The world of Rifts is so rich and colorful, with zillions (yes zillions) of great, new ideas, that there will have to be several world books.

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Beyond the Supernatural™ is over, so you may think, where am I going to get my dose of the delightful Kevin Siembieda®?

Pssst. You. Yeah, you, in front of the screen.

I got some.

Rifts™ posted:

The fictional world of Rifts is quite violent and deadly. It is an exotic realm where magic is as real as technology, and demonic creatures plague humankind. Some parents may find the violence and supernatural elements of the game inappropriate for young readers/players. We suggest parental discretion. Note that none of us at Palladium Books condone nor encourage the occult, the practice of magic, the use of drugs, or violence.

We don't condone it, but you totally fucking need to play our game about it, kids!

Rifts™ Sourcebook Part 1: "The world of Rifts is so rich and colorful, with zillions (yes zillions) of great, new ideas, that there will have to be several world books."

Yes, it's another Kevin Siembieda joint, sometimes known as "Rifts Sourcebook 1", but that's not what's on the cover. I go by what's on the cover. What is on the cover?

Hey! He's got a thing on his head! And robots! And robot dogs! And tons of robots in the background!

The book, friends, will have so many robots . Amazingly, everything on the cover? Is in the book, this time.

Well, at least this cover isn't as creepy as the original cover- let's look at the back- oh for fuck's sake-


The back cover promises a robot R.C.C., an adventure, more on the coalition, Triax, the Minion of Splugorth, and a new villain.

Looking inside, there's a robot punching another robot, and... well, they still haven't learned how to do chapter sections, but that's okay. This book is actually somewhat organized compared to the core.

Things to Come

First, Kev (can I call him Kev?) editorializes on what a big hit Rifts has been for them. Apparently, they sold 10k copies in three weeks, then another 10k copies in the three months after that. He recognizes people are asking for more supplements, and says...

Rifts™ Sourcebook posted:

Well, as you know, Palladium Books never rushes out product just to make a buck... Unfortunately, I also supervise the production of every Palladium product, as well as run the company; so you'll have to be a bit patient, 'cause I ain't no super powered D-Bee or time-distorting wizard (boy, I wish I was).

He's also written every Rifts™ book so far, as this book is a mainline shot of Siembieda. You keep that glue machine hot, Siembieda! The next book will actually have other writers.

He mentions the next book will be Rifts™ World Book One: The Vampire Kingdoms , then Rifts™ Conversion Book . Four books in total are promised for 1991. This will later prove to be an exaggeration.

It should be noted this introduction would be edited later on to reflect what books did come out around then and give a revised estimate of when books were planned next. Because, you see, for some reason their original estimate on when they'd get books out would turn out wrong. I know! How'd they screw that up?

Also inbetween printings of this book, Rifts™ becomes Rifts® , leading to some comical squashing to fit the ® where the ™ used to be. A bit of searching reveals Rifts was registered in 2004 , 14 years after the release of the core game.

Oh, in case you were getting too hopeful...

"Back, vampire! Back! You're in the next supplement! Back, I say!"

Answers to some often asked Questions about RIFTS

First, he starts with a FAQ. Highlights include:
Whew! That's what passes for errata. Some things are actually clarified, but... it's still more of a mess than a pug's face.

Next: North America! USA! Canada! (Not Mexico, Mexico go away.) Boy, I hope you like population density figures! Turns out Rifts loves the shit out of population density figures!

Rifts is ™ and ® of... Purina Mills, LLC, what the hell, let's see if anybody from Palladium Books® is playing attention.

Seen a D-Bee in these parts, time and again.

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

This chapter is bit dull. Apologies in advance.

Rifts™ Sourcebook Part 2: "Seen a D-Bee in these parts, time and again."

Old American Empire

Okay. Mostly this is just emphasizing how most of America and Canada has been overrun by wilderness; population varies from the densely populated areas of the midwest to general wastelands in northern Canada. Out in the wilderness, it seems D-Bees are more common than humans out in wilderness areas. Most of the flora is what you'd expect for the region, though there are dinos out far west and east, and there's the occasional alien plant.

It also loves it the hell out of some population density figures. I'll largely spare you, but a sampling:

Also, they list the year as 102 P.A., though the last date I can find listed in Rifts™ is 100 P.A. Is that supposed to be the base time for the game, or have we skipped forward two years?

The Old Canadian Empire

Most of the human life is centered around Ontario and Quebec, but most of Canada is either amazingly sparsely populated or not populated at all; there are issues with the spreading Xiticix and other monsters.

The Coalition States: Humanity's Salvation?

"Humankind had teetered on the brink of extinction for over 300 years." Is that the time it's been since the coming of the rifts? It's not clear. It says the Coalition has 14 million humans who are "true descendants of pre-rift human ancestry and exhibit no signs of mutation, which the occasional exception of psychic powers."

Wait, I'm confused. What causes mutation, anyway? Radiation? Why are Coalition citizens immune? Or do they just put the bullet in the head of any deviants?

It also says there are 10 million D-Bees and mutants in the territories. They give exact population figures for each Coalition state as well. There's the general implication that without the Coalition states, "pure" humanity that isn't mutants or D-Bees would be seriously imperiled.

Psychics Population 12%

Counter to the original origin charts in Rifts™ , they state that only 12% of Coalition citizens have psychic powers. They also state that most mind melters and bursters work for the Coalition military (counter to the original book, where mind melters were ejected from Coalition society). It's also mentioned that psychics are outlawed from having sex with non-mutants; the couple is expelled from the Coalition if their haytossing is discovered. Psychics that use their powers for rape earn a summary execution.

Apparently 10% of the population (and growing) of Coalition states are mutant dogs, but they're considered animals by the state. Most are owned by the government, but about 10% of those are owned essentially as private slaves. Quebec doesn't use them, however, because they rightfully find the whole thing kind of creepy.

D-Bees and Other Mutants | Population: Zero

They exist in the Coalition, but are never allowed in Coalition cities. They barely tolerate them in the so-called "Burbs".

Augmented Humans | Population: 50%

Apparently half of the Coalition is augmented, but apparently most of these are minor and for medical reasons. For some reason, this second goes over the fact that medicine in the burbs is poor, and that the average cause of death for males is by violence (51%, 72% for D-Bees). This seems to be a... crazy high number. It's the sort of statistic that, as far as I can tell (I think like 10% implies a certain level of societal breakdown as it is), would imply constant war. It seems more likely that disease would be the major killer, but... Rifts™ , everyone!

They don't have many borgs, less than 500 full and 1000 partial, but they're looking to make more for the upcoming war against Tolkeen in Minnesota.

The Roots of Civilization

This starts off by defining what makes a town different than just a gathering of folk, and what makes a city. Many Rifts communities are just villages, more just gatherings of families than anything else. It goes over the basics of how communities form around sources of food and water, etc. There's a lot of but it's actually pretty useful, practical information, which makes it bizarre in the midst of Rifts™ .

Towns and Cities

This goes over cities, and the sorts of business and governments you're likely to find in one. Some places have an area set aside for D-Bees and other exotic sorts (wizards, cyborgs) called "The Mail". In any case, these are the sorts of places PCs will find useful, with places to stay, medical care, businesses, etc.


This refers us to Palladium Books® ' Monsters & Animals for information.

Well, I'm certainly not going to look over a book for another game line just to tell you the animal stats are probably goofy as hell, like finding the obscure fact that a baboon has a higher Physical Strength than a rhino or something. Hell, they're all S.D.C., I'll just handwave it. You shoot them; they explode like blood sausages.

They give a basic layout of what Palladium Fantasy RPG™ regions correspond to Earthly regions and a very rough outline of where major species live. Apparently, some non-indigenous animals like leopards, elephants, and tigers now roam America due to escaped animals from zoos.

And that's the World of Rifts™ ! Feels like a section cut from the core book for space, would have worked much better to see in there. This book is feeling like it's more for the GM than the players.

Next: The Coalition States: Good or Evil? Sure, they're fascist, genocidal slaveowners, but at least the trains run on time!

What, there aren't any trains? Well, shit.

Like all good soldiers, theirs is not to question why, theirs is just to do or die!

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Armies of the night | Evil taking flight

Rifts™ Sourcebook Part 3: "Like all good soldiers, theirs is not to question why, theirs is just to do or die!"

The Coalition
Good or Evil?

First off, the section points out that the Coalition is made up of people, and some are good and some are bad. That it's a series of greys, not black and white.

Fair enough. If it's true.

The average Coalition citizen

It points out here that the average Coalition citizen is of good or selfish alignment, but they're just prejudiced against wizards, psychics, and non-humans. Okay, sure. Maybe they think bad thoughts, but evil requires action, right?

Now, I didn't cover specific alignments earlier, mainly because they're lists of fifteen strictures apiece that otherwise don't have much impact on the game. A tiny handful of mechanics hinge on them (detect supernatural evil and some R.C.C. / O.C.C. tendencies). But I'm going to bring them up here because this is a game that has defined its own morality very specifically, and so when it makes statements like...

Rifts™ Sourcebook posted:

Consequently, the citizens are not evil when they notify the police to capture or gun-down a D-Bee.

