"This book might come as a bit of a shock to die-hard Coalition fans, because it will not paint a very pretty picture of our boys in black."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:


It's time for Palladium to innovate.

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

Violence, War, Magic & the Supernatural

I know you're thinking it's the same every time, but look above! Now we have "war".

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

The fictional world of Rifts® is violent, deadly and filled with supernatural monsters. Otherdimensional beings often referred to as "demons," torment, stalk and prey on humans. Other alien life forms, monsters, gods and demigods, as well as magic, insanity, and war are all elements in this book.

Because, as we know, the Rifts game line has yet to feature war, a rare element in any RPG game line.

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

Some parents may find the violence, magic and supernatural elements of the game inappropriate for young readers/players. We suggest parental discretion.

Violence, sure, but the ongoing Germany-Gargoyle conflict? A mere scuffle. The Chi-Town vs. Quebec conflict? A dinner-table trifle. The battle against the Four Horsemen and their waves of undead minions? A gentle skirmish, at best.

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

Please note that none of us at Palladium Books® condone or encourage the occult, the practice of magic, the use of drugs, or violence.

It turns out it doesn't count as a real war until death camps enter the picture.

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill, part 1 - "This book might come as a bit of a shock to die-hard Coalition fans, because it will not paint a very pretty picture of our boys in black."

Yes, it may surprise some out there that the guys with an ideology based on Nazi fascism and who run around in vehicles with livery themed after the SS might be bad guys! Man, I bet you thought it was just all about cool uniforms, lasers, and shouting "Co-bro!" (The "Co" stands for the "Coalition", and the "bro" stands for "bro".) We're all very shocked.

So, it's time for the Coalition Wars part two, in which Siembieda and Coffin introduce us to a more x-treme, more grim Coalition. And without much preamble, we can move right into that.

A clash of Titans
By Kevin Siembieda and Bill Coffin

The Coalition has gotten pretty cocky, but it's gotten rocky. The Tolkeen offensive has gotten off to a really bad start, and it's time to talk about the why. Generally speaking, the Coalition hasn't had serious opposition in a long time, and that's by design. The Coalition has usually avoided facing anybody it isn't absolutely confident it could crush. That's why it hasn't attacked Lazlo, or done an all-out attempt to crush the Federation of Magic. The leadership of the Coalition sees their position as dependent on the illusion of power and human dominance.

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

It is something approaching a religious fervor, a jihad, this drive of the Coalition to expand its borders and see its enemies driven before them.

Is that so.

The Coalition has never faced such a prepared magical force, and the creative uses the Tolkeenites are putting their magic to are throwing predictable Coalition skullrolling tactics into disarray. Add in the fact that roughly half the forces they're using just got thrown through basic and onto the battlefield, and there's a lot going amiss for the Coalition at this point. The size of the Coalition force made it ground out somewhat once it hit serious resistance - they hadn't really planned to need long-term supply chains, while Tolkeen forces could easily resupply from local communities or by using magic. The Coalition has pretty much one core tactic - overwhelming force - and with Tolkeen refusing stand-up fights, they rarely get to apply that force well. Moreover, Coalition leadership was arrogant and figured they just needed to throw more troops at the situation rather than worrying about intelligence on the enemy. Lastly, the unpredictability and horrific nature of Tolkeen's attacks has shaken morale, particularly among the new recruits. Desertion, panic, and PTSD have been real issues. Some commanders don't even report losses out of fear that they might be punished.

"Wait, where is the enemy? Somewhere offscreen?"

We get another "letter from the front" by Sergeant Deon Canton, so cue up your Ken Burnsesque sepia filters. He's gotten grimmer and tougher, and has now gone from "kill all the D-Bees and wizards" to "kill anybody who might conceivably be on Tolkeen's side". That's character development! Also he has a bionic hand now after losing his original hand, so he can crush every beer can.

So the initial shock is wearing off, and Deon is supposed to be emblematic of the hardening the Coalition troops are undergoing, and their increasing fanaticism. Though the Tolkeen defense surprised them, the horrific nature of it and the death of their fellows supports their existing fears and loathing of magic. Murder of enemy civilians - human or otherwise - is now commonplace. Some Coalition soldiers have even taken D-Bee children as "pets" of a sort to torment, but this is generally viewed very dimly by leadership - not out of any moral stance, but just the suspicion that they might act as spies or saboteurs. In general, prisoners are only taken for the interests of intelligence.

"I still can't see the enemy! They're sneakily hiding outside the frame!"

We're told that "25-30%" of the Coalition soldiers haven't gotten in on the genocidal murder craze, and some might allow civilians to escape or show prisoners moments of kindness. However, showing a D-Bee or wizard kindness (much less escape) is a punishable offense, and Coalition culture also backs that up with mockery even if the individual isn't officially sanctioned. Those who show "traitorous" tendencies may be forced to do awful shit to D-Bees to prove their loyalty to the cause.

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

This book might come as a bit of a shock to die-hard Coalition fans, because it will not paint a very pretty picture of our boys in black. In fact, for the most part, Coalition Overkill is all about how the Coalition is the bad guy, the aggressor, the oppressor. After all, is it really so hard to believe? Sometimes, folks lose sight of this, perhaps because the Coalition employs such a dazzling array of technology that from a playing standpoint, it's easy to forget that the CS espouses many of the things we have grown to detest in modern society — xenophobia, totalitarianism, overt racism, and genocide. What makes the Coalition tolerable, even heroic under certain circumstances, is that they really do have serious enemies to contend with, not the least of which are the hordes of monsters, supernatural horrors, and evil magic users stalking the land. Moreover, not all people living in the Coalition States or serving in its military are evil or bigots. The CS is a civilization of diverse people and to assume "all" CS citizens are fanatics and bad guys is to do exactly what
the Coalition does to others, generalize, vilify and prey on people's fears and misconceptions.

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

Hopefully, as the smoke clears from the battlefields of Tolkeen, the soldiers of the Coalition will recognize their crimes and strive to prevent them as their society soldiers on into the future.

"Aaaaaaa, it's the enemy!"

Next: Badder guys.

"Young Ghille hated his father for deserting them, the D-Bee bitch who lured him away and everything associated with them, including their D-Bee gang and their exploits."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill, part 2 - "Young Ghille hated his father for deserting them, the D-Bee bitch who lured him away and everything associated with them, including their D-Bee gang and their exploits."

A Rising Evil

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

While the current command stays paralyzed by mutual finger-pointing and shock, a powerful and insidious clique of ambitious officers have risen up to take over many of the positions previously held by officers deposed by their mishandling of the Tolkeen invasion. These newcomers, known collectively as the Second Wave, have very clear ideas for how the war in Tolkeen can be salvaged. Nearly all of them entail mass murder, destroying entire innocent populations, establishing what amount to concentration camps, and perhaps even launching a D-Bee holocaust, not unlike the horrors that unfolded beneath the pre-Rifts Nazi regime of Adolf Hitler!

