Cold Iron

EDIT 2013/5/20: This hasn’t been updated since Jim Butcher’s clarifications that he tucked into “Cold Days”… basically, any alloy of metal with iron in it satisfies the Catch… so the rest of this is kinda redundant now. However, I’ll leave it up for archive purposes.

However, because of the clarification, I am now more than ever certain that Iron is a 4 point catch.


There’s some debate as to how to best define “Cold Iron” (the -3 point Catch so common in the game.)

I would argue it’s a full 4 point Catch and design all my PCs/NPCs that way… I mean really… Dresden Books establish this stuff is far more effective than even the legends allow, it’s easy to get, and the fae weakness to iron is on Wikipedia for crying out loud.

Rather than worry about “official” clarification, this is how I’m going to handle it.


  • Any character with Lore of at least Average +1 that knows Fae exist are going to know about the Fae weakness to iron and what “iron” means. Like I said… it’s on Wikipedia.

Any Iron

  • Any iron alloy will grant the temporary Aspects “Iron is near” or “Iron poisoning” on a Fae with the Iron Catch.
    • “Iron is near” would obviously play into Social or Mental Consequence type situations. Thus if you dump out a bunch of nails in the Nevernever… you’re not going to make any friends.
    • “Iron poisoning” would represent some kind of iron alloy actually being in physical contact with or inside the body of a Fae.
  • This Aspect “stacks” with the below effects of “Cold Iron”
  • This will also pretty much apply to any “Catch” vs most creatures
  • PCs that choose to take this additional Catch and then allow it to be tagged in combat should probably be rewarded with Fate Points – otherwise, a PC can easily just ignore these Additional Aspects (for whatever reason they’re not as affected).

Cold Iron

  • To qualify as “Cold Iron” for purposes of bypassing the Catch found on most Fae templates, it needs to be mild or low carbon steel.
    • In other words “cheap” steel or “construction grade” iron: steel rebar, nails, pig iron, and the like.
    • Or a practical definition… “If you left it out over a rainy weekend, by Monday if there’s noticeable orange rust on it… it counts.”

Unique Problems

  • (Lore of Fair +2 or higher to know about all this)
  • “Real” Cold Iron
    • As a nod to steel that is ACTUALLY Cold Worked (cold work hardened) this stuff used as a weapon will grant an extra +1 Damage shift in addition to the above effects.
    • Things hammered from ‘Cold Rolled’ steel sheeting counts (like SCA steel armor), 55-gallon drum barrels, as do most ‘Cold Worked’ bolts, nuts, and cap screws.
    • Anybody with the requisite Lore and/or Craftsmanship at least +1 Average and access to a good machine shop with a tredle/trip/auto/hand hammer can easily cold harden mild steel.
      • When Charity helped assault Arctis Tor in the novels, I imagine it was all cold forged by her from industrial sheet steel and wire (which is typical of SCA/modern reproduction armor).
    • An 18 inch long length of cold worked case hardened rebar with some electrical tape at the end is pretty much a Weapon:2 (+1 against Fae). A shorter length like a foot or less (thus more concealable) is still Weapon:1 (+1 against Fae). Remember a Sword is Weapon:2!
  • “Steel Jacketed Bullets”
    • As featured in the novels.
    • Yup you can buy them. Eastern European ammo is notorious for this stuff. The paper thin copper exterior barely (and I mean barely) keeps it from damaging your barrels and most gun ranges won’t let you use it (for several reasons). However, the lead core is, in fact, jacketed with a 1/32 inch or so thick layer of mild/soft carbon steel. Fae would be very unhappy about being shot with it. Ironically… this kind of ammo is usually dirt cheap.
  • “Paint”
    • As established in the novels, an exterior coating of paint or even another metal seems to have no effect on the effectiveness of the iron weapon.
    • I require the paint/covering to stay the thickness of 2 sheets of paper or less (this thickness of the copper covering over a steel jacketed bullet). You can’t drive rebar into the center of a baseball bat and have it count.

Cold Iron

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