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.
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.
Palladium Books has staked their claim in the world of pen and paper RPG’s as the purveyors of disaster. No other RPG publication group has so thoroughly or reliably chosen “post-apocalypse” as a setting, or taken it in the same directions. Rifts, Chaos Earth, After the Bomb, Nightbane, Dead Reign, and System Shock; all post-apocalyptic games, and in different veins for the most part too. Sure, they have other game lines, like Heroes Unlimited, Ninjas & Superspies, and the fantasy based Palladium RPG, but it’s the post-apocalyptic games where Palladium truly shines. But what if I told you that a large segment of the Palladium Megaverse was actually interconnected? Well strap on your tinfoil hats, it’s theory time.
Rifts has long been a love hate affair for me as a gamer and as a GM. On one hand, I love the endless parade of crazy technology, the variety of enemies and challenges, and the vague meta plots that lay around for ages before someone does something about them. On the other hand, the world is broken as all hell, consistency is spotty at best, and the world mechanics of the entire thing leave a lot to be desired. So, what to do about it? Well, make it make sense!
So, I’ve mentioned in a previous post that when I was a kid, Rifts was *The* alternate game in my circles if we weren’t playing D&D. It only narrowly beat out Heavy Gear because while we played that more intensely when we played it, in retrospect we played Rifts more often. Rifts wasn’t without its own issues though, as I discussed briefly in that post as well.  Even with those issues though, I still get excited when certain things get released, like Triax 2, or the more recent Rifts Worldbooks, Northern Gun 1 and Northern Gun 2, so lets take a look at what we got!