While most weapons, armor, and items you find in Pathfinder will be made of your standard iron, steel, etc., there is reason to invest in some of the more exotic materials you can see in the Pathfinder setting.
These exotic materials offer bonuses not available to the standard materials you find worldwide.
What Is Cold Iron in Pathfinder 2.0?
Cold Iron is a particular grade of iron mined deep underground. Its cold temperature gives it exceptional effectiveness when used against demons and fey. However, it must be forged at lower temperatures to preserve these features because of this same cold temperature.
Cold Iron acts as an Alchemical Reagent in its purified form, and its alchemical symbol is identical to that of Akiton, the Red Planet.
The bonus damage dealt with a creature weak to Cold Iron is determined by the monster block and is not an innate trait of the Cold Iron weapon. For instance, you’ll deal an extra five damage per hit when attacking a Kelpie with a Cold Iron weapon.
However, when attacking Kalavakus, it will deal an additional ten damage per hit.
How Much Do Cold Iron Items Cost?
When buying Cold Iron weaponry, you should expect to pay twice the cost of the original item. You can find the cost of purchasing a Cold Iron weapon using the formula (2X), where X is the item’s original cost.
However, if you intend to craft an item instead of purchasing it, you’ll need to gather both the funds to craft the item and the correct amount of raw materials, based on the cost of the raw materials.
Whether you choose to craft or buy the item from a vendor, it’s important to remember that weapons and items with no natural metal parts cannot be made from Cold Iron. So you could make Cold Iron arrows, but not a Cold Iron quarterstaff since quarterstaves do not have metal fixings.
How Strong Is Cold Iron?
The hardiness of materials is measured in Hardness. When calculating the damage that a weapon, item, or structure takes, subtract its hardness from the amount of damage taken.
Cold Iron has a base hardness of 10, but the hardness of an item made from Cold Iron is based on the grade of the iron used to make the item and the thickness of the iron within the item’s structure.
You can sort objects, weapons, armor, and shields made from Cold Iron into three grades of refinement: low-grade, standard-grade, and high-grade. The cost and strength of the item increase with the grade of materials used in crafting.
Additionally, the thickness of the Cold Iron can be divided into three thickness subgroups: Thin, Standard, and Structure.
Thin items include any item that would consist of metal sheets, such as a sword, shield, or chain. Standard items use metal blocks such as an anvil, armor, or a stove.
Structures are walls, buildings, and other accouterments associated with them.
The hardness of Cold Iron items is as follows.
How Much Do Cold Iron Items Cost?
|Cold Iron Chunk||10gp|
|Cold Iron Ingot||100gp|
|Cold Iron Object|
How Does Bulk Work?
You may have noticed that Cold Iron objects have a cost calculated using their bulk. Bulk refers to the size relative to the creature intended to hold it. More enormous creatures need bigger items to wield, even if there is inherent joy in a beast with a comically tiny weapon.
Generally, every 5 – 10 lbs of stuff in an object translates to roughly 1 level of Bulk. However, this is not a hard and fast rule.
Bulk refers to more than just the inherent weight of an object and its shape and size. For instance, a standard-sized Quarterstaff is still a bulk rating of 1 even if it weighs less than 5 lbs because the body of the Quarterstaff would still be unwieldy for a small creature.
Creatures Small or Medium-sized can wield standard items, but creatures larger or smaller than that will need appropriately-sized items if they want to wield them without looking silly.
The standard attribution of bulk is as follows.
|Size||Bulk Modifier||Becomes Light||Becomes Negligible|
|Small / Medium||1×||Light||<Light|
|Huge||4×||2 Bulk||1 Bulk|
|Gargantuan||8×||4 Bulk||2 Bulk|
While most GMs will probably use weight in pounds to determine encumbrance, Bulk can be used to determine the price of an item efficiently based on the creature it’s intended to be used by.
Cold Iron Item Cost Formulas
We’ll provide you with several formulas that you can use to determine the cost of various Cold Iron items, including those that the players craft.
For starters, here is the formula to determine the cost of an object crafted with Cold Iron:
COST = BULK(GRADE)
For this, you’ll want to substitute the Bulk modifier from our Size-Bulk. So a high-grade item for a Gargantuan creature would be:
COST = 8(4,500gp) = 36,000gp
To buy a weapon made of Cold Iron, you’ll want to use the following formula.
COST = 2(ORIGINAL)
Further, if you want a magical enhancement to the item, such as a +1 Dagger made of Cold Iron, you’ll use the following formula:
COST = 2(ORIGINAL)+2,000gp
When crafting Cold Iron weapons and armors, you’ll need two formulas to determine the crafting cost and the cost of the materials required before you can even begin crafting.
The two formulas are as follows:
COST = GRADE(BULK(GRADE/10))
REQUIREMENTS = RAW+(BULK(RAW/10))
The substitutions for the variables can be found in the following tables:
|Armor||Crafting Grade Cost|
|Armor||Raw Materials Cost|
Shields can be crafted for a flat fee based on the grade. Cold Iron shields do not have any unique, innate properties. However, they are considered Cold Iron weapons when used for a shield bash.
|Buckler||Crafting Grade Cost|
|Buckler||Raw Materials Required|
When Should I Get Weapons Made of Cold Iron?
Cold Iron weapons should be procured if you suspect or know you’ll be fighting many demons or fey. Outside of the damage bonus to creatures who are weak to Cold Iron, there aren’t any compelling reasons to use it.
Weapons and items made of exotic materials can be helpful when wielded in the correct settings. While Cold Iron may see its primary uses in campaigns with heavy influence from demons and fey, there are great uses for these items in the sets they are designed to flourish in.
As always, the essential thing that Game Masters want to consider is what best works for them and their players. If you’re going to make these items more or less accessible or change the rules around Cold Iron weakness, don’t be afraid to bring that up with your players.
The essential part of any game is that all the participants have fun. Remember, good luck, have fun, and happy questing!