Friday, February 12, 2021

Martian Nerve Dart-Guns

A long time ago (apparently 19:47 15 October 2018 according to my notes) I started working on something for Moment of Truth RPG (MoT RPG). The idea for the campaign was a Martian planetary romance pulp action/adventure campaign. Primary inspiration came from the Dying Mars setting in the lovely GURPS Mars supplement (though, pretty much all GURPS supplements are lovely) and S.M. Stirling's novel In the Courts of the Crimson Kings, which is itself an homage to previous Martian planetary romances. I grabbed that book off the shelf when I was in high school and read it primarily because I'm a fan of King Crimson.

There's a weapon out of In the Courts of the Crimson Kings which helps to emulate a swashbuckling mode of combat with divergent bio-tech. On Stirling's Mars the guns are alive. If properly nourished, they produce gases and darts filled with a deadly neurotoxin. Getting shot with this neurotoxin-dart gun makes death a near certainty. The gun can only produce one dart at a time and needs time to do so, however. Thus a piratey swashbuckling vibe is established. Shoot your musket living dart gun once and then resort to blades in a combat because it simply takes too long to reload regrow.

In my notes I wrote that the physical damage of a dart gun would resemble a cross between a sling and a thrown knife (according to the MoT RPG weapon tables, p.56).

WeaponDamageCloseOptimalLongNotes
Dart PistolSkill + 5 (4, 5)C12m10m (2)Ammo: 1, Living, Neurotoxin
Dart RifleSkill + 8 (4, 5)C-1m25m35m (2)Ammo: 1, Living, Neurotoxin

Living: This weapon is Martian bio-tech. It is alive. It requires nourishment (a special food paste for Martian tech and water) and is susceptible to disease. If properly cared for, it replenishes its ammo within four to six hours after shooting.

Neurotoxin: If any damage penetrates the target, the neurotoxin is delivered. The target is racked with pain and spasms. While under the effects of the neurotoxin, the target's throat clenches shut, are in terrible pain, and lose motor function. The target has the conditions Incapacitated and Suffocating. The suffocation counts as a surprise. To end the suffocation the target must succeed an Endurance stat roll with a -1d6 penalty. Once the character has ended their suffocating condition, they may attempt to end their Incapacitated condition at no further penalty.


Initially I had the Damage at Skill + 3 for the pistol and Skill + 5 for the Rifle. Transcribing it, I figured that I would bump it up. In my notes I initially have the conditions of the neurotoxin as Suffocation and Stunning and then switched it in the next paragraph to Incapacitation.

In retrospect, I honestly think that this could use some work. The Endurance rolls to overcome suffocation might become tedious. It could be better to just need someone to administer an antidote and then roll Endurance to overcome the incapacitation.

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Martian Nerve Dart-Guns

A long time ago (apparently 19:47 15 October 2018 according to my notes) I started working on something for Moment of Truth RPG (MoT RPG). ...