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Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2019 11:21 pm
  

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Hello, this is my first post but i was toying with some weapons for a game i might start running in a few months, and i wanted to make sure my descriptions are accurate. I figure i have the ballistic stuff in hand, but energy weapons is a little iffy for me. Anyways, i wrote out what i think i know and wanted to see what you, the experts think. :?



Laser: Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Laser guns generate beams of coherent light that inflict damage by way of rapid thermal exchange generated when the target's surface absorbs high amounts of energy rapidly causing damaging thermal reaction, essentially a sort of "microwave gun". Mechanically light, as it's just the reaction chamber, a tiny focusing aperture, and the barrel which is likely made reflective in a way to redirect divergent emissions to optimize damage. The only noises are likely a tiny whine from the internal mechanisms and any particles in the air being vaporized.

Effectively instant impact to target, brief flash of light minimal observable fire profile. Barrel profile is ideally very narrow diameter cylinder, for focusing lens durability and maximized beam focus. Past maximum effective range, beam will rapidly lose damage potential, even high-yield weapons will likely be ineffective past another few yards
Pros: Highly accurate and long ranged energy beam. no real loss of accuracy from either gravity or nearby interference, including weather or deep space. Fairly energy efficient, low maintenance so long as the internal components are sealed. Zero recoil due to method of energy discharge.
Cons: Damage limited by the fact it has to affect a small area to improve damage, so the attack is going to lose some percentage of damage to the material it previously slagged. Laser beam can be refracted or otherwise dissipated to reduce or potentially negate damage capabilities. Lacking penetrative potential and capability for covering fire due to nature of beam.

Ion beam: Slightly misleading name, electrical beam induced by rapid ionization to target followed by high yield electrical projection, effectively artificial lightning that is unaffected to normal electrical grounding, causing explosive agitation of target materials. almost a two-stage weapon, but ionization is likely part of the charge cycle of the weapon. (note: i have no idea how this thing is ionizing the target) beam ionizes the air along the path to target, which interacted with adjacent air molecules to create a momentary corridor of discharge-proof air preventing loss of energy. Comparatively bulky, the weapon requires considerable short-term capacitors and significant cooling systems for the firing chamber which encompasses the entire weapon, although the components are solid state. The sudden energy discharge produces a significant amount of light and sound as the air around the beam reacts explosively, similar to thunder.

Near-instant impact to target, high observable fire profile from high-glare beam and loud discharge. Weapon has minor recoil as effect of sudden expansion of the air immediately surrounding the point of discharge. Barrel profile is pretty much accepting of any shape, but ideally a relatively deep, wide diameter barrel to build a damaging level of charge while minimizing the strain of the capacitors. Since the reaction can be contained entirely within the barrel, the rest of the weapon can be built adjacent to it to reduce length. Past maximum effective range ionization effect is too weak to direct energy effectively resulting in the beam simply diffusing.
pros: Weapon of reliable damage potential, with no real resistant armor materials. Low maintenance if barrel can be suitably cleaned and weapon can even be shuttered to limit damage if suitable non-conductive material is available. Minimal moving parts to design makes it a durable weapon. Effective weapon for covering fire due to high-visibility of beam.
cons: Anything that can prevent the ionization of target will effectively negate the weapon's ability to inflict damage, including the beam moving enough to fail to concentrate on a suitable size area. Massive visibility issue, as weapon trajectory is both clearly visible in most light spectrums and easy to track, making identification easy. The method of discharge means that range and accuracy is highly limited and subject to interference by both material and energy barriers and is a serious hazard to user if area is suitably saturated with a conductive liquid.

Plasma: Energy discharge referring to solar plasma rather than the conventional plasma state of matter. Weapon agitates matter contained in magnetic energy packet (in this case, captured air is sufficient) into a pseudo-state similar to solar plasma at which point the magnetic packet is ejected, propelling the plasma-material into the target. Fourier's law limits significant thermal loss of the ejected plasma as the superheated air effectively cushions the bulk of the attack from heat transfer until impact, when the plasma causes damage through extreme thermal transfer. Mechanically complicated, plasma weapons are similar to an "energy railgun" where the matter must be agitated thermally with radiation while contained inside of a separate magnetic field which is then propelled at the target through a third, separate mechanism. The weapon itself produces no light aside from that emitted by the thermal exchange from the plasma but the internal mechanisms produce significant noise on top of the rapid boiling of air as the plasma is ejected. Inherently low rate of fire make plasma ineffective for covering fire.

