Thursday, April 30, 2009

Rifts and Exalted

Rifts was the very first game I ever played, and as we all know there exists a soft spot in a gamer's heart for that first game. It's that soft spot that lets us look back with fondness at even the most contrived, frustrating and poorly arbitrated scenarios with the rose-tinted glasses of nostalgia.

Now unlike some, I hold very few illusions to the ultimate suckage of the Palladium Rule set. That system needs more then house rules to make it function. It actually lacks the basic mechanics to do a spot check (or awareness roll) which in my mind says the designers are as oblivious as the characters that are made in the games. Rifts mechanics are so outdated and so full of inconsistencies, imbalances and oversights that I consider it completely unplayable these days. Having said that the books are a blast from the past full of inspiration and imagery that still makes me want to play it. I want to play that Juicer, even though all those cords sticking out of him are just begging to be yanked out and shoved up his ass. I want to shoot those CS soldiers in their fancy armour that has varied soak-ability in different areas even though the combat system doesn't have a hit-location mechanic. I want to play that great Coalition Wars story that they published... if only their system actually worked.

I see hope for Rifts as the last few books for the Exalted 2nd Edition system are released. I've actually had friend's criticize Exalted in that when the Warstriders, and Powered Armour starts to come out it feels like Rifts, which might not be their thing but to me it says that it would be an easy conversion. Exalted already has a nice tidy ruleset for cybernetics they call clockwork limbs. They have rules for walking war machines, power armour, and enough powers and critters to accommodate the rifts setting. There are a few holes that I had to plug with some rules of my own, Juicer conversion has been a small pet-project of mine for one, and rules for Automatic weapons is a wholly original creation that I think is way more realistic than anything White Wolf has ever managed to work out.

Unfortunately I don't think I could ever throw anything I ever created out for the world to consume. White Wolf and Palladium would probably throw a party just to BBQ my ass, especially now that I've actually admitted that this is a project I'm working on. I'm currently waiting to see if the Autochothonian book offers any final bits of technology to finish up any conversions yet to do and then I'll probably throw together a book that looks like Rifts but has the Exalted system in it and just keep it around for game sessions with friends, then maybe I could play some Rifts again.


  1. The first game I ever played was Top Secret, which means that I am old.

  2. Woot for Top Secret. I actually have two boxed sets of that game... which is probably 60% of the books ever printed for it I'm estimating. I bought them off a friend for inspiration for a setting I was making up. There's some cool stuff in that game for sure.