Dungeon Master Assistance

A place to share thoughts and ideas about Dungeons and Dragons

Plans for 2017

Thoughts on 2016 and Plans for 2017

2016 was good for me as far as gaming goes. I was able to start playing again after a long time away from the table. I am now playing in a Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition game every Tuesday night and running one every Saturday. On Tuesdays, I am playing an orc barbarian in a Hoard of the Dragon Queen campaign. (I was playing a human bard until she got killed.) On Saturdays, I am the DM for an Age of Worms campaign. It was written for 3.5 but I am running it converted to 5th edition.

Earlier in 2016, I subscribed to Dungeon Crate and I have just started a subscription to RPG Crate. So far I like Dungeon Crate and will let you know what I think of RPG Crate. Reading the reviews, I have high hopes for it.

The response to this blog has been very encouraging. In January 2015 I had 58 followers. I now have 265 followers. Thank you very much! I will be adding my thoughts and ideas as well as reference material and updates to my player’s sheet. I didn’t work on my “Dragon Hunt” novel much last year, but I intend to get back to work on that this year. I expect there to be a lot of new material published for 5th edition this year. I am sure that I will be getting copies of all of the supplements, adventures, and expanded rulebooks, but I will continue to focus this blog on the Player’s Handbook, Dungeon Master’s Guide and Monster Manuel.

Happy new year. I hope all of your rolls are successes!

D&D 3.5 – Classes with Class


Classes with Class

In 2004 and 2005 Skip Williams (co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition) put a series of articles on the Wizards website with tips on playing each of the various character types. Wizards of the Coast has moved them to their D&D Archives, but you can still find them there if you are diligent in your search.

These are an excellent reference. They were written for D&D 3.5 but even if you are running a fifth edition game you will find then a useful reference.


Here are direct links to them:

Fighters with Class

Rogues with Class

Wizards with Class

Clerics with Class

Barbarians with Class

Bards with Class

Sorcerers with Class

Druids with Class

Rangers with Class

Paladins with Class

Monks with Class

Warlocks with Class


And here is a link to the 3.5 D&D Archives page:

3.5 D&D Archives


D&D 5E – Falling Objects


Falling Objects

Just as characters take damage when they fall more than 10 feet, so to do they take damage when they are hit by falling objects. I was using these house rules for 3rd edition and they still work for 5th edition. I would typically allow a character to make a DC 15 DEX saving throw to jump out of the way and take no damage.

Objects that fall upon characters deal damage based on their weight and the distance they have fallen.

For objects weighing 200 pounds or more, the object deals 1d6 points of damage, provided it falls at least 10 feet. Distance also comes into play, adding an additional 1d6 points of damage for every 10-foot increment it falls beyond the first (to a maximum of 20d6 points of damage).

Objects smaller than 200 pounds also deal damage when dropped, but they must fall farther to deal the same damage. Use this table to see how far an object of a given weight must drop to deal 1d6 points of damage.

Object Weight Falling Distance Maximum damage
200 lb. or more 10 ft. 20d6
100-199 lb. 20 ft. 10d6
50-99 lb. 30 ft. 5d6
30-49 lb. 40 ft. 4d6
10-29 lb. 50 ft. 3d6
5-9 lb. 60 ft. 2d6
1-4 lb. 70 ft. 1d6

For each additional increment an object falls, it deals an additional 1d6 points of damage up to the maximum damage. Objects weighing less than 1 pound do not deal damage to those they land upon, no matter how far they have fallen.

D&D 5E – Crossbows



The only problem with a crossbow is that it takes so long to load most people can only make one crossbow attack each round. Because Player Characters aren’t “most people” they often are able to make multiple attacks each round. When the rules were written for fifth edition they attempted to restrict the number of times a crossbow could be fired and still allow for exceptions. Doing all of this and also keeping the rules simple and short created quite a bit of confusion. In my opinion, their subsequent attempt at clarifying the rules didn’t help all that much. This post represents my thoughts on the subject and how I deal with it using a couple of house rules.

