Scholar’s Review 33: RIFTS World Book 30 – D-Bees of North America
Author: Non-attributed (almost a dozen contributing writers)
Release Date: April 2007
The idea was that we collect all the D-Bees in North America into one cohesive book, and throw in some additional races to add something new. The majority of this book presents material we have already covered in previous World Book reviews; there are, however, approximately 30 new D-Bees included. Presented en masse as they are, we get a good impression of the wide variety of D-Bees that have populated North America or come to be part of the varied texture that forms the continental population, which I think reinforces what we’ve intuitively known since the 1990’s.
Notes from the Publisher. Only a half-page section, but worthy of mentioning. This book mentions that it’s nascence was during the 2006 Open House, whereby several freelance authors were spurred on by what may have been an off-hand comment. The result was a grassroots approach, which helped push this book’s concept from elevator pitch to publication; neat. It follows with several pages of general details about how many D-Bees there may be, how they arrived, and some perspective on the truly vast gap between small pockets of civilization North America truly has become.
The D-Bees. Without diving into the rabbit hole, suffice it to say, there are a smidge over 100 D-Bee races presented. This is, at its core and for the bulk of the book, material reprinted from original publications with updated information and some new art; presented in alphabetical order. I’ll be honest, I did not do a side-by-side of each entry to their original publications to determine if any of them got additional text or abilities. There are around three-dozen are brand new D-Bees presented.
Current Assessment (5/10). There is something to be said about having all the D-Bees presented thus far in one publication. For those that have the majority of the books, it may be fairly viewed as a bit of a cash grab, but I should enforce the idea that there are a slew of new additions included. Some of these made for compelling inclusion into adventures and campaigns. That said, for the collector of the Rifts series, there isn’t a ton of new additions to this book to drive you to purchase; about a third of the entries are new, but the majority you already have in books you own. Is the idea of having all the D-Bees of North America compiled into one book a great idea? Sure, I can support the idea. Is it something that made it high on my list of purchases? Honestly, no, it did not. Does it drive a player for character creation or a GM in campaign creation and adventure ideas? Possibly, if you haven’t collected all the books thus far; for that I found it a disappointment. For those concentrating on books for North America to support their campaigns, you likely have the majority of this book already. For those that don’t have a comprehensive library, this might be a boon for players wanting to play “other than human.” As an aside, I found it curious that this book marketed as a World Book instead of a Sourcebook As a compendium of sorts, I would have seen this as a Sourcebook. Additionally, I would have loved even a small section (10-20 pages) whereby we had adventure ideas and perhaps some Hook-Line-Sinkers tied to some of the varied races provided. This would have given the GM and players alike something to sing their teeth into, whereas the current publication just allots a slew of space to reprinting material we’ve already seen. Because most of these entries are ones I have seen before, I was left wanting more, ergo the score.