Now for Edition Wars: Rifts, we will translate Jorj, Annie’s Rogue Scientist surrogate father, 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 this hacking oriented rogue scientist designed and into the circle of the rest of the pack. 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 Scholars and Adventurers classes all appeared to receive some significant attention in the Ultimate Edition to ensure that they provided unique assets and experiences aside from the specific skill lists. The Rogue Scientist definitely benefited from this and the specific class abilities could be a lot of fun in the right groups.
- Class Bonuses – The Rogue Scientist first and foremost got a direct bonus to the IQ attribute and a few more assorted bonuses. This lets the Rogue Scientist play strongly to type. Additionally, there are four special abilities provided to the Rogue Scientist – Analyze; Hypothesize; Find the Exotic; and Recognize Scientific Authority. The first two let you play the character like an action movie scientist using the SCIENCE training to Analyze in a wide range of situations while Hypothesize is the complement to let you jury rig or have a leap of insight to solve some immediate problem. I like these as ways to make the scientist more like a Scientist in the Action movies, which is something that Rifts leans into. Find the Exotic is about trying to find contraband items, similar to how the Headhunter got an advantage or ability in finding some of the weapons and bionics but for different items while the Recognize Scientific Authority helps in exploration and research to recognize the validity of research, artifacts, and more. Overall, this increased the utility of the Rogue Scientist in the class instead of leaving it to the G.M. to find ways to include the class in the overall game.
- 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 Rogue Scientist saw Secondary skills reduced, a running theme in the Ultimate Edition, but had an increase in the O.C.C. Skills and also in the “Other” Skills. Land Navigation was removed, but Astronomy & Navigation replaces it, but there was a net loss of Read Sensory Equipment in the O.C.C. skills. Looking across our options, There are more specific requirements of what skills to take in the “Other” skill list, but that is made a bit easier for me because Criminal Science & Forensics was broken up into Forensics and Crime Scene Investigation. There was a show that started between the first edition and the Ultimate Edition that may have influenced that decision, but I am not certain. Looking to Secondary Skills, I am going to put off the Prowl and Streetwise sort of skills to pick up later in his life. Mechanically, I could put off things like “Running” since it won’t matter as we advance to Level 7, but I want his first 4 Secondary skills to show his rough and tumble upbringing – Running, W.P. Blunt, W.P. Handguns, and Hand to Hand Basic.
- Gear – 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 – As mentioned above, the Rogue Scientist has several class abilities now that increase as the character levels up, but those four items are the only Class Bonuses so to speak! This is a character that lives and dies by the creative use of skills and wit!
- Skills Advancements – In addition to the additional percent of competence for the existing skills, Jorj will add additional 2 OCC Related Skill at levels 3 and 6 as well as 1 additional Secondary Skill at levels 2, 5, and 7. I mentioned that I had put off some of the original Secondary skills showing off how Jorj was almost a City Rat, but fell into deeper SCIENCEing and hacking, so the “Other” skills are putting the Pick Pockets, Prowl, and Streetwise back in as well as adding Pre-Apocalypse History. His time with T-Ball and everyone else has had him delving into the secrets of what Earth was like before the Rifts, but he doesn’t have a firm grasp on what happened between the Rifts and recently giving him more of that absent minded professor sort of vibe. For Secondary skills, I definitely add a Lore: Magic because I have trouble not justifying Jorj learning as much as he can while being in the middle of a war about it and similarly, I add Jury-Rig to his secondary skills which is something that he likely had to pick up in the field.
- 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. Among the other options, the Naruni Plasma Cartridge Rifle packs a great wallop at 1d4x10 M.D.C. and the Wellington Industries MP-10 Caseless sidearm from the Rifts: Mercenaries book but weapons are not Jorj’s real strength. Now, while there are a huge amount of weapons that have been added, there are fewer non weapon equipment enhancements. I am going to provide some Microbes and Micro-Parasites from the Atlantean scouting party that has been thoroughly looted by our “heroes” here – Aerobes, Aquarobes, and Watrobes all provide some fun survival utility to purify water, breath underwater, or otherwise survive longer. These are detailed in Rifts World Book: Atlantis which I heartily recommend. I add some additional technology but keep the A.T.V. because I honestly have not found something better than it for the purpose! The portable lab for example is getting installed in it!
There are some other changes on the character sheet linked below that I recommend you look at.
Life can slip further and further away when you aren’t watching. Jorj had never planned to do much more than a city rat but, well, a precocious child often ends up out of his or her depths. The first thing he never expected was to find a daughter. Much less a Psi-Hound Daughter. Annie was everything he had grown up under – the power of the Coalition and their single minded oppressive regime but her independence was the crack in the facade that he saw. Someone had to take care of the pup, and while it may have been in the heat of things that he found her, it has been an honest love for her since.
The second thing he never expected was to so quickly be eclipsed by a child, and to be okay with that. It was a simple proposition for the rather arrogant and gifted Jorj to see himself as better than others, but when T-Ball was relying on Annie’s judgement and her own leadership, Jorj was okay with it. He had been finding a great sense of accomplishment in learning how to make it through the wilderness, much less getting to apply his SCIENCE! He can let someone else shine, especially Annie.
The third thing he didn’t expect was to be more than a thorn in the side of unimportant people. T-Ball’s Pack was in the middle of Iron Heart’s work to advance its own interests. His time in the computers and hacking into the Coalition’s own system became a running mission parameter in Tolkeen’s attempts to fend off the Coalition siege. T-Ball’s Pack was sent to sabotage and retrieve plans from Coalition Forces but it was all for naught.
F’arlum’s madness should have been something he had seen coming. But he didn’t. He was too busy focusing on the future he was building as a Hero and on seeing Annie grow into her own role. He had seen this sort of thing in the burbs before where human and d-bees alike lost touch with what it meant to share these lives with others. F’arlum’s turn was a watershed moment for Jorj.
Whether T-Ball saw that he had failed the same way he saw it didn’t matter. He knew that he had to make some space so that he could find a way to live with the sight of Audacious jumping in to save T-Ball. He should have stopped F’arlum sooner … and he would find a way to do that in the future. Annie was going West, after the stories Ozzie told them about Lone Star it seemed natural! The stories about Vampires, though, those were unnatural, and he didn’t know enough about them. He could die trying if needed, but somehow Augustus’ little helpers meant he stayed on his toes. Summoners and their “servants” had never sat well with Jorj even if he hadn’t bought the Coalition Line about Magic as the Great Evil.
For now, Annie needed his protection. It’s what a father would do, and it meant facing a new frontier and avoiding his shame at the same time. If he made it back to the East, he knew he would be a changed man.
Original Jorj Porgey entry here.