This mineral is intended to have been a major shaping factor in a campaign world I am working on. In the ancient past, shortly after this world’s bronze age hit it’s peak, the discovery of Thaumatrium created a new age. The focus on magic slowed the development of normal technology. Two great empires formed themselves around the power of the mineral and tied their fates to it.
The High Vizier nudged the corpse on floor with his slippered foot and spoke. “He was our best Diabolist. How could this happen?”
“The Demon took all the treasure we intended as payment the moment he emerged from the gate. Astuun knew your orders, and negotiated with what he had…” Targis trailed off, looking at the expression of horror frozen on the dead Diabolists face.
“Nothing I could do to him would be worse then ... this,” said the Vizier
“Apparently he did not agree. Your reputation appears sound M’lord.”
Stooping over, the Vizier picked up one of the scrolls scattered on the floor, but not before casting a few divinations looking for poison or other traps. Satisfied that there were none, he drew it before him and quickly scanned its content.
“He made good notes before the fiend took his ‘payment’. At least we can salvage something from this disaster. Two things - have the groundspeople take poor Astuun to the temple and then let Andronis know he’s been promoted to Head Diabolist and to report to me first thing tomorrow morning.”
“Your will, Milord” and Targis left to carry out his orders.
The Vizier took in the scene a while longer, picked up the freshly scribed scrolls, and left the summoning room. As he passed out of sight, a strange glint flashed in the corpse’s eyes.
What follows comes from the presentation made by the new Head Diabolist at the Vizier’s council of Magic, with the aid of Archaeoarcanist Yastrun of Maar.
Yellow Thaumatrium and its properties were first discovered in the empire of Abadra by the emperors alchemists. Quickly seizing upon its capability to greatly magnify magical power, the empire entered into an incredible Golden age of magic. Only the rival empire of Helena-Thoth was able to find sources of their own and challenge Abadra’s ascendency.
The friction between these two great magical empires grew over time, with much blood, treasure and Thaumatrium being expended on weapons, and nasty proximity wars with lesser states.
The discovery of the White and Black varieties of Thaumatrium escalated these developments further. Both empires by this time had structured their entire economies around the mineral and so it came to pass that when the supplies of Thaumatrium began to dry up, and no new discoveries were forthcoming, that full scale war between the empires broke out. This war, fought with weapons developed over generations of low-scale warfare, combined with their dependency on Thaumatrium destroyed both empires.
There are no known sources of Thaumatrium known at this time apart from the occasional specimen found by treasure-hunters. The few artifacts left from that time are nothing more then historical oddities without new supplies of Thaumatrium to replenish their powers.
Chemistry: Thaumatrium shows no relation to any known chemicals or elements
Uses: Powerful Source of magical power for both spellcasting and long-term magic items and constructs
For Yellow, Color is rich yellow, similar to amber.
White ranges from perfectly clear to milky white.
Black ranges from smokey clear to jet black.
Transparency: Pristine Crystals are transparent, depleted ones are opaque. (see magical properties)
Crystal Habits include well formed cubes, octahedrons and dodecahedrons.
Cleavage is absent.
Fracture is conchoidal.
Hardness is 1.5
Specific Gravity is approximately 4.1 - 4.3
Other Characteristics: Although relatively soft, the material is highly resistant to any form of corrosion or chemical reaction.
Thaumatrium has been found only in a narrow strata of bedrock eons old, accessible only by deep mines through hard metamorphic rock.
Ethos: Thaumatrium shows no affinity to any particular Ethos.
Primary Power: Yellow Thaumatrium provides a moderate amount of magical power over a fairly long period of time. Both the endurance and the power level of the supply depends on the original size of the crystal as found. As its power depletes, the crystal becomes less and less transparent. Black and White provide higher continuous outputs, allowing more powerful magical effects.
The mineral allows casters who bear it to increase their spellcasting ability per day, Yellow allowing a doubling, while white and black both quadruple the ability of a spellcaster. Strangely, this property does not vary if more then one crystal is carried, so carrying multiple crystals will provide redundancy, not additional capability. Crystals which are crafted into items do not provide this additional benefit to their bearers.
Perhaps even more important, when using this mineral, even novice mages can produce items with long-term magical properties. The actual effect would depend on the game system used.
Long-term exposure to Thaumatrium, especially the Black/White varieties has strange effects on both the animate and inanimate. With inanimate objects, properties unimportant to their function will vary occasionally, with such things as transparency, color and texture changing. For animate object including spellcasters, effects similar to low level enchantments will be visited on them occasionally.
Those who suffer even greater exposures to these materials, such as those involved in it’s mining, are subject to corruption of some type. We have not been able to find out more about this. Some theories have been put forth that some of the man-like magical creatures now found in some regions of the empire may be in fact descendants of Thaumatrium miners.