Saturday, February 13, 2010

Saturday Quick Hits

I'm sitting here working on my article for The Rifter #50, a sort of anniversary issue that will include all-official material from most of Palladium's freelancers. Naturally, my contribution is late. My particular article is all about psychics in Chaos Earth, a subject as of yet not covered in the game's source material. The article is more or less a prelude to Psychic Storm, the supplement that will be my next project for Palladium.

Vehicles and Giant Robots

Sometimes I'm struck by something that I have read a hundred times before. I'm reviewing existing source material for psychics in other Palladium games, most notably Rifts. In the Game Master Guide I run across this sentence:
Powers like Sense Aura, Psychic Diagnosis, Hypnotic Suggestion, Bio-Manipulation, Empathic Transmission, Telekinesis, and most others can NOT be directed at those INSIDE a vehicle or giant robot.
Ignoring for a moment that there is no such power as Sense Aura in Rifts, at least of which I am aware, the word that actually grabbed me in that blurb was "giant." Giant robots. I chuckled to myself because it's absolutely a fact that in Rifts you must differentiate between robots and giant robots. For full clarity it might be necessary to add a third category of "humongous" to the list. I'll consider petitioning to have it added to the next printing.

Fun and Exciting New Ways to Read Minds

I also am continually made aware of why some companies choose to reboot their entire catalogs every few years. Rifts has been running continuously now for 27 years and has dozens and dozens of sourcebooks. Writing new material can be exhausting, for one because so many truly great ideas have been taken, but also for the huge amount of research that needs to be done to produce work consistent with the canon. Rifts is full of free radicals of concepts and stat blocks and power descriptions scattered across two entire bookshelves' worth of information that all must be accounted for. In writing for Chaos Earth, which is really just Rifts of a different color, I'm obligated to honor all of this material. If I write a new power for Psychic Storm called Create Psychic Fuzzy Dice and somewhere in the stacks of Rifts books lies a similar ability with conflicting stats, I'm going to hear about it from a fan base with an uncanny encyclopedic knowledge of the material.

So, I can see why every so often breaking it all down, condensing the good stuff and tossing the leftovers is appealing as a designer and writer. I'm glad that Palladium has resisted this, though. The last thing I want is for my next assignment to be rewriting Rifts England or Rifts Spirit West to bring them in line with a new standard.

Happy Valentine's Day

So, I hope everyone enjoys this most special of made-up holidays when it hits us tomorrow. I'll be here in front of the computer, writing away and giving my wife the greatest gift of all: leaving her alone to go to the mall by herself, in peace.


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