Superweapons in Your Conworld / Connation

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Superweapons in Your Conworld / Connation

Post by Mugitus »

Do any of your conworlds or connations have superweapons or weapons of mass destruction? If so, feel free to post about it here! [:D]

I'm planning for one of my developing concultures to develop some sort of genetic / ethnic bioweapon to use against an rival nation. I kind of like the idea of it (that makes me sound evil [}:(])
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Re: Superweapons in Your Conworld / Connation

Post by Ahzoh »

Would a railgun that can hold up 10 slugs that also doubles as a gatling gun count as a "weapon of mass destruction"? Imagine shooting that in public places...

What about a crossbow that fires like a machinegun (this weapon is relative to the era)?
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Re: Superweapons in Your Conworld / Connation

Post by Hālian »

The 10-km-long Safirian flagship Amane has a spinal beam cannon that runs the full length of the ship (viz. below) and could probably glass whole worlds with one stroke.

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Re: Superweapons in Your Conworld / Connation

Post by Lambuzhao »

10 km, you say? That's one heck of a Wave Motion Gun, let me tell you.

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Re: Superweapons in Your Conworld / Connation

Post by gach »

For any setting where a civilisation has realistic interstellar flight just aiming a large spacecraft at a planet with an ultra relativistic speed and not braking at arrival will count as a superwepon. It won't destroy the planet but the released energy will be enough to seriously disrupt the whole ecosystem. Smaller habitations will be completely vaporised but the aiming will be very difficult.

A more fanciful weapon for a civilisation capable of large scale mass transportation would be to take two white dwarfs and let them collide each other a few light years from the target. This will create a supernova guaranteed to destroy all planetary systems sufficiently close to it. It's not the fastest of weapons but in astronomical scales everything takes long time.
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Re: Superweapons in Your Conworld / Connation

Post by Ahzoh »

gach wrote:For any setting where a civilisation has realistic interstellar flight just aiming a large spacecraft at a planet with an ultra relativistic speed and not braking at arrival will count as a superwepon. It won't destroy the planet but the released energy will be enough to seriously disrupt the whole ecosystem. Smaller habitations will be completely vaporised but the aiming will be very difficult.

A more fanciful weapon for a civilisation capable of large scale mass transportation would be to take two white dwarfs and let them collide each other a few light years from the target. This will create a supernova guaranteed to destroy all planetary systems sufficiently close to it. It's not the fastest of weapons but in astronomical scales everything takes long time.
Dwarf-bashing sounds like a hell lotta fun!
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Re: Superweapons in Your Conworld / Connation

Post by Hālian »

Someone's played too much White Dwarf Fortress [:P]
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Re: Superweapons in Your Conworld / Connation

Post by Lambuzhao »

gach wrote:
A more fanciful weapon for a civilisation capable of large scale mass transportation would be to take two white dwarfs and let them collide each other a few light years from the target. This will create a supernova guaranteed to destroy all planetary systems sufficiently close to it. It's not the fastest of weapons but in astronomical scales everything takes long time.
Common Envelope-Kerbangers!
http://www.astro.ru.nl/~nelemans/Research/CE.html

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A formidable weapon, if ever there was one.
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Re: Superweapons in Your Conworld / Connation

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Carl Miller wrote:...
Why does Safiria's logo look like a dartboard?
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Re: Superweapons in Your Conworld / Connation

Post by Lambuzhao »

Ahzoh wrote:Would a railgun that can hold up 10 slugs that also doubles as a gatling gun count as a "weapon of mass destruction"? Imagine shooting that in public places...
from this site,
http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WNUS_Rail_Gun.htm
sounds like the big challenge to a functioning railgun is effective dissipation of a tremendous build-up of heat with each shot. This would be an even bigger challenge for a repeating railgun. I'm no expert, but it sounds interesting, though.
What about a crossbow that fires like a machinegun (this weapon is relative to the era)?
http://cdn.obsidianportal.com/assets/54174/xbow_01.jpg

You remind me of the "repeating crossbow" of my aulden AD&D days. We had a mean DM who made them jam all the time. If you can get them to have a smooth reload/delivery system, all the better!
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Re: Superweapons in Your Conworld / Connation

