Saturday, August 27, 2016

Noodling about Hyper Dense Armor and Traveller

Doing some research  to try and answer some of the questions asked by this thread over on the GURPS forum about a type of TL12 armor material called hyper dense ended up getting me thinking about the old skool grand daddy of sci-fi RPGS its self, Traveller. Or more specifically about the types of armor materials that the setting used.

Why did I end up thinking about it? Well, going over that is a good chance to show my thought process on how I go about figuring out the hidden values GURPS uses.

Sine the opening poster wanted to know its density, I tried to see if I could figure out what it was.  Based on the figures listed in GURPS Spaceships I was able to figure that hyper dense has a WM* of 0.04. Knowing that, all I had to do was just find some hint as to what hyper denses DR per inch was  and I could then compute how much it weights. Basically to get a materials WM you take a materials density, divide it by 12 and then its DR per inch so by working this backwards I can figure a materials density. But... I scoured the forums for any hints dropped by GURPS writers, poured through my books checking that per chance there was some figure I missed, put my Search/TL8 skill to its full use diving into the depths of Google but no matter where I looked I couldn't find any details that gave me a hint to what its DR/inch could be.

Then I remembered that the writer of GURPS Ultra-Tech, David L. Pulver, is a bit of a fan of Traveller and several of the entries in the book are direct nods. Now I never played Traveller myself and only have skimmed through a few books in my time such as the excellent Fire, Fusion and Steel but I did know that it had a type of armor called super-dense. Super-dense seemed like a pretty good candidate for being the inspiration for hyper dense so I once again jumped on into Google and first found some numbers for the types of armor Traveller used that covered not only their densities, about 914lbs per ft^3, but even how much stronger they were relative to RHA steel!

"Jack pot!" I thought. GURPS has canonically made RHA steel have a DR of 70 per inch since early 3rd edition so all I had to do to see if I was right was to take the listed densities for super dense and then multiply how much stronger it was to RHA steel by 70 and see if I got a WM around 0.04. Now it turned out there is actually three kinds of  super-dense, regular O' super-dense which is 7× stronger, a stronger bounded super-dense which 14× stronger and then coherent super-dense, the strongest armor I could find in the setting, clocks in at 20× as strong . Crunching the numbers gave super-dense a WM of 0.16, bounded super-dense WM 0.08 and coherent super-dense got a WM of 0.05, close but not close enough.

Another dead end it seemed and I felt about ready to throw in the towel when another Google link caught my eye. I clicked on it and found this little gem by GURPS forum regular, Anthony, which explained that GURPS hyper dense was twice as strong as traveller bounded super dense. Running the numbers using 24× DR70... and what do you know? I got a WM of 0.039, which we can round right up to 0.04! That was it, I found it. The numbers lined up. So that gives hyper dense DR1,960/inch, WM 0.04 and a density of 914lbs per cubic foot.

 *Weight Multiplier, if you're new to GURPS or just how it stats armor I'll go over this more below.

So, yeah. That's pretty much how I pick apart how GURPS works. I study the books, search the forum and dive into the interwebs and try to find bits and pieces I work together. It's almost like detective work in a way.

But what would a post made be me with out some crunch in it? Since had to mess around with Traveller's armor assumptions so I figured why not convert them over to GURPS for anyone who wants a little Traveller flavor in their GURPS.

Armor Materials
Here are the mot common armor materials I found referenced in Traveller. 

Iron: Base quality wrought iron.

Soft Steel: Mild quality steel used by modern cars an ships.

Hard Steel: Rolled homogeneous Armor steel. Good quality armor grade steel. 

Light Alloy: Modern light weight  aerospace grade aluminum or titanium alloys.

Fiber Glass: One of the first non-metallic materials strong enough to be considered for structural use.

Titanium Alloy: High Grade titanium-aluminum alloy. 

Light Composite: High Strength materials made up of composites of non-metallic materials. Early "Chobham" falls under this.

Composite Laminate: Next generation composite made up of a  matrix of metallic and non-metallic materials. "Dorchester" is an example of this.

Crystaliron: A ferrous metal with a perfect crystal structure and carefully controlled impurities to gain maximum hardness and toughness. 

Super Dense: Steel that has its molecular partially collapsed through artificial gravity fields for increased density and strength.

Bounded Super Dense: A more advanced form of super dense reinforced with dampening fields.

Coherent Super Dense: A next generation version of bounded super dense that uses dynamic computer controlled to maximize the the extra strength the dampening fields give it. 

Material DR/In. WM CM Density
Iron: 35 1.2 91 487.5
Soft Steel: 60 0.68 91 487.5
Hard Steel: 70 0.58 114 487.5
Light Alloy: 60 0.51 227 365.6
Fiber Glass: 18 0.29 57 62.5
Titanium Alloy: 105 0.39 568 487.5
Light Composite: 140 0.25 398 426.6
Composite Laminate: 210 0.19 455 487.5
Crystaliron: 320 0.16 511 609.4
Super Dense: 490 0.16 795 914
Bonded SD: 980 0.08 1591 914
Coherent SD: 1400 0.05 1988 914

And here's Hyper Denses stats in a more conveinate format.

Material               DR/Inch      WM         CM      Density
Hyper Dense:        1960             0.04          200     914

DR/Inch: How many points of DR provided by 1inch of the given material.

WM: The materials Weight Modifier. This is how much 1 point of DR covering 1 square foot weighs. To find how much you armor weighs multiply how much DR it provides by the area it covers in square feet by the materials WM.

CM: This is how much 1lbs of a given material costs. Multiple the armors weight by CM to find out its cost in GURPS $.

Density: The materials density in pounds per cubic foot.

Gotta say looking into Traveller was fun and I might have to give it a try one day. Might also see about converting Fire, Fusion and Steel to GURPS one of these days if I ever get myself a copy. 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Better Living Through Superior Firepower

Happy GURPS Day once again everyone!

Sadly... After how well received my last GURPS Day post was... this is not the GURPS Day post you all deserve.... Heck, this wasn't even planned to be my GURPS Day post.

Originally this was meant to be a side post. The plan was to get this post out by the 22nd followed by What's the Deal With the Beam Weapons Skill?, a post covering my issues with how GURPS 4th edition handle the Beam Weapons skill and some suggestions on how to fix it by yesterday and my GURPS Day post was going to be another gear break down post called Power Armor, Powered Up! showing you how to create custom battle suits and exoskeletons...

But then work happened... hard... and I was lucky to have 20min a day to focus on writing this post. Also... because of how chaotic things are at my job atm... my posting might become a little sparse for the near future... or at lest until we can hire some new help (assuming our store parasites... I mean directors give us the payroll we need to >.>),  get them trained up to speed... and then hope they stay, which would be a near miracle... 9 out of 10 new hires for my department quit after a few weeks. So sorry about this guys... Hopefully this will blow over soon.

Also I apologize in advance for the wonkiness of some of the stat blocks. Don't know what happen there. I spent an hour trying to get them to all line up but nothing I did had any effect. I'll try again them when I get some free time. 

But that's enough doom and gloom... on ward to what you all came here for!

Better Living Through Superior Firepower
Alrighty guys! Time for the last of the left overs!

As I've mentioned before, when I originally conceived Plasma Guns, Re-Energized! I got a little to ambitious. It was going to cover not only Plasma Guns but Flamers and Plasma Lances and I was also going to have a list of custom made plasma guns with stats and histories. Hell, even early version of the companies I used in my last post, Brand Loyalty, had their start in that post! Needless to say I had to cut it down a bit. Most of that went into the Addendum post but that left me with my partly written table of plasma weapons.
So I figure, "Might as well post this too, heck it would be a nice follow up to Brand Loyalty." I'd stat up a couple of weapons, give them back stories and interesting modifiers and so on. But then as I started to write this post... an idea hit me.

While having a fully fledged out list of weapons here would be a fun read and fun to write... how helpful would this be really, at lest as something you all could port into your own games? I mean if it would be one thing if I was coming up with my own setting and meant for them to be used in it but since these would have built in assumptions... their generic versatility kinda goes out the window.

