Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Hammering Away at RIFTS, Cont'd

-Combat is fixed...at least, as fixed as it's going to get. At any rate, it should run much faster.
-Damage and damage scale are fixed.
-Skills are fixed, at least in how they work... still need to prune down the number of skills, but that can be done ad hoc if need be.

My only remaining problem is this: magic and psi.

I've never been down with your Hand to Hand skill also determining how many times you can shoot a laser or cast a spell during combat. I have, inspired by Rifter #11, divided combat skill into Hand to Hand and Ranged, so that a martial artist isn't also a gunslinger and vice versa. (Although if you blow enough skill picks, you certainly can be.) While this system has solved one aspect of the problem, I am still unsure how to determine which pool of actions that a mage or psi uses when using powers. Here are some suggestions from the Sunday group:

1. Use the pool of actions corresponding to whether or not it is a ranged or close up spell.
-I'm not going to do this one, simply because it requires me to decide which spells are which, and because it's kind of a pain in the ass.

2. Spells take actions from whichever combat mode the character is using. So, a wizard fighting with martial arts would use his Hand to Hand action pool, with spells simply taking their equivalent action. This goes back to the "kung fu wizard" problem I had before. It also mucks things up if a wizard switches combat modes.
2a. This mode could use the RUE default rules, in which the number of actions it takes to finish a spell is determined entirely by the spell's level.
2b. PPE Channeling would work really well here.
2c. You could also go with the Palladium Fantasy RPG 1st edition method: total number of spell attacks per round is determined by the class and level of the character. Of course, this would mean I would need to work out a table for all the spellcasting classes, and possibly all of the psis.

3. Spells have their own action pool- Ugh... I'm still not sure that splitting Hand to Hand and Ranged was a good idea...to include a third pool of actions might be too unwieldy. We were also at a loss to determine how many spells/melee a character gets. Suggestions included basing the number on Magic: Lore or Magic: Psionics, or by class and level.

This is really my only stumbling block toward having what I think will be a workable revision to the core rules system. (Obviously it will need further fine-tuning, but for now I just want to get a rule system that will "get off the ground," so to speak.)

...another can of worms I opened, but just as quickly closed, was the notion of reducing the number of attacks to something more in line with old Palladium Fantasy. I've already reduced the number of attacks to a base of 2 instead of 4... the problem with this idea is that combat would probably take even longer... that Deadboy still has a chest plate with 80 MDC, but now you can only take a swing or shot at him 2 times instead of five or six... and the thought of scaling down the armor for everything in the game makes me want to feed my fingers to a garbage disposal, one at a time.

The Patient Can Be Saved. This is my mantra. I have also decided that I will not be returning to the Palladium Forums to grub good house rule ideas; the discussion has quickly devolved into snarky apologists declaring that people who want things like "clarification," "consistency," or "cohesiveness" are just not smart or hardcore enough to enjoy RIFTS.

It only took about ten minutes to remind me why I swore off internet forums years ago. Ye gods, what what a bunch of twats.

In the end, I'm still not entirely sure why I'm doing this. I'm not going to run RIFTS, at least not for the Sunday group (it belongs to Mindy as far as I'm concerned.) I think that in the end it might just be my pure stubborn refusal to give up on a game I think can be salvaged.


  1. I know how you feel. I watched the Venture Bros. episode "Assassinanny 911" last night, and that (or Kill Bill) always gets my dander up to play Ninjas & Superspies. What is it about Palladium that keeps sending out that siren call?

  2. best way that i can think of is to sandbox it. Play out one combat with the rules as they are now and then get input from someone that likes playing "magic users",,,,AHEM. Because it's those people that will play them. In my view, magic users in combat is like artillary. They can buff the tanks and use ranged weapons, or they can drop their spells that cause large effects (lots of damage or detour combat in certain ways, etc). However magic users should not be melee combat people (uless they are adepts) and they should not be able to lob a large number of spells. One thing I had proposed to Mindy was allowing spells to be doubled in some way for a multiplier of PPE costs. Say I make twice the size of a wall of iron at twice the PPE, or double damage for the fireball or twice the range, etc. However they can only do this for one spell each level. Like at 6th level I chose to master this ability with magic missle. At 9th level I chose acid arrow. At 12th I chose web.
    To me though it was the spells themselves that sucked in Rifts, not the mechanics so much. I would steal them all from AD&D and file off the serial numbers.