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Quality in Rifts: Remembering Pete Overton

Quality In Rifts: Rifts Attributes - A Closer Look

By Pete Overton

Version 1.3 -- 09/01/2008


Hoo boy. I don't even know where to start on this one. This is tonight's major rant, I've got another thing to do as well (Atmosphere in Rifts) but I had to get this one out first. It PAINS me to see that people roll up these attributes and they are subsequently ignored for the rest of play. Now, let's face it, dealing with then point by point all the time is painful for us all, but there are some broad sweeps that should be dealt with! They are the fact that there is no fixed scale, and that attributes below 16 are essentially worthless by canon Rifts law, and attributes have no effects on skills.

Mechanical Issues

Now, I already ranted about the utter lack of a fixed Attribute system, therefore invalidating most attributes as far as characters and comparatives are concerned. I am not going to try to quantify a fixed attribute system at this time, it is too much of an undertaking. The key point here is that you need to set a definite scale. Without it, any real form of statistic is mostly useless. You need a set scale to determine relative worth. Imagine if the currencies of the countries of the world were set arbitrarily and with no real examination of each other! It would be useless, because you wouldn't really know what your dollar was worth compared to something else. The same stands with attributes. They are a good shorthand way of summarizing a character, but if there is no scale for it, or if the scale is incredibly inconsistent as in Palladium's case, then it becomes worthless and quite often a joke. For instance, in AD&D, the scale is 1-25, with 18 being the normal human maximum. Now, if your character runs into a demigod with a 23 in something, you KNOW that you're in way over your head. But attributes in Rifts don't have a fixed scale, so you can end up with humans with 30 in attributes, and no one grasps how insane that would be, how godlike it would be, because there is nothing to compare it to. If the GM needs a smarter monster, he just adds six more to the highest IQ the PCs have. This opens up escalating craziness that Rifts has evolved into.

I'm not going to tell you what to set your scale at, but only that you have to come up with that scale. The low point is easy -- 1. :) The high end is at your own discretion entirely. I personally run a 1-30 system, with 20 being exceptional (this remains close to AD&D so the players can grasp is easily, but pads out the top end a bit). I also make it so that attributes past 20 go geometric, so that 30 is like "The One True Source of the Universe" style. ;) This means that a lot of monsters and powerful creatures have similar stats (since 21 is twice the strength of 20, 22 is twice the strength of 21, etc.), but I can handle that and the players rarely ever see them anyway. It doesn't matter WHAT your scale is, as long as it is fixed and you stick with it. This is critical and a gaping hole in Palladium's system.

The other problem is the worthlessness of non-exceptional attributes. You know, I'm sure, that when you create a Rifts character, you roll 3d6 for each stat, and exceptional stats are generated when you roll a 16, 17, or 18, and then you get to roll an additional d6, and if you get a 6, you roll another, and so on until the roll ends. Palladium was kindly enough to include a high-attributes chart, but curiously they didn't include a LOW-ATTRIBUTES chart. This has grave implications, if you think about it. According to standard Rifts canon, all of the non-exceptional (1-15) attributes are essentially THE SAME! For instance, let's say two Rifts grrls are really interested in me. Griselda has a Seduction skill of 60% and a PB of 3, with the face like the back of a bus after a rear-end collison. Vivi LaBoom, on the other hand, has a Seduction skill of 60% and has a PB of 15, looking captivatingly adorable. They both have the same Seduction skills, but are grossly different in PB attributes. But according to Rifts rules, they both have the SAME CHANCE to seduce me!

Now, I know what you are saying, and I'm sure it's what Palladium would say, along the lines of their "SDC handling" essay where they found out SDC character were leaping on dynamite and getting up and walking away. "You have to use some common sense, you have to roleplay it." Of course, but they DON'T MENTION THAT. *WE* know that, but we are a distinct minority on the Palladium fan list. But the fact that by sheer rules, that can occur, it's ridiculous! Where is the low attribute table? Some wise folk on the net have made them (I use one myself, see below) and they certainly bring some realism to the stats. The point of core rules, however, is to set some firm grounding for playing the game, and there are LARGE gaping holes in Palladium's basic system, and this is by far one of the larger problems. The solution is obvious -- use a low attribute table -- but let's face it, we shouldn't HAVE to come up with such a basic thing. It's just another example of Palladium's shoddy work.

