Close Combat Specialist
Having big spaceships with lots of armor and firepower is all well and good, but it hasn’t eliminated the need for ground troops or soldiers. You still need to hold territory. Space itself isn’t good for much besides the view.
In fact, with the advent and common use of spacecraft, space stations, asteroid mining facilities and the like, an entirely new breed of combatant was found to be necessary: the boarder.
Ships, even the big, tough ones, are inherently fragile things, and are usually more fragile on the inside than out. If you want to take a ship intact, steal cargo without damaging it, pull a memory dump of enemy intel from a flagship, then you need boarders who can go in, neutralize defenders, and do so without blowing big holes in the ship you’re trying to capture. It’d also be nice if you had some of those guys around to make sure that you weren’t boarded.
That’s where the close combat specialist comes into play. These are expert boarders, who have turned combat in the (usually) tight quarters of a starship into an art form. They specialize in vicious combat at short range, with melee weapons and firearms with low penetration. In an age where most combat takes place between opponents hundreds of miles away, the close combat specialist usually looks his enemy in the eye as they try to kill one another.
CCS’s, as they are also known, often become legendary, like gunfighters of old. There are vids and sims based on men and women still alive today. They’re hired by mercenary armies, security firms, huge megacorporations, pirates, small militaries and rich travelers to capture enemy vessels and to protect their charges’ ships from being boarded. There are even a few who do commercials for weapons manufacturers and shipwrights.
Inevitably, rivalries and reputations have developed, and everyone has an opinion on who is the best of the best.
The CCS is not limited to humans either. The Mogg’theran, Arkhon, Xintrin and most space-faring mortal species have developed a similar breed of combatant.
But one thing that is common to all, no matter the species, is The Edge. The Edge is that extra special something that makes the CCS stand apart. It gives them an advantage over the average opponent and is why another CCS taught them the ins and outs of the business in the first place. It could by psychic abilities, cybernetics or bionics, an ancient device of rare power, or in some cases the mastery of magic.
Interestingly, except among the Mogg’theran, the CCS is rarely found in the military. Most find military life too restrictive, the pay is too low, and they rarely get any action. The Mogg’theran, however, have a few squads of close combat specialists who work together…truly a terror to behold, and unique among the star faring races. The Rhtharians are said to be building a cadre of Close Combat Specialists as well, but it is allegedly still in development.
Close Combat Specialists are some of the people most frequently recruited by the Starfarers, Novaslayers and PHERI for their never-ending quest for deep time artifacts.
Different people react different ways to the Close Combat Specialist. Some see them as iconic figures, and in many cases, they have fans and groupies. Others see them as cold-blooded killers who make a living by taking the lives of others. But most CCS’s of any renown are judged on their own actions, the stories of which tend to spread like wildfire.
But as that reputation grows, so do the number of other CCSs who would like to be the one to take them down and make their own name immortal among the stars.
Almost invariably, when there is a CCS on both sides of a battle, everyone clears out and just gives them space. Almost as often, the winner of that combat sees their side through to victory.
A. Cybernetic enhancements: Either due to an accident that nearly killed them, or because they wanted to be a CCS that bad, the specialist has cybernetic and bionic systems that make them a terror in space combat. These include: A bionic lung filtration system and oxygen supply, a gyro-compass and clock calendar, 1D4 additional cybernetic enhancements of choice (usually eye or ear systems), and one bionic limb with attributes equal to their own. They will also have one cybernetic weapon system, usually something for close-quarters combat (no missile launchers). They may get additional cybernetics as time goes by, but will avoid becoming anything more than a partial reconstruction cyborg.
B. Psychic: The CCS is a powerful psionic. They start with three powers from each of the minor psionic categories. At each level of experience they can choose one additional minor power, except at levels 3, 6, 9, 12, and 15, when they can choose one master psionic ability. Do not roll for random psionics if this is chosen, it overrides other psionic abilities. I.S.P.: 1D6x10+M.E. at first level. Receives 2D6 more I.S.P. at each additional level of experience. Saves vs. psionics as a master psionic (only needs to roll a 10 or better).
C. Mutation: Either they were experimented on by a rogue alien scientist or geneticist, lived on a colony that soaked up a wee bit too much radiation, or…well…maybe nobody knows why, but this specialist has two minor super abilities from Heroes Unlimited.
D. Martial Arts Master: This specialist was trained in the ancient art of (insert name of ancient martial art here), and is a total monster in hand-to-hand combat. Choose one martial art from any of the Palladium books, either Ninjas and Superspies, Mystic China, Rifts China or Rifts Japan. Do not pick any that give you Chi Mastery abilities. Regardless of the martial art form they take, they get the ability to autododge at first level.
E. Rune Weapon: While exploring some strange world, or maybe while robbing some rich collector, the specialist discovered a greatest rune weapon! The two of them were of compatible alignment and instantly bonded. In addition to the normal greatest rune weapon abilities, (see Rifts: Atlantis for details) the weapon also teleports back to the owner’s hand from any distance.
