Rifts®: Megaversal Highway™
Character Creation Guidelines
Step One: Determine Character Archetype (Concept/Premise)
Step Two: Select Race or R.C.C.
Step Three: Roll Attributes
Step Four: Character Background
Step Five: Choose O.C.C. and skills
Step Six: Hit Points and S.D.C. or M.D.C.
Step Seven: Determine Psionics/Magical Abilities
Step Eight: Alignments
Step Nine: Equipment & Money
Step Ten: Experience Points
Download: Character Creation Template
STEP ONE: Determine Character Archetype (Concept/Premise)
The first part of making a character for Rifts is coming up with a premise or a concept that will be the foundation of the character. What will their role be in the story and to a lesser extent, the troop? Is your character a devil-may-care playboy, a wandering mercenary, or some fantastic creature of magic such as a childlike Hatchling Dragon or Sphinx that is fond of riddles?
Not only does starting with a solid concept in mind make character creation faster, but it helps me as a Game Master know the type of character you want to play and what YOU want out of the game. If you are struggling or want a complete list of Character Archetypes, see page 57 of the Rifts®: Adventure Guide.
STEP TWO: Select Race or R.C.C.
Now that you have a concept in mind its time to start bringing that to life and start considering things like, are you a human or could your concept be more easily achieved by being a D-Bee or some sort of heroic monster?
Some characters (such as Hatchling Dragons) will be able to choose an O.C.C. while others cannot and may only progress as a Racial Character Class (or R.C.C.). Of course, not every race or R.C.C. is going to be acceptable for every game. Characters that are not recommended for use as player characters such as Adult Dragons, Lizard Mages, and Demon-Dragon Mages will be accepted upon application. Neither will “invincible” superhumans designed by exploiting rules from Heroes Unlimited™ or other munchkin-type characters.
STEP THREE: Roll Attributes
Next, you must generate the 8 attributes, Each of these mental and physical attributes defines a character’s strength, weaknesses and natural abilities. They will also help determine a character’s O.C.C. and skill selection.
Description of the Attributes
This simply indicates the intelligence of the character. The attributeBonus chart indicates the bonus percentage added to all the skills selected by the character, including, O.C.C. Skills and Special O.C.C. Abilities, Related Skills and Secondary Skills. This is a one-time only situation, applied only once per skill.
This is the character’s willpower. It indicates how much mental and emotional stress the character can withstand. The attribute bonus chart indicates the bonus added to saving throws against psychic attacks and insanity.
This is the character’s personal magnetism / charisma. A high M.A. is the sign of natural leader. The Attribute Bonus Chart gives a bonus for strength of personality that increases the probability of the character can invoke trust or intimidation others. I use the article Trust & Intimidate: A Way of Life to determine the range and influence of Mental Affinity.
Is just that, the raw physical power of the individual. This ability influences how much damage a character inflicts and how much they can lift or carry. There are a number of different strength types in Rifts® (Augmented, Robotic, and Supernatural).
Shows the degree of dexterity and agility that the character possesses. The Attribute Bonus chart reflects the character’s exceptional quickness and agility, providing bonuses to strike, parry, and dodge.
This is the strength of the character’s constitution and the amount of physical punishment the person can withstand. It also represents the amount of resistance to fatigue and disease the character has. The Attribute Bonus Chart indicates just how much physical punishment the character can take providing bonuses to coma/death, and bonuses to saves vs. poison.
Indicates the character’s incredible physical; beauty/appearance. The Attribute Bonus Chart indicates just how much of a chance a character is charmed by the sheer attractiveness/he possesses. I use the article Charm & Impress: The Key to Success to determine the range and influence of Physical Beauty.
This applies to the character’s ability to run the mile. Speed does not apply to the use of weapons, tools or number of yards per minutes a character can run. The Attribute Bonus Chart does not give a bonus for Spd., instead it is a value used to determine just how fast a character can move immediately before or after an action (pick one).
Attributes are determined by the roll of 6-sided dice. The number of dice rolled is different from race to race to reflect racial and anatomical differences. For example, Humans have a constant physical make-up/aptitude in each attribute, so three 3D6 are used for each attribute. However, If a race where to be powerful creatures possessing a greater physical strength but less intelligence, the amount of six sided dice rolled for I.Q. could be 2D6 and the amount for P.S. could be 4D6.
The particular race a player selects is very important, as it will determine one’s attribute rolls (and possibly the characters O.C.C. and skill selection.). Be certain to review the racial descriptions and attribute bonus chart before making your attribute rolls.
