1 "That little desert-elf is sneakier than a starvin' rattlesnake."
2 "It is interesting to note that the term 'Indian' is as popular on Rifts Earth as ever."
3 "Polecat: A skunk, or treacherous individual without honor or respect for 'The Code.'"
4 "It contains the Mount Rushmore monument and the neighboring Indian monument, all believed to be slumbering mountain gods by a few bands of primitive D-Bees."
5 "This traumatic event turned an innocent young man into a demon of vengeance."
6 "They are slightly bigger than humans and radiate a warm glow when happy or feeling positive."
7 "Until then, he waits like a festering blister, ready to erupt and spread its puss and venom."
8 "It is said that things have gotten so out of hand that even a Cyber-Knight or Sky-Night is not safe on its streets!"
9 "'No, No, No! Rhino-Buffalo riding is NOT an event!'"
10 "Characters with the disguise skill and who roll under their skill at -15% will notice that the hair is actually a toupee (the accident that gave Roddy his powers removed the hair from his head for good. He cannot regrow it)."
11 "A brand is a mark burned on the skin to identify and show ownership of an animal —typically used on horses and cattle, sometimes on humans and D-bee slaves."
12 "Those who break, mock or condemn The Code are regarded with contempt or worse."
13 "Most suffer from mild paranoia ("People are out to get you, watch out! What was that? Is somebody sneaking behind you?), delusions of power ("I'm the fastest and deadliest there ever was! What was that?!"), always looking around, have trouble concentrating on other skills and other subjects (no or low skill bonuses), are easily distracted, and like to kill — really like to kill."
14 "Saloon Bums of a good or unprincipled alignment are typically individuals who have had their bodies and/or spirits crippled in some way — old and infirm, physically weak or crippled, dull witted (and innocent?), homely and insecure, emotionally scarred or traumatized (family, friend or sheriff was slaughtered while he stood frozen in terror, or while he was beaten and held down, or he was the only survivor, etc.) and so on."
15 "According to Indians, Mountain Giants are also said to see spirits and will not hurt Indian Shamans, Indian Mystics or the mentally retarded."
16 "Black hearted in the extreme, these Devilish beasts will deliberately slaughter animals, from pets to livestock, without taking a bite to eat; kidnap women and children, kill children, women, preachers and so-called protectors and leave them gutted and displayed for all to see (spreadeagle, impaled on a tree or fence, or hung from a pole, tree or rafters), and steal or destroy things people hold of value, including shrines, churches, hospitals, generators, important vehicles and equipment, etc."
17 "Their very appearance looks like something akin to the fanciful Jabberwocky from Lewis Carroll's imagination (is it possible Mr. Carroll had seen a Phantasm?)."
18 "I'd like to address (again) a few burning questions which I'm asked by Rifts® and Mechanoids® fans all the time."
19 "When a Super Slinger comes to town, one word comes to mind...Duck!."
20 "The vehicle is deliberately made to resemble a giant spider to frighten potential humanoid and animal antagonists — plus it looks cool (and cool always sells)."
21 "However, there is a 01-65% likelihood that the round will explode in the gun and inflict double damage to the shooter (roll for each shot/attempt) — this is a good way to lose fingers or a hand."
22 "Also note that after 80% of the M.D.C. has been depleted, there is a 01-50% chance that the Baal-rogs can break loose and escape, rendering the Ironhorse without power and severely damaged (4D6 weeks of repair at a cost of 1D4xl0 million credits)."

"That little desert-elf is sneakier than a starvin' rattlesnake."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:



Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

Violence and the Supernatural


Rifts World Book 14: New West 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 demigod, as well as magic, insanity, and war are all elements in this book.


Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

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


Rifts World Book 14: New West 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.

Reckon so.

Rifts World Book 14: New West Part 1: "That little desert-elf is sneakier than a starvin' rattlesnake."

So, this time around a certain portion of this book is being done by a Rifts first-timer - Christopher R. Kornmann. As far as I can tell, this is not only Kornmann's only Palladium book, but his only published contribution to RPGdom. I get the impression that Siembieda ran roughshod over his manuscript as he often does with contributing writers, and gives Kornmann co-writer credit. Kornmann writes about how he submitted the project independently and Siembieda opted to incorporate it into what he was already writing. Siembieda, of course, points out that there will be other books that flesh out the region like Rifts Spirit West (hoooo boy) and that there will be Cyber-Knights and Black Market books. There will be both, but not for a long time.

Where in past books we at times wonder how much research Siembieda does, given the questionable veracity of some of his writing, here he actually mentions referring to "over 30 books" and gives a small bibilography, including:I don't know any of the above books personally so I have no comment, and we can mosey on to the introduction.

This scene not appearing in this book.

A glimpse of the New West
From the Diary of William McKinnith
By Christopher Kornmann

So, rather than getting some Erin Tarn, we get McKinnith this time in a page-long tale that likes excising the letter "g". Those that know their Deadlands will be familiar with this kind of overly-familiar faux-western drawl, but thankfully it doesn't fill the whole book. McKinnith killed a mayor's son over cards and is on the run from a posse out to get him. While traveling, he spots a "damn injun scout" and manages to avoid the scout's notice, deciding not to kill the scout to lure the posse into a trap. The Apaches then ambush the posse for no obvious reason.

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

The guy on the horse put some kinda magic shield up and started to blaze away with his Wilk's. I think he actually hit one of the Apaches 'fore one o' their shaman sent some spirit wolf into his brain. He was dead 'bout four seconds later. Damn Apache mind magic. Can't fight what ain't real.

No such spell appearing in this or any previous book, or in the upcoming Spirit West. He avoids a "Gwylack Burrow", which is apparently some giant spider / scorpion hybrid that "injuns catch and eat". He comes into a town named Purespring to meet with friends, but the whole town has been devastated. McKinnith assumes it's "damn injuns", but there's no obvious evidence of that. He then arrives in Mesa Bay, but the posse somehow beat him there. Though there's a brief gunfight, their psychic just disarms him and throws him telekinetically into a jail cell. He's hung the next day, and the account we have is from an audio diary. So. We don't have to worry about him Erin Tarning any more about injuns and desert-elves. "William McKinnith was just one of a thousand such outlaws who have lived and died in this new world."

Next: Meet the New West. Same as the Old West.

"It is interesting to note that the term 'Indian' is as popular on Rifts Earth as ever."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 14: New West Part 2: "It is interesting to note that the term 'Indian' is as popular on Rifts Earth as ever."

This was drawn before the big diatribe about Native Americans hating cybernetics, I guess!

So, we're told technology has generally reverted to "1830s to 1900s", which seems pretty dangerous for a time in which a mega-bear can laugh off six-shooter, and even the high-tech stuff around has a western theme, so riding animals are joined by robot horses, there are "hover-stagecoaches" and techno-wizard hover-trains. See, like the Siembieda-penned "World Books" England, Africa, and Japan, there was just a bunch of people waiting to get back to the most blatant stereotypes of their region. So you have folks who were just waiting for the world to get blown up, apparently, so they could just put on spurs and chaps again, to bust out the howdies and ya'lls, to put on a rodeo and a hoedown. Well, not like that stuff went away, but now everybody's doing it, not just ranchers and country nerds.


Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

Romanticism with the past. Nobody knows exactly who started it...

So yeah, people randomly decided westerns were the happenest thing and decided to get back to the romantic idea of company mining towns, backbreaking frontier labor, and nobody really being safe in the slightest! Ah, the Old West, where horses could shit in the street, Typhoid Fever was riding high, and people gunned down buffalo as a form of entertainment. Glad we're getting back to that!

Somehow, simultaneously, we have a illiterate craft economy with people living or dying on a single trade, but at the same time we have enough manufacturing to build gun lines (a lack of copyrights giving us "Colt", "Remington", and "Winchester" knockoff) and whole lines of clothing so that people can reenact the days where amputation as a regular medical service. People believe in might making right, and small towns generally only have one or two industries. Large towns might have a radio station and rarely television broadcasting. You know. Despite it being "1830s to 1900s" and "80% illiteracy".

You know, after reading 30+ books, I'm surprised. If we're cutting and pasting the real Old West, the illiteracy rate in the US was only about 20% at that time. Even if you double that for rural communities out West, that's still most people being able to read and write. After all, the local newspaper is a heavy Old West trope, as are wanted posters. And people certainly did like to read their bibles. Moreover, if you want trends like wearing chaps and spurs to spread, there needs to be a shared media for that - and books and newspapers are lot easier to distribute on 19th century technology.

But if I stop for every galling moment of :WTF:, I'm never getting through this. We have local sheriffs and deputies, but the "law" might also be held by a powerful business, family, or gang. There's a lot of effectively lawless towns, though groups like Cyber-Knights, Reid's Rangers, or the newer "Justice Rangers" wander the land in the wandering knight righting wrongs that Siembieda loves to death. We're also told that 50% of towns are d-bees... who still put on the spurs and chaps like everybody else. Death tends to be the punishment for major theft, cold-blooded murder...

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

Stealing a man's woman (i.e. kidnapping and/or rape) is usually (not always) a death sentence too.

Well, looks like old-school sexism is back in force, as we'll see. Jail, fines, or getting tarred and feathered is relatively common. So Siembieda can enforce the image of the gunslinger and punish other character types, most anything larger than a pistol or smallsword is usually banned from most communities. Alternately, weapons are often banned but and searches are uncommon, justifying the use of six-shooters over plasma throwers so you can hide your murder implements.

"Don't need any of your highfalutin yankee armor!"

Bandits are back, and gunfighters and mercenaries are a way of life that people fround on. Most people do have weapons and know how to use them for self-defense at the least, as there are monsters wandering the land. Vampires are an issue in the south, while Rifts standbys like brodkil, simvan, psi-stalkers, and... Indians. Yes, it's othering them already and putting indigenous Americans in the monsters 'n bandits lineup. Of course, we also have new monsters like the gwylack, rad freaks, or dream snakes we'll see later. We also get told that:

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

Many (not all) "Indians" have returned to the ways of their ancestors, seeing the Great Cataclysm and the return of the ancient gods as a sign to return to the land, magic and old traditions.

If you've read these reviews this should be no surprise. We'll get more on them in Rifts World Book 15: Spirit West. Look forward to that tome of cringe. Cyber-Knights wander the land righting wrongs and are generally well-respected, save by criminals who consider them to be extralegal busibodies (which, to be fair, they are). The Cyber-Knights are said to be based out of the Rockies, but that's just a rumor. We get a note that Reid's Rangers go around the south protecting people from vampires, monsters, and the Coalition, in about that order. We're referred to Rifts World Book 1: Vampire Kingdoms for more on them. The Coalition States sends exploratory teams out west, but doesn't plan to expand further west than Kansas or Oklahoma. However, sometimes the fascists send out death squads to murder towns of d-bees, magical practitioners, or... just, you know. Anybody who isn't part of the Coalition. They also send out agents after wanted criminals, runaway mutants, and... refugees. (I think he means defectors?) Alternately, they might conduct military operations against criminal enterprises and enemy forces.

"Just stopping by to make sure we get some skull in this book."

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

The emptiness, lawlessness and violence of the west has changed little in the past 200 years, and in many ways, harkens back to the Dark Ages that followed the Great Catacylsm.

Yep. Changed little in 200 years. That's how history works, folks! Places are static and unchanging. Also, that's how, on a personal level, my sarcasm works.

how am I only 15 pages in and already whining about this much nonsense, help

Next: Prosekonomics.

"Polecat: A skunk, or treacherous individual without honor or respect for 'The Code.'"

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 14: New West Part 3: "Polecat: A skunk, or treacherous individual without honor or respect for 'The Code.'"

Like Coalition War Campaign, we get a list of slang, most of which should be perfectly familiar to anybody who's even heard of a western. Do you know what it means to "call out" someone? What a "desperado" is? What a fucking "revolver" is? If you have, this section is useless to you! Other terms it defines you likely already know unless you're new to the English language or American culture: backstabber, call out, cold blooded killer, draw (as in gun), drifter, lawman, lynching, outlaw, pistols, posse, rustler, shootout, showdown, six-shooter, spitting, tycoon, and "yellow-belly coward". Oh, sure, there's a few things that are a little more obscure like homesteader, polecat, or sodbuster. The only thing that's really new is "remi or wilks-remi", which refers to a Wilk's rifle modeled after the 1873 Winchester Rifle we'll see later. But mostly he's just filling page count.

Passersby were amazed by the unusually large amounts of blood.

Snake vs. Bird, Rifts-style.

The Trouble with Credits
By Kevin Siembieda

You know, there's a weird feeling when you're 26 books into a game line and they've only just now stopped to explain how the currency works. So credits are essentially debit cards for money transfers created by the Coalition States. The CS created it in order to prevent counterfeiting and to track transactions. "Now..." you may wonder, "... how does the Coalition possibly manage such a thing without the broad, world-wide communications communications network necessary for it work?"

Some shady sorts avoid the credit so that the Coalition can't get in their business, though the Black Market apparently uses front companies and cover identities to somehow stymie Coalition information tracking. We're given a long list of places and companies that use it. "Wait..." you may say, "... doesn't Triax use the credit? Didn't they use it before they even knew about the Coalition? What about Atlantis? How on Earth does the Coalition connect their economy to a bunch of human-loathing monsters?"

Credits are generally on non-personalized cards, which means anybody can steal them. You can get personalized cards secured too... but the Coalition can track you personally with those, so they aren't particularly popular. "Well...", you may say, "... how do they track businesses and goods accurately outside of their domain to begin with? How do they prevent false information being filed by a merchant or counterfeiting in general in a world where there's psychic hackers and sinister AIs?"

There are some debit cards provided by other kingdoms - that is, cards that use credits. It's confusing terminology. However, these tend to be regional and less stable, and blocked by the Coalition States, because fuck foreign trade. Notable local credit systems include one established by Lazlo & New Lazlo, as well as one created by Northern Gun & Manistique Imperium. The latter is probably the second-most accepted form of credit, since NG businesses are widespread. "But hold on...", you interrupt with again, "... certainly that would lead to some sort of currency trade, even unofficial? Why wouldn't that go on at all?"

The Black Market also provides their own credit system on a black debit card, which seems counterintuitive if you're trying to keep it a secret. I mean, if Coalition cops find you with a black card, wouldn't they know you're up to some shit? Seems like a dumb branding. "Certainly," you bug incessantly, "How does the Black Market keep their monetary system honest in a world of thieves and cheats?"

All of this rigmarole is to establish that Western towns often are tiny communities with no ties to the Coalition banking network, and so "88%" of purchases are back to barter or local currencies from coins to paper to local credits. "Wait, that's what this is all about?", you mumble in frustration. "The Coalition can extend their financial empire to a monster-dominated nightmare world in the middle of the Atlantic, but can't get a foothold in Tombstone, Arizona?"

Next: Fuck you, Canada. Mexico, too!

"It contains the Mount Rushmore monument and the neighboring Indian monument, all believed to be slumbering mountain gods by a few bands of primitive D-Bees."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 14: New West Part 4: "It contains the Mount Rushmore monument and the neighboring Indian monument, all believed to be slumbering mountain gods by a few bands of primitive D-Bees."

New West Overview of Territories

We start with about a half-page of handwringing about what the New West comprises, and the answer is generally "United States only", Canada and Mexico go in other books. There's some handwringing from Siembieda about how he really wanted to include the whole west including Canada, but he didn't have the space. I dunno, maybe he'd have more space in his book if he wasn't giving us a definition of "cowpoke" or with explanations like these...

... like the discussion of what a gorge or mesa that follows that apology.

This is all the art this time. Git!

We get synopses of the New West, which I'm going to bullet point because it's informative but painfully dull for the most part.So, we're told Arizona, the Dakotas, Idaho, Nebraska, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming are only sparsely populated (usually with communities being under 300 people). We get a notes on what indigenous peoples are found in each state, but without any notes, just names of tribes or peoples listed out. The book uses the term "Indian" continuously, so don't get the wrong idea, I just generally won't myself. We also get a listing of where strong ley lines are found. Lastly, we get a listing of various factions, such as the 1st Cavalry, Cyber-Knights, Justice Rangers, "Native American Indians", Pecos Bandits, Sky-Knights, and vampires, but most of those will be fully detailed later and we'll leave that to then. Lastly, the Coalition plans to expand into Minnesota, Iowa, "most of" Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, (southern) Texas, Arkansas, (southern) Michigan, Ontario, and Quebec. This is called their "20 Year Plan", but even the Coalition's military leadership privately considers that timetable hopelessly unrealistic given the challenges of defeating Tolkeen, Quebec, Xiticix, Pecos Empire, etc. It's apparently more likely to take 50 years of skull-faced massacres to get there.

Next: Free-Range Racists.

"This traumatic event turned an innocent young man into a demon of vengeance."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 14: New West Part 5: "This traumatic event turned an innocent young man into a demon of vengeance."

"Look, I used my knife to cut bacon this morning! It's still got all that... delicious oil..."

