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Juicers and Crazies with chainswords and plasma rifles dance, slash, and blast their way through giant war machines. Ley Line Walkers and Mystics float among the filaments of power, driving back hordes of demons and monsters from worlds beyond. Glitter Boys and Cyber-Knights defend the innocent and downtrodden against countless tyrants and raiders.  Bursters and Mind Melters wield superhuman powers of the mind to change the world.   This is Rifts® Earth...and it's gone completely Savage!  The Kickstarter for this project saw $438,076 pledged of the $8,000 goal by 4,238 backers, that's how popular it is.

    

GAME MASTER'S HANDBOOK:  THE TOMORROW LEGION PLAYER'S GUIDE:  SAVAGE FOES of AMERICA:   by Sean Patrick Fannon

PINNACLE Entertainment Group  STUDIO 2 Publishing

The amalgamation of the RIFTS Megaverse with the SAVAGE WORLDS game system introduces us for the first time to SAVAGE RIFTS. This might not seem such a big thing when you first read it, but as RIFTS owners, Palladium Books, are very in-house with their products, licensing RIFTS for SAVAGE WORLDS is a very big deal indeed. You may have thought your previous battles in the many Rifts Worlds were violent and deadly but now you are entering not just another open Rift through which numerous invaders (D-Bees) are flooding in on a mission of conquering, you are entering instead a truly savage world. You will need a copy of the SAVAGE WORLDS core rules book to play though actual or factual knowledge of RIFTS (North America) and/or the MEGAVERSE is not required (but it will help).

To begin with I would suggest that anyone who has ever looked at a RIFTS book and found it hard or difficult to wrap their heads around the massiveness of the myriad of invasions should read the opening introduction of the Savage Worlds Rifts Game Master's Handbook, it explains , in precis but quality detail, the world on Earth prior to the rifts opening and continues to explain in similarly brief but full detail of Earth and how humans are now trying to live alongside their new neighbours. It is a very well written piece that explains Rifts history.

The GM's HANDBOOK is basically a guide on how to run RIFTS using the SAVAGE WORLDS fast paced, over-the-top, hero-based, all-action rules. The characters, generated through the TOMORROW LEGION PLAYER'S GUIDE, are equipped with the most powerful armour and deadliest weapons (of all types) known to man and myth; however to ensure a little parity there are weapons that can do Mega-Damage that will undoubtedly be able to hurt characters who aren't careful. If you are unsure of what Ley lines are or how they affect the Earth then the GMH explains them in suitable style. If you want a deep, long-term campaign then get yourself a copy of RIFTS rpg and dig deeper into the Earth's history and the invasions. SAVAGE WORLDS is best played as an off-the-cuff game where the GM has a base structure of an adventure and then "wings" it using the speedy (Adventure Generator) die-roll and encounter chart method (or as most GMs I know, the encounter chart method, not being led by the die roll).

  

SAVAGE WORLDS RIFTS could be regarded as a condensed version of the RIFTS rpg but it is really more of RIFTS (North America) becoming open to more role-players than ever before. RIFTS is a massive role-playing game and SAVAGE WORLDS is a huge role-playing game so together they are a giant amongst RPGs. Players who take characters through a SAVAGE WORLDS/RIFTS adventure are really in for a great time role-playing in a world where every step can lead to death and/or destruction. SAVAGE WORLDS/RIFTS is not a game designed for the role-player who likes to spend time exploring every nook and cranny, every avenue, and talking their way into and out of situations. SAVAGE WORLDS/RIFTS is for the role-player who wants the thrill of a first-person computer game and the camaraderie of the tabletop experience.

SAVAGE WORLDS/RIFTS offers so many possibilities to both GMs and Players. It is a mix of fantasy, reality, magic, myth, mystery, life and apocalyptic survival. It is the clashing of two behemoths of role-playing. There is only one thing that I haven't enjoyed reading in the GMH and that is font used for the bold section headers. One, for example, reads "THE PLOT THICHENS", "THE BLACH MARHETS" and another "RISHS AND REWARDS" there is absolutely no difference between an "H" and a "K".

   

The TOMORROW LEGION PLAYER'S GUIDE at 144 pages is 48 pages larger than both the GMs HANDBOOK and SAVAGE FOES of NORTH AMERICA. As you would expect this volume is all about the players creating the characters they wish to run through the amazing adventures the GMs can dream up or create through using the GM's HANDBOOK . In the TLPG there is a glittering array (in one case actually glittering) of exotic characters (iconic frameworks) for the players to decide from: Combat Cyborg - cybernetic man-machine; Crazy - psionic, unstable, super soldier; Cyber-Knight - psionic martial artist paladin; Glitter Boy (I told you) - has ultimate in power armour and personal ranged weaponry; Juicer - Fight to the death super soldier; M.A.R.S. - Mercs, Adventurers, Rogues and Scholars; Burster - a super pyrokinetic  with awesome fire-power; Mind Melter - a psionic, telepathic, telekinetic; Ley Line Walker - master of magic; Mystic - magic, psionics, arcane spirituality; Techno-Wizard - innately talented engineer and gadget maker; Flame Wind Dragon Hatchling - enough said!  Once you've decided on the Iconic Framework for your character you need to decide on a Race. The default Race is Human but if you consult with your GM there are other Races you can choose from if they fit in with the adventure they (the GM) are running; different Races have different Edge Bonuses; then with your GM's assistance as far as the storyline is concerned, you make rolls against the Hero's Journey (Benefits) Tables. The TLPG is like the GM's Handbook in as much as it's full of useful information set out in brief sections that are precise instead of meandering around the necessary points.

  

SAVAGE FOES of NORTH AMERICA : Player characters, heroes, can serve in many forces often dependent on the GM's adventure story or occasionally the player's preference; such "armies" may be well, or partially well, organised like the Coalition States, the Federation of Magic or the 1st Apocalyptic Cavalry or more of a rag-tag bunch like the vast Pecos Empire and its Bandidos. Wherever you roam on RIFTS Earth you are going to find monsters, creatures of all manner, and most of them live up to the name the word "monsters" brings to mind. They are not furry balls of fun that scare little girls named Boo from under the bed or in the closet, these critters are well and truly out of the closet. There are many monsters and humanoids that generally only inhabit the regions of North America and there are creatures that  can come through a Rift at any time. The GM might feel that the characters are moving too slowly or winning battles too easily but the plans of the adventure do not compliment their way of thinking and thus a random diversion could be a boon. Page 84 begins the "Creatures from the Rifts" random creator which can be used through totally random decisions, ie dice rolls, or the GM can pick and mix from the available charts.

Adventures using the SAVAGE WORLDS base rules are always fun and fast paced as long as the GM is capable of running a high volume game. Savage Worlds was available in hardback, limited edition, 8.5″ by 11″ version for $29.99 but due to its popularity it sold out completely. It is still available in a softback regular edition (6.5″ by 9″) with the exact same content for only $9.99. The rules are also available in PDF for $9.99. (The regular edition PDF seems a slightly better fit for tablets such as iPads or Kindle Fires.) Also available for Savage Worlds are Fantasy, Horror, and Superpower Companions that expand on these genres, Action and Adventure Decks, customizable Game Master screens with inserts, free One Sheet adventures, and of course many different and varied settings. You can take a free look, test drive, at how Savage Worlds (Lankhmar) works here.

 

 

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015