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Cyber-Knights & Fighting/Abilities

Variant: New Hand to Hand Style

 

Words from the Author

Greetings and Salutations. Before I get into my version, I'd like to discuss my thoughts and feelings on Cyber-Knights in their various incarnations. First, let me state that a Cyber-Knight from the Rifts main book was my very first Rifts character: Sir Nicholas Colwyn (character sheet found elsewhere on this site). When Siege of Tolkeen 4: Cyber-Knights came out I happily took the upgrades. I was still relatively new to role-playing and the only thing that mattered at the time was: "Hey, new free stuff!"

My style of playing has changed a lot since then, and I no longer play Rifts (if I can help it). However, I still often followed topics on Cyber-Knights because they hold a special place in my heart. At the time of Siege of Tolkeen's release I remember hearing some complaints that the changes were munchy, because they gained a bunch of new abilities without any cost to them. Things have changed, and as time progressed (perhaps after Rifts Ultimate Edition came out?) the main complaint I'd hear about these abilities is that their counter-tech (I won't say "anti-tech" because they still use technology and the term is often used to refer to people who avoid/dislike technology).

Even with my more munchy days behind me (more or less), I just can't agree with the complaint of the counter-tech abilities. "They used to be anti-evil, now they're just anti-CS." Um ... no! They didn'tlose any abilities. They're no less anti-evil (or Supernatural) than they were before. Also, anyone, even a supernatural monster can use technology. On the cover of Rifts Conversion Book One we have a Dragon with a visor, Rifter #20 a Vampire with an eye piece, within the books Rifts Arzno talks about Vampires using technology and Rifts Conversion Book Two: Pantheons of the Megaverse talks about gods embracing technology as well. So even supernatural evil beings use technology, and having such abilities is a great asset to any fighter type.

Beyond that, I've always found an in-character logic to the counter-tech abilities. Lord Coake, leader of the Cyber-Knights, originally came from the Palladium Fantasy setting. Now I can't recall if this is ever explicitly stated in the books, especially with Palladium's desire to keep their IP separate, but I know it's been stated, and that Lord Coake had been the player character of one of Defilers in his original game. Now in the Palladium Fantasy setting magic and supernatural are nothing new. So I think about how this would be for a person from the Palladium Fantasy setting coming to Rifts.

Which one might you want to take special precautions against: The magic and supernatural that you've fought before and accustomed to, or technology that can be equally frightening, easily used in mass quantities (while magic and supernatural tend to be more limited quantity factors), and is something totally new and strange to you? While some people may answer different, there's a good reason we have a saying that people fear the unknown. In that way, I feel these new counter-tech abilities make a great deal of sense for the character.

However, my thoughts and perspective are not the only thing of importance here. You, the fans, are also important. So as a fellow fan, I want to help. Hearing the complaints, an idea started to brew in the back of my mind and here it is. Different variations have been done by other fans, but this is my personal take on it and I think offers a nice feel for customization. Hope you enjoy.

 

Notes on Editions

For simplicity, I'll be using the original Rifts main book as the base for Cyber-Knights. Additions made in Siege of Tolkeen 4 and Rifts Ultimate Edition have been referenced for ideas and incorporated, but this is not an add-on to those classes. This is written as a new option for the original write-up of Cyber-Knights to bring them up to the newer versions while offering customization. For those who like both what I've done and the newer Rifts Ultimate Edition version, this can be used to compliment that class though there will be some overlap.

 

Hand to Hand: Spirit Knight

Cyber-Knights train in combat and in mysticism. Using internal arts, the Cyber-Knight learns to create a Psi-Sword through sheer force of will. These Psi-Swords can be forged in their mind's eye even if the Cyber-Knight previously demonstrated no psychic abilities, and can be created without the expenditure of I.S.P. For most Cyber-Knights, their training ends here and they focus on the more physical aspects of combat, developing Hand to Hand: Martial Arts. A few though take their training to the next level.

These select continue to train in the internal arts, honing and mastering their psi-abilities. While in a basic fight these warriors are at a disadvantage, their mystic training gives them an edge that can surpass even the most hardened of veterans. The abilities developed vary from Cyber-Knight to Cyber-Knight, but tend to form out of necessity or as a reflection of the character's inner self. A Cyber-Knight that fights a lot of tech opponents may develop counter tech abilities while one who fights a bunch of tough foes could develop new Psi-Sword techniques. Meanwhile a protector can hone shield powers someone who is lonely may develop companion abilities, and someone with a truly dark heart may develop Fallen techniques.

Skill Cost: One O.C.C. Related Skill.

Availability: Cyber-Knights only.

Note: All special abilities (and penalties) are cumulative. That means if a Cyber-Knight learns Two Psi-Swords, Indirect Sword, Mortal Sword, and Soul Sword, then that Cyber-Knight can wield twin Psi-Blades that have all those features. This can be useful for various combinations and customization.

