What do the three intensities of this weapon do?
It's made clear that:
• = 1 intensity
•• = 2
••• = 3
But intensity is no further mentioned.
The World of Darkness (WW55000) covers Stun (p167):
Stun: some weapons pack such a wallop that if damage successes inflicted in a single attack equal or exceed the target's Size, he loses his next action.
Mage: the Ascension Revised (WW4600) describes stun guns under Bashing Damage (p246):
…This also includes energy or chemical attacks that are designed to render the victim unconscious, such as stun guns or knockout gas…
Based on these two rules I would say that stun guns do:
The intent of a stun gun is to incapacitate a target, not severely wound them, but sending that many volts into a person is likely to cause some harm due to muscular convulsions.
The Rule in question: from Page 192, Blood and Smoke, or from Page 240 from God Machine Chronicles (and not in Demon).
Die Bonus 0, Durability 2, Size 1, Structure 2, Availability •, ••, o r •••
A stun gun is designed to deliver an overwhelming amount of electricity to an assailant in order to shut down her muscles and send her to the ground. As a defensive item, this gives the would-be victim time to run or get help. As an offensive item, it leaves the victim ready for restraint or worse. These devices come in two varieties (hand-held and ranged) and three intensities (1–3, corresponding to their Availabilities). The hand-held model has live leads on the edge of a handle and can be used as many as fifty times on one battery charge. The ranged model fires small wired darts up to fifteen feet away. While the ranged model has similar battery life, it uses a compressed air cartridge that requires replacement after each shot. Use of a handheld stun gun requires a Dexterity + Weaponry roll, penalized by the victim’s Defense. The ranged model uses Dexterity + Firearms, also penalized by the victim’s Defense. On a successful hit with either, the victim takes one point of lethal damage. The successes subtract from the victim’s next dice pool. With the ranged version, the darts remain in the victim’s body, adding three successes automatically each turn. They can be removed with a Strength + Stamina roll, with the initial successes penalizing the action. With the hand-held version, the attacker can attempt to maintain the shock, which takes a Strength + Weaponry, penalized by the greater of the opponent’s Strength or Defense. Once the accumulated successes exceed the victim’s Size, the victim collapses in neuro-muscular incapacitation. Once the shock ends, this lasts for (10 – victim’s Stamina) in turns.
This looks like it was poorly ported across from the nWoD Armoury (or from Hunter perhaps). Annoyingly it was not clarified in blood and smoke (like a few other mistakes were).
It, like the Armoury stun gun, does not interact with the Stun rules -- or the Stunned Tilt as it now is. I feel this was a missed opportunity, though the reason it doesn't just apply the stunned tilt is because that only lasts one turn. It also does not impose some form of neuro-muscular incapacitation tilt, again missed opportunity to make it use the new rules.
The stun gun is not a weapons (it is in the wrong section). It uses weapon-like rules, but it basically doesn't do damage to a person, it instead accumulates to its own side counter, a amount of successes needed to render them unable to act.
Dex + Firearms/Weaponry - Defense. Call the number of successes
X. Do 1 Lethal damage.
-Xpenalty to next action (only).
After it has hit, then to start shocking them it must be maintained.
If ranged, then to remove pins target must succeed on
Strength + Stamina - X.
Until they do that the connection is maintained -- No action from the attacker required. (Unlike old rules, which required action on the part of the attacker to keep hitting the sock button)
If he hand-held, then each turn the attacker must succeed on a
Strength-Weaponry - higher of targets Defense/Strength to maintain connection.
At the start of the fight, Zero successes have been accumulated towards taking them out.
Call the number of successes accumulated towards taking them out
Y(t) with Y(0)=0)
For each turn while maintained (this does not include the turn it was hit on),
on the attackers turn: 3 successes are added to Y.
(ie at time
t being now,
Y>targets size then target is unable to act, and collapses -- suffering the knock-down tilt.
Once (if) it is no longer maintained then the target will be able to act after a further
Changing the Intensity does nothing. You are correct it is never mentioned again.
I would suggest that the Intensity controls how many successes are added to Y each turn of maintaining -- Point 2 under maintaining.
Ie a Intensity 3 Stun Gun accumulates 3 successes onto Y per turn of maintaining (same as by RAW).
Intensity 1 only accumulates 1 to Y per turn, and Intensity 2, accumulates 2.
This makes sense, since once someone is rendered unable to act by the stun gun, they are out of the fight. At
10-Stamina rounds (which assumes the stunning stops immediately, which for Ranged there is no reason to), even someone with Stamina 5 is unlikely to recover before the fight is over. At which point, with all other threats neutralised, the attacker can cut his throat, or beat him with a brick till he is actually unconscious, or tie him up or what ever.
So you don't really want a tool that can do that to anyone in 3 rounds (1 hit, 2 maintained) that to be a Availability 1, item. Though that is roughly what is was in nWoD: Armoury (but as described even ranged took action to maintain). So scaling the time it takes with the cost makes sense.
I would consider also ruling that while it is maintained takes takes a penalty to all actions equal to its Intensity. Cos being shocked is not fun.