1 "Such aggressive tactics include fast-talking con-men, beautiful women (often shapechangers), magical special effects, illusions, physical coercion and even psionic influence (empathic, telepathic, and sensory stimulation; sometimes hypnotic suggestion) or possession!
2 "Player characters beware!"
3 "This nation is a dream come true for an opportunist and feline slaver like myself."
4 "The truth is Crazy Al really is crazy!"
5 "Those good-guys who triumph are also a big draw, as they become the "villain" everyone loves to hate (yes, a hero is seen as the despicable villain by evil beings)."
6 "Two thirds are thwarted and driven back from whence they came before they can get away with loot or succeed in their mission, and manhunts in Atlantis are 96% successful (75% elsewhere on Rifts Earth and 50% in other dimensions)."
7 "The noble warrior woman is yet another offspring of the incredibly fertile and virile Zeus."
8 "For a male to survive a dozen matings without injury is an impressive feat worthy of an Olympic medal."
9 "Any escaped T-Man is seen by the Splugorth to be a dangerous animal that needs to be hunted down."
10 "Touchy to the point of violent outbursts, temper tantrums, and confrontational behavior, not to mention a bit of paranoid delusions ('Oh yeah! You're just jealous of my abilities. You resent me because I can fly.' Or, 'Go to hell. I don't need you losers!' and so on)."
11 "The males of the original species expel their spore-like sperm into the air, hoping that it will find a female."
12 "Whenever one of the staff's powers is used, the pixies are subjected to incredible pain, usually accompanied by incredible screaming."
13 "Also, the sword has a Horror Factor of 15 to Millennium Druids, since they can recognize its twisted power."
14 "No matter what, the fate of the Bio-Borg slave will invariably be a cruel and lonely one."
15 "The dangers in purchasing a Kill Crazy are immediately apparent — they are insane killers."
16 "Still, the few vampires who have gotten their grubby hands on the harness have become near-invincible warriors."
17 "Very confident, very charming, and very masculine."
18 "Special Thanks to Mark for expanding upon my original ideas and breathing life into the famed Splynn Dimensional Market."

"Such aggressive tactics include fast-talking con-men, beautiful women (often shapechangers), magical special effects, illusions, physical coercion and even psionic influence (empathic, telepathic, and sensory stimulation; sometimes hypnotic suggestion) or possession!

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 21: Splynn Dimensional Market posted:


Well, this book is a little edgier than usual.

Rifts World Book 21: Splynn Dimensional Market posted:

Violence and the Supernatural

I don't know if it's worth a trigger warning or not but this does have more body horror than usual for a Rifts book.

Rifts World Book 21: Splynn Dimensional Market posted:

The fictional World of Rifts® is violent, deadly and filled with supernatural monsters. Otherdimensional 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.

It's probably not on the level of your average OSR darling, but it does continue the whole symbiote theme from Rifts World Book Two: Atlantis and has living beings trapped in devices, living in a constant state of torture, slaves being unwillingly modified, etc.

Rifts World Book 21: Splynn Dimensional Market posted:

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

It also has a lot of slavery, torture, consumption of sentient beings, that sort of deal.

Rifts World Book 21: Splynn Dimensional Market 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.

I dont know if it really justifies a parental warning, but out of the different Rifts books, this is probably closer to justifying it. I'll use spoiler tags on some images for nudity, implied torment, etc. When in doubt, after all.

Rifts World Book 21: Splynn Dimension Market, Part 1: "Such aggressive tactics include fast-talking con-men, beautiful women (often shapechangers), magical special effects, illusions, physical coercion and even psionic influence (empathic, telepathic, and sensory stimulation; sometimes hypnotic suggestion) or possession!

So, first off, you may wonder - if you're reading these upon release - why I skipped from World Book 19: Australia to Rifts World Book 21: Splynn Dimensional Market. Why not cover Rifts World Book 20: Canada? The reason is because World Book 20, 22, and 23 form a "Canada trilogy" of sorts, and I felt that would be best to cover as one specific block. They also start getting into a the metaplot going forward, which is very important for the books following World Book 23: Xiticix Invasion. On the other hand, Rifts World Book 21: Splynn Dimensional Market is generally removed from the ongoing metaplot, and can be reviewed in isolation.

Wallpaper-resized for no particular reason.

Subtitled Atlantis 2, this is essentially a follow-up book to Rifts World Book 2: Atlantis. Written (largely? partially? generally?) by Mark "Sumocat" Sumimoto, who only would contribute a few other pieces to Rifts books before vanishing (much like Ben Lucas, author of World Book 19: Australia). It's not clear why he seemingly vanished from the hobby, other than doing some playtesting on Exalted books. There was a Heroes Unlimited book slated called Anarchy Unlimited that he was at one point slated to write, where a supervillain prison break had resulted in a city in chaos. Naturally, it would left for superheroes to restore order, but it was shelved for unknown reasons.

Sumocat posted:

My only regret is that you will never face the terrifying duo of the Mad Cow and Indestructibull.