Post by eldin raigmore »

gach wrote:For any setting where a civilisation has realistic interstellar flight just aiming a large spacecraft at a planet with an ultra relativistic speed and not braking at arrival will count as a superwepon. It won't destroy the planet but the released energy will be enough to seriously disrupt the whole ecosystem. Smaller habitations will be completely vaporised but the aiming will be very difficult.
Just dropping an I-beam or some rebar or a rock from lunar orbit (say from L4 or L5) or even from a sufficiently high cislunar orbit would hit with the energy of an A-bomb, and could probably be aimed pretty well. So, one hit could destroy a city; five hits could take out a country's five biggest metropolises, essentially turning them back into a rural country; fifty hits could destroy a planet's fifty biggest metropolises, essentially turning the whole planet into a small-town and rural place. 5500 hits would basically destroy "civilization", though not necessarily completely destroy any culture or any entire people.

And that doesn't take interstellar anything; not even interplanetary anything (unless you count Earth's moon, Luna, as its sister planet in a binary-planet system, rather than as a satellite). If somebody in a Lagrange-libration-point orbit relative to the Terra-Luna system (the stable ones are L4 and L5, sixty degrees ahead of and 60 degrees behind the moon itself), has a few hundred rocks about the size of a city bus each, they would be as authoritative as a nuclear superpower. The meteors don't have to be asteroid-sized; the Chicxulub (sp?) rock was (?), but it extinguished an entire class of vertebrates from the entire globe with just one strike. (I think.)

Dropping a planetesimal-sized rock on the Earth from Mars orbit could kill off several entire phyla from all of Earth, I'd think.

Lambuzhao wrote:
What about a crossbow that fires like a machinegun (this weapon is relative to the era)?
http://cdn.obsidianportal.com/assets/54174/xbow_01.jpg
You remind me of the "repeating crossbow" of my aulden AD&D days. We had a mean DM who made them jam all the time. If you can get them to have a smooth reload/delivery system, all the better!
In real life in Byzantine times (i.e. the MIddle Ages) the "crossbow Gatling guns" were not used because they were too consistently accurate; every quarrel landed in the same spot the last quarrel landed in, and that defeated the purpose of having a "repeater".

If you had one that was light enough one person could carry it and aim it and shoot it it might be different; the operator could wave it like a hose. But the repeating "machine-gun"-like crossbows couldn't be made that light IRL.
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Re: Superweapons in Your Conworld / Connation

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eldin raigmore wrote:Just dropping an I-beam or some rebar or a rock from lunar orbit (say from L4 or L5) or even from a sufficiently high cislunar orbit would hit with the energy of an A-bomb, and could probably be aimed pretty well. So, one hit could destroy a city; five hits could take out a country's five biggest metropolises, essentially turning them back into a rural country; fifty hits could destroy a planet's fifty biggest metropolises, essentially turning the whole planet into a small-town and rural place. 5500 hits would basically destroy "civilization", though not necessarily completely destroy any culture or any entire people.

And that doesn't take interstellar anything; not even interplanetary anything (unless you count Earth's moon, Luna, as its sister planet in a binary-planet system, rather than as a satellite). If somebody in a Lagrange-libration-point orbit relative to the Terra-Luna system (the stable ones are L4 and L5, sixty degrees ahead of and 60 degrees behind the moon itself), has a few hundred rocks about the size of a city bus each, they would be as authoritative as a nuclear superpower. The meteors don't have to be asteroid-sized; the Chicxulub (sp?) rock was (?), but it extinguished an entire class of vertebrates from the entire globe with just one strike. (I think.)

Dropping a planetesimal-sized rock on the Earth from Mars orbit could kill off several entire phyla from all of Earth, I'd think.
Have you ever heard of "Kinetic Bombardment"?
In real life in Byzantine times (i.e. the MIddle Ages) the "crossbow Gatling guns" were not used because they were too consistently accurate; every quarrel landed in the same spot the last quarrel landed in, and that defeated the purpose of having a "repeater".

