I did not buy into Rifts when it first came out. I was mostly into Gurps at the time. However, when my wife first left me I found myself hanging out at the game shop (the sadly gone Dragon’s Lair in Hartford, Connecticut). I kept looking through their huge selection of used gaming books. One night I started looking through Rifts books and three images captured my imagination. Rifts is the first game I bought because the art struck me. Even now it remains one of the few games where that is true. Off-hand I cannot think of another.
The least among the three is this image of a mystic druid (from Rifts England) clearly not in her native environment. Yes, she looks very 80s fantasy but in a way I found appealing even in the late 90s. She could easily be the sister of Morgaine given the cover of my original paperback of Gate of Iverl.
What is also interesting is that game with giant robots, floating barges, and laser guns also had room from someone from an 80s fantasy movie. It was the first hint that Rifts Earth wasn’t the typical post-apocalyptic setting.
Next up is the picture in my mind when I mentioned snow and forests in yesterday’s post. It is a DeeBee and a CyberKnight although it could easily be any fantasy setting instead of Rifts. The DeeBee could be used as an orc.
Again, this is how Rifts got into my head. At this point I was thinking less of giant mecha games and more of something that could support crossing C. J. Cherryh’s Morgaine stories with something like Appleseed for a really wild ride.
It was this last image, though, that sealed the deal. A group of explores with high-tech gear but still using torch in wilderness so barren it was like being back in Wyoming watching a ley line burn in the night. This was something new for me. I hadn’t even had images like this in my mind playing D&D in Greyhawk in the 80s.
I bought a used core book, a used Rifts England due to the mystic druid caption, and because the beginning of the England book mentioned it Wormwood. I’d later realize the last two weren’t related closed just from here to there in a travel journal. I haven’t really looked at Wormwood much since but still, 15 years later, these three images define what I think about when I first think Rifts. Wyoming is a place, based on the brief entries, to make this images what I see during my game.