exotic materials

Scientists discover origins of ancient Hopewell culture's meteorite jewellery

The native Hopewell culture, which thrived along rivers and streams in North America from 200BC to 500AD, is today survived by a number of beautiful artefacts made from exotic materials – including copper and silver.

But perhaps the most exotic Hopewell artefacts are those made from iron extracted from meteorites. It is not known how these artefacts were viewed among the Hopewell, but what is certain is that they were extremely scarce due to the fact that meteoritic iron is so rare.

In 1945, researchers discovered 22 beads made of meteoritic iron, hidden in a burial mound at the Havana site in Illinois. A number of studies over the following decades attempted to describe these mysterious beads, analyse their chemical composition and understand their significance for the Hopewell people. Read more.

How to perform your first spell

  • Spend weeks looking online and in books for a spell that could work for what you want and that you can actually get the ingredients for. Each time you find one that you like, but can’t possibly begin to even think about getting exotic materials for, you wonder if you’re really cut out for this (you are).
  • Read over the one you found a dozen times a day, Googling terms you don’t understand and only getting a vague explanation of on some sparkly New Age website that hasn’t been in use for years. Wonder again if you can really do this (you can). 
  • Print out the spell when no one else is around, carefully holding it so that the text doesn’t show and rushing back to your room. Read over it again and again until the corners are bent and there are wrinkles where your fingers have been. Worry about not being able to memorize it. 
  • In the middle of the night when no one is awake and you’re shaking because this is it wave your hand in a circle because you always see spells call for circles. Then you speak the words in something that is half whisper and half breath, so quiet no one could possibly hear it, but you still worry. 
  • Finish the spell and find yourself caught between the thoughts of “Did I do it right?” and “Finally.” 
  • Rinse and repeat for the next dozen.
Roleplay Ramblings: Strange Materials part 3

Exotic Materials

So with the core set and mundane primitive materials out of the way, we can get to what new fare pathfinder offers us in its setting-neutral materials. These vary from exotic minerals, strange organic products, and the results of unique creation processes.

For example, some evil craftsfolk fashion leather armor from tanned angelskin, which provides a screen between the wearer and various goodly effects.

Another is blood crystal, a strange quartz that eagerly, possibly actively absorbs blood, making it useful for weapons as it compounds the harm of various bleed effects.

Compounding on the uses of darkwood, darkleaf cloth, which is made from weaving darkwood tree leaves and bark strips into a flexible material, which serves well for lighter armors while maintaining the impressively light weight associated with the tree.

Some even experiment with the hide of electric eels to make a naturally insulating armor that is also quite flexible.

For something a little more exotic, there is elysian bronze, forged from metals found in the upper planes and sometimes gifted to great mortal heroes, elysian bronze empowers the wielder against magical beasts and monstrous humanoids, proving all the more deadly against them in weapon form, and more resilient agains them in armor form.

Fire-Forged and Frost-Forged Steel are actually the same substance, but careful manipulation of this alloy changes the direction its unique properties flow, granting protection against fire or frost in armor form, and being able to absorb heat, or become extremely cold when exposed to said energies in weapon form, adding a little bit of mundane elemental power to their strikes for a short while.

Those with wooden weaponry who wish to avoid having to make repairs sometimes seek out greenwood, a rare substance made from taking living branches from a tree animated by a treant, and enchanted by the words of a dryad. If all goes well, the result is a wooden weapon that is truly alive, able to heal damage with water, sunlight, and fertile soil. However, such weapons and items cannot be bought, only made and given freely.

Though called Griffon Manes, light armor made this way can be made from the fur of any magical leonine beast. The breezy material actually makes aerial maneuvers easier, and enhances the power of any magical flight the wearer possesses.

Thematically similar to greenwood, living steel forms in knodules of certain hard-bodied trees, absorbed from minerals in the soil. Harvested and forged properly, these lumps of metal retain certain plant-like qualities, and heal themselves when their current form is damaged. Furthermore, armor made from living steel is especially resilient to the touch of most other metals, denting and blunting metal weapons.

Another green material, viridium, is much less benign, for the hard volcanic glass exudes some strange, poisonous property that can make flesh rot on those who are struck by a weapon carved from it, and slivers can even break off and cause lasting damage. However, carrying such a weapon risks exposure to the same foul energies (read: radiation).

