Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Malachite Throne

Recently my friend took his family on vacation and he brought me back a curio that is quite fitting given our long history playing Greyhawk. The pic on the left is a piece of Malachite, an opaque, green banded copper-based mineral found pretty much all over the world. The stone is quite interesting to me as a D&D player on many levels. What Greyhawk fan has never heard of the infamous Malachite Throne where the Overking of the Great Kingdom rules with an iron fist?

"Known also as the Fiend-Seeing Throne, it was well named for it could open a portal to the very Hells themselves. Those who sat upon it were invulnerable to harm and gifted with true sight. However, use of such powers often came at the cost of the wielder’s sanity, as the ruinous reigns of the four overkings that sat upon it after Ivid I so clearly demonstrated. The tale of the Malachite Throne’s origins is widely discussed among the learned.
Led by fiendish allies, Ivid discovered a place of surpassing evil known as the Cauldron of Night. In its midst there stood a huge block of green malachite. Over the next three years, a coven of mage-artificers and priests of Hextor worked on the block, shaping it into a mighty throne and drawing upon the malign eldritch energies of the Cauldron to imbue it with its terrible powers.
Their work completed, Ivid’s servants bore the new-made artifact out of the Cauldron to begin its long procession to Rauxes. It is said that its first port of call was the ancient metropolis of Rel Astra, where the sight of it before the walls with Ivid seated upon it was enough to secure the city’ surrender and the defection of the House of Garesteth."

-Paul Looby, The Cauldron of Night

It's a damn shame the heraldic colors of the Great Kingdom is Blue & Gold because Green and Gold would've made the Malachite Throne more fitting. Gygax knew a lot of esoteric information and used it liberally when he designed D&D and the World of  Greyhawk. Gemstones is one of those things he seemed to place extra emphasis on.

For example, the Guide to the World of Greyhawk breaks down each country's predominance of gem resources from base value I (10 g.p.) to IV (1000 g.p.). Plus he even depicts a rune/glyph for precious gems. Furthermore, Gary's 1st Edition DMG has exhaustive lists of gemstones including their description. As such, malachite is merely an ornamental stone (base value 10 g.p.), opaque and striated light and dark green. Gygax isn't done however, he takes it a step further in the next list showing the "reputed magical properties" of gems. According to this, malachite evidently offers protection from falling!

That's good to know, especially if one is perched on the edge of the Malachite Throne.


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