The year is 1992, and Rifts is a breakout success. It’s the gonzo RPG experience that no one knew they wanted, and people are screaming for more. The books out are selling like crazy, but the world is still insanely under developed. World Books One and Two, The Vampire Kingdoms (Northern Mexico) and Atlantis respectively, were well received. 1993 is supposed to build on the successes of the last few years, with Dimension Book One: Wormwood, and the third and fourth World Books, England and Africa, planned for release. Things didn’t go as planned.
Someone asked, so here we go, the first in what will probably be a number of lore and speculation fueled screeds about monsters, specifically underappreciated/potential player-race monsters that don’t get the love that they deserve. This all started as a commentary on how in-game characters like Mordenkainen and Volo are, at best, unreliable and biased narrators and witnesses to the events, monsters, and races they describe. Basically, they can’t be trusted, only the stat-blocks can. Then it turned into a rant on how awesome Gnolls are. So, this is the supporting, hopefully more readable post to support my Twitter craziness.
The core of any fantasy setting, especially ones in the mode of Dungeons & Dragons, is its cosmology and mythology. This is because, unlike our own, mostly mundane world, in these fantasy game worlds, these are very real things that have active and tangible effects on the world around them. So this is where Fixing the Realms starts.
So, I’ve been banging on about the state of the Forgotten Realms for some time, culminating in the Tomb of Annihilation multi part review. While talking with a friend of mine, he asked what I would do to address the issues with the campaign setting, and what approaches I would take to it that didn’t involve throwing it all out and ignoring hat it ever existed. So, after a lot more discussion, and a lot of thought on the matter, I’ve decided to embark on a new series of posts called “Fixing the Realms”. In part one, I’m going to look at the world building that went into it, and how that has left us in the position we’re in today.
In the 1980’s, underground comics had a bit of a revolution, and one of the lead, definitely not Comics Code Authority friendly, titles was Eastman and Laird’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”. A rough, gritty comic packed with death, violence, and lacking in pizza obsession, it had little resemblance to what it would become as an animated adaptation aimed at kids. This property was picked up by Palladium Books, then an up and comer in the RPG industry, and turned into the now cult TMNT and Other Strangeness RPG (TMNTOS). However, Kevin Siembieda, the head of Palladium Books, had a moment of clarity then. Realizing that licences don’t always last forever, he tasked Erick Wujcik with coming up with an in-house property to use the systems they’d developed for TMNTOS. The result was After the Bomb, a post apocalypse RPG.