1: Starts with four attacks/actions per melee round; Psi-Sword (standard), +3 to pull punch and +2 to roll with punch, fall, or impact. Also gains +2 on initiative when using the Psi-Sword.

2: Paired Weapons; +3 to parry and dodge, and +2 to strike.

3: Two Psi-Swords or Psi-Shield (pick one).

4: +1 additional attack per melee round; and Living Armor.

5: Counter Tech, Sense Evil, or Critical Sword (pick one).

6: +1 to strike with Psi-Sword and +3 to parry with Psi-Sword/Psi-Shield.

7: Indirect Sword, Spirit Shield, or Cyber-Friend (pick one).

8: +1D6 damage with Psi-Sword.

9: +1 additional attack per melee round.

10: Mortal Sword, Force Shield, Cyber-Familiar, or Flesh Sword (pick one).

11: +1 additional attack per melee round while using the Psi-Sword, and +1 to Save vs. Horror Factor.

12: +1 on initiative; and +2 to parry and dodge.

13: Dimensional Sword, Cyber-Sword, or Soul Sword (pick one).

14: +1 additional attack per melee round, and +1D6 damage with Psi-Sword.

15: One Psi-Sword, Psi-Shield, or Other Technique of choice (only those available to the Spirit Knight).

 

Psi-Sword Techniques

Critical Sword: Due to the link between Cyber-Knight and Psi-Sword allow for greater potential damage. The Psi-Sword inflicts a Critical Strike on any natural, unmodified roll of 17 or higher. Note: Due to the focus on internal arts, the Cyber-Knight does not gain a Critical Strike modifier (other than the standard Natural 20) without this technique.

Cyber-Sword: A Cyber-Knight may have cyber-armor and be just as capable of using technology as anyone else, but technology still proves one of the greatest obstacles in the path of a knight. To help combat this threat is the Cyber-Sword, a sword whose special properties can disrupt the electrical systems of any device it comes in contact with. The Cyber-Sword causes a momentary (one melee round/15 seconds) glitch in the power systems of the device.

The Psi-Sword doesn't need to destroy the device. As long as the device is successfully hit it will not respond for the next 15 seconds. This only works on devices with an electrical system. It will not work on a catapult, bicycle, or even simple guns or older cars (with only mechanical parts). Computers, targeting systems, and newer cars with electrical chips are still vulnerable. Larger items, such as a ship, will not shut down with a single hit, but my still disrupt local systems.

Dimensional Sword: Damage from this Psi-Sword transcends dimensions. The Dimensional Sword can cut through any dimensional barriers or shields as if they weren't even there. Where this ability sees the most use is in combating the supernatural. Supernatural beings can typically only be killed in their native dimension. Anywhere else just temporarily banishes them and forces them to respawn in their native realm. With a Dimensional Sword though, any damage inflicted hurts the supernatural being as if they were in its home dimension. A killing blow with this Psi-Sword is true death even for a supernatural being.

Flesh Sword: Fallen Cyber-Knights only. The Psi-Sword not only cuts into flesh like a normal sword, but sends out a wave of energy upon impact that further tears and separates the flesh of its victims. This attack doesn't inflict any additional damage, but does cause intense pain within its victims. If the sword inflicts damage, victims must make a Save vs. Pain (12 or higher, P.E. bonuses included). Victims who fail their save fall into several stages.

Stage 1 is a victim who has failed their first save. The character suffers a -1 on initiative, - 1 to strike, parry, and dodge, and -10% on all skill performances. Stage 2 is when the character has suffers a -3 on initiative, -3 to strike, parry, and dodge, and -20% on all skill performances. Stage 3 and upward include all the penalties from Stage 3 along with losing one attack per melee round. The character will continue to lose attacks per melee until eventually they are nothing more than a quivering, screaming pound of flesh on the floor unable to move! This means at Stage 4 the character will lose two attacks per melee round and at Stage five lose three attacks. The pain will last until the character can receive medical, psychic, or magical treatment to the wounds. Note: Though in general there's no easy way to recognize a Fallen Cyber-Knight, rumors of techniques such as these being used will bring other Cyber-Knights to the area on the hunt.

Indirect Sword: The Psi-Sword is able to bend and twist in the middle of combat, curving around shields or even walls. Such an unpredictable weapon is extremely hard to defend against, resulting in a -4 penalty to an opponent's defense (typically a parry or dodge). Using this technique requires a fair bit of concentration, and costs one attack/action per melee round. This means if the character only has one attack left in the melee round this technique cannot be used, but if the character has three attacks remaining the character can use this technique twice (1 attack for concentration, with 2 attacks remaining).Note: While this technique is in use, the Cyber-Knight can extend the size (but not shape) of his/her Psi-Sword without additional cost of attacks/actions. That means for the cost of just one attack/action per melee round, the weapon can change size (growing from 1 foot/0.3 m to 7 feet/2.1 m) and curve around a wall in the same action.

