Today we speak of all materials to use with the crafting rules in the previous post, divided into classes.
The info in the following are mostly based on Mystara materials for D&D or AD&D. You can find a lot more materials and rules if you consider more general AD&D stuff and from Dragon Magazine (Fire for Effect!, Dragons 123 by Richard W. Hemerich; Always Wear Your Best Suit, Dragon 148, by Gordon R. Menzies; many others) and so on. We have also added something ourselves or completed some hints we found in the official books. We will indicate the sources along the way, but keep in mind the usual ones: Rules Cyclopedia (RC, as a compendium of basic D&D rules or, if you are lucky, use the colored boxes), and PC2 – Top Ballista (TB) and AC11 – The Book of the Wondrous Inventions (BWI), for Gnomes and inventions. Usually what I invented or tried to explain is written in italics.
Iron and steel: many kinds, some even magical. In HWR3 – The Milenian Empire, the Milenians have created a very light and strong Iron alloy with a golden hue, called Sunfire, used for sunbolt javelins but it could be used for other weapons and armors too (it costs A LOT). High carbon iron, from the old Nithian mines (see Nithian lore in many old sources and our adventure module The Tomb) gives the excellent Ylaruam Emirates steel (GAZ2 – The Emirates of Ylaruam): a durable steel already known at the times this area was part of the Nithian Empire (in the few sources that still bear the name of Nithia it could be described as “Nithian steel”). No particular bonuses but can be used for very high quality weapons (if you have a way to describe such weapons, e.g. for army massive battles and so on).
Red Steel: you can find all about this unusual metal in the Savage Coast Campaign Book, Red Steel Campaign Expansion and Champions of Mystara and Savage Baronies accessories. You can work it almost as steel but it is magical at the end! Any kind of army would want it and there are few things Gnomes would not do to have some tons of it! Red steel weapons are considered magical for the purpose of striking beings that can be hit only by magical weapons, just like Ironwood and Glassteel ones.
Meteoric Iron: also called starmetal and you could add some nice names if you want, like Iron of the Gods, Star Shards and so on. It is found in BWI and I think in the GAZ7 – The Northern Reaches too: I remember to have read somewhere, but was unable to find it, that the followers of the Immortals of the North considered sacred this material and collected small meteorites (following their fall), to create small statues of their Immortal Patron. If it was only a vivid dream I think it is too good not to include it. By the way, what will happen when you have many of this antimagical statuettes, maybe blessed by the Immortals? What could they be good for? A good idea would be a (automatic) Dispel Magic or a protection from spells, every day. The meteorites are usually very small, containing 2-5 oz of starmetal: it takes at least 10 “big” meteorites to do something useful. An armor is usually out of question. There are no natural sources/mines, it comes from the skies only. An enormous source of meteoric iron (and other strange materials too, see later EVEN MORE UNUSUAL MATERIALS), could be the giant meteorite striking the Darokin-Glantri border during the Wrath of the Immortals arc: another reason to be very happy (except for the poor darokinians …) for many demihumans, especially dwarven and gnomish alchemists, smiths and inventors!
Mithril/mithral: and other names too. In XS2, mentioned in Gaz11: Mithril Dagger/Hammer +1 objects. Rare mines, maybe with silver? Origin unknown. In the previous post [LINK] I hypothesized it is a very good material, sorry, but I am too fond of Tolkien (the books … only the books). It would be a magical kind of silver, permanently permeated by magic.
