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for a special occasion I am planning to donate the players some spells with metamagic spell components as described here. one of the spells concerned will be the Disintegrate spell empowered with the metamagic spell component 'trapped voidstone', but I'm unsure how to present this to the players because I'm equally unsure how one would 'trap' a voidstone.

from what little I could find on voidstones (like a 'Voidstone Field' or the 'Sargasso of Entropy' mentioned in the Planar Handbook) it seems a nonmagical object that annihilates on touch anything and anyone failing a Fortitude saving throw. So then how would one 'trap' such a dangerous voidstone for safe use as a component during spellcasting? here's what I considered so far:

  • I considered using the Quintessence spell to envelop the voidstone and shield the outside world from it, but on the one hand I feel uncomfortable introducing psionics in a campaign that has been psionic-free thus far and on the other hand I feel uncomfortable having to deal with the very existential and controversial issue of the potential annihilation of the fabric of time..

  • I considered the Shrink Item spell, but it doesn't explicitly say the shrunk item is harmless (I do however like the idea of shrinking a medium sized voidstone and wonder if such a shrunk voidstone would still actively home in on living creatures in its vicinity)

  • I considered using caged zombie/skeletal/mummified undead rats and the Mage Hand or Telekinesis spells to thrust a voidstone into their belly. seeing as the voidstone requires a Fortitude saving throw and undead are immune to effects requiring Fortitude saving throws (having no Constitution score) it seems the rats could probably and plausibly function as a pretty lightweight container and a shield between the voidstones and the outside world. in fact the 'Sargasso of Entropy' in the Planar Handbook mentions undead lurking in a field of voidstones and behaving as if they would not be affected by them.

  • I considered using Wish but it seems ridiculously overpowered for the purpose.

I would like to know if anyone knows of anything written about trapping voidstones and using them as spell components, or in the absence of such information if anyone knows of a plausible way of going about it. as you can see above, some creativity is allowed, even welcome.

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Unfortunately,

chunks of voidstone cannot be controlled through mental energy,

(Manual of the Planes, pg. 81)

so that nixes the mage hand or telekinesis idea.

Moreover, since voidstone destroys objects, and undead specifically have

Immunity to any effect that requires a Fortitude save (unless the effect also works on objects or is harmless),

(Monster Manual, pg. 317)

they aren’t immune either.

Manual of the Planes even notes that natives of the negative energy plane are also still vulnerable to voidstone. And that’s about all it says—it doesn’t indicate any way of interacting with a voidstone aside from being destroyed by one, or making Fortitude save after Fortitude save while holding one.

Which therefore appears to hold our only possible answer: someone with +24 or more to Fortitude saving throws, and the Steadfast Determination feat from Player’s Handbook II. Steadfast Determination makes it so you no longer automatically fail Fortitude saves on a natural 1, so with +24 or more on the bonus, you cannot fail the save against voidstone.

Steadfast Determination requires Endurance, but otherwise has no requirements, and Endurance itself doesn’t require anything. So any creature can have these feats. Achieving +24 to Fortitude saves is the harder part, though it isn’t necessarily hard—unless you need to fit into a certain (low) level or CR budget.

The biggest problem here is that you are going to need a creature to “trap” the voidstone. It’s not likely to be something that conveniently fits in a spell component pouch. Which is why none of the above actually matters. The actual answer to the question is that Unearthed Arcana’s authors just picked a cool-sounding and thematically-appropriate material to use for the metamagic components; they didn’t think it through or write it all down. The voidstone is safe to use as a component because it is “trapped.” How that occurred is left undefined (and nothing in the game could serve the purpose, so it’s some unknown thing), but it doesn’t matter to Unearthed Arcana’s authors. The point is that it’s been rendered into some harmless form that can be used as a material component. In fact, it seems fairly likely that the “trapping” was actually some kind of transmutation effect, that changed the voidstone into some similar substance known as “trapped voidstone,” that has none of the usual properties of voidstone, but has the property of serving as a metamagic component (which regular voidstone cannot). Unless the PCs ask to make their own, there’s no reason to worry about it in any more detail than that.

If the PCs do want to create their own trapped voidstone, I recommend not even bringing Steadfast Determination up—frankly that entire idea seems more appropriate for some bizarre throwing build than it does to achieving these metamagic components. Instead, I’d make it something that an entropomancer can do. Entropomancer is a garbage prestige class from Complete Divine that focuses around manipulating a sphere of annihilation—ya know, an artifact that most campaigns never see, and that the class offers no assistance in finding—and Manual of the Planes suggests that voidstone might be related to a sphere somehow. If entropomancers can manipulate the sphere, maybe they can manipulate voidstone too—and maybe they can turn it into trapped voidstone to serve as a metamagic component. They’re immune to the sphere, so probably also voidstone, too.


Side note, but I would point out that psionics serves the role of “esoteric supernatural force that no one’s interacted with before” pretty well. It takes more effort to accomplish and its effects aren’t as good as magic’s. Quintessence is a particularly excellent power to show that off with, too, since it’s such a unique effect. I agree that the interaction between voidstone and quintessence is rather dubious, though.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ thanks for the detailed answer, I enjoyed reading this! Although I said Shrink item doesn't explicitly say it renders the object harmless it does say " Optionally, you can also change its now shrunken composition to a clothlike one", so I will rethink about that. I especially like your idea of the Entropomancer, they could definitely serve a purpose in any dealings with (trapped) voidstones. \$\endgroup\$ – mtijn Mar 9 at 15:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ @mtijn I like shrink item combined with permanency on the voidstone to make a large clothlike square of trapped voidstone and saying that even a few threads of the original can improve some spells. That's kind of cool. (Also, PCs in my campaigns see spheres of annihilation fairly regularly. They are among the easiest things to make illusions of.) \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Mar 9 at 16:39

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