The cloud doesnt have much of a smell. It looks like fog until it's on you and then it's two late. A couple of sucking breaths and your chest is one fire and your eyes are bleeding. Terrible stuff, but if you think it is tough on the living, you should see what it does to the dead
PVT Thomas Quinn.
Full Item Description
Despite its impressive name, the Saristreea Grenade is a lackluster weapon. It is normally a five gallon sized hogshead barrel that has been sealed with wax and marked with dire and ominous warnings. Loaded into a trebuchet or a catapult, the barrel is flung into enemy strongholds and fortified positions. Upon impact, a vaporizing agent in the mixture quickly renders the liquid inside into a cloying cloud of dense white smoke.
The war between the city-states of Nimz and Cheelstat was a long and brutal affair. Rather than the clash of swords and clatter of knightly hooves, the field of battle was scarred and rent by the massive siege engines and war golems of the Nimzians and their nationalist foes, the Cheelstat Regime. Within two years, most of the land around the city of Nimz was a bleak wasteland of trenches burrowed into the ground by special automata. Towers rose from this labyrinth of trenches, command posts, and siege batteries. On the opposite side of the Nimzian lines were the fortifications of the Cheelstaters, an equally dense maze of trenches, towers, and palisade walls.
The war proved that neither side could win by sheer force of numbers or by mobility. It had turned into a meatgrinder between poorly armed and trained militia companies, scattered bands of mercenaries and crews of repeating crossbowmen, arbalesteers, and trebuchet engineers.
As this war dragged on, the powers that were demanded new weapons to defeat the enemy, pushing their mages, alchemists, and artificiers to find more effective ways to terrorize and slaughter their foes. Crossbow design changed more in the first three years of the conflict than it had in more than 300 years of basic use. Another thing that was created were special munitions to be fired from the trebuchets. The Saristreea Grenade was one of the most terrifying and effective of the Cheelstat Terror weapons. As the wooden canisters fell and shattered, the corpses of the dead rose up from where they were and fell on the living as zombies are want to do.
Eventually the grenade was countered, not by alchemical means but by battlefield triage and recovery and removal of bodies. Eventually the Nimzian Sawbones and cartmen were able to keep their trenches clear of dead bodies which greatly reduced the effectiveness of the Saristreea grenade.
The vapors put off by a destructed casque of Saristreea are caustic to living tissue. While not as effective or lethal as mustard gas or chlorine gas, it is certainly signifigantly more potent than modern tear gas. Protracted exposure can cause death, but most survive the gaw with burns to the eyes and mucus membranes and loose the ability to smell.
As mentioned above, the effect of the gas on the dead is much worse. Sloughing the outer layers of skin, and often some layers of fat and muscle, the corpses of the dead staggering into undeath. This is a short term magical effect, and zombies and skeletons animated by this cloud only last for a few hours before collapsing to the ground. While this limits their effectiveness, there is no limit to the number of times a corpse will rise to the call of the Saristreea.
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? Responses (8)-8
A useful item - not earthshaking but a practical employment of necromancy.
Perhaps not the most effective weapon of war, but certainly an interesting device to encounter! I could see such casques being used to clear enemy defenders from part of a city's parapets prior to an attack by war automata, undead, or other attackers that won't be hindered by the gas.
Such a weapon might also be carried by the handful of dark priests and magi able to force the undead to their will. Alternatively, bound undead could use such a weapon themselves, magnifying their destructive power by giving them a horde of lesser undead to command.
Ooh - thats a good one. Zombie grenadiers armed with Saristreea grenades!
Added it to my Items of War codex. It fits in prefectly!
A useful item to have on a battlefield full of dead bodies. How controllable are the undead that it summons?
The undead spawned by the grenade are uncontrolled, though a skilled necromancer could easily sway them for as long as their animation lasts.
Here, have a 4. Throws you a 4. Beware the pointyness of the 4.
Ohh, nasty. Take a WWI battleground turned into its fantasy equivalent... and you might just see this. An okay item, with a bonus for the environment.
Wow. That's just wrong. And yet, I could see this weapon being used within my own world, far in the past...