Ghost Destroyer - USS Stewart:


It was not often that you would find a derelict vessel just floating on the water. Still, one took advantage of what you found. The basic law of the sea was that you could claim whatever you found. Sometimes that could be interpreted quite loosely. After all, once the previous crew was tossed overboard, who was to say that there had been anybody aboard.


Still, the vessel was spooky which the Sea Hawk was pulling up was pulling up to slowly. A bit larger than the patrol vessel, it was unusual in appearance with one of the smoke stacks combined with another with two smaller stacks behind it. It gave the appearance of being truly ancient. Even so, it appeared to have been modified in recent times. On the bow was a light gun mount and an identical one was mounted near the fantail. As well, the ship had a pair of boxed missile launchers. Painted on the bow was the number 224 and along her side was a white square with a solid red circle in the center. The ship appeared to be just a bit rusty but nothing too serious. It did not look like the vessel was about to rust out.


The captain had asked Victoria, the mystic aboard to sense what she could about the vessel. She had turned pale and had told him in no uncertain terms that she should just leave it where it was at. When he had told her that he planned to see if the ship could be salvaged, she had told him that he would regret it and refused to board the ship and had fled to her cabin.


The Sea Hawk pulled up alongside of the ship. Nothing appeared to move aboard the ship and all was quiet. No lights shown aboard in the gathering gloom of sunset. There were davits for small boats but none remained. The boarding party climbed aboard the derelict, all nervous from the argument between Victoria and the Captain. They split up by pairs so that they might explore the vessel better but still have somebody with them just in case of trouble.


It was not long until the first trouble was found. There were a pair of bodies lying on the deck, the two appear to have stabbed each other. It looked liked it had happened only a few days before. One team had headed for the bridge. On the bridge, there was a similar story. One figure, a woman, appeared to have been dressed in something resembling a captains uniform. There was pistol in her hand and a bullet hole in her temple. Across from her was another figure, also armed with a pistol, with a large hole in the chest. In total, almost a couple of dozen body were aboard. It appeared that the crew had killed each other off.


There was one survivor aboard. One team found a figure, a young woman perhaps fourteen or fifteen, filthy and ragged, huddling in a corner of what appeared to have been the Captain's cabin. When she saw the team come up to her, she moaned. Her eyes looked up at the two men in fear. It took a while to coax answers from her but eventually the officer was able to get her to speak.


Her mother had been the Captain of the ship and had brought her aboard a couple of months ago. There had been minor problem since she had been aboard but at first they had seemed manageable. The ship would break down quite often although usually it could be repaired within a few hours. Often, there were nightmares about battles. Sometimes, a crew member seemed to just go crazy often talking in Japanese even though none of the crew understood the language. Others would speak in American in a different tone and use idioms which were utterly unknown such as "Gooks." These crew, especially those who began speaking in Japanese, often began trying to kill others aboard the vessel.


It got worse though with more and more fights. A huge amount of the crew, not just one or two this time, suddenly began fighting with each other. Others had gotten caught in the crossfire. The Captain had been killed in the fighting and the remainder of the crew had abandoned the ship in life boats. The girl had been left behind in the panic and had been hiding in her mother's cabin.




The story of the USS Stewart is an interesting tale. Numbered DD-224, it was a four stack destroyer which was built for World War One but was not commissioned until after the war. Even though elderly by the time of the second world war, it did fight in several battles. It was badly damaged though and was scuttled after being damaged in drydock. The Japanese later recovered the vessel, repaired her, rearmed her, and commissioned as Patrol Boat 102. In this capacity, the vessel served in the Japanese Navy until the close of the war. The vessel was turned back over to the United States at the end of the war and was sunk as a target off the coast near San Francisco.


The magical energies of the Rifts seemed to have brought the ship back. The first group to find her found her off the west coast of what had once been California. decided that since she was mostly intact and in reasonably good shape that they would refit her. She had been stripped of weapons before she had been sunk and they decided to put new weaponry, electronics, and sensors on her. Unfortunately, all was not right. A crew member became possessed by a spirit and then another. Eventually, these crew members began fighting one another. Several were killed and the survivors abandoned the boat.


This has been repeated several times and appears to be a never ending battle. It appears as if the vessel is haunted by multiple presences, some appearing to be American crew members while others appearing to be Japanese crew. The Japanese spirit crew seem to like to take over those of oriental descent especially those of Japanese descent. These possessed crew always eventually begin to fight among each other.


There are often warning signs of the danger of the vessel. Psychics, who are often also the least likely to be taken over by the presences, will sense a great number of voices aboard the vessel. None of the presences seem to be able to communicate in this fashion though and no attempt to get rid of these various presence has ever succeeded. She does not seem to have a will of her own in most cases and does not seem to be able to pilot herself. There have been a few cases where she has slipped her moorings though when she has had no crew aboard. People have checked on the ship when she was suppose to have been moored and she simply disappeared.


