Weapons Legality

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Scottbert Scottbert's picture
Weapons Legality

What sort of combat gear (and other stuff likely to be carried by firewall agents, like surveillance and stealth gear) is what sort of legal in what sort of habitat?

Does a Firewall agent need to hide that railpistol when visiting Luna? He's okay on a Scum barge, right? What about that armored vest or body armor? Sure it's probably going to draw some looks, but is it even legal in a PC habitat for non-security personnel?

I figure legality basically fits into five levels, although they may not all be differentiated in all habitats:
Civilian Unrestricted, Civilian Licensed, Municipal non-military (IE Police), Military, So Illegal Even The Military Won't Use It

What fits in these levels in such places as:
A Scum Barge
Mars or other Hypercorp habitats
Lunar and Independant inner-system habitats
Extropian habitats
Anarchist habitats
Titan
etc, etc

leviathan626 leviathan626's picture
If I recall well, as long as

If I recall well, as long as said object doesn't put the habitat in harms way it is more or less "okay".
Scum barges are the most liberal when it comes to weapons and equipment as long as it has nothing to do with the TITANs or antimatter.

For the rest of the habitats weapons would be more restricted, a handgun would pass as long as you don't wave it around (more or less what the US legislation is at the moment) but you are likely to be questioned if you walk around with an assault rifle or bigger.
The same goes for protective gear, most of it is concealed under clothing and wouldn't pose a problem (even if someone did know you were wearing it you would probably just be seen as paranoid at worst) while a full suit of combat armor would have the authority's raise an eyebrow.

After that it comes down to having a justification for possessing such equipment, a merc (direct action; gorgon ect) would probably be authorized most weapons, equipment and morph as long as he doesn't blow something up (too much at least) while a technician would only have access to small arms and non combat morphs.

Scottbert Scottbert's picture
How in game mechanics terms

How in game mechanics terms do we know what puts a habitat at risk?

NewtonPulsifer NewtonPulsifer's picture
Unfortunately it totally

Unfortunately it totally depends.

A beehive hab carved out of a 2km radius asteroid might be able to handle vehicle grade missiles being tossed around inside.

A duct tape inflatable hab....steak knives are a risk.

"I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve."- Isoroku Yamamoto

leviathan626 leviathan626's picture
In game terms it would, as

In game terms it would, as said above, depend on the habitat, the bigger and more resistant it is, the bigger the guns can get, but as a rule of thumb, anything that can punch a hole through armored plating would be forbidden, so no high explosive, anti-tank missiles, RPGs, antimatter in any significant quantity (and sometimes even very small quantitys are forbidden: cf emergency farcaster), nukes, auto cannons and some times (though only for flimsy habitats) no plasma rifles; the rest should be fine.

AllisonBW AllisonBW's picture
Some of this is actually

Some of this is actually covered (to some degree) in the Sunward and Rimward supplements--those are useful if you want to look up the rules in particular polities. For instance, on Luna, unpowered weapons (like knives and clubs) are legal, and non-lethal powered weapons are legal with a special license, but anything that could damage a habitat falls neatly into the "hell no" box. Lunars in biomorphs deeply fear the idea of their habitats being breached, as this would expose them to the hard vacuum of the Lunar surface and quite possibly result in them needing to resleeve into synthmorphs or even infomorphs, which horrifies them. On the flip side, all Titans who've done military/security service as part of their three-year term of government service upon reaching adulthood are members of the Titanian militia and are expected to both keep an assault rifle in their home and qualify with it yearly.

So yeah. Sunward and Rimward don't provide a totally perfect/exact breakdown--I think there's some degree of intentional ambiguity so that individual GMs can tweak exact legalities and licensing rules and whatnot to fit the campaigns they wish to run, within a given polity's "ballpark"--but they're very good places to start.

Scottbert Scottbert's picture
AllisonBW wrote:For instance,

AllisonBW wrote:
For instance, on Luna, unpowered weapons (like knives and clubs) are legal, and non-lethal powered weapons are legal with a special license, but anything that could damage a habitat falls neatly into the "hell no" box.

