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Orichalcum is a legendary precious metal that was mentioned by Plato as used in Atlantis. Orichalcum appears in many other places in classical Greek and Roman writings (for example, the Homeric Hymns assign gold and orichalcum ornaments to Aphrodite) but it's the Atlantis reference that it's remembered for.

It has since been commonly used in fantasy literature and games as a type of Unobtainium. The term is Greek for "golden stone" and originally meant "mountain copper" or "mountain metal", though nobody is sure exactly what it was supposed to be. Possibilities range from an alloy of normal metals to a completely fantastic material, though the most common perception is that it is brass.note  Supported by, among other things, the discovery of a 6th century BC Greek ship carrying ingots of brass.


Due to pronunciation changes, this word sometimes gets reborrowed as "orihalcon", particularly with works of Japanese origin. If you're curious why, in Ancient Greek the word was pronounced something like "ore-eh-kal-kos", which is reasonaly similar to how it's pronounced in modern English, but in modern day Greece it's pronounced more like "oriy-khal-kos", with the "kh" in the middle being a cross between a K sound and a H sound. If you speak Scottish or German, it's the "ch" sound in loch or acht. Japanese borrowed the word based on this modern Greek pronunciation, but it further became muddled into オリハルコン orihalkon, which unfortunately is different enough translators often fail to recognize it as orichalcum. (If Japanese borrowed the word based on English instead, it'd probably be spelled オリカルカム orikalkam.)


Compare Mithril, Adamantium, Hihi'irokane and Thunderbolt Iron. Subtrope of Fantasy Metals and/or Green Rocks.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Slayers, as "Orihalcon". It has turned up in both the anime and manga, misspelled the same....
    • In this series, orihalcum's schtick is magic resistance. The metal can block any spells.
  • In Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water Nadia's pendant is eventually revealed to be made of orichalcum (and associated with Atlantis).
  • Used in Yu-Gi-Oh! in association with Atlantis, as "the Orichalcos". It was a mysterious glowing, torquoise, rock-like substance that fell from the sky 10,000 years ago and the ancient Atlanteans used it to create a Magitek Utopia, but it was also The Corruption and turned nearly everyone into monsters and The Good King, Dartz, into an Immortal Brainwashed and Crazy Evil Sorcerer and Omnicidal Maniac, and pressed him into unleashing an Eldritch Abomination called the Leviathan (in the dub) to destroy the world and create Paradise from the ruins. It is ultimately the reason Atlantis sunk beneath the waves.
    • The members of DOMA all had rings with bits of Orichalcum in them and used the Spell Card "Seal of Orichalcos", which lets you have double the maximum number of monsters on the field, grants each of them 500 ATK... and creates an unbreakable forcefield aound the duelists based on the Seal, and if you lose a duel inside the Seal, your soul gets eaten by the Leviathan. Dartz himself has two more versions of the card that grant additional effects, as well as an entire deck of Monster Cards and Trap Cards themed on the Orichalcos. The only way to break the Seal is is to use a piece of Orichalcum, hence the rings they use, although it seems like they can only be broken from the outside so they are only good for ending someone else's Duel.
    • Well, hitting it really hard with a Millennium Item works too...for a given definition of "works".
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX has an unrelated character, Jim Crocodile Cook, with an "Eye of Orichalcum" embedded in his face.
  • Transformers Armada has the Mini-Cons from a sunken city called the Orichalcum (translated as "Olihalicons").
  • In Saint Seiya, Poseidon's Mariners wear orichalcum armor, while Athena's Saints wear armor made of an alloy including the metal.
  • The orihalcon dagger of Natsuki in Hyper Police (translated as "oriharucon").
  • In Black Cat the Chronos Guardians use weapons made of orichalcum.
  • "Orihalcon" is sought by the Atlanteans in The White Whale Of Mu.
  • The weapons and body armor used by Yu Ominae, the US Army's Machineer's Platoon and the Trident Corporation in Spriggan are made of "orihalcon" or "omihalcon".
  • In the second season of The Mysterious Cities of Gold, it is revealed that all of the Mu artifacts we've seen (including the city) aren't actually made of gold, but Orichalcum. This does solve the problem of why an advanced race would make an aircraft out of an extremely heavy and brittle metal with a low melting point.
  • In Orichalcum Reycal, orichalcum is a type of clay that can be used to create orichalcums - sentient dolls with supernatural powers linked to their master's will. The protagonist's orichalcum, Reycal, is initially weak due to being sculpted from a 40-60 mix of orichalcum with mundane clay.