Yes, we're going to get a parade of psychopaths, Coalition officers who now have an opportunity to indulge their ridiculously evil ways. And there's a problem with this I'll address right off the bat: presenting genocide as only something damaged, mentally disordered people might jump to is a disservice. This is doubly true when presenting it as an analogue for the Holocaust. The horror of the Nazi regime isn't that of psychopaths getting ahold of the wheel, but that ordinary people can easily slip into excusing or participating in such horrors.

Also, the Coalition was already engaged in genocide anyway, just in an less organized and deliberate fashion. So acting like this is some journey beyond the pale seems odd, at best.

"Excuse me- have you considered there are some very fine people on both sides?!"

That out of the way, there's two new operations put forth as part of this initiative: Operation Hardball, which is the extermination of Tolkeen's populace, and Operation Spoilsport, which is stepping up covert operations. It's explained here that the notion of just nuking Tolkeen after the first failed attempt has been discarded, and trying to create "anti-D-Bee" viruses is considered too unreliable and dangerous to seriously consider.

We're reminded that there is a serious element of the Coalition military that is handwringing over these issues, thinking they should maintain a moral high ground... which, uh, doesn't hold a lot of water, given they're the invaders. This is a serious argument that there is a civilized way to commit genocide. Hint: there isn't.

Rifts Coalition Wars 2 posted:

There is no honor in victory achieved this way. This does not show the superiority of humanity, or the courage and fighting skills of the Coalition Army. This is merely the act of a mindless horde brutalizing the weak, which any common thug can do. No, the Coalition is made of better stuff than that, and although it strives to one day destroy all that is inhuman and contaminated by magic, it shall do so the right way, the honorable way, a way that generations to come will be proud to look back upon as the path taken by true heroes.

"If your alignment is Principled, don't worry about pulling the trigger, the others will take care of it for you."

Emperor Karl Prosek doesn't care for this extremist faction. Not that he has any scruples regarding genocide, but thinks the actions taken by them appear desperate and runs the risk of a PR disaster at home. However, with the war going badly, he's willing to see if their plans bear fruit. While many Coalition officers despise this new movement, there isn't any openly vocal opposition to them.

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

In the generations to come, when Coalition citizens look back on the horrors their society perpetrated against the Kingdom of Tolkeen, the real blame shall not rest with Micander Drogue or even Emperor Prosek. It shall rest with the "Silent Legion," the thousands upon thousands of otherwise good (or at least, less evil) soldiers who saw the holocaust happening before their very eyes, yet chose to do nothing about it.

This, at least, I agree with.

"Ugh, do I have that tiny skull stuck to my head again?"

So, the main villain behind the Second Wave is General Micander Drogue, the son of a wealthy Coalition family that turned out to be associated with outside saboteurs. Though their status kept them from execution, they were reduced in citizenship level to the "dregs".

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

Before long, Micander's mother had turned to prostitution, and his father was a burned-out alcoholic and drug addict. By the time Micander was twelve, his mother had committed suicide, and his father had simply vanished.

Drogue turned to crimes, becoming a city rat known as "Scrape". He worked in stealing cybernetics (violently), but eventually he was caught. Though normally he might be executed for this, it turns out his half-assed xenophobic ranting caught the attention of the police officer overseeing his case, who thought:

"Man, officer material."

So he was put into training and worked as a grunt patrolling the 'Burbs and beating its inhabitants and occasionally his peers, his record was "otherwise spotless" and what's a little physical abuse between soldiers? He turned out to be a fanatic - not for the Coalition government, but for the idea of Coalition purity in general. He rose up the ranks because... um... it doesn't say, but the Coalition seems to reward sociopathy. He's worked to alienate any merciful soldiers under his command and instead has put together a group of like-minded fanatics who he abuses on the regular. However, he's supposed to be "brilliant" and a "natural leader" who has a photographic memory. Ah, yes, a natural leader that psychologically (and physically) tortures his men. "Wow, sir, I sure feel naturally led after you beat me to an inch of my life! Inspiring, sir! *spits out tooth*"

We also get some of his goons:

"... we see there is nothing you can possess which I cannot take away."

We also get very brief summaries of Cordoba's science team, but none are particularly notable.

On the other side of the coin - or, more like the rough little edge, really - is General Jericho Holmes. Holmes is supposed to be the honorable serious dude who kicks all the asses. There's a story where he fights off 300 bandits at a Coalition outpost after the rest of his men run.

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

As the troops cautiously entered the compound, they found Lt. Holmes kneeling on top of a pile of corpses, his vibro-sword still humming in his clenched fist. Breathing hard, Lt. Holmes looked up at his returning soldiers and remarked, "It's been a long night," and collapsed.

He's become the poster boy for Coalition badassery. He's also a human supremacist, but can be merciful and would rather just drive D-Bees out than murder them. It's not that he's that nice of a guy, but sees wanton slaughter as just inspiring victims to seek revenge and escalating matters. But he'll still kill if he "has to".

He's an author darling, and it shows.

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

A solid and humble servant of the Coalition, he was the perfect "poster boy" for everything the common foot soldier could aspire to be.

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

Since then, Holmes has been promoted numerous times for his gallantry and brilliant leadership.

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

It is not just General Holmes' 1,000+ enemy kills that makes him such an icon of bravery and soldiering excellence.

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

He is the soldier's soldier, and the infantry of the Coalition love him for it.

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

He is a military machine whose only concern is completing his mission, furthering the glory of the Coalition States, and ridding the world of D-Bees.

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

Such is the legacy of one of the Coalition's great superpatriots, a man of uncompromising principle and courage, a pillar of strength in the campaign that might change the face of the Coalition forever.

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

Note: This weapon was given to Holmes as a gift by Emperor Prosek on Holmes' 30th anniversary. The weapon is specially engraved along the barrel ("Duty. Courage. Honor.") and is Holmes' prize possession.

yes this is a guy that will have an impact on the war in case you're wondering

Oh, and let's recap some shit because it's bothering me:

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

Before long, Micander's mother had turned to prostitution, and his father was a burned-out alcoholic and drug addict. By the time Micander was twelve, his mother had committed suicide, and his father had simply vanished.

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

Clinically schizophrenic and a manic depressive, Moss is known as the "Black Widow" and "Spider Queen." This comes from her notorious habit of seducing men under her command, using them (for a few days, weeks, or months), and then having them transferred to the most hazardous duty she can find. For some reason, she is always able to find fresh meat who don't know about her despite the large body of rumors in the mill. Secretly, Moss lusts after General Drogue and swears that one day she shall have him, even if it means destroying herself in the process. She is obsessed with him and will do literally anything, including commit suicide on the spot, at his command.

Her bizarre personal situation aside...

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

When he was a teenager his father ran off with a D-Bee seductress and sorcerer, joined her gang and part of preyed upon the people of the Chi-Town 'Burbs for years as the notorious bandit group, the Street Raiders. Young Ghille hated his father for deserting them, the D-Bee bitch who lured him away and everything associated with them, including their D-Bee gang and their exploits.

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

She is a slender and attractive brunette who is deceptively innocent looking, but can kill a man or repair a gun faster than most. She enjoys this assignment because she can learn things from the scientists. Lt. Manheim finds herself attracted to the Major (for his brain if nothing else), but he has not noticed her, and professional decorum dictates she does nothing about her feelings. Still, she likes to hang around him and has become his unofficial bodyguard.