The parallel to this is that attributes don't seem to have any effects on skill rolls at all, so the above mentioned ladies would both get a 60% chance to seduce me despite having PBs 12 point apart. Riiiight. How you want to handle it is entirely up to you, but it should be handled. But because, by and large, attribute requirements in Rifts are all non-exceptional and thus essentially useless, you can get a perfectly average Neurosurgeon with an IQ 14 and PP 12 with a skill of 90% and a crack Neurosurgeon with an IQ of 20 and a PP of 20 and they will have nearly the same chance to operate! I play a lot of White Wolf games, so I tend to attach an attribute to a skill and apply a penalty or bonus for it. This tends to make it better for players as well, because if they all picked the same skills as CS Grunts (let's say), then normally they'd have the same chance to do things (assuming non-exceptional attributes). But with skills being tied to attributes, then suddenly the guy with 15 PP might make a better weaver, the guy with 14 PS would make a better ammo mule, and so on. It allows non-exceptional attributes to impact on the skills. I wouldn't make it a huge impact, but it should be noted, and characters who don't even fit the basic requirements (a CS Grunt doing Neurosurgery) should get slapped down hard by the die roll, don't worry. ;) That way, between low-attribute penalties and high-attribute bonuses, "average" attributes remain important.

I should note as well, of course, that attributes should be used as a guide to roleplaying as well. It's not just a case of making sure that all attributes can be used for something or that they are more powerful. Two characters with the same attributes could have entirely different ways of running their characters. If Braden and Jon both have an IQ of 14, perhaps Braden worked around with trade schools and is more cunning, whereas Jon might have studied more books and done more dreaming. The attributes are a good guide, especially when mixed with each other. If Braden also had a PP of 14, and Jon had a PP of 10, then it bears out their tales more -- Braden would be more used to solving problems with his hands, whereas Jon would solve them more with his brain and wit (since Jon probably has an MA of 26 :). This is basic roleplaying, of course -- not news, I'm sure -- but it is worth repeating, because with both high and low attributes receiving bonuses and penalties, average ones becoming useful and attributes coming closer to skills, it's more important that you can derive a character out of it and really get a sense of who he is. All of this is mere mechanics, but what we really want are interesting characters with good stories to them, and attributes can be used to get the ball rolling on that.

Finally, there is an interesting point that was raised in the Inconsistencies section of the page. PCs can never start with an attribute of 16, because of the exceptional roll rule. If I roll a 6, 6, and 3, I'd get 15, and that'd be fine. If I roll a 6, 6, and 4, then I would get 16, and I would roll an additional d6 for exceptionality. I have to get at least a one on the die, so it would raise it to 17 minimum and 22 maximum. Therefore, it's mathematically impossible to start with a 16 attribute by rolling! I mean, does Palladium not playtest this ever? Or get some rabid fanboy to sit and think about it for them? :) Kudos to Jericho for pointing out THAT one. Crazy.

More RUEination

Rifts Ultimate Edition (hereafter referred to as RUE) brought much additional agony in what was a chance to fix the holes in their system, not create gaping new ones. We finally get a low-attribute table in the new core rulebook, but then he goes and ruins it, because he says that senses often work harder to compensate for a lame one. So his new rule: "If the character has ONE attribute below seven, add 1D4+3 to any ONE of his other attributes... if the character has two or more attributes below seven, give ONE of his other attributes a bonus of 1D4+5 and another a +3 bonus OR a +2 bonus to Perception." ARGHHHHHHHH. I can see this coming now. PB, which is everyone's whipping boy, is going to sink to 6 so they can dump 1D4+3 into PS. What the? What? As if the attribute system wasn't messed up enough already. This is where Palladium's notion of Rifts characters being larger-than-life heroes hurts a lot, because as we all apparently know, heroes never have low attributes. It's a terrible mechanic that will undoubtedly be abused to death. Oh, and you still can't roll a 16 in character generation.

