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September 14, 2011, 11:50 am

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The Singing Mines


Also called the "Banshee Veins" or "Wailing Digs" the term "Singing Mine" refers to the Vibrosteel mines found predominantly in Sahar and Orientalis.

To Greatlanders, Vibrosteel is both rare and expensive to such a degree as to make it fabled. It's a precious commodity, and some of reHumanity's most fabled weapons, such as the lost, legendary sword "Shrieker" and the mythical bearded axe "Hajoldingr" were crafted from it. Artifact weapons like these, leave not only a legacy behind them, but a craving for the power they offer.

Orientalis and Sahar are flecked with veins of this precious metal. They are by no means commonplace, but when compared to Greatland, which has virtually no Vibrosteel deposits at all, Sahar and Orientalis are veritable Vibrosteel plantations, ripe for the picking.

In reality, Vibrosteel is not only hard to come by, but hard to mine. Vibrosteel mine shafts look much like iron mines, save for one thing; the noise. Normally mines are filled by the cacophony of pick-axes boring and punching away at thousand year old rock, prying out precious ores and stones. These sounds exist in Vibrosteel mines, but they are drowned out by the constant hum of agitated Vibrosteel ore.

What makes Vibrosteel so valuable is the same characteristic that makes the mines "Sing." When struck or rasped or drawn against another metallic surface, the Vibrosteel vibrates, much like a tuning fork, but to a much higher frequency. Vibrosteel ore, for example, lets out a low pitched "moan" that bounces off the curves and twists of the tunnels. Alone, it sounds much like an incomprehensible chant of a priest or monk. When combined with hundreds of other pieces of ore being struck simultaneously however, the combined chants transform into a hauntingly melodious song.

The song, depending on the size of the vein, might be heard hundreds of meters from the mine shaft entrance. Thus, mining settlements near Singing Mines are often just close enough in range to constantly be lulled by the echoes of the mines.

Dangers of the Mine

Collapse - Vibrosteel Ore vibrates the air around it. Too much vibration has been known to cripple the timbers which hold the mine up. Contingencies have been made to account for the already hazardous nature of the mines, and Vibrosteel Mine shafts have been designed with the inherently dangerous situation in mind. Miners are strictly limited to a certain number at any given time, to ensure that the wailing of the Vibrosteel doesn't become overpowering to a point in which the structure of the mine would be compromised.

Earth Crawlers - The subterranean creatures known as Earth Crawlers are a constant threat to any mine and it's miners. Earth Crawlers are fairly passive creatures, giant and wormlike in size and shape, ranging from fifteen to twenty feet in length, with a somewhat flattened body as large as four feet across, plated with thick, rock hard chitin. Their entire front end is a triangular, gaping maw, with teeth as hard as diamonds lining all three sides. They lack any discernible eyes, ears or nose, though they are thought to have some gland resembling an olfactory organ that is chemically tuned to sniff out metals. They have little interest in the taste of flesh, and stay well out of the way of terranean settlements. Their diet, however, consists of a number of ores and crystal deposits, Vibrosteel being a particular delicacy to them. If an Earth Crawler invades a mine, it will indiscriminately seek out and consume as much Vibrosteel ore as possible, making no qualms about consuming any hapless miner who happens to get in the way of it's feast. It goes without saying that an Earth Crawler invasion into a mine is an immediate compromise to the integrity of the shaft and the mine as a whole. 

Vibrosteel Ore + Purified Vibrosteel

Vibrosteel Ore - Looking very similar to iron, it is gunmetal in coloration, often times darker, due to high carbon presence. It only takes one good knock of the pickaxe to set the ore to singing, so there's usually no mistaking the Vibrosteel ore for anything but the precious metal it is. Vibrosteel ore is often located in areas populated with copper or iron, but in significantly smaller quantities. One thing to notice is that Vibrosteel is significantly lighter than iron, which becomes more apparent post-smelting and purification. A single mole of pure Vibrosteel is less than half a mole of pure Iron.

Vibrosteel - Once smelted and properly purified, the pure Vibrosteel takes on a lighter platinum color and vibrant metallic sheen. Without the excess carbon molecules to slow down it's vibration, the pure Vibrosteel hums to a much higher frequency. Particularly fine Vibrosteel tools vibrate at such high hertz, that they have been known to disrupt electronics and archeotech or xenotech devices.

Vibrosteel Weapons - The vibration of Vibrosteel blades is what makes them so highly sought after. Much like an impact drill, a single blow strikes the target thousands of times in a fraction of the second, beating down the molecular resistances, and literally parting the atomic structure in such away that it allows the blade to pass through many solid objects like a warm knife through butter. Typically, Vibrosteel is fashioned into a cutting blade, usually a sword or axe-head. As the blade makes contact over and over with an opposing metal, the singing of the Vibrosteel gets louder and louder, as it vibrates more rapidly after every blow. At terminal frequency, high quality Vibrosteel weapons have been known to simply part other weapons, completely overcoming any resistance lesser metals have. Mithrilized and high quality steel or adamantium surfaces may nullify or at least lessen this effect.

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Comments ( 5 )
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September 14, 2011, 11:50
Update: Fixed some spelling errors
Voted Cheka Man
September 15, 2011, 8:28

Such an image of singing rock. 5/5

Voted Dossta
September 22, 2011, 11:38

A good, solid location to use for a lowbie adventure or two, though not a brilliant one.  Aside from the singing noise (which I really liked), the mine doesn't really strike me as an interesting or unusual location, which is probably why it feels like something is missing here.  The dangers you included are helpful and logical -- just not horribly original.

It's hard to think of new plot hooks that revolve around a mine, but it would be nice to see a few here.  It would give us a better understanding of your vision for the place.  Adding in some NPCs, terrain hazards and other unique features would also help to spice it up.

September 22, 2011, 18:21
vibrosteel mines aren't an adventure centerpiece... I just needed a unique way to introduce vibrosteel as a crafting element for future posts. :-)
Voted valadaar
July 14, 2014, 10:07
Its an interesting location - all that noise may also include noise that would disrupt magical scrying, so perhaps state secrets could be kept in such a mine.

I like this idea!

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