Berserker Warmachine ("Berserker" by Fred Saberhagen):
This is a conversion from the Berserker novel series from Fred Saberhagen. It is very powerful and should be treated with extreme care
The machine was a vast self contained fortress, set countless millennia ago by its unknown makers to destroy a particular enemy wherever it found it. Together with its brothers the machine had gotten good at its job, and had dealt severe blows to the enemy, yet somehow its adversary always appeared somewhere else, sometimes even before the last purging was completely finished.
Forever fighting, there was never quite enough time for it to repair all the damage done in the last battle, and still its enemy grew more numerous. If the machine had been alive it might have despaired, but despite being intelligent and self aware it was not alive. All it knew was its job, that last great command, ordered by its makers:
DESTROY ALL LIFE.
It followed that command wherever it went, searching galaxies for any trace of its ancient enemy, life.
The first people in the three galaxies to meet it and live to tell the tale were a group of human mercenaries. The name they gave the machine and its brethren was so apt that this is the name adapted by all races. Men called it "Berserker".
Berserker machines are hundreds of thousands of years old war machines build to be last ditch weapons in some unknown interstellar war. Like so many of such weapons they did their job too well, destroying both their makers enemies, as well as their makers. Each berserker is a fully self-contained warship, bristling with weapons of mass destruction. They can range in size from fighters to moon sized, but the typical berserker is a rough spheroid 30 miles in diameter (May have any shape, but a sphere has the best ratio of volume to outer surface, and the berserkers are nothing if not efficient). This is the kind of machine described here. Even if it is a “normal” berserker, it has the firepower to annihilate entire fleets, and can pound the surface of a planet into a cloud of glowing dust and steam miles deep in a couple of days. It has the ability to repair itself, and learn from its encounters. It will never forget its ultimate target, the annihilation of all life. It is not fighting a war for territory or wealth, it is supremely indifferent to such matters. Any kind of life it encounters it will attempt to stamp out, be it Kreeghor, Humans, Splurgoth, plants, or bacteria.
It is unpredictable in its strategies: It can attack a group of six planets, only to leave the last one alone and attack a target hundreds of light-years away, and return years later to finish the job it had left (It is believed that the berserkers strategies are dictated by the patterns of dying atoms in a large block of radioactive material, making them truly random. Once it attacks a target it will seldom give up though).
For the main energy battery, the Berserker has thirty energy clusters. Each cluster consists of six heavy grasers, six medium graser mounts, and four heavy mass driver mounts. These are protected by the defensive shield over their sector, but also have six point defense lasers, six point defense rail guns, and four mini missile launchers. The Berserker has eighteen missile clusters as well. Each missile battery cluster has four cruise missile batteries and eight long range missile batteries. They have the identical point defense weaponry to the energy clusters. The Berserker also has the same number of point defense weaponry protecting each of the hanger bays. The point defense weaponry work in concert and are designed to protect the whole Machine from all attacks not just the individual cluster or bay that they are located at. As its most powerful weapons it has, in three of the energy clusters, huge Antimatter cannons. these weapons are mostly used against very large targets, and especially for planetary bombardment.
Because of the enormous volume of the Berserker, it has a huge amount of space available for use. Most of this space is taken up with power plants, drives, factories and stores for raw material and munitions. The Berserker is a maze of unprecedented proportions, and through its myriads of airless! corridors, thousands of drones and combat robots move. (GM, go for the wilder things that ARCHIE dreams up, and other weird looking machines. Whatever, they should be BAD news!) The remaining space is taken up by bays, twelve in total, contain between them more fighters than four CAF Packmaster class carriers have. (Treat various fighters as their CAF/Kreeghor equivalent, without a pilot, Piloted by a AI which flies it at 98%, has full attacks and +3 to strike and +2 to dodge.) All of these machines are in constant contact with the Berserker though. They are almost parts of it. If the Berserkers AI is destroyed, the drones have no bonuses whatsoever, but they WILL keep on going!
It is not certain how a Berserker will react to a species as the Machine People. If they do not take a active affair in the fight against it, it might not see them as true life, and spare them. A Berserker will readily accept help from "Good life" e.g. persons or people who are willing to help it destroy all life. Various death cults may see the Berserker as their ultimate god, and decide to help it, in the form of information and supplies! Their reward is obvious off course, but welcome.
It should once again be stressed that a Berserker will see ANY life as something to be ultimately wiped out. The only way to stop one is to destroy it, it will NOT listen to reason.
