GM Field Guide #2: Perspectives - Playing the Coalition States (Part 2)
Updated: Mar 27
In the previous post, I discussed some of the issues facing easily the most polarizing issue about the Coalition States (how they view D-Bees and by extension, magic users), how that may impact players choosing those OCCs and the GM for campaign settings, as well as elements for a GM to consider when discussing the mechanisms that would leverage a persons opinion. The majority of the blog post spoke about the Mechanisms of Influence that the Coalition States could employ. This leads us to the second in a series of posts, discussing where a character's response may fall across a spectrum of choices.
SPECTRUM OF FANATICISM
General. Sometimes used during character creation; depends on how in depth you wish to get. Some players may not prefer to spend that time investment in a character that could eat a pair of mini-missiles and go up in a cloud of pink mist. Initially this was always a keystone element to character creation. From the very release of Rifts RPG, the Optional Rules section had ways to round out your character, either by selection or rolling from a random table. The Sentiments Toward the Coalition and Sentiments Toward Non-Humans have been staples of the game. They get a much-deserved update in Rifts: Ultimate Edition, with a slew of additional choices. Interestingly, these apply equally well to player characters that are from the Coalition States looking outwards, from of a strictly anti-Coalition locale, or even from a more neutral background (mercenaries, independent kingdoms, outside the Coalition sphere of influence, etc).
Spectrums of Response. The language in the two tables leaves little doubt in the interpretation. If you roll “Hates the Coalition, because the character lost numerous friends/family members (sic),” you’ve already started diving into the Mechanisms of Influence. Some of the others lack those details that really help to flesh out a character. Below are presented a few options for a player to help develop character generation and how they could react, given the scenario. These are by far not exhaustive; essentially a five-point scale of response.
Pure Fanatical. So enamoured with a point of view, anything that contradicts it is an unacceptable challenge to their worldview. These are the guys that have swallowed the Prosek Kool-Aid, then asked for the recipe to give to their friends too. Most likely the ones to have violent/stereotypical reactions to a friction point, be it in an argument, dealing with something/someone that contradicts their worldview, or even used to justify their actions.
Lesser of Two Evils. There may have been in internal debate, maybe just a gut-check that could come back to bite them in the future. For the most part though, the character has reservations about both extremes, but takes up with the Coalition and humanity in general, likely leaning towards the center of the spectrum. They may not agree with certain (many) aspects, may have vehement disagreements with ‘Pure Fanatical,’ but have planted their flag with one camp over the other.
Measures of Desperation. You can't muster much in defence of the Coalition and their brand of politics, more specifically how they deal with magicians and D-Bees. Despite this, things have taken a turn and you have to pick a side. You’ve got no love for Prosek and his cronies, but those dang magicians/D-Bees have caused enough heartache to push you over the proverbial edge and pick a side.
Reluctant Defender. So you’re in between a rock and a hard place. You may even harbour opinions closer to the centre, or even lean in the opposite direction to the propaganda the Coalitions have been spreading. You may be human, yet you hate many of the CS policies against D-Bees; some may be good friends or allies. Unfortunately there is a clear and imminent threat that has you picking between human counter-parts or the “other.”
Pressed into Service. This is the one that has the most influence over a character's opinion, but they have absolutely no choice in the matter. They are forced into the matter by way of circumstance. You really dislike the Coalition, but when it’s siding with fellow humans diametrically opposed to your political views or dealing with a Splugorth Slaver with a gang of Kittani in tow, well, choices.
An interesting element of playing in the Rifts Megaverse is the interplay a GM and players can have on the Spectrums of Response, dependent on the character's history and motivation. These can really develop into some compelling role-playing possibilities and provides the GM some juicy details to exploit for campaign design. As you can imagine, simply shifting the antagonist from enemies of the Coalition States to enemies of the Magic Zone, you can apply this scale to the player character.
Continue to The Bazaar #6: Perspectives - Playing the Coalition States (Part 3)
Return to All Posts