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Six Guns: Lasers

Six Guns: Lasers. Martin J. Dougherty
Terra/Sol Games LLC http://www.terrasolgames.com
60pp., softcover or PDF
(PDF) US$7.99/UKú5.24

This article originally appeared in the April/May 2015 issue, but without price information.

The reviewer received his copy as a Kickstarter backer.

Lasers are a standard item in most Traveller versions, but in the core rules—and even in most supplements—all you get are basic generic versions of the weapon. It is generally left to the referee and perhaps some homebrew rules to give a laser a “personality” of its own, and to adjust for such things as quality of manufacture.

Enter Six Guns: Lasers. This slim volume packs a good amount of information about personal lasers (as opposed to ship weapons) into its pages, from a basic explanation of just how lasers work from the user’s point of view (i.e., what happens when you shoot someone/something) to an overview of both direct-injection powered and chemical-cartridge lasers, to a selection of laser weapons and accessories, and throws in an adventure and a bunch of characters. Reading through the book is recommended at least once, as the information presented is sensibly ordered, and information from later in the book assumes that you are familiar with the earlier information. Thus, the basic explanation of a laser’s function is followed by the overview of the two general classes of laser, which in turn is followed by some optional (and in some cases mutually-exclusive) rules for refereeing lasers in an adventure, taking into account their nature. The rules include discussion of various types of armor, and adding laser protection to armor types that don’t normally have it; they also include adjustments to aiming DMs, penetration, and “where is that b****** firing from, anyway?”.

After the rules modifications, there is a section of accessories and related items, which includes such things as rechargers, converter cartridges (to convert slugthrowers to lasers), designator systems, and so on. There aren’t many such items, but the selection provided is definitely idea-provoking, and expands on the basic “shoot the bad guy” use of personal laser weapons.

The next section is the meat of the volume: the lasers themselves (along with magazines, power packs, cartridges, etc.). Each weapon has a good textual description, outlining its intended purpose (you don’t use a cartridge laser revolver for suppressive fire, and a heavy laser rifle that’s good for suppressive fire isn’t necessarily a good sniper weapon, and so on), power requirements, available accessories, and special considerations (e.g., the Beacon Optics LR-062 fires three-pulse bursts, giving it slightly better penetration than the SL-002, whose single pulse does more damage—but the mechanics and electronics for the LR-062 make it less durable). Each weapon has a stat block and a line drawing; the stat blocks were printed in too large a font, which causes formatting issues, but nothing insuperable, as they’re simple enough to decipher.

The adventure that follows the weapons is very much designed for the Terra/Sol setting; moving it into the OTU would require a fair amount of work, and it pretty much must be set in a frontier area not thoroughly dominated by a major polity. It’s presented mostly as a setup, with some options for the PCs to pursue to accomplish the mission, and a hook for continuing once the adventure is completed. Details are thin on the ground—but more than what’s presented isn’t really needed.

The final section presents four NPCs and two items that aren’t marked as such but can only be described as Library Data entries. They are unconnected with the adventure, and indeed, two of them don’t appear to have any connection with the subject matter of this book—but all have their interesting points.

Without price data, it’s hard to say whether it's good value for the money—but if it ends up priced at the same point as the similarly-sized Six Guns: Rescue Organizations, it won’t be poor value. [Reviewer’s/Editor’s Note: At the price point above, this is a recommended purchase.]