>I always wondered if it was coincidence that "modern" orichalcum looks the same as the stuff described in classic references to Atlantis.
>Audun (la.75,2)

This magical metal, an unnatural alloy of mercury, gold, silver and copper(or, alternatively, True Air, Earth, Fire, Water and Wood), which cannot exist without magic. Chemically speaking, Orichalcum is an impossible alloy. Attempts to analyze it usually end with it dissolving into its component metals. Orichalcum usually can only be created by a magician skilled in enchanting in an Enchanting Shop, or in the Old Days, by an Elementalist using half-magic or a Weaponsmith using blood magic and combining a kernel of each of the true Elements. Also, orichalcum coins were created using blood magic by adepts who continued the tradition of the Pledge Coin.

However, there are places where it was rumored orichalcum could be mined...some say it was natural, some say it was manufactured and hidden there ages ago. Of course, then Halley's Comet came around and bunches of natural, unrefined orichalcum showed up...to promptly disapear when the comet left again. That said, here is a list of locations rumored to have orichalcum deposits.

In the last Age of Magic, orichlacum occurred naturally,but could also be created through artifice. Each process required the combination of True Elements. It is said that the Priest-Kings of Atlantis first discovered this magical metal (this is doubtful, as most modern scholars agree the myths of Atlantis were based on historical Thera, which certainly did not discover orichalcum before anyone else). Some eight centuries before the Scourge, the Theran Empire, based from the island of Thera in the Selestrean (now Mediterranean) Sea, began importing orichalcum to construct defenses for the coming Horrors. Some sixty years after they began this mass importation, the troll Skyraiders from the Crystal Peaks of Barsaive made a daring pillage of Shosaran orichalcum stores bound for Thera, igniting the Orichalcum Wars, which raged across Barsaive for the next forty years as each kingdom raided one another for orichalcum and True Elements. Many kaers kept stores of orichalcum (which were pinched by adventurers), as well as incorporated the magical metal into their defenses, usually the door of the kaer.

Aside from the many, many, many artifacts which utilized orichalcum in their construction, one of the most significant uses of the magical metal was the construction of the Monuments of Messias on Thera. These consist of three pillars, each seven stories tall, made of pure orichalcum. The sheer amount of orichalcum this represents is nearly inconceivable, centuries worth of orichalcum mining from every Theran province. The pillars were created some time before the Scourge, and supposedely are merely decorative. Given the value of orichalcum and the power of Theran magicians, most people disregard this official explanation and assume they perform some vital function, like keeping the world's mana at a certain level or preventing the nastiest Horrors from manifesting or something. Of course, both of those are things beyond the power of even Great Dragons, but how many Great Dragons had that much orichalcum to work with?

In the Sixth World, orichalcum is a magical alloy of gold, silver, copper and mercury; which could not exist without magic. The four raw component metals must be made by carefully harvested by hand from an unpolluted source. Once harvested, the metals must be refined, and then further magically purified and transformed into alchemical radicals. The enchanting ritual to then combine these metals into a few grams of orichalcum then takes a full lunar cycle (28 days) of circulation..

Natural orichalcum was first widely documented during the appearence of Halley's Comet, where nodes and veins of the magical metal spontaneously appeared in places of power. Popular theory holds that the rise in mana associated with the Comet allowed previous deposits of orichalcum to express, an idea which gained strength when the deposits dissapeared as soon as the Comet was no longer visible. (Where did the orichalcum go? Nobody knows. Or isn't telling.) Of course, there have been rumors of natural orichalcum for years, but it is now known (again) that orichalcum can occur naturally.

During 2061-2, roughly 60 metric tons of naturally-occuring orichalcum appeared, of which Wuxing mined about 12 metric tons. The exact amount of orichalcum that appeared and was mined is unknown, as is how much may show up when the comet passes by again. What is known is that all Comet-related orichalcum deposits are located near powerful manaline conjunctions, power sites, and other areas of unusual mana disturbances. Thus, those individuals with the ability to manipulate manalines (through Geomancy) had a better chance at finding the metal.

