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Rare and unusual metals of Glorantha


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Sodium

(ta-metal, tan-metal)

Sodium is an exceptionally rare metal, generally agreed to be made from the bones of gods of Sky Water or Firey Water, which are most notably Tanian and his few descendants. As such, godbone sodium has never been recorded. It is generally agreed that it is also possible, like how bronze can be created by combining tin and copper, to create sodium via combining aluminum or quicksilver with gold. The precise process remains unknown to the world at large. 

The most salient reason for this, as the philosopher Humphrys da Velan notes in his "de Re Foedi", is that sodium has a natural desire to embrace its true nature as burning water and become a tiny little fireberg before it uses itself up as fuel. The process of combination, the alloying secret, prevents the sodium from embracing this nature- but the slightest contact of Fire or Water will prompt an explosion and and an unquenchable flame. Sodium has thus been discovered hundreds of times in Glorantha, but for ninety-nine of each hundred, the discoverer died before passing on his miraculous discovery. 

It is thought that the Middle Sea Empire learned some of the secrets of this metal, and made some use of it in their machines and rituals. It is certainly known that in their ruins it is possible to find amphorae of solid aluminum, which are filled with oil and a little ingot of sodium. The sodium is kept in such luxury by the oil bath it does not burn or explode, but as soon as the oil is taken away, the sodium once again ignites. It has also been attributed to Mostali, and at times thought to be a component of those Mostali artifacts marked with the Disorder Rune. Further information has not been forthcoming from Mostali themselves. 

Alois Clarapigny, a zzaburi in the early days of the Rokari school, at great expense assembled a vessel of glass and aluminum which allowed him to observe sodium's appearance safely while it was immersed in oil. He concluded that in appearance it is a pale yellow, with a slight luster reminiscent of silver. 

Sodium is without price in a fairly literal sense- most don't know what it is, most who do know have no desire to have any, and so the people willing to buy are so few and far between that no price can be assumed in advance. (The restitution needed after selling some and having it burn down an entire market or villa probably outweights what it could sell for on the open market, anyways.)

(The premise/game of this thread: if tin (Sky) and copper (Earth) can alloy to make bronze (air), what other metals might be creatable via alloying, and why are they so rare/unusual they haven't been observed in published material? This one is mostly a joke, of course. )

Edited by Eff
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First off - joke or not, this is cool.

Secondly, while far from as interesting as the above, I wonder what the implications of Electrum is. The original Metal of the White Queen? A symbolic metal of a hypothetial marriage between Yelm and the Lunar Goddess? Something else entirely? An abomination?

Edited by Sir_Godspeed
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On 10/24/2020 at 2:59 PM, Eff said:

Sodium

(ta-metal, tan-metal)

Sodium is an exceptionally rare metal, generally agreed to be made from the bones of gods of Sky Water or Firey Water, which are most notably Tanian and his few descendants. As such, godbone sodium has never been recorded. It is generally agreed that it is also possible, like how bronze can be created by combining tin and copper, to create sodium via combining aluminum or quicksilver with gold. The precise process remains unknown to the world at large.

Some Mostali thinks this is not a sodium metal... but something else called Potassium metal... an even rarer mix of glacier solid water and earth fire.

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On 10/26/2020 at 9:34 AM, Sir_Godspeed said:

First off - joke or not, this is cool.

Secondly, while far from as interesting as the above, I wonder what the implications of Electrum is. The original Metal of the White Queen? A symbolic metal of a hypothetial marriage between Yelm and the Lunar Goddess? Something else entirely? An abomination?

Well, historically electrum (as a naturally occurring ore that had its silver content enhanced) was the metal used for the first coins. In Glorantha, of course, we all know that the first coins were the bodies of the Gold Wheel Dancers, and that is why a golden coin is a wheel. Silver coins, meanwhile, have historically been so uncommon that the recent innovations of the lunar and the guilder have been able to cement themselves as common terms. 

