Shredders and "Dragon's Breath"

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Kojak Kojak's picture
Shredders and "Dragon's Breath"

In a recent session one of my players acquired a shredder, and upon my explaining to him that he could dose the rounds with any chemicals, drugs or poisons he wanted, he decided to coat the rounds in liquid thermite. Over the course of the session, we started to call these "Dragon's Breath" rounds, because of the horrifying amounts of damage they were putting out. By my math, a full auto shredder at short range with liquid-thermite-coated rounds does a whopping 9d10+10 damage at -10 AP, plus 3d10+5 damage per Action Turn for the next three turns. As a result he was just straight-up melting his opposition, and it wasn't until the party attracted the attention of a HOPLITE and the player took a couple railgun slugs to the torso for his trouble that they finally pulled back. My question is this: am I misinterpreting how this would work? I couldn't see any reason why he couldn't do this, but it seems to make the shredder *way* more powerful than was intended.

"I wonder if in some weird Freudian way, Kojak was sucking on his own head."
- Steve Webster on Kojak's lollipop

Trappedinwikipedia Trappedinwikipedia's picture
Shredders can't be equipped

Shredders can't be equipped with chemicals, only drugs and toxins. You can't make a liquid thermite shredder.

Dilf_Pickle Dilf_Pickle's picture
Instant smite, just add HOPLITE

EDIT: Ah well, I did the math for fun, so here it is anyway. Maybe it can be of some use to someone.

Kojak wrote:
9d10+10 damage at -10 AP, plus 3d10+5 damage per Action Turn for the next three turns

!!!!!

I applaud your willingness to roll with a player's inventiveness. But let's take a close look at this:

Fe2O3 + 2 Al → 2 Fe + Al2O3 + 850 kJ (1)

So it takes roughly 210g of thermite (110g Fe + 48g O + 52g Al) to generate 850 kJ of energy. The same amount of damage (850 kJ) can apparently be caused by a 3.5kg shell travelling at 700m/s, which can apparently penetrate steel armour of about ~40cm (2)

Wow.

Assuming that shredder rounds can accept a coating of half the projectile cluster's weight in liquid thermite, and that each shredder projectile cluster weighs about the same as these shotgun flechette rounds (~14g), that would be 7g of thermite.

7g of thermite would create about 28.3 kJ, or still about the muzzle energy of a heavy machinegun.

In EP1 terms, that would be a shredder shot plus a railgun sniper, let's say, or (2d10 + 5 (AP -10) + (2d10 + 12, AP -15), a total of 4d10 + 17! If we distribute the rifle damage (which is a stand-in for the thermite damage) over 2 rounds to make the math simpler, we get:

2d10 + 5, AP-10 (initial shot); then 2 Rounds @ 1d10 + 6, AP -15

In the extreme case, if we make the shredder rounds heavier and assume they're nanofabbed to be made of thermite, the damage would be equivalent to a shredder shot and 4 times the sniper's damage. Since firearms don't really scale up like that in the EP system, let's call that a Standard HEAP Missile instead, or 6d10 + 24, AP -8. If we keep the shredder's higher AP (the flechettes would be burning where the shredder put them, after all), the damage would look like:

4d10 + 5, AP-10 (initial shot); then 2 Rounds @ 2d10 + 12, AP -10

Kojak Kojak's picture
...whoops?

Trappedinwikipedia wrote:
Shredders can't be equipped with chemicals, only drugs and toxins. You can't make a liquid thermite shredder.

...whoops?

EDIT: Hm. I'm trying to think of a way I could do a manageable version of this rather than just ripping it away entirely, since I do want to reward the player's cleverness. I'll have to cogitate on this for a bit.

"I wonder if in some weird Freudian way, Kojak was sucking on his own head."
- Steve Webster on Kojak's lollipop

Dilf_Pickle Dilf_Pickle's picture
Fore-pedal in the other direction

Retcon that they were thermite capsule rounds? Or maybe he accidentally got a hold of some temporarily co-operative TITAN-tech rounds, and has to make a WIL x 2 check now?

Trappedinwikipedia Trappedinwikipedia's picture
I like the idea of needles

I like the idea of needles made from flammable compounds like thermite. They probably wouldn't penetrate armor as well as they'd be pretty fragile, but they would be pretty nasty when they burn on the surface. I'd probably treat an attack by them with reduced base damage (1d10+1?) and little to no armor penetration, but have them apply a liquid thermite dose to the surface per attack. Makes them quite similar to a sprayer loaded with the stuff.

puke puke's picture
burns off in flight...

It is a fine idea. Shredders are basically shotguns, and 12ga dragons breath shells are a real thing.

But you're talking about an incendiary, more of a utility round or area denial kind of thing. I think it is going to lose most of its energy during flight, and the rest is going to dissipate outward away from the target instead of into it.

It isn't like white phosphorous, it might not even stick.

Even if it was something like WP, would that be effective against something that didn't have fleshy skin, or that could turn off its pain receptors? I think there are rules for it, but it just strikes me as something better used for committing atrocities against biomorph populations, than useful against real AF10 paramilitary targets.

I think for dealing direct damage, you want something more like a HEAP shell, a discrete shaped charge. Or a penetrator.

ORCACommander ORCACommander's picture
the thing about thermite is

the thing about thermite is it requires an ignition source, this is commonly achieved with a magnesium strip.
Also there are other chemical variants of thermite, there is one that uses 3 iron atoms and then there is a copper based one.

DivineWrath DivineWrath's picture
I'm wondering, what was the

I'm wondering, what was the cost you used per round of this "Dragon's Breath"? I made a thread recently asking about price rates for chemicals, drugs, and poisons as part of ammunition, so your feedback would be appreciated.

Kojak Kojak's picture
DivineWrath wrote:I'm

DivineWrath wrote:
I'm wondering, what was the cost you used per round of this "Dragon's Breath"? I made a thread recently asking about price rates for chemicals, drugs, and poisons as part of ammunition, so your feedback would be appreciated.

I've always just used a "1 dose per clip" rule.

"I wonder if in some weird Freudian way, Kojak was sucking on his own head."
- Steve Webster on Kojak's lollipop

DivineWrath DivineWrath's picture
OK. Thanks for the answer.

OK. Thanks for the answer.

Kojak Kojak's picture
Yeah, it's probably super

Yeah, it's probably super-unrealistic but it sure simplifies things.

"I wonder if in some weird Freudian way, Kojak was sucking on his own head."
- Steve Webster on Kojak's lollipop

ThatWhichNeverWas ThatWhichNeverWas's picture
Houserule ninja, away!

Really easy version:
Requires unique ammunition, hits can set target on fire like a Torch ("Any hit that is an Excellent Success (MoS 30+) sets the target on fire, where they will continue to take 2d10 damage per Action Turn.")

Justification - In normal shredders, most of the flechettes which hit cut through the target rather than becoming embedded. This modified version uses flechettes which can detect if they embedded within a Morph (motion, ambient heat ect) - if so, they use a small charge to ignite their payload.
As a default, those that do not embed refrain from ignition to avoid unintentional damage to habitat systems.

In the past we've had to compensate for weaknesses, finding quick solutions that only benefit a few.
But what if we never need to feel weak or morally conflicted again?