Palladium fan not named for obvious reasons posted:

And I think Sumocat, we can be grateful we won't be facing Mad Cow and Indestructibull. (chuckles)

I think that if you like superheroes, but not goofy animal-themed villains, you may want to reconsider your love of the genre. One thing you'll see that's clearly Sumimoto's influence is a greater attention to previous work in the line. Whereas Siembieda has a seemingly spotty memory for Rifts canon, you'll see a lot of callbacks to other books and concepts, more than usual. In any case, I want to call out Kent Burles' art in this book - he's really good at getting across the notion of an alien civilization and doing all sorts of Jack Kirby-inspired weird monsters. It's disappointing that a lot of his work is somewhat divorced from the text - I'd be really interested to see what Atlantis might have been if based on his art. And, of course, we get Ramon Perez making a return with some great D-Bee designs.

Splynncryth takes a dip, I guess?

In any case, you can find my original review of Rifts World Book 2: Atlantis in the archives. Since it's been a good six years since we visited Atlantis, here's a quick summary for those of you might say TL;DR-Atlantis was always an interesting pile of ideas, but wasn't terribly playable; it's basically doom for anybody that goes there with a hope of changing things, and didn't have a lot of plot hooks that weren't just... the player characters ending up on hooks. Splynn Dimensional Market aims to make Atlantis a little more playable. Can it succeed?

Next: There is no ethical consumption under capitalism.

"Player characters beware!"

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 21: Splynn Dimension Market, Part 2: "Player characters beware!"

Everything is lozenges here.

The Splynn Dimensional Market

So, unlike most Palladium books, there's no introduction; just straight to the main event. We start with a fiction chunk from somebody marveling at all the wonders of Splynn as he approaches via ship, communicating awe and wonder, but there's a kicker as he reveals that he's there to be sold for slavery or food. Good times, good times. Stay positive, fella.

Next comes an overview of "The Market", and it's said you can find anything there if you're willing to pay a high enough price. This is more hype than fact, but you can find quite a bit here. However, it's dangerous, particularly for humanoids and their ilk without an obvious patron or power. And there are some things you won't find here - Naruni items are specifically banned (as the Naruni Traders are rivals of the Splugorth), and availability of any item might vary. Sometimes the Splugorth themselves fuck with supply and demand just out of general sadism at watching a given market collapse. And, of course, not all prices will be affordable or reasonable. Due to the prestige shown to dragons, it's rare to find anything made from a dragon, and draconic slaves are rare. Generally only "bestial" or "insane" dragons are allowed as slaves - where a sufficiently benevolent or kind dragon might be considered "insane". Cartoonish villainy? It's in here!

We get an overview of Splynn's history next. Splynncryth was already a powerful trading lord, but the emergence of Earth as a magical power drew him there to fulfill his dream of creating a massive trans-dimensional market. He hadn't been able to find the right location, but Earth's new transdimensional state made it perfect, and Atlantis was essentially uninhabited after its return. His High Lords used elementals to do construction on a massive scale, laying out cities under his vision. Though business has died down from the early days, it's become the largest Splugorth marketplace in the multiverse. Granted, it's not the largest non-Splugorth marketplace - Center from Rifts Dimension Book 2: Phase World is still bigger - but it caters to an customer base of demons and other eeevil creatures that rarely find welcome in other places. He's looking to franchise to other worlds in time, but right now he's content with just building Splynn and Atlantis up. The Market itself is 200 square miles - nearly the size of Chicago just by itself.

The customer is always fucked.

Surviving the Marketplace

We get a long, long set of tips on running and using the Splynn Dimensional Market, which I'll slip through quickly-

"Wait, why do you even have signs in English? Now I'm curious."

Whew! That is a lot of ways to fuck player characters over, isn't it? There's no gamemaster advice here about being fair, it's just "You know, doing business here could certainly suck." It's more nuanced than the original Atlantis, but it's hard not to be...

Next, we get a description of Law Enforcement at Splynn. Generally, enforcement of the law is swift, and almost always favors merchants over customers. Most crimes - fraud, assault, murder, enslavement, are fine against "lesser" beings like humans or "creatures of good alignment". (How do they tell? Kitten-eating test?) However, a lot of petty crimes (like littering) can carry surprisingly severe punishments. Going against a minion of Splugorth is an outright death sentence. In general, merchants are allowed to do almost anything they like, unless the fraud was particularly severe and can be proven. Theft is generally overlooked - unless, once again, it was from a merchant or official. The minion presence tends to be heavy, and there are also magical eyes and animated statues that might be activated to stymie attempts at crime. There's still much they can potentially miss, but you often have to have some idea how to avoid their attention.

As a reminder: Kydians, pictured here, nearly literally fucked themselves into oblivion.

On the other hand, dragons, even outsider dragons, can get away with quite a bit. The general value put upon draconic citizens and their support of Atlantis means they can can get away with most things as long as they don't make a habit of it, or inflict violence against Splugorth minions.

So, why the fuck would you bother going? Not just to shop for e-clips, that's for sure - there'd have to something you really, really need, like that water chip to save your vault. Well, we can get into some reasons next time, now that at the player character fuck-yous are out of the way.


Mostly out of the way.

Next: Got a selection of good things on sale, stranger!

"This nation is a dream come true for an opportunist and feline slaver like myself."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 21: Splynn Dimension Market, Part 3: "This nation is a dream come true for an opportunist and feline slaver like myself."

Notable Splynn Merchants

Moving on the specific businesses, this introduces shops PCs can visit. While many struggle with loans from the Splugorth or general bad businessing, these are supposed to be the more successful ones that have got and maintained prime locations. There are a lot more than these, mind; this is just a small sampling. Each of these comes with a fairly long fiction chunk introducing the proprietor and a possible quest PCs can undertake for them, giving them a means to earn what they want without necessarily having to pay Rifts' oft-inflated price tags. I'll add those under "What They Want" and "The Catch". Because there's almost always a catch, of course. We can't have any simple, straightforward employment. This is Atlantis.

