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  • Discussing RIFTS races

    Disclimer: This thread is for discussing the various abilities of the races in RIFTS and ruminating on hypothetical adjustments to them. No proposal to actually change anything is being made. Please do not lock the thread. Thank you.
    ______________________

    So, there's been some scattered discussion about humans being mechanically inferior to other races in the setting, so I decided to look into this. Let's begin with a breakdown of their ability lists. These evaluations use Adventure Edition standards.

    Human
    Adaptable: one Novice Edge (+2)
    TOTAL +2

    Altara
    Attractive: free Edge (+2)
    Bad Reputation: conditional social penalty (–1)
    Blind: as the Hindrance (but without the free Edge) and a "radar" sense that nullifies most of the actual drawbacks (–1)
    Genetic Engineering: three attribute bumps (+6)
    Instilled Ignorance: one less Core Skill and a –2 to Common Knowledge (–3)
    Storm-fouled Senses: conditional –2 to four skills. Mechanically a –4 ability, but on the whole it's probably less. (–2)
    Superior Senses: free Edge (+2)
    Wanted: Minor Hindrance (–1)
    TOTAL +2

    D'norr
    Distinctive D-Bee: conditional social penalty (–1)
    Intelligent and Spiritual: two attribute bumps (+4)
    Natural Arcane Affinity: equivalent of Power Points Edge (+2)
    Personable: +1 Persuasion (+1)
    Restricted Path: no psionics or ISP (–1)
    Sensitive: penalty to Fear checks (–1)
    TOTAL +4

    Dog Boy
    Breed Advantage: varies (+1 to +2)
    Keen Sense of Smell: conditional +2 to two skills (+2)
    Natural Weapons: Bite d6 (+2)
    Outsider: Minor Hindrance (–1)
    Psychic Sense: one inherent power (+1)
    Restricted Path: no magic or PPE (–1)
    Wanted: Minor Hindrance (–1)
    Weakness: ley lines (–1)
    TOTAL +2 to +3

    Fennodi
    Distinctive D-Bee: conditional social penalty (–1)
    Infravision: sight enhancement (+1)
    Issues With Cold: environmental weakness (–1)
    Natural Psionics: free Arcane Background Edge (but with fixed powers) and a free New Powers Edge if a psionic IF is taken (+4)
    Visual Acuity: conditional +2 to Notice (+1)
    TOTAL +4

    Grackle Tooth
    Cyber Resistant: no cybernetics or cyber IFs (–2)
    Distinctive D-Bee: conditional social penalty (–1)
    Issue With Cold: environmental weaknes (–1)
    "Just How I Was Raised": one Major Hindrance (–2)
    Natural Weapons: Bite d6, Claws d6, Tail d6; mechanically a +7, but effectively probably less (+4)
    Powerful: three attribute bumps (+6)
    Prehensile Tail: Additional Action (+3)
    Restricted Path: no magic or psionics; no PPE or ISP (–2)
    "Stuff Ain't Built For Me": the Big ability tailored for the setting (–2)
    Size +2: +2 Toughness (+2)
    TOTAL +5

    Lyn-Srial
    Cyber Resistant: no cybernetics or cyber IFs (–2)
    Distinctive D-Bee: conditional social penalty (–1)
    Flight 12": winged fly speed (+4)
    Four Arms: Additional Action (+3)
    Hunted By Coalition: Major Hindrance (–2)
    Inherent Nature: Minor Hindrance and synergistic affinity for good (–1)
    Low Light Vision: sight enhancement (+1)
    Non-standard Physiology: the Big ability tailored for the setting (–2)
    Poor Gound Speed: lower Pace (–1)
    Regeneration: daily natural healing with some Permanent Injury mitigation (+3)
    Strong: one attribute bump (+2)
    TOTAL +4

    Psi-Stalker
    Ambidexterity: free Edge (+2)
    Animal Empathy: half the benefit of Beast Master and Riding d6 (+3)
    Fast: Pace increase (+1)
    Outsider: Minor Hindrance (–1)
    Psychic Sense: one inherent power (+1)
    Psychic Vampire: Dependancy (–1)
    Racial Enemy: social penalty with one race (–1)
    Restricted Path: no magic or PPE (–1)
    TOTAL +3

