Seriously, I have got to put this RIFTS thing to bed. I have too many irons in the fire and my fire needs to be less iron-y.
To review my last beef:
psi and magic don't fit well in combat. Mages need to take advanced Hand to Hand skills so they can cast more than one spell per round while their buddies all get 4-10 attacks per round.
How Palladium used to do it:
*Palladium Fantasy 1st ed: Psi took up regular actions, but you couldn't mix psi with regular combat unless you were a Mind Mage. (That is, if you used psionic powers in a round, you couldn't also attack with a weapon.) If you used spells/magic, that was all you could do in that round, and you got one or two spells per round depending on your magic-using class and level. It topped out at two, but this is back when spells and weapons were in line with one another, and attacks per round topped out at 5 for a 14th-15th level warrior class.
*Palladium Fantasy 2nd edition: Psi powers, being more common, just took up regular actions. All classes could mix psi with normal combat. Magic still took up your whole round, and the number of spells you could use in one round was based on the level of the spells you were using, not class and level. (For instance, you could use two spells of levels 1-8, but only one spell of higher level)
*RIFTS- Magic now uses up melee actions. The number of actions a spell uses up is based on the spell's level. This is similar to PFRPG 2nd edition, only now a mage who studies Martial Arts can sling spells faster than a mage who just has Hand to Hand Basic. This just strikes me as wrong on so many levels... it seems counter-intuitive to my sensibilities that a mage who focuses on combat training would actually be able to toss spells faster as a result. I have heard it argued that a combat trained mage would be able to think faster and thus conjure spells more quickly, but I'm just not sure I can buy into this as much more than a hand wave for a wrong turn in the Palladium rules system. I'm also talking about things as laid down in Rifts Ultimate Edition. I've never owned a copy of old RIFTS, so I don't know if things were different back then.
It was recently suggested to me that I treat RIFTS as an Arduin-esque supplement to whatever iteration of D&D I roll best with. You know... I'm starting to think that sounds like the most sane option, despite this nagging sensation that I can somehow turn this into a game I can wrap my head around without feeling like there has been a train wreck inside my head every time I sit down with the rule book.