A Lance is a powerful anti-ship weapon that fires a coherent beam of energy at a target. This beam is capable of punching through even the heaviest armor mounted to the largest warships, and can cut a smaller escort-sized vessel in two with a single shot.
Lance weapons are used by many of the major factions in the game. There is some difference between them, however.
Technical Description Edit
On Imperial Navy and Chaos vessels lance weaponry typically takes the form of a number of laser emitters mounted in a single gargantuan turret. The beams from each emitter are focused on a single point were the maximum amount of energy is delivered. The lasers used in a lance turret require prodigious amounts of energy, and are therefore tied directly to a ship's main plasma reactors. Because of this, a ship can only mount limited numbers of lance weapons. Additionally, the longer ranged a lance is, the more energy it requires to fire. For this reason, most warships with a large number of lances can only fire them at limited ranges without overloading and damaging the power relays and/or their engines. A classic example of this effect is the Apocalypse class battleship, which can fire its lances at long range only at the expense of her speed. Lance turrets form an independent, autonomous portion of the ship and are crewed by hundreds of officers, ratings, and Tech Priests. This crew lives, sleeps, and fights exclusively in the turret, rarely if ever seeing the rest of the ship.
Other factions employ weapons that work on different principles, but have similar effects in the game and thus fit into the category of lance weapons for the purpose of this article.
Factions with Lance WeaponsEdit
Many Imperial and Chaos cruiser classes mount lances, typically limited to two or less per firing arc. The lances on Chaos cruisers typically have long range, while the Imperial Navy's cruisers have shorter range lances.
Space Marines Edit
Lances are regarded as a true anti-ship weapon, and as such the Imperium reserves their use almost exclusively for the Imperial Navy. The Space Marines do have limited access to lances via the Firestorm Rapid Strike Vessel and Nova class frigate, but none of their official capital ships mount a lance armament. One unofficial design, a Battle Barge belonging to the Ultramarines chapter called the Seditio Oprimere, is equipped with lances, but has been largely rejected by the BFG community as an overpowered design.
The Eldar mount a more advanced form of the lance called the Pulsar Lance. This version has much greater destructive potential than the standard lance does. Another Eldar variant is entitled the Phantom Lance, which fires a short burst of lance beams.
The Tau use a weapon called the Ion Cannon that, while likely differing in technical aspects to the lances used by the Imperial Navy, has the exact same in-game effects.
Necrons have a weapon known as the Gauss Particle Whip that has similar in-game effects to a lance, except that a D6 roll of a 6 results in a hit that bypasses the target's shields.
The Tyranid hive fleets employ a form of extremely short-range lance called Bio-plasma, which as the name suggests is a mass of organic fluid expelled at an enemy target. This weapon has the effects of a lance, except that it bypasses enemy shields.
Effects in the Game Edit
In the game, lance weapons do not use the Gunnery Table to determine how many dice are rolled against a target. Rather, they have an associated strength value and this is equal to the number of dice to be thrown. Since lances do not use the gunnery table, they ignore the negative effects of range, blast markers, and target orientation. Thus, lances tend to be more effective than weapon batteries at long ranges. Additionally, lances ignore a target's armor value and always hit on a D6 roll of 4+. This makes them quite useful against well armored targets.