Rifts Conversion Book by Alien Rope Burn
Take only what works for you and enjoy!Original SA post
It’s that time again.
Let's see what we got here on the cover, we've got a bunch of stuff coming out of a rift. From top left to bottom left clockwise, we've got:
A Coalition skull man on his skull bike from
, the game of skulls.
An adult dragon from
, an early D&D heartbreaker, sporting a visor and wrist laser, presumably from
A superdude from the game of super dudes,
A naked mindolar giving us a full frontal exposure from
Beyond the Supernatural™
A rahu-man from
. Obviously a man at arms of some type.
A super spy from
Ninjas and... Superspies™
Some warrior on a gryphon, presumably from
Anyway, this is a pretty cool adventuring party. I mean, you can't play a big dragon or a mindolar. But let's say you could. This would be a pretty rad adventuring party.
but u r not alowed lawl
"I thought this was a toilet!"
The back has a big demon, or alternately, a regular-sized demon and a very tiny man. It’s not clear. It promises:
Over 100 monsters, demons, and 40 character races.
Conversion rules (well, I hope so!)
Hints about Palladium world’s past (who cares?) and hints about Rifts Europe and Germany
More magic O.C.C.s and spells
Adult dragons, all growed up.
It’s 224 pages, making it as nearly as long as the core book. But I won’t be tackling it on my own: I’m going to be covering the system and conversion sections, while occamsnailfile will be covering the bestiary that makes up the rest of the book. And we’ll be throwing in a couple comments on each other’s sections. It’s like WTF, D&D?!, only not on the frontpage.
Not that I’m saying we can do better than them, but what I am doing is casting aspersions on their parentage. I’m not saying Zack or Steve’s parents were literally dogs or anything, but it’s not impossible .
Oh, and let's not forget:
Rifts™ Conversion Book posted:
Violence and the Supernatural.
This book may be inappropriate for young readers.
The fictional world of Rifts® is violent, deadly, and filled with supernatural monsters. Other-dimensional beings, often referred to as "demons," torment, stalk, and prey on humans. Other alien life forms, monsters, gods, and demi-gods, as well as magic, insanity and the supernatural are all elements in this book. Some parents may find the violence and supernatural elements of the game inappropriate for young readers/players. We suggest parental discretion.
Note that Rifts and the Rifts Conversion Book are works of fiction! NONE of the monsters, characters, magic, powers or depictions are real. None of us at Palladium Books condone nor encourage the occult, the practice of magic, the use of drugs, or violence.
But, I... I packed a baseball bat... and... bath salts... and... a trick wand... what am I supposed to do now?
Rifts™ Conversion Book Part 1: "Take only what works for you and enjoy!"
So we look in and see a feral... corpse guy... with a vibrator?
And he don’t work for nobody but you.
Dammit Rifts ™
Hold off on the sex fiends until I settle in, please.
Next, we get a table of contents! And also a picture of a "Dragon Wolf", which mostly just looks like a Wolf with wings and, well, that looks like something you can wait until later manuals of monsters. It's the kind of thing you dig out of a bin when you're ready to do Rifts™ Monster Book 4: Wuzzles™ of the Megaverse™ .
Dragon + Wolf + Rat tail.
Okay, hang in here, this is... not going to be the easiest book to do. Hopefully I can make it marginally entertaining in these early parts, but it’s ruuuullllleees. There's very little world information. It's hardly even about Rifts. What is it? Well, errata for the core game. Miscellaneous balance diatribes. Conversions from other Palladium games. Classes. Spells. A bestiary / race list.
It is the grabbiest grab bag of crap you'll ever see, but every Rifts book after this will be referencing it, essentially, so we better get to it.
Most people call it an introduction, but Rifts is breaking new ground here .
Magic & Monsters
Okay, he brings up that there hasn't been much on magic or monsters, so they're going to have a lot of magic and monsters. But he says they're also going to have more giant robots in Rifts™ World Book Two: Atlantis and Rifts Sourcebook Two™: The Mechanoids . Apparently Archie's coming back in the Mechanoids, for those frustrated at having had to wait a whole year since his first appearance.
Breathe into a bag. Calm down, Archie's coming back.
What you'll find in this book
It'll deal with how to generally convert stuff from Palladium games, and then specific information on how to convert stuff. It reminds us that the new R.C.C.s are to be used at the GM's discretion, and that you don't have let people create totally rad mutant emus that shoot lasers and rock ninja death touches. (But if you don't, I will point out on a personal level that you suck.)
(No, seriously, you are terrible and should feel terrible.)
Next: It’s time for guns! Not conversions! Guns! You didn’t come to this game to play an elf! You came to this game to play an elf... with a gun!
I’m sure one, maybe two of you will get that reference.
If your character leaps on top of a grenade to save others, that’s great, but he’s dead. DEAD!Original SA post
It’s time for 32 pages of errata in a book you paid $19.95 for. Enjoy!
Rifts™ Conversion Book Part 2: "If your character leaps on top of a grenade to save others, that’s great, but he’s dead. DEAD!”
Modern Weapon Proficiencies
Uh-oh. This wasn't very good last time. Can it break the cycle?
Clarifications about Energy Weapons
Well, it mentions there's been confusion on how energy weapons work, and clarifies that the modern weapon rules do apply to energy weapons and rail guns.
Are we finally going to see bursts clarified? Is... is it possible? Can we have usable weapon rules?
Understanding High-Tech Weapons
This section is mostly just reused art like this.
Rifts™ Conversion Book posted:
But what about weapons that have damage for single blasts, have a pay load of 20 or more, and which can be fired in rapid succession?
Yeah, what about those? Well, it points out even if you fire a burst, if you miss, you still miss. It then goes on and on about how firing more bullets makes one more likely to hit. Um. Okay. Thanks for taking two paragraphs to let us know, and then-
Rifts™ Conversion Book posted:
Another way to think of it is in terms of a video game. Picture one of the older video games, whether it's an old arcade game or computer type. In most of the old games, you, the player, can only fire so many bullets or blasts per so many seconds. Once you've fired those handful of blasts it takes a few seconds for the weapon to recycle and in those few seconds you cannot fire the weapon. How many times have you wished you could fire in those two or three seconds? And how many times have you died because you could not shoot during those two seconds?
Now think about the super-fast video games available today. Many have unlimited ammunition and can shoot as quickly as you can pull the trigger (depress the fire button) or, better yet, continually shoot as long as the trigger/fire button is depressed. These games with the continual shooting element are fast paced and give the player a distinct advantage over his enemies. The level of shooting expertise is replaced by the speed of a continuously rapid-firing weapon. This is the same rudimentary principle behind semiautomatic and automatic weapons.
Kevin, come back to me! I know you're far away in 1991, but... just come towards the sound of my voice, you're just rambling, you're just making things more confusing!
He goes on with the difference between semi-automatic and automatic. Umkay. Most energy weapons in the book aren't described as semi-auto or auto, so this isn't useful yet.
More does not mean better
He points out automatic gunfire still misses a lot, and says it isn't more accurate than slower-firing weapons, even though he just said the opposite thing a page back . He also argues automatic weapons don't necessarily do more damage, even though the burst fire rules do mean they do more damage.
In short, he has no fucking idea what he's going on about. This can't go anywhere good, right?
Rules for using High-Tech Weapons
So. Rules time. I'm going to bullet-point this.
Aimed shots take one whole attack and can only fire one shot per attack. Apparently natural 20s always hit.
The Wilk's weapons and some Triax weapons get a +1 to hit on aimed shots. (Due diligence shows us no Triax weapon has such a bonus. The TX-11 laser sniper rifle gets a general +1 to hit, not just to aimed attacks.) Some sniper rifles also get a bonus to hit.
Weapons that fire "pulse" shots of simultaneous blasts just get the burst bonus.
Pump weapons and grenade launchers can be aimed if you have W.P. Heavy Energy Weapons... even though they aren't energy weapons, and there is a W.P. Heavy for grenade launcher.
People without weapon proficiency get no bonus to hit. They also have a -6 penalty to hit when trying to fire bursts or wild. (This is a new rule.)
Prowess bonuses to strike don't count for automatic and energy weapons. However, there's going to be a skill that lets you do that, called the Sharpshooting skill! He was going to save it for
Rifts™: The New West
, but we're going to get it now. (Well enough;
Rifts™ World Book 14: The New West
won't be released for another 5 years.)
Reloading just takes one attack or action. Weapons without clips take two actions, unless you don't have the Weapon Proficiency, then it takes four attacks or a full round, whichever is shorter. Got all that?
Please clarify please clarify please clarify-
Okay, all energy weapons that don't specifically say otherwise are automatic. This is a big step towards a fix. It clarifies weapons that fire pulse bursts work differently, and that rail guns used simplified burst rules.
Wow. It really does clarify things.
It then immediately facefaults by trying to defend the low damage of rail guns compared to energy weapons firing bursts in that rail guns have better range and ammo counts. Sorry, when a light assault rifle weighing about ten pounds is doing better damage with bursts than a rail gun that's a hundred rounds, it's time to admit there's a problem with the rules.
Rifts: Change for Page 34
The damage for weapon bursts is heavily nerfed. I guess it did admit to a problem, though it only reduces the problem rather than eliminate it. (Also, this is treated as errata for Robotech and Heroes Unlimited, if you happen to own those unrelated game lines.)
It now defines when you're treated as "shooting wild".
When you're firing at the target but haven't aimed. (Just in case you want to declare you're shooting badly, I guess?)
Cannot see your target, invisible or concealed, etc.
When shooting from a moving object - this doesn't count for vehicles and robots with built-in weapons. It also doesn't count for natural powers and superpowers.
When you have no Weapon Proficiency in the weapon.
When terrified or in a berserker rage. (There are no definitions for which to apply.
When just spraying bullets willy-nilly.
Blasts after the first shot from a boom gun from an unsecured Glitter Boy.
Combat Range and Rolls to Strike
It notes that if you're firing at 61 feet or farther, you have to roll an 8 to hit, not just a 4. There are no additional penalties for range; the game credits targeting systems for this.
Which is utter bullshit, since this rule applies to a unenhanced jerk with an old-fashioned revolver as much as a cyborg with a computer-controlled rail gun. But we can't expect too much. No, we can't.
Dodging and Parrying Energy Weapons
It justifies dodging bullets by pointing out a lot of Rifts characters are enhanced, and they're more making themselves hard to hit than literally doing bullets anyway. It clarifies a dodge takes an attack, but juicers don't have to spend an attack to do so.
occamsnailfile: Juicers not having to spend an attack actually makes them slightly better than total shit. It seems like there are a few other classes/advantages that grant this later and all Robotech characters can automatically do this, if their rules still apply to them at all.
It also adds that crazies, juicers, simvan warriors, cyber-knights, and those in power armor or robot vehicles can parry a bullet or single energy blasts (it clarifies you can't parry bursts later) if they have a "suitable item" to parry with.
It adds a cyber-knight, mind melter, or other psi-sword or psi-shield user can also parry attacks with those. (This is a contradiction to the current rules for psi-shields, but since they're terrible otherwise, I'd go with it.) You can also do it with a magic sword or shield!... even if you don't have the reflexes to do so. Well, it's magic, I suppose.
Parrying objects can actually take damage and break from energy blasts, but melee weapons can parry each other normally. Also, explosives can't be parried, because they explode.
The Combat Sequence
It tries to give an example of how combat order works, but it's confusing because it ignores the whole attack economy the thing has going. It goes on about how realistic it is...
Yeah, sparing you this.
There's a combat example of Coalition grunt vs. a cyber-knight that takes about a page-and-a-half, it largely follows the rules and gives a round of combat. It's followed by an admonishment that sometimes you have to be clever to win a fight, or just run away.
Yes, Rifts™ is telling us fighting isn’t the answer. This is like a Republican trying to sell welfare.
After all, there’s not much art of people running away, is there?
The Natural Twenty & Damage
It reminds us 20 is always a hit and does double damage. You know, this may seem obvious, but Rifts™ could stand to restate stuff repeatedly, given it rarely does it clearly in the first place.
The Called Shot & Damage
Pretty much just a reiteration of the existing rules, that when making a called shot, an 5-11 on the roll just hits the main body and a 12 or higher hits the target.
It's weird that there's really no way to get better at hitting a specific target. As it stands, a 1st level grunt and a 15th level veteran have the same chance, dodge and parry rolls aside.
Occamsnailfile: Also there’s not really ever any downside to using a called shot, since you still just hit the body otherwise and a lot of MDC weapons and/or enemy heads are comparatively tissue-thin.
The Main Body
It just reminds us that without a called shot, you just hit the main body. It also hits that a natural twenty can hit a specific target, but it doesn't say how or when that's declared, so it doesn't make sense.
Yeah, this is where you can declare a knockout punch a, but you have to get a very high number - though you can add your strike bonus to get the number, it doesn't have to be natural roll. If you don't get the roll but hit, you do normal damage. If you succeed, you straight up knock them out.
So, new plan to defeat the vampire intelligences, or the powerful demons of Xibalba. Have twenty boxers just rush them and make knockout attacks, instant victory!
It points out making knockout attacks should be hard because it's realistic. It gives an example of a Juicer beating up a guy and failing to knock them out.
It points out this is realistic and "this ain't the movies".
Sometimes this game is just making fun of itself, I think.
Optional Damage Rules
“Optional” is designer speak for “we don’t know how well these work, but...”
This is a repeat of the knockdown rules from Vampire Kingdoms, though the ability to cause knockdown is relatively nerfed. This is probably for the best, since vampires comparatively could be knocked down by a stiff mega-damage wind.
There's also a separate table for giant robots and dragons where it's harder to lock them down. Still, it adds the possibility of keeping those 1000+ M.D.C. targets down by just battering them repeatedly with weapons.
It talks about how grappling can be a good tactic!... but provides no rules for it. So it's not so much an "optional" rule as an "entirely absent" rule.
Optional Robot Combat Damage Table
There are a variety of tables that come after this for when a robot's location has suffered 60% of its M.D.C. or more. These are decent enough, and I'd actually recommend them - they give more of a reason to strike at limbs, for one. Secondly, the rock 'em sock 'em robot fighting of Rifts™ is dull as dusty dirt, so anything to spice it up would help.
The M.D.C. of Common Weapons and Items
What follows is a listing of weapons and their M.D.C. values, largely, which adds the new and extremely effective tactic of just shooting the guns of your foes. Since most human-level characters can't do damage without their weapon, it becomes more effective and simpler to just shoot their guns . After all, on a called shot, if you miss the called shot and would hit anyway... you still hit their main body. There's not much drawback.
On the other hand, this gives an awfully good reason to carry a backup weapon.
It also gives us M.D.C. values for M.D.C. tires that contradict most values for actual M.D.C. vehicles. There's also Mega-Damage Glass, which we're told is "very expensive". No price, though, so we'll have to take his word for it.
Disadvantages Playing The Glitter Boy
Wow, it would be nice to see some mechanical drawbacks to help balance out the Glitter Boy-
- oh. This isn't what this is.
Nope, this is a diatribe on how since the Glitter Boy needs to plant down, faster attackers can run circles around it and use that against it. Only there are some problems with this.
There are no attack penalties against a moving target, regardless of its speed. The Glitter Boy can hit a target going at MACH 1 as if it were standing still. Similarly, distance and size are not significant limitations.
There is no limits on firing arcs or traversing the boom gun. There's no reason a Glitter Boy can't hit two targets on opposite sides of itself.
Planting itself is a undefined action, so there's no reason it can't attack, turn, and then plant again for the next attack.
The boom gun can fire accurately up to
away, exceeding the range of any non-missile weapon. As such, hit and run tactics are going to be difficult to pull off (especially since Palladium has
no combat movement rules
It can run 60 MPH; it’s slow by robot standards, but not actually... slow.
Kev tries to reiterate that it's slow and powerful; see above.
Siembieda also points out the glitter boy is going to be the first target, which is a fair enough point to make. There's no mechanical effect that lets a glitter boy draw any more fire than the others, so there's no means for the robot suit to really back that up. It's a purely metagame weakness.
Finally, Kevin points out you can throw up your hands and just ban it from your game, or remove M.D.C. entirely (?!). Yes, he is all but admitting it's a problem... but not quite. Not quite. Weasel.
Also, this article completely misses the core weakness of the glitter boy: it has one gun. One. If you can deal out the 175 Mega-Damage to wreck the boom gun, the best it can do is fisticuffs, which it's fairly lousy at.
But "and then they shoot at your gun again!" seems like a frustrating solution to face as a player. YMMV.
occamsnailfile: You can also go hella broke trying to reload that gun, but since you get 100 shots that can paste most enemies to start with, you have time to build your ammo 401K.
A New W.P. Skill
Apparently this is a skill available to anybody except the Dragon, Mind Melter, or Vagabond. Presumably Dragons and Mind Melters can't take it for balance / thematic reasons, and Vagabonds can't take it because fuck you, Vagabonds .
It reminds us this is a rare skill. (Hint: all your players will want this skill, it's fantastic.) It counts as two "other" skill selections, and it basically enhances an existing Weapon Proficiency. And it gives you...
Extra bonuses to hit, called shots, and initiative if you have a high Prowess.
An extra attack with that weapon (this is why everybody will want it).
A special trick shot or "feat" that gives you a special ability with that weapon (this is why everybody will want it more).
S.D.C. and Combat
Kev points out he's heard some silly stories regarding S.D.C., mainly in Heroes Unlimited. See, I haven't talked about it much because it doesn't much matter in the context of Rifts, but normal characters can take an absurd amount of mundane damage
He gives examples like:
Characters that charge gunmen because they can take 4-5 bullets.
A character that jumped on a live grenade without major harm.
A character that would shoot himself in the head to show off how tough he is.
Rifts™ Conversion Book posted:
Yes, this is also an example of poor game mastering...
Talk about blaming the victim. Remember, you should know better than to follow the rules that Kevin created when running his games.
If you do...
... you are a poor GM.
So he points out blood loss and pain are issues in these situations. And there are rules for them, all of a sudden!
From being cut, stabbed, or shot, each time this happens you start bleeding. Each such injury makes you take 1 point of damage per minute. (There are four turns in a minute.) Apparently if your HP go to 5 or less from blood loss you automatically pass out. Generally speaking, you still need to take a lot of hits for this to matter. It goes some way to discouraging charging at gunmen, but does nothing to really prevent hopping on grenades.
Pain Penalties (optional)
There are penalties for taking 'minor', 'significant', or 'major' damage to the body... but... those terms aren't defined. Polite suggestions are not rules.
