Jul 16, 2011

Rifts - Strength and Lifting

Palladium's Rifts system has a reputation for being ridiculous, but its rules for maximum lifting ability have some merit. 
 Since the Physical Strength (PS) attribute is randomly generated by rolling 3d6 and adding 1d6 if the sum is 16-18, the distribution is the same as D&D 3.5 up until a PS of 15, then stretches out to 24 with less than 1% of the population having each PS score from 16-24.  In fact, it is impossible to have a PS of 16. 

Lifting ability follows a linear progression, with a jump at PS 17 where the multiplier doubles.  The game pretty accurate simulates real people at PSs 3, 14, and 15 (and 16 as projected if it were possible to roll), but way overestimates ability for average and below average people.  If the multiplier did not change, and there was just one constant linear progression, the game would do a good job of simulating very strong people as well. 

What is interesting to note is that the maximum amount that an unmodified human can lift in the game (960 lbs) is pretty close the maximum that any real human has lifted.  It is just that the game mechanic overestimates the proportion of people who can lift that much.  Perhaps far more people hit the gym really hard in the grim future of Rifts.  It is important to fill up that suit of armor covered in skulls and spikes.

Here is the table of carrying and lifting ability by Physical Strength score, and the proportions of characters who would have each score by rolling.

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