The thing about it is, one of the main themes of the game is human augmentation. If you have a 7 PS, let's say, and you add 5 to your IQ to compensate, then you go out and get a borg body, I mean, you can just see the abuse coming a mile away. I know what Mr. S will say - "Use common sense, blahblahfishcakes" but the fact that it exists, mechanically speaking, is atrocious. Having low attributes, especially physical ones, is GREAT motivation to take a character like a Juicer or a Borg. We don't need this new mechanic because the game has enough ways to work around your own limitations as it is. It's kinda weird when Mr. Siembieda forgets the themes of his own game, I must say.

Low-Attribute Table

I was just yelling about this, so here is the one I use. I lifted this one from Terry Turnbull's site because I liked it, and because I knew him and he was gracious enough to let me lift it from him. :) Whether you use this one specifically or not, come up with one for yourself so you can set attributes right again. I *really* love his PB entry for "chance to disgust/depress/bore". Hee hee.

Low Attributes, 7 and below. This stuff was originally by someone else, it has been changed because the low end of the scale was not very realistic.









I.Q. -60% -45% 30% -20% -12% -6% -3% Negative percentage to skills
M.E. -5 -4 -3 -3 -2 -2 -1 Negatives to save Vs. Psionics and Insanity
M.A. 61% 50% 40% 31% 23% 16% 10% Chance of a VERY negative social response
P.S. -7 -6 -5 -4 -3 -2 -1 Penalties to Damage
P.P. -5 -4 -3 -3 -2 -2 -1 Negatives to Strike, Parry and Dodge
P.E. -18% -14% -12% -10% -8% -6% -4% Negatives to Save Vs. Coma/Death
P.E. -5 -4 -3 -3 -2 -2 -1 Negatives to Save Vs. Poison and Magic
P.B. 51% 42% 34% 27% 21% 15% 10% Percentage chance to disgust/depress/bore

A Closer Look

Now, I will point out situations where Attributes can and should be used in play, so as to remind the players that their character can't do EVERYTHING, unless they are munchkins with 20s down the board. The following are some thoughts on various situations that attributes can be fleshed out for, or some additional ideas on how to use the attribute.


IQ is arguably one of the only attributes that should not have a cap on it. While a case could be made for ME, even the human mind can only take so much. But as is evidenced in fiction, the human mind is perhaps the sole part of us that will evolve into something more. However, the smarter you are, the more alien you become. This is not something to take lightly! Assuming a fixed attribute scale of 3-18, an IQ of 25 would view us normals as dull children at best and would be concerned on a scale of consciousness we could not comprehend at worst. There is a reason why all those Gods with IQs the size of their egos are so very remote and distant to mortals, because to them mortal concerns are pithy at the best of times. Also, another point to consider is that as you get smarter and smarter, it gets more and more difficult to mentally challenge you. This may seem like nothing but to simulate this, find a Curious George book and read it 100 times in a row without distracting yourself with anything else. You will become to frustrated and bored that you won't be able to do it. Now think of how it would be to view the entire WORLD like that.

Now, admittedly there are some built in safeguards against this in Rifts, namely the Magic classes and the Megaverse. The Megaverse is sort of the ultimate thought experiment, but it's no fun having a Headhunter who ponders the true nature of reality along for the adventures, and not everyone with a high IQ wants (or has the gift) to go into magic. I am reminded of a guy we studied in Psychology class who had perfect memory and could recite Pi to the billionth decimal place but could not simply enjoy a song. The logical part of his mind was in overdrive but the emotional core was virtually nonexistent. I suspect the higher you get in IQ, the more divergent you get to one of these paths, because the human mind simply wasn't designed to equally interact with each other. The Corpus Callosum makes sure that the two sides don't interact too much, lest you go loopy. This is arguably why the Crazy goes loopy, because the brain is artificially induced to talk both sides simultaneously and while the resultant increase in processing capability is amazing, it produces an unusual side effect called INSANITY.

Now, you must remember to set yourself a scale for attributes and stick to it first! Once you have that, then you can decide how weird a high IQ represents this phenomenon. But the point is that once you get beyond genius level you enter a realm that most of us cannot truly appreciate, and I have yet to see any character played properly for IQ alone. There is no system for "relatively alien" so use your own judgement. If you assume that 10-12 is average, then 25+ is extremely out of typical range, and 20-24 are fairly removed in and of themselves. You ever try to have a conversation with someone who knows way more than you on any given topic? :) It is interesting to note that most high IQ people have low MA attributes, although this is not always universally true. It's proportional in cases where it is true, meaning the higher it goes, the lower the other goes. But that is more a function of being more "distant" from day-to-day concerns and being locked into a higher mode of thinking.