The first of the attempts to modify the vessel was the adaption of the ship’s boilers to a techno-wizard steam conversion. Unfortunately, the vessel seems to be a bit cantankerous and often seems to break down. Every few days, some repair work seems to need to be done to keep the engines running. Some times it will be a boiler tube while at other times it will be the fuel pump. Sometimes steering will break down as well. This is in spite of the fact that damage seems to repair itself on the vessel. Luckily, the right repair part seems to always be able to be found aboard. Even if the whole propulsion system were to be replaced, the engines would still likely have problems. It seems to just be in the nature of the ship.


There have been some attempts to improve crew comforts by the various crews who have tried to operate the vessel. The vessel seems to need a crew of around forty-eight to operate properly although originally the ship had a crew of over a hundred. Some of this is due to improved automation of the new components added to the vessel. As well, in several cases there have been about a dozen troops with flying power armors embarked. Flying Titan and SAMAS power armors are the most common to be carried.


Various owners have also added weapon systems. Included in this is a pair of rapid fire three inch guns based on a Pre-Rifts design which was develop in the later half of the Twentieth Century. One is mounted on the bow while the other is mounted on a raised deck just forward of the fantail. Originally, the destroyer mounted four inch cannons in these positions. In addition, the ship had a pair of medium range missile box launchers fitted where the torpedo tubes were originally fitted. These box launchers can fire normal missiles but can also fire rocket fired torpedoes for use against underwater targets. Finally, there are a pair of smaller box launchers mounted on either side of the ship’s superstructure near the forward smoke stacks. Each one has a capacity of twenty four short range missiles and is usually used for inner point defense for the vessel. Originally four inch gun mounts were also in these positions. A reasonably capable radar system and sonar system have also fitted since the ship returned from the grave. A number of other minor techno-wizard additions have been added to the vessel to further increase the ship’s abilities. The ship, unlike some haunted vessels, does not seem to reject new components.


Model Type: Modified "Clemson" class destroyer
Vehicle Type: Ocean, Ghost Destroyer
Crew: 48 (One or two are usually a techno-wizard)
Troops: 12
Horror Factor: 14


Robots, Power Armors, and Vehicles:

12Flying Power Armors (Flying Titan, SAMAS, Predator, etc)


M.D.C. by location:

Bridge (Superstructure):300
3 inch (76-mm)/62-cal DP Mk 75 (2, Bow and Stern):180 each
Medium Range Missile Box Launchers (2):200 each
Short Range Missile Launchers (2, Sides):180
[1] Long Range Radar Array (Superstructure):200
[2] Main Body:1,200


Notes:
[1] Destroying the long range radar system will prevent the vessel from being all to do any form of air search, severely limiting vessel's abilities. Missiles still retain their own tracking abilities.
[2] Depleting the M.D.C. of the main body destroys the destroyer's structural integrity, causing it to sink. It has sunk before though and will most likely come back. Note: The Destroyer will regenerate at 20% of the hit locations M.D.C. per day, meaning all damage will be restored within 5 days of being damaged.


Speed:
Surface: 26 knots( 29.9 mph / 48.2 kph.) The ship can operate at ninety percent speed (23.4 knots) on three boilers, three quarters speed (19.5 knots) on half boilers and can operate at half speed (13 knots) on one boiler.
Range: 500 nautical miles (575.8 miles / 926.6 km) for each full recharge (requires 100 P.P.E.) Each boiler can propel the ship for up 125 nautical miles (requires 25 P.P.E. each). She can carry supplies for crew for up to two months.


Statistical Data:
Length: 323 feet 10 inches (98.7 meters)
Draft: 11 feet 6 inches (3.5 meters) not including sonar array
Width: 31 feet 9 inches (9.7 meters)
Displacement: 1,680 tons full load
Cargo: 100 tons of nonessential equipment and supplies. Each enlisted crew member has a small locker for personal items and uniforms. Ships officers have more space for personal items. Most of the ship’s spaces are taken up by extra ammo, armor, troops, weapons, and engines.
Power System: Was original steam propulsion but has been converted to a Magical power supply.
Black Market Cost: Unknown. Due to its haunted nature, crews do not tend to stay aboard long. It might be possible to sell the ship for around fifty million or so credits.


