So what has been happening in the 3 months between issue#80 and this, the latest issue, #81?
Well, The RIFTER is a quarterly publication that with this edition reaches 20 years of life and subsequently 20 years with Wayne Smith as Editor-in-Chief - so he still has a few years to go to catch up with Games Gazette which was a bi-monthly publication and reached the good old age of 32 years in 2012 as a paper magazine, though I have to admit good and bad that Games Gazette was A5 (it began as A4 but shrunk because of postal costs) and only 40 pages with no glossy cover, though it did have coloured photos and illustrations throughout every issue from around the late 1990's.
Very few games magazines reach 20 years of publication and of those that have, being in-house magazines, like White Dwarf, has been a large factor in that survival. Most other long surviving magaines are still here because of the dedication of one enthusiastic fan or a small group of enthusiastic fans, citing To Win Just Once (Paul Evans) as a prime example. The RIFTER is an in-house publication that caters for all things Palladium, and although it has an Editor-in-Chief (Wayne Smith) and other personnel it is a major professional publication for a major games company and stays alive only through the dedication of industry stalwart, Kevin Siembieda. The RIFTER has very few full-page illustrations throughout and only a couple of small quarter/half page art but it does have around 1000 words per page which puts each issue at close to 100.000 words, that sure is some prolific work and at such a lenient RRP of $14.99.
In issue #80 we were given a reason to go to Nebraska (part one) for a Rifts ' Chaos Earth' adventure, and in issue #81 this is concluded with part 2, which at the end of it you should have some idea of how interesting Nebraska can really be (next issue of The Rifter introduces Pyromancer and Spells for Rifts 'Chaos Earth'. It appears like 'Chaos Earth' is the current favourite among Rifts players.
Once again Palladium Fantasy rpg opens the the gaming content after the message from the Palladium CEO, the News and all the other chit-chat about Palladium and its future. This time Hendrik Härterich is asking whether Gnomes are underestimated as well as being undersized? Gnomes appear in most fantasy and high fantasy novels, stories and games but they are generally overlooked except for the occasional (rare) scenario/adventure and thought of as comic sequences rather formidable foes. This is an amazingly good read, all 21 pages of it, but I have to say that by not permeating it with numerous illustrations - there is just one quarter-page picture of a gnome (plus the full page art prior to the article starting) the block of full text on several pages made it rather a difficult read, which due to its content was a bit of a shame. I did read it though and it is a good place for any role-player to start if they are considering an adventure featuring the race known as Gnomes. The information is useful and relevant for the majority of role-playing games where Gnomes are featured in some way or another.
Sticking with the Palladium Fantasy rpg BLOOD MOON is an official adventure featuring Vampires, Werewolves, a Lord, a Legend and a Goblin who is a renown Master Thief. This runs from page 67 through to, and including, page 89. The front cover depicts a Wolfen Vampire looming ahead of the red-eyes of its siblings and is a pointer towards the Blood Moon adventure. Once again the cover art is by Amy L. Ashbaugh though she isn't credited for any of this issue's interior illustrative artwork.
There's murder and mayhem in the 16 pages of Matt Reed's 'Heroes Unlimited' Optional Source material adventure. This is followed by page after page of sage advice from Greg Dyacyzk, aimed at GMs running RIFTS and other Role-playing Games (including those not in the Palladium MegaVerse).
Many of the features, items and articles in The RIFTER (all issues) are written by readers and fans of the Palladium game system and one or more of the MegaVerse's game lines and settings. These are generally marked in the book as 'optional' but obviously have official approval. Other articles and features are marked 'official' which means they have been written by someone associated with Palladium and/or the RIFTER magazine, although 'official' features can also be viewed as 'optional'.
Each issue runs a conversational advert requesting prospective writers to send in their ideas, illustrations, scenarios, adventures, new characters, new equipment etc, basically anything new that might interest readers and players in the Palladium MegaVerse. As The Rifter/Palladium says, there is little by way of pay or fame (unless you are a prodigious writer) but you do get to see your name in print. If, however, you want to see your name in lights, then you best change it to 'Exit'.