Techno-Wizard M18T Hellcat Tank Destroyer:

Lieutenant Bobby Sterling watched carefully out of the commander cupola of her tank destroyer, soft brown eyes alert for danger. She mopped to the side some stray brown hairs which had escaped the confines of her helmet. It had been a long war against the Coalition forces and her unit was now on the offense. If all went as hoped, they could finally drive them from the lands around the city. These territories had been captured early in the war and the city's forces had been unable to retake it.

Unfortunately, the offense had been far most costly than the defense had been. The Coalition forces were extremely well dug in. She had started out as a sergeant but was now promoted to Lieutenant due to the high casualties. Several of the officers above her, she had considered friends. Still, what choice did they have unless they were willing to allow the Coalition to keep it.

Her Hellcat tank destroyer had recently been upgraded with a more powerful main gun. A ninety millimeter electro-thermal cannon had replaced the one hundred and twenty millimeter conventional weapon. The weapon was far more capable of taking out another enemy vehicle. As well, with each round quite a bit smaller and not requiring a large propellant casing, she now had almost fifty rounds.

The tactic was relatively simple. The plan was to have a group of tanks, mostly conventional models but a handful of techno-wizard tanks as well, strike like a sledgehammer against the front lines of the Coalition forces. It was unlikely to penetrate but hopefully would cause the Coalition units to redeploy in defend against the attack. This should create some weak spots in other areas. Her unit of a dozen tank destroyers could punch through one of these holes and then attack the rear of the Coalition armor.

There was an explosion in the distance and her radio crackled. Through the distortion, she could hear the colonel tell her that the main attack was under way. She would have to wait for some time to allow the enemy forces to maneuver to deal with the main tank force. More explosions could be heard and periodically she would get a new sit-rep. Casualties were far heavier than planned and she wondered if the whole attack would have to be called off. Her own tank destroyers were concealed by a chameleon enchantment.

Finally, she got the command to move out. She jammed the throttle to full power and brought up the techno-wizard enchantment of super speed. Their path had been planned with extreme care and was along a ley line. Even off road, the tank could reach one hundred and twenty miles per hour when on a ley line. Duration was limited to twenty minutes though. The tank destroyers crashed through thick brush and saplings like they were not even there. Moving as they were, the chameleon enchantment did little to hide her Hellcats.

The only support they had were a pair of techno-wizard converted P-47 Thunderbolt fighters. These scouted out the path and were suppose to protect the tank destroyers racing down the road. Of course if the Coalition sent jet fighters to intercept the force, the techno-wizard aircraft could find themselves at a severe disadvantage. No propellor aircraft wanted to find itself the target of fighters. Both were concealed by the enchantment of invisibility but if they opened fire, they would become visible immediately. As such, the tank destroyers were suppose to deal with any opponents if they possibly could.

Suddenly, her radio crackled once again. Listening intently, she heard a report from one of the Thunderbolts fighters. There were a cluster of old Pre-Rifts industrial building. She already known about them from her mission brief but they were coming up fast. With how intact they were after how long they had been derelict, they were made from Cerama-Crete and would take far too much of her ammunition to destroy for it to be worth it. The pilot reported seeing nothing hidden in there but who really knew. She had heard that before the coming of the Coalition, there had been squatters living in some of them. If any place along her route would the perfect place for an ambush, this would be it.

Breaking through some slightly older growth, she came upon the buildings. One tank was beside her, she raced between two large structures. Suddenly, a volley of missiles came from one side. Apparently, someone had thought set up an ambush because moments later a massive volley of missiles were fired. Coming from four different points, sixteen mini missiles were targeted at the tank destroyer beside hers. Even though extremely hast, the Hellcat was only lightly armored. The tank destroyer was able to slide to avoid four of the missiles but the other twelve hit. The launchers were too close for chaff and flare to be effective and they were of limited use against mini-missiles anyway.