Orichalcum is a highly magical metal, very efficious in making foci (indeed, it is required in weapon foci and magical items designed to hold ound spirits), because it makes it easier to enchant items with orichalcum. Orichalcum is orange-gold in color, much like gold in texture, very pliable (it can be beaten into thin sheets or shaped into thin threads) and is fairly soft; it may be alloyed with other metals for strength (or made sturdier by enchantment). Depending on how it is made, orichlacum can either conduct magic, repel, or contain it. It is the latter property which allows orichalcum to contain True Air, Water and Fire, as well as collect those elements (indeed, True Air, Fire and Water are all captured using nets and devices made or orichalcum, and held in orichalcum containers). In the Age of Legend, orichalcum could be used as a tithe to the elemental spirits in exchange for their favor; and there were rumors of Orichalcum Spirits of awesome power...but if either Orichalcum Spirits or the orichalcum Adepts said to conjure them truly exist, is unknown.

Scientific examination is diffi cult because spectroscopic analysis breaks orichalcum down into its component mundane metals. Orichalcum possesses many of the physical properties of gold, being dense and highly malleable. It alloys easily with iron, making it preferred for weapon foci construction. Aqua regia dissolves orichalcum, but the magical metal can be reclaimed. (sm, 81-2)

In the Sixth World, the terrorist organization known as Winternight used orichalcum inscribed with Futhark runes are part of their enchantments to alter and augment the capabilities of their nuclear weapons.

Here is a brief summary of orichalcum types:

Notes on Mining Orichalcum Natural orichalcum is alternately said to occur from the natural mixing of certain other earthen materials that combine in the presence of True Earth, and from the natural combination of the five True Elements in a certain way. In any case, True Earth is always found in the same area as that rare ore. Orichalcum must usually be mined, but occaissonally nodes of it are found close enough to the surface of the land to be gathered by hand. It is generally assumed that all natural orichalcum is mined by hand, either be skilled magicians or unskilled physical labor, as mechanical strip-mining and other disruptive techniques might destroy the metal's inherent magical value.

The Wastes

The ash of the Wastes, if a great amount of it is properly distilled, contains traces of True Air, Earth, Fire, Water and Orichalcum. Roughly 10 gallons of distilled ash produces an amount of orichalcum so small that its presence can only be seen on the Astral Plane. Note that the Ash is Tainted somehow, and this may extend to the orichalcum contained within it.

Wa, Asamando, West Africa

The sasabonsam ghouls are said to be mining orichalcum nearby.

Unnamed Island, 301kms off Petrolia CFS, Pacific Ocean

Appearing when and where Dunkelzahn said it would in his Will, massive amounts of orichalcum appeared on this island during the Year of the Comet, much of which was subsequently mined by Wuxing and DeBeers before those two squatters were chased off.

Twilight Peaks, Barsaive

During the Earthdawn Era, many veins of orichalcum ran throughout these mountains, as well as veins of True Earth and living crystal. The richest veins were mined out during the Orichalcum Wars, but many still exist. The orichalcum of the Twilight Peaks has a reddish color.

Tunguska, Yakut/Awakened Siberia

Back in 1908 something laid smack down in Siberia. Be it comet, alien space ship, or Harlequin trying to whack the damn rock back into orbit, no one's sure. However, there's said to be orichalcum in them thar hills...

Transvaal Mountains, Azania, South Africa

A vein of orichalcum appeared during the Year of the Comet. Traces of orichalcum were also found in abandoned diamond mines.

Transantarctic Mountains, Antarctica

a vein of orichalcum was reported during the Year of the Comet. Antarctica is notable because not all of the orichlacum was found in the earth, but rather packed in the ice.

Throal Mountains, Barsaive

During the Earthdawn Era, rich veins of orichalcum ran throughout the Throal Mountains.

The Moon, In Orbitus Terra, Sol System

According to one rumor, when Halley's Comet went past Ares discovered and mined orichalcum on the Moon, and this "moon orichalcum" is more potent than the normal variety.

Tara zinc mine (County Meath) and Ross Island copper mine (County Kerry), Tír na nÓg

Orichalcum appeared in these two mines during the Year of the Comet.

Taklimakan Desert, Xinjiang, Asia

During the Year of the Comet, orichalcum was discovered and mined here.