So instead I'm gonna do something different, something I feel Ultra-Tech should of did.

One of my problems with the weapons listed in Ultra-Tech was the uneven coverage. My other was the lack of any real advice on how to customize the weapons listed to better suit your game.

Below you will find a list of plasma guns to play with. Unlike my normal weapon write ups so far, the write ups for these one follow Ultra-Techs example and only give you enough detail to understand the weapons role. However you will also see that I've given you a rather large selection to play with. I also threw in as a bonus rules how to make energy weapons SMGs.

This fixes the problem of coverage though note I kept heavy weapons to a minimum. This is both do to the fact I wanted to focus on the type of guns most PCs are going to use as well as the fact I wanted to keep them with in the weight limits of the required ST list from Plasma Guns, Re-Energized! so you could reverse engineer them if you wanted to.

How to tweak these weapons are things I covered not only in the options listed in Plasma Guns, Re-Energized! and its follow up post but especially in Brand Loyalty

So think of this as somewhat of a homework assignment on how to make full use of the articles I written so far. Take the weapons I made here that you'd want for your campaign and use my advice on how to tweak them your needs. 


Hold Out Plasma Pistol: A low powered but very concealable plasma pistol designed for self deference No much used against armored targets but is quite effective against unarmored ones.

Ultra-Light Plasma Pistol: A small, compact plasma pistol meant for concealment and low cost.

Light Plasma Pistol:  Somewhat lighter then the medium plasma pistol, the light plasma pistol trades off some of its stopping power and penetration for lighter weight and a lower price tag. Good for personal defense.

Medium Plasma Pistol: The stranded plasma side arm for TL10^. As ubiquitous as a 9mm pistol is today. A good compromise between easy of carry, stopping power and penetration.

Heavy Plasma Pistol: A heavier plasma pistol that was designed for military use. Also favored by security forces that have to deal with potentially armored threats.

"Magnum" Plasma Pistol: Just shy of being big enough to be banned from civilian sales, the magnum plasma pistol is pure over kill incarnate.

Borg Plasma Pistol: Effectively a pistol format light plasma gun meant as a side arm for heavy combat cyborgs or battlesuit troopers.

BEAM WEAPONS (PISTOL) (DX-4, other Beam Weapons-4, or Guns (Pistol)-4)
TL   Weapon                               Damage                   Acc   Range       Weight     ROF  Shots   ST  Bulk  Rcl Cost       LC
10^  Hold Out Plasma Pistol      3d(2) burn ex sur      4      150/450      0.2/1B     3        45(3)   5    -1       2    $400/$3   3
10^  Ultra- Light Plasma Pistol  5d(2) burn ex sur     4      250/750     1.2/1C      3        54(3)   7    -1       2    $1,400/$10 3
10^  Light Plasma Pistol            6d(2) burn ex sur      4      300/900     1.8/1C      3        31(3)  8     -2        2    $2,600/$10 3
10^  Medium Plasma Pistol       7d(2) burn ex sur      4      350/1,050   2.5/1C     3        20(3)  9     -2      2    $4,000/$10 3
10^  Heavy Plasma Pistol          8d(2) burn ex sur      4      400/1,200   3.5/1C     3         13(3) 10    -2       2    $6,000/$10 3
10^  Magnum Plasma Pistol      9d+1(2) burn ex sur  4      471/1,413   5.3/1C     3         8(3)  11    -3       2    $9,600/$10 3
10^  Borg Plasma Pistol           11d+1(2) burn ex sur    4      571/1,713   9.6/2C     3       10(3)  12   -4       2    $17,200/$20 2

To build an energy weapon SMG just build a pistol level weapon but treat it as a rifle and give it a Acc that's equal to what it would have as a pistol plus half of the difference between its pistol and rifle forms Acc. For example a laser SMG would have Acc 9 since a laser pistols Acc is 6 and a laser rifle Acc would be 12 giving a difference between them of 6. Half of that is 3 so 6+3 equals Acc 9. 

If firing a energy weapon SMG one handed, its Acc drops back down to pistol levels, its ST is multiplied by 1.2 and if it has an Rcl higher then 1, increases it by 1. 

Light Plasma Machine Pistol: A variant of the light plasma pistol designed for bust fire. It has an extended double C cell magazine and a flip down front grip (Takes a ready action to flip down or flip up). If fired with the grip down and held change required ST to ST 6†.

Medium Plasma PDW: A personal defense weapon based on the medium plasma pistol but redesigned for rapid fire with a collapsible telescopic stock (takes a ready action to collapses or extend) and a slightly longer accelerator barrel. This makes the weapon slightly heavier and more power hungry but gives it more hitting power and accuracy. It uses a double C cell magazine. Collapsing the stock reduces the weapons bulk to -2 but drops Acc back to 4, bumps ST up to 8† and increases Rcl to 3

Heavy Plasma PDW : A personal defense weapon version of the heavy plasma pistol with the same modification as the medium plasma PDF. Designed to fit heavy firepower in a compacted package, the heavy plasma PDF is used in situations were heavier firepower is needed but military grade weapons would be over kill. Do to how high powered its shots are it uses a triple C cell magazine. Collapsing its stock reduces the weapons bulk to -2 but drops Acc back to 4, bumps ST up to 8 and increases Rcl to 3

BEAM WEAPONS (SMG) (DX-4, other Beam Weapons-4, or Guns (SMG)-4)
TL   Weapon                            Damage                   Acc   Range       Weight     ROF   Shots   ST  Bulk   Rcl Cost          LC
10^ Light Plasma                   6d(2) burn ex sur    4       300/900     2.3/2C     10         62(3)   9   -2         2   $5,200/$20  3
       Machine Pistol
10^ Medium Plasma PDW  7d+1(2) burn ex sur  6     371/1,113   3.4/2C     10          34(3)  7†  -3*      2    $9,600/$20 3 
10^ Heavy Plasma PDW     8d+1(2) burn ex sur  6     432/1,296  5.2/3C     10           30(3) 7†   -3*     2    $14,800/$30 3

Plasma Guns

Light Semi-Auto Plasma Gun: Favored by frontier men on less developed colonies and civilian shooters everywhere. The light semi-auto plasma gun brings a nice balance between  weight, cost and stopping power. Uses a triple C cell magazine.

Semi-Auto Plasma Gun: Harder hitting version of the light semi-auto plasma gun designed for para-military  and heavy security forces work. Uses a triple C cell magazine.

Plasma Carbine: A light, full auto military plasma gun based on the semi-auto plasma gun. Useful for fighting in close quarters. Uses a quad C cell magazine. Has a collapsible stock (takes a ready action to collapse or extend it). If collapsed, reduce the weapons bulk to -3 but drops Acc to 6, bumps ST up to 10 and increases Rcl to 3

Assault Plasma Gun: A full sized military assault plasma weapon. Uses a five stack C cell magazine. Has a collapsible stock (takes a ready action to collapse or extend it). If collapsed, reduce the weapons bulk to -4 but drops Acc to 6, bumps ST up to 12 and increases Rcl to 3
Battle Plasma Gun: A heavy, hard hitting assault plasma gun. Used by anti-battle suit or heavy cyborg squads as well as by battles suits and heavy cyborgs themselves as a light long arm. Uses a detached D cell magazine that is worn like a back pack. It feeds the weapons through light weight feeding cable.

