Hard(er) Science: Hand Held Weapons

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
mr31337
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Hard(er) Science: Hand Held Weapons

Postby mr31337 » Wed Dec 19, 2012 12:59 am

I'm looking through the CSC and wondering what will be possible and which weapons are just a pure flight of fantasy.

So far I've just started looking at sonic stunners and lasers. Yes I know about LRAD, but they don't 'knock you out', research I've seen suggests best they will ever do is upset folk and want them to move away etc.

My partner took her docterate in laser and atomic physics and just smiles at me when I ask if a hand held laser would ever be possible, she says "Sure... if you can power it".

Which other weapons just won't be possible?
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Re: Hard(er) Science: Hand Held Weapons

Postby F33D » Wed Dec 19, 2012 1:22 am

mr31337 wrote:
Which other weapons just won't be possible?
Sonic stunners, FGMP would be 2 I can think of.
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Re: Hard(er) Science: Hand Held Weapons

Postby mr31337 » Wed Dec 19, 2012 2:53 am

F33D wrote:
mr31337 wrote:
Which other weapons just won't be possible?
Sonic stunners, FGMP would be 2 I can think of.
I concur. Anybody got any others?
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Re: Hard(er) Science: Hand Held Weapons

Postby Dave Chase » Wed Dec 19, 2012 5:05 am

Just how do you see that sonic stunners are not a possible weapon of use?

Or are you trying to say, that you don't see them as a small handheld (size of a pistol) device?

If you showed a cermaric pistol to someone in the eighteen hundreds, they would not believe it could work, yet they do in today's tech (knowledge).

Sonic stunners are being tested (have been along with several other mass control items by the military and government) with some limited success. What would 2 or more TL in advance be able to produce.

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Re: Hard(er) Science: Hand Held Weapons

Postby rust » Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:26 am

F33D wrote: Sonic stunners ...
This would depend a lot on the environment where they
are used, they would most probably work fine in dense
atmospheres and underwater.
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Re: Hard(er) Science: Hand Held Weapons

Postby mr31337 » Wed Dec 19, 2012 11:40 am

The research that I've seen into sonic weapons the effect won't be able to make you instantly unconscious (in earthlike atmosphere or vacuum) when fired in short 'shots', but may have many other useful applications like the LRAD. Every possible frequencey has been 'fired' in every manner of ways at human subjects, and they just don't fall asleep.
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Re: Hard(er) Science: Hand Held Weapons

Postby rust » Wed Dec 19, 2012 12:15 pm

mr31337 wrote: Every possible frequencey has been 'fired' in every manner of ways at human subjects, and they just don't fall asleep.
Yes, for a real world sonic stunner the "stun" would be
temporary disorientation (dizziness, etc.), not sleep.
In experiments with animals high power sonic weapons
caused minor brain damage, but this is far beyond the
capacity of any plausible hand weapon.
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Re: Hard(er) Science: Hand Held Weapons

Postby Faelan Niall » Wed Dec 19, 2012 1:32 pm

I am far more likely to believe that what may be unlikely, even impossible today, may very well be childs play in 100-200 years. Just because you can't see a way to do it now does not make it impossible. Just because "physics" says it can't be done does not mean the rules won't change as we learn more. If you want to speculate on a near future hard science setting then this makes sense, otherwise my opinion is that there are no limits, only problems to be solved.
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Re: Hard(er) Science: Hand Held Weapons

Postby Dave Chase » Wed Dec 19, 2012 2:35 pm

mr31337 wrote:The research that I've seen into sonic weapons the effect won't be able to make you instantly unconscious (in earthlike atmosphere or vacuum) when fired in short 'shots', but may have many other useful applications like the LRAD. Every possible frequencey has been 'fired' in every manner of ways at human subjects, and they just don't fall asleep.
LOL, I am sorry, you said sonic stunner not sonic 'make you sleep' gun.

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Re: Hard(er) Science: Hand Held Weapons

Postby F33D » Wed Dec 19, 2012 3:14 pm

Faelan Niall wrote:I am far more likely to believe that what may be unlikely, even impossible today, may very well be childs play in 100-200 years. Just because you can't see a way to do it now does not make it impossible. Just because "physics"
Naw. Sound waves are very finite. Pretty well taped. So, probably not ever. But, brain wave research will probably yield an EM type stunner.
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Re: Hard(er) Science: Hand Held Weapons

Postby rust » Wed Dec 19, 2012 4:27 pm

On second thoughts, there is a sonic weapon that can
and often does put people to sleep, although there is
currently no hand held version. That weapon is called
"opera". 8)
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Re: Hard(er) Science: Hand Held Weapons

Postby mr31337 » Wed Dec 19, 2012 4:43 pm

rust wrote:On second thoughts, there is a sonic weapon that can
and often does put people to sleep, although there is
currently no hand held version. That weapon is called
"opera". 8)
I have heard of this 'opera'; in fact an even more dangerous weapon exists called "Enya", first you will vomit and then you will fall into a coma. :P
----

So what about (in the CSC) cryo, fusion & plasma weapons? I haven't really looked at how Mongoose describes them too much yet, but on the surface of it I'm leaning towards the not possible. What say the community?
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Re: Hard(er) Science: Hand Held Weapons

