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

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  • captainkcaptaink TexasRegistered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I had some good times fucking around with Rifts in Jr. High. So glad I found this thread.

    Our most creative GM actually managed a few sessions of a CS Military campaign. I remember I really wanted to be an Intelligence Officer or something like that. Basically special forces. But I rolled labout a 4 on IQ. So I ended up being some flavor of Borg. Which was actually awesome because I remember carrying half the team out of some woods when a vampire (I think) attack blew everything to hell.

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  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Glitter Boy: The Combat Disco Ball

    So, you've decided you want to be a badass. But bionics are going to mess with your psionics, you don't fancy slowly going insane and you want to live at least long enough to see your grand kids before your heart explodes from chemical overstimulation. What are your options?

    Are you a dragon? Because that would make this a lot easier.

    dragon.jpg
    Sorry, I forgot how awesome I was.

    If not, you're looking at years of study, be it to gain magical powers or the knowledge of pre-Rifts technology. Or you can just be born into a family that owns one of these;

    glitterboyheirloom.jpg

    That is a suit of glitter boy power armor. When the Rifts came, it was the premier armored infantry/cavalry unit on earth, roughly equivalent to the modern day tank corps. All of them. At once.

    This thing is hard core, even if it does kind of look like a gay space robot.

    glitterboydanceparty.jpg
    After the end of the world, the Village People really diversified.

    The glitter boy is a suit of powered armor. It stands roughly 10 feet tall, and its operator wears it like a suit. The suit itself is composed of heavy mega-damage materials and reinforced with an exo/endoskeleton that gives it superhuman strength. The armor gets its name from the special coating that reflects laser blasts, making the wearer partially invulnerable to directed light weapons. It also makes it look awesome, but haters gonna hate.

    It's worth pointing out that being trained in the proper use of a glitter boy (or any power armor) entitles the user to extra attacks and lots of bonuses, not unlike those available from O.C.C.s like Crazy and Cyber Knight. So in addition to being incredibly tough and armed to the proverbial teeth, the wearer attacks more often and more effectively. It's a pretty good deal if you can swing it, and there's none of the downsides associated with other means of getting this sort of thing, like believing the sun turns you into a 6 year old girl or burning to death from the inside after 4 years.

    Historically, these suits were developed by the United States military at some point before the world ended. In the days following the cataclysm, large numbers (such as there were, super weapons aren't really produced in the millions) were commandeered by their formerly official pilots and mechanics and used to fight back the encroaching demon hordes. Over the intervening centuries, the suits got handed down from parent to child or teacher to student until their origins became shrouded in myth and their users became folk heroes.

    From a mechanical point of view, the glitter boy is basically the toughest thing in the main book. It has 770 M.D.C., or roughly 10 times that of normal body armor and more than the vast majority of giant robots or armored military vehicles. It is laser resistant, thanks to that fabulous glitter ball coating it comes stock with, meaning that it only takes half damage from lasers. It can run 60 miles an hour, leap 80 feet in the air and lift over a ton. The internal life support systems can keep a user alive in even the harshest environments for weeks at a time, though there are penalties for staying in the suit for more than a month or so at once.

    And then there's the gun. More specifically, the RG-14 Rapid Acceleration Electromagnetic Rail Gun, or as it is more commonly known, "The Boom Gun." This is the only weapon system built into the classic glitter boy, though later variations (and whoa boy are there variations) made many alterations to this simple yet elegant yet truly devastating setup. It is attached on a shoulder swivel joint and weighs nearly 900 lbs. The weapon fires in single shots, each of which accelerates a flechette of 200 inch-long metal slugs to Mach 2. It is accurate at almost two miles, and firing it shatters every window for hundreds of feet and renders anyone without sufficient ear protection (which basically means being inside a robot vehicle or another glitter boy) deaf. This gun is basically the RPG equivalent of the Voice of God.

    It also deals 3d6x10 mega-damage with every successful attack. It has the single highest damage output of any weapon available in the main book, and is only equaled by some of the more outlandish additions found in later world books, none of which can also throw down a circle of deafness every few seconds for the entire course of the fight.

