How to lift a rock in any system.

Unfortunately I cannot take credit for this if anyone know who originally posted this please let me know so they can receive credit where its due.

Characters from Different RPG Systems Try To Lift A Rock

OD&D: If you’re strong enough, you lift the rock.

D&D 3.x: If you’re strong enough, you lift the rock. If you like lifting rocks, you should check out this new prestige class based around rock-lifting.

D&D 4: All classes can lift the rock. They just do it differently.

Rolemaster: Roll to lift the rock. Now roll on the “rock lifting fumble table.” Your arms fall off and bone shards impale two of your friends.

GURPS: Calculate the weight of the rock, your carrying capacity, your own weight, and the modifiers for terrain. Then roll to lift the rock.

Vampire: Roll to lift the rock. If you botch, you drop it on your foot and betray to the world the travesty of humanity you’ve become.

Mouseguard: It’s not whether you lift the rock; it’s what you lift the rock for.

Fate: If you’re strong enough, you lift the rock. If you’re not, maybe the rock killed your parents or saved your life. Spend a fate point and lift the rock.

Mutants & Masterminds: If you’re strong enough, you lift the rock. If not, use a power to lift the rock. Any power. Fish telepathy, maybe. Go crazy.

Car Wars: Lifting a rock would entail getting out of your car. Don’t do that.

Apocalypse World: Roll Under Fire to lift the rock. If you fail, Spacedog and his gang shoot you in the face.

Smallville: How much do you love the person trapped under the rock? Do you also love justice? Roll both those things to lift the rock.

Leverage: Roll to lift the rock. You succeed. But you rolled low, now Carmichael’s men are coming to investigate!

Lady Blackbird: How badly do you want to lift the rock? Roll that. If you succeed, play out an emotional scene with the rock to get your dice back.

Nobilis: You lift the rock and reveal the gaping maw that is the darkness beneath the universe. It takes your shadow from you, and you understand that nobody has ever loved you like your shadow loved you, but it is too late. A thing lifted can never be put down again.

Danger Patrol: Do you want to lift the rock? Or do you want to lift a rock… in space? While it’s on fire? And monkeybots are trying to pull off your head? And you’re soaked in rocket fuel? Is that enough DANGER FOR YOU??

Legend of the Five Rings – Bent down to lift rock, rough and gray in crystal beauty, you don’t notice death.

Exalted – Before you can lift the rock, you have to go on RPGnet and discuss the best Charm build so that you’re doing it right. Then you realize the mechanics are all broken. You eventually give up and move on to other things, but damn was that rock pretty.

Cthulhutech – The rock tries to rape you. It’s all brutal and dark and scary. You can’t do anything about it.

Paranoia – The other members of your team shoot you for trying to engage in unassigned activities with the property of the Computer.

HERO Games (4ed) – Multislot: Rock – (5 points) * +1d6 HA (m10 points), 1d6 EB (m10 points). You go and check if your math is right, but give up.

FATE – You demand your GM give you a Fate Point for acting on an Aspect’s compel that requires you to pick up that rock!

Rifts – You bend over to pick up the rock. The rock is made of MDC material! You throw it through at a barn. The barn collapses. You sell broken fragments of MDC road asphalt as weapons of mass destruction.

Mage the Ascension – You pick up a rock. Were there witnesses? Were they Sleepers? The implications of each option boggle your mind.

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay – You pick up a rock. You develop horrible mutations and an urge to worship the daemons whispering in your head. Maybe the events are related; it’s hard to say.

Shadowrun: Spend two hours with your team planning who will lift the rock and who will provide cover fire. Once the rock is engaged it turns out you underestimated its mass and the plan falls apart, so you just struggle and kick your way through. When you report your sloppy but successful execution of the mission to Mr Johnson, he fucks you over.

Fighting Fantasy: You lift the rock. Test your Luck. If you are unlucky, it falls and crushes you to the ground. Your quest ends here.

Changeling: the Dreaming – You pick up a rock. It’s a Chimerical rock, so nobody else notices it. You throw it at someone, but it passes through him. You crumple up like a character sheet in a game nobody wants to play.

Mechanical Dream – You pick up a rock. Something something dreams, something something reality, something something psi-fi. It’s really cool and pretty, but doesn’t seem to really make any sense. Of course, you probably shouldn’t be listening to rocks.

7th Sea – You pick up a rock because you’re a pirate! You’re not a pirate! You are too a pirate, there’s a boat behind you and everything! You are not a pirate damn it! Are so! Are not!

Unknown Armies – You pick up a rock. As long as you hold the rock, you have power. But once you let go of it, the power is lost. So who has the power, the rock or you? Meanwhile, somebody has invented a piece of technology that has been sold worldwide to everyone for decades if not centuries, making the rock obsolete.