Thirsty as fuck.

The Water Merchant is a mysterious "sub-demon" that deals in magical and enchanted waters, but also in a variety of other potions and drinks. He also has a seemingly exclusive specialty in selling water charged with magical energy that recharges Potential Psychic Energy to mages, though drinking too much causes hangover-like irritation.

What He Wants: Healing water from the well in Chichen Itza (from way back in Rifts World Book 1: Vampire Kingdoms).

The Catch: It's under the control of a vampire intelligence (the blobby Lovecraftian creatures behind vampirism), the evil bat god Camazotz, and is also surrounded by monsters and vampires. And none of them know how to share.

"Gun safety? You sure have some weird traditions on your world!"

The Antique Weapons Dealer goes by the name of "Old West", and is a Sowki (the three-eyed schemer demons from Rifts Conversion Book) who dresses and talks like an old-fashioned movie cowboy to be less off-putting. He deals in weapons of all sorts, from the practical (mega-damage) to the collectible (normal damage).

What He Wants: A legitimate antique daisho from Japan (we're told he'll recognize a fake, for the record).

The Catch: Getting to Japan is tricky, though he'll offer to book passage with Horune pirates (the five-eyed monster pirates from Rifts World Book 7: Underseas), who are pretty shady characters in the extreme. In addition, most of the samurai swords in Japan are newly minted and most outsiders won't know the difference.

Hacking the catabase.

The Feline Cages is an slaving establishment run by Rassa. He's described as a "boar-like humanoid with bright yellow fur" despite looking like his typical rakshasha self in the art; why he'd even bother with the deception while in Atlantis is even less clear. He specializes in various feline species, sentient and non-sentient, including wuzzles like gryphons and chimera. "Buyers are warned that all cat-like creatures are fierce, agile, and cunning enough to escape even the strictest confinement."

What He Wants: Information on Omagua and its mutant cat inhabitants (from Rifts World Book 6: South America). He'd be particularly delighted if the gods who run the city could be defeated or driven out.

The Catch: You'd be working for a slaver? It notes that good PCs won't likely become involved with this, but that it might still serve as a hook if they get caught up in stopping Rassa's agents in Omagua. Also, it's just a hard place to find, and hardly a welcoming one.

I want your skulls, I need your skulls.

The Bone Merchant is K'Rynn Katar, a c'ro m'age fr'om R'fts Sourceb'k 3: M'ndwerk's. Y'p. (They're evil wizard demons with stingers coming out of their back.) He deals in bones, which is only of practical interest to Necromancers for the most part, but everybody in this setting seems to like skulls, so presumably he deals pretty well in those. It doesn't really deal with his business too much, though, only the story hook. Why are the PCs here, again? Oh, right, skulls, I guess?

What He Wants: The Skull of Osiris.

The Catch: Set (as in the god) apparently sent the skull to his earthly servant, Pharaoh Rama-Set (of the Phoenix Empire in Rifts World Book 4: Africa), but it was intercepted by a nameless necromancer who bonded with it and went generically insane. In addition, they'll have to deal with disease, "wild beasts", "hostile D-Bees and natives", and agents of Rama-Set.

Your guess is as good as mine.

At this point the whole adventure hook idea is dropped and the other entries are more easily summarized:

"That'll be 20 million credits."

Nothing hotter than a pair of sweet turtle pauldrons, I tell you.

"I have made the human porn!"

Next: Selling Glitter Boys out of the back of a truck, totally legit.

"The truth is Crazy Al really is crazy!"

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 21: Splynn Dimension Market, Part 4: "The truth is Crazy Al really is crazy!"

I realize they probably got two art pieces for the tattoo shop and probably just used them both.

Semi-Regular Merchants

These are merchants that do a multiversal circuit of venues that happens to include Splynn, and usually can only be found during certain times of the year. Others are just those that have other plots or occupations that take their time.

"Hail to the armor! Hail!"

I really do love this image.

Transient Merchants

Lastly, we have short-term merchants out to sell a specific lot of goods and get out. As you'd guess, this includes a fair number of criminals and cheats, but also includes a number of rarities not otherwise available as long as you're not picky where it comes from.

Rifts World Book 21: Splynn Dimensional Market posted:

One time they may be selling used weapons and the next, Tupperware!


Tracker-Woodsman O.C.C.: Wait, somebody's sellin' Tuppinware?!

Alien Rope Burn: Get out this is Atlantis, not Canada, don't show your face yet, people won't even get the reference because I'm writing these in the opposite order of how they're actually being posted-

Tracker-Woodsman O.C.C.: But I could have five pieces of Tuppinware! That's one more than four, son! I'll trade them this can of acorns and a beaver pelt-

Alien Rope Burn: No no no get out GET OUT-

Rather than getting another laundry list of merchants, instead we get some rough suggestions for this kind of seller - antique and artifact merchants, one-off sellers with a tent and giant death machine to hawk, magic items (which may still be attuned to a former user), alchemists and snake oil sorts, techno-wizards (an art mostly just known to humans who get poor spaces due to racism), or mercenaries just looking to get hired on.

