Rifts Sourcebook 4: Coalition Navy by Alien Rope Burn
"The Coalition Navy is the largest Naval Force in the Americas, one of the great powers in the world - only Atlantis, NGR and the mysterious New Navy (described in Rifts® Underseas) are currently superior to the CS, and within the next five years, the CS Navy should surpass all but Atlantis."Original SA post
Rifts Sourcebook 4: Coalition Navy posted:
Patricia Pulling probably didn't even know who you are, Mr. Siembieda.
Rifts Sourcebook 4: Coalition Navy posted:
Violence and the Supernatural
After all, she founded Bothered By Dungeons and Dragons, aka BADD. Yes, that was a real organization. It was never BAPB, which would have been really hard to pronounce.
Rifts Sourcebook 4: Coalition Navy posted:
The fictional World of Rifts® is violent, deadly and filled with supernatural monsters. Other dimensional beings, often referred to as "demons," torment, stalk and prey on humans. Other alien life forms, monsters, gods and demigods, as well as magic, insanity, and war are all elements in this book.
Also, Pulling would pass away a month after this book was printed, in September of 1997.
Rifts Sourcebook 4: Coalition Navy posted:
Some parents may find the violence and supernatural elements of the game inappropriate for young readers/players. We suggest parental discretion.
What she did in life as far as demonizing young D&D players pales in comparison to the tragedy of her son's suicide and her own death by lung cancer. So I'm not making light of that, save to point out the curse of nicotine turned out to be far more tragic than any curse dreamt up by Gygax & co.
Rifts Sourcebook 4: Coalition Navy posted:
Please note that none of us at Palladium Books® condone or encourage the occult, the practice of magic, the use of drugs, or violence.
But she didn't know about Palladium, as far as I'm aware. And to this day, twenty years later, Palladium is still publishing these warnings, just in case Pulling's ghost should haunt the hobby again.
Rifts Sourcebook 4: Coalition Navy, Part 1: "The Coalition Navy is the largest Naval Force in the Americas, one of the great powers in the world - only Atlantis, NGR and the mysterious New Navy (described in Rifts® Underseas) are currently superior to the CS, and within the next five years, the CS Navy should surpass all but Atlantis."
Surpass the New Navy? But that's all the New Navy is! It's in their name! Well, I guess they've gotta keep taking an axe to whatever Carella wrote.
skulls now surprisingly optional
Well, time for the review nobody demanded and nobody wanted! Appropriately, however, I've decided to make these reviews shorter. Even if I hadn't already decided to do it, this is the book that might prompt it. It's Coalition War Machine, only about boats. It's not the most inspiring book. But I came to a point where it took so much effort I had to quit or find a way to slim things down. The audio format was a test to see if that was a faster, and it sure as hell wasn't. So I'm trying at just take a heavy trim to my usual format and seeing how that works out.
And it's tough saying that, because Patrick Nowak, the primary author, is better at writing military material than Siembieda is. Bluntly, he obviously knows the material better. However, he's painfully dry. Mind, what do you say about the topic other than defining rank, file, and boats? That being said, Siembieda will pop in and give his two cents, mainly to the tune of a few extra vehicles and monsters. He notes that apparently he had to cut about a third of the manuscript - mainly that pertaining to places and equipment around Ishpeming, the Mantisque Imperium, or Iron Heart, and focused the book mostly around skullomania. Well, not the cool Skullomania, the one with a capital "S". The less cool one, with a lower-case "s".
But there are some saving graces. Ramon Perez does some cool art! Lots of it! So you can look forward to that.
Fuck yeah, Perez.
Let's ship out.
Next: Swimtime for Hitler.
"Saunders never took part in a single campaign or battle, but did fight countless skirmishes against river pirates and monsters — once he even battled a sea serpent with a robot cargo loader and crushed the beast."Original SA post
Rifts Sourcebook 4: Coalition Navy, Part 2: "Saunders never took part in a single campaign or battle, but did fight countless skirmishes against river pirates and monsters — once he even battled a sea serpent with a robot cargo loader and crushed the beast."
Seriously, that's the chapter title. "Some Background". Sure. So, it talks about how important water routes are for trade and travel - they're not safe, but safer than overland travel. Pirates and monsters are still a concern, but that's why the Coalition is building a navy - to take advantage of that.
We get a lot of about the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River, but wikipedia has largely invalidated in the years since other than to say "they're bigger and deeper ". And, of course, there's the fact that there are ley lines and ley line nexuses over the water which can cause issues for travelers, as well as your usual bestiary of monsters that oft-prefer human meat for some inexplicable reason. So there are several main points of trade in the Great Lakes region aside from the Coalition: Lazlo, Ishpeming (aka Northern Gun), Manistique Imperium, Tolkeen, and New Lazlo. We get some details on what each of them produce, which is useful but not interesting. The Coalition itself only trades with a few trusted partners. Also, there be pirates here, and we'll have more on scurvy dogs later. Because of the Coalition's aggression, most large communities are militarizing their navies.
Did I mention that this book is dry? Well, at least we've got some fascists that might catch your interest. Watch them do the goose-step stroke!
Just hatch every inch of the drawing. Hatchhatchhatch.
