Special Materials


Adamantine is a kind of mithral that is only found deep in the Underdark. It is believed to be the same metal as mithral, altered by the ambient radiation that suffuses the Underdark - which the drow know as faerzress. The physical properties of adamantine are identical to those of mithral, though it has a deep purple hue instead of a silvery one. Beyond the natural lightness and strength of mithral, adamantine's main property is the incredible ease with which it takes enchantment. It is for this reason that amongst the drow, magical weapons and armor that would be priceless treasures on the surface are fairly mundane; when worked by a skilled smith, even mundane equipment will be of at least +1 enchantment. With relatively simple magics, it is not particularly difficult for drow to create weapons and armor of +2, to +5 enchantment, making them far more dangerous than their surface kin. However, the incredible power of adamantine items does come at a price: the power of sunlight destabilises the delicate energies of the faerzress, causing any adamantine items exposed to it to disintegrate within seconds. Even if kept shielded from the faerzress, drow equipment will become brittle and crumble after 6 months away from the energies that pervade the Underdark; returning the items to the Underdark for a few days will reset this timer.

Adamantine is found only deep in the Underdark, where the faerzress is strongest. As the drow tend to build their cities in areas where the faerzress is strongest (to prevent their cities from being scried or teleported into), adamantine is very popular with the drow. Though it does happen, it is not common to find duergar or svirfneblin with adamantine weaponry - it is most commonly found on dark elves by far.

Ankheg Chitin

A rare, dangerous pest on farms and a constant danger in forests, ankhegs are often hunted by mercenaries and adventurers for a bounty. The thick, chitinous hide that makes them so hard to kill is also valuable; ankhegs with 5 HD or more can be cleaned, and their chitin can be used to make a set of armor that is equivalent to field plate, AC 2. However, ankheg armor is heavy (70 pounds, weighing as much as full plate) and brittle, making it more likely to break in battle. Even so, a good set of ankheg armor is worth 500 gp.

Smaller ankhegs that are no good for armor can sometimes be used to make shields. They can be fashioned into massive body-shields. These shields are naturally good at deflecting missile attacks, which glance off to the side. As such, they give a -3 AC vs. missile attacks, instead of the regular -2 for body shields. Ankheg shields are prized by some warriors, and are worth 15-25 gp each.

Item Value
Ankheg Armor 500 gp
Ankheg Shield 15-25 gp


Although the scales and blood of a dragon are most commonly harvested for armour and spell reagents respectively, the bones have unique properties as well - though they are difficult to work with. The bones of a dragon are very different from those of most creatures - weakly magical in their own right, they resemble both metal and stone in some ways. None of a dragon's bones can be used in this raw form, however - they require significant processing to be useful.

The teeth of a dragon of young adult age or older are suitable for creating daggers; the teeth of a old or older dragon are suitable for creating short swords. A dragon has 100-130 teeth on average, but only 8 of these are suitable for being made into weapons of this kind, and a slain dragon will yield 1d8 suitable specimens. The smaller teeth can be made into arrowheads, however - most dragons will produce 4d10 such specimens. Either way, working with dragon teeth requires significant skill as a knapper and a specialised set of tools. Dragonbone arrowheads require relatively little modification, and they produce arrowheads that deal +1 damage. Making a dagger or a shortsword from dragonbone requires reinforcement with a core of some magical metal such as mithril to avoid wasting its properties, but will produce a +1 weapon.

The legbones of a dragon can be used to make shortbows or longbows, as long as they are intact. A perfect draconic skeleton would produce 4 shortbows and 4 longbows. However, dragonbone bows require a significant amount of processing. In order to make them supple and flexible, the crushed jelly of a basilisk's eye must be applied to them - one eye is needed for a shortbow, and two for a longbow. After this, the bone must be worked by a skilled bowyer for several days under the supervision and instruction of an expert in dragonlore, carefully bending and storing the bone into the correct shape as it is pared down with a razor-sharp blade. Producing a single bow takes a full week of intense work. Dragonbone bows require a bowstring made from a tough, sinewy beast - such as a wolf, manticore, etc. The end result is a shortbow that can fire at longbow range (70/140/210), or a longbow that fires at the range of a heavy crossbow (80/160/240). Dragonbone shortbows required a strength of 14 to operate. Dragonbone longbows require a strength of 16 to operate.

