Since these are smith rewards (though meant for use mining, as most smithas are miners, in order to conserve ingots in smelting), and people ask about them here, I thought it would be good to post this here as well. I might need to be stickied, or moved into the Smith FAQ. This is a recreation of a post that dropped off the end of the Miner board when they deleted all the non-sticky messages prior to May 2004. It is currently also part of the "What's new in Mining" thread in the Miner forum, now. Some of this information is modified from the New Nirces Mining Guide, which needs updating anyway. Prospector's Tools (Smith BOD reward, often found cheap on vendors, or just dumped on the ground in Blacksmith shops) These items can be used as a macing weapon, but their real use is "prospecting" an ore site. Before you can prospect a site, you must use a digging tool (shovel, pickaxe, Gargoyle Pickaxe) once on the target area. Such use does not have to be successful, just break the ground. A successful use of the prospector tool means that all colored ore you gain from a site will be one level higher. However, you can only use the tool to elevate a site to an ore type that you can already mine. For example, at 85 mining, you could elevate a bronze site to gold, but not a gold site to agapite. Elevating an Iron site to dull copper becomes possible at 65 Mining (the skill needed to mine DC ore), but only a percentage of the ore will be DC; all other elevations simply replace the usual colored ore with the higher type. You can only use the prospector's tool once per site, until the ore respawns, at which time you can use it again on that site. They have 50 charges when new, and that could easily add up to 1000 enhanced ore if used in Felucca, or even the best locations in Trammel, Malas, Tokuno & Ilshenar. Gargoyle Pickaxes (Smith BOD reward, and also found as loot on most Gargoyle types, on about 5-10% of gargoyles killed) Gargoyle pickaxes are magical tools as well. They allow you to mine ore colors one class better than you normally could at a mining site - this includes mining an ore type one could not normally mine yet with your actual mining skill. If used in conjunction with a prospector's tool, this can allow up to a two-step improvement in ore type (but still at that maximum of one type better than you could with a normal tool). They can be wielded as a weapon, but the smart miner will use them from inside their backpack, and wield an earth elemental slayer in their hand. Examples: With 83 mining skill - Can get Gold ore from a bronze spot, by using the Gargoyle Pickaxe Can get Gold ore from a copper spot, by first elevating the spot with a Prospector's tool, then using the Gargoyle Pickaxe. Note that the skill level above could not elevate bronze to gold with the Prospector's tool, then to Agapite with the gargoyle Pickaxe, as the Prospector's Tool only works if you can smelt the new type with your current skill. Nor can you get dull copper ore from digging an Iron-ore-only site with a Gargoyle Pickaxe. As you may not be able to smelt the ore you mine, one must be careful as where to use it (unless you intentionally are stockpiling ore for later use). Another nice feature of gargoyle pickaxes is that they start out with 101 to 125 uses, unlike normal tools (that start out with 50) or exceptionally crafted tools (which have 100 at GM tinkering). Only the "Sturdy Tool" rewards have more uses on production shards, at 150 or 200 when new. And, like all other mining tools, if you fail to dig up a piece of ore, no "uses" are lost. But as with all things good, there is also a (magical) disadvantage or danger! There is a chance that you will pull up an ore elemental of the color you are extracting, hence the need for a miner with any combat skill to be wielding an Earth Elemental Slayer. All types that spawn from gargoyle pickaxe use are susceptible to the standard Earth elemental slayer, or the Elemental super-slayer. These dangerous monsters range from fairly easy (shadow iron & verite elementals) to very very hard (valorite elementals). Ore elementals spawn right next to the miner and usually attack him first, though on rare occasions a nearby pack animal or mount will be targeted first. Upon death they carry 25 ore of their color as loot, which is especially rewarding with the valorite elementals. Some miners specifically dig with just gargoyle pickaxes, in order to get the elementals. Note that if you can't mine the normal ore of a spot (say, using a gargoyle pickaxe on an agapite ore spot, while only able to mine bronze), all your ore mined will be iron, but you STILL can end up spawning an elemental of the type that the ore vein would spawn (in this example, a verite elemental). This ability seems to kick in only once the miner gains the ability to dig dull copper normally, as repeated tests with a sub-65 miner resulted in no elementals, while numerous ones spawned for a 65 mining skill miner, mining WAY out of league, and getting only iron and the ore from the elementals to show for it. Another interesting feature is that you can use a gargoyle pickaxe on a Valorite spot, and get valorite elementals (since there is no higher ore type to elevate to). This method, if one can mine valorite, greatly increases your valorite haul. A guide to the Ore elementals that spawn from the Gargoyle Pickaxe: Shadow Iron: Immune to magic spells and most pet damage, but a relatively easy melee or archery kill. Copper: 50% Reflect melee damage, 100% Reflect spell damage back to caster - can be tricky to fight without dying. Bronze: Ranged Gas Attack that can be a pain for those trying to back off and heal. Also does mostly (70%) fire damage, compared to most other's physical-only attacks. Gold: Has a very High physical resist (75) Agapite: Stronger than most ore elementals, but less hitpoints. Special weapons moves are your friend. Verite: Damage is 50% Physical, 50% energy. Valorite: The mother of all elementals. Has the special abilities of the Shadow Iron, Copper, and Bronze elementals, the best resists of all elementals(75/60/60/60/50) and the strength of the Agapite elemental, all rolled into one lethal package. Its damage is 25% physical, 25% fire, 25% cold, 25% energy. Hunt these only if you have an archer handy, or a melee type good at "jousting" (running through the target, then away to heal, if necessary). With the reflect combined with a hard hit and possible gas attack, I recommend that you do NOT use damage-increasing special moves (concussion blow, double strike, etc.) on one, as you could well kill yourself. It's funny when you kill a monster with reflect physical damage from its last attack - it's not so funny when you're on the receiving end of such a death. Common strategies for these tools: 1. Playing it safe: using normal tools with the Prospector's tool only. The only danger are miner-killers in fel, and normal monster spawn everywhere. 2. The Fearless Elemental Hunter: Mines mostly in the "safe" facets, and is typically a warrior (or paladin) with mining. Uses gargoyle picks almost exclusively (the only exception is when they HAVE to get Dull Copper ore for some reason), tweaking it with the prospector's tool as needed for the ore types desired. Typically is armed with a good Earth elemental slayer someone priced really cheap (or made by their own smith), a high-resist suit, and an ample supply of bandages (if they have healing) or mana (for healing spells and special weapons moves) 3. The Townie: Similar to #2 above, but with less combat skill. The Townie will typically mine in a guard zone (Umbra, Delucia), and try to kill elementals. But, if the elemental is too tough for them, then they can scream for the guards. 4. The Bane of Macroers. Typically mines Felucca. Uses their gargoyle pick when they are near an area frequented by persons using unattended macro mining scripts. When a Macroer arrives, they attempt to spawn an elemental, then immediately leaves to let the elemental have its way with the bot. Perfectly legal in Fel, but of dubious legality elsewhere.