Electrothermal-chemical Handguns, etc

A technology that might or might not become practical sooner than railguns, Electrothermal-chemical technology could be considered an intermediary between gunpowder and electromagnetic ballistic propulsion, which is also limited by constraints in power storage and generation within modern technology, but not as much as a coilgun or railgun. This mod adds a bunch of infantry arms using such concept and common calibers like 9x19mm and 5.56x45mm, plus means to hand load such cartridges mostly with cannibalized parts from conventional rounds.

Furthermore it adds extra guns including some that may be awesome but impractical like one that is sort of like the “Saiga-12” of the Gilboa Snake, a double barrel magazine-fed automatic shotgun, plus subsonic loads for 5.56x45mm more or less inspired by the subsonic 5.45x39mm loads except more efficient by using tungsten and depleted uranium to cram as much mass as possible in the small volume of a 5.56mm round, two milspec coilguns with one capable of, with less efficiency, using nails and crafted flechettes, new professions that may be a bit OP despite costing at least 8 points, and two new scenarios with one including a very !FUN! start location worth not spoiling, and a few other things.

Latest release

Thoughts, comments and criticisms always welcome.


Just a reality check that you may or may not care about for your mod.
There is no indication in your source material that this would ever be considered for firearms. The technology requires a significant amount of hardware added to the gun to act as the ignition system, which is fine for a tank gun or emplacement, but out of the question for a carried weapon.

ETC is going to be used in small arms as soon as they figure out how to miniature the components to the point where ETC only adds a few lbs to the weight of conventional rifle. The ability to optimize the round for either light weight without giving up performance or better performance without increasing mass and barrel wear is just too tempting. A 5.56mm round with the ballistic performance of 7.62mm but no additional weight? Yes please.

However, since ETC is still fairly experimental for 125mm installations, there’s no reason to believe it’s been miniaturized during the CDDA timeline.

Hey there, I just wanted to first say that I am absolutely loving your mod, the module weapon systems are really cool (always wished LW had more) and the guns seem well designed (even if ETC isn’t realistic or what not).

Some errors I’ve had:
The Skinny tie for the professions gives a error about not finding the item (removing it from professions was easy to fix).

Any starting UPS has no charge, which is really awkward when you realize your gun is only going to click at the nearby zeds.

The Corporate Spy profession doesn’t have a weapon that uses all the magazines it starts with, just a holstered one and a EMP rifle (with no UPS charge)

The Vault start just plain doesn’t work, it’ll give an error of “Could not generate game world location” or such and exit to main menu.

The first three I was able to fix through some JSON edits, though I don’t know if I stayed true to your vision. The final one, with the Vault start, I couldn’t get working no matter what I tried and even though I know where it starts, I’m not sure how to work it.

All in all, anyone that wants new guns to play with, that have a wide variety of types without overloading the drop tables, you should definitely check this mod out!

“skinny_tie” was renamed “tie_skinny” during an effort to drive people mad.

For the life of me, I couldn’t get the UPS to start with a charge. So I worked around it by having them start with a battery for the UPS instead. Plug this in with any value you like up to 10000 in the charges section.

      { "item": "heavy_atomic_battery_cell", "charges": 2900 },

May I just say that the spymaster seems a bit overarmed? Anyway, I deleted one of the s-pistol mag lines and added this hacky fix. Probably needs a holster to be at all believable.

      { "item": "etc_ocg_spistol", "contents-item": "spistol_mag", "ammo-item": "22etc_apt", "charges": 7 },

What is the deal with the necropolis? There’s about 50 different pieces and no way to address it as a starting location?

Ah, I just removed the tie for ease of use (aka I’m lazy and not great at this).

both": {
    "ammo": 1000,
    "items": [

I found that gives the UPS 1000 charge, and didn’t break anything else so I considered that a victory.

The spymaster is certainly a walking arsenal, but if you are going to steal as much as you can from the big companies, may as well grab all you can? It does cost more points, but I’m no judge of balance.

I’ve never even seen the necropolis myself, and don’t know where one would start if following the flavor text. The included location seems to be in some cave, but I think that’s an error anyways. This was the only one I couldn’t duct tape fix up (to a satisfactory degree).