  • Orichalcum is retrieved from Atlantis in the opening scene of Iron Man Noir, in which it's a MacGuffin power source.
  • In one run Mickey Mouse comics, in which Mickey and Goofy worked with an archeologist (not Goofy's cousin) to rediscover Atlantis. Orichalcum there was a nigh-indestructible conductor metal. It's only indestructible as long as it's conducting. If not, it's very brittle.

    Fan Works 
  • In Tales from the Dark Side of the Mirror, Orichalcum is mentioned and used by Mirror Twilight in her Mana Collector due to its durability and magic resistance. As a result, she has a major Oh, Crap! when it shatters due to overload, since the amount of magic required to do that is tremendous. She also also makes chains of it to hold Trixie, but Maud breaks them, pointing out that since they were just magical copies of a sample she got rather than forged, they're far weaker than it otherwise would've been.

    Film — Animation 

  • A metal used by the Atlanteans in E. Nesbit's The Story Of The Amulet.
  • In Decipher by Stel Pavlou, also used in association with Atlantis.
  • In the Pendragon Cycle it is a substance used in Atlantis.
  • Appears in Dinotopia as a substance used in a piece of a key, first thought to be bronze.
  • In John C. Wright's The Golden Transcedence, taking place in the Golden Oecumene, a projected future includes more Oecumenes, about other star systems. One is the Orichalcum Oecumene.
  • Discovered by, of all people, Biggles (who then loses it again in a landslide) in a short story from the (perfectly canon, surprisingly) book "Biggles, Charter Pilot".
  • Subtly name-dropped in the Ciaphas Cain series, where the company is deployed to an ice planet called Simia Orichalcae... yep, "Brass Monkey".
    • The metal itself shows up in a few of the novels. In Cain's Last Stand, the main hanger doors of Orelius' ship are described as "vast slabs of orichalcum chased with gold filigree".
  • Noted in The Heroes of Olympus; the Gods and Greek Demigods use a metal known as Celestial Bronze, a metal mined from Mt. Olympus, while Roman Demigods use a metal known as Imperial Gold, enchanted gold. As noted above Orichalcum means "mountain copper" and the Romans transliterated it as Aurichalcum meaning "Gold Copper". So those two metals are literally this trope. They are said to be supernatural metals capable of harming Monsters, Gods and their descendants; however, it can't harm mortals.

    Live Action TV 
  • In GoGo Sentai Boukenger one treasure from Atlantis is first thought to be made of orichalcum. This treasure turns out to be the Vril, an artifact that gathers information from nearby objects to duplicate them in order to eventually replace the human race.