Impact to target on par with conventional ballistics, relatively low observable fire profile. Weapon suffers from minor recoil from magnetic ejection system. Barrel profile is ideally round with very wide diameter to ensure that plasma is ejected in a single "ball" to optimize energy transfer. Past effective distance, plasma shot loses velocity rapidly and may inadvertently cause collateral damage before energy potential is lost.
pros: Extremely high potential damage, plasma's direct heat transfer means any attempts to redirect or exchange heat is ineffective. Glancing shots have good potential to inflict damage compared to other energy-based weapons. Plasma shots are entirely unaffected by energy interference and function as an efficient way to incinerate most materials totally.
cons: Weapon projection system is both extremely range limited and energy inefficient as well as being subject to projectile falloff from gravity. Zero penetration possible, target must be burned through entirely to bypass. Highly heat-resistant targets may see reduced damage. Complicated firing system is comparatively vulnerable to failure, and requires regular inspection for faults. Plasma-damaged areas may be hazardous for several minutes to hours, which can impede friendly forces through choke points.

Particle beam: A projected stream of highly energized particles directed at the target causing it to explode in an nuclear reaction. Mite-sized airborne particles are caught in a magnetic field, agitated at the atomic level until explosively unstable, and then projected via the magnetic field in the "beam" of destructive energy. Collision of particles results in a destructive reaction with the material contacted causing explosive discharge of energy within the target matter itself. Requires several heavy energy capacitor systems and internal radiation shielding to operate effectively, and the projected particle emission produces a shrill stattico crackling and countless "stars" of light along the path of the beam from stray energized particles colliding in/with the air.

Near-instant impact with target, beam produces high observable fire profile. Particle beam weapon produces moderate but ongoing recoil from continuous beam discharge while fired. Barrel profile is actually ideally squared or narrowly rectangular, as the ideal way to charge the particles is a bi-lateral magnetic field allowing for the particles to be charged from the sides of the magnetic panels. Particle beams past maximum effective range lose directional cohesion, resulting in dangerous charged particles erratically exploding as they lose inertia and veer off course. Massive power draw makes Particle beam weapons unwise choices for supporting fire.

pros: Extremely high damage potential and penetration, with no real effective means of deflecting/diffusing the particle beam effectively. Beam unaffected by most interference, not seriously restricted by gravity. Armor is explosively destroyed, improving ability to bypass.
Cons: Massive energy requirement for the damage potential, range is restricted by delivery method. Most complex internal components need to be exposed, making internal damage likely and forcing a trade-off between optimal performance and durability. Potentially disastrous misfire if magnetic field is disrupted during firing.

So, do you think this is a good descriptive source for them?

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Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 31, 2019 3:30 am
  

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Orin J. wrote:
Hello, this is my first post but i was toying with some weapons for a game i might start running in a few months, and i wanted to make sure my descriptions are accurate. I figure i have the ballistic stuff in hand, but energy weapons is a little iffy for me. Anyways, i wrote out what i think i know and wanted to see what you, the experts think. :?



Laser: Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Laser guns generate beams of coherent light that inflict damage by way of rapid thermal exchange generated when the target's surface absorbs high amounts of energy rapidly causing damaging thermal reaction, essentially a sort of "microwave gun". Mechanically light, as it's just the reaction chamber, a tiny focusing aperture, and the barrel which is likely made reflective in a way to redirect divergent emissions to optimize damage. The only noises are likely a tiny whine from the internal mechanisms and any particles in the air being vaporized.

Effectively instant impact to target, brief flash of light minimal observable fire profile. Barrel profile is ideally very narrow diameter cylinder, for focusing lens durability and maximized beam focus. Past maximum effective range, beam will rapidly lose damage potential, even high-yield weapons will likely be ineffective past another few yards
Pros: Highly accurate and long ranged energy beam. no real loss of accuracy from either gravity or nearby interference, including weather or deep space. Fairly energy efficient, low maintenance so long as the internal components are sealed. Zero recoil due to method of energy discharge.
Cons: Damage limited by the fact it has to affect a small area to improve damage, so the attack is going to lose some percentage of damage to the material it previously slagged. Laser beam can be refracted or otherwise dissipated to reduce or potentially negate damage capabilities. Lacking penetrative potential and capability for covering fire due to nature of beam.

Ion beam: Slightly misleading name, electrical beam induced by rapid ionization to target followed by high yield electrical projection, effectively artificial lightning that is unaffected to normal electrical grounding, causing explosive agitation of target materials. almost a two-stage weapon, but ionization is likely part of the charge cycle of the weapon. (note: i have no idea how this thing is ionizing the target) beam ionizes the air along the path to target, which interacted with adjacent air molecules to create a momentary corridor of discharge-proof air preventing loss of energy. Comparatively bulky, the weapon requires considerable short-term capacitors and significant cooling systems for the firing chamber which encompasses the entire weapon, although the components are solid state. The sudden energy discharge produces a significant amount of light and sound as the air around the beam reacts explosively, similar to thunder.