The higher the IQ is, the more they see the big picture, as well. A high-IQ character may condemn a hunt to kill off excess predators in the area because he realizes it is a cycle of Nature and a necessary step in reestablishing the balance of Earth's ecosystem. They tend to think in grand and sweeping strokes and rarely see things in terms of people and dreams but rather resources and plans. A very high-IQ person might exist who was very humanitarian but they would go insane quickly if they tried to apply themselves to each and every person they felt the need to help.

Systems: In general, it is easy to assume that their IQx10 is their real-world IQ rating. Anything relating to recollection of data or knowledge/memory tests that don't fall under anything else, multiply the IQ rating by 5 for a percentage chance to recall, to a maximum of 98%. One system I am told that is useful, especially for new newer groups, is to give 1 Creativity Point per IQ point and allow them to spend varying amounts to "validate" their ideas by the GM, meaning that they suggest an idea, pay a Creativity amount, and the GM simply tells them whether or not it is feasible. As I have not played a real-life game for ages, I don't know how well this works, so don't quote me on this. The bonuses to skills should only be applied to mental skills and not physical skills because that is more a function of ME than raw processing power.


ME is meant to represent general fortitude in willpower, resistance to psionics, and concentration abilities, as well as ostensibly patience and spirit. It is an attribute which is often misunderstood and therefore misapplied, and can include things such as attention span (short or long), raw willpower, and the ability to persevere in the face of insurmountable odds. It is actually best described as something of a mood indicator for your mind, for while IQ indicates raw processing power, ME indicates the emotional filter that it goes through. This is especially important for PCs, because characters need this fortitude to continue their adventuring in the face of such overwhelming odds and they need to maintain their mental health. It represents the ability of the character to deal with feelings and emotions, and often low ME people are troubled individuals, manic-depressive or simply moody and sullen, while high ME people are optimistic and stable.

Of course, it goes without saying that this is a primary attribute for any psychic character. ME determines their psychic potential and their relative ability to control their powers or fine-tune them in ways that are not specified in the books. A high ME character who is not psychic has the ability to draw upon his strong mind and form an impromptu defense against psychic intrusions (hence why all characters get saves to psionics). Beings with high ME scores have strong inner reserves to draw upon in the face of things that would shatter most lesser minds. Think of your relative threshold for being grossed out or what your biggest phobia is and these are good indicators of where you stand on the ME scale. This is of particular importance in Rifts given the inhuman horrors PCs typically face daily, and let's face it, the world of Rifts Earth is not for the weak-minded.

The other major use for it is to gauge the general mental stability of the character. I don't mean raw insanity by this, although that could be a part of it, but I mean the ability for the character to handle shocks and surprising news, their general emotional barometer and their tendancy to swing moods or lose control of their emotions. Low ME people are subject to very emotional outbursts and tend to follow their passions more while higher ME people are more adept at keeping control of their emotions and being able to repress their passions if they need to. People with higher ME scores don't "fly off the handle" or make snap decisions based on the heat of the moment, and can restrain themselves to think it through (with their IQ :).

Systems: This is more a roleplaying sort of attribute than a raw bonus filled one. ME can be used at higher levels to gain bonuses to save versus psionics, as well as save versus Horror Factor or Shell Shock, although neither of those are guaranteed to work all the time. PCs with low ME are more susceptible to Insanities/Phobias/etc. while the reverse is true for higher ME scores.


On the surface of things, MA is general charisma and charm. If you dig a little, it can be a lot more. Most importantly to Rifts PCs, it represents empathy and humanity, two things that can doom a munchkin character if used properly. The ability to connect with other humans is one that most of us take for granted (if we have it :) and it is a fundamental part of humanity that we are social creatures, and if you remove that, you get a shadow of a character. The inability to relate to others is primarily the most common explanation for low MA and I have noted personally that it is the first attribute to get the shaft in character creation, which astounds me to no end.

