This is by no means Cannon and not a part of the Justice and Life campaign world until/if SPF decides it is. Consider it more of a bit of Fan-fic. The items listed at the end are more theoretical. I based the Launcher's damage and distance off of a catapult.
I hope you all enjoy.
The Story of Firebeard’s Firefoam
“Fire away, Master Dwarf!” I shouted as they tested yet another method of delivering explosive potions in battle. The strange steam powered device let out a roar and a hiss of steam and launched the barrel with a large <THUNK> and the force of the blasted machine burst the barrel of dyed water we had in it as a test. It sprayed all over the place making everyone wet with the red died water. Luckily, I had taken cover for fear that the machine would explode. They still had not gotten the size of the machine down to a wagon size yet. Sometimes I wonder if it’s worth it. I am heartily gratified that I did not have in place an actual explosive potion otherwise we could possibly be dead from the explosive blast.
I am Master Alchemist and Observationist, Ulrich Olar of the Orlaran Army of the Artillery Division and I am a man too busy for his own good. Not only do I have 5 Apprentices but I have to come up with ways that we can win this war against the Prelacy and the Crimson Crusade. Due to some minor success recently my commanders have placed me in charge of a motley crew of Humans, Goblins, Ork, Dwarves, and a number of other types. All with one thing in common, we have a penchant for doing things in unusual ways. I have under my command, a Master Dwarf Wright and his apprentices, a few work crews of volunteers, a few Priests of Light, some strait up soldiers, and a Sorcerer and a single Artificer. It is a heady group. We have taken up residence not far from one of the fronts of the war. During this season of Fall, many are tasked with gathering harvest and preparing to settle in for winter and keep a wary eye out for the not so idle handy work of the Prelacy and the Crimson Crusade with the so called Denier’s of Death. I expect that the enemy will not let up his assault in winter and continue as it has all summer. Since they had an early harvest a number of the fields have been donated to use as our testing grounds. The locals like it that way as most of our work is very destructive. In this war, destructive is what they want, but not in their towns.
“Delivery for you sir!” says a goblin that I am not familiar with as he holds out a small
package with a sealed letter.
“Who and where from?” I bellow at the small quick goblin. He gratifyingly is taken aback but holds his ground. Good, I have no use for the weak at heart.
“Some Dwarven Alchemist in Sog, it says.”
Sog? Didn’t they help with the Siege of Thuls even after some trouble of their own? I mumble something incoherent and accept the package and dismiss the kid. He runs off on his next errand with out delay. Good, I think to myself, By the Light I won’t tolerate lazy people either. It is at this time the Dwarf Master Wright tells me that they will need the day to recalibrate the machine, they use some sort of complicated name that the Wrights always do, something to do with barrels and loft or something.
“Inform me when you are ready for the next test!” I yell as it is hard to hear over the sound of steam and awful noise coming from the thing. This will not be a silent attack, unless they change their method. I make a mental note that this is what may be needed. The damn thing needs to be portable as well as powerful.
