(Goblin) Boomsteel - Nether's Harvest
A raw chunk of boomsteel from an unearthed deposit. [!]
Dull and almost silent whistles passed by the defaced, old remains of what once was a bustling uruk encampment. Though one distinct difference could be said about the ruins, for even the most dimwitted observer. Goblin tinkering. Charred remnants of the darkened earth was seen littered amongst the once-inhabited land; the bitter stench of metal still filling the air, despite the many decades that had passed.
Sat atop a lonesome, decrepit workbench was a single journal. The only ‘decipherable’ piece atop its crusted cover being the thick grime of dust, mud and filth alike. While the aged lock at its side was difficult to pry open, the worn pages remained somewhat legible, with most containing drawings…
[A segment translated from basic blah]
“... We set up multiple camps around the northern tundra. The black rock [was] everywhere. It took us years before we were able to harvest and use it. We had to be careful; even small mistakes cost us. The rock would shatter, shards flying at us [with the] wrong swing. ...
Boomsteel we called it. It would [ignite and] spark, even more. Making the metal was difficult though. The heating had to be specific and gradual, or it would explode. At first, it cost us. But we made use [of it] with good crafts …”
Though throughout the period of these deposits appearing, other races found and made uses of the metal. Adopting traditions and craftsmanship from the methods of past goblin tinkering. Despite the extreme rarity in finding a smith willing to experiment with the boomsteel, some were willing. Mainly including aspiring dwarven smiths, or devout humans to the Creator firm in belief of purifying flames.
Raw Ore & Metal:
An extremely heavy ore notable by its ebony-like hue. Distinguishable from other similarly-coloured veins by the acrid, metallic and sour smell in raw form. In this state, it’s extremely unstable. An added amount of pressure, heat or friction is likely to cause the ore to combust and burst into shards. Some miners of way old had confirmed these ores to sometimes naturally destabilize; whether from shifting earth, or nearby pools of magma deep within the ground. In regions where these deposits are prime, descendants are often warned when spelunking.
The dark-hued refined metal, if done correctly (see ‘Refining & Crafting’ below), shares similar traits to its raw stage though somewhat more stabilized. Despite whatever may be done when refining, the metal still retains its sizeable weight. It’s said to be extremely ineffective for armour plating or chains; due to not only its density, but its volatile properties. Simple smiths didn’t see much use of the metal; though the more creative types experimented. A majority of these were at the hand of goblin engineering. An example of this use was utilizing the instability of the metal to allow it to combust by applying friction; creating heavy, yet semi-effective flaming weaponry. Whether that be arrowheads, or blades.
A small, drawn chunk of the raw ore.
Deposits & Harvesting:
Historic literature of the goblin engineers in past times told of this resource coming in abundance beneath cold earth. For this reason, most mining sites for the mineral were set up around vast tundras or ever-frozen riverbeds. While the ore’s presence is seemingly more sparse compared to what old writings told, it is still possible to find larger deposits.
Rich locations of these deposits exhibit a few oddities that allow miners to track the boomsteel ore. The distinguishable smell detailed above; being an acrid, sour stench when delving into caves. A pitch-black dust will also seem quite plentiful near these locations; either aboveground or within the caves. This dust, while not explosive, can make for lasting tinder. Another known oddity is the rough terrain above where deposits are likely to be located. Fractured ebony stone jutting upwards alongside littered fragments of flint. While not every location has this feature, it’s more than likely to find a deposit beneath the odd shift in terrain. Movements in the earth below cause rough friction and pressure on the ore; often causing it to rupture upwards.
Found near low temperatures. I.e: Tundras, mountain peaks, frozen riverbeds, etc.
The smell of this ore is described to be an acrid, sour stench.
A pitch-black dust can be found near deposits of the boomsteel; this dust wouldn’t be explosive, but can work as tinder.
A deformation in the terrain can indicate a rich deposit below. Fractured, darkened stones jutting upwards with nearby shards of flint.
A reference picture as to how the fractured, protruding stones may look. Credits to Whimsy for the picture.
Accurate depiction of ancient goblins venturing through the snow lands to harvest boomsteel. Credits to Jolly .. for the above picture.
Refining & Crafting:
The refining process of the goblin boomsteel is not only tedious, but at times dangerous as well. An ill-tempered ingot can be far too unstable, and often times results in a sizeable shrapnel explosion. The refining process of the metal plays a huge part in the effects behind the finished product; minute changes in the forging practice can lead to major differences. Whether that’s a more unstable product, allowing easier combustion at the cost of durability; or a stabilized version, allowing sharper and more defined equipment at the cost of reduced effects and weight differences.
