1 "Pre-Rifts Canada was covered in over 234,800 miles (375,680 km) of roadway, including the 4,888 mile (7,821 km) Trans-Canada Highway, and 39,972 miles (63,955 km) of rail."
3 "In the most extreme cases the victim may actually lose extremities (typically amputated to prevent gangrenous infection): toes (reduce speed by 30%, -20 to all skills requiring balance), fingers (-10% to skill performance and takes 50% longer to perform properly), nose (reduce P.B. by 50%), or ears (reduce P.B. by 10%), sometimes even a hand, arm or leg."
4 "Moreover, he does not ask questions when somebody walks in off the street with a bionic limb or organ still moist with blood or attached to a dead body or body part."
5 "Fowlerville is the epitome of the two-robot town."
6 "They now speculate that the immediate danger of the Mechanoids had gotten mixed and confused with the Xiticix, and now that the Mechanoid threat seems to have gone, they recognize it is the bug men who threaten life in North America, if not the world."
7 "Travelers not paying attention can ride through the Veil and into another dimension without realizing it until hours later; probably when it is too late to turn back."
8 "A long warning will be something like, 'There's gonna be a lot of dying in the next few minutes. If you're smart you'll get out right now, and find someplace safe. And don't try to stop us.'."
9 "Most Grackle Tooth enjoy roughhousing, exploration, cow punching and combat."
10 "When forced to stay in a city or large town, the demure woodland creature will become tense, irritable, and likely fall into deep depression (reduce all attacks, bonuses, and skills by half unless escaping the place), or becomes obsessed with escaping the madness, deserting friends and allies, and doing whatever it takes to get away."
11 "Ogopogo is seen each year, but now by white men!"
12 "After the visitor has left, the child will be beaten and quite possibly killed and eaten (01-50% chance)."
13 "Only around 20% are "Renegades" who acknowledge their native heritage but who embrace the ways and technology of the White Man."
14 "Cost: Only the Tundra Rangers have it and they aren't selling."

"Pre-Rifts Canada was covered in over 234,800 miles (375,680 km) of roadway, including the 4,888 mile (7,821 km) Trans-Canada Highway, and 39,972 miles (63,955 km) of rail."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 20: Canada posted:


Oh, uh, just a little heads up.

Rifts World Book 20: Canada posted:

Violence and the Supernatural

There might be some people getting hurt for reasons they didn't deserve it, and if you don't like the occult, well, we got that too. So you may want to steer clear.

Rifts World Book 20: Canada posted:

The fictional World of Rifts® is violent, deadly and filled with supernatural monsters. Other dimensional beings often referred to as "demons," torment, stalk and prey on humans. Other alien life forms, monsters, gods and demigods, as well as magic, insanity, and war are all elements in this book.

I just wanted to apologize and say sorry for all the things trying to kill you in here, and there might be a lot of other bad things happening too. Oh, and a touch of the occult, if that bothers you.

Rifts World Book 20: Canada posted:

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

I also want to give a word out to adults to maybe snatch this up before the kids see it. Take a look first, make sure there might not be anything traumatizing in here, like the occult.

Rifts World Book 20: Canada 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.

We don't really like any of this kind of thing, despite the fact that we have written literally thousands of pages on it. Honestly, it's just awful. I'm not quite sure what we're doing. Sorry.

Rifts World Book 20: Canada, Part 1 - "Pre-Rifts Canada was covered in over 234,800 miles (375,680 km) of roadway, including the 4,888 mile (7,821 km) Trans-Canada Highway, and 39,972 miles (63,955 km) of rail."

Hey, this is Eric Thompson, and I'm so glad to have written this, I'd like to dedicate this to my bros and my English teacher and my Uncle and-

Rifts World Book 20: Canada posted:

Continuing thanks to Kevin and Maryann again for putting up with me, my typos, and my continued quest for perfection on my first complete work for Palladium. Though I fell well short of Kevin's expectations, I feel I did my job well. However, I did succumb to my own enthusiasm at times and my work suffered because of it. But I've learned quite a bit in this short time and since the completion of this project. I hope to turn all of what I have learned, and will learn, into a steady stream of excellent work. To all: Domo Arigato

Eric Thompson, 1998/1999, (a.k.a. JJFuzz)

Rifts World Book 20: Canada posted:

Special Thanks to Eric Thompson for his hard work, understanding and cooperation on this project, he has a lot of heart.

[Other thanks snipped.]

— Kevin Siembieda, 1999

It happens to us all, doesn't it?

You're there, at GenCon or Origins or at your local soda fountain, when an eager fan comes up to you. "Why, Mr. Designer, gosh, I love your world of skulls and robos!", he says, stars in his eyes. Yes, he's willing to work for peanuts, and he has some neat ideas about Japanese headhunters who use rad techno-psychic powers. You nod to yourself sagely. You can entrust a small chunk of your world, your setting, your creation to this young sprout. You are a kind game designer. This will go well.

But then- DISASTER!

Why, it turns out the eager fan wasn't that great at writing at all! You'd been hoodwinked by his enthusiasm! Infected with his terrible, deceptive glee. And you did agree to pay him those peanuts. But you can't release a book like this - it will not do. But no mere game designer can handle this, it's time for...


Yes, only THE MACHINE can handle this, and completely rewrite the manuscript! Evil may rise up, evil may try to inflict a substandard vision of your setting, but THE MACHINE is there to save the day! Running a company, negotiating a deal for a movie with Bruckheimer, THE MACHINE can handle it all!

For a moment, however, weakness threatens. "I should give that fan a co-writer credit on the cover.", you muse, but THE MACHINE knows better. Why, wasn't that fan just there to inspire you to create another great work? It wasn't their writing that was special, it was their heart. So you scratch out that co-writing credit and write the truth:

"Additional text & concepts: That Fan With Some Real Heart."

Yes. Another grand work of RPG wizardry saved by THE MACHINE!

Note these guys have a Coalition-style logo on their maple leaves. They will turn out to vigorously anti-Coalition later on. Whups!

Rifts World Book 20: Canada posted:

Hey, you kids are going to like this, eh?

In any case, Siembieda is delighted to get to write another book that Thompson was going to write at some point and at this point we're past pattern and past habit and into downright "solicit and slay" addiction when it comes to him having manuscripts written and ripping out their heart to add to his game writing power. Maybe I'm being horribly overwrought, but man, it's getting old. But it's okay, because Siembieda is glad to write a book about Canada. I mean, he's from Michigan! That's like being Canadianish! So he's glad to make it live. In fact, he's got plans for more Canada books like-

Rifts World Book 20: Canada posted:

The next book in the Rifts® Canada series will be Free Quebec™, in stores in the Fall of 1999. It will take a closer look at the State of Free Quebec, its war with the Coalition States, its legion of Glitter Boys and other war machines, plus the people, powers, and places of that region.

Yep, that'll be World Book 22! It runs a little later than that, though... later than World Book 23, in fact...

Rifts World Book 20: Canada posted:

Other Rifts® titles set in Canada will eventually include Lazlo, The Calgary Rift, Iron Heart, and The Windsor-Detroit Region, among others. At least one of these titles should see print in the year 2000.

Nope, nope, nope, nope, and... nope. I know three strikes is an out, but what does five strikes get you? Mega-Out? None of these books ever came out in the nearly two decades since their solicitation here. Well, he may not be batting a run, but Siembieda certainly is certainly scoring a running of the mouth during this period. Two years ago I heard from a Palladium employee that I should be hearing about Lazlo within the year. Nope!

Maybe I'm being a bit too harsh, Siembieda has gotten better about not soliciting 1001 books in every issue of The Rifter. But at the time? Oh, man, his dreams ran way ahead of his hands.

The robot not appearing in this book.

A Bit of Rifts History
By Eric Thompson & Kevin Siembieda

And now, a book report on Canada. Did you know that Canada has ten provinces and has 234,800 miles of road? Truly, Canada is a big place. It has the St. Lawrence Seaway which is named after St. Lawrence and there are over thirty international ports that see all kinds of ships like maybe pirate ships but probably not it's probably just boring ships. And-

This is the kind of thing we did before Wikipedia.

Granted the numbers are a little different because they're supposed to be 2080 A.D. numbers. While other nations worked on Glitter Boys, Juicers, and psychic catgirls, pre-rifts Canada was focused largely on alternative energies and nuclear power. They also worked on trying to find ways to farm in inhospitable locations like mines or space. And also they produced zinc and uranium and potash and also tobacco and I am a student totally worth an A+, a Canadian once said that to me did you know that, it's true! The rifts happened and the literal rising tide annihilated a lot of their coastal cities (lake or sea). But new city-states arose, like Iron Heart (a near-forgotten Coalition State), Free Quebec (a metaplot-relevant Coalition State), Lazlo (that place that's really needed its own book all this time), Ishpeming (aka Northern Gun, makes robos), and Manistique Imperium (they also make robos but mainly worse robos than Northern Gun). All this makes them the technological "center" of the Americas, if not necessarily the top - there are still communities like Chi-Town that have a higher overall technology level.

The only chill people in the Rifts setting.

We're told things are "like the Old West" or "have a New West feel" which is a clumsy way of just saying "frontier". Like many other Rifts locales, communities are a mix of rustic log cabins and scavved laserguns. Roads and trails are slowly being reestablished, and there are even some rail lines (or ley line travel). While D-Bees are generally accepted, prejudice is a very real issue in some towns or Coalition communities. In addition, people tend to be wary of outsiders because threats abound. All stuff we're really familiar with at this point. Most are democratic, most have a "lawman" that enforce laws, a militia that protects them, etc. There's a tradition of travelling judges that apparently arbitrate in tricky circumstances - usually Cyber-Knights, Preachers (from New West), Justice Rangers (ditto), Tundra Rangers (we'll see more on them later), etc. There's also a throwaway reference to "Legalist Preachers" that preach "the laws of the Old World" which sounds like an intriguing notion that will never be heard of again in this book. Look, just buy Rifts World Book 14: New West, okay? Canada's like that. But colder.

Next: Erin Tarn tells us beaver lies.


posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 20: Canada, Part 2 - "ALL OTHER BOOKS ARE FORBIDDEN!"

Erin Tarn: Some thoughts on Canada

Yes, it's that time again. It's Erin Tarn time.

There's a long chunk reminding us Tarn's information is A) taken from seven years ago and B) Tarn may have fake news, but it should be mostly accurate. I get the impression that's mostly a conceit to avoid having to lug Erin Tarn on another meandering adventure, but it's hard to say.

Excerpts from her book Traversing Our Modern World, circa 100 P.A.

Rifts World Book 20: Canada posted:

There are many stories, myths and falsehoods about the northlands known as Canada.

Some of my favorites are tales about giant, killer beavers. Mutants said to be as big as a man, warped by ley line energy — and patently untrue.

Aww. Erin Tarn, crusher of dreams.

So, Erin Tarn talks about how most see Canada as a snowy, forbidding wilderness, and she makes a big huffy fuss about how that is sooo not true, you guys. Beyond just citing the aforementioned cities, she points out a lot of North America is just as rural, and says that it's probably a myth born out of the fact that much of the major population centers were destroyed. But people are back! And the overall low technology outside of the cities contributes to a frontier feel. Once again, the drum of "people still live by the old ways but maybe they have a robopony" gets beaten again, in case we'd forgotten. More insightfully, she points out that there are major D-Bee and mutant populations that have inhabited the land that humans tend to discount, like the Xiticix, Simvan Monster Riders, Psi-Stalkers, demons, and the Cyber-Horsemen of Ixion. Also, people like the Inuit tend to get discounted because of timeless racism that the apocalypse did little to change, I guess.

