Reaching the space stage without usage of guns

I still find the idea of skipping gunpowder and never inventing guns an interesting idea. Don’t you think it would be possible for an alien race to have ftl travel while not having guns of any kind.

How would they invent rockets if they never invented gun powder? When you get down to it, a rocket is just a really big, really powerful gun without a bullet or a barrel. How would you go to space without such an important component of “thing go boom”?


It’s in the same way a gun is essentially just a small rocket. I’d actually say the idea of ‘rockets’ came about first when the Chinese first invented it, using it for fireworks and crude bombs. Firearms didn’t even exist. Later on they did develop fire lances and handcannons, which were a predecessor to the modern concept of a gun, but they definitely weren’t used much due to their inefficiency. Real guns came about when the idea spread to the Middle East and they came into Europe in the form of muskets. Since Europe has been doing war back to back during the Renaissance and Enlightenment periods, guns became a must have. However you don’t necessarily need a gun in order to come up with the idea to build a rocket. Like i explained, the Chinese initially used gunpowder for fireworks, which are small rockets in it of themselves. If given enough time, the Chinese could begin toying with the concept of using combustion to fly and…voila, rockets!

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Yes, if the species was very peaceful, it could invent rockets before guns, and guns might never have been invented.

If the species didn’t have guns, would they have very primitive space weaponry? I feel a gunless species would be very easy to enslave.

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Either they are very peaceful and befriend people, or they would use different weaponry, ie. pulses and rockets

Well yeah, a species who is very noncompetitive could skip inventing guns, but they would need gun powder for rockets.

Someone said in a previous post that the Chinese initially invented gunpowder and used it for fireworks. So you can discover gunpowder for nonviolent reasons.

edit: It was @CaptainCH

Not necessarily, as long as it burns very quickly. Rockets use a lot of different fuels, doesn’t have to be gunpowder, but i suppose if your tribe is working with it they’ll develop rockets from there. However it’s not a stretch to say that your species discovers something else that can spontaneously combust, and that they can develop an understanding of chemistry with limited application in warfare. This is literally rocket science so it’s kind of out of my field

In fact can you just skip guns and use chemicals in war?

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Chemicals are overkill. That’s why they were banned after WW1. But for a species with no guns, bio weapons and chemicals seem like the only viable option.

Also @hhyyrylainen, shouldn’t this all be split into its own thread?

i guess that would make war very chaotic. You could also use anatomical weapons like claws or maybe even your species in general produces deadly gases for defense.

*edit. also its important to consider that humans developed swords and guns because we indeed don’t have any means of defense on our body

This does seem like a mostly coherent discussion, which is out of place for the random posting thread.

I tried looking for an earlier thread about this subject, yet I couldn’t find it, even though I remember the discussion. So, I just created a new thread

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I did bring this up before in the form of a mock news report… which then became the alien invasion rp thread.

It’s trivia time! Some of the first instances of using gunpowder for handguns in Europe were within a Czech religious group called Hussites who were basically fed up with the church or whatever and when the monarchy sent the army, they improvised a lot of weaponry out of agricultural tools, since they were so good with them, such as ball mace or war wagons, but also what they called píšťala (means something like a whistle or a flute), a long hollow thingy filled with gunpowder and a projectile, which then evolved into the word “pistol”. Just a bit of random etymology for you for the sole purpose of me putting the information into use.


War is basically the mother of invention. It’s simply in war that the need to be better than an opponent in every achievable way is at its highest. The computer was invented during WW2 and I doubt it would ever have been if it weren’t for the need to communicate more effecient over the battlefield existed.

Edit; grammar.

You don’t need guns for war. Presumably without guns the advancement of other weapons and armor would have continued. One thing that paved the way for modern society though was the elimination of war being glorious after WW1. The machine gun changed everything about how war is viewed and what tactics and conditions win (superior numbers don’t matter as much). Without guns the species would never get rid of this mindset. Granted the species could never have seen war as glorious. Another thing that the advancement of guns (and gunpowder) would change is the cost vs gain of war. Now war is not worth the resources and economic gain since it costs so much to get.


Maybe, but it’s still in war that invention really speed up and new things are discovered at a much higher rate. Look at the time between WW1 and 2. I am convinced that if it weren’t for WW2 we wouldn’t have seen the computer in a long time.

It’s a fact that war tactics change, that is nothing new. The machine gun, as you said, changed not only the mindset but it also moved the battlefield onto the computer world. I am certain of that we will see less war-causalities in the future but increased cyber/propaganda warfare.Since, it’s as you said, it doesn’t really matter that much if I have a legion of foot soldiers with spears if my opponent are well dug in a trench somewhere with snipers and machine guns.