Over the Edge – You pick up a rock. It’s a sentient time-traveler bent on conquering the Celebrity Poker circuit with your help. But that’s really a cover, since it’s really an acolyte of the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu. Of course, once your realize that’s a lie, the rock has already sold you out to the global Freemason conspiracy.

Ars Magica – You pick up a rock. 187 years ago, this rock was a stone in the Covenant of your teacher. Let’s explore the magical history this rock has seen.

F.A.T.A.L. – You pick up a rock. You degenerate misogynist you.

Creations End – You pick up a rock. It’s basically the same rock as the AD&D or Palladium rocks, but with a few minor differences. It crumbles apart as you try to look at it though. No one notices.

Scion – You pick up a rock. It’s basically a kludge of that Exalted rock with that Aberrant rock. You throw it at a monster and hope it hits him before falling apart into pieces.

Barbarians of the Aftermath – Before you can pick up a rock, first you have to roll on some tables. Then some other tables. Then some more tables. A few more tables. A lot more tables. A lot more tables. A few more tables. Go back and roll on some more tables. Now your rock is a tentacled chair singing praises to Shiva in binary. It’s really kinda’ awesome.

Kult – You have a rock. God hates you.

Kerberos Club – You roll to pick up the rock using your all-purpose Strange Skill.

Trail of Cthulhu – You automatically pick up the rock because there is a clue underneath. You make a 1-Point Geology spend to realize the rock is a part of the world and part of something so much larger and more important than your pitiful human scale. Your mind shatters and you run gibbering down the streets of Massachusetts.

Don’t Rest Your Head – You roll to pick up the rock. Exhaustion succeeds, but Pain dominates. You reach for the rock but are overcome by exhaustion. In your hand, the rock becomes a poisonous rock crab. The street laughs at you, as your blood runs into a hungry gutter.

Fiasco – You pick up the rock trying not to think about how bad this is all going to end up.

Strands of Fate – Build the physics of the entire universe from the ground up. Once that’s done, pick up the rock.

JAGS Wonderland – Try to pick up the rock. Descend to the first chessboard instead. Pick up the rock’s Shadow which drools on you. Meanwhile, back in the real world, your Reflection drools on the rock.Collapse this post

Malice Tombs: Starter Set Review

Every time I open an new Package from Dark Arts Minatures, I am always supried at how much I love them!

After using the tomb set for a couple of months now I can say without doubt that the Dark Arts Miniatures Malice Tomb Set is the best set I’ve used. The size of the pieces, being 25mm square, make it extremely easy to build out a nice-sized tomb complete with coffin and foreboding statue, platforms, and other interesting scenery. Adding in the accessories and doors and other extensions can help you create literally millions of tombs or dungeons.

My primary intent for the tomb set is to run fantasy DND style games. However they have been put to use in other settings too including Scifi, and a few sets together can make some great Zone Mortalis games. Beyond that, however, I was able to use the set immediately in my Rifts game, all of the players remarked at the detail of the set.  On how much crisper and detailed it is compared with the likes of Hirst arts and Dwarven forge.

This highly detailed resin Starter Set is great for DM’s to use as encounter layouts.  It is also ideal for those wanting to try out the range or acting as a solid core for you to expand on.  Each square measures 25 x 25mm representing 5ft sq and is suitable for miniature scales 25-28mm but can also be used up to 32mm. The set includes:

Passageways (1)  1×2 (1)  2×2 (1)  3×2 (1)  4×2 (1)  5×2 (1)  4×2 curved passage (1)  45 degree cut tile

Room tiles (1)  4×4  (1)  2×2  (1)  2×2 curved quarter tile  (2)  Crescent tiles (1)  4×4 feature tile

Feature pieces  (1)  Upper stairway (1)  Lower stairway (1)  Stairway going down (1)  Double doors with removable doors   (1)  Archway (1)  Stone door with removable door  (2)  Short ‘dead end’ feature walls (1)  Stone statue (1)  Stone pillar (1)  Broken pillar (1)  Lords casket with removable lid

The set also includes ‘The Awoken of Dwar Ri An’ mini adventure suitable for most RPG’s. It gives great atmosphere to the terrain and also serves as a guide on what kinds of layouts can be made with the sets.

At only £25 for the Starter Set, that’s a great bargain for any role playing game working out at only £1.00 per piece.  When I use them, however, there is no doubt that they are built to last, my group has even tested the by stamping and jumping on the tiles and they are still intact.

The creator creator of Dwarven Forge. once made a  bold statement  that Dwarven Forge are the best 3D dungeon models in the world. I beg to disagree.  The quality of these tiles shine through, and with the sheer cost of importing Dwarven forge to the UK you could literally fill a whole table with Tomb tiles for the same cost of a single set of Dwarven forge.

Overall if you are looking to invest in some RPG tiles look no further than Malice Tiles.

