Rifts Sourcebook 3: Mindwerks by Alien Rope Burn
There are enough adventure ideas, sub-plots, intrigue and danger to keep a campaign running for a year (heck, maybe a decade!). Enjoy.Original SA post
Rifts Sourcebook Three: Mindwerks posted:
Rifts Sourcebook Three: Mindwerks posted:
Violence and the Supernatural
Rifts Sourcebook Three: Mindwerks posted:
This book may be inappropriate for young readers.
Rifts Sourcebook Three: Mindwerks posted:
The fictional world of Mindwerks and 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, and demigods, as well as magic, insanity and mind altering cybernetics are all elements in this book.
Some players may find the violence and supernatural elements of the game inappropriate for young readers/players.
Rifts Sourcebook Three: Mindwerks posted:
Note that Rifts, Mindwerks, Triax and all our role- playing books are works of fiction! NONE of the monsters, characters, magic, powers or depictions are real. None of us at Palladium Books condone or encourage the occult, the practice of magic, the use of drugs, or violence.
Rifts Sourcebook Three: Mindwerks - Part One: "There are enough adventure ideas, sub-plots, intrigue
and danger to keep a campaign running for a year (heck, maybe a decade!). Enjoy."
All the folks that have run a Rifts campaign for a decade, please stand up. Also, get the fuck out.
All that brain is missing is spinners and underglow lights.
Why all the ? Well, it's time for a book that's all-Siembieda once again with Rifts Sourcebook Three: Mindwerks . How does it relate to the other sourcebooks? It doesn't! At all! It's the overflow material from Rifts World Book Five: Triax & the NGR . It would have been better to call it World Book Six or World Book Five-Point-Five , but that would imply some level of consistency to what the Sourcebook series is about.
A Few Opening Words
"We are strongly considering shooting you at this point!"
Siembieda opens up mentioning this is essentially all the material they couldn't fit into Rifts World Book Five , but emphasizes it was all part of his master plan and isn't just throwaway stuff. He also mentions Rifts Mercenaries coming out shortly, along with Rifts South America , Rifts Undersea , and Rifts Dimension Book Two: Phase World for 1994, which all ends up being true, as all of those projects will largely be written by CJ Carella, who is a deadline-hitting machine.
Next: No faffing about this time - Mindworks! Mindwurks? Mindwirks! Mindwerks? Mindwyrks! Well, that's enough of that.
What makes her all the more inhuman and menacing is her condescending and motherly demeanor.Original SA post Rifts Sourcebook Three: Mindwerks - Part Two: "What makes her all the more inhuman and menacing is her condescending and motherly demeanor."
Mindwerks, as it turns out, is a German company that pre-dated the rifts. They were into cameras and other recording devices for the most part, which makes their name really just kind of confusing. But it starts to actually fit once they start becoming interested in parapsychology as a research avenue... because!
Then, there was a South American company... wait, South America is a country? You can't say "Brazilian" or "Peruvian"? Come on . Anyway, there was this South American company named Psytronics that had claimed to create implants to tap the power of the human mind. What power that is, who knows. It's the start of the M.O.M. technology, or Mind Over Matter, which should be familiar to those who remember the Rifts corebook as the technology which is the Best Plan Ever and is used to create Crazies, which are also the Best Plan ever.
Mindwerks started a partnership with Psytronics to pursue this line of research, and they did succeed at making people who were physically superhuman, and believed they could even induce psychic powers. It was seen as the hot new thing, at least until Mindwerks' more inhumane experiments came to light. Worse yet, after several years of having the implants, people started to lose their minds. When those with M.O.M. technology lost their minds, some even becoming homicidal and going on rampages, the company was ruined, and barely survived the turmoil... at least until the rifts came.
The Dawn of a New Era
The technology was rediscovered after the Rifts , but often implemented in a more crude fashion, hence the big metal cylinders jammed into the heads of the corebook Crazies. A lot of the civilized nations like the Coalition or NGR want nothing to do with the technology, so it's usually traded illegally. Of the few groups doing widespread distribution of the technology is Mindwerks in Europe.
Of course, most post-apocalypse survivors just know Mindwerks as a mysterious, perhaps-mythical group that kidnaps people to do insane experiments on them, maybe on another world, maybe to turn them into monsters, etc. They often refer to an "Angel of Death" who is a maybe a demon or maybe a woman with the soul of a demon or witch or whatever, look, I'll let Siembieda wax on about this...
Rifts Sourcebook Three: Mindwerks posted:
The most popular story is among the gypsies and wilderness peasants says that The Angel of Death is an inhuman monster with the face of a beautiful woman but a body of living metal. She is said to speak in a commanding yet soft, gentle, sexy voice. Many report that she caresses and touches her victims in a loving manner, even as she cracks open her skull or performs some terrible act of torture. She tries to comfort those she experiments on by telling them she's going to give them a great "gift" and/or make them "more powerful" than they could ever imagine. Of course, she ignores people who decline her "gift" or who plead for mercy and freedom. No captive is released until Death Witch has their way with them.
... and wax off.
The Truth Behind Mindwerks
The truth is that Mindwerks had a newly-build facility - with only a skeleton crew of 450 - that survived the rifts (shock of shocks), led by one of Mindwerks' owners, Angel Herrenisel. A good number died early on, and she locked the place down after some early deaths on the outside, living largely in the underground facility for 55 years and emerging because, you know, I guess their 55 year egg timer went off. They hooked up with neighboring kingdom and lived there in peace and harmony until a rival kingdom blew it up . Angel and her daughter were horribly burned by the attack, Angel was made into a cyborg by Mindwerks, lost her mind, and had her child made into a cyborg. She became obsessed with revenge, and a good number of Mindwerks employees left as a result, while others tried to overthrow her. She murdered them. Some stayed, though, for their own safety or to get revenge on...
... wait. Who are they getting revenge on? Well, let's just forget about that for a bit.
The Legend Begins ...
So, Angel starts to kidnap people and monsters and does terrible experiments. What are these experiments? Who knows, she's evil! And she goes more and more crazy because she's a cyborg and cyborgs go crazy. I know it doesn't happen to other cyborgs in the setting, but let's just go with this.
It turns out some of the monsters she captured actually welcomed her experimentation, enjoying the power and giving no fucks about the price. So a group of Brodkil approached her (how they found about her Explicitly Secret Hideout, I dunno), and offered their service in exchange for implants, and so there are some Brodkil running around as crazies. It's become a tradition for her to give them M.O.M. implants hnow, and they give her loyalty in return.
Oh, and there's an offhand mention that the Mindwerks HQ is in "Poland near the Czechoslovakia border". Good to know.
The Angel of Death
Having sexy Nazi references is the height of taste.
We get a recap of the legends about her, ho hum, and it details that she has no regard for human life, is sadistic, loves to torture, rebuild people as cyborgs, hunt the most dangerous game... and yet describes her as somebody who plays it safe and doesn't take risks. Look, taking strangers into your house and buzzsawing their limbs off isn't the mark of a cautious person. She's obsessed with avenging herself against Triax, except... uh, Triax was never involved in her background? I guess they were the corporate rivals of Mindwerks, but it's not example the best leap of logic. Oh, and she wants to avenge herself on all of humanity. Sure, whatever.
If she sounds familiar to those have been following from the start, it's because her background is 80% identical to Archie-3 from Rifts Sourcebook . They're both involved with pre-rifts corporations, they both lead those corporations though the coming of the rifts, they both survived in underground, secret bunkers, they both go out after survival and meet the survivors in peace, they both then have their peaceful communities attacked savagely and brutally, they both go mad as a result, they both lose most or all of their remaining employees, they both develop god complexes, they both develop sadism, they both operate in secret afterwards, they both create "legends" and are not widely acknowledged to be real, they both have mechanical themes and robotic minions, they both often kidnap people for sinister and cruel purposes, etc.
She's also worked out some better M.O.M. implants that make people stronger or give them psychic powers, but we'll get to those later. Oh, and she has a special implant that keeps her brain alive despite her years as a cyborg that nobody else knows about . Just FYI.
In any case, she isn't vastly overpowered for a Rifts villain. Oh, sure, she's a 15th level cyber-doc, so she has great skills, and she's fairly tough as a full conversion cyborg, but that's all relatively mild compared to somebody like Splynncryth. She has no magic, no psionics, some great combat bonuses, but only a lousy vibro-blade to protect herself with. Definitely more of the mastermind sort.
Randomly, it notes that Mindwerks sponsors several body chop-shops (places what give you the cybers), and there's a 15% chance of her being present at one! Also there's a 25% change of the Angel of Vengeance (up next) or Marsalis (up next next) will be there. So there's only a 3.25% of encountering these two villains at once, which should make them easier to defeat just by trolling their chop-shops until you score free villainy (because Siembieda, not good at math).
Angel of Vengeance
Not really angelic in any sense.
So, this is Angel's daughter, and has basically been a cyborg forever, and is "obsessed with hate", but hate of what isn't terribly clear. She's really defensive regarding her mother and will come after anything that threatens her mom and kill, kill, kill. Not much of a personality here. There's not even really a discussion of why she's loyal or anything like that or what it was like to have a sadistic, abusive mom. Ugh, boring.
We get numbers for her, she's a unique full conversion cyborg with high locations and... robo-high heels. She's a very competent combatant, but still largely obeys the limitations of PC cyborgs. Also, she has a fucking ridiculous rune sword called "Striker" which does decent damage, can cast some fire spells, and gives her all sensitive and physical psychic powers plus a psi-shield, group mind block, and hydrokinesis. Of course, naturally, fire spells and psychic control of water. Rifts !
