What is Rifts® the Role Playing Game?

Questions? What is Rifts®?

What is Rifts®? - Expanded

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Rifts® is a world with endless possibilities!

The Great Cataclysm: How it all began

Two hundred years in our future, human civilization is at the zenith of a Golden Age of Science and Technology. Robots, cyborgs, human augmentation, genetic engineering, advanced medicine and sciences are commonplace. Scientists seem to unveil a new miracle every week.

Then, civilization takes a turn.

Hostilities, ironic timing, and a random act of violence changes everything. Ley lines – lines of magic energy – that have lain dormant for thousands of years suddenly erupt with renewed life. What has been an imperceptible trickle of magic energy surges and erupts with such violent force that it sets off a chain reaction that cannot be stopped. The forces of nature and magic cause cataclysmic destruction that obliterates half of human civilization in a matter of hours. Some cities are toppled by earthquakes, others are buried by volcanic ash, coastal cities are smashed by tsunamis and washed into the ocean. The tidal wave of death only fills the surging ley lines with more mystic energy. The greater the level of energy, the greater the carnage.

And this is only the beginning.

The Coming of the Rifts®

A Ley Line

The junction where two or more magical ley lines cross creates a nexus point. A place where magic energy is increased and a tear in the very fabric of reality may open to other dimensions and alien worlds.

During the Great Cataclysm, portals to random alien worlds and dimensions tear open to unleash wave after wave of demons, zombies, monsters, ancient gods and alien beings from across the infinite Megaverse®. Invading aliens, demon plagues, swarms of monsters and powerful beings that can only be described as primordial gods emerge from the dimensional portals, causing more destruction and reshaping the planet. Unchecked magic, dimensional energy and weird anomalies from these tears in the fabric of realty work to transform some regions of the planet into alien landscapes and/or the domains of monsters. Humanity struggles to hang on while alien flora, fauna and intelligent life forms transform the environment even more.

It takes only days for 80% of human civilization to be erased from the surface of the planet. The survivors would hang on to face untold challenges and horror from the forces of magic and countless alien worlds (see theRifts® Chaos Earth™ RPG, an ongoing series). In the end, human civilization as we know it vanished, and human beings teetered on the edge of extinction for centuries.

The 200 Years Dark Age

The next 200 years were a dark age in which people slipped into anarchy and savagery. Humans not only had to deal with the death and destruction of the Great Cataclysm, but now competed for survival with alien life forms, monsters, demons, the forces of magic and all manner of beasts in an environment as bizarre and inhuman as any two dozen alien worlds. The Earth humankind once knew was gone. Not only had Earth been transformed, but the magic, the dimensional portals, and the beings that emerged from these tears in the fabric of reality, continued to transform the landscape on a regular basis.

By the end of the 200 Years Dark Age, the Earth has become an alien environment. Humanity has managed to survive across the globe, and at some locations, flourish. Some communities even rediscover lost technology and struggle to reclaim humanity's place in the world.

{2jtab: The Forces of Magic}

The Forces of Magic

A Ley Line

The magic lines of energy, known as ley lines, as well as the dimensional portals that open to alien worlds and realities, glow with blue magic energy. The practice of magic is commonplace, and there are many different types of magic, from traditional wizardry to the manipulation of the ley lines and the use of the Rifts.

Bio-Wizards™ merge alien symbiotes and other alien creatures with humans and other living beings, as well as create magical devices powered by the energy of living creatures imprisoned within them.

Elemental Fusionists™ and Warlocks draw their power from Elemental forces and command Elemental creatures.

Ley Line Walkers™ cast spells and draw power from lines of mystic energy. They are the masters of spell magic and knowledgeable about ley lines.

Rifters® have learned to open dimensional portals, travel across the changing streams of reality and cast magic.

Shifters™ summon, enslave and command demonic, magical and alien creatures to do their bidding.

Techno-Wizards™ build weapons and devices that merge the "twin sciences of magic and technology." They create machines powered by magic and devices that project magical effects: Guns that shoot fire balls or bolts of magical lightning, or telekinetic rounds that leave no trace; armor with magical properties and protection; goggles that can see the invisible, and simple platforms that fly, and on and on.

Many other magicks also exist. There is Tattoo Magic™, Stone Magic™, Cloud Magic™, Ocean Magic™, Soulmancy™, Necromancy, Witchcraft and many, many other forms of magic. Some are alien. Some are ancient and rediscovered. Some are born from evil, some from goodness.

ALL of the above, and many more, are available to an array of player characters. The magicks described above are only a small sampling of the magical wonders and mystics arts one can find in Rifts®.


{2jtab: The Forces of Technology}

The Forces of Technology

Coalition Skelebots and Forces circa 101PA

The secrets of humankind's technology have been rediscovered and reclaimed. Thus, giant robots, cyborgs, heroes clad in power armor, and a host of other tech-based characters are available as player characters in theRifts® role-playing game.

Human augmentation is a running theme throughout Rifts® and covers a wide range of possibilities.

