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

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  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Installment 4: Who says Palladium doesn't have class?

    In the interest of getting to the concentrated awesome that is the greater world of Rifts, we're going to be plowing through some serious territory today. On the docket are such wonders as the overview of the OCC/RCC/PCC system, a short sidebar about alignment, how XP are handled and everybody's favorite 7 pages of Palladium nonsense; skills. We should probably get started.


    Classes of Classes, or; Why These Things I Do With My Brain Aren't The Same As Skills

    Those of you that have played other RPGs are probably familiar with the concept of Character Classes. In any system that actively plays toward archetypes (*cough*D&D*cough*) they are an essential element of that system. Even in systems that are nominally more freeform, you will likely see some aspect of character classing, divisions between what one kind of character can do an what another, different character can do.

    Palladium is a pretty classic example of the archetypal model. The types of characters are separated by what they can do and what they represent in the world, and crossover between archetypes never happen.

    Unless they do.

    Which turns the system on it's head and gets into territory which (in what will soon become a running theme in this thread, I'm afraid) the authors simply pretend makes total sense without even attempting to explain.

    How this happens is an artifact of the divisions between character classes, so we should probably talk about that.

    O.C.C.s make up the bulk of the Character Classes in the game. These are Occupational Character Classes, based around training or skills or something like that. Learned stuff, basically, or augmentation. Everyone from Headhunters to Cyber-Knights to Operators are members of an O.C.C. As are most spellcasters, because magic is something you learn to do in Rifts.

    P.C.C.s are Psychic Character Classes. These are people with psychic powers. Their class is not occupational, since it requires them to have been borne with psychic ability. Therefore, it's a P.C.C. instead of an O.C.C., but it is otherwise very similar.

    The last category is R.C.C., and this is where things get wonky. R.C.C. stands for Racial Character Class, which in any other game would simply be "race" or "species". But unlike, say, D&D where your race is separate from your class, nearly all non-humans in Rifts have a character class that is directly associated with their race. Dragon Hatchlings have one, Dog Boys have one, Psi-Stalkers have one, etc. If you want to go outside the main book, there's one for Tengu, one for Mind Bleeders, one for Whales, etc.

    The problem arises in that each of these R.C.C.s generally has two parts. First is the laundry list special abilities that the race has, such as psychic powers, natural attacks, combat abilities, etc. The second is the skill list for the class. So which of those are racial abilities and which are class abilities? If you answered "the skills" for the second part, you're probably mostly correct, but you're missing some crucial points I think.

    O.C.C.s in Rifts let your character (assumed to be human beforehand) go through some crazy changes. One specific O.C.C. implants a machine in your guy that pumps him full of synthetic hormones and gives him tons of special abilities. Now, what happens when we do that same thing to a Psi-Stalker or a Dog Boy? They've already got a bunch of special abilities, do they just stack them all up? Do we end up with a juiced psi-stalker with a half dozen attacks every turn and massive amounts of (ultimately pointless) S.D.C. because they decided to go the Juicer route for their C.C. instead of the Psi-Stalker route?

    What does this guy;

    psistalker.jpg

    Plus this guy;

    juicernaked.jpg

    make?

    Turns out, it makes this guy;

    psychostalker.jpg

    Who not only has the abilities of both, but some extra stuff that really came out of nowhere.

    Not that we would find out for something like 13 more books. And this is just one corner case that got addressed. Want to play a Dog Boy Operator? A Dragon Crazy? An Elf Wizard? There are no rules for this. So either suck it up, bash something together or convince your GM to write something else up for you play, because god knows it can't be any worse than something that's already here.


    Alignment, or; Yes, It's Pointless Here, Too

    Palladium has an alignment system, and it's largely pointless like virtually every other alignment system. In fairness to Palladium, though, it's pointless in a way that at least attempts to describe actual people, unlike some other systems that were in the market at the time that based alignment on unknowable cosmic principles and which will remain nameless.

    Alignments are divided into Good, Selfish and Evil, or Good and Evil, depending on who is writing the World Book in question. Good alignments are Principled (think Gallahad), Scrupulous (think Dirty Harry) and sometimes Unprincipled (think Han Solo). Evil alignments are Anarchist (truly selfish bastard), Miscreant (petty criminal), Diabolic (criminal mastermind, sociopath), and Abberant (dark knight, honorable evil). To Palladium's credit, each is internally consistent and manages to actually describe believable human behavior. Which is a hell of a lot better than some systems in place at the time.