1st Apocalyptic Cavalry
By Chris Kornmann & Kevin Siembieda

So, we start with a small fiction chunk of a "General Kenneth Sprite" (great lymon taste) giving a speech hundreds of troops that since the Cyber-Knights are riding forth in defense of Tolkeen (metaplot alert), they'll have to move to be vigilant and defeat some monsters. And by monsters, they also mean "innocent people". So, Kenneth Sprite (tart, tingling, and even ticklish), grew up in a lumber community before D-Bee outlaws demanded money and then ended up burning the town to the ground and slaughtering its inhabitants because

As one of only a half-dozen survivors, young Sprite (obey your thirst) was appropriately traumatized and went on a campaign of indiscriminate vengeance. Gathering together like-minded vigilantes and racists, and went around killing D-Bees as long as he suspected them of being raiders or bandits. It took him six years to kill the actual ones responsible, but by that time he had a following of folk heroes (or folk terrors, if you happened to be D-Bees or just not awful racists). They decided to call themselves the "The 1st Apocalyptic Cavalry" because they rode stuff (hoverbikes, horses, etc.). But why "Apocalyptic"?

Now dubbed General Sprite (it's perfectly clear) they've formed up to an army that sends out companies to patrol and explore regions to try and ensure peace by shooting bandits and outlaws... mainly D-Bees. We're told "at least 60%... were truly vile misanthropes who deserved death" but well then you have a 40% who didn't. They've massacred entire towns of D-Bees and while it seems they don't do genocide willy-nilly, they just need the slightest of pretenses to do so. I feel like this is one of those Siembieda moments where he leans in and says "They murder innocents but they they murder bad guys makes you think huh" and I'm like-


The Coalition turns a blind eye to the Apocalyptic Cavalry for obvious reasons, and has even invited General Sprite (I like the Sprite in you) to join them, but he apparently discovered that the Coalition could have stopped the massacre of his hometown but filmed it instead to use as propaganda. He doesn't fight them because he "grudgingly sees them as humankind's salvation" against all reason.

naturally tart

General Kenneth Sprite (get the right Sprite) gets a statblock as a 9th level gunslinger with great prowess, physical endurance, and beauty, and above-average stats otherwise. He has a bizarrely high Potential Psychic Energy (180) for no readily discernable reason. We get a note that the Lyn-Srial, Cyber-Knights, and Justice Rangers have tried to reason with him (to no avail) and stop him (to some avail). We also get a writeup of their main base, Fort Prospect, built on the site of Fort Kearney in southern Nebraska. It's effectively a small town, and unlike the Coalition, there seems to be a small amount of magical technology in addition to normal technology. There are about four other forts listed in passing as well. What I have to wonder is: how are these guys funded? I mean, an army like this doesn't exactly feed itself. Do they rob those they raid? Are they supported by local communities? Does the Coalition slip them money under the table? This is a basic question of supply that never gets answered. I guess, like all cartoon bad guys, they just automatically have whatever resources the plot requires of them.

Finally, the art you're been waiting for... pictures of rocks!


See, this book is organized!... alphabetically!... kind of? We start with a summary of indigenous people, like the Navajo, Hopi, Apache, and Papago. This book sure loves to give us laundry lists of tribes without actually giving them any character, description, or even a comment. Maybe we'll get something better in Rifts World Book 15-

- yeahno. We're told that there are dragons hiding in canyons, tectonic entities made of stone and wood, demons, monsters, psi-stalkers, gargoyles, etc.We also get a long section on the Grand Canyon which is filled with geographic facts and details on vegetation. There's some alien plant life and it's full of ley lines, but they tend to be more quiet ones that don't have rifts open often.

Also, the cactus people and fennodi will be covered later. The "Papago" is an incorrect name for the Tohono O'odham, an indigenous American group of the Sonoran Desert.

Now starring more pictures of rocks!

Next: Arizona Gold (Bird People).

"They are slightly bigger than humans and radiate a warm glow when happy or feeling positive."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 14: New West Part 6: "They are slightly bigger than humans and radiate a warm glow when happy or feeling positive."

The Golden Ones
The magic & nobility of the Lyn-Srial By Chris Kornmann & Kevin Siembieda

So, we're given a fiction chunk about a golden bird-guy who is "cloaked in regal fashion" in a "room... reminiscent of ancient Chinese architecture". He introduces his people as the Lyn-Srial, the "light of the universe". They once lived in a place named Vir-Riial amongst the clouds where they pursued the magical arts and gave no fucks about the ground. However, a storm called the Raging Skies came and flung them across the multiverse. A number of them arrived on Earth, and it seems like the Raging Skies may be related to the opening of the rifts. On Earth they seek to "start life anew, and bring wisdom and peace to those who crawl on the face of the planet". He explains how they've befriended the Cyber-Knights, Apache, and Navajo, and seek to oppose forces like the Coalition, Xiticix, vampires, and Simvan raiders. Many of them become Sky-Knights to wander the land to bring peace through wizardry.

Militant Big Birds.

The Lyn-Srial
More commonly known as Sky-Knights or the Golden Ones

So, they're golden bird people with four arms (two of which are their wings, and the other two are normal arms). They used to live in generically peaceful bliss in a dimension called the Skylands or Vii-Riial, but the dimensional cataclysm on Earth apparently sent shockwaves out that wrecked other dimensions like the Skylands. Whups. Those that arrived on Earth see themselves as embodiments of a prophecy that predicted they could be thrown throughout the universe to bring peace to numerous worlds... but only be successful on a third of the worlds they visit. Also, a tiny number will go eeevil, according to the prophecy. Dun dun okay that's not really surprising, that's pretty typical. See also: True Atlanteans. They generally live around Arizona, Utah, and Northern Mexico, where they seek to assist local communities and try to bring harmony.

Tryth-Sal, Arizona
The Cliff City of the Golden Ones

Carved out of the cliffs of the Grand Canyon, this is a idyllic place where they used the ley line to create a mist that hides their city, but also makes it 24/7 daylight time. Don't question it! Being here gets a small bonus on saves to avoid comas or death, a huge bonus against possession (+10!) and will melt any vampire unfortunate enough to visit outside of a sealed coffin. It's mostly Lyn-Srial, but also has a fair number of Fennodi, humans (mostly Apache), and D-Bees. There are 2d6 Cyber-Knights 80% of the time, except for three which live there permanently (so, really just 100% of the time), including the Navajo Cyber-Knight Lady Sharla Wild Wind. We're told around 3000 Sky-Knights are out in the world at any given time, but return for the "Festival of Light".

The Lyn-Srial are much by a Council of Elders which are the "oldest and wisest" but are somehow voted in for life? There are 20 of them, each with a different purview (art, magic, economy, etc.). The Council is traditionally obeyed without question because the Council is seen as "enlightened" and beyond reproach. Sounds like a great system of government. Crime is almost unheard of because the Lyn-Srial are peaceful and caring. They generally try and convince criminals to change their ways at length, and if that doesn't work, they're exile the person. They're willing to be violent in defense, but rarely kill if they can help it. They recognize that some creatures are inherently evil (see also: splugorth) but would rather repel such forces than destroy them because they think that mayyybe they're turn over another leaf, some day. They also accept that some creatures have to be evil as part of their nature. Essentially, they're ridiculous Pollyannas considering the number of "naturally evil" creatures in-setting.

Generally they're allied with the Cyber-Knights and local indigenous groups (they appreciate "noble savagery", I guess). Naturally, the Coalition will probably try and blow them to hell someday. The Lyn-Srial have generic "oriental designs" for building as if we didn't get enough of that in Rifts World Book 8: Japan. They respect technology but don't embrace it.

The Elegant Art of Cloudweaving

So, Lyn-Srial, being special goldflakes, get their own unique form of magic based around clouds. Other races can learn it, but only if they have an intelligence and mental endurance of 18+ (literally around a 1 in 100,000 roll, even taking the 16+ bonus roll into account). Lyn-Srial women are more adept at it because womens is mystical, and only women can become "Cloudweavers".

The magic is split into a number of categories: War, Defense, Peace, Mind, Travel, Survival, and Creation. Any Lyn-Srial can learn Defense, Travel, or Survival spells, and Sky-Knights and Cloudweavers get to learn the rest. Because it's "alien" to other races it imposes a -3 penalty to save against it unless one is "familiar with its use", which is rather vague. Learning requires one to have inner peace while under the tutelage of a Cloudweaver, otherwise they no doubt Yoda at you about learning control and fear leading to anger etc. Also, those seeing it for the first time must make a roll against "Awe Factor" of 16 or be stunned because it's so pretty and special and more pretty and more special.

They're laying it on awful fucking thick.

If you thought pictures of rocks were exciting, this cloud may blow your mind.

Cloud Magic
By Chris Kornmann & Kevin Siembieda

Because "Cloud" is between Arizona and Colorado! Yep, that's how this is organized. In any case, the usual caveat: I'm not going to cover every one of the nearly sixty spells listed here.

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

Character Notes: Cloud Magic is more akin to Oriental mysticism than magic as understood and practiced by most humans and D-bees. Consequently, it is much more difficult for non-Lyn-Srial to master and grow in the mystic arts of the Cloudweaver or Sky-Knight. This means non-Lyn-Srial must expend 50% more P.P.E. when casting a spell, need an additional 1500 experience points to advance each level (use the Cloudweaver and Sky-Knight E.P. tables), and must have a minimum I.Q. and M.E. of 18 each, as well as an open and imaginative mind. Also note that the Golden Ones will not teach their magic to selfish, evil or vengeful people, and requires years of training.

It takes 1D4+4 years before the character advances to first level Sky-Knight and 2D4+14 years to become a Cloudweaver!

This sure is some World of Darkness-level "our new splat is sooo cool and unique you better work hard if you want to be half as rad"! nonsense. Yeah, I'm sure a PC has ~19 years to spend fucking around with clouds. That's gonna happen. Enough of my petulance, though! On with the clouds!

Clouds of WarClouds of DefenseClouds of PeaceClouds of TravelClouds of SurvivalClouds of the MindClouds of Creation Though a lot of it is situational or flavor magic, cloud magic is actually really strong on account of its ridiculous save-or-suck spells. It would really go off the rails in the hands of an evil lyn-srial, since it doesn't have any alignment actually associated with it. "Okay, I incapaciate you for five minutes and then shoot you in the head. Peace be upon you... forever!"

Next: Lost Boys.

"Until then, he waits like a festering blister, ready to erupt and spread its puss and venom."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 14: New West Part 7: "Until then, he waits like a festering blister, ready to erupt and spread its puss and venom."


We're just going to cover one place with this update since it gets the microscope. It's-


A mining community (mainly silver, of course) located at the base of mountains in Western Colorado, Silvereno is generally an early 20th-century town. Despite this, cyborgs work the mines and they do have some advanced electronics. One of the most wealthy and powerful places in the "New West", it's a pretty decent place to set down. There's also lumber, manufacturing, trapping and hunting, as well as various craftsmen. It's relatively tolerant, and accepts D-Bees but prejudice against them is common. It specifically notes that Simvan and Brodkil are likely only tolerated with a "sponsor" who will take responsbility for them, as they're seen largely as sentient-savoring barbarians.

This writeup seems to be mostly Kornmann, with occasional moralizing interjected by Siembieda, like with the "if you're playing a Simvan you better be ready to catch some shit" above.

"Look, with hair like this, I just have to carry my hat around instead."


Silvereno has a small (four person) town council with an elected mayor, sheriff, and representatives for the mining and lumber "guilds" respectively. The current mayor is Gwen Severson, a skilled administrator that's good at spin and wants to attract tourism. She's a "9th level master politician" (not an actual class) with exceptional intelligence, physical endurance, and maximum beauty.

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

She is a 45 year old, raven haired beauty who doesn't look a day over 30.

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

A five foot, 10 inch (1.75 m) tall, beauty with long, flowing black hair, and a trim, shapely figure. Gwen has bright, emerald green eyes that seem to look into one's very soul. She has a very tanned complexion and although not
physically strong, is very toned and youthful looking.

Okay, we get it. This is also a hint as to her big secret, which is that she's allied with a group of vampires called "The Lost" who give her magic water they supply from Chichen Itza. This is a callback wayyy back to Rifts World Book 1: Vampire Kingdoms where some vampires are squatting on a magic well in the Yucatan that has healing water. For Severson, it drastically slows her aging and makes her into a mega-damage creature thanks to extended exposure of a drink every day. She's essentially an addict. She keeps the vampires secret, and in turn they largely feed on bandits, rustlers, and other criminals. Oh, and transients. They also keep a number of Simvan imprisoned as a blood supply, which she's not entirely comfortable with but doesn't have much choice if she wants her magic water supply.

Power of Hawk Eagle!

The Law in Silvereno

The Sheriff and about 200 deputies keep the peace. Mega-damage weapons and armor are prohibited from being worn on the streets, an offense punishable by having the items confiscated and a week in jail. Misdemanors generally call for a small fine, and major times can lead to hanging or jail. Crime levels are relatively low, though.

Sheriff Jacob Whispering Wind is a Apache that left his clan because-

- and adventured before settling down in Silverado and becoming sheriff. He's a tough do with a heart of gold and a code of honor and is kind of generically heroic. He's suspicious of Severson she he's found out she's bulletproof, and thinks there are a few vampires but finds it curious they only seem to feed on criminals and transients.

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

Race: Human/Indian

We get a statblock for him too, and he's a "7th level Araphao Spirit Warrior"... I thought he was Apache? I guess they fucked up. He's got exceptional mental and physical endurance, affinity, strength, and prowess, in continuation of NPCs just getting wayyy better stats than PCs will likely roll. Presumably his O.C.C. will be showing up in Rifts World Book 15: Spirit West (clarification - yes, it will, but the powers will be entirely different), but he basically gets a number of spells related to a totem animal (in his case, eagle). He can fly, talk to birds, get a mild combat boost, enhance its vision, and make an "eagle cry" that allows him to penalize foes (no save!), but only when seeking vengeance. He also has clairvoyance and danger sense, which seem to be good psychic powers for a cop. He has a magic talisman that gives him a force field in place of armor and has a magical eagle's talon he can throw out for modest mega-damage and have it return to him. He also has an "Apache war club", completing the confusion of what tribe he's supposed to belong to.

The Lost

So, there's a vampire sleeper cell of sorts in town that mainly stays secret on account of people not expecting them (being so far north of Mexico) and by only killing people who won't be missed. Given how often vamps need to feed in Rifts, I find this pretty dodgy, but it's part of the premise, I suppose. They're lead by a master vampire called Essai Ramirez, who works for a vampire intelligence who uses them mainly to gather information. Once he gets the order, Essai is ready to try and turn Silverado into a vampire slave farm, but until then he keeps things cool.

"Vampire? No, I'm just Latin."

Essai Ramirez was a young man in love with a woman named Katherine, but kept from her by a family fued. The vampire intelligence was able to convince him there was a way for him and Katherine to be together forever, only a little blood thirst and sunfear required. He became a master vampire and shortly vamped Katherine after that, and they've been together ever since. He's innately eeevil just like any master vampire, but is honest and keeps his word. His 8th level Master Vampire statblock gives him exceptional attributes across the board, including a superhuman affinity. In addition to armor and gun, he also has a magic ring that can cast agony and a necklace of snail shells that casts... speed of the snail.

Shouldn't that cross be burning a hole in her chest?

Katherine also gets a statblock with really high (in fact, unrollable) stats for a 6th level Secondary Vampire, including a superhuman beauty (because this section is your standard "guys are charming, girls are hot") that actually isn't normally achievable by secondary vampires. She turns a brothel called the Lucky Lady that lets her pick off unsuspecting travelers. It's rumored that she robs her clientele and Essai is believed to be a mysterious gambler and her lover. She's obsessively doting on Essai and despite her superior position in society, she isn't much more than his sadistic moll. There are about 14 other generic vampires waiting for PCs to put stakes in them.

Places of Note in Silvereno

We get details on all sorts of places, most of which I'm going to skip because it's stuff like:

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

4. The Militia HQ & Armory. Located on the other side of town, away from the Sheriff's Department, is the meeting place of the Silvereno Volunteer Militia. It is a big, convention style, one story, mega-damage building (2000 M.D.C.) surrounded by a barbed wire fence. Weapon stockpiles include 1200 suits of inexpensive Plastic Man body armor (35 M.D.C.), 400 Urban Warrior body armor (50 M.D.C.), 1200 basic energy rifles, a few hundred rail guns and heavy weapons, 4000 fragmentation grenades, 120 Triax DV-12 Dyna-Bots, ten X-10 Predator Power armor, six Triax X-500 Forager Battlebots, a pair of NG-V7 Hunter Mobile Gun Robots and a hundred hovercycles (see Rifts® Sourcebook One for complete stats on these bots).

Ugh. An example of the kind of meaningless cataloging I usually skip, but they must have quite the budget for a humble western town.

The saloons get most of the , like:The Story of Shaft 8

We get a story of how there were two miners who went into a shaft and got killed by a thing. What thing?

In any case, the next mining crew saw the condition of the bodies and just sealed the shaft off. It turns out that the shaft is a connection to another world that the monster came from because-

And it's left open for GMs so they can have a mineshaft dungeon or whatever. It's a lot more word count but that's what it boils down to.

