Rifts: Fallout rules

(image above by Bethesda Softworks)


So, I will make no secret of the fact that I am a rabid Fallout fan. I absolutely love the setting, with its madcap humour, its retro-60’s aesthetic juxtaposed with a horrible post-apocalyptic hellscape, and with its emphasis on narrative storytelling and open-world freedom.  Fallouts 3, and New Vegas remain some of my favourite RPGs ever, and it has always bothered me that there isn’t a dedicated, pen and paper Fallout RPG system– that is, except for an old GURPS module that is now out of print. Despite the fact that Fallout: Wasteland Warfare is in the works as a minis game, and despite Fantasy Flight’s recent Fallout board game, there seems to be no news of a Fallout RPG system in the works, much to my sadness.

A little more than a year ago, I undertook what was probably one of the most ambitious RPG undertakings I had ever done: I tried to run a Rifts campaign set in the Fallout universe. I went with Rifts, firstly, because it was a system that a lot of people in my usual RPG group were quite familiar with, and secondly, because Rifts and Fallout share many similarities: both are set in a post-apocalyptic world, full of monsters and horrors, where new nations have been carved out of the bones of the old. Power armour, giant robots, mutants, and even aliens are replete in both universes, although Rifts goes slightly heavier into things like dimension-hopping, aliens, and the aforementioned giant robots (Fallout, sadly, can only boast Liberty Prime in the giant robo department). Because of these similarities, Rifts seemed like a natural fit…although it would need some tweaking.

My campaign itself was set in post-apocalyptic Canada, and was going to span a long journey from the Rouge Valley east of Toronto, to the crumbling ruins of Toronto itself and several of its landmarks (including the Toronto Islands, historic Fort York, and a certain, extremely tall tower). Sadly, the campaign quickly fell apart due to a variety of factors…though that is a sad story for another time, though suffice to say it was a very stressful period of my life. What I do want to share today, however, is the one thing I am still proud of from that campaign: the house rules I had set up. I wanted the campaign to be more than just Rifts rules with a Fallout skin on top: I wanted the rules to reflect the equipment, creatures, and even unique gameplay mechanics of the world without going too much overboard.

In the end, I wound up adding some skills, removing some others, removing more than a few classes that just didn’t fit into the Fallout universe (like psychics, for example), and, most importantly of all, creating new rules for things like perks, radiation, and chems. Hopefully, if anyone else out there plays Rifts and wants to have their try at a Fallout campaign, these rules will come in handy– though nothing is stopping you from making any amendments of your own, especially if you are using Rifts or a d100 percentile system similar to rifts.

Before all else, though, I want to thank my player party at the time, and particularly my friend Andy, for helping me develop these rules, especially since my knowledge of Rifts was quite poor at the time.

NOTE: these rules are not in any way official, nor in any way endorsed by Bethesda Softworks or Palladium Books. Furthermore, they have been created purely on a non-profit basis.



The following skills are added:
Lore: Mutants (Technical)- 30% +5
-Grants general knowledge of Mutants, most notably Ghouls and Super-Mutants (though rarer Mutant breeds, like Trogs and Swampfolk, can also apply)
Lore: Other (Technical)- 30% + 5
-Allows the character general knowledge of a topic not covered by other lores (ie Wasteland Factions, Great Restaurants of the Wasteland, Post-Apocalyptic Sports Teams, etc). Must discuss and gain approval of GM first.
Lore: Vaults (Technical)- 35% +3
-Grants knowledge of Vaults, how they work, existing Vaults, etc
Lore: Wasteland (America)- 30%+5
-Grants knowledge of the regions, landmarks, people and general environment of the former United States. (Sub-skill Lores: Capital Wasteland, Commonwealth, New California Republic, the Pitt, Erie Stretch, Mojave, West Virginia)
Lore: Wasteland (Canada)- 30%+5
-Grants knowledge of the regions, landmarks, people and general environment of Canada (notable sub-skill lores: Greater Ronto Area, Upper Canada, Prairies, Red River, Mount Royal, New Vinland, Ojibwe Confederacy, Bysea, Quebec, the Yukon)
Radiation Treatment (Medical)- 40% +5- increases rate at which lose rads; has knowledge of how to heal rad poisoning, and alleviate radiation-related effects. Also grants bonuses in use of Rad-Away and Rad-X.

