Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Interstellar Warfare Wednesday: Combat Mobility

Combat is a complex thing, even for a species that's developed never knowing anything but. Throw that species into a weightless environment, and you have even more of a problem.

First, a look at conditions to be considered.

Type 1 is 0g, 0 atmosphere. This is the true realm of the Interstellar Combatant. Found on derelict ships, broken-open space stations, asteroid mining facilities, and anywhere utterly inhospitable to human habitation. Movement must be handled by kicking off from something, the use of a tether/grapple, or rockets, and all motion requires some manner of delta v to stop (a wall, or rocket boost in the opposite direction).
Type 2 is 0g, with atmosphere. Atmosphere may not be breathable, but it's present. This is likely to be found on still sealed ships and stations that either lack artificial gravity or have had it damaged. The resistance provided gives options for movement beyond rocket boosters or tethers once the feet are away from a wall.
Type 3 is nonzero gravity, regardless of atmosphere. Even at lower or higher gravity, most of what we know about combat works with some variations, although some tactics may be possible or unworkable due to gravitational factors.

Type 1 combat requires heavy use of tethers. Floating in space leaves one incredibly exposed, and due to the nature of 0g, it's essentially impossible to move or dodge. Magnet boots or something like gecko-grip boots permit a semblance of walking without tethers, but aren't to be trusted in cases where floating debris may prohibit a good seal, or sensitive equipment leaves no adequate safe place for the use of magnet boots. Tethers would likely be mounted to either side of the hips, similar to how they are with modern day astronauts. Unlike modern astronauts, they would likely use a spooling mechanism with auto-retraction, allowing the interstellar combatant a semblance of mobility between deployed tethers. Combined with a remote detachment capability, they can be used to leapfrog while retaining something like a braced position. Other tethers would be some manner of grapple, used to pull a combatant to an object, either in case of having lost their attachment and being floating away, or to change directions after a launch.

Type 2 combat permits the use of jets, fans, and other mobility aids that require atmosphere to press against, with varying effectiveness based on fluid density. All type 1 utilities remain viable, with the consideration that motion will now come to an end due to air resistance. Boosted jumps and greatly improved control in general can be had, without increasing fuel carried for chemical rockets or similar.

Type 3 combat may benefit from the use of several Type 1 and Type 2 mobility enhancements. Jets or boosters may be used to enhance mobility in low G worlds where the human body cannot produce a comfortable, natural gait, or permit bypassing of obstacles in various manners.

Specialty Tactics: Type 1 and 2 environments permit, if not require, the use of modified portable cover. Dome shaped, heavily armored, and equipped with jets, fans, or rockets, it serves as a means of crossing empty space where necessary without being completely exposed. Makeshift versions can be had from any solid object that can be freed and given some momentum to serve as cover. Tethers may be used in conjunction with corners to permit SWAT style entry tactics to move around obstacles quickly.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Sci-Fi Friday: Interstellar Warfare Initiative, Building a Better Spacegun

If I get more involved in space-related games and things, I may move discussions such as this from Sci-Fi Fridays to Interstellar Warfare Wednesdays

I can say "better" because a spacegun does exist; the Russian TP-82. Problem is, the TP-82 is designed for astronauts, but it's meant as a survival tool for earth use.

Arguments about the invincibility of potential aliens we may meet (throwing rocks vs. nuke-it-from-orbit) aside, the possibility of combat in space and orbit remains worth contemplating. There are all manner of Earth organisms that can withstand the vacuum of space, although they tend to be small and occasionally infectious. Still, with present advancements towards compression spacesuits, it's conceivable that some manner of weird alien whatever could evolve a carapace or semi-rigid hide capable of supporting a spore-style trip through the void. And, when humanity reaches the stars proper, I see no reason we'll stop having issues with one another just because space.

Whatever the target, let's assume actual combat. For the purposes of this exercise, we'll be considering something built at present tech level, where substantial space travel is on the verge of becoming a thing. This spacegun will also be assumed to be useful for other environments than 0g and 1g.
First off, good old slugthrowers work just fine in space. Ammo is self contained, and recoil is marginal, although I suspect that under actual combat shooting, repeated shots would add up.