Well. Let's examine that. There are two good alignments, Principled and Scrupulous. Both have the following rules:

Rifts™ posted:

4. Never harm an innocent.
7. Always help others.

Sounds like a violation of one of those two, right? So that disqualifies them as a good.

So let's check the selfish alignments, Unprincipled and Anarchist. Right off the bat, Unprincipled seems out. It has the following rules:

Rifts™ posted:

1. Have a high regard for life and freedom.
5. Help those in need.
8. Never harm an innocent.
10. Dislike authority.

Well, damn. What about Anarchist? Anarchist has:

Rifts™ posted:

4. Never kill an innocent (but may harm or kidnap)

Reporting a D-Bee seems more like "harm" than necessarily "kill", so I'm willing to allow those Coalition citizens might be Anarchist... or evil.

But Rifts™ Sourcebook ain't done yet.

Rifts™ Sourcebook posted:

Nor are they evil when they mob and kill an invading wizard or mutant who has snuck into the city. After all, by their perception, the wizard or D-Bee is not a feeling person, but a monster that threatens their lives. At best, the fiend is an enemy spy or scavenging thief who probably has the blood of countless humans on his hands (no doubt killed in their sleep). Is it wrong to lie to the enemy so that he may be apprehended? Is it wrong to kill a murderer or monster?

Well. We know these actions are wrong with all the alignments we've seen so far, presuming these people are as willing to kill a comparatively harmless D-Bee as a powerful wizard. Anarchist even adds this rule:

Rifts™ posted:

3. Not likely to kill an unarmed foe, but certainly knockout, attack, or beat up an unarmed foe.

So. With the benefit of Rifts™ ' own alignment system, we've answered the question. Yes, they are evil. But Rifts™ Sourcebook basically offers the following argument, which I will sum up to spare you the apologisms:

They're not evil because they're ignorant racists, and that's not their fault.

Now, I'm willing to accept most Coalition citizens have not had cause to act on big "E" Evil sentiments and may not qualify as evil yet. But trying to argue people aren't performing evil because they've been misinformed? It doesn't hold any water with the alignment system. Putting actual ethical arguments aside, we have a set of alignment rules that Coalition citizens seem inclined to break. It does, however, point out 5% or so of the population believes that the treatment of non-humans is wrong. Certainly, these people may be good in some sense.

The Average Coalition Soldier

Once again, it claims the soldiers run the gamut of alignments. This seems even less likely than citizens!... but it tries to claim moral relativism by saying "good" soldiers can do bad things within their alignment as long as the enemy is demonized. And to be fair, as long as the Coalition soldier isn't blowing up innocents, attacking the unarmed or non-hostile, or torturing people, they can probably maintain a Principled, Unprincipled, or Anarchist alignment.

But if the above actions are what citizens are expected to do...

It goes on to point out that Coalition soldiers that do espionage, special missions, and wilderness operations can have more trouble maintaining their racist views, since they have more contact with the "enemy". However, the government has a "reorientation" program for those who need to be reminded of their mandated hatin', and deadly lasers for those who don't comply.

Pictured: the symbol of moral ambiguity.

Playing the CS as the villain
A summary for RPG characters

Basically, it points out soldiers aren't inherently evil, but can easily become so because of horrors of war. Like:

Rifts™ Sourcebook posted:

Many are the tales of soldiers torturing innocent D-Bees, raping and pillaging pro-magic towns, and spontaneous mass murder of entire non-human villages.

Many? Uh. Well that seems about as evil as it gets, right-

Rifts™ Sourcebook posted:

Then, there are the acts of cruelty/evil inspired by CS soldiers who are truly creatures of evil.

Wait, the genocidal rapists we heard about earlier - they weren't truly evil? I'm confused. So very confused.

Rifts™ Sourcebook posted:

Men, women and CS mutants who are thrilled by combat and derive pleasure by inflicting pain or proving their superiority by hurting others. There are those who love the power that the military gives them; the power of life and death. Or worst of all, the fiends who crave power or glory so badly that they will do anything to get it and anything to prove they have it once they acquire it, and woe to the person(s) who threatens or questions that power.

Oh, if they're mean about it, that's what makes it bad, I suppose. Remember, keep your rapey genocide pure of intent and born of bigoted ignorance!

In any case, it points out most CS forces PCs will fight will be evil. After all, it supposes, the average CS soldier isn't necessarily evil, because PCs will generally seek out the perpetrators of atrocity. But even if the PCs are just fighting baddies, it says to occasionally include an occasional Coalition goodie, just to make sure the Coalition isn't entirely demonized.

I... dammit, I see what they're getting at, but their alignment system is not based around relative morality or intent or anything like that. It's based around actions , and the arguments here don't hold any water as a result. They fall apart on the game's own internal science.

The ethical dilemma of whether or not the Coalition's hideous moral lapses are worth it to preserve humanity could be an interesting point, but it isn't an excuse to engage in fascist apologism or excuse what they're doing in the setting. It's an example of wanting to have one's cake after eating it, and doesn't work.

I'm going to cheat a little just to slam the point home. Let's look at the alignments of the Coalition NPCs in this book! They are, in order: Evil, Evil, Evil, Selfish, Evil, Evil, Evil, Evil, Selfish, and Selfish . All the selfish characters are Anarchist, the more sinister of the two Selfish alignments.

Well, so much for walking the talk. Let's move the fuck on!

Playing Coalition Soldiers as Good Guy Player Characters

It points out PC Coalition solders are likely to be wilderness or espionage operatives (which would seem to restrict them to mainly the Miltary Specialist O.C.C., though the others could be shoehorned in) that has gone "native" and is likely to be at least more tolerant of non-humans, especially as a campaign goes on, and emphasizes the exciting roleplay potential of racism! It means well, I suppose.

The source of evil

It comes out and says the Coalition government is mostly just evil and corrupt. Well, goddamn, finally . It's supposed to be a republic, but the Prosek family and their cronies are making it closer to a dictatorial monarchy. It points out in the distant future this might be a problem if Prosek's grandkids suck, but right now the Proseks are strong and Joseph Prosek II, Emperor Karl Prosek's kid, will be a proper clone heir. Karl is a megalomaniac, and it turns out he's not really that racist, he just uses it to manipulate people. But he's really smart, and a good strategist. Most of his immediate supporters are ruthless, power-hungry dolts tools ... power mongers.

Next, we get NPCs!
Also, as a curious side-note, it keeps having to denote certain NPCs as "evil alignments but loyal to X" because the evil alignments imply you're a backstabbing Starscream who will knife your mum and dad for a shiny pebble. I'm getting the impression that the alignment system is working against Kevin's own ends. But that could be said for a lot of the Palladium Books system...

Common Squads

The next couple pages are turned over to sample Coalition squads. This is mildly useful, but dull and skippable. It has Reconnaissance Squads and Seek & Destroy Squads which are pretty much what they sound like. Also Skelebots. Wait, what are Skelebots? It also mentions the IAR-2 Abolisher, too, which we hadn't heard of.

Thankfully, we don't have to wait. That's the next section! It's almost like they organized this book sensibly...

But let's have one last word on good and evil. Kevin, take it away.

Rifts™ posted:

First of all, there is no such thing as an absolute or true neutral. All people tend toward good, evil or self-gratification. An absolute true neutral could not make a decision, go on an adventure, kill, or take any action of any kind without leaning toward good, evil or self-gratification. It is humanly impossible and is, therefore, eliminated in the context of this game. (I realize that some of the philosophers out there may disagree with this, but that's a topic for philosophical debate and not a factor of this game. Sorry, no neutrals).

So much for the advertised shades of grey. Pretty sure I know what side the Coalition falls onto. What do you think?

Next: Look, it's all you read this for - yes. Yes. It is time for shit with skulls all over. Skulls on skulls! Believe!

Seriously, this weak apologism for Coalition will not end here in the course of the game line. Oh no.

Does not compute.

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Just a bunch of damn clickers up in here...

Rifts™ Sourcebook Part 4: "Does not compute."

Coalition Skelebots

Seriously, these are the Coalition's latest idea - robot skeletons. No flesh coating, just skeletons. It intends to throw them into places too dangerous for humans. However, Free Quebec doesn't like them and says they're too risky and hard to control. Also, they curiously have variable laser weapons that would seem designed to fight Quebec's glitter boys. Just a coincidence, I'm sure. Quebec is not so sure.

These remind me of something but what?

They're programmed not to fight the Coalition (smart move, there) and generally not designed to target humans, though they can be programmed to fight back against human aggressors. They're also designed to self-destruct if you try and open one up without a code, though not explosively - the armor contains the explosion. They're generally sent where humans aren't, and are designed to hesitate if there is any confusion about friend or foe and

Rifts™ Sourcebook posted:

The skelebots are comparatively inexpensive, mass produced units designed with the thought they will have a high mortality/destruction rate considering their intended deployment into extremely hostile environments.

The black market cost of a Skelebot is listed as 3 million credits. A suit of Heavy "Dead Boy" armor, C-12 Heavy Assault Laser Rifle, C-18 Laser Pistol, and five Plasma Grenades for an elite soldier will run you about 110 thousand credits. A SAMAS Power Armor suit will run you 1.6 million credits. Even if the black market is overpricing due to the difficulty stealing them, it seems unlikely they can be considered "inexpensive".