The following skills are altered from their original wording:
-History: Pre-Rifts (Technical) is now called History: Pre-War
-Lore: Demons and Monsters is now Lore: Wasteland Monsters
-Lore: Juicers is now Lore: Raiders
-Xenology (Science) is now called Mutant Biology, and applies to Super Mutants, Ghouls and other Mutants as opposed to aliens and D-Bees

The following skills are not applicable:
-Flight System Combat (Juicer)
-Horsemanship: Cyber-Knight (Horsemanship)
-Jump Bike Combat (Pilot)
-Lore: Faeries and Creatures of Magic (Technical)
-Lore: Magic (Technical)
-Lore: Psychics and Psionics (Technical)
-Miitary: Jet Fighters (unless you can make a good case to the GM)
-Military: Submersibles (as above)
-Robot Combat: Basic (Pilot)
-Robot Combat: Elite (Pilot)




Modifiers: +1D6 PE, -1D6 PB
Radiation Survivors: Ghouls are immune to the harmful effects of radiation. In addition, Ghoul characters automatically start with the Ghoulish perk for free
Past Expiry Date: Ghoul characters do not automatically trigger aggression from Feral Ghouls
Dead Metabolism: The effectiveness of chems on Ghoul characters is halved

Used to represent a Ghoul who has been around since before the War.
Modifiers: -2D6 PB
Old Enough To Know Better: Ancient Ghouls start with +2 secondary skills of their choice, at +3% per level



Modifiers: +2d6 PS, +1D6 PE, 1d6 less IQ, 1D6 less PB
Natural Survivors: Super Mutants are immune the harmful effects of radiation
Fresh Meat!: Super Mutant characters automatically start with the Cannibal perk for free
Hulking Brutes: Super Mutants cannot use “human-sized” armour (including power armour), and most single-handed weapons, such as pistols or knives. Human-sized clothing can only be used at the discretion of the GM.
Scourge of Humanity: Super Mutant characters may trigger aggression from Humans; they do not, however, automatically trigger aggression from other Super Mutants

Used to represent a Super Mutant who, for whatever reason, has retained base human intellect.
My Mind Remains: Super Mutant Outsiders do not have a negative modifier to IQ.
User of Big Words: Super Mutant Outsiders suffer a -10% penalty to communicate with other Super Mutants, due to “talking like a Human.” This may trigger aggression from other Super Mutants.


Each character can take one starting perk. Furthermore, all characters may take one additional perk each time they level up. Note that Perks marked with a (*) can be taken more than once, and their numerical effects are considered to be cumulative.

