Science!

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first i should note that this is my first D&D game ever
so while i was looking through the stuff that you could buy and i noticed that you could buy some intresting stuff like: copper, aluminum, and acid. i asked the DM what kind of acid it was, and not knowing where the conversation was going, he said probably sulphiric.
i also noticed that one could buy sulpher and saltpeter.
so after a little argument with the DM i had my self a battery and a barrel full of blackpowder and caltrops. 
do you think i should be aloud to do this
do you think it is worth it and what could i do with this stuff (i am a rogue) 
i cant sell them b/c well all i made was expensive magic but it could be intreasting in combat
also are there any other cool things that would be worth making
i guess the question here is what do you think 
thank you for reading
kimba
 
Well, I would have required you to make a skill check of some sort for starters.  You can't just randomly pour a bunch of stuff together and make gunpowder or a battery.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Well, I would have required you to make a skill check of some sort for starters.  You can't just randomly pour a bunch of stuff together and make gunpowder or a battery.



Very true.

An important thing to keep in mind is that knowing how to make gunpowder does not mean one actually knows how to make gunpowder. As shown on something like Mythbusters, it is not like mixing kool-aid.

I'm on a journey of enlightenment, learning and self-improvement. A journey towards mastery. A journey that will never end. If you challenge me, prepare to be challenged. If you have something to offer as a fellow student, I will accept it. If you call yourself a master, prepare to be humbled. If you seek me, look to the path. I will be traveling it.

 

Proudly playing in many wrong ways. I'm not afraid of playing wrong according to the rules. Why are you?

 

100 Crack Reply of the Yagamifire. You are already wrong.

ya i made a skill check and got a natural 20 ont the gun powder cant remember what i got for the batter but i passed it using nack. i also think i had to make some kind of intellegince test or something.
Well, I would have required you to make a skill check of some sort for starters.  You can't just randomly pour a bunch of stuff together and make gunpowder or a battery.



Very true.

An important thing to keep in mind is that knowing how to make gunpowder does not mean one actually knows how to make gunpowder. As shown on something like Mythbusters, it is not like mixing kool-aid.



Lol. I can just see two stoners or jocks (not to say people like that are dumb, they are just as smart as the rest of you. ) having the formula and one of them says, "c'mon bro! This stuff, its just like mixin' drinks!" *Goes to mix.* BOOOOM!

In all seriousness though the handling of explosives, even some of their ingredients, can be quite dangerous. If your DM uses any kind of critical failure variant, you may end up losing a testicle or something. Now, what will really be interesting is if you find a way to make something that is in a state of permanent instability, like Composition Four. I don't think people realize that even lugging that stuff around is dangerous as hell.
ya i made a skill check and got a natural 20 ont the gun powder cant remember what i got for the batter but i passed it using nack. i also think i had to make some kind of intellegince test or something.



A natural 20 is not an automatic success on skill checks.  Without some kind of training or background, something pertaining to alchemy, your odds of success are slim to none.

Remember, in most D&D worlds, science is not common knowledge.  YOU know that saltpeter etc etc makes gunpowder, but how did your character come to that conclusion?  Most of the time, nobody has invented gunpowder, not even the oldest, wisest, most educated sages and alchemists and wizards in the world.  How is your guy, who doesn't even know 2Hs plus an O make water, going to do it?
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
ya i made a skill check and got a natural 20 ont the gun powder cant remember what i got for the batter but i passed it using nack. i also think i had to make some kind of intellegince test or something.



A natural 20 is not an automatic success on skill checks.  Without some kind of training or background, something pertaining to alchemy, your odds of success are slim to none.

Remember, in most D&D worlds, science is not common knowledge.  YOU know that saltpeter etc etc makes gunpowder, but how did your character come to that conclusion?  Most of the time, nobody has invented gunpowder, not even the oldest, wisest, most educated sages and alchemists and wizards in the world.  How is your guy, who doesn't even know 2Hs plus an O make water, going to do it?



Indeed.

Similarly, even if you did make it once by COMPLETE accident and happenstance, that offers no ability to repeat that success with any sort of guarantee.

I'm on a journey of enlightenment, learning and self-improvement. A journey towards mastery. A journey that will never end. If you challenge me, prepare to be challenged. If you have something to offer as a fellow student, I will accept it. If you call yourself a master, prepare to be humbled. If you seek me, look to the path. I will be traveling it.

 

Proudly playing in many wrong ways. I'm not afraid of playing wrong according to the rules. Why are you?

