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[Let's Read] Rifts: A Wide Wide World of Weirdness

OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
edited July 2011 in Critical Failures
Rifts_Logo.jpg

Welcome to the Let's Read of the first edition of Rifts!

First, the disclaimer. This is not intended to be a comprehensive reading that would allow you to play the game without actually having access to the book. That level of granularity isn't something I'm interested in exploring, and I doubt it would be even remotely entertaining for me to expound on the import of every punctuation or dangling participle.

This is likewise not meant as a "takedown" or whatever of Palladium Books or the Rifts franchise. In fact, this is nothing of the sort. Instead, this will be akin to a love letter written to a high school sweetheart who provided me with years of joy with very mild abusive overtones only to suffer a psychotic break and require institutionalization after setting my chest hair on fire while I was sleeping because "it was watching [her], it was always watching [her]." I'm still a little bit in love with her, but I've been urged by friends, family and psychiatric professionals to never see her in person ever, ever again. My intent is to plumb the depths of that relationship for humor, while occasionally sneaking onto the hospital grounds for a quick shag.

How this is going to work:
I'm going to be reading through my dog-eared, rapidly-delaminating, page-corners-stained-brown-from-finger-grease copy of the 9th Printing of the original rulebook for Rifts, starting at the very front and working toward the back at whatever pace I deem appropriate in any given week. Having been recently reunited with much of my old Rifts library, I'm feeling the need to inflict it upon as many people as possible. I'll be providing you with the big ideas, some choice quotes and anything else I find entertaining or nostalgic, along with my running commentary, obviously. I will also be interjecting from time to time with things I feel appropriate to the subject at hand in any given post, including quotes, mechanics, etc from later books that might apply. Basically, this is going to be kind of like Willy Wonka in stop motion with less candy, children and brutal contest eliminations, but way more explosions, psychic powers and generalized awesome.

It's worth noting that the various special editions of Rifts are laid out in a different order, have different content (additions AND subtractions, but mostly just additions), etc. I'll be going with the original, 256 page softcover that I started with, and ended up replacing after a few years when the first one had literally fallen apart. One of these days when I figure out how my wife's digital camera works I'll snap a couple pics of the "surviving" copy for you, just so you can see how well worn these books get.

Resources:

Palladium Books' Website If this strikes your fancy, I'm sure they can help you get your own.
"What is Rifts?" straight from the horse's mouth.
Palladium Books on Drivethru RPG For those who prefer the electronic option.

Installments:

Links now updated thanks to Friend of the Thread Spoit. Thanks, pal.

Part 1: The Beginining
Part 2: Character Creation Part 1; WTF is this coma table doing here? [By friend of the thread The Ender]
Part 3: Character Creation Continued: This Will Never End
Part 4: Who Says Palladium Doesn't Have Class?
Part 5: Cyborgs: Nipples Are For The Weak
Part 6: The Coalition; Savior? Fascist? Both?
Part 7: Crazies, Nature's Crazies
Part 8: Paladins Don't Have To Be Morons
Part 9: Disco Dancing Through The Apocalypse
Part 10: Superhumans Need Not Apply
Part 11: When Life Gets Rough, Turn To Drugs
Part 12: Please Stop Bleeding
Part 12: Utility Players Can Die Too
Part 13: The Cutthroat World of Academia
Part 14: Mercy Killing Is Really The Only Way To Go
Part 15: If It's Worth Knowing, It's Worth Sacrificing A Puppy To Cast
Part 15: Walking on Sunshine
Part 15: An Associates Degree In Magic
Part 16: Get Out That Fiddle
Part 17: SCIENCE!
Part 18: Futuristic Extra-Dimensional Space Lizards
Part 19: Braintripping
Part 20: Fire Safety
Part 21: Not Quite Vampires
Part 22: Where Orca Proclaims His Love For Gunfisting
Part 22.1: Wherein We Do The MiniMAC
Part 23: Did Timmy Fall Down The Dimensional Rift? Did He Girl?
Part 24: That Social Outlet We All Wish You Wouldn't Use
Part 25: State Of The Rapidly Crumbling World
Part 26: Trotting The Decimated Globe, Part 1

OptimusZed on
We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. On Hiatus!

Any gamers in the Danville, PA area? PM me if you're interested in some tabletop gaming.
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Posts

  • ForarForar #432 Already prepping for Toronto Fan Expo!Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Oh... oh god no.

    The main book is one thing, but if you started perusing the world books I imagine the real hilarity would be found. The huge descrepancies between things like Vampire Kingdoms (neat, flavourful) to England (leaf armour? Magic teas that do essentially nothing??) to South America (fuck it, everybody gets to violate the moon in a single shot! wtf?), and that's across like a mere 6 world books. Maybe more, but I can't recall at the moment which was a bigger clusterfuck; South America 1 or South America 2.

