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Origins of Gunpowder

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BarryManilow
Sep Gold Premier Club Member 2016

BarryManilow

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One elephant in the room is the use of gunpowder in the game. Though it's commonly used as setpieces, the use of the enigmatic black powder is relatively widespread. Most commonly finding its use in cannons, they lines the wall of human cities, they guard ancient Dwarven holdings, they're found aboard the bellies of various sea vessels, and they're nestled in the banks and inventories of various adventurers. But where does this material originate?

A good path to follow is to examine the most concurrent technology that utilizes the black powder. The Dwarves have the most advanced gunpowder weapons we have seen. Their multi-cannons can distinguish friend from foe and its self automated barrel can deliver a salvo of thirty or more cannonballs before requiring attention. The Red Axe manage to slim down the cannon into a portable package, giving their shock troops the ability to deliver firepower on par with ancient artifacts and legendary weapons. The Imcando Dwarves created an even slimmer design at an undisclosed time. Smaller than the hand cannon, wielders can carry multiple loaded "pistols" to increase their rate of fire.

Though it appears that the dwarves are the originators of gunpowder, this might not be the case. We see Dwarves UTILIZE gunpowder but we never really see them create it. In fact the only known place that creates gunpowder is the Skull.Even more confusing is when some sailors hired from the Eastern Lands already own their own muskets, a type of technology that's more advanced than even the Dwarves' proprietory handcannons!

So where does gunpowder come from? I have several theories.
-The Easterners and the Dwarves developed it independently.
-Dwarven merchants collaborated with local Khans to create the powder
-It originated entirely from the East, as historical example would imply
-It's created by the dwarves but better adapted by the East
-It's invented elsewhere and it's use became widespread after its use in trade
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23-Aug-2015 22:41:28 - Last edited on 23-Aug-2015 22:43:04 by BarryManilow

Barnabix
Dec Member 2012

Barnabix

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I like to think they developed it themselves sometime after they retreated underground and after Zamorak's curse.

Kind of like how the Cave Goblins were able to create their own kind of machines, the Dwarves needed to learn how to live underground AND without magic pushing them to further extremes.

The Gunpowder in the Skull is probably more pure hence why their weapons are more advanced and user friendly. Less can go wrong with it blowing up in your face.

The Gnomes might have become dependant on machines as well, however they returned to the surface sooner than the Dwarves.
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23-Aug-2015 23:02:19

Svigris
Oct Member 2018

Svigris

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I want to say the gunpowder was invented in the 4th era along with advanced metallurgy and steam power. As 4th era was generally marked as an age of progress for the dwarves.

Gunpowder itself isn't too hard to make if you were to look at it from a chemical standpoint and the dwarves would almost certainly have access to the materials to create gunpower the eastern lands would probably have a harder time creating it, however it would still be possible is the islands were volcanic.

What I find interesting is the cannons in human cities and boats. They are quite clearly not based on dwarven designs as well they can't be eastern due to quin cutting off the eastern lands from the west for a large part of 5th age. While its possible they are from 4th era I find it rather unlikely.

Another thing I find surprising is the lack of uptake of this new destructive power. In the real world shortly after its discovery musketmen quickly became common to see on the battle fields in Japan and China. Yet muskets are rarely seen in gilenor today, the only variant being the dwarven hand cannon (I don't think Imcando pistols are canon being a TH item), while the hand cannon is effective it hasn't been picked up by the rest of civilization or even by the rest of the dwarves.

Now I know asking for a sequel to BotD is like asking for the sun to leave and never return, but I can't believe any of the characters met in the dwarven story line would have invented the hand cannon. We know it can't be the gnome or Grunsh as neither of them would have experince with blackpowder so I think we have an elusive, creative, chaos dwarf on our hands.