    Of course, a weapon this badass isn't without its drawbacks. In order to fire it without flying backwards, the pilot must engage a series of recoil offsetting measures. The first is a set of thrusters that push back against the momentum imparted to the suit via the boom gun. These also assist in leaping and other movement, though the suit is still far less manueverable than most lighter suits. The second, and far more invasive system for recoil control is a set of 4 foot long telescoping spikes that are ejected from the feet and punch straight through anything that happens to be unlucky enough to be under the glitter boy. Battles involving multiple glitter boys end up making the terrain look like a ground hog reservation that got caught in a tornado.

    And reloading it is a huge pain. It can either be reloaded one round at a time, or a new canister of flechettes switched over. Either way takes a prohibitively long time to do in combat, and the second option requires someone very strong to assist you. Granted, with 100 shots in a canister, this isn't going to come up very often, but in extended battles it can be a huge problem.

    In the first book, and for a few thereafter, the glitter boy is treated as a special piece of equipment. A relic from a past age, each of which has an individual history and a specific role to play in man's continued survival. They were the equivalent of an heirloom, or a magical sword handed down from master to student. In later world books, they got a little less special.

    glitterboyawesomer.jpg
    But way more AWESOME.

    Variants on the glitter boy would eventually become disturbingly common. With additional world books covering the various militaries of the world, new variations on the old standard came flooding out of the woodwork.

    There were anti-aircraft models;

    glitterboyhawkeye.jpg

    And stealth models;

    glitterboypoint.jpg

    Even models with jetpacks;

    glitterboysidekick.jpg

    And don't get me started on the sexy models;

    glitterboycheesecake.jpg

    It doesn't take too much of this sort of treatment before the classic, original, evocative idea of the glitter boy gives way to a sort of Baskin Robbins power armor, with 31 flavors of supersonic death.

    Still, nothing visually screams "Rifts" quite like the profile of a glitter boy.

    Next Time:

    Using 'roid rage to your advantage.

    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 February 2011
    Oh hey, an update :^:

    The gleeful abandon with which GB players deafened entire villages always struck me as hilarious

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  • MatevMatev I HAVE NEVER BEEN MORE ALIVE AS I WAS SAYINGRegistered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Or destroyed their allies' transportation. >>;;

    "Go down, kick ass, and set yourselves up as gods, that's our Prime Directive!"
    Spoiler:
  • HorseshoeHorseshoe Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    man i love them glitter boys

    the whole "ancestral suit of armor" + bizarre scifi badassnes is so freakin sweet

    dmsigsmallek3.jpg
  • MrVyngaardMrVyngaard Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I recall someone back in college bravely attempting to run this game for us.

    Rifts Japan. We were a strange bunch, one was a nudist Crazy who regularly took messages from the clan leader bareass naked in his quarters. I played a cyborg ninja with something like six arms. I often stealthily (kinda) rendered things to bits with 6 armed ninjutsu.

    And for some reason, we eventually were going to go to Africa to fight Death for the sake of our honor. Things happened that I can't recall, but eventually this became the goal of our... team?

    I don't know why.

    And that's how you know it's Rifts!

    "now I've got this mental image of caucuses as cafeteria tables in prison, and new congressmen having to beat someone up on inauguration day." - Raiden333
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  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    If I had to guess, I'd put the percentage of groups that eventually fought Death at roughly 50% of those that ever played the game.

    The other 50% fought Splynnkryth.

    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.
  • captainkcaptaink TexasRegistered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I'm reading my Palladium Fantasy RPG book since this thread reminded me of it. Palladium skills are so silly. For one, the game treats ludicrous things as skills, meaning for one skill choice you can either get a wide swath of useful knowledge and skills, or something so ridiculously specific that it's almost useless.

    For example you could use your skill picks on stuff like languages, literacy, hand to hand combat, sneaking, lockpicking, medicine, or vehicle piloting. Or you could pick such gems as brewing, recycling, dancing, military etiquette, naval history, or ventriloquism. Kind of baffling.

