PDA

View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next Iron as Anti-magic



Potato_Priest
2018-12-07, 03:50 PM
An old trope in fantasy is Iron acting as a kind of anti-magic material, that harms fey when they touch it and can even prevent the wearer from suffering from spells and other effects. Here is a homebrew for iron anti-magic weapons and armor, which should make it easier for martial classes to fight magical entities without magic items. In this setting, you would by default assume weapons and armor to be made from bronze or other materials.

Iron Weapons:
Iron weapons are more brittle and lose their edge more quickly than other weapons, but are lethal to beings of magic. Iron weapons and iron-tipped ammunition might be available from weapon merchants for the same price as normal weapons and ammunition, and have the following property:

Cold Iron: When making attacks with this weapon or piece of ammunition, subtract one from the attack and damage rolls. If a creature is resistant or immune to damage dealt by nonmagical weapons including silvered and adamantine weapons, this weapon ignores that resistance or immunity.

Iron Armor:
Iron armor is more brittle and easier to pierce than other materials, but creates a powerful magic-suppressing effect. The following suits of armor can also be purchased as iron armor for the same price:Chain Shirt, Scale Mail, Breastplate, Half Plate, Ring Mail, Chain Mail, Splint Armor and Plate Armor. Iron armor has a base armor class two points lower than the normal equivalent and has the following property:

Magic Suppression: While wearing a suit of Iron armor, you cannot cast or concentrate on spells, and magical clothing that you wear loses its properties while you wear the armor. Furthermore, if a spell would affect you while wearing a suit of Iron armor, roll a d6. On a roll of 1-2, the spell takes effect as normal. On a roll of 3-5, you have advantage on any saving throws the spell causes you to make. On a roll of 6, the spell has no effect on you. This property triggers regardless of how the spell is cast.

Man_Over_Game
2018-12-07, 07:14 PM
The weapon changes aren't bad, except for the fact that flat changes to attack/damage are things that 5e generally tries to avoid.

My recommendation is to make it so that the attacks from the weapon deal only normal damage on a critical, and deal the next smaller size down in dice (so an Iron Longsword would deal 1d6 damage, or 1d8 versatile).

The armor is a bit janky. -2 (or -3?) to AC and advantage on saves from spells seems apt and simple. Then make it so that if you take a critical hit, it's destroyed.

Altair_the_Vexed
2018-12-08, 12:04 PM
The basic idea of iron as anti magic is nice, I like it - but you really seem to have the properties of iron mixed up with something else.

If normal arms and armour are supposed to be bronze, then iron is in reality, far superior. Hence the military supremacy of the iron age civilisations compared with their contemporary bronze using neighbours.
Iron is less brittle than bronze, and keeps its edge better.

I'd suggest that instead you treat iron weapons as Masterwork - they cost a bit more, deal standard damage / give standard protection, but they have this cool anti magic property you're going for.

Potato_Priest
2018-12-08, 02:52 PM
The basic idea of iron as anti magic is nice, I like it - but you really seem to have the properties of iron mixed up with something else.

If normal arms and armour are supposed to be bronze, then iron is in reality, far superior. Hence the military supremacy of the iron age civilisations compared with their contemporary bronze using neighbours.
Iron is less brittle than bronze, and keeps its edge better.

I'd suggest that instead you treat iron weapons as Masterwork - they cost a bit more, deal standard damage / give standard protection, but they have this cool anti magic property you're going for.

My intention is that these weapons and armor are made from primitively refined pig iron, rather than steel, which is as you say a lot better than bronze. However, pig iron is actually significantly to moderately worse than bronze in quality for weapons and armor, and (to my limited historical and scientific understanding) was mostly preferred due to cost and the fact that it can be produced with only one mine rather than two (since the making of bronze requires both copper and tin).

Re: Man over game: Yeah, that looks like a simpler way to do the armor. What in particular would be the advantage of reducing die size and removing critical s as opposed to making the weapon -1? It seems like the finickyness is pretty similar either way, and weíre all more likely to remember a -1 than no extra dice on a crit.

Altair_the_Vexed
2018-12-08, 03:59 PM
Pig iron is kind of the result of a mass production technique - iron made in a forge by a blacksmith is by default, a form of steel, because the coals and charcoal are blended with the iron to make a carbon-steel.

Of course, you can change reality for your game - me, I just like to know the historical origins.

Potato_Priest
2018-12-08, 04:05 PM
Pig iron is kind of the result of a mass production technique - iron made in a forge by a blacksmith is by default, a form of steel, because the coals and charcoal are blended with the iron to make a carbon-steel.

Of course, you can change reality for your game - me, I just like to know the historical origins.

I also like to know the historic origins, but I always get horribly confused by any historical discussion of iron and steel and whatnot. (As Iím sure you noticed in my last post where Iíve no idea what the heck Iím talking about.) It was my impression that the improvement of iron/steel weapons over time has occurred as a result of processes that reduce rather than increase the carbon content of iron, making it less brittle. Is that wrong?

Edut: Perhaps instead of pig iron I was thinking of wrought iron?

Altair_the_Vexed
2018-12-09, 08:39 AM
I don't think so, wrought iron is quite tough and ductile, not brittle at all.
You might be thinking of cast iron, which is the brittle version - but that's a mass production technique, where the molten iron is poured into casts.

The common image of a blacksmith hammering out metal is how wrought iron is made - and it includes the addition of some carbon as part of the process. It's in fact the earliest type of iron, and could really be called steel. The more technical steels we have now are the result of more sophisticated alloys - but even historical horseshoes are made of a basic kind of steel.

If you want to know more about iron, and all its confusing terms, try the wikipedia article (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferrous_metallurgy#Iron_smelting_and_the_Iron_Age) - it's quite informative. My link there goes to the section on the iron age, when iron production was the new big thing.

Of course, if you just want to have a type of metal that has antimagic properties, is brittle, and is called "iron", you could just do that. If anyone calls you out on it, you can say that it's not the same as iron from the real world. Maybe the presence of magical fields in the world causes it to be brittle?

sandmote
2018-12-12, 06:45 PM
I've been reading this thread, as I was under the impression bronze was preferred over iron during the bronze age due to bronze being harder.

I'm now bothering to add my confusion here because I think there a bit in the linked wiki page explaining where the confusion comes from:


Concurrent with the transition from bronze to iron was the discovery of carburization, the process of adding carbon to wrought iron. While the iron bloom contained some carbon, the subsequent hot-working oxidized most of it. Smiths in the Middle East discovered that wrought iron could be turned into a much harder product by heating the finished piece in a bed of charcoal, and then quenching it in water or oil. This procedure turned the outer layers of the piece into steel, an alloy of iron and iron carbides, with an inner core of less brittle iron.

Might the answer to the confusion be that wrought iron surpasses bronze in hardness during carburization?

Edit: based on some other links on that page, the name for the material is "sponge iron," although the linked wiki page calls it "wrought iron" right before the section I quoted.