1 "In fact, reports say that Coalition veterans wept as they made their way among the bloodied and dying Quebec troops."
2 "Time to pull out those two Atlantis sourcebooks."
3 "But this is no earthy seductress, but a tiger ready to strike and tear fools to ribbons."
4 "This flying turkey carver is more powerful and mysterious than a Golem, and goes beyond the known limits of Techno-Wizardry."
5 "Always seem dark, sinister and dangerous."
6 "This melancholy vagabond has given up adventuring, and chooses to wander through life as a disheveled and grubby hobo."
7 "Note: Shora rather enjoys wearing the skimpy outfits the Warrior Women are known for, something that has made her, unknowingly, a bit of a pinup queen among other Tolkeenite soldiers and mercenaries."
8 "This very claim is why Soribold slew the adventurers — for he has tangled with the Defilers before and knew firsthand that these two jokers were making an illegitimate claim.
9 "Oh, and to steal a line from an old television show, 'there are a million stories in the naked city.'"
10 "Its destruction and the death of all in the compound is an incident the General regrets, but war is Hell, and they were the enemy; the majority not even human."
11 "Designer's Note: I had originally planned to present this area in excruciating and delightful detail."
12 "Those troops hesitant to mow down unarmed women and children (90% of the Dog Boys are included in this group), even D-Bee women and children, will try to give them a chance to flee while the soldiers zero in on obvious resistance fighters, armed adults, monsters, dragons, spell casters and the more monstrous and alien looking D-Bees."
13 "When the 'Hard Rain' bombardment commences, it uses non-nuclear warheads (although the term "nuked" is still used to describe the destruction)."
14 "I hope you don't mind."
15 "As always, keep those imaginations burning, and we'll keep trying to provide the fuel that feeds them. - Kevin Siembieda, 2001"

"In fact, reports say that Coalition veterans wept as they made their way among the bloodied and dying Quebec troops."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Coalition Wars 6: Final Siege posted:


I'm impressed you made it this far.

Coalition Wars 6: Final Siege posted:

Violence, War, Magic & the Supernatural

It's too bad, but this is where your journey ends.

Coalition Wars 6: Final Siege posted:

The fictional world of Rifts® is violent, deadly and filled with supernatural monsters. Other-dimensional 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.

You've proved quite resourceful.

Coalition Wars 6: Final Siege posted:

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

But your cleverness won't save you this time.

Coalition Wars 6: Final Siege 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.

Finally, the power of the true metaplot... will be unleashed!

Coalition Wars 6: Final Siege, Part 1- "In fact, reports say that Coalition veterans wept as they made their way among the bloodied and dying Quebec troops."

No time to talk about Kevin Siembieda or Bill Coffin as they perform a crash landing of storytelling. The fans are revolting! Abort! Abort!

In the shadow of victory
Circa 109 PA

So, if something was mentioned in previous books, don't worry. It'll get mentioned again. It's not like this is a series or anything where they can assume you bought the last book. it's time to recap. So, many in Tolkeen think they've won after the "Sorcerer's Revenge"... three books ago? Three books ago. Anyway, they're partying and kicking Coalition helmets and retiring to sip boat drinks on Lake Huron. Though Tolkeen's leadership warned that the Coalition might attack again, lots of people hung up Mission Accomplished banners and pranced around in flight suits, while sending Prosek buttpics with "U SUK AT GENOCIEDS".

Meanwhile, Prosek grips his mega-damage wineglass ever-tighter while he sits in Coalition HQ, "I DO NOT SUCK AT GENOCIDE, I AM VERY GOOD AT IT AND I WILL KILL EVERYONE WHO SAYS OTHERWISE!"

"Who forgot to make our missiles look like skulls?! Back to the drawing board!"

All of this is a bit plot-convenient. It makes some sense that volunteer soldiers might leave at this point because they think things are over, but conversely, a bunch of mercenaries leave because they don't think it's over. You'd think one would impact the other in some way, but no. The Coalition's gotta win this one- er, I mean, who could possibly win the day? It's a mystery! The Coalition is just sitting on their duff waiting for peace to bleed Tolkeen out, and then launch their assault. With the smaller army, Tolkeen consolidates its forces back to Tolkeen and Freehold. Moreover, the Federation of Magic "implied" they might help out if Tolkeen is under siege, which... I don't remember happening, but maybe I missed it. In any case, Tolkeen is hoping to hold out until the Summer Solstice in just over a week, when magical power will spike and they'll be able to drop the magical hammer on the Coalition forces. Which is logical, but it's interesting that this is the first time that kind of timing has come up - the conflict has gone on well over a year, you'd think times of magical power would have come up at least several times previously.

Between the margins, Free Quebec apparently came to an agreement with Tolkeen. Tolkeen would aid them in a major battle, trying to crush the Coalition's morale after the Sorcerer's Revenge with a surprise attack on the rear line of the anti-Quebec Coalition forces. Moreover, Tolkeen offered to advise Free Quebec on how to eliminate Lazlo, because apparently they've now gone Full Skeletor for some reason. In any case, during the battle, Tolkeen brought a large continent of demons without telling Quebec, and and as the demons moved to attack the Coalition, the Free Quebec soldiers with them attacked the Tolkeen forces. Whether or not Quebec always intended to betray Tolkeen or if they just decided on the spot is unclear, but they joined forces with the Coalition and fought off the demonic horde. Though Tolkeen retreated with only modest losses, the Quebecois were pretty well slaughtered. Their deaths, though, were inspirational to both the Coalition and Free Quebec. Somehow.

This gave Emperor Prosek the motivation - or excuse - to put an end to the war with Free Quebec and acknowledge their independence. Of course, the Coalition population seems relatively unbothered by the fact they had a leader that put their people into an ugly war in which tens or hundreds of thousands died and is like "Whups, my bad!" But, in any case, the Coalition could now turn their full attention against Tolkeen.

Not to scale.

And so, the Coalition military does a scorched-earth campaign heading towards Tolkeen. The reduced Tolkeen forces fall back to Tolkeen while the Barrens slows the advance. However, massive Coalition firepower eliminates most of the remaining Tolkeen fortifications. While at times they allow civilians to flee, for the most part the Coalition just guns down anyone or anything in their path. Where ambushes and summoned surprises pop up, the Coalition uses quick aerial responses to counter them.

Even so, the coming of the Solstice might have countered all this. However, as revealed in Rifts Coalition Wars 5: Shadow of Evil, the Coalition army under General Jericho Holmes presumed dead in the Xiticix Hivelands survived and has returned. Taking on the question as to how Tolkeen would miss 300,000+ soldiers sitting on their Northern stoop, we get a finger-shake and are reminded that radio communication is unreliable thanks to the magical and dimensional energy disrupting them. This, of course, ignores that a lot of Tolkeen's communication is magical - all it takes is one Ley Line Walker using ley line transmission or magic pigeon to ruin their day. However, apparently Tolkeen and the Coalition just assumed they were all dead and called it a day. Ironically, though we're told air elementals summoned by Tolkeen may have noticed them, their alien minds dismissed anything that wasn't flying. Plot convenience!

Rifts Coalition Wars 6: Final Siege posted:

A student of pre-Rifts military history, the Japanese's attack on Pearl Harbor during World War II keeps coming to mind. In this case, his troops are the Japanese, the defenders at Tolkeen are Pearl Harbor begging to be bombed. Like Pearl Harbor, the troops in Tolkeen's northern quadrant are too cocksure of their power and defenses.

Uh, Siembieda, you do know that Pearl Harbor happened while we were at relative peace...? It's not the best metaphor. In any case:Though Tolkeen does notice some Coalition soldiers and spies, they don't make any connection between them and the larger force to the North.

Rifts Coalition Wars 6: Final Siege posted:

Even if their surface thoughts are scanned by telepaths or they are forced to reveal secrets by magical means or torture, they can not reveal the full scope of the operation, because these agents don't know it.

They don't need to reveal the scope - because every one of these agents would be from Jericho's force in the North, and would know of its presence, and be able to reveal it. But apparently he has conditioned all 300,000 of his men so well and given them such powerful feelings of revenge and hatred that their minds can't be read by psychics. I feel like there had to be somebody pointing out behind the scenes - Coffin or otherwise - that this wouldn't work, because Siembieda is absolutely insistent as to why it would and will take any contrivance to do so.

Rifts Coalition Wars 6: Final Siege posted:

Note: Also remember, the Tolkeenites are convinced that General Holmes and his army are destroyed. They have no reason to believe or suspect otherwise, let alone consider that he may be poised to attack them. Their own conviction of belief (and denial) will prevent Tolkeen's leaders from recognizing the truth or suspecting danger even if the clues present themselves before the attack, as they did during World War II at Pearl Harbor.

Yep, despite having literal precognitives, scriers, and the ability to summon evil ghost spies, Tolkeen is like "Boy, no way they'd try and sneak in behind us! Unpossible!" Plot convenience.

"Perhaps you would like to finally admit this really both our fault?!"

And so, Tolkeen is caught off guard when 8,000 Coalition SAMAS troops fly in from 200 miles away, that's like... 60 minutes for Tolkeen to notice something on the radar, but whatever. Tolkeen has scout vehicles later on with 100 mile radius radar, so no idea how they missed this. But nope, they notice nothing, and the attackers make a beeline for source of magical power, that they've identified... somehow, despite most Coalition soldiers being kept deliberately illiterate and ignorant of magical stuff. They blow up magical pyramids, techno-wizard facilities, etc., before turning to ravage the city's defenses.

