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For completeness, I’m putting the rail guns here as they technically used a composite lifted from the derelict to stop the rails welding to the slugs. As rail guns are a real world technology, I’ll just go over the mechanics in brief, but basically, a metal, or material in a metal casing, is placed between two conducting rails. The current, when applied, will pass through the slug, accelerating it by a massive amount and giving an in atmosphere muzzle velocity of kilometres per second[1].

For the purposes of Vast Worlds, this gives rail guns a long engagement range[2], good accuracy, and the equivalent of a couple of kilos of TNT in kinetic energy. Thanks to the grav’ panels, rail guns are a less effective weapon than some hoped as the shock damage is mitigated by the dampening effect, but that doesn’t really do anything to help the new hole in the hull[3]. Also because of the grav’ panels, ships can pull off some rather spectacular manoeuvres, which means that targets are prone to dodge in the handful of seconds it takes for the slug to reach them[4]. Still, rail guns are devastating when they impact in the right location, just hitting that right location is sometimes more luck than judgment.

Rail guns come in a variety of sizes, from the ten gram anti-tank rounds, to the hundred kilo orbital eliminator, and many increments in between. The sheer versatility of the rail gun makes it the standby weapon of choice for most of the factions and the Commonwealth uses it almost exclusively. Against rail guns the best defence is internal bracing, keeping on the move and maybe getting a whipple shield.
Sadly for Vast Worlds, rail guns reach their peak at about 2100/2200 and after that they are slowly outclassed by other weapon designs, though often remain as a fallback or civilian issue gun[5].

Random Fact: Rail guns are one of the few weapons that are actually automated, with most ships having a few rails (or at least coils) to deal with the larger pieces of chaff out there[6]. These tend not be as accurate as having an actual gunner, especially when the target is actively dodging.

Author’s Note: It’s funny how often rail guns appear in Vast Worlds, because they are traditionally the British faction’s weapon (again, old game ideas creeping in there) they are quite prevalent in the area of space, being used on fighters, as rifles and Kit even has that anti-tank gun I mentioned, though I’m not sure as to why.

[1] For comparison, a pistol bullet travels at about three hundred metres per second. 

[2] Topped only by rayy guns.

[3] Combat Vast World ships will run depressurised when expecting a fire fight to prevent decompression doing damage or shocks spreading through the atmosphere.

[4] Technically, this shouldn’t be long enough for a pilot to react and get out of the way of the slug; however, most pilots will constantly alter their course during a battle to make sure no one gets a proper weapons’ lock.

[5] There is at least one instance of an End Time fleet being defeated by a rail gun equipped opponent. The End Time fleet was outnumbered ten to one, and inflicted horrendous casualties, but that’s not the point.

[6] Things like missiles, fighter or concussive shells.


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