The Alchemical Underpinnings of Orichalcum Manufacture

From Legacies Gameworld Wiki
Revision as of 21:46, 11 September 2022 by Chaoswolf (talk | contribs) (+category (Lore))
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)

By: Charlotte Leonard, B.A.A. R.C., Fellow R.G.M.S.A., Captain Oliver Greyson, Metallurgist R.G.A.

Orichalcum as a substance is distinct from other alloys and has a number of unique properties singular in the understanding of the author, and some properties that it shares with entirely conventional Aurum, though superior in various regards. First of note is the unique red-gold coloring. While a host of near imitations can be achieved through carful alloys Curum and Argent, the alchemical process crowning the precise formulation of true Orichalcum yields a rosey gold that, while in and of itself slightly variable between iterations of the art, nevertheless features a particularly consistent sheen, almost a patina, as though a very fine surface of translucency has covered the surface itself. It is perhaps best described as though the metal itself were encased in a thin layer of entirely translucent lacquer as demonstrated by the workmanship of antiquity in Shalkaran and Nipponjin tradition. This unique patina can be of importance in distinguishing the metal from imposters made of convincing Curum alloys, as such a patina if made by conventional means would be easily scored by the grazing of a fine blade or bubble when exposed to moderate extremes of temperature, while the true Orichalcum subject would be immune to such impertinence.

The glossiness of this property makes is so that an object made of Orichalcum will nearly always seem to appear as though illuminated by auspicious lighting, a faint gleam in most conditions, and is quite distinct though no light is emitted by the substance itself. Most easily termed Eusphorence after the Kretian “dawn-bearer” of legend from which a certain other mineral has drawn name.

The second property of Orichalcum regards finished workmanship of flat character, any vessel or armored plate would qualify in this regard as having been worked into flat character. The substance in this regard is exceptionably durable, with profound comparison to the workmanship of truly exotic metals, though perhaps more laboriously informed. The surface is particularly proof against destruction by corrosive substance, but also retains great resilience against pressure, torque, and impact, as well as being profoundly nonreactive to chemical, alchemical, and even to a substantial degree arcane interventions. This is true to the extent that the substance cannot be enchanted, much like Mithril, as it simply sheds or grounds out the magical effort without the energies being capable of permeating the structure of the metal itself. Orichalcum has a yield strength of 36 stone at16 gauge thickness, measured to deform a square a single inch in size at normal temperatures, and a breaking strength of 36 and 1/8th stone. This narrow margin of differential illuminates how resistant to reforming the substance is once worked, such that it is a fairly near thing between bending or deforming it and breaking it, both under significant stress.

In the event of extremes of temperature the Orichalcum holds itself very close to these same margins far outside the ability of the researcher to manufacture artificial chill, and doesn’t exhibit any enhanced malleability in heat until the heat itself has destabilized the material as described in Mr. Greyson’s treatise, uneven heating response causing destruction at high temperatures but impervious to alteration before it. With this profundity of durable nature the Orichalcum is an ideal substance, despite the expense and difficulty of manufacture, for creating the highest order of alchemical vessels and working tools, as it refuses steadfastly to interact with any substance at all until heated unto annihilation. The third property of Orichalcum regards finished workmanship of edged character. Because of the unique way in which its malleability presents itself, requiring exacting work along specific axes and then ultimately refusing to deform along other axes means that once finished – with appropriate skill – the keenness of the edge is nearly incorruptible even to much and vigorous abuse such that the researcher was unable to dull a razor thus constructed without resorting to fiercely abrading it with rough adamantine or striking against similarly resilient surfaces. Further study is of merit. Conversely, a blade constructed without exacting workmanship cannot be easily sharpened, because the Orichalcum rejects the strop with as much enthusiasm as all other influences.

The resistance to workmanship along more than one axis at a time in a given temperature, interestingly, is determined by the first strokes made upon it and not by the metal itself in alignment with outside influence. When the malleable surface of the stock is struck with precision the primary direction of force resonates throughout the structure of the substrate and essentially those components, though remaining not yet fixed, harmonically align along that axis and in a sense “agree” to be extended along it. By this means the metal can be bent, drawn, upset, or even punched. When punched, the swarf remains consistent in the opinion of the rest of the metal until it, too, has achieved a variance of temperature sufficient to relax the structure and its opinions, such that it also may be struck again.

