Upon the Banks o' the Mighty Tennessee
This is a rating that rules how resistant an object or individual is to penetration, as it’s name suggests. This value essentially rates how hard of impacts it can take, thanks to armor protection, before the structure takes damage.
Modern body armor, Kevlar and the like, have a penetration resistance of between one and five, meaning that it can resist most assault weapon attacks, but anything heavier still stands a good chance of making penetration. A good way to rate high tech body armor in RIFTS is simply to make it 1/10 of the armor’s damage capacity, rounding up.
This means that a man wearing CA-1 Body Armor can be pummeled with hundreds of 7.65 mm rounds from an AK-47, since their penetration value is only a 6, though jostled and bounced around, the armor takes virtually no damage – aside from scuffing up the paint job. If a jeep with a .50 caliber machine gun in the back pulls up though, the man wearing the CA-1 had better take cover, because it’s going to eventually punch it’s way through his armor.
Here are some common examples;
Plastic Man – 4
Huntsman – 5
Urban Warrior – 6
Bushman – 6
Gladiator – 7
CA-2 – 5
CA-1 – 8
This system makes Plastic Man a roughly good quality suit of body armor that can resist most light damaging attacks, and has the added benefit of providing environmental protection. Essentially a hard-NBC suit. Meanwhile true combat types like CA-1 are efficient at stopping anything short of a 50 caliber full metal jacket round. However true this may be, a rail gun would chew up most anything on a battlefield – armored or not. Using an RG-14 Boom Gun against armored infantry would be massive overkill, like using a tank cannon on infantry.
Extending this system over to heavier forms of armor would be appropriate as well, especially in the case of armored vehicles, armored robot vehicles, and similar. We take it for granted that they are armored to their fullest extent for their structure.
Vehicles not specifically designed as armored vehicles, however, like cars, trucks, semi-trucks, hover-vehicles, aircraft, etc. have 1/8 the normal penetration resistance. Meaning that a Nightwing with 450 M.D.C., would have a penetration resistance of 6. This means that an AK-47 loaded with full metal jacket rounds could pepper that thing with damage. A vehicle with this sort of protection, if it is described with a reinforced pilot’s compartment, however, has full armored protection of that area. Thus that same Nightwing with its 150 M.D.C. reinforced pilot’s compartment has a penetration resistance of 15 in those areas.
Creatures with supernatural attributes are another matter to consider. One must take a couple of factors into account – their M.D.C. and the nature of this M.D.C. protection. Creatures that are soft skinned like a very human like, but nonetheless supernatural, creature will have 1/25 their M.D.C. in Penetration Resistance. Thus a creature with 100 M.D.C. now has a Penetration Resistance of 4. This means that they are impervious to most small arms fire, all the way up to a .45 Caliber round fired at point blank range. Meanwhile a creature with 1,000 M.D.C. has a Penetration Resistance of 40, which is impervious to most support and infantry level weapons. However, if a Glitterboy with an RG-14 walks up, or a tank drives up that creature could be in danger. That covers creatures with soft flesh. Then you have to consider creatures with hard protective features, like a dragon with their legendary scaly hide, or a Fury Beetle’s tough carapace. Treat this sort of protection the same way you would treat an armored vehicle – 1/10 the M.D.C. With a Hatchling Dragon that winds up with 250 M.D.C., then you wind up with a Penetration Resistance of 25. Once that same Hatchling reaches maturity in 600 years, guessing that it becomes 2,500 – penetration resistance becomes 250! There is very little in the books that would phase a dragon of this power, let alone the most powerful Great Horned Dragon possible with 8,000 M.D.C., which would have a P.R. of 800.
M.D.C. Conversions are relatively straightforward and simple, take the amount that already exists, and multiply it by 5. Here are the new Damage Capacities for various structures in RIFTS;
Plastic Man Body Armor – 175.
Urban Warrior – 250.
Bushman – 300.
CA-1 – 400.
SAMAS Power Armor – 1,250.
Enforcer Robot Vehicle – 1,750.
Nightwing Attack Jet – 2,250.
S.D.C. Conversions are even simpler – convert them straight across 1 S.D.C. per one Damage. Thus a GAW-F14 with 1,800 S.D.C. now has 1,800 D. Cap. Comparing the F-14 to the Nightwing then, you wind up with a new age jet slightly tougher than its pre-cataclysm stable-mate, thanks to new technologies.
