disk (after conservators had their way with the item dug out).

From The Money Tree adventure:

"Gregor Gougepoor owns the water-powered mill which grinds the district's grain. It is the reason that Greenbrass is as large as it is, and the oxidized brass fittings of the mill long ago gave the hamlet its name."

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53 minutes ago, Brootse said:

From The Money Tree adventure:

"Gregor Gougepoor owns the water-powered mill which grinds the district's grain. It is the reason that Greenbrass is as large as it is, and the oxidized brass fittings of the mill long ago gave the hamlet its name."

That was the RQ3 sample scenario and only tentatively placed halfway to Tink north of the Creek, IIRC. A Gateway scenario.

The terminology is Gloranthan, I'll grant you that. I have yet to see real world brass (the zinc stuff) a) turn green from oxidation outside of moist soil and b) being used for mill fittings. Bronze rather than brass sounds more believable.

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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2 hours ago, Joerg said:

Brass is the metal of Lodril. Tin in Copper. And IMO the magic spilled over, and created Umath. So maybe Tin is the spent remnants of Aether's hot seed. The white spots on the dress/skirt/cloak/blanket of Gata. Possibly glows under darklight.

I'll go for that!  And I bet that's one Heroquest that the Yelm priests do NOT encourage or let the Lodrili perform! 

But for those seeking veins of Tin, they are busy out scouring the myths for those locations where it's said that Lodril entered the Earth.

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5 minutes ago, Joerg said:

That was the RQ3 sample scenario and only tentatively placed halfway to Tink north of the Creek, IIRC.

I don't recall it ever being placed explicitly in Glorantha.

However, Greenbrass has reappeared now as the little Ernaldori village near Clearwine.

And if you have NLG #1, you'll find I personally placed it in the Southlands of Imther.

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5 hours ago, Joerg said:

And IMO the magic spilled over, and created Umath. So maybe Tin is the spent remnants of Aether's hot seed.

This is really good. Or Aether spilled in the absence of copper just leaves tin deposits behind. 

Great alchemical thread. I knew a guy once who ran tests on captive dwarves (their cell door was unlocked but opened out, so he hung a big sign PULL TO EXIT over it and they never escaped) to figure out how their chow works. One group got genuine dwarf chow taken out of the can and slopped on a plate. The other group got tasty steak tartare on a similar plate. Final group got sawdust and some kind of nasty food-adjacent paste poured back in the can. 

They went for the canned paste every time and felt healthy and relatively cheerful afterward. Apparently something about the tin makes chow more satisfying, as though it catalyzes the nutrients. Like germinating or sprouting what would otherwise be inert material. I guess that's just how tin works. Rub it up against dead earth and you get brass and happy dwarves. But oh how they cried to get steak tartare unless it spent a little time in that can.

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5 hours ago, Joerg said:

Because there is another story, untold by the Dara Happans if they can avoid it, and that is about Aether ejaculating into Gata. Apparently, that union took a whole lot of time. According to Dara Happan pre-Dawn reckoning, Lodril's descent occurred in10,000 YS. That's quite slow sex.

The Pregnancy that followed took about 20,000 years (YS), with Umath's birth and the dislocation of the Sky Dome caused by it happening around 30,000 YS. (Those numbers are taken from Guide to Glorantha p.125, those in Glorious ReAscent of Yelm lack the birth of Umatum)

Perhaps not directly related to Gloranthan metallurgy, but this is made somewhat more complicated (or weird) by that Aether himself originally arose from Gata at some point prior to this.
If I were a medieval European alchemist (or Chinese Taoist alchemist for that matter), I would've interpreted all of this as an elaborate metaphor for The Transition of Matter or something, however, since it doesn't form a neat circle, I doubt that's what it's going on here.

5 hours ago, Joerg said:

But Gloranthan air is oxygen - the sharp-maker. The question is rather whether Gloranthan air has the equivalen of nitrogen, an inert substance that taken for itself would smother breath rather than sustain it.

 

This all just makes me wonder what was going on in the "airspace" prior to Umath separation the Firmament from the Fundament, as it were. Did Green Age and early Golden Age beings (including plants) need air? Did they have lungs? The Belintar excerpt from when he was an Aldryami mentioned the Sun and Earth and Water as aspects of grower - but not air. Also, how fiery was the underside of the firmament prior to the separation?