First question is what to use? Space is a very cramped, close quarters environment these days. I see no chance of this changing anytime soon. This, combined with weight and space restrictions, lends itself to very compact guns such as SMGs. However, because space is full of things going very quickly, spacesuits are rather well armored. For this reason, we'll be considering specialty ammunition SMGs, PDWs, and short barrel carbines of various flavors. Namely, the AKS-74U, CBJ-MS, and the MP7 and/or P90. Certain bullpup rifles may be considered if a longer barrel is desired, but the additional weight and complexity of even the best ambidextrous designs remains a substantial negative.

All of these weapons chamber calibers capable of penetrating modern body armor despite the small size. Of the three, the AKS-74 has the greatest energy, but the largest ammunition. The CBJ-MS is essentially a 9mm SMG with a specialty conversion barrel (thus, a conversion of any 9mm SMG is possible), utilizing 4.6mm tungsten penetrators in a 6.5mm sabot. The MP7 and P90 both use proprietary rounds developed on the Small Caliber High Velocity principle to improve armor penetration.

Any gun selected is going to need some modifications for space use. First, the weapon will be nearly incapable of venting heat, lacking an atmosphere to transfer to. Heat sinks and heavier barrels will increase the heat tolerance of the gun. Vacuum plays hell with a great many liquids and similar, which will likely pose problems for the lubricants permitting easy operation of the firearm. A dry lubricant treatment would be a good idea, combined with specialty space-lubes if available. Finally, while recoil from these cartridges is minimal, it's still there. A high efficiency muzzle brake and possibly buffer modified for overtravel to soak up recoil impulse such as that of an AA-12 would also be wise to minimize fuel required to stabilize a combatant firing unsupported in freefall. Oversized grips, possible foregrips, enlarged triggers and trigger guards, and assorted CQB optics and accessories are also recommended because of the difficulties associated with spacegloves.

Skeletonized folding stocks would be standard, but due to the complexities of 0g movement, would likely be utilized only for combat in gravity environments or where a combination of tethers or gravity/magnet boots allowed a stable firing position to be used.

Any weapon going to space is going to warrant specialty ammunition. Everything in space is reinforced to stop very fast moving things from going though it, because space is full of them. The best material we know of for putting holes in puncture-resistant objects is Depleted Uranium. With an easily contained type of radiation, and a long half life, depleted uranium's tendency to sharpen its way through an object when it collides with it at high speed gives it fantastic armor piercing capability. Any round used should be tailored to the gun design being used for maximum performance (faster burning powder, non-standard specifications on casings, etc), in recognition that for the foreseeable future, both weapons and ammunition are going to be specialty items.

Magazines are to be as compact and high capacity as possible with the highest ammunition stack efficiency achievable. Most likely this will be standard high-capacity magazines (40 round double stack boxes, for example) or quad stack mags if they offer suitable reliability and are compatible with the gun. Drums tend to be heavy, complicated, and take up a very large volume for the ammunition capacity they have.

The spacegun's utility is about similar to that of a concealed carry weapon except in the cases of specialized space combat forces. Special forces will likely have their weapons carried in hand, and a fairly standard gear rig comparable to those used on Earth, if a bit more durable with extra care taken to gear retention. However, other weapon-carrying forces such as exploration security forces will be primarily focused on the use of scientific and support instruments, meaning their weapon will spend the majority of its life being carried.

All weapons, indeed all gear in general that goes into space, gets tethered to the carrier. This would also include magazines. For convenient, not-often-needed carry, drop leg rigs with firearm on the strong side and spare magazines on the off-side would keep things handy but out of the way, leaving the valuable torso space to be used for tools and mission specific gear.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Finally Finished; My First AR-15

The last part for the AR-15 arrived.

BCM upper, with a 13" forend, their muzzle brake and gunfighter charging handle
Bushmaster stripped lower, High Standard or Quality Standard or something parts kit that was missing the buffer retainer pin,
Don't remember who made the buffer, and don't care enough to look. It's mil-spec.
Magpul stock, and 5x magpul 40 rounders.

First thoughts? I like it. It's rather frontheavy, almost want to put some weight on the back end to balance it out, but I like it.

Now I just need some optics and a whole bunch of ammo. And a range that isn't hell and gone where I can put it through its paces.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Upcoming Convention; Need Cosplay Ideas

Anime convention rolling into town again. I plan to go, and must now do the standard last minute cosplay selection and build.

