Arcanum 1780: A New World
The only explosive in 1780 is graded or improved black powder (HT184) known simply as “gunpowder”. It is usually packed in 100 lb barrels (6dx14 cr ex damage if one explodes), 4 lb tins and bags (4dx4 cr ex) or 1lb bags/tins (4dx2 cr ex). Gunpowder costs $5 per pound.
Fuses for explosives are almost always “match” – a cord impregnated with a nitrate solution or “spirits of wine” (almost pure alcohol distilled from wine). Slow-match burns at 4" per hourand is primarily a way to carry fire to light Quick-match or as a slow-burning starter to a fuse train. Quick-Match is the main time fuse, burning at about 1 foot per minute. A 15’ length of either is $10, 1 lb LC3. An open powder train – a line of powder on the ground – will burn at 4 yards/minute.
A 2-pounder iron ball, about 3.2” across, with a removable screw-plug for loading the powder. The plug holds the fuse – a short length of match. The grenadier has to light the fuse prior to throwing the grenade (a Ready maneuver). This is impossible in rain, etc. A typical fuse burns for around five seconds.
|Hand Grenade||3d [1d] cr ex||2.2||3-5||-2||10||1||1|
1 Takes a Ready maneuver to light the fuse – or five Ready maneuvers if you must insert the fuse first! Malf. is 14.
Invented by James Puckle in 1718, but not made in any numbers until after 1770. A tripod-mounted, heavy musket, the gun uses a revolving magazine turned with a hand crank between shots that makes it capable of firing nine rounds per minute – more than three times the fire rate of a conventional musket in the hands of a trained and experienced soldier. Consistently machining the breech and the cartridges to the tolerances needed for a good gas seal were a challenge that made the gun non-viable for bulk manufacture until new advances in standardized parts and measurements.
|Puckle Gun 1.25"||2d+1 pi++||1||55/510||90/3.6||1||9(10i)||18M†||-8||1||$1,800||2||[2.3,4]|
A small, usually pintle-mounted cannon that can be swung about to engage attackers. The standard gun is 2.25" caliber and more likely to use Grapeshot than a solid shot. Stats for both kinds of rounds are listed below.
|2.25" roundshot||6d+1 pi++||1||90/900||140/2.5||1||1(20)||27M†||-8||3||$1,900||2|
Cannons may use Quick-match as a fuse, but are far more likely to have a flintlock firing mechanism, triggered by a lanyard. Cannon are almost universally smoothbore and muzzle-loading, made of bronze or more rarely iron. Heavy cannon are mounted on a ‘truck carriage’ – a heavy wooden base with small wheels – if ship-board or a permanent installation in a fortification, otherwise mounted in a high-wheeled, horse-drawn carriage. The sizes of New British cannon follow a standard system that has been in effect since 1764, one copied by all other major nations. The standard cannonball sizes are 4, 6, 9, 12, 18, 24, 32 and 42 pounds and guns are referred to by the size of round they fire. All are LC1.
|4-pounder||6dx3 pi++||2||460/3260||0.58t/5.3lbs||1||1(60)||40M†||-12||2||$4,500||2||7 feet long|
|6-pounder||6dx3 pi++||2||600/3531||1.3t/8lbs||1||1(60)||45M†||-13||2||$5,400||4||7.5 feet long|
|9-pounder||6dx4 pi++||2||620/3839||1.34t/12lbs||1||1(60)||50M†||-14||2||$5,900||6||8.5 feet long|
|Long Nine||6dx4 pi++||2||700/4100||1.7t/12lbs||1||1(60)||52M†||-14||2||$7,400||6||9 feet long|
|12-pounder||6dx4 pi++||2||650/4050||1.5t/16lbs||1||1(60)||55M†||-15||2||$8,000||6||8.5 feet long|
|18-pounder||7dx4 pi++||2||700/4400||2t/24lbs||1||1(70)||60M†||-15||2||$9,000||6||9 feet long|
|24-pounder||6dx5 pi++||2||620/4650||2.5t/30lbs||1||1(70)||64M†||-16||2||$11,000||6||9.5 feet long|
|32-pounder||6dx5 pi++||2||630/4900||2.8t/42lbs||1||1(80)||70M†||-16||3||$13,000||9||9.5 feet long|
|42-pounder||6dx5 pi++||2||660/5100||3.2t/56lbs||1||1(90)||75M†||-16||4||$15,000||11||9.5 feet long|
Malf on all weapons is 16 if using a Flintlock, 15 if using slow-match.
Ammunition Costs: The weight of each shot given above is for a ball of the designated weight plus a third of that weight in gunpowder, which was the standard charge. Shot costs $20 per pound, powder costs $5 a pound.
Field Carriages weigh 30% of cannon weight, sea or garrison carriages weigh 35%. Both cost 15% of cannon cost, as the lighter field carriage actually has more ironwork involved in its construction. In practise, only cannon up to 12-pounder were ever mounted on field carriages as the others were simply too heavy to be easily mobile.
The “Long Nine” is a longer-barreled 9-pounder used most often as a chase gun on Frigates and 3rd Rate warships.
Chain Shot (TL4). Damage amount is unchanged, but type becomes cutting, with armor divisor (0.5). Also halve Range increase reload time by 20%, and double cost per shot.
Grapeshot (TL4). To determine the number of balls a given cannon fires, multiply the total weight of one round of ammunition by 40. Multiply RoF by thenumber of balls, but divide damage by the square root of this number. Damage becomes pi+, 1/2D becomes 60, Max becomes 600, and Rcl becomes 1. No other stats are affected.
Heated Shot (TL4). Heated shot gives -1 to Malf., increases reload time by 50%, and adds the need for two extra crewmen. Other stats are unchanged, but in addition to its normal damage, the hot metal ball inflicts 3d burning damage per second for 30 seconds.