 

100 Crack Reply of the Yagamifire. You are already wrong.

i know that i probibly should not know how to make do this but the DM seemed cool about it as long as i made the roles 
and as to the danger of making and handeling the stuff. two words
slave labour. 
i know that i probibly should not know how to make do this but the DM seemed cool about it as long as i made the roles 
and as to the danger of making and handeling the stuff. two words
slave labour. 



Well if the DM is cool with it then more power to ya. Go blow up the wall guarding Helm's Deep!

I'm on a journey of enlightenment, learning and self-improvement. A journey towards mastery. A journey that will never end. If you challenge me, prepare to be challenged. If you have something to offer as a fellow student, I will accept it. If you call yourself a master, prepare to be humbled. If you seek me, look to the path. I will be traveling it.

 

Proudly playing in many wrong ways. I'm not afraid of playing wrong according to the rules. Why are you?

 

100 Crack Reply of the Yagamifire. You are already wrong.

Traditionally firearms and blackpowder weapons in D&D and pathfinder are most often of middling power and often fraught with their own perils for the wielder.  As well, reading about it and actually doing it are two completely different things.  There is good reasons shows like mythbusters use professionals when dealing with stuff like this, because its dangerous.

By comparison I would think that spellcasters would probably give you more bang for the buck than the blackpowder.   Admittedly blackpowder would be unexpected, but spells would certainly be more cost effective

 
If the DM allows gunpowder, then it's not a problem... Just don't complain when an orcish sharp-shooter snipes you from 1100 meters, right through your brand new full plate, and the DM likes the idea of science so much that he doesn't allow dex bonus (you're just not that fast). And decides that instead of 30' sneak attack, he's just as effective the full length of the attack.

It may still be fun... but it's a different game when gunpowder comes into it. And it works both ways.

9 mm Kobold equalizers, anyone?

This gives me a campaign idea... orc/hobgoblins in trench warfare.
A rogue with a bowl of slop can be a controller. WIZARD PC: Can I substitute Celestial Roc Guano for my fireball spells? DM: Awesome. Yes. When in doubt, take action.... that's generally the best course. Even Sun Tsu knew that, and he didn't have internets.
I can understand the instinct to say "No," or otherwise hinder or create disincentives, but it appears (assuming this is true) that the poster's DM has resisted that instinct. Good.

I'm not sure what one would do with a battery without something that needs power, though. Artificial light. A tazer, or shock prod, maybe. An electromagnet. Eventually, it could be scaled up to motors and the like.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

I can understand the instinct to say "No," or otherwise hinder or create disincentives, but it appears (assuming this is true) that the poster's DM has resisted that instinct. Good.

I'm not sure what one would do with a battery without something that needs power, though. Artificial light. A tazer, or shock prod, maybe. An electromagnet. Eventually, it could be scaled up to motors and the like.



This is one of those cases where saying 'Yes but' may not be a good idea, simply because it can completely alter the face of the campaign.  Gunpowder and electricity represent MAJOR technological advances (relative to most D&D worlds); discovering them should be a really big, world-changing deal, not just 'I throw a bunch of stuff in a barrel and make gunpowder'.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
I can understand the instinct to say "No," or otherwise hinder or create disincentives, but it appears (assuming this is true) that the poster's DM has resisted that instinct. Good.

I'm not sure what one would do with a battery without something that needs power, though. Artificial light. A tazer, or shock prod, maybe. An electromagnet. Eventually, it could be scaled up to motors and the like.

This is one of those cases where saying 'Yes but' may not be a good idea, simply because it can completely alter the face of the campaign.

Ok. Sounds good, if the DM can roll with it.

Gunpowder and electricity represent MAJOR technological advances (relative to most D&D worlds); discovering them should be a really big, world-changing deal, not just 'I throw a bunch of stuff in a barrel and make gunpowder'.

I don't see why. Magic, in the default setting at least, is far more powerful than even most modern weaponry. Even then, just because someone has discovered it doesn't mean that it has to catch on widely. Maybe it is discovered every so often and then gets forgotten. There's really no reason a player can't have some fun with it, if that's the kind of game they want and the DM can accommodate it.

Edit: I get the instinct to limit it or block it. I've been there. But it's probably not necessary to have that reaction. If this is an effort to wreck everyone's fun, then just blocking gunpowder and batteries isn't going to fix the problem. If it's a misunderstanding by a well-meaning player then it can probably be worked out and accommodated to everyone's enjoyment.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

Exactly.  Magic should *also* have major repercussions on societal development.