Options thus far are;
Batou, from Ghost in the Shell. Went over well last year, and this year I'm waaay tankier than I was last year due to being out of shape from my surgeries. Also, people will actually recognize me because they released a new Ghost in the Shell. Galdern kids these days.

Guts, from Berserk. Specifically, the Golden Age arc, where his armor and sword are both fairly simple. Unfortunately I haven't seen the series. I'll also look very similar to Ike, from the Fire Emblem series, which is ANOTHER thing I haven't seen, unfortunately. The latter is more likely to be recognized than the former.

A MOON MARINE. Because space armor, and a high quality OC costume still generally goes over well.

I'm open to suggestions of tall, manly characters from games and animation. Alternatively, I'm not afraid to show some skin, and am willing to do ridiculous things if they strike my fancy.

Motor Monday; Pretty bikes and not much else

Don't have anything particularly related to Martin Luther King day, other than a bit of sadness at the state of the country with regards to race relations. You may have heard of my great uncle, he is known for volunteering to be first off the bus during one of the freedom rides. More at the link of several other kinds, but this one's my favorite of them. Harley-Davidson's are what I learned to ride a motorcycle on, but by and large they have a remarkable lack of pushing the "OooOOoooh.... pretty" buttons for me. This one? I like it. Kind of a rat bike. Not so much rat, more just well used. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Guns Akimbo, musings on a ridiculous weapon technique

While on vacation, I had the pleasure of visiting a free-to-play arcade. One of the games I played was a light gun shooter, and after a bit I wound up using both the guns, as I often do. During this period of dual wielding, despite using two guns and using them to track and fire at separate targets as often as not, I ended the section with the approximately 78% accuracy with both hands. Presumably this is due to my double eye dominance. As I understand, most people have one hand or the other that's off target if they try to point both at an object. I do not have this problem.

Things of note while dual wielding in this manner. Using them both on a single target is quite easy, there's little to no indication that it's any different from a single gun firing at double rate when you can see the round impacts. However, it gets marginally harder within the front cone of view and no longer on a single target. Do do this, you unfocus your eyes to bring all targets into equal mental consideration. GURPS terms, I'd say it's a -1 within Tunnel Vision range, and a -1 to checks to identify specific targets. Out a little wider, I'd say it goes up to an additional -1, and further -2 for target ID when something moves into the field of view you're watching. 

That said, I definitely want a matched pair of somethings. 

Glock 17 Gen 4. I already have one, and you can switch the mag release to the other side for lefty use.
Glock 34, I'd need a pair, and probably go for custom engraving while I was at it. I want a gen4 34 eventually anyway, because longslide.
.22lr something. They're marginally cheaper than most full on handguns, and far easier to feed (in theory, anyway. Can we buy .22lr again? I haven't seen it in ages).
PLR-16s, piston drive AR-15s in .300 blk, or something in 5.45 or 7.62 x39 like a Krinkov or Draco pistol. They're light, enormous, and ridiculous, all of which are perfect. 
PLR-22. All the ridiculousness of above, but with the theoretical ease of feeding of .22lr.
Super Redhawk .454 with 10" barrels. These, in custom made show leather holsters, would be my guns for open carry were I ever to do so. I have a lot of the gunslinger aesthetic about how I dress, so it makes sense, also big magnums because again, ridiculousness is mandatory (and I can keep control of a magnum one handed with very little difficulty)

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Audio Projects

So, I got a Launchpad S for my birthday, which was recently. I'm starting to figure out how to program my new instrument, I'll probably post things for you once I figure out how to actually use it. I kind of want to start doing character themes and stuff, for those who want something a bit more personal than "find some music that works".

I also have decided, after my trip to Kennedy Space Center, to do more with the Moon Marines. This includes finding voice actors and trying out at least one episode of an old fashioned Radio Drama, except as a podcast kinda thing. There will be probably serious dieselpunk space stories, with intermissions of the Misadventures of Ruck Bodgers of the 31st Century!

Truck gun, further contemplation

Some good discussion on bringing More Gun in the car just in case. Various intermediate rifle caliber pistols were brought up, and many of the comments went straight to "NONE OF THOSE, if you have those the police will shoot you on sight because badguys also have them!"