The Navy of the Coalition
So, the Coalition recently conquered the small community of Port Horus on the coast of Texas (hinted at but not actually named in Lone Star) and renamed it Fort Pinnacle. We get a page-long speech from Emperor Karl Prosek of how they're going to use this to drive back the forces of Atlantis and eventually make war against the alien-dominated continent. This is a bit of a shift metaplot-wise in that it indicates that the Coalition is even fully aware of the threat Atlantis represents, but we'll actually get an explanation for that shortly.
See, the Coalition didn't initially focus on having a navy. They were focused on protecting their land borders, but some leaders pushed for an aquatic arm, like Colonel Marven Halliday. Halliday's military studies on naval warfare formed the basis for New Quebec's navy, which was established to attempt to claim and hold the St. Lawrence Seaway. However, he died before ever getting to see Quebec's navy emerge (most of their craft would be built by Iron Heart Armaments, who you may remember from Rifts Mercenaries).
What really changed things a decade ago was the "Anticosti Island Incident". The fledgling Quebecois navy encountered and engaged an Atlantean "Shark" submarine, which they crippled, capturing the crew. They tortured the Kittani (Atlantean apefolk) crew they were able to take alive, and learned of the growing strength of the Atlantean navy. In addition, it turned out the Atlantean sub was on a mission to provide arms to an anti-Coalition group. As a result, the Coalition military was alarmed enough that they formed the Naval Advistory Commission (NAC) and started building coastal bases and arming boats to counter this aquatic threat trying to undermine them.
We get a long list of priorities for the Coalition in building the navy, but the foremost ones are countering Atlantis and gaining dominance over the Great Lakes. Working mostly off their historical knowledge of the American navy, they initially procured a small number of ships from Iron Heart Armaments - this is about a decade before they'd destroy it in Coalition War Campaign - but gained most of them through a deal with Golden Age Weaponsmiths (detailed in Mercenaries). They'd found out GAW had discovered a great deal of surviving ships at a naval base in Norfolk, and brokered a trade. The Coalition would get the ships, while GAW got a number of exclusive military deals and guaranteed autonomy.
We get a long list of bases where the Coalition are set up, with some of them seemingly pretty distant from Coalition control (particularly on the East Coast). Though the Coalition usually gets their military strength handwaved, we at least get a fair number of details on the twenty-year buildup of the navy. In case you're wondering, Atlantis doesn't actually have any plans to invade and Splynncryth (their psuedo-Lovecraftian leader) finds the Coalition naval buildup to be a joke - they still outnumber Coalition forces literally 50 to 1.
"Rocket engines work fine underwater, don't worry about it!"
The Three Fleets
The Coalition has three main fleets, comprised of:
- The CSN 1st Fleet: The secession of Free Quebec cut this fleet by more than half, and it's mainly based out of Lake Ontario and oversees the Great Lakes. They have a island base named Fort Defiance near Lazlo. Though its proximity makes Lazlo nervous, the main focus of the 1st Fleet is preparing to fight Free Quebec (after the metaplot bit where they seceded from the Coalition in Coalition War Campaign) and to try and seize the Isle of Orleans and the St Lawrence Seaway.
- The CSN 2nd Fleet: This is based out of Fort Pinnacle near Lone Star, and focused on testing deep sea operations. Their main role is to counter Altantean aggression and secure the the Mississippi delta, as well as oversee convoys and travel to South America (Columbia and Cordoba, specifically). At least this explains how they might actually be getting so far South, which was a bit puzzling when it was mentioned offhandedly in the South America books.
- Brown Water-Mississippi Command: ... is not an official fleet designation, but refers to the smaller fleet dedicated to securing Coalition interests on the Mississippi. Generally their focus is fighting monsters and pirates, as well as maintaining the Mississippi as a trade route.
Next, we get a long list of CSN facilities:
- Chi-Town, CSN Headquarters: This is mainly just a support base, but most of the actual CSN command, training, and "nerve center" is here, located close to the main Coalition States leadership.
- Fort Pinnacle: Perhaps their largest base near Lone Star, this has their largest number of capital ships and a laundry list of support armor and aircraft. It's also a growing city founded largely to support the base. They also have an atomic-powered train to Lone Star, and they regularly patrol it for bandits or monsters, as well as checking for breaks in the rails that need to be repaired (apparently a common issue). It's kind of a weird thing where I was going to pick on the feasibility of having a rail line but Nowak isn't Siembieda, and has thought about the issues with that. Curse you for writing thoughtfully, Nowak!
- The Simmons Line, Posts Joaquin and Newgulf: These are posts built along the Sabine River in Texas to a literal protective wall against bandit and monster aggression that might threaten Pinnacle.
- Isle of Orleans: 1st Fleet of Quebec Headquarters: The original HQ of the Coalition Navy, this is now run by the Navy of Quebec and is well fortified by some of most experienced sailors who (used to) work for the Coalition navy.
- Halifax: Originally meant to occupy the Saint Lawrence Seaway, supply and support base was cut short because it's seen as too vulnerable to Quebecois or Atlantean aggression with the current state of affairs. As such, it only has a skeleton crew to oversee the single aircraft carrier still stationed here.
- Baton Rouge: This oversees the Mississippi and the Mississippi Delta, and is the HQ of the "Brown Water" fleet.
