"This section was inspired by and is dedicated to the members of The Confederate Air Force."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

The Rifter posted:


In the year 2000, Palladium will publish a Y2K-themed game called Systems Failure.

The Rifter posted:

Violence and the Supernatural

It's about alien bugs that infest technology at the turn of the millennium.

The Rifter posted:

The fictional Worlds of Palladium Books® are violent, deadly and filled with supernatural monsters. Other dimensional beings, often referred to as "demons," torment, stalk and prey on humans. Other alien life forms, monsters, gods and demigod, as well as magic, insanity, and war are all elements in this book.

I'm not reviewing that game right now. (Or probably ever, but never say never.) Some familiar folks covered it here, if you're curious.

The Rifter posted:

Some parents may find the violence, magic and supernatural elements of the game inappropriate for young readers/players. We suggest parental discretion.

But I figure it's worth mentioning that point we're about to hit.

The Rifter posted:

Please note that none of us at Palladium Books® condone or encourage the occult, the practice of magic, the use of drugs, or violence.

However, even after the Y2K space bugs brought apocalypse to the world, Kevin, not relying on computers yet, could still publish games.

The Rifter Rifts Round-Up Special '99, Part 1: "This section was inspired by and is dedicated to the members of The Confederate Air Force."

... an organization that changed their name shortly after the turn of the millennium, as for some reason they felt it had unwanted baggage.

As aforementioned in the last round-up, because most of this is unofficial material, I'm only really noting it rather than doing a full dive.

The Rifter #1 posted:

Optional and Unofficial Rules & Source Material Please note, that the vast majority of rules, tables, characters, equipment, adventures and stories are "optional" or "alternative" things one can include in his campaign or enjoy reading. They are not "official" to the main games or world settings. For example, the excellent story, Siege Against Tolkeen, is likely to be very different than Siembieda's "official" world book(s) when it comes out. Likewise, Siembieda had not considered putting high-tech Wolfen in Italy and may not include them in any "official" sourcebook. As for optional tables and adventures, if they sound cool or fun, use them. If they sound funky or inappropriate for your game, ignore them.

All the material in The Rifter™ has been included for two reasons: One, because we thought it was imaginative and fun, and two, we thought it would stimulate your imagination with fun stuff that you can use (if you want) or which might inspire you to create your own wonders.

In other words, this stuff is even rougher than Palladium's usual output... but at the same time, sometimes it's a cut above, depending on the writer. This covers The Rifter issues #5 through #8, published in 1999. There's no "official" material I'll be covering this time around - it's all "unofficial", or would be covered elsewhere.

The Rifter #5

Kevin Siembieda, The Rifter #5 posted:

Hey, while I have your attention, I'd like to comment on something.

I am frequently asked what I have planned for Rifts® and I get a funny look when I say something like, "everything."

Rifts® has become the embodiment of endless possibilities, limited only by one's imagination. The concept of the "Rifts," themselves — tears in space and time — coupled with the fact that all of Palladium's role-playing games use the same basic game system and cover virtually all genres, means the players can take their characters to any world reality they can imagine. So these past years, I've been trying to give Rifts® players a little bit of everything.

Consequently, I've been a little surprised by comments from a few fans who seem confused and sometimes unhappy with so many World Books based on widely different places like Russia, Japan, and Australia.

I have a ton of ideas and plans for Rifts®, especially concerning the Coalition States and the impending Siege on Tolkeen. However, for me, Rifts® is epic in scope, while at the same time focusing on many smaller stories and characters. Like the old TV show that had the tag-line about there being "a million stories in the naked city," I see a million stories for Rifts®.

Rifts Earth is like a massive tapestry, with each individual image and color contributing to a much larger picture. In the case of Rifts®, that picture includes all of Rifts Earth and the countless worlds beyond in the endless Megaverse®. When I hop from one geographic location to another, like Russia or Australia, I'm trying to fill in that tapestry. I'm trying to give Rifts® players a larger view of the world, as well as hints about the Megaverse®. If anything, there just aren't enough days in the year for me to write everything I want to write. So here's the scoop: Over the next 2-3 years I plan to focus much more on North America, ultimately building up to the war at Tolkeen and conflicts with Free quebec and other places. In fact, things will be heating up for the Coalition States on several fronts, including a few that they (and the reader) are not expecting. You can see this plan in action with the first Rifts® Canada book (there will be more than one covering this vast region), Free Quebec, Xiticix and even the Rifts Dimensional Market (after all, Atlantis is nearby and a constant source of trouble).

