One of the biggest design issues I came across when I decided to formalize my game world was "What to do about gunpowder" Its a common enough problem in most fantasy worlds but its exacerbated by the multi-dimensional sandbox aspect of the world.
A while back though I came up with an answer. Simply, gunpowder doesn't work, the recipe is known but do to "magical material saturation" ,the same thing that makes magic items and alchemy work, a number of normal chemical processes don't.
It sounds like the usual cop-out but actually it isn't for yes there is gunpowder, not made by alchemy and in fact as Astute readers will have noted there is a Gunpowder Empire.
How this works is dragons and several other beasties eat the material that make up gunpowder and digest the magic. Get yourself some dragon or disenchanter dung, apply the usual recipes and viola, gunpowder.
This means, few people use firearms outside that one are but if the players want them they are there if characters have the money and do a little looking around.
This keeps firearms from dominating battle fields but allows me a full on flintlock ear technology.
And just in case anyone is wondering, there are magic firearms. They are made about the same way as regular items.
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