I’ve played a Burster in the past, it was a good aligned N’reta (think anteater humanoid that can’t speak any language but their own) and inspired many fondly recalled encounters. I’ve also played in a party with a Burster on the opposite side of the alignment spectrum, which was not so fun. I can understand the duality in character choices, but evil alinments just aren’t as much fun to play in my opinion (though I’m told I’m quite skilled at it.)
This Burster is inspired by my first Burster PC, who was also a fireman, but is Human and not so religious. At least once per session Ike (my anteater Burster) would try to discuss Christianity with his fellow party members or NPCs – it became a running gag because only one PC could understand him using Sign Language or the Tongues spell, and they were less than appreciative. Being a strange little fluffball that could spontaneously combust and made a lot of slurping and clicking noises, he was one of my more memorable characters.
Game: Palladium Books’ Rifts RPG
Books Needed: Rifts Ultimate Edition
Recommended Setting: Any starting level adventuring party that could use a psychic that can deal some decent damage. Not suited to pro-CS campaigns. Could start off in a “gang”, but was written as a good aligned character.
Nickname: Sue, “Chief” if on the job.
Exp. Level: One
Experience Table: Burster
Invoke Trust/Intimidate: 50%
Charm/Impress: Not applicable.
Health Points: 15 (+1D6/lvl)
S.D.C.: 68 (+1D6/lvl)
M.D.C.: Not applicable.
P.P.E.: 8 (permanent)
I.S.P.: 110 (+10/lvl, Master Psychic)
Chi: Not applicable.
Horror Factor: Not applicable.
PS: 19 (Lift/Carry: 760/380 lbs.)
SPD: 30 (Run: 21 mph.)
Hand to Hand: Expert
+Restrain Punch: 4
+Spell Strength: None
Fist Punch 1D4
Power Punch 1D4x2 (counts as 2 attacks)
Power Kick 1D8x2 (counts as 2 attacks)
Racial Natural Abilities
Occupational Natural Abilities
Impervious to Fire/Heat/Smoke A psionic aura radiates around the Burster, making them and what they’re wearing completely impervious to damage or effects (burning, melting, etc.) of fire or heat. Even M.D. plasma, napalm, a Dragon’s fire breath, and magical fires do nothing more than minimal cosmetic damage (singed clothing/armour, damage a delicate item, etc.); even the most intense M.D. blaze does no damage whatsoever. This means the character can pick up and hold hot coals, burning timbers, eat fire (for show, not nourishment), and walk around or stand in fire without discomfort or alighting themself; it feels natural and invigorating. This protective auraeven helps to insulate against electricity (M.D. attacks inflict half damage and S.D. atta ks only tingle) and this character never sweats. This ability also means the Burster is unaffected by smoke; they can breathe unimpaired in the thickest clouds of billowing smoke. Their vision is only slightly obscured (half the usual distanceand clarity), speed is reduced by a meager 10%, and combat penalties are only at -1 to strike/parry/dodge. Most Humans and D-Bees are blinded by smoke (-10 on all combat rolls, -25% to all skill performance, -50% speed) and choke on the noxious fumes (roughly equivalent to tear gas) – a normal person will choke to death from smoke inhalation in 1D6+4 minutes.
I.S.P. Recovery Recovers spent I.S.P. at a rate of 2 points per hour of activity, or 12 points per hour of meditation or rest.
Ley Line Energy Influence When on or within 1 mile of a ley line, the duration and range of all of the Burster’s abilities (fire and psionic) are increased by 50%. When they are at or within 1 mile of a nexus point, their abilities are at ×2 strength!
+Ritual Magic: None
+Psionics: None (Need only roll a 10 or higher to save.)
+Harmful Drugs: None
+Pain: None (Can eat the hottest of spices/foods with no ill effects.)
+Horror Factor: 3
+Mind Control: None
R.C.C. Related Skills:
Language: Native: American 98% (maximum)
Language: Other: Japanese 80% +3%/lvl
Land Navigation 46% +4%/lvl
Mathematics: Basic 60% +5%/lvl
Pilot: Motorcycles and Snowmobiles 70% +4%/lvl
Pilot: Automobile 70% +2%/lvl
Streetwise 30% +4%/lvl
O.C.C. Related Skills: (+1 skill at levels 4, 9, and 12.)