Canadians still call the place Canada and themselves Canadians even though Canada-as-a-country has been gone for centuries. Why?

Erin Tarn muses you have to be Canadian to understand.

This D-Bee will later be given the species name of "Fingertooth Carpetbagger".

The Heart of "Civilized" Canada

By which Erin Tarn means Lazlo - the wizarding city formed on top of the Toronto ruins. She goes on for awhile about how free and accepting it is, how it's powered by a rift via a magic pyramid, has universities for wizards and muggles alike, is the "capital of Techno-Wizardry" (wait, I thought that was Stormspire from Federation of Magic?), and is cool and good and enlightened.

They have a Congress of the Electorate, run by Sir Thomm the Cyber-Knight, and a Council of Learning run by Plato the Great Horny Horned Dragon. What sort of government is that? No time! The militia is run by Arl Xzzynl, a "Wolfen" from a mysterious world (the world of Palladium, but Tarn dunno that). It is, apparently, the most beautiful city other than maybe Splynn of Atlantis and is a "modern-day Camelot". Uh, Ms. Tarn, you know how Camelot turned out, right? I guess this was written before she knew about New Camelot, too. Or maybe Siembieda is just trying to forget Rifts World Book 3: England.

Apparently it was founded by a wizarding group of cool sorcerers that settled down in Toronto due the seclusion of the ruins. But when some dragons march up and were like "Hey, you're our slaves now.", one of the wizards busts out and was like "BTW I'm not a human I'm a good dragon POW BIFF FLAME take that, evil dragons!" And then he freed all the dragons' slaves and everybody had a big Canadian party and all their leaders were Jesuses and Mohammads and Buddhas and they made a city and tell your mom, tell your dad, it was super rad. And then Erin Tarn visits and they didn't have a name so she's like "Hey, why don't you name yourself after this kooky occultist from four centuries ago?", and they're like "That's the best idea!" And there were super high-fives everywhere!*

* This may not be a perfectly accurate summary.

Rifts World Book 20: Canada posted:

Both are composed of compassionate and intelligent beings, human and nonhuman, who are dedicated to freedom and the betterment of all life.

Rifts World Book 20: Canada posted:

Most are of noble heart and free of corruption.

Rifts World Book 20: Canada posted:

Although it was never their intent, the practitioners of magic looking for a quiet place to live and study had built themselves a city. No, a wonderful kingdom built on imagination and hope. A flower in a garden of weeds.

If I didn't know better, I'd say she got paid to write this! But not Erin Tarn, who would be too good to-

Rifts World Book 20: Canada posted:

Since it is the Council of Learning who has commissioned this writing, I will not dally on information that they know far better than I. However, for those of you who have never visited this wondrous place, I bid you to do so.

Zoom in, Siembieda!

We move on to talk about Free Quebec, which is... not as free as advertised. It's the second most powerful Coalition state after Chi-Town, and while they're the same flavor of genocidal know-nothings, they believe in flying their own flavor of fascist flag. They use Glitter Boys and (secretly) Juicers, for example, and have no particular concerns with adding cyborgs to their arsenal. However, they think psi-hounds are abominations of science and refuse to use them. In addition, Free Quebec has at least something resembling a free press and wider literacy.

They also have their own shantytown of sorts for outsiders known as Old Bones, which isn't quite as violent or miserable than the Chi-Town "burbs". However, part of the reason for that is that much of its underground is actually secretly managed by Free Quebec itself, running the local criminal activity in order to keep tabs on things.

In general, while they're less totalitarian than Chi-Town, they're still a pack of racists who would like to obliterate anything nonhuman from the face of this world.

Iron Heart: the flyover country of Rifts.

Iron Heart, on the other hand, is the weaker of the two Coalition States. They seemingly joined mainly to improve their own stature, not quite knowing the ball of crazy they were signing up for. That being said, they were vociferously anti-magic even before joining up and used to brutally hunt down "witches". And while that hasn't really changed, it's at least "less brutal". Oh, well, great. Still, they pretty much toe the party line because they're terrified of Chi-Town. They're also the front line of the Coalition against the Xiticix - slowly invading bug creatures from another dimension.

Then, Tarn goes on a total tangent about her backstory. Apparently raised on a farm near the former site of Madison, Wisconsin, she then says she once dreamed of studying at the Chi-Town Library. But then Prosek went total fascist, secretly hid away its contents, and then had it burned down so they could control information. The tragedy of this and the general oppression of books and learning is something she handwrings about for four straight paragraphs even though... we've heard this before. Like, a lot.

Rifts World Book 20: Canada posted:

But I digress. I fear that I am not a very good writer, and I know that I am easily led astray to write down my thoughts and opinions as they come to me.

In any case, she talks about Manistique Imperium, the kingdom on the northern pennisula of Michigan. Including both Manistique and Ishpeming, it's rustic outside of the factories, but the major cities have a surprisingly strong education. Ishpeming (home of the Northern Gun company) is more of a company and tourist town, dedicated to attracting customers and violence professionals. Tarn sneers at Ishpeming, seeing it mainly as a circus attraction and mall for thugs and soldiers.

Rifts World Book 20: Canada posted:

All this means 70% are men used to a wild and brutal life in the wild or at war, which means it is not a place for a lady. Consequently, one must wade through a good deal of swagger, groping hands, alcohol filled conversations and testosterone to find conversation that deals with something other than tales of combat, war, guns, power armor, vehicles, and the like.

However, she admits that if you're there to get outfitted for a journey, it's the place to be. Since they've been allying with the Coalition States, sometimes D-Bees are harassed, but generally Northern Gun is happy to take their money. In fact, their willingness to sell to nonhumans gives them a large market unserviced by the Coalition States despite their lip service to Chi-Town. In general, business is booming, and they're looking to even trade overseas to Triax. There's rumors they're selling to Free Quebec or Tolkeen via the Black Market, but it's not known for certain.

Next: "You fool! You don't know the meaning of cold!"

"In the most extreme cases the victim may actually lose extremities (typically amputated to prevent gangrenous infection): toes (reduce speed by 30%, -20 to all skills requiring balance), fingers (-10% to skill performance and takes 50% longer to perform properly), nose (reduce P.B. by 50%), or ears (reduce P.B. by 10%), sometimes even a hand, arm or leg."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 20: Canada, Part 3 - "In the most extreme cases the victim may actually lose extremities (typically amputated to prevent gangrenous infection): toes (reduce speed by 30%, -20 to all skills requiring balance), fingers (-10% to skill performance and takes 50% longer to perform properly), nose (reduce P.B. by 50%), or ears (reduce P.B. by 10%), sometimes even a hand, arm or leg."

Climates in Canada

Five pages of maps detailing weather statistics for different regions of Canada. No way am I covering this sort of thing:

Rifts World Book 20: Canada posted:

Annual Snowfall: 48-112 inches (120-280 cm; roughly 4-9 feet/1.2 to 2.7 m), with an average maximum depth of 20-30 inches (50-75 cm). 30-50% more in the northeast. Snow covers the ground for about 100-120 days in the southern half, and 200-250 in the north.

Annual Rainfall: 40 to 80 inches (16-32 cm).

Summer Temperature: 65-90 Fahrenheit (18-32 Celsius), 10-20% cooler in the north.

Winter Temperature: 24 to -10 Fahrenheit (-4 to -23 Celsius), and the wind chill can drop air temp to -10 to -20 Fahrenheit (-23 to -29 Celsius).

Growing Season: 120-150 days; 250 days in Nova Scotia, the southern peninsula of Ontario, the southwest corner of Quebec and southern parts of B.C. and Alberta.

Wiki if you gotta.

It's time for some random stinkeye.

Dangers of the Cold
By Eric Thompson & Kevin Siembieda

So, now we get detailed rules for surviving in the cold. Russia was safe from the scourge of detailed frostbite rulings, but not here! We get discussions of exhaustion and hypothermia, and about two full pages of rules for hypothermia. Weirdly, it doesn't give any times for how long you might survive in the cold, so despite having detailed penalties for six temperature thresholds, it's up to the GM to figure out how to apply it. Double weirdly, it does have very specific times for how long it takes to suffer from it when immersed in cold water or otherwise soaked. PCs get about twice as long as NPCs, with a shockingly generous average of 40 minutes. We also get a long, long set of details on first aid for hypothermia, but there's not much in the way of game details other than the fact getting dunked in cold water requires a "save vs Insanity or Horror Factor" to keep from panicking... which, uh, make up your mind there, because that can really affect the odds for some characters. "Save vs coma/death may be required." So there's a lot of handwaving involved. Magic or psionics can be used to help combat hypothermia, but other than the fact it quarters the recovery time, details are sparse.

Similarly, we get a half-page of frostbite with no details as to how quickly it occurs, just the penalties involved and treatment. Snow blindness gets about another half-page, but at least gives details that it takes "2d6 hours after exposure". Once again, we get some penalities and recovery, and it can be avoided with eye protection.

Then we get some exciting new saving throws! They're doubly exciting because no preexisting material has been written with them in mind, meaning most characters won't get much in the way of bonuses against them (save attribute bonuses if mentioned).

How to fill space, the Siembieda way: take illustration, cut a part out of it, then paste that little part in several pages later.

Traveling in Snow & Ice

Rules for avalanches are more straightforward, but for some reason it inflicts damage directly to H.P. That means most characters below 5th level or so are likely to auto-die unless armored or in a vehicle (in which case it's "only" 2d6 H.P.). Also snow inflicts mega-damage. Yep, a tank can be crushed to a literal pancake by snow. No saving throws or rolls to avoid an avalanche, you're just fucked.

Snow pits follow, getting stuck in deep snow, blah blah blah, litany of penalities for traveling through snow or active winter weather, vehicles, getting vehicles stuck, traveling on ice, details on riding animals, etc. Environmental armor can help a lot, but-

Rifts World Book 20: Canada posted:

Wearing traditional chain mail or plate armor is impossible (it's too heavy, cold and uncomfortable), and even wearing modern non-environmental armor only adds to the bulk and weight of the garments one must wear to stay warm.

I do not think that word means what you think it means.

This looks pretty cool and... it's not in this book. Dammit, Palladium!

Fury beetles are becoming more common as riding animals but aren't great in the deep North due to their size and aversion to severe cold weather. Similarly, riding dinosaurs aren't really suited for Canada at all, so why are they coming up? Well, I guess they're cool enough to include just because. Rules for hoverbikes seizing up follow, and... then, weirdly, a long diatribe on all the drawbacks of flying. I can only guess this is there the same reason the Yucatan (of Rifts World Book 1: Vampire Kingdoms) has a weird dimensional flooey that prevents flight- the authors want hard-bitten survival adventures and your ability to jump on your pegasus or SAMAS ruins that.

Finally, we have something actually weird and fantastic in the form of demon storms that appear around ley lines, where it rains things like stones or frogs, and a few demons or (ugh) deevils show up. In the arctic these can be Russian demons because I guess they like the pole and get lost.

