Remove these ads. Join the Worldbuilders Guild

Fire-Powder Weaponry

Gnomish fire-powder was long thought to be a mere curiosity, but with the introduction to Aressa of the dwarven dekhïdu or fire-arrows five years ago, it has become one of the most important materials in the world. Before fire-powder, bows and crossbows (or spells) were the only way to strike at range. While arrows are effective at striking individual soldiers, bows require great skill, practice, and great strength to use, and even weak magic requires years of study to master. With fire-powder, a few minimally-trained soldiers can destroy stone walls, kill many enemies, frighten off enemy pack animals, and damage or destroy enemy equipment. Before fire-powder, a skillful spearman or swordsman ruled the battlefield around him. Now, although the weapons have not become common, a conscript equipped with a fire-lance can kill or wound the most skilled of warriors while at a safe distance. And most importantly, pistols allow even the magically incapable access to an equally powerful and cheaper sidearm than wands.  

General Weaponry: Dekhïdu, Rockets, Bombs, and Pistols

In the last five years, powder weapons have become prolific. The first to see use was the dwarven "dekhïdu" or fire-arrow, a large arrow which is placed on a wooden stand and propelled at high speed by burning powder. While the fire-arrow remains useful for scaring pack animals or untrained conscripts, few true dekhïdu are seen now. They have been superseded by rockets, which are similarly propelled but vastly different in construction. Rather than a thin, solid arrow, a rocket is wide and hollow with small fins rather than fletching, allowing it to carry explosives or other deadly payloads, which are released on impact. A volley of rockets is a terrifying experience, as trails of white smoke obscure the sky and the noise of bursting explosions echoes across the battlefield.   Bombs are also commonly seen, either as rocket payloads or weapons in their own right. Large bombs are used to breach stone walls, while others are designed to be hurled by a catapult and explode on impact. The addition of alchemist's fire, perhaps the only substance more flammable than fire-powder, creates a fire-bomb or incendiary, which not only explodes with devastating force but sets fire to all around it.   Finally (and most significantly for adventurers), pistols are small handheld weapons that use fire-powder to propel a metal bullet. Most are effectively small cannons, requiring constant cleaning and reloading after every shot, but their smaller size and lower powder requirement make them more economic than cannons. Soldiers sometimes carry several loaded pistols, dropping each as they fire and pulling a fresh one from their belt.  

Rarer Weaponry

There are a number of rarer weapons which make use of fire-powder. These weapons are usually either expensive to build or complex to use, making them rarer then rockets and bombs.

Cannons

Cannons are used by both kingdoms, but are Axish in origin and named for their inventor, Thamun Cann. Rather than attaching the propellant charge to the missile, the powder and a spherical metal missile are loaded separately into a tube. A more explosive type of powder is used. When it is lit, the explosion is focused behind the ball, and it shoots forth from the tube. The apocryphal story goes that Cann was experimenting with rockets when he loaded the wrong powder into the base, and the rocket and stand exploded. He was able to recover all of the wooden pieces, except for the cap of the rocket. A few minutes later, he saw a farmer approaching, who handed him the lost piece, saying he had been walking at the edge of the nearby woods when he heard a crack and saw a dent in a nearby tree. While the basic design is useful and could be made much more efficient than a rocket, cannons require large, expensive amounts of powder. If the formula for blasting-powder was known, they might become more common, but for now they are a rare and frightening sight.  

The Vestiset

The Vestiset or "fire-spitter" is a type of Arcadian rocket. It is loaded with a number of small fire-arrows with a long fuse. When the rocket is launched, the arrows' fuse is also lit, and as the rocket begins to descend over the enemy force, the fire-arrows launch out and land among the enemy. While the Vestiset has been used to devastating effect in several battles, it is unstable in flight and even more expensive in powder than the cannon, making its appearance the sign of a special plan or major assault.  

The Fire-Lance

The "fire-lance," known also as a "pyrlonch" or "virlanke," is a dwarven weapon designed for close combat. It consists of a spear with a hollow tube mounted beneath it. The tube is filled with rocket-powder and shaped such that, when the powder is lit through a fuse extending from the tube, fire shoots from the tube in the same direction as the spearhead. Fire-lances have become prominent in melee engagements, although, as with many powder weapons, their cost makes them prohibitive to deploy en masse.

Utility

Fire-powder is primarily used for rockets and explosives, and has two main types. Both "blasting-powder" (suddenly and violently explosive) and "rocket-powder" (burns more slowly, propelling rockets) are produced in Bailenoc.  

D&D 5E Stats

Below are statblocks for 5th Edition D&D describing many of the above weapons.  

Dekhïdu or Fire-Arrow

Dekhïdu (Fire-Arrow)

Weapon Common

A fire-arrow has a range of 1000 feet. When it is launched, the launcher makes an attack roll using their Dexterity score against a target within range. On a hit, the target takes 1d10 piercing damage.

Type Damage Damage Range Properties
None 1d10 Piercing 1000 ft

Weight: 1 lb

 

Explosive Rocket

Explosive Rocket

Explosive Common

An explosive rocket targets a 10-foot-radius sphere up to 600 feet away. On the round after it is launched, each creature inside the area must make a Dexterity saving throw, taking 3d6 fire damage on a failed save, or half as much on a successful one.

