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Old 11-02-2009, 09:34 PM   #61
Icelander
 
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Default Re: Emerging smokepowder weapons in my fantasy

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Re: Needing adventurers for scrounging ingredients. Sounds like a much more logical reason for delving!
Oh, it is.

Alchemy and enchantment rules depend heavily on exotic incredients, which demand a constant stream of soldiers of fortune prepared to enter foul and dangerous places.

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Re: Economics of warfare - Given what you have laid out I see a plot with a sneaky peace faction working hard to check the wizards and dismantle the archer corps so that smokepowder comes to the fore. Very shortly all parties realize they can have enough to defend with but not enough to mount an offensive. War becomes limited, perhaps Peace gets a chance?
If all the powers were relatively organised and self-interested mercantile powers, that might have a better chance of working. Unfortunately, the presence of 'savage' races that breed much faster than humans and compete for the same resources mean that constant warfare appears inevitable.

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Or there is a huge moral dillema in it for the PCs at the critical junction? Aww now I am drifting.
Their biggest moral dilemma, I would think, is that the best chance for permanent peace in the setting involves genocide against the fast breeding and primitive races of orcs, goblins, etc.

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Have you got enough divergent opinions to deal with your player's conundrum?
Sure, but why should that stop anyone from kibitzing? ;)

In any event, I can always use more opinions.
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Old 11-02-2009, 09:54 PM   #62
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The lighter steel shot will do less damage than lead shot, though. I expect that armour penetration is still better with steel than lead, but do you know how to compute the damage difference?
I can't find my data on penetration of lead vs. iron shot unfortunately (possibly The Knight and the Blast Furnace). For base damage, I think all that matters is energy and the diameter of the projectile. (Projectile diameter also determines damage type, but I think the same energy spread over a larger area gives a worse base damage). Iron has a specific gravity of 7850 kg/cubic m, lead 11,340 kg/cubic m. So iron shot is roughly 70% as heavy as lead shot, and would have 70% the energy and 84% the damage at the same speed. But it would probably travel a bit faster and gain damage proportional to the change in velocity.

Treating it as AP ammo like Suedonius suggests might be reasonable.
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Old 11-02-2009, 11:30 PM   #63
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Their biggest moral dilemma, I would think, is that the best chance for permanent peace in the setting involves genocide against the fast breeding and primitive races of orcs, goblins, etc.
Are you sure humans shouldn't be on that list?

Also - it seems to me the only reasonable route for mass smokepowder use would involve cheaper powder, which requires cheaper ingredients, which means you can probably sucker your players into trying to ranch beholders or some such. Now there's a sadistic GM's dream...
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Old 11-02-2009, 11:45 PM   #64
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Are you sure humans shouldn't be on that list?
Not from a human perspective. Races which breed faster than us and compete for the same resources are a danger, but other humans can be tolerated.

Orcs, on the other hand, would eventually overwhelm the human race. In a war, most likely, but even if the races were to find perfect peace and harmony, humans would become a tiny minority within a few generations.

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Also - it seems to me the only reasonable route for mass smokepowder use would involve cheaper powder, which requires cheaper ingredients, which means you can probably sucker your players into trying to ranch beholders or some such. Now there's a sadistic GM's dream...
Hmmm...

I know that at least one player empathically does not want smokepowder weapons to be widespread. His character likes individual combat, skill at arms, honour, glory and all that jazz.

Another doesn't really care if the weapons are viable, as long as he can sell them for high prices to military planners. He can get both weapons and powder more cheaply than the prices that are current in their area, so if there's any interest, he stands to profit. If the weapons end up being white elephants, well, he'll have moved on to selling something else.

The rest of the players don't have an opinion that I'm aware of on the matter. Well, other than not minding at all if the merchant PC who functions as the executive director for their company brings in a juicy contract that means they see more dividends.
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Old 11-03-2009, 12:05 AM   #65
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Default Re: Emerging smokepowder weapons in my fantasy

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Orcs, on the other hand, would eventually overwhelm the human race. In a war, most likely, but even if the races were to find perfect peace and harmony, humans would become a tiny minority within a few generations.
Orcs might have a higher birth rate but, judging most stereotypical orcish cultures, they have a much higher death rate too. Only the strongest live to see adulthood, and a small percentage of that live to old age. Unlike humans who try to protect all of their offspring, if an orcish parent was interested at all in his children it would only be in the strongest one.

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Old 11-03-2009, 12:14 AM   #66
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Default Re: Emerging smokepowder weapons in my fantasy

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Orcs might have a higher birth rate but, judging most stereotypical orcish cultures, they have a much higher death rate too. Only the strongest live to see adulthood, and a small percentage of that live to old age. Unlike humans who try to protect all of their offspring, if an orcish parent was interested at all in his children it would only be in the strongest one.
Well, part of the explanation for the high death rate of orcs is... you guessed it, constant warfare.

If someone managed to get orcs to stop fighting and start participating in a roughly human culture, well, let's just say that this would be a bad thing for everyone not in favour of humans being outnumbered by a massive margin.
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Old 11-03-2009, 09:14 PM   #67
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Not from a human perspective. Races which breed faster than us and compete for the same resources are a danger, but other humans can be tolerated.
Alternately, they're an opportunity to take out humans who can't be tolerated.
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Old 11-03-2009, 09:33 PM   #68
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Reading back through your examples, I realized something - you aren't including the cost of ammunition. Knowing how much these weapons cost per shot is going to be very useful in determining how likely they are to be fielded.

Of course, the primary cost of fielding musketeers is actually that of maintaining them - they burn through a lot of powder when training. How much would it cost to create a magical training musket? You would use simulated powder (probably some sort of sand), but a real match, wadding, and bullet. Upon pulling the trigger, the musket would rock back (simulating recoil) and an illusionary bullet would fly out and strike where it was aimed at. Ideally, the musket would also automatically get rid of the "powder" and shot so the recruit doesn't have to empty it before reloading (thus allowing quick powder drills). Not perfect, but if you can enchant it on the cheap you can save a lot of money in the long run.
EDIT: The "weapon" would just need to resemble a musket, so it wouldn't have a high base cost. The bullet seems like it would be a simple illusion. The big problem is the recoil - maybe some sort of wind magic?
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Old 11-03-2009, 10:02 PM   #69
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Default Re: Emerging smokepowder weapons in my fantasy

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No, I don't like it much. ;)
So like what they did to Dark Sun in Dragon/Dungeon? (And what I presume they're going to do when they release the 4e version...)
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Old 11-03-2009, 10:14 PM   #70
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Well, part of the explanation for the high death rate of orcs is... you guessed it, constant warfare.

If someone managed to get orcs to stop fighting and start participating in a roughly human culture...
...they would presumably starve.
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