Created By: spudwalt on February 11, 2012 Last Edited By: DAN004 on April 9, 2015

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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Trope
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.)

Examples

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.


Community Feedback Replies: 60
  • February 11, 2012
    shimaspawn
    This same trope is played the same with Silver.
  • February 11, 2012
    spudwalt
    ^I guess it could be expanded to silver stuff, too.

    I know there's an aversion out there somewhere (I think it might be in one of the first two Breath Of Fire games) where you find a gold crown or coronet or something that's much less effective than the armor you have at the time. It does fetch a nice price, though.
  • February 11, 2012
    DrakeClawfang
    I think this could be expanded into noting that precious metals in general provide better protection in video games than base metals. Gold, silver, diamonds, etc.
  • February 11, 2012
    Sailor11sedna
    It's the exact opposite in Minecraft.
  • February 12, 2012
    Stratadrake
    I believe this is covered under ... Elemental Crafting.
  • February 12, 2012
    spudwalt
    Yeah, looks like Elemental Crafting has this. Oh well.
  • February 13, 2012
    captainsandwich
    the only thing gold weapons do better than iron are sell for money, look better on your wall (maybe), and avoid rust.
  • February 14, 2012
    Chabal2
    The final sword in A Link To The Past is the Golden Sword, after the Tempered (presumably steel) Sword.

  • February 14, 2012
    TheChainMan
    Averted in Final Fantasy III: The Gold swords have terrible stats. They are great Vendor Trash at least.
  • February 14, 2012
    BOFH
    It's actually zigzagged in Minecraft:
    • Gold swords do less damage.
    • All gold tools and armour are less durable.
    • Gold tools intended for removing blocks (axe and pickaxe) remove them faster.
    • All gold tools and armour get higher level enchantments when enchanted.
  • February 15, 2012
    Ryuuma
    • 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".
    • 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...
  • February 15, 2012
    MarqFJA
    This trope could be a Sub Trope of Elemental Crafting. Also, examples should exclude cases were the object is actually made of a durable substance that is covered by a layer of gold for aesthetic purposes.
  • February 15, 2012
    Catbert
    I agree. Make it a subtrope, and mine the examples currently on Elemental Crafting.
  • February 15, 2012
    Aquillion
    • 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.
  • June 17, 2014
    DAN004
    So what, Precious Metal For Protection?

    I believe by that definition Iron Man's gold-titanium alloy doesn't count here.
  • June 17, 2014
    Paradisesnake
    Isn't this just plain old Law Of Chromatic Superiority?
  • June 17, 2014
    dalek955
    To expand on the Minecraft example, gold 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.
  • June 17, 2014
    acrobox
    wasnt there like a Gold Is Ausome trope or Gold is better than even Red YKTTW a little while ago.
  • June 17, 2014
    Paradisesnake
    ^ It's still in YKTTW, currently named Gold Outranks Everything.
  • June 17, 2014
    acrobox
    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=6p1uhqmnflddlohqgmu49jch

    Yes We Do Have This One .... in YKTTW

    add examples to this link. It's already ready to launch. I think they're similar enough that one trope can cover both of these YKTTW
  • June 29, 2014
    MercenX
    In some examples, the gold itself is a magical element rather than simply being under an enchantment. That is why it is more valuable and, of course, more reliable that other metals.

    While I think this YK could do with a better name, I don't think it's the same as Gold Outranks as that YK refers to the color not the element.
  • June 29, 2014
    silver06
    I think a better title would be "Rarity Equals Strength", as it's less specific and easier to apply.
  • June 29, 2014
    MercenX
    Perhaps, if there are other things you can include other than gold that would normally not be more reliable but are rare and thus depicted as better.
  • June 29, 2014
    DAN004
  • June 29, 2014
    DAN004
    May I take this over?
  • July 1, 2014
    needsanewhobby
    There's a similar YKTTW called "Gold Colored Superiority". I guess that refers to the colour, not the metal, but still...
  • July 1, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ I've decided that they're distinct enough to have their own pages.
  • July 3, 2014
    DAN004
    Well, does anybody else think this is covered by Elemental Crafting?
  • July 5, 2014
    JustaUsername
    No, I think this is actually a viable trope on it's own.
  • July 5, 2014
    DAN004
    Kinda wanna expand this to silver as well. I don't count bronze cuz it was used as appliances before.
  • July 5, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    silver is actually a pretty decent material if Silver Has Mystic Powers is of any indication. it's never explored that it could be "heavier or softer" than regular metal used for weapons.
  • July 5, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ ah I remember, silver has been used as plates and dining utensils as well...
  • July 5, 2014
    acrobox
    If you widen it too much it becomes Metallic Motifs anyway
  • July 5, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ okay.