After that, we get more weather; thunderstorms, the fact flash floods inflict mega-damage (you're really stretching, authors), mud slides, lightning storms, tornadoes, etc.

Lastly, we finish with:

Winter Sports Skills

Okay, Ice Skating and Snow Skiing skills, I guess that's fair. It'd be more useful for a game with definitive movement or maneuvering to detail, but. Figure Skating, though? Pro Hockey Skating? You serious? Cross-Country Skiing? Downhill Speed Skiing/Slalom? Mother fucking Snowboarding and Jump Skiing?

What is this, Erin Tarn and Karl Prosek at the 2300 Olympics? ... also we get some vehicle skills reprinted. I mean, yeah, it's rad to shoot your particle beam cannon from a snowboard, but we have no real idea what snowboards might do, game-wise.

Next: Nowheresville.

"Moreover, he does not ask questions when somebody walks in off the street with a bionic limb or organ still moist with blood or attached to a dead body or body part."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 20: Canada, Part 4 - "Moreover, he does not ask questions when somebody walks in off the street with a bionic limb or organ still moist with blood or attached to a dead body or body part."

Eastern Canada
Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island & Newfoundland

Free Quebec

This isn't an actual writeup; we just get a long teaser that Free Quebec is gearing up for war with Chi-Town, largely as a power struggle within the Coalition itself (as originally revealed in Rifts World Book 11: Coalition War Machine). However, that won't be detailed here, and we're referred to "the Rifts® Free Quebec™ World Book", like you do. We're also reassured that the Xiticix, Calgary Rift, Lazlo, Iron Heart, and "other places" will get books. Of those, only the Xiticix will in World Book 23.

Definitely a guy fixing a thingy.

Quebec Province, near the ruins of Old Drummondville & Montreal

Popular as a stop for those travelling through the area, Mechanicsville is a small boom town of around 2,000 people and about an equal number of visitors. Though they don't like magic much, they'll tolerate wizardly visitors enough to take their money. The only real nod to local politics is that there's a rivalry between the mayor / casino owner (Malcolm McKinley) and the owner of the largest repair shop in town (Wayne Sterling); the former is presented as a jealous bully while the latter is a nice guy who everybody loves. Sure, okay. Like earlier books such as Rifts World Book 1: Vampire Kingdoms, we get a itemized list of businesses and locations. Covering all 30 of them is a tall order, and honestly most of them aren't too interesting. So I'll try and zoom in on the more interesting few: We also get a few local small towns of little note, and the only ones of note get detailed on the following page. The main one with any details is Willisburg. Barely a town, it's mainly centered around Daniel Willis and his mill and a general store. Their main attraction is Willis Whiskey, "potato based, Vodka-like moonshine that will curl the toes of a Juicer." They rent out rooms to visitors but don't allow D-Bees, instead making them pay even if they want to sleep in a local field. Personally, as somebody with the soul of a D-Bee, I'd walk the extra thousand feet down the road and sleep for free.

It's important that armor have a mohawk port.

The Island Kingdom of Montreal
Quebec: Includes Montreal, Laval & the entirety of both islands.

This is mainly a set of ruins mostly inhabited by ruins and the river pirates who use this as a port of call. It'll get a callback in Free Quebec, so remember it for the test. We get details on a few zones claimed by particular pirate crews, while the rest is run by gangs or "'god fearing folk' who call themselves 'Citizen Groups'" that try and carve out spaces for honest-ish people. Most are D-Bees. It's a popular place just because many of the ruins are Mega-Damage and thus, relatively defensible from outside attacks. The wealthiest locals have developed a militia and have probably the only peaceable spot in the city. It's only really attractive to scum and villains, however.


Only sparsely populated by small homesteads, D-Bees, and indigenous groups. The Southern portion mainly has small groups of faeries and the North is mainly home to the Inuit and monsters. Apparently Splugorth minions are trying to develop the Southern area into an island colony from which to conduct slave raids and capture faeries. (As noted in Rifts World Book 21: Splynn Dimensional Market.)

New Brunswick

The main site of note is The Great Debris Wall. This is where debris from various now-submerged coastal cities washed up under the force of tidal waves during the cataclysm, forming a giant wall of rubble across the coastline. While there are D-Bees and settlers, this is mainly home to Psi-Stalker tribes. But what do they feed on...? We just don't know.

Nova Scotia

Cape Brenton Island is home to ghosts and abusive, evil faeries. The general presence of phantom ships and faerie-infested islands have kept humans away, allowing the Splugorth Slavers to march in and start capturing faeries as Bio-Wizard components (see above). Many faeries are trying to flee as a result, but don't have an easy destination.

Prince Edward Island

Largely deserted, and nobody's had much interest in changing that.

Next: Lazlo! Ha ha, just kidding. ;D

"Fowlerville is the epitome of the two-robot town."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 20: Canada, Part 5 - "Fowlerville is the epitome of the two-robot town."

Note the stomachface, it's easy to miss.

Central Canada
Ontario & Manitoba

The Hounds of War
... and Vultures too

So, once again we get a long reminder on what a disaster that the war between Chi-Town and Free Quebec it's going to be, but here there the emphasis is on the fact that the conflict is likely to draw opportunists and bandits looking to rob the dead or the weak. As such, many communities are starting to see increased violence as brigands start to migrate in, seeking to get rich quick. In addition, the brewing conflict in Tolkeen is attracting heroes and mercenaries, meaning many communities are left more vulnerable.

But is this book actually about the fight? No, it's not. This is just more metaplot droppings. Onward!


The Windsor Ruins

Overrun by ley lines and monsters, Windsor is generally avoided. Sometimes travelers try and use an underwater tunnel to Windsor to speed travel, but it's apparently haunted by Shadow Beasts (as per the summoning spell from the corebook). The Coalition has tried to cleanse this area, but rifts or greater demons often just summon forth more monsters.

Roger. (Randi not pictured.)

Cartier-Fury Ranch
Located near the old city of Chatham

Starring Randi and Roger Cartier, both former Palladium contributors from a long time ago, this is a town that specializes in raising Fury Beetles (from the corebook) as livestock. Though marketing the meat was difficult, they first sold it cheaply as "a special meat blend", and now just openly sell it. They also sell trained Beetles, and the grand majority of people in the town work for the ranch.

Randi is a Psi-Druid and Roger is a Psi-Tech (both classes from Rifts World Book 12: Psyscape). I don't know exactly how many of the NPCs detailed here are thinly-veiled associates of Palladium - we have Steve "Conan" Trustrum, who contributed to The Rifter, portrayed as a Psi-Stalker. Later, Trustrum would accuse Palladium of reprinting some of his Rifter work in official sourcebooks without paying him, but for now he's immortalized in World Book 20. Like Mechanicsville, this gets a point by point listing of locations, but a lot of them are even thinner or are undetailed entirely, like "13. Incinerator." Patrick Nowak, a former writer for Palladium, shows up as a deputy for the Constable Joshua Nowak. Larry MacDougall, a former artist for Palladium, runs an arts & crafts store. Randy MaCall, a previous writer at Palladium, runs a small magic school-

You get the picture.

A Fury Beetle ranch is a pretty cool place and a story hook to have, but the cool notion kind of ends there and just gets into a self-indulgent friend-insert fiction rather that exploring that too much.

The Lazlo Region

Rifts World Book 20: Canada posted:

Since Lazlo will eventually get its own book, I've decided to take a look at some of the notable communities around it.

Lazlo has never gotten its own book at the time of this writing. The information in Erin Tarn's intro? That's the most we ever really get on it. I think there was at least one later article in The Rifter on it, but a purely "unofficial" one.

The shirt refers to "Drunken Style Studios", an artist group working for Palladium at the time.

The Relic
Hamilton, Ontario

Hamilton was apparently rebuilt entirely (how? dunno!), to the point here it's indistinguishable from a pre-rifts city from a distance. But up close, oddities like hover vehicles or roided-up juicers become a lot more obvious. It's essentially a recreation of a pre-rifts city where everybody seems to play around and dress period-appropriate (why? dunno!). It's got a heavy D-Bee population at 48%, and is supposedly "one of the true juggernauts of North America" with a huge population even though it's not been mentioned before or since. Apparently their old-timey charm actually keeps the Coalition from considering them a real threat.

Wait, if it's peaceful, populous, tolerant, and prosperous, why doesn't everybody move here instead of say, Chi-Town? Well, I guess it's supposed to be "obscure", though I don't know why. Seems like word could get around.

Trapper's Cove
Located near the ruins of Guelph

This is a tiny wilderness outpost with only a few dozen people. Not sure why it gets detailed, because there's nothing exceptional about it - no characters are named, no sights to see, no unusual resources or attractions, etc. I guess it's just here as an example, but there's not much to talk about.

Oh, wait. It has-

Rifts World Book 20: Canada posted:

4. Outhouse

Holy crap! That's not all!

Rifts World Book 20: Canada posted:

11. Outhouses

Given that outhouses haven't been previously mentioned in earlier books, I have to presume in a pedantic fashion that this is one of the few places you can comfortably shit in North America.

Located where the old city of Brampton once stood, most recently known as Towerville

Mainly known for "The Tower", a 30-story skyscraper that survived the cataclysm by "pure coincidence", this area has seen the rise and fall of many communities, but the current town surrounding it is the city of Perez, run by the Perez family. Mainly consisting out of mercenaries, psychics, and mechanics, they kicked out the previous group of thugs and set up a small outpost for travelers. When the Black Market (the shadowy group of criminals detailed in... nowhere, actually, it'll get a book in a decade or so) offered to set up a marketplace there, "Lord Perez" accepted, and then they proceeded to more-or-less take over the town.

However, Quentin R. Perez, Lord Perez's son, has built upon a dream of turning the town into an entertainment spot. Bankrolling nightclubs and dance halls, he's also built a low-budget movie studio that makes actual films. Though nowhere near the budget and professionalism of pre-rifts movies, they are consistently at least watchable and sometimes even good. He's a big showman-type character that is relatively ambivalent towards the notion of taking over the town - it may end up going to one of his (unnamed) sisters.

The main local issue is "Rogues' Alley", the portion of the town dominated by the Black Market. The Perez family realizes openly trying to kick them out will probably get them killed, but Quentin is looking to set up some (undetailed) years-long scheme to undermine them and give them the boot.

Then, we get the numerically-listed Notable Places at Perez. The Perez family is set up out of the tower, of course. There's a grand movie theatre for new and old films, of course. And there's a line of walls and ruins that cuts off the main town from Rogue's Alley.

Rogue's Alley is the dime-a-dozen den of inquity we've seen so often in Rifts, with no particular characters of note, despite them being politically important in theory. You've got places where you can become a crazy or a juicer in exchange for indentured servitude to bad dudes, buy all sorts of illicit stuff, or go the the Black Heart's Club, a club run by a Shifter and demonic goons, or-

Rifts World Book 20: Canada posted:

20. The High-Roller Casino: Your typical casino with slot machines, cards, dice, booze and women. The booze is cheap and so are the women.

Oh, and this town is probably named for the artist Ramon Perez, of course. Moving on.

Located near where Bronte once stood

A painter and adventurer of a grandiose ego, James T. Fowler decided to retire and "build an empire". To get started, he bumbled his way through overthrowing a slaver camp, accidentally managing to kill their leader. He never got his empire, but he does run a tiny town that looks up to him. Seeing the fame and fortune achieved by Perez, he founded a movie studio of his own. Though he thinks he's a great moviemaker, his movies are horrendous - he's the Ed Wood of the post-post-apocalypse, essentially.