Some objects in RIFTS are inappropriately rated for this system, however, and are perhaps poorly rated even for the RIFTS game with the existing rules set. After all, a battleship with a dozen serious strikes can sink, even though it hasn’t been blown completely out of the water. Thus ships like the Ticonderoga with 20,000 M.D.C., that would give them 100,000 D. Cap, and a P.R. of 2,000. This means that the armor is so thick that you would essentially need a full-scale nuke to do any damage to it. A better system would involve a damage capacity per area. An example;
Upper Hull – Above waterline (Per 10′×10′ section) – 1,250 D. Cap. (P.R. – 25.)
Lower Hull – Below waterline (Per 10′×10′ section) – 1,750 D. Cap. (P.R. – 35.)
Lower Hull – Belly (Per 10′×10′ section) – 1,000 D. Cap. (P.R. – 20.)
Deck – (Per 10′×10′ section) – 2,500 D. Cap. (P.R. – 50.)
Weapon turrets, screws, and similar can all have fixed amounts of damage, but these areas should be labeled in this fashion so that it makes it apparent that although the vessel is massive, it is not a super armored juggernaut. Carriers were never meant to duke it out with an enemy point blank, they were meant to stand off and strike with their aircraft. A carrier would yield like tissue paper against missiles and large caliber cannons. In addition to this, create a table of damages that can be inflicted or just use some common sense in the matter. If the vessel is struck in the aft lower hull – then assume that one of the engine rooms are now flooding. Give it a number of compartments that can flood without causing adverse effects, and go with it. It makes it a lot more dramatic and realistic. Naturally, as a combat vessel, it will have provisions for pumping, repair, and such – so don’t make it unrealistically low either. I would say about two dozen good hits below the water line (12 10×10 foot areas) will send her to the Davie Jones locker. A dozen on one side could cause her to roll. For a total damage capacity, I would go ahead and use the 100,000 D. Cap its converted M.D.C. would provide, but use the P.R.s for each separate area. Just rule that once that much damage has been inflicted, the vessel is in serious trouble of structural failure, fires are popping up faster than damage control can counter them, and the vessel is essentially doomed. Don’t count stuff like turrets, screws, and similar against this total – just stuff regarding the hull’s integrity itself.
Converting supernatural creatures over is a simple conversion, just multiply the M.D.C. by five, and that becomes their D. Cap.
All weapons have some measure of penetration value, but not all weapons are created equally in terms of their ability to penetrate armor. Lasers are notoriously poor armor penetrators. Rail Guns are good armor penetrators due to their velocity, but AP weapons are still better. Plasma is good for cooking a soldier in body armor, but is poor at penetrating the armor plate of an armored vehicle. Here are some rules of thumb to go by when determining penetration value. These factors will be determined by how much M.D. the weapon inflicted prior to the conversion to the new system;
Lasers: 1/3 the Max. Damage of the weapon. (Thus a laser that inflicts 24 M.D. (4D6) will have a Penetration Value of 8; Roughly equivalent to pre-cataclysm assault rifles using A.P. rounds.) Note that ion weapons are classified within this same variety.) Pulse lasers are a different entity entirely. Pulse lasers space their beams by microseconds to counter the diffusion that typically hampers high powered lasers as a result of vaporized material on the target – thus treat any bursts from a pulse laser weapon as having a penetration value based on the total burst damage. Thus an L-20 or CP-40, has a P.V. of 12!
Plasma: 1/5 the Max. Damage of the weapon. (Thus a plasma blast that inflicts 60 M.D. (1D6x10) will have a Penetration Value of 12; Roughly equivalent to pre-cataclysm white phosphorus, if not a little better.)
Rail Guns: 1/2 the Max. Damage of the weapon. (Thus a Rail Gun that inflicts 40 M.D. (1D4x10) will have a Penetration Value of 20! Using this same formula for the RG-14 Boom Gun that inflicts 180 M.D. (3D6x10) you wind up with a Penetration Value of 90, making it a true anti-armor weapon.)
