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ID: 2331


February 18, 2006, 12:57 pm

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Cheka Man

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Materians- Mages' Orbs


The merchant grinned “Dear sir, I noticed you had your eye on that charm. Might I interest you in a little bit of its history? Of course I would. I will have you know, that charm has seen its way through many an adventure, and saved the lives of many of the adventurers therein. Legend tells that it was crafted centuries ago by Yurid Norcral, the greated Dwarven runesmith to ever live. Later it was said to have been enchanted by ancient Elven magics which have since been lost to the ages. Quite a rare find.”

The customer raised an old greyed eyebrow “Is that so” he responds with a gentle, venerable voice. “Then I must ask its price. In my day, you see, this would have been exactly the sort of item I’d have looked for.. a rare find indeed.”
The merchant’s grin widened “It caused me great difficulty to acquire this charm, and so I cannot part with it for any less than three hundred platinum coins.”
“Mm.. but I am just a poor old man, prehaps we could work out some kind of arrangement” the gentle voice responds.
“I’m sorry sir, but as I sai-” the merchant was interrupted.
“Don’t be so quick to respond, sir. Allow me to finish.” a more serious voice speaks up. The old man reaches into his robe and removes three small orbs of varying sizes and colours. One has a red core which glows within the light, another perfectly clear with three tiny bubbles within its middle, and the last with a silvery substance at its core.
The merchant reaches over the counter and seizes one orb, bringing it closer to his monacle. “Hmm.. they appear to be genuine.. ah, yes.. crushed ruby.. and.. ah.. You have a deal sir”

Full Item Description
Materians, also called Mages’ Orbs by the mundanes, are small, perfectly spherical glass orbs of sizes varying from a half inch in diameter to two inches in diameter. Contained within the glass mold are various powders, substances, and materials. Each materian contains the exact amount of material components a Wizard would need to cast certain spells. In essence, each materian has the spell components for a single spell. The Wizard need only throw the materian to the ground directly in front of him before he casts his spell. In certain underground communities, especially amongst communities of spell casters, materians also act as a type of currency, with each materian having its own unique value. Mundanes rarely possess the intellect to remember and recognize a materian for its worth, therefore mundanes rarely use materians; however learned Wizards should be able to recognize a materians value at glance, and even be able to tell what spell accompanies it.

Materians are fabricated through a magical process, though they are not magical items themselves. Decades ago, a few young entrepeneur wizards decided to create materians to sell to wealthy spell casters as a convenient means of acquiring spell components- so they did not have to adventure themselves to find them. At first, materians were not widely accepted as they were unnessicery. But as time went on, many wizards began to appreciate the convenience of having materians available for their practices. After several years of sales, the entrepeneur wizard had amassed such a fortune from selling their materians that they were able to upgrade their production methods, and the materians were able to be mass produced and sold at cheaper prices. This trend continued until eventually the use of materians had almost become a fad amongst spell casting communities- collecting and trading materians with friends. And so the trend continued, and the trading of materians became more common place, and wizards began to use them during trades. Eventually, the materian had actually become a currency amongst wizarding communities.
If you were to ask a mundane about a materian you would most likely be met by a puzzled look. The materian fad has remained completely underground amongst wizarding communities. If you were to show a materian to a mundane they would likely respond “Oh, you mean a Mages’ Orb, yeah.. I don’t know what they do though..” As a rule, materians generally have no value to mundanes except with the occasional scholar or noble who might collect materians for decorative purposes, and amongst select merchants who commonly deal with spell casters.

Author’s Notes
Realize that materians do not really fulfil a practical role within certain systems like DnD, where most spells can be cast by simply having a spell component pouch. The purpose of the materian is to add flavor to the spell caster’s roleplaying experience, and possibly even pose the spell caster with difficult decisions such as “Which combination of materians can I use to approach the value of this item, while not getting rid of the ones I am likely to use on my next adventure?” or “Is this spell really worth what I could gain from trading this materian?”

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Comments ( 6 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

February 17, 2006, 12:42
Updated: ô.o For some reason there were a bunch of /'s before random punctuations. I fixed every one I could find, but a few might have slipped passed my not so eagle-like eyes.
Voted MoonHunter
February 17, 2006, 12:51
I like this kind of additional tool for a magic users. You are right, it is much for flavor than for effect, as you don't need these. However, it makes them convient to have and carry, so there are encumbrence and book keeping advantages to them. And it will keep potentially perishable or fragile components safe. A good tool that adds flavor.

Also you can use it as a case for "color" on the character, having a strong opinion on them...

These are not just for DnD, though that is the magic system that most notably requires material components. They are as handy as a vial of baby's tears. So really, it is useful for many magic systems.

Good Job. Bask in the gloy of your post - today.

Tommorow, go post some more.
Voted Cheka Man
February 17, 2006, 13:08
Very useful-the equivilent of a magic one-shot rifle insteas of a magic musket or arquebus.
Voted Scrasamax
February 17, 2006, 15:48
I dont know, the idea of prepackaged magic supplies seems awful modern to me. This is just my opinion, but i always imagined magic to be unique to each magician, IE no two mages can the Fireball spell in the same manner. It might be similar, but there is always a difference. Perhaps Bulgor the Embermage likes his a little hotter than most and uses two pinches of sulfer rather than one, or Randolphina the Petite prefers her blasts to be less gassy, and omits the sulfer completely.

Plus I was afflicted by the voice of one of my old players, he say's it's always best to kick a mage in his orbs.
Voted Iain
February 17, 2006, 18:09
Pretty good. Especially good in a low-magic world, where spell-casting is rare and the material components are rare. Also, what if most spell-casting components "went off"; e.g. "dew collected from a snowdrop in a lunar eclipse" must be used within a day of being collected - unless, of course, it is stored in a materian. This way, if you trade away (or use) your materian, you will not be able to use any of the spells that require that component unless you find or trade for another. The more time had elapsed since the event, the rarer and more expensive the materian could be. "The last leaf of a 100 year oak tree to fall in autumn" (used in, for example, the spell "alter form") would be comparatively cheap in winter, but much rarer and more costly in summer.
November 22, 2013, 9:03
I like the idea of a magic currency, perhaps usable as alternate components that apply modifiers for spells. I remember an old Dragon magazine article which listed various alternate components for the various spells, and their impacts on them.

These fit more in line with the video-gamish approach to spells where consumer-goods exist and there are lot of casters in the world - so very High Fantasy.

I like it - good stuff.

Random Idea Seed View All Idea Seeds

Amber Inclusions

       By: Dragon Lord

The spirit of a creature trapped in amber cannot escape to it’s afterlife / next incarnation / whatever.

Such trapped spirits can be contacted by those who know the right rituals and magical power derived from them – typically the power to control one individual of that species.

Can by quite powerful if the creature is a colony insect (ant, bee, wasp, etc) – simply control the queen and you command the whole colony.

Ideas  ( Items ) | October 22, 2007 | View | UpVote 3xp

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