The Firelance Machine is quite possibly the single most horrific weapon devised by any sentient people which is capable of vaporizing any and all organic material in a radius of up to 30 kilopeds. It was constructed by the notorious R'unorian inventor Gregory Firelance (1240-1330) and was already used at several even more notorious occasions in the past two centuries.

The device itself consist of a huge pyramidal frame with a darkly colored crystal orb hanging from a chain that extends down from the top of the frame. On the side of the orb a metal panel is attached with two small dials and a small lever. The first dial controls the radius of the blast, the second is to control the time between the time when it is armed and the time when it actually releases its blast and allows the operator to get to a minimum of a safe distance. The lever has three setings:

The following is an excerpt from the book "Weapons of Mass Destruction. An Introduction", which was published by the R'unorian Guards Council and is distributed freely to all personel involved in the use of such weapons. It also makes a wonderful gift for anyone interested in, well, not so funny things.

"...tip no. 23: Smoking can be hazardous to your health, especially when you're standing in a room filled with barrels of explosives. On the other hand  it is more or less harmless when you think about the consequences the following device may cause:

Chapter III, Section 2: The Firelance Machine

The rare and mysterious firelance machine, is possibly the most powerful weapon ever produced. Only the most acomplished weapon masters ever get to see one, and even less are allowed to operate one. Still these may be deployed at a moments notice and any member of the proud R'unorian armed forces may be in an emergency required to implement its awesome power.

Setup and maintenance: Prior to setup in the target zone remember to ask yourself these questions.

1.) Is the device properly charged? The device should have been allowed to charge for at least 2 days of sunlight before deployment. Usage of tources and lanterns may shorten this time but an undercharged machine may behave unpredictably.

2.) Do I know the geography of the target zone? And where is the quickest path to minimum safe distance? Can I get in and out without enemy detection?

3.) can I find a hard stony surface to place the machine on? - Always remember the blast vaporizes all organic matter which may cause a massive shifting in soil as the organic compounds are removed.

Once you've anserwerd the above, it's time for the actual setup: First place the frame gently upon the ground. Try to get it level but its not an absolute necessity in an emergency. After the frame is set up move to the orb and look at the control plate. Remember which dial does what and what each lever setting means. A slight mistake may prove fatal. Just try to remember that the first dial is the blast radius and the second stands for time. Confusion may cause you to probably set the machine to a 30 kiloped radius in one minute instead of a one kiloped radius in 30 minutes. Once you have the settings proper, move the lever from it's upmost position (charge) to the midway position (stand-by). Double check the dials and make absolutely sure that all the settings are right, because once you switch the machine to armed it's impossible to move the lever back to stand-by without severly damaging the control plate..."

-- The R'unorian Guards Council (Publ.): "Weapons of Mass Destruction. An Introduction", p. 30 ff.

Fortunately only two Firelance machines were ever built before its inventor Greogory Firelance destroyed most of his notes and turned his attention to more peaceful pursuits.

Of the two machines only one is still operational. The second was caught in the earthquake that hit R'unor in 1459 and it's controlplate was damaged beyond repair. This device is curently located in the archives of the Librarians Guild. The location of the functional machine is unknown except to the members of the Guards Council, and it has not been seen for years by the public. Let us hope it remains that way.

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