    ... I'm still pondering hunting down and buying Triax & the NGR 2, but on the up side I'm also thinking of selling off a few more books to make space and perhaps snag a little cash back. I waffle on the matter.

    sigone.png
  • KeldonusKeldonus Registered User
    edited January 2011
    When I come across top-level baddies in 4e books, like Lolth or whatnot, I'm shocked by the incredible damage, huge number of hit points, high defenses, and withering array of attacks and abilities.



    Then I think of Lord Spylnncryth in Rifts: Atlantis, and how he can soak up literally dozens of direct hits with nuclear missiles, escape to any other dimension with what would be in 4e a Free Action, and all the ridiculous stuff.

    And also about how I'm sure many, many Rifts campaigns have managed to kill him. Good game.

  • RingoRingo Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    I'm excited! I know nothing about Rifts aside from that there are Rifts, and they allow you to import any setting you want?

    I know nothing about Rifts

    ceres wrote: »
    I'm just going to go ahead and lock this thread before I feel any worse about humanity.
    AUGMENTOS - Edcrab's Exigency RPG
  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Ringo wrote: »
    I'm excited! I know nothing about Rifts aside from that there are Rifts, and they allow you to import any setting you want?

    I know nothing about Rifts

    Rifts in a nutshell: Great little nuggets of mythology & evocative artwork wrapped up in the most horrendous set of game mechanics ever devised & coupled with the most obtuse, difficult to understand, needlessly complicated character generation system ever put into a serious publication.


    I've tried so very hard to make this game work, and, well, it just don't work. The World Books do not integrate well, the designers regularly contradict themselves on how to interpret complex interactions, combat is a thoroughly unenjoyable chore and the social components of the mechanics... lolz, what social components?

    It's the great tragedy among RPGs - all but unplayable, all but unfixable (for all the work you'd have to do to repair the thing you may as well just go make your own game), but such a feast for the imagination that you'll constantly find yourself coming back and saying, "This time... this time I can make this work..."

    TOG Solid wrote:
    If that guy wasn't white he would have gotten popped by so many tasers simultaneously that Marvel could use that as the new origin for Electro.
  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    It's probably best, if my sainted mother is to be believed, to start at the start.

    Splugorth.jpg

    Then again, I'm not sure she'd approve of starting with some questionably-clothed, well-armed women and a tentacle monster, but violating truisms is really half the reason they exist, isn't it?

    That's it. That's the cover art that convinced my 10 year old self to part with $12 of hard earned mowing money. It was the RPG equivalent of the old "our eyes locked across a smokey, crowded room" scenario; the used book store I frequented with my parents had bought this off of some college kid who needed gas money at the end of the semester, and filed it with the old Archie comics. This enormous (11 1/2 by 8, and about 3/4 of an inch thick) tome cut quite the figure stacked between the comparatively puny adventures of Jughead and crew. Pure kismet.

    That's a group of Blind Amazon Warrior Women acting as bodyguard for a Splugorth Slaver (possibly the big high mucketymuck Lord Splynncryth himself), all riding on an Eyelor Platform. None of which, obviously, were actually in the damn book. All of that stuff came as part of the second "World Book", set in Atlantis. Which I wouldn't see for at least another 4 years. Cue one very confused 10 year old who wasn't quite sure why he found the soldier ladies so interesting but damn well wanted to know more about them right freaking now. Mr. Seimbieda was damn lucky my parents wouldn't provide me with the stamp I needed to send the angry letter I wrote him, and even more lucky that by that afternoon I was already so deeply engrossed in this wonderful new world of laser guns and dragons that I had (mostly) forgotten all about it. At least until later in puberty.

    This kind of thing, though rare in terms of misplaced cover art specifically, was endemic to the Rifts franchise. Books would reference things that could only be found in other books, often in infuriatingly off-handed yet crucially important ways. "See Rifts World Book [Pick One You Don't Have]" was a phrase that plagued my developmental years. That probably explains far more about me and my personality than I had really intended it would.

    And if you weren't sold by the cover, just flip to the first page. That's where you'd find this gem;

    disclaimer.jpg

    This is the standard Palladium Books boilerplate disclaimer for any of their books that contain "violent" or potentially objectionable material. Which is virtually all of them because the books themselves are concentrated awesome, and parents are univerally pretty lame.

