Sonic Weapons

9 posts / 0 new
Last post
Soviet Onion Soviet Onion's picture
Sonic Weapons
First of all, this is my first post and I'd just like to introduce myself, as well as thanking the creators of Eclipse Phase for a such a wonderful and prescient story they've created. I enjoy exploring it, and so do the people I game with. I drew up a list of sonic weapons at the prompting of someone playing a neo-cetacean, and because they seem like a logical substitute for Beam Weapons in aquatic environments like Ceres and Europa, or high density atmospheres like Titan. I also wanted to maintain a symmetry between kinetic and energy damage. At present, Beam Weapons are the only category that consistently deal energy damage (a couple explosives aside). None of the weapons you see here are currently any more feasible than Beam Weapons are, but with EP's assumption of nuclear batteries capable of powering plasma rifles and railguns these should be plausible too. Note that if they seem a little overpowered, this is in the content of me making some modifications to Beam Weapons to give them a bit more bite. Sonic Weapons Sonic weapons work by emitting pressure waves across a material medium. Dependent on their frequency, the effect of these waves can range from nausea, disorientation and psychological strain at low amplitudes to body cavitation, resonant bone explosion and organ liquification at high ones. Like beam weapons, most of them are designed to incapacitate rather than kill, although they can certainly be made to do so. Also like beam weapons, a target's ability to directly perceive the frequencies will depend on their sense organs; this does not effect sonic weapons' direct effects on their bodies, and sensitive ears may be deafened. Advances in acoustics allow the delivery of tight beams of sound, curtailing disruptive spread that might alert bystanders. Paradoxically, sonic weapons are eerily quiet. Treat them as energy weapons for the purposes of armor reduction to damage. Sonic Weapon Ranges Sound travels more quickly through denser materials, and not at all in vacuum. Increase the maximum range of these weapons by x2 in liquid or dense atmosphere, such as that of Titan or the Venusian surface. This adjustment stacks with the longer maximum range of infrasound, and is applied after that adjustment to the base ranges. Ultrasound is especially damaging in a liquid medium or dense atmosphere due to cavitation, but this eats energy and disrupts the beam, thereby reducing the effective damage at longer ranges. Sonic Weapons and Nanoswarms Sonic weapons are not especially adept at combating conventional nanoswarms that communicate by radio or tight-beam laser, but they are very good at disrupting variant swarms that communicate by ultrasound precisely to evade EMP weapons. Any sonic weapon that bombards them with ultrasound will deal 1d10 damage, mirroring the rules for plasma weapons. Sound and Obstacles Sound will vary in its ability to penetrate solid objects. Ultrasound tends to bounce off rigid solid objects rather penetrate; a factor which is valuable in mapping bodies and environments with materials of varying consistency, but not so great at shooting through cover. Infrasound, on the other hand, readily penetrates walls and in fact travels more quickly through denser matter anyway. When shooting infrasound at enemies behind cover, they only receive a 1/2 the cover's armor rating as a bonus to their own while, instead of the normal armor rating x2 (ie enemies taking cover behind a polymer wall with an armor rating of 10 receive a +5 armor bonus instead of +20). Note that even if a sonic weapon's damage value is drastically reduced by armor, it will still deal its non-lethal effects as long as it overcomes the cover to strike the person on the other side. Should a person wish to destroy the cover instead of shooting through it, infrasound can be made to couple to its resonant frequency. In this case, the weapon deals x2 damage on each shot. Weapons Snap Digits More than a simple genetweak, snap digits are an homage to the now extinct snapping shrimp. Modifications to the tendons and skin of a biomorph's fingers vastly increase their potential energy storage when poised to snap, while somatic reprogramming lets them hit the right note with the proper volume. The result is cavitation, and the shock wave that follows it. Snap digits function like a directional concussion grenade, sending pressure in a cone effect that may strike up to two adjacent enemies. Any character struck must make a SOM x2 test. If they fail, they are knocked down. If their MoF is 30+, they are additionally stunned until the end of the next Action Turn. Anyone caught in the shockwave suffers a -10 action modifier for the rest of that Action Turn. The sound emitted is in the audible range. Synthetic analogs to this implant exist, and synthmorphs may take advantage of them. AP: -4 DV: see text Firing Modes: SS Ammo: - Range: 20 Cost: Moderate Special: Biological Augmentation Spectrum Range: Audible Vocalizer Through modification to a biomorph's vocal chords, it is possible to extend both the range and power of their voices. The flexibility alone offers some neat applications, like the ability to mimic another's voice with near perfection. When desired, the character may weaponize it by delivering ear-piercing screams and howls. Vocalizers may deliver both lethal and non-lethal damage in the full audio spectrum. They may be used in melee without provoking an attack of opportunity. What's more, because the morph's body powers it, it never runs out of ammo. See the sonic beamer entry for rules governing the weapon. Synthetic equivalents to the vocalizer exist for synthmorphs. Rumor has it that the vocalizer owes its existence to the enigmatic cetacean revolutionary known only