Friday, August 26, 2016

Loaded for Bear - Speciality Ammo for Stars Without Number (or similar Modern or Sci-Fi Old School Games)

I do have a healthy love of science fiction, especially in a space opera environment. There is so much cool stuff to explore and play with. Fantastic technologies, alien races, ancient ruins on lost planets, shooting people with.. uh.. little beams of light?

Confession time. I've never really liked energy weapons. Yeah, melting someone's face off with a plasma gun sounds cool in theory, and some of the more exotic concepts (gravity manipulation, crazy tesla guns) can be pretty interesting, but none of them quite have the same kind of visceral impact as the rapport of a rifle, the smell of burning powder, spent brass flying. I sometimes have similar thoughts about gravcars and the like. Yeah, it can fly, sure.. but does it sound like this?

I didn't think so.

I admit, there's a certain amount of self-interest in this topic. You're talking to a man whose character is the captain of a space vessel capable of traversing the stars - yet carries a single-action revolver. This remains doubly true when one considers the sentimental nature of this character makes it extremely unlikely that he would swap out his sidearm of choice even if I by strange choice found an artifact revolver of similar make. What's a man to do?

Well the thing about good ol' slug throwers is that you can get a lot of variety out of them. Even today, there are nearly as many loads of ammunition as there are calibers to manufacture it in. While that level of granularity would be absurd in a game like this, I thought some variety might spice things up for us old-fashioned types.

Specialty Ammo for Stars Without Number

Broken down by weapon type for which it is available. Unless otherwise noted, assume range is identical to the standard for that weapon. The majority of the following can be produced by TL3 societies, though a few are TL4. Legality of various ammunition at GM's discretion. More exotic ammunition to come later.

Standard: Semi-jacketed or full metal jacket rounds, meant for a variety of situations. Standard per weapon description. TL2, 10 credits for a box of 20.

Hollow Point: round cast with a hollowed end in order to cause maximum deformation and energy transfer to a soft target. Practically useless against hard targets, however. +2 to Damage, but imposes a -2 penalty on any hard armor of AC5 or better. TL3, 20 credits for a box of 20.

Incendiary: round built around a core of phosphorus or other hotly burning chemical compound designed to ignite flammable targets or slag the inside of sensitive electronics from the heat. Any flammable target struck has a 2-in-6 chance to catch flame. If it pierces into something with sensitive circuitry, it has a 1-in-6 chance of slagging from the heat. If fired on burst, it increases by a further 1-in-6 to each. Targets caught on fire continue to take d4 damage per round until put out. TL3, 70 credits for a box of 20.

Manstopper: a heavier grain cartridge often using a higher than normal amount of propellant. It produces a significant jump in the amount of force delivered to a target at the expense of creating heavier recoil. +1 to damage, but burst fire gains no to-hit benefit. Burst fire damage, however, is increased as normal. Shotguns can use this in scattershot loads as well as slugs. TL2, 30 credits for a box of a box of 20.

Penetrator: armor penetrating rounds build around a core of hardened steel, tungsten, or similar material made to defeat body armor at the expense of transferring less kinetic energy to the target. -2 to damage, but treats any TL4 or earlier physical armor as being 2AC worse. Force fields and the like are unaffected. TL3, 30 credits for a box of 20.

Riot: bullets made from rubber or a high-impact gel intended for non-lethal use against civilian targets. Deals nonlethal damage, deals no damage against a natural AC5 or better. TL3, 10 credits for a box of 20.

Safeties: highly frangible rounds intended to completely fragment on impact with a soft target. Safeties are used in a number of delicate combat conditions in order to minimize danger to bystanders through ricochets or over-penetration of a target, and to prevent damage to sensitive or pressurized environments, such as aboard a space station or ship. Deals normal damage, but does no damage at all against a natural AC5 or better. Shotguns can also use these as breacher rounds to blow out mechanical locks at point-blank range. TL3, 20 credits for a box of 20.

Shotguns Only
Shotguns can also use any of the above ammunition, but only in the slug format unless otherwise noted. 

Birdshot: a scattershot load of lighter but more numerous pellets with a wider spread pattern, generally used for fowling or hunting other small game. +2 to hit, but damage is reduced to 2d4. TL2, 10 credits for a box of 20.

Caustic: biochemical slug with an acidic payload. Target takes d6 damage from the initial impact, but the acid will continue to burn into the target for d3 damage each round until it is either neutralized, or the affected surfaces are removed. TL4, 60 credits for a box of 3.

EMP: short-range slug that houses releases an electromagnetic discharge on impact. Uses scattershot ranges despite being a slug. Does d6 damage on impact, but has a 3-in-6 chance of slagging anything electronic it hits (including power armor). Specially shielded electronics reduce this to 1-in-6. TL4, 300 credits for a box of 3.

