Individual Weapons in Milky Way | World Anvil

Individual Weapons

Individual Weapons refer to any weapon small enough to be carried by a single individual, with or without a powered exoskeleton - "man-portable". This term encompasses both small arms and melee weapons, as well as portable explosives and more exotic weapons. Depending on the species, what is considered man-portable can vary greatly. A Human light machine gun may be considered a crew-served weapon for a Scyldari, or more akin to an assault rifle for a Kel-Azaan. As such, weapon classifications in this article will be based on unmodified Humans as a baseline.


Small arms are firearms, energy weapons, electromagnetic weapons, gyrojet weapons, or any other ranged weapon small enough to be man-portable. The most common type of small arm is the traditional combustion ballistic firearm. They utilise exploding gases to propel a projectile at high velocity, and are the simplest small arms available. Ballistic weapons can be found in virtually every military or paramilitary group, and are the most popular type of weapon for civilian use due to their affordability.

Energy weapons cover both 'traditional' energy weapons like lasers, as well as plasma weapons and disruptors. Lasers are fairly rare as small arms, due to their short ranges, high power consumption, and propensity to malfunction in inclement weather. Plasma weapons are the much more popular choice of energy weapon, firing a 'bolt' of plasma contained in a short-lived magnetic field at an enemy. Disruptors are similar to plasma weapons, but instead create high-energy bolts specifically designed to disrupt the molecular bonds of their targets. They have a particular tendency to completel disintegrate whatever they hit.

Electromagnetic weapons, often simply called railguns or coilguns, use magnets to propel a projectile at incredibly high speeds. Compared to ballistic weapons, they are usually heavier, more expensive, and require a power draw, but have much greater range and destructive potential. Due to this, they are almost exclusively employed by military units. Another type of weapon similar to ballistics is that of the gyrojet launcher. These weapons are more akin to rocket launchers than ballistic weapons, firing a self-propelled projectile that uses small thrusters to propel and guide itself. Although the weapons are not much more expensive than ballistic weapons, the ammunition is significantly more costly. This has left gyrojets as a specialty weapon, mostly unutilised in mass numbers. Their larger counterparts, like man-portable missile and rocket launchers, remain popular.


Manipulator limbs vary greatly across the species of the galaxy. Due to this, many weapons are fitted with modular grips and stocks to accomodate different physiologies. Single-handed weapons, often referred to as pistols or handguns (depending on species), are a very popular configuration of weapon for self-defence. This makes them particularly popular with law enforcement and civilians, as their short ranges drastically lower their utility on the battlefield. Instead, soldiers prefer two-handed rifle-style configurations.

Depending on the species holding a weapon, its context can change drastically. Kel-Azaan soldiers, with their hyper-dense muscles, carry rifles that are equivalent in power to Human anti-materiel rifles. On the other hand, Scyldari rifles are more equivalent in power to a Human submachine gun or personal defence weapon. Although powered exoskeletons can level the playing field, so to speak, they cannot eliminate significant differences in physiology. However, despite differences in strength, the ability to withstand incoming fire is relatively even between species. A Scyldari and a Kel-Azaan are both equally vulnerable to a high-velocity round without additional protection.

Melee Weapons

Although artillery, armoured fighting vehicles, air support, drones, orbital bombardment, and every other manner of modern warfare have made them obsolete, melee weapons still occasionally find their place on the battlefield. Many soldiers across the galaxy carries some kind of knife, bayonet, or other small bladed weapon. These are primarily for utility purposes, such as cutting wires or opening cans, but they can also be used as weapons of last resort. Outside of the military, law enforcement officers are often armed with nonlethal stun batons for crowd control.

Melee weapons have also found a niche in military culture. The Kel-Azaan greatly respect prowess in melee combat, and melee weapons are as such afforded equal respect. If a Kel-Azaan soldier manages to kill an enemy with their blade (among several other requirements), they are afforded the title of "Duelmaster", which confers a high social status in their society. As such, many Kel-Azaan will carry their ceremonial (but still lethal) swords into combat, hoping to achieve such a vaunted title. Swords are also greatly respected within the Imperial Tzynn Army, where they are used by officers to keep their slave units in line. Troublemakers are ceremonially executed in front of their squads in order to maintain discipline.

Civilian Weapons

Although the arms trade is tightly controlled by many governments, there exist still others that permit it much more freely - as well as the black markets present on every world, station, and ship in the galaxy. Handguns are popular among civilians for self-defence purposes, while rifles are usually used for hunting. The Commonwealth of Man permits any citizen who completes a tour of duty within the military to retain their service weapon, which they are expected to maintain and make ready if they are ever called back to duty.


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