All of the talk recently about the Rifts RPG has got me to thinking. I like the game a lot, but have issues with the confusing manner in which the core book is set up. My players have also been reluctant to try it for this reason. While I've already mentioned that I would like to see an updated, better organized version of the rules I doubt that is going to happen.
So if anyone from Palladium is listening I have a serious suggestion that may give me and my group, along with a lot of other players from what I have heard, some of what we want without changing the system. Give us a pocket guide!
Nothing fancy, as a matter of fact the simpler the better. But what should be put in the pocket guide? Glad you asked, because here is how I think it would work best. Keep it small, about the size of paper back novel, so that it will fit in your back pocket. Include the obligatory Kevin Siembieda page just like most of the other Palladium books. I don't think the book needs it but I think Kevin likes writing them and as long as it is a new one I don't mind reading it.
A maximum 5 page overview of the setting, for newer players. Nothing else just the basics, which honestly could be summed up in 1-2 pages. Leave out the "what is roleplaying stuff" and detailed descriptions of the world. The Pocket guide is supposed to be a quick reference for established player and to help new players, but it should be aimed towards people who own the core book. You should also include info about character stats here with a quick run down of character creation and alignment.
Chapter 2 - 6
Since the stats have already been covered these chapters should cover R.C.Cs(add a few to make a whole chapter), O.C.Cs, skills, psionics, and magic.
Now use these chapters to cover gear, weapons, combat, healing/recovery, experience, M.D.C and S.D.C damage. Basically these chapters should cover what you need and how to play the game.
If there is room you can add a chapter for optional rules and it would be nice to have a few extra R.C.Cs or O.C.Cs as well. Keep the rules and descriptions clear and simple. This is not a book that is aimed at those wanting to learn the game, though it should be clear enough that it is possible to do so, but as I said before a quick reference guide. I also suggest that artwork be kept to a minimu to conserve space, but some charts/tables would be a nice addition as would a very good index. Leave out the GM information, though a second GM pocket guide would be a nice thing to have as well... but I'll save that idea for another time.
The main thing I am looking for in this book is that things be in the order you need them. If you are creating a character you should not have to skip from the front to the back of the book to find what you need, everything should be 1,2,3.. for ease of use.
Keep the page count to a minimum, the price low, and give me the ability to stick it in my back pocket for pickup games during trips, or for easy access during a regular game. Simple, easy to use, small and cheap. I'll pre-order 2 copies today....