    Plus, every skill is percentage-based, and except for speaking your native language, is punishingly low. Most skills have a 25-30% base chance of success, +5% per level. Before any modifiers for performing under pressure, while moving, or anything else a sadistic GM might decide on. There aren't any real rules for distinguishing easy skill checks from more difficult ones, or how to handle them.

    Also there's no real guidance on what failure really means. Basic Math has a 45% base chance. Does that mean that failing your roll means that 6+7 is inscrutable to you? What happens when you fail your Gardening roll? It's clearly a system of "oh cool we should keep track of people's ability to _____" without really going into what it means.

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  • Xenogear_0001Xenogear_0001 Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I had to completely revise the skill system in order to make things work back when I GM'd. Grouped a lot of the more specific, character-building, skills into their own category and allowed people to roll to determine how many they'd get to pick--independent of their O.C.C./R.C.C.. I felt like they didn't really add to the game so much as the personality, so why not? Also raised the defaults on a lot skills and made some just included for everyone--climbing being a biggy. I mean, how can you not at least be able to attempt it?
    captaink wrote: »
    Also there's no real guidance on what failure really means. Basic Math has a 45% base chance. Does that mean that failing your roll means that 6+7 is inscrutable to you? What happens when you fail your Gardening roll? It's clearly a system of "oh cool we should keep track of people's ability to _____" without really going into what it means.

    I always used a skillcheck for things that mattered. Say you're trying to determine how many of a given enemy are out in the field and you need to quickly add the total to report to your commanding officer--the pressure of the situation would warrant a skill roll for math. And if you get it wrong? Easy, you fudge the numbers and report an incorrect number. As a result, maybe the commanding officer steps out onto the field and gets caught off-guard by a CS Sky Cycle that he didn't know to worry about. A little creativity always went a long way.

    You always had to make little modifications to get things to work in given circumstances. For example, I felt it necessary to put expanded rules on ranged combat into play--basically things like, 'Are you walking? -2 to strike. Running? -6 to strike. Taking cover? -1 to strike, but also -4 for your opponent to strike.' Stuff like that. I'm not even sure what the numbers actually were anymore, but you get the gist. I also raised the default 'to strike' number to 10 on ranged combat--4 just always seemed way too low. Toyed with the idea of making it vary, depending on range, but that would just be too complicated to be fun.

    Had a bunch of other rules, but I forget most of them since the laptop I had the expanded rules saved on was stolen. I do remember I used the PP stat times four to determine base skill at flying for characters that had the ability naturally.

    Also, the best villains were the ones you made. Splynncryth and Death were cool and all, but I rarely went that epic. That was something I appreciated about Rifts: the power-level of the campaign was always up to the GM. It just usually depended on setting and tone.

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  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    If I were ever going to run Rifts again one of the things I would need to rework (and it's a long list) is the skills. I have been toying with the idea of generalized "proficiencies" with some homebrew stuff, and I would probably port them over.

    Basically, each character starts with a certain number of proficiencies, of which there is no official list. They just pick something that sounds like a reasonable skill area, like Military Aircraft or Small Arms or Golden Age Technology or whatever. When they try stuff covered by the selection, they get a bonus to a d20 roll. Probably modified by the appropriate attribute somehow. So someone with a Small Arms proficiency knows how to shoot, clean, repair and build guns with some degree of skill.

    When I've used this before it's been with the D&D attributes, so a check to build a weapon would be Int + Proficiency, which is usually a +2 to +5 bonus.

    The Palladium skills are so arbitrary. So is everything else about the system, I guess, but they just feel so confining and ridiculous.

    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.
  • AistanAistan Mr. Cellophane Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I never played this game, but I do own Australia One, Free Quebec (god I love me some reading about Glitter Boys), and best of all, Phase World.

    Holy. Shit. Cosmo-Knights.

    Seriously what the holy hell. I never played at all but even reading about them just screams "this is absurd and it is glorious."

