The Bazaar #23: OCC Overview – The Mind Melter
General. As far as Psychic classes and access to the varied powers they deliver, there isn’t one that delivers quite the level of impact of this OCC. With a powerhouse baseline of ISP and access to powers from all four of the categories (Super included), they begin the game with a respectable stable of powers they can apply to various elements of the adventure. Some of these powers provide more direct benefits than others, but with some imagination and creativity, the more nuanced powers could no doubt be very impactful as well.
Types of Characters. One could argue that this is the poster-child for psychic characters across the Rifts RPG. The flavour text certainly reinforces the idea that they are the most feared and powerful of psychic classes, with access to a myriad of abilities. I believe it is one of only a select few classes with access to Super Psionics from the very beginning, making its future potential to impact the game state rather impressive. Most psychic classes as very much like D-Bee races and practitioners of magic, in that they rely on innate abilities to boost their capabilities; the Mind Melter starts with a slew of those to choose from! This places the Mind Melter in a bit of a bizarre position, as those abilities can be tweaked to make either a supporting character or one that likes to get into the thick of things and influence “from the pointy end of the stick.”
Key Characteristics of the Mind Melter. The obvious key characteristic to speak to is the Class’ access to all the psionic categories from the start. At first level they start with four powers and then select three additional powers from all four power categories (with some reasonable limitations on Super). Basically, your Ley Line Walker of the Psychic classes for starting powers! These powers also benefit from the proximity of ley lines, adding to both the power’s range and duration. A very limited amount of PPE is explained, leading to the amazing potential for ISP, the most out of any of the RMB or RUE classes. Because of this reliance on natural abilities, there is an easily understandably limited choice of traditional skills, which helps balance out the character. This makes it very much like a D-Bee RCC or a non-humanoid creature, in that it relies heavily on its own integral abilities vice formal training other classes may contribute. A final note about the class, it is one of the few that does not have a hard entry requirement on any of the attributes; it recommends high IQ and ME, however, only strongly suggested. Finally, it is noted that they are forbidden from entry into Chi-Town and discouraged in the ‘Burbs; they are very easily sniffed out by Psi-Stalkers and Dog Boys, making them somewhat of a liability to the party in those respects.
Relevant Books with Updates. A selection of comparable OCCs of similar design:
Psyscape (WB 12). Probably one of the most easily applied, adventuring champions from Psyscape benefit from additional bonuses and abilities, not the least of which is doubling range/duration for Healing and Sensitive powers, while applying the same to one specific Super Psionic power that also applies to any damage.
Note: This technically cannot be applied to the Psi-sword, because they do not have access to the power at character creation when this doubling takes effect. Would you really want a Mind Melter toting a 6D6 x 2 Psi-sword at 4th level? Yeah okay, I’ll wait for you to stop laughing and then provide me a cogent argument as to why. And yes, I know it describes a specific way one *could* present this as plausible.
Coalition War Campaign (WB 11). Specifically, the inclusion of the Mind Melter into the Nonhuman Tactical Strike and Eradication Teams (NTSET) and Psi-Net (5% and 6% respectively), which somewhat contradicts the OCC notes about not being allowed in CS territory.
Adventure Sourcebook 1 (Forbidden Knowledge). One of the most compelling entries in Fire Town (and the very first one) is a Mind Melter having set up shop.
Adventure Sourcebook 3 (Black Vault). The entry for the CS Anti-Magic Recovery Squads places 15% of the psychics attached to these squads as Mind Melters!
How I Would Play This OCC. As implied in previous sections, this OCC provides for a variety of approaches. I’ve heard of players taking this as a quasi-healer for the group, applying powers to support the group, while others make a more offensive-oriented character. Myself, I would take the middle ground, allowing he/she to boost in some aspects but still contribute offensively (even if only with an E-rifle). The selection and use of all those powers would take some finessing. Like many magic spells, they are limited by the range and impact dependent on the target's armour and vulnerability. By that very nature you need to gauge the risk-versus-reward in the context of the scenario. The RUE version provides for more skill selections, which I naturally tend to prefer, so a more well-rounded and self-sufficient character is possible. Of course, this character will avoid cybernetics at all costs, providing supporting fire in combat (E-rifle, E-pistol) from a reasonable distance. Powers would be situationally dependent.
The Mind Melter in Context
All Human. This character can make an impact, but not so much that they steal any of the thunder from the remainder of the party. Men-at-Arms will always likely outperform in combat, skill jockeys likely always have a skill the Mind Melter does not have, and even if they did, the Scholars or Adventurers possesses it at a higher percentage. Practitioners of magic are the closest comparison, as both essentially rely on the flip side of the same coin; PPE fuels magic spells, ISP fuels psionic powers. In this manner, they both provide an equal impact to the crew.
With the Big Boss(es). We start to see the Mind Melter truly rely on the player and GM social contract on how much influence they are allowed to exert; like other Psychics and Practitioners of Magic, how well players get into the powers and apply their own creativity can make a huge difference. The player’s ability to leverage the numerous powers within the adventure are key here, making the Mind Melter either a valued member of the crew, vice risking the chance they drift into a supporting role of less value.
With the Demi-Gods. Here we see a clear and ready potential to be a supporting character with little input or influence. Limited primarily by the ranges on their powers, compared to the other beefier and “godly” characters with greater natural abilities to exploit, the Mind Melter can quickly need help to keep up. Those powers can develop into a powerful character, but in comparison to a demi-god with natural MDC (and lots of it) and spells/powers of their own, Mind Melters can find themselves saved from consideration as a “target of value” that players can certainly exploit.
Rifts Main Book (RMB, or Grey Book) to Rifts Ultimate Edition (RUE). Originally coined as an “RCC” they got a bit of a change in RUE to a true-blue OCC. This subtle change has several implications to it. Prior to RUE, if you selected Mind Melter, you were essentially committing to playing a human with loads of psionic powers. Now as an OCC, any D-Bee that had the option could theoretically choose the class and import their race’s natural abilities on top of the OCC abilities. Most everything else remains the same, demonstrating what I believe to be a fairly solid build for a class. The RUE version allows for a more formalized set of OCC and Other Skills, giving a slight boost. Additionally, RUE gave several OCC Bonuses, putting it more on par with the updated classes since the RMB came out. Aside from this, there may have been some minor tweaks to the psionic powers that would require a much more detailed deep dive than this review allows.
Final Thoughts on the Mind Melter. The ‘crème de la crème’ of Psychic classes, the one with all the toys straight out of the gate, the Mind Melter gives players a pretty vast array of powers to use and a heavy base of ISP to fuel it. They have, by a far margin, more ISP than just about any other psychic class in the RMB/RUE. Bearing one of the more notorious reputations across the Rifts Megaverse, the mere mention of the Mind Melter is enough to garner a player group’s attention. Until the release of subsequent World Books, Psyscape in particular, if you want to play a dedicated Psychic with all the trimmings, you likely played the Mind Melter. With the advent of a series of new Psychic RCCs/OCCs and various World Books, the baseline Mind Melter lost some of its lustre. Not ever likely going to be the combat beast of the group, as a mercenary character toting their personal weapons, they add a heavy array of powers that can certainly be leveraged in a variety of ways.
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