Mortal Sword: A true Cyber-Knight tries to protect the innocent and never uses his/her weapon against an opponent without an equivalent weapon. This technique exemplifies this concept. Through will and determination, the Cyber-Knight has honed their blade's edge to identify between mortal and supernatural beings. Without requiring thought or action from the wielder, the Psi-Sword automatically inflicts S.D.C. damage to S.D.C./H.P. opponents and M.D. to M.D.C. opponents. The Cyber-Knight cannot change this fact (even if desired) and once perfected the Mortal Sword cannot be undone.

This allows a Cyber-Knight to wade into battle and wield the Psi-Sword against all opponents, mortal and supernatural alike, while damage is kept moderated at all times. The restrained energy the Psi-Sword holds back to avoid destroying mortal bodies is built up, and allows the weapon to inflict even greater damage to M.D.C. opponents. Damage: +2D6 to M.D.C. opponents only.

Psi-Sword (standard): This is the standard Psi-Sword of all Cyber-Knights, both standard and Spirit Knights. The Psi-Sword can be created at the speed of thought (no action) and costs no I.S.P. This does come at a price though. The maximum size of a Psi-Sword is 1 foot (0.3 m) per level of experience. As such a level 1 Cyber-Knight can only create a 1 foot (0.3 m) Psi-Sword, more of a Psi-Dagger really. However by level 2 that Psi-Sword can be the equivalent of a short sword, level 3 a long sword, and by level 4 a claymore. By level 7 the Cyber-Knight can be wielding a 7 foot (2.1 m) zanbato (really large sword) style weapon, or even a berdiche pole-arm (though swords are the most common, any shape can be used as long as it falls within the size limit).

Characters can always decide to keep a smaller Psi-Sword (a level 6 Cyber-Knight can choose to wield a 3 foot/1 m Psi-Sword) for convenience or preference. The ability to change size can be extremely useful in combat, allowing the character to transform an oversized weapon into a smaller one when dealing with enclosed spaces, turning a small blade into a larger one for gaining a range advantage, or even just changing the length to catch an enemy suddenly off guard. Note: Though creating a Psi-Sword doesn't cost an action, changing the size or shape of the weapon in battle costs the character's next melee action.

Soul Sword: Fallen Cyber-Knights only. Some Cyber-Knights take their role as judge, jury, and executioner so far that they no longer just pass judgment on the individual, but the soul itself! A Soul Sword is similar to a Soul Drinker rune sword, capable of consuming the souls of its victims. Once blood is drawn by the Soul Sword, a victim must roll to Save vs. Magic (14 or higher). A successful save results in no ill effects, while a failed save results in the victim's essence being devoured by the sword. That's what makes this by far the most horrendous of the Psi-Sword techniques.

The Soul Sword doesn't just consume souls however, it becomes empowered by them. This grants the Psi-Sword added strength, inflicting an additional 2D6 damage. The sword however becomes reliant upon souls to power it. A soul must be consumed at least once per week, or else the Cyber-Knight loses his/her ability to create it forever. While a truly repentant Cyber-Knight may gladly pay this price as atonement, most will hunt out those who they view as evil. However, as the situation becomes more desperate, the Cyber-Knight is likely to extend that view of evil to encompass a wider and wider spectrum, consuming a victim's soul for relatively minor infractions. Note: Though in general there's no easy way to recognize a Fallen Cyber-Knight, rumors of techniques such as these being used will bring other Cyber-Knights to the area on the hunt.

Two Psi-Swords: The Cyber-Knight is able to form two Psi-Swords. Each Psi-Sword inflicts full damage and can be used instinctively with the character's Paired Weapons ability (gained at level 2). The only limitation is that the total combined length of the two Psi-Swords cannot exceed the Cyber-Knight's limit for one Psi-Sword. This means a level 4 Cyber-Knight can make one 4 foot (1.2 m) Psi-Sword, two 2 foot (0.6 m) Psi-Swords, or one 3 foot (1 m) Psi-Sword and a single 1 foot (0.3 m) Psi-Sword. However, the total length of both added together cannot exceed 4 feet (1.2 m).

 

Psi-Shield Techniques

Force Shield: A typical Psi-Shield is a weave of magical energy that's an excellent defensive tool against hand to hand attacks, but useless against smaller attacks. Energy blasts slip through the weave like water through a strainer while projectiles are small enough to slip through the strands of energy. The Force Shield solves this problem by creating a solid force of energy able to repel any type of attack, even energy blasts and projectiles. This also helps make the Psi-Shield more durable. In addition to the Psi-Shields base M.D.C., the Force Shield gains an additional 5 M.D.C. per level of experience of the character.