Damage at Point-Blank Range (optional rules)
It defines point-blank as being 10' or closer, and says you can automatically hit a helpless person at this range, and that when you do hit at this range, it does full damage to S.D.C. and half damage to Hit Points, as well as rolling on a special set of tables... where you can get knocked out or even into a coma!
S.D.C. & Explosives
Taking an explosion "point-blank" - that is, 10' or closer to the epicenter - means it does double damage directly to your hit points, which is going to be instant death in most cases now.
Anyway, all these rules hardly apply most of the time - they only apply to S.D.C. combat. Most of the combat will be M.D.C combat, so let's get back to that.
Random Hit Location Tables
These are by Julius Rosenstein, who apparently introduced Kevin Siembieda to RPGs.
He is to blame.
(Shit, it turns out he knows Aikido, he could totally flip me out of nowhere. Better stay on soft ground or carpeting.)
Anyway, these are some random hit location tables for robots and power armor. It doesn't say how to use them, but there they are. There are three pages of these things and I don't give a damn, and neither should you.
Next: Rifts™ is going to help you make some monsters! And some of them are likely to be PCs, even. In fact... PCs are the real monsters.
Yeah, I threw it all into one post. I figure it's best to not linger on this stuff when we have wooly dragons and spies facing cyclops robots ahead.
Supernatural intelligences: 2D6x10,000 M.D.C., occasionally even more.Original SA post
Monster Squad posted:
First came Dracula, now the Wolf Man too | The mummy and the gillman swimming in the pool | We need silver bullets, we need wooden stakes | Normal stuff won't stop them cause they live on hate
Rifts™ Conversion Book Part 3: "Supernatural intelligences: 2D6x10,000 M.D.C., occasionally even more.”
“Occasionally even more.”
General Rules for Converting Monsters and Supernatural Beings to Rifts
”I’m a Tasmanian Devil, but I don’t appear in this book!
Buy Boxed Nightmares™ to find out more!”
Demons and predators tend to be evil or anarchist, though PCs may defy that expectation.
Some monsters may roll more dice for attributes, or have an attribute bonus. (It doesn't say if they roll a bonus die, or when, like humans do.)
Supernatural & Monster Physical Strength (P.S.) and Mega-Damage
Threat... or menace?!
It points out that supernatural creatures get to be M.D.C. naturally and get special super-strength (even if their strength score isn't that high) that does Mega-Damage. Of course, now we've seen non-supernatural creatures like the rhino-buffalo, nodosaur, agenor river serpent, or fury beetle with no apparent supernatural nature with mega-damage strength.
So it's inconsistent and doesn't make a bit of sense. But here it is!
Anyway, there's a chart for how much damage you do by strength, ranging from 4d6 S.D.C. to 1d6 x 10 M.D. for your average punch.
Converting an S.D.C. creature into a mega-damage structure (M.D.C.)
Similarly, supernatural beings become more tuff. It details how quickly M.D.C. creatures recover, how much damage it takes to kill them... M.D.C. replaces Hit Points and S.D.C., etc.
A General formula for determining the M.D.C. transition of supernatural beings and creatures of magic
It gives some general figures which generally means monsters exploding by factors of 10, from lesser demons at (2d4 x 10) + 40 for lesser demons, or 2d6 x 10,000 for supernatural intelligence...
... wait, what?
Supernatural intelligence? But vampire intelligences only had, like, 1000!
How are you even supposed to fight something with 120,000 M.D.C.? Drop the moon on it? Throw it into the sun and then explode the sun? Teleport it between two black holes?
occamsnailfile: This gets worse and weirder over time when you get into like, Thor, with 150K or something and a hammer that does...4D6. But that is the future!
Bionics and the Supernatural
Most magic stuff doesn't like bionics, which is all well and good, but when you have a choice between being a 200 M.D.C. gurgoyle with ten knuckles to your name and a 700 M.D.C. rail-gun toting cyborg with laser eyes, it might be a valid option.
I'm just saying they should be more open-minded.
It gives an outline of how to assign Horror Factor, basically 10+1d4 for your everyday monster to 16-18 for supernatural... intelligence. Important information is important for supernatural intelligence design.
Potential Psychic Energy (P.P.E.)
There's an outline on how to assign P.P.E., from 4d6 for a thug or minor critter to 4d6x1000 for supernatural intelligence-
Tirade begins here.
Ugh, talk about a tortured term that doesn’t mean anything. A dragon is supernatural and intelligent, but it’s not a supernatural intelligence. Same for a witchling, thornhead demon, brodkill, dybbuk, etc. It’s a term that does nothing to define its subject.
I'm going to come up with some better names. Feel free to use them, or post your own:
Terrors From Beyond
Ye Olde Horrores
What Love Crafted
Tirade ends here.
occamsnailfile: The best part is how the big section on what these are and how to generate them is in the way way back of the book and boring as hell.
Supernatural predators! If they're dumb, they feed off the psychic energy, blood, or flesh of slain humanoids. It's... kind of weird that they single out humanoids. It seems bad from an evolutionary standpoint. See, humanoids have guns. And wizards. And people who only set things on fire .
If they're smart, they're... sadistic and manipulative. For some reason. It's weird, again. It doesn't benefit them to just harm somebody, unless they feed off of fear.
Either way, the fact these are the main two archetypes monsters are based in in Rifts™ explains a lot about the cookie-cutter nature of their critters.
It points out basic traits of supernatural predators - nightvision and other enhanced senses, tracking by sight or smell, swimming, climbing, sneaking, and leaping. And apparently 50% of them can turn invisible and / or fly, which is an amazingly specific number.
How exciting would that be, anyway, if half the monsters you can run into can fly or turn invisible? Better hope you have a SAMAS pilot in your party with See the Invisible psychic power...
And the smart ones often get good senses, turning invisible or changing shape, flight, a variety of immunities, regeneration. Apparently 25% have the ability to teleport. Why? Because Kevin is big on "neener neener" villains who always get away to torment another day, as we've established.
”It’s... digging?” “Yes. digging... for evil!”
Attacks Per Melee: Monsters
Creatures from Palladium RPG™ generally get more attacks because well, Palladium RPG™ creatures got shorted on that. Most other creatures from other Palladium Books® games remain mostly the same.
Dumb predators get wilderness, espionage, and physical skills, mainly. Smart ones have more human-like skills.
Most don't gain experience, since they're lazy or dumb, essentially. Others just rely on their powers too much. It's a convenient excuse to not worry about tracking NPC experience points, anyway.
But those you're intending for R.C.C.s should have it pointed out which XP table they use. (Not that they've always succeeded at that in the past...)
Culture Shock: Monster
Most deal pretty well with the change of setting to Rifts, as long as there is prey to stalk. Intelligent monsters are assumed to be adaptable and smart, and may be dimensional travelers already. Why? Because! That is why.
Next: How to convert humanoids! Yes, you can finally bring over your Vietnam era RECON™ characters over to Rifts™! Only the Viet Cong™ arrived through a rift first... and they have
There’s a lot of words when all you really need is “convert Hit Points or S.D.C. to M.D.C.”, then “convert damage to mega-damage” and “if it’s from Palladium RPG™ , add 1-3 attacks”. That is the sum total of the conversion rules you actually need for Palladium Books® monsters.
Even a dragon of one species cannot breed with a dragon of another species and produce offspring; i.e., an ice dragon and a thunder lizard.Original SA post
Now it’s time to mashup
RPGs! Yes, that means it’s time for the Ninja Turtles to finally confront their ultimate nemesis - Breetai! Erin Tarn vs. the Terror Bears! Uh.. some guy from the ‘Nam... John McCain vs. Minmei! Can a Republican be defeated by the power of music?
Rifts™ Conversion Book Part 4: "Even a dragon of one species cannot breed with a dragon of another species and produce offspring; i.e., an ice dragon and a thunder lizard.”
Yep, it's time for rules for PCs from other Palladium Books® games. But first, a tangent!
General Conversion Rules for humanoids
General Conversion rules for Beyond the Supernatural, Ninjas & Superspies, RECON, Heroes Unlimited, and 20th Century Characters
Who is a D-Bee
(This is what happens when headers collide.)
Anyway, it's clarified that if you look inhuman and have unnatural super-powers, you're a demon.
If you look inhuman, but don't have powers, you're considered a monster.
D-Bee is a term used to identify human or humanoid beings from other worlds that may have strange technology, powers, or culture. Superpowered humans may be considered monsters or demons, depending... on... we don't know. Okay!
Anyway, it mentions D-Bees can include:
Ninjas and superspies from
Ninjas & Superspies™
Psychics and wizards from
Beyond the Supernatural™
Human-looking mutants from
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles & Other Strangeness™
After the Bomb™
It mentions how characters might be good or evil. Not useful, so going on.
It goes over how to roll attributes again, for some reason. It notes that different species have different attributes, just like in the core book. Yay, masters of the obvious.
Attribute Bonuses beyond the current attribute chart
It gives how Strength (Physical Strength, or P.S., but I'm just calling it Strength, because it's not like there's a Mental Strength or Spiritual Strength) increases its bonuses beyond 30. It also points out that non-supernatural characters with a Strength of 35 or higher can use two attacks to do a super-powerful attack!
It does 1 mega-damage point.
Anyway, it gives mega-damage values for full cyborgs - partial reconstruction cyborgs don't get to use these, but full cyborgs can do 1d4 or 1d6 mega-damage depending on their strength.
Anyway, then there's a chart for figuring punch damage based on strength for robots, which is completely different from the borg chart, nonsensically. After all, a full conversion cyborg mostly just keeps the brain and spine, so there's not much functional difference between a cyborg and a robot other than the OS. But somehow, robots do twice as much damage... because! That is why.
It notes at least robots from most other dimensions will not be mega-damage structures and will need to be rebuilt from scratch to be mega-damage beings. Better hope your otherworldly robot was constructed from platinum to pay for that.
Physical Prowess and other attributes beyond 30
It gives the formula how Prowess (Physical Prowess) and Physical Endurance can increase beyond 30. Other attributes just don't increase any further, for some arbitrary reason, even though some of them have similar formulae.
Yes, even though Palladium has given characters in other games Intelligence Quotients of 50+ in other games ( Transdimensional Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles™ , ironically), apparently you don't get bonuses from it.
Hit Points & S.D.C.
It points out that purely S.D.C. characters (like any from most of Palladium Books' games) will have to run like babies and wimps from combat until they can get some mega-damage armor. It then gives S.D.C. values for Palladium Fantasy RPG™ characters.
It points out again people without M.D.C. protection are very vulnerable and says they have to be smart. It points out this is like a Roman legion facing a series of tanks, and that the Romans would have to be smart and steal a tank.
Basically, I think he's saying characters brought over to Rifts need to be given a free tank? That's what I'm going with, free tank. He says that if you put Roman legion PCs against a tank, you are "doing an injustice to [your] players".
Natural Armor Rating (A.R.)
Most other Palladium Books® games have A.R., or Armor Rating (not just natural, like the confusing header). It points out this won't be used too often, because mega-damage armor doesn't generally use Armor Ratings. But it implies that if you're wearing armor, the armor rating still counts in terms of mega damage - so that if you have hundreds of S.D.C. accordingly, it may matter.
And one day you may shit so hard you levitate off the toilet seat, but I wouldn't hold my breath.
It also points out super-powered humans, aliens and mutants may get converted to M.D.C. But they're not magic, you say? So there's no reason for them to change on Rifts™ Earth, you may think? Well fuck you, Rifts™ says, they can change if... if it says so! Yeah!
Most humans don't have a horror factor. (I dunno; I've been to game conventions.) However, shape-changers and aliens get horror factors. Mutants don't for some reason.
Also, randomly, it notes dinosaurs get a horror factor. Yes, even little monoceratops. I gets 8 + 1d4.
occamsnailfile: They apply Horror Factor so very very randomly, as is noted a little bit in the monster section. Also a lot of PCs will have huge bonuses to avoid falling to HF.
It once again points out that bionics from other world are usually going to be olde-fashionede and dinky, and will need to be upgraded. The GM can apparently just handwave it or make the player go through a upgrade process. Alternately, a cyborg could switch to bio-systems if they want to be more human again. Similarly, non-cyborgs who come to Rifts™ can choose to become borgs, but it reminds us it doesn't mix with magic, psionics, or shapechanging.
Rifts™ nags like a grandmum, sometimes.
P.P.E. by General Racial Types
Anyway, it gives some general P.P.E. values by race. About the only interesting thing is that teenagers and children get more P.P.E., as implied in the magic section of Rifts. Nothing else interesting here, moving on.
It just points out a lot of nonhumans have superior senses, in keeping with Gygaxian traditions. They may be better at climbing or sneaking.
Magical creatures have fire breath... blah blah... why are you telling us this? Aren't we converting rather than creating?
Attacks Per Melee
Most converted characters should have two attacks per melee, plus whatever they get for skills or O.C.C.s.
"Time to get some skull-faced oh god my crouch- "
Then, it brings up RECON™ , which is an RPG based on Vietnam, orginally published by RPG, Inc . (which is about the only thing they published, as far as I can tell). Erick Wujick wrote a second edition after Palladium Books® bought it, but it's the only Palladium Books® game not to use some variant of their system.
It mentions that that 1992 will see the release of Revised RECON™ - Second Edition , with rules for using RECON™ with the Palladium Books® system.
Well, I have a copy of Deluxe Revised RECON™ , published in 1999, seven years later than mentioned here. All it was is a repackaging of Revised RECON™ and its supplement, Advanced RECON™ . Palladium® system? Not a whiff of it in the book.
Which means this book speaks lies .
So, we get guidelines on how to convert your Vietnam-era or mercenary soldier into Rifts™ . Hey, if anybody actually did this, or had interest in it, let me know! I'm fairly convinced this is a conversion that has never been used in the history of gaming. Prove me wrong!
Occupational Character Classes
You keep your old O.C.C.! Mind, not all characters in Palladium Games® have O.C.C.s ( Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Other Strangeness™ provided skills and abilities by random roll.) But the book doesn't mention those, for whatever reason.
It notes that characters from sci-fi worlds or modern worlds will have skill penalties because they didn't learn about Rifts™ technologies... except for things like weapon proficiencies or wilderness skills.
It also adds characters are likely to pick up new skills from Rifts™ , but doesn't give any rules for it. It also notes most characters will be able to pick up basic languages like American (English), Spanish, Japanese... and people who speak German, Polish, or Russian will be able to speak the mashup language of Euro at 10%.
Yes, it's a mashup of German, Polish, and Russian. I'm certain this will cause some linguist's blood vessels to burst violently.
occamsnailfile: I’m amazed they don’t have a ‘Chinee’ language for all azns.
Only having one Chinese language is pretty close to that.
Acquiring new skills
Okay, it notes what skills O.C.C.s from other setting can get formally. It also notes that wizards and diabolists of 3rd level or lower can become techno-wizards. The less you know, the better you can learn new magic, I guess...?
An old character but new world
Characters from other games use their own experience tables, except noted otherwise under specific conversions later.
An old character race born in the Rifts world
It points out you can use races from other games, but have them raised on Rifts™ Earth.
There's a long example where Siembieda goes on about being Polish but mentions he knows very little about Poland. So he's Polish! Fun fact.
We get the fact that the Rifts™ opened 300-500 years ago, in case you're working on your two-legged monster's genealogy.
It mentions that most non-humans are second-class citizens, and that the Coalition may blow you up. Conversely, it immediately mentions that the Burbs of Chi-Town are filled with D-Bees. Also, there are other communities like Lazlo or Tolkeen that have significant D-Bee populations.
It notes that races may have more or less success based on several factors:
Birthrate (giants breed slow, xiticix breed fast)
Human appearance (monster-like races are likely to be hunted)
Ability to adapt
A Note on Biology
”It’s me, the Devorar Monstruo de Lagarto con Cuernos!
I’m from Boxed Nightmares™ and I’ll be in the monster sect-
what, you already have a bunch of lizard men?!
You don’t need another- putas de mierda!”
It notes some players may want to play half-breeds, like elf / human, titan / gromek, or vampire / dragon. But that points out that species can't crossbreed, so no.
Rifts™ Conversion Book posted:
Consequently, a mutant dog mated with a mutant cat, while they may make a cute couple, can never give birth to a half dog, half cat child. NEVER!
Damn, use your indoor voice, Kevin. Also, that's just wrong. Dogs and cats, living together? That is not what god intended.
It points out that at mutant dog and a wolfen can have a kid, however. Even though they come from entirely different genetic origins. But a mutant bear and a mutant dog cannot. I see this things have been considered a little too closely.
Rifts™ Conversion Book posted:
For example, the wolfen are socially conditioned to mate only with other wolfen. They can have sex with a dog boy, or other intelligent mutant canine, coyle, or kankoran and produce offspring, but they don't. It's just not socially acceptable. Those who do are rogues and not welcome in wolfen society.
Uh. I see somebody's been thinking about this too hard. Can we just move on-
Rifts™ Conversion Book posted:
Intelligent mutant animals (TMNT RPG and Heroes Unlimited), including those that appear almost completely human, cannot produce offspring with a human or other humanoid. In fact, they may even be unable to produce offspring with other mutant animals of their own species, because they are so far removed from them.
- no, please, we have enough-
Rifts™ Conversion Book posted:
Supernatural beings and creatures of magic cannot produce offspring from a union with a human, humanoid, mammal or mortal mate. Likewise, they can not mate with other supernatural species and produce offspring; i.e., a dragon cannot mate with a unicorn.
Also, for some reason it mentions Rifts™ science isn’t advanced enough for cloning. They can create hybrid human-animals, but not clone? After all, it’s easier to copy-paste than to throw two incompatible species together. Also, Soviets had cloned a mouse five years before this book was published. Five years later, Dolly the sheep would be cloned.
Rifts™ is bad at science.
Game Master Notes
Integrating S.D.C characters info Rifts
”Their eyes glowed red like the neon lights at a two-bit diner. Those were no rusty robohobos from Mr. Archie’s scrapheap.
At that point I know the Atlantean cybermob had me licked, and they had me licked good!”
Apparently, some people are really worried about bringing S.D.C. characters over to M.D.C.! But Siembieda says if you send an S.D.C. character against M.D.C. antagonists, you are unfair or a fool. (Since 100% of the antagonists we've seen so far have been M.D.C., that means "none".)
Anyway, he points you could handwave a prelude for the new PC to get equipped with mega-damage and learn a bit about the world, which is a decent solution, actually. It gives a basic outline of what sort of equipment you can acquire.
He recommends that if you have a whole group, you can have an adventure where the PCs get enslaved, learn a little from the slavers, then escape! Nothing like a little slavery to introduce you to a new setting, amirite?
