Okay, so I am currently working on a new resource for S*D New, specifically concerning personal gear. I'm breaking it down into two groupings, Weapons & Armor and General Gear. For now, this is Weapons & Armor.
A couple of things. First, while this is labeled under S*D New, the items are intended for wide distribution, so they can be used in any future campaign setting (or, as is the case in Gamma World, used by / left behind by any advanced species or culture).
Second is that this is intended for futuristic campaigns, as I somewhat just noted above. While there is a grouping of items described as PL5 and earlier, this does not cover the full scope of items that have been created prior to the Fusion Age. It is more like a list of hold-overs that are still popular.
Third is that I'm introducing a number of new concepts, as outlined below.
I personally don't agree with the way the weapons skills are handled. While some I don't have a problem with, many don't make much sense to me. For this, I'm introducing a full restructuring of Modern Ranged Weapons. There will also be some redefinition added to Heavy Weapons and Melee weapons.
Basically, there will be two specialty skills under MWR, specifically pistol and rifle. SMG's are literally assault rifles that fire pistol bullets, so they operate in the same way as a rifle and are treated accordingly. From there, as with the Vehicle Op skills, you select a specific grouping for each specialty skill. In this case, there are only currently two: ballistic and energy. Ballistic weapons fire a projectile or mass in a ballistic arc. That means that, at longer ranges, you have to aim above the target to account for the ballistic drop. Energy weapons are more point-of-aim-point-of-impact, such as lasers (yes, that is isn't entirely true, but it is close enough for combat ranges).
As for Heavy Weapons, let me demonstrate. I see weapons that use MWR as being weapons that a single individual can: 1.) carry in total (all components of the weapon are present and are fully assembled); 2.) can operate effectively without needing assistance in loading or any other operation; 3.) are light enough that the individual can practically carry more than just a couple of shots. By contrast, I view Heavy Weapons as: 1) weapons that need a crew of 2 or more to effectively transport the weapon and/or its ammunition; 2) are intended for use in a fixed position, such as with a tripod/bipod, or from a stable, non-moving position; 3.) usually requires 2 or more crew members to efficiently operate.
So something like a large-caliber sniper rifle (which can be operated and carried by a single person) would fall under MWR, as would a squad automatic weapon/light machine gun and a single-shot grenade launcher. A general purpose/medium machine gun, heavy machine gun, bantam rocket launcher, and similar weapons would count as Heavy Weapons.
A similar trait will be used in Melee weapons. In that case, though, the required skill would be based on how they are used (something which the PHB/GMG already started but didn't fully commit to). For example, why is the gravmace a powered weapon? You swing it like a mace/baseball bat, and the weapon itself does the work of altering its own mass. Does the wielder of a chainsword have to turn the blade on just before impact, or do they just use it like a normal sword? As a result, the specialty skills needed for some melee weapons are going to be different, as determined by their use and not just that they rely on power packs. I will note that weapons that require some different techniques will not be changed. For example, a wielder of a star sword has to be careful not to touch the blade, and stun/pulse batons do most of their damage due to the electrical discharge so you don't have to swing them as hard as a gravmace to do the damage.
This uses the MOGA system, and adds some modifies to a weapon. And yes, there will be a way to randomly determine the costs of the weapons, but also a GM can just dictate them.
Marginal weapons are just shoddy, with inferior designs and materials, and have a cost modifier of 50% to 150%. They suffer from low reliability (what happens when you roll a natural 20), and have reduced range (this is what happens when the sights aren't properly aligned or bent).
Ordinary weapons are normal weapons, as seen in the entries.
Good weapons are MILSPEC weapons. Most professional military forces dictate that a weapon they adopt have above average reliability (as in 1 shot in every 10,000 fails because of the weapon, mostly because they may need to fire that many times in a major battle or campaign). They also have a slightly higher than normal range, due to rigorous demands. All of this increases their cost to 150% to 200%.
Amazing weapons are matchgrade weapons. This is what is used by special forces, snipers, and professional marksmen. The weapons are hand-built using only the best components, with machine tolerances beyond belief. This results in a pricey weapon (300-500%), but it also means better reliability, accuracy, and range.
These are systems that are easily installed or removed from a weapon that provide some kind of benefit. This would include sights and scopes, extended magazines/power cells, recoil dampeners, bio-keys, suppressors, flashlights, and a lot more. There are also going to be electronic components that should prove interesting.
Perks & Flaws
An accessory is something that can easily be removed or installed. A perk and flaw, however, is something inherent to the weapon itself. As a result, removing or installing it requires such a dramatic change that you basically get a new weapon. I will say that some perks and flaws can be purchased as aftermarket, but they are going to be rare. Instead, it can be assumed that they are already present when a hero purchases the weapon. More importantly, I'm thinking that a system similar to a starship perk/flaw system will be helpful. A GM/PC can decide to either use a point-buy and match perks/flaws as desired (which may be attached to the weapon's quality), or can just use a price modifier. Here are some examples.
The perk Simplified Action shows that the weapon is designed with as few parts as possible. This makes it easier to disassemble/reassemble the weapon, and it is also easier to repair. The amount of time to do either is reduced.
The flaw Complex action is the opposite. The weapon has numerous parts (perhaps even more than it needs), and as a result it takes much longer to dis/ass the weapon and to repair it.
The perk Environmental Tolerance shows the weapon has its normal materials replaced with higher-grade ones. Rather than just normal steel in the barrel, it features a heat-resistant metal composite that shrugs off 1000 C temperatures. The exterior casing is also made of composites that resist acidic conditions such as sulfuric acid pools on volcanic worlds. As a result, the weapon doesn't suffer from the same effects on the GRAPH scale as a normal weapon.
