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Old 06-04-2017, 11:35 PM   #1
VariousRen
 
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Default [Ultra Tech] Antimatter Rounds Seem Bad

I'm a player in an upcoming game set in a TL12 world. The set up is that we're time keepers, government agents who preserve the timeline through whatever means necessary. This gives us access to LC0, and generally sets the stage for us to do whatever we want. It's not intended to be a super serious campaign, but a chance for us to fire cool ultra tech guns at bad guys and take a break from our normal TL2 game.

In preparation for this, I've been putting together the equipment list for my android warrior. Antimatter rounds caught my eye, since at TL12 you can fit an antimatter warhead into a 10mm bullet (and fire a LOT of 10mm bullets if you want). The actual damage of an antimatter round seems really bad though. For the smallest round the damage is only 6dx4, compared to the 8d(5) you can get out of a HEMP warhead.

The radiation damage that these rounds cause also seems like a real problem. At 100 yards from the detonation point the smallest charge is giving you 3500 rads, which is solidly in terminal radiation sickness territory unless you have some PF from armour.

Am I missing something, or are antimatter warheads just not very good at blowing things up immediately compared to normal high explosives?
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Old 06-05-2017, 01:00 AM   #2
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Default Re: [Ultra Tech] Antimatter Rounds Seem Bad

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Originally Posted by VariousRen View Post
Am I missing something, or are antimatter warheads just not very good at blowing things up immediately compared to normal high explosives?
At scales smaller that strategic nuclear weapons, yeah. Most annihilation products are highly penetrating radiation, so the initial blast energy is spread throughout a quite large volume.
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Old 06-05-2017, 01:26 AM   #3
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Default Re: [Ultra Tech] Antimatter Rounds Seem Bad

Putting such a small amount of antimatter into it makes it clearly planned to be used primarily as a radiation weapon. The explosive damage, while nice compared to conventional explosive rounds, is not really relevant in most use scenarios for such weapons.
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Old 06-05-2017, 01:46 AM   #4
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Default Re: [Ultra Tech] Antimatter Rounds Seem Bad

Quote:
Originally Posted by VariousRen View Post
In preparation for this, I've been putting together the equipment list for my android warrior. Antimatter rounds caught my eye, since at TL12 you can fit an antimatter warhead into a 10mm bullet (and fire a LOT of 10mm bullets if you want). The actual damage of an antimatter round seems really bad though. For the smallest round the damage is only 6dx4, compared to the 8d(5) you can get out of a HEMP warhead.

The radiation damage that these rounds cause also seems like a real problem. At 100 yards from the detonation point the smallest charge is giving you 3500 rads, which is solidly in terminal radiation sickness territory unless you have some PF from armour.

Am I missing something, or are antimatter warheads just not very good at blowing things up immediately compared to normal high explosives?
Well, you do have to keep in mind that's the damage of 1/10th of a microgram of antimatter (or, 0.0000001 grams)! 6d4 is the same damage 4lbs that 4lbs of TNT does!

And at that scale, assuming that you don't waste a good chunk of the energy as neutrinos, you are going to get a lot of gamma radiation from one of these things going off. Also a good chunk of a antimatter warheads mass is going to be taken up by whatever system is used to safely contain the antimatter it uses.

So in short, Antimatter rounds are not something you want to use as a main arm.

On the other hand a TL12 10mm mininuke, if allowed, would a lot more damage at that scale and would be 0.07kilotons (70 tons) and do 6d530 cr ex with 6d490 burn ex rad sur linked. As you can probably see, also not a good choice as your default round heh.

So maybe try stick to something more a little more mundane heh.
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Old 06-05-2017, 02:47 AM   #5
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Default Re: [Ultra Tech] Antimatter Rounds Seem Bad

Well, no, antimatter isn't less effective at blowing stuff up than conventional explosives...because you can have a 10 microgram charge just as easily as a 0.1 microgram charge.