    Granted, the idea of alignment is crap. But at least this wasn't the worst system ever devised, which makes it that much better than the rest of the book.


    Experience Points, or; You'll Level Up When I Damn Well Say You Do

    XP gain in Rifts is 100% GM fiat. You gain XP when the GM decides you do, period. And your buddy might get 5000 XP in a session, while you get 200, based on the GM's approval of your performance. You then apply your XP totals to these tables;

    xptables.jpg

    There isn't really any more to be said about that, I guess. Just another artifact of Palladium-style weirdness.

    We're going to skip the Insanity section, for now. We'll be back, though. Oh, we'll be back.


    Skills, or; You're Probably Going To Wish You'd Trained Climb

    Oh, skills. Not only are you the primary means of character differentition within any given class, you are also one of the more arcane and unrealistic mechanics in the book.

    There are something like 200 skills in the main Rifts book. Virtually every World Book adds at least a few more. The Rifts Ultimate Gold Edition in my nightstand has over 350 listed skills. But we're not talking about that edition. Yet.

    The skills are broken down into categories, which are then referenced in O.C.C. descriptions in terms of which skills a character can select. Which skills a class has access to goes a long way toward determining what kind of character that class produces. For example, only two classes in the game get unfettered access to the Medical category of skills, the Body Fixer and the Cyber Doc, and they are obviously the doctors of the setting.

    Most characters will end up with somewhere between 20 and 40 skills after finishing character creation. Obviously, this is going to leave a lot of skills untaken, even across an entire party. So if you're going to need to get that old suit of power armor running again at some point, make sure you bring along someone who can.

    The most annoying thing about skills, though, is that if you're not trained in something you can't, by the rules, try. Don't have basic electronics? You don't have even a random chance of properly connecting battery leads for your flashlight. Don't know first aid? Apparently you don't understand that blood is supposed to stay on the inside. Don't have the Climbing skill? Hope you don't find yourself at the bottom of a ravine at some point.

    And this extends to anything. You can't drive a car unless you spend a skill on it. You can't cook unless you spend a skill on it. Unless you take Astronomy, which is a relatively restricted skill, you actually think the moon is made of cheese.

    The best part? There are skills for sneaking into a room (Prowl), building furniture (Carpentry) and recognizing n'eer do wells on the street (Streetwise). NONE OF WHICH YOU CAN DO WITHOUT TRAINING.
    And forget basic addition without the Math skill. 2 + 4 = 19 dummy, kind of regretting going with Weight Training for that secondary skill choice now, huh?

    There is also no way to specialize in a skill in any way. Each has a base proficiency (given as a percentage chance for success) which improves incrementally at each level. Here's an example, for reference;

    swimming.jpg

    Classes will have bonuses to certain skills, or entire categories of skills that make them better than the base. It's usually +10% or so, but can go as high as +30%.

    There is no discussion in the book about situational modifiers to skills, either positive or negative, or any sort of personal specialization in a given skill. Or the use of skills untrained. Or any discussion at all, really, except the list of skills itself.

    So someone trained in Swimming has a 50% chance at level 1 of drowning in calm water near a beach and of surviving a storm at sea and swimming to shore. Someone untrained in swimming is in serious danger if they find themselves in proximity to a particularly large pot of water.

    It's also worth pointing out that boiling water (with the Cooking skill) requires identical brainspace to piloting combat aircraft (Pilot: Jet Aircraft) and curing cancer (Medical Doctor). Each is a single skill selection. Kind of makes you wonder why the local community college isn't turning out more nuclear engineers, huh?

    Ah, Palladium.

    Next Time:

    Actual Classes! We're starting with this guy;

    redborg.jpg

    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.
  • OctoparrotOctoparrot Registered User
    edited January 2011
    Forar wrote: »
    ... Zed, when we get to Power Armour, I'm afraid I may just have to pull out an article of my own.

    Maybe Psionics too, but I'll probably just save that for some lengthy ranting when we get to the powers and PCCs.

    Glitterboys were quaint, highly armoured and hit like trucks, but they were one trick ponys.

    If you want a walking arsenal, you had to go out of the Americas...

    Okay, America. South America had batshit crazy power creep. Fucking Carella.

    One trick is all you need, unless you had a GM hellbent on forcing some roleplaying on you.