And, again, discovering major technological advances should be a lot more difficult than the player made it out to be.  "I want to slam two chunks of plutonium together to make a nuclear explosion" shouldn't be a matter of 'roll a d20 and see what you get'.

This is a case where what the PC is attempting to do is far beyond his capabilities.  It IS fine to say no sometimes, and this is one of those cases where I feel it perfectly justified.  It's not an effort to wreck everyone's fun; there's simply no way some random dude is going to randomly discover gunpowder by randomly throwing things his PC has no way of knowing will form any kind of reaction together in a pot.

How does his character know about this?  What impetus did he even have to try mixing those things together?  Why would he even try to create a battery when he doesn't have anything to power with it? 
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
First of all, I'm not convinced this is a real situation, though I've heard about this kind of thing arising before. In one of my games, a kid wanted to make a spring powered spear gun. We were in Eberron so the concept was at least plausible, but I shut him down. Nowadays, I think I could accommodate him.

Exactly.  Magic should *also* have major repercussions on societal development.

Yet it doesn't. Game worlds are generally stable, except when they're being destroyed, despite the presence of what amounts to phenomenal technology.

And, again, discovering major technological advances should be a lot more difficult than the player made it out to be.  "I want to slam two chunks of plutonium together to make a nuclear explosion" shouldn't be a matter of 'roll a d20 and see what you get'.

Yeah, but that's arbitrary. If the DM's not out to block it, there's no reason to roll for it, or put obstacles in the way, unless they happen to be interesting obstacles that the player will enjoy overcoming.

This is a case where what the PC is attempting to do is far beyond his capabilities.  It IS fine to say no sometimes, and this is one of those cases where I feel it perfectly justified.  It's not an effort to wreck everyone's fun; there's simply no way some random dude is going to randomly discover gunpowder by randomly throwing things his PC has no way of knowing will form any kind of reaction together in a pot.

So, describe it some other way.

How does his character know about this?  What impetus did he even have to try mixing those things together?  Why would he even try to create a battery when he doesn't have anything to power with it?

An ancient text? A strange talking crystal? A dream? Direct spiritual contact with Erathis? Magic?

Maybe saying "No," is fine, but in-game reasons don't really carry much weight.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

Exactly. Magic should *also* have major repercussions on societal development.
Yet it doesn't. Game worlds are generally stable, except when they're being destroyed, despite the presence of what amounts to phenomenal technology.


Yes it does. You have entire religions devoted to magic, you have wizarding schools where people study magic, you have entire races that have evolved to use magic in specific ways. You have mage kings, and the main threats to the world are almost always magic.  Magical transportation is always common enough. Whether it is simply a unicorn mount, or a floating airship.


Magic does have major repercussions on societal development. Societies are by and large focused on magic (like our current societies are focused on technology).  If technology exists, it needs to exist and will drastically change the campaign setting. Suddenly you have tech based religions, engineering academies, cyborg races. Major threats should include things like guys with robot armies. People will be traveling on trains, or a totally different type of airships. 

"In a way, you are worse than Krusk"                               " As usual, Krusk comments with assuredness, but lacks the clarity and awareness of what he's talking about"

"Can't say enough how much I agree with Krusk"        "Wow, thank you very much"

"Your advice is the worst"                                                  "I'd recommend no one listed to Krusk's opinions about what games to play"

You can totally have advanced modern technology in a sterotypical medieval fantasy setting.  The trope is Schizo Tech.  And it's not as odd a trope as you might initially think because the technological advancement of a fictional setting does not have to model the path our real-world technological advancement.  Technology does not advance in levels, as often invoked by fiction writers and Hollywood.  It's more like a tree or web, where certain discoveries allow for the discovery and advancement of other technologies. 

Even our own history could have turned out very differently had events happened a bit differently.  Achelogical discoveries like the Baghdad Battery and Antikythera Mechanism suggest that ancient cultures may have had, if only for a short time, much more advanced technology than we once believed.  If only those cultures had more time to develop those ideas before they were lost, history may have been very different.  Even our most influential and world-changing technology, the written word, was created and lost many times throughout history before it finally hung around and stayed to make modern history as we know it possible.

Now add magic to the mix.  With magic, you can conjure fires that burn forever without fuel, process and craft in seconds materials that would otherwise take days, weeks, or years, and literally bottle lightning and sell it for 120gp.

So at the very least, making "advanced technology", however one wishes to define that to be, is at least plausible in a fantasy setting.

This is a case where what the PC is attempting to do is far beyond his capabilities.



