At its core, the Rifts setting is a game of post-apocalypse survival. For Broken Earth, this notion of survival is going to be the emphasized theme. More Mad Max and less Gundam Wing, dealing in a moderately more realistic and pragmatic perspective of technological escalation that’s so pervasive in the Standard Rifts setting.
A Game of Survival. The world of Rifts Earth is severely lacking in accessible resources, and the stockpiles of resources from the Pre-Rifts era are jealously fought over by the existant military factions. Dehydration, disease, and malnutrition are very serious concerns in a world where basic sanitation has broken down.
A Game of Horror. Part and parcel with the coming of magic and the Rifts themselves, much of the familiar world has become alien, or become home to alien things. Characters will, in their travels, be confronted with the bizarre and the maddening, and creatures that border on the unknowable.
A Game of Danger. Combat in Rifts Earth will be life threatening. Wounds will carry infection risks, and even with proper treatment scars may be unavoidable. Gangs gather around the black market trade of body parts and cybernetics, in addition to gun running and protection schemes. Outside the cities, there are wandering beasts and unsprung traps, as well as the danger of warring factions meeting one another.
Where this Began
I love the potential involved in the Rifts setting. The endless possibilities of a Multiverse of exploration, and the familiar environs of our world in a post-apocalyptic environment. Mad Max meets the Saturday Morning cartoon lineup.
The main problem begins, though, in that I loathe the Palladium core system. It’s inelegant, ineffective, and has needed a revision for 20 years now. Instead, the writers and editors of the game just keep adding new system onto an already dense clusterfuck of rules and poor explanations, and all too often the response in books to these issues is a shrug of the shoulders and a strong suggestion to shut up and enjoy the game.
Yes, I know it has fans, but I’m not one of them.
So, this will be an attempt to capture some of the feel of the world, and to adapt that world into a harsher game, where combat has meaning and character development, well, occurs. The end result will not be perfect, and I will be making modifications to the setting as it develops to either fix issues I have with the way some things work or to remove some of the more obvious and cliched things (I’m looking at you Caliber-X and New Camelot).
What this Isn’t
This is not a direct conversion from Rifts. This is a thematic and creative homage, at best. The focus will be on personalization of character at creation, and development. Instead of picking from a list of 1,001 alien and non-alien races, players will be given the means to create their own and a list of existing ones to use as examples, or to take for quick-play.
This is not an attack on Rifts fans. If the Palladium system is the greatest thing you’ve ever played, then you are welcome to it. I don’t think you are an idiot for enjoying it, it just isn’t to my taste, as I’ve stated above.
This is not a cut & paste adaptation of Rifts. As I say above, I will be making changes to the setting, to better fit my vision of the possibilities provided and to create a more immersive world for the style of campaign I’m running. If you look through the wiki and like what you see, feel free to use it. If you look, and think I’m a fuckheaded moron with a dick in his brain for the changes I’ve made, feel free to ignore them.