Next: Humble folks without temptation.

"It is said that things have gotten so out of hand that even a Cyber-Knight or Sky-Night is not safe on its streets!"

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 14: New West Part 8: "It is said that things have gotten so out of hand that even a Cyber-Knight or Sky-Night is not safe on its streets!"

This book has a real dichotomy between how people dress in art and how armored PCs have to be.

The Colorado Baronies

So, refugees from Denver settled near the Platte River, which it turns out is also a ley line, where they developed an unprecedented number of mystics (as in the O.C.C. from the corebook) and were able to fight off demons and other threats, found the city of Hope. Exploring, they were able to assist other local survivors and communities with their surplus of magical talent, formint the Colorado Baronies. They also discovered the Lyn-Srial and developed an alliance. As such, Hope is one of the only places where humans practice cloud magic.

With four major cities ("baronies) and a variety of towns and villages, the baronies are a hotbed of magical activity, though many smaller communities are largely or entirely mundane. Larger cities are about equal to the '70s in technology (we just invented Pong, folks!) while other communities are 18th or 19th century. Seems like an awfully wide gap.... while techno-wizardry and magic are common at the larger communities. "Modern" technology from the Black Market and Northern Gun is starting to filter in, though.

It's relatively idyllic for the Rifts setting, though smaller ranches and communities are more vulnerable to outlaws and monsters.

The Barony of Hope

We get a lot of numbers in all of these writeups, like Kornmann took Siembieda's love of statistics and ramped it up, giving us a:Then, without missing a beat, we move on to the City of Hope and go through all those statistics again in regards to that particularly. Most notably, there's a far larger number of mystics (about 1 in 3 people) and techno-wizards (about 1 in 10 people). Education levels are high enough that Erin Tarn called it the "Lazlo of the West". See, I usually kind of skip all these statistics, but so much of this section is just numbers I wanted to give a taste of what it's like. And this is just the cliff notes. I don't think any of you care that the Pawnee North Plains are now the Pawnee National Grassland, populated by 1480 Pawnee, 200 Arapho, and 150 "other". And if you do care, tough.

Going on about the city of Hope, it's built right on a ley line nearly a nexus where Greely once stood (the original city was blown up by the ley line). The ley line is used like a highway by both flying and floating techno-wizard craft, and much of the city is literally powered by magic. The high degree of wizardry in the town serves as its main defense, and about half of the police force can use magic or psychic powers.

Magical Burt Reynolds.

The ruler is a "Baron Joseph Midgard", a mystic who is heavily influenced by Lyn-Srial ethics and philosophy. He has a Cabinet of Advisors that handle most of the day to day operations. How he was chosen or elected is unclear, though apparently the Cabinet is half elected and half appointed by the Baron. In general the law tends to be fair, punishment is oriented towards reformed, and free speech is closely protected. The police often use mind-affecting powers for investigation, interrogation, and apprehension, and though some consider it highly questionable, it has been very effective. Mega-damage weapons are banned and travelers are expected to leave any such weapons with the authorities.

Get get some numbers on the police force because this secction loooves some numbers (mostly mundane officers, followed by mystics, magic-users, and powerful psychics in that order).

Perez is alright.

The Other Baronies

... I'm going to cover in a bullet-point fashion because it's mostly just numbers similar to Hope with percentage points adjusted. Smaller communities may not have resident law enforcement and instead rely on cyber-knights and justice rangers running a circuit of local towns. Who are justice rangers? They're like Texas rangers, but they range further.We get some side notes - New Durango is a notable mining town and Western Colorado is monster-dominated wilderness. And that's that

Next: I'm not going to be coy for once: it's time for some fucking rodeos.

"'No, No, No! Rhino-Buffalo riding is NOT an event!'"

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 14: New West Part 9: "'No, No, No! Rhino-Buffalo riding is NOT an event!'"

By Julius Rosenstein

Yep, rodeos survived the apocalypse, and since everybody decided chaps and spurs were back in fashion, it was time to giddyup dem horsies. They're a form of entertainment and cowboy competition, and though alien creatures and D-Bees have added diversity to events, "cowboys are generally a conservative lot" and so events tend towards the traditional (and boring, is this Rifts or what?). Still, horse competitions previously not associated with rodeos have been added to the mix. Generally, events are either scored for speed (how quick you do it) or endurance (how long you can do it). Larger rodeos incorporate...

... traveling shows. Yes, that surprisingly awful and traumatically bad section of Rifts World Book 1: Vampire Kingdoms will be making a reappearance. It also notes that the Buckaroo Bonanza Rodeo (of Rifts World Book 13: Lone Star) is probably the biggest rodeo.

Now, the design rules (because we gotta have rodeo design rules) these are similiar to Palladium's usual organization rules, which first appeared in Ninjas & Superspies. They were then adapted to Traveling Shows in Rifts World Book 1: Vampire Kingdoms. Generally, Palladium breaks down organizations by their features and assigns them point values, and organizations get a number of points depending on their size. Now, the weird part is that this isn't a player-facing system, it's intended for GMs to use. Why would GMs have to worry about being limited by a point-buy system?

If only this section was about this and not dumb ol' horses and bulls.

Odder still, this rodeo system also skips having the point-buy system and sometimes has entire categories without actual features to choose from. Maybe it's presumed that category is the same for all rodeos (that is, they all have parades and gunslinging competitions)? It's not clear. But let's bullet-point are what through these.Resolving the Events

That's that. Now, rules. It usually costs 25-100 credits to enter an event. Winners of events usually get a ribbon and a bottle of bourbon (or sometimes fresh food, like pie or ham), and a modest cash reward of around 100-1000 credits.

Riding contests are riding skill rolls where each creature has a Difficulty Factor (DF) and a Time Penalty (TP), which are just fancy acronyms for a base skill penalty (the DF) and a cumulative skill penalty that increases every second (the TP). So if you're riding a horse you get a penalty of (10 + 3d4)% and another -2% penalty for each second ridden. There are specific penalties for doing stunts as well, like jumping hurdles or riding bareback, and they all are randomized like this. Yep, you have to first roll for each penalty to see what you random penalty is, so if you're trying to ride bareback, that's one DF for the bucking horse and another DF for riding bareback, or three rolls to determine one outcome, then another roll every second you're on.

As usual, these rules demonstrate the usual Palladium lack of awareness regarding odds. Let's take a cowboy, best cowboy you can be in Rifts, with a horsemanship skill of 98%. He gets on a bull, and we take the average DF of -20%, with -3% per second. He has a 78% chance of staying on that bull for one second, a 59% chance of two seconds, a 29% chance of four seconds, and an abysmal 4% for eight seconds. And that eight seconds is important, because that's the minimum qualifying time in real life for an American bull riding event. That's right, in Rifts, the odds are so bad that less than one in twenty times the best cowboy in the world will qualify for basic competence as a bull rider. Oh, and often real-life bull riding is bareback, so technically the odds should be even worse. Fuck's sake, people. We're talking clear percentages, not a curve or anything! Pick up a calculator and do the damn math when you write rules! There is no excuse for this. Well, who knows if these rules have ever actually been used anyway...

Races are done through initiative rolls. Basically, you make three rolls. On the first roll, the highest initiative roll is considered to be in the lead, and each competitor is a number of horse-lengths behind the leader equal to their difference in rolls (so if the lead rolled a 18 and you roll a 13, you're five horse-lengths behind). Naturally, this is amazingly swingy. You take that lead roll and mark it down. Then, on the second roll, you mark where horses are in relation to that roll and adjust their horse-lengths accordingly, and same for the third. In addition, the rider has to roll horsemanship each time. If they fail, the horse automatically falls back 1d4 horse-lengths. Lastly, you get a +1 to initiative and a bonus half-length for every point of speed your horse as over its average. Swingy as fuck, but these rules are at least useable.

Roping contests involve a -2d4% penalty to simulate random calf orneriness. A penalty to what roll, you may ask? It doesn't say! Presumably you use roping. Yeah, that's right. We've got a use ropes situation coming on. Oh, and roping starts at 20%, so, uh, you better have at least eight to nine levels under you if you want a 50/50 shot at this.

Animal Wrestling Contests require an initiative roll. If you succeed, you automatically tackle the enemy. If you fail, you have to roll to attack normally and the animal gets a chance to dodge. If you fail, you take 1d6 S.D.C. damage and probably just quit. If you successfully tackle the animal, you make a roping roll... and if you succeed, you've done it. Of course, roping is just as dicey a skill as it ever is, so good luck... if there's a tie between two characters, the one with a higher Physical Prowess wins the tie. Yes, strength doesn't play a part - a tiny sprite is just as good at tackling animals as a frost giant might be. Probably better, because their physical prowess is higher!

Shooting Contests is just you rolling aimed shots until you miss. But an aimed shot, unless it's a called one, pretty much never misses except on a 1? Or never if you're using revolvers. I mean, you'd think they could have just said "roll to strike and the higher roll wins", but instead we have a mechanic where people could conceivably just fire off ammo and nobody loses and everybody's a winner!

And that's rodeos! The idea of having one as a backdrop to an adventure isn't too bad, but the whole thing is badly presented from start to finish, with consistently bad examples of not understanding basic odds. It's simple percentages, it shouldn't be hard, but Palladium (and in this case, Julius Rosenstein) flubbed the math pretty hard. And I've said that many, many times. But it may not be correct to say that they're bad at math. Like, "bad" is that mini-pecan pie I got at Wal-Mart that's 90% just sugar goo and not at all pecanny. I think I need to upgrade them to some other word, like awful or dire. What do you think?

Next: Electro runs a circus.

"Characters with the disguise skill and who roll under their skill at -15% will notice that the hair is actually a toupee (the accident that gave Roddy his powers removed the hair from his head for good. He cannot regrow it)."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 14: New West Part 10: "Characters with the disguise skill and who roll under their skill at -15% will notice that the hair is actually a toupee (the accident that gave Roddy his powers removed the hair from his head for good. He cannot regrow it)."

Though not named in this book, this species will get a name later on: "Fingertooth Carpetbagger".

Medicine Shows & Other Travelling Shows

Let's just get this part out of the way.

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

A medicine show can be one or two people selling things out of a covered or hard-sided wagon, or a group of people and wagons (nomads like gypsies), but rarely number more than 24 people total.

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

The Stats for Doctor Geller can be used as a template to develop other traveling "Traders" and "Snake-oil Salesmen." ... Also see Gypsies in Rifts® Triax & The NGR.

Yep, need any sort of ne'er-do-well traveler or con artist? Well, we already wrote rules for gypsies, you can use those!

Dr. Geller's Carnival of Wonders

We're directed to Rifts World Book 1: Vampire Kingdoms for more on building your own traveling shows. This traveling show is actually a rather large one that supports its people well and has its own defense crew, but also has a seedy criminal underbelly. So, they travel between Pecos Empire, Los Alamo, Lone Star, Fort El Dorado, Whykin, Kingsdale, and spends winters at Crossroads. Essentially, all places they actually visit are detailed in other books and not in Rifts World Book 14: New West. They're from Rifts World Book 10: Juicer Uprising or Rifts World Book 13: Lone Star.


They make a lot more money from gaming and betting booths than actual acts. Despite just saying that, it claims "most of the carnival people are basically honest (more or less)", except for a few working for "Remarkable Roddy" who apparently participate in more straightforward crimes. The carnival itself is run by Dr. Thadius Geller (not a real doctor), who is a filmflam artist who believes that the enjoyment he brings to communities outweighs a bit of "petty larceny". A few years ago, the show nearly closed down when Dr. Geller's love and star act "the Great Miranda" died in a freak accident. Dr. Geller picked up alcohol on the rebound, causing a number of members to quit, but he was approached by an acrobat named "the Remarkable Roddy" who invested in the show and helped Geller get off the wagon. In return, Roddy was made a headliner... and also got to use the circus as a cover for his criminal activities.

Seems trustworthy.

Doctor T. Geller

Born in "one of the small feudal kingdoms of West Virginia", Geller left with a series of adventurers, and used his gift of gab due to a lack of a gift of gunfire. He eventually got into business when his adventuring party broke up, but only really stayed afloat until he fell in love with Miranda and the carnival (in that order) during a show, and so he bought out the carnival she worked for so he could pursue her love. That's... a little creepy, Dr. Geller. Conveniently, she returned his love and the carnival prospered until her death... and then nearly fell apart until Geller got Roddy's support.

While his attributes are the usual unrollable Rifts nonsense - nothing exceptional , but the only roll that's negative was Speed. He's a 10th level "Trader" (not an actual class) and is, randomly, a skilled computer programmer. He's your standard mustachioed well-meaning circus owner, and the book really wants to emphasize he's a nice guy even though he's clearly a small-"c" con artist.

The Remarkable Roddy

Roderick Warington III is from a 20th-century equivalent Earth, as it turns out, but with superheroes and supervillains. A spoiled rich kid, he killed a woman in a drunk driving accident. He wasn't too bothered, expecting to get bailed out, but about the same time his father was arrested for undetailed financial shenanigans. His bailout never came and he ended up in prison for manslaughter. Eager for any way out, he volunteered for scientific experiments. However, when he was being experimented on, a supervillain broke in to steal science stuff. When a superhero showed up and a fight broke out, he was accidentally exposed to Generic Power and managed to break out and escape. Then there was a mysterious new villain named Lightning Rod that showed up that was... totally just fuckin' Roddy.

When superheroes started cornering Roddy after a crime spree, he went to a "criminal scientist" to try and get some weapons to fight superheroes with. However, they were interrupted by... a generic superhero!... and Roddy crashed into a prototype dimensional teleporter, destroying it as he was transported to Rifts Earth. He quickly found out that the new world he was in was pretty dangerous, but he still had the purloined gems he'd stolen to pay off the scientist with. And when he came across the failing carnival, he saw opportunity, and used them to invest in the show, because apparently rare gems are still a big deal in this post-post-apocalypse hellzone. He uses the carnival as a cover for theft, smuggling, and the occasional assassination, using his powers to fry anybody who gets wise or doesn't give him his cut. Dr. Geller is generally unaware of the extent of his criminal activities. Roddy pretty much just wants to live large and doesn't care who he murders to do it.

Roddy is a Heroes Unlimited character converted to Rifts, and the writeup at least gives cliff notes on his powers. His attributes are refreshingly, shockingly average (it's all literally 9s, 10s, and 11s). He's a "8th level supervillain" (really just a Experiment class from Heroes Unlimited), and can shoot lightning, manipulate kinetic energy, fly, and blend in with his surroundings. However, he has no hair, making him look like Electro well before Electro became a generic glowing bald guy in various media. Well, Roddy wears a toupee, even though he does flips all the time. Maybe he glues it on. Oh, and he's an excellent singer. He's actually only a middling acrobat, using his powers to fake it when necessary. Ironically, he doesn't wear armor often, despite having no way to stop a Wilk's laser shot short of diving for (mega-damage) cover. We get some short notes on a gang of pickpockets that serve as his immediate henches.

No, he doesn't get any art.

Next: Cowboy Skills.

"A brand is a mark burned on the skin to identify and show ownership of an animal —typically used on horses and cattle, sometimes on humans and D-bee slaves."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 14: New West Part 11: "A brand is a mark burned on the skin to identify and show ownership of an animal —typically used on horses and cattle, sometimes on humans and D-bee slaves."

Must be quite the horse to carry a 'borg like that.

New Skills

Yep, it's time for a whole whammy of a skill section, starting with Cowboy Skills. Yes, cowboys get their own category separate from Wilderness skills. Because this section is such navel-gazing nonsense, let's detail every skill:What's more, we get a huge amount of about what we can do with horsemanship, like:Of course, we get a lot of other skills, but most are just reproduced from books like Coalition War Campaign or Mercenaries, including a long section on traps, but most of them are just physical inconveniences to those in mega-damage armor except for mines. Seduction is reproduced, so we get-

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

Seduction: This is the ability to make the opposite sex melt with desire.

- once again.

Coalition guys don't get access to trick shooting, don't even kid.

We also get skills like "Breed Dogs", "History of the West", "Lore: Religion", "Prospecting", and "W.P. Bola" (that's "weapon proficiency", for those not in the know). The big new combat addition is W.P. Sharpshooting (first seen in Rifts Conversion Book) which is expanded here. You have to take an ordinary modern weapon weapon proficiency first, then spend two skill picks to learn this for one type of gun (pistols, ripes, etc.). The big advantages is that it lets you get additional bonuses if you have a high Prowess (but fuck you if you don't), an additional attack, and your choice of a special trick shot. If you're a Gunfighter, Gunslinger, or Sheriff (all coming up in the next section) you get all the trick shots for free. The trick shots available are:We also get new rules for disarming with guns, but you can only "quick draw" to a disarm strike (I can only guess "quick draw" means "get the initiative bonus from W.P. Sharpshooting"?) if you're a Gunfighter, otherwise it's a Called Shot. You typically can only disarm on a "natural 19 or 20" but "A few O.C.C.s get a bonus to disarm"... I...