Item Value
Dragonbone Dagger 1,000 gp
Dragonbone Shortsword 2,000 gp
Dragonbone Shortbow 2,000 gp
Dragonbone Longbow 3,500 gp


Some of the rules surrounding dragonscale armor are fleshed out in the Monstrous Manual. As per the MM, armor made from a dragon's scales weighs 25 pounds and confers an AC of 4 less than the dragon that provided it. A red Great Wyrm, with an AC of -11, would provide an AC of -7. Furthermore, contrary to what is implied in the MM, dragonscale armor is inherently resistant.

In and of itself, dragonscale armor can never be damaged by its own element. Red dragon armor is impervious to fire, black dragon armor is impervious to acid, and so on. Furthermore, dragonscale armor radiates a magical field of protection against its element, which can safeguard its wearer even if it does not completely cover their skin. From age category 1 to 8 (Hatchling to Old), dragon armor confers protection equal to 10% per age category. A Hatchling would provide 10% resistance, and an Old dragon would provide 80% resistance. Above Old, every age category increases the resistance by 5%. Great Wyrm armor is so powerful that it confers complete immunity to its element (even dragonbreath).

Dragons are relatively easy to skin, though a successful Anatomy or Hunting check is required for every 10 feet of body length. 20 feet of dragon hide is enough to make 1 set of dragonscale armor for a human or elf; half that amount can be used to make dwarf or halfling-sized armor. Small-sized armor can be worn by either halflings or dwarves, but humans cannot wear elven armor and vice-versa. Successfully turning a sheet of hide into a set of armor requires a great deal of treatment and hard work, and very specialised skills. The Dragonlore NWP is required; further, a special workshop is needed. Getting a single set of dragon armor made usually costs about 1,000 gp per age category of the dragon.


Although useless for martial applications, this fragile crystal is the result of quartz that has been exposed to the faerzress radiation of the Underdark. Just as mithril is converted into adamantine by this process, quartzes are transformed into etherstone. Like adamantine, etherstone loses its potency if exposed to sunlight, crumbling into a crystalline dust.

The main property of etherstone is its luminescence - it glows brightly to a radius of about 20 to 120 feet (depending on the size of the crystal), and dimly to twice that distance. Because any quartz exposed to faerzress can become etherstone, different types of crystal - such as amethyst, rose quartz and citrine - can produce etherstone of various brilliant colors.

Of all magical materials, etherstone is one of the most readily available. Although the inherent danger of an Underdark expedition is still present in its acquisition, it is far more common than mithril or adamantine. Indeed, some areas of the Underdark are brightly lit by geodes or clusters of this material. As such, a fist-sized lump (equivalent to a torch, producing bright light to 30 feet) will fetch 50-100 gp from dwarven merchants. Larger pieces are sometimes carved or cut and incorporated into jewellery or special lantern-like mechanisms, fetching high prices if made by a well-known craftsdwarf.

Exceptional Weapons

Even if made of mundane materials, the skill with which a weapon is made can affect its quality. Weapons and armor that are only somewhat above the norm will not have any mechanical effects, but they will look better and will be far more durable in the heat of battle; finely made arms such as these will cost as much as double or triple the normal listed price - to represent their durability, the DM may take their quality in consideration when deciding whether they break in battle; he may also choose to increase the saving throws or hit points of the weapon for items of particularly high quality.

The advantage of durability should not be underestimated. Wooden-hafted weapons like spears or polearms are fairly easy to destroy with maces or 2-handed swords. Likewise, plate armor is imperfect; the entire purpose of a flanged mace is to slice through those imperfections and carry on into vulnerable parts of the body. Any knight who is reduced to half of his hit points fighting a mace-wielding opponent can expect his plate armor to be in need to serious repair, at the very least. Having high-quality armor makes it more likely that those 6 points of damage represent the wind being knocked out of you and a bruise underneath your armor, rather than a piece of your breastplate being shattered and torn away, permanently reducing your AC.

