It seems that Hell has frozen over, at least in part.
There really are not many publishers from the early days of tabletop gaming that are still in business these days. Yes, some of the names may still be around, but these days they are owned by others and their legacy is carried on by people other than their original creators. One of those originals would be Detroit-based Palladium Books, owned by Kevin Siembieda.
Comics fans will likely remember the name of Palladium Books. The company was one of the few tabletop publishers who would advertise in comics in the 80s and 90s. They produced licensed RPGs based on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Robotech, as well as a sourcebook for the indie super-hero title The Justice Machine. All of these games, and others like Palladium Fantasy, Heroes Unlimited and Dead Reign, use the same house system, making all of the company's game lines more or less compatible.
Outside of their licensed games, the biggest success for the company has probably been their post-apocalyptic roleplaying game, Rifts. Set on an Earth hundreds of years after a great disaster that opened up "rifts" between worlds and awakened magic in the world, Rifts would allow Palladium Games creators to bring together all of the bits and pieces of their various games into one "mega" system. Except for small revisions over editions, the game itself is relatively unchanged since its debut in 1990.
Rifts is a terrifically gonzo world where nearly anything can happen. Last year our gaming group played Rifts, the first time with the game for most of us, and had a blast with it.The characters in our game ranged from a young dragon (named Shootit, from the first thing that it heard upon hatching) to an alien centaur-like creature that was a cross between a Green Lantern and a Space Knight. It was a lot of fun, and converted us to the cause of the game.
Such a long time without revision is a big thing in tabletop roleplaying. D&D just came out in a fifth edition. Chaosium Games' Call of Cthulhu has a seventh edition. GURPS from Steve Jackson Games has had four editions.But in all of this time there has really only been one version of Rifts. Until now.
Earlier this week Palladium Books announced in their weekly update:
Something new and exciting. In an effort to truly expand Rifts® across the Megaverse®, in cooperation with Palladium Books, another role-playing game company is currently adapting the Rifts® Earth setting to that company's RPG system of rules, as well as producing adventure sourcebooks. This is only the second time in Palladium's history that an outside company will create new game material under a different set of rules. Rumor Squashing: No, Palladium is NOT going to stop publishing Rifts®, nor change to a completely different set of rules. Far from it. In fact, Palladium expects to release six new Rifts® titles in 2015 and 98% of all Rifts® titles are in stock and available for purchase right now! The idea is that by offering Rifts® via another game company's set of popular rules it creates a parallel dimension of gaming enjoyment. An expanding Megaverse®, if you will. This is a bit of an experiment, but we are excited to see how it all unfolds.
A few messages were sent out into the ethers of the internet and eventually an answer came back.
Pinnacle Entertainment, the publishers of Savage Worlds, Lankhmar: City of Thieves and Deadlands have entered into a licensing agreement with Palladium Books to produce an edition of the Rifts roleplaying game for the Savage Worlds rules. No date for the release of this new game has yet been announced by Pinnacle Entertainment or Palladium Books. Word is that development has already started on adapting the worlds of Rifts to Savage Worlds.
More on this as it develops.
Christopher Helton is a blogger, podcaster and tabletop RPG publisher who talks about games and other forms of geekery at the long-running Dorkland! blog. He is also the co-publisher at the ENnie Award winning Battlefield Press, Inc. You can find him on Twitter at @dorkland and on G+ at https://plus.google.com/+ChristopherHelton/ where he will talk your ear off about gaming and comics.