Snowdonia, Wales, UK

Rhiannon Glendower supposedly mines globes of orichalcum from 5-30grams each, encased in 3-ft long crystal stalactites (in the shape of elongated pears) beneath the hills and mountains of Snowdonia...sources disagree on the exact location(s). There are thousands of the globes. Locations include Blaenau Ffestinog and Mt. Snowdon. Mining operations appeared to increase during the Year of the Comet.

Queen Maud Mountains, Antarctica

Another Year of the Comet Vein. Antarctica is notable because not all of the orichlacum was found in the earth, but rather packed in the ice.

Pilbara, Australia, ANZAC

Several veins showed up in the Outback during the Year of the Comet.

Pennines, Cornish Wild Lands, United Kingdom

Rumors place orichalcum veins in these mountains.

Northern Reaches, Blood Wood, Barsaive

During the Earthdawn Era, several small veins of orichalcum could be found in ther Northern Reaches.

Mount Hood, Tir Tairngire, North America

Supposedly, there is a mine near Government Camp on the mountain's slopes.

Mount Everest, Himalyas, Nepal

The Himalayas hosted several veins of orichalcum during the Year of the Comet, including a deposit near the summit of Mt. Everest.

Mauserberg, German Alliance, Europe

The former location of the lair Lofwyr emerged from in 2012; the Mauserberg region was subject to volcanic eruptions from the nearby Eifel Moutnains in 2042, during which the lair was destroyed. Saeder-Krupp purchased mining claims throughout the Eifel Mountains before the Year of the Comet, and began mining orichalcum in those claims in 2061.

Lasseter's Reef, west of Kata Tjuta, Australia

An alchera protected by a free spirit containing a fair amount of orichalcum.

Harz and Eifel Mountains, Thuringia, German Alliance

The dwarves from the Grand Duchy of Westrhine-Luxembourg are mining orichalcum here, as part of the Ducal Mining Consortium, which is supported in part by Rhonabwy.

Halley's Comet, Sol System, Space

Rumors hold that there's orichalcum on the comet. Slightly more believable if you believe Tunguska was a comet with orichalcum, and likewise if you believe the Comet's appearence connected with the appaerence of natural orichalcum.

Greatcrag Hills and Caralkspur Mountains, Vivane Province, Theran Empire

During the Age of Legend, the Therans found several deposits of natural orichalcum here, which they mined in secret.

El Aethor, Stormhead, Vivane Province, Theran Empire

During the Age of Legend, the Therans unknowlingly mined the decrepit ruins of the ancient magical college of El Aethor, which contained orichalcum.

Death Valley, Mojave Desert, CFS

The infamous and possibly mythical Lost Mine, supposedly containing chunks of orichalcum as big as a child's fist; and guarded by mountain spirits. Likewise, veins were reported during the Year of the Comet.

Cumberland, Kentucky, UCAS

Orichalcum discovered during the Year of the Comet beneath a mountain that had previously been strip-mined. Questions on its purity have been raised.

Crater Lake, Tir Tairngire, North America

Rumors of orichalcum found near the lake. While this may once have been true, this is unlikely in 2063 considering the mana drain at the site. Since there were also reports of building-size objects floating over the island, it's location in an extinct volcano, and as a site along the Ring of Fire, there may have been some at one time.

Caucus Mountains, Ukraine

Orichalcum discovered in a half-a-dozen Atlantean Foundation digs in the area during the Year of the Comet, the megacorporations quickly moved in to exploit other veins within the Ukraine.

Caucavic Mountains, Barsaive

Orichalcum was mined here shortly before the Scourge by the Scythans, in hopes of building kaers.

Black Volta River, Asamando, West Africa

During the Year of the Comet, orichalcum was discovered in the ghoul nation; in addition, a great deal of mining byproduct washed into the Volta turned out to be orichalcum too.

Aztlan, Mesoamerica

Rumors insist that orichalcum was discovered during the Year of the Comet at various archeological sites and around teocalli near mana lines.

Avebury, England, UK

The largest orichalcum veins in England appeared under this druidic circle encircled town on the May Ley line, during the Year of the Comet.

Andes Mountains, Peru, South America

During the Year of the Comet, orichalcum traces were sampled near the remnants of ancient Incan emerald mines in the Andes.

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