And that's it! That's it for merchants! We are done, and this book is ov-

... okay, there's still a lot more.

Next: Pyramid power, again.

"Those good-guys who triumph are also a big draw, as they become the "villain" everyone loves to hate (yes, a hero is seen as the despicable villain by evil beings)."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 21: Splynn Dimension Market, Part 5: "Those good-guys who triumph are also a big draw, as they become the "villain" everyone loves to hate (yes, a hero is seen as the despicable villain by evil beings)."

"Yes, Lord Splynncryth?" "I find myself lacking in... windows."

Other Notable Locations in Splynn

So, we get some other locales, but the text also meanders into comments on local laws and traditions as well.

The first is The Imperial Palace of Splynncryth, the home of Splynncryth the Splugorth, the ruler of Atlantis. It's also, oddly, the main port in and out of the city dimensionally, as it's connected to dozens of other dimensions. There aren't a lot of travel bans - True Atlanteans (Rifts World Book 2: Atlantis), employees of Naruni Enterprises (Rifts Mercenaries and Rifts Dimension Book 2: Phase World), vampires, and any vague "enemies of the Splugorth" are kept from travelling to Splynn, but it's not particularly tight. Most visitors employ Skybourne Excursions to travel to and from the market, as it's a two-mile walk through busy streets. In addition, it's used for local ley line and weather control, keeping inclement weather down to a drizzle at most and preventing any random rifts or ley line storms.

Not too much about the pyramid itself as a structure, mind.

Compare and contrast Burles above cityscape with Bureax here.

The Imperial Bio-Wizard Center is Splynncryth's center for magical augmentation, and is usually used to enhance minions of the Splugorth, though Splynncryth and his High Lords sometimes sell its services to allies. It's also used for body horror torture, like you do. It also provides magic tattoos for minions or slaves, but never to "independent" tattooed folk. Mind, there are still no rules for bio-wizardry, so what it exactly can or can't do is vague, and that'll continue despite two whole books dedicated to Atlantis.

"I demand a writeup, tyrants!"

The personal slave pen / market of Splynncryth is known as The Stables, and apparently makes up one-third of the local slave trade. While security is very high (and, of course, a numerical breakdown of the guard), apparently the as-yet-undetailed "Liberated Underground" frees tens of thousands of slaves a year, but that's apparently "less than one percent" of the actual slaves traded. We get a long, detailed list of slave prices, which is mainly just an expansion of what we already had in Rifts World Book 2: Atlantis.

Rifts World Book 21: Splynn Dimensional Market posted:

Note: Remember that most purchasers of slaves at Splynn and throughout Atlantis are evil monsters and slave masters who regard their human and other sentient slaves as cattle, cheap labor and playthings no better than an animal.

How in the Megaverse could I forget? This book reminds me how eeevil the inhabitants incessantly. If I made a drinking game of "take a drink when it mentions that Atlantis is filled with evil monsters", I'd already be unconscious. Trust me, book. I've gotten the picture.

My money's on the tiny imp with the stick, I'll make a fortune.

The Arena of Champions is the largest arena on Earth. Most of the fights are - despite its reputation - not lethal for practical reasons, though they can be fairly bloody thanks to the use of healing magic and regeneration. Most lethal events involve "good" participants or sending hapless humanoids to be slaughtered and humiliated, because Atlantis is eeevil. There's a big "Contest of Champions" (note to Marvel: Do Not Sue) every week with the top participate for big money and big prizes, with larger tournaments twice a year. We get some local arena celebs:Next: Everyday monsters.

"Two thirds are thwarted and driven back from whence they came before they can get away with loot or succeed in their mission, and manhunts in Atlantis are 96% successful (75% elsewhere on Rifts Earth and 50% in other dimensions)."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 21: Splynn Dimension Market, Part 6: "Two thirds are thwarted and driven back from whence they came before they can get away with loot or succeed in their mission, and manhunts in Atlantis are 96% successful (75% elsewhere on Rifts Earth and 50% in other dimensions)."

"Hey! I'll be your friendly guide to R'lyeh!"

Life Outside the Market

Next, we get some generalities on the city itself. Most of the city is made up of residential areas for minions of the Splugorth. We're told they live "very normal lives", but it's pretty unclear how it functions as a city - are the huge families of Kydians and Kittani all just military? Who works the factories? The restaurants? Who fixes the mega-cable? We're told slaves do the cleaning, but... in any case, Kydians and Kittani make up most of the city population. Slavers live in the rivers in their youth until being turned into floating skull barges, Metzla have their own "hives", and Altara Warrior Women are forced into a military structure to try and control them from birth.

Where do the Sunaj set their kip down? Nobody knows. Yep, 6,000 of them and they've been perfectly able to keep their home secret in a city of millions. Sure, sounds feasible.

Despite being filled with eeevil creatures, apparently crime within the city is minimal because everybody loves the Splugorth so much. Most of the actual disruptions come from shoppers and tourists, interdimensional raiders robbing the market, and the "Liberated Underground" freeing slaves. The wide variety of ley lines across the city makes it vulnerable to interdimensional bandits, and even though they're patrolled by minions, Ley Line Walkers can use their powers to remote view and case targets, as well as perform unseen communication. Because of the high amount of ley line usage, it's hard for local authorities to track any such "illicit usage". This is actually a pretty neat extrapolation of what the ley line walker can do, and it's nice to see Atlantis given a weakness... even if it's implied to be inconsequential.

