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Super Metals, Elements, and Materials

Hi guys (and Bulgarex :p )!

Both the Champions Universe and its subsidiary Champions Online employ a variety of fictional super metals, elements, and materials. Most of these items only have a brief explanation of their origins and physical properties. I am pretty curious about the history and appearance of these substances and have contemplated creation a number of characters incorporating them in some capacity. Without further ado...!

Let's start with neutronium! From what I have gathered, it is suggested to be from dead neutron stars and is considered "ultra heavy". Just how heavy is it? What does it look like? How long have we known about it?

What can be said about kendrium? Bread-Tan describes it as such: "An alloy of Titanium steel, with a number of chemicals and stuff made by Prof. Darryl Kendrick. It's stronger than steel without being too heavy. A more affordable supermetal if you will." So it is, indeed, an alloy? Is it just "shiny gray" like regular steel? How comparable is its weight with steel, exactly?

Next up are destreum, orichalum, and questionite. The first is Dr. Destroyer's de-facto personally crafted metal, destreum. It is said to be used in the construction (and armoring) of his various robots and suits of armor.... and that's about it! So I gotta' ask: is it purple? It is said to be lightweight and robust... just how much? Orichalum actually has a very concise physical description! Yay! It is said to be "redish-orange" or also "brownish orange" in color. It is also said to "hold magical properties very efficiently/well" and primarily finds uses in Atlantis. In fact, evidently it can only be found there. How heavy and robust is it? Just how much of the stuff does Atlantis possess/have access to? Are they sitting on top of an enormous mine of it? Lastly, let's address questionite! Is it, indeed, blue? It is said to be extremely lightweight yet durable. Also it apparently originates from space -- asteroids and meteors, I assume? How much is on Earth and how "available" is it? Would it be more practical as an armor material or as a blade material, due to its ability to keep a sharp edge nearly indefinitely?

I'm also curious about other things such as "super plastics/polymers" and various chemicals, like draysha and cyberline. What similar analogs are there in the canon?

Thanks for reading all this garbled stuff and thank you for whatever information you may offer! :)


  • bulgarexbulgarex Posts: 1,831 Arc User
    edited March 25
    The majority of the "uncanny metals" and other materials with extraordinary properties on Champions Earth are meteoric in origin; the rest are synthesized by various super-scientists, but a few are created through magic.

    Questionite was originally supposed to be rare (before Champions Online showered more of it over the Earth ;) ), meteorite-deposited, much stronger than steel but much lighter, and taking an extraordinarily keen edge able to cut through nearly anything. Both the Champions books and Champions Online describe it as silvery-blue in color. Many blade-using supers employ questionite, and Mechanon typically makes his bodies out of the stuff. Kendrium is a steel alloy developed by Prof. Daryl Kendrick, as strong as questionite and not much heavier than other grades of steel. It's purported to mix titanium steel with "certain chemicals and other substances" (Champions Universe p. 59), but Kendrick keeps the formula a secret. It's not as widely referred to in the books as questionite, but the hull of UNTIL's super submarine, the Aegir, is made from it (UNTIL: Defenders Of Freedom p. 128). I'm not aware of a description of kendrium's appearance. Neutronium is stronger than either of the above, but much denser, to the point where a knife made from it would require a strong man to even lift. "Neutronium" in real-world science is a theoretical material found in the core of dead stars, made up entirely of neutrons. As CU scientists have pointed out, the metal called neutronium is far too light to be the same. Also not described in the books, but where Champions Online has it for crafting it appears purple.

    Dr. Destroyer developed a superstrong metal he calls destreum, which only he knows how to make. His armor and most of his technology is fashioned from it, but again, no typical appearance mentioned. DD also invented an "organo-plastic," biosynth, which he uses to create human-looking androids. Biosynth looks and feels like living flesh, and can be crafted to simulate finger prints, retina patterns, even DNA.

    The mysterious, green-glowing extraterrestrial mineral called kelvarite is a powerful source of energy, but extremely unstable and prone to explosion when disturbed. Some people who have been bombarded by radiation or fragments from exploding kelvarite have gained super powers, typically (but not exclusively) superhuman strength and durability, and some type of enhanced movement capability, e.g. super-running or -leaping, flight, or teleportation. They also acquire a susceptibility to radiation from other samples of kelvarite. What no one is aware of is that what they call kelvarite is actually impure samples, which is why it's unstable. Pure kelvarite doesn't resemble the impure mineral, and is extremely rare on Earth. The only two known samples were described as glowing scarlet or purple, respectively, and made into rings worn by the four superheroes who have used the identity, Meteor Man. Its energies respond to the will of intelligent beings in physical contact with it, allowing them to wield formidable energy-projection powers. (It's not obvious the energy comes from the kelvarite)

    Radiation from the rare element called radium X can be used as a high-energy power source for various devices. It also has mutagenic properties in certain circumstances; for example, it's a key element of Dr. Phillippe Moreau's process for creating Manimals. There are a few other mutagens and power-enhancing processes in the lore, a couple of which are particularly notable. Cyberline, used by PRIMUS in the creation of its superhuman Silver Avengers (of whom Mayte Sanchez is only one), is believed by the public to be a drug, but is actually a type of gene therapy. It only works on a fraction of the human population, and requires repeated doses to maintain its effects. The Psi Serum, invented by Dr. Sebastian Poe the founder of PSI, amplifies even the smallest amount of genetic potential a person may have for psionic powers, sometimes to significant superhuman levels. It has no effect on people without such potential. PSI guards its formula closely.

