The Bazaar #16: OCC Overview – The Crazy
Updated: Oct 5, 2021
General. Raving lunatics, covert ninjas with mommy issues (pun intended), whatever you want to call them, they certainly are an odd Occupational Character Class. Purposefully subjected to implants directly into the skull/brain, they trigger several super-human abilities that come with significant penalties to a character’s mental faculties. The conversion process makes a normal human into something much more lethal, so long as you are willing to put up/role-play your way through the penalties they pick up along the way. Some of these penalties are no joke both in terms of in-game terms and how one could be expected to roll-play, because if there is one thins Palladium Books certainly has put some effort into, it’s defining Insanity Tables and their relevant impacts on characters.
Types of Characters. Very clearly this class falls within the Men-At-Arms segment, as the class is meant to create a super-soldier from the beginning. Compared to the others of this category it certainly has some specific advantages/disadvantages, most roughly on-par with the Juicer. What makes this class unique is the progressive insanities they gain as they advance. For some this is a deal breaker, for others they may down-play its impacts, while a third group go and revel in the opportunities it presents. Very much skewed towards combat, the class benefits, OCC/Other/Secondary Skills all point getting to the battle and coming out the other side victorious, if not a little closer to mental instability. It is also the type of character that allows you to really go nuts (pun not intended) with how the character interacts with others.
Key Characteristics of the Crazy. The character class comes with a myriad of bonuses to various characteristics and capabilities due the M.O.M. implants; for this same reason, there are a number of interesting negative side effects as well. On a level somewhat equivalent to the Juicer, they benefit from super endurance, strength, speed and reflexes, as well as enhanced healing and bio-regeneration. Unlike the Juicer though, we find ourselves picking several minor psychic abilities, and most critically for this OCC, an ever-increasing list of mental delusions and insanities. One thing Palladium Books has certainly gone through much effort has been the presentation of various insanities and their effects, but the Crazy Hero (rolled on at 4th Level in both RMB and RUE) goes, not just “the extra mile” but a few more after for kick and giggles, presenting one of four *massive* tables of impacts, several of which have *further* tables, or refer to “general insanity” tables found elsewhere. Players and GMs be aware, there are literally millions of possible iterations one could roll. Otherwise, we find a very targeted list of OCC and Other Skills with limitations one would expect for a combat-oriented OCC; same for standard equipment and money, as well as cybernetics dependent on the character’s personal choices.
Relevant Books with Updates. A selection of comparable OCCs of similar design:
Mindwerks (SB 4). Some interesting historical information on the M.O.M. conversion technology, as well as additional implants (see limitations) and various optional Crazy OCCs.
Japan (WB 8). Introduces the Ninja Crazy, which offsets some of the impacts of their insanities through meditation; beware of additional GM book-keeping.
South America 2 (WB 9). Introduces the TW Ultra-Crazy.
New West (WB 14). Introduces the Wired Gunslinger.
China 2 (WB 25). Introduces the Geo-Front Lightning Warriors; demon hunting Crazies.
How I Would Play This OCC. From a role-playing perspective, this class comes with the significant risk of gaslighting the GM and/or other PCs. There’s a plethora of ways to build this OCC, and the massive number of tables make creating two identical characters nigh impossible. Way-back when, I used the Crazy as an antagonist NPC, and in that case the character was a mish-mash of random problems and limitations that in some cases made for some… unusual interactions with the PC group. Given that character’s personal limited psionic benefit, I went full-hog into the cybernetic enhancements, making the NPC a real techno-terror that was just shy of a partial conversion ‘Borg. The one thing to really consider as a player is how the random connections and insanities a character has will have on the GMs ability to move the plot along. I would have a serious conversation with the GM prior to any campaign so that there isn’t the opportunity, whether by design or mistake, to trigger this character by some unforeseen set of circumstances against a random phobia.
The Crazy in Context
All Human. Much like the Juicer, the Crazy finds itself in the niche market of techno-augmented super soldier, but with immediate impacts to how a PC could play their character within the context of the scenario. With such a slew of bonuses geared towards combat, they also have many of the skills one would expect a mercenary soldier to have. In the updated version of the OCC, it now benefits from an auto-dodge, making it very much more on par with the Juicer, capable of becoming a key member of the group (for better or for worse, depending on those rolls, LOL).
With the Big Boss(es). A heavy hitter among heavy hitters, the Crazy OCC give the player a ***wide*** range of impacts to their character’s personality that can make them quite unique among the other PCs. Likely mostly providing ranged combat support, there is the option of making him a more combat-oriented character. They are very likely the rainbow-coloured scalpel that may or may not have the right tool in the multi-kit for the scenario, or may have one, but is currently incapable of utilizing it. They may not make the biggest impacts for the group’s combat capabilities, but they sure will make themselves a known factor.
With the Demi-Gods. The Crazy OCC in this context risks falling into the trap as the comic relief for the party, which may or may not work. The OCC’s specific capabilities and bonuses, packaged in a squishy SDC character likely relying on MDC body armour to survive, likely doesn’t make them a primary target for antagonists, but don’t let a Crazy think that will limit them! Heck, depending on how the character is constructed, they may think themselves perfectly on par with the godlings and major MDC D-Bees they find themselves hanging out with. And don’t let the Crazy think you can convince him otherwise!
Rifts Main Book (RMB, or Grey Book) to Rifts Ultimate Edition (RUE). The Crazy OCC went through a very limited series of changes from the RMB to RUE. From the very beginning, going over the OCC-specific benefits or powers, things are pretty much identical or had very minor tweaks and adjustments. The OCC Skills greatly increased in the RUE version, making it a slightly better soldier-mercenary. The remainder of the OCC relies on the copious tables under The Crazy Hero and the myriad of Insanity Tables, which saw a few additional tweaks and changes, but nothing of significance to character generation.
Final Thoughts on the Crazy. This is one of those OCCs that I have seen become quite divisive for both players and GMs. This is, more times than not, a result of either player or GM equating Insanities with goofy or looney-tunes style of play. Role-playing a Crazy does not mean you need to try and emulate Roger Rabbit, in fact I’d personally rather emulate Kevin Wendell Crumb (from the M. Night Shyamalan Unbreakable trilogy). This OCC provides a player with some fantastic bonuses to statistics and attributes, on-par with the Juicer, trading off the 5-ish year life span for an increasing list of insanities and other effects that a good role-player can really leverage. A warning for GMs to take this consideration when mapping out the campaign in order to not completely limit the player from participating (i.e. Crazy has a phobia against User of Magic and your campaign centers on the Magic Zone). It can very much become that ninja-like character (with literal holes in his head) and a slightly variable way of interacting with the other PCs and the campaign in general, which is another level of interaction that some GMs may not be prepared for. This guy is going to need to react not just to the active elements of the scenario (antagonists, monster encounters, etc), but also the setting-specific details, which may translate into a little more work; at the very least be prepared for on-the-fly comments about the surroundings to trigger unexpected results. Like the Juicer, not the greatest beast in close combat, I’d suggest this OCC can very much reward a mature role-player (in full cooperation with their GM) that is ready and willing to commit to the way this class is formulated.
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