Craft:Charcoal burning

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Wood burnt without proper ventilation only partly burns leaving charcoal behind. Charcoal is itself used as a fuel. The reason why charcoal is desired as fuel rather than simply burning the wood, is that charcoals gives off far less smoke, no steam, is easier to measure smoothly, and is much lighter and easier to ignite. Charcoal is also of use in iron-making, glass-making and, if the campaign permits, gunpowder.
Charcoal burning is typically done as follows by the human tribes of Cerilia. A triangular chimney of wooden billets is built, billets of wood are then stacked around the chimney working out into a circular shape. A roof of billets is then added to the stack of billets leaving the centre still open. Bracken, straw and other vegetation is then packed around the billets, and finally earth and ashes are carefully packed around and over the billets to form a clamp. When the entire clamp is ready, burning charcoal was poured into the gap at the top followed by dry tinder until the chimney was filled. When the fire was well spread the gap at the top was blocked with mud.
The charcoal burners then tended the burning clamp, dressing any weak points with more earth, and using screens to keep the wind off (as strong wind would ignite the clamp totally reducing it to ash). After about a week the clamp would be pulled apart and the charcoal raked out and sieved to remove ash and dust. The quality of the charcoal depends heavily on the air circulation within the clamp and properly building the clamp is a jealously guarded secret.
The finest charcoal burners are however the karamhul. The karamhul use great iron rings about two feet wide and five feet deep instead of building a clamp. A base is put in place with carefully shaped vents. A single ring is put upon it and packed with wood. The second ring is added and also filled, and so on until the desired height is reached. An iron roof is then added which also has carefully shaped vents. The karamhul then ignite the stack, and use the vents to control the burning (using long tongs to open and close the vents). After several days when the fire is out and the inside cooled the roof is removed, and the charcoal is raked out, sieved, and graded for quality by the karamhul. The finest charcoal is then sent underground and the inferior grade charcoal traded to local humans.
Most wizards and magicians use charcoal in any magical works requiring fire or the reduction of fluids, as the relative lack of smoke reduces the risk of contaminating the special components. Priests also make heavy use of charcoal as powders, oils, resins and so on can more readily colour or scent the smoke.

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