Saturday, March 5, 2016

Item: Rockets



In a previous post on Step-Rockets, I mentioned an historical document, a manuscript on rocketry by Conrad Haas. This post is a followup that provides stats in Honor+Intrigue for four sizes of rockets. A Step-Rocket would be either a large or a huge rocket. I've adapted these stats from from the Wondrous Devices supplement from All-for-One: Regime Diabolique. Each L of damage is counted as 1d6. That seems about right as the small rocket does 2L which is 1L less than a falconet, the smallest cannon, which in the Savage World version of All-for-One does a little more damage (2d8+1) than does a musket (2d8). In H+I a musket does 2d6. By treating each L (presumably level) of damage as 1d6 we keep the same ratio of damage for the rockets.

Rockets (adapted from All for One: Regime Diabolique)

While the Chinese, Mongols, and Muslims have used rockets in warfare for centuries, they remain something of a novelty in Europe. Conrad Haas (1509–1576), a military engineer serving the Holy Roman Empire, wrote a treatise on the use of rockets in warfare during the 16th century, but the work has, until relatively recently, remained obscure. (The book exists only in German.) His work concerns not just tactics, but also delves into the use of constructing multi-stage rockets and using liquid propellants. Ironically, Haas was an advocate of peace, viewing war as a waste of both life and money.

Rockets are essentially large fireworks packed with varying amounts of gunpowder. The artillerist aligns the trajectory, lights the fuse, and runs for his life.

Use: A successful Gunnery roll means the warhead impacts on the intended target. A failure causes a misfire, which causes the rocket to veer off course and explode harmlessly. On a critical failure, the rocket explodes while being lit. While this is obviously bad for the artillerist, it becomes equally so for everyone nearby if the rocket is part of a battery mounted on the same frame.

Rockets may be fired individually or in barrages from the same launch frame. A cumulative –1 penalty occurs for each rocket after the first fired in the same salvo. Note that the rockets can be angled to hit different parts of the battlefield, even if they are fired collectively.

Area Effect: Accurately firing a rocket requires a Gunnery roll, but called shots cannot be used to increase the damage. When a rocket explodes, it damages everything in its area of effect. Roll the listed damage rating once against all opponents in the area, not for each individual target. Every 5 feet from the center of the blast removes the highest remaining d6 from the damage roll.

Creation: Creating a single small rocket is a Rare Alchemy creation. Larger Rockets have an increased difficulty. It takes 2 hours per d6 of damage the rocket does. In addition to some wood and paper (available for free from various sources), a half-pound of gunpowder is required for each 2d6 damage.

Rocket, small
100 ft.
2 lb.
Area effect
Rocket, medium
200 ft.
4 lb.
Area effect
Rocket, large
300 ft.
10 lb.
Area effect
Rocket, huge
600 ft.
25 lb.
Area effect



  1. Very good post on this subject, and right on the money - if not on the target, which happened most of the time. I'm reminded of two quotes, the first from a RA general on rockets: "Think, gentlemen, what an improvement we would have thought guns would have been if rockets had been invented first..."
    And from the RA manual for the rocket in British service: "Best when used on uncivilized tribes and Americans..."

  2. Ha! The Congreve Rocket was neither an effective nor a popular design, though Bernard Cornwell does have his Napoleonic hero, Richard Sharpe, use them to good effect in one battle.