- Old Chicago: Well, this is north of Chicago, as it turns out, and mainly sees to protecting trade and provides docks for goods being shipped into Chi-Town. It's heavily fortified to hold off monster attacks from Chicago itself.
- Sault St. Marie: Iron Heart's only Naval facility is more a commercial port than a military one, and only has a relatively small Coast Guard-type force for defense.
- Greenville: This is located near Fort El Dorado and mainly exists to support that new Coalition holding, as well as ship the oil produced there - the actual Naval force is relatively token.
- Fort Girardeau and Hannibal: These bases on the Mississippi is mainly to counter demon and monster aggression arriving from the Devil's Gate in St. Louis. Wait, didn't they have that rift now contained in a facility? I guess Nowak missed that note in Coalition War Campaign... which I guess is natural, since it completely contradicted the corebook...
Leblanc, the Cousteau of Canadian fascism.
And we get some high muckity-mucks. Fleet Admiral Travis Fisher (9th Level Military Specialist) gets a tough luck story about a juvenile deliquent who turned his life around and distinquished himself fighting monsters from Devil's Gate. After that, he caught the eye of Karl Prosek, who eventually bumped him up until he was in charge of the Navy. Admiral Rene LeBlanc (10th Level Navy Officer) is formerly of Free Quebec and was pivotal the the Anticosti Island Incident, and now oversees the 1st Fleet. Supposedly the finest seaman in the CSN. Vice Admiral Nathan R. Copeland is a former tank officer that distinguished himself fighting Pecos Raiders, but was able to earn a transfer to work in the fleet early on. He's the head of the 2nd Fleet and is apparently an easy-going fascist but you better not cross him or he turns into a real tuff dude. Captain Fletcher Saunders is the head of the Brown Water Command and started out as a merchant marine who "battled a sea serpent in a robot cargo loader". He basically joined the military to try and protect sailors after seeing the carelessness of some Coalition officers assigned to the Mississippi. Lastly, we have Major General Jean-Pierre Moreau who is your usual tough and crude military leader with a heart of fascist gold. He oversees the CSN Infantry.
Copeland, with his carefully affected three-day unshave. (I mean he's a vice admiral, you can't tell me that's unintentional to run around looking like a solo scruffy scoundrel.)
It's odd that we actually get a better overview of the leadership of the Coalition Navy than we've ever gotten regarding the leadership of the Coalition Army! Well, that's what Nowak do that Siembiedon't.
Next: Player-facing material for floating fascists.
"However, such salty, independent, self-reliant and boldly adventurous characters can make for wonderful player characters."Original SA post
Rifts Sourcebook 4: Coalition Navy, Part 3: "However, such salty, independent, self-reliant and boldly adventurous characters can make for wonderful player characters."
CS Navy O.C.C.s
We get a list of naval ranks for both enlisted crew and officers. It notes that Psi-Stalkers aren't barred from service, but rarely join due to the "confined, tedious life" and their general role as eyeshadowed edgelords. Then, we get into skills and the traditional skill bloat, most of which are copied from Rifts World Book Seven: Underseas, so if you missed Sea Holistic Medicine, Ocean Geographic Surveying, or Pilot Water Scooters the first time, here we go again!
on our own
"The Merchant and the Moff", coming up next on CSTV.
And then we get new classes to take your skulls for a splash. The % by each class is your chance to roll one up as a human, not that you'd be rolling most of them up as anything else.
- Merchant Marine (65%): This isn't necessarily a Coalition class, but applies to any sort of government-sponsored sailor. As tough sailor types, they get the "drink others under the table" ability as seen in New West, a bunch of water-related skills, and a bonus against Horror Factor. It might be worthwhile if you at least get a boat... but you don't get a boat.
- CS Navy Sailor O.C.C. (42%): "There is no room for the muscle-bound toughs who excel in the infantry — the Navy demands professionalism and discipline above and beyond that of the average Grunt." Ha ha, you're serious? This class lets you pick an MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) of Communications Technician, Sensors Operator, Mechanic, Medic, Gunner, Aviator, or Officer. Words that have never been spoken in the history of RPGs: "Oh, I have a great idea for a character that's a Sensors Operator!"
- CS Naval Infantryman (23%): Marines, basically, and are stereotypical hoo-rah asskickers. "Certifiable maniacs, kept on a short leash, itching to be released on the enemies of the Coalition." They hate the Army. They also have some subclasses like Naval Infantry RPA (Robot Pilot... Armor?) and the Reconnaissance Land Team Commando that get extra skills in their specialty, but your chance of qualifying for one drops to 6% or 0.5% (!) respectively.
- CS Nautical Commando Specialist O.C.C. (0.08%): Yes, because this has five required attributes, less than 1 in 1000 characters will qualify for this, effectively making it a non-class. Do I really have to cover it? I mean, sure, it gets a chunk of italicized fiction showing them stealth-killing some pirates and they're supposed to be the SEAL-equivalents, but you'll never get to play one, so I'll leave it at that. They're modestly better combatants than Coalition Grunts, but nothing game-changing, and certainly not worth gating off so thoroughly practically nobody can play it.
- Navy "Sea Dog" R.C.C. (100%): Newfoundland dog boys reprinted from Lone Star, which is a little odd, because this book generally assumes you own Coalition War Campaign and Lone Star. Well, they're here again to fill up a page and a half.
