A frightening personal weapon for 'Traveller'
The Star Kingdom Of Kirov (See Library Data) has a long-standing reputation for dubious products. This was surpassed with the M-1066-7 Wondergun. Ironically, as well as being arguably the worst personal weapon to have ever attained mass production anywhere, it is also the Kingdom's greatest single commercial success.
In 1101, the monarch of Kirov established a committee to design and develop "...the most advanced and versatile personal weapon system ever built by man..." - with a view towards re-equipping Kirov's army, as well as possible export revenue. The end result was the M-1066-7, mass-produced on Kirov (albeit using components copied from nearly everybody else within three subsectors), and designed to have something for every situation an infantryman was likely to face.
The end result weighs in at 25 kilograms (excluding ammunition and power packs); and is individually packaged in a pseudomilitary-style, moulded plastic box. The impressively thick and colourful instruction manual has numerous typos and missing pages, but compensates for this by being basically incomprehensible in any case.
The internal computer is a knock-off of an obsolete Zhodani Warbot's brain, programmed with bootlegged software from a Darrian office computer, and interfaced with a sensor package copied from a Third Imperium survey satellite. Problems have thus been inevitable, with the Wondergun frequently suffering from an identity crisis in demanding situations.
The Kirovians lucked out for two reasons. Firstly, the advertising campaign was extremely effective, and got precisely the right kind of attention for the item (mainly people with minimal knowledge of weapons). Secondly, instead of classifying the M-1066-7 as a 'Defective Product' as they should have, Imperial bureaucrats classified it as a Class II Prohibited Weapon. This category covers personal weapons deemed totally unacceptable within the Third Imperium due to their lethality and/or working principles, and is only one grade below nuclear weapons and biochemical agents (at Class I).
Officially, this 'mis-classification' is a clerical error, though steps to correct it never seem to have eventuated. Some observers assert that the 'error' was deliberate, and a fiendishly brilliant move on the Imperium's part. Kirov and its distributors have been literally deluged with orders from low-grade criminals, amateur terrorists and would-be adventurers ever since. Adverse publicity is minimal, mainly because those actually using the weapon in combat seldom survive long enough to pass on their experience.
It should also be noted that Kirov's military uses dummy copies of the M-1066-7 for ceremonial purposes, and other weapons for actual field operations. All functional 'Wonderguns (if this is not a contradiction in terms) are carefully stored "against future requirements".
Perhaps the greatest irony of all is that the weapon's popularity has inspired other worlds to produce bootleg copies. These 'inferior-quality' weapons are substantially cheaper and, because they lack many of the original's more sophisticated design features, are actually slightly more reliable.
Characters and NPCs from militaries and criminal organizations in the vicinity of Foreven and the Spinward Marches have a good chance of having heard of the M-1066-7. For a Character to have accurate knowledge of the M-1066-7, roll INT or lower on 2d6; with a DM of -2 to the roll if the Character went to Intelligence School or has Streetwise 2+; and a DM of -1 for every assignment to Counter Insurgency, Police Action or Special Mission. If the Character is from a non-military background and habitually reads the 57th Century equivalent of 'Soldier Of Fortune', then there is a DM of +5.
As of version 'h.2', the Wondergun has the following built-in systems:
Advanced Combat Rifle
Grenade Launcher / Flare Dispenser (TL9)
Laser Designator (Can also function as a 5 shot laser carbine)
Catapult (Spring-loaded*. Can hurl a grappling hook with rope, a riot control baton, or a metre-wide net up to 20 metres. One of each of these is packaged within the weapon.)
Folding Stock (Spring-loaded*. For ease of storage.)
Entrenching Tool (Spring-loaded*. Folds into the folding stock.)
Armoured Shield (One meter wide. Unfolds like an umbrella, to provide Cloth-equivalent protection in the forward arc. Peepholes to enable the user to look forward without leaving cover. VERY simple release mechanism, but requires two consecutive DEX rolls to fold up again.)
Storage Compartment (houses 8 m of rope, cleaning kit and messkit)
Sensor Package (Passive IR & UV, High-Range Audio, Short-Range Radio Communicator, Geiger Counter, and Alarm Clock.)
