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Orichalcum: The Orphan Magical Material

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  • Orichalcum: The Orphan Magical Material

    Four of the five magical materials are the better material for a kind of exalted or supernatural being.

    Jade is for the DBs
    Moonsilver is for the Lunars
    Starmetal is for the Sidereals
    Soulsteel is for the ghosts, and later for the abyssals.

    Orichalcum is the odd man out. Solars can resonate with this magic material, but it has no intrinsic advantages for them.

    I propose that each type of exalted will prefer much more to use the magical materials they are resonant with, to create their artifacts - it makes no sense to create for them artifacts that are not handicapped. The magical materials are, mostly, large enough to accept most, if not all, themes. So, lunars will mostly create moonsilver artifacts, terrestrial jade ones, and so on.

    So, given the rarity of orichalcum, and the existence of other magical materials that are much more abundant (jade and soulsteel), it'd make sense that the solars created most of their artifacts not of orichalcum, but from the other magical materials. Yet the setting associates solars with orichalcum.

    For what practical reason would the solars care more for making and using orichalcum artifacts?

    I was thinking of giving a little something for orichalcum - my initial idea is giving solars a 1-mote discount on the commitment of orichalcum artifacts.

  • #2
    The fact that other Exalts prefer non-orichalcum artifacts will push Solars to using Orichalcum - if a Solar has a Lunar friend, and 2 daiklaves, one moonsilver and one orichalcum, the Solar will probably end up using the Orichalcum.
    That's probably the strongest circumstance, but anyone who meets enough of x-type exalts who you're bargaining with will prefer to reserve x-type material. Given the commonality of Dragonblooded, and the rarity of star metal, that mostly leaves Orichalcum, Moonsilver, and Soulsteel as what's easiest to buy (the price is probably with favors or other artifacts and not money, for any kind of artifact). And if you're dealing with someone tied to the Silver Pact and/or the Underworld, that's another material they'll want to reserve.

    Also, while the themes of each material are fairly broad, they aren't infinite, and Orichalcums seems a bit broader than the others.

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    • #3
      Well, jade is orders of magnitude easier to get than the other MM. It's so much more available that it can be used as global coinage on the strongest economy of the world. There is no 'lack of jade' to take solars to use orichalcum, which is really rare. And soulsteel also had no exalted host users.

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      • #4
        Jade is more common than other materials, but I'm not aware of anything saying it's orders of magnitude more common.
        Also, there are around 20 times as many dragon blooded as all other Exalted combined, and they head the Realm, probably the wealthiest and most powerful organization in the world, and therefore the average dragon blooded probably has more artifacts than any other kind of exalted.
        While there aren't rules for spirits and evocations, I'd expect that elementals prefer jade, so that's another drain on the supply of jade.

        Jade doesn't seem to be the primary coinage of the Realm, that's cash. Only dragon blooded (ie. 15000 people, which would be a small city) and their assignees are legally allowed to use jade, and the smallest jade coin is worth around a years income for a skilled adult - no one but the wealthiest of people, or large organizations, could actually afford to use jade coins, and even then only for the largest of purchases.
        Also, the Obol is I think less than an ounce of jade(a 68 lb talent is worth 1024 obols on the ledger, but that only accounts for 8/12 of the weight)

        Also, jade currency might not be pure jade. The scorebook says "Physical talents do not circulate commonly, both due to the difficulty of transporting them and their enormous value. When manses need their interior geomantic structures fabricated, talents are the raw materials, so the Empress only allowed physical talents struck from the finest and purest jade.", which might mean non-talent coins aren't made from the finest and purest jade

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        • #5
          Resonance isn't the only consideration in what kind of artifact a character prefers. The other, and I would argue, more important consideration is how well the themes and powers of the material work with the character's own goals and style. Orichalcum's themes include "raw power, unshakable strength, excellence, light and shadow, revelation, healing, divine judgment, purity, majesty, and glory", and "channels Essence and sorcerous energies better than any other magical material". All of these lend themselves to things that fit within a lot of Solar specialties. Say, for example, a Dawn hammer-wielder wanted a mighty goremaul whose strikes caused earthquakes, shaking the land for miles around. Only orichalcum would really fit the bill there, in my opinion. And a Solar sorcerer who wants a mighty rod to channel her arcane might and majesty is pretty much going to go for orichalcum for sure. And so on.