Gender issues, huh? But wait, there's one decent writeup of a woman:

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

Lt. Laquisha "Doc" Sanders, Unprincipled, 6th level CS Technical Officer trained as a Medic; skills include Biology, Criminal Sciences and Forensics, Pathology, and Medical Doctor.

See, there, balance! Wait, how the fuck do you stay Unprincipled with this pack of openly genocidal-

Next: Super Dirty Dozen 250% Plus Alpha.

"Destroying Tolkeen is a kind of personal jihad (holy war) for him, and he will not rest until the entire world is purged entirely of D-Bees ("the D stands for 'degenerate,' you know") and magic-using scum."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill, part 3 - "Destroying Tolkeen is a kind of personal jihad (holy war) for him, and he will not rest until the entire world is purged entirely of D-Bees ("the D stands for 'degenerate,' you know") and magic-using scum."

Let's recap something from the corebook:

Rifts RPG posted:

Principled (Good)
Principled characters are, generally, the strong, moral character.

Principled characters will . . .

1. Always keep his word.
2. Avoid lies.
3. Never kill or attack an unarmed foe.
4. Never harm an innocent.
5. Never torture for any reason.
6. Never kill for pleasure.
7. Always help others.
8. Work well in a group.
9. Respect authority, law, self-discipline and honor.
10. Never betrays a friend.
11. Never break the law unless conditions are desperate. This means no breaking and entry, theft, torture, unprovoked assaults, etc.

Scrupulous (Good)
Scrupulous characters value life and freedom above all else, and despise those who would deprive others of them. This type of hero is typically portrayed in many Clint Eastwood and Charles Bronson films; the person who is forced to work beyond the law, yet for the law, and the greater good of the people. They are not vicious or vindictive men, but are men driven to right injustice. I must point out that these characters will always attempt to work with or within the law whenever possible. Many cyber-knights are scrupulous.

Scrupulous Characters Will . . .

1. Keep his word to any other good person.
2. Lie only to people of selfish or evil alignments.
3. Never attack or kill an unarmed foe.
4. Never harm an innocent.
5. Never torture for pleasure, but may use muscle to extract information from criminals or evil characters.
6. Never kill for pleasure; will always attempt to bring the villain to justice alive no matter how vile he may be.
7. Always help others.
8. Attempt to work within the law whenever possible.
9. Bend and, occasionally, break the law when deemed necessary. This means they may use strong-arm techniques, harass, break and enter, theft, and so on.
10. Distrust authority.
11. Work with groups, but dislike confining laws and bureaucracy (red tape).
12. Never betrays a friend.

It'll be relevant shortly. (Also, man, did he ever actually watch Death Wish?)

The Dirty Thirty
By Bill Coffin
Additional text by Siembieda

So, this are supposed to be a ultra-ruthless Coalition Special Forces unit that is perfectly willing to wipe out civilian targets.

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

From this group's horrifying perspective, every D-Bee or magic wielding man, woman or child they kill makes the world safer for human beings. All others are either invading monsters from alien worlds or traitors to humankind — all of whom need to be exterminated. Period.

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

Get in the way, and you must be an enemy too.

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

While Captain Carruthers is an evil man, many of his soldiers are not. Many of them are well intentioned people who so fanatically believe in the Coalition's cause that they will do anything to further that cause and ensure their nation's survival. For these hard-hitters, murdering innocent women and children in Tolkeen is an oxymoron — the very fact that they are from Tolkeen negates their innocence.


No, you can't say people are "good" because they can justify the evil they're doing. The ability to justify evil is what makes them fucking evil! Dammit. Anyway, they're monsters, no matter what alignment ended up on their character sheet. YOU CAN'T PLEAD IGNORANCE WHEN GENOCIDE IS HAPPENING IN FRONT OF YOUR FACE, IT'S A CHILD'S EMPTY VERSION OF MORAL RELATIVITY, YOU VAPID HACK-


Okay, okay. Let's, I'm gonna calm down while I have this chocolate-almond bar. Look. I get that Siembieda really, really, really doesn't want you to consider the Coalition just targets to shoot at, to consider their human situations. And that's fair. It's become popular to just wish death on the intolerant and hateful, but it's not really something I say. I'm probably overly optimistic in the potential of people to change. Not every modern Nazi has to forever be a Nazi. Mind, I'm not so much of a pollyanna as to expect it.

That being said, if somebody is complicit in genocide, they're doing evil, and the fact that the book wants to both-sides things at that point is a intense failure of writing. It's exacerbated by the fact that Palladium has clear, strict rules for their alignments that make proper behavior for good alignments clear-cut.

Remember this face.

Moving on, their leader is the subtly code-named Capt. Murray "Carnage" Carruthers (Alignment: Aberrant). He's yet another Coalition party hardliner who believes that anything is justified under their national cause, and seeks out rulebreakers to recruit under the notion such "wild men" are more ethically flexible. Yet, despite recruiting people based on their ability to difficulty to control, he's a "military genius" who engages in "barbarity".

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

... (the Dirty Thirty once returned to base with the skulls of over a thousand Tolkeenites just to prove their deaths — many of the soldiers were wearing bones as decoration)...

Do you bring an extra APC just to load with heads, Captain? Did you take an extra several days to clean the corpses and pull out the bones? How does a unit given to atrocities remain "steady and stable", as this section claims? Well, it almost certainly wouldn't, but the author wants him to be the kind of person that puts literal heads on literal pikes, and yet maintains some level of military decorum? Sure, okay.

I'll be noting characters' alignments, just so you can get an idea of the whiplash going on in this section.

I could insert a Nazi parody of a famous '80s TV theme, but let's not.

With all of its squads named after letters, we start with the A-Team...

... who is led by Lt. Maxwell Selig (Alignment: Anarchist). These guys are the scouts and rangers of the group. Max really, really hates Tolkeen and is happy to murder any he can, but also loves nature and peace. Isn't that deep characterization? I won't cover every member of the squad, but here's a few:

"This is a smile, right? I haven't done it in awhile."

B-Team is their armor and air unit, relying on cyborgs and power armor. Its leader is Sgt. Mark Thresher (Alignment: Aberrant), who is a confident "master chess player" who was placed as the squad leader without serving on a single combat patrol. Presumably that means literal chess and not figurative chess, given his FNG status. Yet, somehow he's a 7th level SAMAS Pilot. Maybe they mean he hasn't had a single combat patrol with the unit? In any case, the squad resents him and wants him gone. They won't overtly disobey him, but might "ignore" him.

"Look, we can't be hip-deep in skulls all the time."

A few of their members:

The noblest neckbeard.

