[MS] Design Goals – Abstraction & Energy Weapon Profiles

Coming off the heels of the Grenades post I thought it would be a good time to talk more about weapon profiles, this post will be covering Energy weapons like beam rifles, lasers and plasma casters.

One of the core Design Pillars of MechaStellar is to offer a rules set you can use with Mecha from many different series. While having many different versions of a weapon can be fun we wanted to avoid having a weapon list spanning 50+ entries to cover every possible weapon from every Mech series. In summary we leaned more towards abstraction rather than granularity and grouped weapons into distinct profiles.

Here are the current profiles for Energy Weapons.

  1. Rapid Fire Energy Weapon
  2. Close Energy Weapon
  3. Standard Energy Weapon
  4. Hi-Power Energy Weapon
  5. Energy Cannon
  6. Death Ray

Energy weapons are a staple of the Mecha genre, in many cases they are superior to conventional arms while in some universes there are considerable drawbacks such as energy requirements or heat buildup with the extreme of both shown in Evangelion when Unit 1 has to snipe an enemy Angel using all the electrical power of Tokyo.

When it came to energy weapons we finally consolidated weapons into the 6 you see above, three for standard type weaponry, one for a rapid fire weapon, and two for heavy duty weapons. For the standard weapons of 2-3-4 this could easily be Small / Medium / Large lasers or it could be Beam Pistol / Beam Rifle / Hi-Power Beam Rifle. In the case of Gundam the design paradigm is that Hi-Power Beam Rifle is typically reserved for hero units like a Gundam or Hyaku Shiki. In Armored Core the hi-powered weapon would be the iconic Karasawa energy weapon.

Karasawa Energy Weapon – Armored Core

Energy Cannon can be a beam cannon, particle cannon or plasma cannon. In the Pacific Rim universe you could call these Plasma Casters seen on Gipsy Danger, effective weapon for blasting into Kaiju and cauterizing the wound before the kaiju blood causes any collateral damage. Striker Eureka is mentioned as having a special rapid firing plasma caster so you could use the rapid-fire weapon profile for those. In Gundam that will be your standard beam machine gun first mass produced on the Geara Doga. It could also be used to represent the Phalanx weapon Jehuty has in Zone of the Enders.

Plasma Caster – Gipsy Danger

Lastly we have the Death Ray. This is meant to present the massive megaparticle cannon seen on the Big Zam or Dendrobium Orchis. It can also be used for the iconic buster rifle from Gundam Wing or the potent Halberd weapon Jehuty has in Zone of the Enders. The Death Ray spots the highest penetration (PEN) in the game and it is also an AOE weapon so it can cause widespread devastation.

You can add some granularity to these weapons by adjusting the weapon profile by spending an equipment slot on Weapon Upgrade or Prototype Weapon. Typically this is only done for very unique weapons. For instance you might decide that the long barrel on the GP04 Geberera’s beam rifle should have a longer range. Or you may decide that the Death Ray on this unit is particularly powerful and so increase its damage.

One last option to consider is using Twin-Link (TL) mechanic to represent a non-standard weapon. In Gundam it is extremely common to see twin-linked cannons such as the ballistic cannons on the Guncannon or the beam cannons on the GM Cannon II from 0083 a star-dust memory. The effects of Twin-Link have varied greatly depending on the edition but in the current rules Twin-Link improves the shots of a weapon but requires one additional equipment slot.

We have also used the Twin-Link profile very large and potent weapons, for instance the Hyper Mega Launcher of Zeta gundam is an extremely large two handed weapon, we choose to represent that by using the twin-link profile of a beam cannon. Not all two-handed weapons should go this route, only very large and cumbersome ones.

That’s enough for now on Shooting weapon profiles. Hope you enjoyed reading.

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