Tuesday, May 30, 2017

SATNUC: Lances of Star Fire

The business end of a very bad day...

Back in good ol' 3rd Edition, one of the most glorious bits of overkill ever put to print for the system was the SATNUC. A cross over from the Ogre universe,the SATNUC was self guiding submunition  similar in concept  to the (sadly canceled) Brilliant Anti-Tank munition with one major difference; rather than a self forging penetration, it uses a shaped charge micro-nuke! Of course in the gaming universe this bit of ridiculousness originally existed in there are AI controlled multi-thousand ton tanks armed out of pure win and awesome this kinda weapon does make some sense... in others.... not so much... But gawd damn was it a fun bit of tech!

Of course when for 4th edition came out, sadly this little gem was left out. But hey... that's what you guys have me for! Follow me after the jump where I cover not only my take on what SATNUCs should look like in 4th ed but I also throw in a shaped charge version of the mininuke and a design system where you can craft your very own custom SATNUCs and shaped charge nukes!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Gauss Weapons, Reloaded!

Not going to lie. I want one!
I've long said that I was going to get around to tackling gauss weapons on this post and its about time I make good with my word!

In today's (late GURPSday) post I take a look over the gauss weapons in Ultra-Tech and see if I can give them a good dose of updating!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Ultra-Tech Quickie: Batteries, Recharged!

A few months ago I did an article covering how much energy power cells hold in real world units and included a few hypothetical suggestion for different kinds of power plants. I also took a shot a handling batteries to give players some more long term storage options at the price of having a lower power output.

Behold, the power of the future!
The stats I posted for them were based on work done by laser wunderkind Luke Campbell since his work match my own research as well as the fact he had more knowledge on the subject then I do. They do their job fine and are about as realistic as you can get, well as well as you can with predicting the future. However they just were kinda.... kinda off with how GURPS does things.

While I'm not afraid to stray into house rule territory if I have to, I try to stay as RAW as possible since I know how some GM's can get. Some just don't like veering off of what's published so if my rules at lest line up with that it increases the chance that my stuff will get the okay.

Well, I've been doing some diving into what info I could get on the early versions of Ultra-Tech to see if I can find any nuggets I could use. While I have yet to find a smoking gun, I have found enough things that seem to point to the fact that originally there were going to be both power cells and batteries in the book (and in fact this makes sense since some of the things listed don't make sense having the duration they do with just normal power cells).

Now granted that's useful and all but... there was no data on how these batteries would work. Then it hit me. A lot of Ultra-Tech was inspired by what was done in Transhuman Space and that setting had both batteries (confusingly called power cells) and power cells (called power packs). So I took a look at these settings assumptions and it clicked!

So here's my second, more GURPSy attempt at stating batteries.

In general Ultra-Tech Batteries hold 10× as much energy as a the same sized power cell of the same TL. For example a TL9 C power cell holds 90kJ of energy so a TL9 C battery would hold 900kJ.

Of course the down side to batteries is that they have a limited ability to discharge that energy as power. Divide the batteries kilo Joules of storage by 900 to see how many kilo Watts it can discharge at. For example since a C battery holds 900kJ it can discharged it at a rate of 900kJ/900 or 1kW. If the item you are trying to power has a greater kilo Watt requirement then a given battery can provide then use a bigger or more batteries till it that requirement is met.

Note that realistically that at TL11, energy density gets as high as it can probably get without super science. The TL12 examples  shown below would need hyperdense materials to be practical.

Battery type  TL9                      TL10                       TL11                           TL12
AA                    0.0001kW/0.9 kJ          0.0004kW/0.36 kJ        0.0016kW/14.4 kJ             0.0064kW/57.6 kJ
A                       0.001kW/9 kJ               0.004kW/3.6 kJ            0.016kW/144 kJ                0.064kW/576 kJ
B                       0.01kW/90 kJ               0.04kW/360 kJ             0.16kW/1,440 kJ               0.64kW/5,760 kJ
C                      1kW/900 kJ                   4kW/3,600kJ                16kW/14,400 kJ                64kW/57,600 kJ 
D                      10kW/9,000 kJ              40kW/36,000kJ            160kW/144,000 kJ            640kW/576,000 kJ 
E                      100kW/90,000 kJ          400kW/360,000kJ        1,600kW/1,440,000 kJ       6,400kW/5,760,000 kJ
F                      1,000kW/900,000 kJ     4,000kW/3,600,000kJ  16,000kW/14,400,000 kJ    64,000kW/57,600,000 kJ 