Oh, and the Federation of Magic officially tells Tolkeen to get fucked, which is apparently a surprise. It should be no surprise to the reader, given that that's the exact stance they've had in every book leading up to this point, but apparently we're retconning that they did offer help so they can go back on it. Not sure what the point of that is other than to give Lord Dunscon +1 to his Villainy Total, and +50 to his Being a Boring Guy Who Scoots Around On His Ass Making Boat Sounds Total.

The whole Holmes gambit is so obviously forced that it doesn't strike as genius like Siembieda seemingly wants me to.

Rifts Coalition Wars 6: Final Siege posted:

A testament to the General's powers of observation, resourcefulness and daring.

Rifts Coalition Wars 6: Final Siege posted:

Few leaders anywhere in the world could get their troops to trust in them so strongly that they would literally follow him into the jaws of death, and once gripped in those jaws, to hold together under such perilous conditions.

Rifts Coalition Wars 6: Final Siege posted:

The careful and cunning General Holmes was free to conduct his troops unopposed and undiscovered.

Rifts Coalition Wars 6: Final Siege posted:

With the power and genius of General Jericho Holmes brought into play, the Coalition Army feels energized.

Personally, he just feels lucky to me, and that's me being more generous than Scrooge after nine Christmas ghosts. So many things could have gone wrong with his plan were the author not on his side - Holmes is not so much a character as a walking, breathing plot device, a contrivance in imaginary skin.

Next: An actual, honest-to-goodness siege.

"Time to pull out those two Atlantis sourcebooks."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Coalition Wars 6: Final Siege, Part 2- "Time to pull out those two Atlantis sourcebooks."

Tolkeen Under Siege

... starring Steven Seagal.

Rifts Coalition Wars 6: Final Siege posted:

This is it! The final siege.

There is no turning back. Winner takes all!

POV: Home Office

Alien Rope Burn can be seen, slumped in a chair, a thousand-yard stare on his face as he slowly turns to face the viewer.

Alien Rope Burn: Thank Thoth.

"Really, this is just a tragedy for everyone!"

So, though the forcefield and defense system rises on Tolkeen, it's too late as Holmes' forces cause chaos throughout the city. The destruction of the magical control mechanisms throughout the city causes magic to start misfiring and going wild. Some techno-magical devices go up, increase in power, or just explode. Magical rituals go wild, creatures are summoned out of nowhere, and ley line storms and rifts tear through the city. People get teleported around randomly. The defense system goes up and down, the shields down long enough for the Coalition to move in. The fighting goes on around Tolkeen, Freehold, and Magestock. We're told "It's your show now". A little late to hand us the keys now that the car's out of gas...

Rifts Coalition Wars 6: Final Siege posted:

While Tolkeen's fate may be sealed, how events unfold for specific characters, groups, organizations, and our player characters are yet to be played out. As Erin Tarn noted as the onset of the war, these are the small, always poignant stories that are sometimes lost in the larger tapestry of war. While they may not influence the outcome of the war, they are the real heroes and villains who make a difference to countless people. These are the times that try a man's soul and turn characters into heroes, villains, cowards or traitors. Some will live. Some will die. These are YOUR stories. Explore them to the fullest and enjoy the drama.

"It's your story. Except the parts that aren't, like the outcome of the story. Play on!"

We get maps and general guidelines of where the Coalition forces go - half attacks this, half attacks that, this sends a third this way - but it's all very generalized strategic information that ends up being a lot of words that don't really help the GM-on-the-ground. While I'm not sure if we'd actually benefit from troop counts, having some idea who the commanders of the battle on the situation are would help, what their tactics are like, specific skirmishes or important turning points in the battle... but no. Literally, Holmes is the only guy with numbers we know for a fact is commanding. Not sure if Drogue's flunkies are still in play. We do get that the Coalition is just thinking of nuking the dragon-ruled Freehold, and the Techno-Wizard town of Center Gear has been set up as a trap to blow up the Coalition after they're lured in.

"Mistakes have been made all around!"

Tolkeen: City in Chaos
When the magic Fails

Magic is going crazy! We just got told this, but we're told again at length. All three cities - Tolkeen, Freehold, and Magestock are all impacted by this. We first get some penalties for GMs to leverage on Techno-Wizard items, like shutting off, reduced effect, bonuses, range, etc. There's no guidelines of how best to approach it, it's just to be applied arbitrarily. There are also ley line storms, but those were already reprinted in Coalition Wars 1: Sedition.

Speaking of things to be applied arbitrarily, we get Table One: Inadvertent Teleportation Table, which will most likely affect those near ley lines or using transportation magic, but there's no hard and fast rule when the GM should be inflicting this on PCs. We get about three pages of tables for locations around the city or the warzone you might be transported to. There's an outside chance you might be transported to some place like Old Chicago, Detroit, or the Magic Zone, which will effectively result in most PC groups just being effectively removed from the conclusion of the event.

Then there's Table Two: Spell Magic Backlash, which afflicts any spell cast within two miles of one of the local ley lines or if you're near some magical utility system on Tolkeen going haywire. That's less arbitrary, good on you, Palladium. We get your standard "wild magic" sort of table, including reduced or increased effect, getting knocked on your ass, raising the dead, turn into a big magic person zapper (like a bug zapper, but for people), accidentally summoning entities, etc.

Lastly, we have Table Three: Random Dimensional Anomalies that occur every 1d6 hours around two miles of a ley line. Part of the city might be replaced with another dimension. A dimensional rift might open to a nearby warzone or to... Atlantis or to a site from a Dimension Book. Keep buyin' those books, because you need any one of them! Gravity might be affected, characters might vanish for awhile, demons pop out, get moved temporarily in time, etc. Probably the most fun table because it opens up adventure / encounter possibilities for PCs, at least when it isn't just dicking folks with disasters.

Rifts Coalition Wars 6: Final Siege posted:

Players and readers sometimes seem to forget that Rifts Earth is a post-apocalyptic world covered by vast stretches of treacherous wilderness.

This is a familiar refrain. Siembieda wants to emphasize that just traveling through wild terrain slows down the Coalition, which... don't they have hover transports? Hover tanks? Spider-Skull Walkers? I mean, they do have some vehicles impacted by terrain, but he seems to often forget airlifting troops and vehicles is a thing. Yes, Tolkeen can do a lot to slow them down, but Siembieda excels at talking down to the reader here. Moreover, going over all this is a bit academic when we know the Coalition will penetrate the city. "But look how hard it was!" Yes, we've had five other books to go over that, and yet, we have a reprint of a lot of the details on earthworks and other defensive structures from Rifts Coalition Wars 5: Shadow of Evil. Moreover, a lot of the terrain is nuked into a nice flat parking lot of glassy death. Let's move on.

The Tri-City Area.

Rifts Coalition Wars 6: Final Siege posted:

War is hell, and now you can see one reason why. There is more to it than running at the enemy and shooting a gun. A lot more.

Mississippi is the last defensive line, provided by elementals, Juggernauts, and Daemonix. The Coalition air forces are able to bypass it, but the ground forces, because... well, once again, airlifting forces seems alien to them and Siembieda wants this to be a 1914-style slog fought with the weapons of 2414. Once they break through, Skelebots and tanks lead the charge, aiming to take the worst punishment as the rest move in. The hardest fighting will be at Freehold, on account of the draconic population, but their inability of dragons to coordinate will lose the day there.

Tolkeen will be desperately shoring up by summoning elementals and demons, as well as raising forces of the dead. But with their magic defenses down, they're losing through sheer attrition. Most of the dragons will flee when things look lost, while a good number of the Cyber-Knights abandon the fight. They won't have the time or resources to build or repair their Juggernauts. About the only thing they have going is that the murderous intentions of the Coalition means nobody will surrender- almost all remaining in Tolkeen will fight to the death.

Rifts Coalition Wars 6: Final Siege posted:

If the CS wins...

If? If?! You're adorable, Kev.

Next: A detailed list of losers.

"But this is no earthy seductress, but a tiger ready to strike and tear fools to ribbons."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Coalition Wars 6: Final Siege, Part 3- "But this is no earthy seductress, but a tiger ready to strike and tear fools to ribbons."

Not to scale

The Tolkeen Army

Yep, six books in, and they're about to lose, let's introduce: The Tolkeen Army! Congrats for finally giving us some detail before they all get their heads incinerated. We get average classes and levels for the grunts and a painfully specific breakdown of troops. But, generally speaking...

Grimm and Umbra

Firesol and Stygian

Sure would have been nice to know about these characters before, so that PCs could get missions or relationships with them so that their post-war fates detailed here actually mattered. "I'm Warlord Umbra! I've come to take your life!" "Sorry, I don't- you only showed up at the end, sorry, I don't know who you ar- gurk!"

Next: The backpacks of war.

"This flying turkey carver is more powerful and mysterious than a Golem, and goes beyond the known limits of Techno-Wizardry."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Coalition Wars 6: Final Siege, Part 4- "This flying turkey carver is more powerful and mysterious than a Golem, and goes beyond the known limits of Techno-Wizardry."


Yep, we didn't get enough Tolkeen techno-wiz gimmicks in the last books. If only they'd just put them in one book to make them easy to reference... but that'd mean this series might have been... um, organized properly. That's just not the Palladium way.

"Just add fins, instant flying machine!" "I don't think that's how aerodynamics-" "Instant flying machine!!"

"Hail Serpentor! Hail Cobra!... and Tolkeen, I guess."