as “Echo”, who sought to secure his people a voice by any means necessary, even if that meant weaponizing them. It has since been appropriated by transhuman musicians. AP: -4 DV: 1d10 Firing Modes: SS Ammo: - Range: 5/15/30/50 Cost: Moderate Special: Biological Augmentation Causes Pain Spectrum Range: Infrasound, Audible, Ultrasound Sound Pistol A paired down version of the sonic beamer, sound pistols are a common sidearm for the Europan Defense Force. AP: -4 DV: 1d10 (0 non-lethal) Firing Modes: SA Ammo: 50 Range: 10/30/50/70 Cost: Moderate Special: Causes Pain Spectrum Range: Infrasound, Audible, Ultrasound Sonic Beamer The successor to twencen first generation sonic weapons, the sonic beamer was ostensibly designed with riot control measures in mind. It has since found a place in the security forces of aquatic habs, where beam and kinetic weapons fail to deliver. These are multipurpose weapons, able to deliver sound from 1 Hz to 40 kHz and at an amplitude of up to 200 decibels; the sound of a 1-ton nuclear bomb, and 20 decibels above the point at which ultrasonic body cavitation begins. Nausea, dizziness and impaired balance clock in around 150 decibels. Sonic beamers, sound pistols and vocalizers cause pain and disorientation, inflicting -20 to the target’s actions and forcing them to move away from the beam on their next action unless they succeed in a WIL Test (targets with Level 1 Pain Tolerance or the equivalent only suffer a -10 modifier and roll WIL x 2). Synthetic morphs and biomorphs with Level 2 Pain Tolerance (or the equivalent) are immune to this weapon. Lethal setting has the same effect of the first, but inflicts damaging levels of resonation and cavitation. Sonic Beamers may be set to concentrate their energy in either infrasonic, audible or ultrasonic frequencies. Each has their own benefits and drawbacks. Note that at DM discretion a given target may not have any body cavities or resonant components within a given range, and is therefore immune at those frequencies. Infrasound: Increase AP by -2. Increase the maximum range by x2. Infrasound penetrates most walls and bodies, and may strike targets on the other side. It is more likely to be able to damage solid inanimate objects. Neo-whale and neo-porpoise morphs hear in this range. Audible: No benefit or penalties, but almost everyone hears in this range. Ultrasound: Decrease AP by +2. Increase the damage by +1d10 when firing at lethal amplitudes. In dense atmospheres or liquid mediums, increase the damage bonus to +2d10 at short range and +1d10 at medium, but eliminate it at long and extreme range, as the liquid itself cavitates and disrupts the beam. If attempting to fire ultrasound through rigid solid material like polymers or metal, halve all range increments. Neo-cetacean morphs hear in this range. AP: -4 DV: 2d10 (0 non-lethal) Firing Modes: SA Ammo: 100 Range: 20/30/100/140 Cost: High Special: Causes Pain Spectrum Range: Infrasound, Audible, Ultrasound Infrasonic Agitator Not all damage from sound is perceptible or obvious; sometimes it foregoes tissue damage and hearing loss to act directly on a target's psyche. Infrasound has long been known to cause unease in humans, triggering anxiety, fear and depression. The resonant frequency of the human eye sits at 19 Hz, and the resultant pressure changes to the retina may trigger ghostly apparition's in the viewer's field. Lots of haunting phenomena can be chalked up to a poor acoustics or overzealous ventilation systems. The infrasonic agitator is weaponized haunting. When fired at a biomorph or pod, it induces psychological stress. All the better if the victim cannot hear infrasound, and feels only an inexplicable creeping dread. Anyone struck by an agitator takes a -20 action penalty until next turn and must make a WIL x 2 check or suffer 2 SV, +1 for every 10 points MoF. Pods and biomorphs with cyberbrains roll WIL x 3 and suffer only a -10 penalty, while synthmorphs are wholly unaffected by this weapon. Agitators are medium sized two-handed weapons. AP: -6 (infrasound AP factored) DV: see text Firing Modes: SA, Ammo: 100 Range: 40/90/300/840 (infrasound range factored) Cost: High Special: Causes Stress Spectrum: Infrasound Precision Cavitator More popularly known as a “Scanner-Canner”, cavitators fire a tight-beam burst of ultrasound to inflict severe cavitation over a small area, and from as far away as ultrasound will allow. As the nickname might suggest, this area is often the target's brain. They sadly cannot damage a cortical stack, but any brain damage inflicted short of death may initially avoid detection and mar the backup. The Hidden Concern has a habit of pairing such ego corruption with deletion of the victim's other backups to send a message. Cavitators are medium sized two-handed weapons. AP: -2 (ultrasound factored) DV: 3d10+5 (ultrasound factored) Firing Modes: SA Ammo: 20 Range: 40/90/300/420 Cost: High Special: - Spectrum Range: Ultrasound Phased Array Infrasound Network (PAIN) PAINs are large, collapsible speaker arrays designed to deliver powerful amounts of tight beam infrasound. Because infrasound readily penetrates walls, PAINs are most often employed from fixed positions in or around habitat buildings, acting as a kind of dimensional artillery in support of tacnet-ed teams. PAIN's can also couple with the resonant frequencies of these structures, shaking objects and even collapsing walls and ceilings. For teams not keen on knocking, they can use these to tunnel through a structure, one wall at a time. PAINs are large size weapons, and not at all low key. AP: -6 (infrasound factored) DV: 4d10 Firing Modes: SA Ammo: 50 Range: 60/130/450/1200 (infrasound factored) Cost: Expensive Special: - Spectrum Range: Infrasound
Bursting Eagern... Bursting Eagerness Soul's picture
These look well thought out.