I head into my office and take the package, dodging some of my younger Alchemists who call themselves my students. Not in the mood to answer questions I give him the slip and dodge into my office. I notice a stack of papers fill the desk and I scowl and sit down. When I was younger I kept my desk and my work place clean. A habit that is useful for one of my trade. Now, People seem to see my desk as a great dumping ground of messages and reports and all sorts of foolishness. Don’t people realize that I work at the desk! Couldn’t they simply use the table next to the door as I had intended? I even have them labeled for incoming and out going. Sighing I look over at the desk and realize that it is full too. Thinking of the style of the Commander in Sog, Artivan, and his style of command and his methods, I wonder what it would look like. Then again, I had heard that he recently got an assistant that is an Eldekar Scribe. Maybe I should get myself an assistant to deal with this mess. I shake my head, knowing that if I did that I would never get anything done. Remembering that I have work to do I set about tiding my desk and then I read the note and open the package…
Letter to Master Alchemist Ulrich Olar
I am an Alchemist by trade and have been for a short few years. Through my commander here in Sog, Artivan Galadrius, I have been recommended to contact you. I have been working with what some call “the lesser magics” and creating potions with them. I feel that these less utilized properties can yield some surprising results and be an over all effective use for aid in the war against the Prelacy. To give you a bit of background, I am a Dwarf from the Anvil now living in the up and coming town of Sog in the Goblinesh lands. Me and my brother own an Inn called the Hero’s Hart. I have found that my skills as an Alchemist can make sort work of some time consuming tasks that leave me open to help out the Grey Rangers and my other interests. One of my inventions, using these so called “Lesser Magic” is what I have dubbed Firebeard’s Foaming Cleanall. In it’s original form it is an effective way to instantly clean 2 square yards of dirty dishes and pots and pans. This is, I have found, the average size of a sink or area full of dishes from most of a night’s work from running the tavern. I have made a more powerful version that covers a larger area, with an explosive cleaned area of about an 8 yard radius. This is about the size of an average tavern room. I call the more powerful version: Power Bubbles.
I have been trying to weaponize this formula to make it useful in this war with the Prelacy, thinking to use a simpler formula to help out with the cause. Thus far my efforts have not been successful. The last use of this potion in field work has been in combat with a Troll. The Troll was being besieged by Kassagore: The Beast, a dregordian whom you may have heard of as being one of the people that lead the charge in battle that ended the Siege of Thuls, Kassagore and my other companions at the time were investigating around Sog in our duties as Grey Rangers. The creature was besieged by most of our team and I threw my Power Bubbles potion.
I must admit that I do not know what would happen, I had hoped to distract the beast into leaving itself open or I must have meant to use another potion. At best it made the situation slippery for all involved. But it did seem to have an invigorating effect on my fellow Rangers. It also cleaned the troll and my companions as the blood was flowing. It was an odd and disconcerting sight. Since that combative test of the potion, I have been trying to emplace flammable vapors in the bubbles and get them to combust. The fire seems to be dampened by the concoction instead. My efforts have transitioned on to other methods but I was hopping that the potion can still be of use in the war effort. I have a feeling that the potion formula is destined for better use. I will admit it that it will take an Alchemist with more experience than I to accomplish this. Please do not dismiss it’s value as “Lesser Magic” and not worthy of your time..
Included in the package is a sample of my Cleanall potion and the larger bottle is the enhanced version of what I call Power Bubbles. Hopefully both are still intact as per my instructions to the carrier. I have also included my formula and the notes on how to make them and some of the philosophy behind it. I understand if you do not have time to visit this project or even to delegate it to a student. If that is the case then you will at least have the ability to clean up a small and a large area with extreme expediency.
Thank you for consideration.
Jok-tar Firebeard, the Brewing Alchemist and co-creator of Firbeard Ale.
Alchemical Journal entry 241: Test 5 of new Cleanall formula to make it more explosive.
Hmm, this is still not right. I have tested the 5th iteration of my Cleanall potion in which I attempt to make a combative substance with it. The bubbles spread over the test area and cleaned but they are no more flammable than before. As a matter of fact, I think that they are actually inhibiting the test flame and being a cause to put it out. It is either that or the concussive force that puts out the test flame. I am betting the latter. I had hoped adding more pure alcohol to the mix would make it more combustible but it seems to have just make it more expanding instead. I shall have to consult someone more talented in Alchemy and more experienced than I to solve this puzzle. It feels like an going on the wrong path.
I sit and contemplate the note and the package. It does take a confident worker in his craft to know when he is out matched and a keen instinct to know when to ask for help. Well, this will be a clean war at least. My own dry humor fails to get more than a chuckle from me. With the persistent knocking on the door I figure that I can no longer ignore my students. By the Light, when will I get some peace? With a heavy sigh I go to the door and yank it open abruptly. The student on the other side loses his balance as I had intended. When he stumbles, I decide quickly what to do. I will follow his suggestion to give it to a student.
