Tell me your experiences with RIFTS

About 30 years ago I had my first taste of playing a RPG (my first taste was the TMNT RPG but I just owned the book cause it was TMNT). A friend of mine had RIFTS. He helped me make a character. It was a Polymorphed Dragon that piloted a Glitter Boy. He DMed and I ran around doing whatever...

I recall finding ARCHIE and blowing that place up. I dont really recall a lot about it.

So, aside from assaulting ARCHIES fortress, what else was there to do? What did you experience?

I ask because I recently purchased the Ultimate Edition cause I saw it ont he shelf and it brought back fun (but few) memories.
 

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Bayushi_seikuro

Adventurer
In my experience, I think Rifts can be fun. The Palladium system plays like an older game - that's just the level 'design tech' was at when it first came out. There are a lot of different stories to be told in the setting, for sure, but I feel (imho) that it works best with Main Book and 1 sourcebook. One thing a friend and I discussed is the power inflation between books - you'll run into situations, for example, where mechanically certain regions should just be dominating the world... but aren't. For whatever reason.

You have to be careful with balance, I think. I've sometimes ran into situations where I'll have a very cool idea for a character but if I make it, I'm really... it's not that I'm suboptimized, it's just anything that can challenge my character will be a walkover for someone else, and whatever challenges them will turn me into a paste.

The main character I remember was a Godling necromancer with powers from Wormwood. It was fun for sure back then
 

Crusadius

Adventurer
My experience did not last long - the lack of balance and poor rules lead to the game ending after one session which was a pity because I really liked the setting and kept buying the books for a while after this. All I remember of that game was that I played a baby dragon.
 


I had a similar experience. Though to be fair, the GM wasn't particularly good and that only exacerbated the issues. We had burned through a bunch of other Palladium games, importing the characters from the last one into the next (i.e., going from TMNT to Ninjas & Superspies), then seeing them die while the GMPCs all got to be awesome. It was not fun and after Rifts we just stopped gaming with that guy.

My only memory of it is that my brother played a Glitterboy and the GM pretty much engineered every session so that he would be without his power armor.

My experience did not last long - the lack of balance and poor rules lead to the game ending after one session which was a pity because I really liked the setting and kept buying the books for a while after this. All I remember of that game was that I played a baby dragon.
 

Jer

Legend
Supporter
Ah RIFTS - white whale of my gaming group. We had a lot of fun playing TMNT and we always saw ads for RIFTS in the back of Dragon magazine. One of the other guys in the group was going to get a copy and run it, but my family had to move so I never got to play it then.

Since I've grown up and started earning my own paychecks I've ended up accumulating quite a few RIFTS books from Half Price Books over the years (it's one of the game lines that always seems to have some books on the shelves there). I think it would have been exactly the game I personally would have loved at age 12 and hated by age 16. Now the setting is my kind of gonzo but I think straight up Palladium systems might be a young man's game - I just don't have the brainpower to devote to deciphering and remembering those rules anymore...
 

Kannik

Adventurer
Rifts as a kitchen sink-type setting (in other words it has everything in it) can be an amusing romp. I played in a few campaigns a few decades ago. That said, the best games were the ones where we never touched the dice, for the game system is very much not fabulous (clunky, kludgy, swingy, exploitable). In addition, the various source books were written such that they tended to exhibit plenty of power creep.

Using the Rifts-universe as a base setting and coupling it with both a more competent rule system as well as taking a more modern read and adventure style could still lead to a fun romp. :)
 

Weird Dave

Explorer
Publisher
My experience with Palladium RIFTS echoes a lot of what everyone else said - a lot of cool ideas, but if there was an execution it was kinda messy and a bit overhanded. But the world was still fun in that crazy "anything and everything" kind of way. Magic and technology and demons and cyberware and trolls and dinosaurs and portals and EVERYTHING!

I always thought there was a fun play experience in RIFTS waiting behind the kludgy system, and when Pinnacle released the licensed version of RIFTS for Savage Worlds I was all onboard. Here was a Fast! Furious! Fun! game system that really seemed like it could capture the gonzo possibilities of RIFTS without it becoming overwhelming. The result ... is actually a bit overwhelming. The best way to think about it is post-apocalyptic superheroes, but I needed a better hook. The Tomorrow Legion setting from the Savage RIFTS books didn't do anything for me. But darn it I wanted to try!

