Chemical Explosives (3.5e Equipment)
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Pre-preface of the Terrorist's Handbook, from where I source much of this information:
"Let me say right now that I have not, nor would I ever actually perform any of the procedures outlined in this document. I think it is fascinating information and all, but folks get a grip! If you want to go out and blow up the Oklahoma City Federal Building nearest you then have yourselves a grand old time, and I hope the FBI comes banging on your door within an hour.
In modern day society, we know how to make and use explosives with frightening mastery. In a typical D&D world, however, this is not the case. As a DM, choose which of these are available to players (and to what degree they are being produced and if they should cost more), and which must be found. Inventing one of these requires a Craft (Alchemy) check, or two successful Divinations (a single Divination covers the existence of these potential explosives, while a second reveals the process to make a single explosive). To create an explosive, a casting of Minor Creation or Major Creation may be needed to create the components. This can generally be replaced with gold and an increased craft DC, noted in the description.
These chemicals are used primarily as explosive weapons, dealing fire damage to those nearby. If poorly handled (a failed Craft check), they explode next to the crafter, usually destroying equipment. Some only detonate on a worse failure. The damage of a failed Craft check can be halved by using extra care and thus spending twice the time to make the explosives, and also reduces the amount of equipment destroyed.
Mercury Fulminate: Craft DC 15, Cost 25 gp.
Mercury Fulminate is made by mixing and heating mercury, nitric acid and ethyl alcohol. It forms crystals sensitive to heat, shock and impact that detonate with an impressive explosion. If the crystals are thrown, an arrow tipped with it shot, or a creature holding it shocked or burned, they explode, dealing 2d6 damage fire to all within 5 feet. It is also one of the most useful initiating compounds, used to trigger larger explosions.
Mercury Fulminate requires mercury, and nitric acid. As such, it requires either one Minor Creation and one Major Creation to make 100 recipes worth of mercury fulminate, or an additional 50 gp and +5 to the craft DC to make. A failed Craft check costs 300 gp in equipment, or 1d6x10 if carefully made.
Nitroglycerine: Craft DC 20, Cost 50gp.
Nitroglycerin is made through a complicated, risky process involving mixing, chilling, measuring and storing two types of acid, salt, sodium bicarbonate, and glycerin. It forms a highly volatile liquid, exploding with little or no provocation and making a substantial explosion. It can be put in an arrow and shot, in a grenade and thrown, or used as an initiating compound. Regardless, it deals 4d6 fire damage to all within 10 feet when detonated.
Nitroglycerin requires nitric acid and sulfuric acid. As such, it requires either two Minor Creations to provide 100 recipes worth of nitroglycerin, or an additional 100 gp and +5 to the craft DC to make. A failed Craft check costs 1000 gp in equipment, or 1d4x100 if carefully made.
Nitroglycerin can be mixed with sawdust or similar materials to make a less volatile explosive known as dynamite. This makes a small amount of fire (5 damage to a carrying player or any amount directly on the dynamite) required to detonate the explosive.
Ammonium Triiodide: Craft DC 10, Cost 50 gp
Ammonium Triiodide is made simply by mixing ammonia and iodide crystals and filtering it. It forms a somewhat volatile, purple crystal that explodes into a cloud of foul smelling, staining gas with a loud bang when thrown. This cloud, ten feet in diameter, blocks sight and is poisonous when inhaled (Fort DC 13 Con 1d4/Con 1d4).
Ammonium Triiodide requires iodine crystals and ammonia. As such, it requires two Major Creations to provide 100 recipes worth of the crystals, or an additional 100 gp and +5 to the craft DC to make. A failed Craft check doesn't destroy equipment.
Cyclonite: Craft DC 25, Cost 100 gp
Cyclonite is made through a complicated, risky process involving mixing, chilling, measuring and storing nitric acid, a certain type of oil, salt, and ammonium nitrate (described below). It forms a somewhat volatile solid, exploding with a light shock or a small amount of fire (at least 2 electric or fire damage). It can be mixed with a more volatile substance to explode simply by being fired on an arrow or thrown, or primed similarly. Upon exploding, it deals 6d6 to all within 20 feet.