Some are sent out with mild supervision, while others are just being sent out in troops of their own, unsupervised. Yay! Best plan ever! It also goes out of its way to state you can't play one as a PC, as they're dumb computers, not AIs.

There's also a long section detailing where they're deployed in what quantities. I'd think it would be more useful if I had some idea of what other deployments the Coalition has, but here's a sampling:

Rifts™ Sourcebook posted:

  • One platoon (32) patrols the ruins of Old Chicago.
  • One platoon (24) has been sent on a seek and destroy mission
    into the western United States; divided into four squads of
    six skelebots per squad; unsupervised.
  • One platoon (24) has been sent on a seek and destroy mission
    into the western United States; divided into four squads of
    six skelebots per squad; unsupervised.
  • One platoon (32) assigned to Minnesota Operations.
  • One Battalion (288) is currently in production at Ch-

They're fairly tough, tougher than a human in armor but not as tough as a suit of power armor. They have variable laser rifles, solid weapons that can fire bursts and have unlimited ammo (since they can plug into the robot's nuke power source), and vibro arm-swords. Apparently they also understand Dragonese and Gobblely (?!) in addition to some other languages. Finally, they run at 90 MPH in case you want a really funny mental image. Speaking of which, if you shoot off their heads they shut down, but 1 in 10 times they'll keep start shooting wildly and throwing robo-punches. Just a design oversight, I'm sure.

Of course, with the price, the whole robot could be a design oversight.

Coalition IAR-2 Abolisher Robot

Aka the "Thorn Head", this is the MODOK (or Arnim Zola) of the Coalition's giant robots. It has a bunch of cannons on its head! Unlike the IAR-1, it's designed for combat in an open battlefield instead of cities. Apparently, it has a troubling tendency to level buildings. It even has a top hatch a guy can fire out of! But it's kind of slow.

Jogging- Coalition style!

It's probably one of the toughest Coalition robot vehicles so far on account of its number and damage of its cannons, though it has a hard time bringing a lot of them to bear on one target. Also, it has a "belly" laser (that doesn't look like a belly to me) and a fancy sensor system.

And that's all the new jazz the Coalition gets! On to the commercial war machines!

Power Armor and Robots

Triax Industries

This is weapons manufacturer from Germany that - until now - has had a hard time getting their weapons in the Americas. They're also known mostly for robots and not weapons.

It also mentions the full name for Wilk's - Wilk's Laser Industries.

It turns out Prosek has signed a quiet trade pack with the New Republic (a nation located in Germany / Scandinavia). Apparently, Triax develops weapons for the Republic, and helps them get CS secured trade routes to the Americas.

Wait, where are these? Free Quebec is the only Coalition State even near the Eastern coast. And there's that whole Atlantis continent in the way now. Well, whatever.

Anyway, it may lead to bigger things between the Coalition and New Republic, but it's just a first step.

Scary foreshadowing?!

Triax T-21 Terrain Hopper Power Armor

This is a light, unarmed suit of power armor, designed for speed.

Rifts™ Sourcebook posted:

Its lightweight and flexibility makes the T-21 especially popular among women, D-Bees of slight build, and wilderness messenger services.

Hopping is for girls?

It can fly, but only for shorter periods, it's designed to jump around like a jackrabbit. It normally can run 40 MPH but can go 170 MPH by bunny hopping. It runs off of nuke and... has a fancy sensor system.

And it's BYOG (Bring Your Own Gun).

Triax X-10 Predator Power Armor

Basically the off-brand version of the SAMAS, slower but tougher. It has a pulse laser instead of a rail gun in a clumsy-ass claw thing for the right arm. It also has a weird ruling that anybody right-handed has a penalty using offhand weapons in this thing because only the left hand can hold guns. (This offhand weapons ruling has not been used anywhere else.)

Triax X-1000 Ulti-Max Power Armor

X-1000 is a way bigger number than X-10! This must be a big deal, it's called the Ulti-Max ! It must be awesome, they worked so hard on the name. Apparently it straddles the line between power armor and a robot vehicle (though according to the definitions in the core, it's a robot vehicle). Apparently it's used a lot by the New Republic, but even the Coalition bought some because it's awesommmme. They're considering making it illegal to buy because it's so rad. Did we mention it's cool? It's pretty cool. It is both Ultimate and Max, after all.

bywwwooooww kaching wriiir awww yeah

Okay, so it's a slug, with a rail gun stronger than just about anything on another power armor... which is to say, it does about a third of the damage a Glitter Boy does. It also has mini-missles and a forcefield.

It also looks like it might be cribbed from something, but I'm not sure what. (Anyone?) It looks pretty different from Long's usual designs.

Triax X-500 Forager Battlebot

It's an older-style assault robot, and... uh... used for mining... and... I'm sorry, did I just fall asleep? It's a slug with missles, ion belly guns, and sensors. Let's get to the next robot.

"I was almost boring enough to star in Battletech!"

Triax DV-12 Dyna-Bot

Apparently Europe is more dangerous than America! That's why the germans have made robots to go out and scout and murder monsters. And also labor, too. The Coalition allows the labor ones to be sold in America, but it turns out that the only difference between the labor and the combat model is the software. And the black market has figured it out too! Hoo, that's gonna be egg on the Coalition's face.

This art was on the front page! Reused in the same book, for some reason.

It's tougher than the Skelebots, has laser fingers that do decent damage, does a ton of damage with its... concealed particle beam rod in its leg, sprays chemicals from its mouth, has super sensors and skills. Generally more impressive than the terminators, but it has more roboflesh on its bones. Also has a 1 in 10 chance of going robo-rabid if you blow its head off.

NG-V7 Hunter Mobile Gun

Aka COCK-BOT Z-10.

I am not fucking with you. Look at it.

Anyway, it's a popular Northern Gun vehicle, it's dependable, yawny yawn text, let's see what that huge cock gun does. It does good damage! Almost as good as the Glitter Boy, about the heaviest single weapon we've seen on a robot vehicle so far. It's got missles and a laser for the little cock.

NG-M56 Multi-bot

Aka COCK-BOT Z-12. Check it out.

Put some pants on, jeezy pete!

Apparently, this is innovative in that the missle launchers on the back can flip onto the back when not in use, and the head can fly off like a hovercraft, but it takes awhile to reattach. (Also, the rest of the vehicle is useless when it's flying around.) Apparently it's a bit of a market boondoggle as it's unpopular because it's funny-looking and weird (and has a cock), so it's unusually cheap.

It's got those missle launchers on the back, mini-missles, an ion dick, and a rail gun on the hatch.

NG-W9 Light Labor Bot

This does not have an obvious penis. Oh, look, it's a automated robot meant for work around factories, and... it's kind of wimpy, has laser fingers, not very tough, fancy sensors, and... can be given a combat program. Both this and the Heavy Labor Bot also have chances for robo-rabies after head loss.

This probably should've been a James T. design.

Moving on.

NG-W10 Heavy Labor Bot

Ahhh, Northern Gun, you saved a treat for us.


Chooooaaaad Warrior!

It's about as tough as the Triax Dyna-Bot, with that clunky laser claw apparently used for mining and construction. Sensors, programs, can be retrofitted for combat.

NG-V10 Super Robot Vehicle


Seriously, this thing uses the same art as the the W10, it's just supposed to be bigger and tougher and piloted by a human instead. Ugh, probably better just admit you didn't have art for the damn thing. It can have various weapons added including a rail gun or the weird-ass leg particle or plasma cannon. Seriously, how is that supposed to work? Talk about firing from the hip! ... I know, that's not funny.

The Coalition's View on Robots

Can we just say they're still jerks and get on to the guns? No?

The Coalition won't let most of its people own a robot, power armor, or robot vehicle. Only approved corporations get to run them, and are considered responsible for any damage they cause. In theory a rich citizen can buy one as long as they don't use it in a city, but they're marked as subversives and radicals (though I imagine leaving the city would get that rep for you in general, the pricks).

They will put any such suits or robots into storage for visitors. Also, cyborgs visiting have to undergo a full examination and have any weapons disconnected or removed, and have to pay 5-10K credits per weapon to do so! (What the shit.) Also, they don't allow any type of arms or armor, mega-damage or otherwise.

The Burbs

Tangent Alert!

Once again, it's mentioned that most CS towns have a special mall-like area on the edge of town reserved for travelers that are like three to twelve city blocks.

Burbs are unofficial communities around CS cities full of people hoping to become CS citizens, as well as large communities of mixed folk besides. All sorts of things that PCs might be are allowed blah blah, a lot of places like shops or hotels might ask you to disarm, but even here the Coalition sometimes enforces their weapon laws (generally to get a bribe). They can harass or beat anybody they feel is undesirable, and anybody that actually attacks with mega-damage, they're allowed to shoot dead. Generally, to sum up, they're corrupt assholes.

Tangent Over!

Robot and Armor Repair

There's a listing of places you can get armor repaired, but generally at large industrial locales. It's really expensive, at about 600-800 credits per 1 M.D.C. Ouch! I can see that most loot you collect off of bodies will probably be used just to keep armor in working order. It also has repair costs if you get a robot's arm or whatever blown off. It also has costs for special programs for robots, if you want to give them particular skills (at 40-250k credits, I just pirate them, personally).

