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After reading a few chapter s of the anarchist's cookbook (I checked it out from the local library) I found a few nifty things not ordinarily seen in shadowrun: Cheap explosives.
The first of these, thermite, any high schooler should know about. If you can get the magnesium (10/10th of the total volume) it's not hard to make a variety of thermite that, although not super-powerful, can neatly melt holes through quite a lot of things. (Like train couplers, for example.) The other two ingredients, rust and aluminum filings, can be removed from any automobile in a junkyard for a pittance .Although not practical as a weapon, this is a LOT cheaper to make than to buy as according to book price. (It's in a book somewhere, anyway.)
The second is the classic styrofoam in gasoline. Although not truly plastique, it's easier to smuggle a box of packing peanuts and a gascan than a bunch of plastic explosives-and it's legal to own the ingredients. Just mix them on site, and apply. My question is: How well does this stuff work in game terms?
The third, and perhaps most nasty homemade weapon of all time, is a bomb called a hellhound. Essentially a long tube of thermite with a small charge in the end encased in a tube of a highly flammable liquid, the bombis easily made from legal materials availible from anyone who sells metal boxes and a gas station. The thermite is loosely packed into a a pipe with a long-burning fuse at the end (or, if you can afford it, a remote detonator), with a bit of black powder or homemade plastique at the other. When the thermite is lit, it slowly burns down the length of the tube (no oxygen is really needed; it's a replacement reaction once the magneisum has started it), heating the liquid to absurdly high temperatures and turning it into a super-compressed gas. When the charge is lit, the cap is blown off, igniting the superheated gas. This gives you a lovely fireball which can do some serious damage due to its rapid expansion and contraction. How much damage would this do as a weapon?
These questions are sort of dumb, but I figure I'll have players who try to save money by doing these, so I may as well ask.
Fygg Nuuton
the anarchist cookbook is dangerous. i do not recommend doing any of the recipes inside

and gasoline and styrofoam is more akin to napalm than plastique
And -- just to check -- but is it a good idea to post those recipe/instruction things on here? I've heard of other forums potentially getting into trouble for that sort of thing. I dunno, it could'a just been rumors or whatever, but while we're all boiling about SR4 would be a bad time for DS to get shut down by Homeland Security or something zany.
Austere Emancipator
This is only for use in a game, nothing wrong with that, right?

Fygg Nuuton is right that mixing gasoline and styrofoam will produce a substance which is rather similar to napalm -- it will not, AFAIK, explode, just burn, nor will it have similar physical characteristics as plastic explosives.

As for improvised explosives manufactured from flammable materials, they obviously shouldn't do as much damage as actual high explosives. In an otherwise canon game, a well-done IED of this type should probably do something like 2D per kilogram, just below "Commercial Explosives" at 3D/kg.
I'm not sayin' I thought anything was wrong with it. I'd just swear I'd heard of some web sites gettin' hammered for stuff like this. S'all good with me. *shrugs*
Austere Emancipator wrote:
This is only for use in a game, nothing wrong with that, right?

Depends on who you're talking to. IIRC Steve Jackson Games had huge problems with the Secret Service over the GURPS book about cyber-crime. And that was before 9-11!

I think Critias is right, we have to excercise some care in what we post.
I have known of experiments with home made thermite.

All I will say is that the production of powdered aluminium is not trivial. An hours labour with a moderately fine file will not yield sufficient powder for a test and if you examine the powder generated by an angle grinder under a magnifying glass you find that the friction heat already oxidised a significant portion of the grains.

I don’t know how it was made but once in chemistry class an experiment was performed using finely powdered aluminium (to show mettle base reaction) so it can be obtained from chemical supply stores, but they have a tendency to ask why you want such things.

Although it no doubt would be fun to do making thermite is not nearly as easy as people like to think.

wouldn't touch the cook book, if you don't know what you are doing it is very dangerous, with the climate the way it is at the moment you could get into big trouble (as Critias said)!!

