Lightning steel is a miraculous metal formed from an alloy of iron, carbon, silver and pure captured lightning.
The smelters used to produce this metal are usually built on high towers built in lightning-prone regions, though Wizardry can be a source of the necessary, though inferior, lightning. This synthetic lightning, the product of mortal magicians or even clever alchemy, does not yield full quality Lightning Steel. Instead it yields Common lightning steel.
Common Lightning steel Properties:
Common lightning steel has properties akin to Titanium, though it is stronger than all but the best steel alloys, and being 25% less dense.
It is nearly as lustrous as polished silver, and is very resistant to corrosion.
While strong, should it be actually broken, it will release a blast of energy. Something the size of a sword is sufficient to knock humans over within 10’.
Touching this metal is uncomfortable for beings tied to negative energy or similar powers.
Drinking vessels crafted from lightning steel will cause any contained liquids to become effervescent.
True Lightning Steel Properties
This metal is as precious as Mithral, being created only through the capture of natural or god-thrown lightning. It is extremely light - weapons crafted from it are a quarter the weight of normal steel weapons. It is a lustrous as platinum, and just as free from corrosion.
It is highly energetic and will burn mortal and undead flesh on contact though the steel does not radiate heat. Armor and weapons made from it generally include layers of other materials to allow mortals to use the items comfortably.
If touched by magic, even the weakest scrying spell, it will glow brightly. If spells are placed upon True Lightning Steel items, they will continuously grow brightly unless additional enhancements are places to control this. A ring of this material, or perhaps inlaid with this material can serve as a simple device to detect the presence of magic.
True Lighting steel is able to absorb lightning that strikes it, and is able to contain this energy for some time, slowly discharging it. Too much can overload it, and it will become overcharged. Once overcharged, it will randomly discharge the excess energy as small lightning bolts.
If broken, powerful energies are released, causing multiple lightning bolts to lash out randomly nearby, and these are accompanied by damaging thunderclaps.
Lightning Steel Items
Gauntlets of Zeus/Thor/Etc
These powerful magic gauntlets grant allow the wearer to seize lightning bolts from nature, spell casters or even gods.
The wearer needs to make an agility/dexterity check to actually capture the bolt, which should not be trivial, but certainly easier than one would expect. Failure to grasp the bolt could be deadly if the bolt had been directed to the wearer, for choosing to do so forfeits any attempt to dodge the bolt.
Once grabbed, the bolt appears as a bright shimmering object appropriate to the culture of the user - a stylized lighting bot, a javelin, a hammer, etc. This bolt can then be hurled by the user as a weapon, but the potential exists to use it for other purposes such as creating magical weapons, alchemy, etc. No limit apart from natural endurance applies to the held bold, but it may not be set down or stored outside of the grasp of the gauntlet. No more than one bolt may be held per gauntlet.
A being with special affinity to lightning or nature may be able to draw down a bolt from an active storm cloud, though in this case the bolt is considered to be targeting the wearer should they fail to grasp the bolt.
Gauntlets such as these are invaluable for the production of Lightning Steel
Crown of Zot.
This crown is made of pure Lightning Steel, crafted from a single piece and adorned with brilliant sapphires. It is typically worn over a mail coif or other headpiece to shield the wearer from burning, though it was once forced onto the bare head of a would-be usurper.
In addition to its exotic metal were placed many enchantments harmonious with its nature, allowing the wearer to resist the effects of electricity from other sources, and to throw a limited number of bolts per day. During natural thunderstorms, the wear may throw more than the limit, but the crown will begin to heat up, eventually searing through any intervening material should enough bolts be thrown.
Coins of Netaar
These coins are specially minted and were presents as gifts from the Witch-Emperor Netaar. They consist of disks of three concentric metals - Silver, Common Lightning Steel and True Lightning Steel. These were typically carried in purpose built containers as touching the centers would injure mortals.
This strongly enchanted helm is crafted with a set of short Lightning Steel spikes and when activated, will discharge short-ranged bolts of lighting at random targets nearby. Only the wearer is protected from these bolts. The voltage varies significantly as well, so the following table covers the different potential effects:
1. Fizzles. Perhaps hair stands up.
2. Target is briefly stunned, degrading ‘to hit’ or similar skills for a short time.
3. Target is stunned, unable to act for a round or two.
4. Target takes lightning damage
Of course, the number of bolts, their frequency and range is up to the GM, though I would suggest 1d4 bolts per round with a 20’ maximum range.