Techno-Wizard Converted Submarine “USS Needlefish” (SS-379):

The Needlefish was one of hundreds of submarines built by the United States during World War Two. Of the Balao class, it was completed quite late in the war and only completed a single patrol. Still, it sunk one of the last Japanese vessels during the war, one of the few surviving Japanese destroyers. It was decommissioned soon after the war ended. Unlike many of her sisters, the Needlefish was never updates. It was planned that she would be scrapped or sunk as a target but she was rescued for a museum ship. A special building was built to preserve the boat from the elements and it remained in excellent condition.

The building protecting the submarine allowed the submarine to survive the coming of the Rifts in surprisingly good shape. A group of techno-wizards found the preserved submarine and decided to make the submarine operation again. Several other old warships have been restored by techno-wizards. By this time, the submarine had not been operational for hundreds of years and it took a huge amount of labor to restore. The spell of “Mend the Broken” was used to restore the submarine to operational condition. Many later techno-wizard innovations for submarines were first tried on the Needlefish.

The original steel hull was not replaced but instead enchanted so that it can withstand modern weapon. These enchantments make it close to as strong as it might be if made from high strength composites and alloys although much hard to maintain than modern materials. It does make the boat almost immune to corrosion however and allows it to dive much deeper than originally capable of. After being rebuilt, it has dived over six hundred feet on several occasions.

The entire propulsion system was replaced by a pair of powerful electric motors. Powered by magical energy, they are charged by the spell of “Call Lightning.” Each charge gives a range of around one thousand nautical miles between needing to be recharged. Speed, especially underwater, is greatly improved. Top speed on the surface was improved to 22.5 knots and underwater speeds increased to 14.5 knots.

The Balao class mounts six torpedo tubes forward and four torpedo tubes aft with twenty-four torpedoes total. The Needlefish was modified when rebuilt to increase the number of torpedoes to twenty-eight. Twenty one inch torpedo tubes, advanced modern torpedoes replace the old torpedoes. These are multi-purpose torpedoes which are able to be targeted against both surface targets and against submarines. Still, the tubes need to be manually reloaded. Because these boats have no missile batteries, eight anti-ship cruise missiles in encapsulated containers are usually carried with two ready to fire. The rest of the tubes and torpedo racks are usually filled with torpedoes, mostly conventional although a number of enchanted torpedoes.

Originally the Needlefish was to mount a single four inch gun however when building, this was altered to a pair of five inch gun mount. Two hundred rounds per gun were carried. These guns were retained when the vessel was converted to techno-wizardry. Mainly aimed and relatively short barreled, the guns are short ranged but are still quite effective against other vessels. Using just the guns, the Needlefish has managed to sink several patrol boats. Better fire control system were added so that they can be used against low flying aircraft. Above each mount are paired WI-50S Fire & Forget Anti Aircraft Missile Launchers. These are stowed aboard when the submarine dives. A total of sixteen short range missiles are usually carried although missile launchers needs to be manually reloaded.

Two twin techno-wizard telekinetic machine guns are mounted on the superstructure, one mount forward and one aft. Unlike many submarines, these are not retractable but are modified so that they can be controlled remotely when the submarine is underwater. In this role, they give some measure of defense against divers and incoming torpedoes. They also have advanced fire control systems to enable them to engage fast moving aircraft and missiles. These weapons much be recharged with magical energy each month even if they are not used. Otherwise they have unlimited payload.

Compared to modern boats, the Balao class submarine is relatively noisy. Not much could be done to improve the Needlefish when rebuilt. An innovated solution was developed however which was later copied in several newer designs. This was the enchantment of “Globe of Silence” When activated, the globe completely conceals the submarine. While it lasts for only ten minutes when activated, the submarine is almost impossible to detect. Active sonar will just disappear into the sphere and the submarine noise, including firing torpedoes, cannot penetrate the globe either. The only way that the submarine might be detected is finding an area of water which is too quiet.