The actual community is otherwise just a modest one of several hundred people. Fowler thinks the next boom for the town is just around the corner, but it hasn't happened yet.

Located near the old city of Milton

A small town named after Kent Burles (artist on this Rifts book and others). It's mostly just a tight-knit farm town - there's not much else to say. No outhouses are mentioned.

I have to wonder if this was posed using an action figure.

Other Places of Note

Time to compress this a bit. Lastly, we get some notes that much of the Ontario is still wilderness, and some notes on on some of their resources and smaller communities. The Coalition mines, Niagara communities make wine, and-

Rifts World Book 20: Canada posted:

Beyond the Rockies is a land few modern Canadians have ever seen. A land of dense (cold weather) rainforests and bionic centaurs.
Bionic centaurs? Say, that couldn't be a callback to the Conversion Book...?

I do like the two movie companies, and would be totally about the hard-bitten techno-mercs getting caught up the movie biz. Though there's no real encouragement to do so, the idea of PCs getting involved of some scheme of post-apocalypse Ed Wood I find much, much more exciting than the upcoming Chicago-Quebec war.

Next: Buggery.

"They now speculate that the immediate danger of the Mechanoids had gotten mixed and confused with the Xiticix, and now that the Mechanoid threat seems to have gone, they recognize it is the bug men who threaten life in North America, if not the world."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 20: Canada, Part 6 - "They now speculate that the immediate danger of the Mechanoids had gotten mixed and confused with the Xiticix, and now that the Mechanoid threat seems to have gone, they recognize it is the bug men who threaten life in North America, if not the world."

A headshot of Plato, wise dragon and metaplot-dispensary.

Manitoba, The Hivelands
Xiticix Territory

So, the Xiticix - the insect people from wayyy back in the corebook - have apparently taken over most of Manitoba. Though city-states in Michigan and the like halt their advance in places, they're spreading out across unprotected wilderness rapidly. It turns out there are also more variations amongst them than previously known... to be in a future book. Rifts World Book 23: Xiticix Invasion, in fact. In any case, it turns out they've nearly quadrupled their population in only five years, and some in Lazlo have come to believe their prophecy of a "Devouring Swarm" (as detailed in Rifts Sourcebook 2: Mechanoids) may not have referred to the Mechanoids, but instead to the Xiticix, in a convenient retcon that doesn't make precise sense given the details of that prophecy. But I'll get into that in more detail in the review of Rifts World Book 23.

Whether or not they're one of the prophesied "Seven Great Dangers", Plato, the dragon at the head of Lazlo's Council of Learning, has come to the conclusion that Lazlo has to act to destroy the Xiticix immediately. They've tried to communicate with them in myriad ways, only to fail every time. And as the Xiticix spread over an area, they eliminate anybody they remotely see as a threat. Lazlo recognizes the irony of them turning to genocide, but he sees it as the only way to protect the innocent. He also bemoans that neither Tolkeen or the Coalition States will join their crusade, having approached both. Lord Coake, leader of the Cyber-Knights, has promised his aid. However, the Cyber-Knights are already split leading with vampires to the South, the vaguely-defined "dark forces at Calgary" (where one of the larger ongoing rifts is), as well as others joining Tolkeen against Coake's wishes. As such, there are that many left to assist Lazlo. However, they do have a larger ally in enlisting tribes of Psi-Stalkers, who already make a habit of hunting the Xiticix for their Potential Psychic Energy points.

This is, of course, a metaplot twist that will be detailed later on, and is largely a tease for the (not yet revealed) World Book 23: Xiticix Invasion. Ironically, despite it being detailed here, don't expect it to have too much of an impact on the upcoming metaplot... but we'll get into that in- you guessed it. World Book 23.

We get some notes that there are some scattered farms and tribes, but large communities are usually subject to Xiticix attacks; only small groups are discounted or ignored by the hives.

The boxes of tomorrow!

Hudson Wheigh
By Eric Thompson & Kevin Siembieda

The only notable community nearby, located on the former site of Gitlam, Hudson Wheigh is largely isolated from the politics and conflicts of the Coalition States and Tolkeen / Lazlo by the Xiticix. A magically gifted community, they use elementals and techno-wizardry along with technology for construction, fortification, and utilities. In fact, most of their spellcasters are Techno-Wizards and the elemental Warlocks (from Rifts Conversion Book). Though they could easily become a boomtown, they've avoided contact and trade with other communities for fear of getting dragged into their conflicts. Though they don't have much in the way of technological weapons, they have more than their fair share of techno-magical weapons.

They also - for whatever reason - have a special type of psychic known as a Psi-Mechanic or Psi-Fixer. Remarkably, this isn't a class, but just is a modification of the minor or major psionic powers one might roll randomly. They get some bonus psychic powers, including a free Telemechanics power (from Rifts World Book 12: Psyscape), with... no real tradeoffs or drawbacks. If you randomly roll yourself as a psychic, just say you're from Hudson Wheigh and get some free powers, folks!

They also have D-Bees and an ice hockey league-

Rifts World Book 20: Canada posted:

They actually have a semi-professional hockey league with 10 teams (4 from outside the city proper) and a Stanley Cup Playoff (and you have not experienced rough hockey until you've seen Psi-Stalkers, Noli Bushmen and Greot Hunters play). Plus a mini-season with Warlocks and mages vs psychics and Juicers (these latter teams are not part of the official Hockey league and just play for fun).

May I suggest ignoring the usual military or cosmic conflicts of Rifts and just having a campaign about mutant ice hockey in Canada? Try it; you might like it.

Next: Mega-Mounties.

"Travelers not paying attention can ride through the Veil and into another dimension without realizing it until hours later; probably when it is too late to turn back."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 20: Canada, Part 9 - "Travelers not paying attention can ride through the Veil and into another dimension without realizing it until hours later; probably when it is too late to turn back."

"Hey, everything is grey and the sky is red. You think we made a wrong turn at Bristcho Lake?" "Hmmm. I dunno. Let's just keep going."

No, I don't know either.

British Columbia

So, this is a mysterious region on account of the fact that the Rocky Mountains are full of demons, and also on account of the fact that the author forgets this is a setting with hoverbikes that can fly over mountains. Well, nobody's perfect. We get a laundry list of all the stuff they used to mine here and energy they used to produce (they don't anymore, so who cares?), but now it's mostly bears and birds.

Vancouver Island, aka Fog Island, aka Misty Isle, is now covered in a spooky supernatural mist where people have seen g-g-ghosts and eerie sounds, but nobody who's tried to investigate has ever returned. Not even on a hoverbike. Also, there's monsters in the water around here. Nonetheless, people fish here. This apparent conflict is never clarified.

So, once or twice a year, the Aurora Borealis Shifting Veil Wall appears across a network of ley lines, though the actual location changes, and it transports those who travel through it to other worlds. It usually only lasts an hour or so, and apparently it's easy to travel across (even though it's giant obvious magic wall) and not notice you've traveled through it (even though about 85% of the settings it leads you to would be completely obvious). Settings it can randomly take you to include a Splugorth Slave World (see Rifts World Book 2: Atlantis), a parallel Canada ruled by demons* with a Inuit/Sasquatch underclass, Seeron (I almost forgot the name of the world from Rifts Dimension Book 4: Skraypers), The Nightlands (from the Nightbane RPG), Wormwood (from Rifts Dimension Book 1: Wormwood), The Realm of the Four Horsemen (see Rifts World Book 4: Africa), or the Palladium Fantasy World (see Palladium Fantasy). What if you roll up a book you don't own? Get to buyin', Palladium zombie!

For the demons in demon Canada, it says "...use any race from any of the Rifts World or Soucebooks or other Palladium RPGs or sourcebooks like Aliens Unlimited™, Skraypers™, Palladium Fantasy RPG®, The Rifter™ sourcebook series and so on; heck, maybe even a non-Palladium RPG." Yes, they just gave you carte blanche to use non-Palladium material. Go wild, I guess! You can now say... "suddenly, a Darth Maul approaches!" There's also a moment where they describe Wormwood as "A more hellish place is unimaginable.", and then immediately go to describe the Darkest-er Africa that is apparently the Four Horsemen's homeworld (seriously, it's just Evil Stereotype Deepest Darkenest Africa, filled with witches and cannibals) which is clearly, unambiguously worse.

Also instead of Palladium Fantasy you could end up on the Earth from Systems Failure, which would be a hilarious mismatch because that's a setting without mega-damage... but also with alien bugs that can possess your Glitter Boy, maybe?

It's interesting to see centaurs dominate an area bigger than any single Coalition State.

The Centaurs and Cyber-Horsemen of Ixion

So, we don't have many people in British Columbia, but there are centaurs, the stats for which are largely reprinted from Rifts Conversion Book. They apparently are loosely allied with the Simvan Monster Riders (if you're curious, there's no sign that the Monster Riders ride Centaurs), and now use vibro-blades and "partial M.D.C. armor" we have no details for. They're generic noble savages (they can even take Native American shamanistic classes, so you know it's true), in touch with nature but who distrust most "two-legs". Stat-wise, they're a bit dim mentally, but have horsey speed and horsey strength. For some reason they get a natural 60% prowl, so they're very sneaky 10' tall half-ton horse people. Largely, they're generic wilderness dudes with a built-in horse. They can take wilderness classes, back-to-nature mystic classes, and a few combat classes including Tundra Rangers. But we've had more than enough generic wilderness dudes and generic horse dudes.

Man, the X-Men books are doing really weird stuff with Cyclops.

The Cyber-Horsemen of Ixion, though, are more interesting, coming from a technologically advanced city of centaurs (Ixion) that was randomly sucked through a vortex to Earth. Or, as they say on Rifts Earth, "a tuesday". We're reassured that even though their tech level is sophisticated bionically, they're "several degrees less than the Coalition's". Most of them who become cyborgs are males who have already raised a family and apparently don't need their dicks anymore, but women are less likely to because it's a necessity for them to pop out babies the natural way, and apparently bionics restrict that. Unlike other centaurs, they met some cyber-knights when traveling across the mountains, and became cyber-bros. Also, they like the Tundra Rangers, because everybody likes Winter Camouflage Storm Shadow.

Not your conventional RPG ass shot.

For some reason, they're much smarter, stronger-willed, and ridiculously more charismatic than normal centaurs. Maybe having better schooling and shiny metal asses does it?... well, okay, it doesn't make a ton of sense. They're generally cool and chill folks that can resist psionic probes (an unexplained conceit to make Ixion harder to find), and are largely reprinted from Rifts Conversion Book with their cyber-parts. They get some absolutely garbage energy weapons (the only thing good about them is that they self-recharge), and a "Sensory Deprivation Web" that is a net that somehow distorts one's senses, and gives persistent and solid penalties with no save... that last for nearly a minute on average even after removing the net. As usual, debuffs are farcically strong in combat.

Still, chill cyborg centaurs are taurrific, unlike au naturale racist centaurs, who are taurible.

Next: The Quintessential Cable.

"A long warning will be something like, 'There's gonna be a lot of dying in the next few minutes. If you're smart you'll get out right now, and find someplace safe. And don't try to stop us.'."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 20: Canada, Part 10 - "A long warning will be something like, 'There's gonna be a lot of dying in the next few minutes. If you're smart you'll get out right now, and find someplace safe. And don't try to stop us.'."

