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Rifts Game Shields and Adventures
by Jeremiah B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/10/2012 17:51:09
This has lots of useful references, tables, and maps. The adventures are mostly interesting, although a couple of the Hook, Line & Sinker Adventures are too simplistic and one of them is just bad guys take over a village and the villagers ask you to help(thanks Siembieda I couldn't have though of that on my own), but there are several that are interesting and fairly complex.
The only real negative is that the is not the best quality, it is still readable and most of the text is fine but some of the smaller text in the reference tables is fairly hard to read and many of the pictures have odd patterns of fading on them.
Overall this is a mediocre scan of a good GM reference set.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Rifts Game Shields and Adventures
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The Rifter #50 - Special Anniversary Issue
by Carl A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/30/2012 13:16:14
I bought this primarily for the Splicers information. The additional classes covered are interesting, but might be a bit difficult to use in actual game play. The Gardener OCC is designed for fortifying a location against the Machine by plucking and planting plant-based Biotech defenses in the ground, but while mention is made of what they need to do to raise the plants to full maturity (skill roll once per day) I didn't see anything indicating how long this actually takes per day. If it takes hours, then they could only tend a couple of plants if they want to to reach full maturity, but if it takes minutes they could tend many, or they could be much further apart. Also, rolling once per day when most of the plants take several weeks to reach full maturity means you will likely fail at least a few times, and each time you fail, you have to roll another (different) skill check, and if you make that one then you get to roll the best two out of three on the first check to recover. Again, no explanation for how long this takes. And if you fail the plant will never reach maturity. I'm not sure how any of the plants every would reach maturity this way. Even if you had a 90% skill (not likely!) if a plants takes 10 rolls you only have a 34% chance to make every one of them, and that's a remarkably low number of rolls to need to make. You could need far more than 30 in some cases. If you have around 50% (possible at first level) you have not realistic chance to raise anything to maturity. And the actual plants themselves have some really annoying rules, like this plants gets 3d6 branches and each branch has 3d4 of this fruit on them, etc. I really like the concept, but the crunchy bits needed to be thought out a little more. I still liked it simply for the ideas it presents, even if I don't think the actual OCC would be much fun to play.

Then there are a couple of additional classes, from a sort of bizzaro Saint that is interesting and flavorful (hurts rather than heals) to the Geneticists that do the actual grunt work around the genepools, from taking care of the young host armors and mounts until they are ready to be used in the field, to modifying biotech to come up with alternate designs and mods. They get pets in the form of failed (as in not quite right, but not truly useless) host armors that they can modify to do their bidding and act as test beds for experiments. They don't get host armors, so I'm not sure I'd want to play one as my primary character, but they could be very interesting in the right setting, or as an alternate for for a Dreadguard.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Rifter #50 - Special Anniversary Issue
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The Rifter #52
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/25/2012 08:09:09
Originally published at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2012/06/25/tabletop-review-the-rif-
ter-52/

This issue, as with #51, shows Palladium dealing with basically the same issues: the Rift MMORPG lawsuit, the movie, and some personal things with Kevin Siembieda. The meat of the issue consists of News, a huge article about Atlanteans, Sunaj, Nogs (new races?), and all kinds of tattoos (Rifts), a “Cannibal Magic” article (Fantasy), an article on rune (i.e. sentient/sapient) weapons (Fantasy), and then some fan fiction.

The Crusaders & The Black Crusade


This article takes up about half of the entire book! It starts off with about 8 pages containing two short stories that are quite evocative and well-written. They are mostly about battle, so I keep getting this Warhammer 40,000 vibe from a lot of the Rifts material I’m reading. Weapons, weapons, weapons, factions fighting for who knows what reason, but a good read nonetheless. Plus, they highlight things mentioned in the rest of the article.

