It was a wonder and a joy when Palladium Books created a 'horror' issue in the wonderful month of October. 1998 was coming to a close and like clockwork, Palladium Books was releasing a magazine on time and with colorful impacting content. Rifts: Warlords of Russia and Rifts: Australia had not come out yet but was being advertised. Also along this time was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and more strangeness was advertised (but never released because of a low pre-order numbers). A book that would later be released as After The Bomb by dearly missed Erick Wujcik. It’s hard to believe that Palladium has changed so much yet stayed the same.
In this edition we got to touch on all of our horror games and show the dark side of all our games. I recalled prior to the release Chief Editor Wayne Smith wanted the most halloween'ish articles that we could write and when it came time to deliver, he did.
When you think of the works of Bill Coffin it is a wonder that we know the name so well. We have had his work since 1998. That's right, almost a whole 15 years and though you may have a difference of opinion on the man you cannot deny that he has contributed quite a bit to our RPG lives with a savoir faire to it that can be added to the great talent that has gone in and out of Palladium's doors. Then again that's for another day...
In September of 1998 Bill was published with the Western Empire and a bit of his writing excellence was cut from the book and here was the avenue that the 'Gods of Palladium' saw fit to add Bills work and I am glad that he did.
Through a series of HLS's Bill introduced a lot of great ideas that were cut from the book outlining some great adventures that I hope that everyone have taken some time to read. Bill focused on the very material he had been working on in his 'new' book (keep in mind it has been a couple of years now) Western Empire and the great material cut was worth the wait in the Rifter.
The next article is also by Bill called Long, Strange Trips: Writing Epic Campaigns for Palladium Fantasy. In this article he shows how a simple adventure that could have been planned for a night could span into something bigger than itself. Starting with something small and letting it grow to epic proportions. He used Lord of the Rings as an example. I know that for myself I have run into moments where I expected a simple adventure and it turned into a several months long adventure with all its twists and turns all because I had the right players for the adventure.
Now during the next article by Randi Cartier had material turned dark (as the Halloween edition magazine should) with an article called Death is Not Always Final and if you read it, its also listed as official rules for Palladium Fantasy RPG, 2nd Ed. In it was a whole slew of baddies that were perfect for all your favorite horror games Palladium makes. Seriously some creepy stuff was created and it was worth the ink.
Because Nightbane is a horror (suspense) RPG there was an article by Steven Trustrum (you remember him from previous Rifters) called The Tribes of the Moon. Steven wanted to recreate a series werebeasts that were truly Nightbane and he certainly did. The article is so big that it is cut in two bits for two great Rifter articles (the second piece is in Rifter 6). One of the things that caught my eye about these beings was Steven kept them from being Supernatural all the time and basically said if they got close to someone or something with supernatural element that their attacks became supernatural. I thought that was fantastic and a clear element of Nightbane.
In his article he has new OCC's, skills and he split the werebeasts in tribes instead of factions (perhaps too many for my taste). There is so much flavor there that I was sure that this article was going to be a Nightbane book. Alas that didn’t (or hasn't) happened but who knows.
A.R.C.H.I.E. Three vs. the World was the next article by Mark Sumimoto (again from previous Rifters). This 'official' Rifts RPG material further expands the world of Archie the living robot brain from Rifts Source Book One. Archie has himself involved in the politics and production of the world through his own front company Titan Industries. Great article with new enemies who are as smart as the Mechanoids (see Rifts Source Book Two) or the Manhunters (a RPG book created by Palladium Books and Mymidon Press discontinued though a great read if you have a copy (check Amazon.com)). This is a great article of robots, power armor, guns and great villains. There is something every GM can use.
The Evolved by David Ransom was next. Here a creature is created for our use and entertainment that could make a great hero (for players) or a great villain or henchman for GM's. It had five stages of evolution and man was it fun to read how it just got nastier and nastier.
Siege on Tolkeen and Hammer of the Forge was the last two stories continuing a saga of great literature that I would love to see in a independent book someday concluded the magazine and man it was worth it.