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Lloyd Dupont

Future weapon

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I am working on myscifi's settings' equipment list.

planning to mostly use the BGB gear...

I can see there are plasma, shock, stun, blaster weapons... I can't help but wonder, what are those?

I know, we magically handwave lots of future tech, what do I care? I mean it's only a game, right? But why the hell not as well?! :P 

well it;'s a sort of creative scifi curiosity. I already introduce totally unrealistic and made up "repulsor fields" which explain a lot: floating car, reaction less propulsion (spaceship), forcefield, pseudo artificial gravity, tractor beams.

So I am trying to guess / create the underlying (probably imaginary) principle of those weapons!

My latest thinking is that it's hard to beat the destructive power of a bullet flying at 1km/s. But perhaps those could be "improved bullet". Although that imply the ammo count of the magazine would be pretty much the same as contemporary weapon, instead of being so large as in the BGB. And they would make a big noise when fired too!

Another idea I had reading star wars lore (though mine is definitely NOT a star war settings), is the blaster are made of a special reactive gas... so maybe they could fire some tiny bit of solid unstable matter which turn to burning gas on hitting solid obstacle, i.e exploding. But the original propulsion issue remain, it should still be a bullet, ie. with contemporary magazine size and a big bang when fire, wouldn't it?...

Edited by Lloyd Dupont
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All of the best things in Physics involve magnets (all of the coolest things too, ho ho)

So MLA (Magnetic Field Accelerator), Gauss, Coil, Rail guns for physical projectiles. Either with solid slugs for hard targets or flechettes for fleshy ones. Obviously the line in 'Eraser' about accelerating a  physical projectile to the speed of light is b0770ck5 (law of conservation of momentum for one thing) but being able constantly accelerate the projectile along the whole length of the barrel will allow for a much higher muzzle velocity. With no chemical explosion to provide the impetus presumably recoil is reduced too.

Blasters, Plasma and so on I would suggest also use magnets. A slug of hydrogen gas energised with a laser to cause a state change to plasma and then magnetic field to accelerate it along the gun barrel. The tricky bit I believe is that the lovely conductive hydrogen plasma will then dissipate rapidly once it leaves the magnetic field.

 

If your setting already includes repulser fields (manipulating gravity fields rather than magnetic fields I guess) then you can use those in place of magnetic fields. Directly attacking targets with a repulser field presumably would cause physical trauma. And allow to move things at distance which might be less explodey and sexy but potentially even more useful (good luck using missiles against me when I've already remotely detached key parts of the launching and arming mechanisms).

 

Lasers are of course only one part of Electromagnetic Spectrum (EMS). Radar came about after initial attempts to create a death ray. It turns out using the wrong end of the EMS. The higher the frequency in EMS the more energy per photon and Radio Waves are longest wavelength and lowest frequency.

So your CRWS (to steal an acronym from the late, great Iain M Banks - Coherent Radiation Weapon System) could include general purpose optical lasers, anti-personnel short range lower frequency Microwave and IR 'heat rays' and longer range, high penetration, high energy Gamma Ray and X-Ray weapons.

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36 minutes ago, Al. said:

Blasters, Plasma and so on I would suggest also use magnets. A slug of hydrogen gas energised with a laser to cause a state change to plasma and then magnetic field to accelerate it along the gun barrel. The tricky bit I believe is that the lovely conductive hydrogen plasma will then dissipate rapidly once it leaves the magnetic field.

Exactly!
A bullet stays together! A ball of plasma dissipate in atmosphere immediately!
I guess they could work in space... but not planetside, as I see it... 😕 
In fact that's an interesting idea.. maybe they could be the best space weapon, though harmless on the ground, fascinating!

Laser would do fire damage, though I am loathe (so far.. undecided really) about portable hand laser gun....

But it is plasma that is the mystery! as you wondered about and I just dismiss.. no plasma ball would go very far in the athmosphere....