Action Boy/Girl*– The character gets an extra action per melee round
Animal Friend*– The character gains +5% to all Animal Husbandry rolls. This can be used against Wasteland Monsters like Deathclaws
Barbarian*- The character gets +1 to hit with melee weapons, and may take WP Exotic as a free Secondary Skill
Black Widow/Ladykiller*- The character gets +1 damage against characters of the opposite sex, as well as a +10% bonus to charm or seduce characters of the opposite sex. This only works against  Humans and Ghouls– Super Mutants do not have any fixed gender.
Big Guns*- The character gets +1 to hit with heavy weapons, and +10% to any rolls to repair or maintain weapons
Blitz- The character moves twice as fast when charging into melee combat, at no cost to their actions
Bloody Mess*- The character gets a +1 bonus to all damage rolls. Furthermore, any enemy killed has a chance to explode into gory bits, regardless of how they were killed or what part of them was hit. Note that enemies that are killed in this way are less likely to carry valuable loot that can be recovered.
Cannibal- The character can metabolize raw meat. Furthermore, the character regains +d6 HP from eating meat killed in the last 10 minutes, including human, Ghoul and Super-Mutant meat.
Catfooted- The character has +1 PP,  and+5% to Acrobatics
Chem Fiend- The duration of any chems taken by the character is doubled. The chances of becoming addicted, however, are also doubled.
Chem Resistant- The character does not take cumulative negative modifiers when testing for addiction.
Cherchez la Femme/Confirmed Bachelor*- The character has+1 damage against characters of the same sex, and has a +10% bonus to charm or seduce characters of the same sex. This only works against Humans and Ghouls– Super Mutants do not have a fixed gender.
Comprehension- The difficult for reading any book, text or document is lowered by -25%, regardless of the text’s language or legibility.
Computer Whiz- The character be locked out of a system after failing to hack it. Furthermore, they gain a +10% bonus to all Computer Operation, Computer Programming and Computer Hacking rolls
Contortionist*- The character has +5% to Escape Artist
Critical Banker- If the character rolls a Critical Success, they may “store” the critical and treat it as a normal success. Make a note of the crit; the player can use it at any time during the session, either to automatically make their roll a critical success, or to negate a botch. The player may not store more than one crit per session, and any crits that are unused by the end of the session “expire” and cannot be used again.
Educated- The character can take two Lore skills as free secondary skills at +3% per level
Egghead- The character gains +5% to four Lore and/or Science-related skills
Explorer- The character can always tell North, even when the sun isn’t visible, and also has +8% to Land Navigation
Fearless*- The character has+3 to any save vs Horror factor, and a+10% to resist intimidation.
Finesse*- The character’s Critical Success threshold is reduced by 1%
Four Leaf Clover- The player can reroll one or all dice in a roll once per session
Ghoulish- The character regains +D6 HP per 2 melee rounds when exposed to radiation. This cannot be used if the character already has the Rad Resistance perk.
Grim Reaper’s Sprint- After scoring a critical success or killing an opponent in combat, the character gains a +3 bonus to all damage rolls in the current melee round (or subsequent melee round, if the character scores this success at the end of their round)
Gun Nut*- The character has a +5% chance to repair guns, and a +1 chance to hit with pistols and rifles
Gunslinger*- The character gains +2 to initiative when drawing a pistol or pistols, or participating in a gun duel; furthermore they gain the Quickdraw ability
Harmless- The character has +10% to Prowl, +5% to camouflage, and a +5% streetwise bonus to themselves out of bad situations
Insanely Gifted- The player may add +1d6 to one attribute of choice to their character. However, the character must also have a form of insanity—either determined randomly on the table (see Rifts core), or upon consultation with the GM.
Inspirational- The character can make an inspirational speech as an action, at +10% if done through Perform, directed against specific party members; affected party members gain a +5% bonus to their next action, or +1 to hit on their next attack if they are in combat.
Iron Fist*- The character has +1 to hit with unarmed attacks; furthermore, the character treats their hand to hand skill level as being one higher than it currently is.
Junkyard Genius*- Once per game, the character has a single guaranteed success on Jury Rig.
Lightfooted- The character has a 25% chance to avoid triggering traps, and -10% to Prowl Penalties
Little Leaguer*- The character has +1 to hit with grenades or thrown weapons
Living Anatomy- The character has a +1 damage bonus against Humans, Ghouls or Super-Mutants for every one of the following skills the character has above 50%: Forensics, Pathology, Medical Science, Biology, or Paramedic. Veterinary Science gives a similar bonus vs animals. Mutant Biology grants a similar bonus against Super Mutants and Ghouls only.
Miracle Worker- The character may reroll 1 attempt to fix a broken machine per session.
Munitions Conversion- This allows the character to attempt to convert one size of regular ammunition to another, with a +10% bonus if done through the Field Armourer, Demolitions and/or Recognize Weapon Quality skills. Failure results in the character having 50% fewer munitions as the batch he/she was working on gets ruined.
Never Say Die*- Once per game, the character can ignore up to 10 HP in damage in a single melee round.
Ninja- The character gains the Automatic Dodge ability. If the character already has Automatic Dodge, then he or she adds a further +5% to all Acrobatics-based abilities. Must still spend an action to get all of the bonuses for auto-dodge.
Nosy Neighbour- The character has +1 to all perception rolls, +5% to Find Contraband, and +5% to Detect Ambush
Nuka Chemist*- The character knows the recipe for Nuka Cola. On the second tier of this perk, the character gains +5% to brew Nuka Cola, and may attempt to brew special flavours based on ingredients (results may vary). Further tiers of this perk do no grant further special abilities other than the increased percentile bonus.
Nuka Symbiosis- The character regains twice as much HP from drinking Nuka Cola. However, the character also counts as being addicted to Nuka Cola, and loses the effects of the perk if they lose the addiction.
Party Animal- The character ignores the negative effects of alcohol. However, they must still test for addiction.
Power Armour Training- The character automatically has the Robots & Power Armour Combat: Basic skill. If the character already has this skill, then they automatically gain the Elite level of the skill.
Rad Resistance- The character takes 50% less rads from all sources (rounding up). This cannot be used if the character already has the Ghoulish perk.
Rifleman*-  The character has +1 to hit with rifles, with a -2 reduction to range penalties
Robotics Expert*- The character has a +10% chance to modify, hack, repair or assess or hit robots, as well as a+1 to damage Robots. On a second level of this perk, the character also gains a +5% bonus to persuade or Interrogate robots.
Rooted- The character does not suffer negatives from burst fire if they have not moved that melee round.
Scavenger- On a successful salvage roll, the character finds an extra 2d6 rounds of ammunition (of type determined by GM)
Scenery Chewer*- The character has +10% to public speaking and performance.
Science!*- The character gains +5% to all Jury Rig attempts, and adds a 10% bonus to two Science-related skills (confirm with GM)
Scoundrel- The character gains a +10% bonus to cheat in any roll on the Gambling (Dirty Tricks) skill, and a +5% bonus to Palming and Concealment.
Silver-Tongued Devil- The character has a flat +30% to gain someone’s trust or persuade them of something, or a +5% bonus on Barter, Seduction or Interrogation.
Solar Powered*- The character gains+10 max HP in sunlight. This is reduced back down to the character’s normal level whenever not in sunlight– any damage that takes them beyond their starting health counts as excessive damage for the purposes of determining injury, unconsciousness, death, etc.
Shotgun Surgeon- The character can use everyday or modified materials or items as medical equipment if they pass a successful Field Surgery or Salvage roll
Terrifying Presence*- The character has +10% to all intimidate rolls. Also, some opponents must test vs Intimidation to attack the character
Thief*- The character gains +10% to two Skills from the Espionage or Rogue skill set
Work, Damn You!- The character makes an attack roll against a piece of equipment or machinery. The item proceeds to work as intended for 1 melee round, before subsequently breaking.


