The Weapons of the Future

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Feldion Feldion's picture
The Weapons of the Future
Since weapons are part of combat, I'll post this here. What kind of weaponry will the characters of Eclipse Phase be lugging around? Will everyone be using 'soft' sci-fi laser weaponry, or can we expect a mix of both more hard-fi futuristic ballistics, and the laster blasters of Star Wars?
Imago Imago's picture
And will there be rules for
And will there be rules for the use of EMP?
RobBoyle RobBoyle's picture
It's a mix. You'll see both
It's a mix. You'll see both kinetic weapons (standard guns, but also coilguns and railguns) and energy weapons (lasers, plasma rifles). The kinetics tend to be used for lethal purposes, as our research into the science and materials led us to the conclusion that energy weapons would make for more effective nonlethal weaponry. You'll also see stuff like painguns, flechette-throwers, etc.

Rob Boyle :: Posthuman Studios

RobBoyle RobBoyle's picture
Since most electronics will
Since most electronics will be optical and solid-state, EMP will only have an effect on antennas and some power supplies. So, it's good for cutting communications, but not so good for frying electronics. Plus, shielding in EP is quite effective.

Rob Boyle :: Posthuman Studios

Tzeentch Tzeentch's picture
Depending on the role of
Depending on the role of organic shells, it should be noted that a HPM (high-powered microwave) "EMP" weapon with a reasonable effective radius would be pretty darn lethal, which might limit their utility if people wanted a less-than-lethal way of controlling rogue mecha.
fourthson fourthson's picture
Great news, but maybe you
Great news, but maybe you should check out a book titled E-Bomb by Doug Beason, if you haven't already; it may provide some further insight about the role of energy weapons for EP.
Mifune Mifune's picture
Close Quarters
I notice that only ranged weapons are being address, but what about close quarter weapons? Close quarter weapons will always have an advantage that firearms won't; their effectiveness in enclosed spaces. So will there be an improvement on the knife? Will swordplay come back into style?
[center]"Hack the Body, and the Mind Will Follow."[/center][right][b]-Sheldon Surina[/b] (Jump 225 Trilogy by David Louis Edelman)[/right]
GregH GregH's picture
There was an earlier art
There was an earlier art piece that dealt with the nastiness of blood loss in zero-g via knife fighting so I imagine we're going to see a melee weapon or two. Actually I imagine that they would still be around quite nicely if only because of the large number of spacecraft and habitats that as a general rule do not respond well to projectile weaponry. Toss in biomodifications for combat as well as the large number of robotic entities and you could with up with the odd situation where a claymore get's a passing nod in customs while a pocket-sized coilgun raises alarm...
fourthson fourthson's picture
Yeah, maybe. And the main
Yeah, maybe. And the main advantage that CQW's have is that they never run out of ammo in a pinch. Ha!
RobBoyle RobBoyle's picture
There's a good assortment of
There's a good assortment of melee weapons in the core book. You'll see some standard sci-fi stuff (diamond-coated axes) along with things like wasp knives (that inject gases into a target, meant for for extra damage in vacuum combat when the gases expand to escape).

Rob Boyle :: Posthuman Studios

Dr. Crisis Dr. Crisis's picture
Archery
Would there be any high-tech bows and arrows? From arrows that phase through objects to deliver its payload to bows that can split apart to become melee weapons. On another note, will we see any oriental weapons given a transhuman twist?
GregH GregH's picture
Hmm. Here's an EP image on
Hmm. Here's an EP image on Rob's site(http://robboyle.wordpress.com)showing a melee weapon... looks like she's got a chainsaw-sword thingy...
Balfuset Balfuset's picture
Rates of Fire
Hm, feels like I've been asking a lot of questions about the game design recently, but I guess as I read more of the book I come up with more, and this one hit my like a ton of bricks. I was looking at the Gear chapter, and seeing that every kinetic weapon, save machine guns has SA, BF, and FA fire modes (with the machine gun only lacking SA), which made me raise an eyebrow immediately. Then, looking at the combat chapter, and realising that concentrated full auto fire adds +1d10 + 10 damage, and then taking that into account with a sniper rifle... I just don't understand why that would be the case, especially as there appears to be no system for recoil like there is in something like Shadowrun.