Secret Weapons

Everything's fighting, I don't know what could be considered "secret" anymore, but these are supposed to be uncommon and have not many made, I suppose. The Wunderwaffe of Tolkeen.

"Just add blades, instant war machine!" "I'm not sure that's how engineering-" "Instant war machine!"

If Rifts had a video game, this would be a boss. Well, if they had a video game anybody played, anyway...

I feel like I've seen this in a comic somewhere.

Next: Do the manta ray.

"Always seem dark, sinister and dangerous."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Coalition Wars 6: Final Siege, Part 5- "Always seem dark, sinister and dangerous."

"You humans certainly have developed a strange form of torture! I like it!"

Beasts of War

This is kind of a hodgepodge section supposedly themed around the notion of monsters that Tolkeen has summoned, as well as various battle howdahs and the like for them to wear. Really, it feels more like "Kent Burles drew some cool shit and we worked out what the hell it was later." Which is fair enough, but I wish the art was honored a little more. They fee like they tell distinct stories and not just the series of generic gun platforms we get.

"Look, just be confident, be bold... you look great!"

Basic Gargoyles get a reprint because they serve Tolkeen loyally. Apparently all it takes to win their loyalty is just the privilege of murdering humans. I'm not sure they need to be "given" that, but apparently, some now consider Minnesota their promised land. "Moose Mountain belongs to the winged now!"

Rifts Coalition Wars 6: Final Siege posted:

Those who do not fight to the death will consider Minnesota to be their "home." They will be back!

For revenge, no doubt. Rifts, the game where PCs have to start arranging a calendar out for returning villains. "Look, you're just going to have to go back to your home dimension and wait, this weekend is all just blocked out for ARCHIE-3..."

"Behold the power of earth, mortals!... and also missiles."

We get the EGM Missle Bunker (300 M.D.C.), a missile dispenser, the Weapon Throne (320 M.D.C.), which is a set of manned laser and rail gun turrets, both of which are designed to be carried around by a giant being of some sort. The Lightning Fortress (1000 M.D.C.) is a fort with "lightning throwers" designed to be wheeled around by a team of giant creatures. The Beast Tank (290 M.D.C.) is a howdah with lasers and mini-missiles to be carried by giant quadrapeds.

"Let me tell you about how jet fuel can never melt steel, Earthlings."

In addition, we get some new monsters. Chatterlings (170+ M.D.C.) are dragon-like trickster beings from another dimension. They get a variety of illusion spells and mental psionics. Though they were summoned to act as spies for Tolkeen, it turns out they're too self-serving and dishonest to be reliable, and they couldn't be easily sent back. While some have served the kingdom, chances are they're stealing or scheming on the side.


Threno Bat-Things (217+ M.D.C.) were summoned as they supposedly know "some dark soul-twisting magic", but if they do, they're not sharing. Still, they found work with Tolkeen as generally awful sadistic demons. Bored of Witchlings and Black Faeries, two other hovering cruelty dispensers? Get yourself a Threno Bat-Thing! They have some telekinetic psionic powers and sharp hearing, but don't have much to distinguish them from other generically evil torture monsters.

One for Alliance, one for Horde.

Both the Wind-Water Sail Ray (210+ M.D.C.) and the Craaphery Demon Snake (225+ M.D.C.) serve similar roles as flying mounts, usually with Techno-Wizard platforms with sensors or weapons attached. The Sail Ray is gentle and generally used for scouting, as they detest conflict. The Demon Snake is an eeevil predator that is only really kept tame by giving opportunities for murder. One of these days, I'd like to see an eeevil herbivore: "only eats pine needles and lichen, but murders humans because it's a real asshole."

The Unbidden refers to creatures that have come through to Tolkeen. Some were already in contact with Tolkeen's mages but never summoned for various reasons, while a few found their way through the rifts that open during the chaos by chance. We're told Minnesota Aftermath (later renamed Rifts Aftermath) will have more details on some of the creatures that slip through during the magical disasters. It will not. The term will show up later in a Rifts article as general term for accidentally summoned monsters but this notion will be generally forgotten. We also get notified that Tolkeen, for all its cooperation with demons and evil creatures, hasn't worked with Vampires due to their infectious nature. In case that was in doubt? Well, they are supposed to be Hubris Central.

Next: Masters of magic.

"This melancholy vagabond has given up adventuring, and chooses to wander through life as a disheveled and grubby hobo."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Coalition Wars 6: Final Siege, Part 6- "This melancholy vagabond has given up adventuring, and chooses to wander through life as a disheveled and grubby hobo."

Tolkeen NPCs
By Kevin Siembieda & Bill Coffin

Yep, it's taken six books, but it's time to finally get the skinny on Tolkeen's top thaumaturges.

Heavy is the head that forgets to wear the crown.

King Robert Creed (10th level Ley Line Walker), leader of Tolkeen, is finally detailed. Despite earlier books waffling on his true nature, finally they settle into the notion of him being a fallen idealist. Appointed as king for his charm and talent, he eventually took a hard line against Coalition aggression, escalating the conflict gradually and becoming more embittered by the conflict. Willing to take any measure to defeat the Coalition, he was the one to put forth calling upon demons and other figures of "dark magic".

It turns out he's the one in possession of Poor Yorick, the "oracle skull" from Rifts Coalition Wars 1: Sedition, and used it to good effect, but apparently has grown weary of its predictions of doom for Tolkeen. And though it predicts a "swarming horde" from the North, apparently he presumed it meant the Xiticix rather than the Coalition, and never apparently positioned scouts up there. The whole "brilliant maneuver" of Holmes seems more and more forced the more words you read...

When Tolkeen falls under Siege, he tries desperately to find a winning solution, but eventually realizes that he's lost and undergoes a nervous breakdown. He tries to evacuate how he can, and gives a public proclamation that the battle is over and it's time to flee. Their demonic allies, disgusted, will generally flee rather than assist with the evacuation. Similarly, hardliners will attempt to leave Creed to die at the Coalition's hands. He helps open a rift and (1d6 x 1000) + 6000 people escape through it! How many escape? Let a random roll determine their fate!

Creed's fate is left open for GMs to interpret. If left to his own devices, he'll probably go down fighting. However, if he's knocked out, chances are he'll be rescued and become a guilt-ridden hermit, and may return as a far more humble leader figure in the future. And because this is Palladium and insanity is just a failed saving throw away, he may become so guilt-ridden and shocked as to suffer from amnesia. He calls himself "Erin Roberts" and believes himself to be a survivor of Tolkeen. However, Scard will recognize him no matter what happens in any sort of chance encounter, and attempt to kill him.

He has a litany of magic spells, artifacts, and unrollable attributes. It also has "King Creed knows all invocations, levels one through six..." and then... lists all invocations, levels one through six. Which is weird, but I guess it saves double-checking.

Then finally we get to the Circle of Twelve, the ruling council under the king.

Corin, Mied, Baarrtk, and Malik.

Anya, Glorissa, Denwyn, and Rostigor.

Salkind, Cervega, Kueda, and Maxim.

Well, a good number of the Circle of Twelve are pretty decent characters, and it's nice to leave Creed's fate up to individual campaigns. It's kind of weird to have it largely assume they all survive, but I suppose if you really want one dead, it's not hard to just scratch out their "siege notes" section. Scard is officially The Worst - he's boring, none of his characterization follows, and there's nothing interesting to do with him. He's not even that threatening, outside of who might follow him- gunfighting just isn't as impressive rules-wise as Siembieda thinks it is.

Well, at least they also leave the council's fates open. Whether that's a good turn on Palladium's part or because they genuinely don't care about what happens to them is anyone's call. But it's a least a decent bone to throw to individual campaigns.

Next: The fightin' men of Tolkeen.

"Note: Shora rather enjoys wearing the skimpy outfits the Warrior Women are known for, something that has made her, unknowingly, a bit of a pinup queen among other Tolkeenite soldiers and mercenaries."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Coalition Wars 6: Final Siege, Part 7- "Note: Shora rather enjoys wearing the skimpy outfits the Warrior Women are known for, something that has made her, unknowingly, a bit of a pinup queen among other Tolkeenite soldiers and mercenaries."

You'd think we'd be done with detailed writeups of Tolkeen units, given significant chunks of Rifts Coalition Wars 3: Sorcerer's Revenge and Rifts Coalition Wars 4: Shadows of Evil were turned over to them, but nope. We get some more. The challenge: try to get through this without my eyes glazing over.

challenge failed already ugh

Gyger, Shora, Slithers, and Vedder.

The Atlanteans is a adventuring group of ex-slaves from Atlantis. They traveled to Tolkeen to try and throw off slave hunters, and offered their service and stolen Kittani weapons. Since then, they've become known as reliable soldiers and are famed in Tolkeen. Naturally, most of these are from species from the Atlantis books, though there's a Scorpion guy from... Africa? Anyway, they're likely to bail from Tolkeen after one last scouting mission, making their inclusion feel more than a little lorem ipsum.

Miramar, Gordo, Flexi, and Gunnar.

The Hackers' Consortium is a group of Tolkeen operatives dedicated to finding weaknesses in Coalition Skelebot programming. Ultimately, they're trying to find a "universal weakness" in Coalition technology by extension, if one exists. But no such weakness exists, so we're done here! Wait, there are seven more pages on these guys? Fine.

In any case, there's a callback to the plot hook back in Rifts World Book 22: Free Quebec where a rogue Coalition officer hacked a few thousand Skelebots, which was apparently the genesis of their scheme. But it turns out the Coalition is revising the Skelebot software to plug that hole. Though they were once a much larger group, most gave up, and so only a few diehard researchers remain. While they will likely escape the war (who doesn't?), the Coalition finds out about them through undetailed means and wants them triple dead.