    I forgot which worldbook, but one of them was loaded with glitterboy variants, each one more powerful than the last. Probably the same one with the infamous 'glitter girl'.

    Edit: Also Palladium skills are ridiculous. Everyone stacking Gymnastics and shit. Like 5 pages of philosophy skills nobody took.

    the GOP shouldn't give a rats ass about them since they won't vote for them. If someone won't vote for you they might as well not exist.
  • MatevMatev Benjamin Warsaw, Action Six News! It's Benji.......like the dogRegistered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Glitter boys are raw sex, and goofy as fuck at the same time. I remember trying to roll one once, I never finished....

    "Go down, kick ass, and set yourselves up as gods, that's our Prime Directive!"
    Spoiler:
  • ForarForar #432 Toronto, Ontario, CanadaRegistered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Octoparrot wrote: »
    One trick is all you need, unless you had a GM hellbent on forcing some roleplaying on you.

    I forgot which worldbook, but one of them was loaded with glitterboy variants, each one more powerful than the last. Probably the same one with the infamous 'glitter girl'.

    Edit: Also Palladium skills are ridiculous. Everyone stacking Gymnastics and shit. Like 5 pages of philosophy skills nobody took.

    Depends on how evil the DM felt like being in regards to how perilous your footing was. Remember, Glitterboys had to lock down to fire without knocking themselves on their asses, and when you're putting out 3d6x10 MDC per shot (double on a crit), it's fully justified to make that character's life very difficult every chance you got.

    And if I'm not mistaken, that was Free Quebec, which did indeed have a number of interesting varients, and a few batshit crazy ones.

    sigtwo.png
  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Unofficial Addendum to Chapter 4 : Power Creep (or, "Why the Main Book is the one you'll turn to the least often.")

    I want you to take a good look at all of these skills and character classes that Zed just finished touching on:


    rifts-skills.png

    rifts-skills2.png

    rifts-oocs.png


    ...Every single one of these skills and classes? There is, almost across the board, zero point in taking them. Every single useful skill and class from the main book has been superseded by a hugely improved version in another book. Want a Juicer? Grab Juicer Uprising. Want a Glitter Boy? Grab Free Quebec. Want a power armor pilot? Grab Triax & the NGR or Coalition War Campaign. Want a Dragon Hatchling? Grab Conversion Book 1. Want a Borg? Grab Warlords of Russia.

    The power creep is shameless to the point of rendering nearly everything in the core book irrelevant except the base mechanics of the game. It's annoying when it comes to things like O.C.C.s and R.C.C.s and P.C.C.s; when it comes to skills, though? It'll make you pull your hair out. Lots of books decided to merge some of the most important basic skills (Climbing being the most notorious 'must pick' skill) together into one conglomerate skill - so, if you're interested in trying to maximize your skill picks to deal with the game's skill check lunacy, you have to go through literally thousands of entries in order to find the appropriate gestalt skills for your 'toon.

    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.
  • DenadaDenada Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Man, I remember trying to sit down and create a Glitter Boy for myself in my youth. I wrote "Glitter Boy" on the sheet and then had no idea what to do next. Good times.

    On a slightly related note, I have a Rifts core book and Rifts Atlantis if anyone wants them. Just help me pay for shipping and they're yours. I need shelf space for my Gamma World stuff.

  • HachfaceHachface Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    "Glitter Boy" sounds incredibly gay.

    That is all.

  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Hachface wrote: »
    "Glitter Boy" sounds incredibly gay.

    That is all.
    and how

    It looks a little gay, too.

    Like it's the alien robot representative on the Village People.

    GB.jpg

    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.
  • chiasaur11chiasaur11 Never doubt a raccoon. Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    Hachface wrote: »
    "Glitter Boy" sounds incredibly gay.

    That is all.
    and how

    It looks a little gay, too.

    Like it's the alien robot representative on the Village People.

    GB.jpg

    That's the thing.

    It looks a little gay, as you said.

    Like, if someone found a picture, called you over, and said "Is it just me, or does this robot seem... into dudes?"

    You'd pause for a second and say "Yeah, I suppose it is a little gay looking. Like the Katayanagi robot that was too busy making out with Wallace to fight Scott Pilgrim or something."

    And then they'd look at you funny.

    But if they added "It's called a glitter boy" you'd say something more resembling "That robot is gay as fuck. Butt fuck. Because that is the kind of..."