So I came up with a group of mercenaries out of the Colorado Baronies to track down some vampires in the Mexican vampire kingdoms. Ciudad Juarez is a cool city right on the border, where the propaganda team has declared "no vampires here!" I built the PCs based on miniatures I had, which included a lot of the older Wizkids Star Wars minis along with some fun Reaper sci fi figs. The PCs included an armored dinokin (ankylosaurus) heavy weapons specialist with a rocket launcher, a sasquatch vampire hunter, an African ley line walker escapee from the Phoenix Kingdom, a mind melter refugee from the siege of Tolkeen, a were-ocelot thief hunting down aberrations, and a former Coalition State spec op soldier. I set it up with a whole table of terrain representing vampires, gangers, and police in a section of Ciudad Juarez, grabbed some players, and made a session of it.

It was a blast! Literally. Grenades turned out to be the winner overall but everyone had fun and I'm expanding the session to include further hunts into the vampire kingdoms of Mexico. I'm going to run it for conventions as well in the After Times.

So for me the "fix" to actually play was to lean more into the setting and less the Glitter Boy aspects, but still push the gonzo boundaries of what's sane in a regular game. It's a total blast!
 

Retreater

Legend
I like the setting, but could never get into Palladium's rules. Have tried running a half dozen sessions of Savage Rifts, and it's ... honestly, still too confusing for me.
 

dragoner

solisrpg.com
Had like a Juicer, Psion, and Cyborg going in a Triax bathysphere to Wormwood to retrieve a magic flute that would draw the Gargoyles into a Rift and clear Europe, was pretty cool.
 

JEB

Legend
The two main experiences I had with playing Rifts were as a young teen. I visibly disappointed my GM by wanting to be a Rogue Scholar on one occasion (I'm pretty sure he wanted me to pick something that was actually powerful), and the same GM transferred his D&D campaign over to it on another occasion (it didn't get far).

Beyond that, it's been a setting that I appreciate for its gonzo mashup aspects, and I own a number of the books for entertainment value... but I would always rather play Rifts under a different ruleset. (I was pretty excited for Savage Rifts and backed the Kickstarter, but the drama with Sean Patrick Fannon soured me on it and I wound up selling it off. )
 

jdrakeh

Front Range Warlock
I really loved the lore. Buying the books was worth it just for that alone. I could never get down with the rules. They're objectively broken (e.g. to my knowledge, no Palladium game to date actually tells you how percentage skills work; they just kind of assume you'll figure it out on your own).
 

aramis erak

Legend
In my experience, I think Rifts can be fun. The Palladium system plays like an older game - that's just the level 'design tech' was at when it first came out.
No, the Palladium Engine was already well dated by the time Rifts came out

And, for the most part, the engine is still the same.
Robotech introduced MegaDamage. Mechanoids were SDC, not MDC, until the rifts version.

I've not run Rifts. I have read it. Plus the first two splatbooks.
I've run TMNT, Robotech, PdFRPG 1Rev, Heroes Unlimited; I've played in a pre-rifts Robotech/Mechanoids crossover. I've also read PdFRPG 2E, Mechanoids, Mechanoid Trilogy, Heroes Unlimited, Ninjas & Superspies, Robotech Shadow Chronicles...

Rifts has often been a discussion item in my home... It's so gonzo it would have Hunter S. Thompson reaching for the Narcan... The setting is brilliant... the game is as mediocre as all of its relatives, and is essentially Siembieda's D&D house rules from 1978...
 

John Dallman

Adventurer
... the game is as mediocre as all of its relatives, and is essentially Siembieda's D&D house rules from 1978...
I bought The Paladium Roleplaying Games cheap in the early eighties, and gave it away again without ever playing it. It was pretty poor: it seemed like someone trying to do The Arduin Grimoire over again without the creative energy. Paladium Books' behaviour in recent decades put me right off them, so I've never looked at Rifts.
 

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