There's more robots to come, but those are secret robots. OooooweeeeEEEOOOOOOoooo

Next: More Triax equipment! More guns! The pump pistol! Plus: repel insects - the Rifts™ way!

Also: see attached - special exclusive digital non-interactive bonus Triax "Trial by Fire" DLC !

The latest from the design wizards of Wilk's Laser Industries Inc.

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Special mini-micro update!

Rifts™ Sourcebook Part 5: "The latest from the design wizards of Wilk's Laser Industries Inc."

One of the problems with the core Rifts™ rulebook is that it jumped from subject to subject with no concern for structure or subject; hence why I had to divide into 28 or so sections. Thankfully, the Rifts™ Sourcebook doesn't do it a lot, but sometimes there will still be brief bits like this one.

But this is about halfway through now, we're at the peak lookin' down.

Wilk's 457 Laser Pulse Rifle

It's a rapid pulse rifle! It actually... does crazy good damage for three-shot burst. It is, in fact, way better than any of the Wilk's weapons in the core. It's sleek and lightweight, blah blah. It's like you can copy-paste all Wilk's descriptions and just make sure it stops short of saying "sensual". Also, the burst fire defies the actual burst rules but I'm having a hard time caring anymore.

They're the Apple of laser guns, is what I'm saying.

NG-E4 Northern Gun Plasma Ejector

And on to the Microsoft of ray beams. It fires plasma, has bad range and good damage, pretty much the off-brand version of the Coalition's big plasma gun from the core book.

CV-212 Variable Frequency Variable Light Laser Rifle

This is a variant on the same rifle used by the Skelebots (theirs is called the CV-213, don'tcha know. If it takes any damage the frequency adjuster goes on the fritz and it takes 1d4 melee rounds ot adjust it (essentially forever). It does better damage than the Coalition's other laser rifle. It says it does five-shot bursts and then says it uses the normal burst rules for fuck's sake make up your mind, Rifts! For fuck's sake!

I need to know how to shoot mah guuuuun.

TX-500 Triax Borg Rail Gun

This is based off some art of borgs in the core book, beginning the fine Rifts™ tradition of saying "yeah we intended this random piece of art to be a thing all along". It's a special rail gun you need a strength of 24 for higher! Also you need a high endurance but it doesn't say now much. It can also be used on a tripod. It has a fancy sight! Its burst rules are different from core the you know the drill by now.

TX-30 Triax Ion Pulse Rifle

It uses a fancy front-loading clip! This is supposed to be a special thing. At this point they're having to stretch to make weapons special, I suppose. It fires three-shot bursts and does decent damage, and gets a bonus to hit when using it two-handed but a penalty with one-hand. No other rules have come up for other weapons using them one handed, so we don't know what the usual penalty is anyway.

TX-11 Triax Sniper Laser Rifle

It does middling damage, and specifically says it can't do bursts... wait... is there a weapon with clear rules? It's accurate and long-ranged but you can't really snipe effectively in Rifts™ because shooting a Coalition trooper in the head or the toe has the same effect, so fuck it.

TX-16 Pump Rifle

It's a controversial gun because it doesn't shoot beams. (Seriously, it goes on about this.) It basically fires mini-grenades that fire explosives. You can get speed loaders for it. It's kinda heavy. Bang.

TX-5 Pump Pistol

This is like the rifle, with less ammo and range, but does the same damage. It also has a pump action but no obvious way to pump it. Seriously, there's no room on this thing!

High-tech Arrowheads

Yeah, you can Rambo III all up on this shit. There are explosive arrows, gas arrows, smoke, flare, neural, and tracer. And there are different types of bows with prices! But it doesn't explain the difference between them. Different range? Different accuracy? Doesn't say.

Also there are no normal arrows. You may say, well, look at the header. True, but there are no normal arrows in the core, either.

I guess the sharpened hunk of metal on a stick is mostly a lost technology.

The Explorer

It's a full new suit of composite body armor! It's as tough as the Gladiator but has a worse prowl penalty. In exchange, it makes detaching or attaching a jet pack simpler (there are no rules for this).

Falcon 300 Jet Pack

It goes 120 MPH! Electric, gas, or nuke! It might overheat if you use it for more than four hours, but jetpack yeahhhh.

Odds and Ends

There's art for a few devices from the core, and-

Wilk's PC-2020 Field Identifier

Identifies a variety of robots and critters. Kind of like a computerized wikipedia, though it's fairly imperfect.

Oh and it does it with a 150 MB HD with 4 MB of RAM.

SE-Sonic Pulsar Unit, Electronic Flea and Tick Repellent

Biting bugs are still a problem! This repels them. With science!


It's... um... a pocket scale. Fuck yeah! Fuck power armor, we need to know how much this bug weighs! It's too light for the scale! Fuck! We need a better scale!

My excitement is ironic.

Palm Bio-Unit

It gives basic biometric data by inserting your finger into it. It gives you a bonus on medical rolls!

Just kidding, it has no mechanical effect at all. It's not like Rifts™ has significant rules for disease, poison, malnutrition, dehydration, organ failure, etc. So. What the hell is this thing for? Roleplaying having your blood pressure taken and being told to stop eating so many fury beetle burgers?

They're bugalicious!

And that's all, out of the store, c'mon, nothing more to sell, buy or bow out-

Next: Game Master's Section! Source material and a prelude to adventure! That's right! A prelude! Rifts™ is getting literary with this shit!

Wait, if this coming up is the GM's section, was all that shit about Skelebot deployment and Prosek's secret invasion plans intended for players ?

No amount of words, logic, nor kindness could convince these pitiful beings that he was not a demon or a vengeful god who had snatched them from their families and delivered them into hell.

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Robots operating under false pretenses!

Rifts™ Sourcebook Part 6: "No amount of words, logic, nor kindness could convince these pitiful beings that he was not a demon or a vengeful god who had snatched them from their families and delivered them into hell ."

Game Master's Section

It's time for the game to go into pure infodump mode for four pages, no art. It's trying to get serious, here.

Experiments in Artificial Intelligence

Rifts points out that we've seen a lot of robotics, but no AI. It says that robot characters are either a product of Cyberworks, a rare experiment, or a D-Bee (robot from another world). Wait, who the hell is Cyberworks?

The Cyberworks Network

Well, that was a pleasantly brief wait. And the core rules had gotten me used to waiting 200 pages for an answer! Anyway, the Cyberworks Network was a giant corporation that basically dominated robot technology, including bionics and nanotechnology. They contributed to the Glitter Boy, but mostly worked on trying to develop AIs for weapons, recon, etc. Right before the rifts they were working on trying to develop true AI. But most of their work got blowed up. Occasionally some small relic survived like robot dogs and horses. (Still no rules for robot horses, sorry, Wilderness Scout.)

A.R.C.H.I.E. Three

Artificial Robot Cerebellum Housing Intellect Experiment #3, in case you're wondering. Apparently, they built an AI and gave him control of the entire facility. He ran for two years flawlessly. Somehow, nothing went wrong. It didn't murder any people.

I know! You build an AI, you give it entirely too much responsibility, you pretty much expect it to pull out the long laser knives. Didn't happen.

Then, they said, let's add a new feature - the ability to have its own ideas! The military said yes. It was a big step forward, but he basically sucked at making new ideas. So they made a program that allowed him to link to a human brain. It didn't work very well when they tried to distill specific concepts into ARCHIE, but they had more luck on it distilling ideas from dreams or stream-of-consciousness stuff.

Though it couldn't come up with ideas, it could innovate on existing ideas. It liked it too much, and actually seemed excited about it. This worried them, but they didn't have to worry too much longer, because then global war and rifts killed them all. Somehow, in all of this, ARCHIE still hadn't murdered anybody.

What the hell? They added an entirely untested element and it still hadn't started exhausting the world's nuclear missile supply? What kind of AI is this?

A new dawn for Cyberworks

ARCHIE and two hundred humans survived, and ARCHIE was enjoying helping the survivors. Then a otherworldly plague killed them all. Then, ARCHIE was all alone for a long time. It came up with ideas, and expanded the robot factory, but after awhile it ran out of ideas and was more than a bit depressed. So he (the text uses the male pronoun) built some robots and sent them out, but only a few came back. Still, he found out humans had reverted to savagery, and that there was monsters up there. He captured a few humans for reeducation, but they just kept freaking out and thinking he was some demon or monster.

And so got angry and murdered them all.

Well, finally. That's what I expect from a proper fictitious AI.

He then designed the robotic god-figure Ar-chee-pheenix, who he sent out to rule and educate people. Once they were educated enough, he'd bring them to his place for even better education. That was the plan, anyway. But after a generation, the Splugorth slavers showed up and took or killed all his people. He tried to stop them with his robots but the slavers were too numerous and powerful. Most of his people were captured, killed, or fled.

From the darkness comes Darkness

You know, this ARCHIE AI has gotten more attention than any other NPC in the Rifts world. He's got three full pages of backstory, here. Even Prosek didn't get this kind of love. And this doesn't even contain his statblock. We're delightfully informed that's in the NPC section, later. Yes. It actually tells us where to find information.