Coalition Soldiers™ represent the pinnacle of human technology in North America. They are also the self-proclaimed "saviors of humanity." They are human supremacists who hate magic and alien invaders, and have vowed to destroy them.

Cyborgs. Combat Cyborgs™, full conversion cyborgs, partial conversion cyborgs, Headhunters™ (a particular type of cyborg), and a vast range of cybernetic and bionic augmentation is available to select player characters.

CyberSlingers™ and Wired Gunslingers™, as their names suggest, are humans augmented to be gunslingers in the New West™. One uses bionics the other brain implants to make them deadly warriors.

Crazies™ have brain implants that provide that character with superhuman agility, reflexes and athletics, as well as minor psionic powers. They also make the character quirky and . . . well, crazy.

Dog Boys™ are humanoid mutant canines genetically engineered to act as a combat force deployed by the Coalition States™. Other mutants and victims of genetic engineering also roam the land.

Glitter Boy™ Pilots and their Boom Guns™ are the most famous heroes who use a particular brand of power armor, but there are many other power armor suits that turn an ordinary man into a superhuman warrior. SAMAS pilots are the most famous among the Coalition States™, but there are many others.

Juicers™ possess superhuman speed, reflexes, strength and combat prowess compliments of their drug harness. Too bad the drugs that make them into super-soldiers are also killing them, fast.

Mercenaries and Bounty Hunters of every variety offer their services as guns for hire.

Operators™ are mechanics skilled in the advanced weapons and technology of the new age.

Robot Pilots control walking tanks, giant robots, and exoskeletons.

The above are just some of the many military and technological based player characters available in Rifts®.


{2jtab: Dimensional Beings}

D-Bees – Aliens from Infinite Worlds

A D-Bee (Dimensional Being)

D-Bees is slang for "Dimensional Beings." Intelligent, humanoid aliens from other worlds who have come to Earth through the dimensional portals at the nexus points of the magical ley lines.

There are literally hundreds of D-Bees in Rifts®, most available as player characters. Each written and designed to be unique and fun to play.

Some D-Bees came through the dimensional portals as invaders, others as refugees or explorers, while still others are victims torn from their homeworld or alien dimension by magical forces beyond their understanding, and whisked to Earth. With no way to return from whence they came, Earth has become their new home. In the process, these aliens – these "dimensional beings" known as D-Bees – reshape the planet and civilizations of a bold, new, alien Earth.

But Earth is not alone.

There are many worlds and realities in the Rifts® series. Places like the demonic world of Wormwood™, the worlds of superheroes in Skraypers™, the fantastic alien planet known as Phase World®, and scores of alien people and planets in the popular space opera series based in the Three Galaxies™, to the very pits of Hades, other realms of Hell, the Elemental Planes (an upcoming series of new Rifts® Dimension Books), and other realms of reality.


{2jtab: The Extraordinary}

The Stuff of Legends

A Pyrokinetic Burster

There are psychics, mutants, monsters and beings that defy imagination. Some wield formidable psionic mind powers, others possess superhuman abilities, and others are just plain weird.

Bursters™ wield the power of Pyrokinesis, making fire with the snap of their fingers.

Cyber-Knights™ are part tech, part-psychic, and all hero. They wield the famous Psi-Sword™ and possess a range of powers that make them the nemesis of monsters, outlaws, and evildoers.

Dragons and other creatures of magic are real. Dragon Hatchlings are available as player characters.

Gods and the Supernatural. An array of demigods, Elementals, deities from ancient mythology and alien worlds, demons, monsters and other supernatural beings walk the Earth. Some help humanity, others seek to use and enslave it. Some are shape shifters able to walk among mortals disguised as one of them; others prefer their natural, superhuman form. They may seek adventure, knowledge, power, or treasure, but most represent trouble for mortals.

Gene-Splicers™ are aliens from another universe or dimension whose mastery over genetic manipulation is so advanced it seems almost magical. The question is, do these aliens use their powers for good or evil, and do you want to subject your character to their mad whims?

Mind Melters™ are the most powerful and deadly of psychics.

Mind Bleeders™ use psionic powers to steal knowledge, skills and power from their opponents.

Mystics are people with a natural, intuitive connection to magic and the psychic realm, thus they are able to cast spells as well as wield psychic powers.

Psi-Stalkers™ are human mutants who live off the land and use special psychic abilities to control animals and slay monsters.

The Vampires of Mexico. Vampires walk the Earth and it is said there are entire kingdoms of vampires who dominate the living and wait for the right moment to invade the rest of North America.

And these are only some of the psychic and inhuman characters you can play or battle in Rifts®.


{2jtab: The Rifts}

The Rifts – Dimensional Portals

A Rift spewing forth a hoard of Xiticix while Coalition forces attack them!

The tears in reality are two-way doors in space and time. This brings a seemingly endless parade of inhuman visitors to Earth. Some are curious adventurers and heroes in their own right, some are monstrous invaders or supernatural horrors who draw energy from the suffering of "mortal" life forms. Others, like the Splugorth™, secretly plot to seize control of the entire planet and control ALL the dimensional Rifts for their own insidious purposes. Some are gods, some are explorers, some are villains, others are demons and monsters, but all contribute to making Earth a world of constant change and endless possibilities.


