Category Archives: Advice

Hell Froze Over: There will be a non-palladium-System RIFTS Game

Two days ago, Palladium Books revealed in its Weekly Update that there will be a new roleplaying game set in Rifts Earth (including a line of adventures) created by another company. For everyone who loves the setting of Rifts but doesn’t care for the rules this is great news. Alas Kevin Siembieda didn’t spill the beans what company is currently adapting Rifts to its own system.

I am really surprised that Mr. Siembieda finally allows another company to create a new Rifts game. Fans of the game have critizised the Palladium system for many years now. Any attempts of fans to create alternate rules have been answered by lawsuit threats. After a while people didn’t even dare to talk about the issue anymore.

And now – totally out of the blue – Palladium Books announces that they’ve made a deal with another company to release a whole series of Rifts products powered by a different game system. Of course people immediately started to speculate. Since Jason Richards’ Breachworld RPG shares a couple of elements with Rifts many people hoped he’d be working on the new Rifts game, but it seems that is not the case.

I really hope that the new Rifts game will not use Savage Worlds rules, which is another rumor I picked up on the web. Savage Worlds is not a bad system but I highly doubt it can handle the scale of the setting. To have both Rogue Scientists and Glitter Boys in the same game, the underlying system needs a granularity Savage World just doesn’t have.

There were also speculations that Green Ronin may be that secret company, since they announced “perhaps the biggest RPG story of the year” for GenCon in their January update, but from what we know now it’s more likely that they referred to their cooperation with Wil Wheaton and his Titansgrave setting. I also believe that the AGE System wouldn’t be a good fit either. But their Mutants & Masterminds system might actually work quite well, since it can handle powerlevels very well.

What are your thoughts on that announcement? As always, every comment is highly appreciated! Feel free to share your thoughts below.

Freebie: Ultima X Odyssey Soundtrack

I love using music in my games. A well-chosen soundtrack can massively improve the atmosphere in most games. Especially horror roleplaying games benefit a lot from background music. So it’s no surprise I am always on the look-out for new music.

Recently while reading up on the canceled Ultima MMO called Ultima X Odyssey I’ve found out that the soundtrack had already been produced by the time the game development was stopped. And composer Chris Field was kind enough to provide the blog Video Game Music Daily with a copy they were allowed to share freely.

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The music is perfectly suited for any fantasy roleplaying game and most tracks can be played in the background without diverting too much attention from the actual game. There are a couple of more dramatic pieces which work well for combat scenes.

Chris Field has done a great job with the UXO soundtrack. Each track – there are 31 – is a pleasure listening to, even when you’re not gaming. Kudos to Mr. Field for sharing his music with us freely!

Check out Video Game Music Daily for more details and a download link.

Update: The FLAC version download link doesn’t work, but the MP3 version is still available. Click here to download the soundtrack.

Review: Traveller Spinward Marches – Excellent Maps for Explorers and Merchants

I don’t think I need to tell you about the importance of maps in roleplaying games. Even the most crudest of maps can still be a very helpful tool in any campaign. A great map might even help to immerse the players more deepy into the game.

An excellent example of such a map is the Traveller Spinward Marches map by the German oublisher 13 Mann Verlag. In its print edition it’s 96 cm x 68 cm, printed on both sides, and even laminated. I am not sure if you can use boardmarkers to write on it, but it should at least be protected from greasy hands or spilled drinks. As a physical handout the map is just awesome. It’s made to look like a product available in the actual Traveller universe. One side shows the scout map of the Spinward Marches, with every system detailed. You don’t need to look up stats in a book, everything you need is right there on the map.

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The other side features the trade map for the same area, and features all of the information needed for crew of merchants trying to make a buck in this region of space. Especially the trade map can look a bit intimidating at first, but should come in handy during the game – especially if your campaign focuses on trade.

Some people may ask themselves whether a physical map still makes sense in today’s world. I have to admit, I still like having physical handouts at the table. And the map is definitely a great eye-catcher.

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If you prefer a digital version of the map, you can get it as well – which actually contains one PDF for each of the two maps. The digital edition is a bit of a mixed bag to be honest. It looks great, is only 7 MB in file size and looks pretty good even on a tablet PC, but it’s just not as useful as the printed map – at least in my opinion. Your mileage may of course vary.

The print edition of the map sets you back €24.95 (about 31$) which is a pretty fair price, if you ask me. It’s available directly from 13 Mann or through local retailers. The PDF version is also available from DriveThruRPG and sets you back $15.55. If you are a fan of any edition of the Traveller RPG and if you’re playing in the Spinward Marches, you definitely should check this product out.