Oh, and she can fire the spikes off her head as weapons, because of the Siembieda mindset that anything that could conceivably be statted as a weapon on an illustration must be one .
This skull guy is different! Sunglasses! See?
This is a mysterious unique and special alien who was captured by the Angel of Death, and was already evil and crazy beforehand, so it turns out her experimentation didn't change his disposition much. He's... sadistic and cruel, fanatically loyal to the main villain for no stated reason, pull out the Siembieda villain mold, pour him in, bam, you're fuckin' done and I'm fuckin' done.
Oh, and he looks skeletal and demonic! I need to start a Rifts bingo card for NPCs, because these characters would fucking match it every time.
Stat-wise, he's got some armor and natural M.D.C., but isn't too hardy for a villain. He has some decent psionics and combat ability, but nothing to really stop a party of PCs from rolling over him. Oh, and he has 50 million credits, because Mindwerks, despite its near-bankruptcy , was apparently built on Scrooge McDuck's money tower.
Typical Human Technician
A typical human technician.
Sooo, it gives a generic statblock for the remaining Mindwerks employees. Most are human, but some are brodkil or "other". They aren't really combatants, though a good deal of them are crazies. It's not clear how the fuck Mindwerks herds
Some of them have 4d6 x 10,000 credits because as a secret organization in a secret location that doesn't trade with anybody but a group of face-eating savages, they can earn money by
Next: M.O.M. loves you.
Brain damage causes a reduction of the character's I.Q. by half, but instills savant powers!Original SA post
You guys are thinking to hard about Rifts.
Welcome to FATAL & Friends!
That is what we do here.
Rifts Sourcebook Three: Mindwerks - Part Three: "Brain damage causes a reduction of the character's I.Q. by half, but instills savant powers!"
And now the book abruptly switches topics.
Who can get M.O.M. (crazies) Implants
Yes. Who can get crazies implants?
Well, it lists humans, true atlanteans ( Rifts World Book Two: Atlantis ), Altara warrior women ( Atlantis , again), ogres ( Rifts Conversion Book ), orcs ( Conversion ), elves ( Conversion ), giants ( conversion ), brodkil ( Rifts Sourcebook ), and gurgoyles ( Rifts World Book Five: Triax & the NGR ). It then claims that most supernatural creatures can't use the implants, but then does an amazing series of gyrations to claim that gurgoyles and brodkil aren't real demons, but sub-demons. This distinction will likely never be important again.
It puts a point on that if you shapechange, have natural magic powers, are "clearly a supernatural creature" (whatever that means), or can't use bionics, you can't get the implants. The Brodkil are an exception, but to be fair, that's been their schtick since their inception. It also notes that if you have superhuman strength or healing or whatnot, that can't enhance it more than you already have.
We then get a table of brain damage from having the implants put in!... but it's not clear when you're supposed to roll on it. Do all crazies get brain damage? Only some? It doesn't say. "Personally, I like the random approach." Ugh, of course you do, Siembieda. Ironically, some of the brain damage is beneficial . Some examples:
Brain damage reduces your IQ, but gives you imperviousness to
all mind control
, plus bonuses against illusions and fear. Quite the positive trade, since if you don't have an exceptional IQ (which only 2% of normal PCs will), it's nothing but pure bonus.
Brain damage raises 1d4+1 skills to 98% and the rest of your skills are -20% or -40%. Could be quite beneficial, depending on how well you rolled.
Involuntary Spasms and seizure occurs whenever the GM wants to make you useless, or just make you fall apart during a fight and flop about. Whee! This random stuff sure is great!
You get psychic ESP flashes about people you care about, but it also makes you lose attacks and get distracted if there's a combat on. Once again, whenever and whatever the GM wants.
Hyperactivity, and your ADHD self gets a bonus to initiative, but a penalty to any extended task. You're also always late to things by 2d6 minutes, for people that actually track that. "Where were you at the big battle? We needed you, man!" "Sorry, I'm always 2d6 minutes late!"
Phobia of the Angel of Death. I hope you didn't want to get revenge on these people, because you'll curl into a little ball whenever she's around.
You have the Angel of Death in your head that tells you to do things contrary to your alignment, and if your alignment shifts because of that, she then tells stuff contrary to
Sadistic... because of fucking course. It's like the
version of herpes. "Don't get too close to the Angel of Death, I hear she has
Physical M.O.M. Augmentation
"No, man, you look... great."
It notes that a character can have two (three, if the GM likes you) of these implants without switching to the Crazy O.C.C. It doesn't say how you do that, but presumably it'd be like switching to the Borg O.C.C. in core (which sucks, you have to relevel to your previous level all over again with no benefit). It notes that physical and psynetic implants can only be combined in certain ways or otherwise you get brain damage (well, see the previous tables) and 1d4 insanities (same). You can be a partial cyborg and a crazy, but your borg parts get none of your bonuses for M.O.M. implants. Also, they can be removed, but any brain damage or insanity remains.
So here are some implants. Each one gets a special table of insanity you have to roll when you take one.
Gain five skills at 88%, but this has the worst table, where you might lose eight other skills permanently or you get short-term memory loss (for real).
You get a bonus againse poisons and disease and heal faster... but since this is an M.D.C. game, most of the time you'll just be worrying about losing your head. Not very useful.
Enhanced Physical Endurance:
You're tougher - not that such matters if you're S.D.C. - but at least you get tired only one-tenth as quick. Mind, there are no firm rules for fatigue, but there you have it.
You run about 4 MPH faster and can leap really high. But there are no movement rules, so...
This lets your brain live forever as a cyborg, but only the Angel of Death and Angel of Vengeance have it, you can't, nyah nyah. It's also an exception to the rule that total conversion cyborgs can't have implants, of course.
Gives a variety of small combat bonuses, probably one of the best implants because most of the insanity stuff is bullshit throwaway stuff like "is fidgety" or "takes foolish chances", and it's actually valid in just about any combat.
It should be noted how crap the insanity tables are, since stuff like Enhanced Healing can make you into a psychopathic megalomaniac... you know, since you can heal twice as fast. Or Enhanced Speed, which can make you into a sadistic bully... because you can run fast? It doesn't really follow.
Other Implants of Note
These are some implants Mindwerks uses which aren't so helpful for their hosts.
Brain Wave Identifier:
This lets Mindwerks identify you by your brain waves (?), which is mostly used as a means of internal security.
This messes when your mind to inflict severe penalities and crippling effects when you meet a specific requirement, like "attacking the Angel of Death" or "gives less than one's all at work (must give at least 95%)".
They can make your head go boom. 50% chance of instant death, 25% chance of becoming a vegetable with no recovery, or 25% chance of becoming a Lenny and childlike, where you lose almost all your skills, and then -50% on those, and most of your attacks, your IQ is reduced to 1d4, and "2d4 x 10%" of your memories and
why doesn't the table just let you die
These are M.O.M. (mommmm!) implants that enhance psychic powers, but don't create them. The same limitations from physical implants still apply. For whatever reason - it doesn't give one - if you're from a non-Crazy O.C.C., you lose skills and even can gain skill penalities for having these. They also get a special Mindwerks explosive device in them that makes it so anybody tampering with them causes them to explode (and the user's brain along with it), lest Mindwerks' lose their recipe for their special sauce. Granted, it seems nobody's thought to use Telemechanics or an EMP pulse or the like...
On to the implants! A lot of these require a specific power to be enhanced, and generally require a roll on the insanity or brain damage tables, often per each implant . Given that the expectation is that you may have two or even three implants,
Advanced Sixth Sense:
Like regular sixth sense, but you can actually get a glimpse of the danger in question, or sweep an area for dangers like traps or hidden foes. Oh, and you go insane.
This lets you actually let you lock down or control
machine that isn't attached to something sentient (like a sentient robot or cyborg parts), so you can just take over Glitter Boys with this, but you're basically stunned while you do so. "Crazies with this implant tend to be maniacs and love to use high-tech weapons and machines to reap mayhem. Most find chaos, riots, panic, and destruction to be exhilarating." OMG, STFU. Well, I guess this makes you insane too.
You can make ecto-putty to do shitty disguises. Seriously, it's got an 80% chance of disguise "from a distance", but 12% "under close inspection". Congratulations, you took
for psychic face-putty when you actually could have just picked up the (already more effective) disguise skill instead.
You can get a kinetic psychic power even if you're non-psychic (hydrokinesis, telekinesis, electrokinesis, or pyrokinesis). Also, you go insane.
These nanites boost all aspects of your psychic powers (damage, range, duration), but you start to have psychic deterioration after five months and your powers become shitty and uncontrollable. The only way to recover is to get new nanites from Mindwerks, or have all your psychic powers reduced by half forever. But at least you won't go crazy!
Psionic Defense System:
For non-psychics mostly, this gives imperviousness to most forms of ESP and mind reading, plus saving bonuses against all other psionic powers... but you have both brain damage
insanity. Nobody can read your brain, but your brain isn't worth reading anymore... psionics can take this too, but it reduces your power levels by half and blocks them from using mind-reading powers.
This gives a non-psionic from random psionic power. Wait, there aren't any random psionic power tables... "G.M. can assign each power a number in numerical order, then he or the player can roll the appropriate number of dice."
i.e: Write your own random tables, GMs.
Oh, and you take brain damage.
