The essential mineral of starfaring engines
As seen in A Few Good Elves
Starmetal is a unique material formed by the pressures and atmosphere of space. It is extremely important to starfaring, because it is essential in the construction of spindizzy starfaring engines. It has the unique property of serving as a gravitational battery. When exposed to magical energy, it releases its stored gravity in the form of Gravity Wells, which is part of how spindizzies function.
Starmetal is dark in colour, and extremely dense, but with iridescent shimmering over its surface, like a slick of oil. It is extremely heavy; far heavier than it looks like it ought to be, even though it is a metallic ore.
Physical & Chemical Properties
Starmetal is extremely cold to the touch at room temperature.
Starmetal may be an isotope of osimium, which is the densest metal known, according to alchemists. It may also be an alloy of iridium and osmium, as some metallurgists claim. Neither alchemy nor metallurgy has yet been able to separate the metal into constituent elements, but that may be simply that it's impossible to duplicate the incredible pressures of heat and gravity that create it in the first place.
Geology & Geography
Starmetal is formed in the remnants of dead stars. Mining it can be challenging and dangerous, because often these stellar graveyards are imbued with dangerous radiation or gravity. However, as easy to acquire resources diminish, the price that it can command increases, which makes it more likely that enterprising prospectors will take greater and greater potential risks to get their hands on it.
Origin & Source
No one really knows why the explosion of a star creates starmetal, but there are numerous theories. The most prevalent is that the incredible gravitational pressures of the dying star "traps" its gravity within the raw material. Others believe that the intense heat transforms the essential nature of the solid matter so that it becomes something else -- some form of matter that is more solid than a solid, perhaps.
Life & Expiration
The magical and gravitational storage capacity of starmetal is notoriously fickle. It will continually radiate gravity waves if it is regularly supplied with magical energy. If it isn't, however, it will eventually deteriorate to a point that the gravity well it generates collapses -- which means the spindizzy ceases to function.
History & Usage
Goblins and gnomes hotly contest which of them was the first to discover the essential starfaring properties of starmetal. However, it is clear that the elves have known of the magical properties of starmetal for thousands of years.
Aside from its essential use in starfaring technology, starmetal is also valued by alchemists for its immutable nature, and mages for its use in teleportation, time, and gravity-related magic.
Cultural Significance and Usage
Some starfaring cultures hold starmetal as a sacred substance, and use it in jewelry meant to symbolize unity with, or mastery over, the stars, as well as in spindizzy engines.
Trade & Market
Starmetal is typically purchased by organizations that have the necessary infrastructure to manufacture their own starfaring engines, such as nations, large companies, and militaries. Goblins and Gnomes will usually pay quite well for starmetal; although like any commodity, the price fluctuates with current availability. A black market trade in starmetal exists, but buyer beware, as black market starmetal is often either stolen, or contaminated with radiation or either environmental hazards.
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Starmetal is used in the construction of spindizzies (see Starfaring Engines )
Varies between 50 and 100 gold Novae per ounce (28.35 g)
Metallic, with a faint hint of something like burnt steak
Sharp metal, perhaps a bit like iron or steel
Iridescent shimmering black
Boiling / Condensation Point
5285 K (5012 °C, 9054 °F)
Melting / Freezing Point
3306 K (3033 °C, 5491 °F)
Solid metal, mined from the remnants of long-dead stars