As described before, this is a average berserker, in good working order. Some berserkers will be much larger, and/or different looking with different weapons altogether. Some may have terrible damage (All berserkers hulls will look as if it has been through incredible battles) and operate at less than 30 % of their original capabilities, perhaps even unable to repair themselves any more. Whatever the case, a Berserker will, even when debilitated, be a machine of death and destruction. If used at all in a campaign, it should be with a great deal of consideration, as they may be very unbalancing to gameplay. Usually one will do the trick, only seldom will one see more than one Berserker at the same place.
This design uses modified starship speed and ranges. See Revised Starship Rules for Phase World / Three Galaxies for more details.
30 Energy Weapon Clusters each containing:
|1||Antimatter cannon (in only three of the clusters)|
|6||120 cm Heavy Grasers|
|6||30 cm Medium Grasers|
|4||20 cm Heavy Mass Drivers|
|6||Point Defense Rail Guns|
|6||Point Defense Lasers|
|4||Point Defense Mini-Missile Launchers|
|4||Cruise Missile Batteries|
|8||Long-Range Missile Batteries|
|6||Point Defense Rail Guns|
|6||Point Defense Lasers|
|4||Point Defense Mini-Missile Launchers|
|6||Point Defense Rail Guns|
|6||Point Defense Lasers|
|4||Point Defense Mini-Missile Launchers|
Model Type: Berserker War Machine (generic)
Vehicle Type: Anti Life War Machine
|18,000||Various robots (Treat as various Archie type combat robots(or Mechanoid, whatever)|
|280||Medium range Starfighters|
|20||Assault Shuttles (use standard CAF design as template)|
M.D.C By Location:
|Main Energy Clusters (30):|
|Antimatter Cannons(3 Total!):||12,000 each|
|Heavy Graser Cannons (6 each cluster, 180 Total):||3,500 each|
|Medium Graser Cannons (6 each cluster, 180 Total):||1,000 each|
|Heavy Mass Drivers (4 each cluster, 120 Total):||1,200 each|
|Main Missile Clusters (18):|
|Cruise Missile Batteries (4 each cluster, 72 total):||1,200 each|
|Long Range Missile Batteries (8 each cluster, 144 total):||750 each|
|Point Defense Rail Gun Turrets (360 total, 6 each cluster or bay):||200 each|
|Triple Barrel Defense Laser Turrets (360 total, 6 each cluster/bay):||200 each|
|Mini-Missile Launchers (240, 4 each cluster or vehicle bay):||150 each|
| Protective Forcefields (6, One for each side. ):||400,000 each|
| Protective Forcefields (60, One each cluster or vehicle bay):||5,000 each|
|Small Craft Hanger Bays (12):||55,000 each|
| Control Center:||12 Million|
| Main Body:||40 Million|
| Main Drives(6):||1 Million each|
 Instead of having variable shields, the Berserker has six shields, one for each side. Each shield regenerates at the rate of 5% (20,000 M.D.C.) per melee. Depleting the shield in that sector means that further strikes can hit the sector underneath. Gravity based weapons do only half damage to these shields. Each missile/energy cluster and bay also has a separate smaller forcefield protecting it. These fiels switch on when the main field is destroyed. They do NOT regenerate, but must be completely depleted, upon which it takes 2D6 rounds to fully restore it.
 In reality this is how much damage needs to be done to hit the AI at the center of the berserker. If the AI is destroyed, the Berserker is no longer capable of spaceflight, and all weapons are at their local AI control (-2 to strike), and there is no sensor data flow and coordination any more (-20% to detect), and all weapons only have half attacks.
Damage repair is no longer carried out. If an attack is attempting to penetrate directly to the central AI, the damage is also applied on the main body of the Berserker.(The central AI is the thinking part of the Berserker, without it it becomes a mass of automated reflexes.)
 Depleting the M.D.C. of the main body will completely destroy the Berserker.
 This is the damage needed to be done to actually hit one of the gravity drive generators throught he hull. There is one under each screen section of the Berserker. Destroying a drive means that sublight acceleration is reduced by 0.1 percent of light. The Gravitonic Drive system for FTL flight is dispersed through the entire Berserker, and for each 3 Million M.D.C. done to the main body, treat as losing 1 lightyear per hour in speed.
Driving on the ground: Not Possible
Sublight: Has a special sublight engine that allows the ship to travel up to 60 percent of the speed of light. Star Ship can accelerate/decelerate at the rate of 0.6 percent of light per melee.
Atmospheric Propulsion:Not possible, if it enters a atmosphere it will crash.
Star Drive: Gravitonic drive; maximum speed: 9 light years per hour.
Maximum Effective Range: Unlimited.
