What is Rifts® the Role Playing Game?

Questions? What is Rifts®?

What is Rifts®?

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Rifts® is a world with endless possibilities!

Beware the evil Splugorth

The infinite Megaverse® is filled with magic energy and tears in the fabric of reality. When magic energy came flooding back to Earth it became a world plagued by dimensional anomalies and portals to otherworldly environments. A world where fractures in space and time tear through reality and open doors to supernatural realms, strange dimensions and alien worlds.

From these portals emerge mythical gods and Elemental creatures, hordes of demons and monsters, dragons and creatures of magic, Shadow Beasts and the undead from dimensions of darkness, and aliens from countless places across the Megaverse. The Rifts appear where two or more lines of magic energy intersect to create a nexus point where magic and dimensional forces converge and create tears in reality to countless other worlds, dimensions and realities.

In Rifts®, Earth itself has become an alien landscape where the people, cultures, technologies and madness of countless alien worlds and realities collide with our own. It is a world that has just become part of the bigger Megaverse® and endless adventure.

The Rifts® setting is one of contradiction and juxtaposition. It is an environment that is simultaneously familiar and alien, wondrous and horrifying, good and evil. It is an adventure setting where the magical, supernatural and alien may come to you, or you may find them. An environment where technology and science co-exist and clash with magic and psychic power. Robot warriors and power armored troops battle dragons, demons, and magic users. People of science and technology share a Megaverse® with magic-wielding sorcerers, gods of legend, Elemental beings, demons, creatures of magic, aliens, and the forces of light and dark.

The Rifts® Megaverse® is one of constant change, conflict, horror, wonderment, magic, and endless possibilities limited only by your imagination.

Everything is possible with the Rifts® Role-Playing Game.

The Rifts® Setting - Living in the Post Apocalyptic Calendar

The Earth you and I once knew is gone. Ever since the Great Cataclysm it has become part of the larger fraternity of magical worlds in the Megaverse® connected to countless alien worlds and dimensions via the rifts and realities that cross into one another. It is an epicenter of magic and dimensional forces attracting all manner of men and monsters. While not as active and destructive as they once were, the dimensional portals continue to unleash new menaces and marvels into the world. Even those places and things that may seem familiar are likely to take a twist that carries the player characters on adventures they could never imagine. The planet is no longer solely the domain of humanity, but is now home to humans and aliens, mortals and gods, magic and technology, and invading realities from across the infinite Megaverse®. It is a place connected to other worlds and where good and evil are constantly at odds, and where too often, might makes right. That's where heroes come into play. Your heroes. Men and women – human and inhuman – who champion the innocent and fight for justice and freedom.

Rifts® the role-playing game

Rifts® is a fascinating, pen and paper role-playing game that has delighted gamers for more than two decades. It crosses and combines most game genres – science fiction, fantasy, horror, the supernatural, super-heroes, dimensional travel, magic, monsters, and more – in a wild, post-apocalyptic setting limited only by the imagination of the players.

The Rifts® RPG defies convention. It masterfully blends a myriad of genres – science fiction, fantasy, horror, mystery, adventure, post-apocalypse, giant robots, alien invasion, superheroes and even space opera (see the Dimension Booksseries and Phase World®) – into one seamless and plausible setting. Not only that, but the game lets you play any type of character and engage in any type of adventure. That means you can easily customize your Rifts® game to suit your own tastes.

Many gamers have become fans of Rifts® since it first came out in 1990. With any luck, millions more are about to discover Rifts® through film, comic books, digital downloads (pdf books are available from DriveThruRPG.com), videogames, online and other mediums.

Interested? Read more about the Rifts Megaverse!

What is a "Pen and Paper RPG?"

Today, when they hear the term "RPG" or "role-playing game," many people think of an online game (MMO) or videogame. Ironically, RPGs first appeared on the scene back in the 1970s and exploded into popularity in the 1980s as "pen and paper role-playing games" or "PnP" RPGs.

Dungeons and Dragons® is probably the most famous pen and paper RPG and is the grand-daddy of role-playing games. It first hit the scene around 1976 and launched an entire industry.

Palladium Books started making role-playing games in 1981, and offers a number of RPGs in a wide range of settings, from fantasy and science fiction to superheroes and the zombie apocalypse.

Read more about Role Playing Games!

One Game System
– a Megaverse® of Adventure

All of Palladium's games use the same basic or fundamental set of rules and game terms. That means if you learn one Palladium Role-Playing Game, you can play ANY of them. That's right, any, because Palladium's game settings are all linked. Each represents a different world or reality in the Palladium Megaverse®. More than that, you can bring characters, magic, weapons and equipment from these other "game worlds" into Rifts® and other Palladium RPG settings. This creates a truly unparalleled Megaverse® of adventure and imagination no other pen and paper game system can provide.

