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Materials have a sharpness property, defined as
[MAX_EDGE:<number>]. In combat, this presumably defines how well the material works when used for slashing attacks.
Most materials draw this from their Material template, but placing a
[MAX_EDGE] tag in the material's entry will override this and allow it to be sharper than other objects of its kind. For example, Obsidian has
[MAX_EDGE:20000], while the Stone Material Template has
[MAX_EDGE:1000]. Incidentally, it seems that this is what allows Obsidian to be made into stone swords; a value of at least 10000 has been proven to also work.
Actual weapon sharpness depends on its quality: masterwork and artifact blades have the above-mentioned maximum material edge, while regular-quality items get only half as much.