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  • Writer's pictureFrancois DesRochers

The Bazaar #58: Two New Post Series


GENERAL 

 

The primary mission of this blog has always been the promotion of resources and guidance for Rifts Game Masters and Players, particularly ones that are new to the game/just returning. There are surely elements that veteran GMs/Players are welcome to contribute to as well. Case in point, I consider myself to be a more veteran GM, particularly when it comes to Rifts. I am still learning new elements to the craft of being a GM, as well as the game and lore in general. Yes, even this old dog is learning new tricks! 

 

One of the things I’ve started developing is couple of new series of blog posts. Further detailed below, these aim to shed more light on the Rifts RPG, as well as provide GMs a further resource to use in developing and running their games. The hope is that this becomes a long-standing series of posts that will then be collected into two separate GM Field Guide omnibus posts that index all the articles together, much like the GM Field Guide #4 – Baseline Publications for New GMs does for the Scholar’s Reviews of the Rifts World Books, Conversion Books and Sourcebooks. 


GM RESOURCE REVIEW 

There are a lot of resources out there for GMs to exploit in terms of character creation, adventure ideas, techniques for campaign design, and a whole host of other ideas. The Resource Review series will do a bit of a deep dive into the topics, and how GMs can better exploit these resources for ideas to match their Player Group. To give a better idea of what I mean, we’ll be looking at (not limited to): 

  • Literary Resources. Novels, non-fiction, comics, graphic novels; not limited to fandom either. 

  • Cinematic Sources. Movies and television plot lines, shows and movies, and how to develop them to work for you and your campaign. 

  • Musical Pieces. Musical pieces and songs that evoke an emotional response and inspiration. 

  • Artistic Medium. Paintings, drawings, sketches, and other visual forms that provide the viewer a spark of imagination. 

 

Handbook/Manual: “The Monsters Know What They Are Doing.” In many ways, the next segment and the other series of blog posts is a result of the first Literary Resource I’d like to mention. Written by Keith Ammann, the first hardcover edition numbers over 500 pages and was released in October 2019. The contents are a trove of information for any GM looking to spice up the critters they introduce. After covering some generalities for various categories of monsters (e.g. humanoids, undead, dragons), it goes into detail for individual entries. Initially examining the creature’s key ability scores, it applies those to their defensive and offensive capabilities, and derives some assumptions that apply to combat. Admittedly this is a d20 system-centric reference, but the system he employs is certainly applicable for our purposes. 

 

BESTIARY FIELD NOTES 

Reference & Citation. Based on the “The Monsters Know What They Are Doing.” That book is essentially an instructional guide for Dungeon Masters for D&D 5E, but the principles extend further than one might expect. Based on the manner information is presented, it considers the monsters’ stats, abilities, weapons, and lore to guide a DM on crafting an effective encounter that is not based entirely on combat. It breaths fresh life into the ideas supporting the monsters, giving a much more considered approach to how they initiate an attack, conduct combat, and when warranted, demonstrate when negotiation, parley, or running away might be the most appropriate reaction. 

 

The Author’s Blog. The book is highly publicized and a featured product across numerous d20 Third Party content creator sites. Most of the book is derived from author’s gaming blog: The Monsters Know What They Are Doing (www.themonstersknow.com). While most of the information found in the book can be found on the blog for free, the physical copy is updated with new information. The preface and introduction provide a great context to the author’s perspective. I would not blame my readers from refraining to purchase the book, though I must admit I both received it as a gift, and thoroughly enjoyed the read. 

 

The Alexandrian Blog. I first noted The Monsters Know from the featured product section of The Alexandrian (www.thealexandrian.net). The hope is that Scholarly Adventures will do for Rifts what the Alexandrian does for the D&D 5E (read d20) community. The Alexandrian is a veritable trove of resources for a GM looking for d20 DM advice on system and mechanics, but also some more generic advice. Bear in mind much of the more generic articles are still geared for d20, much like I design my posts for Palladium Books, and more specifically for Rifts. 

 

d20 Resource. To be sure, this is not a book that translates directly into Rifts. Entries eventually devolve into discussions of game mechanics and how certain species and classes function in the d20 grid-based skirmish system. Rules-specific discussion aside, there are great write-ups for the background on each of the entries, including discussion on how various classes differ in reaction or function from the stereotypical norm for the species. In some cases, the distinction is concrete and translates into a wholly different approach that most DMs might have glossed over or ignored (e.g. more powerful, smarter). 

 

Species Dynamics. Using the systematic approach presented in the reference, I’ll be reviewing several species found in the Rifts RPG from several angles. While the information presented in the bestiary entry is certainly important, I’ll be attempting to develop a narrative the GM can use to develop more than just a dice-rolling combat scenario. In some cases, the information is relatively limited; others have copious resources. Much like GM Field Guide #17: O.C.C. Overview I’ll also provide a guide as to how I would develop the species, as well as how I would dovetail those details into an adventure. 

 

CONCLUSION 

 

So, there we have it. Two more streams of articles announced, with a few of them already under construction. For any of you coming in from the d20 sphere, you’ll likely be familiar with the approach for the Bestiary Field Notes. The intent is to deliver more articles that provide GMs with critical and constructive information they can then integrate into and reinforce their immersive adventures. Don’t get me wrong, everyone likes a good old-fashioned stand-up fight, but when there is a background dynamic to the encounter, it naturally adds another dimension to the choices the Players have. It also gives the GMs more options to craft further adventure hooks and expand the campaign.


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