Entropomancer and I had a conversation the other day that inspired me to write this post. AMong many bits of fluff we were discussing, we hit upon how weapons profiles represent how a weapon behaves in the game. For example, we compares the profiles of a heavy bolter and an assault cannon, we looked at the autocannon profile from the point of view of one which is mounted on a dreadnought versus a man portable one, and compared various weapons profiles.
When we compare the two weapons, they are remarkably similar, with comparable strength and ap. The "rate of fire" seems similar, but the most telling difference is range, with the heavy bolter having 50% greater range. However, this only looks at the stats as individual entities, and ignores the story they tell when looked at as a whole. For example the assault cannon also has rending, which is stated to be there to represent the sheer volume of fire shredding a target, be it from actually shredding the armour, or through blunt force trauma. Another telling difference is while the heavy bolter is described as having larger shells, the assault cannon has a higher strength, meaning that strength does not necessarily literally represent the strength of an individual shell hitting a target,but the lethality of the "packet" of fire that is resolved. This also is why the assault cannon has a shorter range, as past its range, it is not accurate enough to put enough rounds into a target. This is also why a weapon that is a literal bullet hose only resolves 4 hits This is not because only 4 rounds are fired, but because this thing is firing so violently that it is only able to strike 4 separate targets with enough rounds to do a strength 6 hit with rending, This applies to the heavy bolter as well, more than likely a heavy bolter is firing between 30 to 50 rounds each time it is fired, but between the inherent inaccuracy of automatic weapons fire, and having to "walk it in" there are only enough rounds left in the burst to hit 3 separate targets.
Man portable Autocannon
The next example was comparing the same profile, but with variants of the same weapon. What prompted this part of the discussion was the contemptor dreadnought's twin autocannons, and their magazine, where I said that I liked the look because it reminded me of a heavy anti-tank rifle. What we decided that, in the case of the dreadnought, the profile was probably literal, and the operator snaps off two aimed shots, where in a man portable, or predator mounted autocannon, it operated like a bushmaster, where it fired a small burst of smaller munitions.
In short, what were looking at was that, when looked at as a whole, we can see why you have weapons like the hot shot lasgun having a hideous ap value capable of punching through even astartes plate, but having the wounding power of an M16, this is because the lasbolt is so focused, it causes trauma to a limited area of a body, and thus is not necessarily capable of an immediately lethal wound.
What other examples can you guys think of?