Alchemist Fire explodes in a burst 1 when thrown.  And a Clockwork Bomb, complete with a timer, is a level 4 alchemical item.  "Far beyond" might be overstating the issue a wee bit.

there's simply no way some random dude is going to randomly discover gunpowder by randomly throwing things his PC has no way of knowing will form any kind of reaction together in a pot.



But that's basically how early alchemy was actually done.  Throw some (near) random stuff together and create the elixer of immotality fireworks! Eh, close enough.

If the DM allows gunpowder, then it's not a problem... Just don't complain when an orcish sharp-shooter snipes you from 1100 meters, right through your brand new full plate, and the DM likes the idea of science so much that he doesn't allow dex bonus (you're just not that fast). And decides that instead of 30' sneak attack, he's just as effective the full length of the attack.



This is a bit of a fallacy.  Just because guns and gunpowder exist does not mean that they automatically have to ignore the rules and tropes of the fantasy world they are placed in.  Fantasy heroes can take a dozen arrows to the chest and still keep going or, if you prefer, heroically dodge a dozen arrows before their plot armor runs out.  Why would these heroic tropes suddenly turn off for our heroes of (near) supernatural ability when we would otherwise expect them to function in nearly any other type of heroic action fiction with modern(-ish) weapons.  Die Hard or Star Wars, just off the top of my head. 

On a related notes, guns and gunpowder do not automatically have to be the mechanically superior weapons and discard all sense of mechanical balance when introduced into a fantasy setting.  For example, I homebrewed my own firearms which come in three flavors: six-shooter, (sniper) rifle, and BFG.  They're balanced against bows and crossbows, so firearms simply add different tactical options.  Then, for added lol's, gun-specific enchantments give you things like grenade launchers, flamethrowers, freeze rays, and portal guns - again, all balanced against existing material.  And while this example may be anecdotal, it does prove it can be done.

Exactly. Magic should *also* have major repercussions on societal development.
Yet it doesn't. Game worlds are generally stable, except when they're being destroyed, despite the presence of what amounts to phenomenal technology.


Yes it does. You have entire religions devoted to magic, you have wizarding schools where people study magic, you have entire races that have evolved to use magic in specific ways. You have mage kings, and the main threats to the world are almost always magic.  Magical transportation is always common enough. Whether it is simply a unicorn mount, or a floating airship.



You're both right.  It sorta does.  Magic does have an influence on fantasy societies, and its influence often extends its influence throughout.  Though just as often, in fiction, that influence is far less than one would expect when observing it from the outside.  


Medieval fantasy worlds are all too often caught in medieval stasis where, for a variety of reasons, magic and mundane technology basically stays them same for hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands of years (though other aspects of a culture, such as politics, may still change).  You would expect innovations in magic, or at least its continued use, to eventually increase the general standard of living (or conversely revolutionize war if you prefer jaded glasses).  But it rarely does.  More usually, magic is a dangerous, rarely used, closely guarded secret, or some such.  Occasionally heroes and villains will wield the power of magic to ultimate degrees, but rarely will they do anything with them that hasn't already been done before. 


In 3.5, for example, had the fabricate spell.  In a few seconds, you can turn raw materials into, well, just about anything.  Medicines, houses, castles, war implements, tools, farming equipment, everburning torches, and so on.  Why didn't more adepts and wizards use to better society (for profit)?  


It is in this way that Eberron is progressive.  Eberron applies engineering to magic and puts it to practical use.  For the most part, Eberron is standard fantasy fare.  Swords, and wizards, and evil, and destiny, and so forth.  But you also have things like merchant ships expedited by wind and water magic, letters of identification and credit notarized with arcane mark (a cantrip in 3e), and communication towers that use Whispering Wind to operate.  Most of these uses are obvious uses for common spells.  Nothing that would be unexpected for a PC to attempt.  The main difference is that these ideas are being used by the rest of society as well. 


If technology exists, it needs to exist and will drastically change the campaign setting. Suddenly you have tech based religions, engineering academies, cyborg races. Major threats should include things like guys with robot armies. People will be traveling on trains, or a totally different type of airships.


If magic exists, it needs to exist and will drastically change the campaign setting. Suddenly you have devotees of Moradin and Corellon, artificer and wizard academies, warforged and self-forged races.  Major threats should include things like guys with golem armies.  People will be traveling on the lightning rail or spelljammers. 


:-p

Thinking about creating a race for 4e? Make things a lil' easier on yourself by reading my Race Mechanic Creation Guide first.
In 3.5, for example, had the fabricate spell.  In a few seconds, you can turn raw materials into, well, just about anything.  Medicines, houses, castles, war implements, tools, farming equipment, everburning torches, and so on.  Why didn't more adepts and wizards use to better society (for profit)?  

