I remember in my previous life there existed an image with all the essentials a time traveler would require to jumpstart a technological revolution. I didn’t exactly remember everything, but black powder is one of those things that isn’t too difficult to make with time and care. Dangerous yes, but relatively simple.
Some ratio of sulfur, charcoal, and potassium something. Probably.
So there I was barely a month old and ready to bring fire and steel into what was obviously a typical fantasy land filled with all sorts of dangerous monsters roaming around. Sadly that daydream was nipped in the bud the moment I heard the unmistakable cracking of guns and the sharp scent of cordite stuck to my new grandfather’s clothes.
The old lever action rifle slung over his back as he left to caravan to a neighboring settlement was pretty telling.
“So Master Rockgar? I got twenty pounds of pre seasoned smoked and cured sausage in this here barrel. I’d say that’s a fairly good deal for twenty of your .577 shells?” I grinned with my arms resting over the counter of the village gunsmith.
The older dwarf harrumphed, twirling his long hay colored moustache in thought. Narrowing his gaze he pushed his spectacles up the bridge of his nose while looking up at my slightly taller form.
Hah, see what a proper nutritional balance does for growth old timer?
“Unacceptable.” Damn. “Non-warriors, hunters-”
“-and adventurers are limited to ten Monster Stoppers a month, yes sir, I know.”
“So why do you want so many shells?”
“Just want to get some practice in and have a few extra shots handy when I go foraging in the forest tomorrow. Just because feral sightings have dropped and most beasts don’t bother roaming close to the village doesn’t mean I won’t run into trouble.” Easily I drawl, waving my hands melodramatically around the room towards the not so imaginary figments that roam the forests to the south of our settlement.
Ferals at least there was a chance at diplomacy what with most of them this far at the edge of the kingdom likely never having seen a dwarf. Now monsters on the other hand…
Well, that’s one good reason that the majority of the native population of Dhazad were living as nomads or in huts prior to the intervention of dwarven steel and gunpowder a hundred years ago. Giant warm blooded avian reptiles that should be relegated to the fossil record regularly roamed unpatrolled plains with little fear. Packs of larger than normal mammals sporting dense bone carapace and spikes reaved the forests if not regularly culled. Deadly carnivorous plants regularly snatched up and fed on unwary travelers moving too close to the rainforests of the south. Ants the size of my meaty fist held absolute dominance within their underground burrows deep in the mountains. A guy couldn’t even take a dip in a lake without the threat of being swallowed whole by catfish the size of a large shark.
I cannot stress enough just how dangerous the frontier can be. The above generalization doesn’t even begin to factor in the ‘intelligent races’ who made their home within and immediately outside the kingdom’s borders. Feral demihumans and beastmen can be dangerous, but they can be reasoned with. The majority of orcs less so, and the less said about the plague of goblinoid pests the better.
Then again I’m putting this into the perspective of a former human. For the stone tough and grim faced dwarves who built Dhazad however, this land was pretty much par for the course.
Tidy your beard, pull up your breeches, put on some rune plate, grab your axe, strap on a shield, and load your guns for anything up to and including dragons. If whatever being that transported the fortress city of Har Khon across worlds wanted someone to pacify this region, well…
I’m pretty sure they succeeded beyond all expectations.
“Ach. You could go out there with a .303 lever action and be fine. I know you own a Krug rifle boy, I don’t know why you have such a pick to dull with that single shot Letz of yours.” Gunsmith Rockgar snorts, pointing to the open box of bullets stacked next to twelve others just like it.
The sign over it reads-
This month’s special ammunition sale!
1 Silver for 10 Rounds!
300 Rounds to a Box!
Buy 1 and get half off the second!
I shrugged in response and added a jar of fermented cabbage on top of the barrel. “I’d rather have a gun that can make a grizzly mess of whatever I’m pointing at with one shot instead of blasting round after round into an armored boar that’ll just make it angrier.” I replied glancing towards the shop’s ammunition prices.
10 Copper per Round
2 Silver per Round
10 Silver per Round
Double asking price for slugs!
3 Silver per Round
5 Silver per Round
15 Silver per Round
35 Silver per Round
70 Silver per Round
1 Silver per Round
50 Silver per Round
1 Gold, 50 Silver per Round
“And if there’s more than one thing you need to shoot?” Rockgar rolls his eyes, and tugs his beard with an aggrieved expression already knowing my answer.
