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I had a weird idea for my fantasy setting: cherry bombs!

1-3 Cherry Bombs are Dropped by Cherry Brutes (Sakurage may be a better name for them, I'm open to suggestions) upon their death and/or detonation. (Cherry Brutes are essentially living Cherry Bombs, so this item is just a replica of their body, which can explode at will or explodes automatically upon death.)

Each Cherry Bomb is about the size of a volleyball, with a stem as long as an average man's arm. Upon striking an object, a Cherry Bomb explodes in a spherical burst of force and red light, and this explosion is sufficient to:

  1. Turn a typical tree stump into a crater full of and surrounded by wood chips (and to turn a small pile of sticks into sawdust)

  2. Snap a gravestone into several large pieces

  3. Punch a dent into plate steel, that is as wide as a Cherry Bomb and as deep as a volleyball's height halved

So, my question is How Useful Would Cherry Bombs be as a weapon?

Clarification:

Cherry Bombs are relatively light (about the weight of a basketball), so with some effort, one can throw them an equivalent distance. As for impact force, if you hold a Cherry Bomb in front of you and then drop it on your pillow, it shouldn't detonate, but if you punch it (and I mean really punch it, like you're angry with it, not a little love tap) it'll explode.

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    $\begingroup$ Quick reminder: casting a close vote without bothering to comment what you seem to think is wrong about the question when no one else has voiced any concerns, especially when accompanied by a downvote is, more often than not an example of poor use of these functions. If you see problems with a question or answer, let them be known so that it's possible to at least try to fix them in the case of legitimate issues being present. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 12, 2021 at 23:36
  • $\begingroup$ @Alendyias cannonballs. definitely not something adventurers would use normally. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 13, 2021 at 12:22
  • $\begingroup$ Ok, so the size is about volleyball, and the explosive power is about 1-2 sticks of dynamite. That is good solid force, but a bit on the bulky side. How heavy are they, can a person throw them far like a baseball, or only close like an exercise ball/medicine ball? If the latter, they are rather clumsy and a niche application. Also.. "Upon striking an object" is a bit fuzzy. Impact-detonated? How much impact? This is sounding more n more like a heavy, bulky form of small vial of liquid nitroglycerine!? $\endgroup$
    – PcMan
    Commented Jun 14, 2021 at 13:59
  • $\begingroup$ @PcMan: I added some clarification, hope it answers your questions! $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Commented Jun 14, 2021 at 15:26
  • $\begingroup$ @Alendyias You have started writing, then? Good. The world needs American isekai, it was getting boring. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 17, 2021 at 20:03

4 Answers 4

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Energetically, the cherry bombs are about as strong as a stick of dynamite, possibly 2.
So you get a pretty good bang out of it, about three times the explosive power of a modern handgrenade, but without the shrapnel and without a convenient fuze to initiate detonation and in a less conveniently throwable configuration.

Transporting/carrying these will be a bother. The physical form is rather bulky, so you could fit maybe five in a backpack. And you really, really don't want to trip and fall on said backpack!

Assuming the stem is sturdy enough, it might be easily throwable. If not, one can attach a handle as needed.

It would be easy enough to add a shrapnel function, just cover the surface in stuff. even gravel would do. This will make it a lethal anti-personnel weapon. The lack of a time or remote fuze remains a problem.

How to get it to detonate on command....
Relying on impact is simply not an option! It might, or might not detonate when hitting that fat-bellied Orc, depending on whether it hits his head or his gut.
If you want to use it as a demolitions charge, you need to be able to emplace it, and link it to some sort of remote or timed trigger.

In short:
Very useful, provides amazing firepower at infantry scale and somewhat limited demolitions capability.
But safe transport will require the development of an impact-proof casing, like a bowling ball carrier (making it even more bulky!),
and you absolutely will need to figure out some sort of better fuze for it. Maybe just tape a normal firecracker to its side?

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for your answer and sorry for the delay. I found this the most helpful answer overall, but I will be using parts of all answers here. $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Commented Aug 27, 2021 at 20:23
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The bombs themselves aren't that impressive, what you can do with them is:

Demolition Charge Get the bomb into a wall or under a structure. A surface explosion will always do less damage than an explosion within. To quote the move Armageddon:

"Let a firecracker explode on your hand with the fingers stretched out and you get burnt. Close the fingers around it and you lose them all."

Fuel-Air Explosive Suspend one of these in a barrel filled with a flammable liquid. Alcohol, oil, tar, or a mixture (tar will make the fire sticky). Acid or some poison could also be deployed this way. Alternatively, coal dust or flour might do the trick as well. The explosion will create a dispersed cloud of flammable substance mixed with the air's oxygen. The initial explosion will make the mixture go boom.

Shrapnel Bomb Put pebbles or metal scraps around the bomb. These become lethal shrapnel once it goes off. The Columbine killers actually planned something like this on the main escape route, but their bombs failed. This is also quite common in IEDs.

Catapult Ammo/Cannon Charges It depends on the tech level, but these could be used for bombardment. Especially the catapult variant can be combined with the Fuel-Air and Shrapnel versions.

