Artificial Dragon Blood
Magical items are often prohibitively expensive, largely because the Dragon Blood crystals needed to power them are so very rare. For centuries alchemists and magicians alike have searched for a cheaper, and more abundant, alternative. This just might be the long sort after formula, but price could be higher than anyone ever imagined.
Full Item Description
Artificial dragon blood is the product of one of Dural's few successful experiments (well almost).
A viscous brown liquid, with the consistency of treacle and the colour of swamp mud, it's not all that much to look at. It is nonetheless the only artificially created substance that comes close to the properties of Crystallised Dragon Blood (at least without levelling half a city block in the process).
Because of its' consistency incorporating artificial dragon blood into an item is not at all easy since it must be held inside some form of enclosed receptacle, but still be accessible for recharging. Also it is highly acidic so the materials used for such containers must be essentially non-reactive.
So far the only suitable vessel Dural has found are small glass or ceramic vials. Since these materials are highly fragile, artificial dragon blood cannot be used in any item that must take a certain amount of rough treatment (like, for example, weapons or armour).
Dural's artificial dragon blood acts in all ways like real dragon blood except for one vital difference.
Dural's compound, like all attempts to create an alternative to real blood crystals, is just a little bit unstable. However this does not, as in all previous attempts, result in the mixture actually exploding half way though the manufacturing process. Instead it has a tendency to produce slightly more variable results than the user intends.
The effects are quite subtle and extremely difficult to spot. Each time the artificial blood is recharged there is a small chance that it will warp the magic slightly, with unusual or bizarre results (random effects, wild surges, malfunctions, or anything else that fits in with your magic system are all appropriate here).
Both the chance of this happening and the power of the random effects are proportionate to the amount of mana stored in the compound (in accordance with the principle of conservation of mana). As a result more powerful spells tend to produce more bizarre side effects.
Some final notes
Dural is of course far too moral a person to knowingly release such an unstable substance onto the open market (and the key word here is 'knowingly'). Unfortunately he is entirely unaware of his compounds' unstable nature and truly believes that he has found the long sort after formula for mana storage.
To be perfectly fair to Dural, being a responsible researcher he did test his compound quite extensively before revealing his triumph to the world. However, all his tests involved relatively small scale applications (reading lamps, door bells, and the like) and these have produced no strange effects (or to be more precise the effects where so infrequent and so minor that he failed to notice them amid the general background weirdness of his laboratory).
It has simply never occurred to him that compound might become more unstable at higher mana levels.
Plot Suggestion - I teleported home one night
Many of the more powerful magical items (teleport pads, alarm systems, flying carpets, household appliances, etc) need to have chunks of dragon blood incorporated into them in order to meet the power requirements, making them both extremely rare and prohibitively expensive.
With the advent of Dural's artificial dragon blood these items are becoming a lot more common. Unfortunately, with these more powerful applications the artificial blood tends to cause more, and bigger, malfunctions and there are now some very strange things happening around town.
The wizard guilds are unable to explain this sudden increase in magical maladies, but that hasn't stopped them from devising a variety of solutions. Unfortunately these invariable involves powerful suppression or stabilisation devices powered by (yes, you guessed it) artificial dragon blood.
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? Responses (9)-9
An interesting approach to creating more economical magical items. I like the fact that it has unforseen circumstances, and limited applications, such as no weapons or the like.
Interesting idea. From the cause of invention comes the increased downfall of society. To become so dependant on such an item yet to not realize or simply fail to see the significance in the fact that this invented substance is causing problems only to try and fix it with the same substance. Absolutely perfect. Cause and effect everytime.
Can you say internal combusion? Or Fossil Fuel dependence? or... well you get the idea.
It would be better thought of as the Waste Heat Crisis. As pointed out in Ring World, Civilization makes heat. Engines, computers, factories, all make heat and vent it into the world. And Civilization makes more heat cooling itself from the heat. The cycles continues spiralling onward. Eventually it will make enough heat that it becomes a dead end...
I would suggest a change to the item's effect.
Actually, a change to make this more 'insideous' is to make the problem harmonic. So individually there is no issue, even for higher powered items. In each magical region, there can be growing problems because of the number of items. So the more power in each 'regio'/ magical region, the more chance an odd effect will happen.
This way, the number of items will increase to large levels before people will notice the effects. And the odd things will be blamed on the person who just came with their odd magic items. Of course, this will mean by the time someone realizes there is a problem, there will so many items... making so many people's lives easier... that they will never get rid of them.
So of course, more magic will be applied to damp down the effects. These of course will be powered by artificial dragons blood as well. Then there will be 'pumping', 'dumping', and toxic waste schemes to get rid of the harmonics in one regio and putting it into another less utilized one.
This 'technology' would be part of the 'march of history'. You could and would radically change your world with the implimentation of this substance. In a world already embracing magic, this change would be drastic. So you will create a 'golden age' in a relatively short period of time, where everyone's needs are being met because of magic. Then it will explode upon itself because of the ADB's issues.
You could do this over the span of a campaign... if it went for a couple of real years and you spaced 'adventures' far enough to get 30-50 years of time. or you start the campaign after ADB is already being quicly adopted.
Another idea: Eventually less principaled people will begin to make it as well. Their lack of quality control might add to the impacts. In fact, since they will be dumping the stuff... they will be blamed for all the issues. Then people will just say all the oddness is just some cheap ADB items still left... nothing is wrong with good quality ADB.
Well I hadn't quite imagined it in those terms but I must admit that would work very well indeed.
An entire campaign based around the question of why magic has got so weird lately.
What can I say? When you're right, you're right.
Great suggestion Moon.
The name is great. 'Artificial Dragon's Blood', makes one stand up and take notice. Its just that kinda name. Makes you wanna read the piece!
And ofcourse, once I started reading this, it was not at all what I expected. What I'm trying to say is...Good Work DragonLord!
this is one helluva good submission man, nice one.
i like the random affects idea as it gives gm's a wider range of ideas to create to suit their campaign.
the idea is brilliant !!!
Can't add to this one - just to say it's really cool! I have a thing for alchemy :)
This is a nice item, great for those incapable of killing dragons!
A really solid submission, that hints at an entire magic system and economy in the background. I wonder if there is anything that can be done with artificial dragon's blood that can't be done with the real thing (perhaps because of its consistency?). Nice work.