We get a loooong bit on how the minions are super-loyal because of the Splugorths' godlike power, how races like the Kydians and Kittani were saved from certain doom by them, and how they shower their minions with side benefits like authority and satisfying their lust for battle. But if they love battle so much, why don't they marry it? In any case, it goes on how they have trillions of minions and how badass and magical and enhanced they... they are... y'know... and...

The Authorities

Huh? What? Oh, right, let's talk about the important monsters in the city.

The stars of CSI: Atlantis.

"It wasn't the hoverplanes, it was... thievery killed the beast."

Lastly, we get details on D-Squad, which is the dedicated anti-raider force they use. Despite the supposed success of raiders, we're told here that the majority of them are stopped, and a majority of that get hunted down and captured or killed. So, like, the actual chance for a raid's success drops to about 10%? I thought Atlantis was having a hard time with this sort of thing...

... well, they'll at least have a harder time next update.

Next: Freedom is now EXTREME!

"The noble warrior woman is yet another offspring of the incredibly fertile and virile Zeus."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 21: Splynn Dimension Market, Part 7: "The noble warrior woman is yet another offspring of the incredibly fertile and virile Zeus."


The Liberated Underground

So, it turns out the Splugorth aren't entirely unopposed in their slaving ways - though they've been successful in suppressing most resistance, the Liberated Underground has been a persistent thorn in their side. Mind, not much more than a thorn, but they consistently perform raids to free slaves, tags Atlantean sites with mocking graffiti, and generally embarrass Splynncryth.

"Yes, this is a towel around my neck. It's very important I know where it is."

Unlike organizations before them, they have highly competent leadership, a variety of powerful allies and benefactors, and a dedicated membership of thousands. We get a quick run-down of their leadership:Then, we get a listing of their supporters. The True Atlanteans provide encouragement and members. The Chiang-Ku Dragons and King Arr'thuu (I had to double-take to make sure that name was as bad as I remember) have given some liberated slaves a safe place under the Millennium Trees of England. They've also provided limited mystical and military support. Mrrlyn of England has been encouraging Camelot to make raids against Atlantis (as the Splugorth are rivals of his). Archie-3 is the secret master behind Sergeant Beta, and covertly aids them with a battalion of robots. The Splugorth wronged him a long time ago, as detailed in Rifts Sourcebook, and he's never forgotten. Eventually, he plans to create a false-flag Mechanoid attack on the Atlantean continent to cause severe morale damage before delivering an invasion. Lazlo has provided the largest haven for Atlantean refugees. Zeus has secretly aided them on behalf of his daughter, White Raven. Finally, they have sympathetic citizens and rebellious slaves that aid them within Atlantis itself.

Warrior Princess.

The Vampire Kingdoms can't agree on much, but they were already working to undermine the Splugorth on account of their "kill all vampires" policy. So when the vampires and the LU met, they forged an uneasy alliance. They share information, and sometimes the vampires provide cover for slave escapes. The vampires have agreed to avoid feeding on "innocent" people when working with them, but the alliance could easily collapse. In addition, if Splynncryth becomes convinced of a serious vampire infestation, that'll lead to a crackdown that'll make things pretty hard on the LU. Oh, and for the record, Kydians and Kittani can become vampires, but they have the same stats as human ones. Another problematic alliance is the Naut'Yll, who provide safe haven for aquatic slaves- or so they say. It turns out they've just largely re-enslaving them instead, and the LU would be horrified to find out.

You'd think they'd be fast allies with the Symbiote Liberation Front (from Rifts World Book 12: Psyscape), but the SLF is more interested in just blowing up the Splugorth's shit than slave liberation. The two have worked together at times, but not terribly often.

Liberator, not Terminator.

Though they have a fair amount of support, the LU relies largely on light and mobile weaponry. They keep secret stashes of low-quality weapons on Atlantis itself they regularly move around, and their main force has extremely high-end stuff. The Underground is mostly made up of D-Bees, Humans, and True Atlanteans in that order, as well as a fair number of members from Splugorth slave races.

Wearing button-fly levis, no doubt.

Lastly, we get details on their leadership.

Rifts World Book 21: Splynn Dimensional Market posted:

A dark haired, fair skinned woman of incredible beauty and strength. With her M.D.C. flesh and divine parentage, even a century of harsh living conditions has not marred her beauty and youthful appearance.

Good to know.

Next: So, you wanna be a slave?

"For a male to survive a dozen matings without injury is an impressive feat worthy of an Olympic medal."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 21: Splynn Dimension Market, Part 8: "For a male to survive a dozen matings without injury is an impressive feat worthy of an Olympic medal."

I don't have a joke here.

New Slave Stock

Though we're reminded the Splugorth might have any being from the previous books in their stocks, we get some new races that have been largely enslaved by the Splugorth.

Like the roadrunner runs roads, or the showrunner runs shows, the demonrunner runs... demons...?

The Demonrunner is mostly just a mega-damage monster version of a wolf that goes 88mph. They tend to be trainable to recognize somebody as a "pack leader", but if you you don't exert social dominance, they'll eat you! Cue the villain's comeuppance in the final scene. Also apparently there's an Atlantis arena sport called "Demonrunner Murderthon", where unarmed juicers, cyborgs, and a number of high-speed slaves trying to win a race to escape a pack demonrunners; it usually just boils down to an :entertaining" slaughter. Unplayable.

