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Old 02-13-2020, 10:25 PM   #51
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Default Re: Gemstones Useful for Evil Cultists

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Originally Posted by malloyd View Post
How about ice?. You can make it matter where the water comes from - say ice formed floating in a cenote used for human sacrifices, which being in the tropics would never naturally freeze and therefore seems perhaps an even better fit for the Path of Nonexistence.
Oooh, cool.

Sure, that works. Of course, it's probably a bit hard to keep frozen in warmer areas, as a lasting magical effect would be very difficult (all blatant effects that can't be rationalized away as something other than the supernatural are Greater effects, all lasting effects that endure past a dawn are another Greater effect unless stabilised inside a Threshold or an appropriate magical vessel). And storing magical Charms in refridgerators/freezers is probably a good way to ensure regular nuisance from the fridge being on the fritz.

Of course, for a Charm, Traditional Trapping or 'Manastone' intended to last only a short time, a simple cooler would probably suffice to store the ice until used.
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Old 02-14-2020, 05:10 AM   #52
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Default Re: [RPM] Gem Lore, Lapidaries and Precious Stones as Traditional Trappings

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Ivory isn't enamel, though. It isn't even tooth enamel, and tooth enamel isn't even a little bit the same as the enamel used in jewellery (which is a kind of glass or glaze).
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I meant to use the ivory in place of the white enamel; I assumed they would be visually similar enough that you could replace one with the other, and it gave an excuse to boost the worth of her rosary while keeping within theme. It sounds like Icelander has already decided on the design and functionality of that, however. Reading the behind-the-scenes mechanics for the vignette from the other thread was interesting, however.
By the specific rules of my campaign, there is not only a strong correlation between the intangible factors that cause humans to value certain ornamental objects much more highly than others and their ability to contain magical energy, but also, once-living materials are generally more in tune with the paranormal.

So expensive ivory jewelry or other ornaments would probably be excellent ways to store magical energy, as well as being excellent symbolic representations of death and loss, among other things. Of course, ivory from extinct animals would be even more potent, if it was available.

Isn't ivory subject to strict customs control, though, and importation and export of it forbidden in many countries?
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Old 02-14-2020, 05:26 AM   #53
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Default Re: [RPM] Gem Lore, Lapidaries and Precious Stones as Traditional Trappings

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Isn't ivory subject to strict customs control, though, and importation and export of it forbidden in many countries?
There's a lot of antique ivory around, though. And though its sale is controversial, and provides cover for the poached product, it is still legal in most places. Also, there is mammoth ivory from Siberia.
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Old 02-14-2020, 05:52 AM   #54
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Default Re: [RPM] Gem Lore, Lapidaries and Precious Stones as Traditional Trappings

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There's a lot of antique ivory around, though. And though its sale is controversial, and provides cover for the poached product, it is still legal in most places. Also, there is mammoth ivory from Siberia.
Indeed.

I was just reading up on the US import regulations and the availability of mammoth ivory (which is legally distinct from elephant ivory and not covered by the same international treaties, though CITES has proposed changing that).

It looks like the five ethnic Chinese cultists who travel through California are likely to have all sorts of mystical and esoteric paraphernalia made from mammoth ivory, as the vast majority of the world's supply is traded through China and their organization has already been established as concerned with all sorts of grey- and black-market arrangemets rellated to the Pacific shipping trade between Asia and the Americas.

They can bring extra ivory and other esoteric supplies of questionable legality or tastefulness to share with other cultists, but they won't be able to use it until they all meet up somewhere near Indianola around dark the evening of the 29th of December, 2018.

Some of the cultists landing in Texas might carry personally--owned antique items made from elephant or mammoth ivory, depending on what the Consortium lawyer in Peru they consulted (before those allies became potentially compromised) told them about how much trouble carrying such objects through customs might be.

Do you have to carry paperwork establishing antique status or certifications that the object is mammoth ivory, not elephant? Do you apply for a permission before you land or is this done with a harassed CBP agent on the airport?
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Old 02-14-2020, 05:57 AM   #55
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Default Ivory Rosary

Of course, real-world rosaries were sometimes made of ivory and there exist real-world specimens that are allegedly not connected to any evil cults, but still look like this very creepy ivory and silver rosary with grinning skulls and rotting faces.

Now, that's the sort of rosary an evil nun should carry.
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Old 02-14-2020, 08:09 AM   #56
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Default Re: Gemstones Useful for Evil Cultists

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Sure, that works. Of course, it's probably a bit hard to keep frozen in warmer areas, as a lasting magical effect would be very difficult (all blatant effects that can't be rationalized away as something other than the supernatural are Greater effects, all lasting effects that endure past a dawn are another Greater effect unless stabilised inside a Threshold or an appropriate magical vessel). And storing magical Charms in refridgerators/freezers is probably a good way to ensure regular nuisance from the fridge being on the fritz.
When your entire magical school is about "loss", you need to get used to all of its effects being rather temporary.
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Old 02-15-2020, 07:40 AM   #57
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Default Re: Gemstones Useful for Evil Cultists

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When your entire magical school is about "loss", you need to get used to all of its effects being rather temporary.
Quite a good point.