General crossbow description: A crossbow has a wooden stock generally made from yew, ash, hazel or elm and coated with glue or varnish. The ‘bow’ is made of wood, iron or steel. The bow has a span of two to three feet. The crossbow string is made from hemp. The string has been soaked in glue as some protection against moisture. The string is pulled back by using a lever or winding a crank on a ratchet.  This “cocking” of the crossbow is what gives a crossbow the “loading” property. The crossbow bolt is laid in a groove on the top of the stock and the trigger pulled. There are two or three notches to rest the thumb which can then be lined up with the bolt forming the crossbow sight. You add your dexterity bonus to crossbow damage to represent increased precision. A crossbow can be carried already loaded with a bolt.

Using a crossbow as an improvised weapon: If you have a crossbow in your hand and you are out of ammunition or it isn’t loaded (refer to loading below) you can still use your Attack action to try to hit somebody with it. As an improvised weapon it deals 1d4 bludgeoning damage. You don’t get your proficiency bonus on the attack but you can add your Strength bonus to both the attack and damage rolls. You could even throw it at them (range 20/60). That also deals 1d4 bludgeoning damage but rather than STR, you use your DEX bonus on attack and damage.

There are three types of crossbows listed in the Player’s Handbook. Here are my expanded descriptions.

heavy-crossbowHeavy Crossbow [Martial Ranged Weapon]: The string is pulled back by winding a crank on a ratchet. Because it is a heavy weapon, small size creatures have a disadvantage when attacking with it. This crossbow is not inexpensive (50 gp) but it does the most damage (1d10) and has the longest range (100/400). It requires two hands to load or to attack with this weapon. Although it weighs 18 pounds most characters should be able to carry it with just one hand.


light-crossbowLight Crossbow [Simple Ranged Weapon]: The string is pulled back by using a hinged lever which pulls the string into place. Despite its name, this weapon does not have the “light” property. It is the least expensive crossbow (25 gp) and does good damage (1d8) at a reasonable range (80/320). It requires two hands to load or to attack with this weapon, but it only weighs 5 pounds and can be carried in just one hand.


hand-crossbowHand Crossbow [Martial Ranged Weapon]: The string is pulled back by using a lever.  It is the only crossbow with the “light” property. It can’t be used for two-hand fighting because that requires a light melee weapon and this is not a melee weapon, it is a ranged weapon.  The “light” property might come into play with other abilities or DM rulings. For instance, a tight passage where non-light weapons have a disadvantage.  This is the most expensive crossbow (75 gp) and does the least amount of damage (1d6). It also has the shortest range (30/120). As its name implies, it only weighs 3 pounds and can easily be held in one hand. You can shoot a hand crossbow with one hand but it requires two hands to load it. You can shoot a hand crossbow in each hand (if you are allowed more than one attack on your turn), but only if they are both loaded at the start of your turn.


Most of the confusion with crossbows comes from the wording of the Loading property and the  Crossbow Expert feat.

Loading. (PHB p. 147)
Because of the time required to load this weapon, you can fire only one piece of ammunition from it when you use an action, bonus action, or reaction to fire it, regardless of the number of attacks you can normally make.
Crossbow Expert  (PHB p.165)
Thanks to extensive practice with the crossbow, you gain the following benefits:

• You ignore the loading quality of crossbows with which you are proficient.

• Being within 5 feet of a hostile creature doesn’t impose disadvantage on your ranged attack rolls.

• When you use the Attack action and attack with a one-handed weapon, you can use a bonus action to attack with a loaded hand crossbow you are holding.

I suggest replacing both of these with the house rules listed below.

Loading. (This replaces the loading property in the PHB) You cannot attack with a crossbow unless it has been loaded. The act of loading a crossbow consists of pulling the string back and securing it, drawing the crossbow bolt, and placing it into the slot on the weapon. The act of loading a crossbow requires the use of both hands. You can load a crossbow once per Attack action regardless of the number of attacks you are allowed to make in that action. Any round in which you do not make an attack, you can use an Attack action, or your free “interact with one object” activity to load a crossbow.