Adamantite: also know and Adamantane or Adamantine steel. Mentioned in BWI, 3 times in TB and also in GAZ2 and X2. Origin unknown. It seems indeed that the Serrainians know how to use it, to sustain the enormous strain of certain structures: it is able to resist to superheated plasma and it is enormously resistant (adamantite bolting keep in place the landing strip of Serraine). It seems to be THE stronger magical material in Mystara but where do they get it from, how much and how can they be able to work it without a Forge of Power, is another matter entirely … Since it resists to very high pressure, strains and temperature, you could think it was already surmised to that kind of forces: the conditions should be even more extreme than in the deep of the earth (and why should Skygnomes have some? They look to the skies or other Planes) with a LOT of magic involved. An idea is a collision of the two Planes of Fire and Earth (or a divine “war” between the Spheres of Matter and Energy): what is not utterly crashed and ground to dust of incinerated and evaporated, finds a kind of equilibrium between the opposed tendencies of exploding and imploding, giving a very stable magical material. You could even think to create a series of materials coming from the strain between 2 Elements: there would be 6 of them, of different stabilities and maybe useful to very bizarre applications (e.g. Water based materials, aligned with the Sphere of Time, could let you travel in time in some occasions)
Blackmoor alloys: very rare today, but a few thousand years ago the technomages or scientists of the Blackmoor empire created many wonders, even in the metallurgy field. They probably knew how to work all the materials in the previous post [LINK] table and, also, how to create new alloys. I surmise the best they could create was around the strength and magical power of Mithril (use the strength/looks rules for Ironwood, Glassteel, Red Steel, Meteoric Iron, Mithril, without their special properties). Even rarer alloys could be found near the center of the Blackmoor power: their origin, the aliens and the spaceship FSS Beagle. In DA3 – City of the Gods there is a description of FSS Beagle materials: Duralloy (it “can’t be damaged by nonmagical means” and is not “affected by alien weapons or by anything found in Blackmoor”) and Collapsium (a hull material, like duralloy). Probably these two alloys would be the equivalent of Adamantite, but absolutely non magical: no material or damage can even scratch them, if its origin is not magical. The aliens didn’t teach all to Blackmoor, so there are much much less of these alloys than even the remaining Blackmoor scraps of metal. It is possible that there are other alien sources of similar amazing metals, like, for instance the oards in CM6 – Where the Chaos Reigns or the “long-dead race of inhuman insectlike sorcerers” which created the Meks (RC). The best Blackmoor/Alien alloys are probably impossible to work today without a Forge of Power of the Dwarfs (see a future post about Demihuman Relics).
Fairy materials (see PC1 – Tall Tales of the Wee Folk): many fairies are masters of stone, non-iron alloys and living materials for their aversion to iron and cold iron. I find it quite ridiculous that very powerful and magical beings use bronze or stone weapons of inferior quality (like stated in PC1), to avoid iron. It is, for me, entirely possible that they know how to create silver alloys as strong or almost as strong as iron (for x100 the cost maybe). Or even plants, they already are able to modify them for building purposes: the palace of Cumnhall, is made of living plants “enchanted to be strong as stone”. And anyway we should ask the good Iubadan, King of the Leprechauns, what his +6 shield is made of … (it would be +4 in D&D 5e).
What about Meteoric Iron? Is it less or more deadly for the fairies? It is iron but more magical or, better, antimagical. I like more the idea that it is very deadly for all fairies, small and big: iron is a poison, but a slow one (see PC1 rules), because it probably “discharge” the typical magic of the fairies; Meteoric Iron is even antimagical, so I think a fairy struck and wounded by a Meteoric Iron weapon should make a Saving Throw or quickly waste away. If there is a simple contact, the fairy takes 1d4 damage / turn; if the weapon stays inside the fairy, he has to pass a Saving Throw every turn (after a certain time it could be with Disadvantage) or die and he can only act if he passes a similar Save every turn. He also gets 1d8 hp / turn of damage. A death by Meteoric Iron could be the Ultimate Death, stopping the endless cycle of death and rebirth of the Fairy Folk …
Plot device: a chaotic elf assassin was recruited to kill King Oberon with a Meteoric Iron arrow, shaped to be difficult to take out from the wound and to be used with his Fairy-slaying longbow … Does he already have the arrow or does he compel a mighty smith to produce one for him? Obviously one of the PCs could be the right smith …
Many of these materials would be useful in Alchemy or in enchanting a new object (like in GAZ3 – The Principalities of Glantri; we discussed in the previous post [LINK] how to do it for weapons/armors, the rules are easy to expand). They would grant a Material Reseach bonus from +2% to +6% and help with certain enchantments (DM choice).