If you had one that was light enough one person could carry it and aim it and shoot it it might be different; the operator could wave it like a hose. But the repeating "machine-gun"-like crossbows couldn't be made that light IRL.
I don't understand... how can consistent accuracy be a bad thing?
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Re: Superweapons in Your Conworld / Connation

Post by sangi39 »

Ahzoh wrote:
In real life in Byzantine times (i.e. the MIddle Ages) the "crossbow Gatling guns" were not used because they were too consistently accurate; every quarrel landed in the same spot the last quarrel landed in, and that defeated the purpose of having a "repeater".

If you had one that was light enough one person could carry it and aim it and shoot it it might be different; the operator could wave it like a hose. But the repeating "machine-gun"-like crossbows couldn't be made that light IRL.
I don't understand... how can consistent accuracy be a bad thing?
My guess would be that Eldin is saying that the crossbow gatling guns had immobile mounts, meaning you couldn't actually aim them in any way away from that spot. If that were the case, then consistent accuracy just means that all the enemy has to do is not stand in that one spot where the pointy, killy thing will pretty much always land.
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Re: Superweapons in Your Conworld / Connation

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Ahzoh wrote: If you had one that was light enough one person could carry it and aim it and shoot it it might be different; the operator could wave it like a hose. But the repeating "machine-gun"-like crossbows couldn't be made that light IRL.
I don't understand... how can consistent accuracy be a bad thing?[/quote]

Once somebody has a crossbow bolt in their stomach, they don't care too much about getting another crossbow bolt in their stomach. As the projector of crossbow bolts, you would probably like your second bolt to hit a different person from the first bolt. This means either you have to be able to move your crossbow very quickly, which is hard to do when it's very heavy, or else fire very slowly (i.e. there's no point it being a repeater).

You could put a crossbow on a swivel mount. But it's a big limitation on their usefulness. And remember also that because they're a lot slower than a repeating gun, if you try to arc your fire, there'll be big gaps between the quarrels. And since presumably it wouldn't be a very powerful crossbow (more power means slower reloading), the range would be limited, so you'd have to concentrate your fire in the part of the arc actually in range.

All in all, you're better off spending all that money just hiring several guys with several crossbows.

-----------


Tom: rods from god do the damage of about 1-3 tons of TNT for each kg of material dropped. That's not very much.
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Re: Superweapons in Your Conworld / Connation

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Salmoneus wrote:Tom: rods from god do the damage of about 1-3 tons of TNT for each kg of material dropped. That's not very much.
A cube of something the density of water that was 1 meter by 1 meter by 1 meter would contain 1,000 kilograms. So it would hit with the force of 1,000 to 3,000 tons of TNT.
A cube of something the density of water that was 10 meters by 10 meters by 10 meters would contain 1,000,000 kilograms. So it would hit with the force of 1,000,000 to 3,000,000 tons of TNT.
"Little Boy", the Hiroshima bomb, had the force of 20,000 tons of TNT.

I said "rocks the size of a city bus". Rocks are certainly denser than water, more than 10 times as dense I think (depending on the rock, of course). And city buses are bigger than 1 meter by 1 meter by 10 meters. So each of those rocks would probably mass more than 100,000 kg. They'd hit with between more than 5 and more than 15 times the force of "Little Boy". (Assuming I'm right about the densities and sizes.)

All of that would require space flight, but not necessarily interplanetary flight (though I'd think by the time you got that many big rocks together you'd probably have figured out interplanetary flight).

Would just dropping a thousand-cubic-meter splash of water do that much (1 to 3 megatons) damage? If not why not?

sangi39 wrote:My guess would be that Eldin is saying that the crossbow gatling guns had immobile mounts, meaning you couldn't actually aim them in any way away from that spot. If that were the case, then consistent accuracy just means that all the enemy has to do is not stand in that one spot where the pointy, killy thing will pretty much always land.
Salmoneus wrote:Once somebody has a crossbow bolt in their stomach, they don't care too much about getting another crossbow bolt in their stomach. As the projector of crossbow bolts, you would probably like your second bolt to hit a different person from the first bolt. This means either you have to be able to move your crossbow very quickly, which is hard to do when it's very heavy, or else fire very slowly (i.e. there's no point it being a repeater).
You could put a crossbow on a swivel mount. But it's a big limitation on their usefulness. And remember also that because they're a lot slower than a repeating gun, if you try to arc your fire, there'll be big gaps between the quarrels. And since presumably it wouldn't be a very powerful crossbow (more power means slower reloading), the range would be limited, so you'd have to concentrate your fire in the part of the arc actually in range.
All in all, you're better off spending all that money just hiring several guys with several crossbows.
It's my impression -- I could be wrong -- that the medieval or Byzantine repeating crossbows were swivel mounted, but the mounts weren't mobile, and the shooter had command of up to nearly 180 degrees horizontally but much less (maybe about 18 degrees?) vertically.
Does anyone know where to look the information up?