    But do yourself a favor, and read that again. Specifically, the last paragraph. Now, tell me there isn't a saner way to say that. "None of us... condone nor encourage... the practice of magic..." Which is to say, by implication, "We here at Palladium Books believe in actual, Merlin/Gandalf-style magic. Please let us influence your children."

    As (probable) grammatical slip ups go, it's pretty mild. But it could be seen as indicative of deep-seeded issues regarding the publisher's rooting in reality, which would probably be borne out by the time a reader got through the character class descriptions and realized that there is an implicit assumption here that a dragon or cyborg is exactly as enticing a character option as the dude whose superpower is his ability to overpack his bindle.

    For the last tidbit I have the energy to touch on today, we come out of the contents and finally onto actual content (of a sort) on page 7. One of the things that is alternatingly loved and loathed about the guys who made Rifts (specifically Kevin Seimbieda) is their willingness (or near compulsion) to share with you their mental process regarding subjects ranging from the fundamental nature of the setting itself to the reason the Rifts CCG folded. In this section, titled "Creating The World of Rifts", Kevin outlines his motivations for taking a shot with the world of Rifts and combining science fiction with fantasy with cyberpunk with every other damn thing under the sun. Most of which boils down to, completely non-judgementally mind you, "WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!". Which is a perfectly valid reason in my mind to do goddamn anything, up to and including self-publishing a roleplaying game.

    Just so we don't end this session with a majority of readers completely in the dark as to exactly what the hulaballo around Rifts is all about, I'll leave you with Seimbieda's synopsis of the events that led to this terriwonderful world we're collectively exploring;
    Nuclear holocaust ignited the destruction of the world as we know it, but it was not the primary instrument of destruction. The sudden destruction of a billion people triggered a surge in the ley lines. All that psychic energy released at once. The sudden influx of psychic energy (P.P.E.) sent the energy rippling through the mystical crossroads of earth like an earthquake. Ley lines flowed with energy that had not been felt for a million years. The energy surged and pulsed and crisscrossed
    across the planet at the speed of light. At ley line intersections (nexus points), rifts in space and time tore open, releasing even more energy. The earth shuddered and heaved. Millions more died, increasing
    the energy level of the rifts.

    ...

    Rifts is a role-playing game that explores the earth created by the
    rifts. An earth that has been irreparably changed and is still changing.
    An earth more alien than any world one might find in another galaxy.
    A world where man must not only conquer himself and the environment,
    but a place where the environment is ever changing and the life forms
    one must compete against are not human.

    Next Time:

    Character Creation!

    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. On Hiatus!

    Any gamers in the Danville, PA area? PM me if you're interested in some tabletop gaming.
  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    I always loved the inside cover WARNING!, which (although I didn't know it at the time) was very clearly intended to try and placate the BADD lobby - and in which Seimbieda accidentally lets slip what a crackpot he is.

    It's also worth noting that in later editions of the core book, the nucelar holocaust explanation (which I thought was simple & elegant enough) has been replaced by an extremely preachy, poorly-written exposition by one of the Rifts mascots that Seimbieda would eventually create in order to establish the series' brand (it didn't work), where the reader is basically told, "Meh. We're too lazy to explain how all this happened. Make up your own reason."

    TOG Solid wrote:
    If that guy wasn't white he would have gotten popped by so many tasers simultaneously that Marvel could use that as the new origin for Electro.
  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    They then went on to re-established a specific source of the craziness with their Chaos Earth series.

    Of course, those were set in the period between the cataclysm and the world of Rifts, so they kind of had to be more specific.

    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. On Hiatus!

    Any gamers in the Danville, PA area? PM me if you're interested in some tabletop gaming.
  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    You know, something I was always curious about: Do you know how well Rifts did financially? I mean, part of me says, "Well, they must've sold well - they wound up with a magazine, all kids of crazy supplements, a cult following, some McFarlane toys, a few video games on some handhelds, all the World Books, etc," ...and then another part of me says, "Yeah, but... how could a game system that is so terribly broken sell so well?"

    TOG Solid wrote:
    If that guy wasn't white he would have gotten popped by so many tasers simultaneously that Marvel could use that as the new origin for Electro.
  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    They did well enough to propagate themselves. Seimbieda tells a story in one of the pre-Rifts Palladium books (I want to say it's TMNT) about how his best friend's mom fronted him the ~$5k necessary to get the book in question to the printers and kick off that product line.

    There was also a big embezzling issue with one of the company's members a few years back that almost sunk them. They made a ton of money on sales from people trying to help out after that, if the stories are to be believed. That's where my Rifts Ultimate Gold Edition with the leather cover and all the autographs came from.

    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. On Hiatus!