Length: Approximately 30 miles (48.2 km)
Height: Approximately 30 miles (48.2 km)
Width: Approximately 30 miles (48.2 km)
Mass/Weight: Approximately 8.3 trillion tons (7.5 trillion Metric tons)
Power System: 12 large Anti matter reactors. nominal life span is 100 years, but can manufacture own fuel. (effectively unlimited therefore)
Cargo: Cargo holds are scattered about the Berserker that allow for the storage of up to 28 billion tons of cargo in addition to standard compliment of supplies and ammunition.
Market Cost: Not for sale, never has been, never will be.
- Antimatter cannons (3): Mounted on in the skinsurface of
the berserker are thirty weapons clusters. In three of these clusters are
huge Antimatter cannons. Each of these weapons works by accelerating a
dense stream of frozen Antihydrogen to near light speed. These weapons
are very cumbersome, and can only be used against targets that are cruiser
sized or larger. They are relatively slow firing, but they do enormous
damage to planetary targets due to the immense amount of radiation and
the huge shockwaves that are created when the antimatter is converted into
energy upon contact with the planet.
All of these weapons are located in the same hmisphere of the Berserker, so they can be targeted against one target. Each weapon has a arc of fire of 60 degrees.
Maximum Effective Range: 50,000 miles (80,450 km)in space and 50 miles (80.5 km) in an atmosphere
Mega Damage: 3D6x100,000 to starships and stations. Planetary targets: 1D4x1,000,000 M.D.C. at ground zero (1 mile, 1.6 km radius), 2D4x100.000 in a 9.3 mile (15 km) radius, 1D6x10,000 in a 18.6 mile (30 km) radius, 2D4x1,000 in a 37.3 mile (60km)radius, and 1D4x100 in a 55.9 mile (90 km) radius.
Rate of Fire: Once per every three rounds.
Payload: Effectively Unlimited.
- Heavy Grazer mounts (180): six 120 cm grazer cannons are
in each battery (180 guns total). Each battery can fire at six different
targets or combine all attacks in a devastating blast that will take out
most ships. By firing combined blasts, they can core a planetoid with a
few shots. The weapon mounts have about a 25% increase in both range and
damage over standard laser cannons of the same size. Each graser sits in
a turret that can rotate 360 and has a 180 arc of fire. They cannot be
used faster than the speed of light. Weapon has standard penalties to hit
fighters and small targets for a large gun.
Mega-Damage: 4D6x1,000 for a single blast, or 6D6x4,000 for a combined blast (all guns in the battery engaging the same target).
Maximum Effective Range: 160,000 miles (254,700 km) in space and 160 miles (255 km) in an atmosphere.
Rate of Fire: Each cannon can fire up to two times per melee round (Berserker has 180 cannons so ship can fire a total of 360 single shots or 60 combined blasts from the main Grasers)
Payload: Effectively unlimited.
- 30 cm Heavy Grazer Cannons (180): Grazer cannons use focused
gamma radiation and are very powerful. The weapon mounts have about a 25%
increase in both range and damage over standard laser cannons of the same
size. These mounts are slightly less powerful than the main battery but
are quite powerful and any ship caught in the cannons fire will regret
the situation very quickly. Like the main battery, these cannons are capable
of destroying frigates in one hit or quickly crippling heavier vessels.
The Weapons can rotate 360 dgrees and has a arc of 180 degrees. Weapon
has standard penalties to hit fighters and small targets for a large starship
Maximum Effective Range: 125,000 miles (201,000 km) in space and 125 miles (201 km) in an atmosphere.
Mega Damage: 2D4x1000 M.D.C. each and both can be combined for a total of 4D4x1000.
Rate of Fire: Maximum of Two (2) times per melee per cannon.
Payload: Effectively Unlimited.
- 20 cm Heavy Mass Drivers(120): The cannons fire a single
large bolt on high tensile strength M.D.C. material at the target. The projectile
is not explosive but has several tons of mass. Each mass driver is mounted
in a special turrets that are partially recessed into the ships hull. The
turrets have a limited firing. Each has a 120 degree arc of fire. The weapon
has standard penalties to hit small targets like missiles and starfighters.
These projectiles can be used against unmoving targets beyond the weapons
normal range when used in space but suffers the same penalties that normal
Maximum Effective Range: 10,000 miles (16,100 km), range is 10 miles (16.1 km) in an atmosphere
Mega Damage: 2D6x100+200 M.D.C. each (optional rule is that cannon gets a critical on a natural 18, 19, or 20 due to its high penetration).
Rate of Fire: Maximum of four per melee.
