Savage Rifts: What Should I Play?

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If you can't decide which framework to play in Savage Rifts, give this flowchart a try. The footnotes are the same as those on the page Savage Rifts: Framework and Race List, but to summarize: * is M.A.R.S.; † is race-restricted; and ‡ is homebrew.

Start Here

What matters most about your character? What makes you awesome? Bear in mind that there will be a lot of overlap between these divisions (e.g., some spellcasters are combat monsters while others are skilled support), so if you want "a mix of A and B" just go with whatever is your highest priority for now.

Broad Categories

  • I want to kick butt in combat. Go to Combat.
  • I want to wield powerful arcane forces. Go to Casters.
  • I want to be skilled and support the party. Go to Skilled.

Specific Needs

  • I want to specialize in fighting a specific type of foe. Go to Slayers.
  • I want to have minion(s), like a mount or summoned beings. Go to Minions.
  • I want to be an outcast, hated and misunderstood. Go to Outcasts.

(Use your browser's Back button to return to the last option, or the ^top^ link in each box to return here.)


Combat

What's the main thing that makes you such a badass?

  • I'm a highly trained soldier or mercenary. Go to Soldiers.
  • I have a suit of power armor, robot vehicle (mecha), etc. Go to Battlesuits.
  • I've been augmented with cyberware or something weirder. Go to Augmented.
  • I wield magic, psi, or my faith as a weapon. Go to Combat Arcanists.
  • I focus on using Techno-Wizard gear. Go to TW Gear.
  • I'm not even human; I'm a literal combat monster. Go to Monsters.

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Casters

There are two ways to approach this — by role (e.g., combat, noncombat, enchanting) or by source of power (e.g., magic vs. psi). If you aren't sure, consider trying both paths, then see where your choices overlap.

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Skilled

You focus on skills that help the party in a wide variety of roles. Chances are, you want to touch on multiple categories here, so be prepared to click back and forth a lot. For now, what's your focus?

  • Command and Tactics. Go to Tactics.
  • Enchanting Gear. Go to Enchanters.
  • Healing (Mundane or Magical). Go to Healers.
  • Outdoors and Animal Handling. Go to Outdoors.
  • Repair and Technology. Go to Tech.
  • Scholarly Lore (from Occult to Science). Go to Scholars.
  • Stealth and Trickery. Go to Sneaky.
  • Social Skills. Go to Social.
  • Vehicular Operation. Go to Transport.

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Slayers

What sort of enemy do you specialize in taking down?

  • I fight technological forces. Consider playing a...
    • Cyber-Knight
    • EOD Specialist*
    • "Zapper" Eruptor
  • I wipe out supernatural evil, in general. Consider playing a...
    • Apok‡
    • Cyber-Knight
    • Momano Headhunter
    • Mystic
    • RCSG Scientist* (usually via assistance rather than direct combat)
    • Spirit Warrior*
  • I specialize in a certain type of foe. Don't think these frameworks are useless otherwise! Tactics adapt easily. Consider playing a...
    • Bounty Hunter* (targets to be taken alive)
    • Dinosaur Hunter* (large beasts)
    • Nega-Psychic (mages, psis, and other arcanists)
    • Vampire Hunter* (guess)

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Minions

Do you want a permanent animal/human companion, or the ability to summon/raise arcane beings? Either way, Leadership Edges may be a wise investment.

  • Mundane Companion: Consider playing a...
    • Cowboy* (horse)
    • Psi-Druid* (small animal)
    • Any other framework plus the Beast Master, Beast Rider (B&B, p. 31), Followers, and/or Sidekick Edges. If M.A.R.S., all but Beast Rider are available via the Fortune & Glory table.
  • Summoned Beings: Consider playing a...
    • Elemental Fusionist† (summoned elementals)
    • Necromancer (raised skeletons and mummies)
    • Shifter (a permanent familiar and/or summoned demons)

For the Elementalist and Shifter, these require special Edges (TLFM, pp. 11-12). Other Casters can take these as well, but with restrictions. To summon animals, see the Conjurer Edge (A&M, p. 31).

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Outcasts

It can be fun to play the misunderstood, mistrusted outsider. Bring on the angst! So, why do people fear you?

  • I'm literally a monster. Whether you were born one or became one later on, go to Monsters.
  • I work with dark forces, but to do good. Consider playing a...
    • Necromancer
    • Shifter
  • My kind are just misunderstood. Consider playing a...
    • Knight of the White Rose
    • Mind Melter
    • Momano Headhunter

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Casters by Role

What do you want your focus to be? Bear in mind that there's always plenty of overlap between these categories, but let's try to narrow it down.

