Thursday, January 26, 2017


The Brotherhood of GURPS Bloggers Who Blog Too Much is always coming up with new themes to help tie our little community together and to challenge us to think up things we otherwise might not of considered. For this month, the topic of cold came up and well this being January... I'd say it was a fitting topic. 

So what did I come up with? Well, the theme is cold and do love figuring out how to stat up weapons so let's see if we can find a way to stat out a Freeze Ray in GURPS!

Freeze Rays
What killed the iceage? The dinosaurs!
Even in the world of pure super science weapons, Freeze Rays are among the most super sciencey. There are only a few examples of them even in the pulpiest of fiction. Hell, even in myths and legends cold based powers are rare!To put it simply, in order to freeze something you need to pump the heat out of it and there simply is no know way to do so quickly enough to make a Freeze Ray a viable weapon in the real world. Added to that is the fact that most non-organic materials are far more resilient to extreme colds then extreme heat would make them extremely limited weapons even if we did find a way.

Even more amusing is the seemingly rather counter intuitive fact that since in order to make something colder, you need to suck out its heat, a Freeze Ray would actually cause the target to generate a bust of heat! And given the shear wattage you would need to pump out a targets heat to make a viable Freeze Ray... that heat might end up being pumped out explosively!

But despite this, when used correctly, Freeze Rays have made for some rather iconic characters. Also if you're willing to let realism slide and learn to love the laws of four colors, they do make for rather interesting weapons. If we go with how they tend to work in fiction they make for a very flavorful less then lethal weapon that can be used to trap and bind your targets letting you capture them or let you play a pacifistic character while still being able to play with a "cool" gun (Puns!).
So, let's stat up a rather ice weapon....

I'll be here all week folks...

This article is an addition to the Blaster and Laser Design System from Pyramid 3/37 Tech and Toys II that let's you use its framework to design super science pulp sci/fi Freeze Rays and will be needed to use the following rules.

First come up with an concept for what you want your Freeze Ray to be. Do you want it to be something that can be used one handed like the classic comic Freeze Ray or maybe you want a massive Freeze Support Weapon that can stop hordes of attackers in their traps? Is it a mass produced weapon or a single, signature gadget of a cold based super hero or villain? Once you got that nailed down you can move onto the following steps.

Example: Dr. Igor Frost was once the leading expert on cryogenic energy systems and was the head engineer on Omega Corp's cold fusion reactor development project. That was until Omega Corp went bankrupt after failing big on high risk investments. The board of directors needed money and they needed it fast! Seeking to collect the rather sizable insurance settlement they had on the reactor project they sent some of their goons to set fire to research facility and make it look like an accident. They entered the facility in the dead of the night after all the staff was supposed to have long since left for home only to find that Frost had stayed to work on the project over night! He was now a witness and the goons went after him to ensure his silence and Frost did his best to flee. The goons cornered him up on a catwalk above the reactor unit and as he tried to back away from his assailants he tripped and feel over the railing and into the reactor unit below! Thinking the good doctor dead from the fall, the goons finished their dastardly mission and burned the facility to the ground.

This seemed like it was the end of Dr. Igor Frost and in many ways it was, but he survived not only the fall but the fire! Falling into the cold fusion reactor unit, something impossible happened to him. His body somehow absorbed the swirling cryo-energies contained within the reactor! It changed him. He was now impervious to even the most freezing of cold and cold generate a freezing mist that could protect him from searing heat as well. He awoke the next day among the ashes of his life's work a new man. He saw that all he had worked for in ruin, that his own company tried to kill him and vengeance consumed his soul. He took what equipment still work and started up a secret lab deep in the cold of the mountains that surrounded the area and begin to plot his revenge. Now taken to calling himself Herr Frost, the Lord of Frost, he would take his research that once promised peace and abundance and turn his expertise on cryo-energy into developing a weapon with ferocity of the frost giants of myth: The Jotnargewehr!

Herr Frost wants a weapon that is potent but concealed and can be used in one hand so he deiced to make the Jotnargewehr the most powerful he can while keeping it small enough to work as a pistol.

Tech Level
Freeze Rays are TL9^. At TL10^ half their weight, quarter it at TL11^ and divide it by eight at TL12^.

Example: The Jotnargewehr will be a Tech Level 9^ weapon.

Damage is Fatiguing with the Freezing modifier with a linked Binding effect that has a ST equal to 3× the Freeze Rays dice of damage. The binding attack has HP equal to the binding effects ST and DR equal to its dice of damage. Each additional layer increases the HP and DR by the same amount and increases the binding effects ST by 1.4×.

Freeze Rays tend to be quiet heavy for their damage do to the fact that in fiction they are mostly shown as being used to incapacitate rather then outright kill except in more "edgier" takes on them.
Beamer sized Freeze Rays should do under 2d, pistols should be up to about 3d, rifles should be up to 4d+1 and cannon anything over that.