They don't do this in games you run? I think you should take another look at the default ideas and settings of DND. (at least 3.X)

DND has always done a terrible job of emulating settings where magic is rare, guarded and forbidden. Regardless of edition.

If technology exists, it needs to exist and will drastically change the campaign setting. Suddenly you have tech based religions, engineering academies, cyborg races. Major threats should include things like guys with robot armies. People will be traveling on trains, or a totally different type of airships.



If magic exists, it needs to exist and will drastically change the campaign setting. Suddenly you have devotees of Moradin and Corellon, artificer and wizard academies, warforged and self-forged races.  Major threats should include things like guys with golem armies.  People will be traveling on the lightning rail or spelljammers. 


All of those things totally happen in settings where magic exists. Actually, my quoted text was me transposing my listed examples of a setting where magic exists and swapping in tech examples. For you to then transpose magic examples on those tech examples again is really weird. Like when you do an automated translation from english to french, and then french to english again. 

"In a way, you are worse than Krusk"                               " As usual, Krusk comments with assuredness, but lacks the clarity and awareness of what he's talking about"

"Can't say enough how much I agree with Krusk"        "Wow, thank you very much"

"Your advice is the worst"                                                  "I'd recommend no one listed to Krusk's opinions about what games to play"

Simple on the original issue: nothing happens if you don't have the Alchemist feat
They don't do this in games you run? I think you should take another look at the default ideas and settings of DND. (at least 3.X)


In my settings, they do (except when they don't, of course).  But the default material, as well as fantasy fiction in general, gives the impression that these uses relatively uncommon.  Again, I'll use Eberron as an example.  That setting takes magic to its logical conclusions as far as technology, innovation, and commercialism.  Though in most settings, the use of magic to these ends is less prolific, to various degrees. 

All of those things totally happen in settings where magic exists. Actually, my quoted text was me transposing my listed examples of a setting where magic exists and swapping in tech examples. For you to then transpose magic examples on those tech examples again is really weird. Like when you do an automated translation from english to french, and then french to english again.


Then it seems that I completely misread your intent.  My apologies.


Thinking about creating a race for 4e? Make things a lil' easier on yourself by reading my Race Mechanic Creation Guide first.
Exactly. Magic should *also* have major repercussions on societal development.
Yet it doesn't. Game worlds are generally stable, except when they're being destroyed, despite the presence of what amounts to phenomenal technology.


Yes it does. You have entire religions devoted to magic, you have wizarding schools where people study magic, you have entire races that have evolved to use magic in specific ways. You have mage kings, and the main threats to the world are almost always magic.  Magical transportation is always common enough. Whether it is simply a unicorn mount, or a floating airship.

The point you quoted is that these worlds are generally stable. Those religions and schools have existed in basically the same form for hundreds of years, and there's nothing to indicate that their methods, curricula, or teachings have evolved or progressed. The magical races have existed for thousands of years. The mage kings often have lengthy dynasties. People travel by magic, yes - the same way they've done since time out of mind.

You mention magical threats to the world, as do I. That's generally the only time the stability of fantasy societies is threatened. Magic has nothing like the impact on the world that technology does. I suppose certain parts of the world were stable for relatively long periods of time, but in the past two hundred years we've gone from candle light and sailing ships to computers and commercial air travel, and we show little sign (apart from an abortive space program) of not continuing to make world-changing discoveries. There will be computers and air travel in 100 years, but we'd barely recognize them.

Even in Eberron magic has much less impact than technology has in the real world. Warforged have caused major social upheaval, but no one is making them or improving on them, except maybe as a malevolent secret project. I forget how old the lightning rail is, but it doesn't seem to have caused or be causing the rapid expansion and mixing of cultures that the railroad caused. Airships, I gather, are playthings for the military and the rich and have been for decades, whereas in the real world they became a relatively cheap form of transportation relatively quickly.

Athas, for my money, does a better job of showing how magic would impact a culture. People of thousands of years in the past wouldn't even recognize Athas as the same world. There's very little progress in the field of magic, because its in a small group's vested interest that there not be, so stagnation makes sense. The world is also on the cusp of change, and it's possible to imagine more sweeping changes coming over the world as magic becomes more accepted, or psionics come into their own.

So, I agree that magic has an impact, but the worlds in which we imagine it exists are also rather stable and not progressing the way our world is with technology. Therefore (and for other reasons) it's reasonable to imagine that technology in those worlds would also not destabilize anything.