First, after the fiction, a race called “Nogs” are introduced which some sort of low-intelligence human that look more like orcs. The “True Atlanteans” highlighted in the article are the race that use Nogs as slaves and give them these special, powerful tattoos (mentioned later). The Atlanteans are given some occupations (O.C.C.s) that seem rather social in their leanings: Dilettante, Drifter, Tattoo Master. Another sect of Atlanteans called the “Sunaj” are given several occupations that are almost exclusively related to combat: Assassin, Warrior Thrall, Slayer, Slaver. After some occupations we get some general gear for Atlanteans, and some specific stuff for the Sunaj, like the “’Black Ball’ E-Sphere” which is an energy weapon clip that can double as an energy grenade, as well as several suits of armor and accessories.

The Atlanteans are apparently very big on tattoos. All of the art that shows any skin shows tattoos covering it. This article gives TONS of new tattoos that grant all sorts of powers, from enhancing the power of weapons and deadliness of strikes to healing and detecting. One of the tattoos is a “Black Sphere (Sphere of Destruction)” that can vaporize anything it touches. Sphere of Negation anyone? Even more crazy than regular tattoos are “Flux Tattoos” which are supposed to be very rare and let you do things like summon a swarm of insects. Basically tattoos are like spells that are notated on the skin of the recipient.

Cannibal Magic

This is material for Palladium Fantasy RPG that details certain trolls that have special magical powers that are enhanced by er… eating their victims. After they have been basted with enchantment, preferably. I had to suppress a sigh as I read through the rules for the cooking, eating, and preservation of certain body parts and how things will simply not work right if such and such goes wrong (if the food is not completely eaten). Further sighs were required when I saw that there were eating times listed for body parts. Yes, there are rules for how long it takes to eat a particular body part. Ok, so I didn’t actually suppress any of the sighs.

The body parts will grant the Cannibal Mage different temporary powers depending on what is eaten. Have a liver? It will negate the effects of disease. Eating the appendix will prolong life…possibly forever. The article goes on to describe some more information about trolls and abilities, and then stats out the Cannibal Mage O.C.C.

Intelligent Weapons


This article contains more material for Palladium Fantasy RPG, but it is mostly focused on weapons. Not just any weapons though, we are talking sentient swords. Basically this article is about weapons that start out like low-level characters, and then over time become more and more powerful, just like a character. The article details several kinds of weapons that correspond with well-known character classes like a “Cleric R.C.C.”, “Elementalist R.C.C.” (druid or mage), or with certain alignments like the “Lightbringer R.C.C.” which is a weapon specifically for use against “supernatural evil”.

The second part of the article discusses weapons with personalities and gives them stats just like an NPC (or PC for that matter). One weapon even has multiple personalities, each with their own abilities and stats. The article finished with what is, in my plain outspoken opinion, a bunch of crap. The last part of the articles is an O.C.C. called “Weapons Expert”, adapted from Heroes Unlimited. “This character is an expert with virtually all aspects of weapons…” really now? Don’t we usually just call that a fighter? Anyway, besides this last bit the article has some cool ideas in it.

What Do I Think?

I liked this issue more than the previous one, but partly because I am just biased toward fantasy over sci-fi. Overall, the publication is still mostly just adding more gear and character classes, neither of which I am a huge fan of. What I find most disturbing is the complete absence of adventures. Is The Rifter actually about role-playing? Or is it just about killing stuff and being powerful? There are some cool ideas presented, don’t get me wrong, but it would be great if there was some material that provided an environment to use these ideas in.

The fiction is ok…but it just whets my appetite for an adventure. I don’t need pages and pages more of weapons and spells and classes and whatever, just about every major system has tons of source material and anybody who wants to can come up with their own brew of class or special weapon. What would be really great are some adventure ideas to help flesh out the Rifts world. I don’t even know how people who contribute to The Rifter might play the game, because all I am seeing is stuff. It would be nice to see some juicy module to balance all the crunchy stats, that’s all I’m saying.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Rifter #52
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The Rifter #51
by Ralph L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/24/2012 22:48:44
Rifter #51 was a nice read. the art work was awesome.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Rifter #51
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The Rifter #51
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/21/2012 06:10:07
Originally posted at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2012/06/21/tabletop-review-the-rif-
ter-51/

