Special Materials

Some items can be crafted from odd or rare materials, including silver, gold, adamantine, etc. Listed below are some sample materials. The only “official” material described in the SRD is silver. The other materials are from other publishers. Use at your GM’s discretion.

Though leather and iron are the most common materials for creating armor and weapons, artisans in fantasy worlds can have access to a wide variety of crafting materials. Some monsters that have immunity or resistance to nonmagical weapons are susceptible to weapons made from other materials. Likewise, some materials are more resilient, lighter, or can enhance the wielder’s abilities, making them more ideal than traditional weapons in specific situations.

Consult with your GM before choosing armor or weapons made of special materials, as they might not exist or might be more or less scarce (and therefore more or less expensive) in the campaign world.

Identifying Special Materials

With a successful Arcana check, a character can attempt to identify and understand strange substances such as the ones listed here:

Material DC
Aethel 22
Black adamantine 25
Firestone 15
Heliothil 19
Ithildin 18
Ithilnaur 18
Liquid light 23
Liquid shadow 24
Marlite 24
Moonsilver 20
Vallis 22

Aethel

Source Pt-MCCbtS

One of the rarest and most valuable substances isn’t a drug or a weapon, but a mineral. While the greenish stone of the absent moon is a natural power source on its own, the clear crystals of aethel absorb magical energy and even light.

Aethel can absorb one to ten spell levels (depending on the size of the crystal). Once the crystal has absorbed this many spell levels of energy, it can’t ever absorb more.

Spellcasters can use the energy stored within aethel to power their own spells, as though the crystal were a rod of absorption. The aethel stone does not require attunement. A crystal that can no longer absorb energy and has no energy remaining becomes inert forever.

If a character tries to absorb more spell levels than a piece of aethel can hold, the stone bursts in a 10-foot radius, inflicting 10 (3d6) piercing damage plus 3 (1d6) piercing damage for each spell level stored within the crystal (characters in the area can attempt a DC 18 Dexterity save for half damage).

The value of aethel stone is equal to the number of potential spell levels absorbed squared × 1,000 gp.

A character who makes a DC 25 Arcana check can figure out a way to use an aethel crystal full of absorbed energy as a crafting component for a magic item. The exact use of the stone is up to the Gm, but is generally the equivalent of a spell scroll of a spell whose level is equal to the stone’s stored spell levels.

Antler or Horn

Source VKCS

Mostly suited for piercing weapons, with care and time an antler or horn can be hewn and worked into a fearsome edge.

  • Creatures with the Evil primal element take a –2 penalty on attack rolls using antler or horn weapons.

Black Adamantine

Source Pt-MCCbtS

Black adamantine is one of the hardest substances in existence, and it has additional antimagical qualities. It is immensely expensive, usually about 1,000 gp per ounce.

Black adamantine has resistance to all damage, and advantage on saves against magic.

A DC 25 Arcana check reveals that a wish spell can make black adamantine completely impervious to physical force or spells. Black adamantine armor is equivalent to adamantine armor, but the wearer also gains the metal’s advantage on saves against magic.

Bone

Source VKCS

Grisly as it may be, bone is a strong material frequently hewn into weaponry. Usually it’s meant to pierce or slash, but the femur of a massive creature can easily become a greatclub or even perfected into a maul.

  • A bone weapon functions as magical when striking a creature with immunity or resistance to nonmagical weapons.
  • When an attacker rolls a natural 1 on an attack roll using a bone weapon, it rolls an attack roll against AC 10. On a failure, the bone weapon becomes broken.
  • Creatures with the Good primal element take a –2 penalty on attack rolls using bone weapons.
  • Bone weapons cost 50% more than their listed price in the core Fifth Edition rules.

Bronze

Source VKCS

Copper and tin can be mined then melted down, mixed together into a malleable material, and cast into blades and shapes of all sorts.

  • When a bronze weapon or shield takes 20 or more fire damage (30 or more if it has the Heavy property) in one round it becomes broken.

Cold Iron

Source OD:TOH

Fey are timeless creatures, inured to many of the world’s threats—except weapons of cold-wrought iron. This metal undoes the very fabric of a fey creature’s life as it blights their ageless flesh. A cold iron weapon is treated as magical when used against any fey creature, and it is the only weapon with any hope of harming the most powerful fey lords and ladies. However, cold iron weapons are difficult to construct. The skill and material required to produce such a weapon doubles its price or adds 100 gp to the cost, whichever is more. Finding a smith with the skill to make a durable weapon without the aid of fire is always difficult—and finding one with the courage to anger the fey courts may be even harder

Firestone

Source Pt-MCCbtS

The mineral known as firestone can be created only through magic. It burns with great efficiency, which causes technologists to desire it greatly to fuel their devices. A small stone weighs 1 pound and can burn hotly for twenty-four hours.