– Sense of Balance 50% +3%/lvl
– Work Parallel Bars and Rings 60% +3%/lvl
– Backflip 70%+2%/lvl
– Prowl 30% +5%/lvl
– Climb Rope/Rappel 60% +2%/lvl
Literacy: Other: Japanese 40% +5%/lvl
Literacy: Native: American 55% +5%/lvl
I.D. Undercover Agent 40% +4%/lvl
Roadwise 26% +4%/lvl
Secondary Skills: (+2 skills at levels 3, 6, 9, and 12.)
Body Building and Weight Lifting
Climbing 45%/35% +5%/lvl
Cook 35% +5%/lvl
Calligraphy 35% +5%/lvl
Firefighting 30% +5%/lvl
Blunt (+1 strike/parry 1, 3, 6, 9, 12. +1 strike when thrown 5, 10, 15, not designed for throwing.)
Knife (+1 strike 2, 4, 7, 10, 13. +1 parry 1, 3, 6, 9, 12. +1 strike when thrown 1, 3, 6, 8, 10, 13.)
Energy Pistol (+1 strike 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14.)
Hammer 2D6, a hand held sledge meant for knocking down doors and breaking windows.
Throwing Knife ×6, 1D4, 60ft.
Survival Knife 1D6.
Wilk’s 320 LASER Pistol
Damage: 1D6 M.D.
Payload: 20 individual shots. ×3 extra e-clips.
Bonus: +2 to strike using aimed shot due to the lightweight nature and superior balance of the gun.
Huntsman Main Body: 45 M.D.C., Head: 35 M.D.C., Arms: 15 M.D.C. each, Legs: 22 M.D.C. each. -10% to movement.
Improved Wastelander Motorcycle Crew: 1 rider, plus large storage compartment. Maximum Speed: 144mph. Engine: Electric/Combusion. Maximum Range: 400mi. Size: 9ft long, 720lbs. Main Body: 66 M.D.C.. Tires (2): 3 M.D.C. each. Weapons: None (Can be purchased.) Increased M.D.C. capacity, lighter weight, and better mobility from expensive modifications.
Gear (All located in backpack unless stated otherwise.)
Traveling Clothing ×2 (×1 worn)
Utility/Ammo Belt (worn)
Tinted Goggles (around neck/worn)
Trail Rations ×7 days
Pocket Notepad ×2 (in pockets)
Pen ×4 (×2 in pockets)
Digital Camera (100 still photos and up to 30 minutes of video per disk; ×3 if no still photos/video is used, in pockets)
Personal Items (cigarette lighter, pack of cards, a blue stone with ‘peace’ carved into it, a broken pair of spectacles, etc., some in pockets)
Black Market Items 13,000 credits worth.
Other Currency None.
Magic (P.P.E. Cost)
Psionics (I.S.P. Cost) (+1 additional psionic power from the list on page 141 of RUE at levels 3, 6, 9, and 12.)
Extinguish Fires (4) The Burster can instantly put out fires without the need of chemicals or water. The fire just disappears because the psychic can channel and control the energy to make it stop spreading and quickly go out.
Range: 100ft +10ft per level.
Area of Effect: Can extinguish a 200ft radius of flame per level; their control is so great that they can go for the maximum (usually in an effort to save lives/property) or narrowly focus it to cover a small area.
Duration: Instant and permanent; until the fire is reignited.
Flame Burst: Self (4+): The psychic can seemingly burst into flame, becoming completely engulfed in fire. Technically, there is onlya firey aura around their body; nothing on their person is actually on fire and so nothing is damaged. Furthermore, the character can move around without any difficulty. However, the fire will ignite anything they touch that is not flame-retardant, like carpeting, drapes, furniture, paper, wood, etc.. Also see Flame Burst Body Protection.
Duration: 2 minutes per level.
S.D.: 6D6 per strike to any person/thing that they touch (damage is accumulative.) Plus, all combustible articles will catch fire and do an additional 6D6 per melee round until extinguished. These flames are not powerful enough to damage a M.D.C. armour/items unless within 1 mile of a ley line nexus point, in which case the damage increses to 1D4 M.D., but costs 2 extra I.S.P..
M.D.: 1D6 M.D. can be inflicted (2D6 M.D. at ley lines and 3D6 M.D. at a nexus point) if the Burster concentrates intensely to inflict maximum damage. This 1D6 M.D. can be added to the damage inflicted from simply touching or striking something. The M.D. attacks cost an additional 8 I.S.P., last only 1 melee round per level, and each strike counts as 2 melee attacks.