Check them out over at

Interview with Christopher Margraves of Perpetual Motion Games

First off, let me thank you for taking the time to be interviewed for the all new Fumbl.

Could you please tell us about yourself: age, hobbies outside gaming, so on?
My name is Christopher Murrell, although I write under the name Christopher Margraves. I turned 30 yesterday. Let’s see, I’ve got two daughters so that’s a lot of the “hobby time”. I play a lot of video games, I love to watch Geek TV and kibitz awful movies. I’m also part of a vocal ensemble here in Columbia, MO, called CoMoCabaret.

Happy birthday. Did you get anything nice?
Yeah. I got some money for spending cash, and a really fantastic pink tie.

Ties always make great gifts don’t they 😀
Indeed. I kind of have a collection of bizarre non-tacky ties

What did you mean by geek TV?
Oh, well, your traditional stuff like Dr. Who and Firefly. But, also Warehouse 13, Haven, Supernatural, stuff like that.

Can you tell us about your work?
Ah, yes, of course. I work for a Food Service Management company. We handle contracts for various institutional sites, like colleges, and government buildings, and we do their dining halls. It’s a smaller company that actually allows the site director to cater the menu, and administrative needs to the specific school, or site, unlike a lot of the bigger ones. I’m an administrator for one of the sites. I handle a lot of paperwork, and help run catering events.

And whats your connection to Perpetual Motion Games?
I’m an owner, and I am the President/Product Manager. It’s my baby. There are about 6 of us that are investor/owners, but only a few of us actually write/produce for the company

And what does your company do?
We are a Savage Worlds Licensee, via Pinnacle Entertainment Games. Our intention is to produce Tabletop RPGS, as well as eventually branching into board/card games. We are working on our own system, called the Momentum Engine, but are also producing setting books for Savage Worlds. We are the creators of the Exemplar setting, which recently failed to meet its Kickstarter Campaign Goals, and we are working on cleaning it up, and trying again as an E-book release.

What Did you learn from your kickstarter?
Good lord. So much, let’s see. Creating your initial KS launch is vital, having a consistent visual language throughout the main page, a good video the whole deal. A lot is decided in the first few days. Also, I think companies that let people actually get their hands on some of the content right of the bat, are going to do better, we really missed an opportunity in not giving samples out. Right now, I think looking back, one of the frustrations is the price issue. We went through a very reputable company for price quoting, it would have been brokered with overseas printing. The book was planned to be full-color, about 200 pages, hardback etc. That’s not cheap, and there are a lot of people who are pushed back by the price. Hell, I was terrified of the goal myself. The issue is, a lot of the suggestions were to use lower grade printing, which I wasn’t willing to do, because books that look like junk, and fall apart don’t create any trust in the company. That’s why we decided to do e-book launch next time.

Do you think there are any downsides to eBook publishing?
The smell. I’m a dyed in the wool book lover. It’s actually part of my degree. I have an art degree, and much of my work was focused on Book arts. E-books, means there is no book smell. Nothing to hold. It means computers at the table, which I hate, it means nothing to throw in your backpack to read in between classes, or at the park. There’s also very little wow factor, and NO impulse purchase from your FLGS.

What can you tell us about Exemplar and why did you decide to go with the Savage World System?
Exemplar is a super hero setting, set during the 1100’s. Rather than just a window dressing for a traditional 4-color super hero game, our goal was to create a “realistic” setting. We wanted to explore what would have happened if super powered beings had suddenly been introduced to the Dark Ages. how would things have changed? How would they have been seen? So that’s what the game is about. It’s about playing Super heroes, tied to each other, and their liege lords by oaths of fealty, which to those that would have lived then, would have been considered unbreachable. Combine that with the intrinsic knowledge that you are stronger than all of the people who you have to protect, who you swear your oaths of fealty too, and you have a game that combines traditional “punch-em-up” superheroism, with dark, moral conundrums. Add in the political machinations of the Holy Roman Empire, and you’ve got yourself a full service RPG setting.

As to why Savage Worlds, it comes down to two things. We are all fans of it. I love Deadlands, and Sundered Skies. PEG does phenomenal work, and their system is tidy in a beautiful way. The system also lends itself to action games. I don’t always think it has the most realistic combat system, but it’s fast, and fun (and furious 😀 ), and it allows for tricks, and stunts, and wants characters to use their environment. It’s just a great set of mechanics for a superhero game to start with.

How did you initially get into playing RPGs?
Well, 23 years ago, yesterday, my father ran me in my first D&D game, and my mother gave me a hand sewn dice bag, and two sets of dice. I played D&D with my family for years, got into White Wolf when I was about 11 or 12, and did that mostly for about 15 years. I’ve wanted to write my own system and setting for years, and PMG is the quasi-realization of that dream.