Magic does have major repercussions on societal development. Societies are by and large focused on magic (like our current societies are focused on technology).  If technology exists, it needs to exist and will drastically change the campaign setting. Suddenly you have tech based religions, engineering academies, cyborg races. Major threats should include things like guys with robot armies. People will be traveling on trains, or a totally different type of airships.

None of that has to happen, certainly not on any timescale the PCs might notice. It's not generally clear how long it took magic to reach the saturation level it has in fantasy societies. The fact that magical innovation isn't skyrocketing in any setting I'm aware of implies high levels of inertia, which could itself be societal, or be due to destructive setbacks such as the complete (and surpisingly regular) obliteration of entire cultures. Or, given that it's a fictional world, maybe some outside force interferes directly with progress. Sure, one person can come up with gunpowder, batteries, or whatever, but somehow the ideas just never catch on. Every time they start to think about it, their thoughts on the topic just evaporate, leaving them to shrug and get back to directing the magical plow.

The only reason a PC can't or shouldn't come up with gunpoweder is if the DM isn't sure how to deal with it on the character level. There's is no in-game reason for it. As this is "What's a Player To Do," I'll recommend that players in this situation not push the DM out of his or her comfort zone, and just accept the blockage, until either the DM changes his or her mind, or the player becomes a DM.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.


In my settings, they do (except when they don't, of course).  But the default material, as well as fantasy fiction in general, gives the impression that these uses relatively uncommon.



DND poorly models fantasy fiction unless that fiction is high magic. And the default material strongly leans towards high magic. There are hordes of non-human races, and people who can cast abound. 


People assume it mirrors tolkien, but thats just because they were told it mirrors tolkien, didn't think about it, and have run with it. 


Per the 3.5 DMG there is a 1 in 10 chance any city has a "Magical" power center. (Pg 137). Then read up on pg 139 where it talks about how bigger cities have level 13-16 wizards in them. Not counting how many adepts, bards, clerics, druids, paladins, rangers, and sorcerers. The sample hamlet of 200 people includes an adept, a wizard, 3 clerics, a druid, and a bard who cast. Thats 1/29 people who can cast spells.  That means 1 in the average high school class is magical. 


Heck, pg 142 even includes the following wonderful blurb. "Some DMs create in cities in their campaigs that function just like medieval historical towns. They are populated by people who aren't accustomed to (or don't believe in) magic, who don't know anything about magical or mythical monsters, and who have never seen a magic item. This sort of creative work is a mistake..."  It then lectures on how you are doing it wrong, but picks up with another gem. "Unless you are going to run a divergeny game of some sort, magic is prevalent enough in the world that it will always be taken into account by smart individuals." Our exact discussion? They go into that too "Common enough that people know that when Uncle Rufus falls off the back of the wagon, they can take him to the temple to have the priests heal the wound... Only the most isolated farmer might not see magic or the results of magic regulalrly."

"In a way, you are worse than Krusk"                               " As usual, Krusk comments with assuredness, but lacks the clarity and awareness of what he's talking about"

"Can't say enough how much I agree with Krusk"        "Wow, thank you very much"

"Your advice is the worst"                                                  "I'd recommend no one listed to Krusk's opinions about what games to play"

As the DM, I wouldn't allow it.   I use the gunpowder formula as a textbook example of metagaming.    Just because you, the person, know the formula, does not mean that your character does.   Nor does he even know what a battery is.

As the DM, I wouldn't allow it.   I use the gunpowder formula as a textbook example of metagaming.    Just because you, the person, know the formula, does not mean that your character does.   Nor does he even know what a battery is.

From this I would assume that all the player has to do is come up with a plausible reason why his character would invent gunpowder and batteries.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

Thinking more on it, you could give the player something. They clearly want a higher tech level in the games. Consider working something in about a shadow society that puts down inventors and the like as an affront to [something]. Then let your player create a very rudimentary battery or gunpowder like substance and encounter this group as they try to disappear him.  


en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baghdad_Battery   Ancient Egypt


en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gunpowder China, 492AD. 


The important part is that you have the world react in a reasonable manner. Either it already exists in some fashion in your world and you can expand it, or you need a reason it doesn't.


(My examples aren't to say that because it existed in old times it existed in "DND Times" because DND Times didnt ever occur. Its more to say "People without modern tech can and have figured it out".


My objections weren't/aren't because its unreasonable that the pc figures it out. They are because for whatever reason the default assumption is that no one has. 