This isn't quite accurate. According to a lot of stuff I've seen on training exercises, under the stress of even a simulated active shooter situation, police tend to go straight to "If gun, shoot". I'll find the specific articles if I can, but the gist of it was a simulated active shooter response, with unknown numbers of police responding from different angles. Police were shooting other uniformed police, because they were shooting immediately upon seeing the gun before anything else processed, and most of the blue team casualties in the exercise were friendly fire. Just about the only person that didn't get shot on reaction? The refs, wearing orange safety vests, the mark of "Do Not Shoot" in almost all paintball, airsoft, training exercises, and just about anywhere else that's got living no-shoots.

Further proof for carrying effective things even if they're Evil Black Rifles; Most police have them, under the term Patrol Rifles. I'd be astonished if there were no police in all the country who didn't carry AK's as their patrol rifles instead of AR-15s, in some region where the officers have to provide their own.

If you're going to the trouble to have a truck gun, you might as well throw in a safety vest with it (camouflage in urban environments is nearly useless anyway).

If you go for a rifle pistol, I'd suggest putting a bipod on it in case you need to shoot at long ranges where pistol kinematics make sufficient precision hard.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The power of competition First off, holy crap, something on Upworthy that isn't idiotic, who knew?

On one hand, it's .gov doing things, but as it's it's not too bad.

On the other hand? It's competition. Most of the big providers (phone, internet, etc) pretty much form an oligopoly. Largely get out of the anti-monopoly laws by just agreeing to all not really compete but still being all separate companies. The smaller companies that try to ACTUALLY compete with low rates and better service and whatever don't have the economies of scale to really pull it off by all that much.

With increases in technology, and various projects from google and others, I wouldn't be surprised if we see just all-over wifi in most major cities within my lifetime.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Vacation woes

Ever have one of those trips where it just feels like the world/universe is trying to tell you something? First, massive downpour delays the flight home. Then, my car died in the cold while I was gone, and the charger/jumpstarter I bought needs 24 hours to recharge (I've had similar woes before, always in places I can't get a charger on the vehicle, so I sprang for the big one that can serve as a backup battery and has a light and compressor and stuff)

Otherwise, Orlando was decent other than too much family for too long. Swam, ate, visited Kennedy Space Center again and Downtown Disney and did some hiking and whatnot.

Expect to see more of THE MOON MARINES on some Sci-Fi Friday once I've gotten around to drawing them some more, definitely going to be on a space kick for a while.


I have a theory.

If you call the press and say "George Zimmerman Did A Thing", you can get 100% of reporters within 100 miles and the interest of all journalists in the country.

They'll probably have the report that Zimmerman is a big mean doodie head published faster than various emergency services can arrive at any given scene.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


It won't embed properly, but at the link is a flexible sword that fits under a belt.

I came across these when pondering methods of making a necklace knife with a substantial enough blade to be worthwhile, so as to have a low-profile means of keeping a knife handy while wearing things like my bikini swimsuit.

I kind of want one even though it's incredibly ridiculous, but I know that pure leather belts are nowhere near strong enough without a reinforcing band.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Motor Monday (approximately): Siren Song of the Motorbike

I've always had a thing for motorcycles. They're cool, I grew up with several cartoons in which there were some very badass bikes (with rockets and machine guns and other such things that add to the cool factor in the eyes of a... actually you know, looking at movies, mythbusters, and other such things, not really an age cutoff).

I know motorcycles are dangerous. It's inherent to the design. Even if I built my perfect safety cycle that's still an actual cycle, there's no way to get around that fact. Cars generally require a hell of a lot of problems to happen before they fall over sideways. Cars are mostly capable of doing things like turning and stopping at the same time.

Every motorcyclist I know knows someone who has been killed or maimed on a bike. Problem is, motorcycles tend to attract people with a tendency towards risktaking, the type who are likely to engage in the behavior that gets them added to statistics used to frighten others away from doing a thing. Thing is, just last year, Borepatch got maimed slightly on his bike doing the most innocuous of things. From my internet estimation, he's not the type to engage in needless risks, nor was he doing anything particularly egregious. He was just attempting to ride through some road construction, and the road decided it would like to have words with him.

Some of these dangers can be fixed. They make skid bars in designs that are easily modded to protect both bike AND rider, because bikes are not light anymore. Problem is, fixing these dangers leads to the safety paradox, the proven tendency of people to wind up injured or killed more often due to increases in protection, as they take greater risks due to a feeling of invincibility.