I don't want to sound too harsh here but... what was the logic behind this set of decisions that creates, frankly, the only weapon you'd ever want to use?
Slith Slith's picture
I went through a few mental
I went through a few mental calculations here, and was a bit surprised.

Not only is the sniper rifle doing far more damage than a machine gun, it's almost got as much ammo as one, AND can fire in full auto. If you give the sniper rifle an extended magazine, it's even worse. Because now it can fire in full auto for longer than the machine gun can.

Sniper rifle? More like squad automatic support railrifle.
nielsk nielsk's picture
Yp, this thing is evil. What
Yp, this thing is evil. What I'll do as GM is just to make it very very hard to get. The advantage over Shadowrun is that there are no real rules of availability and thus gamers can't say "but the rules say it's easy to get". Don't forget that the GM has because of "missing" rules a lot more power than in rule-dense games like SR. In addition the power of the GM is really emphasized in this game.

There is nothing like essence neither - in SR this would lead to a disaster, in EP I actually do not think a lot about that…if a morph seems to be to be to powerful the player will either have to work real hard for it or I wouldn't have a bad conscience if I kill the morph…EP is the first game in which I won't have a bad conscience when I do a group wipe and can even build it in as an element of a story
Balfuset Balfuset's picture
The real major problem here
The real major problem here is those same lack of availability and essence rules make this sort of kit very easy to come by at character creation, where players can say that there's no roles agaist making it. My main problem with it is that the description of the plasma rifle describe it as the deadliest man-portable weapon the setting had to offer, and then we have this available to us.

Now of course GM fiat is always an option, I just feel like this is something so obviously 'broken' that it was worth mentioning.
nielsk nielsk's picture
It's easy to get that stuff
It's easy to get that stuff at character creation? If they explain to me how they got their hands on it. I agree that self-built-characters at a convention could be a problem regarding that but in "normal" games I expect that my players show me their characters first and I have the last say if the character is ok or not.
Btw. if the players can have stuff like that, their enemies can have that stuff, too. Makes combats short and morphs harder to get by over time because players have to use up favors for a reasonable morph or have to be at the GMs whim what morph they get from Firewall.
Btw. there is even a broken combination of cyberware mentioned in the book: lidar, thermographic and radar. I think that the designers where quite aware what they were doing
nielsk nielsk's picture
But I have to say that their
Please read the other reply first…this forum sucks regarding timelines of posting :(
But I have to say that their description do not really add up because the sniper rifle is far better than the plasma rifle. Well, it seems that I'll put some work in handing out branded weapons.
And I have to admit that I do not understand some design decisions as well (like the minimum skill points of 400 -- as minimum CP for active skills I'd understand it but that way it is now, it's kinda odd)
nielsk nielsk's picture
Just got the first character
Just got the first character a player built by himself w/out consulting me and had to trim down there a lot (the morph and his heavily modified light body armor). One additional information - the faction is "Brinker"
I see already see the discussion coming up…

Synth Morph
Aptitude Max: 25
Access Jacks, Basic Mesh Insert, Cortical Stack, Cyberbrain, Mnemonic Augmentation
Stigma (Clanking Mas), Uncanny Valley, Unfit

*Anti-Glare (250), Chameleon Skin (250), Cyber Claws (250), Direction Sense (250), Electrical Sense (250), Enhanced Hearing (250), Enhanced Vision (250), Ghostrider Module (250), 2x Hidden Compartment (500), Hopper (1000), Light Combat Armor 14/12 (1000), Pneumatic Limbs (250), Radar (250), Radiation Sense (250), Structural Enhancement (1000), Synthetic Mask (1000), T-Ray Emitter (250)

Railgun Automatic Rifle (5000) +Extended Magazine (250) +Smartlink (1000)
Railgun Heavy Pistol (1000) +Extended Magazine (250) +Smartlink (1000)
Medium Pistol (250) + Sound & Flash Suppressor (1250) +Extended Magazine (250) +Smartlink (1000)
100 Rounds Regular Railgun Automatic Rifle Ammo (50)
100 Rounds Regular Railgun Heavy Pistol Ammo (50)
100 Rounds Medium Pistol Biter Ammo (250)
Light Body Armor 10/10 (250) +Full Helmet +3/+3 (50) +Chameleon Coating (50) +Fireproof +2/+0 (50)
+Refrative Glazing +3/+0 (250) + Shockproof (250) + Thermal Dampering (1000)
puke puke's picture
i keep coming back to this

i keep coming back to this idea, and a few other little issues i've seen in the rules, and the only thing i can come up with (and forgive me for saying so, i know the devs are experienced veterans in the game industry) is that its just not a mature rule system yet. it makes some sacrafices in favor of being "rules light" but it also just hasnt gone through 20-30 years (in the case of SR or D&D or WFRP) of live playtesting and rules edition updates.