Rifts is a bit of a sore subject for some people, and I have seen instant dismay upon its mention, to the point where I am actually quite intrigued by the reasons why people are so opposed to Palladium. Without going into all of the reasons here (and yes, I’ve heard about the various reasons why), I will say that I sort of came to know Palladium after a lot of the “drama” had unfolded (though it is ongoing), and so I never had invested in Palladium as a game company I relied on and trusted. I guess what I’m saying is that I feel like an observer looking at Palladium’s games on one side and the community that detests them on the other, trying to decide for myself whether that gulf is deserved or not. I do have quite a few Palladium books myself, and I will say that the base die-rolling mechanic is one that I like: I roll a d20 to hit you with a sword, if you want to block it, you have to roll higher than me. Simple and logical. Also the fact that it really isn’t hard to hit someone with a weapon when you are at arm’s length is another thing I think they got right. If you roll above a 5 on a d20 (or somewhere around there) you are going to hit, it’s just a matter of whether your blow is blocked or dodged or whatever. I don’t think anyone could argue effectively that those are not simple and effective dice mechanics.

So, this brings us to me reviewing The Rifter #51, an installment of Palladium’s magazine for their products as well as role-playing in general. Please note that this issue came out in Summer of 2010, and focuses on Rifts as the general theme since it is celebrating 20 years since the game’s introduction.

This issue is a bit of a window into game industry past, as Kevin Siembieda’s section contains him commenting on such items as the conflict with the (then forthcoming) MMORPG Rift, Palladium’s intense financial struggles, and of course upcoming titles. The News section makes Palladium look like they want to expand into all sorts of other spheres: Facebook games, movies, computer games, comics…all this in the wake of near-catastrophe. I don’t even know if any of that stuff actually happened.

News

After the News and the schedule of book releases (a lot of books!) we get to the first article: playing role-playing games with kids up to the mid-teens or so, but mostly focused on the pre-teen years. The article contains a lot of great suggestions that deal with everything from kids’ schedules to discipline to dealing with very immature behavior. As for me, just reading the article brings back memories of gaming as a kid, and I’m glad that I had older people run the game who tolerated me. I don’t even know if I could stand to game with anyone under 24, let alone under 14!

Splicers and Metamorphs


The next article is for Splicers and introduces the Metamorph: a person who has the power to transform into some other type of lifeform. The idea is that the human (or whatever race) is given the power to wrap themselves in a cocoon and emerge some time later as this new being. First the article explains the background of the class, and then gives the basic stats for the class before giving a list of possible forms that can be transformed into. The different forms include such things as “Digger Form” which kind of looks like a cross between a giant centipede and a ferret; the “Angel Flying” form which looks, well, like an angel; “Aquatic Form”, which is like a combination Komodo dragon/salamander/seal… crazy stuff. The forms are designed (in the Splicers universe) to be used for specific purposes, so to travel safely through water you would use the aquatic form, and then once you got there to kick some ass you would transform into something like “Heavy Assault Form”, which looks like the cyberdemon from Doom had a love-child with the queen from Aliens.

The article concludes with the “Swarm Lord O.C.C.” which is basically a guy wearing “hive armor” which has some sort of hive on the back of it that essentially shoots little genetically-engineered missile/bullet insect swarms. There are a few more pages with rules for swarm attacks and the different kinds of bugs that might inhabit the hive armor with stats and descriptions. There’s a ton of material in here! This article is a really great resource and, I think, has a lot of interesting ideas laid out in it, not to mention the awesome art (the Swarm Lord art is insane).

Beyond the Supernatural – Investigation and Armor

The next section is quite long and deals with two subjects directed primarily at Beyond the Supernatural, a horror/thriller setting for the Palladium system. The first part discusses investigations and the types of people that might be investigating things like crime or supernatural activity, but it tries to include more long-term investigators like anthropologists and archaeologists, which is interesting. It offers the Anthropologist occupation, and then the Forensic Scientist occupation, as well as a few new skills related to each like fingerprinting, linguistics, etc.

