Special Materials

In addition to magic items created with spells, some substances have innate special properties.

If you make a suit of armor or weapon out of more than one special material, you get the benefit of only the most prevalent material. However, you can build a double weapon with each head made of a different special material.

Special Weapons Materials

Each of the special materials described below has a definite game effect. Some creatures have damage reduction based on their creature type or core concept. Some are resistant to all but a special type of damage, such as that dealt by evil-aligned weapons or bludgeoning weapons. Others are vulnerable to weapons of a particular material. Characters may choose to carry several different types of weapons, depending upon the campaign and types of creatures they most commonly encounter.

Adamantine

This ultrahard metal adds to the quality of a weapon or suit of armor. Weapons fashioned from adamantine have a natural ability to bypass hardness when sundering weapons or attacking objects, ignoring hardness less than 20. Armor made from adamantine grants its wearer damage reduction of 1/- if it’s light armor, 2/- if it’s medium armor, and 3/- if it’s heavy armor. Adamantine is so costly that weapons and armor made from it are always of masterwork quality; the masterwork cost is included in the prices given below. Thus, adamantine weapons and ammunition have a +1 enhancement bonus on attack rolls, and the armor check penalty of adamantine armor is lessened by 1 compared to ordinary armor of its type. Items without metal parts cannot be made from adamantine. An arrow could be made of adamantine, but a quarterstaff could not.

Only weapons, armor, and shields normally made of metal can be fashioned from adamantine. Weapons, armor and shields normally made of steel that are made of adamantine have one-third more hit points than normal. Adamantine has 40 hit points per inch of thickness and hardness 20.

Adamantine Cost Modifiers

Type of Adamantine Item Item Cost Modifier
Ammunition +60 gp
Light armor +5,000 gp
Medium armor +10,000 gp
Heavy armor +15,000 gp
Weapon +3,000 gp
Shield +2,000 gp

Blue Ice

Found only in the depths of the most ancient glaciers, veins of blue ice are often sought out by glacier dwarves. It appears as dark blue, opaque ice that sparkles in light as if it were coated with a tiny film of gemstones; this is merely a thin layer of frost that forms over its surface when exposed to air. The material is cold and feels identical to regular ice upon casual observation, but blue ice only melts under intense and direct application of heat, similar to iron. Those who mine this material from the ancient glaciers often do so simply by melting away the surrounding ice; this is a dangerous procedure, though, since it can rapidly destabilize the surrounding ice. As a result, only the most gifted miners attempt to mine blue ice.

Blue ice can be forged, shaped, and utilized as if it were iron. Blue ice is much lighter than iron, and when forged into a slashing weapon it keeps its edge much longer and is much sharper than an equally forged iron weapon. Slashing weapons made of blue ice have a +1 enhancement bonus on damage. Bludgeoning or piercing weapons can be made of blue ice, but they gain no bonuses to damage. All weapons made of blue ice weigh half as much as normal.

Blue ice isn’t just useful to make slashing weapons, though; it can be used to build anything that is normally built of iron. Many fortresses in the frostfell make heavy use of blue ice for metal components such as nails, tools, door hinges, utensils, and pretty much anything else they can think of; blue ice goblets and mugs are especially popular for export to warmer climates since they keep their contents chilled. A room lined with sheets of blue ice remains at a constant temperature of about freezing, making for an effective way to create refrigerated chambers for food storage. Items made out of blue ice weigh half as much as normal.

Blue ice armor is much lighter than normal armor, although it can be uncomfortable to wear for creatures not immune or resistant to cold. Only armor normally fashioned of metal can be made from blue ice. Most blue ice armors are one category lighter than normal for purposes of movement and other limitations, so that medium armor counts as light armor, and heavy armor counts as medium armor. Light armor remains light armor. Spell failure chances for arcane spells remains unchanged, with the exception of spells with the cold descriptor, which can be cast while wearing blue ice armor with no chance of spell failure. Maximum Dexterity bonus is increased by 1, and armor check penalties are lessened by 2. If the creature wearing the armor is not resistant or immune to cold, he takes a –1 penalty on Reflex saving throws and initiative checks from the general numbness caused by the armor. The Cold Endurance feat is enough to prevent this effect.

