Orichalcum Material in Erisdaire | World Anvil


Tools with edges which never go dull, chains which will never break, and both will withstand even dragonfire! What I wouldn't give for the secrets of orichalcum, though it seems even the gods themselves are loathe to bequeath the knowledge on us mere mortals.
— Lord Dilan Holloweld
  A relic of bygone eras, an ancient secret lost to modern mortals, a metal held by the common folk to be divine in origin and by the learned to be an example of an apex of creativity which may never be seen again. Orichalcum would be considered a mythical material, if not for the presence of it in small pieces throughout the world where it can be seen. The Crown of Horns is made of it, dwarven great halls mine using tools of it, and elves display books where somehow orichalcum was used instead of gilding. Rarer still are swords or armor made with it, prized by novice adventurers and treated by veteran adventurers as something which draws unwanted attention. In a world of many mysteries and myths, orichalcum endures as something not even the most learned may explain the origins of.


Material Characteristics

This metal carries a reddish-gold hue to it, and reflects light in a diffused fashion rather than fully reflective. Furthermore, objects with a honed edge or otherwise having been made wire-thin often are found to be more translucent than opaque. Compared to similar objects of high-quality steel, orichalcum is demonstrated to weigh close to three-quarters as much. Tests from craftsmen have proven it to be at least as hard as diamond, making it one of only two metals to bear that distinction.

Physical & Chemical Properties

Orichalcum is known for being impossible to damage by any known means. Even other orichalcum items have proven incapable of the task. As such, it cannot be melted or armed by fire or alchemical acids nor can it be broken through weight. This also means it cannot be repurposed once it has been finished, and whatever final form it takes is what it will retain; one cannot turn an orichalcum weapon into a tool, or a number of tools into armor.

One of the more useful aspects is the affinity for magical enchantments the metal has. Objects which are made of this material often are enchanted because it is far easier to work magic on than any other material. Furthermore, while most enchantments bind to the object so completely disenchantment would require destruction of the object, orichalcum's apparent indestructibility means the magic may be removed without destroying the subject of the spells.

History & Usage


The origins of this metal have been difficult to track down, as many organizations and races try to claim they have been the first to work with it despite having lost the art. What is known is the most recent time when it was created would be almost a millennium ago by a human-ruled nation. There are orichalcum objects of clear dwarven or elvish manufacture, which suggest the three "higher races" have seen fit to do so.

The earliest referenced object made of orichalcum is also widely accepted to be a myth, this being associated with the first kingdom of elves to rise on Erisdaire. It is said that object was a sword upon which the names of every major family was inscribed, to show their importance to the continuity of the kingdom. Since this object has not been seen and questions as to its whereabouts are met with changes of topic or dissemblance, this is accepted by scholars to be a myth.

The earliest known, and proven, object is the crown worn by the Emperor of Rhyliss, shaped like a pair of antlers holding a rare diamond which sparkles from a strange inner light.

Everyday use

Since orichalcum can no longer be crafted, common use is completely unheard of. Even so, there are high-quality tools which are made of orichalcum in the possession of craftsmen and laborers in a few places. Due to its properties, tools never require maintenance except maybe to replace non-metallic portions such as handles or grips.

Cultural Significance and Usage

Due to its exceptional rarity, orichalcum is seen as a status symbol to own. Current trends in the Imperium lands are to count the weight of objects one owns and thus measure your family's affluence through this method. However, most noble houses tend to collect the more artistically created pieces such as jewelry or ornaments. Lower houses will often collect stamped coins or similar objects which are much less impressive visually.

Outside the Imperium, things are quite similar and yet very different. Elves have mostly used orichalcum as tool material or ornamental accents rather than weapons. And these uses usually translate to having been commissioned by their greater houses for commemorative purposes, meaning they are intrinsically tied to their families as opposed to having importance outside of them. Dwarves focused on using orchalcum for ornately decorated but very efficient tools which are often used by the greater clanhalls and are not held as objects to be looked upon but to be actively used; since they don't wear out like normal tools, the dwarven mentality leads them to making use of them as opposed to letting these priceless artifacts gather dust.

Humans of the Mystic Lands to the east have been studying orichalcum for centuries trying to understand how to dismantle it in an effort to thus understand how it is created. Their investigations have reportedly not made any progress, and yet they remain optimistic they can discover the origins and method for working with it. As such, the metal is highly prized by those sages who are seeking the answers; they pay a premium for any object made of the metal, often up to triple its weight in gold.


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Jul 8, 2018 18:50

Where do they get it from?   I assume that it comes largely from ruins and forgotten things like that, but are there any places in particular or businesses that specialize in Orchicalcum-dungeon-diving?

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
Jul 8, 2018 18:55

Well, given this is based off a semi-long-running D&D campaign the answer is unfortunately simple. Adventurers. Adventurers find it, and if they can't use it, sell it. Which means a lot of the so-called "vendor trash" would be things like orichalcum trinkets which have no value other than to collectors or people who specialize in curiosities.