Last week, a bombshell of Mega Damage proportions was dropped on the pen and paper Role Playing Game (RPG) industry. Legendary publisher, Palladium Books released a statement , announcing that they would be allowing a different game publisher produce a version of their flagship RPG universe, Rifts. This version will be using another the popular Rifts universe (or Megaverse), converted to another ruleset.
Palladium Books, owned by Kevin Siembieda, has published many popular RPGs, pairing popular licenses with their own ruleset, or creating their own worlds to cover many genres. Along with their own titles like Palladium Fantasy, Splicers, and Nightbane, Teenage Mutatant Ninja Turtles, and Robotech (the first RPG I ever ran), were great hits for the company. In August of 1990, Palladium released their post-apocalyptic game, Rifts, which was huge for the company.
Something new and exciting. In an effort to truly expand Rifts® across the Megaverse®, in cooperation with Palladium Books, another role-playing game company is currently adapting the Rifts® Earth setting to that company’s RPG system of rules, as well as producing adventure source books. This is only the second time in Palladium’s history that an outside company will create new game material under a different set of rules. Rumor Squashing: No, Palladium is NOT going to stop publishing Rifts®, nor change to a completely different set of rules. Far from it. In fact, Palladium expects to release six new Rifts® titles in 2015 and 98% of all Rifts® titles are in stock and available for purchase right now! The idea is that by offering Rifts® via another game company’s set of popular rules it creates a parallel dimension of gaming enjoyment. An expanding Megaverse®, if you will. This is a bit of an experiment, but we are excited to see how it all unfolds.
After a brief amount of speculation, a press release was issued by Pinnacle Entertainment, makers of the industry darling Savage Worlds RPG system. Here’s what they had to say about this potentially game changing event.
We’re pleased to announce that we will be developing Rifts for Savage Worlds! We’re early in the process now, but Shane* says we anticipate a core setting book in time for Christmas.
This is exciting news for many fans of the Rifts world, and Pinnacle’s Savage Worlds ruleset. Savage Worlds was designed to play fast and smooth, yet still allow a depth to the characters that you see in many of the popular industry standard RPGs. Character creation, and combat are streamlined to simplify character creation, and speed up combat, without feeling too shallow. It’s aim was to give you the benefits of both the “rules-lite” systems, and the number heavy “crunchy” systems.
A team up of this magnitude may be a huge benefit for both companies involved. Many fans of the Rifts setting have expressed some displeasure with the rules, and have discussed various conversions to other systems. Savage Worlds was one such system that popped up in plenty of those discussion threads. An official Savage Worlds conversion of the popular Rifts Megaverse seemed like something that just wasn’t in the cards. Yet, here we are, looking at a possible Holiday release of a soon-to-be legendary crossover in the RPG industry.
The Rifts world is a crazy “kitchen sink” collection of different genres shuffled together like a deck of cards, with an aggressive heavy metal soundtrack playing in your head when you read about it. I personally have spent many hours rolling a d20, and handfuls of d6s to inflict Mega Damage (Rifts uses a somewhat polarizing damage scale system) on a slew of giant robots, mythical monsters, and nazi-esque soldiers clad in skull motif armor. It’s a game that I look back on fondly, and I have great hope for how all of this is going to turn out. I, for one, will be picking up a copy of the Savage Rifts core rules when they are released.
Something similar has been done by Palladium before, but in reverse. The Manhunter RPG, by Myrmidon Press, was converted to a sourcebook for the Rifts Megaverse. Manhunter was a stand alone RPG system, with its own following that approached Palladium to produce a version of their world, using the Palladium rules. It was a relatively popular pairing, but nowhere near the scale of the Pinnacle and Palladium Powerhouse we’re looking at now.
The pen and paper RPG industry has had its ebbs and flows, and I am optimistic that a Savage Worlds/Rifts RPG may be something that can possibly shake things up and get some much welcome love to the two companies (and every RPG company large or small). Keep rolling those dice, people!