sure, it takes advantage of three decades of accumulated gaming knowledge, and its far better than the first edition of most other games you could name, but it just hasnt been banged around enough for the kinks to be worked out.

evaluating the sniper rifle, its not as bad as people make out. it does a bit more damage than a plasma gun, and can fire three times in three actions rather than twice every other round. but it also has much more limited ammo capacity (at its full auto rate) than a plasma gun, so theres some balance there. the real issue is that you should expect a plasma gun to be able to electronically adjust its own stream and pretty much aim itsself as long as its pointed in vaguely the right direction.

no, thats just my own peeve. the real issue is that there shouldnt be such a variety of kinetic weapons if they all share the same firing rate and lack of recoil. as you say, why even have a machine gun? why not just have a belt-fed sniper rifle? the destinction should maybe be in what kind of ammo (possibly due to bore size) each weapon can accept, and some other balancing attribute such as legality or concealabiliy. neither of which there are guidelines for.

perhaps each kinetic weapon is something like a multi-cannon. imagine all the different kinds of smart munitions and microgrenades and breachers and such, scaled for various bore sizes. larger bore, more damage and less ammo capacity and less concealability. set a formula to either arithmetically or geometrically project out bore/damage/ammo/concealibility, and pick a few example points along the lines to call your "light", "medium", and "heavy". thats probably how i'd run it anyway.

then if you just wanted to lay down volumes of fire, theres probably a need for some kind of "needler" weapon with higher fireing rate and very small projectiles that afford it more ammo capacity but fewer smart-munition or boomey kinds of options.

This is how i would replace Kinetic and Rail weapons, anyhow. its currently similar to this, rail weapons having more penetration and damage, but accepting less variety of ammo. i'd just be pushing it a step further making Kenetic weapons essentially multi-role non-seeking launchers, and making Rail weapons low-calibur high AP, high ammo, high RoF bullet hoses.

these are just some ideas i've been kicking around, so dont let me rain on your parade if you like the system as-is. i'd like to discuss the topic in more detail to see what other ideas people have, but i dont want to rub anyone the wrong way or get into a gun-porn discussion or anything like that. just some friendly ideas.

