1. Welcome to the Fantasy Writing Forums. Register Now to join us.


Discussion in 'Archipelago Archive' started by Devor, Nov 14, 2011.

  1. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    So, I've been encouraged to start a thread on gunpowder. To keep it short:

    Does gunpowder exist in the Archipelago?

    I've read a few threads which gave me the impression that gunpowder hasn't been introduced, but I figure that's something which should be stated and agreed upon.
  2. myrddin173

    myrddin173 Maester

    I don't think that is the right question to ask. Of course gunpowder exists, the Archipelago is on an Earth-like world and so all of the the constituent parts of gunpowder would exist. The real question is whether any have the knowledge of gunpowder. In my opinion I would say no because it, like steam power, has a profound effect on all aspects of society. We have already started building a world that has more in common with Earth, or more correctly Europe, pre-gunpowder and adding it would probably cause a number of us to rethink some things. I know I did. Then again the Chinese have had knowledge of gunpowder for thousands of years, using them in fireworks. I would probably be okay with that; but guns and cannons, I just can't see.

    That's my opinion though. What do the rest of you think?
  3. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    Thanks for trying to correct me, myrddin, I understand that there's sometimes value in such statements. And I hope to respond with the same goal to say, I think that gunpowder still couldn't be said to exist until someone put those parts together.

    But that leads me to a larger statement, as I've seen these corrections a few times now. In my limited experience working with an editor, they save the conversation for bigger issues. When a single word is wrong they just fix it and move on and hardly even mention it. I think that's healthier.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2011
  4. Ravana

    Ravana Istar

    Gunpowder: add one "no" vote.

    Actually, since this is a fantasy world, we could set it up so that (1) not all the components exist, or one of them is vanishingly rare (sulfur would be the easiest); (2) even if combined, the components don't behave the way they do on Earth (Roger Zelazny did this in his Amber novels: gunpowder didn't work in Amber–though there was another substance, inert on Earth, that did work in Amber… much to the surprise of its residents); (3) it simply hasn't occurred to anyone to combine the various components (it's not exactly an obvious combination); (4) anybody who has blew himself up before passing on the information–or being able to; (5) the components are actually more reactive in our world: combining them in anything close to the correct ratios automatically produces an explosion; or (6) as myrddin says, it simply hasn't been weaponized yet.

    The problem with (6) is that it leaves the door open for the development of gunpowder weapons; I'd be happier with precluding them altogether… though of course we can agree that this won't happen within the time period we're working. As mentioned, the Chinese, who first discovered the stuff, never did work this out for themselves.

    Using it as an effective weapon also requires a certain level of metallurgy, though we're obviously beyond the basics for cannon at least (bronze casting); our steel technology may not be up to producing lighter cannon, let alone guns. But since even massive cast-bronze bombards are something of a game-changer (especially if firing explosive shells), it would be easier to draw the line on gunpowder than on metals.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2017
  5. jhahilt

    jhahilt Dreamer


    I also vote NO to gunpowder.

  6. Hmm, well, I was planning to have some basic gunpowder on my islands, as they're based on East-Asia. Main uses of gunpower on my islands would simply be fireworks. I hope to have the occasional incompetant inventor who creates a gunpowder-propelled rocket that blows up before it even becomes airbourne though.
  7. Telcontar

    Telcontar Staff Moderator

    We had one guy who was using some sort of special plant or mineral that could be processed into a gunpowder-like substance, I think. I'm far too lazy too look it up again, but that kinda fits the bill.

    I certainly don't think we should have a world-wide use of gunpowder (it certainly ain't known in my part!) but I suppose it's possible that someone, somewhere uses it in primitive form. As Insanity said, like in fireworks and really basic war rockets (like the ancient Chinese and Koreans).
  8. Ravana

    Ravana Istar

    desertrunner had proposed a unique substance, collected on Byrá, that could potentially have filled a similar role. On the other hand, he also hasn't logged on to the forum in four months, so I think that can safely be regarded as a dead issue.

Share This Page