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Very Different Places RPG

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Throughout the galaxy, the most common type of firearm is a pistol or rifle composed of a launch tube, a triggering device (usually electric, which itself can be piezo or battery operated), a magazine to hold an ammo clip, and a reloading mechanism to put line up the next round with the barrel. Ammo rounds consist of simple, solid-fuel mini rockets carrying either a kinetic penetrator or a very small amount of explosive payload.

This setup has proven to work reliably and consistently in space and in most atmospheres, and has the added advantage that most common ammo types can double as reaction control systems for one's spacesuit, one-shot welding devices, or prime movers for grappling hooks or antenna wire reels. In an emergency, one can use one's weapon as a RCS booster by simply clogging the muzzle with just about anything, getting some thrust out of the recoil compensation vane, and letting go of the round when the desired thrust has been achieved. This technology also has the advantage of limiting unintended damage to ship hulls during boarding actions.

Due to the prevalence of this system, most firearms (except for specialized dart guns or the like, which operate pneumatically) are quite useless at close range; any training regimen for spacefaring warriors puts at least some emphasis on proper swordsmanship and use of shields.

Close-range weapons

Rapiers and foils are commonly used for duels to the first blood on worlds that have this custom; serious combat generally requires something a little heavier, such as cutlasses or broadswords. A surprisingly large minority of young Imperial citizens swears that Zardoz katanas are the best melee weapons in the galaxy. Stilettos and similar small bladed weapons made of nonmetallic materials are also popular as a way to bypass powered shields.

Plasma weapons

Plasma swords are considerably heavier and require either a bulky backpack-mounted battery/gas pacmk or an expert knowledge of KI to extend the life of the reservoirs in the handle, but are invaluable in cutting through heavy armor and shielding. In general, using a plasma sword or polearm requires the user to move slowly due to the weapon's extra weight; people wishing to learn to operate plasma weapons should practice with a broadsword or zweihander.

Plasma-augmented firearms exist, but are extremely expensive and generally must be tuned to work within a particular atmosphere (or lack thereof), requiring additional expertise on the part of the user. They are known for extremely poor range, low accuracy, and extreme effect should they manage to hit - in that sense, they end up occupying a niche between firearms and flamethrowers. Not often used in space boarding actions, unless the intent is to demolish a starship from within rather than salvage it.


The common refrain "plasma beats saber, pistol beats plasma, saber beats pistol" is, by and large, still accurate, with three assumptions - reasonable ki skill from the plasma sword user, good quality ammo in the firearm, and proper use of a buckler of powered shield to go with the saber.

However they are flavored, mechanically weapons are statted very simply. A weapon may be required to use a skill -- the best fencer can't do much without a sword, for example. Some weapons may grant reach in melee, such as polearms; others may require high Strength to be operated in exchange for a powerful punch:

Some examples follow:

Unarmed10May be increased by martial art skills
Knife11May be thrown (range 3)
Sword12Type and fighting school may give bonuses to attack rolls
Pike21May be thrown (range 5)
Boomerang121Returns on miss
Gyrojet301Most common firearm type
Sprayer52Environmental effect depends on fuel
Rocket304Single use; must attack with all available dice

The average plasma weapon imposes a 1 or 2 dice disadvantage depending on type, manufacture and use skill, but completely ignores armor and will destroy shields in one hit.

Area of Effect and Automatic Weapons

Some weapons can cover a wide area with a hail of bullets, a torrent of burning fuel, or deadly shrapnel. Area weapons target a location rather than a specific target, and roll against a set Difficulty to accurately hit that location. If the roll is successful, regardless of by how much, the attack hits and a Dangerous Location is created to represent the attack. That location may persist (such as suppressing fire from a machine gun) or disappear immediately, as explained in the weapon's profile.

Weapons with an AREA profile affect a circular area with a diameter listed in the profile.

Weapons with AUTO target a number of connected squares equal to the AUTO value, then draw lines of effect from the point of origin to those target squares. All squares on the line are made Dangerous.

When a dangerous location is placed by an attack, everything in it must Defend immediately, rather than on their turn as if they were moving into it. If the effect persists, characters entering or ending their turn in a dangerous location must defend, as usual.

Dangerous locations of the same type (such as attacks from the same weapon) that overlap increase the Area Difficulty and Power by 1 for each overlap.

Some weapons have multiple profiles for their area of effect, representing things like an explosion becoming less dangerous at a distance. These overlap unless the weapon states otherwise.

Missing with Area Weapons

If an AREA weapon misses its attack roll, the target point is moved (within the weapon's cone of fire) a number of squares in a random direction equal to the amount the attack roll failed by. Then resolve the attack as if it hit the new square.

If an AUTO weapon misses its attack roll, it fires wildly. Halve the Power (rounding up) and Area Difficulty of the attack. If any target squares would overlap, these squares must re-target new, non overlapping legal squares for the attack. Then, add all squares adjacent to the existing area to the attack. This is the new area of the attack. Even if the lines of effect would overlap, do not add any overlapping bonus for a wild shot.

An attacker may always choose to deliberately fire wildly.


40mm Grenade Launcher (HE): Range 20, AREA: Difficulty 8; 1x1 Power 3, 2x2 Power 2, 3x3 Power 1. Area Difficulty 8, instant.

40mm Grenade Launcher (FRAG): Range 20, AREA: Difficulty 8; 1x1 Power 2, 4x4 Power 1. Area Difficulty 9, instant.

Flamethrower: Range 8, AUTO 3: Difficulty 6, Power 2, Area Difficulty 10, instant. Creates an area of burning fuel on any ground the attack passes over, which is Dangerous until extinguished and will burn out in 5 minutes. This fire has a Power of 1 and Area Difficulty of 10.

NOTE: probably need a better table to describe this.

Vehicle weapons

Starfighters generally use ferromagnetic pellets which are propelled by a mixture of gauss coils and propellant; the sudden exit from a starfighter's GGG field superheats the pellets, resulting in the characteristic glowing bolts flashing through most orbital dogfights. Most starfighters can also fire what amounts to supersized standard ammo from their launch tubes; small land vehicles also tend to use this standard, as do large ships' point defence weapons.

Large land vehicles, seagoing ships, and large starships generally have power to spare, and use sabot or high-explosive shells that are launched electromagnetically or using steam or forced-vacuum pressure. Powder weapons are relatively uncommon, largely due to the fact that gold for gauss coils and titanium for barrels are relatively cheap to obtain from asteroid mining and the fact that carrying a large storage of explosives aboard a vehicle is usually a bad idea. Some non-spacefaring cultures that are otherwise advanced make use of smokeless powder of various chemical composition.

Guided missiles and torpedos exist, but are remarkably expensive: a missile is essentially a shell with its own [GGG] system, propellant reserve, and electronic brain. The difference between a missile and a torpedo is blurry; missiles are given an initial boost by the launching vessel and carry little propellant, while torpedos are for all intents and purposes single-used spacecraft (or watercraft). Guidance normally happens by means of photocells tuned to a particular frequency and blink ratio of a guiding light or focused light beam (commonly called a Waylight for short) or, for autonomous operation, engine heat. Electronic brains that can identify a target by image are expensive and are generally used to direct waylight-guided missiles, rather than mounted on the missiles themselves.

Of note, missiles can carry "leech" payloads intended to short-circuit enemy GGGs or other electrical systems, or what is known as "radar jam", shield ferrofluid that has picked up too many impurities to be able to move quickly to a damaged area and is now generally goopy in consistence, which does an excellent job at confusing any sensor packaging that it lands on (A common hazing practice for new deckhands is being told to check on the radar jam flavor, or find radar jam of a particular flavor).

Most ships carry one or more grappling hooks (magnetic, pressurized claw or other method of attachment) for docking and bording; ships larger than a fighter or private sail will have dedicated grappling hook target armor plates to facilitate docking and avoid scraping any paint. In a hostile situation, the boarding ship will have to damage the boardee's GGG teeth enough that synchronization can happen, otherwise firing a grappling hook true or docking without it would require superhuman piloting skills. Harpoon cannons (essentially high-speed grappling hooks that don't care about piercing the other craft's hull, are mounted solidly enough to not cause whiplash, and carry gold wires within the harpoon chain since the spear itself has to be one of the active GGG teeth) are an expensive but effective alternative.

Other examples include whip wire (specially made wire intended to stick out a starfighter's GGG bubble and cause slashing damage in very close quarters), gravity bombs (carpetbombing is generally considered an atrocity even if the bombs are non-nuclear, but this hasn't stopped some egregious campaigns of total obliteration once a faction lost space superiority), and in a few occasions very large mirror focusing starlight into a deadly beam (While this will not destroy a planet any time soon, it certainly has the power to overheat a starship into unusability, and since the beam travels at lightspeed there isn't much that can be done to stop it once engaged).

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Page last modified on May 27, 2023, at 04:44 PM