“What?!” I grumpily yell at him. I notice it is one of the braver students. The Goblin that was recommended by Gibbon Drax by the name of Grabble Droz another fellow Alchemist that has too much to do, it seems.
“I have a few questions on the last potion you assigned to us, I am having trouble mastering some of the elements and techniques, perhaps—“
I cut him off.
“No time for that now, Here, check this out and take the two others that are coming up to bother me and work on this new project.” I then shut the door as he is looking behind him at the other two frantically coming up behind him. The two students behind him are Zolovan Truemist, an Eldakar that seems to think learning is a waste of time and was sent here by his people to combat the war. I feel that they were simply trying to get rid of the Fae Alchemist that has a taste for fire potions. The other one with him is a Cameron Refugee that is an Alchemest as well and couldn’t stand for the Deniers of Death and their brand of alchemy, Zezette Fleury. She has a talent for Stun Potions and potions that look like Lightning. She sometimes goes by Zap Fury (or at least behind her back they call her that as she has a big temper) Both appear to be angry with me. I swear by the Light that next time I take students for advanced training in Alchemy, I will only do one at a time, not 5. This damn war will be the death of me. If I live, I am sure that they are expecting me to make some sort of Alchemy School for beginners or some such nonsense. If I get pressed into this, then I shall see if I can get the Dwarves to build an underground complex, or at least a building made of stone with some nice wide testing areas and some very well built labs.
Much time later at the Dwarf Wright’s 5th attempt:
“Ok, Master Dwarf, Let’er fly!” At that the dwarf pulls a lever on the wagon. It seems that they did get it to fit into a wagon and it looks much better. Some sort of pump with a hydraulic push plate that is guided by 3 collapsing poles that form a sort of tri-rung ladder. The thing makes a huge hiss and releasing sound, then it pushes the plate up and the rods that form a ladder advance with it. The whole thing stopping at a end with the exception of the test barrel that follows the straight trajectory of the three guide poles and launches high into the field and smashes and breaks open. Not exactly on target but it flew as far as a catapult can go, maybe even farther. The Dwarves working it crank a number of mysterious dials and changing the things direction and pitch. Then after a few minutes they load another barrel, this one with blue tinted water to show a difference from the other one just launched. They launch it with in 10 minutes of the first. It goes into a fine arc and lands nearly dead on target and smashes into and stains blue the test shack we had built into the middle of the field. I am elated at their success. Now we have something! A group of Blast Potions on that and we have a working weapon. I caution myself on this as I have seen these Dwarf Wrights creations explode, implode and otherwise be unusable after a short time and the Dwarf that made it unable to make it again.
“How stable is it? How quickly can it be made, repaired, reloaded, and the like?”
They give me several good answers. The Dwarf Wright Master says that he should be able to have a stable and working item with in the week and yes it is reusable and repeatable. It uses the properties of Steam and hydrolic-mumbo jumbo. I trust them to the craft and ask that 3 are made and built into standard wagons. After moving on, I notice the 3 students that I thought I had got busy on a project last week. Oh, what a blessed free week. They have something for me. I remember signing off on a few requests for testing times and material requests, nothing very expensive and nothing terribly big. This should be interesting. I look on with an expectant tone but inside I have that sense that something good is coming that one always gets at the near completion of a project.
“Well!?” I bellow at them as they seem to come to a halt, expecting me to keep moving and ignore them. I may be loosing my touch as they all don’t seem suppressed.
“The Project you gave us is not going to work.” Zolovan Truemist states to me in a matter-of-fact tone that states that he should know as he has been around longer than even my grandpa has.
“And Why not?” I testily ask, instantly not liking his superior attitude. Not very promising for someone that wishes to be an Observationist.
