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Jon_Dahl
2011-04-01, 09:01 AM
I have a small dilemma in my freeform game based on Marvel Comics.
In Marvel canon dark elves have vulnerability to iron. Otherwise they are pretty godlike creatures.
So in your opinion should such vulnerability extend to steel or only to pure iron? If the iron must be pure, dark elves are very strong and hard to defeat. However if steel that has let's say 95% of iron is just as good enough, then it's vice versa.

I'd like to hear some opinions.

In D&D this was easier, because cold iron was a separate metal...

hamishspence
2011-04-01, 09:04 AM
I like Discworld's explanation for elven vulnerability to iron- its magnetic properties.

In which case, steel would be just as problematic.

What's Marvel's reason for elven vulnerability- something mystical?

pasko77
2011-04-01, 09:06 AM
I have a small dilemma in my freeform game based on Marvel Comics.
In Marvel canon dark elves have vulnerability to iron. Otherwise they are pretty godlike creatures.
So in your opinion should such vulnerability extend to steel or only to pure iron? If the iron must be pure, dark elves are very strong and hard to defeat. However if steel that has let's say 95% of iron is just as good enough, then it's vice versa.

I'd like to hear some opinions.

In D&D this was easier, because cold iron was a separate metal...

WoD rules will tell you a definite NO, steel != iron.
The whole point of this vulnerability is that appropriate weapons must be custom, such as silver bullets for werewolwes.
Since most weapons are steel, they don't work.

So it depends, if you want this vulnerability rare (werewolves vs silver) or common (vampires vs. sunlight).

Shpadoinkle
2011-04-01, 09:31 AM
Well, steel is a form of refined iron. It's kinda like... the Wicked Witch of the West- water makes her melt. But would stuff like tea or milk or beer have the same effect? They're primarily water. I don't know.

Weaknesses like this are tied into old superstitions, like how people used to believe salt wards off evil spirits. Nonsensical, right? Well, back when people believed that, they ALSO thought evil spirits were what caused food to rot, but they discovered packing food in salt preserved it. So, naturally, salt must ward off evil spirits.

So why precisely does iron harm fey creatures but, say, copper doesn't have any special effect?

Knaight
2011-04-01, 09:34 AM
I have a small dilemma in my freeform game based on Marvel Comics.
In Marvel canon dark elves have vulnerability to iron. Otherwise they are pretty godlike creatures.
So in your opinion should such vulnerability extend to steel or only to pure iron? If the iron must be pure, dark elves are very strong and hard to defeat. However if steel that has let's say 95% of iron is just as good enough, then it's vice versa.

I'd like to hear some opinions.

In D&D this was easier, because cold iron was a separate metal...

I'd allow steel in general. This excludes the vast majority of bullets, and as such gives the advantage that people have to plan for dark elves and bring the right bullets, or improvise and probably end up using kitchen knives.

Tyndmyr
2011-04-01, 09:36 AM
It depends on setting. If it's magnetic, then steel shares that property, so yes.

If it's something like "cold iron", then no, steel doesn't work. Either way, mythology should be fairly clear on such a major difference if it exists.

If I'm not mistaken, Marvel takes the latter approach.

SlyGuyMcFly
2011-04-01, 09:44 AM
Not very familiar with Marvel's Dark Elves, but I vaguely recall Thor having to get some real iron to beat up some elf villain.

My personal opinion is that no, steel is not iron, because if steel were iron, it'd be called iron and not steel (Fey logic, y'see). Unless you used a steel tire iron. That might work. Or you might use unusually hard irony, like hitting an elf with a steel poker after he cheated at cards*. That could work too.


*I've been awake for over 24 hours. I have no idea if that's actually irony or not.

Demonix
2011-04-01, 09:55 AM
I have a small dilemma in my freeform game based on Marvel Comics.
In Marvel canon dark elves have vulnerability to iron. Otherwise they are pretty godlike creatures.
So in your opinion should such vulnerability extend to steel or only to pure iron? If the iron must be pure, dark elves are very strong and hard to defeat. However if steel that has let's say 95% of iron is just as good enough, then it's vice versa.

I'd like to hear some opinions.

In D&D this was easier, because cold iron was a separate metal...


I would say no; steel is an alloy which includes iron, but the alloy itself may lose the special properties that iron possesses, or the iron becomes 'impure' in the process of creating the alloy.

Tiki Snakes
2011-04-01, 09:55 AM
Yeah, my thinking is that it's got to be Iron. Not like iron should be hard to come by, though, it's not like we're talking magicaly-different-cold-iron, here.

FlyingScanian
2011-04-01, 10:13 AM
I might have a somewhat different opinion and point-of-view here, but...

Sure, steel works as iron... to a degree. It's not pure iron, but still iron in sufficient quantity to maintain some of that "magic" property*. Either allow steel weapons to work partially, so that if elves are completely immune to non-iron damage, steel weapons deal half damage, or give the weapons a chance to work (say, 75% of the time, the steel works)...

*Do note that if said property is magnetism, then it will work all the time...

Asgardian
2011-04-01, 11:02 AM
I have a small dilemma in my freeform game based on Marvel Comics.
In Marvel canon dark elves have vulnerability to iron. Otherwise they are pretty godlike creatures.
So in your opinion should such vulnerability extend to steel or only to pure iron? If the iron must be pure, dark elves are very strong and hard to defeat. However if steel that has let's say 95% of iron is just as good enough, then it's vice versa.