This is an implant the nullifies most of the subject's psionic powers; you have to make a saving throw to use them, and only get a fraction of your psychic power. There's a 5% chance of brain damage or death (it doesn't specify which) when removed, or 1% if removed by Mindwerks. May I suggest an cheaper implant: a
This gives psionics extra powers and Inner Strength, but hey! Welcome to Brain Damage country, population: you.
Improves the overall power level of existing psionic powers, but reduces your Inner Strength and guess what's in the box? That's right!
This is a cyber-eye hooked up to a psionic implant, which in addition to being a rad cyber-eye, lets you see invisible and astral and aura stuff, and shoot a lightning bolt that can hurt "astral beings". There have been no astral beings detailed in the game. Oh, insanity
brain damage, for the record.
These are cybernetic limbs controlled by telekinesis... but really, there's nothing that much special about them. They're actually
than most bionic limbs, with the only difference being you can have special psionic weapons installed that aren't terribly impressive (fire a 2d6 lightning bolt!)... and you get brain damage
TK Force Field Auto-Defense:
This creates a force field that automatically erects to face attacks. Really sounds like the kind of thing that should be a psionic power, not an implant, but... it has really crappy M.D.C. for the most part, but it's decent at higher levels. Granted, you can just re-create it after it falls if you have enough Inner Strength... but, of course, it'll drive you insane.
Gives telepathic communication with other people who have the same implant at a higher range at a whopping 1000 ft., so basically shouting distance. Mercifully, having a crappy psychic walkie-talkie in your head does not drive you insane or give you brain damage.
Some of these are interesting, like the Psynetic Eye or the Force Field Auto-Defense, but not only does Mindwerks get to be the proud owner of your ass, but you're brain damaged or insane in any myriad number of ways, and likely nonfunctional as a party member. It's perhaps the worst pass-agg mechanic I've seen in Rifts so far. Crazies are already generally disliked for their monkeycheese random antics, and this makes them useless and hapless. Let's see, let's try some rolls for a character with... a Psychometric Booster, TK Force-Field Auto-Defense, and a Psynetic Eye. Three sets of rolls, just so you know that the results you get from these tables aren't a fluke.
Brain damage (low IQ, immune to mind control), insanity (phobic of cybernetics and implants), brain damage (left leg is randomly paralyzed 1d4 times a day for several minutes), and insanity (submissive in front of cyborgs and crazies).
Brain damage (uncontrolled psychic ESP flashes), insanity (phobic of cybernetics and implants), brain damage (involuntary spasms and seizures), and insanity (paranoid schizophrenic).
Brain damage (right arm is randomly paralyzed 1d4 times a day for several minutes), insanity (submissive in front of cyborgs and crazies), brain damage (hyperactive adrenaline bursts), and insanity (paranoid schizophrenic).
Next: Mindwerks' robot army. No, fucking seriously.
The panther gets its name from the fact that it is comparatively small, fast and silent — an excellent prowler and stalker.Original SA post Rifts Sourcebook Three: Mindwerks - Part Four: "The panther gets its name from the fact that it is comparatively small, fast and silent — an excellent prowler and stalker."
Wait, wasn't Mindwerks into implants, cybernetics, and cameras, in about that order? How did they design a bunch of military war robots? Well, there's no explanation, but here's the
All thruster, no engine.
Looks nothing like a cat. It's a floating defense robot, and not terribly smart. Most are used to guard the Mindwerks facility, a few are used for abduction and extermination, and a few are used to aid with repairs and similar tasks. Its optics have a range of 2000 feet, worse than human sight, but it can record information. It's mildly tough, has weaksauce head lasers, mini-missiles, lugs around handheld weapons, and can rocket around at 400 MPH. Oh, and it's ridiculously sneaky, despite being a gleaming bulbous robot with jets coming out of its ass.
M-1200 Lion Assault Robot
The platypus of robot design.
Also looks nothing like a cat. It's the fightier version of the M-1000. Is a little tougher and about half as fast as the M-1000. It has a dinky lasers, a passable ion cannon and railgun, mini-missiles, and hand-held weapons. It can also swim really well, since its hover jets are waterproof, I suppose.
Alternately, the "Shredderbot".
Looks only vaguely more like a cat than the rest. This is designed as a "hunter/killer" bot. Bear in mind Siembieda doesn't know what hunter/killer means in a military context, so it just means "aggressive soldier", really. It's actually kind of fragile, and is a slower runner than its hovering counterparts, but has head lasers and head ion cannon, mini-missiles, stretchy claws, and handheld weapons. Oh, and it can pick locks with its finger blades... somehow.
More like a bulldog... or elephant...?
Doesn't look much like a bear. This is actually a giant robot piloted by a Mindwerks employee, and is actually really damn tough, but is slow for a robot. It can fire various grenades, mini-missiles, has lasers in its face, a "triple weapon" in its arm (laser/ion/particle), laser knuckles, smoke dispenser, and a vibro-blade in its arm. It doesn't deal out a lot of punishment for its size, outside of dumping mini-missiles at foes, but it's smaller counterparts can do the same thing.
And that's the last robot. You'd think with all the brodkil flunkies these would be superfluous... oh, wait. They are superfluous. I have to wonder, given the designs' Mechanoid-like appearance, if they're unused robot designs from Rifts Sourcebook Two: The Mechanoids .
Bad guy guns.
Despite not having any weapon engineers of note, any background as arms manufacturers, or a particularly large staff in general, Mindwerks has its own line of weapons. They even have their own proprietary E-Clip standard, and their weapons can't use regular E-Clips without modifying the guns.
M-12 Plasma Pistol:
This is designed for Brodikil, so human-sized users can't use this without penalties... regardless of their Strength, for some reason. It's pretty much just a rifle converted to a handgun, and nothing particularly special.
M-25 Firebrand Giant Rifle:
This is a giant-sized knock-off of the Coalition's C-14 rifle. Despite being over twice as large, it does no more damage, and can be wielded by human-sized characters normally, because fuck it, who needs to adjust for facts? How did Mindwerks do a knockoff of a weapon located largely on the other side of the planet?
M-30 Dual Energy Rifle:
This has a laser that does crap damage and a particle beam that does solid damage. It's another oversized weapon, but human-size characters can use it if they're pretty buff.
M-40 Ion Rifle Tube:
This is pretty much an ion shotgun (ha ha yeah I
) with two barrels, does the most damage of any weapon here, and human-size wielders get a penalty. Mindwerks robots can hook it up directly to their power supply.
M-120 Plasma Rifle:
Another big gun that gives human-size users a penalty, and its damage is pretty crap despite having a three-digit designation. Apparently this is the weapon depicted with the M-1000, as Siembieda uses every part of the
Next: How to play a buttpuppet of Mindwerks.
The character is usually hyper and on edge, like a tiger ready to pounce, and needs only four or five hours of sleep a night. He or she likes to fight and play hard.Original SA post Rifts Sourcebook Three: Mindwerks - Part Five: "The character is usually hyper and on edge, like a tiger ready to pounce, and needs only four or five hours of sleep a night. He or she likes to fight and play hard."
Optional M.O.M. O.C.C.s
And yes, you can play characters modified by Mindwerks. It notes that she often modifies people as a favor to brodkil or the Gargoyle Empire, because she's a jerk, as experiments, or...
A LARGE SIEMBIEDA CLICHE IS APPROACHING
Rifts Sourcebook Three: Mindwerks posted:
She believes she is a "god" and that it is a god's duty to "create" and instigate change. Many of her "creations" are the product of this twisted view of life and her delusions of divinity.
In any case, she often conveniently releases her creations either just to discard them or to observe them for (bad) science, but works very hard to make sure escapees aren't aware of the way back to the Mindwerks complex. Don't think you can get the upper hand on the Angel of Death , PCs, because you just can't , shut up, nuh-uh!
Full Standard Crazy Conversion
This is the standard crazy from Rifts , only you can add on the Brain Programming implant with its associated table of fuck you . It also says they cannot get psynetic implants, and just turn into a comatose veggie or a murder machine who "usually die violently within 2d6 weeks". This is weird, because crazies are pretty far from overpowered; letting them have a few psionic powers would hardly break the game.
Mindwerks Full Conversion Borg O.C.C.
"I don't think you gave me a matching set of eyes..."
This is mostly just a cyborg from the corebook with less skills and the Brain Programming implant added, plus the penalties from that, plus a bonus fuck you in that you'll probably have a tracking device and / or a bomb in your head Mindwerks can blow up. Unlike regular cyborgs, your (mechanical) attributes are determined randomly, so you could be awesomer or sucky compared to a regular borg, but you do get more features and geegaws. It reiterates escapees can't ever ever find their way back to the Mindwerks complex again , not two pages after it brought it up last. Honestly this isn't a bad class, given you don't roll badly for the side effects of Brain Programming. If you did, well, you poor fuck .
Null Psyborg O.C.C.
A bunch of Rifts player characters once got together once to find out who had the ninetiest name .
rat in the city
"Whoa man, that's pretty nineties. But I'm a
"Well, that's more nineties than me, I have to admit. But what about you, man, what's your oh-see-see?"
"Hoooly shit. That is
boss fucking nineties
. What the fuck do you do?"
"What the fuck does that even mean?"
"I don't even need to know." *puts on shades, rides off on motorcycle with ponytail flapping in the wind*
Oh, and Mindwerks almost certainly has tracking implants, mind control implants, and a bomb in your head,
Not to be confused with the Ecto-1 . This is a person who has gotten implants that super-boost the Astral Projection power, but have their bodies become near-completely paralyzed (you can move your face and talk, but that's about it). You need a medical life support system to even survive (problematic for a PC class to say the least). And yeah, only Mindwerks can make these.