Infantry and commando action figures sold separately.
... is mostly identical to the Army.
However, we get a number of aquatic armor suits usable underwater and while swimming, like the Standard CS "shark" Navy Armor (has vibro-blade "fins"), the CA-7 Nautical Commando Armor (used by the special forces with gadgets), the CSN-1 Lightning Strike SCUBA Armor (a lighter suit for SCUBA divers and dog boys), and the CNA-2 "Barracuda" Commando Armor (the lightest suit, designed for stealth). There's a jet back and an "underwater" jet pack (really more like propulsive. Lastly, new weapons include the CSN-20 Speargun (with a variety of spear loads + laser), CSN-T30 Torpedo-Grenade Launcher, Limpet Mines, and CS Naval Mines (the more powerful ones can actually do really major damage).
Shark and barracuda armors.
CSN Nuclear Arsenal
Yep. The Coalition apparently has old-school nuclear weapons now, unlike those used in the existing missile rules. Apparently they found the weapons and designs in old military facilities, and have been reproducing a "small" arsenal since (50 per year). These are distinguished from the nuclear weapons already in use in the game, which are apparently relatively "clean" and small-yield tactical nukes, while these are full-fledged city-destroyers with minimal fallout due to advances in nuclear weapon technology. Apparently the chief intent in developing these is to sink Atlantean vessels, and they've devised complicated security measures before anybody is allowed to unleash one.
We get a lot of about what nuclear detonations involve, including rules for the heat wave, pressure wave, radiation, and EMP effect. Short version: nukes will annihilate most low-durability M.D.C. creatures for about three miles outside the immediate detonation; six miles is fairly survivable outside of the actual explosion. However, the EMP will almost always fry non-hardened electronics, but what counts as "hardened" is consistently vague like it has been with similar effects in the past. Is a power armor hardened? A tank? A spaceship? Who knows!
We get two main weapons: the CSN Mk108 Firefly Air-To-Sea Torpedo (blast radius 1000', 2d4 x 100 mega-damage) and the BGM-109 Tomahawk Cruise Missle - CSN Version (blast radius 1000', 3d4 x 100 mega-damage). The former is for targeting ships, while the second are submarine-based weapons essentially ready to strike most almost any of their major enemies, from Atlantis to Lazlo.
So you may wonder, "Why doesn't the Coalition just nuke enemies like Tolkeen and call it a day?"
Rifts Sourcebook 4: Coalition Navy posted:
The CS government, despite their heinous reputation, would never, under normal circumstances, consider using nuclear weapons against rival kingdoms, not even against the likes of Tolkeen. To use nukes against such a foe would be a cowardly act, causing the indiscriminate killing of non-combatant humans, an act the Emperor would never condone. Also, the use of nukes against rival states such as Tolkeen would cause undue devastation of territory the Coalition intends to occupy.
I have a hard time buying it, given their rhetoric and characterization up to this point. When we get into the actual Tolkeen conflict, it'll hold even less water. Also, with the amount of unclaimed land, nuking one city is almost of little actual consequence, given they probably don't have interest in the magical infrastructure of a city like Tolkeen. Nonetheless, we're told they'll only use it if a rival nation was on the verge of annihilating them, which is presently unlikely (apparently only Atlantis qualifies, and they have no invasion plans). They might target the Gargoyle Empire with nukes to assist the New German Republic, however, and if they start expanding too far, alien-dominated locales like the Arkhon Freehold are likely targets.
So, yeah. The Coalition get a ridiculous increase in power here. It'll be almost entirely ignored from here on out, however, so just try and forget about all this when Coalition Wars rolls around.
"Type V Anti-Vampire Gunboat: Two water cannons, a C-40R2 AA rail gun and two C-50R Enforcer rail guns loaded with silver or wooden ammunition."Original SA post
Rifts Sourcebook 4: Coalition Navy, Part 4: "Type V Anti-Vampire Gunboat: Two water cannons, a C-40R2 AA rail gun and two C-50R Enforcer rail guns loaded with silver or wooden ammunition."
Time for the longest section of the book: vehicles. A lot of this gets into dull details about boat models, however, so there'll be some skips. Believe me, this is a tremendous favor to both me and you. But first...
Naval Mechanized Units
By which they mean "power armor and robot vehicles".
The Sea SAMAS and Trident designs are pretty cool and toyetic. I'm not sure the fish is buying it, though.
- CSN Sea SAMAS: So, this is an underwater SAMAS suit with a new shark styling to it. It can do very low-altitude flight or jet around underwater. It's a bit tougher and replaces the rail gun with a "blue-green" laser (see my Rifts World Book 7: Underseas review for a nitpick on "blue-green" lasers not really being the thing they are in RPGs) and it adds torpedoes. Mostly just a trade-off where it gets reduced damage in exchange for being submersible.
- Trident Power Armor: As seen on the cover, this is a relatively light suit mostly used for divers going into the depths. It has a "interchangable forearm unit" where it has variety of weapon or tool units you can attach; only mini-missiles make for great weapons. Otherwise, it relies on having to lug around rifles or the like (but would they be crushed by the pressure...?).