Heavy Plasma Gun: A large, high powered plasma gun used as anti-material weapon. Fine (Accurate) version are often used as markmens weapons. Uses a detached D cell magazine that is worn like a back pack. It feeds the weapons through light weight feeding cable

Assault Heavy Plasma Gun: A full auto version of the heavy plasma gun used as a standard battlesuit or heavy cyborg long arm. Uses a detached double D cell magazine that is worn like a back pack. It feeds the weapons through light weight feeding cable

BEAM WEAPONS (RIFLE) (DX-4, other Beam Weapons-4, or Guns (Rifle)-4)
TL   Weapon                            Damage                     Acc    Range        Weight   ROF   Shots   ST  Bulk   Rcl   Cost         LC
10^ Light Semi-Auto            9d+1(2) burn ex sur      8    471/1,413   6.3/3C       3     24(3)   8†   -4       2       $9,600/$30     3 
               Plasma Gun
10^  Semi-Auto Plasma Gun 10d(2) burn ex sur     8     500/1,500    7.3/3C      3    21(3)   8†   -4        2     $11,600/$30      2
10^  Plasma Carbine             10d(2) burn ex sur      8     500/1,500    7.8/4C    10    28(3)   8†   -4*     2      $23,200/$40     2 
10^  Assault Plasma Gun     11d+2(2) burn ex sur  8     582/1,746     11.6/5C  10    20(3)   9†  -5*     2       $36,400/$50     2
10^  Battle Plasma Gun       6d×2(2) burn ex sur    8    600/1,800     10/1Dp    10    40(5)   9†  -5       2     $40,000/$100     2 
10^  Heavy Plasma Gun      5d×3(2) burn ex sur    8    750/2,250     20/1Dp    3      20(5)  10† -7       2     $39,000/$100    1 
10^  Assault Heavy Plasma 5d×3(2) burn ex sur    8    750/2,250     20/2Dp    10    40(5) 10† -7        2     $78,000/$200    1

Plasma Light Machine Guns 
Note that the amount of ammo these weapons hold varies depending on whether they are being held by a normal solider, a battle suited solider or on a vehicles pintle mount. Because of this variable nature I list how many rounds a D cell magazine can hold for each one in their respective description blurb. 

Plasma Squad Automatic Weapon: A variant of the assault plasma gun with increased cooling and power supply to handle a much higher rate of fire without overheating. A D cell magazine holds 40 shots.

Plasma Squad Heavy Support Weapon: A heavier light machine gun based on the Battle Plasma Gun. A D cell magazine holds 40 shots.

Battle Suit Plasma Automatic Weapon: A heavy machine gun modified for use as a light machine gun for battle suits and heavy cyborgs. A D cell magazine holds 20 shots.

BEAM WEAPONS (LMG) (DX-4, other Beam Weapons-4, or Guns (LMG)-4)
TL   Weapon                            Damage                      Acc    Range        Weight   ROF   Shots   ST  Bulk   Rcl   Cost       LC
10^  Plasma SAW                  11d+2(2) burn ex sur   8     582/1,746     11/ver.     20    ver.   9†  -5     2       $44,000        2
10^  Plasma HSW                  6d×2(2) burn ex sur    8    600/1,800         12/ver.   20     ver.    9†  -5       2     $48,000        2   
10^  Plasma AW                     5d×3(2) burn ex sur     8    750/2,250     23/ver.    20      ver.  11† -7        2     $93,600        1 

Fixed the stat line blocks, for some reason the blogs HTML code was doing odd things I never told it to do to them and I had to go through the code and hand correct it. What is up with blogger? 

Also added a clarification note under Plasma Light machines Guns.  

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Brand Loyalty

Buying cool gear that gives your character an edge up, whether it be tools, armor, weapons or vehicles, has long been a staple of role playing. Most of the time though it's handled by the player just unceremoniously glancing though the systems gear tables and picking what they want. Pretty much the pen and paper version of a going to a video game RPGs static background shop and hitting the X button to confirm your purchases.

Now in a dungeon fantasy style game (whether in an actual dungeon or the musty corridors of a derelict space craft) or a “action” one, this is just fine. Knowing how the gear effects your character or how much damage they can do per turn is actually pretty important and it's very much in genre (especially for action games!) for such minor details to be handled “off camera”. The only time gear should be given any kind of flavor or character is when your players come across that +1 magical sword of badassery, that precursor tech dark matter disintegrator or that government black-op prototype.

But I think in a more down to earth game, where the “role” playing is just as or more important then the “roll” playing, then just going through gear tables is a missed opportunity for some good role playing as well as world building.

With real people I notice they tend to end up trusting a few piece of gear that works for them and end up with a sense of brand loyalty. We're also all a lest perk level loyal to one brand or another if not out right fanboys. Hell if you're coming here from the GURPS forum... well... I think you know what I mean. You just don't find that in a lot of RPG campaigns. Gear ends up being just a means to an end, just "this number is bigger then that number" and you almost never head a character turning into a  fan of company Y or brand X after tending to like their gear unless the game is take places in the "realworld" and the character is a fanboy from the start (for example of this check out a character break down Douglas Cole did creating a FN fanboy... I will admit... I to am a total FN fanboy.... don't judge me!).

I also think that it kinda cheapens the perceived value of the gear. Since the players know what the best gear is right away and don't have to earn it (outside of coming up with the cash and maybe having a little trouble finding the right shop), it, generally speaking, has less importance to them.

However giving your players a reason to care about their gear, make them work to get it and having them take a leap of faith to see if it works as advertised helps to create immersion. And Immersion helps to makes the gear they have more memorable. Even if it turns out that its not as good as they thought it was, well that in the end is still a story to tell. And that's good since even if your players don't consciously realize it, the more you make your world immersive, the more detail and bread crumbs you add, the more memorable the game is going to be for them. And then the more things are going to stand out and the more likely you're gonna have return business as a GM heh.

Getting Started
So how do you make buying gear more immersive?

Well, first I should note that getting trivial stuff like food or toiletries should never warrant more detail. It should only be when you buy important adventuring equipment like climbing spikes, weapons, get-away cars and the like since these are the kind of things that can put a PC's health, friends, wealth or reputation at risk, the same things GURPS suggest that  are important enough to warrant rolling dice!

That being said, there are three basic steps to doing this.

The first is go over the often over looked “Buying Equipment” sections on page 13 of Ultra-Tech, page 7 of High-Tech and page 13 or Low-Tech. This post is pretty much just an expansion on the concepts that are covered there.

The second is you have to make the gear more interesting. This is achieved through two things, using equipment modifiers and quirks and perks (more on this later) to make make the gear standout from each other and adding “fluff”-background detail like why it was made (or at lest the what the ads have to say about it) and especially who made it. These two factors are probably the most important but also the most complicated and time consuming to come up with and I will break down some ways of doing this in more detail below.

The third option is pretty simple. Don't show the players the gears in game effects!

At lest... not right away.

Just think about how most real people shop for things. They hardly ever know the what kind of real life “bonuses” a given tool is going to give them. Instead they have to either just make a blind purchase, slog through what ever slanted data the company that makes the item puts out, look up others opinions on it, try to find some (often hard to find) unbiased review of it, go by how it looks or just trust plain old brand loyalty.

There's a good bit of roleplay opportunity here as you now given your player two avenues for getting their gear. They can just go in blind and trust either the brand or their gut. Or they can do some research and plan out what they get.

If they go in blind give them a list of options to choose from and and maybe a shot blurb about what their supposed advantages are. Whatever they pick, that's just what the get.

At first you should handle any rolls for the player involving that gear. Keep them in the dark about its effects, don't let them know if the gear is helping them or hindering their rolls. After about three or so normal success or just one critical success or a normal success by 10 or more feel free to give the player the low down and reveal its in game effects. Alternatively if the player decides to play it smart and spends some time testing out the gear before using it he can figure out its in game stats by spending eight hours testing it. After which make a relevant skill roll (Guns for a gun, Driving for a car or a relevant Connoisseur roll) for them, as always the time spent rules apply. If they succeed they have figured out how good it is. If they fail the roll they're not quiet sure and can spend another eight hours trying to figure it out. If they critically fail however, lie! Tell them they figured it out but given them false stats!

Now when it comes to picking the gear they can choose from be sure to be fair. Don't punish a player if they don't want to go through the extra hassle but at the same time don't pamper them either. I'd say pick at lest six options to choose from since this lets you give them a good range. Pick one really good options and one really bad options, one slightly better then average options and one worse then average but not the worse options and two average options that pretty much have the same stat line. This way they got a good range to choose from and they might get lucky. If you don't have it in you to come up with five different variations for each type of gear then give them only four chooses, this way you only need to come up with three variations.