The goblin boomsteel requires a much more precise process of forging. For it to be malleable, it must be heated to a high temperature like most other metals. However, this temperature must be achieved through a gradual rise in heat; rather than immediately engulfing it. This ensures the raw properties stay intact, and the metal doesn’t burst. Hot-forging, warm-forging and cold-forging are all achievable with the boomsteel. Though it does require the initial process of gradual heat for any type of those applications, and craftsmen will find that most chunks they work with the metal will require an added 50 °C to their techniques. Hot-forging being 1000 °C to 1300 °C, warm-forging at 800 °C to 1000 °C, and cold-forging can be achieved through only a minor application of heat such as a dulled flame. If this flame isn’t used, the density of the metal will allow next to no tolerances when cold-forging.
When hammering and tempering the metal, extreme care must be used. Each source of the ore tends to have minor differences. The blacksmith must ensure he’s aware of these differences, as it will make him know whether he’ll need more or less strength in hammering; or, more or less heat and cooling when tempering. Other than that, it follows the same properties of working with steel.
It’s not uncommon to find that when working with the goblin boomsteel, despite how careful the craftsman is, minor sparks can offer a sudden ‘bang!’ While the small explosion won’t cause immediate harm to the product or blacksmith, it can still add an extra worry when using this metal.
Minor changes in forgery practice can lead to major differences (Creativity is allowed to the blacksmith).
For it to achieve a malleable state, it must be heated through a gradual rise in temperature. Not doing this will most definitely lead to a volatile result.
Some chunks of the boomsteel may be different to others; and may require a variation in hammering and tempering.
Often, when working with the metal, minor bangs of sparks can occur; from the volatile energy.
An ancient Dwarven smith experimenting with the properties of boomsteel.
Creating mixed alloys from the goblin boomsteel can be a rather risky process. It’s compatible with most metals around its density. Though, when creating a mixed alloy with the boomsteel and a less dense metal, the volatile effects and instability of the alloy will increase (dependent on the density of the lighter metal, of course). Most results from this will yield an alloy capable of completely engulfing in flame; though at a severe cost of durability and wear. If the craftsman were to go too far, it’s possible the mixed alloy can simply explode if given enough pressure, or heat.
On the other end, when using a more dense metal than the goblin boomsteel, the effects become more stabilized. Still dependent on what type of denser metal is used, the mixed alloy will often spark and show embers rather than combusting like its former state. The alloy would contain the heat, rather than expel it. The usefulness of this is dependent on the craftsman; though it can range anywhere from shields with the ability to create immense heat, to cookware molded from the dense, mixed alloy.
Mixing a less dense / lighter metal with the boomsteel, will yield a more unstable alloy, with more volatile effects, less weight, but at the severe cost of durability.
Mixing a more dense / heavier metal with the boomsteel, will create a more stabilized alloy. While heavier, this will contain the heated reactions.
An average ingot of boomsteel; to display the simple coloration.
Durability & Wear:
There are three styles of refined boomsteel, when mixed into different alloys. These 'tiers', while having roughly the same theme of boomsteel properties, vary in a number of factors. These include: weight, strength, malleability, durability, density, volatility, and conductivity. However, these tiers are based on their density; ranging from a low density boomsteel product, to a medium, and finally to a high density boomsteel product.
High Density Tier (Heavy)
The dense variant of refined boomsteel. The most noticeable trait of this type is its weight. Most built Humans or Elves would struggle in wielding a longsword from this tier; it is possible, though the wielder's swiftness would be obviously hindered. It would be ineffective for bucklers or any sort of light-armoured armaments. Although, while the weight is a huge factor, it is the toughest of the three tiers. It has a high durability range, with a lot of strength behind it; it wouldn't wear so easily. While this variant would have low malleability (quite difficult to forge with), it also has the highest conductivity of the three; being able to contain a large amount of energy while expelling it gradually. Although, contrary to the other two tiers, the high density type has the most stable, and lowest volatility. It can't combust, or generate enough heat to expel flames. At best, it's able to contain large amounts of heat, which is discharged over a slow period; causing the surface temperature to rise dependent on how much heat is contained (can be boiling hot, warm, or even just lukewarm). Although, it's still capable of creating sparks & small embers.