Sabotage and demolitions is handled by C-Team, who is led by Lt. Raul Auerbach (Alignment: Principled), who is troubled by Carruthers' and his peers' methods, and worries that his conscience makes him "impure" and that the rest of the unit might single them out if they find out. Despite his alignment, he goes along with this and is a "strident and self-righteous human supremacist", so, let's do it again. "Remember, just because they're inhuman filth, doesn't mean we have to worry about killing every- OH NO WHAT ARE YOU DOING IT'S HAPPENING AGAIN AAAAA-"

"I was trained in reverse medicine. It's like healing people, only you kill them."Dirty Thirty Hook, Line, and Sinkers
By Bill Coffin & Kevin Siembieda

So, we get some adventure hooks, since I know you are all so, so ready to include these guys in your campaign.
Yeah, this whole section is gross. Like, they're straightforward psychopathic villains, and that's dull but fine. But when it goes "actually some of the aren't so bad" or hints the PCs might work with them that the whole section goes from "meh" to "mafuck?"

This is followed by a Typical Combat O.C.C.s, and apparently the average Coalition soldier is 4th level despite the fact the Coalition went out of their way to do new recruitments for about half their force. Yes, it says they should be 2nd to 6th level. I guess the greenhorns are constantly on piss break when the players show up. Many have attributes that are well beyond what's likely for PCs, as well.

Next: Freelance Fascism.

"Speaking of which, he knows his current girlfriend and gang member, Sweet Sue, is a worthless, gold-diggin' hanger-on, but he doesn't care because he's having fun with her."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill, part 4 - "Speaking of which, he knows his current girlfriend and gang member, Sweet Sue, is a worthless, gold-diggin' hanger-on, but he doesn't care because he's having fun with her."

Coalition Bounty Hunters & Mercenary Agents
By Kevin Siembieda

So, it's possible to freelance for the Coalition, getting paid on assignment or for bounties. There are several jobs one can work as, all detailed here. Mercenary scouts and soldiers are paid monthly, with occasional bonuses for outstanding achievements. Raiders basically just get privateer-style treatment in exchange for staying out of the Coalition's way, though sometimes the Coalition will offer to buy (or just directly claim) major scores. Bounty hunters are paid by the head for eliminating monsters, or capturing Tolkeenities / Cyber-Knights / magic items. The top Coalition "Dead or Alive" list is, in order: King Robert Creed, Warlord Corin Scard, The Riparian (the ruling dragon of Freehold, to be forgotten and not mentioned much again), each member of Tolkeen's Circle of Twelve, The Great Purple Mage, and Erin Tarn.

"To me, my 卐--Men!"

Notable Mercs & Bounty Hunters

It turns out over 90-95% of mercenaries would rather be involved with the Quebec vs. Coalition conflict, for whatever reason. Still, that means there are hundreds of "Bounty Hunters and mercenary bands" working the Tolkeen conflict. Juicers have generally gone to the Tolkeen side, who has worked to treat them well thankfully. There are also gunfighters and mercenaries arriving from the west, so you can make more use of New West - most for Tolkeen because of their frontier spirit or something something. Psi-Stalkers are mostly fighting for the Coalition due to the Coalition's acceptance of the mutants, though they're seen on both sides.

Then we get Little Bobby & Big Drew, a gunfighter and bounty hunter (respectively) who work for the Coalition as villainous hit men along with their gang. And, as author darlings, they get five pages of detail, much of which is taken up by Little Bobby mugging for the camera as we're told what a badass he is.

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

"Say now, ain't you that Cyber-Knight, Sir Malcolm of Scottsdale? You know, I think 120,000 Coalition credits says you is. Don't leave yet, pardner. You kin do this the hard way or the easy way, it don't matter to me. An' don't go thinkin' I'd prefer the easy way, neither. I think it's only fair to give these nice people and pretty ladies a show. Now, watch ya say?" (Wink and a nod to the camera. Gunfight ensues. Cyber-Knight and three of his traveling companions go down in less than 30 seconds. Little Bobby grabs and kisses the nearest girl. Big Drew, who seemed to appear out of nowhere during the fight, just grins at his partner's audacity).

"See," says the Gunslinger, "ain't nothin' to it." (Enter the rest of the gang, miffed that they missed the action "again.")

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

If he feels especially confident, this banter may be part of a cat and mouse game ("Yoohoo, I see you. Ya all can run, boyo, but ya can't hide. I'm comin' for ya right as soon as I visit your family and have a little chat with them. Oh, no, I'm just kidding. Who would wanna hurt a single hair on that precious little girl's head? Why a man would have ta be crazy?" and, "Oh, I sure hope you have a gun hidden up your sleeve because killing ya any other way jus' wouldn't be challenging, now would it? Not that ya all would represent a challenge if ya had a rail gun hidden up your pant leg. Tell you what, go fer it. Draw first. Jus' so it'll be fair. I mean it. Here, I'll even turn my back." And so on.) A third of the time, this tactic will convince lone opponents to surrender (some actually break down and plead not to be killed).

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

On the few occasions he gets annoyed, Little Bobby doesn't get mad, he gets even. At such times he is fond of making a quip like, "Dude, it ain't the size that matters, its how fast I kin put two bullets in yer brain" (as he does just that or launches into a barrage of threatening and belittling jokes until the rude individual apologizes, flees or wets himself). Or he might smile and say, "Hey big man," (bang, bang — the shots ring out so fast unless one was looking right at him, you'd never know he fired them), "yer dead and my little feet is dancin' on yer grave. Ain't standin' bigger than me now, is ya?" On a good day, Little Bobby may be feeling magnanimous and only blow out the individual's knee caps to make his point.
That's just a choice selection of the sample brags on display, it just goes on and on and on. He believes he's the best gunslinger in history, but is only really 6th level, and is just an amoral braggart who goes around murdering folks for money. But he won't gun down an unarmed person (magic or enhancements count as armed) - generally, he prefers to goad his targets to make the first move. He has ridiculous, unrollable attributes, including that 1 in 1000 or so Physical Prowess of 24. Granted, even though his combat bonuses are great, he's stuck using pistols as a gunslinger, meaning his damage output is trash and limiting his in-game badassery. However, he gets a special Horror Factor of 15 as a unique NPC power because he's apparently that infuriating. More like... Annoying Factor? And that seems to be in addition to his Horror Factor of 12 as a gunslinger...

I know he's supposed to be insufferable, and the writing really backs that up... because it's insufferable, too.

Big Drew is Bobby's partner, and serves as the Silent Bob to Bobby's Jay. He washed out as a Justice Ranger for indeterminate reasons and became a Bounty Hunter before taking Bobby under his wing because he has "spunk". Gross, Drew. Mostly, he's in it for amoral adventure and is the brains of the operation since he's a "natural leader" and presumably has those magic leader genes like every other unhinged murderer in this book. Granted, he's having some pangs of conscience via the medium of bad dreams, but is trying to ignore it. Despite his natural leaderness, he only speaks when necessary. He's an 8th level Bounty Hunter with unrollable attributes.

We get the current members of the gang:

Remember that face? This version forgot to shave.