    Any gamers in the Danville, PA area? PM me if you're interested in some tabletop gaming.
  • Radical AnsRadical Ans Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Quick question: drivethru RPG has 2 books listed as the 1st edition rules. One for $12.50 and one for $8.50. Which is book that this tread pertains to?

  • KayKay What we need... Is a little bit of PANIC.Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    The first one is the main rulebook, the second seems to be a rules supplement with extra fluff, stuff, and classes.

    ew9y0DD.png
    3DS FCode: 1993-7512-8991
  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Quick question: drivethru RPG has 2 books listed as the 1st edition rules. One for $12.50 and one for $8.50. Which is book that this tread pertains to?
    You want the first one, the one that has the cover image I posted. The second one is the first "sourcebook", which is one of several designations for splats in Palladiumtongue. Sourcebook, World Book, Dimension Book, Adventure Book, Conversion Book, etc. The core rules are all in the book under the first link.

    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. On Hiatus!

    Any gamers in the Danville, PA area? PM me if you're interested in some tabletop gaming.
  • EdcrabEdcrab Registered User
    edited January 2011
    I approve of this thread :^:

    Between Rogue Trader, a GURPS setting book and a few Rifts sourcebooks, I did an awful lot of fluff-reading in my youth, more than I actually played games I think

    cBY55.gifbmJsl.png
  • Void SlayerVoid Slayer Very Suspicious Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    The funny thing about the combat system in rifts is they had several game systems out before it didn't they?

    Like including futuristic combat and magic and all that, yet they never thought to update or clarify the rules.

    Also the rifts sourcebook has all sorts of nice things like witchlings, neural fiends and robot player characters!

    There is literally no balance in this game, you can play an insane alcoholic peasant or a superhuman who can battle dragons and gods on equal terms. Or a monkey. Also all later source book/world book classes and equipment and magic is better then the main book and earlier ones with few exception.

    He's a superhumanly strong soccer-playing romance novelist possessed of the uncanny powers of an insect. She's a beautiful African-American doctor with her own daytime radio talk show. They fight crime!
  • GoodOmensGoodOmens Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    You forgot the guy who gets the 10' super-walking-mech for free whose only meaningful disadvantage is that he has to get out now and then to stretch his legs.

    steam_sig.png
    IOS Game Center ID: Isotope-X
  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    All this is coming, guys.

    Let's not get ahead of ourselves. ;)

    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. On Hiatus!

    Any gamers in the Danville, PA area? PM me if you're interested in some tabletop gaming.
  • PolloDiabloPolloDiablo Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    The balance stuff is the only thing I ever knew about Rifts. It sounds pretty interesting from what you've written so far. I'd be in danger of buying some to see what for if I didn't know there are thirty million books out there for it.

    Also you spelled Gandalf wrong.

    Be excellent to each other you stupid cunts.
  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    The balance stuff is the only thing I ever knew about Rifts. It sounds pretty interesting from what you've written so far. I'd be in danger of buying some to see what for if I didn't know there are thirty million books out there for it.

    Also you spelled Gandalf wrong.
    We'll revise that in a later printing.

    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. On Hiatus!

    Any gamers in the Danville, PA area? PM me if you're interested in some tabletop gaming.
  • EdcrabEdcrab Registered User
    edited January 2011
    And then spell it Gandelf in another sourcebook. Then Gandilf in another later down the line. And then refer to the character as Xarcero in the latest one and confuse the hell out of everyone

    cBY55.gifbmJsl.png
  • SolarSolar Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Ah

    Rifts

    We meet again

  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    I had planned to do the next update, but there's some sort of virus doing 1d6 Mega Damage to my intestines every melee.

    I think I'm going to delay a bit.

    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. On Hiatus!

    Any gamers in the Danville, PA area? PM me if you're interested in some tabletop gaming.
  • ForarForar #432 Already prepping for Toronto Fan Expo!Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    I wonder if I still have the 'seconds chart' my group made up so that people with 6-7 attacks per melee didn't go like 3 times in a row after everyone with 3 or 4 was done. It divided the 15 second melees by your number of attacks, so if you had 3 you'd go every 5 seconds, if you had 5 you'd go every 3 seconds, and less easily worked out numbers involved a little rounding.

    It was complicated but we had a graph with a sliding line for keeping track of where we were and everything. It was pretty sweet.

    sigone.png
  • KeldonusKeldonus Registered User
    edited January 2011
    Forar wrote: »
    I wonder if I still have the 'seconds chart' my group made up so that people with 6-7 attacks per melee didn't go like 3 times in a row after everyone with 3 or 4 was done. It divided the 15 second melees by your number of attacks, so if you had 3 you'd go every 5 seconds, if you had 5 you'd go every 3 seconds, and less easily worked out numbers involved a little rounding.

