Saturday, April 14, 2012

Rifts SDM Champion League Competitors

Note that, in general the characters named here are not using their real names. Rahu-Crusher's real name is Rahum Gruug, we all know who Shadow Face is and Stone-Death probably has no real name among his kind. Other characters such as Narga and Sarlea probably use their real names with a subtitle to promote their awesome arena might or political agenda.

Narga the Terrible
Narga is the most versatile arena fighter in the SAC, combining physical, weapons, and magic into one big symphony of pain. She is an adult Thunder Lizard and crushes virtually all of her opponents with ease. Her dragon traits give her incredible staying power, with enough health and mana to outlast virtually anyone. She has an incredibly flexible fighting style, incorporating modern weapons, techno-wizardry and magic items of all types as the need strikes her. She is extremely arrogant, and with good reason; most battles with Narga end in seconds. The only fighter to have a winning record against her is Shadow Face; she is 2-3 against him.
Blackstream note: Narga is a sexy beast (PB 19).

Sarlea, the Herald of Styphathal
Sarlea is a female adult Ultucan dragon and a devout follower of the teachings of Styphathal and the Cult of Dragonwright. She openly preaches against Stydro, and denounces the current Dragonwright faith in her battles. She is more magic-dependent than Narga, using her Ultucan magic songs to completely shut down any opponents not resistant to magic. She fights primarily with magic and techno-wizard weapons while she sings, and happily cleaves through her opponents with masterfully crafted magic blades. She is also a master psychic and will not hesitate to spam psionic mezzes if her opponent is vulnerable to them. She tends to utterly dominate anyone without strong resistance to magic or psionics but has a terrible record against Narga and the Abomination who have ready counters to all of Sarlea's bullshit. She also fares poorly against Shadow Face, who regularly gloats that the Black Flame of Zandragal could easily beat her. Her overall win ratio is the highest in the Arena, however.
Blackstream note: Sarlea is pretty hot (PB 17), but her real draw is her voice, which is absolutely mesmerizing.

The Abomination of Splynn
A massively powerful replacement for the Demon of Splynn, armed to the teeth with the best in magical weapons. He is a giant, rhino-hided bio-wizard freak with a breath weapon, poisonous claws and bite, and a bad attitude. He excels at fighting defensively and is nowhere near as overconfident as the Demon was. He has a surprisingly decent record even against the top two (positive against Sarlea) and has no awful matchups. The Abomination fights fewer matches per day than the others, typically only participating in one or two.

The Shadow Face
The highest-ranked human-sized creature in the SAC, he is most well-known for his strong defensive and evasive tactics. It is known that he is the criminal "Beautiful Slacker," but some political maneuvering appears to keep him above the law and he wears a monstrous visage in fights, lending him more popularity among the SDM purveyors. In either event, his offense focuses highly on lightning speed and agility, moving with such speed that he appears to teleport. He also has ready counters to most forms of mez and appears to be a spellcaster, although he does not cast offensive spells, preferring to fight with his fists. He has a terrible record against Well-Fed (1-8) due to his refusal to use magic aggressively. Despite his human-like physique, he is fairly popular since he does not use weapons, leading him to be somewhat of a "poor man's hero." Like Narga, he is extremely arrogant and frequently berates his opponents or shows off during fights. Almost all of his losses are to single hits from physically powerful opponents; he often throws in the towel after getting hit only once.

Sly the Slaver
A strange exception to the one-combatant rule, and most likely only waived because Sly is one of Splynncryth's minions, Sly enters battle with his six Altara blind warrior women. All of them are bio-wizard augmented and this means Sly is effectively a cheating bastard. He is quite popular despite this. Sly and his BWWs are all armed with magical weapons. While all of them carry typical BWW mez weapons such as magic nets and neural incapacitators, they also carry magic swords of fine Splugorth manufacture. Sly absolutely destroys most opponents due solely to his volume of attacks, although he has trouble with anyone that can lock down his Altara allies quickly. He has a good record against any non-flying, non-teleporting opponent. His matches tend to drag on for longer than most, as he relies mostly on repeated light debuffs that don't completely shut down his opponent before dealing lots of damage. Like the Abomination, Sly only fights in one match per day at most.