These look well thought out. The Snap Digits and Vocalizer seem a bit overpowered for their supposed size though. All of them seem to have a bit too much damage too.
In other words, firing off a laser with a sufficient TWR for the recoil to be noticeable would require a post-miracle-tech laser weighing less than a disposable plastic spoon and powerful enough to shoot down Death Stars? -- ShadowDragon8685
Soviet Onion Soviet Onion's picture
I think you're right about
I think you're right about the damage, especially given the extra +1d10 from ultrasound and infrasound's ability to negate cover. I'd probably knock everything down by 1d10 to scale it appropriately. This will put a hard limit on ultrasound range in dense media. I also noticed a mistake in my writeup of the vocalizer; its firing mode is supposed to be SS, not SA. That halves the damage over time right there, making the more expensive sound pistol effectively twice as good. Otherwise I think snap digits are balanced, since being knocked down is not really crippling unless you get stunned as well. The short range means that most people will be able to shoot you from a safe distance or rush you after the first shot. It's not really a weapon that could kill anyone on its own; more a battlefield control tool, likely used in the first round of combat to confer an advantage on your allies, just like a concussion grenade.
Soviet Onion Soviet Onion's picture
Bear in mind that these stats
Bear in mind that these stats are also in context of a homebrewed boost to Beam weapons, as most people here seem to agree they're underpowered and that with railgun-equivalent batteries they should be capable of more.
ShadowDragon8685 ShadowDragon8685's picture
The real strength of Beam
The real strength of Beam Weapons isn't in the pew-pew equivalency of the lower-powered offerings compared to kinetic railguns. The real strength of them is in stunners. If you nail a biomorph or a pod with a stunner, you've either checkmated them or applied a massive debuff they almost certainly aren't coming back from. Even wearing a full battlesuit which has been modded with shockproof and being sleeved in a fury with every DUR enhancer you can get - even if their DUR + Energy Armor roll is over 100 - you're applying that massive debuff. Anyone who isn't completely armored and twinked for combat is probably just going to be rendered completely helpless.
Skype and AIM names: Exactly the same as my forum name. [url=http://tinyurl.com/mfcapss]My EP Character Questionnaire[/url] [url=http://tinyurl.com/lbpsb93]Thread for my Questionnaire[/url] [url=http://tinyurl.com/obu5adp]The Five Orange Pips[/url]
Bursting Eagern... Bursting Eagerness Soul's picture
Soviet Onion wrote:I also
Soviet Onion wrote:
I also noticed a mistake in my writeup of the vocalizer; its firing mode is supposed to be SS, not SA. That halves the damage over time right there, making the more expensive sound pistol effectively twice as good. Otherwise I think snap digits are balanced, since being knocked down is not really crippling unless you get stunned as well. The short range means that most people will be able to shoot you from a safe distance or rush you after the first shot. It's not really a weapon that could kill anyone on its own; more a battlefield control tool, likely used in the first round of combat to confer an advantage on your allies, just like a concussion grenade.
I meant that they seem to be somewhat implausible to be included in any morph. Maybe have Snap Digits require some kind of claw, and limit the Vocalizer to Large morphs?