Return of the cockbot.

So, like other Rifts books, this serves as a "stealth splatbook", like Lone Star was for mutant animals or Mindwerks was regarding crazies. This time, we're going to focus on Headhunters - badass mercs with badass cyber-eyes and badass cyber-arms. Basically, if you're looking to play your Deathloks, your Cables, your Strykers... oh, you probably don't know who Stryker was. He was perhaps the most '90s comic character ever, you probably never heard of him. It's okay if you haven't, only true '90s comics fans know about him, he was in a series called Codename: Strykeforce. Like half the team died, there was a guy covered entirely in swords, it was pretty rad.

A Wilk's rifle? I have to doubt her techno-merc bonafides.

... so, time to move on to talking about techno-mercs. For some reason, we get nearly a page of a team of headhunters waking up and dealing with a hangover. Nothing actually happens, it just, uh, fills space pretty well. We're told human mercs that rely heavily on technology are called "headhunters" because... they are, shuddup. They love fighting and seek a good death because... they do, shuddup. And they love technology because... you know what? Shuddup.

Apparently they only accept "outsiders" into their little Universal Soldier subculture if they really love fighting and aren't afraid of nothin'. They aren't racist, just combat... ist? There are a lot of generic generalities to go around, and they basically do any shady or fightin' job or... hard labor? Sure, so, they do anything for money. But especially fites, boss, when we gonna fites?!

"Why I'd kill these Coalition guys? Because they're Coalition, guys."

Speaking of fites, we get a notorious mercenary company of headhunters called "The Slaughter House Brigade". They, uh, are in Canada, and have hundreds of headhunters, and... yeah, we get a detailed breakdown of their force, but nothing about their leadership, tactics, activities, jobs, members, etc. A lot of this seems to be filler about killers, and given we're just about to get a class reprint, it doesn't help.

"Assassin" really just means "killing people from above".

Speaking which, let's get to those:

Can you identify all the Rifts callbacks here?

Weeaboo evolved.

Lastly, we have the Momano Headhunter (9%). These are sometimes-psychic headhunters that specialize in fighting magic and monsters with techno-wizard bionics. Wait, who invented that? Apparently they've also weeaboos, because "Momano" is taken for the Japanese term for... wait, I don't think that's a Japanese word. Well, don't tell the book that. And they love haikus and calligraphy and go...and... nnnngh... honor. weeee it's the 90s it's time to badly appropriate banzai banzai. They have a 50% chance of having psionics and about a 10% chance of getting the powers of a psychic R.C.C. as well, but lose some skills if they do. Mind Melter / Momano Headhunter hybrids in particular get penalized into the Earth's core and basically end up sucking in two different ways instead of being alright in one!

Finally, magic and tech combine to... fire sharp sticks.

They don't have too much unique other than psychic powers innately - most of their schtick comes from specialized cyborg abilities. Other than the basics (adding holy water to a sprayer, silver bullets to existing guns, hydraulic stake stabber, etc.), they can get techno-wizard bionics. Some of these are near-pointless, like the ability to magically make a cyber-blade silver - why not just get a silver blade implanted to start? A sunbeam blaster that does... 1d6+2 damage... and only to creatures weak against sunlight. (Vampires generally have 50+ HP.) There's a variety of energy weapons that do trash for damage, electric fists or a flaming sword that raise your melee damage from "crap" to "slightly less crap", and a stake launcher that lets you stake at a distance. Of all the things, about the only one that's really unique is the stake launcher, and you don't need that built into your arm. Despite the idea of techno-wizard bionics sounding like they'd be cool and unique, most are generic energy weapons that are interchangeable with regular weapons save for the fact you can reload them with psychic power and meditation. There's no summoning circuits in your arm, or magical shields built in, or anything that's really unique and does something tech couldn't normally do. You could have feet that let you walk on water, or a slowness field, or something, at least, but no, it's as standard as imaginable. Perez's cool art is criminally underutilized, as a result.

So, the best of the lot is the robonerd, because he has unique, functional mechanics, but of the rest, the only other one that's any good is the assassin. You won't get to play the assassin RAW, though, it's pretty much just the robonerd.

Next: Who's a fascist boy? Who's a fascist boy?!

"Most Grackle Tooth enjoy roughhousing, exploration, cow punching and combat."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 20: Canada, Part 11 - "Most Grackle Tooth enjoy roughhousing, exploration, cow punching and combat."

"We have evolved beyond your 'Breath Right Strips'."


Yes, it's that time again to reach into the grab bag of random art pieces and serve up another helping of near-random player character options! We're referred to other books for Simvan Monster Riders, Brodkil, and pretty much every one of the D-Bees from Coalition War Campaign. With that, we can move on to the newbies.


The Aardan Tek are vaguely insectoid D-Bees with a large proboscus. Supposedly they came fraom another world where magic and technology coexist, and travelled to Earth as explorers. They're basically just a slack-jawed yokels who are amazed by all the creatures and magic around. They're intelligent, strong-willed, and agile, but aren't pretty, and have a lot of smell-based abilities. Also, minor psionics. They're supposedly just S.D.C., but just try and sparse this section:

Rifts World Book 20: Canada posted:

Hit Points: 5D6 +P.E. attribute number, plus 1D6 M.D. per level of experience, starting at level one.
S.D.C.: 6D6; need magic or M.D.C. body armor for protection against M.D. weapons, just like humans.

I'm guessing that's a typo, but it's also a continuing demonstration of the editing process at Palladium, or the lack thereof. In any case, about half of them are them are wizards of varied sorts; the rest are "Scholars and Adventurers" of one sort or another. They're nothing too special, but if you want a funny-looking character that smells, they fill that niche well enough.

Twinkling eyes.

There's the Grackle Tooth, which are actually from Ramon Perez's Rifts Lone Star comic which was featured in The Rifter around the same time as this book. Which, explains why the art is of a cowboy-looking adventurer with cacti in the background. After all, when you think of Canada, you think of its arid, expansive deserts. In addition, we're told they have this Southwestern drawl.

Rifts World Book 20: Canada posted:

Most make light of their place on Earth, making wisecracks like, "I reckon Grandmama was sleepin' and Grandpapa was drunk, so they zigged when they shoulda zagged right inta a Rift an' here we are," and, "Don't know where we come from or why we came here, but must say Earth's a mighty fine place. The only place I've ever known, so I got no complaints. Do you?" Such comments are punctuated by the big galoots' snaggle-toothed grin (often with a stogie wedged in one corner), twinkling eyes, and deep baritone voice. They are equally flip about their name, Grackle Tooth, saying things like, "I reckon one o' you humans was so impressed by our delightful smile that he was at a loss for words, an' all he could come up wit was Grackle Tooth. I guess it's as good as any."

There is a Grackle Tooth character in the comic; he speaks nothing like that. I think when Siembieda wants to make a character relatable and likeable, he has them suddenly start omitting syllables madly. Also, it turns out they have an actual species name not mentioned here. I don't know if there just wasn't any communication between him and Perez on this writeup, but this definitely speaks to Siembieda wanting to shove some cool Perez art in here regardless of whether it fit with the Canadian setting. In any case, they're mega-damage beings that are physically potent overall, but highest in terms of strength and affinity. Also they're "impervious to carcinogens and heat", in case you were worried about them getting lung cancer or burning themselves with a stogie. All they have to worry about is a crippling nicotine addiction in a world without a widespread cigar industry!

Also they have a twinkle in their eye, mark that down for the Palladium drinking game.

I think I shot this guy in a video game.

The Greot Hunter is a buffer, meaner, mega-damage lizardman. Mostly, they're described as being the third thug from the right in the Most Assholes Cantina. They "don't work well with other races" but "are frequently recruited by criminal organizations". Sure, okay.

Will nobly consume your worthy marrow.

Conversely, the Mastadonoid is a noble savage, which you can tell definitively because they're one of the few people that explicitly get access to Native American shamanism. Otherwise, they're dim lunks that love raw meat and worthy adversaries, and sometimes combine the two and eat worthy adversaries raw. Presumably unworthy adversaries are just left to rot on the tundra, like you do. They get some random natural spells if they aren't already spellcasters as well. Once again, they "prefer to life like Native Americans" and hate machines because they do, and get along with local Inuit, who are presumably worthy, but not adversaries. So noble, so savage.

Curious pubes.

Noli Bushmen are D-bees that look kinda plant-like in green and brown, but aren't really shrubfolk. It's just part of their nature-loving, treehugging theme. They don't mind machines like the mammoth men above, and are... well... rangers. Wilderness Scouts. The kind of guys we've seen over and over in terms of O.C.C.s, but these ones are an R.C.C. And they get psionics, and can take some psionic classes like the Psi-Druid or Psi-Slayer... despite the latter being themed around a secret organization of psychic killers. Sure. Maybe they have their own secret organization of psychic killers. Also, just in case you thought I was picking them for just that one mistake earlier, they did it again.

Rifts World Book 20: Canada posted:

Hit Points: 2D6 +P.E. attribute number. Plus 1D6 M.D. per level of experience, starting at level one.

S.D.C.: 1D4x10 plus those gained from physical skills; need magic or M.D.C. body armor for protection against M.D. weapons, just like humans.

I think I shot this guy in another video game.

We have the Yeno, who are angry bug-headed fellas with a energy theme - they can shoot bolts of exceedingly generic energy, or create a generic energy field around themselves. The armor's alright, but the beams are 4d6 trash blasts. Also, they're apparently cranky and there are a bunch of sayings about that!

Rifts World Book 20: Canada posted:

In fact, one popular saying about Yeno is, "You have to watch yourself around a Yeno, 'cause they go to bed unhappy and wake up angry." Another is, "Yeno have the personality of an angry nest 'o hornets and an even nastier sting." Why the Yeno are perpetually nasty and in a foul mood is anyone's guess.

Man, that's a Canadian accent if I've ever seen iy transcribed, isn't it? Also there's a popular story about the Yeno that I'll paraphase:


There was a guy that said to his friends, "Yeno are tough guys, unless you kill them in their sleep." And then a Yeno heard that, and killed him.


We're told this is a popular tale! Kind of short, though. But it's quite the roleplaying challenge: how do you play a character with an attitude but no actual motivation or backstory? "Why are you so angry?" "I dunno, it's what it says in the book."

Lastly, we have some notes on Rogue Dog Packs, but which we don't mean regular dogs, but Dog Boys, the mutant human / dog hybrids enslav- er, employed by the Coalition. Apparently Free Quebec only ever used them because of the Coalition party line, so when they seceded in the metaplot (back in Rifts World Book 11: Coalition War Campaign), they decided they didn't want their dog boys and exiled them to the wilderness, which is a great plan and won't come back to bite them in the ass...

... like, immediately.

So, the grand majority of them immediately held true to their Coalition indoctrinati- er, loyalty, and joined with the mainline Coalition forces. (How they made it through hundreds upon hundreds of miles of potentially hostile wilderness largely intact is handwaved.) They're providing information on Quebec to their Coalition master- er, superiors. A tiny group of them (like 1 in 6) apparently went rogue in that they don't know who to side with but still hold true to Coalition fascis- er, ideology and have become bandits raiding those they believe to be supernatural or otherwise "contaminated". Only about 1 in 25 have abandoned their Naz- er, Coalition ways. Yyyeah. The whole "Oh, they want to be slaves to fascism! They like it that way!" line is reinforced here pretty heavily. Who's a fascist dog? You are! You are the fascistiest! Yes you are! Yes you are!