Near-instant impact to target, high observable fire profile from high-glare beam and loud discharge. Weapon has minor recoil as effect of sudden expansion of the air immediately surrounding the point of discharge. Barrel profile is pretty much accepting of any shape, but ideally a relatively deep, wide diameter barrel to build a damaging level of charge while minimizing the strain of the capacitors. Since the reaction can be contained entirely within the barrel, the rest of the weapon can be built adjacent to it to reduce length. Past maximum effective range ionization effect is too weak to direct energy effectively resulting in the beam simply diffusing.
pros: Weapon of reliable damage potential, with no real resistant armor materials. Low maintenance if barrel can be suitably cleaned and weapon can even be shuttered to limit damage if suitable non-conductive material is available. Minimal moving parts to design makes it a durable weapon. Effective weapon for covering fire due to high-visibility of beam.
cons: Anything that can prevent the ionization of target will effectively negate the weapon's ability to inflict damage, including the beam moving enough to fail to concentrate on a suitable size area. Massive visibility issue, as weapon trajectory is both clearly visible in most light spectrums and easy to track, making identification easy. The method of discharge means that range and accuracy is highly limited and subject to interference by both material and energy barriers and is a serious hazard to user if area is suitably saturated with a conductive liquid.

Plasma: Energy discharge referring to solar plasma rather than the conventional plasma state of matter. Weapon agitates matter contained in magnetic energy packet (in this case, captured air is sufficient) into a pseudo-state similar to solar plasma at which point the magnetic packet is ejected, propelling the plasma-material into the target. Fourier's law limits significant thermal loss of the ejected plasma as the superheated air effectively cushions the bulk of the attack from heat transfer until impact, when the plasma causes damage through extreme thermal transfer. Mechanically complicated, plasma weapons are similar to an "energy railgun" where the matter must be agitated thermally with radiation while contained inside of a separate magnetic field which is then propelled at the target through a third, separate mechanism. The weapon itself produces no light aside from that emitted by the thermal exchange from the plasma but the internal mechanisms produce significant noise on top of the rapid boiling of air as the plasma is ejected. Inherently low rate of fire make plasma ineffective for covering fire.

Impact to target on par with conventional ballistics, relatively low observable fire profile. Weapon suffers from minor recoil from magnetic ejection system. Barrel profile is ideally round with very wide diameter to ensure that plasma is ejected in a single "ball" to optimize energy transfer. Past effective distance, plasma shot loses velocity rapidly and may inadvertently cause collateral damage before energy potential is lost.
pros: Extremely high potential damage, plasma's direct heat transfer means any attempts to redirect or exchange heat is ineffective. Glancing shots have good potential to inflict damage compared to other energy-based weapons. Plasma shots are entirely unaffected by energy interference and function as an efficient way to incinerate most materials totally.
cons: Weapon projection system is both extremely range limited and energy inefficient as well as being subject to projectile falloff from gravity. Zero penetration possible, target must be burned through entirely to bypass. Highly heat-resistant targets may see reduced damage. Complicated firing system is comparatively vulnerable to failure, and requires regular inspection for faults. Plasma-damaged areas may be hazardous for several minutes to hours, which can impede friendly forces through choke points.

Particle beam: A projected stream of highly energized particles directed at the target causing it to explode in an nuclear reaction. Mite-sized airborne particles are caught in a magnetic field, agitated at the atomic level until explosively unstable, and then projected via the magnetic field in the "beam" of destructive energy. Collision of particles results in a destructive reaction with the material contacted causing explosive discharge of energy within the target matter itself. Requires several heavy energy capacitor systems and internal radiation shielding to operate effectively, and the projected particle emission produces a shrill stattico crackling and countless "stars" of light along the path of the beam from stray energized particles colliding in/with the air.

Near-instant impact with target, beam produces high observable fire profile. Particle beam weapon produces moderate but ongoing recoil from continuous beam discharge while fired. Barrel profile is actually ideally squared or narrowly rectangular, as the ideal way to charge the particles is a bi-lateral magnetic field allowing for the particles to be charged from the sides of the magnetic panels. Particle beams past maximum effective range lose directional cohesion, resulting in dangerous charged particles erratically exploding as they lose inertia and veer off course. Massive power draw makes Particle beam weapons unwise choices for supporting fire.

pros: Extremely high damage potential and penetration, with no real effective means of deflecting/diffusing the particle beam effectively. Beam unaffected by most interference, not seriously restricted by gravity. Armor is explosively destroyed, improving ability to bypass.
Cons: Massive energy requirement for the damage potential, range is restricted by delivery method. Most complex internal components need to be exposed, making internal damage likely and forcing a trade-off between optimal performance and durability. Potentially disastrous misfire if magnetic field is disrupted during firing.

