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  • Writer's pictureFrancois DesRochers

Scholar’s Review #72: Dimension Book 7: Megaverse Builder


Author: Carl Gleba

Release Date: 2004

Note: Special Printing Reviewed (Dec 2022)


GENERAL


Something of an impulse buy along with my 2023 Christmas Grab Bag, I thought I’d give it a shot and see what’s what. The book gives a nice breakdown on how Megaversal dimensions are structured and the logic behind why some are more interconnected than others, as well as a series of Dimension Creation Tables like the Mercenary Company or Travelling circus generation rules one would find in the Rifts Adventure Guide. Dimensional Critters, a thematic revisit of the Shifter O.C.C. augmented with new Familiars and Summoning Tables is capped off by some example dimensions a GM can use.


SECTIONS


Dimensional Physics. A bit of a study on the versions of physics that govern Megaversal inter-dimensional travel and world building.

  • Pocket Dimensions. Small realities that exist with defined boundaries; like walking into the a house and adventuring there before returning to the greater world. Lists Hades, Dyval and Wormwood as example, surprisingly also includes the Palladium World.

  • Infinite Dimensions. The standard as far as dimensions. Includes Rifts Earth, The Three Galaxies and Heroes Unlimited universe.

  • Parallel Dimensions. Can be Pocket or Infinite Dimensions, but things are different. Parallel dimensions include Heroes Unlimited Earth, Ninjas and Superspies and Systems Failure.

  • Central Nexus. A node of interdimensional access. Imagine entering Grand Central Station in New York City, King’s Cross Station in London, or any major transport hub (rail/metro/bus). Includes Rifts Earth.

  • Dimensional Fabric. Best described as the permeability of the fabric of space-time.

  • Dimensional Energy Matrix. An interesting aspect that assigns a positive, neutral, or negative energy that negates energy power sources/weapons from the opposing setting (e.g. energy rifle from positive setting ceases to function in negative setting).


Creating a Dimension. Something Palladium Books has done time and again, and provided a great benefit to GMs and Players alike. A series of tables and steps to creating an Infinite, Parallel or Pocket Dimension. Includes the following tables:

  • Pocket Dimension Size

  • Dimensional Mediums (primary and secondary)

  • Density of Dimensional Fabric

  • Magic Level

  • Energy Matrix

  • The Flow of Time

  • Dimensional Quirks


Dimensional Anomalies. A series of entries to define dimensional maelstroms, as well as a truly massive table of dimensions that connect a created dimension to any of the various Palladium Books RPG properties. Includes rules for dimensional storms and vortices, and their in-game effects.


Dimensional Critters

  • Cerebellus Demon. A hideous, demonic giant spider with a bulbous exposed brain on its head. With an insatiable lust to acquire power/influence, they leverage abilities like possession and stealing memories by eating the victims’ brains. Super-high attribute scores, massive M.D.C., and a colossal amount of P.P.E. for vast spell knowledge.

  • Nexus Spiders. The size of a German Shephard, they swarm, paralyze, wrap in magical webbing, and feed of P.P.E. of practitioners of magic or supernatural creatures.

  • Rift Demon. Hiding along ley lines/nexus points and ambushing victims, it feasts on mages and magical/supernatural creatures and can convert P.P.E. into more M.D.C.

  • Nexus Maw. A multi-tentacled Cthulu-esque beast akin to a trap-door spider that pounces from pocket dimensions, tentacles reaching out and grabbing anything of note.


The Shifter (Revisited and Expanded). We get an updated version of the O.C.C. found in the RUE. My original revision of the class can be found at the OCC Overview in Bazaar #31. The update in this book provides only a few minor updates, and in some cases, downgrades in making certain powers cost more P.P.E. The only new entries are a pair of Invocations pulled from one of the Rifters.


Tolkeen Artefact Hunter. A variation on the Shifter, these Megaversal explorers were initially activated by King Robert Creed of Tolkeen (duh….). Functionally very little difference to the Shifter just previously presented.


Exotic Monstrous Familiars. A small offering of exotic creatures from other dimensions:

  • Avian Biomech. Highly intelligent bio-mechanical creature.

  • Cytoplasmic Blob. Taken from Rifter 3, Cyto-Blobs appear as giant versions of an animal cell. Apparently they act like puppies.

  • Drake Familiars. Large lizards about 5-8 feet (1.5 to 2.4 m) long. Provides 6 different types of drakes and their beneficial powers.

  • Giant Amazon Spider. Arachnids from the Amazon.

  • Saurian Biomech. Living mechanical iguana-like lizards.

  • Splynn Lizard. A pest in Atlantis, akin to pigeons or rats in NYC. Makes good familiars though.


Summoning Table. A table for GMs to randomly generate creatures as they emerge from a rift. The tables cover dozens of Rifts World Books, Sourcebooks and Dimension Books, as well as other RPG systems from across the Palladium Books library. Very nicely presented.


The Megaverse. A series of excerpts from previous books relating to inter-dimensional travel is reprinted. This leads into some GM Tips on dimension travel, including a few recommendations for conversion from one system to another.


New Dimensions. A trio of Pocket Dimensions a GM can leverage in their PCs’ inter-dimensional travels.

  • Dimension of Spires. Varying in size, has a unique link to Rifts Earth (particularly Japan and southeast Asia, and the Magic Zone), as well as Hades and Dyval whose denizens often make use of this dimension. Includes several adventure ideas in Hook-Line-Sinker format.

  • The Great Machine. Appearing like the interior of a giant machine with circuitry along the walls and long corridors. There is something dangerous and menacing there though, and it’s not the automated defense robots roaming the vast conduit systems. There is also some great random tables in order to generate the construction of the various robot defenders. Includes several adventure ideas in Hook-Line-Sinker format.

  • The Garbage Pit. Appears like an obscure dimension that has few limitations to dimensional portal use, with garbage scattered to the horizon. It includes some fun tables for Raining Junk and Junk Storm tables, as well as Salvageable Items tables and the Junk Beast. It also introduces the Scavenger O.C.C., a native-born from this dimension and several adventure ideas in Hook-Line-Sinker format.


CONCLUSION


Initial Assessment (8/10). This is a book of two stories. For the Players, the book provides very little in terms of usable information. For the GM, it is a book of three sections of note. It begins absolutely on fire, with some great sections on Dimensional Physics, Creating a Dimension, and Dimensional Critters that are of great use. The middle section includes an “updated and revised” version of the Shifter O.C.C. and introduction of the Tolkeen Artefact Hunter, neither of which adds anything of substance. The new Familiars, Summoning Tables and the New Dimensions are all great resources that can dovetail into any current campaign with relative ease. The artwork throughout really supports the vibe of interdimensional travel.


Specifically marketed for both Rifts and Phase World on the cover, I found that it would be equally worthwhile for a GM running any of the other systems, particularly Palladium Fantasy. For a small book, it punches above its weight with tables and information for ideas on dimensions, inter-dimensional travel, and how to create new realms to explore; ignoring the reprint issues, for those reasons this book is a gold mine.


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2 Comments


Joaquim Ball-llosera
Joaquim Ball-llosera
Apr 01

We have had great fun with the new shifter familiars.

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armorlord04
Mar 27

Huge fan of this book, really opened up a lot of how the Megaverse functions.

Plus a lovely selection of random roll tables.


OCCs added a lot at the time, less after they were added to RUE but the tables and background is still handy for them.

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