Flame Burst Body Protection: Special (Comes With Flame Burst, No Cost): The aura of fire from the Flame Burst also provides a limited field of protection equal to 30 M.D.C.+6 M.D.C. per level. This field renews itself at a rate of 3D6 M.D.C. per melee round (though it cannot exceed the maximum M.D.C. rating allowed per level.)
Fire Bolt (2 – 4) A firey bolt can be hurled or fired from the forehead or hands (even if the latter is an artificial appendage), the size and damage of which is automatically controlled by the Burster.
Range: 200ft +20ft per level.
Duration: Instant; each bolt/strike counts as 1 melee attack.
Bonus to Strike: +4; within line of sight.
S.D.: Minibolt inflicts 2D6; medium bolt inflicts 4D6; and a heavy bolt inflicts 6D6 – all of which cost only 2 I.S.P., regardless of the strength of the bolt.
M.D.: Plasma bolt inflicts 2D6 M.D., but costs 4 I.S.P.
Fire Eruption (10 – 20) They can cause fire to erupt in front of someone or in a certain area (never directly on a living creature) instantly and without the need for combustible materials. The size of the flamecan be instantly controlled to be very small area and be an inch tall or more, or to cover larger areas and greater heights. The flame will burn as long as the Burster wills it to (so long asthey can expend the necessary I.S.P.) and cannot be extinguished by normal means because it is fueled by psychic energy. If the Burster is rendered unconscious, blinded, or distracted, the flame will disappear. If the fire is created in an area where there are combustibles (carpeting, wood, furniture, paper, walls, ceiling, etc.), they will catch fire within 1D4 meled rounds (1 minute or less.) The burning of these materials is a separate, regular fire that can be extinguished normally, but if left to spread can cause immense damage as any fire would do.
Range:100ft +20ft per level; a specific target must be visible, while a target area does not have to visible but its precise area must be known to the Burster (such as an adjacent room, the next floor up, etc.)
Area of Effect: 20ft area +5ft per level.
Duration: The flame eruption will stay ignited for 10 minutes or until the Burster cancels the effect (which can be done at will.) They can also keep the fire burning longer by spending an additional 1 I.S.P. per 10 minutes, though they must stay within range and concentrate on maintaining the fire. Also, any combustible items continue to burn and spread until extinguished, even after the psionic fire is gone.
Penalties: Melee actions are reduced by half and fighting is impossible unless the Burster breaks their concentration, causing the fire to disappear.
Skill Level: 48% +4%/lvl. A failed roll indicates that the eruption happens, but is 2D6 yards off target. -25% to hit a target they cannot see if it’s smaller than 20ft in diameter; huge targets are easier to hit but the Burster is still at a -5% to strike it if they cannot see it.
S.D.: Tiny flame inflicts 1D4; a fire covering 1-2 yards inflicts 4D6; a 6ft pillar/wall of flame inflicts 1D4×10; and filling a room or 20ft area with fire inflicts 2D4×10 per melee round or when anyone tries to run through it.
M.D.: All M.D. fires cost ×2 the I.S.P. (20) and can only be applied as larger fire walls, pillars, and areas. A 6ft fire wall/pillar inflicts 2D6 M.D.; a 20ft area inflicts 4D6 M.D.; and an area of 40ft or larger inflicts 6D6 M.D. per melee round or when anyone tries to run through it. Combustible items burn hotter and spread ×4 as fast as a S.D. fire.
Sense Fire (2) Enables the Burster to sense if there is a fire nearby, even as small as a candle or a burning cigarette. To sense the fire, they must stop and concentrate (15 seconds), after which they receive psychic impressions as to the approximate size (small, medium, large, etc.), approximate distance (near or far), and general direction (North, South, etc., and up or down if in a building). They can also tell if it’s contained/slowly spreading/raging out of control, whether it was natural/accidental/intentional, if it is magical or psionic in origin, and approximately how long it has been burning. Using this ability, the Burster can also examine burnt objects and ashes and effectively Object Read them to get a sense of when the fire was last burning, and whether it was natural or man-made. This ability also enables the Burster to recognize and sense Fire Elementals, supernatural creatures/Beings of fire, fire based demons, Fire Demon Automatons, and Fire/Water Elemental Fusionists (but not Fire Dragons or Bursters, unless the latter uses Flame Burst: Self or Flame Eruption.)
