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Author Topic: Miraculous and mundane metals and their uses  (Read 5779 times)

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Online EchoMirage

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Miraculous and mundane metals and their uses
« on: May 30, 2004, 05:01:35 AM »
As suggested when discussing Lizardfolk gold, I have started a discussion about the much overlooked metals and their properties besides armor class.

Similarily to the gems suggested in the Gem Magic discussion, metals are of prime importance to the adventurer, but also influence the mundane person - they are what decide what tools are to be had. Thus, the technology of any culture heavily depends on the available metals.

COPPER is a great conductor, thugh quite soft. Unlike iron it does not rust - only the surface is corroded, after which the process stops and the metal is passivized. It is quite soft and easy to work with.
Now, in a magical world it could have other properties - what if it is more than only conductive to electricity - it could be conductive to both magical energy and spirits, perhaps even other ephemeral beings.
Thus, while it would be used to insulate homes against intrusions and spells by constructing a Faraday cage, wizards on the other hand would use it to capture souls and spirits. It is also likely that copper would be easier to enchant, being more ready to recieve magical energy. Golems made of copper would have the advantage of being more weather-stable than steel golems, while being less resilient against physical abuse, while ... yes, copper is more ready to accept souls, so that more copper golems would develop a consciousness due to capturing stray pattern shards from dead souls, or whole ghosts. This would make them more resourceful, but quirky and less reliable...
Likewise, demons would find easier to enter vessels of copper, thus allowing for easier creation of less powerful demonic artifact, while ensuring that weaker demons would wear bodies of copper.
The dead could recieve copper amulets when buried, so that evil spirits cannot enter them, while beads could have curtains of coper links.
Given the rather disturbing tendency of copper to be highly poisonous (especially to plants), and thus inimical to life, it could be an useful focus for the darker magical energies.
Like capacitors, copper wizard staves could store energy for their owners, but would deliver a shock to those without magical talent, like electricity to those not insulated.
Weapons and tools of copper are of rather limited use due to the metal's softness, but a copper blade or mallet could severely disrupt magical creatures, and enchanted it would become a true bane to wraiths and spectres.

Okay, this is meant to be an inspiration - I will add my thoughts on other metals later.
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Offline Shadoweagle

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Miraculous and mundane metals and their uses
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2004, 05:30:05 AM »
You may want to look at This item if you havent already seen it, Echo - Originally made by Silas the Destroyer. I just put it down in my words for him. It's caused the creation of a few fairly intriguing items.
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Offline MoonHunter

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Miraculous and mundane metals and their uses
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2004, 05:39:29 AM »
Welcome to one of the foundations of magic as known by Humankind.  Each thing has macro and microcosmic associations to a variety of other things.  Since everything is interconnected by magical associations, by manipulating the right materials, shapes, and events at the right time, you can more easily work your will to magical effect.

I would normally provide you a link to a specific site, but it came up 404 tonight.  So after some quick research, here are some links that will give you some ideas for your future work.  

Magical correspondences
http://www.thewhitegoddess.co.uk/elements/correspondences.html
http://www.paganlibrary.com/reference/magick_11.php
http://www.janih.com/lady/magick/days.html
http://athena523.tripod.com/correstables/corresmagick.htm
http://www.darkforce.com/wicca/elements.htm

Alchemy:
http://www.occultopedia.com/a/alchemy.htm
http://www.serv.net/~only1egg/science/wcalchem.html
http://www.tarot-decks.com/alchemy.htm

Magical Correspondences addendums
http://www.digital-brilliance.com/kab/magcores.txt
http://www.geocities.com/thelemic_resources/planets.htm
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« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2004, 05:44:48 AM »
Laws of magic:  If we are setting you down the magical road, we might as well give you a map.

Laws of magic have been stipulated from time to time and tradition to tradition, from Hermes to the gamer next door. The most comprehensive and modern set came from Isaac Bonewit's classic tome, Real Magic. Currently out of print, you can only get these laws (in pulbished form) in either The Magician's Handbook OR Authentic Thaumaturgy (SJ Games).

