Crystals are a major resource in Ermarian, particular in Avernum and the Vahnatai lands due to the lack of other natural resources. The major use of crystals is in magic and technology in part to their sheer versatility, though they are also used as decoration. Most crystal is a variety of quartz.
- 1 Crystal Formation
- 2 Crystal Mining
- 3 Processing
- 4 The Anama and Crystals
- 5 Magical Crystals
- 6 Other Uses
Crystals are formed from the slow cooling of molten rock. When the conditions are right the crystal will grow larger as the magma slowly cools. The can also form from evaporation. When raw magic is around during the formation of the crystal the crystals themselves will be imbued with magical energy, which makes them particularly valuable.
The above principles are used when growing crystals. A "seed" is used to start the growth with magical energy. The methods for doing this differs between the races. While in Avernum and the Empire artificially created crystal use is limited to great magical projects; amongst the Vahnatai crystals are grown intensively for many purposes both mundane and magical.
When a viable crystal cluster is found for mining, often an outpost or shanty town will form near the mine. Sometimes this will become a permanent settlement but often, once the area is mined out the settlement will collapse. Crystal mining involves carefully removing valuable protrusions from the larger crystal spires.
Mining involves a certain amount of danger such cave ins, brigands, monsters and in some cases the effects of raw magic.
Vahnatai Crystal Harvesting
As most of the crystal used by the Vahnatai is grown, it is harvested rather than mined, as the techniques the Vahnatai use cause the crystals to regrow. This has lead to the Vahnatai shunning the mining of natural crystal formations which became a point of contention on the Northern Frontier between the settlers and the tribe which lived there.
In mining and trade, crystals are initially categorised by their quality. Colloquially, the categories are:
The less flaws a crystal has, the better.
The crystal is then cleaned and shaped. This generally involves cutting and polishing depending on what the purpose of the crystal is. With the case of magical crystals, the enchantments and spells are bound to the crystal. Humans have borrowed many techniques used by the Vahnatai involving crystals.
The Anama and Crystals
Despite the Anama having an anti-magic stance, they will use magical crystals. The reason for this is the magic is a natural source, namely the intrinsic magic of the crystal itself. This lead to them having some skill in crystal shaping.
There are many types of magical crystal. Below is a summary of these crystals and their uses.
Assault crystals are orange crystals which are enchanted to aid in battle.
Vahnatai constructs which are the soul of a Vahnatai which has been transformed into crystal. See Crystal Souls for greater detail.
These are specially cut to focus magical energy. They are used in experiments and in crafting as the crystal evenly imbues the item with magic.
These are made from semi-precious stone such as agate and are mildly enchanted with a light spell. They are activated by rubbing.
These are blue glowing crystals which can grant knowledge and teach skills. See mind crystals.
Piercing crystals a long thin crystals which are enchanted to break magical barriers when thrown in their direction. See piercing crystals
Purging crystals are used to purge venom and sickness from a person's body.
These small red crystals can magical, indestructible shield around a being for a short time.
Specially cut smoky quartz which aids with mental focus. See smoky crystals.
Soul crystals are a vital part of Vahnatai crystal magic. A soul crystal is a small pink crystal orb which has been altered to absorb and store various life energies. This life force can then be studied or used to create perfect copies of the creature.
These crystals are enchanted with unlocking spells.
The branch of magic which involves the use of crystal is known as crystallomancy. This includes various magical machinery powered by crystal magic. More can be found on the Magic page.
Crystal is an excellent surface to use for scrying. The Vahnatai tend to use large crystals while other races favor crystal balls.
The Vahnatai use crystal in most of their technology. As the vahnatai do not have enough material for books, they store their writings on reading crystals. One of their most significant creations are the crystal cabinets (known to others as crystal coffins) which allows sick or dying Vahnatai to be put in stasis. These are also used during the resting periods.
Like other reagents, such as rubies and sapphires, crystal is used in enchanting items. Crystals are particularly used for there ability to focus and fortify minds. Wands created with crystal tend to be good at dispelling the undead while certain shields can protect from the stare of the basilisk.
Examples of items which use crystal include:
- Crystal Symbol
- Crystal-Woven Chitin
- Crystalline Aegis
- Crystalline Plate