D&D 5E Orichalcum?

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
So...why? Like, I get that this is an emotional reaction and emotions are sometimes "because I do, there is no reason," but this is the kind of thing that usually arises from a conflict of some kind. Even if it's a personal/subjective/idiosyncratic one.

And I just....don't get it. As long as it's staying within the realm of "a magic item empowered both by the materials used and by magic woven into the blade as it is created," I don't understand why such material substitution is a problem. I mean, we give the same types of fire spells to demons, dragons, and elementals (or to sorcerers and warlocks whose powers derive from radically different sources)--why is it okay that spells work the same regardless of their supernatural source, but utterly unacceptable that red dragon blood, efreeti rubies, and malebranche horn extract can all power the same kind of magical fire on a magical weapon?
I suppose I came on too strong there. I just hate the general idea in games that descriptions differ but it's all the same as far as the rules go. It was a big problem I had with 4e. I'd much rather spells worked differently too, but at some point you have to accept some abstraction for playability (which is where something like hit points comes in, for example). In this case, if you're going to use a fantasy material like orichalcum, I'd much rather it matter beyond a description.
 

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EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
I suppose I came on too strong there. I just hate the general idea in games that descriptions differ but it's all the same as far as the rules go. It was a big problem I had with 4e. I'd much rather spells worked differently too, but at some point you have to accept some abstraction for playability (which is where something like hit points comes in, for example). In this case, if you're going to use a fantasy material like orichalcum, I'd much rather it matter beyond a description.
I guess I draw a distinction between "descriptions," as in what is done, and "origins," as in where it comes from. A flametongue weapon always works as a flametongue weapon, you can figure out how that cashes out. Fireball works as it does in part because that's the structure that "throw a LOT of fire" at someone takes. Etc. But the origin of that power can be different. Like how you can get a hard sword blade by fancy-schmancy folded nippon steel, or aircraft aluminum, or quenched titanium, or... They're all metal blades with a sharp edge. What differences exist will rarely become relevant because they're beneath the level of detail the game measures. We don't force players to sharpen their blades and weapon breakage rules are rare to nonexistent, 5e removed nearly all weapon properties (other than finesse) so there's no meaningful differences to be had there, etc.

For me, as long as the material reasonably justifies powering a fire-based enchantment, I don't see any value in making 7+ different "it's a sword that gets fiery attacks" based on all the different possible sources for a fire enchantment. The essence of flame is there, it just needs to be strong enough to power the standard enchantment. The description is consistent because that's what it physically, practically does.

Or, if you prefer a simpler analogy: Your computer doesn't care if it's powered by a river, a solar panel, a bunch of fissioned atoms, burned methane, burned coal, or giant metal windmills. I see the magic--the description--as being equivalent to the computer, not the generators.
 

Shadowdweller00

Adventurer
I guess I draw a distinction between "descriptions," as in what is done, and "origins," as in where it comes from. A flametongue weapon always works as a flametongue weapon, you can figure out how that cashes out. Fireball works as it does in part because that's the structure that "throw a LOT of fire" at someone takes. Etc. But the origin of that power can be different. Like how you can get a hard sword blade by fancy-schmancy folded nippon steel, or aircraft aluminum, or quenched titanium, or... They're all metal blades with a sharp edge. What differences exist will rarely become relevant because they're beneath the level of detail the game measures. We don't force players to sharpen their blades and weapon breakage rules are rare to nonexistent, 5e removed nearly all weapon properties (other than finesse) so there's no meaningful differences to be had there, etc.
That sort of origin is another of those things I try to avoid, unless it's somehow plot-relevant; or a player goes out of their way to investigate it. It's otherwise extraneous detail. I have a hard enough time getting players to remember important, recurring characters... o_O
 

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
That sort of origin is another of those things I try to avoid, unless it's somehow plot-relevant; or a player goes out of their way to investigate it. It's otherwise extraneous detail. I have a hard enough time getting players to remember important, recurring characters... o_O
Have you considered using something like World Anvil to create a timeline or otherwise providing an interactive/"wander-able" source of such information? I have found it very helpful now that my campaign has run so long.
 



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