Obviously, not a question that can be answered fully literal, since the Golden Age can barely be comprehended in any way that approaches literally, and the Green Age is even worse. Linear time didn't exist beyond specific narratives, it seems, and Space was probably also... "subjective".

5 hours ago, Joerg said:

Mostal was in disrepair at the time, and Death had probably been released. The Sword Story has the original Sword (or a good copy) given to the mostali, who re-shaped it into an axe. This means that the mostali had Death in their smithy around that time, and may have used it (or copies of it) to make their new ninth caste.

Making it quite literally Death Metal. Thank you thank you, I am glad to make the same joke I am sure the grognards have been making since the early eighties or something. :P

(The does however mean that, unlike the other Mostali who are elementally derived, the Iron Mostali were derived from a metal based on a condition rune, right? What about true dwarves (ie. clay mostali), any hint on what they were derived from in a runic sense - aside from clay/organic matter?)

2 hours ago, Joerg said:

The terminology is Gloranthan, I'll grant you that. I have yet to see real world brass (the zinc stuff) a) turn green from oxidation outside of moist soil and b) being used for mill fittings. Bronze rather than brass sounds more believable.

That might be true, but earlier in the thread you presented the possibility that Gloranthan "brass" might simply be Lodrilite metal that acts pretty much as RW Bronze, so you've already made a solution for whatever metallurgic oddity this represents:

5 hours ago, Joerg said:

 

Then there is brass, good for mass-produced cast metal objects. This behaves more or less exactly like terrestrial bronze, and not at all like the glittery terrestrial brass which contains no tin at all but about a third zinc (a metal unknown to the Gloranthans).

Also, just personal opinion:
What the heck is the point of having metals glossed as "bronze" and "copper" if you're not going to have the patina available for you as a writer, artist and Glorantha-user?

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14 minutes ago, scott-martin said:

This is really good. Or Aether spilled in the absence of copper just leaves tin deposits behind. 

Great alchemical thread. I knew a guy once who ran tests on captive dwarves (their cell door was unlocked but opened out, so he hung a big sign PULL TO EXIT over it and they never escaped) to figure out how their chow works. One group got genuine dwarf chow taken out of the can and slopped on a plate. The other group got tasty steak tartare on a similar plate. Final group got sawdust and some kind of nasty food-adjacent paste poured back in the can. 

They went for the canned paste every time and felt healthy and relatively cheerful afterward. Apparently something about the tin makes chow more satisfying, as though it catalyzes the nutrients. Like germinating or sprouting what would otherwise be inert material. I guess that's just how tin works. Rub it up against dead earth and you get brass and happy dwarves. But oh how they cried to get steak tartare unless it spent a little time in that can.

Heh, like Mostali pasteurizaton. Mosteulization. Hm. Will develop terminology further. Linguistic innovation submitted to Gold Caste representative for subsector D-5.

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2 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Perhaps not directly related to Gloranthan metallurgy, but this is made somewhat more complicated (or weird) by that Aether himself originally arose from Gata at some point prior to this.

You won't find any mythology without something like this going on in the earliest generations, unless you introduce marriage material out of thin air.

2 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

This all just makes me wonder what was going on in the "airspace" prior to Umath separation the Firmament from the Fundament, as it were. Did Green Age and early Golden Age beings (including plants) need air? Did they have lungs?

I'd say yes, there was air (not animated in any way, though), and there were lungs, but neither were realized until that first huge exhale that established Umath's presence between his parents.

Itt is similar with the concept of the color blue - I don't suppose the wave lengths were different at Homer's time, or the receptors in the Retina, but some time shortly after the Ilia was composed terms for the color blue entered Greek writings, while Homer talked about the sea as being the color of wine (though not blood).

2 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

The Belintar excerpt from when he was an Aldryami mentioned the Sun and Earth and Water as aspects of grower - but not air. Also, how fiery was the underside of the firmament prior to the separation?

When did Aether develop hemorrhoids?

