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Kubly

Fusion Cutter

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So has anyone else noticed the ridiculous potential of the fusion cutter for melee classes?

Let's review the stats:

Damage: 5

Crit: 3 advantage

Range: Engaged

Cost: 175 credits

ok, so not bad so far. It's cheaper than a vibroknife and does more damage, but with one more advantage for crit. But hold on...it also has some weapon qualities...

 

Breach 1: Ignores 1 point of armor on vehicles and 10 soak on enemies

Burn 3: can activate burn to have the enemy burst into flames, and take automatic damage every round...

Sunder: can be used to destroy enemy equipment

Vicious 1: plus 10 points on the critical injury chart

 

It also had the quality improvised 2, but this was removed in the final round of beta revisions. So it essentially has no drawbacks to its use, AND uses the Melee skill for checks.

 

So at 175 credits you get a weapon that, in the hands of an average human, does as much damage as a vibro-ax with half the encumbrance, pierces 5 times as much soak as a vibrosword (10 SOAK!), can set enemies on fire, break their equipment, and also gets extra points on critical injuries. It's also rarity 2, so it's not like these are hard to find. And they have the same capacity to hit as any other melee weapon.

 

Now I'm sure most discriminating game masters would have a problem with the use of a fusion cutter being used in the same fashion as a corellian cutlass, but the fact remains that the rules as they stand make this hands down the best melee weapon in the game in terms of value. It's essentially a mini-lightsaber that also causes enemies to catch fire. What on earth was the thought process behind this Welding Torch of Doom? 

Edited by Kubly
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Well, "Improvised" isn't actually a Weapon Quality as given in the book. So that's probably why it was removed from the weapon's write-up.

 

As a GM, I'd definitely apply some heavy penalties to any attempt to use the fusion cutter as a weapon--sure, you could get a lucky hit in, but the "destroy the weapon for 2 Threat" element that improvised weapons have is something I'd absolutely apply to a fusion cutter.

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Hey it's a welding torch right?  Assuming that's what Chewie was using at the beginning of ESB, even he needed a face shield to protect himself from it.

 

So, no face shield it'll blind you for a few rounds.  Have a face shield, one or two difficulty upgrades for all tasks involving sight.

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As a GM I'd be using those Threat/Despair to full effect.  Maybe have it hit them, or do other ill effects.  Even crit, if the Threat was high enough.  Yeah, in the right hands it's deadly.  Just don't ever screw up.

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Where is it written that it is used as a melee weapon and calculated using Melee, meaning you get to add Brawn?  I don't read anywhere in my beta book that it is used as a Melee or Brawl weapon.

 

Burn for a base damage 5 weapon isn't that particularly staggering.

 

In regards to the rest it is a fusion cutter, so being able to cut things seems somewhat self evident.

Edited by 2P51

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Hey it's a welding torch right?  Assuming that's what Chewie was using at the beginning of ESB, even he needed a face shield to protect himself from it.

 

So, no face shield it'll blind you for a few rounds.  Have a face shield, one or two difficulty upgrades for all tasks involving sight.

The faceshield is for doing work where you spend long periods looking at the flame. This isn't going to he the case when using it as a weapon (consider that a batter isn't looking at his bat when he swings at a pitch). Of course, if you do want to have a blinding aspect, it's going to be just as bad for the guy you're swinging it at.

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Where is it written that it is used as a melee weapon and calculated using Melee, meaning you get to add Brawn?  I don't read anywhere in my beta book that it is used as a Melee or Brawl weapon.

 

Burn for a base damage 5 weapon isn't that particularly staggering.

 

In regards to the rest it is a fusion cutter, so being able to cut things seems somewhat self evident.

 

That's an excellent point. It says it deals 5 damage, not +5 damage, making it more like the lightsaber in that respect. So yeah, much less broken, I'd say.

 

If anything, it's like a way less good, miniaturized version of the lightsaber that has a way too good a chance of failing catastrophically if wielded in combat for any length of time. Balance restored!

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Where is it written that it is used as a melee weapon and calculated using Melee, meaning you get to add Brawn?  I don't read anywhere in my beta book that it is used as a Melee or Brawl weapon.

 

Burn for a base damage 5 weapon isn't that particularly staggering.

 

In regards to the rest it is a fusion cutter, so being able to cut things seems somewhat self evident.