Rifts® the movie

Rifts® may soon be a movie. For those of you who haven't yet heard, Palladium Books signed a film option agreement with Walt Disney Pictures to have Jerry Bruckheimer Films (Pirates of the Caribbean, Top Gun, The Rock, Prince of Persia) develop a live action, major motion picture based on the Rifts® role-playing game. JB Films sounds excited about the new script, completed this year and WDP renewed the film option for another year. We remain hopeful that a Rifts® movie is in our future.

Read more about the movie in our Forums!

Rifts® the videogame

Palladium Books has been trying to get Rifts® adapted into other mediums like film, television, videogames, comics, toys, and so on for years. Rifts® Promise of Power™ for the Nokia N-Gage QD was our first videogame license. It was a great success for those who played it, but unfortunately the platform never took off. Today it's become a great collector's item and we're energized and excited about the new App platforms like Iphone and Android which have demonstrated a wonderful diversity of games and great expanse of creativity. We're keeping our heads up high and have been pursuing other game interests on all major platforms. We want to invade all forms of the digital medium.

Rifts® as an MMORPG. The Palladium creators and fans alike would love to see a Rifts® online game. In fact, over the last four years, we have made several attempts to bring Rifts® to life as an MMORPG (massively multi-player online role-playing game) with third party licensors.

We continue to pursue opportunities in the digital medium with Rifts®. We look forward to expanding into this market in the future.

Rifts® in Comic Books and Graphic Novels

Rifts® will appear as a two-part story in the Summer and Fall issues of Heavy Metal® Magazine 2010. It is a "crossover" story with Colt the Outlander™ by the Aradio brothers. They did great work, so see if you can still snag a copy!

Palladium Books® is also looking to develop several possible comic book series based in the Rifts® setting. The Rifts® environment, concepts and characters are so rich, unique and diverse that any number of very different ongoing comic book series can be developed from its setting. 

Don't miss out on our awesome Machinations of Doom Graphic Novel by Ramon Perez

Licensing and New Markets

Palladium Books® continues to look for a wide range of potential licensing partners to bring Rifts® to a wider audience. Surge Licensing, in New York, spearheaded by Mark Freedman of Ninja Turtles® fame, represents Rifts® and ALL of Palladium's intellectual properties (IPs). We encourage companies interested in the world of Rifts® or any of Palladium's many exciting RPG properties to contact Palladium Books® orSurge Licensing.

Rifts Ultimate Edition

Rifts® Ultimate Edition

Rifts® Ultimate Edition is the most recent updated version of the popular, original game played and enjoyed by an estimated 1.5 million gamers.

Everything in the book has been expanded and tweaked to deliver a fresh and new feel to the Rifts setting. The classic core characters everyone has grown fond of have had their back-stories enriched. You can connect with each one on a deeper level as you turn every page. The new and revitalized content brings this Post Apocalyptic world to you in a way you've never experienced before. Even the images will give you a great understanding of what Rifts Earth is really like. 

Usually, Rifts is easy to play because the setting seems so obvious, but the Ultimate edition really deivers the setting to you, so that once the picture is in your mind, it almost paints in the details on its own. Get to know the Cyborg, Headhunter, Ley Line Walker, Techno-Wizard, Shifter and others like never before. In short, the wonder and infinite possibilities of Rifts® is all brought to pulse-pounding life like never before and it's waiting for you to unleash your imagination.

The Rifts® RPG Ultimate Edition may be used as a stand-alone role-playing game or combined with characters and elements from the entire Palladium Megaverse®. Players can easily bring in characters from The Palladium Fantasy RPG®, Heroes Unlimited™, Splicers®, Nightbane®, Beyond the Supernatural™, Mechanoid Invasion®, or any of Palladium's RPG lines.


  • More than 30 unique Occupational and Racial Character Classes, including Cyber-Knights™, Cyborgs™, Dragon Hatchlings™, Glitter Boys™, Psi-Stalkers™, Dog Boys™ (mutant humanoid dogs), Juicers™, Crazies™, Techno-Wizards™, Ley Line Walkers™, Ley Line Rifters™, Mystics™, Shifters™, Elemental Fusionists™, Mind Melters™, and many others.
  • Supernatural and magical creatures, like dragons, available as player characters, others are horrifying menaces from the Rifts.
  • Bionics and cybernetics offer a vast range of mechanical augmentation. While chemical enhancement (Juicers) and brain implants (Crazies) can turn a human into a superman, though with tragic results.
  • Psychic powers are the source of the Burster, Mind Melter and Mystic's abilities.
  • Strange forms of magic are at the command of characters like the Ley Line Walker™, Shifter™, Elemental Fusionist™, Rifter® and the groundbreaking Techno-Wizard™ (who combines magic and technology).
  • Super-technology with Mega-Damage™ body armor, energy weapons, rail guns, power armor, and human augmentation.
  • The Coalition States™. Humankind's salvation, or its own worst nightmare?
  • Cover by Scott Johnson.
  • Color end sheets by John Zeleznik.
  • Great artwork and color pages throughout.
  • Written and created by Kevin Siembieda.
  • 376 pages, including color sections.
  • Cat. No. 800HC – ISBN 1-57457-150-8.