There was a massive explosion as the missiles hit. The tank destroyer disappeared in smoke and flame. Her computer suddenly lost combat link with the other tank destroyer. Through the smoke, she could see the shell of the tank destroyer but suddenly it had stopped. Even as she felt guilty about it, she breathed a sign of relief that it had been one of the others. It was just luck that they had targeted the Hellcat beside her instead of her own tank destroyer. Perhaps some the crew had survived with their body armors protecting them.

Breaking from her stun, she finally could tell what they were. They were some kind of scorpion like walker type vehicle. It took her a moment or two but realized what they were. They were Scorpion Skull Walkers. She had never encountered them but had read up on them. It was her understanding that they were only in limited numbers. Still, they were suppose to carry a surprising number of mini-missiles. If she had be able to engage them at range, they would have been toast though.

Automatically, she pulled back slightly on the speed so another tank destroyer, which was now madly weaving around the destroyed Hellcat, could pull up beside hers. Getting a visual lock, she ordered, "Gunner, target left side. Kill it."

"Roger," came his response. Her helmet dampened the sound of the tank moving so that they could hear each other. Still, it did not do much to dampen the sound of the main gun firing. He much have gotten extremely lucky because one round holed the vehicle.

One remained on her left side with the tank destroyer now beside her engaging the two on the right hand side. The remaining Scorpion Skull Walker fired another volley of mini-missiles at her Hellcat. The driver slewed the tank destroyer admirably because all four missiles missed her vehicle.

She shouted again, "Gunner, target and fire." Adrenalin pumped into her as the battle raged. The gunner fired at a second scorpion walker and hit. This time though the round did not manage to penetrate the things armor. It fired a second volley of mini-missiles back at her tank. This time, her driver had been unable to dodge in time and the missiles stuck. Luckily, the force field had been active. The force field was able to absorb the missiles with little damage to the hellcat but the protective barrier was knocked flat. Her gunner fired once again. This time, the scorpion walker was destroyed.

In the meantime, the other tank destroyer had dispatched the other two Scorpion Skull Walkers. One had been damaged by a volley of mini-missiles but had survived although with quite a bit more damage than her own vehicle. She received a short range radio transmission. The driver and gunner of the destroyed Hellcat had survived but the commander had been killed.


The Techno-Wizard Hellcat Tank Destroyer is considered an extremely effective design in many respects. While not as fast as most hover tanks even with its magical propulsion, it is still quite fast. It can reach up to eighty miles per hour without the magical propulsion and up to one hundred and forty miles per hour using ley lines to boost the vehicle. Still, the design does receive some criticisms. Chief among these are the comparatively light armor and the main gun.

The armor of the tank destroyer can withstand less damage than the Iron Fist tank for example although the force field does help to even this up. As well, the magical defenses do help to keep the tank destroyer from being damaged in the first place. There is little which can be done to improve the armor without completely rebuilding the design and that would likely result in the lowering of the top speed. This of course would defeat the basic purpose behind the design.

The standard weapon is a pre-rifts 120 mm cannon which was carried on several tank designs of the late Twentieth and early Twenty-First Century. At that time, the weapon was considered extremely powerful but later became fairly marginal. Later tanks mounted 140 mm cannons or larger conventional cannons or replaced them with electro-thermal cannons or rail guns. For the Hellcat, payload is also limited with only twenty-eight rounds able to be carried. This means that any long term engagement might create a situation where the main guns runs out of ammunition.

While armor could not be solved as a problem, the main gun could be solved. The perfect choice might have been to replace it with the Glitter Boy Boom Gun but no one seems to have though of this idea. Perhaps one day somebody will. Instead, the same solution as was done with the “Thunder” Super Sherman. The 120 mm conventional cannon was replaced by a 90 mm electro-thermal cannon. The weapon was designed for the Lightning Fist, a modified version of the Iron Fist, by Northern Gun. This was later also fitted to the Techno-Wizard M48 and M60 Patton tanks.