Crossbow Expert (replaces the Crossbow Expert feat in the PHB)

Thanks to extensive practice with the crossbow, you gain the following benefits:

  • You gain proficiency with all crossbows.
  • When you use the Attack action, every attack you make with a crossbow can include loading as part of the attack.
  • Being within 5 feet of a hostile creature doesn’t impose disadvantage on any attack rolls.
  • When you use the Attack action and attack with a one-handed weapon, you can use your bonus action to take one shot with a loaded hand crossbow you are holding in the other hand.

So, here are some examples of how the above house rules affect the game:

1) You can’t load any crossbow, even a hand crossbow, with a shield, hand crossbow, or any other weapon in your other hand.

2) You can use your “interact with one object” option to load (but not fire) a crossbow once a round provided you use both hands. But, you can’t do this and also load a crossbow as part of an Attack action that round.

3) You cannot load a crossbow as part of a Bonus action or a Reaction.

4) You cannot attack with a crossbow as a Bonus action or as a Reaction unless it is loaded.

5) If you are holding a loaded crossbow you can attack with it in any situation that permits you to attack, be that an Attack action, Bonus action, or a Reaction.

6) If you are allowed to use your Attack action to make two attacks, you can fire a crossbow that is already loaded and then load and fire it one more time in that action. You can only load it once per Attack action.

7) If you have two Attack actions, you can load and fire a crossbow once each action. In addition, you can fire it once at the beginning of your first Attack action if it is already loaded.

8) If you have the Crossbow Expert feat, you can load and fire a crossbow once for every attack you are allowed in an Attack action, but you cannot load a crossbow as part of a Bonus action or as part of a Reaction.

D&D 5E – Variant


Simplified – fast and fun D&D

Rich Jones has created a variant to the D&D rules. Check it out HERE.

According to Rich “I have made a short, concise guide for playing a fast-and-fun-optimized variant of DnD that I have been playing with my friends, and … I use your pre-made character sheets as the recommended way to get started.”

I am glad that he found my stuff useful. Everyone should check it out and tell me what you think.

D&D 5E – The Attack Action


The Attack Action

With all of the different class features that allow multiple attacks, I am seeing a lot of confusion as to how many and what types of attacks a character can get on his turn.

“Attack” and “Attack Action” are two different things.

On your turn, you can move and take one action. A special ability, spell, or other feature of the game may allow you to also take a bonus action, and/or take a reaction. You may also interact with one object and do other simple activities. What is important here is that you can only take one action. One possible action you can take is called the Attack action. None of the other combat actions are an Attack action (Cast a Spell, Dash, Disengage, Dodge, Help, Use an object, Hide, Search, Readied action, Improvised action).

Attack action: “With this action, you make one melee or ranged attack… Certain features, such as the Extra Attack feature of the fighter, allow you to make more than one attack with this action.” PHB, p192.

This rule sounds fairly straight forward but combined with other rules, features, and options it can become a bit confusing. In certain situations, you make a melee or ranged attack when you Cast a Spell, take a Bonus action, or take a Reaction. In other situations when you take the Attack action you don’t make a melee or ranged attack. And, just because an action is called an “attack” doesn’t mean that you can perform that action when you use the “Attack action”.

Confused yet?

This confusion could have been lessened a bit if the “Attack action” had a different name. Perhaps they could have called it the “Offensive action” or something. I am not going to do that here. However, it is important to know that when you read something in the Player’s Handbook, the Dungeon Master’s Guide or the Monster Manuel the wording is important. See if it says “Attack action” or just “attack”.