 

So I should start by saying that, as with many other things, this discrepancy can totally be rectified by a sensible GM. You guys have posted some great ideas as to how to make this less ridiculous. My point was mainly that, as it stands under the unaltered rules, a fusion cutter is essentially the best melee weapon for its value in the game. Basically, everyone should have a fusion cutter as a backup melee weapon due to its incredible versatility for its cost (175 credits, which is less than a holdout blaster). Here is an example of why this is the case:

 

Take a PC with average brawn (2) fighting a stormtrooper. In one case they have a vibro-ax, in the other a fusion cutter.

The Stormtrooper has 5 WT and 5 soak. Pretty high soak for a minion, but normal WT. 

If the PC gets a one-success hit on the stormtrooper with a vibro-ax they will deal 6 damage (2 brawn + 3 from weapon +1 from roll). The vibro-ax also has pierce 2, ignoring 2 soak. This brings the damage down 3, leaving the stormtrooper with 2 wounds. Not bad.

Now for the fusion cutter.

With one success the PC with the fusion cutter deals 6 damage (5 flat from weapon damage + 1 from roll). The fusion cutter has breach 1, and so ignores 10 soak. The stormtrooper is killed instantly by the spot-welder.

The PC would have to have a brawn of 4 to even match the damage of the fusion cutter. Of course, most enemies do not have 5 soak, so this is kind of an extreme example. But the fact remains that at average brawn, even against an enemy with 0 soak the fusion cutter will do equivalent damage with a vibro-ax (or force-pike, or most other decent melee weapons). And it's a quarter of the price.

That alone makes the fusion cutter a pretty good weapon, but then you have to factor in the full implications of Breach 1 and Burn 3. This means against high level NPCs, on a successful hit you are guaranteed 6 damage (unless they are wearing starfighter plating as armor). A vibro-ax on the other hand only needs soak 3 to suddenly be dealing reduced damage. That's some pretty nice added utility. But wait, there's also Burn 3. With only 2 advantage, you can cause an enemy to take a guaranteed 5 damage, plus either wasting an action to put out the fire, or 10 more damage over the next two turns. Given that even a Forsaken Jedi only has 16 WT, that means that with one successful hit of a fusion cutter and two advantage, you can do almost as much damage as a disruptor rifle, plus force them to spend a turn extinguishing the flames, or else be incapacitated on their next turn. Now a disruptor rifle costs 2,000 credits and is rarity 6. Far easier to get your hands on a fusion cutter (or two) I would say. 

 

Because they are so effective against pretty much any type of enemy thanks to the combination of breach and burn, the lack of damage scaling doesn't really matter. It really almost makes them an essential item for low-brawn characters, since the damage is independent of your lack of strength. And high-brawn characters are much more likely to land the guaranteed damage and also activate burn (or sunder), so it really still has a lot of potential for them too. At encumbrance 1 it seems silly not to carry one around as insurance.

 

My ranting aside, it's not too difficult to homebrew ways to limit the effectiveness of fusion cutters, but because of their cost I think the rules would need to affect their use, not just have them potentially break with a bad roll. I welcome more ideas for how to curtail the use of the Dentist Drill of Death, but if anyone decides to play a character based around wielding one or more fusion cutters, I'd love to hear about that too.

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I'm convinced. Kubly, I'm with you.

It doesn't make sense why the fusion cutter wouldn't have some form of inferior quality like every other improvised weapon.

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I would think that the ability to cut open a vehicle would be fine if it was standing still. I don't like the Breach: 1. It should only count on stationary vehicles or metal structures. I could see using it to get past a metal door or something like that.

 

I also think that since it's a tool and not a weapon, it should have the Inaccurate quality.

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I'm convinced. Kubly, I'm with you.

It doesn't make sense why the fusion cutter wouldn't have some form of inferior quality like every other improvised weapon.

Glad you're with me :)

 

I think they meant to have something, which was why it used to have Improvised 2. As Rikoshi pointed out, however, Improvised never actually got implemented as a weapon quality. They probably just forgot to add something to replace it, leaving Fusion Cutters without a drawback.

Edited by Kubly

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I would think that the ability to cut open a vehicle would be fine if it was standing still. I don't like the Breach: 1. It should only count on stationary vehicles or metal structures. I could see using it to get past a metal door or something like that.

 

I also think that since it's a tool and not a weapon, it should have the Inaccurate quality.

