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I never looked at the Africa book. Really the only RIFTS books I ever played on were the main book, Mechanoids, Atlantis, and some of the Vampire one.
I can't believe they didn't have a rejuvinated Egyptian Empire for RIFTS in that book. If ever a pop-fiction/historic culture screamed "Use me for RIFTS!" it would be ancient Egypt.
I remember an old campaign we did with Southern Cross vs. Mechanoids that was really fun.
BTW if you use a Veritech fighter in RIFTS it is just about the baddest thing around. It can outrun a Glitter Boy's boomgun and deliver a satisfying amount of damage in return.


I used to run a game of RIFTS in highschool. It was fun at the time. Everyone mostly played monster characters from the 1st conversion book.

We talked about it a lot, but never got around to doing the module from the Africa book. A quest to kill the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse might have been fun.

A friend and I read voraciously through the conversion book 2: Pantheons of the Megaverse, and imagining battles between all of the different gods. That was probably one of the more interesting sourcebooks, and I think it really summed up the good and the bad of the setting. That book got lost at some point, and we never found it again...although I remember vividly that the god Hermes rode a spaceflight-capable motorcycle, and had a gun called the "herminator". *shakes head*

Dark Archive

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You must definitely try the atlantean undead slayer :D


Disenchanter wrote:
captramses wrote:
Actually sir this is not totally true. Example. Inside the City State of Chi-town where no MDC weapons are allowed by the civilian population. Any combat would be determined by SDC. The same might be considered true for any campaign done in the NGR or any of the city states of Japan.

Seeing as how my experience never took me inside Chi-Town, the NGR, or Japan...

My statement still holds as true.

And I don't see the appeal of playing a civilian in Chi-Town anyway... It seems too much like Paranoia and Beyond the Supernatural to me. And I loathe playing those games.

But to each their own.

Then you must not have had a good GM :) I love playing City Rats within the walls of Chi-Town since they are so opened ended as to what you can end up doing.


Dragonchess Player wrote:

Rifts: A great concept hobbled by a very clunky and unbalanced set of rules. Power creep is a huge issue, also. I'd recommend sticking with RIFTS, Rifts Sourcebook I (for detail on the Coalition), and Rifts Conversion Book (for filling in the blanks for the rest of your personal campaign world).

Although I did develop a group of techno-mage cyborgs with techno-magic cybernetics (fun, fun)...

What is this power creep that every one keeps speaking of and Compared to what? I find it really interesting that I keep seeing this power creep thing. :)


Sol wrote:
Valegrim wrote:


You've not talked to the same RIFTS fans I have. Most what people like about it is the mega-damage system, the fast+furious combat system (and it's mini-free!), the cups of dice you get to roll, and the fact that you can play anything (I guess that was the setting part you were talking about, huh). Maybe that is the aspect of the setting you didn't emphasize enough on your analysis? ;)

Actually over the years I have heard way more complaints about the MDC system than probably any other part of Rifts, except for the power creep factor.

The racism. Well it is there. Trust me. Just look with a even partially critical eye and it pops up.

Africa, all a wasteland of simple tribal people. Other than the Crocodile Empire, which is not really even approached, and is what...a subsidiary for Atlantis. Like there are no engineers or other well educated people, or even a country that at one time had a thriving nuclear weapons program (South Africa). This is the typical American/Western look at Africa as a place of tribal peoples and not advanced people. I mean the continent has deep, deep, problems right now, but who knows in 60 years (or in other words at the time of the cataclysm) what might change. Instead Rifts falls back on the old standby racist approach to Africa. Why could there not have been a reborn Carthage, a African run tech empire. Oh yeah, because they can't build technology over there....aka...racism.

The West books were terrible racist towards Native American cultures. I would have to flip through the books again to find specific examples, but as I recall the vast array of native cultures (over 400 different languages alone!) are boiled down to either traditionalists, which live like circa 1800s Lakota or Shoshone, or modern traditionalists. Sure it's not as bad as Peter Pan's "What Made the Red Man Red", which is probably one of the most offensive and racist bits I have ever seen in a film, but the Rifts books are still racist for sure.

Like I...

Rifts is an awesome setting and anyone reading the first page runs across the disclaimer notice right up front. As far as Racisim is concerned. That Might be a point IN THE SETTING if the world had not degenerated to the point the setting claims it has. Try again please.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
captramses wrote:
Dragonchess Player wrote:

Rifts: A great concept hobbled by a very clunky and unbalanced set of rules. Power creep is a huge issue, also. I'd recommend sticking with RIFTS, Rifts Sourcebook I (for detail on the Coalition), and Rifts Conversion Book (for filling in the blanks for the rest of your personal campaign world).

Although I did develop a group of techno-mage cyborgs with techno-magic cybernetics (fun, fun)...

What is this power creep that every one keeps speaking of and Compared to what? I find it really interesting that I keep seeing this power creep thing. :)

Power creep from what was presented in the RIFTS book. It seemed that each successive supplement would have more powerful options than what was in previous supplements, creating an arms race. For example, Glitter Boy armor was supposed to be the best available power/vehicle armor; later supplements invalidated this concept. Also, bio-borgs in the Atlantis supplement are a more powerful option than traditional cyborgs.


