Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Ultra-Tech Quickie: I'm Ah Chargin' Ma Lazor!

I recently came across a blog called Concrete Lunch Gaming that gave me a small shout out. It's a pretty cool blog that covers a range of games including GURPS but what  had caught my eye was that he had just recently bought a collection of OG Traveller books. While I've never played any incantation of the game, most of you probably have realized that I do have an interest in it, especially its Fire, Fusion and Steel books, which is pretty much that games equivalent to GURPS Vehicles (big surprise, me being into a crunch heavy tech book), and I was inspired to give look over the few Traveller files I have on my computer. Good thing I did because when I was looking over a file going over High Energy Weapons (another thing you guys might of guessed is that I also like me some plasma weapons heh) inspiration hit me again!

In Traveller plasma weapons are really powerful but have a very, very low rate of fire. That made sense, if you spread out how long you need to generate your power you can reduce the size of things like the power supply and you got more time to bleed off waste heat meaning you can pack more punch into a smaller package and here I had another way to reduce the weight of heavy energy weapons. While this won't let you drop the weight quite as dramatically as a disposable beam weapon, you also don't need to toss away the whole thing every time you need to fire it. So I figured I might as well keep follow up on my last post with some new ways to keep energy weapon weight down.

So without any further ado, I give you a new modifier for the Blaster and Laser Design System from Pyramid 3/37 Tech & Toys II.

High Energy Beam Weapons
By spreading the time it takes to generate a energy beam or bolt over a longer period and therefor reducing the power load (the power supply has less wattage it needs to regulate, the cooling system has more time to vent waste heat and so on), it is possible to reduce the size and cost of a given beam weapon (the main beam generator however would still have to be full sized). The trade off is of course, you now need to wait several seconds between firings.

To design a High Energy Beam Weapon, build the weapon as normal  but replace G with the following:

G is changed to  0.7 for a 3 second charge delay, 0.6 for a 5 second charge delay or 0.5 for a 10 second charge delay.

Unless you switch the weapon off, after firing the weapon will automatically begin charging up again. While charging the weapon will either have a visual indicator on it showing how much longer till it charged or will transmit the information to your HUD. While charging you are free to do other actions. Once charged the weapon will either flash,  send a message to your HUD or admit an audible tone or transmit one to any headphones you are wearing. If you are in the middle of battle or other high stress situations and do note have a clear line of sight to an indicator, you can figure time remaining by making an IQ based Beams Weapon role.

If you have to power down the weapon without firing it, the built up energy needs to be discharged first. This takes just as long safely discharge the weapon as it takes to charge it expect for plasma weapons since they need to cool and vent the plasma. It takes plasma weapons 4 times as long to safely discharge, during which it will vent the cooled plasma as hot gas. This gas is vented away from the operator and is generally cool enough to be safe but can cause minor burns if your hand is held to close to the vents (treat as moderate pain, does 1d-4 burn if held against it for a full second).

Now let's this this modifier in action! Since Traveller inspired me, what better way to show this off then by trying to adapt the PGMP-12 to GURPS. Sadly this won't be an exact match since GURPS makes very different assumptions so I went for a middle ground and tried to capture the feel as much as possible.

PGMP-12  (TL10^)
The Plasma Gun, Man Portable Model 12 is a heavy high-energy plasma weapon meant to be used by heavy battlesuits that is  capable of penetrating 61mm of RHA equivalent by firing a 216 kilojoule plasma bolt.

The weapon system weighs at total of 50.8 lbs and is composed of three major components; the main firing unit which houses the bolt generator and D cell power cartridge magazine that powers it, the back mounted support systems which houses the power supply and cooling system and the main lead cord which houses the power cord and cooling line which attaches these systems to the firing unit and a articulated weapon harness the helps counter recoil and folds the firing unit up against the support system when not in use (reduces ST to 7† , see Ultra-Tech pg. 150-151).

The PGMP-12 is a high powered weapon but as a trade off has a very low rate of fire, taking a total of five seconds to charge a new round. During this time, hydrogen is siphoned out of the D cell power cartridge along with some energy which is used to charge the weapons pilot laser which starts to heat the hydrogen into a plasma as well as run the cooling system over the next five seconds. An electromagnetic field is used to trap the ionizing hydrogen until it reach near fusion level of pressure and heat. Once this stat is reached the pilot laser is allowed to escape the barrel and ionize a path for the plasma bolt to follow and the magnetic filed is dropped allowing the plasma to enter the barrel were a line of magnetic accelerators boost the plasma to over eight thousand meters a second giving the plasma extra kinetic punch and extended range.  

The weapons high power does limit its use in built up areas areas however, the blast effect from its impact can be lethal to unarmored targets up to a yard away and can cause at lest minor injures up to around 28 yards. Because of this, the weapon is generally only issued when extremely heavy fighting is expected.

BEAM WEAPONS (RIFLE) (DX-4, other Beam Weapons-4, or Guns (Rifle)-4)
TL Weapon      Damage                  Acc  Range          Wt            ROF     Shots    ST   Bulk  Rcl  Cost               LC  Notes
10^ PGMP-12  6d×4(2) burn ex sur  8    1,200/3,600  24.2/1D    1/5        5(5)      11†  -7      2      $77,000/$100 1    [1, 2]

[1]The listed weight is for the loaded firing unit and articulated weapon harness only, the back mounted support unit and power/cooling cord weighs 26.6lbs with a total system weight of 50.8lbs.

[2]The power/cooling cord is armored and has DR18/6* and has HP8. Use the higher values against cutting and piercing attacks and the lower values against everything else. The armor counts as flexible.



  1. My goal: To figure out how to work something like this out for Spaceships; one of the big problems I have with it right now is that you can fire your big, scary spinal cannon every turn, no problem. I'd like to see it fired once every couple of turns!

    1. Heh, I'm actually got my spreadsheet open checking how this would impact Spaceships weapons. With a ten second delay, you basically get the same effect as hotshotting but now the weapons needs 2 power points to fire.

  2. Thanks for the link. Yeah, I got those Traveller books. Used to play it a lot back in highschool. Lots of fun, as as noted in my upcoming Internet Treasures post, was one of the first games (if not THE first) to emphasize a non-dungeon-crawl kind of game. Great blog man!

    1. No problem man, we all help each other grow. It's like Communism, except it actually works! :D

      In fact if you want, check the below link out on how to become part of the GURPSsay list. Every Thursday Douglas Cole, a rather large figure in the GURPS community puts up a post with a link to everything someone on the list put up that week. It helps greatly with exposure. And don't worry about not being a GURPS only blog, the only real requirement is that you at lest have some GURPS content.

  3. Now THAT is a dank meme!

    I'll keep these in mind if I ever get around to those laser weapon projects I've had sitting around...