Orichalcum Nugget (5e Equipment)

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Wondrous item, uncommon

Orichalcum is a rare, naturally-occurring magical metal found in small veins which produce nuggets no greater in diameter than the width of a thumb. It weighs nearly as much as gold and is colored similarly, though with a subtle magenta-green sheen. This metal naturally attracts the Weave, the source of all magic, and therefore bears a myriad of practical applications. For most adventurers, it's best used in the creation or enhancement of magical items. Unfortunately, the pockets of concentrated Weave surrounding these nuggets pose a threat to creatures inexperienced with spellcasting. Carrying or being near orichalcum nuggets deals force damage every minute according to the following table:

Nuggets Damage Range
1-2 1d2 Carried
3-5 1d4 Carried
6-10 1d6 5 feet
11-20 1d8 10 feet
21-30 1d10 15 feet
31-50 1d12 30 feet
51+ 1d20 60 feet

Damage listed is dealt for each nugget as force damage to all creatures in range every minute. For each damage die rolled, the damage a creature takes is reduced by a number equal to the highest level of spell slot available to the creature. This calculation is performed separately for each die. For example, a 9th level Wizard with one 5th-level spell slot can carry up to 5 nuggets without being harmed. If the same wizard picks up another, damage is rolled every minute and they take 1 force damage for every 6 rolled.

The most common use for orichalcum is the creation or enhancement of magical weapons and armor. A skilled smith[1] can blend orichalcum into steel to create a magical alloy. The nature of orichalcum helps facilitate this process, allowing it to seep into steel as if blended even when worked with an item which is already finished and tempered. Once the process is begun, damage is no longer dealt by being near the metal as the Weave surrounding it goes to work. It takes 1d4 hours per nugget used, and the distinctive color is absent in the resulting alloy, even if that alloy is mostly orichalcum. By doing so, a set of tools, weapon, shield, or set of armor can be upgraded into a +1, +2, or +3 magic item according to the following table[2]:

Item Bonus Cost
Tools[3] +1 / +2 / +3 1 / 3 / 8
Weapon +1 / +2 / +3 2 / 5 / 13
Shield +1 / +2 / +3 3 / 8 / 21
Armor +1 / +2 / +3 5 / 13 / 34

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  1. Anyone with proficiency using Smith's Tools
  2. These costs are cumulative. For example, upgrading a mundane breastplate into a +2 breastplate requires a total of 13 nuggets, and it can be upgraded into a +3 breastplate with 21 nuggets.
  3. Please refer to +1/+2/+3 Artisan's Tools (5e Equipment)
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