This was me and my GM's feeling as well. Inaccurate and some limitation on breach seems appropriate. Burn 3 also kind of contradicts the idea that it's a cutting tool. If it's a cutting-beam that can sunder and pierce, why does it also cause them to burst into flame? Wouldn't that make it rather dangerous for use as a tool?

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Where does it say that it uses Melee? It seems to me by the description it could easily be an engaged only ranged weapon. 

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There's plenty of tools that are far more dangerous than firearms.  If I had to pick between a chainsaw or a pistol, I'd take the bullet.  The point being I don't mind an industrial tool being dangerous as well.  In regards to Burn, anything cutting through pieces of starships is going to be hot stuff so it pretty much hits the flashpoint of what it's aimed at quickly, including flesh, we are a fuel source if you get us hot enough.  If I were to limit this doohickey it would be to make it essentially have inherent Sunder.  It's a tool not a weapon, so something like apply uncancelled Threats to itself as if it were being Sundered to simulate it being damaged for combat and on a Despair it breaks. 

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Where does it say that it uses Melee? It seems to me by the description it could easily be an engaged only ranged weapon. 

On going back I realized that it does not state in the description of the item that it uses Melee, and that I was basing this off what was listed in my character creator and the fact that its range is engaged. The book does say that improvised weapons use Melee, and so if it was counted as one then it would also use melee, and also then probably adopt their drawbacks. Since the rules don't specify, its really up to each group's judgement.

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So I should start by saying that, as with many other things, this discrepancy can totally be rectified by a sensible GM. 

 

Eh, true, but it shouldn't have to be. :P 

 

The point being I don't mind an industrial tool being dangerous as well.

While I agree, I'm always wary of FFG creating another Dark Heresy or Deathwatch Breaching Augur, basically an item intended to be an industrial tool that's much better at being a melee weapon than dedicated melee weapons.

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 My point was mainly that, as it stands under the unaltered rules, a fusion cutter is essentially the best melee weapon for its value in the game. Basically, everyone should have a fusion cutter as a backup melee weapon due to its incredible versatility for its cost (175 credits, which is less than a holdout blaster). Here is an example of why this is the case:

 

 

UHMMM. But this makes sense.

 

You can buy a chainsaw for ~100$

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=chainsaw

 

Cold steel swords start at ~300

http://www.coldsteel.com/category/4_1/Default.aspx

 

You can't easily buy a sword at all. If you go take a trip to the sword store, you're just going to get crap display pieces. Finding a real, battle ready sword is an exercise in Google Fu, and I'd reflect that as requiring an average skill check. I mean, it's not like you could ask your mother to buy you a sword for christmas and expect it to be any good.

 

You can find "Full tang battle ready " swords on amazon for ~$30. Are you really going to trust that? No.

 

A chainsaw however, is a fantastic backup weapon. You can get one at Home Depot. Anyone could have a chainsaw. If I had a katana, and was fighting a guy with a chainsaw..I don't know who would win. Honestly, I would say a katana might even be a backup weapon to the chainsaw. If they were both wearing modern stab/riot armor, I'd give it to the chainsaw guy.

 

In a time of guns and blasters, swords are well, an diletante's weapon. No one would seriously use a sword, and that's why Jedi are special. I mean, even in our world the primary melee weapons are axes and knives. Think about it. If you spent all day practicing with a chainsaw like some kind of...chainsaw viking warrior, that would be pretty terrifying. I don't doubt that it could be done, considering people wielded 20' pikes into battle.

 

If knights had chainsaws in medieval times,when everyone wore armor, I think chainsaw armed and trained knights would literally destroy sword armed knights with prejudice.

 

A fusion cutter is like a chainsaw blowtorch. That's just crazy. I think prices in the book reflect what would realistically be on the market. Buying a sword in a time of guns is just..hard. No one would make them. Buying power tools? Now that's easy.

Edited by TarlSS
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This is similar to the improvised mining laser in "Debts to Pay" had cumbersome 4, and was a ranged weapon that only had a range of "Engaged"

 

no.. not overpowered at all.

 

I often had to fudge some weapons in my games.  Like i wanted a "Stun baton" and took the stats of a force pike and removed the pierce quality.  The game is simple enough that minor variations are easily explained

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UHMMM. But this makes sense.