    There's even the Game Master and Players' Note:

    "Cosmo-knights are very powerful characters and they can be unbalancing and inappropriate for some campaigns. ..."


    For Rifts, I think that's saying something.

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  • streeverstreever Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I am really enjoying this let's read: I played in a short-lived Rifts campaign, first as a Cyber-Knight (with crappy powers) in a campaign full of dragons and glitter boys and full conversion borgs. Boy did I feel screwed!

  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Headhunters: Not Really Hunting Heads

    headhunter.jpg

    This time we'll be covering the oft-overlooked Headhunter class. This poor guy got buried in the Men of Arms section between the Glitter Boy and the Juicer, and as a result he rarely gets any love. Admittedly, he's nothing special in terms of mechanics, especially when compared to the blatantly superhuman classes that bookend him. But Headhunter, for its somewhat disappointing normalness, is a perfectly servicable class even if it is somewhat bland.

    The flavor of the class, far less defined than that of some of the others we've covered, is basically that of a highly skilled mercenary. These are the folks that hire themselves out to fight monsters or defend towns from invasion, then spend the cash on new toys. That's really as deep as the characterization goes, which makes the class something of an odd duck in a book where something as simple as knowing how a pre-rifts copy machine works comes with tons of plot baggage.

    Unlike virtually every other class in this section, the Headhunter is basically just a dude. He or she is a human or D-Bee that has some minor cybernetic augmentation, but they're definitely not a Borg. They don't come standard with nigh-indestructable power armor, though they can acquire some later. These are relatively normal men and women that are trained for combat.

    headhunterbadass.jpg
    Didn't need brainmajiggers to do this, did I?

    And if there is a means by which they distinguish themselves, that's probably it; training. While the Crazy or Glitter Boy might be better in a stand up fight, there's more than an outside chance that neither knows how to drive a car. For all the Borg's advantages, odds are he can't go more than a few hours outside of a population center before getting lost in the wilderness. The Headhunter, though lacking a bit in raw combat ability, has training in communications technology, wilderness survival, several piloting skills straight out of the gate, proficiency in 4 languages and a slew of weapons proficiencies that make it fairly likely he'll be capable with virtually any weapon he picks up in the course of his adventures. It is the most comprehensive skill package available to any of the "Men at Arms" classes, which is kind of a meaningless distinction, but whatever.

    headhunterrobotslammer.jpg
    Let's see that chump Rogue Scholar's head collection.

    Kevin Siembieda (the creator of this wonderful clusterfuck of gaming that we know as Rifts) has said in later rewrites that he intended Headhunters to be partial conversion cyborgs, meaning that they would have their limbs replaced with bionics. This in no way comes across in the first pass at the main book, where they are entitled to a single bionic limb.

    The oversight is corrected in the Ultimate Edition, though (which I heartily recommend to anyone crazy enough to actually try playing this game), where they are not only partial conversion cyborgs, but hardened combatants with bonuses to save vs Horror Factor and the ability to locate black market goods and contraband. They really came up in the world.

    headhunterassassin.jpg
    Garroting, now for hire.

    Headhunters got another injection of sexy from the Canada world book, and kind of from Mercenaries (which has some of my favorite cover art in the line), but those weren't actually called "headhunters". The sexiness mostly comes in the form of specialized versions of the original Headhunter, each suited to a specific task or series of tasks that were fairly commonly encountered during adventures. Infiltration and assasination, combat against robots or power armor, and even a specialist in killing supernatural monsters complete with techno-wizard bionics.

    headhuntermonamo.jpg
    Really, the bionics were the best thing to come out of that book.

    In the end, Headhunter always seemed to be one of those classes that only got played when somebody wanted to be a really powerful D-Bee that couldn't have bionics or be juiced, but still wanted strong combat skills. You really didn't see them very often outside of NPCs, which is unfortunate. I guess it just isn't enough to be a badass unless in this setting unless you also have superpowers.

    Next Week;

    Abusing drugs for fun and profit.

    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.
  • TurksonTurkson Near the mountains of ColoradoRegistered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Yay! Another update!

    What the heck is a D-Bee?