Alternately, you could just have them fix up the local generator and get handed a gun. It also mentions the Burbs, Tolkeen, and Lazlo as places you can get set. Also, their goods might be worth tons as historical artifact... as long as they don't mention it's from another world.
Converting Characters from Other RPGs
Wait, what? Mr. "Don't Convert My Game To Other Systems" is going to tell us...
... well, it's very vague. It says "Since the Palladium® system combines elements of both level systems and point systems, conversion should be fairly easy."
Uh, nothing in Rifts™ is point based, unless you count robot / cyborg construction. So. Lies .
Anyway, it suggests slotting the character into a class and then adjusting the level based on their skill levels. Magic can be converted over to Palladium® or new rules can be written. And blah blah GM's discretion, etc.
Hate the Mega-Damage System?
Boy howdy I sure do! But what can I do about it?
Here's how to change to S.D.C.
Yes everybody do this.
Well, on your own terms. How they suggest is a straight conversion of Mega-Damage to regular damage, which as some issues, mainly in that it makes most future-tech weapons inferior to an M-16. So.
It also suggests that the damage of missiles be multiplied by 10, I guess because they fucking love them some missiles. The thing is, that makes the game all about missiles. If they love missiles so much, they should marry them.
It gives guidelines for A.R., but I'm not sure why you'd bother since the game has a called shot system already.
Anyway, it suggest reducing some of the bigger M.D.C. values in general, which is actually good advice for M.D.C. games, too.
It's a great idea that makes the Rifts system much more functional, but you're really going to have to season this one to taste. As it is, it tastes pretty poop-flavored.
Next: Converting from other Palladium Books®! You’re converting from the same system to the same system! I guess this is hard enough for some people that it gets its own section...
I’m going to touch this book to my copy of Bastards & Bloodlines and see if the universe collapses.
Like the early black and white comic books, Palladium's Ninja Turtles RPG is a gritty excursion into the bizarre.Original SA post
Good news: world is still intact. Better news: you get more Rifts!
Rifts™ Conversion Book Part 5: "Like the early black and white comic books, Palladium's Ninja Turtles RPG is a gritty excursion into the bizarre.”
Specific RPG Conversions
The Avenging League of Rifts™ Earth! Shinobi Ninja! Ninja Shinobi! The Fedora Kid! Glitter Boy! Satan Man!
Yeah, Rifts™ is shocking, we get it, we are totally shocked.
Anyway, time for specific conversions.
Palladium RPG and other low tech societies
Apparently, people from Palladium RPG™ are going to generally hate technology, because riding in cars and microwave popcorn isn't as cool as wandering the Earth and strangling bears. Maybe they’re on to something.
Anyway, they'll likely learn basic devices they can just push buttons on, but technology is weird and they'll seek out familiar expressions of tech like vibro-blades, blah blah, way to stereotype, Rifts™ .
Conversions for Characters from High-Tech Worlds
Mechanoids and Robotech
It points out characters from The Mechanoids™ will be familiar with aliens and high tech, but not so much with magic and psychics.
(Except for the fact that The Mechanoids™ had magic and psychics.)
And if you bring over the mechanoids themselves, they'll be against all bipedal humanoids, because they're robot space racists, and have super technology beyond just about most factions on Earth. They’re super scary, mang. They’ll just kill you for having two legs and they don’t care. No legs good, two legs bad .
It also mentions the Mechanoids will be introduced in Rifts™ Mechanoids: Sourcebook Two in 1992. (It actually came out in 1992, true to its word.) It also mentions a new, space-based, mega-damage version of The Mechanoids™ coming out. (It's been over twenty years, and no such thing has been been released. There was a compilation of the original books published in 1998.)
But what about Robotech: the Role-Playing Game™ ?
There's a long summary of Robotech™ (the American version). But. Wiki it yourself.
It points out that the original SDF-1's warp system vanished, and could be an excuse for a crossover, or that the villains from these series could have had a team-up with the Splugorth, or that they might have travelled to other dimensions. Also, the SDF-3 vanished... blah blah canon shit yadda-
Seriously, if you're crossing over Robotech™ with Rifts™ , let's stop worrying about canon.
It points out Robotech™ stuff is a little underpowered, or rather, Rifts™ material is a little overpowered, but that veritechs do have unique advantages, like flying super fast and zipping around missle flowers and stuff. But a lot of them are dependent on protoculture fuel (it's a Robotech™ thing) and might need a conversion over to nuclear power, along with similar issues in ammo replenishment. However, they get penalties if they’re not powered by protoculture, if being weaker wasn’t enough. It also says Robotech™ mecha can get their armor improved, at least, but it costs moneys.
Also some companies might be willing to provide a lot of money to dissect mechas.
Also protoculture flowers can be imported, but they can't grow near ley lines. Why? Because. That is why.
Average 20th Century Characters
Add laser gun to random art, instant Rifts™ classic!
Anyway, Heroes Unlimited™ , Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Other Strangeness™ / After the Bomb™ , Ninjas & Superspies™ , and RECON™ will be familiar with a lot of basic technology, but they might be weirded out by magic and monsters, or get in trouble with the Coalition because they can read words and not hate elves.
Etc., a lot of about obvious crap.
Random Energy Weapons Tables
If you want to give your new arrivals random weapons, here's some tables. You better have the Rifts™ Sourcebook handy, because it gets referenced for a good chunk of the weapons here.
Beyond the Supernatural
Yeah, Kolchak the (Psychic) Night Stalker can come on over, why the hell not.
Rifts™ Conversion Book posted:
(A Design Note: How all the Palladium worlds may tie together is ultimately left to you, the players. Which RPG worlds, if any, that you choose to link to Rifts is your decision. But I'll tell ya now, with hints like the cities of Lazlo and New Lazlo, and the mention of the ancient pioneer of magic, Victor Lazlo, you can bet that there will continue to be ties to Beyond the Supernatural. Heck, don't be surprised if ol' Vic makes an appearance. I'm not saying it will happen. I'm just saying it could happen, as far as I'm concerned. Hee. Hee. )
Anyway, Beyond the Supernatural™ characters are likely to be more used to the supernatural and probably hate it, because, well, they deal with a lot of evil magic stuff.
They just can't get... beyond... the supernatural.
If you need more details on these, check out Forkbanger’s writeup , but here’s the skinny on the class conversions: Arcanist, Latent Psychic, Physical Psychics, Psi-Mechanics, and Psychic Healers get boosted up. A "Natural or Genius" automatically learns new skills and gets some minor psychic powers. Or Parapsycholgist. As for Nega-Psychics, they get really powerful against magic or psionics, and I have no idea why the Coalition doesn't breed these sorts like crazy. You'd think they'd be unnatural allies!
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles & After the Bomb
“I’m a Tasmanian Devil, not like that bloke in the box,
I’m from Mutants Down Under™ , and I’m- what, I’m not in
the book either? Blimey!”
Blah, blah, based on the black and white books, and... well, I'm just going to say the Coalition is After the Bomb™'s Empire of Humanity with skulls on. They both:
Retain old technology from before the disaster.
Hate and oppress psychics and mutants
Are the minority despite relative success
Have a second-class citzenry of mutant dogs
Are generally just a bunch of racist jerks
(Personally, I preferred the evil human supremacist empire of Jakarta in Mutants Down Under™ , complete with water buffalo thugs and war blimps.)
Rifts™ Conversion Book posted:
Whether you play Ninja Turtle super-heroics or After the Bomb, none of these games have been kiddiefled. You tell me, are the dog pack characters in Rifts kid stuff? I don't think so, and they are basically modified TMNT & Other Strangeness characters. So you tough guys out there who don't play kid stuff, don't dismiss the characters and possibilities offered by this unique RPG series. Of course, the 160,000 + gamers who have bought the TMNT RPG already know this.
Yeah, they aren't are just for kids! We have sexy catgirls and people getting stabbed! We're adult!
I totally love Eastman & Laird’s turtles but I’ve got to keep it real, too.
Anyway blah blah modern times blah blah second-class dog boy citizens etc. etc. but they can adapt. You can also use these rules to roll up mutant animals from Lone Star, only they totally contradict the whole anti-supernatural theme of mutant animals in Rifts™ and use completely different rules, but hey! Why not.
Also, the book takes time to thank Eastman and Laird for their art on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Other Strangeness™ , but doesn't credit or mention Jim Lawson, who actually did a ton of art for the line. Including the two pieces above.
There's a chart where you can roll up stuff like a koala with robot tentacles, or a juicer weasel! Juicer weasel . If you want more details on how TMNT character generation goes, check Forkbanger’s writeup .
Those who played Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles™ will totally get that.
Anyway, a lot will be loyal to the Coalition, but then there are the others the Coalition just does horrible stuff to because... well... you know, you have random mutant animals around, you do horrible things to them! It's what you do.
After the Bomb
After the Bomb characters will be more used to a grim, post-apocalypse future filled with mecha-racists. Empire of Humanity characters will have hugs for the Coalition and vice versa. Most mutants will be just already tired and used to this shit.
And yeah, there's magic and weird stuff you can use from this, and prehistoric mammals and dinosaurs become mega-damage! How much M.D.C., it doesn't say. Yes, that means...
Neanderthals are Mega-Damage!
You heard it here, it's canon. I'm busting out a time-tossed caveman that punches cows to the moon.
”Hold on you’ve got a spider on your chest-”
Superheroes etc. Look at Captain Hat’s writeup if you want more details.
It points out superheroic morality is likely to conflict with the Coalition's views. You think? I like to think superheroes would be against genocide. I’d like to think.
Obviously punching at one of Rifts™’ many invisible monsters.
Anyway, aliens that are rock, crystalline, insectoid, or from a high gravity or a low gravity environment, high radiation, or an abrasive atmosphere turns you into a M.D.C. character. Wait, what?
Low gravity makes you tougher?
Rifts is bad at science.
Anyway, none of this is making sense.
Cyborgs are screwed and don't become M.D.C.? Well, why not? If low gravity or being made of chithin is enough, you can say the... alloys... in super-metals... resonate with ley lines... and... M.D.C.! Hell, you're just making up this shit as you go, Siembieda, there's no reasoning here! Spread that M.D.C. around!
Experiments also get a bum deal, though their superpowers might become M.D.C.
Hardware characters are screwed like cyborgs, but at least they just need to steal some crap.
Magic powers become buff M.D.C. versions, predictably.
Human mutants with random mutations like scaly skin become M.D.C. Animal mutants... don't, even if they have scaly skin? Why? It doesn't make any sense, that's why! Seriously, these conversions suck and we haven't even gotten to powers? None of it has any internal logic or... or...
Physical Training characters get measly bonuses against magic and horror factor. I'm twirling a finger as if to say "big deal!" Whooo!
Psionics get access to M.D.C psionics.
Robots get screwed like cyborgs, even though...
The Special Training: Ancient Master becomes M.D.C. because they have a lot of kung fu. Yeah. That's right. Hitting bricks justifies it, but being a robot, no way.
The Special Training: Vigilante, Secret Operative, Stage Magician, and Super Sleuth get the cold comfort of a few new skills.
Yes, you can be a superhuman from Rifts™ Earth! Also, Villains Unlimited™ is coming out in 1992! (It really did come out.)
Anyway, you can have super-powers if you're a scholar or adventurer. Apparently, if you volunteer for the Coalition military or have a Glitter Boy fall in your lap, you've given up super-powers. Them's the breaks.
If you have superpowers, you can't get psionics or magic, become a borg or bot, be a supernatural being, creature of magic, or a monster. Oh, and if you're a vagabond, you get one extra minor super power.
Holy shit, they threw the vagabond a fucking bone, just this once.
But if you're already sucking it up by playing one of the relatively weak scholar or adventurer classes? Why not have superpowers, honestly? There's just not much downside - most powers will be way better than psionics, and you don't lose any class features. Alternately, you can give up skills for extra superpowers!
Hell, a Rogue Scholar with superpowers gets one of the best skill layouts in the game, and can be M.D.C.?
Aspiring twinks, this is a goldmine you can't afford to miss!
It says this is all by GM discretion and blah blah booooorrrrinng.
My Body Fixer needs to shoot lasers out of her bellybutton and she needs to do it now. It's part of my deep roleplaying experience. Beeeeyyoooooow!
Minor & Major Super Abilities
It’s... the Melty Popsicle!
Superhuman Strength gives you Mega-Damage strength.
All the "Alter Physical Structure" powers make you into M.D.C. creature. Even water or ice.
Invulnerability gives you an M.D.C. of 700 and lets you regenerate 1d6 x 10 M.D.C. per minute.
Magnetism lets you shut down rail guns.
A lot of powers make you M.D.C., but even Stretching makes you M.D.C. (average of 110 M.D.C.).
Bursting with generic power!
occamsnailfile: The powers in Heroes Unlimited were always incredibly uneven, a lot of these just made them so much worse.
Ninjas & Superspies
For some reason, these characters don't get the usual 20th century adaptation penalties. Most of the superspies get extra skills, while the martial artists get some save bonuses and... M.D.C. from their martial nonsense. Martial arts is magic, I guess? It’s not clear.
Dim Mak doesn't kill Mega-Damage creatures, but it reduces their Mega-Damage by 30% and knocks out their bonuses. So, when you go to fight a 30' demon god in the Yucatan, bring a guy with a death touch that can immediately erase hundreds or thousands of M.D.C. with a poke.
Body Hardening exercises provide pitiable amount of M.D.C., though if you have a lot it might add up to be equal to a suit of body armor.
Chi Mastery can be used to cancel out healing permanently without the use of a chi healer. How common are those in
? Presumably, they're practically nonexistent... since they all have to show up through a rift.
Vibrating Palm can do M.D.C. at the cost of extra chi, so you do 1 M.D. one turn, then 2 M.D., then 4, then 8, then 16... up to 512, yeah, there's jerk potential there.
The Diabolist & Summoner
These are Palladium RPG™ forms of magic unknown to Rifts™ Earth, except for travellers that bring them. They are super-special and you better be special for having them.
occamsnailfile: Really, it’s so pathetically easy to open a rift that you can do it accidentally when it isn’t happening b/c full moon and nobody figured out how to talk to things on the other side at all? I’d expect an army of Summoners running say a Federation of Magic--
Diabolist knowledge might have died out with the rifts only to return later, but it just goes to show that there will always be some guys claiming they Understand Crowley.
It is generally bizarre that Earth wizards haven’t worked out wards or circles, even though those are a part of real-life occultism.
These guys use magic wards and symbols. They get some extra bonuses and then most of their effects get converted to Mega-Damage or get increased duration. Both are basically ritual casters and not much use in a straight-up fight, but the summoner can at least summon and bind a lot of the faeries, angels, and devils later in the book, and as such is potentially extremely powerful.
Most of their powers are converted to M.D.C., get extra range, duration, or area.
Hey, randomly, here's some extra spells from the Palladium RPG™ !
A charm spell. It's pretty much the one from TSR's game.
Dimensional Teleport. Why is this here? Well, a shit-ton of monsters are going to have it. It costs 800 P.P.E. and gives a 6% chance per level of success. Fail the roll, lose the P.P.E. Yup.
Expel Demons: It's a saving throw of 18 for lesser demons, but a saving throw of 12 for greater demons (on top of their significant bonuses). So. Expel
Summon Greater Familiar: Lets you summon a demon as a familiar! See the demons listed later.
Swords to Snakes: Turns weapons of 4 pounds or less into snakes. There is no saving throw; suck it, Coalition.
Ressurection: A useful spell with Mega-Damage's tendency to cause horrible PC death. It costs 650 P.P.E. and has a 45% chance of success. You've got to love having both a tremendous power barrier to overcome
a random failure chance.
Barrier of Thoth: A "Spell of Legend", whatever that is. Has ridiculous M.D.C. and prevents magic from passing through it. Only 3000 P.P.E. to cast!
Doppleganger: Another "Spell of Legend" that lets you create another obedient you for 1000 P.P.E., but it has only half your power and can't gain XPs.
General Conversions for Magic Items
Kevin's decided to hold off on having all the magic items, but he's decided to wait until the book on the Coalition's siege on Tolkeen (part of a seven book series, eventually, published nearly a decade later in 2000) and the book on the Magic Zone (published a full decade later in 2001).
No idea if they were worth the wait.
Magic potions are apparently, alien technology. Nobody on Earth has worked up magic potions (?!). Magic weapons do M.D.C., predictably.
Sure, we don't have any magic items you're likely to encounter... but... let's cover rune weapons, the most powerful magic items ever! They're intelligent! Indestructible! Get the ability to cast spells or heal wounds! Have psionic powers! And some are
No +1 swords for Rifts, it just moves right on to the cursed god-blades.
They're like rune weapons, but made by good gods, and get the ability to repel demons or undead, remove curses, etc. They’re honestly a bit lame, comparatively.
The Availability of Magic
It just goes on for two paragraphs about how the GM can deny any magic item the players want. Obvious, but Rifts™ likes to rant on the obvious, sometimes. It's also a bit ironic, because about the only magic items we've seen other than techno-wizardry that we've been given are soul-drinking godblades. How about giving us a magic item that doesn't break the game by existing? How about that for a start?
Next: Witches! Warlocks! It's time to worship demons or rocks! Choose one!
Since I've been mentioning Palladium Books® ' publishing foibles a lot, you can find out more about them at Kevin Siembieda: J'ACCUSE...! .
These creatures don't take any horse manure, especially from some insignificant mortal.Original SA post Eeevil! Eeevil! Eevil!
Rifts™ Conversion Book Part 6: "These creatures don't take any horse manure, especially from some insignificant mortal.”
A combination and adaption of elements from Beyond the Supernatural & the Palladium Role-Playing Game.
Rifts™ Conversion Book posted:
Design Note: This section on witchcraft, its magic and methods is entirely fictional.
Historically, ancient "pagan" rituals later associated with witchcraft were actually more of a druidic earth magic. Many of those ancient rituals and potions focused on healing, harvesting of crops, and prophecy. Later, with the dominance of the Judeo/Christian religions, witchcraft became known for demonic possession, union with evil forces, and black magic, all for the purpose of evil. Today, satanism and witchcraft are often considered one and the same.
Please be aware that this section on witchery is not even based on historical myth or magic. If anything, it is inspired by Hollywood monster movies. Further note that nobody at Palladium Books encourages nor condones the practice of the occult nor the use of magic. This is a fictional work in a fantasy setting. Make believe. Now read on and enjoy.
This is the third warning we’ve gotten on magic not being real. I’m starting to think this isn’t just overreacting. Kevin is hiding real magic.
Witches get their power by hooking up with a supernatural power and signing away servitude in exchange for superpower. Anyway, most witches are uneducated and their ignorance is exploited by demons who give them a bunch of power, and yeah, there's evil there. They're fed by supernatural intelligentsia and god-like entities that are giant psychic vampires that feed on negative emotions. They're not just evil, they're super bonus evil from badvaria.
