Welcome back to Edition Wars:Rifts where we are serving up the second of the four new characters as we explore how Rifts has changed over the Editions and years. This week, I’m presenting Capaneus, the Mind Melter! When I was splitting the party up to cover more literal and figurative ground, I knew that the DeeCee questing side of it would need some sort of esoteric powerhouse since the mage had fallen to the dark side. I toyed with the idea of the Mystic from the Core Book, but the bombastic Mind Melter started taking over so I went with the inevitable core rulebook master psionic! I looked at some of the expansion books, but I didn’t feel like a Druid from World Book 3: England fit and I have a true Atlantean coming in on the other team, so I decided to go deeper into the psychic side of the powers.
Rifts had always included the great and terrifying power of the Mind Melters and the heavy use of psionics is something that set it apart from other similar games, creating a third pillar along with magic and technology as a power source. The original CRB lacked as much depth of choice, but the ultimate edition included a vastly expanded list of powers. Even moreso than a spell caster I feel let’s you make a specialized character.
To start with our stat rolls, we have IQ – 11, ME – 16, MA – 17, PS – 14, PP – 15, PE – 15, PB – 16, and Spd – 17. WIth our bonus rolls, the M.E. becomes 22, the M.A. becomes 19, the P.B. becomes 19, and the Spd. becomes 18 before we apply the potential bonuses from physical skills. Aside from being of average intellect, our Mind Melter is a rather exceptional young man.Considering that I ended up giving him the name of Capaneus, this shouldn’t shock you much. Rifts also includes Structural Damage Capacity, or S.D.C., to reflect non-life threatening injuries and unless otherwise noted, Ultimate Edition characters start with 12+2d6.
- Mind Melter Bonuses – There are a number of bonuses for being a Mind Melter including initiative bonuses, perception roll bonuses, additional resistance in the form of savings throw bonuses against mental possession, mind control, magical illusions, and horror factor, as well as some bonuses to combat.
- Psionics – Vast Psionic Might. The entire point of being a Mind Melter is for the vast psionic powers. With 3d6x10 + M.E., we have a starting I.S.P., or Inner Strength Points that fuel the psionic powers in the Palladium Megaversal system, of 142! Additionally, even at First level, a Mind Melter has three psionic powers from each of the four categories – Physical, Healing, Sensitive, and Super. Additionally, all Mind Melters display the powers of Alter Aura, Mind Block, See Aura, and Sixth Sense. I think I am going to take Capaneus in the direction of an ESPer and force manipulator, so starting Psionics are: Healing – Bio-Regenerate (Self), Healing Touch, and Detect Psionics; Physical – Impervious to Poison, Levitate, and Telekinesis; Sensitive – Sense Magic, Sense Evil, and Telepathy; Super – Telekinetic Force Field (Because it’s what you need to stay alive), Telekinesis (Super), and Group Mind Block. Keeping both TK and TK(Super) gives some greater flexibility and there are bonuses in TK for using it for fine control that are not replicated under TK (Super). This provides utility for the party & player as well as giving us a way to move into something more spectacular as the levels increase.
- Skills – This is the only place where there were significant changes between the original Rifts CRB and the Rifts Ultimate Edition – Mind Melters got more skills! While starting with a handful of languages maintained the same, as well as a pair of piloting skills (Jet Pack & Bicycle for Carpaneus here), the Ultimate Edition also provided Streetwise, Basic Math, Land Navigation, a Weapon Proficiency, and Hand to Hand Basic. This makes a pretty big difference since only 6 Other Skills and 6 Secondary Skills are available. As far as Other skills, I started with Lore: Psychics and Psionics because of the prideful nature I see in Carpaneus, but that got balanced with his deep seated insecurity and fear so he does know Prowl for how to sneak around. His love of the finer things in life has led him to Appraise, while his generally good nature and youthful time spent running in the wreckage of pre-cataclysm cities adds Excavation, Spelunking, and Fire Fighting. He knows how to use his powers to the greatest good in a civil engineering way, which does not help his overfed ego. As far as secondary skills, he gets another Appraise there to add at least passing familiarity with Magical items, Dancing, Performance, and Wardrobe all play into his affectation of the finer things while climbing was necessary to really use Spelunking. Sometimes, he has to try not to use all of his Vast Psychic Might!