Range: Sensing for a burning fire will cover a 800ft radius +100ft per level. Examining ashes or burnt debri requires touch.
Duration: Requires 15 seconds (1 melee round) of prepatory concentration, but the psychic impressions and being in tune to the fire(s) lasts for 4 minutes (16 mele rounds); the character can use this ability to track down fires and tell if it is spreading.
Note: This power does not dosclose the location or identity of those who started the fire, nor does it apply to machines or engines which radiate heat. If the Burster also uses the powers of Telepathy, See Aura, or Empathy, they can tell if the target of their psychic probe is a firebug/arsonist.
Super Fuel Flame (8) The Burster can feed a fire with psychic energy, increasing its size by as little as ×2 or as much as ×10.
Range: 100ft per level.
Area of Effect: 20ft area per level.
Damage: Increased by the proportional size of the fire; DM’s discretion.
Bio-Regenerate: Self (6) The ability to will oneself free of disease or poison and back to health, as well as heal physical damage and injury; unfortunately, this ability cannot be used to heal others. This does not restore missing limbs, but it will heal 2D6 Hit Points or 3D6 S.D.C. points per melee round; any healed cuts or scrapes do not scar.
Duration: Permanent; requires 1 minute (4 melee rounds) of concentration, during which no other action may be taken; can be used as often as every 2 minutes (8 melee rounds).
Note: Recovering more than half of a character’s Hit Points/S.D.C. in this way in less than an hour takes a toll on the character, causing some weakness for 1D4+2 hours; reduce the P.S., P.E., and Spd attributes by 30% (adjust attribute bonuses accordingly.)
Empathy (4) Used to feel specific and general emotions of a target or muliple individuals within range.
Saving Throws: Standard, a successful save means they cannot get a clear sense of emotions (saving throws must be made once per round that Empathy is being used.)
Telepathy (4) Allows the psychic to eavesdrop on what another person is thinking at that particular moment. This is done by focusing on that one individual and picking up on their surface thoughts (the musings and thoughts most prevalent in their mind.) A deep probe into memory is not possible. Although the psychic can read the thoughts of several people, they can only do so by focusing on one person at a time; simultaneous, multiple mind reading is impossible. Limited telepathic communication is done when the telepath sends a directed message or image to one person at a time, though the message or image must be as brief and as clear as possible (“I need you here”, “press the green button”, “through the third door”, and so on.) However, two-way telepathic communication is not possible except between two characters who both have telepathic abilities.
Range: Surface thoughts up to 60ft (+40ft per level); two-way telepathic communication up to 140ft (+40ft per level).
Duration: 2 minutes (8 melee rounds) per level.
Saving Throw: Conditional; when a character suspects they are being telepathically probed they can resist, getting the standard saving throw. Mind Block will completely prevent telepathic communication or probing so long as the block is up.
Not applicable, in fact, Bursters tend to avoid implants and rely on their own powers.
Power Armour/Robot Vehicles
True Name: Hisakawa, Tsukiko
Occupation: Firefighter (Chief)
Height: 5′ 3″
Weight: 143 lbs.
Description: She has pale skin, long black hair (she keeps it back in a ponytail), and light brown eyes. She most often wears loose traveling clothes and a thick leather jacket, biking gloves and sturdy boots. She has a uniform but rarely dons it as it does not offer her the same protection it does her fellow firefighters. She still has her barcode tattoo on her wrist, though she had it tattooed over and blacked out entirely.
Insanity(s): Phobia: Doctors (specifically her blood being drawn/DNA being tested)
Sentiments Toward Coalition State: Extreme wariness. She may have escaped their territories, but as her DNA remains in their system she is always on guard if rumors of any CS presence crop up.
Sentiments Toward D-Bees: Friendliness, she believes they deserve equality and tries to see the good past the monstrous features.
Sentiments Toward Humans: Friendliness, so long as they are not a threat to her family or way of life.
Mutations: Not applicable.
Outlaw Psionic: Formerly Tagged This character used to have an ID Coding Strip imbedded under their skin (typically on the back of the neck) which identified them as a psychic to scanners. They’ve since removed it, but their fingerprints, DNA, personal information, picture, and description are still registered in CS identification systems. Some of this information is not always totally accurate, as characters can age out of a description or physically alter themselves. This character also has a barcode tattoo which will identify them when properly scanned (this may be covered up or physically removed.)