    Tabletop RPG 
  • In Exalted, Orichalcum is a magical metal associated with the Solar Exalted. The manufacturing process involves smelting gold in the heart of a volcano while using an elaborate array of mirrors to shine distilled sunlight on the metal (why? Because it's Exalted).
  • Shadowrun has had Orichalcum available since not long after the Awakening. It's a very rare metal material known for its potency in reacting with and conducting magic, and can only be synthesized with magic. It has set the standard for the potency of magic reagents, and while it's not necessary for it, orichalcum is used to create the most powerful magic foci.
  • Earthdawn has the five True Elements: earth, air, fire, water, and wood. You get the golden metal orichalcum by combining all five.
  • Appears in Mage: The Awakening, where it is produced by magically passing gold between the material world and Twilight until most of its substance is gone. It has no overtly magical properties of its own, but can be combined into alloys that can then hold powerful enchantments. The only one given is thaumium, which absorbs magic.
  • The Nephilim RPG has "orichalka" as a material from Saturn, used in the fight against the Nephilim in Atlantis.
  • Arduin Grimoire has a spell "Gandolyn's Gates", a spell which traps a person in a tower of orichalcum.
  • In the D20 book Advanced Gamemaster's Guide from Green Ronin, it is a material to make weapons and armor.
    • Mutants & Masterminds from the same company, has it as a golden metal from Atlantis, whose secret is lost.
  • Appears in the Immortals Handbook - EPIC BESTIARY: Volume One by Eternity Publishing as a red metal found in the heart of dead stars. The metal is so insanely dense and heavy that it has to be diluted with adamantine in order for even regular deities to be able to carry weapons made from it.
  • In the Points of Light setting for Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition, mention is made of a magical metal called "orium" that had a "red-gold" appearance and which was used by ancient empires, but which has since been lost and has yet to be rediscovered — in no small part due to the fact that the byproducts of fashioning it are lethally poisonous. The metallic dragon associated with orium is a serpentine figure with an affinity for ancient ruins and lost secrets, which it defends with its toxic Breath Weapon.
  • Orichalcum in GURPS looks just like bronze but it much stronger and automatically makes blades forged from it extremely sharp.
    • It's also a room-temperature superconductor, should anyone come along who knows how to use that sort of thing, as noted in the Infinite Worlds sourcebook.
    • In the Atlantis sourcebook it's also an "etheric resonator" if local physics allows such a thing, enabling a Steampunk campaign to keep the "advanced power source" concept without moving too far from the paradigm. In either case, it also has "additional secondary useful properties" allowing its use as "an all-purpose technobabble keyword".
  • In Pathfinder, "horacalcum" is a fantastically expensive coppery metal from meteorites and alien planets that distorts time around it, allowing wearers of horacalcum armour to perceive threats more quickly. The centrepiece of Adrati Kalm's Golden Ossuary, itself a monument to Conspicuous Consumption, is a horacalcum vault of incredible value which has the side-effect of preserving his remains in a bubble of slowed time for easy resurrection.
  • In Eden Studio's Conspiracy X game, Atlantis exists as does their mythical alloy "Orichalcum". It turns out that the Atlanteans are so advanced that their orichalcum is a product of nanotechnology in the days of Classical Greece.