The numbers rolled on the six sided dice determine the character’s attributes. The higher the number,the greater the ability. Generally, a roll of 2-7 is considered low, 8-10 is considered average, 11-15 high and 16 or greater is exceptional. Exceptionally high rolls provide the character with special bonuses or conditions/abilities in conjunction with that attribute.
If a character rolls 1D6 and the total is 6, roll an additional six sided dice and add it to the total.
If a character rolls 2D6 and the total is 11 or higher, roll an additional six sided dice and add it to the total.
If a character rolls 3D6 and the total is 16 or higher, roll an additional six sided dice and add it to the total.
If the character rolls 4D6 and the total is 21 or higher,roll an additional six sided dice and add that to the total.
If a character rolls 5D6 and the total is 26 or higher, roll an additional six sided dice and add it to the total.
If a characters rolls any number of dice with a static attribute bonus, roll for exceptional attributes.
In addition, Many of the physical skills a player can select for his character offer additional attribute bonuses. For example, wrestling offers a + 2 to P.S. and P.E., so if the player has already rolled a total of 16 for P.S. he adds another two for a total P.S. of 18. If his P.E. roll was 8, he adds two for a total of 10. All physical skill bonuses are cumulative, a player can enhance and adjust the physical power of his character through the careful selection of physical skills.
Some Occupational Character Classes also offer attribute bonuses, or may offer other bonuses on skill performance or on initiative, saving throws and others. All of these are added to the character’s overall abilities. Magic spells and enchanted items may also provide special bonuses, but these are temporary and fade with the magic.
Low attributes are okay.
Don’t be dismayed if your character has a few high attributes and a few low ones. Remember, this is role-playing, go with the flow and play your character with both his strengths and weaknesses. This is realistic and fun. Its realistic, because nobody is perfect; just because a character is incredibly strong, it doesn’t mean he or she has to be brilliant too. Flawed characters are fun to play. Honestly, a character with strengths and weaknesses makes for a much more interesting and fun character to play.
What’s a low attribute?
Using humans as our scale, an attribute of 3-5 is the bottom of the barrel. Such a low I.Q. means a feeble or downright stupid character; although a low I.Q. does not necessarily mean a babbling idiot or character without any common sense. On the other hand, an I.Q. of 1 or 2 would represent a total dunce, or perhaps somebody who might be considered mentally retarded. A P.S. (physical strength) of 3-5 means a weakling, and so on. Note: Only humans are awarded for having low attributes.
A character with an attribute of 6, 7, or 8 is a bit below average (the lower the number, the farther below average), so a character with a P.S. (physical strength) of 7 would be considered puny; an I.Q. of 7 indicates somebody who’s not a brain surgeon but not slow witted. A physical beauty (P.B.) of 9 or 10 is average (nice looking but nothing special), 7 or 8 is plain, 5 or 6 is homely, a 3 or 4 ugly or extremely plain, and anything lower is almost horrifying and the realm of disfigurements and burn victims.
What’s an average attribute?
8-10 are average. This character is roughly as smart, clever, strong, fast, or handsome as the next guy. Any attribute higher than 10 is above average; 11-14 is a bit above average, 15-19 is impressively above average, 20 or higher is exceptional. A character who has a physical beauty (P.B.) of 11-14 is good looking, 15-19 very good looking/beautiful, but 20 or higher is a knockout!
STEP FOUR: Character Background
Most Players like to have as much detail and background on their characters as possible and I whole-heatedly encourage this. However, if you’re looking for a guideline there are a number of Background Tables provide throughout various Palladium Products that can be used to determine information concerning the character’s upbringing, childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood. They also provide information on the characters height, weight, vision, sense of hearing and smell, social status, financial situation and personality traits. Of course, these will not be applicable to every race or R.C.C. and a certain level of common sense is required.
STEP FIVE: Choose O.C.C. and assign Skills
An Occupational Character Class (O.C.C.) is more than a simple class distinction; it is an entire way of life. A player’s character is devoted to developing the skills and knowledge of his/her trade. As mentioned earlier, some characters will be incapable of learning an O.C.C. either because of learning limitations imposed by their R.C.C. or the time and energy it takes to master their own inherent abilities.
After the player’s have determined their character’s physical and mental attributes, and their background they will want to select an O.C.C. that will best utilize their greatest attributes and best matches their concept. Each O.C.C.requires a physical or mental aptitude in a particular area or areas.
