The Tenebrous Circle
The Five Magical Materials
The five magical materials are the most mystically potent substances known to the craftsmen and savants of Creation, and they almost universally form the basis for artifact creation. The dominant magical material used in an artifact has an enormous impact not only on its character, but on who most strongly covets the item. An artifact’s dominant magical material is also a heavy influence on its Evocations, but not the only influence—they’re a starting point, not a set of hard constraints.
Jade is the most common of the magical materials, It resonates with the Dragon-Blooded, and is used not only to forge their artifacts, but as the true currency of the Realm. Jade is the most diverse magical material, appearing in five varieties. The Evocations of jade differ significantly depending on its color. Jade is the most common magical material used in composite
- Black jade resonates with the element of water. It grants control over water, flexibility, the ability to communicate with spirits, and occasionally the manifestation of destructive liquids such as acid or boiling water.
- Blue jade resonates with the element of air. It can be used to stir the air, create blasts of wind, lower the temperature, create ice, harness lightning, anticipate the intent of opponents or even briefly glimpse their thoughts.
- Green jade resonates with the element of wood. It can control plants, make things grow or wither, produce manifestations of wood, establish rapport with the natural world, siphon Essence to or from living things, and manifest toxins.
- Red jade resonates with the element of fire. Its Evocations control, manifest, or grant protection from flames. They also heighten reflexes, raise temperatures, grant a controlled battle-fury, quicken movements, and grant explosive power to attacks and evasions.
- White jade resonates with the element of earth. It grants control over or allows manifestation of earth, sand, dirt, and stone, hardens things, immobilizes, strikes with enormous force, grants calm and mental clarity, and mesmerizes opponents.
- Yellow jade is a mistake. It doesn’t appear naturally, and no one knows how to create it. Dragon-Blooded alchemists try to create it all the time, but their experiments never succeed more than once. Yellow jade only appears when a thaumaturge makes an unrepeatable error when following an intended formula. This is a shame, because yellow jade has a wide variety of uses. Artifacts made with this rare material often require less committed Essence or none at all. It is a primary component of many artifacts that mortals can use.
Moonsilver is a silvery metal, harder than steel in its unworked state, with a liquid, quicksilver sheen when viewed in dim light. It resonates with the Lunar Exalted.
Moonsilver’s Essence is protean and wild. Its Evocations often unite wielder and weapon in a bridge of primal instinct or mystical insight. Its attacks are often either flamboyant and barely-restrained, or else subtle and insidious, laced with poisons, slivers of heart-seeking metal, or ever-bleeding wounds. Some moonsilver Evocations produce physical manifestations in the weapon—though it’s unusual for a moonsilver artifact to flow and reshape itself like water or clay.
Orichalcum is a super-hard, bright, golden metal to which only the Solar Exalted feel a natural affinity. Although they can wield all of the magical materials with equal facility, the Solars much valued orichalcum, for it resonated with their own Charms far more strongly than any other substance. Orichalcum can sometimes be found in naturally occurring veins, often on mountains, plateaus, and other elevated locales.
Orichalcum’s properties lead to diverse and powerful Evocations. The substance is a natural amplifier for power, and was frequently used for this purpose in mixed-material artifacts. It is the best magical material for empowering sorcery. Orichalcum has great potential for harnessing the power of light while taming shadows, channeling divine judgment to burn away that which is tainted or unclean, and channeling elemental power into stored energy, then unleashing it as omni-elemental or non-elemental force. Powerful orichalcum artifacts can harness celestial and terrestrial phenomena, provoking earthquakes, calling down shooting stars, or raising a tempest. Orichalcum can unleash cutting or smashing Essence-pressure like no other substance, and can take on the qualities of other magic; it was often called “wishmetal” by those who worked with it, for its diverse applications.
Starmetal, once refined and worked, is the least ostentatious of the magical materials—it looks like top-quality steel, with an unusually reflective and polished surface. When light strikes starmetal just so, it gleams in the prismatic colors of the Five Maidens. Starmetal is the rarest magical material, refined from the ore found in fallen stars. Due to its extreme rarity, most starmetal artifacts sport delicate and minimalist designs, and when starmetal appears in composite artifacts, it is usually in the form of wire filigree or etched designs rather than amalgamated alloy.
Starmetal Evocations are adept at binding spirits and exuding god-miracles, at revealing hidden truths or unraveling intricate tactics, at striking at or harnessing ephemeral concepts, at translating one kind of power into another, and at deferring unacceptable fates by substituting some lesser loss—starmetal armor might protect its wearer from a certain killing blow by instead diverting the attack to slay a cherished memory or bond of love, for example. Certain starmetal artifacts also harbor Evocations that duplicate spirit Charms.
Soulsteel is a gruesome magical material, appearing at first glance like black steel. When light strikes it, however, tortured faces can sometimes be glimpsed deep in the metal. Alone among the magical materials, soulsteel cannot be found in naturally-occurring deposits in Creation, but instead must be mined in Underworld. Even there, it is exceedingly rare, and rumors persist that the Deathlords can make more in soul-forges, pounded together from rare Underworld ores and the souls of those who have angered them. The Abyssal Exalted find that soulsteel resonates with their nature, and are rarely seen in Creation without it.
Soulsteel Evocations excel at binding and harnessing the powers of violence and death. They summon or bind ghosts, call up the dark power of the Underworld, cause injuries to fester, animate dead flesh, transform the wielder’s injuries into a source of power, amplify pain, hold death at bay so their master can fight on, and drain the vital energies of those they harm.