    It was complicated but we had a graph with a sliding line for keeping track of where we were and everything. It was pretty sweet.

    I have a graph of exactly that, on graph paper, about five feet away from me right this second. We used it for one gaming session that I was running, but the players found it more confusing than just having everyone take turns and people with extra attacks getting a whole bunch of free moves at the end.

  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Forar wrote: »
    I wonder if I still have the 'seconds chart' my group made up so that people with 6-7 attacks per melee didn't go like 3 times in a row after everyone with 3 or 4 was done. It divided the 15 second melees by your number of attacks, so if you had 3 you'd go every 5 seconds, if you had 5 you'd go every 3 seconds, and less easily worked out numbers involved a little rounding.

    It was complicated but we had a graph with a sliding line for keeping track of where we were and everything. It was pretty sweet.

    Funny story: the first time my friends & I actually sat down and tried to play Rifts, we thought that the 'attacks per melee' on a character meant that they got to perform that many attacks in a row, then it moved on to the next combatant, etc.

    That session lasted 1 and a half encounters.

    TOG Solid wrote:
    If that guy wasn't white he would have gotten popped by so many tasers simultaneously that Marvel could use that as the new origin for Electro.
  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    I've got permission from Zed to do the write-up for Character Creation while he's still busy trying to make his P.E. save vs viral intrusion. Post will be up in a little while.

    TOG Solid wrote:
    If that guy wasn't white he would have gotten popped by so many tasers simultaneously that Marvel could use that as the new origin for Electro.
  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    char-creat-rifts.png

    That's the first thing you see when you get to the Character Creation section of the old Rifts main book. Considering how much (mostly really cool) artwork is spread throughout the book, it might come as a shock to learn that the part that should be the most engaging is incredibly sterile: a basic 2-column layout in plain black & white text that reads like a model kit instruction manual.

    A very confusing model kit instruction manual.

    The words 'relatively simple' must've meant something very different to the author than they mean to the rest of us.


    char-creat-rifts2.png


    There's step 1. Roll for 8 different attributes without being given the foggiest idea what any of them represent or what they'll do in the actual game. This problem is endemic throughout the book - Kevin Siembieda loved throwing cryptic acronyms to the player and then explaining half a page later or so what the acronym meant.

    Beyond the confusing presentation, the attributes are pretty standard RPG fare - Strength, Prowess, Endurance, Intelligence, Mental Affinity, Mental Endurance, Beauty and Speed. They could've trimmed it down to 5 or 6 attributes pretty easily, but this was in the era of, "More is more!", so I can understand the designer's urge to slap on some excess.


    "Hey," you might say, "the attribute list might be a little bloated, and the acronyms might be confusing at first - but it seems pretty simple so far."

    Well...


    char-creat-rifts3.png

    char-creat-rifts4.png

    char-creat-rifts5.png


    "Oh my God what the Hell is this I don't even..."


    This is something else endemic to the entire Rifts franchise - the authors like to get into the specfics of absolutely everything, and rather than give some simple general rules, provide extensive charts & percentile die ranges - and put this information in the weirdest places. What rules about how to recover from a coma are doing in the Character Creation section is quite the mystery.

    None of what I posted, by the way, is anything past step 2 of the 'simple' 8 step process of making a character. It takes hours to have a character ready for use, even after you're familiar with the system and all of the acronyms.

    OCC's (Occupational Character Classes), RCCs (Racial Character Classes) and MDC (Mega Damage Capacity) really deserve their own separate articles, so I'll leave those alone.


    Bluntly, the Character Creation part of the main book is almost unreadable, and is easily the second worst section of the whole flawed enterprise (right behind the Combat section). It's confusing, time consuming and information is almost never presented either in the correct order or on the same page as related information - which means you'll be constantly paging back and forth through the thing & dog earing sections to remember where you last left off.

    There's a reason that a well used Rifts book is guaranteed to be a well worn one.

    TOG Solid wrote:
    If that guy wasn't white he would have gotten popped by so many tasers simultaneously that Marvel could use that as the new origin for Electro.
  • MatevMatev Hugs? Hugs are for nerdsRegistered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Oh, Palladium books.....Rifts.....:shock:

    "Go down, kick ass, and set yourselves up as gods, that's our Prime Directive!"
    Spoiler:
  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Good work, Ender.

    I had a fairly long response to your entry typed up here, then I managed to exit the page. This disease must be draining my P.P. (or I.Q.).

    Maybe I'll work on a full-scale response entry once I'm not dying.

    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. On Hiatus!