The projectile is loaded into the barrel, behind which there is a “propellant,” which is a dot of light metal. A powerful electromagnetic force is applied to the metal, which causes its atoms to “switch” directions. This happens so violently that the metal turns to plasma, and this expanding gas then drives the projectile forward. In many ways, the cannon is as powerful as a heavy rail gun. On the Thunder Hellcat, the weapon has several advantages over the M48 and M60 techno-wizard conversions. The Tank is powered by a fusion reactor and the power system can handle the power needed to fire the main gun. No magically powered battery is required. As well, the auto-loader makes for a more rapid firing of the main gun than would be otherwise possible. Due to the smaller projectiles, the tank destroyer can carry forty-eight rounds instead of the original payload.

In all other ways, the design is as per the standard model with the same optics and secondary weapons. Many crews have opted to upgrade their tanks. Some have gotten it done by engineers while other crews have done this themselves. Several techno-wizard mercenary companies have also began opting to purchase already upgraded models.

Model Type: T.W. M18T “Thunder” Hellcat Tank Destroyer
Vehicle Type: Tank Destroyer / Armored Scout Vehicle.
Crew: Three (Driver, Gunner, and Commander).

M.D.C. by Location:

[1] Tractor Treads (2):80 each
Weapons Turret:150
90 mm Electro Thermal Cannon:120
[2] Coaxial Heavy Flame Cannon:40
[2] Commander Modular Weapon Mount (Top of Turret):60
[3] Ejectable SRM Box Launchers (4, Sides of Turret):30 each
[2] “Fireworks” Magic Chaff and Flare Dispensers (2):20 each
Magical “Armor of Ithan” Force Field (3 times per day):100
[4] Main Body:350

[1] Depleting the M.D.C. of a tread will immobilize the tank until it is replaced. Replacing a tread will take 1D6x10 minutes by a trained crew (2 replacements are carried on board) or three times as long by the inexperienced. Changing the tread is only advisable when the vehicle is not under attack.
[2] These are small and difficult targets to strike, requiring the attacker to make a “called shot,” but even then the attacker is -4 to strike.
[3] Once the missiles have been expended, or in an emergency, before they have been fully expended, the launcher can be ejected from the tank. Though disposable, they do not have to be disposed, and can be re-used indefinitely.
[4] If all the M.D.C. of the main body is depleted, the vehicle is completely shut down and unsalvageable, but crew may survive in their reinforced compartments.

Ground: Cruising speed on land is 80 mph (128.7 kph) on roads and 60 mph (96.6 kph) off road maximum under conventional propulsion. Magical propulsion increases top speed to 110 mph (177.0 kph) on roads and 90 mph (144.8 kph) off road with a duration of 10 minutes. When on a ley line or nexus, top speed is increased to 140 mph (225.3 kph) on roads and 120 mph (193.1 kph) off roads and has a duration of 20 minutes. Super Speed can be activated up to three times per day.
The vehicle is designed to traverse virtually all terrain and can climb at up to a 60% grade although at a much slower speed (About 10% of maximum road speed). It can also climb barriers and ford trenches. The vehicle can also handle side slopes of up to 30%.
Water Capabilities: Uses tracks to propel tank destroyer over the surface of the water. Using the tracks, the T.W. Hellcat can travel on the surface of water at 10 mph (16.1 kph/8.7 knots).
Range: Effectively unlimited (Nuclear Fusion power supply with 5 year duration) Armored Vehicle carries about two weeks worth of emergency supplies onboard.

Statistical Data:
Height: 9.3 feet (2.82 meters)
Width: 10.7 feet (3.27 meters)
Length: Main Body: 19.1 feet (5.81 meters) and With Gun Forward: 27.1 feet (8.27 meters).
Weight: 25.6 tons (23.2 metric tons)
Power Source: Nuclear fusion reactor; Must be refueled every five years, otherwise effectively unlimited.
Cargo Capacity: Minimal storage space in pilot’s compartment; about three feet (0.9 m) in side dimensions for extra clothing, weapons, and personal items. Three carbines and two hand-held missile launcher with four loads each.
Black Market Cost: 32 Million Credits. (8 million to upgrade from standard "Hellcat" version)