acgetchell acgetchell's picture
Re: Since most electronics will
As noted in another post on EMP, EP drastically underestimates how effective EMP will be, especially against nanites or anything of micrometer sizes or using carbon fullerene as a substrate. Also, as the energy density of batteries approaches chemical energy bond limits, lasers will become far and away more effective than slug-throwers once one can generate pulses of about 10 kilojoules or so (a 9mm bullet is about 1.6kJ). For example, a notional [1] handheld laser delivering 5 kJ shots about a kilometer downrange (equivalent to .30 cal rifle but able to burn through any man-portable armor) could place 4 shots per second on essentially whatever target in range and LOS, exactly, up to and including the previous hit location, if desired. It would have a "magazine" of 20 shots per kg of "ultracapacitor" (each shot takes 10 kJ, storage is 200kJ/kg; note a room temp superconductor loop could store ~20MJ/kg, or 2000 shots/kg. Also, more efficient cooling allows >4shots/sec). Since heat dissipation/cooling goes with power, one could imagine a "short-range" mode delivering 16 shots/sec of 1.25kJ to all targets in range. One could also imagine a heavy-weapons version with double the range and quadruple the power, but all shots would still be precisely aimed, with no recoil, windage, bullet drop, or (essentially) armor considerations. Rate of fire would depend only on the battery pack and amount of cooling. For lasers based on vehicles with powerplants, both might be essentially limitless. Finally as noted in the EMP post, no organic/robotic sleeve would be able to survive even 1 hit from a plasma weapon, since the energies released are several orders of magnitude greater than chemical bond strengths for any material on the periodic table (chemical bond strengths are in eV range, nuclear fusion is in the MeV range). [2] So, for those desiring less combat in EC, it's really pretty simple. The first one to deploy modern weaponry, wins. The losers die, or are incapacitated, winners choice. For those that desire slightly more sophistication, the rule could be changed to the first one to hit with modern weaponry wins, although in the vast majority of cases the two rules are identical. [1] http://www.orionsarm.com/eg-article/48fddc50c8880 [2] http://www.fusion.org.uk/info/reaction.htm
puke puke's picture
Re: The Weapons of the Future
these are well reasoned opinions. i'd like to see some ideas developed for alternate weapons and technology suited to the general tech level of the setting. someone setup a wiki for fan contributions, and there are probably plenty more places to start publishing modified EP material. I have been woking on ideas for weapons of a lower tech nature, making different assumptions about the effiency of energy storage. the net result is the same, even with projectile weapons. with sufficiently advanced technology (mainly on the tactical network and smart-weapons side of things) the first to resort to violence wins. i dont think thats just true with modern weapons, either. in many cases through history we can see that the first to resort to violence has won the initial engagement. there may be larger logistical challenges or political consequences to being the aggressor, but its rare for aggressors to be imediately repelled. anyway, the only bone of contention i have with your view of weaponry is regarding plasma weapons. i think its just ionized gas, not some boiling splooge of active fusion, causing fission reactions in nearby elements and whatnot. i mean, theres a plasma gun in my old CRT. its not that powerfull. like anything, the things come in gradiations depending on the power and technology available.
acgetchell acgetchell's picture
Re: The Weapons of the Future
Actually no, ionized gas is just ionized gas. Plasma is distinguished by collective behavior and quasineutrality. In particular, electrostatic interactions dominate over kinetic reactions. Another way of saying this is that the ideal gas law does not necessarily apply to a plasma. Saying that there's a plasma gun in your CRT (with a temperature range of just a few eV) is like saying there's a laser in my wireless mouse. Both are true, and both don't come anywhere near describing what weaponized versions of these devices do. In your particular example, there are about six orders of magnitude energy difference between a CRT and a plasma rifle. There's only three orders of magnitude or so energy difference between a BB gun and a sniper rifle.
puke puke's picture
Re: The Weapons of the Future
i respect your opinions and dont really want to start an arguement here, but i do respectfully disagree. there are scales to everything. plasma IS just electrically conductive ionized gas, and there IS a laser in your mouse and CD player. weaponized versions of plasma guns in the modern world diffuse too much in the atmosphere to be usefull for their intended purpose: shooting down missiles. in the Traveler and WH40K universes, they are more like you describe. in EP, theyre a medium bewteen the two. the take away here is that there are beginning and intermediate versions of any envisioned pinnacle technology, when the resources do not yet exist to create the final version. I take your meaning with the superiority of certiain types of weapons giving an assumed technology level, and would very much like to see an alternate view of the EP setting written up, given your assumptions. I think it has great potential and should be developed. i LIKE your view. I would like to see more of it in a playable format. I also think that given lower levels of technology and different assumptions, there would be different sorts of weapons in play. there are OTHER valid views if the setting does not offer access to the technology you describe. regardless of all that, the notion that sentient individuals will be pointing hand-aimed weapons of ANY sort at each other in a setting that offers computing and robotic power on EPs level is pretty absurd. The only reason we do it today is that people are cheaper than robots.