That having been said, there are players who like to globe-trot all around the world (if not the Megaverse), and others who like to know about places outside the Americas. Remember, despite geographic distances and barriers, Rifts characters can usually travel just about anywhere via magic and by warping time and space (i.e. "Rifting"). Thus, they can travel incredible distance on Rifts Earth and beyond in the blink of an eye. For these players, I plan on continuing to present other parts of the world and Megaverse®. Consequently, you'll be seeing a book or two based in or around North America then, a few that focus on other parts of Rifts Earth or off-world, and then back to North America.

I've thought a great deal about the main direction for Rifts®, and I've enjoyed talking with a number of fans to get their input. I suspect the frustration concerning developing other parts of the world is that most Rifts® players want it all (and who can blame them?). What do I mean by that? It's simple. Players like the storylines and conflicts we've established in North America. The Coalition is the villain that everybody loves to hate and there's exciting stuff brewing between them and their enemies. This means a player group that has spent any amount of time adventuring in North America is having a blast and have established all kinds of subplots, connections and plot threads for dozens of adventures to come on that continent. Then, out of the blue, Palladium releases Rifts® Timbuktu. The players have never even thought about that place before the world book came out, and now it's there. They look at it, and see cool things and want to do some adventuring there. But what about all those great plot threads and adventures they've got going in North America. They just can't leave them unfinished. And so it is with heavy heart and a tear rolling down one cheek, that they must abandon any thoughts about going to Timbuktu, at least for the moment. Still, the book and the adventures that might be, haunt them, bothering them like an itch that can't be scratched. Leaving them with the feeling that they are missing something.

I don't know what to say or do to remedy this, other than to assure you all that Palladium plans on putting renewed focus back on North America. In addition to the titles already mentioned, we've been kicking around the following: Rifts® G.M. Guide (i.e. playing tips plus gathering up all the current spell descriptions, psionics, skills, O.C.C.s, creation rules, etc., and putting them in one easy-to-use reference book), Northern Gun Sourcebook (including existing and new weapons and vehicles offered by Northern Gun), The Manistique Imperium, The Black Market, Lazlo, Tolkeen, The Burbs of Chi-Town, Chi-Town itself, the war/skirmishes with Free Quebec and Tolkeen, and other factions, factors, and adventures in North America.

Of course, fan input on what you'd like to see more of would help us immensely. My freelancers and I have zillions of ideas for North America and the Coalition States. If you'd like us to focus more on that part of the world and the mounting tension building with the CS, Free Quebec, Tolkeen, ARCHIE-3, Federation of Magic, and so on, you need to tell us. If stopping to explore other parts of the world is honestly distracting, and/or breaking the momentum of the North American storyline, we can slow down the production of such books (for the time being) and concentrate on North America and the CS.

We need and want to know what you guys would like to see, so whip out pen and paper and send us letters. Those of you on-line better start e-mailing away. We anxiously await your comments and suggestions. — Kevin Siembieda, 1999

Wait. Where the fuck is Rifts Timbuktu? Get on top of that, Siembieda.

"We've only got a year left! Get all the '90s in one pic that you can!"

CSI: Tolkeen.

The Rifter #5 posted:

"You don't know who the Seven Governors of R'yleh are?" asked the psychopath, drawing a vibro-blade. The old man could feel an intrusion in his head. It was like the stranger was...stealing his thoughts. "You really ought to know that!" snapped the madman, advancing slowly.

"Stay back!" pleaded the old man, trying to back away. "Cthulhu, master of the seas and the waters, the inhabitant of R'yleh!" the lunatic yelled. "He is the first amongst them! Then, Hastur the Unspeakable! Then, Shub-Niggurath, the Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young. Nyarlhotep, the Messenger of the Seven! Chudde Mell, He Who Is Eminent Amongst Cthonians! Dagon, Lord of the Degenerate Deep Ones! And finally, at the heart of all the evil, Azathoth himself, the mad nuclear chaos that IS your magical energy! When you cast a spell, you summon Azathoth's blasphemous blood! When you call up a monster, you summon his spawn! THAT IS YOUR MAGIC! THAT IS YOUR REVELATION!! THE SEVENTH LORD OF DARKNESS IS YOUR SLAVE, MAGICIAN!!!"