    Any gamers in the Danville, PA area? PM me if you're interested in some tabletop gaming.
  • HorseshoeHorseshoe Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Man the flu this season is fucking awful.

    It's been kicking my ass, too.

    Also my brain.

    OZ, thank you for starting this thread, this is great <3

    dmsigsmallek3.jpg
  • SolarSolar Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Man Rifts is complex and confusing but it aint got nothing on Battlelords

    You want to make an attack roll?
    Spoiler:

    Now that is a damn complex game (Still love it though). And even that doesn't compare to Rolemaster. Each weapon has it's own D100 crit table what the fucking fuck.

  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Solar wrote: »
    Man Rifts is complex and confusing but it aint got nothing on Battlelords

    You want to make an attack roll?
    Spoiler:

    Now that is a damn complex game (Still love it though). And even that doesn't compare to Rolemaster. Each weapon has it's own D100 crit table what the fucking fuck.

    It's really not even the complexity - it's that it's no fun. It takes forever to get through an encounter, partly because of all the steps involved, partly because things are so difficult to kill and have about 54598405409 different ways to block damage/regenerate damage. It's round after round of the same repetitive action until you either finally grind away the bad guys are go totally batshit crazy and light your Rifts (TM) books on fire.

    Don't even get me started on trying to use spells in the middle of combat (have fun repeatedly paging through the dog eared magic section of the relevant books) or trying to make called shots on enemies (no standarization; every single damn enemy has different modifiers for different body parts).

    TOG Solid wrote:
    If that guy wasn't white he would have gotten popped by so many tasers simultaneously that Marvel could use that as the new origin for Electro.
  • SolarSolar Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    The Ender wrote: »
    Solar wrote: »
    Man Rifts is complex and confusing but it aint got nothing on Battlelords

    You want to make an attack roll?
    Spoiler:

    Now that is a damn complex game (Still love it though). And even that doesn't compare to Rolemaster. Each weapon has it's own D100 crit table what the fucking fuck.

    It's really not even the complexity - it's that it's no fun. It takes forever to get through an encounter, partly because of all the steps involved, partly because things are so difficult to kill and have about 54598405409 different ways to block damage/regenerate damage. It's round after round of the same repetitive action until you either finally grind away the bad guys are go totally batshit crazy and light your Rifts (TM) books on fire.

    Don't even get me started on trying to use spells in the middle of combat (have fun repeatedly paging through the dog eared magic section of the relevant books) or trying to make called shots on enemies (no standarization; every single damn enemy has different modifiers for different body parts).

    Oh yeah the complexity and non-standardness and all that makes Rifts a pain in the ass. I was just saying that games can be more complex than it is and still they are more fun to play (as I said, I still love Battlelords!)

  • KayKay What we need... Is a little bit of PANIC.Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Solar wrote: »
    Now that is a damn complex game (Still love it though). And even that doesn't compare to Rolemaster. Each weapon has it's own D100 crit table what the fucking fuck.

    Combat in Rolemaster.

    You're attacking an enemy? Okay! Open the Arms Law book, and find your weapon in there. Done it? Neat! Now roll a percentile die, add your skill bonus and static bonuses and penalties, apply your opponent's defense bonus, and find the column for your weapon attacking the enemy's armour type.

    Done that? Cool! Look at the code. Right, that's the number of HP damage you do, and if there's a letter, that's the crit severity. Flip to the crit for the damage type indicated in the table! Now roll and consult the correct column. There's your crit! Did you roll a 66? Awesome! No matter how severe the crit was, your opponent explodes!

    Oh, what's that? You're casting a spell? Open your copy of Spell Law, and look for your spell! Now look for your opponent's armour column...

    Oh, the enemy's attacking back? Open your copy of Claw Law, and look for that opponent's attack type!

    You get the picture. And rolling a 66 in that game was awesome. I had two characters die in the first session of a game (one in Rolemaster, one in the space version, I'm sure there was a space version) due to a shitty roll and crit on a basic skill check. One was horsemanship (thrown from the horse, broke neck, died) and the other was zero-g maneuvering in a ship toilet during a meteor storm. Fantastic.

    In Rifts, I just had some 8 foot tall wolf-man thing with magic leaf armour who could pull laser cannons out of pocket dimensions, and stop time. And he was the LEAST powerful character in the group.

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  • GoodOmensGoodOmens Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Ah, the foolishness of youth. I remember thinking that Rifts was the coolest fucking game EVAR!

    Of course, I also had, and enjoyed, a copy of World of Synnibar. Also Kult. And even, God help me, HOL. Look it up some time.

    Never actually played any of these, mind you.