24-Aug-2015 00:01:42

Rondstat

Rondstat

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What I think a lot of folks tend to forget is that Gielinor is a world in decline. Society in general is less advanced, not more advanced, than it was in the past. During the god wars, craftsmanship and technological sophistication (at least in the human world) reached their peak, with common armaments of today unable to match the older standards. Each race was driven to greater heights by the necessities of war.

And that doesn't even mention the Zarosian empire, which, like the Roman empire to the civilizations that followed, reached a level of sophistication in architecture and engineering that's only viewed in small glimpses in the Gielinor of today.

While this doesn't account for the eastern lands, we DO know that our scrolls do not contain the superior techniques used in the Wushankos today, but rather knowledge that was lost in a time beyond memory.

The point I'm getting to is - I think gunpowder, artillery, and all the attendant technologies, have existed for a very long time. I think gunpowder would most likely have been discovered in the Wushankos, and brought to the mainland even before the cessation of trade. Heck, perhaps up until now, all Gielinorian artillery has been run off of the limited remaining reserves of Skull powder, and that's why it has been so limited.

I don't think it's anything glaringly out of place, or an 'elephant,' though. Artillery was very much a part of medieval warfare, and was used in the form of cannons before firearms became widespread. That said, Runescape is a fantasy game, not a Carolingian simulator. It's no more out of place than any other weapon with obscure origins - I mean, do you know where your magic staff comes from?

24-Aug-2015 00:20:03 - Last edited on 24-Aug-2015 00:23:40 by Rondstat

Padomenes
Apr Member 2015

Padomenes

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Svigris said:
I want to say the gunpowder was invented in the 4th era along with advanced metallurgy and steam power. As 4th era was generally marked as an age of progress for the dwarves.

Gunpowder itself isn't too hard to make if you were to look at it from a chemical standpoint and the dwarves would almost certainly have access to the materials to create gunpower the eastern lands would probably have a harder time creating it, however it would still be possible is the islands were volcanic.

What I find interesting is the cannons in human cities and boats. They are quite clearly not based on dwarven designs as well they can't be eastern due to quin cutting off the eastern lands from the west for a large part of 5th age. While its possible they are from 4th era I find it rather unlikely.

Another thing I find surprising is the lack of uptake of this new destructive power. In the real world shortly after its discovery musketmen quickly became common to see on the battle fields in Japan and China. Yet muskets are rarely seen in gilenor today, the only variant being the dwarven hand cannon (I don't think Imcando pistols are canon being a TH item), while the hand cannon is effective it hasn't been picked up by the rest of civilization or even by the rest of the dwarves.

Now I know asking for a sequel to BotD is like asking for the sun to leave and never return, but I can't believe any of the characters met in the dwarven story line would have invented the hand cannon. We know it can't be the gnome or Grunsh as neither of them would have experince with blackpowder so I think we have an elusive, creative, chaos dwarf on our hands.


Handcannons explode too often for them to be a good weapon. They suck. Why use them? They would have to develop something better instead and more easily obtainable if they wanted humans to get them.
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24-Aug-2015 00:42:49

Gyojin
Nov Member 2013

Gyojin

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Well, we can't have guns in runescape because it's bad..very very very bad.

I'm cool with guns in runescape but people will get mad and say stuff like,"This is not Gunscape."

Getting married during Blood Runs Deep is okay.

Solomon store that sells almost half nodity clothes for rs girls are okay.

Gender change any time is okay.

Plot twisting runescape is okay.

Adding more junks for old school is okay.

Adding more junks in Solomon Store is okay.

Price manipulation on items in Ge are okay.

24-Aug-2015 00:48:25

Solanumtinkr
Jul Member 2009

Solanumtinkr

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People seem to forget a simple truth. Gunpowder came and found magic sitting in the throne of convenience on Gielinor. The 5th Age was all about a magical renascence that drove humans to dominance on this world. Earth had an industrial revolution, we had a magical one. The fact is magic is now far more stable and readily available to the masses than at any other time in its history.