Ecto-Travelers can Astral Project normally, but at better at navigating it. Their big ability is to create a physical body in the real world from psychic goo.
Rifts World Book Three: Mindwerks posted:
The ecto-body looks frightening and ugly, like a pink or grey, protoplasmic blob in humanoid shape (or a giant, lumpy Pillsbury Dough Boy).
You can also make more limbs and (nonfunctional) wings, (symbolic) horns, or (nasty-ass) tentacles. Its M.D.C. is shit, starting at 15 and capping out at 90 at level 15, has shitty physical attributes, is ugly as hell, can actually dodge really well (via goopiness), can understand all spoken language, regenerate, takes half damage from physical attacks but full damage from energy attacks, can goop through small holes, has all ESP powers, psi-shield and sword, electrokinesis, hydrokinesis, mind bullets , but you can't taste stuff, wear armor, and hey, you go insane and get more insane as you gain levels. Generally, the big advantage is that the ecto-body can't die permanently, but if it dies, the PC can't reform for a full day.
You also get an O.C.C. of your choice; presumably this excludes psychic R.C.C.s, but it doesn't say. You can't cast spells in your magic body, however, so you may as well be a Rogue Scholar or some other class that gets crazy skill bonuses. Use your sensitive powers + skills + ability to go nearly anywhere invisibly and intangibly to solve any mystery!
The big question, though, is because you require life support, how'd you escape Mindwerks? It mentions there are a handful of ecto-travelers outside of Mindwerks, but escaping as an invalid has to be tough (maybe they lugged their own bodies out?). For some reasons, there's no discussion of them having control chips or bombs in their brain, I guess Mindwerks figures it doesn't need to bother.
Psynetic Crazy O.C.C.
This here is an old piece of art Siembieda scribbled some crazy implants onto. This is both a joke and a fact.
So earlier in the sections the implants section goes on and on about how you can't combine physical and mental implants, how it'll drive you insane and fry your brain (more than even normal implants already do, I suppose). But fuck all that, because Mindwerks figured out how to combine them. How they went on about how there's no way because it's only like ther are any other groups installing psynetic implants. In fact, they discussed how every psynetic implant is booby-trapped so nobody can steal them. And yet... they can do it anyway, even though it said they couldn't earlier. Of course, this is all a roundabout gyration so they can try and justify non-crazies not combining the two types of implants for balance (hilarious, given that this is Rifts ), unless you take the Psynetic Crazy O.C.C.!
Oh, and they're psychically boosted crazies who are... more crazy. They get fewer physical implants than normal crazies, but get tons of psynetic implants. Generally speaking, most will be as brain-damaged and crazy as the characters I rolled under the psynetics section or more so . Unlike normal crazies, though, that's all the crazy they get and they don't go progressively more insane (unless they get extra implants installed), I suppose. They also have a Mindwerks identifier chip, but can hack it in reverse to detect other people with the same chip. Of course, they also have a tracking chip, control chip, and a 50% chance of having a bomb in their head.
As a psi-crazy, you can be a non-psionic, minor psionic, major psionic, or master psionic. Though non-psionics get some mild physical bonuses, they don't really balance out the Amazing Powers of the Mind the major gets. In addition, the weaker psionic characters don't get as much out of the psynetic implants, so... yeah. There's no reason to to be a master psionic, unless you just like not being able to use your class features as well.
Doesn't involve The Bloodhound Gang , sadly.
These are Dog Boys and Psi-Stalkers converted to have their tracking powers enhanced and their brains lobotomized. How Mindwerks got ahold of Dog Boys - who are only created on another continent across the ocean - is anybody's guess. In addition to their regular psychic powers of being a Psi-Stalker or Dog Boy, they get the ability to track by smell, can recognize psychic "scents", and can fight to -80 HP and do double S.D.C. unarmed damage (which would be great in an non-M.D.C. world...). On the other hand, your IQ is reduced to 2d4 and you have an 86% chance of doing into a berserker rage when you're "angry, frustrated, engaged in serious combat, or injured"... so basically all the fucking time you're flipping out and trying to kill shit.
The new powers are nice, but you can't make intelligent use of them because you're flipping out all the fucking time, and likely are going to be put down by other party members in a session or two. Great work from Mindwerks! And so you don't forget - they have a tracking chip, a control chip, and likely have a bomb in their head.
Next: D-Bees of Europe!... even those D-Bees can appear anywhere, because Rifts, but... these are in Europe, specifically!
it's like sometimes he forgets the premise of his own game
The lycanmorph is typically like a happy puppy, quick to forgive and/or forget all but the most traumatic and painful offenses.Original SA post Rifts Sourcebook Three: Mindwerks - Part Six: "The lycanmorph is typically like a happy puppy, quick to forgive and/or forget all but the most traumatic and painful offenses. "
D-Bees of Germany & Poland
I have no idea what the fuck this is.
It notes where various R.C.C.s from previous books live, so if you want to know where the zembahk, waternix, or knights live, it's got you covered. One of those things is not like the others, mind. Some of these R.C.C.s feel like overflow material or drawn from overflow art on Rifts World Book Two: Atlantis or Rifts World Book Three: England . Just a hunch, mind, but the fact that some of the races have slave prices or resemble art from those books feels like a tip-off.
The Azverkan R.C.C.
Knights of the True Vision
A spare illustration from Wormwood, maybe?
This is a race with the ability to see "supernatural evil", that nebulous force from previous books, and they're immune to possession and magic-resistant. These traits, apparently, have inspired to become wandering knights that travel and rescue others from magical monsters, and sometimes mundane monsters, but mostly just magical ones. They're basically a race of ugly paladins, and have the lack of personality to match. Oh, and other races can't become Knights of the True Vision, because they don't have the True Vision, apparently.
They're really strong, agile, and tough, but ugly as you'd expect for a penis-faced race. They have "Keen 20/20 normal vision", nightvision, seeinvisiblevision, seeevilvision, can sense evil and have super-smellin'. They're immune to possession and vampire mind control, general saves against magic / fear / evil stuff, and pure nonsense saving bonuses like "+8 to save vs symbiotic union and control", which isn't actually a saving throw. They get modest combat bonuses and a pretty nice spread of skills. Oh, and if you don't want to be a Knight of the True Vision, you can walk away with most of its non-combat powers and be a Rogue Scholar or the like, though they can't be a lot of the obvious classes you'd expect (magic-users or cyber-knights). They can be Glitter Boy pilots, though. Just as a thought. It would help hide their penis-faces, anyway.
The Fly III
Born from the sort of D&D word jumble that gave us the "jackalwere", we have the "lycanmorph". However, they don't have anything to do with lycan thropes , instead being buggy-looking D-bees with three different forms, like triple-changin' Transformers. They're herbivorous, "like a happy puppy", "curious, friendly", "extremely mischievous", "pouting, whining", "willfully disobedient", and it literally directs people to play them like eight-year olds . It's all just one grassy hill short of Nimoy springing over the hill singing "Bilbo Baggins". And, nothing against eight-year olds, but having an adult try and depict a super-strong bug child seems like a recipe for disaster.
Their normal form is really strong and fast, but they're Dumb with a capital D , weak-willed, and ugly. They get a variety of natural ability to flip, climb, and sneak, can "see a grapefruit or an enemy a mile (1.6 km) away" (look out, grapefruits!), has "sensitive mouth hairs" that can identify food, jump high, blah blah. Their big deal is that they can change form, though this takes them 1d4 hours + 1d4 minutes, and they're relatively helpless inside a 250 M.D.C. cocoon... so if you were especting some rad swift transformation, nope. You have to nap your way to another form. They can also cocoon to heal themselves, which is "rapid healing" at 2d6 x 10 an hour, well under that of most regenerating creatures. Oh, and they have some sensitive psionic power and electrokinesis, randomly. They also get shit for skills, though their natural physical skills compensate slightly.
And this feels like overflow art from Rifts England.
Their two other forms are the "flyer", which has about three times the M.D.C. of their normal form, can fly around as a giant beetle, and does the most damage of any form (which isn't fantastic, but it's the most). Then there's the "battler", which "looks like a giant insectoid robot", which can fly at slower speeds, can shoot lightning, has a wide variety of (terrible) natural weapons, a ton of attacks, but only twice the M.D.C. of its normal form. Its big deal is that the battler can blast creatures with stink to blind them with no saving throw, though it doesn't affect robots or armored foes.
A dance battler, that is!
Bill Coffin posted:
If he's really hard put, he'll take a look at the art that's already come in and mine it for ideas ("Hmm...this D-bee wasn't in any other books, but it looks cool, so I hereby declare this guy the Grinkle-Nosed Hogtailer R.C.C. Nobody will mind if I reprint the picture, especially once I Xerox it and scribble a few more details on it myself...").
It's been reported by ex-Palladium employees that Siembieda has a habit of taking a random illustration done by one of their artists and repurposing it into a robot or class. I don't know if that's necessarily true here, but certainly having two illustrations for one creature by an artist who otherwise doesn't provide art for this book seems to be a pretty good indication of it.
These are "giants from another dimension", as if there were a bunch of Earthly giants to distinguish them from. In any case they're horned, one-eyed, and 20' tall. They're apparently enslaved by the Naruni, which has two problems with it:
One, the Naruni won't be detailed until
Two, when they are detailed, it'll turn out the Naruni don't deal in slavery.
