In D&D 5th edition, there is a continuity among the spells that deal with returning life to the dead. Virtually all of them require an expenditure of diamond or diamond dust.

  • Revivify diamonds worth 300 gp
  • Raise Dead diamond worth at least 500 gp
  • Resurrection a diamond worth at least 1,000 gp
  • True Resurrection a sprinkle of holy water and diamonds worth at least 25,000gp

Additionally, some restorative spells require similar materials:

  • Clone diamond worth at least 1,000 gp
  • Greater Restoration diamond dust worth at least 100 gp

Because of this, my players have realized that there is a different order of value placed upon any diamonds they find. An opal or sapphire might be spent, but the diamonds they find are hoarded against possible future need.To be fair, diamonds are used in other spells, but in these they are thematically linked enough to impart the gem a symbolic meaning of restoration, at least in the games we play.

I realize that this doesn't change the value of diamonds in a monetary sense. 500 gp worth of diamonds is worth 500 gp, regardless if they are 10gp/carat, or 50 gp/carat. However, it has got me wondering. Since this does make diamonds special in the eyes of my players, setting them apart from other gems which are largely treated as high denomination currency, are there other gems or substances (precious or not) among the material components in the spell list which are likewise identified with a certain type of spell?

Such information would be good to have for anything from simple flavor to home brewing new spells.

Related: Material Component of Reviving Spells

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm assuming you are only asking material components that have a value? Otherwise, a lot of the material components have meanings. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Jan 17 '18 at 16:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ Although I did imply that, it occurs to me that any material component that symbolizes a particular type of magic would be good information to have, for anything from simple flavor to home brewing new spells. I'll edit. \$\endgroup\$ – keithcurtis Jan 17 '18 at 16:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ Ah! I think the phrase material component that symbolizes a particular type of magic is the key here. Very interesting question! \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Jan 17 '18 at 16:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ It never occurred to me until I had a group of bad guys who needed resurrection abilities for plot purposes. When defeated, the heroes netted a sizable fortune in diamonds from their trove. It made the looting memorable. \$\endgroup\$ – keithcurtis Jan 17 '18 at 16:46

Yes, some material components are thematically related to types of spells

I found this spreadsheet from this reddit post, where the user compiled the material components for a lot of spells.

Looking at this list, there are some thematic links, some more clear than others. The stronger ones that I noticed are:

  • Holy water: Bless, Commune, Dispel Evil, Forbiddance, Magic Circle, Protection from Evil/Good, Regenerate, True Resurrection, Wind Walk
  • Feather: Fly, Foresight, Identify, Wind Wall, Fear
  • Fleece: Major Image, Minor Illusion, Phantasmal Force, Programmed Illusion, Silent Image
  • Phosphorous: Conjure Elemental (Fire), Dancing Lights, Fire Shield, Symbol, Wall of Fire
  • Sulfur: Conjure Elemental (Fire), Delayed Blast Fireball, Fireball, Flame Strike
  • Water: Armor of Agathys, Conjure Elemental (Water), Control Water, Create Water, Flesh to Stone, Ice Knife (or as ice) (EEPC) (XGtE), Ice Storm, Sleet Storm, Tidal Wave (EEPC) (XGtE), Wall of Water (EEPC) (XGtE), Watery Sphere (EEPC) (XGtE)
  • Lodestone: Disintegrate, Mending, Reverse Gravity

However, there are a lot of spells that don't seem to have any thematic link but share similar material components. A handful of examples:

  • Ruby: Infernal Calling, Forbiddance, Forcecage, Simulacrum, Continual Flame
  • Iron filings or powder: Antimagic Field, Enlarge/Reduce, Flaming Sphere, Reverse Gravity

I'd suggest that you read through the entire list, as I'm sure you'll find something useful in it.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Fleece is used for illusion spells? So you are magically pulling the wool over their eyes. \$\endgroup\$ – David K Jan 17 '18 at 17:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ Looks like we were thinking along the same lines! Have +1 if only because I missed fleece completely. \$\endgroup\$ – barvobot Jan 17 '18 at 18:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ Lodestone seems to have a theme to me: those spells are about interacting with forces that bind things together, whether tearing them apart (disintegrate), stregthening/repairing them (mending), or just changing them (reverse gravity). The other two don’t really seem to share much though, I agree on those. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Jan 17 '18 at 18:15

Thanks to someone on Reddit doing most of the legwork (here), I found a couple common themes for components:

  1. Water is a common component for water and ice spells (surprising, I know). See conjure elemental (water), control water, create water, ice knife, ice storm, sleet storm, tidal wave, wall of water, and watery sphere.
  2. Holy water is a common component for 'holy' spells and wards (such as bless, commune, dispel evil, magic circle, and protection from evil).
  3. Sand is common for sleep spells, including catnap, dream, and sleep.
  4. Clay is common for earth spells, notably conjure elemental (earth), earthquake, and stone shape.
  5. Sulfur is common for fire spells, such as conjure elemental (fire), delayed blast fireball, fireball, and flame strike.

Other than those, some other components are common (such as incense and rubies), but seemingly without any specific pattern to the spells they are components for. For example, rubies (whether whole or as dust) are needed for continual flame, forbiddance, forcecage, infernal calling, and simulacrum.

A few components are used in two or three spells of the same type or single-target v. mass target (for example, honeycomb is used for both suggestion and mass suggestion) but I didn't think this was necessarily worth noting here.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ FWIW, these were both great answers, and I upvoted both. Yours addressed the themes/materials relationship a little more clearly, but the other was just a little more complete. I had to accept one of them. \$\endgroup\$ – keithcurtis Jan 23 '18 at 19:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ No worries! My thoughts exactly. :) \$\endgroup\$ – barvobot Jan 23 '18 at 21:24

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