Phase World Starship Equipment:


Target Sizes:

Small: These targets include missiles, power armors, star fighters, large starfighter, and runners
Medium: These targets include corvettes, destroyers, and cruisers
Large: These targets include battlecruisers, battleships, carriers, dreadnoughts, and orbital defense stations

Tech Level:

Not all technology in the Three Galaxies is at the same level. Generally, the Consortium of Civilized Worlds has the highest level of technology although there are some exceptions to this. Runner ships will often have military class technology. Most assault shuttles are fitted with sensors carried on heavy starfighters with the exception of faster than light sensors. This is because most cannot travel at faster than light speeds themselves.

Civilian Technological Level:Range
Sensor /
Jamming /
Low Tech Civilian (Average Civilian Ship)75%-2 to strike+2 to strike for enemy
High Tech Civilian (Civilian State of the Art)100%+0 to strike+0 to strike for enemy

Military Technological Level:Range
Sensor /
Jamming /
Low Tech Military (Very old starships)60%-1 to strike+1 to strike for enemy
Average Tech Military (Trans-Galactic Empire)80%+0 to strike+0 to strike for enemy
State of the Art Military (Consortium Military)100%+2 to strike-2 to strike for enemy
Prototype Designs (Neural Prime)120%+4 to strike-4 to strike for enemy

Starship Sensors:

Active Sensors:

These are sensors that are actively emitting radiation, and use the reflection of the radiation against other objects to detect said objects. All active sensor systems have the limitation that the active signal can be detected by another ship.


This system that was designed and constructed in the 1930s and is still in service in much more advanced versions in the Rifts Phase World universe. Conventional Radars are normally fixed array systems than can operate on multiple frequencies and have incredible tracking abilities. Radar also includes LIDAR (just like RADAR, only instead of radio waves, this system uses Laser light to illuminate and detect objects) and other similar electromagnetic based sensor systems. The statistics listed below are for top end C.C.W. Military equipment. Trans-Galactic Empire equipment is consider to have about 80% of the range and other groups will have between 50% to 100% of these ranges. These ranges assume that the targets are not using stealth systems. In those cases, ranges are reduced drastically.

Radar has a large limitation. That is that electromagnetic waves only travel at 186282.4 miles (299,729.458 Km) per second in vacuum. This means that the signal takes 161 seconds to be send from the Radar, to the target and from the target to the detector, at 15 million miles. This means that any information you get at longer ranges can be seconds or even minutes out of date.

These ranges are for space use and when used in an atmosphere, radar will have range of 1/1000 of its range in space.

Radar Detection RangesSmallMediumLarge
Merchant100,000 miles200,000 miles300,000 miles
Starfighter500,000 miles1 million miles1.5 million miles
Large starfighter750,000 miles1.5 million miles2.5 million miles
Corvette1.5 million miles3 million miles4.5 million miles
Destroyer2 million miles4 million miles6 million miles
Cruiser2.5 million miles5 million miles7.5 million miles
Battleship / Dreadnought3 million miles6 million miles9 million miles
Orbital Defense Stations / System Arrays5 million miles10 million miles15 million miles


TADAR, or "Fast" Radar in spacer slang, functions by throwing out low powered beams of tachyonic particles. When these particles strike a object they are reflected. Still quite expensive and difficult to make, this system is normally only found on top of the line ships from the Consortium, the Human Alliance, and Kreeghor ships. Although some independent forces also carry the system, it is rather rare outside of the aforementioned superpowers. Virtually no pirates carry the system. The main advantage of this system is that detection is virtually instantaneous, unlike RADAR, and that stealth fields are virtually ineffective against the tachyon beam.

The first disadvantage is that the system is relatively short ranged for a FTL system, having less than half the range of a RADAR system. The second disadvantage is that anyone detected by this method who also carries tachyon sensors is immediately aware where the active sensor is *at that moment*! And since the inverse square law is also in effect for tachyon beams, they will be able to detect you at nearly twice the range that you can see them. For these reasons this system is mainly used during combat to get a accurate position of enemy units who know that you are out there anyway, or when a captain has the suspicion that a cloaked enemy unit is nearby.

