[Mod idea] Black Powder Weapons
Black powder is, relatively speaking, EASY to make. Charcoal is of course trivial, especially with every wanderer making campfires, and saltpeter-while not exactly easy-can still be had from deposits of bat guano-which are relatively common in abandoned mines throughout Michigan. Not to mention the French and Swiss processes of maintaining beds of nightsoil, straw, and dirt kept moist with urine (French method) or leaching it from urine-soaked sand (Swiss method). In either case, the medium is leached after approximately a year and then filtered through potash-which is of course made by leaching wood ash.
Neither of these methods of precipitating saltpeter will be available to the player, but easily traded for or looted from failed enclaves, bat caves or abandoned sewers. The foremost will offer Prepared Nightsoil or Prepared Sand as well as finished Saltpeter, but the former and latter will only offer Prepared Nightsoil, which must be washed with water to produce crystals of Calcium Nitrate (sellable, though I imagine not for much). These can be combined with Potash (produced from cooking wood ash in water) to result in Saltpeter.
Importantly, Saltpeter can also be used to preserve meat-though always in concert with salt. If salt is added to the spawn pools for Neo Scavenger, this is all to the better, though it will require the addition of a Drying Rack ala Neo Scavenger Extended's Tanning Rack, as meat cured with salt and saltpeter takes much longer than curing with ash.
Sulphur is more tricky, but still quite possible-but not for the player. Sulphur extraction through the Frasch process is easily done on salt domes, of which there are several in Michigan-one is within Detroit and therefore probably not accessible, but sulphur is also a byproduct of oil and gas extraction, which would be a fairly accessible means of acquisition if such is still occurring in Michigan-which, given the presence of large diesels in the City Gates image and the presence of cars other than those at the St. James Parkade, seems likely. Additionally, the Michigan Basin has numerous large deposits of rock salt that may contain sulphur, especially as sulphur has been mined in Monroe County-which is, alas, below the Black Swamp. Given the size of the Michigan Basin and the simplicity of the Frasch process-requiring only hot water, hot air, and a lot of pipe-it is safe to assume any number of Enclaves have made their living off extracting it, thus making its presence in the loot tables explicable.
Black Powder itself can be crafted by the player, requiring a mortar and pestle crafted from two Stones. This will result in Serpentine Powder that decays quickly into uselessness-adding urine to the process (simulated with water or dehydrating the player if possible, no need to add a Urine item) will result in Mill Cake that dries over the course of a day, then is ground again with the Mortar and Pestle and sifted (with a Flour Sifter lootable from Apartment Buildings, Ruined Bungalows, or any other residential location, or a Crude Sifter made with looted Window Screens) into Black Powder.
With all that done (whew!) you have Black Powder, worth $20 per charge (with a given recipe producing 20-30 charges) or Serpentine Powder, worth $5/charge, ready to be loaded into your firearm.
Given the only source of Cinnabar for Mercury Fulminate is in Northern Michigan, this makes percussion cap firearms somewhat less likely. However, it may be assumed that smaller deposits of cinnabar might be found in Lower Michigan, albeit considered less economical for extraction before the fall-and thus allow the production of Mercury Fulminate inexpensively. Never crafted, always bought or looted, this therefore requires killing someone for his gun or buying it on the Junk Market or infrequently the ATN Enclave Trading Post.
So with that done, let's get to the fun part-guns!
The obvious run thus: a pipe rifle, pipe pistol, pipe revolver, and blunderbuss. Big, heavy, somewhat dangerous to the user, but cheap! A pipe rifle is a tube with a primitive trigger and a stock (two Pipe, a Stick, several handfuls of Assorted Small Parts, and a Tin Can to hold the barrel to the 'stock', plus a hammer to bash the back of the pipe shut, possibly a welder if the parent mod includes one), and a Pipe Pistol (one Pipe) the same, but shorter, lighter, and less accurate. A Pipe Revolver-like this-is beyond the ability of the player to craft unless the mod includes a welder-but if it does, would call for a sheet of Scrap Metal, two Pipes, one Stick, and ten Assorted Small Parts :B. The Blunderbuss would not be player-craftable due to the higher powder load and therefore required higher durability, but would use Assorted Small Parts, Rocks, and Pebbles as ammunition atop its Percussion Cap and Black Powder.
The less obvious are the natural historical or reproduction firearms-much more accurate, much more durable, much much MUCH less available. A Navy Colt is the most obvious, but a Springfield Musket deserves mention. Very nearly as good as a cartridge firearm, and so very much cheaper-but likely worth a great deal more for sale than for toting about and shooting Bad Muthas with.
Ammunition is also a concern. Fishing weights, car batteries, pewter collectibles, and battery terminals all provide lootable lead, melted in a Lead Crucible and molded into Bullets in a mold-both carried by anyone with a Black Powder Firearm or buyable in the Junk Market and/or, rarely, the ATN Enclave Trading Post. Lead Bullets would be worth $3 each, and available in both markets.
So! There you go. Thoughts?
I prepared Explosive Runes this morning!