Next, we get a number of races originally created or modified by a Splugorth named Kryygorth before his empire was overthrown under undetailed circumstances. Though he tried to scorched-earth all of his worlds to give those that dethroned him nothing to claim, some of his slaves survived to be taken by other Splugorth.


The Kryygorth Hunter was a lizard-simian predator that was captured and had its intelligence and psionic powers heightened by Kryygorth, to the point it can turn psychically invisible. It's an extremely stealthy, arboreal predator, but only really a modest mega-damage creature aside from that. If you want to play a mostly feral murderguana, here you go.

"Look, could you raise this gate just a little more?"

The Kryygorth's Lesson was derived from a race of small, clever race of dimensional humanoids that stole from Kryygorth once, so he annihilated over half of their race and then torture-experimented on the survivors, and only half of them survived that. It basically turned them into buff magical guys with a true slave mentality that bond to a master, but weakened their ability to dimensionally teleport. Those whose masters die lose a lot of their magical power because... they do... but they're free after that. They're mega-damage and pretty strong and tough, but their big thing is getting a ridiculous spell list to cast from (all spells of level 5 or lower, and around 20 spells from levels 10-12). But a lot of their shit gets halved when they get freed, and you're not allowed to play one enslaved to another character, so forget that angle, powergamers! Also they have laser eyes, because... they do? Also it emphasizes that they trend to be eeeevil and bitter after being freed because... they are?

Finally, a horse you can high-five... or high-three, at least.

The Kryygorth Pegasus is a smart, mega-damage pegasus with arms and modest magical power, though nobody knows what they were like originally. They demand a high price because apparently buyers like talking animals that can push buttons. They're "difficult to train and control if abused and mistreated, but respond well to kindness and patience" which makes me wonder how the Spluggies ever manage them...? Anyway, you can play one if you want to be a Pegasister or whatever.


The Kryygorth Shellback is their beast of burden and food animal, and it's a essentially like a mega-damage rhino or armored dinosaur. It was from the same world as the Kryygorth Hunter, as was domesticated by the ancient Splugorth lord. Also you can make armor out of it? Mostly just a bit of flavor, literally speaking. No, you can't play a dinocow, I know you were thinking it.

And that's that for the creations of Kryygorth, and we can get back the usual grab bag of Palladium creations!... or, uh, a different sort of grab bag?

Let's get down to brass tacks, book: you can shut up forever about magic tattoos and tell me about who wronged this wandering ronin octopus instead.

An Octoman is essentially a low mega-damage smart octopus. Their world was entirely enslaved by the Splugorth, though some escaped via magic. They're appreciated for their high Prowess in technical tasks, but they loathe being slaves and usually take whatever chance they can to escape. However, most earthly folks presume they're monsters and it's super tragic, why are you judging! Don't judge.

Roots- wait no I'm sorry it's an ironic reference.

Nurilian Plant-People were originally just sentient plants that didn't have much to worry about, using their ability to magically commune with other plants to their own benefit. The Splugorth captured them, modifying them for working legs, and put them to work as farmers. They hate this, as well as effort in general, but get good vibes from helping other plants grow. They don't really have much in the way of ambitions or desires and so make fairly complacent slaves- they'd rather be free, but it's not a huge deal to them. Though they can be PCs, it's recommended against it because their mindset is pretty alien and conflict-averse.

This snake is smokin'.

Want to play a smart, philosophical snake? Like the Octoman, the Pythonian is pretty much a snake with telekinesis so look, ma, no arms! Enjoy leveling at a slow pace like a dragon even though you have less than 1/20th of their durability (average dragon hatchling: 250 M.D.C., average starting pythonian 11 M.D.C.). Largely, they benefit from a lot of psychic powers, including a 30+ M.D.C. force field (268 force field at around at level 15, it'll only take about 5+ years of play... wait, no, even slower if you're using the dragon table). They have a devastating constriction attack!... against S.D.C. targets, they don't do mega-damage. They also have severe penalties from cold. But don't worry-

Rifts World Book 21: Splynn Dimensional Market posted:

They are also +10% to learn to read, speak new languages and seduce (rogue skill).

- you're a sexy, fuckable snake.

Like C3PO, but less glam and more asparagus.

The Rulian Translator are the best translators because they have telepathy, empathy, super-hearing, and are amazing at language and math. They come across as cold servants but they just want be poets. Some of them kill themselves like that poet kid from Dead Poets Society because they just want to poet it up! It's deeply sad. But if you want to play a poet who poets in like one hundred languages, this is your jam. Also you're S.D.C., maybe you have body armor and no guns, but you can say pretty words with your modestly above-average Affinity! Feels more flavorful than playable, since this is a game with no significant social mechanics.


Then, we have a the matriarchal Staphra, who were apparently a race of great potential between their physical might and psionic powers. When the Splugorth showed upon their world, they recognized their superior might and bowed down, but they the Splugorth decided they were too primitive and willful, so they enslaved them. Because they were already used to slavery as part of their society, they found it unpleasant but took it upon themselves to prove themselves worthy of being minions. While not all are particularly thrilled with the notion, the majority want to become full minions like the Kittani or Kydians have been. Generally speaking, women are the stronger (8') and larger of the species, and are aggressive and reactionary, while men are more submissive and spiritual. It does go on how males are used and abused during sex and that many are badly injured by the experience.

