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I've recently started playing 5e (as my and most of the players' first DnD game) and at one point my Transmutation specialist Wizard used the Minor Alchemy class ability (PHB, p. 119) to turn some stone into wood. While thinking about this ability and its implications, we started wondering if the default "wood" that gets created is from a particular type of tree, and for that matter, whether the caster can decide what kind of wood it's going to be. For example, could you intentionally create some cedar, or rich mahogany?

Presumably copper or iron are pure samples of their respective elements, but the idea of "pure wood" seems non-obvious, as does stone (which stone?) Have any rules for determining the types of materials created by transmutation been established, either in the fifth or previous editions?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Because the amount of detail and crunch and extra rules will vary from one edition to the next, I suggest that you separate out the 5e question from "previous edition" question and ask a separate question about a previous edition. One of the things 5e did was reduce the number of rules and the amount of detail like what you are referring to, leaving it up to the DMs and players to come up with some of those details. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jan 20 '16 at 20:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ My question is, why does it matter? What are you hoping to achieve by bringing in this level of detail? As far as the rules seem to be concerned, wood is wood is wood so what "problem" are you trying to overcome here? \$\endgroup\$ – Purple Monkey Jan 22 '16 at 6:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PurpleMonkey Mostly just curious--like I said, I'm new to roleplaying, so I'm trying to get a sense of what's allowed for vague cases like this. It could have some practical effects in game, like if some type of wood is extremely valuable or has medicinal properties (that you don't mind being reversed in an hour). \$\endgroup\$ – Milo P Jan 22 '16 at 17:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ I am currently toying with possibilities and something you could turn something else into and it would be useful is balsa wood. \$\endgroup\$ – Yeshe Jul 14 '16 at 11:49
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I have discovered nowhere that specifies the specific type/variant of material that must be created. I even looked at 3.5 and pathfinder flesh to stone (for previous editions).

Given the fact that the effect only lasts an hour, as long as the PC is familiar with the material (has he ever seen or held rich mahogany?) I would rule that he would be allowed to imitate woods that he has previously seen or held.

Also, and somewhat unrelated, you might consider what effect this ability might have on the economy at large. Is it a common ability? If so, is it common to try and sell alchemically altered materials only to have them change to something else an hour later? What do the authorities do when those materials are sold and they change back? I think there are some interesting implications that come with the ability that might be worth exploring further in your game.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Ah, the ol' forgery-through-magic question. I really liked the way Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Second Edition approached it: There was a second-level wizard spell that disguised copper coins as gold - but there was a relatively mundane trick that uncovered the illusion, so using the spell too frequently would result in the trick becoming common knowledge and practice... \$\endgroup\$ – GMJoe Jan 20 '16 at 23:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ Actually that might be a cool way to sculpt some precious stone by transmuting it to wood first, carving it, then letting it revert back to its natural form. Ouila, instant masterpiece. \$\endgroup\$ – Escoce Jan 21 '16 at 16:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Escoce (Stage whisper: it's “voilà”.) \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jan 22 '16 at 7:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Whisper back: yeah but I say wahla not vwahla \$\endgroup\$ – Escoce Jan 22 '16 at 22:12

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