Instead of fading away, and gunpowder ruling all, we have the Runespan. And the critical components for magic using and development are now secure. It's far more versatile in its uses than gunpowder. The fact is even ranged weapon can benefit from magical enhancement, of which gunpowder variants cannot.

That leaves us with a problem when it comes to tracking gunpowder's development, as there is no nice curve to be found in increasing uses. And the overheads for making, storing, repairing and deploying gunpowder driven weapons are some what more extensive, as well as more expensive, than magic. That makes gunpowder weapons less attractive.

So gunpowder could have been discovered and rediscovered over time, by more than one source. Even if only working of off rumours or old knowledge. It may have been used for nothing more than fireworks before recent times.

Those cannons we see may have been mainly for ships and the majority of non-mage sailors to help defend from pirates. The sea is the only place cannons are used with any consistency.
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24-Aug-2015 05:50:44 - Last edited on 24-Aug-2015 05:55:06 by Solanumtinkr

Lego Miester
Nov Member 2018

Lego Miester

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I imagine the easterners discovered it, the dwarves traded with them and eventually learned how to get it themselves (possibly pushed to do so by the whole bit where they were cut off from magic and needed a new weapon to defend themselves, boom, here's where they invent cannons)

It's malleable, but if Jagex were to need to come up with an explanation that sounds about right. The timelines of when Quin cut off sea trade or the dwarves started using cannons are completely undefined.

Hold on, creative genius flowing...

-the dwarves, with magic, feel they can defend themselves just fine
-Zamorak comes along and corrupts said magic, the stragglers who are not made into chaos dwarves hide in caves from trolls and other enemies they can no longer defend against
-stays that way until the end of the god wars. Poor, poor dwarves.
-they poke their heads out and manage some alliances with humans
-after several ages, western humans finally open up trade routes with the eastern lands
-they bring back this awesome volatile black substance, the dwarves buy all of it. For some reason the humans were willing to trade it for this useless, soft, yellow metal. Silly humans.
-Dondakan invents the multicannon, dwarves cackle maniacally as they lay waste to their enemies.
-dwarven industrial revolution that leads to the current Keldagrim

I like this, especially the mental image of dwarves first discovering gunpowder.

Smoking Joe: Oi, First Mate Jenkins, careful with that barrel!
Jenkins: It's fine, I-whoops!
*KABLAM*, and all that's left two smoking pairs of shoes
Young Dondakan: O_o Say, captain, got any more of that powder?
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24-Aug-2015 07:01:34 - Last edited on 24-Aug-2015 07:10:48 by Lego Miester

BarryManilow
Sep Gold Premier Club Member 2016

BarryManilow

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Original message details are unavailable.
Handcannons explode too often for them to be a good weapon. They suck. Why use them? They would have to develop something better instead and more easily obtainable if they wanted humans to get them.

Historically, handcannons required less training to use than a bow. But handcannons in thsi universe require the user to be relatively adept at both shooting the darned thing and dealing with weapon maintainenc*.

However, the main advantage they have is that they're just as powerful as several legendary artifacts even though they're much easier to produce.

The theory about magic and gunpowder is interesting. What is the state of magic in the Eastern Lands? Humans in the west are able to cast magic because of our access to runes. Perhaps magic in the East is only wielded by those who are naturally gifted with it? And maybe that's why the humans have better gunpowder tech in the East?
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24-Aug-2015 16:36:20 - Last edited on 24-Aug-2015 16:36:56 by BarryManilow

Elder Minsc
Feb Member 2013

Elder Minsc

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You have seasingers and their pow*ful magic items. The illsuive Death Lotus and their darts and the Tetsu who s easy to rpoduce armor matches those of Torvas.

Gunpowder was used for Naval Engagements by the Wushanko empire where the ships with the most guns on the deck wins.

24-Aug-2015 18:33:56 - Last edited on 24-Aug-2015 18:34:31 by Elder Minsc

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