Now if they choose to put a little work in and research their gear options first have them make a Research roll with a base time of 8hrs. Relevant modifiers for this is +/-0 for average gear, -1 for gear that's a little better average, -2 for good level gear, -3 for fine level gear and -5 or more for the best gear available for the settings TL! Another -1 to -2 might be warranted for really niche items that don't have a lot of public data available or are purposely restricted. If the player has a relevant Expert or Connoisseur skill they can make a complementary skill roll. On a success the player finds what they're looking for and knows what the gear does, on critical success or success by 10 or more they find gear that's one step better (if they were already looking for the best gear for the TL then either let them find it for a third cheaper or some other perk). If they fail then they don't find what they are looking for and can try again but if they critically fail then they find a cheaper item thinking they found what they are looking for!

Of course once they found what they're looking for, actually getting to where it can bought or found can be an adventure hook in its self (you located a functional IR seeking 4th generation man portable surface to air missile.... but the local terrorist groups that's currently holding it isn't interested in selling....).

There is one important exception to holding back the in game stats of gear, don't do this with starting gear! Since gear can help define a character and it can be assumed that most of this gear is something they had time to figure out, letting your players see the stats of their starting options is pretty important.

Corporate Lens
As I said in point number two, using equipment modifiers to add variety to gear is a great way to life to gear. Adding background detail and fluff also helps with that. Now while you can just go and add modifiers on a case by case bases, there are methods to streamline the processes a little bit.

Remember how I also pointed out *Who* made it can especially help?

Well, in real life a good deal of corporations tend to have particulate qualities. A good deal of the stuff they make tend to have certain characteristic that tend to be something that their known for- Lexus makes reliable but boring cars, Nintendo makes neigh indestructible gaming systems (seriously, have you seen the old skool Gameboy that survived a bomb blast and still works?!), Verizon Wireless has a reliable cellphone network and so on . Basically there are certain modifiers these companies tend to give their products.

To that end, I find it easier to come up with some corporations, give them some fluff and assign them equipment modifiers that they give most of their gear. I then use these corporations kinda like character lens to differentiate my gear to be easier and quicker then doing it case by case (though don't be afraid to mix methods). In effect they become Corporate Lens.

So, how do I stat up these companies? Below is the standard “flow chart” method I used to come up with the Company Lens I use.

Company Name
First, just think up interesting names, whatever comes to mind. Make homages to favorite works, pick concepts and ideas, go to google and find out how to write them in other languages and so on. Once you got a decent amount, go over the list and pick at lest four or five or so names that really stand out to you.

Don't get rid of the ones you didn't choose though, keep that list handy.

  • Any idea you don't use in your current campaign can always be fodder for a future one.
  • More importantly, they can be used as variants: any number of smaller, some times local, corporations that might make gear in a given region or just make generic knocks off of better brands that often only having a vague marketing buzz word to differentiate them.

Company Type
This is what kind of role the company plays, on a narrative level. Think of what this company makes and how its going to effect the kind of gear it will provide the campaign.

There are three kinds of Company Types:

  • The Baseline. This is the type of company that should produce most of the balanced, baseline gear you pick or stat up for your campaign. They should have the safe but boring gear.
  • The Niche. They should be the type of company that make gear that has more flavor and character. They should also tend to have more draw backs such as being more expensive or having some small annoying quirk that can cause issues every now and again. You should also note what niche they serve. For example, if they're known for making rugged and reliable gear that tends to be at the pricier end you should note it as Company Type: Niche-Rugged and reliable but expensive.
  • The Variants. These will cover the countless other brands out there. To make things easier make them "pallet" swaps of your other companies, maybe a small difference, so you can fill out the world a little more and not slap the same few names on everything. These companies don't need to have a lot of detail about them unless your players start liking them for some reason.

Standard Modifiers
These are the equipment modifiers that most of the gear made by this company are going to have. When coming up with what modifiers to use, just think about what kind what kind of company you want them to be and what standard feature their gear should known by.

Once again, it helps to think of tweaking the gear in the same terms you would use coming up when designing a character. Treat the equipment modifiers in the same way you would come up with advantages and disadvantages. Pick a concept and run with it though don't go to over board. Try to keep the number of equipment modifiers no more then three per company or item.

Also don't be afraid to come up with little perk or quirk versions of of the equipment modifiers to give the gear! These should follow the same guidelines as normal quirks and perks and only given minor advantage, no more then a +/-1 or a +/-2 in limited or minor situations, or perhaps a 10% increase or decreases in something.

To get you started, here a few gear appropriate perks and quirks for you to use.

  • Each perk and quirk either adds 5% to the items cost or reduces it by 5%. At most a piece of gear should have no more then two or three perks and or quirks tops. For items with multiple modes of operations each mode can have its own separate set of perks and or quirks but if multiple modes have the same option, only modify the price once for it.

Lighter: The device is 10% lighter then standard versions.

Well Made: It has +1HT.

Good Ergonomics: When doing long tasks with this piece of gear, its intuitive design lets you ignore up to -1 in penalties from taking less time to do a task (in effect you can use the skill 10% faster).

Information Efficient: The way the device sends data to the users HUD is arranged in such a way that you always seem to get the data you need when you need it. This gives you +1 to situational awareness rolls in situations such as making sure you don't target the wrong guy, need to keep track of ammo/energy levels, to notice error reports and so on.

Easy to Maintenance: This devices design is either simple or was made with repairs and upgrades in mind. This perk can be bought twice. If bought once it gives +1 to rolls to repair and upgrade the device and if bout twice it gives +2 instead.

Energy Efficient: This device has slightly better wiring and efficient circuitry then most models. Increase its duration or number of shots for energy weapons by 10%.

Annoyance: This item has some minor characteristic that may give -1 to minor tasks every now and again (1 in 6 chance), gives false error messages that force you to make uneeded repairs (also 1 in 6 chance) or perhaps it becomes uncomfortable to wear after prolonged use (make a will roll every hour you wear it, if you fail you get a -1 to IQ rolls till you take it off or you succeed your next will roll).

Heavier: The item is made from slightly less advanced or cheaper material and weights about 10% more then normal.

Poorly Made: -1 to HT.

Poor Ergonomics: When doing long tasks with this piece of gear, its badly designed layout gives you -1.

Information Overload: The way the device sends data to the users HUD is poorly coordinated and gives you -1 to situational awareness rolls in situations such as making sure you don't target the wrong guy, need to keep track of ammo/energy levels, to notice error reports and so on.

Hard to Maintenance: This devices insides are a complete mess! This perk can be bought twice. If bought once it gives -1 to rolls to repair and upgrade the device and if bout twice it gives -2 instead.

Energy Inefficient: This device has cheaper wiring and circuitry then most models. Decrease its duration or number of shots for energy weapons by 10%.

This hardly a complete list! Don't be afraid to think of more.

Now keep in mind that not every thing a given company makes needs to have the same modifiers. Feel free to mix it up but do try to keep it rare (otherwise you should rethink what their standard modifiers should be or come up with a Variant) and make a note of it in the items fluff write up.

Also be sure to diversify the modifiers you give your companies, try to avoid overlap if you can. Otherwise you just have the players shopping for the combinations they like and you're back to square one!

Background Fluff
Once you got an idea of the type of company you want and the kind of gear they make its time to create a history for them. Don't think you need to go into pages of detail, just go as in depth as feel comfortable with, A paragraph or so should do it. For inspiration, looking up the Wikipedia article of a similar real world company can help.

Quick List
Lastly create a quick list that consists of a companies name, company type and its standard modifiers and any notes you might want to add that you can easily copy and paste so you can have a simple list of the companies you are going to use on hand.

While you can handle this list anyway you want, I find that this format works the best for me: Company Name; Company Type; Stand Modifiers; Notes.

Once you got all that down write them down in a common format like this:

Company Name
Background fluff, blah-blah-blah.