Repulsor was more like a big thing.. not sure about it in a gun.... althoughm... mmm... maybe one could fire a miniature repulsor field that expand on contact.... I mean why not! that is a "thing" handwaved in the setting.. since its is immaterial we could have "large" magazine and make no noise. It would do crushing damage, I reckon... (as opposed to impale as noted in the book)

it's not gravity though it's... the 6th fundamental force! (the new one they discovered in the settings! :P
 

 

Edited by Lloyd Dupont

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The "plasma gun" logic I have seen -- and I use the term "logic" here VERY loosely indeed -- says that the gun projects a magnetic tube (the classic "donut" but stretched out to a long cylinder) to contain the plasma until it reaches the target.

FWIW...


Alternatively:  you could say that your "plasma gun" fires a small bullet-like projectile, then hits that projectile with a laser to phase-change it into plasma.  Insert handwavium about a carefully-tuned laser, materials specifically designed to be especially absorbtive of the laser frequency, and some sort of auto-tracking in the gun, to hit the small projectile with the laser.

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51 minutes ago, g33k said:

Alternatively:  you could say that your "plasma gun" fires a small bullet-like projectile, then hits that projectile with a laser to phase-change it into plasma.

It's an interesting idea....

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1 hour ago, RosenMcStern said:

All BS. Everyone knows that the plasma/particle pulse is kept together and coherent by a cocoon of Minovsky particles.

 

The latest research into UHT(*) suggests that all of these mechanisms are, in fact, the same.

 

 

 

 

 

(*) -- Unified Handwavium Theory

 

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11 hours ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

I can see there are plasma, shock, stun, blaster weapons... I can't help but wonder, what are those?

Plasma weapons fire a bolt of super-hot plasma held together by a degrading plasma field.

Shock weapons work by either pushing high-voltage electricity through you or by inducing nerve endings to feel very unpleasant sensations.

Stun weapons overload the central nervous system, which temporarily shuts it down, causing temporary unconsciousness. I'm guessing it overstimulates all the nerve endings so the brain shuts down to protect itself.

Blaster weapons fire a pulse of energy, something like the plasma weapons, but with a lower payload.

I also like sonic weapons that fire a blast of sonic energy.

Also, there was the ultra-low frequency weapon developed for crowd control that pulses at 4Hz, which causes bowels to vibrate and makes rioters loose control of them, stopping riots very quickly. Apparently, that was a real thing, but was stopped as it was considered inhumane.

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10 hours ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

But it is plasma that is the mystery! as you wondered about and I just dismiss.. no plasma ball would go very far in the athmosphere....

One could imagine a fictional weapon system that, prior to firing its actual damaging load of electricity (arc weapons) or plasma (blaster weapons), ionizes a tunnel of air in between the muzzle and the target by deploying a burst of a high-energy beam first (like a UV or x-ray laser).

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On 6/6/2020 at 8:37 PM, soltakss said:

Also, there was the ultra-low frequency weapon developed for crowd control that pulses at 4Hz, which causes bowels to vibrate and makes rioters loose control of them, stopping riots very quickly. Apparently, that was a real thing, but was stopped as it was considered inhumane.

I thought that the latest thinking was that 'brown NOTE' turns out not to be a thing.

That's no reason not to use it in a sci-fi game though. No doubt the Minovsky-frequency would do it.

Edited by Al.
Error on my part, Brown noise is a thing. It is the 'Brown Note' which has yet to be proven.

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3 minutes ago, foolcat said:

One could imagine a fictional weapon system that, prior to firing its actual damaging load of electricity (arc weapons) or plasma (blaster weapons), ionizes a tunnel of air in between the muzzle and the target by deploying a burst of a high-energy beam first (like a UV or x-ray laser).

Great thinking. Combine a CRWS and MLA weapon in a single device.

Constant lower-power CRWS for targeting and ranging, ramped up to ionise a pathway, shoot the gas payload via MLA then ramp up CRWS again to turn the gas to plasma at or just before point of impact.

Since the gas is travelling (very fast) and the CRWS has an effective flight time of zero this might even work.

 

Right, that's the Science. Now we just need some clever chaps to do the Engineering and make it happen.

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Some ACTUAL weapons to look at for inspiration.

