The single greatest problem Palladium games has is a bizarre
combat system. In particular, the rules for firing semiautomatic and
automatic firearms are confusing, obscure and often misused. Here I have
written optional rules for using such weapons, which can be used with
great ease and which are (one fervently hopes) easier to understand and
more realistic. If used, these rules should replace those on pg. 34 of
Rifts, p.30 of Robotech, p.47 of Sentinels (Robotech II), p.33 of Macross II,
p.41 of Heroes Unlimited, and so forth (I'm not going to dig out TMNT,
Ninjas & Superspies or any other games just to list pages, you get the
For convenience, I have divided the types of weapons fire into three
categories: Single Shot, Semi Automatic, and Full Auto. Unless mentioned
otherwise, details of rolling to hit, potential dodges etc are unchanged.
Any weapon, as a general rule of thumb, which lists its firing type as
'standard' uses the rules described here. On the other hand, a weapon
which has fire type as, for example, "Single Shot or three-shot bursts
dealing n damage only", then the rules listed here would be dropped
in favour of the rules described. Otherwise (if you are using these optional
rules and not the standard Palladium fare), use these rules.
Single Shot mode is exactly what it sounds like; pull the trigger once, and one round is discharged. Most types of weapons can fire on single shot mode.
Strike Bonus: With WP +3, without +1
Ammunition Used: 1
Damage: As listed
Example: Grommit is being attacked by a gigant and three humans.
Pulling his trusty laser pistol (1d6 MDC damage; Grommit only owns the first
Rifts book, you see), he fires one shot at a human, hoping to
dissuade them. Grommit rolls to hit as normal, expends 1 shot, and deals
the normal damage roll of 1d6.
Semi Automatic mode means that every time you pull the trigger, a round is discharged. The weapon occupies the nasty business of cocking. Most types of weapons can fire on Semi Auto mode. Note that the weapon does not automatically fire three rounds, nor are any guaranteed to hit, but when firing in this mode, for the purposes of game mechanics, the average burst is considered to be three rounds of which two can statistically be expected to hit.
Strike Bonus: With WP +1, without none.
Ammunition Used: 3
Damage: double listed
Example: Grommit's target laughs at the paltry 3 MDC. Snarling,
Grommit flips the weapon into semi auto and hauls off. 3 rounds are expended
(Grommit has used 4 shots total), the roll to hit succeeds, and Grommit
rolls 1d6 x2 MDC.
Full Auto fire can only be used by rifles and heavy weapons. Full Auto fire means that as long as you hold down the trigger, the weapon continues to fire. Full Auto puts more fire into the air at the expense of accuracy, relying on statistics to hit the target. There are two types of Full Auto fire; against one target, and sprays against multiple targets.
SPRAYS AGAINST MULTIPLE TARGETS
Strike Bonus: None.
Ammunition Used: The attack uses up 4 rounds per target to be included. In addition, the fire must be 'walked' between the targets. Walking expends a further round per 3 feet, or portion thereof, between each target.
Damage: The attacker rolls to hit each target seperately. Damage dealt is as listed.
Example: Dropping his pistol, Grommit realizes he's in trouble and
pulls out his C-14 (laser: 3d6 MDC), opening up a hideous shower of death on the
advancing humans. There are three humans; two are five feet apart, the
third is seven feet away. 4 rounds per the 3 humans = 12 rounds. Further,
2 will be wasted walking the fire between human A and human B, and 3 more
(7 divided by 3 rounding up) between B and C. In total, this attack will
expend 12 +2 +3 = 17 rounds, almost emptying the magazine of his C-14.
Grommit rolls to hit each of the three humans in turn, dealing 3d6 damage
to each of them.
FULL AUTO FIRE, ONE TARGET
Strike Bonus: None
Ammunition Used, Damage: This depends on what the user wishes to
expend. I don't like math, so I have built a table to easily and efficiently
moderate full auto fire against one target. The attacker declares how
many rounds he will fire, and then rolls to hit. The attack deals an amount
of damage equal to the weapon's normal amount multiplied by the number
given on the table. Rounds expended is across the top, to hit roll down
the left side.
Example: Grommit is now staring down a very large, very angry gigant. Slamming in a fresh clip, Grommit reasons that now is no time to be worrying about rates of ammunition expenditure; if he doesn't kill that supernatural monster, he's dinner. Grommit plants his feet and opens fire, declaring that he will expend his full clip of 20 rounds. Holding his breath, Grommit rolls a 17 to hit. His attack empties the clip but deals 3d6x5 MDC. If he rolls well, Grommit might just survive this incident.
(In truth, a hit rate of 25% is rather high for automatic weapons fire, but
this is a game, after all.)
Well, that's it. I'm always a little loathe to introduce a table, but
referring to this one small example saves a lot of time, as the other
way to do it involves hideous mental calculation. Unless I'm terribly
mistaken this should make the firing in any Palladium game quicker and,
more importantly, much more realistic. In addition it can be used in
any Palladium game, and so expands the horizons of this page a bit beyond
just Rifts, which is something I will pursue further in the future.