The Art & Science of Chemical Warfare for Survivors: Chlorine Gas, Phosgene, & Sulfur Mustard


If faced with trying to kill a large number of mutants or alien abominations, like a horde of giant ants, bees, or a swarm of Mi-go, indirect warfare methods would be preferable to direct engagement.
For example, it would be way smarter and safer to just dump poison gas into an anthill than fight your way through it Starship Troopers style to assassinate the queen.

For gameplay I’m thinking this would add:
40mm Gas grenade variants for the different agents.
Gas hand grenades.
Gas canisters for storage of gaseous chemicals.
Gas barrel bombs for large area dispersal.
Gas mortar shells (if I or someone else ever gets around to making mortars).
Gas Sprayers, a remote controlled poison gas sprinkler for base defense.

While many modern nerve agents like Sarin or VX would not be something a survivor could manufacture, (though it would not be impossible to FIND some in a military facility, although they would be very rare), there are a number of chemical weapons that have been used in real life conflicts that are simple enough to manufacture and weaponize that you could do it in your garage.

Chlorine Gas would be the simplest example. You can make it by mixing bleach and hydrochloric acid:
HOCl + HCl :left_right_arrow: H2O + Cl2
or by mixing bleach and vinegar:
2HOCl + 2HAc :left_right_arrow: Cl2 + 2H2O + 2Ac- (Ac : CH3COO)
or a number of other acids.

Phosgene Gas is manufactured by reacting carbon monoxide and chlorine through a porous bed of activated carbon (aka charcoal), while the reaction is cooled. The carbon monoxide gas could be relatively simply prepared as well with basic lab equipment by reacting steam with carbon.
H2O + C → H2 + CO (ΔH = +131 kJ/mol)
To make the phosgene, you would simply need a sealed refrigerator, charcoal, the reagents, and some other misc. components like tubing, sealant, etc.
CO + Cl2 → COCl2 (ΔHrxn = −107.6 kJ/mol)

Mustard Gas may be manufactured via Ethylene and Sulfur Dichloride.
Ethylene is manufactured by the dehydration of ethanol (alcohol) with sulfuric acid.
Sulfur Dichloride is manufactured via the chlorination of sulfur.
S8 + 4 Cl2 → 4 S2Cl2; ΔH = −58.2 kJ/mol
They are then combined via the Levinstein process to yield Sulfur Mustard
8 S2Cl2 + 16 C2H4 → 8 (ClCH2CH2)2S + S8


may i propose adding nitroglycerin (correction needed), anti-virus gas, and some NOVA 6 gas?


You can already make explosives, and nitroglycerin is the very last one I’d want to make, because that shit is dangerously unstable on its own.

Why do we need anti-virus gas? I’m pretty sure that isn’t even a thing, and neither is Nova-6.


so that you can gas the hell out of bandits hiding in a cabin/ house.

i prefer Nova-6, a nerve gas that when inhaled, cause massive burn to skin and lungs and death after 45 seconds exposure,


Thats exactly what mustard gas does, and you can actually MAKE that in your garage with the right materials and lab equipment.

We don’t need fictional chemical weapons when there are plenty of existing ones that work just as well. Besides I’m not even sure if Kevin would approve chemical weapons in the first place, even chlorine gas.


I’d expect vesicants to work on zombies (though once it disperses they’d heal and get back up, they need pulping). AFAIK that is not going to work on either fungals, triffids, or ants.

The only thing on the list that seems like it would work on ants would be Carbon Monoxide in very high concentrations, though there are many, many other options for that, though the quantities needed may be problematic.

I think there’s a lot of room for making things interesting by having different enemy types vulnerable to different weapons.

In addition to the various highly weaponized options for delivery, you could target unintelligent enemies by installing a poison gas generator in an area near targets, or do something to attract them.

For example when raiding a zombie area, you could don a gas mask, then mix up a batch of bleach and ammonia (even better do it in a house), then run outside and get the attention of as many zombies as possible, then lead them through the house.

Another neat option would be to set this kind of thing up to be remote triggered, and then only use it if you get in trouble, triggering the gas production as you approach the house with a horde in tow.

Poison use vs zombies

This seems self explanatory, but gases should definitely be (at least slightly) less effective outdoors.
That said, last time I found a smoker zombie he really didn’t seem to care.


