Although it is not any sort of proper order at all, I want to start with the class system used in the Palladium system. Palladium Books published a number of different role-playing games, including Heroes Unlimited, Rifts, Ninjas & Superspies, Beyond the Supernatural, After the Bomb, and Palladium Fantasy. They also had licensed titles such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Robotech. All of them used the same (or similar) game mechanics. Most of the games used a class system, referring to a character’s class as O.C.C., or Occupational Character Class. In addition, some games utilized classes based on race instead of occupation, known as R.C.C., or Racial Character Class. [A few games also utilized P.C.C., or Psychic Character Class, but that designation did not survive to Rifts.] Eventually, all of this would come together within the Rifts setting, bringing the Palladium Megaverse together in a grim future. Thus, I want to look at the system as it appeared in Rifts (and its many supplements) in order to get a sense of what the O.C.C. system entailed.
|The Juicer, the result of|
Nancy Reagan's failure.
|Perhaps "Adventurer" or "Wanderer" would have|
sounded more heroic than "Vagabond."
|The Coalition: Better than you|
simply because of the name.
|No, as it ends up, Glitter Boys do|
not have special parades every year.
Considering all of this, Palladium represents a sort of extreme within the RPG system. Hundreds of classes, each representing a specified niche within the universe. To make a Coalition Grunt and then insist he was something other than a grunt of the all-mighty Coalition seemed to be missing the point. You picked Coalition Grunt because your character was a basic soldier within the Coalition military (or, was recently such a soldier). Although Rifts, like any RPG, promoted the use of your imagination, your character would generally fit within one of the pre-made character molds presented by the creators. This somewhat unique class system presented a peculiar economic possibility because it allowed the creators to continue to publish new sourcebooks with new classes. However, as the number of classes continued to soar, the distinctions between classes seemed to decline. The proliferation of classes ended with very few being especially unique or interesting outside of the role it played within the greater Rifts narrative.
|Rogue Scholar: Clearly these books|
are full of old beer recipes.
I suspect very few people are interested in playing a game with a class system as presented in Rifts. What it accomplishes in providing a character fixed into the greater story has been easily accomplished by other games, both more simply and more effectively. Instead, the Rifts system ends up becoming nothing more than a horrifying example of bloat within the role-playing world, where the basic ideas of role-playing are pushed aside to get more books on the shelf. Its few strengths are readily outmatched by the absurdity of its weakness, making a framework few should attempt to emulate.