Weapon Systems:

  1. Two (2) 3 inch (76-mm) 62-cal DP Mk 75 Naval Gun: The ship mounts a pair of rapid fire three inch gun mounts. One is on the bow while the other is on a raised platform forward of the ship’s fantail. The guns are very reliable and fires very rapidly (About 85 rounds per minute). The main weaknesses of the gun are its relatively short range and the fact it cannot use rocket assisted projectiles. The gun was carried on many ship classes around the world until well into the twenty first century. The guns can be used against other ships, ground targets, aircraft, and even missiles. These guns were among the smallest that could use a proximity fuse for their warheads.
    Maximum Effective Range: 4.9 miles (4.3 nautical miles/8.0 km) for standard projectiles
    Mega-Damage: High Explosive: 1D4x10 M.D.C. with 10 ft (3 m) blast radius per single shot and 3D4x10 M.D.C. with 20 ft (6.1 m) blast radius for three round burst. High Explosive Armor Piercing: 1D6x10 M.D.C. with 4 ft (1.2 m) blast radius per single shot and 3D6x10 M.D.C. with 8 ft blast radius for three round burst. Plasma: 2D4x10 M.D.C. with 12 ft (3.7 m) blast radius per single shot and 6D4x10 M.D.C. with 25 ft (7.6 m) blast radius for three round burst.
    Rate of Fire: Equal to Gunners Hand to Hand (Three round bursts count as one attack).
    Payload: 200 rounds each. Ship normally carries usually carries 75 High Explosive, 75 High Explosive Armor Piercing, and 50 Plasma for each mount.
  2. Medium Range Missile Battery (2): These batteries are located in the middle of the ship where originally torpedo launchers were mounted. They are in the form of a 12 cell box launcher similar to the Pre-Rifts Sea Sparrow box launcher. The systems can launch up to 12 simultaneously each and automatically reloads the launcher after each firing. When not firing, the launcher tilts down to accept reloads. The launcher can use a vast variety of missiles including surface skimming missiles and rocket propelled torpedoes.
    Maximum Effective Range: As per medium range missile type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
    Mega Damage: As per medium range missile type (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), six (6), or twelve (12) missiles.
    Payload: 12 medium range missiles in each launcher with 24 medium range missiles for reloads (72 missiles total)
  3. Short Range Missile Launching Systems (2): Each launcher is mounted on the sides of the superstructure to either side of the trunked funnels. Launcher has the ability to launch 24 Short Range Missiles and automatically reloads every time a missile or missiles are fired. The launcher is fitted with multiple fire control systems and can target missiles on multiple targets. Normal missile mixture is 50% Armor Piercing Missiles and 50% Plasma missiles. Usually the faster surface to air missiles are fired from launcher.
    Maximum Effective Range: As per short range missile type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
    Mega Damage: As per short range missile type (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), six (6), twelve (12), or twenty four (24) missiles.
    Payload: 48 short range missiles each launcher for 96 short range missiles total.
  4. Magical “Cloud of Fog” Generator: This system is built into the ship’s smoke stacks and unlike most magical systems, does not require magical from a spell caster and instead uses the steam from the ships engines to produce the cloud of fog.
    Range: 6,000 feet (1,830 meters) in all directions
    Effect: Produces a fog bank that obscures vision. Visibility is reduced to 60 feet inside the cloud and even with thermal sensors, a penalty of -2 to strike parry and dodge
    Payload: Effectively Unlimited
  5. Techno-Wizard Modifications: The vessel has the following Techno-Wizard Modifications built into the ship. These require P.P.E. or I.S.P. from the ships crew or the ship itself. The P.P.E. and I.S.P. values listed inside of the parenthesis are if using higher P.P.E. costs for larger vehicles.
    Special Features: 
      Breath without Air (4th Level) - 5 P.P.E. or 10 I.S.P. (10 P.P.E. or 20 I.S.P.)
      Impervious to Energy (4th Level) - 20 P.P.E. or 40 I.S.P. (80 P.P.E. or 160 I.S.P.)
      Invisibility-Superior (4th Level) - 20 P.P.E. or 40 I.S.P. (80 P.P.E. or 160 I.S.P.).


Special Systems:
The ship can be considered to have all systems standard on a robot vehicle plus the following special features:

Special Abilities as a Haunted Vehicle: Quirks:



[ Altarian 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, Iron Heart Armaments TM, Kankoran TM, Kittani 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, 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. ]

[ Beyond the Supernatural®, Heroes Unlimited®, Nightbane®, Ninjas & Superspies®, Palladium Fantasy®, and Rifts® are registered trademarks owned by Kevin Siembieda and Palladium Books Inc. ]


Special Credit to Talis D. Merrill (taalismn@pop.tiac.net) for many of the concepts and enchantments / powers for Ghost / Haunted vehicles.


Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).


Copyright © 2009, Kitsune. All rights reserved.



Return