Heliothil

Source Pt-MCCbtS

Heliothil is a pale violet stone that has negative weight. A stone that should weigh about 1 pound has in fact 5 pounds of negative weight.

This means that, if a piece of pure heliothil were unsecured, it would fall upward at a great rate and disappear into the sky. It also means that securing 5 pounds of normal material to a 1-pound chunk of heliothil renders the normal material effectively weightless. The heliothil and attached material float in midair.

When dwarven miners discovered heliothil, much of it initially was lost—once mined and freed from surrounding minerals, the loosed heliothil floated up into space.

Eventually, the dwarves developed safe mining and transporting practices, and engineers began using heliothil to create floating castles, flying ships, hovering (virtually) weightless chariots, and so on.

Heliothil is not magical, at least not in the technical sense of the word. It retains its negative weight even in antimagic areas.

Heliothil is worth 100 gp per negative pound.

Iron

Source VKCS

This metal’s ore is common enough, but melting the useful parts out requires tremendous heat and sophisticated equipment far beyond the ken of most mortals. Those who do know the process and are capable of forging iron weapons are wont to share the knowledge.

  • Iron weapons count as magical for the purpose of overcoming resistance and immunity to nonmagical attacks and damage.
  • Iron weapons cost 25% more than their listed price in the core Fifth Edition rules.
  • Iron rusts when not protected from air and water. For every week that an iron weapon or shield is not treated with oil over the course of a short rest, or for every day it is exposed to the open air or in water, it gains one level of rusting. For each level of rusting a weapon has, it takes a permanent and cumulative ?1 penalty to damage rolls. If its penalty drops to ?5, the weapon is destroyed. An iron shield reduces its bonus to armor class by 1 for every two levels of rusting it has, and is destroyed when it has 5 levels of rusting.

Ithildin And Ithilnaur

Source Pt-MCCbtS

The elves know of many special minerals, materials, and herbs. In particular, they are known for two metals: ithildin (a decorative silver that glows at night but is dull and almost invisible during the day) and ithilnaur (a thin, strong material with the same properties as ithildin). Both metals’ glow is equal to that of candlelight.

Ithildin is like silver but costs twice as much.

Ithilnaur is like silver, but harder and lighter than steel of the same thickness, and costs five times as much.

Liquid Light

In the earliest days of creation, when air, earth, fire, and water had not yet reached their final states, sunlight shone into pockets of air that eventually became trapped deep underground.

This air turned naturally into liquid light as a result of tremendous good done in the world; the residue seeps up from the depths of the earth and takes on a physical substance. Thus, deep in the earth one can encounter pools of bright sunlight, preserved forever as a thick, milky liquid. One pint of this fluid shines as if full daylight in just over a 100-foot radius without ever losing its brightness.

Liquid light is worth 1,000 gp per pint and is usually found only in amounts of six to ten pints at a time.

One can use liquid light to enhance spells that create or amplify light and goodness; any spell cast with liquid light added as an optional material component counts as a spell of light and good. A pint of the material used as a spell component modifies a spell so that its effective spell slot level is 2 higher than normal (maximum 9th level), and increases the spell save DC by +2.

Liquid light can be used like holy water against fiends, undead, and evil-aligned creatures native to other planes. Each pint inflicts 10 (3d6) radiant damage, or 70 (20d6) radiant damage per round for full immersion.

Liquid Shadow

Source Pt-MCCbtS

Liquid shadow is a vile substance that pools in the darkest corners of the world—usually at the heartrock of a massive mountain or in a cave at the bottom of the deepest lake. It exists naturally as a result of evil done in the world; the residue seeps into the earth and takes on a physical substance in the deep darkness.

Liquid shadow is worth 1,000 gp per pint and is usually found in amounts of only one or two pints at a time.

One can use liquid shadow to enhance spells that create or amplify darkness, evil, or shadow; any spell cast with liquid shadow added as an optional material component counts as a spell of darkness, evil, and shadow. A pint of the material used as a spell component modifies a spell so that its effective spell slot level is 2 higher than normal (maximum 9th level), and increases the spell save DC by +2.