Probably the most outspoken arena combatant outside the arena, Rahu-Crusher spends a lot of money hyping his image. He rarely fights without a suit of his trademark armor, generally conceding a battle if it is heavily damaged. He carries a shield in one hand and up to three melee weapons in his other hands, although he will occasionally carry a heavy energy rifle or magical bow against an opponent who favors distance combat. Due to his heavy bio-wizard augmentation and magical items, he is well-armed for most sorts of battles but prefers close combat. A four-armed assault by Rahu-Crusher literally crushes his opponents; he can best any fighter in the Arena save for Black Face in close-quarters combat. Even the Abomination, who fights in a very defensive melee style, often switches to long-range aerial sniping to deal with Rahu-Crusher's phenomenal strength and combat speed. He has a tough time with Sarlea, as she often uses long-ranged stealth and teleport tactics combined with psionics, all of which he has a poor defense against. He has a friendly rivalry with Black Face, and the two engage in frequent verbal barbs while they fight (Rahu-Crusher is 2-8).

Well-Fed the Fool
The only Cyber-Knight of any note in the arena, Well-Fed is also one of the best melee fighters in the arena. He is also one of the most infamous and his matches are regularly sold out, as he denounces Atlantis and Splynncryth before, during, and after every fight. Most people go just to see him lose. Well-Fed has one of the weaker overall ratings in the Arena, and has problems with opponents who use heavy disabling magic. He is well-equipped with tattoos and a few magic items, though nothing fancy like many of the other top tiers. Well-Fed's success in melee is somewhat astounding; footage of him reveals that while he is very skilled, he does not have the fighting prowess to defeat an average Conservator, let alone fight toe-to-toe with Master and Champion League opponents. He has an incredible force of will, breaking mez effects via sheer willpower. He has an average winrate against most of the top tier except Narga (who is undefeated against him) and has a decidedly high winrate against the more melee-focused enemies such as Rahu-Crusher and Shadow Face. Shadow Face has the worst record against him, with Well-Fed 8-1 against him. Well-Fed also surprisingly easily defeats Sly, although no one is quite sure how the Altara warriors can miss with so many TW weapons.

The highest-ranked arena slave, Sight-Stealer is a Tattoo Archer who enters battle typically wearing as little clothing as possible. She is owned by another Splugorth, and she is allowed to cheat by entering battle with a tattoo serpent active. The serpent attacks with spitting acid that causes blindness, and Sight-Stealer herself favors the Blind tattoo, Blind arrows, and a magical whip that weakens her targets. She is extremely popular among the more perverse arena purveyors and small riots generally occur when she loses. Sight-Stealer generally defeats the majority of opponents by blinding them and then flaying them with her whip until they forfeit. She has a poor resistance to psionics (relative to Champion League, anyway) but she often defeats psionic opponents before their mind powers become a problem. The fighters that are not dependent on sight, such as Sly and Shadow Face, easily defeat her, and Well-Fed also tends to power through her blinding attacks and win anyway.

An elder gargoyle lord, Stone-Death is the highest-tier champion of Alvurron and a top tier candidate. He is somewhat of a freak of nature, and combines the magic of a gargoyle mage with the physical power of a gargoyle lord. His elemental powers serve to level the playing field of some of the more cheatery opponents and he is nigh-impervious to all "tricky" forms of attack. He is not quite as skilled a fighter as some of the more solid melee combatants, but he can wear down most of them with his elemental powers. He is much like a more flexible, worse-equipped Abomination. He does wield a number of magic weapons, but he is seemingly ignorant or unaware of the value of a more flexible magic weapon lineup. If this weakness could be solved, most consider him a serious threat for the #1 slot.

Seven Times Death
This bad boy is an adult seven-headed hydra. He is equipped with a few miscellaneous magic items, but he generally is not smart enough to use any tricky tools and is pretty much allowed to run amok in the arena, unleashing hell on anyone stupid enough to get close. He has a keen sense of smell and regenerates rapidly, using his teleport ability to get close to an opponent and unleashing hell with his full massive repertoire of attacks. He is bloodthirsty and will often forget that an opponent has forfeited, leading to massive magical attempts to disable him before he kills his opponent. He is huge, ferocious, and intelligent for a hydra and even Rahu-Crusher avoids fighting him in melee combat (though Rahu-Crusher is has beaten the hydra multiple times in close-range battle). The only fighter dumb enough to fight him in close combat is Shadow Face, and he often pays for it by getting hit with a brutal tail swipe.