Blue ice has 20 hit points per inch of thickness and hardness 10.

Type of Blue Ice Item Item Cost Modifier
Light armor +750 gp
Medium armor +3,000 gp
Heavy armor +7,000 gp
Shield +750 gp
Slashing weapon +500 gp
Other items +400 gp/lb.

Darkwood

This rare magic wood is as hard as normal wood but very light. Any wooden or mostly wooden item (such as a bow, an arrow, or a spear) made from darkwood is considered a masterwork item and weighs only half as much as a normal wooden item of that type. Items not normally made of wood or only partially of wood (such as a battleaxe or a mace) either cannot be made from darkwood or do not gain any special benefit from being made of darkwood. The armor check penalty of a darkwood shield is lessened by 2 compared to an ordinary shield of its type. To determine the price of a darkwood item, use the original weight but add 10 gp per pound to the price of a masterwork version of that item.

Darkwood has 10 hit points per inch of thickness and hardness 5.

Dragonhide

Armorsmiths can work with the hides of dragons to produce armor or shields of masterwork quality. One dragon produces enough hide for a single suit of masterwork hide armor for a creature one size category smaller than the dragon. By selecting only choice scales and bits of hide, an armorsmith can produce one suit of masterwork banded mail for a creature two sizes smaller, one suit of masterwork half-plate for a creature three sizes smaller, or one masterwork breastplate or suit of full plate for a creature four sizes smaller. In each case, enough hide is available to produce a small or large masterwork shield in addition to the armor, provided that the dragon is Large or larger.

Because dragonhide armor isn’t made of metal, druids can wear it without penalty.

Dragonhide armor costs double what masterwork armor of that type ordinarily costs, but it takes no longer to make than ordinary armor of that type.

Dragonhide has 10 hit points per inch of thickness and hardness 10.

Iron, Cold

This iron, mined deep underground, known for its effectiveness against fey creatures, is forged at a lower temperature to preserve its delicate properties. Weapons made of cold iron cost twice as much to make as their normal counterparts. Also, any magical enhancements cost an additional 2,000 gp.

Items without metal parts cannot be made from cold iron. An arrow could be made of cold iron, but a quarterstaff could not.

A double weapon that has only half of it made of cold iron increases its cost by 50%.

Cold iron has 30 hit points per inch of thickness and hardness 10.

Kheferu

Quarried from rare meteorite craters, kheferu ore is an extremely hard, red substance. When forged as an alloy with iron, carbon, and other trace metals, the resultant material has a consistency and ductility like that of a standard steel alloy. This final product, simply called kheferu, is distinctive in its glossy sheen and crimson hue. Many kinds of items can be crafted from kheferu, but weapons are the best choice because of the alloy’s particular qualities. A weapon forged from kheferu is bright red. Salt crystals grow on the sides of the weapon if it is left untended for more than a few months, but these are easily wiped away. A kheferu weapon bypasses the damage reduction of any creature of the earth subtype, regardless of the type of damage reduction the creature possesses.

Weapons made of kheferu cost twice as much to make as their normal counterparts. Also, any magical enhancements placed on the weapon cost an additional 2,000 gp. Items without metal parts cannot be made from kheferu. An arrow could be made of kheferu, but a quarterstaff could not. A double weapon that is only half made of kheferu increases its cost by 50%.
Kheferu has hardness 10 and 30 hit points per inch of thickness.

Mithral

Mithral is a very rare silvery, glistening metal that is lighter than iron but just as hard. When worked like steel, it becomes a wonderful material from which to create armor and is occasionally used for other items as well. Most mithral armors are one category lighter than normal for purposes of movement and other limitations. Heavy armors are treated as medium, and medium armors are treated as light, but light armors are still treated as light. Spell failure chances for armors and shields made from mithral are decreased by 10%, maximum Dexterity bonus is increased by 2, and armor check penalties are lessened by 3 (to a minimum of 0).

An item made from mithral weighs half as much as the same item made from other metals. In the case of weapons, this lighter weight does not change a weapon’s size category or the ease with which it can be wielded (whether it is light, one-handed, or two-handed). Items not primarily of metal are not meaningfully affected by being partially made of mithral. (A longsword can be a mithral weapon, while a scythe cannot be.)