    And then they'd shut you up and you'd be even worse off socially, but they would agree the robot was pretty likely to be into dudes. Like, incredibly likely. Picture alone, you wouldn't risk breaking up a robot family with three lovely robot children over. Name comes in, things change.

  • RynaRyna Registered User
    edited January 2011
    No matter haw many times I've gone back to Rifts I've never understood the R.C.C. O.C.C thing.

    Ok, its explained in the first book that you can have either an O.C.C. or be an R.C.C. , but then in later books theres R.C.C.s that are able to take O.C.C.s, like a headhunter psi-stalker, or a Borg Dogboy.

    I remember there was a rule released from palladiumbooks.com regarding this, but then with the release of another worldbook, this rule was thrown out the window with some weird R.C.C. Juicer..

    maddening!

  • AriviaArivia Registered User
    edited January 2011
    Ryna wrote: »
    No matter haw many times I've gone back to Rifts I've never understood the R.C.C. O.C.C thing.

    Ok, its explained in the first book that you can have either an O.C.C. or be an R.C.C. , but then in later books theres R.C.C.s that are able to take O.C.C.s, like a headhunter psi-stalker, or a Borg Dogboy.

    I remember there was a rule released from palladiumbooks.com regarding this, but then with the release of another worldbook, this rule was thrown out the window with some weird R.C.C. Juicer..

    maddening!

    So basically it's like any other rule in any other long standing supplement based RPG.

    huntresssig.jpg
  • HorseshoeHorseshoe Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    Hachface wrote: »
    "Glitter Boy" sounds incredibly gay.

    That is all.
    and how

    It looks a little gay, too.

    Like it's the alien robot representative on the Village People.

    GB.jpg

    zed when you told me that Glitter Boys were going to be everything I was hoping and more

    you were so right

    dmsigsmallek3.jpg
  • ForarForar #432 Toronto, Ontario, CanadaRegistered User regular
    edited January 2011
    _.C.C.'s were basically an excuse for massive, unabashed power gaming.

    The reasonable thing was to go with one. And only one. And even then the word "balance" was a thing of myth and legend.

    Want to go batshit crazy? Go with a Racial Character Class (what you were born as), throw on a Psychic Character Class (a twist of fate!), add an Occupational Character Class (what you were trained to do), and hell maybe another (let's say you go hardcore and snag a Juicer or Crazy rig).

    Edit: V We had a player who's sole goal in the game was breaking magic. CoA abuse led to a lot of ruling debates.

    sigtwo.png
  • PolloDiabloPolloDiablo Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    I'm not sure I get the difference between that alignment system and something like D&D. How is Principled not just Lawful Good? They all seem to match up to an existing alignment the way you've described it.

    Be excellent to each other you stupid cunts.
  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    I'm not sure I get the difference between that alignment system and something like D&D. How is Principled not just Lawful Good? They all seem to match up to an existing alignment the way you've described it.
    There are definite parallels there, undeniably. Principled looks a lot like Lawful Good, Scrupulous kind of looks like Chaotic Good from the right angle, Miscreant/Diabolic both kind of seem like maybe they're Chaotic Evil at first glance, etc. The difference, to me at least, is that they don't try to make claims of rooting in some grander scale than the individuals' outlooks and motivations. For example;

    unprincipled.jpg

    Note that this addresses specific actions and not placement on a moral or ethical continuum. Could you play such a character as Lawful Neutral in D&D? Absolutely, though the willingness to lie and cheat would be somewhat out of place but that can be explained in any number of ways through roleplay. You could theoretically also do it with a Chaotic Neutral character, though my experience with those would point me more toward Miscreant.

    But to me the bottom line is that Palladium alignments try to describe, in rather broad terms obviously, a type of person rather than a fundamental philosophical truth. I find that both refreshing (as far as RPG alignments go) and much more useful than a dot placed somewhere on an ethical grid, I guess.

    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.
  • SteelhawkSteelhawk Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    IIRC, unlike D&D, there was nothing else in Rifts that ever referenced alignment again.

    Games & Characters:
  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Steelhawk wrote: »
    IIRC, unlike D&D, there was nothing else in Rifts that ever referenced alignment again.
    Nothing that I can remember, no.

    Alignment was basically a way of giving GMs an instant insight into how a printed NPC would act in a given situation. Beyond that it was pretty much ignored.