Definitely lots of radiation though.
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Old 06-05-2017, 03:16 AM   #6
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Default Re: [Ultra Tech] Antimatter Rounds Seem Bad

I can see antimatter rounds being used in OGRE, but then again that's a setting that tosses around battlefield nukes at point-blank range.
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Old 06-05-2017, 04:01 AM   #7
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Default Re: [Ultra Tech] Antimatter Rounds Seem Bad

Quote:
Originally Posted by VariousRen View Post
In preparation for this, I've been putting together the equipment list for my android warrior. Antimatter rounds caught my eye, since at TL12 you can fit an antimatter warhead into a 10mm bullet (and fire a LOT of 10mm bullets if you want). The actual damage of an antimatter round seems really bad though. For the smallest round the damage is only 6dx4, compared to the 8d(5) you can get out of a HEMP warhead.

Am I missing something, or are antimatter warheads just not very good at blowing things up immediately compared to normal high explosives?
HEMP warheads are shaped charges, while the anti-matter round is an omni-directional explosive. A better comparison would be HE rounds, which deal 1d explosive damage for 10 mm. Another similar comparison would be Plasma rounds (1d+2 for 10mm round) and plasma lance rounds (6d(5) imp). What you want, then, is some kind of antimatter shaped charge. I have no idea how that would function (extreme magnetic fields?) or what the resulting explosion's damage would look like, but my initial guess is "There's no kill like overkill."

You should note that there are three possible yields of anti-matter charges, all of which fit into a 10mm round. This makes sense, because the amount of anti-matter you're putting into your bullet is taking up a millionth of a gram or less, so it's not like it needs a lot of space. This is the same as the "dial-a-yield" nuclear weapon: you're just choosing how much destruction you want. Thus, you can just as easily fit the 10 microgram warhead in your 10mm bullet and deal 6dx40 (an average of 800 damage) with every shot! That's definitely better than the 8d(5) imp!

Why wouldn't you do this? Well, it's a pretty big explosion. How far away are you? If you're firing these things out of portable railgun, go for the big round. If you're firing it out of a pistol, go for the small round. Unless you have a stasis shield, you don't want to be caught in the firestorm!

Finally, I direct your attention to the notes on the bottom. The explosive damage is divided by distance. rather than 3x distance. Thus, if you hit someone with a 0.1 microgram anti-matter warhead, you'll deal an average of 80 damage to that target, and 40 damage to someone two yards away, 20 damage to someone four yards away, and 8 damage to someone 10 yards away (etc). The radiation damage is divided by the square of the distance, so you inflict 20k rads on someone directly in contact with the bullet (fatal), 5k rads on someone 2 yards away (fatal except on a critical success), 1250 on someone 4 yards away (same as 2 yards away), and 200 on someone ten yards away (survivable except on a critical failure).
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Old 06-05-2017, 12:17 PM   #8
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Default Re: [Ultra Tech] Antimatter Rounds Seem Bad

I'd figure that radiation damage is harder to protect against than explosions. Or at least that creating armor that works against both radically different types causes a reduction in efficacy due to required compromises.
In settings where such weapons exist and are deployed at all, of course.
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Old 06-05-2017, 01:50 PM   #9
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Default Re: [Ultra Tech] Antimatter Rounds Seem Bad

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Originally Posted by Flyndaran View Post
I'd figure that radiation damage is harder to protect against than explosions. Or at least that creating armor that works against both radically different types causes a reduction in efficacy due to required compromises.
In settings where such weapons exist and are deployed at all, of course.
PF is weird, in that Ultra-Tech doesn't really cover it at all. In Tech & Toys IV, though, they do handle how you work out the PF of your armor.
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Old 06-05-2017, 03:12 PM   #10
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Default Re: [Ultra Tech] Antimatter Rounds Seem Bad

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Am I missing something, or are antimatter warheads just not very good at blowing things up immediately compared to normal high explosives?
The more attention you pay to things like storage and converting the energy release from the rather inconvenient annihilation products to something useful for your application, the more useless antimatter looks for just about everything. It sounds good in technobabble, but when you start looking at practicalities it has a hard time competing with several different kinds of nuclear energy production or storage.
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