Momus, the False Atlantean
Named for the Greek god of satire, Momus is a Maxi-Man who looks like an Undead Slayer, complete with Marks of Heritage-esque tattoos on his hands. He is more flexible than Sight-Stealer, but as a result he ends up losing more fights that she might win for free. His monster tattoos tend to be of mythological beasts of Greek myth such as bipedal bull-like creatures (not actually minotaurs) and flaming horses which he uses to ride around the arena. He is armed with a Millennium Staff of Purity and deals tremendous punishment to powerful demonlike creatures, giving him better matchups against creatures he might otherwise lose to.

The Firestarter
Another humanoid creature, he is a godling of unknown descent. The Firestarter is a mechanical genius, and wields homebrew explosive weapons in combat, including ultra-powerful grenades and bombs. He is virtually indestructible and does not generally wear armor. His body regenerates rapidly like a dragon and he never, ever forfeits matches, instead fighting until he is "slain," after which he regenerates. He wields massive supernatural strength surpassing most arena combatants, save for the true titans like Rahu-Crusher. Like Rahu-Crusher, he is a part-time fighter who runs a machine shop in the Outer Markets, fixing, repairing, and upgrading mechanical vehicles. He carries magic trinkets that protect him from spells and is a master psionic, wielding telekinetic powers frequently to deliver explosive weapons. Despite his magical protections, he is extremely vulnerable to non-spell magic (anything that doesn't cost mana) and is absolutely crushed by Narga's toxic breath or Sarlea's songs. He thus wears protective helmets in these matchups to prevent these and other environmental hazards from crippling him in battle, but his helmet is often destroyed or removed by a superior melee opponent. He has a versatile repertoire of weapons, but does not wield massive volumes of rune or TW items, making him somewhat second-string among the top Champions. His melee combat skill is high, though among the top tiers he loses to most in close combat. Still, his strength is so high that a lucky hit or a successful grapple often proves to be the end of his opponent.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Rifts proposed skill system (roll high)

Palladium's roll-low skill system is archaic and shitty. Roll-high systems are easier to understand and easier for both players and GMs to use. I've been hating on the system since better roll-low systems (like GURPS or BESM) came around, and since 3e came into being I've pretty much acknowledged its complete superiority in the skill system department.

Like any revised combat system, this will not be fully implemented until sometime during E6. I'll be going over existing character sheets and revising character skills to fit the new system.

While I do feel that 3d10 + modifiers is a much better model of realism/plausibility than a single die, converting Palladium's skills into any method presents a lot of challenges for 3d10; namely, "realistic" skill ratings while maintaining Palladium's level-up system. Converting to a skillpoints-based system is really impossible with existing characters, and even the trouble of hand-to-hand combat skills, weapon proficiencies and upgrading combat skills is pretty hard and not really worth the trouble.

Skill checks in the proposed system will use BESM 3e roll high mechanics. To summarize, 2d6 will be rolled and relevant modifiers will be added and compared to a target number or opposed 2d6 check. This does not affect combat rolls which will still use d20s for everything except damage.

You'll be able to "take 6" in a similar manner to taking 10. You'll also be able to "take 12," which will take 30 times longer than a normal check, in the same manner as taking 20.

Skills will be dramatically streamlined. Cultural and science skills will be lumped into "Profession" or "Craft" skills. Likewise, the technical categories of Electronic and Mechanical will be moved into Craft. A lot of redundant skills will be removed and skills will be combined. As an example, Climbing and Swimming will be combined into Athletics, and the ability to make Jump checks (technically not possible in Palladium) will be added. Horsemanship will split to only allow for riding animals and Animal Husbandry will be used for the care of animals. Social skills will be added (!!).

Stats will give relevant skill modifier bonuses, similar to d20 ability modifiers. This will probably be per 3 points above or below 10 in a statistic (+1 at 11-13, +2 at 14-16, -1 at 7-9 etc.) and yes, this means that stats are more meaningful now. IQ will apply to the vast majority of non-physical skills, excepting social skills which will use MA. Additionally, the previous "IQ bonus" will simply give more skills and more skills at level-up; this does mean Jackie and Gizmo will have a lot more skills than normal. It will still not affect skill training which will stay more or less intact. I will probably allow characters with an IQ bonus train a certain number of known, unrelated skills simultaneously (in order to level their huge skill pools up faster) but will not allow them to learn new skills any faster.