I'd like to hear some opinions.

In D&D this was easier, because cold iron was a separate metal...

Considering including steel would have made them vulnerable to most edged weapons for the last 5 or 6 centuries and a whole class of armor piercing rounds, id say kno

manyslayer
2011-04-01, 11:02 AM
Depends on the origin of the vulnerability. There are examples both ways in various media. For instance in the Dresden novels, fey are vulnerable to iron, which includes steel (and nails from a nail gun).

I think the best answer is what fits the needs of your campaign.

Tyndmyr
2011-04-01, 11:05 AM
They should, at any rate, be vulnerable to Iron Man.

It's only logical.

Fouredged Sword
2011-04-01, 11:10 AM
This gets more complecated when you consider that no iron used by man is ever pure iron, and steel is more pure than cast iron (the stuff people normaly think is pure iron). To refine steel you inject o2 into the liquid metal to burn out the carbon.

Even then steel and cast iron contain seperate crystals (called grains) of pure un-mixed iron and of iron carbite, so it may work anyway as a fraction of the steel is pure iron.

Made more confuseing by stainless steel not being magnetic, so if you go by that then most bullets are useless as the steel of choice for bullets is stainless.

Tyndmyr
2011-04-01, 11:15 AM
Stainless steel bullets? I don't know why you'd ever use that.

Most bullets are lead. Copper jacketed, perhaps. If it's steel, you want it steel because it goes through armor. In which case, you definitely do not want stainless because that would make it weaker.

Binks
2011-04-01, 11:36 AM
Fouredged makes a good point, something I think a lot of people gloss over. Carbon steel has more iron in it than cast iron (the two most common versions). If the weakness is to pure iron a steel sword should work better than an iron sword, as it's basically the iron sword with a bunch of the impurities burned out and some carbon added for strength. Iron itself is softer than aluminum so if they're only vulnerable to absolutely pure iron then you're not going to be using any swords against them at all, your best bet is iron bullets from close range.

Really it's up to you. If you want realistic vulnerability steel should work better than most things that are made of iron, as those generally have more impurities. If you want to go more mystical then go ahead and say steel doesn't work, a wizard did it.

Fouredged Sword
2011-04-01, 11:45 AM
A poor man's military armor penetrator uses sometimes uses a nicromoly bullet (a form of stainless). Normal steel bullets tend to rust in the shell and no longer seal the barrel, thus rapidly loose thier rifeling and barrel preasure as they degrade. Besides Stainless steels can be harder than most other non rusting steels, and those that are harder than a good nicromoly also are not magnetic. Carbon steel rusts VERY fast.

Yes lead and other non steel metals are prefered for bullets due to cost restrictions, but a carbon steel bullet would be hard to use outside recreational or competitive shooting.

And, yes people do it. There are a thousand and one ways to make a bullet and there are ways to insure that the carbon steel doesn't rust before fireing.

Haarkla
2011-04-01, 11:50 AM
In Marvel canon dark elves have vulnerability to iron. Otherwise they are pretty godlike creatures.
So in your opinion should such vulnerability extend to steel or only to pure iron?
I say yes, it should extend to steel. Cast and wrought iron are pretty different, and a creature being vunerable to both and not to steel makes no sense metalurgically.

Erom
2011-04-01, 11:55 AM
Even FMJ rounds are still just a nicromoly jacket over a lead or tungsten core, though.

Which, for the purposes of Fey iron vulnerability, would be sufficient I suppose, though I doubt nicromoly would trigger their vulnerability - it's almost more molybdenum than steel, isn't it?

Fax Celestis
2011-04-01, 12:02 PM
Not very familiar with Marvel's Dark Elves, but I vaguely recall Thor having to get some real iron to beat up some elf villain.

My personal opinion is that no, steel is not iron, because if steel were iron, it'd be called iron and not steel (Fey logic, y'see). Unless you used a steel tire iron. That might work. Or you might use unusually hard irony, like hitting an elf with a steel poker after he cheated at cards*. That could work too.


*I've been awake for over 24 hours. I have no idea if that's actually irony or not.

I'll admit it, I lol'd.

Knaight
2011-04-01, 12:15 PM
This gets more complecated when you consider that no iron used by man is ever pure iron, and steel is more pure than cast iron (the stuff people normaly think is pure iron). To refine steel you inject o2 into the liquid metal to burn out the carbon.

The best thing is, actually pure iron is extremely soft. The way it forms leads to layers of atoms that can just slide all over each other, and the reason most iron that actually sees use is as hard as it is is that there are other metals of varying sizes interspersed in the layers making them uneven, and carbon atoms that fit in what is essentially an area between layers, and as such it "sticks" layers together.

Fouredged Sword
2011-04-01, 01:13 PM
nicromoly is normaly 95%+ iron.

Sacrieur
2011-04-01, 01:19 PM
Steel is an alloy of iron. It contains iron.

Jayabalard
2011-04-01, 01:39 PM
There's less iron in steel than there is in iron that's less alloyed... so it would be less effective than a more pure form of iron.

Fouredged Sword
2011-04-01, 01:51 PM
No actualy, there is more iron is steel than "iron". It dates back to the old smelting practices and the fact that steel is a purified version of the rock you pull out of the ground. The nameing got solidified in language before we really understood metelurgy.

Low carbon steel (or mild or very mild steel) is the purest for of iron used.