Ramidel Ramidel's picture
Re: The Weapons of the Future
Here's where "it's just a game" comes in. If the optimal solution to warfare was to simply drop a huge number of cheap AI drones on a problem, there'd be no place for Ultimate mercs and so on. Instead, you get twinked-out Reapers fighting wars and Ghosts infiltrating habs to launch devastating infowar strikes.
HappyDaze HappyDaze's picture
Re: The Weapons of the Future
Ramidel wrote:
Here's where "it's just a game" comes in. If the optimal solution to warfare was to simply drop a huge number of cheap AI drones on a problem, there'd be no place for Ultimate mercs and so on. Instead, you get twinked-out Reapers fighting wars and Ghosts infiltrating habs to launch devastating infowar strikes.
Who's to say that those two options are not *exactly* how the Ultimate mercs operate? I don't think that the Remade is the typical choice for an on-duty combat operative, and it's not too great for infiltration either (of course, neither is the Ghost IMO - it has a silly set of standard implants).
puke puke's picture
Re: The Weapons of the Future
I think HappyDaze is right here, and that it gets to the heart of what acgetchell is about. there just isnt room for cyberstuds with guns in a realistic extrapolation of what this imagined future might be like. sure, everyone imagines a little differently, but EP has taken pains to paint realistic pictures of future economies and social interactions. the reasoning is probably just as Ramidel says, its just a game and they probably couldnt sell many copies if there wasnt a way to kick an easily identifyable bad guy and have loot pop out. but there are already threads about how to re-imagine the Jovians as a more well-rounded faction, and less cookie-cutter villian. i think we should have a reasoned discussion, not only on different views of weapons technology in the setting (this thread) but also the social consequences of weapons use and what measures replace weapon use (more like the "rules of engagement thread" next door).
Ramidel Ramidel's picture
Re: The Weapons of the Future
HappyDaze wrote:
Ramidel wrote:
Here's where "it's just a game" comes in. If the optimal solution to warfare was to simply drop a huge number of cheap AI drones on a problem, there'd be no place for Ultimate mercs and so on. Instead, you get twinked-out Reapers fighting wars and Ghosts infiltrating habs to launch devastating infowar strikes.
Who's to say that those two options are not *exactly* how the Ultimate mercs operate? I don't think that the Remade is the typical choice for an on-duty combat operative, and it's not too great for infiltration either (of course, neither is the Ghost IMO - it has a silly set of standard implants).
Right. I meant that Ultimates are used (in Reapers and Ghosts) instead of masses of AIs.
acgetchell acgetchell's picture
Re: The Weapons of the Future
Continuing on with the respectful exchange of ideas here: Physics says otherwise. Plasma, as I've mentioned earlier, is delineated from fluids by its quasineutral and collective behavior. Rigorous definitions of this can be found in, for example, [1]. But to be precise, often times we can treat plasmas as collisionless, i.e. no kinetic interactions (as in fluids), dominated by electromagnetic forces (the classic example being Larmor gyration in magnetic mirrors). There are no weaponized plasma guns in the real world (yet), but both lightning discharges and ball lightning propagate remarkably far ... in fact, ball lightning may be a plasmoid [2], and solar prominences almost certainly are. A toroidal plasmoid configuration along with the self-focusing [3] guide laser probably offers the best chance at weaponized plasma guns (the particle beam "bolter" being an easier design). Bringing this together though, I'd say that the dominant man-portable weapon would be the laser: it's accuracy, rate of fire, range, and armor penetration would be mostly unrivalled (except possibly by railguns), they can be used in lethal and non-lethal modes, and they can engage a range of targets from vehicles down to nanite swarms (UV lasers being ideal for that application) in a range of environments from free-fall to atmospheric. The tunable FEL lasers would be best but probably limited to vehicle mounts (since you do need the particle accelerator/wiggler), although handheld particle beam weapons suggest there might be man-portable FELs. [In space with the right materials one can think of making x-ray lasers using k-edge electrons to do Bragg reflection as an effective mirror, defocusing the beam so that the energy density doesn't exceed chemical bond strengths until it reaches the target. My physicist friend Luke Campbell has shown effective ranges out to light-minutes. But there relativistic railguns regain the advantage over lasers in destructiveness since they can have higher energy densities.] The range tables for lasers given in EP, especially considering tricks like self-focusing and chirping, are way too short; I'd think any man-portable