    Quick Flex
    Agile: two attribute bumps (+4)
    Ambidexterity: free Edge (+2)
    Distinctive D-Bee: conditional social penalty (–1)
    Elusive: +1 Parry (+1)
    Fast: Pace increase (+1)
    Restricted Path: no psionics or ISP (–1)
    Short Attention Span: –1 to Smarts rolls (–2)
    Supreme Confidence: Major Hindrance (–2)
    TOTAL +2

    Simvan
    Animal Empathy: Beast Master Edge and Riding d6 (+4)
    Apex Predator: Major Hindrance (–2)
    Distinctive D-Bee: conditional social penalty (–1)
    Instincts Over Intellect: –1 to Smarts rolls (–2)
    Low Light Vision: sight enhancement (+1)
    Monstrous Beast Affinity: PP reduction on a single power and expanded utility for Beast Master (+2)
    Natural Psionics: free Arcane Background Edge (but with one fixed power) and equivalent of Power Points Edge. Plus, one bonus power if a psionic IF is taken (+4)
    Racial Enemy: social penalty with one race (–1)
    TOTAL +5

    Trimadore
    Distinctive D-Bee: conditional social penalty (–1)
    Long Arms: Reach 1 (+1)
    Mechanical Savant: free Edge (+2)
    Non-standard Physiology: the Big ability tailored for the setting (–2)
    Technically Savvy: two skills start at d6 (+4)
    TOTAL +4
    _________________

    The tally is:
    Two races at +5
    Four races at +4
    Two races at (or near) +3
    Three races at +2, including humans
    Last edited by Deskepticon; 05-15-2019, 06:08 AM. Reason: Dog Boy numbers were off. Fixed it and adjusted tally.

  • #2
    The average race is at +4, and in a power-fueled setting like RIFTS, it's not beyond reason to have all races start at that number. So what are some homebrew options we could use? Here are some thoughts.

    The D'norr, Fennodi, Lyn-Srial, and Trimadore are already +4, so we'll ignore them for this exercise.

    Human
    Previous TOTAL: +2
    Humans are most often characterized by their adaptability and diversity. At +2, they need another +2 ability.
    Versatile: Humans begin with one skill of their choice at d6. This raises the natural maximum of that skill to d12+1. (+2)

    Altara
    Previous TOTAL: +2
    The altara are also a tenative +2 race. A lazy option is to give them Very Attractive. Meh! Another option is to expand their radar sense, giving them ubiquitious "vision" and a bonus against gang-up or sneak attacks. However, that steps on the toes of a couple Edges. So what about her clone ability?
    Clone Self: Altara can reproduce asexually, giving birth to a clone of herself. The clone has all the original's abilities, including Rank, Edges, and memories, up until the time of birth. However, she doesn't have any of the original's cyberware or permanent injuries sustained through battle. From the player's perspective, the altara can "heal" herself of perminent injuries and regain Strain in this way.
    The clone requires several months to mature, during which time the altara gains the Dependant Hindrance (see SPC). If the character earns an Advance, the clone gets one too. Once the clone matures, the player must forfeit the original, turning her into a non-playable character and drops the Dependant Hindrance. (+2)

    Dog Boy
    Previous TOTAL: +2 or +3 (depending on breed)
    The main issue with dog boys is that their Breed Advantage ability is internally inconsistant. Some options are simply valued higher than others. And there are some options that are similar, but with one clearly a better choice. For instance, Rugged Breed (Vigor die increase) and Tough Breed (+2 Toughness) are pretty similar mechanically, but you are always better off taking the higher die type over the extra point of Toughness. Tracking Breed (a +1 ability) almost seems unneccessary since dog boys have Keen Sense of Smell and Psychic Sense already. Fast Breed and Water Breed (both +1) remain interesting. So, what to do?
    Well, in order to bring the race solidly up to +3, I'd begin by balancing everything in Breed Advantage at +2, while making each option a unique choice. The Agile, Strong, and Rugged Breeds can stay. Stay! Good boy! Water Breed (+2 to Athletics (swimming)) is a +1 ability, so I'd also give it a "+2 to Vigor rolls made to hold breath" as well. Tough Breed is going to have to be put down; Rugged Breed is simply a better option. Besides, Edges like Brawler and Bruiser can fill the "tough" niche and add that extra point or two of Toughness. That leaves Fast Breed (+1), which honestly, I'd give to all dog boys, bringing the race up to +4.
    Breed Advantage: Balanced as noted above. (+2)
    Fast: Pace increase (+1)


