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Worldbuilding: On Gunpowder

09 January 201305:17AMworldbuilding

Apparently I'm taking the risk of including gunpowder in this setting. Mostly, I think, to make a point.

It should be totally legitimate to include cool stuff like flintlock pistols in your stuff without people automatically assuming the existence of other stuff. Like airships. God I am so over people throwing airships in everything.

We've already established that the Lantern Mages know enough about alchemy to power their lanterns with some kind of alchemical thermite stuff, but I don't want to give one group all the cool stuff.

Goblins are certainly clever enough, but they already have exclusive access to horses, and I don't want to swing them too far towards the other cliche of insane gadgeteers.

Robots with guns is stretching it a bit in terms of technological level. And, at any rate, Gunpowder is a recent invention, and the Warforged are supposed to be ancient.

So, either they're a Kallish invention, or they're Talonfolk technology. The Kallish don't really have a hat yet. Maybe guns could be their thing? In the Talonfolk corner though, we have this beauty, courtesy of Wikipedia:

"Guano was an important source of nitrates for gunpowder."

Essentially, I have to choose between internal consistency, and a world with evenly distributed ideas, narratively speaking. This is sort of a defining point for the setting.

Ah, screw it. Swashbuckling flintlock-toting bird-men is too damn cool not to put in. (3 guesses what Morgan will play.)

That's not to say that they have exclusive use of it. The Talonfolk originally developed them for hunting, and thought nothing of sharing the idea with others. There are now a number of dealers in the dodgier parts of the Split Cities who can hook you up with a pair of pistols... for the right price. More traditional weapons are still preferred by many though, due to the flintlocks' tendency to blow up in your face.

The correct alchemical name for gunpowder, by the way, is Flintfyre. Unless you're a Talonfolk. Then it's something rather more unmentionable, given its origins. Let's just say it gives 'crap shoot' a whole new meaning.

Also, we can add primitive firearms without breaking balance too much to the list of Stuff I Need The Game System To Supportâ„¢. Which you wouldn't think would be too much of an ask given that most of them also allow you to reshape the raw fabric of the cosmos with your thoughts, but apparently not.

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