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In the WH40K universe the standard lasgun is quite weak: especially against armored oponnents (Necromunda seems to be a bit of an exception, giving the gun some ability against armour). Why is this so: I can understand that a lasgun cauterizes the wound immediately and therefore being (slightly) less lethal then an auto-gun, but against (non-power) armour, it feels to me it should be more effective than it is: especially compared to autoguns.
I get that lasguns are cheap and easy to produce, and do not require ammunition, but is there some ingame fluff (or real world physics) that explains why lasguns are so weak?
Any thoughts on this?
There's no penetration power. It's not like your standard laser, it's like a projectile of heat, and when it lands on a target it ( i think the codex says something like) "blossoms a scorch of heat on the target, equivlent to standing near the sun". Something like that.... so the lasgun just burns you bad, there's no laser PEW PEW going on.
It's interesting when i read some guard books and they talk about these awesome killing blows where the lasbolt goes through the dudes head, i think the reason why it's so awesome, is because it's the sheer kinetic force of the bolt that delivers these coupe de grace.....so maybe there's alot of push with lasbolts as well.....
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I think it basically boils down to if lasguns were any stronger, IG would become overpowered and everyone else's weapon strengths and toughness would have to increase to offset it, thereby negating the increased strength of the lasgun. I think it all comes down to game balance.
In the fluff lasguns have multiple firing modes, which would be a pain to keep track of in-game. And grossly unfair in some cases (going straight through a Chaos marine due to a powerpack discharge? a little unfair if you think about it. *in a gaunts ghosts book).
They're not really that weak either, it's just because they're compared to bolters, which are essentially mini-rocket launchers.
I think the real question should be why are shuriken catapults so strong!
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Fluffwise a lagun shot can take your arm off with a direct hit - a decent hit causes horrendous burns (but also cautersises the wound so there is little bleeding).
They are weak game wise for balance.
They aren't exactly weak for game balance. In the game inquisitor, the lasgun is the standard weapon--it's still able to kill. The lasgun is not weak at all towards another human in standard conditions. But, in a universe where you're fighting power-armoured giants, mesh armoured aliens and giant-plated fungi, the lasgun quickly becomes ineffective.
It'd be like using a musket in modern times. Sure, it will kill someone who isn't wearing armour, but against the super-advanced armour of today, it will bounce off.
Balance, pure and simple. If the games were done in line with fluff Guardsmen would be 1 point apiece with high strength assault weaponry. Which would be silly.
Fluff-wise all you need to do is set it to full power and it will put holes in power armour no problem.
And does anyone else imagine full auto with a lasgun as just a continuous beam cutting things in half as it is swept back and forth?
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Seriously.. I'd strongly advise playing Inquisitor, in general, as it's a fantastic modeling of the fluff in game terms (perhaps a little too hard to hurt people, but that's a small concession to game balance.) 40k has this strange idea that armour either works absolutely or doesn't..
The lasgun is just the basic gun of the Imperium.. It's not weak (an autogun, which is equivallent to a modern assault rifle, has similar stats in both Inquisitor and 40k, though in Inquisitor it has a higher rate of fire.) The problem is not so much that weapons are weak, but that armour is incredibly high tech and advanced.. Space marine power armour in Inquisitor can potentially block lascannon shots. Fluffwise, Terminator armour can survive being trodden on and compacted by a Warhound titan.. It's all a bit mental.
Okay, it makes less sense when we're talking about feral guard regiments with metal plate carapace armour or some such thing, but that's why Inquisitor is good.. In Inquisitor, such armour would have rules to reflect its low-tech nature.
They're not, really. S3 is the game-rules equivalent of a high-powered assault rifle. It'll kill someone just fine.
Since the gap between S3 and S4 is the gap between a military-trained human and a Marine, it just goes to show how powerful boltguns are. I mean, shuriken catapults are S4 and they can literally cut a guy in half.
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Fluff wise lasguns do significant damage. An assault rifle now days will put a hole in you and cause some major interior trauma. A lasgun would fry a large section of your body and on its highest setting it will distintegrate a head.
Now remember a bolt gun is firing High power explosives that when it hits you whatever it hits is gone. Just gone. A torso, a head, an arm. Blown to bits,
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