At the moment I'm specifically trying to figure out where 'lethal, but unlikely to seriously damage a habitat' weapons fall on Luna, but knowing details for other habs is good too.

Also, does 'nonlethal' include things like the laser pulser and microwave agonizer that have both lethal and nonlethal modes? Kinetic weapons can be loaded with plastic or zap rounds, do they count? Nonlethal ammo is even available for seekers. Where is the line drawn? What can the discerning, exsurgent-hunting firewall agent carry on Luna without being constantly stopped by police?

Lilith Lilith's picture
Nothing that could be easily

Nothing that could be easily spotted on someone's person.

AllisonBW AllisonBW's picture
I imagine a weapon with a

I imagine a weapon with a lethal mode doesn't count as nonlethal. As for what you can carry to murder exsurgents on Luna, well, leave any questionable weapons outside in your buggy or a cache or whatever if you're going into a hab. You may wish to arrange for something like that.

NewtonPulsifer NewtonPulsifer's picture
I imagine some locales are

I imagine some locales are happy to let you have lethal weapons as long as you're willing to let the police hardwire a ghostrider module loaded with a public safety muse to your weapon :)

"I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve."- Isoroku Yamamoto

Scottbert Scottbert's picture
Another idea came to me when

Another idea came to me when I noticed the mention of 'military-grade weapons' sidebar of the New Economy section, and I thought of how we seem to draw the line between civilian and police/military weapons in the US - firing modes.

Perhaps versions of weapons that lack the burstfire and fullauto modes would be more likely to be seen as non-military?

Kinetic pistols are classic self-defense weapons since before the Fall, although most habs probably require licenses. semiauto-only versions of SMGs and automatic rifles might be legal for target-shooting or something, although I imagine anyone carrying them openly will be looked at funny. (Pre-fall they'd have been good for hunting, of course, but probably only the hyperelite can attempt such a thing now). The sniper rifle stats in the book seem to suggest a high-caliber rifle designed to pierce medium armor -- there might be lower-caliber versions (with less damage and AP value) for civilian marksmen. Aspiring security personnel need to practice with _something_.

Railguns are a bit odd here -- they might all be seen as excessive for civilian use, or maybe they're just treated as other kinetics -- stick to semiauto and nerf the sniper rifle. If the cutoff is based on penetration/damage comparable to normal bullets, then it might be that only (semiauto) light/medium pistols and SMG are 'civilian-grade'.

For beam weapons, who knows? The microwave agonizer, laser pulser, and stunner all look like good self-defense weapons. The particle beam bolter has the potential to be highly damaging when the beam is sustained -- perhaps a single shot version would be acceptable. The plasma rifle is clearly heavy military firepower, though.

Seekers are just too destructive for self-defense. They have a blast radius!

Shard weapons are in an odd spot. They're like future shotguns, and shotguns are classic home defense weapons. On the other hand, instead of sharing shot's tendency for stray projectiles to get stuck in walls, shards are even more penetrating than bullets or railgun slugs! Maybe semiauto shard pistols would be okay. Freezers and buzzers don't quickly kill people.

Of course, any police that see you carrying a weapon can instantly check your ID and licenses via the mesh.

Does any of this make sense?

leviathan626 leviathan626's picture
It mostly makes sense up

It mostly makes sense up until the part about hunting, hunting what?!, there are no animals to hunt, Mars is a barren wasteland, Venus' ecosystem is most probably protected as it isn't stable yet, Titanian Elks aren't really wild animals, so the only place you could likely find game to hunt is through the gates, I seriously doubt anyone but the most insane/rich would want to go hunting on an other planet billions of light-years away with all the risks it implies (though you could end up with something like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSwNFVjCquU )

I think the most likely place one would go hunting is simulspace.

Static DET5 Static DET5's picture
I think we're dramatically

I think we're dramatically selling things short here. Particularly the massively diverse nature of the trans-human universe, after the fall.