Some items may be truly masterful in their creation, and they may carry mechanical benefits to represent this. This kind of masterwork equipment will cost from 5 to 20 times more than one would normally pay, for it is far above the norm. Armor made in this way will usually be lighter, especially if it is metal - it may be between 5% and 25% lighter while still conferring the same AC. No matter how well-crafted, armor will never gain a bonus to AC without magic, but truly exceptional armor may negate penalties from weapon type - for example, a masterfully made set of chain mail may have AC 6 against bludgeoning weapons instead of AC 7. Amongst weapons, masterwork items may gain either a bonus to-hit, a bonus to damage, or a bonus to weapon speed. This bonus will never be above +1 in any circumstances. A weapon with a bonus to weapon speed is exceptionally light and quick in the hand. A weapon with a bonus to-hit is well-balanced and light in the hand but heavy on the blow. A weapon with a bonus to damage is exceptionally sharp, or in the case of a bludgeoning weapon has a carefully shaped and balanced head. Nonmagical weapons will never have more than two of these properties, no matter how well made.

Barbed Arrows

Barbed arrowheads are not particularly common; in times of war, arrows are designed to fly as far and as straight as possible (bodkin arrows, AKA flight arrows), or to puncture armor as effectively as possible (broadhead arrows, AKA sheaf arrows). Warfare is, after all, an arms race. Under normal circumstances, humanoid societies will use barbed arrowheads more for hunting than warfare, as they tend to stick in an opponent and cause any cutting strike to bleed deeply. There are some circumstances in which barbed arrows are used in combat; particularly cruel tacticians may choose to employ them when fighting lightly armored enemies, such as peasant levies. They are also uniquely popular amongst certain nonhuman races as well, particularly orcs and bugbears.

Like flight arrows, barbed arrows only deal 1d6 damage, but they fire with the range increment of sheaf arrows. If fired from a shortbow, they are even less effective - firing with a range of 30/60/100 yards. Unlike other types of arrow, however, a direct hit causes them to lodge into a wound. At the DM's discretion, a "direct hit" may be ruled as any attack which hits by 3 or more. Lodged arrows cannot be easily removed without a Healing NWP check - and until they are removed, the damage they have dealt cannot be healed, and worsens at a rate of 1 point per arrow per day. Ripping the arrow out is extremely wise, and will cause 1d4 points of bleeding damage per round until it is magically healed.


Pure iron is not very hard and it will break easily, and most importantly, will rust very fast. Steel is MUCH harder than iron, much more resistant to rust, and more elastic, superior in tension and compression. Generally speaking, weapons made of iron are only used if there is no alternative available. However, there are some cases - specificially, fighting demons and certain fey - that necessitate their use.

Iron weapons deal normal damage, but are much more prone to being damaged by rust. They are similarly likely to break in combat if great force is applied to them. On a roll of a natural 20 or a natural 1, iron weaponry must make a saving throw vs. crushing blow (usually passing on a 7+) or be destroyed.

While lesser demons have their magical defense entirely stripped away by weapons of cold iron, it should be remembered that many of the more powerful demons are also immune to nonmagical attack. For these, an enchanted iron sword is needed - a great rarity likely made specifically for demon slaying.


Mithril is a wondrous metal whose raw ore is worth ten times its weight in gold. Sources of it are very few; there are deep mithril-mines in some of the mountainhomes of the dwarves, but little comes forth from these places. It was more populous in times gone by, as the dwarvish settlement of Nirkivish once sat upon a vast cache of it. However, the veins were at long last depleted in the year 150 BE, and now far less of it is produced than in times of old. It can be beaten like copper and polished like glass and never tarnishes or grows dim, and it shines with a brilliant white radiance by the light of the moon. Its true power, however, lies in its property when alloyed with steel. It is incredibly difficult to master the art of producing mithril steel, and even amongst the elves it is a rare ability that is said to take many years of training to be able to perform correctly. Many dwarves, too, have mastered the art, but overall the delicacy and skill required to make and work with the alloy creates a very high barrier to entry, along with the rarity of the material in the first place. Many dwarves prefer mithral in an unalloyed state, for its beauty. The secret of mithril weaponsmithing is known only to the dwarves and elves, and only the elves are able to make mithril armor.

