Ah, now... it's not as though the dead are bothered by my harvesting the amber. And just look at what it can do!Most everyone avoids the Towers of the Damned for fear of contracting the terrible laughing pins, but arcanists of a certain moral bent note that excretions produced by a magical disease might well have magical properties. Those bold and curious enough chip bits off of the towers for purposes of magical experimentation.- Marilan Antraxes, alchemist
Freshly mined chunks look like semi-translucent rocks in colors ranging from yellow to brown. It is fairly hard, but can be scratched with a knife, requiring only simple tools to extract it from a tower. Chunks can be polished to lustrous smoothness, and the resulting gems almost seem to glow. Like natural amber, it can contain inclusions -- the most grisly being bits of the victims of the laughing pins, expelled as the disease dissolved them from within in their final moments.
Corpse amber warms quickly in the hand. If heated sufficiently, it first becomes malleable and then melts into a viscous fluid. Those who work with it say that it smells oddly of cloves and ozone as it warms. If charged with magic in very particular ways, it develops glittering inclusions that then settle, resulting in a layer that looks like flake gold. This form is often found in magical amulets and other arcane jewelry.
Geology & Geography
Corpse amber occurs nowhere except in amber towers that result from an outbreak of the laughing pins after a red blizzard. Several arcanists have attempted to artificially create new material from a piece they mined, but these experiments have thus far been unsuccessful so far as anyone knows. In at least one case, the arcanist succeeded only in contracting the amber creep himself.
Origin & Source
It is created by the bodies of those who have been infected with the laughing pins.
History & Usage
None. Most are horrified that it is used by anyone for anything.
Manufacturing & Products
Most frequently used as magic-enhancing stones or an oil with multiple arcane uses, it has also been employed in a few creative applications. Perhaps the most notable of these is the Amber Sword carried by the notorious villain Eltane.
It is feared by the general populace as a potential vector for the laughing pins, though this has not been conclusively proven.
Trade & Market
It takes a particular type to want to use (or be seen using) corpse amber in any form. Arcanists wishing to give a dark or menacing impression and hedonistic young nobles are the most likely candidates to sport corpse amber items. It is nevertheless very pricey, as there simply aren't that many people wiling to chip bits off amber towers. It cannot be found in markets and must be purchased privately, even when it is not outright illegal to sell.
Law & Regulation
In some areas, such as Vessun, it is against the law to trade in corpse amber or items made with it.
- Very expensive.
- Very rare. Only mined in small quantities by a few bold or desperate people.
- None until heated, at which point it smells of cloves and summer storms.
- The wizard known only as Tallgrim was brave enough to taste the material and recorded that it reminded her of vanilla and rotten meat.
- Shades of yellow, orange, and brown.
- Common State