Toon Tuesday: Topher the Grackle Tooth Merc Soldier (Rifts)

Grackle Tooth are one of my all time favorite races; being big, Southern mannered reptiles with a passion for heavy weapons and blowing things up pretty much made them reigning champs in that arena for awhile. I’ve played one before (nothing like this fella, except for a mutual love of grenades and rail guns), and some of my most memorable gaming moments were a result of that. I really got into writing him – you might be able to tell by the style and wording, quite a bit of his mannerisms were projected onto the write up! I hope you enjoy another take on the “badass lizard warrior” character type.

Trigger Warnings: Alcoholism and child abuse.

Game: Palladium Books’ Rifts RPG
Books Needed: Rifts Ultimate Edition, Rifts World Book 30: D-Bees of North America, and Rifts World Book 19: Australia (only used for body armour.)
Recommended Setting: Any starting adventuring group who could use a gunner with a fondness for explosives that can also punch like a tank. Not recommended for pro-CS campaigns. Would do well as part of a mercenary or rescue group.


General Information
Nickname: Topher
Exp. Level: One
Experience Table: Merc Soldier
R.C.C.: Grackle Tooth
O.C.C.: Merc Soldier (Pigman/Heavy Weapons MOS)
Alignment: Unprincipled
Invoke Trust/Intimidate: 80%
Charm/Impress: Not applicable.
Health Points: 23 (+1D6/lvl)
S.D.C.: Not applicable.
M.D.C.: 102 (+3D6/lvl)
P.P.E.: 6 (permanent)
I.S.P.: Not applicable.
Chi: Not applicable.
Horror/Awe Factor: 12; good or bad, Grackle Tooth are mighty impressive.

IQ: 13
ME: 15
MA: 24
PS: 33 (Supernatural, Lift/Carry: 3,300/1,650 lbs.)
PP: 20
PE: 23 (Supernatural)
PB: 8
SPD: 32 (Run: 22 mph.)

Hand to Hand: Expert
Attacks: 5 (+1 tail attack)
+Damage: 18 (Applies only to pulled punches and S.D. attacks.)
+Strike: 4
+Dodge: 4
+Parry: 6 (Can parry with tail.)
+Roll: 5
+Restrain Punch: 5
+Disarm: None
+Entangle: None
+Initiative: 2
+Perception: 2
+Spell Strength: None

Restrained Punch 5D6 S.D.
Fist Punch 4D6 M.D.
Power Punch 1D4x10 M.D. (counts as 2 attacks)
Backhand 2D8 S.D.
Elbow 2D8 S.D.
Kick 5D6 M.D.
Power Kick 1D8x10 M.D. (counts as 2 attacks)
Bite 2D6 M.D.
Tail Strike 4D6 M.D.

Racial Natural Abilities
Fast Healer Recovers M.D.C. at a rate of 2D6 per 12 hours.

Prehensile Tail All Grackle Tooth have a long (12-15 foot), tapering, prehensile tail. This adds 1 extra attack per melee round if the tail is used; it can hold and use most hand held melee weapons to strike and even handguns (a weapon fired by the tail is at -3 to strike, even with an Aimed Shot.) If damaged or lost, their tail will also fully regenerate at a rate of 1 foot per month until its full length is reached.

Mechanical Aptitude All Grackle Tooth have an innate talent for working with mechanics and electric engines. As such, all mechanical repair/building skills taken receive a one time +5% skill bonus (which is in addition to any bonuses granted via their O.C.C..)

Desert Hardened Completely impervious to the negative effects of carcinogens and heat.

Occupational Natural Abilities
Not applicable.

+Save Vs.
+Coma/Death: 16%
+Disease: 6
+Insanity: None
+Poison/Toxins: 6
+Magic: 4
+Ritual Magic: None
+Psionics: 1
+Harmful Drugs: None
+Possession: None
+Pain: None
+Horror Factor: 5
+Fatigue: None (Supernatural beings do not show signs of fatigue even after hours of physical exertion or combat.)
+Illusion: 1
+Curses: None
+Mind Control: 1 (Includes mind control drugs.)

