In Allornus, as every alchemist knows, there are five types of base Metal that naturally occur in the bosom of the earth. From these many different alloys are created for the making of tools. Copper, tin, iron, gold and silver, and lead are the five families of metal, with bronze and steel being alloys made from the combination of more than one of these naturally occurring metals.

When the world was young, first copper, and then bronze was worked by the races of Allornus. Then iron was discovered, and most recently steel. But iron (and thus steel) are rare, and isolated to small regions, and iron has unusual properties, so bronze has remained in more common use. The price of iron makes it inaccessible to most, though copper and bronze goods are inexpensive and common, though iron ore is more than well enough trafficked that goods of steel and iron are available in all but the smallest village, everywhere in the world. For a price.

Bronze and Brass

Bronze, a reddish-hued alloy of tin and copper, remains the most common, affordable, and easily worked metal in Allornus. Near every town has a redsmith, while only the most opulent or populous would boat a blacksmith. Bronze is easy to work, but also hard, and takes a good edge, making it ideal for shovels, forks, horseshoes, ploughs, and inexpensive weaponry.

Brass, meanwhile, is bronze with an excess amount of copper, and is more yellow in colour. Used more commonly for decoration, brass is also light, resistant to corrosion, and polishes extremely smooth, making it useful for complex mechanisms such as locks and crossbow winches, and things that need to resist weather such as door handles, knockers, and bells.

Both metals are made liquid in blast furnaces, and then cast in clay moulds to create an object, though to some extent they can be worked while still hot, or sharpened after they have cooled.


Copper is the more common of the metals that constitutes bronze and brass. Rather than being an alloy, copper is mined in massive pits. Where shallow copper is present, or evident in exposed rock and soil, exploratory shafts are usually dug, then then when the pit discovers copper it is expanded into a massive depression, where earth is moved away to expose seams of copper, which are then extracted and smelted, and distributed in rods of varying weight.

Copper can be found throughout central Allornus, and copper mines are especially common in lowland coastal areas, but southern Haedrasia and the Southlands are particularly rich in copper deposits. Most believe that copper is one of the simple elements of the world, and that like dust or air, it is neither governed, nor owned by any spirit. However large mines cause massive destruction, and so most cultures are careful to appease any spirits this may anger, for fear of cave-ins, and other such retributions. Many Mhulak deepings were located near large copper deposits.

Copper is frequently used to clad ships, for decorative items, or occasionally for roofing. Thanks to being largely unaffected by water, it is frequently used to make ship's bells, and inexpensive door handles and window fittings. Barrel rings, and buckets are also frequently made of copper in copper-rich societies, where cast bronze would be a foolish waste.


Tin is less common than copper, but still in abundant supply. Tin deposits are usually smaller and deeper than copper deposits, and so tin mines are entirely subterranean in most cultures, with exploratory shafts dug down into land where tin deposits are suspected then tunnels dug from this shaft into each seam found during descent. Often several such shafts will be dug, and linked, giving these mines multiple entrance points, and occasionally such entrances can be dug into hill or cliff sides rather than flat land.

Found mostly in rough, mountainous regions, tin is found in large volumes in the foothills of the Shoulders of the World and the Ahlonian Roughlands, as well as scattered amongst the Sirolas Mountains and central Arumthar. Because it involves venturing beneath the earth - something landsmen have never been happy to do - goblyns exploit these mines in the east, and in northern Iria, but the Haedrasians use their subject peoples as miners, making theirs easily the most prolific tin mines in the world. Much of the trade through the Ironheads, and with the Irian nations to the south is in tin, which is usually smelted into rods in the same weights as copper.

Tin is used for eating and drinking utensils, plates, lanterns, winches on ships, and a number of other simple tools, though a good whitesmith is not nearly so important as a good redsmith in most lands. Pewter is tin debased by lead. It usually found is shallower, and has a lower melting point, making it particularly easy to work and cast, presenting a cheap alternative to tin often traded with outsiders, thus in Ralstaa, the Ghan duchies, and Ahlonia tin is reserved for alloying, while pewter is used to craft many kinds of vessel and utensil.


Iron is uncommon in Allornus, though many scholars speculate that all of reality contains trace amounts of iron. For iron, as well as being fine for forging tools, able to take an edge, be worked in a forge, and having great strength, is also the most real thing in the world. Iron defies the twisting powers of the shadow world, and the machinations of magic and the cruel perversions of those broken parts of the world. Iron endures. But it is especially vulnerable to the natural forces of the world, rusting in water or damp air, and turning dull and tarnished quickly.

Found deeper than tin or copper, all iron mines are sunk deep into the earth, but the presence of iron is more apparent thanks to the rust-coloured hue it bleeds into soil and standing water where it is present. Iron mines can be extensive, and many of the finest have proved inexhaustible since their discovery. Iron is extracted, and then usually smelted into large ingots.

The Ironheads take their name from their richness in Iron, and have almost exclusive deposits of it, though many believe the frozen Nachrekts are even more rich in this valuable ore. Haedrasians and Ghans both use indentured labour, the Ghans using their Vargör slaves, and the Haedrasians using Ghan subject people as miners. The Maldraks once sunk large mines in Arkenrecht when their territories extended there, but now they are left to the meagre deposits found in the north-west of the Black Ice Bay.