Remaining guffless.

Rifts World Book 21: Splynn Dimensional Market posted:

She'll take no guff from jokers or male chauvinists, and can take punishment as good as she gives. Most are roughly the equivalent of Cossacks, Tribal Warriors or Commandos, and as strong, tough and capable as any man! Probably tougher.

SEXISM IS OVER. They're not mega-damage, but they have high physical attributes and physical psionics for the females, and high mental attributes healing / sensitive pisonics for the males. Despite their art, they only get a measly 2d6 for Physical Beauty, so we've finally broken for the first time in the book from "She looks hot guys!"

except for the art

"My psychic powers tell me my future is... to be fucked to death? Oh my."

They get three different O.C.C.s you can pick from, two for the females and one for the males. None have any attribute requirements.

"I know you could play a regular, more powerful dragon that can shapeshift into more forms and has way more powers, but... um... shit."

The Were-Dragon is, we're first told, not a werecreature or a dragon! Well, that's confusing. Anyway, they're skinny bald blue or green people who can turn into (not full-size) dragon-like creatures. The apparently evolved this to escape predators and live on mountains. Evolving magical shapechanging seems like a stretch, but I'm no xenobiologist. Anyway, they Splugorth showed up, showed them jet fighters beat undersized dragons, and made them into slaves. Some dragons have taken it to themselves to just try and genocide them whatever because of trademark infringement.

They're pretty average in their regular form, aside from being modest mega-damage people and having an oddly high Beauty. Turning into a dragon makes them tougher, stronger, grants flight, combat bonuses, tail attacks, and claws. They can be dragons indefinitely, so there's not much reason to go into human form unless you need to pilot some power armor or avoid skull soldiers.

Congratulations! Your Were-Dragon evolved into Monster Were-Dragon!

Some have been modified by the Splugorth to become "Monster Were-Dragons" which reverses their alignment, improves all of their combat bonuses as a dragon significantly, gives a dodgy fire breath, and reduces their mental attributes and Beauty. Also, it makes them roll on a specialized insanity table where they get mostly eeevil stuff like "loves the taste of humanoids", "lusts for power", or the odder one where you become pacifistic and gain a bonus to Affinity. Were-Dragons! It's okay to be underwhelmed. Lovely art, tho.

Next: Tattoo redo.

"Any escaped T-Man is seen by the Splugorth to be a dangerous animal that needs to be hunted down."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 21: Splynn Dimension Market, Part 9: "Any escaped T-Man is seen by the Splugorth to be a dangerous animal that needs to be hunted down."

I'll be doing this in reverse order of the actual book, because for some reason they put the powers before the class that can use them? Yeah, it's Palladium.

Magic tattoos: clearly not designed for aesthetics.

New Tattooed Man Variants

Rifts World Book 21: Splynn Dimensional Market posted:

Game Masters, you may feel free to unleash your own T-Man variants on your players (although not particularly recommended).

The book emphasizes that though the Splugorth create new variants when they can, they try and avoid making them too powerful unless they've proven their loyalty. We get a clarification that superpowered humans (like from Rifts World Book 4: Skyrapers or generally anybody that's mega-damage) can't use magic tats. Master Psychics also can't get tattoos because apparently all of the magic that would normally fuel them has been spent in developing their psychic powers, but major and minor psychics can be. As one exception, a True Atlantean can be a master psychic if they had magic tats, but don't get any added P.P.E. or M.D.C. out of it. Mostly just humans, True Atlanteans, ogres, elves, and Chiang-Ku dragons can become tattooed up.

Being a tattooed elf is actually kind of terrible, but let's pretend otherwise for the sake of the art.

Then, we have the Tattooed Archer O.C.C., which is supposed to be an ultra-advanced tattoo bearer that took thousands of years to develop. Yup, they can make tattoos that create weapons, that can create weapons that fly back to their bearer, that can create actual legit living monsters, but a bow and arrow? That's gonna take work. They've been developed as assassins and vampire hunters, though the Sunaj see this as bitin' their (assassin) rhymes. They plan to steal the knowledge, and if they do the Splugorth are likely to be annoyed but not vindictive; destroying and humiliating true Atlanteans through supporting the Sunaj is more important than their R&D secrets. In general, they get more magic tattoos than most tattooed "men", but not as many as the Maxi-Man.

I love typing "Maxi-Man" because it's so stupid.

Of course, most of those tattoo picks are spent on the new Power Arrow Tattoos (say that three times fast). They also get some of the junky "trick shots" from Rifts World Book 14: New West, as well as the aimed shot and quick draw bonuses if they have a Prowess of 18 or higher. They also get notable combat bonuses with bows. Which shouldn't be a surprise, but this is Palladium... so you never know. Also they're 63% male, which is vital info.

Insanitywatch: You roll twice on the Tattooed Man Insanity Table, which... is back in Rifts World Book 2: Atlantis. Do it again for every five additional tats you get. Yes, you're crazier than a Crazy at 1st level.

I touch myself.

