In this world there is an ancient order of wandering peacekeepers that wield uniquely designed weapons used for monster killing. These uniquely designed weapons include pistols with damage output equivalent to the Fat Man.

Without reducing the power output of the nuclear pistols, I have made them the rarest and most dangerous weapons known to man, so the unique weapons are more viable by virtue of wider availability and far less risk of user injury, as well as being somewhat useful outside of combat, whereas the pistols are 'killing only' tools. However, the unique weapons are still far outclassed by the pistols in terms of sheer damage.

QUESTION: What other ways are there to make what are essentially the trick weapons of Bloodborne and the nuke launcher of Fallout equal in terms of power or reputation? EG-rarity, difficulty/danger of use, intended/unintended purpose, level of maintenance


closed as unclear what you're asking by sphennings, Vincent, MozerShmozer, Azuaron, L.Dutch Jul 7 '17 at 20:23

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • $\begingroup$ Hi! Welcome to WorldBuilding.SE! So what you're asking is: "How can I make a firearm with the power of a small nuclear device"? $\endgroup$ – F1Krazy Jul 7 '17 at 16:11
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Welcome to WorldBuilding! If you have a moment please take the tour and visit the help center to learn more about the site. Have fun! $\endgroup$ – Secespitus Jul 7 '17 at 16:18
  • $\begingroup$ No, I am asking 'how can I make a set of (not-nuclear-firearm) weapons equal to nuclear firearms in terms of damage output?' $\endgroup$ – Strangerlander Jul 7 '17 at 16:23
  • $\begingroup$ By "equivalent to the Fat Man" do you also mean in terms of range and blast radius? $\endgroup$ – Paladin852 Jul 7 '17 at 16:23
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Is it capable of producing a blast with less destructive power than that? Other weapons might be equal or superior for the sheer fact that they don't blow up cities every time you use them. $\endgroup$ – Paladin852 Jul 7 '17 at 16:28

There are a few different parameters governing effectiveness of a weapon, as well as effectiveness of a person in combat situations.

Pistols (compared to other firearms, as well as other larger weapons like swords) favor compactness, mobility, and concealability, usually at the expense of firepower. Not so in this case: your nuclear pistol is effectively the ultimate in raw offensive power. But sheer damage output is not everything. While the pistol can be concealed, its use is anything but inconspicuous, restricting it to either first/preemptive-strike or open combat scenarios. Further, its blast radius means that its use is likely not appropriate if your target is anywhere near anything you care about. Still, it's hard to argue with raw damage, and it remains an "ultimate weapon."

But damage output isn't the only thing on the battlefield. Mobility, defense, information, stealth, utility, precision. These are just some of the factors you can work with to ensure that your "ultimate weapon" is not the final word on the battlefield, or at least has some competition.

Disclaimer: I don't know much about the world you're creating, so the following suggestions may very well not work within it.

Mobility: Must all weapons be restricted to the object in the hand? Perhaps some piece of technology these peacekeepers have improves their speed or reactions on the battlefield, making them nearly impossible to surround/pin down/hit at all. Your nuke pistol isn't such an attractive prospect if the enemy is already on top of you, but the ability to outmaneuver your opponent or perform a tactical retreat safely is almost always invaluable.

Defense: Regardless of whether defensive measures are effective against nuke pistols, their use against the greater population could be quite impressive on its own. Appearing or being invincible against conventional weapons could be more useful than the nuke pistol in many situations, especially against a wily opponent likely to try to take advantage of the nuke's limitations. A good shield or armor will save your life, whereas the pistol is purely an offensive tool.

Information/stealth: All the firepower in the world will do you no good if you don't know where to point it. Conversely, one guy with a knife or gun who gets the drop on you can end your life just as well as a nuke. Presuming Fallout as a technology base, stealth fields already exist.

Utility: Nukes are worse than useless at close range. Or against targets that you want to remove without damaging anything nearby. Or in places that you don't want to leave irradiated. Or against targets that you want to damage/wound/incapacitate but not necessarily kill. In these senses, nearly any weapon would be superior.

Precision: A pistol is hard to aim at a distance. Ranges of multiple miles are not unheard of in modern-day combat and, while the pistol is capable of firing that far, it's going to be exceedingly difficult to win a gunfight at that kind of range against someone with a proper sniping weapon.

There are also considerations of ammo limitations, recoil, and reloading/time between shots.

  • $\begingroup$ Your pre disclaimer summary is entirely accurate, except that these pistols are indeed meant to be the last word. I think the comparisons I made in the initial question are not getting my intentions across: these peacekeepers are supposed to be monster hunters, and are not at all meant to actually use their pistols on other people, because of the collateral damage. $\endgroup$ – Strangerlander Jul 7 '17 at 17:11
  • $\begingroup$ Ah, the "monster hunter" bit changes things considerably. I've been focusing on the line where you said "How can I ensure that any non pistol weapons created by this order are equal to the pistol in terms of importance and power, without reducing/diverging from the previously stated description?" and coming up with ways to accomplish that. If the pistol is indeed meant to be the last word, then make it the "heavy weapon": only brought out in extreme circumstances and, in fact, inferior to other weapons in most cases. $\endgroup$ – Paladin852 Jul 7 '17 at 17:13
  • $\begingroup$ The only solution I've come up with before coming here was to give all other weapons their own power conduit, so that any time they contact a surface, there's a massive 'aftershock' that is more powerful as more force goes into the strike. $\endgroup$ – Strangerlander Jul 7 '17 at 17:28
  • $\begingroup$ If you haven't watched RWBY, it might give you some ideas. $\endgroup$ – Paladin852 Jul 7 '17 at 17:30
  • $\begingroup$ I have. The designs there are mirror images of the trick weapons from Bloodborne. $\endgroup$ – Strangerlander Jul 7 '17 at 17:31

The energy required for a nuclear weapon has a minimal size defined by the critical mass + density of the chain reachable nuclear fuel. Nuclear weapons are powerful because nuclear fuel is already very energy dense. If you compare to a gun which uses a bullet fired with gunpowder, it is millions of times more energy dense.

enter image description here

Which means that nuclear weapons are some of the most optimal size per energy weapons that can be designed currently.

If you don't want your weapon to work on magic pixie dust, you can only look at maybe using antimatter as a source because anything less energy dense would not power a pistol sized weapon with enough energy as a nuke. Antimatter's energy density 2*(C^2) where C is the speed of light.

  • $\begingroup$ You seem to completely skip Nuclear Fusion. $\endgroup$ – Alexander Jul 7 '17 at 17:26
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ To be fair, the video game weapon mentioned isn't anywhere near as powerful as a real-world nuclear device. $\endgroup$ – Deolater Jul 7 '17 at 19:47
  • $\begingroup$ @Deolater Your point is really important. The confusion probably could have been cleared up if OP linked a video of the weapon in question. But yes considering the size of the explosion caused by the fat man isn't really all that powerful compared to conventional explosives I think this answer is missing OPs real request. $\endgroup$ – Firelight Jul 10 '17 at 19:01

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.