- CSN Sea-Spider Walker: Essentially just a Spider-Skull Walker unda da sea with a slight redesign. It isn't particularly fast as a submersible, and seems mostly intended to do underwater and amphibious operations at the bottoms of lakes and rivers. It replaces the original model's missiles with torpedoes, and gets a mine-laying unit or a troop transport.
I don't remember Asylum Films putting out Robo-Spider vs. Spike Sharks, but yet, here the evidence is.
Combat Vessels of the Coalition Navy
- CSN Robot Shark Sled: The robot sharks seen on the cover. No weapons, they're just stylin' sea sleds.
- CS Death's Head Underwater Sea Sled: Underwater, huh? Where else would you use a sea sled...? Once again, shown on the cover, the one that looks like skull. Bizarrely for Palladium, though it can be seen with seeming weapon ports on each side, they're not in the statblock. Instead, it apparently has torpedoes on the underside, the part hidden by the art.
- CS Jet Ski: It's a jet ski with skulls on. Surf Nazis.
- CS Wave Demon: A shark-themed light hydrofoil, it has a variety of light weapons topped by a rail gun medium torpedo launchers which can do serious damage, but has only slightly more durability than a jet ski (150 vs. 130), so it's likely to get blown to hell despite its dodge bonus.
- CSN Mark I Barracuda: Didn't we already call a suit of armor "Barracuda" in an earlier book? Well, let's just recycle the name and hope nobody notices. This is a patrol boat usually used for freshwater operations. It has modular weapon systems for "Convoy Protection" (standard loadout of rail guns and missiles), "Recon" (rail cannons and rail guns, missiles), "Rescue" (lasers, missiles, and a water cannon), "Fire-Support" (rail cannon, mortar, rail gun), and "Anti-Vampire" (rail guns with silver ammo, sounds expensive). Despite that it's loaded down with weapons, it can't take much punishment for a 65' vessel.
- CSN Mark IV Hurricane: Another shark-themed boat that can go underwater. It has a "special mega-damage plastic composite material" that baffles radar and sonar and gets a tremendous penalty (-40% to -60%) to detect it. However, their price means they're comparatively rare. Like the others, though, it can take only a modest amount of punishment.
Just imagine four pictures more like this and you should be good, I'm not going to sweat posting them all.
CSN Guided Missile and Escort Vessels
It turns out that was less than 1/3 of our boat total! This is where my eyes glaze over and we start going extra-abbreviated, because most of these are just "modern or near-modern boat with mega-damage + skull painted on the side". Most of them aren't visually interesting - well, no more interesting than your average warship, anyway. They aren't giant skulls with hulls, and more's the pity.
Another weird issue that crops up here is that even though the apocalypse happened about a century from when this book was printed, frequently we see war machines presented from the time of the apocalypse that are indistinguishable from weapons of the 1960s to 1990s. I mean, let's take our first vessel, the Improved IHA Sea King, which is a Sea King vessel (from Mercenaries) with a "Mark XII Aegis Radar System" which might be confusing the real-life Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System with its built-in radar system? It's not clear.
Oh, and each of these upgraded Sea Kings carries ten nukes.
"Did we just put skull logos on a box? Man, being part of the Coalition used to mean something. Like, at least have a box shaped like a skull."
Most of these vehicles are beyond the scope of most PC interaction, but often their statblocks can get weird. The Revenge-Class destroyers are 8,300 ton vessels with less M.D.C. than a Glitter Boy (520 vs. 770), but multiple cannons and rail guns and missiles on par with a Glitter Boy. Maybe it's a typo and it's supposed to be 5,200? The Wasp-Class Amphibious landing ships are 40,500 tons and 8,000 M.D.C. So maybe it's by weight to some extent?... but then you have the literally-named Supply-Class transports that are 42,000 tons and 420 M.D.C.
It's fucking baffling how these numbers might be determined. Maybe they have a dart board?
"It belongs in a museum!"
Ballistic Missile Attack Submarines
So, there's a lot of about how submarines revolutionized naval warfare, their role, and how to detect them (good friggin' luck). But how did the Coalition get subs? See, before the Rifts, things were so peaceful that the US retired its nuclear submarine fleet. If that wasn't enough of a fairy tale, they did keep some stored away despite the expense in maintenance, but weren't able to get them all operational before the rifts hit. So the Coalition was able to salvage two subs that had been hidden away - the real-life SSBN-737 Kentucky and SSBN-739 Nebraska - and rebuild them as the mega-damage and nuclear-armed Coalition subs CSS Defiance and CSS Reprisal, their "Defiance-class" subs.
Subs that were clearly a century old at the time of the rifts, meaning they spent four centuries of storage "under water". Yeah, sure.
The traditional skull imagery of the orca and stingray.
They've also rebuilt more "modern" (that is, three centuries old instead of four) subs as the Shark-class, also nuke-armed. There's the Orca-class, an all-new nuclear-armed design that's much tougher with a more Coalition-style skull prow. Finally, there's the Stingray mini-sub which is largely used in lakes and larger rivers.
I can't just post all the boats at once. We've still got a few more boats, and-
Next: We'll fly so low, we'll scare the chickens and cows.