There are two pages dedicated to discussing skepticism and using stage magic, of all things, to help determine what is paranormal activity and what is not. The next several pages deal with team-making in Beyond the Supernatural and then with rules for various types of armor like using sports gear or standard modern armor.


The Vager – or “wolf people”

The “Wolf Blood” article contains some source material for Rifts in the form of a race of people called The Vager, who are essentially tribal wolf people, or people who live with wolves (or people who dance with wolves?). The article explains who The Vager are and what their tribal hierarchy is, as well as noting the largest clans and such and introducing the Vulbund occupation, which is the name for a Vager and the wolf that accompanies them (because it is a bond, you see).

This article is great except for one section where it mentions that Vager beliefs are “a mixture of Native American and Norse beliefs” and then goes on to describe how they worship Fenrir as a great wolf. What if my game doesn’t have Native Americans or Norse people in the world? What if I don’t like cribbing religion from any cultures on Earth and I think it’s infinitely more interesting, if you’re going to go ahead and make your own race, to at least pretend that their spirituality stems from something original about that culture instead of making it this arbitrary and bald-faced mix of two well-known cultures that I don’t want in my game?! Whew, and here I thought I would get through this article without a rant.

Weapons for Triax 2

This article is essentially a list of weapons and stat blocks. You have such things as a rotary grenade launcher, pulse laser, and a few others. There are attachments listed as well, one of which is basically a double-barrel, pump-action shotgun. Yes folks, you can attach a shotgun to your…gun. You also have some more weapons for the Jaeger, like shoulder-mounted mortars and a melee kit which includes some nasty things like vibro-blades and a neural mace (whatever that is!). Other support includes turrets sentries, and some new Triax cyborgs: a “Glitter Borg” and the “Bombardier Borg”.

To me, this article is like going to an art gallery and entering a room with halogen lights flashing and bright red sirens going off: it’s too much. This is the part of Palladium games I don’t really care for, the massive, over-the-top firepower and damage and whatnot. I mean, where is the role-playing in this stuff? I can only assume that at the beginning of the session the players agree to go blow something up and then spend the next two hours rolling dice to hit and damage. If I wanted to play Warhammer 40,000, I would. Dang, I’m up to two mini-rants now.

Rifts vehicle construction rules – part deux

Part 1 is in The Rifter #50, so you’re going to have to go back and check that out if you want to read it. This is Part 2. This article is a lot like the Triax article in that it is basically just listing cool stuff to put on a vehicle. Want linked weapons? Sure, go ahead. Oversize tires? Fire ‘em up yeah! You can attach such things as loudspeakers, backhoes, and…wait for it…fuzzy dice. You can also outfit the inside with things like a laboratory or give the vehicle a magnetic field.

I can just imagine sitting around a table, spending hours picking through the list and building this awesome vehicle that your group can go blow stuff up in. Good for some laughs, but seriously, I would keep this article as far away from my game group as possible. Want to play a role-playing game? Ok, let’s play. Want to build a really cool vehicle? Take this article and do it on your own time. The funniest part about the article is that in the last paragraph the author mentions that Rifts actually has no vehicle combat rules, but there are some in Heroes Unlimited

Story time and 2010 open house


Next up is a story called “Roman Holiday”, which involves two characters and some crazy mishap with Greek gods and various other interlopers. I’ll spoil part of it for you: Herakles and Hercules get in a fight. Then there are a few pages dedicated to the Palladium open house in 2010, which seemed like a fun event for all of the Palladium fans who attended.

What Do I Think?

Well, The Rifter is basically an ongoing sourcebook, so that is pretty cool. This issue contains diverse things, from Triax to gaming with kids, and I appreciate that. As you might have noticed, I’m not too into the cyborgs and massive weaponry stuff, so that didn’t strike any chords with me. I thought the most interesting article was the Beyond the Supernatural one about investigators and such things. The article about Splicers was pretty cool as well, but again it’s more about capability and power than really role-playing anything (and yes, I’m using my own proprietary definition of role-playing here, you might have another one).

