“Happiness for a Skullcrusher is having another weapon readily at hand to kill something with. Underbarrel weaponry is cause for a really scary grin on most of them.”
ES-RPGL-6/40//ES-RPGL-6/40G 40mm Grenade Launcher
When arming the original Shemarrians, while ARCHIE-3 certainly appreciated projectile weapons, he stayed away from complex, logistics-heavy weaponry such as grenades and missiles, instead focusing on more easily re-supplied inert-projectile rail weapons. That isn’t to say that the Shemarrians couldn’t, or wouldn’t, readily pick up grenades, grenade launchers, and missiles (particularly mini-missiles) from fallen enemies and other sources, but generally A3 avoided coming up with specific grenade- and missile-launcher weaponry for his proxy troops.
That changed during the Shemarrian Civil War when the Ecotroz and their allies used whatever resources they could acquire to supply their forces. Munitions plants were too valuable to simply discard, even if they produced weaponry that wasn’t part of the original Shemarrian TOE (Table of Organization and Equipment), so often the rebel Shemarrians adapted and adopted the appropriate weaponry into their ranks, and where and when possible making changes to them to better match the emerging Shemarrian technological design ethos.
The Shemarrian Star Nation had no such restrictions from A3’s logistical concerns when they were establishing their own colony worlds, so a wide variety of projectile weapons began appearing in their ranks. The Skullcrushers in particular came to showcase a range of heavy artillery-style weapons on all levels, from tactical to strategic (weapons such as the ”BoneBreaker” Personal Canon and ’SkullShatter’ Rapid-fire Cannon became effectively icons of the Tribe). The ES-RPGL-6/40 is one such weapon becoming quite common in EShemarrian ranks.
The ES-RPGL-6/40 is a relatively simple tubular grenade launcher using the fairly common (at least among Human worlds) 40mm grenade format and the ‘metal storm’ loading system, with up to eight grenades loaded in-line in the launcher. The launcher is designed to be slung under the barrel of a Shemarrian Rail Gun, in particular the shorter-barreled 4000-series ‘carbine’ version, though it also can be mounted under the Shemarrian Assault Rifle. The ES-RPGL-6/40 has earned the nickname ‘Skullcrusher Trombone’ because rather than being mounted snugged up under the carbine barrel, the launcher is typically hung separated by an extended attachment lug that doubles as a forehand grip between the two weapons. The original ES-RPGL-6/40 fired caseless propellant-jacketed 40mm grenades; a later model, the ES-RPGL-6/40G, uses a small contra-gravitic g-gun system to gravitically propel its munitions, allowing for the use of non-standard grenades at greater range.
The ES-RPGL-6/40 (and especially the later, and more advanced ES-RPGL-6/40G version) can fire a variety of 40mm grenade types, including ‘dumb’ grenades produced on a number of worlds, but the ES-RPGL-6/40 works best with Shemarrian-produced grenades, When using appropriate ordnance, the ES-RPGL-6/40 serves as a ‘smart’ weapn, the Shemarrian user psionically- or hardwire-linked to the weapon and able to program the fuzing of the munition. Shemarrian rifle grenades can be programmed to explode early while in flight, for a ‘shotgun’ airburst, or can be set for a delay, allowing a skilled gunner to skim the grenade under a target, or even bounce it off obstacles. The grenades, once armed by firing, can even be remotely detonated (within the Shemarrian’s integral radio range), allowing the Shemarrians to set up impromptu minefields. Many a Shemarrian-fired ‘dud’ round has proven to be an advance-placed booby-trap for unwary enemies.
Though originally and most enthusiastically used by the Skullcrusher Tribe, weapons such as the ES-RPGL-6/40 have quickly caught on with other Tribes, and the same pattern weapon (or ones very much like it) have appeared in the forces of the other Tribes.
|Type||40mm Grenade Launcher|
|MDC of Weapon||45|
|Range2||40G 3000 ft|
|Damage||Varies by Grenade|
|Rate of Fire||Single/ECHH|
|Special Note2||Selective Grenade Fusing|
The ES-RPGL-6/40 and 40G can use a variety of different 40mm format grenades.
|Range||12 foot radius|
Standard fragmentation grenades, one of the most common loads when fighting infantry.
|Range||3 foot radius|
Amour piercing rounds, used against vehicles, robots and cyborgs.
|Range||5 foot radius|
Another common grenade type, especially among the Blood Riders and Skullcrushers.
This grenade is packed with several submunitions based on the Rifts Earth 23mm ‘finger bomb’ explosives. The 40mm ‘bus’ carries eight 20mm bomblets, and ‘shotguns’ them over a 10-16 ft radius (depending on how the shooter fuses the round), each doing 2d4 MD to a 10 ft area (so it is possible to have overlapping areas of destruction).
Incendiary Cluster Grenade
Same as the Cluster Grenade, only the round distributes up to eight incendiary mini-grenades. A slug of thermal gel that does 1d6 MD to a 12 ft splash, and an additional 1d4 MD per melee for 1d6 melees.
Other specialized rounds are also available; the Wayfinders have been known to use TW grenades, the Silvermoons photonic weapons, the Sapphire Cobras nanite distributors, the Ghost Riders EMP generators, and the Lost Eclipse psychochemical rounds.
Being cybernetic organisms, the (E)Shemarrians can make the most of weapon-links and integrated sighting systems; +1 to strike in addition to any other bonuses.
Selective Grenade Fusing
As noted above, the (E)Shemarrians can quickly pre-set the fusing of the grenades before launching, allowing them to ‘shotgun’ the ordnance or delay detonation substantially.