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Unread postPosted: Tue May 24, 2022 9:46 am
  

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Wanderer

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Scholar’s Review #56: Rifts GM Guide: Well, there’s a lot for me to say about this massive tome, unfortunately not much of it flattering – let me explain. The fact it is mostly reprinted material is not even in the top 5 of reasons. The Designer Notes, Game Mechanics and Adventure Ideas were solid enough, as were the Weapons, Equipment and Body Armour, but they get buried under the weight of issues I have with the remainder – truncated entries, a series of Indices that in some cases invalidates requirements for other sections of the book, and a weird dynamic where some segments were partially reprinted into RUE, left little for me to recommend. In what might be a controversial statement: an utterly dismal disappointment. If you want a true “GM Guide” akin to market expectations, please go see the Adventure Guide.

Full review: https://www.scholarlyadventures.com/post/scholar-s-review-56-game-master-s-guide

So, what did you think of this tome? Do you agree with my reasons for “being down” on this book?

Notes:

1. Please refrain from the ad hominem angle; and
2. This isn't meant as a PB-bash thread.

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Unread postPosted: Wed May 25, 2022 5:34 pm
  

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Megaversal® Ambassador

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I would largely agree with everything you have to say here except I would encourage you to put this in its historical context. This book came out in 2001, 4 years before RUE, so the combat changes were huge and at least for me really changed how my games ran.

The other thing is this is before the explosion of PDF content, coming out 3 or 4 years before Drivethru RPG was even started, so this book became an easy to transport equipment resource for books you didn't take with you that day.

I would say that when this book came out, I would have given it a 6.5 or even a 7 out of 10. It was a great resource for a RMB game and really lightened my book load for traveling to games. At the present time I just feel it is out of date. I cannot even believe that people still order this book, and I will be honest looking it over for this review was the first time it or the Guide to Magic has been opened in years, is even still in print and I really can't believe that they did a HC for it.

All that said I think your review is mostly fair but lacks some historical context.

For my part what I wanted from this book was adventure materials, maps, single sheet NPC's with combat stats, the things that would have made running a game easier.

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Unread postPosted: Wed May 25, 2022 5:38 pm
  

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Warshield73 wrote:
For my part what I wanted from this book was adventure materials, maps, single sheet NPC's with combat stats, the things that would have made running a game easier.

which would have made sense for a guide for gamemasters. but the book was a master guide to the game. really they should have labelled it the master index.

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Unread postPosted: Wed May 25, 2022 5:51 pm
  

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glitterboy2098 wrote:
Warshield73 wrote:
For my part what I wanted from this book was adventure materials, maps, single sheet NPC's with combat stats, the things that would have made running a game easier.

which would have made sense for a guide for gamemasters. but the book was a master guide to the game. really they should have labelled it the master index.

The problem is that doesn't fit either. An index is what it has for things like OCCs and the like. This book contains a lot of actual information that can be used from over a dozen books. To me it is more of a Rifts equipment resources, mixed with an index and even a combat update section.

Seriously this book was one I carried to every game for more than a decade but then PDFs came out. Like I said to me it is badly organized and is a real hodgepodge of material but its biggest problem is that it is now obsolete.

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Northern Gun Chief of Robotics
Designer of NG-X40 Storm Hammer Power Armor & NG-HC1000 Dragonfly Hover Chopper
Big game hunter, explorer extra ordinaire and expert on the Aegis Buffalo
Ultimate Insider for WB 32: Lemuria, WB 33: Northern Gun 1, WB 34: Northern Gun 2
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Benefactor Insider Rifts Bestiary: Vol 1, Rifts Bestiary: Vol 2


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Unread postPosted: Wed May 25, 2022 8:52 pm
  

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Wanderer

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Warshield73 wrote:
I would largely agree with everything you have to say here except I would encourage you to put this in its historical context. This book came out in 2001, 4 years before RUE, so the combat changes were huge and at least for me really changed how my games ran.


For most of the books, I have the historical context to make with an Initial Review and Current Review. This one I only recently purchased in a bid to start completing the collection. In all honesty though, this book still would have...... irked me. Granted some of the suggestions had a different dynamic "back in the day" (re: PDFs), but nowadays there is simply little excuse and something else I'll be blogging about.

Warshield73 wrote:
The other thing is this is before the explosion of PDF content, coming out 3 or 4 years before Drivethru RPG was even started, so this book became an easy to transport equipment resource for books you didn't take with you that day.


I would agree for the weapons, body armour and Psionics. The skills I have a beef with, even from back then; something else to blog about. As a glorified index, I just can't bring myself to give it a score worth even an implied recommendation. Particularly when much was either completely, or more bizarrely, only partly brought into RUE. It's just...... a weird space that doesn't match market expectations for a GM Guide.

Thanks for the comments though; helpful.

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http://www.scholarlyadventures.com/blog [A Rifts RPG Blog]


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Unread postPosted: Thu May 26, 2022 1:39 am
  

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Make no mistake, I don't recommend anyone buy this book now, not even in PDF form. Like I said in my initial response I can't believe this book is even still in print. The same goes for the book of magic as well. I am just saying that when this book came out it was wonderful.

The previous Rifts indexes were years out of date at that point and both of these books really filled that niche for a few years. Not sure what your problem with the skills are, it was fairly complete for the time to the point where I used this book for character creation.

But again I think for right now a 2/10 is a solid review for this book and the book of magic today, just putting some context in.

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Northern Gun Chief of Robotics
Designer of NG-X40 Storm Hammer Power Armor & NG-HC1000 Dragonfly Hover Chopper
Big game hunter, explorer extra ordinaire and expert on the Aegis Buffalo
Ultimate Insider for WB 32: Lemuria, WB 33: Northern Gun 1, WB 34: Northern Gun 2
Showdown Backer Robotech RPG Tactics
Benefactor Insider Rifts Bestiary: Vol 1, Rifts Bestiary: Vol 2


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Unread postPosted: Thu May 26, 2022 5:40 am
  

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Hero

Joined: Sun Apr 22, 2007 10:32 am
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Location: Great Britain
I agree with the comments above. When the book came out, it was not just useful, but absolutely invaluable as a resource for rules clarifications, skills, equipment and other information. Maybe there should be more "GM Guidance", considering the book's title (!), but it is still a very useful book. I still use it today - even though there have been many more items of equipment published since, there is so much in the GM's Guide that I can find a suitable armour, gun, vehicle, etc. to suit my needs in most situations.

And I bought the Book of Magic only last month - because I am currently playing a mage with lots of spells and wanted to be able to access them all easily. :)

Slightly off-topic, that is what disappointed me most with the Rifts Bestiary - extended entries and additional creatures splitting the book up into what will be maybe four or more volumes? When what I wanted was an all-in-one-place resource of monsters and animals, possibly with truncated entries to ensure they could all fit into a single volume. Like a GM's Guide or Book of Magic for critters.

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