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Old 07-10-2013, 12:08 PM   #151
Icelander
 
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Default Re: Emerging smokepowder weapons in my fantasy

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
I wouldn't expect that to be a problem. Your damage variability should cover variations in strength. How reliable are your fuses? They should have a Malf number.
The Malf. number is 14 if thrown, Malf. 12-13 if launched from a sling, depending on the velocity.
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Old 07-10-2013, 12:13 PM   #152
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These seem fair enough. Just assume all the rounding to nice numbers is due to giving your craftsmen better-than-average wages.
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Old 07-10-2013, 12:16 PM   #153
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These seem fair enough. Just assume all the rounding to nice numbers is due to giving your craftsmen better-than-average wages.
Indeed. Which the PCs do. Some of them are altruistic and others have nefarious goals which are best accomplished by carefully cultivating an image of benevolent nobility.
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Old 07-10-2013, 12:20 PM   #154
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Indeed. Which the PCs do. Some of them are altruistic and others have nefarious goals which are best accomplished by carefully cultivating an image of benevolent nobility.
The stories of higher wages can even lure in craftsmen from neighboring kingdoms/countries/etc to improve your work force, while reducing the work force of your enemies. Sometimes, it just pays to pay your craftsmen extra!
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Old 07-10-2013, 07:00 PM   #155
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Default Re: Emerging smokepowder weapons in my fantasy

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The stories of higher wages can even lure in craftsmen from neighboring kingdoms/countries/etc to improve your work force, while reducing the work force of your enemies. Sometimes, it just pays to pay your craftsmen extra!
It does, especially if you aim to establish a new polity on the ruins of an old one and want to attract scholars, innovators, educated people, good craftsmen, engineers, etc.

The PCs, while starting out as merely competent adventurers, are very much movers and shakers by now, with some of them having Administration, Economics, Politics, Propaganda, Finance, Leadership, Merchant and other such skills over 20. Add fabulous wealth and command over a massive multinational merchant house and mercenary company and they have real potential for nation building.

Since they can't match the awesome wealth, magic and divine power of their foes, they've had to search for alternate means to atttain local superiority. Allegiances with all sorts of powers, new technology, new uses for old technology, innovate use of magic and alchemy, it's all grist for their mill. Happily, their foes are hampered by an ossified bureaucracy, a dysfunctional political system that runs on intrigue and rivalries and an intensely xenophobic conservative national culture.

Ironically, the supreme despot of the enemy nation, the Pharoah himself, is fairly liberal, open to new ideas and with far more sympathy for most of their political goals than most of their doubtful alllies. But even a supreme autocrat worshipped as a god is powerless in the face of institutional culture, it seems.
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Old 07-11-2013, 05:26 AM   #156
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Thoughts about these?

Fragmentation grenade; Dmg 4d+2 [1d+1] cr ex; Weight 1 lbs.; Cost $150.

This is a metal shell filled with 0.5 lbs. of smokepowder ($100). The casing is either local bronze or imported cast-iron cast in two parts, or it is segmented iron meticulously assembled locally, with lead and wax used to solder weak points. In each case, there is a +3 CF, either for rare expertise, foreign imports during wartime or valuable local metal (with local merchants selling it to the PCs at a significant markup). The casing is otherwise treated as a the smallest metal box from LT, with the ovoid shape (and space for a fuze) counting as Heavy Compartmentalising (Weight x1.2, CF +0.5), Rugged (Weight x1.2, +1 CF) and Expensive (Weight x2/3, CF +1). This comes to $45.5 for the casing, which weighs 0.384. We'll assume that we fill the extra space with scraps of something free and heavy (scrap metal or stone, probably, or maybe glass fragments), for extra fragmentation, and round the whole thing to an even $150.

2-lb Fragmentation shell; Dmg 4d+2 [2d] cr ex; Weight 2 lbs.; Cost $200.

Using a slightly scaled up case, which adds ca +50% to Weight (0.768 lbs.) and +100% Cost ($91) of the casing, this leaves space for more fragmentation material in addition to the unchanged 0.5 lbs. smokepowder charge ($100), which makes for a much more effective weapon, albeit one harder to launch long distances from a sling. Using scrap metal, glass and ceramic shards this rounds to a nice $200.

2.5-lb Fragmentation shell; Dmg 4d+2 [2d+2] cr ex; Weight 2.5 lbs.; Cost $225.

Making use of purpose-built glass, lead and iron fittings inside the casing that are designed to maximise fragments for the volume, this is otherwise very similar to the above weapon and hardly more expensive for the increase in effectiveness. It is, however, heavier.

