Monday, June 7, 2010

RIFTS: First Impressions

It seems to me that there are several "tiers" of power in RIFTS with regard to character classes. As I said before, you have character classes who get a bunch of skills nobody else gets, and there are character classes who have body armor that can withstand missile volleys and weapons that can slag modern tanks.

In a party of characters who are suited up in power armor or naturally have MDC hides, the poor Mystic generally runs around with his Chameleon spell up, or hides in the MDC all terrain vehicle and takes pot shots with his MDC pistol. I did feel a little useless, given that most of the session was devoted to mecha combat. However, there were a few times when my medicine skills and psychic powers were useful.

Combat in RIFTS is damn slow. It's no D&D 4th edition, by any means, but it was pretty sluggish. This may have been aggravated by the fact that my character was practically useless against missile-spewing SAMAS suits, and my four attacks per round officially made me the slow poke of the group.

That being said... the group was fun. I liked the players. If the group hadn't been so hospitable, I might well have written the game off. There really is something to be said for a good group. They aren't the type of folks I normally play with, but it was ok with me.

I was offered the chance to scrap my character, but I'm determined to prove that you don't have to be a combat god to roll in the RIFTS world. Maybe I'm just a glutton for punishment.


  1. All nice GMs should be open-minded enough to give every PC in the party a chance to shine, or at the very least, the presence of mind to tell a player that a particular character is inappropriate for the game at hand.

    RIFTS can be a great example of this, just because of the great combat power disparities that can exist. Despite having a pretty wide open setting for any type of campaign, the "More lasers, Huzzah!" kind of game is pretty common (and of course, very fun).

    However, when that's the case, everyone deserves to know it. Especially before the players start picking Vagabonds and City Rats, and unknowingly set themselves up for the first of many TPKs.

  2. I find RIFTS to be easier for the GM (and players) to begin with a team of Coalition troops on an expedition and branch out from there. It is a fun game, but when some players are running humans and others demigods it is challenging for a GM.

    The diehards for RIFTS are a different bunch.

  3. I used to run RIFTS and you comment about missile spewing battle suits brings back some terrible memories. We had lots of fun, but wow the combat rounds were long!

  4. I almost commented earlier when I saw you'd decided on a Mystic for your character. The stereotype comment would be something along the lines of "hmm...prepare to be a little out-classed." Mystics have the rep for wussiest of the magic classes in Rifts.

    But I didn't say anything until after your play report, and...well, sorry, man. I'm glad you're sticking to your guns and I hope things go better next session.

    When I used to run Rifts combat, I would use the biggest guns possible in order to make sure the battle ended as quickly as possible. A lot of splatter.
    ; )

  5. JB- I initially intended to play a Ley Line Walker, but I had insufficient PE to be one, so I just took what the dice gave me.

    One thing I forgot to mention: virtually everyone showed up with a different character than what they originally told the GM. We were supposed to have a Ley Line Walker, Glitter Boy, Mind Melter, and Cyber-Knight. What we ended up with was a Mystic, a Gunslinger (or something from New West) that is some kind of dinosaur DB*, a Juicer, and some kind of Head Hunter that specializes in fighting robots. The adventure was designed to accommodate a party that had access to the mighty Boom Gun. Perhaps next session will be a little smoother.

    *I can still barely handle the fact that non-humans in RIFTS are called DBs, because I use DB as an abbreviation for something quite different. Every time I heard the player say "I'm a DB!" I could barely suppress my giggles.