The Laws of Magic are not legislative laws but, like those of physics or of musical harmony, are practical observations that have been accumulating over the course of thousands of years, with remarkable similarity in almost every known human culture. Those of you who prefer to remain skeptical as to the reality of psychic phenomena and the systems of magic developed to control them will at least find these Laws an interesting and detailed guide to what psychologists and anthropologists so patronizingly refer to as “magical thinking.�

Those of you who play magicians as characters or run worlds with magic will find these Laws a remarkably concise guide to the ways in which most magicians, at least on this world, believe magic to work. Most of the technical motivations of magic-using characters, before, during and after using magic, should be based on these laws.

For GMs, These laws can be used to create "stage dressing" for your spell systems. In addition, they can be used to generate a "flavor modifier" for the spell system.

Here are is a link that has a good article on them.
http://www.neopagan.net/AT_Laws.html

There is a book that had significant portions of it posted upon the web. That was the site that was 404.

http://www.llewellyn.com/bookstore/book.php?pn=L868

The Magician's Companion is a "desk reference" overflowing with a wide range of occult and esoteric materials absolutely indispensable to anyone engaged in the magickal arts! The magical knowledge of our ancestors comprises an intricate and elegant technology of the mind and imagination. Also included are discussions of the theory and practice of magic and ritual; sections on alchemy, magical alphabets, talismans, sigils, magical herbs and plants; suggested programs of study; an extensive glossary and bibliography; and much more.

If you are aiming for a realistic magic system, this is the book for you. It is accessible to the uninitiated reader. It gives you details on a variety of mystical symbol system, as well as universal techniques and processes in common to all spell systems.

If you are a practioner, this book is a must.

The reason why I bring this book up, is that mystic symbol sets are what magicians use to focus their concentration and power. The more information loaded into a symbol (be it a word, color, type of drum strike, spirit animal, etc) the more focus and power it can generate for the magic user. This book not only gives you 80 or so mystical sets, but shows you how you might create your own fictious (or not so fictious) versions.
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« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2004, 07:01:19 AM »
Dang. I've got to learn patholgy, not magic now, and all those links are all too tempting... <curses>

Okay, first link checked out - not very convincing - how can one associate Aphrodite with fear and sluggishness, or Adonis with winter? Sexuality has fire affinity, but all the gods with a sexual affinity are in other elements...duh. The moon is associated with the element earth? I always thought it rather a counter-weight to earth, ethereal vs. solid...
BUT the thoughts on metal are good, and that's what counts in regard to this post, right?
Also checked a few of the others...as soon as all settles down, I will add a few thoughts...
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Miraculous and mundane metals and their uses
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2004, 03:31:41 AM »
Now, to have some thoughts about silver.
It is lighter than gold, but harder, very rarely found without contaminations like lead and tin, if I am correct, and likes to react. Any piece of silver will quickly oxidize, its shine fading to black, as we all know, but like copper, it will passivize, and not decay further.
Silver is of little use for building tools or weapons, but cutlery, dishes and jewerly were often made of silver - but watch out for the contaminants!

Silver is a metal closely associated with the Moon, and thus with the feminine side throught the female cycle more or less corresponding to the waxing or vaning of the moon, also with the oceans through the influence the moon has over the waters, and with the emotions of the raging sea and the warmth and emotionality of femininity as compared to the cold and rationality of masculinity. Of course, there are exceptions. Lots. But let us continue, shalll we?

We will consider the silver's effects on magic, spirits, and of course the shape-changers, children of Luna.

 :arrow: silver will, according to use, stabilize emotions, or bring out hidden emotions to the fore, or quench unwanted ones. This effect will be gradual and not to be compared with direct mind control...
The shape and symbolism will be most important. The metal will integrate the emotion into its matrix and set it then gradually free. As such, it is more attuned to biogenous fields of mana than to inanimate ones. Common motifs will include dove (for peace and love), owl for wisdom, bear to contain rage (or evoke it!) or bull for resolve.
Geometric forms can also be chosen - circle for the perfection of the shape and unity of endless angles into a single harmonic whole: meant to elaborate or strengthen an emotion; triangle for the simple yet powerful form of three sharp angles, one in each direction: leading the emotion into a simpler, purer state; square is stable and fits easily next to other squares; it will hold the emotion constant and help avoid conflict; a pentagram or heptagram is a powerful protective shape intended to ward the wearer from an emotion, or to keep an emotion from outside influence. A pentagon is a shape detrimental to an emotion, with five weak angles dissipating it into all directions, BUT could be used to lend a little of the wearer's emotion to others in the vicinity. An octagon is a link to the astral aspects of an emotion, allowing the wearer to "feel" the magical aspect of a place - in a cursed room he will get depressed, while on blessed temple grounds will he experience joy and comfort.
The localization is best chosen for one of the seven chakras - like brain, heart, lungs or the loins.