So, do you think this is a good descriptive source for them?

Welcome to the forums. :)

I'll share some of my thoughts, although I'm certainly not an expert.

Laser devices lose a lot of photons to spontaneous emission, and recovery of those photons does not occur. Instead, the device relies exclusively on stimulated emission to build up photons along the axis of the intended direction of motion. The photons that get through the partially transmitting mirror constitute the laser beam. The photons that do not get through continue the stimulated emission process.

The required range and wavelength of the laser give the beam size necessary to hit a target before the beam becomes unacceptably spread due to diffraction.

A laser beam affects the atmosphere. In turn, the atmosphere affects the beam. As the laser heats the channel through which it travels, the air becomes less dense and creates a thermal lens. The lens increases the beam's rate of spread. Using very short pulses mitigates this by not giving the channel time to sufficiently heat up.

If energy density (J/m²) is the key to damage, then unfortunately atmospheric absorption decreases the numerator while diffraction increases the denominator.

The local pressure difference at the laser-target interface might yield mechanical damage. I do not know if that occurs, but it is theoretically possible. I suppose material not vapourised could be blown out of the way, at least.

Determining laser damage starts with the laser beam intensity. The intensity required to damage a certain depth becomes a thermal conduction problem. The analytical solution is probably reasonable, especially for a game.

Of course, materials have different properties. However, American researchers working on the SDI ("star wars" programme, which is quite old by now) came up with the ten kiloJoule criterion. It says 10⁴ J will destroy just about any military target. I have no idea if that criterion is still relevant or not.

Ion beams (i.e., charged particle beams) are useless in a vacuum. They cannot propagate there. Aiming them inside a magnetic field, such as Earth's, is impossible. Neutral particle beams (or just particle beams) cannot propagate in an atmosphere but might be usable in a vacuum. Setting those issues aside for the moment, ion beams get accelerated with massive electric fields. Magnets only control the path of the particles.

All particle beam weapons, like lasers, are thermal kill weapons. Unlike lasers, however, the damage is not a conduction problem. The beam's (whether charged or neutral) energy gets deposited throughout some volume of target's material (and some particles might harmlessly pass through the target). The particle beam interacts with gas just like it does a solid; the density of the substance is the only difference.

Ionising the atmosphere cancels the radial pressure within the beam that causes spreading. That, in turn, generates an inward pressure which itself gets resisted—beam stability results. However, ionisation is a double-edged sword as it causes energy loss, too. Radiation braking is another cause of energy loss. According to Maxwell's Equations, an accelerated charge is the source of electromagnetic radiation, and the emission of photons represents energy loss.

In the energy-loss processes just described, the beam's current remains unchanged. However, nuclear collisions (rare but possible) reduce the beam's current without affecting its energy.


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Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 31, 2019 5:15 am
  

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Hello Orin
This is a wonderful writeup that you have made. You have actually gone more in depth on the description of the physics behind these weapons than I have seen from Palladium, and I cannot find anything that you have written that contradicts publish material within the Rifts universe.

Some things that come to mind thinking about different energy weapons, Lasers and Ion weapons tend to be lighter, while Plasma and Particle beams tend to be heavier weapons. Like you said, Laser weapons tend to have a little better range. Ion weapons can work fairly well underwater, only reducing their range by half. There are special blue-green frequency lasers that work better underwater (have ok range).

I am not sure what Natasha is talking about, she seems to be pulling from real life physics rather than from this imaginary game.
Natasha wrote:
... Neutral particle beams (or just particle beams) cannot propagate in an atmosphere but might be usable in a vacuum...
My characters shoot particle beams off all the time in the atmosphere 8)

Back to you Orin
There are a few things that you have described do not actually have game mechanics in the system to support. Example you mentioned that ion beams were especially effective in providing covering fire, although that statement makes sense in universe, ion beams don't get any bonuses according to the rules to any suppressive fire, ... in fact rifts doesn't really have rules on suppressive fire that I can recall.

Despite this there are a lot of things you can do with background information like this (fluff) that can inform your gameplay without having a set of game mechanics to back it up. You can use it in flavor text you give to players to describe the results of actions "You feel your hair frizz up from the static electricity as the Ion Beams narrowly miss you". Or it can have a greater impact on the situation "Because your laser is so quiet, the Orc raiders can't seem to find you". Players themselves can also use the established fluff to create favorable fictional positioning "I'm shooting a few plasma blasts over at the tall grass to create some fires, that should help flush them out". It's been established that plasma bolts are really hot, and a stray shot would likely start a fire, even though it is not an explicit feature listed in the weapons description.


