Last Updated on December 17, 2021
Today we’re going to be discussing metals in D&D 5e. Metals can be used in all sorts of items but are most commonly used in the construction of armor and as actual currency themselves.
Join us in learning about just how many ways metals are used in the facets of the game.
What Metals Exist in D&D 5e?
In the table below, we’ve covered some of the more commonly discussed metals along with their price and AC.
Now you’ll notice question marks in the cost for both mithral and adamantine. The prices for these metals, at least by pound, isn’t actually listed anywhere, so it comes down to the DM’s discretion.
However, XGtE does say that adamantine versions of weapons or 10 pieces of ammunition cost 500 gp more. So a quarter pound dart which normally costs 5 cp would cost 500.05 gp, while an 18 pound pike would cost 505 g.
This makes adamantine cost 2000.2 gp/lb. and 28 gp/lb. at the same time. Confusing? Yes. Should you buy an adamantine dart? No.
If one of your players is looking to buy adamantine to make a weapon, I’d suggest saying that a pound can reasonably coat any weapon, and that a pound itself costs 5 gp. This makes everyone’s life a bit easier.
Mithral, commonly used in armor, brings us to a similar problem. Again, there is no listed price, but we do have mithral armor listed as an uncommon item.
Per RAW, uncommon items should cost no more than 500 gp. Considering that normal plate armor costs 1500 gp on its own, it’s probably pretty unlikely that mithral plate armor is going to strike you up a 1000 gp discount.
Realistically, mithral is like the armor equivalent to adamantine (primarily used in weapons), so it’s not unreasonable to say that mithral costs you 500 gp more to make.
Alternatively, since mithral armor provides a huge benefit, you could say it costs 500 gp extra to make the lightest mithral armor (a chain shirt).
A 20 lb. set of armor for 550 gp means that mithral is actually only about 28 gp/lb. and that a suit of mithral plate armor costs you 1820 – still more expensive, but not insane on the low or high end of armor.
Below is a grand list of metals you might find in your world and what properties, if any, they might have.
Keep in mind that not all of these are native to 5e, and some might be imported from earlier editions of D&D or other published WotC works.
This is one of the hardest substances in existence. Armor made or even coated in this turns any critical hit against you into a normal hit.
Weapons made or coated in adamantine automatically land critical hits when used to target objects.
This silver-like metal can amplify magical effects.
This very special metal found in igneous rock is tempered with the blood of red or blue dragons to create a substance that can withstand many different types of magical energy.
The secret to forging this has been all but lost, although certain elven or gnomish family trees may still hold the secrets.
Brass is a common metal, an alloy of zinc and copper, which is often used in decorative items, mechanical gears, and even some musical instruments.
Bronze is a common metal, an alloy of copper and tin, used in the construction of many ornamental pieces.
Little is known about this metal originating from the Upper Planes, except that it was used to construct the Sword of Zariel, an intelligent weapon that emanated a soft glow.
Holy Avengers, the prized swords of paladins, are made of cold iron. It is a special iron that is mined deep in the underground and has special properties, namely its efficacy in slaying fiends and undead.
Copper is the least expensive of the precious metals used as currency in Faerun.
Darksteel is an alloy forged from star metal that can resist acid damage and absorb all forms of electrical energy.
Icesteel is a secret metal alloy known only to a certain few halflings. The metal lets off a green glow when being illuminated by candlelight or any magical light sources.
Armor made of this metal resists fire, while weapons made of this metal will often deal cold damage.
Electrum is an alloy of silver and gold and one of the precious metals used as currency.
Many worlds of D&D still abide by the gold standard, using this metal as the base unit of their currency. Gold is also extremely conductive, malleable, and highly useful in enchanting objects.
Armor and other items forged from gold can hold multiple enchantments at the same time due to its exceptional magical properties.
This metal is forged from a muddy clay-like substance found deep in the Underdark.
Once forged by dwarves who had been trained to specifically work with this metal, it can reflect both electricity and magical energy directed at it.
This metal found in the Nine Hells is used to create all sorts of infernal weapons and other crafts.
Most notably among them are the Infernal War Machines featured in Descent to Avernus.
Iron is one of the most commonly used metals out there. Most metal weapons and armor are at least in part made with iron.
It is also used in many spells such as Antimagic Field and Hold Person.
Mercury is a metal that is liquid at normal temperatures. A drop of it is required to cast spells like Tenser’s Floating Disk and True Polymorph.
Armor made from this extremely light yet durable metal has no strength requirements to wear and incurs no disadvantage on stealth checks.
This rare steel alloy is poisonous to orcs.
This is the rarest and most expensive of the precious metals used as currency.
One of the precious metals used as currency. Silvering a weapon, which costs 100 gp, can be useful when hunting down certain creatures that are susceptible to silver. This includes many devils and undead creatures.
A metallic meteorite that can be used to create darksteel.
Telstang is a rare and secretive alloy, and its forging is known only by the gnomes. It is said to prevent its wearer from being subject to any spells or magical effects that could alter their body.
This is a very common metal used in the forging of numerous alloys.
This extremely rare metal has the property of becoming intangible to the first creature whose blood it spills.
This can have the interesting effect of creating a blade that one can conceal within their body.
As mentioned above, certain metals are used as currency. Below is a table showing the exchange rate of these currencies.
If this is confusing, read it as “one (column currency) is worth __ (row currency).”
So if we were to look at the intersection of the EP (electrum) column and the GP (gold) row, we see that one electrum piece is worth ½ of a gold piece.
Another example using platinum silver shows us that one platinum piece is worth 100 silver pieces.
I hope this article is able to help you in understanding the various metals of D&D 5e. If you want to name a blacksmith after me I totally get it – Bilrin the gnome Blacksmith will happily join your world.
As always, happy adventuring.
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As a kid, I was often told to get my head out of the clouds and to stop living in a fantasy world. That never really jived with me, so I decided to make a living out of games, stories, and all sorts of fantastical works. Now, as an adult, I aspire to remind people that sometimes a little bit of fantasy is all you need when life gets to be too much.