Make up your damned mind. The entangle rules are reprinted here for use with lassos and whips as well.

Roll your Lore: Indian to identify.

Finally, we get rules for an old west showdown. And by "rules" I don't mean mechanics, it's literally just the rules of honor for gunslingers and their ilk to challenge each other by. It's a complicated process, which consists of:And it also notes-

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

Note: Cheating in a showdown by having snipers waiting outside, or using magic, psionics, or a force field to secretly protect oneself or to negatively affect one's opponent is considered the lowest of the low. Those who cheat will be loathed, even by Gunslingers and Bounty Hunters, as a complete and totally treacherous snake, which also means it's okay to shoot this pig down in cold blood!

Oh, everybody agrees on that? Oookay.

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

Until somebody decides to rid the world of this vermin, all professional gunmen (except for the most evil and vile themselves), including Gunslingers, Gunfighters, Juicers, Headhunters, scouts, mercenaries, soldiers, cowboys and lawmen, will treat the character like a leper, avoiding polite contact and business with him, snickering and making insults behind his back (often loud enough to be heard), spitting at his feet (a classic sign of disrespect and disdain in the west), and sometimes worse. The only thing that might ease the insults and foul treatment is challenging some of these people to fair showdowns, but it will not change the character's status of being a despicable killer and "pariah" even among murderers — such is the Code of the West.

Okay, we get it.

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

Those who earn this reputation (even with one incident) will be despised, looked down upon (feared perhaps but never respected), and so branded for the rest of his life. Work with Men at Arms will be hard (even impossible) to find — "we don't want your kind," and the individual is considered a fair target for all manner of degradation, robbery and murder. Furthermore, word of such treachery will spread throughout the New West with lightning speed. When the misanthrope is finally killed, he is usually spit upon and buried in an unmarked grave or left out on the open plains as food for the buzzards and insects.

We get it. "Don't be clever, just make your initiative roll and face death based on the throw of a die like a good gunslinger." Bear in mind that means gunfights are extremely swingy, since most players won't get more than +3 or +4 to initiative on a d20 roll and attacks are similarly unpredictable. Any character that regularly gunfights in this fashion and doesn't have some way to tilt the odds in their favor will probably die after a few duels at best from a bad roll, unless they find some ridiculous class / race combination that lets them increase their bonuses into double-digit levels. Your average human gunslinger, however, is likely to just get gunned down after a few such duels... if they're lucky.

Next: Pepperidge Farm remembers.

"Those who break, mock or condemn The Code are regarded with contempt or worse."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 14: New West Part 12: "Those who break, mock or condemn The Code are regarded with contempt or worse."

O.C.C.S & NPC Villains of the New West
By Kevin Siembieda with ideas & additional text by Chris Kornmann

So, we've got 56 pages covering 16 O.C.C.s and 5 R.C.C.s with 2 extra sub-O.C.C.s for a total of 23 classes. If there's an example of runaway class bloat in a Rifts book, Rifts World Book 14: New West will a shining example for years to come for the most useless, pointless classes we've seen since Rifts Mercenaries (which gave us such delights as the Forger and Safecracker classes). So we'll be breaking this up into several updates, but we'll have to wait until the next update with the new "Men at Arms" classes.

We also get a note that "drifter" isn't a class but is just a general descriptor that can be used for a number of classes. But before any of that, this update will cover:

The Code of the New West

Yeah, alignments aren't enough, it's time for another chivalry-style code that Siembieda loves so much... only this time, all Western PCs are expected to abide by it. I'll just reproduce it as-is.

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

Never draw your weapon unless you're prepared to use it!

Genre-enforcement to help the quick-draw union protect its niche. I guess sitting with your weapon ready while on guard or the like is a no-no.

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

Never cheat in a showdown, or expect to live like a snake.

But if you don't cheat, expect to die like a dog.

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

Never kill or deliberately hurt women and children.

Looking forward to my untouchable bandit gang of women and children.

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

Never kill clergy, 'cept in self-defense.

"You can't gun me down!" "Why not!" "I'm a priest of Ahriman!" "Shit! That means you're evil as fuck, but... the code! The code!"

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

Never kill, injure or steal another man's horse or vehicle, unless he's dead and ain't needin' it no more.

It is, however, okay to kill the horses of women and children. Ironic!

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

Never take another man's woman.

Things that are okay: taking a man's man, or a woman's man, a woman's woman, or any other gendered or non-gendered pairing.

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

Never destroy a church or holy place, unless it is a place of evil — and then beware the wrath of gods and demons.

Also beware their tens of thousands of M.D.C.

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

Never take more money than what's owed to you.

Cred cards make this trickier anyway, where they're accepted.

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

Never spit in the face of the law. Show respect until its proven that the law in that town ain't genuine.

Only spit at the neck down.

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

Show women folk respect; remove your hat and avoid cursing.

Careful, you might give the gentler sex a case of the vapours.

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

Respect the land and power of nature.

"Fuck you, tornado!" "You broke the code!" "Respect the tornado, you low-down rattler!" *blam!*

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

Respect (and fear) magic.

"Fuck all these zombies!" "You broke the code!" "Respect the zombies, you low down rattler!" *blam!*

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

Respect and honor a worthy opponent.

"Fuck off, Steve!" "You broke the code!" "Respect Steve, you low-down-" "Oh not again-" *blam!*

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

Treat others like you'd like to be treated. Show cowboys and travelers kindness and hospitality unless they ain't worthy of kindness or mercy.

Respect somebody, unless you don't care about being respected by them?

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

If you cheat at cards or break the law, expect to pay the consequences. Just because you don't get caught or punished one time, don't make it right.

It's good that we have a code to enforce the laws. Law's nothing without a code.

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

Keep your sworn word of honor, "because sometimes all a man's got is his honor." A man's word is his contractual bond.

Good luck with that in court.

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

Kill only in self-defense and in justice. The latter can include acts of revenge, "eye for an eye," protecting others, using deadly force against those known to be killers, etc. The only exceptions to this rule are vampires or other "hellspawn demons." The only good vampire or demon is a dead one (including Brodkil).

"I'm gonna shoot you, you lousy Brodkil!" "You'd gun down a mother?" "Well I guess I have to take off my hat off first- agh!"

TL;DR: codes are dumb, especially codes with a bunch of sexist, regressive bullshit baked in. Yeah, it's the genre, but this is the New West. Shit could've changed in the four centuries since the 19th Century... even if this was accurate to it.

Next: "Guy with guns" gets 11 different classes.

"Most suffer from mild paranoia ("People are out to get you, watch out! What was that? Is somebody sneaking behind you?), delusions of power ("I'm the fastest and deadliest there ever was! What was that?!"), always looking around, have trouble concentrating on other skills and other subjects (no or low skill bonuses), are easily distracted, and like to kill — really like to kill."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 14: New West Part 13: "Most suffer from mild paranoia ("People are out to get you, watch out! What was that? Is somebody sneaking behind you?), delusions of power ("I'm the fastest and deadliest there ever was! What was that?!"), always looking around, have trouble concentrating on other skills and other subjects (no or low skill bonuses), are easily distracted, and like to kill — really like to kill."

So, let's get right to the classes this time, because geez, there are a lot of them.

Check the poster in back.

Bandit O.C.C.

This is literally just the Pecos Raider class from the last book with very slight updates. One or two skills are changed, and now it has access to cowboy skills, and the bandit gets some extremely slight extra bonuses (+1 init, +2 vs. horror factor). If you decided to play the (shitty) Pecos Raider class, you're already getting shortchanged. What's more, this is otherwise a reprint of material from the previous book. I can understand it more when they decide to reprint something like the simvan, because it's been like 20 books since we last saw the guys. This is just silly, especially when it refers us to Lone Star for more information.

It's obviously mainly intended for NPCs, given it has Siembieda pass-aggery about how sure you can play one but you'll be wanted and give the rest of the PC group a bad name and you might get into accidental fights with good guys. It's not really worth it for a class that mainly just gets some basic survival, piloting, and weapon skills, and pretty much crap otherwise. No attribute requirement, though, so anybody can play one.

"Don't strike that pose just yet, you cann't actually get any cool quick-draw skills." "Sonuva-"

Bandit: Highwayman O.C.C.

As illusionists are to magic-users, highwaymen are to bandits, I suppose. Theser are supposed to be ambush experts who hit travellers, stagecoaches, caravans, etc., and get a small bonus to initiative and a level-dependent bonus against fear or horror factor as a result. Once again, we get the same handwringing that the Bandit class gets for PCs (it's literally the same text we had a page ago reprinted again, in case you missed it the first time I guess).

Outside of their bonus against fear, they're generally unexceptional, but get some of the new trap skills in this book and are good riders and decent fighters. However, they get shit for extra skills and the only big deal they get is a free hovercycle. An unexceptional class you only have a 31% chance of qualifying for.

Indeterminate D-Bee? Don't worry, you'll probably get stats down the road.

Bounty Hunter O.C.C.

Oh, sure, Rifts already has a core class called the Headhunter, but... these guys are Bounty Hunters. Completely different! It emphasizes a lot of these guys hook up with others to increase their odds, while others prefer to make sure a bounty is divided as few ways as possible. Some are law-abiding and others are jerks, etc. Most are amoral and just are in it to make a buck. We get some details on typical bounty amounts, from 200-1500 on the low end (petty crooks and lesser demons) up to 25,000-50,000 for reknowned outlaws and superhumans. It goes on about all the issues you might have collecting a bounty (lack of evidence, the bounty poster doesn't actually have the money), etc., in case the GM doesn't want to make your money easy. There is some handwringing once again about how people don't generally like bounty hunters, but it's relatively subdued.

They naturally have some tracking and information gathering skills, but are only modest fights at best, with middling other skill picks. They get some bonuses on physical endurance, initiative, against fear, but nothing exceptional. The only thing that stands out is that they get a choice of:They also get 1d4 cybernetics. It's really only their equipment kit that makes them decent at all, otherwise they'd be a really dull, but it at least makes them an alright pick. Too bad only 9% of characters will qualify for it...

1890s or 1990s?

Gunfighter O.C.C.

So, this is a mercenary class that focus on, unsurprisingly, guns. Because Siembieda is hung up on notions of honorable warriors, he compares them to his notion of samurais and knights, and many follow that dumb ol' Code of the West.

As a class, they get a shit-ton of abilities compared to the last few. They get a bonus attack withh any kind of gun, a bonus to try and disarm people with gunfire, a bonus against fear, ability to repair and jury-rig guns (and maybe bombs, it's vague), a special bonus to initiative if you were lucky enough to roll within that special top 5% of Prowess ratings, ability to shoot two guns with one attack (at half your strike bonus), sharpshooting for revolvers / energy rifles / energy pistols (and the bonuses for that stack with the above), access to all of the sharpshooting trick shots, and high-level gunfighters get a Horror Factor. Compared to something like the Headhunter or various soldier classes, this is just a straight and fairly notable combat upgrade over those guys. They get a broad variety of skills from mechanical to weapons, but a small number of other skill picks. They're a really strong combat class for something that isn't outright superhuman, but that's relative. Only 17% of characters will qualify, though.

"I know this class doesn't use shotguns, I just... gimme a break!"

Gunslinger O.C.C.

This, unlike the gunfighter, is just a pistol duellist specializing in quick-draws. Few make it to qualify as a gunslinger, with most getting gunned down in their first few duels, so those that survive get reputations pretty quickly. But what do they do for a living? Well most are effectively assassins. We get a lot of and statistics about how few live to become professional and few live to retire. They specialize in handguns essentially because they're easy to conceal and sneak around.

They get an initative bonus if, once again, they're one of the few 5% of characters that'll have an exceptional prowess. Otherwise, they can do two-gun action, get sharpshooting for revolvers and energy pistols, all of the trick shots, a Horror Factor dependent on their level, a bonus against fear, a bonus to disarm with gunfire, and bonus attacks with pistols dependent on their level. It notes that their reputation also means that they've often recognized "like Michael Jordan or Michael Jackson", forgetting that such widespread fame relies on a modern media network that doesn't seemingly exist anymore.

Like gunfighters, they represent a general combat upgrade over earlier combat classes... but are hobbled by most of their focus is on pistols, and most pistols in the Rifts setting are hot garbage. They get a number of criminal-type skills and, of course, gun stuff. They get a bit more in the way of skills than the gunfighter, but in general the gunfighter has it better due to having access to extra guns. Because of their ridiculous prowess requirement of 17, though, it's unlikely anybody would get to play a human gunfighter anyway, given only 1 in 400 characters will qualify. Oh, and they avoid cybernetics because that's what it says in the script.

"I wasn't cool enough to be a Cyber-Knight, so..."

Justice Ranger O.C.C.

So, these are essentially Texas Rangers only without Texas, the stereotypical wandering lawman who metes out justice based on that motherfuckin' Code of the New West. Of course, they also act as judge, jury, and murderer, so there's that. Also, they hate supernatural monsters and nonhuman looking D-Bees, so not only are they sexist, they're racist, too! Great guys so far. In any case, they're relentless lawbringers... or... well, codebringers? I mean, it's not clear what law they work for, if any. Despite hating on ugly D-Bees, only 50% are human (another 25% are psi-stalkers, 5% cyborgs, 2% mutant animals, and 18% whatever). They're supposedly generally good and decent people aside from all the -isms they seem to have. People either "love them or hate them". They seem kinda hateable! It's entirely unclear how one becomes a "Justice Ranger", if it's self-appointed or if there's some organization or... what? It's suggested they may be descended from the RCMP since they have the motto "Justice Rangers always get their man, come hell or high water." Actually, Rifts World Book 20: Canada will have an entirely different RCMP-descended group - the Tundra Rangers. So much ranging to be done!

So, they get the same disarm shooty bonus, a bonus against fear, can quick-draw either handguns or rifles (they have to pick one- pick rifles, if you don't want to suck), and they get a Horror Factor at level 5. They get a laundry listed of wilderness skills and stuff useful in a fight or chase, but only a middling number of skill picks. They get the same equipment picks as the bounty hunter, though, making them a legitimately better version of the Bounty Hunter as long as you don't mind being a Prick of Justice. Mind, their requirements restrict them to 10% of characters rolled up. That's game balance!

Flinging the deadliest porkchop.

Psi-Slinger P.C.C.

That's "Psychic Character Class", which some may need a reminder about because we haven't seen hardly any new ones since the corebook. Magic? Sure! Fighters? Yup! Psychics? Um... I think there was a psychic Gypsy class?

So, it turns out, disappointingly, that they don't sling psis. Instead, these are essentially just psychic gunslingers, using their psychic powers to shoot energy. They're more common in the New West because the lure of Western thematics is preternatural west of the Mississippi or some shit.

They can shoot energy bolts, upgrade S.D.C. projectiles (guns included) to do M.D.C., convert up to 30 mega-damage from an attack against them from Mega-Damage to S.D.C. (and halving anything larger), and a variety of minor psychic powers (and also a mind bolt and psi-sword). They also get quick-draw and sharpshooting with pistols and can use them as paired weapons, get all the trick shots, get a Horror Factor at 1st level (mind melters & bursters = not scary, guy firing telekinetic bullets = scary), and gets bonuses to disarm and against fear. Their skills are pretty much like that of gunslingers - they're pretty much trading off raw combat power (attacks) for special powers, but those special powers are really, really good. Their ability to convert damage to S.D.C means an armored psi-slinger can essentially ignore energy damage of 30 mega-damage or less. You can only play one if you're a human or psi-stalker, though. However, their attribute requirements are the same as the Gunslinger, so once again, only 1 in 400 characters will qualify.

"I should have been the gunslinger art, but no, they have to pick the piece that looks more like Eastwood."

Saddle Tramp O.C.C.

You know what we needed? A new vagabond class. See, the tramp is supposed to be a wandering drifter type (the one that supposedly didn't have a class, but here it is) who's vaguely shady and criminal, and looking for that One Big Score so they can get back to being a lazy good-for-nothing. There's really not much of a concept here, but they're supposed to be shady Jack-of-all-Trades.

They actually get a bump to affinity, which is pretty rare, and some inconsequential combat bonuses. They have a mix of wilderness, lore, music, and weapon, and despite being almost entirely underwhelming, they have only a few other skill picks. While they're not as bad as the "core" vagabond, they don't do anything particularly well. About the only thing they have going on is that there are no requirements to play one, but there's also not much reason to play one, either. There are a lot of filler classes here, and this is just the start.

"I wasn't cool enough to be a Justice Ranger, so..."

Sheriff O.C.C.

As it says in the title, these are generally the head of local law enforcement in a town. We get a lot of about law enforcement in Rifts but it doesn't amount to a hill of beans.

Sheriffs get to pick a particular weapon type (pistols, shotguns, rifles, bows, or blades) that they get an extra attack for, once again there's the bonus to disarm and against fear, quick-draw bonuses for the 5% with exceptional prowess, and they get a Horror Factor at 6th level. This... is starting to feel really cookie-cutter. So many of these classes just have variations on just the same set of bonuses over and over and over. They can take sharpshooting but don't get it for free. They get skills with law, investigation, and weapons, with a surprisingly weak number of other skill picks. 17% chance to play one.