Anyway, I think sangi39 and Salmoneus are right, even if I'm wrong. ISTR that it was a Scientific American article many years ago that said the "infinite"-repeating crossbows were too consistently accurate to be useful.
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Re: Superweapons in Your Conworld / Connation

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eldin raigmore wrote:Would just dropping a thousand-cubic-meter splash of water do that much (1 to 3 megatons) damage? If not why not?
The water has to be ice here but even that is pretty fragile and volatile. If it gets distributed over a too large area in the atmosphere the released energy density projected on the planetary surface won't be too high. A related problem is that because of its volatility an icy impactor is likely to release its kinetic energy in the high atmosphere. With enough mass and impact velocity you can create a Tunguska like event. With not enough, the explosion will happen too high up in the atmosphere and have limited effects on the surface.

I should also say that just dropping stuff from the orbit gives a too simplistic idea of the kind of weapons system we are talking about. You still need careful orbital mechanics to aim at a specific target (unless you are talking about a large scale ecosystem busting shot) as well as consider the dissipating effects an atmosphere poses. Dense elongated impactors are a good idea to minimise atmospheric friction and to be able to reach the surface but you'll need to control their angle during the impact phase. If you slam a metal bar side first into a dense atmosphere it will have massive friction and is likely to evaporate completely on its way down only causing an elongated atmospheric burst. The recent Chelyabinsk event gives a good idea what kind of an atmospheric burst a medium sized rock with interplanetary speeds can cause. You'll get a good show but the damages on ground will be limited.
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Re: Superweapons in Your Conworld / Connation

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gach wrote:
eldin raigmore wrote:Would just dropping a thousand-cubic-meter splash of water do that much (1 to 3 megatons) damage? If not why not?
The water has to be ice here but even that is pretty fragile and volatile. If it gets distributed over a too large area in the atmosphere the released energy density projected on the planetary surface won't be too high. A related problem is that because of its volatility an icy impactor is likely to release its kinetic energy in the high atmosphere. With enough mass and impact velocity you can create a Tunguska like event. With not enough, the explosion will happen too high up in the atmosphere and have limited effects on the surface.

I should also say that just dropping stuff from the orbit gives a too simplistic idea of the kind of weapons system we are talking about. You still need careful orbital mechanics to aim at a specific target (unless you are talking about a large scale ecosystem busting shot) as well as consider the dissipating effects an atmosphere poses. Dense elongated impactors are a good idea to minimise atmospheric friction and to be able to reach the surface but you'll need to control their angle during the impact phase. If you slam a metal bar side first into a dense atmosphere it will have massive friction and is likely to evaporate completely on its way down only causing an elongated atmospheric burst. The recent Chelyabinsk event gives a good idea what kind of an atmospheric burst a medium sized rock with interplanetary speeds can cause. You'll get a good show but the damages on ground will be limited.
Kinetic bombardment:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinetic_bombardment
The system most often described is "an orbiting tungsten telephone pole with small fins and a computer in the back for guidance

Add that to the notion of the Relativistic Kill Vehicle. and You have a heavy projectile being fire at near lightspeed...
eldin raigmore wrote:
Salmoneus wrote:Once somebody has a crossbow bolt in their stomach, they don't care too much about getting another crossbow bolt in their stomach. As the projector of crossbow bolts, you would probably like your second bolt to hit a different person from the first bolt. This means either you have to be able to move your crossbow very quickly, which is hard to do when it's very heavy, or else fire very slowly (i.e. there's no point it being a repeater).
You could put a crossbow on a swivel mount. But it's a big limitation on their usefulness. And remember also that because they're a lot slower than a repeating gun, if you try to arc your fire, there'll be big gaps between the quarrels. And since presumably it wouldn't be a very powerful crossbow (more power means slower reloading), the range would be limited, so you'd have to concentrate your fire in the part of the arc actually in range.
All in all, you're better off spending all that money just hiring several guys with several crossbows.
It's my impression -- I could be wrong -- that the medieval or Byzantine repeating crossbows were swivel mounted, but the mounts weren't mobile, and the shooter had command of up to nearly 180 degrees horizontally but much less (maybe about 18 degrees?) vertically.
Does anyone know where to look the information up?