Masquerade or Requiem?
:Laugh: Requiem was nowhere near around when I was 11. I was actually a Mage: The Ascension player first. Although I love all of the Old World of Darkness games. I have played New world, it just doesn’t spark my imagination the same way. Although I feel I should give a nod of appreciation, and say that Changeling the Lost is one of the best written RPGs I’ve ever played.

I can certainly agree with that, there’s a lot of great writing in that book

What was the first gaming system you played in? Can you remember anything about your First Character?
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. I played a 15 year old first level fighter named Christopher, who hated orcs because they killed his village.He was not a very deep character.

Do you get to play in a campaign, how often do you play? When you do, what system do you normally play?
That’s a rough one. I’m not currently playing in any campaigns, a friend of mine recently wrapped about a year long game, that was sort of home brewed using the Chaosium system. I’m tentatively running a 4th ed D&D game, but we haven’t played for a bit. Because of a new job, and schedule conflicts, we really haven’t done a lot recently.I like to play Savage Worlds, or home-brewy White Wolf pretty frequently, although I’m considering running something in the Momentum Engine (our system that’s a WIP) pretty soon.

Did we just get an exclusive from you?
Yeah, that’s what we call our system. It’s just not quite finished yet.

What can you tell us about it and why are you going with your own system?
‘ll answer the second question first. I love pieces of a variety of systems, but I, like I imagine most gamer’s feel, think that there’s something missing from each of them. I could just home brew everything to do, which I sometimes do, but I have grand designs of giving people the tools to run the game they want to, without having to jury rig it to death.  What I will say, is that there is an attempt to create a game, where there are base rules, and then what we’re calling modules, to change the game to fit your play-style. For Example, the base rules may have a relatively cinematic combat style for damage, think Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, maybe even just D&D. Our plan then, would be to include a module to change the damage rules slightly to be more realistic (Think war movie, or just real life). It would be a generic system, but easily customizable, to be exactly what you want. Our vision statement is : We aim to become a leader in the gaming industry by inviting gamers into our stories like family, giving them the keys to new worlds and inviting them to treat them as their own. That’s Momentum Engine in a sentence. We want to create delicious games, but then give people the tacit permission and invitation to take them apart and put them back together again. Which, i think all companies do to some extent. But rather than just say, go ahead, we’ll show you where the stitches are, so you don’t tear anything when you take it apart.

What is your favorite character, and what can you tell us about them?
Guh, I’m not sure. I run games way more often than playing. It feels like choosing which of my daughters I like best :p

Does that mean you have played a female character before?
:laughs: Yeah, I have, but I just meant that choosing is difficult, they are all different. If I had to choose, I think it would be Langston Meiers, he was a Daeva NWOD Carthian, LARP character in the former CAM LARP organization. Prince of the city, die hard humanist, smart ass, just an incredibly difficult and complicated character.
A humanist Vampire?
Yeah. He really hated the douche-y vampire trope. I always have, I try to play characters grounded in being people, and so I took every opportunity to call people out for bad acting, and terrible choices. To him, being undead was a fact of life, being a traditional vampire was a choice, that he didn’t particularly respect.

Do you have any funny gaming moments?
Guh, I don’t know. I usually play really serious/dark/scary as hell games. I asked my wife, and she wants me to say “I don’t do laughter, I do tears.”  I did run a LARP scene once where my wife’s character chased a friend of ours’ character through a hallway trying to beat her into torpor. She was doing it to protect her from the person she was blood bound to, so she was apologizing the entire time. The best part was that she kept failing her tests, so she was just beating on the other character with no damage, for quite a while it was sad really. Just this Gangrel chasing down a Daeva yelling “I”M SORRY” while punching her in the back.

Do you have any gaming superstitions?
Well, I just deal with the fact that I won’t succeed at rolling.. Other than that, not really. I try not to touch other people’s dice, because I don’t want to infect them. Also, if I am running D&D, the players are fine, as long as the encounter isn’t supposed to be easy. If it’s intended to be easy, they will fail every roll, and I will destroy them with crits.

What’s a typical day in the life of Christopher in terms of preparing your own role playing campaign?
Guh, I don’t really “prepare”. I feel that when I do, it goes terribly wrong. So I’ve just always been an off the cuff GM. I tend to prep more for D&D, but I don’t run it as often.

What do you think of the changes the way the RPG industry is currently changing, and heading towards more digital products?
Hm. Well, I appreciate that OGL seems to have died. I like that people are innovating again in a major way.
Digital products are fine, but again, the earlier comments about books as a physical object being important to me. One of the biggest pet peeves I have at this point, is Kickstarter being used as pre-sale for large companies, who really don’t need the money. It was started as a way for small business to get their ideas out with little to not start up cash, and it has gotten away from that quite a bit.
ogl-logo (1)What’s next for you?
Hopefully, this Summer, I can get back on the right footing and get PMG re-focused. We want to get our E-Book Kickstarter for Exemplar ready, which means re-tooling our Superpowers section and getting stuff tidied up in the adventure section. I’d like to get Momentum Engine moving towards play test, and that’s really about it for right now.