Asheram
2011-04-01, 01:58 PM
I have a small dilemma in my freeform game based on Marvel Comics.
In Marvel canon dark elves have vulnerability to iron. Otherwise they are pretty godlike creatures.
So in your opinion should such vulnerability extend to steel or only to pure iron? If the iron must be pure, dark elves are very strong and hard to defeat. However if steel that has let's say 95% of iron is just as good enough, then it's vice versa.

I'd like to hear some opinions.

In D&D this was easier, because cold iron was a separate metal...

A question... You dark elves, are they fay? In that case, what is the Reason for them being vunerable to iron? Is it magic (or that it penetrates their magic), allergy or is it by one of their completely random laws?

Mark Hall
2011-04-01, 02:09 PM
Yeah, my thinking is that it's got to be Iron. Not like iron should be hard to come by, though, it's not like we're talking magicaly-different-cold-iron, here.

A big iron? (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGmUsJvRv7U)

Ravens_cry
2011-04-01, 02:16 PM
Having it include steel would make sense for why the Fey have left the world. You could even include a subtle conspiracy by them and their agents, mortal and otherwise to increase the use of aluminium and non-ferric alloys so they can re-claim their "Rightful Place."
On the other hand, if you want to make things more desperate, you could make it so it has to be iron or even magnetized iron.
I don't know canon, but in the end, it's up to how you want the themes to run.

The Big Dice
2011-04-01, 02:32 PM
A big iron? (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGmUsJvRv7U)
What about an Iron Maiden (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMg2cd5iiKg&feature=related)?

Ravens_cry
2011-04-01, 02:44 PM
What about an Iron Maiden (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMg2cd5iiKg&feature=related)?
Excellent! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agaHP0eQHmU)

Knaight
2011-04-01, 02:46 PM
No actualy, there is more iron is steel than "iron". It dates back to the old smelting practices and the fact that steel is a purified version of the rock you pull out of the ground. The nameing got solidified in language before we really understood metelurgy.

Low carbon steel (or mild or very mild steel) is the purest for of iron used.

Hard data time, with a chem textbook.
Unrefined pig iron 4% carbon.
Drill bits (an example of a very small, very hard, very high carbon use of modern steel) 1% carbon.

Now, there are cases where steel is allowed with stuff that isn't carbon that makes up the 3-4% difference. Manganese steel used in railway lines has anywhere from 10-18% steel, Stainless steel is only about 70% steel, and titanium, chromium, and cobalt steels are common. However processed steel for knives usually has carbon as the dominant non iron element, and knives use well under 1% carbon.

I honestly don't know the specifics of bullets. Kitchen knives actually see use in my life, armor piercing bullets don't.

Fouredged Sword
2011-04-01, 03:07 PM
I was going by memory, I didn't want to dig out my metulurgy textbook. I haven't had to look at it for 3 years now. I wonder if somebody can dig up the iron/carbon alloy phase chart. Those are normaly labled for various bands of iron and it's lables.

Erom
2011-04-01, 03:20 PM
Here:
http://www.sv.vt.edu/classes/MSE2094_NoteBook/96ClassProj/examples/FeC.gif
The thing you want to note is the bottom axis - farther right is more carbon. Notice how steel is farther left than iron? That's basically Fouredged's point - there is more iron atoms in most "steel" than in most "iron".

MarkusWolfe
2011-04-01, 03:34 PM
You fools! You have unleashed my desire to rant!

This whole 'fey folk are vulnerable to iron' thing originated from the same place much of the 'fey' mythology originates.....the Britannic Celts.

The Celts of the Iberia were among the first to develop good iron tools and weapons, and their offspring, the Britannic Celts, were the first to learn the secret of steel.

The Celtic Mythology mentions that when they first came to Britannia, the place was overrun with the fey folk. The invading humans drove most of them out, killing many and forcing what remained into hiding. However, archeologists have found man-made chambers resembling the 'Otherworld' the fairies were said to inhabit. Furthermore, flint arrowheads from the Stone Age were attributed as 'elfshot' in folklore.

Following the evidence given, it is easy to conclude that there was a primitive civilization-if you would even call it that-established on the island when the Celts arrived. After they were defeated, they adopted green clothes and underground homes to hide from the invaders. These people became the fey folk of Celtic lore, by their strange behavior and the passage of time ('Selkies' were thought to have come from distant memories of primitive kayak using peoples).

Now, why did they loose so badly that they had to go into such deep hiding that they became fairy tales? Well, the fey folk were described as small, so they may have been physically outmatched. However, what we do know for certain is that they had nothing but flintstone for weaponry. They invading Celts had iron weapons, and were able to easily defeat them.

And that is the reason fey are vulnerable to iron: invading Celts were able to easily defeat a primitive people they thought to be fey. Furthermore, this whole 'Cold Iron' thing we see in D&D is just a misinterpretation of an idiom; fey fear 'cold iron' the same way you and I might fear 'hot lead'.

Furthermore, from a more scientific point of view, the percent of carbon found in steel is very insignificant compared to the amount of iron. The chemical properties of steel are not that different from that of iron, so if the fey are vulnerable to iron because they are allergic to it, steel is as good as iron. If they are vulnerable to iron because it can penetrate their skin, then steel will probably be better. If they are vulnerable because iron IS MAGIC, I DON'T HAVE TO EXPLAIN ANYTHING, well then steel still has enough iron in it to be magical, unless carbon has some major anti-magic properties, which means you'd have to alter the world to accommodate this, the 2 most significant changes being the following:
A) The fey would wear armor made of pure carbon or some substance that is mostly carbon to protect themselves from the magic of iron.
B) Humans have, at the very least, 2.5 to 3 times as much carbon per mass than steel, perhaps even to the point that an iron weapon is no good in human hands. Other creatures also have comparable carbon composition.

