Hi-Tech Weapons and Weapon Modifications

Derek Holland

When writing the four issues of "Wisdom from the Wastelands" on robots, I got a little carried away with the weapons section and many had to be cut because of issue length. Here are the cut weapons or weapon modifications plus a few additional ideas for military robots that were cut from Wisdom from the Wastelands #19.

Death Ray

Death rays are blaster cannons that fire beams able to disintegrate everything in their path. The beam width and maximum range depend on the robot type mounting the system, but everything that blocks the beam must save versus death. A successful save means the target takes the damage listed, rather than being immediately disintegrated--which happens to those who fail their save. If the target fails its save, or makes its save but is killed by the damage, the beam continues on, until it reaches its maximum range or hits a target which makes its save and survives the damage.

Fusion Ray

The robot can inflict the fused flesh mutation from the Skirmisher Publishing LLC book Creatures of the Wastelands. This means the target's eyelids, lips, fingers, toes, and possible other parts are fused to other body parts. To undo this requires damage (usually 3d6 to 6d6 points depending on the strength of the ray), and puts the target into such agony that it cannot do anything requiring thought.

Kinetic

One or more of the robot's weapons causes the targets to be knocked prone or away (which inflicts falling damage). A save versus energy weapons keeps the target upright and in place. Many military bots impose a penalty to the save.

Matter Mirror

This field warps space and reflects incoming objects as though they were light bouncing off a mirror. Some robots are even able to aim the object--including directly back toward its source. Others just reflect the object into the ground. Some machines have such a potent version of this weapon that they can project this field and control the battlefield by changing the direction of enemy troops and robots.

Mineralization Ray

This weapon allows a robot to turn flesh into stone. A save versus death means the target only takes some damage, as small parts are changed, rather than the whole entity. Variants of this device transform the target into water, air, specific minerals, metals, or useful chemicals.

Mutation Ray

The robot can cause a target to spontaneously develop mutations or drawbacks. With some robots these mutations or drawbacks are specific, while in others they are random. Multiple strikes may or may not cause additional mutation.

Pacification Field

Used by riot police bots and slave takers (see Wisdom from the Wastelands issue #18, "Robots 3"), this field forces all creatures within it to save versus stun or fall unconscious.

Phase Mine

The robot can use a phasing effect to place explosives within objects and creatures. The field lasts for a limited time and when it fails, or the object is destroyed, the mine explodes.

Phase Rocket

These mini-missiles use all the rules found in the Mutant Future core book (page 121). Using a quick phasing effect, they pass through obstacles up to 10' thick to hit targets. Each rocket has a small computer the robot programs with the target's characteristics.

Phase Screen

This field allows the robot to pass through solid objects. This takes an enormous amount of energy--much more than a charge screen or matter mirror field--so it can not be active for very long even in the most powerful military robots. If the screen fails or is turned off while the robot is within another object or creature, both are destroyed (no save).

Reprogram

The robot can assume control over other machines. There must be some form of contact (such as cables) and the target machine may save versus death to avoid being reprogrammed.

Roar

The robot makes so much noise that opponents may be distracted if they fail a save versus stun. Victims suffer a penalty to their attack rolls and armor class until the robot leaves or stops functioning.

Shatter Ray

This weapon is a ranged version of the shock claw, a ray that vibrates whatever is hit into small pieces. If used against soil or loose stone, it can form a pit of quicksand.

Shock Claw

Shock claws are vibration weapons. They grab a target and shake so hard that part of the target is ripped off. Damage is usually two to five times that of a normal claw.

Slave Ray

Any creature hit by this ray and failing a save versus stun will be "charmed." The victim must obey the robot to the best of its abilities, even if the action means its death. Some robots can only affect certain kinds of life forms (e.g., reptiles, invertebrates, uplifts, synthetic androids).

Stasis Ray

For those hit by this weapon time effectively stops; they must save versus death or be immobilized. This effect also prevents targets from using mental mutations.

Stasis Bomb

This is a rather expensive method of insuring that an explosive will not go off before its set detonation. There is no way to pre-detonate the bomb, or disarm it, as it is inaccessible within a stasis field.

Warp Field

Anything touching this field is teleported 100 miles away. Some police bots have a specific location (jail) and some military bots can send the object to several places at once (save versus death or die in pieces).

How could a military robot modify the battlefield to its advantage? This is a subject that, as far as I know, has not been touched in Gamma World or Mutant Future. Here are some weapons and accessories that help the machine offensively and defensively by making some alteration to the landscape:

Laser fences and force screen projectors are handy if the robot has time to set up an ambush. Both use drones or remotes (the latter do not move) and have a limited lifespan as both need a lot of power. Those touching a laser fence need to make a save versus death. A success means the victim only takes 6d6 points of damage. Failure means the body part is lost, 10d6 points of damage and potential death from the lost part. Force screens are simply indestructable and touching one results in no harm other than possible falling damage.

Spy drones and remotes are vital for machines and living combatants. They usually cover the landscape to find any possible enemy movement. The master robots are impossible to suprise as long as the drones or remotes are working correctly (see issue 4 for possible problems under How Technology Condition Affects Robots).

Digging drones and rays allow the machine to move or remove soil and stone. A fort of dirt or hiding in a pit may sound silly but it can save the machine from weaker weapons and help point out where the enemy is. And some build many forts or pits to confuse the enemy.

Hologram drones are nasty little robots that not only change the appearance of the battlefield, but can also act as mines. They don't explode, but rather are armed with a laser or plasma pistol and fire only when the enemy is within 5 or 10 feet. Some use their holograms to appear as people, EMAs or other machines to draw fire off of the actual military bots whereas others add features to the landscape that are visible only to the enemy (i.e. the drone's allies can see through the holograms with sensors or goggles). Hologram drones still cover fields and kill many people and creatures.

I was considering a physics manipulator, but changing the value of E, pi or the golden ratio may end up destroying the universe by causing rips in reality. That and I have no idea what the heck the result would be.

A matter projector is much easier to deal with. It is based on the spells Minor/Major Creation (as I mentioned in the first androids mutations list) and creates imaginary or virtual matter that is just as tough as the real thing. It can be used to make weapons, explosives, armor, other robots and anything else you can imagine. The advantage and downside of the projector is that when it is turned off, the matter vanishes. A remora that can provide this accessory could cause wars between military bases as both sides would be willing to do anything to get it.