Partial list of things that you can do with an Attack action:

  • Make a weapon attack with a melee weapon, ranged weapon, or improvised weapon. This includes drawing ammunition for use with a ranged weapon.
  • Make an unarmed strike.
  • Grapple a creature.
  • Shove a creature.
  • Two weapon fighting – When you use the Attack action to attack with a light melee weapon that you’re holding in one hand, the second attack, with a light weapon in your other hand, is a bonus action and not part of the Attack action.
  • “Extra attack” – With many weapon-using classes you can gain the ability to attack multiple times, instead of just once. This feature can only be used when you take the Attack action.
  • (Monks) “Flurry of Blows” can only be used (as a bonus action)  after taking the Attack action.
  • (Druid – while in beast form) Your weapon attacks, where the “weapon” might be a manufactured item or a natural weapon, can only be used when you take the Attack action.
  • (Druid – while in beast form) If the creature has the Multiattack action, you may make the listed attacks rather than, or in place of, an Attack action.

Partial list of actions you CANNOT do as an Attack action:

  • Cast a spell – even if that spell has you make a “range attack” or “melee attack” or “”spell attack”.
  • Dash, disengage, dodge, help, use an object, hide, search, ready an action, or perform an improvised action.
  • Make an opportunity attack. (This is done as a “reaction”)

The Attack action is not the only way you can attack. Some spell examples:

If you cast Eldritch Blast (with the Cast a Spell action), you make a ranged spell attack against a creature. This is an attack, but you’ve used the Cast a Spell action, not the Attack action to do so. As a result, abilities such as Extra Attack and Flurry of Blows won’t trigger.

If you cast Shocking Grasp (with the Cast a Spell action) you make a melee spell attack against a creature. Once again, you’ve used the Cast a Spell action, not the Attack action, so extra attack doesn’t apply.

Not all spells work that way, however. If you cast Shilleagh (as a Bonus action), you don’t immediately attack. Instead, it modifies how you attack (with the Attack action) for the duration of the spell, instead of using your Strength as the modifier for your attacks, you use your spellcasting ability score (normally Wisdom for druids).

Another wrinkle are the spells which have an ongoing effect. Vampiric Touch is one such spell – it allows you to make a melee spell attack when you cast it (with the Cast a Spell action), but the spell persists for up to a minute. Its text reads “Until the spell ends, you can make the attack again on each of your turns as an action”. Is this an Attack action? No, it isn’t. It’s a brand new type of action you get to use. Call it “Vampiric Touch action” if you like. These new actions allow you to attack, but they don’t use the Attack action. The trick to identifying them is that they read “as an action” or “use your action” to describe how they work. A few require the use of your bonus action instead.

Attack Terminology

All attacks are described in terms such as ranged spell attack or melee weapon attack. Each word means something.

“Ranged” attacks suffer disadvantage if you’re adjacent to an opponent, “melee” attacks do not. “Melee” attacks can be against any creature within your reach (generally 5 feet), while ranged attacks can be made against any creature within the stated range of the attack. In some cases, an attack form has two ranges; attacks at the longer range are made at a disadvantage.

If the wording says “melee weapon attack” you can do an unarmed strike. You add your strength modifier and your proficiency modifier (you are proficient with unarmed strikes) to your attack roll and it does damage equal to 1+ your strength modifier. But an unarmed strike is not a weapon. This means that any rule that applies to a “weapon attack” will apply to unarmed strikes but ones that apply specifically to a “weapon” do not.

“Spell” attacks use your spellcasting ability modifier, while “weapon” attacks use Strength (melee weapon) or Dexterity (ranged weapon). There are exceptions to this depending on the spell or type of weapon.

The word “attack” indicates that it is an attack roll, one of the three types of d20 roll in D&D. (The others are saving throw and ability check.) Attack rolls are different because a natural 1 is an automatic miss, while a natural 20 is an automatic hit and a critical hit. Both saving throws and ability checks don’t have special things happen on 1s or 20s.