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  • $\begingroup$ Would you suggest improving the Cherry Bombs? I plan to have them be used to weaken or instakill monsters, so....I'm open to suggestions. $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Commented Jun 12, 2021 at 21:48
  • $\begingroup$ @Alendyias Check out the Moranth Munitions fro m the Malazan Books. Generally more power, more versatility and more compactness will improve any explosive. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 12, 2021 at 22:02
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    $\begingroup$ The bombs aren't that impressive? Splintering a tree and leaving a crater would be more than 2 sticks of dynamite. And if it's volleyball size and weight then this is one powerful weapon in a fantasy setting. It might not be the conflagration a fireball creates but the shockwave would be plenty to harm many creatures if it explodes in close proximity or against them. Bunch them together and you can start doing nasty stuff. A few together exploding against dragon armor would spall and/or cause shockwaves that damage organs, letting you bypass armor hardened creatures. $\endgroup$
    – Demigan
    Commented Jun 14, 2021 at 15:46
  • $\begingroup$ Good ideas, but.. how will you trigger them to detonate when you need it? The cherry bombs as given are only impact-fuzed, for a moderately hard impact. $\endgroup$
    – PcMan
    Commented Jun 14, 2021 at 15:46
  • $\begingroup$ loose should be lose $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 14, 2021 at 15:57
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A few answers have been posted so far about catapult ammo, but miss the most limiting factor: Air Resistance. Back in highschool I made a mini-catapult for a physics class that could fire tennis ball about 150ft. However, when I loaded an egg which is much heavier into it, it could fire about twice as far. So, your lightweight cherry bombs would be similarly handicapped.

This means that any suggestion to weigh it down with a heavy outer shell would not only contribute to it lethality, but also to its range.

Much like modern explosive munitions, what you wrap it in will be determined largely by what you want to heave it at. If you want to make an Anti-Personal shot, then you coat the thing with clay mixed with gravel for a super cheap frag grenade... but what if you want to take out a castle wall?

For this, I would make a metallic shell that is much thicker and harder on one side than the other, and then add a fletching to the thicker side so that it flies like a tennis birdie. The thinner front part will be designed to crush on impact while the hardened back part will contain the blast directing it more into the target optimizing the percussive force for shattering the stone wall.

UPDATE:

The best use of cherry bombs would probably be to use it to enchant yourself by coating it in your own bone fragments, and getting powerful monsters to eat it. When it explodes you will become the weapon that killed it allowing the monster's enchantment to pass into your body.

FOR EXAMPLE: See Gaining The Engorgement Enchantment For Peasants

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  • $\begingroup$ Interesting, heavier shell=more range? Thanks for your answer, it looks like Crafting (done by experienced Engineers of course) is the best way to increase Cherry Bomb utility. $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Commented Jun 21, 2021 at 16:23
  • $\begingroup$ However, if you can explain why a Cherry Brute would evolve to better shatter stone walls, that would be great! Natural wallbreakers.... $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Commented Jun 21, 2021 at 16:25
  • $\begingroup$ @Alendyias for that I would just give them an asymmetric shell as described in my 4th paragraph. That would basically make it simulate the mechanics of a HESH type artillery shell. $\endgroup$
    – Nosajimiki
    Commented Jun 21, 2021 at 16:33
  • $\begingroup$ As great an idea as that is, is it plausible? Could it develop? I know fruits can be many different shapes, even when coming from the same plant, but I still have to wonder. $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Commented Jun 21, 2021 at 21:40
  • $\begingroup$ @Alendyias The most explosive fruit in the real world belongs to the sandbox tree which evolved to spread seeds for hundreds of feet by exploding. If the sandbox tree were to further evolve so that it's fruit became so explosive, that it was dangerous to the tree itself, I could see the fruit developing to form a sort of shaped charge to only fire seeds away from the tree. $\endgroup$
    – Nosajimiki
    Commented Jun 21, 2021 at 21:49
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This cherry bomb is pretty powerful. Turning a tree into a stump, splinters and a small crater is powerful. Certain stone types as gravestones would still be powerful and leaving a dent that size in a steel plate is not nothing either. There is a question though: can you take the cherrybomb apart? For example by carefully cutting it open, or slowly lowering something heavy on it to crack it or something? Then you could try to modify it's shape and use it for more applications. That said:

How about defensive applications?

They would be great to throw from machicolations and over the crenelations, since you can more easily store them nearby and transport them upwards in small quantities to limit the risk of a cook-off where an accident causes many to detonate simultaneously. Any poor sod below it will get blasted.

With their explosive power they would be almost ideal against more armored creatures like a dragon or a troll wearing scaled up steel plate. Even if you can't punch through the armor the shockwave would break bones and tear tissue apart. A Dragon might be tough but if it's lungs are burst and filling with blood while most large bloodvessles are also burst and internally bleeding it's not going to last long.

They would be awesome as traps. For example you use a rope to tie a clockwork device to them, which slams a pin into the cherry and causes it to detonate. This would be a nice way to place timed explosives.

What about minefields? You place dozens if not hundreds on the ground, anchoring their stem into the ground. Then should an enemy pass through you launch arrows at them. As already mentioned you could add things like ye-oldy nails, stones and gravel on the bombs for shrapnel effect. Although the psychological effect of them detonating should deal a good blow to the morale of your enemies. Your enemies can naturally try to disarm them by firing arrows first, but that slows them down which is the point. Camouflaging them and bunching some together could also help in letting enemies walk right into a minefield, or you trick them and place fake cherrybombs somewhere and hope they spend many arrows trying to detonate them.

The bombstick: tie a cherrybomb on the end of a long stick then dare anyone to get close. It's great to have a few against a cavalry charge or to deal with an enemy Phalanx. Skirmishers are often used for quick hit&run attacks to try and halt or disorganize an enemy, and arming a few of them with Cherrybombs would be immensely powerful weapons. Get in close, throw your Cherrybomb, switch to your Javalins or whatever other missle weapon and/or melee weapon you brought with you and see if you can push farther or need to retreat.

All in all as a defensive weapon they would be best due to their size and bulk. They would be incredibly important for dealing with powerful armored creatures that would otherwise require a powerful Adventurer or magic user to beat.

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  • $\begingroup$ Great answer, thank you! I appreciate your ideas on potential applications, especially defensive ones. $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Commented Jun 14, 2021 at 17:25

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