Type Damage Damage Range Properties
None 3d6 (save for half) Fire 600 ft

Cost: 200+ gp Weight: 1.5 lb

Prices are often higher than 200 gp, as the armies of the Kingdoms are the only groups supposed to use them. Despite this, rockets can often be purchased from military depots or shady merchants with little trouble.  

Fire Rocket

Fire Rocket

Explosive Common

A fire rocket targets a 10-foot-radius sphere up to 600 feet away. On the round after it is launched, each creature inside the area must make a Dexterity saving throw, taking 2d6 fire damage on a failed save, or half as much on a successful one. In addition, the 5-foot square at the center of the area is set on fire. Any creature that enters the square for the first time on its turn takes 1 fire damage, as does any creature or object that starts or ends its turn in the square. The square burns out after two rounds.

Type Damage Damage Range Properties
None 2d6 (save for half) Fire 600 ft

Cost: 200+ gp Weight: 1.5 lb

Prices are often higher than 200 gp, as the armies of the Kingdoms are the only groups supposed to use them. Despite this, rockets can often be purchased from military depots or shady merchants with little trouble.  

Small Bomb

Small Bomb

Explosive thrown Common

A small bomb can be lit as an action and thrown to a point within 60 feet. Each creature within 5 feet of that point must succeed on a DC 12 Dexterity saving throw or take 3d6 fire damage.

Type Damage Damage Range Properties
None 3d6 Fire 60 ft thrown

Cost: 150 gp Weight: 1 lb

 

Small Firebomb

Small Firebomb

Explosive thrown Common

A small firebomb can be lit as an action and thrown to a point within 60 feet. Each creature within 5 feet of that point must succeed on a DC 12 Dexterity saving throw or take 2d6 fire damage. In addition, the 5-foot square containing the point where it landed is set on fire. Any creature that enters the square for the first time on its turn takes 1 fire damage, as does any creature or object that starts or ends its turn in the square. The square burns out after four rounds.

Type Damage Damage Range Properties
None 2d6 Fire 60 ft thrown

Cost: 150 gp Weight: 1 lb

 

Pistol

Pistol

Firearm loading, special Common

Special: A pistol must be carefully reloaded after each shot, a slow process that prevents sustained fire. Reloading the pistol requires an action.

Type Damage Damage Range Properties
Simple Ranged 1d10 Piercing 30/90 ft loading, special

Cost: 250 gp Weight: 3 lb

Unlike bombs and rockets, pistols are more readily available, though the powder needed for them is still expensive. 10 bullets weigh 2 lb. and cost 5 gp.  

Pistol Brace

Pistol Brace

Adventuring Gear Uncommon

A pistol brace originally held only two pistols, but special variants exist that can hold up to six ready at once. When loaded pistols are stored in the brace, they do not have the loading property; however, each pistol can still only be fired once without reloading. Once all of its pistols have been fired, each pistol must be reloaded using one action per pistol as normal.

Cost: 50 gp per pistol (2 - 6 pistols; 100 gp - 300 gp) Weight: 2 lb

 

Cannon

Large object AC: 18 Hit Points: 75 Damage Immunities: poison, psychic   A cannon uses blasting-powder to propel heavy metal balls at high speeds, destroying whatever it hits. The cannon is supported by a wooden frame, sometime with wheels. It must be loaded and aimed before it can be fired, each of which takes one action. These actions must be taken on subsequent rounds: for example, if three people are able to help with the cannon, it cannot be fired every round. However, it can be fired on the same round as it is aimed; if so, its attack is made with disadvantage.   Cannonball. Ranged weapon attack. +6 to hit, range 600/2400 ft., one target. Hit: 28 (5d10) bludgeoning damage.  

Vestiset

A Vestiset targets a circular area with a 15-foot radius between 20 and 720 feet away, chosen by the launcher. On the round after it is launched, each creature in the chosen area must make a DC 12 Dexterity saving throw. On a failure, the creature takes 1d8 piercing damage and 1d6 fire damage, as fire-arrows rain from above.  

Fire-Lance

Fire-Lance

Weapon reach Common

As an action, the powder tube can be lit, causing a blast of fire to shoot out up to 15 feet away. Make an attack roll against a single target within 15 feet; on a hit, the target takes 3d4 fire damage. The powder tube must be reloaded after it is lit, a process which requires rocket-powder and a fuse and takes around one minute.

Type Damage Damage Range Properties
Simple Melee 1d6 Piercing reach

Cost: 5 gp Weight: 4 lb

Access & Availability
The Feuding Kingdoms have access to large amounts of powder, though never as much as they would wish. The Iron Mountain League heavily restricts the trade, and absolutely refuses to disclose the process of making the powder. They believe that, without their monopoly on fire-powder, either Axmund or Arcadia would soon conquer them, and they have threatened to cut off powder supplies to any kingdom that attacks them. For this reason, both Kingdoms are desperately attempting to steal the secret for themselves and stop the other from learning it.
Discovery
The exact time of fire-powder's discovery among the gnomes of Bailenoc is unknown, but its existence has been known for at least two hundred years. However, it is only in the past five years that it has been widely used in weapons by the Kingdoms.

Remove these ads. Join the Worldbuilders Guild

Comments

Please Login in order to comment!