If you are looking into explosives etc for the game , take a look at any A level Chemistry book, I remember when i did mine we needed to know how to make explosive chemistry! the alcohols are the best (Alkanes and Alkenes)

torz x cool.gif
I've never read the Anarchist's Cookbook, but I know one home-made explosive weapon. You get a small stick of PVC pipe, cap off one end, and pour gasoline into it. You get another cap and drill a hole in it, then cap off the other end of the PVC pipe. Make a fuse and stick it in the hole that you drilled and BAM! Instant pipe-bomb. I've never tried using it myself, but my freind has. You could also put little peices of metal in there for added shrapnel effect.
QUOTE (Phyrexus)
I've never read the Anarchist's Cookbook, but I know one home-made explosive weapon. You get a small stick of PVC pipe, cap off one end, and pour gasoline into it. You get another cap and drill a hole in it, then cap off the other end of the PVC pipe. Make a fuse and stick it in the hole that you drilled and BAM! Instant pipe-bomb. I've never tried using it myself, but my freind has. You could also put little peices of metal in there for added shrapnel effect.

Buy rights that shouldn’t work.

You have plenty of fuel but no oxidiser I can see and no fast dispersal method to achieve an FAE.

To be honest if you really want to make something on the level of a pipe bomb go threw the relatively easy steps to get a shotgun (even in gun scared Australia membership to a skeet shooting club will get you a licence for a double barrelled or under and over shotgun), buy a shell packing kit and a big bag of gunpowder.

I won’t put the rest of the instructions up hear, that would be to close to the security agencies notice even for me. Anyway, anybody that cant workout how to make a pipe bomb from gunpowder is not likely an SR player.

Come to think about it with the things discussed on this board ether it has been removed from the search fields for the anti terror agencies or they have somebody monitoring it full time, most of the threads on dump shock discus something that would be considered terrorism and I doubt there computer programs can tell when we are referring to a game and when we are not.

Austere Emancipator
Anarchist's Cookbook in particular is generally considered a very bad source for accurate formulas or working guides, largely because AFAIK it's hard to track down "the original AC" -- most of the stuff you see has been modified along the line, and lots of the formulas are just stuff that "should work" rather than "does work". In most countries, you'll be better off stealing low-grade explosives from construction sites. I expect this would hold even more true for professional criminals. You should also keep in mind the possibly wide-spread use of taggants in all chemicals with such uses in the 2060s-2070s.
There is a thought. Could somebody post a description of how you would go about finding and the security around a mine or demolitions store house in eth 2060-2070s.

It seems to me that if there wasn’t a huge need to be subtle any runner would be able to find an active mine and steal a swag of commercial explosives with little or no trouble.

With the aid of a good decker hijacking a truck with a couple of crates should be trivial.
How much protection would the equivalent modern sights have, how much security goes with a truck of dynamite to a mine sight.

Also, rumor has it that a good deal of the "formulas" were planted to either do enough damage to the person attempting it without killing them that they forsake pursuing it further, or they simply don't work. A college chem book is far more useful and gives good safety guidelines to boot. There is a reason that any character I make these days with a chipjack has chemistry 6.

Also, we get enough scrutiny from HLS wavey.gif we don't need more of it. Given that my wife is trying to get into the FBI or a similair organization, I'd rather my hobbies not get her precluded thank you very much.
Ed Simons
QUOTE (SirBedevere)
IIRC Steve Jackson Games had huge problems with the Secret Service over the GURPS book about cyber-crime. 

Gurps Cyberpunk is a roleplaying game, not a manual on cybercrime. Just like Shadowrun.

And Steve Jackson Games sued the Secret Service and won.
Comments on both the recipes listed

While the thermite is definitely doable although it would benefit from a more stable starter than magnesium it's a definitely dangerous substance that is more likely to injure the maker than to be useful for it's purpose of being a torch or welding substance. Realistically I guess homemade thermite could be used as a breeching tool but it would be problematic in practice as you'd likely want to suspend it in some sort of gel for your maglock breeching duties which gets into much trickier chemistry. Further with the preponderance of fire causing spells and critters the concept of carrying a substance that will easily melt a good ammount of metals is pretty frightening.