laser would start with sniper rifle ranges and build up from there (except the cybernetic hand laser, which would be limited by lens size so perhaps leave that one alone). Since full auto in EP is 10 shots in a 3 second round, and lasers start at about 4/sec then all lasers should be FA. They should also have some sort of accuracy bonus compared to firearms, since you can reliably lay each shot on top of the first given no recoil effects. Some of this is handled by the beam weapon sweeping fire rule, but would work better if the stricture against pulse laser weapons were removed (since any laser weapon used in atmosphere would have a continuous low-power "guide beam" for the adaptive optics/chirping/self-focusing calculations). Looking at damage, with the notional 5kJ laser pulse equivalent to a rifle shot, the damage per shot should probably be the 2d10+6 of an assault rifle round. The military advantage becomes obvious: a laser weapon with 10kg of ammo delivers anywhere from 200 - 20000 shots, depending on the tech level of the battery. If room temperature superconductors are common, it's probably the upper end of the spectrum. Engagement ranges will be longer too, infantry so armed should be able to pick off targets within a kilometer in rapid succession. As mentioned, they also have advantages in low/zero-g gravity, since there's no recoil to counteract. Firearms with bullets only become worthwhile with seeker rounds; essentially, every firearm would fire smart bullets with payloads. Given the battery and energy storage technologies, non-railgun firearms would be ancient curiosities, and firearms themselves would only be useful in specialized roles (i.e. there's got to be some reason to lug batteries + ammo instead of just batteries). (And BTW, computer/AI controlled lasers are able to shoot down bullets in flight, making firearms even less useful.) Plasma weapons should have blast damage; a plasma bolt impact will transmit energy in thermal and shock effects almost entirely analogous to a chemical explosion (i.e. nukes aren't pinpoint). For close-in targets a plasma rifle could delimit the guide laser, resulting in the cone-shaped area effect, firers choice (and probably selectable via free action through the smart link). That and removing changing SS to SA (with FA for vehicle mounted versions) probably gives about the right lethality. I've already developed these ideas elsewhere (quite a few years ago [4]), but in my opinion, biont sleeves in warfare only make sense in the context of powered armor with automatic laser defenses, built-in EMP/microwavers/seekershells/plasma guns, all heavily supported by AI-drones and intrinsically shielded from mesh attacks (one advantage over swarms of robots/drones). [1] Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion, vol. 1, F Chen, ISBN 0-306-41332-9 [2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plasmoid [3] http://www.rp-photonics.com/self_focusing.html [4] http://www.orionsarm.com/xcms.php?r=oa-page&page=gen_dragons_teeth_toc
puke puke's picture
Re: The Weapons of the Future
im not a physicist, but i am enjoying the discussion from a lay perspective. thanks for giving me new things to look up.
acgetchell wrote:
There are no weaponized plasma guns in the real world (yet),
but i think there are. they did extensive testing on anti balistic missile systems using both lasers and plasma weapons. they found that plasma weapons, while significantly more powerfull, lost cohesion over very short ranges. I guess we're talking about apples and oranges though, as every time i've mentioned lower power plasma weapons (including above) i've actually been describing particle beams -- which are different things altogether.
acgetchell wrote:
I'd say that the dominant man-portable weapon would be the laser: it's accuracy, rate of fire, They should also have some sort of accuracy bonus compared to firearms, since you can reliably lay each shot on top of the first given no recoil effects.
well, maybe, right? if you've got some sort of solid power core, sure. there were plans on the drawing board a few years back for a chemical powered man portable laser that (due to the exchange of highly pressurized gas) would generate 70lbs of forward recoil. if i'm remembering correctly, critical peer reviews vetted out the design with the caviats that material science wasnt currently up to containing the pressurized gas, and the power requirements could only be delivered by polonium 210 or something like that. point being, depending on how lasers work, they may indeed have recoil. EP handwaves away recoil effects of firearms by saying that essentially all their moving parts are replaced by recoil compensating smart fluids. i did some reading into what they were talking about, and learned that such things were indeed being tested and in theroy could arbitrarily reduce the "stroke" of recoil by increasing its power. lots of very strong but small vibrations, in exchange for a weaker but more prolonged force. i'm skeptical about wither or not this is a net gain, and why any traditional mechanical systems exist at all if smart materials are this advanced. why is that slitheroid a mechanical segmented body, and not a slug of smart goo?
acgetchell wrote:
Looking at damage, with the notional 5kJ laser pulse equivalent to a rifle shot, the damage per shot should probably be the 2d10+6 of an assault rifle round. The military advantage becomes obvious: a laser weapon with 10kg of ammo delivers anywhere from 200 - 20000 shots, depending on the tech level of the battery.