United by the power of Bluetooth.

The Timewalkers don't really need bullet points. The main one is a Temporal Wizard, Lord Balgazar, who's fighting for Tolkeen in the hopes they might survive and that he might get morrrre pooowerrr in city during the aftermath. He'll just shrug and bug out when Tolkeen falls. He has three Temporal Wizard minions called "Greycoats" that are perfectly loyal, it's rumored they're some kind of artificial goons he's made. Given they all look kind of alike, it seems like it might have been interesting to have his goons be the result of some kind of time fuckery, but that might have made them interesting. Might.

Next: Freehold isn't free.

* I made that up but would you have noticed if I didn't mention?

"This very claim is why Soribold slew the adventurers — for he has tangled with the Defilers before and knew firsthand that these two jokers were making an illegitimate claim.

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Coalition Wars 6: Final Siege, Part 8- "This very claim is why Soribold slew the adventurers — for he has tangled with the Defilers before and knew firsthand that these two jokers were making an illegitimate claim."

Dragons not pictured.

City of Dragons

Finally, we get details on Freehold... wait, you want to know about Tolkeen? Well, keep on waiting. As mentioned before, this is a city run by the "Dragon Kings", with about a score of ancient dragons, a hundred adult dragons, and about three hundred hatchlings. For some unexplained reason, female dragons are in the minority here. Generally, dragons have primacy by age, then powerful supernatural creatures by power, and then lastly most humanoids and D-Bees are at the bottom of the barrel. Most of the city is humanoids by number, with sub-demons like gargoyles and brodkil being a significant but small minority.

Freehold has never been fully engaged with the conflict - it doesn't necessarily see its fate being tied to Tolkeen, despite its proximity. The dragons tend to be lazy and selfish, and some occasionally have provided assistance, but only the Sorcerer's Revenge saw them being mobilized in any great numbers. Built on a dragon-made island in the middle of the Mississippi, with tall walls and draconic population, they figured they would be safe, particularly because they share Tolkeen's force shield. When the shield falls and the Coalition besieges them, most of the powerful dragons bail to find a new home, leaving the younger dragons and residents to suffer the siege.

Most of the humanoid population lives in an "Outer City", while dragons live in an "Inner City" designed for their lairs and size. Dragon worship and dragon-owned slavery is commonplace. Despite the despotism of the dragons, many remain because there are opportunities and safety not found elsewhere. Still, it's a relatively oppressive city, with people being expected to bow and obey before dragonkind or get quashed underfoot.

"You think he understood how war is a tragedy on all sides?"

Freehold NPCs

This section is divided into four different sections with four NPCs each: Dragon Kings, Dragon "Princes", Dragon "Heirs", and other supernatural creatures are designated "Megaversals". A lot of the powerful characters have huge lists of spells or psionics - they'll even say something like "All Sensitive Psionics!" or "all invocations, levels 1-15". And like earlier, it will then list every Sensitive psionic power or every non-legendary invocation (wizard spells). Which is a really good way to fill space. I guess it helps with convenience, but when you're getting a good chunk of most of the basic spells in the game with each writeup, it makes you wonder why you couldn't have- at worst- had an additional chart of spells as a reference, that have sections like this:

Yeah, we're gonna cover 37 pages in a single post on account of that.

Tannhauser, Rexus, Sleeper, and Kaltaval.

Dragon Kings

Vargeld, Xevek, Shigen, and Hurligeth.

Dragon Princes

Pradgigor, Goezumi, Havolog, and Nacader.

Dragon Heirs

Prid, Thulan, Burkha, and Soribold.

Freehold's Megaversals
Next: Tolkeen? No, it can't be! It's a trick! It's impossible!

"Oh, and to steal a line from an old television show, 'there are a million stories in the naked city.'"

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Coalition Wars 6: Final Siege, Part 9- "Oh, and to steal a line from an old television show, 'there are a million stories in the naked city.'"

City of Tolkeen

Only 800+ pages into this event, and we're finally visiting the Tolkeen being sieged. So, though the splendor has emphasized, we're reminded we're at warrr and so we'll have notes how things have changed. Also, we're reminded Tolkeen has become hateful and corrupt, in case you missed that pan being banged for the past five books. There's about 1.3 million people, most of them humans and D-Bees. Wizards are fairly common, with about 1 in 5 people being a practitioner of magic, and 1 in 10 being a "psychic" of undetermined level (presumably master).

We're told it's "like something out of a book of fairy-tales", a common phrase of Siembieda's when describing any magical locale that isn't soaked in blood. Stone elementals and magic have created buildings taller than even the skyscrapers before the rifts, and is thoroughly modernized. Many of the tall buildings have roosts for creatures like dragons and gargoyles. During most of the war, it remains untouched, and only at the end is it truly ravaged. However, refugees are a growing issue throughout the conflict. Much of the city is built on the presumption that the "Triangle Defense System" will hold, and isn't built for a major siege - it has walls, but nothing designed for a Coalition invasion. When Holmes' forces knock it down, there won't be a lot holding the Coalition back.

Welcome back to the magical land of Reusedartia!

The city has a lot of features that merge both technology and magic. The Techno-Wizard Mass Transit System was created by diverting ley line energy into "roads" that can accommodate ley-line powered vehicles. The Techno-Wizard Teleport Stations are a form of local teleportation around major locations in the city. The Techno-Wizard Power Grid converts magical energy into electrical power and lighting. The attack renders all of these downed in some areas or unreliable, with municipal transportation often warping space or teleporting people to unpredictable locates - when they're up, anyway. Bio-Domes are made to house alien environments for D-Bees and supernatural creatures.

Almost needless to say, Tolkeen has all the sorts of goods and services a working adventurer might be interested in. Black market Coalition goods become plentiful as time goes on, but Techno-Wizard items grow in demand and price as Tolkeen claims most of them for the war effort, promising to pay the owners after the war is over. Oddly, though, fortune telling is banned by the King to prevent doomsaying. Uncoincidentally, a lot of psychics leave the city weeks before the new invasion. The loss of local trade partners means a lot of the goods coming in start being from shady manufacturers out West, often brought in the hands of exploitative merchants that jack up the price.

"The Law" is overcome by the refugee crisis, establishing tent cities but crime skyrockets out of desperation at the hands of both refugees and locals. This leaves this open to bonus tragedy since Tolkeen never built bunkers or shelters, since some Coalition bombs just drop on unprotected refugees once the shields are down. Medical facilities and magic healers are entirely overwhelmed, as are firefighters- though the latter are specifically targeted and attacked by Coalition soldiers. Bodies pile up by the tens of thousands and entities, banshees, and ghouls start being attracted by mountains of the dead.

The fact that Tolkeen isn't ready for this is underlined with red ink:

Rifts Coalition Wars 6: Final Siege posted:

They don't believe Tolkeen or Freehold will fall, but they anticipate a measured battle, losses and months of conflict before the CS gives up.

Rifts Coalition Wars 6: Final Siege posted:

They never envisioned their cities actually falling under the gun. It was a miscalculation that would spell their end.

Rifts Coalition Wars 6: Final Siege posted:

Like so many tragedies, had any number of things been done differently, lives would have been saved.

If only the player characters could have changed things! But that was clearly impossible.

Next: Tolkeen by the numbers.

"Its destruction and the death of all in the compound is an incident the General regrets, but war is Hell, and they were the enemy; the majority not even human."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Coalition Wars 6: Final Siege, Part 10- "Its destruction and the death of all in the compound is an incident the General regrets, but war is Hell, and they were the enemy; the majority not even human."

So, we get the classic "break the city down by numerical locations" bit. I'll mainly be focusing on interesting or plot-relevant locales.

Finally, a giant robot that won't save the city.

Western Quadrant
The Heavy Industrial Part of the City

"Our airstrike on whatever the hell this is was a total success!"

Northern Quadrant

So, these are where you find college campuses, parks, and an airfield, and a lot of spellcasters and scholars centered around that. There are apparently a lot of little clubs and fraternities for wizards that aren't content with being snobby wizards, but have to be snobby fratcasters.

After all the drum-beating about how Tolkeen was filled with hate, how they should have known better, and how getting attacked while mostly minding their own business is somehow their fault... and now Siembieda wants it to also be a heart-breaking tragedy? Which isn't complete nonsense, but it is a swift tone shift. In any case, what this section really underlines is the lack of PC agency in this event. It's presumed maybe our heroes can save this group or that, but that Tolkeen is going to be an abattoir no matter what. And once any choice is pulled out of the equation, it just becomes a misery parade that feels just perverse as you read through it.

If that wasn't odd enough, bear in mind Holmes and his forces were supposed to be the counterpoint to Drogue's unmitigated slaughtering of civilians. But here his forces are, gunning them down happily. And you might be tempted to wonder "is it really Holmes' forces doing the mass slaughter?" Yes. It's clearly his forces that are the first to hit the Northern Quadrant, where most of the outright slaughter so far is narrated.

We're also given the plot point that some of "the Unbidden" that emerge from uncontrolled rifts include the former masters of the Daemonix - "Morpox the Afflictor" and "Falcate the Profane". You'd think this would be an important plot point, given the fate of the Daemonix should be of some importance. But instead any details on them are shuffled off to Rifts Aftermath, and then cut from that book, just leaving another undetailed mystery to dangle out there.

Next: More places what get blowed up.

