|Invented by||House von Treppewitz engineers alongside the Belliard Guild|
|Used by||Specialized regiments in the Regalian Army|
|Common uses||Use as a Ranged Weapon|
Muskete is a relatively new type of ranged weapon which has succeeded in miniaturizing cannon technology into a handheld variant. Effective at firing a small metal shot forwards in the air, the invention has gained the interest of a few military researchers, who believed that the weapons could revolutionize the way battles are fought in the future. However, due to its recent invention, as well as the exclusive production of the weapons by its creators, Muskete is both expensive and difficult to acquire with only a few small regiments of the Regalian Army being given permission to field test these weapons. Despite its small numbers in circulation, Muskete appears to be finding a place in military tactics, if only as a small auxiliary force, in order to catch the enemy off guard with an unconventional weapon.
Muskete finds its origins in the latter months of 306 AC through the efforts of House von Treppewitz. A military Wirtem House which has held the highest ranks of the Regalian Military since the fall of House Cadar, von Treppewitz has always been focused on military engineering, formulating both new field tactics and researching new forms of weaponry to create a unique advantage. This research was put on display during a military conference in November of 306 AC to highlight the military advances of the Regalian Empire. One exhibit of this conference was the schematics and designs for hand-held cannons, unique in that they were much smaller and lighter than their larger counterparts. Dubbed the Imperial Hunting Rifle as a placeholder term, the testing prototypes proved expensive to make, leading to the weapons to be seen more as a curiosity than an actual military tool.
The handheld prototypes remained as they were for about a year until the House von Drachenburg took an interest in the project. While there were some minor developments made since the conference, the weapon was simply too expensive in its current state for use beyond a few crack shot soldiers. The fine machinery used to operate the devices was still extremely complicated to mass-produce, with only a single smithy having the schematic designs to make the necessary parts. With the finances still needed to support research and development, von Drachenburg offered limited assistance, though their initial sponsorship was mostly a token donation to the engineers.
With limited funding arriving to von Treppewitz, the handheld cannons remained stuck in the development stage until the middle of 308 AC. With a decision from House Black to close off the Schoen River from all passing ships, a trade crisis ensued where merchants began to dump their contents into the river, including minerals that served as raw materials for manufacturing. Due to their close proximity to the Schoen, several industrious individuals began to salvage the discarded materials, transporting them to von Treppewitz, which caused a small industrial boom in the Waldmark region. This sudden increase in productivity saw another party enter the development field, the Purists of Belliard. Known for their Puretek weapons, The Purists of Heress Belliard immediately partnered with von Treppewitz to provide the necessary resources that von Drachenburg had failed to deliver. Together, the two entities under the Belliard Guild eventually produced field-worthy weapons for testing. Deriving its new name from the Muskete Sparrowhawk, a predatory bird native to the region, the weapons began to show promise for mass-deployment, though there was still some work to be done. Their relative inaccuracy owed largely to failure rates, misfires, and breaking, with the weapons’ loud noises reported to cause fear even in those testing the weapons. With practical usage nearing its cusp, von Drachenburg once again invested into the project, this time with greater funding allocated. On top of funding, Dietrich von Drachenburg as the seated Chancellor at the time granted the Belliard Guild a monopoly on Muskete production (though this monopoly was later revoked by a later Chancellor, Madelyn di Azcoissia). These efforts, on top of the combined engineers of the Belliards and von Treppewitz, allowed Muskete development to progress unobstructed for the remainder of the year, allowing for the drawbacks of the weapons to be reduced. While there is still a chance of failure in the weapons, a few test regiments of Muskete shooters have been incorporated into the Regalian Military under supervision from the Grand Admiral, who is interested in keeping his house’s invention out of the hands of the self-centered nobility.
Due to the prior monopoly on Muskete giving it several years of development edge on any would-be competition, along with its usage confined to only a few hundred soldiers in specialized groups of the Regalian Military, very little is known about how Muskete is made. What is known is that the earliest prototypes borrowed technology from the Alaru Addir weapons which were used to defeat Bone Horrors in 304 AC. Furthermore, the inclusion of the Belliard Guilds in the development of the weapons has caused some to theorize that Puretek technology has also played a small role in the final product. Whatever the technology is behind Muskete, what is known about the weapon is thus: they are extremely complicated to imitate, they are expensive to manufacture, and they are extremely dangerous if used in the wrong way. These aspects have led to most rival parties abandoning their hopes of acquiring Muskete knowledge, resigning to the fact that this weapon will probably only see limited usage and only in battles where the Regalian Military is directly invested. It is not possible to obtain or use Muskete in roleplay.
Muskete features a long barrel similar to Puretek in appearance and composition, lacks any engravings, and has a sleek, smooth finish. A wooden piece known as a stock forms the weapons’ structural support, providing a means to brace the weapon against a user’s shoulder and hold the other components. The firing mechanism appears to be based on a combination of Clockwork, springs, and other mechanical elements, with a small trigger actuator that fires the weapon when in use.
Muskete firing follows a few steps. First, a small gunpowder satchel is inserted into the barrel, with a thin rod being used to push the satchel down to the firing mechanism. Next, the user inserts a metal projectile down the barrel, after which they can pull a small switch near the trigger to prepare the weapon for firing. Once this is done, a Muskete shooter only needs to aim the weapon using the barrel’s length as a guide, before pressing down on the trigger to fire the metal projectile. In some instances, a small telescope is attached to the weapon’s barrel to aid in firing, allowing for better accuracy in hitting a target.
The immediate effect of a Muskete shot is the noise and smoke that comes following a successful firing. Living up to its description of a handheld cannon, the weapon creates a black cloud of smoke that obscures the user’s vision for a few moments until it dissipates, with the noise of the shot being reported as deafening. This is not considered hyperbole, and special headgear is given to Muskete users to prevent permanent hearing loss (though as with regular field artillery, many soldiers still end up with some form of deafness). As for the projectile itself, field reports describe the damage as similar to an Anglian Longbow shot, except that the target does not have the benefit of seeing an arrow lodged into their body. Indeed, a Muskete shot is extremely painful to the target, with a well-placed shot leading to immediate death. For those fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to survive the initial shot, the Muskete projectile either exits the body from the other end or becomes lodged inside, requiring immediate medical care to remove the object. However, due to the scope of medicine in modern Aloria, only the most skilled surgeons are able to successfully remove a Muskete shot, surgeons which are often a rarity on the front lines of war.
Another, albeit rarer, side-effect of Muskete is weapon malfunction. While development over time has seen the safety and reliability of the weapons increased, there are still cases where a Muskete shooter suffers a malfunction. In the best cases, the weapon does not fire due to a jammed projectile or a dud gunpowder satchel. Of worse cases, the firing mechanism can explode, sending shrapnel into the body of nearby soldiers, requiring similar medical treatment as those would-be targets of a Muskete shot. While this scenario is extremely unlikely, the risk of having one’s face blown off has led Muskete shooters to carefully maintain their weapons, often testing their weapons by firing an empty barrel to ensure that the internal mechanisms work as intended.
- Despite several groups, such as the nobility, desiring Muskete for their own private usage, the Belliard Guild has refused to supply anybody besides the Regalian Military.
- There have been several prior attempts to create handheld cannons, though the reports of severe maims from early prototypes dissuaded any would-be investors until House von Treppewitz took on the challenge.
- While some military enthusiasts believe that Muskete will one day make individuals such as Knights obsolete, they fail to account for the heavy alignment the Belliard Guilds have to groups such as the Darkwald Order, who make up their largest customer base with their other inventions such as Puretek.