Some cultures, namely the vanara, make weapons with hafts made from woven wooden fibers rather than a single straight piece of would, making them much more flexible and whippy, hence the name: whipwood. This flexibility comes in handy for avoiding having the weapon broken.

Finally, wyroot, a curious woody root, has the ability to absorb energies from those struck by such weapons, particularly on critical hits. From there, magi or monks can absorb this energy, converting it to arcane energy or ki respectively.

And that’s just the setting-neutral stuff. Tomorrow, we’ll be tackling some of the substances found specifically in the Golarion setting!


Greek Gold ‘Pontic Aristocratic’ Diadem, Late 4th-Late 3rd Century BC

A gold diadem consisting of a twisted rope border with a series of heart shaped scrolls with applied acanthus leaves and flowers with gold wire detail and tear drop shaped settings with blue enamel, flowers recessed for red enamel inlay; central wire motif in the form of a Hercules knot with applied flowers and acanthus leaves with tear drop shaped setting with blue enamel; in the center an amethyst cameo with the bust of a woman wearing a diadem and robes held at the shoulder by a brooch; one small flower element present but detached.

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Medieval Feasting

Meals and Courses

The first meal of the day was breakfast, which took place whenever you woke up. Breakfast wasn’t a formal meal and mostly consisted of people eating a few bites before heading out to the fields. Normal breakfast foods were leftovers, sop (bread dipped in milk, ale, wine, or water), and fish (in England).

The first official meal of the day was dinner, which took place from 10 am-12 pm. The second meal of the day was supper, which took place in the evening (Singman and McLean 163). The evening meal was lighter and the time for relaxation; actors, bards, and poets were invited to perform (Bishop 135). Practice varied on which meal was larger. Some laborers had a midday snack of bread and ale and called in noon-shenche or nuncheon, which ultimately gave way to luncheon and lunch. The very rich ate a meal after supper called rear-supper, or, in modern parlance, late night fridge raid.

Ordinary people ate all their food at once. If you were rich, you could afford to have it served in courses. The more courses you had, the wealthier you were. Joffrey’s all-day, seventy-seven course wedding feast in A Storm of Swords is improbable, as most dinners or suppers had four to six courses, not including dishes between courses, which were called entrements or subtleties and more designed for the eye than the mouth (more on them later) (Singman and McLean 163). Most dinners also only lasted about two hours (Mortimer 181). Unlike today, courses went from heaviest to lightest. The first course was the main dish (usually a red meat of some kind) and the dishes following were salads, finger food, or pastries. Sometimes you were only served the main course and the later courses were only for rich or distinguished guests (Singman and McLean 163-4). In 1363, Edward III decreed lords could only have five courses per meal, gentlemen could have three, and grooms could have two (Mortimer 180).

Table Settings & Dining Hall

Most dining halls were actually multipurpose rooms used for all main activities, such as holding court, dancing, etc. Dining tables were long boards set on trestles that could be removed at a moment’s notice (S & M 166). In wealthier households, nobles had contraptions that would raise the tables from a lower level or lower them from a higher level when they were needed (Lacroix 176).

The table was first covered with a tablecloth, then with towels or napkins. In poorer houses they were made of hemp or canvas. Yeomen, merchants, skilled workers, and franklins were likely to use white linen. The richest used silk. People sat on wood stools which sometimes had cushions on them.

The place settings were not elaborate: a napkin, a trencher, a bowl, a cup, and a spoon. Rich houses could afford silver and glass place settings. The poor used wood and ceramics. Pewter served as a middle ground. There were no knives at the place setting because most people had their own eating knife that they brought with them (S & M 166). Knives were single-edged, pointed (they had to spear as well as cut), and smaller than its lethal counterpart the dagger.

Spoons were provided by most households. They were made of wood (boxwood, juniper, popular), bone, horn, pewter, latten (copper and zinc alloy), silver, or gold. They were usually 6-7 in. long. Travelers used a folding spoon, which was hinged in the middle to save space. Forks would not become vogue until the 1600s (S & M 167). During the fourteenth century, the Avignon pope had a few forks made of gold and crystal (Bishop 134).

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ask-theguardiansquad  asked:

what if we like used the traveller as a food source because all our other sources are.. well on fire i hear it tastes pretty good

No no no no no no.

You steer clear the Traveller.
Besides, I’m fairly certain that it’s super structure utilises several exotic materials in its form. Not to mention the whole non-euclidean geometry thing.