  • July 23, 2014
    DAN004
    Trope pic plz?
  • August 5, 2014
    DAN004
    Bump.
  • August 5, 2014
    Chernoskill
    Videogames

    • In the Mightand Magic series, weapons made from silver, gold, or platinum have higher damage than those made from steel or iron.
  • August 6, 2014
    AgProv
    There was speculation about a "golden weapon" that knocked out an American tank during the invasion of Iraq. The post-combat report noted that it appears to have been a hitherto unknown weapon that left residues of a heavy yellow metal inside the tank. see here
  • August 9, 2014
    DAN004
    Bump
  • September 2, 2014
    DAN004
    pmub
  • September 16, 2014
    daefaroth
    Western Animation:
    • Finn carries a gold sword in the first two seasons of Adventure Time, likely as a reference to this trope.

    Finn's gold sword as a possible page image
  • September 16, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ Is it stronger than iron by any chance?
  • September 16, 2014
    daefaroth
    ^Finn only fights with a steel sword in one episode, so it is hard to draw a comparison. It is obvious that the gold sword is way more effective than it deserves to be. I will have to rewatch some early episodes to see if I can find him specifically cutting through stuff with it.
  • September 16, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ If said golden sword can cut/break through iron armor it can also count, btw.
  • September 30, 2014
    SWFMax
  • October 2, 2014
    MarqFJA
    "Note that if the golden thing is explicitly enchanted, then it doesn't count."

    Wouldn't that be Justified Trope or Subverted Trope instead?
  • October 2, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ Made Of Iron has the same qualifier: the characters' toughness isn't explained at all. Same here: the goodness of the golden item isn't explained in universe.

    Some tropes have "lack of justification" as its component.
  • October 9, 2014
    DAN004
    Bump?
  • November 3, 2014
    DAN004
    pmub
  • November 3, 2014
    hevendor717
    Just try google imaging "Gold Knight" and you get some apt results.

    "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.
  • December 2, 2014
    eroock
    Works because of the Rule Of Cool.
  • December 6, 2014
    eroock
    We have Bling Bling Bang, which mentions the fallacy of using gold for weaponry in its second paragraph.
  • December 6, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ hmm, that does seem really close.

    What do you think should be done?
  • December 23, 2014
    DAN004
    Bump, I have some concern with Bling Bling Bang
  • December 23, 2014
    DragonQuestZ
    Drop the pothole from the quote.
  • January 13, 2015
    DAN004
    Bump for now
  • January 28, 2015
    LikeSnowyNights
    I feel like the Naruto example doesn't really work. Iron dust manipulation and gold dust manipulation are never stated or hinted at being stronger or weaker than another. the only reason gold sand was harder to fight was because it was actually being used by a live human and because it was against someone with regular sand manipulation.
  • January 29, 2015
    arromdee
    If you do create this, be sure to link RPG cliches #144 to it.
  • January 30, 2015
    eroock
    Tricky business. I would shorten the second paragraph of Bling Bling Bang and only keep a line of reference to the issue of gold versus iron which should then be potholed to Gold Beats Iron. Examples that talk about the idea of ornate weapons can stay there, any references to golden weapons should be reviewed and moved/copied here if context allows.
  • April 9, 2015
    DAN004
    Bump
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=h4f8trl7nmo38jkqvih3k6q1