The Shape of Things to Come
Standard Issue Imperial Guard Lasgun
The Imperial Lasgun is the primary weapon of the Imperial Guard over millions of worlds of the Imperium. Made by the Adeptus Mechanicus it differs in several ways from other laser weapons.
Essentially it is a streaming stun gun, delivering an incapacitating shock to insurgents to enable capture and later interrogation by the Arbiters or Inquisition. The Lasgun is designed with peace keeping in mind, but even peace keepers have to kill from time to time.
To this end the Lasgun has a secondary mode that is a lethal high energy ‘pulse’ setting that packs quite a punch. The electroshock is about 30W and good enough to stop the heart of most humans, and the ‘exotic’ laser can defeat lesser armours to deliver the shock. The extreme wavelength of the laser gives it unusual penetrative powers, and can create ionisation tunnel thorough armour to deliver the shock. It can also super-heat the water in the body to cause an explosive expansion of stream. Needless to say this can cause very serious wounds which are not as straightforward to treat as a simple bullet wound.
The last mode of the Lasgun is a low power ‘laser disrupter’ mode. This is use to mess with the vision of a charging enemy protected from the stun effect (i.e. inside a car etc.). The prime use of this is to stop vehicles at road blocks.
All these modes allow the Imperial Guard to be far more decisive in scenarios where civilians are involved. It has also lead to the Imperial Guard view that it is better to ‘stun first and ask questions later’, the concept expanded to the ‘stun everyone and let the Emperor sort them out’ ethos of crowd control. However, the stun effect can be lethal to children and the elderly, and trigger happy Troopers have caused incidents where the vulnerable have perished to the shock effect even on the non-lethal setting. Lasguns have also been used in war crimes, torture and abuse. The most notable is the practice of ‘execute and revive’, and the use by ‘gangs’ (rogue elements within the Imperial Guard, or AWOL troopers) to capture victims at long range.
The Lasgun is seen as a weapon of Imperial oppression and the preeminent weapon in psychological warfare. It causes great fear among civilians; who often see the Imperial Guard as having no impediment to using it. The Imperial Guard are quick to stun even over minor infractions, and some seem to enjoy it and are looking for an excuse to use the weapon.
Tech note: The Lasgun may use electromagnetic radiation that can penetrate and be based on a gamma ray, x-ray laser or ultraviolet laser as an ionising medium. If so, this is why it will penetrate armour, go through mirrors etc. Running with this idea, I would speculate that in strict STC designs the graser is not powerful enough to debilitate a target immediately on its own; it is the electroshock that stuns and stops the target dead in their tracks. It would cause ionisation damage at higher energy levels, but this could be somewhat mitigated due to the secondary shock effect and the associated lower energy level needed to pull it off. In this concept the Lasgun is a relatively low power weapon compared to regular laser weapons that used brute force photon energy to destroy targets. It only takes around 25W of electroshock to stop the human heart.
Wounds: Even peripheral strikes to limbs from a Lasgun will stun and take a person down. On the pulse setting a strike would stop the heart and render the person disabled via spasm; locked up in excruciating pain before losing consciousness and dying. The high power of a pulse strike may cause explosions of super-heated steam to erupt from the strike zone creating large ragged holes in the flesh of the target. All settings have the change to induce radiation sickness. This is not a ‘humane’ weapon.
New rules for IG Lasguns:
Ignores all primitive armour. Penetration value of 2 on all modern armour except power armour.
Optional Rule: Each time a Lasgun does more than 10 points of damage in one strike a secret Toughness test will determine the chance of radiation sickness occurring later.