Like splashing undead with holy water, liquid shadow can be used to harm blessed children, celestials, and good-aligned creatures native to other planes. Each pint inflicts 10 (3d6) necrotic damage, or 70 (20d6) necrotic damage per round for full immersion. If used against fiends or undead, it heals them instead of harms them.

Marlite

Source Pt-MCCbtS

Marlite shines like blue-tinted iron and can be processed into a metal as hard and resilient as steel. It is far more valuable than steel, however, due to its secondary property: marlite is a magic-dead material. It has no natural magic within it, and it cannot be affected by spells, magic items, or magical abilities. In effect, it is completely immune to magic. A sword made of marlite couldn’t be affected by a spell designed to make it too hot to hold or turn to dust. No one could magically yank such a sword from the wielder’s hand with magical telekinesis.

This means, of course, that magic can’t affect it in beneficial ways, either—the sword couldn’t be made magically sharper or more likely to hit.

Armor made of marlite gives the wearer no special properties. Spells can still affect the wearer, just not the armor directly.

An item made with marlite instead of iron or steel costs ten times the normal price.

Moonsilver

Source Pt-MCCbtS

Called “ithilirid” by the elves, this metal is always found in liquid form, looking similar to mercury. One can use it to coat a solid surface, to which it then adheres, protecting the surface as if it were made of iron. The surface retains all normal flexibility. Thus, one could apply it to a person to grant them the benefits of wearing plate with none of the drawbacks that heavier armor usually exacts. The effects of moonsilver are as fleeting as the moon’s reign in the night sky, however—the substance fades away approximately four hours after it adheres to a surface.

Moonsilver will not adhere to ithildin or ithilnaur, so sealed containers made of these materials can be used to store the liquid.

Moonsilver forms in droplets among the dew of heavily forested areas on nights of the full moon. If no one collects it, the trees, grass, and other plants in such regions sometimes have silvery drops clinging to them after daybreak, as hard as metal. However, they fade by mid-morning.

Moonsilver prices depend on the amount of the substance. Enough for a full suit of armor costs about 600 gp. Partial doses fail to work, and multiple doses do not add up.

Obsidian

Source VKCS

When expertly flaked, the edge of this rock becomes lethally sharp, and though it only sometimes matters those fell kaviyans who engage in blood rituals prefer to do so with an obsidian blade.

  • When an obsidian weapon is used to score a critical hit, the wielder can choose for a part of it to break off into the target. If the target is a living creature it takes 1d4 damage at the start of its turn every round until the wound is stanched with a successful Wisdom (Medicine) check (DC equal to damage from the critical hit) or the target receives magical healing. The obsidian weapon takes a permanent and cumulative ?1 penalty to damage rolls. If its penalty drops to ?5, the weapon is destroyed.
  • When an attacker rolls a natural 1 on an attack roll using an obsidian weapon, it rolls an attack roll against AC 14. On a failure, the obsidian weapon becomes broken.
  • Creatures with the Air primal element take a –2 penalty on attack rolls using obsidian weapons.
  • Obsidian weapons cost 25% less than their listed price in the core Fifth Edition rules.

Peachwood

Source OD:TOH

Wood from fragrant peach trees is sometimes used to create weapons against the undead. Peachwood is no different than oak or pine if crafted into any other type of item. Any weapon can be made of peachwood, and a weapon made of peachwood deals 1d4 bludgeoning damage on a hit, regardless of its size or shape. However, when you hit an undead creature with a peachwood weapon, it is a magic weapon that deals damage as if it were the weapon of the type it resembles. For example, a peachwood greatsword deals 1d4 bludgeoning damage when it hits a human, but it deals 2d6 slashing damage when it hits a ghost

Silver

Some monsters that have immunity or resistance to nonmagical weapons are susceptible to silver weapons, so cautious adventurers invest extra coin to plate their weapons with silver. You can silver a single weapon or ten pieces of ammunition for 100 gp. This cost represents not only the price of the silver, but the time and expertise needed to add silver to the weapon without making it less effective.

Soulbound Steel

Source OD:TOH

Steel forged with the carefully prepared ashes of the fallen dead creates a special alloy known as soulbound steel. The steel is said to contain a sliver of the spirit of a warrior rendered into ashes. The strong, flexible metal has a light gray color and a beautiful, powdery finish, sometimes worked into frost-like patterns.