this is kind of interesting reading ( http://www.iop.org/EJ/abstract/0143-0807/5/3/011 ) but the thing to keep in mind is that we cant assume any specific power level. we can say that a 1kJ laser is equivalant to a 9mm round, or that 5 is equivalant to a rifle, or that arbitrarily compact power sources should put us in the MeV range (!), but its all arbitrary. how much power over what pulse durations can be squeeked out of portable laser weapons is basically purely speculative, and it could fall anywhere on that continum depending on energy storage density and effiency.
acgetchell wrote:
Firearms with bullets only become worthwhile with seeker rounds; essentially, every firearm would fire smart bullets with payloads. (And BTW, computer/AI controlled lasers are able to shoot down bullets in flight, making firearms even less useful.).
yeah, im pretty much in full agreement with you here. the things that modern targeting systems can do (even with a PC and webcam) are such that i cant think of too many reasons anyone would be aiming their weapons by hand in the future. at most, people would be approving target selections and ordinance choices. im not sure about your chemical firearm vs railgun thing, it seems like there are several advantages to having a weapon for which electronic failure is impossible. assuming that electronic warfare does not favor the defender, its really the only plauseable reason that organics should be on the battlefield at all. EP does not make this assumption though, and thus, as above, biologicals and non-smart weapons have almost no role on the battlefield. now, with the fragility of human civilization in EP, there are probably not any actual "battlefields" but rather more limited "hotspots" and "skirmishes". ranges and power requirements would drop, the need for stealth and suprise would increase.
acgetchell wrote:
non-railgun firearms would be ancient curiosities, and firearms themselves would only be useful in specialized roles (i.e. there's got to be some reason to lug batteries + ammo instead of just batteries).
exactly as you say. in a world where everyone lives in high-tech space habs, those situations are pretty rare. but in the modern world, we intentially manufacture "insurgent weapons" that are simpler and easier to maintain and produce. things that any factory can stamp out in a hurry. the "grease gun" in WWII, the "street sweeper" in South Africa, the widespread prevolance of cheap kalishnakov knock-offs. perhaps the parts to assemble simple and "primitive" weapons could be snuck through a fabber, while the specialized parts for more advanced weapons would be caught. might make an interesting game premise, trying to outfit a fifth-column resistance.
acgetchell wrote:
in my opinion, biont sleeves in warfare only make sense in the context of powered armor with automatic laser defenses, built-in EMP/microwavers/seekershells/plasma guns, all heavily supported by AI-drones and intrinsically shielded from mesh attacks (one advantage over swarms of robots/drones)..
exactly the way i see it. that biological is only there in his armored pod to maintain control over his bot network while its doing combat on his behalf. depending on how much you trust your AIs, even that limited biological presence may not be necessary. it seems like stigmatism against AIs fighting wars (TITANS) might be one of the ways EP reduces the prevalance of AI on the battlefield, but there are enough factions without those holdups that they should be pretty swiftly outpacing the luddites.
LordMunchkin LordMunchkin's picture
Re: The Weapons of the Future
What struck me in the Weapons section was how much modulation was lacking in the weapons. Wouldn't it be cheaper to produce a shell for a weapon and then have exchangeable mods? Especially considering smart materials... In fact I've been musing over home-ruling it in where there is one template of firearms and three attachable versions of it, light, medium, and heavy. Light could be wielded in one hand, heavy two, and medium both. There could also be mods that increase to the percentage of damage done from 10 to 30%. What was also lacking was generating rules for firearms. I was thinking of modeling it after the point buy system with each firearm having a set amount of pointing reflecting how much you can stick on it. In order to get more point you count subtract features from the base mod such as modes of fire or damage. I also don't know how seeker and firearms are different. They're both mentioned using the same methods of propulsion so why not abolish the difference for simplicities sake. A missile launcher for example would just be a single shot heavy with seeker rounds. Now I assume that all the problems with railguns have been solved in EP because coilguns are mysteriously gone but why limit their ammunition? Why not encase the bullets in a disposable conductible casing that slips away once fired? Railguns are already expensive so why not make it worth it? I remember someone mentioned how powered weapons were vulnerable to hacking but what if you can a direct fiber link to the user through some device on their person? This doesn't mean non-powered firearms would disappear but rather they would be civilian weapons, more toy than killing machine. Their relative ease of use would make them attractive to citizen armies like Titans'. I particularly like the way spray weapons were handled and can see flechette ones particularly popular in irregular forces. You simplify this whole section by creating a base sprayer(light, medium, heavy) and