On the other hand, for the specific situation where twenty five cultists are in the US and have had months to prepare and the support of even more powerful ritual magicians (in potent Places of Power) for all that time, Charms and 'manastones' that only last the night are less important than objects of magical power that could have been made long before, transported to the US legally or illegally, and then used to augment the (rather feeble, because of how Very Low Mana most of the world is) personal casting abilities of the cultists.

Basically, having either a Charm or a power source (or a few dozen) that you can tap is an absolute prerequisite to using magic effectively on a combat time scale in the setting. Humans simply don't have Ritual Mastery (not without giving up most of what makes them human, at least) and casting spells outside a carefully selected Sanctum with higher Mana than typical places is extremely hard.

So, ritual magicians who pose a threat to PCs do so using rare, exotic and expensive objects and ornaments that can be made into Charms, power sources, traditional trappings and focus items that make spellcasting during adventures more practical.
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Old 02-15-2020, 10:04 AM   #58
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Default Re: [RPM] Gem Lore, Lapidaries and Precious Stones as Traditional Trappings

Looking at some images of ivory, I realize it likely wouldn't work as a stand-in for white enamel, being more of a yellowish off-white. It's still undoubtedly useful for the "Path of Loss/Despair" subset of the Path of Nonexistence your cultists use. If any of your cultists make use of the Path of Chance, there are a variety of places that manufacture dice made from semi-precious gemstones, which may be of use. I'd imagine getting blanks from them would also be possible, to have a jeweler or similar under the employ of (or himself part of) the cult engrave each face with appropriate runes or what-have-you. Indeed, sufficiently-large precious gems may be possible to give similar treatment.

Another material to consider is ancient kauri wood. This stuff is over 50,000 years old, preserved in a peat bog in New Zealand (similar to the various other bog woods one can find, but much older). It doesn't have a direct link to the Path of Loss/Despair, seeing as the species of tree it comes from is still around (and not even endangered), but being ancient, rare, and made from organic material is likely to count for something for general magic use. Oh, and you can find dice made from the stuff as well.

Also, while looking up ancient kauri, I came across this, a ring made from crushed dinosaur bone (well, fossil), metal from the Gibeon meteorite, and an inner sleeve made of ancient kauri. The Gibeon metal likely being high in iron, and the strips of titanium, may not be ideal, but something like this strikes me as an appropriate piece of jewelry for a sorceror of some flavor. It also makes me wonder if one could make a similar ring using the crushed bones of a (ideally innocent) victim of execution, as well as metal from the blade and wood from the haft of the executioner's axe that did the deed.
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Old 02-15-2020, 11:40 AM   #59
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Default Re: [RPM] Gem Lore, Lapidaries and Precious Stones as Traditional Trappings

Regarding famous cursed stone, there are a few others than the Hope and Koh-i-noor :

The Black Orlov. broken in three to break the curse, unfortunately, but that could be ... repaired.

The Cursed Opal of Spain Royal family.

The cursed Amethist, already coming with an mounting engraved with symbols and 2 stone shaped like egyptian scarabs ...

But those and others may be 'too famous'.

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Does anyone have any ideas as to which minerals or precious stones might be useful for rituals cast by the Keepers of the Last Hearth, an apocalyptic cult using a specialized loss-based version of the Path of Nonexistance and worshiping the Lords of the Last Waste (or the Cold Ones), vast, cool and unsympathetic intelligences existing Outside of this universe, associated with the end of everything, cold, dark, death and loss?

And, as for those cultists who were previously magicians in different traditions, such as Chinese Gu or Gong Tau or various Indigenous South American traditions, what are good minerals or gemstones to associate with different kinds of dark magic?

Onyx and obsidian seem obvious. What else?

For modern tradditionnal trappings, I would look into the 'cremation crystal', with companies offering to make glass crystal infused with cremation ashes and colored/cut to look like a precious stone...

For the worshipper of the Cold Ones, meteoric iron or lunar rock sample could be associated with cold and dark.
And meteoric iron have a long history of magical use.
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Old 02-15-2020, 03:47 PM   #60
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Default Re: Gemstones Useful for Evil Cultists

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How about ice?. You can make it matter where the water comes from - say ice formed floating in a cenote used for human sacrifices, which being in the tropics would never naturally freeze and therefore seems perhaps an even better fit for the Path of Nonexistence.
Oooh, Ghost apples sound like really cool ice objects for the Keepers of the Last Hearth.
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