Company Type:

Standard Modifiers:


Giving Gear a Little Life
Now that you got a list of companies to give a reason why a given piece of gear has any given modifiers, we still need to give the gear a bit of background itself. For this just use the same guidelines for coming up with background fluff for the corporations. For inspiration, once again Wikipedia is a good source as well as the write ups in various GURPS Tech books!

Now despite the rather wordy backgrounds I gave the guns I've stated in my last two posts, I'd actually recommend keeping the backgrounds for gear short and sweat, no more then a sentence or two covering what its supposed to do and why the company says it rocks. This will not only help with your work load but having too long winded break downs tend to cause information fatigue in the players; it can get overwhelming if every time they want new gear they have read a paragraph or two per option!

Welp, I hope I gave you guys some good food for thought here. While this kinda of stuff isn't always needed or what everyone wants from their game it might be interesting to give the gear players love to hoard a little more time in the lime-light. 

I do have to mention that this method is not without its draw backs. Tweaking gear, adding fluff and comping up with corporations does add a good deal of extra work to setting up a campaign and not every player is going to want to deal with the logistics of getting good gear. Also there are other ways of adding depth to your campaign this so just keep in mind this, like a lot GURPS rules, is just an extra option to keep in mind. 

To wrap this up, here's a list of 5 corporations to help start you out, a base line, three niche and a variant. Feel free to use as is or just take bits and pieces and mix it up to taste.

Macrotech Technical Interstellar Cooperation
Originally a business alliance formed by a coalition of international corporation set up to handle mega-scale projects such as building space elevators and O'Neil style space stations. Over time it became a conglomerate and then its own corporate identity.It has since become the prototypical “omni-corp”, you're just as likely to find a washing machine with the Macrotech logo stamped on it as a main battle tank!If Macrotech products have one flaw it's that their products are hardly ever revolutionary. The company plays it safe and follows trends. However, despite that they always seem to know which trends to follow and while the gear might be basic they always deliver a good, quality product right out of the box.

Company Type: Macrotech is an example of a baseline.

Standard Modifiers: As a baseline Macrotech gear has no standard modifiers on their gear.

Notes: Their gear is simple and safe but balanced.

Quick List: Macrotech; Baseline; No Standard Modifiers; Their gear should be balanced and simple.

Fortschritt Gewehr Betrieb
The colony of Mała Ziemia, located around Xi Scropii C, was once the farthest off world colony from Sol. Populated mostly with colonists from Eurpoian powers, the land was harsh with many dangerous indigenous fauna and being so remote at over 90ly from Earth meant that what supplies it had, had to last. A colonist of Germanic origins named Adalard Schmidt started the gunsmithery that would become the megacorp now known as Fortschritt Gewehr Betrieb. Originally known simply as the Schmidt Büchsenmacher Unternehmen, it got its start upgrading firearms for other colonists to be more rugged and reliable. As more avanced protection technology became avaible he started designing his own guns from the ground up to survive everything the planet had to throw at them. Shortly after his death and his daughter taking over running the business, FTL travel advanced and travel to and from the formerly remote colony become common. It was through this, Schmidt made firearms become known on the galactic scene. They quickly become sought after by special forces, survivalists and anyone who wanted or needed weapons that would almost never jam or fail. With the increased demand and the interstellar acclaim and over all progress her company now had she rebranded her fathers company Fortschritt and became one of the largest firearm manufacturers in the know galaxy.

Company Type: Fortschritt is an example of a Niche. Niche-Rugged and Reliable.

Standard Modifiers: Rugged and Fine (Reliable).

Notes: Basically a scfi H&K, their weapons have a “elite” reputation and tend to be no nonsense.

Quick Line: Fortschritt; Niche; Rugged and Fine (Reliable); Elite reputation, no nonsense design.

Oosthuizen Ltd.
Originally a rather normal and conventionally firearms company, Oosthuizen Ltd. had a rather severe brand shift after its current CEO, Wanwisa Bunyasarn, had a near death experience when he was one of the only survivor when a micro meteor impacted an orbital clipper he was on in-route to a business meeting on a orbiting L-5 space station. He developed a fear that his company would fade into irrelevance and that firearms industry had become too conservative and was doomed to failure if nothing innovative was being produced. This started the company down a rather controversial path were the company began prizing “innovative designs” over market needs. While some interesting advancements have been made, a lot of their designs either are too quirky to be taken seriously by military and other major buyers despite whatever benefits they have or are outright junk. Despite this media and games have latched onto their designs do to their uniqueness which in turn has made them popular with novice shooters who tend to buy “cool guns” and collectors.

Company Type: Oosthuizen is an example of a Niche. Niche-Quirky and innovative... somewhat... design.

Standard Modifiers: Compact and quirk (Hard to Maintenance I).

Notes: Their guns should be quirky and fun as an alternative for players who want something a little less serious business.

Quick Line: Oosthuizen; Niche; Compact and quirk (Hard to Maintenance I); Quirky and fun.

Hughes - Martian Fire Arms Inc
Originally started up as an out of the garage operation by Jefferson Hughes a technical engineer originally working from Kromm Industries to help the Free Mars! Military arm themselves. Despite never designing a gun before in his live, being equipped with only basic fabricators and not having unlimited funds, Hughes was sympathetic to the cause and had to make the most of his limited resources so he designed his guns to use off the shelf materials which made them cheaper but heavier. Thankfully he was a natural and also had a knack for making guns that seemed to be almost indestructible. A handy trait for a weapon meant for guerrilla warfare! After Free Mars! fought its rebellion and won its independence from Earth decided to turn to gun design full time and set up Hughes- Martian Fire Arms Inc and continued his trend of building low cost but well made firearms. While at first he only had success on his native world do to at first embargoes and later bad blood from Earth. Over time as tensions cooled and trade opened between the worlds again his firearms found a market among poor nations and individuals alike and even found a market in special forces that needs a inconspicuous but reliable gun for black op missions.

Company Type: Hughes is an example of a Niche. Niche-Simple, low cost but heavy weapons that are hard to break.

Standard Modifiers: Cheap (Heavy) and Perk (Well Made).

Notes: Hughes makes basically make AK like weapons, heavy, low tech but you can run them through the mud and they'll still work.

Quick Line: Hughes; Niche; Cheap (Heavy) and Perk (Well Made); Low tech but well built.

Mitchell & Winslow
A maker of quality firearms, Mitchell & Winslow, mostly operates in the heavy military grade market. Founded on the colony of Ambitions VI, its current biggest seller is the HPB M-23A .

Company Type: Mitchell & Winslow is an example of a Variant. Notice how quick and simple its background is compared to the others, this is pretty much the ideal length for a variant company. Variant-Of Fortschritt but not as all out as ruggedized.

Standard Modifiers: Perk (Well Made).

Notes: Makes decent and well made heavy weapons but they tend to be very conventional.

Quick Line: Mitchell & Winslow; Variant; Perk (Well Made); Well made but conventional.

Coming Next Time: Better Living Through Superior Firepower.

Edit: Fixed  a goof-up in my write up for Hughes - Martian Fire Arms Inc were I refer to him as Mitchell a few times. Originally Hughes was going to be known as Mitchell and Mitchell & Winslow was going to be Hughes & Winslow. I ended up doing a name swap since Mitchell & Winslow sounded better to me. Originally I had this corrected... but then I pulled a dumb and deleted my draft. I then copy/pasted a backup copy and forgot to re-fix it >.> 

I also added a line about making the modifiers between the main companies distinctive and diverse per ericthered's suggestion.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Plasma Guns, Re-Energized!, Addendum!

Plasma Guns, Re-Energized!, Addendum!

In this follow up to Plasma Guns, Re-Energized! I cover some things I cut from that article since it was starting to run long, throw in some things I thought up right after I uploaded the post and wished I came up with before hand and add something that was supposed to have been in it... but I fumbled my IQ roll and forgot >.>...