"I wasn't cool enough to be a Sheriff, so..."

Sheriff Deputy O.C.C.

Do you want to play a Sheriff, but don't have the stats to match up? Well, maybe you can play a Sheriff Deputy, which is like a Sheriff, only objectively worse in every sense. But you have a 55% chance to play one!

This is how Siembieda fills two pages while adding nothing.

"What? No! I'm not drawing my gun, I'm just scratching my ass."

Wired Gunslinger O.C.C.

This is, what, the sixth gunslinger-styled class so far? Well, this is one where you've been fitted with crazy implants that have been modified for less crazy and more speed. Who modified them?

Well, you get to be a twitchy mother goose, but it can grant paranoia as you're wired to jump at every little thing. But most get addicted to using their speed in fights and are the kind of jumpy combat addict we've seen variations on ever since the original Juicer O.C.C. Here's their first "special ability":

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

1. Danger Response (special): Automatically notices and reacts to movement, especially movement seen out of the corner of the eye. It is an instinctive and reflex response to draw and point his gun at anything that moves because it could be an enemy or it startles him — just pray he doesn't shoot first and ask questions later (many do). In many situations, the character's reflex reaction to even overwhelming odds is to shoot, dodge and keep shooting until the danger is gone. This causes the deaths of many Wired Gunslingers, but 25% kill themselves after 10+2D4 years (unless miscreant or diabolic evil alignments) because of the stress from the constant anxiety of thinking an enemy is lurking behind every shadow, or because they accidentally injure or kill an innocent person (often a child or woman) as a result of the danger response.

Yep. Their first class feature is "you might give yourself a heart attack or murder a child!" Wow, I bet you're hankering to play one of these after that!... not that there are any mechanics for accidental child murder. In any case, they get minor bonuses to strength and speed, but get a big bump to prowess (it's automatically exceptional), an extra attack, big bonuses against fear, a big bonus to initiative, an "automatic dodge", the ability to use pistols akimbo, and sharpshooting for pistols with all of the trick shots. They get bonus attacks as they level up and the same horror factor as the gunslinger. They're basically a better gunslinger, but they roll for random craziness as they level up. Only humans and near-human D-Bees (elves, atlanteans, ogres) can take this class. Unlike the gunslinger or psi-slinger, they have no particular requirements and anybody can play it. It's the gunslinger for everybody!... as long as you don't mind putting a bullet in a baby.

Next: Alcoholism is a occupational character class?

"Saloon Bums of a good or unprincipled alignment are typically individuals who have had their bodies and/or spirits crippled in some way — old and infirm, physically weak or crippled, dull witted (and innocent?), homely and insecure, emotionally scarred or traumatized (family, friend or sheriff was slaughtered while he stood frozen in terror, or while he was beaten and held down, or he was the only survivor, etc.) and so on."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 14: New West: Part 14: "Saloon Bums of a good or unprincipled alignment are typically individuals who have had their bodies and/or spirits crippled in some way — old and infirm, physically weak or crippled, dull witted (and innocent?), homely and insecure, emotionally scarred or traumatized (family, friend or sheriff was slaughtered while he stood frozen in terror, or while he was beaten and held down, or he was the only survivor, etc.) and so on."

I am... I am feeling... worn after covering eleven classes in a row.

Time for six more.

It's gonna get worse.

"No armor, soft horse... sure hope nothing mega-damage happens along." "Everything's mega-damage now, Chet." "Well, shit."

Cowboy O.C.C.

Well, you probably saw this coming at this point.

It brings up that a lot of people think Westerns are historical work, and so you get a lot of people who no doubt call people "Pilgrim" or "Huckleberry" or "Calico Queen".

So, they're big on the Code of the New West and are involved with cattle herding, but more rarely things like rhino-buffalo or dinosaurs. They love horses and "few self-respecting cowboys" ride hovercycles or robot horses, because... Siembieda gets the stereotype in his mind and wants it enforced even though there's no justification. Like, over and over in this book. Why wouldn't you use a hovercycle? It doesn't shit all over, won't break a leg, and doesn't die of fright when a gargoyle says "boo!" Also it can take a punch from a pixie. But no, they're like "Well, Saint Marlboro would not approve, no sir."

I have got to get through these quicker but you have no idea how many I'm skipping over as it is. But we get the The Code of the Cowboy, which I guess is an addendum to The Code of the New West. Let me also introduce you to The Code of Things I Am Fucking Sick of Already, Starting With Cowboys-

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

Consider a fellow cowboy a friend, until he proves otherwise.

Friendship is Marlboro.

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

Greet a fellow cowboy with a friendly word and hospitality. Never wave a greeting; it is bad form and may spook the horse or cattle.

This is why you use hovercycles! You can wave at them all you want! Hello, hovercycle! HELLO!

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

If one rider dismounts, you (and all others) should too.

I guess this is what they mean by getting off your high horse.

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

Grabbing the bridle of a mounted man's horse is an act of aggression and intrusion over the rider's control of his horse. Expect trouble!

What trouble? I've got his horse!

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

It's a cowboy's sacred obligation to show hospitality to visiting cowboys, including sharing food and information.

Friendship is Marlboro.

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

Deadbeats, loafers, tramps, saloon bums, outlaws, gamblers, and gunslingers ain't cowboys and ain't particularly welcome, especially at the ranch or on cattle drives and roundups. Watch your back around these fellas.

That's more like prejudice than a code.

Unsurprisingly, they get a lot of cowboy skills, ability to play a musical instrument, shoot some guns, and a modest amount of other skills. They can be sharpshooters if they're willing to pay for it. They're pretty unexceptional as far as classes go, but despite that, you only get a 23% chance to play one.

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

The cowboy's horse is always of very good to excellent quality and well trained. In real life, the cowboy's horse was often lent to him by his employer. However, in Rifts, most cowboys, especially those who travel from job to job and engage in adventuring, own their own horse. 5% may own a hovercycle instead, and 7% may have a robot horse, but most prefer a real horse. As one pre-Rifts cowboy named Jo Mora said, "a man afoot is no man at all ... indeed, a dismounted cowboy is just a plain bowlegged human who smells very horsey at times, sleeps in his underwear, and is subject to boils and dyspepsia."

I guess that's supposed to be romantic but just sounds gross. Catch you on my hovercycle, horsefuckers!

"Well, don't expect me to applaud."

Mining 'Borg/Prospector O.C.C.

So, often you can get turned into a cyborg for indentured service working like a robot, if that sounds like a good idea to you. These bodies are designed for strength and mining and not shooting, so YMMV. They get special skills to create or evaluate tunnels, properly design and dig underground spaces, find their way underground, and get basic blacksmithing. First, you can choose to be only a partial reconstruction cyborg, and despite being "specificially designed for strength", you only get a strength of 20. They get some enhanced senses, and lungs with oxygen storage and filtering. Alternately, you can be a full cyborg, in which case you get a strength of 30 instead, special modular arms to fit shovels, drills, or torches, and possibly an extra limb for an extra attack... and everything that a partial cyborg gets. As ever in Rifts, there's not much point in being a partial cyborg.

They get a number of repair, mining, and weapon skills, and a surprisingly solid selection of other skills, but there's not much reason to recommend them over other cyborgs unless you actually plan to go mining or dungeoneering, and the latter is rather lacking. About the only use I could see is being a tunneling expert for a group of mercs or omething. Unlike most cyborgs, this has a mental endurance requirement which means only 38% of characters can qualify to play it. Apparently, becoming a miner is more taxing and difficult than being a soldier?

Please note that none of us at Palladium Books®.condone or encourage the occult...

Preacher O.C.C.

Christianity is actually acknowledged in Rifts?

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

Player Character & G.M Note: If playing a religious character feels awkward, uncomfortable or somehow wrong, then don't include it in your games. Also please try to understand and respect the religious faith and sensibility of other players. Even if one player feels seriously uncomfortable, the Preacher character should be tossed out. Please note that the Preacher character is NOT intended to disparage any religious faith. It is a broad representation of the Judeo-Christian traveling preachers of the Old West, modified and refitted into the fictional world of Rifts®.

Well. We're given two basic types of preacher. The first is the "fire and brimstone" preacher who threatens people with warnings of hell and is willing to go around kicking ass for the lord. Most are just good but harsh people, we're told, but:

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

However, the Fire and Brimstone Preacher is also more likely to harbor resentment and bigotry toward D-bees and even encourage their extermination; Simvan and Mountain Giants are often on the top of their list. They also have little kindness or respect for "heathens" such as Native American Indians and Psi-Stalkers, or any people who worship ancient "pagan" spirits and alien gods. As for the supernatural, these preachers often lead crusades against the demonic, and actively promote the destruction of all supernatural beings. "As the Lord drove the serpent out of paradise, so must we drive the demons and monsters of the Rifts from our world." This usually includes dragons, shapechangers, (supernatural or not), and all monstrous and reptilian beings regardless of their alignments and intent.

Once again, like the Coalition or the Justice Rangers, "nice guys except for all the hideous racism". We also get the "peacemaker" sorts who are more willing to forgive people if they're willing to perform penance, and is more willing to put themselves up as martyrs in the way of harm. Most are nomadic traveling from town to town, which I guess is mostly an excuse to be an adventuring preacher.

So preachers, unlike other priest types, get no supernatural power. God, unlike Isis or Ahriman or Coyote, apparently gives no fucks... or just doesn't exist. Instead, they get a hefty bonus to affinity, along with that bonus to disarm, as well as bonuses against fear and possession. The "fire and brimstone" preacher gets the following additional bonuses:To balance things out, the "peacemaker" gets:They mainly have Lore and some Medicine stills, and their decent skill set makes them kinda like a variant Rogue Scholar. They reject cybernetics as "unnatural" because I guess it says that in the bible somewhere. "And lo he said unto him, do not put in a clock-calendar, for having a watch implanted in your ass is the way of the devil and powergamers. That dragon you play with is totally rad, though. Lo, thou shouldst have played a great horned dragon hatchling." About 34% chance to qualify as a man of god (of which 15% are women of god, because random percentages). It says they might get a sidekick or assistant, but doesn't mechanically define that sort of thing.

Note the reflection of the guy this his hands in the air in the sunglasses.

Professional Gambler O.C.C.

Like it says, you're supposed to be a risk-taker, maybe for money, maybe for good, whichever. That being said, they're willing to stack the odds and hustle and con.

As a class, they can read cards by touch, which we're told is the "the equivalent skill of reading Braille"... which is not at all true. They basically expand the Cardsharp skill in various ways in that exclusionary mechanic sort of sense - I'd think a character with the Cardsharp skill could stack a deck or palm cards, but apparently not now that it's a class feature! They get bonus melee actions per round when doing card tricks which... doesn't seem too useful in a fight. They get "tolerance to alcohol" which still hasn't been explained, a quick draw bonus (once again, only if their prowess is exceptional), an initiative bonus, and a bonus against fear. Naturally, they get variety of rogue / criminal skills, but only a fair selection otherwise. Like the Preacher, it says they might get a sidekick character... or maybe not. It's amazingly vague. None of their requirements are too strict, but they get a fair number of them, meaning you only have a 6% chance to qualify to play one. Yes, despite being a niche class few would play anyway, it's subtly restricted beyond most players' reach.

"For my combat action? I drink! That's all I'm good for!"

Saloon Bum O.C.C.

Yes. This is a class about being a motherfucking drunkard. But first we get a long diatribe about "The Western Saloon" which is vague - some are respectable, some aren't! They generally have a bar! They serve alcohol and drinks with colorful names! They have simple food! There might be a stage and entertainment! Most have gambling! Some have rooms to stay in! Some have... call girls? I don't think that's the right terminology for face-to-face prostitution. Let's move on to the class in question.

So evil saloon bums are often "wannabe outlaws" and "lowlife servants of greater evil forces". Good saloon bums are generally people who are disabled or traumatized or some sense, but who help out good people. Yes, for some reason it's all framed in a good vs. evil sense as if we're about to do a spinoff game, Bar Wars or something, about the struggle between different drunks? In any case, as somebody who's had to see alcoholism and its impact in my personal life, I should find this really offensive. Mostly, I just find it amazingly fucking stupid.

As a fucking stupid class, they get the ability to drink 2 1/2 times as much before getting drunk (previous classes with "alcohol tolerance" only get twice as much), get a bit of extra physical endurance, and a minor bonus against fear. They get a basic spread of skills kinda tending towards information gathering, a surprisingly average spread of other skills, and... yeah. It's a vagabond that can hold their drink better. That's fucking all. That's-

Well, at least they don't have attribute requirements. If they had a minimum anything I think I'd detonate with disgust. There's also a class variant if you want to play a barkeep, who gets... extra lore skills, a bonus to rogue skills, and no drawbacks. It's another "just better" class type. This whole class is lazy and stupid, especially since there's no real benefit to any of it other than tricking baddies into getting drunk or something. Siembieda's worst class design is on display here combined with insensitivity, where he's like "let's take one activity and make it a whole class!"

Also true atlanteans can drink more because they're the superior race. Just FYI.

Yeah. This happened.

Saloon Girl/Barmaid O.C.C.

So, you're supposed to work at a saloon and flirt with guys to get better tips. That's the class. That's what you do with this class. Oh, I guess they're supposed to be also kind of roguish and get access to all sorts of stuff said around the saloon, but... yeah. This happened.

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

If you stop and think about the character, the possibilities are endless and can be loads of fun.

I'm not saying you can't do anything with it, and yeah it's a Western archetype, but this is kiiinda sexist-

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

Also known as Barmaid, Gold-digger, Tease, and Seductress.

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

Alignment: Any, but often selfish or evil.

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

Avoids unsightly cybernetics except for concealed implants and bio-systems necessary for medical reasons. They need to look soft, pretty and nice.

It's no FATAL, but it's a class solely about pretty women cheating and tricking dudes, so there's that. As a class... does it really matter...? Well, they get tolerance to alcohol, a bonus to affinity, and some miscellaneous bonuses including a minor bonus against fear. They get a bonus on charm / impress, but only if you roll around the 1% of characters with a beauty above 20. Domestic skills, useful on any adventure, are foremost here with some miscellaneous other skills and average other skill picks. About 19% chance to play them, mainly on account of a stiff beauty requirement. Can't have any homely saloon women girls in this game, no sir.

Next: Amingo.

"According to Indians, Mountain Giants are also said to see spirits and will not hurt Indian Shamans, Indian Mystics or the mentally retarded."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 14: New West: Part 15: "According to Indians, Mountain Giants are also said to see spirits and will not hurt Indian Shamans, Indian Mystics or the mentally retarded."

Racial Character Classes Common to the New West

So, we're given a reminder that the D-Bees seen here are only the most notable or numerous, and that there are plenty out there that don't get writeups. In addition, the names here are usually the popular (i.e. human, I'd guess) names for races. For some reason it is "unusual" for D-Bees to provide names for themselves. Maybe ego and species identity is rare in the universe. We also get some base guidelines for a generic D-Bee race - basically just subtract 1d6 from one attribute (probably beauty) and add 1d6 to another, increase their P.P.E., and make "25%" into mega-damage, give them fur or bumpy heads or whatever, and there's an instant D-Bee. It's bizarrely... simple for Palladium. I'd normally expect a bunch of random tables, not a simple reskin mechanic. Oh, but D-Bees lose their culture in just a few generations, so we don't have to worry about making them nuanced or particularly interesting. Siembieda!

After that, we can move on to the D-Bee PC races, which means we're at least marching uphill from having a "Saloon Bum" class.

Agave Trail.

Cactus People

For once - and this is kind of rare, we get the actual name of this D-Bee race, Clszymllxbrrxxyfwrr. It's said to be "impossible" for humans to pronounce, but I think it's just literally impossible to pronounce, period. They're, as their name suggests, cactus-themed humanoids.

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

Females are the most ... well ... lumpy, while the males have long leafy stands on the side and back of their heads, creating the illusion of hair.

So, they need light and "various gases", as well as vegetables, to survive. In general, they're peaceful, but are victimized as D-Bees and also by people seeking their "blood" as certain ethically vacant humans find it "tasty". It's apparently also useful for alchemy and for dark rituals that require blood (as it's a "blood" that doesn't spoil). They have often adopted human technology to defend themselves, though.

As far as their statblock goes, they have slightly superior attributes to humans save for affinity, beauty, or speed, where they're slightly inferior. They get a slight horror factor, but they're just S.D.C. creatures. They have some basic mental and sensory psionics, and a built in skill list with strong farming and wilderness skills but middling at anything else. This feels like an interesting "background" race as a result - they're different enough from humans to be distinctive, but the fact that their only playable occupation is "farmer" limits them as PCs.

The often romanticized image of cowboys and aliens.

Fennodi R.C.C.

Another gentle race of peaceful D-Bees, this is fairly clearly "drawn by by Michael Dubisch and given words by Siembieda". They're kind of pale, thin greys, only with tiny eyes. They wanders around and love nature and peace and smoking pipes (they're "immune to cancer", the book reassures us). They also like dressing like cowboys because fuck you, this is New West, it's on the cover and we don't need no stinking reasons.