In any case, they're peaceful, gentle, compassionate - ohmyfuckshutup , it's the same stick as races like the Zembahk (of Rifts World Book Two: Atlantis ), in that they're so kind and it's so tragic that they're enslaved. Look, slavery is heartrending tragedy as it is, Siembieda doesn't have to slather on that the victims is good people . Presumably their one eye is so they can have one enormous tragic tear fall out of it.
They're dumb and ugly, but strong and strong-willed. They have pathetic M.D.C. for their size, but have really sharp vision, can see invisible and astral stuff and in the dark... and that's all? I figured they'd "seek" or track in some way, but they don't. Once again they have a bonus against "symbiotic union and control" which doesn't exist. They have some sensitive psionics, and magic powers including:
Escape from bonds
I'm sure it's a very high-tech spear?
These are "dimensional adventurers and mercenaries" who come from a low-G planet with a thick atmosphere that lets them "swim". Can that really happen? In any case, they're emaciated and can't survive in Earth's gravity or atmosphere unassisted. So they made special armor and atmosphere converters to do that! Apparently they're really technologically advanced, but mainly in terms of force fields and nanotechnology.
They're insanely strong, able to do M.D.C. despite being S.D.C. creatures, so they can literally kill each other with firm pokes and nudges. Despite being described as brilliant, they're really no smarter than humans (which I guess is brilliant enough), and are also really tough and agile, which seems to clash with the description of them as fragile butterfly people. Oh, and shock of shocks, they're ugly! They get an average selection of skills tending towards the technical and academic. Despite being from a different atmosphere and ecology, they can eat human food (through a port in their armor)... yeah. Not making the best of sense, here.
And Ugakawa have special suits that have a (pretty buff) force field and relatively ordinary M.D.C. armor, an exoskeleton "special pair of pants" and cooling system that reduce fatigue and boost running speed speed, nanotech healing robots, jet pack, nuclear power plant, food pill supply, crappy lasers, crappy "plasma spear", crappy grenades, and a pretty decent net where he can just wrap it around human-sized foes and electrocute them, and can effectively stunlock a single foe until dead.
I know "alien that walks around in an environment suit" is a sci-fi trope, but it just seems dumb in a setting where they don't have any ready access to their home world or environs. If anything goes wrong with their suits, if they get pierced by anything and can't patch it, they're dead. The idea that they'd stomp around in these suits for six months or more at a time is pretty farcical (and probably leaves them swimming in their own piss, I suppose).
Srryyn Cannibal R.C.C.
Too evil for pants.
No, they don't eat each other . Also, how do you pronounce "Srryyn"? Anyway, this is a generic aggressor race of raiders / bandits / monsters, with their only real gimmick being their high metabolism. As a result, they get modestly more attacks and small combat bonuses, great prowess, are low-level supernatural creatures, have a ranger-style spread of skills, and... a third arm, useful for back-scratching and bein' all '90s .
Also, while I'm on pet peeves, the idea that all of these R.C.C.s are classified as "ugly" gets ridiculous because it's so subjective. Does a Ugakawa look at an Ugakawa and recoil in disgust, or is it all just relative? I'd presume the latter, but the fact that these races can never - ever - get the ability to charm or impress each other is more than a little odd.
The Monster Riders of Europe
They're in Europe now. There's no significant changes to their writeup from Rifts Sourcebook . Kind of odd they were reprinted and not, say, the Brodkil instead, who play a much larger role.
And that's the last of the PC classes for now, we're moving on to the monster section (not that there's a section break to indicate that). There's one more odd little class, but we'll get to that in a bit. For now, on to the monsters!
Next: Monsters to round out a page count.
Sentences are usually short and simple — seldom more than phrases like, 'Now you die,' or 'Don't be afraid. It will hurt only for a minute.'Original SA post Rifts Sourcebook Three: Mindwerks - Part Seven: "Sentences are usually short and simple — seldom more than phrases like, 'Now you die,' or 'Don't be afraid. It will hurt only for a minute.'"
C'ro Demon Mage (NPC)
"The demon mage is a master of deceit and manipulation..."
Yeah, I'd trust that guy.
It puts "NPC" right there in the name so we're clear, but I can't help but think that's really part of their title, confusing scholars across the Megaverse. They're part of an endless Wormtongue archetype that Siembieda loves to fill books with, manipulating people for their own benefit. What do they want? Well, uh... power and wealth, it says. What does a master mage really do with dollars and change, though? "Yes! I have a hundred of the Earth dollars!"
In any case, they all the attributes at superhuman levels except... yeah, they're ugly. They have M.D.C. on the level of a hatchling dragon, dimensional teleporting, regeneration, speaks any language (Esperanto included), "impervious to to symbotic union and control" (geez, this book is hung up on that), and a poison stinger that inflicts a modest penalty it can stack (regular humans save or suck / die). Some are mid-to-high level spellcasters, others are necromancers, and some are temporal mages. They get a full character creation writeup with skill selection (which is pretty alright), even though you can't play one. Why? Because it's "intended as a villain", even though they can be Unprincipled, well within the hero range of alignments.
How you get two pieces of art from one drawing two pages apart.
No, that's not a real dinosaur name, but a word jumble of... Euro... and Torpid? I wonder if Riftsian Europeans name any other animals the same way. A dog could be a Eurodomestid! A bird could be a Eurorapido! A frog could be a Eurohoppit! No? Well, it's Europe's loss.
They're essentially ceratopids (that's like triceratops) with stylin' dual horns, ridiculous amounts of M.D.C. (500 on average), and are "slow" only in that they travel around 35 MPH. The have a knockdown charge, super-scent, psychic powers to sense danger automatically, etc.
Because that's basically what we need, super-cows with higher stats than the majority of PCs. You can't play one because they have animal intelligence, it says, but Lycanmorphs and Seekers can have an identical IQ rating. Pft, details .
But which end is the butt?
It has giant legs for no goddamn reason! It feels on carrion and sometimes children, and don't really pick on anything that fights back... except when there's a pack of them, there's a 65% chance they go into a feeding frenzy.
Only in Rifts can a "scavenging animal" be as tough as thirty 20th-century tanks and be able to knock over buildings with a kick. Oh, and it has an auto-dodge, in the interest of just being annoying.
This is kind of a crab-rhino-bear, but not as cool as that sounds. It has decent M.D.C. and hides by curling up to look like a boulder, and then pinches your head off when you lean against it. Apparently the Simvan like to ride on these, because they'll ride on any goddamn thing.
Pretty sure this was a villain from an Alan Davis comic. Clandestine, maybe?
Somehow, not a White supremacist metal band.
This is a... sadistic and evil demon from the rifts, sigh, that likes to play "cat and mouse games" (a fairly common Siembiedaism). They have some solid compared bonuses, empathy "to sense when its prey is scared", and middling damage values and M.D.C. Apparently their white skin helps them blend in with snow, but at all other times makes them stand out like an exclamation point.
There's a random ruling that the Simvan's ability bond with animals somehow fucks with the White Slayer and confuses them, but it doesn't make much sense, given they're demons and not really animals of any stripe. Hell, they can talk... badly. No sir, I don't get it.
Next: The stupidest fucking thing.
80% are extremely sadistic and indifferent toward all other life forms (pathological).Original SA post Rifts Sourcebook Three: Mindwerks - Part Eight: "80% are extremely sadistic and indifferent toward all other life forms (pathological)."
How to make one art into four arts, by Palladium Books.
As teased in World Book Five: Triax & the NGR repeatedly, it's the Gene-Splicers! Take a bow, Gene-Splicers, it's finally your time to shine.
... well, this is bound to disappoint.
They have "mastered the secrets of eugenics" but then it describes them being able to modify genetic material directly, and they can make all sorts of changes to people like making them superhuman, deaging people or curing disease. They can solve all of life's mysteries!... but they won't be doing that.
Genetic Reconstruction & the Human Blueprint
So, the gene-splicers are... (deep sigh)... diabolical sadists... (pained groan)... who like doing all sorts of Claremontian body horror to people and seeing how they respond. They do it for mysterious (noexistent) reasons that feels like a vague parody of science. "We've given this person a face on their butt, let's see how they react! They won't sit down anymore! Fascinating!"
They don't make the same thing twice, except when they do, since they've been making monster brodkil (an oxymoron, it would seem) where they have more arms and gargoyle wings. Why? Because that's what it says in the script. No reason is given. Seriously, if they love the brodkil so much, maybe they should marry them.
Apparently the Gene-Splicers are the best with genetic modification in the Megaverse, and the fact that they're evil jerks is supposed to be a massive tragedy. But they're just retreads of villains like the Splugorth (who do the same body horror thing, only using magic), or even just Mindwerks from the same book (who do the same thing, only using cybernetics and implants). Hell, now we have two groups sponsoring the brodkil, as if to try and spice up the awfully generic demon baddies that they are.
Game Master Notes:
How to use a Gene-Splicer
You use them to excuse away custom monsters. I mean, we already have rifts to infinite dimensions that can justify anything, but maybe you want to use sociopaths in Mœbius hats instead.
Rifts Sourcebook 3: Mindwerks posted:
BEWARE! Going crazy with the possibilities can unbalance your game or turn into a monster-fest. Neither is desirable.
Well, shit, you wouldn't want Rifts to turn into an unbalanced monster-fest, gosh!