Combination periscope and telescopic sights (x50)
Anti-theft security system (Combination keypad with lockdown capability.)
Self-destruct package (Shaped charge linked to the anti-theft system. Rumours that the charge will detonate spontaneously if the weapon overheats or is dropped heavily are unfounded.)
Exterior electroshock field (1d4 shocks between recharges. Used in conjunction with the anti-theft system, or can be manually activated.)
Combination mini-chainsaw/bayonet (Folds under the barrel when not in use.)
Sound system (Functions as a stereo / public address system, a 100+ decibel siren, or a white noise generator to jam audio sensors.)
Tripod (Springloaded*. Folds into underside.)
Spotlight (Variable beam and intensity.)
Recharger (Four different powerplugs, plus two metres of flex powercord, to accept recharging from a variety of sources).
Ports for linking the weapon to other systems (eg. Battle Dress, exterior sensors, etc..)
Computer System (Verbally announces malfunctions, tactical options, or incorrect operation. Several languages available. Volume control doesn't.)
[* Every time a spring-loaded component is used, the user must either brace or make a saving roll against STR to avoid being knocked off-balance. An occasional DEX roll may also be called for to avoid physical injury (ie. being clouted in the face as the component unfolds). Another STR roll is needed to fold the component up afterwards.]
All weapons on the M-1066-7h.2 are -2 to accuracy, due to the balance improvements made to this version (ie. removal of the built-in stove). Purchased direct from the manufacturer, the system costs 4,000 credits.
The M-1066-7 has it all. Incompatible components. Dubious quality control. A casual approach to safety. Numerous controls to be joggled or misset.
Each time the Wondergun is used, roll 2d6. On 8+ (with DMs), the weapon functions exactly as intended. Otherwise, it malfunctions.
+2 if the user has successfully deciphered the manual AND is faithfully following all recommended procedures.
+1 if the user has skill levels in both Combat Rifle and Computer.
+1 if the user has correctly done the lengthy start-up procedure for that weapon.
-(1d6) for each instance of rough treatment the weapon has been subjected to (such as being dropped, shaken, struck, swung violently, verbally insulted, etc.).
-(1d3) if the weapon has been subjected to any extremes or sudden changes in environment (eg. temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, etc.).
-(1d6) if the weapon is used in an unapproved manner (eg. specific functions disabled, nonstandard design alterations, incorrect maintenance, or anything that the manual doesn't cover or approve).
In the very likely event of malfunction, the Referee should select from the following:
Wrong Function Selected (I) - Whatever component is used, it is used at the wrong (read: unintended) setting. Examples include mixing up the Laser Carbine mode with the Laser Designator, firing modes for the ACR, and so on.
Wrong Function Selected (II) - Whatever component is used is NOT the one the user gets. Roll randomly to see what activates and to what extent.
Computer Warning - The weapon's computer decides that something is not right . It will (loudly) provide advice and/or seek confirmation of current settings. In any case, the system does this repeatedly whenever a specific component has run out of ammo or has otherwise been disabled.
Security Flag - The security system has decided that something is seriously amiss. Roll on the standard NPC Reaction Table (no modifiers):
A 'Positive' result means that, after the currently-selected option has been used, the user must input the Security Code on the weapon keypad in order to prevent Basic Lockdown.
A 'Neutral' result means that the weapon goes into Basic Lockdown without doing anything, and is therefore immobilized until the Security Code is entered.
A 'Negative' result means that the weapon goes into Emergency Lockdown. The weapon is immobilized, and the user must roll 9+ (DM: +1 if DEX is 10+, or if Combat Rifle skill is 3+) to avoid having the weapon clamp painfully and solidly around his forearm (in which case, the Security Code or a total of 20 STR will be needed to get free).
A 'Hostile / Attack' result means that the weapon will go into Total Lockdown - as above, except also activate the electroshock system on 8+ and, in any case, commence a 30 second countdown to self-destruct. The Security Code PLUS verification will be needed to stop this.
