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Old 04-04-2016, 04:24 PM   #31
Anaraxes
 
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Default Re: [LT] Ancient Nitroglycerin

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Standard GURPS Magic is way more disruptive from an economic standpoint than a military standpoint.
Nervos belli, pecuniam infinitam.
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Old 04-04-2016, 04:39 PM   #32
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Default Re: [LT] Ancient Nitroglycerin

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Nervos belli, pecuniam infinitam.
It is not completely true, technology can allow more efficient use of money, but in general if I know country A has 10x the GDP of country B, country A is gonna win if it's willing to spend the resources to do so.
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Old 04-04-2016, 05:22 PM   #33
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Default Re: [LT] Ancient Nitroglycerin

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I'm not sure if I want Serpentine Powder to be available or not. Honestly, it's really just its simple composition that stops me from using it, as it would be too easily adopted by other nations if it were used.
An important thing to remember is that technological adoption is rarely instantaneous particularly where the benefits are considered questionable by the powers that be. I don't know your specific setting but you only need to delay adoption for a few decades to get the effect you want in the setting's present.

This kind of delay is not that easy to engineer but it is hardly impossible or even historically unprecedented. Taking Mameluke Egypt as a convenient model, consider the potential chilling effect of a highly trained, high status warrior caste on gunpowder adoption.

The Mameluke's primarily derived their identity from their considerable training as lancers and mounted archers, gunpowder was distained as a foreign intrusion undermining this role. While Egypt existed in relative peace or at least faced considerably weaker opponents gunpowder was largely ignored. Even when, faced with increasing levels of conflict and stronger opponents, they were adopted gunpowder weapons were relegated to, sometimes low quality, auxiliary troops who were not always employed effectively while the Mamelukes persisted with the older weapons and tactics.

The other thing to consider is practical experience, firearms are not a magical solution for winning battles. Particularly at the TL's we are discussing they are slow firing and not particularly weatherproof. Returning to the previous example part of the Mameluke contempt for gunpowder supposedly stems from the relatively easy destruction of an early Egyptian musketeer unit by traditional cavalry.

What does this mean for your campaign?

Well if you don't want other powers copying firearms give them a reason not to. Think of how firearms might destabilise the other powers and play that up, consider the 'traditional' fantasy reader/ gamer prejudices against gunpowder if nothing else springs to mind. Also try to build into your history some easy wins say a few encounters between large groups of highly trained traditional troops against small, badly prepared and or simply unlucky forces with firearms.

Last edited by Frost; 04-04-2016 at 05:31 PM.
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Old 04-04-2016, 05:46 PM   #34
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Default Re: [LT] Ancient Nitroglycerin

Make some sort of mythical 'spellpowder' that uses the components of nitroglycerin but stablizes it with metoric iron powder; its stable like TNT! At least until it gets in the presense of magic users, then its unstable like nitroglycerin- spells cast within 6 meters also count as shock.

Thus the kingdom has a good reason to dislike mages- having them hang around turns their advantage into a liability.
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Old 04-04-2016, 05:57 PM   #35
Anaraxes
 
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Default Re: [LT] Ancient Nitroglycerin

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It is not completely true
Yes, but the thread isn't talking about arbitrarily wide tech differences. It was this empire, but with an explosive, versus that empire, but with magic -- but otherwise similar industrial bases.

Even if we stipulate that magic isn't effective in direct combat, there's still questions of intelligence and logistics, and if we rule those out, too, there's still all the usual problems of a magical economy allowing more food and materials productivity allowing a larger and better equipped army, with fewer people needed at home to support the war effort. Some black powder guns, or even cordite-powered muzzle-loaders, aren't going to overwhelm that edge. It's not even a full tech level of advantage in the conflict.
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Old 04-04-2016, 06:27 PM   #36
Fred Brackin
 
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Default Re: [LT] Ancient Nitroglycerin

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I'm fairly certain that TL4 crucible steel is very nearly the strength of TL6 factory steel,
I'm quite sure that many TL5 guns weren't safe to use with TL6 smokeless powder Acceptable ratios of hardness v. brittleness are different for gun steels and sword steels as well.

If Divine magic is enforcing your mage ban it's starting to look more like Divine magic v. Arcane Magic anyway. Have that dioivie Magic produce your gunpowder too.

It'll actually surprise your players too. "What do you mean Styphon is real?". :)
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Old 04-04-2016, 06:54 PM   #37
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Default Re: [LT] Ancient Nitroglycerin

Cordite is 58% nitroglycerine, 37% nitrocellulose, and 5% vaseline, IIRC. Manufacture is simple enough, dissolve the ingredient in acetone, mix, extrude as cord, let acetone evaporate.

One doesn't need steel for firearms, bronze is as good or better. We use brass for shell casing for a reason. The military sometimes cheaps out and uses steel, but no reloader would.
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Old 04-04-2016, 07:25 PM   #38
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Default Re: [LT] Ancient Nitroglycerin

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Cordite is 58% nitroglycerine, 37% nitrocellulose, and 5% vaseline, IIRC. Manufacture is simple enough, dissolve the ingredient in acetone, mix, extrude as cord, let acetone evaporate.
Simple enough, he says. "Dissolve the nitroglycerine " he says. That requires handling nitroglycerine that isn't soaked into diatomaceous earth, with TL 4 tools, and mixing it with other stuff with TL 4 tools, without exploding yourself.

I would make a terrible yegg. I've got the exact opposite of the temperament.

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One doesn't need steel for firearms, bronze is as good or better. We use brass for shell casing for a reason. The military sometimes cheaps out and uses steel, but no reloader would.
We use steel for firearms because bronze is expensive and relies on much rarer metals. I also don't know how easy it is to cast a small barrel, like a gun, out of bronze vs a large barrel (cannon). Or precision parts in the mechanism.
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Old 04-04-2016, 07:30 PM   #39
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Default Re: [LT] Ancient Nitroglycerin

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Cordite is 58% nitroglycerine, 37% nitrocellulose, and 5% vaseline, IIRC. Manufacture is simple enough, dissolve the ingredient in acetone, mix, extrude as cord, let acetone evaporate.
If you've already got nitroglycerine and nitrocellulose. Which are both hard.
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One doesn't need steel for firearms, bronze is as good or better. We use brass for shell casing for a reason. The military sometimes cheaps out and uses steel, but no reloader would.
Brass shell casings aren't intended to, or able to, confine the propellant gas on its own. It's supported by the gun breech and/or barrel.

I definitely think a citation is called for for the assertion that bronze is equal or superior to TL6/7 gun steel.
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Old 04-04-2016, 07:42 PM   #40
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Default Re: [LT] Ancient Nitroglycerin

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I definitely think a citation is called for for the assertion that bronze is equal or superior to TL6/7 gun steel.
I'm fairly sure it was considered superior to TL 4 iron for casting cannon, but that's compared to cast iron, and that's TL 4.
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