Thursday, March 1, 2012

BTR Design Goals

Okay, I've been sharing bits and pieces of what Project BTR is about for a long time now, but haven't really given you a real overview of what sort of changes I want to make to the system and setting of Rifts as I design.

1) Eliminate classes and levels. As much as Palladium may pride themselves on the realism of their system, classes and levels strike me as unrealistic. Especially the narrow sort of classes that Rifts features around 10 of in every book, each with their own experience table.

2) Mitigate Mega-Damage. My view on this one has softened somewhat. I started out as a typical hater and pointed to the concept of MD as "proof" that the Palladium system was broken. I now see it as an attempt to create a feeling that the PCs are Big Damn Heroes and empowered to fight evil that no one else can face. But I think that as the game line progressed, the PCs stopped being treated by the designers as "Gods among Men" but simply "Gods" (metaphorically speaking, anyway).

3) Consistency and elegance. The Palladium system has grown mostly via agglomeration, the accumulation of small rules patches and adjustments over a long span of time. Many of these rules are not only spread out among the multitudes of books that have been published, but also not necessarily consistent from book to book. One of the reasons I'm opting for a ground-up approach is so that all of those special cases can be looked at and designed for at the beginning, rather than having to kludge them later.

4) Tame the tech porn. Big guns are cool. Giant mecha are cool. But between all the new guns, mecha and other toys, there's not much room for setting. I don't need every detail of the setting, but I'd like a reason to care about why I'm trying to protect this world from the eldritch horrors that are trying to eat it. But instead, I get a picture postcard version of a setting followed by page upon page of stuff to fight things with, followed by page upon page of MDC critters to kill.


  1. I have similar frustrations. I look forward to seeing what you come up with. Right now I'm in a RIFTS game that has removed Mega-Damage entirely, which is a workable solution but it creates a lot of other bugs...

  2. Remember, MDC was originally used in the Robotech RPG as a scaling mechanic. There's nothing wrong with making it one here, as well. Just reserve it for vehicle-scale rather than personal scale.

    Some people also treat MDC as a x10 multiplier rather than a x100 to keep the numbers from getting truly silly. Though this does mean that you're going to want to tame the Juicer's SDC bonus. They actually get enough SDC that they can survive a small MDC hit naked if they had to.

  3. Very thought provoking blog, Mr. Wall. I have nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award.