The most typical of all alloys in the lands, steel is favored by the common smith as the all-purpose utility metal. Useful for making almost any tools, it is also the chief metal used in the production of fairly cheap and reliable weapons, as steel edges are much better than iron for keeping sharp. Steel is much better than iron for keeping a sharp edge. It is made through a process of heating bars of iron with charcoal in a closed furnace so that the surface of the iron acquires a high carbon content.
Behind the Scenes
Steel is a product of smelting iron with a low oxygen content and a high carbon content. The carbon becomes a part of the alloy on the surface of the iron, displacing the lattice structure of the iron, therefore increasing strength and durability at the cost of brittleness. Therefore, steel weapons can be made thinner and lighter than iron weapons. This is why bronze weapons were more prominent before advanced smelting processes were developed, as they could be lighter and stronger than an iron weapon, but a steel weapon is superior to a bronze one. Note: The properties of iron are significantly superior to those of bronze in GemStone IV despite this fact. Bronze weapons do not oxidize like iron, are considerably less brittle, and have a lower casting temperature.