C is For Combat

An outline of the changes and additions to S&W combat for the high powered future of RDR.

Basic Philosophy

One of the key ideas of Palladium’s Megaversal System is the idea that the basic processes are the same regardless of genre. Thus, at its core, Rifts uses the same combat system as all Palladium games. This, in fact, is very true. Rifts combat (in the core at least) is closer to combat in The Mechanoids Invasion than combat in D&D3 is to OD&D. This is both a source of many complaints about Rifts and, IMHO, a strength.

You can find the complaints all over the net so I’ll concentrate on why I consider it a strength. As has been hashed over forever combat in classic D&D, and thus in the clones, is highly abstract. It isn’t designed to treat combat blow by blow but to get combat over quickly so the main thrust, exploration, can continue. As such, keeping that same abstract style in a game about exploring and being the white hatted sheriff in a post-magical holocaust world makes sense. The changes and additions should be only those needed to represent the broader scale of damage capability offered by high tech and, to a lesser degree, a higher magical baseline. It is to these ends I present these additions.

My additions and changes come in two big sections. Today we’re going to cover additions to include new weapons types, long ranges, and the idea of hitting versus penetrating. Tomorrow, under D is for Damage we’ll cover my damage scaling system.

Additions and Changes

Hits and Glances: The single biggest addition is the idea of a glance. A hit is defined as normal in S&W. A glance is any attack which fails to hit a target but would hit AC 9[10]. The idea is that on a glance the attacker delivered one or more blows/shots that landed on the target but did not penetrate its armor. Glances have two principle uses. When dealing with attacks whose scale is higher than the armor it is attacking (see D for Damage for explanations of scale). Second, glances may provide partial damage to vehicles and power armor. If all damage being used is the same scale and no vehicles/power armor is in use don’t worry about glances.

Using Power Armor: Users get as many attacks and bonus as they normally have if APEMaN class. Modern Soldiers trained in Armor Pilot may use the EMaN armor but with half their attack bonus (round down) and attacks (round up). Persons not trained in armor piloting may not use power armor. They may, however, use the armor for protection but won’t be able to engage in combat.

Benefits of Being in Power Armor: Damage is initially applied to the armor/vehicle with the user taking 1 HP normal for every 5 full points of damage on hits (but not glances) to the armor. This damage to occupants is not susceptible to scale difference multipliers. When the armor is reduced to zero HP it is non-functional although it still provides it’s AC to the user if he stays in it. Power armor at zero or less hit points cannot move or attack, but can communicate, use sensors, ect unless otherwise damaged. Single section vehicles function essentially the same.

Vehicles: Vehicles have one or more sections. Multi-section vehicles will have individual hit points and defined functions for each section as well as a hit location chart. When a section is reduced to zero those functions are not available.

Accessory Damage: On a glancing shot vehicles and power armor may suffer accessory damage. Determine how much the shot missed by subtracting the roll from the hit number. The roll on the power armor accessory damage chart below for power armor or single section vehicles or the vehicle hit location chart and subtract the missed amount. The hit accessory or the first listed working function for the section is damaged and out of combat. If a system is not present or already damaged the result is a “no damage” result.

Roll (d20) Hit Accessory
10 or lower Nothing Damaged
11-12 Communication
13-14 Sensors
15-16 Secondary Weapon (first listed undamaged if more than one)
17-18 Life Support
19 Primary Weapon

2 thoughts on “C is For Combat

  1. I like the sectional vehicle thing–what functions can be assigned to each section, and how do you determine hit points for each?

    (If all this is part of your entry for “V”, just tell me to be patient…)

  2. The sectional idea is actually in a ur format in the earliest Palladium products: The Mechanoids Invasion and its sequels.

    As for assigning them, in the grand tradition it is a “make them up” thing, but a “V is for Vehicles” entry with examples is a good idea. Plus, today's EMaN entry will give some examples.

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