So, YES. STEEL CUTS FEY.

Asgardian
2011-04-01, 03:36 PM
How about this

Its not iron itself thats the problem for Dark Elves..

Its Iron PLUS the impurities in naturally occurring iron that the are vulnerable to. Separate the two and they arent effective

Knaight
2011-04-01, 03:42 PM
Its Iron PLUS the impurities in naturally occurring iron that the are vulnerable to. Separate the two and they arent effective

This is highly variable, and moreover the same impurities are usually in steel, just to a much lesser extent.

Moreover, the reason we are having this discussion is that the language makes a huge distinction. Lets say they were cut by aluminum, would we be arguing that aluminum oxide is useless, because it is fundamentally different stuff? Probably not, and both terms containing the word aluminum is probably why. Steel is just a collection of ways iron is worked, its not fundamentally different.

WhiteHarness
2011-04-01, 05:06 PM
The Celts of the Iberia were among the first to develop good iron tools and weapons, and their offspring, the Britannic Celts, were the first to learn the secret of steel.
Where did you hear this?

Kiero
2011-04-01, 05:06 PM
The whole point of a vulnerability to iron is to make regular steel weapons useless. Iron makes for crap weapons by comparison to steel, bronze is a better weapon- and armour-making material than pig iron.

Mark Hall
2011-04-01, 05:22 PM
The Celts of the Iberia were among the first to develop good iron tools and weapons, and their offspring, the Britannic Celts, were the first to learn the secret of steel.

Glib answer: I thought it was the Cimmerians who studied the Riddle of Steel.

More serious answer: Steel cannot be traced to the Brittanic Celts. Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steel#Ancient_steel) puts it first at a site in Anatolia (i.e. Central Turkey) ~2000BCE, long before the Galatian invasions. About the only way the Brits can be said to have mastered the secret of steel is that Henry Bessemer was a Brit... but he's also 19th century CE.

Erom
2011-04-01, 06:24 PM
I was under the impression that while Anatolia steel was probably where a substantial part of the world got the knowledge of steel, the discovery must have co-occured in at least several other places, and potentially many other places, for it to have spread as fast as it did?

Frozen_Feet
2011-04-01, 06:48 PM
I have a small dilemma in my freeform game based on Marvel Comics.
In Marvel canon dark elves have vulnerability to iron. Otherwise they are pretty godlike creatures.
So in your opinion should such vulnerability extend to steel or only to pure iron? If the iron must be pure, dark elves are very strong and hard to defeat. However if steel that has let's say 95% of iron is just as good enough, then it's vice versa.

I'd like to hear some opinions.

In D&D this was easier, because cold iron was a separate metal...

Going back to the roots of the question, in the actual comics, they've used steel-jacketed bullets to fight of the elves, and vanadium-steel alloy plates in one man's skull made him immune to elf mind control.

So yes, steel works.

MarkusWolfe
2011-04-01, 06:58 PM
Glib answer: I thought it was the Cimmerians who studied the Riddle of Steel.

More serious answer: Steel cannot be traced to the Brittanic Celts. Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steel#Ancient_steel) puts it first at a site in Anatolia (i.e. Central Turkey) ~2000BCE, long before the Galatian invasions. About the only way the Brits can be said to have mastered the secret of steel is that Henry Bessemer was a Brit... but he's also 19th century CE.

Eh, I'm not going to deny that some other guys got there first. I'm going to just say that the Celts developed it on their own, and developed it so well that the Romans stole it from them.

It appears they didn't know ALL of the secrets though....most of the swords recovered are work hardened only. They rarely quenched them in the forging process because they didn't know how to temper it afterwards so that it wasn't too brittle. So you got it so that a third of these swords occasionally had to be straightened out under you foot after hitting a guy too hard.

The guys who figured out tempering....now those were the masters of steel.

Tiki Snakes
2011-04-02, 12:38 AM
Going back to the roots of the question, in the actual comics, they've used steel-jacketed bullets to fight of the elves, and vanadium-steel alloy plates in one man's skull made him immune to elf mind control.

So yes, steel works.

Assuming you are remembering correctly, issue solved via canon. Nice.

Crafty Cultist
2011-04-02, 02:14 AM
If the weakness is based on biology, I'd say steel would work. If its based on mystical powers, then refining the iron might remove the mystic properties that the weakness reacts to.

TurtleKing
2011-04-02, 02:46 AM
I think it has been pretty much resolved as to whether steel works as well. Smelting only refines the impurities out in a molecular sense. The magical aspect is from arcane energies or a similar magical energy. Don't think smelting can remove magical energy because if it did we would be using steel a lot less.

If any of you have any more puns keep them coming.

Eric Tolle
2011-04-02, 04:08 AM
You fools! You have unleashed my desire to rant!

This whole 'fey folk are vulnerable to iron' thing originated from the same place much of the 'fey' mythology originates.....the Britannic Celts.

That's one of those "just so" stories the Victorian "archaeologists" loves,m and which really doesn't bear much intensive, skeptical scrutiny.

