The 30 Pieces of Black Metal are a relic that predates The Oblivion. No one can say for sure how they came into existence, for even the events that took place prior to oblivion were destroyed from the records of the Black Metal. It seems likely, however, that Barnabas, having anticipated Oblivion before it happened, set about making these wonders so that he might preserve the knowledge that the great civilization had accumulated in its grand history. By the time Oblivion swept over what is now known as Gaia, he had created exactly thirty pieces. Intuitive to use, and already within his possession, Barnabas quickly relearned the secrets of science and magic that the rest of the world had forgotten, and he had used this knowledge to construct the beginnings of the Imperium while the rest of the world lived in the dark stone age of a crumbling and decaying once-great civilization.
When Barnabas felt the Imperium was complete, he decided to experiment with rebuilding civilization to its former glory by bestowing the black metal unto Emperor Andromalius of the Solomon kingdom. His orders were clear, to unite the world in prosperity, but Andromalius grew drunk on his new found power, and in his hubris, decided he no longer had need of Barnabas as an ally, and chose to disobey them, which led to the wrath of Jurgand and the seven hours of fire that reduced the mighty Solomon empire into ruins barely capable of supporting themselves. In his last act of defiance, Emperor Andromalius managed to hide the pieces of Black Metal, and the Imperium was never able to recover them.
The 30 pieces, since then, have changed hands from Iscariote, to Rah, and to Eljared. Before Eljared disappeared from Gaia, she enacted her plan to scatter the thirty pieces of black metal, so that they may trickle their way into the hands of Lucanor Giovanni, and that he might use them to finally accomplish what Rah and Eljared failed to do, free humanity from the prison of ignorance of the Powers in the Shadow. Already, two of the pieces have come into Prince Giovanni's possession, one personally given to him by Eljared, and another, embedded in his recent ally Zero Sigma. It will simply be a matter of time before he has them all.
The 30 pieces are a near omniscient source of information, about anything and everything.
History: The 30 pieces can be used to learn about any event, or location, about anything and everything except for things that happened prior to Oblivion. They may even be used to learn things that the user is unaware that he would like to learn. A history check is made using the pieces of black metal to determine this information. A roll must yield Inhuman for a vague answer, or Zen for a clear and exact answer. More information is also imparted if the user possesses more than one piece. The history roll benefits from a +5 bonus for every piece of black metal the user uses in his augury. In this way, even a lowly mortal scholar can obtain great knowledge from the 30 pieces. As an exception to the rule, characters using the black metal are allowed to achieve results of Inhuman and Zen on the roll to utilize the black metal even if they lack the ability to achieve those results normally.
Sciences: The 30 pieces can be used to learn about any technology or technomagical laws and how to build nearly any kind of device. The rules are the same as History, but the roll is made with sciences.
Occult: The 30 pieces of black metal can be used as a magical library, allowing the user to cast nearly any kind of spell as if he were casting from a book. The Occult roll must succeed at an Impossible difficulty to cast any spell up to level 80. With an Inhuman Occult roll, the user can cast spells up to level 90. With a Zen Occult roll, he may can even cast magic up to level 100. Using the pieces of black metal to cast spells allows the mage to ignore Gnosis minimums on High and Divine magic. The Occult roll, once again, benefits from a +5 bonus for every piece of black metal used in the casting. The mage must still use his own Intelligence and Zeon to power the spell. He may even use the pieces of black metal in a ritual. As with History, mages using the black metal for Occult purposes may achieve results of Inhuman and Zen on the roll to utilize the black metal even if they normally lack the ability to achieve those results otherwise. The 30 pieces of black metal can also be used to research spells permanently if the mage has unspent Magic Levels. This requires no roll, but the amount of time the research takes is multiplied by 30 - the amount of pieces of metal the mage is using to research. Thus, if he possesses all 30 pieces, he can effectively instantly learn any spell permanently that his Gnosis would allow, provided he has unspent Magic Levels with which to learn them.
Possessing a single piece of black metal grants the owner the benefits of Ancient Blood while he carries it.
Pieces of black metal can be used to power nearly any kind of technomagical device. Extremely powerful devices such as the Upnapistam are too powerful for even the black metal to power.
Pieces of black metal are not static objects, they change shape frequently, to suit whatever purpose they are being used for.
Pieces of black metal explicitly cannot divine the future, only the past and present.
Pieces of black metal are utterly invisible to any kind of supernatural vision or detection, only mundane senses can actually detect them. Even then, characters may not immediately recognize them for what they are. If a character has never been exposed to one of these pieces before, it requires an Inhuman history check to identify the black metal as such (and the black metal itself does not aid this check). Once a character has successfully made this roll, or has been told by someone else what it was, he can immediately identify any other piece of black metal he comes across, regardless of the shape it has at the time.
Pieces of black metal may substitute for any kind of part in a technomagical device. In the case of circuitry or user interfaces, the entire thing counts as a single part. Technomagical wonders made up of 30 or less parts can be constructed instantly using nothing but pieces of black metal, if the builder has enough pieces. They can also be disassembled with relative ease. In combat, assembling, repairing, or disassembling a device with black metal is a full action during which the tinkerer defends himself at a -90 penalty. If the tinkerer defends himself before his action without the penalty, he cannot perform his operation on the device when his initiative arrives.
Pieces of black metal are utterly indestructible. Entities with Gnosis 45 or higher can ignore this and destroy them, in which case, they turn out to be rather fragile.