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Residuum is a substance produced by destroying and disenchanting magic items. It is a fine, silvery dust which can be used as a component for rituals. It is occasionally used as a form of portable wealth.[1]

It has a value of 5,000 gp per pound. It is measured in grains, with one grain being 1 gp worth.[2] It has a density slightly lower than gold.

The Player's Handbook states that a pound of residuum is worth 500,000 gp, giving it a value of just over 1 gp per milligram. Mordenkainen's Magnificent Emporium appears to retcon this value.


Residuum is primarily recovered using the disenchant magic item ritual. It is ineffective on artifacts or intelligent magic items,[3][4] and recovers only half as much from cursed magic items.[5]

Residuum can be recovered from the stomach of a rust monster after it consumes magic items. They appear to possess a certain organ which serves as a residuum pouch, and may absorb the residuum into its body over time.[6][7] The steel predator likewise consumes magic item, and the residuum which can be recovered from its body makes it a valuable target of hunts by powerful planar beings.[8] Artifacts sometimes dissolve into residuum when their purpose is served.[9] Other creatures capable of digesting magic items into residuum include the dweomer eater.[10] Certain constructs may use residuum in their construction.

The eladrin city of Mithrendain is surrounded by residuum storms, which coat the city in a layer of dust that is collected as a valuable resource.[11][12]


Residuum can be used to create new magic items. The genesis forge likewise uses residuum, and other constructs or devices can be built using it. Handling residuum over long periods of time can leave permanent silver streaks in an item crafter's hands.[13] Large amounts can lead to long-term ambient magical effects.[14]

Vials or boxes of residuum are sometimes used as a trade good.

Publication history[]

D&D 3rd edition[]

Coincidentally, the term "residuum" appeared in The Lich-Queen's Beloved, Dungeon #100 (Jul 2003), p.123, where it referred to a type of ectoplasm, a psychic residue left by creatures slain by Vlaakith on the Astral Plane, and which is used to imbue magic items with sentience. However, it is unrelated to the silvery powder described in this article.

D&D 4th edition[]

Residuum was introduced in D&D 4th edition's core rulebooks, with the Player's Handbook (4e) (2008). It appears throughout that edition, and often appears as treasure.

The name "residuum" was inspired by the Gilbert and Sullivan song The Soldiers of our Queen, which features the lyric "Set them to simmer, and take off the scum / And a Heavy Dragoon is the residuum!"[15]

Residuum was only used in D&D 4th edition.


  1. Player's Handbook (4e) (2008), p.225,300.
  2. Mordenkainen's Magnificent Emporium (2011), p.128.
  3. Dragon Magazine Annual 2009 (2009), p.70.
  4. Intelligent Items, Dragon #367 (Sep 2008).
  5. Mordenkainen's Magnificent Emporium (2011), p.111.
  6. Monster Manual 2 (4e) (2009), p.178-179.
  7. Ecology of the Rust Monster, Dragon #376 (Jun 2009).
  8. Monster Manual 2 (4e) (2009), p.198.
  9. Items of Legend, Dragon #368 (Oct 2008).
  10. Baba Yaga's Dancing Hut, Dungeon #196 (Nov 2011).
  11. Dragon Magazine Annual 2009 (2009), p.35-37.
  12. Mithrendain, Citadel of the Feywild, Dragon #366 (Aug 2008).
  13. Eberron Player's Guide (2009), p.67.
  14. Neverwinter Campaign Setting (2011), p.186.
  15. Tweet. "Fun fact: 4e's "residuum" got its name in part because of my childhood upbringing on a steady diet of Gilbert & Sullivan (cf. the "heavy dragoon" song from Patience, https://genius.com/Gilbert-and-sullivan-the-soldiers-of-our-queen-lyrics). #dnd #wotcstaff"