    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.
  • OctoparrotOctoparrot Registered User
    edited January 2011
    Ahahahaha I just found a picture of Erin Tarn, she looks like Ayn Rand with a Jedi Rattail.

    the GOP shouldn't give a rats ass about them since they won't vote for them. If someone won't vote for you they might as well not exist.
  • ForarForar #432 Toronto, Ontario, CanadaRegistered User regular
    edited January 2011
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    Steelhawk wrote: »
    IIRC, unlike D&D, there was nothing else in Rifts that ever referenced alignment again.
    Nothing that I can remember, no.

    Alignment was basically a way of giving GMs an instant insight into how a printed NPC would act in a given situation. Beyond that it was pretty much ignored.

    For most people/characters alignment was basically a descriptor of behaviour.

    However, supernatural creatures that were evil actually radiated that in a detectable manner. I recall there being a Sense Evil sensitive psychic power, and I think it could be seen with See Aura. Sensitive psychics (which I don't believe is ever actually detailed, but assumed to be a psychic with powers from the sensitive catagory... which is most of them) could also feel this innately within close proximity, and some PCCs had abilities that would let them do so at greater ranges.

    sigtwo.png
  • MatevMatev Benjamin Warsaw, Action Six News! It's Benji.......like the dogRegistered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Forar wrote: »
    For most people/characters alignment was basically a descriptor of behaviour.

    However, supernatural creatures that were evil actually radiated that in a detectable manner. I recall there being a Sense Evil sensitive psychic power, and I think it could be seen with See Aura. Sensitive psychics (which I don't believe is ever actually detailed, but assumed to be a psychic with powers from the sensitive catagory... which is most of them) could also feel this innately within close proximity, and some PCCs had abilities that would let them do so at greater ranges.

    Pretty much spot on, I learned this when feverishly working on rolling up on a character last night. Why, oh god why you ask? Because I've gone mad from sleep deprivation.

    "Go down, kick ass, and set yourselves up as gods, that's our Prime Directive!"
    Spoiler:
  • OctoparrotOctoparrot Registered User
    edited January 2011
    So much of this shit they just copypasta'd from TMNT or Heroes Unlimited or PFRPG. Pyrokineses brought to my attention they never bothered listing damage types for a lot of their entries.

    the GOP shouldn't give a rats ass about them since they won't vote for them. If someone won't vote for you they might as well not exist.
  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    I'm pretty sure they just have one writeup for virtually everything that they just piece together for individual books.

    Virtually the entire Psionics section in the Rifts main book is reproduced from Beyond the Supernatural, where it was a direct copy from Heroes Unlimited, which got the hand-me-down from TMNT.

    Skills, Combat Rules, Alignment, conventional weapons, etc. Any time they can shamelessly reprint the same thing again, they'll do it.

    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.
  • OctoparrotOctoparrot Registered User
    edited January 2011
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    I'm pretty sure they just have one writeup for virtually everything that they just piece together for individual books.

    Virtually the entire Psionics section in the Rifts main book is reproduced from Beyond the Supernatural, where it was a direct copy from Heroes Unlimited, which got the hand-me-down from TMNT.

    Skills, Combat Rules, Alignment, conventional weapons, etc. Any time they can shamelessly reprint the same thing again, they'll do it.

    As we were talking about skills, at least they had the decency to trim out Ikebana, Go, Pilot: Racecar, Marxism/Leninism/Maoism, etc.

    the GOP shouldn't give a rats ass about them since they won't vote for them. If someone won't vote for you they might as well not exist.
  • Void SlayerVoid Slayer Very Suspicious Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Octoparrot wrote: »
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    I'm pretty sure they just have one writeup for virtually everything that they just piece together for individual books.

    Virtually the entire Psionics section in the Rifts main book is reproduced from Beyond the Supernatural, where it was a direct copy from Heroes Unlimited, which got the hand-me-down from TMNT.

    Skills, Combat Rules, Alignment, conventional weapons, etc. Any time they can shamelessly reprint the same thing again, they'll do it.

    As we were talking about skills, at least they had the decency to trim out Ikebana, Go, Pilot: Racecar, Marxism/Leninism/Maoism, etc.

    Go is reintroduced in rifts japan. As are dragon borgs... why be a normal borg when you can be a dragon borg?

