Saturday, April 5, 2008

The Metal Ages

Bronze sword

The historical development of Labash and the surrounding region is tied to the use and trade of metals. Just as Iron Crown thrives primarily as a source of trade in precious metals, the major historical developments in this new world are tied to metals.

We begin with the Bronze Age. Bronze weapons and tools are made primarily from copper, with tin or other minor alloys added or occurring naturally. The Badari empire grew to power during this period, their armies of supernatural beings unopposed. The weapons of the time were made from copper, mined profitably from the lands of Labash.

The Iron Age emerged with the help of the dragons, who passed on the secrets of iron to the dragonborn so they could strike at the devils summoned by the tieflings of Badar. These creatures were only harmed by enchanted or cold iron weapons. These weapons were comprised of new metals, iron and tin, both of which were abundant in Tash. Local power shifted once again, from the south (Badar) to the north (Tash). Labash suffered during this time, but eventually they discovered a solution.

The Iron Age II period occurred with the widespread use of iron weapons, thanks to Labashi trade in iron ore from the lands west of Badar. The Labashi grew wealthy from this trade and eventually the Tashtak relented and traded their own weapons throughout the region, weapons of much higher quality. At the end of this period, the Labashi civil war occurred and regional trade was severely disrupted.

The Mithral Age is what some call this narrow period that succeeded the Labashi civil war and the destruction of region trade. A vibrant land trade in precious metals developed, but this time in exotic metals crafted by dwarves and elves. Mithral and adamantine had existed long before this period, but with tin supplies dwindling, these metals became more widespread.

The Age of Steel followed the Mithral Age. It's the time we are in now, with Labash recovering from its warfare and trade restored. The Tashtak no longer control the local supply of tin, but they control something much more important: the secret to steel. Dammeshek, the capitol of Tash, holds this arcane secret. Dammeshek Steel is now widely coveted everywhere, and part of the Labash recovery is in the trade of these finished weapons (but not their method of creation). Many Dammeshek Steel weapons are double edged, with a slightly darker edge of cold iron juxtaposed against the shiny razor sharp steel edge. This is so that the wielder can take advantage of the steel edge most of the time while having a means to vanquish devils if necessary. Dammeshek Steel is still very rare, much like mithral and adamantine. The steel is highly prized for use in creating magical weapons and armor (considered Masterwork).

What will happen next? The spread of steel will likely occur next, provided others can make reasonable copies of the Dammeshek technique. On the battlefield, one is likely to find a mishmash of weaponry, with spearmen with bronze tips and iron short swords while heroes may use ancient adamantine blades or state of the art Dammeshek Steel.

Dammeshek Steel

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