F. Mage: Somehow, the Close Combat Specialist was taught the ways of magic, which most humans don’t even believe in. The CCS receives the Lore: Magic skill at +10%, and starts with two spells each from levels 1-4, for a total of eight. Space Magic spells are also available. At each additional level of experience, they can figure out one new spell at their level or lower. Starts with 1D6x10+ P.E. in P.P.E., and receives an additional 2D6 P.P.E. per level. Also receives +1 to spell strength at levels 4, 8, and 12. Recovers P.P.E. at 10 per hour of rest/meditation, or 5 per hour of light activity. Has the ability to sense ley lines and nexus points, as per the ley line walker special abilities. May or may not know about blood sacrifices.
G. Weapon Specialist: The CCS starts with both W.P. Paired Weapons, W.P. Paired Weapons – Handguns, and W.P. Sharpshooting. They also receive two additional W.P.s of choice, ancient or modern and +2 to strike with all ranged and melee weapons. Double the number of starting weapons (two of each) and energy clips.
H. Something else entirely: Maybe the CCS has somehow gotten attached to a symbiotic creature like something usually sold by the Splugorth, or has unearthed a mysterious power armor that no one has ever seen before (A Naruni Enforcer, for example…something usable inside a ship), or maybe they’re actually a mutant animal that looks human (or not) with an additional 20 Bio-E points to spend above normal. Whatever gives them an edge, but doesn’t make them ridiculously powerful, COULD be considered. Make sure you have the GM’s approval first.
Close Combat Specialist O.C.C. Stats
Alignment: Any, though most are selfish (unprincipled or anarchist), there are Close Combat Specialists of every alignment (good-aligned CCSs are often referred to as Paladins).
Attribute Requirements: An M.A. and P.P. of 12 or better are required (before adding O.C.C. bonuses).
Race: Human, Arkhon, Mogg’theran, Xintrin, Sigmari, Rhtharian, Arnuban or Nix. Note that all Nix Close Combat Specialists (extremely rare) choose the magic option.
Speak/Read Native Language: 98%
Basic Math (+15%)
Radio: Basic (+10%)
Detect Ambush (+15%)
Computer Operation (+10%)
Trap/Mine Detection (+15%)
Gymnastics (+10% where applicable)
Zero-G Movement and Combat (+15%)
One piloting skill of choice (+10%)
Read Sensory Equipment (+10%)
W.P. Energy Pistol
One Ancient W.P. of choice
One Modern W.P. of choice
Hand-to-hand: Martial Arts (or Assassin, if evil)
Hand to hand: Martial Arts can be upgraded to Commando at the cost of one “other” skill.
O.C.C. Related Skills: Select six other skills at level one, plus one additional skill at levels 3, 6, 9 and 13.
Electrical: Basic only
Espionage: Any (+5%)
Mechanical: Basic and Starship only.
Medical: First Aid and Paramedic only (+5%)
Military: Any (+10%)
Physical: Any (+10% where applicable)
Pilot: Any (+5%)
Pilot Related: Any
Rogue: Any (+5%)
Science: Advanced Math or Astronomy only
Secondary Skills: Select five secondary skills at first level from the Secondary Skill Section of Rifts: Ultimate Edition. These are additional areas of knowledge that do not get any bonus other than any possible bonus from a high I.Q. All secondary skills start at the base skill level.
Standard Equipment: One set of light and one set of heavy body armor, usually highly stylized and distinctive. At least one of them will be fully environmental and capable of sustaining the CCS for a short time if he or she gets spaced. Stylish wardrobe, travel clothes, sunglasses, one weapon for each W.P. (note: these will ALMOST ALWAYS be weapons specifically designed for close-in fighting. That generally includes handguns and shotguns, carbines, SMGs, knives, short swords, and small chain weapons. They avoid long arms, two-handed swords, and pole arms), four E-clips or magazines for each weapon requiring ammunition, wrist communicator, backpack, emergency suit sealant (patches small holes in space suits, but does not restore MDC, 40 applications), mini-computer (20 10-gig processors with 100 terabytes of memory and a holographic screen, about the size of an iPhone or blackberry), personal items and one travel trunk for long voyages (50 M.D.C., about the size of a steamer trunk).
Housing: Starts out with a small, but fashionable apartment with three months rent paid.
Money: As one would expect, Close Combat Specialists are well-paid. A starting character will have about 2D4x10,000 credits saved, and can generally expect anywhere from between 5,000 to 20,000 credits per month to be kept on retainer, depending on their experience and reputation. Some demand much, much more. If working with pirates or mercs, they are generally also offered 10% of the value of any ship they help capture (that’s ship, not the loot onboard) OR an officer’s share of the overall loot.
Vehicles: None to start. Surprisingly to some, most close combat specialists never actually learn how to pilot the ships they help capture.
Cybernetics: None to start, unless it is their Edge. Most don’t have a problem with getting cybernetics or bionics later if it will boost their abilities. Although those with magic or psionic abilities will tend to avoid them for practical reasons.
Experience: Use the Juicer experience chart in Rifts Ultimate Edition.