The Dry Season
Mining and Metalworking
Metal is often in short supply on the islands; while there may be metallic deposits in the islands themselves, quarrying and mining too deeply risks structural damage to the island or creating viable connections between the underislands and the surface, which the surfacers desperately want to avoid. The mountains on the larger islands have long since been all but tapped out, and so most metal now comes from three other seasonal sources.
In the wet season, trade with the dwarven kingdoms brings in valuable metals. The dwarves, living on ocean islands of their own, should in theory have the same metal shortages as the islanders above; nonetheless, they have a seemingly inexhaustible supply of copper, tin, iron and even forged steel, and are more than happy to trade it for agricultural and artistic products from their flying neighbors.
In the building season, mining efforts go hand-in-hand with quarrying. Magical strip-mining and rapid expansion of near-surface mines result in high casualty rates, but there is little time to establish longer-term operations. Some attempts have lasted until the islands circled back around the next building season, providing enormous wealth to those willing to risk nearly 20 months in the jungles, but no mine has yet lasted two full turns of the seasons.
In the dry season, the orcs alone have access to large amounts of metal goods: waste material and agricultural excess are converted slowly and painstakingly into large quantities of metal by orcish alchemists. Unfortunately for the orcs, the sheer size of their Celestial Kingdom means that these efforts generally produce little more than the quantity needed simply to keep their stock of metal goods in repair. The elves have long since turned to metal-working techniques that reduce wear and tear and the gnomes rely heavily on magic and less metal-intensive weapons for warfare, but the orcs have just enough alchemical knowledge to keep their less efficient methods viable.