As for the amateur napalm it's both extremely flammable (duh) and really doesn't get into the neccesity of having a decent method for spraying and igniting the crap in a safe manner. Certainly it could be used for some sort of boobytrapped crashpad but realistically it's a pretty crummy weapon.

Considering that basic explosive devices are pretty common at fairly low levels of availability in the base setting I'd tend to suggest that this would be more the type od stuff squatters and gangers might try (and generally burn themselves with) rather than shadowrunners with demolitions.

Moral to this is you want some explosives call your fixer rather than brew it up in the back of your ford americar wink.gif
Though there are other uses for kitchen chemistry than blowing stuff up. That's where growing up watching MacGuyver comes in handy.
(Ed Simons)

Gurps Cyberpunk is a roleplaying game, not a manual on cybercrime. Just like Shadowrun.

And Steve Jackson Games sued the Secret Service and won.

Yes Ed, thankfully he did but his books were impounded for a while. And that was before 9-11. All I'm saying is let's be a little careful about what we post.
QUOTE (Nikoli)
Though there are other uses for kitchen chemistry than blowing stuff up. That's where growing up watching MacGuyver comes in handy.

No doubt but when starting characters can buy Antitank Missles I think they are likely to be able to buy simple explosive compounds wink.gif

Of course if you follow the thought that alloys in SR might be routinely nanoengineered to resemble crystalline structures (dikote etc) thermite might be utterly useless in breeching industrial facilities.
Though to be fair, the SS cyber crime folks were not the computer experts they could have been. they might be able to ID a perticular type of hardware, but they didn't have the intrinsic understanding that comes with a love of technology. They simple responded with the typical cop mentality "We're here to bust some folks on computer crimes, here's what looks like a manual about cybercrime. I guess it's all evidence too." There was and still is a huge misgiving on RPG's in general among the general public and most cops rely on stereotypes to handle situations they don't fully understand.
And, let's face it, when you are busy confiscating stuff, you don't listen to someone on the premesis trying to explain that the book only details fictional settings, crimes and means to carry them out. That's not the SS job to determine, it's up to the judge. Though, I personally hope the offending agents were nailed to the wall, figuratively speaking, over the screwup. though the little sticker SJ games puts on the new books is quite eye catching.
True, however, I think in this case we might want to be carefull The patriot act is scarry, and I personaly don't want to end up in Guantanamo.
Hense why pretty much everyone is saying, hey stop that, you'll get us ni trouble, etc.
Though if HLS wavey.gif haven't figured out by now that we're just harmless geeks by now, then we're all doomed anyway.
Austere Emancipator
I would like to point out that we also often discuss the conspiracy theories surrounding the "car bombing" of a particular president, as well as the capture of a US nuclear missile launch facility and subsequent launch of an ICBM at Russia by a terrorist organization. Making good use of Demolitions (Improvised)-5(7) and Chemistry-6 looks pretty tame compared to that, I should think.
First, I'd like to mention I was only looking for stats on the weapons found in the anarchisst's cookbook. If a character dies, then it's not the end of the world. I have no desire to do anyone any harm in the real world; I merely wanted rules for homemade explosives. (I figure a player's going to try it sometime or other, and it makes for some rather interesting demolitions characters.)

Secondly, powdered aluminum is likely availible on the street; it's an uncontrolled substance with with an application in something that's used to melt through safes. (Plus, it's about ten times easier to manufacture than most synthetic drugs.)

Also, please note that this was found in the public library. If the feds diapprove of this book, they should stop loaning it to people.

If anyone has any ideas of chemicals that would be commonplace in the 2060's and applications as makeshift explosives, or game stats for a generic variety pipe bomb, please let me know. I'm only trying to make the game more realistic and let less-than-affluent characters slap together explosives out of things that pass security checkpoints. After all, all you need to do is put some styrofoam in the gas at your destination, and just leave a tub of the stuff next to the target wall. Shoot with an explosive round (preferably from a sniper rifle or similar long-range device) and watch the wall go boom.
Austere Emancipator
QUOTE (SpasticTeapot)
After all, all you need to do is put some styrofoam in the gas at your destination, and just leave a tub of the stuff next to the target wall. Shoot with an explosive round (preferably from a sniper rifle or similar long-range device) and watch the wall go boom.