"In a way, you are worse than Krusk"                               " As usual, Krusk comments with assuredness, but lacks the clarity and awareness of what he's talking about"

"Can't say enough how much I agree with Krusk"        "Wow, thank you very much"

"Your advice is the worst"                                                  "I'd recommend no one listed to Krusk's opinions about what games to play"

As the DM, I wouldn't allow it.   I use the gunpowder formula as a textbook example of metagaming.    Just because you, the person, know the formula, does not mean that your character does.   Nor does he even know what a battery is.

From this I would assume that all the player has to do is come up with a plausible reason why his character would invent gunpowder and batteries.



Which very well may not exist.
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As the DM, I wouldn't allow it.   I use the gunpowder formula as a textbook example of metagaming.    Just because you, the person, know the formula, does not mean that your character does.   Nor does he even know what a battery is.

From this I would assume that all the player has to do is come up with a plausible reason why his character would invent gunpowder and batteries.

Which very well may not exist.

Who decides that and why?

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

As the DM, I wouldn't allow it.   I use the gunpowder formula as a textbook example of metagaming.    Just because you, the person, know the formula, does not mean that your character does.   Nor does he even know what a battery is.

From this I would assume that all the player has to do is come up with a plausible reason why his character would invent gunpowder and batteries.

Which very well may not exist.

Who decides that and why?




The DM, because that's his job.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
The DM, because that's his job.

It isn't the DM's job is to shut down player ideas for no good out-of-game reason. What's the out-of-game reason a DM would just say no to this idea? What's gained?

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

The only thing that matters is if it exists in the world and that is the DM's decision.

My campaign for example has the remains of an advanced civilisation dotted around the place so I added Science as an actual skill.
For most normal d&d campaigns though it would be upto the DM to decide if your character would of made the connection. I mean I know it is 100% forboden for a DM to force a character to not do something but a line does need to be drawn as eventually they will make circuit boards and generators.
It is like my friend who tried immunising people against disease based upon modern-day medicine techniques.
I told him to make a wisdom check to see if his character thought of it but secretly no-matter what he would of rolled I would of gone "ooooo close but no I am afraid you didn't make it, man you were so close"

That way we are both happy and balance is restored.
The only thing that matters is if it exists in the world and that is the DM's decision.

Agreed. It's not too much to ask for a reasonable out-of-game reason why not, though.

I mean I know it is 100% forboden for a DM to force a character to not do something

No one is saying that. I'm saying that the DM doesn't need to say no to the idea, and should consider at least talking it over with the player, if the player is actually interested in the idea and isn't just trying to be a jerk.

but a line does need to be drawn as eventually they will make circuit boards and generators.

This sort of thing is said as if it's obviously a bad thing. It's not.

It is like my friend who tried immunising people against disease based upon modern-day medicine techniques.
I told him to make a wisdom check to see if his character thought of it but secretly no-matter what he would of rolled I would of gone "ooooo close but no I am afraid you didn't make it, man you were so close"

That way we are both happy and balance is restored.

Wow. That's stunning. Does he know that what you would have done? What do you think he'd think if he found out? Why couldn't you just say "No"? Why couldn't you just say "Yes, and..."? Exactly why would this disrupt any kind of "balance"? In the real world we already have these techniques and some regions are still ravaged by disease.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

The DM, because that's his job.

It isn't the DM's job is to shut down player ideas for no good out-of-game reason. What's the out-of-game reason a DM would just say no to this idea? What's gained?




Because the character has no good reason to think to mix this crap together?  What's next, "I'm gonna dig up two chunks of plutonium and make a nuke"?

'Yes, and ...' only goes so far.  There ARE times when the DM needs to say no.
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I don't know that a dm needs to  have a good reason, merely a reasonable reason to disallow things in this vein.  Simply saying "This is a fantasy setting not a realm of science.".

I have similar feelings about firearms.  Some people love them and others don't care for them in a d&d setting. 
The DM decides a lot of the physics and chemistry of the world.

So the PC decides to grind together some charcoal, sulfur, and saltpeter... and the result doesn't explode. It smells like a mixture of chocolate and rotten eggs. Burning it makes it smell more like rotten eggs. (Sulfur already does that.) It tastes lousy but is not particularly poisonous. Really, it's of no apparent practical use.

Player objects? "That's the recipe for gunpowder!" "In the real world, maybe, but not in the game."