As I travel in far more temperate climes, the siren song of the motorcycle increases in volume, having just choked on the -30 after windchill, snow-filled air of Wisconsin mere days, hours ago.

I'm probably going to buy one, spend more on armor than I did on the bike (seriously, I will take any excuse to armor up like a space marine), and then tinker with it until I am certain it will hold up it's end of the deal of not maiming me so long as I do my part by not being a fuckwit.

Have some animated and prototype, and just plain pretty bikes
The Cyclotron, a scrap-built combat cycle. When the rider tucks in, he's completely inside the thing (it actually seals up to be launched/dropped from a plane).
Also available in tandem configuration. That 3 engine F-14 with VTOL has a hell of a lot of spare room inside of it.

Kaneda's motorcycle is iconic, so much so that it's one of my favorites despite having never seen the anime from which it hails. This, and the cyclotron, served as large inspirations for my decision that a vaguely protective bike was possible.

This thing is pretty much just a one-off exercise in insane amounts of badass looking power. Still very easy on the eyes
This, on the other hand, is designed by an industrial engineer and will be available as an easy mod-kit, and looks futuristic as hell in a very nice way.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

GM Resources: Prebuilt high-strength implanted blade

A character I've had for ages, since before I got into tabletop gaming, is gradually being built in GURPS. He's a semi-willing dimension hopper, used in a manner not unlike a living, slow speed tactical nuke by the greater multiverse, tossed into worlds out of balance (too far gone, worlds that failed to produce heroes or who's heroes were slain before they could sort shit out, etc). He has several things such as Injury Tolerance (Resilient Physiology), and is generally a life-mimicking construct. In his travels, at some point he lost his left arm in an ultratech world, and picked up a prosthetic with a multi-mode laser and an implanted large knife (katar for functionality). His arm eventually regrew around/through the prosthetic, but the weaponry stayed because he'd gotten used to it being there. At some point I'll probably put the entire character here just as a minor amusement, along with his gear listing at various TLs.

Trying to decide on what specific details of the knife, and the price as an Innate Attack, I did this.
He is ST 20 for damage purposes with the weapon. With minor modification, these stats can be tweaked to represent other strength values. Final prices are at the bottom, vibro versions include the option of using the weapon without the vibro setting activated.

At tech levels where this is more readily available, it would be more efficient to purchase the weapon with 3 points (extra arm: weapon mount (2 pts) and Payload 1 (1 pt)) and cash, listed here as innate attack because it can be taken to any tech level and will eventually grow back if damaged or removed (or can be repaired using any knife available in a very unpleasant manner, which eventually be modified by weird magic-ish processes back to meet the final stats).

Fine katar
2d+1 Impaling (8pts/dice, 2.3d, 18.4 pts) Reach C, -30%
3d Cutting (7pts/dice, 3d, 21 pts) Reach C,1 -20%
Nuissance Effect (cuts open heel of hand, -1 reaction) -10%, Breakable (DR6 -10%, SM -6 -10%, unpleasant repair -5%, -25% total), Temporary Disadvantage One Hand (-15%) Total -50%

Fine Katar Impaling 18.4-80%= 3.68=>4
Fine Katar Cutting 21-70%= 6.3=>7

Superfine Katar
Superfine Armor Divisor (2) +50%
2d+2 Impaling (8pts/dice, 2.6d, 20.8 pts) Reach C, -30%
3d+1 Cutting (7pts/dice, 3.3d, 23.1 pts) Reach C,1 -20%
Nuissance Effect (cuts open heel of hand, -1 reaction) -10%, Breakable (DR6 -10%, SM -6 -10%, unpleasant

repair -5%, -25% total), Temporary Disadvantage One Hand (-15%) total -50%

Superfine Katar Impaling 20.8+50%-80%= 14.56=>15
Superfine Katar Cutting 23.1+50%-70%= 18.48=>19

Fine vibro katar
Vibro Armor Divisor (3) +100%
3d+1 Impaling (8pts/dice, 3.3d, 26.4 pts) Reach C, -30%
4d Cutting (7pts/dice, 4d, 28 pts) Reach C,1 -20%
Nuissance Effect (cuts open heel of hand, -1 reaction) -10%, Breakable (DR6 -10%, SM -6 -10%, unpleasant repair -5%, -15% total), -5% Costs Fatigue, Nuissance Effect (obvious hum) -5%, Temporary Disadvantage One Hand (-15%), Total -60%

