Dwarves need metal. Dwarves eat metal.
Dwarven society is stratified into castes, which in turn are based on the metal which a dwarf can afford to eat. (This can be quite useful for PC dwarves, who can switch between racial benefits simply by changing their diet and waiting for their body to adjust.) More wealthy dwarves can afford better metals, which in turn marks them as belonging to a higher caste. If a dwarf doesn't eat metal, they will grow weak, sickly, and eventually die.
Any dwarf who switched from one diet to another. It takes several days for one metal to be cleared from the body and superseded with a new one, during which time the dwarf's skin is mottled and uneven, often with rust-pimples or cracks.
Politely ignored if it's a dwarf mid-transition between castes, often with a celebration if they change into a higher caste. Dwarves who keep changing their caste and are more often Alloyed than not, disparagingly called the "slags", are widely considered untrustworthy and ignored impolitely.
The lowest caste is composed of dwarves who do not always have access to the same cheap metal every day, or just don't have enough energy left to care. These are the labourers and unskilled workers.
Copper Dwarves have increased stamina, though overdose can lead to restlessness and insomnia. Tin Dwarves have somewhat enhanced senses, especially in the dark. Overdose can lead to migraines. Bronze Dwarves have a lesser version of both, which is especially useful for the miners.
Bronze Dwarves are not considered Alloyed and don't get the tell-tale signs of changing a diet, even if they eat two different metals.
Iron Dwarves, Ferrics
The military caste. Iron Dwarves are stronger and tougher, with overdose leading to the numbing of pain and all emotions.
Many dwarven veterans are unwilling to ever change their diet, as they have brutally slaughtered many enemies while under the influence of iron and losing the numbness would quickly lead to PTSD. Swallowing a large amount of iron at once to intentionally overdose can be used by dwarves of any caste as an emergency painkiller, though it leads to them becoming Alloyed if they weren't Ferrics.
Silver Dwarves, Argents
The craftsdwarves, artisans and artists. Silver Dwarves have augmented creativity, imagination, empathy and emotional intelligence, but overdose can leave them with hallucinations or something akin to a bipolar disorder.
Despite their social nature, many Argents choose to lead a reclusive life, as silver diet sometimes leads to embarrassingly undwarven behaviour, like freely expressing your feelings!
Gold Dwarves, Aureans
The leaders, merchants and scholars. Gold Dwarves have augmented mental capacity, memory retention and brain plasticity, allowing them to learn quickly and easily outwit most others. An overdose leads to a loss of empathy and moral restraints, allowing one to stay calm, objective and profitable even in the face of death and despair. As such, many Aureans eat more gold than would be necessary.
Occultum Dwarves, Occultins
Dwarves never have a natural gift for magic, but they can gain one by eating occultum. This is quite often lethal, but those who survive the first dose are rewarded with sorcerous powers. Occultum Dwarves rarely change their diet unless forced to by circumstances, as they cannot return to occultum without risking their life with that first dose again.
An occultum overdose has roughly equal chance of either a massive explosion, or a transformation into a mighty spirit of the earth.
Quicksilver Dwarves, Mercurials
Mercurials are not a part of the dwarven society. They are outcasts, considered monstrous and perverse. They are feared, despised and only whispered about in stories to frighten children. Their blood is a deadly poison, thus they steal the blood of other dwarves to survive. Just like quicksilver, they are malleable, able to change their appearance at will, or even dissolve their body into a pool of living mercury.
Some stories also claim that Mercurials are immortal. Many dwarven lands ban mercury to forestall the temptation and prevent the rise of dwarf-eating monstrosities in their midst.
30 June 2022
Dwarves need metal. Dwarves eat metal.
29 June 2022
Here are some desert hexes:
Terrain: Sand dunes.
Obvious: Tall, ancient tree. Has roots so deep they reach the underground river hidden beneath the sand. Great for orientation, as there is nothing but it and sand all around.
Hidden: City ruins buried in sand. A sandstorm might uncover them, only for the next one to bury them again.
Terrain: Sand dunes.
Obvious: Tents of d6 bedouin families. They are taking their herd of camels to a town fair. You can come with if you wish to.
Hidden: Several corpses freshly buried in shallow graves.
Terrain: Small town with a fort.
Obvious: An inn, a bazaar, baths, barracks with barely any soldiers.
Hidden: A watchtower with all entrances bricked up.
Obvious: One-armed goatherd with a massive herd of goats.
Hidden: Giant sandstone hand sticking out of the ground.
Terrain: Sandstone rocks.
Obvious: Sand people campsite with a wellspring, hidden in a rock crevasse.
Hidden: Sandstone tombs deeper in the rocks.
And here are some undead:
- Also known as the Sun vampires, elkali are solitary desert-dwelling undead who prey on caravans and oasis settlements.
- They appear as sun-dried corpses, and thus usually hide their visage behind robes, veils and headdresses.
- They feed by draining a creature of all their moisture, leaving them mummified.
- They are known to possess inhuman strength and speed, plus the ability to transform into a flying cloud of sand.
- They only stay active when the Sun is up. Even being in shadow weakens them.
- At night, they fall into a deathly torpor and cannot be roused. Thus they dig themselves deep into sand to sleep in safety until the Sun rises again.
- Unlike their local counterparts, they cannot stealthily hunt under the cover of the night, so they rely on disguises, ambushes and kidnapping their victims for later meals.
- During the night, hunters will use thin poles to discover dormant elkali. However, they also have to deal with the ghouls that come out at night to devour the corpses left behind by elkali.
28 June 2022
Upon their graduation, each member of the Mage Guild receives an implement which is used to focus and empower their spells beyond the common hedge magery. The focusing stone in this staff (it's usually a staff, though wands or rings and other jewelry are also possible) depends on the mage's chosen field of study, as certain types of stones resonate better with certain types of magic.
d20 Focusing Stones
- Glintstone: illusions
- Gemstone: emotions
- Warpstone: alteration
- Sunstone: paladin-style evil-slaying magic
- Moonstone: glamour
- Bloodstone: biomancy
- Gravestone: necromancy
- Keystone: portals
- Brimstone: fire
- Hailstone: ice and frost
- Nullstone: hex-breaking
- Lodestone: gravity
- Felstone: hexes and curses
- Voidshard: extradimensional magic
- Soulshard: spirit magic
- Dragonshard: draconic magic
- Godshard: miracles
- Dreamshard: dream manipulation
- Fossil: time manipulation
- Raw crystal: pure magic, crude but powerful
27 June 2022
Several decades ago, Black Gold Limited completed a new mining station in orbit around the black hole H-485 Phei. With heavy use of spacetime compensators and antigravity generators, the mining crew managed to breach the surface of the black hole and established a mine to extract the deposits of black hole metal ore located between the event horizon and the singularity, a scarce and precious resource.
Since then, Black Gold Limited has shown a considerable financial growth. Until three days ago, that is, when their stock dropped rapidly after some nebulous information about a disaster at the mine that might cripple their supply of black hole metal was leaked to the datasphere.
You have been hired by one of the Black Gold Limited higher-ups to discreetly investigate the "accident". All communications with the mine have indeed been lost. They suspect an industrial sabotage by Omni-Industries megacorp in preparation for a hostile takeover and wish to secure solid grounds for a legal action. They expect that you provide convincing evidence against the megacorp no matter your actual findings.
They provide you with a spacetime-reinforced ship to reach the mining station. Good luck.