Of course, the flipside of this can get very ridiculous. As I noted somewhere else, I once legitimately rolled up a character with an MA in the range of 28 or 29, and he would practically be able to change your entire belief system after one conversation with him. Arguably enough, Jesus didn't have that much charisma! MA is one of those that shoould be limited and limited HARD, for the ENTIRE Palladium Megaverse. There are some unearthly creatures out there who can make a character want to remain at their side forever, but that should be the limit of about 24 or so. Beyond that it gets far too ridiculous to play effectively and a character with that much empathy would literally be overflowing with sheer emotional crises always, much like a very young child. If you are going to put in a very high MA character into your game, they had best be a plot device and not an antagonist, because it will get out of control too quickly.

MA also counts a lot for animals, and animals recognize the inherent magnetism in higher MA characters. Animals recognize when an unstable (low MA) character is around and respond accordingly, not necessarily disobeying but being around warily and keeping a mild eye on the character. It goes without saying that MA is not the deciding factor in a character's interpersonal relationships, but it is that which represents the inherent "beneath the looks" slant of the character and certainly should play a much larger role than it currently does.

Systems: In general, ME is paired off versus MA/PB for effects of trying to befriend an NPC or connect emotionally to them. 5 times the MA rating of a character should be the base Loyalty rating for any companions (NPCs/animals) and that should be checked when morale is low or after a tragedy strikes.


PB is almost tied with MA for first attribute to go while building up a character. It represents the general appearance of the character, and this covers a wide array of things. Low PB could indicate terrible scarring, unsightly features, no fashion sense, or any such sort of typically "superficial" sort of thing. An important thing to remember though is the very subjective nature of this attribute! There are generally some basic features that people can agree are beautiful or not, but beyond this it vaires so extremely between people (and races!) that it really should be taken into account, which is why the appearance must be explained. Blue hair might be terrible to a CS Officer but be really sexy to an elf.

Racial lines must also be considered. It is sort of silly to have this sort of attribute if it is going to be an absolute. It is a good guideline, but the key here is that it is never used properly! Characters with high PB should not just be able to charm everyone they meet and get whatever information they like out of them. These are other PEOPLE, and are not simply walking, talking resources. Another point to consider is that in Rifts Earth, people judge VERY MUCH on the basis of appearance! Yes, it's tragic, but in their world it is dangerous not to do so because to ignore the small signs of difference is to invite the alien into their presence. Members of the same sex will get jealous of high PB characters and probably mock low PB characters, while the opposite sex may end up with a pile of unwanted travelling companions (see Claire Danes and Sean Penn in _U-Turn_ for an example of this), and when they learn they are unwanted as a rule, they do not react well, especially if this was after a quick tryst that the PC thought he could get away with.

Extreme beauty and extreme ugliness are the different sides of the same cursed coin. In Rifts Earth, most people avoid drawing attention to themselves, so those who stand out get attention paid to them, which can sometimes be fatal on Rifts Earth. Keep in mind that people who make a lot of attention for themselves at least get questioned and at most disappear, so most people want to keep a low profile. The character's PB rating will determine the relative obscurity level of him. Of course, the other side of this is that if you are very good looking, certain, shall we say, unsavoury elements may notice you and wish to enlist you into their stables, or else another more powerful warlord or crime boss might equally enlist you. Be careful what you wish for...

Systems: PB is almost exclusively a roleplaying aid. It can be used for generalizations on ONE'S OWN RACE ONLY and races that share a similar idea of beauty, as per the rules. If you are looking to harrass your PCs a little, multiply this rating by 5 and use the result as the chance that they are noticed, for good or for ill, modified by whether or not they are trying to be noticed. Some really good adventures come out of one really beautiful or ugly character...


Ah, yes, well, this one requires little description. This represents your raw strength and lifting capability. It is arguably the first attribute characters go after in their quest for the UberCharacter. It is mostly futile to point out that extreme strength comes with its own problems. This I would limit by race for sure, and very strictly at that, otherwise most upper strength ranges lose all of their true meaning. It is worth noting that even in the future strength or the lack of it is still a judgement used by people of Rifts Earth. A character with a PS of 18 will be regarded more favourably than one of PS 6. Along the same lines, someone with greater strength will be equally expected to be more heroic than weaker characters, and generally be considered to be a threat before weaker characters. It is a harsh reality of Rifts Earth, that's all.

