In the 22nd century, warfare has many faces. Cyberwarfare, financial attacks, and assaults on a person’s reputation can be just as devastating as a violent asssault. But in the end, sometimes there are no substitutes for being heavily armed.
Modern weaponry can come in many forms, reflecting the myriad of technologies available.
Reflecting advances in graviton technology, grav weapons use charged graviton particles to drive mass at high speed. Similar in principle to railguns, grav weapons can use more exotic payloads, although they tend to have higher energy requirements and are usually used for heavier weapons.
With the proliferation of cybernetics, ion-based weaponry are actually a very practical choice. Firing a stream of charged particles that resemble bolts or streams of electricity, ion weapons can disrupt or even severely damage electronic systems. They’re largely ineffective otherwise, causing some burning to organic tissue and can melt some softer materials, but against cybernetics that aren’t adequately hardened ion weapons can be devastating.
A weapon used more for the sake of being terrifying and impressive than being effective, plasma weaponry is an example of science doing things because one can rather than because one must. Plasma holds no distinct advantage over other forms of weaponry, other than generatic enormous amounts of heat and causing horrific wounding on soft tissue, if one considers those advantages.
Requiring a large amount of power to be effectively weaponized, lasers aren’t terribly common as battlefield weapons. They do have their uses, however, especially for snipers and other silent killers. Lasers are whisper quiet, nearly invisible to the naked eye, and make extremely small and hard to notice impact marks. They do exactly as much damage as the operator intends, nothing more, nothing less.
Magnetic rail weapons are very popular among heavy operators who want to do a lot of damage. Common on large vehicles like tanks and power armor, man-portable railguns are also used by heavy troopers and particularly well-armed Freelancers.
Usually the realm of less-than-lethal options like stun batons, melee weapons also include implements like swords and personal shields, which are uncommon for private soldiers but see more use among eccentric Freelancers and combat sport athletes. Often such weapons have upgrades to make them more dangerous, like high-frequency blades, plasma whips, or shields that generate miniature gravity wells to catch bullets in mid-air.
Grenades, missiles, and other explosive solutions are popular choices for Freelancers who aren’t terribly concerned with collateral damage. Micro-munitions are even able to be installed as internal weapons in some cybernetic implants.
Bullets never stopped killing people. Modern ballistics are usually caseless synthetic composites with incredibly high penetration, designed to deal with the fact that most people in this day and age have cybernetics. Bullets are cheap, plentiful, and easily replenished. Many Lancers swear by good old fashioned ballistic weapons over more extreme options.
There are so many different ways of engaging in combat that it’s impossible to list them all here. Some examples include things like crossbows, sling weapons, and the various biological weapons a person might have installed as part of a gene mod, like poisons and razor sharp claws.