Full Item Description
Xanthanite is a lustrous and semi-translucent stone than is found only the in the badlands mines of Xanthistum. It can be found in small pieces, flakes, and more desireably in large sheets, veins and nodules. It can be carved with delicacy, though this requires special tools and a master’s skill. It is hard enough to be used as a weapon, though too heavy to make for good armor in Occidental Plate style.
Xanthistum and Xanthanite’s histories are as intertwined as the serpents of the Cadueces. Over two centuries ago Xanthistum was a backwards region that clung to the Satrapy system of the Old World, never quite giving into absolutism, or the age of Kings. This lasted for nearly 800 years following the end of that age of emperors and plenipotentaries.
It was the discovery of the luminous yellow stone and the fortunes of the mining clan who unearthed it and brought it to the fore. Using techniques of stone shaping copied from the K’tonian Legacies held in Nimz, the Zanth clan was able to turn the raw stone into useful tools, works of art, and most importantly, weapons. Within a decade, the clan found itself sitting on a windfall of wealth and power. A short time later, they became the Xanth Clan and started a revolution against the moribund Council of the Satrapy and the reigning Plenipotentary.
Armed with xanthanite swords, axes, spears, and arrows, the troops of the Xanth Clan decimated the poorly equiped Loyalist troops. The Loyalists clung to the maneuvers of the Old World manuals, and it was their downfall. The old manuals detailed troops in the tens of thousands, where the entire might of the Council numbered perhaps 4,000 soldiers and another 500 mounted on horseback. Arrayed against a force of 2800 veteran troops and nearly 1200 horse who had discarded the large troop formations in favor of lightning strikes against various targets, the council suffered heavy losses. Within a year the Council surrendered and the head of the clan, Istan Xanth I assumed the throne and rechristened the land Xanthistum.
The Arsenals of the King are laden with many weapons made of the yellow stone. The swords keep their edge for a long time, but require maintenance as normal swords due, though it is oiling to prevent the stone from becoming dry and brittle, which some pieces tend to do. The swords and axes are the most robust, with the arrows being the most affected. This is a side effect from the K’tonian treatments that give the stone the ability to last in combat against steel and other stone weapons.
Xanthanite has no innate magical properties, but the material does lend itself to being enchanted quite easily. Magics that invoke fire, light, aspects of the sun, courage, summoning and other energetic magics do very well. Aspects of necromancy, cold, water, and illusion are at twice the standard difficulty as the material has the improper resonance for such works.
Plot Hooks and Relics
A Sword of Light - The PCs face a villianous swordmaster who has a xanthanite sword that is enchanted with a Daylight spell. Having a translucent sword that can produce bright light should appear to be a very obvious weapon of power, though it has no other charm. The swordmaster uses bluffing and intimidation with his sword skills to throw opponents off balance and defeat them, which only adds to his reputation.
The Golden Lantern - The PCs stumble across an iron lantern that has inserts made of polished xanthanite. The light of the lantern has a very natural feeling to it, and rather than draw insects, it causes them to fly away. The PCs need it to cross a dangerous swamp.
Yellow Coins - In the Kingdom, this material is shaped into coins that rival the gold piece standard, with the stone coins actually being preferred to gold. This can present a lesson in economics as the PCs find their gold devalued in Xanthistum, possibly by as much as half! Outside of the kingdom, the stone coins are accepted, though at a lower rate, more comparable with the gold standard. Well away from the kingdom the coins are likely to have little financial value, but still desired as oddities and such.