"Protected from the fury of the Great Cataclysm, and from decades of corrosion in the environmentally controlled confines of the shelters, the USN Aircraft Carriers CVN 73 George Washington, CVN 82 Ranger and the CVN 85 Lexington languished in silence for centuries."Original SA post
Rifts Sourcebook 4: Coalition Navy, Part 5: "Protected from the fury of the Great Cataclysm, and from decades of corrosion in the environmentally controlled confines of the shelters, the USN Aircraft Carriers CVN 73 George Washington, CVN 82 Ranger and the CVN 85 Lexington languished in silence for centuries."
CSN Aircraft Carriers and Carrier Aircraft
So, we have three aircraft carriers of the "Joseph Prosek Series". Where did Coalition get aircraft carriers? Well...
Rifts Sourcebook 4: Coalition Navy posted:
The three Aircraft Carriers of the Joseph Prosek series were all recovered, refitted and modified by Golden Age Weaponsmiths, Inc., for the CS Navy. Golden Age discovered the Carriers amidst a treasure trove of US Navy equipment stored in mega-damage concrete shelters entombed under a hundred feet (30.5 m) of water at Norfolk, Virginia. Inside the airtight shelters, the Carriers were remarkably preserved in near fighting condition — which is not surprising since the concrete storage bunkers were designed to withstand a direct nuclear attack!
That's right. Three town-sized ships were kept in "environmentally controlled confines" for three centuries. Oookay. I guess if you can make power armor that can take a tacnuke, mayyybe you can keep aircraft carriers in a city-size underwater shelter (why is it underwater?) largely intact for three centuries. I guess that's a thing that could happen. Somehow. Even though pre-rifts America was gearing up for war. I mean, that's what you do before a war, right? Hide your aircraft carriers? Nobody can beat them if they're underground!
Naturally, at 12,000 M.D.C., thousands of troops, and dozens of aircraft, they're well out of any practical use in any sort of systemized combat, despite their laborious combat stats. There's also the newly built and singular CSS Chi-Town-Class CSN, which is a modern nuclear-armed warship with some carrier capabilities - smaller than the Joseph Proseks but much more advanced.
CSN Air Force
We've had the Coalition add jet fighters to their arsenal in Rifts Mercenaries and Rifts World Book 11: Coalition War Campaign, but here are some more! Also, for whatever reason, they all bear near-identical visual designs. And no, the Coalition's operational range never quite seems to broaden as much as it would with vehicles like these.
Titles kept because how would you tell, otherwise?
The varied aerial arsenal of the Coalition.
- Navy "Sea Striker": Though supposedly "reminisicent in its appearance to the 20th Century Stealth Bomber", Wayne Breaux's art looks nothing like the B-2. It's a fairly tough naval bomber with a heavy payload of torpedoes, missiles, and depth charges.
- "Shrike" Interceptor: This is the interceptor version of the Sea Striker, and also looks nothing like the B-2. It's one of the fastest Earth-designed jets in the game at MACH 3.5, with a special ASRAAMM system to combat other planes with a special missile that splits into multiple heat-seeking missiles that may have secretly been salvaged from alien technology. That's Advanced Short-Range Air-to-Air Multiple Missile, for the record.
- CSN Dagger Bomber: A stealth bomber developed in cooperation with Triax. If you're really astute, you may realize that the Coalition already had a stealth bomber in Coalition War Campaign (the Talon), so why would they need Triax's help? Well, the Dagger Bomber is retconned to have been designed before the Talon! I guess it wasn't a total oversight. It has a special laser-guided bomb system (that gives no bonuses or anything) and a ridiculous anti-radar coating (-80% to any attempt to detect it with such).
- Eagle Unmanned Aircraft: An unmanned and unarmed robot drone designed to gather intelligence. Mildly radar-resistant.
- GAW-F14 Improved Super-Tomcat: Remember those old carriers they found? Well, apprently they were loaded down with F-14s, which the Coalition retrofitted with some armor and modern Mega-Damage armaments. They're laughably fragile, given that they're still S.D.C. aircraft, but at least have decent firepower. They're due to be phased out, but Golden Age Weaponsmiths apparently got the right to sell their own retrofitted content. Because, you know, 400-year old aircraft just... keep indefinitely... and the US military just hung on to planes that were a century old even before the cataclysm... because... you know... they knew fascists would need them one day?
- CS CH-10N Sea Storm Attack Helicopter, CS CH-12N Sea Wasp Attack/Transport Helicopter, Standard AFC-023 Sky Cycle: Nautical retrofits (torpedoes instead of some missiles, basically) of the Black Lightning and Demon Locust of Coalition War Campaign, and the Sky Cycle from the corebook.
"Finally! I feel on-brand again."
So, what games do you use the Coalition Navy in, anyway? I guess if you're doing naval stuff on the Great Lakes or are doing an Underseas campaign... or for some reason you decide being a fascist on Lake Erie is your thing. Maybe if you're pirates and your GM needs an evil posh captain for you fight. However, even for a Rifts book, it feels decidedly niche, and I can only imagine this material has seen limited use at best. What's left, then? Why, generic material on the Great Lakes!... and the sea, because this is a bit meandering. Let's get to it.
Next: Lite hydras and diet serpents.
"Maelstrom-Makers are evil psychic creatures of pure evil."Original SA post
Rifts Sourcebook 4: Coalition Navy, Part 6: "Maelstrom-Makers are evil psychic creatures of pure evil."