Do you have any other parting words for all of the gamers out there?
Hm. It sounds a bit goofy at this point, but I always end posts and updates and such with a quote from the Abney Park song, Letters Between A Little Boy And Himself As An Adult, “Never Stop Playing”

Whats that mean to you?
I never really stop thinking about gaming in some way. I always fiddle around with ideas for settings, or characters, things like that. When I play MMOs, I Role Play while playing, even when I’m by myself. The idea of playing is something that we miss out on as adults, and I think that that sense of wonder is needed, and healthy. Just, try and remember what it was like to get a big present when you were little, throw it aside, and pull the box apart to build things with it. That’s playing.  That’s what we’re missing.

DiceShaker D&D short review for Android

Being particularly forgetful, Dice Shaker D&D is an almost essential part of my gaming kit. It is always with me when I have my phone and I have forgotten my dice for a session.

DiceShaker D&D is a 3D RPG dice roller app with realistic graphics and advanced physics. It contains a full set of polyhedral dice for role-playing game sessions.

– d4, d6, d8, d10, d12 and d20 RPG dice, including percentage dice
– shake the phone or tap the screen to roll the dice, or flick the dice individually
– switch between five separate dice screens
– realistic graphics and physics – tilt the phone upside down and the dice fall on the glass
– total score

For a game like D&D, this is a great tool. You can have some dice presets for things like a single d20, a set of dice for your typical damage roll, etc. For games like most Storyteller system games, it can get bogged down. Adding just a handful of d10s will drag the program to a frustrating crawl.

It’s also missing several key features, such as the ability to use d2, d3 and fudge dice, the ability to add modifiers, or the ability to count successes over a threshold again, for Vampire or Exalted systems.

For a newbie RPG player who don’t have much in cash; you’ve got numerous things to buy before you can get started, including handbooks and manuals that can run you up to £50. Like the books, multi-sided dice are an integral part of the game, and a set of 10 standard dice will run you £5.00 it can make the asking price of this app seem reasonable.

There are many other dice rollers on the Android he market, you can even find a couple for free. What individualizes Dice Shaker from the rest , is that it fully renders 3D dice to be thrown on a table and uses the phone’s accelerometer to simulate just that. You can actually pick up your phone and shake it, and the dice will react as if they’ve been thrown. This can also lead to the same familiar frustration as real dice where some of the dice land on edge, however a simple nudge of the phone will soon sort that out.

Flinging your dice gives you a very satisfying sound as they bounce around, which is just another layer of polish to a beautiful app. The fact that numbers are printed on the sides of the rendered dice can eliminate questions of whether the dice rolls are truly random, as they react as any normal set would.

Dice Shaker also, includes three different table tops and seven colors of dice. The dice can be mixed and matched as well, truly allowing for a personalized experience. In order to aid in ease of use during gaming, you also have also five “tables” which can be flicked through like home screens: each save the dice that are placed on them, so you can call upon roll combinations you use often. I personally use this feature a lot for example one page having your characters attack dice then next page having your damage dice.

In the end this is the best 3D dice app I’ve seen for Android, but as far as the potential to become the great Android App app, it’s got a tweaks to make, especially exploding dice support. For storyteller games or Rolemaster.  All in all it is well worth the asking price even for a part time gamer.

This is a brief explanation of the Rifts Rules used in my current gaming group including some house rules. This is not intended as a replacement for the rule book.

There are 8 stats:
IQ, Mental Endurance (ME),
Mental Affinity (MA),
Physical Strength (PS),
Physical Prowess (PP),
Physical Endurance (PE),
Physical Beauty (PB)
Speed (Spd).

IQ Bonus:
Intelligence. Add the bonus to all mental skills (most skills).
ME Bonus:
Willpower and emotional tenacity. Add the bonus to Mind Saves.
MA Bonus:
Charisma. Add the bonus to all social skills
PS Bonus:
Strength. Add the bonus to damage in unarmed and melee combat. The damage bonus also applies to thrown weapons and bows. If PS is greater than 30, see the Strength Table in the Combat section to determine damage.
PP Bonus:
Dexterity. Add to combat rolls other than initiative, saving throws, and damage. Add the bonus to all physical skills.
PE Bonus:
Stamina. Add the bonus to Body saves.
PB Bonus:
Beauty. Add the bonus to all social skills, Cumulative with MA’s skill bonuses.
Spd Bonus:
Quickness. Add the bonus to initiative. (Spd * 5 =max yards run per melee. Spd * .68 = approx. miles per hour.)
Racial Character Class (RCC)
Occupational character class (OCC)

SKILLS (House Rules)
Skills are granted by OCC. Most Classes grant skills. For ambiguous skills, players may apply the bonuses from any ONE stat only. Roll less than the skill percentage on d% to succeed at skill checks. Skill percentages may go above 100%, and may cancel penalties, but rolls of 99-100 automatically fail. Rolls of 01 automatically succeed.