One of my biggest beefs as you know is the lack of a fixed scale system for attributes but strength especially, and more so after their pithy release of divisions between "normal" and "supernatural" strengths. If a fixed scale was in place, those divisions would be unnecessary! Better yet, there is no difference between a creature's PS 25 and a robot's PS 25, contrary to Palladium! Under a fixed scale, a PS is a PS, and if you want to make powerful enemies, you gun up the number to horrifying levels (35+). I encourage you to develop a fixed scale for your game for strength is nothing else and fix their horrible, horrible blunders. I may post mine if I ever get around to developing it.

A rather hilarious thing happened with strength. One of the most commonly listed weaknesses of being a Borg (if they exist) is that of being too strong for ones own good. This is almost never played and is tragic, because it is a juicy opportunity for a little mischief. :) Don't allow characters to get away with this, although use a lot of common sense! If a character grows up naturally strong, he will know his limits more than a cyborg who was recently converted from a little squishy, and Juicers and Crazies almost never learn. But I know that I forget things that I'd never think I'd forget, so it happens to us all at some point or another. And don't let them get away with pushing around structures, make them SDC and have them total the place. :) Okay, so I am getting a little overenthusiastic but that's only because it's so rarely looked at. Remember, though, all of this depends on a fixed-scale system, and yes, I will release one eventually, but that's more of a mechanics sort of thing which is Axe's department.

Systems: A sadistic GM will multiply the strength rating by 5 to get the chance that the character forgets his own strength. This is only applicable for realistic situations where the character might actually, believably forget that he actually has a PS of 25. Bonus damage only applies to hand to hand and melee weapons with the exception of vibro weaponry who use an electrical field to damage primarily and not raw strength. If the scale was fixed, there would be no need to differentiate between "standard" and "supernatural" strength, so if you limit humans from 3-18, supernatural strength could plausibly start at around 25-30, and really scary things could run 35+.


PE represents your actual health from a physical standpoint, much as ME represents mental health and stability. The capacity to handle illness and the frequency of illness are especially important in the world of Rifts, where strange and alien diseases are present for which humanity is paying for, not to mention some old classics that are still around. Stamina is represented as well, the staying power of a character for doing whatever it is that they are doing, and low PE characters tire quickly while high PE characters take much longer to tire out. It represents metabolism rate, how fit a character is, if he gets winded by walking five feet or if he could run two marathons in a row.

The primary use of this is for resisting diseases and determining endurance. These two systems are outlined in the rulebook decently and therefore will not be tampered with much. I cannot overstate enough the importance of this attribute and its proper use, because too often we easily forget little things like diseases. One disease can make for a horrible plot twist (good horrible that is :) and even more so if it is alien in origin. Given the relative wildness of the environment, it also applies to resisting animal and plant poisons, another threat, and also to drinking contaminated water. I am working on a system for diseases and contamination, but I still can't find my Twilight: 2000 book. ::sigh::

Another important consideration for PE is that it determines the amount of g-force the character can take. In the world of Rifts, this can be critical, especially for all those pansy-ass flyboys out there. I don't know why on earth the requirements for SAMAS pilots aren't way higher, but let's face it, there is no real inertial dampening in effect and therefore those pilots are sucking that all up, and if you think MDC armor absorbs g-force, you are psychotic. :)

Systems: The change I will make is to multiply PE times 5 for the chance the character will be affected by a fatigue level after a standard period has passed, and each subsequent day without rest subtracts 10% from that number until the character literally collapses from exhaustion. PS determines how much the character can carry, but PE determines how long he can carry it without resting. PE times 5 also makes a rather handy benchmark for determining base resistance to diseases, but that is covered in the main manual and won't be tampered with by me at this time. I have no idea on a g-force scale and how many PE points per gee you are able to absorb, but I'd make most pilot requirements at least PE 15. It sounds stiff, but they don't call them the best of the best for anything. Oh, wait, that's the Marines. I'm sure they call flyboys something like it, although they're not Marines obviously. :)


This covers manual dexterity as well as agility and reflexes, and is a close second if not first for munchkin players as well. This can affect dodge rolls, hand to hand strikes and a variety of physical skills that require deft actions. It can affect Initiative rolls as well if the GM so desires as well as natural grace. Low PP characters are forever running into things or tripping over their feet, while higher PP characters are much better able to handle themselves and their bodies. Extremely high PP (unearthly kind) move with preternatural grace and flow like living mercury. Note that high PP does not necessarily mean a higher level of excitability (which would fall under ME).

