Welcome back to the Card Catalog Edition Wars: Rifts series! We are taking some of our existing Card Catalog Rifts characters and advancing them into a new edition of the Rifts game to see how they compare and to advance their personal sotries in the world timeline. Mikal’s rework and advancement also let me begin to work in some of the lore changes or additions – the Nemians the the Republicans are given much greater depth in the revised Rifts Sourcebook One where they are tied much more completely into the saga or A.R.C.H.I.E. 3 and the Rifts world itself, but they are mostly here as a macguffin for this quartet of characters to seek out.
First, I will work to translate the Wilderness Scout, Mikal, from our first Rifts write up to the updated Ultimate Edition. Then, I will take Mikal up to 7th level to simulate the years that have passed and put some more levels behind him since running around with the pack. Go back and read the original write-up here and come back to see how the Wilderness Scout changed, and how Mikal’s sheet changed with it.
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.
For the most part, the Wilderness Scout kept the same O.C.C. skills you would expect in the edition update. That made it an easy start, and as with other O.C.C.s, the Scout received some special abilities in addition to attribute bonuses: Trailblazing, Cross Country Pacing, and Cartography. These make sense in providing the Wilderness Scout the opportunity to not only travel outside the “civilized” areas of the Rifts earth, but also to provide a service as a courier or explorer giving them a clear role to fill in the world. Sadly, though, the skills for the Wilderness Scout were cut down in the Ultimate Edition, removing one from the Other skills, and four from the Secondary skills!
As already mentioned, there were some changes to the Secondary Skill availability so first I removed anything that wouldn’t be allowed under the rules, and still had a pair of skills left. I decided to let them become the advancement secondary skills just to make things easier on me!
While I have picked up the book with robo horses, I kept Mikal with his Hovercycle piloting just so that he can stay a bit consistent across the editions.
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.
- Skills: As far as additional skills, I add Lore: Demons and Monsters to the list of Other skills and then History: Post Apocalyptic Earth. The former from his repeated forays against them bolstered from his time before and then during the Tolkeen Siege and the latter what he picked up from his time around mages, scholars, and other mystics. He still has a sharp mind and a thirst for knowledge so this gives him a better background in my opinion. I kept the Play Musical Instrument and Pilot: Truck Secondary skills having moved them to the advancement list when the skill totals were cut back.
- Equipment & Armor: Gear has some improvements as well, as for all characters, but Mikal’s isn’t as significant. First, the armor received an upgrade as nearly all armor did in the new edition. I replaced the Huntsman with the Bushmaster which is a medium armor that will provide better protection, and a seconda suit that is the Bushmaster Trooper – same style, but heavier, that he got while in the active war zone against the Coalition. While he lost his original Hovercycle, the new Northern Gun Hovercycle he picked up more than makes up for it. Also, he now has Audacious’ old JA-11 Rifle. He may not be a Juicer, but his friend’s life keeps going by having it in his hands. This isn’t the most damaging or possibly efficient set of gear advancements, but it makes sense for Mikal and in the group with T-Ball and Lady Sieglinde, he isn’t really needing to be a heavy damage dealer so he can sit back and fire away with his arrows or rifles.
Mikal had never known what it was like to be alone. As a twin, even when he was hundreds and hundreds of miles away, he knew that he was not alone. Now Piter is gone – another casualty of the Coalition Campaign of Unity and the Tolkeen descent into madness. Piter always cared about people more, and when the Coalition went to war, he left Lazlo and as a Body Fixer was readily welcomed into Tolkeen during the war effort.
Mikal didn’t know this … he had spent his time with T-Ball and this “Pack” running from Iron Heart, exploring the world, and only then being sucked into the Campaign of Unity and the Sorcerer’s Revenge. Fighting against the Coalition was a simple choice in the beginning. He had seen Iron Heart and others take their actions against the D-Bees he grew up with and the inhumanity with which they proclaimed and preached their own. On the road, he heard stories of the Nemians, and the Republicans who sprang from them to the East but couldn’t pay them any mind. He was caught in the fog of war, and hadn’t realized just how far gone he and his friends were until the Tolkeen forces, enhanced and fortified with demons and monsters themselves took out their revenge through magic and power against the Coalition and the innocents who just had no place else to be safe.
He saw F’arlum snap, and shot his own friend to save the rest. He saw the hatred and anger in F’arlum’s eyes, and it left him shaken. He was still shaken when the Coalition patrol found them and it was only Audacious’ sacrifice that snapped him out of it. The Juicer was an interesting fellow – fatalistic as Juicers often are, but hopeful. He had to do something. With Piter’s death, Audacious’ sacrifice, and the world on the brink of collapse, he knew that the idea of the Republicans could be an answer – someone who would stand against the Coalition. This legend had to be explored, and had to be found. T-Ball needed a break as well, and they were joined by Lady Sieglinde who also sought redemption, and Capaneus for reasons best left to his own. While Annie & Jorj took other new companions the opposite direction, Mikal hopes they find the past they seek while he tries to look towards the future.