d10 Strange Elements

William T. Thrasher

Unusual elements abound in fantasy, from mithril to orichalcum to corbomite. But if you want your fantasy to live and breath, its elements need as much personality as the heroic adventurer's that encounter it. So the next time you heroes find themselves in a lost mine, alchemist's workshop, or dwarven holdfast, roll a d10 on the table below to find out what rare, unusually strange, and strangely useful elements they encounter.

  1. Fool's Silver: As lustrous and easy to work as true silver for which it is often mistaken, fool's silver has no effect on lycanthropes, the undead, or other creatures allergic to or weakened by silver.
  2. Magestone: This prismatic material vibrates with magical energy. Magic items that include magestone in their creation are more potent, though the magic contained within is more difficult to control and prone to surges.
  3. Orchrite: A strange red-green mineral found beneath ancient battlefields where orcs have died in the thousands, weapons alloyed with refined orchrite wound with the savagery of a rampaging orc and are particularly potent against dwarves.
  4. Red Sulpher: This red powdery substance burns quickly with an intense blue flame. When incorporated into fire magic as a material component, all fire produced burns twice as hot for twice as long. However, prolonged exposure to red sulpher is addictive. You can always spot a red sulpher miner or user by their purple-stained fingernails.
  5. Drake Ichor: A thick purple-black substance found near fossilized dragon bones, this slow-flowing material is highly toxic and charged with the elemental energy powering fossilized dragon's breath weapon. A skilled alchemist can use drake ichor to vastly improve the potency of potions and other alchemical items. An unskilled alchemist is likely to loose customers to madness and wasting sickness. Bladed weapons and armor oiled with drake ichor are both immune to and deal damage of the appropriate elemental type.
  6. Crystal Ice: These delicate blue-white crystals are always cold to the touch regardless of the prevailing temperature. When refined, these crystals are used to make items used to preserve food, cool homes, and charge weapons with elemental cold.
  7. Deadstone: A brittle, lead-like metal that can only be refined from the bones of fossilized undead. This metal is charged with negative energy and increases the potency of necromantic items into which it is worked. Refined deadstone is also attracted to negative energy, drawn to necromancers, undead, and tainted lands like a magnet.
  8. Dwarfshame: The only substance known to defeat the hardy constitutions of dwarves, this gritty, grey-green mineral of which dwarves prefer not to speak often contaminates veins of rich metal and gemstones. All dwarves are mildly allergic to dwarfshame, with about 5% being deathly allergic. Dwarves do not receive their normal bonuses against poisons fortified with dwarfhshame. Likewise, weapons alloyed with refined dwarfshame infict additional damage against dwarves.
  9. Ghost Iron: Similar to iron in most respects, though paradoxically softer and more difficult to work, this luminescent metal weights almost nothing. Indeed, a single cubic foot of ghost irons is as light as a cheesecloth sack full of chicken feathers. When exposed to an electrical charge, ghost iron is also known to float for a few moments. Metal armor alloyed with refined ghost iron weights half as much as conventional armor and holds its luster far longer.
  10. Blood Amber: This crimson, amber-like substance slowly leeches the vitality out of the surrounding environment, so it is a small mercy that it only found deep underground. Blood amber enhanced life-draining and vitality-transfering magic. Skilled alchemists can tap the vital energy trapped within blood amber to create healing potions of exceptional potency.