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Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2020 10:32 pm
  

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D-Bee

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I was wondering how people are playing Rifts over the internet. These days with Cov19 it's not like you can go over to a friend's house and play a campaign. About 20 years ago when I moved to the West Coast I tried to play with my friends using a webcam but it just lacked any intensively and it was very easy to drift since you couldn't really get too involved. I think I lasted about six months before I drifted out of the game.

I remember there was a player/GM matching service available on one of the Palladiums sites. I haven't seen it lately. I think I used it twice. The first time was a mixed bag and I was able to find an oddball mix that worked out. Well the first game imploded, they were mainly barely high school graduates and were a bit more frivolous than I wished to be. One fellow stuck with it and we formed a decent gaming group that lasted for at least five years. The second attempt to form a group using that service went odd. I think we met with them twice before they went silent. It would be cool if this service was taken a bit further. Like a dating service instead of a telephone listing;)

Anyway, a few years ago I did some research and found there was nothing for Rifts. Technically you could use Roll20 or Fantasy Grounds to play. I mean with Skype and using these platforms, you could at least see each other roll the dice and see a map. Rifts doesn't lend itself to maps as easily as D&D does though (the movement wasn't made for maps without homebrew rules and a ton of math). Anyway, I searched for it but didn't see any means of adapting either one for use. Over the years I kept checking.

Fast forward to last year. After playing D&D on Fantasy Grounds for a few years and seeing all the other rules set I still couldn't get over how there wasn't one for Rifts. So I asked around the forums over there and it was pointed out that although there wasn't a ruleset specifically for Rifts there was one called MoreCore that could do the rolls for the skills and was able to customize the character sheets enough to make a recognizable Rifts sheet. I dug into the XML code a bit and was able to massage the sheet to be actually relevant. So I think it's possible to play Rifts over FG. There issues of course. Without a ruleset, there's no actual content. So each GM would have to put in the skills, races, and classes manually. That's a huge amount of work for an individual campaign. This is fine if you're going to play Rifts with your buddies long term but it's not something you could legally give someone else, so it would be re-creating the wheel.

An example would be, say I want to play an elven Shifter. Then you have to enter the class description under the class, enter the race description, enter the spells and enter the skills you chose into tables. You then drag those items onto your character sheet and they display nicely and pop up a description (what you entered). If you set up the skills correctly it will roll your percentage skill and you can include the various bonuses. There is no automation but it will tell you if you succeeded or failed as long as you include any penalty the GM may give. Click on the spells and as long as you set it up right the spell damage will be rolled and displayed so the GM can manually deduct it from the displayed party sheet. Generally, its a ton of work to start, though it would get quicker as skills and spells and races and classes are re-used. I made the character sheet and the method of play/use is clear but since my friends all play D&D it's unlikely I'll ever play Rifts again in the foreseeable future.

So you can do it. It's possible, but not really easy. Is this better than a webcam pointing to a map? Well, once you do all the grunt work...sure! Has anyone else figured out a way to play Rifts over the internet? Maybe an easier way?


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Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2020 10:58 am
  

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D-Bee

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I'm actually returning to Rifts after about 6 years and will be running it online. I'm thinking of going the route of GoogleDocs and Roll20. I'm on the hunt for a good spreadsheet character sheet I can modify for Google Drive/Docs use. I have used OneNote in the past to organize campaigns and will continue using it now. If there was content for Rifts on Roll20 that would be even better. I see that Savage Rifts is getting some attention on the Web, but I've never had a problem with Rifts as is and IMO, simpler isn't better. Not to mention, I already have a sizeable investment in "real" Rifts books that I don't feel like converting on the fly as needed.


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Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2020 12:49 pm
  

Palladin

Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 4:11 pm
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I manage to play games at home without manually copying all the rules relevant to my character into an entirely new booklet.

I mean, it may not be ideal, but I see absolutely no reason you couldn't just play exactly the same way you would at home, with your books physically present, just like people did for decades when there was no realistic way to play RPGs over the internet due to it being completely new.

likewise, many thousands of people have played RPGs as theatre of the mind. this did not rely on apps before, and coronavirus has not changed that in the slightest.


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Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2020 2:58 pm
  

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I wish roll 20 had official rifts support

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Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2020 5:37 pm
  

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I'm playing RPGs just like I did for 20 years before C19 came on the block, in a chatroom. Just playing RT right now (in Roll20) since I stopped playing Rifts.

