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Personal Lasers

This article was originally posted to the pre-magazine website in 2009, and reprinted in the July/August 2021 issue.

I’ve always assumed that each of the weapons listed in CT’s tables are the best generally available to the average purchaser. There are many variations, both good and bad, to any of the listed attributes, but those weapons listed are examples of the best quality in their categories that a traveller could expect to find across Chartered Space.

Because of this, I designed the “magazine-powered” laser carbine and rifle to be be a little less accurate, a little less powerful, a little bit heavier, and so on than their “power pack-fed” siblings. With the listed laser carbine and rifle being the best generally available in that category, anything else would have to be at least slightly worse or else it would be the best generally available.

The “bullpup” design of the carbine and the greater weight of both weapons affected the die modifications based on range.

Please be assured, my emphasis on this “best generally available” model did not mean my players didn’t find or use weapons slightly better than those listed. I used the search for those weapons as a hook and their availability as a reward. They became mcguffins, small mcguffins admittedly, but still items that existed through referee fiat rather than as basic setting details.

About the damage dice: my notes suggest I was never entirely happy with the 4D-2 and 5D-2 figures but couldn’t come up with something I liked better. I wanted the magazine lasers to be less damaging than their power pack counterparts, but still more powerful than the listed slug throwers, so I settled on subtracting nearly half a die.

Magazine Laser Carbine

Magazine Laser Carbine - (6000 grams, including magazine; Cr 4000; TL8): A lightweight version of the laser rifle, firing high energy bolts using current from a “magazine” power pack. The “magazine” is rectangular and mounts in the carbine’s shoulder stock behind the trigger guard. The “bullpup” nature of the carbine’s design is due to balance issues. The laser carbine fires a 2mm beam of energy, aimed by integrated optic sights. Each magazine is capable of producing 15 shots before it requires recharging. Charged magazines may be inserted into the carbine, taking one combat round to do so. Recharging magazines requires at least three hours connected to a high energy source. Standard equipment includes provisions for attaching electronic sights and a shoulder sling. The laser carbine may not mount a bayonet.

Length: 700mm. Weight of carbine: 5250 grams. Weight of magazine: 750 grams. Base price: Cr3500 (extra magazine: Cr500). Cost of recharge, at commercial rate: Cr75

Magazine Laser Rifle

Magazine Laser Rifle - (8000 grams, including magazine; Cr 5500; TL9): The standard high energy weapon, firing high energy bolts in the same manner as the laser carbine. Heavier, the laser rifle is also capable of longer sustained action, and is somewhat sturdier but still cannot mount a bayonet. The rifle’s “magazine” is cylindrical and mounts in front of the trigger guard on the forestock. The magazine can provide 20 shots before recharging. Recharging magazines requires at least three hours connected to a high energy source. Magazines are not interchangeable between the rifle and carbine, however. Standard equipment includes provisions for attaching electronic sights, a bipod, and a shoulder sling.

Length: 1000mm. Weight of rifle: 7000 grams. Weight of magazine: 1000 grams. Base price: Cr4500 (extra magazine Cr1000). Cost of recharge at commercial rate: Cr75

Use in play (in the Classic Traveller system):