The tables below provide the following information about various weapons. Although there are many other attributes of intense interest to enthusiasts, only the parameters in the tables have any game effect.
Blasters fire tiny specks of fusing hydrogen wrapped in self-sustaining magnetic envelopes. When the blot hits something, the envelope ruptures and the energy escapes along the rupture line in a coherent star-hot direct pulse that can burn through steel or turn flesh to radioactive charcoal.
Blasters are preferred because they provide the best ratio of damage to weapon size, but they are not without flaws. For one thing, the blinding blue-white bolt and explosive crack of a blaster is far from subtle. Although the blaster bolt itself is of neglible momentum, the heated air expelled from the barrel produces noticeable recoil. Finally, blasters have to dissipate a lot of heat, which limits their rate of fire.
|Light blaster pistol||5||sing||+0||fusion|
|Medium blaster pistol||6||sing||+0||fusion|
|Heavy blaster pistol||7||sing||+1||fusion|
Lasers generate beams of coherent light hot enough to vaporize whatever they hit. A laser beam will burn neatly through dry targets or armor; anything containing water, such as flesh, will be ripped messily asunder by a steam explosion. Laser weapons operate in the near ultraviolet, for better range performance; the dramatic blue and red beams of the talkingbooks are just fiction. In atmosphere, lasers produce trails of sparks along the beam, and a zap (or hiss, for continuous beams) which is still much less conspicuous than a blaster bolt.
The primary advantage of a laser is that it can produce a continuous beam, making it easier to hit one or many targets. It is important to remember that the more targets the beam's energy is distributed across, the less damage each target receives.
|Light laser pistol||4||beam||fusion|
|Medium laser pistol||5||beam||+1||fusion|
|Heavy laser pistol||6||sing||+2||fusion|
Sporting weapons are mostly gauss guns, which use strong magnetic fields to launch metal bullets, rather like electric motors laid out straight. Although they use fusion cells for power, gauss guns have magazines containing limited numbers of bullets, and need to be reloaded inconveniently often. Sportsmen use them because they make neat, easily scorable holes in targets, are considered 'fair' for hunting, and offer endless grounds for arguments about bullet design and ballistics.
Antique weapons such as gauss guns and even firearms are still in use on some exceptionally benighted worlds of the Marches, but are otherwise found only in the collections of antiquarians and recreationists.
|VRF gauss carbine||5||beam||+2||500|
Manual weapons, those powered by the user's muscles, are no longer cutting-edge anywhere the Empire knows of, but are traditional to many martial arts styles, and retain their age-old advantages of silence and freedom from ammunition supplies (although the latter is less impressive in these days of fusion power cells). Powered variants of some manual weapons (vibroblades, zapsticks) are popular in certain circles as well.
Most other items do not need to be enumerated or given game statistics. If the characters want something sensible, like climbing rope, night vision goggles, or a coffee grinder, they buy, it performs its function, and eventually it gets lost, stolen, or blown up, just like any of the above equipment only with less fuss. If the characters want something like ridiculous, like a teleporter, an AI battleship, or cheesecake pictures of the Empress, too bad.
Peking Space Opera Blues is copyright 1997 by Trevor Placker. All rights reserved.
This file was last modified at 1635 on 22Jun99 by email@example.com.