The hull sonar is both small and primitive. As a result, it is of limited utility even though electronics are improved. In addition, when the “Globe of Silence” enchantment is active, the sonar is completely useless. More useful is a towed array sonar mounted in a housing added above the fantail. It deploys off the stern between the twin screws. Being of a much more modern design although still an older design, the towed array has far better range than the hull sonar and is able to be used when the “Globe of Silence” enchantment is active because it deploys outside of the area effected. In addition to the original periscopes, an ECM antenna and an improved radar system is added. “See the Invisible”optics are added to the submarine including the periscopes. Otherwise the periscopes are conventional.

Unlike most submarine classes but like most techno-wizard surface craft, it was decide to mount a pair of “Fireworks” Magic chaff and flare dispensers. These are useful against incoming missiles. The submarine also mounts noise makers for defense against torpedoes although it is usually more effective to simply activate the “Globe of Silence” enchantments. For additional protection, the boat has “Armor of Ithan” enchantment which can be activated three times per day. There are also the enchantments of “Impervious to Energy,” “Invisibility,” and “Shadow Meld.” All of the enchantments can be powered by a magic energy battery. The battery only recharges itself on Ley Lines and Nexus Points.

Modern life support systems could not be fitted and instead the enchantment of “Sustain” was added to the boat. While active, the enchantment provides all life support needs. It needs to be activated every few days but both provides a breathable atmosphere and food needs. Otherwise, the boat carries four months of food and supplies aboard. Even with the enchantment, most crews prefer to eat. Standard crew for a Balao class was ten officers and seventy officers. This is somewhat reduced with the Needlefish needing a crew of six officers and forty enlisted. Still, this is a much larger than most newly built techno-wizard submarines. Three techno-wizards are part of the officers of the vessel including the captain, executive officer, and chief engineer. The submarine is a bit less cramped than most techno-wizard submarines because of the reduced crew. No troops are usually carried aboard although there is technically space for thirty additional crew / passengers. Theoretically a small number, about a dozen, mystic power armors could be carried although could not be launched underwater.

[Author Note: In real life, the USS Needlefish (SS-379) was planned to be built by the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company but was canceled before being laid down. Some of the idea are based on real life vessels and events however]

Model Type: TW-SS-379
Vehicle Type: Ocean, Magical Attack Submarine
Crew: 46 (6 officers) with usually at least two techno-wizard or other spell casting type (three or four is preferred.)
Troops: None standard although has space for thirty additional passengers although extremely cramped if embarked.

Robots, Power Armors, and Vehicles:

12Mystic Power Armors (Possible)

M.D.C. by Location:
21 inch (533 mm) Torpedo Tubes (6 Bow and 4 Stern Submarine):60 each
Mk 40 Five Inch (127 mm) / 25 Caliber Barrels (2, Mounts):50 each
Mk 40 Five Inch (127 mm) / 25 Mounts (Forward and Aft):120 each
Twin WI-50S Short Range Missile Launchers (2, Gun Mounts):20 each
Twin Telekinetic Machine-Guns (2, Forward and Aft of Bridge):125 each
“Fireworks” Magic Chaff and Flare Dispensers (2, Sides):20 each
Main Sail / Bridge:450
Towed Array Housing (Aft)100
[1] Bow Planes (2):125 each
[2] Propellers (2):100 each
[3] Main Body:1300
[4] Magical “Armor of Ithan” Force Field (Three Times per Day):500

[1] Destroying the submarine’s bow planes will reduce the submarine’s ability to change depths but will not eliminate it. It also makes it difficult for the submarine’s crew to control the submarine giving a penalty of -25% to all underwater piloting rolls.
[2] Destroying both of the submarine’s propellers causes serious problem. The submarine will no longer be able to use forward momentum and the bow planes to keep the submarine level. It is recommended that ballast tanks are immediately blown so submarine comes to the surface. Destruction of one propeller reduces the submarine’s top speed by half.
[3] Depleting the M.D.C. of the main body destroys the submarine’s structural integrity, causing it to sink. If the submarine is underwater, the entire crew will die unless protected by environmental armors that can withstand the pressure that the submarine is under. If on the surface, there are enough flotation devices and inflatable life rafts to accommodate everyone aboard.
[4] As per the spell “Armor of Ithan” - Magic, fire, lightning, and cold all inflict one-half damage. Each activation lasts for 30 minutes (120 melee rounds.)