Weapon Systems

  1. 90 mm Electro Thermal Cannon (1): Mounted in the tanks main turret in place of the 120 mm cannon on the standard Techno-Wizard Hellcat and is quite a bit more powerful. Have an auto-loader unlike the Techno-Wizard M48 and M60. As well, power is pulled from the tank’s fusion reactor. The projectile is loaded into the barrel, behind which there is a “propellant,” which is a dot of light metal. A powerful electromagnetic force is applied to the metal, which causes its atoms to “switch” directions. This happens so violently that the metal turns to plasma, and this expanding gas then drives the projectile forward. Since the cannon is built into a turret, it can rotate 360-degrees and can aim upwards 55 degrees - allowing it to engage low-flying aircraft and creatures. The cannon is controlled by a gunner inside the turret compartment.
    Maximum Effective Range: 3.5 miles (5.6 km) for direct fire and 8 miles (12.9 km) for indirect fire.
    Mega Damage: A single round 3D6x10 (optional rule is that cannon gets a critical on a natural 18, 19, or 20 due to its high penetration). Can use High Explosive rounds that does 2D4x10 M.D. with a blast radius of 20 ft (6.1 m). High Explosive Anti Tank does 2D6x10 M.D. with a blast radius of 10 ft (3.0 m).
    Rate of Fire:Maximum of four per melee.
    Payload: 48 rounds (smaller and require less propellent). Normally 40 rounds are of standard anti-tank slugs.
    Bonuses: Has a special fire control computer that helps to aim the cannon. Gives +2 to strike with the cannon and vehicle does not have minuses to fire when tank is moving.
  2. Co-Axial Heavy Flame Cannon: Mounted in the turret beside the main cannon is a heavy flame cannon and is designed to be used against targets which do no warrant the use of the main cannon. The weapon is a converted heavy plasma weapon. The flame cannon has a slightly better range and have an unlimited payload compared to hand held flame cannons. The weapon must be recharged once a month using the spells "Fire Bolt", "Energy Bolt", and 100 P.P.E.
    Maximum Effective Range: 3,000 feet (914 meters).
    Mega Damage: 1D6x10 per flame cannon blast.
    Rate of Fire: Equal to the combined hand to hand attacks of the gunner (usually 4 or 5).
    Payload: Unlimited, although the spells must be renewed every month whether the cannon have been used or not.
  3. Commander Modular Weapon Mount (Top of Turret): Above the turret in an open mount is a position for the tank destroyer's commander and a weapon. The commander is not fully protected by armor but is protected by the tank destroyer's magical force field when active. A variety of different weapons can be carried including a second flame cannon, a telekinetic machine-gun, or a conventional automatic grenade launcher. Even though the grenade launcher has a limited payload, it is popular with crews due to its incredible firepower.
    1. Automatic Grenade Launcher: Weapon is WI-GL21 Automatic Grenade Launcher mounted on a spindle mount.
      Maximum Effective Range: 3,000 ft (914 m)
      Mega-Damage: 4D6 for single shot of Fragmentation with a blast area of 12 ft, 1D4x10 for a single shot of Armor Piercing with a blast area of 3 ft, 2D6x10 for a burst of ten rounds of Fragmentation with a blast area of 40 ft, and 3D6x10 for a burst of ten rounds of Armor Piercing with a blast area of 8 ft.
      Rate of Fire: Equal to combined hand to hand attacks of gunner / commander.
      Payload: 400 Rounds.
    2. Heavy Flame Cannon: The weapon is a converted heavy plasma weapon. The flame cannon has a slightly better range and have an unlimited payload compared to hand held flame cannons. The weapon must be recharged once a month using the spells "Fire Bolt", "Energy Bolt", and 100 P.P.E.
      Maximum Effective Range: 3,000 feet (914 meters).
      Mega Damage: 1D6x10 per flame cannon blast.
      Rate of Fire: Equal to the combined hand to hand attacks of the pilot (usually 4 or 5).
      Payload: Unlimited, although the spells must be renewed every month whether the cannon have been used or not.