Fine Vibro Katar Impaling 26.4+100%-90%= 29.04=>30
Fine Vibro Katar Cutting 28+100%-80%= 33.6=>34

Superfine Vibro Katar
Superfine Vibro Armor Divisor (5) +150%
3d+2 Impaling (8pts/dice, 3.6d, 28.8 pts) Reach C, -30%
4d+1 Cutting (7pts/dice, 4.3d, 30.1 pts) Reach C,1 -20%
Nuissance Effect (cuts open heel of hand, -1 reaction) -10%, Breakable (DR6 -10%, SM -6 -10%, unpleasant repair -5%, -15% total), -5% Costs Fatigue Nuissance Effect (Obvious Hum) -5%, Temporary Disadvantage One Hand (-15%) Total -60%

Superfine Vibro Katar Impaling 28.8+150%-90%= 46.08=>47
Superfine Vibro Katar Cutting 30.1+150%-80%= 51.17=>52


Fine Katar (6.3+(.2*3.68=.736)=7.036=> 8

Superfine Katar (18.48+(.2*14.56=2.912)=21.392=> 22

Fine Vibro Katar (33.6+(.2(3.68+6.3+29.04=39.02)=7.804)=41.404=> 42

Superfine Vibro Katar (51.17+(.2(46.08+18.48+14.56=79.12)=15.824)=66.994=> 67

GURPS Punktech: powered melee weapons

Through a great deal of the various punk genres, powered or otherwise enhanced melee weapons of various sorts are rather common. Chainswords, enormous war-drills, flaming blades, and axes with a circular saw for a blade.

GURPS provides no provisions for such weapons, but tools and stats that could be used are provided through most of high tech. Stats for ultra-tech weapon modifications such as Vibro will also be used in their creation.

A few things will be determined based on tech level.

TL0+(5 through 8) (Stonepunk): Your powered weapon is some manner of animal. It can get grouchy with you, and requires the usual care and maintenance one might expect.

TL4+1 (Clockpunk): Wound spring drive. Gives minimal time of operation between windings, but it's a freaking clockwork powered weapon. Generally simple, such as the buzz axe or war drill. Relatively lightweight and very quiet. At higher tech levels, may be equipped with another drive source to run it when the spring is unwound, or to rewind it quickly. Rewinding a weapon requires a winding key and 5 seconds of cranking per 1 second of run time, except on smaller weapons where a manual hand crank may be included. Large spring assemblies can provide power for about a minute from full wind, while a squeeze-cranked weapon can store 15 seconds. 2x weight for correctly sized spring assembly (Replaces modifier for Chain and Buzz weapons. Larger assemblies can be built separately and linked to weapon with flexible whip). ST increases to that required by other weapons of that size.

TL5+1 (Steampunk): Steam/air drive. Mechanical weapons require compressed air or a steam line, typically from a backpack source. Larger suits, vehicles, etc. may have the compressor or steam generator integrally, assuming they don't use such power for their own operation. Always loud when active, often accompanied by billowing clouds of steam or dust kicked up by the high pressure. Pressure source must be maintained (compressed air bottle, or steam generator at operating temperature). Provided power is available, can roar to life with essentially no wind-up time. 
Purchase compressed air tanks as per Air Tanks, High Tech p.74. Steam generator is $500, 25 lbs.

TL6+1 (Dieselpunk and Raygun Gothic): Engine drive. May or may not produce a lot of smoke, sounds like most running lawncare power tools. Must be started and kept idling as with any other two stroke power tool. Engine is often carried as a pack, with a flexible coupling to connect power to the blade. Medium Backpack Engine is $300, 10 lbs, if attached to weapon, the weapon requires +3 ST or becomes more unbalanced.Takes whatever fuel the engine is designed for. 
Electric drive is available, see Atomicpunk and double weight and cost for stats.

TL7+1 (Atomicpunk or alternate timeline): Electric motor power. Power supplied by batteries (regular or nuclear, depending on setting). Rev up happens quickly, and even while running sound is kept to a moderate level. Can be kept on but not running nearly indefinitely. Motor size is determined by size and type of weapon. Small blades (large knife and shorter) use 1 lb motors, long knives and shortswords use a 2 lb motor, broadsword and bastard sword sized blades use a 4 lb motor, and greatswords use 6 lb motors. Scaled up weapons increase the motor size proportionally.

