These aren't all the Palladium products, or even close to all the TSR products... I'm just recommending or not recommending ones that I have personally read. I'm doing this mostly as a service to people who can't find RPG books in their area.Go to... Palladium or TSR Stuff.
The book that started the awesome series. "Rifts" covers all the original OCCs including Shifter, Mind Melter, Juicer, Ley Line Walker, Borg and a dozen or so other ones. Some of the most fun to play if you like Role-Playing are Crazies and the Psi-Stalker. If you've never played it, Rifts is a post-holocaust adventure in an Earth several hundred years in the future. You can use Magic, Psionics (Magic using mental power alone), and swords, as well as futuristic technology, giant robots and rail guns. It rocks! One of my favorite and most dynamic games.
WB1 Rifts World Book 1 - Vampires
Vampires talks about the Vampire infestation in Mexico and latin America. I liked this book, actually. It talks about how vampires are created, controlled and the best methods of killing them. It details several vampire societies and kingdoms and talks about how they operate and their defenses.
WB2 Rifts World Book 2 - Atlantis
THIS book rocks! It has to be one of their best books. Atlantis is a new continent on post-rifts Earth that has a serious alien "problem". Everything from Dragons to an evil dimensional trading race that trades in slaves. However, it also talks about Rune magic (familiar to people who play the original Palladium game) and introduces Tattoo Magic, Bio-Wizardry, some cool new suits of armor and new weapons. It also introduces some new races including the True Atlanteans.WB3 Rifts World Book 3 - England
I thought England was a bit odd. But it's still OK. It talks about Millenium Trees, Druids and the new Camelot. It tells you about the only known way to actually destroy a Rune Weapon and it tells quite a bit about the faery inhabitants of the British Isles. There are some new magic types introduced, and two cool new races (Star Child and Earth Child) AND the awesome and cool Temporal Magic... Most of the book isn't of general use to me though, since I don't really do much with the Millenium trees or the druids. Still, it is a good book.
WB4 Rifts World Book 4 - Africa
Now this one was _Really_ odd. It has the nasty so-called Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (some seriously unfriendly dudes) Necromantic Magic, the African witch and shaman and some other unfriendly stuff hanging out in Africa. I thought this one was a bit _too_ odd, but I got it anyway. Maybe your tastes differ from mine so I'm putting it up here anyway.
WB5 Rifts World Book 5 - Triax
Triax! This was one of my favorite books in the series. It has some Pumped new suits of power-armor and pilot-able vehicles, new weapons galore, the not-nice gargoyles and infiltration bots. Low on Magic and spells, I don't think that much of either was presented, but it is one big book of cool new technology and equipment. Even the hospital barge is armed to the teeth. Supersonic transport vehicles and some mechs with interchangable parts. If you use the mechs in Rifts, grab this one and do some serious combat! I loved it.
WB6 Rifts World Book 6 - South America
I liked South America II a lot better. Still, this one had some cool stuff. Don't remember much else about it, but I seem to recall an island of elves in the Amazon, some new magic, the splugorth presence in the south americas and some South American technology. Most of the good things I remember about South America are in S.A.2... I'll read it again sometime and post more stuff.
WB7 Rifts World Book 7 - Undersea
This one is cool too. It's a big book, and it has lots of new stuff for the Undersea. There is (of course) a really nasty underse enemy, a few ocean-bound colonies and some colonies under the ocean. The USS Ticonderoga (A massive and extremely powerful submarsible aircraft carrier with even more powerful weapons) and new undersea magic and spells. Dolphins, Whales, combinations of fish and man and tons more cool stuff. This one's a keeper too. :)
WB8 Rifts World Book 8 - South America II
This is the South America book to get if you only get one. Nazca and their magic, the Archons (alien invaders), new humans and mutants, Cool Nazca magic (how about "create ley-line"?) and some other cool stuff too. Trust me. You'll like this one.
WB9 Rifts World Book 9 - Japan
Japan is fairly cool. There's good new cybernetic equipment, some new robots and a town that completely survived the Rifts and all it's horrors. A yawner at times, but just as good as England IMHO. It has its moments.
WB10 Rifts World Book 10 - The Juicer Uprising
And if you like Juicers (I don't play them much) this book is really cool. It goes into Juicer society, new variants of the Juicers, juicer games and some wierd stuff, like an Undead juicer. It goes into the Juicer Uprising and why they're all mad at the Coalition. Just a little odd.
SB1 Rifts Source Book 1
This one covers A.R.C.H.I.E. III and also includes a bunch of new weapons, mechs, armor and robots. A fairly slim book, but it's packed with cool stuff. I liked it, actually. Besides, ARCHIE was cool... it's a big Robot brain thats come into it's own consciousness.
