Beam Type

First, choose a beam supertype and subtype.

Beam type determines several values. Rcl is the final weapon's Rcl, but the rest are for later in the design process:

Chemical NIR Laser34014437.5$61
Chemical Aqualaser3807237.5$61
Chemical UV Laser31203637.5$61
Solid-State NIR Laser6402884.6875$61
Solid-State Aqualaser6801444.6875$61
Solid-State UV Laser6120724.6875$61
Solid-State Rainbow Laser656724.6875$61
Solid-State Xaser62 000729.375$61
Solid-State Graser66 0001814.063$61
Early C-PAWS23221.631.25$52
Early N-PAWS23210.846.875$52
Early A-PAWS4886.45.8594$52
Plasma Gun85010805$42
Fusion Gun10.5506405$42
Force Beam411172.87.8125$61
Graviton Beam1.61009488.28$61

Screamers use fourth power for weight and cost.

"Super" Beam Types

A beam weapon type can be "super", boosting its damage with superscience. This is primarily useful for making non-superscience beam types competitive with superscience beam types, but it can also be interesting side-by-side as a luxury option.

A super weapon's Bw is doubled, and its Be is multiplied by 8. Its TL gains a ^, if it didn't already have it. As a luxury option, Bc is multiplied by 10/8, otherwise Bc is just divided by 8.

Form Factor

Next, choose a form factor, and note the parameters needed later during the design process.

Parameters are as follows:

Form FactorsFbFmbFaF
Rifle2.2 †-1.5-32
Cannon2.4 M-1.5-63

The "†" and "M" are not used in equations, but go on the stat listing.


Choose the damage of each hit, and determine the "design relative dice of damage", D.

For damage of 1d or more, D equals the dice of damage, ±.3 per ±1 damage. For example, with 2d+2 damage, D=2.6. If the damage includes a multiplier, use the multiplied dice; for example, with 6d×5 damage, D=30. For damage less than 1d, use this table to find D:


To get a rifle intended for human carry, typical damage is 6d for most beam types; 3d for graviton beams, chemical lasers, or early C-PAWS/N-PAWS; 12d for non-early A-PAWS and plasma guns; and 15d for fusion guns. A pistol is about half as much, and a palm weapon about a third. Human cannons are too large to be human rifles.


Next, choose an ROF. The gatling option is also chosen at this time, which affects effective ROF.

The ROF is simply numeric. For a non-gatling, sROF = ROF.

A gatling weapon has two separate ROF parameters, actual and "structural"(sROF = ROF × 5). A gatling weapon also can't fire hotshots, but is immune to overheating.

Actual ROF of 3 or less generally uses semi-auto controls; 4+ is generally selective-fire, with its full ROF in a full-auto mode and a semi-auto mode with ROF: 3. However, this is simply a "software" difference, and has no impact on the design process.

Focal Array

Choose a relative focal array size. A larger array increases range, but also weight and cost.


Empty Weight

The empty weight in pounds is as follows:

eWt = (D / Bw)³ × sROF × Fw

Compare the empty weight to the guidelines for the weapon's form factor; you may want to increase or decrease the damage or ROF.


Except for plasma bolters, the ½D range in yards is as follows:

½D = D² × Br × Fr

For plasma bolters, the ½D range in yards is as follows:

½D = D × Br × Fr

The Max range is simply triple the ½D range. Except for flamers and plasma bolters, this is because the beam attenuates with the square of distance.


Choose a loadout in powercells. This can be slotted cells(like 2C), external cells(like Fp), or integral powercell batteries. For slotted or external cells, add up the L values from this table:

L1101001 00010 000100 000

For example, 2C cells would have an L of 200. For integral cells, simply pick a total L.

For nonrechargable powercells, K = 2; For superscience power cells, K = 5; if both, K = 10; if neither, K = 1.

Pick a TL for the power cells(usually the same as the weapon), which determines T:


The Shots for the weapon is then as follows:

Shots = (L × K × Be) / (D³ × T)

Round down.

Reload Time

For slotted or external powercells, the reload time is determined by the heaviest powercell, and noted in parentheses after the Shots. If the weapon only has integral powercells, it doesn't have a reload time.

If the heaviest cell is C or lighter, reload time is (3). Otherwise, reload time is (5).

Note that this is per powercell; A weapon that slots 8 A cells would take 24 seconds to fully reload.

Loaded Weight

Loaded weight(lWt) is what actually ends up on the stat list; it's the empty weight plus the weight of slotted and integral powercells. External powercells don't count. Weights in pounds for slotted powercells are as follows:


For integral powercells, multiply their chosen L by .002 pounds.

For slotted or external powercells, note the number(if more than one) and type of powercells after the weight. For external powercells, add a "p". For example, a weapon with an empty weight of 4.2 pounds that slots two C cells would have lWt = 5.2, with weight listed as "5.2/2C". If it took an external D cell, it'd have lWt=4.2, with weight listed as "4.2/Dp".


The Acc is as follows:

Acc = Ba × aF

Round up.

ST Requirement

The ST requirement is as follows:

ST = sqrt(lWt) × sF

Round near. Simply copy over the "†" or "M", if any.


Bulk is normally as follows:

Bulk = sqrt(lWt) × bF

Round near. However, if the calculated Bulk is worse than -10, use -10; similarly if the calculated Bulk is better than mbF, use mbF.


The cost is as follows:

Cost = D³ × Bc × sROF × Fw

For integral non-superscience powercells, add L × .1$. If superscience powercells are standard, their cost is the same; as a luxury option, they add L × 2.5$ instead.

Round near to three sig figs.