Lets see if I can remember the power Creep:

It all Started with Glitter Boys. Rifts was supposed to be a dark and gritty future. There was the bright shiny glitter boy, all 750MDC of him, with the 3d6x10 MD boom Gun. This suit of power armor was so way more powerful than all others that it set a power level that Palladium sought to bring all of Rifts up to over the next 20-30 supplements.

The next couple books wern't so bad. Then yeah Atlantis has the Tattooed Undead slayers.

NGR had the attack of the 50ft German robot.

Wormwood had the guys who were redeemed evil doers, all sorts of power creep there.

New Glitter Boy Types were added in Rifts Japan.

The Coalition got powered up across the board in the Coalition War Machine Book.

Juicer Uprising had multi types of more powerful juicers.

Federation of Magic power creeped magic, especially the main three types of Battle Magus.

Rifts South America or South America 2 had some kind of power creepy Power Armor, but I can['t remember the name.

Rifts Mercenaries had the Alien technology, the Naruni force fields and other power creep equipment (although to it's credit they also had low power, cheep, MDC retrofits, something you could have pushed into hundreds of other sourcebooks).

Pantheons of the Megaverse added all sorts of powerful gods and options that kept pushing this power creep further.

Then there were the real power creep books. Phase World.
These two books were like Rifts on crack. Power Suits (limited edition only, once again) that made Glitter Boys cry. the Phase folks who were uber powerful. Cosmic Knights who would eat armies for lunch. And so on and so forth.

Why?

I noticed quickly that in Rifts you are never interested in really leveling up your characters, at least I rarely if ever saw it happen (Palladiums leveling/exp system is foggy and broken at best). Instead you are interested in getting better and more powerful gear from the new sourcebooks. Sure this happens in D&D, but trust me the 5th level character with the +5 vorpal Sword is not going to last long against the 15th level Cleric. In many ways, Rifts is realistic in that, in modern warfare experience does not matter, it's technology that matters (as far as shooting a gun goes, running a anti-insurgency or a pro-insurgency campaign is a whole other ball of wax though).

Of course they made the big mistake of not making Rifts deadly enough, in terms of giving players access to really good armor. In the history of warfare, defense is always lagging behind offense. Invent city walls, they invent the catapult. Invent plate armor, they invent Long Bows or Crossbows (which any idiot could use). Build the Marginot Line, they will invent tanks and blitzkrieg tactic. Invent Bulletproof vests, they will invent armor piercings bullets. So on and so forth. Rifts turns this upside down by making even a basic suit of power armor as tough as 25 modern tanks and able to be blasted at for many turns with even the mostly powerful hand held weaponry for quite some time.

I think that Battletech is a better example of what Rifts should have done with their robots and power armor. Before the invasion of the Clans, almost no one was building new mechs and the ones that were still around were slowly breaking down more and more and getting parts was getting harder and harder to do. That kind of world idea would have been so much cooler for Rifts as opposed to this "Write a new sourcebook, come up with some stupid excuse to make new and more powerful power armor!"

Man just thinking about that I almost get excited enough to try Rifts again, as a real dark and gritty future, fighting against hordes of creatures, pouring forth from the rifts, with the last 300 year old power armor and robots, repaired and patched from a thousand battles, trying to save humanity from the darkness beyond. Now that is good setting.


captramses wrote:

Rifts is an awesome setting and anyone reading the first page runs across the disclaimer notice right up front. As far as Racisim is concerned. That Might be a point IN THE SETTING if the world had not degenerated to the point the setting claims it has. Try again please.

Your comments on my post show a profound misunderstanding about my critique.

The disclaimer is about violence and other adult material.

I was critiquing the Rifts setting books for being racist in their outlook on people who are currently living. I realize that this is a fantastical game set in a dark and gritty hopeless future. But that is not the point.

What I am basically saying, if you want me to exaggerate it (that means I will use an example that will be way more explicit and obvious than any Rifts used) is the following:

Lets say I write a sci-fi book. Lets call it "Rebirth of a Nation".

In this proposed book I have a group of heroic "cyber-knights" save a town, in a dark and gritty future, from a group of wild despots, lets call them "the dark-Knights", led by a half-breed named "Grandpa Tom".
And lets add that Grandpa Tom was trying to rape the daughter of the prominent out of town family that had up until this point been supporting Grandpa Tom and his crew because they felt they deserved a chance to rule.

Sounds fine so far. Trite, boring, so done 95 years ago. Yet fine, not racist at all.

But lets just say that I made a few changes.
1. The heroic cyber-knights, ride cyber horses and have white and chrome armor with tall helms.
2. The prominent citizens of the town and the other town, are all white.
3. The Dark Knights are all African-America.
4. Grandpa Tom is Mulatto.

Suddenly this is not okay at all. This is racist. In fact I have just done the horrible act of creating sci-fi version of "Birth of a Nation" by DW Griffith, the film that single handedly rebirthed the KKK.

So what am I trying to say?

If you write racist material, it doesn't matter whether it is set in sci-fi or not. Racist and severely culturally insensitive material (such as found in many of the Rifts source books) is wrong not matter if it is written in sci-fi, fantasy, or any other setting. Because racism propagates racism, and so by writing racist material about future-post apocalyptic native Americans, Palladium helped to formet racist attitudes towards Native Americans who are currently alive.

To say otherwise is either to misunderstand what racism is, or to misjudge the power that the media (TV, Newspapers, Books, ect.) have over our us.

Scarab Sages

I loved Rifts when it came out...for the post-apocalyptic setting, who knows, 2012 is around the corner...

