Gunpowder (D&D equipment)

From Hastur
Jump to: navigation, search
D&DD&D Logo
Unofficial rules compendium

Note that the price of gunpowder, guns and explosives have been inflated by about ten times in order to make it rare and exotic. If a "historical" baroque campaign is desired, divide powder prices by one hundred.

Gunpowder is not in itself a new invention, it has been crafted by alchemists for quite some time and used in fireworks and smokesticks. What is new are Firearms; precision weapons made by locksmiths and very expensive, and Explosives; the sometimes unforeseen effects of burning tightly packed and packaged gunpowder.

Making gunpowder is very complicated, requiring Craft (alchemy) and expensive semi-magical compounds. There are four principal ingredients; sulfur from volcanoes, saltpeter from the droppings of large lizards such as dragons or dinosaurs, anthracite coal found in the very best coal mines, and a water-free solvent; this can be very fine alcohol or naphta, but an earthblood-based liquid refined from natural tar or oil is preferable.

Powder is sold in sealed 15-pound kegs for 150 gp or by the ounce for 1 gp per ounce. One ounce of powder is enough to load a firearm, which gives you 15 reloads to the pound (the rest is lost in handling). Gunpowder that becomes old or wet is not safe to use (see below). A sealed cask will keep gunpowder fresh for decades. A powder horn will keep it fresh for a year. Gunpowder in the open air or in a loaded weapon will stay fresh only for a day.

Gunpowder on the Market

Powder kegs are lead-lined, hermetically sealed, and once used the lead can be conveniently melted into bullets. The keg is complimentary; if purchased separately it costs 2 gp. It keeps powder fresh for many years.

A watertight powder horn (without gunpowder) costs 5 gp and will keep the powder dry under normal conditions. A masterwork powder horn costs 25 gp and, when sealed, will keep the powder dry even in a jungle or underwater.

Casting the bullets is easy and can be done in the field from scrap lead over a simple campfire. 10 bullets weight one pound and cost a two copper pieces.


Marvels of ingenuity crafted by locksmiths, firearms explode Gunpowder inside a metal cylinder to propel bullets at high velocity.

Most firearms are very easy to fire and thus considered simple weapons. Wizards are considered proficient in firearms despite lacking proficiency in simple weapons; because they practice basic alchemy (even if they lack actual Craft (alchemy) skill). It takes a full-round action to reload a firearm unless you have the Rapid Reload feat for the correct type of firearm, in which case it only takes a move action.

Under good conditions, firearms are quite safe. A firearm is quite fragile and only hardness 5. A medium-size pistol has 10 hit points; a medium long arm has 20 hit points. A firearm that has taken any damage is no longer safe to fire, nor is one that is blazing hot, soaked, caked in dirt or otherwise gravely mistreated. Nor is a loaded firearm safe to use as a melee weapon.

When a firearm is used in a way that is not safe, it will blow up on an attack roll of one causing damage to itself and the user, and jam on a die roll of 2-4. Jams take a full minute to clear.



A heavy-bore one-handed firearm. Once fired, a pistol can be held by the barrel and used like a club in melee.


A heavy-bore two-handed firearm. Once fired it can be wielded like a greatclub in melee.


A thin-bore two-handed firearm. The range is increased by rifling the barrel. Too fragile and unwieldy to use in melee.


An oversize musket used as a light artillery piece. It requires a special support in order to fire, which makes each shot a full-round action. It cannot be fired from horseback nor be used in melee.


This is a giant musket, a crew-served weapon mounded in a box on wheels. A long gun is the same, only based on a rifle for extended range. Cannon crew are assumed to be of small or medium size; for each crew missing, the cannon takes an extra round to reload. The size of the cannon gives the shooter a -2 penalty for each difference in size, exemplified in the following table.

Size of Gun
Size of Shooter Large Huge Gargantuan
Tiny -6 -8 -10
Small -4 -6 -8
Medium -2 -4 -6
Large 0 -2 -4


A powder horn and 30 lead bullets. The full powder horn weights two pounds and the bullets three pounds.


A container with tightly packed Gunpowder will explode when lit, and this can be sued as a splash weapon. Explosives require Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Explosives) to use well and safely.


All explosives need fuses, slow-burning powder used to time the explosion. Normal fuses burn for one action; the fuse is lit at the beginning of your turn and the device explodes at the end of your turn. The only way to intercept such a device is with a saved action. Lighting a standard fuse requires an open flame and is a move action if you lack Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Explosives) or a swift action if you have the feat. The weapon explodes at the end of your action.

Explosives and especially bombs are often fitted with longer fuses set to explode after a certain number of rounds; a Craft (Alchemy) check (DC 10, +5 per full minute the fuse is supposed to burn) properly sets the fuse as a full-round action. For every point the roll is failed by the fuse burns out one round late or early. On a fumble, it fails to explode.

Making Explosives

A masterwork explosive has been especially crafted by an alchemist. Except as noted it is identical to the normal version. It features a safe fuse which is lit by pulling a cord (a swift action).

A grenade or smoke bomb can be improvised as a full-round action by anyone with Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Explosives) from a pound of gunpowder and a small, hard container. An improvised explosive will explode in the hand of the user on an attack roll of one and fail to explode on an attack roll of 2-4.

Attacking with Explosives

Explosives are considered ranged touch attacks and can be targeted against a creatures or a square. A direct hit against a target means that the weapon has hit the creature it was aimed at for normal damage. Everyone within the blast radius also takes the indicated damage, but may make a DC 15 Reflex save for half damage. A critical hit indicates the explosive exploded in contact with the main target inflicting additional damage, but has no extra effect on other targets in the blast radius. An explosive set to blow up a stationary object or helpless target counts as a coup-de-grace and does critical damage, even to objects normally immune to critical hits. The same is true if a powder magazine blows up.

Explosive Devices


A bomb uses a lot of gunpowder to create a really impressive explosion. The damage and radius of the explosion depends on the amount of gunpowder used in the bomb.

The size of the bomb indicates how large you have to be to throw it. As a two-handed throwing weapon, it takes a full-round action to throw. Oversize bombs can be thrown using siege engines or carried into position.

Giants have a special affinity for throwing things; they can throw bombs to the same they can throw rocks. They can also catch thrown bombs as if they were rocks.

Bomb Size Damage Range Increment Blast Radius Gunpowder Notes
Tiny 1d6 10 ft. 5 ft. 1 lbs Gunpowder horn
Small 2d6 20 ft. 10 ft. 4 lbs
Medium 4d6 20 ft. 20 ft. 16 lbs Gunpowder keg
Large 8d6 40 ft. 30 ft. 64 lbs
Huge 16d6 40 ft. 40 ft. 250 lbs
Gargantuan 80 ft. 32d6 50 ft. 1,000 lbs
Colossal 80 ft. 64d6 60 ft. 4,000 lbs


This round explosive device deals 2d6 points of fire damage in a 10 ft. radius.

Masterwork Grenade

This specially crafted grenade deals 4d6 points of fire damage in a 20 ft. radius and comes with a special fuse (a swift action to activate).

Smoke Bomb

This nondamaging explosive emits a cloud of smoke (as a fog cloud spell) in a 20-foot radius. A moderate wind (11+ mph) disperses the smoke in 4 rounds; a strong wind (21+ mph) disperses the fog in 1 round.