    X-9 is a very efficient but unstable rocket fuel developed by Hua Shoi-Ming of China. Exposure to it made him the super-speedster called the Red Bullet, a member of China's official superhero team, the Tiger Squad. X-9 may possibly be related to X-53, another experimental fuel possessed by a French corporation, which turned mercenary thief Hans Zeldte into the fire-powered Feurmacher, now a member of Eurostar. These fuels are both canon from the tabletop game, although X-9 is also a crafting item in CO.

    Turning to magical materials, orichalcum is a metal which has only ever been found in the vicinity of Atlantis (and is probably also originally extra-terrestrial). It's copper-colored, naturally malleable, retains enchantments extremely well, and is a power source to "fuel" magic spells. Steel alloyed with it is extraordinarily strong, although the orichalcum loses much of its magical properties in the process. The Lemurians have four materials which are the basis of their techno-sorcery: ignaetium, discovered near their city, a magic-generating fuel, which is the creative source for the others; crystallos, an incredibly hard crystal (Lemuria's domes are made from it); fulminor, a smokelike substance which levitates their airships; and corusqua, a liquid which can store a lot of energy.

    During past eras of high ambient magic on Champions Earth, meteoric iron (called star-iron) possessed mystical qualities, and was used to make potent weapons and artifacts. Since ambient magic is relatively high in today's CU that probably applies again.

    The Philosopher's Stone has the power to transmute matter in any way its wielder desires. It's actually the fuel core from the Lemurian weapon, the Mandagalore, fragments of which were scattered over the Earth when the weapon exploded. It's unclear what's needed to employ its powers -- the only official users are Zorran, a sorcerous adept, and Alchemica, a mutant whose minor matter-transmuting powers are enhanced by it (both written up in Champions Villains Volume Three).

    Several other substances were added by Cryptic devs to Champions Online for crafting purposes, their descriptions referring to established elements from the setting. Among the items which have appeared only in CO, fordite is a powerful concentrated explosive, created by Fordham Chemtech (a company from the PnP part of the setting). Fordham is also responsible for Regor plastic, a near-impenetrable synthetic fiber. Mechalene is an extremely durable plastic invented by Mechanon. Dragonite is a flexible alloy which can withstand extreme temperatures, of unspecified origin.

    Post edited by bulgarex on
  • bulgarexbulgarex Posts: 1,831 Arc User
    edited March 25
    EDIT: I forgot about your question re "draysha." It's one of Cryptic's permutations of the lore I find most annoying. :s A draysha is the name of a breed of Egyptian cobra. The name was adopted for a particular type of VIPER agent, one who underwent gene splicing with snake genes. A Draysha agent appears to be a normal human until they ingest king cobra venom, which sparks a temporary physical transformation. They become stronger, faster, and tougher, their skin grows scales, and they gain venomous fangs. (All written up in VIPER: Coils Of The Serpent.) The "draysha gas" used in VIPER's facility on Monster Island has almost no similarity to this except the name.

    Feel free to ask more about any of the above that interest you. ;)
    Post edited by bulgarex on
  • bulgarexbulgarex Posts: 1,831 Arc User
    edited April 3
    I did some more research on Destreum, from Book Of The Destroyer, the detailed source on all things Zerstoiten (although several details of Destroyer's history this millennium were changed by Cryptic to allow for their Shadow Destroyer).

    Invented in 1988, Destreum is "a metal with approximately the weight of aluminum but a hardness and durability ten times that of osmium steel. Destreum also reacts positively with force-fields, allowing Destroyer to craft immensely strong powered armors, robotic frames, and vehicle hulls. He's also developed Destreum-fiber (a superplastic strengthened with strands of Destreum) and transparent Destreum (a slightly less tough Detreum-based acrylic that's as clear as glass.)" (BOTD p. 118)

    In response to your request for details about orichalcum, there were several large deposits of the metal scattered over the original island of Atlan'elos (of which Atlantis was the capital city). A few productive mines for various metals, including orichalcum (which is described as the rarest of them) are located several miles beyond the modern undersea city-state of Atlantis. Orichalcum dust is a key component of an alchemical compound called Keto's Flame which burns under water. (Hidden Lands describes modern Atlantis, while The Atlantean Age covers everything to do with the antediluvian Atlantean Empire.)
    Post edited by bulgarex on
  • jonsillsjonsills Posts: 6,295 Arc User
    And yes, it's quite clear that what Champs Earth calls "neutronium" is not the substance known to (theoretical, but strongly based) physics.