    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!
  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Cyborgs: Nipples Are For The Weak

    redborg.jpg

    Tired of being tired? Sick of waking up after that Thursday night bender and sweating Jack all Friday at work? Got some sort of interdimensional venereal disease that you just can't shake?

    Bionic Conversion may be for you!

    Bionic conversion means never having to pay for another manicure!

    handdrillsmall.jpg

    Bionic conversion means always having a light!

    lightersmall.jpg

    Bionic conversion means finally being able to claim sweet, sweet revenge!

    sweetsweetrevengesmall.jpg

    The Borg O.C.C., short for "cyborg", is just the first of many means of pushing your otherwise mundane character (created using the rules presented earlier) to superhuman levels of awesomeness. The options for these bionic heroes are fairly limited in the main book, but virtually every World Book that follows introduces another form of cyborg. The infamous "Red" hunter borg (featured at the start of this entry), Miner Borgs, Cyber Samurai (and Cyber Ronin), Psyborgs, etc. Bionics are one of the things you can basically count on being expanded in every book produced for the franchise, up to and including their own dedicated sourcebook.

    The Borg is part of a sub-theme that flows through the entirety of Rifts; that of human augmentation. Many O.C.C.s and even R.C.C.s are made up of altered humans, people who have been subjected to bizarre procedures or treatments (willingly or otherwise) in an attempt to make them strong enough to survive in the harsh reality that is post apocalyptic earth. In turn, this is part of a larger theme that Rifts explores, and one I think it does a very good job of highlighting; the necessity of man's inhumanity. Whether we're talking about bionic conversion, altering the human brain, trafficking with demons, ruthless human supremacist empires or just general xenophobia, humanity has had to make some major adjustments to survive in their brave new world. The running question is two-fold; is it enough, and will it be worth it? Those questions and the exploration of them is one of the things that keeps me coming back to this game.

    Borgs can get forearm blasters, bladed elbows, built-in jetpacks, fingers that become grenades, internal nuclear generators that can power weaponry, laser eyes, ion chest blasters, mini missile launchers, etc. Basically, if you can find it on a giant robot you can probably get it installed on a borg.

    In the base rules, there are basically two kinds of borgs; full conversion and partial conversion. The full conversion borg is the terminator-style killer robot-man you're probably thinking of right now. Head to toe mega damage steel, with a human brain inside. Partial conversion borgs are somewhat less extreme, only replacing each of their major limbs with military grade bionics. Their heads and torso are still human (or whatever), but their arms and legs are bionic.

    There are advantages to either form of augmentation, though like most things in Rifts the benefits are hardly equivalent on the two sides. In true Palladium fashion, however, you would have no idea what the differences were by looking at the entry for the O.C.C. You've got to go another 200 pages into the book to find out what the mechanical differences between partial and full conversion actually are.

    In a nutshell, here's the difference between the two;

    Full Bionic Conversion makes you a super strong (P.S. 30), incredibly agile (P.P. 24), blindingly fast (SPD 176), nigh indestructable (280 M.D.C, roughly 4 times most heavy body armor) engine of destruction.

    Partial Bionic Reconstruction makes you fairly strong (P.S. 20), fairly coordinated (P.P. 18), pretty fast (SPD 50), and pretty hard to kill (180 M.D.C.) as long as your enemies insist on shooting you in the arms and legs. Your main body is still flesh and blood. Oh, and you get to keep your psionics if you have them, which is probably a bigger benefit than it seems like right now (we'll be covering psionics later), but still not that much of an upside to still being a squishy, squishy human when you could have been a machine god.

    Either way, borgs also take big penalties to prowl (sneak, move silently, pick your analog) and skills that require the sense of touch (like picking locks and pockets).

    Ironically, for all their upsides (huge levels of M.D.C. even when outside the crazy heavy cyborg armors that rival Glitter Boys in protective capacity, never being unarmed, near immunity to the most dangerous of psionic attacks, etc), Borgs were always viewed, at least in my experience, as being second tier superhumans. You played a borg only if there were some reason you couldn't be a Juicer or a Cyber-Knight, and weren't self-hating enough to play a Crazy. I saw a lot more borgs as the result of Juicer detox (to be covered later) than I did as first choices.

    This is probably due at least in part to the fact that, unlike virtually every other type of superhuman in the book, the Borg doesn't get any extra attacks just for having this class. And constantly needing repaired when everyone else could just heal themselves is pretty annoying as well. Still, there are worse things to be than a Borg; like a normal person.