Some habitats are going to have dramatically different rules than others.
The simple act of carrying a holstered pistol on your hip really isn't that simple. Some habitats may have no problem with it. Others may prohibit projectile weapons (bullets have to land somewhere).
I can easily see a habitat with some pretty arbitrary rules regarding weapons. Carrying a weapon isn't a big deal, as long as you have an established reputation on that habitat. No rep? Sorry, you don't have a right to self protection, but you can hire one our safety consultants during your stay.
There are many variants on that theme as well. Some habitats may have citizens that don't look twice, but the equivalent of the local cops may stop you on sight (Unreasonable search? I'm concerned with my safety. It's reasonable).
Perhaps an individual can purchase or secure (rep or resource) a permit for a weapon. Either a flat fee, or a bond. The fee is easy (although I'm not completely sure how fees of this nature are handled in a reputation economy). The bond may simply secure the right to carry and is used to pay off any property damage that occurs as a result of the weapon's use. Want to carry a baseball bat? No big deal. Want to carry a rack of smart missiles? You're going to need to put your personal habitat in bond.
This last option presents some scary but believable options. Sure, the party can manage to bring in their personal weapons, but the hyper-corp that is chasing them can bring their entire army into the hab.

Then there are going to be habs where arbitrary rules are the norm. You can't have a weapon because you're a (insert today's second class citizen here).

If you want to see how bizarre weapon laws can get, take a look at our modern laws across the planet. Heck, just in the US:
In some locations it is (practically) illegal to own a pistol.
In some locations it is illegal to own a weapon with an arbitrary characteristic
In some locations/circumstances it is illegal to have a gun on your hip.
In some locations, by default, it is legal to carry concealed.
The US Constitution specifically states it is legal to have weapons.
Federal laws allow for an individual to own automatic weapons or even explosive devices. Silencers/suppressors are legal.
Some police officers are not allowed to carry firearms.
Some security officers (without wide ranging arrest powers) are allowed to carry fully automatic weapons.

Jumping overseas we see some interesting laws as well, particularly when contrasted with ours.
Some countries allow for specific, licensed individuals to carry pistols, as long as they are concealed. Talking to them, they're surprised that the US allows its citizens to openly carry.

There is tremendous variety in the Western European laws, despite efforts by the EU to consolidate these laws.

There's just an insane amount of variety in rational laws. If you start bringing in the irrational laws, it only gets more complex. To further complicate matters you have morphs ranging from smurfs to behemoths. Gas bags to juggernaughts formed from exotic materials.

I'll pose this: Any legal system based on a codified legal system in use today is going to rapidly fall behind in the race between transhuman advancement and personal destructive capability. At some point it's going to rely on someone/something saying "Hey, that's dangerous, you can't have"

Scottbert Scottbert's picture
leviathan626 wrote:It mostly

leviathan626 wrote:
It mostly makes sense up until the part about hunting, hunting what?!
I can totally see eccentric hyperelites hunting cloned animals on their large estates. If suicide sports are possible (however distasteful), so is this. That said, rare activities for the eccentric super-rich probably have little effect on the laws governing most people.
leviathan626 leviathan626's picture
I would think that very few

I would think that very few have the means/will to do so, why clone a *insert rare and dangerous animal* just to kill it when you could use simulspace to do exactly the same thing for way less and with the added bonus of being able to hunt things like dinosaurs. Gatecrashing to go hunting on the other hand would seem to me to be more likely, as you "only" need get through the gate, no need for a grand estate or cloning facilities.

Tyrfing Tyrfing's picture
Because it's real

So you can have actually killed it, skinned it and mounted its head on your wall as a trophy.

Also food tastes better when you've killed it yourself, they claim!

Re: weapon legality, I feel some weapons are pretty much a no-go in any hab. Rail-snipers leap to mind since (although it is somewhat unlikely) they can actually puncture airlocks.

Depending on how flimsy the internal walls are, weapons with medium-high penetrative power are also likely to be banned. Since criminals are, by definition, people who do not follow the law, I'm sure this should sooner or later lead to an exciting gun fight involving a maze-like habitat with aerogel walls, tacnet-relayed enemy coordinates, and railguns.