- Gear and Armor – This is quick and simple. Mind Melters, like spell casters in Rifts, don’t rely on a lot of gear and weapons but instead lean heavily on their psychic powers which will get to a longer and longer list shortly! Without diving too deeply through all of the different source books and world books, the best overall light armor in my opinion is the Urban Warrior at 50 M.D.C. with only a -5% penalty for movement. It was the Crusader, but they fixed that to be a heavy armor in the Ultimate Edition. A handful of general gear options later, including the Wilks Jet Pack, and an Energy Pistol, the classic and unremarkable WIlks 320, and Carpaneus is done!
Looking at Page 296-298 of the Rifts Ultimate Edition book, here are the results of the Optional random tables to round out the character:
- Birth Order: Second Born;
- Weight: Average ;
- Height: Average;
- Disposition: Arrogant. Confident and self assured to the point that he feels his the best at what he does. LIkes to take charge and direct others whether they appreciate it or not. May underestimate others;
- Family Origin: Earth native. Character is human;
- Type of Environment: Old Town `Burbs, a prosperous, upper-middle class city or town. Minimal hardship or ethnic diversity;
- Sentiments towards Coalition: Sad about the CS. The character has seen soldiers defy orders to do the right thing and recognizes the CS has done many good things for many humans. Its potential for good is tremendous, but believes Emperor Prosek and the government that serves his are evil. They are the ones responsible for the crimes the Coalition has committed against others. Suspicious and cautious about the CS.
- Sentiments towards Non-Humans: Has found that D-Bees are just people too and treats them the same as anybody else. Suspicious of dragons, creatures of magic, and supernatural beings.
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 – Primarily, the bonus against Horror factor increases as does the amount of Inner Strength Points. After that, there is a bevy of additional psionic powers to choose.
- Psionic Powers – 16 more powers are able to be chosen in advancing to 7th level, and each level has some requirements such as 6 of these must come from the Physical, Sensitive, or Healer Categories and 4 must come from the Super Category, with the remaining 6 from any of the categories, but we will probably lean heavily on Super Psionics. In the ESPer side of things with his concept, I look for powers such as Clairvoyance, Astral Projection, See the Invisible, Mask I.S.P. and Presence Sense. The Super power of Psionic Omni Sight, that allows for intense and heightened immediate sensory rolls is also a perfect tuning into the area around him moment. Electrokinesis, Hydrokinesis, and Pyrokinesis make appearances because I like the image of wielding and using these fundamental and elemental aspects of the world. They each have a host of sub abilities that I didn’t write onto the character sheet but that allow the manipulation, manifestation, and understanding of those elements. The Psychic Body Field is a specialized TK force field that he can throw onto himself and then throw the force field around something else while Hypnotic Suggestion and Bio-Manipulation really deepen his ability to bend weak wills to his mind. This area is one where the update to the Ultimate Edition shines – the additional psionic powers give a lot of leeway and flexibility that didn’t exist in the original version, even if the number of powers each Mind Melter receives stays the same!
- Skill Advancements – Mind Melters do not get many skills, and so the only additional Other skill I am giving Carpaneus is Magic Lore. Yes, I know I’ve given that to others and for the same reasons, but it also makes sense so just let the story control here. In Secondary skills, about the same time as the psionic Total Recall power is being added, Literacy and Calligraphy are selected. As haughty as Carpaneus is, I see these things going together well as he learns not only to read, but to write in a florid and pretty manner and indelibly etch what he reads into his mind. At 6th level, I added Gambling and Post-Apocalyptic History. Pastimes being what they are, Gambling is something he would enjoy especially among the soldiers as a way to bond with them while the History of how Tolkeen and the Coalition States got to this state is worth exploring.