    "You. Poet. Be sure to write this down."
  • HorseshoeHorseshoe Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    slang for "dimensional beings"

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  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Turkson wrote: »
    Yay! Another update!

    What the heck is a D-Bee?
    A D-Bee is a "dimensional being". It's basically the Rifts word for alien because all of them come from other dimensions rather then outer space.

    On account of the death satellites and whatnot.

    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.
  • ArcanisTheImpotentArcanisTheImpotent Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    shoe the fact that you know anything about this at all fills me with deep shame

    i

    don't think we can see each other anymore

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  • HorseshoeHorseshoe Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Really, if you've come of age as a gamer and never experienced Rifts on some level, this is something that needs correcting.

    There are links that will allow you to rectify this in the OP. You should use them. For your own good.

    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.
  • ArcanisTheImpotentArcanisTheImpotent Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    i've experienced rifts like i've experienced second-hand smoke

    Player of Sapphire Sorceress, And Justice For All
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  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Drinking your dad's beer in your friend's basement?

    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.
  • ArcanisTheImpotentArcanisTheImpotent Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    nah i was implying that coming into contact with RIFTS causes cancer

    this thread is awesome though

    it's like one of those hazardous chemical containment boxes with the rubber gloves that you reach into

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  • HorseshoeHorseshoe Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    rifts was always one of those games that a few friends of mine played

    but i was never able to make it to their games because i had school and sports and 4-H

    and all other kindsa junk that ate up my time

    (now that i think about i don't know what those guys did other than play rifts... maybe that's why i went to college and they didn't?)

    so anyway i got to hear all the bizarre stories about their rifts game

    always wondering

    how the fuck would you even play that

    reading this thread makes me think they probably didn't know either!

    dmsigsmallek3.jpg
  • Xenogear_0001Xenogear_0001 Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    No one ever really did. But I'll be damned if I didn't have a shitload of fun with it.

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  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    The "Play Rifts" skill starts at 15%, but you get +7% per level.

    So by level 8 you can be successfully playing Rifts fully 50% of the time.

    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.
  • Xenogear_0001Xenogear_0001 Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I usually just had PC's start at level 5 for the sake of fun. Be honest, those first few levels where you're barely able to shoot a gun, let alone bring down that CS SAMAS trooper, just aren't very enjoyable.

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  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Level 5s aren't actually that much better than level 1s. Rifts (and Palladium in general) is THE system for frontloading character abilities. Even moreso than AD&D and non-spellcasting classes, because attack bonuses go up very slowly and effective survival ability remains virtually unchanged.

    A level 1 character who has a +3 to hit with his 2d6 Mega damage energy pistol and can shoot it 4 times a turn (with hand to hand basic) and 70 mdc due to armor will have a +4 to hit with his 2d6 mega damage energy pistol and can shoot it 5 times and has 70 mdc due to armor at level 5.

    The real bonuses from leveling only happen if you're a spellcaster or a master psionic. Otherwise you're only marginally better at level 10 than you were at level 1.

    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.
  • Xenogear_0001Xenogear_0001 Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Yeah, I had to "game it up" a bit for the melee/weapon classes--that is to say, boost the bonuses gained from HtH types and certain skills so that they scale a bit more logically by level. Made for better and more noticeable progress as well as rectifying the issue of higher level characters not being much better than lower leveled ones.

    Also added the ability to dodge lasers without massive penalty so long as you could see your attacker bringing a weapon up to shoot. I refuse to believe that it's so difficult to leap out of the area at which your opponent is aiming if you're looking at him. Exceptions made for Gunslingers, or course. Nobody sees that shit coming--even Juicers.

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  • captainkcaptaink TexasRegistered User regular
    edited February 2011
    So did you let people pick an O.C.C and an R.C.C? I always thought they were mutually exclusive.

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  • MatevMatev I HAVE NEVER BEEN MORE ALIVE AS I WAS SAYINGRegistered User regular
    edited February 2011
    captaink wrote: »
    So did you let people pick an O.C.C and an R.C.C? I always thought they were mutually exclusive.

