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Reach for the Stars: Rare Materials

Reach for the Stars: Rare Materials

Are you taking your D&D game into the great beyond and sailing the astral seas? Explore rules to augment a game with options beyond your campaign’s home world!

This installment contains several rare materials, their stories, and rules for using them in your game. These items are intended to be alchemical in nature, and could easily be reflavored as magical or natural as best fits your campaign.

Spaceborne Materials

Space is filled with all manner of unusual and valuable materials. Unique substances might form the basis of new magic or technology and enhance an adventurer’s equipment. The search for these materials fires the imagination and drives adventure when traveling to alien worlds.

Exciting stories abound whether the characters hunt for rare materials to augment gear, gather riches from their sale, or experience the adventure inherent in recovering them. You can also use rare materials to add flavor to alien artifacts, or as rewards from travelers arrived from distant stars. A +1 shield is valuable, but a +1 astronwood shield that regenerates damage done to it is distinctive!

Astronwood Trees

Astronwood trees are a rare plant that grows on asteroids that orbit red giant stars. One or two of these massive tree-like plants sprout from an asteroid, spreading their huge oblong blue leaves to catch the dim red light of a dying sun. Astronwood trees typically grow as tall as 200 feet and weight over 1,000 pounds. These trees are particularly resilient and can regenerate damage done by flying space debris or spacefaring herbivores. Given their regenerative properties, astronwood groves are prized locations and frequently become sites of space battles by feuding loggers.

Cost/Harvesting: Astronwood trees regenerate, requiring special alchemical treatments immediately upon harvest to prevent them from taking root in the transporting ship. The construction of items from their wood further requires additional alchemical ingredients to allow them to adopt a new shape without regenerating to their original form, increasing the cost to twice as much as it normal. A cubic foot of astronwood weighs about 40 pounds and normally sells for 5 gp.

Use/Mechanics: Astronwood lumber is prized for its regenerative properties, making it particularly useful for crafting wooden shields or ship hulls, though at great expense. If not destroyed, wooden objects created from astronwood regenerate 5 points of damage per day.

Besnon Particles

A magical radiation, besnon particles give gaseous nebulas a glowing pink tinge. The radiation is harmless to living organisms and causes the nebula to radiate magic. Specially created crystals can be charged with besnon particles, and when charged, give off a faint pink light equal to that of a candle.

Cost/Harvesting: Besnon particles are collected by trailing huge parachutes behind spacefaring vessels at very slow speeds. These parachutes are studded with magical crystals that attract and collect the particles, causing them to glow with their characteristic dim, rosy color. Each magical crystal requires 50 gp to construct, and the most common collection parachutes are studded with one hundred of them. Larger parachutes have been devised but require even slower speeds, decreasing a ship’s maneuverability and significantly increasing the time to collect the particles. One fully charged crystal typically sells for 1,000 gp.

Use/Mechanics: Once the radiation is stored, the crystal can be affixed to items that regenerate charges, such as a wands or staves. These items regain an additional +1 expended charge daily at dawn. Each time the crystal containing besnon particles is used roll a d10. On a 1, the crystal shatters and is destroyed.

Frozen Air

Poisonous air is common danger when making long space travels or exploring abandoned space hulks. To combat this frequent challenge, alchemists have crafted a unique device dubbed, “frozen air.” Frozen air consists of a metal flask containing crystals of solidified gases collected from certain alien planets surrounding a glass sphere containing an alchemical catalyst. When the flask is shaken, the bulb containing the catalyst is broken and begins a reaction that creates a breathable atmosphere.

Cost/Harvesting: The proper gases to react with the alchemical catalyst are not found on most worlds and those that do have them tend to spawn dangerous ooze-based lifeforms. In addition, the gases need to be magically chilled until they active a solid state. These combined challenges make frozen air hard to come by. It regularly sells for 500 gp.

Use/Mechanics: Activating a flask of frozen air within the envelope of a ship causes a great woosh of breathable air to spread out and mix with the surrounding atmosphere, increasing the air quality by one step in 2d4 rounds.

Thrust Stone

Drifting away from your vessel toward the edge of its air envelope is a real problem for spacefarers without the ability to move themselves or return to the deck. Fortunately, thrust stone provides a solution. Thrust stone is a peculiar ore that can sometimes be gathered from comets. This grey stone with metallic orange flakes creates a burst of force when struck against a rough, hard surface. Agile spacefarers can use a thrust stone to generate enough force to push themselves back to safety or to quickly launch toward another ship they hope to board. Unconfirmed rumors abound of gnomish vessels using thrust stone-powered booster rockets that achieve incredible speeds.

Cost/Harvesting: Thrust stone is rarely found on comets and requires significant mining in that dangerous environment to recover. The average thrust stone weighs about half a pound and sells for 50 gp.

Use/Mechanics: When in a weightless environment, thrust stone is traditionally smashed against the wearer’s armor or shield, causing the stone to spark and consume itself, generating thrust that pushes the user 20 feet per round when floating in space. Correctly placing the stone is challenging, and many spacefarers have spun off to their demise. A successful DC 13 Dexterity (Acrobatics) check is required to properly direct the thrust. If the check fails, randomly determine the direction of thrust.

Thrust stone can also be used as a grenade weapon with a range of up to 20 feet, targeting a single creature. If thrown at the feet of the creature, the target must succeed on a DC 10 Strength saving throw or be pushed 5 feet and knocked prone.

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