Thursday, April 7, 2011

F is for Firearms

It is a widely accepted fact that level of knowledge and technological advancement in the world has fallen considerably since the heyday of the Thulian Empire, never mind Eldritch or Ancient times. A good example of this decline can be seen in the near-total absence of ranged firearms in the present day. These weapons were once widely produced and used by Eldritch and early Thulian soldiers. Indeed, on Areon, such weapons continue to be common among the Eld.

The magical principles behind the operation of firearms is well understood, at least among magic-users. However, their manufacture is mostly forgotten, at least among anyone except the Red Elves. Poor copies of these weapons -- colloquially called "wands" -- can be manufactured by a handful of sorcerers but such copies lack the power and versatility of true firearms. For one, wands can only be successfully operated by someone already possessed of magical ability, whereas firearms function for anyone. For another, wands cannot be recharged; once their stored arcane energy is used up, the wand ceases to function permanently. A firearm, however, can be reused, provided one has access to batteries of the appropriate type (which are, unfortunately, even rarer than working firearms in this day and age).

Nowadays, firearms are rarely seen except among adventuring parties regularly delving into sites sealed since at least Thulian times or members of secret societies with ties to other worlds. Working firearms are much sought after by warlords and wizards alike and command high prices on the few occasions they are sold on the open market. The Despot of Adamas is reputed to have a sizable cache of firearms and other similar weaponry -- a testament to the city-state's founding as a Thulian military base.

6 comments:

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  2. This is quite an interesting take on firearms and wands.

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  3. Very nice. I like the "weird science" and "technological decline" explanation for wands quite a lot, and the note about the Despot of Adamas reminded me of Jorune and Tekumel. In fact, I was also reminded of Mi-Go "lightning guns," perhaps not surprisingly given your love for Pulp literature. :)

    On the subject of firearms in FRPs in general, way back when that seemed to be one of the bright dividing lines in fandom: either you liked guns in your fantasy, or you regarded them as an abomination. I'm of the former camp: one of the things that attracted me to WFRP was its allowance for early firearms, quite in keeping with it's early Renaissance setting.

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  4. That's a really novel approach to wands and firearms, James. I like that a lot. It never occurred to me to think of wands that way.

    I'm actually a fan of mixing modern of science-fiction elements with my fantasy, so I have no problem with guns and other technology. It's odd that many of my players don't like it. One of them constantly complains about "not liking chocolate in [my] peanut butter." Strange.

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  5. the note about the Despot of Adamas reminded me of Jorune and Tekumel. In fact, I was also reminded of Mi-Go "lightning guns," perhaps not surprisingly given your love for Pulp literature. :)

    Tékumel was definitely a big influence on many of the conceptions I have in the Dwimmermount campaign setting and this is a clear example of that.

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