Today’s Lore is all about Plasma. It is one of the most dangerous weapons in Warhammer 40k both to the Marine and his enemies.
Ever wondered what happens inside of a plasma gun when a Space Marine pulls the trigger. Well, today we are going to learn a little Si-FI weapon tech.
Plasma weapons utilize the same technology as found in plasma reactors and drives: hydrogen fuel is held suspended in a photonic state, typically in a sturdy flask or backpack container, before being fed into the weapon’s miniature fusion core and energized into a plasma state. This plasma is then contained by powerful magnetic fields until the weapon is fired, whereupon it is ejected via a linear magnetic accelerator to form a bolt of superheated matter in appearance and temperature much like a solar flare (giving rise to the nickname “sun gun”). Upon impact tremendous energy is released akin to a small sun, destroying the target through searing heat and explosive shock in an almighty explosion.
While incredibly destructive plasma weapons are a mostly lost technology from the standpoint of the contemporary Imperium of Man, seen as relics of another age. Their workings are a mystery for the most part, and only a select few circles of the Adeptus Mechanicus know how to construct them. Even among the Space Marine Chapters these weapons are considered uncommon, with the Dark Angels maintaining the largest inventory and the knowledge necessary to construct more; Space Marine plasma weapons also use hydrogen in higher quantum state than standard models, pushing the limits of their own resilience. Most existing plasma weapons are hundreds if not thousands of years old and those few new ones constructed are done so individually, requiring extensive blessing and rituals by the Machine God before use.
Imperial plasma weapons also have a number of drawbacks to their use as well, chief among which is the tremendous energy necessary to fire them; many weapons have multiple power settings which, though less effective than a full-powered blast, allow for more rapid firing. Plasma weapons also tend to lose accuracy over long ranges, while the photohydrogen fuel core gives off tremendous amounts of heat when fired, requiring the firer to wait for the core to cool and recharge before firing again. The magnetic containment field is difficult to maintain or replace, and if it fails the plasma within can become unstable and cause a catastrophic meltdown. Plasma fuel flasks are also only good for ten shots normally and cannot be reused, requiring a time-consuming process to swap them out with fresh flasks.