Ultratech Equipment Introduction
I have been running quite a few Ultratech games as of late. Soon I will be adding a Warhammer 40K to the mix. As I play in these futuristic campaign, I find Ultratech equipment which doesn’t seem to make sense. I have also found some objects that are simply missing from the vast array of catalog items. The future is likely to expand in ways nobody could foresee. Even some equipment we’ve invented recently wasn’t found in any sci-fi medium I’ve seen. Since Ultratech was written in 2007, there is certainly going to be missing concepts. I think the book does a wonderful job as a whole. This becomes even clearer as Pyramid releases Tech and Toys articles.
Even so, a player at my table will always ask for something I can’t find in any book. There are also inconsistencies and similar problems which I have to correct. I will be sharing this equipment with others. Perhaps they will find use in your Ultratech campaigns.
Ultratech Equipment – Shields
Anyone who has played in Ultratech knows guns can be deadly. A lot of tactics is moving from cover to cover, or praying to dice gods that you dodge the Blaster fire. While it is possible to stack so much DR your character becomes a mobile tank, it hardly makes sense for a police force to be equipped with 80,000$ power suits for everyone.
When people think of shields they think of fantasy-style shields and riot shields. Few people realize that shields are used quite frequently in the modern world. Bomb squads use them, SWAT uses them, and I’m sure they even see military use. The idea that you can carry your cover with you is a potent tactical advantage.
The only shield in all of Ultratech is a transparent Riot Shield on P.188. Useless against lasers makes it useless for a lot of armed combat.
Thanks to Armor Design articles and help from Shawn Fisher, I was able to come up with the tailor values for creating shields. These figures are based on measurements of shields historical and modern, then rounded to fit well with tailoring rules (See Ultratech P.175 for the Coverage Table). The window is for tactical shields which often include windows. These values can also be used for other purposes beyond tactical shields. Warhammer 40K is littered with shields.
Buckler = 0.0625
Medium Shield = 0.25
Large Shield = 0.375
Large Shield Window = 0.025
With these measurements we simply use the rules for determining object hit points. The table below are example Ultratech shields which can be used. They are based off the materials used for Clamshell armor.
|Shields||DR||Hit Points||Defense Bonus||Weight||Cost|
|Buckler||30||12 HP||1 DB||3||150$|
|Medium Shield||30||19 HP||2 DB||12||600$|
|Large Shield||30||21 HP||3 DB||18||900$|
Multiply DR by 1.5 for TL10 and 2x for TL11.
Ultratech Equipment – HEMP Warheads
Shaped charges are something that doesn’t seem to be handled in GURPS quite well for my liking. If you don’t know what a shaped explosion is, Wikipedia has you covered. I’m not a physicist, but in general the idea is shaped explosions require a certain caliber of ammunition to work. In TL10 HEMP is created which means they found a way.
The problem is HEMP ammunition is over inflated for damage. The idea that you can take the same explosion from HE ammunition, shape the explosion, and cause more damage than possible by the original explosion is ludicrous. To make it even more odd, it makes other ammunition utterly useless. In fact, HE ammunition is counted among the useless. This is strange since HEMP and HE are based on the same explosive, except one is shaped.
10mm ammunition is where it shows the worst. I know many of you may have never seen a gun to understand the reference point, so I included an image of 10mm next to it’s pistol to show scale. That orange part in the middle of the bullet is what flies at someone. When stuffed with explosives it does 1d damage (1d + 1 at TL10 because the explosives are better). However, if you take that same explosive and shape it, suddenly that 1d explosive becomes 8d (5) imp inc? And STILL has the 1d+1 follow up explosion?
You might say “The explosion is focused so it’s transferring more of it’s energy to one spot like shaped charge should!” And in that sense you are correct. However, you can’t get more energy out of an explosion than the explosion has to begin with. If you had a bullet inside you and it just exploded, you’d take 3d+3 damage. Why then does shaping it give it twice the power? Still have power for follow up, and armor penetration?
It seems like designers felt it should be very good at penetrating armor, which is true, but when that penetration hits bare flesh it gets cartoony for the amount of damage. Someone, who is unarmored, will take 56 damage on average (96 possible). That doesn’t include the explosion that follows. This also isn’t hitting vitals! Essentially that amount of damage means that tiny bullet in that image would carve a giant chunk out of a person to the point nobody should live through it. And if the bullet goes in, the explosion following counts as internal so another 3d6 damage. If the person shoots vitals it now averages 90 damage. We are encroaching upon a person so badly injured that you’ll be struggling to identify what’s left of him. All this from one bullet 10mm in size fired from a pistol.
Given these problems with the ammunition, and how much my players really wanted to take it over everything else, I decided to do some research and figure out what would be more in line with GURPS. B.414 explains how shaped charges should work in GURPS. High Tech seems to follow this model as well but expand upon it. I decided to use High Tech’s method. It may not be perfect, but we’re in a simulator of reality, not an emulator. So I am fine with just adding armor divisor to HE ammunition and being done with it. Below I present the redesigned HEMP ammunition.
|10mm||1d+1 (10) cr + linked 1d+1 [1d-2] cr ex|
|15mm||2d+2 (10) cr + linked 2d+2 [1d-1] cr ex|
|18.5mm||3d (10) cr + linked 3d [1d] cr ex|
|25mm||5d (10) cr + linked 5d [1d+1] cr ex|
|40mm||5dx2 (10) cr + linked 5dx2 [2d] cr ex|
|64mm||5dx4 (10) cr + linked 5dx4 [3d] cr ex|
|100mm||6dx6 (10) cr + linked 6dx6 [5d] cr ex|
Damage in brackets is cutting fragmentation damage. Triple CPS. LC1.
Ultratech Equipment – Force Swords
While force swords are covered in Ultratech with decent statistics, we can certainly add to the list with our own incarnations.
Laser Swords (TL 10^)
Sometimes it just takes imagination to create new ultratech equipment (Let’s face it, most of it is imagination). With discovery of photon molecules why not allow laser swords as a precursor to particle blades? Since I am making large assumptions here (based off science I poorly understand) this will be considered super-science. These blades may not even be possible, but that won’t stop the creation of their statistics.
Laser swords focus photon molecules into a blade-like structure with intense heat. The blades are not solid and therefore do not count as a solid parrying surface. However, parry attempts can be made and any object parried by the blade takes the damage listed for the blade. When parrying roll damage against the parried object. If it fails to destroy the object, injure as usual. C/300 seconds. LC3.
|Laser Sword||6d(2) burn||1, 2||0||$5,000||2||3|
Dark Force Sword (TL 12^)
What does Dark Matter do? Other than baffle people, who knows? Maybe some physicist can shed light for this article. In the mean time, since I am writing the article, we’ll just say Dark Matter just does the job of being utterly cool. Dark Energy and Dark Matter come together to give us the spooky Dark Force Sword. In this universe Dark Matter weapons have the ability to annihilate matter. Sure, it sounds like Anti-Matter, but this just gobbles up matter!
Dark Force Swords focus a blade of pure dark energy. The blade appears as a solid black silhouette as even light is destroyed by the blade. The blade may parry or collide with anything made of special shielding or dark matter. Everything else it passes through, destroying in it’s wake. When parrying roll damage against the parried object. If it fails to destroy the object, injure as usual. C/300 seconds. LC2.
|Dark Force Sword||5dx2(100) cut||1, 2||0||$30,000||2||3|
I’ll be doing more of these articles as I am inspired or create tech for my games. As usual, feedback is always welcome.