Weapons or armors fashioned from mithral are always masterwork items as well; the masterwork cost is included in the prices given below.

Mithral has 30 hit points per inch of thickness and hardness 15.

Mithral Cost Modifiers

Type of Mithral Item Item Cost Modifier
Light armor +1,000 gp
Medium armor +4,000 gp
Heavy armor +9,000 gp
Shield +1,000 gp
Other items +500 gp/lb.

Orichalcum (Alchemical Gold)

A complex process involving metallurgy and alchemy can bond gold to steel so that it increases its hardness, durability and weight.

On a successful attack with a orichalcum weapon, the wielder gains a +1 bonus on the damage roll (minimum 2 points of damage). The alchemical golding process can’t be applied to nonmetal items, and it doesn’t work on rare metals such as adamantine, cold iron, and mithral.

Weapons, armor and shields normally made of steel that are made of orichalcum have doubled hit points as well as doubled weight. Orichalcum has 35 hit points per inch of thickness and hardness 20.

Orichalcum Cost Modifiers

Type of Orichalcum Item Item Cost Modifier
Ammunition +20 gp
Light weapon +200 gp
One-handed weapon, or one head of a double weapon +900 gp
Two-handed weapon, or both heads of a double weapon +1800 gp

Pearlsteel

A strange metal crafted by secretive metallurgists working near volcanic vents in the ocean floor, pearlsteel is gleaming, shining steel covered with a blue-white sheen like mother of pearl. Created from fine steel and rare silvery pearls found only in the ocean depths where the pressures alone would kill a land walker, pearlsteel is highly prized by all undersea races and constitutes a major trade item.
Pearlsteel is very light, especially in water. Pearlsteel items weigh 25% less than their normal equivalents.

Item Market Price Modifier
Light armor +500 gp
Medium armor +1,000 gp
Heavy armor +1,500 gp
Shield +500 gp
Weapon +1,500 gp

Pearlsteel also slices more smoothly through the resistance that water presents. When a slashing weapon made of pearlsteel is used in the water, its damage is reduced by –1 rather than the normal –2 for fighting in the water with a slashing weapon, and its damage is reduced by –2 instead of half. Likewise, damage dealt underwater by a bludgeoning weapon made of pearlsteel is reduced by –2 rather than reduced by half. The market price modifier for such a weapon is +1,500 gp.

Rimefire Ice

This form of ice is found only in icebergs inhabited by rimefire eidolons. These icebergs are approximately 95% normal ice, but the remaining 5% consists of veins of pale blue ice that glows softly, providing illumination equal to that of a torch. Rimefire ice is especially cold to the touch, and any creature that comes in contact with it takes 1 point of cold damage per round of contact. Any amount of resistance or immunity to cold provides complete protection from this cold damage.

The most unusual aspect of rimefire ice is that it is approximately as flammable as wood; it does not melt when heat is applied to it. Burning rimefire ice does not deal fire damage, though, even if it is ignited by an open flame. Rather, burning rimefire ice deals cold damage on anything unfortunate enough to get too close.

Rimefire ice could make an interesting material to forge weapons out of; rimefire ice has about the same amount of resilience and strength as wood. It cannot be used to make any appreciable armor, but it can be used to create any weapon that is normally made out of wood (or nearly completely of wood, as in the case of a spear or javelin). Rimefire ice weapons glow with blue light, providing illumination to a 20-foot radius. They also deal +1 point of cold damage on each successful hit. Since rimefire is workable as wood, it can be used to build any object that can normally be made of wood. Rimefire ice objects glow blue, provide illumination as a torch, and retain their ability to cause 1 point of cold damage per round of contact to anything touching it.

Rimefire ice brought into warmer climates does not melt into water; it melts into thick white clouds of water vapor with great rapidity. Each minute a piece of rimefire ice is exposed to temperatures above 40° F, it takes 1d6 points of damage (this damage overcomes the ice’s hardness and is not halved, as is most energy damage applied to objects). For each additional 10 degrees hotter than this, the ice takes an additional 1d6 points of damage per round.
Rimefire ice has 5 hit points per inch of thickness and hardness 3.