TADAR RangesSmallMediumLarge
Merchant40,000 miles80,000 miles120,000 miles
Starfighter200,000 miles400,000 miles800,000 miles
Large starfighter300,000 miles600,000 miles1 million miles
Corvette600,000 miles1.2 million miles1.8 million miles
Destroyer800,000 miles1.6 million miles2.4 million miles
Cruiser1 million miles2 million miles3 million miles
Battleship / Dreadnought1.2 million miles2.4 million miles3.6 million miles
Orbital Defense Stations / System Arrays2 million miles4 million miles6 million miles

Active system Disadvantages:

The main disadvantage of active sensors is that, due to the inverse square law, the radiation you emit can be seen from twice as far the distance that you can detect something! A observant enemy can thus see you not only before you see him, if the distance is great enough, he can actually see you throwing Radar, Lidar and tachonics particles around without you ever seeing him! Part of this problem can be solved by "pinging", which is throwing off only short but intense pulses of radiation instead of continuously illuminating the entire sky. By giving the "Ping" a specific length and frequency, a ship can ping once or twice, move to a new position and ping again. This makes it far less likely that a enemy will locate the exact location of a ship.

Passive Detectors:

By far the largest category of sensors in use right now, these passive detectors work by detecting emanation from enemy ships. Since a fully functioning ship is a veritable Christmas tree as far as its radiation is concerned, this is easily the best method of detecting other ships.

Even better, the radiation a active ship puts out is not only that of the electromagnetic spectrum, but also that of subatomic particles that are stopped by almost nothing, but even faster than light gravity waves! The biggest disadvantage is that a careful captain can limit the emanation of his ship, and can even use them to fool a enemy into thinking that there are no, or altogether too many ships out there. It is also difficult to scan the entire sky at once, so passive sensors usually have a more narrow field of vision than active sensors.

Electromagnetic Detection Equipment:

Starships are designed with the ability to detect Radar, Laser, Microwave, Radio, and all other electromagnetic frequencies. This can normally be done at 200% of the range of the transmitter. On all signals, the vehicle must be hit by the signal or it will be unable to be detected. This means that a wide beam radar cannot be detected on the other side of a planet from the detecting equipment and tight beam signals such as laser communication can only be detected if the vehicle attempting to detect them in the middle of the beam.

Neutrino Detector:

All fusion, fission and Anti Matter reactors output neutrinos. The detector uses a specialized magnetic field to capture and focus neutrinos into a sensor designed to detect neutrinos. Neutrinos travel at the speed of light for detection but due the sensors being of fairly short range, this is not a serious factor. The system also eliminates neutrinos from the sun although it is impossible to detect a target if the sun is directly in the sensor as well due to the sun overloading the ability of the system to detect neutrinos. The sensor has a 60% chance of being able to be able to differentiate between fusion, antimatter, and fission reactors. The listed ranges are for space use, for atmospheric range, reduce range to 1/10 of space ranges. Most merchant ships do not have neutrino sensors and these listing is for those that carry them.

Neutrino Detection RangesSmallMediumLarge
Merchant1,000 miles2,000 miles3,000 miles
Starfighter5,000 miles10,000 miles15,000 miles
Large starfighter7,500 miles15,000 miles25,000 miles
Corvette15,000 miles30,000 miles45,000 miles
Destroyer20,000 miles40,000 miles60,000 miles
Cruiser25,000 miles50,000 miles75,000 miles
Battleship / Dreadnought30,000 miles60,000 miles90,000 miles
Orbital Defense Stations / System Arrays50,000 miles10,000 miles150,000 miles

Gravity Sensors:

This is one of the most important sensor systems on Phase World Star ships but it is normaly detecting the ships drives not the ships actual mass. Many consider this to be simply the most important sensor system. This is for two reasons. First is that sensor range is much greater than radar and second is that there is no delay in detecting objects using gravity sensors. At the same time the passive nature of this system allows one to remain unseen. These ranges are against ships using gravity type propulsion systems and against ships using most types of force fields. Note that this does NOT include Phasefields. The detectors simply measure the disturbances created by any mass or gravitic field. When used against ships that are not using gravity based systems or force fields, the ranges are reduced by 90% so they have about the same range as radar style systems but still retain its other advantages. The system can also be used at very close ranges to be able to make very detailed internal scans. These ranges are for space use and when used in an atmosphere, gravity will have range of 1/1000 of its range in space.

At close ranges (1/1000 maximum range) the sensors can give detailed scans of ships that are not protected by shields. Note: Any starship that can move at high sublight accelerations would be using inertial dampening systems, these would be detectable as gravity drive signatures. These include ships such as those used on Star Trek.

