Red Mercury: Urban Legend
“Safi al-Safi, an unaffiliated rebel and small-time smuggler specializing in weapons, antiquities and forged documents, sat in an open-air cafe beside the Syrian-Turkish border. He was smoking scented tobacco from a water pipe while discussing the cross-border mercury trade. ‘‘Red mercury has a red color, and there is mercury that has the color of dark blood,’’ he said. ‘‘And there is green mercury, which is used for sexual enhancement, and silver mercury is used for medical purposes. The most expensive type is called Blood of the Slaves, which is the darkest type. Magicians use it to summon jinni.’’
Another smuggler, Faysal, who said he was awaiting results of vetting by the United States government to join a Pentagon-backed force opposing the Islamic State (the program has since been dropped), continued the lesson. ‘‘It has two different types: hot and cold,’’ he said. The cold form, which other smugglers sometimes call ‘‘spiritual mercury,’’ he said, ‘‘can be found in Roman graveyards.’’ He added: ‘‘Kings and princes and sultans used to take it to the graves with them.’’
This type of red mercury, the smugglers said, has been recovered by Middle Eastern grave robbers for at least several decades. ‘‘In previous generations, old women wore it in a necklace to keep the devil’s eye away,’’ Faysal said. More recently, rich men shopped for cold red mercury as either an aphrodisiac or to improve their sexual performance.”
–The Doomsday Scam by C. J. CHIVERS (New York Times Magazine 11/19/15)
“Red mercury is a hoax substance of uncertain composition purportedly used in the creation of nuclear bombs, as well as a variety of unrelated weapons systems. It is purported to be mercuric iodide, a poisonous, odorless, tasteless, water-insoluble scarlet-red powder that becomes yellow when heated above 126 °C, due to a thermo chromatic change in crystalline structure. However, samples of “red mercury” obtained from arrested would-be terrorists invariably consisted of nothing more than various red dyes or powders of little value, which some suspect was being sold as part of a campaign intended to flush out potential nuclear smugglers. The hoax was first reported in 1979 and was commonly discussed in the media in the 1990s. Prices as high as $1,800,000 per kilogram were reported…”
Red Mercury Magical Items in Dungeon World
Vial of Red Mercury: 5,000 coins (often illegal) (Defy Danger or 2d8d if drunk)
Vial of Green Mercury: 1,000 coins (Defy Danger or 2d6d if drunk)
Vial of Spiritual Red Mercury: 500 coins (Defy Danger or 2d6d if drunk)
Long term exposure to any for form or material amount of mercury is toxic.
Green Mercury Charisma Potion
Raises the Player’s Charisma to 18 until camp is next made.
Spiritual or Roman Red Mercury Graveyard Phial
A specially prepares small phial buried next to a corpse will prevent it from becoming an undead creature. The substance is poisonous if drunk (Defy Danger +CON and vomit or 2d6d)
Red Mercury Protective Amulet
Adds a +1 to all Defy Danger rolls.
Red Mercury Compass
This item will always point in the direct of the largest amount of gold nearby (GM discretion).
Red Mercury Summoning Incense 1 use (Wizard only)
Use of this item will summon a Jinni that will serve the wizard until it is slain or dismissed.
When the ritual is complete roll+WIS:
On a 10+ the Jinni serves faithfully
On a 7-9 the Jinni serves unhappily and will seek to subvert the commands of the wizard.
On a 6 or less the Jinni attacks.
Red Mercury Jinni
( Group, Large, Magical, Planar) Flame (d8+1 damage, ignores armor)
“Stop rubbing that lamp, apprentice! I do not care what you believe; it will not grant you a wish. I brought you here to show you something real, something true. See this mural? It shows the ancient city. The true city that came before. They called it Ubar or Irem of the Pillars and it was made of brass by the spirits. They had golem servants and human lovers and, in that day, it was said you could trade them a life for a favor… your life my faithful, young and very foolish, apprentice.”
Instinct: To burn!
As always: feedback appreciated!