In a world where magic, monsters, and arcane weaponry all exist, it's often hard to imagine something as simplistic yet filled with ingenuity as a Firearm would ever find a home in the world, yet alone a nice little niche among the populace. The introduction of projectiles propelled by things other than just pure muscle power and mind-tricks introduced a whole wreath of possibilities.
While the exact nature of the firearms history or Arkael is not truly well known, it is thought to have a history similar to the History of Firearms on Earth
. That means people often think the history of guns dates back only a few hundred years when, in actuality, the gun dates back about a thousand
years. The history of firearms in Arkael and the World itself is long and storied, consisting of many twists and turns along the way.
But despite many design improvements and changes, guns essentially carry out the same concepts and functions as they did a millennium ago.
Before the first shot of firearm echoed in the lands of Arkael, let alone the rest of the world, weapons that shot projectiles at long range distances where often of your typical standard variety; mostly Bow n Arrows, or improvised Spear Tossers that enabled the wielder to toss farther then they normally could throw. During times of war, these often became larger. Resembling ancient Greek and Roman weaponry, both sides of the globe made extensive use of artillery for shooting large arrows, bolts or spherical stones or metal balls. However as magic was evolving more and more each year, becoming more powerful each time, so was weaponry.
Bitter years of endless war had its effect on the populace, and the name Arkael seldom fell from anguished lips. In a place where life and death were different sides of the same coin tossed every day, better weapons needed to be made as the tides of war were ever changing. Those not born with the ability for magic had to adapt with the ever shifting powers that Mages and those with the abilities came up with.
The Great War between the High Elves and the remainder of the Empire raged across the continent. The High Elves believed that Mer should rule the continent, while the men who currently occupy the throne thought differently. The terms of the current peace treaty drove a civil war too break out in Arkael. Following the devastation of the First Great War, it became clear to the Imperial high command of the vast advantage that battlemages had over traditional massed infantry, being able to easily destroy grouped units with their magic. A vivid despiser of all things magic, one high-leveled General decided to pour his coffers into developing new technologies, something that would nullify the years of training and gold it would take to raise battlemages of his own.
What he came up with. . .was very interesting
The Dvergar would have known!"
A common saying amongst researchers
The continent of Arkael is a great melting pot of cultures and races; being home to at least a dozen, with dozens more having died out or changed in the ages gone by. But none of these races had ever won the respect and mythology as the most technologically advanced one known to the inhabitants.
Known by their sobriquet Deep-ones
due to their extensive pathway network of tunnels that jut about within varying degrees in the territories around Arkael, The Dvergar
were a race of Dwarves who lived underground as shut in communities. Yet amongst all races, they were noted to be one of the most advanced races and civilizations, in many respects far ahead of the other races and civilizations of their time. They are well known for their skill and revolutionary developments in technology, engineering, crafting methods, metalwork, stonework, architecture, city-planning, science, mathematics, magic, and the academic arts.
For some reason, despite their advances the race went extinct, but not without leaving their mark and knowledge behind. With their disappearance came with them having a variety of titles, many hinting their destruction, such as Steamforged Elders, Forgefallen Engineers, Steamshade, Stonecores
, along with a lot of individuals and thrill seekers trying to find their secrets. The ruins of Stormcore society are of particular interest to scholars of various colleges, universities and private institutions throughout Arkael and contain items useful for building weapons, armor, and other items of high value; some ruins may even contain unique artifacts.
And it was here, that old schematics which showed a variety of weapons were found
- Boom Hammer: A giant hammer equipped with a miniature furnace. When ignited and fired, it emits a volley of flame that explodes furiously upon impact. Was thought to have been a mining tool, now used to hunt beasts
- Ballbow: a rather simple design of a metal tube and a small iron ball, which when combined with fire salts and brought to flame, would launch the ball with a great amount of force.
The discovery of the Ballbow became a hit. A device that would allow a common man with little to no training to deal a heavy amount of damage from afar, despite a slow reload speed. Many quickly realized how effective it would be to outfit vast amounts of soldiers with weapons of this type. And so preparations were made to mass produce. Tweaking of the original design happened not long after and soon Arkael was introduced to the first Flintlock Rifle
and it's smaller one-handed variant Flint-lock Handgun
Types of Firearms
Firearms that reign supreme throughout the land of Arkael tend to be ones that resemble those mainly used in the early 16th century
, such as flintlocks and muzzleloaders. However with the varying races and individuals that make up the land itself, its not that hard to think about exactly why they each have their own quirks.