Anyway, there are three gifts such evil evils can provide:
The Gift of Power
, which makes you more physically powerful or ups your magic reserves (like I.S.P. or P.P.E.).
The Gift of Magic
, which gives a lot more magic power and a lot of spells.
The Gift of Union
, where the supernatural entity jumps into your body and you become one. Also evil, if you're not that already, and you get a shit-ton of magic power and M.D.C. Basically, way better than the other gifts.
You can’t unsee art this crappy.
To be fair, Gustovich’s art, which comprises most of the art in this book, it isn’t... bad so much as... highly variable in quality. It doesn’t really fit Rifts nearly as tightly as Long or Truman, sadly. He feels like he’d be fine for the Palladium RPG™ ... but not for Rifts™ .
Yes, you need sign your soul over to the devil for servitude. Some can't actually take your soul, but most say they can whether they can or can't. And if you try and trick them, they will instantly find out and punish you. Yes they will! Don't think that they won't! The book says so.
Anyway, you can put together minor pacts to give your first gift, either through a period of servitude, murdering thousands or your first born, or agreeing to kill a foe of the entity.
You can promise life servitude or more! And this gets you extra powers in addition to the gift.
You can get such great powers as:
Just like the 7th level spell you can get normally, only you sold your soul for it, sucker.
Yup. You just sold your soul to command 2d6 rats. The whole soul.
Invulnerable to Poison:
Sure, you have life enslavement to an evil power, but imagine all the mixed drinks you can make that include Drano!
+5% on all skills. Your eternal servitude is but a small price to pay now that your ability to play a banjo is 5% better.
The Devil's Mark
You get a third nipple. It can show up anywhere. Maybe on your forehead, or on your chin. It's a sign of ownership by evil! In related news, fuck subtlety, throw the horns, and tattoo an inverted cross on your face, while you're at it.
Also, your familiar will suck blood from it.
At second level you get a demon familiar! They looks like an animal but they're really a demon bit that just looks like an animal. They get mild M.D.C. and are generally just an achilles heel - some witch powers are dependent on them. However, they do get psychic powers.
If you lose one, you get a lesser familiar instead. It isn't really clear on what makes a lesser familiar different from a greater familiar.
Generally suggested as a Non-Player Character Villain-
Rifts™ Conversion Book posted:
A witch is a person, man or woman, who draws his/her power from, and confers with, supernatural forces, usually evil.
Wait, I'm confused. Didn't we just go on and on about how evil this shit is, and there are alternatives to mega-evil?
Well, they're not detailed, if there are.
It's often people who are somehow lacking physically or mentally that become witches, because being handicapped always makes one bitter and ready to snap and turn evil. Not to stereotype, though!
They get an average spread of skills and equipment... including a wooden cross? They have a wooden cross. Also their "vehicle of choice is often fast hover vehicles."
The hovercraft is a sign of witchery.
Adapted from the Palladium Role-Playing Game
These are like witches! Only they attune themselves to a powerful elemental. Also, they are not male witches, it says so right here.
Even though they're tied to elemental forces, they could give a fuck-all about nature, they're more about the raw, unchained fury of the elements . Apparently they live in communities even though they don't try and preach, have no political or religious structure, or have a leadership.
Essentially, they are very polite communal anarchists. They're super-polite to each other and will have dinner and tea before declaring an eternal blood feud that will kill passerby and rend the land. Well, at least they aren't rude about it!
I am not a vaampire! I am a vaarlock!
They choose one or two elemental forces they're locked into forever! This give them special elemental magic that works like normal spells, but only they can get them. (occamsnailfile: Only warlocks and every other monster to come later.)
They then get spells every level! If you selected two elements, you need to have higher starting attributes to qualify, and you get less spells.
You know the magic words and symbols for the elements. (This is only important if you're trying to interpret Diabolist / Summoner shit.)
The ability to speak elementalese, which nobody else can speak.
Sense elementals and a large quantity of your element.
Water warlocks can swim, earth warlocks get to be herbalists, air warlocks learn astronomy and... electronics (?!), and fire warlocks are immune to fire.
Elementals are polite to you and less likely to kill you. You can summon lesser elementals, and at high levels you can summon the bigguns.
Each element has a favorite color blah blah yes this is listed as a power.
It points out elementals are amoral and will totally kill you if they're told to. Technically their actions would make them evil by Palladium standards, but their statblocks have no alignments and I suppose it's intentional.
It's kind of rude to summon them, though, and they prefer to stay at home. Warlocks will help them get home if they're summoned by assholes, because warlocks are total bros to elementals, and would never just kill them for no reason.
They get an average spread of skills. They also get a choice of an automatic pistol (does S.D.C.) or a Triax pump weapon (does M.D.C.). Anybody who picks the pistol is probably just making an ass of themselves.
Elemental Magic Descriptions
Yeah, this is like regular magic, only Warlocks do it, and it only goes up to 8th level.
This is the inspiration behind all my Rifts sexfics.
Air Magic is predictable, but also has some illusions, mist / gas effects, and lightning. Also electromagnetism, for some reason. And at Spell Level 7, You can make a real rainbow! No actual effect other than a pretty rainbow.
”... shit elemental? You’re kidding, right?”
Earth Magic seems to extend to plant-based effects, as well. At eighth level you can put yourself in an earth or plant-based vessel, permanently. Yes, you can be a magic tree. But you can't talk anymore. Because trees can't talk! (However, they can walk for some reason. Magic is confusing.)
Fire Magic gives us fire, but also some light and smoke effects. They also get some... cold spells, for some reason? Even though ice elementals are related to water. At 5th level, you can eat fire, just like the carny trick! Except unlike a carny, you had to wait five levels to purchase it.
Water Magic gives water and mist effects. Also fish control, so you can already outdo Aquaman at water shenanigans. This also gets ice effects, much like fire. Personally I suggest Summon Sharks just to go shark-surfing.
Next: And now it’s time for this writeup to undergo a conversion of its own as occamsnailfile takes a hit for me by doing the critter section, and helps stave off my impending burnout for just a bit. Many thanks for the help while my head cools.
Stock Player Races from D&D plus dogs.Original SA post
It’s just bloody ignorance and fear that makes people think wolves eat babies
Rifts™ Conversion Book One: Part 7“Stock Player Races from D&D plus dogs”
Hey there, I’m Occamsnailfile, and I’m tagging in to do some of the monsters and crap from the Rifts Conversion Book because holy god there’s a lot of them. And so many are so boring! And of course, they’re graced with the fine artistic offerings of Michael Gustovich, with some recycled “bonus content” from Long and others. Alien Rope Burn’s comments are included because heckling each other during the writing process was a lot of fun.
I’ll confess, I like monster manuals. The first gamebook I ever owned was an AD&D Monster Manual I got for five dollars. During all this latest edition uproar (and with the coming of 4E) I had to think a little on what made D&D ‘true’ D&D for me, and the best answer I could give was ‘goofy monsters’. These ones here are definitely goofy, but often in a pretty dry and also inconsistently converted way. Supposedly these are the cherry-picked best of the lot; I’d hate to see what got left out.
This section starts off with some races from the Palladium Role-Playing Game. There’s an entry in the TOC for ‘Races from the Palladium RPG’ but none of the individual races are listed except ‘Elf’, ‘True Giants’, and ‘Faerie Folk’. There are a lot of other races but I guess none of them are very important. Since these are all player races, they tend to have broad class choice, though most of them are restricted from Glitter Boy and often the Coalition military.
dibs on being the midget with the frying pan
First off, we get Bearmen of the North . Apparently there are a variety of bear-people and they all get slapped with the b-word, but adding “of the North” to it makes them a specific kind from the Palladium fantasy world. They are very ill-tempered but only if you try to take their honey. Also they are highly prized as gladiatorial slaves, and have reached Earth through the Calgary rift. “An estimated ( by whom? ) 100 Palladium bearmen are believed to roam the wilderness of Canada...”
Apparently they’re mostly an angry form of wandering hippie who love to take the shitty Wilderness Scout OCC from the core book. They get reduced mental attribute dice in return for some higher physicals, though nothing spectacular. Also they are as beautiful as humans at 3D6 PB, but still they have a Horror Factor of 14. Clearly you are meant to look for the inner beauty. They’re SDC creatures so they’re not going to last very long in the Canadian Wilderness. Oh, here we go, “they have taken to loose, heavy, MDC armor such as the Crusader and Gladiator,” special note section. That must have been a painful lesson to learn.
ARB: Thanks to their I.Q. of 2d6+1 and the Wilderness Scout requiring an I.Q. of 8, 42% of Bearmen will not qualify for the class they love the most.
Next we get three different kinds of canines who are not Dog-Boys, they’re drawn by a completely different artist and everything. The three are Wolfen, Coyles, and Kankoran . Wolfen are big and uh, wolfy, and humans in the Palladium world hate and fear them as horrible bloody barbarians but that totally isn’t true, that is a hurtful racial stereotype and in actuality they’re a civilized empire. This is what happens when Charisma (MA) is your racial dump-stat at 2D6. They tend towards Principled or Aberrant alignments because these are honor wolves. Also for some reason they covet the friendship of elves.
Coyles are the vicious cousins of the wolfen and judging by the illo, they don’t look at all alike but they seem to be giving all dog people a bad name with their pack-based raiding and murdering. Coyles think themselves the chosen people of the world and treat all non-dog people with contempt. Then there’s a bunch of words about how they’re fleeing the Wolfen government in the Palladium RPG world, and apparently Coyles actively pretend to be Wolfen sometimes because all dog people look alike. Also they get 4d6+1 PP with normal IQ, so go all Drizzt with one of these guys if you want to play a dog person.
Lastly there’s the Kankoran, who seem to be small primitive-living tribal types who build their identity very heavily on a ritual rite of passage. The Emirin tribe is particularly harsh, forcing their young to go out in pairs to kill an Emirin. Whatever that is. Apparently the Emirin approve of this practice. They also adopt but do not eat stray children a lot. Perhaps this is your mystic dog spirit guide race. All of the canine races have the option of joining a Coalition dog pack, I guess you just have to put a paw print on a contract and you’re enlisted.
ARB: They’re supposed to be wolves, coyotes, and foxes respectively; the Palladium RPG confirms it.
in this case, the middle one is not ‘just right’.
Enough dog folk, let’s get into some shapeshifters! Next up is the Changeling , a race of shapeshifters hated and feared by everyone except elves. They have the ability to shift shape to mimic sentient beings. They can’t grow or ungrow limbs, but they can instantly grow any kind of hair they want. They can be Coalition military, but not borgs, juicers or crazies. Which, fair enough. Most people who know that Changelings exist hate and fear them because identity theft is a serious and growing sector of crime in a digital world.
Okay, Dwarves . Words about Dwarves in the Palladium world, apparently Elves are dicks. Dwarves used dark and horrible rune magic to win and this wrecked up their shit. I do believe this is the same rune magic the Splugorth employ routinely for nefarious deeds, but you’ll have to wait for Atlantis to learn more. Nowadays, not to stereotype people or nothin’, but the dwarves are specialized smith-people.
Next, Elves . Blah blah ancient and arrogant race rivalry with dwarves centuries long war christ it’s like they think we care about the history of the Palladium RPG in Rifts. This is a game about mashing your robot toys against your plastic dinosaurs, get on with it.
ARB: In keeping with Gygaxian traditions, elves are equal or better than humans in all ways except for affinity (charisma). I am just deeply thankful there is a single, one size fits all elf. No dark elves, no wood elves, no java elves...
Goblins! Apparently goblins been sneaking around a lot of worlds for a long time and only one in twenty, the cobbler-goblin, possesses any faerie like magic powers. You have to roll 1-15 on percentile to be a cobbler, which is more than one in twenty but that’s okay, they basically suck. They can turn into a small animal and cast a couple of other spells twice a day, but can’t learn more. They live in mean-spirited tribes that can number into the hundreds, and often include Orcs and Hobgoblins (not pictured) in their quest to destroy the handsomer races. Also, they like bionics and cybernetics, and I can safely say that a pack of borged out goblins in a spike-covered beater car would actually be a good time. Oh and they’re mostly in Europe, so we’ll say they’re soccer hooligans too.
Orcs are large, “dull wilted” (sic) brutes, heavily muscled and broad-built. Heavy brow. Fangy mouth. Again with the ‘On Palladium world’ historical tour. Basically these guys love to kill and eat stuff and are “A full thirty percent” of the bandits in the Pecos Empire. Also, orcs have no Horror Factor but bear and dog people do. Go figure. Also also after telling me that one in three bandits in Pecos is an orc, they go on to say there’s only a thousand or so total in the North American continent. This puts the bandit population at a manageable figure.
Alright, Ogres . Ogres are described as “giant, neanderthal-like, pre-historic cousins to the humans” which is almost exactly like how orcs were described, go figure. I guess they’re taller. And they what the christ there’s not enough ogre females and most of them are sterile so they raid villages to kidnap women for breeding . At least it acknowledges that the species is steadily dying out because of this.
Trolls are vindictive, foul-hearted giants, but apparently not True Giants because there is a section just for those guys coming up. These guys are just big and mean and like to beat people up and look like giant corpses with big fangs but their horror factor is only 10, which is vastly eclipsed by the bearmen still.
you’re right a bear is much scarier than that
There are a few humanoid races who are mentioned but not detailed like kobolds and hobgoblins, and evil/ugly/uncivilized races seem to vastly outnumber the even halfway-decent guys, but I guess that’s par for the RPG course. Also the ugly have a mad hate-on for the pretty; this is a theme that shall continue. Next, we get into more player races, but this time a whole section on giants.
True GiantsOriginal SA post
They have a mark of authenticity, not saying where.
Rifts™ Conversion Book One: Part 8 “True Giants”
“Giants are usually feared by most humanoids and are often charged with crimes they did not commit or attacked out of fear.” This somehow gives me an image of a smalltown cop pulling over a storm giant who was driving a sports car under the speed limit. Anyway, this section is for True Giants, who come in several different flavors. They don’t really explain why these are “True Giants,” isn’t it enough to be big, isn’t that enough Giant?
Algor: Frost Giants are a diminished race that is nearly extinct, apparently they took a side in the elf-dwarf war and it did not work out for them. Horror Factor 10. Can take any OCC except Coalition Military/Glitter Boys. About 15 ft tall. Yawn.
Cyclops lived in Palladium RPG’s distant past maybe and also on Earth where the Greeks made note of them. It also suggests that maybe they were the origin of the myths of one-eyed Odin and his son Thor who wields lightning. This is not true, Odin and Thor just are not in this book. You have to wait for Conversion Two. Are you waiting? Good. The Cyclops...es can create lightning javelins and arrows with an arcane ritual. If anybody else tries it, 2D6 greater demons will appear, take the weapons, and slay/torture the transgressor, leaving them without tongue and hands if they are permitted to live. That is a lot of trouble for for javelins that do 2d6x10 in their ‘heavy’ version. Okay that is actually decent damage, getting close to the Glitter Boy range. GBs are jealous creatures who guard their power through metaplot.
Also, the ‘Manistique Imperium’ has hired several of these guys to make weapons. The MI is not detailed in this book or, well, any other book at all. Doing a search through the PDF I see that I missed that the Dwarves are also mentioned as working for these guys, and some Elves, and apparently they’re in Michigan. Some dude wrote an extremely shitty web book for them but that’s about as much as is ever explained.
ARB: I just want to back up that netbook is, in the words of the wise, so shit. It has found new levels to be shit on. And this is compared to Palladium as it is, folks.
Jotan is how they spelled it, not me. Bitter and cruel and totally racist , these guys lash out at all non-giants. Their entry lists them as having a secret Jotan organization near the New German Republic that is manufacturing giant-size MDC body armor and stuff. Also, the Cyclops and Algor did not do this, but the Jotan automatically becomes an MDC creature, gaining 1d6x10+20 MDC just for playing. They like metalworking and stuff, and are basically like oversized evil yet sort of stupid dwarves.
i believe this technique is called the ‘body hair diversion’
Gigantes are basically giant mutants who have all kinds of weird extra limbs or are giant gorillas or whatever. This makes them evil and they want to kill everything, especially the smaller squishies. Also they are automatically MDC like the Jotan. Horror Factor 13, bearman, your reign is threatened. Their abilities vary tremendously and they have special tables for rolling up weirdness. You could probably also use some of the Nightbane tables if you have that one, it’s that kind of thing. Also, they automatically have to roll up one insanity without even getting crazy augmentations first.
it’s a big big big big gorilililila
Nimro are apparently able to breathe fire and the volcanoes Mount Nimro and Nimrod are both named after these guys. They resent the smaller, beautifuller races and will organize the other ugly demi-humans into packs to go pretty-bashing. These guys don’t get natural MDC, they are not in the cool evil giants club. Apparently some of them are trying to build a kingdom of giants and demi-humans in the territory of Pre-Rifts Turkey.
Titans are the good-guy giants, just like in good old proper D&D. They survived from ancient times and quest eternally to battle evil and injustice like a race of extra-large Batmans. They have a lot of MDC, regenerate swiftly, are impervious to being vampirized, can see invisible and dimensional teleport. They dig being cyber-knights, which is good because their natural punches and kicks inflict more MDC at first level than a psi-sword. They are described as tall and muscular white people. Well, I assume white, skin color isn’t mentioned but they get golden, silver, or brown hair. Oh, and they’re a PC race. Have fun!
Okay, we’re gonna stop there for now. It’s weird that there are like three times as many pics in the Giants section as there are in the previous PC races one. Like every giant except the Frost Giants got a drawing. Poor Frost Giants.
Next will be Faerie Folk! Who are also optional PCs, but have some bonus content for mischief in an MDC world.
Faerie Folk GeneralitiesOriginal SA post
Milk-based bribery encouraged
Rifts™ Conversion Book One: Part 9 “Faerie Folk Generalities”
The faerie folk in Rifts appear to be defined as the tiny, extremely mischievous sorts. They abuse animals, steal and break and ruin stuff. Also don’t eat their food or whatever. But then they also get sad when people are sad and try to cheer them up with flowers or shoe-cobbling or whatever. Also sometimes brownies will live in somebody’s house and help them. One exception is that faeries won’t play pranks on elves. Faerie gold is false, they don’t keep the stuff. They prefer liquor, like a pack of tiny ballet-dancing boozehounds.
Mounds, rings and circles
According to Rifts, most of the fae are nomadic and travel in small groups of six up to six dozen (72) individuals but not more than that. That looks like an easy random number to roll with 12-siders doesn’t it? They shun most human settlements (all that iron I guess) and avoid gloomy and sad places (so also all post-Rifts human settlements).