“Well, it uses a formulae that we do not use and does not have the power to do what is requested. Now we can easily achieve results with a different formulae…”
“You are supposed to work with in the guidelines presented, I thought you would consider it a challenge. I am disappointed.” And I am truly disappointed, not at his lack of success but his utter confidence in what he would consider THE TRUTH and final fact of the matter tone.
“You wouldn’t ask a person to hammer in a nail using a spoon.” Replies one of the more braver ones.
“No of course not!” I bite back but add for conversation sake and to take more wind out of his sails, “ But could you do it?” I ask with a mischievous grin.
“If I had a hammer to hit the spoon, then yes I could.” He says, obviously losing patients with me. “These lesser magics are not for combat. Not that we haven’t tried. Here is out report.” He hands me their technical report with an impatient gesture that seems to say that it is all on paper and I should just shut up and read the proof of his words. I notice several test cases and must admire their tenacity and skill in them. I found one common thread in it and this gives me an inkling of what Jok-tar must have felt with this potion.
“Hmm, so your report tells me that in all cases the Power Bubbles and their variations put out the fires rather than making an explosion?” A wild thought hits me as I study the notes and variations and summarize the reports aloud. The idea takes form in my mind as I say the words. Looking up, the student must think that I am trying to trick him.
“Yes! The substance and formula is completely unsuited to proper Alchemy for starting fires, unless you want a torch lit. And with this formula you better have a lit torch to begin with. Power Bubbles indeed.” He scoffs completely missing my point. Now it is time to prove my point and prove that I am a proper teacher of Alchemy. It is the singular moments like this that I relish and put aside all doubts of my Observationist philosophy.
“So, not suited to the task.” I say in low tones with an almost casual interest. “ What other tests did you do?” I say with a sweet smile, wondering how long he will take to get my drift. If I was a betting man I would guess a couple of moments.
“Uh, We tested the original formula and it is indeed a good cleaning potion but best not use it anywhere near notes or paper as it will scrub the ink off of the paper and leave the paper wet and soggy. Fitting from a town called Sog. The Alchemist is to be applauded on an elegant solution to dirt and grime, but hardly an accomplishment worthy of wartime.”
“Ok, so if fits the original claims, then.” I give a moment of pause and ask the obvious question as he still isn’t getting it, “What else is it good for?” I ask hinting that he needs to think outside the potion bottle on this one. I would have lost my bet and this gives me a sour disposition.
“Uh, I don’t know.” He stammers out, and he thinks he is an Observasionist? Such prejudice needs to be discouraged. Being an Observasionist is taking data, understanding it and then interpreting it into a functional reason.
“So, by your report, what happened when the mixture hit the flame?” One last attempt to get through his arrogance.
“Uh, It expanded and this caused an adverse reaction to the fire.”
“Ah HA!” The idea that has been coming into my head finally comes into fruition. “Thank you for your work, I will take it from here.” I abruptly say and immediately take the reports, all of them that each student has and then stride off leaving them dumbfounded in my wake and head to my lab. They will figure it out. The Eldakar thinks that he has simply won his argument. Let him be surprised like the others if he hasn’t figured it out yet. This is truly a revolutionary concept.
In the back of my mind I was worrying about the coming winter and what it means to various cities. Cities are mostly made of wood. Our enemy knows this and with the coming winter it is a time where water is mostly frozen or in snow. Not easily accessible for putting out fires. You could lose a whole city in a day if you cannot stop a fire and stop it at a key point. The loss of life and supplies would be staggering and many people would starve to death in the after wake of the fire.
