Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Updates from the Rim

It's been too long since I've posted here.  I felt it was time to take a moment to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and go over a few items, projects, and percolations currently running through my grey matter.

Kickstart My Heart

Much ado going on in Kickstarter these days.  First, if you're reading this blog and aren't taking part in the historic Order of the Stick Book Reprint Drive, then you're a pod person and will be visited shortly by our specially trained exterminators to purge your corrupting influence from our planet.

The bigger (to me) news is that D20 Radio, the fine podcasting network that hosts the Holocron 2.0 podcast I co-host, has finally started it's game production company.  "Edition Wars" is an awesome beer 'n' pretzles game where you are a Gamemaster trying to get 6 PCs to come play your game.  Other players are other Gamemasters, trying to steal your PCs so they can start their own game.  You fight with special abilities like Merch, Snark, and Blog in a valiant, cut throat quest to make sure your game is supreme.  I really want to get this game, but that's not going to happen unless folks back it on Kickstarter.  So by all means, go and pledge a few bucks.  Or go and pledge a few more and get some neat swag with it.


This weekend will be likely filled with the sounds of cutting cloth, curses over being stuck by pins, and the rythmic thumping of a serious sewing machine.  My fiancee is working to finish my father's Ben Kenobi costume for the Rebel Legion's annual apperance in the Soth Boston St. Patrick's Day parade on the 18th of March.  Alongside that, she wants us to get moving on my Jedi Consular costume for Pax East, a few weeks later.  There's a lot to do, but that's okay!  I'm helping!

(...this can't possibly end well...)

In all seriousness, I want to help with this, more than just throwing down the cash for the fabric for the outfit.  I've got quite a bit to puzzle over, including a final decision on if and how I want to illuminate the "runes" in the cloak.  Part of me wants to cut out the runes and line the backing with reflective fabric.  Part of me wants to line it with semi-transparent fabric and use EL Tape behind that, to actually make it glow.  I'm not sure, but I need to decide this weekend so we can factor that into the creation plans.

I've outsourced the odd "Crotch Detonator" belt the outfit has to Nick Perry, better known in the Steampunk Community as "Mardigan" of Mardigan Enterprises.  He was excited looking at the design, and I know he'll do a good job.

Sadly, my Tax Return wasn't as large as I hoped, so my want to have a yellow double-bladed lightsaber for the outfit have been put on hold.  That being said, my local sabersmith Randy was able to put in some awesome electronics for the SWTOR Lightsaber, and it looks phenomenal.  Someone is likely to hit me with a "Pic or didn't happen" or "This thread is useless without pictures", but this isn't a thread and the saber should be unveiled with the proper costuming.  So "mleh!" to you!

Must Be March...

It seems to me that every year for the past few years I get a bug in my system.  An urge to put effort into a project that probably doesn't deserve the effort one puts into it.  I have been trying, nigh-unsuccessfully, to do a SAGA/D20 version of RIFTS (by Palladium Books).  I got pretty far along with it last year...I think.  Maybe it wasn't last year, but I know I got it to a single playtesting stage at some point in the last two years.

Trying to convert RIFTS to any other system displays the original game's greatest offender; a total and complete lack of balance among the character classes.  There's really no point trying to codify it; no RIFTS characters are created equal.  You're either...

A full-conversion cyborg tricked out with massive amounts of internal weaponry and external artillery
A souped-up juicer who's life expectancy is still exponentially longer than the expected lifespan of your campaign
A guy who can melt brains, concrete, and steel with their mind
A wizard that can summon demons and travel through dimensions
A power armor pilot with a gun that shoots through planets
Some schleb wilderness scout who has a high-tech bow
A dude who explores ruins for old books. 

All this is at level one.  See a disparity there?  How the hell do you balance that? 

In the past, I've thought that the only real way to even attempt it is nerf some of the more powerful classes, eliminate some of the weaker ones, or dilute everything until it's no longer Rifts.  But is that really fair to the feel of Rifts? 

I have to admit, I tend to lump Kevin Siembeda (creator of RIFTS) into the same category as Kevin J Anderson and Rob Liefeld most of the time, but Kevin did make a pretty special game, here.  The system was borderline broke-tastic from day one, and only got worse with every single book released there after in the now massive RIFTS library, but at it's core RIFTS is a real fun world to play in.  I really got a kick out of the RIFTS games I ran, and the players seemed to have a good time (admittedly, they were my brothers so who the hell knows if it really was any good).  So I keep coming back to it, hoping that I can find that one piece that unlocks the barred doors that have kept me from getting such a game onto the table.

Or the Virtual Table, as it were.

So in-between two Star Wars Games, an Earthdawn game, idle work on my Longshot game (which is likely getting pushed out to 2014), the podcasts, The Old Republic, creating a couple costumes, and a wedding in a year, I'm finding the time to try to make Rifts work.

...what's that definition of insanity?  You keep doing the same thing but expect a different result, or something like that? 

Might as well get that M.O.M. conversion installed in my brain-meats.


  1. While my experience with Rifts is relatively low, a system that might work for it just occurred to me. Have you considered TORG?

    1. TORG.


      Damn, that was a fun campaign world.

      Some of it is personal proficiency and expertise; I'm well versed and learned with the SAGA system, and have this dellusion that I can make Rifts fit into it. I really think I may be onto something here, and need to get some of my recent work onto this blog to get feedback and criticism.

  2. I thought we had this discussion about RIFTS in some other blog. You crazy son of a bitch, you should have known better!

    *cough* I thought about doing the same thing *cough*

    1. (Why didn't I get notification of these comments? huh...gotta fix my alert settings...)

      Pretty sure we did go back and forth with this elsewhere. Probably on the D20 forums, I think, back when Order 66 did their "SAGA Sans Star Wars" show.

      I'll answer your Google+ Questions better in my next actual update, but in brief I'm either doing Mega Damage as a special DR that a lot of items have, and a lot of weapons have as a carrier, or chucking it all together. I'm now leaning towards the former, but that stance changes hourly, it seems.

      Even now, as I type this, I'm getting ideas how that would work...

  3. You were definitely well on track with the last try. One of *the* hardest things is trying to balance the races. That right there can tip the scales on a Rifts character.

    I still think using DR X/Mega Damage is worth the effort if only for flavor, and uses an existing D20 rule to indicate MD armor is better than some guy in a trench.

    It also makes sense in that a laser pistol will make a .05cm hole in a tank, you, the school behind you, your stuffed jackelope. You don't get vaporized just because you're hit with a laser pistol, the laser just does 1d6 damage to everything. Also known as breaking DR.

    1. I think you're right on that point, sir!

      Check out the latest blog update and tell me what you think.