This post was also originally meant to be... a lot shorter. I just meant to give you the stat break downs... but then I felt that without worked examples that it felt kinda naked.... and then since my next major GURPS Day post (well I hope it'll be up, see the end of the article), Brand Loyalty, is going to be all about how using the various equipment modifiers on gear like how you use advantages and disadvantages with characters, creating interesting background and corporate brand histories will make gear buying more interesting then just looking up numbers on a table; I felt that I need to give a lil' sneak peak of these concepts in action.... So yeah, this all kinda bumped up the word count until this was just about as big as the main article!

Also part of this sneak peak, you might of noticed some of the weapons have perks or quirks listed. Following along with the concept of treating equipment modifiers like advantages and disadvantages I felt that there also should minor “perk” level modifiers to help flesh out weapons and gear. They all follow the same basic guidelines as actual character perks and quirks, giving only minor befits or bad points and either all raise the cost by 5% or lower by 5% with a suggested maximum of no more then 2 to 3 of them tops.

The weapons manufacturers used here are also all sample worked examples from the article.

Macrotech (who might remember from the last post) is what I call a baseline and is used on all the balanced baseline gear you used to set campaigns averages with. They're basically Dewoo in space.

Fortschritt Gewehr Betrieb and Oosthuizen Ltd are examples of niche companies. What they make have more character then the stuff made by the baseline but tend to have more draw backs as well (more expensive, more complicated, buggier and so on).

Mitchell & Winslow is an example of what I call a variant. They're basically a "pallet swap" of another company with maybe a slight tweak. They're just meant to fill out the world and make it so not all gear of a similar type need to have the same company attached to it all the time. They're a variant of Fortschritt that makes reliable gear but not as much as Fortschritt does but they tend to be more affordable as a trade off.

Built in Optical Sight
This was actually supposed to have been in the main article but somehow forgot to put it in!

Most of the rifle type beam weapons in Ultra-Tech had a bonus from a built in scope. This bonus seemed to be based on the weapons weight and didn't seem to go up based on TL.

To figure this, the scope bonus is equal to the Square Root of the weapons empty weight/1.5.

As an optional rule, use the base scope bonus at TL9 and 10, double it at TL11 and quadruple it at TL12. At TL9 it should be an combination Night-Vision/Infravision scope and a Hyperspectral one at TL10+. Of course this bonus could also be based on the weapons surface area, in which case the bonus would not go up with TL.

Example: A TL10^ Heavy Plasma Gun has an empty weight of 20lbs giving it a scope bonus of square root 20lbs/1.5 or +2.98 which we round up to +3. As a note, I'm note sure why the TL11^ Heavy Fusion Gun has a +4 bonus. Base on doing 20d worth of damage it should actually weight 23lbs instead of 20 but that would still just give it a bonus +3.2. Since my formula lines up with other examples in the book I think that this might have been a typo.

New optional Beam Weapons Specialties
Here's three new options to give the Beam Weapons skill more coverage. I should note that I'm not a big fan of how GURPS handles this skill... but I think that's a post for another day.

  • BEAM WEAPONS (SMG) (DX-4, other Beam Weapons-4, or Guns (SMG)-4)
  • BEAM WEAPONS (LMG) (DX-4, other Beam Weapons-4, or Guns (LMG)-4)
  • BEAM WEAPONS (SHOTGUN) (DX-4, other Beam Weapons-4, or Guns (Shotgun)-4)

 Diffuse Option
Given their penetrating and explosive nature, Plasma Guns can create issues if fired in built up areas (such as in home defense situations) or if fired in thin hulled air or spacecraft. To combat this, Plasma Guns can shoot more diffuse bolts which are no longer focused enough to gain an armor divisor or cause matter to explode but tend to create larger wound channels. These more diffuse bolts have less range however.

  • Build your gun as normal.
  • Multiply its damage by 1.5, drop its (2) armor divisor and change its damage type to just burn sur.
  • Half its range.

A Plasma Gun can be built so it just fires more diffuse shots or so that it can switch between normal focused shots and diffuse ones. This does not effect the cost in either case. I takes a ready action to switch between modes for guns with both options.

In settings with this option most civilian Plasma Guns will be restricted to diffuse mode only. If that is the case then only diffuse Plasma Guns will have LC3 and ones that can fire focused shots will have a minimum LC of 2.

Example Gun
Fortschritt Gewehr Betrieb DPG (TL10^)
The Fortschritt Diffuse Plasma Gun is an ultra compact, light weight yet rugged, reliable and low cost plasma pistol aimed at the civilian home defense and security force markets (It's a huge hit with security officers on O'Neil style colony cylinders). To counter the high penetration and a explosive nature of normal plasma guns (a liability in built up areas and a on thin hulled spacecraft) Fortschritt developed a relatively lower power plasma gun that fires a less focused and less penetrating plasma bolt which is no longer intense enough to flash matter into plasma. As an added beneficial side effect the bolt tends to "flatten" when it hits a target creating a larger wound channel increasing the weapons knock down power. The diffuse bolt also tends to defocus more rapidly then normal bolts, greatly reducing its effective range but given the limited distances the type of situations that these weapons will be used, this is not seen as an issue. An interesting quirk of the weapons design is that unlike normal pistols, the DPGs tiny B cell magazine is loaded onto the back of the guns action and creates a distinct discharging sound when its plugged in.

The DPG fires a 422j bolt from a 0.6mm aperture.

The DPG counts as Rugged and Fine (Reliable).

DR 8 HP 3 HT12

BEAM WEAPONS (PISTOL) (DX-4, other Beam Weapons-4, or Guns (Pistol)-4)
TL Weapon               Damage           Acc Range Weight    ROF Shots   ST   Bulk Rcl    Cost        LC

10^ Fortschritt DPG 4d+2 burn sur 4       75/225 0.4/1B    3       25(3)   6    -1       2       $1,100/$3 3

Plasma Blaster Option
This option lets you make a plasma shotgun! Do I need to say more?!

A Plasma Blaster forms a full sized bolt and after it starts accelerating it, it passes through a magnetic filter which splits the bolt into several sub blots which act much like buck shot. This process make the sub bolts more unstable dropping accuracy and makes them more diffuse then their parent bolt which means like with a diffuse plasma gun they lose their (2) armor divisor and have their injury type changed to jut burn sur and their effective range drops a bit but their basic damage is increased.

  • Build your gun as normal.
  • Figure a number for your Diffusion Factor Df. This will determine how much the guns damage is reduced by and the guns new ROF.
  • Divide the guns damage by Df. Drop the (2) armor divisor and change injury type to just burn sur.
  • Reduce Acc by -1.
  • Divide range by the square root of Df.
  • ROF becomes n×Df cubed.
  • Rcl becomes 1.
  • Within 10% of the guns half damage range the sub bolts are still tightly packed together enough that they act almost like a standard full sized bolt. Ignore the ROF multiplier to the weapons ROF. Instead multiply both the bolts basic damage and the targets DR by half of Df.

Example: Lets choose a Df of 4. The guns damage would then be divided by 4, its range divided by the square root of 4 or 2 and its ROF would become n× 4^3 or n× 64! Now let's say your gun sub bolts did 3d worth of damage, ROF 3×64 and had a Df of 4. Lets's say you fire one shot at a target at 10% of the weapons half damage range or less, Ignore the ×64 ROF multiplier and treat and if it was just one shot. The basic damage of the closely packed sub blots would be multiplied by the Df of 4 dived in half or 2 doing 6d worth of damage but the targets DR would also be doubled.

A Plasma Blaster can make use of the smart choke options listed on page 6 of the Pyramid 3/55- Tactical Shooting Tomorrow.

Like with the diffuse option a gun can either be built to only fire in plasma blaster mode or can be switched between modes as a ready action. Either option does not effect cost.

Example Gun
Oosthuizen Ltd. Plasma Blaster (TL10^)
Called innovating to some, a complete joke by others and a interesting solution to a nonexistent problem by most; Oosthuizen's Plasma Blaster follows their current trend of quirky innovation. Effectively a plasma shotgun, it was designed as both a way to get a huge rate of fire without needing a massive amount of cooling and power supply as well as designed to be a limited over penetration support gun used in built up areas (similar in concept to Fortschritt's DPG). While it has seen some sales in the civilian hunting market, its biggest sales has been the novice shooters and the collectors markets (in part do to its predominance in holovids, often with its capabilities over exaggerated). Its military and police sales so far have been almost nonexistent.