Well, if you're playing a bunch of skull-faced thugs, you need things to fight that aren't just innocent, fleeing D-Beings, so let's have some-
Monsters of the Deep
Creatures common to North American Waters
Namely, the Great Lakes and other large North American lakes. Mostly. Kind of. Also, it has a confusing part where it specifically gives a list of "sea serpents" as any creatures with "having long, snake or eel-like bodies" and then goes on to describe creatures that decidedly don't fit that description, like crab warriors. Maybe the crab warriors are doing a dragon dance underwater, I dunno.
Diet hydra, only five heads?
It's natural for it to look dinged up, but this may be a bit overboard.
- Aqua-Hydra: A dumb faux-hydra with only five heads, it's still crazy tough and can breathe toxic vapors, acid clouds, or fire. It's supposed to be a "brutish sub-species of dragon" but thankfully only has a modest array of powers like chameleon blending, turning into a giant eel (it never helps), or a modest array of spells (better hope you have a copy of Underseas for some of them...)
- Crab Warriors: They're dumb monstrous humanoid crab baddies on both seas and lakes that like to eat people best because [INSERT REASON HERE]. They don't use technology but rely on their pinchy claws, but they do have hydrokinesis. They can talk, but aren't recommended as PCs because they die after lack of immersion for every three weeks, but I dunno - if whales can be PCs, presumably a imbecile crab guy could be.
- Dragonfish: So, these aren't dragons, but instead 6'-10' mega-damage fish that can fly for short periods to bite or slash you on a boat. Apparently they're kind of dumb and will often attack foes too large, but have apparently gotten wise to Coalition boats being dangerous somehow. So they're a PC-seeking menace.
- Giant Leech: This is a 3'-5' leech that's S.D.C. but can inflict M.D.C. to unarmored targets and drain out normal humans in under 15 seconds. So either it totally just kills you in one bite or it's nearly harmless. Great monster design, that.
- Horned Demon-Fish: Despite just being a giant 150' monster fish, this has "demonic cruelty" and a ridiculous amount of M.D.C. (average 8400). It can bite for high damage or ram ships with an automatic 80% chance to capsize any boat under 100%. Though generally seaborne, there's a rumor of two in Lake Michigan, which seems ridiculous due to their size, but "Indian Shamans" say otherwise so it must be true.
- Horned Whale: So, these are alien whales with big bony plates and horns, and like Earthly whales, they're benevolent behemoths. Of course, if you're a baddie, they'll ram you for big damage. They're psychic, know ocean magic, and have some basic spellsongs. Despite the fact that whales are normally playable, these ones aren't.
- Maelstrom-Maker: These are "evil psychic creatures of pure evil", and as such torture and kill to feed off of the psychic energy of such acts. They're 50' tentacled blobs that can create whirlpools to such creatures down or cast any water elemental or ocean magic, they can grant people supernatural powers by making them "sea witches", and has a variety of psychic whammies. Your average "intended as Lovecraftian but actually too deliberate and malicious to actually be Lovecraftian" sort of monster.
- Swamp-Sludger: Dumb reptilian humanoids who look scary and occasionally steal food when they can, but have hearts of gold behind it all. Your standard Siembieda "looks like a monster but is acutally innocent and shame on PCs if they gun one down" gotcha trick. They're playable if you really like experiencing specism.
- Water Serpent: One-size-fits-all sea serpent on the smaller end (15'-30'). Located in seas, rivers, or trash compactors as you might need.
- Giant Waterstriders: Like the real-life bug, only the size of a truck, bulletproof, and hungry for your blood.
Legitimately wants a hug.
"Wait, this isn't the sea! Whoever heard of a sewer serpent?!"
Oh, did you want full-size sea serpents? Go and buy a copy of Monsters & Animals, you skinflint!
"Take that, chapter header!"
Pirates & Privateers of North America
Pretty much the same as they ever were, but now they might have wizards, pet monsters, or mini-missiles. The Coalition's Nazy's main job ends up being either hunting pirates or escorting trade vessels, while neutral kingdoms often give them safe haven for a cut of the loot.
Even in the grim post-apocalypse, pirates can still find 1700s-era costumery.
A lot of on it, but mostly what you'd expect. Then we get pirate classes, of course! The % chance, of course, is your chance of qualifying to play one.
- Pirate O.C.C. (100%): Reprinted from South America, with an emphasis that most pirates are jerks and only "3%" are heroic.
- Pirate Slaver O.C.C. (100%): Not sure why this gets its own class, but functionally these are just pirates who are better at spying in order to better find vulnerable targets. Mostly they sell off their slaves to Atlantis. Mercifully, this is "Not Recommended as an Optional O.C.C." for players.
- River Pirate O.C.C. (100%): This is is a pirate that's geared towards ambushes. May even conduct theft on land?! Whoa, let's not lose our minds, Palladium.
- Privateer O.C.C. (52%): Yeah, for some reason this is its own class, given you're it's just a pirate that works for a powerful government or country. They're slightly more professional sailors than pirates skill-wise, and get better bonuses.
Sorry, guess you didn't actually kill this guy in the adventure book!
Notable Pirate Groups & Sanctuaries.