Background: Of Japanese descent, her family happily lives in the Coalition States, some are even members of the CS military or work for the government. They were joyful to have a daughter to carry on their bloodline and traditions, and her childhood was spent wanting for nothing; the Hisakawa family was relatively wealthy from their business in trading. Tsukiko was an average student because she did not care for her school work, and was often in trouble for skipping class to explore the city. Once her psionic abilities manifested when she was 14, Tsukiko’s law abiding and fearful parents registered her with the government; she had an ID Coding tattoo placed on her wrist and an implant under the skin of her neck to identify her as a psychic and any intentional use of her powers was considered a crime. She did not like most of the other students in her school anyway and was generally shunned for her abilities from then on, and so opted to socialize instead with the lower class children (this terrified her parents, as they believed that they would try to get their daughter involved in gang activity or rob her), who admired her abilities and begged her to show them off in secret. Sneaking out again and again (or sometimes ditching her nanny), it was with her friends that Tsukiko learned the real value of hard work and a positive attitude. She even got a bit of practice controlling her abilities in secret – and unfortunately also learned how different people treated her when their scanners alerted them to her status as a Master Psychic.
When she turned 17, everything changed. Her parents insisted on an arranged betrothal to another Japanese family (the only one willing to overlook her “unfortunate psionic status”, apparently) to ensure their ancient line and thriving business lived on. When Tsukiko adamantly refused (having no interest in romance or marriage at all) she was watched even more closely; they had a tail on her at all times and she was rarely permitted to leave the home. Finally, she managed to slip a note to one of her friends on the street, and they helped plan her escape. Some of their little “gang” were skilled lockpicks and hackers, and with the utmost care, the little group of City Rats pulled through and broke her out via her bedroom window in the dead of night. By the next morning, she was a wanted fugitive. By the morning after that, she had her implant cut out and was making plans with some of her teenage friends to flee the city. Most of them escaped together, using their skills and what funds she managed to stash away to get clear of CS territory. Along the way, the picked up a straggler or two – including a very young magic user that Tsukiko and one of her older friends “adopted”. This band of misfits eventually settled in a friendly town that had use for a few skilled workers – “Sue” quickly learned to control her powers (now that she could use them without fear of imprisonment) and used them to protect the town.
Family Tree: Her parents have effectively disowned her, but are still alive and running various trade divisions between CS cities. Scorpion (which she still maintains is the worst nickname), 23, is a Merc Soldier now, but he also works alongside her as a fireman. Louisa, 24, started off as a street hacker but has since become an Operator. Inigo, 27, is a strong member of local law enforcement and a veritable Gunslinger. They also picked up a runaway Mystic on their way out of the territories; Akim, now 17, was only 9 when they found him wandering the roads and offered him a ride and then a place amongst their ragtag crew – Sue and Inigo took on the role of his adoptive parents, in a way. These folks are the only ones she cares to call her family anymore and she sees most of them every day.
Sue the Human (Scrupulous, 1st level Burster O.C.C.)
IQ: 13 ME: 10 MA: 18 (50% Trust/Intimidate) PS: 19 PP: 15 PE: 15 PB: 10 Spd: 30 HP: 15 SDC: 68 PPE/ISP: 8/110 Attacks: 5
Arms: Huntsman Armour: 164 M.D.C. Wilk’s 320 LASER Pistol: 1D6 M.D., 1000ft, +2 aimed shot. Hammer: 2D6. Throwing Knives: 1D4 ×6. Survival Knife: 1D6.
Abilities: Impervious to fire and heat (no damage, even from MDC/magic), resistant to electric attack (SDC has no effect, MDC damage is half), Sense Fire, can breathe in smoky conditions, and recovers ISP at a rate of 2 points per hour of activity or 12 per hour of rest/meditation.
Psionics: Extinguish Flame (4), Flame Burst (4/8, self, 6D6 SD/1D4 MD) and Flame Burst Body Protection (78 MDC), Fire Bolt (2/4, 360ft, 2D6/4D6/6D6 SD or 2D6 MD), Fire Eruption (10/20, 260ft, 1D4/4D6/1D4×10 SD or 2D6/4D6/6D6 MD), Super Fuel Flame (8, 800ft, 160ft area of effect), Bio-Regenerate (6, self), Empathy (4), Telepathy (4).
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