Action Surge

One of the special cases is the fighter ability Action Surge. This allows you to take one additional action during your turn. If you use this to take the Attack action, you get as many attacks as you would if you took it for your first action. So, a 20th level fighter can get 8 attacks in a turn – four from the first Attack action and four from the second Attack action. You could then use your bonus action to attack with your off-hand weapon (Two-Weapon Fighting). Note that Action Surge does not give you an additional bonus action or move; only an additional action.


Another special case is the spell Haste. It allows an affected character to take an additional action each turn (not all actions are allowed). However, if you took the Attack action, you can only gain one additional attack with it – the Extra Attacks you might have don’t count.

Interestingly, this doesn’t stop you using Flurry of Blows or Two-Weapon Fighting, as both are part of bonus actions. You could use your first action to cast a spell, then your additional action from haste to make a single weapon attack with the Attack Action, then use your bonus action to make an off-hand attack with Two-Weapon Fighting since you’ve used the Attack Action during the turn.


Most of the rules and power descriptions use quite specific wording, but because the terms can be quite similar, it’s easy to get confused. “Attack action”, “As an action” and “Attack” mean three separate things, as do “When you make an attack” and “When you take the Attack action”. As long as you keep the differences in mind, you should be fine.

(Special thanks to Merric’s Musings for his April 21, 2015, post on this topic, which I have heavily plagiarized.)

d&d 5e – Martial Archetypes


New Fighter Archetypes

WoC released three new Fighter Archetypes (The ‘path’ you can take a level 3 as a fighter).

They include Samurai, Knights and Arcane Archer:


D&D 5E – Item Weights


Weights for a Few Common Items

The equipment tables in the Player’s Handbook don’t quite cover everything a character might decide to pick up and carry. Here are weight figures for a few such items.

Armchair 20 lb.
Chair, simple 5 lb.
Door, iron (2 in. thick) 3,200 lb.
Door, stone ( 2 in. thick) 2,200 lb.
Door, simple wooden (1 in. thick) 150 lb.
Door, good wooden (1 1/2” thick) 225 lb.
Door, strong wooden (2 in. thick) 350 lb.
Footstool 2 lb.
Petrified creature x8 lb.
Spirits, cask 18 lb.
Spirits, hogshead 750 lb.
Spirits, keg 90 lb.
Spirits, barrel 375 lb.
Statue, Gargantuan 19,200 lb.
Statue, Huge 8,100 lb.
Statue, Large 2,400 lb.
Statue, Medium 300 b.
Statue, Small 40 lb.
Statue, Tiny 3 lb.
Table, banquet 225 lb.
Table, small 60 lb.
Tapestry 100 lb.
Workbench 300 lb.

Table Notes
Here are a few notes to clarify the table entries.

  • Armchair: This entry assumes fine hardwood construction and a leather or cloth cover. The weight given is for a chair built for a Medium creature. Cut the weight in half for each size category below Medium and double the weight for each size category above Medium.
  • Chair, Simple: This is a plain chair made from inexpensive hardwood, and it has no arms. See the armchair entry to adjust the weight for larger or smaller creatures.
  • Doors: All doors are assumed to be 7 feet high and 4 feet wide. The listed weight includes hinges, handle, and lock appropriate for the door’s overall construction.
  • Footstool: This assumes a plain, wooden stool about 6 inches high, with a round top about 18 inches across.
  • Petrified Creature: To calculate a petrified creature’s weight, multiply the creature’s normal weight by 8 and add the weight of any gear the creature was carrying at the time of petrification. When a creature is magically turned to stone, it and all its gear turn to stone. This tends to make metal gear weigh a little less, but nonmetal gear gets heavier, so the two tend to average out.
  • Table, Banquet: This table is built to comfortably seat twelve Medium creatures (about 4-1/2 feet wide and 8 feet long). See the armchair entry to adjust the weight for a table built to seat larger or smaller creatures.
  • Table, Small: The represents a plain wooden table that might be found in a modest home or merchant’s shop. It’s big enough to seat six Medium creatures (about 3-1/2 feet wide and 7 feet long). See the armchair entry to adjust the weight for a table built to seat larger or smaller creatures.
  • Spirits: The spirits entry assumes a barrel-shaped container made from hardwood staves and iron hoops. A cask contains 2 gallons of liquid, a hogshead holds 88 gallons, a keg holds 10 gallons, and a barrel holds 44 gallons. You can use these figures for any liquid-based contents. Containers with dry contents might weigh anywhere from one quarter to two-thirds as much.
  • Statues: The statues are assumed to be made of hollow metal construction (bronze) or of solid stone (marble). A statue of solid metal will weight 4 times this amount. Statue sizes refer to creature sizes as listed in the Player’s Handbook and in the Monster Manual, and they represent figures in the mid-range for each size category. A statue of the listed size could easily weigh anywhere from one half to twice the listed weight. All statue weights include an attached base or pedestal. For statues made of other materials adjust the weight based on the relative weight of that material. Refer to the material weight table here.
  • Tapestry: Assumes a woven wool tapestry about 10 feet square and about 1/4 inch thick. You also can use this figure for carpets or rugs.
  • Workbench: This is a bench about 3 feet high, 3 feet wide, and 8 feet long, with sturdy legs and top and a shelf or footrest below.