On the whole, I would pick this up if I were an ardent Rifts fan, but I’m only an observant collector. Therefore, I would have to see what articles are inside for me to really be interested. Still, for $6 you get a lot of sourcebook action here!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Rifts Lemuria Sneak Preview
by Jeff S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/15/2012 17:29:30
From the small bit that I was able to look at it seems as though it will be a heavy Ley Line campaign. The creatures seem as though they are trying to make this a land and sea adventure instead of solely a water one. The size of the city allows for customization and GM input but overall it reminds me od StarGate Atlantis.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Rifts Lemuria Sneak Preview
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Rifts Game Master Kit
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/19/2012 10:46:41
Originally posted at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2012/03/19/tabletop-review-rifts-g-
ame-master-kit/

Shortly after I began role playing, I discovered Palladium Books. I started with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Other Strangeness. Then it was Robotech and Ninjas and Superspies. Shockingly, it wasn’t until much later I got into Palladium’s flagship franchise, Rifts. Rifts is an unique blend of sci-fi and Fantasy that lets magic and technology do battle against each other and/or exist side by side. It’s a rich world with a large library of supplemental material in its twenty-two year existence. With all that material, there is one staple of role playing games that is missing: the GM screen. Palladium Books did release one back in 1996, but that is long out of print. Since that time Rifts has been screenless, so a Rifts Game Master often found themselves flipping through their books, looking for charts or cobbling together a homemade GM Screen. Those days may be over, with the release of the Rifts GM Kit. The Rifts GM Kit provides a slew of forms, charts and character sheets to aid a Rifts game master, as well as including twenty pre-generated characters. At a cost of only five dollars, it’s cheaper than your standard GM screen. The question is how useful is the content? Will spending five dollars greatly help the Rifts GM? Let’s find out as we take a closer look at the Rifts GM Kit.

Two of the most useful items in the Rifts GM Kit, is the Game Master Reference Sheet and the Combat Matrix. The Game Master Reference Sheet is a one page full of the more essential information in running a Rifts game. You have that Attribute Chart listing the various attribute bonuses. A chart detailing magic casting time and casting magic while wearing body armor is also presented. For me, the most important pieces of information, are the details on ranged combat and missile volleys. In the Palladium system, you have many different options during ranged combat: aimed shoots, called shots, shooting bust, and shooting wild among many more. Each has a different modifier to hit and having to reference this information in the game book can bog down combat. Having all this information listing in one place is so convenient and will make any GMs life easier. Also on this sheet is a quick reference list to other information that a GM may need this reference quickly during a game. Be aware, that the page numbers listed are for Rifts Ultimate Edition. So owners of the the 1st Edtion version of Rifts, best ignore this section otherwise you’ll be really confused as you look for page 363 in your 256 page book.

Now the Combat Matrix is a form that allows a GM to easily keep track of combat. In Rifts, in is not uncommon to have four, five, or even six actions in a given combat round. When you you have five players doing combat with five NPCs that can easily sixty different things happening in one round of combat. So keeping track of initiative, and the number of remaining actions a character has is essential. The combat chart allows you to easily keep track of each character’s actions, and have essential information for each NPC at your fingertips. Thanks to the universal nature of the Palladium game system; this chart can be used in any other Palladium game. I will definitely be using this chart next time I run Robotech or Ninjas and Superspies.

The next items involve skills and weapon proficiencies. A quick reference list of all the skills in Rifts and the base percentage and percent increased with level advancement is provided and all I can say is thank you. The skills portion is one of the more time consuming parts of character creation. Because so much time is spent flipping between pages, looking up skills and their success percentage. Having all of this information in a handy sheet is so useful. Now instead of pulling out my game book, I can refer to this sheet. Anything that helps reduce the amount of time looking formation up in a book is a good thing. The same thing applies to the weapon proficiencies well. All are listed out with their level advancements. With these two charts, I can quickly generate an NPC on the fly instead of having to consult the book, to determine what the base skill percentage is for Herding Cattle.