3-lb Fragmentation shell; Dmg 6d [3d] cr ex; Weight 3 lbs.; Cost $350.

Packing a casing of the same size as the 2-lb and 2.5lb shells to maximum capacity with a pound of powder and one hundred lead bullets evenly distributed around it inside the casing, this is a very effective weapon, but difficult to sling far enough to be safe from the fragments. Fragmentation damage is pi+ instead of cut. Often used with a magical fuze (+$250).

And do people feel that the ceramic concussion grenades are plausible, in that the containment would be enough to allow full explosive damage?
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Old 07-11-2013, 08:59 AM   #157
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Default Re: Emerging smokepowder weapons in my fantasy

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Thoughts about these?

Fragmentation grenade; Dmg 4d+2 [1d+2] cr ex; Weight 1 lbs.; Cost $150.

This is a metal shell filled with 0.5 lbs. of smokepowder ($100). The casing is either local bronze or imported cast-iron cast in two parts, or it is segmented iron meticulously assembled locally, with lead and wax used to solder weak points. In each case, there is a +3 CF, either for rare expertise, foreign imports during wartime or valuable local metal (with local merchants selling it to the PCs at a significant markup). The casing is otherwise treated as a the smallest metal box from LT, with the ovoid shape (and space for a fuze) counting as Heavy Compartmentalising (Weight x1.2, CF +0.5), Rugged (Weight x1.2, +1 CF) and Expensive (Weight x2/3, CF +1). This comes to $45.5 for the casing, which weighs 0.384. We'll assume that we fill the extra space with scraps of something free and heavy (stone, probably, or glass fragments), for extra fragmentation, and round the whole thing, with fuze, to an even $150.
Go with glass. You get cutting shrapnel instead of crushing or piercing fragments. This becomes even more lethal if your mages know how to get creative (even if only for a limited number of these).

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
2-lb Fragmentation shell; Dmg 4d+2 [2d+1] cr ex; Weight 2 lbs.; Cost $200.

Using a slightly scaled up case, which adds ca +50% to Weight (0.768 lbs.) and +100% Cost ($91) of the casing, this leaves space for more fragmentation material in addition to the unchanged 0.5 lbs. smokepowder charge ($100), which makes for a much more effective weapon, albeit one harder to launch long distances from a sling. Using scrap metal, this rounds to a nice $200.
The more shrapnel, the better!

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2.5-lb Fragmentation shell; Dmg 4d+2 [3d] cr ex; Weight 2.5 lbs.; Cost $225.

Mixing lead designed to fragment with purpose-built sharp metal shards, this is otherwise very similar to the above weapon and hardly more expensive for the increase in effectiveness. It is, however, heavier.
Heavier also means less problems with wind, which increases accuracy.

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
3-lb Fragmentation shell; Dmg 6d [4d] cr ex; Weight 3 lbs.; Cost $350.

Packing a casing of the same size as the 2-lb and 2.5lb shells to maximum capacity with powder and lead bullets, this is a very effective weapon, but difficult to sling far enough to be safe from the fragments. Fragmentation damage is pi instead of cut. Often used with a magical fuze (+$250).
If slinging this far enough to not kill yourself is a problem, load dozens of these into a catapult and bombard the enemy camp.

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And do people feel that the ceramic concussion grenades are plausible, in that the containment would be enough to allow full explosive damage?
With the iron/lead/bronze wire wrapped around them, probably. The resulting shrapnel is just a bonus with those.
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Old 07-11-2013, 09:21 AM   #158
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Default Re: Emerging smokepowder weapons in my fantasy

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Go with glass. You get cutting shrapnel instead of crushing or piercing fragments. This becomes even more lethal if your mages know how to get creative (even if only for a limited number of these).
Cast-iron and bronze both yield cutting fragments. While glass might produce sharper shrapnel, it is also much less dense than metals and thus it loses velocity more rapidly and penetrates less. And getting the same functionality as a pressure containment unit as a metal shell requires much more volume of material, which means a larger and more unwieldy projectile. That means it's harder to use in a sling, less accurate and gets less distance, whether thrown or slung.

All in all, I expect to need stats for a glass grenade in this size range, but they will be unlikely to match the performance of bronze/iron ones. They are far more economical, however.

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If slinging this far enough to not kill yourself is a problem, load dozens of these into a catapult and bombard the enemy camp.
Catapult and ballista ammunition will probably be spherical instead of biconical, for ease of use and because a technique is needed to take advantage of the biconical shape.

But I definitely plan to include several sizes of shells for their artillery, whether smokepowder or artillery. In fact, I probably have already posted some stats for them in this thread.