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  • RingoRingo Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    These are the things that kept me out of Pen and Paper RPGs for most of my life. Reading and realizing that any time I wanted to do anything I'd have to drag out the relevant book and consult three different tables? Fuck no, I'd rather my DM pretended to roll and just told me whatever he thought would be the most fun.

    ceres wrote: »
    I'm just going to go ahead and lock this thread before I feel any worse about humanity.
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  • HorseshoeHorseshoe Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Ringo wrote: »
    These are the things that kept me out of Pen and Paper RPGs for most of my life. Reading and realizing that any time I wanted to do anything I'd have to drag out the relevant book and consult three different tables? Fuck no, I'd rather my DM pretended to roll and just told me whatever he thought would be the most fun.

    This is basically how me and my friends managed to play AD&D in your youth.

    Ultimately, the rules weren't that important.

    I mean seriously we didn't understand them that well at all.

    A lot of it was throw dice, make shit up based on that number, continue to play and have fun.

    I think I enjoyed D&D back then because the rules were impossible.

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  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    After the first couple years of GMing Rifts, it basically just became improvisational dice roll theatre.

    It's where I got the flair for changing rules on the fly to suit my mood that I still fight with today. You just aren't going to make it through a session of Rifts without that kind of flexibility.

    There may or may not be an update today, depending on whether or not I can find my notes for Dark Sun tonight that I made before Christmas.

    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. On Hiatus!

    Any gamers in the Danville, PA area? PM me if you're interested in some tabletop gaming.
  • EdcrabEdcrab Registered User
    edited January 2011
    Horseshoe wrote: »
    Ringo wrote: »
    These are the things that kept me out of Pen and Paper RPGs for most of my life. Reading and realizing that any time I wanted to do anything I'd have to drag out the relevant book and consult three different tables? Fuck no, I'd rather my DM pretended to roll and just told me whatever he thought would be the most fun.

    This is basically how me and my friends managed to play AD&D in your youth.

    Ultimately, the rules weren't that important.

    I mean seriously we didn't understand them that well at all.

    A lot of it was throw dice, make shit up based on that number, continue to play and have fun.

    I think I enjoyed D&D back then because the rules were impossible.

    Haha, ditto. I believe after ten minutes of struggling to fight a single goblin I told the party "you kill it, let's move on the next room" and began learning the fine art of lying through my teeth.

    And seriously though Zed, thanks for this thread. I know we mock Rifts a lot but it had its upsides and the nostalgia rush is much appreciated

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  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Character Creation Continued: This Will Never End

    Attributes and S.D.C (revisited),

    Esteemed Friend of the Thread (or EFotT) The Ender did a great overview of the attributes and inexplicably placed coma recovery section over the weekend. While I think it was excellent work overall, as with so many things about Rifts, there are a couple of things I wanted to touch on in a slightly different way. This is a franchise and company that generates objectionably humorous details at an alarming rate.

    Like this one;

    space.jpg

    This is (mostly) the attribute description posted by our good friend The Ender a few days ago. You'll notice that part of it has been oh so professionally highlighted by yours truly. It's not much, just a missing space. But it's a missing space in a line of accronyms in the first place your new players are getting to learn about the basic rules of your game. And I know for a fact that this typo persisted through AT LEAST 3 printings, because it was there in my original copy that has since fallen apart. It's been fixed by the time they got to the 9th printing apparently, but I have no idea how long it persisted between the two. It probably would have just been easier to add "andSPD" to the list of alphabet soup phrases players needed to learn.

    More generally, let's look at the listed Attributes;

    Physical Strength
    Physical Prowess
    Physical Endurance
    Intelligence Quotient
    Mental Endurance
    Mental Affinity
    Physical Beauty
    Speed

    Of course, what we're really looking at here is;

    Strength
    Dexterity
    Constitution
    Intelligence
    Wisdom
    Charisma
    Speed

    Granted, they've broken Charisma up into two (extremely unwieldy) parts, but it's basically D&D attributes with designators for physical and mental. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, but I think the extra levels of accronym at play here were probably unnecessary. As was randomly determining foot speed because holy crap was it not cool to roll a 3 and effectively crawl to cover every firefight.

    There's a lot to say here, but I think I'll probably leave it for now. One thing that does deserve a quick mention is the bonuses to Charm/Impress for P.B. (when M.A. is noted as being a measure of personal charm) and Impress/Intimidate for M.A. (because beauty isn't impressive) that aren't actually referenced anywhere else in the book. If you want to meaningful interact with other people in Rifts, you'll need at least 17 points in M.A. or P.B. or you're completely out of luck. No other mechanics for social interactions are ever presented.

