[CONAN] Question - Metal Ore Needed To Make A Sword?

Discuss Mongoose RPGs here, such as the OGL rulebooks, Jeremiah, Armageddon 2089 and Macho Women with Guns
Supplement Four
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3748
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2007 4:28 am

[CONAN] Question - Metal Ore Needed To Make A Sword?

Postby Supplement Four » Sat Dec 22, 2012 8:22 pm

I've got a question that I need answered for my campaign. If you don't already know from my other posts, my game centers around a clan of Cimmerians. The clan chieftain is a master smith, but the clan does not mine for quality ore. Instead, it trades finished goods for raw ore with neighboring clans and peoples.

So, my question is: How long would a single wagon load of ore last at a small village forge run by two smiths and an apprentice?

I'm trying to figure out how often they would need to be re-supplied.



Image



Image
Spectator
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 874
Joined: Wed Aug 23, 2006 4:02 am
Location: Tallahassee, Florida

Re: [CONAN] Question - Metal Ore Needed To Make A Sword?

Postby Spectator » Mon Dec 24, 2012 5:57 am

Mining, Shmining. Do what the vikings did and use Bog Iron. The best iron available since it will not rust and it is a renewable natural resource.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bog_iron
for a great article on viking smithing with bog iron check this out:
http://www.hurstwic.org/history/article ... g_iron.htm

The cimmerians need to look no further than their own peat bogs or hills with reddish dirt.

Simple, low-tech, but very effective.

Meteoric iron would be feasible, as well, but near impossible to find.
Supplement Four
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3748
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2007 4:28 am

Re: [CONAN] Question - Metal Ore Needed To Make A Sword?

Postby Supplement Four » Mon Dec 24, 2012 8:10 am

Except that bog ore is of such poor quality that the steel weapons cannot be made from it. I've established in my game that the chief of the clan is a master smith known throughout the region for the quality of his steel weapons.

Plus, the import of the quality ore plays into my background story....

I established in my campaign (call it My Hyborian Age) that, centuries ago, a smith emerged among the Grath clan--a clan of Cimmerians that live along the Diamondrun river that runs down the side of the Eiglophians. This is "game history". The Grath's existence depended on the river. They are fishermen, mostly, but someone finally figures out (maybe he is shown by a traveller or trader) how to make a living and support the clan by panning in the river.

It's not weapons they make. This ore is much like bog-ore. But, they learn to make metal instruments.

Who knows how long this goes on for, but at some points, maybe generations later, Aesir traders from the north side of the Eiglophians appear with a small amount of quality ore. The Aesir are miners, and some bright yellow-hair finally thought to see if they could expand their market. So, with a small store of ore in a wagon, they ventured south into the lands of the Cimmerians, comming upon the Grath.

There, a deal was made. Two villages depend on each other, one Aesir, and one Cimmerian.

I won't bore you with the details, but trouble errupted among the Grath clan, and that smith (years later) did the unthinkable and left the clan. He traveled south, just outside of the territory claimed by the Grath, and set up a homestead with his forge. The Aesir traders, appearing every year or so, followed the smith. Quickly, a new clan formed around the smith--and this becomes the players' clan: The clan of the Blue Fox, or Urrough, as it is said in native Cimmerian.

Of course, the Grath didn't just let the smith go easily and start a rival clan. No, there was a civil war, of sorts. A blood feud that goes on to this day. The major war between the two clans halted when the call went out to unite against the Aquilonians at Venarium. Both the Grath and the Foxmen sent warriors. And, after their return, the hostility returned but not to the level it was before Venarium.

To this day, the Grath and the Blue Fox are major enemies.
Spectator
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 874
Joined: Wed Aug 23, 2006 4:02 am
Location: Tallahassee, Florida

Re: [CONAN] Question - Metal Ore Needed To Make A Sword?

Postby Spectator » Mon Dec 24, 2012 11:00 am

Reread the second article. there is another way besides bog-iron, hence my comment about red clay.
As for it being low-quality there is no demonstrable proof that it is (unless you are just saying that it is by your own fiat decree).