Any item made of mithril steel will shine in the moonlight just as pure mithril does, shedding a pale white light out to 30 feet.

Mithril Steel

The properties of mithril steel are even more wondrous than those of mithril. Already, mithril is as light as silk, so a beaten shirt of true mithril rings can be thin as cotton and weigh no more than a silk shirt, but protect from the sturdiest of blows. A blade made from true mithril will never dull and is nearly unbreakable except by extreme heat and force - even then, it will bend, melt or run rather than shattering. Because of mithril's properties of lightness, anything made from mithril steel weighs 1/10th or less of its normal weight, despite being even stronger than steel. Mithril steel is extremely difficult to work with once it has been alloyed, requiring extreme skill; refitting or repairing an item of mithril steel requires as much skill as making a new one entirely and a very hot forge, and even for one skilled in mithril-working it can take 10 times as long as such a task would take a smith with steel or iron. Because of its exteme lightness and the incredible edge a mithril weapon can hold, it is best suited to blades and armour; it is nigh useless for the production of a weapon that relies on weight and force such as a warhammer or mace. Of armour, usually only chain mail is found. While mithril steel could be made into plate armour, in practise this is not done for two reasons. The first is the rarity and value of mithril, which makes hammering out large plates of the metal an absurdly expensive endeavour. The second is that while the dwarves have some grasp of mithril weaponsmithing, almost every mithril armoursmith in existence is an elf, and elves do not favour plate mail, as it is too restrictive and bulky for them. Elven plate is sometimes found, but it is the stuff of kings, often with more a ceremonial purpose than a realistic one.

Mithril Armor

Elven chain is the most common mithril armour, though still incredibly rare. Elves tend to eschew armour in favour of mobility, but elven chain does nothing to restrict the wearer. It is often held by officers, wizards and people of importance in the elvish military. A suit of elven chain mail weighs no more than a shirt of cotton, and is as silent as one too, creating almost no sound on its own. While wearing elven chain, magic-users can even cast their spells, as the inherent magical nature of mithril steel does nothing to impede them. A suit of elven chain can take a mithrilsmith up to 10 years to craft, and is a long and involved process. It is rarely sized to fit anything other than an elf or half-elf. It has the protective qualities of normal chain mail.

Of elven plate there are only a few full suits in existence. It is tailored to the wearer, and as such can be worn by none other than an elf - even a half-elf will have extreme difficulty squeezing into it. Of the elven plate that does exist, only one suit is used, owned by the elvish royal family of Lurkmoor. The rest is buried in ancient elvish tombs or lost to time. Elven plate mail is not as silent as elven chain mail is, and it is impossible to sneak while wearing it. However, it is as light as one would expect, weighing only as much as a shirt of steel chain would, and distributing this weight evenly over the body. Like elven chain mail, elven plate does not restrict spellcasting in any respect. A suit of elven plate is priceless, and is the magnum opus of a lifetime - even for an elf!

Mithril Weapons

Blades of mithril are marvellously sharp and light, truly wondrous things. While easier to produce than armour, a mithril shortsword may well still take months in its production by a mithrilsmith. A mithril blade is almost impossible to break and will never lose its edge once forged. Mithril blades shine in the moonlight as all mithril items do. They are the finest blades that can be found; +3 and better blades are nearly always made of mithril, as their magical nature and the quality of the metal makes them some of the only items that can hold such powerful enchantments. A mithril blade that has no enchantments beyond its natural magic will still function as a +1 weapon. Mithril weapons are prized for their tendency to take on enchantments of their own accord, depending on what they are exposed to; such as humming when fighting demons or glowing in the presence of goblinkind, the enemies of Corellon Larethian.

