Stygian Iron Material in Zheng-Kitar | World Anvil

Stygian Iron

The exotic, extremely rare iron harvested from the River Styx given to the servants of Charon

Mechanical Benefits

HP/inch 20   Hardness 10   Special: Weapons or armors fashioned from Stygian Iron are always masterwork items as well; the masterwork cost is included in the prices given below. In Addition, Weapons and Armor fashioned from Stygian Iron heal at a rate of 1HP per round when submerged in water - if this water is unholy or in some way exposed to the influence of the realm of Gehenna, this is increased to 10HP per round. A weapon or suit of armor that has been bathed in the waters of the River Styx after its construction for at least 1 hour can no longer be sundered or destroyed, gains the "Awakened" effect of that type of gear(described below), and gains a faint cerulean aura as a mark of its power.   For Weapons: Weapons made of Stygian Iron are most feared by outsiders and supernatural creatures, for they carry within them the supernatural power of Charon the Obliviator, Master of the Five Rivers and Horseman of Death - any outsider slain by a weapon made of Stygian Iron is delivered a true and final death, as their essence is absorbed wholly into the blade and destroyed, preventing outsiders that would normally be reformed on their home plane from reforming at all. Additionally, Stygian Iron Weapons are always treated as having a Ghost Touch enchantment. Finally, on a confirmed critical hit, a creature struck by a Stygian Iron weapon takes 1 Temporary Negative Level.  
  • Awakened Weapons: An Awakened Stygian Iron Weapon destroys the "spirit" of any creature which is kills who possesses one, not merely outsiders - preventing any being which it kills from being resurrected by any means short of the personal intervention of Charon themself. Additionally, the Temporary Negative Level on Confirmed Criticals becomes a Permanent Negative Level. 1/day, the wielder of an awakened Stygian iron Weapon may swing the weapon as a standard action to create a Stygian bolt targeting an enemy within 30ft with a ranged touch attack - this bolt deals 6d6 Magic Bludgeoning Damage and Inflicts 1 Permanent Negative Level unless the target succeeds at a DC 30 Fortitude Save, which negates the negative level but does not reduce the damage.
  For Armor: A suit of armor made of Stygian Iron is a nearly cursed thing, which clings to its wearer like impending death by old age - any creature wearing a suit of Stygian Iron no longer needs to breathe and cannot be affected by any effect that alters or modifies their memory. Additionally, once a day the wearer can absorb a darkness effect and automatically dispel it regardless of caster level by absorbing it into the armor. Permanent or Permanencied Darkness Effects cast by especially powerful beings may return after several days or weeks(GM Discretion). When used in an area of darkness that is not magical in nature, the armor will lower the light level of the surrounding 30ft area for 1 minute, to a minimum of Supernatural Darkness.  
  • Awakened Armor: An Awakened Suit of Stygian Iron Armor grants its wearer complete immunity to Energy Drain, and grants its wearer a cloak of Styx Water that descends from their shoulders - this cloak forces creatures the wearer interacts with to make a DC 30 Will Save after they have interacted with them or lose most memory of the encounter aside from a faint haze of recollection(Though at GM Discretion, certain characters may be resistant or immune to its effects). Additionally, this cloak of Styx Water is semi-sentient, and lashes out automatically at any creature that hits the wearer with a melee or ranged attack, dealing bludgeoning damage equal to the wearer's HD to the attacking creature automatically. Finally, the wearer is granted a swim speed equal to twice their base land speed.


Stygian Iron is not sold in any meaningful capacity, or at least not in any capacity regular enough to notate here - as the material is, unlike many others, completely alien and not-native to the lands of Zheng-Kitar, all Stygian Iron that is found on Zheng-Kitar is in some way a relic of some unholy pact, a powerful planar traveler, or perhaps even one of the Hinnom who left it behind when they were summoned from their damnable home plane of Gehenna long ago.   When it is found on Zheng-Kitar, Stygian Iron(Either raw ore, ingots, or actual items) are typically claimed and never sold - though when they are put up for auction, only the most powerful and influential of sellers dare to try to sell it, lest it be stolen away by powerful beings interested in claiming it for themselves.


Material Characteristics

Stygian Iron in its raw state is said to be mostly jet-black with twisting whorls of dark red adorning its surface like some twisted fingerprint.   After it has been smelted and forged into equipment, it becomes utterly, completely, all-consumingly black - so much so that it seems to suck the light from the nearby air merely by existing.   Once it has been "Awakened" by performing a special ritual on the banks of the River Styx for one hour, it begins to glow with an unholy blue aura.