TL8+1/9 (Cyberpunk): Electric motor power. See TL7+1, halve weight and cost for superior motors/batteries/etc.

We'll start with the biggest one, featured prominently in some cyberpunk worlds, and most famously the world of Warhammer 40K; The CHAINSWORD. Or, chainblades in general, since the technology is versatile and can be applied to make a chain version of most blade things, though at lower tech levels the blades tend to be much larger to make full use of the weight of the power source.

Both chainsaws and vibro weapons add 1d of damage to the user's regular strength-based weapon damage. We'll keep that. Vibro, however, emits only a barely perceptible low hum, requires very little power to run, and gives a fairly substantial armor divisor. On top of that, it's only available at TL10. On the other hand, prototype chainsaws show up at TL6, with them becoming practical at TL7. They do the same +1d of damage, but with an armor multiplier when not equipped with carbide blades, and a chance of the chain snapping on any contact with something they can't cut. We'll be keeping the +1d, modified for power source according to tech level (noise, weight, etc). Because a chainsblade is designed simply to do more damage, rather than gouge material, with regular steel blades there is no change in armor penetration, and carbide teeth give an armor divisor of (2). Combined with Superfine or equivalent, the armor divisor increases, but not as much as it would with Vibro, with (1) becoming (2), and (2) going to (3). Because of the difference in chain and tooth construction, chains do not catch and snap. A variant with reciprocating blades, such as a Sawzall, but it is functionally the same. Weight and required ST of weapon is 1.5x, plus any modifiers for the power source.

Next up is the Buzz weapon. Buzz axes feature prominently in the Borderlands series, and a great many post apocalyptic games, where the saw blade used as an axe head may or may not be connected to power. Van Helsing's Tojo blades from the 2004 movie could be considered a hand cranked version of a buzz knife (treat as clockwork). Buzz weapons add +3 damage and an armor divisor of (2) at any level. No change in weapon weight other than inclusion of power source.

War Drills are just what it says on the tin. Most famously used by the Big Daddies of the Bioshock game series, they are massive metal drills that often wrap around the outside of the forearm, often with spiked protrusions along the shaft of the auger. They are optimized for grinding flesh, and only have an armor divisor of (2) if carbide tipped. Primarily used to stab, stabbing with the tip while running does Thrust+2d+2 pi++, and bashing with the side does +2 and does cutting damage while the drill is running. Use whatever skill is closest to the drill's setup, typically Brawling (for those worn around the arm) or Spear (for those held with two hands on approximately a haft). They tend to be very heavy, but those built with a relatively small drill may be wielded exactly as any spear. A small drill (1 foot long, approximately 30 degree taper) weighs 10 lbs plus drive system (assume 5 lbs of springs for clockpunk), and a giant drill weighs 25 lbs (with 15 lbs of springs for clockpunk). Giant drills do increased damage when used as a bludgeon, and count as a small shield for +1 DB.

Breakers are a type of weapon unto themselves, and are wielded in the manner of a war drill, or mounted to the arm and used to strike with. Regardless of their implementation, breakers are effectively miniature jackhammers. They show up most commonly attached to mecha and power armor, with variations present in WH40K, Armored Core, and anime series such as Big O. Breakers at clockpunk level (4+1) are only available as single shot weapons, releasing their entire spring winding in a single shot. At higher levels, with a source of high pressure or sufficiently powerful motor, they can be used in a manner not unlike that of a jackhammer, although they tend to be far smaller and less powerful for portability and wield-ability. Unlike war drills, breakers cannot apply their boosted damage except on striking with the tip, although tip slashes performed with them are extremely damaging. They do Thrust+3d(2) pi++ damage and weigh around 20 lbs for repeating variants.

Electro weapons imbue your violence with the power of LIGHTNING!(lite). Available once electricity becomes available, it's pretty much a cattle prod rigged to a weapon of some kind (a pair of blades, generally, with each blade serving as a contact, although heavy bashing instruments such as maces, provided the striking surfaces can be insulated from one another for use as contacts, are quite common). Unlike a stun gun, it is adjusted to inflict additional damage, and even has a chance of causing a heart to stop. Deals 1d of burn damage and incapacitates on a failed HT-3 roll per normal stun guns. $100, 2 lb available at TL5+1 and beyond.

