Champions of the Sun
The Magical Materials
The Five Magical Materials
The five magical materials are the most mystically potent substances known to the craftsmen and savants of Creation, and they almost universally form the basis for artifact creation. The dominant magical material used in an artifact has an enormous impact not only on its character, but on who most strongly covets the item—for while the Solar Exalted are equally adept with all magical materials, other varieties of Exalted have powerful affinities for a particular magical material, and limited aptitude in establishing a bond with artifacts not of that substance.
It’s also not unheard-of for an artifact to be forged of an alloy of different magical materials, or to incorporate multiple magical materials into different parts of its substance. Such nuanced artifacts are highly valued by some Exalted, as those with perfect blends lent new, hybrid strength to the Solars, while those that incorporated small amounts of an additional magical material to support or shade the power of a dominant material were greatly valued by their fellow Chosen.
That said, an artifact’s dominant magical material is a heavy influence on its Evocations, but not the only influence—the guidelines below can be modified by the artifact’s construction, history, and the rapport it establishes with its wielder. They’re a starting point, not a set of hard constraints.
- Jade is the most common of the magical materials, found in quarries and deposits all across Creation. It resonates with the Dragon-Blooded, and is used not only to forge their artifacts, but as the true currency of the Realm. Jade is the most diverse magical material, appearing in five varieties—while all Dragon-Blooded are equally adept with any variety of jade, most prefer to adorn themselves with jade matching their inborn Aspect. All varieties of jade are adept at manifesting and channeling their associated element, but beyond that commonality, the Evocations of jade differ significantly. These secondary qualities, combined with its availability, make jade the most common magical material used in composite artifacts.
- Black jade resonates with the element of water. Its Evocations grant control over water, flexibility, the ability to communicate with or beckon spirits, the power to flood things or draw the moisture from them, and occasionally the manifestation of destructive liquids such as acid or boiling water.
- Blue jade resonates with the element of air. It can be used to stir the air, create blasts of wind, lower the temperature or create ice, harness or manifest lightning, or anticipate the intent of opponents or even briefly glimpse their thoughts.
- Green jade resonates with the element of wood. Its Evocations control plants, make things grow or wither, produce manifestations of wood, establish rapport with the natural world, siphon Essence from living things or transfer it into them, and manifest toxins.
- Red jade resonates with the element of fire. Its Evocations frequently control, manifest, or grant protection from flames. They also heighten reflexes, raise temperatures, grant a controlled battle-fury, quicken movements, and grant explosive power to attacks and evasions.
- White jade resonates with the element of earth. It grants control over or allows manifestation of earth, sand, dirt, and stone, hardens things, immobilizes, strikes with enormous force, grants calm and mental clarity, and mesmerizes opponents.
Moonsilver is a silvery metal, harder than steel in its unworked state, with a liquid, quicksilver sheen when viewed in dim light. It resonates with the Lunar Exalted, and in the past, Luna’s Chosen felt that for any non-Lunar to carry moonsilver arms and armor burdened them with proving themselves worthy of the substance—it was common for Lunars to challenge the bearers of moonsilver to contests and competitions. In the modern day, the Lunars are prone to simply stealing or seizing any moonsilver artifacts they become aware of, making such wonders dangerous to own.
Moonsilver’s Essence is protean and wild. Its Evocations often unite wielder and weapon in a bridge of primal instinct or mystical insight. Its attacks are often either flamboyant and barely-restrained, or else subtle and insidious, laced with poisons, slivers of heart-seeking metal, or ever-bleeding wounds. Some moonsilver Evocations produce physical manifestations in the weapon—while it’s unusual for a moonsilver artifact to flow and reshape itself like water or clay, a longfang might flex to strike around interposing blades, a daiklave might stretch to drive its point deeper into vital organs, and a grimcleaver might release its mighty ax-head to fly into the Lunar’s foes like a moth, only to draw it back in the next moment.
Orichalcum is a super-hard, bright, golden metal to which only the Solar Exalted feel a natural affinity. Although they can wield all of the magical materials with equal facility, the Solars much valued orichalcum, for it resonated with their own Charms far more strongly than any other substance. Orichalcum can sometimes be found in naturallyoccurring veins, often on mountains, plateaus, and other elevated locales. In the First Age, a process was known that could refine gold into orichalcum by using lava and mystical mirrors to concentrate the light of the sun, but those refineries were destroyed or abandoned during the Usurpation and the centuries of collapse that followed.
Orichalcum’s properties lead to diverse and powerful Evocations. The substance is a natural amplifier for power, and was frequently used for this purpose in mixed-material artifacts. It is the best magical material for empowering sorcery. Orichalcum has great potential for harnessing the power of light while taming shadows, channeling divine judgment to burn away that which is tainted or unclean, and channeling elemental power into stored energy, then unleashing it as omni-elemental or non-elemental force. Powerful orichalcum artifacts can harness celestial and terrestrial phenomena, provoking earthquakes, calling down shooting stars, or raising a tempest. Orichalcum can unleash cutting or smashing Essence-pressure like no other substance, and can take on the qualities of other magic; it was often called “wishmetal” by those who worked with it, for its diverse applications.
When the Solars were murdered, they were buried in lavish tombs to appease their powerful ghosts, and most of their orichalcum panoplies were sealed away with them as grave goods. Solars reborn in the Age of Sorrows sometimes dream of these tombs’ locations, and the wonders hidden within.
Starmetal, once refined and worked, is the least ostentatious of the magical materials—it looks like top-quality steel, with an unusually reflective and polished surface. When light strikes starmetal just so, it gleams in the prismatic colors of the Five Maidens. Starmetal is the rarest magical material, refined from the ore found in fallen stars. The Sidereal Exalted find starmetal alone resonates with their Essence, and use their astrology and sorcery to predict and chart the course of falling stars, then venture out into Creation to recover the meteoric ore. Due to its extreme rarity, most starmetal artifacts sport delicate and minimalist designs, and when starmetal appears in composite artifacts, it is usually in the form of wire filigree or etched designs rather than amalgamated alloy.
Starmetal Evocations are adept at binding spirits and exuding god-miracles, at revealing hidden truths or unraveling intricate tactics, at striking at or harnessing ephemeral concepts, at translating one kind of power into another, and at deferring unacceptable fates by substituting some lesser loss—starmetal armor might protect its wearer from a certain killing blow by instead diverting the attack to slay a cherished memory or bond of love, for example. Certain starmetal artifacts also harbor Evocations that duplicate spirit Charms.
Soulsteel is a gruesome magical material, appearing at first glance like black steel. When light strikes it, however, tortured faces can sometimes be glimpsed deep in the metal, and under extended scrutiny, they can be seen (and in the heat of battle, occasionally heard) to writhe and scream. Alone among the magical materials, soulsteel cannot be found in naturally-occurring deposits in Creation, but is instead made in the soul-forges of the Deathlords, pounded together from rare Underworld ores and the souls of those who have angered the lords of the realm of tears and dust. The Abyssal Exalted find that soulsteel resonates with their nature, and are rarely seen in Creation without it. Soulsteel artifacts dating back to the First Age are exceedingly rare, but not unknown.
Soulsteel Evocations excel at binding and harnessing the powers of violence and death. They summon or bind ghosts, call up the dark power of the Underworld, cause injuries to fester, animate dead flesh, transform the wielder’s injuries into a source of power, amplify pain, hold death at bay so their master can fight on, and drain the vital energies of those they harm.