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Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 31, 2019 12:09 pm
  

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Natasha wrote:
Welcome to the forums. :)

I'll share some of my thoughts, although I'm certainly not an expert-


Thank you very much! also your information is very good, but not so useful to me- i was aiming for a "cinematic" sort of approach. I've learned that if anything, putting too much science fact into my sci-fi leads to a critical failure in connections between the setting and the players- ironically the more realistic the game gets the harder it is for them to suspend disbelief and use their imaginations. these are intended more as notes to both maintain a cohesive system for describing the weapons and give players an idea how their weapons work beyond the numbers.


DD The Shmey wrote:
Hello Orin
This is a wonderful writeup that you have made. You have actually gone more in depth on the description of the physics behind these weapons than I have seen from Palladium, and I cannot find anything that you have written that contradicts publish material within the Rifts universe.
...

There are a few things that you have described do not actually have game mechanics in the system to support. Example you mentioned that ion beams were especially effective in providing covering fire, although that statement makes sense in universe, ion beams don't get any bonuses according to the rules to any suppressive fire, ... in fact rifts doesn't really have rules on suppressive fire that I can recall.


Thanks much! i realized that while ballistic weapons are largely self explanatory enough players know what they are, people might get wildly different views about the energy weapons and wanted to have a solid description for them to smooth things out.

the fire profiles are partly there for the players to have an idea how effective the "spray from cover" approach some of them seem to like will be, and partly for me to gauge how to treat NPCs when they're under fire or ambushed. having a hard rule for enemy morale is obviously something that would be too easy to manipulate i always try to use a "soft" set of off-table rules for that sort of thing so my groups have some idea if they could push their luck or they're just walking to their deaths.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 31, 2019 4:49 pm
  

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Orin J. wrote:
Natasha wrote:
Welcome to the forums. :)

I'll share some of my thoughts, although I'm certainly not an expert-


Thank you very much! also your information is very good, but not so useful to me- i was aiming for a "cinematic" sort of approach. I've learned that if anything, putting too much science fact into my sci-fi leads to a critical failure in connections between the setting and the players- ironically the more realistic the game gets the harder it is for them to suspend disbelief and use their imaginations. these are intended more as notes to both maintain a cohesive system for describing the weapons and give players an idea how their weapons work beyond the numbers.

You're welcome.

For what it's worth, I did not intend to replace the cinematics with crunch. The opposite is the case; I presented the crunch aiming to inspire the cinematics. For instance, you said ionising the air prevents energy loss. You could say ionising the air stabilises the beam. I think that isn't far from what you're going after or any less cinematic.

Either road, I like your post. I appreciate it when Game Masters do such things for the players.


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Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 31, 2019 6:43 pm
  

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Considering that lasers are, unlike plasma, not blocked by immunity to fire the explanation for the damage should include a bit more than just thermal exchange.


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Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 31, 2019 7:01 pm
  

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Natasha wrote:
For what it's worth, I did not intend to replace the cinematics with crunch. The opposite is the case; I presented the crunch aiming to inspire the cinematics. For instance, you said ionising the air prevents energy loss. You could say ionising the air stabilises the beam. I think that isn't far from what you're going after or any less cinematic.

Either road, I like your post. I appreciate it when Game Masters do such things for the players.


it's no worry. i might nab that description anyways, it sounds a bit easier to read. i'm keeping ion blasters separate from particle beams though (they'll try to "upgrade" all their ion weapons to particle beams if i don't!)

Ixal wrote:
Considering that lasers are, unlike plasma, not blocked by immunity to fire the explanation for the damage should include a bit more than just thermal exchange.


it's the literal difference between a microwave and an oven, mate. you can leave a spoon in the oven most of the time, but the microwave will have a serious issue with it. although now i wonder if you could get away with plasma-cooking MDC animals to feed to normal folks....

by the way, what part of the forum is for posting custom stuff? i have some guns i cooked up i wanted to have on hand and i'm not sure where they'd go.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 2:49 am
  

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This forum is actually the best place if the guns are set on Rifts Earth.

Some people come to the forums just to post some cool stuff they made for their games, and get reviews and feedback. "Paladin Steel Storefront" thread by Taalismn, it's one of the longest active threads here and has a bunch of miscellaneous equipment, much of it manufactured by the his Paladin Steel company.


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Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 02, 2019 11:42 am
  

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This is kind of on topic for this thread...
Ok, IIRC, there were general "rules" for what happened to weapon ranges in a vacuum, for example, laser ranges triple.

IIRC, lasers were 3X range, Particle Beams and Railguns were 2X range. But :

A) What about other weapon types ( especially Ion and Plasma weapons )?
B) Can you tell me where the general rules were printed (Book and pg # )?
C) Similar for other environment rules - for example use of weapons underwater? (Can anyone think of any other environments than vacuum and underwater?)