I believe that prior to the stasis of Brightface, there was a cycle of light and dark in the sky, on something like a diurnal basis. Only after Brightface's judgements and subsequent usurpation of the top post Night and Dark were expelled from the sky. But if that event also marks the initiation of tender contact between Aether and Gata, you might say that Sky got the hots for his mother/wife at this time, and the great Lodril release did little to cool him down. It took the interruption caused by the birth of Umath.

2 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Obviously, not a question that can be answered fully literal, since the Golden Age can barely be comprehended in any way that approaches literally, and the Green Age is even worse. Linear time didn't exist beyond specific narratives, it seems, and Space was probably also... "subjective".

Making it quite literally Death Metal. Thank you thank you, I am glad to make the same joke I am sure the grognards have been making since the early eighties or something. :P

It might take a Scandinavian experience for this awareness....

2 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

(The does however mean that, unlike the other Mostali who are elementally derived, the Iron Mostali were derived from a metal based on a condition rune, right? What about true dwarves (ie. clay mostali), any hint on what they were derived from in a runic sense - aside from clay/organic matter?)

The Mostali had already run out of elements earlier on, and I note that the sequence of the elemental progression has Lead (Darkness) in second place, after Rock (with refined Truestone another metallic substance I failed to mention in my first response).

 

2 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

That might be true, but earlier in the thread you presented the possibility that Gloranthan "brass" might simply be Lodrilite metal that acts pretty much as RW Bronze, so you've already made a solution for whatever metallurgic oddity this represents:

Yes. Gloranthan brass is terrestrial bronze. Gloranthan (storm) bronze is different.

2 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Also, just personal opinion:
What the heck is the point of having metals glossed as "bronze" and "copper" if you're not going to have the patina available for you as a writer, artist and Glorantha-user?

The point from a geochemical perspective is that nuggets and even flitters of metallic godbone need to have survived about 10k terrestrial years in the ground and the soil. Now divine empowerment slowly fading away might be an excuse for that stuff not having rotted away.

Deterioration of surfaces is of course not caused by air - in fact, exposure to Storm should make Bronze items brighten up rather than develop a patina. It is the corrosive/fermentative influence of Darkness which creates surface degradation. Plenty of that found in the soil and bedrock, though.

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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12 hours ago, Joerg said:

Because there is another story, untold by the Dara Happans if they can avoid it, and that is about Aether ejaculating into Gata. Apparently, that union took a whole lot of time. According to Dara Happan pre-Dawn reckoning, Lodril's descent occurred in10,000 YS. ... Brass is the metal of Lodril. Tin in Copper. And IMO the magic spilled over, and created Umath. So maybe Tin is the spent remnants of Aether's hot seed.

That's a fascinating story! Is it in Glorious ReAscent? I don't have access to the Stafford Library (yet...) but it'd be good to know whence tales come. I feel like it wouldn't be, if Glorious ReAscent's frame is "written by a Dara Happan."

I'm not sure I understand where Lodril fits into this. Is he Aether's ejaculate, basically? I'm starting to get a bit lost in the Name Stew.

Or was Tin/Metal/Godpower/Sperm a pseudo-Lodril in a biological sense? Aether and Gata copulate, procreating Lodril, and then also procreating Umath who goes all Kronos and causes problems. Lodril's brass, Umath's bronze (according to Elder Secrets p.35, which also notes Lodril's "purity"). Though lo-metal isn't noted as a Rune metal by that article, save for the sidebar.

12 hours ago, Joerg said:

That story fails to make sense to me.

Two of Umath's sons married - Orlanth and Storm Bull - and both married an Earth Goddess. The rest didn't exactly marry their spouses. Did Humakt have any spouses or indeed lays other than that Brithini chick that mothered Arkat? The Triolini matings of the Vadrudi resulted in western humans and in the air-breathing lesser merfolk. And as for Ragnaglar...

I don't properly know enough to provide explanation or commentary. However, I was operating under the thought that Tin=Umath in my prior post, which is the source of several conflicts. Additionally, with that story I was trying to present more a generalized "here's the sort of causal explanation I'd expect" than "This is What Happened." 

I didn't realize Umath was bronze, but thought Orlanth's Storm Tribe is bronze and Umath's the daddy of Orlanth sooooo he's gotta be tin, right? Mm-not-quite.