What kind of battery does that stuff in the UPS? And I suppose if you grab a bunch of stuff on your way out there’s no guarantee you’d get a gun for your mags either…
For a brief moment I had what I thought was a working necropolis start, but it just dropped me into a car on the side of the road. Looking at some PR’s the necropolis is required for some missions so it should always spawn inside the initial overmap tile if my understanding is correct. How to start there though…I dunno. I tried stealing the necropolis starting location from Arcana with no luck.
An alternative starting location would be an office tower maybe?

Oh I have no clue, it was just a technique I borrowed from another mod that did have UPS charges on character gen.

Well supposedly the character stole something from all three major weapon corporations, which is why they are loaded with three different guns. I think not having anything from OmniCorp was an error in the class, but I’m just guessing at what the creator was thinking.

I was able to place myself in front of the vault entrance, but that doesn’t sound like how the scenario is supposed to play out. It sounds more like you are supposed to escape the place. I don’t know how the necropolis is arranged so I decided to just leave that one alone.

The office tower start is actually the other scenario haha, and it loaded in fine when I tried it. Hopefully the mod creator will notice these replies and look into it. I’ve been having a lot of fun over all with it regardless!

Oh? What did the code look like to place yourself by the entrance?

In the start location JSON I changed the target from

"type": "start_location",
"ident": "necropolis_entrance",
"name": "Vault Entrance",
**"target": "necropolis_b_37"**  }    


"type": "start_location",
"ident": "necropolis_entrance",
"name": "Vault Entrance",
"target": "necropolis_c_29"  }    

I’m not at my computer to confirm, but it was either “_c_29” or “_c_20”, but that was all I did since i decided not to mess with it further to not spoil the location too much for myself.

Didn’t work for me :frowning: Even started a new world to test, got Couldn’t find location error. Necropolis is weird, yo.

New version download link:

ETC Handguns etc Version 2 Jan/2021

So, here is an update because my interest in Cataclysm was revived together with Bright Nights. It should almost certainly also work with mainline 0.E. There is no guarantee this mod will work with mainline experimentals though.

Mostly updates of the JSON syntax to become compatible with all the changes since 0.D but this mod was almost changed to a state where “OmniCorp’s Arsenal” would be a better name for it except the weaponry using near future or alternate history Sci-Fi grade miniaturized electrothermal-chemical technology still make the majority of the content. Except now it adds a lot more than just man-portable electrothermal firearms compared to before.

Highlights in this new version include:

  • Start location of the Vault Newcomer Challenge being finally fixed(just one more Z-level down solved it) and guaranteed to be even more !FUN!

  • Fixed and changed starting weapons for corporate spymaster profession, while buffing it with even more firepower in the form an exclusive new shotgun prototype(or proof-of-concept more likely) “borrowed” from OmniCorp Skunkworks, the 12D Slam Dunk, which only slam fires(works like a bow within game mechanics: load and shoot in a combined move) and did not deprecate Leadworks executive, but instead applied a more interesting solution to maintain it.

  • Diamond edged OmniCorp Chainsword which was made as part of a commission to create feasible replicas of fictional weapons in a famous grimdark space opera setting of a board game.

  • 3 .410 shotguns, one of them is basically a machine pistol with a smoothbore barrel chambered in .410 shot, the other has three barrels and is magazine-fed with either its own or triple Saiga-410 mags and the last one comes with an integral suppressor and was marketed as a “silent breaching tool”(not that crazy for .410 shot).

  • New “Gunslinger of the Future” profession almost all set to hand load pistol caliber ETC rounds with two revolvers and a bottle of atomic Irish coffee because plain whiskey isn’t futuristic enough.

  • Interchangeable 10mm Auto/.40 S&W firearms: a conventinal variant of the chaingun, a 6-round backup pistol and a carbine designed to emulate the performance of the M1 carbine without the need of old .30 car rounds.

  • Reimagining of the scrapped Leadworks gun with a little bit of fanon, but these aren’t mere copypastas of the same discaded stuff from older CDDA versions. There are new guns too using the very fanonical and friendly corporate merger naming convention of OCG-Leadworks. Migration JSON settings were added too for some among these despite how unlikely it is for them to be used.

Hope someone will enjoy this.

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Implementing some interesting stuff without hardcoded changes.
*Edit: Turns out a battery can’t be recharged in a vehicle with a recharging station etc after being loaded inside a gun, so NO_UNLOAD was removed from the XNU laser to make the possible conversion of it to use conventional batteries have a point. Plus added BLIND_EASY to the recharging process of its default cells using hydrogen canisters so it can be done in the dark.

tl;dr This was updated with a hotfix for the new XNU laser and its default magazines.