A modern 1600AD iron works did nothing but make quality from bog iron:
http://www.nps.gov/sair/historyculture/places.htm
it's not the only. read more about it.
Supplement Four
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3748
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2007 4:28 am

Re: [CONAN] Question - Metal Ore Needed To Make A Sword?

Postby Supplement Four » Mon Dec 24, 2012 4:50 pm

Spectator wrote:A modern 1600AD iron works did nothing but make quality from bog iron:
http://www.nps.gov/sair/historyculture/places.htm
it's not the only. read more about it.
Hmm.... I read about bog mining back a couple of years ago when I started the campaign. I know I read that it wasn't good enough for weapons...maybe that was just the article that I read.
Deathdealer
Stoat
Posts: 91
Joined: Fri Apr 02, 2004 7:53 pm

Re: [CONAN] Question - Metal Ore Needed To Make A Sword?

Postby Deathdealer » Tue Dec 25, 2012 9:08 am

Any blacksmith could make simple tools and implements out of bog iron, but then any blacksmith can make a sword too, it just won't be a good one. A good blacksmith can work the impurities out of the bog iron.
LucaCherstich
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 547
Joined: Sat Jul 28, 2007 9:25 am
Location: Abruzzo, Italia

Re: [CONAN] Question - Metal Ore Needed To Make A Sword?

Postby LucaCherstich » Thu Dec 27, 2012 9:28 am

An issue to consider is which technological level you want your Cimmerians to be.
REH never mentioned anything about the quality of Cimmerian swords, that's John Milius' film creation.
Considering what we know of the Hyborian Age only by REH writings is fairly probable that Cimmerian technological level was quite low, and so good blades can be found only among Hyborians.

Did the Cimmerians had the same technological level of ancient Gauls?
If so, their swords could be of low quality.
Roman & Greek literary sources are full of references to Gaulish swords getting bent during a fight.
However, archaeology has demonstrated that at least some of the "Latenian swords" were of good quality, although most were not at the same level of Roman Gladii (shorter, harder, better tempered).

On the other hand, one could choose to have the Cimmerians have a medieval/early modern technological level (at least in Smithing), and therefore anything can be possible, inlcuding making good steel.

I personally think it is just a subjective choice by the GM.

Another issue to consider is sword style.
Sword shape is important, since it depent on both on the use and on the kind of metal used.
To make a longer blade you need a better iron, something more similar to steel, otherwise it'll get bent all the time.

I guess Conan 2e broadswords are meant to mimic Viking-like swords, which were heavy blades, but relatively light to wield due to the deeply fullered blades and heavy pommels.
Those were swords meant for chopping/slashing but retain some limited Piercing ability.
Image

Conan OGL could also mimic 13th-14th cent. swords like the Oakeshott XIII.
Image

In my games Cimmerians use different weapons, the Latenian-style swords.
Latenian Swords are the ancestors of Late Imperial Roman Spathas (which are the ancestors of Viking Broadswords).
The Gaulish Latenian swords were very long and heavy weapons, with flat blades and without proper heavy pommels.

Image

Image

Compared to (much later) Viking swords these weapons were stiffer, slightly longer, and even more focused on Chopping since it is very difficult to thrust with these long blades.
During the Republican times Romans were concerned that their soldier had good helmets in order to be protected from attacks from above by Celtic swords, but Roman literary sources are very clear saying that Gauls never make thrusting attacks, but only chopping and slashing attacks.

If you use Codex' triple stats and atk types (as I do) a difference is easy to make but, if not, you could mimic this shape by using the Broadsword template but changing the critical from 19-20/x2 to x3.
In other words, they are a bit like axes or looooooooooong machetes!

These long blades were easy to bend.
I attach here a figure of Latenian swords which were ritually bent.
This ritual was easily performed for Latenian swords offered in tombs and /or sanctuaries, a custom quite diffused among ancient Gauls and possible due to the reduced hardness of a metal which was nearer to what we call "Iron" than to what we call "steel".

