Kinetic weapons damage the target by firing a hard impact projectile at high-velocities. Slugthrowers have evolved from the mechanical firearms of the early 21st century, however, and now fall into two categories: chemical firearms and railguns. Though their mechanisms for firing are different, they are roughly similar in effect. Railguns have a higher penetration and inflict more damage, which is offset by more limited ammunition choices. While modern beam weapons have their uses, they rarely match the punch of kinetic weapons, therefore slugthrowers are still perceived as the most versatile and effective weapon system.
Kinetic weapons are constructed from lightweight, reinforced plastoceramic materials, which are easily produced even without nanofabrication. By default, modern kinetic weapons are ambidextrous but more importantly feature safety and smartlink systems that automatically connect to the wielder’s mesh inserts for firing assistance, target recognition, and tactical networking.
The wielder of a firearm or railgun uses Kinetic Weapon Skill.
Modern chemical firearms use caseless ammunition that is auto-loaded from a magazine. They are effectively recoilless (thanks to rheological smart fluid mechanisms) and electronically fired (an electric charge vaporizes the propellant, using the expanding steam and plasma to eject and accelerate the projectile). Note that older, pre-Fall firearms still exist and are traded by black marketeers, though they use outdated system such as liquid propellants or cased ammunition. At the gamemaster’s discretion, these relics may suffer shorter ranges, less penetration, fewer firing modes, or reduced damage.
Railguns use a pair of electromagnetic rails to slide and accelerate a non-explosive conductive projectile at extremely high velocities (Mach 6+) to create an overwhelming, penetrating attack. The kinetic energy of the projectile exceeds that of an explosive-filled shell of greater mass and creates shock and heat waves upon impact that shatter and incinerate the target, or portions of it. While railguns are more potent than firearms, the ammunition choices are limited as the projectile must be conductive and able to survive both acceleration and heat created in the process due to friction. Nanofabrication allows railguns to be manufactured on the personal weapons scale while high-energy portable batteries provide the power to fire them. Railgun operation is silent except for the supersonic crack of the projectile. Railguns are available in the same models as firearms (pistols through machine guns), with the following modifications:
Increase AP by –3
Increase damage by +2
Increase the maximum for each range category by x1.5
Increase Cost category by one
Railguns may only use regular and armor-piercing ammunition
Railguns also require battery power for each shot. Standard railgun batteries hold enough power for 200 shots, after which they must be recharged at the rate of 20 points per hour.