No. As we were trying to tell you, styrofoam + gasoline will produce a substance similar to napalm, which is not an explosive substance at all. What you'd get in the above example is a huge pillar of flame that'd burn for a very long time and be a bitch to extinguish (compared to a tub of straight gasoline which would burn for a much shorter time, but the pillar would be even bigger).
Napalm is pretty much best as an area denial weapon if you can spread enough of it over a wide enough area it becomes hard to traverse without significant fire protection. I mean it's cool stuff but homemade variants would generally involve throwing something like a molotov cocktail. Basically it's useful if you are a ganger firebombing the orc deli who isn't paying protection money but against serious opposition it's utility is pretty dubious. As a way of demolishing anything without significant flammability it becomes really useless.
To the unamused Homeland Security personnel just joining us - keep up the good work. Love the shades. cool.gif

I personally wouldn't try the AC for explosive formulas - consider what happens if you're wrong.

Do you want your character trying to mix explosives with a possibly bad recipe and defaulting to Int?


Edit: However, if your answer to the mostly rhetorical question is "yes", please record your story for posterity in the CLUE files before attempting anything.

And don't break the record - just shout "hey! Y'all watch this!" right before you ignite anything.
Unless of course he was planning on having the explosive round blow up the wall.
With the current barrier rules, and an exex in a sniper rifle that's possible isn't it, or am I being completely absurd here.

Styrofoam and gasoline is not explosive, it's just very flammable.
Accelerants of all sorts can be found in the most common place items. A quick search of google will let anyone know that a lot of stuff is flammable: Nail polish, pressurized cans, house hold cleaners, etc...For a shadowrunner these could easily be the tools he needs to improvise a distraction, or substitute for real explosives.

A number of field expedient explosives can be jury rigged up with varying degrees of lethality-from pipe bombs, to eagle fire bombs. Pre 911 I'd have jsut reccomended downloading FM 6-5 from the USMC's website, but post 911 these are no longer available.

Pressurized tanks are the improvised demolitionists friends, but knowing where to place your explosives, and how, is as importnat as how to make them. You can effectively double (or more) the power of your explosive charge if you tamp it right.

Some quick links for the gamer looking to give his Shadowrun character the IRA or Insurgent habit:

Global Security's IED Page

A wacky site that shows the full range of books available ont he topic.

Kitchen Improvised Explosives

The Oregon State Police guide to IED's

There's quite obviously much more out there. Obviously use your discretion, and hopefully good common sense when discussing this stuff with you know, cops, Secret Service agents, and Air Line people. And if you blow your freaking hands off playing with this stuff, well don't blame me.
Let's put this in perspective. No governmental organization has yet come knocking on my door despite this thread, so I think you can all stop worrying.