But really, that's irrelevant. The whole "cold iron" bit comes from a poem (http://www.kipling.org.uk/poems_coldiron.htm). The whole effect is metaphysical: the statement that the technology of war is more powerful than mysticism, religion, vows, all the nonphysical elements of society. As elves are a nonphysical representation of pre-industrial values, the cold, brutal reality of what iron represents is ane
anathema to them.

On in other words, they can't stand this reality:

" Tears are for the craven, prayers are for the clown
Halters for the silly neck that cannot keep a crown."
" As my loss is grievous, So my hope is small,
For Iron - Cold Iron - must be master of men all! "

I like to think that in modern times, elves would gradually lose their vulnerability to iron, to be replaced by other representations of cold modernity: Bessemer steel, then aluminum, then plastic, and now integrates circuits. When the world truly becomes a wireless one, they may have no place left to hide.

Worira
2011-04-02, 04:21 AM
The term "cold iron" didn't originate with Kipyard's poem. It was present well before that, and was basically an exact equivalent of "cold steel" in meaning. "A man may protect himself from faeries with a length of cold iron" meant "you can stab faeries in the face with your sword and they'll die".

MarkusWolfe
2011-04-02, 11:34 AM
The term "cold iron" didn't originate with Kipyard's poem. It was present well before that, and was basically an exact equivalent of "cold steel" in meaning. "A man may protect himself from faeries with a length of cold iron" meant "you can stab faeries in the face with your sword and they'll die".

Yes, just like "a man may protect himself from bears with hot lead" means "you can shoot bears in the face and they'll die". Except for that bullets will do nothing if they're not of a large enough caliber.....but you get the point. As far as idioms go, 'cold iron' was the 'hot lead' of its time.

Autolykos
2011-04-02, 11:53 AM
Shadowrun actually has this "Object Resistance" concept hat makes industrially produced materials less susceptible to magic (so plastics are a bad choice for crafting artifacts, and enchanting your mobile phone is a rather difficult task). If a similar concept is at work here, it might make industrially-produced steel rather useless (high-tech alloys even more so), but weapons made the traditional way would work alright.

Xuc Xac
2011-04-02, 11:57 AM
The whole point of a vulnerability to iron is to make regular steel weapons useless. Iron makes for crap weapons by comparison to steel, bronze is a better weapon- and armour-making material than pig iron.

Actually, the whole point of a vulnerability to iron is to make faerie creatures really scarce because iron is everywhere. Every peasant who worried about faeries could carry a nail in his pocket next to his magic rock that keeps tigers away or hang a horseshoe over his door to protect his house. Lo and behold, he never meets any faeries (or tigers).

Game designers that include fae in their games always seem to think that "cold iron" must be something really special if it can keep those super powerful fae at bay, but it's actually just the opposite. Iron is really common and easy to come by, which is why humans rule the world and the fae are always in hiding despite being really magically powerful.

MarkusWolfe
2011-04-02, 12:01 PM
Shadowrun actually has this "Object Resistance" concept hat makes industrially produced materials less susceptible to magic (so plastics are a bad choice for crafting artifacts, and enchanting your mobile phone is a rather difficult task). If a similar concept is at work here, it might make industrially-produced steel rather useless (high-tech alloys even more so), but weapons made the traditional way would work alright.

Now hold on here.....things produced industrially are less susceptible to magic?

What do they define as 'industrially' produced?

Autolykos
2011-04-02, 03:32 PM
They don't give "hard" criteria, but generally bigger factory and more recent technology used means higher Object Resistance. The broad categories are IIRC:
"natural" - basically everything you can just pick up outdoors like rocks, sticks, ...
"manufactured" - anything that can be produced without large industrial base - like bricks or leather
"industrial" - plastics, modern alloys, ...
"high-tech" - microelectronics, toxic waste, ...

ericgrau
2011-04-02, 03:39 PM
Since this is the OP's freeform game it's totally up to him. But ya the difference is arbitrary as others have pointed out ridiculously well.


Not very familiar with Marvel's Dark Elves, but I vaguely recall Thor having to get some real iron to beat up some elf villain.

My personal opinion is that no, steel is not iron, because if steel were iron, it'd be called iron and not steel (Fey logic, y'see). Unless you used a steel tire iron. That might work. Or you might use unusually hard irony, like hitting an elf with a steel poker after he cheated at cards*. That could work too.


*I've been awake for over 24 hours. I have no idea if that's actually irony or not.
Using fey logic is tempting though. Have it depend on whether or not the local country calls something "iron", even if they call steel iron :smalltongue:. Or gold titanium alloy.

Mulletmanalive
2011-04-02, 03:51 PM
That's one of those "just so" stories the Victorian "archaeologists" loves,m and which really doesn't bear much intensive, skeptical scrutiny.

And yet there are references to horseshoes and other trinkets of iron repelling fairies quoted in Briggs' Encyclopaedia collected by folklorist substantially before Kipling could have written that...[Mrs Parker, i think; haven't got the book on hand]

As an obsessive folklorist [check the sig if you don't believe me], the "Iron" thing here refers to either refined metal, because it's a symbol of civilisation [this is applicable to Cornish and south English lore where civilisation is an anathema to the fae; breadcrumbs are nasty weapons against them]

The other option is the Scottish and slightly Norse one, where fairies are immune to attacks from non-natural weapons. Pig iron is an exception because it can be found between the roots of lightning struck oak trees on occasion and is thus between nature and civilisation and has the benefits of being neither one nor the other; handily universal material, regardless of the weaknesses of the fairies.

