Wednesday, January 26, 2011

[Rifts:2112] The Return

Well, it's been a while, but I've finally returned to the world of Rifts. New readers may be unfamiliar with the series of posts I started a little over two years ago in which I waxed on at length about my specific ideas regarding the world of Rifts, a project that eventually resulted in me creating an alternate setting I dubbed "Rifts:2112". The salient features of my take on Rifts were a grittier feeling focusing much more on post-apocalyptic ambience and dark magic and a conscious decision to return to the world vision laid out in the original Main Book with limited input from (at most) a half-dozen of the better supplement books and ignoring the rest.

My plans while writing my 2112 posts were to use Chaosium's excellent Basic Roleplaying system as my mechanics of choice, but I've since come around to the idea of using Savage Worlds instead. I've found SW's slightly more cinematic yet still gritty system to be a nice fit, and the conversions seem easier somehow.

As always, I have to limit my public posts to fluffy matters and leave the hard conversions in my personal notebook for fear of legal banhammers descending upon me. Nonetheless, I've got a new post or two up my sleeve, so stay tuned.

In the meantime, I've been spending the last couple evenings taking a fresh approach to my map of Rifts North America, the flashpoint for my whole project. It all started back in December '08 when I was planning to run a RAW Rifts game for a friend (oh, the folly...). I whipped up a hex-based "sandbox" map of Rifts North America, which in turn got me thinking about the changes I had already implemented (such as a higher level of coastal flooding) and would like to implement (such as the return to the Main Book's original vision).

My new map is based solely on the descriptions in the old Main Book chapter "A World Overview" (which yielded some surprising results - you'll see no organized nation called the Federation of Magic, for example; originally the Ohio Valley was presented as populated by lots of lone wizards, the Federation, having been broken by the Coalition, being a sort of underground Wizard's Guild) along with a few additions of my own in areas of the map that were left unexplored in that chapter. I'm quite pleased with the results; it's easily the fanciest map I've ever produced (click once to embiggen, then click again to embiggen yet further):

Additions I made include my own take on ley lines, areas of radioactivity (based on an actual target map of North America - I assumed a successful strike rate of about 50%), as well as settlements as odes to favorite movies (Lost Vegas) or television shows (Scranton). Of course, locations had to bow to some modicum of realism. Scranton, being on the edge of the East Coast wasteland, seemed a natural choice for a staging area for intrepid looters; Lost Vegas, of course, has survived and prospered thanks to Hoover Dam's hydro-electricity. Other towns were also placed due to such plausible concerns: Reno, being upwind of the Yellowstone supervolcano and far enough from the crumbling West Coast, seemed like it stood a reasonable chance of survival; I featured Salt Lake City as an entombed city encased in inches of evaporated salt deposits in my brief Rifts sandbox, and so had to stick it on the map as well. Despite the fact that, realistically, 100 years after an apocalypse old roads will be little more than long strips of grass, I also included a net of surviving Interstates; I have a vision of mutant animal biker gangs (in the vein of another Palladium supplement, Road Hogs) traversing the Great Plains.

So that's that. My setting is constantly evolving, and is now being informed by its passage into Savage Worlds to go with its trip through BRP Land and its origin in the Palladium Universe. As I said, a post or two more are forthcoming, and I'm considering the possibility of a Rifts:2112 play-by-post or chat game sometime this year. If I decide to go for it, I'll announce a call for players here on the blog.

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