Saturday, 16 May 2015

Black Metal Dwarfs


 I love these questions: "Where can I find a magic sword?"

When I start hearing that sort of thing from my players I know they are becoming self motivated, they're interested in exploring the imaginary world around them beyond what the GM has served up as this week's game. This when things get interesting for me. Really interesting. I mean that in the sense that I have to improvise wildly, often in a state of barely concealed panic, as I try to stay one step ahead of the PCs and have it all hang together seamlessly like it was some sort of pre planned branch line of the railroad. Ha, I jest, there are no railroads in my games. There is that panic, however. There is wild improvisation and that is the fun, for me, of the GM's role. At least when it all works out ok. Ha.

At the risk of preaching at length to the converted I shall return to the matter at hand..

"Magic swords are rare, extremely rare. It is rumoured that only a blade forged of black metal can hold an enchantment long enough to be truly considered a magic sword." Insider knowledge, this player has only recently started reading Elric and I expected the bite.

"Where do I find black metal?" Result.

"Norway?" Totally wasted attempt at humour, largely to create thinking time.

Like these guys but shorter. And less weird. No, more weird,

It turns out that black metal resides only in the deepest strata of the earth. It is born of falling stars, in ages long forgotten, before the knowledge of man. It is an alien thing, accursed, foul beyond imagination, and bleeds raw Chaos. The ore is death to those who would disturb it from its rest, yet it holds a bizarre fascination for those who hold the lore to work it. A secret cabal of dwarf crafters, drawn by the lure of its chaotic power and dark reputation, forgo the tenets of ordinary life. Embracing Chaos and their own mortality, they paint their skin white and blacken their eyes in the image of the dead. For the black metal can only be worked with hammers of bone, fresh from the sacrifice, and tempered with the blood of the smith....

Before it was cool.