    Depends on the GM. I was able to play a Psi-Stalker Glitter Girl, I just had mash some things and switch others out.

    "Go down, kick ass, and set yourselves up as gods, that's our Prime Directive!"
    Spoiler:
  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Most O.C.C.s are just skills and equipment anyway. For those that aren't, you just stack the class abilities on top of the racial abilities and use the class skills.

    The confusing ones are where you have psionics, magic or natural M.D.C. from multiple sources.

    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.
  • Xenogear_0001Xenogear_0001 Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    captaink wrote: »
    So did you let people pick an O.C.C and an R.C.C? I always thought they were mutually exclusive.

    If I was feeling generous and up to running a power-campaign, yes. I see nothing wrong with munchkin gaming if it makes the players happy. I was never the "your tears, delicious" type of GM--quite the contrary, I was always trying to make the PC's feel like the stars of the show.

    I mean, otherwise, what's the point?

    Coming up, I had the misfortune of running games with an abusive GM. He often killed someone's freshly made character within thirty minutes, just to make a point. A character that took at least two hours to build. And if he didn't outright kill you, he delighted in disfiguring you in some horrible way. On top of that, he never did let anyone see the results of a roll, and he rolled all the dice. So was he telling the truth? Did you really fail all of those rolls? Never any way to tell.

    Suffice it to say, these games left the players feeling bitter, angry, and frequently led to people just giving up on the whole thing. I made a vow never to be that douche.
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    Most O.C.C.s are just skills and equipment anyway. For those that aren't, you just stack the class abilities on top of the racial abilities and use the class skills.

    The confusing ones are where you have psionics, magic or natural M.D.C. from multiple sources.

    Add 'em up. :D

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  • MatevMatev I HAVE NEVER BEEN MORE ALIVE AS I WAS SAYINGRegistered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Coming up, I had the misfortune of running games with an abusive GM. He often killed someone's freshly made character within thirty minutes, just to make a point. A character that took at least two hours to build. And if he didn't outright kill you, he delighted in disfiguring you in some horrible way. On top of that, he never did let anyone see the results of a roll, and he rolled all the dice. So was he telling the truth? Did you really fail all of those rolls? Never any way to tell.

    Suffice it to say, these games left the players feeling bitter, angry, and frequently led to people just giving up on the whole thing. I made a vow never to be that douche.

    That man needs to die in a fire.

    Either that, or were you getting GM'd by Gary Gygax?

    "Go down, kick ass, and set yourselves up as gods, that's our Prime Directive!"
    Spoiler:
  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I've never DM'd Rifts with a screen for one simple reason; I'm probably going to need the players' help interpreting at least a dozen rolls a session.

    Running a game of Rifts is not unlike trying to predict the future using goat entrails.

    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.
  • Xenogear_0001Xenogear_0001 Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Matev wrote: »
    Coming up, I had the misfortune of running games with an abusive GM. He often killed someone's freshly made character within thirty minutes, just to make a point. A character that took at least two hours to build. And if he didn't outright kill you, he delighted in disfiguring you in some horrible way. On top of that, he never did let anyone see the results of a roll, and he rolled all the dice. So was he telling the truth? Did you really fail all of those rolls? Never any way to tell.

    Suffice it to say, these games left the players feeling bitter, angry, and frequently led to people just giving up on the whole thing. I made a vow never to be that douche.

    That man needs to die in a fire.

    Either that, or were you getting GM'd by Gary Gygax?

    No, but Dave Arneson did run some kind of gaming program where I work--that is, till he died. Played Santa Claus at the Christmas party every year and totally looked the part.

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  • MatevMatev I HAVE NEVER BEEN MORE ALIVE AS I WAS SAYINGRegistered User regular
    edited February 2011
    No, but Dave Arneson did run some kind of gaming program where I work--that is, till he died. Played Santa Claus at the Christmas party every year and totally looked the part.

    Wow, that actually sounds pretty sweet.

