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  • Writer's pictureFrancois DesRochers

Scholar's Review #2 - RIFTS Sourcebook 1

Updated: Jan 6

Author: K. Siembieda

Release Date: 1991

Note: This review is based on the original edition, First Printing (1991).


Released a couple of years after the first RIFTS: RPG, the Sourcebook (SB: 1) was a breath of fresh air close in after the hype of the initial release. It gives a bit of an expanded view of the North American continent and some of the shenanigans that are afoot.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). A good section of FAQs at the time.

North America Update. More details on the cradle of humanity for North America, from Texas up and into Free Quebec. It dives into the CS military, such as what the average CS Grunt goes through, how the CS military is broken down into squads or platoons, as well as providing Emperor Prosek, his son and key leadership as NPCs. It introduces Skelebots and a few other CS robots, as well as some new Triax and NG equipment and power armour/robots.

GM Section. This is the introduction of ARCHIE-3, a super-advanced artificial intelligence machine entity from pre-Cataclysm days, his allies and the various creations he has initiated over the centuries. It provides the history of this AI, and what it’s been doing since the fall of humanity, in the form of an adventure module; initial encounters and an escalating level of opponents to deal with. This section also introduces us to the Shemarian nation, something that gets developed in much greater detail further on. Supported by some absolutely astounding artwork from Kevin Long.

Options Robot RCC. A build your robot character from a sectional a-la carte menu based on your budget. Given the amounts of the starting budgets, there really is a wide range of capabilities to be played with, so much so that it really allows for some over–the-top player characters.

Monsters. Introduces the Minion of Splugorth, the Salver barge and his Blind Warrior women! These iconic figures from the cover of the RIFTS RPG get fully detailed, as well as few other notable creatures, such as the Simvan Monster Riders and Brodkil.


Upon Release (8/10). A great addition to the game! The adventure module was an instant hit and one I played with a couple of gaming groups. The extra gear, weapons, power armour/robots and monsters were great fodder for encounters. My particular favourite was using a Neuron Beast to toy with PCs.

Current Assessment (6/10). Only because there are newer books that take the key points of this one and really develop them does this one drop this far. As a stand-alone book, it gives a few good monsters and robots to play with. I think the high point is the great, detailed introductory adventure module. Otherwise, it just suffers from being overtaken by new books. As a source for ideas and adventures, not bad at all.

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