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What Exactly Is Cold Iron?

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  • What Exactly Is Cold Iron?

    From the way it's described in fantasy, "Cold Iron" appears to be a special method of forging iron, or might refer to something that is made out of pure iron, instead of being mixed into an alloy of some kind.

    But when I try to look up cold iron forging methods, or even what classifies as cold iron, the internet only gives me an indication that "cold" iron is just another name iron in general. It can also be referred to as "Cold Steel" in some cases.

    So I'm really confused by this, especially when it comes to a Changeling game. I specifically need to know two important pieces of information regarding the game and its setting.

    1 - What is Cold Iron?

    2 - How common is Cold Iron in the modern world?

  • #2
    From what I can tell cold iron is iron that wasn't made in a blast furnace, at least from the C20 description.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blast_furnace

    Cold iron isn't very common now, used to be most common form. Blast furnaces started being used in Europe in the 15th century, and by the 19th century was pretty much the only method of manufacture.

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    • #3
      Cold iron is a poetic term in the same way cold steel is used in literature so sayeth this Wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_in_folklore

      Common objects that are mostly iron:
      Cast iron cooking implements (not the aluminum ones)
      Drain pipes in many areas of the US
      Fireplace tools
      Forging tools
      Metal grill and range tops

      In older houses:
      Lamp frames
      Furniture frames
      Window clasps
      Door handles and hinges
      Most hand tools
      Horseshoes
      Actual iron irons

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      • #4
        Originally posted by PhillyCuriosity View Post
        Cold iron is a poetic term in the same way cold steel is used in literature so sayeth this Wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_in_folklore

        Common objects that are mostly iron:
        Cast iron cooking implements (not the aluminum ones)
        Drain pipes in many areas of the US
        Fireplace tools
        Forging tools
        Metal grill and range tops

        In older houses:
        Lamp frames
        Furniture frames
        Window clasps
        Door handles and hinges
        Most hand tools
        Horseshoes
        Actual iron irons
        In Changeling though it's more specific than that.

        P. 291 C20 "Cold iron is not what most humans think of as iron..."

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        • #5
          Originally posted by zenten View Post

          In Changeling though it's more specific than that.

          P. 291 C20 "Cold iron is not what most humans think of as iron..."

          Okay, it's iron that's been heated over a charcoal flame. Thanks!

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          • #6
            I would also say that cold iron tends to be older things. Iron that was imbued with the coldness of the era- railroad ties or old fences or other things that are emblematic of the industrial era that put machines ahead of man.

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            • #7
              Unrelated I count meteroic iron as Always cold iron even if alloyed or well forged becuase space.

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              • #8
                Odd. Wrought iron isn't considered brittle and it's the iron used in anvils and the Eiffel tower. Charcoal is not commonly used now and the puddling process is used to make wrought iron. There goes my idea of my mages dealing with changelings in pan to pan combat.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by PhillyCuriosity View Post
                  Odd. Wrought iron isn't considered brittle and it's the iron used in anvils and the Eiffel tower. Charcoal is not commonly used now and the puddling process is used to make wrought iron. There goes my idea of my mages dealing with changelings in pan to pan combat.

                  drop meteors on them

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Lian View Post


                    drop meteors on them
                    I think I'll make the same ruling regarding your head canon. Although it seems like a rock from the sky that can be fashioned into a sword seems pretty awe inspiring.

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                    • #11
                      Personally I think meteors are so much closer to, and likelier to generate, Glamour than Banality and as such any metal taken from a meteor would much more likely be Glamour infused than anything considered Cold Iron. After all meteoric metals and weapons forged from them are the stuff of legends.

                      I believe Cold Iron is meant to be the earliest type of wrought iron, the so called charcoal iron, that in the past depending upon the skill and experience of the smith was of varied quality. If the charcoal content was left too high it was brittle and a sword made of it would shatter on a hard blow while another time when worked to a lesser charcoal content it would be more durable and much more fitting for weaponry. But in general yes wrought iron is rather durable form of iron, it’s famous uses mentioned above. But like said I believe it is meant that puddling process that replaced charcoal iron at the dawn of the industrial age doesnt produce Cold Iron as meant in Changeling. I could be wrong though so YMMV. And still well made charcoal iron is extremely durable, resistant to corrosion and definately not brittle.
                      Last edited by Possessed; 11-09-2018, 05:31 AM. Reason: Typo

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                      • #12
                        I would have meteoric iron be a material that does aggravated damage to Changelings, but is not infused with Banality. That's totally a house rule thing though.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by PhillyCuriosity View Post

                          I think I'll make the same ruling regarding your head canon. Although it seems like a rock from the sky that can be fashioned into a sword seems pretty awe inspiring.

                          I don't think of it as manifest banality but abit like soulsteel in Exalted. It burns changelings and eats their soul. Why? Because its from beyond the Dreaming.

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                          • #14
                            My understanding is that the point of this is that traditionally-forged iron was the first 'mundane' metal. Before we learned to work with iron, metal that we could make stuff with was fairly rare and special, but when we started finding and using iron we suddenly had plenty. Thus metalwork became banal and that banality still persists in traditionally forged iron.

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                            • #15
                              Personally, I houserule that anything made with malicious intent is cold iron. Weapons have a lot of singular-usage themes -- to kill -- but the reasons they're made can be myriad from "I'm commissioned to do this" to "I need to defend myself and my family" to "my liege lord gave me this as a symbol of his trust in me". Anything forged in pure "I need to destroy my enemy" would count as cold iron.

                              That's just me though.


                              Luka Carroll
                              Onyx Path Freelancer & Developer
                              Working On: C20 Player's Guide, Lunars
                              Worked On: V20 TMR, Demon STG, C20, Book of Freeholds, Conquering Heroes, Building A Legend, Dragon-Blooded, The Realm

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