R.C.C. Skills:
Basic Mechanics 40% +5%/lvl
Basic Electronics 40% +5%/lvl

R.C.C. Related Skills:
Not applicable.

O.C.C. Skills: (Pigman/Heavy Weapons MOS)
Recognize Weapon Quality 45% +5%/lvl
Weapon Systems 50% +5%/lvl (+1 strike when using vehicle-mounted weapons.)
Demolitions 65%+3%/lvl
Demolitions: Disposal 65% +3%/lvl
Language: Native: American 95% +1%/lvl
Language: Other: Spanish 60% +3%/lvl
Language: Sign Language: Military 30% +5%/lvl
Literacy: Native: American 40% +5%/lvl
Climbing 50%/40% +5%/lvl
Computer Operation 50% +5%/lvl
General Athletics
Mathematics: Basic 50% +5%/lvl
Military Etiquette 45% +5%/lvl
Radio: Basic 55% +5%/lvl

O.C.C. Related Skills: (+1 skill at levels 3, 5, 7, 10, and 13.)
Field Armorer and Munitions Expert 50% +5%/lvl
Trap/Mine Detection 25% +5%/lvl
Roadwise 26% +4%/lvl

Secondary Skills: (+2 skills at levels 4, 8, and 12.)
Play Musical Instrument: Harmonica 35% +5%/lvl
Sing 35% +5%/lvl

Weapon Proficiencies
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 Rifle (+1 strike 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13.)
Energy Pistol (+1 strike 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14.)
Rifle (+1 strike 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13.)
Heavy Military Weapons (+1 strike 1, 3, 6, 10, 14.)
Heavy M.D. Weapons (No bonuses except those gained via the Weapons Systems skill.)
Military Flamethrower (+1 strike 2, 5, 10, 15.)

Survival Knife 1D6, kept in an ankle sheath so he can reach it with his tail.
Vibro Knife 1D6 M.D.
Fragmentation Grenade 2D6, 20ft area of effect, ×8, kt on bandolier.

Smoke Grenade Releases a thick cloud of dark smoke over a 20-40ft radius, this smoke obscures the vision of those inside the area of effect and those outside of the effect cannot see in. Infared cannot penetrate a smoke cloud or be used inside it. Those inside the cloud are blinded and will have trouble breathing. Those unprotected by environmental armour or gas masks and goggles are at -5 to strike, parry, and dodge, and -1 to initiative. Those firing into the cloud will be shooting wild, and note that passive night vision and scopes do not work within the cloud. ×2

Wilk’s 320 LASER Pistol
Damage: 1D6 M.D.
Range: 1000ft.
Payload: 20 individual shots. ×7 extra e-clip.
Bonus: +2 to strike using aimed shot due to the lightweight nature and superior balance of the gun.

Wilk’s 447 LASER Rifle
Damage: 3D6 M.D..
Range: 2000ft.
Payload: 20 per e-clip, cannot use long e-clip (×7 extra e-clips).

Military Flamethrower
Damage: 5D6 S.D. per burst of flame (counts as 1 melee attack) and a 01%-75% likelihood of seeting combustible materials aflame.
Range: 60 feet.
Payload: 20 bursts per 1 canister of fuel. ×2 extra cannisters.

Machine Gun: Medium Caliber
Damage: 5D6 S.D. per single round, but can only fire in bursts; 1D6×10 S.D. per short burst (12 rounds fired, counts as 1 melee attack); or 2D6×10+20 S.D. per long burst (36 rounds fired, counts as 3 melee attacks).
Range: 3000 feet.
Payload: 300 short bursts (×2 extra 3600 round belts).

Grenade Launcher Rifle: Pump Action
Damage: 1D6×10 S.D. per grenade to everything in a 10 foot radius (each shot counts as 1 melee attack.)
Range: 1200 feet.
Payload: 2 grenades hand loaded (×8 extra grenades, see Fragmentation Grenades.)

