Looking for some ideas on a particular conundrum my party is faced with. We're in the depths of a dungeon in Undermountain and have come across a literally one-ton gem. We're all 9th level and are a bit stumped as to how to take this gem out from the Undermountain, intact, to the outside world where we can profit from it.

Here's a little more detail from a fellow party member:

  • The gem is a perfectly crafted dwarven ruby that is roughly a sphere with a diameter of 2.5 ft to 3 ft.
  • The ruby is located on a short (~50ft long) platform on the 8th basement floor of the Undermountain. The only access to this platform is a rope/wood bridge that is in incredibly poor condition, such that my half-orc ranger, weighing 250 lbs with all equipment on him, barely crosses the bridge without it collapsing.
  • The bridge is about 60ft long, and when a torch/sunrod is dropped down the chasm it covers, we lose sight of the light before it makes contact with anything.
  • Through adventuring mishaps, we have access to 8 total party members, 4 of which are magic users. Two party members (the half-orc ranger and an NPC warforged... something?) each have an unmodified STR of 20
  • Getting assistance from outside of the Undermountain would be... difficult. We rappelled down a chasm to get to the door of this floor, and then teleportation was involved further on this floor, such that we don't have a path back to our original ropes. We have a lead on another stairwell that might lead up to the surface, but there is no guarantee that we have a direct path back to the surface.
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    \$\begingroup\$ In Undermountain? Have you considered just not touching it because it might kill all of you? \$\endgroup\$
    – Miniman
    Commented Dec 29, 2015 at 15:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ Ha, its a long story, but we've already checked that out. The gem itself is safe to touch, just very very heavy. \$\endgroup\$
    – gregor
    Commented Dec 29, 2015 at 15:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ Do you know if Halaster's enchantments on Undermountain are still in effect / being used by your DM? I'm unfamiliar with the 4e era of Undermountain, but if they're still active some otherwise good-sounding solutions are not actually effective and it would be useful for prospective answerers to know that. If you don't know, that's also useful to say in the question, so that answerers can take the possibility into account! \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 29, 2015 at 22:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ I would leave such a gem alone no matter what dungeon I found it in. It's simply too valuable. There's some reason nobody has made off with it. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 31, 2015 at 3:23

3 Answers 3


Break it up.

A gem that large is literally priceless. As in, it's worth so much that no one will be willing to buy it for more than a tiny fraction of its value. Imagine that happened on earth. Its value would be several hundreds of billions of dollars. Who would pay that much?

Now think about trying to sell chunks of it. You could much more easily sell a fist sized gem, and then another, and another. Each would be worth the price of a mansion, but there are hundreds of potential buyers for each one instead of 0 potential buyers. So long as you're the only one that knows about or has access to this giant gem, you can continue to sell manageable sizes of the gem for years to come.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This is, of course, assuming that selling is what you want to do with it. Just imagine the enchantment purposes that you could use such a stone for! \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 30, 2015 at 22:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MasonWheeler I can already imagine a fighter wielding a Long Sword +5000 with a one-tone gem imbued into the hilt. Then again this reminds me of an item I came up with for a setting /story - a very powerful sword that is so heavy that it's difficult to lift it off the ground, yet when you try to fight with it it moves as fast and as easy as if it was a rapier. \$\endgroup\$
    – Maurycy
    Commented Dec 30, 2015 at 23:08

To get a handle on how big this gem could be: quartz, a relatively light semi-precious gemstone, is about 160 lbs per cubic foot. That means your one-ton rock is probably under 12 cubic feet, or under 3x3x3 feet in dimension. So your primary concern is weight, not size.

Some options, which may need to be combined depending on what you have available:

  • Hire help. Find some friendly (or minimally unfriendly) people who know how to use sleds, chains, pulleys, and other transportation tools.
  • Teleport with it. Use the Linked Portal ritual. You'll need help to carry it through the portal.
  • Put it in a Portable Hole. If you can find a Portable Hole, you can carry it without worry. You can also use something like the Leomund's Secret Chest ritual.
  • Get nonhumanoid help. Befriend a creature who can carry heavy things and convince it to carry the stone back.
  • Use Tenser's Floating Disk. As Quentin pointed out in a comment, an Arcana check of 40 or higher lets you carry the gem on the disk. This will probably be difficult for you at 9th level, but perhaps not impossible, especially if you can get something like a Ritual Candle.
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    \$\begingroup\$ Note that using teleportation and portal magics in Undermountain, at least at one point in history, are very bad ideas. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 29, 2015 at 23:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ Ruby is essentially doped corundum, which is almost 1.5x denser than quartz \$\endgroup\$
    – March Ho
    Commented Dec 30, 2015 at 12:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ The smaller it is, the easier it is; we don't know how pure or magical the gem is, so I'm assuming worst-case. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 30, 2015 at 16:32

If one of your spellcasters can learn Shadow Bridge, you can march your two str-20 characters across the summoned shadow bridge, pick up the gem, and carry it across to the other side.

I forget the rules for carrying weight, and especially the rules for sharing weight between two users. If you cannot carry the weight by yourself, Shrink (ritual) may help.

Shrink is unclear in its wording whether the object is shrunk by the given percentage in one dimension, or whether the total volume is shrunk by that percentage, and thus the actual dimensions are only shrunk by the cube root of that. I'm going to assume the length on one side is shrunk by that percentage, because the flavor text mentions hiding a statue in ones' shoe.

If this is the case, with a arcana roll of 20 or higher, the gem turns into a 31 lb gem 8 inches to a side. Still large, but manageable. Cross the bridge again and carry the gem to safety before it un-shrinks back to its normal size.

This allows you to get the gem out without breaking it. What you do then is up to you, because as Derek said, very few beings short of deities have the money to buy such an item. On earth, such a gem would turn the entire gem economy on its side. However, in D&D, beings of the planes have absolutely absurd amounts of money. The merchants of Sigil trade in Astral Diamonds, worth 10k gold pieces each. There are mines that mine Astral Diamonds, pumping out hundreds if not thousands a day.

These people could certainly be interested in buying a giant gem of the finest quality, if your DM says so. But that sounds like an adventure of its own: transport a gigantic gem through the astral plane, defending against dwarves trying to reclaim what was once theirs, goblins trying to steal it for themselves, and beings of the planes that seek to add to their palaces of gems, and safely delivering it to a wealthy buyer and convince them to buy it from you.


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