Rifts Done Right

RDR (maybe call it Radar) is a tag that I’ve added a couple of times. It is my latest probably not to be finished project. Specifically it stands for Rifts Done Right. It won’t technically be Rifts converted to a retro-clone given Palladium’s rather nasty policy of sending C&Ds to anyone who posts conversions of their material to other systems. Despite that routinely threads turn up at RPG.net about converting Rifts or doing it right. Most talk about converting it to a “better system” with as diverse a list including EABA, Savage Worlds, Mutants & Masterminds, FATE in several incarnations, Hero, and GURPS regularly coming up. I think that’s misguided as the “clunky, broken, and unbalanced” system Palladium uses is a big source of the gonzo fun that makes Rifts work.

Instead, I’m working on a retro-clone based (probably Swords & Wizardry White Box) game inspired by Rifts: a gonzo post-nuclear and magical apocalypse game about guys in powered armor adventuring with dragons in order to kill demons coming to Earth via tears in reality. After all, if you want weird gonzo science fantasy after the end of the world why not go back to the original “balance, we don’t need no stinking balance” game style. Palladium’s house system has it’s roots in the late 70s/early 80s old school style. In fact, they are arguably the last great old school gaming company.

Why am I bothering to post all of this? Because in surveying my A to Z Blogging Challenge planned posts I see just how many are RDR based. Given that I figured explaining it up front was worth while.

Sure, after April it might turn out to be another Space Monks or Demon Haunted World but I hope not. Both of those projects died for lack of players for me to test my ideas. After this Saturday’s Stars without Numbers game RDR will be what I run at local meet-ups. I find it hard to create RPG material if there is no game to use them. I’m hoping it’ll be a hit at the Meetup and become a monthly game.

9 thoughts on “Rifts Done Right

  1. My stance on retro-clones aside, I like to see how S&W (out of the box) might handle RIFTS elements (e.g., powered armour).

    In an effort to better understand the S&W fuss, I read through the White Box rules a few nights ago, and it seemed like the author defaulted overmuch to statements like (paraphrasing) “these rules don't really get into this-or-that detail, so GMs are free to expand on this-or-that however they want.”

    On one hand, this probably makes it easy to add stuff like powered armour and automatic weapons. On the other hand, is there enough internal consistency within S&W to make it work?

    Just musing at this point…

  2. S&W won because:

    1. It incorporates the least past White Box assumptions to have to work around.

    2. It uses D6 HD like Palladium.

    3. An RTF document that I can edit to create an actual rules set is available.

    That said, like most retro-clone and late 70s RPG stuff find a version of D&D that you like of AD&D or earlier vintage (or clone there of) and it should work fine.

    Ironically, the one it will work with least is my favorite: LotFP because I'll be tacking on a skills system. I might just use a d12 version of the LotFP one or even the LotFP one outright but right now I'm looking at something more SWN like.

    Now, Rifts Chimera is something I've considered more than once but we can't seem to get a new printing of Chimera Basic 😉

  3. I am very interested in hearing how this develops as I would LOVE to see a RIFTS Done Right game. I must echo John Miskimen's post and wonder why not use Mutant Future or Sorcery & Super Science! ? Both systems are already post apocalytpic settings. In fact when I run either game I use elements and ideas from RIFTS because I really enjoyed running RIFTS, at first.

  4. It would seem logical but in many ways Rifts and Mutant Future work on different assumptions, both in setting and rules terms.

    Rifts' core ideas have long included tension between humans native to earth and with a science kicker struggling against magical beings from beyond the Rifts and humans who use magic and psychic powers. Wild human mutations and weird, random mutant animals have never been a core PC or NPC choice. While a random mutant from MF and random DB from Rifts are similar a closer analog to the Rifts DB is Raggi's Creature Generator. Radioactive ruins and small primitive villages are not Rifts standards like MF. Instead, Rifts is large human states separated by large wilderness which humans generally avoid. That is much more a D&Dish Points of Light idea.

    On the system level, again the magical is more common than the mutant. The few mutants in the core Rifts game, such are Dog Boys, are not random radiation victims but deliberate genetic experimenting. While MF does have some Rifts like systems points such as a flat power curve and the above mentioned D6 HD I still think system wise there is actually more to be done to add Riftisms to MF than S&W or LL.

  5. As for Sorcery & Super Science I'm not familiar with it.

    Also, I forgot to reiterate above the availability of the S&W WB RTF format.

  6. I actually have a sort of RDR up at my blog. Mutant Future is my system of choice. Generally, you change up the landscape to incorporate ruins as well as small human communities, city-states, and large areas where the wilderness has re-claimed the land. Make the land they adventure in your own. You could almost change “mutant” to D-Bee and there you go.

    To me it makes sense, but then I've been swapping in and out default settings in RPGs for a long time. I use mutations to simulate the superhuman powers that some of the character types possess (and mostly Mutant Future hi-tech for the power armor types)

  7. As I said above I'm not in tune with the idea of MF Rifts, but I had planned to get a second Friday post in and it's a topic I think I'll address this week regardless of A-Z. There is a Palladium line I think works very well as MF supplements: After the Bomb.

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