D&D 5E Magical Metals and Alloys: We Need More

MarkB

Legend
The metal Byeshk from Eberron is kind-of canonical in 5e, in that it's mentioned in the Eberron sourcebook as an export of Droaam. But its properties aren't detailed.

In Rime of the Frostmaiden, the crystalline substance Chardalyn can be worked like metal in the fashioning of magical weapons and armour, but it tends to have a detrimental effect on the mental state of those who wear or wield it.
 

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Ath-kethin

Elder Thing
The metal Byeshk from Eberron is kind-of canonical in 5e, in that it's mentioned in the Eberron sourcebook as an export of Droaam. But its properties aren't detailed.
That's a damn shame. In Eberron 3.5, or course, byeshk was necessary to overcome the damage reduction of creatures form Xoriat (basically the Far Realm), which included illithids.

Sad to hear they dropped that in the 5e version.

But that's really the purpose I think special materials should serve. While some, like mithril or the stuff drow armor and weapons are made from, are pretty common and just enhance typical items, the more exotic versions are needed to accomplish certain tasks or injure certain monsters.
 


Bolares

Hero
I like the idea of special alloys or woods in the game, but rather than having 10 different materials with specific gamefied mechanics for each of them, I'd rather make them ingredients for magical or specially crafted items. If you want a magic sword that kills fey, cold iron should be an igredient. If you want to build a flying ship, soarwood should be necessary. If you want a druid to have a greataxe or armor, get them some ironwood.
 

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
I am working on a different approach - the crafting rules in Xanathar's indicate that special ingredients or materials are required for making magic items - so, I simply have it that there's no difference between "magic weapon" and "weapon made from special materials".

This gets around some of the weirdness in which, technically, folks not proficient in Arcana can make magic items - for these, the above-normal abilities come from the material and details of forging process, not necessarily casting enchantments they'd not know how to use.
Regardless of edition, this is my preferred way to handle such things. IMO (and somewhat IME) it makes the world feel more magical--because the "riddle of steel" and otherwise being a smith of peerless quality really DOES mean you can have things transcend the limits of mundanity.

There are also materials lost to us now that really did exist, like "hepatizon" (literally "liver-colored") which was a special and extremely valuable type of bronze, or Damascus steel. And other real-world mythical materials that may or may not have existed, like "flexible glass," which could allegedly be beaten like a ductile metal without breaking.

Materials I've suggested elsewhere:
ravenglass: obsidian specifically formed by conflicting magical energy, often "water elemental quenching lava" or "casting blizzard and meteor storm in the same area." Develops a similar absurdly-sharp edge as regular obsidian, but much less prone to breakage. Not infinitely durable, but durable enough to make solid pieces out of (think "ebony" and/or "glass" weapons from Elder Scrolls).
vertigis: unusual green-hued metal that affects the "flow" of magic around it in different ways depending on what it's alloyed with. Vertisteel acts as a magic "sink," "grounding" magical fields around it (improving defense against magic but also making it harder to benefit from positive magic). Mythigis (mythril/vertigis alloy), on the other hand, acts as an overall magic amplifier, enhancing both positive and negative magic applied to the wearer.
unmelting ice: lightweight and obviously cold, but requires some minimal maintenance (e.g. water-polishing it to fill in nicks and dents), basically impossible to forge but can be slowly "grown" from seed crystals under the right conditions (no ice-nine here).
 

That's a damn shame. In Eberron 3.5, or course, byeshk was necessary to overcome the damage reduction of creatures form Xoriat (basically the Far Realm), which included illithids.

Sad to hear they dropped that in the 5e version.
They droped that in the 5e version because DR is incredibly rare (I am not sure it applies to monster and I can only think of the rules on hitting objects like a wall). Instead, a sidebar in Exploring Eberron advises to have byeshk coated weapons cost 400 gp more and deal +1d6 damage to aberration and can't regain HP until the end of the next turn.
 

jgsugden

Legend
I'll share my original metal, something I came up when I was ~11 in the 1980s.

Chrysteel - This is a translucent metal. It is as light as mithril and tougher than adamantine. Sometimes known as Diamond Metal, it is exceedingly rare and the most valuable commodity in the known universe of my setting. One needs amazing circumstances to be able to forge it, and it is most often used in tiny amounts along the edge of an edged weapon (or the tip of a piercing one), giving it a 'wet look'. When crafted perfectly, it is entirely transparent, although it bends light dramatically creating rainbow sheens, or if crafted carefully, hues of only one color of light.

It holds enchantment very well (as it ties to the magical weave that holds the universe together), and in many cases can magnify magic.

The single most powerful artifact weapon In my setting is the Chrysteel Axe. It is a Waraxe of Dwarven make that has almost the entire head of the axe made of Chrysteel. The weapon can cut through anything. Unfortunately, during the forging of it, a lich snuck their phylactery into the core of the axe (which is now shielded by the Chrysteel), just behind the head, and thus it is essentially cursed. When one removes the axe from where it is stored, they must contend with the lich - and the only way to prevent the lich from respawning is to bury it within anti-magic when the lich is to return. As such, when the axe is to be used, the lich must be fought, the axe used, and then it must be returned before the lich returns... and that lich is off the charts nasty. The first priority of it is to escape when it is released, and if it does so, it becomes one of the worst threats to my multiverse. I have an entire campaign I've run through twice that starts with the PCs finding the axe, releasing the lich, and then spending their entire lives trying to stop it.
 

Ath-kethin

Elder Thing
They droped that in the 5e version because DR is incredibly rare (I am not sure it applies to monster and I can only think of the rules on hitting objects like a wall). Instead, a sidebar in Exploring Eberron advises to have byeshk coated weapons cost 400 gp more and deal +1d6 damage to aberration and can't regain HP until the end of the next turn.
It's not THAT rare in 5e; multiple monsters have resistances to, say, "bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks not made with silvered weapons."

Replace "silvered" with "byeshk" and there you are.
 

TheSword

Legend
Pathfinder has their 7 starmetals. described in book 1 of the Shattered Star adventure path (Shards of Sin I think)

As said earlier Magic of Faerun had about a dozen special alloys including a living metal. It also had lots of really nice properties of gems when used in magic items!
 

dave2008

Legend
It's not THAT rare in 5e; multiple monsters have resistances to, say, "bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks not made with silvered weapons."

Replace "silvered" with "byeshk" and there you are.
You could also just say: "a weapon made from byeshk is considered magical for overcoming resistances and immunities." Or something similar.
 
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