Apparently mound faeries like to live under things, in hidden places, basically in locations where you can trip and stumble into them like a magical anthill of malice. Faerie rings are often placed near mounds and can enchant people and are also places of powerful magic. Also apparently crop circles are faerie non-magical doings and not pranks committed by a couple of guys who later publicly confessed. There is a whole lot in specifics of how they enchant people and retaliate against offenders, I guess watch where you sink those glitter-pylons.
Faeries apparently eat very little, mostly cute stuff like dewdrops and acorns but they apparently also like booze and candy. However, if they offer you food, never ever take it ever. Also there are specific prices for selling recreational/poisonous faerie foods on presumably the Black Market.
What follows is an extensive and exhaustive list of specific faerie foods/drinks and their effects. Often they are punny/extremely literal/stolen from Willy Wonka. A few samples:
Beetle Nuts : A drug-filled nut that causes mild hallucinations in which the victim will see a civilization of friendly giant beetles. Effects last 1d6+2 hours for every nut eaten.
Cinnamon Sticks : The victim has the urge to commit acts of sinful evil at irregular periods, for 1D6 months unless a remove curse is used. However, the person will be very pleased and self-satisfied for the entire time, regardless of alignment.
Mussels : Increases a person’s PS by 10 points, but they become so muscle-bound that PP and Speed are reduced by half as well as losing one melee attack. Lasts 1D6 hours for each Mussel eaten.
Peanuts: The victim suffers from a “call of nature” every 1D4 hours or uncontrollably when under stress. Effects last 1D4 days.
Tarts : The victim becomes very amorous and giddy, almost as if he were drunk, and falls in love with every person of the opposite sex he sees. Effects last 1D4 days.
So at least two date-rape prospects, magical steroids, and uh, fear urine. Oh, and Yithians. There are a bunch more of these but really they are all about as funny as any 80s nerd giggling over how ‘pea’ and ‘pee’ sound the same. A remove curse spell can cancel any of these, as mentioned in almost every specific entry, but getting this done is “difficult and costly”.
ARB: Apparently a “Randy McCall” is responsible for the faerie food. He did a little bit of writing for the Palladium Fantasy RPG (where these rules first appeared) and Beyond the Supernatural, but clearly this list of horrible puns and pee jokes is his greatest legacy.
I suggest that this Mr. McCall is likely responsible for the incredible verbosity of this entire section. It is really just incredibly overwritten like a freshman textbook that got paid by the word.
You can apparently protect yourself from faeries through several traditional means like turning your clothes inside out (I hope this works inside armor) and horseshoes and red ribbons and such. Oh, and salt. There’s a list of several options, some of which are species limited and some of which are not. I assume all of this is common character knowledge because it doesn’t say otherwise.
Next: Specific faerie species and how to play as them! I bet they can’t be Glitter Boys.
Faerie FolkOriginal SA post
These are not Changelings, Lost or Dreaming.
Rifts™ Conversion Book One: Part 10 “Faerie Folk”
A few common things to most faeries: They tend to be unprincipled or anarchist, as close to neutral as you can get. They get minimum 1d4x10 MDC which, way to go tiny fae, that’s more than most giants get. Also faerie wings are super-valuable, fetching 40 to 80K, I guess they’re a precious spell-component. I don’t know how you yank those off an MDC creature without pulverizing them with railgun rounds first though. Also they detail some tiny weapons for tiny fae which do SDC damage and little enchantments including “Ants in the Pants”. The description for this would only disappoint you. There’s a GM note about how much awesome fun it is to play a faerie.
Also, most of the faeries have magic spells they can cast, some of which I recall from Rifts/Palladium regular magic, and some I don’t, and which aren’t explained here. It wouldn’t surprise me if some of the spells were just not statted. Like ‘love charm’.
Now, specific races!
Does not, apparently, play golf. Disappoint. These are tiny, spindly 8-inch insect-bodied whirlwinds of malice. Sounds a bit like the Black Fairy from the Sourcebook, but without the abrupt shift in art style. They get some bonuses but nothing awesome and apparently they’re an RCC so you can’t twink the shit out of them like you can with giants. This may be an ongoing theme with faeries, since they are too small for most of the equipment normal classes rely on for their daily bread or...whatever. Also the special note at the end says ‘never wear clothes’.
Most helpful of all faerie folk. Basically an unseen butler willing to accept wages in cream or honey. Also usually naked.
Small, beautiful, butterfly-winged people. Often nude or silk-clad. Merry and carefree with a penchant for mischief. Seriously this is almost the entry verbatim.
here is gustanovich’s best imitation of long
Faerie: Green Wood
Slim and handsome with a green complexion, long black hair. Common to forest regions. Otherwise almost identical to Common faeries. No specific mention of nakedness in writeup.
Yes, this does predate WoW. And despite their name, they are faeries and not elves. Huff. The nerve of humans. Usually seen in the buff with wooden swords and stuff. Love sweets and causing trouble.
Faerie: Silver Bells
They wear gossamer-y clothes, are said to sing like tiny silver bells and also sing all the time, way more than any other fae.
*Leprechauns wear black or green suits with gold buttons and have curly white bears, so I guess they’re all dudes. They live only to trick people and steal their valuables. They guard their own treasure fanatically, and won’t yield its location to torture. Also, 60% of leprechauns are alcoholics.
Nature spirits, adopt an area of land 1D6x10 miles in area, protect it fiercely. Always appear as beautiful elven maidens bathed in light. Cannot be harmed by physical attacks, only magic. They never allow “senseless destruction” of their land, what qualifies as “sensible destruction?”
Again with the delineations. Common pixies are bigger than fairies, have no wings, but can still fly, though not at any specified speed. All have flaming red hair and pale complexions, all mischievous.
faith and begorrah, etc etc.
Light blue or white-skinned versions of the common pixie above, have the ability to phase through ice like the pass through earth spell.
Pucks are “black-hearted fiends resembling satyrs,” oh goody, this can’t possibly end badly. They are much more destructive and brutal than other fae, and sometimes kidnap children or young maidens Also they are “fair thieves”, stealing only silver and gold. Good thing Rifts uses “credits!”
Three foot grump-o-trons with wild hair. They build stone circles and such for no reason that anyone understands, even themselves. Also they get 3D6+20 PS, which puts them on those weird tables at the beginning of the book.
ARB: These guys are listed as just being obsessed with stacking rocks, but they’re an R.C.C. Also, they go berserk and attack people who try and mess with building rock circles. Here’s a dramatic reenactment:
Pedro, Cyber Knight: Well, we’ve recruited this spriggan, he should be helpful in fighting the Pecos Raiders. No time to lose, let’s ride, everyone!
Sléibhín the Spriggan: Sod that, I’m not goin’.
Pedro: But lives are in danger! What will you be doing?!
Sléibhín: Got some rocks to stack.
Pedro: But we need your help! Stop fucking around with rocks! They’ll be here when we get back.
Sléibhín: Go fuck yourself, you poncy twit, don’t be disrepectin’ my traditions. A circle of rocks is a fine thing, a fine thing indeed.
Pedro (kicks rock): To hell with you and your roc-
(Insert sound of Sléibhín ripping Pedro’s head off.)
Man, I can’t wait to have one of these at the gaming table. How about you?
Ugh, how many of these are there going to be? Only three kinds? Okay I guess. Similar to fairies but slightly smaller, yellow-green (best crayon) with matching wings. They like to frolic with butterflies which is probably as close as Rifts™ gets to a Hallmark™ moment.
These guys are the blue-green version of the above, like to chase dragonflies and tease frogs.
These sound like a delicious snack food. Large frilled wings, white, or white and pink. They like to rummage through peoples’ stuff and scatter it around but not steal it. So basically like super-annoying moths.
Ugliest of all fae, humanoid toad people with gaping fangy maws. I bet they’re evil! Yep! Of note I guess is that these guys will eat other, smaller faeries. Most of the other entries specifically mention the strict ‘bros before hos’ policy of the fae world, but these guys are just mean.
ARB: These toad creatures also give warts on bare skin contact, for those of you that go around touching strange faeries without armor on. Obviously, this is inspired by the myth that touching toads causes warts, which has been proven wrong. You know what does cause warts on contact, though?
And that’s it for faerie folk! After this we get into Monsters and Animals which are not such player-friendly races, including adult dragon statblocks.
Monsters and Animals from the Palladium RPGOriginal SA post
No monsters were harmed in the production of this book.
Rifts™ Conversion Book One: Part 10 “Monsters and Animals from the Palladium RPG”
This section starts out explaining that SDC creatures are often turbo-charged by the ambient mystic energy of Rifts Earth and become stronger MDC versions of themselves, when noted. It also instructs you to use Monsters and Animals SDC statblocks when in the Palladium RPG Fantasy World (really need a better name) and Conversion MDC ones when in Rifts. Given that this is a game that can involve dimensional travel, your MDC guns should function in Palladium RPG’s world just fine, though spells and such might start fizzling back to wimpy SDC versions. Where’s your caster supremacy now?!
It also explains that some of the entries from M&A were just normal animals that don’t change or were “too pedestrian” to include so this is not a full reproduction of Palladium’s monster manual. I suppose we’re lucky for that, who needs Acid Lizards anyway. It also explains that monsters usually travel through rifts solo or in pairs or whatnot, they don’t usually pour forth in a horde. Ecology of the Random Encounter I guess. Also escaped zoo animals tigers in North America etc.
Enough of that, let’s get to some monsters!
You may be more familiar with this creature under the name Chimera because that is basically what it is. It’s a three-headed dragon with a serpent, lion, and antelope head. Low intelligence, aggressive, can’t be housebroken. You roll intelligence separately for each head but “all three work together as one” and so this ends up giving them a net 3D6+4 which is not bad for a non-sentient animal. Also with three heads, called-shotting them in the noggin will take longer than normal. They get nine attacks per round, which makes up somewhat for their kinda crappy damage. Also they will have a treasure trove of credits, weapons and armor if you kill them. I assume the armor is slightly to very damaged.
I hope he is a guy who goes around and dances. Alas, malignant creatures of unknown origin. Looks like a one-eyed clown or jester. Preys on the weak and helpless. Travels in small groups, no more than five, but usually a mated pair of one-eyed clowns. They basically kidnap/trick victims, especially children, and then hurt or kill them. You know the drill. For all that, they can be ‘any’ alignment “but almost always evil.”
really, this is what i was so scared of?
These are Optional Player Characters despite being in the monster section. I suspect this may be a trend that continues. Race of mischievous, cruel humanoids who resemble vicious teddy bears. They are barbaric nomads who feed only on the flesh of other humanoids. Goblin is their favorite prey. While not considered fae, they can do some fae stuff like turn invisible and morph into a full-sized bear. They get a fairly piddling level of natural MDC and can do MDC damage with claws and bites but they have fairly poor attributes overall and the only Rifts class they can play is Vagabond.
ARB: They’re basically evul teddy bears, which is a Palladium Books hallmark. This is the fifth book to feature evil teddy bears. To be fair, it’s more true to myth than certain other bugbears.
Centaurs and Cyber-Horsemen
Here’s a solution to the robot horse-PC-problem.
why does he have a jetpack?!
Perhaps the noble centaur has visited Earth in the past, to give rise to the the “myths” about them. They are native to the Palladium RPG world, but also to an unknown, much more advanced civilization like presumably the cyber-taur gentleman pictured above. Palladium centaurs are dying out due to population pressures from faster-breeding humans and wolfen. Nonetheless they are a viable player race but are for some reason in the monster section. Supposedly the cyber-horsemen (I guess that’s their actual name) have a city called Ixion somewhere in the wilds of Canada. Also the centaurs are listed as having a “Value” of 15k to 50k credits as trained gladiatorial slaves, which no other entry has had.
Meanwhile, 90% of cyber-horsemen males undergo bionic reconstruction, but only of the horse parts, not the human parts unless medically necessary. Only 25% of females undergo reconstruction because having a totally sweet cyber-horsebody is for boys. They give some general stats for this; they get a ton of MDC armor-plating but still do SDC with their kicks unless they do a “power kick” that counts as two attacks and does...1D4. The Bug Bears triple this. Also there are stats for two special weapons they have available that aren’t listed anywhere else. The Cosmic Energy Rod is like a stunstick/blaster combo that does kinda crappy damage and the Sensory Deprivation Web is actually a fairly debilitating debuff with no save if you hit with it.
The chimera is part dragon, part lion, and part goat. Splugorth capture and train them as watchdogs. They roam mostly outside the US. They are of only evil alignment, since being a natural predator requires evilness while being a child-abducting serial killer does not. They get some decent attacks including fire breath, though their natural MDC is only in the upper ranges of Boom Gun damage so they are probably not too hard to take out. They’re valuable to tame, or even sell as parts.
These are like giant (3ft) burrowing hyena-bears who aggressively attack anyone who gets close to their burrows but they’re weak SDC creatures so you can basically shoot them and watch them explode.
Drakin: The Luck Bird
Do ya feel lucky yet? how ‘bout now?!
These are gentle and loving creatures who swoop out of the wilderness to protect travelers. That’s why they’re “Luck Birds.” They will even temporarily join groups if the goal is to destroy evil. That’s how hardcore they are. They can do a little bit of MDC with their attacks and have Chimera-levels of MDC on their own so they might make a good distracting target for the ene--I mean they might survive. They can also sense evil and supernatural as a psi-stalker in Rifts. Cruel people apparently think imprisoning one of these will bring them good fortune and will pay 30k for a live one.
These are basically pegasus, but with leathery wings and clawed feet. Males can breathe fire with a 10ft range and they have pretty good MDC. I guess creatures like these provide a use for those animal training skills. The best part about these is the art they get, which is actually kind of a cool picture.
rider guys to be detailed later
It’s a wolf! It’s a dragon! It’s a dragon wolf! Wolves with human intelligence, dragon wings, partial clawed hands, and a serpentine tail. Optional player characters, normally very deceitful and treacherous in the wild. Use the dragon XP tables regardless of OCC which means sucktastic leveling on top of not being very good as a race.
Okay, stopping there. I was gonna put adult dragons in this post but they get a very large section to themselves that might be better served as a very special episode. So next time, dragons!
Adult DragonsOriginal SA post
Dragons get along well with humans
Rifts™ Conversion Book One: Part 11 “Adult Dragons”
Okay, here’s the big guys. There’s a huge block of text about dragon “society” and habits. It starts out by saying very little is known about dragons and then drops a text bomb. OOC knowledge I guess. After six hundred years of experience, a hatchling should be a 10 or 12th level dragon, but then they will undergo a metamorphosis that multiplies their power by five or ten times. Really, six hundred years for 10 or 12th level? Dragons are the korean MMO of supernatural creatures.
Anyway dragons can be of any alignment, they have a human range of moral variations, and also, they loooooove them some humans and humanoids. They are scholars and artists and use all kinds of high tech stuff to perform science. Hatchlings are dumb kids with few skills but adults kick ass in every field.
“Some things common to most dragons”
This is a sixteen point numbered list of words. Dragons learn a lot of magic. Dragons are usually psionic. Psi and magic? Twinks. They live thousands of years. Even the good ones are greedy and hoard stuff and will only share grudgingly to help others. Dragons are accused of laziness, but this isn’t true, they’ve just learned that it’s really easy to scare people into doing what they want. They hibernate. They don’t actually need to eat but like doing so. They derive a child-like glee from shape-shifting. In particular they like to go in human disguise, then assume their true form in a crowd, scaring people senseless. Dragons are a laugh riot! They are loyal to their friends but very vengeful when wronged. Dragon bones and teeth are super-valuable magical components. Dragons get treasure types H and R. They lay eggs once exactly every 400 years. They have a higher horror factor. Strangely enough, their MDC is halved when converting to SDC on other worlds. They remain mega-damage beings even on non-magical worlds like Robotech. Because. Though their MDC is reduced.
Now we’ve gone through all that, let’s have some specific dragon species.
These guys are jerky jerks who like to manipulate and abuse people and love to be secret masters behind despot lords and stuff. Their hatchling forms suck and don’t get some of the powers the other dragons do, and are able to take “half” of the adult dragon form’s abilities. Okay; except the Basilisk has a Petrification attack that works on a save of 13 or less. On everything. That’s right, there’s a 90% chance that if you’re in a robot vehicle, the vehicle will be turned to stone around the pilot. They can attempt this three times a round. I am not sure what ‘half’ is for the hatchlings. Once a round? Save of 6 or less? Who knows. Even the adults don’t have very much MDC though, they top out at 110 which is barely two suits of armor welded together.
ARB: It should be noted though the hatchlings in this book get a lot of things halved, one thing that doesn’t get halved is their attributes, meaning all the stats for hatchlings in this book are generally broken for PCs. Furthermore, in addition to the Basilisk’s petrification abilities they are A) playable and B) can choose a magic O.C.C. to boot. (Which means they level on those XP tables, instead of the lousy dragon XP table...)
So maybe the hatchlings don’t suck as much as I thought, though if you want to twink out with a dragon, stay tuned.
This is the traditional chicken-dragon form but it’s classified among the true dragons here. It says it gets mistaken for the benevolent kukulcan a lot but the cockatrice is pure, pure evil. The crow of a real cock will paralyze them for 1D4 hours. They have crap MDC but typically travel in mated pairs. Their attacks do some half-hearted MDC or ‘by petrification’ that isn’t defined, so presumably the same as the basilisk’s. Hatchling form is even crappier than basilisk’s as well.
Now here’s a real dragon. Red in color, uses magic and psionics, can be any alignment, and gets 1D6x1000 MDC so it might be able to take a shot or two if PCs aggress. They’re also immune to fire, which includes MDC plasma. Oh, and their breath weapon does 6D6. Woohoo. Though they get 8 attacks per round and four of these can be breath weapon.
Great Horned Dragon
These guys are the strongest and most feared kind of dragon. They vary in color from light green to golden orange. They all know two kinds of magic. Exactly two. You can’t get your dragon degree until you have two. They have great MDC and take half damage from fire and cold, and get a bunch of spells and psionics. Basically these are the ur-dragons.
noted for their hoards of gold and fine collections of 1960s spy movie computers
More jerk-ass evil dragons. I’m beginning to think that ‘dragons love humanoids’ thing in the giant block of dragon-text was a big fat lie created by the ministry of dragon propaganda. They regenerate exceptionally quickly though still at “per minute” speeds, and can regrow heads in half an hour. Each head has a separate power. Fire/frost/acid do pretty much typical damage, poison/cloud of slumber would be cool debuffs but basically every suit of armor in Rifts is environmentally sealed. Sorry juicers! “Breath of Death” does 6D6MD OR SDC regardless of armor or being in a vehicle. So suddenly those PE bonuses might matter. The last head does Psionic Evil Eye as per the main rules and I’m not going to look that up right now. They can attack sixteen times a round, but only seven by breath. Their melee attacks are not bad for having a lot of them, honestly these guys are way better than the Great Horned Dragon for straight-up physical combat. The GHD would just be using more magic and cleverness presumably.
