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Are there any official methods of permanently creating significant quantities of adamantine, iron or similar through magic, principally transmutation of lesser materials (creating a portal to a place with metal is not applicable in this circumstance) without spells like Wish and True Polymorph?

These does not necessarily need to be methods accessible by player characters.

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    \$\begingroup\$ So, this is specific enough that I wouldn't vote to close, but I feel like you'd be getting better answers if you said why you need tons of metal. Is this something that you need your NPCs to do to justify some part of your plot? Is it important to you to use existing rules, or could you accept answers that don't use stuff specified in the rules? \$\endgroup\$ – DuckTapeAl Feb 21 '16 at 21:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ For the purposes of the question, the setting of the campaign can be as vague as 'a place with no metal', and acceptable spells would be of levels 8 or below. The question also specifies 'create or transmute', so methods of getting pre-existing metals from somewhere else (whether through magic portals, mining or the postal service) are obviously not part of the question. And I also said official, so homebrew/non-5th.ed spells like Wall of Iron do not count. \$\endgroup\$ – Temp Feb 21 '16 at 21:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ Can you fold the details from your comment into the question please? Comments are not permanent \$\endgroup\$ – Wibbs Feb 21 '16 at 23:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DuckTapeAl I'd say those things are actually kinda irrelevant to the question don't you think? Don't bog down the question with extra fluff. He needs to make metal, does it matter why? I say no. \$\endgroup\$ – Premier Bromanov Feb 22 '16 at 15:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PremierBromanov I asked those questions because there are answers that depend on them. If the querent is the GM, and wants his NPCs to be able to make metal in a way that doesn't work for PCs, and is willing to accept non-book rules, then "Some NPCs know the Transmute Wood to Metal ritual, but it's not something players can use" is an acceptable answer. The "why" gives us the ability to answer the question with a solution the querent might not have thought about. \$\endgroup\$ – DuckTapeAl Feb 22 '16 at 16:22
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You can't prove a negative, however, in searching the books for the word "metal":

  • There are no spells in the Player's Handbook with this effect
  • There are no magic items in the Dungeon Master's guide with this effect

There are some esoteric options:

  • Major Transformation (PHB p.119) A 14th level Transmuter can destroy their Transmuter's stone to cause a Major Transformation which would allow an object up to a 5ft cube to be turned into another object of the same size and mass and of equal or lesser value. So for metal you need to find something of the same density (more or less) and more expensive than the end result - good luck with that.

  • Gorgon breeding (MM p.171) "Its body is covered in iron plates ..." so start with a breeding pair and wait. However, as a monstrosity (MM p.7) it is DM's call if they breed or not. Slightly more hazardous than raising chickens.

  • A Trick (DMG p.298) The example trick (17-19) says "Changes one substance to another, such as gold to lead or metal to brittle crystal". While the examples given don't do what you want, they are not definitive.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Early editions of the game specified that Gorgon flesh can be used to make a delicious and nourishing soup. Or, to put it another way, "Before the Wizards of the Coast came, the old school roleplayers that inhabited this land would use every part of the buffalo..." \$\endgroup\$ – GMJoe Feb 22 '16 at 3:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ On the Major Transformation, it doesn't have to have the same density as the original material - "size" isn't equivalent to "volume." A bush might be about the same size as a goblin, and plant matter is denser than goblin flesh [citation needed], but the goblin doesn't have all that air between its leaves, so it probably weighs about the same. \$\endgroup\$ – GMJoe Feb 22 '16 at 4:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ And when they say "size", I'm pretty sure they are talking about categories: Large, Medium, Small, Huge, etc... \$\endgroup\$ – Mindwin Oct 10 '17 at 22:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ValleyLad that’s a gross oversimplification of how steel is made \$\endgroup\$ – Dale M Feb 12 '19 at 3:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ValleyLad if you head iron in the presence of carbon the carbon burns before the iron gets red hot so there is no carbon left - you wouldn't get low-grade steel, you'd get hot iron. \$\endgroup\$ – Dale M Feb 12 '19 at 3:17
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Yes, it is possible

Here's one way how you can accomplish this through transmutation alone, and without the use of level 9 spells, before you can even cast level 8 spells.

From PHB 119:

A 6th level Wizard, who is of the Transmutation School gains a nifty little ability to create a Transmuter's Stone. You must spend 8 hours to create the stone and the stone in question can have various properties that it bestows to the holder.

Once that same Wizard reaches 14th level, and only able to cast no higher than 7th level spells, it gains the ability to destroy the above mentioned Transmuter's Stone to use up the store of magic to permanently cause a 'Major Transformation' . You can Transmute a non magical object(s) no larger than a 5ft cube into another non magical object bearing the same size and mass and of equal or lesser value if you spend 10 minutes handling the object. Since "size" isn't equivalent to "volume", and density is another thing entirely, you just need a total mass equivalent to the metallic alloy you are aiming for as well as the original item(s) to cost at least equal to the metal you need. Of course the cheaper the metallic alloy you're aiming for, the easier time you will have using this method.

Using this method you should be able to consistently make an abundance of the desired alloy in between long rests.

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I do not know if has any flaws in it but couldn't you take a step farther and start getting more precious metals quicker by using a combination of transmutation wizard with forge domain cleric? For couldn't you take a 1ft cube chunk of wood convert that to metal using minor transmutation from the wizards second level ability and while also being a second level forge cleric then preform the channel divinity/ritual and convert 100gp worth of the chuck of "gold" into adamantine? Granted it is not vast quantities all at once but to be able to get adamantine at all at only 4th level and to be able to repeat the process once a long rest I think would add up more than waiting for higher levels unless there is something wrong with my logic.

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Consider looking at Forge Clerics

Their Channel divinity lets them transmute any valuable metal into another.

Channel Divinity: Artisan's Blessing

Starting at 2nd level, you can use your Channel Divinity to create simple items.

You conduct an hour-long ritual that crafts a nonmagical item that must include some metal: a simple or martial weapon, a suit of armor, ten pieces of ammunition, a set of tools, or another metal object (see chapter 5, “Equipment,” in the Player’s Handbook for examples of these items). The creation is completed at the end of the hour, coalescing in an unoccupied space of your choice on a surface within 5 feet of you.

The thing you create can be something that is worth no more than 100 gp. As part of this ritual, you must lay out metal, which can include coins, with a value equal to the creation. The metal irretrievably coalesces and transforms into the creation at the ritual’s end, magically forming even nonmetal parts of the creation.

You could create an inordinate amount of iron. As 1 lb of iron is 1 sp. With 100gp you could make 1000 lbs of iron in 1 hour. All of this at level 2.

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