So, they have exceptional affinity, strength, and speed, are are generally better at humans at all things save beauty. They're still just S.D.C. creatures. They have empathic, telepathic, and guys get healing psychic powers and women get physical psychic powers, in a reversal of the usual stereotyping you see in , a slight telekinetic mega-damage defense field (only enough to really soak a single shot or two), and the unique ability to take on an astral form where they can move through things like a ghooost. They get the "Art of Nodox" martial art which largely just gives them notable defense bonuses as they level up and lots of bonus attacks. They get to choose an O.C.C. from a list, including cowboys, rogue scholars, rogue scientists, body-fixers, operators, preachers, vagabonds (sigh), saddle tramps (sigh), or saloon bums (sigh). They get survival skills, sneaking, and staff proficiency no matter what their class is, though. With GM permission, they can have a whisker coyote as a pet, whatever those are. (We'll see them later.)

See the quote that follows.

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

All are human in origin, general shape and appearance, but their bodies are usually (though not always) hairless, their skin discolored and blotchy, and often covered with lumps, blisters and red or brown sores. Frequently the limbs and hands are deformed (2-3 fingered hands plus a thumb, or a stump in place of a hand, etc.), their faces are typically long (horse head), and their bellies disproportionately extended or swollen-looking, like people suffering from malnutrition. Many have spindly arms and legs, while others have one arm that is longer or larger than the other, or huge, muscled limbs. Spinal deformity is also commonplace, creating hunchbacks and strangely twisted shoulders and torsos.

Because anybody missing an arm qualifies as a hideously malformed mutant.

Keepers of the Desert R.C.C.
By Chris Kornmann & Kevin Siembieda

These are mutated humans from and near Salt Lake City, which was apparently destroyed by a "dimensional anomaly" that bombarded the area with "horrible levels of alien radiation". Those that didn't die from the radiation or who weren't killed by other survivors fled into the Salt Lake Desert where they hid. They're generally deformed in various fashions, of course. But some talk of how they killed off those who drove them into the desert, and "hate all humans and loathe all beautiful things". But it turns out they're not responsible for those deaths, but their feared reputations causes the Keepers to generally keep a safe distance from other settlers. Sometimes they rescue people who become lost around the desert. However, those who commit "wicked" acts they often just kill. In general they wander around in robes and masks being good guy Tusken Raiders. Or just Tuskens? Something like that.

So, they're naturally uglier but slightly stronger and tougher than normal humans. Once again, they're just S.D.C. creatures, and have various survival adaptations (nightvision, resistance to weather, a dowsing sense, etc.). However, they give off radiation which can be hazardous to others in the long-term unless they dress up in environmental armor. They get wilderness skills and a truly pathetic number of other skills. Their big deal feature is that they get a random mutation, and then another for each 6 levels they have. Alternately, they can have the powerset of one "or two" magic or psychic classes, which is an oddly loose way to phrase things. Two classes worth of power? Why not?

Of course, random mutation means having a % table to roll on, including such highlights as:The fact that they need to level up to level 6+ to get pretty potent means they're not really worth the drawbacks, unless you can weasel getting two different whammy-casting O.C.C.s for the price of one.

Lyn-Srial R.C.C.
By Chris Kornmann & Kevin Siembieda

These are the same golden four-armed bird goody two-shoes and four-gloves from earlier, and this is their generic skill package in case you're not not interested in playing the cool Lyn-Srial. They're flat-out better than humans in all attributes, particularly with their high mental endurance, affinity, and beauty. They can fly, of course, are decent mega-damage creatures, have super-senses, can glow, can get some basic cloud magic (with more depending on their intelligence score). They get lore and wilderness skills, chiefly, and a slightly below average skills.

But you're not going to play them unless you lack the attribute scores to be anything else, so we can move on.

Lyn-Srial Sky-Knight R.C.C.

The dashes are where you find the justice.

So these are golden birdmen jedi, who protect others, destroy evil, dispense justice and wisdom (in not necessarily that order), and put a stop to despots and tyrants. But the Coalition's still around, so get to work, birdguys! So, they get extra combat bonuses, less lore and more fight, and slightly fewer skill picks. They get some basic combat and movement Cloud Magic, all of the War and Peace categories, and can choose one more spell of any type except Creation for every level they have (including the first). While not overwhelming on a basic level, Cloud Magic can potentially be pretty strong and makes them into very solid combatants... if they pick the good ones. Their high attribute requirements mean that only 14% of Lyn-Srial players can qualify for this class.

Lyn-Srial Cloudweaver R.C.C.

The generic cleric / priest sort, cloudweavers are supposed to be wise people and healers that sometimes back up sky-knights. We're told that "55%" of female Lyn-Srial become cloudweavers. So, they get similar skills to the basic Lyn-Srial, mild combat bonuses, and immunity to fear. They also get all Clouds of Defense, Travel, and Creation, and two spells per level. However, they can't take any War Clouds. And... that's all, they're just flat better than playing a regular Lyn-Srial. However, despite 55% of female Lyn-Srial supposedly becoming cloudweavers, only 12% of players running Lyn-Srial will qualify, because Rifts is-




Remember The Pitt?. I think Scott Johnson does too.

Mountain Giants

So, these are 10'-12' hulks that wander around the wilderness as savage hunters. They're extremely territorial, and will eat people for food or just to freak out their foes in a fight. But it's cool. They like kids and dog boys for some reason. Most people believe they're some rogue creation of Lone Star, but-

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

According to Indians, Mountain Giants are also said to see spirits and will not hurt Indian Shamans, Indian Mystics or the mentally retarded.

Good to know.

Stat-wise, they're not as dumb as one might expect, with slightly lower intelligence and slightly higher affinity and mental endurance than humans... I don't know if that's intentional. They're extremely strong and tough, and are tougher than even hatching dragons. They get a number of psionic powers that let them resist various environmental conditions or see the invisible or auras. They get some mild combat bonuses and bonus attacks, and the ability to pin people on a lucky roll. They get a variety of physical and wilderness skills and only a few other choices. For some reason they speak gobbely (the goblin language, for those that have forgotten), and get a war club that does slight mega-damage... somehow?

Very generic write-up that can't decide if they're gentle and wise giants or man-eeeaters.

Next: Welcome to the Wild Wild West.

"Black hearted in the extreme, these Devilish beasts will deliberately slaughter animals, from pets to livestock, without taking a bite to eat; kidnap women and children, kill children, women, preachers and so-called protectors and leave them gutted and displayed for all to see (spreadeagle, impaled on a tree or fence, or hung from a pole, tree or rafters), and steal or destroy things people hold of value, including shrines, churches, hospitals, generators, important vehicles and equipment, etc."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 14: New West: Part 16: "Black hearted in the extreme, these Devilish beasts will deliberately slaughter animals, from pets to livestock, without taking a bite to eat; kidnap women and children, kill children, women, preachers and so-called protectors and leave them gutted and displayed for all to see (spreadeagle, impaled on a tree or fence, or hung from a pole, tree or rafters), and steal or destroy things people hold of value, including shrines, churches, hospitals, generators, important vehicles and equipment, etc."

We're reminded that dinosaurs have returned to Rifts Earth, or at least their alien unscientific equivalents? Why? Because dinosaurs are rad, that's why.

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

Predators are among themost common, because there are a number of large and varied prey to feed on, including humanoids!

Uh, aren't plants common enough, too? Rifts explicitly isn't a post-apocalypse wasteland, after all. And then there's how the predator / prey balance actually works...

plus it's not like a dumb animal would know there's food on the other side of a crackling blue light anyway ugh


Desert Sleepers

So, this is a 10-11' theropod with an armored back so it can just dig in the sand and curl up to survive through cold desert nights, and their armor protects from other predators for the most part. Unusually for Rifts, they only attack small animals and won't eat living people (though they'll scavenge dead ones).

They're not much tougher than an armored human aside from their armored back, which about doubles their M.D.C. if you're not shooting their underbelly. They're fast and physically capable as animals, of course, but not particularly smart. They can knock people around with a head butt or claw. They're not great to ride and only Simvan and Psi-Stalkers and their like can even try. Sometimes people kill them for their meat and armor.

It's corny, at least!

Devil Unicorn

Oh the other side of the realism spectrum, this is a supernatural monster that is deliberately sadistic and vicious. Not particularly unicorny other than having a unihorn, this is a creature that will generally maim people but keep them alive to torture. It even has a "hellish" or "demonic" laugh. Why is it so evil?

So, it's got typical monster stats - strong, fast, tough, but dumb and ugly. It's tougher than a hatchling dragon or even most power armor, but the fact that it relies on melee limits its offensive capacity. Even so, it gets a 74% automatic pounce attack and can do solid damage if it does manage to pin people. It has a large bonus against fear and that's pretty much it. It's a bulletproof rhino with claws that hates everybody.

If only all of the book was like this!

Duckbilled Honkers

These may or may not be related to our own hardosaurids, gathering in herds, and apparently feed on trees in contrast (or it could just be bad research) to our own duckbilled dinosaurs. Some people raise them as herd animals. They're called honkers for the loud honking noises they make, of course.

They're about 20'-30' and are actually tougher than a hatchling dragon and most power armor, and are strong and tough but dumb. They can hold their breath for minutes, and their natural weapons don't do much damage. Their hide is used to make things like mega-damage ponchos, coats, and tents. Like desert sleepers, they aren't very good for riding.

Giant Canyon Worms

These are large 25'-40' "worm-like" scavengers. However, it's dumb and sometimes accidentally attacks live prey, which it tries to shake or slam around until it tears a chunk free. Their "chemical slobber" also attracts other canyon worms, which is a weird adaptation.

They're strong, but surprisingly not that strong for something that's multi-ton (a bodybuilder can match them). They're tougher than humans in armor but not by much more. They're basically just less aggressive, scavenging graboids, and sometimes people use their hides to make armor or their fat to make lamp oil. People don't generally eat them but they're made into dog food sometimes.

Oh, and people ride them at rodeos sometimes because we have art of that.

"I was thinking of this alien horror that-" "I drew a snake." "- looks exactly like a snake."

Great Dream Snakes
By Chris Kornmann & Kevin Siembieda

So, Siembieda loves evil tempter / deciever monsters, and these ones are rattlesnakes between 3' and 100' long depending on their age. Naturally, they're ridiculously powerful, because ridiculously powerful monsters obviously need to rely on deception and trickery to get their way. Some people seek them out for power but it's a sham, as we'll see.

Strictly NPCs, they have almost all exceptional attributes, and young ones have around 2000 M.D.C. while adults will have around 20,000 M.D.C., can teleport, shapechange, turn invisible, see the invisible, hide in shadows, inflict mega-damage poison bites, become a super-snake with 20% more M.D.C. (like they fuckin' need it), and has a wish-granting ability that is either just illusion or event-manipulation that's only temporary so it basically can just fool people into thinking it's granted their wish and then yank it away and laff and laff. It has variety of big bonuses against mind control and fear, is a powerful spellcaster and illusionist, has "all psionics", and only modest skills. It likes hanging out on the astral plane, even though it takes quad damage from attacks while there. They're supposed to be "dream" snakes because they grant dreams but eventually you wake up, isn't that deep? It also refers us to Dragons & Gods (not a Rifts book) for some extra powers and to the Rifts Conversion Book to calculate their damage because it can't be bothered.

Once again, though, it's not clear why they worry about working through confederates and playing master manipulators when they can take dozens of nukes and fight a god. It's like the world's laziest godzilla. "Yeah, I could smash the city but-"

Great Plains Buffalo

So, the "American Plains Indians" long ago did a magical ritual to hide buffalo (or, rather, bison) in another dimension to save them from extinction, which... wasn't necessary, as it turns out! But when a rifts opened "millions" of them came back. Nothing special In them, mind. They're buffalo (actually bison). They have a horror factor of 10 when charging, despite the fact it can't do even do damage to most PCs within their bulletproof M.D.C. speedsuits.

Can hear you scream.


Apparently these are named after the guy who discovered them, Bartholamew P. Griggs, who will never be mentioned again. So, they're essentially just your generic xenomorph-type predators, except without the hive or acid blood or putting eggs in you or really any of the parts that made xenomorphs aliens weird and terrifying. But these creatures have tentacles in their palms! That's scary!

They're about as tough as an armored human, and are physically exceptional but not amazing. They're fast, reasonably sneaky, hard to sneak up on, and can jump and climb well so they can be comin' out of the wall at any time. They have a pounce attack and need to land it to do serious damage by rending with all six of their limbs. They don't know fear and... well. They're just pretty generic predators to throw in packs at PCs. Their horror factor is ridiculously high at 15, or "18 from a pack of 10 or more". Yeah, a pack of these is as scary as literal gods, because Rifts doesn't keep track of benchmarks for that shit.

Blah. A lot of these feel like a shameful waste of Ramon Perez's art on relatively cookie-cutter statblocks. Give them acid on their tentacles or poison or... something? It seems trivial to come up with something interesting, but nope! Not here!

By Chris Kornmann

Because Siembieda keeps all the Perez art to himself.

This is a human-sized tarantula that is also a scorpion, a requirement for any post-apocalypse RPG. They're about as tough as an armored human and can lay (S.D.C.) webs. They have a deadly venom but it's not as dangerous to M.D.C. creatures, though it'll kill most humans outright because it does damage straight to hit points. Otherwise they do shit for damage and if you flip them on their back they get stuck, where you can hit them for... well, the same damage as you'll always do, they just can do a lot less about it. Granted, there are no rules for knocking them over, so work that out with your GM. They're really strong and immune to poison and all that. People kill them for food because they apparently "taste like chicken" and their poison is useful in anti-venom serums. Homeopathy?

More dinosaurs changed to avoid copyright violation.


A "massive pterodacyl type flying dinosaur, probably from another dimension". Sometimes Simvan ride around on them to attack from the sky.

You know the drill - physically capable but dumb, about as tough a as a dragon hatchling, and can use up all their attacks in a round do an attacks about as strong as a boom gun hit (!). They like mountains and canyons and apparently have gotten all over, which is alarming given what bullet sponges they are. Like many other mega-damage creatures, they're killed for their hide.

I'm getting pretty bored with these claw / claw / bite critters. Can I review another Pathfinder Bestiary? I mean. That was really long and full of all sorts of cookie-hunter evil demihumans but there's an at least an attempt to have creatures that do more than kill with claws and soak bullets erry day.


Mammoth Brontodon

Once again, not an actual dinosaur, but a sketch done by Ramon Perez written into another meh writeup by Siembieda. So, these are kinda like stegosaurs, but are omnivores in the sense that they're scavengers in addition to leaf-munchers. They're apparently very popular riding animals amongst the Simvan, since we had art of them doing that in a previous book and probably not again.

In keeping with the bullet sponge dinos, these are about as tough as a glitter boy and are around as physically strong as giants or gods. They're about 70' long and 20' tall, have a "superior sense of smell" from the little holes in their head, a ram that automatically knocks power armor and small figures over. There's also a special rule that even if you're a human in power armor you take 6d6 damage direct to hit points and S.D.C. unless you make the (relatively low) coma/death save, which is a death sentence for most low-level characters, and a cheesy way to pulp glitter boy pilots. It also automatically breaks "1d6 ribs" (why are we rolling for that?) and reduces all combat bonuses by half for 2 weeks and knocks the character out for 10 minutes to an hour! Fuck making all sorts of fancy power armor to fight GBs, I suppose, just get a bunch of simvan on dinos and have them charge? It's a fairly awful mechanic, but good for simvan players, I suppose. Naturally, their hide is made into mega-damage stuff again.

It bears mentioning how weird these rules are, especially since this animal has a average top speed of... 15 MPH.

15 MPH.

Thanks to the internet, I can look up the statistical chance of a "severe injury" of a person hit by a car or light truck at 16 MPH, and the chances are 10%. It may not be fair to be able to pick up on that, but certainly wearing power armor would be be protection against a 15 MPH headbutt. Maybe the magic of the Rifts changed the world to where everybody has brittle bone disease, though. It'd at least explain how S.D.C. works.


Moss-Back Scuttler

So, this is a 12' long "land turtle from another world" that sits down and waits around looking like a lump or hill, and when a creature comes close, it gets up and ambushes with its long, sticky tongue. So, more an armored toad than a turtle. But let's not split hairs. So, this is even tougher than the other dinos. With its damage, though, it's likely only to be able to kill S.D.C. creatures. There are no rules for getting caught by its tongue, and it's not particularly strong for its size. Kinda dull, all it has is the one trick, and that one trick is mostly just a weak gotcha for PCs. "The hill gets up and bites you!" "I walk away." "Oh, it's not that fast, so... you walk away." "I walk away."


Next: The rest of the alphabet.

"Their very appearance looks like something akin to the fanciful Jabberwocky from Lewis Carroll's imagination (is it possible Mr. Carroll had seen a Phantasm?)."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 14: New West: Part 17: " Their very appearance looks like something akin to the fanciful Jabberwocky from Lewis Carroll's imagination (is it possible Mr. Carroll had seen a Phantasm?)."