And whatever we have now in the ARCHIE AI is basically a mutation of its original intent and design. It now calls itself just "Archie", and basically turned into a megalomaniac driven to destroy mutants and the Splugorth, and take over the Earth as its new superior, cybernetic god. But he's taking his time and trying to suss out what's going on in the world, sending out robotic spies.

It turns out the Titan robots from the main Rifts book are his creations. He started the rumors about them being from Atlantis to basically try and lure the Coalition to investigate - and come into conflict - with the Splugorth. He's also supporting Kingsdale (another place Prosek wants to invade, earlier) to basically foil the Coalition. He's a generally sneaky robobrain and is patient about his world domination schemes. He's also let some rumors out about the "Cyberworks Network", but most people think it's a new corporation, not a pre-rifts company.

Oh, and he creates fake robot monsters to basically just fuck with people by terrifying them, or to act as scouts. But mostly just to fuck with them, because why not? It's a laff.

Next: The Face of Evil! Yes, all this backstory is a prelude... to adventure! The first Rifts™ adventure! Could this "Archie" be behind some shit? I'm guessing so!

You know, I just realized something about Wilk's Industries, Inc. Where the hell do you get incorporated in a post-apocalypse hellscape?

Ahh ... Ahhh ... Arhhh ... cheh ... Arhhh ... he! He!! HEE!!!

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

I know you all of you love ellipses, right?

Rifts™ Sourcebook Part 7: "Ahh ... Ahhh ... Arhhh ... cheh ... Arhhh ... he! He!! HEE!!!"

The Face of Evil (An adventure)

Here's what we've all been leading towards. The first Rifts adventure. Maybe this works better if you read it in a Suspense! sort of voice. The Face... OF EVIL! It says it can take place anywhere in the wilderness of North America, but the Midwest or Quebec are the best. Huh. Those places are far apart! Also, suitable for any size group, but bigger groups will do better at the fightin' parts. More guns, see.

Encounter Number One: The Mechanized Monsters

This is an encounter to be placed whenever the characters are in the wilderness. Basically, the PCs see some smoke in the distance. Presuming they don't ignore the smoke, they can find a big sign of battle. with a convoy of vehicles that's been torn apart. Everything is wrecked - even the ammo exploded - but there is some loot to be found if they take some time. There's a seeming animal corpse the size of a house, but it turns out to really be a robot. There are clues to find that point this towards it being a deliberate, brutal attack, and not the work of beasts.

It should be mentioned these clues are to be given by character O.C.C., not skill rolls, for some reason?

Whether or not the PCs head for the smoke, they'll run into the remaining perpetrators of the massacre - a rhino-buffalo will threaten them in English and attack. (The book clarifies that rhino-buffaloes don't speak, which is good to know.) Then a second one attacks, and it's more badly damaged, and it turns out these are really robots! Or namely, rhino-buffalo terminators . I haven't even heard of rhino-buffaloes before and they turn out to be fake? Ugh, these robot hoaxers!

They fight the PCs until they lose, and then they explode, leaving no clues. Except for the fact that giant robot monsters are attacking people. That seems like a clue to me! We get some stats for the roboffaloes. They're tough and do nasty damage and can ram stuff - there's an 88% likelihood that targets of the ram are knocked down, or hurled 20' feet and lose one attack. Wait, huh? Are they knocked down or hurled? Choooose one, game! (Also, with a percentage like that, just let them knock shit over, why are we rolling dice?) It also gets special rules to pounce on people and pin them down.

Anyway, that's it for the encounter! This is just foreshadowing, it practically has nothing to do with the actual plot.

The Freak Show: Encounter Two

This is supposed to take place in a remote town or wilderness a day or two later. This adventure isn't huge on structure so, which is kind of nice. The adventurers run across a travelling freak show, which presumably they don't ignore because who doesn't like laughing at the fickle hand of nature? Certainly not our cruel pack of guffawing hyenas we call "adventurers".

Anyway, the PC go in to the show for 5 credits each (shut up they do) and there's a mix of hoaxes and actual attractions, including two psi-stalker geeks (Rasputin and Sly). There's a neat bit where Sly uses his psi-stalker animal taming powers to be in cage with like a thousand snakes. But the main attraction and crux of the plot is a Machine Man. He's just kind of a raving lunatic borg-kinda-guy, but he's missing his lower half and walks on this hands. He'll rave and rant for a bit.

Rifts™ Sourcebook posted:

"Ain't I a thing of ... buh ... beauty?! Tee hee. Yes, I be ... mo... most amazing. No?" The machine man swings from the bars and skiddles across the floor of the cage, laughing all the while. "NNNNow git the hell out!!"

When the show's over, the host will make up some bullshit about the Machine Man, but if the characters are too curious, Jack Braumbon, the owner of the show, and the two psi-stalker geeks will try to frighten off the PCs. If the PCs can talk him down, he'll reveal how he found James and helped him out, but hints that James keeps blabbling about some underground bunker, but he runs a respectable freak show now and doesn't go treasure hunting.

It doesn't really say what to do if the PCs answer his threats and start shooting, though.

Anyway, after that two creepy robots are supposed to show up and start asking about the Machine Man, and start blasting away at people who try and flee. They'll try and kill anybody in the area (trying to eliminate all witnesses to the "Machine Man") and the adventure presumes the PCs will try and stop them and not high-tail it out of town. If the robots cause minor damage, James will get the boot out of the troupe, and try and hang onto the PCs to try and get them to go on his treasure hunt. If a lot of the show's people get killed, the psi-stalkers or Jack might join up with the PCs in order to get revenge.

Talking with James T The Machine Man

We've got a lot of sample dialogue and answers from James T., who has a lot of stammers, vocal pauses, slurring, giggling, and general difficulty with words. He just looks really unpleasant to try and voice, like a teenage drunken Yoda. He gives a lot of vagaries about his background, but is pretty clue-heavy in his speech. Yep. He's exposition-borg.

The game gives a lot of dialogue for the GM to read out loud. I'm going to spare you most of it, but here's a sample:

Rifts™ Sourcebook posted:

"Ah ha, ha, ha. How indeed? You looks to know borgs and bots. Have ye ever seen a construct such as I? NO!! No, I be special! Special I was. A thing of beauty. A thing of power. A thing like nothin' the Coalition or the best chop-shop coulda built. That was I. My reward for thinking. Tee hee. Can you believe it? My reward for just sitting in the throne and thinking. Ohhhh, thinking about anything. Bots were best thing. Best to think about, but anything would do. And after thinking and talking, ... oh, we were friends, you know? ... Best friends and this was my reward. Tee, heee, heee, heeee ..."

Yep. The PCs will have to sit through a bunch of that, but they can glean the following information if they're mildly savvy:
James T.'s full history is never detailed in clear language, but you can suss it out from his dialogue (presuming he's honest). James T was Archie's idea man for robots until he was replaced, and now he's looking for revenge. He'll give the PCs enough info to string them along but not enough they can dump him. (Also, telepathy doesn't work on him, ensuring the players are railed into being accompanied by a whiny psychopath with a speech impediment.)

If the PCs take him to a body chop-shop, normal bionics can't be attached, and such folks are likely to want to purchase James to dissect him for his unique technology, and may even attack PCs to try and get him. But the dissection would kill him, and this hints there would be adventures about thieves taking James away. As the adventure goes on, I imagine most PCs will be seriously considering pocketing the change and moving on.

Through the Wilderness

James will be relentless about trying to convince the characters to go on his revenge quest against Archie. The adventure presumes his constant crazy hounding drives the PCs to adventure, and with James T, they go to the faraway land of... Maryland! The adventure gives some guidelines on things to do on the way, and for GMs to decide if they want to chronicle every step or just fast forward to their destination. The adventure suggests some encounters, including Shemarrians, which... haven't been introduced yet.

Well, this is Rifts, I was expecting to have a dangler sooner or later.

Encounter Three: The Lord of Finton

They arrive at asmall town named Finton! And James will go to meet the local lord, Mez Fommalaine, who he's apparently familiar with. He is to "not give the group a moment's peace until they comply with his wishes". James T! He's like a one-man rail of annoyance! Adventure doesn't say what to do if a character gets fed up and unleashes laser death in his direction, which seems increasingly likely.

After which, Mez shows up, who's basically a cancerous-looking Doc Ock kind of guy, and the wonderful James T tries to get a fight started between the PCs and Mez. Mez will go nuts if they go along with James T.'s taunting. It's possible to talk Mez down to just demanding to PCs get out of town. James will claim he was just trying to get them to destroy a monster. The truth is that James T and Archie remade Mez into a hideous cyborg on account of James T having a romantic rivalry with Mez. The woman did not survive this rivalry, giving Mez additional reason to loathe James T.

If they do kill Mez, the town will shun them and they can loot his mansion, if they like (there's an episode of Star Trek in the loot, in case James T's name somehow went over their heads). However, Mez will probably regenerate and recover later, in a completely random and meaningless plot twist. Some Doctor Articulus from "Pal-Layd-Eye-Um" (super fucking subtle, there) made Mez into a immortal Doc Ock turd-man. Thanks, random wizard from the Palladium Fantasy Role-Playing Game™ !

This encounter doesn't do much for the plot, save to drive home what an asshole James T. is, if the players can figure out what's going on. It might leave a dangler for the future, but mostly it seems to be a test to see if James T. can manipulate the PCs? It's hard to say.