The M-1066-7's keypad is small, and individual keys have been known to stick (and, in isolated cases, fall out completely). Entering the wrong code will escalate the Lockdown - entering the wrong Security Code for a weapon in Basic Lockdown will make that weapon go to Emergency Lockdown, and so on.
Maintenance Mode - The weapon pops open all access panels, and violently ejects everything it can (ammo, batteries, cleaning kit, messkit, powercord, etc,). Everything folded (tripod, armoured shield, entrenching tool, chainsaw/bayonet, catapult) will immediately unfold. User must reboot the computer (and reload everything) in order to proceed.
Multiple Problems - Referee discretion. 2+ malfunctions combine in new and intriguing ways. The worst case scenario is 'Gang Fire' (ALL systems activate simultaneously, with a high likelihood of totalling the weapon and whoever is holding it).
Face it, the 'Wondergun' is for comedy relief - a true 'Darwin Award' weapon, if ever there was one. Some Referees may consider it just a bit too silly for their campaigns. But, any serious student of history knows of cases where somebody had what seemed like a good idea . Then, once the committees, alleged experts, budgetary constraints, politics and/or basic physical laws all have had their input; it eventually becomes clear the idea is an absolute nightmare. By which time, it is often too late. Compared with the R101 airship, Communist agricultural policies, French battleships of the 1880s, and Britain's "K" Class submarines, the M-1066-7 is not all that unusual.
There are a few possibilities for 'Traveller' campaigns. Munchkin disposal is the most obvious [Munchkin: "Oooh! Oooh! BIG GUN! Me want!" Referee:"Hmmmmmm. Well, okay..."]. A couple of experiences with the Wondergun, and said Munchkin has either received a very important life lesson OR is eliminated from play. Possibly both. Not a bad deal, really.
Anybody using the Wondergun is either suicidal or clueless. Or suicidally clueless. Or something like that. Now, imagine the classic 'Star Wars' cantina scene. Anybody waving a large firearm around in in a place like that will not be long for this world. However, what if the weapon being waved around is a Wondergun? Given its reputation in certain quarters, the last thing any knowledgeable person there would want is for the weapon to be fired or shaken heavily or (Horror Of Horrors!!!!) DROPPED. Which makes the M-1066-7 uniquely suited for certain styles of intimidation. Somehow, this is reminescent of that scene in 'Blazing Saddles' where the sheriff takes himself hostage....
Technically-inclined Player-Characters may want to modify the weapon into something that is actually useful. My advice is to let them try, because everybody needs a hobby. Fixing the worst of the Wondergun's problems should take YEARS (even for a bunch of technical geniuses with an unlimited budget, a fully-equipped lab / workshop, and a heavily-reinforced firing range!). It also means that 'somebody' will be obligated to field-test the thing. Numerous times, probably.
The final result will probably have had virtually all of its components altered or replaced - and to what end? Everything on the M-1066-7 can also be had as individual items of personal equipment. Carrying all this gear separately may be more difficult in terms of personal organization, but would certainly be safer and less heavy.
Consider, also. Assume the Characters somehow come up with a "quick fix" to make the Wondergun more effective. Are the Kirovians necessarily going to thank them for this? More importantly, are the Imperial authorities????
Another possibility for adventure. As a consequence of their business skill / handiness with smallarms, the Characters "acquire" a valuable shipment of weapons. Imagine their horror when they open the crates and find.... lots and lots of Wonderguns. Assuming the Party is 'in the know', their inclination may be to retreat and blow the lot up from a safe distance. However, if the Characters are in serious financial straits, this may not be an option. Which means finding somebody to buy the weapons...
Final adventure possibility (that I can think of, just now). Imagine the Characters in an Alamo / Rorke's Drift situation. Imagine, also, that they have a pile of Wonderguns for company. Should be a serious test of their skill and ingenuity.
There are no pictures of the M-1066-7 as yet (it is on my list of things to do, honest!). I envisage the Wondergun looking something like Zorg's weapon in 'The Fifth Element'. Except for being 2-3 times bigger, with a lot of 'extras' stuck on the outside.
This is an idea to have fun with. Nothing more.