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Epbuls and Firearms

The History

The world of Habololy has known of firearms for over 1400 years.  The first firearms were clumsy, inaccurate, unreliable, and prone to failure.  These facts did not deter the inventors of the time, or of future generations.  A gnome by the name of Graitain Fizzlelaway is credited with the first firing of a firearm.  Unfortunately, the incident left him blind in one eye and one step forward led to two steps back, as many inventors left the project of creating a working firearm.

About forty years later, Graitain and his son successfully, and without injury, fired their new firearm.  Unlike its predecessor, this version had only one possible exit for the explosion that occurred when the powder was ignited.  The results of this test were that a quarter pound iron ball was launched 100 feet, about 50 of which was considered effective for doing any real damage.  Despite this meager result, the thought of the firearm being a possibility crept back into the minds of inventors.

By the dawn of the fourth century BC, firearms had become deadly but were still not widely used.  They were slow, inaccurate, and cumbersome.  The main uses of the firearm were in demolition, where the target didn’t move, or to scare those that didn’t know how inaccurate the firearm actually was.  The few firearms in use at the time were exclusively found on the Great Plateau.  The firearm faced another major problem in the fourth century, cost.  The explosive powder used to propel the ball was so difficult to make or to find that it would cost an inventor 5 gold coins per time he used a firearm.

These problems began fade in 370 BC, when a cleric of the deity Pfot developed a better version of the explosive powder used in the firearms.  His name was Andrew Tarther, and his mixture quartered the cost of using a firearm and made him a wealthy man.  Fifteen years after that innovation, Witchell Gnowitdal is believed to have invented the first firearm that could be used without the use of a tripod or pedestal.  Witchell was quick to strike a deal with the monarchy of the plateau, and within thirty years, his were the only firearms that could be found.

Although the firearm had found a niche, it still had many problems.  Witchell’s weapons dominated the market and stagnated the industry.  Every five years, he would roll out a new, slightly improved model.  The monarchy would buy into it, and any private buyer had few options other than a Witchell firearm.  To further ensure his monopoly, Witchell would buy out all supplies of the powder used in the firearms that he could find.  Many other inventors couldn’t find the resources necessary to test and demonstrate their own firearms.  This cycle continued for two centuries.  Witchell did little to improve his products, and the other inventors were forced into other fields to make a living.  Outside of the Great Plateau, firearms were met with scorn, hatred, or laughter.  Governments and spellcasters wanted nothing to do with the silly invention.

That was the state of the firearm for nearly two hundred years.  Only the Gnomish Kingdom of the plateau used the firearm, and they did so successfully.  Those two hundred years are considered the golden age for the kingdom.  The renowned strategist Gnais Dovurnal led the armies of the plateau and designed the basics of nearly every known battle plan involving the firearm or epbul in mass combat.

The golden age of the Gnomish Kingdom, and the stagnation of the firearm came in 167 BC with the dawn of the Doggeden War.  The kingdom determined that their army, armed with firearms, could stand up to any threat.  They were proven wrong when a pack of Doggedens rampaged across the plateau.  Iron bullets and balls did nothing to slow the Doggedens.  The war threw the Gnomish Kingdom into a chaos that would take them a century from which to recover.

When the chaos ended in the mid first century BC, inventors and tinkers went about the business of coming up with ways to prevent the destruction of the Great Plateau in another war.  The first place they turned was to the firearm.  It came to a poor human inventor named Timon Karsley.  He saw the paths that wealthier inventors were taking.  The accepted theory of the day was that bigger firearms with a longer range were the answer to creatures such as the Doggedens.  Since the money lie in a contract with the government, that’s where most inventors wanted to go.  Knowing that he did not have the resources to build bigger firearms, Karsley tried to build more accurate firearms.  He designed the Karsley 24, which became the prototype for all firearms for a century.  His demonstrations proved that a well-placed shot could penetrate any non-magical armor of the day.  While it did not appeal to the military, the average merchant or traveler of the plateau loved it.  The firearm had taken a big step, but it was still far from economical to use.

Whereas the age of the Witchell firearms stifled the firearm, the age of the Karsley firearms was a boom time.  The firearm became the choice ranged weapon of the wealthy.  It became a status symbol.  Enough firearms were used that four or five other tinkers made their own designs based on Karsley’s, and were able to stay in business.  This attitude remained for four hundred years until the next breakthrough.

By 430 AC, the firearm had crept into the lives of virtually everyone on Habololy.  While only one in a thousand owned one worldwide, everyone knew what it was, and most had at least seen a firearm.  This came about despite the attitudes of spellcasters and the price, which was still too high for the average man to buy.  In that year, a cleric of Pfot by the name of Lorn Whirlson discovered that when he mixed two particular liquids together, they would explode.  Many of his contemporaries claimed that he had discovered it accidentally, a claim he denied.  Regardless, he quickly went to his tinker friend Gnairgophar Weselly, who designed firearms.  After several years, the two produced a firearm that launched a bullet by combining the two liquids instead of exploding a powder.  Weselly called it an Explosively Propelled Bullet Launcher, which Whirlson shortened to EPBuL.  Weselly named the liquids used to launch a bullet Hammer Activated Explosive Liquid, which Whirlson shortened to HAEL.