The Plasma Blaster can fire either in “normal mode” or what Oosthuizen labels “Ultra-Rapid Fire Mode”. In normal mode it fires a 27kJ plasma bolt from a 2.6mm aperture with and effective range of of 600 yards. In Ultra-Rapid Fire Mode the 27kJ bolt is “filtered” into 64 422J sub bolts with an effective range of 300 yards. The fire can also select the patterned the sub bolts leave the barrel in, normal “no choke”, “full choke” were the sub bolt spread is reduced or it can have the spread “Lay flat” which makes it easier to hit a man sized target but causes the sub bolts to disperse more or have it “stand up” which keeps the sub bolts packed more tightly making it harder to hit with but increases the number of shots that land if it does.

It takes a ready action to switch between modes.

If fired in normal mode the Plasma Blaster has dmg 6d×2(2) burn ex sur, Acc 8, Rng 600/1,200, ROF 3 and Rcl 2.

This weapon counts as compact and has the quirk Hard to Maintenance (-1 to roll to repair and modify, multiply cost by 0.95) .

DR4 HP 9 HT 10

Note that my write up includes the optional beam weapon specialty Beams Weapons (Shotgun). If you prefer to stay truer to RAW then replace it with Beam Weapons (Rifle).

BEAM WEAPONS (SHOTGUN) (DX-4, other Beam Weapons-4, or Guns (Shotgun)-4)
TL Weapon                           Damage       Acc    Range   Weight   ROF   Shots  ST   Bulk Rcl Cost               LC

10^ Oosthuizen P-Blaster   3d burn sur  7        300/900  7.7/2C   3×64   8(3)   8†   -5     1     $38,000/$20  3

Here's how to stat up a Plasma Flamer. This, along with how to stat up Plasma Lances were supposed to have been in original article but I cut them early on since it was starting to be clear that the main part on Plasma Guns was running a little long and was already complicated enough on its own.

Tech Level
Flamers are TL9^.

Example: Here we're going make a military hand flamer, the Macrotech PGP-158; the preferred side armor of any very mobile infantry on quick raid smash and grab operations! Outside of this being a plasma weapon, the hand flamer will not be using the superscience option.

Flamers fire a low-velocity stream of high temperature plasma. Hydrogen fuel is fed into a magnetic containment chamber and electromagnetically pinched to form a plasma and then released as a continuous jet. Flamers do burning damage, not tight-beam burning damage.

Focal Array
While I do stand by my reasoning that plasma weapons should always have a medium focal array, RAW disagrees with me here. The Semi-Portable Flamer does use a very small focal array in its write up.

Example: Our hand flamer will use a medium focal array.

Flamers are always single shot though both David and Kromm have mentioned that Flamers should have been labeled as Jet weapons. Personally I am ok with them having ROF 1 since I do not care for how jets are modeled in 4th edition.

Example: As a flamer, our hand flamer has a single shot generator.

Damage Dice

Example: Flamers are no more efficient then normal beam weapons such as lasers and particle weapons so we pick 3d as it fits nicely in the listed pistol damage range.

Empty Weight

E is 3.
There is no example of higher TL Flamers in Ultra-Tech but I think that halving their weight at TL10^ won't break anything.

Example: Our hand flamer does 3d worth of damage, has a medium focal array and a single-shot generator giving it a weight of (3/3)^3×1×1 or 1lbs exactly.

Hand Beamers are more likely with Flamers then with Plasma Guns but would have horrible accuracy.

Example: The hand flamer will have a pistol configuration.

Flamers do burning damage with no armor divisor.

Example: The hand flamer does 3d worth of damage so we record its damage as 3d burn.


  • A hypothetical Beamer would have a Acc of 1.
  • Pistols have a Acc of 3
  • Rifles have a Acc of 6
  • Cannons have a Acc of 12

Example: As a pistol the hand flamer has an Acc of 3.

Rb is 2 for flamers.

Example: The hand flamer does 3d of damage and a medium focal array giving it a ½ damage range of 3×3×2×1 or 18 yards. Its max range is 18×3 or 54 yards.

Rate of Fire
As said earlier Flamers are always ROF 1 weapons (though you can choose to replace their ROF with being a Jet attack)

Example: The hand flamer has a ROF 1.

At TL9^ a C cell holds 1,800 shots (the same as a TL10-12 laser using a TL10 C cell).

Once again since there are no TL10^ examples for flamers so any attempt at stating the shot capacity of one is pure guess work on my part.

You got options to choose from.

  • Either follow the example set by Plasma Guns and have their shot capacity go up by 2.5× per TL.
  • Or just treat a TL9^ Flamer as a TL10-12 laser using TL10 C cells and just follow that progression treating a TL10^ version as using TL11 C cells and so on.

On a side note, that while the fluff for flamers does mention using hydrogen to create the plasma jet.... it doesn't say where the gas comes from, there's no mention of a combination power cell/hydrogen gas cell set up like with Plasma Guns!

Now once again you got two options.

  • Either just roll with it and treat Flamers as using normal power cells and just assume the hydrogen comes from the air or an internal tank or something. Good for when you're going full rubber.
  • Or more “realistically” treat flamers as using a similar set up to Plasma Guns were their power cells are actually reskins acting as magazines holding “power cartridges”. If you're going to use them along side Plasma Guns it's probably good to use this option.

Example: Being a pistol we don't want the hand flamer being to big or bulk so we give it a single C cell giving it 1800/3^3 or 66.7 shots which we round up to 67.

Reloading Time

Example: Having a single C cell the hand flamers has a reload time of (3).


Example: The hand flamer has a empty weight of 1lbs and uses a 0.5lbs C cell giving a loaded weight of 1.5lbs.

Strength Requirement
Look up the Flamers loaded weight on the energy weapon table from the original article. This will produce results that don't quite match up with what's listed on the tables for a Flamers ST requirement on page 127 or Ultra-Tech. It seems that for some reason their were computed using the weapons EMPTY weight.

Example: As a pistol that weights 1.5lbs loaded we look down the weight column and find that it falls between 1 and 2lbs so we round up to 2lbs. We then look across to the L-Laser column to see that it has a ST of 7.


Example: Weight a loaded weight of 1.5lbs it has a bulk of the square root of 1.5 ×1.25 or -1.5 which we round up to -2.

Flamers have a Rcl of 1.

Oh boy... I remember how long I bang my head against this one >.>.

The cost of a Flamer is dice of damage cubed times.... 18.4. You read that right and no... it makes no sense to me either. Whatever David was smoking when came up with that.... he needs to share :D

Example: Doing 3d worth of damage the hand flamer costs 3^3×18.4 or $496.80 which we round up to $500.

Legality Class
Flamers have base LC of 3.

Example: Since the hand flamer only weights 1.5lbs it has a LC of 3.

Skill Required
Pistol and Rife class Flamers use the Energy Weapons (Projector) skill, cannon class Flamers use Gunner (Beams) instead.

Optional Fluff Stats

To figure the Flamers output use the formula for lasers and particle beams, (Dice of Damage2)^3 kilojoules.

Example: Doing 3d of damage, the hand flamer has an output per shot of 1kJ.

Unfortunately I don't have the data to figure a realistic formula for this but I think that a slight modification the the formula I gave for Plasma Guns works for the most part.

So basically, it becomes Dice of Damage×0.047 but in centimeters, NOT millimeters.

Example: Doing 3d of damage, the hand flamer has an aperture of 0.141cm which we round down to 0.14cm.

