One of the most interesting things to me in planning for my upcoming Rifts campaign is that I am looking at having one of the most diverse mixes in terms of gaming experience that I’ve had in a while.
Long-time readers of the site might know I’m a bit proponent of group character generation; I insist on it for pretty much all my games at this point. I think group chargen sessions are a chance to bond, a chance to keep tabs on the process, and to get a group of Player Characters that just work better together. This time will be no different, especially with the Rifts and gaming novices we’ll likely have with us.
Another item I’m thinking of porting into Rifts is the reward for making Connections with other players. This little trick, so admirably carried out in games such as Mongoose Traveller, is perfect for getting those strands that connect the players and answering the question “why the heck are we together?”
Basically, players may gain up to two Secondary skills for linking their character with another character. It has to be consensual between the two players, and though players can create as many Connections as they wish, they max out at the two free skills. Each Connection must be with a different player; no doubling up. A Connection could be anything from “Served together on a medical ship” to “First cousins from the same village”. They don’t have to be deep or even supremely integral to the character, but it’s at least another hook that might come up in the course of the game.
It’s a low-grade reward, but one that really link a diverse group together, and can help any player feel more a part of the process. It’s perhaps easiest to do in games that have skills, but there’s no reason a small Experience Point/Hit Point/Fate Point reward can’t be doled out in games without a skill system emphasis.