Type of Rimefire Ice Item Item Cost Modifier
Weapon +750 gp
Other objects +500 gp/lb.

Riverine

This unusual material is made from water under extremely high pressure, usually obtained from the Elemental Plane of Water but sometimes from the blackwater trenches far below the ocean’s surface. The water swirls and flows continuously, sandwiched between fields of magical force.
Half of the Armor Class bonus from armor and shields made from riverine is a deflection bonus (round down). For example, a suit of riverine chainmail would provide a +2 armor bonus and a +3 deflection bonus to AC. This substance is considered masterwork and can be enhanced magically as any other armor.
Riverine is sometimes also used to create walls and even containers. Being enclosed in magical force, it is immune to all damage and is unaffected by most spells. However, disintegrate immediately destroys an item made of riverine, as does a rod of cancellation, a sphere of annihilation, or a Mage’s disjunction spell, causing the water to spill out in a sudden rush. Armor and shields made of riverine do not form a complete enclosure, so breath weapons and spells do still affect the wearer. However, walls of riverine block ethereal travel, breath weapons, and spell effects, just as a wall of force does.

Type of Riverine Item Item Cost Modifier
Light armor +9,000 gp
Medium armor +16,000 gp
Heavy armor +25,000 gp
Shield +4,000 gp
Other items +2,000 gp/lb.

Silver, Alchemical

A complex process involving metallurgy and alchemy can bond silver to a weapon made of steel so that it bypasses the damage reduction of creatures such as lycanthropes.

On a successful attack with a silvered weapon, the wielder takes a -1 penalty on the damage roll (with the usual minimum of 1 point of damage). The alchemical silvering process can’t be applied to nonmetal items, and it doesn’t work on rare metals such as adamantine, cold iron, and mithral.

Alchemical silver has 10 hit points per inch of thickness and hardness 8.
Alchemical Silver Cost Modifiers

Type of Alchemical Silver Item Item Cost Modifier
Ammunition +2 gp
Light weapon +20 gp
One-handed weapon, or one head of a double weapon +90 gp
Two-handed weapon, or both heads of a double weapon +180 gp

Stygian Ice

This extraplanar ice comes from the Stygian Hells. Infused with the soulless evil of that realm, along with the magical waters of the river Styx, stygian ice is black and constantly crawls with a thin layer of pale blue mist. Stygian ice is much colder than normal ice, and it melts slowly in nonfreezing environs. The coldness that this ice exudes is magical in nature, and freezes the mind much more rapidly than flesh.

Stygian ice deals 1d6 points of cold damage per round of contact. Worse, if a creature takes damage from this supernatural cold, it must make a DC 12 Will saving throw or take 2 points of Wisdom damage as its memories are slowly frozen. If a creature’s Wisdom is reduced to 0, further contact causes Constitution damage. A creature whose Constitution is reduced to 0 by Stygian ice rises as a wraith in 2d4 rounds.

Stygian ice is not much harder than normal ice, so it doesn’t make effective armor. Weapons made of Stygian ice are somewhat fragile, and each time they deal damage the wielder must make a DC 15 Reflex save to avoid dealing the same amount of damage on the weapon itself. Stygian ice weapons deal 1d6 points of additional cold damage on a hit; if the creature hit takes cold damage, it must make a DC 12 Will saving throw or take 2 points of Wisdom damage (or Constitution damage, if Wisdom is at 0). This damage applies to the wielder of the weapon as well; a character who wishes to wield a weapon made of Stygian ice is advised to seek out protection from cold damage.

Stygian ice has 5 hit points per inch of thickness and hardness 3. Magical fire damage is not halved when applied to stygian ice. An object made of Stygian ice takes 1 point of damage per hour it exists in an environment above 40° F; this damage overcomes the ice’s hardness. As it melts, the ice gives off foul vapors that nauseate anyone within 5 feet who fails a DC 12 Fortitude saving throw.

Type of Stygian Ice Item Item Cost Modifier
Weapon +6,000 gp
Other objects +2,000 gp/lb.
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