This is not to say that Freeze Rays cannot be dangerous toys! Even a single hit from a low end 2d pistol will do a good job of pinning an normal person dropping them to 3FP on average and pinning them down with a ST6 binding attack that HP6 and DR2. Since they will on average be at under 1/3rd their FP  they will be at half their normal ST making even this a hard barrier to break through. Further shots will add +6 HP,  +2DR and +2ST to this making it even harder to break out of and dropping the targets FP low enough that they start to take real damage!

When writing down your Freeze Rays stats you should note how much extra HP, DR and ST each additional layer will add to the attacks linked Binding effect.  To figure how much extra ST each extra layer will multiply its base ST by 0.4 and round off.

If you want some extra detail, assume that a Freeze Ray generates a temperature low enough to make 0.2 cubic feet of steel brittle (Give it Vulnerable (Crushing and Cutting) ×2 and lower the objects HT by one) per dice of damage. Also if used in room temperature, assume that the ice that is generated when a man sized target it hit will lose 1 point of ST per half hour do to melting. Larger and smaller targets will take potentially more or less time to melt as will higher and lower temperature.

Example: Herr Frost will wants a Freeze Ray that will not only be able to dish out cold justice but also be compact to use one handed so he settles on a 3d pistol for his Jotnargewehr. It will Still be light enough to to handle one handed while still being powerful to freeze all who dare to stand before his icy vengeance! As a 3d weapon its linked binding effect will have ST9, HP9 and DR3. Each further layer will add +9HP, +3DR and add +4 to the bindings ST.

Empty Weight
See here for my optional, more detailed way of figuring F, see here for my optional, more detailed way of figuring G.

E is 2

Example: Herr Frosts Jotnargewehr will do 3d in damage, not use the super science option, have a ×1 focal array (F of 1) and a  three shot beam generator (G of 1.15). This will give it an empty weight of ((3×1)/2)3×1×1.15 or 3.9lbs.


Beam               Beamer     Pistol       Rifle       Cannon
Freeze Ray      0                2              4              6

Example: Being a pistol the Jotnargewehr will have an Acc of 2.


1/2D  Range is D × 9 × Rf

Max Range is 1/2D × 3.

 D is dice of damage.
Rf  is as in article.

Example: Doing 3d worth of damage a ×1 focal array, the Jotnargewehr will have a 1/2D range of 3×9×1 or 27yrds. This will then give it a max range of 27×3 or 81yrds.

Unlike normal energy weapons, freeze rays do not use normal power cells and instead works more like a plasma weapon. A freeze rays power cells is actually composed of an nonrechargeable power cell pack attached to a tank of hyper compressed cryogenic gas. Outside of this fact they are otherwise treated as normal power cells of the same size and cost and weigh the same.

Weapon                           TL9 Cell       TL10 Cell       TL11 Cell    TL12 Cell
TL9^ Freeze Ray             112                448                  1,782           7,168
TL10-12^ Freeze Ray      224                896                 3,584           14,336

Example: As a 3d TL9^ Freeze Ray using a TL9 C cell would only give Herr Frost a partly 4 shots so he opts to upgrade to back mounted D cell giving him 40 shots. Using the optional rules here for stating out power cords, we decide that  a 1.5 yard cord would work giving us enough slack without being overly long. The cord will weigh 0.5lbs and costs $63. We add the cords cost and weight to the power cells and note the power cells with a p.

Strength Requirement
See here for my optional, more accurate ST formula.

Example: Since Herr Frost is using a back mounted D cell to power the Jotnargewehr we can just use its empty weight of 3.9lbs to figure its Strength Requirement of 10×(3.9/10)1/4 or 7.9 which is rounded up to 8.


Example: Being a pistol the Jotnargewehr has a bulk of square root of -(3.9)×1.25 or -2.46 which we round down to -2.

Freeze rays have a Recoil of 1.

Freeze rays have a Bc of $500.

Example: With a empty weight of 3.9lbs and only able to fire in semi automatic mode (Gc of 1), the Jotnargewehr costs 3.9×500×1 or $1,950 which round to 2 significant figures or $2,000.

Jotnargewehr Freeze Ray Pistol Table

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   Notes
9^  Jotnargewehr    3d fat freezing   2       27/81   3.9/1Dp   3      40(5)     8     -2         1     $2,000/163      2      [1; 2; 3]
                 linked    ST 9 Binding

[1] Binding has HP9 and DR3 per layer. Each extra Layer adds +4 to the bindings ST.
[2]The D cell with 1.5yrd  armored power cord  weighs 5.5lbs. It takes a ready action to attach or detach the cord from the weapon. The cord has HP6 and DR12/4*. Use the higher DR value against piercing and cutting damage, the lower value against everything else. The armor is flexible.
[3]Note that cord may get caught and tangled on objects around you. Whenever you get near an object could potentially get the cord tangled around it the GM will roll against your DX. On success you avoid getting tangled, on failure you do and need to take a ready action to get untangled. On a critical failure or failure by 5 or more the cord gets caught on the object and it will take 3d ready actions to untangle it.

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