I’ve always had a soft spot for the Rifts RPG. Even when confronted by some of its consistent inanities or maddeningly-confusing rules I always felt the world itself was the perfect example of a well-constructed kitchen sink setting. Rifts is a game filled to overflowing with magic, dragons, power armor, hovercycles, mecha, witches, demons, plasma guns and every variation of magic & technology you could possibly think of. And yet it works.
While you can find plenty of critics who despise the rules mechanics there are fewer who would go all the way to criticize the setting itself. Rifts has a gonzo appeal that’s hard to find in any other roleplaying game, and its line of hundreds of dimension-, source- and world-books is still compatible and playable today, 20 years after the game first came out. That’s quite the achievement.
Nevertheless, I feel that the game line has lost some of its original post-apocalyptic feel and I’d like to rebuild it to make a grittier, more down-to-Earth setting that retains all the interesting parts of Rifts while jettisoning some of the space opera and ultra-tech aspects that have proliferated in the World Books. Many of these ideas have been floating in my head for years but it took the spark of The RPG Corner blog’s Rifts:2112 Project to set them alight and put them to paper.
What would I change in the Rifts setting?