But don't worry, Free Quebec will forget this happened and completely contradict it.

Next: Monsters which are also D-Bees which are also Monsters and look the line is real blurry.

"When forced to stay in a city or large town, the demure woodland creature will become tense, irritable, and likely fall into deep depression (reduce all attacks, bonuses, and skills by half unless escaping the place), or becomes obsessed with escaping the madness, deserting friends and allies, and doing whatever it takes to get away."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 20: Canada, Part 12 - "When forced to stay in a city or large town, the demure woodland creature will become tense, irritable, and likely fall into deep depression (reduce all attacks, bonuses, and skills by half unless escaping the place), or becomes obsessed with escaping the madness, deserting friends and allies, and doing whatever it takes to get away."

Monsters of the North

Instead of doing them in order, I'll start with all of the nominally playable ones. As a reminder, these are "optional", because Palladium generally throws the ball into the GM's court to handle any sort of class balance or suitability. If it ruins your game, that's not their fault. They just wrote up the idea. And had an editor approve it. And printed it in a book. And charged money for it. And reprinted it over and over. But they're not responsible for handling game design. That's the GM's job, of course!

A literal trash monster.

First, we have the Armored Slayer, credited to both Eric Thompson and Kevin Siembieda, which means most likely it was Thompson's idea that Siembieda grabbed ahold of. They're brain-and-tentacle collections that make humanoid bodies out of scrap. They then apparently spread mega-damage resin and tendrils throughout the body to control it via telekinesis. Why a humanoid body? Because it was the art we had- er, it's a mystery. They're dim, but feel largely on Potential Psychic Energy like Psi-Stalkers do, though they do it through drooling goo on you and that goo lets them suck up magic energy with their tentacles. The tenta-goo doesn't hurt any, but it is probably the focus of at least one post-apocalypse fetishist. They won't kill their prey unless they're supernatural evil of some sort, however. As such, they're largely benevolent and a grand tragedy that Coalition largely guns them down in droves. Cue tear, wipe cheek. As you'd expect, they're another physical powerhouse, with psionics focusing on the supernatural, and they're dumb and ugly. It's actually a neat idea to have a race that builds their own body out of whatever they can find, but the actual execution is another gentle giant in a game overflowing with them.

Batteries not included.

Faerie Bots get an "inspired by Kent Burles", which means Kev did his usual take-unrelated-art-and-add-some-numbers. They aren't real faeries, but instead are tiny monkey guys in tiny spaceships. Which is pretty rad, and is more the kind of thing I'd like to see for D-Bees. But there's a catch. Because of course there is. See, though they're not real faeries, they pretty much act just like faeries, getting into mischief, only with a technological bent where they take machines apart and basically give no fucks because they're emotional babies with technological knowhow, telemechanic psionic powers, basic spells, and a little spaceship.

Man, we were so close to a rad thing, but their characterization leaves a lot to be desired, where they're pretty much encouraged as PCs to just go fucking around with no particular end goals or motivations, like Kender on overdrive, running around taking apart things and wandering off to their next mechanical harassment. "... even the most well intentioned Faerie Bot is unreliable and troublesome." Why do they ride around in little spaceships? It's a mystery. Where do they come from? It's a mystery. What do they want? It's a mystery. Why do they take machines apart? It's a mystery. How do they make their vehicles? It's a mystery.

Etc. Moving on.

This is the fourth or fifth wolfman we've gotten?

There are Loup Garou, which are French-Canadian werewolves. Unlike werewolves, though, they're extra eeevil and go around murdering and torturing people because that's what it says under their alignment, and just generally run around making other people miserable or dead. Like other werewolves, they do mega-damage and can only ever be hurt by silver, and are a race, not a curse. And bear in mind only silver does the job - not magic, not psionics, not guns, nothing else can do damage to them. Also, silver weapons do double damage! No, nothing does normal damage to them. Weird, huh? Their big gimmick, though, is that they have to be killed twice; if killed in wolf or wolf-man form, they become crazed human cannibals upon sunrise, and if killed as humans, they become savage wolves at the next moonlit midnight... with all the same vulnerabilities, mind. They're located around Quebec, Newfoundland, and Louisiana, since they supposedly existed before the rifts. And nobody noticed, even though they have all the subtlety of a Tasmanian Devil on crack salt angel dust. In case you're wondering: why, yes. Yes, you can play one if your GM permits.

Ridiculously unhurtable unless you have their weakness, in which case they fold easy... or not? They have two Hit Point rolls listed - one gives an average of 95 HP that never changes, and the other gives an average of 57 HP + 7 HP per level. Which is the correct one? Well, it's a mystery.

Its only weakness is dangle hams.

The True Sasquatch is something of a retcon. See, Rifts World Book 15: Spirit West had the "Wendigo", which were a mystical fuzzy race that loved Native Americans and had existed on Earth in hiding since ancient times. This book retcons that, saying the "Windigo" are evil demons (like you'd expect), and then splits the previous Wendigo concept in two: the "True Sasquatch", an ancient Stone Age race that hid alongside humanity, and the "Spirit Sasquatch", woodland spirits that are allied with Native Americans. Of the three, only the True Sasquatch are deemed playable.

Which is weird, because they're not particularly suitable to most Rifts groups. They've never figured out tools or language, apparently, avoid humanity and organized communities like the plague, and are generally content to live a life of pacifistic vegetarianism in the wild. They're essentially apes, albeit psionic, mega-damage apes. They can at least learn human languages, and they're mega-damage (why? who knows), but they don't have much (average starting around 31-32 MDC). They're sneaky wilderness sorts with some mental psionic powers (if male) or healing psionic powers (if female). They get an automatic dodge, supposedly since they just run and hide rather than fight. Basically, they're conflict-adverse in the extreme, which is an issue for them participating in a game where at least 80% of the mechanics pertain to combat.

Finally, bigfoot shoots back.

We get an attempt to make them more playable with the Worldly Sasquatch O.C.C., for those that are more adventurous (75% of which we're told are males) or separated from their kin. They can use weapons and even fight, but are reluctant to. They can only live in a city for 1-2 days (the above normal sasquatch probably won't even make a day, not that such is mentioned in their writeup) without getting depression and crippling penalties... or going to ape escape by any means necessary. They get some broader skills and equipment, but that's all.

Most weirdly, we get special rules for humans that get raised by True Sasquatch, "Sasquatch Foundlings". They get all the same skills - which makes them wunderkinds of stealth and wilderness survival but roundly garbage at anything else. Worse off, they get none of the mega-damage, super-strength, or psionics, or any mega-damage weapons or armor to compensate - possibly making them the new worst class in the game, because of this simple caveat:

Rifts World Book 20: Canada posted:

Likewise, such characters will not use weapons, tools or armor, but are likely to wear animal skins or a poncho.

Yep. You have a non-mega-damage character that refuses to wear armor. If you're lucky, you can find a mega-damage poncho, but you still won't hurt much of anyone with your fragile hamburger fists. Congratulations, squatches, your poisonous ideology has doomed your adopted child to an exceedingly short life outside of your care. Tarzan vs. SAMAS: not the best film, but definitely a short one.

I've gone overlong, so we'll wrap up the unplayable monsters next time around.

Next: Monsters, for real, except not.

"Ogopogo is seen each year, but now by white men!"

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 20: Canada, Part 13 - "Ogopogo is seen each year, but now by white men!"

Now time for non-playable "monsters".

Pre-Rifts Earth could invent aquatic cities, but still missed these critters.

The Cadborosaurus "a.k.a. Caddie", a mythical sea monster from the real-life Northern Pacific coast of America, and apparently it's was a whole species of "plesiosaurus-type creature[s]" that survived since the dino days. Though they live along North America's West Coast, they roost around Vancouver Island, making it fairly dangerous to brave the waters there. Of course, the rifts made them mega-damage because... they just did, okay? Otherwise, it's what you'd expect. Except...

Rifts World Book 20: Canada posted:

Unlike whales and dolphins, the Cadborosaurus is a comparatively simpleminded predator.

Rifts World Book 20: Canada posted:

Where Caddies are a serious danger to seafaring humanoids is that the monster travels in small schools of 3-12 (double during mating season) and they are smart enough to use group strategies and tactics to attack ships and prey, including feints, flanking actions, encircling, dividing the prey/enemy, tag team assaults and coordinated attacks. They also understand enough about boats to recognize when a vessel is damaged and crippled or sinking. Furthermore, Caddies are patient, and have been known to follow crippled vessels for weeks, hoping that it will capsize or sink and they can get at the crew. Occasionally, one or two may even figure out a weakness in a sea vessel (a repair patch, severely damaged section of the hull, etc.) and attack it (again, sometimes on and off for days) to see if they can cripple it further or better yet, sink it.

Whiplash In a Single Writeup: The Palladium Books Story.

Birdpoop is the sea serpent's mighty crown.

In case sea nessies aren't enough for you, we have lake nessies, too. Ogopogo is a lake serpent that nests in Lake Ontario. Of course, it hid and only showed up in blurry photographs or Native American legends, but it turns out to be one of a species of interdimensional, scholarly dragons. (How do they learn a lot? They live in one lake.) Having come out of the shadows with the coming of the rifts because... I dunno, it was tuesday, they're helpful to locals and have helped people create safe communities around the lake. We get a whole family of them, most of which are decent except for the one bad seed who for some reason dreams of leaving to see her dreams of conquest and domination. Well, everybody has an edge teenager phase. Not playable despite hatchling rules and an easy story hook (one of the recent hatchlings has gone missing). It's not like they're particularly broken, at least by dragon standards...

Like all dragons, they can shapechange, teleport, and turn invisible, though their metamorphosis is limited a barracuda, giant salmon, or "a dusky skinned, black haired human". They can also spray water from their mouths, but that mainly is used to inflict knockdown or murder vampires (which are effectively water soluble, as you might recall). Also it has literal burning blood, though no real rules on it spraying on attackers or the like; resumably stabbing them with things inflicts damage on the thing, but a lot of weapons don't have clear M.D.C. values. So good luck with that. They have to visit water every two months, which will be a problem if one ends up on a desert world, but not really otherwise.

"I have returned to reuse art from Spirit West."

