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Gunpowder (3.5e Equipment)

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Summary::Gunpowder is a volatile pyrotechnic composition of sulphur, charcoal and potassium nitrate. Hence, it derives its explosive power from mundane means. Gunpowder can be bought in barrels. A barrel of gunpowder has hardness 5, has 15 hit points, contains 10 lb. of usable gunpowder and costs 100 gp. Gunpowder can also be bought in pellets (either in a barrel or loose), which are handfit to be used in the stoking of a Blunderbuss. Pelleted gunpowder essentially weighs the same per amount of gunpowder as normal gunpowder, but costs twice as much (200 gp for one barrel). 1 lb. of pelleted gunpowder corresponds to 50 pellets ready to use in a propelled projectile weapon.

Exploding Gunpowder Barrels: In barrel form, gunpowder can be used as an explosive. At detonation, it deals 3d6 fire damage and 3d6 shrapnel damage (slashing and piercing) to anything or anybody in a 15 ft. radius. Gunpowder is stable enough to resist any form of jostling, but under the conditions documented below, a barrel of gunpowder explodes:

  • If the barrel is dealt sufficient fire or acid damage to overcome its hardness (i.e. 6 or more).
  • If the barrel is dealt sufficient damage from a physical source to destroy it in one blow (i.e. 20 or more).
  • If the barrel is prepared with a special fuse to carry a flame or charge to the gunpowder inside. A fuse can be any wire or trail, provided it is flammable enough to carry a flame or charge.
  • If the barrel is crushed outright by an object from the environment.

Using gunpowder for demolition: Gunpowder can be used as a purpose bound explosive to either do away with large, insurmountable obstacles or walls. If prepared specifically as an explosive (which can only be done if the character has the Demolitions feat), the gunpowder's damage potential is maximized to a total of 36 points and ignores material hardness lower than 10. Multiple barrels may be required to do away with such obstacles: For example, a foot thick stone wall has 180 hit points and requires exactly five barrels. When dealing with obstacles of steel or other special metals (hardness 10 or over), the material's resilience comes to play a role, as the hardness is detracted from the damage of every barrel. For instance, to blast through one inch of steel with hardness 10 and 30 hit points, two barrels are required, each barrel dealing 36 - 10 = 26 damage.

Preparing gunpowder for demolition: To allow the explosive to deal maximum damage, it must be prepped correctly. Characters with the Demolitions feat can do this by forcing a specialized Use Magic Device check against a DC of 10 + hardness of the targeted material in question. Preparing one barrel of gunpowder requires the barrel, a solid fuse and 1d4 minutes. Characters untrained in demolition can only detonate a barrel of gunpowder normally; it deals normal damage, does not overcome hardness below 10 and acts furthermore like it detonates accidentally.

Safe handling: When undertaking large, perilous voyages, the danger of handling gunpowder is compounded by hostile encounters and the human capacity for error. To render gunpowder temporarily inert, one may choose to mix it with an inhibitor such as common sand. Such a measure is usually sufficient to stop it from exploding. However, to sieve the gunpowder afterwards is a time consuming process (1d4 hours), in which 10 % of the gunpowder can be considered permanently lost.

Safer containers: Gunpowder can be stocked in metal casks as well, which provides added protection in the shape of hardness 10, and 20 hit points. A cask of gunpowder contains 10 pounds of gunpowder and costs Cost::150 gp.



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