Treasure

Sovereign Materials

Something I’ve long pondered about D&D is how there are certain things that you cannot create with magic. The need for this is, of course, to stop player characters from creating gold pieces, spending them, and walking away before they vanish. But there ought to be more than the practical constraint surrounding this idea.

Hence, “sovereign materials”.

Sovereign Materials

There are certain materials that magic cannot summon, produce, or reproduce called sovereign materials. As a result, other items cannot be changed into these materials. Their special nature is part of why they are valued.

For this reason, these items are often used in the making of magic items. However, these materials can still be included in spell effects, including transformations, vanishings, teleportation, etc. That is, a gold coin can be carried while teleporting or even transformed into lead temporarily, but lead cannot be transformed into gold, even temporarily.

Sovereign materials include:

  • Gems and semi-precious stones (emerald, ruby, diamond, pearl, opal, sapphire, etc.)
  • Precious metals (gold, silver, copper, platinum)
  • Wolfram (tungsten)
  • Ironwood and Livewood (woods that cure as hard as iron; ironwood is black; livewood is white)
  • Ivory
  • Alicorn (unicorn horn)
  • Quicksilver (mercury)
  • Mithral
  • Adamantium
  • Magic items (which are made with sovereign materials)

These substances, therefore, are highly valued and useful in testing magic or protecting one from magic. A box made of ivory or a chest of livewood might be used to hide money and gems. Then the treasure would be safe from attempts to summon it from elsewhere. Ironwood and livewood make good material for magic bows and shields, as well as druid’s cudgels or wizard’s staffs.

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