  • Effectiveness in combat. Go to Combat Arcanists.
  • Versatility out of combat. Go to Noncombat Arcanists.
  • A balanced mix of combat/noncombat. Go to Versatile Arcanists.
  • Creating arcane items (temporary or permanent). Go to Enchanters.
  • I want to be a nonhuman with inherent arcane power. Consider playing a...
    • Dragon Hatchling†
    • Heroic Vampire
    • Mind Bleeder†‡
    • Werecat†
    • A D-Bee or mutant with inherent Arcane Background, in any of the frameworks here

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Casters by Source

Magic, psi, miracles, and gifted (a.k.a. "other") have very different feels in Rifts, as described below. Which do you want to manipulate? Note that some frameworks have access to multiple sources and thus appear in multiple lists.

  • Magic: Go to Magic.
    • Extremely versatile options for powers and Trappings. Rituals cost credits (lots) but increase the power of spells via assistants and places of power (like ley lines). Must have hands and mouth free to cast.
  • Psionics: Go to Psionics.
    • Limited powers and Trappings (usually "translucent force"), but can be used with hands and/or mouth bound. Meditations are weaker than rituals but cost nothing. Potential access to lots of power points.
  • Miracles: Go to Miracles.
    • Nearly identical to magic, except with holy Trappings (e.g., silver, sunlight, holy power). Access to Edges like Champion and Holy Warrior will make you good at smiting evil.
  • Gifted: The options are so few that they're just listed below.
    • The catch-all for "something unique that isn't magic/psi/miracles." The only source that can't use Techo-Wizardly gear, but does grant access to amazing power modifiers.
    • To be a mutant who wields powerful elemental forces, consider playing an Elemental Fusionist†. (Or choose a different framework but play a mutant as your race; see the race list for details.)
    • To draw upon Chi to enhance your melee attacks, consider playing a Martial Artist‡.

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Soldiers

Even a "normal" fighter can have some cyberware as a treat. Do you?

  • Sure, I like cyberware. Consider playing a...
    • Headhunter Techno-Warrior*
    • Momano Headhunter
    • One of the options below, but use your Hero's Journey rolls or Edges like Rich and Upgrade to add cyberware

If not, what's your preferred fighting style?

  • A melee brawl. Consider playing a...
    • Barbarian*
    • Martial Artist*‡
  • A pitched gunfight. Consider playing a...
    • Commando*
    • Gunslinger*
    • Merc Soldier*
  • Carefully stalking my prey for hours. Consider playing a...
    • Bounty Hunter*
    • Dinosaur Hunter*
    • Vampire Hunter*

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Battlesuits

Consider playing a...

  • Controller*‡ (magical automaton)
  • Glitter Boy (best power armor)
  • Power Armor Ace* (power armor)
  • Robot Vehicle Ace* (mecha)

If you just wanted a regular vehicle, see Transport.

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Augmented

Are your upgrades basically cybernetic or something weirder?

  • Cyberware: Consider playing a...
    • City Rat* (this is not a very combat-focused class, but can make a decent assassin)
    • Combat Cyborg†
    • Cyber-Humanoid†‡
    • Headhunter Techno-Warrior*
    • Momano Headhunter
  • Weirder: Consider playing a...
    • Crazy
    • Intelligent Construct† (your mind was uploaded into one)
    • Juicer (normal or Dragon)

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TW Gear

Techno-Wizard gear is an important part of Rifts. Anyone with an Arcane Background can use it, but these frameworks are focused on using TW gear as their primary source of damage-dealing. Consider playing a...

  • Crazy
  • Dragon Juicer
  • Momano Headhunter
  • Psi-Operator*
  • Techno-Wizard

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Monsters

Rawr! Were you once human and something changed you? Or were you born this way?

  • Originally Human: Consider playing a...
    • Combat Cyborg†
    • Cyber-Humanoid†‡ (an unobvious monster)
    • Heroic Vampire†
  • Born This Way: Consider playing a...
    • Dragon Hatchling†
    • Intelligent Construct†
    • Mind Bleeder†‡ (an unobvious monster)
    • Werecat†
    • Any of the other frameworks, but as a D-Bee whose abilities mesh up well (e.g., an Orc Commando)

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Combat Arcanists

These characters can also have noncombat versatility, but their focus is firmly on dealing damage, buffing their own melee attacks, and/or controlling the battlefield.

Which type of arcane energy do you wish to wield?