"So, you're up on the entangle rules, right?"


So, this is a gorilla-snake-slug thing that is generically evil and particularly likes chilling with necromancers, because-

They're pretty tough and have high physical capabilities but aren't smart, charming, or pretty. They can climb on ceilings and have a prehensile tail but their damage is nothing to shout about. They have some minor spells and psionics, and... yeah. They like to torment people... because... I guess... the game needs generic monster #72? Ho-hum.

Checkin' out all the hottest Simvan.


A reprinted theropod from Rifts Sourcebookthat's small enough that Simvan regularly ride them. New art and nothing else worth mentioning.

Scar: Perez edition.


So, this is a mega-damage sabertoothed lion "from another world", unsurprisingly. They're just simple high-tier predators that are strong and can mainly to damage by pouncing and raking-

-seriously why come up with different mechanics, just copy-paste with slightly different numbers-

It doesn't really have a gimmick other than that they're mega-damage lions. Yep. That's all Siembieda could do with Perez's evocative art.

Psi-Ponies R.C.C.

Yep, sandwiched in the middle of the monster section is a potential PC class, because why not? These are gold-and-blond ponies with sentience and psychic powers. Well, okay, they're actually horses, but "psi-horses" doesn't alliterate.

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

Note: A Psi-Pony can also make a very unique player character for players who can stay in character and love a challenge.

Friendship is Marlboro.

So, these really... have no draw backs compared to humans, though are mainly exceptional in (both types of) endurance, strength, and speed. Surprisingly, they don't have M.D.C., so you'll need to put in for that barding DLC. However, they get some basic sensitive psychic powers, and females get healing and a telekinetic force field (of course), while males get physical powers and a psi-sword as a psychic unihorn (of course). But they don't have hands, so you'll need to get a new one. As a psychic class they're pretty terrible since they barely get anything in the way of "super" psionic powers... but they do give riders a +5% on riding them if they cooperate. Yeah, for some reason you still need to make riding rolls with a sentient being?

Not great.

Rejected Muppet?


These are extradimensional crazy mixed-up creature that run around being rambling, annoying pests and idiots and generally being monkeycheese, and once somebody lashes out they retaliate with their powers. It may be the basis of the Jabberwocky, it's said, but... it doesn't really seem to have anything in common with it other than being somewhat nonsensical. If it wasn't already annoying enough, it likes to steal magical or valuable items.

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

Like most dragons, the Phantasm keeps its treasure hoard locked safely away in a pocket dimension that only it can access...

Wait, since when do Palladium dragons do that?

They're only about 4' tall, can fly, are ugly but don't really have any exceptional attributes, but have an insanity power that can inflict a variety of madnesses as they like. They also get a variety of debuffing and movement spells, and similarly get a number of mind control and telekinetic powers.

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

Enemies: Does the average Phantasm really have any friends?
Value: Absolutely none! Best to be avoided.

So it's one of those annoyance creatures pretty much just made to troll PCs.

Which part is like a buffalo?


A rhinoesque predator reprinted from Rifts Sourcebook now given much less dynamic art. See that review if you care, it has better art there.


Another generic riding theropod like the ostrosaurus, only this one is ridden by the eandroth, a race of psychic lizardmen from Palladium Fantasy not appearing in this book. Reprinted from Rifts Conversion Book, but I have no idea why.

Scorpions and Snakes

S.D.C. creatures with S.D.C. venom. Scorpions get prowl at 95%, making them the ninjas of the arachnid world. Only really worth bringing up when one sneaks into your glitter boy in the middle of the night. Leave that hatch shut!

This raptor insists they have a soul of a cat.

Tiger Claw Raptor

As if we haven't had enough generic theropods, here's another! These are mega-damage velociraptors - the Jurassic Park sort, that is, not the actual wee ones.

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

Against large prey like Tri-Tops and Duckbilled dinosaurs, 3-6 will leap on the back while one or two will strike at the legs, throat and underbelly. A pack of 10-16 have been known to bring down a Duckbill in less than two minutes, a buffalo, horse, or Desert Sleeper in 30 seconds, and even take down a Rhino-Buffalo or Tri-Tops within 8-10 minutes!

It took me 4-6 seconds to read these useless numbers!

So, they're light M.D.C. creatures designed to die in droves, and are exceptional physically but in no other day. And, like that one fake dino from Jurassic Park, they have poison spit they can use to blind people (but there are no rules for the effect it has). They fear magic and generally will go fight-or-flight when confronted with it, and avoid ley line storms. Slightly less generic! That's... okay, I'm still really bored of this. Help! I'm trapped in a monster section and I still have eight pages left! Help!

Excerpted from The Mist, I think.

Tree Spiders

See, they're not in trees, but rather, their legs are large enough that they look like trees. Also, they aren't really spiders, but some rift-spawned monster that uses tentacles to snatch critters off the ground for sky-high munching.

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

Because these entangling attacks come from above, prey are usually caught by surprise.

I would think the giant bug legs would be a tip-off. They're 150' tall bue for some reason still within human strength range, have about a dragon hatchling's toughness, and have Prowl 70% despite being 150 feet tall. They don't actually have any rules to grapple people with, in any case.

It's a great visual but the actual writeup is

Triceratops + Styracosaurus = well, this!


A triceratops analogue with mega-damage. It's pretty damn tough, and has a similar ram to the mammoth brontodon, only it does slightly less damage and only breaks 1d4 ribs. So if you want to stop glitter boys, get some triceratops. Their hide is used for mega-damage stuff and some simvan and psi-stalkers ride them, you know the drill by now.

This book really needed a "generic dino" writeup and then could have saved a ton of space just by noting the differences from the norm.

Just your usual gang of Turoks.

Tyrannosaurus Rex

Yes, they're mega-damage now, down to their 40 M.D.C. "useless" forearms. They have a high M.D.C. rating around that of a glitter boy, can smell blooood, and have decently high damage (around 50 mega-damge per chomp). Another damage-spongey dino and pretty much what you'd expect from that, just with some of the highest damage-taking and damage-dealing this time around.


Whisker Coyote

These are coyote-like creatures but with tentacle faces, and are companions for the fennodi. Despite looking like a terrier fucked a squid, they have an average beauty of 13, higher than humans. They also have exceptional affinity, physical endurance, and speed, and most of their attributes are pretty impressive. However, they're just S.D.C. creatures, so you better fit them with enchanted doggie sweaters if you want them to live. They have a variety of sensitive magic powers and can sense magic like dog boys do, but are immune to the animal control powers of the simvan and psi-stalkers because-

Siembieda loves dogs and wants them to be awesome dog companions for fennodi buuut given their S.D.C. nature chances are you'll be reenacting Old Yeller Abridged unless you knit them a mega-sweater.

The early worm gets the gun?

Worm Wraith

This is a colony of worms that take on human form, and some suspect they're extensions or creations of an alien intelligence (or intelligences). Why do they take on human form and don dusters and ten-gallon hats?

However, it's not a mystery that they go around just finding ways to murder as many people as possible either through ambush or by causing disasters. They often seem to work in coordinated groups but don't make any noise other than a occasional hissing sound. They like going around with guns because it's in their art.

They have exceptional strength, prowess, and endurance, but low beauty, of course. They're slightly tougher than most armored humans, can detach worms to go around as spies, regenerate as long as one worm survives to divide back back into enough worms to make up the original (no food required, I guess), get some really random spells (turn dead? breath without air?) and have some sensitive psychic powers (and the ability to communicate with other worm wraiths. They get a skill package and combat leveling as if they were a PC class, though they really aren't. They're almost an interesting mystery, at least, but it's up to GMs to flesh them out into something with actual answers behind it.

And that's it for the critter compendium here. It just repeats so much - say what you want about the old Monster Manuals, there was at least more of an attempt to provide varying threats, whereas most of the animals here are just variations on "generic claw / bite predator" or "ramming herd animal".

Next: It's gun o'clock.

"I'd like to address (again) a few burning questions which I'm asked by Rifts® and Mechanoids® fans all the time."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 14: New West: Part 18: "I'd like to address (again) a few burning questions which I'm asked by Rifts® and Mechanoids® fans all the time."

Mechanoids... fans?

Bandito Arms

So, this is the arms manufacturing end of the Black Market, which in Rifts is turning out to use less as a generic term and more like another name for an organized crime group - at least in North America. It notes that the Coalition actively goes after Bandito Arms mainly because they often deal in stolen Coalition arms and have actively created knock-off versions of Coalition weapons. However, the Coalition hasn't found their central location, which as mentioned earlier, is good ol' Area 51. They also deal in a lot of good from other manufacturers, either bought in bulk, manufactured as knock-offs, or stolen, including rarer manufacturers like Triax or Naruni (at a huge mark-up). Once again, we get a finger-wagging by Siembieda for half a page about how lasers are silent), but I've already gone over this bit twice and I don't need to do it again. Check the review of Rifts World Book 8: Japan for an extended discussion of his odd claims.

On to the guns! Though I don't reproduce all the weapon art, most of these are supposed to have a more Western look, which goes with all the fashionable spurs and leather vests.

This book will have a lot of "mega-damage weapon designed to look like a real gun!" shenanigans going on.
Now conveniently numbered!

Wow, had a lot to say compared to the usual weapons section because the guns are so shit this time around, mainly because kinetic weapons are usually punished uneccessarily (unless it's a boom gun) in this game. About the best you could do is outfit the party with BigBores and try and stunlock foes by bouncing them around, but given you're either going to be fighting A) a gang of human-sized foes or B) a big monster, it's not a particularly useful tactic.

Could just be painted white with "generic" on them, really.

Bandito Body Armor

So, it notes that Bandito does knock-offs of old-style Coalition armor, which apparently has the Coalition in a tizzy. Kind of funny that the Coalition can't take them down given they managed to stop an entire multidimensional company from setting up arms trading in North America, but I guess the Bandito have favoritism armor the Naruni didn't. But they also make their own armor, listed below. I can't recall if I've previously mentioned, but now body armor has hit locations, which is advantageous for PCs looking to score sweet headshots, and also killer GMs looking to score sweet headshots. It's also bad news for PCs if your GM is using one of those random hit location charts, but good news if you're looking for an excuse to buy some new bionic limbs.Northern Gun Armor

Left to right: Maverick, Vaqueros, Range Rider, Buffalo.

Suddenly switching manufacturers, the Michiganeers at Northern Gun are trying to profit off the western craze with armor that has "a western or Spanish look".Bandito Power Armor

So, it turns out that, as revealed in Japan, that the SAMAS is based on a pre-rifts design, which Bandito Arms unearthed at Area 51. For awhile, they didn't dare build any because they were afraid of the Coalition, and then... well, I guess they stopped being afraid. Almost everybody presumes they're knockoffs of Coalition SAMAS, and Bandito keeps their real source of the technology under wraps. However, the Coalition has responded by making the use or possession of a Bandito-designed SAMAS as a crime punishable by immediate execution. However, in the western territories far from the Coalition States, most people don't know or don't give a rat's ass. However, sales have been tough because-

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

The main reasons sales are so low in the Western Wilderness is because most people don't know how to pilot power armor, can't afford the armor even if they could pilot them, and because the majority of people are into the retro-look and technology of the Old American West — the SAMAS are too "new fangled" or "Eastern flyin' junkpiles, you should try sellin' em to the Coalition States. I betcha they'd love em.

ayup lemme spit into my spittoon and spin some yarns for you about how it's better to have just a lovely horse and the great outdoors than a murderous gunship killing all i see before me I tell you what for that sounds like chincy shit for a pussy city slicker who ain't man enough to shit in his own shorts and fuck a horse oh wait i said too much durn


Bandito "Sidewinder" SAMAS

This is based on a SAMAS prototype called the "VT-SAMAS", where "VT" stands for "vectored thrust" which was cutting edge!... in the 19 fucking 60s, but is still somehow a big deal with the 20 fucking 70s. This is supposed to make it the super-agile dogfighter of the world of flying power armor, but given it loses a huge chunk of M.D.C., it's a bit of a joke. 10% extra chance to dodge doesn't balance out a 25% loss in M.D.C.

Issues aside, it can jet around at 250 MPH, has mini-missiles, crappy lasers, and is supposed to carry either a Bandit 6000 Grenade Launcher (crap) or a C-40R rail gun (less crap). It gets a tiny bonus (+1 or +2) to initiative, parry, and dodge, and to get all that it requires that pilot have at least a physical endurance of 16 and a prowess of 15. And they also have to specifically have Elite Robot Combat: SAMAS - the basic robot combat skills won't do. Seriously.

Basically Bandito Arms makes trash. Or rather, Siembieda writes bad mechanics that make Bandito Arms' technology trash. I guess if you don't have skulls, you don't get the love.


Wild Weasel SAMAS

Ah, I see they're using Vietnam-era military slang. Makes sense! So, this is supposed to a scout and perform electronic counter-measures to assist other SAMAS models. This does have actual mechanics where the pilot has to roll under their Weapon Systems or Electronic Counter-Measures skill for each missile fire, and if successful, the missile gets -7 to hit. However, you have to roll for each missile in a volley, so if somebody fires 16 missiles, you have to roll 16 times. Mind, one volley only uses one to-hit roll, so I guess that modifies that single roll? It's unclear, as many rules are in Rifts. It also gets a flat 2-out-of-3 chance to jam enemy transmissions, regardless of the pilot's actual skill level.

It's the toughest SAMAS around, and jets around at 220 MPH, and in addition to missile interference and jamming, it can also give a targeting uplink bonus that gives up to 24 allies within 50 miles (?!) a small +1 bonus on initiative and dodges. It gets even better defensive bonuses than the Sidewinder with the same requirements for the pilot, plus the pilot has to have the following skills to operate the ECM suite: Basic Electronics, Weapon Systems, and Electronic Countermeasures. Alternately, instead of ECM, they can have Read Sensory Instruments and Radio: Scrambler. Oh, and the specific Robot Combat skill for SAMAS again.

Okay, maybe the horse-fucking cowboy had a point about this being too new-fangled for most folks - I'm not sure why Bandito focuses on models that even most trained SAMAS pilots won't be able to use! It's weird. It's noted that the Coalition would love the Wild Weasel if A) they knew about it and B) they could manage to get their hands on an intact one to reverse-engineer. Well, it's a "Story Note" that will be largely forgotten.

Next: Free range cyborgs.

"When a Super Slinger comes to town, one word comes to mind...Duck!."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 14: New West: Part 19: "When a Super Slinger comes to town, one word comes to mind...Duck!."


Yes, because this is the west, we need to have special Western cyborgs. A lot of this is to expand the mining 'borg's arsenal, in case you want to play out the exciting adventures of digging tunnels and shafts. Alternately, we get cyber-gunslingers, because of course we do.

New Cybernetics

So, get exciting new items like a built-in flashlight, an acid spray to clean ores, a laser hand, a shovel hand, a big monster claw, an... air blaster, drills, torches, and picks. Alternately, there's stuff like water jets, customized paint and features (before you could just describe your cyborg however, now you have to pay), quick-draw spring holsters, stabilizing anchors (like a glitter boy), or a western wilderness kit with the following:

Rifts New West 14: New West posted:

Pocket tool kit
20 feet (6 m) of wire
12 Rubber Bands
6 Safety Pins
6 Sewing Needles and a spool of thread
Fishing line and hooks
Pocket Mirror
6 hand flares
Pocket Knife Bottle of Aspirin (50 tablets)
Laser Scalpel
Cigarette Lighter
Small Flashlight
Small Silver Cross
1 IRMSS kit
1 RMK kit
One week's dried food rations.

Rifts New West 14: New West posted:

Cost: 75,000 credits

And yeah, the list price for the IRMSS (Internal Robot Medical Surgeon System) and the RMK (Robot Medical Kit) is 66,000, but that means you're still paying 9,000 credits for shit like rubber bands and sewing needles. Maybe the laser scalpel costs 9,000? Maybe?

New West Cyborgs

So, this is the "cyberslinger" series of cyborgs that are produced by oh the book doesn't really care, it says that Northern Gun and Bandito Arms both make them and both accuse each other of stealing the designs. But who's right?

These are all full conversions because nobody much cares about partial conversions, and apparently it's not unusual to get one of these bodies provided for 10-15 years of indentured service to a community or organization. (You still start at 1st level, though, clever players.) They're available to anybody who takes the 'Borg class.

Check out that cyber-butt...

"The Kid"

This is a light cyborg for the vain, since it provides a convincing replica of one's original face and hands. The main cost, though, is in the fact that you aren't very tough or strong for a cyborg, but you get a variety of cyborg features from super-senses to a grappling hook to leg holsters (hope you get specially fitted pants). Also you can go for 90 MPH slo-mo jogs.

... and cyber-boobs...

"Super Slinger" Cyborg

Essentially a four-armed upgrade to "The Kid" with a bit more durability, this lets you fire all four weapons at once... but it takes up two actions. So not as much of an upgrade as you'd expect, though I guess you could go nova on normal foes with the right weapons. Also has vibro-sabres in two of the arms. Which ones? That's a mystery, folks!