Charred- The Ghoul only takes half damage from flame-type weapons, or fire of any kind.
Feral Whisperer- The Ghoul can use Animal Husbandry on Feral Ghouls
Gangrenous- The Ghoul can choose to be infected with a disease. Make a note of what kind of disease; the Ghoul will not suffer any of the disease’s effects, but can transmit those effects to another character by touch. The Ghoul also suffers a further-1d6 PB and PE as the disease affects their rotten condition even further. Any successful rolls to treat the Ghoul’s disease, however, will cause the perk to cease to function, until/unless the Ghoul is infected with another disease. Note that Ghouls CANNOT be infected with, nor carry, the FEV.
Germ Proof- The Ghoul has a +3 to save vs toxins, disease and poison.
Glowing One- The Ghoul emits radiation in a four foot radius. Furthermore, they can heal D6+1 HP per melee round when near a source of radiation, and any Ghouls (of any kind) within a four foot radius will be similarly healed. The Ghouls also suffers from -5% to Prowl, and glows in the dark.
Reaver- The Ghoul gains a natural armour rating of 10. The Ghoul also suffers -1d6 PB and MA. To gain the Reaver perk, the Ghoul must have one pre-existing Ghoul Perk.
When I Was Your Age (Ancient Ghouls only)- The Ghoul can remember Pre-War events with perfect clarity, and gains a +10% to all rolls on Lore: Pre-War


Abomination Handler- The Super-Mutant can use Animal Husbandry on FEV-mutated creatures, such as Centaurs and Mutant Hounds.
Berserk Rage- After taking any kind of damage in combat, the Super Mutant adds +1 to hit and +2 to all damage rolls for the rest of the battle. The Mutant must make Mental Endurance saves not to attack allies.
Metal Man Masher*- The Super-Mutant gains +1 to damage against Robots and against characters in power armour
Mutant Master- The Super-Mutant gains a +5% bonus to gain influence over or command other Super Mutants; this becomes a +10% if done through Public Speaking or Performance, or if the Mutant’s PS is 16 or higher.
Sanity is for the Weak- The Super-Mutant is completely immune to Horror effects and mind control; must take a form of insanity, either by conferring with the GM or rolling on the table (see Rifts core)




Gains Radiation Treatment as an OCC Skill
Omit the following: robot micro-surgeon system, hand held computer, commercial vehicle, laser scalpel, blood pressure machine, vibro-knife, robot medical kit
Medical Kit- Now contains the following: stimpacks, rad-away, rad-x, Med-x, Addictol,