There are other PB Games the munchy rifts. Maybe you should broaden your gaming and play Heroes Unlimited or the Palladium Fantasy RPG. They tend to be easier to run because of the genre boundaries that are absent in rifts.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2020 10:01 pm
  

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D-Bee

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Shark_Force wrote:
I manage to play games at home without manually copying all the rules relevant to my character into an entirely new booklet.

I mean, it may not be ideal, but I see absolutely no reason you couldn't just play exactly the same way you would at home, with your books physically present, just like people did for decades when there was no realistic way to play RPGs over the internet due to it being completely new.

likewise, many thousands of people have played RPGs as theatre of the mind. this did not rely on apps before, and coronavirus has not changed that in the slightest.



There's really nothing wrong with this. However, once you actually play a game online with a fully supported platform it's really hard to go back. the 5e module for Fantasy Grounds is really really well written. The character sheets are drag and drop. Classes, races, spells, inventory... its all drag and drop. Initiative is one button. The party sheet is fully automated... the GM drags your character onto it. Damage is automatically tracked and deducted on hit. Spell effects are added to the party sheets and each round the damage or whatever effects in play are enacted. On leveling, you drag your next level's class onto the sheet and you get all the benefits of that class, though some options may be selected from a multiple-choice selection. Additional feats would be dragged over from the feat list. It's a five-minute process versus an entire night. An entire night you can play instead of manage your character sheet.

Now my modified XML character sheet in FG isn't nearly that pretty. Some of that would happen if you spent the time to populate the database but combat isn't automated and no calculations are done when you drag a new class onto the sheet. Still, the character stats ARE updated and listed on the party sheet if the GM drags the characters onto it. So at that point its roll the damage (clicking on the sheets ability or manually rolling) and then the GM updated the NPC's points.

Basically its getting the mechanics out of the way so you can concentrate on being creative. As much as I love Rifts there's a lot of updating the sheets and listing tons of stats. You get used to it but when I introduced my D&D group to it they actually thought it was way more complex and time consuming. We played for a few months and then it was back to D&D.

Having said that there is no substitute for being there in person. When I moved out West I didn't have a choice to be there in person and later with the West Coast group, kids, moving for jobs and other life events prevented us from being in the same room to game. Its really just having to do what you have to do or just giving up.


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Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2020 2:48 am
  

Palladin

Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 4:11 pm
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yes, having those tools is quite convenient. I am especially fond of them in an earthdawn west marches campaign I'm playing in, where you would normally need to have a table (or memorize it) for dice rolls.

but frankly, trying to teach a computer how to play rifts sounds like an exercise in futility. you may be able to get it to store a few bits of information, like damage rolls for your weapons, but actually figuring out only one way the rules can be interpreted is a herculean task in and of itself, never mind getting consensus across multiple groups of fans as to what that one way is supposed to be.

this is not a game that lends itself well to a computer running it. you are going to need someone making constant judgment calls regardless.


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Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2020 4:29 pm
  

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D-Bee

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drewkitty ~..~ wrote:
I'm playing RPGs just like I did for 20 years before C19 came on the block, in a chatroom. Just playing RT right now (in Roll20) since I stopped playing Rifts.

There are other PB Games the munchy rifts. Maybe you should broaden your gaming and play Heroes Unlimited or the Palladium Fantasy RPG. They tend to be easier to run because of the genre boundaries that are absent in rifts.


I wouldn't call that "broadening" your gaming though, I'd call it "constraining". Placing artificial boundaries because a GM doesn't have discipline to do it in-game as needed seems like putting on training wheels. Theme isn't the issue here as much as having at least some support in an engine to pass information back and forth in a way that doesn't bog down the play.


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Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2020 6:07 pm
  

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Monk

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TheChin! wrote:
drewkitty ~..~ wrote:
I'm playing RPGs just like I did for 20 years before C19 came on the block, in a chatroom. Just playing RT right now (in Roll20) since I stopped playing Rifts.

There are other PB Games the munchy rifts. Maybe you should broaden your gaming and play Heroes Unlimited or the Palladium Fantasy RPG. They tend to be easier to run because of the genre boundaries that are absent in rifts.


I wouldn't call that "broadening" your gaming though, I'd call it "constraining". Placing artificial boundaries because a GM doesn't have discipline to do it in-game as needed seems like putting on training wheels. Theme isn't the issue here as much as having at least some support in an engine to pass information back and forth in a way that doesn't bog down the play.

Talking about boundaries: people can be more creative within a set of boundaries because their thoughts are thinking about what can be done within them. And not just spinning about in their thoughts trying to think of something without bouderies and just getting writers block.