SB2 Rifts Source Book 2 - The Mechanoids
Some people remember the palladium game "Mechanoids" from quite a while ago. Mechanoids are cloned cyborg creations that are bent on destroying all bipedal life. They're lunatics. There are also good Mechanoids (AbMechs) and some Mechanoid weapons and armor. Good enemies. A bit more about ARCHIE III and Hagan too.
SB3 Rifts Source Book 3 - Mindwerks
Mindwerks survived the Rifts too. This book appends onto Triax. Mindwerks made the Crazies and brain implants that can make people both incredibly powerful and psychotic (eventually). It's got lots of new stuff about Crazies, but not so much new magic and equipment. Great if you like Crazies or want to add some new stuff into the game with new ones.
CV1 Rifts Conversion Book 1
Hmmp. I was never real big on the Conversion Books series. I suppose that was because I didn't play the other Palladium games all that much. But it has plenty of information on transporting characters from other Palladium games like Heroes Unlimited, Palladium, Ninjas and Superspies, TMNT, and that Cthulu-ish setting I've forgotten the name for at the moment. It's also a fairly good sourcebook with a ton of monsters and new races. I use it a bit, but not all that often.
CV2 Rifts Conversion Book 2 - Pantheons of the MegaVerse
They actually did a better job on this one than TSR did on Legends and Lore and Deities and Demigods. Palladium actually created a whole story line for each pantheon (like the Greek Gods and the Persion Gods, etc..) and how they interact and deal with each other. They didn't stick entirely to mythology, but created their own new information when they wanted to and continued the stories of some previously deceased gods and demigods. It also has specs on how to play a demi-god or godling character
DM1 Dimension Book 1 - Wormwood
I think this would be good as an RPG by itself, but hardly anything here except the people can be brought into other parts of Rifts. Wormwood is a living planet that gives it's own magic and equipment to it's inhabitants. It is in the middle of a war against some fairly nasty enemies who want to take it over. However, since they can't leave the world through any means (they'll die instantly) they're not exactly a threat to anybody else in Rifts. If you need some place to take characters for a while to help out, this would be a good place, but even the equipment can't be removed from the planet and Wormwood magic is useless everywhere else. It has a cool cartoon though, and can be fun to play.
DM2 Dimension Book 2 - Phase World
"R I F T S - I N - S P A C E . . ." Cool. Very cool. I liked this one. There's spacecraft, tons of new space character classes, new races, new magic, really good new technology and lots of fun things to do. Since Rifts player's can't leave earth (see the book "Mutants in Orbit" when I find it), this is one of the best opportunites to fly around in space. There's also the ultra-powerful cosmo-knights (each about as powerful as a stellar battleship) and other stuff to keep you occupied for a while. A keeper.
MER Rifts Mercenaries
A big book with tons of new mechs, weapons, armor, mercenary companies, bots refurbished pre-rifts stuff and cool jets and bombers. Just as good as Triax is IMHO. I use lots of stuff from here.
Dungeon Master's Guide (black cover)
No, there is no "Third Edition". This is the new DMG... all they did was take the second edition, change the pictures, and put different things in different colors and draw lines around the tables. There is no major text-change between this and the other 2nd Edition stuff, just a change in look. As always, this is the essential guide for Dungeon Masters who want to run their own campaigns. It covers lots of stuff they don't tell you in the Player's handbook about how to manage combat and effects of spells. Also a big list of magic items.
Player's Handook, also the new edition. Same goes for the Player's handbook and changes as goes for the Dungeon Master's guide. On the whole, unless you have problems reading the two books, I don't reccomend you buy these if you already have the old 2nd edition books. If, however, you don't have them or you need to replace tattered books, these are good ones to get. The Player's Handbook is, of course, for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (AD&D) players and tells them how to create characters and play in a fantasy role-playing environment.
Arms & Equipment Guide
I don't really reccomend this one unless you're seriously into AD&D and want to know a lot about what things look like and how they worked. This goes into historical detail about the different types of weapons and armor presented in AD&D. It talks about how the armor is put together and made, shows drawings of the armor from the front and back and shows drawings of the weapons and everything else. Good for helping to conceptualize things, but not really all that necessary for play.
Book of Artifacts
Rendered mostly obsolete by the Encyclopedia Magica series. Still, there's some information here about how to make Magic Items and weapons. It's a big list of ultra-powerful magic items and the advantages and drawbacks of using them. Still, the Encyclopedia Magica covers all of them. I suppose it's a good grouping of all the Artifacts in one place, and it does have pictures of them... I wouldn't get it if you have the EM series.
Character Record Sheets for recording information about your character's stats. These are fairly good, although you can make some pretty good ones with your imagination and publishing software. If you plan to make your own, at least look these over for ideas of what to put on them.
