Arcanum 1780: A New World
The stuff of all magic, ur-ice is a mana-laden form of ice originally deposited by the impact of the comet which destroyed Europe and much of the Middle East. It melts only temperatures most often seen in a furnace and has both the consistency and strength of quartz crystal.
Although microscopic dust grains were deposited all over the world by the impact, larger pieces are comparatively rare. Ur-ice is rather more valuable than raw diamond since a cut gemstone can be used as a personal “Place of Power”, providing a plus to energy gathering rolls in perpetuity; this bonus radiates away from the Ur-Ice, decreasing by one per Place of Power bonus yards. For example, a +1 Place of Power bonus on the chart below would decrease to Normal Mana after 1 yard and then be Low Mana at 2 yards and No Mana at 3 yards, while a +5 Place of Power bonus would be +4 at 5 yards or further, +3 at 10 yards, +2 at 15 yards +1 at 20 yards, Normal Mana at 25 yards, Low Mana at 30 yards, and No Mana at 35 yards or further. This rate of decrease applies equally to the positive and the negative aspects of a high mana field.
A cut crystal gem’s value is as follows:
|Ur-Ice Gem Cost|
- A properly cut gem of this size can provide a localized Low Mana environment.
† Even a properly cut gem of this size cannot provide any alteration to the local mana environment. Instead, these gems are utilized in Arcane Artifice and simple jewelry.
These figures assume that roughly half the cost of the item is the gold and worksmanship to make it safe/closeable and the other half is the cut gemstone. Raw, uncut crystals have a value one fifth of a final cut and worked gem’s listed price.
Franklin Engines are more efficient because they destroy the crystals over a period to release their magical energy in a controllable fashion. Their fuel need not necessarily be all in one crystal and it needn’t be cut. See the entry for the Franklin Engine for fuel costs.
The largest cut ur-ice gem known is of 10 carats weight, and is a Crown Treasure of the New British treasury, but gems of up to 30 carats have been rumored to be in the possession of foreign powers and larger ones are theoretically possible. Such gems are usually encased in gold, with a hinged lid which can be flipped open to allow the mage to touch it when needed and closed to prevent harmful mutagenic emanations the rest of the time. They are usually seen as rings or pendants, and often the gold is set with other precious stones.