Okay, this has been a bit delayed, and I apologize. Sometimes, the off line life gets pretty busy and intense. So apologies for these not going up as quickly, but we will finish out the Rifts Edition Wars series and keep moving soon! I know it took an extra month but we will get these out and get the next few ones in the can to get it ready! For now, we will continue to roll around with the Rifts: Edition Wars we have going, and the delay managed to be between the halves of the Pack!
This part of Edition Wars: Rifts will translate Annie, our Dog Boy escapee of the Coalition States and communications expert, from the original edition to the Ultimate Edition, making any necessary changes along the way and then show advancement up to Level 7. First, I would recommend you go back and reread the original write up and how we got Annie designed before proceeding. Okay, back now?
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.
The Dog Boy was noted as more like an O.C.C. than an R.C.C. as the mutant dogs could learn other occupations which several sourcebooks had added. The Dog Boy class is still the default for the ones who came out of the Coalition breeding and training so I will keep Annie with the same class, even if something more like a military specialist would be fun to change to.
- Class Bonuses – Most of the class bonuses remain the same between Editions but the Ultimate Edition adds additional specified bonuses for certain Saving Throws. This matches up with the Ultimate Edition generally having a more granular set of Saving Throws for different purposes so that the question of psychic possession is different than the regular save against psionics. The Dog Boy receives the same psychic abilities and range as originally introduced so no changes needed there.
- Skills – 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 while others saw decreases or a rebalancing. The Dog Boys overall lost one O.C.C. skill – Weapon Systems – and had the Hand to Hand combat downgraded from Martial Arts to Expert. Additionally, while there is the same number of Related or Other Skills, the categories to choose from have changed so we will have to see whether we can keep all of our skills on Annie. Dog Boys did lose two Secondary skills in the switch over, and as we’ve already noted in previous characters, the list of available Secondary skills shifted a bit between editions. To make the adjustment, I first decided to keep a few skills in her Secondary list by shifting them into the Level 2 advancement skills since W.P. Blunt and Athletics are available as Secondary Skills to maintain some consistency between builds. In losing one additional language, I drop the Dragonese and keep with American and Techno-Can considering the conception of Annie from the original build. The other Secondary skills are still available though W.P. Revolver has been combined with W.P. Automatics for W.P. Handguns here.
- Equipment – Starting gear stays mostly the same but as always, advancing levels means probably improving your gear and the new books since we first built the character may provide some fantastic options! I am keeping the Hovercycle piloting because I like that image and have some ideas for it moving forward.
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 – The various psychic powers and bonuses for the Dog Boy are increased and reflected on the character sheet like the improved ability to sense the supernatural and use the tracking abilities. It is notable that the Dog Boy doesn’t get a vastly increased number of Psionic powers, but just continually gets better with their existing powers to track and identify magic and psionic creatures and powers.
- Skill Advancements – In addition to the additional percent of competence for the existing skills, Annie gets an additional O.C.C. Related Skill at levels 3 and 6 as well as 2 additional Secondary Skills at levels 2 and 4. I already mentioned that the Level 2 Secondary skills will get the W.P. Blunt and Athletics (General) skills that had been in the original build. I see Annie having grown into more of a leader in her time with T-Ball and them in the Tolkeen war especially as she had to stand up against other Dog Boys directly and be known as a traitor. Additionally, when I look at the rest of the quartet she is heading West with, she is going to need to fill a role in combat she hadn’t before with a ranged weapon. The Level 3 “Other” skill will be Military Etiquette, the Level 4 Secondary skills will be Pilot Hovercycle that provides a more hot dogging and fancier approach to piloting that specific style of vehicle, and Performance to enhance her attempts to lead, while the Level 6 “Other” skill will be Sniper to increase her chance to hit with her aimed shots from distance. She is mirroring T-Ball in some ways, but having a strong female pack leader is something that Annie would certainly be receptive to and also it makes sense for her coming into her own.
- Gear Improvements – As the Rifts set of sourcebooks expanded, the amount of gear available increased exponentially including some of my favorite books like Rifts: Atlantis, Rifts: Mercenaries, and Rifts: Triax and the NGR. 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. Aside from the symbolism of rejecting her past, I think that Annie can do better in her Armor department than the light Dog Boy armor she had to start. The Triax T-42 Commando Scout armor from the World Book 5: Triax and the NGR is a mass market armor and not something she would have to steal off a member of the NGR forces (in Europe) but not common in North America – It is all around better than the Deadboy light armor she has now with more M.D.C., less prowl and movement penalties, and a built in laser targeting sight to add +1 to strike! The Wilks 447 is still a great choice for an Energy Rifle especially when using it for Aimed shots and the Sniper skill that was picked up since it is readily available and has a +1 from its balance to make that shot in addition to the +1 for the sight in the armor and the +2 from Sniper. An additional heavier rifle like the NG-P7 P-Beam with shorter range but better damage is also needed, but since Annie didn’t get a lot in the conversion to the Ultimate Edition, the same Kittani scouting party that had Lady Sieglinde end up with the Plasma Sword is going to leave the K-4 Laser Pulse Rifle behind which is a knock off of the Wilks Pulse Rifle with a little more oomph. I may give Ozzie a K-1000 but I didn’t think Annie was strong enough to hoist that thing since it is described as for powered armor and `borgs.
There are some other changes on the character sheet linked below that I recommend you look at.
Annie was never supposed to end up where she was. As a Coalition Psi-Hound, or “Dog Boy”, she was meant to serve and meant to follow but now she seemed to be the one in charge of a handful of adventurers. It wasn’t an easy time to get here, either. Jorj had been her lifeline, and her window into how much more of the world existed outside the Coalition. Their time with T-Ball had certainly been an educational and rambunctious one. By the time that they were involved in the fighting that surrounded the Coalition’s War on Tolkeen, Annie had been more and more assertive. She wasn’t going to let her new pack down the way she felt she let down her original pack.
While Audacious sacrificing himself as F’arlum slipped fully into madness was a watershed moment, what Annie was more struck by was before that when they encountered a small pack of Kill Hounds – Dog Boys genetically bred to be hunters and killers above and beyond the natural canine instincts Annie and her old pack possessed. Shortly after that fight and encounter, the vainglorious minotaur Ozzie joined them and from him Annie heard even more rumors about the Coalition State of Lone Star. It was known that Lone Star was where the Dog Boys were created and cred, but Ozzie told her what she had never heard – new experiments took place every day there on animals being bred for a life of servitude and that there were entire communities of escaped Dog Boys and even children of those escapees who never knew the Coalition State’s yoke.
T-Ball had been relying more and more on Annie’s judgement in the field – a Dog Boy made a good scout for intelligence, but also as comms and overwatch. Her judgement had gotten better and better. When Tolkeen fell, and in the aftermath, T-Ball wanted to go East to seek out something to fight the Coalition, but Annie knew she had to go West. It was no surprise when Jorj came along, and Ozzie had a chance to return home but the addition of Augustus unnerves Annie. She still has a bit of a dislike of magic, after her own past and F’arlum’s turn, so a shifter who summons magical creatures in a gamble to bind them and use them not only throws off Annie but worries her. She was being chased by the minions of the Splugorth, after all, and what secrets she is hiding have not been revealed.
Annie Ultimate Edition Character Sheet
Original Annie entry here.