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I've been working on a document that collects "special materials" and 'crafting techniques' throughout Dungeons & Dragons 3.X materials, and Pathfinder, but I've found little information on the actual refinement of materials, or even the potential improvement of said materials. This got me to wondering if I've potentially overlooked resources, so I wanted to turn to the best place I knew to look for source materials.

While my specific goal is to find D&D and Pathfinder specific materials... "Compatible" materials / rule systems are also acceptable.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I believe that this is an edge case regarding "needs more focus," we should air on the side of reopening because the clause for compatible materials only qualifies acceptable suggestions and doesn't add in more systems that need to be considered by answerers. \$\endgroup\$
    – Akixkisu
    Dec 15, 2022 at 12:50
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  • \$\begingroup\$ After reading the Meta discussion V2Blast linked, I completely agree with the person that suggests offering a suggestion as to how to modify a question instead of keep stating that its not appropriate because it's "shopping for games"... If it makes it easier to mention 3PP specific materials than stating "compatible" materials / rule systems due to AEG, Mongoose, Green Ronin, etc... then I can easily do so, but I need to know that that's necessary too, not just blatantly disregarded with 'mumbo jumbo' that only the mods understand... (Sorry for the tiny rant) \$\endgroup\$
    – AOKost
    Jan 15, 2023 at 4:56

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They're already in there.

Within Pathfinder 1e there is such a thing as Special Raw Materials which seems to fall under what you're asking. Essentially, these are improved materials, but they only affect how items are crafted, rather than the item that is produced, but that's okay.

Such a thing isn't really something there should be general rules for in the first place. If there was a general way to refine a (special) material so it had different properties than the base material did, it should simply be listed as another special material than a refinement method. That's why we have Steel, Pyre Steel, Frost-Forged Steel, Fire-Forged Steel, Nexavaran Steel, etc. as materials you can use.

This also correlates to my experience as an engineer when designing new products. You don't simply ask for steel, you need to specify whether you're getting low-carbon, galvanized, nickel-plated, stainless, etc, and even then you need to specify the range of alloys you're able to use.

How a material has been refined and processed is what determines what material it is. Thus, the answer to your question is that information on improved special materials along with the refinement of them already exists. You just want more details on the processes they go through to produce them, which is not something you're likely to find outside of vague generic flavor text or a materials science textbook.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This is basically exactly the type of resource I'm looking for. Thank you! \$\endgroup\$
    – AOKost
    Jan 14, 2023 at 23:04
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Within the official D&D 3.5e and Pathfinder 1e publication lines, I am rather confident, there are not any for creating or improving special materials: the special materials are just offered, as-is, and you’re expected to just buy them (or pay the crafter extra for their value). There may be flavorful descriptions of the process by which special materials are refined, but this isn’t to improve the special material, it’s to get the special material in the first place. There also may be a few special materials that are described as “this other special material, but extra refined.” But what there isn’t is any kind of rules system for doing that kind of refinement.

Source: massive experience with these two systems.

I cannot comment on third-party products or other potential d20 System™ products that might be compatible; I have no knowledge of these.

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