Anyway, I think sangi39 and Salmoneus are right, even if I'm wrong. ISTR that it was a Scientific American article many years ago that said the "infinite"-repeating crossbows were too consistently accurate to be useful.
I was never talking about mounted crossbows.
I was talking about hand-held crossbows with the capacity to shoot bolts at a faster rate than even normal repeating crossbows, like machinegun speeds.
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eldin raigmore wrote:
Salmoneus wrote:Tom: rods from god do the damage of about 1-3 tons of TNT for each kg of material dropped. That's not very much.
A cube of something the density of water that was 1 meter by 1 meter by 1 meter would contain 1,000 kilograms. So it would hit with the force of 1,000 to 3,000 tons of TNT.
A cube of something the density of water that was 10 meters by 10 meters by 10 meters would contain 1,000,000 kilograms. So it would hit with the force of 1,000,000 to 3,000,000 tons of TNT.
"Little Boy", the Hiroshima bomb, had the force of 20,000 tons of TNT.

I said "rocks the size of a city bus". Rocks are certainly denser than water, more than 10 times as dense I think (depending on the rock, of course). And city buses are bigger than 1 meter by 1 meter by 10 meters. So each of those rocks would probably mass more than 100,000 kg. They'd hit with between more than 5 and more than 15 times the force of "Little Boy". (Assuming I'm right about the densities and sizes.)
As gach points out, it's not nearly this simple. The Chelyabinsk meteor was much larger than this (Wikipedia gives 12,000-13,000 metric tonnes, i.e. 120-130 times your figure of 100,000 kg), and indeed, the blast was "equivalent to approximately 500 kilotons of TNT (about 1.8 PJ), 20–30 times more energy than was released from the atomic bomb detonated at Hiroshima" (!). That's one ridiculously huge explosion, no doubt - but fortunately, it also happened about 30 km up in the air, so the damage on the ground was mostly limited to a bunch of shattered windows.

AFAIU, it's not possible to calculate the explosive force an extraterrestrial object colliding with the Earth from its mass alone. Kinetic energy is directly proportional to mass, but also to the square of the velocity, in addition to which the composition and shape of the object as well as the angle of impact will have an effect.
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Re: Superweapons in Your Conworld / Connation

Post by Mugitus »

Carl Miller wrote:The 10-km-long Safirian flagship Amane has a spinal beam cannon that runs the full length of the ship (viz. below) and could probably glass whole worlds with one stroke.
I like the picture!
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Re: Superweapons in Your Conworld / Connation

Post by eldin raigmore »

Ahzoh wrote:I was talking about hand-held crossbows with the capacity to shoot bolts at a faster rate than even normal repeating crossbows, like machinegun speeds.
I don't think there have ever been such things IRL; do you know different?
And I don't think there ever will be such things IRL; again, do you know different?

Naval battles in earlier days (i.e. pre-Byzantine Roman times) tended to be between long ships (prone to roll but not pitch) armed with a ballista (a giant crossbow that even a team of men would have difficulty maneuvering swiftly) mounted in the bow.

I don't know if you've ever played "Broadside". If you have you know about "crossing the T".

With ships armed with series of cannons along the side, if one ship had their broadside to the others bow or stern, they could shoot at their foe without being shot at.

It was just the opposite with ballista-armed triremes (or whatever); if one ship was had her bow pointed at the other's side, their ballista could hit the whole opposing ship at various times, as the roll of the shooters'-ship would change which part of the target would get hit, but without any pitch and with the predictability of the crossbow, it was a guarantee that if one shot could hit then every shot would hit.
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