    Video Games 
  • Orichalcum is a central plot device and Plot Coupon in Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, a classic LucasArts Adventure Game. It's used as fuel for the Atlanteans' abandoned ancient artifacts scattered around the globe, which Indy must dig up. The Nazis want it because it powers the God Machine under Atlantis.
  • Appears as an Item Crafting material in the Star Ocean series. In the first two games, Orichalcum is a strong metal which can make some very good weapons, armor and accessories. In the third game, finding the right Inventors to produce Orichalcum reliably is the gameplay equivalent of nuclear weapons.
  • Also used in Shining Force III as material the blacksmith can use; it's the best material, beating out Mithril.
    • And in Shining Soul II used to make Ice and Holy elemental equipment at the blacksmith.
  • Also appears in Golden Sun: The Lost Age and Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, as an Item Crafting material called Orihalcon (that also Randomly Drops), used for getting one of the game's Infinity Plus One Swords. Strangely enough, you can't find any in Lemuria, the game's Atlantis equivalent.
  • Square Enix loves Orichalcum. Many of their RPGs typically include either the raw material or something made from it.
    • Appears in the Final Fantasy series as items made of the material, with various spellings. An orichalcum knife is a very strong item. Final Fantasy XI and Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles instead have it available in the form of ore to make items.
    • Shows up in some of the Kingdom Hearts games as an Item Crafting material. Kingdom Hearts II and Kingdom Hearts III have an even stronger variety called "Orichalcum+", of which only a few pieces exist, and every one of them is needed to craft the Ultima Weapon.
    • Also appears in Legend of Mana, under the name "Orihalcon".
    • Tactics Ogre has it in the form of a sword translated as "Oricon". Also as "Oracion" in Knight of Lodis.
    • Romancing SaGa 3: the dolphin statue in Vanguard is made of it; in enhances water magic which allows the city to move freely in the ocean.
    • The general rule of thumb in Dragon Quest is that if it's made of Orichalcum, it either kicks three different kinds of ass or is a flat-out Game-Breaker.
      • The Sword of Kings in Dragon Quest III is made of the metal "Oricon".
      • It is also used for Dai's sword in Dai no Daibouken.
      • It is also an Item Crafting material in Dragon Quest VIII.
      • The near-unbreakable shield in Dragon Quest Swords is a SPOON made of Orichalcum, but due to its obviously small size which can't be increases and that if you can block as accurately with any other shield as you can with the spoon, they'll be just as durable, it's not nearly as useful as it'd initially seem.
      • It makes a comeback in Dragon Quest IX as one of the greatest, yet rarest alchemy ingredients. To give you a scope on how rare it is, every other mineral in the game can be found as Randomly Drops or by finding them on the ground in certain spots of the world map. Orichalcum is found NOWHERE in the world and the only monsters that drop them do so with a 1/256 chance, which is as rare as it gets in this game. Fortunately, when you do get your hands on some, you can use it for some of the best gear in the game, such as the Sage's Stone, which heals your entire party, as well as Erdrick's gear, which is the best gear in the game barring the Uber-gear.
      • In Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime, both orichalcum and orichalslime (a hunk of metal shaped like a Slime) are used as weapons and alchemy ingredients.
    • The World Ends with You has an Orichalcum pin, which is used as a trade material for extremely rare shop goodies.
  • "Orichalc" is used to create jewelry in some of the Harvest Moon games.
  • Appears in the MMORPG MapleStory. Of note, it is called 'Orichalcon' in-game because Orichalcum has the syllable 'cum' in it, which is censored out.
  • And Fly FF, which calls it "Shining Oricalkum."
  • Appears in Kirby Super Star as the treasure "orihalcon". This was thankfully fixed in the remake.
  • In Poseidon: Master of Atlantis as "orichalc". It is used as a monument decoration, as well as fuel for the deadly Atlantean fire.
  • "Orichalkos" is all over the Atlantean civilization of the Age of Mythology expansion pack, "The Titans". It is used to explain some of their more advanced technology (like the Fire Siphon), a common mentioned material of advanced upgrades and the strongest material the Atlanteans can make their walls. The metal is also mentioned to magically become very lightweight after being quenched in seawater.
  • The Orichalcum is Sophitia's legendary weapon in SoulCalibur II and can be purchased in SoulCalibur III.
  • The MMORPG Ragnarok Online used "Oridecon" as a crafting material.
  • The Grim Angels in Dept. Heaven use weapons made of this material.
  • City of Heroes and City of Villains have it as salvage.
  • Tech Romancer has a mecha, G-Kaiser, made of the material "Orihalconium".
  • The Elder Scrolls has a tower made of "orichalc", which was on a sunken continent named Yokuda.
    • As of Skyrim, orichalcum is a blackish-green metal used to make Orcish armor and weapons, which in previous installments was just high quality steel equipment. Such items are known for their green tint and being "ugly and strong, like those that forged them."
    • Oddly, "Dwemer Metal" better fits the traditional description of orichalcum - it's a lustrous red-gold, an ancient and advanced civilization used it to make all their wonders, and it isn't found naturally, forcing players to smelt down items from Dwemer ruins for ingots.
  • Super Robot Wars has a number of mecha and weapons made of "Orichalconium" (most famously Cybuster) or the stronger "Zol-Orichalconium" alloy ("Z.O." for short). In the Original Generation games, it plays the same role as Alloy Z and Super-Alloy Z.
  • Used for Item Crafting in Valkyrie Profile.
  • Used for both the main character's weapon and the bosses' weapons in EOE: Eve Of Extinction. Hilariously awkwardly pronounced in-game as "OriKILLUM" and "oRICKulum."
  • Available by Video Game Stealing in Castlevania: Curse of Darkness as an ore used to forge powerful items.
  • Used for dwarven crafting in Lineage 2.
  • A more powerful substitute for bronze in Titan Quest.
  • Tibia has a magic item called the Orichalcum Pearl.
  • Blob Wars has a quest to collect 25 boxes of orichalcum beads.
  • Endless Ocean: Blue World-The orichalcum ingot is one of the legendary treasures, and is the most expensive non-treasure chest salvageable item (and the fourth most expensive overall).
  • In Arcana Heart, Orichalkos is the arcana of metal (and a huge frickin' dragon).
  • Orichalcum is used to craft either Seth or Kaim's Ultimate Weapon in Lost Odyssey.
  • Appears as a crafting material in Dragon Age II.
  • Appears as a crafting material in the MMO RIFT: Planes Of Telara.
  • The Great Sacred Treasure in Kid Icarus: Uprising is stated to be made of orichalcum.
  • Terraria features Orichalcum as an alternative to Mythril. Its appearance is pink, and a full set of armor with any of the helmets causes pink petals to strike an enemy you hit.
  • In Mega Man X5, the Orichalcum, held by Crescent Grizzly / Grizzly Slash, is one of the components required to upgrade the Enigma laser cannon so it can destroy a colony ship. When recovered, it is said to increase the weapon's "striking ability." In Western releases, it was renamed the "Crystal Ball," possibly because the translators did not recognize the reference.
  • In Guild Wars 2 Orichalcum is red-bronze in appearance and the highest-level metal in the game, used to craft the most powerful weapons. While present in all level-appropriate zones, it is most frequently encountered in Orr, the game's Atlantis analogue.
  • Beating Bonus Boss the Abyss-King in Lunarosse gives you a hunk of this, which can be used to max out your party member's weapons. It overlaps with Thunderbolt Iron, as it's mentioned to have fallen out of the sky some time prior.
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Orichalcum ingots and ore are crafting ingredients found in loot drops and at merchants, which are used to craft many high-end weapons and armor.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • Used in The Descendants. It's first seen as a rough type of armor called 'orihalcite' that even Alloy couldn't effect with his powers. Later appears in a refined form with the proper name.
  • Used with WILDLY variable spelling in the Whateley Universe.