Sublight Gravity Detection RangesSmallMedium Large
Merchant1 million miles2 million miles3 million miles
Starfighter5 million miles10 million miles15 million miles
Large starfighter7.5 million miles15 million miles25 million miles
Corvette15 million miles30 million miles45 million miles
Destroyer20 million miles40 million miles60 million miles
Cruiser25 million miles50 million miles75 million miles
Battleship / Dreadnought30 million miles60 million miles90 million miles
Orbital Defense Stations / System Arrays50 million miles100 million miles150 million miles

Sensors can detect the disturbance caused by Contra Grav and Phase Drive systems going at FTL speeds at greatly increased ranges and is virtually impossible for starships to sneak up on a location using FTL drives although stealth systems will allow for the ships to get far closer using Stealth system. Note: Star Trek Warp drives cause an unusual signature that would be similar to a Contra Grav FTL system.

FTL Gravity Detection RangesSmallMediumLarge
Merchant0.5 light years0.75 light years1 light years
Starfighter1 light year1.5 light years2 light years
Large Starfighter2 light years3 light years4 light years
Corvette3 light years4.5 light years6 light years
Destroyer4 light years6 light years8 light years
Cruiser5 light years7.5 light years10 light years
Battleship / Dreadnought6 light years8 light years12 light years
Orbital Defense Stations / System Arrays10 light years15 light years20 light years

Stealth systems:

Generally all military ships will have stealth devices to reduce both their gravitic signature and normal signature. Starship’s stealth systems that are not magical in nature work by a variety of principles:

In order to be less visible by electromagnetic waves the ship can be build with a specific shape. This reflects the electromagnetic waves in directions away from the detector. This is a rather old method, which is slowly coming back into vogue. More common nowadays is for the ship to have its shields angled in specific directions to cause electromagnetic waves to bounce at angles not directly back to the transmitting ship. Either of these methods can reduce the range at which a ship is detected to 10% of the normal rating of a sensor. For simplicity`s sake most builders do not make their ship in the specific shape to reflect electromagnetic waves. This because most ships are already equipped with shields, making the specific hull shape redundant.

However, in recent years the TADAR sensor has become more popular (read "cheaper"), and since this form of active sensor almost disregards the low-powered shields used to deflect simple electromagnetic waves, but *is* hindered by giving the ships hull the specifically angled shape, there is a trend towards building ships that do have the Stealth shape. The use of a shield lowers the detection range of a TADAR to 70% of the sensors listed range. The application of a stealthy hull shape lowers the sensors listed range to about 20% of its listed range, and the combined use of the two lowers the sensors range to 10% of normal.

Starships that use contra-grav drives use their shields to conceal the gravity wells produced by the ships engines and have their shields reduced in power. However, for any of this to be really effective, the ship must have well tuned engines, and even then they cannot be run on more than a third of their normal power. If this is done, the ranges at which a ship can be detected with gravity sensors in both Sublight and FTL travel is reduced to 10% of the normal ranges for which the sensors are rated. If either the drives are not properly tuned, or if they are run at more than a third of their power, the range at which they can be detected opens up to 40% of the normal ranges for which the sensors are rated. Finally, the shield slows down neutrinos so that fewer neutrinos are there to be detected.

Jamming systems / ECM:

Virtually all military star ships and some runners are equipped with jamming equipment. While the jamming system is on, conventional radar, gravity-wave sensors, and missile guidance systems will not be able to function properly in the area affected. The jamming also effects communication systems. Sensor systems will have ranges reduced to 25% of normal and have a -40% penalty to all read sensory roll including the chance of detecting any targets in the area (this includes the starship carrying the jamming system) of the jamming. Smart and Brilliant Missiles can be programmed to go after the signature of the Jamming with a weapon systems roll and smart and brilliant missiles have this option automatically available. Rifts Earth Tech level sensors cannot overcome phase world jamming devices. Phase World Jamming systems have 90% success rate against Rifts Earth systems. Merchant Jamming systems are military systems and will be the equal of the systems of a military ship of the same size. Most merchant vessels do not carry jamming systems.

Jamming System RangesRange:Penalties
Starfighter15,000 miles-0
Large starfighter20,000 miles-0
Corvette50,000 miles-1
Destroyer80,000 miles-1
Cruiser120,000 miles-2
Battleship / Dreadnought250,000 miles-3
Orbital Defense Stations400,000 miles-4

Penalties are applied to the strike roll of the weapon fired at the starship. Against starships / other targets with no ECM, weapon systems have a +5 to strike.

Towed Decoys:

Many modern fighters carry towed decoys on long cables behind the fighter. Many militaries use a similar system. They use tractor beams to carry powerful decoys which are used to trick the enemy especially when using missiles. They are similar to missile style towed decoys but have effectively unlimited endurance. Usually two decoys are deployed at a time.