Leveling will work as +1 to known skills per character level (including 1). These will be treated as "ranks" and will be differentiated separately from other modifiers, mainly so that we know how many ranks the character can train to. Class bonuses will range from +0 (most skills) to +3 (Sarah piloting skills). These bonuses count as ranks and are not gained unless you gain the skill as an OCC Related Skill from leveling up or started the game with the skill. You can train them normally; for instance, if Sarah learned to pilot tanks through skill training, she would have 1 rank, but could train up to her character level +3 (reflecting her class' piloting expertise). Class-restricted skills will still be restricted for the most part.

Physical skills will mostly be getting removed, with physical "feats" being selectable skill options. PS can still be raised with +2d6 DC/+2 PS/+1 SPD per skill selection with a maximum of 5 (+10 PS). If Lee already exceeds this he keeps his stats but can't be raised anymore through physical skills -- I will probably also somewhat reduce the reward for any future +PS gains to compensate. For those of you wondering what this means overall:
  • Boxing's +APM will be folded into "man at arms" classes and will be unique to warrior classes. This includes Lee, Sarah and Gizmo.
  • Everyone with a physical skill that increases combat bonuses (such as parry/dodge) is having those bonuses removed. They were power creep and I hated them. I may add some parry/dodge to higher tier combat skills (MA and 4/5 forms) and some extra strike bonus to Assassin to compensate. PP bonus will be applicable to roll with punch now to compensate for the roll loss, and I will be adding a small amount to combat skills.
  • Everyone with +PE or +PP from physical skills keep it. I will retain the ability somehow, to raise PP by 2 maximum and PE by some number, possibly 5. I may fold PE into the physical training skill above, although it seems kind of powerful to get +2 PS, +1 SPD, and +1 PE per skill selection. Actually, that sounds more balanced than the current system, rofl.
  • Boxing's knockout punch and Wrestling's throws and pins will all be retained in some fashion.
  • Fencing is getting totally removed, to include both the bonuses and damage boost. Fuck you, Lee. You can pick something else.
  • Acrobatics/Gymnastics are becoming one skill and will basically be Tumble and Balance.
  • Although not exactly a physical skill, I'm unsure what to do with Sniper. I am honestly cool letting Brit keep it as an artifact of the old system.
 I will be adding skill perks, although I'm not sure how to add them -- either by sacrificing ranks when you level or by spending training time. A skill perk will let you do different things with your skill such as use Mechanical for aircraft or mecha repair, use Medical to install cybernetics, or Electrical to disarm explosives. Combat skill perks will also be added to keep the extra grappling skills of Wrestling or the knockout punch of boxing.

Skills will be loosely grouped into 3 categories. Easy skills will take 2 months of training time to learn. An easy skill has +1 maximum rank, which are learned automatically if you get the skill through leveling up. If you get the skill through training, you can train the extra rank normally. This is cumulative with class rank bonuses (such as Sarah +3 piloting; if she learned "Pilot Bicycle" she would have a total of +4 maximum ranks with the skill). Medium skills take 4 months of training to learn and have no bonus ranks. Hard skills take 6 months of training to learn (default) and have -1 maximum ranks; when you learn a Hard skill, you are effectively -1 on skill checks until you gain ranks in it.

Untrained easy skills suffer no penalty; untrained normal skills will probably suffer -2 to -3 penalty and untrained hard skills will generally be unusable.

Easy skills include things like automobile or bicycle piloting, reading sensory instruments, perception, stealth, and all social skills. Normal skills will include most skills, while hard skills will include Medical, science professions, escape artist, and similar extremely demanding jobs. In general, the maximum roll for an untrained Medium skill check will also be 7.

Weapon Proficiencies will be changing somewhat (streamlined melee weapon bonuses, some skills becoming skill perks, etc.) No idea on whether Sharpshooting will be changed. Quick Draw will be changed.

Input would be appreciated -- except in relation to physical skills. Physical skill bitching will result in experience penalties.