Monday, March 28, 2011

RIFTS- It's alive...ALIVE...Now put it in the Cryo-tube!

Yesterday we gave the RIFTS house rules a spin. For the most part, I thought they made combat go much, much faster. We also discovered that, with MDC converted to SDC, there is a lot more hand-to-hand combat in the game. We likey.

One player did bring up the fact that, while the number of attacks that characters can take on average has gone down, mages and other un-augmented characters are still prone to player boredom since everyone gets to go before them, sometimes several times. This is probably more "realistic," in that characters who are Juicers or Crazies or otherwise augmented should be faster than flesh-and-blood characters like Rogue Scientists and Mages. There was a suggestion that everyone should get their first attack before characters get their second, then all third attacks, and so on. At first I was a bit resistant to the idea, but the more I think about it, the more I'm on board with it. I still stand by my opinion that magic and magic-users in RIFTS are second banana to the missile-packing tech-based classes, so let's give them a little break, shall we?

At any rate, we won't be playing RIFTS (or Shadowrun) for awhile, and we have had a changing of the guard behind the GM screen for a few weeks at least.

I have generated my sector map for Stars Without Number and I have generated the basic details about the thirty-ish worlds therein. I still need to flesh them out, but I have a pretty good starting idea for the beginning of the campaign. 

I have found one minor quibble with SWN, but it is truly a negligible thing. When generating planets, the individual elements of a planet (Temperature, Biosphere, etc.) are determined individually and have no effect on each other. In Traveller, you start by rolling Size, which has an impact when you roll Atmosphere, which as an impact on Temperature, which modifies Hydrosphere, etc, etc. The Traveller method creates more logical planets, but I guess I just need to think outside the box, as they say. I think in the end I will end up appreciating the drop dead simplicity that SWN offers with world creation. I will also say that SWN's "tags" for determining what is unusual/of interest about a world are a heck of a lot more interesting than the tidbits offered up by Trav.

Of course, it would be easy to generate SWN planets Traveller style, just as SWN's tags could be swiped for a Trav world. Brilliant!


  1. Here's the cure:

    When a PC goes, he has combat momentum. This means that, regardless of his number of attacks/actions, he keeps initiative and keeps attacking or acting until one of the following happens:
    He runs out of attacks
    He rolls a fumble
    He is interrupted (i.e. by a sneak attack)
    He decides to hold and wait

    The down side is that if a PC runs out of attacks/actions, he CANNOT DODGE at all! He can still parry, but unless he used his last attack to take care, prepare to get pincushioned.

    We found this worked great, gave a real anime feel to combat, and made for some high drama.

  2. I think you're on the right track with the idea of alternating actions - it's a matter of divorcing raw speed from mental reaction time. Just because one character is juiced-up to the point where they can cross the room in half a second doesn't mean they're going to collect their thoughts and decide to do it before Mr. Unaugmented Mage throws a spell at them (everyone gets a chance to act initially) but once they're in motion they can get more done in the same time frame (more actions.)

  3. You must be making good strides because most of your RIFTS posts involve, "FUUUUUU!!!!!", "WHY AM I DOING THIS?!" and "DIE, RIFTS, DIE!!!"


  4. to me it's a question of what kind of system do you want to use. Do you want everything choreographed out for you and spelled out, or do you want it fast and raw. I have played a bunch of systems and Not One is Exactly like it would be in a "real situation". The question is, are you a group that feels comfortable determining the windage, temp, humidity and sunrise/sunset times for Each day you play, or do you want to get more into the excitement/adrenline of the moment? Our group has decided they want to keep things as fluid as possible. Heck, I'm the "unaugmented", 3rd-wheel magician in the group and I Love the new intiative as is.
    It's just icing on the cake that it comes from Shadowrun,,,, **bows to altar**

  5. Ted- We, as a group, are actually looking to speed up combat by reducing the massive number of attacks characters get in combat. We like our new system because fast characters get two, maybe three attacks, as opposed to 8 or 9... dodging still uses up an attack, unless you have autododge as a class ability.

    Christian- There are a number of rpg systems I should have given up on a long time ago, but I appear to be something of a masochist.

    Mick- Yes, I was surprised the point was brought up by one of the "haves" in terms of combat speed and attacks. I guess he was just looking out for you!
    Incidentally, I'm glad we have your character in the party, even if he isn't a Super Murder Machine like some of the others.

  6. Our Rifts campaign will be saved! The initiative and attacks per round mods helped. I like it, I thought the conversion from MDC to SDC was the tricky part. I had tripled the area and damage of fusion blocks, medium and long range missiles. That led to a couple of very dramatic explosions, by the PCs with demolition skill. We had to bring those back down, just too much damage at 3x!