Cyclonite requires ammonium nitrate and nitric acid. As such, it requires a Minor Creation to provide 100 recipes worth of the material, or an additional 200 gp and +5 to the craft DC to make. A failed Craft check destroys 2000 gp of equipment, or 2d4x100 gp if carefully made.
Ammonium Nitrate: Craft DC 15, Cost 100 gp
Ammonium Nitrate is made simply by mixing ammonia and nitric acid, though it is difficult to ensure it is created without an explosion. Once made, it is difficult to detonate, requiring at least 10 fire damage to trigger. However, it deals an impressive 10d6 damage to all within 40 feet upon explosion, and knocks those within the blast back 5 feet.
Ammonium nitrate requires ammonia and nitric acid. As such, it requires two Minor Creations to provide 100 recipes worth of the crystal, or an additional 200 gp and +5 to the craft DC to make. A failed Craft check only deals half damage, and can be further reduced with careful creation, and only destroys 300 gp worth of equipment regardless of care.
Nitrostarch: Craft DC 15, Cost 150 gp
Nitrostarch is a simple explosive made by nitrating a starch with nitric and sulfuric acid. It forms a somewhat stable, powerful explosive, requiring at least 5 fire damage to detonate and dealing 10d6 fire damage to all within 40 feet upon explosion, and knocks those within the blast back 5 feet.
Nitrostarch requires nitric and sulfuric acid. As such, it requires two Minor Creations to provide 100 recipes worth of the explosive, or an additional 300 gp and +5 to the craft DC to make. A failed Craft check destroys 2000 gp worth of equipment, or 2d4x100 gp if careful.
Trinitrotoluene: Craft DC 25, Cost 200 gp
Trinitrotoluene (or TNT) is made by nitrating toluene three times with nitric and sulfuric acid. It forms a highly stable, powerful explosive, requiring at least 20 fire damage to detonate and dealing 15d6 fire damage to all within 60 feet.
TNT requires toluene, which in itself is difficult to make, along with nitric and sulfuric acid to create. As such it requires either two Minor Creations and twice the normal crafting time, or 300 gp more, four times the normal crafting time, and +5 to the Craft DC. A failed Craft check simply doesn't create the explosive, rather than detonating it, though failing by 10 or more does detonate it for 5d6 fire damage, and destroys 1000 gp worth of equipment. Careful creation reduces this to 1d4x100 gp, though doesn't reduce the damage.
Thermite: Craft DC 5, Cost 10 gp.
The Thermite reaction is not exactly an explosive, but produces a tremendous amount of heat. Simply by mixing powdered aluminum and iron oxide (rust), then heating the mixture, one can produce temperatures of 2200 degrees Celsius, and will set off any of the explosives above. It reduces any fire damage to detonate above 5 down to 5.
Crafting an explosive charge is not the easiest thing to do, but is not particularly difficult. For the most part, there are three ways to contain explosives:
Protective Container:This container is for the most volatile of explosives when used alone. It helps keep the explosives still, cooled, and otherwise un-detonated until broken. It can be thrown as a grenade like weapon, costs 10 gp to make and has a Craft DC of 10.
Two-part Charge: This container has a primer and a primary explosive. The primer, generally simple to detonate, is used to set off the more powerful primary explosive. It generally can be thrown as a grenade like weapon (as long as the primer is volatile), costs 10 gp to make and has a Craft DC of 15.
Three-part Charge: This container has a primer, a booster, and a primary explosive. This is used when the primary explosive is even more difficult to detonate, and thus needs the weak primer to ignite the booster, which then ignites the primary explosive. It generally can be thrown as a grenade like weapon (as long as the primer is volatile), costs 20 gp to make and has a Craft DC of 20.