As mentioned before, there's no mention of this stuff in the actual stories with Dark Elves in the sagas that i can find, so just go with the option that helps your game the most.

I'd personally make it specific to non-steel iron, simply because it actually makes it a challenge to find it.

MarkusWolfe
2011-04-02, 04:13 PM
They don't give "hard" criteria, but generally bigger factory and more recent technology used means higher Object Resistance. The broad categories are IIRC:
"natural" - basically everything you can just pick up outdoors like rocks, sticks, ...
"manufactured" - anything that can be produced without large industrial base - like bricks or leather
"industrial" - plastics, modern alloys, ...
"high-tech" - microelectronics, toxic waste, ...

I can think of so many different ways to break those definitions, it's not even funny. Must be one of those aspects of the game you never think about with any depth.

Haarkla
2011-04-02, 06:52 PM
How about this

Its not iron itself thats the problem for Dark Elves..

Its Iron PLUS the impurities in naturally occurring iron that the are vulnerable to. Separate the two and they arent effective
This is such a wallbanger metallurgically I do not know where to start in telling you what is wrong with this idea.

By "naturally occurring iron" do you mean cast iron, wrought iron, meteoric iron, hematite or magnetite.



Kiero:
The whole point of a vulnerability to iron is to make regular steel weapons useless.
Nope. IMO The whole point of a vulnerability to iron is to make regular bronze (or stone) weapons useless.



WhiteHarness:
"The Celts of the Iberia were among the first to develop good iron tools and weapons, and their offspring, the Britannic Celts, were the first to learn the secret of steel."
Where did you hear this?
I think he means amongst the first in Atlantic Europe.



Mark Hall:
I'm not going to deny that some other guys got there first. I'm going to just say that the Celts developed it on their own,
The Celts almost certainly did not develop iron on their own. It spread west from Anatolia. However, the Celts were amongst the first to use iron in north Western Europe.



Erom:
I was under the impression that while Anatolia steel was probably where a substantial part of the world got the knowledge of steel, the discovery must have co-occured in at least several other places, and potentially many other places, for it to have spread as fast as it did?
I think your impression is wrong. While iron spread fast, the complex technology of iron-working seems to have spread from a single point, Anatolia.

MarkusWolfe
2011-04-02, 08:39 PM
The Celts almost certainly did not develop iron on their own. It spread west from Anatolia. However, the Celts were amongst the first to use iron in north Western Europe.

I exaggerated about developing iron recklessly. The Hittite empire was the first to figure out how to use iron, and that knowledge spread through the Middle East, the Mediterranean and Egypt. It also passed through the 'Thraco-Cimmerians', to the Hallstatt, to the La Tene culture which became the Celts.

However, the La Tene and their Celtic descendants did wonderful things with iron that no other civilization had managed to pull off before them, accumulating in the development of steel. There is much clear evidence of this: The Hallstatt cultures used irons swords but they were not very good and they switched to short daggers. However, the La Tene reintroduced the iron sword and with their expansion in 500 BC bronze swords had been completely all across Europe. Then, as the La Tene changed into the Celts, people started copying their swords. The greeks did it first with the xiphos. Then the Romans copied the swords of the Britannic Celts to make their gladius and spatha. The spatha gave rose to the Germanic sword, which was also known as the Migration Period sword. This sword would eventually give rise to the Viking sword. Finally, consider that by the third century the Celts had figured out pattern welding (ie; Damascus steel) and were using it for both structural and decorative purposes.

Autolykos
2011-04-03, 02:49 AM
I can think of so many different ways to break those definitions, it's not even funny. Must be one of those aspects of the game you never think about with any depth.
Agreed. But since those are just guidelines for the GM, nobody actually tries to break them. Plus, making magical artifacts is crazy expensive and time-consuming anyway, so the players usually won't skimp on a few Ľ to buy "hand-made" stuff or they just use a day or two to craft it themselves. Of course everyone handles this a little different, but the GM has the final say, so his interpretation counts.

absolmorph
2011-04-03, 03:39 AM
Here:
http://www.sv.vt.edu/classes/MSE2094_NoteBook/96ClassProj/examples/FeC.gif
The thing you want to note is the bottom axis - farther right is more carbon. Notice how steel is farther left than iron? That's basically Fouredged's point - there is more iron atoms in most "steel" than in most "iron".
Well, that's ironic.

Ravens_cry
2011-04-03, 03:55 AM
Well, that's ironic.
Actually, it's less irony, not more.

Kiero
2011-04-03, 06:13 AM
Then the Romans copied the swords of the Britannic Celts to make their gladius and spatha.

Uh, the Roman gladius was patterned on a Celtiberian sword, not a Britannic one. They'd never even heard of Brittania c200BC when they first adopted the so-called gladius hispaniensis.

lesser_minion
2011-04-03, 06:23 AM
For tying it to the real world purposes, could it be a vulnerability to sulphur, maybe?

It's one of the most common impurities found in iron, although it's often introduced during the manufacturing process. On the other hand, a lot of work goes into either not introducing it in the first place or refining it out, IIRC, because it can cause brittleness.

EDIT: This goes beyond the original question, since Marvel canon states that steel does work.

Ravens_cry
2011-04-03, 06:32 AM
In that case, whatever you want. It could be iron, it could be steel, it could be magnetized iron, it could be only magnetite, it could only be iron meteorites, it could be some fictional material that acts a lot like iron in other ways, but isn't. Been a mythological question, it is really up to you.