    Normal stars have a delicate balancing act going on in their interiors - the outward pressure caused by the fusion reaction is countered by the inward pressure of gravity. The core of a typical star is sufficiently collapsed by gravity to form what's called "degenerate matter"; atoms are crushed together until the electron "shells" break, leaving atomic nuclei essentially floating in a sort of electron "sea". When the fuel for fusion is exhausted, the gravitic pull becomes the dominant force, crushing the core together even more tightly until heavier elements begin to fuse and counterbalance gravity once again. This can lead to a sort of rebound effect, where the outer layers of the star are blown off when the new fusion begins. And so the cycle continues, until there isn't enough mass left to force further fusion - in a trillion years or so, most of the stars you see today will be chunks of elemental iron floating in space.

    However, stellar modeling tells us that when the post-supernova remnant of a star exceeds Chandrasekhar's Limit, about 1.4 times the mass of the Sun, it won't stop collapsing when its hydrogen is gone. Instead, it will collapse further, until even the nuclei are obliterated and the protons and electrons are forced together into more neutrons. This is neutronium, the densest matter possible in this universe, and the core of a neutron star (under an outer layer of degenerate matter). The gravitic shear on a neutron star is intense - I recommend Robert L. Forward's novel Dragon's Egg for a description of conditions (and the sort of life that could potentially evolve there).

    (There's a further stage as well, of course - if that remnant is of great enough mass, currently theorized to be somewhere between two and three times the mass of the Sun, even neutronium won't stop the collapse. Instead, it will form a stellar black hole, a place where the mass is so great and the gravitic shear so intense that the escape velocity from its surface exceeds the speed of light. At its core is a mathematical abstraction called a "singularity", where all physics breaks down; fortunately, the universe at large is protected by what physicists whimsically call the Law of Cosmic Censorship, which states that all naked singularities must be decently clothed by an event horizon, the point around the singularity where escape velocity is greater than light and therefore we can never see beyond. Which is well and good, until you look into Hawking's work on evaporating singularities...)

    The point is, neutronium is far too dense to exist on Earth's surface - it would instantly collapse anything nearby into a new layer of its shiny surface, as it began to slowly fall toward the planetary core. This would be... not good. (One of Larry Niven's stories about Louis Wu involved an ancient alien superweapon that consisted of a small neutronium sphere that could be "thrown" by electromagnetic fields into enemy spacecraft, collapsing them down a bit at a time. Fortunately, Louis saw the weapon before it could hit, because the hull of his General Products ship was a single artificially-generated molecule and the weapon could have caused it to cease to exist. The trinoc ship he ran across hadn't been so lucky...) You certainly wouldn't be able to pick up a neutronium pebble and carry it around - Superman couldn't do that. Instead, the stuff in-game must be a superdense (but not nearly that dense) metal that someone called "neutronium", probably for marketing purposes.
    "Science teaches us to expect -- demand -- more than just eerie mysteries. What use is a puzzle that can't be solved? Patience is fine, but I'm not going to stop asking the universe to make sense!"

    - David Brin, "Those Eyes"
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  • bulgarexbulgarex Posts: 1,831 Arc User
    edited March 25
    As Champions Universe p. 59 expresses it, "Those who possess neutronium claim it comes from dead stars, though scientists have pointed out it’s not nearly dense enough." Like Jon points out, that's something of an understatement. :o

    I haven't found any official CU character explicitly stated to use neutronium weapons or equipment. The only implicit user I know of could be the Warmonger, a "Galaxar" (cosmically-powerful humanoid) written up in Champions Beyond. The Warmonger wields an enormous axe called Starsplitter, "With a blade said to be made from the core of a dead star" (CU p. 45). The Warmonger's write-up suggests treating Starsplitter as weighing ten tons for game purposes, which sounds about right for CU neutronium. Since Warmonger has STR 120 (one of the highest scores for any published Champions character) even without augmenting it with his cosmic power, that weight would be no burden.

    However, I "unofficially" brought the classic Champs villain Professor Muerte back from the dead, his official state in the present-day Champions Universe, in an article I wrote for issue #44 of Digital Hero, Hero Games's electronic magazine. I gave him an updated write-up and character sheet (for Fifth Edition Hero System), and made the right hand of his powered armor a morningstar mace, a ball of neutronium studded with questionite spikes. That seemed like a practical combination. ;)

  • speanozspeanoz Posts: 149 Arc User
    Thank you guys so much! I've got a literal plethora of information to work with now! =)
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