  • Magic: Consider playing a...
    • Battle Magus*
    • Combat Mage*
  • Psionics: Consider playing a...
    • Crazy
    • Cyber-Knight
    • Eruptor
    • Juicer with the Delphi Juicer Edge
    • Knight of the White Rose
    • Psi-Slinger*
    • Psi-Warrior*
  • Miracles: Consider playing a...
    • Apok‡
    • Spirit Warrior*
  • Something Else: Consider playing a...
    • Elemental Fusionist†
    • Martial Artist*‡
  • I want two types of arcane energy: Consider playing a Knight of the White Rose.

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Noncombat Arcanists

These casters have powers that focus on support, healing, defense, and so on.

Which type of arcane energy do you wish to wield?

  • Magic: Consider playing a...
  • Psionics: Consider playing a...
    • Mystic
    • Nega-Psychic
    • Psi-Druid*
    • Psi-Operator*
  • Miracles: Consider playing a...
  • I want two types of arcane energy: Consider playing a Mystic.

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Versatile Arcanists

These frameworks are ideal if you don't want to focus on just one thing. Most have a wide range of available powers and it's up to you what to do with them.

Which type of arcane energy do you wish to wield?

  • Magic: Consider playing a...
    • Ley Line Walker
    • Lord Magus*
    • Necromancer
    • Shifter
  • Psionics: Consider playing a...
    • Mind Melter
    • Mystic
    • Phase Adept*‡
  • Miracles: Consider playing a Shaman* (also an Enchanter).
  • I want two types of arcane energy: Consider playing a Mystic.

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Enchanters

What type of magic or psionic gear do you want to create?

  • Temporary Gadgets: Consider playing a...
    • Psi-Operator*
    • Techno-Wizard
  • Permanent TW Devices: Consider playing a Techno-Wizard.
  • Permanent Enchanted/Magic Items: Consider playing a...
    • Barbarian Eco-Wizard*
    • High Magus* (the best "pure" non-TW enchanter)
    • Shaman*
    • Techno-Wizard (though they don't get this until Seasoned!)
    • Any other magical Caster and take the Minor Item Creation and possibly Major Item Creation Edges at character creation

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Magic

What do you want to do with your magic? Heavy focus on combat? General support and versatility? Enchanting?

  • Combat: Consider playing a...
    • Battle Magus*
    • Combat Mage*
  • Versatility: Consider playing a...
    • Ley Line Walker
    • Lord Magus*
    • Necromancer
    • Shifter
  • Enchanting: Consider playing a...
    • Barbarian Eco-Wizard*
    • High Magus*
    • Techno-Wizard (not technically a "spellcaster" but close)
  • Instinct: Some powerful racial frameworks have minor magical abilities (along with minor psionics). Consider playing a...
    • Dragon Hatchling†
    • Werecat†

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Psionics

Psi is a common part of Rifts frameworks. Are psionics your sole focus (your main "shtick"), or are they something you use to enhance your other abilities?

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Miracles

Some faith-based frameworks also include a little psi, as noted below. Now, are you more of a supportive healer or a holy warrior?

  • Holy Warrior: Consider playing a...
    • Apok‡
    • Knight of the White Rose (also has psi)
    • Spirit Warrior*
  • Supportive Healer: Consider playing a...
    • Priest*‡
    • Mystic (also has psi)
    • Shaman*

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Dedicated Psis

In which situation does your psi shine?

  • Melee Combat: Consider playing a...
    • Cyber-Knight
    • Eruptor (specifically Burster, Freezer‡, or Zapper)
    • Psi-Warrior*
  • Ranged Combat: Consider playing a...
    • Eruptor
    • Psi-Slinger
  • Out of Combat: Consider playing a...
    • Mind Melter
    • Phase Adept*‡
    • Psi-Druid*
    • Psi-Operator*
  • When Facing Other Arcanists: Consider playing a Nega-Psychic.

Be sure to consider your race. Many D-Bees have innate psionics; choosing to play one will make your psi even more potent, though at the cost of pigeon-holing you somewhat.

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Psionically Enhanced

What does your psi enhance?

  • My holy powers. Consider playing a...
    • Knight of the White Rose
    • Mystic
  • My melee prowess. Consider playing a...
    • Crazy
    • Cyber-Knight
    • Juicer with the Delphi Juicer Edge
    • Psi-Warrior*
  • My natural inhuman abilities. Consider playing a...
    • Dragon Hatchling† (also has some magic)
    • Heroic Vampire
    • Werecat† (also has some magic)
    • Any other framework, but choosing one of the (many) D-Bees with innate psionics as your race
  • My ability to use electronic gear. Consider playing a Psi-Operator*.

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Tactics

Consider playing a...

