Mega-Damage

Oh, mega-damage. What a Pandora’s box you proved to be. I can appreciate the impulse to represent damage on a different scale, and it made sense in Robotech, but it kind of ruined Rifts. MD is quite possibly the most house-ruled component of the Palladium system, and for good reason. I’ve seen simple fixes, I’ve seen baroquely complex fixes. Here’s mine, which is probably somewhere in the middle:

  • First of all, we’re doing away with Mega-Damage and Mega-Damage Capacity entirely. All MD damage and damage capacity ratings will be taken to read as SDC totals. Example: a Wilk’s Laser Pistol now does 1d6 SDC damage per shot. A Coalition Dead Boy’s suit now has 80 SDC points.
    • Weapons that are too heavy for a normal man to carry but can be wielded by those with enhanced strength or else mounted on vehicles or tripods (.50-caliber machineguns, railguns, etc.) are designated as “Heavy” and have a x10 damage multiplier. Weapons that are too heavy for any but a vehicle, power armor suit, or giant robot to wield are designated “Mega” and have a x100 damage multiplier. (Note that these multipliers supercede any that might already exist in the rules; ergo, a Glitter Boy’s “Boom Gun” now does 3d6x100 points of damage, not 3d6x10.)
  • Weapons are divided into three categories: Ancient; Conventional; Advanced. These categories should be self-evident in most cases, but here are some guidelines:
    • Ancient weapons are those covered by W.P. Ancient proficiencies (with some exceptions noted below). Ancient armor is anything made from organic materials such as leather or metal.
    • Conventional weapons are guns and explosives that utilize an explosive reaction to cause damage, whether in and of itself or by propelling bullets. Conventional armor uses synthetic material such as Kevlar or ceramics to provide protection.
    • Advanced weapons are those which either utilize a non-explosive energy source (such as lasers, ion beams, or plasma) to cause damage, or otherwise caused Mega-Damage in the old system. Advanced armor is anything that used to have an MDC rating.
  • These categories are arranged on a continuum from weakest to strongest, with Ancient at the bottom and Advanced at the top.
  • The way these categories interact is in how well armor protects from damage. That’s it. If you want a damage multiplier, you’ll have to fire an appropriately BFG.
    • If the weapon is of a higher category than the armor:
      • For one step of difference between the weapon causing damage and the armor absorbing it, reduce the AR by half. If there are two steps of difference, then the armor offers no protection at all.
    • If the armor is of a higher category than the weapon:
      • For one step of difference, the damage is cut in half. For two steps, no damage is done.

Example: An Advanced laser rifle fired against an opponent wearing Kevlar and ceramic riot gear (normally AR 14) would reduce the gear’s protection to AR 7. If the opponent had been wearing plate and mail (normally AR 15), the armor would offer no protection at all. However, if the weapon being fired was a Conventional assault rifle, the plate and mail would offer an AR of 8 (7.5 rounded up) and would the gun would do half-damage against an opponent wearing Dead Boy armor. Likewise, the Dead Boy would be immune to an attack from a sword or bow and arrow unless those weapons possessed some sort of otherwise Advanced quality (vibro-blades, etc.).

  • Note that Advanced armor does not have an armor rating. It is wholly ablative and must be reduced to 0 before it stops offering protection. The GM may allow a Critical hit to bypass armor at the player’s option in lieu of doing double damage. Likewise, called shots can target unarmored areas for any suit that is not designated as “Full Environmental” and thereby bypass the armor’s protection.
  • MDC structures: We’ve been discussing MDC armor, but a note should be made about MDC structures as well. Whether its a building, a vehicle, or a dragon, if it had MDC in the old system, those points are converted to SDC. However, the structure/vehicle/creature are considered to be Advanced for the purposes of determining weapon damage. Thus, Ancient weapons have no chance of hurting them, and Conventional weapons only do half-damage.
  • One final note: enchantment trumps technology. If a weapon is enchanted, it counts as Advanced for all purposes, even if it’s otherwise an “Ancient” weapon.

Mega-Damage

Rifts: Hard Repo sirlarkins sirlarkins