Chlorine gas will DEFINITELY work on ants, because it is harmful to basically everything on earth due to its extreme reactivity. Chlorine reacts with moisture to form hydrochloric acid, so any moist surfaces like the interior of spiracles (bug air holes) or eyes will be vulnerable to chlorine. Ditto for vessicants like mustard gas.

If bleach will kill the fungus, chlorine gas will work as well, because it would have the same type of effect. It is an extremely powerful oxidizing agent, which is what gives bleach its disinfecting properties. Same goes for triffids and their pores that allow moisture transfer, and the waxy coatings on leaves. I do agree that nerve agents and mustard or phosgene may not do anything to either of them.

The carbon monoxide is just an ingredient, I wasn’t thinking it would be deployable as a weapon.


The question isn’t whether it’s harmful or not, the question is what the required concentrations are. Chlorine isn’t just a random reactive gas that happens to get used, it’s particularly harmful to humans due to interactions with our respiratory system. If ant spiracles (really tracial tubes) aren’t as moist and vulnerable as human lungs, the required concentration for toxicity is potentially much higher.

I can’t find any sources one way or the other, so I’m going to go with it being ineffective for now.


Would a biologist’s expert opinion be sufficient? I know a guy I could ask.

We could also test some gas on actual ants if you have no moral objections. Chlorine gas is REALLY easy to make.

Also, a giant ant would be even more vulnerable to respiratory damage than a small one, due to the drastic surface area increases that comes with an overall increase in size, and would be required to make giant ants even be able to breath.

You can’t actually scale them up as is and have them live, they would suffocate due to the square cube law. Insufficient respiratory system surface area.


Even if traditional chemical weapons won’t work on bugs, I’m sure there is plenty of insecticide lying around you could vaporize and disperse.

Edit: mustard gas can penetrate plant tissue, and by its nature should be very harmful once inside:
“Physical and Chemical Properties
The mustards are able to penetrate most
tissues they come into contact with and a
great number of materials: woods, leather,
rubber, plants, etc.”

So mustard gas could kill Triffids, and ants too because it would be able to penetrate their exoskeleton. Chitin is very similar to cellulose.


“Would hearsay be sufficient? I can attribute whatever credentials you like to my as-far-as-you-know fictitious source.”
In case it’s not obvious, no.

This is my point, there are TONS of herbicides and insecticides and fungicides you can use, there’s no reason to attribute lethality willy nilly, and in fact it makes for nicer in-game properties if a lof of the poisons have different effects on different species.


No, I was going to ask Dr. Merchant at McNeese State University. I took his biochemistry class. He mostly specializes in crocodiles, but he might know someone who WOULD know.

But I’ll take that as a no anyway.


If he points you at sources that tell you things about it, you can point me at those sources.
If you have a conversation with someone and they make statements about it, it’s hearsay.

Think about it, how do you expect me to differentiate between someone actually consulting an expert and just making things up? You’re just words on a computer as far as I’m concerned :smiley:


No, no, no, of course not. I wasn’t thinking that. I’d get them to email you with their professional email and the response to our query.

Actually, come to think of it, I do some contracting work out at a few chemical plants that produce insecticides and herbicides. I MIGHT be able to find a chemical engineer or biochemist out there that might have an answer as well. I mostly deal with the maintenance engineers though, so I’ll have to see who out there might know, and be willing to talk to me. Thats slightly more of a longshot though.


If it won’t kill ants, spiders, etc, outright, it would at least blind them. Eyeballs and compund eyes are squishy and vulnerable.

Maybe creatures with exotic alien biology or biochemistry, like the Mi-go or shoggoths could get stoned on mustard gas or something. You hit them with it and they get all passive and loopy. Mi-go would probably start saying silly shit. It would make for a cool way to capture one as a mission for example.


i would take some recommendation for this lethal gas… it would be useful for me to fish out some hiding bandits inside cabin/house tho.


Bah, just run in there with some combat armor and shoot them. I cleared a whole bandit tower with RM-13 armor and heavy arc projector (think its the near future weapons mod).


but this gas feature is kinda giving a realistic tactical breach feeling to the game. like gas em out of hiding and mow them down.


You already have tear gas for that. I mean, I’d use chemical weapons on bandits if I was feeling lazy, or if there were a shitload of them, but otherwise I’d just shoot them.