RIFTs frustrates the living hell out of me as a gamer. We struggled with the Palladium system even when we were tweens and teens with whole days to spend gaming. It makes little to no sense, Megadamage is an irritating bodge and the whole thing hangs together purely on goodwill and tenacity. I’d go so far as to say Palladium games are some of the only ones that would have actually benefited from conversion to d20 and its odd that it wasn’t. That so many people hobble on with a crippled game system is one of the great mysteries of roleplaying.
Still, the hodgepodge kitchen-sink background is cool, very cool, and it has a great look, feel and post-apocalyptic chic. So what the hell else would work?
A while back I wrote a FATE setting book for Pacific Rim, which apart from playtesting I’d never actually played. This last IndieCon I actually got to play it with a group and it worked very well indeed. Players of different power levels were not left out as they could create tags, observe and otherwise contribute and size differences weren’t too much of an issue either. FATE scales pretty well.
There’s various necessaries you need to consider in doing a conversion though.
The scale rules introduced in the FATE system toolkit are gratifyingly similar to the ones I came up with for Pacific Rim, but a little different. I prefer mine, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
I would suggest:
-1 Little Person
3 Transport Aircraft
5 Aircraft Carrier
The scale of a thing adds to – or takes away – from its Physical Stress (down to a minimum of 1 and thereafter reduces the effectiveness of consequences by -1 each, starting with Severe and working down).
Scale difference provides armour, if its positive.
Weapons and armour should scale from 1-5 (given superweapons) rather than the usual 1-3.
A pixie is scale -3. Physical Stress starts at 2, but is reduced by 1 to 1, the remaining -2 are taken off Severe and then Moderate, reducing their effectiveness to 5 and 3.
A person is firing an assault rifle against a car. A car is scale 1 and so gets 1 extra armour and starts with 3 stress, on top of any other bonuses it has.
Mega-damage is a huge pain in the arse, but scale provides a means to make it more sane. Against human scale targets and soft targets mega-damage weapons overpenetrate and are less effective. Megadamage weapons at larger scale already have the scaling bonuses and so don’t need to be worried about. Where megadamage can be worked in would be to have weapons that ignore the armour of larger scale, so that a laser pistol – for example – can be effective against a giant robot without blasting away whole villages when you miss in personal combat.
The various special abilities of the classes can be replaced by Stunts, free Aspects and in various other ways, taking away from the refresh pool of FATE points as needed.
Given RIFTs concentration on combat, breaking down Shoot into Pistol/Rifle/Heavy and Fight into Melee/Hand to Hand makes good sense.
The standard 3-5 stunts and 3/2/1 refresh works, in RIFTs more may be needed, allowing 6 stunts for zero Refresh.
A Combat Cyborg character is a pretty damn monstrous combat character.
Stunt: Full Cybernetic Conversion
MI-B2 Armour Shell: +4 Armour – Negative aspect ‘Clanking’. (This is a bolt-on shell, naked cyborgs have +1 Armour and lose the ‘clanking’).
+2 Physical Stress.
Stunt: Bionic Features I
Pick an extra two Aspects related to your cybernetic implants.
Stunt: Bionic Features II
Pick another extra two Aspects related to your cybernetic implants.
Stunt: Augmented Strength
You get a free +2 bonus to any rolls involving raw, physical strength.
Cyborgs start with three weapons, each with four clips, as well as the basic starting gear from the main rulebook.
LE-B1 Light Espionage Armour: +2 Armour, Stealthy.
LI-B1 Light Infantry Armour: +3 Armour.
MI-B2 Medium Infantry Armour: +4 Armour, Clanking.
HI-B3 Heavy Infantry Armour: +5 Armour, Clanking, Heavy.