No Skill / Stat Check: (House Rules with my permission)
If a PC attempts something that is not covered by an existing skill, a Stat Check may be made. Multiply the relevant Stat by 3. Roll below that number with percentile dice. The Stat check modifiers may be applied.

High roll always wins. Ties go to defender. All combat rolls except Initiative, Parries, Auto-Dodges, and Damage costs an attack, even if unsuccessful. All combat rolls except damage area d20. Bonuses may apply. Go in order of Initiative.

Initiative is a roll + bonuses. Players spend all attacks at once, one after the other, although players may choose to reserve one or more attack for later (useful for Dodges).Some actions may cause a character to be knocked down. If this happens, the character loses initiative and one attack. Attacks must be defended against. If a character fails to defend against a blow, they receive damage. If the character is wearing armor, then the armor takes all the damage. However, some armor is ineffective against some types of damage. Primitive armors such as padded, leather, and chain are ineffective against firearms and better. Plate armor can defend against handguns and assault rifles, but not against rifles and shotgun slugs. Only advanced, sci-fi armor protects against everything (except some types of magic, psionic, etc.).

A combat round is 15 seconds. At the end of the round, initiative is rolled again, and combat continues until one side is defeated, surrenders, or gets away.

Combat Bonus:
PP Bonus + Class Bonuses (to Strike only) + Hand to Hand (HtH) combat bonus. The Combat Bonus adds to all combat rolls except initiative, saving throws, and damage.

Natural Armor Rating (NAR):
A character must roll a d20, plus bonuses, over an opponent’s NAR to strike. Most human-like characters do not have a NAR, but many monsters and demons and true dragons do.

Basic Maneuvers
All of these use a d20 + all applicable bonuses.

A roll of 4 or less with bonuses misses. A natural 1 is a fumble – there are no specific rules for fumbles; GMs should make them interesting.

A successful parry means the target takes no damage and blocked the strike from hitting (with a shield, sword, hand, etc.).A character may attempt to parry a weapon while empty handed, by blocking the arm or hand of the attacker, but gets no bonuses to do so. Gunshots and energy blasts can be parried with shields, but the shield takes the attack’s full damage. Parries are the primary defensive manoeuvre in combat.

A dodge can be attempted if a parry fails or is impossible. Characters can attempt to dodge virtually anything –gunfire, magical lightening blasts, large volleys of missiles, etc.

The ability to dodge without having to spend an attack. Auto-dodge is a rare ability.

A natural 20 is critical success (crit) and does double damage or exactly what the player was attempting, unless the target rolls a natural 20 to defend. Some hand to hand types extend the crit range at higher levels, but a crit must always be the roll of 20 before bonuses. Sometimes it’s possible to get a “double critical” by rolling a 20 on what would otherwise be considered an automatic crit. In those cases, the attack does triple damage.

Pulled Punch
Rolls are a normal attack roll. The player just has to announce that they’re pulling the punch to do as little damages they wish to. This does not require an extra roll, thus it does not cost an attack.

Shoving one’s opponent. May force a balance check, and may move the enemy or allow the PC to get past an enemy.

Balance Check:
Roll against the skill Sense of Balance to keep from being tripped, knocked over, falling, etc. A balance check does require spending an attack.

If a blow lands or a character was otherwise going to take damage from an explosion or blunt impact, the character may attempt to “roll with the blow”. If the character roles as high as or higher than the attack roll, then the character “rolls with the blow” and only takes half damage. If the strike was an attempted knock out or death strike, the blow does standard damage, and the target is still conscious. Attempting to “roll with it” can be made after a failed parry or even a failed dodge.

Called Shot:
A character may attempt to strike an opponent in a specific spot, perhaps where they have no armor. Called Shots are considered Difficult, so they have a -3 or -6 to strike. If the character misses the Called Shot, they miss the target entirely.

Simultaneous Attack
Rolls are made with a d20 + bonuses. In this case, the defender chooses to attack instead of defend. The attacker does not get to defend either, unless he chooses to forgo his planned attack, and switches to a dodge. If that doesn’t happen, both combatants roll an attack with bonuses as normal. Chances are that both attacks will strike.

Advanced Maneuvers
Anyone can attempt these. All of these use a d20. All of these cost an attack. Bonuses only apply if the character has Advanced Combat, OR if he is using a weapon he has a WP in that Is designed for the maneuver (staffs to trip/throw, net or lasso to entangle, sword breaker to break a sword, etc).