Siembieda beats on the drum to remember that the Gene-Splicers are evil evil evil and never do anything good for anyone and if it looks like they did it was a trick. Oh, and here's a Siembiedism: remember that ugly can be good and the beautiful can be evil! Imagine the possibilities of common sense! Also don't fuck with the PCs too much with body horror stuff. "Show some compassion." Oh, and you can have the Gene-Splicers turn a member of their supporting cast into a m-m-monster, what will the PCs do? Or maybe a monster is falsely accused of a crime it did not commit, which happens about once every book Siembieda writes.
But there aren't many Gene-Splicers and they're supposed to be rare, and hang out in the Black Forest next to the Tree of Darkness , wh'ev that is. Once again, they prefer to mutate sentient people because they're "motivated by cruelty and evilness". Well. It takes 4d4 weeks to do major mutatinos, so hope you don't get caught because you'll be out of the game for like three months.
Rifts Sourcebook Three: Mindwerks posted:
Gene-Splicers NEVER share their secrets! The Splugorth would pay or do almost anything to possess even a fraction of the gene-splicers' knowledge of genetic reconstruction, but it will NEVER happen.
All-caps is ALWAYS the BEST way for a WRITER to get THEIR POINT across!! What do the Splugorth care? They can do most of what the Gene-Splicers can do, save create creatures that can breed true (or maybe they can?). It hardly seems to matter, since they have armies of bio-wizarded soldiers in any case. Also, the idea of the Splugorth getting too powerful with this knowledge - given their armies of adult dragons and metzla - is pretty laughable, given they're big tentacled balls of villainous bullshit to begin with. Also, the genetic modifications don't work on supernatural creatures, so it's not like the Splugorth could do much for minions they don't already modify and blarrrgharharhghatrghg
Ugh, this whole thing comes across as the most passive-aggressive shit. Use my idea, but don't use it too much, because I don't know if I can trust you with this- We get a listing of all the basic stuff they can do, and they only big deals are extending life spans or boosting psychic powers, but... yes, of course, their modifications might have horrible side effects , if you didn't get enough of that pass-aggy GM bullshit in the Mindwerks section. "Sure, you can have wings, but you're now allergic to feathers! " O'course, o'course.
They're evil, arrogant, coldhearted, dispassionate, menacing, cruel, obsessed, extremely... sadistic, indifferent, etc. For all their bluster, they're just S.D.C. beings, and have to rely on technology to protect themselves. They're physically and mentally mighty, but they have zero charm and less than zero looks (despite looking mostly just like older humans). Of course, they're immune to psionic mind reading so you can't steal their sekrits, and have big bonuses against fear and illusions. Also, they can't be turned into vampires for no reason. They don't have any magic, but have all sensitive, healing, and super psionic powers. Also, a bunch of skills at 98%, with a level progression just like PCs... let's see, equipment includes an armored robe, translator, mini-computer, another mini-computer and translator (hey, "Editing God"), radio (because that's what FTL civilizations use to chat), special glove with all sorts of nanotech and hidden blades. Oh, and they have backup clones just in case they die.
But that's not all!
(aka Floating Eye or Omni-Bot)
"It's the Omni-Sphere wait no I want to change it now that it's already laid out so Floating Eye wait no Omni-Bot-"
Remember that floating torture bot Darth Vader had? This is that, only with a bunch of ridiculous shit slathered on. It has a 200 M.D.C. force field which it can project to protect others, passable little lasers, little surgery claws that do 1d6 S.D.C., so why did we need stats for them...?, a camouflage and cloaking system, fancy sensors, another translator (translator count: 3), a crazy amount of skills at 98% (better than a PC at skills), and a basic AI.
But that's not all!
There's also 2d4 of them with every Gene-Splicer at all times, and 50 aboard every ship. Oh, and each has 6 attacks a round.
"Let's board the Gene-Stealer ship!"
"Gene-Splicer. Okay, you're in combat with... uh... 50 drones, 1 Gene-Splicer, and like 2 monster brodkil... that's, uh... they have 322 attacks this round. Give me a bit to roll 53 initiatives..."
(We now show to players again, who now have long, flowing beards irregardless of sex.)
"And now to roll 318 attacks."
(Sounds of rolling looped for years, and then we now show an elderly group of players, one of which whom expires on the spot.)
GSS stands for... what? Gene-Splicer Spaceship, which makes it the Gene-Splicer Spaceship Spaceship. It's a big, nearly 500' craft with living areas and holding cells and evil laboratories and all that. It has nearly 5000 M.D.C. with its force field up. It can go MACH 12 or warp through space... which is "1d4 x 10,000 light years in 1d6 hours", which is a hilarious double dice-tendre. (Well, I though it was funny and dumb and swingy, anyway.) "Some gene-splicers have 1d4 pets or slaves created from genetic experiments."
It has a laser batter that does 1d6 x 100 , in the interest of TPKing, or missile batteries that can fire barrages for a mere 16d6 x 10 M.D. It has auto-repair systems (with no mechanics or rules), it's radar-proof, can cloak, turn silent, and then says 144 omni-spheres is standard, so, you know. That's 864 enemy attacks. Oh, and that's not all.
"Three generations of rolls later, the players finally defeated one hundred and forty-four eyebots, ten monster brodkil, and cornered the gene-splicer. The work of decades was about to see fruition."
Shamus the Fourth:
"Okay, the gene-splicer backs into his hallway, closing the hatch. The bridge section detaches and launches off, leaving you aboard the now-falling ship."
Player Janus of the 3rd Generation:
"We shoot at the bridge section with our Boom Guns! Pew pew!"
Shamus the Fourth:
"The force field around the bridge section has regenerated enough - because you've been fighting inside - that it soaks all your damage. Then the gene-splicer activates the ship self-destruct on the falling portion. No defense is possible, take 40,000 M.D.C. damage. Anybody left inside takes a mile-long fall. Also, the gene-splicer exits the atmosphere and accelerates to .16 times the speed of light."
"And with that there was nothing left but for the collective players to melt down their dice and pour them down the throat of Shamus the Fourth, master of the game, ending his reign over the tabletop once and for all."
Also known as the "Tri-Wolf", it's an M.D.C. wolf with three heads that it notes can be used as an "optional player character" that gets great stats save for IQ (dumb) and Beauty (average). Yes, it's a super-charismatic wolf. However, it doesn't have much M.D.C. (average of 27), no armor, great attack bonuses but shit for damage, you can't talk, minor pisonics, and some survival skills. So, you know, you can finally live the dream of playing a wolf with three heads that can claw a forest down.
Because the regular brodkil wasn't monster enough.
A regular brodkil with better stats, improved M.D.C., bat-wings, and might have extra arms. You can play one, but they aren't very fleshed out (that's a pun, son), shit for skills, and all the brodkil powers which you can look up in my writeup of Rifts Sourcebook . Oh, and if you roll super-lucky (2%) you an get 2d6 added to all your attributes! That sounds fair enough, it's best to reward players who roll really, really luckily.
Next: Erin Tarn
Does the tortured woman with her outstretched arms mock the heavens or plead to it for her release?Original SA post Rifts Sourcebook Three: Mindwerks - Part Nine: "Does the tortured woman with her outstretched arms mock the heavens or plead to it for her release?"
The Black Forest
Faerie pictured at 10x actual size.
Anyway, it's bigger than it used to be, because nature finds a way, and is now filled to the brim with faeries. There are a lot of scary stories about it, and even the minions of Atlantis and gargoyles generally steer clear. Most of the faeries are your typical Siembiedan not-evil-but-irritating sorts, but in spooooky places there are evil faeries. So you have ones who are a dick for a no reason, and those who are meaner dicks for no reason. Faeries!
We gets lists of monsters in there, and there are tribes of d-bees and psi-stalkers and stuff like that. Apparently, they haven't heard the scary stories. Lots of Rifts Conversion Book references, and we can move on.
The Tree of Darkness
It's pretty shady, but its bark is worse than its bite, if you gnarl what I mean... okay, okay, I'll stop rootin' around...
So, this is an evil millennium tree (see also: Rifts World Book Three: Hippies of England ). Also, it's time for some:
Erin Tarn saw the tree from a distance and could tell it was eeevil, and was like gross, evil! Also she could tell it was almost 2000 feet tall, despite her lack of surveying equipment, and it looked like a tortured woman and so she could tell it looked totally metal. She thought it reminded her of Wormwood (buy Rifts Dimension Book One: Wormwood ), which was also a bummer. She wonders if Faust (buy The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus ) corrupted it somehow, despite him being largely fictionalized. Historical accuracy, fuck it! But I guess Faust accidentally corrupted the ground by making a deal with the devil.
Erin Tarn segment ends here
Anyway, once you're 20 miles away, there's spooky fog and psychics get spooooky vibes and animals well spook the fuck out. There are a lot of supernatural entities (i.e. psuedo-ghosts), supernatural predators, evil faeries, the entire contents of Beyond the Supernatural dumped out, pretty much whatever the GM wants to throw out. One would think a fog filled with predators and monsters would have elo The gene-splicers have a community here because evil puts up with evil (alignment is like labor unions). There's a sphinx called Madcat and a temporal raider named Antiquity and a streetcar named Desire ... wait, no, scratch that last part.
A Gene-Splicer posts his EVIL vacation photo.
So there's a large opening at the base which is relatively unguarded with a bridge leading to it since there's no fog, but there might still be prowling monsters or an adult hydra that guards the bridge (like they do). This portal can travel to any stone pyramid. You can climb to the others but shit might pounce on you, or villains might attack, because the characters are A) presumed to be heroes and B) presumed to be obvious heroes, maybe it's the white hats. (Once again, evil is like a union.)
