Edition Wars – Rifts: T-Ball

May 29, 2019

This part of Edition Wars: Rifts will translate the T-Ball from the original edition to the Ultimate Edition, making any necessary changes along the way and also then we will advance her a few levels up to Level 7 because it is fun to see the characters grow.  Go back and read the original write-up here and come back to see how the Headhunter changed, and how T-Ball’s sheet changed with it.

Design Notes

As we mentioned in the overview, the different O.C.C.s, or Occupational Character Classes, received some significant updates as well as some new ones being added to the new Rifts Ultimate Edition.  It also would reference the proliferation of World Books and Sourcebooks that expand the options exponentially. I’ve picked up a few choice ones so I’ll link to the Drive Thru RPG Affiliate links for them as I mention them.

Kevin Siembieda took the chance in the Headhunter entry to clarify that he always intended that O.C.C. to be the partial conversion cyborgs and that the Headhunters in his conception were after an edge through the cybernetics and bionics.  That is made much clearer in the Ultimate Edition, including a sidebar from Kevin about it. The Ultimate Edition of Rifts has a lot of notes from him about the design and choices made.

First, the Headhunter has some additional bonuses in the new Edition including bonuses to P.S., P.E., Initiative, and Horror Factor.  I’ll add those in to the Character Sheet, but they seem to reflect the idea of the hardy and tough mercenary. Additionally, the Headhunter has a special ability to Find Contraband specifically for technology and focused on bionics and cybernetics.  There is a now a skill “Find Contraband” but this is specific and tailored to the cybernetics and Black Market weapons and when coupled with the special ability of Contacts allowing the Headhunter to develop a network of contacts for dealers and smugglers, you see this creating a strong roleplaying development and the flavor of the class.   

With the addition of dozens of books and the full adoption of rifts bringing in characters from all the other Palladium games and worlds, the list of skills expanded significantly.  Many of the O.C.C.s saw an increase in available skills to go along with that. Headhunters O.C.C. skills added Recognize Weapon Quality & Wilderness Survival. While the Other skills didn’t change in amount and options much, the Secondary Skills required me to make some changes to convert T-Ball over.  Secondary skills have a specific list to choose from, not tied to the same limits as the Other skills anymore, so I switched a pilot skill from the O.C.C. selection to the Secondary skills and am losing Streetwise in its entirety. In its place, I’ll pick up General Repair and Maintenance for upkeep on her gear and also replace the Literacy added to the O.C.C. skills with Jury Rig to make her more clearly a slap dash tinkerer.  

Starting gear stays mostly the same, but in the advancement part, we will provide some increased and enhanced gear for T-Ball over the past 6 levels to keep her State of the Art.  The most notable change for equipment is that as a partial conversion `borg, T-Ball will have some of the heavy Cyborg Armor to use which is a definite heavy duty bit of protection.

While the starting amount of cybernetic and bionic parts is pretty close, I am going to be adding additional enhancements with the added experience levels.  I am keeping the NG Samson even though some better powered armor suits exist for continuity.

Advancement Notes

Advancement in Palladium is a straightforward affair as a level and class based system. The main improvements that occur are in the skill percentages and Hit Point increases. Additionally, as a character advances, additional skills may be learned as both the Other Skills and Secondary Skills, though they start at 1st level when they are acquired. There is some expectation that gear and equipment will also increase in power, especially as the books that come out do have better equipment, but there is not a mechanical measure of the “level” of equipment like some other games.