May be attempted as an attack or while defending if in hand to hand or melee combat. An Entangle consists of grabbing or somehow locking up an opponent’s limb, appendage, or weapon. As a defensive maneuver, it prevents the blow from landing if successful. When used as a defense, the defender must roll above the opponent’s attack roll. An entangled limb or weapon can be freed with a successful attack roll. If it’s not freed on the next attack (which receives normal bonuses), it automatically becomes a grappled limb unless released by the attacker; (see Wrestling and Grappling).

An attempt to disarm or break an opponent’s weapon.

The Crazy Stuff:
Shooting people while doing aerial acrobatics; parrying arrows barehanded; jumping onto a glitter boy, running up its arm to the shoulder, and firing point blank into its sensors with a sawed-off, pistol grip shotgun… Characters can try it, but it gets a combat modifier as either
Difficult -3 or Heroic -6 Lunatic -10 Suicidal -15

Rifts Review

Its been almost a whole year since I’ve submitted any new posts,  I do have a personal goal of reviewing at least a small amount of book that I have sitting on my shelf. I am known to some of my friends as a Palladium Fan-boy so this review may seem someone biased but I will try to remain objective.


I fist started playing rifts as one of my first RPGS when I was around 14 years old, having previously learnt about role playing from the Palladium Fantasy game and have since collect a large collection of its various expansions and spin off books some of which can be seen in the above photo.

Some of the following information has been taken from many online resources including Wikipedia and Palladium books own information.

Rifts is a multiple genre role playing game created by Kevin Simbieda in August 1990 and published continuously by Palladium Books since then. Rifts takes place in a post-apocalyptic future, deriving elements from cyberpunk, Sci Fi, fantasy and many other genres. It is often referred to the kitchen sink of genres.

The Setting

The foundations for the Rifts world were originally developed in Beyond the Supernatural, which uses Lovecraft storytelling techniques for a role-playing experience based on horror fiction

The Rifts world is Earth, but hundreds of years into the future. Magic energy exists, and is called potential psychic energy (PPE). PPE can be found in certain places, objects, and animals, but one of its greatest sources is human beings. While this has a variety of applications, upon a human’s death, the energy is doubled, and then released into the surrounding environment. Ley Lines, lines of magic energy, intersect the earth forming supernatural areas such as the Bermuda Triangle.


In Rifts, points where ley lines intersect, called a nexus, are places of powerful magic, such as the Pyramids of Giza and Stonehenge. If a ley line nexus grows very strong, the very fabric of space and time can be torn thus creating a rift, a hole in space-time leading to another place, time or a new or parallel dimension. Ley Lines are normally invisible, but in the magic-saturated world of Rifts Earth, they become visible at night as massive bands of blue-white energy half a mile wide, and stretching for many miles. If the PPE nearby is extremely strong the Ley Lines could be seen during the day too.

Rifts history first begins with, that there will be a golden age of humanity with tremendous advances in science, technology, military, and society. Humanity as a whole will get along as a majority of Earth’s nations decide to stop a world war and begin to share ideas and technology freely. Much of the solar system will be conquered, humanity’s wars will end, and harmony will reign.

Second, this golden age will be followed by an apocalyptic nuclear war that starts with a border incursion by NEMA (North American Economic Military Alliance, comprising Canada, The U.S., and Mexico) forces in South America during the year 2098. The special circumstances of Earth’s mystic position in the Universe at that changes what would “normally” be the deaths of a few million living beings into a psychic energy flood that triggers the eruption of ley lines and triggering natural disasters across the world and also causes the return of Atlantis which raised the water levels causing even more death. The additional deaths in turn releases even more mystic energy in a vicious cycle.

Ultimately, the psychic energy of billions of human beings dying nearly simultaneously, multiplied by the mystic alignments mentioned earlier, energized the ley line networks crisscrossing the globe and caused many rifts to open, both on Earth and throughout the Megaverse – while simultaneously ripping untold numbers of alien beings from their own homeworlds and alerting the Great Powers of the Megaverse of a new planet to conquer.

Many creatures, both mythical beasts and alien beings, come through the Rifts – some of them now permanently opened – to wreak havoc.

The old world is gone, a new dark age has dawned and humanity’s shrinking population is reduced, due to catastrophe and domestic failure, immeasurably.

Rifts game play takes place roughly 300 years after this event, described as 103 P.A., or “Post-Apocalypse”, a calendar established at the formation of the Coalition States.

This is equivalent to the year 2389, according to the New German Republic. Although different story lines may begin before or after, such as with the invasion of Chi-Town by the Federation of Magic (before) or as the Four Horsemen appear in Africa (after), most of the series “World Books” are described with a kind of snapshot of 103-109 P.A. In the latest World Books, the current date is around 110 P.A. (2396).

