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Black powder or gunpowder is a highly combustible chemical mixture that is used as a propellant in ranged weapons such as handguns and cannons. It was first developed by the Dwarfs and later taken up by the Empire. It was soon recognized by military leaders that despite it's dangerous unreliability, black powder weapons were far superior to the old ways of dealing death at a distance. Dwarf Engineers have had centuries to refine the technology to a point where they can use it with some measure of reliability, but in the Empire, it is still experimental and costly, it's secrets known only to an educated few, usually Alumni of the Imperial gunnery school at Nuln, a major cannon foundry.
Most handguns in the Empire are either simple matchlocks or flintlocks, with the Dwarfs generally preferring more complex wheel-lock firing mechanisms. A wide variety of guns, cannons and other black powder war machines have been developed over the years. From the rare Hochland Long Rifle to multi-chambered pistols, from iron grenades to the devastating Helblaster Volley Gun, black powder has been a fruitful source of inspiration for military engineers and weaponsmiths.