ETC Handguns etc Version 3 Feb/2021 Hotfix 1

After updating to a new Bright Nights version the multiple “//” comment lines per item in this mod’s JSON files started causing errors, so they were merged into a single line or, when mostly redundant, removed. Not sure if this would happen in DDA as well, so in any case, here’s a new update. There were also some fixes that were missed before and after that more content so this isn’t a meme update. Some of the vanilla professions updated to feature “sidearms” and the Bionic Police Officer got buffed with the “replacement” for the Leadworks “Robocop pistol”.

Some Highlights:

  • All of the conventional rifle caliber “pistols” are featured in at least one of the vanilla professions as a sidearm in a XL holster where it would be somewhat plausible for them to be carried. Most overkill example is that all bionic sniper guns use the same .300 WinMag rounds, so that one is a real powerhouse until this rare ammo runs out. Profession points weren’t changed though. The only drawback is that such bigger “pistols” are slower to aim than normal pistols and, because they all have folding wire stocks, slower to draw too.

  • The really big modern stepbrother of the LeMat revolver: Combo X912 and its 912 semi-auto model. A combination gun between a 9mm machine pistol fed by Glock magazines and a 12 gauge tube fed double barrel shotgun with 4 shells capacity that can fire two shots at once. With a gunsmithing tool (firearm kit or gunsmith repair kit) and only level 1 mechanics skill it’s possible to make an “illegal” conversion of the 912 into the X912. It can be fitted with a shoulder strap. Now the X912 is the main gun of the Leadworks Executive profession.

  • XNU laser rifle. A powerful near-ultraviolet laser powered by an unique hydrogen fuel cell that feeds from solid hydrogen canisters instead of an UPS. It’s possible to mod it with the same battery mods that can be installed on tools(edited to be switchable as tool mods or gun mods as a new option whenever you activate them), but that change is irreversible and this gun can’t be unloaded manually, so if you install that, the battery that replaces its default hydrogen cells(which auto-eject when empty like M1 Garand mags) will stay in it for good then only way to reload it will be putting the gun in a recharging station or battery charger. On its fuel cell, its recharging process is a piece of JSON workarounds with disassembly recipes that should be done by activating the cell if you don’t want to use exploits ( with “disassemble” an empty cell can be “disassembled” into a recharged one without being loaded with a hydrogen canister first resulting in infinite ammo, while “activate” will correctly check for the cell being loaded first and consume the canister during the process) , but it works.

  • X12P plasma shotgun. A BFG9k-style gun in how it works, maybe the ultimate anti-horde gun. Its maximum range is inferior to a conventional shotgun, it doesn’t cause explosions and drains 200 UPS charges per shot in addition to hydrogen canisters like the other plasma weapons. However, it has the shot, incendiary, flare, plasma and bounce ammo effects combined, which means that a horde of zombies tightly packed together can be wiped out by a single shot and it won’t deafen a character without hearing protection due to explosions. However, the bounce effect can bounce back against the shooter and this almost always leaves fires on the terrain where it hits like a flamethrower. The “bounce” effect being a chain reaction of spontaneous combustions through convection because of the plasma “pellets” being as hot as the core of a star when they hit a target is a flaky explanation, but without that capability this would be kind of useless.

  • New crazy professions: Doomed Marine / Alice McGee. The former features a walking ranged-centric arsenal that makes the Corporate Spymaster in this mod underequipped in comparison and almost perfectly matches the weapons from classic Doom 1 as seen in D**mRL. The latter features a walking melee-centric arsenal that unfortunately isn’t as much of a close match to either the weapons in the first Alice game or its Madness Returns sequel. Both share some common guns and come with a pet rabbit(if you played Doom 1 you know why) and most importantly, both feature the psychosis and killer drive traits as expected. Trying to keep that pet rabbit alive is probably the most challenging thing in this one.

When it comes to guns there isn’t really much else to implement in this mod besides a 120mm ETC cannon which is pointless, being absolutely overkill because neither UGVs with the size and armor of a main battle tank, multi-tile “tank”-like monsters and vehicles controlled by hostile AIs exist in Cataclysm.