High PP can be a tragic thing in Rifts Earth. In a world where anything out of the "normal" scares people, an unusually agile person could possibly be labelled a deeb if he is not careful. While this does not cover psychological excitability, it does cover physiological excitability, and a character's metabolic rate is determined between this and PE. In general, the more difference between PP and PE, the more the character must consume to maintain his high PP. Which is to say, as a character's body reacts faster, it requires more energy to keep it going at that level. Think of a Hyperion Juicer and their need to consume vast quantities of food, but on a lesser level (unless you go psychotic with your non-fixed attribute system). It sounds pithy at first, "So, my character has to eat more, whoopee, I have a +100 to dodge" but it can be truly terrible once the game begins and the GM reminds you of your ration requirements.

Systems: There are no real systems for this. All bonuses apply to hand-to-hand attacks only (the bonus to strike does NOT go for guns). The metabolic rate is mostly a role-playing effect and should be judged accordingly, but if you need a hard system, each point of difference between PP and PE is a 10% chance that the Juicer condition of overeating develops, but half all penalties.


I am rather distressed that this exists since it could have been a simple derived value from both PP and PE. However, the only thing I have to say on this is that you have to use some common sense! No matter how many Physical skills the character takes (and believe me, that's ANOTHER rant) the human body can only be so fast! The fact is that I can improve myself to peak performance but there will still be a limit on how fast I can practically go. Biology is a strong inhibitor. :)

The metabolic rate effect I described under PP should DEFINITELY be in use here. Didn't you people ever watch _The Flash_? :)

Systems: The maximum Speed rating is the character's PP+PE. I have not playtested this though, so if you want to try it, let me know how it turns out. If it turns out to be too pithy, try PP+PE+PS/2, which I am told is a little more reasonable.


Perception is a derived value that I had come up with before Palladium officially released it in their Nightbane products. It filled an important gap that existed in the grey area of combat data (Initiative mostly) and IQ. This is NOT the ability to PROCESS the information, since that falls under IQ, but is simply the ability to COLLECT information. Again, it is both a blessing and a curse -- while you may be able to see all and know all (assuming you use Palladium's silly canon attribute scale) you will be overwhelmed in your senses at the higher levels. Keep in mind that there is probably a cap on this, but it can go totally surprisingly high when supernaturals are involved. Splynncryth probably has a really ridiculously high Perception but he is also able to handle it better than a mere mortal.

Note that a high Perception does not necessarily mean that you UNDERSTAND the information, just that you noticed it. Sherlock Holmes would have a huge Perception, but he has an equally huge IQ to deduct it all out. For instance, if you have a low MA and a high Perception, you may be really deft at picking together facts and figures, but you would probably not be able to read people well. Sure, you can tell that Joey has dark circles under his eyes and is in a bad mood and is glaring at Sue, but that doesn't mean that you know that they had a fight last night. Consolidating the data gleaned is another function of IQ that I am too tired to alter up there.

Systems: (IQ+ME}x2% is the formula for determining Perception. What else do you want me to do, hold your hand too? :)

Hopefully (since it is getting late :) this gives you a quick overview of how I see the Attributes. I will hopefully get around to adding some typical times to use them in-game, but they are fairly straightforward if you think about it. Me, I'm going to bed. :)

Update (04/18/98): I added a little fleshy detail and wailed all over PE and made it much more important, and added the Perception section, and generally cleaned it up a little. Also see the new Low Attributes Table on the House Rules page.

Update (08/13/02): After a long chat with delightful AIM buddy Corvvs awhile ago, I decided to slip in some additional shocking material, about attributes below 16, and I added the inconsistency about the attribute value 16 (both under Mechanics, which is in itself a mix of new and old). I also put in the old Low Attribute Table, because I yelled about it enough that I thought I better put it in. ;) Ranted a lot too but it's all good. :)

Update (08/13/2008): I added in the craziness that Rifts Ultimate Edition managed to spawn. I copied the attribute rant from my RUE Review.

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