 :arrow: silver is a metaphysically strong metal, with lots of character. As such, it is harder to enchant, and any magic item made of silver will be ... different, as if it had a character of its own, even if there is no spirit bound into it.

 :arrow: Silver strengthens its own magical field through exposure to moonlight and through constructive interference of its resonance - thus the longer a piece of silver is in a shape, the more will it express the shape's abilities and attributes. Silver's magical field tends to fuse with the aura of one who wears it for extended periods of time, but it tends to reject suddenly approaching patterns. This means that it could confer a certain degree of resistance to mind control if worn in large quantities or over importan chakras. The positive effect on the female body will stem from this property - it will ward the pregnant woman and her child from outside influence if utilized well, and help the mother avoid detrimental stress. Through its connection to the moon it will stabilize the female cycle.
If the silver's magic is breached through an outside pattern, it tends to affect the silver's shape - if the wearer of a peace amulet is affected by a berserk spell, the amulet will be deformed. If a demon breaches a pentagram made of silver, the runes will melt. If the wearer of silvered armor is hit by a Magic Missile, the plate will indicate the place of impact with concentric circles. And so on.
Note that due to the aforementioned properties, an old pentagram made of silver lines and runes would be far better at containing demons if well used, and a silvered armor could reduce the magical damage the wearer suffers.

 :arrow: Thus, people could consider ANY silver item breaking a bad omen and attribute it to evil outside influence, leading to a broken-mirror-like superstition. Messages would be carried in silvered cases as to detect whethr someone has been scrying them, a king's throne would have concentric silver circles as to detect hostile spells and malevolent spirits.

 :arrow:  if the silver's field is stronger than one it impacts, though, it will tend to drag the lines along, stretching them, deforming, even tearing them apart if the silver's patern is strong enough and th force of impact, the emotion behind it and the will guiding it great. This is the reason behind weres being marmed by silver- it upsets their frail magical balance, plus it is as if their very mother had struck them. None-the-less, a wak-willed being with a new-forged silver sword will be of little use against a raging were-bear.
Likewise, a wizard struck by a silver weapon could lose some mana, or a prepared spell, or just suffer a point of extra damage.
BUT a spell cast from silver runes would be harder tro dispel, and magical parchments and books would be written with silver inks to reinforce what has been written. As we all know, AgNO3 for example is black.

 :arrow: more about the amulet theme: if someone is wearing a silver amulet that already has attuned itself to his pattern, he will notice if someone he has close contact with conflicts with his aura due to vibrattions of the silver - this could be even used to find the right partner with an 'aura in tune with my own'.
The silver learns to know the wearer. Thus, it will accept his general persona in the roughest sense - be imprinted with his emotions, and general view of life. Someone wearing a silver amulet that has been owned by a line of berserkers will have a hard time in keeping his temper in line!
This could result in people storing silver that has belonged to their deceased beloved because 'when I pick up that brooch, it is as if Connie was here...'
Thus, also spirits constrained within silver will have an easier time remembering their lives, on will be harder to exorcise from the item if one wished so. Beware a demon or dragon with scales of silver, for it is not only harder to defeat with spells, or banish, but the fact that it wears a silvered (or silver!) body indicated it was powerful enough to begin with, as to animate this metal.

Silver will be associated with water and air magicks, and with spells concerning the realm of night, stars and emotions. (most of course those concerning emotions at night under a star-lit sky on the shore of an ocean, where at least one female is concerned :D)

 :wink: I'm waiting for comments on this one, friends.
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Offline Strolen

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Miraculous and mundane metals and their uses
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2004, 08:45:46 PM »
Comments? I am just waiting for the next metal ;)

Really though, I haven't really given it much thought and where on some things I have instant ideas, with this one I am just waiting for the next installment. I absolutely LOVE the idea!