I hated running the system, only ran a few games, then went to other games, and eventually stopped collecting the books themselves...I personally have to commend Palladium games, they're not on 3rd edition going on 4th! If I ever get a hair up my...nose...I could always pick up where I left off, I know they released 2nd edition books, but from perusing them, I know they aren't a major revision...KUDOS to Palladium!


I have no idea where this Rifts is racist thing is coming from. It's a problem in the campaign setting(i.e. the obvious Nazi overtones of the Coalition), not with the writers or anything like that. I'm black, and Rifts was the first RPG I picked up on my own that wasn't D&D or Marvel Super Heroes. I've got a majority of the books, including Africa and Weird West(Wild West?), and I never got that feeling. If anything, it's those of european descent who are portrayed as troublemakers at best and crazed killers at worse. The "natives" are almost always portrayed as quiet heroes, who went back to "the way things were" when the Rifts opened up and have been surviving and even thriving that way ever since.

Liberty's Edge

Now that I think about it, my crew of 2 cronies and myself who played Rifts for a year together, one of them we'd played for almost a decade,...were sitting around playing Rifts. His roomate's friend from Argentina came over, saw us playing Rifts, and proceded to go off like a kid who got a bb gun for Christmas because he lacadaisically stumbled upon a Rifts game.
"Please, Heath, please can I play? If you're going to say no, wait, let me sit down first."
And he had both those South America books...
And when HE joined up, all of a sudden I went from dm'ing 2-3 guys to a group of 7, 8, 9 characters.

Scarab Sages

Freehold DM wrote:
I have no idea where this Rifts is racist thing is coming from. It's a problem in the campaign setting(i.e. the obvious Nazi overtones of the Coalition), not with the writers or anything like that. I'm black, and Rifts was the first RPG I picked up on my own that wasn't D&D or Marvel Super Heroes. I've got a majority of the books, including Africa and Weird West(Wild West?), and I never got that feeling. If anything, it's those of european descent who are portrayed as troublemakers at best and crazed killers at worse. The "natives" are almost always portrayed as quiet heroes, who went back to "the way things were" when the Rifts opened up and have been surviving and even thriving that way ever since.

Fascist overtones yes, that's what makes the Coalition such great bad guys...I still want to beat em done today, and I haven't touched my Rifts books in ages!!! HAHAHAHA


Well, it is a dark world so of course it is going to have all the dark themes and ideas from humanities past; racism is just one of the many dark facets of the human experience.

Dark Archive

Yeah, I can't really say that I've ever been reading a Rifts book and thought, "Those racists pigs at Palladium."

Shadow Lodge

Hey all, I can't believe I didn't know about this thread some time ago. I am a huge fan of the Rifts setting, but I too am appalled by the rules. We stopped playing in the 90's because of that, but the setting always lingered in our imaginations.

Eventually we put together the Rifts d20 Project, where we attempted to fix all the wrongs that they committed, but keep the setting intact. Visit my link and take a peek at our rules. It has been several years in the works, and constantly evolving as we have more people contributing ideas.

http://rifts.privatus.org/forums/index.php

If you want to post you'll need to contact me after signing up. It's locked tight against spammers.

PS: you guys forgot to mention the gayest aliens to ever grace science fiction. I am so amused how they can be so cutting edge and so lame all at once.


I wouldn't play a game of Rifts except under threat of death by torture.

I do, however, like the world as a setting for fiction -- where you don't have to worry about power creep and game balance.

Example of sorts: the first and so far only chapter of my intended-to-be-epic Guyver/Rifts crossover fanfic. :)


I'm not as into Rifts as I once was. A few friends of mine write books for them now (They aren't racist, one's even black, I swear!) I've had lunch with a few members of the staff at Gen Con '05, they're good people. And my name is one of those listed in South America 1, I playtested it over Prodigy a long, long time ago. I can get into why CJ did what he did, but not right now.

Yeah, I was into it. Not so much anymore. I really couldn't tell you if anything new is going on with the setting after that war ended.

It pretty is like any other game, if you get the right group of people together, it's fun.


Xaaon of Xen'Drik wrote:

I loved Rifts when it came out...for the post-apocalyptic setting, who knows, 2012 is around the corner...

I hated running the system, only ran a few games, then went to other games, and eventually stopped collecting the books themselves...I personally have to commend Palladium games, they're not on 3rd edition going on 4th! If I ever get a hair up my...nose...I could always pick up where I left off, I know they released 2nd edition books, but from perusing them, I know they aren't a major revision...KUDOS to Palladium!

I would concur with that sentiment. As whacky as thier game mechanics can be at times, they're majority-consistent in the principles of what they do. There are several sentiments that echo throughout the game world itself that are very play-able, backed up by pretty good writing (albiet not-so-good editing, proofreading and playtesting) that makes the setting itself stand out nicely. While it would be an enormous labor of love to homebrew conversions (as one of the other posters on this thread has done - nice work!) for your favorite game system, I've always wondered why although I believe I know the answer the Palladium folks wouldn't cross-pollinate their world setting to other game systems. Well-written conversion books between GURPS, HERO and even *gasp* d20 (or Chaosium's d% system from WAY back when if you're grognard enough) could provide them a heck of a shot in the arm in the long run.

