Dungeon Master Assistance

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D&D 5E – Metals

metals

Value of Metals in D&D

Metal Cost per lb. Ferrus? AC Description
Adamantine 5,000 gp ferrous 23 An alloy of adamant (a strong but brittle metal), silver and electrum. Adamantine  is black,  but  has  a  clear  green  sheen  in  candlelight – a  sheen  that sharpens  to  purple-white  under  the  light  given  off  by  most  magical  radiances  and  by  will-o-wisps.
Brass 3 sp Non-ferrous 16 A yellow-ish metal that somewhat resembles gold. An alloy of copper and zinc.
Bronze 4 sp Non-ferrous 18 A red-ish brown metal. An alloy of copper and tin
Cold Iron 4 sp ferrous 20 Cold iron is iron found in a pure state (either meteoric iron or an especially rich ore) and is forged at a lower temperature to preserve its delicate properties.
Copper 1 gp Non-ferrous 16 This well-known pure metal has a distinctive pinkish sheen.
Electrum 25 gp Non-ferrous 20 A natural alloy of silver and gold.
Gold 50 gp Non-ferrous 15 This well-known pure metal is the softest of workable metallic substances.
Iron 1 sp ferrous 19 Iron is a silver-white malleable metal that readily rusts in moist air, occurs native in meteorites and combined in most igneous rocks. It is the most used of metals.
Lead 2 sp Non-ferrous 14 Lead is a heavy, grey, soft, malleable, metal.
Mithral 2,500 gp Non-ferrous 21 This silvery-blue, shining metal is derived from soft, glittering, silvery-black ore.
Platinum 500 gp Non-ferrous 20 This light gray metal with very slight bluish tinge is strong, difficult to melt, and resistant to most chemicals.
Silver 10 gp Non-ferrous 17 This relatively common valuable metal is the most associated with and suitable for magic.
Steel 5 gp ferrous 19 Steel is an alloy made out of Iron and Carbon.
Tin 3 sp Non-ferrous 12 A soft, silvery-white metal that is often combined with other metals or used as a layer to protect various metals.

Most of the following information is from “VoLo’s Guide to All Things Magical”.

 Adamant

This is the pure metal form of the hard, jet-black ferro magnetic ore known as adamantite, from which the famous alloy adamantine is made. Adamant is rarely found in nature, but when it is, it is always be in large spherical pockets in hardened volcanic flows. Adamant is one of the hardest substances known, but it is also brittle. A sword made of adamant could slice through most metals but would snap off if struck by another blade or even a smartly wielded wooden cudgel.

Adamantine

This alloy, of five-eighths adamant to two-eighths silver and one-eighth electrum (itself a natural alloy of silver and gold) retains the hardness of adamant, but combines it with a rugged durability that makes adamantine so hard to shatter that it is the favored substance for the making of war hammer heads, the best nonmithral armor, and harbor chains. (By one of the miracles granted by the gods, adamantine can also be derived by combining steel and mithral if one knows how. Adamantine is black, but has a clear green sheen in candlelight a sheen that sharpens to purple-white under the light given off by most magical radiances and by will-o-wisps.

Adamantine is tricky to make, and must be forged and worked at very high temperatures by smiths who know exactly what they are doing and who have access to special oils to slake and temper the hot metal in. Almost all such expert smiths are dwarves, as the Deep Folk guard the secrets of working adamant jealously, but a priest or wizard seeking to enchant items can make use of finished adamantine items and need not necessarily have to work with a smith to create an adamantine work anew.

Copper

This well-known pure metal, with its distinctive pinkish sheen, is the best widely available purifier and amalgamator among metals. It is soft and easily worked, widely known. The wizard and especially the priest seeking to work with a substance or item not suited to his or her faith or purpose can make the offending item usable by adding at least half the item’s weight of copper to the item. (For example, by sheathing it in copper or adding a longer handle plated in copper, or similar means.) Holy or unholy water should not be stored for any length of time in copper vessels, because the metal will neutralize either in a few months, changing them to normal water.

Gold

This well-known pure metal is the softest of workable metallic substances, and one of the best conductors among them. Despite its high value, it is relatively common and is favored for use in ornamentation in the making of magical items, often being used as an inlay in graven runes or inscriptions, where meld magics can keep it from being damaged or falling out through rough handling. Gold has the important ability to hold multiple enchantments, even conflicting ones, and keep them from affecting each other or the stability of the gold-adorned item.