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Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 02, 2019 12:59 pm
  

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Orin J. wrote:
Natasha wrote:
For what it's worth, I did not intend to replace the cinematics with crunch. The opposite is the case; I presented the crunch aiming to inspire the cinematics. For instance, you said ionising the air prevents energy loss. You could say ionising the air stabilises the beam. I think that isn't far from what you're going after or any less cinematic.

Either road, I like your post. I appreciate it when Game Masters do such things for the players.


it's no worry. i might nab that description anyways, it sounds a bit easier to read. i'm keeping ion blasters separate from particle beams though (they'll try to "upgrade" all their ion weapons to particle beams if i don't!)

fn players :badbad:

pad300 wrote:
This is kind of on topic for this thread...
Ok, IIRC, there were general "rules" for what happened to weapon ranges in a vacuum, for example, laser ranges triple.

IIRC, lasers were 3X range, Particle Beams and Railguns were 2X range. But :

A) What about other weapon types ( especially Ion and Plasma weapons )?
B) Can you tell me where the general rules were printed (Book and pg # )?
C) Similar for other environment rules - for example use of weapons underwater? (Can anyone think of any other environments than vacuum and underwater?)

I know that Mutants in orbit offers increased range in vacuum for some weapons; I don't have the book with me so I can't tell you page numbers.


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Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 02, 2019 8:50 pm
  

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I like the description of plasma weapons as 'energy rail guns'. I rather pictured them as forced-draft furnaces...suck in air at one end, superheat it, let the magnetic fields take hold of it, and force it out the other end at high speed.
For extra fun, kick in deuterium vapor(or aerosol), ignite with a laser as part of the superheating process, and get rid of the fusion-heated plasma quick.
Also, for descriptive fluff, adding that the plasma weapon has a recoil, because you're expelling superheated material like a jet engine or a miniature plasma drive.

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"Trouble rather the Tiger in his Lair,
Than the Sage among his Books,
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The Armies and Works that you hold Dear,
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To be turned over with the Flick of a Finger,
And the Turning of a Page"

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Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 02, 2019 10:58 pm
  

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taalismn wrote:
I like the description of plasma weapons as 'energy rail guns'. I rather pictured them as forced-draft furnaces...suck in air at one end, superheat it, let the magnetic fields take hold of it, and force it out the other end at high speed.
For extra fun, kick in deuterium vapor(or aerosol), ignite with a laser as part of the superheating process, and get rid of the fusion-heated plasma quick.
Also, for descriptive fluff, adding that the plasma weapon has a recoil, because you're expelling superheated material like a jet engine or a miniature plasma drive.


i'll be honest, i never thought of that! then again, i think i'm the only person at the table who'd know what a forced-draft furnace is.....ah well.

i like the idea of an enriched plasma weapon too, but then i'd need to explain how it's getting ammo like that. maybe i'll dummy something up if the campaign goes well and drop a "titan robotics prototype" crate in their laps to see how long they can hold onto it.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 12:17 am
  

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Orin J. wrote:
[
I like the idea of an enriched plasma weapon too, but then i'd need to explain how it's getting ammo like that. maybe i'll dummy something up if the campaign goes well and drop a "titan robotics prototype" crate in their laps to see how long they can hold onto it.


Like a nitrous oxide injector, only the deuterium is held in a cryogenic tank or cylinder like a CO2 charger. Unlike the regular plasma weapon which can run off e-clips, the 'fusion-flare' modification/mode has limited shots to it.
And though the specific hydrogen isotopes may be created from water, getting the right purity in quantity means the refined gas costs, so while the idea may be known, not many facilities are set up to produce it, and not all mercs want to use it because of the ammunition dependency.
On the other hand, having the option built in, and a few chargers of deut just in case you need to seriously burn something, can be a nice thing.

_________________
-------------
"Trouble rather the Tiger in his Lair,
Than the Sage among his Books,
For all the Empires and Kingdoms,
The Armies and Works that you hold Dear,
Are to him but the Playthings of the Moment,
To be turned over with the Flick of a Finger,
And the Turning of a Page"

--------Rudyard Kipling
------------


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Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 12:53 am
  

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taalismn wrote:
I like the description of plasma weapons as 'energy rail guns'. I rather pictured them as forced-draft furnaces...suck in air at one end, superheat it, let the magnetic fields take hold of it, and force it out the other end at high speed.
For extra fun, kick in deuterium vapor(or aerosol), ignite with a laser as part of the superheating process, and get rid of the fusion-heated plasma quick.
Also, for descriptive fluff, adding that the plasma weapon has a recoil, because you're expelling superheated material like a jet engine or a miniature plasma drive.

Does this mean it wouldn't work in a vacuum or that it would need some sort of additional ammunition not covered by an e-clip?