Frankly, the 'tech' gets repetitive and identical save for the artwork throughout the books, especially after about the War Campaign book. However, for a (slowly) evolving world setting theoretically spanning all genres, with unique spins on the interactions of psychics/psionics, magicians of various stripes and really advanced technology, RIFTS is hard to beat.

Finally, I would say that Palladium's greatest weakness as a publisher is that they do not follow the gravy-train method long employed by TSR nee WoTC nee Hasbro: Character Book, GM Book, Critter Book. The trifecta of rules books, plus a steady diet of more on a reliable schedule of publication, could go a long way to aiding their woes.

Granted, this may come far too late - the last dozen books (of various stripes) they've published simply haven't impressed me enough to warrant purchasing them. The best thing they did that I last purchased was revised Beyond the Supernatural, with no sign of the long-promised supplemental books to go with it. Add in a dash of the Nightbane supplements (especially Through the Glass Darkly, great stuff in there) and you have the makings of a spectacular game.


Turin the Mad wrote:
I've always wondered why although I believe I know the answer the Palladium folks wouldn't cross-pollinate their world setting to other game systems. Well-written conversion books between GURPS, HERO and even *gasp* d20 (or Chaosium's d% system from WAY back when if you're grognard enough) could provide them a heck of a shot in the arm in the long run

I can't give you specifics but I know the general reason: company founder Kevin Siembieda was royally screwed in a lawsuit with another company in the late 80s or early 90s and refuses to trust most of them to this day...

The odds of him getting into any sort of professional agreement with anyone else unless he holds ALL the cards in the exchange is so close to zero as to be non-existent... :(


I enjoy Rifts quite a bit; I write for Palladium fairly regularly (3 Rifter articles in the past 3 years, and, hopefully, my first book out later this year). Most of my work is for Palladium Fantasy, though I'm currently working on a project for Rifts (well... when I'm not on message boards).

The system is fairly old school; it's frequently called "1st edition AD&D with house rules", and that's not too inaccurate... there are a lot of similarities. Skills boil down to D%, roll under. Combat boils down to opposed d20s, then rolling damage. There is a lot that could be done to simplify and clean up the system, but if you keep those things in mind, you're pretty clear.

The game itself benefits from a GM willing to say no to PC concepts. IME, the best Rifts games have all been when the GM has said "Ok, you are all part of group X; make characters that fit in with that." It may be that we all have to be Coalition-acceptable (leading to a CS Psi-stalker, an EOD Specialist, a CS Special Forces trooper, and a human Mercenary) or we all have to be working for the Atlantean clans (leading me to play, as a replacement for my slain repentant demon-worshiper, a young dragon who thought these guys looked like "fun", while everyone else was a True Atlantean something or other).

Power creep can be an issue, but it can also be addressed by compartmentalizing the game. Unlike 3.x, where anything is supposed to be usable anywhere, most areas in Rifts are fairly self-contained. South America is weirdly powerful, but if you keep things in South America, and only use things that should be in South America (i.e. from the books South America 1, South America 2, Underseas and Atlantis), you won't really notice. It's when you try to import your "cool South American character" into a game full of CS City-Rats that you get issues.

I've never seen evidence of the racism Sol mentions, nor have I seen it mentioned elsewhere. There are certainly racist societies in Rifts, but they're speciesist... no D-bees (Dimensional Beings, i.e. non-human sentients without supernatural or magical abilities), rather than no blacks or no Asians.

Personally, I'm very comfortable with the game, and so find it a lot of fun. If you have a GM who isn't comfortable with the game, or who tries to throw everything into one campaign, you're going to have problems.


CEBrown wrote:
Turin the Mad wrote:
I've always wondered why although I believe I know the answer the Palladium folks wouldn't cross-pollinate their world setting to other game systems. Well-written conversion books between GURPS, HERO and even *gasp* d20 (or Chaosium's d% system from WAY back when if you're grognard enough) could provide them a heck of a shot in the arm in the long run

I can't give you specifics but I know the general reason: company founder Kevin Siembieda was royally screwed in a lawsuit with another company in the late 80s or early 90s and refuses to trust most of them to this day...

The odds of him getting into any sort of professional agreement with anyone else unless he holds ALL the cards in the exchange is so close to zero as to be non-existent... :(

I had rather figured that was the case Sir CEBrown, sad that it is to say.

It has long been my belief that their settings 'fluff' is far (far) better than their 'crunch' most of the time.

I suspect that when the time inevitably comes, Siembieda's legacy will blow away into dust barring the estate actually farming out to permit conversions to other game systems. 'Twould be a shame to lose that... *sighs*


Mark Hall wrote:

I enjoy Rifts quite a bit; I write for Palladium fairly regularly (3 Rifter articles in the past 3 years, and, hopefully, my first book out later this year). Most of my work is for Palladium Fantasy, though I'm currently working on a project for Rifts (well... when I'm not on message boards).

The system is fairly old school; it's frequently called "1st edition AD&D with house rules", and that's not too inaccurate... there are a lot of similarities. Skills boil down to D%, roll under. Combat boils down to opposed d20s, then rolling damage. There is a lot that could be done to simplify and clean up the system, but if you keep those things in mind, you're pretty clear.

The game itself benefits from a GM willing to say no to PC concepts. IME, the best Rifts games have all been when the GM has said "Ok, you are all part of group X; make characters that fit in with that." It may be that we all have to be Coalition-acceptable (leading to a CS Psi-stalker, an EOD Specialist, a CS Special Forces trooper, and a human Mercenary) or we all have to be working for the Atlantean clans (leading me to play, as a replacement for my slain repentant demon-worshiper, a young dragon who thought these guys looked like "fun", while everyone else was a True Atlantean something or other).