    3. T.K. Machine-Gun (1): It is enchanted by a series of spells so the cannon acts as a more powerful version of the T.K. Machine-gun. This increases the weapon's damage and instead of being reloaded, the cannon must be recharged by the spell Telekinesis and 50 P.P.E. each once per month. The cannon does full damage to targets that are impervious to energy.
      Maximum Effective Range: 4,000 feet (1,220 meters).
      Mega Damage: 6D6 per shot
      Rate of Fire: Equal to the combined hand to hand attacks of the observer / gunner (usually 4 or 5).
      Payload: Unlimited, although the spells must be renewed every month whether the cannon have been used or not.
  4. Disposable Short Range Missile Launchers (4): Mounted on sides of the turret and almost appear to be gas cans, these launchers give the tank destroyer a reasonable missile payload while keeping the external appearance mostly unchanged. The launchers can be ejected when no longer needed or if they are in danger of exploding. When empty they act as additional armor but may still be ejected so that they can be reloaded.
    Maximum Effective Range: Varies with short range missile type; Usually High Explosive or Armor Piercing are carried (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
    Mega Damage: Varies with short range missile type; Usually High Explosive or Armor Piercing are carried (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
    Rate of Fire: Can fire missiles one at a time, or in volleys of two (2), four (4), or eight (8) missiles.
    Payload: Four (4) short range missiles per launcher for sixteen (16) total.
  5. “Fireworks” Anti-Missile Chaff/Flare Dispensers (2): The system is mounted on either side of the tank behind the main cannon. In many ways this system is similar to technological versions of the Chaff/Flare system. When the system fires, it looks like fireworks firing. The anti-missile system works by combining three spells. The three spells are Fire Bolt, Apparition, and Telekinesis. The physical effects of the system are similar to the Triax Anti-Missile chaff but instead of being reloaded, it is recharged by spells.
      01-35 - Enemy missile or missile volley detonates in chaff cloud - Missiles are all destroyed.
      36-60 - Enemy missile or missile volley loses track of real target and veers away in wrong direction (May lock onto another target.)
      61-00 - No effect, enemy missile or missile volley is still on target.
    Also note that the chaff cloud will also blind flying monsters that fly through cloud. They will suffer the following penalties: reduce melee attacks/actions, combat bonuses, and speed by half.
    Duration: 1D4 melee rounds.
    Payload: 10 Uses before being recharged. Each launcher is recharged by the spells Apparition (20 P.P.E.), Fire Bolt (7 P.P.E.), and Telekinesis (8 P.P.E.).
  6. Techno-Wizard Modifications: The Hellcat has the following Techno-Wizard Modifications built into the tank. These require P.P.E. or I.S.P. from the pilot or crew
    Special Features:
      Chameleon (10th Level) - 6 P.P.E. or 12 I.S.P.
      Impervious to Energy (10th Level) - 20 P.P.E. or 40 I.S.P.
      Invisibility-Superior (10th Level) - 20 P.P.E. or 40 I.S.P.

Sensory Equipment:
The tank carries all standard equipment of a robot vehicle plus this special equipment:

Combat Bonuses:

[ Altarain TM, Bandito Arms TM, Brodkil TM, Chipwell Armaments TM, Coalition States TM, Cyber-Knight TM, Federation of Magic TM, Free Quebec TM, Golden Age Weaponsmiths TM, Horune TM, Iron Heart Armaments TM, Kankoran TM, Kittani TM, Kydian TM, Larsen’s Brigade TM, M.D.C. TM, Mechanoids TM, Mega-Damage TM, Megaversal Legion TM, Millennium Tree TM, Mutants in Orbit TM, Naruni Enterprises TM, Naut’Yll, New Navy TM, New Sovietskiy TM, NGR TM, Nog Heng TM, Northern Gun TM, Phase World TM, Psyscape TM, Rifter TM, SAMAS TM, S.D.C. TM, Shemarrian TM, Splugorth TM, Stormspire TM, Sunaj TM, Tolkeen TM, Triax TM, Wellington Industries TM, Wilk’s Laser Technologies TM, Xiticix TM, and Zaayr TM are trademarks owned by Kevin Siembieda and Palladium Books Inc. ]

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Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

Copyright © 2009, Kitsune. All rights reserved.