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Advanced Lasers: TL-13 Laser Weapons for MegaTraveller and Striker

An edited-down version of this article originally appeared in Challenge #65; this version from the May/June 2019 issue is a lightly-edited version of the (unacknowledged) 2008 pre-magazine posting.

To many, the weapon most associated with high-tech civilizations is the personal energy weapon, usually a laser. In Traveller, laser small arms are introduced at TL-9, and are given a major upgrade at TL-13.

Besides the improvements listed in Megatraveller (such as firing beams of X-rays instead of visible/ near-UV light), TL-13 lasers incorporate several other features which make them more competitive. A TL-13 laser is less fragile than a TL-9 model, though still not quite as rugged as a conventional firearm. They also incorporate a modular solid-state construction with common power feed protocols, which allow power packs to interchange between various sizes of weapon.

However, nothing is mentioned about lasers intermediate between small arms and auto-cannon size—the size range used for infantry support weapons and Battle Dress. Under the existing firearms lists, only High Energy Weapons (the PGMP- and FGMP-series)—with their high-signature handicap—are available in this size and power range.

The following TL-13 laser weapons fill this size gap, allowing a variety of zero-g support weapons and low-signature Battle Dress energy weapons. Except for the grav-assist harness, volume in liters equals weight in kg.

Heavy Laser Rifle

The Heavy Laser Rifle is an oversized laser rifle intended for use by Battle Dress. Non-powered troops use it as a support weapon (like a laser Light Assault Gun or heavy sniper rifle), fired from an integral bipod.

Heavy Laser Rifle-13: TL-13, 17.6kg, Cr16000. Uses TL-13 Laser Rifle, PGMP-13/14, or FGMP-14/15 power pack.

Tripod Lasers

Tripod lasers are essentially laser machineguns, formed by ganging four carbine or rifle-size lasers together into a Gatling-style arrangement. Each laser “barrel” fires once in a four-shot burst; the complete weapon is about the size and weight of a heavy machinegun.

The first tripod lasers appear at Tech Level 9; because of their expense and fragile construction when compared to conventional firearms, they see only limited production and use—mostly in Zero-G applications where their lack of recoil offsets their limited effectiveness.

By Tech Level 13, both light and heavy tripod lasers come into use, primarily for Battle Dress (as a low-signature complement for the PGMP and FGMP) and as vehicular-mounted support weapons. In the latter role, they provide high-penetration “machineguns” that run off the vehicular powerplant without any need for ammunition.

Tripod Laser-9

Early tripod laser formed from four TL-9 laser rifle tubes. Uses its own special power pack, four times the size and weight of a TL-9 laser rifle’s. Not very practical for the expense. Very rare.

Tripod Laser-9: TL-9, length 1.0m, weight 24kg, Cr14000.

Power Pack (100 bursts): 16kg, Cr6000. Can use TL-9 Laser Rifle power pack (25 bursts).

Light Tripod Laser-13

Advanced tripod laser formed from four TL-13 laser carbine tubes. Used as a support/Battle Dress weapon at TL-13 and obsolescent afterwards due to introduction of Bonded Superdense armor at TL-14.

Light Tripod Laser-13: length 0.8m, weight 17.6kg, Cr16000. Uses TL-13 Laser Rifle, PGMP-13, or PGMP-14 power pack or .8 Mw power feed.

Heavy Tripod Laser-13

Laser heavy machinegun formed from four TL-13 laser rifle tubes. Most widely used of tripod lasers, either as a Battle Dress “light” support weapon or as a vehicle-mounted “machinegun”.

Heavy Tripod Laser-13: length 1.1m, weight 35.2kg, Cr32000. Uses TL-13 Laser Rifle, FGMP-14, or FGMP-15 power pack or 1.6 Mw power feed.

Grav-assist Harness

Tech Level 14 Grav-assist harness similar to that used in the PGMP-14 and FGMP-15, incorporating a minimum-sized Low Power L-Grav module (100kg maximum thrust) powered from the fusion power pack. With the harness, a heavy laser rifle or tripod laser can be carried and used as a “rifle” or light support weapon by troops without regard to Battle Dress. When activated, the grav module cuts the apparent weight of the weapon and its power pack by 90%.

100kg Laser Grav-assist Harness: TL-14, volume 3 liters, weight 2kg, Cr30000

Interchangeable Power Packs

Tech Level 13 laser weapons (except for the special-purpose integral laser pistol) incorporate a modular design of power pack, allowing interchangeability of power packs between TL-13 laser weapons. These power packs are based on arrays of 100kw “cells” that can be linked either serially (for peak power output) or in parallel (for number of shots). The serial/parallel selection is controlled by ROM chips in the laser and power pack circuitry which automatically adjusts the power pack output to the weapon when the pack is connected.