    Real Life 
  • The name derives from Greek ὀρείχαλκος, oreikhalkos (from ὄρος, oros, mountain and χαλκός, khalkos, copper), meaning literally "mountain copper". The name "oros" was sufficiently close to vernacular pronunciation of Latin word for gold, aurum as oro, that it was transliterated "orichalcum" as "aurichalcum," which was thought to literally mean "gold copper". It is known from the writings of Cicero that the metal which they called orichalcum resembled gold in color but had a much lower value. This description fits perfectly to brass. Brass itself is an alloy of copper and zinc, and while it was known to Ancient and Medieval world and manufactured by smelting copper and zinc-containing ores, zinc itself was isolated only by the Medieval alchemists and in 14th century India. Brass itself was first made from pure metals instead of ores in the 16th century. Today, "oreikhalkos" and "aurichalcum" means "brass" in modern Greek and Latin respectively.
    • In 2015, 39 ingots believed to be orichalcum were discovered in a sunken vessel on the coasts of Gela in Sicily which have tentatively been dated at 2,600 years old. They were analyzed with X-ray fluorescence by Dario Panetta of TQ - Technologies for Quality; they turned out to be an alloy consisting of 75-80 percent copper, 15-20 percent zinc, and smaller percentages of nickel, lead, and iron. This is high quality brass.
    • While not exactly magical, brass itself is a noble metal alloy and widely used on application which require resistance for corrosion, such as marine instruments, marine propellers, door handles, locks and coins. Brass is also irreplaceable as a metal for musical instruments.

Alternative Title(s): Orihalcon


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