Your mind is software. Program it.
Your body is a shell. Change it.
Death is a dis@#%di. l%eo $k.
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Extinction is approaching. Embrace it.

NewtonPulsifer NewtonPulsifer's picture
Tyrfing wrote:

Tyrfing wrote:

Depending on how flimsy the internal walls are, weapons with medium-high penetrative power are also likely to be banned. Since criminals are, by definition, people who do not follow the law, I'm sure this should sooner or later lead to an exciting gun fight involving a maze-like habitat with aerogel walls, tacnet-relayed enemy coordinates, and railguns.

I have a sabotage event in an adventure that involves exactly that...

"I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve."- Isoroku Yamamoto

Tyrfing Tyrfing's picture
If you build it they will come

NewtonPulsifer wrote:
I have a sabotage event in an adventure that involves exactly that...

My, how wonderful!

Thinking along health and safety lines again, one of the big dangers in the smaller habs and on spacecraft would have to be fire. This means that habitats blessed with especially flammable architecture/atmospheres may ban beam weapons, given that many of them are heat-rays. There's probably at least one cautionary tale involving a pure oxygen atmosphere and a Firewall agent who didn't stop to think before firing his smuggled microwave agoniser to incapacitate a fleeing subject.

I wonder if anyone's ever managed to set an exoplanet's entire atmosphere on fire?

Your mind is software. Program it.
Your body is a shell. Change it.
Death is a dis@#%di. l%eo $k.
S@sdf36 3kl5j2o er3o4|h 4lakl iT.
Y0ur life is a disease. Cure it.
Extinction is approaching. Embrace it.

mkn mkn's picture
I think most habitats will

I think most habitats will come at this question not by asking "what weapons should we allow" but "why should we allow weapons at all". The right to defend your morph is probably not a big deal for hab managers, especially in highly regimented societies like the PC.

Damage to an underground habitat on Luna is not as dire a threat as blowing a hole or starting a fire in an O'neill cylinder, but I doubt personal freedom is a big priority. In other threads, I've read arguments that self repairing infrastructure and fire suppression is enough to make heavy weapons "safe" in most habitats, but the culture of spacers, especially after the Fall and domination by entrenched hyperelites, would probably be extremely risk averse, with a preference for top-down security. I suspect security forces have much less restrictions on discrimination and due process--if they feel a particular piece of gear or morph is dangerous, they can choose to monitor or impound it.

I imagine cops (on any hab that has an official police force) carry powerful less than lethal weapons as a standard side-arm, with SWAT teams and drones for taking down an out of control gang of Furies. Perhaps they have professional hackers or expert AI for attacking cyberbrains.

Granted, every hab is different--I'd just try to make it easy for players to navigate the rules from hab to hab. They disembark from their chartered shuttle, and AR inlays announce what is and isn't allowed in the hab. Storage lockers are offered for a nominal fee (or for free) so that travelers can stow prohibited gear until they leave.

Characters from a recognized military or law enforcement entity would get different considerations--but even then, some kind of RFID tag on the gear in question would make their weapon instantly visible to security personnel.

My justification for all this is that I think of any large habitat as a hyper-dense city, inundated with sousveillance, and with zero consideration for any "right" a morph has to defend itself--like New York or Tokyo, surrounded by deadly vacuum. Plasma cannon battles atop armored dune buggies are best left to the martian outback.

--of course, an equally important consideration is the kind of game you want to play. If the players feel like they're just jumping through hoops to get to the next action scene, then it's probably better to have more of a wild west feel--either by changing venue, or setting it up so that characters have more freedom than the average citizen.

Hopefully they can look at it as an opportunity for more complex and interesting action (rather than standing at opposite ends of a field and knocking off hitpoints until somebody drops). Suddenly hand to hand combat, hacking, and improvised or illegal weapons become the best way to combat your enemies when you can't just call the hab cops.

“Man is an artifact designed for space travel. He is not designed to remain in his present biologic state any more than a tadpole is designed to remain a tadpole.”
-William S. Burroughs