This is not just me saying this, it has been proven to be true in studies.

And if you note in my op I never said anything about broadening things.

What I said was that GMs would find it easier to run games within a specific genre, in stead of running one in all the genre.

If you were talking about how things were getting 'off topic' *shrugs* that is how conversations go.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2020 7:11 pm
  

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Joined: Sat Aug 17, 2019 4:01 pm
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TheChin! wrote:
drewkitty ~..~ wrote:
I'm playing RPGs just like I did for 20 years before C19 came on the block, in a chatroom. Just playing RT right now (in Roll20) since I stopped playing Rifts.

There are other PB Games the munchy rifts. Maybe you should broaden your gaming and play Heroes Unlimited or the Palladium Fantasy RPG. They tend to be easier to run because of the genre boundaries that are absent in rifts.


I wouldn't call that "broadening" your gaming though, I'd call it "constraining". Placing artificial boundaries because a GM doesn't have discipline to do it in-game as needed seems like putting on training wheels. Theme isn't the issue here as much as having at least some support in an engine to pass information back and forth in a way that doesn't bog down the play.


Especially online, Rifts is a nightmare to track information for. It isn't so bad on paper. After all, you can have as many sheets as you want. But online? Integrating all that info in such a way so it can easily be communicated to others? It is nightmarish. It is a lot simpler to run something like After the Bomb, Fantasy, or similarly narrower focuesed games than HU or Rifts, because creating an integrated sheet into a VTT becomes a lot more complicated the more broad the game is.

And, speaking totally for myself, I think anyone that insults people for simply saying that playing something other than Rifts can be good once in a while needs their head examined.


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Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2020 9:13 pm
  

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D-Bee

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TheChin! wrote:
I'm actually returning to Rifts after about 6 years and will be running it online. I'm thinking of going the route of GoogleDocs and Roll20. I'm on the hunt for a good spreadsheet character sheet I can modify for Google Drive/Docs use. I have used OneNote in the past to organize campaigns and will continue using it now. If there was content for Rifts on Roll20 that would be even better. I see that Savage Rifts is getting some attention on the Web, but I've never had a problem with Rifts as is and IMO, simpler isn't better. Not to mention, I already have a sizeable investment in "real" Rifts books that I don't feel like converting on the fly as needed.


When I posted this subject I was really hoping for tips and tricks to play Palladium and Rifts online. Your idea to use spreadsheets is nice. Although I am not a Roll20 fan, it does allow you to share documents such as character sheets online to allow play. The rest of the functionality seemed a bit arcane.

Alright. Here is another question. Assume you have a situation such as mine where all your friends are into D&D. This is fine for FG since all the classes, skills and spells are populated and they can see what is available and drag them onto their datasheet. My character sheet and extension for FG can do the same though you have to do the grunt work to populate the initial database. So not a great option unless you want to invest a large amount of time or can convince your players to contribute their time. So, in a case where only you have the basic books and no one else has them or gives a darn, how would you get your players enough information to play online and even fill in a basic character sheet for use in a simple tabletop doc sharing app like Tabletop Simulator. Palladium doesn't have anything like Wizards of the Coast's SRD (System Reference Document) that make the basic rules and a limited class and racial subset public domain so its difficult to imagine how to bring new players onboard when you can't troup over to their house with a big stack of books for a character creation night. Any suggestions?

I am still interested in the mechanics of what people use for online playing but this is a part of that, even if its a subset of the issue.


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Unread postPosted: Sun May 03, 2020 9:13 pm
  

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So we have used Obsidian Portal (or made our own sites) for character info and character logs, roll20 for the rolls, and Discord for the voice and video. All have their pros and cons, but using the 3 together works really well.

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Unread postPosted: Sun May 03, 2020 10:16 pm
  

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D-Bee

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zyanitevp wrote:
So we have used Obsidian Portal (or made our own sites) for character info and character logs, roll20 for the rolls, and Discord for the voice and video. All have their pros and cons, but using the 3 together works really well.


Nice! This was a surprise, I had never heard of it. Looking at it, the site allows the uploading of maps that can be zoomed in but not have characters placed or sectioned into squared/hexes. This isn't a big deal since Rifts doesn't lend itself well to strategic movement. It allows uploading of character sheets for viewing, though I am not sure if there is a tool for tracking MDC, SDC and PPE/ISP. I assume you use Roll20 for this part.

