18 September 2021

Riddle Of Steel

Steel making at TL3 starts with iron ore.

You first bake the ore to dry it.

Then you toss it in a bloomery and really heat it.

This gets your to about 2000˚ F and gets you bloomery or sponge iron.

The bloom is then bashed into wrought iron and can be further worked into steel.

Not a quick and easy process.

But somewhere between TL3 and TL4 we figured out how to take that bloom and make crucible steel without all that bashing and hammering to remove inclusions.

It's a matter of temperature and for a long time we couldn't get the furnace hot enough to actually melt the iron.

The little crucibles didn't make a lot of steel and took a lot of fuel, about twice as much as making the bloom in the first place.

Good for swords and smaller items, not so great for breastplates.

The blast furnace was likely accidentally discovered in an attempt to get higher temperatures.

TL3 fantasy worlds have something we didn't have historically.

Magic.

With the GURPS: Magic spell Heat you can add 20˚ per minute to an item.

While you could go from room temperature to the 2,800˚ limit, there's mundane ways to start at a higher temp.

Super-heating a bread oven gets you to 600, easy.

For one endurance point per 20˚/minute we can heat a fist sized lump or about 5 lb.  For double the energy we can heat a cubic yard of hematite and get about two and a half tons of steel in about a day's worth of work for a mage with just a few fire spells.

This makes many TL4 items available at TL3 and makes many staple fantasy world items available.

Because we're adding a mage to the process of making the steel, prices would conform to the GURPS standard of doubling the price for each TL difference.

And it's worth it!

A DR 6 medium plate cuirass is made from bronze at TL 1-3.  It's G$ 10,000.

At TL4 it's made from steel and G$ 2,500.  Getting it at TL3 would make it G$ 5,000.

Cheaper than bronze!

Go go Magic!


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