The Order of Secrets
Another propellant idea predates the use of gunpowder by a thousand years: steam. This design resembles a cannon placed in a furnace. It uses a cannon-like tube: closed at one end, open at the other, internally divided into front and back chambers but with a valve between the two. The closed end is heated in a fire, reaching temperatures of 1,000°F, while a projectile is loaded into the front chamber. A small quantity of water (as little as a half-cup for a small steam cannon) introduced into the furnace end flashes into steam, and the enormous pressure forces out the projectile, just as exploding gunpowder would.
Portable 1-lb. Steam Cannon. This weapon is set on a wagon or carriage like a field gun and fires small stone or metal balls. The relatively high cost and weight comes from the heavy bronze boiler on a brick base. It takes at least 15 minutes to bring up to temperature and consumes 20 lbs. of wood per hour.
Fixed 1-lb. Steam Cannon. This version, designed for fixed positions (though it might be mounted with considerable effort on a large ship), uses a lighter boiler and a much thicker layer of stone and earth for insulation. Though the weapon as a whole can’t be picked up andmoved, the barrel can turn through a sizable arc for aiming. Like the portable version, it takes at least 15 minutes to bring up to temperature, but because of superior insulation, consumes 15 lbs. of wood per hour.
10-lb. Steam Cannon. This is a larger version of the fixed cannon, designed for mounting in towers and on walls. It fires amuch heavier projectile with enormous force. It requires at least 30 minutes to come to temperature, and consumes 120 lbs. of wood per hour.
|Weapon||Damage||AP||Range||Weight||Firing Mode||Reload Time|
|Portable 1 lb. Steam Cannon||5D||2||80/160/700/1,400||700/1 lbs.||SS||30|
|Fixed 1 lb. Steam Cannon||5D||2||80/160/700/1,400||1,900/1 lbs.||SS||30|
|10 lb. Steam Cannon||10D||2||190/380/1,500/3,000||8000/10 lbs.||SS||45|