Speculative corollary: Copper + Bronze = more bronze?

12 hours ago, Joerg said:

Nitpick: not that there are molecules involved in Bronze.

Cf. above: "I Am Not An Expert." :P

13 hours ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

Silver is also the sacred metal of some Sky deities: the worshippers of the unicorn goddess Yelorna, who are allied to the Sun Domers, has a distinctly prickly relationship with the Lunars because silver is Her metal. (Yelorna is Yelmalio and Yamsur's sister.) I'm not sure exactly how that works but it just goes to show that silver isn't entirely Lunar but also connected to other sky bodies.

I was aware of Yelorna, but didn't know silver was associated with her, or with other sky deities. Interesting. Also, I went digging into the mainly-non-canonical RQ3 Elder Secrets (which is basically the same as RQG's article on metals, but with an inch more lore) and found that it lists Orlanth as having access to Enchant Silver. So... interesting. Artifact of non-canon, or something weirder?

12 hours ago, Joerg said:

Electrum (50% each silver and gold) is the terrestrial world's first coin alloy, from the middle Iron Age. (Not necessarily the first monetary exchange token, though.) Red (18 carat) Gold and Yellow (18 carat) Gold are similar, with 75% gold and 18% and 7% of the other two, respectively (18% copper for red gold, 18% silver for yellow gold). (White gold uses nickel, and platinum coating, and is not available in ancient technology, regardless of the Lord Foul novels.)

I actually know a handful of things on this one! :D Anatolia, attributed to Croesus of Lydia, or one of his predecessors or general affiliates (because we really shouldn't trust Herodotos to be factual, but the region's got silver/gold blend mines sooo there's some truth laying about). But I don't really see electrum as used for coinage in Glorantha, if it exists. It was used in Anatolia, as I understand it, mostly for convenience--that's basically how they got it out of the ground. In Glorantha we seem to have a whole other story for how coin values get established with Wheels and Dancers and all that tangent stuff.

(Speaking of tangents, the whole point of White Gold in the Covenant books is that it isn't available to their technology ;) hence magic powers!)

If anyone reading's curious about the origin of terrestrial coinage, I suggest checking out Kraay's Archaic and Classical Greek Coins. The first couple chapters dig into its origin in taxes (because governments always suck the fun out of everything) and I remember the chapter around the Peloponnesian War having some fascinating examples of how coins around the Mediterranean mimicked Athenian owl tetradrachms--which probably provides an interesting parallel to the Gloranthan Lunar!

Building off Qizilbashwoman's comment on silver, maybe a better path to explore for electrum would be as associated children of Yelm and other Sky gods? I don't know, would that be the star captains that come down during the Great Darkness, perhaps?

13 hours ago, Joerg said:

But Gloranthan air is oxygen - the sharp-maker. The question is rather whether Gloranthan air has the equivalen of nitrogen, an inert substance that taken for itself would smother breath rather than sustain it.

I think I actually disagree here (as opposed to waffling uncertainly). I really don't think Glorantha has oxygen and nitrogen--it has Air, and probably Bad Air (thanks Eurmal), and probably varieties of Breathing Air and Bad Air. I don't think it can be assumed that the oxidation process automatically happens like on Earth (although maybe the Breathing Air/body of Umath/however that works does happen to have the same effect on iron; but that feels unlikely to me without a relevant story describing it).

On a similar note, that's part of why I'm curious about bronze & copper tarnishing--I wanna know why.

13 hours ago, Joerg said:

Dream Dragon carcasses fade away as a whole, whether leather, meat or bones. I think this is still canon.

Yep, Glorantha Bestiary p.118. I've also assumed that any reference to dragonbone is reference to True dragonbone.

7 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Perhaps not directly related to Gloranthan metallurgy, but this is made somewhat more complicated (or weird) by that Aether himself originally arose from Gata at some point prior to this. ... This all just makes me wonder what was going on in the "airspace" prior to Umath separation the Firmament from the Fundament, as it were. Did Green Age and early Golden Age beings (including plants) need air? Did they have lungs?

