Lasers

"... one of the surest ways to injure or kill an adversary is to subject him or her to a large dose of kinetic energy; the simplest way to deliver that energy to someone is with bullet impact." Marc Miller: The Traveller Book page 48. 

So we were treated to a number of weapons that would not especially impress our TL 7 selves. 

But then comes TL 8 and we get laser weapons. Again at TL 10, we get laser rifles. Now until ablative armor comes into play last weapons rock (that's a TL and a half, a couple decades?) They cut through cloth armor like butter. They're deadly and accurate and make little sound (yes heating hair will create sound). They are their own tracer rounds, letting you walk the beam towards your target. 

Ablative armor nerfs lasers first. Then reflec armor finishes the job. Refle is to a laser file what battle dress is to rifles. Actually auto rifles ave a better chance to score a hit on BD. I'm not sure if the analogy holds up. 

Yet people still build laser rifles. Why? Lots of reasons. 

First, the universe abounds with alien life. Some of which will eat you. Animals usually don't wear armor. Lasers pack a powerful punch and have 50 or 100 shots. That's way better than a bolt action rifle if you miss. 

Second, known space abounds with backwaters where people never even saw a laser, let alone ablative. You can educate them.

Third, while we are dealing with backwaters, a starting colony or outpost may have trouble supplying ammunition. Bullets require some industry or degree of skill to produce and the end you get -bullets. Bullets serve a singular purpose. Laser require electrical power to 'load'. Electrical power can be generated a variety of ways and serves a variety of functions. Equipping a colony with late weapons can be more efficient. 

Fourth, a society allowing lasers (picture a rough hewn young colony on a word with opportunistic fauna) could restrict reflec or ablative armor to law enforcement. Keep an eye on the imports and you won't have anyone playing Ned Kelly. Your people can walk around armed but still get shut down by a shiny cop.

Fifth, for the anti-social among you, lasers leave very little evidence. There are no spent slugs to check for filing, no casings to analyze for stamping marks or chemical tags in the propellants used. Lasers leave holes. Matching a hole to a laser is a lot harder. However, criminals re-read the previous point.

Sixth, not everyone can afford reflec or wear it at all times. NPCs are much more sensible that your average PC who would sleep in their armor. A laser makes a dandy weapon for sniping or destruction of enemy materials. Does that bot have reflec? The CO's jeep's tires? That crate marked 'Danger! Explosive!'? Are your personnel going to get all their gear on to hit the bathroom in the middle of the night? Is the latrine laser-proof FWIW?

More on weapons

 Coming soon!

 

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