Well if that's the case then: R.D.X. MANUFACTURE

Cyclotrimethylenetrinitramine or cyclonite is manufactured in
bulk by the nitration of hexamethylenetetramine (methenamine,
hexamine) with strong red 100% nitric acid. The hardest part of
this reaction is obtaining this red nitric acid. It will most
likely have to be made. More on this later. The hexamine or
methenamine can usually be bought in bulk quantities or hexamine
fuel bars for camp stoves can be used but they end up being very
expensive. To use the fuel bars, they need to be powdered before
hand. The hexamine can also be made with common ammonia water (5%)
and the commonly available 37% formaldehyde solution. To make this
component, place 400 g of clear ammonia water in a shallow pyrex
dish. To this add 54 g of the formaldehyde solution to the ammonia
water. Allow this to evaporate and when the crystals are all that
remain in the pan, place the pan in the oven on the lowest heat
that the oven has. This should be done only for a moment or so to
drive off any remaining water. These crystals are scraped up and
placed in an airtight jar to store them until they are used.
To make the red nitric acid you will need to buy a retort with
a ground glass stopper. In the retort place 32 g sulfuric acid
(98-100%) and to this add 68 g of potassium nitrate or 58 g of
sodium nitrate. Gently heating this retort will generate a red gas
called nitrogen trioxide. This gas is highly poisonous and this
step as with all other steps should be done with good ventilation.
This nitric acid that is formed will collect in the neck of the
retort and form droplets that will run down the inside of the neck
of the retort and should be caught in a beaker cooled by being
surrounded by ice water. This should be heated until no more
collects in the neck of the retort and the nitric acid quits
dripping out of the neck into the beaker. This acid should be
stored until enough acid is generated to produce the required size
batch which is determined by the person producing the explosive.
Of course the batch can be bigger or smaller but the same ratios
should be maintained.
To make the R.D.X. place 550 g of the nitric acid produced by
the above procedure in a 1000 ml beaker in a salted ice bath. 50
g of hexamine (methenamine) is added in small portions making sure
that the temperature of the acid does not go above 30 degrees C.
This temperature can be monitored by placing a thermometer directly
in the acid mixture. During this procedure a vigorous stirring
should be maintained. If the temperature approaches 30 degrees.
immediately stop the addition of the hexamine until the temperature
drops to an acceptable level. After the addition is complete,
continue the stirring and allow the temperature to drop to 0
degrees C and allow it to stay there for 20 minutes continuing the
vigorous stirring. After the 20 minutes are up, pour this acid-
hexamine mixture into 1000 ml of finely crushed ice and water.
Crystals should form and are filtered out of the liquid.
The crystals that are filtered out are R.D.X. and will need to
have all traces of the acid removed. To remove this trace of acid,
first wash these crystals by putting them in ice water, shaking,
and refiltering. These crystals are then placed in a little
boiling water and filtered. Place them in some warm water and
check the acidity for the resultant suspension with litmus paper.
You want them to read between 6 and 7 Ph scale. If there is still
acid in these crystals, reboil them in fresh water until the acid
is removed and the litmus show them to be between 6 and 7 (the
closer to 7 the better). To be safe, these crystals should be
stored water wet until ready for use. These crystals are a very
high explosive and should be treated as such. This explosive is
much more powerful that T.N.T. To use, they will need to be dried
for some manufacture processes which are described later. To dry
these crystals, place them in a pan, spread them out, and allow the
water to evaporate off of them until they are completely dry.
This explosive will detonate in this dry form when pressed
into a mold to a density of 1.55 g/cc at a velocity of 8550 m/sec.

Try mixing:
R.D.X. 78.5%
Nitroglycerin or Nitroglycol 17.5%
Petroleum Jelly (vaseline) 4%

R.D.X. 80%
Wax (1/2 wax, 1/2 wheel bearing grease) 20%

WARNING! Skin contact should be avoided with the final products.
There's a lot of talk about creating explosives with chemistry. What about the ballistic/physics aspect of it? I suggest that "improvised explosives" also covers using basic gunpowder (available all over) and the like in an effective way. How to direct charges to penetrate when all you have is low-yield stuff. How to get good fragmentation. Hell, you could make a firecracker deadly with some modification.

For that matter, mixing gasoline and soap flakes (think Ivory Snow detergent) or shredded bar soap (Ivory regular) would do pretty much the same thing.

IIRC, MacGyver made a burning bar by putting a mixture of magnesium powder (scraped off of the frame of a wrecked racing bicycle) and iron oxide (rust scraped off of an old paint can). He packed the mixture into a short length of copper tubing, and slipped the filled tube inside a larger-diameter steel tube that was long enough that he could hold it without the heat generated by the incendiary mixture burning his hands.

He then ignited his improvised burning bar with a highway flare.

Of course, they usually left something out of his more dangerous inventions because of the potential liabilities involved.

After all, you have the kiddies blowing up the house, or the school. wink.gif

For that matter, when I was playing TOP SECRET, my character blew up a laboratory by pouring a large quantity of sodium into a big bottle filled with water. (The chemical reaction creates hydrogen gas.)

He placed the bottle on a shelf in the lab opposite a window and left.

Several minutes later (game time), he detonated the improvised explosive device with a high-explosive incendiary bullet fired from several hundred meters away from a high-powered sniper rifle.

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