From Treatise on Demolition: Dwarven Black Powder By Hrolfgar the Mad --
Revaliir is no stranger to explosive substances. The existence of the spell “explosion” - an incantation originally created solely to mimic the natural phenomena they observed - is proof enough to support that conjecture. Yet most who are not deeply involved in the industry of demolition could scarcely fathom just how many variations there are, nor that not all “powders” are not created equal.
According to known history, the dwarves of Baltil were the first to employ a naturally occurring, volatile substance in either an industrial or military venture. Dwarven “black powder” was the name of that legendary substance, the creation of which skyrocketed Dwarven mining operations and Dwarven smithing superiority.
Most amateur miners assume that mining is done primarily through digging implements and traditional tools such as the shovel and pickaxe. For small scale operations, this holds true. Dwarves, however, rarely deal in ventures the size of their stature. Their “black powder” currently holds the title for strongest known explosive in the world and has been used in mining as well as war since time immemorial.
The powder was created by a dwarf whose original name we no longer know. His nickname was apparently “Cheesy” because of the peculiar odor that he always carried with him. What that odor was is likely one of the ingredients for black powder, but the truth is we don’t know exactly what it was. The Dwarves are notoriously tight-lipped about the history of their powder. They guard its secrets like a chaste father guards his daughter’s virginity. It is also punishable by death if an unauthorized party is caught with even a small sample of powder on their person. The powder’s ingredients as well as possession are state secrets under lock and key just as formidable as Karith’s, alchemical, brain hubs.
Whatever goes into the powder, however, its destructive ability is undeniable. It looks very unassuming in its natural, black, sugar-like form, but you never forget how dangerous that foul-smelling sugar is when you first see it in action; especially if a former colleague just happens to be turned into mush by it while standing right in front of you. Poor bastard.
Multiple attempts to recreate “black powder” throughout the past have led to the proliferation of different demolition-based tinctures, but not one has ever succeeded in mimicking the original. They all fall short in either efficiency or transportability; sometimes both. Even the Dwarves’ prized invention has its own weaknesses, one of which eventually led to the creation of costly spell cannons. Here is an overview of what we know in succinct format:
That last point is something true of all known explosives in Revaliir. While fireworks and domestic pyrotechnics do exist in places like Arri, those are usually combinations of magic and alchemy rather than raw alchemical compositions like those that make up the explosives I am referring to in this document. It has been theorized that our world simply lacks the elements or processes necessary to create something strong enough to be used in handheld weaponry but tame enough to prevent maiming or killing the user of said weaponry.