Psi-Shield: Standard; same as the super psionic power.

Spirit Shield: An advanced form of the standard Psi-Shield. Through inner strength and sheer force of will, the Cyber-Knight can create the Psi-Shield with a mere thought. The Psi-Shield no longer costs any I.S.P.  and can be activated in an instant (no action).

 

Other Techniques

Counter Tech: Technology is perhaps one of the greatest threats a Cyber-Knight will ever face. Even supernatural beings and gods are willing to pick up technology and use it for evil. Cyber-Knights can be just as adaptive, picking up guns for combat. However those knights who follow the days of old and prefer melee combat find themselves at a distinct disadvantage. To combat the advantage technology provides, the Cyber-Knight has focused his/her abilities to combat it.

The Cyber-Knight has an acute awareness of the technology around him/her, allowing them to react to all devices with moving parts, uses electricity, or has a computer chip (which is virtually all CS and other advanced people's entire armory). This awareness allows the Cyber-Knight to know the instant a targeting computer or radar locks on, when an energy cell charges to fire, etc.

Modifiers:

  • Negate the bonuses the enemy gains by using a weapon system, targeting computer, etc.

  • When going up against an opponent using tech weapons the Cyber-Knight receives a +3 on initiative and +4 to dodge.

  • When facing an opponent primarily made of tech, such as a 'borg or artificial intelligence, the Cyber-Knight receives +3 on initiative, +3 to strike and parry, and +6 to dodge.

  • The Cyber-Knight can move with such speed and agility, tech-laden opponents have trouble targeting him/her. Opponents must spend an additional attack/action aiming (3 attacks total!) to compensate, or fire wild. Though firing wild may have little chance of hitting the Cyber-Knight, the wild shots can still keep the Cyber-Knight on the defense.

Cyber-Friend: The Cyber-Knight's armor becomes a living part of him, but with a Cyber-Friend it becomes something more. Born from the Cyber-Knight's body and implanted cybernetics, the Living Armor is able to divide itself from the host and transform itself into a separate entity, called a Cyber-Friend. Despite taking a new form, typically that of an animal, the mass and size of the Cyber-Friend must remain to the Cyber-Armor.

This new entity can switch between Cyber-Armor and Cyber-Friend at the will of the Cyber-Knight, though to take Cyber-Armor form it must be in physical contact and cannot be placed on anyone else. Remember, it's a living part of the Cyber-Knight, and though it can separate it cannot connect with anyone else. In Cyber-Friend form, it has limited animal intelligence and only moderate capabilities.

Quick Stats: Speed 3 per level of the Cyber-Knight; two attacks per melee round; +1 to strike, parry, and dodge; Damage: 1D6 S.D.C./H.P. damage, plus 1 damage per level of experience; and M.D.C. equal to that of the Cyber-Armor. Note: The Cyber-Friend does not possess a Natural A.R. The A.R. of the Cyber-Armor is in reference to the chances of an attack bypassing the armor and hitting the Cyber-Knight underneath it. If hit, both the Cyber-Armor and Cyber-Friend will take damage, but heal at the same rate as the Living Armor.

Cyber-Familiar: As the Cyber-Knight grows in experience, so too does the Cyber-Friend. Intelligence and ability to communicate increase, as do its combat capabilities. In addition, the two can always sense each other's location within 600 feet (183 m), and they can share each other's senses. This means that the Cyber-Knight can see and hear everything the Cyber-Familiar sees and hears, and vice versa.Requires: Cyber-Friend.

Quick Stats: I.Q. equal to the Cyber-Knight, Speed 5 per level, four attacks per melee round, +2 to strike, +3 to parry and dodge, Damage: 1D6 M.D., and M.D.C. equal to the Cyber-Armor. Note: The Cyber-Familiar does not possess a Natural A.R. The A.R. of the Cyber-Armor is in reference to the chances of an attack bypassing the armor and hitting the Cyber-Knight underneath it. If hit, both the Cyber-Armor and Cyber-Familiar will take damage, but heal at the same rate as the Living Armor.

Living Armor: The mysticism of the training causes the Cyber-Armor to become a living part of the Cyber-Knight. As a living part of the Cyber-Knight, this cybernetic implant does not count as a cybernetic implant any longer. As a now living organism, the Cyber-Armor is capable of healing itself, regenerating 1D6 M.D.C. per hour until back to full health. Furthermore the Cyber-Armor starts growing stronger, gaining +1D6 M.D.C. per level of experience, starting at level four Also gains +1 to A.R. at levels eight and twelve (for a max A.R. of 18).

Sense Evil: Same as the psionic, only twice the normal range.