• Francois DesRochers

The Bazaar #17: Me as a Rifted Character

Updated: Nov 2


General. One of the intellectual games that Rifts players often play at one point or another is imagining one’s self in the game's milieu and determining what that character would look like. There is currently a thread on the Palladium Books forums on the subject, so I thought I would take a more deliberate crack at the character creation process for, well, me. For the vast majority, we are definitively going to fall flat compared to the battle-hardened natives of Rifts Earth; they've grown up in their reality and developed their skills to compensate and survive. For those of us Rifted into the scenario, well, good luck, and I don’t count myself outside that friendly warning either. <wink>


My Personal Background. I grew up a base-brat, following my father’s military postings across Canada, including a two-year stint in Tucson, Arizona, while he completed a Masters degree. I spent most of my time as a youth watching science fiction and action shows/movies, later on playing varsity sports, participating in Scouts and later Army Cadets, as well as playing RPGs with my buddies. Upon graduation from high school I enrolled into the Canadian Armed Forces. After a staggered start due to government cut-backs closing my military college, I re-enrolled into the Primary Reserves, completing my undergraduate degree and Infantry officer training. I moved to the Fredericton region in 2003 and completed my MBA in 2006, later picking up a contract position at Base Gagetown. Over the years I’ve worked my way through various positions and promotions to my current role (Major in a staff position advising the Base Commander).


System to Use. The variety of Palladium systems have a several nuanced differences in how they go about character creation, some varying greatly from the others. The idea is then to look at the various character creation rules and determine where we start:

  • Palladium Fantasy. Given the disparity in technology and how OCCs are written, this pretty much negates its use.

  • After the Bomb. Last time I checked, no fluffy tail or long elephant ears. Pass.

  • Dead Reign. An interesting system for developing your everyday character into a post-apocalyptic setting. Unfortunately, there isn’t one of the options that fits.

  • Beyond the Supernatural. Gets close by allowing me to choose a Master’s Degree education, but the skills list is (very) early Palladium Books and misses the mark, but at least resembles the target to shoot for.

  • Rifts RPG/Rifts Ultimate Edition. So, with copious OCCs to choose from, surely there must be something one could use coming in, right? If you consider anything with robots and power armour off-limits, magic and psionics a no-go, you *might* get away with some of the Adventurer classes (maybe the Vagabond). Unfortunately they all come with W.P. Energy Pistol/Rifle, which nobody has, or class-specific abilities most people don’t have either. Regrettably, not applicable.

  • Heroes Unlimited. Bearing in mind none of us have superpower, bionics, magic, or a host of other class-specific abilities, if we stopped character creation after the Education step, you can almost get away with something actually playable. Winner-winner, chicken dinner!

CHARACTER CREATION


Generating Statistics. Okay, so this is one that requires a little bit of honest self-reflection and honesty, likely a dose of humility. We all want to play with characters toting 20+ in all the key stats with all the BFGs that money could buy. Let’s get real. We are going to be the squishy types from the get-go, and this includes our stats. Consider that the average skill roll is statistically 10 to 12, any skill bonuses for Physical skills are already baked into the final numbers. So without further a-do, I present what I realistically would assess “me,” with only a single attribute giving me any sort of bonus:

  • I.Q.: 14. I actually did a test; and no, not the internet kind. LOL. Regardless, no bonuses here.

  • M.E.: 19. One of the only stats I’ll claim to be higher than the average bear.

  • M.A.: 13. A little above average, but nothing to brag about.

  • P.S.: 12. A little above average, given my employment standards for physical fitness.

  • P.P.: 13. I play a mean game of dodge ball, but I’m not going to test my wits and reflexes against a guy tossing a wrench at me.

  • P.E.: 13. A little above average, given my employment standards for physical fitness.

  • P.B.: 11. I’m no Brad Pitt, even my wife will tell me so. LOL. Average.

  • Spd.: 22. I ran 100 meters, and apparently the math works out as such.

Alignment. A number of people balk at the Palladium Books alignment system. I have always found it to be one of the hidden gems that never gets talked about enough . It markedly detract from the bog-standard Chaotic-Good or Lawful Evil paradigm, which I think is a highly underplayed aspect of character creation and in-game play with other system; their rules for alignment provides, at best, an intuitive guide with room for interpretation and little real penalty for playing outside of character alignment. With Palladium Books, you have a series of statements on how the specific alignment goes about addressing these issues, which gives both players and GMs a *much* clearer understanding from which to draw on; I’ll actually be doing a bit of a deep-dive in future articles on this aspect of the system. All this said, I went through the list and firmly found myself sitting in Scrupulous.


Rounding out the Character. Without getting too far into it, I am the first born, average build standing 6 feet (1.8 m) tall, mid-forties, probably that “nice guy, courteous and hospitable” type, with a social/economic background probably bearing into the Highly Skilled/Upper Middle Class.