Ike Flint is another bounty hunter and cyborg, this time of the "crusty" variety that is too old for this shit and hates kids these days. He hates necromancers and shifters for mystery reasons, and occasionally employs trackers or extra guns in the form of psi-stalkers, headhunters, or... crazies? Also he'll just burn down a school or church to flush out a target because he's that ruthless. "He just exudes danger and power." Okay. He's a 12th level Bounty Hunter with minor psychic powers he uses to charge his techno-wizard weapons, which apparently the Coalition lets him have despite their explicit ban on such technology because-

His art is the same as that of Carruthers, the head of the Dirty Thirty, only somebody scribbled a beard and more wrinkles on top of the art. This isn't the first time we've seen this - a Kevin Long picture of a Juicer got a haircut via Siembieda to appear in another book, but doing this within the same book is... well, he'd have been better off just not having art for the guy, in my opinion.

The infamous Battle for the World's Shittiest Fence.

The Crimson Wing is a group of mysterious mercenaries that claim to be from Iron Heart and worked both sides of the war.

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

The leader of the Crimson Wing calls himself Red Falcone, and wears Colonel's stripes. (Funny, nobody calls him "Red," his men always refer to him simply as "Colonel.") He is a hardened warrior who constantly wears a frown and is as cold as ice. He is a brass tacks, down-to-business warrior who has no sense of humor, no tune for frivolity nor appreciation for the good things in life. If one didn't know better, one might think he's one of the Coalition's notorious hardcase officers with a corn-cob shoved up his ...

Well, it turns out he is a Coalition officer, but no details on what he might have shoved up his "...". All of the Crimson Wing are undercover Coalition agents in place to gather intelligence through taking Tolkeen assignments or to double-cross and eliminate Tolkeen forces. Red Falcone has no discernable personality than the above, and is just a patriot and cold fish. I'll only cover a few of the unit members. The Crimson Wing are all otherwise deliberately dull characters, but that, unfortunately, doesn't stop them from being actually dull. They seem like they'd be a neat reveal but there's not much to say about them otherwise. Of course, they also play into the "don't judge an NPC by their cover" theme we often see in Siembieda's writing where seeming good guys turn to be villains and vice-versa.

Next: For mature readers only.

"The thought of imprisoning thousands of innocent people and subjecting them to endless torment fills him with a child-like glee that is sickening to behold for all but the most vile and twisted individuals."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill, part 5 - "The thought of imprisoning thousands of innocent people and subjecting them to endless torment fills him with a child-like glee that is sickening to behold for all but the most vile and twisted individuals."

If you're not down with reading about death camps, torture, and implied sexual assault, you might want to give this update a skip.

"I do not like this missile-filled world you have summoned me to!"

The Twin Faces of Evil
By Bill Coffin
Additional text and ideas by Kevin Siembieda

We get no less than four fiction pieces, so in brief:Really not seeing two faces of evil here. Yes, Tolkeen is ruthless, but...

"Do you see me wearing a bathrobe? A pointy hat? Smoking a pipe? Get lost!"

General Drogue's "Projects"

So, there's the rare phenomenon of civilian villages turning out to have potent mages fighting back, and Drogue is using that as a pretense to declare all civilians as "potential militants". He's not looking to eliminate all civilians - though he'd like to, he sees it as a distraction that would just spur resistance. No, instead, he wants to convince Tolkeen soldiers and citizens that the Coalition will treat them fairly upon capture. This is false, of course, he has every intention of setting up literal death camps for them.

We also get new summaries of all of his current operations. While two have been mentioned - Operation Hardball, the elimination of Tolkeen's populace, and Operation Spoilsport, their sabotage effort. We also then get Operation Kingkiller, consisting of an attempt to assassinate King Creed and the Circle of Twelve, which has been a singular failure so far. We also have Operation Hailstorm, which is their main troop push towards Tolkeen.

Operation Hardball has two main efforts. One is to "dehouse" Tolkeen supporters and civilians by razing their communities to the ground. On paper, they're supposed to drive people out of town first, but on the ground, General Drogue's units rarely give them the privilege. The second consists of concentration camps. Well, they have a different name for them.

"When you think about it, this is really your fault, I read Tarn too."

The initial purpose of the Coalition "Detainment Camps" is just to separate D-Bees and human mages from "ordinary" humans. In theory, the D-Bees and mages will be shipped off to death camps for extermination, while mundane humans will be enslaved in work camps to build the eventual Coalition colony atop Tolkeen's ruins. There are currently three camps in Wisconsin: Camp Prosek, which is for sorting. Camp Purity is a death camp for D-Bees and spellcasters, though executions have not begun yet. Lastly, Camp Victory is a work camp for humans, though whether or not they'll eventually undergo the same extermination process is unclear. It may happen. In general, they're holding off on mass extermination to avoid having Tolkeen soldiers just start fighting to the death; the real slaughter will begin once Tolkeen is defeated.

Many Coalition soldiers assigned to these camps find their consciences proving to be an issue, and though many may bully, outright is torture outside of "fanatical misanthropes". Granted, I always thought the horror of real-life camps was just how easily ordinary people can turn to evil, but nope, just a few bad apples doing the real damage. Otherwise, they're just doing "cruel horse-play" or "jokes on the prisoners".

Protip for Death Camp Employees: abuse is abuse and being the lesser abuser is not an excusable moral position.

We get a lot of precise details on the height of the walls and the weapons on guard posts and how many suits of power armor there are. Since Drogue recognizes that people might be hesitant to throw D-Bees into furnaces, he has large contingents of skelebots to pull the trigger on prisoners if necessary. Similarly, the living guards are there in case anything goes wrong with the skelebots.

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

Prisoner Care

The severity of treatment a detainee may suffer depends on the individual camp commander and the soldiers under his command, but none of these places are home to any kind of decent or humanitarian impulses. Detainees are routinely harassed, bullied and beaten by their captors. Female detainees are often subjected to the basest of humiliation as they are assaulted and brutalized by those among the garrisons who have an appetite for cruelty. Openly slaughtering the detainees is discouraged, especially at human camps, since they are honestly scheduled for forced labor, and there is some effort to re-indoctrinate children (often taken from their parents). And these are the lucky ones.

"Ugh, is death poking me in the temple again? Dammit, death!"

Lt. General Nikoto Galva is yet another tired "brilliant but unstable" leader who's a big aficionado of suffering, and is essentially a serial killer who uses his military power to murder towns and the like. As such, Drogue put him in charge of the death camps, the two no doubt did their big sadism secret handshake. He's about as exciting as dried puppy shits.

I am so fucking done with this section, I barely have words. The fact it has to stop and remind us that death camp guards are human, too, gosh, many don't want bad things to happen, they just deal mild abuse, it's only literal insane people that can go through this, WHICH IS A CHILD'S HACKERY, YOU EMPTY-HEADED CAR CRASH OF A WRITER-


Next: Tolkeen's Tactics.

"Nobody has ever stopped the Coalition. Nobody!"

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill, part 6 - "Nobody has ever stopped the Coalition. Nobody!"

Wounded in the Butt by a Wizardly Manifestation of my Own Fascist Hubris.

