Smoke Round
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Basic Information

A smoke round is a round of ammunition which is designed to release a cloud of smoke on impact, either for purposes of concealment or for target marking.

There are a variety of designs - hinging on how the smoke is generated and ejected from the round, but for our purposes there are two main forms: white phosphorous based incendiary/smoke and "cold smoke".

Early smoke rounds were closer to the incendiary type and consisted mainly of burning material specially selected to generate a smoke cloud but in the modern era the majority of rounds are of the cold type as it poses considerably smaller risks of collateral damage. Modern cold smoke is generally white(ish) by default but can be supplied in a variety of colours for signalling purposes.

More advanced forms of 'smoke' may include suspended particles designed to block vision in parts of the electromagnetic spectrum beyond the visual - and thus to provide cover from thermal imaging equipment, radar/ladar and the like.

Smoke can be deployed in a variety of ways - from hand grenades and portable dispensers to artillery rockets and ordnance shells. Effectiveness and application varies a great deal.


1. full source reference

Game and Story Use

  • PCs very rarely make realistic use of smoke.
  • If your PCs can see in non-visual bands, filling a room with smoke can be an important advantage in combat - or a good way to avoid a fight in the first place.
  • Cold smoke does actually come in a surprisingly wide range of colours - military users are mainly issued "white", but some of the others are used as specific signals - best hope that you have the right colour available at the right time (for example if you are using green and red smoke to mark your front line for close air support, you'd best have a good issue of red and green in the rifle sections and not rely on a few cans held by a forward air controller in the platoon HQ).
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