Orichalcum cannot be forge welded together, and while it can be drawn with great care sufficient to form wire for chain, that chain would have to be crafted into loops and cut all within the first working, requiring marathon attention in order to obtain any quantity. Recall that bending the metal is a difficult process, requiring much effort, and doing so at quenched or finished temperatures leaves it vulnerable to breaking if not treated with precision, applying just barely enough force to coil wire, for example, without exceeding the limit of it’s strength either in haste or degree. Far better to coil it after drawing as it will not blend nor will it flatten while being so treated, desiring as it will only to bend the one way until finished. Similarly, snipping coiled wire would be an exhausting and tool-ruining task if done after malleability is lost, and punching links would be essentially impossible.

Furthermore the links of the chain would not be joinable, and must be punched within the first working and later riveted with an inferior metal in order to minimize chance separation, though separation due to deformation is, as suggested above, a veritable non-issue, so butted links, if crafted well, are in fact superior to riveted links of steel in that regard, due to the extremely intractable character of the material. The fourth property of Orichalcum is its repellant property. It rejects other substances and energies in a variety of ways, though repellant property may not be the best final term for such. When describing above the Eusphorence or sheen of true Orichalcum, it is as though a clear barrier exists along the surface of the substance. This barrier can be observed to remain essentially void and inscrutable when other substances are introduced to a surface of Orichalcum. A clear demarcation exists as though nothing is permitted to touch the metal itself, and instead must interact only with the ineffable surface. This then is the truest and least destructive method of discerning if a substance offered is truly Orichalcum, for it will retain the infinitesimal barrier when closely observed even against something so simple as a drop of water, though a jeweler’s glass is necessary to observe the fine detail. Orichalcum is very soft and smooth to the touch, a property that could be easily replicated in suspect materials, but can be verified in this fashion by its repellant nature.

The fifth property of Orichalcum is closely related to the repellant property, and is one it shares with more mundane Aurum as well. The spark of static, infusion of elemental lightning, and similarly charged influences and mishaps travel quickly along and through it, moving from one place to another with tremendous efficiency. This means that if you wish to make something that utilizes, through magical or alchemical means, such a force then you could make internal components of Aurum (along with several other metals which have similar though inferior property) or indeed of Orichalcum to most efficiently and cleanly move the energies therein about the structure of the object or creation. Similarly, if you strike something that relies upon such diffusion of energies with, most particularly a blade or heavy piece of Orichalcum, you make a rapid connection of transference between unintentional points of contact on the object, which is disruptive and harmful to it. This particularly applies to the creation of artificial constructed beings, which tend to rely on the redistribution of various arcane energies throughout them in order to move and function – so while an Orichalcum or Aurum piece within may serve a vital function, forceful application of Orichalcum to the exterior can undermine their integrity and be particularly harmful to the thing. This is of particular practical import as constructs of this sort are most often made very deliberately to be durable against ordinary abuses, for obvious reasons.

This property does not apply to beings that are more elemental in property, though they may resemble constructed beings, because the energies within are self-organizing and can essentially ignore such disruptions, so a genuine “Clay Golem,” (to use a frontiersman’s gauche example) would be disinterested in abuses of Orichalcum or Aurum-jacketed metal to the same extent it is disinterested in most things, whereas a construct manufactured using clay as its primary medium but not literally animate clay would be badly disrupted. On the reverse, a creature such as a “Rawhead” is an amalgam of leftover butchered animal parts that is animate and fae in origin and while made of many pieces is self-organizing and alive, not especially interactive with the Orichalcum, whereas a “Flesh Golem” manufactured by some perverse engineer out of the remains of similar nature requires the organization and direction of internal forces by its creator to function and so Orichalcum is effectively disruptive. This pair of examples demonstrates that Golem is an inaccurately applied term that isn’t useful in defining the nature of anything, an aside best left for another time.

The fifth property of Orichalcum as stated is one that it has in common with Aurum – mundane (such as it is) gold. As such it is critical to note that while gilding weaponry in a way that does not damage their effectiveness is neither inexpensive nor easily done, it is more inexpensive and easily done than making them out of Orichalcum. Additionally, though they will lack the resilience of Orichalcum manufacture, such objects would be enchantable by the expert application of high magic, where Orichalcum steadfastly is not. As such, from the perspective of a frontiersman a gilded weapon is a more cost effective way of obtaining the most crucial survival benefit manifested by this fifth property.

In summation the five crucial properties of Orichalcum are as follows:

  1. Eusphorence
  2. Durability
  3. Keenness
  4. Repellence
  5. Conduction

These five could be termed the defining properties of Orichalcum, though in the humble opinion of the researcher it merits a sixth crucial property of description: that of unmatchable obduracy.

Return to Orichalcum