If faced with trying to kill a large number of mutants or alien abominations, like a horde of giant ants, bees, or a swarm of Mi-go, indirect warfare methods would be preferable to direct engagement.
For example, it would be way smarter and safer to just dump poison gas into an anthill than fight your way through it Starship Troopers style to assassinate the queen.
For gameplay I’m thinking this would add:
40mm Gas grenade variants for the different agents.
Gas hand grenades.
Gas canisters for storage of gaseous chemicals.
Gas barrel bombs for large area dispersal.
Gas mortar shells (if I or someone else ever gets around to making mortars).
Gas Sprayers, a remote controlled poison gas sprinkler for base defense.
While many modern nerve agents like Sarin or VX would not be something a survivor could manufacture, (though it would not be impossible to FIND some in a military facility, although they would be very rare), there are a number of chemical weapons that have been used in real life conflicts that are simple enough to manufacture and weaponize that you could do it in your garage.
Chlorine Gas would be the simplest example. You can make it by mixing bleach and hydrochloric acid:
HOCl + HCl H2O + Cl2
or by mixing bleach and vinegar:
2HOCl + 2HAc Cl2 + 2H2O + 2Ac- (Ac : CH3COO)
or a number of other acids.
Phosgene Gas is manufactured by reacting carbon monoxide and chlorine through a porous bed of activated carbon (aka charcoal), while the reaction is cooled. The carbon monoxide gas could be relatively simply prepared as well with basic lab equipment by reacting steam with carbon.
H2O + C → H2 + CO (ΔH = +131 kJ/mol)
To make the phosgene, you would simply need a sealed refrigerator, charcoal, the reagents, and some other misc. components like tubing, sealant, etc.
CO + Cl2 → COCl2 (ΔHrxn = −107.6 kJ/mol)
Mustard Gas may be manufactured via Ethylene and Sulfur Dichloride.
Ethylene is manufactured by the dehydration of ethanol (alcohol) with sulfuric acid.
Sulfur Dichloride is manufactured via the chlorination of sulfur.
S8 + 4 Cl2 → 4 S2Cl2; ΔH = −58.2 kJ/mol
They are then combined via the Levinstein process to yield Sulfur Mustard
8 S2Cl2 + 16 C2H4 → 8 (ClCH2CH2)2S + S8
Thats exactly what mustard gas does, and you can actually MAKE that in your garage with the right materials and lab equipment.
We don’t need fictional chemical weapons when there are plenty of existing ones that work just as well. Besides I’m not even sure if Kevin would approve chemical weapons in the first place, even chlorine gas.
I’d expect vesicants to work on zombies (though once it disperses they’d heal and get back up, they need pulping). AFAIK that is not going to work on either fungals, triffids, or ants.
The only thing on the list that seems like it would work on ants would be Carbon Monoxide in very high concentrations, though there are many, many other options for that, though the quantities needed may be problematic.
I think there’s a lot of room for making things interesting by having different enemy types vulnerable to different weapons.
In addition to the various highly weaponized options for delivery, you could target unintelligent enemies by installing a poison gas generator in an area near targets, or do something to attract them.
For example when raiding a zombie area, you could don a gas mask, then mix up a batch of bleach and ammonia (even better do it in a house), then run outside and get the attention of as many zombies as possible, then lead them through the house.
Another neat option would be to set this kind of thing up to be remote triggered, and then only use it if you get in trouble, triggering the gas production as you approach the house with a horde in tow.
Chlorine gas will DEFINITELY work on ants, because it is harmful to basically everything on earth due to its extreme reactivity. Chlorine reacts with moisture to form hydrochloric acid, so any moist surfaces like the interior of spiracles (bug air holes) or eyes will be vulnerable to chlorine. Ditto for vessicants like mustard gas.
If bleach will kill the fungus, chlorine gas will work as well, because it would have the same type of effect. It is an extremely powerful oxidizing agent, which is what gives bleach its disinfecting properties. Same goes for triffids and their pores that allow moisture transfer, and the waxy coatings on leaves. I do agree that nerve agents and mustard or phosgene may not do anything to either of them.
The carbon monoxide is just an ingredient, I wasn’t thinking it would be deployable as a weapon.
The question isn’t whether it’s harmful or not, the question is what the required concentrations are. Chlorine isn’t just a random reactive gas that happens to get used, it’s particularly harmful to humans due to interactions with our respiratory system. If ant spiracles (really tracial tubes) aren’t as moist and vulnerable as human lungs, the required concentration for toxicity is potentially much higher.
I can’t find any sources one way or the other, so I’m going to go with it being ineffective for now.
Would a biologist’s expert opinion be sufficient? I know a guy I could ask.
We could also test some gas on actual ants if you have no moral objections. Chlorine gas is REALLY easy to make.
Also, a giant ant would be even more vulnerable to respiratory damage than a small one, due to the drastic surface area increases that comes with an overall increase in size, and would be required to make giant ants even be able to breath.
You can’t actually scale them up as is and have them live, they would suffocate due to the square cube law. Insufficient respiratory system surface area.
Even if traditional chemical weapons won’t work on bugs, I’m sure there is plenty of insecticide lying around you could vaporize and disperse.
Edit: mustard gas can penetrate plant tissue, and by its nature should be very harmful once inside:
“Physical and Chemical Properties
The mustards are able to penetrate most
tissues they come into contact with and a
great number of materials: woods, leather,
rubber, plants, etc.” https://jramc.bmj.com/content/jramc/148/4/358.full.pdf
“Would hearsay be sufficient? I can attribute whatever credentials you like to my as-far-as-you-know fictitious source.”
In case it’s not obvious, no.
This is my point, there are TONS of herbicides and insecticides and fungicides you can use, there’s no reason to attribute lethality willy nilly, and in fact it makes for nicer in-game properties if a lof of the poisons have different effects on different species.
No, no, no, of course not. I wasn’t thinking that. I’d get them to email you with their professional email and the response to our query.
Actually, come to think of it, I do some contracting work out at a few chemical plants that produce insecticides and herbicides. I MIGHT be able to find a chemical engineer or biochemist out there that might have an answer as well. I mostly deal with the maintenance engineers though, so I’ll have to see who out there might know, and be willing to talk to me. Thats slightly more of a longshot though.
If it won’t kill ants, spiders, etc, outright, it would at least blind them. Eyeballs and compund eyes are squishy and vulnerable.
Maybe creatures with exotic alien biology or biochemistry, like the Mi-go or shoggoths could get stoned on mustard gas or something. You hit them with it and they get all passive and loopy. Mi-go would probably start saying silly shit. It would make for a cool way to capture one as a mission for example.