Each O.C.C. will require a minimum physical and/or mental attribute rating. These will be listed in each O.C.C. description.
Each O.C.C. is provided with several specific O.C.C. Skills and a variety of Related Skills that apply directly to their profession and the kinds of situations that they are likely to encounter, and a number of Secondary Skills that typically reflect personal interests, hobbies, or skills developed during the character’s “downtime”. Although many of the skills may overlap into other O.C.C.s, each skill has some practical application for that particular O.C.C.
STEP SIX: Hit Points & S.D.C. or M.D.C.
Hit Points: Hit points might best be thought of as life points because they indicate how much physical damage (cuts, bruises, etc.) the character can withstand before he/she dies. These are the points that are observed during a battle (or melee) to determine how much damage is inflicted on one’s opponent. Each time a character is struck by a weapon he takes physical damage. The individual players keep score of how many hit points their character has by subtracting the damage from his/her character’s hit points each time that character is hit by a weapon. Likewise, the Game Master keeps score of how much damage the player inflicts upon his opponent. When a character has zero hit points, he is in a coma and will soon die unless he or she receives extensive medical aid.
Determining Hit Points: Now that you have some idea of what hit points are about, let us get into the technical aspects of their determination and use.
1. Base Hit Points: Having rolled up your 11 attributes, you will recall that one is physical endurance (P.E.). The physical endurance score indicates a character’s base/starting amount of hit points. This number means that he can lose that many hit points before dying. For example, if the character has a P.E. of 11, he starts with 11 hit points.Some players will have a character with a lot of hit points; don’t get too cocky, a deadly spell or even a knife can whittle you down to size in one melee round and a supernatural monster might chop a character down with a few punches. Others will find themselves with a character who has only a handful of hit points (as little as 3). Don’t despair or feel cheated, you’ll just have to use cleverness and cunning in avoiding direct confrontations until you’ve built up your hit points or acquire some body armor. When a character reaches a negative number of Hit Points equal to the character’s P.E., the character is dead and for the most part beyond saving. (Note:* It is always important to calculate your Hit Points (even if you are a Mega-Damage creature) just in case you end up on a low magic/S.D.C. world.*
2. Building Hit Points: After determining the character’s Base Hit Points, a roll of 1D6 is made and added to the character’s Base Hit Points. As your character grows in knowledge and experience, he/she will gain more skill and expertise in his chosen profession. At the same time, he will also mature physically, increasing his hit points. Thus, each time a character attains his/her Hit Points or Natural M.D.C. grows by 1D6 per level of experience, unless otherwise noted.
3. Base S.D.C.: Unless otherwise stated, all characters start with 2D6+12 S.D.C. as their base and this base can be increased further through the selection of certain physical skills, such as boxing, body building, general athletics, etc. In this way, a player can literally build and toughen a character as much as he or she desires. Some non-human races and O.C.C.s also get special S.D.C. bonuses. All S.D.C. points/bonuses are cumulative. Note: It is always important to calculate your S.D.C. (even if you are a Mega-Damage creature) just in case you end up on a low magic/S.D.C. world.
4. Base M.D.C. (if any): Some creatures will be natural Mega-Damage beings, this allows them to shrug off attacks from most conventional firearms like they were pea shooters. Roll your designated M.D.C. to determine the total, unless otherwise stated M.D.C. increases at a rate of 1D6 points per level of experience. Mega-Damage beings ONLY remain so on Mega-Damage worlds, thus it is always important to calculate S.D.C. and Hit Points just inc case. The bonus S.D.C. provided by skills does increase a character’s M.D.C. base.
When a character is injured or hurt, the damage is first subtracted from his or her S.D.C. points. S.D.C. damage is painful, but not deadly. It is only after ALL S.D.C. has been depleted that damage is subtracted from hit points. Only the rare special attack from magic, psionics or poison can bypass S.D.C. and strike at hit points directly. Hit point damage is serious, and potentially life threatening.
Recovery of Hit Points & S.D.C. or Natural M.D.C.: After a battle, characters who have sustained physical damage must tend to their wounds. The attending of wounds can be administered by fellow characters, trained medical personnel or by oneself, if the character has the first aid skill and is not physically impaired.
First aid-type treatment includes basic and immediate medical applications and methods such as the cleaning and bandaging of wounds, stopping bleeding, the use of antiseptic herbs, and so on. This is fine for minor wounds, but serious injury, like internal bleeding and broken bones, will require professional treatment from some sort of healer or magic. Note: Unless a character stops the bleeding of cuts and stab wounds, he will continue to lose blood and suffer damage at the rate of one hit point per minute. When all hit points are reduced to zero, the character falls into a coma and hovers near death.