Surface: 25.91 mph (22.5 knots /41.70 kph)
Underwater: 16.70 mph (14.5 knots/ 26.87 kph)
Maximum Depth: 800 feet (243.8 meters) - Usually does not operate below 400 feet (121.9 meters)
Range: 1,000 nautical miles (1,151.5 miles / 1,853.2 km) for each full recharge (requires four castings of “Call Lightning” for 60 P.P.E. due to size of engines.) Life support is “Sustain” spell and has effectively virtually unlimited duration (Requires 24 P.P.E. or 48 I.S.P. and has a duration of eight days per activation.) The submarine carries about six months worth of supplies on board (“Sustain” provides all food requirements.)

Statistical Data:
Length: 311 feet 9 inches (95.02 meters)
Draft: 16 feet 10 inches (5.13 meters) maximum
Width: 27 feet 3 inches (8.31 meters)
Displacement: 1,526 tons surface and 2,424 tons submerged
Cargo: Submarine is very cramped, 20 tons (18.14 metric tons) of nonessential equipment and supplies. Each enlisted crew member has a small locker for personal items and uniforms. Boat's officers have more space for personal items although still cramped. Most of the boat's spaces are take up by extra torpedoes, weapons, and engines.
Power System: Techno-Wizard Electrical Engine Conversion (Powered by “Call Lightning” spell)
Black Market Cost: Not for Sale. Such a vessel, if available for sale, would probably cost 200 or more million.