having each type of ammo require a different sprayer. Melee weapons were largely hit and miss. Some were cool but by and large much of it could have been simplified with a few template bases and whole bunch of upgrades. One again having 3 different sizes of weapon would cover a lot. Do away with club, blades, and unarmed skills for just a general melee skill covering all the tricks and techniques of close combat. Have specializations for the former skills. Finally I'd wish the game had more nano-based armor like the Crysis muscle suit. Considering how wide spread the technology is, I could see this replacing standard body armor. Add in the ability to increase your strength rapidly and harden the edge of forearm into a molecule thin blade, and you got sheer awesome. I have nothing to say on energy weapons that hasn't been said already other than that they need a complete overall to reflect how they would really work. Laser needs to be pumped up if a bit bulky, microwave gun more deadly, etc... point is energy weapons need to be on par with railgun kinetics if not better. Oh and I think the plasma rifle would work well as a short range projector of hot plasma death. It can't hit far but anything it does will die real fast.
acgetchell acgetchell's picture
Re: The Weapons of the Future
Re: plasma weapons: The weapons you're referring to use particle and or laser beams to punch holes in the upper atmosphere to cause a cascade of hard radiation, and/or induce turbulence. Neither of these are really "plasma weapons". The only plasma weapon's we've made are thermonuclear bombs, and possibly, hyperbaric bombs. I've written about this elsewhere too, but a notional plasma weapon based on a hafnium ballotechnic trigger would have an energy capacity of 4-400 GJ/kg (that's giga-joules per kilogram). Let's just say that plasma weapons can be orders of magnitude more energetic than even the best laser. Re: lasers Gas-discharge lasers are obsolete today. The F-35 will very likely have a solid state laser in the 100kW range or so. At any rate, notional future infantry lasers will probably be of the solid state/diode variety, probably even more reliable than firearms today due to the lack of moving mechanical parts. EP already has superconducting batteries, as stated in the gear description. The limit on energy storage in a superconductor is the strength of the material. For carbon buckytubes it's in the 40 MJ/kg range; given we probably won't be able to make superconducters from fullerenes (though we can make ballistic conductors instead), it's reasonable to suppose a superconducting battery will embed the superconductor in a matrix of high-tensile buckytubes (the current flows induce forces which attempt to "explode" the battery). So we went with a conservative figure of 20MJ/kg. As I've said earlier, that still gives you 2000 shots of 10kJ, which should deliver about 5kJ downrange, per kg. The main limitation in the size of laser weapons is the diameter of the focusing lens. Due to the diffraction limit, the lens diameter (and wavelength) give the maximum effective range. So, we can actually make assumptions on the power levels of lasers in EP: kilojoules to megajoules. [BTW, the article you linked was interesting, but dated. It does not consider modern advances such as chirping and dynamic (active) lensing. It also considers only the "beam" -type weapon which delivers energy thermally, i.e. burning a hole in the target. The type of laser we are considering is of the rapid-pulse configuration (millions of femtosecond bursts, with local energy densities greater than chemical bond strengths), which delivers most energy via shockwaves and crack-propagation in hard materials.] Given particle beam bolters, it's very likely that man-portable particle accelerators imply man-portable FEL, which give you frequencies up to UV, which gives nice ionizing effects to those irritating nanoswarms. Re: chemical firearms vs. railguns Hmmm, I actually hadn't thought about the EMP angle, but I suppose it's a thought. A railgun, due to the stresses it has to endure with repeated firings, is likely to be fairly EMP resistant, except at close range. One could argue that the most efficient "chemical" explosive would simply be arrays of buckytube nanoflywheels, tipped over their tensile limits by an electrical charge which causes them to dump their kinetic energy into their medium. I've seen estimates for the power density of nanoflywheels at about 5kJ/kg. Still, the problem with chemical explosives is you are constrained by the brisance of your gunpowder, and there is usually a hard limit of about 5km/s in atmosphere at STP. Electrothermal weapons improve brisance and railguns bypass the problem completely, but would then be EMP vulnerable. So, I suppose a cheap, purely mechanical, purely chemical explosives slugthrower would be more EMP resistant, but it might still be easier to simply use faraday-caged micromissiles instead. Anyway, to summarize: chemical slugthrower < ET slugthrower < railgun < solid state/diode laser < FEL < particle beam < plasma weapon (hafnium ballotechnic trigger) < even more exotic weapons
Arathi Arathi's picture
Re: The Weapons of the Future
Can I have in EP laser-garrote like in "Johny Mnemonic" ?
Wild_Cat Wild_Cat's picture
Re: The Weapons of the Future
Well, there's a monowire garrote. Is that not messy enough?
Come baguette some!
Sir_Psycho Sir_Psycho's picture
Re: The Weapons of the Future
If I remember reading Johnny Mnemonic, that Yakuza hitman had a monowire whip stored inside a false finger.