Postby mr31337 » Wed Dec 19, 2012 4:44 pm

Dave Chase wrote:LOL, I am sorry, you said sonic stunner not sonic 'make you sleep' gun.
I don't make the names up Dave! I could do, but they'd have to pay me! :mrgreen:
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Re: Hard(er) Science: Hand Held Weapons

Postby rust » Wed Dec 19, 2012 5:22 pm

mr31337 wrote:
So what about (in the CSC) cryo, fusion & plasma weapons?
I try to keep my settings comparatively "hard" science fiction,
and after a closer look at all of the typical space opera weapons
I finally decided that hand held energy weapons cannot exist in
my current settings. Besides, I do not see a real need for them,
advanced (and fully plausible) projectile weapons can do the job
perfectly well.
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Re: Hard(er) Science: Hand Held Weapons

Postby GamingGlen » Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:41 pm

rust wrote:
mr31337 wrote:
So what about (in the CSC) cryo, fusion & plasma weapons?
I try to keep my settings comparatively "hard" science fiction,
and after a closer look at all of the typical space opera weapons
I finally decided that hand held energy weapons cannot exist in
my current settings. Besides, I do not see a real need for them,
advanced (and fully plausible) projectile weapons can do the job
perfectly well.
But they aren't as cool as blasters. :D
Glen
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Re: Hard(er) Science: Hand Held Weapons

Postby dragoner » Wed Dec 19, 2012 8:28 pm

mr31337 wrote:
My partner took her docterate in laser and atomic physics and just smiles at me when I ask if a hand held laser would ever be possible, she says "Sure... if you can power it".
Which is the same basic problem with gauss weapons as well.

The trav universe is 3600 years in the future, so from an engineer's standpoint, the tech changes are rather "huh" or unknown. The only weapon I know that, probably wouldn't work as described is the PGMP/FGMP; but still the caveat remains of it being the far future.

In many ways, trav is actually too conservative with technology, such as anti-matter for example.
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Re: Hard(er) Science: Hand Held Weapons

Postby Zen Infidel » Thu Dec 20, 2012 2:56 am

mr31337 wrote:My partner took her docterate in laser and atomic physics and just smiles at me when I ask if a hand held laser would ever be possible, she says "Sure... if you can power it"
To be fair though, the lasers in Traveller are attached to a power source you wear. So, in a sense, they have accounted for this fact.
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Re: Hard(er) Science: Hand Held Weapons

Postby Lemnoc » Thu Dec 20, 2012 3:54 am

rust wrote:I try to keep my settings comparatively "hard" science fiction,
and after a closer look at all of the typical space opera weapons
I finally decided that hand held energy weapons cannot exist in
my current settings. Besides, I do not see a real need for them,
advanced (and fully plausible) projectile weapons can do the job
perfectly well.
This is pretty much where I am, as well. For the stopping power vs. low cost, you really can't surpass bullets. A laser might be lethal, but I really don't see it putting someone down like the hydrostatic shock delivered by a slug thrower. And they operate for peanuts. IIRC, Miller et al essentially confessed to this in the OTBB.

Just for the sake of the exotic, I also allow the weapons from Minority Report because my understanding is those were extrapolative and plausible. Seems weapons of this kind would be standard issue on starships when you really don't want projectiles clattering and shattering around.
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Re: Hard(er) Science: Hand Held Weapons

Postby mr31337 » Thu Dec 20, 2012 12:03 pm

Zen Infidel wrote:
mr31337 wrote:My partner took her docterate in laser and atomic physics and just smiles at me when I ask if a hand held laser would ever be possible, she says "Sure... if you can power it"
To be fair though, the lasers in Traveller are attached to a power source you wear. So, in a sense, they have accounted for this fact.
Yeah maybe. Although there is a finite limit on the number of electrons you can get in any given volume the real issue concerning how much juice you need is more to do with the cavity finese of the laser.

I think we can all agree that some weapons would almost certainly be around and some just won't exist, however lasers remain a bit of a grey area. For my own 3rd Imperium campaigns I wouldn't automatically exclude lasers. If it was any other hard science setting I would prefer not to see them.
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Re: Hard(er) Science: Hand Held Weapons

Postby mr31337 » Thu Dec 20, 2012 12:24 pm

Lemnoc wrote:This is pretty much where I am, as well. For the stopping power vs. low cost, you really can't surpass bullets. A laser might be lethal, but I really don't see it putting someone down like the hydrostatic shock delivered by a slug thrower. And they operate for peanuts. IIRC, Miller et al essentially confessed to this in the OTBB.

Just for the sake of the exotic, I also allow the weapons from Minority Report because my understanding is those were extrapolative and plausible. Seems weapons of this kind would be standard issue on starships when you really don't want projectiles clattering and shattering around.
I am in agreement with you on cost and practicality etc, but it is quite possible for ruby lasers of today to cause water (80% of people) to react in a violently explosive fashion. There is no question of the seriously impressive potential lethality of lasers, it wouldn't just be neat little cauterized wounds.

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