Power creep can be an issue, but it can also be addressed by compartmentalizing the game. Unlike 3.x, where anything is supposed to be usable anywhere, most areas in Rifts are fairly self-contained. South America is weirdly powerful, but if you keep things in South America, and only use things that should be in South America (i.e. from the books South America 1, South America 2, Underseas and Atlantis), you won't really notice. It's when you try to import your "cool South American character" into a game full of CS City-Rats that you get issues.

Agreed - so long as geographic 'reality' (as fairly clearly outlined in the setting) is adhered to - compartmentalizing the campaign RIFTS does reasonably well for itself. And that is really all a GM needs to do.

Should a player be so insistent, and the GM so inclined, that they 'could have easily made the trip from South America', if the rest of the players are willing to go along, the GM can (with the irritation of having to perhaps farm up a small pile of statblocks) demonstrate with brute efficiency just how unlikely it is that most anything from South America would quite clearly not survive the northward trek. GM finds statblocks, hands critters to the players not from SA, and repeats the process as our 1st level Gaucho drowns, gets vampirized, eaten alive, zombified or worse long before reaching the southern shores of North America - which can also result in being enslaved by the many, varied mini-onions of the Sploogies, or being eaten alive, possessed, zombified or worse...


Turin the Mad wrote:
Agreed - so long as geographic 'reality' (as fairly clearly outlined in the setting) is adhered to - compartmentalizing the campaign RIFTS does reasonably well...

It doesn't even need to be geographic reality... simply conceptual consistency at the game plan stage. As mentioned above, I played in a game where the initial concept was "Must be a True Atlantean" (as always, later characters could be from anywhere appropriate). We had a shifter and a cyberknight (both from the original book), but we also had a psychic warrior (from Psyscape), an Undead Hunter (from Atlantis), and a temporal wizard (from England). My shifter was actually from the Phase World setting. It worked because of conceptual coherency.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

Mark Hall wrote:
Turin the Mad wrote:
Agreed - so long as geographic 'reality' (as fairly clearly outlined in the setting) is adhered to - compartmentalizing the campaign RIFTS does reasonably well...
It doesn't even need to be geographic reality... simply conceptual consistency at the game plan stage. As mentioned above, I played in a game where the initial concept was "Must be a True Atlantean" (as always, later characters could be from anywhere appropriate). We had a shifter and a cyberknight (both from the original book), but we also had a psychic warrior (from Psyscape), an Undead Hunter (from Atlantis), and a temporal wizard (from England). My shifter was actually from the Phase World setting. It worked because of conceptual coherency.

I think the game needs co-operative players and a GM willing to say no, with a hammer, more than any other game to avoide Avengers syndrome. Conceptually and Geographically you can have a Vagabond who raised a baby dragon and they adventure together, but when the fighting breaks out it's the dragon who will hold the spotlight. Kind of like in MSH, if Thor, Wonder Man, and Iron Man want to really lay the smackdown on someone, Hawkeye's going to feel inadequate. "I hit him with Mjolnier for shift X damage!" "One Unearthly Ionic punch coming up!" "Amazing Pulse bolts, online!" "*pow* Take that excellent damage arrow."

Now you're making me want to dig out my books, what I have left of them.


Here we go again with the power creep thing which no one has addressed to my satisfaction. The answer to power creep has been built right into the game. I believe that Mr. Hall said it when he pointed out the geographic idea; which is seriously touched upon in every book in the Rifts setting.

I would suggest that people who see the power creep issue have not red the geographic restriction placed in the game...In most of them they are usually covered in the section called something like ...relations with the rest of the world or something like that.

Ultimatly what it boils down to is the type of players and GMs you have and what they have agreed upon.


Turin the Mad wrote:


Agreed - so long as geographic 'reality' (as fairly clearly outlined in the setting) is adhered to - compartmentalizing the campaign RIFTS does reasonably well...

It's even more basic then that. Once your True Alantian gets to North America, he cant get weapons form South America without major advanturing. A pilot with a 'Bot from the NGR in South America will not be able to get it repaired, maybe not even be able to use it for spar parts.

Besides all this, power creep on a whole is not the point. I think they might have even stated this in conversion or something, but they have stated that not everything in life is even or balanced. A dragon is more powerful the a city rat, but it may not know how to use a comuter. Moreover enough city rats cold in take out a young dragon.

Life isn't fair or even, get over it.

As to racist, I've had players of every color enjoy the game. They have loved the comic book? feel of each setting and culture of there homeland. Rember the world fell apat, in the case of Africa not only was the content davasted, but I can assume in the 300+ year dark age, humans were as much a threat as monsters. Then comes Necro-magic which I'm sure put even more strain on any hopes of civlization. Moreover racist assertion holds less warter because even anglo centric places (for the most part) are not much better then africa. The ones that survied and to an extent expanded and thrived (CS and NGR) are the fasicst states. But no mention of the sterotype of sussful whites as bing facist. Why? A. More flaming to mention Africa. B. Goes against your assertion, Anglo White Knights don't follow Hitler. Rifts is a grim world ture, racisim is there true, but not on the part of the publisher and writers.

Rifts remains my longest running game expernice. I had a group of players during college, on campus within earshot of other students (looking to be offended by anything) for 5 years.