Complete book of Villains
For the Dungeon Master. Tips on how to run a good villain and make them fun to play against for characters.
The "Complete" Series of books.
The Complete Fighters Handbook has new fighting tips, fighter "kits" (a set of suggestions for further defining your fighter with advantages and disadvantages). Actually, all the "Complete" books for players have kits, which are IMHO a pretty good idea. I like them. Fighters is one of the better books in this series and tells you cool stuff, like what happens if you mix different types of armor.
Complete Thieves' Handbook. How to make a Theives' Guild, Thief kits and new thief items and ideas. Also a good one.
This one stinks. I thought it was about the worst Complete book I've read yet. Lots of Kits and ideas, but every kit is much weaker than the standard cleric. Good if you want to role-play I suppose, but I never had that many clerics in my campaigns.
Complete Wizards. As expected, Wizard Kits (that let wizards carry weapons) and new ideas. New spells, magical diseases (!) and some cool new stuff and items. Pretty good! Suggestions on how to create the wizard's laboratory and tower too.
Complete book of Elves. Good book, actually. I was surprised. I didn't buy the "races" books for a long time 'cause I didn't expect much of them. But this one has a lot about elf society, habits, customs, new kits and new abilities. It explains some of their immunities too.
Dwarves. How to make fortresses, dwarf clans and society, enemies and kits. If you like dwarves, or play them frequently, you'll probably like this book.
A _VERY_ good one. Not that it's easy to even _get_ to play a Paladin, but this one adds a lot of responsibility to the power. Lots of cool stuff, including kits, and fairly stict rules to follow as a Paladin. It makes the class challenging I think, but not so tough that no-one will want to play it.
Remember Bards? Bards are fairly cool. This goes into a lot about them and expands the class a bit. I liked it too. Not _quite_ as good as Paladins, but pretty cool nonetheless.
Gnomes & Halflings
The book for the "little people". It does go into quite a bit about their societies and culture. Just as good as Elves, IMHO. For people who play them.
This gives you a ton of new races to play. You'll like them. :) Make a firbolg Giant. They're pretty cool. This just lists the abilities and merits of playing dozens of sentient humanoids (remember the Half-Orc from AD&D First Ed?) and tells you what classes they can have. Equipment for them too.
Rangers. This one's as good as Paladins. Not that getting a ranger is easy either. Still, they were pretty cool even before the book. Fighting with two hands, some magic, followers etc... The kits give them even more cool stuff.
A yawner at times. I always thought Druids were a bit odd. Still, there's lots of good stuff here for people who play Druids. I don't, and I really never had that many Druid player characters in my campaigns. Oh well... to each his or her own I guess.
And what the Heck is the Ninja doing in a standard campaign? This was a wierd book. There's lots of awesome Ninja stuff... but how are you supposed to squeeze this subtly into your campaign?
And other miscellanious TSR stuff...
Dungeon Master's Option: High Level Campaigns
This helps the DM manage and run High Level campaigns. It gives you stuff for high-level characters to work toward, new abilites and cool tips on how super high level characters can fight without destroying the surrounding terrain.
Player's Option: Skills & Powers
This puts a new spin on character creation. It makes it a bit more complicated, but much more customizable. Make that wizard who wields broadswords. Make that elf who can't see in the dark but has increased strength. Make lots of cool stuff with the point system. It's fun, but Character creation went from an hour-and-a-half thing to a several hour thing.
Player's Option: Spells & Magic
Not any _new_ magic as far as I can tell, but lots more ways to use it and play with it. Pretty cool. Have fun with this one.
Encyclopedia Magica 1/4
The Encyclopedia Magica covers all the magic items TSR released from the beginning through 1995 or so. It also covers just about everything that appeared in other magazines like Polyhedron, etc.. and of course magazines like Dragon and Dungeon. A _Very_ cool collection. Volume 4 has the index.
If you don't have the Monstrous Compendium volumes, this is a good idea. It has lots of monsters, all of the ones in MC1 and MC2 and a bit of stuff from other places too. A good collection, and the pictures are in color.
Tome of Magic
Not yet obsolete, but will be when the full set of Spell Encyclopdias comes out. This introduces Wild Magic, Quest & Co-operative magic for priests, lots of new spells and a smattering of new magic items. Good stuff, but unless you really like the collection, wait until the spell encyclopedias are out and get them instead.
Land of Fate
The token world book. This one is for Al-Qadim (I don't know how to pronounce it) and describes a very good arabian-nights type world. It's pretty fun to play in too, although I don't use it exclusively. Actually I try to make my own worlds using TSR's stuff as source material, but this is good to play straight on it's own too.