In normal use, sensor operators must roll against the decoy with a -40% or be unsure if the decoy is a real target or not unless there is something that reveals that the missile is not the true target. There are sometimes small signature anomalies which allows a sensor operator to tell the difference between an actual target and a decoy. As well, sensor operators must roll for every decoy deployed, it is not simply one roll and they know all the decoys are fake. If the true targets and decoys are made to cross paths, the sensor operator must roll again to see if they detect which target is the decoy and which one is the ship.

If the sensor operator is unable to tell that the decoy is not the real target, the way to calculate if a decoy or an actual target is calculated is relatively simple. Assuming that the targets are in relatively close proximity, add the number of decoys deployed to the number of targets. Then roll randomly which is hit. Some tactics can potentially modify this. Decoys have 100 M.D.C. each.

Fighters will normally carry no decoys (although they may have decoy missiles in place of normal missiles), Destroyers and Frigates will carry two to four, Cruisers will carry six eight (some large cruisers will carry twelve), Battleships and Dreadnoughts will carry sixteen to twenty four.) Carriers often carry decoys as well (Based on size class). The handful of ships or platforms larger than battleships have larger special decoys as well.

Communication Systems:

These will be added to the equipment listing when complete. Communication systems include standard radio, laser & microwave, tachyon, neutrino, and gravity pulse.

Tractor Beams:

There are several kinds of tractor beams. The first is really a offshoot of the contragravity drive that is so common in the three galaxies. Any ship with a contragrav drive has the ability to use that drive as a low powered tractor beam. The amount of mass that can be moved in this way is limited by both the mass of the ship generating the tractor field, AND the power of its engines.

The formula to calculate how much mass a starship can tractor is this:

Distance also plays a role in the strength of the tractor field. Apply the factor out of the following formula to the result of the previous formula if the load to be tractored is more than once the ships own length removed from the ship: The second kind of tractor beam is a dedicated piece of equipment. It is a powerful tractorfield generator that is securely mounted into the ships structure. These can have a dedicated rating, such as in the case of specialized tugs, or they can operate in percentages of the ships mass.

In general most ships carry tractor beams that operate in percentages of the ships mass. Each such a tractor beam generator can tractor up to 5 % of the ships mass, and no more than four of these generators can be carried on a ship without the ship needing major reinforcements to its structure.

Again the distance that the mass to be tugged has to the ship is important, but because the generators are purpose build, their focus is much better. For the first 10 km there is no loss of tugging power, after that the tractor beam is again subject to dispersion. This is the formula:

Computer Systems:

In most military starships, the computer system is in reality several different computer systems that both work together and are designed to back each other up in cases of battle damage and system shutdowns. Computer systems in large craft are widely separate as well. Systems are protected from hackers overriding systems through fire walls and extensive internal security. This does not make it impossible to be overridden but in most cases it is very difficult. It is virtually impossible for a single hit to take down the entire computer system of any military starship except starfighters. Even some large starfighters, like the Proctor, carry multiple computer systems and many Runner craft carry multiple computer systems as well.

Tracking Systems:

Normally slaved to fire control computers and in some cases virtually the same system. Tracking systems can track and identify thousand to hundreds of thousands of targets depending on the class of ship. Weapon systems and fire control limits the numbers of targets that can be engaged simultaneously and are normally the limiting factors.

Fire Control:

Normally slaved to the Tracking Systems and in some case are virtually the same system. Most Military Starships are designed with fire control to control up to 150% of the amount of weapons of the vehicle but there are some exceptions that can control more than that. The extra ability of fire control systems is designed so if fire control systems are damaged, other systems can take over. Fire control systems can also be used for targeting another ships weapon systems but needs a successful read sensory instrument and weapon systems skills rolls and the weapon system will be fired with a -4 penalty to strike. In addition to central fire control, most mounts have their own fire control which allows the control of ordnance in cases where the mounts links to the bridge and command center are destroyed.

Fire control for missiles is only needed for initially targeting missiles and redirecting missiles. Otherwise, most missiles are on their own guidance systems. Most missiles used in the Three Galaxies have either smart or brilliant fire control systems.

Cybernetic Computer Links:

Most advanced starships in the Three Galaxies have very efficient neural links and Neural links are an integral part of combat operations of a starship. The crew members link in using head jacks and they give the following bonuses:

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Writeup by Mischa (E-Mail Mischa), Henning Rogge (, and by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

Copyright © 2000, 2001, 2006, & 2010, Mischa, Henning Rogge, & Kitsune. All rights reserved.