The CyberWolfe's Den
'Punks In Space
Weapons and Defenses
-Lasers- Duh - like you didn't grow up watching Star Trek like the rest of us.
-Particle Weapons- Charged particles, fired at velocity, usually on a carrier of some sort like a laser. They have a nasty habit of overloading shield generators and electronic systems. More than one captain has discovered that it is entirely possible to weld the hatches shut with the heat these things generate - keep a cutting torch in the toolkit.
-Railguns- These use gravity fields to accelerate steel slugs (20 pounds or so) to tremendous velocities. Like large fractions of lightspeed kinda velocities. Also called 'kinetic-kill' weapons. They suck up alot of power (usually from capacitors) and take up alot of space. The smallest one in the catalog is five yards long. Much to large for a turret-mount, railguns must be mounted inboard.
Phalanx Guns- Big, bulky expensive-as-all-hell and just fucking mean. These bastards fire depleted-uranium slugs on the order of ten thousand rounds-per-minute out of a number of rotating 'Gatling Gun' style barrels. The resulting wall of high-velocity projectiles tends to vaporize anything unlucky enough to be in range. Designed as point-defense against starfighters and missiles, a job they do very well. Thankfully, only the Alliance military can afford to feed these things.
-General- Missiles of all sorts have certain things in common. While somewhat massive, they are still small enough to mount in either a multi-fire turret or as a hardpoint on a starfighter. They use solid fuels, and will boost at something approaching 25G's. The better ones will have some sort of steering mechanism, making it possible for them to litterally chase down their targets, at least until their fuel is depleted. Payload can be anything from simple high explosives to bomb-pumped laser warheads to old-fashioned nukes. Some esoteric weapons are listed here as well, since their launch mechanism is the same, even though the payload is much different.
-Rockets- The traditional (and completely outdated) dumb flying bomb. No guidance past pulling the trigger, hitting anything with these can be tricky at anything past a fast walk. Nonetheless, they are still in use because of their low cost and easy manufacture. Warheads will be conventional explosives, as anything more serious is too expensive to mount on a point-and-shoot weapon.
-Guided Missiles- These missiles maintain a telemetry link with your ship up untill the point of impact, updating their trajectory until they detonate. Good to have, but they do require supervision, either from a human operator or a tactical computer. If things are getting really hectic, they can be too much of a distraction.
-Seeker Missiles- Seekers are more sophisticated, and therefore more expensive. They have their own onboard sensors to track the target and limited decision-making ability that makes it possible to program it's target-search parameters - you can tell them to seek 'starfighters' for a wide search algorithm, or pick out specific targets on an enemy ship, like 'engines'. The less-specific the parameter, the greater chance of success.
Starship Weapons in Atmosphere
There are several things you should remember when engaging the enemy in atmosphere:
-Lasers- will fire normally and do full damage, but range will be reduced due to atmospheric attenuation - about half-range in an Earth-like atmosphere. Most of this energy loss is spent heating the surrounding air, which does make for some nifty Hollywood sound effects.
-Missiles- also fire normally, but once again their range is reduced and the seeking or guided types also suffer a penalty due to air resistance on their maneuvers.
-Railguns- are more dangerous. The projectiles fired from a railgun are moving at such stupendous velocities that they will litterally vaporize on contact with atmosphere - as well as plasmising that air and igniting it. Quite spectacular to watch, but chances are you'll destroy your own ship in the process. Just don't.