Monday, October 20, 2014

Closing Thoughts on Running Rifts

So my Rifts game has gone into cryo-stasis so that Steven can continue Thursday night Beyond the Supernatural 2nd edition. The game actually ran quite a bit longer than was originally intended; my initial plan was to run it two or three times while Steven recovered from a minor medical procedure. 

Rifts is a huge game. I mean, it's got 34 world books, fourteen (I think) dimension books, and plenty of weird "other" books (the Coalition war series, etc.) It has hundreds, literally hundreds, of character classes. It has a dozen or more types of magic. It has more guns than a NRA convention.

I think that part of the key to running a Rifts game that doesn't fall apart or leave the GM a gibbering, broken mess is to run a Rifts game with focus. Find a corner in the huge, sprawling mess that is the Rifts universe (megaverse, technically) and explore that corner. You don't have to use 34 world books, or even five, if you don't want to. A lot of the people I've games Rifts with seem to feel a weird pressure to allow any-and-eveything in their Rifts games. I get that the whole Palladium thing is that all this bid'ness is uber-compatible, but the reality of it is that these books were written by numerous authors and have been written over the course of 25 years. The power level, scope, and mood of the books vary widely (which is a good thing, by my reckoning.) Not all of that stuff plays well together, thematically or mechanically.

Rifts is a big ol' kitchen sink. I find that it works best when you pick something you want to do specifically. My Madhaven game was basically a sci-fi fantasy dungeon/hexcrawl. Steven's Dinosaur Swamp game was Jurassic Park with rocket launchers. You could run a low power urban game in Chi-Town that resembled Shadowrun. You could do trippy-ass post-apoc science fantasy with Rifts England. You could do the Coalition War.

So, this post was quite belated, and JB if you're reading this, I apologize. 

My Rifts game will be back next time Steven needs a break, be it in a month or be it in the summer. (Homie doesn't like running horror games in the summer, which is fine by me.)


  1. @ Ryan:

    No worries man...I find it fascinating there are people who can manage to cobble together any kind of campaign from Rifts...even WITH focus!

    Um, just BTW...which Rifts book has the dinosaur entries? That's one I wouldn't mind getting my hands on!

  2. Dinosaur Swamp and Adventures in Dinosaur Swamp, which I think are books 26 and 27. It also has an MDC bicycle.

    No, seriously.