Its clunky, and you need a good GM, but I have to say its one of the better Role Playing expernices out there. In fact I'll say that since I'm not going 4th, never went for the new World of Darkness, and since most D20 PP will not support OGL, lest not without homebrewing a new system (Paizo being the shining light in the dark) RPG wise I think Palladium might be last RPG standing for me. Which is great because I started with Robotech a long time ago.


Ah the racist bit is hard to define. I do not mean racism found within societies in the future. That would be stupid.

I mean the way the writers and publishers of Rifts approach discussing current peoples is at best juvenile, and at worst shows a neo-liberal style of racism, not a KKK cross burning type, just a myoptic view of the world.

Their discussion of Native Americans reminds me of some stoned out hippy in 1971 dressing up in buckskins, taking peyote, and calling himself by a native American sounding name. Basically it shows a complete ignorance and misunderstanding of Native American cultures and peoples, especially pre-columbian history. Not only a huge loss of cool opportunities that games like Shadowrun took advantage of, but also frankly the whole approach just feels so dated to the late 1960s, not a more accurate, truthful, and respectful approach found in many games and literature of the 1990s and 2000s. Oh well.

Sure there are all sorts of reasons why it seems reasonable that Africa would be a blasted, backward waste land, with no interesting or developed societies found on it, but frankly on the part of the designers it just seemed like a throwback to the old racism of the 19th century.

Once again I understand it is a fantasy game, and that therefor there can be (and should be, as it is an interesting conflict) racist societies found. But when designers base things on places and peoples of the real world, they have to walk carefully, or else fall into racist stereotypes of yesteryear. Palladium books failed at this, among many other things (such as smooth rules, power balance, and good art).


Sol wrote:

Ah the racist bit is hard to define. I do not mean racism found within societies in the future. That would be stupid.

I mean the way the writers and publishers of Rifts approach discussing current peoples is at best juvenile, and at worst shows a neo-liberal style of racism, not a KKK cross burning type, just a myoptic view of the world.

Their discussion of Native Americans reminds me of some stoned out hippy in 1971 dressing up in buckskins, taking peyote, and calling himself by a native American sounding name. Basically it shows a complete ignorance and misunderstanding of Native American cultures and peoples, especially pre-columbian history. Not only a huge loss of cool opportunities that games like Shadowrun took advantage of, but also frankly the whole approach just feels so dated to the late 1960s, not a more accurate, truthful, and respectful approach found in many games and literature of the 1990s and 2000s. Oh well.

Sure there are all sorts of reasons why it seems reasonable that Africa would be a blasted, backward waste land, with no interesting or developed societies found on it, but frankly on the part of the designers it just seemed like a throwback to the old racism of the 19th century.

Once again I understand it is a fantasy game, and that therefor there can be (and should be, as it is an interesting conflict) racist societies found. But when designers base things on places and peoples of the real world, they have to walk carefully, or else fall into racist stereotypes of yesteryear. Palladium books failed at this, among many other things (such as smooth rules, power balance, and good art).

Well, as they say, you can please some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time...

DogBone


Radavel wrote:
Hello everyone. Any one here playing "Rifts" RPG by Palladium Books?

I have not played since 3.0 came out but I have been loyally buying the books ( only missing two or three). As already said on this post, the concept is great and the world wonderful; so many things can be done, and it has a great mix.

It does however, have it's problems.


Sol wrote:


Sure there are all sorts of reasons why it seems reasonable that Africa would be a blasted, backward waste land, with no interesting or developed societies found on it, but frankly on the part of the designers it just seemed like a throwback to the old racism of the 19th century.

Palladium books failed at this, among many other things (such as smooth rules, power balance, and good art).

We agree it is not perfect, but I also thing we could agree that no game (person place thing, etc) is perfect also.

You may not be aware but Rifts Africa is a storehouse of role-playing content. Some of it indeed 'themed' ( heart of darkness, imperialist-style tones)but some of it is progressive in my opinion. The best example of that would be the Four Horseman. Choosing Africa was not because it was already a wasteland, but because it was highly magical, the cradle of human civilization ( which they may remember) and teeming with life is the Coming of Rifts. Also, the whole continent did not through back to sterotypes per se. Much of the surviving humans embraced tribal life because of the reviving magic and because tribal traditions/peoples are very much a part of African culture (even today). Lastly, these tribes are not the only type of brave African people trying to survive in the 'Dark Continent'. I believe there is still a high-tech human nation in Uganda/Lake Victoria region in the game.

I think the designers tried to balance the book and did fairly well.
Sorry you didn't enjoy it.


Well, I've been running Rifts for years. (What the? You play 3.5 and Champions and you bother with Rifts? Surprise!)

The interesting thing is how many people accuse Rifts of being racist when in fact nothing could be further from the truth.

Rifts is largely a CINEMATIC game. Unfortunately, that means that a lot of the cinematic material comes with slightly racist overtones because of the age of the folks who write the system.

The combat system is really designed to mimic old Shaw Brothers movies. It's not as bad as it looks.

As for the Coalition? People LOVE to hate the Coalition. Nazis in skull helmets? What's not to want to beat up.

Yes, I realize there are a lot of freaky people in the midwest who are Coalition States apologists. I'm not one of them.

