User:Bill/Rifts Week by Week

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After experiencing the success of the weekly D&D Encounters group, I discussed the possibility of doing something similar for another RPG with the store owner. After a brief conversation, we agreed on Palladium Games' Rifts. I'm going to try and have an adventure and cast of characters prepared to start regular weekly sessions on August 8th, the same week as the next season of Encounters. I'll be taking a lot of cues from the Encounters program, so if the stuff I put here looks familiar it probably is meant to.

Player Characters[edit]

Participating in Rifts Week by Week is intended to be easy and fun. You can bring a different character every week if you want. All I ask is that the characters be around the same power level as the pregenerated characters I'm offering for your use. No matter what you choose to bring, please make sure that you have the associated sourcebooks for me to review on hand. I'd hate to short-change your character because I'm not universally familiar with every available power and option.

Pregenerated Characters[edit]

For each series, I will be generating a selection of characters that you may choose to use. The notes for each series will show the specific ones that I will have with me, but you are welcome to print off any of the characters from the previous series as well.

Custom Characters[edit]

Download the Character Sheet

Anyone wanting to create their own characters may do so, following these guidelines.

  • Level 1
  • Stats will be rolled straight without modification
  • Any alignment except Diabolical or Miscreant may be selected
  • Any personal equipment, within reason
  • Do not exceed 200 natural MDC

My only real requirement beyond the above is that the characters fit into the general storyline described for each series. And since that's generally an exercise in creativity more than anything else, it shouldn't be too much of a challenge.

Players are encouraged, but not required, to use the advanced skill rules presented in Rifter #30.

House Rules & Clarifications[edit]

Including too many house rules in a game intended to teach people the rules as written somewhat defeats the purpose. However, Palladium actively encourages the game master to house rule as he or she sees fit to make the game personal. Any house rules I do choose to use will appear here along with my justification for them.

Bonus Experience Scheme[edit]

To reward players for extra effort to support the game an additional 100 experience points will be awarded for each significant contribution to this wiki in relation to this game. Some examples:

  • Writing a page of background information on your custom character.
  • Writing a page of notes describing a game session from the perspective of your character.

I award these points based solely on quantity, not quality. So don't concern yourself with how poor your spelling or grammar might be. I am a bit of an academic though, so don't be surprised if I edit your stuff.

Drowning & Suffocation[edit]

The official rules for drowning are very simple but are not easy to locate. Drowning takes two to four minutes according to certain spell and monster descriptions. Per the swimming rules, a character begins drowning after three failed swim attempts and will die if not rescued. This rule doesn't go into much detail and will limit a player's ability to save themselves. I don't anticipate this situation coming up frequently due to the near universality of environmental body armor in the setting, but just in case it does we'll use the following instead.

The period that a character may hold its breath without significant effort is equal to its Physical Endurance in actions. A character not performing any actions may effectively hold its breath up to its PE in melee rounds.

Beyond this point the player must roll percentile to avoid the character blacking out with a base chance of 1-50%, +10% per two actions (or melee round doing nothing). Apply any bonus that the character has versus Coma/Death to the die roll. Once the character has blacked out, roll versus Coma/Death (1-20%) every round until the character dies or is resuscitated; failure indicates that the character has died.

Resuscitating a drowned or suffocating character requires a First Aid or related medical skill check. Apply a -5% penalty to the check for every round that the character has been unconscious. After the successful resuscitation check, the player of a drowned character must still make two successful saves versus Coma/Death per the table on page 355 of Rifts Ultimate Edition. Failing to succeed on two checks indicates that the character has lapsed into a coma from complications related to drowning/suffocation such as water in the lungs, a collapsed trachea or other life-threatening problem. Characters that survive drowning will feel weakened and may be vulnerable to pneumonia and other diseases; temporarily reduce the character's PS and PE by 1d6 each. The character recovers both PS and PE at a rate of 1 per week without hospitalization and 1 per day if he or she is receiving treatment at a hospital or other medical facility.

Characters with supernatural endurance multiply their PE by 10 for purposes of calculating how long they may hold their breath. Characters with superhuman levels of endurance are very unlikely to drown.

MD Damage Stacks[edit]

Per RUE p.341, damage from MD hand weapons does not stack with basic MD hand to hand attacks. This is contradicted in a couple places and, in the interest of accelerating combat, I'm overruling it. If a character possesses sufficient strength to inflict megadamage with a hand to hand strike, he or she may treat the megadamage value of a hand weapon as a bonus to that attack. So, if a character is able to inflict 2d6 MD with a punch and it has a vibroweapon that inflicts 2d6 MD, it may roll 4d6 when it hits with the weapon. This will bias things towards hand to hand combat slightly, but with my current set of pregenerated characters that isn't a problem.


A character may move a number of yards equal to (5•SPD)/ the character's attack actions by expending an action. A move action may be combined with any attack, increasing the total actions required to perform the attack by one.

For example, the TX-31 Super Trooper power armor has a maximum ground speed of 40mph, SPD 58. Zebulon is able to make 6 attacks per melée. Zebulon is therefor able to move (5•58)/6=48.33 yards in any given action. If the player wishes to execute a move (1) and a tackle (2), he will use three of the character's six actions. The move will however enable him to gain speed and potentially inflict more damage.


Default leaping rules are not included in the Rifts: Ultimate Edition core book. We will be using the following rule, expanded from the Heroes Unlimited GM Guide:

A full speed running start allows a normal character to leap one half foot for every point of P.S. long/across and half that vertically, reduced by 40% for a standing start. Characters with robotic strength double this value and characters with supernatural strength triple it, unless otherwise indicated in the RCC or OCC of the character.

Shooting Into Melee[edit]

Firing into melee is dangerous for friendly characters. To fire into melee, a player must take an aim action at a -2 penalty, offsetting the normal bonus. If the attack is successful, it resolves normally. If the shooter misses though, roll a D20. On 11+ the shot will hit a friendly character; usually the one standing closest to the intended target.

Strength Bonuses[edit]

Strength bonuses to damage do not apply at robotic and supernatural levels or to megadamage attacks in general. They are SDC bonuses and therefor insignificant by comparison to the rolled damage.

Series One Notes Series Two Notes Series Three Notes Series Four Notes