The Spirit Sasquatch is the second part of the wendigo retcon; these are basically forest spirits that are like True Sasquatch, only with more magic and Native American themed (i.e. they dress a little like them, use clubs or tomahawks, etc.). Like their indigenous allies, they hate technology because. And we get some heavy, heavy justification for the retcon. Granted, it's a better idea than before, but it's laid on pretty thick:

Rifts World Book 20: Canada posted:

Post-Cataclysm historians, scholars, trappers, adventurers and Native Americans who are not "Traditionalists" born and raised in the West are likely to mistake the Spirit Sasquatch and/or Windigo Demon for the true, flesh and blood Sasquatch. Ironically, this confusion with a "spirit" and a "demon" only adds to the legend, mystery and fear surrounding the shy, flesh and blood "Big Foot." As a result, most people leave the giant humanoids alone, for fear of provoking and falling victim to their "dark" side. You see, most people believe that these three, distinct beings are just different "magical manifestations" of the same strange supernatural creature. They mistake the ordinary Big Foot as the gentle manifestation, the Spirit Sasquatch being what it becomes when vengeful or trying to defend its people (often believed to be the tribal warriors), and the Windigo manifestation when consumed by hatred, berserker rage and bloodlust. Note: To drive this element of confusion home, even the description of the Wendigo in Rifts® Spirit West is incorrect. It is typical of the how the aspects of both the True and Spirit Sasquatch are constantly and erroneously combined, and often misidentified as the Windigo, especially by people coming from the East, South, or civilized regions. As you will see, the genuine Sasquatch/Big Foot, Spirit Sasquatch, and the demonic Windigo are all very different creatures. Mistaking one for the other, can be a deadly mistake. In a game context, this common confusion and incorrect identification should add a certain amount of suspense, fear and dread (or lack there of) whenever any one of these creatures is "reported" to be in the area. The question must be asked, is it the self-appointed Guardian of Nature known as the Spirit Sasquatch, the gentle humanoid Sasquatch/Big Foot, or the murderous Windigo Demon? G.M.'s have fun with this.[/i]

See, it's not just a retcon, it's a representation of in-setting confusion! Of course, it would have been better to just retcon almost all of Rifts World Book 15: Spirit West, but you can't have everything. (You can keep the cool wolf robots.)

In any case, spirit squatches protect forests, but those who might "despoil" the forest are usually sabotaged and intimidated rather than killed. They don't like killing people, but are perfectly fine with passive murder like letting somebody fall or getting a human to shoot another human in that sort of ironic pulp horror sort of way. This goes out the window when dealing with demons, though, and they'll easily kill those when the opportunity comes up to do so safely. Their unique power is point-of-view teleporting around, and otherwise are relatively generic mega-damage, high-strength humans with magic and psionics leaning towards stealth and nature.

We also finally get rules for bears (suck it, Russia), including some that are mega-damage because... maybe your GM wants you to fight a bear. Fair enough. We also get rules for "canines"; the quotes are mine, because the section starts with foxes. It calls foxes "canines" repeatedly, but in real life they're canids, but not canine. Well, easy to confuse!... or maybe biology is different on Rifts Earth. We also get wolves and sled dogs. We also get giant squids and a reprint of generic dinosaur rules, all of which are mega-damage because you need to die at the hands of tentacles or raptors in the wilds of Canada.

We also get a reprint of some psionic powers from Rifts World Book 12: Psyscape for the True Sasquatch so they can have stuff like psionic invisiblity, which is fair enough and takes up two pages.

Next: It's time for you face the demon beaver*.
* Thankfully, this isn't an OSR book.

"After the visitor has left, the child will be beaten and quite possibly killed and eaten (01-50% chance)."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 20: Canada, Part 14 - "After the visitor has left, the child will be beaten and quite possibly killed and eaten (01-50% chance)."

For some reason, we have a header the reads "Demons, Spirits, Shamans, & Magic", because I guess those all go together? I guess the notion is that all the demons are supposedly Inuit in nature, so they get lumped in together.

In any case, we'll start with the demons.



We'll start with the Demon Bear, which as far as I can tell owes more to the Marvel comic New Mutants (and the villain of the same name) than anything to do with indigenous mythology. In general, bears get a good rap in Inuit myth- the worst I could find was Torngarsuk, a prominent god that sometimes appears as a bear and is a bit of a trickster. On a vaguely related note, Torngarsuk is also referenced in the story "The Call of Cthulhu" as an aspect of the elder god. So at least they didn't draw on that...

Anyway, the demon bear is product of a demon that can only possess bears and only in Alaska, Canada, Siberia, or Greenland. That's a very specific purview, Mr. Demon. Personally, that's why I don't live that far North; here, the demon bears can't get me. It likes killing things, either people or animals, though sometimes it'll kidnap a person to lure in more people to kill.

Rifts World Book 20: Canada posted:

Demon Bears are relatively uncommon (Inuit seldom see signs of more than 1-6 in any given season)...

Uh, Siembieda, you do know... like... there's four seasons in a year? Running into an average of 14 demon bears a year isn't "relatively uncommon". "Hey, Panikpak, who'll you think we'll lose in this month's demon bear attack?" "Oh, I was thinking of losing my parents this time, they're due for their bear reaping."

Rifts World Book 20: Canada posted:

Alignment: Diabolic! Diabolic! Diabolic!

Maybe you just need to look at things from a demon bear's point of view for a change, Palladium. You come to a world, you just want to murder all the things, and here comes the game designer who wants to judge your passion.

Probably ought to eat him, bear.

Since I'm not legitimately wishing death on any game designers, and hope for a happy, fruitful life for everybody at Palladium, let's talk about the stats. The demon bear actually doesn't have as much M.D.C. as you might expect (average of 136), and for all its played up in the text... is mostly just an angry mega-damage bear that regenerates unless you chop off the head and burn it (or throw the head/body into the sea), and takes half damage from technological weapons. However, it's weak against magic, and takes mega-damage from stone weapons. It even has a penalty to save against magic, so any shaman or wizard with a save-or-suck spell can make short work out of the murderbear.

Baba Yaga goes West.

Next, we have the "Cannibal Woman" D'Sonoqua, a child-enslaving, child-eating "hag" who lives out in the woods alone, save for maybe some evil assistant. Apparently these are women who make deals with a Generic Alien Intelligence to become evil child-eating demons, either for vengeance or general murderousness. She pretends to be an innocent old woman, and kidnaps people (mainly kids) to eat. They apparently sometimes use herbology to make themselves useful and appreciated by local communities and- heyyyy wait a minute. While, D'Sonoqua in indigenous myth does pick up children and puts them in her basket for later kid stew, she's a big, hairy, unclothed giant. This sounds a lot more like a different myth - Baba Yaga and other cannibal witches of Asian and European lore. In fact, she's so much so I have to wonder if this was either leftover material or inspiration from Rifts World Book 18: Mystic Russia shoehorned in. Of course, it emphasizes more than just the horror of a old lady who cages children for tasty treats. It emphasizes the horror of numbers:Roll for creepiness, GMs. While sneaky and mega-damage, she's not too tough once exposed, and and while she has some save-or-suck spells, most PCs will make short work of her in a fight, since she has practically no damage output against mega-damage foes. She can't swim and will likely drown in water, yet only several paragraphs later it says stolen possessions she gains are thrown into a cellar, cave, pit... or pond. Well, maybe she never goes in the pond. And no, she doesn't use technology. Deception's the main trick in her bag, and once the jig is up, she's probably done for unless she has a more potent sidekick.

If Baba Yaga with a culturally appropriated name wasn't enough, apparently Russian Demons occasionally show up, and we're pointed to Rifts World Book 18: Mystic Russia for that and Night Witches and Hidden Witches, which are apparently in Canada. Yes, we're three Inuit demon entries down and haven't seen a legit Inuit monster yet. Well, after striking out, we do get something that actually resembles that on the next pitch.

Literally one of the most terrifying beings in the world. You scared?

Sedna is... actually... from Inuit myth? You're shocked, I know, I am too. Of course, this time around, she's a "sea hag" and "god-like spirit of the sea" because "god" would have just been too succinct. She's basically a cranky, naked, moist old lady who can control the sea and its lifeforms, in case you didn't get enough terror of crinkly ladies above. She's basically represented as fickle as hell - if she likes you or the respect you show, she'll calm the seas and give you extra fish, and if not, you get a storm. Sometimes she comes above water in human form, and is apparently so old and so ugly that she has a Horror Factor, but those who show her kindness anyway will be blessed by her and she'll give them all sorts of favors. Despite it emphasizing her being "anarchist" and "cruel", mostly she doesn't sound so bad, just spiteful to those who demand things of her.

In any case, she's a 3,900 MDC old lady with a variety of water powers and spells, as wells as a variety of loosely weather-themed spells. However, anybody who views her in her true form is subject to a Horror Factor of 19, because as we all know, a chilly, naked old lady is scarier than most gods or demons. Moreover, anybody that sees her has an 80% chance of developing a phobia of the "Northern Waters". Yes, this game has a saving throw vs. insanity mechanic, but forget about that here - it's just a flat chance that 4 out of 5 characters go seafeared with a glance upon her. Non-Inuit shamans and druids see the chance drop to 65%, mind - a lifetime of dealing with the supernatural can improve your chances by 15%! And because "Youngsters hold a special place in Sedna's heart.", "Young children and maidens under the age of 21" have the chance drop to 45%. It's always... interesting to see mechanics that get GMs to ask: "Your character's 20 years old. Is she a virgin?"

Don't think of it as cannibalism, think of it as just an appreciation of very rare people.

The final part of the sasquatch trilogy comes in the form of the Windigo Demon, which is a cannibal, simian giant who loves eating human flesh and skulls, pretty much in that order. They'll sometimes eat animals, but humans are their tastiest treat. Though they're "lesser demons" from another dimension, there is at least a nod to the myth in that you can become a windigo by giving yourself to an unnamed "Alien Intelligence" or "Windigo God" and committing a sacrifice, and devouring your companions to escape starvation counts. In any case, they're mostly just your usual super-strong demonic thug sort, are vulnerable to weapons made from the bones of sea animals (must suck for the inland tribes...), and have a positively murderous save-or-suck paralyzing scream that can render you helpless for 1d4 rounds. And even if you save successfully against it, you "lose initiative" automatically. So a mean GM with a typical pack (let's say about four) could just have one scream, all PCs lose initiative, repeat scream until all PCs fail saves (since they'll have about 23 attempts to do so before the PCs can act), then have them go to town, repeating screams once per round as necessary. But, of course, good GMs wouldn't do that, even by accident!

Erin Tarn said that there weren't any giant beavers, but thankfully, she's wrong, because we've got Wishpoosh, The Demon Beaver. Apparently based on a Nez Perce legend where Coyote had to stop an devil beaver named Wishpoosh, it turns out there are a lot of Wishpoosh. (The plural seems to be the same as the singular.) They basically like griefing humans by messing with or sinking boats, messing with fishers, changing the direction of waterways through dams, etc. They're strangely sneaky for one-ton beavers. They're not necessarily bloodthirsty, but they're merciless and don't care if somebody gets hurt or killed by their tricks. They can make magic waves by slapping their tail, fell trees with their bite, make dams super good, and get some limited magic, like making beavers do their will. However, they're weak against maple wood, and choke if fed acorns or maple seeds (as in the myth). Also they hate Native Americans specifically, like you do.

I just have to say I'm proud of them for including an evil magic beaver. I'm glad they went there. I wish they were a little more nuanced and there could be more interactions that weren't at the end of a rail gun, but, you know. Giant evil beaver.

Also since this book came out in the nineties it was a ripe time for beaver jokes which I'm sure was a treat.

Next: Spirit North.

"Only around 20% are "Renegades" who acknowledge their native heritage but who embrace the ways and technology of the White Man."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 20: Canada, Part 15 - "Only around 20% are "Renegades" who acknowledge their native heritage but who embrace the ways and technology of the White Man."

Much like Spirit West, we get a long list of tribes and groups without any particular description or context. We're reassured, of course, that the rules and beliefs from Spirit West are close enough and you can use those. They're all the same, yeah?

Other Notable Spirits of the North

We get a mercifully brief overview of Inuit deities - there's references to the religous significance of bears, dogs, and eagles, and then very short summaries of gods.
Alignment wrecks nuance every time.