The LRAD:  

        A device that laser-focuses SOUND into a clear beam weapon.  The "warble" is around 194 Decibels (just short of a pressure wave) and is intensely painful to those in its beam.  This beam is a 10 to 1 ratio (ie at 100m it is 10m across).   This device is commonly used for crowd control.  

The ACTIVE DENIAL SYSTEM: 

        A device that beams an energy wave similar to microwave energy that heats up the surface of anything in the beam.  People who are hit by the beam experience an intense "burning sensation" on their skin and are forced to flee the beam. 

     I have been in the crosshairs of both systems during my LE career and they work quite well. You should look them up.

PLASMA CUTTERS (and PLASMA WEAPONS):  

         Modern Plasma Cutters swirl a very high pressure stream of air (up to 250 PSI) and then IGNITES it with a high-voltage current.  The swirling gas super-heats to 2000F and can cut steel like butter.  It is the combination of air pressure and a swirling motion that allows the plasma jet to form when the electricity ignites it.  Since plasma is the fourth state  of matter (between a gas and a solid) it will have BOTH a "kinetic effect" and a "heat effect" on the target.  GDW's Traveller2300 had a good system where you could go with a gun that fires a blast of super-heated [nuclear] material enclosed in a laser beam to direct it by creating a vortex of super-heated air.   The device was called a PLASER (plasma-laser) and caused MAJOR damage but was short-ranged by virtue of the energy needed to contain the plasma.  The second method would be like Star trek's Romulan Plasma Torpedo.  This weapon would have nuclear material brought to near fusion but restrained by a magnetic field to prevent decay and release of the plasma.  This would be fired at the enemy and then release a huge wave of heat energy, concussive wave energy and hard radiation.  The magnetic field is not as much science fiction as some believe.  NASA's new compact fusion reactor designs use magnetic fields to hold the plasma in them in check too. 

LASERS:

        For every Watt of power used over one Second of Time, a Joule of Energy is created.  Modern lasers are rated in OUTPUT energy but in today's systems, the energy required to produce this output is around TEN TIMES the weapon's output.  Thus, a 25KW Laser requires 250KW of power for a one second burst generating 25 Joules of energy.  The US Navy is experimenting with lasers that have a ONE MEGAWATT energy outputs but these require not only huge amounts of power (10 Megawatts), but also significant cooling (usually Nitrogen).  Still, such a laser would produce ONE MILLION Joules of energy for damage (a .50 Caliber round does just more than 13k Joules of damage).  This is roughly the equivalent of a quarter of a stick of dynamite for damage.   Traveller2300 once again solves the scaling problem in an interesting way.  They give us practical PULSE LASERS.   These Pulse Lasers have high-density batteries (think of the newer graphite batteries in development now) that "pump" a COMPACT high-energy "homopolar generator."  This generator then dumps to a capacitor which, when charged, fires a VERY HIGH ENERGY Laser beam (think 5 Megawatts) for 1/100th of a second.  To determine the Joules of Energy inflicted on the target, you simply divide the power output of the laser by 100.  This generates damage equal to a large caliber modern-day rifle while still giving multiple shots.  When attached to powered armor, Lasers really come into their own as portable heavy weapons.  The downside is that they cannot fire faster than 1 shot every couple of seconds (due to the need to charge the capacitor).       

GAUSS GUNS (and coilguns):      

         Magnetic accelerators are being built NOW.  Just YouTube "Coilguns" and you will get hits on dozens of videos of magnetic accelerators.  The Navy's railgun requires 25 MEGAWATTS of power to project a round to something like MACH 12.  Most railguns are also using Capacitors just like Lasers in order to release the energy in a single fast "dump."

 

If you get a chance, check out Traveller2300 at FAR FUTURE ENTERPRISES.  While the game itself leaves a lot to be desired, the devs really looked into the hard science behind the equipment in the game.  

Edited by olskool
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3 hours ago, Al. said:

Great thinking. Combine a CRWS and MLA weapon in a single device.