Armor Piercing Explosives: These are specifically designed as armor penetrators, thus they have a 1 for 1 penetration value versus mega-damage. An AP Mini-Missile has a P.V. of 40, since it inflicts 1D4x10 M.D. Meanwhile a 200 mm H.E.A.T. round that does 3D6x10 M.D. has a P.V. of 180! This illustrates the use of having a 7 ton cannon in a heavily armored turret, versus just having a 700+ Lb. RG-14 Boom Gun. It also shows the AP Mini-Missile to be an effective weapon against lightly armored vehicles like APCs and similar, but not much use against a main battle tank. Meanwhile a 16 inch cannon on a battleship, with a maximum damage of 3D6x100 M.D. has a P.V. of 1,800 – basically showing that it can inflict damage to just about anything it is pointed at, just as it should be.
Particle Beams: 1/2 the Max. Damage of the weapon. (Thus a particle beam that inflicts 40 M.D. (1D4x10) will have a penetration value of 14, when rounding up.) Particle Beams are a different entity from loose plasma cloud explosive blasts, they are focused and directed at a target at speeds approaching the speed of light, and do not suffer the diffusion problems lasers do. As a result their penetration values are far superior.
Vibro-Weapons: 1/2 the Max. Damage of the weapon. (Thus a vibro-sword that inflicts 12 M.D. (2D6) will have a Penetration Value of 6.)
Magic Blades: Equal to the Max. Damage of the weapon. Magic weapons specific to demons, monsters, dragons, good, evil, etc. – all have the normal penetration value mentioned here against other opponents, but against the specific target type they specialize in, ignore the penetration resistance of that target! Thus a point of tanks with 200 mm cannons can hammer on a 4,000 M.D. dragon all day long with H.E.A.T. rounds without doing much more than pissing it off. A lone hero, however, with a dragon slayer sword, however, can engage and potentially defeat the beast.
Conventional Weapons: Here is a list of conventional weapons calibers with their approximate penetration values and damages:
.22 Cal Pistol P.V. 1 (1D6)
.22 Cal Rifle P.V. 2 (1D8)
.223 Cal (5.56 mm) Rifle P.V. 5 (3D6)
7.62 Pistol P.V. 2 (1D8)
7.62 Rifle (30.06 Cal) P.V. 6 (5D6)
7.65 Pistol P.V. 3 (1D10)
7.65 Rifle P.V. 6 (5D6)
.38 Cal Pistol (Special) P.V. 3 (2D6)
9 mm Pistol P.V. 4 (2D6)
.357 Cal Pistol (Magnum) P.V. 5 (4D6)
10 mm Pistol P.V. 4 (4D6)
.44 Cal Pistol (Magnum) P.V. 6 (5D6)
.45 Cal Pistol P.V. 4 (4D6)
.50 Cal Pistol P.V. 6 (5D6)
.50 Cal Rifle P.V. 7 (1D4x10)
.60 Cal Rifle P.V. 9 (1D6x10)
.729 Cal/12 Gauge P.V. 4/5 (4D6/5D6)
.775 Cal/10 Gauge P.V. 5/6 (5D6/6D6)
.787 Cal/20 mm Cannon P.V. 9 (AP) (2D4x10)
.835 Cal/8 Gauge P.V. 6/7 (6D6/1D4x10)
1.18 Cal/30 mm Cannon P.V. 18 (AP) (3D6x10)
Note: Frangible rounds reduce the penetration value to 1, regardless of caliber, but doubles the damage to soft targets – like unarmored humans. Full metal jacket variants increase the penetration value by 2.
Supernatural Creatures: Attacks from these creatures are the big X-Factor in setting up this system. Assume that the penetration value of the hand to hand attacks made by a supernatural creature are equal to his/her penetration resistance. This means that a Great Horned Dragon Hatchling, with 450 M.D.C prior to conversion, has a P.V. to all of his/her hand to hand attacks of 45! Meanwhile an adult ice dragon with 4,000 M.D.C. prior to conversion has a P.V. to all of his/her hand to hand attacks of 400! This effect is purely mystical, and does not mean that the attacks do any more damage than the listed conversion, it’s just that it somehow effects much stronger armor than it technically should. This is actually a system that makes sense, as supernatural creatures often have hierarchies that are based around the strongest/toughest member of a group, as is the case with Gargoyles. Hatchling dragons will NEVER in their right mind attempt to tangle with an adult. Demons tend to be extremely subservient to greater demons. This all explains those reasons quite well – with the M.D.C. system as it was previously, if a lesser demon got really lucky, it could essentially defeat a much tougher demon. With this system an Alu Demon would never even consider bucking up against a Gallu Demon Bull, because he’d mop the floor with him and come out – basically, unscathed.