Meteoric Iron
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Basic Information

Meteoric Iron is metal that fell from the heavens. Most likely it's arrival was heralded by a fiery bolide and the metal was found in a crater, making it noteworthy and noticeable. Such sky metal or thunder iron has been recognized as special for thousands of years, and was often used for custom gear or gifts for Pharaohs and Emperors. A meteoric iron dagger was part of King Tut's Tomb Treasures.

In the ancient world, witnessed and recovered meteorites were often seen as gifts from the Gods. They may be worshiped as a Baetylus (a sacred rock, possibly deemed an Avatar of a Sky God or Earth God), and in some instances were held to be Palladia (a class of artifact that protects a city).

Meteoric Iron usually arrives in the form of an iron and nickel alloy such as kamacite or taenite, but is sometimes found as pure metallic iron similar to telluric iron except extraterrestrial in nature. It is likely that any large meteorite found in the wild will also be surrounded by tektites that were cast up from the earth in the high-temperature impact.


2. Harvard paper on meteor worship in the ancient world

Game and Story Use

  • Because it comes from outer space, it may have alien life aboard.
  • Because it comes from another world, it may have magic properties.
  • A powerful fireball type spell might cause a bollide-style explosion, and leave a hunk of magical iron at the impact site. It would be a novel idea to have an attack spell that was also a generator of treasure. If meteor iron does something special in your setting, players would be tempted to cast it frivolously as a get rich quick scheme, but this might draw the ire of neighbors and authority figures.
  • A wand made of meteoric iron might be a necessary component for powerful pyromancy or evocation of fire magic.
  • A rock-collector wants to polish and improve a newly-acquired piece of meteoric iron. As he's cutting facets into it, he uncovers circuitry inside. The meteor was actually a Von Neumann Probe or alien device who's exterior was melted in a rough landing. The inside is full of computronium, nanite grey goo, or a precursor artifact.
  • In the future, we may be able to engage in asteroid mining. What we dig up out there in space probably has similar properties to those hunks that fall on us, but without the heat and impact of landing here.
  • The use of asteroids for planetary bombardment could lead to a lot of these lying about - especially in one of those after the end fantasy settings with a hidden sci-fi past.
    • After the end, the rain of decaying satellites that would eventually come about might make for some interesting variation in exactly what metals could be found when tracking down a "fallen star" … of course if the satellite had a radiothermal powerpack, that sort of dense core might well survive the descent. The crater it is lying in, on the other hand, probably won't be very safe, and anyone trying to work with this particular thunderbolt is liable to find it "cursed".
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