ARB: Every powergamer I knew in high school loved the shit out of these hatchling hydras, they get 8 attacks per melee at first level (where most characters get 2), a ridiculous amount of offense, and zero RP hooks! Hooray!
this piece is alright, it’s honestly one of gustanovich’s better bits, which is why the book uses it at least twice
The majestic ice dragon can be any shade of blue. Hint hint it’s easy to paint their miniature. Apparently these guys once had something of an empire on Palladium world and are still revered by wolfen. Beyond that, they are basically palette swaps of the fire dragon.
Also known as the serpent bird, they are symbols of light and healing. I wonder how many of these the Splugorth pluck and roast for turkey day? Supposedly worshipped by humans in the past as the “feathered serpent,” this is retconned out by later books. These guys are beautiful birds who like people and like helping them. They’ve got way better stats than the cockatrice at least. They’re on the wimpy end of the dragon scale but but eh, no big.
Really? Really? Okay, these guys are symbols of darkness and the undead, only come out at night, work with vampires, are usually evil. They can actually be blinded by sunlight unless they wear sunglasses. Specifically that is mentioned. Also kind of on the wimpy end of things, dragon-wise, I guess mostly they’re the goth dragons who couldn’t play football.
Serpent of the Wind
Long, thin, snakelike wingless dragons. Greedy conniving schemers. Not evil per se but so driven by greed that they rarely pause to consider any consequences whatsoever. Pretty similar to the fire and ice dragons statwise, just a little bit weaker. Oh look, there’s a picture.
ARB: Maybe I’m reading too much into things to note the only asian-styled dragons in the book are obsessively greedy sneaks. Sure it doesn’t mean anything.
Just wait ‘till Rifts Japan, then we’ll blow those stereotypes apart .
i suppose we’re lucky they didn’t classify this guy under ‘Dragon, tricky oriental’
Thunder lizards are wingless emerald green and gold serpent-like dragons. Today they are adventurers and the ‘lightning’ type to complete the elemental damage trifecta. They have a lower horror factor than fire/ice but otherwise they are really very similar.
“These furry giants are the neanderthals of dragonkind.” Basically they’re a big furry dinosaur rippling with muscle. They have no magic powers, no flying, and are of low sentient intelligence. Their damage is somewhat crap since they have no magic to back themselves up but they have a lot of MDC and you could literally run out of ammo before being able to take one of these down. Also, it is simply criminal that the wind-serpents got a picture and these guys didn’t. I demand a recount.
ARB: I just want to say I love these things for no sane reason.
What’s not to love about a feral Snuffaluffagus?
That’s it for dragons, really. The high-MDC-low(ish) damage thing is going to be an ongoing theme with boss monsters. It only gets worse. Part of the issue is that PCs have enough total attacks generally to just sacrifice as many as they need to dodge, and the monster’s less-than-stellar damage means that it will take a while to swat any gnats.
That’s where the ammo comment comes in. Aside from Glitter Boys who get 100 rounds plus an optional 30 round bonus drum, most guns have like 10 or 20 shots and then maybe you’ll have 1 or 2 extra clips, because the clips are a non-trivial expense even to get recharged. A 6D6 rifle with 10 shots will come out doing 180 or so MDC before going dry. Even the Kukulcan has a minimum of 1000 MDC, if you were determined to kill one of those. Most of the dragons will have 3-4000 or so. As well, several of the dragons here are immune to or take half damage from MDC plasma, which eliminates some of the better rifles. Basically, if you want to kill any dragons, stack bullets to the ceiling.
next time: more lizard men! and other entries from E to infinity
Eandroth and beyondOriginal SA post Rifts™ Conversion Book One: Part 12 “Eandroth and beyond”
I know you’re asking, what’s a Eandroth.
the answer is “they are gorn”
The Eandroth are a race of lizard people who grow to maturity in six years and then dwell as happy-go-lucky, friendly, nomadic hunter gatherers except during bi-annual mating season when the overpopulated males fight viciously for the right to mate. They also have the racial ability to start fires with their brain. They go on like this for about 25 years and then they go rogue. They undergo a biological metamorphosis that changes their personality to be mean and they get bigger and stronger.
Male and female eandroth rogues get their own special entries. Males yearn for adventure. They gain like 2D6 to most of their attributes and then they can take an OCC. Females reach rogue phase if they survive “25 to 40 arduous deliveries.” They are quite rare and are the true leaders of the eandroth community. They don’t run off to be adventurers, they stay home to run the village, and get super fat. Also they get psi-powers like Mind Melters.
Giant psionic cats who live in the wilderness. I am sure Honor Harrington will rift in and befriend one shortly. Really, that’s basically it. Psychic cats. Optional player race.
Well that sounds unpleasant. Apparently they’ve been recorded before in Native American myth and they do not kill your eyes, they kill with their eyes, with a malevolent gaze or whatever. Demonic owl headed snake with coyote-legs. They use psi-powers for evil.
Isn’t this a service you have to pay for normally? Oh, wait. Okay. These are basically like pint-sized harpies but they can also be male. SDC creatures so not really a threat to anything but your dignity.
Race of giant ape-men who lived in the jungles and who are endangered due to habitat pressures. They are sentient and an optional player race though their IQ is 1D6+3 which is really pitiful. They are honorable great apes and will refuse to kill unless absolutely threatened. Apparently the Splugorth have been enslaving these guys for centuries.
ARB: By the way, this book recommends O.C.C.s for each race, but the Grimbor can’t get a break. It mentions they’re often Wilderness Scouts!... but their I.Q. is 1d6+3 and the Wilderness Scout requires an I.Q. of 8. So, only a 1 in 3 chance of qualifying. But it also says they can become Headhunters!... but their P.P. is 2d6 and the Headhunter requires a P.P. of 12. So, only a 1 in 36 chance they can become one. You know what else is suggested? Vagabond Non-Skilled O.C.C. Alternately, it recommends you can be a borg. A very, very stupid borg, apparently. You’re like a human borg, only with crap mental stats! Congratulations!
guys, we got this, the guidebook says will not kill unless--
The Gruunor are like giant segmented caterpillars with heads at both ends, though one of the heads is a rear stinger that presumably makes a ‘gotcha’ sound when it strikes. They’re aggressive predators who will roll up into a ball to protect their soft undersides. Fortunately for local farmers and sewer workers, they’re SDC creatures. Better get a mop.
Optional PC race. These are a race of aliens who appear to be demonic but they totally aren’t demons guys, they’re just ugly. They are still aggressive and territorial, quick to subjugate anyone weaker than themselves. They know how to dimensional travel, but if they get trapped, they immediately find a base location and start breeding a new tribe with plans to conquer. They’re like termite gargoyles. Also you can tell females from males by reproductive organs, I guess they aren’t big on clothes.
Standard features included, trainable mounts, automatic transmission.
We already did the mini-harpies before, now we’ve got the regular-sized. Specifically female, stink terribly, hate anything that is good or beautiful. Bites and claws inflict piddling MDC, basically they’d be a good distraction or colony that proves a particular mountain path is inhabited by the evil warlord further up.
“Monkey-Men.” Optional player race. They look more like lemurs than monkeys and are lightning fast, thieving, but friendly. They love shiny objects. They get 5D6 PP which is awesome until you see that they’re a crappy RCC that doesn’t give you much cool stuff besides being a kender-monkey. Still, better than being a flooper.
Murderous horse-headed man with clawed hands and horsey legs. Lurks in water to spring out and drag prey down. Ancient pre-rifts myth include the kelpie among the fae, but this book doesn’t even though they are ‘typically present anyplace other faerie folk are found’.
ARB: I think this is the cousin of the horse from Bravestarr, below. In fact, I think Rifts is tragically lacking in humanoid horses with laser shotguns.
this feller appears to have lost his feet, no wonder he’s mad. may in fact be the cousin of the horse from bravestarr.
Optional PC. Showed up in pre-rifts Chinese myth and seems to be native. They are big gentle dragon-horse hippies. They almost have an RP hook--they’re trouble magnets because demons and evil beings hate them so much. They have some pretty sweet magical abilities like seeing and turning invisible as much as they want, regenerating 2D6 MDC per melee (which is a fifteen second period), a healing touch that sadly only works on SDC, sense evil, and they are so inspiring and wonderful that all good people get +5% to all skills and +1 parry and dodge when doing any good thing. Mostly though they just like to fly around and watch the world man, just hug the winds.
Optional PC. “Race of subhuman felines” oh dear. Head and tail of a mountain lion but otherwise human. Like to eat humanoid flesh. Their tail can be used to feel things if they are blind and can sense water and storms like a...dowsing tail? And for some reason it has kelpie radar. Crappy racial RCC and no default equipment. Good luck with your first combat!
Okay, that’s enough for this one. Next time, the letter L and onwards. Phew, there’s a lot of monsters.
Palladium Lizardmen and some other stuffOriginal SA post
What we need is more kinds of lizardmen.
Rifts™ Conversion Book One: Part 13 “Palladium Lizardmen and some other stuff”
Palladium Lizard Men
Optional PC. It’s necessary to say that these are the ones native to Palladium RPG since with the ones added backhandedly in the circus section of Vampire Kingdoms and the other ones added in this book, we’re getting hell up in lizardmen. These guys are semi-aquatic and live to colonize waterways, though they are technically Principled alignment. Apparently some of these rifted into Brazil and the swollen mutated bulk of the Amazon river and flipped their shit with glee. Hope they like Pacu fish. They own very little MD tech capability despite living in a jungle full of vampires and magical beings. This may be a hurdle for their community.
This is apparently a separate race from the Lizard Men mentioned above. These stand about eight feet tall with a dragon-like head and beautiful gold and silver scales. These guys and the Eandroth are “examples of the logical evolutionary progress of the theropod dinosaurs had they not perished..” Uh...huh. They were the secret ancient rulers of Palladium and created the elves. Thanks, assholes . A bunch of them were killed but it does not say why or how. Most of them fled and hid in other dimensions and stuff. Once they get into a position of power they start being friendly, but woe betide those between a Lizard Mage and the top. They want world domination and nothing else, though at least they aren’t jerks about it.
i for one welcome our new dinosaur tax-accountant overlords
The Lizard Mages aren’t available as PCs, not even the young ones. They get two magic OCCs with a shitload of automatic spells and psionics and better MDC than a dragon hatchling. So basically, they’re wandering Dr. Dragon Von Doom.
ARB: People always asked to play one of these for some reason. I wonder why?
No, not a spit-elemental (ew) but some kind of semi-intelligent vulture-like creature. It calls them semi-intelligent, but then calls them masters of the mystic arts, and they roll 3D6 for IQ. Maybe it’s because they still eat carrion with that IQ and magic spells that could fell a fresh horse. Anyway, they’re evil, so just shoot them.
Basically as described in myth, lion, human face, poison tail. Cruel vicious predators. Poison really loses a lot of its bite in MDC worlds.
Grotesque humanoids instinctively drawn to places of magic. They prefer to live underground, in soft moist dirt and aren’t bothered by frequent cave-ins. They’re fungus farmers who use corpses to grow their shrooms. They worship some strange religion but they refuse to communicate with other races and just attack if their lairs are invaded so nobody knows anything about it. Also their brains are actually in their chests, so decapitation takes 15 minutes to kill them.
Also also they turn into zombie drones when killed, called Shamblers. The undead ones continue to fight on behalf of the living maxparies and can be turned per the turn dead spell as normal, or pass a line of holy water.
Also there’s a section on various maxpary mushrooms, including the speed mushroom which doubles your attacks for 2D6 minutes. I suggest feeding one of these to a hydra for hilarity. The death mushroom tosses the eater into suspended animation for 1 to 100 days.
Lastly, they make some weird artifacts. The Stone of Drol is supposedly a key ingredient to a Raise Dead Circle spell. A Stone of Mal is used to control various undeads though it doesn’t give stats on how well. The Stone of Allil casts water magic spells. They also make hollow globes of silver or gold and sometimes seal other valuable things inside. Weird little creatures, these guys.
which one is the zombie one?
Horrific horse-dinosaurs that hate all life and love to torture and kill things. There’s a picture of them that honestly looks like it came out of a Brzezinski painting but done in ink by Gustanovich; it’s too big to include for something this one-dimensional.
More beast-mens, apparently sometimes confused with intelligent mutant cattle (just no stopping that Lone Star) or the demonic “Gallu Bull.” Apparently they’re actually vegetarians but people kept trying to wipe them out so they took to building trap-filled underground complexes. They are burrowing cows.
you make my heart sing … there just wasn’t any other way I’m sorry. Long-legged owls with rolling yellow-green eyes, rudimentary sapience. They steal food or trinkets and are basically weird low-SDC animals.
ARB: And then you have to wake up in the middle of the night and beat your potions and food back out of them.
it was very important that these be included
Rare, hard to catch, natural MDC, good mounts. The only exceptional thing here is that Palladium Pegasi have limited psionic powers.
Peryton -- Demon Deer
Perytons are winged deer that cast shadows like a human. They’re murderous and awful and I bet they jump out in front of cars on purpose since they’re MDC. Also they like to eat unicorns.
That’s probably enough for this installment. Next, we get the RAHU-MEN which will be very exciting. Okay maybe a little exciting. Also like seven different kinds of ‘worm’.
RahooooooooooooOriginal SA post
Inspired the legend of the Yeti -- the Abominable snowmen
Rifts™ Conversion Book One: Part 14 “Rahoooooooooooo”
These are an ancient race of four-armed giants from Palladium world. These days they live as quiet mountain hermits. Back in the day they got racismed out of civilization and retreated to the mountains, now they pretend to be extinct. Apparently some live on Rifts Earth and the Triax book contradicts parts of this entry considerably. They’re an optional player race with okay stats, decent MDC and a natural four hand to hand attacks, plus all the ones you can get from skills. Natural sensitive psionics. And they’re allowed to be glitter boys. This has to be an oversight. But the book says! Or rather doesn’t say they can’t. Roll ‘em up!
ARB: “In fact, General Rasheen, member of the Council of Governors and celebrated hero of the New German Republic, is a rahu-man...” The New German Republic would turn out to be a human supremacist country akin to, if less oppressive than, the Coalition. Ooops.
l-liono...is that you?
Let’s just quote the first phrase here verbatim. “Ratlings are a race of humanoids indigenous to the Palladium world, who resemble humanoid rats.” There, I think we’re done. Oh, wait, more words. They hang around Lone Star pretending to be mutant animals and otherwise jerk around being sly and not fighting stereotypes at all. You can play as one of these if you’re into hairless tails and tiny skittery feet.
Scarecrows are animated scarecrows made of straw. They are basically sentient straw golems on a Wizard of Oz theme and many of them have been around so long since their forgotten origin that they’ve learned magic and gotten super-tough. Who has the flying monkeys now bitches?! The answer to these is of course fire.
ARB: It should be noted these things are, for some reason, immortal and regenerate at an insane rate... except for, of course, fire. Yes, scarecrows are the trolls of the setting.
These are in fact mammals. With stinging tails. Big evil predators but once again SDC, have at ‘em.
These are basically riding T-rexes used by the Eandroth. They’re fantastically dumb and have to be basically beaten into submission all the time. They become MDC creatures in Rifts because they are dinosaurs. Seriously that is the listed reason.
A malignant alien force that often materializes as a glowing humanoid shape crackling with energy. They are only vulnerable to magic and psionics, though they get very little MDC. They have some psonic attacks and are listed as being able to make two physical attacks per round but there’s no damage listings, so presumably SDC from PS.
ARB: I know it’s supernatural and evil, but it really should put some pants on.
ghost pants presumably
Optional PC. Lion/eagle/human version. They’re not usually evil as such, but since people respect their learnings and magics they tend to set up little churches and stuff and start demanding presents, and when people get disillusioned or go bankrupt, the sphinx just wanders off again. This sounds fantastic to have at the gaming table. They their natural RCC skills which are okay and then they can choose a magic OCC and get the OCC skills plus spells and stuff.
Syvans are walking corpses though not quite zombies. I guess more dessicated than rotten, and also still sentient enough to hate the living and try to weave elaborate webs of deception to wreck up shit. They get a lot of psionics and like to hoard money, which in fact ends up being at like dragon hoard levels with considerably less effort involved with killing one. I suppose first you must unmask its layers of disguise or whatever but seriously just shoot the gray-skinned skull-grin guy.
ARB: It’s really hard to tell from the crummy art, but they’re supposed to look half ugly and half uglier, for some reason. Like Two-Face, only all ugly.
Yay unicorns, what would we do without ‘em. They help the elderly with their taxes, give rides to children, and donate blood regularly. They are stand-up citizens. Good aligned characters are specifically barred from enslaving or killing a unicorn. Bad people of course want their horns.
Winged dogs or foxes, known for mischief, riddles, playfulness. Will in fact steal your wallet. They have small stubby hands with a thumb so they could play poker.
Somehow I bet these aren’t giant buffalo-sauced food animals. Hm, well, almost. A pair of giant wings attached to a softball-sized cotton ball. I admit I am puzzled. They like to make people happy. Come here and sit on my grill, that will make me happy.
Worms of Taut -- Demon Worms
Of ‘taut’? What? Thought to be demons, actually just “supernatural monsters,” oh well that’s okay then. There’s like six different kinds of these.
ARB: It turns out they can be summoned using the blood of a dead demon worm, which gives a real chicken-or-the-egg dilemma.
Sigh, I suppose I saw this coming. These are like 120-200 ft long and have an “easygoing demeanor.” They’re basically sluggish and apparently the Federation of Magic summoned some of these against the Coalition. Somewhere, Erin Tarn is making a wikipedia edit.
These things are lethargic and move as little as possible; people have to starve them to get them angry. They spit globs of mucus and engulf prey whole to swallow it. People who fail to dodge the glob are trapped at 1/8th speed and one melee action and it takes 10 actions to get free unless you have a PS of over 24, then you just get halved. If you just hold still and play dead it will swallow you and you can shoot at its vulnerable insides. Enjoy your stay in Rifts
ARB: It’s like there’s some joke to make about a wormlike monster that spooges all over people, but I’m damned if I can think of one.
Bright red wormish thing though it has a face, spits fireballs, nests of 1D4, doesn’t seem to breed.