D&D 5E – Weights of Materials


Weights of Materials

“Wow – we got this great new thing. What does it weigh?”


Weight per cubic foot

Weapon or Armor weight*


400 lb.

Same as steel


550 lb.

Same as steel


550 lb.

Same as steel

Cold Iron

500 lb.

Same as steel


550 lb.

Same as steel


900 lb.

Twice that of steel


1,200 lb.

2 1/2 times that of steel


500 lb.

Same as steel


700 lb.

1 1/2 times that of steel


250 lb.

Half that of steel


1,350 lb.

Three times that of steel


650 lb.

Same as steel


500 lb.

PHB metal weapons and armor are steel


450 lb.

Same as steel


Weight per cubic foot

Weapon or Armor weight*


90 lb.

Same as steel


50 lb.


100 lb.

One quarter that of steel


40 lb.


150 lb.

One third that of steel


80 lb.

Earth, Dry

90 lb.

Earth, Mud

110 lb.


60 lb.


30 lb.


150 lb.

One third that of steel


170 lb.

One third that of steel


130 lb.

One third that of steel


100 lb.


20 lb.


60 lb.


100 lb.


170 lb.

One third that of steel

Masonry, Rubble

140 lb.


100 lb.


60 lb.


40 lb.

One tenth that of steel


60 lb.


140 lb.


40 lb.


90 lb.

One third that of steel

Sand, Dry

100 lb.

Sand, Wet

120 lb.


150 lb.

One third that of steel


180 lb.

One third that of steel

Snow, Freshly Fallen

10 lb.

Snow, Wet

50 lb.

One tenth that of steel

Soap Stone

170 lb.

One third that of steel

Soda Ash

70 lb.


60 lb.


120 lb.


70 lb.


60 lb.

Water, Ice

50 lb.

One tenth that of steel

Wood – Green

50 lb.

One tenth that of steel

Wood – Dry

30 lb.

One tenth that of steel


80 lb.

One tenth that of steel

* To calculate the weight a piece of armor or a weapon would be if made of one of these meterals, look up the weight of that item in the PHB (Player’s Handbook). Then find the material in the above table and look under the “Weapon or Armor weight” column. If it says “Same as steel” then it will weigh the same as the one in the PHB. Otherwise change the weight as indicated.

There are 1,728 cubic inches in a cubic foot. We can round that off to 2,000.

To make a quick estimate of the weight of an item, it is often easer to work in cubic inches than it is to work in cubic feet. Divide the weight per cubic foot for the material (in the table above) by 2,000. Then multiply the resulting fraction by the number of cubic inches of material in the item. Round this down to an even pound.

For metals, you can get the value of the item by multiplying the weight of the item by the metal’s value per pound (here).

D&D 5E – 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”.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.