The number before the slash is the batteries output in kilo Watts and the number after the slash in the batteries energy storage in kilo Joules. Divide the listed energy storage by 3,600 to get how many kilo Watt-hours the battery will provide.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Musings on Things that Affect Beam Weapons Accuracy

Ever felt that it was odd that making a Fine (Accurate) Laser rifle only gives it a +1 bonus to Acc when it s has a base Acc 12 compared to conventional rifles Acc of 5? Or have you wondered what happens when you add a stock to beam pistol or remove the stock of a beam rifle or securely mount one?

Or how about if you wanted a laser carbine rather then a rifle, shouldn't it have a lower Acc then a full rifle?

Well, in today's post I go over how I feel these questions should be handled. Just keep in mind that nothing here is official so if you want to stay 100% RAW for you game then it's best to skip these optional rules.

Fine and Very Fine (Accurate)
Given the greater range of accuracy beam weapons have compared to conventional fire arms it doesn't make sense that a Fine or Very Fine beam weapons should only get a partly +1 or +2 to their Acc.

By taking a look at the range of Acc score conventional projectile weapons get and by what amount a +1 or +2 bonus effects them I was able to deduce what the same rate would be for the different beam weapons.

Acc Bonus
+3 for Fine, +6 for Very Fine         All beam weapons but these shown below.
+2.5 for Fine, +5 for Very Fine     Blaster, Ghost Particle, Neutral Particle, and Pulsar.
+2 for Fine, +4 for Very Fine        Electrolaser,  and Plasma Gun.
+1.5 for Fine, +3 for Very Fine     Flamer, Sonic Stunners, Nauseators, and Screemers.
+1 for Fine, +2 for Very Fine         Plasma Lance.

When adding these modifiers to your weapons stats, round up the +2.5 for Fine (Accurate) to +3 for Blaster, Ghost Particle, Neutral Particle, and Pulsar but round down +1.5 Sonic Stunners, Nauseators, and Screemers to +1. You might be wondering why I bothered writing down the like that and that's because I wanted to show you how the math works out.

Stock, Stockless and Mounted
Adding a stock to a stockless weapons, such as the default for pistol form weapons, increases it Acc by the same amount making it a Fine (Accurate) beam weapons. This will infact bump up its Acc to the Acc of Configuration on size bigger (i.e. a pistol will have the same Acc as a carbine). Likewise removing or collapsing the stock of a beam weapon that has one, such as the default for carbines and bigger, subtracts and amount from its Acc equal to the bonus it would receive for being Fine (Accurate). Mounting a beam weapon so its fixed tight and securely to a weapon mount, also increase its accuracy. Mounting a beam weapon increases its Acc by the same amount as making it Fine (Accurate) and removing an already mounted weapon from its mount reduces its Acc by the same amount. Cannon are already considered mounted, if removed from their mounting treat them as support weapons.

Expanded Configuration List 
A weapons form factor has an impact on its inherent accuracy, longer weapons simply provide a superior sight picture.

Below I expand the Acc range for beam weapons to give the same range that conventional projectile weapons have as well as give some rules of thumb for how to determine which configuration you should use for a given beam weapons.

Sub Compact/Beamer: This configuration should be used for  either small "holdout pistol" style beam weapons or tool shaped beam weapons (like the ever awful dustbuster phaser from Star Trek: The Next Generation) up to about pistol sized. Bulk should be no more then -1.

Acc                    Beam Type
3                        All beam weapons but these shown below.
2                        Electrolaser,  and Plasma Gun.
1                        Sonic Stunners, Nauseators, Screemers, Flamer and Plasma Lance. 

Pistol: Pistol from weapons should be small weapons that could be fired with on hand and be -3 at the most.