I think the only thing I could add would be to come up with some sort of logical structure for explaining each metal.
Like
 
Metal Name:
Physical Description:
Unique Characteristics:
Common Uses:
Magical Uses:
Enchantment Level:
Associations:

Misc Thoughts

Then a comparison between the metals would be easier and they would be easier for us to steal...er...um...borrow for our own campaings.

We could maybe comment on specific parts and or add our own stuff to in an organized manner (if/when we have the inspiration)

Either way though, looking forward to more of it!!!

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Offline manfred

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Miraculous and mundane metals and their uses
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2004, 05:31:52 AM »
Then the traditional "family silver" (the various silverware any self-respecting family owns for a few generations at least) is in fact the carrier of the tradition. It is one thing to know that your grandfather's father used to dine with the very same spoon and fork you use now, and another to actually feel a little bit of their personality. Makes the family tradition more intense, and "helps" expelling undesired elements out of the family, even the descendants, that somehow don't fit the profile. It is often the dinner, when the whole family meets, and seemingly innocent remarks create feuds for long years to follow...

Interesting potential. I look forward for new metals. The joke is, even if nothing of this would be true in a game world, it is an excellent addition to the folklore and alchemy.
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« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2004, 08:36:26 AM »
""Within the course of the last two years .. a treasure has been divined, unearthed and brought to light ... what do you think of a metal as white as silver, as unalterable as gold, as easily melted as copper, as tough as iron, which is malleable, ductile, and with the singular quality of being lighter that glass? Such a metal does exist and that in considerable quantities on the surface of the globe." (Charles Dickens)

Aluminium is the third most abundant element in the Earth's crust: despite this, its existence was only established in 1808. For a long time after that it was not used, due to the difficulty of extracting it from its ore, bauxite. In 1854, a commercial process was invented to extract it: at this point it cost more per gram than gold or platinum! A bar of it was exhibited at the Paris Exhibition, and one king (I forget which) had a dinner set made from it, because it was so valuable. Over the next 10 years the price dropped by 90% but it was still far too expensive to be adopted on a large scale by industry. This preamble is just to show that in a fantasy setting, aluminium can exist and be used in a way that is very different from the wholesale use of it we see today: rather, aluminium is an extremely rare and precious metal.

Aluminium is a silvery metal. One of its major properties is that it is very light, making it suitable for things that fly. It is also very strong, both by itself and when alloyed. How about making some aluminium alloy armour for a gryphon or pegasus?

Aluminium doesn't rust and is resistant to corrosion. Like copper it is highly electrically conductive. In fact, aluminium is 1/3 as light as copper but twice as conductive. Following on from Echo's discussion of copper as perhaps being magically conductive as well as electrically conductive, maybe aluminium is like this as well, only better. I won't repeat everything he wrote, suffice it to say that everything said about storing magical energies, capturing demons and being the bane of wraiths and spirits applies to aluminium but more so. Unlike copper, it is not soft: the wraith-bane sword of aluminium would function very well as a conventional sword as well. The only drawback is the extreme expense of aluminium compared to copper.

Although it is electrically conductive, certain alloys of aluminium are excellent thermal insulators. This sounds like an excellent (and expensive) natural "armour of fire and cold resistance". To continue the linking with magical theme, maybe these alloys also reflect magical spells.
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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Miraculous and mundane metals and their uses
« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2004, 01:52:03 PM »
Well...I'm thinking of aluminum armor and weapons, and the image I get is tin foil and can lids tied together with string.
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just a small tidbit
« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2004, 03:44:50 PM »
Had no time to write my thoughts on another metal, so perhaps later, but...

Did you know an alloy of beryllium and copper will not rust, but most importantly, it is strong as steel and will not cast sparks when striking a stone ... most useful for miners who do not want to detonate pockets of gas, right? Useless for flint-and-steel.
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Re: Miraculous and mundane metals and their uses
« Reply #11 on: December 14, 2006, 11:56:46 AM »
Of Iron:

Perhaps except for gold, certainly no metal has influenced human destiny so much as iron. Tied to human progress, it provides them with tools, building materials, weapons and armor: plows, wrenches and chains; swords, arrows and tanks.