"Designer's Note: I had originally planned to present this area in excruciating and delightful detail."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Coalition Wars 6: Final Siege, Part 11- "Designer's Note: I had originally planned to present this area in excruciating and delightful detail."

"Wow!! Cool empire!!!"

Eastern Quadrant

This is the downtown and also where most of the government buildings are found.

Rifts Coalition Wars 6: Final Siege posted:

When the Mighty Falls: The carnage around the King's Tower makes the Battle at Little Big Horn look like a minor traffic accident. Big, Mighty Jo Mack, a mutant N'mbyr Gorilla Man who is five tunes the normal size for his race, stands atop what's left of the King's Tower, clutching the inert body of Captain Grace Nevay in his hand. Capt. Nevay had been one of the Kingdom's stalwart military leaders. Jo has lost it. He, like many others, can not accept the apparent fate of Tolkeen and flies into a berserker rage, compelling him to scale the Tower, Captain Nevay in hand, and shout his primal roar of anger, frustration and hate from the building's rooftop. It is seen by many, far and wide, as one last act of (futile) defiance in the face of the enemy. Jo is too good a target to pass up, and CS troops in the air sweep in for the kill.

"Have you folks heard about how this is really just a failure on all parts?"

Southern Quadrant

This is a largely residential area, but also has Bio-Domes and museums. Also, it's the last direction to cover. Thoth be praised!

Not Rifts Coalition Wars 6: Final Siege posted:

Private Clot: Oh, man. Flowers! These aren't nearly as tough as dragons! I'm gonna kill me some!

Sergeant Tork: Woah there, son. Safeties on. Don't you touch those flowers.

Private Clot: But why not? The ex-ter-min-a-shun of Tolkeen is our mission. Leave no survivors, the commander said! Flowers are survivors.

Sergeant Tork: Look, son. When you've been in as many wars as I have, you learn a few things.

Private Clot: How many wars have you been in?

Sergeant Tork: None, this is the first war by the Coalition in our lifetime. Except for the other one going on at the same time, of course.

Private Clot: Then how- I mean- if-

Sergeant Tork: Look, don't strain your brain, son! When you've been in as many wars as I have, you'll understand what it's really like!

Private Clot: Oh, okay. But, what are we going to do about all these flowers?

Sergeant Tork: Look, war does things to your mind. You have to shoot ladies. Children. Occasionally even a man, if you can believe it. Point is, it wears on a soldier.

Private Clot: You're saying you feel guilty, sir? That's... treasonous...

Sergeant Tork: Of course not! You just... you think, "Have I killed enough babies? What about the guy to the left of me? How many babies has he killed? Am I really doing enough baby-killing to make humanity proud?" The doubt, it... gets to you. Eats you up inside.

Private Clot: You're talking about D-Bee babies, right?

Sergeant Tork: Sure, kid, sure. Do you know a lot of D-Bee babies look just like human babies before they grow up? True story. Best to just shoot them all. There's a reason I watch my own baby like a hawk every time I'm on leave. Ready in case she changes.

Private Clot: W-whoakay.

Sergeant Tork: Anyway, after you're done with a long day of exterminating inhuman lives like so much bubble wrap, and you're just... torn up inside, knowing you have to do things like sleep, or eat, or piss... all of these things that cut into your time that could be spent unleashing plasma on the recently born... well, only one thing can take your mind off of that. Well, two things. Together, specifically.

Private Clot: What're those, sir?

Sergeant Tork: The first... is flowers.

Private Clot: Oo-okay.

Sergeant Tork: The second... is the pre-cataclysm song "Bodies", by Drowning Pool.

Private Clot and Sergeant Tork, together: Let the bodies hit the floor! Let the bodies hit the floor!
No matter how you remember the War on Tolkeen, remember this: it was an event written so that hundreds of thousands are being killed in the streets. The old, the young, the babies are being killed by Neo-Neo-Nazi Fascists...

... and Siembieda is like "How about a hee-larious parody of a half-century old movie?"

Next: War stories.

Not Rifts Coalition Wars 6: Final Siege posted:

Private Clot: What about the Juicer Uprising? I fought in that! Wasn't that a war?

Sergeant Tork: An uprising's not a war! Not even close! You'll understand one day, son.

"Those troops hesitant to mow down unarmed women and children (90% of the Dog Boys are included in this group), even D-Bee women and children, will try to give them a chance to flee while the soldiers zero in on obvious resistance fighters, armed adults, monsters, dragons, spell casters and the more monstrous and alien looking D-Bees."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Coalition Wars 6: Final Siege, Part 12- "Those troops hesitant to mow down unarmed women and children (90% of the Dog Boys are included in this group), even D-Bee women and children, will try to give them a chance to flee while the soldiers zero in on obvious resistance fighters, armed adults, monsters, dragons, spell casters and the more monstrous and alien looking D-Bees."

It's okay as long it isn't you that's mowing down civilians, skullboys, you're cool. That's war! The majority not even human!

War Stories

Remember the Summer Solstice? This book finally does, saying it could be used to give Tolkeen a last opportunity of some sort. I love how they introduce plot points and then... completely forget about them. Who needs plot outlines, though? Siembieda's a professional writer! In any case, we start here with a laundry list of adventure ideas for Coalition-aligned characters. Putting aside the issues with a Coalition campaign for a brief moment, it's not a bad list, even it's rather disorganized.

The list for Tolkeen or anti-Coalition characters gets most of this section, though. It's emphasized how hostile the Coalition is and what targets they prioritize, and then gets different adventure hooks around fighting in the city, defending civilians, and escaping the city. We're reminded Rifts Aftermath will have more on the Tolkeen refugee crisis. (One of the few claims made about that book that turns out to be perfectly true.)

This is a pretty long section at four pages, but it's perfectly functional without really being too specific, so there isn't much to add.

"If you will battle us, know our names: Coake and Pipsy!"

Hook, Line & Sinker™ Adventures
By Bill Coffin & Kevin Siembieda

This is, ultimately, another "Situations Critical" writeup up, dealing with various adventure hooks in order of metaplot.

Stage One: Desperate Measures deals with Tolkeen rebuilding after the Sorcerer's Revenge. You'd think we'd spent enough time in this timeframe, given the past two books were already about that, but no. The main adventure hooks involve trying to salvage equipment off of battlefields, dealing with summoners trying to make deals with mysterious or sinister powers to give Tolkeen an edge, and finding a way to improve their fortifications and arsenals. We get "Scoping the Boneyard" where the characters are sent on a mission to recover some inactive Skelebots, only to find that they're not so inactive after all. "Good Experiment, Bad Results" deals with a shifter accidentally summoning demons when trying to build a weapon for Tolkeen, and it's up for to the PCs to save a poor farm village from literal random demons (like, rolled up using charts). The Coalition version has them maybe using the random demons as a way to distract or entrap Tolkeen fighters coming to save the village... or maybe, just maybe actually save the village. The truth is somewhere in the... no, I can't. I just can't.

Stage Two: Dark Horizon deals with the period where Tolkeen struggles with doubt as to whether or not the war is ongoing after the Coalition retreat and the "Sorcerers' Revenge". Generally, the suggestions here have to do with scouting out the enemy or rebuilding Tolkeen's defenses. We have "Predator and Prey" dealing with skirmishes between Coalition and Tolkeen scouts. There, we're introduced to a Coalition unit called "Fighting 31st" and a Tolkeen unit called the "Chimeric Lot", both of which have levels from about 6-10... that is, roughly the apex Siembieda expects PCs to wrap a campaign at. Good luck dealing with them! The next is "Caught on the Edge" where PCs are with a Tolkeen group of groups that's caught off guard when the main Coalition wave arrives and have to escape in a chase scene. There's "The Fighting 31st" where it assumes the PCs are with the Coalition tracking Tolkeen air forces to an airfield to try and sneak in and blow up an airfield.

"It's time to show them the truth is in the middle, boys!"

Stage Three: Reaching Out has to do with Tolkeen realizing the Coalition army is on the way for a second time and seeking out allies. It talks about trying to get help from Lazlo, appealing to their practicality rather than their morality - that if the Coalition wins, they'll feel emboldened to attack other magic-friendly communities. There's also a curve ball that Warlord Scard has put out assassins to eliminate the top goodies at Lazlo, thinking with them out of the way they'll have Lazlo's help. Given the obvious issues with that, I'd have to say it terming it an "insane" plan is rather accurate.

They're also looking to get help from Stormspire, but apparently that Techno-Wizard city is afraid of Coalition retribution... but why? The Coalition already attacked them once and only hasn't followed up because they haven't found a way to defeat their magical defenses. Some at Stormspire feel that Tolkeen is "reckless" and associates with demonic forces making them bad customers, but this is a city under the thumb of the obviously evil and demon-associated "True" Federation of Magic, so that doesn't make much sense either. Speaking of which, it talks about getting help from Dunscon's evil faction of the Federation of Magic, but given the bad blood between Tolkeen and the Federation, that feels pretty unlikely.

There's getting help from the Juicer rebels under Julian the First (from Rifts World Book 10: Juicer Uprising. There doesn't seem to be anything in the way of getting their and probably should have already happened five books ago. Larsen's Brigade (from Rifts Mercenaries) tries to stay out of fights with the Coalition, but apparently was going to help out until Tolkeen summoned the Daemonix, which was a step too far for him. But maybe the PCs can figure out how to convince him otherwise. Similarly, there's talk of getting help with the Naruni corporation (see Rifts Mercenaries, but it's more Tolkeen's afraid of getting so in debt to the alien company they're effectively "owned" by them.