There's a- well- Imma let Siembieda speak.
Rifts Sourcebook Three: Mindwerks posted:
The maw with vaguely negroid features has a branch that appears to be a long, curving tongue that leads to the demon city of Lalibela in the mountains of Ethiopia and/or to the living planet known as Wormwood...
Serpent head leads to Asgard, a demonic elephant head goes to African Congo or India (not detailed) or the nameless world inhabited by the Hindu pantheon (wait, wasn't that taken over by the Splugorth?), a spirit leads to Phase World (which is full of Phases), a dragon head leads to Palladium World (it's full of Palladiums), and another leads to Dyval (it's full of Dyvals), another to the Yucatan, and another to a Time Hole (GM makes up what's in there).
The Powers of the Evil Millennium Tree
It helps evil! And hurts good! Because evil and good are like union and nonunion (or vice versa, if you prefer the other metaphor). reveal hiding good guys, reduces the healing of good characters, spoil food and water, and control (magical or nonmagical) weather. It can also create a (no shit) leaf: blanket of pain that weakens people that are wrapped in it and prevents healing.
Wands and Staves of Darkness
We get a note that 85% (we're glad a study was done on this) of magic items from the Tree of Darkness inflict curses on good people if they try to use them. You know, it's kind of odd one of the few alignment mechanics in Rifts is used basically to discourage PCs from looting magic items. Maybe otherwise good PCs could carry a sack of puppies around to pluck out and strangle when they need to use an eeevil rune weapon or corrupted millennium tree item or the like... alternately, you could just be a puckish rogue and take one of the selfish alignments, and be unaffected entirely in this particular case (though not with rune weapons et cetera).
Staff of Death:
Does crap damage, and double crap damage to good characters. It also has a number of status effect and necromancy-style spells.
Staff or Wand of Monstrosity:
This gives you a bunch of physical buff spells but makes you look like a monster. Oh, and the monster appearance lasts three times as long as the buff, because apparently the tree is a dick. Aside from the obvious phallic imagery, anyway.
Staff or Wand of Malignancy:
Where "malignancy" is a "variety of jerk spells like controlling rodents or playing possum".
Arrow or Javelin of Doom:
Where "doom" is more "suck", these don't do much damage but inflict
penalties if you flub your Save vs. Magic.
Corrupted Wands and Staves:
Rifts World Book Three: England
, which you can look up, but I don't suggest bothering with it.
Three mini-turrets are mounted on the side of the hospital wing.Original SA post Rifts Sourcebook Three: Mindwerks - Part Ten: " Three mini-turrets are mounted on the side of the hospital wing. "
Saved saliva all day just for this photo.
Other Places of Note
in and around the Black Forest.
has been uncovered "by various beings for a number of reasons". I guess it's intact? Not sure how, though. I thought there'd been an apocalypse!
There are ruins of
French nuclear power plants
. This does not matter and nobody cares.
is surrounded by small villages and vineyards. The vineyards presumably just produce wine and not, say, mega-wine or millennium wine.
is a ruin that gargoyles poop in.
has a series of magical springs with mild healing benefits, though most of them are run by "profiteers and scoundrels". One has been captured by gargoyles who basically murder anybody who comes near. (Wait, gargoyles regenerate, so what do they care...?) There are two run by human supremacists, and another two run by
hippiesdruids and knights respectively, who just give it alway.
oh my hell shut up about these springs
) home to a evil spring cursed by the Evil Millennium Tree. Also there are monsters here, because the springs only heal evil things.
D-Bees, get it? Also they make beer here. The NGR doesn't bother it and they generally interfere with the gargoyles in turn.
is essentially as already described in
Rifts World Book Five: Triax & the NGR
as a scenic psuedo-retro modern NGR city. Victor Lazlo's stats are reproduced here, presumably for the benefit of those who have the first printing of
Rifts World Book Four: Africa
that leaves his stats out. Nothing new to mention there... oh, did you know he has a cybernetic gyro-compass? It's true! He does!
Northwest Germany & Triax
namedrops a bunch of German cities as NGR cities with no detail.
tells us that Berlin and Hamburg are ruins torn apart by war, with only refugees and locals hiding out there. Oh, and Dresden is "squalid" and has "a reputation for corruption", sorry, Dresden.
This whole section feels like it really, really needed to be in Triax & the NGR . Pretty sure they could have skipped one or two of the million billion robots that were in it to make room.
"Terminate that ceiling with extreme prejudice!"
The Gargoyle Offensive in Western Germany
Okay! So the Gargoyle Empire is getting ready for a big offensive near the southwest with a half-mil gargoyles, and the NGR is militarizing too. Once again, this would haev been better for the NGR book, but it mostly seems like a framing device for the second wave of NGR and Gargoyle toys!
Gurgoyle G-40 Super Bot
May look familiar.
The new toy for Gargoyle Wave 2. It's pretty much like the G... 30? (looks it up) Yes, like the G-30, only more huger and with microwave cannon boobs. It has over 2K MDC, has "ion finger blasters" which do collectively half of a boom gun's damage with eight shots firing wild, microwave cannons that cause fires, wreck sensors, and... do crap for damage, mini-missiles, electrified maces that can stun living creatures or robots, and decent melee damage. Also, it's full of gurgoyles.
NGR Mobile Infantry Strike Base
Only the richest kids got one of these toys.
Which is apparently nicknamed "The Misfit". I call it "Battleforce 2000". There's a lot of arguing as to whether this is a good idea, which is why there are only three prototypes. And, as we know from anime, you always field your prototypes! It's basically five vehicles in one, four of which pull the command center around, but it can split up into separate troop carriers.
Rifts Sourcebook Three: Mindwerks posted:
In addition, the NGR has sent two prototype Mobile Infantry Strike Bases to the area (only three exist).
Rifts Sourcebook Three: Mindwerks posted:
Note: All three prototypes have been moved toward the mounting gargoyle offensive.
These two sentences are only two pages apart, in case you think the editing ever got any better. Or maybe it's that they moved up the final prototype in the space of two pages. That metaplot's movin' fast in that case.
It's main weapon, however, is a particle beam cannon that does 3d6 x 100 damage, making it sort of a land Yamato with the force of ten Glitter Boys. However, every shot after 10 has a 50% chance of making it shut down for a full turn, in case you worried the awesome was going to last forever. It also has: 2 super laser cannons, 1 super ion cannon, 1 long-range missile launcher bay, 2 double-barreled laser turrets, 2 ion belly guns, 3 mini double-barreled laser turrets, 1 rear multi-turret, 1 bottle of rice wine, 1 bottle of rice vinegar... wait, no, I'm getting into my grocery list.
It also has two forward troop carriers and two artillery troop carriers (note, does not fire troops, deeply disappointing) and they have their own arrays of weapons and I don't care at this point. You can fit your full collection of Wave 1 NGR action figures in this thing, all it's missing is a handle to lug it to your friend's house.
Somehow, there's still no minis game based on this.
Next: Lastly, the Kingdom of Tarnow! It's almost interesting!
In most cases, after five or ten years, he'll also believe that all intelligent beings, from peasant to demi-god, covet his precious gem and will do anything to get it.Original SA post Rifts Sourcebook Three: Mindwerks - Part Eleven: "In most cases, after five or ten years, he'll also believe that all intelligent beings, from peasant to demi-god, covet his precious gem and will do anything to get it."
The Kingdom of Tarnow
Wow, this subject matter is just straying farther and farther from Mindwerks, huh? This is, of course, incredibly loosely based on the actual city of Tarnow, rather than being some city inspired after Erin Tarn. (I was a little worried there.) Instead, this is a city that survives buried away in the middle of the Brodkil Empire, mainly on account of them having the Philosopher's Stone, but they call it the Tarnow Crystal, which they've used to kick up their technology level a great deal.
The Legends of the Tarnow Crystal
Rifts claims all the myths about the Philospher's Stone come from uh, Poland. This isn't true. I can't find any real mythical basis for a "Tarnow Crystal" - it seems to be a Riftsvention. In any case, it supposedly showed up in the 12th century and has either been secreted away because it corrupts people or resulted in lots of folks stabbing each other over it. Then an (unindentified) Polish king threw it away centuries later into a river, but a peasant found it after the rifts and accidentally turned an iron cauldron to gold, and rather than being "amazing, a gold cauldron" he was like "oh no, I have to tell the king about my amazing gold cauldron!" The king, Peter Wojtyla, paid them well, but not, say, a cauldron of gold well.
Wait, what about this Tarnow place? What about this king? Fuck that, more about this crystal. It is a "rune-type creation" but apparently rune wizards don't understand it, and imprisons an entire supernatural intelligence. The intelligence is bound so it can't deliberately try and manipulate the wielder to break free, but instead is forced it have the user try and protect it. Of course, being eeevil, it does this by having the user become more paranoid and "my precious"-ey until they're sticking a fork into their son's eye because he was plotting against him all along, aaaaaa-
If you bust it open, a plus-sized supernatural intelligence will come out and murder all the things, but it's crazy hard to break open and regenerates. It lets you transmute base metals (but not alloys), make metal magically M.D.C., gives some mild combat bonuses, cast a number of buffing or transmutation spells, summon creatures or portals, makes you mega-damage, some air and fire spells, etc. But over a year or more it makes you paranoid, megalomanical, or both. Probably both. Let's uncork some Siembieda.
Rifts Sourcebook Three: Mindwerks posted:
The process is slow and insidious and usually fans the flames of discontent, hatred, and desire.