Omit the following: two commercial vehicles, portable translator

Omit: Commercial vehicle, CD player, digital camera, portable language translator
Add: Holotape player + headphones

In addition, the following OCCs are NOT allowed:
-Glitter Boy
-Robot Pilot
-Any Magic-User or Coalition characters


All classes may take a Geiger counter as part of their starting equipment. Geiger counters detect radioactive materials within a 12 ft radius, and determine level of radioactivity


PIP-BOY 3000- contains in-built personal computer with map, inventory, database, and med and bio-scanner; can be plugged into specific Vault-tec outlets
-VATS (Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System)- can use VATS on a single enemy to add +1 to hit to any aimed attack against them.

Each time a player fails a hacking roll, the difficulty is increased by 10%.
-Assuming your first hack is at -0%
-A failed attempt gives a -10% to the next roll, cumulative to future attempts
-A player with a 40% chance of success, who has failed one hacking attempt would need to roll a 30% or less to succeed. A second failed attempt would result in a -20%, or a roll of 20% or less.
-A player who reduces their chances to pass a hacking skill check to 0% or less locks that terminal. (This includes other players)


Radiation works as follows:
Every time a person is near a source of radiation, they take a number of rads per melee round. The longer they stay near the radiation source, the more rads they take. Some sources give off more radiation than others, or give increasing amounts of radiation the closer the character is to it.
Classifications of radiation sources are as follows:
-Minor- 5 rads/second
-Medium- 10 rads/second
-Dangerous- 15 rads/second
-Severe- 20 rads/second
-Catastrophic- 25+ rads/second

As characters take more and more rads, the following effects will apply:
-At 200 rads, -2 to all stats, -1 to combat rolls
-At 400 rads, -4 to all stats, -2 to combat rolls
-At rads, -6 to all stats, -3 to combat rolls
-At 800 rads, -8 to all stats, -4 to combat rolls

1000 rads is considered to be a lethal amount of radiation. Once a character reaches 1000 rads, they will immediately die.
Radiation can be reduced by taking Rad-X or Rad-Away, or, if one is available, going into a decontamination chamber. Some doctors in the wasteland have developed herbal or home-made counters to radiation as well.



Chems have the following effects:

Addictol- immediately removes the effects of all addictions within 15 minutes. During that time, the character suffers –d6 HP and feels sick to their stomach, though they feel fresh as a daisy when it’s all over.
Buffout- +5 PS for d6x10 minutes, takes 1 melee round to kick in as the character’s muscles swell to a much greater degree. During this time, the character may feel elevated levels of energy and aggression.
Jet- gains an extra action for d6 melee rounds, activates immediately. To the character, the world will appear to “slow down” as their heart rate and energy levels increase dramatically
-Ultra Jet- gains an extra action for 3d6 melee rounds, although once it runs out, the character will immediately suffer -5 Speed and -2 PE as they “crash” for d4 rounds.
Med-X- +2 save vs pain, +d4x10 SDC for d6x10 minutes, takes 1 melee round to kick in.
Mentats- +5 to IQ for 10 minutes, as the character is briefly endowed with genius-level intellect (and the smug attitude to match). Takes 1 melee round to kick in.
Psycho- +1 to hit with all attacks, and +2 to all damage rolls, for d6 melee rounds, activates immediately. During this time, the character will have heightened bloodlust and an overwhelming urge to commit acts of violence. Must make Mental Endurance saves to not commit violent actions against people they don’t want to hurt. Nonlethal DC 12
Rad-X- negate 5 rads per second (to a minimum of 1) for ten minutes. Boosted to 8 rads per second when used with the Radiation Treatment skill.
RadAway- eliminates 2d6 rads. Boosted to 3d6 rads when used by someone with the Radiation Treatment skill.
-Ultra-RadAway- eliminates 6d6 rads. Boosted to 7d6 when used by someone with the Radiation Treatment skill.
Stimpak- +2d6 HP. Anyone with the First Aid or Medical Science skills boosts this by 1d6
-Super-Stimpak- +6d6 HP. Anyone with the First Aid or Medical Science skills boosts this by 1d6

One thought on “Rifts: Fallout rules

  1. Pingback: An upcoming Rogue Trader campaign, and the pitfalls of GMing | Ars Scripta

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