    Though if you want to transform from a normal human into something truly unhuman, Borg is really the way to go. Crazies, Juicers, etc all have some degree of inhumanity to them, a measure of trading one's own humanity for power, but they lack the breadth of form possible for cyborgs. To whit;

    tempestborg.jpg

    dragonborg1.jpg

    dragonborg2.jpg

    trackborg.jpg

    No matter how badly they muck with your brain, or how many drugs they pump into you, you're not going to end up looking like a demon with a built in flamethrower and tracks where your legs used to be.

    Just about every book seems to have at least one custom-built cyborg body that a Borg's brain can be dropped into. There are dragon-borgs, mining-borgs, gunslinger-borgs, air combat borgs, underwater borgs, ninja-borgs, etc. And that's not even counting the bionic accessories that are nearly a bygone conclusion in any given book. If you're playing a Borg, you've got a lot to work with.

    Well, that just about wraps it up for this time. Next time, we'll be talking about this guy;

    deadboy.jpg

    and why he's either the worst thing to happen since the apocalypse or the salvation of humanity.

    Or both.

    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.
  • chiasaur11chiasaur11 Never doubt a raccoon. Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    So, what kind of Borg would Commander Shepard or JC Denton be? Seems neither quite fits the two types.

  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Under the rules in the main book, both are probably partial conversion borgs. This is borne out by the fact that while each can receive bionic-style upgrades, they're still vulnerable to non mega damage attacks.

    If we expand to include sourcebooks, Shepard is probably a Cyber-Humanoid from the Bionics sourcebook, since he/she's all but indistinguishable from a normal human while being bionically enhanced.

    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 Toronto, Ontario, CanadaRegistered User regular
    edited January 2011
    And biotics would essentially be various psychic powers, and just either ignoring the ISP cost or having an absurd regeneration rate.

    sigtwo.png
  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Probably similarly to how R.C.C.s like the Psi-Tech get individual powers for free. A biotic would get Telekinesis (Super) the same way.

    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.
  • OctoparrotOctoparrot Registered User
    edited January 2011
    Oh man there are also massive differences between the original book and Ultimate Edition. Had to go back and fix my character this morning.

    the GOP shouldn't give a rats ass about them since they won't vote for them. If someone won't vote for you they might as well not exist.
  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Octoparrot wrote: »
    Oh man there are also massive differences between the original book and Ultimate Edition. Had to go back and fix my character this morning.
    Oh yeah. Virtually every class is completely changed around, the way weapon proficiencies work is different, even the way that combat training affects your attacks per melee is different.

    Aside from setting stuff, they're about as far apart as any two games published by Palladium have ever been.

    That's why I specified the printing I did, so we would have a standard baseline.

    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.
  • RynaRyna Registered User
    edited January 2011
    On a side note, whenever I read Rifts books I remember Nirvana's Nevermind..

    Then I remember hearing Kurt Cobain offing himself while playing MTG in the basement of the gaming store

    Ahhh good times..

  • TurksonTurkson Near the mountains of ColoradoRegistered User regular
    edited January 2011
    This is glorious! Glorious! And I want more.

    My only experience with Rifts is playing a few time in high school, I remember it took 3-4 hours to make a character. I think I made a bounty hunter?

    "You. Poet. Be sure to write this down."
  • RaveBombRaveBomb Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Say whatever you want about the system, but I still totally dig the artwork.

    I'm off to pirate more music, steal software, and knock down little old ladies, then later I'm going to cover my self in Yak's blood, and lay in a pentagram, while reading some Marxist literature and praying to a heathen god.

    tata
    chrishallett83
  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Hey guys, look what I found.

    The art has always been one of the more compelling parts of the system, and this guy has apparently devoted huge chunks of time to compiling it.

    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
    alright cosmo-knights

    you guys are in

    but only if you bring centaur guy and surfer guy along

    dmsigsmallek3.jpg
  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Horseshoe wrote: »
    alright cosmo-knights

    you guys are in

    but only if you bring centaur guy and surfer guy along
    Centaur Guy?
    Spoiler:

    or
    Spoiler:

    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
    sorry cosmo-knights

    centaur girl just ousted you

    you need two surfer knight guys now

    dmsigsmallek3.jpg
  • AegofAegof Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Does it count as T & A if the A is a horse.

    I'm providing ambience.
  • HorseshoeHorseshoe Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
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