Recovery: Non-professional treatment. This is basic, first aid treatment or well intentioned help from non-medically trained people. This type of treatment may be used if the character is not able to seek professional help. It is not necessarily inferior treatment, especially for minor injuries or ailments, but just lacks the full facilities and experience of a trained healer. Two hit points per day (24 hours) plus four S.D.C. points per day.
Recovery: Professional treatment. This is medical treatment from a surgeon, holistic doctor, healer, psychic, priest with medical/healing skills or powers, and magic. Two hit points per day for the first two days, and four hit points per day for each following day, until the character has regained all his/her original hit points. S.D.C. points are restored at a rate of six per day.
Magic potions, spells, enchanted items and supernatural beings can often magically heal the injured with a mere touch. Such mystic healing is immediate – closing wounds, stopping bleeding, healing injury and mending bones so completely that there may be little or no evidence that the person was ever injured (no scars, no stiffness, or discomfort, etc.). A character can be magically healed up to his maximum number of hit points; never more than he or she started out with.
Surviving Coma & Death
When a character’s hit points are reduced to zero (or less), they collapse, lapsing into a coma. This character is near death and will die in a matter of hours unless they receive immediate medical treatment. How much damage below zero a character can undergo is indicated by the physical endurance (P.E.) attribute. A character can take one point of damage below zero (negative 1, -2, -3, etc.) for each P.E. attribute point. A character with a P.E. of 9 will lapse into a coma at zero hit points, but still lives up to a negative 9. However, if the character receives more damage (which is very possible) than the P.E. number, he is dead. Thus, if a character with a P .E. of 9 takes 10 points of damage (or more) below zero, exceeding his P.E., he is beyond medical help and dies.
Magic & Resurrection: In a magical world, a character can die and still have a chance (probably a very slim one) of being restored to full health! This is possible through the intervention of the gods, magic fountains and devices, and powerful magic spells. However, such superhuman feats should not be common and are likely to have a great price attached to it (a quest from a god, and so on). Furthermore, a character who has died is likely to suffer from trauma and insanity; roll percentile dice. 1-50 means no trauma, 51-70 roll on the Random Insanity Table resulting from trauma, 71-85 roll on the Optional Random Insanity Table (roll again as directed by the table), 86-00 roll on the Phobia Table or the G .M. selects an appropriate phobia relating to the events of the death.
Coma Length: The length of time a character in a coma will survive without treatment is again indicated by the P.E.: one hour for each P.E. point. P.E. 9 = 9 hours, P.E. 10 = 10 hours, and so on.
Recovery From a Coma
Whether or not a character survives the coma and is stabilized (at least brought back to one hit point above zero) is determined by the roll of percentile dice. If the player rolls two successful recovery rolls out of three tries, the character breaks out of the coma and is no longer in danger of dying. This also means that he is brought up to one hit point above zero. Recovery of hit points from that time on is standard; see Recovery of Hit Points. Note: This can be attempted every hour.
Recovery Ratio (roll 2 out of 3)
Treatment from non-professional character who has no medical skills whatsoever: 1-20%
Treatment from a character who has the first aid skill: 1-40%
Treatment by a professional surgeon or holistic doctor: 1-65%
Treatment from a healer or priest with psionic or magic power to heal: 1-75%
Treatment from a god or other supernatural being: 1-88%; may be increased to 100% depending on the power of the creature and/or the type of magic used.
STEP SEVEN: Psionic/Magical Abilities
It is possible for the characters to possess Psionic and Magical Abilities. These could be minor psi-powers or fantastic spells. The quantity, potency, and variety of these abilities (if any) will be mentioned in your Race/R.C.C. or your O.C.C., record them now.
STEP NINE: Equipment & Money
All characters are given a basic list of standard equipment typical for that O.C.C., likewise, each character has a certain amount of money in the form of gold and/or saleable items or artifacts. This means that the character starts out with the basics and some cash. Poor but far from destitute. Additional money and items may be gotten from the character’s background generation.
STEP TEN: Experience & Progression
Except in specially devised tournaments and scenarios, there are no actual winners in a role play game. Character perform heroic deeds, and accumulate wealth and equipment and experience.
Character Creation Template
Level of Experience:
Attacks/Actions per Melee:
Resistance/Saving Throw Bonuses:
Special O.C.C. Abilities
O.C.C. Related Skills:
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