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My Dwarf smith wants to merge both his Plate Armor +1 and his Adamantine Plate Armor. The idea is to melt Adamantine, obtain the raw material, and coat his +1 Plate with it, thus obtaining a +1 Adamantine Plate Armor.

Would a +1 Adamantine Plate Armor be imbalanced?

Players are currently level 12, and I was thinking of charging 1000g for the task, alongside the consumption of one of the armors. The player would not be able to melt the new armor again, so this would be the final version of the item. I'm aware this is homebrew territory (you can only coat weapons with Adamantine), and my main concern is whether this item is overpowered or not. I can adjust its cost, whether it requires attunement, and possibly other effects/penalties.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Purely for thematic sense reasons, I would instead suggest you move the enchantment on to the adamantine plate. This is because in the real world, adding iron to a bronze full plate would not result in a suit of iron full plate. \$\endgroup\$ – Isaac May 3 at 14:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ True but in 5e the mechanic to coat weapons in adamantite already exists. So it's a smaller tweak to make it So my to armor too. \$\endgroup\$ – Sam Lacrumb May 3 at 15:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ Does this answer your question? Can I improve a suit of Adamantine Armor I've found to have a +2 AC magic bonus? \$\endgroup\$ – nick012000 Jun 5 at 17:47
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This would not be imbalanced

Let's look at the existing selection of magic items:

  • Adamantine Armor is "Uncommon"
  • +1 Armor is "Rare"
  • +2 Armor is "Very Rare"
  • +3 Armor is "Legendary"

If we believe these values, then adding adamantine to armor is not even as good as a +1. (But you should still consider the new +1 adamantine plate armor to be a "very rare" item.)


There are some interesting questions here about how the process would work. How do you merge two armors together? Does the process involve melting one of the armors, or extracting the enchantment somehow, or do we just wave our hands and say "dwarven smiths can do that stuff"?

It's tempting to get into those questions, but before we do so, we should notice that OP wrote:

I'm aware this is homebrew territory (you can only coat weapons with Adamantine), and my main concern is whether this item is overpowered or not. I can adjust its cost, whether it requires attunement, and possibly other effects/penalties.

so I'll refrain from issuing untested homebrew rules, especially ones that the original poster did not ask for.

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    \$\begingroup\$ just for flavor it might be a lot easier to take whatever is magic out of the +1 armor( fitted gems, magical residue, ect) and put it on/in the adamant armor. coating it will result in doubling the weight of the armor. \$\endgroup\$ – John May 3 at 15:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ The second part of your comment seems false, John. dndbeyond.com/magic-items/adamantine-plate mentions nothing about increased weight. Is this just a house rule you want us to issue? I don't think OP is asking us for house rules. \$\endgroup\$ – Dan B May 3 at 22:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ but they are not using the standard adamantine plate they are taking its mass and covering normal +1 plate with it. \$\endgroup\$ – John May 4 at 2:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ "...we should notice that OP wrote:[...]so I'll refrain from issuing untested homebrew rules, especially ones that the original poster did not ask for" Rarely have I ever opened such a question to read some ineteresting homebrew ideas and left with a lesson on the ettiquette of this side. My hat off to you. \$\endgroup\$ – 3C273 Jun 5 at 20:23
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CAN it be done?

While I agree with Dan B that this would not be imbalanced for level 12 players, and I agree with you that physically, it can be done, but this begs the question; Where did the +1 come from, and can it be transferred?

I ask this because There are a couple of premises behind +x items;

  1. The item has been made with extreme craftsmanship for extraordinary effectiveness
  2. The item has been imbued with magic to make it more effective
  3. The item has been made with special materials that grant it extraordinary effectiveness.

Being adamantine, I feel we can easily strike out the third category, but if one of the other 2 are the reason for its bonus, you may have a problem.

If the item has been made with extreme craftsmanship

Then would coating it in another material make it less effective? Might adding hot metal remove some of the temper on the armor, or it might not fit the same? It would definitely be heavier by adding another coat of metal to it.

Is this player an exceptional armorer or blacksmith? If so, then these concerns are moot. If not, then I feel that you would lose the extra oomph that it being so aerodynamically crafted, with a fit so divine, and practical weightlessness that gives it that extra boost.

+1 can not be brought down, but if it were +2 or more, I would bring down the bonus unless the character in question had magnificent affinity for blacksmithing/armor making.

Neither you nor your player(s) may care about such things, but it is worth thinking about in my opinion.

If the item has been imbued with magic

Then which one are you destroying? It sounds like you're destroying the adamantine armor to add to the +1 armor. The other way around, is the item is destroyed, and the magic it contained with it?

I am currently unaware of any 5e rules for destroying magical items, but I am not the alpha-and-omega of 5e rules...

And a last thought to this; Would adamantine block the magic? Some spells are blocked by materials, i.e. Detect Thoughts states;

The spell can penetrate barriers, but 2 feet of rock, 2 inches of any metal other than lead, or a thin sheet of lead blocks you.< Detect Thoughts DnD Beyond

Correct, nobody is likely to add two inches of adamantine to their plate armor under normal circumstances, but though adamantine is not magical, it does interact oddly with magic. For instance, the Gargoyle has this resistance;

Damage Resistances Bludgeoning, Piercing, and Slashing from Nonmagical Attacks that aren't Adamantine< Gargoyle DnD Beyond

If adamantine can overcome nonmagical damage resistance, what might it do to the magic on the +1 armor that is now being coated with it?

Is your dwarf smith a caster? A caster who can handle 6th level spells (will be 7th level at 13!) should have the know-how to handle this situation. Maybe a few Arcana checks while it's being made, to be sure of proper focus (Religion checks if it's a religious caster rather than arcane)?

All that being said, I would allow it. I like it, it's creative, it's personal, it's perfect! If a player told me they wanted to do this, I would build in the down time to do so. This is the kind of character engagement that should be rewarded. "I like this armor/flavor, but I don't want to lose this.

I like the 1,000 gold cost, and I would also say that it should be done in downtime. Unless you feel it should be, I see no reason to add penalties or attunement, as this armor has basically just adjusted to +1 Adamantine Plate Armor instead of the usual.

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