    Oh, and there's the fact that you can't have a mental attribute of 16. Straight up cannot happen. You either roll a 15 and miss out on bonuses or you roll a 16+ and get an extra die roll to push you up to a potential max of 24. Physical attributes get around this by virtue of there being tons of ways of boosting your 15 (or 14, or 12) to 16 via skills and OCC bonuses which we'll be covering later. But you're born as smart as you're going to get, so if one of those dice comes up a 1, no grad school for you.

    Ok, on to the damage capacity rules. This should be quick;

    They're pointless. Move on.

    Wow, that was easier than I expected. Glad we did this.

    What? You want more? Jesus, just take take take.

    Ok, fine; Roll your S.D.C. You're a Merc? Great, that's 1d4x10. Wow! A 4! Excellent. Ok, you have 40 S.D.C. What's your P.E.? 22? That's impressive. Roll that 1d6 to add to your total. A 6?! That's awesome, you're a really tough dude. So that's 40 S.D.C. and 28 hit points. Congratulations, seriously.

    *whistle*

    *clank*

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    What's that? Oh, that's just a Wilk's laser pistol. Its an extremely low output laser weapon. You just won't find anything weaker on the market, seriously. Old ladies carry these to the Chi-Town bingo parlor to scare off dirty old men and the occasional dog. EVERYBODY has this. Well, at least this. Most have something far, far larger.

    It does 1d4x100 S.D.C./Hit Point damage. Per shot. It can do that 20 times before reloading. That's 20 self-cauterizing holes straight through your body that your maximum rolls for S.D.C. and badass faunt of hit points simply can't stop from happening.

    This section isn't worth the paper it's printed on. Welcome to Rifts.

    Now on to something much more relevant; Psionics

    First the table, then the background.

    The table;

    psionics.jpg

    The background;

    Having no psionics is, well, normal. You don't have psychic powers, your character doesn't have psychic powers, it's pretty simple really.

    Having major psionics is kind of a mixed bag. You get a selection of mental abilities of your choice, most of which aren't terribly useful, and the number of skills you get and your bonuses to skills both take a significant hit. "Look ma, I can move the fork with my mind. No, I didn't do my homework." You also get looked at very differently by the primary protaganists of the setting, so be ready for that. I hear barcodes are very in this year.

    Having minor psionics, though? Pure upside. Sure, you only get a couple of powers, but you don't take any skill penalties and nobody really cares that you get intensely disturbing flashes by Object Reading your uncle's old porn vids.

    I'll be covering psionics more thoroughly in a later installment, once we finally make it out of the woods of these 4 pages of "character creation" rules.

    What they don't cover in this section, and really really should have, is that there are classes out there that have their own potential for psionics, or are indeed based around psionics. So if I'm playing a dude who spent his youth learning to melt other people's brains with his brain, do I still get to roll to check and see if he's also a "minor" psionic? Since this is Rifts, clarification is not forthcoming. This is just a small taste of the coming hell.

    Next Time:

    O.C.C.s, R.C.C.s, P.P.E., BMGs, OMG

    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. On Hiatus!

    Any gamers in the Danville, PA area? PM me if you're interested in some tabletop gaming.
  • KeldonusKeldonus Registered User
    edited January 2011
    Characters having a few simple psionic powers, namely Object Read, Presence Sense, Hypnotic Suggestion, See Aura, and Telekinesis trivialize so many encounters, I had to design adventures, challenges, and combat around them to present any threat to my players.

    I'm pretty sure every single notable villain I made in the last several years of GMing Palladium games had both Mind-Block Auto Defense and Alter Aura active at all times to present at least some modicum of mystery or challenge beyond being simply out-gunned.


    As for the PB/MA charm/impress/trust/intimidate, we rarely used those, primarily charming/impressing/etc through either Hypnotic Suggestion (ie the Jedi Mind Trick), which at least one character in any party invariably had, or through vastly superior firepower, intimidating the old-fashioned way.

    And I know I'm jumping the gun a bit by mentioning a skill, and I'm not sure if Running (the skill) was implemented in this version of Rifts, but the entire existence of a Speed attribute became completely superfluous by the ability of every single character to take Running. It gave you a slight bonus to your PE score, but 4d4 additional points of Spd. So, at the absolute worst, you have at least a 7, which is just slowish-average. But, at the max, you could potentially have a character with a Spd of 40, which I think gives you the ability to jog at about 28 mph. Either way, most characters that took this skill (that is, all characters) wound up with a speed of 18-25[a speed of 22, with Palladium's scale, nets you a 4-minute mile IIRC], which makes every single person a potential Olympic sprinter.

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