I found a +1 electrum shortsword during a campaign. I know the +1 will damage most lycanthropic creatures, but will the electrum do any bonus damage? I'm asking because I find it silly to pay a monetary amount to put a monetary metal, on a monetary metal. Does electrum share any of the properties of silver that do damage to the werewolves, werebears, and so on?

Is there any Rules as Written or Rules as Interpreted evidence of either direction?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Possibly relevant: Why did the designers make Werewolves immune to most non-silvered damage? \$\endgroup\$ Apr 2, 2018 at 11:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ A better question might be whether it will do any damage. Electrum is not a particularly strong metal, so I would expect any weapon (particularly an edged weapon) made of it to be purely decorative. \$\endgroup\$
    – Oblivious Sage
    Apr 2, 2018 at 13:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'd also be interested in knowing if the weapon itself is electrum, or if it is akin to a silvered weapon... electrumfied? \$\endgroup\$
    – goodguy5
    Apr 2, 2018 at 13:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ObliviousSage Being magic probably makes such concerns moot — if a magic weapon made out of spirit is strong enough to do damage, a magic weapon made of soft metal is a cinch to make strong enough. :) \$\endgroup\$ Apr 2, 2018 at 19:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Now I'm imagining making a dagger out of styrofoam and enchanting it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Oblivious Sage
    Apr 2, 2018 at 19:20

3 Answers 3


No, Bonus Damage is only delivered when something has a Vulnerability

Vulnerability is detailed in the Basic Rules:

damage of that type is doubled against it

Lycanthropes do not have a vulnerability to Silver, but an Immunity against nonmagical attacks (see below.) The Magical source of damage (or a Silvered weapon) allows that Vulnerability to be bypassed, but they do not deal extra damage.

But what about Electrum?

There currently are no rules in the existing books about the effects of Electrum weapons or Electrum Plating. That falls into Homebrew territory, but given that only Silvered weapons are included in the stat block, one could easily believe that impure Electrum (mixed with Gold,copper, and other metals) does not have a sufficiently pure silver for it to be effective. Had the stat block included Electrum (or other mixed metals) as acceptable, then those would suggest that they might be effective.

Magical sources of damage bypass Lycanthrope Immunity (silver is not required)

It's the +1 aspect of the shortsword that matters here, not the electrum aspect. All Lycanthropes include the following Damage Immunity clause in their stat blocks (emphasis mine) from PHB (pages 208-11) and the updated errata:

bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage from nonmagical attacks that aren’t silvered.

Having a silvered weapon also bypasses their immunity, but in the case of your +1 electrum shortsword, it is the +1 that bypasses it without having to worry about the Electrum.

To be clear, the +1 from the Shortsword is not the only damage that bypasses the immunity. The +1 magic weapon makes ALL of the damage bypass the immunity. The weapon is fully magical and delivers full damage as it is a magical source of damage.


Only Silvered (or magical) Weapons work

The rules state that a mundane weapon needs to be silvered in order to bypass the immunity of a lycanthrope (including a werewolf)

Damage Immunities ... damage from nonmagical weapons that aren't silvered

Silvering is the process of plating a weapon in silver so even a weapon made from silver would have to be silvered to damage a werewolf by the Rules as Written

...extra coin to plate their weapons with silver. You can silver a single weapon or ten pieces of ammunition for 100 gp. 

It is likely Rules as Intended that a silver weapon would work in its own right (Although the consequences of having a weapon made of a soft metal like silver are another question entirely.)

What about electrum?

Electrum historically is an alloy made of primarily gold and some silver. You can read more about this here

natural or artificial alloy of gold with at least 20 percent silver

Whether the silver in the electrum is enough to bypass the immunity is open to a DM overrule but according to the rules, the metal has to be pure silver.

You won't get bonus damage

If you satisfy both the requirements of a magic weapon and a silvered weapons you would not get bonus damage. Instead you simply bypass the damage immunity to actually deal any damage (as opposed to the zero you would deal with a mundane non-silvered weapon). D&D has different mechanics than the trope of werewolves being vulnerable to silver.

This is analogous to the ability to drive a car or hail an uber. Either ability will get you to the destination but not any quicker.

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    \$\begingroup\$ You may want to add a sentence to be extra clear about the distinction between bypassing resistance and doing bonus damage since that seems to be something major that OP is confused about. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 2, 2018 at 12:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ "has to be pure silver" - would that imply any impurity would then "turn off" the immunity-bypass? If I were to drop a single drop of steel into an alchemists silvering agent, would that weapon not function? ... Perhaps this should be a separate question... \$\endgroup\$
    – goodguy5
    Apr 2, 2018 at 13:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ @goodguy5 that is a good question. I'm also not sure if alchemical silver is what's being used since it isn't clarified in 5e (Although it makes more sense that way) \$\endgroup\$ Apr 2, 2018 at 13:56

In my games the silver vulnerability is less about science and more about the curse inflicted on lycanthropes while relies on Pure Silver. There's no real way to reliably determine what percentage of a weapon must be silver to hurt a werewolf, so it's easier to just say that a weapon must be covered by 100% Pure Silver (meaning a steel sword can be coated in silver rather than just a sword made of silver since those would be horribly weak compared to steel weapons/ armor).

Even tho electrum is a combination of gold and silver, since it's not 100% Silver, I'd rule it doesn't have the silver property. The same would go for a steel/ iron/ wood weapon with silver filigree, because it's not 100%, it doesn't count as Silver.

As far as Rules As Written, the 100g price "represents not only the price of the silver, but the time and expertise needed to add silver to the weapon without making it less effective." So yeah, unless the weapon specifically says it's Silvered, I think you'd have to pay for it. Mayyyybe your personal DM might rule that it costs 3/4 or 1/2 normal cost bc of the silver already present in electrum but that's up to them.


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