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Old 11-02-2009, 09:06 PM   #59
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Iceland*
Default Re: Emerging smokepowder weapons in my fantasy

Originally Posted by Joseph Paul View Post
Hmm If your capital can't buy an asset that has gone off the market, such as trained archers and wizards, cornering an emerging technology might make sense. Alchemists aren't normally on the front lines and don't normally suffer the same attrition as battle wizards and archers so if their product did start becoming more mainstream they suddenly become an essential asset that needs to be collected and guarded against assasination. Hmm an alchemical V2 campaign? Collect the brains, guard the brains, get as much out as you can. Of course this may not be applicable to the situation in your campaign right now.
The alchemists aren't the only limit on the supply of smokepowder. It also requires exotic and rare reagents, the cost of which is around $350/lbs.

This essentially means that even with all the alchemists in the world and the most efficient mass production system, smokepowder would still cost twenty times what black powder did.

And while alchemists might not suffer from attrition (except for the occasional explosion... which might not be all that rare), their agents which are dispatched into monsters' lairs and similar places to gather materials will tend to die pretty often.

Originally Posted by Joseph Paul View Post
Capital in medieval conflicts was often scarce. Plunder and grants of newly conquered lands and titles to go with them were often used as the stop gap. Literally working with 'other people's money'!

But imagine that operational costs of armies were two times what they were in our history. Now you need to conquer two times as much land to make going to war worthwhile. Or if the costs were five times what they were in our history.

At what point does warfare, at least with such an expensive substance, stop being a cost-effective revenue stream?

I know that if any power in Faerun expended smokepowder at the rate Napoleonic warfare expended black powder, all the conquest in the world would not suffice to pay the bills.
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