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Found only in the deepest cores of the greatest mountains, dark iron is inherently volcanic in origin. It can be forged only in the hottest of environments, and only when such places are uncorrupted by magic. The deep-dwelling dwarves of Blackrock Mountain employ a forge constructed directly into a river of molten lava, the only place they could find that could generate the required amount of consistent heat. There are also rumors that a similar forge exists in the heart of the Elemental Plane, where dark iron is much more common. A journey to this site would not be for the faint of heart.
Dark iron is inherently sensitive to magic. If corrupted by incorrectly cast spells, it fractures into useless powder. Magical enhancements can be added to dark iron arms and armor only as the newly forged item cools to just the right temperature and consistency. Once the item is complete, no further enhancements or enchantments can be added. Such attempts simply fail, wasting any ingredients used in the attempt. For obvious reasons, magic dark iron items must be created at the time they are forged, and no retry is permitted on any Craft checks involved.
Items made of dark iron are a shadowy gray color. They appear more like charcoal than metal, and if struck give a fl at, dull tone instead of a metallic clang. Although they have a fragile appearance, dark iron items are exceptionally tough and resilient in battle.
Weapons forged of dark iron ignore the first 10 points of damage reduction or hardness on any target struck, regardless of type. They also provide the wielder with a +4 bonus when the weapon is used in a sunder attempt.
Armor made of dark iron provides its wearer with fi re resistance; 3 for light armor, 6 for medium and 9 for heavy.
These abilities are not without cost. Dark iron is frightfully expensive, owing to its rarity and the difficulty involved in working with it. Weapons increase their cost by 20,000 gp. Armor adds 7,000 gp for light armor, 14,000 for medium armor and 21,000 for heavy types. Only items normally constructed of metal can be made of dark iron. Dark iron has hardness 20 and 40 hit points per inch of thickness.