All the mithril in the world comes from deep, deep mines, invariably dwarvish. Though the elves love mithril and are more skilled with it than any other, they are loth to scar the earth with mineshafts. All of their mithril comes from trade with dwarves; in the past, most of the mithril in the world came from the hill dwarves of Nirkivish, but their ancient vein finally dried up in 150 BE. Since then, most mithril comes from the mines of Dagrenoth Ur and Oshok Thespen. A little comes from smaller mines, but the majority comes from these two sources.

Mithril Ammunition

Mithril heads for arrows and bolts, like all forms of mithril blade, never lose their edge and deform only under great pressure. As such, though the fletching may tear away and the shaft may break, unenchanted mithril arrowheads can always be recovered. Furthermore, mithril ammunition has a latent field of magic, just like other mithril equipment. Although it's not powerful enough to naturally take on enchantments, and confers no bonus to-hit or damage, it does allow mithril ammunition to function as +1 for the purpose of hitting magical creatures.

Mithril arrows are amongst the few types of mithril item that approaches mass-production. Large elven settlements, such as cities, are rare enough, but where they can be found - such as Menhedrul in Lurkmoor, or Fanegul in the Elf's Pact - flight arrows can be bought for 50 gold apiece. Sheaf arrows are rarer, only usually made in times of war, and cost 100 gold each.

As mentioned above the arrowheads can never be destroyed, but re-seating such a fine arrowhead can only be done by a skilled fletcher, and will usually cost 5 silver pieces per arrow. If improperly fletched, they will fire with a -2 penalty to hit, as their unusual shape and lightness is not suitable for an ordinary shaft.

Item Value
Mithril Coin 10 gp
Mithril Bullet 10 gp
Mithril Arrow 50 gp
Mithril Spear 500 gp
Mithril Dagger 750 gp
Mithril Shortsword 1,500 gp
Mithril Longsword 3,000 gp
Elven Chain Priceless
Elven Plate Priceless

Silvered Steel

Just as iron weapons are used to fight demons, blades of silver-impregnated steel are often manufactured to fight lycanthropes, devils and (to a lesser degree of effectiveness) demons. For those with the means to obtain them, mithril weapons function far better as "silver" weaponry - but for those who cannot, silvered steel must suffice.

Unlike iron weaponry, blades of silvered steel function just as well as ordinary weapons - they are not coated with silver (such weapons do not work), but are made of a special alloy of the two metals. This requires a skilled weaponsmith and a significant sum of gold - usually around 100 gold pieces.

Besides silvered steel, weapons of pure silver also work to bypass the defense of such creatures. Although any weapon made of solid silver would be worthless in combat, there are some instances in which improvised silver weaponry may be useful - for example, silver coins as ammunition in a sling or a silver statue toppled onto a devil.


Known as "dwarven firegold", this mystical metal is made only in Idrathziril, a town in Nirkivish. There, the Sect of Utharinn mixes the platinum that is naturally found in the area with gold to produce the durable and valuable substance known as white gold. This is imprinted with certain secret runes to transform it into Zirithil. Zirithil's special properties cause it to glow with an inner heat - the amount produced depends on the quality of the metal, but all items made of Zirithil provide some level of warmth, making them valuable for those entering wintry climes. Suits of armour made entirely of Zirithil will warm the wearer and provide 5% frost resistance per point of AC, along with a bonus to saving throws vs. cold-based attacks. Zirithil is also invaluable for magic-users producing fire-based enchantments due to its natural affinities to heat. Higher qualities samples of the metal can be used to make weapons that deal extra damage (as per Heat Metal) and the very finest products are hot enough to render fire molten.

Item Value
Amulet of Warmth 100 gp
Zirithil Fire-Circlet 300 gp

Regardless of the quality of the metal, all forms of Zirithil are 100% fire resistant and cannot be melted by anything less than red dragonfire. This means that working with it is extremely difficult; often, the only tool that can shape a Zirithil ingot is one made of higher-quality (and thus hotter) Zirithil. Otherwise, if no dragons are present, molten lava is often used.