Heaviest of the three tiers (most Humans and Elves would struggle in wielding a blade made from this type).
Toughest and most durable boomsteel product; it would take a lot for it to wear.
Low malleability, and high conductivity; it will contain energy and expel it gradually.
Most stable boomsteel alloy; low volatility. Can't combust, or create flames.
Can contain large amounts of heat, which is discharged gradually (similar to conductivity).
Can still create sparks and small embers from enough energy; friction, pressure, heat, etc.
Medium Density Tier (Stable)
The basic tier of refined boomsteel, or mixed alloys with roughly the same density. While most races (excluding halflings and anything around that size; racist I know) would be able to wield an average piece produced at this density, it is still rather heavy and can be hindering. Its toughness and durability aren't too bad; though it would wear much easier than the high density variant. At this tier, think of the durability a bit less than a steel alloy. The malleability behind this density would be a bit more difficult than your average steel, having a medium-low malleability. Although, in comparison to its higher density cousin, the conductivity in this tier can be unpredictable. It's incapable of taking in large amounts of electricity, as it expels this energy in the form of heat. Though it isn't as conductive as the other. It is capable of taking in large amounts of heat however; though the more energy that's poured into the metal, the more volatile the effects become. This tier is capable of producing flames as a way of expelling exponential heat; or even producing sudden flashes of sparks if the metal receives an enormous amount of energy at once. Though, this volatility can wear the metal easily. An average product of refined boomsteel alloy (at this density), would only be able to produce flames eight (8) times before it would require repairing. Sparks and small embers (excluding the flash of sparks) don't count towards the wearing.
Most races would be able to wield an average medium-tier density product, though it would still be rather heavy and hindering.
The durability can be compared to a bit less than a steel alloy. While the malleability would be a bit more difficult than a steel alloy.
Unpredictable conductivity. Not as conductive as higher densities, and incapable of taking in large amounts of electricity, as it expels it in the form of heat.
Can take in large amounts of heat; though the more heat / energy, the more volatile it will become.
Capable of producing flames (or sudden flashes of sparks), but is only limited to eight (8) of these effects; before repairing is required.
Low Density Tier (Volatile)
The most unpredictable and volatile of the three tiers. This variant of boomsteel is quite light in comparison to its others; it could be similar to a somewhat heavier titanium in regards to weight. It's durability and strength aren't too impressive however; being the most brittle of the three types of boomsteel. It would be quite ineffective for armaments, as it can likely shatter with enough force from a blunt object. The malleability is the easiest of the tiers. While it still may be somewhat difficult for forging with, it can be shaped into almost anything with enough patience. Despite its light density, it has low conductivity. It can't contain much electricity, or even heat; and a large amount of it would only result in the metal expelling it all at once, creating a concussive shrapnel blast. Its volatile effects can be extremely unpredictable. When the concussive shrapnel blast occurs, it'll have the chance to be coupled with discharged flames (Toss in a 50/50 roll for it). Though generally these 'explosions' are concentrated, rather than widespread; and more metal won't result in a larger blast, while having too small will result in no effect at all. Obviously, if a blast does occur, the metal will be irreparable; the shrapnel from it wouldn't have much use other than primitive arrowheads. It is capable of producing flames in manageable amounts, though due to how brittle this variant is, this can only occur three (3) times.
Light in weight. Think a somewhat heavier titanium.
Low durability and strength; the most brittle of the three types of boomsteel. Can shatter with enough force from a blunt object.
Medium-high malleability; still difficult to forge with, though can be shaped into almost anything with enough patience.
Low conductivity, and can't contain much energy or heat.
Can create a concussive shrapnel blast, which has a (50/50) chance of being coupled with discharged flames.
These 'explosions' are concentrated, not widespread (2 meters at best). More metal won't result in a larger blast; though too small won't have an effect.
Can produce flames in manageable amounts; though the brittleness only allows this to occur three (3) times.
An accurate example of Medium-Tier boomsteel, and the effects of applied friction. --
When mining the ore through roleplay, care must be acknowledged. Without following this, it’s more than likely miners would be injured due to the shattering and combusting bursts of shards. (See ‘Raw Ore & Metal’).
The density and weight of the metal must be roleplayed correctly (See 'Durability & Wear'). It is heavy; even for a well-built, trained human. (I’d also like to avoid numbers, so think a thicker variant of steel).