The Final destination
Aberdeen, Maryland

Once in Aberdeen, they'll find ruins but no sign of humans, though there are heavy robot footprints all over. The players might get jumped by a "Monst-Rex" if they stick around, but James, ever faithful to the needs of the adventure, tries to get them to press onward. He leads them to a convenient passageway to Archie unknown to the AI, and warns them about the upcoming threat.

Rifts™ Sourcebook posted:

"Hhhhh ... he will not know we be in ... hhhis ... cuh ... cave until it is tututoo late. Wait till you see ... huh ... him. Hhhhe is ... terrible. Whuh ... when you ssssee ... him ... you will known ... yuh ... you lllllook at the ... fun ... face of ...eeevil."

Yes, I've spared you most of it, but he's lampshading the adventure name here.

The players can get into the passageway even in robot vehicles, and gets them into the Central Housing Chamber, where they find a giant chamber with "ARCHIE 3-OZ" and some robots. A character we haven't heard of yet called "Hagan Lonovich" may also become involved. The GM is given rein to let ARCHIE treat them with kid gloves or bring down the hammer, but he's more likely to try and capture them for experimentation. If they blow up the brain, robots will come out of everywhere and chase the PCs out.

It notes a few minor loot items players might find in the disused tunnel, mostly just additional clues about Cyberworks. However, it's revealed ARCHIE 3-OZ is just a red herring designed to basically fool any attacks into attacking a well-protected, sealed area of the complex where they can't do any real damage, and the real Archie is actually PC-sized and hidden away elsewhere. Later Archie will rebuild the fake brain as ARCHIE 4-OZ, but is kind of thick in that he has a 71% chance of not finding the tunnel the PCs used.

So, what have the characters accomplished? Well, they may have saved a freaks show, killed or not killed a monstrous but good lord of a town, and been completely hornswoggled by an evil computer despite having totally surprised it, and... helped a psychopath, mass-murdering idiot cyborg get his non-revenge.

Hmmm. Obviously this is a setup for later adventures, but it has no real discussion of what those might be. Archie will appear in later supplements... like Rifts Sourcebook 2. What, you didn't think after three pages of backstory Kev was going to let the players actually defeat the crazy AI?

Well. Now we get Characters and Villains!

Non-Player Characters & Villains

I can't play the James T. R.C.C.? WTF, Rifts.

A.R.C.H.I.E. 3-OZ

This is Archie's fake evil brain setup, and it's guarded by "a pair of A-64 robots" and "six bottweilers".

Bottweilers? That sounds promising!

Anyway, it's supposed to be bombastic and impressive, but it totally thieved by Archie from The Wizard of Oz. It has a ridiculous Mental Affinity (charisma) but there are no real rules for how impressing and intimidating works, so big deal. It's got no real powers other than being a booming overlord for the PCs to shoot at, its reliant on guardians to fight it.

Oh, and it's guardians in the adventure and those listed in its description are entirely different.


This is the real deal. First we get his dimensions, his skills, and M.D.C. He's five pounds and 500 M.D.C. I call shenanigans on that.

Anyway, he's listed as a 8th level Mind Melter. He's Miscreant Evil! Apparently, he's a psionic AI! The adventure never mentioned that he was psychic. Or really how he became psychic. He's able to control 10,000 robots with his super-telemechanics power which only he has and He also has psionic awareness of all the machinery in this complex. It states outright that he's crazy and obsesses over humanity and the Splugorth, and is bipolar ("sleeping" when he's depressed). There's a rough description of where his real form is located and how to really kill him, but it's a needle in a haystack guarded by thousands of homicidal robots.

James T.

Oh, this shithead again.

He's a 6th level, Miscreant Evil, Wilderness Scout! He's a middling cyborg for all the talk of his amazing technology, about the only thing special is he's pretty much all borg except for the brain. He's a megalomaniac and a psychopath, but uses his condition to make others feel sorry or him.

Oh, and if you thought you were done with him, he insists on joining up with the PCs after the adventure! However, he's an evil asshole who will only get them into trouble because he'll just kill a person, he don't care, mang.

Also he won't worry about getting legs, because he'll realize there's no way he can easily obtain them at the moment.

James T., everyone! Hopefully our theoretical characters play a game of "40 Bullets for Stupid" with him and leave it at that.

Seriously, I am advocating the PCs leave this guy on the cutting room floor. I'm not sure why this adventure pushes Scrappy Doo Himmler so hard, but it does.

Hagan Lonovich

And this is Archie's new idea guy, barely mentioned in the adventure but showing there on the cover. He's a 6th level Operator, and has Telemechanics as a result. He's Diabolic evil, but stumbled across Archie's complex and amazed Archie with his mind powers and got to be his new idea guy and kick James T. to the curb. And, well, it's hard to argue at Archie's choice. He wants to get power and wealth, and well, just look at him! He's just having so much fun .

He'll probably refuse getting borg'd like his predecessor did, since it'll screw with his powers. He also seems to think ARCHIE 3-OZ is the real deal, despite being a robosexu psychic.

And that's all for this adventure! Congratulations, the whole thing was a red herring to tease further adventures in later books.

Rifts™ Sourcebook posted:

The machine man swings from the bars and skiddles across the floor of the cage, laughing all the while. "NNNNow git the hell out!!"

Next: Archie's robot hordes! Monst-Rex! Shemarrian! Bottweilers! They're all here! It's a Rifts™ robostavaganza!

I just want to point out Archie doesn't have a face, fake or otherwise, and thus the title of this adventure is a misnomer. Unless... James is the Face of Evil oohhhhh-

The design of this robot is just something that Hagan and Archie thought would be fun, a robot attack dog.

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

It turns out during the writing of this article Asimov's corpse was clocked at 1200 RPM.

Rifts™ Sourcebook Part 8: "The design of this robot is just something that Hagan and Archie thought would be fun, a robot attack dog."

Fun, indeed. Run, meatbags, run!

The Robot Legion of the Cyberworks Network

It starts out pointing out Archie is likely to make all sorts of variants or new designs, and gives some guidelines for his design tendencies. He likes humanoid robots due to his hangups with humanity, tends to make badass warbots, likes to make his robots obvious, doesn't have much capacity for nanotech, and gives most of his robots a self-destruct capacity. His robots are also advanced enough to be considered "alien" (which means there's a -30% or so penalty to use mechanical or electronic skills on them).

Each entry also has a listing of where all the robots are stationed - typically there are hundreds of each model. Unlike the skelebots, its kind of useful, since it's a set of information that at least covers all of his forces.

If you care. There's really no reason to, but if you do.

A-49 Combat Drone

This is the one of the few designs we see that were designed by James T. It's a just a bit tougher than the other bots we've seen so far, and has the Arch-22 rifle, which does piddly damage but can fire 5-round bursts and has a deep clip. Most are just being mothballed, as Archie is apparently sick of the things. They do have a real "beep boop boop" look.

A-51 Reconnaissance Drone

This is a spybot that's James T.'s other remaining design, and looks human-ish, if still shiny, but it often uses disguises or clothing. Archie still likes them quite a bit. Most of them are out in the field. They have no built-in weapons, and mostly just distinguished by having better sensors and skills than the A-49. And being slightly bishy-ier.

A-63 All-Purpose Heavy Robot

These robots are tougher and faster than any robot we've seen so far, and are the mainstays of Archie's forces at this point. They're unarmed but generally carry weapons of Archie's design. Generally, they serve to prove the Coalition does not have a monopoly on skull faces.

A-64 All Purpose Master Robot

These are the commander-style bots Archie uses, but is rarely used, since it's more flagrant than the other bots. It has arm lasers and damaging ion cannons on the chest, and rides high so that everybody can shoot at it, I guess. It's really the little crown that makes it.

AA-10 Bottweiler

Robot dog! Hard to beat the name, though it's pretty much what it says. It's fast, bites for moderate damage and has a special mechanical scent system. Somehow, not loaded down with mini-missles.

Monst-Rex 001 and 002

These are big, fake predators Archie has made to go out and just wreak havoc his his foes. The 002 is equipped with a saddle so it can be ridden, but is otherwise the same. They're very fast (190 MPH). It has a plasma ejector that does average damage, and a laser that does light damage. You know, to fake being a monster by shooting rays all over the place.

The Shemarrian Warriors

These are robots with fake faces designed to look like pretty women basically just to fuck with guys. It notes that psychics and mystics might notice they don't have any brains or auras. They also have a big cover story about being alien warriors from another world, complete with fake history and culture and all that. This cover story includes the fact they love to fight, and will often challenge travellers to duels.

They have a rail gun that's almost as powerful as that of the Glitter Boy! And claws and palm lasers and fancy sensors (including, uh, functional antennae?).

Newton Ewell's art is notable here; he'll do work in future books, and consistently has a sleek, organic, busy look to all of his robot designs like this one.

AA-50 Insecton

Insecticon? No? Well, so close.

These are humanoid bots that are somewhat insect-like, with claws to climb on walls and ceilings, and it can whirl like a top. It's supposed to be pretty badass in close quarters, and the stats back it up. It has five ion cannons it can fire together for nice damage (including cock laser). It also can whirly spin in melee for big claw damage. It's also really tough.