Lastly, there's apparently talk of getting help from the Splugorth, but we're told...

Rifts Coalition Wars 6: Final Siege posted:

Lord Splynncryth was actually intrigued by this "deal" offer, but has declined. Is there some way to sweeten the pot and win his assistance? Talk about a deal with the devil. Note: Lord Splynncryth will not change his mind. He has his own plans for Tolkeen in the Aftermath of the war. Plans that should not antagonize the CS (too much) or make it an enemy of Atlantis.

Rifts Coalition Wars 6: Final Siege posted:

Let's face it, these scenarios are all long shots at best. The odds of any one of them happening are slim and none, but Tolkeen still tries. Making them avenues for adventure.

"Reaching Out" is interesting because it feels like for a moment they're opening things up to having players find a way to change the war only to have Siembieda put the kibosh on it at the last moment, for the most part. And... how is getting the Juicers' help a "long shot?" Why is Splynncryth worried about antagonizing the Coalition? I mean, the Coalition formed an entire branch of the military (the Navy) specifically because they're worried about Atlantis. How much more antagonized can you get?

In any case, we get two adventure hooks. The first is "Chemical Warriors" where the PCs are hired to get Julian I and his Juicers on Tolkeen's side, but there are Coalition soldiers looking to stop them. We're told that it's going to be hard to convince him because he wants to go out in a "blaze of glory" and doesn't think Tolkeen is a glorious fight...

... ...

... and there's the flip side where the players are Coalition soldiers trying to stop a Tolkeen diplomat party from meeting with Julian I at all. The other adventure is "Made in America?" where Archie-3 (the AI from Rifts Sourcebook 1 & 2) drops off a bunch of walking factories with parts to make Titan robots in Tolkeen's backyard to help them out, but we're told the Coalition probably blows them up before Tolkeen can retrieve them because Siembieda obviously doesn't like that plot hook so why bother?

I wonder how Coffin got frustrated working on this book? I mean, the push-pull between him introducing ways players could help the war and Siembieda shitting all over them sounds like an exciting work environment!

Next: The bigger skull theory of warfare.

"When the 'Hard Rain' bombardment commences, it uses non-nuclear warheads (although the term "nuked" is still used to describe the destruction)."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Coalition Wars 6: Final Siege, Part 13- "When the 'Hard Rain' bombardment commences, it uses non-nuclear warheads (although the term "nuked" is still used to describe the destruction)."

And now, we complete the metaplot wrapup and its associated adventures. The suspense is not killing me. In fact, I feel very safe.


Stage Four: The Big Push has to do with the major movements of the Coalition Army towards Tolkeen in the second offensive. While guerrillas slow them down slightly, the redoubled Coalition numbers run over the worn Tolkeen forces. There are three fronts: the Southern Front and Eastern Front not having much difficulty from the skeleton Tolkeen defenses left outside the shielded area, and the Northern Front is made up of Holmes' surprise attack. With Holmes taking down Tolkeen's mystical defenses, the Coalition is clear to invade.

And so we get "Wolves Among Wolves", where Tolkeen takes stolen Coalition gear (and stolen Coalition codes using psionics) to inflitrate and attack the massive Coalition force in concert with ambushes by Tolkeen defenders. While this initially successful, later on the Coalition troops are so numerous that such operations are more likely suicide attacks. Moreover, the Coalition starts employing psionics and Dog Boys to try and find and capture infiltrators. "Run Like Hell" is pretty much just like the earlier "Caught on the Edge" earlier where the PCs are caught trying to escape from getting caught in the Coalition front and have Coalition "hunter-killer" squads pursue them. "What About the Civilians" is like "Caught on the Edge" or "Run Like Hell" only you're escorting civilians. Running out of ideas, Siembieda? Yeah, I see you there.

Stage Five: The Hardest Rain focuses on the Coalition bringing artillery to bear once Tolkeen's shield goes down. Why they don't just nuke the damn city at this point? Well, we're told that the Coalition doesn't actually use nukes, and that the commanders who did that were rogue and were executed.

Y'know, last time I wondering if saying that Siembieda was "shitting all over" Coffin's writing was just too harsh, if maybe I was just assuming too much, but... no. The seams are obvious. There's no sane reason for them not just nuke the city at this point (other than "it'd be boring"), but we're told they're specifically only using non-nuclear warheads now. Because I guess Siembieda the Coalition loves the idea of throwing troops heedlessly into a meat grinder. "Shell Shock Frenzy" has to do with a Tolkeen unit going mad from literal "shell shock" and becoming spree killers. Really? That's how PTSD works? (It isn't.) I have no words. Also we're told the PCs have to stop them without killing them because... uh... fffeefehfefhfhfuffuuuuuuuuck-


"Payback" actually has to do with with the PCs doing a covert mission to blow up some missile tanks. That's a fine enough hook. "Ground Zero" returns to our nuke question, as a Coalition commander manages to (somehow) procure those nukes the Coalition doesn't use (except when they tried to, multiple times during this event), and is going to fire them on Freehold! However, the PCs - Coalition PCs, it seems to presume - have to stop him from firing before the death he unleashes "rips the Megaversal fabric" by causing a chain reaction of disaster similar to when the rifts first erupted, only localized to Minnesota. Oookay. Which raises the question - so is just a slow and steady gradual stream of deaths not enough to do that? It has to be all at once? Are we playing a match-3 with human souls? Do we just need a big enough soul combo to reopen the rifts? And how would Coalition troops know or really give a shit about that?

Stage Six: Iron Skies deals with the air war over Tolkeen. While Tolkeen (somehow?) has more skilled dogfighters, they're just too outnumbered, and will be ultimately unable to stop the Coalition's bombing campaign. Sooner or later the Coalition just owns the skies, so forget what we were just talking about! We get "Aerodrome 6060", where the Coalition air force has suddenly developed a sense of airman honor and decides they want a "fair fight" against the Tolkeen forces. So they drop leaflets in advance of the Coalition bombers over Aerodrome 6060, the largest Tolkeen airfield (and are not attacked immediately, I guess?). In any case, they'll do a series of duels with the Tolkeen fighters and if the Tolkeen fighters can win 30 fights out of 120 they get to go home which... uh, I'm not sure Siembieda did the math on that one, especially since earlier we're told that the Tolkeen air fighters take down 6 Coalition fighters for every 1 Tolkeen fighter that falls. By that notion, the Tolkeen fighters should just murder them all given the equal numbers, but "These fighter jocks are always playing by strange rules." Sure, okay.

"The Tolkeen Turkey Shoot" has to do with the Coalition loosening their air defenses once the the Coalition gains control, and Tolkeen unleashing a secret fighter force to down some relatively unprotected flying transports. Alternately, the PCs can be Tolkeen guerillas trying to salvage stuff from the downed transports. "Clipped Wings" have to do with a command vehicle being shot down over Tolkeen and the battle to claim the Coalition officers and their intelligence.

It's like a parade, only with murder.

Stage Seven: Siege on Tolkeen, subtitled Not One Step Backward, has to do with the Coalition going down to urban combat, sending a massive force to batter a Tolkeen wall down before it can magically regenerate, and then flooding forces in, which... seems like a bad idea, and it is, because Tolkeen defenders are desperate and entretched. We have "The Skelebot Onslaught" which has to do with Tolkeen fighters having to just fight waves and waves of Skelebots sent in as a suicide force to soften them up.

Stage Eight: Mean Streets is where the Coalition is able to finally just throw enough numbers to batter down walls and buildings while dealing with constant Tolkeen ambushes. The Coalition has horrific losses, but it doesn't particularly matter with their numbers. "Heavy Barrel" deals with either Tolkeen defenders using ambushes to take out Coalition armored vehicles, or playing Coalition troops escorting and seeking out ambushes to defend armor. "Sniper Alley" protrays a sniper war between the two sides, which Palladium combat is woefully unsuited for, but sure. "I roll my Prowl skill to successfully sneak past you!" "I roll Detect Ambush to successfully detect you!" "Which one of us wins?" "I don't know. It's still just a 5 or better to hit you at 2000 feet, though."

"House to House" portrays a battle between two street fighting units, the "Flatirons" (Tolkeen) and "The Silver Seven" (Coalition). Maybe the PCs are associated with them, or something? It's not real clear what the actual adventure hook is other than a vague situation.

That's it. That's the end of the war. No dramatic finish, no assault on the enemy commander, no all-or-nothing battle. Just a series of whimpers. War's done.

Well, we have one part left, and it's a doozy.

Next: The final villain, but not your villain.

"I hope you don't mind."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Coalition Wars 6: Final Siege, Part 14- "I hope you don't mind."

"I think we've finally learned genocide is wrong." "A lesson you can only learn by participating in it?" "Yep, you have to experience it first-hand."


We then go to fiction, returning to our series touchstone, Sergeant Deon Canton. Yes. Yes. Yes. The climax of the metaplot, the ending, is done in in-game fiction. No PC involvement. No PC knowledge. No PCs.

In the city fighting, Deon Canton runs into General Micander Drogue, the main Coalition villain from Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill. Drogue is dressed in mercenary gear, and it clearly becomes clear he dressed as a mercenary to sneak out of a fight while the rest of his men died. Drogue tears into Deon for having left the Coalition death camp standing (back in Rifts Coalition Wars 5: Shadow of Evil), but Deon defends his actions as "I'm not a butcher..."

