Once thought of as a mineral whose resemblance to coal made it as dangerous as it was useless, Blackpowder has become infamous for its enabling of the Blackpowder Weaponry that provide so effective for the armies of Turelion when they set out on their conquest of Kelbonnar. Now it is mined and refined all over the world to provide fuel for the weapons of the Imperial and Provincial armies, those who can afford privately owned Blackpowder Weapons, and those who would seek to turn the Empire’s own technology against them.
Despite its name, Blackpowder is actually found in solid deposits as a soft rock/mineral, rather than as a powder, but because of its very soft nature, it is very easy to grind the mineral into a powdered form, and it is in this form that the vast majority of people will have encountered it. Blackpowder is a silver-black colour, which can lead to it being easily confused with coal (see below). Unlike coal, however, when handles, Blackpowder will not stain hands or material, nor can it be smeared, or used to leave black marks on things.
Physical & Chemical Properties
The main property of Blackpowder is the powerful, explosive reaction that it has to flames and sparks. It is this exact property which is what has made it such a demanded material, as it has enabled to production of the Blackpowder Weaponry that gave the Empire of Turelion such an advantage during the conquests of Machestaro I. Its explosive properties are most effective when it is ground into the powder for which it is named, but solid chunks of Blackpowder burn very vigorously and are also prone to explosion. When a solid piece of Blackpowder is placed in a fire, its outside will be observed to fizz and pop until the whole mass reaches a critical temperature at which point it will explode with devastating effect.
Geology & Geography
Blackpowder is a naturally occurring mineral that found in coal like deposits across the world of Kelbonnar. There are known to be particularly large deposits in the Frost Fang Mountains on the continent of Dricaro and the Heavenspire Mountains on the continent of Euristan, but smaller deposits can be found all across the world of Kelbonnar. Except in areas of high geological activity, it is unusual to find Blackpowder deposits on the surface, and instead it must be mined. Generally the mineral can be found near or even amongst coal deposits, and because of their very similar appearances accidents have occurred where people have mistaken Blackpowder for coal and tried to burn it as a fuel source, with disastrous results. When it is first mined, chunks of Blackpowder go through a rigorous refining process, where it is ground down to increasingly finer particles, thereby improving its application as an explosive charge for a Blackpowder Weapon. The more expensive grades of Blackpowder have been ground down so finely that each individual particle has been separated from one another, allowing for a very powerful and much more easily controlled explosion.
Life & Expiration
Imperial records are so far inconclusive with regards to whether or not Blackpowder expires or becomes less effective with age and exposure to different environments. Kegs of Blackpowder have been discovered in the stores of the Emperor's bodyguard, the Imperial Drakes, which date back hundreds of years, and the powder was still perfectly effective for discharging weapons. The only anathema to Blackpowder is moisture. Blackpowder that has either been allowed to get wet, or which is exposed to humid or damp environments ceases to function and is useless. If necessary, Blackpowder can be dried out, but the resultant powder is always less effective than a supply that has been kept in dry conditions.