Armored Trench Coat 25 M.D.C.. Appears to be a normal trench coat, but has plates of M.D.C. armoring stitched inside, weighs 20 lbs. -10% mobility for civilians, -5% mobility for those trained in combat (no penalty for physical skills like Climbing.) Covers 40-60% of the body. Helmet (30 M.D.C.) comes standard.

Vehicles/Riding Animals
Not applicable.

Gear (All located in backpack unless stated otherwise.)
Military Fatigues (shorts, not pants)
Dress Uniform (shorts, not pants)
Flare ×3
Utility Belt (worn)
Bandolier (worn)
Canteen ×2
Flashlight (on utility belt)
Cigarette Lighter (disposable)
Cigarette Lighter (Zippo-style, in utility belt)
Lighter Fluid ×8oz
Air Filter
Gas Mask
Walkie-Talkie (on utility belt)
Trail Rations ×7 days
Pocket Notebook (in pocket)
Pen ×2 (in pocket)
Personal Items (A few packs of cherry flavored cigars, a smoking pipe with “H. T.” carved into it, some pipe tobacco, a pack of playing cards, a faded photograph, decent harmonica with case, etc.; most located in coat pockets.)

Magic Gear
Not applicable.

Salary None.
Credits 900
Black Market Items 3,000 credits worth.
Other Currency None.

Magic (P.P.E. Cost)
Not applicable.

Psionics (I.S.P. Cost)
Not applicable.

Not applicable.

None, though Grackle Tooth tend to avoid implants it is not unheard of.

Power Armour/Robot Vehicles
Not applicable.

Personal Information
True Name: Christopher Gearweld II
Gender: Male
Occupation: Gunner For Hire
Personal Quote: ‘An’ he was comin’ over the ridge just in time to see those jackwagons walkin’ past – had to duck down quick like to avoid detection. But ‘e followed ’em in secret for a good ten miles eatin’ roots and nearly dying of thirst. When they finally led ‘im to their base an’ he called it in an’ became a hero for a time. An’ that’s why I didn’t join the war like my Pa; ain’t gonna catch me chewing on trees and crawling through the damn desert.’
Age: 46
Lifespan: 180
Height: 9′ 8″ (tail is 14′ 3″ long)
Weight: 760 lbs.
Description: Pale olive skin, yellow eyes, a cigar or pipe in his mouth, and a curse on the tip of his tongue at all times; Topher is a crude, arrogant, big honking lizard with a surprising fondness for women and children. He is typically wearing his armored trench coat, a pair of tough cargo shorts (Grackle Tooth legs make pantlegs almost impossible), and a bandolier for his ammo and grenades (no shirts, who needs ’em!) He’s got a few nasty scars on his chest, arms, and tail, some thick metal rings and bars through some of his ridges and spikes, and a few tattoos (an “H. T.” on his shoulder, otherwise they are unremarkable tattoos.)
Insanity(s): Hysterical Aggressive Reaction (Trigger: Domestic/Child Abuse). It should also be noted that this character absolutely does not drink alcohol.
Sentiments Toward Coalition State: Wariness; he knows that he’d be killed by a CS soldier on sight (in fact, he thinks that’s how he’ll die), so he tends to avoid their frequented roads. He is not above attacking them if he sees an opening that he or his team can exploit to take them down (after all, their gear is worth a chunk of credits).
Sentiments Toward D-Bees: Indifference; unless they’re challenging him or he’s challenging them, they’re just another person. He tends to respect the stronger and mechanically inclined races more, though. He will always show respect and care toward women and children, no matter the race.
Sentiments Toward Humans: Indifference; they’re typically not strong enough to do more than annoy him and a fight with them would be a joke. In big groups, though, he tends to avoid them – humans are crafty, adaptable, and there’s a whole lot more of them than there are of him. He will always show respect and care toward women and children, human or not.
Mutations: Not applicable.

Cold Blooded Unsuited to cold weather and finds it uncomfortable; -5% to all skill performance and -1 to all combat bonuses if forced out into temperatures 35°F or lower. Freezing temperatures feel like below 0°F to a Grackle Tooth.