Flare: a standard thermal flare built around a shotgun cartridge. Uses the scatter-shot range despite being a slug. Mostly used as a signaling device, though it will provide dim illumination in a 50m radius along its path. If used as an attack, it does 1d6 damage at a -2 to hit. TL3, 30 credits for a box of 3.

Grenade: a miniature grenade that fires like a slug to project its payload over long distances. Roll all attacks against as though the target had a base AC9 (dex will improve this as normal). Force fields retain their AC as normal. On a miss, figure out what's behind the target as the thing will go off somewhere. On a hit, it has an effect as follows:
  • Explosive: a miniaturized grenade. Explodes for 3d4 damage against the target struck. Anyone within 5m makes a Luck save or takes 2d4 damage. TL3, 90 credits for a box of 3.
  • Flash-bang: an nonlethal explosive that blinds and deafens anyone within a 5m area. Target struck takes d4 damage from the impact. Everyone takes a Luck save or is blinded/deafened for 1 round and takes a -1 to all rolls for d3 rounds following. TL3, 75 credits for a box of 3.
  • Gas: A gas canister that releases its payload on impact. Target makes a Physical save or succumbs to the effect. Generally used for tear gas, though more nefarious compounds may be used if one can acquire them. TL3, 75 credits for a box of 3.
  • Incendiary: pyrotechnic payload that detonates and ignites on impact. Target hit is set alight for 3d4 damage. Anyone in the 5m splash zone is hit for 2d4 damage. All targets can take a luck save for half damage. The entire area is set alight for d4 rounds while the chemicals burn themselves out. Characters who remain in the area suffer an additional d4 damage per round. TL4, 90 credits for a box of 3.
  • Shredder: anti-personnel fragmentation grenade that sends a cloud of razor-edged shrapnel in every direction. Everyone within a 5m area of the impact point takes a Luck save, with the damage for failure depending on their unmodified AC. 3d6 vs AC6 or worse, 2d4 to anyone with better armor. TL3, 90 credits for a box of 3.
Hellfoam: a frangible slug filled with a chemical payload that reacts with oxygen on impact, rapidly expanding into a thick, sticky foam that covers the target and nearby surfaces. After but a few seconds, this foam hardens into a thick rubber, making normal movement almost impossible and potentially gluing them to their surroundings. Deals no damage, but attacks as though the target had a natural AC of 9. Dexterity modifies as normal. Fields are unaffected by this effect. Target makes a Luck save. On a failure, the target takes a -1 penalty to all actions the following round. If they do anything other than spend that round scraping the goo off of them, the following round will be a -3 penalty. If they are still covered in goo on the third round it hardens, encasing them in a stiff foam rubber until either a solvent is applied or they are carefully (and potentially painfully) cut out of the material. TL4, 60 credits for a box of 3.

Lawful Compliance: short-ranged slug that is little more than a flying taser, delivering maximum voltage at range. Uses scattershot range despite being a slug. Does 1d8 nonlethal damage. Mechanical/electronic targets struck have a 1-in-6 chance of being shorted by the discharge. TL3, 150 credits for a box of 3.

Peppershot: a load of frangible ball rounds filled with powdered chemical irritants that aerosolize on impact, potentially disabling a single target without risk of injury. Fires against an base AC9, though dexterity modifies this as normal. If the character's eyes, nose, or mouth are exposed to the elements, they make an immediate Physical save. On a success, they roll a d3, which indicates the penalty they will take to any rolls that round. The penalty will reduce by 1 each round until it disappears. On a failure, the target is overwhelmed by the effect and can do nothing for d3 rounds, after which they may proceed as though they had succeeded on the roll.  TL3, 15 credits for a box of 3. 

Sabot: solid slug in a case that helps impart spin to a projectile, giving a more rifle-like range and accuracy to a shotgun slug. Uses slug damage, but extends the weapon's effective range to 50/100m. TL3, 40 credits for a box of 20. 

Shrapnel: A scattershot load of razor-tipped flechette rounds that fulfills a similar role to hollow point rounds. Perfect for turning someone into hamburger but significantly disadvantaged against hard targets. +2 to Damage, but imposes a -2 penalty on any hard armor of AC5 or better. TL3, 15 credits for a box of 3.

Volcanic: a scattershot load that replaces the standard pellets with some kind of high-energy pyrotechnic load. No attack roll required. Instead, the target makes an Evasion save to avoid the ridiculous gout of flame. If they fail, they take 3d4 damage as normal, but anything flammable on them automatically catches fire and continues burning for d4 damage per round until put out. TL3, 30 credits for a box of 3.

UPDATE: Changed quantities/prices around a bit. While I initially had everything listed in boxes of 20 simply because the original game listed ammunition in quantities of 20, I wanted a bit more scarcity involved. That, and I was chastised about specialty shotgun ammunition coming in boxes of 3. Fine. I'm fixing it. After a bit of research, I also realized how ridiculously under-priced some of these were compared to their real-world equivalent (and arguably, their power level), so prices have been adjusted.

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