The successor to the firearm looked very similar to it, but it had several key differences.  No epbul ever used a fuse, because no fire was needed.  They use a hammer that crushes a cap containing the two liquids in separate compartments.  Bullets had to be used to ensure the cap, which was attached to the bullet, was in the correct position to be hit by the hammer.  Balls could roll onto the wrong side.  The lack of powder made the epbul easier to keep clean, easier to maintain, and easier to load.  Most importantly, the liquids were less expensive than the powder.  The cost of one shot from an epbul was one-third of the cost of a shot from a firearm.  

The epbul was met with both awe and horror.  The common person saw it as a great weapon, while spellcasters and established nations saw it as a threat.  The economical machine of the plateau went into full swing.  With no controlling government of the Great Plateau, dozens of tinkers began to produce epbuls, and the clerics of Pfot began to produce the liquids necessary to fire them.  By 500 AC, epbul manufacturers had appeared in the Kingdom of Icefia and in the Destroytian Republic.  The epbul made the crossbow and the firearm obsolete among all but the poor.  Only the bow, which was far faster and quieter, remained a viable alternative.   

The epbul’s fame turned to infamy quickly in 525 AC when Habololy fell victim to the tinkers.  As the Tinkocracy grew in power, the world saw the epbul and other such inventions as the instruments of the destruction.  That was all of the leverage that the spellcasters needed to convince the races and nations that the epbul and the tinkers that built them were in the wrong.  Their warnings could not stop the Tinkocracy, and for the next hundred years, the epbul helped rule the world.

During the reign of the Tinkocracy, more epbuls were produced than were produced in all other years combined.  Epbul manufactures became wealthy, and tinkers strived for more wealth and constantly designed new epbuls to meet demand.  As a result, by the end of the 6th century AC, it was reported that there were epbuls in existence that could fire one bullet every second, with deadly accuracy up to 100 feet, and able to punch through magical plate armor.  These advances would have no doubt continued had it not been for the death of Highlander, the deity of Technology, and the fall of the Tinkocracy.

Without a deity or a nation to aid them, the tinkers fell into complete disarray.  They were tried and often executed for their crimes against the nations and religions of the world.  It became illegal to own an epbul in most nations.  The reign of the Tinkocracy led to a backlash against technology, which included the epbul and the firearm.  Most tinkers that were left alive refused to produce any item that might get them arrested or executed.  Many epbuls and firearms were destroyed when the other nations took turns claiming retribution from the Great Plateau.  The clerics of Pfot, who produced hael, slowly faded from the world after the death of their deity.  The epbul’s golden age had come and gone quickly.

In the years since the fall of the Tinkocracy, the world’s hatred of technology has waned.  It is, after all, difficult to turn away from devices that make work easier.  Some nations have lifted the ban on epbuls and firearms, although they still pose restrictions.  The cult of Arsenal is devoted to technology and the epbul in particular.  The cult of Drunnbar and the nation of Nomagrok are proponents of any non-magical device.

The average Habololian most likely knows what an epbul and a firearm is.  Unless they have been to the Great Plateau, are well traveled, or well educated, the average Habololian has probably not seen one.  Most religions preach against advanced technology, which includes the epbul.

 The Rules

Firearms and epbuls are similar in some ways, but do have slightly different effects.  The following gives a breakdown of the specialized rules for both and for each type separately: 

For Both

For Firearms

For Epbuls

bullet

They are simple weapons.

bullet

AC bonuses from armor and naturally provided are halved.  Rounded in favor of the target.

bullet

AC bonuses from armor are halved.  Rounded in favor of the attacker.

bullet

They use rolling criticals.

bullet

Anyone without the technology feat receives a  -4 penalty to firing and re-loading both types.

bullet

On a natural roll of 1, roll on the oops table (3-12).  On a natural roll of 2, a critical miss occurs.

bullet

On a natural roll of 1, half of the time roll on oops table, half the time it is a critical miss.

bullet

Using a full round action to re-load reduces the DC by 2.

bullet

Requires a standard action and a DC 20 check modified by Int and Dex to re-load.

bullet

Requires a standard action and a DC 15 check modified by Int and Dex to re-load.

The Weapons

The following is a list of some of the most common epbuls and firearms found on Habololy.

Name

Manufacturer

Damage

Critical

Capacity

Range

Category

Size

Cost

554 Gnomish

Coinsgear

2d4

19-20/R

1

30

Firearm

S

35

555 Wayfinder

Coinsgear

2d6

19-20/R

1

50

Firearm

S

40

556 Peacekeeper

Coinsgear

1d10

19-20/R

2

50

Firearm

S

75

E56 BE-28 Wasp

Coinsgear

2d8

19-20/R

1

50

Epbul

M

125

Bp 240

Batterbronze

2d4

19-20/R

1

30

Firearm

S

55

B-sa 260

Batterbronze

2d6

19-20/R

1

40

Firearm

S

65

B-sa 280

Batterbronze

2d8

19-20/R

1

40

Firearm

S

75

554 HK (Horse Killer)

Gnailhammer

2d10

20/R

2

75

Firearm

M

250

RS 280

Rockshot

2d8

None

1

50

Firearm

M

80

RS 2100

Rockshot

2d10

None

1

80

Firearm

L

100

Name: The manufacture’s name for the weapon.  The numbers in most of the names refer to the date the first one was produced.

Manufacturer: The person who is credited with inventing the weapon.

Damage: The damage caused by the weapon when fired.

Critical: The critical threat of the weapon.

Capacity: The number of times the weapon can fire before being reloaded.

Range: The range increment of the weapon.

Category: Whether it is a firearm or epbul.

Size: The size category of the weapon.

Cost: The average cost in gold coins of the weapon.  This of course says nothing about the availability of it.

 

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