    Grackle Tooth
    Previous TOTAL: +5
    These guys really drew the short straw. They can't use cybernetics, magic or psionics, meaning a huge chunk of the IFs are simply closed to them. I totaled the abilities at –4, based on the evaluations of other races, but as a package, I wonder if it is worth more? Incidentally, this restriction means the grackle are shoehorned into creating a very focused build, which is a strength in itself. Not a strength you can necessarily put a number on, but worth mentioning all the same. For that reason, I'm okay with the "package" remaining at –4.
    The grackle's Natural Weapons are technically a +7 ability as written, but the fact that a) they don't deal Mega Damage, and b) SWADE's action economy changed, makes this far less attractive. In Deluxe edition, the collection of abilities carried more weight, where you were limited to one action per hand. In Swade, one hand can make three Actions... and if you're carrying a vibroblade, why not attack with that? In the end, I simply valued each natural weapon at it's base cost. The "hidden" +2 to climbing is a nice addition, I suppose.
    So, should these guys be scaled back to +4? I'm not so sure. I really don't want to pile more drek on them. And as I mentioned, the fact that both magic/psionics AND cyberware is forbidden is probably worth that extra –1.

    Psi-Stalker
    Previous TOTAL +3
    Okay, I'm sure there's a lot of potential to squeeze a +1 ability in here somewhere, but since I'm not familiar with the Palladium source material, I don't know where to start. One thing I might suggest is giving them the full benefit of Beast Master, allowing them to start with an animal ally Extra. They could then sacrifice the animal if they are in a pinch for PPE.

    Quick Flex
    Previous TOTAL: +2
    As with psi-stalkers, I don't know quite what to add here. Maybe build off their Ambidexterity and let them choose either Two-Fisted or Two-Gun Kid for free.

    Simvan
    Previous TOTAL: +5
    Not nearly as hobbled as the Grackle Tooth, this race can certainly be scaled back. I'd simply play to their animalistic, barbaric side and give their Instinct Over Intellect ability a –2 to Smarts rolls, bumping it up to a –3 ability.
    ___________

    With that, all the races are on more equal footing with each other. I'd love to hear other opinions, or even critiques of mine.

    -Cheers
    Last edited by Deskepticon; 05-15-2019, 11:58 AM. Reason: Fixed grammer, typos, and other missteaks

    Comment


    • #3
      I also do not think points should be awarded for Restricted Path. They are conceptual limitations that never come up after play.

      Comment


      • Deskepticon
        Deskepticon commented
        Editing a comment
        Ndreare Yeah, humans are a bit bland. But they've always been bland because you don't really get a sense of concept from their racial description. Their "strength" is the fact that they can essentially be anything.

        In Rifts, they're mechanical as powerful as about a third of the other races. The rest are simply better.

        If you change nothing else with the other races, I would definately houserule humans with a free skill at d6.

      • TCArknight
        TCArknight commented
        Editing a comment
        To me, the addition of the Free Skill for humans makes the most sense of anything. Looking around, I see several other setting that have done just that with the basic human...

        For Psi-Stalkers, what about something as simple as Low-Light vision or Infravison to fit with their hunting nature?
        Last edited by TCArknight; 05-15-2019, 06:57 PM.

      • Ndreare
        Ndreare commented
        Editing a comment
        I feel like a free d6 skill is not enough. But if it includes the normal rules for increased maximum then that would be okay. (Would not help with IFs because they all already start with their most relevant skill at some other level.)
        But honestly I think 2 free edges would be the most balanced option.

    • #4
      I disagree with your statement that Rugged Breed always outshines Tough Breed.
      Rugged Breed gives you a bonus to Vigor die-type. Up to a d12, this also gives you a +1 to your Toughness. After d12, however, each bump is worth 1/2 point of Toughness.
      Meanwhile, Tough Breed gives you twice the toughness (but no help with incap rolls) initially, and four times the Toughness just at the point where the bump to the rolls becomes less useful:

      Start with a Vigor d6 Dogboy.
      One takes Tough Breed every Rank; the other takes Rugged Breed. Neither increases Vigor with Attribute bumps.

