"Cold Iron"

First of all, let me just say that I find the 3.x concept of “cold iron” as some kind of rare, mystical material totally separate from the ordinary metal. On the other hand, I do rather like the idea of iron having some kind of power to defeat the supernatural. In the mythology of a setting I’m working on, ancient men were able to oppose the sorceries of the elves with the first iron weapons, while the dwarven resistance to and inability to wield magic is attributed to the gods fashioning them with iron hearts.

That said, I’m not entirely sure how to represent this property in-game. The idea I’ve had that I’m happiest with is that non-dwarf characters get no saving throw against spells, staves, or wands if they don’t have any iron on their person. This would be mostly a cosmetic matter, since an iron belt-buckle or an iron nail in a person’s pocket would do the trick, and most monsters could be more resistant to spells by virtue of being to some degree inherently magical.

I also like the idea that, since iron is a magically “dead” material, magical weapons and armor must be made from other materials, like bronze or some more exotic metal or alloy. This would have the effect of making magical arms and armor quite distinctive-looking in an otherwise iron age society.

The only issue i see with your idea is wouldnt it make spellcasters unable to save versus spells? Since presumably to cast spells one wouldnt be able to wear iron. Otherwise I think its a cool idea.

I actually hadn’t thought of that, though it’s again something that I think could be dealt with in a fairly cosmetic way. Perhaps the first thing an apprentice magic user learns is some kind of basic magical self-defense that makes up for their inability to carry iron, but which non-magical people can’t master.

Depending on how deep you want to go down that route, maybe they have to drink some drought that has iron mixed in it and is specially prepared by that mage. First thing in mage school is learning how to make it. If you don’t want to go quite that far maybe when iron is implanted in the skin the magic channels through it and negates it but that only applies to their spells. Then mages would be instantly recognizable by their sizable jewelry collection.

What a cool idea! I really admire the elegance by which you’ve tied it into the saving throw system.