He follows the school of thought that more shots is always better. It makes sense given he runs a business where most of his profit comes from bulk sales of common calibers rather than the money made from specialty ammunition. Such rounds are usually bought by overprepared Adventurers or Hunters going for big game from the get go and even then in small quantities.
Bigger nonstandard rounds are expensive and you generally only need one or two shots of the proper size to take down most monsters.
I am however, an adherent of the philosophy of big enough to get the job done, and a little extra just in case. As such, a Monster Stopper bullet straddles that fine line where most everything I’d expect to encounter will go down from a even a limb shot and also taking care of any bigger creatures without much trouble by turning their torsos into mulched hamburger.
Unless I run into a dragon or a particularly large terrorsaur, but then I’ve got bigger problems to worry about.
That said I’m not adverse against Rockgar’s belief that more bullets can only be better.
“That’s what this is for.” I chuckle and place my .455 Blutz revolver on the table with a growing grin. “I’ll throw in two jars of squash apple sauce if you can get me twelve meals for my dear friend here.”
“Gods be good boy, you’re going to gather herbs not go on a terrorsaur hunt! You sure being a Hearthkeeper is your calling?” The dwarf grumbles, but ducks beneath the counter to fill place the beautiful brass covered bullets into a the leather pouches I fork over.
“What can I say? I don’t feel right without the reassuring weight of superior dwarven engineering on my hip and in my arms.” Thank you very much my old insurgent friend. The midday deliveries you used to send crashing everywhere but the mortar shelters gave me a mild case of paranoia that lasted some time beyond my tenure in the army and well after my first life.
I dearly hope someone ended up blowing you to pieces in return <3
With my purchases happily tucked away in my room within the village dining hall, I whistled cheerfully as I set about preparing tub after sizzling tub of brats that were even now being ferried towards the buffet table by one of my demi volunteers for dinner service. Despite not having an apprentice or three of my own I had no shortage of eager helpers clamoring for my favor week after week.
It helped tremendously that whoever was part of my serving or kitchen help detail would get first dibs on the first batch of food I made and the allowance to snack on one or two choice bits in between work.
“Master Yumly, will it be long for next batch of coleslaw to be finished? Those grass eaters are going through the salad bar faster than everyone else is with the bratwurst and cornbread!” A tall, fiery haired and blue eyed wolf demi called out in the midst of picking up and several trays of freshly cooked sausage.
Freki of course is already chewing up a link in his sharp toothed maw as his younger brother Geri shoves past him with a grin and two juicy hunks of meat sticking out of his mouth.
I’d make a dick joke here, but really that’d be too easy.
“Send Ori over after you finish delivering these brats! I’ll have another batch done in a few minutes!” I wave the older teenager off with a set of steel tongs, casually flipping the last pan of cooked meat into a metal tub to easily twirl around a slim horse girl who had been cutting up a not insignificant number of cabbages.
A large mixing bowl of already prepared amounts of vegetables sits at my new station, and I get to work on another batch of slaw mix. Salt, pepper, vinegar, honey, celery seeds, and a questionable mayo is thrown together and whisked by hand until it’s nice and thick before I dump in the prepared veggies into the mix and begin to toss it with gusto.
I say questionable not because it’s gone bad or anything, but because the village doesn’t have a ready supply of chicken eggs. Sadly chickens don’t exist here and there doesn’t seem to be a creature that fills a similar livestock role.
Yet I did use eggs in making said mayonnaise.
Civilized harpy eggs brought in from a trading caravan to be specific. If I had coconut or palm oil I’d have gladly made an eggless sauce, but well…
Food is food. The thought of eating something pushed out by a humanoid did set ill with me, but cooking is chemistry and science is progress! Besides, the indigenous demihumans and beastmen be they feral or civilized, have long practiced utilizing the resources produced by their lineage for generations before the arrival of the dwarves!
As a firm believer of the free market, I have to do my part in keeping the economy afloat by providing the necessary demand for those wonderfully colorful bird women to keep laying more eggs! Eventually maybe I’ll end up with this world’s equivalent of a Chicken Harpy if I live long enough.