          In any case, you don't need Solars to have made and used many more orichalcum artifacts than other types of magical materials to justify the in-setting connection. People in Creation can spot patterns, and the fact that orichalcum is the magical material that shares most associations with Solars is unlikely to be something that's escaped their notice. Even if Solars used orichalcum artifacts no more frequently than any other type, the association would probably still be there, just based on the obvious connection. Combined with the fact that they probably did use orichalcum slightly more commonly than the others, as a consequence of my first point, and I don't have any difficulty believing in the association being there.


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          • #6
            In parts:

            - autXautY:
            The satrapies pay their tributes in jade. The fact that this is most viable shows how 'common' jade is. If the other magic materials are not orders of magnitude more scarce than Jade, then there is no scarcity of them whatsoever. I would say that have orichalcum as an 'over-supplied' magical material is somewhat demeaning to the MM, anyway. :-)

            - Kelly:
            I would say that strength and excellency have more to do with the artifact level than materials (unless you are saying that orichalcum artifacts are more powerful than their rating describes). Making earthquakes, for instance, is completely on White Jade's theme.

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            • #7
              As kind of noted, the artifact's themes matter. Solars being uniquely historiclaly Resonant with oricalchum while no one else was is probably enough a reason tehy make stuff out of it. They always used it best, and it generally has capabilities as a material that Exalts like. This is mechancially refelcted by well, being Resonant. For characters who don't need to have the economics of the material be relfected mechanically, just being Resonant they already get most out of them in ways other Exalts don't. An artifact made out of oricalchum that happens to be good well, the Solar will be able to use fully without having to be encouraged I think.

              Whether jade or soulsteel is more common in Creation is kind of moot hwen they all cost hte same at character creation.

              Kind of a note too that in 3e, last we saw hinted by the devs, Infernals are Resonant with oricalchum too and there's also talk in Arms of the Chosen of many pre-historic artifacts being made of it too. Solars being historically the only Exalts Resonant with ancient titanic or Dragon King artifacts probably encouarges those to show up in Solar Exalted panopolies over the years.


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              • #8
                Originally posted by pcontop View Post
                - Kelly:
                I would say that strength and excellency have more to do with the artifact level than materials (unless you are saying that orichalcum artifacts are more powerful than their rating describes). Making earthquakes, for instance, is completely on White Jade's theme.
                I think artifacts are absolutely more powerful than others within their themes. For instance, I'd allow a white jade goremaul to have earthquake evocations, sure. But the white jade goremaul's earthquakes would be smaller, but also more targeted and precise. If you want a weapon to cause a short range band area off on the other side of the battlefield become difficult terrain and knock everybody down in it, get the white jade weapon. But if you want to just smash the earth and cause a mile-wide earthquake that destroys every building standing in it, you're going to need the orichalcum hammer.


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                • #9
                  Blaque:
                  But every MM is as resonant as Orichalcum for a solar. So I don't get your point.

                  My question about artifacts is more diagetic - in-world. But, since there are more non-orichalcum artifacts than orichalcum ones, we see more solars with non-orichalcum artifacts than other splats with their splat-specific MM - it's all the same for the solar players. What correlates with my point with solars in-game not having an incentive of creating Orichalcum artifacts - it's all the same for them.

                  Kelly:
                  But then, a solar artifact would have more power, but less finesse. Isn't finesse an attribute of excellence, that is also an attribute of orichalcum?

                  Anyway, Volcano Cutter is made of jade, and has a lot of power and not that much finesse. So, the implicit guideline does not pan out all that well.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by pcontop View Post
                    Blaque:
                    But every MM is as resonant as Orichalcum for a solar. So I don't get your point.

                    My question about artifacts is more diagetic - in-world. But, since there are more non-orichalcum artifacts than orichalcum ones, we see more solars with non-orichalcum artifacts than other splats with their splat-specific MM - it's all the same for the solar players. What correlates with my point with solars in-game not having an incentive of creating Orichalcum artifacts - it's all the same for them.
                    There is a list of things oricaclhum is used for, useful for, and themed around in both the corebook and Arms of the Chosen. Oricalchum is a good material if a Solar wants to have some of those things. It is also useful if the Solar wants to have something only Solars really can use. If you are a paranoid god-king and don't trust your Lunar partner or Sidereal advisor, you could have an artifact out of oricalchum explicilty so that no one else gets teh full amount out of it. And as I noted also, there's plenty of oricalchum made by not-Solars, that Solars would for most of history have been the only ones to get the most out of and so probably appealing there too.

                    And in all this context to respond to your first post, that you can Resonate with oricalchum for oricalchum stuff is incentive in itself rather than a mechanical thing. For most games, in my experience, folks like gold metal for Solar Exalts basically. And in 3e, that Solars use other m aterials about equally at this point is probably not an issue. Infernals use it too, and it has enough of themes on its own that if someone wnats an oricalchum weapon they'll get one. But that the Soalrs aren't defaulting to it in 3e is not considered a bug, but a feature.