Glassteel (see Red Steel background sources): weapons of Glassteel are considered magical for the purpose of striking beings that can be hit only by magical weapons, but they grant no bonuses to attack or damage rolls unless enchanted for that purpose, like Ironwood and Red Steel. They are produced by the winged elves (Ee’aar) of Aeryl but others can learn to enchant them, if they teach them the right Wizard enchantments.
Gems: gemstones can be used for many objects from the decorative only, to the frighteningly powerful, let’s only think to a few different examples: The Carnelian Idol in GAZ2 – The Emirates of Ylaruam, Elvenstar in X11 – Saga of the Shadow Lord and Arik’s Eyes (B3 – Palace of the Silver Princess and Wrath of the Immortals). But let’s start from the more “common” gems, starstone and tristal. For all old books descriptions, e.g. Rules Cyclopedia (RC), there are surprisingly few of these precious gems in the adventure modules and Gazetteers and not a single very big tristal. Disappointing since they should be the nicest stones to use as decorations of weapons or mighty scepters, as a single gem in mystic amulets and so on. The more precious, the more magical, says GAZ3 – The Principalities of Glantri, so these gems give the bigger enchanting bonuses.
The Sunstone (M5 – Talons of the Night) is a sunlight storage stone that can emit light again in a devastating ray. It is dedicated to Rathanos, a sun Immortal. The Firestone is a bit similar, as concept, see EVEN MORE UNUSUAL MATERIALS, and we will also present there the Bluestar Gemstone.
Let’s now speak of Gemstone Dragons (AC10 – Bestiary of Dragons and Giants): on occasion, the teeth, claws, and eyes of these dragons may be made of gemstone. The claws and teeth make formidable weapons: a ruby dragon with ruby teeth does an additional ld8 damage with his bite while ruby claws do an additional 1d12 damage. Gemstone eyes indicate a dragon with excessively keen senses and strong ESP talents. Gemstone dragon eyes are highly prized components for magical devices (e.g. for divination / scrying) while it is probably possible to prepare a ruby sword or spear, using a claw or tooth, respectively. This should be quite easy to enchant and have all the properties of a dragon claw/tooth weapon (see ORGANIC MATERIALS), plus a higher damage: something like (at least) 1d10 base damage for a spear and 1d12 for a longsword.
For Elemental Gems see EXTRAPLANAR AND IMMORTAL-SCALE MATERIALS.
Pearls: many pearls are used in the construction of magical objects and they are especially sacred to the Immortal Patroness of the Sea Elves [LINK ], Calitha Starbrow. Blackmoor had very special pearls (Supplement 2 – Blackmoor): the silver colored ones were valued till 100000 gp (like a good tristal), today it could be even ten times more … We translate the properties of the colored peals to D&D 5e:
- Black pearls grant an additional 1st level spell slot to a Wizard or Sorcerer;
- Gold pearls give the same to Clerics;
- Red pearls heal 10 hp per Long Rest to a Warrior or Barbarian (apply to the wound; they can use it upon others).
They would be very useful even today and maybe one could enchant a weapon / amulet and have the additional power of the pearl. Or crush and use them in VERY powerful rituals.