Not so much a worm as a multi-legged salamander-critter. Hostile and aggressive predators, 10 ft long and prone to travelling in packs. They bite and use their prehensile tails to try and strangle people.
Like a naga right, but with a segmented wormy body and weird wormy three-toed feet. They like to kill people and collect money and treasure to lure in victims. Apparently they have ”incredible hearing that will alert them to any new odor in a 300 ft area, even when sleeping.” Poisonous, but who is not wearing armor in this game anyway.
Three-headed giant serpent. Spits acid from the middle head that can permanently blind someone. Again, hostile and mean predator.
I was honestly expecting more of these to be along the lines of the ear-burrowing thing in the old monster manual, or some of those other totally bullshit ‘screw the thief even harder’ monsters. These come closest but they’re actually less worse than rot grubs--they’re just small enough to hide in corpses, prominent urns, tombs proper etc and then jump out and attack. They’re not very tough but they could totally freak players out. Also it says they hang around places with a lot of food including ‘cyber chop-shops’ which...well the medical body horror kind of writes itself.
“The za is yet another winged, dog-like creature of magic,” how many of these have we had compared to lizard people? There was the Waternix and that was basically it. Maybe there were more in M&A original that didn’t make the MDC conversion cut. Anyway these are evil winged dog-like creatures of magic. They want to stack paper to the ceiling, don’t care who they hurt.
ARB: To be fair, there are also dragon wolves, who are understandably forgotten since their art is inserted in the middle of the table of contents, 112 pages before the actual creature writeup.
It should be noted this is total Siembieda style. “I’ve got three pictures of winged dogs! That totally justifies three monster writeups. Let no winged dog art go to waste!”
These are out of order for some reason, Yema comes after Za. Yema are an extinct race of flying reptiles from Palladium that have been mass-zombified. Apparently evil wizards mail order RC-kit control spells for these guys or something as that is where they generally show up, in the hands of evil magic-users. They’re passably tough.
the guy on the left looks more like a spectre than the actual monster entry but maybe not the one they meant
Oh these are annoying. Perfect for the last of the M&A critters. Magic stuff does no damage and splits them into two identical creatures. This includes punching and biting from magical creatures. But hey, all is not lost! Psionics which are of course totally not magic can hurt them, as can silver, wood and iron. Also once they get split into two they become Diabolic and hate all life.
ARB: I love these things for some reason, they basically make no sense at all. They’re peaceful until you attack them, and then they turn into a berserk horde... okay, it’s easy to see how they might get around. But where does that peaceful, original zavor come from? (Also, it should be noted they hoard magical weapons to pound each other with to make more duplicates, which basically makes them horrible metagamers.)
honestly it’d be non-scary if it didn’t have people teeth
That’s it for the Monsters and Animals Conversions. Just Beyond the Supernatural and “Beings who would be Gods” to go--which the ‘gods’ part includes ‘Demon Hoards of Hades’ and ‘Another Hoard of Demons’ so I guess they’re collectible. Also BTS includes some repeats from VK because I guess they were really struggling for pagecount with that book (circuses?!) so those will get limited coverage.
Basically anything not from Earth is badOriginal SA post
only the most common, dangerous and unique
Rifts™ Conversion Book One: Part 15 “Basically anything not from Earth is bad”
I haven’t personally read BTS in years and years and years and only sort of skimmed the recent writeup. So, this should be an adventure.
Also, apparently they reprint this whole section in Dark Conversions, years later. Because? Because, I guess. Palladium is a strange company.
ARB: You know, thinking about it, I know there were other writers on stuff like Beyond the Supernatural, there may be some totally uncredited work by Randy McCall or Erick Wujick in here. Beyond the Supernatural doesn’t really credit who wrote what.
Also, a lot of art in this section is pretty much cribbed from Boxed Nightmares, the only supplement Beyond the Supernatural ever got. (More are promised, and have been promised for basically twenty years now.)
These things can’t kill with a wail because Palladium was never as into ‘save or die’ mechanics. Instead they can just kind of clairvoyantly sense when people are about to die, and that’s when they show up. It’s ethereal and invisible and requires psionics or magic to get rid of, but really they’re just more noisy pests than actually dangerous. Also you can apparently get into an astral slapfight with them.
Boschala: The Living Nightmare
Predatory shape-changers from another dimension. They don’t understand Earth biology so they tend to appear as a mishmash of nightmare parts glued together. Each boschala will look different, unless they were summoned together, in which case they seem to copy each other. Also they can link together like predatory shape-changer voltron to make one big nightmare creature.
Also there is a specific warning in the book that if you summon 13 or more of these into the same place, they will be compelled to mate. This involves all the boschala merging together in a twisted pile of pulsating flesh and undulating limbs but it only takes 30 minutes; this creates one additional boschala and the process may be repeated every 24 hours. Also sorcerers cannot control them in packs of 13 or more.
There’s like nine percentile tables to roll on to determine their appearance, including ‘number’ and ‘type’ of tails, separately. They have Glitter-Boy range MDC and can do okay damage, also basically the highest horror factor you will ever see on a monster: 18. But seriously, they mate.
Dybbuk: The demon ghoul
This was covered in the Vampire Kingdoms writeup and so I am skipping it. I am putting the art in though because it is both a clearer and yet much more comical picture that includes the t-rex arms.
Like all ghouls, this creature feeds on the flesh of the dead. They are basically bog-standard ghouls except that they can self-rift themselves from dimension to dimension.
ARB: I like how they have 500 I.S.P. and their most expensive psychic power (Object Read) costs 6 I.S.P.
Dar’ota: Incubus & Succubus
Another VK repeat
An entity is a supernatural energy being invisible to the human eye. This would technically include the banshee I guess then? But maybe not; these are basically Rifts: Ghosts
These have a long write-up that is basically somebody quoting a Time-Life ‘mysteries of the unknown’ article into Palladium game terms. They play pranks, they react to strong emotions.
Holy crap so much write-up. Way to fill page-count I guess. These things inhabit an inanimate object until that object is destroyed. Sometimes they choose things like ‘trees’ or ‘rocks’. They are not very smart apparently. Unfortunately they cannot possess your bionic arm because it’s neurologically linked or something, wouldn’t that be a unique modern hazard. “Stop hitting yourself” is suddenly the cruel refrain of a thousand horror stories.
They telepathically contact people from inside their object-houses and pretend to be valuable magical objects and/or wise spirits. They feed on PPE and basically will exhaust any beings close to them as often as they can. They can’t possess items made of plastic at all. Otherwise they’re kind of like evil ghost hermit crabs I guess.
ARB: “Hi Sarah, I’m a magic piece of talking clay.”
These are new Ghost Classic. This is the art they get.
Seriously, a professionally published gamebook considered this good enough to inspire your imagination. These entities are drawn to the emotional impressions that humans leave on a place, and since strong emotions leave the strongest impressions, they re-enact murders and stuff. They are not very smart and often assume they were actually the actors in the incidents played out until banished or whatever, but they are not actual dead people you can (sometimes) see.
Apparently ‘tectonic’ means ‘pertaining to construction or building’ according to this entry. See? Greek wasn’t a useless degree, dad . But no, this thing like, constructs itself a little (12ft) golem body out of nearby inanimate objects and debris. This means that, just hypothetically, it could make its body out of baby dolls. Apparently they do this because it scares people and makes their emotions richer to feed off of.
Also these things can inhabit and animate humanoid or animal figures. Like robots. Like those skelebots they had in the first book. Also, since it feels no pain, setting their bodies on fire means that you now have an angry golem-body murderghost that is on fire to cope with.
If Syphon Entities are ghost hermit crabs, these are ghost decorator crabs.
warning: may murder hobos
Generally considered the most powerful and dangerous of all entities. These are the ones who can possess living people, whereas all those other ones cannot. It’s like Malice from X-Men, it possesses people to make them do terrible things. They can’t be banished or whatever, it’s gotta be an exorcism. Good thing there’s a few ways to do that. Enough ghosts, let’s do something different.
Gargoyles & Gurgoyles
“These appear as giant lizard-like humanoids...” Goddammit Siembieda, no more lizardmen. They hatch from eggs, but they are warm-blooded. Just like real dinosaurs! They’re aggressive pack-living predators and love to fight. Apparently they breed fast and are invaders (their italics) who want to conquer the planet. Gurgoyles are the wingless, submissive, put-upon little brothers of the gargoyles. They have a reasonable amount of MDC though not so great damage, but having to deal with a lot of these could be a problem.
Gargoyle lords can turn into living stone and get more MDC and damage. Gargoyle Mages can do some Warlock stuff and talk to elementals. Gargoylites are smaller-sized versions of Gargoyle Lords specifically and lack the whole aggression that all the others have and they get used as spies because...I guess because who would question that odd stony midget?
Goqua: Master of Deception
This is a big ugly supernatural beast, the sort of thing that did not routinely visit Earth prior to the Rifts era. Unfortunately for these guys, they must prepare to be outclassed pretty much even by the one sourcebook already published at the time. At least they can’t be hurt with squirtguns. Also, the subject agreement within the entry makes it unclear if there is just one, and it is Goqua, or if they are a race, called goqua; the latter is probably correct but it’s confusing.
Apparently they’ve been manipulating humanity for a long time and some people, probably the Rifts-equivalent of that lizard people guy, think they’ve been behind all human myths of gods and stuff. Anyway they use magic and illusions to pretend to be stuff to try and get people to worship/do murders/give them things. They are also kind of picked on by the other supernatural beings, probably because they look like mole-snails.
ARB: There is the essential point that I look at them and go “It doesn’t look like it could manipulate a knob.” It’s all a part of their fiendish game.
humanity’s secret masters for all of history
Grave Ghouls: The classic ghoul
Bog-standard ghouls again, no rifting. They like to feed on corpses--old corpses--and mostly don’t do much but that. On the scale of supernatural threats, these are pretty minor outside of being gross--they don’t like to be disturbed but they don’t actually hate all life, they just want to eat the dead.
Gremlins from the Kremlin and beyondOriginal SA post
This section of the book made with 40% recycled material
Rifts™ Conversion Book One: Part 16 “Gremlins from the Kremlin and beyond”
They have psi-powers for manipulating machines, they use them for sabotage. So basically that Bugs Bunny cartoon entirely.
All myths about supernatural dogs are actually these, and they are weird shape-changers who like to dress up like dogs. However, like the boschala, they don’t fully understand Earth biology and so sometimes the head is insect-like. Sunlight transforms them into their natural state as invisible energy beings. They attack humans because they are easy prey and apparently invisible energy beings feed on flesh.
These are more invisible energy beings, but instead of shapeshifting into dogs, they possess insects and turn them into six-foot monster-shapes. They feed on human bone marrow, only human, and only marrow. And despite turning their insect hosts gigantic, they are described as extremely elusive, darting to hide in cramped spaces and areas with only one entrance and all that. Honestly if the thing is willing to corner itself, just throw a bug bomb in and wait. It takes half damage from toxins but who cares?
elusive and subtle
These are in VK, and that plus Dark Conversions means plenty of mind-slug for all
Sowki -- the Serpent
These got mentioned in VK but not statted, so it looks like they go here. Apparently their name is pronounced ‘sah-woo-key’, okay. They are not snakes despite their name, being instead scaled humanoids (more...fucking...lizardmen) with a monstrous visage, I’ll just include the art to make it easier. They are not bloodthirsty by nature, but they are aggressive conquerors and see Earth as a place they can totally conquer the shit out of. So they hide among humans with illusion and shape-shifting and weave sinister webs of power or form cults and such. Oh, they’re optional player characters.
they can totally pass for human
The Death Weavers
Come on Rifts, stop using up your material so fast. VK at least had art.
Werewolf & Werebeasts
Optional PCs of course. VK did their special werejaguar culture and gave some of the other stats, so I will skip all of these because they’re just not very interesting. Though they are only vulnerable to silver, so if you play one be prepared for basically constant barrages of tableware.
because you deserve it
Beings who would be GodsOriginal SA post Rifts™ Conversion Book One: Part 17 “Beings who would be Gods”
Because there’s a whole ‘nother book for ‘beings who are actually gods’. This appears to be the Shuma-Gorath section of the book, ancient beings that visited Earth and either try to take it over or uncaringly destroy parts of it because they exist. Basically a description of ‘Lovecraftian’ that never uses that actual term. Also, it has another disclaimer about how magic and the supernatural are not real, violence is wrong, and the terms ‘god’ and ‘demi-god’ aren’t meant to impugn anyone’s actual beliefs. It even includes a quote from a dictionary about what a little-g god is.
These are bodiless entities who are nonetheless attracted to certain elements in Earth’s nature. They don’t usually come to Earth on purpose, people summon them, and they have to make bodies in order to stay in this dimension. Usually they make vaguely-humanoid fire-bodies or whatever, but sometimes they may possess living beings. Earth elementals may use a tree or living plants, while the other elements are “less physical in the first place” may possess a humanoid or animal. I am really not sure what is less physical about the other elements. Persons possessed by elementals lose all memory of events and wake up later as themselves if they survive the experience.
Elementals are naturally immortal, and never fight amongst themselves, so when PCs kill them for being minions of the evil sorcerer they are in fact the true monsters. Warlocks and elementals share an intrinsic, compassionate bond that transcends the complete alien weirdness of hugging a guy made of fire.
Next there’s like a generic elemental statblock which would be fine except they then go and add in individualized statblocks for each type of elemental. I guess the first statblock is just for the energy form, the others are their composite bodies.
you may get a splinter
Minor earth elementals and minor plant elementals get separate writeups; the first is more or less the regulation-issue earth elemental while the plant one is a treant. There’s also an entry for ‘mud mound’ which is impervious to basically everything except magic water and can get your boots dirty. Major elementals are like way way tougher than dragons (3D6x1000 MDC) with regeneration of 1D6x100 every minute and can earthmeld so they can basically mole-ambush people over and over.
Minor air elementals are invisible at will and otherwise appear as a yellow-gray vaporous cloud. They’re not super-tough but immune to all but ‘energy’ attacks, psionics and magic. Major elementals are similarly semi-permeable with a lot of MDC and pretty good damage, also a wind rush attack that does 2D6x10 and has an 88% chance of knocking the opponent down, regardless of size or other factors it seems.
Minor fire elementals are basically like air elementals but take double damage from water attacks. I assume ice would also work for this but that may be asking too much. Major fire elementals actually have slightly less MDC than air, though their attacks are better being all fire-based and able to totally blast people and set them on fire. Though they can only actually set people on fire by tackling them, and then only half the time.
Minor water elementals are basically like the others, take double damage from fire/plasma attacks. These guys are really going to be the weakest of the bunch with that weakness. There’s an ice-monster variant for those polar summoning types. Major elementals have lots of MDC, half-decent attacks, still the problem with fire. Yeesh. Elementals.
Spirits of Light
These are sometimes called angels but they are actually just a sneaky type of elemental that understands humanoid morality and digs on the good guys. They psionically appear to each subject as a white or gold light and whatever the being would perceive as a ‘spirit of light’ type figure. They’re generally good, though outcasts and renegades exist. They also don’t do a lot of direct intervention because lazy? Who knows. If they manifest physically they are at half power, and physically manifested angels are optional PCs.
Cheruu: spirits of air and compassion
Three-foot childlike beings with feathered wings. Shapeshift at will, turn dead, rez people, comprehend languages. Decent MD, eight attacks, not great natural damage but still MD. If you were playing a physically manifested one you would want a gun. They have a few skills all at 98% but of course ‘reduce by half’ takes them below normal starting levels and it specifically notes that this applies.
Seraph: spirits of fire and combat
Appears usually as a tall, thin, male or, more often, female with shining wings and armor and stuff. These guys have slightly better combat stats than the Cheruu but way worse skills. I am evaluating these from both the ‘as monters’ perspective and as PCs, and as PCs these might be okay if they could take an OCC to get some more skills or something.
Ariel: spirits of earth and preservation
Tall, muscular golden-skinned males. Capable of enlarging. These guys get six instead of eight attacks per round but on the other hand they do twice the damage. But halved if you played as a PC. So take a gun. Still they are straight up better than the ‘combat angels’.
Tharsis: spirits of water and vengeance
These are the “avenging angels” but they’re gentle creatures who abhor needless violence. They hunt down and kill demons and bad people, usually with an Ariel along for help, presumably to operate doorknobs. This is because the Tharsis appear as giant bronze seahorses with pearl eyes and no wings. Despite being seahorses, they still have listed punch damage and it is good damage.
Honestly these are kind of boring and sucky angels. They’re ‘better than human’ if you use them as PCs but since they’re an RCC you get shit for skills and can’t take proficiency with modern weaponry. They can change shape, but so can dragon hatchlings, and those guys are super-good at magic. As well, their half-strength ‘physically manifested’ forms are weak enough that a lot of demons would just mop the floor with them individually. No wonder they prefer not to take a direct hand. Also I can see why the Witch class only ever makes pacts with forces of evil, these guys ain’t got nuthin’.
Alien IntelligencesOriginal SA post
Dear SETI, from Rifts: merry christmas
Rifts™ Conversion Book One: Part 18 “Alien Intelligences”
Supernatural Intelligences (already noted as an awful term but still, it’s an awful term) are generally malignant and evil tentacle gods or otherwise completely inhuman awfuls who want to variously gobble up or dominate humanity and other sentient races. They’re both physical and psychic manifestations and thus can divide themselves across multiple dimensions in fragments. This section spends a lot of words explaining how they’re different from astral travelers. There are some intelligences that aren’t actually malicious, just inhuman and lacking understanding, and some who represent love, order, justice and all that though obviously those are a tiny minority. They all feed on PPE and Rifts has a lot of that, and a reasonable number of sentient beings who can also provide it.
It goes on to give a general statblock for generation of supernatural intelligences including their 2D6x10,000 MDC. They tend to have a lot of abilities like seeing invisible, regeneration is basically standard, immunity to poisons and such. Eighty percent of them have that fractional-division thing where they can send their fragments out to other worlds. Then there’s a bunch of individual percentile rolls to see if a given intelligence has a particular ability, including various kinds of possession, shapeshifting, turning people to stone, fire breath/bolts, and various vulnerabilities as well. Apparently you don’t gotta be a vampire intelligence to be vulnerable to wood. Their physical form is meanwhile left entirely up to the GM, though generally random tentacles/limbs/etc.
Not the Sarah Maclachlan song but apparently a section that the writers felt deserved a boldfaced heading. It explains some mechanics for these intelligences to possess things, and says the victim gets to roll a mental block or parry. I imagine this derives in some fashion from the ME stat but almost no classes give much training in that so basically the victim is going to lose.