By this time, most of the disasters have quieted down, though Earth is still bathed in the released PPE. The planet’s mystical energy has added untold numbers of alien beings from other dimensions, who continue to arrive through the Rifts both accidentally and deliberately. These creatures include humanoid Dimensional Beings (called D-Bees).

Some are familiar fantasy races, such as elves and dwarfs, others have never before been seen before. Also now sharing the planet are monstrous creatures and mystical demons with hides as strong as tank armor.  The most powerful are the Alien Intelligence’s  Lovecraftian, living mountains of flesh, lidless eyes and wriggling tentacles with great supernatural powers. In some rare cases, even the ancient gods of mythology have returned to reclaim their former lands.

To cope with these natural, supernatural, and alien menaces, the human race has tried to change in a variety of ways, many of them borrowed from the technological developments of the lost Golden Age.

Augmentation of the human body has become common with three basic categories: the “Juicers” do it chemically, the “Borgs” do it mechanically, and the “Crazies” make use of performance-enhancing brain implants.

Another popular theme used by humans to combat the dangers of Rifts Earth are powered armor suits, and giant robot vehicles or Mechs.

Some turn to other means to become “more” than human. Magic abounds on Rifts Earth, and many people turn to the magical arts. Others form pacts with alien intelligence’s or deities in exchange for great magical knowledge, almost always becoming pawns of the beings they dared turn to for power.

Still others discover that they have great psionic potential, and dedicate their lives to discovering the abilities of their own minds.

The Book

There are numerous editions; the one I currently looking at is, 256page , double column typical of Palladium Books, very well perfect bound that has taken years of abuse without pages falling out.

It has a  table of contents but no index.

The black and white art is excellent and is often cited as the reason some people buy these books. There are also some full-color plates which have a couple of very nice examples by Kevin Parkinson. who also illustrated the famous cover.

The organisation of the book and unfortunately a lot of other rifts books  is haphazard and clunky organization; it starts off sensibly enough with character generation, but then moves into skills and combat before character classes. Psionic and magical abilities are described after setting information.

Character Creation

Character gen is familiar to anyone who has played any other Palladium game.  Roll 3d6 for 8 attributes; if you roll a 16, 17, or 18, roll another 1d6. This can lead to some very unbalanced parties, however this can lead to some interesting character concepts.

Hit points  are directly derived from Physical Endurance, plus 1d6 per level. In addition to hit points there is Structural Damage Capacity (SDC), which ranges from 3d6 to 1d4*10 depending on character class. Damage is applied to SDC before hit points;

In Rifts, most weapons do mega-damage, where 1 MDC is the equivalent of 100 SDC .

In most games I have played it ie extremely rare to see  an SDC based character  using MDC armor and weapons is the only level that a character has any chance of staying alive.

This is a class-based system, specifically “Racial Character Classes” and “Occupational Character Classes”, one per character. This includes a range of cyborgs, juicers, various magic-using professions, and perhaps the most iconic class the Glitter Boy.

The classes range from Terminator style cyborgs to Ray Mears Wilderness survival guys .

The System

Rifts comes with a huge list of skills, split into the groups of Communications, Domestic, Electrical, Espionage, Mechanical, Medical, Military, Pilot, Rogue, Science, Technical, Weapon Proficiency  and Wilderness. With a roll-under percentage system for resolution

The  skill choices available are suited to the setting however the skills themselves can sometimes seem to be placed in the wrong grouping which can lead to some searching back and forth through the book during character creation.

The combat system in Rifts is based on rounds, with a d20 roll for initiative, and a to-hit roll versus the armor rating (AR) of the opponent, with a 1-4 representing a clean miss. The defender may respond with a parry, dodge, or entangle.

If the defender fails the attacker rolls damage, with critical strikes (natural 20) doing double damage.

The Magic

There is a huge list psionic powers which cost ISP (Inner Strength Points) to activate. ISPs are recovered by sleep and meditation.  In addition to psionics there are 150 spells, differentiated by class level (one to fifteen). Spells are powered by Potential Psychic Energy, which can be derived from ley lines, living creatures.

The End

Overall, there is much to like Rifts. The system is know as clunky at times and most game will involve some serious amount of house ruling. The setting is by far my favorite of all the games I own and can lead to some very interesting games. The system itself is compatible  with what would probably amount to hundreds of book and is compatible with all the other Palladium line up which means you can Have your Glitter boy rubbing noses with a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, or battling a Super Powered Villains from Heroes Unlimited. The list is truly endless.

The writing in this book certainly shows a lot of passion from Kevin a style which is evident in all his books, however there are a multitude of typos and errata. This can lead to frustrating read, but in the end it will be well worth the work being able to play with this amazing setting and you will enjoy some truly unforgettable games.