Tolkeen Triumphant
By Kevin Siembieda and Bill Coffin

So, despite all this, Tolkeen has so far succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. The Coalition have just tried to blitz while they've been making creative use of magic and guerrilla forces. They're not really interested in actually defeating the Coalition in a straightforward fight, but just bogging them down so much that their morale and momentum is wrecked. They often use save-or-suck spells to disrupt enemy formations or otherwise separate out units, illusions to distract them, powerful defensive spells to cause them to waste their offense, etc. They rely a lot on sudden and surprise attacks with magic to try and keep Coalition troops rattled as well, as well trying to shock them with tactics like animated Coalition corpses ("Real 'Dead Boys'"). Teleportation and ley magic lets them ambush at nearly any time, and they can use flight magic to airlift troops silently.

"Seriously, guys, we're with the Coalition. We don't have any brains."

They have a "Shadows and Water" maneuver they've used several times, where when attacked, the "Water" unit falls back, creating an opportunity for hidden "Shadows" units to flank the Coalition force. Then the "Shadows" retreat and the "Water" unit advances. Then repeat, making sure to just flank relative to wherever the enemy focuses.

Similarly, they use magical force fields powered by ley lines and the like to make towns difficult to capture, requiring Coalition forces to resort to time-consuming urban pacification- and even when they succeed, sometimes Tolkeen has pushed them out again, putting up the same defenses, requiring the Coalition to do it all over again.

That doesn't mean Tolkeen doesn't have means of straight-up fighting. Using elementals or powerful spells, they can create disasters and other catastrophes. Furthermore, they have the Iron Juggernauts and powerful allies like dragons or demons. However, they have to be careful with their use of power, supplementing it with infantry forces and hitting in skirmish warfare rather than major battles. The Coalition just has greater numbers and greater skill in armored combat, so they use magic to pick their fights. Furthermore, they have the issue that most dragons won't cooperate with each other, so mass dragon formations are rare at best.

"Wait, the Coalition doesn't use Glitter Boys, so... who am I fighting...?"

In addition, Tolkeen has focused on hitting the Coalition's supplies. Their reliance on magic means Tolkeen doesn't require heavy supply lines, but the Coalition has countered by raiding and stealing from local communities. In general, though, Tolkeen can rely on local communities while they remain, and mages can replenish their power with a night of smug meditation.

We also get an outline of what the other powers think of this, the majority of which is predictable or relatively irrelevant to the conflict at hand. The more notable parts follow. Ishpeming and the Manistique Imperium are starting to question their alliance with the Coalition given that things aren't going so well. Increased bandit activity doesn't really affect Lone Star, but El Dorado is having an more direct war against emboldened outlaws that they're winning. Vampires are starting to cross the Rio Grande, thanks to the Cyber-Knights and other heroes being distracted by the Tolkeen conflict. And lastly, though the Federation of Magic is still remaining out of it, occasional "rogue" groups under Dunscon have been striking against the Coalition.

"Oh yeah, you can totally play Heil of Duty on this."

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

Note: As the situation with the Cyber-Knights, the treachery of the Federation of Magic, and the encroachment of the vampires illustrates, the real tragedy of the Coalition-Tolkeen War may be the loss of so many genuine heroes and warriors that there won't be enough to defend good and innocent people — humans and nonhumans, technologists and sorcerers alike — from the real villains and monsters in the world.

As if the Coalition doesn't count as a "real villain or monster" at this point...

Next: Cyberdemons.

"The tiny minority (10%) who opt for only one TW Weapon Arm (unless they get TW legs) are considered fools or cowards."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill, part 7 - "The tiny minority (10%) who opt for only one TW Weapon Arm (unless they get TW legs) are considered fools or cowards."

The Daemonix
By Kevin Siembieda
Inspired by the art of Kent Burles

The Daemonix are a new force being fielded by Tolkeen. It's unknown how Tolkeen came across them, but apparently they were liberated from "some hellish dimension" where they had been enslaved by "true" demons. In return for freedom, they were asked fight for Tolkeen. They were apparently shocked that they were asked instead of told, this being alien to them, and agreed, apparently won over by even the slightest bit of respect towards them.

They're believed to be some kind of proto-demons, and "real" demons look down upon them. Part of this is that though the Daemonix are rich in magical energy, they don't have much ability to tap into it, nor do they usually have the mindset to master magic. However, Tolkeen has found a way to overcome this by giving the Techno-Wizard (abbreviated to TW hereafter) appendages to channel their magic through. Supposedly they can have these bionic devices attached because they're mere "sub-demons" like Brodkil or Gargoyles, and don't have regeneration that would otherwise interfere with implantation. They're so thrilled with this that some have even self-multilated to try and encourage more attachments.

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

Note: Due to the alien nature of the Daemonix, this form of bionic-style TW augmentation only works on members of their race. It does not work on humans, D-Bees, Brodkil, Gargoyles or other supernatural beings. Bionics has the opposite effect on most beings, diminishing and blocking magic energy rather than releasing it in any usable way, shape or form. The Daemonix are truly unique.)

However, while they are ridiculously grateful to Tolkeen, they're still demons, and don't have much regard for humanoids not allied with Tolkeen. In addition, they're rivals with Brodkil and Gargoyles, and will attempt to bully them if not stopped. They particularly hate proper demons, and it's easily for them to be goaded into a rage by their former masters. They also don't like other supernatural beings in general, and such is the main point of concern for Tolkeen in trying to control them. There's also the matter of what to do with them after the war, but that's a different issue.

Another serious issue presented by the demons is that the Psi-Stalkers for whatever reason see them as natural enemies. Wait, natural? Don't they come from different worlds? Well, in any case, the majority of the Psi-Stalkers working for Tolkeen desert the war effort (granted, that's only like 200 or so of them), and are rallying their tribes to defeat the Daemonix should they venture outside of Tolkeen's borders, or if they show signs of "unwarranted brutality or torture" against humanoids.

Ultimately, the Daemonix are part of Tolkeen's "Phase Two", trying to remain unpredictable and throw the Coalition off their game.

The Daemonix Revealed

The Daemonix are aquatic and nocturnal in nature, and are tougher and stronger in water or at night. As such, they're often engage in naval ambushes. They're resistant to lightning and cold, but vulnerable to fire and heat. In general, they have solid to great M.D.C. values, but like a lot of high-HP supernatural monsters, they don't have any real way to dish out damage other than claws and bites - most of which don't do significant damage. They have basic sensitive psychic powers, as well. Were it not for their techno-wizard additions, they'd be singularly dull monsters. After all, they're mostly thugs with high strength and toughness, but middling mental attributes. M.D.C. values here are averaged.

"Watch where you're going, you big galoot!"

Flatulence (230 M.D.C.) supposedly means "he who is most foul and cunning", these are the smallest of the Daemonix. And by small, I mean about two dozen feet long and four tons. They have belly tentacles, TW legs that leave no sound or tracks, a right arm that casts light and fear spells, a left arm that fires lightning or a variety of "status effect" or mind control spells. They're supposed to be the sneaky ones.

Attack of the Terrible Toad Man.

The Manslayers (450 M.D.C.), aka "he who battles", are the generic born warriors of the Daemonix. They chose the sword instead of the ball, presumably. They have natural sunglass eyelids so they can stare at the sun, and super-eyes that can see a broader range of light. They have a choice between three arms: a "Wind and Fury" TW arm that shoots air and lightning spells, a "Battle" TW arm that shoots a variety of magical energies, or lastly a "Lance" stabbing arm that increases their melee damage modestly. Many have "Crown of Defense" that gives bonuses against psionics and lets them cast a number of defensive spells. A few have unnamed TW legs that give them enhanced speed and leaps. Generic fighty 18' cyberdemons.