There are a lot of rules to this; basically only vampire intelligences can possess things in the same physical dimension as themselves, the others are only able to possess things with their fragmented energy bodies. Which, this wasn’t entirely clear before, I thought they were sending fragments of their physical selves as well. But, whichever. It also explains that becoming a vampire is ‘more like a metamorphosis’ versus a standard possession. Okay.
The intelligences can only make two attempts at possession in a 24 hour period, but this doesn’t seem like much of a restriction, especially if they can just up and try to possess whoever they want. Also it’s invisible when it happens and nobody knows but the victim. It also contradicts itself with rule 9 that says it can use all the powers and knowledge of a given body and then rule 12 which says it doesn’t gain access to the victim’s past memories or skills. Also though people rarelyremember what happened while they were possessed, they can still get insanity rolls when it’s over.
The Old Ones
These are a Palladium RPG thing. They’re thought to be extinct. Hell, the text even calls them the Great Old Ones in italics and everything. And Earth scholars supposedly know enough about the Palladium world and its history to wonder if the Time of Chaos there was like Earth is now. Probably . It also says that Palladium is not unlike Earth during the time of the Roman Empire, whatever that is supposed to actually mean. HISTORICALLY ANALOGOUS. It also says that the Old Ones created a bunch of races, including the elves which hey I thought the Lizard Mages created the elves. Somebody is the Edison in this scenario, stealing credit.
“It seems apparent that the Old Ones not only enslaved other beings, but entire planets across the dimensional web of the universe. They did not enslave, they tormented and destroyed.” Awesome editing guys.
Also it refers to a historical text from the Palladium world that says the Old Ones weren’t killed, just put to sleep in a non-euthanasia way, because the energy backlash of killing them would be too destructive. They were way powerfuller than the Splugorth or the vampire intelligences or whatever.
i am not sure what this is supposed to actually represent
They go into all this because it’s a story about another place that got Rift-shafted and how these Old Ones are still a waiting slumbering danger and stuff. Also it goes on to detail a few of them by name, and says that ‘Xy, the Great Old One’ basically screwed up a transformation circle and ended up as Thoth on Earth having totally forgotten his Old One past. We’ll see if that gets retconned, I can’t remember. The others are pretty generic evil evil evil, one is ‘miscreant’ and one ‘anarchist’ alignment so I guess those are the mavericks.
ARB: Thoth definitely keeps his backstory in future books, at least. Siembieda loves to reference the Old Ones even though they have nothing to do with Rifts Earth as far as I’ve seen.
I’m gonna stop there as next we get into things labeled directly as ‘demons’ and it’s a big section and also this stuff about absolute evil is honestly dreary. It’s like Siembieda put on a labcoat and held up something with tweezers and said ‘this is evil’.
The Demon Hoards of HadesOriginal SA post
And on that note of ridiculous--
Rifts™ Conversion Book One: Part 19 “The Demon Hoards of Hades”
So, it is actually spelled ‘hoards’ in the TOC and header in this section, but they got it right within the actual text. Good for them. Sort of. As ever, they tie Rifts stuff into Earth’s history, citing myths of a hellish or at least kind of unpleasant afterlife that existed in many cultures on Earth in ancient history. Always ancient history. That way they can avoid saying the word “Hell” see, and then they won’t get moral panicked on! So anyway the dimension this particular pack of demons comes from is called specifically Hades and the guy that rules it is also Hades. Sometimes I feel like Rifts books are written by a grandad trying to scare the kids straight.
The dimension itself is described as eternal twilight, swirling clouds, mountains, acid rain, you know, the perils of evil places. Gargoyles get mentioned again as an underclass race that has adapted some of the demon culture to become even more savage and cruel and less unified than their free brethren. This is almost interesting, multiple cultures in a species and long-term hell exposure that didn’t end in chaos mutation. If the gargoyles weren’t kind of one-note lizard-klingons either way I’d be more impressed.
Okay, onto specific other denizens.
ARB: I’d just like to point out every demon from here on out has the following abilities: dimensional teleport and bio-regeneration. This means if you want to have a plot where you have to close the portal to keep demons from coming through? Doesn’t work, they can just show up on your couch, in your fridge, or in your toilet while you’re trying to shit like ghoulies oh nooooo-
Moreover, they can teleport out of your dimension, heal up, and pop back in again like ten minutes later to restart the rumble. I never thought I could describe a monster guide as “twinkish”, but here you have it.
Dogmen who look a bit like Wolfen but they actually only have dog heads but not dog legs, though they’re still furred I guess. They like to dwell in the desert of Taut--didn’t we insist that those worms were not demons from this place? Maybe it’s a misnomer. Anyway they’re pretty average critters.
Where would we be without some nice fish demons? Though this one has four tentacles for arms to go with its fish-body, and no legs so it has to kind of drag itself on land. Basically they suck outside of water and their best in-water attack is drowning people, which is less effective with sealed armor suits but don’t tell them that.
little bit like an evil seal with extra flippers innit?
Banshees & Grave Ghouls
Also live in Hades though there is no mention of if they are natives or just wandered in because it seemed pleasant or what. Ghouls get mistreated. Banshees just yell a lot I guess.
These are tiny little razor-sharp insect dudes filled with hate. Their wrath is terrible and yet adorable as any tiny rage-filled thing. Though they can still power-punch you for MDC so watch out. It says specifically that they go for eyes and genitals. They inflict SDC damage when picked up, so wear your nearest Dead Boy gauntlet when handling.
just precious l’il fellers
Mares or Nightmares
So, here we have the standard demon hor--what’s that? They’re not horses but monstrous hags? FALSE ADVERTISING. They like to sneak around and scare people and attack them with psionics while they are sleeping. They are passably tough and like basically everything that isn’t a mundane animal, they can turn invisible. PCs without invisibility detection will rapidly become screwed.
ARB: I guess invisibility is the neener neener alternative. “Oh, it failed to teleport... and it vanishes!”
Head of a hawk, man-torso, bird hands and bird legs and feet. They’re basically like evil frankenhawkman but they don’t carry maces by default and probably aren’t actually space aliens.
Some of the really middle-fingerish villains in this section are in the next part, at the very least Rifts demons are nasty business. Though I'd tend to say not in a meta-balanced way; you'll see.
Greater Demons of HadesOriginal SA post
While we're talking about Glitter Boys, it sounds like time for more Conversions! I'm sad there isn't a Kermit smiley, I'll do
Rifts™ Conversion Book One: Part 20 “Greater Demons of Hades”
Here I guess is that section of the monster manual that twink players glare at and memories, knowing the faces of their ultimate rivals: the lords of hell. Of course in Rifts the Supernatural Intelligences vastly outclass all of these dudes who are not themselves SIs taking on a name from Earth’s history that signifies a connection from a previous time of Rifts blah blah blah anyway on with some demons.
Tall, bronze-skinned humanoids filled with malice and the desire to wreak havoc, immune to fire including MDC fire. Specifically knows the fire whip spell, imagine that. ‘Occasionally wears dragon armor’. The rules for dragon armor are not in this book but I am sure it is as awesome as wearing the skin of any sentient being can be.
You almost don’t need to add ‘demon’ to a locust to make it awful. But these have human heads and scorpion tails. Great, scorpions capable of flight. They’re the biggest, tuffest greater demons and all the other non-lord demons bow down. And there’s a lot of them. Thus why they are locusts.
ARB: Also there are “hundreds of thousands” of these things and each has around 900 M.D.C., 700 P.P.E., can paralyze even mega-damage creatures with their venom, has wizard-class spellcasting (including the ability to cause earthquakes), can turn invisible, and can teleport to any dimension. Why they haven’t crushed all dimensions ever is beyond me. Seriously, you don’t need to summon them, they can just ruin your birthday party whenever they like.
This is only mentioned in the ‘create your own’ Supernatural Intelligence template but the dimensional teleport requires that they already be familiar with a given dimension to teleport to it. But once one of them has learned, time to go home and bring back the boys. Well, I don’t know if D-teleport allows bringing passengers. It’s undefined. But I bet the dude who summoned a demon locust would pretty quickly find himself wanting to summon others ‘or else’.
Gallu -- Demon Bull
Giant ebony-skinned minotaur with a breath of smoke and fire that is specifically noted as just a visual effect. They often lead small forces of gargoyles, alu, or the like. In Rifts of course they like to put on clothes--MDC clothes.
Jinn -- Elemental Demon
Jinn are powerful free spirits within the Hades hierarchy. They just run around causing trouble more or less wherever they can.They’re impervious to everything but magic and silver. Wait, wait, I thought Jinn were mythically vulnerable to brass? Not everything is a werewolf, Mr. Siembieda.
ARB: Pretty much a lot of Rifts demons seem to be vulnerable to silver as a rule. It’s never really explained or made a thing of, they just are.
Anyway the whole species is under a curse that anybody can capture them or provide them with vital aid is their master until they have granted three wishes. If the owner of the jinn dies, it is set free to nettle the next passer-by. Wishes must be made using the actual word “wish” somewhere in the sentence. They can’t actually produce stuff from thin air, but they’ll use their power and cunning to take stuff or otherwise produce the requested results, all without explaining this to the wisher.
The jinn have some elemental characteristics but they use the same stat block. Also, they lose half of their powers during the daytime. They’re pretty tuff demons, and they know magic respective to their element plus they have some psionics.
Their entry also ends with a weird editing error. “...magic swords, vibro-blades, and energy rifles. The symbols of lust and decadence” and that’s it. I am not sure what they wanted to say there, but I am pretty sure we didn’t miss out on much.
Giant maws set upon three thick legs, with huge, wide teeth and three eyes on stalks. Not demon fly larva at all. They are the minions of Mictla the Devourer. And they’re ugly and they can petrify enemies. Their petrification is temporary, but temporary as in ‘minutes’ and they can attempt it eight times a round . These things are kind of a walking TPK.
ARB: Note that these guys originally showed up in a Palladium Fantasy RPG adventure. Imagine having to face one of these things without a boom gun.
two legs good! three legs scary! also probably a couple demon locusts in the background
The night owl has the body and wings of a giant owl with an ugly human head. They like to lurk up on high branches and hunt in solitude, though sometimes they ally themselves with evil sorcerers to try and corrupt them into more evil. They like shiny things.
they like to stare unnervingly at people i guess
You may have heard of this one previously, enough so that Google Docs doesn’t even think it’s a spelling error. Basically shape-shifting demon manipulators, out for power and evil. They specifically have a shapeshifting mimickry skill listed that goes into how exactly they can change into someone’s form depending on what material they have to work with. Strangely enough Changelings can just shift their shape to imitate people without even having to roll. These guys are obviously amateurs.
ARB: This game seems to love assigning random percentages to certain supernatural abilities. It doesn’t really say what type of action they take or what happens when they fail - does the Rakshasa forget to hide his tail? Does a dragon teleport to the wrong place, or no place at all?
I just imagine a dragon trying to teleport and repeatedly failing until he sounds like an angry guy trying to start a busted lawnmower. “Wha... come on, oh, fuck, oh come on. Fuuuck! Come on! Stupid teleportation! Work! Fuck!”
The Four Demon Beetles
These are beetles, they are demonic, there are four of them. They all have something referred to as a ‘transformation attack’. These attacks apparently mutate the victim unless a save vs magic of 15 or higher is made. Their names and individual descriptions are as follows:
Phoe, the fire beetle: Biting someone (even on armor) turns the character into a strange fire demon which will run off and start burning stuff in its path, original personality suppressed. It will wear off in 1D4 hours.
Kmm, the stone beetle: Shoots a yellow beam from its eyes that petrifies enemies. Permanent, unless Stone to Flesh is used.
Ti, the beetle of fear: Emits an eerie sparkling flash of light that instills numbing fear that leaves victims paralyzed and sobbing for 3D4 melees and has a 40% chance of causing a permanent phobia of beetles.
Dra of the green mold: Bite creates a green mold that will cover the victim in 1D6 melees. The mold is permanent and can only be removed by remove curse. It causes 05 to strike, parry and dodge, and does 1D4 hit points every day as the mold feeds on the victim. Healing them will slow the process but the mold keeps feeding.
So yeah these are kinda nasty and at least unique and differentiated from each other. I actually kind of like them, they’re not super-tough (190 MDC) and their powers are sketchy but a decent party could put them down with minimal moldy arson. They’re a lot more distinct than any supernatural intelligence or ‘old one’ we’ve had to deal with. Also the beetles are immortal, and will restore themselves even from dust. If the dust is gathered into jars and soaked in holy water, the can be held in limbo for a while.
ARB: They are pretty neat, I’ll second that. They’re not overwhelming but present unique threats.
Succor-Bemoth, a lord of Hades
A huge, thin, almost-skeletal man with pale gray skin and large, sad eyes. He is the symbol of jealousy, despair, and disease. 55% but no more or less he will have 1D4 banshees following him around, expecting death to come shortly. It says all that and nothing else, nothing about what he tends to do or why, or any agenda--I guess he just kind of wanders around causing sickness or whatever.
ARB: I present the totality of Siembiedian villain motivations:
Belphegor of the Sulfur Pits, a lord of Hades
Belphegor has a huge gaping mouth and a repulsive odor that can be smelled at 4000 feet away, good thing your armor is environmentally sealed. It likes to torture, engage in hand to hand combat and rip living creatures apart. It’s the symbol of lust, ignorance, sloth. Okay.
Tougher than Succor-Bemoth though still in the realm where it could be fought by a well-equipped group.
Abrasax the Insatiable, a lord of Hades
Abrasax has the head of a cock, clawed hands, shedim-like (can’t we just say ‘hawk-like’) feet, a huge potbelly, and a knotted tail. He is antsy and fidgety and constantly restlessly seeking evil to do. He has a 66% chance of going berserk in combat. Symbolizes gluttony, anxiety, cruelty.
Those were kinda random, I mean individually they’re okay demon lords I guess but their assigned sins seem to just have been slapped on there. Better to just give them a geographic area of Hades or just say they’re ‘a lord’ and let others decide of what. Abrasax is noted as being lord of the Shedim at least.
Modeus, THE Lord of Hades
That’s double-bolded because Rifts did it first. This intelligence calls itself Modeus as an attempt to dodge fire for using the actual term ‘Asmodeus’ or something but also SIs are always from somewhere else, pretending to be whatever works locally to let them run things. He generally appears as a red-headed man when dealing with humanoids. He’s just gotten lazy after centuries of dominating Hades. 90K MDC, vulnerable to sunlight and daytime, which are in short supply in Hades I imagine. I suppose this is one of those places where ley line walkers would feel clever opening a portal to Earth’s orbit in order to defeat Wheatley.
Mictla the Devourer
Mictla is like the ex-ruler of Hades, I guess he got recall-diselected. He now rules 1/3rd of Hades and serves as a general and stuff, and in a weird stroke of what the hell, is content with his reduced position and serving Modeus. He was of course the Aztec god of the dead and his tongue acts like a carpet of adhesion.
Only 12,000 MDC, that’s pikerville for one of the capital-I intelligences, but then this guy’s been on the outs for a while. Vulnerable to silver, the usual range of extremely pesky powers and abilities. 13 attacks per melee which is unusually high, and on an 18, 19, or 20 you get thrown into its mouth.
ARB: The vulnerability to silver is farcical because it does less damage than the usual armaments PCs will be packing. Probably a holdover from the Palladium Fantasy RPG.
Greater Demons of Hades (2)Original SA post
Parental rights groups will never catch on!
Here is our final installment, no more conversions!
Rifts™ Conversion Book One: Part 21 “Greater Demons of Hades”
Another Horde of Demons
Noooooooo what did I do? You only have three pages left, Conversions, focus! Sigh. Yet more attempts to avoid saying devil words directly, welcome to the world of Dyval.
Infamous tempters and betrayers, they’re basically satyrs if satyrs looked ready to fucking murder your dog. They try to trick and entice people when they can.
Hey! They said the D-word, call the x-tian police! These...also look like some depictions of satyrs, though they are listed as ‘resembling the Greek god Pan’ which can vary a lot depending on depiction, but is a little more human and less horny, ultimately. They turn into human shapes to lure humans into danger like goaty will-o-wisps.
Fenry -- Demon Wolf
In direct contradiction to where the Hell Hounds claimed to be all supernatural dogs ever, these are some other supernatural dogs. Big black wolves with glowing eyes. They are also apparently potent wizards and they like to eat people. I just have to say that ‘Fenry’ sounds like the title of a Norse childrens’ book.
Another supernatural predator that feeds on PPE. Basically shadows with glowing eyes, sometimes they wear robes and use knives.
“Virtually identical to the Fiend, except more powerful.” End of entry.
Classic medusa, snakehair and everything. They have petrification though it’s a passive--either you take -6 to strike for not looking, or you save vs magic every round I guess. They can restore those they petrify but are not usually inclined to do so.
Mephisto the Deceiver
Blah blah more intelligences. 40 foot mound of flesh with ten tentacles and twenty eyes. Though of course it changes its shape and possesses whatever the dominant sapient life of an area is. Also not real strong as intelligences go, though can teleport self at will up to 600 miles away so ‘neener neener’. Vulnerable to iron for some reason.
ARB: Not to be mistaken for the guy that wrecked Spider-Man’s home.
And lest we get distracted in our purpose, the book closes with a lizardman.
A lot of the monsters seem kinda bland with a whole lot of ‘loves to torture/kill/eat humans’. I mean I expect that a lot of things in a monster manual would be opposed to human life but somehow this evil is all very banal, plus the ‘supernatural intelligences’ thing which is not even close to being driven as hard into the ground as Rifts is capable of. Basically any evil plot will always have an SI at its core, you will have to figure out a way to plink off 100,000 MDC to ‘win’ the campaign unless of course it just teleports away to bother you later.
ARB: Dimensionally teleport, even. You thought you beat Mephisto by inflicting 11,000 M.D.C.? Nah, he just vanished away to the Land of Dairy Queen. He’s licking his fudge-covered wounds and laughing while half your party is dead. Six hours later he has full M.D.C. and is bursting out of your toilet while you’re out of your armor and turning you into meat-flavored toothpaste.
So, fuck demons.
It’s true, the dimensional teleport thing really is just extremely neenery. I can accept that a supernatural big bad would probably have an escape route, but there is no in-game mechanical way to block the d-teleport after the PCs catch onto this trick. So that is pretty ass.
In general the Conversion book was an early efforts in the Rifts line and it shows. Though all of Palladium’s other games theoretically used the same system, little differences exist between them and mashing them all into Rifts was messy and required rectifying stuff like how Acrobatics was different between lines. This is also one of the last times that anything anywhere will have SDC. Basically they sort of tacitly admitted that was a terrible mistake and just sort of pretended SDC didn’t exist in the future. Sigh.