Fitz10019
2011-04-03, 10:44 AM
Back to mysticism, you could say that 'cold iron' is sort of a 'virgin iron' -- iron that has never been heated to it's melting point. That would make it distinct from steel, and very much a nuissance to get a weapon made from. This goes back to the earliest responses -- just how big of a difficulty does the OP want the 'iron factor' to be?

2xMachina
2011-04-03, 11:52 AM
Meteorite iron would be screwed. Reentry heated it quite high. The planet might also have been in molten stage early in it's life, meaning, there's no cold iron to be mined.

lesser_minion
2011-04-03, 12:10 PM
Back to mysticism, you could say that 'cold iron' is sort of a 'virgin iron' -- iron that has never been heated to it's melting point. That would make it distinct from steel, and very much a nuissance to get a weapon made from. This goes back to the earliest responses -- just how big of a difficulty does the OP want the 'iron factor' to be?

Iron forms in the core of a star as it nears the end of its life. Virtually all of the iron actually available to a given world would have come from supernovae, with perhaps a small amount of synthesis. Even if the formation of the iron didn't count, the iron would still be heated to a molten state during the formation of the solar system.

"Much more of a nuisance to get a weapon made from" doesn't even remotely begin to describe it. Without femto-tech or planck-tech, it's not going to happen. With femto-tech or planck-tech, it's still not going to happen, but less emphatically.

Admittedly, functional magic would probably alter at least some of this, which I'm pretty sure is canon in the Marvel universe.

Fitz10019
2011-04-03, 12:41 PM
Iron forms in the core of a star...
I said back to mysticism, not back to science.

2xMachina
2011-04-03, 02:00 PM
How does Iron form in mysticism?

The Glyphstone
2011-04-03, 02:03 PM
It's just 'there', because it was put there. This doesn't really apply to the Marvel Universe, but a lot of fantasy settings with active pantheons (or even inactive ones) have said gods creating the world directly, without any stars being involved.

Still a ridiculous thing to be trying to make a weapon out of.

Frozen_Feet
2011-04-03, 02:32 PM
Dunno. With good enough tools and time, one could cold work a reasonably good spearhead etc. from naturally occurring iron.

Anyways, I gotta say I find the arguments about how "steel should not work, because steel is common" to be exceedingly funny. When myths about fair folk and cold iron came to being, steel was rare as ****. Iron weapons had just superceded bronze ones, and it's been theorized Excalibur and several other legendary "unbreakable" swords were so because they were steel. Discovery of iron represented a major step in civilization prevailing over nature, which is why iron and derivants were so powerful against mystical beings.

In modern age, yes, steel is common. It wasn't so in primeval societies. Many things that were uncommon and bane of the supernatural in the past, are very abundant in modern societies. Take, for example, pepper. Or salt.

Xuc Xac put it best: faeries are rare because iron isn't. Weakness to iron is supposed to be a weakness. If you're somehow a modern person fighting a premodern threat and find yourself without tools to deal with said threat, it raises the question of how your modern society even came to being.

Prime32
2011-04-03, 02:44 PM
Basically, gold and silver exist in the ground, pure. Man doesn't do a lot to them to use them, and a gold sword won't be very effective against a fairy. Okay, a gold sword won't be very effective period, but that's not the point.

Iron has to be extracted from ore. Thus all iron is artificial, a symbol of man dominating nature. Hence the vulnerability of nature entities.

Going the opposite direction, lycanthropes are perversions of nature; they are vulnerable to silver because it represents nature. (note: silver is poisonous to disease-causing bacteria, and lycanthropy is a disease)


So anything which has had its chemical structure altered by man should be dangerous to fey. Anything which remains untouched is dangerous to lycans. Yes, that means you can harm werewolves with rocks, but throwing a pebble at one isn't going to do any more than it would to a normal wolf.

Spiryt
2011-04-03, 02:52 PM
Anyways, I gotta say I find the arguments about how "steel should not work, because steel is common" to be exceedingly funny. When myths about fair folk and cold iron came to being, steel was rare as ****. Iron weapons had just superceded bronze ones, and it's been theorized Excalibur and several other legendary "unbreakable" swords were so because they were steel. Discovery of iron represented a major step in civilization prevailing over nature, which is why iron and derivants were so powerful against mystical beings.


Excalibur isn't very good example, as legends about it and similar swords come from the times when steel was pretty much default for a sword.

Origins of it's myth can be of course much, much older.

The Big Dice
2011-04-03, 03:05 PM
Excalibur isn't very good example, as legends about it and similar swords come from the times when steel was pretty much default for a sword.

Origins of it's myth can be of course much, much older.

Before Excalibur was the Sword in the Stone. Which many think was actually a bronze age concept that got mixed into the root myth of Arthur.

Spiryt
2011-04-03, 03:14 PM
Before Excalibur was the Sword in the Stone. Which many think was actually a bronze age concept that got mixed into the root myth of Arthur.

That's why I wrote "origins much older" because bronze swords in Britain would be mostly gone by, say 500 BC, at most.

The Big Dice
2011-04-03, 03:21 PM
That's why I wrote "origins much older" because bronze swords in Britain would be mostly gone by, say 500 BC, at most.
Yeah, well the origins of Arthurian myth are murky and hard to untangle. And that's without all the French stuff that was imported into it and the modern baggage that's been heaped on to it.

lesser_minion
2011-04-03, 03:40 PM
Okay, a gold sword won't be very effective period, but that's not the point.