When all you have is a skewer, everything looks like kebab.

Immolators (765 M.D.C.), or "he who destroys", are really, really excited to wreck it. They're all about destroying stuff because that's what it says in the description. They're the physically strongest of the Daemonix in this book, and are "natural born warriors". Ah, I see more that picked the sword, and not the ball. They're generally given TW Legs to improve their speed, a right arm that can case wind spells or magic net, a left arm that gives them anti-magic tricks and save-or-suck (wait, why, what you doing, you dumb wizards), and rods of power on their back that let them cast a bunch of random but powerful magic. I'm not sure why they're giving so much potential to the Daemonix that just want to burn it all down, but I suppose adding any power to these guys is a questionable decision in the first place.

giddy yup

The Hangdogs (450 M.D.C.), "he who serves", are treated as a shitty beasts of burden even by other Daemonix. They are constant complainers, though other Daemonix are familiar and generally ignore it. They actually do enjoy being used as beasts of war, though, since it's a break from the usual hard labor they're put to. Though they make for nice color, stat-wise, they're just generic monsters save for their increased carrying capacity.

The Spineless Ones.

Lastly, we have the Basil (1125 M.D.C.), the "Overmasters" of the Daemonix. They look like a torso with eyes and arms, and as such, had only one request as far as TW limbs go: legs. They are powerful psychics, so they avoid other TW geegaws, focusing on telepathic and kinetic "super" psionic powers. Though this gives them powerful save-or-slump powers, it means they're huge damage sponges with no strong offense. They're supposed to be sneaky schemers, though what schemes they have are left entirely vague.

Honestly, the Daemonix at least have some neat ideas to dig into and some rad art. I dread the time they break free and become another Generic Threat - I feel like you could take them in interesting directions rather than just having them be Tolkeen's Big Mistake.

CORRECTION: I'm sorry, the actual name of the first Daemonix is "Feculence". We here at FATAL & Friends deeply regret this error.

CORRECTION: It was previously stated that there was regret involved in accidentally misnaming the Feculence. This was also in error.

CORRECTION: It was previously stated that the Feculence was "accidentally" misnamed. This turns out to have not been accidental at all, but a deliberate error.

CORRECTION: It turns out the Basal was also misnamed as "Basil". Our deepest regrets in regards to this mistake.

CORRECTION: We stated there was regret in renaming the Basal. This turns out this too was a bunch of bullshit.

CORRECTION: You cut and pasted to read this far. Admit it.


"She, like the 3,000 other people of this sleepy, peaceful town, had all died (mostly in their sleep) from the Coalition's pre-dawn raid."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill, part 8 - "She, like the 3,000 other people of this sleepy, peaceful town, had all died (mostly in their sleep) from the Coalition's pre-dawn raid."

That's a weird parenthetical note. Is it meant to imply they didn't suffer? If so, why? This book hasn't exactly flinched from other Coalition-driven suffering. It feels like a Siembiedan addition, but maybe he throught the original text was unclear?

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

All of Sorville's people were dead.

No, that's not it either. Dammit, this is going to bug me. Not as much as the ability of Rifts dolphins to track flying saucers, or the complete plot absence of Charles Baxter Reed, the top general of the Coalition army, but... what... why...?

By Bill Coffin
Additional text & ideas by Kevin Siembieda

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

This section contains a number of escapades that involve story lines spun out from how the Coalition is handling itself in a less than honorable manner while invading Tolkeen.

Actually, it only contains one escapade. Also, "less than honorable" is a weird euphemism for "genocidal".

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

This section features a few full-length adventures for your Siege on Tolkeen campaign.

Just the one. It's only one.

And that one adventure is Asher's Revenge. See, the Coalition have the CAF-1, a new bombing aircraft modeled after the Spruce Moose and the Antonov AN-225 Mriya. On its first service run, it bombed a civilian town known as Sorville, annihilating it. The only survivor was Asher Grey, who had been shopping in the next town over before returning to a crater. His wife died in the conflagration, and so he looks to the sky and swears vengeaaaance.

Then he fucks completely off and reveals his dragon form as Aurelor the Magnificent.

It turns out Aurelor was a good guy dragon who got tired of fighting and retired as a human. He found love and settled down like Unforgiven but with a dragon, hoping Tolkeen nearby would help keep things peaceful. Irony! The dragons of Freehold then stopped by, and were like "Hey you should cut this human crap out and be a rad dragon." and he was like "Nah, I'm cool." And they were like "Foolish fool, you will regret this foolishness foolishly!" and fucked off. Then the Coalition bombed his wife, and he turned to them for vengeaaaance. But they were like "We told you you would regret it, we told you you so, fuck off!" So he made a phone call to other dimensions or something to summon his old buds Nikoden Shodai (a Japanese dragon) and Corrigal of the Nine (a Greek dragon). Also he looked for mortal adventurers to aid him, promising treasure and also favors.

Player characters, that's your cue, enter stage left.

"I'm gonna strangle you right in the sealed armor- wait."

Then Aurelor sends a message via magic pigeons to a number of Coalition general and Emperor Prosek to be like "I'm gonna smash your stupid plane and the stupid commander that sent it and if you get in my way I'll smash you too." And the Coalition is like "Well, time to kill a dragon!" Then they get on opposite sides of the screen and it's heaven or hell let's rock.

We get stats for Aurelor the Magnificent (14th Level Great Horned Dragon, 8,500 M.D.C.), Nikiden Shodai (12th level Kumo-Mi Dragon, 8,100 M.D.C.), and Corrigal of the Nine (12th level Hydra, 8,000 M.D.C.). Nikiden, or "Niki the Just", is generically honorable and benevolent (being a Japanese dragon) and is here because of a debt, but also wants to try and talk Aurelor down or at least curb his bloodthirst. Corrigal of the Nine is a doof, but was saved by Aurelor once and owes him a life debt. He's a good guy with two bonus heads who likes to fight.

The adventure presumes the PCs have joined with Aurelor, either for Tolkeen, against the Coalition, or for goodies, fame, or favors. They really have two options: try and sneak into the base or try and intercept the CAF-1 on its next mission. The base plan has the big issue that if the PCs fail their sneaking and fail to quickly eliminate anybody that spots them, they're in for a fight the game system simply cannot process. The base has over 200 soldiers and skelebots as well as naval support. Granted, even if they intercept in the sky, we're dealing with 32 Super SAMAS, 8 Warbird Rocket Cycles, and 4 Shrike Interceptor jets to track in addition to the CAS-1, not to mention the three dragons and the PCs. The system breaks in any scenario other than sneaking, even with optional rules to make the CAS-1's gunfire mostly just "dramatic" and likely to miss the PCs more often than not.

Supposing the GM finds some way to run this combat without a marathon of miserable dice rolling, the CAF-1 will presumably be brought down.