Steel remains rare and special in Allornus, not because it is a new discovery, so much as because of the restrictive cost and difficulty of its manufacture. The secrets of making steel are well kept by those that know them, but they alloy iron, tin, and trace of other metals in various recipes, with each smelter claiming to have the best. As a metal, steel combines the best elements of iron and bronze, being as hard as iron, able to be wrought or cast, able to take and keep a better edge than any other metal known, and being far more resistant to the elements. Great, complex furnaces are required to produce steel, and the expense prohibits it being commonly made, or widely available. But in Haedrasia, and the Southlands, where all of the world's steel is made, caravans leave bound for the rest of the entire civilized world, and come back laden with exotic riches.

Goblyn Steel

The Goblyns of Allornus have long been masters of the minerals of the earth, delving deeper and with more gusto, and in the right places. Goblyn steel is the apex of their achievements. While it might be the Bärchak who can claim to be Allornus' greatest workers of metal, the finest metal to be had, for its strength, lightness, and ability to take an edge, is undoubtedly goblyn-made steel. The secret of this green-white, matte steel is guarded violently by the Vashrite goblyns of the Inner Sea region, though they gladly trade ingots of the precious stuff, which is said to be more valuable than gold in the lands far to the west. Goblyn smelters are a much respected tradition - almost the alchemists of their race - and each experiments incessantly to produce the finest example of steel that there is. Some say the green is the secret, suggesting copper is the alloy, while others say it is a mere eccentricity that marks the metal as the greenskins' own.

Gold and Silver

The precious metals of Allornus, gold and silver are very important. They form the basis of monetized economies, and keep their value even in barter societies. Their beauty and rarity are such that near every major culture of the world places great value upon them. Indeed, it is said that the metals have a covetous effect on the minds of mortals, driving them to do things they otherwise would not. Gold and silver are both soft, easy to work, and have a low melting point, but both are resistant to corrosion. Because of this they are a poor choice for tools, but due to their decorative properties, they are often used to plate pewter, bronze, or copper objects such as candle holders, goblets, utensils and even daggers, as well as being used to make cheaper, plated jewellery.

Gold and silver are often gathered rather than mined, where they are carried in streams and rivers from underground springs. Indeed these metals seem drawn to bodies of water, with sea-gold being found in coastal regions, washed ashore by particularly high tides or savage storms, to be gathered by the denizens of coastal settlements. This is partially because evidence of a deposit is almost absent above ground. Where mines do exploit gold and silver deposits, it is usually because miners extracting copper, tin, or iron stumble upon seams of precious metal, and begin to exploit them.

Silver is common to the southern Ghanish duchies, though deposits seem to be scattered at random elsewhere, while gold - aside from preferring coastal regions - seems to come and go capriciously from place to place, and even mines will exhaust suddenly and without warning for decades or centuries, only to yield a new seam unexpectedly. When gold is found most cultures feel certain spirits must be appeased by a priest, lest the gold-madness take a man as punishment for his theft of the earth's riches.


Quicksilver is a kind of silver found in volcanic regions, where it appears as a liquid during periods of activity and dries as a thin coating on the rocks. It is bright silver, and usually found and traded in hardened puddles forming mirror-finished nuggets. Quicksilver has many unusual properties, including its low melting point, and alchemists value it highly for its ability to react to many energies in the world that men cannot naturally detect, but it seems to defy value, and few collect it. None dare delve the fire-haunted lands that spawn it to mine quicksilver. It is a substance that has a habit of escaping, jars of it often break, or are found inexplicably empty if left for too long.

Fool's Gold

Fool's gold is often mistaken for gold, causing great excitement because it is often found in generous quantities by miners sinking exploratory shafts searching for copper deposits. The excitement is akin to gold-madness, but fool's gold itself has no value, and has none of the colour or lustre of true gold. In truth fool's gold is naturally occurring inferior brass, indicating the presence of both copper and tin deposits nearby - a rich enough find itself! But those who overlook such a find, in favour of this ruse are fools indeed. Many take the presence of fool's gold to be a sign of a trickster spirit, decoying its true wealth, but most cultures take such discoveries at face value. A good miner will instantly recognize the difference, and seek out the more valuable deposits that the fool's gold heralds. Less scrupulous men, however, will often pass off coins and jewellery of fool's gold to gullible customers.


Lead is a moderately common, dull grey metal, that is exceptionally soft, though not so prone to melting as quicksilver. Easy to work and easy to smelt, it is often used for guttering and pipes for conveying water, occasionally waterproof roofing, and to hold glazed panels together, as well as to produce inexpensive cast metal items, such as the holy and protective symbols commoners wear in the eastern lands, as well as for buckles and buttons on the clothing of city-dwellers. Ships make especially good use of lead, frequently cladding parts of the hull that scrape up against docks in lead, and even crafting heavy cleats from it.

Usually mined in pits, or from horizontal shafts into hills or cliffsides, lead deposits tend to be smell, but less demand means they often outlast tin or iron deposits of a similar size.