Iron and steel are tied to humans closely – it runs in their veins, after all, and the fascination steel holds over them seems boundless. Human language utilizes many a word reminding one of the gleaming metal: one does steel himself against perils, you hold your subordinates with an iron grasp, and strong men are forged through challenge.

Due to its rather outgoing nature, iron is found oxidized in nature, and ores of various quality can be mined: some have to be molten down to separate the metal from impurities, while some ores are so pure that simply by hammering them, the few impurities can be driven out, without the use of flame.
Quite abundant and far superior to bronze as a material for tools of war, it is what makes a difference between a bunch of peasants or savages and a well-equipped medieval army. Rich deposits of iron will be fervently fought for.

Iron requires a higher temperatures to be workable, yet can produce materials of various properties: the hard yet brittle cast iron contains a good deal of carbon, while pure iron is elastic – an iron item can be stretched by 10 percent before it breaks. This is of utmost importance for, say, rapiers, or armor that does not shatter but simply bend under an impact. Steel contains some 5 percent of carbon, courtesy of the coal used to work it.

Worked iron requires constant maintenance to remain in shape, corroding if not tended. Much unlike bronze, copper, silver or aluminum, corroded layers of iron flake off, exposing the underlying metal to the elements. Thus, an iron item is dependant upon humans to survive, tying it even more closely to them.

Despite its many peaceful uses, iron is the martial metal, remembering well that human blood is iron captive, and setting it free.

Examining it on a metaphysical level, iron is violence and fury. The tools of war made of it want to be used, because then, they don’t corrode and used. One could say that iron is so useful because it wants to be used.
Based on this thought, the sharpness of a sword, hardness of a breastplate or the handiness of a wrench could all depend on how much it is used. Older swords could learn how to strike true, developing an enchantment of their own in a magical world. As the energy for these has to come from somewhere, why not drain it conveniently from the strong souls of those it strikes? Enchanted blades and armor could even repair themselves if immersed in blood.

Because of its close relation to might, iron could grow and decline in might as its owner does, the resolve of a stalwart soldier warding it from rust, while the weak will of a rookie leads to dents and corrosion.
The connection could be even deeper though. Picture the veteran, sitting by the fire and sharpening and oiling his trusty sword. So often has he raised it, almost always in the grip of strong emotion, once fear, once fury, despair at the betrayal of his lover and the rage followed by murder; he caresses it with love, the oily rag sliding in tender strokes along its length. The spirits of iron are close to the raging, restless soul of man, and grow even closer with use. This could in part explain the hardening of spirit, the lessened emotion and certain coldness many a warrior develops as the years go by – not only the terrors he has seen harden him, but also the close contact with the harsh spirits of his blade.
No wonder the Elves choose different metals to clad themselves in so often: their artistic empathetic souls could not stand contact with the somber spirits of steel, especially if an Elven warrior was supposed to wild a steel blade for several hundred years. Many magical creatures will be badly harmed by steel simply due to the voracious spirit inherent in its every atom gnawing at their essence.
When I think about it, this could also explain the human tendency towards violence. It’s in their blood.
Elves and other less warlike races might have blood using different metals, thus having a higher threshold of aggression.

Considering this, metal armor might even reduce empathy of the wearer, making it harder for others to cast communication spells upon him as well. The only relations steel cares about are the clicking of gears and ranks of soldiers standing shoulder by shoulder. Thus, people clad in iron from the same mine might feel a certain bond.

On a darker note, iron may be product of some strange entity dwelling deep beneath the mines. Yes, I know stars create iron in the heat of their thermonuclear furnaces, but what if a creature gave humans the iron so that they slay each other with it, and it is fed through a mystical link? Creatures under different mines might even compete, one driving its humans against those clad in foreign steel.

Dark or not, steel will remain one of the most useful metals. Mundane, it’s a tool of the mundane, for every task. A farmer’s plow and a seamstress’ needle, a cook’s knife and a smith’s hammer, all are iron. Wait… hold the mention of the plow! Iron is good for cutting, right? It might be good for cutting many things in a magical world too: by plowing a field with iron, its inherent magical streams are cut, and the resulting mesh available to nourish plants to full extent, and also might be essential in rearranging the magical patterns of the soil from ‘forest’ to ‘field’. By working leather with iron tools, one might sever its tie to the beast it came from, shielding the human from beastly influence. In fact, the beginning of the use of iron can be considered the time when man cut his ties to nature. Think of it.