My read is that it's pretty clearly Stafford's rendition of Ouranos and Gaia. Kronos (Umath) cuts down Ouranos as he tries laying with her, and becomes king of the universe. Another epoch later, Kronos' son usurps him, and we get Zeus and all those joys. Main difference is that Orlanth isn't a patricide.

I got no clue on how prior ages would work. However, my imagination visualizes it sort of like a child's watercolor painting: there is the blue sky, the green earth, and trees and people. Where's the air in the painting? You don't need it. It isn't there. I also really like Joerg's description of Umath as a huge exhale for the moment he divides heaven and earth.

7 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

The does however mean that, unlike the other Mostali who are elementally derived, the Iron Mostali were derived from a metal based on a condition rune, right? What about true dwarves (ie. clay mostali), any hint on what they were derived from in a runic sense - aside from clay/organic matter?

This just keeps making my brain spin--it seems more and more to me that the Mostali somehow created a whole new metal--the sort of thing that is the life-force of the very gods--from nothing. Or from mimicking a physical Rune (or whatever the heck the first Death/Sword/thing is, I'm imagining it as a Platonic idea made tangible in sword shape, so not iron, but solid).

Glorantha Bestiary notes that Third Age dwarves have the Earth and Stasis Runes, and the Sorcery chapter of RQG explicitly excludes mostali from being manipulated with the Man Rune. Although RQG plays a bit fast and loose with Runes compared to HQ, I think it's still relevant. Speculating, perhaps they're somehow associated with the Law Rune?

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Speculation: Electrum as a unification of silver and gold shows/symbolizes the connection between the Moons and the Suns as celestial bodies that exude light and may or may not serve as the patron of a Celestial society (the Solar decapolis in Peloria, possibly other polities elsewhere in Glorantha, who knows).

Of course, this might hinge a bit on Yelorna being a lunar (small-l) deity, which she is not, soehh... Back to scratch? (EDIT: Also, the current LUnar deity, Sedenya, claims the Middle Air as her domain, not anywhere in the Sky, so that's another point against this idea).

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4 minutes ago, Crel said:

That's a fascinating story! Is it in Glorious ReAscent?

No. Actually, this story is told between the lines of the God Learner monomyth, the stuff about the elemental deities in the Sourcebook. To my knowledge I am the first to point out the fairly obvious in that clear terms, though.

Having had a few opportunities to share myth-making moments with Greg on some of the Tentacles, I think that an interpretation like this one was fairly obvious to Greg, too.

(A bit like the scene in The Naked Gun where the protagonists shoos away the spectators from the burning fireworks store - "Nothing to see here!")

4 minutes ago, Crel said:

I don't have access to the Stafford Library (yet...) but it'd be good to know whence tales come. I feel like it wouldn't be, if Glorious ReAscent's frame is "written by a Dara Happan."

Read the Sourcebook before even touching Glorious ReAscent with a ten foot pole. The presentation of the major players in the Sourcebook is the basis for all the variant and then dissenting Gloranthan mythology people like me get so excited about.

 

4 minutes ago, Crel said:

I'm not sure I understand where Lodril fits into this. Is he Aether's ejaculate, basically?

Conventional wisdom is that Lodril is a phallic deity, as much the channel for the ejaculate as the good stuff himself. Cue spear myths, picking up the "lost spear" after his castrating loss against Argan Argar, to cause an eruption when the spear pins down that monster - all in the Footprint myth, e.g. in the Guide.

Lodril is part of Gods of Fire chapter of the Sourcebook, and while his brother Yelm steals the limelight, I would say that Lodril is easily as important as Yelm. In his many losses as much as in his triumphs. Castle Blue lives on the lingering magic of his cognate/incarnation Turos (or other names) that died there when Oronin invaded. As Turos, he was part of the local Celestial Court, the shaper of civilisation (without giving up his lusty nature). In the ReAscent, his ten sons and servants (including two daughters) from Oria do the work under supervision of his new son

 

4 minutes ago, Crel said:

I'm starting to get a bit lost in the Name Stew.

Take a couple of big swigs from the Sourcebook. It has all the big names - the longer the story for an entry, the more important the deity.

