Gold Beats Iron YKTTW Discussion

Gold Beats Iron
Equipment/weapons made out of gold are shown to be stronger than similar things made out of iron
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(permanent link) added: 2012-02-11 13:55:26 sponsor: spudwalt edited by: DAN004 (last reply: 2015-04-09 23:24:07)

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DAN 004 wuz ere takin over ur druft

Needs More Examples. Could probably use a better title, too.

-YES, gold is stronger than iron. What are they teaching these humans nowadays?
— Goblin Tinkerer, Terraria

Gold. While it is valuable (in most cases), it's also a pretty soft metal. Plus, it's pretty darn heavy. So, if someone were to make a sword or some armor out of pure gold, it wouldn't be as effective as lighter, stronger materials like iron or steel.

Try telling that to the guy kitted out in golden armor who is happily slaying the crap out of a dragon with his shmancy golden sword.

This trope refers to any situation where an object made of gold is shown to be better than if it were made out of iron for no adequately explained reason. It should be noted, though, that gold really beats iron in some aspects (conductivity, corrosion resistance, and of course, value) - but iron pretty much beats gold in toughness and weight, something that writers often forgot when they make something that is supposedly ironclad uses gold instead. Indeed, this fallacy comes from the assumption that gold equals wealth and wealth equals power - and thus gold must be the most powerful!

Part of the RPG Cliches, specifically #144: "Gold, silver, and other precious metals make excellent weapons and armor even though in the real world they are too soft and heavy to use for that purpose. In fact, they work so well that nobody ever melts their solid gold suit of armor down into bullion, sells it, and retires to a tropical isle on the proceeds."

Note that if the golden thing is explicitly enchanted, then it is a subversion.

See also Elemental Crafting. Compare Bling-Bling-BANG! where the weapon may be just given gold plating instead of being purely made of gold. (It isn't strictly about gold, either.)


Anime and Manga
  • In Naruto the Third Kazekage could control iron dust via Magnetism. His successor, the Fourth Kazekage (who appears as a stronger opponent later) manipulate the "gold" dust. Via Magnetism. ok, Dia-magnetism, but still...

Comic Books
  • Played with Iron Man: His Mark I armor is made of iron and isn't as tough as his later armors, which used gold alongside titanium mixed in an alloy.

Video Games
  • Appears in the Final Fantasy series. Evidently, the more valuable your equipment is, the better job it does of protecting you.
  • Chrono Trigger also follows this rule.
  • Lampshaded by the Goblin Tinkerer in Terraria, which provides the page quote.
  • Averted in Castlevania: Circle of the Moon, where the Steel Armor gives a better defensive boost than the Gold Armor.
    • Played straight in Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow, however. This includes the Joyeuse, a solid-gold broadsword which is nowhere near as awesome as the Claimh Solais, but it's significantly better than many of the more mundane broadswords.
  • Zigzagged in Minecraft: golden tools mine very fast (even faster than diamond) and enchanting them is very easy, but their list of blocks they can mine is the same as a wooden tool and they break after very few uses.
  • Dragon Quest VIII has a Golden Axe. Like the Final Fantasy III example it's quite weak and difficult to use, but at least it can be use to create the much stronger "Moon Axe".
  • Dwarf Fortress subverts this trope for edged weapons and spears, but actually plays it straight for blunt ones, since the sheer weight and density of gold adds to the damage it inflicts; platinum is even better.
  • In the Mightand Magic series, weapons made from silver, gold, or platinum have higher damage than those made from steel or iron.
  • "Gold Knight" is the third promoted stage of horse-riding Cavaliers in the second and tenth Fire Emblem games. Their gold armor is implicated to be stronger than what they had on before. Although, there's no proof that it isn't plated, and the gold an adornment made to look powerful and cool.

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