Flame weaponry marries a modified cutting torch or pocket torch to a weapon, often a blade (blades similar to those of a non-running chainblade are common, alternating between blade teeth and flame nozzles). Adds 1d-2 of burn damage per second and runs on butane. An average $1 refill will get you about 4 minutes of active blade time. Available at TL5+1 and beyond. At TL7+1 and up, a plasma generator backpack and compressed air tank (see Plasma Cutter, High Tech p. 27) will bump this damage up to 2d+2(2) per second (the plasma is split between several nozzles). Regular flame upgrade cost is $20/nozzle, weight is negligible, making it popular for those looking for a flashy way to add damage to their melee combat.

Prototype Rocket Hammer: Almost identical to the TL9 rocket hammer given in Ultra Tech, the prototype rocket hammer is a far simpler affair. The combination of parts becomes available at TL4+1: Reliable springs to power a rotating hammer, percussion primers, and rockets. Small, fast burning solid fuel rockets are used, the primer ignited by the hammer to produce reliable, near-instant ignition. They're not quite as powerful as the TL9 version, giving +4 ST for the hit and +2 ST required for that swing. The mechanism costs about $150 at TL 4+1 or 5, and drops by $25 per TL after. Each mechanism only holds one shot, and must be centered along the axis of the weapon to avoid producing a spin that gives penalties. Multiple shots may be added to a weapon of sufficient size to hold the mechanism and motors. Replacement motors are $15 apiece.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Dern it; flashlight edition

My Protach 1L flashlight has gone missing. Was wearing a pair of fancy, thin fabric dress pants yesterday, so it may have managed to slip out sometime during the day, because my phone and keys are both enormous and could have caught on it. If it turns up around the apartment, I suppose I'll give it to someone, since I'm upgrading to a 2L flashlight for more power.

On the plus side, it lasted more than a whole year, which is a long time. My pockets grind things into powder in remarkably short time.

I'm also still waiting on the buffer retainer pin for my AR-15, thinking I'm just going to order one when I buy a nice stack of Magpul 40 rounders.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Sci-Fi Friday; On the way to space

Had this one knocking around for a while, finally taking the time to write it.

There were some problems with mankind's bid to explore the cosmos. Lives were lost, and substantial value in assets were destroyed. Some pointed to this as proof that only governments should attempt space, others claimed it was proof we shouldn't bother at all.

Both groups are wrong.

The universe, and humanity's place within it, will change when we become a spacefaring race. At present, our attempts to explore our solar system are not unlike man's attempts to explore below the surface of the ocean; limited by how long we can hold our breath. Vast riches and the hope of our species await, beyond the strength of our limbs to pull us and lungs to hold our breath.

Make no mistake: space is dangerous, and there is no part of its exploration that will not be fraught with peril. The void is anathema to human life. Even the depths of the ocean are more hospitable, for we may still breathe and move.

Still, we must press on. Space is dangerous, but so was flying. So was the ocean. We are a species, driven to explore, to expand, to learn, to know. Among the longest lifespans in the known animal kingdom through the might of science, yet driven to take great risks that may cut short our lives far before their natural end. A species, that stands at the threshold and says "though this may be the end of me, still I must" and proceeds through into the unknown.

Some might accuse me of, as so many have, claiming risk, danger, and uncertainty are fine, because it will be some other brave soul to face them. This is my position, were I offered a chance at the next flight out beyond the earth; "Though this may be the end of me, still I must." I stand by these words, and will proclaim them with all the pride and reverence a sack of ambulatory meat, on a spec of dust hurtling through a backwater corner of space can muster. I will recite these words, standing at the very door of the craft that may become my coffin. And I will step through that door into the unknown.

As a species, we stand on that threshold. While some bluster that it is best to close the door, we press onwards. Even as we speak, corporations and private entities help press our advance to the stars. Better ways to travel with our limited technology are still being developed. Hypothetical plans for cities on distant-yet-near worlds are drawn up. Our planetary vanguard has found what could be signs of past life. We run calculations on the value of rocks we cannot reach, and they total as much as the world's production for a year.

All that's left is to find a way to get there, and the will to search for it.