Make up more interesting - but not particularly powerful - results for the next odd mix of ingredients. And ask the player if he's playing an alchemist (and what class he's using if that isn't a class in your edition). 
"The world does not work the way you have been taught it does. We are not real as such; we exist within The Story. Unfortunately for you, you have inherited a condition from your mother known as Primary Protagonist Syndrome, which means The Story is interested in you. It will find you, and if you are not ready for the narrative strands it will throw at you..." - from Footloose
My friend rob wanted to do this back in 1986.  He told me that because he personally knew how to make black powder that his character should be able to have the sudden intuition to make black powder.  Yea, that campaign ended suddenly and the other players didn't let rob back in the game.

I'd say fine in my campaign nowadays.  Go ahead and blow stuff up (on a 1, be careful you don't blow your character up), but the DM has to make some simple rules on how much can be made, how much damage it does, and how firearms work if you're going to go that route.

Guns aren't better in D&D, but bombs can be fun.  That's why they added them in Pathfinder and the old D&D (2nd edition) "A Mighty Fortress."


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The DM, because that's his job.

It isn't the DM's job is to shut down player ideas for no good out-of-game reason. What's the out-of-game reason a DM would just say no to this idea? What's gained?

Because the character has no good reason to think to mix this crap together?  What's next, "I'm gonna dig up two chunks of plutonium and make a nuke"?

And what if he does?

'Yes, and ...' only goes so far.  There ARE times when the DM needs to say no.

Fine. Just so long as the DM admits that disallowing the player's action is his preference, rather than ginning up excuses from the rules.

I don't know that a dm needs to  have a good reason, merely a reasonable reason to disallow things in this vein.  Simply saying "This is a fantasy setting not a realm of science.".

I have similar feelings about firearms.  Some people love them and others don't care for them in a d&d setting.

This is a good reason. That's what needs to be said. It's an honest, out of game, "No, please," rather than an underhanded "Sure, but it's really hard or doesn't work or, ooh, look, you don't have the right feats. Bummer. Oh, well."

The DM decides a lot of the physics and chemistry of the world.

So the PC decides to grind together some charcoal, sulfur, and saltpeter... and the result doesn't explode. It smells like a mixture of chocolate and rotten eggs. Burning it makes it smell more like rotten eggs. (Sulfur already does that.) It tastes lousy but is not particularly poisonous. Really, it's of no apparent practical use.

Player objects? "That's the recipe for gunpowder!" "In the real world, maybe, but not in the game."

Make up more interesting - but not particularly powerful - results for the next odd mix of ingredients. And ask the player if he's playing an alchemist (and what class he's using if that isn't a class in your edition).

The question is why the DM feels the need to do any of that. There are probably good out-of-game reasons for it so why not just state those?

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

And what if he does?



Okay, now I know you're trolling.  Buh-bye.
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Centauri, you know I favor "Yes, and..." as much as you do. But I side with Salla here, this is more than a mere shift of pace to the campaign, the DM would be allowing one player to arbitrarily change the genre of the campaign.
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And what if he does?

Okay, now I know you're trolling.  Buh-bye.

Yeah, I'm... known for that? Whatever.

Centauri, you know I favor "Yes, and..." as much as you do. But I side with Salla here, this is more than a mere shift of pace to the campaign, the DM would be allowing one player to arbitrarily change the genre of the campaign.

First of all, no, not necessarily. Plenty of fantasy settings have gunpowder, and there was no indication of what the battery would be used for. Even if it enables a player to make grenades, cannon, or remotely detonated bombs, there's certainly no power disparity between this and what wizards can already do. It would be trivially easy to allow the player to do what was suggested in the original post, and maintain one's setting.

Second of all, my overarching point is that it's fine for a DM not to want things like that in their setting, but it's not fine for them to get passive aggressive with the rules, to say "Yes," while taking action to ensure the same results as a "No." If they think it will shift they genre and don't know how to cope, they should say so, instead of making up lame excuses.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

Centauri, you know I favor "Yes, and..." as much as you do. But I side with Salla here, this is more than a mere shift of pace to the campaign, the DM would be allowing one player to arbitrarily change the genre of the campaign.

First of all, no, not necessarily. Plenty of fantasy settings have gunpowder, and there was no indication of what the battery would be used for. Even if it enables a player to make grenades, cannon, or remotely detonated bombs, there's certainly no power disparity between this and what wizards can already do. It would be trivially easy to allow the player to do what was suggested in the original post, and maintain one's setting.

Second of all, my overarching point is that it's fine for a DM not to want things like that in their setting, but it's not fine for them to get passive aggressive with the rules, to say "Yes," while taking action to ensure the same results as a "No." If they think it will shift they genre and don't know how to cope, they should say so, instead of making up lame excuses.


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