But really… don’t.

anonymous asked:

Hi I'm new here and I'm kinda confused as to how ragnarok and Savior work as semblances

Ah, I will, at some point, post a long, convoluted answer that delves into the specifics of what Semblances actually are in Final Rose and how they operate. However, I can give you a shorter reply that should help straighten things out.

Saviour is a Semblance that consumes the soul of its user instead of Aura. Because the soul is the source of Aura, consuming the soul generates an absolutely tremendous amount of energy in comparison to using Aura. This energy is used to fuel a variety of different abilities:

  • The ability to generate and manipulate exotic materials and energy from an alternate dimension to form armour, weaponry, and other objects  and attacks (e.g., the crystalline armour and weaponry used at the second level of Saviour).
  • Vastly increased physical and perceptual ability (e.g., even the first level of Saviour increases Lightning’s strength far beyond what mere Aura enhancement would ever be capable of).
  • The ability to comprehend the flow of battle to a level that is virtually indistinguishable from precognition on a combat, tactical, and strategic level (i.e., using Saviour makes someone fight as though they can see the future).

If Saviour was to be summarised in a single word, that word would be sacrosanct. Those using it are raised to a level so far above their opponents that they are considered untouchable and inviolate, their victory all but predestined, combat reduced to nothing more than a mere formality.

Saviour’s name was chosen by its creators, the civilisation of Cocoon from before the First Calamity (what was thought to be the first major occurrence of the Grimm almost annihilating civilisation on Remnant). It was their ultimate weapon, their sword and shield in the war against the World Below (essentially everyone else who wasn’t from Cocoon). Its abilities were created through genetic engineering and selective breeding (plus other, even more unsavoury methods) to produce a unified Semblance whose powers were orders of magnitude greater than the sum of its parts. 

The Semblances that Serah and Lumina have are considered shards of Saviour (i.e., time manipulation and Aura construct creation are both abilities similar to those wielded by Saviour).

The key weakness of Saviour is the rate at which it consumes its user’s soul. Although the soul can regenerate and heal, it does so at a far slower rate than Aura. Thus users of Saviour cannot use it too frequently, lest their soul be consumed, which will either kill them outright or give them a slow, lingering death as a soulless, essentially brain-dead shell of themselves. Worse, the rate at which Saviour consumes the soul increases with each level of Saviour. Saviour also affects its user’s mental state. People using Saviour feel less and less emotion and emotional attachment to others as they draw on Saviour. Everything and everyone around them simply become a problem to be solved through the correct application of deadly force.

For instance, Lightning can use the first level of Saviour relatively freely. The second level can be used after careful consideration (e.g., during a weekly sparring session). The third level should not be used outside of an emergency or essential practice and never for prolonged periods.

Ragnarok was developed by the World Below during the war against Cocoon to be their ultimate weapon. Apart from physically transforming the user, it turns them into a walking Aura reactor that generates an insanely huge amount of Aura at an absolutely incredible rate. The longer Ragnarok remains active and the further the transformation progresses, the more exaggerated this becomes. Ragnarok is renowned for several abilities:

  • Unbelievably physical and perceptual enhancement. As strong as Saviour is, in terms of pure physical strength, Ragnarok exceeds it. Small arms fire is completely ineffective against Ragnarok, and even artillery will not do anything more than tickle (that’s if they even notice it)
  • Unmatched endurance and healing/regeneration. After transforming, Ragnarok grants its user what is effectively infinite endurance. Furthermore, they will heal from almost any wound with incredible speed. For instance, if someone using Ragnarok were somehow to lose an arm despite their enhanced durability, they would barely even notice the loss of their limb due to how quickly it would regenerate.
  • The ability to generate destructive energy. The energy that Ragnarok can draw on to form projectile attacks, spectral claws and limbs, a shroud, and other effects is extremely detrimental to anything it comes into contact with. Merely coming into contact with it can kill someone without a sufficiently strong Aura, and its presence alone inspires fear and terror.

If Ragnarok can be summed up in one word it is relentless. Someone using Ragnarok will never stop fighting, never stop advancing, never stop trying to kill their opponent. They will ignore/heal from virtually anything you hit them with, and even a glancing blow can cause immense destruction.

The downside to Ragnarok is that the body can only take so much strain. Even with its enhanced regeneration, there comes a point where the energy that Ragnarok generates is too much for its user to handle, resulting in them being destroyed by their own power. Ragnarok also affects its user’s mental state, and they must constantly be on guard to avoid succumbing to rage and other destructive impulses.