Payload: 200 projectiles for each mass driver (24,000 total).
- Point Defense Rail Guns (360): The Berserker has six point
defense rail guns mounted in each weapon cluster and around each hanger
bay. They are directed for defense of the whole Berserker, not just the
cluster they are mounted in. Unlike most of the rail guns used on Phase
World / Three Galaxies starships, these are standard electromagnetic rail guns. They are
used as an anti-starfighter and missile weapon and against targets that
are impervious to energy. Each rail gun is in a turret that can rotate
360 and has a 180 arc of fire. When used in space, projectiles are fired from rail guns at close
to the speed of light. Cannon uses a 18 mm density enhanced Nickel/Iron
Maximum Effective Range: 16 miles (26 km) through atmosphere and 800 miles (1,290 km) in space.
Mega-Damage: 80 round burst does 2D6x10 M.D.
Rate of Fire: Automated, 4 bursts per round.
Payload: 16,000 Rounds (200 Bursts) each cannon.
- Point Defense Lasers in Double Mounts (360): The Berserker
has six point defense laser cannons mounted in each weapon cluster and
around each hanger bay. They are directed for defense of the whole Berserker,
not just the cluster they are mounted in. Used as an anti-starfighter and
missile weapon. Each laser turret can rotate 360 and has a 180 arc of fire.
Maximum Effective Range: 2.5 miles (4 km) miles through atmosphere and 250 miles (40.2 km) in space.
Mega-Damage: 2D6x10 M.D.
Rate of Fire: Automated, 4 shots per round.
Payload: Effectively Unlimited
- Cruise Missile Batteries (72): The Fortress has four cruise
missile batteries in each missile battery cluster. Missile has a top speed
of Mach 25 in an atmosphere and in space has an acceleration of 10% of
light per turn (far faster than any starship). Since star ships will no
longer engage at rock throwing distances, whether weapons can be shot down
is calculated from the speed of target, launching starship, and missile.
When drive goes dead, missile will continue to travel in a straight line unless preset to self destruct
or receives a destruct code but has very low odds of hitting star ships
(Great for hitting bases and planets because target does not move and missile
when dead is at -25% to be detected.) See modified starship rules for more details -
Cruise missiles have penalties to hit small targets but are all considered
smart missiles. Batteries can launch on multiple targets each. Batteries
have a lower number of actual launchers than the standard phase world cruise
missile batteries and each launcher is slightly larger in size.
Maximum Effective Range: Missile range is 8000 miles (12,875 km) in an atmosphere and 4,000,000 miles (6,437,376 km/ 21.5 light seconds) in space.
Mega-Damage & Properties: See Phase World Missiles (See Phase World Missiles - Anti-Matter does 4D6x100 M.D.C.).
Rate of Fire: One at a time or in volleys of 2, 8, 16, or 24 per launcher, per melee round, for a maximum of 1728 missiles per melee. Launchers are reloaded on the same melee and can be fired again on the next
Payload: 1728 total, 24 cruise missiles per battery. Berserker has 20 reload of missiles (36,288 cruise missiles total) for each launcher.
- Long Range Missile Batteries (144): The Fortress has eight
long range missile launchers in each missile battery cluster. Missile has
a top speed of Mach 20 in an atmosphere and in space has an acceleration
of 8% of light per turn (faster than any starship). Since star ships will
no longer engage at rock throwing distances, whether weapons can be shot
down is calculated from the speed of target, launcher, and missile. When
drive goes dead, missile will continue to travel in a straight line unless set to self destruct
but has very low odds of hitting star ships (Great for hitting bases and
planets because target does not move and missile, when unpowered, is at -25% to be detected.)
Long range missiles do not have penalties to hit small targets unlike cruise
missiles and are all considered smart missiles. Batteries can launch on
multiple targets each. Batteries have a lower number of actual launchers
than the modern CAF long range missile batteries and each launcher is slightly
larger in size.
Maximum Effective Range: Missile range is 3400 miles (5470 km) in an atmosphere and 1,800,000 miles (2,897,000 km/9.7 light seconds) in space.
Mega-Damage & Properties: See Phase World Missiles (See Phase World Missiles - Fusion does 2D4x100 M.D.C.).
Rate of Fire: One at a time or in volleys of 2, 8, 16, or 24 per launcher, per melee attack.
Payload: 230,400 total, 1200 long range missiles per battery.
- Mini-Missile launchers (264): The Asteroid fortress has four
point defense mini missile launchers mounted in each weapon cluster and
around each hanger bay. They are directed for defense of the whole fortress
not just the cluster they are mounted in. These are missile turrets used
for point defense against enemy fighters and missiles. Missile has a top
speed of Mach 10 in an atmosphere and in space has an acceleration of 2%
of light per turn (slightly faster than any starship except if it is exceeding
it maximum safe acceleration).
