Steve Jackson Games - Site Navigation
Home General Info Follow Us Search Illuminator Store Forums What's New Other Games Ogre GURPS Munchkin Our Games: Home

Go Back   Steve Jackson Games Forums > Roleplaying > GURPS

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 04-04-2016, 02:51 PM   #11
Bruno
 
Bruno's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Canada
Default Re: [LT] Ancient Nitroglycerin

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth View Post
That makes things expensive (and is the reason that mass production of sulfuric acid is a somewhat under-hyped lynchpin of industrialization), but not impossible since you can make however much sulfuric acid you need in small tabletop batches, right?
That's true. I'm not sure it's enough volume to make it an Empire-founding secret weapon. Definitely easier to keep as a secret than black powder. If black powder is unknown, then it's useful as a secret weapon for seiges - tunneling is used even without explosives, but explosions make them much more effective. Petards would also be a nasty shock.

If black powder is known, it's not as radical.
__________________
All about Size Modifier; Unified Hit Location Table
A Wiki for my F2F Group
A neglected GURPS blog
Bruno is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-04-2016, 03:08 PM   #12
malloyd
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Default Re: [LT] Ancient Nitroglycerin

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jinumon View Post
As a simple question to any chemists or chemistry enthusiasts out there: Is it conceivable for a TL3+1 society to produce Nitroglycerin? Are the raw materials available for collection and production, or does it require mechanical or analytical technology far beyond that of a ~14th century society?
Depends. It's not particularly hard to manufacture nitroglycerine - you basically need a liquid fat, lye, and strong nitric acid, all of which are available at TL3. What is hard is doing it without so many impurities that it explodes when you open the flask, or dawn breaks through your laboratory window.

If you can produce enough nitric acid to make it in quantities bigger than a few milliliters, there are explosives that are no harder to make and usually less dangerous - nitrocellulose or urea nitrate for example. Even trinitrotoluene or trimethylene trinitramine aren't much harder to make and less likely to kill you.

Of course there are plenty of nitration products that are *even more dangerous* than nitroglycerine. Strong nitric acid reacts with just about anything organic, and will often produce something that will self ignite or explode, which is *why* it's really important to make sure your starting material is quite pure.
__________________
--
MA Lloyd
malloyd is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-04-2016, 03:08 PM   #13
Anthony
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Berkeley, CA
Default Re: [LT] Ancient Nitroglycerin

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth View Post
That makes things expensive (and is the reason that mass production of sulfuric acid is a somewhat under-hyped lynchpin of industrialization), but not impossible since you can make however much sulfuric acid you need in small tabletop batches, right?
You're still likely going to have issues with purity, which will make your explosives less stable -- and neither nitroglycerine nor nitrocellulose is really all that stable to start with.
__________________
My GURPS site and Blog.
Anthony is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-04-2016, 03:09 PM   #14
Celjabba
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Luxembourg
Default Re: [LT] Ancient Nitroglycerin

If I recall correctly, the heroes of Jules Vernes 'the Mysterious Island' make nitroglycerine with rather primitive tools... Whether or not it can really be done as described is a good question... and of course they had the necessary knowledge.
Celjabba is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-04-2016, 03:13 PM   #15
whswhs
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Lawrence, KS
Default Re: [LT] Ancient Nitroglycerin

If you could make nitroglycerin, I kind of think the most likely result would be one of those "laboratory destroyed; roll for injury" critical failures on Alchemy in GURPS Magic.
__________________
Bill Stoddard

I don't think we're in Oz any more.
whswhs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-04-2016, 03:23 PM   #16
Jinumon
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Default Re: [LT] Ancient Nitroglycerin

I've actually decided that this society is extremely xenophobic towards Sorcerers and their ilk, and Magic is strictly banned in their country. To them, Magic is heresy and, in addition to effectively breeding out the "magic-gene" within their people, the government uses this bias against all things Magic to keep the populace in line.

"Without our miraculous substance, the Sorcerers would come for you. We keep you safe, and covet our sacred secrets from the minds of heretics."

The nation still trades with other nations that make use of Magic, but those with magical ability are not allowed to live in the nation, must wear a badge identifying them while visiting, are strictly prohibited from using any magic while visiting, and no one with magical ability is, under any circumstance, allowed in the capital city: the only location where their miracle substance is made.

All that being said, what is the most conceivable alternative to Nitroglycerin or Nitrocellulose? Cordite? TNT?

Jinumon

Last edited by Jinumon; 04-04-2016 at 03:29 PM.
Jinumon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-04-2016, 03:24 PM   #17
(E)
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: New Zealand.
Default Re: [LT] Ancient Nitroglycerin

What about sugar/nitrate recipes.
__________________
Waiting for inspiration to strike......
And spending too much time thinking about farming for RPGs
Contributor to Citadel at Nordvörn
(E) is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-04-2016, 03:26 PM   #18
malloyd
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Default Re: [LT] Ancient Nitroglycerin

Quote:
Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
If you could make nitroglycerin, I kind of think the most likely result would be one of those "laboratory destroyed; roll for injury" critical failures on Alchemy in GURPS Magic.
Still happens. Though since the introduction of strong transparent plastics (allowing construction of blast rated fume hoods the risk your local college will have newsworthy problem has gone down a lot.
__________________
--
MA Lloyd
malloyd is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-04-2016, 03:28 PM   #19
malloyd
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Default Re: [LT] Ancient Nitroglycerin

Quote:
Originally Posted by (E) View Post
What about sugar/nitrate recipes.
Those mostly just burn, not explode. They're fine smoke screen generators though.
__________________
--
MA Lloyd
malloyd is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-04-2016, 03:33 PM   #20
(E)
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: New Zealand.
Default Re: [LT] Ancient Nitroglycerin

Quote:
Originally Posted by malloyd View Post
Those mostly just burn, not explode. They're fine smoke screen generators though.
You beat me to the "Edit". You could get a very energetic burn from the mix. It might be explosive in a sealed container(?)
__________________
Waiting for inspiration to strike......
And spending too much time thinking about farming for RPGs
Contributor to Citadel at Nordvörn
(E) is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Fnords are Off
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:35 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2024, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.