Constant lower-power CRWS for targeting and ranging, ramped up to ionise a pathway, shoot the gas payload via MLA then ramp up CRWS again to turn the gas to plasma at or just before point of impact.

Since the gas is travelling (very fast) and the CRWS has an effective flight time of zero this might even work.

 

Right, that's the Science. Now we just need some clever chaps to do the Engineering and make it happen.

DARPA has a working cannon that does just this.  They are using it to direct charged particles (Particle Beam Cannon?).  

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On 6/7/2020 at 1:17 AM, olskool said:

PLASMA CUTTERS (and PLASMA WEAPONS):  

         Modern Plasma Cutters swirl a very high pressure stream of air (up to 250 PSI) and then IGNITES it with a high-voltage current.  The swirling gas super-heats to 2000F and can cut steel like butter.  It is the combination of air pressure and a swirling motion that allows the plasma jet to form when the electricity ignites it.  Since plasma is the fourth state  of matter (between a gas and a solid) it will have BOTH a "kinetic effect" and a "heat effect" on the target. 

I tried to resist but my inner pedant won't let me. Plasma is not between Gas and Solid. It's more akin gas with so much internal energy that the electrons disassociate. Hence plasmas will conduct electricity.

This next bit might be bias and falling for company propaganda (I used to work for a company that made CNC lasers for sheet metal work). The problem with plasma cutters for sheet metal cutting is the tendency of the beam to 'wander' affecting accuracy and quality. There was a time that lasers could not generate sufficient energy to cut through thick steel and so plasma cutters were the only game in town. But more modern lasers are powerful enough to cut a decent thickness of steel and do so with greater accuracy and repeatability.

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4 minutes ago, Al. said:

I tried to resist but my inner pedant won't let me. Plasma is not between Gas and Solid. It's more akin gas with so much internal energy that the electrons disassociate. Hence plasmas will conduct electricity.

This next bit might be bias and falling for company propaganda (I used to work for a company that made CNC lasers for sheet metal work). The problem with plasma cutters for sheet metal cutting is the tendency of the beam to 'wander' affecting accuracy and quality. There was a time that lasers could not generate sufficient energy to cut through thick steel and so plasma cutters were the only game in town. But more modern lasers are powerful enough to cut a decent thickness of steel and do so with greater accuracy and repeatability.

From my experience with lasers, the impact area usually forms a plasma that takes up most of the heat of the laser. That's fine if you only want to cut a macroscopically straight edge, but if you rely on microscopic pinpoint activation, this effect sucks big time. Plus it makes your ejecta undergo all kinds of reactions you may not want them to undergo.

I wonder whether the plasma guns only fire out the heavy atomic core plasma and disperse the "electron gas" creating a vague static in the medium before them. Focussing such heavier ions seems rather feasible.

If these ions happen to be bosons, it might be possible to send them out as a coherent wave of matter with enough handwavium technology.

 

In my book the biggest handwavium is still to convert fusion (or matter-antimatter-annihilation) energy (aka heat) into electric or otherwise directly usable energy without requiring an enormous heat dump.

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I say stick with the classics:

Captain Nemo's Electric Rifle -- Fires an insulated glass capsule charged with electricity.  The shock rather than the projectile kills the target.  Designed for underwater shooting, the rifle's firing mechanism isn't described (although it might be pneumatic).

Buck Rogers' Rocket Pistol -- Sort of like the Gyrojet pistol perfected or a miniature rocket launcher, the gun fires self- propelled rounds packing an explosive charge.  No stun setting on this baby, although Rogers and main squeeze Wilma Deering managed to survive being hit on multiple occasions.  That's what the heavy leather flight suit is for, you primitive Starfleet morons!

Aunt Entity's Micro Crossbow -- Assembled from wood and metal scraps, the pistol-grip weapon fires a single deadly flechette.  Good thing post apocalyptic goons sport giant shoulder pads but fail to protect their vulnerable throats and chests.

Edited by seneschal
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8 minutes ago, seneschal said:

Captain Nemo's Electric Rifle -- Fires an insulated glass capsule charged with electricity.  The shock rather than the projectile kills the target.  Designed for underwater shooting, the rifle's firing mechanism isn't described (although it might be pneumatic).

