Plasma guns are hilarious. I never field them myself, but its great fun when my opponent blows himself to hell with one of them. Fluffwise it would make more sense that maybe it just burned his hand too badly to serve on the front line, but really it's much more fun to picture it as exploding. My friend was determined to circumvent this fluff possibility (he has a love for calamities) by strapping roughly 3 squads worth of grenades onto his commander's belt.
My friend's Imperial Guard commander had finally killed one of my XV9s in after like, 3 rounds of combat (and after the mech had stomped the rest of his squad flat) . Next turn he gets, he has his commander go running right into my now exposed flank determined to die in a glorious endgame. Spotting a pathfinder, he raises his plasma pistol and promptly blows himself into a pile of bubbling goop, leaving one very puzzled Pathfinder behind.
I havent come across anything like this happening in a BL book. One time a do see a Plasma weapon asplode, was in a fan made webcomic, Servants of the imperium.
Link goes to first comic.
But linking the rule to the fluff will be hard, because a gets hot roll gets a save doesnt it? But its still plasma, it will backlash/explode/overheat with the same effect regardless of what infantry uses it.
I think that normally when an Imperial plasma gun overheats, it doesn't so much explode in tour face as it vents a load of boiling white-hot coolant over your hand. And xenon plasma doesn't overheat as is my understanding. But hey, a plasma gun exploding makes for a better image, and it works when the author wants a character to kill some aliens in a resourceful and pretty damn cool way.
I personally like to think the gun just explodes in a great blast of karma in it's wielder's face when you remove the model as a casualty. Also, I'm going to take the opportunity to reel off a good plasma yarn. What happened was a SM command squad had a plasma gun in it, and my opponent just couldn't fire it without overheating. Luckily, the apothecary was apparently trained in fixing plasma burns and nothing else, since he fixed up the plasma marine every time he got hurt by his gun, and failed to heal anything else.
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