Weapons & Armor

Military tech was a constant battle between offense and defense, an unceasing game of cat and mouse: lasers beat missiles, chalk and chaff beat lasers, missiles beat chalk and chaff.


A nuclear shaped charge often mounted on a missile to increase its range. Pure Casaba-Howitzers focused a nuclear explosion into a narrow beam of plasma. Other Casaba-Howitzers used that explosion to propel explosively formed projectiles—such as slugs of molten tungsten—with extreme destructive potential.

One type was the RD 52, a hydrogen-cooled Casaba Howitzer chilled to within a fraction of a degree of absolute zero and used as mines.


Commonly called exos, these powered frames were used for combat, freight, mining, and mobility. Exos varied widely in design and function, with some being open to the elements and others hardened for vacuum or the depths of oceans. Armored exos were standard equipment for UMC combat troops.


A small drone used for surveillance and assassination.


Directed energy guns used for line-of-sight combat. Blasters are laser guns that fire pulses of energy instead of a continuous beam. Chaff and chalk are effective defense against laser weapons, as they diffuse the light beams, making them ineffective.


The magnetospheric dipolar torus of ionized plasma used to protect spaceships from solar radiation during interplanetary trips or the magneto-hydrodynamic system used for braking and thermal protection during reentry.

Shadow Shield

A plug of radiation shielding that sat between a reactor and the main body of a spaceship. It was comprised of two layers: neutron shielding (usually lithium hydroxide) and gamma-ray shielding (either tungsten or mercury). In order to keep stations and crew within the “shadow” cast by the shield, spaceships usually docked nose-first.


Commonly called “rods from god,” SJAMs were inert projectiles made of tungsten rods that were dropped from orbit. They were invented by Dr. Pournelle in the twentieth century. These kinetic weapons were used by militaries when conventional explosives were impractical (as when wanting to avoid radiation) or when anti-projectile countermeasures were a concern.

Whipple Shield

A type of defense structure built into the hull of space ships. The shield’s staggered layers of material break up and deflect the energy of incoming projectiles such as micrometeoroids. Kira used a piece of a Whipple shield to protect herself during her battle with Ctein.