It is described as pneumatic, using the air tank of the rebreather.

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I like the solid pseudoscience of GURPS Ultra Tech for all my futuregun needs. Needlers, coilguns, (particle beam) blasters, electorlaser/stunners, x-ray lasers, you name it.

Edited by Vile Traveller
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In my speculative futuretech, one of the weapons I envisioned was only for spaceships:

It involved two cyclotrons that rotated in the same plane, but opposite directions.  They have emitters (guns) on opposite sides of the ship.

Generate a plasma of bare nuclei & free electrons.  Feed each of those into one of the cyclotrons, accelerate to almost the speed of light.

Emit (fire) the resulting streams at your target.  You will need to alter the trajectories slightly, because your beams WILL attract one another; but electrical attraction won't have a lot of time to operate when they are moving at nearly-c speeds.

 

Lightspeed impacts of extremely-hot plasma, dissociated to provide electrical damage upon impact as the e- tries to stabilize with the nuclei.

 

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Anyway, after 1 week mulling over it, I am edging towards...

- Laser weapon: Yes, light damage is like fire damage, and they ignore forcefield
- Plasma weapon, only in space (i.e. no range in athmosphere)
- gauss rifle, like conventional weapon but only rifle (because need battery and long accelerating rail) and "more silent" (electromagnetic propulsion instead of gun powder, but the bullet still breaks the sound barrier)
- usual modern guns
- disintegrator (only for the big bad Antarians, basically turn solid matter to gas) (also ignore forcefield)

the scifi flair here (in case or normal gun, and even gauss rifle) would come with a Borderland twist, where they have special bullet that would inflict an additional D6 of fire / cold / acid / shock damage (and special effect)

 

mmm.. just checked the BGB (at work, oops) flechette should be fine
shock? mmmmm.... probably not
stun? yea, oldskoll make good argument! :)
blaster? no
sonic? ye, oldskoll againt make good argument (same argument)

Edited by Lloyd Dupont

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On 6/6/2020 at 6:19 AM, Lloyd Dupont said:

Exactly!
A bullet stays together! A ball of plasma dissipate in atmosphere immediately!

Unless you give it some sort of velocity and  make some sort of container/path for it to follow. For instance you could use a laser to make a super heated air corridor that could function as a tube to hold the plasma together until it reaches the target. The idea is that as warn air is less dense the plasma will want to flow down the thin super heated air and be blocked off by the colder denser air outside it. If the plasma is ionized gas, then  an electrical charge could be used to drive the plasma in the right direction as well.  This should also make them viable inside an atmosphere, with the laser burning a path for the plasma. 

 

Generally, while this is all possible, at least in thoery, it isn't yet practical. Generally modern firearms tend to do the job simplier and more effeciently, that's why they are still the dominat weapons. Lasers are the most practical alternative out of the technologies you mentioned. THey will probably be the first of the technolgies to become a practical reality, although more for vehicles than as hand carried weapons.

Some other tech you might want to consider:

Binary propellant weapons: These are slug throwers similar to modern firearms, but use two chemicals that react with each other to act as the propellant that push the bullet down the barrel. This allows the bullet to travel faster that possible with modern gunpowder, which means faster, more accurate, bullets that can hit targets farther out. 

Gryojet/rocket Ammunition: These rounds have their own source of thrust which accurate the round. This means they actually move faster and hit harder farther down range, as opposed to constantly losing energy like a conventional bullet. Some of the drawback to these round could be compensated for with advanced tech, especially rail gun technology.

Smart Bullets: These round can lock onto and follow a target. They kinda exist toward or will exist in the near future for larger grenade rounds, but assuming that the technology could be miniaturized with more advanced tech, you could firearms firing little 10 mm guided missiles that can seek and follow a target.

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I am going the smart bullet / Borderland way! :)
Thanks for reminding me some of them have auto aim! haha! And also they explode and fire behind cover, last I heard...

Well.. time to write it down now! ^_^ 

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