Core Rifts® Sourcebooks

Rifts Game Master Guide

Rifts® Game Master Guide™

Can you handle 352 pages of weapons, equipment, body armor, robots, power armor, and vehicles from every Rifts® World Book #1-23, Sourcebooks #1-4 and Siege on Tolkeen™ #1-6! Plus maps, experience tables, psioncs, skills, O.C.C. and R.C.C. listings, Game Master tips, 101 adventure ideas and more

Rifts® Book of Magic Cover

Rifts® Book of Magic™

Experience Magic like never before with 352 pages of magic. Every magic spell and item from World Books #1-23, Sourcebooks #1-4 and Siege on Tolkeen #1-6. More than 850 magic spells in all!

The spell you always wanted could be inside these pages!

Rifts® Adventure Guide Cover

Rifts® Adventure Guide

Begin your greatest adventure! This is an inciteful guide for creating and running Rifts® adventures and campaigns. Sound suggestions, tips, information, creation tables, and more than 150 adventure ideas!


There are close to 90 Rifts® titles published, with more coming soon. There are also T-shirts, hoodies, dice bags, prints, posters and other goodies. See Palladium's online store for more details.

Rifts® World Books

Other popular Rifts® World Books include:

World Books are big, juicy sourcebooks centered around specific places, cities and people of the world. Each offers information on the cultures, technology, monsters, villains and dangers of the region. Most include new Occupational Character Classes (O.C.C.s), alien races (R.C.C.s), monsters, weapons, equipment, and/or magic, as well as adventure ideas. Each typically ranges in size from 160-224 pages. See Palladium's online catalog for details.

Rifts World Book 31: Triax 2

Rifts® Triax™ 2

...is one of the newest, hot releases. It is 192 pages of robots, power armor, weapons, equipment, body armor, vehicles and background about the New German Republic™, its people, society and ongoing war against the Gargoyle Empire. See Palladium's online catalog for more details.

Rifts® Sourcebooks & Adventure Sourcebooks

Sourcebooks are smaller, supplemental titles that offer adventures, new villains, equipment and other information for game play. Range in size from 48-160 pages. See Palladium's online catalog for details.

Rifts® Dimension Books

Rifts® Dimension Books™ whisk characters to alien worlds and dimensions such as Wormwood™ (demonic planet), Heroes of the Megaverse (Thanks to our supporters), Phase World® (epic space opera) and the very pits of Hell (seeHadesDyval™ and the Minion War™ series). Titles range in size from 96-224 pages. See Palladium's online catalog for details.

Rifts® Chaos Earth RPG series

The Chaos Earth™ series is something of a prequel that explores surviving the Great Cataclysm and the early years of the second Dark Age. 

Rifts® – the birth of a new concept in gaming

The genesis of Rifts® came from designer, Kevin Siembieda's desire to combine magic and technology, fantasy and science fiction, horror and adventure, in one setting where anything was possible and where the world was alien and changing, yet oddly familiar. The trick was making that setting seem plausible and balancing the many diverse characters and story elements with dynamic game play. It took three years for Kevin to come up with the perfect blend and balance, and then six months of work writing, art directing and coordinating final production. The hard work was worth it as Rifts® is one of Palladium's most popular RPGs of all time.

The Rifts® Role-Playing Game made its debut at the Gen Con Game Fair in August of 1990. Everyone at Palladium Books had faith that Rifts® was something special and would be a big hit, but you never know how the fickle winds of the marketplace might blow. Our target number for success: Ten thousand in three months. We felt if the initial press run of 10,000 copies sold out in under three months, we had a bona fide hit.

Rifts® sold out in three weeks. We could hardly keep it in stock and sold approximately 45,000 copies in the first year; huge numbers for a pen and paper role-playing game. New sourcebooks also flew off the shelves by the tens of thousands, some, like Rifts® Vampire Kingdoms™, Rifts® Sourcebook One, Atlantis, England, Conversion Book One and Triax™ & The NGR, sold over 100,000 copies each.

Over the last 20 years, Rifts® and the Palladium Megaverse® have continued to expand with more and more gamers having purchased and played Rifts® and millions more having heard of Rifts® via advertising, the Internet, and word of mouth.

It's time YOU discovered Rifts® and the Palladium Megaverse®!

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