Legally I have to play this song before we proceed:
Gold is what drives our murder-hobos and assorted wizardly miscreants down into the terrifying halls of forbidden tombs and lost cities of ruined civilizations; gold to spend on booze and manor houses and great towers and armies of foot soldiers, gold to magically transmute into experience levels. Gold is good! Gold coins, gold cups, gold idols. Gold as far as the eye can see, the cause of and solution to all of life’s problems so long as your life is cheap and you’re willing to risk it in Atlantean prisons and the goblin-packed mines of Moria.
Because gold is so prominent in Dungeons & Dragons, I figured it’d be cool to have a different sort of gold, in the same vein as I encourage people to make use of bonkers fantasy materials like red iron and blue iron from Talislanta. A gold unsuitable for money; perhaps even too uncommon for most civilizations to even know about. A gold that could offer a sort of Heavy Metal the Movie explanation for why Duergar are such dicks. And thus we come to Deep Gold.
Deep Gold is found right where the deep tunnels of the world pierce the veil into the dark reaches of hell. Or, at least, that’s the story you were told by the shady merchant with the cart pulled by a donkey that won’t stop glaring at you. Whatever the truth is, you know a few things just by looking at the serrated war-axe decorated with intricate knotwork designs:
- The axe is extremely threatening. I mean, any axe is threatening if you use it right, but damn.
- The axe seems to be faintly glowing? No. What’s the opposite of glowing? It’s doing that.
- The axe is alluring. It feels like the way food tastes when you’re drunk. It doesn’t even bug you that it keeps suggesting that you behead the vendor.
He may be asking a few handfuls of electrum too much for this supposedly-dwarven axe “reclaimed from a sunken galleon at the mouth of the Underriver” but given how you feel invincible while you hold it, you’d have to be a fool not to pay him whatever he asks. Of course, you could listen to the voice that says to swing it like a maniac and split the salesman’s wig, just this once…
Deep Gold is from somewhere farther down in the stone and soil than even the dwarves usually dig. It runs in paper-thin veins between the rocks, where it calls out to the weakest of their number in the hissing of steam and the creaking of timber supports. Those rare few – whose spirits are wan like their smiles, whose lust for riches and power outweighs their love of family and labor, those least among the dwarves – can hear the song of those gaunt leaves of ore down in the most dangerous fissures of the world. And if their greed overcomes their rightful fear of the darkest seams of earth, they seek it, and separate it from the stone, and hold it in their hands. And this is the first step of a ruinous path down which the cities of the dwarves fall silent.
The cruel cousins of dwarves, the duergar, whose labyrinthine fortresses repel the inimical forces of the underworld, traffic in Deep Gold. They do not have so much to fear as the dwarves do; they have nowhere to fall through obeisance to the cancerous influence of the metal’s silent exhortations to mayhem. Perhaps it was the Deep Gold to begin with which separated them from their cousins, that drove wedges between cohorts until the two were unrecognizable to each other. Or perhaps they were not corrupted by the Deep Gold at all; perhaps the duergar simply do not suffer any undue influence from it at all. Whatever the truth is, one thing is certain: they can peel the ore from the jagged granite and smelt it into ingots stacked a hundred feet high – and they do – and be no worse for the wear.
If you want to have your players encounter weapons made of Deep Gold, please make note of the following or ignore it entirely I am not your dad:
➕ Weapons made of Deep Gold are able to strike magical and incorporeal creatures as if they were magical weapons.
➕ Weapons made of Deep Gold do not degrade in condition, cannot be broken through pedestrian means (Ogre smash? No. Open pool of magma? Absolutely).
➖ Weapons made of Deep Gold are pernicious, pestiferous things, which corrupt their bearers. Feel free to start poking holes in their Lawful alignment whenever it makes you feel good.
➖ Weapons made of Deep Gold cannot be enchanted.
Okay, that about does it for Deep Gold. For now, I guess, anyway? Hopefully you wind up dumping a mysterious golden spatha into your party’s lap and then pass threatening notes to the poor 4th level fighter carrying it until she removes six inches of the nearest hireling’s height. If you do, let me know how it goes!