 

4 minutes ago, Crel said:

Or was Tin/Metal/Godpower/Sperm a pseudo-Lodril in a biological sense? Aether and Gata copulate, procreating Lodril,

No, Lodril's origin is as one of the three intellectual aspects of the pure flame of Aether. He only gets earthy with his dive or plunge into the Earth.

The temporal coincidence with the insemination of the Earth was one thing that apparently needed to be pointed out for my story to be made clear.

 

4 minutes ago, Crel said:

and then also procreating Umath who goes all Kronos and causes problems.

Gloranthan myth inserts a generation each in these conflicts, compared to the Greek ones. Aether passes on his duties as overseer of the Sky Age (pretty much the Golden Age) to the trio of his sons. Umath gets shattered upon seeking confrontation with Yelm, and it is his sons who go all Kronos against his half-brothers.

 

4 minutes ago, Crel said:

Lodril's brass, Umath's bronze (according to Elder Secrets p.35, which also notes Lodril's "purity"). Though lo-metal isn't noted as a Rune metal by that article, save for the sidebar.

Yes, that article doesn't really go for Mostali metal lore. I feel inclined to give the Mostali the doubt of knowing a bit more about it than a Seshnegi henotheist, though.

IMO Lo-metal for solid sea metal makes a lot more sense if Lo comes from Lorion rather than Lodril, but then I have said so for a quarter of a century.

4 minutes ago, Crel said:

I didn't realize Umath was bronze, but thought Orlanth's Storm Tribe is bronze and Umath's the daddy of Orlanth sooooo he's gotta be tin, right? Mm-not-quite.

Speculative corollary: Copper + Bronze = more bronze?

Yes. You don't unmix by adding the pure stuff.

As a chemist discussing dilution, I often use the example of a pot of coffee in a glass pot from a classical coffee machine, and let people make the thought experiment to pour off half the content, then add water. Repeat say five times. Will the content of the pot still be brownish?

For those who say "that's clear enough", I let them repeat the thought experiment with sewage.

4 minutes ago, Crel said:

I was aware of Yelorna, but didn't know silver was associated with her, or with other sky deities. Interesting. Also, I went digging into the mainly-non-canonical RQ3 Elder Secrets (which is basically the same as RQG's article on metals, but with an inch more lore) and found that it lists Orlanth as having access to Enchant Silver. So... interesting. Artifact of non-canon, or something weirder?

Every celestial representation might give access to Silver, as Silver is the metal of the stars and planets. Orlanth has the ring.

 

 

4 minutes ago, Crel said:

Building off Qizilbashwoman's comment on silver, maybe a better path to explore for electrum would be as associated children of Yelm and other Sky gods? I don't know, would that be the star captains that come down during the Great Darkness, perhaps?

I simply assumed that electrum is alloyed from gold and silver, and that there are no electrum bones to be found anywhere. Same for pewter.

 

4 minutes ago, Crel said:

I think I actually disagree here (as opposed to waffling uncertainly).

I wasn't suggesting two atoms with 8 protons and neutrons each forming a sigma bond and half a pi bond, resulting in something that resembles a bi-radical, but rather I took a look at the name of the gas, which is drawn from its observed property. "Oxy" means sharp, which chemists have used for "acid" (another word originally meaning sharp, as in blade), as per element-oxygen-hydrogen molecules making water taste sour. (German language uses the same term for "acid", "acidity" and "sourness"...)

 

4 minutes ago, Crel said:

Glorantha [..] has Air, and probably Bad Air (thanks Eurmal), and probably varieties of Breathing Air and Bad Air.

Living, soulful air, and dead air. Not that much soul, Eurmal!

 

4 minutes ago, Crel said:

I don't think it can be assumed that the oxidation process automatically happens like on Earth (although maybe the Breathing Air/body of Umath/however that works does happen to have the same effect on iron; but that feels unlikely to me without a relevant story describing it).

The creation of (oxidic) patina is something I connect with Sea rather than Storm. The creation of (anoxic, sulphidic) stain with Darkness. Both Sea and Darkness are hungry elements, though the natures of their respective hungers differ. So does the corrosion they leave behind.