Funny Story Time. One last thing to note are the Insanity Tables, which many people typically gloss right over. In this exercise, you really can’t. Strike 1: In my youth, I had a run-in with a massive (I mean *really* frikkin’ big) praying mantis. Ten-year-old logic: that is *cool* and creep closer to it until it leapt from a rock at me and basically pulled a face-hugger on my face and head; ripping it off my face, with a scream of fury I smacked it square on its thorax with a piece of wood – juices/viscera/grossness exploded back into my face and mouth. Insert catatonic run for a couple of kilometers, apparently completely oblivious to my friends chasing after me. Strike 2: Same summer, I see queen wasp enter my house’s siding; a full spray can of Lysol later into the crack, it comes out, lands on my cheek messed up on fumes before flying off. Strike 3: That night, the queen wasp returned, mutated even larger (of course)! She crept under my sheets and onto my foot; frozen in terror until she stung my heel, I jerked in reaction and subsequently kneed myself in the mouth and nose. Real blood on the pillow, two front teeth loose in real life too. So, in retrospect, that’s it, I’m tapped out. So I’m going to go ahead and place a Phobia: Insects in there, and hope to all that is well and good that I don’t get sucked through a nexus anywhere near the Xiticix hives. Or China. Or really anywhere for that matter.


Education. The next pertinent step in the process taking my education and how this translates into the character creation system. For Heroes Unlimited, I am happy to see that my Master Degree in Business Administration can be well reflected. Choosing the Master Degree (College), which equates to a roll of 91 – 95%, we get 4 Skill Programs (+25%) and 10 Secondary Skills. Whelp, that’s a lot, actually. I note that my military and civilian training don’t really overlap too well here, so I have to apply one violation of the rules. Let’s start:

  • Baseline: We all start with the baseline skills.

  • Business Program: With an MBA, seems like an auto-include!

  • Domestic Program: I’ve picked up a few skills, either through military training or life skills. Ask my wife, my cooking is da’ bomb! (…most times)

  • Military Program (Basic): The exception I was speaking to. Not just because of the number of programs available, but because I have over 20 years of active-duty service as a full-time Primary Reservist.

  • Weapon Proficiency – Modern: An extension of the training I have had in the military.

  • Secondary Skills: Basically a smattering of skills I thought relevant

I'd be lucky to get geared out to this point

Final Skills List: Washing out duplication of skills from various programs, and assuming I am porting in as a “Level 1 Rifted Human,” I find myself with the skills list below:

  • Baseline: Pilot Automobile (60%)

  • Baseline: Mathematics: Basic (70%)

  • Baseline: Speak: English (75%)

  • Baseline: Literacy: English (50%)

  • Business: Business and Finance (60%)

  • Business: Computer Operations (65%)

  • Business: Law (general) (50%)

  • Business: Research (75%)

  • Domestic: Cooking (60%)

  • Domestic: Sewing (65%)

  • Domestic: Fishing (65%)

  • Military (Basic): Hand to Hand: Basic

  • Military (Basic): Running

  • Military (Basic): Climbing (65%)

  • Military (Basic): Military Etiquette (60%)

  • W.P. Modern: W.P. Automatic & Semi-Automatic Rifles

  • W.P. Modern: W.P. Pistol

  • W.P. Modern: W.P. Heavy Weapons (mortars, recoilless rifles)

  • Secondary: Speak: French (50%)

  • Secondary: Literacy: French (30%)

  • Secondary: Swimming (50%)

  • Secondary: Athletics

  • Secondary: Land Navigation (36%)

  • Secondary: Radio: Basic (45%)

  • Secondary: Wilderness Survival (30%)

  • Secondary: First Aid (45%)

  • Secondary: General Repair/Maintenance (35%)

  • Secondary: W.P. Knife

CONCLUSION


Well, phew-boy! There are some skills there that are mighty fine and pertinent for my day job, but provide no-joy for a Rifted human. There are a few nuggets in there that could come in handy; perhaps I can try to “negotiate” with my Splugorth slavers with a view to maximizing my resale value. One could easily imagine that a Weapon Proficiency in any modern rifles/weapons would easily translate into a quick Secondary Skill pick-up with E-rifles or E-pistols, assuming I can live to see a level increase, LOL. Assuming I survived and made it to a population center, I could perhaps set up a Rogue Scholar, or maybe find a niche into an established business, or create an opportunity based on the local economy. Worse comes to worst, given my limited skill set, I could hire out as a cheap mercenary – point and shoot the ugly McGuffin, right? Please let it not be a Xiticix… If I fail a Horror Factor roll, I’m sure I could try and negotiate a better price for a new pair of shorts, right? Yeah, not so sure… I’m thinking that if I got Rifted, I pretty much rolled a hard 1 on life already.


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