Soulbound Steel is used to craft weapons and, rarely, shields. A weapon made of soulbound steel costs an additional 500 gp to create. This cost represents not only the price of the material used to make it, but the time, care, and expertise required to keep the sliver of soul intact without making the weapon less effective. When you make an Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma saving throw while holding or carrying an item made of soulbound steel, you can use a reaction to have advantage on the saving throw. Once you use this property of the item, you can’t use it again until you finish a long rest. You can benefit from this property only once each day, regardless of how many soulbound steel items you possess

Stone

Source VKCS

The vast majority of stone weapons are made of knapped flint or chert.

  • When an attacker rolls a natural 1 on an attack roll using a stone weapon, it rolls an attack roll against AC 12. On a failure, the stone weapon becomes broken.
  • Stone weapons cost 50% less than their listed price in the core Fifth Edition rules.

Vallis Stone

Source Pt-MCCbtS

Vallis stones are raw magical power in solid form and can be used to fuel spells, magic items, and mighty rituals.

Vallis dust can be used to create spell slots just like using the stored energy of a rod of absorption. The larger the speck of dust, the more spell levels it can create; most specks range from one to six spell levels in capacity. As the piece of Vallis is used, it diminishes. So if a bit of Vallis dust with the capacity for four spell levels is used to create a 2nd-level spell slot, it grows noticeably smaller, but still has two spell levels left and can be used to create another 2nd-level spell slot or two 1st-level spell slots. Exhausted Vallis disappears entirely.

For proper use, one must prepare the dust in a magical ritual that takes twenty-four hours. Unprepared Vallis can power spells, but at a less efficient rate. A piece of unprepared Vallis weighing 1 ounce holds power for one spell level, while a prepared Vallis stone that same size could power twenty spell levels.

Should one find a significantly large piece of unprepared Vallis, using it would pose a real danger. Once tapped, the stone literally leaks power. Further, the Vallis loses one potential spell level of power per day as the stone’s capacity leaks away. Anyone touching a leaking Vallis stone must make a DC 15 Constitution saving throw each round or gain one level of exhaustion.

Someone who succeeds at a DC 25 Arcana check can figure out how to use a Vallis stone as a crafting component for a magic item. The exact use of the stone is up to the Gm, but is generally the equivalent of a spell scroll of a spell whose level is equal to the stone’s stored spell levels.

The value of Vallis stone or dust is equal to its number of spell levels squared × 50. Thus, a piece of Vallis that could power one spell level costs 50 gp; one that could power two spell levels costs 200 gp; three spell levels is 450 gp; and so on.

Wave-Washed Steel

Source OD:TOH

Wave-washed steel, made from combining iron, wood ash, and a rare metal from deep within ancient mountains, has a unique wave-like pattern and is light, flexible, and very strong. It is used to craft weapons, never armor. A weapon made of wave-washed steel costs an additional 250 gp to create. This cost represents not only the price of the rare metal, but also the time and specialized expertise needed to craft the weapon from it. Only weapons made primarily of metal can be crafted from wave-washed steel (a longsword can be a wavewashed weapon, but a quarterstaff can’t). When you score a critical hit with a weapon made of wave-washed steel against a creature wearing armor or that has natural armor, the target’s armor is damaged and takes a cumulative –1 penalty to the AC it offers as the wave-washed steel weapon cuts through it. This reduction lasts until the armor is repaired (if crafted armor) or the creature finishes a long rest (if natural armor). A wave-washed steel weapon can’t reduce a creature’s AC below 10

Windforged Steel

Source OD:TOH

Windforged steel is manufactured only in clifftop forges and is very strong and lightweight. It has a deep blue, nearly black color, never rusts, and has a remarkable ability to survive blows and magical effects that would destroy lesser metals. This remarkable metal is made into weapons and shields but seldom armor.

An item made of windforged steel has advantage on saving throws to resist being damaged or destroyed, and attacks against it are made with disadvantage.

Windforged steel items are immune to rust, including that caused by rust monsters and similar creatures.

Windforged steel items weigh 25 percent less and have twice as many hit points as their counterparts made of more traditional metals. An item made from windforged steel costs 25 percent more than a standard item of that type

Everything Breaks

Source VKCS

Eventually Using a broken piece of equipment isn’t ideal, but when wielding primitive weaponry and shields it’s often the case during combat that a warrior must make do with what’s at hand.

A broken weapon or shield can be repaired with a DC 12 Dexterity or Wisdom check over the course of a long rest. This check can be attempted during a short rest by making it with disadvantage, but rushing endangers the repair and on a failure all the materials become useless.

Broken Weapon. When you hit with a weapon attack using a broken weapon, you deal half damage.

Broken Shield. While wielding a broken shield, you only gain a +1 bonus to your armor class.

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