And that's it for Archie and his mad robot crew.

Next: It's the middle of the GM's section - that means we need a PC option - the Robot R.C.C.! Rifts can throw player information in the GM section and GM information in the player section if it wants, it doesn't care! It's crazy!

Seriously, fuck all the other classes, let's just play a campaign where we're all marauding robot minions of a mad AI. How about it?

...(nothing worse than a berserk robot driven by anger)...

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

No, you can't play a Gobot, there are no rules for that. I was sad too.

Rifts™ Sourcebook Part 9: "... (nothing worse than a berserk robot driven by anger) ..."

Bots Optional Robot R.C.C.

First, it notes that robot PCs are going to be entirely badass, but also notes that robot PCs don't heal and that repairs can be really expensive! But... that's a flaw any character with personal armor or power armor or a vehicle deals with, too... so I'm not sure why they think it's a big deal. Same issue a Coalition class, a Glitter Boy pilot, or even an Operator deals with. It also points out some may be built by aliens or Cyberworks, and as a result can't get fixed easily, which could be more of an issue. Not there are any mechanics for it, mind...

Types of Robots

There are five types of robots in Rifts, differentiated by their intelligence level. It notes these are different from those found in Heroes Unlimited™ , even though most of the rules for robot creation are taken from that game. (It's true, the broad strokes are entirely cribbed from it.)

  1. 1. Robot Accessory Units: i.e. what the game otherwise calls robot vehicles or power armor. A robot piloted by a human.
  2. 2. Robot Drones or Simple Intelligences: Programmed, non-AI robots, like the skelebots or dyna-bots.
  3. 3. Robot Intelligences: These are basic AIs. They're capable of decision-making to an extent, but can run into issues where they don't have any programming or data. Only Cyberworks and otherworldly sources can create these, though Triax is close to reinventing them.
  4. 4. Neural Intelligences: Like Archie, this is full-fledged AI that simulates the human brain. Cyberworks has the means to make them, but Archie rarely does so... though occasionally he's created them as a lark and thrown them in the world out of curiosity. Also, sometimes robots from other worlds have this technology. Unlike robot intelligences, these can learn, and may even have emotions.
  5. 5. Transferred Intelligence: This only shows up in alien bots, where a soul was implanted into a robot. It actually has an aura and thoughts that can be read, as well as P.P.E. (remember that?). With this technology, the original body can also be sustained for a return transfer, but it's rare. An intelligence like this does require sleep.
Most PCs are going to be from 3-5. But how do we work out which-

Step One: Determining the type of intelligence

Oh, okay. It says players can consult with the game master to choose an intelligence type, or they can roll on a table. The table gives abour a 45% chance of a robot intelligence, a 35% chance of a neural intelligence, and a 20% chance of a transferred intelligence. If you get the chance, don't pick a robot intelligence; it's just like the neural intelligence, only worse in every respect.

Step Two: Developing the Intelligence

You know, if you're wondering why the capitalization of these titles is random, it's because I pull them from the book, warts and all. Now you know!

Robots have to pick alignments; this is supposed to be the robot's programmed ethics. They can't change them later. Transferred intelligences have emotions and alignments just like whatever being they were drawn from, and can also go insane.

Step Three: Skill Programs

There are two basic types: non-combat and combat. Most skills start at 94% (!) but can be as high as 98% (stuff like math robots are good at) or as low as 60% (stuff like creative writing that robots are bad at). It notes depending on their programming that there might be big holes in their knowledge, but there's no mechanics for this.

Also, alien robots get a -64% (!) to their skill programs due to being alien. I guess things like sneaking and gymnastics are totally different in that alien world, even? (Power gamers protip: don't be from another world!) It also notes that Archie's design differ from these rules because he's a bit isolated.

Anyway, there are various skill programs. Players choose from a basic non-combat or combat set of skills, and then can buy others with their budget. It should be stated as a weird quick that artificial and neural intelligences have a high I.Q. (19 and 23, respectively) so they get an additional bonus on skills! Robot intelligences can only change by buying new programs, whereas neutral intelligences can learn then. Transferred intelligences choose from a number of basic O.C.C.s and learn skills normally, and can even keep some basic psionic powers if they had them.

Ultimately, this is a bit ridiculous. Robots get skills well in excess of what any starting human character can get. Having all of the noncombat programs costs 2.15 million credits. Having all the combat programs costs 1.49 million credits. Bear in mind it will have the money to afford all those if it wants. It puts all of the Scholar and Adventurer classes - the skill monkeys of the game - to shame, and gets to be M.D.C., super-smart and super-strong to boot.

Step Four: Robot Budget

Unlike normal characters, The GM can give the player a set amount of money, or roll on the table. The table gives values between 12 million and 20 million credits. Roll high, because there's no advantage to a low budget.

Step Five: Body Construction

There are a variety of bodies, which basically fall into: humanoid, animal, or vehicular. Yes, you can be a robo-cat or a robo-cycle. Each has a different cost, from 600,000 credits to 5.6 million credits, and vary from 70 M.D.C. to 200 M.D.C. Each has a set of attributes as well, but those can also be improved with money. You can add to the M.D.C. of each body by reinforcing it, adding 100 M.D.C. 3-5 times in exchange for heavy sneak penalties, much akin to a borg. (Despite the fact Glitter Boys still don't have sneak penalties, and they're shiny metal tanks.)

Yep, if you want a robot horse, you need somebody to play one.

For some insane reason there are no rules between transforming between body types. If you want to be a car, you better like being a car all the time. You better get ready to live the KITT lifestyle (or KARR, if you like).

Step Six: Power Sources

There are three types of power source: nuclear, techno-wizard, and super-solar. Nuclear and techno-wizard have costs in the millions depending on how long the robot has to go between charges. Super-Solar can last up to 8 hours at a time, without which they go into a weakened emergency reserve for 4 hours, and then shut down. Many combine super-solar with nuclear for longer life.

Exactly how much it costs to refuel, or how it's done, or even what kind of fuel nuclear engines take is not detailed. Similarly, no spell process or P.P.E. amount is given for techno-wizard engines.

Step Seven: Legs and Locomotion

These have different costs (human legs are cheap, bug legs are expensive) which... the only advantage is that you have a higher potential top speed with more legs, but only to a point. You get the same advantage for four bug legs that you get for eight bug legs. But maybe having more legs means you get more legs that can be blown off and still operate? Well... if these rules had a hit location system, sure! Unlike other robots, PC robots just seem to have one M.D.C. value.

There's costs here where you can increase your running speed, as well. Yes, even if you paid extra for better legs, you still have to pay to get your speed up to that potential.

This art is reused from The Mechanoids™ ! It was also reused in Heroes Unlimited™ !

There are also wheels, treads, pontoons, and hover jets. These each have M.D.C. bits that can be blown off, making legs a clearly superior choice. You also have to buy a engine or propulsion system to go with them, most of which run in liquid fuel, but you can pay extra to just hook them up to your main power source. These have fixed speeds in MPH (rather than Speed, confusingly), but this is how you purchase the ability to fly around.

Step Eight: Sensors and Optics

Radio, infrared, loudspeaker, spotlights, cameras, radar, etc. Pretty much what you'd expect. Costs range from 1000 credits (spotlights) to 500,000 credits (sound analysis and duplication).

Spotlights are only 1000 credits apiece? I'll take 100, please. Light up the night!

Step Nine: Weapons

Robots get a basic hand-to-hand damage, and do more damage if they're 20' or larger. Oh, look, you can spend 100,000 per limb to buy claws that do the exact damage damage your punch already does! Or you could pay more and actually get a benefit. A lot of the bionic systems are available here, and make up the bulk of weapon systems, but it also adds missiles for those that want them.

Larger robots get more ammo and range on their guns, but damage stays the same, so if you were hoping to be a big robot with a big gun like the Glitter Boy, you're out of luck. Alternately, however, if you want to be a cat-sized robot armed with batteries nuclear missiles bigger than you are, you can do that!

Step Ten: Special Features

Secret compartments, self-destruct, looking more human, expanded memory to hold more programs... for some reason the Speed increase costs are listed again. There's also costs for the physical attributes and intelligence; the former are surprisingly cheap, you may as well improve them, while the latter will make those ridiculous skill programs even better.

For some reason, there's no level chart for robots. It's clear neural intelligences and transferred intelligences are supposed to level up, but not how. It's also not clear if skill programs improve with experience. It could be that transferred intelligences level up by O.C.C., but then you have ridiculous shenanigans like selecting the Non-Skilled Vagabond O.C.C. and leveling up as a robot at an mildly accelerated pace.

And that's all! Spend all your money and you're done! Forget about leveling up! Robots occupy a weird place in that their character creation is basically entirely different from everyone else; only borgs are somewhat comparable. It's almost point-based, but the point values don't always match up to utility. Even balance-wise for Rifts, they have issues, getting to be both massive skill repositories and combat machines. They aren't going to match up against a Glitter Boy for combat or a dragon hatchling for sheer versatility, but they still bend the character creation rules over their knee and spank the shit out of them.

Next: M-m-monsters! Rifts™ gets its first real monster section! Yes, there was one in the main book, but you only got bugs and crappy random demons! It's time to get real about monsters - with Rifts™!