So we might well assume that "historical" (read: any coins from the Imperial Age or earlier) coinage of intermediate values between the clack and the wheel was actually made from electrum rather than the purer silver of the modern Lunar, extending the duration of the gold's flame by adding in "useless" silver filler. 

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Zinc
lu-metal

In Dragon Pass, and more or less everywhere that you go, the metal that you use in a sword or a knife is, generally, bronze, and the metal that you long to have a sword or a knife made out of is, barring particular cultic requirements, iron. In Peloria, the former is brass and the latter is steel. Why is this the case?

The philosopher Lucianus offered, in his satire "On the Barbarian Goddess", an explanation- wherever the light of Sedenya reaches, there we find that an invisible, intangible, inaudible, ingustable, and inolfactable metal, called zinc, descends and hovers in the air, and whenever metal is worked, it is transmuted, refined, and blossoms to its truest form with the addition of the zinc that is present, producing brass and steel. Some have considered this a metaphor. 

About a Wane later, Hwarinas Taran-il proposed that as the Moon Cosmos reveals itself more fully, zinc becomes more and more tangible, and refined forms of other common metals will become apparent, until finally the physical substance will fall like winter snow on a daily basis, in the truest light of the Goddess. As this read somewhat differently before the advent of the Kalikos Expeditions, the riots that ensued in Vanch, with redsmiths being forced at knifepoint to let their forges go cold and manufacture everything purely by hammering without heat to "keep the red snow out", aqueducts being sabotaged, and put-upon administrators who didn't read much philosophy being baffled by the whole thing as they sent in the cavalry squadrons, prompted some serious discussion about the importance of letting ideas be presented to people in ways that don't prompt immediate panic. 

As a result, discussion of Zinc Theory is largely discouraged in the modern Empire. 

There remains no evidence that zinc exists in a literal sense, and as such, no description of its properties is possible. 

Edited by Eff
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21 minutes ago, Nick Brooke said:

Aieee! Glorantha is a World Without Zinc!

No zinc means a serious impact on Gloranthan physical health.. humans need a recommended 8-11mg intake a day (not sure what the Gloranthan World Health Organisation recommends for Elder Races) which helps with Immune Response, preventing and overcoming diarrhoea, helps with neuronal development in learning and memory, helps with wound healing among other things..

So are we actually taking into account that the Gloranthan human population spend excessive time on their toilets, become increasingly forgetful, take longer to learn new skills and tasks and get sick a lot and have slow healing of wounds (particularly nappy rash or areas where the armour chaffs a lot)? A bad bout of diarrhoea could incapacitate entire nations and economies

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1 hour ago, Nozbat said:

No zinc means a serious impact on Gloranthan physical health.. humans need a recommended 8-11mg intake a day

This is Glorantha not earth.  You might need a recommended amount of Earth, or Fire, or Air, but there are no vitamins and minerals here!

Preventing disease occurs through "right living" based on your gods, and keeping Disorder minimized so that disease spirits do not find a way to enter the world.

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  • 2 weeks later...

 Amalgam

an-metal

Amalgam is an alloy produced by combining quicksilver and true silver. It is relatively easy to make and occurs naturally in Fonrit, God Forgot, Trowjang, and a few other areas in the world, many associated with the Zaranistangi migrations or Artmali. 

Amalgam is generally understood to be the metal of the Blue Moon or Blue Streak, and it has been suggested to be an important metal for Waertagi, Vadeli, Sofali, Dormali sorcerers, etc. However, it apparently only has two particular magical properties:

1. A needle of amalgam in a liquid under the open sky turns to point at the Blue Moon. 

2. Amalgam in water will rise and fall with the tides, taking the water with it. 

As such, amalgam "compasses" are kept either in deep bowls or use oil or vinegar instead of water as the liquid, to minimize spilling. 

Amalgam also sees some use as a decorative metal- it is solid but experienced greensmiths can produce a variety of green shades with it, along with reds and pinks by partial transmutation to aluminum. 

Amalgam has generated over three hundred scrolls of learned argumentation on whether its existence proves that silver is the metal of the Moon Rune or not.

Edited by Eff
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