... and cyber... is that a gun in those holsters? "Sure, sounds legit."

"Gringo" Cyborg

Classy name.

This is more of a traditional 9' mega-murder 'borg with an ion cannon in the chest, missiles on each shoulder (don't tilt your head while firing), and vibro-sabres in the arms. It's relatively tough if armored and the missiles can do some real damage, but all of its other weapons are crummy. Only runs at 60 MPH in slo-mo. Boring but relatively effective.

Next: Beast Machines.

"The vehicle is deliberately made to resemble a giant spider to frighten potential humanoid and animal antagonists — plus it looks cool (and cool always sells)."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 14: New West: Part 20: "The vehicle is deliberately made to resemble a giant spider to frighten potential humanoid and animal antagonists — plus it looks cool (and cool always sells)."

Robots & Vehicles

Just like its natural counterpart, the robot spider defends itself with mini-missiles.

The Tarantula ATV

This is a car-sized robot designed to look like a giant spider. Originally built by Bandito Arms as the Bandito Tarantula, Northern Gun has a knock-off version called the NG Spider. Apparently, vehicles designed to look like giant spiders are hot stuff, even though I'd think it'd get you shot at unnecessarily because you look like a giant spider.

Its M.D.C. isn't hot for a vehicle, but it has a decent pair of rail guns in front, middling ion guns in the ass, and mini-missiles from the top ("concealed" to justify them not being in the art). Apparently it moves silently and has IR and radar dampening, so it can stealth around except for the fact that you look like a giant spider. I'm sure nobody will see your 14' spider coming.

Robot Horses

Though giving a passing statblock in Vampire Kingdoms, after books mentioning them over and over, we finally get rules for robot horsies. Because people in the west apparently love horses in an impure manner, they're real popular... for people that can afford them. They can be given complex commands, have friends encoded, be programmed to shoot at known hostile species (if armed), coded to only let certain people ride it, and be given voice recognition and feedback for... Google, what is the overestimated future cost of a talking horse?

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

... an extra 100,000 credits...

Well, don't throw out your smartphone. There are other features, like extra armor, chemical spray (acid neeiiiigh), concealed weapon "rod" (we know what you're talking about, Siembieda), head lasers, light machinegun, or mini-missiles. Most of the weapons are trash except for the mini-missiles or the weapon rods that do not make me think of other rods horses might conceal.

it's a dick joke

Draw real horse, call it a robot... you know the deal by now.

Appaloosa or Pony

It's yours, if not little. Designed for "female riders, children, and small D-bees". Has modest M.D.C. and runs at 75 M.P.H., and is strong as a... well, horse. Gets a bonus to dodging while running. Has a beauty of 15 if you get the fur coating, in case you needed to know. (This has no effect on anything except your dreams.)

Engage trot speed.

Mustang or Pinto

Like above, but a bit tougher, goes 100 MPH, and costs more. Presumably too much horse for a girl to ride. Beauty is only 14 with the fur covering. Well, the ponies have booty marks, so that explains that.

No riders, no masters.


Like the mustang, but goes 120 MPH, and costs even more. Horse beautywatch is at 17, so it can charm/impress people, and can probably do it with dulcet robot tones if you've ponied up your 100K for chatterbox software.

get it

ponied up

War Horse

This is a Clydesdale-style horse that's apparently common amongst cyber-knights and the 1st Apocalyptic Cavalry who apparently somehow can earn 6.1 million to spend on a robot horse despite the dearth of income from either group. It's much tougher and stronger than the others, but only goes 75 MPH. The guy at the bar who's really into robot horses gives it a 7 (that's a beauty of 14 in Palladium terms).

The Terminatorrier.

Bandit K-9 Companion

So, this is designed to act like a real dog, only this one actually obeys your commands. It can do more complex orders, howl around enemies, and can chat for that 100K surcharge. They can get a lot of the same options horses can except some of the heavier weapons. The have relatively light M.D.C., run at 40 MPH, and get a tracking program to use with the molecular analyzer. Truly, man's best realdog.

For all the shit this thing gets in the text, it looks like a blast.

Bronco Scooter

Also known as a "hobby horse", this is a hovercycle with a horse-styled set of handlebars. "Despite this, the Bronco Scooter is incredibly popular, especially among Greenhorns, City Slickers and would-be cowboys." Remember, robot horses are legit, but a hovercycle with a horse head - that's a step too far, pardner! It doesn't have much M.D.C., but you can pay extra for a bit of extra armor. It can go at 190 MPH, though, leaving all those robot horses in the dust and flying over buildings. Damn your city contraptions and their inexplicable effectiveness!

Cavalry War Wagon

A knock-off of the Coalition "Scarab" hover car, but with a completely redesigned exterior, a large ram prow, and a rail gun in a cupola. (That's a small person-manned turret.) Popular with large organizations like the "1st Cavalry Justice Rangers", in a confused turn of phrase that mixes up the Apocalyptic Cavalry and the Justice Rangers. Funny, that. It's not very durable for something it's size, and has weak lasers up front, mini-missiles on the side, and a weak rail gun. But it can go 200 MPH and get away from everybody on horses, robo or no.

Next: Really wilking those guns.

"However, there is a 01-65% likelihood that the round will explode in the gun and inflict double damage to the shooter (roll for each shot/attempt) — this is a good way to lose fingers or a hand."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 14: New West: Part 21: "However, there is a 01-65% likelihood that the round will explode in the gun and inflict double damage to the shooter (roll for each shot/attempt) — this is a good way to lose fingers or a hand."

Wilk's Laser Technologies
By Kevin Siembieda with ideas and additional text by Chris Kornmann

Shit. Glad I'll be giving up doing this type of gun coverage soon. So this is another list of worthless guns. This time they're by Wilk's, who's always been an oft-cited laser company, but only had a few weapons in the corebook and the first Rifts Sourcebook. Well, we get look at their larger product line, and guess what?

It's a long list of garbage.

This is mainly because for some reason Siembieda values range as a balancing factor in weaponry except... range isn't really something that's a big deal in most Palladium fights. Lasers are low-damage, but high-range. The game has no range modifiers, so if you're beyond the maximum range of a target, you can shoot them, if you're not beyond it, you can't shoot them. So unless you're having sniper duels at a quarter-mile or trying to plug high-flying aircraft, Wilk's weapons don't have any inherent advantage. So when I rag on them in just a bit, that's why.

So, joining the ranks of pre-rifts survivors, it turns out Wilk's was a company founded before the cataclysm by a "John Harrington Wilk" who got his start making medical lasers, rangefinders, laser sights, etc. Apparently, this was a trillion-dollar industry and he became a genius billionaire in the 2070s despite everything being described being old hat by the 1980s. I guess they were really, really good laser rangefinders?

So when the cataclysm came, Wilk's had a factory in South Dakota that survived largely intact or... was abandoned or something? Coinkadinkally, Wallace John Wilk, post-rifts descendant of John Harrington Wilk, rediscovered the base "as fate would have it". By taking out a loan from Tolkeen, they were able to rebuild the factory and keep their business secret until they started actually started mass-producing guns several decades ago. Northern Gun immediately took to making inferior copies (that look different, somehow, but how is not mentioned). It notes that Wilk's has always focused on civilian applications of lasers, but hahahaha like that'll get covered much, time for some guns!

Most Wilk's weapons are essentially permutations on the SEGA Zapper, for the record.

Wilk's Laser WeaponsWilk's-Remi Firearms
High-Tech Laser Weapons with Old West Styling

So, because Westerners love their old-timey Cracker Barrel Pepperidge Farm weapons, Wilk's makes laser weapons that look like faux-revolvers and Winchester rifles, yeehaw.

Just drawin' real guns now.
Over a dozen pictures of real guns.

We also have the Wilk's Beehive Grenade, which is a grenade that shoots lasers in all directions. It has a weird mechanic where it does more damage the larger a target is, making it... less shit when using it against giant robots, but not great. There's the Wilk's Blinder Grenade that gives a horrible combat debuff for 15-60 seconds with no save, and even bypasses light-shielding mechanisms and blows out cameras... but Lyn-Syral are specifically immune. Sure. There's a Wilk's Laser Knife that projects a "stable laser field". It does more damage than vibro-knives but you can't parry with it (no lightsaber effect). There's a Wilk's Laser Cane, for those who want to do shit damage in style. There's a Laser Torch, Laser Wand, Laser Scalpel, and the PC-2020 Laser Holographic Portable Computer which are all reprints from earlier books as far as I'm aware.

Conventional Revolvers

This section is for S.D.C. pistols, and is only really of use for psi-slingers to use their ability to convert S.D.C. pistols to to M.D.C. weapons. In case if you're wondering if this makes those weapons particularly great, it doesn't. It makes them useable, at best, but given damage caps at around 3d6 or 5d6 with no automatic fire, you're better off with a (good) laser weapon.

I've already typed too much, we can move on to page 212.

CFT Experimental Weapons

Now, we've had:But that weren't enough. No. Why would it be? So, we have Wilk's creating a special technology that uses special one-shot energy cartridges that fire lasers out of a barrel so you can fire lasers out of an otherwise just reinforced revolver.

They put it out under the CFT brand in case it was a big flop, but it turns out Rifts westerners love their Hee Haw fuckin' rodeo guns, because of course they do.

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

CFT weapons have four notable disadvantages, most of which don't seem to bother the users of these popular weapons...

Of course they don't, because old Western films apparently caused meme trauma for these half-assed Revolver Ocelots. Of course, they have a limited ammo capacity, require you to reload chambers because that's a great idea in the face of belt-fed skull-faced hyper-tech Nazis, have an artificial "kick"-

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

- something that many Westerners like (it keeps with tradition and has the look and feel of a real S.D.C. six-shooter but with mega-damage power).

Ah, the "tradition" of not being able to aim your shit because your old-time Bonanza garbage kicks all over the place because there's a fake mechanism to make it feel like a "real" gun. Brilliant. Fucking brilliant. You can try and fire these cartridges out of a regular revolver, but have a 65% chance of having the gun blow up and firing more than two rounds a minute will melt the gun. So don't do that.

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

The CFT weapons are not illustrated because they look like the classic Colt revolvers of the old west and similar to those already shown.

All of them do shit for damage, in case you're actually wondering. It's worth noting that since each revolver shot counts as an attack, your average gunfighter is only going to be able to fire off a round every 2 or 3 seconds, so forget fan-firing shit or "It's Hiiiigh Noon", McCrees. Also, it takes a full round (15 seconds) to reload a revolver, or half your attacks if you're a gunfighter, lawman, gunslinger, or bounty hunter. (Psi-slingers and their ordinary revolvers can get fucked, apparently.)

It's just tons of drawings of real revolvers even gun nuts might struggle to tell apart.

There's the CFT "Peacebringer" that looks like a Colt .45 "Peacemaker". The CFT "1886er" looks like an Army Colt .45 "Hog Leg". The CFT "Auto-Shoote"r looks like a M1911A1. The CFT "Cavalryman" which looks like a Spencer rifle. Lastly, there's the CFT "Rangemaster" that looks like a Winchester Model 1876[/i].

Whew. That has got to be all the old faux rootin-tootin cowboy bang bang yeeeehaw, right?

Next: Nope, fuck, there's more.

"Also note that after 80% of the M.D.C. has been depleted, there is a 01-50% chance that the Baal-rogs can break loose and escape, rendering the Ironhorse without power and severely damaged (4D6 weeks of repair at a cost of 1D4xl0 million credits)."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 14: New West: Part 22: "Also note that after 80% of the M.D.C. has been depleted, there is a 01-50% chance that the Baal-rogs can break loose and escape, rendering the Ironhorse without power and severely damaged (4D6 weeks of repair at a cost of 1D4xl0 million credits)."

Shoots hellfire? '90s Johnny Blaze remembers!


"TW" standing for "Techno-Wizard", worth mentioning because their guns don't show up too often. But guess what these guns look like? Fuckin' guess! Guess you no good yellow-bellied-

You know, I'm fine with westerns and cowboys, for the record. I liked pre-crazy Eastwood and Blazing Saddles and Doomtown and lots of Western stuff besides. It's cool. The reason this bugs me is that it's ham-handed and not given any interesting hooks or justification. People decided to emulate Westerns... because. It's just lazy.

My tangents aside for just a bit, these magicky bits manufactured around the Colorado Baronies or Tolkeen. It turns out the Coalition States apparently makes techno-wizard so illegal they're allowed to shoot you on the spot for possession. Seems like planting techno-wizard devices on people would be an interesting way to assassinate Coalition officials... "For possession of a magical squirt gun, the sentence is... death!" "Nooo!"

This real gun shoots lightning now!

On to the guns. Again.

Perez's art is probably the biggest highlight of this book.

Glittermount Magical Horse

So this is a techno-magical construct that acts like a horse, but-

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

In any bright light the horse glitters in an array of brilliant colors. As the horse begins to gallop a stream of glittering magical residue is left behind, like a semitransparent stream of sparkling fireworks or a gossamer rainbow. Nobody really knows the reason for the glittering residue (a side effect?), but it adds to the horse's mystical beauty.

Tell us more about your rainbow magical horses, Siembieda. They can fly while on ley lines, regenerate damage, see in the dark, and magically boud with an owner for life (and sometimes beyond, like those sad abandoned dog stories). They can cast a few spells. A tectonic entity is bound into the armor to animate it, and-

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

Note that the tectonic entity inside the mechanical construct does not consider itself enslaved or abused and enjoys its life as part of the TW mechanical horse.


Well, it's convenient, at least. They have modest M.D.C., run up to 80 MPH, are pretty strong, and can shoot magical energy from their eyes for damage that's... yeah, don't worry about that. Techno-wizard tech seems to generally do awful damage. I guess it's just too enlightened to be effective.

"Look, demons are an eco-friendly power source!"

The TW Ironhorse

Not an actual horse. Instead, this is a Tolkeen-designed, magical, hovering train that can ride ley lines using the power of the ley lines and "the rage of three Baal-rog demons locked inside the engine". Or, alternately, you can use a lesser air and fire elemental instead, which seems like a better idea because-

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

... these creatures, linked to the Ironhorse and able to move as the train, don't usually feel enslaved or imprisoned!


Well, it's convenient, at least. They can also open rifts at ley line nexuses to warp to another one within 300 miles, but there's a risk of alien forces carrying it to another world or location. However, we're told there's a "less than 1%" chance, but that's not a chance I'd take with an airliner or a car... but nonetheless we're told that it's the "safest, most practical, and most desirable means of travel". With that in mind, the Coalition will will shoot this thing on sight as an abomination of magic.

Unlike a normal train, it can manuever and fly up to 1000 feet in the air, and ley line storms or ambushes at ley line nexuses can be an issue. Despite its size, it only has around 640 M.D.C. for the locomotive and around 100 M.D.C. for each other car, which... is... one boom gun away from a lost train? It notes that if you blow up the engine the demons housed will attempt to revenge themselves on the train's operators. If it's elementals, they just go berserk for unstated reasons, despite not having felt "enslaved". Seems legit. It can shoot fireballs from the "eyes... or the mouth" for passable damage. It often has rail guns, lasers, or missiles added onto the locomotive but no actual stats, so make that up, GMs! It's a neat idea, but it's mechanically hinky. Also it's vulnerable to millennium tree weapons for really unclear reasons (because demons, except maybe not?) in case you want to beat on it with a sharpened stick.

Experience Tables

And that's it for the book! We get some weirdness on the experience tables - NPC-only monster types like the Dream Snake, Phantasm, and Worm Wraith get charts for some reason. The 1st Apocalyptic Cavalry gets a XP chart for some reason, even though they don't have a class (I suspect at one point the Justice Ranger and the Apocalyptic Cavalry were the same and might have been split into two groups, once again). There's also an XP chart for a "Professional Thief & Smuggler" class which doesn't exist in this book.



There's some neat nuggets in this book - like individually, stuff like the Psi-Slinger, Cactus People, the Colorado Baronies, or techno-wizard train is neat. But there's no connective tissue making it all hold together. We're just expected to presume people just rewatched Shane and Bonanza and Marlboro ads after the apocalypse on nonstop loop and decided they were going to live their lives that way. I mean, you could do interesting stuff like maybe some kind of charismatic leader that modeled himself after a western hero, or maybe a time-tossed cowboy like the Sundance Kid in Lone Star. Maybe the Naruni visited in the past and modeled products after their last visit but they're a few centuries behind - these are just some possible justifications I just thought of in a minute! But no, Siembieda's answer is:


Well, saddle up, you poor bastards, because we're not done with the west. Oh sure, we're done with the New West, but it's time for the conclusion of the "Western Trilogy" of Rifts books, which is:

Rifts World Book 14: New West posted:

Also from Palladium Books®

Rifts® Spirit West™

While the White Man wars with D-bees, sorcerers, and his brothers in the East, the Red Man is quietly building new nations in the west and walking with ancient gods.

Next: uuuuuungh so let me tell you about spirit west