What would be the approx weight of a basic Iron Defender construct in Eberron? Our party stumbled upon a few of these, and managed to deactivate them without damaging. I am thinking of taking one home for research purposes, but not sure how hard it would be to carry it. Eberron Campaign Setting says creating it costs 75gp worth of materials. Any idea how much the doggy would weigh?


An iron defender is likely to weigh around 150 to 220 pounds.

We know its size class, approximate shape, height, and material.

According to the Monster Manual, p. 29, a Small creature weighs at most 60 lbs, and probably more than the maximum for Tiny creatures, which is 8lbs—however, those figures are for animals, and iron according to one online source is approximately eight times heavier.

A Small creature made of iron would therefore be no less than 64 lbs and no more than 480 lbs.

We can narrow this down further: according to the table, a Small creature has a size of 2 to 4 feet, which for a quadruped refers to its length from nose to base of tail. We also know that its vertical height is defined in the Eberron Campaign Setting as 2 feet, and since it is described as doglike, we know that it is longer than it is tall, and probably similarly proportioned to a dog of its height.

According to Wikipedia, a Golden Retriever is exactly the right height at 22-24 inches, weighing 55 to 75 lbs. This is the upper bound of Small size weight, suggesting that an iron defender is closer to the 480 lbs limit.

However, it is described made from plates and bars, not necessarily solid as a meat dog would be, and therefore not quite as dense as a solid iron dog. An online source suggests that a skeleton is 30-40% of a human's weight is bones, giving the iron defender's iron bar "bones" a weight of 144 lbs to 192 lbs, and on top of that to calculate its iron plates we might add the price of full plate dog barding, or half a medium sized riding dog barding, at 25 lbs.

Therefore, an iron defender likely weighs, at most, around 169 to 217 pounds. It may weigh more or less than this by a reasonable percentage, but this is a good benchmark. KRyan's answer of 225 lbs is entirely within the range of possible values.

We also know one other thing: the iron defender costs 75 gp in materials to make. That's enough to buy 750 pounds of iron (according to PHB p.112). However, based on the other measurements, it is likely that much of the material cost is for things other than iron.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for both your replies, guys, this is a lot more than I expected, which I am grateful for! And a pleasing reply as well, since I will be able to carry that with a help of Ant Haul elixir (if our GM accepts it of course)! Thanks again! \$\endgroup\$ – Flegit Nov 15 '18 at 18:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan The density of iron is 7.87g/cm<sup>3</sup> while according to one online source a human or similar creature has a density of slightly less than water (1g/cm<sup>3</sup>), or 0.985g/cm<sup>3</sup>. According to Wolfram Alpha, this is coincidentally almost exactly 8. \$\endgroup\$ – Quadratic Wizard Nov 16 '18 at 1:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @QuadraticWizard In hindsight, it’s obvious that flesh would be roughly water-density, but that didn’t occur to me, or even that this would be a consistent value you could look up. Anyway, it would seem then the statue I found was hollow to a similar degree as the iron defender. If you edit, I can swap my downvote (based on my original misreading) for an upvote. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Nov 16 '18 at 15:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan Thanks. I coincidentally had the figures on hand from previous research on similar earlier questions regarding the density of a creature turned to stone or made of stone. \$\endgroup\$ – Quadratic Wizard Nov 16 '18 at 18:40

Unfortunately, basic physical parameters like height and weight are generally only offered for PC races and some particularly-notable creatures like dragons. For the iron defender, all we have is that it is Small, that it looks like a dog and stands 2 ft high at the shoulder, and is made of steel. We’re honestly lucky to even get the measurement of its height at the shoulder.

Googling, I find that 2 ft at the shoulder suggests a medium-large dog; it’s on the high side for a labrador retriever, for example, according to the American Kennel Club. The same source gives 80 lbs. as a high-end weight for such a dog. That’s in flesh and blood: what do we get if we swap that for steel?

A 5’ 6” tall bronze statue of a woman I found on Ebay is listed as approximately 350 lbs. A Google search of the weight of a 5’ 6” woman (according to a variety of fitness clubs and the like, so grain of salt) is between about 120 and 140 lbs. The statue looks pretty slim, so I’ll go with 125 for easy math. Bronze is somewhat more dense than steel, but the density of each varies a lot based on the exact alloy used and there’s a lot of overlap between their respective ranges, so I’m just going to ignore that.

It’s also not clear if this statue is solid bronze or hollow—and for that matter, it’s not clear if the iron defender is solid or hollow. I’m just going to ignore that problem.

\begin{align} w_\textit{iron defender} &\approx \frac{w_{statue}}{w_{woman}} \times w_{dog} \\ &\approx \frac{350\text{ lbs}}{125\text{ lbs}} \times 80\text{ lbs} \\ &\approx 2.8 \times 80\text{ lbs} \\ &\approx 225\text{ lbs} \end{align}

So there, 225 lbs. is probably the best available number.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.