Image

If you want them to be "Iron" use the "primitive" template, or maybe simply reduce the HD/ hp (-3 hd, -1 hp).
HOWEVER, if we postulate that Cimmerians had a Medieval technological level, we could have them using Steel Latenian swords, instead of (more historical) Iron swords, and therefore leaving hd and hp as they are.
Mach5RR
Stoat
Posts: 88
Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2010 4:33 am

Re: [CONAN] Question - Metal Ore Needed To Make A Sword?

Postby Mach5RR » Wed Jan 02, 2013 9:05 am

Supplement Four wrote: So, my question is: How long would a single wagon load of ore last at a small village forge run by two smiths and an apprentice?

I'm trying to figure out how often they would need to be re-supplied.
I know the old 3.0 rules had a wagon being able to haul approximately two tons.

So figure twice a year. Say, at the beginning spring and before the snows fall. Mainly because you're Nordheimer probably wants to make as few trips into Cimmeria as possible. So they spend four to five months mining/acquiring as much as possible, and bringing it a minimum of trips. It's not like ore goes bad if you don't use it immediately.

From the Cimmerian perspective, it gives them a chance to convert the ore into pig iron, repair/maintain tools, perform other activities, and build up a sizable shipment of goods to go back to Nordheim.
You're blacksmith is actually going to be building an excess of iron reserves, just in case he gets caught short because of an extended winter, or an ambush of the shipment by the enemy tribe. Remember even scraps, and broken tools, can be melted down and reused in blacksmithing.

Ore is not what you're blacksmith needs to be focused on. While running out sucks, it's fuel for the fire that you're blacksmith needs. While coal gives off a hotter/longer flame, apparently the traditional fuel for a viking blacksmith was charcoal. Which is going to require people to either mine coal, or convert hardwoods into charcoal, bot of which can be time consuming.
Spectator
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 874
Joined: Wed Aug 23, 2006 4:02 am
Location: Tallahassee, Florida

Re: [CONAN] Question - Metal Ore Needed To Make A Sword?

Postby Spectator » Thu Jan 03, 2013 6:42 am

The concept of hauling ore (basically 99% rock by weight) is ludicrous. It makes much more sense to mine the ore and smelt the ore and then sell the iron ingots to the Cimmerians for their cattle, sheep, etc. The concept of their being a roman-road to transport said ore cart from nordheim over the graaskall mountains would be unfathomable. Cimmeria had not roads. maybe a few tracks and that it is it. 4000 lbs on a muddy track = your cart sinking to its axle in mud........................................................................................................................
Mach5RR
Stoat
Posts: 88
Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2010 4:33 am

Re: [CONAN] Question - Metal Ore Needed To Make A Sword?

Postby Mach5RR » Thu Jan 03, 2013 9:37 am

Spectator wrote:The concept of hauling ore (basically 99% rock by weight) is ludicrous. It makes much more sense to mine the ore and smelt the ore and then sell the iron ingots to the Cimmerians for their cattle, sheep, etc. The concept of their being a roman-road to transport said ore cart from nordheim over the graaskall mountains would be unfathomable. Cimmeria had not roads. maybe a few tracks and that it is it. 4000 lbs on a muddy track = your cart sinking to its axle in mud........................................................................................................................
Hey, its not how I would have done it, but S4 seems to have his story set up a particular way relying on the trade between two villages.

I don't know how far from the border S4 set his Cimmerian village. It's an easy mod to have some natural rocky path going into Cimmeria. Easily defended in case Nordheimer forces try to pass through, but trademen are allowed through for the odd good. Now his writeup did have the blacksmith village moving further south, so I'm wondering why the enemy(old) village still allows these Nordheim to keep wandering past them to continue this trade.

