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🎨 Creative A realistic science fiction future without guns

artikid

passerby
Validated User
When I first answered "nanites", the first thing I thought was 'that's cheating. Nanites are sci-fi gobbledigook for magic'.
IMHO, no matter how much talk of nanites we have, they are not really realistic.
The only reason that makes sense for the absence of guns, is that they have become obsolete.
Weapons become obsolete because armor or other kinds of protections have evolved enough to make them less effective. If I'm not mistaken, warhammers were developed to break plate armor, as it was too tough to break with most other weapons.
In turn, plate armor was made obsolete by firearms. So the Dune thing with force fields more or less makes at least some sense.

We can imagine the Kevlar and ceramic armor of today to be superceded in the future by something more effective against bullets. At the same time, I expect this future armor to be effective against stabs and arrows as well. No need for power armor so far.
Depending on how far in the future you want to go, I don't think lasers will become practical, man-portable weapons any time soon.
This leaves us with: unarmed combat training (mostly throws, locks, I guess) and.... Sonic weapons? Gas grenades? Contact drugs and poisons?

But a lot depends how your future society approaches violence: do you even have war at all?
In a mostly peaceful, and as non-violent as can be future, governed by one galaxy-spawning polity, I immagine cops (or whatever is going to take their place) patrolling the streets armed with... tangle grenades and glue guns? And that's it.
Once they have you subdued, they bring you to the psichologist, and after a short stint of counseling, community work and maybe a small fine on next month's UBI, you have paid your debt to society.
 

Eric the .5b

It's all so esoteric
Validated User
If your campaign is nonviolent to begin with, no one has a reason to own a gun.
This seems the most sensible realistic approach. I admit, I have trouble with, "So how can the PCs merrily slaughter people, just without guns?"

Even if it's a frontier/exploration setup, maybe there are better options than lethal weapons. If personal force fields are too scientifically dubious, then something like handheld versions of the millimeter-wave Active Denial System to fend off hostile fauna. Or personal armor that's not designed to let you tear off anyone's limbs off with it.

"Hey, mothership, there's a thing with lots of tentacles that's grabbed me, and it's gnawing on my leg."

"Can you reach the pouch on your left hip? There's an airhorn in there."

"...OK, it's bouncing away. Thanks, mothership."

Mind, consider how many researchers do field work in remote locations without anything more than practical clothing and first aid equipment. Or how nobody puts mercenary teams on cargo ships unless they're going through areas subject to pirate attack.

And in a pinch, there are non-violent ways to address hostility.

"We come in peace."

"What if we aren't inclined to be peaceful back?"

"Forgive me, but I'm distracted by that incredibly alarming thing over there! *runs away while they look*"
 

s/LaSH

Member
RPGnet Member
Validated User
On the non-violence front:

Farscape gives some good indicators of what this could look like, in the hands of a terrifyingly PC-like group. They do have guns, but their ships are less combat-oriented. Moya, their only ship with more than 2 seats, can... do an FTL jump. Crichton's capsule can't even break orbit without upgrades, and is a pure NASA science vessel. Aeryn's Peacekeeper fighter is (I believe) armed, but is pretty much the lightest thing in space. Anybody who wants to start a fight with them is by definition better-armed; the primary antagonists, the Peacekeepers, tend to tool around in 10km-long Command Carriers with individual guns bigger than Moya.

So when the crew of Moya wants to get something done, they need to get very clever, screw it up, and wind up running around with a nuclear bomb strapped to Crichton's chest or something. I don't know about you, but that sounds like an ideal outcome to me!
 

Rupert

Active member
Validated User
Super Kevlar is still a cloth, so slicing and stabbing still works because you're attacking the material a few fibres at a time rather than the area effect of a blunt bullet.
Spitzer rifle bullets are often surprisingly pointy.

That flat tip is very small, so the bullet is quite sharp, and it's possible to simply make truly pointy bullets if one wants.
 

Rupert

Active member
Validated User
Mind, consider how many researchers do field work in remote locations without anything more than practical clothing and first aid equipment.
And consider how many construction projects have been abandoned because of the local wildlife or put on hold until it has been dealt with, often with guns. The thing is, today most of the Earth where people are is pretty thoroughly domesticated, and where it's not most of the remaining wildlife now knows what happens if you attack humans. So, one reason to not have guns is that all the gun-shaped problems have already been shot.
 

Eric the .5b

It's all so esoteric
Validated User
So when the crew of Moya wants to get something done, they need to get very clever, screw it up, and wind up running around with a nuclear bomb strapped to Crichton's chest or something. I don't know about you, but that sounds like an ideal outcome to me!
Indeed. Or think of the crew of the Nostromo. It's a very different movie if they're all packing against one alien.
 

Eric the .5b

It's all so esoteric
Validated User
And consider how many construction projects have been abandoned because of the local wildlife or put on hold until it has been dealt with, often with guns.
Depends on the pest, and I suspect "researchers in remote place" is closer to the average science fiction PC group than "construction crew". But yes, fair point.
 

DavetheLost

Registered User
Validated User
Traveller discourages guns on starships because guns are good at punching holes in things you really don't want holes punched in. Also some planets have law levels that prohibit fire arms. neither of these eliminates guns from the setting entirely though.

Into the Badlands has no guns, but I haven't seen an explanation as to why yet. I am not sure I would count it as "realistic" though.

There is a science fiction series (the name and author escape me at the moment) where guns and a lot of other modern technology just stop working. The consequences of this event see pretty realistically handled, but the event itself seems unrealistic.
 

LordofArcana

Registered User
Validated User
There is a science fiction series (the name and author escape me at the moment) where guns and a lot of other modern technology just stop working. The consequences of this event see pretty realistically handled, but the event itself seems unrealistic.
The Reality Dysfunction?
Spoiler: Show
The souls of the damned escape Hell and screw with technology when they are nearby
 
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