Acc                    Beam Type
6                        All beam weapons but these shown below.
5                        Blaster, Ghost Particle, Neutral Particle, and Pulsar.
4                        Electrolaser,  and Plasma Gun.
3                        Sonic Stunners, Nauseators, Screemers, and Flamer.
2                        Plasma Lance.

Carbine: These are rifle from long arms with a built in stock as default though attaching a stock to a pistol from weapon effectively makes it a pistol carbine . In general they can be anything from pistol sized up to a bulk of -5. 

Acc                    Beam Type
9                        All beam weapons but these shown below.
8                        Blaster, Ghost Particle, Neutral Particle, and Pulsar.
6                        Electrolaser,  and Plasma Gun.
4                        Sonic Stunners, Nauseators, Screemers, and Flamer.
3                        Plasma Lance.

Rifle: A larger, fulled long arm beam weapons. Bulk should be up to -7

Acc                    Beam Type
12                      All beam weapons but these shown below.
10                      Blaster, Ghost Particle, Neutral Particle, and Pulsar.
8                        Electrolaser,  and Plasma Gun.
6                        Sonic Stunners, Nauseators, Screemers, and Flamer.
4                        Plasma Lance. 

Support: A support configured beam weapon can be any sized up to a large rifle up to cannon in sized and in fact cannons are just mounted support weapons. They can be any bulk -6 and up.

Acc                    Beam Type
15                        All beam weapons but these shown below.
13                        Blaster, Ghost Particle, Neutral Particle, and Pulsar.
10                        Electrolaser,  and Plasma Gun.
7                         Sonic Stunners, Nauseators, and Screemers
9                         Flamer.
6                         Plasma Lance. 

Cannon:  A mounted support configured beam weapon and such and be anything with a bulk of -6 and up.

Acc                    Beam Type
18                       All beam weapons but these shown below.
15                       Blaster, Ghost Particle, Neutral Particle, and Pulsar.
12                       Electrolaser,  and Plasma Gun.
9                         Sonic Stunners, Nauseators, and Screemers
12                       Flamer.
8                         Plasma Lance. 

Monday, May 8, 2017

Ultra-Tech Quickie: MOAR DAKKA Revisited

Got a super quick one for you guys today.

A little while I put up a blog post covering my attempt to give a greater range of detail when it came to giving a beam weapons a high ROF. It worked pretty well and the attempt has been really well received by my readers but it did differ a bit from RAW and I was never fully happy with that. Not so much as I think the RAW value is better but the fewer paces into house rule territory I can keep my blog the more universal my post will be and the more people can benefit from them.  Of course, lacking official design documents sometimes I'm forced to do so and at first that's what I thought I was going to have to settle with my ROF rules. That is until I decided to take another crack at it and it just hit me. Once again I was overthinking things!

Alrighty, that being said, below you will find what G should be for a given ROF up to 20 with the this version of the ROF rules.

ROF            G
1                  1
2                  1.01
3                  1.0225
4                  1.04
5                  1.0625
6                  1.09
7                  1.1225
8                  1.16
9                  1.2025
10                1.25
11                1.3025
12               1.36
13               1.4225
14               1.49
15               1.5625
16               1.64
17               1.7225
18               1.81
19               1.9025
20               2

For ROF greater then 20, G can be figured as 1+(ROF/20)2.

Now you might be going, "Wait, this still doesn't explain why a semi-automatic generator and alight automatic generator both have a modifier of ×1.25?!"

Well I got a theory on this one. The semi-auto generator and the light auto generator are the same thing, semi-auto beam weapons are just locked out of full auto mode by the developers. So why bother with such a heavy generator? Well, with modern pistols the ROF of 3 is only what most people can pull off with a semi-auto and some people can pull that trigger really fast! So a semi-auto beam weapon can actually use the Fast-Firing rules (High-Tech pg.84)! Use the rules as listed but Rcl does not go up (except for plasma guns, they use the rules as is),

For my own beams found on this blog I'm going to keep to my own ROF rules just because of some feed back I got and to keep things consistent though this more updated version will still find it uses for another project I'm working on.

Ok guys, I hope you find this all useful. Don't say I don't give you options heh.

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.