  • Merc Soldier* (can start with up to four Leadership Edges)
  • Intel Operative* (starts with the Field Intel Edge)
  • Any other framework (though the Combat options make the most sense), choosing the Field Intel Edge and/or some Leadership Edges

Note that Leadership Edges do not apply to other PCs unless you take Natural Leader.

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Healers

Did you want to be good at mundane healing or arcane healing?

  • Mundane: Consider playing a...
    • Body-Fixer*
    • Cyber-Doc*
    • Shaman*
  • Arcane: Consider playing a...
    • Barbarian Eco-Wizard*
    • Mystic (also has unique healing options)
    • Priest*‡
    • Psi-Druid*
    • Shaman*
    • Any other Caster with access to the healing and/or relief powers

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Outdoors

Do you want arcane power (magic, psi, etc.) as well?

  • Yes: Consider playing a...
    • Barbarian Eco-Wizard*
    • Elemental Fusionist†
    • "Freezer‡" Eruptor
    • Psi-Druid*
    • Shaman*
  • No: Consider playing a...
    • Barbarian*
    • Bounty Hunter*
    • Cowboy*
    • Dinosaur Hunter*
    • Wilderness Scout* (probably the best at "pure" outdoors stuff)

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Tech

These frameworks are good at using, adapting, and/or repairing tech. If you want to be technological (i.e., cybered up), see Augmented.

Consider playing a...

  • "Bomber‡" Eruptor (explosives)
  • City Rat* (electronics, hacking)
  • Cyber-Doc* (cybernetics, electronics, repair)
  • EOD Specialist* (explosives, electronics, repair)
  • Operator* (repair, gadgeteering, electronics)
  • Psi-Operator* (electronics, repair)
  • Techno-Wizard (gadgeteering, electronics, repair)

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Scholars

What kind of scholar?

  • I'm an expert on certain things, but it isn't my main focus. Consider playing a...
    • Body-Fixer* (medicine, science, electronics)
    • Cyber-Doc* (electronics/cyberware, medicine, science)
    • Lord Magus* (occult)
    • Momano Headhunter (academics, occult)
    • Phase Adept*‡ (academics, occult)
    • Priest*‡ (academics, occult)
    • Techno-Wizard (electronics, occult, science)
  • I'm good at researching answers, but it isn't my main focus. Consider playing a...
    • Bounty Hunter*
    • Intel Operative*
  • I know a lot and can research whatever I don't. Consider playing a...
    • RCSG Scientist*
    • Rogue Scholar*
  • I'm no expert, but I know a little bit about everything. Consider playing a Vagabond*.

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Sneaky

Are you sneaky because you're good at stealth? Or are you a master of trickery and theft?

  • Stealth: Consider playing a...
    • "Forest Runner" Dragon Hatchling†
    • Heroic Vampire (via shapeshifting)
    • Intel Operative*
    • Werecat† (via cat form)
    • Wilderness Scout*
    • Any Caster with the invisibility power
  • Trickery and Theft: Consider playing a...
    • City Rat*
    • Cyber-Humanoid†‡ (via cyber-disguise)
    • Intel Operative*
    • Anyone with a free choice of cybernetics can acquire a cyber-disguise

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Social

Are you more interested in being charismatic, likable, and a good talker? Or in being streetwise and comfortable with shady folks? Either way, you probably want to be human (or at least appear to be), as D-Bees suffer social penalties.

  • Charismatic: Consider playing a...
    • Cyber-Humanoid†‡ (can make themselves more attractive)
    • Cyber-Knight
    • Elemental Fusionist†
    • Glitter Boy
    • Intel Operative*
    • Priest*‡
  • Streetwise: Consider playing a...
    • Bounty Hunter*
    • City Rat*
    • Intel Operative*
    • Vampire Hunter*

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Transport

These frameworks all feature Driving and/or Piloting skills. Is it crucial that you start with a vehicle?

  • Yes: Consider playing a...
    • Controller*‡ (an automaton isn't really a vehicle, but it's close)
    • Operator*
    • Robot Vehicle Ace* (more "mecha" than "vehicle," but some are great for transport)
    • Any other M.A.R.S. (*) framework, then try to roll "A Way to Get Around" on the Fortune & Glory Table.
    • Any other framework, then take the Rich and Filthy Rich Edges, trading both in for a vehicle.
  • No: Consider playing a...
    • Commando*
    • Glitter Boy
    • Juicer with the Phaeton Treatment Edge
    • Power Armor Ace*
    • Any other framework where cybernetics is an option, then acquire the Vehicle Interface Package.

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