Monday, December 29, 2008

Rifts Session Twelve: Contest of Champions Part II

It didn't take long to fudge the rules during this session.  My brother had what might possibly have been the worst gaming brain fart in our group's history.  We all knew that tonight would be the next fight in the Arena of Champions, and the players were eager to mix it up.  I asked the players twice if their characters had any preparations to make before the battle began.  Will even made a comment that went something like, "We don't prepare, we just roll for initiative."

So I described how the characters were introduced in the arena (TRIFECTA EEEEEEEEERECTA!), described their opponents entering the arena, and called for an initiative roll.  I don't remember the particular order except that Eric went after the demons across the arena.  Most of these particular opponents had very weak ranged attacks, so I declared that they were charging while shooting wild (which, in Rifts, basically just means you don't get any combat bonuses at all).  One of the demons scored a hit on Isaac Black, Eric's Colossus clone character.  I roll for damage and come up with something like 9 MD.  He looks  at me with a dumbfounded expression.

Eric: "Ummm... I'm dead, bro."

Me: "What?"

Eric: "I didn't get a chance to change forms."

Me: "So it hits your body armor."

Eric: "I don't have any."

Me: "Force fields?"
Eric: "Nope."

For those not "in the know", one of the biggest complaints about Rifts in general is the extreme difference between regular damage and MD (mega damage).  One point of mega damage equals 100 normal points, so my brother had actually just taken 900 points of damage just because he hadn't had the forethought to change into metal form (in which he had 600 MDC).  TOASTY!

Of course, we went through the usual methods of defense in Rifts.  He gets a chance to dodge the attack.  That failed.  Then I gave him the opportunity to "dodge" by changing forms as a reaction to the attack.  That failed too.  Finally, I just gave him the benefit of the doubt and said that the character would be smart enough to have changed forms ahead of time even if the player didn't.

Normally, I'd have let the character die.  I'm actually not sure what got into me.  Pity?  Amazement?  A soft heart?  I still don't know.

The fight raged for the entire evening... a real slugfest between super-powered beings (because that's what Rifts is all about, right?).

In the end, this session turned out to be a huge disappointment, though not because the game wasn't fun.  Unfortunately, we simply ran out of time and had to stop play in the middle of a pitched battle.  And while stopping mid-fight is never fun, it was even more painful than usual because it was Will's last game night with us for the foreseeable future.

Next time... will we even be playing Rifts?
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