  1. Two (2) Mk 40 Five Inch (127 mm) / 25 Naval Guns: The submarine mounts a pair of five inch gun mounts with one forward and aft of the superstructure of the submarine. These guns are manually loaded and have a relatively slow rate of fire. Has a 158 degree arc of fire to each side and can be elevated up to 40 degrees. Has limited ability to track and target air targets as a result. The cannons add enough firepower to the boat to be retained and the cannonscan be used against other ships and against ground targets. The cannons can use rocket assisted projectiles but they are not normally carried.
    Maximum Effective Range: 42,600 feet (12,980 meters) for standard projectiles, 63,880 feet (17.4 nm/19,470 meters) for rocket propelled rounds (If actually carried).
    Mega-Damage: Standard Projectiles: 2D6x10 to a blast radius of 25 ft (7.7 m) for High Explosive, 3D6x10 to a blast radius of 6 ft (2 m) for High Explosive Armor Piercing, and 4D6x10 to a blast radius of 25 ft (7.7 m) for Plasma. Rocket projectiles (If Carried): 2D4x10 to a blast radius of 20 ft (6.1 m) for High Explosive, 2D6x10 to a blast radius of 4 ft (1.2 m) for High Explosive Armor Piercing, and 3D6x10 to a blast radius of 20 ft (6.1 m) for Plasma. Cannons can also use special purpose warheads, use the statistics for 105 mm artillery warheads (Go to Battlefield Artillery for Rifts for more information - standard or rocket assisted as appropriate.)
    Rate of Fire: Maximum of three (3) per melee per cannon.
    Payload: 400 rounds (200 per gun mount), Usually carries 100 High Explosive, 200 High Explosive Armor Piercing, and 100 Plasma, Ship will carry special rounds only when employed in artillery roles.
  2. Two (2) Twin Telekinetic Machine-Gun: Mounted in the forward and aft part of the superstructure. These are enchanted by a series of spells so the cannon acts as a more powerful version of the Telekinetic 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. per barrel (100 P.P.E. total per mount) each once per month. The cannon does full damage to targets that are impervious to energy. Weapon mounts have advanced fire control to track and target missiles and other small airborne targets. Can be used remotely underwater to target torpedoes and other underwater targets.
    Maximum Effective Range: 4,000 feet (1,220 meters).
    Mega Damage: 1D6x10+10 total (6D6 per barrel)
    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 (costs 50 P.P.E. per barrel / 200 P.P.E. for each mount.)
  3. Two (2) Twin WI-50S Short Range Missile Launchers: Mounted above the five inch gun mounts when the boat is surfaced. Before the submarine dives, the missile launchers are removed. Manually aimed and rotates with the gun mount and has 158 degree arc of fire to each side and can be elevated up to 40 degrees. Launchers are manually reloaded as well.
    Note: SAM style missiles are missiles that sacrifice payload for higher speeds, see Chris Curtis' modified missile table for specifics.
    Maximum Effective Range: Varies by short range missile type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details - SAM style missiles normally.)
    Mega Damage: Varies by short range missile type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details - SAM style missiles normally.)
    Rate of Fire: Can fire missiles one at a time or in volleys of two (2) missiles per launcher. Requires two melee rounds to manually reload
    Payload: two (2) short range missiles ready to fire per launcher (16 additional short range missiles carried)
  4. Ten (10) 21 inch (533 mm) Heavy Torpedo Tubes: On the bow of the submarine are six torpedo tubes and four stern mounted torpedo tubes. Old style torpedo tubes although modern torpedoes are fired instead of old type torpedoes. The tubes are manually reloaded. For warheads, heavy torpedoes should be treated as having long missiles warheads. Along with standard torpedoes, launcher can also fire missiles in special canisters, rocket boosted ASW torpedoes, and even mines. There are also special techno-wizard torpedoes available. A total of eighteen torpedoes are carried for reloads with fourteen in the forward torpedo room and four in the aft Maximum Effective Range: 40 miles (34.8 nautical miles / 64 km) for torpedoes.
    Mega Damage: By Heavy torpedo warhead type (See revised Rifts torpedoes for details), can fire missiles (Long Range or Cruise) in special canisters as well (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
    Rate of Fire: Forward Tubes: One at a time or in volleys of two (2), three (3), four (4), or six (6.) After Tubes: One at a time or in volleys of two (2), three (3), four (4.) Reloading tubes takes two full melee rounds.
    Payload: Ten (10) Total - Six (6) Forward and Four (4) aft. (Has eighteen [18] additional torpedoes total for reloads.) Total of eight anti-ship cruise missiles are usually carried. Can also carry two mines for each torpedo normally carried.
  5. Two (2) “Fireworks” Anti-Missile Chaff/Flare Dispensers: 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. Only useful on the surface against missiles, not useful against torpedoes underwater.
      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.). The cost for all launchers to be recharged is 70 P.P.E. All launchers must be activated at the same time to operate correctly.
  6. Magical “Globe of Silence” Submarine Silencing Feature: Unlike on the Nautilus class submarine, this enchantment is not always active but instead needs to be activated when needed. The enchantment is an application of a modified version of the spell “Globe of Silence.” The hull, propellers, and all exterior features are protected by this spell which extends outward by 1 foot (0.3 meters). This blocks all interior noises (including the launching of torpedoes) as well. This renders the submarine completely undetectable using active sonars and can only be detected by passive sonar by trying to find an area which there are no sounds (close to impossible, 5% chance with an incredible sonar operator). Torpedoes fired against the submarine have penalties of -10 to strike the submarine and lose all bonuses. The hull sonar of the submarine does not extend out from the silencing system but the towed array sonar does. Without the “Globe of Silence,” the submarine has no penalties to detect about five knots. Below five knots, there is a -10% penalty to be detected.
    Duration: Ten (10) minutes per activation.
    P.P.E. Cost: 40 each activation.
  7. Noisemakers: The submarine carries noisemakers to decoy torpedoes. They are most effective against normal torpedoes and less effective against "smart" torpedoes. The noisemakers are launched from the middle of the submarine. Considered effective useless when “Globe of Silence” is active by most captains / crews.
    Effect: 50% of decoying normal torpedoes and 20% of decoying smart torpedoes.
    Rate of Fire: Two (2) at a time (Can be reloaded in one melee)
    Payload: 20 Noisemakers
  8. Techno-Wizard Modifications: The Needlefish has the following Techno-Wizard Modifications built into the boat. These require P.P.E. or I.S.P. from the boats crew or P.P.E. battery.
    Special Features:
      Sustain (8th Level) - 24 P.P.E. or 48 I.S.P.
      Shadow Meld (8th Level) - 20 P.P.E. or 40 I.S.P.
      Impervious to Energy (8th Level) - 40 P.P.E. or 80 I.S.P.
      Invisibility-Superior (8th Level) - 40 P.P.E. or 80 I.S.P.

Sensory / Special Equipment:

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Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

Copyright © 2011, Kitsune. All rights reserved.