But now that Wizards has thrown the Forgotten Realms into the clunker, Golarion and Rifts have the best fluff. And I always like to play in the gameworlds that have the best fluff. :)


yep; RIFTS would certainly look good in cinema; i visualize the game with all kinds of colors; hah; Lucas has nothing in his movies that would come close the the color and variety and grittyness of RIFTS


I'm running a Rifts game every other Friday. I only have 2 players so far, but it is going well. I have to improvise a lot, but it is a lot easier to do with Palladium rules than it was with d20.

Liberty's Edge

I loved and to a certian extent still love Rifts. That being said the rules need an update and a major one. What really bothered me is how pathetic the weapons are for Robots and Power Armour. A cannon mounted on a battleship does a measly 1d4x10 yet a hand held weapon does more damage.

I hear a lot about South america being broken and overpowered. the only reason imo is that up until that point most vehilce and robot weapons were a joke. Both SA books changed that and made the weapons actually do the damage they deserved from the start. C'mon the damage until then was too heavily slanted towards giving characters too much of a chance. It also took forever to destroy anything with a lot of MDC because of the poor damage value on weapons. The Cannon on the Devastor in the Triax book is a perfect example.

What the the point of portraying Rifts as being a dangerous and deadly environment when you slant the damage values in favor of the PC. Not to mention I dislike how underpowered mages in Rifts are compared to other characters. Unless you want to play a sneaky or stealth mage your screwed imo. Mages don't even get a decent ant-tech spell.


memorax wrote:


What the the point of portraying Rifts as being a dangerous and deadly environment when you slant the damage values in favor of the PC. Not to mention I dislike how underpowered mages in Rifts are compared to other characters. Unless you want to play a sneaky or stealth mage your screwed imo. Mages don't even get a decent ant-tech spell.

Look around on the net, there was a time when a lot of fans put up a lot of spells, like Fly Like a Brick, makes anything fly like a Brick. That sort of stuff.

And for the record still love Rifts.

Dark Archive

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Rifts to me has always had the coolest game world and character concepts, combined with the most god awful system.

I own tons of their books, but mostly for reading and nostalgia. I'd have to do a lot of re-working to get my gaming friends back into that game.


I read this article and immediately thought, "Hey! A Wilk's Laser Scalpel!"


Sol wrote:


Sure there are all sorts of reasons why it seems reasonable that Africa would be a blasted, backward waste land, with no interesting or developed societies found on it, but frankly on the part of the designers it just seemed like a throwback to the old racism of the 19th century.

I think you may also be getting hung up on a weak book. Africa is loaded with lots of stuff that has little relationship to the geographic setting. It has the normal load of OCCs -- probably part of your complaint, plus all the Egyptian Gods, and the Four Horsemen. The whole Rifts Africa section is more than 100 pages into the book. I guess I can see some complaints that there is about a page to the tribes of Africa while South Africa is just "once a center of modern technology....cities were obliterated" but in general they just skipped this entire section of the book. There is a bit on the Phoenix Empire but even that is pretty scant. That is before even considering the first printing of the book was incomplete.


This Saturday or the next we are switching from a 3.5 blackmore campaign to a Rifts campaign. I am delighted to be able to bring back an old character that I thought I'd never get to play again. Of course she is wearing an item that reduces her abilities most of the time. I will rarely get to take it off, for good reason. Still to play the character again is awesome.

It's hard to find good groups or good GMs, the rules can be clunky, there is almost no concept of game balance, etc. etc.

The thing is that we are still talking about, and in some cases playing the game. Even for you Sol, while you may hate this game you just cannot let the conversation go. So there is some sort of draw there.

As for the clunk.....I dare you to name one game system that doesn't have clinky parts. I certainly can't. I think it is an inevitable result of trying to express something as complex as existance in something as simple as a game system.

Our GM is a huge lover of Rifts and I think the game will be very fun. So I'm definately looking forward to Saturday.


Yes RIFTS is a pretty beat up system with some rules not really working well with others but they are not to hard to get around with some simple common sense thinking and creativity. But that is what makes this system so much fun everything is open to the characters and GM, Everything. there is no limit to what you can work. yes I know some systems can also work something like that out too but rifts is just (in my opinion at least) just so far ahead of the game in that department.

Now most of this may sound biased due to the fact that I litteraly group up as a gamer sort to speak playing rifts. This is my favorit system of all time. and every know and then my GM curses himself and one of my friends for introducing me to it. This is mostly due to the fact that I can what was that term "Rules R@%e" the system to such an effect that he spends most of the time trying to figure how to get "me" into "challenging" situations that I wont just walk over or wont flat out nuke the party. And just for thought I blame him too. and now I also blame the Capt'n, some of you might know him on the boards, yeah I've learned quit a few things from him to that he hasn't realized yet until he reads this post heheheh.

And thats why I love rifts, "Loop holes", even when the rules are fixed there is always a way to use them to your advantage. Which can really be said 'bout any system really, although I'm still learning them for Advanced Dungeons and Dragons.


So am I right in surmising that there's no word/prospect of the palladium system being overhauled and a new edition being released? I can't think of any other major game system where they keep putting out books for years after year without any thought of updating the system, especially given how much criticism this system gets.

I ask because I'd like to play some rifts again sometime, but I can't really fathom trying to run it with the current system, and I don't have any interest in trying to convert it to another system, though if I did it would probably be something like M&M.