A variety of books are promised but never released: Rifts® Scotland, Rifts® Australia Two: Mystic Australia™, Rifts® Australia Three: Dreamtime. Rifts novels by Adam Chilson are threatened to be put upon us, soon enough. But still, never a sign of Rifts® Timbuktu.

The Rifter #5 posted:

We are currently looking for suitable printers and venues to sell the items. Apparently, game stores and distributors are leery about selling Rifts® novels even though we keep telling them that everybody wants them and that they'll sell like hotcakes. So let your favorite hobby, game and comic shops know that you're dying for Rifts® Novels, and that they can count on you for a sale.

I can't say I buy hotcakes too often, myself. They're just too cheap and easy to make at home.

Next: Math problems.

"Many players have a tendency to make combat-maximized characters instead of realistic ones that they might expect to see in a movie or novel."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

The Rifter Rifts Round-Up Special '99, Part 2: "Many players have a tendency to make combat-maximized characters instead of realistic ones that they might expect to see in a movie or novel."

The Rifter #6

The Rifter #6 posted:

We typically sell around 8,000 copies of every issue of The Rifter® in just the first month or two. Plus, since it is a valuable and fun sourcebook, not just a magazine, The Rifter™ keeps selling month after month. We had to reprint Number One last year, and I think we've sold around 15,000 copies. So if 10,000 copies is the average, and if three people actually read every copy sold, that means 30,000 Palladium fans are enjoying every issue! 50,000 if five people read every issue! Way Cool!!

Those who read the first Rifts Round-Up may remember that Agents of Gaming had gotten the license to do Rifts miniatures... okay, I kid. None of you remember that, I'd presume. But:

The Rifter #6 posted:

Palladium Books has cancelled its license with Agents of Gaming to produce a new series of Rifts® miniatures.

We are as disappointed as anybody, because we were really looking forward to seeing our creations brought to three dimensional life in 28 mm.

As for the reasons, our deal just seemed to fall apart for a number of reasons. After more than a year, Agents of Gaming had not released one single miniature to the public and continued to push back and miss "target" dates. Among other things, they wanted to substantially change the size and type of products, as well as the terms of the original agreement. A situation we found completely unacceptable.

Reaver here has a heart of gold behind all the reaving.

Enjoy your daily dose of sexual dimorphism in gaming.

The Rifter #6 posted:

Caleb was coughing within his helm, trying not to swallow the blood that seemed to leak from his ears, nose, mouth, and eyes. It was difficult to see with his eyes clouded by a red haze. The energy core at the center of his body and soul fought valiantly to put him back together, or at least slow down the bleeding, but it could not match the furious pounding he received from the Zodoran weapon's onslaught. Lothar seemed to be faring better, but Caleb knew his own wounds were hidden beneath his suit of armor; Lothar's must be too. Still, the Wolfen never faltered, never cried out, never gave in. No matter the agony, he threw his ax with the same determination and strength each time.

Suddenly, Caleb doubled over. He was swallowing too much of his own blood, and he was unable to ignore his gag reflex. He quickly dispelled his helm so that he could vomit into space instead of inside the helmet. He spat blood in a gout, and felt the moisture on his face, no longer imprisoned by his helm, begin to slip away into the vacuum. He stared at his own blood in a daze as it began to orbit his head. This is it, he thought. I'm going to die.

Next: Now and Later.

"Lurker Drones modeled after actual people, and Lurker Drones that are more... anatomically correct, are all on the drawing board."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

The Rifter Rifts Round-Up Special '99, Part 3: "Lurker Drones modeled after actual people, and Lurker Drones that are more... anatomically correct, are all on the drawing board."

The Rifter #7

Kevin Siembieda, The Rifter #7 posted:

Why are Palladium Books so often delayed?

That seems to be the question of the last couple months. And a fair one. Others ask why we announce definite dates if we can't meet them. The answer is something of a Catch 22. We announce them, because people are constantly asking us what we are planning. Also because distributors need to know what's coming, ideally 3-4 months in advance, and, lastly, because that is what we are honestly planning! We plot and estimate to the best of our ability when we think we can release the books and announce them.