You’ll also find an index of all the spells in the Rifts Books of Magic. All of this information is freely available on the Palladium Books website, but it is nice to have it formatted in a more user friendly format.
The next item is a character sheet for Borg characters. Borgs have a variety of of cybernetics and bionic enhancements that do not easily fit into a standard character sheet. This Borg sheet as an illustration of a borg and separate boxes for each body part that can have an enhancement, as well as a sport for the M.D.C of each body part. Instead of having a slew of notes scribbled on the standard character sheet, this sheet isolates the information on the borgs cybernetics and lets you organize it in a way that’s easy to reference. This is an absolute must for any Borg players. I do question however the need to include three different versions of this sheet in the GM kit. The three sheets are identical, with the only difference being the illustration in the center of the sheet. Perhaps if you’re an anal player and want to use the sheet with the illustration that matches your borg, you’ll find a use for three different sheets. I’m not that type of player, so three borg sheets is a bit overkill for me.

Other character sheets are included as well. You have the standard character sheet, a mutant character sheet, a mercenary company sheet, and a traveling show sheet. And for the GM an experience log is included as well. All of these forms are identical to the ones freely available on the Palladium website. It makes sense to include these in the kit, as having all of these sheets in one PDF is handy. But just like the spell index, they are freely available so you shouldn’t by this kit just to get any of these sheets. And just to clarify the borg sheets are not available of the Palladium website, but all the other character sheets are.

There are also three different flyers for recruiting players and a signup sheet for the Palladium mailing list that you could post on a bulletin board at your local game store. Again this isn’t something I find terribly useful as I have a weekly gaming group, but perhaps some out there may appreciate a nice flyer to post to find other Rifts players at your local game store.

So far we have a variety of useful items included in the Rifts GM Kit, but a good portion of them are freely available. As such, it would hard to recommend the kit at a $5 price point. Fortunately, there is more content included besides some character sheets and reference charts.

The Rifts GM kit also includes twenty pre-generated characters. You will find a variety of OOCs and levels in the pre-generated characters spanning Levels 3-8. So you could use these as pre-generated characters in an adventure for levels 3-4 or 6-7 pretty easily. They would work great in a convention setting where you do not want to take time to created characters when that time would be better spent playing the game.

Whether or not you should purchase the Rifts GM Kits comes down to your opinion on pre-generated characters. With a good portion of the kit available for free on the Palladium website, you are really purchasing a one page reference chart, a combat matrix, a skills a weapon proficiency quick reference, a borg character sheets, some game flyers and twenty NPCs. Remove the NPCs, and the Rifts GM Kit is not worth $5. However once you include them it becomes more appealing. I personally think the kit is worth $5, but if you are the type that would never use pre-generated characters it’s hard to say this kit is a must buy. Overall the Rifts GM Kit does what it sets out to do and makes the game master’s job much easier. However with a $5 price, it comes down to the twenty NPCs. If twenty NPCs would be useful to you, then you absolutely should buy the kit. If not, save the money and pick up a back issue of the Rifter.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Rifts Game Master Kit
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Rifts Thundercloud Galaxy Sneak Preview
by Charles M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/08/2012 00:35:32
Liked the teaser only problem is, it was just a teaser. are you going to have the full copy available soon?

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Rifts Thundercloud Galaxy Sneak Preview
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The Palladium Fantasy Role-Playing Game Revised Edition - 1st Edition Rules
by K H C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/04/2011 03:37:53
I prefer this over the 2nd edition. The rulebook itself is very rounded, strong resemblance to other more popular systems but also with some unique content like the Diabolist, Summoner and others. A complete system which I loved gaming with, excellent skills system.