As far as hauling raw ore there. I agree. But S4 specified ore, so I listed ore. Since this ore is so special, I was assuming it had a higher iron content than normal ore (with some odd impurities), requiring less smelting. The Cimmerian smiths could be requesting raw ore, as the Nordheim smelting process could leave a lot to be desired. I mean people have been going on about bog iron, but if you over-smelt it to burn off impurities, you get even more pure iron. You also burn off the impurities that make bog-iron so special, reducing it to iron you could have gotten anywhere.

I kind of understand what makes Akbitanan steel so special now. Good source of quality iron, good sources quality fuel, they have all of the resources to hone their craft to perfection.
LucaCherstich
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 547
Joined: Sat Jul 28, 2007 9:25 am
Location: Abruzzo, Italia

Re: [CONAN] Question - Metal Ore Needed To Make A Sword?

Postby LucaCherstich » Thu Jan 03, 2013 3:02 pm

Mach5RR wrote:
I kind of understand what makes Akbitanan steel so special now. Good source of quality iron, good sources quality fuel, they have all of the resources to hone their craft to perfection.
I do not think that to make Akbitanan steel you need just ore and fuel.
I suppose "Akbitanan Steel" ispired by real-world Damascene Steel (which Europeans believed to be crafted in Damascus... while it was mostly crafted in India and Iran).
If this is the case, Damascene steel does not need just good ore and good fuel.
It needs crafting TECHNOLOGY.
Medieval Indians knews how to craft Wootz steel, that's why their steel was better.
Supplement Four
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3748
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2007 4:28 am

Re: [CONAN] Question - Metal Ore Needed To Make A Sword?

Postby Supplement Four » Fri Jan 04, 2013 6:34 pm

Spectator wrote:The concept of hauling ore (basically 99% rock by weight) is ludicrous. It makes much more sense to mine the ore and smelt the ore and then sell the iron ingots to the Cimmerians for their cattle, sheep, etc. The concept of their being a roman-road to transport said ore cart from nordheim over the graaskall mountains would be unfathomable. Cimmeria had not roads. maybe a few tracks and that it is it. 4000 lbs on a muddy track = your cart sinking to its axle in mud........................................................................................................................
Ingots, a satchel and a mule, a frozen river bed over the Eiglophians, and a trip every three years would work for my story.

I developed the idea, not at one time, but over time during the first campaign of my game. Retconning and filling in the holes in the story of a side-thread that became important in a semi-sandbox campaign.
Mach5RR
Stoat
Posts: 88
Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2010 4:33 am

Re: [CONAN] Question - Metal Ore Needed To Make A Sword?

Postby Mach5RR » Sun Jan 06, 2013 9:59 am

Supplement Four wrote:
Spectator wrote:The concept of hauling ore (basically 99% rock by weight) is ludicrous. It makes much more sense to mine the ore and smelt the ore and then sell the iron ingots to the Cimmerians for their cattle, sheep, etc. The concept of their being a roman-road to transport said ore cart from nordheim over the graaskall mountains would be unfathomable. Cimmeria had not roads. maybe a few tracks and that it is it. 4000 lbs on a muddy track = your cart sinking to its axle in mud........................................................................................................................
Ingots, a satchel and a mule, a frozen river bed over the Eiglophians, and a trip every three years would work for my story.

I developed the idea, not at one time, but over time during the first campaign of my game. Retconning and filling in the holes in the story of a side-thread that became important in a semi-sandbox campaign.

Then you're going to have two excessively bored smiths and an apprentice to boot...

Probably a better compromise would be for your smiths to use locally gathered/mined/traded ore/iron. This could be your standard "non-special" iron that the smiths use for everyday construction: Nails, cookware, knives, and even standard swords and weapons. These are the things the smith churns out in quantity, because most of the time quantity is what is needed.

But every couple of years, a Nordheimmer comes by to trade in metal that's a cut above ... And the smiths can take time out to work on a truly "special" weapon.

And don't worry about "retconning" your game to fit someone else's idea of Hyboria. If you, as the GM, need a road between Nordheim and Cimmeria then there is a road. My Hyboria is not your Hyboria, is not deCamp's Hyboria, is not Howard's Hyboria.
Spectator
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 874
Joined: Wed Aug 23, 2006 4:02 am
Location: Tallahassee, Florida

Re: [CONAN] Question - Metal Ore Needed To Make A Sword?

