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Old 05-11-2021, 10:02 AM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2013
Default Force Sword (and Blaster) Design - Assistance Requested

So, musing some more over my Harpyias Space Opera setting (and watching season 2 of The Mandalorian and playing some Star Wars: The Old Republic), I've decided I want some weapons akin to Lightsabers, but I don't want to use GURPS Force Swords. These weapons - which I'll just call force swords for now, as I haven't come up with an appropriate in-setting name yet* - will actually be dependent on the character's ST, at least to an extent - I'm currently thinking they do around 1d burn passively (on a "touch," against Parried weapons, etc), plus standard ST-based thr or sw on a proper attack. That's for a "standard" one - there may be heavier and lighter ones that have more or less power, roughly scaling with Spaceships beam weapons. Below are my thoughts - I'd very much appreciate some feedback.

Where I'm running into some issues revolve around wounding, parrying, and color, which I want to be related. These force swords are explicitly a refinement of blaster technology, so I need to talk a little about that. My original plan for blasters had them divided into roughly 3 categories - ion blasters, blasters, and hyperblasters. Ion blasters are short-ranged, firing "invisible," subsonic projectiles (you can see air distortion, and electricity flowing through the projectile, so it's fairly visible); on impact, they explode, causing little damage but decent knockback, as well as having a stunning effect roughly comparable to UT electrolasers. Blasters fire glowing red projectiles (looking like typical Star Wars blaster bolts) at around 300 yards per second - still subsonic, but markedly louder than ion blasters. They also explode, typically a bit after impact, thus causing internal explosions in most targets (external for those that are heavily armored - or somewhere behind a target that it markedly overpenetrates). Hyperblasters can have yellow, green, blue, or purple projectiles, where the higher on the spectrum you get the faster and longer-ranged the projectile is (roughly +1 SSR to velocity, +2 SSR to range per step up the spectrum) and the higher the damage, but the weaker the follow-up explosion is (these are roughly +3 SSR to effective output for damage, -3 SSR for the explosion - a 30 kJ yellow hyperblaster would have the initial damage of a 100 kJ blaster, the explosive force of a 10 kJ blaster). They also have significant dwell time - yellow hyperblasters take a full second between pulling the trigger and actually firing, while purple ones take a full half-minute (+3 SSR per step up the spectrum). And they have minimum sizes - while ion blasters and normal blasters can get quite small, yellow hyperblasters would be Major Batteries for SM+0 vessels (so a full-sized rifle), green are scaled for SM+5, blue for SM+10, and purple for SM+15.

As noted, that's the original intent, but of course long dwell times, minimum size, and exploding bolts don't work so well for my force swords. While I like the dwell time concept, I think I may incorporate that into general blaster design - you can get more power out of a given size of blaster if it has to "charge up" immediately prior to firing (these may be called hyperblasters, otherwise I'll abandon that name). Minimum size simply gets tossed out the airlock. Instead of exploding, I'm thinking the bolts (and by extension the "frozen bolts" of my force swords) are surrounded by a repulsing force. When a bolt is going through someone's body, this repulsing force would be working to widen the wound channel. This has the advantage of simplifying matters - rather than a follow-up (internal) explosion, this would function instead as something that increases the WM of the attack. Clear (ion) bolts would have the strongest repulsing force, to the extent they don't even penetrate flesh but rather push the target away - reduced damage that is Crushing (not Burning), high knockback (something like quadruple, perhaps more), no armor divisor, and a stunning side effect. Red would be next, with full (Burning) damage, knockback perhaps comparable to an equivalent cr attack, a high wounding modifier, and no armor divisor. Higher-spectrum bolts would still be full damage, have reduced knockback and WM, and better armor divisors. The following chart is my current thoughts. Note WM and AD have two entries - the first is for blaster bolts and for thr attacks, the second is for sw attacks (EDIT: although for WM, I'm considering using the same for each - the latter number only, so red blasters aren't quite so lethal against unarmored targets). Clear has an extremely high knockback multiplier (KB) to make up for its reduced damage - it actually ends up with x4 knockback relative to a red bolt of the same power.
Color	Dam	KB	WM	AD	Spd	Range
Clear	x0.2	x20    x1/1	1/1	300	x0.2
Red	x1	x1     x5/x2	1/0.5	300	x1
Yellow	x1	x0.5   x3/x1.5	1.5/0.7	500	x2
Green	x1	x0.2   x2/x1	2/1	700	x5
Blue	x1	x0.1  x1.5/x0.7	3/1.5	1000	x10
Purple	x1	x0.05  x1/x0.5	5/2	1500	x20
So, now we come to Parrying. Here, I'm torn on how I want it to work. Ideally, I want Red force swords to be focused on offense - more significant wounding, but less capable of Parrying - while higher-spectrum weapons would be focused on defense - better for Parrying, but less significant wounding (Clear force swords would be good for training, as well as taking the place of shock batons for security/police work). But the above... doesn't lend itself well to this. First off, I'm thinking the way the weapons are used to Parry blaster bolts, they rely on that surrounding repulsing field - you don't need precognition (which characters in Harpyias lack - psions largely don't exist, and those few that do have different powersets and aren't an option for PC's anyway) when you only need to get your weapon close to where the bolt would hit to deflect it. It seems, however, that Red force swords would have the largest "parrying surface" thanks to their stronger repulsing effect. I'm thinking maybe the repulsing effect's area is the same regardless of color, and even Purples are strong enough to repulse blaster bolts. Rather, what makes Purples better is that they are more stable - lower-spectrum force swords can't repulse as powerful of bolts, or as many in a short period of time, without overloading, which can lead to shutting down, being damaged, or even exploding (harming the wielder). This would also apply when dueling. Mechanically, I'm thinking the weapons might have a pool of quickly-regenerating HP that is depleted upon impact with bolts or other force swords, and when this is depleted must roll against HT - Success means a shutdown (Immediate Action to fix, but HP regenerates normally), Failure by 4- means a minor burnout (Minor repair to fix), Failure by 5+ means a major burnout (Major repair to fix), Critical Failure calls for another roll - Success here means a critical burnout (weapon is destroyed), while Failure here means an explosion (damaging the character, and likely mangling their hand).

Of course, I'm also not certain how difficult I want parrying bolts to be. I feel that rolling against unmodified Parry would be fine for Red bolts - they're fast, but not supersonic, and are fairly obvious. The problem is for when foes are too close to be able to reliably react in time, and when the bolts are faster. For the former, you're essentially relying on the same thing you do for Dodge against firearms - you're defending against their aim rather than reacting to the projectile. For faster bolts, you could presumably do the same, but what about when the foe is further away and it's hard to tell where he/she is aiming? I'm tempted to just have it be unmodified Parry regardless of range and color (but with Predictive Shooting able to penalize this, as a Ranged Deceptive Attack) - does that sound fair? It certainly simplifies matters, but it seems odd that Parrying a Mach 4 Purple bolt is just as easy as Parrying a Mach 0.8 Red one. There's also the issue of the Clear (ion) bolts, which aren't quite as visible as proper blaster bolts - the air distortion and electricity arcing through them make them visible, but not nearly as much as glowing red (or whatever) would.

*One idea, because the superscience material they are reliant upon is called KN plasma (Karmac-Nusom, the names of the researchers who discovered it around the same time), is to simply call them KN Blades. Interestingly, I've already decided "KN" is typically said as "keen" or "cane," depending on region, so if I go with this the people in setting will either call these "keen blades" or "cane blades."
GURPS Overhaul

Last edited by Varyon; 05-11-2021 at 10:19 AM.
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