There is a log but I don't see a way to roll dice or share rolls. (Roll20 again) I'll have to take a closer look and see if there are more "live" tools to interact with the players with. The space allowed with a free account doesn't seem very large...maybe enough for a single map, but I have doubts about the character sheets... at least not in pdf form.

While I am not convinced this is a better solution than my cludgy FG one it definitely needs to be looked at closer. As you said, used in combination with Roll20 and Discord this becomes an interesting support tool.


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Unread postPosted: Mon May 04, 2020 1:23 am
  

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Explorersunlimited.com and Savagerifts.com are Play by Post sites. It has a built in die roller for both sites for play by post, but they also do Roll20


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Unread postPosted: Sun May 24, 2020 11:05 am
  

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I should mention that savage worlds rifts is very playable on roll 20. Theirs a character sheet that supports it, and its not so far from core that it doesn't work.

Still official support would be nice hint hint wink wink nudge nudge Kevin.

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Unread postPosted: Sun May 24, 2020 2:15 pm
  

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D-Bee

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Riftmaker wrote:
I should mention that savage worlds rifts is very playable on roll 20. Theirs a character sheet that supports it, and its not so far from core that it doesn't work.

Still official support would be nice hint hint wink wink nudge nudge Kevin.


My group has recently started a side-game of Deadlands, which is a popular variant/supplement of Savage Worlds. It is fully supported by Fantasy Grounds and the character sheets, skills, rolls (including exploders), and adventure cards are completely automated. Although I find the system weird and not really fun it's very easy to play in it (since the rolls and bonuses/penalties are all automated). The system seems more geared towards short term campaigns like Paranoia, where you have ten clones and over the period of a few game sessions you expect them all to die. The game lasts about 5 sessions and then you move on to something where you actually give a damn about your characters. I say this because in the very first game I played, the damage "exploded/Aced" and I took 24 damage. Basically instant death without soaking and other damage manipulation. It was the first player damage anyone had taken ever in the game. Even the GM was shocked. Since then we have seen how common the exposing dice is and it is pretty evident that although you generally last longer than Paranoia, your time in the game is limited.

Anyway, I went to the Fantasy Grounds store to see if the variant/supplement plugin for Savage Rifts was there (like it is for Deadlands and most other variants) and it was missing. I assume it is because Palladium didn't license it. It was unfortunate, if I had to play a Savage Worlds game I would definitely rather play variant/supplement linked to my favorite one. It's odd because the price structure of Roll20 and Fantasy Grounds encourage you to buy the intellectual property multiple times. I NEVER thought I would buy the D&D 5e books multiple times, yet I bought the hard copies of the basic books (Player Guide, DM Guide, Monster Manual). Then I had to buy them again to use them in Fantasy Grounds when the GM didn't have a game active and you couldn't see the ruleset without logging into the GMs active campaign. Or you wanted to GM your own game. Then I bought some of the expansion books like Xanathars Guide to Everything on Fantasy Grounds and gifted it to the GM so we could use the expanded class list (the GM didn't care and wasn't about to spend his own money but was okay with allowing the classes if someone ELSE spent the money. Was the same thing with Volo's Guide and the races). I'm halfway afraid Kevin gives them permission to put the ruleset and books/supplement in Fantasy grounds because if you want to play a specific setting or use a race from a book you would likely end up buying the GM's plugs ins(supplements). If he licensed it per race or class, rather than by book, it could even be MORE expensive to play the game on Fantasy Grounds. I'd have to buy my freaking Rifts books all over again :shock: I have over a hundred Rifts books I have gathered over the decades. I might go broke! :cry:

So, people buy the hardbacks, then for convenience, they buy the pdfs, then to play in a convenient way online they buy the plugins for Fantasy Grounds or Rolls20. I saw a Youtube video on the starting costs to play D&D using Roll20 versus Fantasy Grounds. Fantasy Grounds won by a small margin but the thing that stuck with me was the GM had to spend over a hundred dollars just to play a game he undoubtedly had hard copies of. Considering how many books Palladium has, versus the core books of Wizards of the Coast it would be the gift that kept on giving.


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Unread postPosted: Sun May 24, 2020 2:18 pm
  

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D-Bee

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Tiree wrote:
Explorersunlimited.com and Savagerifts.com are Play by Post sites. It has a built in die roller for both sites for play by post, but they also do Roll20


Wow, I can't imagine playing by post. One combat can already take most of the night. If you played by post it might take all month. Still, technically cool that you can do this!


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