  • Class Bonuses – T-Ball gets additional bonuses to Initiative and to save against Horror Factor in addition to the advancement of the Find Contraband and the expectation that they will have role played their way into Contacts.
  • Skills Advancements – In addition to the additional percent of competence for the existing skills, T-Ball gets an additional O.C.C. Related Skill at levels 3 and 6 as well as 2 additional Secondary Skills at levels 3 and 6.  Headhunters are not skill heavy, but the chance for additional skills is one of the most important character choices for a Rifts character. As the number of Military skills available have increased greatly, I am going to look there for the O.C.C. Related skills.  With her background as being Ishpeming Military, Military Etiquette should probably be added and after the time in the midst of the Tolkeen War, or the Coalition War of Unity, Field Armorer seems a sound choice to have learned. For her Secondary Skills, she was learning some Basic Math to be a better rounded individual and to make sure that the Computer Operation skill she had worked and picked up some D-Bee Lore at 3rd level.  By the time the War was done, she had also picked up Public Speaking as she was expected to be a leader and Lore:Magic.
  • Equipment & Armor: For Headhunters, the gear improvement will be a lot of the fun! First, the Light Espionage Borg Armor is a much heavier suit of M.D.C. armor, though still not near the Samson Powered Armor T-Ball still prefers. Also, I am going to add some more cybernetic parts to reflect the `borg part of the Headhunter and to add to her recovery from the story/plot points As the Rifts set of sourcebooks expanded, the amount of gear available increased exponentially including some of my favorite books like Rifts: Mercenaries and the Rifts: Triax books. As I’ve advanced the Pack here past the Coalition War of Unity, and to a mid-level group, I wanted to add some better gear. First, the Samson powered armor seems a bit underpowered as an infantry suit after the Triax SuperTrooper and new Coalition suits that were published, but thats her Elite piloting skill. Instead of abandoning it, she has managed to get a Narauni force field generator installed from the Rifts: Mercenaries book which adds better M.D.C. for her.  Similarly, the Naruni Plasma Cartridge weapons pack great bang for your buck and that will be replacing the TX-16 as well as adding the larger Northern Gun Laser Rifle & Grenade Launcher. It is similar to the Super Laser pistol & Grenade Launcher which T-Ball is keeping partially because of her fondness for NG products.
  • Cybernetics: Adding additional cybernetic components will help bring home and I’ll work it into the story advancing here as well.  By adding some additional cybernetics, we up the Partial borg design decision and give more spots to add some enhancements to the cyborg parts like the new Cyberlegs and concealed weapon rod. There are some other changes on the character sheet linked below that I’ll recommend you look at.

Character Notes

T-Ball still isn’t sure how she got to where she is.  After being chased by Iron Heart, and getting through some misadventures with the rest of her “Pack”, the Coalition’s War of Unity began in earnest.  Despite having handed over the plans from Iron Heart to Ishpeming, it was clear that Northern Gun and its client state were not getting involved. She had to leave behind some new friends they made because there was no way to let the Coalition steamroll over Tolkeen and expand its influence – she had seen too much of their machinations from Iron Heart. It wasn’t enough.

Tolkeen fell, as we all know, but not without revealing that it too had succumbed to the allure of war.  Demons and summoned creatures were not the only monsters from Tolkeen as the Sorcerer’s Revenge showed. She saw F’arlum slipping away, but it was in the aftermath of the torture and loss of those innocents, coalition citizens or not, that his descent was apparent.  The fight itself was brief, but intense as F’arlum lashed out against his old friends, being driven off only to see the Coalition Scouts take aim. It was Audacious’ actions that saved T-Ball. He took the brunt of the grenade that would have killed her, a wry smile confirming to himself that he got his blaze of glory as the plasma ignited. She lost her legs, but what is a headhunter without metal parts anyway. Her pack came out of it alright, having already picked up stragglers in the war like Augustus, and Ozzy, but it was Lady Sieglinde that arrived also leaving the Tolkeen fall that saved them that day. Disillusioned in herself but not her calling, Lady Sieglinde found herself saving the Pack.

With the Coalition’s strength consolidating, Free Quebec still allied, and even her beloved Ishpeming within the Coalition’s sphere, T-Ball wanted to look for allies starting with the legendary Republicans that lived somewhere near the DeeCee area. It worked out well, since Annie and Jorj were heading toward Lone Star to look deeper into the secrets of the Dog Boys and those other mutant animals they saw in the war.  The aloof shifter Augustus and Hulking but nimble Minotaur Gunslinger Ozzy went with them. Lady Sieglinde and the Mind Melter, Capaneus , joined her and Mikal. Mikal needed to leave as well and let his brother’s death mean something. A Body Fixer that tried to save so many was caught in this war where nobody could win.

Letting Lady Sieglinde be the leader of this group, exploring the eastern coast, is good for T-Ball, maybe letting her be more of Theresa again. She is providing tactical advice and skills, while facing the opposite of Lady Sieglinde – she has lost faith in her calling, but still knows she is as sharp as ever.

Rifts: Edition Wars overview here

T-Ball Ultimate Edition Character Sheet

Original T-Ball entry here.

Palladium Books, Rifts, The Mechanoids, The Mechanoid Invasion, and Megaverse are registered trademarks owned and licensed by Kevin Siembieda. Mega-damage, M.D.C., S.D.C., P.P.E., Triax, Xiticix, Splugorth, Erin Tarn, Victor Lazlo, and their likenesses, The Palladium Role-Playing Game, Heroes Unlimited, Beyond the Supernatural, Ninjas & Superspies, and other titles and are trademarks owned by Kevin Siembieda.
Any brief excerpts and descriptions of the contents of the book are done for review purposes through the fan creation of example characters.  No claim of ownership is intended or implied to the copywritten and trademarked works and marks.
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