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Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 1:59 am
  

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Warshield73 wrote:
taalismn wrote:
I like the description of plasma weapons as 'energy rail guns'. I rather pictured them as forced-draft furnaces...suck in air at one end, superheat it, let the magnetic fields take hold of it, and force it out the other end at high speed.
For extra fun, kick in deuterium vapor(or aerosol), ignite with a laser as part of the superheating process, and get rid of the fusion-heated plasma quick.
Also, for descriptive fluff, adding that the plasma weapon has a recoil, because you're expelling superheated material like a jet engine or a miniature plasma drive.

Does this mean it wouldn't work in a vacuum or that it would need some sort of additional ammunition not covered by an e-clip?


In a "perfect" vacuum, you are correct (barring a plasma weapon designed to with a small air/gas compressor that stores something to use later, but who'd build that) but in practice even hard vacuum areas like deep space have floating particulates the gun can soak up, although i'd expect damage to suffer. although ironically, the issues with heat dissipation in space would probably enhance the range a bit.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 7:39 am
  

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Comment: Palladium Books Canon is set solely by Kevin Siembieda, either in person, or by his approval of published material.
The range increase of weapons in space has been uneven (at best) through out the books. Which should come as no surprise as none of the authors really check to see what the previous ones have said on the subject and instead just write what they think it should be...
I have found for example x1, x1.6, x1.75, x2 and x3 in different books...and in different places.
So really... you probably should pick what you like and just run with it... its probably going to match at least one book anyway

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Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 10:48 am
  

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Warshield73 wrote:
[
Does this mean it wouldn't work in a vacuum or that it would need some sort of additional ammunition not covered by an e-clip?

Da. I'd GM rule that plasma weapons would need some source of gas(ammo) to work in space fi you wanted a dense enough concentration of plasma to do anything worthwhile.
And in zero-gravity, the difference between a plasma drive and a plasma weapon is negligible, according to the size and velocity of the plasma plume you're throwing out.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 26, 2019 4:10 pm
  

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Comment: Rifts, Robotech, and Palladium Fantasy - in that order
Laser: mechanisms and readouts shine, whine and click, sending an MDC hot beam through all in its path. Perhaps there is a long line of vapor where the beam traveled, and steam and smoke from the target.
Ion cannon:Maybe non-destructive, MDC or sdc laser beam (above) to get the ion path ready for the lightning light line of energy. Makes a sonic boom sound. Target is wrapped in tendrils of arching energy, for a half a sec, and the target jitters ,steams and smokes, maybe even glows for a sec or two. Trees have been known to explode from the steam build up in them after a strike. dust and smoke in air vary lightning color.
plasma: Electrically launched metallic rounds that grab some high thermal agent on the way out of the gun. Makes a "Blut!" sound as it leaves the barrel. The metal gives the round the momentum, but burns up a few feet after shot, leaving a fast flying ball of plasma that travels faster than bullets due to the super heating of the air in its way. Target gets hit with the force a high velocity bullet, residual plasma that does not enter target may shower off of target in a pyrotechnic shower of sparks and splut sounds,
Particle: Super collider in your hands. Whirs and hums, probably makes a sound twice that of thunder. It sends a radioactive gravity event to the target, where it now has something of more volume and mass than air to really blow apart (A beam of plastique).


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Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2019 5:00 am
  

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Ixal wrote:
Considering that lasers are, unlike plasma, not blocked by immunity to fire the explanation for the damage should include a bit more than just thermal exchange.


Immunity to fire is not always immunity to heat (and frequently isnt); however, the simplest answer is that the energy transfer is so quick that no immunity could matter. Its not FIRE, its literally just adding so much heat that its instantly converting whatever mass it hits into gas... and all those sources of immunity are supernatural in nature. Magic and Psionics are weird in that they "know" the difference. So while yes, the laws of physics say that lasers do most of their damage by thermal transfer instantly turning solid into gas.... the magic "knows" the laser isnt "fire" or "heat", and therefore doesn't work against it. Because Magic is Magic, and not science. Same way that Impervious to Energy doesn't reduce the damage from explosions (like a grenade) even though a decent amount of the damage is caused by thermal expansion and heat/fire from the explosive material... because the spell "knows" that that isnt an "energy based" attack.. because its magic.

Also, lasers are coherent light. They DO have mass, however negligible in most cases. But even a few billionths of a microgram accelerated to the speed of light will cause ALL SORTS of catastrophic kinetic transfer.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2019 5:06 am
  

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Orin J. wrote:
Warshield73 wrote:
taalismn wrote:
I like the description of plasma weapons as 'energy rail guns'. I rather pictured them as forced-draft furnaces...suck in air at one end, superheat it, let the magnetic fields take hold of it, and force it out the other end at high speed.
For extra fun, kick in deuterium vapor(or aerosol), ignite with a laser as part of the superheating process, and get rid of the fusion-heated plasma quick.
Also, for descriptive fluff, adding that the plasma weapon has a recoil, because you're expelling superheated material like a jet engine or a miniature plasma drive.