After our RotRL campaign is over we're firing up a rifts campaign. Over half the table is kindda chomping at the bit for our current campaign to be over so they can run amok as black market smugglers in what they believe is going to be the great lakes region.

What I lke about the system is that its so irrelevant to minmax... It *seems* like a crunchers paradise but in fact is a crunchers nightmare. You could optimize your butt off (mutant demigod with invulnerability blah blah blah) in the campaign and no matter what there's a mutant or a psionic or a mage or a mystic that can put you in your place in short order. There's literally no way to make yourself into something that doesn't have a significant achilles heel.

As usual a great gm can make any game a great game and a crappy gm can make any game a crappy game, but the world itself is vibrant and detailed, the rules allow a player to optimize however they like and still give the gm the tools to challenge them anyway. Like Ad&d 2e, that makes it a system I *LOVE* to *run*.

I'm also a big fan of the system for having no modules... no adventure paths. Any one who plays in a rifts campaign pretty much knows that they flat out have no way of knowing whats around the next corner. Nobody in a rifts campaign has to ever find themselves in a scenario where they say 'oh yeah'... I remember this part. This is the part where blah blah blah...

When I first met 3.0/3.5/pathfinder it seemed to me that the systems were trying very hard to shore up a lot of things that gms of 2e used to solve with fiat on the fly. If you had a good gm that fiat wasn't ever used inappropriately and if you ha a bad gm you felt like you needed a system that would make those decisions for him so he wasn't free to ream you unnecessarily when it came time to fiat a decision... 2e and palladium *do* leave a ton of stuff to fiat so the quality of game you'll have in 2e and palladium is in a huge way dependent on your gms skills and willingness to run the kind of game you want to play.

After being on these forums for a year I've discovered that 3.0/3.5/pathfinder also have a ton of gray area built into them that requires gm fiat, and now these systems fall to the same rule as well. If you've got a great gm with skills and the will to bring the kinda game you're interested in playing, you'll have a good game...

Over time what i've noticed is that there are gaming systems that I don't like... But every system that I 'don't like', I don't like because the person running it wasn't a very good gm in the first place (or at least not 'my' kind of gm with the same goals for the campaign as I had)... Through that realization I've been able to see more clearly which systems have the same intent as I do and which one's don't, but I have had to reexamine systems that I thought were bad after realizing it was the person running it that made it bad and not the system itself.


Black 13 sounds like he would like my campaigns because he sounds like the kinda guy who likes to orchestrate grand plans and I'm the kinda gm that says 'do it'.


I was just discussing with a friend getting a Rifts game going. Last time I ran a player played an Atlantean with the class Demon Queller from Rifts Japan and one played a Mutant Bulldog from After the Bomb with the class Gunslinger. That ran for about two months before time commitments kept us from continuing. Before that I ran for a player playing a Robotech Alpha pilot stranded on Rifts Earth teamed up with a Quebec Glitter Boy when Quebec was at war with the coalition.

Rifts has all sorts of balance issues and clunky mechanics, but it can be a lot of fun.


Savage Worlds apparently have the rights to make a version of RIFTS in their game system. Sounds interesting.


I suspect we'll get a new Rifts thread when the SW Rifts gets released soon.

There are a few things I really like about Rifts-
(still discussing the version that was released 25 or so years ago)

It has an AD&D feel to travel, in that travelling long distances is dangerous and can be full of wonder. With creatures from rifts, magic, aliens, etc. as possible encounters it's a bit like travelling to a new region in 1E D&D, with a chance of getting in over your heads.

The setting has a ton of potential for magic, technology, psychic characters, and a lot of genres of material to add together. In high school we ran a campaign with characters ported in from TMNT, Heroes Unlimited, Ninjas and Superspies, Robotech, and characters from various sourcebooks for Rifts.

The sourcebooks can occasionally be great. The write up for Sedna in Rifts: Canada is very good (I'm an Inuit from Alaska so it's nice to see a good write up of some Inuit mythology).

There are several downsides to old school Rifts-

The percentile mechanics for skills is a big mechanical drawback for me. With different skills having different starting values, different advance rates, and different starting percentile bonuses depending on whether it's taken as on OCC related skill or an elective skill it takes awhile to gen characters and can take awhile to level up. And percentile skill rolls mean you are trying to not fail when you roll instead of rolling to succeed.

Some material that was innovative 25 years ago could use updating. Vampire Kingdoms was innovative in the early '90s (Brian Lumley style vampires instead of Stoker style vampires). But looking at Vampire Kingdoms in the last few years, it seems a lot less innovative after 20 plus years of White Wolf vampire material.

The MDC system needs a good GM and a group who refrains from abusing its potential for abuse- a friend had an MDC hand gun he called the 'handgun of urban renewal' since it could level entire neighborhoods.

I had a gaming group that gamed together for about fifteen years when I lived in Seattle, and we sometimes played a three or four session Rifts game as a break between long campaigns with other games. Rifts can be a lot of fun, and after a year long Call of Cthulhu or 1st edition Warhammer Fantasy campaign it was a nice change of pace.


I can't seem to find any information on the Savage Worlds Rifts release date. Anyone have a clue about this?


HeHateMe wrote:
I can't seem to find any information on the Savage Worlds Rifts release date. Anyone have a clue about this?

Digital copies of the Players Guide and GM Guide have already been sent to Kickstarter backers. Print copies from the Kickstarter are estimated to be released in Nov 2016. Wide release would presumably be shortly after.


Great thanks!

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