Thursday, April 16, 2015

N Is for Neuro Lash

Neuro lashes have recently gained in popularity in the Leonis Expanse and even among mercenaries in the local Bubble and Polaris Loop. Their appeal is simple. Most organisms have an aversion to excruciating pain allowing a lasher to intimidate or motivate reluctant minions to higher efforts. The second part of the appeal is that it is fairly hard to cause actual physical damage to a person being lashed.

A drawback to Terran hand stunners is that they do not intimidate. Being put to sleep painlessly does not deter most hard cases from making a run at the stunner’s operator. A recent equipment overhaul resulted in new stunners being built into sturdy clubs to keep assailants at bay combining the highest and lowest weapons technology in one device.

Most neuro lashes feature a 20 cm handle with an on switch and safety. The whip itself is coiled when not in use and worn in a holster on the hip. To ready it the user unclips the whip, uncoils it and hits the on switch. This instantly energizes the neuro effect along the conductive whip surface. It is strongly suggested the whip be unholstered before turning it on. To quote one user, “After you flip that switch Mr. Whip is no one’s friend.”

Most whips are 3-4 meters long and designed for fast use. Without the field activated they do little more than sting uncovered skin. With the field activated it’s a different story.

The neuro field temporarily causes nerves it comes in close proximity with to fire uncontrollably. The nerves remain highly sensitive for several minutes after in some victims. The whip will affect nerves within a 5-10 millimeters and physical contact is not necessary. Clothing and most armor does not affect a whip though heavy hides, parkas and thick skin may reduce its effect.

Most humanoid life finds itself helpless and contorting in agony when in contact with the whip. Victims have described it as being skinned alive or set on fire. Nearly every hit by a whip is stunned for several seconds. 

Skilled users can reduce the amount and time of contact to paralyze a limb or cause a target to drop an object they are holding. Some victims struck in the head report hearing voices or seeing visions. A head hit can cause brief bouts of amnesia and almost always result in unconsciousness.

Possession of and assault with a neuro lash carries harsh punishments on Confederation worlds. It sees very limited use with the Fleet. Security troops assigned to engine rooms, weapon batteries and mass driver launch systems are exposed to intense magnetic fields that interfere with beam pistol and rifle workings. Projectile weapons can have explosive results so neuro lashes are allowed in these limited areas.

OSR Stats
A neuro lash does 1-2 points of damage. A person struck by the lash must roll a save vs. Stun or Pralysis or lose their next attack/action. A user may attempt to make a called shot at -4 to hit a target’s hand to disarm. On a critical hit (a natural 20) the victim is rendered unconscious for 1-6 rounds unless they make a save. Armor with less than a +2 to AC does not count against attacks with the lash.

Robots and some exotic aliens (silicoids for example) may be immune to the lash’s effects. 

The price and weight of a neuro lash is comparable to a standard energy pistol. Black market models may be 5 times base price.