Rifts (R) Earth a land teeming with magical energies. I got one question...WHERE?!? Sure theres the leylines (TM), nexus points (TM), rifts (R), demons and monsters and spell casters and what not, but whats the big deal? Looking over the magic section and those on Ley Line Storms (TM), magic really isn't that powerful. At least not compared to the technology found present on Earth. Not only that, but magic really isn't that magical. A person spends the P.P.E. and something happens. Its almost too perfect. If theres skill percentages for skills, why not magic? And besides, magic alweays seems to produce the same results for whoever uses it. The Nightbane (R) sourcebook "Through the Glass Darkly" does an excellent job touching on the surface of this fact, but more needs to be done. (On a side note I would reccommend this book to anyone who uses any magic in any Palladium RPG). While it extrapolates well on magic being able to be a life unto itself, it totally neglect that magic in a more futuristic day setting is not much without the element of surprise. Not that magic is weak by any means. With intelligent use of spells like carpet of adhesion, armor of ithan, seal, superhuman speed, fleet feet, call lightning, and mystic portal my 8th level line walker was able to take out 2 3rd level SAMAS power armors with a Wilks Laser Pistol. However, here we see again a need to rely on technology with a power surpassing that of magic because of superior range, damage, and payload.
Here are a couple home grown rules about magic that would safely explain why magic really scares the CS and its huge robotic armies. Other than the fact of summoning demons, dragons, and those that would-be gods/alien intelligences, the CS has little to fear from the average spell casters. Even when working as a group, human mages are ineffectual against a technological terror such as the CS. These rules should help balance it all out.
01-09% No ill effect on the spell caster. 10-19% Mage is slightly disoriented, but O.K. Loses initiative, and is -1 on all combat skills for the remainder of the melee. 20-29% The Chills: Mage feels the life drained from himself and feels a resulting cold. -3 on all combat skills and -15% on all skills for 3D4 melees. Also loses 1 point of damage (S.D.C. or M.D.C.). 30-39% Slight P.P.E. Burn: The excessive amounts of P.P.E. coursing from the character at one time takes its toll on the spell caster in the form of a light first degree burn (like a sunburn). The burn is sensitive to temperature and touch. The burn will likely be on the face of the spell caster, especially around the mouth and lips, even if it was a fire ball shot from the hands. 1D4 S.D.C. or M.D.C. (whichever is appropriate). Also will be -2 on all combat actions for the next day or so. Magical or psychic healing can help this situation though. 40-49% Multiple P.P.E. Burns: Just as above except the burns are all over the character's body. The character will be uncomfort- able in any position and may lose sleep and concentration because of it. 4D4 S.D.C or M.D.C., -4 on all combat bonuses, -20% on all skills, -1 melee action for 3 days. Magic and psychic healing will restore the S.D.C./M.D.C., but the penalties will remain until the 3 days have passed. 50-59% Minor Temporal Shift: The character is suddenly sucked out of space and time and replaced an instant later within a couple inches from where he or she just disappeared from. The experience is like the suddenness of decompression on astronauts as the P.P.E. rips at the person from the inside out. The experience is certainly survivable, but painful and disturbing. The character will lose 4D6 S.D.C./M.D.C. and will be -6 on all combat bonuses, -2 melee actions, and -25% on all skills for the next 5 days. Magic and psychic healing on this damage will have no effect. 60-69% Bloody Lacerations: The P.P.E. shoots out of the character resulting in cuts and bruises across the entire surface of the character's body. This is extremely painful and disturbing, not only to the spell caster, but to those who have to look at him. 6D6 S.D.C or M.D.C., -6 on all combat bonuses, -3 attacks per melee, and -30% to all skills for 7 days. This time can be reduced by half with medical treatment (including magical and psychic), but half the damage cannot be recovered until the duration is up. Also until healed, the character will have a -4 to their P.B. 70-79% Heavy P.P.E Burns and Deep cuts: The P.P.E. burns the character is it bursts forth, through the character's skin, into the spell. 1D6x10 S.D.C. or M.D.C. damage, -8 to all combat bonuses, reduce melee attacks by half, skill performance is at -40%, and reduce P.B. of the character by 6 points! The effects of this will last for 2 weeks (half with medical attention) and only half damage can be recovered until the duration has ended. The character should seek medical attention right away because the chartacter is presently bleeding profusely. Check the blood loss table in Rifts RPG. 80-89% Major Temporal Shift: The character is sucked out of this dimension for 2D4 minutes, although to the spell caster only an instant has passed. The character will also be teleported 4D4 miles away and 2D6 feet off the ground or underwater. The character will lose 2D4x10 S.D.C. or M.D.C., -9 on all combat bonuses, reduce melee actions by half, and -50% on all skills. This condition will last 4 weeks (half with medical attention). Only half the damage can be recovered until the duration has ended. 90-97% P.P.E. Explosion: A radius of 4 feet around the spell caster per level of the spell is suddenly ripped by a P.P.E. explosion originating from the spell caster. The explosion does 1D4 S.D.C. or M.D.C. (depending on what it hits) per level of the spell. This means that a fourth level spell will affect a 16 foot radius around the spell caster and will do 4D4 S.D.C. or M.D. to the structures within the blast radius. The mage suffers five times the damage and suffers from blood loss (see Rifts RPG). He will also be -6 on all combat bonuses, have half melee actions/attacks, and skill performance is reduced by half (round down). This damage can be healed normally. 98-00% Death: The caster suffers a sudden heart attack and dies from the force of this spell. The P.P.E. that doubles at death is also pumped into the spell increasing the effects of the spell greatly. Resurrection by any means is -30% to succeed. There will also be a P.P.E. explosion around the spell caster that does double damage and radius as mentioned above.
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