Welcome back to Card Catalog where we walk through creating a series of characters in different gaming systems! This set of characters is coming from Palladium Book’s Rifts game! Rifts was released in 1991 and provided a multigenre setting that synthesized aspects of the previous Palladium mechanics and created what would become known as the Megaversal system. Rifts is set in a postapocalyptic future that has significant horror, survival, and sci-fi components. It brought together and harmonized rules for psionics dating back to The Mechanoids, the Potential Psychic Energy (“P.P.E.”) based magical system in Beyond the Supernatural, the Mega Damage Capacity (“M.D.C.”) concept from the Robotech series, and the alien intelligences foreshadowed by The Old Ones in the Palladium Fantasy RPG. While the Rifts world has had an unbroken history of publication for over 25 years with dozens and dozens of books, these characters will be made solely with the first two books from 1991 – The Rifts Core Rulebook and the Rifts Sourcebook (Now referred to as Rifts Sourcebook One). One of the first products Palladium published for Rifts was the Rifts Conversion Book (Now referred to as Rifts Conversion Book One) that provided hundreds of ways to enrich the setting with conversions from the other Palladium games, new races and creatures, and truly setting up the Megaversal system for what it became. Before we talk about the system itself, I do want to note that I am doing things a little differently out of respect for Palladium’s Intellectual Property and their professed preferences – Palladium does not support a fillable PDF of the Rifts Character Sheet, so I am converting the character generation spreadsheet I used into a PDF to display the characters; and I am limiting the amount of information from the books being used, for example I will give a brief description of a power armor suit but will refer you to the book for more information.
Rifts, and the Megaversal system, start from a randomly generated set of eight attributes – I.Q.; M.E. (Mental Endurance); M.A. (Mental Affinity); P.S. (Physical Strength); P.P. (Physical Prowess); P.E. (Physical Endurance); P.B. (Physical Beauty); and Spd. (Speed). A normal human rolls 3D6, but a result of 16-18 adds an additional 1D6 to the total. In the Conversion Book, you could have further exceptional attributes if that bonus d6 rolled a 6, you could roll again for a maximum of 5D6 or 30 on any stat. This group doesn’t use the extra bonus and is capped at 4D6 or 24. Rifts characters have both I.S.P. (Inner Strength Points) that fuel Psionics and P.P.E. (Potential Psychic Energy) that fuels magic. After you roll your stats, you choose an O.C.C. (Occupational Character Class) that provides the framework for your character including the O.C.C. skills, a list of “Other” skills that may be selected with bonuses, and “Secondary” skills that round out your character without bonus. Skills are expressed as a percentage to roll under, with bonuses from high I.Q., O.C.C.s, and advance by level with the character. This includes choosing your Weapon Proficiencies because, while your P.P provides a bonus in melee combat, it provides no bonuses to modern weapons at range. The character gets to be rounded out a standard gear list for each O.C.C. with some extra credits to buy and personalize your equipment.
Rifts, and Palladium in general, have always included a bevy of optional random charts to determine things like disposition and family history to help flesh out your character. I’ll be making use of those a well in building out this little group including the roll for all characters who have the potential for psionic powers in the Rifts setting. To be honest, after getting these old books out, I think 2018 is going to see me buying more of the recent Rifts books and playing around in that world! Maybe we will even revisit the world of Rifts in a future Card Catalog with some of the more recent options. (ETA – After I did this series, I went and picked up a dozen newer Palladium books including the updated Rifts Core book).
The world of Rifts is set after a near extinction level event that reawakened the magical ley lines that criss cross the Earth. In the wake of humanity nearly falling out of existence, and magic returning through the newly opened rifts at the ley line nexuses, Atlantis returned to Earth and dimensional beings, or D-bees, came through the Rifts. Some of these D-bees were nearly human and just another race on the planet but others were like monsters or demons of lore and they proceeded to further place humanity’s future at risk. In 101 P.A., there are few pockets of urban civilization like Northern Gun and the Coalition States, where power armor, giant robots, and bionic conversions flourish. Psionically gifted and magically active humans and B-Bees have banded together in different communities as well especially in light of the Coalition State’s hatred and distrust of magic, psionics, and D-Bees in general. In Rifts, humanity and population is scarce but on the planet you will find full conversion cyborgs, magic wielding Ley Line Walkers, the awesome mental powers of Mind Melters, Dragon hatchlings, and scholars and adventurers trying to survive from one day to the next. The Coalition States are preparing for an assault on the city of Tolkeen, a magically rich city that exemplifies everything they distrust and hate about the world. Welcome to the world of Rifts!
