This is a short rejoiner to last week's chemistry posts. The solution was suggested by my rather brilliant future son-in-law, who conjectured to me last night that mithril or adamantium might be states of matter, and not elements in their own right. As a diamond and a lump of coal are both carbon, and as ice and water are both H20, titanium (Ti) and mithril (also Ti) could be alternate states of the same element.
Running with this idea myself, I would rather that mithril and adamantium were alternate "magical" states of the elements uranium and radium. The radioactivity of the familiar elemental form could be viewed as an enthalpic, or thermodynamic potential incorporated through connection with the negative or positive material planes, as understood by zarathustrian Magi. Thus, we could conjecture that the development of zoroastrianism in the early first millenium BCE (the date of Zarathustra's actual existence remains in contention) was the development not only of human-usable "magic," per se, but a terrific alchemical leap forward in the comprehension of metals that did not take place in the real world. We modern dwellers never quite made the connection that Zarathustra proposed, and we still haven't managed to calculate matter in terms of its magical properties.
This I like very much; it leads to a structural quality to how magic works, without necessarily deconstructing the manner in which ordinary physics (chemistry, mathematics, etc.) continues to apply to the game.
Do I like the fellow my daughter's with? You bet I do.