Conglomerate Science Fiction Game
Many planets are the home to hard woods called “Ironwood” by the locals. But Turbulence has the real thing … trees whose wood grain is reinforced with iron and carbon from ground minerals, forming a type of carbon steel to reinforce it against the crushing gravity and punishing storms. Iron oxides give the wood its characteristic reddish color and high density while the hardness and flexibility come from the steel filaments woven throughout the wood grain. Ironwood can be polished to a mirror-like surface with intricate grain patterns and sparkling points or silvery streaks where the polished steel filaments become mirrors. Ironwood trees grow only a few meters tall, but have a thick trunk and branches making their appearance somewhat squat and stout.
Ironwood is among Turbulence’ main exports for its beauty and durability. It is extremely expensive for offworlders, but there are those willing to pay the price for their executive office desks, conference tables and main-office wall paneling.
On Turbulence itself, Ironwood is used in the construction of all manner of shelters, including multi-story structures that would require steel or collapsed alloy to build on other worlds. It also makes excellent boat hulls, wood flooring material and shingles resilient enough to defend against even Turbulence’ baseball-sized hailstones.
Tempered Ironwood Implements
A Thallish Tempered Ironwood Sword
Certain Neoprimitive tribes have discovered that heating the wood to high temperatures causes the carbon steel and partly-carbonized wood pulp to form an even higher-grade steel. The heat required is not so high that it requires advanced technology to achieve it, but is about the same as an ironsmith’s forge. This was discovered by finding ironwood that was embedded in lava flows which had superior qualities to untempered Ironwood.
This carbon steel is still low-grade by metallurgical standards, but Ironwood that has been “tempered” in this way will take an edge sharp enough to cut paper … or flesh. The tempered wood still retains the original Ironwood’s grain patterns.