This group, though it doesn’t have an official name, has come to be called T-Ball’s Pack because the Headhunter ended up in charge. Of course the Headhunter ended up in charge even if she didn’t want to be in charge. T-Ball hasn’t revealed a lot of her background to her companions yet, but it’s pretty clear she has formal military training and some kind of a past with Audacious. While trying to get out of an Iron Heart controlled area, she stumbled onto Jorj and Annie who were up to no-good of their own and their respective crimes against the Coalition became commingled. T-Ball put a call out to Audacious for help, while Jorj leaned on his acquaintance F’arlum. A chance encounter with Mikal meant that this little group had someone better suited to guiding them through the wilds and for some reason, the timid and loner Wilderness Scout thought it would be good to lend a hand.
Now, they are trying to figure out what it is that Iron Heart wants with them, how to stay one step ahead of the most powerful, advanced, and organized empire on the continent in the Coalition States, and maybe manage to make this world just a little bit better while they are at it.
Theresa “T-Ball” Chandler – Headhunter
A headhunter, or mercenary warrior, that seems to be almost cut out of central casting, she is the nominal leader of this merry band of subversives. With a heavy leaning on Northern Gun equipment, and a dialect of American that seems to suggest that as her background, T-Ball may have spent time with the Northern Gun military. She is a bit gruff and by nature a loner, but has been corralled into being the “leader” of this pack of subversives all on the run from the Coalition State of Iron Heart. She may know more about why they are after them than she lets on, but for now T-Ball is just trying to stay one step ahead of the dangerous predators in the world – magical and human.
Jorj Porgey – Rogue Scientist/Hacker
Jorj used to be on the waiting list to be a Coalition citizen. Instead, he found answers and more importantly questions while living in the Burbs and teaching himself not only to read but how to get into the Coalition computer systems. Insatiable curiosity and a need to tell the stories of the past has led this city boy to venture through the wild from outpost to outpost trying to unearth more of the story of the Pre-Rifts times and even what really happened in the recent past. A timely meeting with Annie has led to an intrepid duo that above all else just wants to know more.
Annie – Dog Boy
A Boxer Breed Dog Boy with an uncommon curiosity, the Psi-Hound now called Annie fell into T-Ball’s Pack by way of Jorj. She had been trained as a radio and communications specialist in her Dog Pack and when they were tracking a dangerous Ley Line Walker the entire pack was wiped out. Annie would have been dead if Jorj hadn’t found her. Jorj’s own quest for knowledge spurred something in this curious and illegally literate Psi-Hound and she has stuck around ever since.
F’arlum – Ley Line Walker
F’arlum is not a happy camper. This Ley Line Walker learned to work his magic from the Federation of Magic after his father was killed by the Coalition. The Federation of Magic’s strident anti-Coalition viewpoint lends them to being called terrorists by many but that didn’t matter to F’arlum. He struck out to not only increase his own power but to begin striking at the Coalition on his own. When Jorj reached out to him on the run from Iron Heart, F’arlum jumped at the chance to help them and thereby indirectly striking against the Coalition.
Mikal – Wilderness Scout
A twin who was raised in a wilderness town who never felt quite right when his family moved into Lazlo. The bustling city didn’t do much to help his love of the wild while his twin Piter flourished around people and the energy of the city. While his brother stayed in Lazlo to become a Body Fixer, Mikal set out as a Wilderness Scout to find and keep some part of him alive in the wilds of Rifts Earth. It was sheer serendipity to run across the rest of T-Ball’s Pack as they were on the run from Iron Heart. Mikal decided to help them because they had no clue how best to get away in the wilds and he has no love lost for the Coalition. Now, he helps guide them to and fro while maybe warming up to a more sociable life.
Audacious “Aud” Smith – Juicer
Almost stereotypically, Audacious Smith is a loud, cocky, and reckless man pushing his enhanced Juicer powers to the limit before he burns out. Coming from Whykin, this youngest son set out to make a name for himself and is an imposing figure with a mane of black hair and a physique that was obviously impressive before the Juicer augmentation. With only a few years left to live, he wants to make his mark on the world while he shows the rest of T-Ball’s Pack what it means to be alive!
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Any brief excerpts and descriptions of the contents of the book are done for review purposes through the fan creation of example characters. No claim of ownership is intended or implied to the copywritten and trademarked works and marks.