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Are there any official methods of permanently creating significant quantities of adamantine, iron or similar through magic, principally transmutation of lesser materials (creating a portal to a place with metal is not applicable in this circumstance) without spells like Wish and True Polymorph?

These does not necessarily need to be methods accessible by player characters.

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So, this is specific enough that I wouldn't vote to close, but I feel like you'd be getting better answers if you said why you need tons of metal. Is this something that you need your NPCs to do to justify some part of your plot? Is it important to you to use existing rules, or could you accept answers that don't use stuff specified in the rules? – DuckTapeAl Feb 21 at 21:29
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What spell level would be acceptable if not level 9? (i.e. from older versions: dandwiki.com/wiki/Wall_of_Iron_%28SRD_Spell%29 ) – Alexis Wilke Feb 21 at 21:39
    
For the purposes of the question, the setting of the campaign can be as vague as 'a place with no metal', and acceptable spells would be of levels 8 or below. The question also specifies 'create or transmute', so methods of getting pre-existing metals from somewhere else (whether through magic portals, mining or the postal service) are obviously not part of the question. And I also said official, so homebrew/non-5th.ed spells like Wall of Iron do not count. – Zso Feb 21 at 21:50
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Can you fold the details from your comment into the question please? Comments are not permanent – Wibbs Feb 21 at 23:12
    
@Zso, note that there are additional spells in the Princes of Apocalypse, for example, which I think means you should not limit yourself to what is in the book only, especially if you need it for your NPCs. – Alexis Wilke Feb 21 at 23:23

You can't prove a negative, however, in searching the books for the word "metal":

  • There are no spells in the Player's Handbook with this effect
  • There are no magic items in the Dungeon Master's guide with this effect

There are some esoteric options:

  • Major Transformation (PHB p.119) A 14th level Transmuter can destroy their Transmuter's stone to cause a Major Transformation which would allow an object up to a 5ft cube to be turned into another object of the same size and mass and of equal or lesser value. So for metal you need to find something of the same density (more or less) and more expensive than the end result - good luck with that.

  • Gorgon breeding (MM p.171) "Its body is covered in iron plates ..." so start with a breeding pair and wait. However, as a monstrosity (MM p.7) it is DM's call if they breed or not. Slightly more hazardous than raising chickens.

  • A Trick (DMG p.298) The example trick (17-19) says "Changes one substance to another, such as gold to lead or metal to brittle crystal". While the examples given don't do what you want, they are not definitive.

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Early editions of the game specified that Gorgon flesh can be used to make a delicious and nourishing soup. Or, to put it another way, "Before the Wizards of the Coast came, the old school roleplayers that inhabited this land would use every part of the buffalo..." – GMJoe Feb 22 at 3:51
    
On the Major Transformation, it doesn't have to have the same density as the original material - "size" isn't equivalent to "volume." A bush might be about the same size as a goblin, and plant matter is denser than goblin flesh [citation needed], but the goblin doesn't have all that air between its leaves, so it probably weighs about the same. – GMJoe Feb 22 at 4:00

Yes

Here's one way how you can accomplish this through transmutation alone, and without the use of level 9 spells, before you can even cast level 8 spells.

From PHB 119

A 6th level Wizard, who is of the Transmutation School gains a nifty little ability to create a Transmuter's Stone. You must spend 8 hours to create the stone and the stone in question can have various properties that it bestows to the holder.

Once that same Wizard reaches 14th level, and only able to cast no higher than 7th level spells, it gains the ability to destroy the above mentioned Transmuter's Stone to use up the store of magic to permanently cause a 'Major Transformation' . You can Transmute a non magical object(s) no larger than a 5ft cube into another non magical object bearing the same size and mass and of equal or lesser value if you spend 10 minutes handling the object. Since "size" isn't equivalent to "volume", and density is another thing entirely, you just need a total mass equivalent to the metallic alloy you are aiming for as well as the original item(s) to cost at least equal to the metal you need.

Using this method you should be able to consistently make an abundance of the desired alloy in between long rests.

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This is a great method for transmuting expensive metals onto less-expensive metals, but it's not that great for making adamantine. – Greenstone Walker Feb 22 at 2:11
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While this is good information, the original question specifies "transmutation of lesser materials," which to me suggests the "equal or lesser value" stipulation likely makes the method inapplicable. – kungphu Feb 22 at 2:12
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@GreenstoneWalker You could also use it to turn sufficiently valuable objects, such as non-metal gems and jewelry, into metal... And turning diamonds into adamantine is linguistically satisfying. (Seriously, though, the ability lets you turn purchased object that costs x into purchased object that costs less than x; If the players can find, for example, some sufficiently-valuable hardwoods and the GM doesn't claim that scarcity has driven the price of metals to absurd heights, this method could be used to create adamantine just fine.) – GMJoe Feb 22 at 3:47
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@GMJoe Thank you for explaining what I thought was obvious. My apologies to the rest of you for any confusion on this matter of Equal or lesser value meaning a sufficient amount of value and quantity of Material X can be Transmuted into Adamantine. FORTUNATELY, Adamantine was not the only metallic alloy he mentioned, as Iron or similar metals was part of the question as well. The cheaper the metallic alloy he's aiming for, the easier time he will have using this method, the only feasible and repeatable method available from a RAW standpoint. – Airatome Feb 22 at 15:23

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