The TL-14 Integral Laser Pistol—intended as a “hideout” laser weapon—is a special case, and uses only its own integral power pack.

Pistol Power Pack: 100kw; 200 pistol shots, 100 carbine shots, 50 rifle shots.

Carbine Power Pack: 200kw; 400 pistol shots, 200 carbine shots, 100 rifle shots, 50 heavy rifle shots, 12 light tripod laser bursts.

Rifle Power Pack: 400kw; 400 carbine shots, 200 rifle shots, 100 heavy rifle shots, 50 light tripod bursts, 12 heavy tripod bursts.

PGMP-13/14 Fusion Power Pack: 800kw when set for lasers; infinite ammunition for heavy rifle and light tripod laser. power pack also powers grav-assist harness for weapon.

FGMP-14/15 Fusion Power Pack: 1.6Mw when set for lasers; infinite ammunition for heavy rifle and all tripod lasers. power pack also powers grav-assist harness for weapon.

Tables for Use with Classic Traveller Books 1 and 4
Armor Matrix
Weapon Nothing Jack Mesh Cloth Reflec Ablat Combat
Heavy Laser Rifle +3 +3 +3 +3 -6 -5 -4
Tripod Laser +6 +6 +4 +4 -4 -3 -3
Range Matrix
Weapon Close Short Medium Long Very Long Wound Inflicted
Heavy Laser Rifle -4 +2 +3 +3 +1 6D
Tripod Laser -8 +1 +4 +4 +2 5D

Tech Level 13 Advanced Lasers do not mesh well with Classic Traveller. For CT TL-13+ lasers, use the standard tables with the TL-13 durability and interchangeable power packs.

Tables for use with MegaTraveller
Personal Energy Weapons
Weapon Ammo Notes Rds Pen/ Atten Dmg Max Range Autofire Targets Signature Recoil
Heavy Laser Rifle-13 - * 28/2 3 Distant - Low Low
Crew-served Energy Weapons
Weapon Ammo Notes Rds Pen/ Atten Dmg Max Range Autofire Targets Signature Recoil
Tripod Laser-9 - * 9/2 3 Distant 2 Hi Low
Light Tripod Laser-13 - * 12/2 3 Distant 2 Low Low
Heavy Tripod Laser-13 - * 20/2 3 Distant 2 Low Low

* Rds: See section on power pack interchangeability.
All weapons use Rifle skill when in Battle Dress and Heavy Weapons skill otherwise. All weapons have difficulty as Rifle.

Tables for Use with Striker
Individual Weapons—Energy Weapons
TL Weapon Magazine Effective Long Extreme Targets Ammo Weight Price
13 Heavy Laser Rifle 100 80(28) 160(20) 800(12) 1 - 17.6/ 4 16000/ 28000
Crew-served Weapons—Energy Weapons
TL Weapon Shots Effective Long Extreme Targets Ammo Setup Signature Weight Price
9 Early Tripod Laser 400 18(9)+2 36(4)+2 180(1)+2 2 - 4 +2 24/ 16 14000/ 6000
13 Light Tripod Laser ** 20(12)+2 40(6)+2 200(2)+2 2 - 4 +2 17.6/ ** 16000/ **
13 Heavy Tripod Laser ** 40(20)+2 80(12)+2 400(6)+2 2 - 4 +2 35.2/ ** 32000/ **

** See rules for power pack interchangeability.

Tables for Use with D20 Traveller
Weapon Cost TL Weight ROF Range DMG (Crit) Size Type Recoil
Early Tripod Laser KCr14 9 24kg 0/4 60m 3d10 (x2) Large Laser No
(Advanced Laser Pistol) KCr3 13 2.2kg 1 40m 3d8 (x2) Small Laser No
(Advanced Laser Carbine) KCr4 13 4.4kg 1 60m 3d10 (x2) Medium Laser No
(Advanced Laser Rifle) KCr8 13 8.8kg 1 80m 3d12 (x2) Medium Laser No
Heavy Laser Rifle KCr16 13 17.6kg 1 100m 4d10 (x2) Large Laser No
Light Tripod Laser KCr15 13 17.6kg 0/4 60m 3d10 (x2) Large Laser No
Heavy Tripod Laser KCr32 13 35.2kg 0/4 80m 3d12 (x2) Large Laser No

Items italicised and in parentheses () not covered in article; from Striker and MegaTraveller.
Ammo: See above for power packs and interchangeability.