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. 

1 comment:

  1. I like it. The ability to switch between 'hard' and 'soft' plasma bolts would be useful in many circumstances and the plasma shotgun ('cluster pulser') is an excellent addition; it could also be an option for conventional plasma weapons, like using shotshells or shot loads. Perhaps a different type of ammunition for weapons using plasma cartridges or a setting for those using separate power packs and fuel pellets.
    Someone will make a Desert Eagle sized plasma pistol with this option...