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> Assault Cannons: Submunitions
post Aug 30 2013, 01:42 PM
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Neophyte Runner

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A sub-munition weapon is basically a projectile that fires a bunch of other projectiles while in flight. Think the Jericho missile Stark is showing off at the start of Iron Man.

Now the great thing about them is their ability to bring the pain to multiple targets from a single shot or alternatively to completely pummel a single target if you've only got one shot and need to make it count. So for your average shadowrunner, what weapons could plausibly be outfitted with such ammunition?

There are really 3 options here:

1) Grenades. The thing about Grenade submunitions is that a grenade is already hitting a large area. It's kind of their shtick. The only things that submunitions can add to a grenade is a more even damage distribution or alternatively an extended danger zone as bomblets keep exploding for several seconds. (See Cluster grenade for SR4 use of this). The price on both of these is that your actual damage is going to be lower as, well, you're turning one big boom into lots of little booms. As noted above, there are already submunition grenades in shadowrun.

2) Missiles. Missiles are, to a far larger extent than grenades, directional weapons. Missiles designed to kill tanks are generally going to have a shaped charge of some description to put all their oomph in one very narrow cone of 'stuff going away'. Missiles designed to kill people tend to just rely on good old fashioned shrapnel, and once again I'm compelled to say: "Same tactic has been used for centuries. It works. Can't argue with results."
That said, there are two submunition missiles I can think of off the top of my head for shadowrun. Well, two variants of the same missile, technically. Blocks 1 and 2 of... well, embarrassingly I can't remember its name, but it's in Arsenal under drop/launch weapons and basically it either does good damage over a large area with no dropoff, or lays out an instant mine field. Both good uses of submunition tech.

3) Assault cannons. The BFGs of the shadows, assault cannons are infamous as either man-portable AV weapons or troll sniper rifles, depending on your group. However, the largest diameter barrel a shadowrunner can lug around with them has only shaped charge and AV rounds available to it. This is wasteful. I mean, imagine the potential of packing the front of the explosive shell with ball bearings and detonating the shell a few meters from the target! Sniper rifle ranges, wide choke shotgun devastation! Soak the BBs in rat poison first for extra lethality!

Assault cannons are one trick ponies but only because we've been content to let them stay that way. The revolution is here! I want to hear some crazy ideas for alternative ammunition loadouts for everyone's favorite boomstick.
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post Aug 30 2013, 08:36 PM
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Moving Target

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for what it's worth, if you interpret the "small tank" in the description of assault cannons to mean "APC" or "IFV" and figure for 'em being about 25mm, you get something very like:


which fires rounds basically equivalent to minigrenades, just at higher velocity. so really anything that is a grenade should already be an assault cannon round. this also means that one could logically launch HEAT-style "AP grenades" from a normal grenade launcher that hit like assault cannon rounds, which seems pretty reasonable given that those actually exist. you don't really need a shotgun round when you can put a frag on target from 1200m or so. it would also make assault cannon ranges line up better with the real world, since an actual 25mm like the bushmaster should have an extreme range out to 3000 meters. it should also knock trolls on their ass if they try to fire it. probably the most realistic way to handle assault cannons and ammo i can think of.
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