    "Go down, kick ass, and set yourselves up as gods, that's our Prime Directive!"
    Spoiler:
  • captainkcaptaink TexasRegistered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I can see adding them up. Lord knows the rogue scholar or city rat needed some spicing up compared to juicers or psy-knights.

    sig.gifSteam | D3: captaink#1674 | 3DS: 2466-1914-7679
  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    captaink wrote: »
    I can see adding them up. Lord knows the rogue scholar or city rat needed some spicing up compared to juicers or psy-knights.
    Rogue Scholar had some.... potential if you approached the class from a non-standard direction. They've since made it more beholden to the original concept of the class in later rewrites, but it used to be kind of crazy.

    You can do a lot with 24 free range skill choices.

    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.
  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Juicers: The Baddest Emo Kids On The Post-Apocalyptic Block

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    Only a badass could pull off this haircut.

    On Rifts Earth, lots of things get traded for power. Sometimes those things are body parts, replaced with military bionics. Sometimes the price is continued sanity, for those who opt for M.O.M. augmentation. Some sell their souls for magical power, others trade any chance at a normal life for the ability to shoot mega-damage fire from their eyes.

    But some people always have to go the extra mile. It's not enough to be crazy, or an outcast or even a walking robot; the price of power is death, and business is good.

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    These spikes represent the futility of life.

    Juicer technology is another of the co-opted pre-Rifts techs that makes this post-apocalyptic hell-hole livable. Unlike crazy conversions or cybernetics, though, it has always been a purely military technology. There isn't much medical value in pumping patients so full of drugs that their hearts explode, after all. Unless you define "medical value" in terms of dollars made in treating the illness you cause. In the time before the coming of Rifts, Juicer technology was mostly used by third world despots who cared more about their own power than the lives of their soldiers. Major powers like the United States and China publicly decried such barbaric treatment of innocent people, but secretly maintained their own strike forces of Juicers as a countermeasure against the prospect of juicer-powered terrorism and insurrection.

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    These spikes represent the futility of messing with me.

    In practical terms, a Juicer is created by implanting the potential subject with an array of tubes and injection devices, and a pair of miniature supercomputers (known as the Biocomp system) that serve to regulate the flow of artificial hormones and performance enhancing drugs. The system is then filled with those hormones and drugs, and the subject/victim of the transformation gains near-superhuman levels of physical ability along with the guarantee of a premature death.

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    Imaginary Lat Syndrome is a common side effect.

    In mechanical terms, Juicers are terrifyingly proficient combatants. They might not have the variation of skill that Headhunters get, or the inherent physical resilience that comes from being made out of mega damage metal, but they have other abilities that (in my mind) not only make up for those 'shortcomings' but which in fact push them into the top spot in terms of raw combat capability in the game.

    Their abilities include;

    1. 1d4x100 S.D.C. on top of the typical 6d6 Men at Arms S.D.C. And 1d4x10 extra hit points. Juicers, even in their baseline, non-splat version, are minor mega damage creatures. They are still just flesh and blood, but they're goddamn tough. Variants introduced in future books (most notably Juicer Uprising) are actual mega-damage beings, usually with crazy regeneration rates. They are the equivalent of a power armor trooper whose armor repairs itself constantly. Ridiculous, thy name is Mega Juicer.

    2. +2d6 to their Physical Strength. If the total is less than 22, they get to jump to 22, which is a higher score than partial reconstruction borgs are even capable of, and pretty close to the 24 available to full conversion borg stats. Note that unlike Borgs, Juicers can boost their scores with physical skills like Boxing, which they're going to be taking anyway. Titan Juicers from the Juicer Uprising World Book have supernatural strength and bottom out at PS 30, meaning they can inflict mega damage with melee attacks. That's right; Juicers can kick tanks to death.

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    Barry Bonds is a wuss.

    3. Juicers add between 20 and 80 to their speed. An average roll of 50, plus an average roll on their initial score of 10 gives them a speed of 60. Speed times 20 is the distance a character can run in one minute in meters. An average Juicer can run 72 Km/hr. They can also long jump 20 feet straight into the air from a dead stop. Hyperion Juicers, the speed specialists, average a Speed of 100 (120 Km/hr) and a minimum of 77 speed.