More man-portable ETC calibers won’t be added because the whole point of them is the interchangeable hand loading with relatively common conventional calibers and 12 gauge ETC combines too much recoil, OP and overkill. Maybe it will be added in a future update for this mod, but a shotgun that hits like a .50 BMG minus armor penetration with 00 shot ETC (not considering slugs and flechettes) and can have its ammo hand loaded using aluminum powder, empty cans for the primer and a hand press on regular shotgun shells is probably too much. Possibly a setting that increases the spawn rate of Kevlar Hulks and alike, or maybe some new heavily armored zombie types to balance the !FUN!, will be included with a future mod release together with such shotguns.

Technical PS: Making a near-UV laser invisible by creating a new ammo_effect would cause lasers using something like LASER_INVISIBLE to either be blocked by or destroy glasses like a bullet instead of passing through them. Doing that properly would require a likely tiny but still hardcoded change to make for example LASER_INVISIBLE include the same glass bypassing effect of LASER and DRAW_LASER_BEAM.

we already have plasma guns, and laser guns. No need

what about a rifle that fires ice projectiles with compressed air(possible name “Hail rifle”)? it could be used as a low damage (9mm or .22) rapid firing (like a smg) survivalist rifle (main appeal being it not using hard to obtain ammo). The rifle could either be loaded with water or get it from the air (the later option opens up the possibility to “use” the rifle like the aero-evaporater cbm). main drawbacks could be high weight and power consumption.

edit: alternatively it could fire a single baseball sized slug that uses a 250ml portion of water in one shot

water wouldn’t be effective as a projectile, the ice would shatter. Maybe a steam sublimation style gun to coat your enemies in ice?

possible when combined with a bayonet though the freezing damage would probably be worse the the ice, but it is worth mentioning that ice balls can survive enough speed to kill. A quote from the wikipedia article on hail “Rarely, massive hailstones have been known to cause concussions or fatal head trauma.”

edit:and that is under natural conditions and terminal velocity, artificial conditions can surely be worse

The problem is with the acceleration. Hail is propelled by gravity after it grows too large to remain aloft in the clouds and falls to the ground.

Shooting ice as a projectile would shatter it. It wouldn’t make it to it’s full intended velocity before breaking into bits, leaving you with a gun that belches out a puff of crushed/powdered ice. You’d just need an underbarrel mount that sprayed flavoring & you would have a snow cone shooter.

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Mostly replying as reminder on a hotfix.

There is nothing particularly redundant on the new laser and plasma shotgun in this mod.

It is a laser that is comparatively more powerful than the A7, optimized against organic targets unlike the EMP projector, and that can be converted to directly load any batteries through modded tool mods so 2 spare heavy batteries for example could be carried instead of an UPS. Even the default power source for it is unique if hacky due to json tricks. 1 hydrogen canister recharges it fully and after that it can fire 40 times in the “250 ms” mode. Hydrogen canister spawns normally have 25 of them.

As for the plasma shotgun, it is an anti-personell, shorter ranged and more power-consuming counterpart to the PPA-5, with shotgun-like ammo_effect and the capacity to hit entire hordes hard if there is no distance in tiles separating each of them because its damage bounces between targets next to each other. There is nothing like it AFAIK.

You can’t miniaturize a pump stack or a fire truck water cannon inside a man-portable gun so there is no way to use water as ammo in anything useful, but it could be an ingredient for hydrogen production to be used by hydrogen powered or based energy weapons, if a water-gas shift reactor small enough to be installed in a car with its CO-producing engine on to make hydrogen from water and carbon monoxide extracted from its exhaust was feasible, or just similarly miniaturized steam reforming (methane + water) or pure electrolysis devices, whichever of them consumes less electrical power and/or is more possible to miniaturize compared to water-gas shift reaction to do the same.

the speed the ice would be going is less like a bullet, and more like a thrown stone, which snowballs survive readily, so its safe to assume something more solid like a solid chunk of ice could survive greater acceleration. also relevant is two mythbusters episodes, one shows that an icicle falling 4.5 meters(15ft) can penetrate flesh. Another is the mythbusters episode 192 “hail hijinx” where they fired a piece of ice 300mph out of machine that seems to be 4 meters long. that means you can certainly get 75mph out of a 1 meter long gun, which is about how hard the average person can throw a ball. and this is the minimum based on what found online, the maximum acceleration is almost certainly higher