- Gear Additions – For gear, I don’t think there is much I am going to change. I have given other characters Technowizard items, I don’t have the Psyscape World Book yet to explore for psionic gear, and Mind Melters generally make use of the dozens of psionic powers moreso. I will upgrade the Jetpack to be one with a nuclear lifespan as a reward and maybe he’ll grab some new armor as well, but for the most part he is a low gear character floating through the air like he doesn’t really care probably using his telekinesis to keep mosquitoes off of him.
No one is sure when the powers of the mind started awakening … at least no one who has shared that knowledge with Capaneus and he is thirsty for that knowledge. It set him apart early and gave him a purpose that not everybody shares in this crazy and hectic world he calls home. It could have been a mostly quiet life, as the child of a family that had managed to be as well off as they can, selling off the stake in the mines before he was born meant enough credit to have a better life. Nobody was ever truly safe from the predations of the world gone mad, but a nice roof, a comfortable bed, food was never an issue, is about as easy a life as one could want. It also makes younger brothers incredibly bored.
Sure, the mines were still there and he could go explore parts and pieces of them, but he never had to work them and come back tired and sore. He was better than them. He was better than his brother, why couldn’t everyone just admit it. Sure, they gave him a wide breadth – between being a complete arrogant jerk and the fact that his family wasn’t completely without influence in the burb it just made sense to let him be. Life might have gone on like that, if it were not for the unlikeliest of events in a mine – a cave in!
The will of the gods, or the powers that be, magic raining down destruction, or whatever caused the freak storm that shattered the ground and caused the cave-in forever set Capaneus on his future path. He saw his brother and miners crushed beneath the mines collapsing rock … and instead of fear he felt fury. The righteous fury of one who will defy nature and he reached out to stop the remaining rocks from falling. His telekinetic power had broken through his complacency and he saved everyone he could. It was too late for his brother’s legs, but he healed him as best he could. He heard the minds of the people around him – praising him, fearing him in equal measure. And it felt good.
He took a new name, from the mind of the Scholar in the town – Capaneus who shook his fist at the gods and was possessed of a singular arrogance. He liked it. It also meant that when he would anger people in the future, his family wouldn’t be caught in the crosshairs of retribution. He knew it was time to leave. His brother’s crushed legs and wounds, though stabilized, left little for him to hold on to. His parents always favored him, anyway. He wouldn’t know that his brother became a Combat `Borg, never able to trust his weak body again and not possessing the unique powers of Capaneus’ mind. He spent time away from home, the one tragedy costing their parents the entire future of their children, but his is a story for another time along with Mikal’s brother.
Capaneus managed to continue to defy the odds and the heavens with his powers and his fortunes, but it wasn’t until he was wrapped up in the fight against the Mechanoids that he realized he could and should do more. He knew of the Coalition, but had never seen how they would grind his own kind under their boot, but the psychic powers of the ravening horde of extradimensional cyborgs gave him pause. The planet survived, and he left that area of the eastern coast, but knew he needed to apply himself to better the world for all those less fortunate than he is. SO he made his way slowly towards Tolkeen as the Coalition advanced. Along the way, he fought on both sides, saving Coalition soldiers from the evils unleashed by Tolkeen, but fighting against those soldiers who followed the Proseks’ unwaveringly.
By the time he made it, the fight was nearly done, but he did find interesting companions. Seeing this F’arlun turn on his friends, and seeing T-Ball go down not unlike his own brother’s injuries. Audacious protected her the way that he hadn’t been able to protect his brother, and so he decided to accompany them back East, where he had just come from never knowing that what T-Ball and Lady Siegline seek bears a connection to what brought the Mechanoids to Earth or whether he will reach too far in his rebelliousness. For now, “It amuses me so to watch and help these people.”
Edition Wars: Rifts overview Here.
Carpaneus Ultimate Edition
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