Over the weekend I kept thinking about RIFTS and how I could run it without having to rely on the clunky Palladium system. After some googling I stumbled upon a post where someone mentioned he ran RIFTS using OD&D. At first I was wondering how one could do such thing, but after some more careful examination I came to the conclusion that its not really a bad idea.
If you look at it, Palladium is a lot like D&D (I think it could be most closely be related to AD&D) with a BRP-like skill system thrown in and with all pretenses of balance thrown out of the window. I actually don’t mind the last aspect. Balance in RIFTS or the lack thereof is what makes RIFTS fun. And believe it or not, a simple Operator can easily shine in a group of Cyborgs, Juicers, and Cyberknights.
This might sound a bit weird, but I guess you might take a basic framework like Swords & Wizardry (or a similar D&D retro-clone), add a simple skill system, and build the RIFTS OCCs with it. Isn’t a Ley Line Walker just a Magic-User with some special abilities thrown in for good measure? Mega Damage could be a problem, but you either follow RIFTS’ example and add MD and MDC to the system or you convert all damage to normal damage. In RIFTS 1 point of MD is equivalent to about 100 points of normal damage, but I am sure a ratio of 10:1 or even 2:1 would work fine and actually make it more easily playable.
I haven’t talked to my group of players about this, BUT if they are interested in the RIFTS multiverse, I might try to use OD&D to run RIFTS. If that fails, I can still rely on Pinnacle Entertainment’s Savage World version.
What do you think about my plans? Do you think this might actually work, or do you believe I am as mad as a hatter? Please share your comments below.
Wow. That title is a mouthful, but let’s not digress and get to the matter at hand! At first I want to wish all the readers of Stargazer’s World and all current and former team members a great year 2017! May it be better than the last one. For me 2016 started with the death of my grandma, who was very close to me and went on with a lot of disappointments and hard times. One the plus side I finally moved together with my girlfriend which I eventually married!
On the roleplaying games front things have been hit or miss too. I had some great sessions during the year, but I also burned out on some games repeatedly. Luckily the year ended with a success!
Yesterday night I ran a game of White Box for a group of friends while celebrating New Year’s Eve. I wanted to keep things simple, so I chose Charlie Mason’s excellent White Box RPG for the rules and created a set of pregen characters inspired by the awesome Darkest Dungeons computer game. I wish I could say this was my original idea, but instead someone else had basically done the same for Lamentations of the Flame Princess before. I stumbled upon the idea on reddit a while back.
For some reason I am really thrilled by the idea of running a mega-dungeon at the moment (feel free to recommend cool megadungeon products in the comments below), so I started working on my own. Ok, I haven’t progressed that far yet, but at least I had enough material to run my players to the first level of said dungeon.
The characters I created were already 3rd level and had a slightly higher AC than usual (I used LotFP’s starting AC of 12) and gave them some pretty cool and unique abilities and item. The game was not meant as a tough challenge but more like a fun romp through a dungeon while eating, drinking and being merry.
My players and I enjoyed the game very much and we already scheduled a new session where we want to explore the rest of the caves and dungeons. In the long run, I want to create my own mega-dungeon or use a preexisting one and run through it using the awesome Fantastic Heroes & Witchery which my friend Marcus recently introduced to me!
Update: I just uploaded the pregen characters to the blog for your perusal. Please note that these characters are heavily houseruled and far from balanced. They are roughly based on the classes in the White Box game mentioned above, but changed to suit the inspirational material and my tastes. You can check the PDF out here.
First things first: XXVc is not necessarily a broken system. I am sure there are GMs and players who are perfectly fine with the system. But for me and my group it doesn’t really work that well.
I also have to admit that I was in a pretty bad mood in the last few days. My old friend the black dog (aka depression) came for a visit and definitely overstayed its welcome. After a good night’s sleep things look already way better and I am more open to find solutions instead of throwing everything out.
I also want to thank everyone who posted their comments, advice, and ideas on Google+, Facebook, and here on the blog. Your comments really helped to put things into a perspective and gave me a shove into the proper direction. I want to send out special thanks to Joseph Wolf who basically came up with the solution I might be using.
So, here’s what I want to do:
Out with the skill system
Undoubtedly XXVc skill system has its issues. Several people have recommended replacing it by Peryton’s system for attribute checks and knacks.
This system is actually pretty close to what D&D 4e and 5e used (when I am not mistaken). To make a successful check your roll plus an ability score modifier plus your level divided by three must be equal or higher than a difficulty number set by the GM. Knacks are skills you have some talent for. When you have a knack for something, you use your whole level as modifier, not just one third.
You also don’t write down all possible skills, but only the ones you have a knack in. That is simple, should work well enough and is easily implemented. Instead of using XXVc’s skill list I will probably resort to more broad categories. The Rocketjock will probably get a knack for Piloting, the Medic a knack for Medicine etc.
The game’s lethality is an issue. Not only does it frustrate my group, it also doesn’t fit the game’s theme. Action points could alleviate this problem. Each player character starts the game with a number of action points they can use to make re-rolls, avoid damage, max out damage, etc.
Healing in XXVc is a big issue. Joseph recommended borrowing a rule from Barbarians of Lemuria which let’s the characters heal half of the HP lost in the last combat when resting. I will also have to come up with new healing abilities compatible with the Peryton skill system.
OR I could grant the Medic class a kind of “spell-like ability” which allows them to heal without making any kind of roll. On 1st level they start with Cure Light Wounds and on higher levels they get access to better healing abilities. The Medicine knack can then be used for things like First Aid, Diagnosis, Medicine-related knowledge checks, etc.
Adding more technological gadgets
There are a lot of things missing from the game. As I wrote in my last post, there should be magnetic boots which help with failed “Maneuver in Zero-G” checks, some kind of “healing potion”, and other technological wonders which help to make the game more futuristic and which make things easier for everyone at the game table. I also want to implement some kind of artifact equipment (like special weapons and armor) to spice things up a bit. In the coming weeks I will then add more stuff as needed. If the players think they need it, and if I think it fits the setting, I’ll add it in.
This sounds like a lot of work, but actually it shouldn’t be that bad. I’ll present these fixes to my players tonight. I am really glad that I was able to wrestle down the dreaded black dog, come up with some possible solutions for my problems (with your help) and move things forward instead of giving up! Thanks again!