Sure, Deon. You don't pull the trigger, you just support the rest of the Coalition Army who is - as we've well established - is murdering hundreds of thousands of civilians without hesitation. You make that moral stand. You're such the better guy. Everybody, let's salute Sergeant Deon Canton! Hero or some shit! Three motherfucking cheers for being the good better marginally less evil man who does the bare minimum to not be considered a total monster! You're one real Oskar Schindler, Deon.

Anyway, Deon is debating just killing Drogue for being an evil guy (and Drogue totally still is, of course), but he dallies too long and a Tolkeen Mind Melter spots Drogue and explodes his head... or so Deon claims. Actually, Drogue's shot by Deon while nobody else is looking, who then points out the enemy and puts the blame on Tolkeen defenders.

Yep. Yep. Yep. One of the most prominent villains of a six-book series, killed by a fiction character in a cutscene that doesn't take place in actual play. A character the PCs never have any relation to, never have any reason to meet, and is never given a statblock. Deon's unit kills the Tolkeen defenders, and then makes sure to destroy the defenders' and Drogue's bodies to wipe out any conceivable evidence of what happened. Anyway we get a little epilogue about how he actually did kill Drogue after all and blamed it on the Mind Melter. But he sure feels good about saving and being saved by D-Bees! He's a better person!... incrementally, anyway. He's still a shit person who sacrificed so little compared to, well, everybody in Tolkeen, as he reunites with his family.

Final thoughts from the Author

Rifts Coalition Wars 6: Final Siege posted:

I want to thank all of you who followed the Coalition War on Tolkeen. I hope it lives up to your expectations and then some. I hope it was a teeter-totter ride that kept you guessing and intrigued.

You're welcome! We're reminded that there are still other threats in the world, and the division of the Cyber-Knights and plight of the refugees will be ongoing.

... man, though if you think anybody was supposed to be surprised after you spoiled the ending multiple times in advance of the crossover, wow. Okay. Sure. Yep. I was teetered and tottered! The real teeter-totter, generally, though, was the Siembieda / Coffin push-pull. Coffin wanted a more open-ended event with a logical plot. Siembieda wanted to rub our noses in war is hell and have the Coalition win in the end because Tolkeen winning might... actually justify war? I mean, if Tolkeen won, then a lot of their morally questionable actions become defensible. But they have to lose. Because war is hell.

And don't get me wrong. War is bad. War is extremely bad. Personally, I could never see myself joining a military or police organization (here in the United States) because I would never, ever want to be put in a situation where I was told that, at some point, I might shoot somebody, or support somebody shooting somebody. And that's overtly simplistic, I know - my taxes still pay for that, and that's the privilege of living in a stable, dominant world power. But Rifts... isn't real. It's skull robots fighting airbrushed wizards. It's toyetic and digestable. But, unfortunately, it's the sort faux-toy line that's forgotten what it's like to play with toys, and wants its stuff to be adolescent and mature at the same time. And it doesn't work.

What I think most Rifts fans would want would be genre fiction, with overwrought characters shouting at each other and crazy schemes to run the side of the way through bizarre inventions and magical whachamacalits. And we get a bit of that, to be fair. But mostly, it feels like Siembieda watched some Ken Burns' Civil War and was like "Yes, that." He wanted stories of hard men on the ground making hard decisions, when... up until now Rifts is nuke-firing gundams fighting corporate Cthulhu. It's not subtle. It's not nuanced. It's the end of the first Rifts adventure where you walk into a chamber to blow up a giant brain and its robot minions. And yeah, you can tell small stories in that. But if you're doing a big event you've led the game line to? No. Bad Siembieda.

It's even worse that he wants to two-side things. And... like, they could have done that. If Tolkeen had taken the first strike, if there had been some terrorist action in Chi-Town or maybe they blew up one of the Coalition States nobody cares about (bye bye, Missouri) with demonzilla, you could have done that. But "Oh, they're working with bad guys!" doesn't hold much water when there's no real fallout other than "Maybe they're real cruel to the enemy and it'll suck later." Moreover, Tolkeen's whole villain-turn was done completely after-the-fact. Maybe if we'd be introduced to Tolkeen in detail a long time ago, you could do a convincing fall from grace. But a Tolkeen with Iron Juggernauts and Daemonix is all we know. Moreover, things like the Iron Juggernauts being evil somehow was always so vague as to be meaningless. "They're created with dark magic!" "How, exactly?" "Well, they use the life force of a person!" "Was that person a volunteer!" "... I'm not telling!" "Is the magic somehow dangerous or destructive?" "... maybe!" "You really have no idea, do you?" "... probably!"

Moreover, the "both sides are evil!" fell apart when one side slaughters civilians and erects death camps and the other just... doesn't. Tolkeen never attacks Coalition communities outside of a few edge cases and a few assassination attempts (seemingly just on Emperor Prosek). Which is weird, you'd think there'd be more irons in the fire as far as assassinations and terrorism goes. At worst, Tolkeen might have attacked some nearby Coalition-friendly towns, but... like, maybe don't aid your neighbor's genocidal enemy? It's awful, but... probably don't do that? Don't be racist? C'mon, guys.

Moreover, Tolkeen's magic should give them some real advantages - there's nothing stopping them from teleporting a bomb or monster into a Coalition base or city. Invisibility, astral projection, mind control, turning into mist, shapeshifting, weather manipulation... they should have a lot of things that let them take a fight right to the Coalition States and they just don't. Coalition leaders should be in real, serious peril. While Dog Boys and Psi-Stalkers no doubt serve as an early warning system, they can't directly counter many of these things without relying on their own Master Psychics - and in many cases they wouldn't be able to react in time anyway. Teleport: Lesser is a spell that lets you teleport up to 50 pounds up to 5 miles away. Calling is a spell that lets you summon somebody to come to you from up to 2 miles away if they fail their save. Control/Enslave Entity would let you control an invisible entity (like a possession entity...) for two days per caster level. All of these can be cast by a starting Ley Line Walker - Coalition generals should be utter paranoiacs, attended constantly by psychic watchmen, in order to survive at all. But Tolkeen is content to throw their worst only at the Coalition's rank and file, for some reason.

Just digging for the leftover art worth showing.

No, I don't have to stop nitpicking, because... like, this also takes place largely in a vacuum. Every Coalition officer or general from previous books? Not there. The Coalition military staff from Rifts World Book 10, 11, 13, or 22 are entirely absent from the text. You'd think this would be a good time to use the mercenary groups from Rifts Mercenaries, right? Nope, none of them show up. The Juicer mercenaries, the biggest enemies of the Coalition we've seen so far- not here. The Federation of Magic sits this shit out for... no particular reason. Yes, they don't want to side with Tolkeen for reasons, fine, but they'd probably get up to some shit nonetheless. Similarly, Lazlo, Psyscape, and other groups should have some interaction at least in the form of agents, at least to minimize loss of life, but no.

Hell, the Coalition leadership almost goes entirely undetailed outside of Drogue and Holmes. In theory somebody leads the final push on Tolkeen from the East and South, but we just have faces with big question marks. Who are they? What are their tactics like? You're already going all Great Man Theory with Holmes, you might as well go all the way and give us some interesting folks. It's bad enough the Tolkeen leadership only shows up long enough to get shown the door, but the Coalition is just like "yeah, some guys". Worse yet, the main Coalition villain is sidelined halfway through the plot and blown up in a cutscene. And... it turns out he wasn't functionally any better than the other nameless generals that replace them. Oh, they killed people in their houses rather than a death camp? Quite the moral high ground, fascist motherfuckers.

Bill Coffin posted:

... and then, he decided, he was going to do this great big, six part, Rifts sourcebook series called the Siege on Tolkeen, and he's like "Bill, you're my boy, you're going to help me write this." And I went, "No, man, I don't know about this, Kevin, I'm not really a Rifts writer." And he's like "Nonono, trust me, they'll love it, work with me on this." And I said, "Look, Kev, I mean, one of the big successes of a lot of your game worlds is the fact that..." - and this is true, if you look at most Palladium product - "... the game's settings are all built on this notion of unresolved conflict. There's always this war that's about to start. An evil that's about to break loose."

Bill Coffin posted:

And the glory of that, see, especially, that approach, versus White Wolf, where a lot of these games have this very discretely defined metaplot that had an actual ending in kind of took the freedom out of the hand of the players. With a lot of Palladium games, their settings are set up such that players could really interface them very, very well on their own terms. You could take this and run in your own direction very well. The games can give you explicit permission to do that. And the Siege on Tolkeen was a direct violation of that compact with the players, I felt. So I had a really hard time swallowing this whole thing. And, frankly, Rifts- I've never even played Rifts. I'm not a Rifts writer, like, I don't know this game system, so.

Bill Coffin posted:

So what Kevin wants to do is he wants to have this story- this big series of sourcebooks that basically resolves this massive metaplot that much of the core game has hinged upon. Long story short, a lot of fans didn't really take it that well. They didn't really like the books a whole hell of a lot, there were certain parts about them they liked, certain parts about them they didn't like, and Kevin and I clashed a whole lot on what to do with this because... frankly, I wasn't feeling the project, I really shouldn't have been on it, but Kevin wanted me there, he had nobody else to write it with him. We had a lot of strife over that thing. After that, things were never quite the same.

This set of books is pretty much a bridging point to the next edition of Rifts. Siembieda promises the Rifts® Game Master's Guide, the Rifts® Book of Magic, and maybe a Rifts Adventure Book, all if which will come out. "And, because you folk seem to want it, a Rifts® Dragons & Gods sourcebook." is promised but never comes out (nor do the promised Australia, Cosmo-Knight, and Japan 2 books mentioned as well). But the Rifts Aftermath book will serve as an overview of the world, while the Game Master's Guide will become a weapon index, and Book of Magic will be a spell index, all leading to Rifts Ultimate Edition. Which is a new edition. Palladium insists otherwise, but the rules changes are actually significant enough to make it as one, even though it's about 90% backwards-compatible.