In other words, firing off a laser with a sufficient TWR for the recoil to be noticeable would require a post-miracle-tech laser weighing less than a disposable plastic spoon and powerful enough to shoot down Death Stars? -- ShadowDragon8685
Soviet Onion Soviet Onion's picture
I don't think large size is
I don't think large size is necessary to produce either of those effects. Snapping shrimps produce noise at up to 200 decibels. Bullfrogs, bladder cicadas, bulldog bats, howler monkeys and many birds can reach 130 decibels, and without the aid of nanotechnology and any miniaturization it would enable. I'm open to the argument that it's just physically impossible, but it doesn't seem to me like it would be. Aesthetically, I kind of prefer it if these modifications are low key. I think it would be pretty rewarding to watch someone casually snap their fingers and blow people away, or have a neotenic scream peoples' heads off.
Quote:
The real strength of Beam Weapons isn't in the pew-pew equivalency of the lower-powered offerings compared to kinetic railguns.
I mostly agree, though not every beam weapon's a stunner or agonizer. The changes I made weren't just an arbitrary attempt to impose "fairness" on reality, they were the result of some research over at projectrho.com and elsewhere. I gave particle beam bolters some more AP to reflect descriptions of their superb penetration (including the x-rays generation on impact with metal), and every physicist I've spoken to thinks that plasma weapons should be both short range, impractical wastes of energy AND one shot kills on most biomorphs, so I boosted damage there too. Lasers more or less stayed the same in normal firing mode, but I also give them the option of a "drill" mode which overclocks the beam for more power at the expense of 5 shots worth of energy and a cooldown after two shots, as per the plasma rifle. Drilling is less efficient than pulsing due diffusion, but sometimes it's worth wasting the energy. They're still nothing like a railgun in terms of killy.
Bursting Eagern... Bursting Eagerness Soul's picture
Soviet Onion wrote:I don't
Soviet Onion wrote:
I don't think large size is necessary to produce either of those effects. Snapping shrimps produce noise at up to 200 decibels. Bullfrogs, bladder cicadas, bulldog bats, howler monkeys and many birds can reach 130 decibels, and without the aid of nanotechnology and any miniaturization it would enable. I'm open to the argument that it's just physically impossible, but it doesn't seem to me like it would be. Aesthetically, I kind of prefer it if these modifications are low key. I think it would be pretty rewarding to watch someone casually snap their fingers and blow people away, or have a neotenic scream peoples' heads off.
There is still a problem of scale. Mantis shrimp do their thing to small fish in water with a top range of a few feet, not to human-sized morphs in one atmosphere of air with a top range of 20 meters. They also have claws specifically designed for the snapping stuff. I just don't see biological fingers being able to blow someone away like that, or at that range. For the others, when was the last time you heard of someone getting anything worse than a headache from an animal's noise? Also, those animals that you mentioned usually can't "aim" their calls too well. I could see the Snap Digits as (mechanically) a Vortex Ring Gun (since that has almost identical stats) implanted in a Cyberarm that splits the forearm or hand in half like a shrimp claw and slams the halves back together while whipping the whole arm forward when used. You could leave the ammo requirements in or take them out depending on your whims. For the Vocalizer, I would do it as an throat-implanted Sound Pistol, or as a biological aug that just deals the pain part for damage as an area effect. Let me make it clear that I really like the concept of Sonic weaponry, I just think that you are overestimating biology and underestimating the effects of scale. Also, stuff like this isn't going to be low-key at all. EDIT: Another thing that I thought of would be to have switching the infrasonic/audible/ultrasonic setting be mechanically the same as switching a Particle Beam Bolter from atmospheric to exoatmospheric or vice versa.
In other words, firing off a laser with a sufficient TWR for the recoil to be noticeable would require a post-miracle-tech laser weighing less than a disposable plastic spoon and powerful enough to shoot down Death Stars? -- ShadowDragon8685
Soviet Onion Soviet Onion's picture
I like the idea of making the
I like the idea of making the switching of firing modes more of a time commitment. They're qualitatively more different than the firing modes on kinetic weapons and should feel more exclusive (doing this to the vocalizer conjures up the image of an opera singer preparing). This is a scale picture of the snapping shrimp in question, different from the mantis shrimp for which cavitation is a side effect and they usually kill by impact. http://www.jayhosler.com/jshblog/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/snapping-shr... The actual snapping surface isn't all that big, it's the muscles powering it that are oversized. The average human hand, and the forearm muscles controlling it, is about two orders of magnitude larger than the shrimp's. This isn't even taking into account technological enhancements of muscle fibers, fuel systems and materials in the skin. I don't think it would need to be so large, or that you couldn't get away with just an odd looking normal hand. I'm starting to agree with you on the vocalizer for the sake of differentiating it from the sound pistol/sonic beamer mechanics, and because I can't think of a way to make the sound so direction, which enable you to concentrate damage from a smaller emitter. Line the trachea with some reflective material a la a fiberoptic cable? I'm still not certain that a Banshee level of power would be difficult to generate, but if this is going on a biomorph then it's probably best to keep the power level down, less risking their own body.