When refining the metal, creativity is left to the blacksmith. However, the instability & heating process must be followed. (See ‘Refining & Crafting’). Besides, it adds more to the roleplay rather than /whack ingot.
The flame & heat produced by the metal (when given manual energy; i.e: friction, pressure, etc) is completely natural; meaning, it is able to be utilised by a shaman, able to be extinguished by anything capable, and can set fire to other flammable objects.
Properties of the goblin boomsteel must be roleplayed correctly, dependent on the 'type' of product. (See 'Durability & Wear').
Conductivity can play as a weakness to medium-tier & low-tier boomsteel densities, and must be roleplayed correctly. (See 'Durability & Wear').
Goblin Origin & Implementation:
I feel the goblin playerbase, or culture & race in general doesn’t receive enough light. In the past, I’ve had a goblin myself and tried to expand upon that roleplay. Though I couldn’t maintain a steady schedule with it, and eventually had to drop it. I feel the concept of LotC’s goblins has an incredible amount of potential. And that’s why I wish to expand upon the history of the race, add a more exciting and rich element to it that may encourage more players to give it a shot.
If this is accepted, it’ll be implemented through the use of events; assisted by the Event Team. This will allow a more dynamic approach to experience a potentially enjoyable story while adding more to smithing and crafting roleplay. With the added benefit of possible loot!
I plan to submit upon more goblin-orientated pieces throughout the year, and I hope it’ll be enjoyable for roleplay. Though just because these feature goblin origins, doesn’t mean it’s just for them! This lore, and all future pieces will be available to all races; it’s just how you approach it. To add on to that, I also plan on submitting more metallurgy lore centered around smithing roleplay; I feel there aren’t enough customized ore & metals to play around with currently. I hope it’s something people will look forward to!
-- FAQ Q: 'Can't these be used for bombs?' - BNK A: Both yes and no; it would be a shrapnel bomb if anything. In its refined state, you could combine it with a lighter metal to create an extremely unstable, mixed alloy. Alternatively, you can use the raw form with its unstable properties. Though these would require a manual trigger to actually charge. Whether that be a fire evocationist, or having to go up close to add friction or heat. In most cases, you'd be injured or killed in the process. Though, the roleplay is open to be dynamic. There could be ways to make safe shrapnel bombs out of it. However, these 'bombs' wouldn't be capable of blowing down stone walls or anything like that. They aren't concussive. Rather, it'd be a burst of heated shards; definitely lethal if you're shoving it against your face.
Q: 'Can it be used to make guns?' - Gladuos A: no. Q: 'Can the metal combust permanently?' - Drfate A: Unfortunately, nope! It's not an infinite mana source. However, it may make for a good power source when used in conjunction with thanhium. The heat contained & expelled in the metal is natural combustion. Meaning, the flames exhibited can be extinguished! Though this process drains the durability and wear of the metal. The more volatile it is, the less it'll last. While the more stable alloys can hold a larger durability range. And, to actually 'charge' in the first place would require manual effort. To maintain this heat (unless the metal has combusted, in which case it'll act as a normal flame), this manual effort would need to be maintained also. Somewhat like rubbing your hands together to generate friction heat. Q: 'Certain number of uses?' - Drfate A: I tend to dislike numbers, though I think it might be best to add specifics behind the combustion & explosive properties. I'll outline it under Red Lines & an extra sub-section dubbed 'Durability & Wear' when I wake up. Then, I'll update this section of the FAQ!
Q: 'What was meant in the 'Small changes in the forging process can lead to major differences' section?' - Rammer A: The forging process when working with this metal is extremely dangerous. The metal itself is unpredictable. An idea would be to have the successful smiths publish details on the practice perhaps! However, a lot of the roleplay is left to the player; some of the details are listed in the 'Alloys' section, though the rest is left semi vague. To give a couple examples to what was meant, if the smith were to increase the forging heat in a non-linear manner (something sporadic), then it's highly likely the end result would be either shrapnel going everywhere, or an extremely brittle alloy; which would be ineffective for weaponry. Another example would be if the smith repeated the forging stages a few times over, or mixed the alloy with a more dense material, then the volatile effects of the metal would be incredibly reduced. And the weight increased. Though in exchange, it would allow for a more predictable and stabilised product.
-- Change Log
(All in spoilers)
-- Think about it, flaming shields & bolts- swords and the best of all being cooking pots. ohboy.
Also, sorry for the really bad formatting. I don't know what looks good. Have this song as compensation, I listened to this while writing. It's good.