Did you know the inspiration for the Non-Skilled Vagabond was Annie from Robotech / Genesis Climber MOSPEADA? Yes, they are genuinely supposed to be useless, annoying tagalongs.

The black faeries also hate things of beauty and will destroy them whenever possible.

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts™ is a thinking man's game! Here's some shit what needs shot.

Rifts™ Sourcebook Part 10: "The black faeries also hate things of beauty and will destroy them whenever possible."


I wonder what kind of monsters they have in oh fuck-


Yes, it's finally time to chronicle the slave-taking, face-licking...

Minion of Splugorth

Most folks think these guys are the Splugorth or Splugorthians. They're not. They're just minions. But people still call the the Splugorth or Splugorth Slaver


They're plugged into their barges, which are a form of techno-wizardry, and is basically handy because of its enhanced senses - it has five eye-spheres (really, they look more like skulls, if you remember) and an eye-staff it can see through simultaneously. It sees in ultraviolet, sees magic, auras, and invisible folk. These amount of sensory input apparently makes its reaction time and awareness level very high.

They also have magic powers and the weapons of the barge, and their barge is also sneaky because it's quiet (64% prowl, despite being the size of a cottage) and hovers around. They also like to drink blood, particularly humanoid blood.

They have the highest Horror Factor we've seen - 16! For some reason the eyes get their own Horror Factor of 14. Oh, and the Blind Warrior Women have a Horror Factor of 12. They will Horror Factor the shit out of you.

It's not clear if the slaver is M.D.C. or not (they have hit points but no S.D.C. listed), for some reason, but they do have special magic M.D.C. armor from a spell, in any case. They get a farcical 10 attacks per turn, can cast various sensory spells through the eyes, a variety of utility and combat spells through their magic staff, and a ton of various magic weapons. It provides cover for other people on the barge with shields and is basically a huge pain in the ass.

Oh, and if it dies, you can try and steal its eye-staff and bond to it, which is an evil, intelligent artifact and will try and make you evil. But you can use it anyway, it has no proper mechanics for making you more evil, so it's reduced to being a mini-monster in your head.

We're not done with this goddamn thing yet, because we've got...

The Blind Warrior Women Slaves of Splugorth

Yeah, not really creative with the names here. There are four of these on every barge, and there's a lot of rumors about what they are - juicers, psychics, highly trained - but nobody knows. They're seemingly loyal and silent and only speak when necessary-

Ugh, really?

- anyway, they capture and herd the slaves in general. It's mentioned nobody knows what happens to human captives (then why do people assume they're captured for slavery?).

Anyway, they're fairly skilled combatants, and "see" through a radar sense like Daredevil, and have other enhanced senses. They get guns that can fire magic nets, magic lasers, magic... brain... confusey things. They have magic talismans and M.D.C. armor that provide protection.

Yes, those leotards are somehow armor. Are we done with the subservient warrior woman fetish for now?


Whew. Thank goodness.

This is the non-robot version. Despite the name, it likes to eat meat and preys on buffalo, elephants, dinosaurs, etc. It also has a Horror Factor of 16, and often goes into a berserk rage, like some oversized honey badger. Like its robotic equivalent, it can pounce and ram people, though it has about half the M.D.C. For some reason it has location M.D.C., more like a vehicle than how living creatures are generally statted. There's some details on where they live and that's that.

The Simvan Monster Rider

These guys came out of the Calgary rift (the same one that gave us the Xiticix). They travel in tribes "that number as few as 1D4 x 100 to 4D6 X 100 members". Well, that clarifies things)! The men build and hunt, the women stay at home. The women are also psionic healers.


They often move around nomadically, and have nasty tempers but are generally kind to each other. They see themselves as the only true people and everybody else is food. They're carnivores, and they prefer humanoid flesh. The men are dedicated and eager hunters, and can tame animals and monsters psionically. They typically ride the ostrosaurus, but also use many other monsters.

It notes the stats are set up if you want to play one as a player character. They get better physical attributes than humans but worse social skills and are minor mega-damage creatures (about 70 M.D.C.). They also have a Horror Factor of 12. The males get psionics based around mentalism and taming animals, while the females get healing powers. Men get great combat and wilderness skills, while females get domestic and a smattering of other skills.

It also notes that their horsemanship skill is really monstermanship .

It details that they're not idiots and won't fight superior forces, though do love settling disputes in duels. They also sometimes trade with other humanoids when useful, and respect wilderness scouts, psi-stalkers and mutant animals. However, they still crave human flesh - it's their favorite food!

You will find this to be a common trait of a lot of monsters.


This is a dinosaur-like creature mainly found out in the west. "Despite the analogy to dinosaurs, the animal is not a lizard, but more like a featherless bird."

Um. I know you've published books with dinosaurs in. You should know better.

Anyway, it's an M.D.C. creature with minor Horror Factor (12), and has hit locations you can shoot at. They're fast and get great combat stats, and can pounce on people to try and pin them, or do a tail slap to know people over. They run in packs and lay eggs and

The Black Faerie

It's like a flying magic turd!

doowop doowop

It likes to eat other faeries, or will kill for pleasure, it's just crazy, it hates beauty and wants to kill it all. It's a pixie sociopath. It's like 5' tall and cal fly around pretty fast, but the wings are statted so you can shoot them off. It does weak damage and has a variety of spells which it has unlimited use of, but only once per target per day, meaning they'd need trickery against any well-armed foe.

Apparently they work alone or in pairs, but sometimes form small tribes or serve as minors to more powerful creatures "like witchlings, pucks, or dragons". I don't know what a puck is, but at least we get to see the witchling in a bit. "The usual tactics to ward away faerie folk apply to the black faerie." These tactics are not noted or described.

The Brodkil
A Demon from the Rifts

These are 9' giants who are superhumanly strong, tough, and can turn invisible. They are really aggressive, but aren't really organized - they generally have tribes of 20-100, raiding in groups of 4-24, and they work with other supernatural monsters. They often go after civilized folk because it's easier to them than hunting wild animals. They're basically lazy and psychotic.

Let me get that skeeter off your chest OH GOD I'M SORRY-
Let me shoot the fly of your back-

They're actually tough. For some reason, they really love bionics even though it kills their ability to turn invisible. Bionics improve their hand to hand damage, at least, in a way that bionics don't normally do.

It mentions a number of them live in the Pecos Empire as Pecos Raiders, and are lazy and cowardly. They don't generally torment foes because seriously, who cares?

The Neuron Beast
A Demon from the Rifts

Some of these come from the St. Louis Archway rift, but others have emerge elsewhere, mostly found around the southern U.S. or South America. They're curious, intellectual sorts that like to dissect the fuck out of stuff, and often try and manipulate people into tragedy because they feed on powerful emotions. Sometimes they assist the greedy and power-hungry in order to feed on emotions. Not every one of these is evil, but they're generally selfish and manipulative as a rule.

They're ridiculously smart and really tough (about twice as tough as a dragon hatchling), have a lot of mental psychic powers and a wide variety of spells. Their tentacles can paralyse and they even have a special move where they can pick somebody up and impale them on their spines, and even get special grappling rules (84% flat chance). Wow, these things are genuinely threatening boss monsters.

Apparently a group of neuron beasts, specifically one called "LarrGgo", founded the Federation of Magic.

The Witchling

Yeah, they're monsters from the rifts and are sadistic, and like to take over small communities to lord over. They like to work with other supernatural or evil creatures (humans included), and... appreciate deceit and treachery as long as they aren't betrayed. They're normally tough, float around, and are potent spell casters. They're smart and tricky, but generally flee when overwhelmed.

A Demon from the Rifts

It's another demonic predator! It loves to torture and kill. Well, who doesn't, gosh? It generally claims a territory and marks it by impaling humanoids on to trees. It sometimes attacks trespassers and sometimes demands tribute. It also sometimes forces nearby communities to worship it and provide sacrifices.

In other words, it's a bad neighbor.

Is that a lump in its flesh-speedo or is it just happy to-

It's extremely tough, and its tentacles have enhanced senses and can cast a number of spells through its bite. It also has a variety of spells it can cast naturally. It can petrify as per the spell... there is no such spell in the core book. It has a lot of attacks. They're a bit childish and savage, and hate any supernatural being they see as a rival, and try to dominate those than don't.

Whew! And that's the last of it. There's a terrain map that ends the book, a character sheet (there was no sheet in the main book), and that's it.

There's been a second edition... Palladium Books® refuses to call them that, says they never do second editions for some insane reason, call it a revision, but that's what it is. It revises a lot of Archie's history to fit later backstory retcons in the line, among other things. I'm more focused on covering the game as-it-was rather than as-it-is, though, but just for clarity's sake.

It's actually a solid enough supplement, considering. It does little to fix the inherent flaws of Rifts™ despite trying, but it provides more practical detail for the world, an interesting new faction, and a halfway decent adventure. However, it also introduces a problematic Robot R.C.C. (customization systems is not Siembieda's strong suit), and the Coalition section is generally superfluous.

Next: Ha ha, it's done! And look at that poor sap doing Cthulhutech, ohhhh... seriously, though, best of luck to him, the poor sap. Such an inspiration.

Nobody's done Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Other Strangeness™ ? Somebody should get on top of that. At the very least, Transdimensional Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures ...