Fading Suns and Flaming Heresies
Most energy guns came from Vautech filtered through Second Republic manufacturers. At the height of the Second Republic, some of these weapons were even improved beyond the Vau’s own level of design, but that was a long time ago. Most of these are still manufactured, but they are very expensive, well out of the range of most buyers. Fusion cells are required for most of these guns (except for Flameguns and Rocketeers).
Palm Laser (TL6): A derringer-sized laser, used for self defense when it is not possible to carry a larger gun. The Martech Midget is the most popular model, manufactured by Martech, a sub-guild of the Engineers. Like all lasers, this gun suffers a -2 penalty to its damage dice when shooting through thick fog or smoke, or anything which could scatter or defuse the coherent beam.
Laser Pistol (TL6): About the size of a medium autofeed slug gun, the Martech Gold (so called because it emits a yellow beam) is the standard laser handgun of the Known Worlds. Lasers suffer a -2 penalty to their damage dice when shooting through thick fog or smoke, or anything which could scatter or defuse the coherent beam.
Laser Rifle (TL6): The Martech Indigo is the most popular laser rifle model, about the size of a sniper rifle. Lasers suffer a -2 penalty to their damage dice when shooting through thick fog or smoke, or anything which could scatter or defuse the coherent beam.
Assault Laser (TL6): The Varsten Blacklight carbine competes with the Martech Red for popularity. The Varsten rifles are being manufactured by House Decados, and the Martech guild is not happy about this, especially since certain royal troops seem to prefer Varsten lasers. Lasers suffer a -2 penalty to their damage dice when shooting through thick fog or smoke, or anything which could scatter or defuse the coherent beam.
Blaster Pistol (TL7): These marvels of technology generate plasma from fusion cells using a mysterious transference chamber stolen from Vau weaponry. Only a few people in the Known Worlds understand these things, and they are usually master weaponsmiths for the guilds, revealing their secrets only to loyal apprentices after years of study. When the trigger is engaged, a force field forms about the plasma and is violently ejected down the barrel. It begins exploding once it exits the barrel, leaking through the field. Once it hits a physical object (the target, hopefully), the field disintegrates, loosing the full force of the plasma. Blasters can leak through energy shields. Roll damage normally, but those dice which roll 1 or 2 ignore shields. However, these guns are dangerous; they have been known to blow up when treated badly. The only reliable blaster pistol that nobles trust is the Alembic, manufactured by the Supreme Order of Engineers under various contracts.
Blaster Rifle (TL7): A more dangerous version of the above, but the best-known model is the Crucible. Blasters can leak through energy shields. Roll damage normally, but those dice which roll 1 or 2 ignore shields.
Blaster Shotgun (TL7): An awesomely deadly weapon, firing a scattering discharge of plasma balls with one pull of the trigger. The Volcano is the model feared by anyone with an ounce of sense. Blasters can leak through energy shields. Roll damage normally, but those dice which roll 1 or 2 ignore shields.
Screecher (TL6): A sonic gun, emitting a concussive force and a high-pitched squeal which damages hearing. Halve the damage for targets with hearing protection (characters with their hands over their ears get this benefit). Various models are known.
Flamegun (TL5): A popular weapon among Avestites, flameguns hold canisters of Ka-plant oil (an alien plant native to Pyre). With the pull of a trigger, this highly combustible oil is sprayed past a spark at the tip of the barrel, igniting into a flume of burning and smoking oil. The Ka oil is kept cool by refrigerants in the canisters powered by fusion cells (considered to last for 10 shots, until the canister is empty), but after even two firings, the oil heats up enough to send billows of black and awful smelling smoke pluming out of the barrel. It is this smell which often reveals the impending presence of the Inquisition.
Flameguns can deliver heat damage which ignores all armor. Roll damage normally, but those dice which roll 1 ignore armor. The second amount listed on the weapon chart is the continuous damage due to the burning Ka plant oil sprayed over the target. Roll this damage (do not add victory dice) each turn after the first. If no damage is rolled in any turn, the flames go out.
Stunner (TL6): Stunners emit a concussive force field which causes nervous system shock, effectively stunning a target or knocking her unconscious. If a target takes ANY damage from a Stunner, she must roll Endurance + Vigor. If successful, there is no further effect, but if the roll fails, she is stunned for that turn (losing any actions not taken) and the next. If she fumbles the roll, she falls unconscious. If the damage taken is greater than the character’s Endurance, she rolls as above, but failure means she is knocked unconscious.
Stunner damage is healed differently than other damage; after one span, stunner damage is healed entirely (mark stunner damage with an “S” rather an a checkmark on the Vitality levels). However, it is system shock damage, and is cumulative with other damage taken: If a character who has suffered stunner damage takes other damage which takes her below zero Vitality, she dies.
These were Second Republic riot police weapons. Due to the constant lawsuits brought against police by stunner victims, it became illegal to manufacture stunners with too much power. It is rumored that the Engineers have developed a more powerful version which can easily render a target unconscious. The most popular regular stunner is the Arbogast Sleeper.
Neural Disrupter (TL8): These small palm guns fire a nearly invisible and slightly erratic stream of energy which causes destruction to nerve cells and brain matter. If damage exceeds Endurance (or Psi, whichever is higher), the target is unconscious. If damage exceeds Vitality, the target is dead. Armor does not protect against this damage (although a Psi Cloak does).
Psychics may defend against neural disrupter attacks. To deflect the energy stream, roll Psi + Stoic Mind contested against the attacker’s successes.
The Neural Disrupter had only just begun production as a prototype when the Fall of the Second Republic came to pass. Very few of these weapons are known to exist.