Then, life gets in the way.

I actually thought about writing an article entitled 101 Reasons Why Books are Delayed (and I could honestly come up with at least 101 reasons). One is finding good, competent help. Writers and artists who are not only excellent, but who can meet deadlines and maintain a consistent level of quality.

Another is running a business. There is a lot more to publishing than writing, editing, art, and printing, especially for me and Maryann. There's coordinating assignments, art direction, maintaining communications with freelancers, scheduling, payroll, juggling finances, getting financing, maintaining the office and warehouse, advertising, the web-site (building, maintaining and improving it), answering questions (by phone, mail and on-line), sales, distributor relations, shipping and receiving, legal matters (often unexpected), negotiating licenses, and other things.

And then there are the myriad problems that arise from each of the things I just noted! None of these are excuses, but sometimes I think people picture us sitting around either playing games all day or drinking a cold beverage on a hot beach somewhere. I wish! We understand that you look forward to a particular release and are frustrated and disappointed when it comes out 2-4 months late (sometimes rescheduled entirely). But please understand that it's not because we are goofing off or don't care. We care very much, and we are even more frustrated than you because we're putting in 12-18 hour days, six and seven days aweek, trying to get great product finished and we're still falling behind. Palladium's "on-site staff is tiny compared to TSR or White Wolf and many other companies. Of course, we have a growing legion of freelancers to help compensate. The easy answer might sound like we need to hire more people, but finding good people and finding the time to train them is another problem that gobbles up time, money and causes delays. See what I mean about a Catch 22 situation?

Maybe if the company wasn't a revolving door for some reason...

Beware the terrifying whachamacalit.


The Rifter #7 posted:

The interior of the warehouse was huge and dark and apparently empty, save for a pool of light near the center of the main room, lit by a hovering glow globe. Elias' hackles rose, but he ignored his feelings of unease and sauntered toward the circle of light. As he approached, a hologram flickered to life beneath the glow globe.

It showed a human male with a slight build, fair skin and dark hair slicked back tight against his skull. His eyes were shadowed, but his mouth formed into a generous smile. He was dressed in a tunic of deep violet edged in gold with a matching cloak and boots. He stood easy and relaxed, holding a mug of something that sent plumes of steam wafting into the holographic air. He didn't look like the richest man in the Three Galaxies, but then Elias Harkonnen didn't look like the most dangerous man in the Three Galaxies, either.

Next: It's always darkest before the '00s.

"Gods and supernatural intelligences - 80,000 experience points (G.M.s and players, please note that this should never happen and is only listed here as a reference)."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

The Rifter Rifts Round-Up Special '99, Part 4: "Gods and supernatural intelligences - 80,000 experience points (G.M.s and players, please note that this should never happen and is only listed here as a reference)."

The Rifter #8

The Rifter #8 posted:

Hey, you other fledgling artists out there should consider contributing to The Rifter™. Sure it only pays $60 dollars for a full page illustration (proportionally less for small illoes; the original art is returned to the artist), but it is a good way to stretch your wings, get seen, and make some money while experimenting with your art and developing your talent. Humorous cartoons to serious art are all of interest to us.

Really, when you think of the exposure you're getting in The Rifter, maybe you should be paying Kevin. Think about it, artists.

Dracula-Cthulhu vs. Conquistadors: An Asylum film.

"Get that '90s in! We've only got months to spare!"

The Rifter #8 posted:

"No, no, I can remember every bloodbath with perfect clarity. Every person I've killed, every battle I've fought, those are etched into my brain. It's the little things that I don't know about. I can't remember my childhood. Or my parents. Do you know what it's like to not know what your own mother looked like, because you were stupid enough to get a bunch of soda cans stuck in your skull? DO YOU?!"

"Get your butt over here!"

And that's that. Most of the "official" material ties into future or past books, so there's nothing too detailed to cover this granted. Granted, there is the weird situation where Sumimoto blurs the line by referencing multiple "unofficial" articles in Rifts World Book 21: Splynn Dimensional Market, but I'm presuming that's an oddity and not suddenly making them official.

And that's it for this wrap-up! The deck is officially clear for Rifts material from Y2K.