    4. Juicers get two extra attacks per melee. So one that starts with Hand to Hand: Expert has 6 attacks per round at level 1. Add in boxing and power armor and you're looking at 9 or more attacks a round at first level. In a game where most will have 4 (maybe 5) and some unlucky bastards are going to have 2.

    5. Automatic Dodge. In a game where it's literally impossible to miss on a ranged attack with a weapon you have proficiency with, dodging is the only way to prevent being lasered to death. For most, it costs an attack; for Juicer's it's free. There are very few ways to get this ability, and Juicers get it just for signing up. It's a pretty good deal.

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    Automatic Dodge isn't 100% effective.

    6. +4 to all saves vs Psionics. Juicers are the equivalent of Master Psychics when it comes to resisting effects. Unless they're Major Psychics on their own, in which case they're better than Master Psychics. Drugs are a hell of a thing.

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    This is some good shit, man. Really expands your mind.

    7. Minimum Physical Prowess of 20. This gives a bonus of +3 to virtually every d20 roll you make in melee combat, and to dodges in ranged combat. This is one of the less flashy of the bonuses for being a drugged-up superhuman, but it's one of the most substantial.

    There are more benefits attached to being a Juicer, but that's really the big stuff. They also heal faster than normal people (by 4 times), are almost impossible to mind control (on top of the psionics resistance), have huge bonuses to initative and rolling to reduce damage, and can stay awake for days at a time.

    The only downside? After 5 years and 4d6 month of drug-induced godhood, your heart explodes and you die. No save, no chance of revival, just blood shooting out of your facial orifaces and total system collapse. In Juicer lore, this is known as "The Last Call". It's often romanticized, as are many parts of life as a Juicer, in terms of the mini-mythology of the doomed god-warrior. Juicers (and their fans) like to see themselves as stars burning bright, destined to be extinguished early. I guess anything is better than the reality of being a drug addicted mercenary hoping to die to a laser blast to the face before your heart gives out and you end up foaming at the mouth in a tavern and being carried out by your fellow patrons as they try to avoid coming into contact with the fluids you produced as your bowels relaxed.

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    crawling in my skin, these wounds they will not heal

    All things considered, though, given the average lifespan of adventurers in Rifts, guaranteed death after 6 years isn't a terrible trade for combat supremacy in the meantime. And it's not like there isn't an out, even if it's an incredibly depressing one.

    For those who aren't emo enough to embrace their coming demise, the one and only way out of the tavern scenario is detox. This is a long and painful process that strips not only the bonuses from your Juicer conversion but also drops you to normal human performance levels in one fell swoop. All of your physical attributes drop to 8 (which is well below the point that any of them provide bonuses). You then have to pick a new O.C.C. from a fairly short list (Borg, Headhunter, City Rat or Vagabond) and start over from level 1. Your skills from your life as a Juicer are frozen and degrade very quickly, likely leaving you levels behind the rest of your party. Once you hit your old level with the new O.C.C. your old skills start to level up again, so it's not a total loss. But it's a pretty hard hit and it's not guaranteed to work. There's a percentage roll based on the number of years that you were juiced, which you have to beat two out of three times. Otherwise you just suck it up, dye your hair black, listen to The Fray and write bad poetry until your number comes up. Unless you're a mega-juicer, in which case your last call will burn down the house you filled with Hot Topic paraphernalia.

    Just like everything else that is iconic to Rifts, the Juicer has tons of variants. The Titan Juicer is a strongman, the Hyperion is incredibly fast, the Mega-Juicer is a supernatural creature and the Ninja Juicer is, well, a ninja. There are even Juicers that are custom made to pilot power armor, and they are terrifying.

    juicerdragon.jpg
    Almost a fair fight. The dragon should probably have power armor.

    Next Time:

    The Healing Arts and the Weirdos Who Practice Them

    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 March 2011
    damn dude it's like they took william gibson physical augmentations and cranked the volume way up

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