Mega-Damage: varies with mini-missile type (See Phase World Missiles).
Maximum Effective Range: Missile range is 2 miles (3.2 km) in an atmosphere and 100 miles (161 km) in space.
Rate of Fire: Can fire missiles one at a time or in volleys of 4 or 8 missiles
Payload: 128 per launcher for a total of 33,792 mini-missiles. Cargo hold has an additional 640 mini-missile for each launcher (168,960). Reloading launchers from cargo hold takes 1D6 minutes.
The Berserker has, in order to be a fully self sufficient warmachine, some special equipment onboard:
- Munitions and arms Factory: Using raw material and material
scavenged from destroyed enemies, the Berserker can fabricate new munitions
for its weapons. Treat as fabricating 720 cruise missiles per day, 1440
LRM`s per day, and 2560 minimissiles per day. It can also manufacture 1000
massdriver projectiles, and 80,000 railgun projectiles per day. Also it
can repair or build anew, up to 200 fighters or warmachines of various
sizes per day.
This is only possible when the berserker is not engaged in battle, and can scour a starsystem unhindered for supplies and raw materials.
- Self repair System: The Berserker has tens of thousands of small repair drones, which will repair any damage done to the berserker, first by using raw material available on the berserker, and secondly by scavenging material from around the system. Treat as capable of repairing 30,000 M.D.C. per hour when using available raw material, and repairing 6,000 M.D.C. per hour when scavenging. When repairing complicated systems such as weapons or drives, there is a 1 % probability that the drones cannot repair the system. It is so far damaged that it is basically scrapped, and is lost forever.
- Mining gear: The berserker has a large amount of mining gear
available for replenishing it stocks of raw material. The berserker usually
carries at least 500,000 M.D.C. worth of raw armor plating with it. replenishment
of stocks should be up to the GM. Remember, mining operations and self
repair can cost a lot of time, time which the Berserker often does not have!
Laboratoria Each berserker has several laboratoria aboard itself, where it is capable of analyzing pieces of captured equipment a enemy has used against it. In time, these technologies may become a part of the Berserker!
- Sensors: The Berserker has all the normal sensors that Phase World battleships have, but it is +20 to detect any life in a system, and receives no penalties to detect it.
- Antimatter plant: The Berserker can actually manufacture its own Antimatter for its drive system and weapons! In order to do so, it has to get close a star (1 light minute or less!) and then drains off part of the photosphere of the star directly. Most of this power is used to convert a small amount of the matter in the photosphere into antimatter, wich the Berserker then stores. The Berserker can replenish its ENTIRE supply of antimatter in 6 months in this way, but it does nothing else while it is doing so, and is very vulnerable to attack!
- Sentient Computer: The Berserker should be considered a powerful artificial intelligence in terms of Rifts. It can pilot itself at 98%, has full attacks for all weapons, and has +5 to strike, and +3 to initiative. It can be considered to have a IQ of 30, and can learn any skill it needs at up to 95 % ability if it has to do with warfare, and any other.
[ Brodkil TM, Bushido Industries TM, CAF TM, Catyr TM, CCW TM, Consortium of Civilized Worlds TM, Free Worlds Council TM, Gene Splicers TM, K-Hex TM, Kittani TM, Kreeghor TM, Machine People TM, M.D.C. TM, Mega-Damage TM, Metzla TM, M’Kri Hardware TM, Monro TM, Mutants in Orbit TM, Naruni Enterprises TM, Noro TM, Paradise Federation TM, Phase World TM, Psylite TM, Rifter TM, SAMAS TM, S.D.C. TM, Seljuks TM, Splugorth TM, Sunaj TM, Trans-Galactic Empire TM, Tri-Galactic Military Service TM, United Worlds Warlock TM, U.W.W. TM, Wolfen TM, and Zembahk TM are trademarks owned by Kevin Siembieda and Palladium Books Inc. ]
[ Beyond the Supernatural®, Heroes Unlimited®, Nightbane®, Ninjas & Superspies®, Palladium Fantasy®, and Rifts® are registered trademarks owned by Kevin Siembieda and Palladium Books Inc. ]
[ Berserker is Copyrighted by Fred Saberhagen, 1967. ]
Writeup by Mischa (E-Mail Mischa).
Formatting and Minor Revisions by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).
Rifts Conversion Copyright © 1998, Mischa. All rights reserved.