Spiritum is an ore unique to the Underworld, and while little known in the worlds of the living, it is highly sought after, though hard to find outside of Kheol. It is naturally pale grey in color, and glows with a faint white light. It is found in thin veins near the surface, sometimes winding through the cliffs and outcroppings which appear throughout the Underworld like lonely tombstone.
Spiritum can be worked like iron and has several unique, magical properties. Chief among those are its ability to affect incorporeal undead, which is of significant value to any who choose, or are forced, to face such creatures in combat. It can also be used to make various arcane and divine implements, and grants those implements some additional abilities, especially as they pertain to the undead.
The seemingly antagonistic relationship that spiritum has with undead has plagued scholars forever. The current consensus is that spiritum is the condensed souls of the dead, such as shades, which have withered away and all but dissipated. This is unproven, but if true, it does provide answers to some questions about the mineral.
Crafting weapons and armor partly or entirely out of spiritum grants them unique abilities much valued by those who tangle with the undead, and which vary depending on whether the item made purely from spiritum, which is quite expensive, or if it made of a spiritum and iron alloy. Whether pure or alloy, all spiritum weapons can deal damage to incorporeal undead, and all armor provides it’s armor points against attacks made by incorporeal undead. The cost of a spiritum alloyed weapon or set of armor is one and a half times the normal cost of the item. In the case of gambeson or leather armor it is assumed to have metal reinforcements.
Pure spiritum weapons grant a +1 bonus to the attribute being tested on attacks, and armor grants a +1 bonus on the attribute tested for defense. These bonuses only apply to incorporeal undead. The cost of a pure spiritum weapon or piece of armor is twice the normal cost.
Ranged weapons cannot be made of spiritum, but their ammunition can be, with the costs being modified as above.
Holy Symbol Cost: 50
A cleric using a holy symbol made of spiritum treats undead as having 1 less HD for the purposes of banishment.
Spiritum Compass Cost: 50
The needle of this compass always points toward Kheol while in the Underworld, or toward the nearest entrance to the Underworld while in a world of the living.
Spiritum Ink Cost: 15
Ink made from finely ground spiritum can be used to write out one spell in a spellbook. If a character memorizes or casts a spell from a book which has been written in this ink, they treat that spell as being one level lower when testing to see if they lose the spell slot used to cast it.
Trace Spiritum. For one hour, you can detect the general location of all raw spiritum ore within 100 feet. Conjurer 3.
Artwork: “Shop in Paris,” by Euène Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc, from Dictionnaire raisonné de l’architecture française du XIe au XVIe siècle, vol. 2 , by Eugène Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc, 1875