As for magical uses, iron would be good at a few things. While more difficult to enchant (the ‘might’ part), it would require more energy to force new attributes upon it. After all, iron is worked with the might of a smith’s arms, not the guile of a wizard. Specially crafted swords and mace would be used to shatter enchantments, and abjurers would utilize iron staves and chains to bind and earth streams of sorcery. Another kind of wizard would also delight in iron tools – the battle mage. Channeling destructive energies, especially fire and lightning, is second nature to iron, after all.
Blood mages – those utilizing either their own blood or that of others towards sorcery – would also use iron tools, due to the metal’s close affinity to blood. A particularly potent sword may be magically made from metal distilled from blood only…

A different school of thought (of GMs) would state that iron is so mundane that it is incompatible with magic, that being the reason why wizards can’t wear armor.

So or so, the doors of magical vaults and pentagrams might be of iron if their sole purpose is being strong.

Iron golems, being made of warriors’ metal, would house the souls of dead fighters, and be suited for but one thing: to stride across the battlefields again, or to stand solemn guard, halberds ready.
Fiends clad in steel, sprouting spikes from all their surfaces and gleaming with unholy shine, clearly state their intent – committing the greatest possible slaughter – to all who set eyes upon them.

Apart from the visuals of iron, there is its sound. In a world that’s magical, it may tell of war – iron bells will be high in the towers of a war god’s temple, while armies will march under steel trumpets (but diplomats would use trumpets of, say, brass, and royalty announcing themselves with trumpets of silver…)
On a more peaceful note, people might carry charms of iron as tokens of strength, and for protection against dark magic. Trades might be agreed by placing the hands of all parties on a block of steel or tying the hands of the participants with iron chains to symbolize that the agreement is unbreakable, and that all will follow it regardless of their feelings. Giving your spouse a wedding band of iron after several years of marriage might mean ‘I feel for you no more’ … but an overly lustful heroine might find the cooling effect of her chain mail to be beneficial.
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Re: Miraculous and mundane metals and their uses
« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2007, 05:09:18 PM »
BUMP!! Echo, throw this out as a monster scroll! I will add to it happily!
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Triumph of the Dungeon Master!

Ah, how I have come to love that sense of accomplishment and victory that I get when I pull the wool over the eyes of a clever player character. What DM Triumphs have you had?

Some of mine:
1. Finally killing an incredibly powerful, lucky, annoying player's character.
2. Finally achieving a TPK (Total Party Kill)
3. Finally achieving a TPK using only traps
4. Finally working out how to make it so that d**n wizard doesn't steal the spotlight all the d**n time.

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Offline Murometz

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Re: Miraculous and mundane metals and their uses
« Reply #13 on: January 29, 2009, 12:04:26 PM »
BUMP AGAIN!

ECHO, SUB THIS BRILLIANCE!!

request:  "Of Hematite"
« Last Edit: January 29, 2009, 12:10:19 PM by Murometz »
Authentic Strolenite™©®

Triumph of the Dungeon Master!

Ah, how I have come to love that sense of accomplishment and victory that I get when I pull the wool over the eyes of a clever player character. What DM Triumphs have you had?

Some of mine:
1. Finally killing an incredibly powerful, lucky, annoying player's character.
2. Finally achieving a TPK (Total Party Kill)
3. Finally achieving a TPK using only traps
4. Finally working out how to make it so that d**n wizard doesn't steal the spotlight all the d**n time.

-Captain Penguin

Offline daryy

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Re: Miraculous and mundane metals and their uses
« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2009, 07:39:38 AM »
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« Last Edit: August 26, 2011, 09:32:52 AM by daryy »
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Offline Ancient Gamer

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Re: Miraculous and mundane metals and their uses
« Reply #15 on: February 09, 2009, 03:19:37 PM »
Echo, you should continue this thread. Fantasy minerals do so enrichen any setting. C'mon! *Brings out whip*
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