Here’s the thing: I love the Rifts RPG. This is not to say that it doesn’t have flaws—it has many—and it is not to say that I love every product in the line (I don’t). But overall, Rifts as an RPG setting is, IMHO, both very original and awesomely inspiring. There are tons of cool ideas in the Rifts universe, tons of interesting characters to meet and places to explore and bad guys to defeat. In many ways, it is a GM’s wonderland. Literally anything from anywhere can show up in Rifts, and that’s just fine. I know for a fact that hundreds of Rifts players have brought in the Robotech universe characters and mecha into Rifts Earth. Ditto for superheroes from Heroes Unlimited.
Does this ever happen to you?
There’s even books out there just to convert your favorite character from other Palladium games into a Rifts character.
There’s so much awesome in Rifts that sometimes it overshadows the deep and abiding flaws that exist within the line.
The system is a kludgy mess that is 25 years old—a creaky, D&D-inspired class and level-based system that causes most gamers I know to roll their eyes and sigh. It’s what we, as gamers, put up with in order to play Rifts… not something we really enjoy.
Just to be clear, this is not to say that the system is terrible—there are certainly games out there that are worse, and in many ways, Rifts is still a /functional/ game system. You can play the game with it. However, I believe this game is simply begging for an update.
Some of the writing is… not-so-inspiring. For one example, Rifts Australia is basically all-Mad Max, all the time. I could call out some other books here, but I’m trying to abide by my ground rules of “No hate,” so I’m just basically touching on the issue without getting too far into the details.
Rifts fans have had a long ride with this setting—it’s been in print for over 25 years and while there have been some missteps along the way, the line as a whole is quite an achievement for any gaming company to be proud of. Thanks to Palladium’s early entry into the RPG market, they have a lot of fans out there, and it’s likely that you can walk into nearly any RPG store or club and find someone that either currently plays Rifts or has played it in the past.
Once More Into the Breach--Another Top 10 List
The purpose of today’s post is to talk about the books that really made me love the Rifts setting. The cream of the crop from a line of over 80 books (and still growing).
To be consistent with previous posts of this nature, I want to stress that this list is my personal favorites—the books that speak most to me. I’m not saying these are the books that everyone will or should enjoy, but I do hope that the list gives these products a bit more exposure to folks who may not have looked at them before. Also, given the long history of the Rifts line, it’s fair to say that I look at many of these books through “nostalgia goggles.”
(You can find the top ten list after the jump!)