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D&D 3E
metal time 
13th-Oct-2005 12:28 am
fox
Okay, the game world is coming along well, though slowly (sick).

So now we come to metals, and of course I'd like to try some different things. Sadly, I appearantly didn't pay enough attention in chemistry, and lack practical knowledge so here goes.

1. Brass- I know it is made from a small percentage of zinc mixed with copper. Is it harder than bronze (copper and tin)? Is it harder to cast/forge/work than bronze?
2. Iron - How hard is Iron compared to brass? How hard is iron compared to steel?
3. Other combinations - Are there other alloys that we today have discovered that the ancient people missed, but COULD have been discovered if they had though to combine the correct metals? I've read that Nickel and Phosphorus could make Brass or bronze stronger, but could this be done in a dark ages forge? What would this new allow be called and how would it's strength compare to steel?
Comments 
13th-Oct-2005 04:42 am (UTC)
I dunno, but I know people who do!

*points you at little_details*
13th-Oct-2005 04:47 am (UTC)
Brass is relatively soft and easy to work with. That's why you see brass chandeliers and hatracks, but bronze cannon.

Iron is stronger than brass or bronze, and is used to make steel, which is less brittle than iron, harder, and holds a better edge.

Remember: this is a fantasy world. You can invent any metals you want, either appearing naturally or as alloys, and such inventions add nice bits of color to your world.
13th-Oct-2005 04:48 am (UTC)
'Iron is stronger than brass or bronze'

That's what I thought too, until I read the wikipedia entry on bronze...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bronze

Unless it's wrong, of course.
13th-Oct-2005 04:49 am (UTC)
Oh and agreed regarding your comment on it being a fantasy world and inventing new metals/alloys :)
13th-Oct-2005 05:00 am (UTC)
Also keep in mind that we can't duplicate all the metallurgy techniques of the ancients now-- Damascus steel of the Roman era, for instance. So inventing metals that we don't have that medieval tech levels could produce is certainly feasible.
13th-Oct-2005 05:06 am (UTC)
ICE always had a very complete set of magical materials to make weapons and armor out of, which ranged from magically-forged volcanic glass to a kind of metal that could only be forged in sub-zero temperatures. So, naturally, the Dwarves harvested magical trees which, when "burnt", gave off incredible cold. I bet you could pick up an old Shadow World, Rolemaster, or Middle-Earth supplement with this info for a few bucks on eBay, just for its inspirational value.

I sit corrected on bronze vs iron. I should have recalled that while there are many bronze cannon, and many steel cannon, there are no iron cannon.

But yes, I side with the general consensus here: historical research is good. Always good. But in the end don't forget to make the setting suit your story. You want some strange kind of brass that is harder than steel? Invent it. Forged when the light of the red star is in the sky or something wacky.
13th-Oct-2005 06:33 am (UTC)
I second the using of old Iron Cron Enterprises (ICE) and Rolemaster material for inspiration! (good call)

Also, as far as historical inspired stuff goes I cannot recommend highly enough Expiditious Retreat's Magical Medieval Society (and ER's other products).
http://www.exp.citymax.com/page/page/1396734.htm

And of course, I completely agree with inventing things to suit one's campaign world. It's your baby, after all.
13th-Oct-2005 04:47 am (UTC)
Also, you could look up the metals in the wikipedia.org...

:)
13th-Oct-2005 05:14 am (UTC) - Reaffirming the already mentioned..
I payed attention in chemistry ;)

Brass is copper and zinc, it's more maliable than bronze. Brass is easier to work with because of the maliability, but because of the same deal, it's not as strong.

Iron is harder than brass in most normal situations. Cast iron won't have as much give in is as brass does, so it'll break sooner on bending.. but it can handle a lot more tensile load (a force trying to stretch it). There's other kinds of iron tho. Like forged. Forged steel is used heavily in the mechanical industry, making camshafts, crankshafts, connecting rods, and cylinder blocks.

Steel is an Iron/Carbon crystal (open face cubic configuration). If you imagine a pile of marbles perfectly organized in say, a jar, you'll see spaces between the marbles. Think of the marbles as iron, then imagine putting smaller marbles between each bigger one. Those would be carbon. It's stronger and more flexible than brass.
13th-Oct-2005 12:40 pm (UTC)
There's always Titanium (lighter than steel, stronger than aluminum).

In the MERP stuff by Iron Crown, the dwarves knew about Death metal (aka uranium). They didn't use it much because it killed the people who worked with it, and the people who wore it. It was used to make armor that was completely impervious to magic. Big tradeoff in a world without Raise Dead, if you ask me...

The newest official module from WOTC (Sons of Gruumsh) has a metal, greensteel, that works similarly to adamantium--more damage, I think--that gets overwritten by magical enchantment, but still works in non-magic areas.
13th-Oct-2005 12:47 pm (UTC)
I used Titanium already. I have titanium taking the place of adamantium. The party recovered about 600 swords worth from another world. This is all the adamantium/titanium this world will see.

I like the death metal idea, I may use that, or may not depending.
13th-Oct-2005 12:49 pm (UTC)
What I'm looking for is a metal that is an alternative to steel. Something almost as hard but ... different. I was thinking of brass but it is too soft..

I was planning to invent something, but I want ti to be believable. Perhaps carbon enriched Brass? Phosphoric? Nickelled? Some combination of nickel and phosphorous in the proper quantities?
13th-Oct-2005 04:00 pm (UTC)
Why not make something up? If brass is copper and zinc and bronze is copper and tin, why not try making up something that is a mix of say-- copper and aluminum, or copper and platinum, or silver and zinc. Or copper and carbon instead of iron and carbon, or whatever.

A quick look at the periodic table shows Rubidium as directly below iron-- which would mean they'd have similar properties if I remember my Chemistry-- so Rubidium and carbon may make a decent steel substitute as well.
13th-Oct-2005 04:07 pm (UTC)
Is that how it works!!! That explains why copper, silver and gold are in the same column! Okay! Thank you!
13th-Oct-2005 04:23 pm (UTC)
You sir or madam as the case may be are a genius!!!

In researching rubidium, it is only found in our world as a small deposit combined with other elements. However, it says it "ignites when it encounters air, and reacts violently with water". It also "alloys with Gold". I think I'll create a magical process where this is forged as a gold Rubidium alloy. I'll say it because of the alloy it only ignites when the temperature reaches, say 40 degrees or colder, but still reacts violently in water. I'll say that a platinum coating stills this effect.

So take a sword made of this stuff... in the winter, when drawn forth from it's Platinum sheath and held with it's platinum handle ignites with purple flame. But I'll say it causes the AIR to ignite around it so that the rubidium is not consumed in the process. This will be fun!

Now I just need to think of a name for this alloy...

thanks again!
13th-Oct-2005 04:34 pm (UTC)
Madam. Dark *lady* of the Sith and all that. ;)

Glad it works for you.

I'd actually toyed around with the idea of making a type of wood that would function well as a weapon at one point-- hard like ironwood or teak in our world, but flexible enough and able to hold a good edge as well to be usuable for swords/spears/etc. Never did fully develop the concept, though.

World building is fun, isn't it?
13th-Oct-2005 04:37 pm (UTC)
World destroying is even more fun lol! I'm only making all this stuff so I can have it crumble and see what's left all before the game begins, but yes it is awesome!

Now I need to buy myself a risk board and destroy a continent.
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