"Don't worry, you'll live. You're merchandiseable."

Rifts Coalition Wars 6: Final Siege posted:

I originally thought an aftermath section would appear in the back of this book, but as I began writing Siege Six, I quickly realized there was too much other important stuff that had to go into it, and that the Aftermath needed its own book! I hope you don't mind.

Were the Hackers' Consortium, The Time Walkers, Freehold's Megaversals, or the Threno Bat-Thing that important? Of course not. So yeah, I do mind. I'm not worrying about Aftermath, though. You folks have been through enough for now.

But I've got a bit of my own aftermath to close us out tomorrow. I hope you don't mind.

Next: The seven-year itch.

"As always, keep those imaginations burning, and we'll keep trying to provide the fuel that feeds them. - Kevin Siembieda, 2001"

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Coalition Wars 6: Final Siege, Part 15- "As always, keep those imaginations burning, and we'll keep trying to provide the fuel that feeds them. - Kevin Siembieda, 2001"

This is the literal seventh anniversary of these reviews. It wasn't planned, but when I looked up my very first post on the Rifts corebook last night, there it is: June 23rd, 2012. Which seems as good a place to put a pin these reviews and look back as any.

I enjoy Rifts. I realize that might seem odd to say, given how much criticism I've put on it all these years, but it's true. Spite alone wouldn't have gotten me through this, wouldn't have gotten me building a shelf of books. I have a deep nostalgia for Rifts, and a lot of other folks do too.

When Rifts came out, most RPGs would shake their fist at you for daring to play a dark elf or lizardman, and here this RPG comes along and says: you want to play a giant robot? A wizard that can blow up buildings? A real, legit dragon? It's okay! You can do that! Even contemporaries like Shadowrun or Torg feel a little staid compared to a game that lets you play a full combat cyborg or a cybernetic psychic knight. Add in Long's art really pulling overtime to sell these concepts, and you have a knockout of a game concept. The Rifts Sourcebook gave us robot rules, monsters, and a full adventure to really flesh it out. And Rifts Conversion Book really showed its potential, letting you drag in characters from other games and giving the game its first (and deeply necessary) bestiary.

However, even then, the rules were clearly pretty hinky, having only gone incremental updates over nine years of Palladium products that didn't particularly synergize. The issues with mega-damage in terms of game balance and lethality were obvious from the start. Still, the state-of-the-art in rules wasn't particularly developed in 1990; the Hero System, released the same year, probably represented the most coherent rules system at publication at the time.

Even though I was young, I feel like the cracks showed through with the first world books, though. Rifts World Book 1: Vampire Kingdoms and Rifts World Book 2: Atlantis gave us monster-dominated regions, that, though interesting, weren't easily usable- most PCs would be torn apart with a single misstep in Mexico or Atlantis. In retrospect, the subtext of Mexican vampires trying to cross the border from Mexico to feed on the blood of "American" humans isn't a great one, though I doubt it was intentional. Rifts World Book 3: England and Rifts World Book 4: Africa just did very little to evoke or celebrate their respective regions, and England was where I broke from the line for the most part. While books like Rifts World Book 5: Triax & the NGR, Rifts World Book 7: Underseas, and Rifts World Book 8: Japan did some to reignite my flagging interest, at the same time I was already being lured away by White Wolf, and Mage grabbed at the same "you play annnything, man!" power fantasy impulse.

Coming back to these books in 2012, in an era where FATE, Apocalypse World, and Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition represented the state-of-the-art, Rifts came across as positively archaic. Rolling 3d6 down a line of eight attributes? Yep. Skill percentages that rendered skilled college graduates barely able to figure algebra? Still in there. Randomly rolling for psionics? You bet! And so, I came in swinging with these reviews with cussing, scorn, and emoji, inspired by Ettin's scathing Cthulhutech writeups. I was assisted before long by occamsnailfile, who helped me dare the Rifts Conversion Book and really helped me get through books I would have struggled with otherwise at that point. And every time I figured I was done, there was another hill to climb - "let's get through the CJ Carella books", "I have to cover Coalition War Campaign", "oh, people have to see the disaster of the 'western trilogy'" - and so on. And in the far distance, there was always Rifts Coalition Wars: Siege on Tolkeen as the ultimate hubris and folly of the game line.

After all, Siembieda had done little to endear himself to the traditional games community. There was the lawsuit with Wizards of the Coast over the Palladium conversion rules in The Primal Order - and though Siembieda was likely justified, the look of an industry leader trying to knock down a new publisher on their first released product was a real bad one. The draconian response of Palladium Games to the growing influence of the internet burned a lot of their fandom, blocking fansites, conversions, and in particular standing as a bulwark against d20 at the height of its popularity. Throwing threats of lawsuits around, Siembieda worked hard to cut his bridges. As it was, Coalition Wars came at perhaps the worst time. Just as d20 began to wreck the industry, sapping money from any non-D&D product, here came this event that pissed off Coalition fans ("why are these nobodies even a threat?"), pissed off Coalition haters ("why does the Coalition just win again?"), and in general didn't reward the six-book buy-in it required. Siembieda would go online at times to lash out at critics. Palladium was having a tough time, and then Coffin, fired from the company, dropped his infamous series of wordbombs at RPG.net condemning Siembieda and Palladium. And, all the while, Palladium was being quietly robbed of around a million dollars by Siembieda's long-time gaming buddy, Steve Sheiring.

Though the outpouring of fan support and money in 2006-2007 to rescue the company from Sheiring's embezzlement would seem to offer them a chance for a new start, Palladium has largely continued on unchanged. Granted, they don't run around threatening lawsuits against fans anymore, having learned at least a modicum of PR basics from the Coffin debacle, but Rifts is still what it is - a relic of a different time, largely buoyed up by an aging fandom. The Robotech RPG Miniatures kickstarter was a dramatic disaster that seemingly cost them any remaining goodwill, but Savage Rifts was a wise turn that at least given them a new spotlight.

Several years ago, I met with Siembieda for the first time. I had my SA handle on my badge so other goons at GenCon could recognize me, and I asked him to sign some of my books. Or, at least, I pretty much had to corner him to do so, as he would often turn away when I came near. While he greeted other fans with cheer, he looked like a punched dog when he signed my books. Pretty sure he knew who I was. And on my way home from the show, I wondered: am I just kicking an old man? After talking it over with people, I came to the realization that Siembieda's carefully built this safe zone from criticism, having driven away everybody who isn't a yes-man. He's ignored suggestions and demands from fans for decades, and it's not on me to coddle him for his choices. He's built his own house and I'm just a small voice on a shrinking elfgames wordbasket.

"Oh, this is just at the right time, I just finished reading through the Russia books.", I say cheerfully in 2018 as he signs my copy of Rifts World Book 36: Sovietski. "Oh.", Kevin says a dull, saddened tone. "... is that so?"

In the same show, I'm approached by a Palladium associate. "Are you the guy that writes those Rifts reviews?!", he asks me excitedly.

Even after all this, though, man, I just love the notion of grab-bag power fantasy gaming that Rifts could have been, were it not for the kludgey rules, were it not for the clumsy world-building, the careless stereotyping, the thoughtless fascism apologia, the rehashed material, the mistreatment of employees and freelancers, okay, okay, you get the point. Even these days I open a game I love like Fragged Empire and I'm like "I want to play an ace fighter pilot!" and then game is like "Whoa there, you have to earn that cool fighter." Maybe it takes that a flagrant carelessness, a lack of regard for what others might think, a willingness to keep pumping out supplements for a thirty-year old game... maybe Rifts requires that level of childishness to exist.

Wow. I started trying to find a place to be positive and here we are again. That's the essential dilemma of any nuanced Palladium fandom- recognizing the cool seeds of games that never were allowed to blossom, and recognizing that there's one person who stood in the way of that. I've covered over 42 books (3 with the help of occamsnailfile) and 9 magazines, and occamsnailfile did another 4. It's a ridiculously comprehensive review of the line and one I'm willing to let stand for now. But these days I'm working towards writing for games, not about them. That isn't to say I won't write or talk about Palladium again, but if I do, I'd like to find a different way to do it. I don't want to be stuck in the past. That is, after all, the Palladium way.

Thanks for occamnailfile for helping me get through those Conversion Books and Dimension Books. Thanks to everybody that commented over the past seven years here or in the Palladium thread. Thanks go to Jason Marker and Bill Coffin for giving us all insight into Palladium Books we wouldn't have had otherwise, even if they don't personally see eye-to-eye. Thanks to Ettin for giving me the inspiration to write about dodgy RPG word and finally post on SA. Thanks to Asimo, unseenlibrarian, and occamsnailfile for pointing me to Ettin's reviews in the first place. Thanks to MegaDumbCast, who covered the disaster of Ninjas & Superspies so I never had to. Thanks to everybody who's written for Palladium, even if it was just to have your text hacked apart and rewritten and uncredited. Thanks to all the Palladium artists I've made jokes over - you guys do great art, don't listen to me. And thanks to Kevin, for being the stodgy no-fucks curmedgeon that made all this possible. And thanks to Erick Wujcik, who wrote that RPG about mutant turtles that got me into the world of initialism-heavy make-believe even when I was denied D&D.