I pop out of the Alchemy lab for lunch and order that a city-like configuration be made in miniature on the test field but it must stand up to the barrel breaking. a 1 gallon mini-keg barrel that we have been launching from the Dwarf Contraption that I had made specially for the project. I also order several dozen more of the barrels with some modifications from the local Coopers. Then I go back into the lab and begin work. After a few days, I have the perfected the formula down and it takes me 2 days more to properly document my work so that others and I can replicate it later. It should only take my students a day or ½ day to make the potion with my notes. It takes some doing but I end up with a 1 gallon mixture that is suitable for my needs and made out of fairly common materials, using the subtle genius of Rok-tar Firebeard’s recipe for Power Bubbles. I end up with a product that is more foam than bubble but no matter. I then order oil to be poured over the central target shack and note that the shack builders have done a good job of providing a facsimile of a small shanty shack town. Out of humor, I suppose they made it in the style of the cities in Zyef. The workers went to the trouble of even putting up a wooden replica of their buildings of interest. I order the Dwarf Wrights to ready their machine and give them my special barrel. They don’t question and set it up. Being good Dwarves they know better than to ask about it’s ammunition and only weigh it to calibrate their machine and note that it does slosh a little. Wisely they put a spinning push plate on this one for better accuracy. I know not why it works, I think that I shall study it. It takes a moment for them to wind the push plate to spin a bit. Hmm, that may slow things down but I keep silent as I am not the Wright here.
“Set the center building ABLAZE!” I bellow and they gleefully take torches and ride out on horseback to toss torch after torch on the oil soaked house, the lovers of fire cheer. I seriously have doubts about some of the people here.
“Aim for the blaze in the center if you can and wait for firing on my mark.” I order the Dwarf Wright who hurriedly set the spot in, having practice at it and sensing urgency they do so in under a minute. I am impressed at their speed but I do disappoint them by waiting until the shack is on fire strongly and merrily ablaze. They all think that I have oil or something flammable in the barrel. A crowd gathers in the ½ hour it takes to get fully on fire. People are sensing something amazing is about to happen. And it is, but not what they think.
“Wait on my CALL!!” I yell as many start to get itchy wanting for the show to start. I wait until the house is about to set the shacks nearby ablaze. In another ½ minute it would.
“GO!!” and the Dwarves let loose with the contraption, the barrel sings and spirals in the air in a graceful arc, seeming to go in slow motion. Perhaps that is just my adrenalin going and only one or two of my watching students has any clue as to what is about to happen. Zolovan Truemist sure doen’t have a clue but Grabble Droz knows and Zezette Fleury has an inkling that it is not fire based. I feel the pressure of many people as we have drawn quite a crowd waiting for the blaze. Why is it destruction brings people from so far around? When the barrel hits with an audible <SMACK> it breaks open and starts spewing the foam out and the heat, as I predicted only increases the foam at an alarming rate. The crowd cheers with the successful hit and has a big cry of “AWWW” when it doesn’t explode with fire. Instead it spews foam. In less than a minute the fire is completely put out. I even saw that the fire did set the neighboring shacks on fire but the foam expanded better than expected and put those out too. After the fire and the smoke stop, and people are looking on in stunned silence for a moment, I take out my notebook and write some notes. Then I hear one person cheer and the rest of the people join in as they realize the true magnitude of the event. The Dwarves are mightily impressed and I turn to all 5 of my students and state to them, little can be heard above the din, “THAT is what the solution is good for. Thank you for your research but remember just because you don’t have a solution that you want doesn’t mean that you don’t have A solution for something else. Being an Observationist is not only thinking, recording, but SEEING the possibilities. You may all have the night off. Let the Dwarves and the Work Crews know that my test was successful and I care not what they do with the rest of the shacks, just as long as no damage that is done remains in the field and doesn’t extend to the forest. Enjoy tonight for tomorrow I have work for you all to do.” Then I theatrically stride off to my lab for writing a letter and completing my notes. We now have a proper defense against the fires that our enemy will undoubtedly try to set. I set myself to a very grateful letter to one novice Alchemist with a note of encouragement.