Nitpick: A gold sword might not be able to face up against other weapons, but it's not utterly useless. Being whacked in the face with several kilograms of ornament is not fun.

(Yes, I do have quotas for both pointless pedantry and stating the obvious. Why do you ask?)

Kiero
2011-04-03, 07:33 PM
Dunno. With good enough tools and time, one could cold work a reasonably good spearhead etc. from naturally occurring iron.

Anyways, I gotta say I find the arguments about how "steel should not work, because steel is common" to be exceedingly funny. When myths about fair folk and cold iron came to being, steel was rare as ****. Iron weapons had just superceded bronze ones, and it's been theorized Excalibur and several other legendary "unbreakable" swords were so because they were steel. Discovery of iron represented a major step in civilization prevailing over nature, which is why iron and derivants were so powerful against mystical beings.

In modern age, yes, steel is common. It wasn't so in primeval societies. Many things that were uncommon and bane of the supernatural in the past, are very abundant in modern societies. Take, for example, pepper. Or salt.


Bronze is a better weapon-making material than iron or even really low-grade steel. The problem is that to make bronze you need tin, and that doesn't occur in a lot of places (and particularly not where you get copper). By contrast iron is quite common, this was the real advantage of iron over bronze. The only "shortage" early on was people who knew how to work iron, not the material itself. The "technique" was mostly about knowing how to make charcoal to get hotter fires.

There's a suggestion that the easy sources of tin ran out which spurred the investigation into iron, but there was a lot of parallel use of both materials.

Ravens_cry
2011-04-03, 08:08 PM
I have heard that the stone in the sword in the stone refers to the stones used as primitive anvils, but weren't most bronze swords cast?

Frozen_Feet
2011-04-03, 08:43 PM
Bronze is a better weapon-making material than iron or even really low-grade steel. The problem is that to make bronze you need tin, and that doesn't occur in a lot of places. By contrast iron is quite common, this was the real advantage of iron over bronze. The only "shortage" early on was people who knew how to work iron, not the material itself.

Lack of people who know how to make or work steel = lack of steel and steel tools. Iron might be abundant, but it is hard to work, and many cultures that used bronze took a long while before they could reliably produce iron, let alone steel. There was a time when iron was held more valuable than gold.

Tanuki Tales
2011-04-03, 11:28 PM
I'd like to chime in here.

Folks, this was a thread specifically about Marvel comics, not about the extrapolation and researching of why Cold Iron hurts Fey (which I can't remember if svartálfar/Dökkálfar are in Marvel), if the composition of steel allows it to be applied as a natural foe of Fey or how to possibly handle it via examples from other works of fiction or speculations on how to write it for a hypothetical self-made setting.

Someone posted a page ago what the in-comics answer was to this question and, if accurate, the answer is yes. (But Kurse and any Dark Elf like him is still someone who can fight Thor toe to toe even if you have the weakness.)

So I think that furthering this conversation is really derailing a possibly finished thread and we should make a new one to continue the discussion if it wishes to be continued.

Xuc Xac
2011-04-04, 12:56 AM
Meteorite iron would be screwed. Reentry heated it quite high. The planet might also have been in molten stage early in it's life, meaning, there's no cold iron to be mined.

Most meteorites are actually freezing cold. Entry into the atmosphere (there's no "re-" because it's never been in the atmosphere before) ablates the outer surface, but it doesn't spend enough time burning in the atmosphere for the heat to penetrate into the body of the meteorite (which is really, really cold from spending several millenia or more at a few degrees Kelvin). Once they're sitting on the ground, they usually start to gather a layer of frost and it's a bad idea to try to pick one up before it warms up.

Kiero
2011-04-04, 04:25 AM
Lack of people who know how to make or work steel = lack of steel and steel tools. Iron might be abundant, but it is hard to work, and many cultures that used bronze took a long while before they could reliably produce iron, let alone steel. There was a time when iron was held more valuable than gold.

Until ironworking improved, bronze was a better material than iron/steel (and indeed continued to be used for certain applications, because it was less prone to degradation). The only "mystery" in working iron is being able to get a fire hot enough, which requires knowledge of how to make charcoal.

So if you've still got good supplies of tin and copper, why would you bother switching over to iron? It was only when bronze was increasingly expensive to make due to input supply problems that there was a serious switch to iron.

Ravens_cry
2011-04-04, 07:43 AM
Well, bronze made increasingly poor material for swords past a certain length, so there is that too. The relative cheapness may also have meant you could arm more of your men with it. It must have provided some advantage for the Hittites, some of the first users of iron, to carve out an empire for themselves.

Frozen_Feet
2011-04-04, 08:52 AM
Until ironworking improved, bronze was a better material than iron/steel (and indeed continued to be used for certain applications, because it was less prone to degradation). The only "mystery" in working iron is being able to get a fire hot enough, which requires knowledge of how to make charcoal.

Irrelevant to my original point. To a bronze age culture, a well-made steel sword would've been an object of awe. There might not be any more "mystery" to it, but there doesn't need to be.

And there's much more to creating steel than just having a fire hot enough. Great many iron age cultures took pains to reliably produce steel, which is why steel was highly esteemed among them. This is why some kinds of steel, and weapons produced in certain places, reached near-legendary fame in other parts of the world.