IMO Gloranthan mining (by surface dwellers) and subsequent separation of metal flitters from rock has a lot in common with (ancient) gold panning, with actual vleeces used to trap small nuggets in the run-off.

 

4 minutes ago, Crel said:

On a similar note, that's part of why I'm curious about bronze & copper tarnishing--I wanna know why.

My approach is to identify the attacker and then taking some real world chemistry to associate with the result.

 

4 minutes ago, Crel said:

My read is that it's pretty clearly Stafford's rendition of Ouranos and Gaia. Kronos (Umath) cuts down Ouranos as he tries laying with her, and becomes king of the universe.

Only very indirectly, Orlanth "rescuing" Ernalda from her concubinate.

Umath never challenged his father (except when he interrupted the parental coitus). When he went challenging his half-brother, he was thrown to the ground by the southern planet, then was taken apart in Hell (possibly when mating with Verithurusa).

 

4 minutes ago, Crel said:

Another epoch later, Kronos' son usurps him, and we get Zeus and all those joys. Main difference is that Orlanth isn't a patricide.

No, this is a multi-generation vendetta.

 

4 minutes ago, Crel said:

I got no clue on how prior ages would work. However, my imagination visualizes it sort of like a child's watercolor painting: there is the blue sky, the green earth, and trees and people. Where's the air in the painting? You don't need it. It isn't there. I also really like Joerg's description of Umath as a huge exhale for the moment he divides heaven and earth.

At the same event, a human-shaped muscular male (of quite advanced physicality for a new-born) places his shoulders against his father and lifts him away from is mother.

Birth simultaneous to coitus - don't start imagining that. (too late...)

 

4 minutes ago, Crel said:

This just keeps making my brain spin--it seems more and more to me that the Mostali somehow created a whole new metal--the sort of thing that is the life-force of the very gods--from nothing.

IMO they didn't. They followed the runic sequence, and then the runic specialisations of the sons of Aether, and thought they were done with the metals.Then added Death by stealing that concept (and afterwards jealously guarding that theft).

 

4 minutes ago, Crel said:

Or from mimicking a physical Rune (or whatever the heck the first Death/Sword/thing is, I'm imagining it as a Platonic idea made tangible in sword shape, so not iron, but solid).

Possibly a last breath transformation of dying Stone when the mostali multiplied Death? Iron rather than Adamantium.

 

4 minutes ago, Crel said:

Glorantha Bestiary notes that Third Age dwarves have the Earth and Stasis Runes,

They are Clay Mostali, after all.

 

4 minutes ago, Crel said:

Speculating, perhaps they're somehow associated with the Law Rune?

Their fellow tool, the Spike, was the Law Rune. Stasis depicts the upper half of the world machine.

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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What happens to metals that get enchanted or inflicted with a Chaos rune? What's a Chaos metal like?*

I know there's no independent Chaos metal because that's not how Chaos works, I mean: if Chaos infected a mine so thoroughly while they were there they smelted, idk, copper into a weapon, then wielded it, could there be truly foul weaponry?

I imagine a festering mine would clear up with some minimal spiritual work once the Chaos was removed, but in the meantime?

* do not attempt with Iron

10 hours ago, Joerg said:

Itt is similar with the concept of the color blue - I don't suppose the wave lengths were different at Homer's time, or the receptors in the Retina, but some time shortly after the Ilia was composed terms for the color blue entered Greek writings, while Homer talked about the sea as being the color of wine (though not blood).

This is an entire topic in linguistics. Languages develop color words in fairly predictable ways. Welsh still has glas, and Irish borrowed it, to refer to what to us is an extremely wide range of colors.

Edited by Qizilbashwoman
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6 minutes ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

What happens to metals that get enchanted or inflicted with a Chaos rune? What's a Chaos metal like?*

I know there's no independent Chaos metal because that's not how Chaos works, I mean: if Chaos infected a mine so thoroughly while they were there they smelted, idk, copper into a weapon, then wielded it, could there be truly foul weaponry?

I imagine a festering mine would clear up with some minimal spiritual work once the Chaos was removed, but in the meantime?

* do not attempt with Iron

Sounds like a fun adventure hook. (I am unfortunately all out of likes for today)

Edited by Sir_Godspeed
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