Size and Reputation Due to their large size, some places and objects can be unaccommodating (doorways, beds, smaller weapons, fine tools, etc.), and are uncomfortable but not impossible to use. Their size and reputation as fearsome warriors also makes them prime targets in an attack.

Background: A direct descendant of a Tolkeen Army Staff Sargeant, Christopher (named after his Father) was very proud of his heritage and wanted to join the war effort when he was old enough. He didn’t see much of his Papa, who was rarely on leave, and spent much of his time growing up with his Mama, Hera, a learned scholar who loved music and reading and passed these passions on to Chris. For a long time, his childhood was idyllic, he was safe and happy with his Mother, proud and reverent of his Father, and they wanted for nothing more than spending time together. But then Hera got sick. Her health deteriorated rapidly and they were unable to find a treatment that could fight off the disease without being fought by her dying body as well. Within a year, she passed away, leaving behind a distraught child and lover. His Papa had to leave the military, they had no other known family to care for his son, and with the loss of his passion and his love, began to drink.

At first it was tolerable, a couple of nights a week at the bar while the boy stayed with a friend. But as the pain and bitterness grew, so did his thirst for alcohol, and he would come home blackout drunk if he came home at all. It was during this time that he began to lash out at Chris (the spitting image of his Ma and just so proud of his Pa’s abandoned career), and the hurt became worse with time. Chris, hardened to the abuse and now called “Topher”, spent more time on the street and avoiding his Father and well-meaning friends than he did at home. He learned how to use a gun out of fear and necessity – and on the night when he finally pulled it on his Father, the man left and he never saw him again. He found out later that his Father rejoined the military, he doesn’t care to know whether he’s sober or not.

As soon as he was of age, Topher took off, wanting nothing to do with his Father or hometown and the bad memories involved. He wandered a bit, being run out of some towns for his monstrous appearance and only briefly staying in others. He finally encountered a Mercenary outside an inn (he avoids taverns and bars like nobody’s business) who offered him an interview with the leader of their group. And he’s been there running jobs that utilize his size and talent with weapons ever since.

Family Tree: Mother is Hera Talonmaw, a Rogue Scholar who died of an extremely aggressive bone cancer when Topher was 12. Father is Christopher Gearweld, a decorated Staff Sargeant of the Tolkeen Army who specializes in mechanics and communications and has since gone back to work in the military. Topher does not like his Father (though he hides behind all of the war stories he used to hear) and is adamant about not seeing or speaking with him. The Gearweld bloodline was rather known for their Operators while the Talonmaw clan got their start from a long history (back on the homeworld, even) of being mighty warriors.

Quick Stats
Topher the Grackle Tooth (Unprincipled, 1st level Merc Soldier O.C.C.)
IQ: 13 ME: 15 MA: 24 (80% Trust/Intimidate) PS: 33 (Supernatural) PP: 20 PE: 23 (Supernatural) PB: 8 Spd: 32 HP: 23 MDC: 102 PPE: 6 Attacks: 5 (+1 tail attack)
Arms: Grenade Launcher Rifle: 1D6×10 per grenade to 10ft radius, 1200ft. Machine Gun: 1D6×10 short burst or 2D6×10+20 long burst (counts as 3 attacks), 3000ft. Military Flamethrower: 5D6 per burst, 01%-75% chance of lighting flammables, 60ft. Wilk’s 320 LASER Pistol: 1D6 M.D., 1000ft, +2 aimed shot. Wilk’s 447 LASER Rifle: 3D6 M.D., 2000ft. Armored Trench Coat: 25 M.D.C. Helmet: 30 M.D.C.
Abilities: Horror/Awe Factor 12, prehensile tail, MDC recovery of 2D6 per 12 hours, impervious to heat and carcinogens.
Spells: None.
Psionics: None.

Happy Gaming,

Any image or information provided pertaining to Rifts is the sole property of Palladium Books and any authors or artists therein. I claim no ownership of content, nor do I claim ownership of any borrowed fan-made creations as may be sourced above.

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