Rifts Sourcebook Three: Mindwerks posted:
"He's responsible for the murder of hundreds of people! Kill him! He deserves to die! If you don't, he'll kill again! He's an animal. This is justice! Do it!!" Another tactic is to prey on insecurities. "They're laughtng at you. You're nothing to you. They despise you (or think you're a coward, child, fool, sissy, fill in the blank). Show them different. Prove you're a man (or no coward, child, etc.) Wipe those smiles off their faces."
Because when I think of "insidious", I think of "a magic crystal shouting nonsense at me".
King Peter Wojtyla
Ruler of Tarnow
Guess who owns the crystal right now? Oh, well, I mentioned it earlier, in any case.
He's a caring, honorable, and tolerant king who accepts D-Bees and rules wisely, which is all of course going to go to hell once he cracks. He's used the stone for nine years to help build a mega-damage army, and though he's immensely strong-willed (one short of the human maximum), he's starting to crack and become paranoid regarding the nearby Brodkil "Empire", and is becoming obsessed with the idea of going to war against them. The Brodkil have no plans to go to warn with Tarnow, but would win a war based on sheer numbers. Oh, and he's a 7th-level knight, for the record.
Some of the Wojtyla get short blurbs, as well. There's Matthew, who's the next in line after Peter, and is an aggressive warmonger who would jump down the greased slide into corruption if he ever got the crystal, but is otherwise loyal to his family. Stanley "Stashu" is the peacenik youngest brother who's thoughtful and kind and loved by the King and certainly will not die at the hands of a brodkil and throw King Peter into a blood-drenched campaign of madness. That would be predictable! Also there's an Uncle Dominic who advises the king as the old warhorse kinda guy and is blind to the evil of the crystal because the country needs it so much.
Yeah, nobody's worked out that the crystal is evil, in a world where Sense Evil is one of the most basic psionic powers as well as a magic spell, where there are D-Bees noted living there that have it as natural ability... enter the PCs, I guess?
Anyway, this has retro technology, but uses the crystal to make it all M.D.C. I think it would be cool to see M.D.C. hot rods and aeroplanes, but sadly, we won't be getting those. They make money off of M.D.C. material, silver, and gold... though I have to wonder after the rifts, who's investing in luxuries? I guess silver would be practical against certain supernaturals, but gold? Fuck gold.
And seriously, that's all we get. All that buildup, and we get three short paragraphs.
No tribe of brodkil is feared more than the Di'Aper tribe.
The brodkil tore the old city down, but settlers are rebuilding it. Also, there are gypsies. Always with the fucking gypsies, this writer.
The Vistula River
Tarnow has begun to build a navy, and travels out to sea via this river. Port Tarnow (since apparently they are not creative with city names), Kielce, and Rzeszow are riverside communities along it. There are a bunch of smaller communities, too. Not that much info on the river itself, naturally.
The Army of Tarnow
They've built up one of the best armies of Europe, which blew up two brodkil invasions. Since then, assassins have been sent to kill King Peter with no luck... given the crystal gives him 900 M.D.C., they'd need a lot of luck. He also has some NGR defectors and a dragon named "Karl" as mercenaries defending the city.
Next: The War Machines of the Tarnow- zzzzzzzz-
If the people of Tarnow know about anything, it's ship building.Original SA post
The delay in this posting can be considered an ironic statement on Palladium's traditional lateness or something.
Rifts Sourcebook Three: Mindwerks - Part Twelve: "If the people of Tarnow know about anything, it's ship building."
The War Machines of the Tarnow Kingdom
So! As we know by now, Tarnow takes normal metals and converts them into magical super-metals. It talks about them being lighter than normal M.D.C. material, but for some reason the armors listed here are two to four times as heavy as regular Rifts armor .
Tarnow Body Armor
"Put on your helmet, man, you're ruining this shot with your haircut."
We have non-environmental chain mail with a crazy variety of metals to choose from, but the simple fact is that all of this is crap compared to regular M.D.C. armor, doubly so when it comes to NGR's armor suits. Even the "knock-off" armor produced in the NGR, which is crap there , is still better than this.
The only ones worth much in terms of the classic armor is non-environmental plate armor , just because you can get a 110 M.D.C. suit... if you don't care at all about sneaking or moving fast. There's also the environmental body armor , which is absolutely passable, it's clunky compared to just about any other armor but at least is better than most North American armor suits.
Then we start moving on to actual power armor. No section break, we just do.
Sting-Ray Power Armor
mou ichido HARIKE-N
This is an unarmed power armor designed for divin', and can jet around underwater at 50 MPH with about 200 M.D.C. holding out the water. It's supposed to use various energy rifles to fight with, but are those rifles waterproof?
The Sea Star
At least nobody will see how ugly this looks at the bottom of the sea.
Like the Sting-Ray, but crazily over-armored at 700 M.D.C., since it only has mini-missiles (torpedoes come out in the next book) and shitty lasers to fight with. I guess it's suppose to use rail guns, but the hand-held rail guns are overpriced embarrassments. And it can jet around at 50 M.D.C., apparently that bulk doesn't slow it down at all.
Those feet are supposed to help it float, also, fuck physics.
This is a construction robot modified for combat. It apparently has variants like the TC-R2, which is used for swimmin' missions. In any case it has grenade launchers (crap), mini-missiles (enh), and chest laser (useless). Oh, and a smoke dispenser. Now, if there were only rules for obscured vision or cover...
TC-R5 Gargoyle Stopper
"But is your gun oversized enough ?"
This is their assault mech designed to counter gargoyles, but has an awfully low M.D.C. to have that kind of job. It does have a ton of medium missiles, mini-missiles, grenades, a giant energy rifle and head lasers that are the worst kind of crap (I mean, shouldn't they do more damage than small arms? Siembieda says no). It can't fly, though, so it can't even take the gargoyles on in a rad air battle.
It's okay I guess .
Stinger Turbo Tank
"It is about as fast and easy to maneuver as a small truck." A small truck on JATO rockets, maybe; it normally goes 65 MPH, but can fire rockets to jump to 110 MPH. Its MDC - a little more than 300 - is massively underwhelming for a "tank". It has a rail gun that actually does more damage than its main laser turret, mini-missiles and smoke dispensers. Fact: Your average gurgoyle can take 12 hits from its main gun before it goes down, and that's one of the Gargoyle Empire's grunt troops. How'd these guys fight off the brodkil again?
Sea Dart, Mini-Sub
More a crab than a dart.
"Its primary use is exploration and salvage, but it is also used for military reconnaissance, mine sweeping, sabotage, combat, and military troop insertion." Sounds like a Ron Popeil product. Is it also good at cleaning unslightly stains and being the life of the party, too?
At 70 MPH, it can go faster than any comtemporary underwater craft. For some reason, it barely has more M.D.C. than the Sting-Ray despite being fifteen times its weight. It can fire torpedoes that do solid damage, and has crappy claws that do practically none. Despite being huge mechanical arms, they only have the damage of a vibro-knife. A small, sad vibro-knife without any friends in the world.
Torpedo Speed Boat
Open-top so the gargoyles can just pluck you right off the water.
Right now, up front, just going to point out: the Torpedo Speed Boat doesn't have any torpedoes. Not one.
It has as much M.D.C. as a Sting-Ray, once again, presumably because boats aren't as cool as robot suits. It can go 150 MPH, too. It has a machinegun with explosive bullets which "can be used to detonate enemy torpedoes", which, uh, doesn't work for a number of reasons involving water and science, but there aren't any rules to do so anyway. Oh, and it can drop depth charges, and gets a bonus on doing "sharp turns or trick maneuvers", but we don't have any actual rules for maneuvering or crashing or anything like that. Granted, given the rules Palladium previously published for such, we're probably better off.
Lightning Hydrofoil Gun Ship
Pretty sure Copperhead piloted this one.
This goes 90 MPH - that's right, a hydrofoil that's slower than a speedboat. What's the point of that? Well, at least it's about as twice as tough as the Torpedo + mini-missiles + torpedoes + depth charges + lasers. Not much to add here, I'm just about boated out.
Walesa Cargo Ship
Pulse-pounding scow-hauling adventure.
40 MPH, 2600 M.D.C. of pure Tarnow steel . Oh, and it shoots missiles and depth charges and has power armor running around on it (they can't launch off, since none of them fly...). Sometimes it has more guns! They aren't statted, though.
You can have a normal vehicle that's M.D.C., like a 1200 M.D.C. bus. Fuck Glitter Boys, mount that boom gun on a bus and rock a dragon's world!
Ancient Hand Held Weapons
It notes some weapons can be made into M.D.C. weapons to be used to do mega-damage but doesn't say how much damage they do. Fuck 'em.
Your bungalow can be a forta... low... oh, I can't do this anymore. Thankfully, we're to the last page of the book.
We are reminded Rifts is a game where a 600+ M.D.C. full combat cyborg levels faster than a 30+ M.D.C. barely-sentient three-headed wolf.
Rifts Sourcebook Three: Mindwerks has interesting ideas, but seems to botch on the execution every time. The best part is probably the farthest from the core material - the Tarnow Kingdom is an interesting concept that focuses on the wrong parts and gives too much detail on boats and not enough on the kingdom itself. The Gene-Splicers, however, are some of the worst pass-agg design I've seen in a Rifts book since Rifts World Book Two: Atlantis , where they're robbed of any potential to be interest of being generically evil monster-makers, in a setting where you don't need monster-makers. Have a rift pop open, a monster jump out, and there you go!
Next: Hummer's Slummers.