God help me, I think I'm going to buy a copy of Rifts today.
Perhaps I should explain...this may take a while.
The last week has been...interesting, from a gaming perspective, to say the least. You may recall my Korgoth of Barbaria post in which I discussed going to L.A. to see some old friends. That was this weekend. But the trip was made under rather trying circumstances. For, you see, the previous Thursday our Pendragon campaign (of which said old friends were participants) kind of fell apart. Under somewhat dramatic circumstances.
I won't go into details, mainly because they'd be both long-winded and largely irrelevant, but suffice to say that two of my players are out of the campaign. They were both OK with this, but it still made the trip down a bit of an unknown quantity. Everything turned out fine in the end, though.
So yeah, the Pendragon campaign soldiers on with one player, Des. This is fine with me, actually, as I always thought Pendragon with more than one player felt a bit...odd. I mean, the lone knight questing through the dark woods is a staple of Arthurian imagery, right? Also, and this is something I'll go into more if I ever get around to making an "origins of my gaming" post (I always enjoy reading about how people got into gaming, I'd like to share my own story one of these days), but the first three years after I started gaming regularly it was just me and my friend Alex (one of the guys I hung out with this weekend), so I'm quite comfortable with one-on-one gaming.
At any rate, what came out of the dissolution of the Pendragon game was a resolution on my part to stop playing chat-based games. As I put it to my friends, I'd rather game less and have it mean more. Missing out on the camaraderie of table-top gaming was really getting to me. I honestly don't think any of us really "gelled" with the format over the past couple years we've been doing it. And all the fun we had this weekend, sitting around a table laughing, chucking dice, etc., that just proved my point, I think.
So, I won't be gaming as much with my out of town friends. But that's OK. The very fact we were able to do it at all, I still see that as something of a novelty. Ten, fifteen years ago it would have been quite difficult. Twenty years ago? Nigh impossible.
At any rate, I ran a very fun little D&D game down in L.A. We rented a hotel room and everything. The desk clerk saw our cooler full of sodas and thought we were in for a night of hard partying. Ha!
I used a nifty little adventure intro I nabbed off Jeff Rients' blog (I can't find a link to it right now, but it involved going on a quest into a Wizard's Tomb beneath the City State of the Invincible Overlord) and married it to the fiendish "Beaneath the City" scenario by Gabor Lux, which handily supplied the tomb, stacked fulla death traps, riddles, and zombies. We had a grand ol' time.
The setting was the Wilderlands of High Fantasy/Adventure (your choice), the rules were my C&C/2e hack, the characters were made that day. I started 'em off at 5th level; they made a Lightelf Gnome fighter/thief and an Avalonian paladin. High Fantasy indeed!
The highlight was definitely Alex's gnome fighter/thief getting auto-kills on the zombies as Tim's paladin acted as bait--his AC was high enough that the zombies only hit on a 20, and he was immune to their diseased bites. Between the two of them they took out eighty zombies! Sheesh. Alex was flushed with power; this may have been the first time in over fifteen years of gaming that he'd played a combat monster of that caliber. Much fun was had by all, and they even managed to get through the adventure relatively intact. Cagey, those guys are.
Anyway, after the game we got to talking about Rifts. You see, for me and Alex, Rifts was our "Traveler." What I mean by that is that I know for a lot of people, when they weren't playing D&D, they'd play Traveler. Back when it was just Alex and me gaming together, our "sci-fi" fix was filled by Rifts.
That's putting it mildly, actually. I'd estimate we played at least as much Rifts as D&D, if not more. From the age of 14-16 1/2 I was a full-fledged Palladium fanboy. When Tim started gaming with us, he didn't care much for Rifts, so we started playing a lot more D&D. When I returned to the game a couple years later, I found myself very much disenchanted with the creaky Palladium ruleset.
I never really gave up on Rifts as a setting. I've tinkered around with conversions to GURPS and BESM. I sold off all my old Rifts books, but I held on to the old core book. (Actually, I sold off the core book too, but I picked up a copy of the "Collector's Edition"--signed by Siembieda himself--for like 99 cents on eBay, mainly as an homage to my fanboy roots.) But recently I've been reading jgant's excellent Rifts actual play thread, in which he used the Palladium system as written and got good results, and it got me thinking about running a RAW Rifts game.
I recently got re-acquainted with the Palladium system when I ran a brief Ninjas & Superspies campaign last year. And I have to say that although I'm not back on the fanboy wagon, and never will be, I did see a lot of merit in the system. As a review I read recently put it, the system is a house-ruler's dream. And since I've been getting more comfortable with house-ruling of late (took me long enough...), hey, why not?
So that gets us back to me buying a copy of the Rifts "Ultimate Edition." I'm seriously thinking about it. And hey, maybe Heroes Unlimited too--ever since seeing The Dark Knight I've been thinking about doing a supers game. Oh, God help me...