      Rugged Dog ends up with d12+2 Vigor and base Toughness 9.
      Tough Dog ends up with d6 Vigor and base Toughness 15--essentially one-and-a-half wounds above his Rugged buddy.

      Furthermore, if they double-down on boosting Vigor, Rugged Dog caps out at d12+5, Toughness 10.
      Tough Dog caps out at d12, Toughness 18.

      Since the primary purpose of Vigor is Soaking (with the odd poison/disease/spell resistance roll thrown in for good measure--heck, there aren't even any Vigor rolls made to resist Tests, since there are no Vigor Skills), this means that the Rugged Dog actually starts out in the hole compared to his Tough Dog peer, because from the same hit, Tough Dog starts with two Wounds less to have to Soak.

      I'll grant that at lower levels of specialization, the difference will matter less, but even then, it's a difference, rather than a clear-cut case of superiority.
      Last edited by Freemage; 05-15-2019, 11:17 PM.

      Comment


      • Deskepticon
        Deskepticon commented
        Editing a comment
        Doh! My bad! I missed the fact that a Breed ability can be taken multiple times. I think I read "can only be taken once" under one of the entries and absentmindedly applied it to all of them.

        You make some very good points, and I like to be shown where I'm wrong. For the sake of transparency I won't edit the OP; I think it's important for viewers to see the whole flow of the conversation in these types of exchanges. As mentioned in the disclaimer, this is not a thread for recommending official changes; it's a place to air grievances and spitball houserules for the races (with a thinly veiled goal of balancing them at +4... or whatever someone feels like the races should be. That's the whole point.

        As Ndreare mentioned, he thinks a better option for humans is starting with two Edges instead of one. Great!! TCArknight likes the free d6 skill (with increased maximum). Also Great!! The objective is to just have an open, honest discussion. Not to "one-up" each other or shoot down their ideas.

    • #5
      I agree about human blandness that there are few IFs that cant be more optimal with a different race. It would be nice to see humans being able to do something that others can't. I've tried to think of some good human inly edges but haven't come up with anything over the years. Other option is for the GM to really emphasise DBs being treated worse, charged more for goods etc but that only works I certain areas.
      One thought I had (and have pretty much rejected but just for discussion) is to take a leaf out of the Deadlands Noir book and give all DBs the Poverty hindrance.

      Comment


      • Sgt Anjay
        Sgt Anjay commented
        Editing a comment
        Absolutely right about humans being "too close" to see what humans bring to the table. However, there is another big factor tied into that. Because our intelligence/sapience has become the primary means by which we have dominated the ecosphere, it feels to us like that is all we have evolutionarily. So when you add in other sapients, well, there goes our only thing.

        Except that is a misconception. Humans DO have more going on in terms of evolutionary weapons. First and foremost, we are physically exceptional persistence hunters. Prey can run, and while they may be faster in the short term, we can go and go and go at paces and for distances that literally kill other species, our intelligence letting us stay on their trail. They run and try to rest, but here we come. They sprint away to try to hide or bed down, and there we come again. To the rest of the animal kingdom, we are the horror monster, the relentless killer that doesn't stop. That was our niche. There are tribes that still hunt this way, and where we don't there are still people driven to just run. Outrages distances for the funsies.

        And coupled with the endurance, is our other movie monster trait: injuries that send other species, even species that are nominally harder to hurt on the first place, into immediate shock and inevitable death, or are too grave to heal and would remain permanently, we can endure and recover from. There are people who have performed surgery on themselves, had stuff blown off and kept going and survived, been filled with lead and sharp metal and made it or only succumbed to infections rather than injury. That is NOT normal in nature! We have exceptional resilience among the animals! But because surviving and recovering that way is what we've always done, had to do, it doesn't trigger how exceptional it is. Putting down injured animals but trying to save horribly mangled people is not just species preservation in us, it's an accurate assessment of odds of success without exceptional medical technology.

