Way of Gunpowder

Centuries ago, The Cantong Qi, written by the legendary alchemist Wei Boyang documented the first formula for gunpowder. Deep in the mountains, Wei Boyang entrusted his invention to a secret society of monks, named for the very text which they study to this day. Through hundreds of years of innovation and practice, the monks of the Cantong Qi developed a martial art surrounding the potent and explosive compound. According to their teachings, the world is not ready for this power and its spread would bring about ruin. For this reason, only a select few have mastered the way of the three powders.

Volatile Strikes

Starting at 3rd level, you learn the secret method for applying an explosive alchemical formula through martial arts. For every unarmed strike you hit against a target, you coat them with an ingredient of the formula, which dissipates after 10 minutes. As a reaction, you may spend a ki point to ignite the ingredients as long as you are within 30 feet of your target. You can have ingredients placed on multiple targets simultaneously and a single ki point will ignite them all, causing the effects of all applications and consuming the charges.

  • 1st Application. The target is disoriented by the sparking explosion and has disadvantage on all attacks until the beginning of your next turn.
  • 2nd Application. A bright flashing pop accompanies the explosion causing the blinded and deafened condition on your target until the beginning of your next turn.
  • 3rd Application. A fiery inferno erupts on your target, dealing 3d6 fire damage. Starting at 7th level, you may add your Martial Arts die to the damage as you master the tactical placement of the ingredients.

Elixir of Fire

Starting at 6th level, you master the alchemical formula for a dangerously potent mixture that only your body can handle — the Fire Elixir. You can make one Fire Elixir during a long rest. The elixir becomes inert after 24 hours. Imbibing the Fire Elixir can have one of two effects depending on the final ingredient you mix.

  • Spark Powder. You gain resistance to fire damage and can take an additional bonus action on your turn for one minute.
  • Drake Bonedust. You enter a catatonic state indistinguishable from death for one hour. You are fully aware and conscious of your body and surroundings during this time and can wake up as a reaction. Only magic or a DC 20 Medicine check can see through your false demise. Upon waking up, your body violently expels the elixir, causing a wave of fire to burst from your mouth in a 15-foot cone. Anyone caught in the cone must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw or take 3d6 fire damage.

Incendiary Arsenal

Starting at 11th level, you may craft a powerful weapon packed with your secret gunpowder formula. Choose one of the following each time you take a long rest.

  • Fire Lance. You modify a spear to have a gunpowder-filled barrel at the end. As a bonus action, you can detonate the barrel, causing a 20-foot line of flame to propel forward. Creatures caught in the blast must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw or take 8d8 fire damage. Once this ability has been used, you must a prepare a new Fire Lance before detonating it again.
  • Thunderclap Bomb. You create three Thunderclap Bombs by packing gunpowder and shrapnel into wooden spike tubes. As an action, you can throw a Thunderclap Bomb to an empty space within 30 feet where it stakes into a surface. At the beginning of your next turn or the first time a creature enters the space of the Thunderclap Bomb, it detonates. Anyone within 10 feet of the Thunderclap Bomb must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw. On a failed save, the creature takes 2d8 damage and gains the Stunned condition until the end of their next turn.

Perfect Combustion

Starting at 17th level, you have perfected the formula for maximum explosive potential. You gain all of the following:

  • You are no longer limited to three applications of Volatile Strikes on a single target. For each additional application above the third, increase the damage of the detonation by an additional 2d6. This effect is additive and does not have a limit.


  • You have created the ultimate Elixir of Fire, combining both effects that last permanently. You can choose to enter the catatonic state or breathe fire as an action.
  • The range of Fire Lance’s blast increases to a 40-foot cone. You can throw Thunderclap Bombs as a bonus action. During a long rest, you can prepare three charges in the Fire Lance and nine Thunderclap Bombs.
Section 15: Copyright Notice

5E: Age of Antiquity Adventure and Intrigue in the Ancient World © 2019 Aruzian Publishing, Stephen Delucchi, Marcus Lundin

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