Overall a well rounded system and not comic book like unlike other systems.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Palladium Fantasy Role-Playing Game Revised Edition - 1st Edition Rules
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Rifts Game Master Kit
by James H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/18/2011 18:13:30
A handy little kit for Rifts GMs, the combat matrix especially and 20 pre-generated characters are always a bonus too! Perhaps lacking a little finesse, this is nonetheless good value for money and worth picking up.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Rifts Game Master Kit
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Rifts Game Master Kit
by Joshua H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/18/2011 14:09:11
The GM kit is a nice collection of 50 pages for Rifts, the majority of the pages are character sheets of various types along with some supplemental sheets. There's also a full list of spells and what page they can be found on in the Book of Magic, along with a full skill list from the GM guide. The logs and combat matrix though are really nice and those alone make it worth the purchase. Now if only the whole thing was editable.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Compendium of Contemporary Weapons
by John r. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/18/2011 12:58:32
love it, very detailed weapons book for palladium systems just wish there was more

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Compendium of Contemporary Weapons
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Rifts Vampire Kingdoms Sneak Preview
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/29/2011 07:25:24
Originally Published At: http://diehardgamefan.com/2011/08/29/tabletop-review-rifts-v-
ampire-kingdoms-revised/

Here’s a fact that every horror genre afficionado knows:

There’s nothing fresh about vampires. Naturally, that doesn’t stop people from getting it on with the vampire love, sometimes literally if Anne Rice and Stephenie Meyer are any indication. Like most varieties of creative output, some vampire stories are good, and some are not so good, and some frankly, downright suck. Rifts: Vampire Kingdoms - from the perspective of a horror aficionado is passably good, but from the perspective of a gamer and sometime gamemaster, it suffers from the usual amount of problems associated with any Palladium game.

Rifts is a massive game. I’ve devoted an entire bookshelf to supplements big and small, thick and thin, and have plenty of fond memories of my ever mercurial gaming troupe cutting and blasting and smashing swathes through the multiverse, chasing whatever plot bait I put out for them. One of the first things I realized when going through literally any Rifts book is that while the books will be long on story and setting, they’ll also include a ridiculous amount of unnecessary rules. The pattern has been that the story world is lush and layered with a virtual cornucopia of elements steeped in dramatic opportunity, and then the mechanics are such that gameplay is dragged out into the street and beaten like a dog.

Rifts: Vampire Kingdoms isn’t any different. The approach is from the perspective of a report by vampire hunter Doc Reid (of Reid’s Rangers featured in the original book). It gives a rundown on who the vampires are, where they are from, how they spread and how to kill them. It makes use of tropes anyone familiar with horror, and vampires in particular, will be able to instantly recognize and appreciate. The mood Reid inspires is tense, with a hint of the sick moral craziness associated with any good horror yarn, and then it devolves into three or four pages of convoluted very specific rules about how to wack one of these nameless faceless antagonists in the heart using mallet, crossbow, and any other weapon under the sun. Now if that’s your thing and you like it when your games devolve into mathematical exercises in probability featuring dice, clandestine mathematics, and detail oriented rules, then this is for you. But if you’re like me and you play these games with the idea of telling a compelling story and scaring the crap out of your players with mood, ambiance and tragic, doomed characters, then toss out the extraneous rules and make them up on the fly when you need them. If you read just the teaser for the game, the copious amounts of rules kind of gives an idea of what the actual book is going to be like, and if Palladium’s track record holds true, then this book won’t be any different from the others. But hey, at least the vampires don’t sparkle.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
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Rifts RPG - 1st Edition Rules
by warren d. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/22/2011 16:56:09
Palladium Books was one of the first to combine all the game setting into one big setting that you can choose. You can create just about any character and set in fifts with on problems.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Rifts RPG - 1st Edition Rules
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Rifts Vampire Kingdoms Sneak Preview
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/21/2011 05:58:51
A delightful excerpt to whet your appetite for this forthcoming work, consisting of a pseudo-scholarly discourse explaining the true nature of vampires in a 'popular science' article.

It covers what a true vampire actually is, how a human (or D-Bee for that matter) becomes one - in a nutshell, it's fast and it's fatal - and debunks many of the myths that have built up around vampires. Various ways of dealing with them are discussed, with commentary on how effective each method is... and how practical: whilst a stake through the heart WILL put paid to one, have you ever thought just how hard it is to drive one into a vampire's chest accurately, while he is very likely objecting to the procedure?

It's a treat to read in its own right, and if the rest of the book lives up to this standard, I'm looking forward to it!

(Where's my garlic? Darn, dearly beloved cooked it all...)

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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