Rapier Lasers

Rapier Laser Destroyer

Original article by Jervis Johnson Published by Fanatic in The Citadel Journal #43
5th Edition Warhammer 40,000 update by Andrew Gelbman


The Rapier Laser Destroyer is an archaic weapon platform commonly used by the Imperial Planetary Defence Forces. It is a self propelled anti-tank gun originally designed for defending cities and fortresses, with just enough mobility to move into ambush positions in broken ground or forested areas.

It incorporates a weak machine spirit which takes care of target acquisition and firing, making it a semi-independent weapon needing an operator only for moving and operational mode selection.

It is considerably more powerful than the standard issue Imperial Lascannon. Its multi-barrel design allows the adjustment of the barrels for optimal armor piercing performance. The machine spirit adjusts the convergence of the beams according to the range to focus the beams on a single point, thus achieving beam intensities simply not possible for single barrel weapons.

The price of the power is increased maintenance due to the moving barrels, heat build-up due to the proximity of the multiple laser chambers, size due to effectively having several heavy weapons on a single platform and power requirements again due to multiple weapons.

The Rapier is a venerable design that dates back to the earliest days of the Imperium, and, although it was once very common, it has fallen increasingly into disuse over the millennia. The reason for the Rapier's declining popularity is mainly due to difficulties in maintaining the machine, and it has now largely been supplanted in both the Imperial Guard and Space Marine Chapters by simpler and sturdier designs that are easier to maintain and use.

The Rapier is a complex and difficult weapon to maintain. Many Imperial forces have abandoned their Rapiers to time and disrepair in favor of simpler and more robust weapons. Nevertheless, tens of thousands of Rapiers are still used by Imperial Forces all across the Imperium. The Rapier is mainly used by the forces of the Adeptus Mechanicus and by Planetary Defence Force regiments on advanced Imperial planets where the skills needed to make, maintain and operate the Rapier are easily found. The Rapier is also used in limited numbers by some Imperial Guard regiments, Space Marine chapters and the Inquisition.

Although rare, the Rapier is extremely popular with the troops that use it; it is a potent anti-tank weapon and in the right hands is perfectly capable of destroying almost any armored vehicle it may encounter. The Rapier's main short coming, apart from being difficult to use and maintain is its lack of mobility compared to the other heavy weapons used by Imperial forces. The Rapier moves fairly slowly and is so heavy that man-handling it through areas of difficult terrain is all but impossible. Because of this, Rapiers are usually fielded in specialized Rapier batteries and are seen as primarily defensive weapons used to break up enemy attacks, especially enemy armored attacks. When used in this role there are very few weapons that can match the destructive capabilities of the Rapier.

Using the Rapier Laser Destroyer in Warhammer 40,000

In his original article (now several years out of date) Jervis set the points cost of a Rapier at 75 points. Since the cost of a guardsman fell from 6 points to 5 while the cost of a marine went up slightly, by applying both factors to the original cost of a Rapier Laser Destroyer, its should drop to about 65 points (your mileage may vary) 

Imperial Guard Rapier Batteries

Heavy Support: Each Rapier battery takes up one heavy support choice in an Imperial guard army. 1-3 Rapiers can be taken as a single heavy support choice.

Imperial Guard Rapier Battery

 

Points

WS

BS

S

T

W

I

A

Ld

Sv

Imperial Guard crewmen

-/+5

3

3

3

3

1

3

1

7

5+

Rapier

 

Points

Range

Strength

AP

Special

Rapier

65

48”

10

1

Heavy 1, Twin-linked

Battery: The Battery consists of 1-3 Rapiers at 65 points per rapier.

Crew: Each Rapier must be accompanied by two Imperial Guard crewmen at no additional cost. Each Rapier in the Battery may be accompanied by an additional Imperial Guard crewman at +6 points each.

Weapons: Each crewman is armed with a Laspistol or Lasgun.

Options: One crewman may be equipped with a Vox-caster at +5 points.

Support: A single Rapier and it's crew may be taken as a support squad for an Infantry platoon, see the Imperial Guard codex.

Transport: Any Rapier Battery that contains no more than twelve models (Rapiers count as four models each) may be mounted in a Chimera transport vehicle at +70 points. See the Imperial Guard codex for more details.

SPECIAL RULE

Artillery: Rapiers are Artillery, see Warhammer 40,000 rulebook

 

Forces of the Imperium

In the original Citadel Journal article and indeed in past editions of 40k Imperial Space Marines had access to the Rapier Laser Destroyer. However since that article was written the forces of the Imperium have been expanded, so far two Inquisition rulebooks have been released and another is likely to follow. As a result I have included a generic Imperial crew option allowing the rapier to be fielded as a support weapon for the forces of the Inquisition in Daemon-hunters and Witch-hunters armies.

Inquisitorial Crewmen: The Ordos of the Inquisition have armed forces of their own in addition to the Ordos Militant such as the Grey Knights and Adeptus Soriatas. These forces, known as Inquisitorial Storm troopers are occasionally equipped with Rapier Laser Destroyers. They are not the only troops called to fight for the Inquisition therefore the profile below can also represent other Imperial troops, modified gun servitors, Adeptus Arbites or even veteran Imperial Guardsmen equipped by the Inquisitor.

Space Marine Chapter Traits: The chapter trait Flesh over Steel from the Space Marine codex will prevent a codex Space Marine army from fielding Rapier laser destroyers.

Heavy Support: Each Rapier battery takes up one heavy support choice in a Space Marine, Daemon-hunters or Witch-hunters army.

Space Marine & Inquisitorial Rapier Battery

 

 

Points

WS

BS

S

T

W

I

A

Ld

Sv

Space Marine crewmen

+16

4

4

4

4

1

4

1

8

3+

Inquisitorial crewmen

+10

3

4

3

3

1

3

1

8

4+

Rapier

 

Points

Range

Strength

AP

Special

Rapier

65

48”

10

1

Heavy 1, Twin-linked

Battery: The Battery consists of 1-3 Rapiers at 65 points per rapier.

Crew: Each Rapier in a Space Marine army must be accompanied by one to two Space Marine crewmen at +16 points each. Each Rapier in an Inquisitorial army must be accompanied by two to three Inquisitorial crewmen at +10 points each.

Weapons: Each Space Marine crewman is armed with a bolt pistol or bolter. Each Inquisitorial crewman is armed with a hellpistol or hellgun.

Options: None.

SPECIAL RULE

Artillery: Rapiers are Artillery see Warhammer 40,000 rulebook

Armageddon Information

 

Rapier Destroyer Battery

FORMATION:
1+ Rapier Laser Destroyers

SPECIAL RULES:

Focused Beam Attack: The Machine Spirits of the Rapiers may be linked to fire at a single point of a single target for increased armor penetration.

Tank Hunters: Universal Special Rule

If three or more Rapiers fire at a single target, you may resolve it as a single Strength D shot (not twin-linked). This is not without risk as it strains the limitations of the Machine Spirits.

A battery of Rapiers that perform this kind of attack may not fire in the turn following as the Machine Spirits recuperate. If the To Hit roll is a "1", then the Rapiers have overloaded their Machine Spirits and damaged them. They lose the Tank Hunters universal special rule and may not focus their attacks for the rest of the game.


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