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Old 06-16-2021, 08:59 AM   #8
Join Date: Sep 2007
Default Re: No wonder the guns blow up

Originally Posted by hcobb View Post
Half of that is the gunpowder.
Why this assumption? ITL says that a grenade requires 5 charges of powder, but a charge of powder has a negligible given weight, so we don't know directly how much powder that is.

The potions list calls for an ounce of dragon's dung per charge of powder, but that's not all sulfur, and we don't know how much weight of "common ingredients" is needed. (9 times as much sulfur in real life, at least with post-Cidri-tech formulations.)

A historical arquebus (one charge of powder) would normally fire a lead ball of as much as 40g (600 grains) and call for half that weight in powder (300 grains, or less than 3/4 of an ounce. (You can find sources specifying even more powder; also modern shooters that will think you're crazy for using even 300 gr.) That puts the powder weight in a Cidri grenade at about 3.5 ounces, not a pound. That estimate is high by a factor of five -- which makes the "ten times" a historical grenade charge more like a factor of two. Which brings us right back to that weight of charge for the musket, where I picked a number on the high side, by a factor of about two, as it happens. Also, the question of the powder formulation -- modern, 1800-ish, 1500-ish, as well as the granularity (serpentine vs corned powder).

Meanwhile, a glance at a pottery website tells me that a mug takes pound of clay, a 6" x 2.5" bowl takes a pound and a half, and a 5x4.5" teapot calls for three. Sounds like a grenade would call for a pound of clay at a minimum, and the book does say it's "heavy" earthenware.

So the listed amount of powder ("5 charges") seems about right -- or at least, not so far wrong as to worry about it in a game context. One pound seems quite high.
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