        In game terms? I don't know. It almost feels like one would have to go back to the drawing board to really get at the human species. That while others might have it on us in Toughness all day, we take Wounds like champs, and are Vigor kings. But maybe I'm just overly enamored of some articles on humanity "in the wild", so to speak. And at the end of the day, it is leveraging our intelligence and adaptability that most put us above and beyond. /shrug

      • Devilstheatre
        Devilstheatre commented
        Editing a comment
        @Sgt Anjay: Are you aware of how much like Dr. Desmond Bradford you sound? ;-)

      • Sgt Anjay
        Sgt Anjay commented
        Editing a comment
        Ha!

        Well, I suppose that's not the first time I've been called a madman, and probably not the last.

        Still and all, at the end of the day my main point is simply that humans *do* have intrinsic exceptional attributes from a physiological standpoint that could be used to distinguish them if someone wanted to stat them up as something besides the "generic sapient" that RPGs seem to always have them as.

    • #6
      Maybe a free novice Background edge??

      Comment


      • #7
        These will all be getting a balance pass for SWADE to fit the new standardized rules for Making Races. This problem will go away.
        Sean Owen Roberson
        Line Editor, Rifts for Savage Worlds

        Comment


        • Freemage
          Freemage commented
          Editing a comment
          Where is the new balance going to be? +2, +4?

        • PEGRoberson
          PEGRoberson commented
          Editing a comment
          +2, standard SWADE

      • #8
        Originally posted by Deskepticon View Post
        Disclimer: This thread is for discussing the various abilities of the races in RIFTS and ruminating on hypothetical adjustments to them. No proposal to actually change anything is being made. Please do not lock the thread. Thank you.
        #1 - This belongs in the Feedback forum. There isn't much difference between discussing changes and suggesting changes. "Playtest Update Doc Version 3" will have updates for all of the core Savage Rifts races. Once it is posted, please start a new thread in the Feedback forum. I appreciate your feedback and number crunching, but for a number of reasons let's capture these sorts of mechanical discussions in the proper forum. Thanks!

        #2 - I figure that you list Abilities like Cyber Resistant with a different value intentionally, and I think there is definitely room for discussion regarding the relative value of a few of the Negative Racial Abilities unique to Savage Rifts.

        #3 - Distinctive D-Bee is often a –2 where you list it as –1. Cyber Resistant is –1 but you list as –2. Natural Psionic is either AB (Psionics) Edge or New Powers Edge, functionally +2 but you list as +4.
        Putting a personal spin on the value of Racial Abilities throws your math off, and makes your thoughts regarding overall race builds more difficult to succinctly discuss. I would suggest discussing the relative value of a Hindrance like Cyber Resistantseparately from race builds.

        There are some awesome ideas and discussion here. Again, please post in the Feedback forum once Version 3 is released.
        Sean Owen Roberson
        Line Editor, Rifts for Savage Worlds

        Comment


        • PEGRoberson
          PEGRoberson commented
          Editing a comment
          Deskepticon Haha, ok well I thought you were being super thoughtful lol, no worries then!

          Regarding Distinctive D-Bee, I think that the current writeup could use some clarification. On *human* dominated Rifts® Earth, D-Bees are often misunderstood and antagonized by mankind, and rarely have equal rights in more "civilized" areas. Near-human and/or hideable inhuman features reduce the penalty to –1.

        • Deskepticon
          Deskepticon commented
          Editing a comment
          PEGRoberson Heh, thanks! I'm prone to making dumb mistakes, such as the ones you pointed out. I tend to rush through things without putting enough thought in it. Other times I put TOO much thought into things. Like I said... a putz.

          Yeah, I think some more explicit wording on Distinctive D-Bee to illustrate its intent would help.

          Thank you for your patience. I guess you can lock this thread if you'd like. It's not really garnering any conversation anyway. I (or likely someone else) will open one in the Feedback thread once V3 is released.

          Cheers!

        • PEGRoberson
          PEGRoberson commented
          Editing a comment
          Its fine buddy, you aren't a putz. I totally understand writing up rules ideas too fast and then having to amend them

      • #9
        Another thought to help out humans: allow human characters to take 6 points of hindrances instead of 4.

        Comment


        • PEGRoberson
          PEGRoberson commented
          Editing a comment
          Interesting idea, thanks for sharing.

      • #10
        Hey guys, I am going to lock this thread for now. For further discussion on Rifts Race balance please post in the Feedback forums
        Sean Owen Roberson
        Line Editor, Rifts for Savage Worlds

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