Fellow Alchemist Rok-tar,
You are indeed correct that your formula cannot be weaponized but it can be “Defensized” to coin a word. Included are my modifications on your formulae which I am calling Firebeard’s Firefoam in your honor. I realize that it may be beyond your current skills but keep with it and save the formula for when you can make it. I believe that with this we may save quite a number of lives, not to mention Cities. I included the directions of the formula and a sample of it. I would include directions for the launcher but I don’t understand it. When I asked if an extra wagon can be made for your city’s use they told me, “Why put cog with 12 teeth in when 10 will do?” When I asked explanation they told me that All I would need is to place the barrel on top of a building and if it caught on fire the heat of the barrel will activate the solution causing the foam to do it’s job. So take the barrel and build an extra false smoke stack on your inn with it. I look forward to visiting and having a drink with you when I can get there. Don’t expect that any time during this war as it may be years before we are done but keep up the curiosity and the correspondence, I look forward to your next genius potion. Keep up the good work!
Master Alchemist Ulrich Olar
Disclaimer: The notes here in of the items in the story are a suggestion only. Each Game Master will need to approve it for their campaign. I freely admit that I did not use an “Observasionist” approach to coming up with the game stats.
Formulae Used: Cantrip, with Application Expanded area.
Rank: Veteran (Due to the Application needed)
Essence: 7 (1 for Cantrip, 6 for Application)
Activation: Exposure to air.
Container: A specially made 1 gallon wooden barren with a brand of a flame with an “X” through the mark.
Raise: Large Burst Radius of effect in a Burst
This is a modification and purification of the Power Bubbles formula. The container is a wax sealed and water tight but relatively fragile wooden barrel. The barrel has a Toughness of 4 but any damage beyond that will break it, as will 4 points of fire damage. Upon activation the liquid will foam up and expand out to a Large Burst Template. The bubbles are so active and still do clean but their primary purpose is to smother fires as it handily does so almost instantly. A single barrel can put out a flaming building. On a raise the area of effect is an 8” circle.
Small Keg Extreme Expedited Trajectorist
(SKEET, aka Barrel Thrower.)
This is a wagon based machine that uses springs, a push plate and steam powered hydrolics. The SKEET does take 10 minutes to set up and ready to fire but once set up it can fire at different targets at a rate of 1 per 3 rounds, for 20 shots before needing a 2 hour remakinge for 20 more shots. This is to build up steam and reset the springs and mechanism. It can fire a specially designed mini-keg that can hold 1 gallon of any substance, from potions to simply oil. The barrel will break on impact but it can be calibrated to deliver the package in such a way as to only damage the barrel doing no other damage. Normal fluids will spread over a small burst template on impact. Potions are dependent on the burst template of the potion, if it has one. Due to the complexity of the device it does take a Master Dwarf Wright to make it but once made it only takes 2 to operate and about 1/2 hour of instruction on it’s use and upkeep. Non-Wrights will need an extra hour to be instructed.
Creation Notes: This is an extreme version of the SALVO device. It uses Telekinesis at an extreme range, such as using the Application of Range on Telekinesis to achieve the same distance as a Catapult from the Fantasy Compendium, the damage is lessened due to the fact that it is not a rock but a barrel that is meant to break. If the device is used to throw rocks or a catapult like item then it would have a 12/24/48 range as it was designed to be used with a lighter load. It would also be at a -2 skill roll to hit but the damage would be equal to a catapult. This device is by GM permission only and then with restrictions.
Small Keg Extreme Expedited Trajectorist (Skeet)
(Same as a Catapult)
Damage of barrel is only 2d6 instead of the 2d10 from a catapult.
Special Note: This is a Master Dwarf Wright level of invention that may fire up to 20 barrels at a rate of 1 shot every 3 rounds with a trained firing team. It does take 2 hours to refurbish and “Recharge” for another 20 shots. The availability of the materials to make it is -4 and the cost is about the same as a catapult made of metal. The device is mounted onto the back of a wagon that may be pulled by a horse.