 

Only if you abide by notions of porting game-availability to real-world-availability (which isn't really applicable). Buying things in Star Wars is closer to buying gear in Shadowrun than in the real world, excepting gun stores. If there was a big market for giant battle axes in 2014 IRL, we'd see that reflected in retail.

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It makes sense in universe. A fusion cutter is a universal tool used by metal workers that you could find at any mechanic's shop.

 

You're just not going to find a battle ready vibrosword anywhere outside of a museum or a Hutt Palace. There's no logical reason for anyone to have one, other than that ONE bounty hunter that loves killing people with swords. It's a completely ineffective weapon for the time period, usable pretty much only by specially written PCs and NPCs

 

Someone who uses a sword would be like Michonne in the Walking Dead, a completely..quixotic anachronism that shows just how screwed up the setting is.

Edited by TarlSS

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You're just not going to find a battle ready vibrosword anywhere outside of a museum or a Hutt Palace. There's no logical reason for anyone to have one, other than that ONE bounty hunter that loves killing people with swords. It's a completely ineffective weapon for the time period

 

Well, I can't disagree with you more here. It wouldn't be a common item if there wasn't a market to make it so.

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It makes sense in universe. A fusion cutter is a universal tool used by metal workers that you could find at any mechanic's shop.

 

You're just not going to find a battle ready vibrosword anywhere outside of a museum or a Hutt Palace. There's no logical reason for anyone to have one, other than that ONE bounty hunter that loves killing people with swords. It's a completely ineffective weapon for the time period, usable pretty much only by specially written PCs and NPCs

 

Someone who uses a sword would be like Michonne in the Walking Dead, a completely..quixotic anachronism that shows just how screwed up the setting is.

I disagree. Lots of people use vibroweapons. Pirates are fond of them because they're useful for fighting in close quarters (like when boarding a ship) and there's considerably less chance for shooting out some important component in the ship you're fighting in. Marine-type soldiers, like the Rebel Alliance's SpecForce Marines also use them for that reason. A bounty hunter might easily carry one, as would anyone who'd expect to find themselves in a fight on a regular basis. Warrior types from species who are long on Brawn and short on Agility would probably also favour melee weapons. Blasters and other ranged weapons would be much more common, sure, but not to the point where vibroswords would be museum pieces.

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Vibroswords and axes are available in game in order to appease PCs whose archetypes use them, and the prices reflect that. We can see clearly that vibroweapons are very expensive and not 'cost effective'.

 

Furthermore, the number of characters in the EU that use vibroswords is very small. In TCW and the movies, the only characters using vibroaxes are Gamorrean guards. BX commando droids used vibroswords as part of integrated weapons systems. The primary melee weapons being used by guards and other such 'minions' are shock staves/prods/batons that are similar to truncheons used by our own police forces.

 

Vibroknives are used because well, they're knives. You can use a knife for anything. They're simple, stealthy, and have multiple uses.

 

Vibroswords aren't any of that. They're flashy and mostly for killing people. They are the weapons of 'special snowflakes'.

 

In a world with guns, dedicated killing melee weapons are severely limited in use. Most of them are items of 'exceptional craftsmanship', much like in our own world- people that buy melee weapons are dedicated to it and unique. There aren't Grease Gun or AK47 versions of vibrosword manufacturers that produce cheap, crude versions for the people that don't want to spend a lot of money, but just need a sword. No one in the setting actually NEEDS a sword - owning own is more of a luxury for a high class killer.

 

Vibroblades and swords exist as logical extensions of thought. Why wouldn't people in Star Wars use swords, and why wouldn't there be a high tech version of them? The technology exists and they're certainly made...but they wouldn't be made with an economy of scale in mind. They would be made with an economy of style and luxury. Items like a fusion cutter could be found cheaply or on discount as a promotional or surplus at a tool store. You would not find a sword at a half-off or going out of business sale, or as a special on whatever the Amazon-equivalent is. 

 

The actual usage of vibroswords and other large melee weapons is yes, strictly due to the fact that very effective ranged weapons exist in the universe..melee weapons are typically used in a story fashion in order to distinguish unique characters. The NPCs in the canned adventures reflect that..the only ones really using dedicated vibroweapons as a primary weapon are indeed the 'big bosses' or deliberately quixotic and unique characters. These characters are depicted as being generally rare, and their weapons unique, expensive, and highly prized.

Edited by TarlSS

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