As I mentioned in my previous post, the final ingredient needed to capture the feel of Rifts earth in the Gamma World game are some magically oriented Omega Tech cards. I figured a set of 30 cards would complement the set of 40 that come with the Gamma World box and duplicate the same mix of magic and technology the ‘average’ party of adventurers in Rifts were equipped with (the mechanics of the cards have the added benefit of giving every character ‘class’ the opportunity to play with everyone else’s toys without breaking the game – meaning a robot can use a TK-machine gun and a dragon can get a cybernetic implant).
I divided the cards into 3 origins (mirroring Gamma World’s), magic, techno-wizard, and splugorth, with 10 cards each. The original cards have a salvageable card about every fifth card, so I gave each origin 2.
Presented here are the first 10 cards of the set, the magic origin (click on the picture for the full file): Bag of Holding, Boots of Speed, Counterfeit Mjolnir, Potion of Heroism, Daern’s Instant Fortress, Cube of Force, Vorpal Sword, Portable Hole, Cloak of Elvenkind, and Staff of the Magi. As you can see, these items aren’t actually from the Palladium world, but from D&D instead. I wanted to have one of the origins be made of ‘pure’ magic items, and so I went to the Palladium Fantasy game as a source first (since this is the source of these kinds of magic items in Rifts), but honestly I found most of the items were knock-offs of D&D treasures anyway. So I decided to use some of the classic magic items from the history of D&D, tempered by what I thought was cool (mjolnir) and what I needed to round out the cards (potion of heroism) – with a little help from the list in Paizo’s Classic Treasures Revisited.
The great thing about the impermanency of the Omega Tech cards is that you don’t have to worry about slowly building the party up before you can give them something cool and sexy like a Daern’s instant fortress or a vorpal sword. There’s no need for an endless stream of meat and potatoes magic items (like +1 swords) – you can head right for dessert without fear of a stomach ache (I also think this approach fits very nicely with the world of Rifts, where nothing is meat and potatoes and everything is a soul-drinking greater rune weapon).
Keep in mind that I didn’t do direct translations of these magic items, the format of the Omega Tech cards wouldn’t allow it (some of the originals of these items had suites of powers – while Omega Tech cards generally only do one thing). Instead, I focused on the general concept of each item, and in some cases gave it a Gamma World-esque twist. For example, with the bag of holding, carrying around tons of treasure isn’t an issue in the game, so I instead focused on the quirky dimensional rift aspect of the item. With the staff of the magi I thought it would be funny to make it a disposable item (with the conceit that the characters can’t figure out how to use its laundry list of powers), so I focused on the aspect that first comes to mind when you think about the iconic staff: the retributive strike.
Soon to come: the techno-wizard and splugorth items!