Turning Rifts even more on its head
On the heels of the last round of excellent discussion about the classic Palladium Books RPG, Rifts (both original and Ultimate editions), I thought we might continue that conversation in another vein. Rifts is always a topic that brings with it varied opinions, so it's as good a topic as any to banter about.
In a topic that ties in with our recent discussions (part 1 and part 2) about a potentially insane and worthless, or else inspired and amazing armor/soak/damage mechanic, let's talk about Mega-Damage, what's wrong with it, and how to fix it.
Originally designed for the first edition Robotech RPG, Mega-Damage was used as the ultimate "line in the sand" when it came to damage soak and weapon/armor scaling. Human-sized weapons, objects, and people used conventional Hit Point-scale damage, while giant mecha operated in the Mega-Damage scale. Glossing over the particulars, the relationships ultimately get down to:
- Mega-Damage weapons and armor exist at the same scale
- Hit Point/S.D.C. weapons and armor exist at the same scale
- Mega-Damage weapons obliterate anything Hit Points/S.D.C.
- Hit Points/S.D.C. weapons are useless against anything Mega-Damage
Over time, most notably with the introduction of Rifts, the use of Mega-Damage crept down into common human-scale armor and weapons, thus creating what many view as a problem. Mega-Damage is so pervasive that it is, in effect, the new Hit Points/S.D.C. Only rarely will a typical Rifts party encounter anything that is not Mega-Damage.
To further exacerbate the problem, while these lethal weapons and impervious armors crept down in scale and into the hands of human-sized characters, the damage outputs and capacities of the giant mecha, tanks, squad-operated weapons, and long-range missiles did not see a corresponding climb in power. In today's Rifts, it's not uncommon for a giant robot or armored vehicle to see its firepower matched by an average infantryman with an energy rifle.
So, you see the issue. Where there was once a huge gap separating scales of combat, that line has now evaporated.
Have your say
We all have our "fixes" for this conundrum, so I thought that rather than immediately launch into mine, I'd throw it to the readers, first.
How do you fix Mega-Damage in your game? Aaaaaand, GO!
UPDATE: Check out the follow-up discussion.