This section deserves a little squinting, to be fair.

We get some discussion of Inuit shamanism and that they may have known about the interdimensional nature of the universe. Or not! Most are "Traditionalists" that "follow the old ways" because, once again, apparently tradition doesn't change just because of an apocalypse, but there's a minority that will deign to carry a gun and ride a rad motorycle eat my driven snow, spirits!

Angakoq O.C.C.
The Inuit Shaman

Rifts World Book 20: Canada posted:

Disclaimer: The Angakoq Occupational Character Class is inspired by Inuit myth and traditions, but is not intended to be an accurate portrayal. Nor is it our intent to mock or diminish the beliefs and traditions of these proud people.

Similarly, my portrayal of Kevin Siembieda is inspired by his public persona, but is not intended to be accurate. Nor it is my intent to mock... well, okay. I'll do some good-natured ribbing. Some jovial joshing. Keep your chin up, Kevin!

So, these are shamans "blessed by the Polar Bear". And yes, there is a "racial" requirement - you have to be at least 50% Inuit and "follow the old traditions". The old traditions which are not really explained here, so you better hope you've got a copy of Spirit West on hand! Not that the writeup directs you do it. In any case, they're chosen by the spirits through a dream that acts as a test of their spiritual awareness and compassion. If they pass, they get a free bear!- that is, a spirit bear will show up to be their lifelong companion. "70%" are male", but why? Are the spirits sexist? Do we have some about men being more compassionate or spiritually aware? Well, I presume we can blame the sexism of Polar Bear Spirits, since they're the ones where you can be raised by Inuit, believe in the spirits, be sensitive to the needs of spirits and man alive, and the spirits say: "Boy, he'd be a great shaman. Too bad he's only 41% pure Inuit and has impure, filthy blood of the invaders!... by which we mean the Tlingit, fuck those guys. We can't let our followers get tempted by their Tlingit hussies!"

... so, in any case, they can take on an "astral form" to speak to spirits, but no real idea how that works or if they can use it for anything else (they get psychic powers, but no astral-based ones). They can recognize shapeshifters within 1/3rd to 3/4ths of the time, and get an unexplained affinity for werecreatures as a "kindred woodland spirit". Maybe somebody should send a memo to let werewolves know that they're "woodland spirits" now? They get some minor sensory and healing psychic powers and a variety of spells. But the weird part is that they have no spell progression listed. So though their capacity to cast spells increases, their breadth of spell knowledge never seems to. They can create a variety of talismans and amulets specific to this class, though, and get a lot of spells to begin with.

Sadly, the Inuit tradition of bears dancing doesn't play in here.

Their legitimately neat ability is that they get a spirit bear that helps them out, with a decent amount of M.D.C. - though their melee attacks, like most melee in Rifts, is surprisingly weak for a bear. The more powerful element they get is a variety of spells they can cast by drawing upon the bear's power, and this is where most of their cool spellcasting comes from - and with a powerful reserve of power to boot! The bear really makes the class, and is pretty cool.

But there's a catch. This is Palladium - there's gotta be a catch. And the catch is that if the bear dies, you lose all the powers associated with it, and the bear too, of course- permanently. There's no penance you can do, no quest to seek out a new one, no ritual - it's just gone. However, you can wish the bear away back to the spirit world to keep it out of harm's way. Without the bear, you lose its magic temporarily, but that's better than permanently.

Then the catch has a catch. You can't just wish the bear away whenever you want, and by default it'll fight to the death for its shaman. No, the has to be in a genuinely life-threatening situation, and most likely down to 20%-25% of its M.D.C. before it'll go away. So you can't prep in advance or say "Hey, we're fighting a Glitter boy, maybe go scarce for a little bit?" Nope, your bear's gotta be fucked up, and enjoy the argument of what type of combat action it takes to dismiss your bear, because you best believe it isn't covered here.

That all aside, there's some other oddities to note. Because they're created - to the writer's credit - to not use Spirit West, they use conventional magic, just rethemed. However, that means they don't get any access to shamanistic magic if you do have a copy. Furthermore, it's not really clear whether or not they're as restricted in terms of technology usage / behavior as the shamans from Spirit West - it's implied, but never stated. Similarly, it's not clear if, unlike previous shamans, their amulets and talismans will work for anybody, or only those who "follow the old ways".

Okay, you're probably going too far in trying to come up with a bold new direction for Cyclops, Marvel.

Lastly, they get two pages of magic goodies made from dead animals. Amulets usually give some bonus to a save (like bison gives a bonus on magic saves) or an immunity (walrus gives immunity to mundane cold). Talismans usually give some magic power, like increased strength and mega-damage protection (bear claw), or improved bow effects and mega-damage arrows against magical creatures (eagle claw). Lastly, there's unique items, like a bear coat that lets you turn into a bear, or a demon mask that scares away lesser demons. All of this requires some level of ritual preparation to make, but the bear's high magic reserves make it easier than it is for most classes (and allow them to create more before being crippled out of the magic game, like the Fetish Shaman from Rifts World Book 15: Spirit West).

Overall, the Inuit Shaman is... surprisingly alright? It shows that focusing on one specific concept can really help a class like this, but it's also buried under a ton of vague or unclear terms. For example, I was legit confused by the amulets that "give control over the animal's spirit" which I figured meant if you have a seal amulet, you can control seals, but it seems to be intended that, no, it's just a metaphor for calling upon the animal's power. And so on. Natural language, the bane of rules clarity.

Next: Northern Guns.

"Cost: Only the Tundra Rangers have it and they aren't selling."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 20: Canada, Part 16 - "Cost: Only the Tundra Rangers have it and they aren't selling."

Notable Equipment

Yep, it's time for Canadian lasers. Sadly, they don't fire in a miniature maple leaf pattern.

Note the arm patch change from the cover.

Tundra Ranger, Weapons, Gear & Vehicles

So, let's do this quick. Legion Tundra Body Armor is kind of crap, and for some reason the helmet (50 M.D.C.) is more durable than the suit (40 M.D.C.). However, they do get a Thermal-Armor Body Suit - literally their top-secret mega-damage thermal undies, I'm not exaggerating - which adds 20 M.D.C. under any armor they wear. Tundra Ranger Energy Weapons are just reskinned old corebook Coalition weapons, since they apparently based theirs on the same pre-Rifts tech the Coalition did. That's a space-saver of an assertion! And the TR-5000 Tundra Ranger Heavy Laser Turret has a passable but relatively weak laser and mini-missiles, but it'll at least put a roof over your head in a firefight.

Ready to race through the woods of Endor Canada.

Light vehicles include the Legion-90 Sky Pack (generic jet pack), Legion 2/20 Snowmobile, and Legion 50/50 Arctic Hovercycle. Most of these are just mild adjustments on previous statblocks, right down to the snowmobile's warning from Warlords of Russia not to go too fast in the wrong terrain will cause a crash, fuck what your actual skill level might be. Apparently the Hovercycle is based off the same technology that Novyet (the vehicle company from Warlords of Russia) uses.

I feel like Burles is just taking the piss with Siembieda here. "Want guns?"

On a weirder note, we have the Legion SOL Flying Arsenal, which is self-admittedly a statblock built around a Kent Burles pick. And yes, the SOL does stand for "Shit Outta Luck". This is a new hoverpick design that isn't widely available even to Tundra Rangers. It has a wide variety of average weapons, but has short-range missiles and mini missiles. Finally, Siembieda remembered short-range missiles existed! It's the little things. Also, it can fire silver spears for a low, low damage value of 2d6 to supernatural creatures vulnerable to silver.

The centerpiece of your Tundra Ranger toy collection.

For the final arctic ninja battle vehicle, we have the Legion Armored Snow Lion A.P.C., no doubt named after the fierce Canadian snow lions of the tundra. Like most A.P.C.s in the game, it's bizarrely vulnerable (300 M.D.C.) and so can easily become a death-trap for eighteen brave soldiers if you're looking to fight Free Quebec or whatever. It has lasers and grenade launchers, but the only real damage output comes from short-range missile lasers. But it can ascend inclines up to 55°! But 30° to 45° are optimum! So you won't be defeated by small hills.

Lastly, the rules for Homemade M.D.C. Armor get repeated again; apparently Canada calls it "hodgepodge" instead of "homespun". We have Fury Beetle Armor, made from fury beetles, but it's pretty unimpressive. Also, we have Skis: Downhill/Cross-Country, which implies that somewhere in the dark wasteland haunted by demons, there's a factory churning out skis. No, there aren't any rules for what you can do with skis other than a skill percentage. Use your imagination, gosh!

We get some XP tables. Ogopogo use the Dragon table, even though they aren't playable. The usual weirdness.



Alien Rope Burn: Canada isn't too bad, but it's not too great either. It's not some neat ideas like demon beavers, anti-robot nerds, little d-bees in personal spaceships, cyber-centaurs, and you could probably massage them into something cool in a better system. But a lot of it is still weighed down by Rifts' lack of mechanical weight, thematic tropes, and some cookie-cutter content. I mean, there's not much that separates a cyber-centaur from a regular cyborg, and- wait, why is this in a quote box?

Trapper-Woodsman O.C.C.: I jus' wanted to remind folks-

Alien Rope Burn: Oh no-

Trapper-Woodsman O.C.C.: That now you can play me! The Trapper-Woodsman! When you play me, y'get 1d6 small sacks, 6 medium sacks, and 2 large sacks. How many small sacks are y'gonna get? Y'never know, eh? That's part of the excit'ment of playin' me! The Trapper-Woodsman!

Alien Rope Burn: Why do you even exist? There's a Wilderness Scout in the corebook. There's just no point to....

Huntsman-Trapper O.C.C.: Hello! I just want to say, for lack of being confusion, that there is no relation between Trapper-Woodsman O.C.C. and Huntsman-Trapper O.C.C., Trapper-Woodsman O.C.C. is soft Canadian baby who boil bark in winter, Huntsman-Trapper O.C.C. is real Russian man who punch bear.

Trapper-Woodsman O.C.C.: You ain't got no rules for bears in Russia!

Huntsman-Trapper O.C.C.: Why you bring that up? Is hurtful. Huntsman-Trapper O.C.C. is sad now.

Alien Rope Burn: Okay, enough, you both suck, seriously. I just, you just- nnngh.

Sasquatch Foundling O.C.C.: Sacks? No sacks! Who say sacks? Give sacks! Want sack!

Alien Rope Burn: Oh, fuck, it's the awful wilderness O.C.C. trifecta.

Trapper-Woodsman O.C.C.: I'll trade for a sack, I'm all for trading furs, and berries, I tracked a boggan once and traded three shiny pebbles for an ear of corn! That's part of my Forest-Wise!

Sasquatch Foundling O.C.C.: Trade? Only have dirt. And pon-cho.

Huntsman-Trapper O.C.C.: This O.C.C., raised by bears? Like fighting surrogate bear?

Trapper-Woodsman O.C.C.: No, he comes from the secretive, noble big feet of the North, eh?

Alien Rope Burn: Okay, this is way out of hand, I'm closing this review, come back again never, later, seeya.

Pygmy Hunter O.C.C.: I heard we were having a call for garbage wilderness classes? Well, aren't you guys scruffy-

Alien Rope Burn: Hahaha fuck no, no way, we're done here.