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Advanced Lasers: TL-D (13) Laser Weapons for Classic Traveller

Author's Note: The rules presented here are also compatible with MegaTraveller and Striker, and may be compatible with Marc Miller's Traveller (T4).

Author's Note: An edited-down version of this article originally appeared in Challenge 65.

To many, the weapon most associated with high-tech civilizations is the personal energy weapon, usually a laser. In Traveller, laser smallarms are introduced at TL9, and are given a major upgrade at TL13.

Besides the improvements listed in Megatraveller (such as firing beams of X-rays instead of visible/ near-UV light), TL13 lasers incorporate several other features which make them more competitive. A TL13 laser is less fragile than a TL9 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 powerpacks to interchange between various sizes of weapon.

However, nothing is mentioned about lasers intermediate between smallarms and autocannon 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 TL13 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 equlas 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: TL13, 17.6kg, Cr16000. Uses TL13 Laser Rifle, PGMP-13/14, or FGMP-14/15 powerpack.

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 TL9 laser rifle tubes. Uses its own special powerpack, four times the size and weight of a TL9 laser rifle's. Not very practical for the expense. Very rare.

Tripod Laser-9: TL9, length 1.0m, weight 24kg, Cr14000.

Powerpack (100 bursts): 16kg, Cr6000. Can use TL9 Laser Rifle powerpack (25 bursts).

Light Tripod Laser-13:

Advanced tripod laser formed from four TL13 laser carbine tubes. Used as a support/Battle Dress weapon at TL13 and obsolescent afterwards due to introduction of Bonded Superdense armor at TL14.

Light Tripod Laser-13: length 0.8m, weight 17.6kg, Cr16000. Uses TL13 Laser Rifle, PGMP-13, or PGMP-14 powerpack or .8 Mw power feed.

Heavy Tripod Laser-13:

Laser heavy machinegun formed from four TL13 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 TL13 Laser Rifle, FGMP-14, or FGMP-15 powerpack 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 powerpack. 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 powerpack by 90%.

100kg Laser Grav-assist Harness: TL14, volume 3 liters, weight 2kg, Cr30000

Interchangeable Powerpacks

Tech Level 13 laser weapons (except for the special-purpose integral laser pistol) incorporate a modular design of powerpack, allowing interchangeability of powerpacks between TL13 laser weapons. These powerpacks 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 powerpack circuitry which automatically adjusts the powerpack output to the weapon when the pack is connected.

The TL14 Integral Laser Pistol - intended as a "hideout" laser weapon - is a special case, and uses only its own integral powerpack.

  • Pistol Powerpack: 100kw; 200 pistol shots, 100 carbine shots, 50 rifle shots.
  • Carbine Powerpack: 200kw; 400 pistol shots, 200 carbine shots, 100 rifle shots, 50 heavy rifle shots, 12 light tripod laser bursts.
  • Rifle Powerpack: 400kw; 400 carbine shots, 200 rifle shots, 100 heavy rifle shots, 50 light tripod bursts, 12 heavy tripod bursts.
  • PGMP-13/14 Fusion Powerpack: 800kw when set for lasers; infinite ammunition for heavy rifle and light tripod laser. Powerpack also powers grav-assist harness for weapon.
  • FGMP-14/15 Fusion Powerpack: 1.6Mw when set for lasers; infinite ammunition for heavy rifle and all tripod lasers. Powerpack also powers grav-assist harness for weapon.

Tables for use with Classic Traveller Books 1 & 4:

Armor Matrix
Heavy Laser Rifle+3+3+3+3-6-5-4
Tripod Laser+6+6+4+4-4-3-3
Range Matrix
WeaponCloseShortMediumLongVery LongWound Inflicted
Heavy Laser Rifle-4+2+3+3+16D
Tripod Laser-8+1+4+4+25D

Tech Level 13 Advanced Lasers do not mesh well with Classic Traveller. For CT TL13+ lasers, use the standard tables with the TL13 durability & interchangeable powerpacks.

Tables for use with Megatraveller:

Personal Energy Weapons
Heavy Laser Rifle-13-*28/23Distant-LowLow
Crew-served Energy Weapons
Tripod Laser-9-*9/23Distant2HiLow
Light Tripod Laser-13-*12/23Distant2LowLow
Heavy Tripod Laser-13-*20/23Distant2LowLow

Rds: See section on powerpack 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
13Heavy Laser Rifle10080(28)160(20)800(12)1-17.6/416000/28000
Crew-served Weapons - Energy Weapons
9Early Tripod Laser40018(9)+236(4)+2180(1)+22-4+224/1614000/6000
13Light Tripod Laser**20(12)+240(6)+2200(2)+22-4+217.6/**16000/**
13Heavy Tripod Laser**40(20)+280(12)+2400(6)+22-4+235.2/**32000/**

** See rules of powerpack interchangeability.

Tables for use with D20 Traveller:

Available Weapons
WeaponCostTLWeightROFRangeDMG (Crit)SizeTypeRecoil
Early Tripod LaserKCr14924kg0/460m3d10 (x2)LargeLaserNo
(Advanced Laser Pistol)KCr3132.2kg140m3d8 (x2)SmallLaserNo
(Advanced Laser Carbine)KCr4134.4kg160m3d10 (x2)MediumLaserNo
(Advanced Laser Rifle)KCr8138.8kg180m3d12 (x2)MediumLaserNo
Heavy Laser RifleKCr161317.6kg1100m4d10 (x2)LargeLaserNo
Light Tripod LaserKCr151317.6kg0/460m3d10 (x2)LargeLaserNo
Heavy Tripod LaserKCr321335.2kg0/480m3d12 (x2)LargeLaserNo

() Not covered in article; from Striker & Megatraveller.

Ammo: See above for powerpacks & interchangeability.