The revolution in rifle technology did more than change the face of war; it created a whole new class of gun owners. While magic kept advancing, common folk stuck to more elaborate ways to defend themselves against threats. Rifles became more accurate, reliable and cheap depending on where you lived. Elves tended to make lighter weapons that didn't heed movement speed, and Humans and Orc's tended to make weapons loud and proud
that would do as much damage as possible. Catfolk created guns that were quieter and more stealthy, creating the first sound suppressor.
like weapons developed as a smoothbore, muzzle-loading firearm
. The shortest of the long guns known in Arkael, a Blunderbuss only has a barrel around one foot long, sometimes less. Acting more like a shotgun than a rifle. The Blunderbuss is the close-range firearm that fires a spread of 10 pellets with each shot. With a short, large caliber barrel commonly flared at the muzzle, to help aid in the loading of shot and other projectiles of relevant quantity or caliber, this became a popular Crowd-Control Weapon
due to its ability to hit multiple targets at once, but only close up, as It was effective only at short range, lacking accuracy at long distances. While various accounts often list the blunderbuss as being loaded with various scrap iron, rocks, or wood, resulting in damage to the bore of the gun, it was typically loaded with a number of lead balls smaller than the bore diameter. Barrels were made of steel or brass. The blunderbuss, and soon its pistol variant, The Hatchling
were typically issued to troops such as cavalry, who needed a lightweight, easily handled firearm. In addition to the cavalry, the blunderbuss found a use for other duties in which the shotgun-like qualities were desirable, such as for guarding prisoners or defending a mail coach, and its use for urban combat was also recognized.
Weapons like the Ranger
allowed for greater accuracy than all other firearms. While it was becoming more apparent that the trend of killing was moving more towards range and doing it from a distance, drastic changes in designs of the first rifle to ever hit Arkael began to move towards more advanced designing and styles.
Regardless of the safety risks
Blacksmiths who were blessed with the knowledge of gun-making, over time became more worried about creating a piece of art, rather than a functional piece of machinery. The allure of carrying such a work of art into battle became a note that resonated with many sense of honor and nobility, as well as stardom for creating the perfect weapon in terms of look it gave Blacksmiths looking to make a name for themselves. Overtime killing thusly was no longer labeled barbaric
with such sophisticated tools, but elegant, clean and professional. However the rifles had their drawbacks. Even with the introduction of fine works of art similar to Earth Flintlocks, they did have an awful tendency to explode on the user. This was because looks won out over safety and functionality, corners became cut and soon weapons were made more for looks. Those with the funds to purchase these tools did not help this trend, as of course they'd lean towards the more artful and away from the mundane and functional. For many, the blade and the sword were still the most trustworthy and common weapon,
after all they could not misfire and kill its wielder.
The use of weapons such as firearms also came with another issue.
These instruments tended to only be in the realm of the noble and the merchants. As guns became more advanced, so did the price hike for them. More elaborate designs were fancied amongst those in higher social standing. As the years went on, for those with little, it simply just became easier to make your own with what you had. Sadly, those firearms became of lower quality, more likely to misfire, break down or even kill the user. As a result, very few own firearms except the military and the nobility and those willing to kill for one.
- With the Addition of Firearms, many other weapons using the same design were commissioned by various individuals, looking to get the most out of a gun but at different levels. One such thing became known as a Boomlance; a long, piercing weapon with a mechanism inside which can fire an explosive round either once or multiple times. This became a popular weapon with monster hunters, particularly Dragon Sport Hunters, looking to get an edge on their normal lances.
- Various churches also got into the firearms business. Many religious sects took to making their own weapons with designs that used aspects of firearms, or simply what allowed one to fire to combat creatures of more spiritual aspects or those they deemed Unholy/Impure. One such Paladin group in particular, had such an adoration of complex design and high explosive power, it culminated in weapon designs that contrasted with those more traditionally used within that of the base church. With an arsenal centered around ignition, big boom and crushing power, they became labeled as heretics and were expunged from the church. However this did not stop them, and they created their own workshop, developing weapons such as The Hand Cannon and more advanced variations of the Boom Hammer
, was a device built by the church. Originally an incense burning used in holy rituals and ceremonies, the design was tweaked, becoming a modified portable version, consisting of a vertical single cylinder 4 feet (1.2 m) long, horizontally divided in two, with pressurized gas in the lower section and flammable oil in the upper section. On depressing a lever the propellant gas forced the flammable oil into and through a rubber tube and over a simple igniting wick device in a steel nozzle. The weapon projected a jet of fire and enormous clouds of smoke some 20 yards (18 m). It was a single-shot weapon—for burst firing, a new igniter section was attached each time. With the addition of fire-salts and other such material, the potency of flame would change.
Churches also made their own ammunition. Bullets are easier to make then guns, so Iron Bullets
became the most common type of bullet, a simple small ball made of iron. Churches often took this a step further with the creation of Blessed Bullets
, simple iron bullets, infused with the blessing of the Divines. When the church figured out how to do it, Magic users found out how to imbue as well and got in on the fun. Mages started to infuse bullets with magic, allowing for long range use of spells that normally would have a range limit if done by hand.
For example Ice Bullets
would allow the bullet to shoot a magical spear of Ice which impaled its target and then exploded Enchanted Bullets
would allow for a wide range of attacks, such as electricity or fire.
- Despite their help in creating ammo, many mages refuse to touch a firearm
- The Handcannon created by the heretics is actually not in use anymore. Use of this weapon was equivalent to toting around a mounted cannon, complete with its ridiculous weight, staggering kick, and lavish use of resources, into battle. Such monstrosity was doomed from the start, and indeed its development was cut short. Few still exist in rotation and those who do own one tend to use it for big game hunting such as Dragons. Though it is not in use much anymore, it is thought that the Handcannon was what gave birth to the idea of the primitive Gatling Gun whose prototype hangs off the roof of the Heretics shop.