{2jtab: ...and More!}

Tip of the Iceberg

A Fire Demon in the forest

The amazing thing is, all of the above is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Rifts®.

There are literally hundreds of player characters, hundreds of D-Bees/aliens/mutants you can play, hundreds of monsters and thousands of magic spells, weapons and pieces of gear. More than 80 Rifts® titles (and counting) allow you to start anywhere and go anywhere.

The entire planet Earth is very different from the world you think you know. Different. Alien. Magical. And unique. There is nothing quite like Rifts®.

So what can you expect?

Atlantis – Domain of Monsters, Kingdom of the Splugorth™. Fabled Atlantis has returned as a domain of supernatural horrors known as the Splugorth. Atlantis offers slaves from across the Megaverse® and a Dimensional Market where it is said one can purchase anything; he just needs to ask the right person and be willing to pay the price, no matter how terrible.

China is Hell on Earth and the land of the Yama Kings, ancient magic, gods and spirits.

England is a realm of enchantment, Faeries, the Millennium Tree™, and dark secrets.

Mexico is the Vampire Kingdoms™.

The New German Republic™ is a high-tech power with robots, power armor and giant robot combat vehicles locked in a war against the Gargoyle Empire™ that literally surrounds them.

North America is home to the Coalition States and many fledgling kingdoms of humans and D-Bees. It is a splintered land where humans wage war against nonhumans, technology is pitted against magic, secrets of the past wield dangerous power, and one never knows what lies around the next corner. There are dinosaurs, monsters, mutants, bandits, kingdoms of magic, empires of technology and much, much more.

Russia is a realm of warlords, wacked-out cyborgs, gypsies, monsters and magic.

South America is a land of alien magic and technology, mutant animals, weird beings, demons, monsters and strange dimensional phenomena.

Under the Seas adventurers can find new wonders, magic and civilizations.

Everywhere you turn is something amazing, magical or unearthly. As if that were not enough, the environment is constantly changing, new dangers can emerge from the Rifts at any time, and the dimensional portals themselves are doorways to endless adventure and discovery. Walk through one of these tears in reality, and you may find yourself on an alien world a million light-years away, or another dimension, or a parallel world, or an exotic place somewhere else on the planet.


The possibilities are endless, limited only by your imagination.

A Zeleznik Hybrid (original Artwork)

Rifts® the role-playing game

Rifts® is a fascinating, pen and paper role-playing game that has delighted gamers for 20 years. It crosses and combines most game genres – science fiction, fantasy, horror, the supernatural, super-heroes, dimensional travel, magic, monsters, and more – in a wild, post-apocalyptic setting limited only by the imagination of the players.

The Rifts® RPG defies convention. It masterfully blends a myriad of genres – science fiction, fantasy, horror, mystery, adventure, post-apocalypse, giant robots, alien invasion, superheroes and even space opera (see theDimension Books™ series and Phase World®) – into one seamless and plausible setting. Not only that, but the game lets you play any type of character and engage in any type of adventure. That means you can easily customize your Rifts® game to suit your own tastes.

A huge number of gamers have already played Rifts® since it first came out in 1990. With any luck, millions more are about to discover Rifts® through film, comic books, digital downloads (pdf books are available from DriveThruRPG.com), videogames, online and other mediums.

Rifts® – the birth of a new concept in gaming

The genesis of Rifts® came from designer, Kevin Siembieda's desire to combine magic and technology, fantasy and science fiction, horror and adventure, in one setting where anything was possible and where the world was alien and changing, yet oddly familiar. The trick was making that setting seem plausible and balancing the many diverse characters and story elements with dynamic game play. It took three years for Kevin to come up with the perfect blend and balance, and then six months of work writing, art directing and coordinating final production. The hard work was worth it as Rifts® is one of Palladium's most popular RPGs of all time.

The Rifts® Role-Playing Game made its debut at the Gen Con Game Fair in August of 1990. Everyone at Palladium Books had faith that Rifts® was something special and would be a big hit, but you never know how the fickle winds of the marketplace might blow. Our target number for success: Ten thousand in three months. We felt if the initial press run of 10,000 copies sold out in under three months, we had a bona fide hit.

Rifts® sold out in three weeks. We could hardly keep it in stock and sold approximately 45,000 copies in the first year; huge numbers for a pen and paper role-playing game. New sourcebooks also flew off the shelves by the tens of thousands, some, like Rifts® Vampire Kingdoms™, Rifts® Sourcebook One, Atlantis, England, Conversion Book One and Triax™ & The NGR, sold over 100,000 copies each.

Over the last 20 years, Rifts® and the Palladium Megaverse® have continued to expand with more and more gamers having purchased and played Rifts® and millions more having heard of Rifts® via advertising, the Internet, and word of mouth.

Isn't it time YOU discovered Rifts® and the entire Palladium Megaverse®?

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