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Pentallion

What's the effect of obsidian in Glorantha?

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My players came into an obsidian harpoon spear head from Harpoon and the Agimori is all excited and wants to know what he can do with it.  Any ideas or knowledge?

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Obsidian is associated with Lodril, isn't it? He built the Tower of Black Glass on the Shadow Plateau for Argan Argar. It's also probably associated with other volcanic deities, like Vestkarthen and Caladra and Aurelion. So it might be useful for fire magics. 

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yeah, that's why the agimori got so excited, but I'm no minerals expert and I can't find anything on obsidian in any of my RQ stuff.

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3 hours ago, Pentallion said:

yeah, that's why the agimori got so excited, but I'm no minerals expert and I can't find anything on obsidian in any of my RQ stuff.

there is an obsidian sword in the new GM pack, useful for fighting dragons.

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Speaking as a lapsed volcanologist, I just tend to treat 'obsidian' as a synonym for any volcanic glass, rather than a more specifically silicic form. (I like volcanoes; I like myth. I don't really like volcanoes and myth enough to try and categorically storify melt fractionation...)

In my own Glorantha, a popular Caladran myth has obsidian as quenched, shed scales of the Fire lizards that Veskarthan sent slithering and crawling down the mountain to do battle with the forces of Night. Veskarthan's children were defeated as the Darkness strangled them; their fiery scales turning black and lifeless. But cunning Kudja, the ancestor god of the Caldrians, picked up a fallen scale and wounded the Darkness with it, before it devoured everything.

People can try to reawaken the Fire powers slumbering within obsidian if they know the secrets. But all this is pretty local to Caladraland and possibly quite useless. *grin*

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There's quite a bit on obsidian as the Dragonewts use it in their weaponry:

The most up to date refs are in RQG

RuneQuest Bestiary Dragonewt weapons page 38

GM Screen Pack - WARNING SPOILERS

and the Glorantha Sourcebook sums it up with (page 52):

Quote

The glass is so sharp it cuts metal, and can be strengthened with magic to make it less brittle than usual.

HQG Eleven Lights also covers obsidian troll sun glasses and dwarven brass goggles fitted with obsidian lenses.

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Apparently obsidian is quite good at killing white walkers.  

More seriously though, volcanic glass can be knapped to a single micron edge, which is pretty much the physical limit of sharpness.  So, you'd have a super sharp and potentially super-heated (with Lodril magic) missile that could potentially shoot straight through the cradle and out the other side, setting it alight in the process, as an example. 

Now the  siege engine at Harpoon itself exists as a repositioned part of the now defunct Sun Dome Temple air defense network, that was built to protect them from their EWF enemies i.e. dragons, wyrms etc.  Of course Yelmalions don't have fire magic, so the obsidian would likely be for dragon killing.

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What kind of Agimori is this? Someone from Pithdaros, or a Man-and-Half? If he's genuinely from Pamaltela(!) he might see some mythic significance from Balumbasta, and if he's of the open-minded/pragmatic type, might equate Veskarthen/Caladra/Lodril with him too.

Presumably some kind of magic would exist to make the obsidian less brittle, so you don't have to knap it constantly to keep it sharp. Maybe sort of like how Runequest has this whole purification thing for metals (sorry, I'm rubbish at game mechanics).

Edited by Sir_Godspeed

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thank you everyone.  So looking at the obsidian klanth (totally forgot about that last night, musta been all the tequila) I see it's basically doing a die better damage than a broadsword.  Since they know some dragonewts who owe them a favor, I suppose they could forge the agimori an obsidian pike that does 2d8+2 damage with 12 hp and if firespear is cast upon it, it adds an extra d6 damage.  Not giving him a dragonslayer type weapon though, seems too much.

 

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7 hours ago, Quackatoa said:

Speaking as a lapsed volcanologist, I just tend to treat 'obsidian' as a synonym for any volcanic glass, rather than a more specifically silicic form. (I like volcanoes; I like myth. I don't really like volcanoes and myth enough to try and categorically storify melt fractionation...)

Lodrilic/Veskarthan's volcanism inside Gloranthan earth is thoroughly different from our molten core "earth". The lava of Lodril and his children may all have their roots in a single, deep area of molten rock in the womb of Gata, from which Umath was fertilized and then gestated, but I think that they run upwards in veins (and possibly arteries) of molten rock.

Lodril being who he is, that hot substance is likely to invade any cleft it can inside the body of Earth. enabling formation of igneous rocks and associated ore minerals in many places.

7 hours ago, Quackatoa said:

In my own Glorantha, a popular Caladran myth has obsidian as quenched, shed scales of the Fire lizards that Veskarthan sent slithering and crawling down the mountain to do battle with the forces of Night.

That sounds very much like the winged serpent shape of Veskarthan's spear (form), the special javelin-sized arrow shot by atl-atls. Since you use the plural, possibly as some divine multimissile feat, possibly as a bunch of parallel veins (or arteries) shooting up.

 

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