Postby Spectator » Tue Jan 22, 2013 7:16 am

Just was watching Modern Marvels on the history channel. Hematite ore is up to 65% iron. That's incredible.
fascinating:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hematite

Hematite near water forms bog iron.
Full circle, baby.
Supplement Four
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3748
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2007 4:28 am

Re: [CONAN] Question - Metal Ore Needed To Make A Sword?

Postby Supplement Four » Tue Jan 22, 2013 11:30 pm

Spectator wrote:Hematite near water forms bog iron.
Full circle, baby.
LOL! Score one for the Beholde...er...the Spectator!
Spectator
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 874
Joined: Wed Aug 23, 2006 4:02 am
Location: Tallahassee, Florida

Re: [CONAN] Question - Metal Ore Needed To Make A Sword?

Postby Spectator » Wed Jan 23, 2013 4:30 am

Thanks man, no reason good ore can't be found in Cimmeria.
Kinda hoping I'd see some new posts.
My RPG group has disintegrated through various methods: wives, kids, divorces, new girlfriends, peer pressure, etc.

Let me live vicariously through you guys.

One game that I have (but never played) is the SLAINE game d20 game. S4 I think you would dig it since it focuses on a proto-celtic culture. A lot more magic than Conan, but the similar magic system since it was crafted by Ian Sturrock, the guy who made the CONAN RPG.
Supplement Four
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3748
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2007 4:28 am

Re: [CONAN] Question - Metal Ore Needed To Make A Sword?

Postby Supplement Four » Wed Jan 23, 2013 10:39 pm

Spectator wrote:Let me live vicariously through you guys.
We're on a break. One of my players had heart surgery last year. That extended our break. Then, we tried to get things going again around the Holidays, but another player's wife had hand surgery. His time was sunk with the kids and all. So...we're waiting to get it going again.

That we will get going again, I have no doubt. But, I'm not sure when. We tend to play in spurts. We'll play for several months then take off several months, then play again, etc.


One game that I have (but never played) is the SLAINE game d20 game. S4 I think you would dig it since it focuses on a proto-celtic culture. A lot more magic than Conan, but the similar magic system since it was crafted by Ian Sturrock, the guy who made the CONAN RPG.
I bought the four adventures, and I'm going to convert them to Conan. They're actually a pretty easy convert to Cimmeria.
merkkari-masa
Stoat
Posts: 66
Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2006 12:36 pm

Re: [CONAN] Question - Metal Ore Needed To Make A Sword?

Postby merkkari-masa » Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:39 pm

Iron ore is obtained almost entiry from alluvial deposit "bog iron" and only rarely by digging. Though coal is mined in england, scotland, the saar , Liege, Aix-la-chapelle, Anjou, and other districts, iron ore is smelted almost exclusively by charcoal. A pit is dug on windy hiltop, drains insterted to allow the molten iron to be dwawn off, and charcoal and ore layered in the hole, which is sealed at the top with eart. The advantage of this method is that, the iron drawn off has some carpon in it; in other words, it is steel of a sort. Medieval metallurgist do not really understand how this happens. This "mild steel" is taken in lumps to the smithy in 1200s.

Source: Life in a medieval city - Joseph and Frances Gies.
Supplement Four
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3748
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2007 4:28 am

Re: [CONAN] Question - Metal Ore Needed To Make A Sword?

Postby Supplement Four » Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:00 pm

Well, I think that changes what I was thinking about my game, but it's not too late to retcon. And, I can just say that the ore that is brought in by the Aesir is of superior quality. In fact, instead of ore, I think, as it was said above, that the Aesir will bring in ingots and not raw ore.

The village can live without the Aesir ingots, but the superior grade is sought after. Plus, for story reasons, I wanted to make the Aesir deliveries sparse--every three years or so. Going with the ingots makes that more believeable.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests