WTF is "cold iron", and why's it so special?

MonsterMash

First Post
PapersAndPaychecks said:
Thanks Glass, I didn't personally feel able to get into that. I stand by my first statement: Metallurgy in D&D is borked, and therefore needs to be treated with enormous caution if you have any players with a clue about the subject.
Pretty much like the economics of D&D and many other areas.
 

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MonsterMash

First Post
I think the origin of the story is where the Celts (who were iron users) displaced the earlier peoples in the British Isles into the forests and mountains or other fringes of the country, by virtue of their iron weapons and lives on in the horseshoe over the door for luck.
 

WayneLigon

Adventurer
PapersAndPaychecks said:
Thanks Glass, I didn't personally feel able to get into that. I stand by my first statement: Metallurgy in D&D is borked, and therefore needs to be treated with enormous caution if you have any players with a clue about the subject.

No, it doesn't. Players that play armchair metalurgist/sword expert/combat expert/whatever expert to the detriment of the game need to be taken out back and whipped with a barbed-wire-wrapped bike chain until their ears bleed.
 

Kid Charlemagne

I am the Very Model of a Modern Moderator
glass said:
Not only is this wrong, but it not what the nice link you supplied actually says: (snip)

Yeah, you'll notice I pointed that extra bit out myself later in the thread because I realized it was giving the wrong impression.

Re: Blast Furnaces - In my games dwarves do have blast furnace technology; it's one of the key foundations of their technical superiority.
 

ssampier

First Post
SidusLupus said:
What's wrong with just renaming it since the hang up is the name and not the substance?

Take a page from Tad Williams and call it black iron or something. That sounds cooler anyways imo.

Cold Black Iron!

or something.

That works, but I like the saying of Cold Black Steel* myself

"taste my cold, black steel"

*ignore the fact that black steel may not be scientifically possible. I suppose you don't have dragons, orcs, fey, or magic in your game either?
 

Rick Oneil

First Post
http://www.thomasnet.com/articles/custom-manufacturing-fabricating/hot-forging-cold-forging

more technical then gaming, but the main point here is the recrystallization point. so if you have a large chunk of natural iron you could hammer it into a sword or spear point or dagger. Most iron on Earth come in small pebble sized pieces. it would take alot of work to hammer them together [basically impossible]. However meteors which are mostly iron and have had the outer impurities burnt off in entering the atmosphere would probably have big enough pieces for a couple of daggers and maybe even a short or long sword. Remember this is I believe how Excalibur [the Singing Sword] was supposedly made. Has for being good against fey and demons, well it comes from Heaven so it slays demons and its not natural to Earth so it keeps the l'il people honest. Also this makes such weapons extremely rare and worth fighting wars over. And a blacksmith would need a MU of some high level to help with the process. Very expensive.
 

snickersnax

Explorer
I think of cold iron like a cold chisel. The cold part refers to the cold iron tool/weapon being able to work or cut other metal that is cold because it is so strong and tough. This effectively gives cold iron the opposite meaning of cold-forged iron. Instead it refers to heat treated and tempered steel, making it hard and tough.
 

Quickleaf

Legend
My favorite fact about iron, as learned in astronomy class in college, back in the day: the atomic fusion process starts with 2 hydrogen atoms fusing into helium, and continues upward through the elemental table until you get to iron. The atomic fission process starts with uranium and move downward, splitting off atoms...until you get to iron.

And iron is anathema to fey. Freaky. :uhoh:

Radioactive Iron on the Moon!

So maybe it's a lunar connection all along...which kinda makes sense for fey.
 
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aramis erak

Legend
The traditional meaning has always been iron not forged in a fire. Which, generally, means cold-worked meteoric iron.

While cold working is insanely slow, it's not impossible with a high-quality iron source, and with harder (generally hot-forged) hammers.

Some games have other meanings. I've seen games and/or novels mean each of the following explicitly
  • Worked by Magic
  • Cast iron
  • Chemically crystallized from solution. (possible, but I don't want to be handling the solvent...)
  • meteoric iron
  • cold-worked iron
  • Cold worked meteoric iron
  • Iron forged normally but tempered in ice.
  • Summoned matter no matter how worked
  • Iron imbued with magical energy after forging
  • Iron below room temperature.
 

Eltab

Lord of the Hidden Layer
Other than iron that is cold, what makes it stand out?
It takes industrial processes to heat iron hot enough to melt into liquid.
However, you can heat it red-hot over a fire and then beat the iron ingot into a shape.
If you are really strong and patient, you can warm the ingot a bit and pound on it with say a big metal mallet until it takes the shape you want - such as a sword blade.

That last is a form of 'cold iron' which does not spill any Dwarven blacksmith's secrets.
In effect, because you did it the hard way, you get an advantage from it.

And there are 49 posts above mine that might be the civilized / sophisticated telling of the truth; I'm trying to sound like a folkloric backwoodsman.
 

Psikerlord#

Explorer
As I understand it cold iron is iron, just another name for it. In LFG however I made it: Weapons forged of cold iron (the oldest and purest iron ore, mined deep and sometimes exhibiting mild ferromagnetism) are best against Demons and Undead

As a means of bypassing immunities without needing a magic weapon (and I made silvered weapons useful against lycantropes and aberrant terrors).
 

Kobold Stew

Last Guy in the Airlock
Supporter
This blog post here crossed my feed today, which does not concern the science of metallurgy but the place of iron in historical superstition and lore.
 



Mike R

Explorer
As I understand it cold iron is iron, just another name for it. In LFG however I made it: Weapons forged of cold iron (the oldest and purest iron ore, mined deep and sometimes exhibiting mild ferromagnetism) are best against Demons and Undead

As a means of bypassing immunities without needing a magic weapon (and I made silvered weapons useful against lycantropes and aberrant terrors).

what's "lfg"?
 




Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
"Cold iron" is not about physical temperature, nor about forging.

It is about the things the fae are sensitive - emotional/spiritual/magical content, or the lack thereof, and symbolism. Iron is cold in the way that a person who lacks empathy is cold. It represents mankind's separation from the natural world, or humans taking command of their own fate in defiance of the magics of the past. Iron, and the technologies that come with it, are what allows people to no longer be subject to the whims of the world, and the whims of the fae.
 


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