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

Of course, the Game Master is at liberty to decide where the CAF-1 crashes; it is entirely possible the heroes could damn one town by saving another if the CAF-1 crashes on settled territory and its bomb load detonates.

This is just the feel-good book of 2000, isn't it? It also suggest it might explode, or they could salvage weapons from it, but that the Coalition will try and take it out with cruise missiles if they realize it's down. Of course, you spend 150+ million on a plane, just blow it up. It's disposable, right? Either way, Aurelor will be sure to reward the PCs.

Afterwards, Aurelor will go after Lt. General Zachary Kael, the guy who ordered the attack on his town, though he may die in the battle, as he's piloting one of the escorts, as Lt. Generals do. After that, Aurelor will possibly be finished- or he'll go after Drogue, but... well. It wouldn't be a Bill Coffin adventure without Siembieda shouting "You can't take away my toys, Coffin, they're my toys, miiiine, it's not fair, give them back!"

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

Of course, the odds of Aurelor successfully getting General Drogue are slim and none (see the notes under Asher Grey/Aurelor's description).

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

General Drogue will be the next target because he is the mastermind behind the current Tolkeen offensive. After that, Aurelor plans on killing the leaders of the Coalition Army's main battle groups. However, getting to General Drogue may prove to be impossible even for this ancient champion. Drogue is nestled safely in the middle of the Coalition's main army in Wisconsin, his precise whereabouts kept secret so assassins can not find him (a third of the time he's actually in Chi-Town). Getting to him will mean facing an entire field of over 20,000 soldiers, entire brigades of CS tanks, robots, power armor and aircraft. This is suicide even for the great and powerful Aurelor the Magnificent, and certain death for anybody crazy enough to follow him. The dragon is so grief-stricken that he will not listen to reason, and even if all of his allies, fellow dragons included, abandon him, or die following him, he will press forward, fighting to the death. (Finding General Drogue will be difficult and any lead Aurelor may follow only has a 01-18% chance of being accurate — thus the hated General is not even likely to be where Aurelor and his allies attack. Their deaths will have been for nothing.)

Yeah, a 10,000 year old dragon can't outwit a 49 year old human that's only about half as smart as he is. Not with his shapechanging, invisibility, and multiple means of teleportation. Yes, the Coalition has psychics and Dog Boys, but all Aurelor really needs is an accurate location, and then he can just teleport right up and give Drogue the business. Think about your statblocks, Kevin!... but I guess an ancient old dragon is dumb enough to go charging in against 20,000 troops. Makes you wonder how he survived that long, huh? This can't be the first time he's lost a love. What a lucky duck he's been.

Out of nowhere during the aftermath, it gives the possibility that maybe the PCs were in it to defend the CAF-1, which makes sense if the PCs love skulls, genocide, and being war criminals. You'll get all sorts of commendations! If it survives, it'll go on saturation-bombing soft-targets until Tolkeen eventually brings it down to make sure that decision branch is closed.

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

The question is, will the player group be on it when it happens?

No one would weep if they were.

A more interesting suggestion is to allow the players to run the dragons on their bit of vengeance as a side story during a regular Siege on Tolkeen, and then have the outcome influence your campaign.

Naturally, we get stats for the CAF-1 Leviathan (5,000 M.D.C.), if not art, and it turns out to be yet another one of Drogue's "Special Projects". It was originally a design mothballed as requiring too much risk and too much upkeep, but Drogue liked the idea of a big fuckoff plane and here we are. It can land on air or water, go 550 MPH, carry several companies of troops, has more rail guns and missiles than any GM should have to deal with, bombs, etc. It can't carry as many bombs as one might expect, mainly because the Coalition hasn't developed a bomb delivery system large enough for it.

Now, here in Tolkeen... the spell is broken. And we live again!


Well, got a new candidate to compete with Africa, Spirit West, or Index 2 for worst Rifts book. The Daemonix part isn't bad, but a lot of the rest of the book is just miserable, and the sad fact is that it's just a matter of degrees. If the new Coalition offensive was presented purely for what it is - a monstrous crime against humanity and D-Beery, that'd be ham-handed as fuck, and possibly in poor taste. But it'd have been in line with the setting and grim, but not quite as poisonous as it ends up being.

Instead, it tries to desperately try and humanize mass murdering war criminals by peppering in the occasional Principled character, even though there's no way a character like that could remain functional at that alignment. It keeps also just trying to "both-sides" things, pretending that Tolkeen is somehow just as bad, and it just... doesn't work so far. It's disastrously mishandled. They want to introduce shades of grey for Tolkeen with the Iron Juggernauts or Daemonix... but in both cases the exact ramifications of both forces are unknown. Yeah, maybe the Iron Juggernauts are created using some type of living sacrifice, but they're willing for all we know. The Daemonix are evil, we're told, but mostly just seem to be strangely sympathetic, like puppy dogs that followed some wizards home. Meanwhile, death camps? Those are purely, unambiguously evil, and that's impossible to wiggle around. And the worst part is that it tries. It tries to excuse JUST FOLLOWING ORDERS BULLSHIT AROUND ACTUAL GENOCIDE, OH WERE YOU JUST IGNORANT THE CHILD HAD FEELINGS I GUESS IT'S OKAY YOU SHOT THEM MAJOR WHAT THE UNFUCK SIEM-



When I was a kid, I had a toy, his name was Lord Dread. Lord Dread was a cyborg who believed that the future of mankind was in being converted into a digital form, after which they would be eventually uploaded to immortal, emotionless "perfect" robot bodies. But there were parallels in terms of color schemes and logos with the "Bio-Dread" forces deliberately similar to Nazism, with the extermination of humanity deliberately played as similar to the extermination of the Jews. Hell, they even had a "Dread Youth" organization. And they were, frankly, mostly successful- the grand majority of the world's population had already been "digitized" by Dread. And you could play with him. As a toy. As a child.

Lord Dread wasn't unique. My Stormtrooper toys were modeled off of, well, stormtroopers. While Cobra diverged pretty heavily from straightforward Nazi stereotypes, they were inspirational descendants of Marvel's Hydra organization, and there's a line of fascism throughout. Megatron, probably not coincidentally, turned into a Nazi gun. Nazism was, in short, often the inspirational shorthand for villainy. Of course, the toyetic nature of the 1980s meant that these weren't just characters on children's TV. They were toys sold to children to play with. In short, playing the bad guys was sold to us as a valid mode of play.

And to an extent, that's not all that bad... as long as you know they're bad guys. And there were usually limits to the parallels, unlike Lord Dread. And while Siembieda is too old to be a child of the 1980s, he was a avid toy collector and he no doubt got to go through that. And, much like those toys, the Coalition is a bunch of villains with neat designs that borrow from the Nazi aesthetic. The problem is that, as we grow up, often genre fans things to be more "adult", more serious, and less simple. And the Coalition are definitely that. The problem is that the parallels then wash away. When you start giving body counts and death camps, you're no longer dealing with a motley crew of scheming fascists run by Yosemite Sam in a high register. Suddenly, "villain play" becomes far darker. And trying to make them seem sympathetic? Forget about it.