– ORGANIC MATERIALS:
Wood: here the elves are at home. There are many many kind of hardwood, especially oakwood and ironwood. The Clerics of Ordana in Dainrouw (GAZ9 – The Minrothad Guilds), for instance, are able to create very strong (non enchanted) +1 wooden clubs, through a combination of care and balance. Oakwood is enchanted with sap of the Tree of Life in Alfheim (GAZ5 – The Elves of Alfheim) to create the mythical and magical Elven Longswords of which we will speak more in the posts about the Demihuman Relics. They also use ironwood, an extremely tough and resilient wood for fortifications and special art projects. The Emerondians in Southern Davania (Poor Wizard’s Almanac II & III (PWA II & III), The Voyage of the Princess Ark, Part 13 in Dragon Magazine #166) are an alien race transplanted in Mystara and with a lot of knowledge about nature: weapons and armors in Emerondian wood, are as strong as their metal counterparts and the natives have some fighting techniques that take full advantage of the long barbs coming out from the material. Ironwood is also the name of a druidic spell known only in the west of Brun, especially Robrenn and Wendar, able to permanently make wood as strong as metal (Voyage of the Princess Ark, especially in Dragon Magazine #173 and #177). So the druids there can enjoy the protection of “metallic” armors without going against their creed. The druidic knights (equivalent to Paladins with Druidic spells in basic D&D; in D&D 5e it would be Oath of the Ancients Paladins, living among druids, and with a few special rules) use wooden weapons there too. Weapons of Ironwood are considered magical for the purpose of striking beings that can be hit only by magical weapons, but they grant no bonuses to attack or damage rolls unless enchanted for that purpose, like Glassteel and Red Steel.
Leather/Skin: dragon leather is, off-course, the most well-known and fabled one, it is very resilient and gives a Resistance according to the dragon color (see previous post [LINK]). It can also be enchanted very easily. Many other dragons and dragon-like creatures do exist, but they are rarer: we speak of Gemstone Dragons under Gems. Well mostly … here we could speak about what a Ruby Dragon leather armor could do: well it should be like a Red Dragon leather armor but with additional resistances (check the Dragon breath options of Gemstone Dragons in RC). In the Savage Coast (Red Steel Campaign) the Red Dragons suffered from the Red Curse too and became a new race: Crimson Dragons, with some unusual abilities, and their skin is probably different too, Red Curse-wise. Remember that dragons usually react with distaste, to say the least, in presence of dragon skin armors, especially for dragons of the same Alignment (a Golden Dragon in front of PCs with Ruby Dragon leather armors … a nice idea per an Entire Party Killed!) There are many other possible tough hides to be used for armors: Isle of Dread (X1 – Isle of Dread) is a source of a lot of dinosaur leather that could be as strong as dragon hide (but much heavier, like -1 to maximum DEX or at least 200% encumbrance and without special resistances). Other creatures can be skinned too to have an incredible tough hide to be used for armors and shields and even some strange properties (DM choice): what about a magical leather armor with the power of a Blinking Dog?
Claws/Fangs/Bones/Other parts: only imagination is the limit here. For instance, the smallest claws and fangs of a small dragon (if bigger, no suitable parts can be found, it’s too big) can be used to fashion very powerful weapons for the elite in primitive culture: usually “cultured” parts of the world forgot how to create these objects. They can be considered magical with no bonuses (much like Red Steel) and are quite easy to enchant, especially with a power aligned with the dragon color: e.g. a red dragon sword could be easily enchanted with resistance to fire or make the weapon burst in flames when you attack and so on.
– EVEN MORE UNUSUAL MATERIALS:
Firestone (Champions of Mystara): also called the black stone of Sind, is a quite widespread stone that, for unknown reasons, can adsorb the solar light and re-emit it as heat. Its concept is a bit similar to Sunstone (see Gems). It is very easy to use it for cooking but it is much more interesting for Alchemists, Wizards and Gnomes.
Cinnabryl, Crimson Essence, Red Steel, Smokepowder, Steel Seed, Vermeil (Red Steel Campaign): a part for Red Steel, we will not speak of these, very interesting materials. Many are a bit or quite poisonous and the advantage in using them is often counterbalanced by side effects or an outright malus. All of them were directly created or in part derived by the Red Curse, a “merging” of different powerful, mortal and not, curses. They are typically only useful to Savage Baronies or Coast inhabitants, a part for Red Steel and Smokepowder. Please see the Red Steel Campaign for their properties or to play there!