Example Gun
Macrotech PGP-158 “Hand Flamer” (TL9^)
The Macrotech Plasma Gun Projector model fifteen, version eight was originally designed as a more compact companion to the PGP-143 Heavy Incendiary Device for newly claimed off world colonies as a deforestation device for clearing land. On several colones both of them got quickly conscripted as weapons do to hostile fauna that attacked in massed swarms. The PGP-158 quickly became a common side arm to many of these worlds do to how compact it was compared to the PGP-143 with the nickname of being a “Hand Flamer” being adopted in short order. Do to their success as anti-swarm weapons as well as being very effective clearing devices, many militaries quickly adopted it with little modification.

The plasma beam has a 1kJ output and is fired from a 0.14cm aperture.

BEAM WEAPONS (PROJECTOR) (DX-4, or other Beam Weapons-4)
TL Weapon        Damage   Acc    Range    Weight    ROF Shots   ST    Bulk Rcl Cost           LC
9^ PGP-158     3d burn   7         18/54      1.5/1C      1       67(3)   7      -2     1    $500/$10    3

Plasma Lance
In so far as I know, the only place a Plasma Lance has been stated as a gun (as apposed to being a plasma shape charged warhead) was in Pyramid 3/51 Tech and Toys III-Modular Mecha, in which there was a whooping single example. This of course means that a lot of this break down is gonna be pure conjecture and if I didn't like the concept of this weapons I wouldn't bothered to do a break down of it.

So once, this break down is largely conjecture on my part.

Tech Level
Plasma Lances are TL10^. While this is just a guess but at TL11^ they become Fusion Lances and their weight is halved.

Example: Let's make a large, semi-portable plasma lance cannon designed to take on light armor. Let's call it the Mitchell & Winslow HPB M-23A. Outside of this being a plasma weapon, the hand flamer will not be using the superscience option.

Plasma Lances fire a relativistic beam of super focused high temperature plasma. In effect its the unholy love child of a Plasma Gun and a Flamer. Plasma Lances do burning damage with the explosive modifier and have a (10) armor divisor.

Focal Array
You know the drill by know. Interestingly, the plasma lance seems to be the only beam weapons on the list in that article that didn't use a smaller focal array.

Example: Our model, of couse, will use a medium focal array.

I'm pretty sure they are single shot.

Example: The M-23A will have a single shot generator.

Damage Dice
Plasma Lances are just as efficient as Plasma Guns but with much higher penetration.

Example: Since Plasma Lances are pretty good at dealing damage as Plasma Guns and we want some anti-armor power so let's go for something pretty high powered. The M-23A will have 21d, good enough to penetrate DR734 on average.

Empty Weight
E is 6.
Probably follows the same progression as a Plasma Gun at higher TLs.

Example: Our Plasma Lance does 21d worth of damage, has a medium focal array and a single-shot generator giving it a weight of (21/6)^3×1×1 or 42.9lbs which we'll round up to 43lbs.

I'm gonna say that the Hand Beamer options is a no go with Plasma Lances.

Example: The M-23A will have a cannon configuration.

Plasma Lances do burning damage with explosive modifier and a (10) armor divisor.

Example: The hand flamer does 21d worth of damage, which is the same as saying it does 7d×3, so we record its damage as 7d×3(10) burn ex.

My best guess is:
  • Pistols have a Acc of 1
  • Rifles have a Acc of 4
  • Cannons have a Acc of 8

Example: As a cannon the M-23A has an Acc of 8.

1/2D range is equal to 2×the square root of the weapons dice of damage.

Max range is equal to 1/2D range×10.

Example: The M-23A does 21d of damage and a medium focal array giving it a ½ damage range of 2×square root of 21 or 9 yards. Its max range is 9×10 or 90 yards.

Rate of Fire
Probably just 1.

Example: The M-23A has a ROF 1.

By comparing its shot efficiency to the other two beam weapons in that article, it seems that for Plasma Lances a TL10^ treat a C cell holds 228 shots.

Since there's no higher TL examples or any mention of how a Plasma Lance gets its fuel you got the same options to choose from as Flamers do. Pick whether you want Plasma Lances to follow either the ×2.5 per TL progression or the ×8 at the first TL increase and ×4 every TL after route and then pick if you want them also using “power cartridges” or just using power cells and hand waving were the hydrogen comes from.

Example: Since this is going to heavy weapon it's normally going to be hooked up to an external power source but if had to be hooked up to power cells a C cell would provided 228/21^3 orrrr... just... 0.025 shots... We're gonna need to beef this up a bit. If we use a rather beefy F cell, that gives up 250 shots. This F cell would not be loaded into the M-23A like a magazine but rather hooked up to it via power line meaning that the F cell would be noted with a p.

Reloading Time

Example: The M-23A does not have a reload time since it's not loaded with a power cell.


Example: The M-23A has a empty weight of 43lbs but since it's normally powered by an external source that's also its loaded weight.

Strength Requirement
Look up a Plasma Lances on the Plasma Gun table.

Example: Since its a cannon, we look up the M-23As empty weight (which conventionally is also its loaded weight) on the table and we see that 43lbs is listed there. Looking over at the P-Pistol column to see that it has a ST of 18. Since its a cannon we note it as 18M.


Example: Weight a loaded weight of 43lbs it has a bulk of the square root of 1.5 ×43 or -9.8 which we round up to -10.

Plasma Guns have a Rcl of 2.

This one is gonna to be a bit of an ass pull. Modular Mecha says that all the beam weapons weigh 1,200lbs and cost $500,000 but if you go by the costs listed in Blaster and Laser Design then a 1,200lbs Rainbow Laser alone would cost $600,000 and a Blaster (As well as a Plasma Gun) would cost 4× more! I'm just write this off as David simplifying things and giving into his pentaphilia. I'd say that Bc for a Plasma Lance is $2,000 like with a Plasma Gun.

Example: With a single shot generator and weighing in at 43lbs, the M-23A costs 43×$2,000×1 or $86,000 as a base. Including the 1.05× price increase for having the perk Well Made, the price goes up to $90,300.

Legality Class
While none is listed, I'm gonna say they probably have a minimum LC of 2.

Example: Since the M-23A weights well over 15lbs so it has a LC of 1. Even if it was less then 5lbs it would have had a minimum LC of 2.

Skill Required

Example: The M-23A uses Gunner (Beams).

Optional Fluff Stats
Plasma Lances use the same formula as Plasma Guns.

Example: With 21d worth of damage the M-23As output is (23/4)^3 or 190.1kJ which we round down to 190kJ.

Given that Plasma Lances have such a high armor divisor they need to have a pretty tight focus, I'd say about 4× tighter then a Plasma Guns of the same output making a Plasma Lances aperture equal dice worth of damage×0.047mm.

Example: With 21d worth of damage the M-23As aperture is 21×0.047 or 0.99mm which we'll round up to 1mm.

Example Gun
Mitchell & Winslow HPB M-23A (TL10^)
The Mitchell & Winslow Heavy Plasma Beam, Model-23A was designed to be a solid, short ranged but hard hitting anti-armor weapon. Meant to be mounted to light vehicles or used as a mounted heavy battlesuit weapon. Made to the excellent standard typical of M&W weapons are know for, it seldom breaks down in field even in the roughest of conditions.

The M-23AA fires a 190kJ plasma beam from a 1mm aperture.

DR 4, HP 14, HT 11

This weapons the perk Well Made (+1 to HT, multiply cost by 1.05×)

GUNNER (BEAMS) (DX-4, or other Gunner-4)
TL Weapon             Damage               Acc   Range   Weight   ROF Shots ST    Bulk   Rcl    Cost                   LC
10^ M&W M-23A 7d×3(10) burn ex 8        9/90        43/1Fp 1       250   18M  -10      2     $90,300/$20,000 1

Ok, now that this is done with I gotta double down and finish up Brand Loyalty.... Though at this rate it might be a little late, either late Thursday night after I get off of work or Friday morning. Work and life has sent some curve balls my way and I'm behind as a result (this was originally supposed to have been up on Saturday!). Blarg.... the best laid plans of gamers and men =_=...

Edit: I made the deadline! Yaaay! Also, fixed some weird formatting issues that happened to some of my gun stats. Blogger seems to get weird sometimes.