Mithral

Known as truemetal to the dwarves, this silvery-blue, shining metal is derived from soft, glittering, silvery-black ore found in rare veins and pockets all over, from the depths of the Underdark to surface rocks. Mithral can be combined with steel (varying alloys of iron and carbon) to derive adamantine if one has no access to adamantite ore, but this process is both difficult and known only to a very few dwarves, who do not perform it for nondwarves unless there is a very good reason.

Mithral is the lightest and most supple of metals hard enough to be used in the making of armor; it is extremely valuable.

Silver

This relatively common valuable pure metal is known to the elves as “the sheath and shield of Art” because, of all metals, it is the most associated with and suitable for magic. Many dwarves use silver in various alloy formulae of their own devising or that have been handed down through clans for generations. Most of the beauty of metalwork down through the ages has been associated with the gleam and hue of mirror-polished, untarnished silver, and it has always been associated with the adornment of magical items.

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12 responses to “D&D 5E – Metals

  1. Mark December 4, 2016 at 5:26 pm

    Very Awesome information. I have looked for years for something translatable into D&D

    • Ronny December 4, 2016 at 9:16 pm

      I am glad you like it. Feel free to make adjustments if needed to fit your particular campaign. Today I realized that I need to add information about how much each of these metals weigh. For instance, how much would a one-foot square, one inch thick, piece of adamantine weigh? I need to work this out for each of the metals. If you already have this information on any of these metals please share.

      • simonjhudson December 5, 2016 at 8:57 am

        This will help.
        http://www.coyotesteel.com/assets/img/PDFs/weightspercubicfoot.pdf
        Divide the values by 12 to get the weight of a 1’x1’x1″ piece of the material.
        I’d guess that Adamantine weighs the same as Bronze, while mithral the same as aluminium.
        Electrum is an alloy, so assuming it’s ~50:50 then it is 900 lb/cu ft

      • Ronny December 5, 2016 at 10:08 am

        Excellent resource! Thank you very much. I will make this the bulk of my next post.
        From The Dragon #17, August 1978, Adamanite is aprox. 4/5 the weight of iron. I couldn’t find
        anything official more recent.
        From the 3.5 SRD “An item made from mithral weighs half as much as the same item made from other metals. weapons.” so I’ll put its weight at half that of iron or steel.
        Electrum can be from 40% gold up to 70% – I think 50% works just fine.

      • simonjhudson December 5, 2016 at 10:30 am

        Excellent and glad to help. I even managed to do it without mentioning what a bloody stupid system the non-metric measurements are (oops!).
        Useful info on Adamantine and mithral. I had assumed the latter was even lighter, but it’s closer to titanium than aluminium.
        I hadn’t really thought about how much heavier metals are than stone before – aluminium weighs about the same as granite!

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  4. Ski August 25, 2017 at 4:37 pm

    In the PHB for 5e, the trade value of 1 lb. of copper goes for 5sp.

  5. Cody Butler August 27, 2017 at 10:49 pm

    “Gold has the important ability to hold multiple enchantments, even conflicting ones, and keep them from affecting each other or the stability of the gold-adorned item.”

    Yet, nowhere can i find rules for enchantment for 5e. do you have any on hand or can show me any? I have been interested in expanding the playing field for players making their own weapons, and armor, and such.

    • Ronny September 4, 2017 at 10:55 am

      Pardon my delay in responding to your post. I was on vacation.
      You may have already found the answer to your question, but here is what I have to say.

      5th edition does not have rules for creating magic items. It is more like 1st and 2nd edition in that magic items are intended to be found, not created, and perhaps not purchased. Note there are no prices for magic items in the PHB or DMG. 3rd and 4th edition had rules for creating and prices for magic items.

      I like only finding magic items, but in a high magic campaign I would allow magic shops where old magic items could be purchased. I will still not allow PCs to create magic items and I would rule that the art of enchanting items was lost long ago.
      The reason, as a DM, I like having only found magic items is that it gives me a lot more control over what magic items are available. They only get the items I want them to have. Also I don’t want my players spending a lot of game time creating their custom magic items.

      That doesn’t mean that you can’t have house rules for creating magic items if you want that in your game. I would base that loosely on the 3rd and/or 4th edition rules. Here is a variant rule you might want to look at:
      https://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/Item_Enchanting_(5e_Variant_Rule)

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