From a big meteor (Glantri: Kingdom of Magic): a part for the Meteoric Iron, there are many other magical materials in the crater of the meteor that struck the Glantri-Darokin border: Craterdust or urthellis, reduce of 25 % the time to create magical items (it costs 5000 gp / ounce and you probably have to use an ounce per week); the Bluestar gemstone has magical but, as yet unknown, properties. You could invent many things there, some properties like Meteoric Iron maybe, or the ability to (temporarily) “blind” magical detection, even by the Immortals (Alphaks was able to strike, supposedly undetected, with his meteor) but maybe with some hidden unpleasantness, due to the high concentration of Entropy in place? What about a tie with the Abyss or the Plane of Nightmares?
In the M3 – Twilight Calling, the Swan Maidens, wear a very resistant “magical armor of copper/emerald alloy“. This alloy seems unbelievably good and it would be interesting to produce a full plate for a human being: it should be at least AC 21, maybe even 23 …
Soul Crystals of the Shadow Elves, from GAY13 – The Shadow Elves: these crystals have a profound significance for the Shadow Elves and impact on their society, also tied to an ancient force in the depths of Glantri (GAZ3 – The Principalities of Glantri), but I do not spoiler one of the most beautiful ideas in Mystara (imho). What will happen, as a plot device, to a Wizard, Cleric and so on, trying to use one of these crystal as an arcane focus? What if he decided to use it as enchanting material for a magical artifact? I let the DMs think of it …
– EXTRAPLANAR AND IMMORTAL-SCALE MATERIALS:
Almost all these materials cannot be directly used by mortals, though the Forge of Power could, in certain cases, be “convinced” to help forge them; DM choice. There could be, off course, many more and the best ones are only for weapons, armors and tools of the Immortals themselves: Kagyar, the supreme artisan of the Immortals, especially for metal and stone, surely knows hundreds of stronger materials!
World Shield ore (HWA1 – Nightwail & HWA2 – Nightrage; maybe the same cited in GAZ3 – The Principalities of Glantri): it is the mineral that creates the World Shield between Hollow and Known Worlds. From HWA2: it “exceeds all other minerals in strength and hardness. It is essentially indestructible.” It is possible tough extremely difficult to create an AC 24 Plate armor, that encumbers as a Breastplate, and has full-antimagic, of helpful and dangerous magics alike: no magic affects the character (a part, maybe, a potion), period, and it seems Immortal magic neither (DM choice, see HWA2). It is a plot device only, it is unstable after touching the skin, after a month it’s gone, it crumbles to dust+
Alloy of the Isiidii (IM2 – The Wrath of Olympus): Rylum Outside Plane. It normally gives +2 to Hit/+4 to Damage (+3/+6 in basic D&D), without enchanting it. It is probably impossible to forge it outside Rylum but the Isiidii can possibly enchant it to make it even better, I’ll say +3/+6. The Isiidii are said to know the use of other alloys too. In the same module there is a “blue-green metal streaked with red and black” used by Talitha to chain other Immortals … WOW! Just wow …
Elemental Gems: from RC “Most other-planar creatures do not have “normal” treasures but may have the equivalent in the material of their own planes. For example, valuable gems on the elemental plane of Water may appear as bits of colored ice.” It seems this idea was never used, even though it would be very useful in enchantment (probably giving a +10% in enchanting and giving the possibility for very different effects, a maximized hps Sleet storm, a triple radius Fireball and so on). For sure if you could preserve the pureness of the element you could have priceless gems on the Prime Material.
This is the end! Remember: you can use these materials with the rules for D&D 5e presented in our previous post “FANTASYTECH AND CRAFTING IN MYSTARA”!
Other posts you could find useful and interesting, in relation with these two are about the race of Gnomes in Mystara for D&D 5e (GNOMES for D&D 5e in Mystara; MYSTARA’s GNOMES IN THE 5E), their technology and general rules about inventions (GNOMES AND TECHNOLOGY – First and Second Part).