The main group detailed here is the The Black Bay Raiders, aka Remington's Raiders from Rifts Game Shield & Adventures. You remember them, right? You listened to that review, alright?
Well, apparengly Gus Remington, their leader, is presumed to have survived the events of "Slavers, Xiticix, and the Green Death" and was not literally nuked by the Coalition after all. Or maybe he lived through being nuked; not impossible, this is Rifts. In case you didn't read that, he leads a group of privateers - mainly ex-Coalition sailors temping for the Coalition themselves to harass Tolkeen and Lazlo.
There's the Manitoulin Kingdom Privateers, based out of a small island community in Lake Huron. Formerly land-based mercenaries with a high degree of air support, they mainly work as escorts, but occasionally get involved in "trade wars" between smaller kingdoms.
Lastly, they have the Iron Heart Avengers, formed from members of Iron Heart Armaments (from Mercenaries) that were sent to Tampico and were absent when the main HQ was attacked (in Coalition War Campaign). They made a deal to trade some of their arms to Tampico in exchange for safe haven, and have become one of the largest known pirate groups with access to old IHA equipment - including strategic bombers, a warship, and several wings of jets. They mainly fight the Coalition, and have gotten very good at it, with bases across the world.
Next: Rifts Cleveland.
Here, have a rhinowhale to go out on.
"Like children, these beings are very curious about Rifts Earth and eager for new adventures."Original SA post
Rifts Sourcebook 4: Coalition Navy, Part 7: "Like children, these beings are very curious about Rifts Earth and eager for new adventures."
She wears fishnets because... get it...?
A Free City near the Ruins of Cleveland
A "free port", Queenston is open to just about anybody but the Coalition, this was founded by a True Atlantean by the name Queen Lilia Seabreeze (15th level Ley Line Walker) who was raised by the eeevil Aerihman clan of Atlanteans but abandoned them to have her own adventures. Somehow, they didn't get around to killing her. In any case, she based her community off of the 16, 17th, and 18th centuries, because apparently she's a history / cosplay nerd, and allowed pirates but bans slavery. They have a magic pyramid run by an ex-Splugorth High Lord, amongst other advanced magical facilities.
"Wait, do we ha' a bad Scots accent or a bad Pirrrate accent? Boyohoho?"
Still, she seemingly has a number of Atlantean connections and even though the community is mostly human and Tolkien takeoffs, there's a notable population of former Splugorth minions and "Nuhr Dwarves". Nuhr Dwarves are like normal dwarves, only they know a diluted form of rune magic where they make all sorts of lesser magic weapons and tools, and they run their own good-natured pirate ship. Also they're like excited kids, that's a thing! There's also The Vulture which is based here half of the year, which is a bad-natured demonic boat from the Palladium setting run by a pair of grim ex-nobles who are really into the skull aesthetic. It's not just for the Coalition, y'all!
Yes, they hired Ramon Perez to draw some normal-ass swords.
Enchantment and techno-wizardry are available here, including:
- Talisman of Armor: Grants mega-damage protection through the Armor of Ithan spell.
- TW Firebolt Musket and TW Firebolt Pistol: Magical weapons designed to look like flintlock weapons that use a variant on the fire bolt spell. Middling damage.
- Kisenite Bayonets & Swords: Swords invented by the "Kisents aliens" who I can't tell you anything about, because they're from Aliens Unlimited. And even though I have that book, I can't say I care enough to walk the thirty feet or so to my shelf. They do mega-damage.
- Windjammer TW Frigate: Looking like an Age of Sail frigate of the 18th century, this uses magic to make its wooden hull M.D.C., and also uses enchanted cannonballs for some fairly serious damage - they can probably compete with small to mid-sized Coalition vessels. It can also cast weather and wind-affecting magic, turn invisible, slow other ships, and a laundry list of other effects. Actually surprisingly decent, though submarines could just fire torpedoes all day long as it has no direct underwater defenses (though it can create whirlpools or summon water elementals). Also, since it relies on sailing, you can blow the masts off with only modest damage and leave it stranded.
"What, imbue a modern vehicle with magic? What, no, it's gotta be old-timey... because... gosh, will you look at that view!"
And that's it! We can sail our skulls away and be confident we can leave the Coalition behind for a good long while... wait, what? They show up in Psyscape? ... well, anyway, we get our customary XP tables (Pirate Slavers are included ). There's some house ads, including an advert for "TMNT & Other Strangeness, 2nd Edition available now!" with "Gritty, down and dirty mutant superhero action", which was actually never published. Not "available now", not available then, not available ever. There's also other books promised for the Heroes Unlimited line that never came out - Hardware Unlimited, Delphineous' Guide to the Megaverse, and The Nursery. Palladium! They literally didn't know what they were doing! What the fuck is The Nursery, anyway? I looked it up and even Palladium fans can only guess. Weird stuff.
Let me know what you think of the new format if you like, but other than that, I'm out of here. This was a notoriously dull book and though it does have some interesting notes here and there, it never really overcomes the the fact it's a niche book. Nowak is a better writer than Siembieda for military material, but even he struggles to make it interesting. And, of course, there's all the nonsense about them digging up military stuff that's been moldering for centuries like rust and mold doesn't exist in the Rifts universe. But, you know, there's Perez art?
The End: Take that drink, you've earned it.