Physical & Chemical Properties

Stygian Iron is cold to the touch, though in a different way than Uttercold - though both materials target the soul, Stygian Iron does not merely freeze it, but violently and cataclysmically tears it asunder, never to be made whole again. As such, its cold touch comes from a property akin to losing body heat - save that the "body heat" is takes is instead the very essence or soul of the being touching it.   Beyond this, its properties are mostly unknown - it is found so rarely in the Materia Sphere that few, if any, have gotten a chance to study it.

Geology & Geography

According to legends spread across The Cosmology of Ea, Stygian Iron is one of the extremely few materials not only alien to the Materia Sphere, but to the entire cosmology of Ea - an ore as black as a nightmare that originates from beyond the Atlen Shell in the infinite oblivion of The Gloam.   Found only at the bottom of the River Styx, first and most mighty of the Five Rivers of Oblivion, Stygian Iron is said to form when the souls of those claimed by the Hinnom, natives of the plane of Gehenna, circle within the River Styx long enough to slowly bind to errant deposits of metal within the river left behind by victims of the Hinnom or even of Charon themself - over time, the mundane iron and steel that is sunken into the Styx is worn away to shavings within the soul-shredding currents of the unholy river, and over thousands of years and hundreds of victims left to sink into the river small ore deposits soon form on the Styx's Riverbed.   This ore is mostly harvested by the Boatmen who serve Charon - though on several occasions other Hinnom and even some other Outsiders and Mortals have been allowed to harvest deposits from within the riverbed by the grace of Charon themself.

Life & Expiration

Stygian Iron keeps its shape forever unless torn asunder by physical violence - and once it has undergone the Awakening Ritual on the shores of the Styx, it becomes wholly and utterly unbreakable.

History & Usage


Brought into The Cosmology of Ea with the arrival of the realm of Gehenna, Stygian Iron did not rise to prominence or notability until eons after the land of Gehenna arrived in The Cosmology of Ea, when the River Styx that had spilled out across the Planescape began to accumulate metal deposits by Outsider and Mortal alike who foolishly tried to sail or master the river without permission from its true owner, Charon - eventually taking shape after the fallen equipment of those who had tried to explore the river mixed with the agonized souls circling within the river, Stygian Iron entered service as the metal of The Horseman of Death and his foremost servants.   Over time, it has found its way in one shape or another to many corners of the Planescape, where it has been lost and found again for eons...just waiting for the right group to come along and rediscover it.


Stygian Iron was first discovered by the ancient Hinnom in service to Charon the Obliviator, Master of the Five Rivers and Horseman of Death - though over the eons it was soon discovered by mortals who swore themselves to Charon, then eventually made its way into the hands of adventurers and those of all walks of life as weapons and armor were sent to the Materia Sphere then lost for one reason or another...only to be found and re-used in an endless cycle.

Cultural Significance and Usage

Though a feared and well-known material in the Outer Sphere, in the Materia Sphere and in the Inner Sphere Stygian iron is not as well known - most places hold it as a cursed or taboo material for the feared rumors of the River Styx and its terrifying, all-powerful master Charon the Obliviator...and of the Hinnom who many claim seek the metal to claim as their own.


Stygian Iron must undergo a refinement process before it can be forged - its raw ore must be taken and refined through unknown means likely involving the River Styx to fully craft it into shape. However, this secret is not known to many, if any, mortal smiths - instead, it stands as a secret of Charon the Obliviator, Master of the Five Rivers and Horseman of Death - who restricts its usage even among his fellow Hinnom.   However, rumors abound of the material being lost across the age within most Planes of The Cosmology of Ea - and of an extremely rare few who for one reason or another know of this feared and terrifying material...many of whom may well be descendants of those who once served at the Horseman of Death's side, and were gifted with the knowledge as a reward for their service.

Reusability & Recycling

Once forged into shape, Stygian Iron is notoriously hard to re-shape - meaning that how it is found is likely how it is to be used.


Trade & Market

There is constant demand for Stygian Iron - the issue lies with the supply, as it is a material not native to the Materia Sphere and thus extremely hard to come by.


Extremely Valuable
Extremely Rare
Cold, Wet, and Chalky
As black as a nightmare
Melting / Freezing Point
The secrets of forging Stygian Iron is knowledge kept only by the Hinnom - specifically those who work in service of Charon the Obliviator.
Common State
Either raw ore or pre-forged into weapons or armor


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