The Skull of the Smoking Mirror

This mosaic is believed to represent the god Tezcatlipoca, or ‘Smoking Mirror.’ One of four powerful creator deities, who were amongst the most important gods in the Mexica (Aztec) pantheon, Smoking Mirror images can be recognized by the distinctive black stripes across his face. The base for the mosaic is a human skull. Long deerskin straps would have allowed the skull to be worn as part of priestly regalia, and deerskin strips connected the jaw while allowing it to open and close. The turquoise, lignite, pyrite and shell were all procured from the farthest reaches of the Mexica empire or through trade with far-flung peoples. The effort made in assembling this diverse selection of exotic materials emphasizes the divine ‘other-worldly’ nature both of the mosaic and whoever possessed it.


Designer Spotlight: Carlo Bugatti 2

Part 1: http://thechryselephantineswan.tumblr.com/post/125055143371/designer-spotlight-carlo-bugatti-1-snail-chair

1. Room in the Turin exhibition

2. Fire screen

3. Throne chair

4. Settee

5. Mirror

6. Chair and desk

7. Mirror

8. Tea set and stand

9. Teapot

10. Lute 

Carlo Bugatti’s work represents one of Art Nouveau’s most eccentric variations. Highly innovative in almost every respect, Bugatti’s work made use of unusual materials, primarily exotic woods, vellum, parchment, and nacre, to create very unique, unmistakable work that seem at times more meant to be appreciated as sculpture than actually used. Apart from making chairs, cabinets, desks, and tables, he also produced a limited amount of silver, textile, and ceramic work, as well as musical instruments, screens, mirrors, and wall decors for his most fully-designed interiors. His work falls in primarily two unique phases and styles: the first occuring from the late 1880s until around 1900, and the other from 1900 until he stopped producing furniture in 1918. The two styles have many similarities, but are also highly distinctive.

The first phase of his design is dominated by a certain interest in exoticism. His works of this time draw heavily from Moresque, Arabic, and Japanese design, which he synthesized in a very modern version of Orientalism. His design of this period is dominated by strongly geometric furniture covered with decoration evoking Japanese screens, Islamic geometric patterns, and text resembling kanji and kufic script. Ogee arches, spires, columns, jagged edges, and tassels are common decorations of his furniture at this time. Dark wood predominate and define the strongly sculptural forms, while painted vellum or mother-of-pearl inlays provide most of the decoration. His furniture of this time is also defined by a predilection for asymmetry, though this is not always the case.

The second phase of his work is defined by his four interiors done for the Turin exhibition. Here his work becomes even more sculptural and geometric, but rather than favoring the rectangle, his work becomes more and more curved. Vellum becomes the main material, with whole pieces in furniture completely covered with it. The exotic imagery become less pronounced and are replaced by highly geometric insect and bird motifs. It is perhaps these works that are the most obviously Art Nouveau of his work, with the surplus of curves and insect motifs. However, they maintain a highly unique character, their subdued, pastel decoration and large expanses of off-white color having a very modern feel that predicts the predominantly single color furniture of the International Style. 

Bugatti’s style was always unique even from other Italian designers, who tended generally either to imitate the floral style of French Art Nouveau designers, follow in Renaissance and Islamic Revival styles, or design works that looked forward to the heavily angular machine aesthetic of the Futurists. Bugatti seems to draw a little bit from all three traditions, but his work also seems to draw a bit from a love of primitive culture. His use of vellum, covered with pale decoration and cryptic pseudo-script, seem to remind one of old manuscripts and lost civilizations. His style is thus one highly suitable for the end of a century and beginning of a new one. It both looks back to the styles before it while feeling very strongly like the first breath of an entirely new one.


Maker: Master of the Furies (Austrian)

Date: 17th century

Culture: Austrian, Salzburg

As protector of potential plague victims and soldiers, Saint Sebastian (died ca. 288) was popular with the faithful. The emphasis is on the saint’s God-given beauty and the exotic material to realize it. The Pretorian is shown shot through with the arrows of his martyrdom. Tears trickle from his eyes as he appears to breathe a last sigh of exhaustion, provoking compassion. A putto is about to crown the martyr with a winner’s laurel wreath, thus vanquishing his physical suffering. The distinctive style of the so-called Master of the Furies is supremely present and similarly found in the master’s name-piece, a Fury statuette in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.