Does this mean it wouldn't work in a vacuum or that it would need some sort of additional ammunition not covered by an e-clip?


In a "perfect" vacuum, you are correct (barring a plasma weapon designed to with a small air/gas compressor that stores something to use later, but who'd build that) but in practice even hard vacuum areas like deep space have floating particulates the gun can soak up, although i'd expect damage to suffer. although ironically, the issues with heat dissipation in space would probably enhance the range a bit.


I rather imagine that Rifts Plasma weapons are more akin to Powerguns from David Drake's Hammer's Slammer's universe. The powerguns there use a laser to sublimate a few molecules off of a block of some element (i dont recall exactly which right now and dont have the books handy) and that element (usually just a few tiny bits of it) are converted into plasma by the laser and accelerated down the barrel.

So, yeah, EVENTUALLY you will need to replace the fusing element - but in that universe thats hundreds of shots or more for hand-held powerguns and even the tank cannons (which use large, marble-sized pelets of the stuff) get LOTS of shots before they need to be re-armed.

In both cases, energy for the laser (for hand-held powerguns) and the integrity of the barrel (for both larger emplacements/self-powered guns like the cannons on tanks or combat cars, AND the hand-held guns) is a much larger limiting factor.

In The Warrior, the only thing that stops the protagonist from destroying an entire enemy tank brigade is that he shoots the barrel out on his own tank; he still had plenty of "ammo" left.

So, for a hand-held or vehicle-mounted plasma cannon, i can see it having a stick/orb/block of fissile material inside it, that probably is good for hundreds or even thousands of shots (as it is only converting micrograms of material each shot, or less) - yeah, itll EVENTUALLY need to be replaced - but for gameplay purposes this is probably assumed to be something that you take care of when you're servicing your gun and therefore tthere is no need for a rule about it.

Edit: Wikipedia helps out:

Powerguns use copper atoms. In the case of the handheld weapons i was only partially correct: since the atoms have to be precisely aligned in the firing chamber, hand-held guns do use a magazine, where the copper atoms are suspended in plastic so they are aligned right.

In the larger emplcements, they just have a large block of material and the firing mechanism shaves off the required mass.

Since there are actually NOT small hand-held plasma weapons produced by Rifts Earth tech (in the Hammerverse, Powerguns go all the way down to deringer-sized weapons), with the smallest man portable Plasma guns being "heavy weapons", then this could work in Rifts. There's a mass of copper/whatever atoms in the gun; but there's enough for hundreds of shots, and you're probably assumed to be putting more in when you service your weapon.

FWIW, Naruni weapons are basically ripped off straight from Hammer's Slammer's - their Plasma Cartridges are basically Powergun Cartridges and work the same way. Given Larsen's Brigade is basically the Slammer's, i wouldn't be surprised to learn that CJ lifted the ideas from Drake.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2019 12:57 pm
  

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Colonel_Tetsuya wrote:
Orin J. wrote:
Warshield73 wrote:
taalismn wrote:
I like the description of plasma weapons as 'energy rail guns'. I rather pictured them as forced-draft furnaces...suck in air at one end, superheat it, let the magnetic fields take hold of it, and force it out the other end at high speed.
For extra fun, kick in deuterium vapor(or aerosol), ignite with a laser as part of the superheating process, and get rid of the fusion-heated plasma quick.
Also, for descriptive fluff, adding that the plasma weapon has a recoil, because you're expelling superheated material like a jet engine or a miniature plasma drive.

Does this mean it wouldn't work in a vacuum or that it would need some sort of additional ammunition not covered by an e-clip?


In a "perfect" vacuum, you are correct (barring a plasma weapon designed to with a small air/gas compressor that stores something to use later, but who'd build that) but in practice even hard vacuum areas like deep space have floating particulates the gun can soak up, although i'd expect damage to suffer. although ironically, the issues with heat dissipation in space would probably enhance the range a bit.


I rather imagine that Rifts Plasma weapons are more akin to Powerguns from David Drake's Hammer's Slammer's universe. The powerguns there use a laser to sublimate a few molecules off of a block of some element (i dont recall exactly which right now and dont have the books handy) and that element (usually just a few tiny bits of it) are converted into plasma by the laser and accelerated down the barrel.


that could actually help explain the naruni cartridge guns, the round is both the plasma mass AND the energy charge, with the gun itself being just a containment field generator/accelerator for the cartridge that secures the charge as it powers the gun and then melts itself into plasma blast to be flung out of the gun.

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