                    Originally posted by pcontop View Post
                    Kelly:
                    But then, a solar artifact would have more power, but less finesse. Isn't finesse an attribute of excellence, that is also an attribute of orichalcum?

                    Anyway, Volcano Cutter is made of jade, and has a lot of power and not that much finesse. So, the implicit guideline does not pan out all that well.
                    Honestly though, this feels question beggy? The issue seems to be that you don't see a reason for more oricalchum based on the rules you choose to use to define why there shouldn't be. THis has a bit of the Thermian Arguement to me. The setting "can't work because the rules it uses dont's ay that" thing. But like...the setting is whatever the setting authors say it is in the end. And it appears that oricalchum is useful enough historically to Solars that they made artifacts. As the rules are only abstractisons of the setting, not actual simulation of its principles, we have to take the statements on the setting (that there are thematic benefits/uses for it and those were enougH) to build the case for the material. Like, end of the day, you can put constraints/stuff on volume/whatever as you want. But the end of the day, the setting says that htere's incentive, sot here was incentive enough to make them about.

                    And as I note, that PC Solars in your games may not default to the material is not a bug but a feaute in 3e's context. Solars don't need a mote discount to be incentivized. They get Resonant and the consequent effects if they want something oricalchum. If not....they don't. And due to the general Solar advantages being about breadth, this is fine. The material will have an Exalt that favors it pretty heavily in this edition (Infernals), and Solars still are going to want it for particualr aesthetics anyhow. I just don't really see what the issue is besides what I see as the "Try to outsmart the setting using crunch" arguments that the book's Oricalchum Rule straight-up kind of says not to get too caught-up in.


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                    • #11
                      Also we don't know but I have an inkling that Infernals may well be Resonant with Orichalcum, given its noted affinity for Sorcery and maybe Demon Magics.


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                      • #12
                        Orichalcum is rare and valuable, and it's associated with Solars if only by virtue of them being better at using it than anyone else. I think that is more than enough reason for Solars to seek orichalcum artifacts as a status symbol. (That, and its themes include majesty and glory.)

                        Of course, someone making a new artifact is probably going to reach for whichever magical material best suits the item's purpose. But when a Solar prince declares "I want a new weapon worthy of my greatness!" he's probably going to want orichalcum.

                        I don't know if that's a "practical" reason by your standards, but it would certainly be reason enough for many orichalcum items to have been made in the First Age (and thus possibly inherited by the Solars' current incarnations).

                        It doesn't hurt that orichalcum's themes are pretty broad and are very useful for a wide variety of items, either.

                        Originally posted by Kyman201 View Post
                        Also we don't know but I have an inkling that Infernals may well be Resonant with Orichalcum, given its noted affinity for Sorcery and maybe Demon Magics.
                        It's hard to predict what Infernals might resonate with (or not) since we don't know that much about them yet. They had a pretty sweet deal in 2e (being able to use any artifact as long as it was treated with vitriol first).

                        Perhaps they'll be neutral with all the normal materials but resonant with Weird Hell Shit? I would really like to see some more artifacts made of unusual materials.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Kyman201 View Post
                          Also we don't know but I have an inkling that Infernals may well be Resonant with Orichalcum, given its noted affinity for Sorcery and maybe Demon Magics.
                          Last I had heard, this is actually exactly the case.


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                          • #14
                            The actual reason for Orichalcum being the lone material out here is that in previous editions Solars were only Resonant with Orichalcum, as I recall, though that effectively was just a minor stat boost in 2e. With the introduction of Evocations and the homogenization of weapon stats in 3e came the Solars' omni-Resonance.

                            I could go on and on about how I think Resonance is kinda bleh and how you'd be fine mechanically speaking to just ignore the splat limitations of it, but that'd just be me going off on a tangent. Instead I'll just say that if you give Solars a 1m discount to attunement for Jade you should probably do the same for other splats and their respective MM. Solars really don't need another leg up over everyone else.
                            Last edited by Yamajin; 01-10-2021, 06:36 PM.

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                            • #15
                              Blaque:

                              Orichalcum as just being the snobbery elitist does not look like a good idea.

                              Let' take it easy. I constructed an argument on why Orichalcum is not the Power MM, with examples. What is your issue with that?

                              As everybody knows, Solars get the same benefit from resonance from every MM in the same manner. So they don't 'lose the resonance' with not using Orichalcum, as you implied. In fact, this seems to be part of the problem.

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