At least I discuss the weapons they are using. They are starting to adopt small cannon as well, but those are prohibitively expensive to shoot frequently, so mechanical artillery has a major role to play as well.

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With the iron/lead/bronze wire wrapped around them, probably. The resulting shrapnel is just a bonus with those.
I'm fairly confident in the stats for those, yes. What I'm worried about is whether it's possible to use just the ceramic vessels as concussion grenades or whether that would be insufficient containment and I ought to reduce final damage because part of the explosive merely burns up instead of exploding.
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Old 07-11-2013, 09:28 AM   #159
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I'm fairly confident in the stats for those, yes. What I'm worried about is whether it's possible to use just the ceramic vessels as concussion grenades or whether that would be insufficient containment and I ought to reduce final damage because part of the explosive merely burns up instead of exploding.
Without some form of cage, ceramic vessels would either need to be thicker (heavier), or used for chemical warfare. What kinds of noxious compounds could your alchemists get into a container? Preferably without killing themselves in the process...
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Old 07-11-2013, 10:15 AM   #160
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Without some form of cage, ceramic vessels would either need to be thicker (heavier), or used for chemical warfare.
Thicker than what?

Small amounts of black powder can be adequately contained with stiff paper.

Unfortunately, I have no idea how much structural strength is needed to sufficiently contain an ounce, two ounces, four ounces, eight ounces or a pound of black powder.

As a guess, in the stats above, I have, for the smallest variety of grenade, just under 42% of the concussive grenade made out of explosive powder, with the casing weighing 0.132 lbs and the smokepowder around 2 oz. For the larger concussive grenades, a casing twice the weight, or 0.264 lbs., is used to contain 3.5 oz. of smokepowder. That is 44% explosive material, which I'll grant is high, but these are meant to be what people with 15 years experience with smokepowder and very advanced technical educations (at least for the world) come up with to utilise local manufacturing to make efficient smokepowder weapons.

The casing is an extremely expensive ceramic ovoid weighing a total of 0.132 lbs., with the base price increased by x10 relative to normal earthernware to reflect a complex shape, standardised size and shape and a strong and resilient ceramic mixture that can stand relatively high pressures.

The Waterproof, Rugged and Expensive modifiers are applied to account for high-temperature glazing, and to further reflect the advanced design, construction and materials choice that is meant to allow it to contain the explosion with the minimum amount of material possible at the level of technology.

While it's important for most of the components to be within the manufacturing capability of TL2 or TL3 infrastructure, that doesn't mean that the theory is primitive. And with spells such as Measurement, Find Weakness and Inspired Creation, prototyping and testing is much more advanced than at historical, non-magical low TLs.

The design is TL4 (advanced) or even TL4+1 (prototype)*, with some narrow areas where magic can replace quite advanced technology allowing technomagical solutions equivalent to TL4+2 or sometimes even TL4+4.*

It's entirely possible that the ceramic casings are too light to allow full explosive damage. On the other hand, using serpentine powder and paper casing, a Chinese rocket manages 2d+2 cr ex at a weight of 1.15 lbs., which also includes powder for propulsion and a wooden stick for guidance.

So clearly, you don't need all that much containment for an explosion around 3d to be produced. And high-quality ceramic shaped for the express purpose of containing the explosion has got to be stronger for its weight than paper.

*At least six people involved in the project are at the cutting edge of TL4, with Perks that allow them access to TL5 skills. Those responsible for formulating the requirements, making buy orders, training the TL2-4 craftsmen to make the necessary components and suchlike are generally TL4 (advanced) in all relevant skills, with oversight from the theorists with TL5 skills in Economics, Engineer, Mathematics, Metallurgy, etc.
**Magically guided artillery, aimed by mages with Hawk Vision, Night Vision, Keen Vision, Quick-Aim and other such spells, is often every bit as good as GPS or laser-guided artillery. The magical furnaces and various metallurgy devices within the lair of a red dragon that the PCs slew is at least TL4+2 in effect, by utilising elementals in place of the dragon's own breath, and it may even be TL4+3 or up to TL4+6, depending on other mystical factors that the PCs are just beginning to study, and the availability of various fantasy metals and alloys.


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What kinds of noxious compounds could your alchemists get into a container? Preferably without killing themselves in the process...
Alchemist's Fire would be the best option, I should think. It's self-igniting when the container is ruptured and all.

Which... now that I think about it, sounds incredibly useful as a contact fuze.

Sure, a pint might be expensive at $100, but how much do you need to ignite smokepowder? A tiny vial that of alchemist's fire that breaks when the shell deforms and boom, your shell has a TL6 trigger, at least.

How small could the best glassblowers of the pre-Industrial world make glass vials?
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