Friendly Galactic Gunsmith – Custom Ammunition

Aliens & Asteroids offers a couple of traits for those characters wanting to really go crazy with new armaments and armor: Armorer and Gunsmith. And today, I want to talk a little bit about some of the weird ways we’re thinking of going with those rules.

Essentially it’s up to the Referee to determine what is acceptable in a particular game. At my own table, I’ve allowed our group to get pretty wild with their Purchase Rolls (PRs) and we’ve ended up with some crazy things like a S.A.C. Thrower (Secure And Capture), which launches a weighted net at an enemy to potentially entangle or fully engulf them in combat. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg, so I wanted to cover some of the other things I’ve pondered over the last several months:

  • Armor Piercing (AP) Rounds: Pretty standard idea. Build a cartridge around a penetrator built of some hardened metal such as steel or tungsten to survive long enough to punch through armor plating. Modern rounds also typically include some kind of incendiary or even high explosive or depleted uranium to get as deeply as possible into the target. In game terms, this would give these rounds a numeric advantage on the Armor Rating (AR) of a particular target. For example, perhaps the rounds would reduce the target AR by 1 for a traditional AP round or by 3 with a depleted uranium core.
  • Armor Rendering Rounds: A variation on the AP rounds. Use a round to deliver some sort of chemical or biological agent to an enemy’s armor that essentially eats away at the armor, reducing the effectiveness of the armor itself so that future rounds would do more damage to an unprotected target. This approach may only do damage to the AR and AP of the armor, leaving the creature inside relatively unscathed. However, it’s more likely that some agents such as acid would do just as much damage to the HP of the target within.
  • Chemical Delivery Rounds: Similar to the Armor Rendering rounds, this is a more general delivery mechanism that could be used to deliver agents such as topical anesthetics, poisons, or even knock-out gasses of some variety. Depending on the style of rounds, it could simply burst on contact or use some form of piercing bit to inject the agent into the target.
  • Exploding Rounds: Again, a pretty standard idea. Pump a round with additional exploding materials to cause more damage upon impact with the target. Something tells me that firing a pulse rifle in full auto mode, unloading an entire clip of exploding bullets to a target, would be devastating to that target — but may also go off inside the gun.

This doesn’t even get into things like bullets designed for use inside pressurized environments (frangibles or soft-tipped), bullets designed to cause additional damage to the target (such as hollow points or ballistic tipped), or bullets customized to avoid recoil. It also doesn’t bring into consideration the idea of dart or needle guns, which may have slightly different purposes.

That said, the goal of A&A is to provide enough room that Referees and Players can create intriguing combinations of rounds for various needs in the far future. Reality is great, but it shouldn’t get in the way of a good story. As a Referee, I’m happy to let a certain amount of reality go by the wayside if it means we have an element that can create intriguing story possibilities.

What kinds of ammunition do you see coming into play in your A&A games?

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