The flaw Environmental Sensitivity is the opposite. The materials work just fine on a normal Earth-like world, but the weapon doesn't tolerate much beyond this. Colder temperatures begin to cause problems with the operating system, hot temperatures cause increased warping of the barrel, and acidic conditions quickly damage the weapon.
I have said that I dislike some weapons for a while now (this includes the Sabots and Charge weapons). For this, they will be some tweaks.
Charge weapons are a specific type of electric caseless weapon that uses electrochemical propellant. However, since all PL6 projectile weapons use ECP, the part that means the most is that they are always caseless and rely on an electric action. As such, they are generally Military in availability, and most of them are expensive. They also rely on batteries.
Regular projectile weapons will be retained, though, as noted above, they rely on ECP. However, they are normally cased and rely on more traditional mechanical systems to fire. As a result, they can be cheaper, but are still better than their PL5 predecessors, and don't need to worry about batteries.
PL7 Sabot weapons will instead fire fin-stablized discarding sabot darts at high velocity using a gravity induction system. Also, they will not come in pistol form, only in rifle form.
PL7 Mass weapons will be reset to PL8. The mass weapons described in Warships more conform to Sabot weapons, as they are described above.
To replace mass weapons, new Plasma weapons will be introduced at PL7. They are short ranged, do high damage, and also have a "splash" effect, where plasma is thrown in multiple directions.
Okay, that's it for now. If anyone has any comments, please feel free to share.
Okay, so some basic ideas for some accessories, specifically sighting systems.
All weapons have sighting systems, though that is normally limited to basic iron sights, which can be either fixed or adjustable (this won't get into the nit-and-grit enough for that to actually matter, though a GM could rule that it does under special conditions).
So, a quick break down.
There are basically going to be five types of sights: Iron sights, Reflex sights, Telescopic sights, Laser sights, and Electronic sights.
Iron sights just allow the weapon to be used as normal. They provide no other bonus. When used, the user must align both a front and rear sight with the
Reflex sights are basically the same thing as modern reflector sights
or red dot sights
. They project an aim point within a much larger field of view, and only require the user to align this point with the target. This makes them much faster and easier to use, but they also don't have magnification capabilities. As a result, they reduce the user's action check score by one point when the character is using the weapon in combat (obviously, the user has to actually be intending to fire the weapon).
Telescopic sights are the normal magnification sights everyone is familiar with. They reduce long range shooting penalties.Laser sights
can be very beneficial, but they do have their issues. They don't account for influence of the environment on the weapon, but they do effectively tell the user where the weapon is pointing at any given time. With that in mind, I think they should provide a benefit when shooting from the hip or with the Quick Draw rank benefit, but only within the short range category of the weapon. For some times of energy weapons, this could also be extended into the medium range category (such as for lasers and particle beams). They can also be used for target marking.
Electronic sights can be thought of as the futuristic holo sights described in the S*D AEG. These are systems that use holographic cameras and a display a 3D image onto a HUD-style piece, allowing for magnification without needing the user to place their eye against the sight. It is also an option that these systems can duplicate the reflex sight, as well (though you have to choose between range penalty reduction and rapid targeting).
NOTE: A modern holographic sight
is basically the same thing as a reflex sight. While the two operate in a slightly different way, they achieve the same basic goal.
Also, it is possible to add additional capabilities to sight units. This would include making them digital cameras, and also thermal/image intensification and similar abilities. Normally, this is not included in a reflex sight, though it is common on telescopic and electrical sights. Obviously, a laser sight can't be upgraded in such a way, but it could be designed for use with such upgrades (such as using an IR beam rather than visible light).
A perk idea I'm playing around with is the idea of a telescoping weapon. In essence, the weapon is designed not to break apart, but, with the aid of small servos, compress itself down to a smaller size when not in use.
Where I imagine this is for troops who spend considerable time aboard ship. Starships aren't necessarily restricted by weight limits, but volume limits. It also has the potential to make the weapon easier to carry. If you can get a rifle that is one meter long and a quarter of a meter tall to compress down to roughly half a meter long and a tenth of a meter tall, you have saved a lot of space. As such, this is more common for Marine forces and stellar navies than ground armies. It is also popular with private scouts, explorers, and other civilians who value their space.
A quick note, though, is that this is more usable for energy weapons, not ballistic. Ballistic weapons have a lot of moving components that need space to move, so while it is possible to get some space saving, it is much harder. Worse, the weapon's barrel has to contain high pressures, temperatures, and engage the bullet to allow the weapon to remain accurate. As a result, breaks in the barrel caused by telescoping are likely to be fatal flaws.
However, lasers rely on focusing systems within their "barrels", and so don't have to tolerate high pressures. When stowed, the lengths necessary to achieve the distances between the lenses is wasted space, so telescoping can be effectively used. A similar situation is possible for a quantum rifle, where the "barrel" consists of a particle accelerator. As the particles just need to be within the fields generated by the accelerator, the actual distance between the accelerator and the fields doesn't matter quite as much (they don't have to physically engage the particle). As a result, both lasers and particle beams have few if any moving parts, yet their designs have sizes that yield optimum results. When they are not in use, though, that is wasted space, and this can be corrected with the telescoping perk.
Also of note is that this will increase the Hide rating for the weapon, but not necessarily by a lot. Much of that has to do with materials and how big the weapon is. While half a meter in stowed length is great for space saving, it may still not be very easy to hide the weapon on your person.