New Magic Tattoos

We get a bunch of general magic tattoos and the new "power arrow" tattoos, and I won't cover all of the former. There's the new weapon-modifying tats like Anti-P.P.E. and Anti-I.S.P. that can in theory wreck mages and psionics by making it do damage to those power pools instead of actual damage, but the fact the targets get a save after parrying or dodging and the general low damage of tattoo weapons make them pretty trashy. We also get a variety of new magic effects, like Beautiful Dancer (hypnotic gaze) or Wolf's Head with Glowing Eyes (eyes of the wolf). There's also new status effects inflicted on touch like Heart in Two Pieces (halves strength) or Heart Wrapped in Thorns (psychosomatic poison). And because you're here for some of the worst of this, there's Bleeding Heart, which makes your strength supernatural without improving it, allowing you to do (shitty) amounts of mega-damage!... well, if your strength's high enough. At low enough strength levels, you won't even do that!

"Let's get undressed and get to work."

Power arrow tattoos are like magic weapon tattoos from Rifts World Book Two: Atlantis, but have a longer duration - presumably so you can set up several types of tattoo trick arrow in advance and be ready for action. But if you're caught unprepared, you have to take an action readying each tattoo you want to use, though each activation provides four arrows. Unfortunately, you pay double the cost to use each power arrow tat unless you have a Power Bow tat (to provide the bow) and at least six different power arrow tattoos. This is, apparently, why there's a specialized class / role the Splugorth have formed to utilize them. Lastly, you can spend an extra tattoo to draw wings on an arrow so they return to you safely.
And that's that for our tattoo review. Honestly, the tattoo archer is probably the best "trick archer" class in the game so far, if you're looking to play a nudist Hawkeye or Green Arrow. Granted, you have to deal with the fact that the tattoo design and art in this game is still largely at the "press-on kid's tattoo" level, but you could narrate otherwise.

Which tattoo keeps you from feeling cold, again?

Next: Cronenbergian.

"Touchy to the point of violent outbursts, temper tantrums, and confrontational behavior, not to mention a bit of paranoid delusions ('Oh yeah! You're just jealous of my abilities. You resent me because I can fly.' Or, 'Go to hell. I don't need you losers!' and so on)."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 21: Splynn Dimension Market, Part 10: "Touchy to the point of violent outbursts, temper tantrums, and confrontational behavior, not to mention a bit of paranoid delusions ('Oh yeah! You're just jealous of my abilities. You resent me because I can fly.' Or, 'Go to hell. I don't need you losers!' and so on)."

Bio-Wizard Organisms

Yep, it's time for the horrible comeuppance you get for trying to make your character more powerful. I know, you're thinking, "Isn't that Rifts' whole thing? Powerful characters?" Well, sure, but sometimes you just get to arbitrarily and gorily punish them for it! It's the bait-and-switch standard Palladium loves so well.

New Parasites

Time for the squishy cursed item list. And I'm covering all of them, just so you can see all the way down this rabbit hole. Oh, and to recap from Rifts World Book 2: Atlantis, trying to remove a parasite attached to the brain has a flat 20% chance of safe removal, 50% chance of brain damage, 20% chance of insanity, or 10% chance of a complete lobotomy. Removing a body parasite has a 30% chance of safe removal, about 65% chance of being permanently crippled, or a 5% chance of a phobia. Also reduce your Beauty in either case because scarrrs. The skill of the surgeon? Pals, friends, comrades, that's the result of a successful operation. I don't even know what happens on a failure. Death is implied as a possibility, though! Some are safer to remove than others, though, so make sure to check a parasite's writeup to be sure.

"Soon, I will defy all attempts at nail care!"

The T-Zone will tell you.

"Maybe we should use the before image for the ad, not the after image."

Who wears just one ugg boot?

Power overwhelming, literally.

"When you're short on good soil, sometimes you just gotta grow a chest tater."

Lest we forget, let's get back to the Heaven's Wings. It's a parasite that lets you fly! And the side effects are 3/4ths of a page, so let's get into the special Heaven's Wings side effects. (Does not actually include wings.)Yes, most of these are just traps so you can laugh at your players and be like "Oh, Billy, did you think the dimensional squid was being honest? Well, this is your punishment for not judging him based on his obvious villainy."

Next: Your closest friend.

"The males of the original species expel their spore-like sperm into the air, hoping that it will find a female."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 21: Splynn Dimension Market, Part 11: "The males of the original species expel their spore-like sperm into the air, hoping that it will find a female."

Symbiotic Organisms

These are like the parasites, but not as harmful - they may have drawbacks, but they don't actively cripple you.

Perfect for a hot night at the beach.

There are actually a lot more cutaways than I'm posting.

"Finally, god has granted us... A NIGHT LIGHT!"

Adam's Pineapple.

"Uh, Hulk, you have a moth on your back?"

"It's not a shoulder dick- dammit, why does everybody think that!"

Of course, one thing with both parasites and some of these is that they spawn sooner or later. Not all do, as some are just engineered organisms that have no ability to breed, but ironically the most expensive can breed and multiple. Given they generally have costs between 100,000 and 2 milllion credits for parasites, and up to 40 million for some of the symbiotes, that means finding ways to breed these things can make fantastic amounts of money... at least until the price drops from the added supply. Titanizers cost 40 million, but if you can get two together, it takes about 5 minutes to impregnate and then 2-8 months to produce another symbiote. I can even see a particularly desperate person using their body to generate parasites for sale, and using the money gained to just get cybernetic or bionic replacement parts.

While the high prices are clearly meant to gear them towards a sort of PC sidegrade or magical item, a titanizer costs around as much as a Glitter Boy; it's hilariously overblown. Granted, most of the prices in this book are well beyond any practical price, something to keep in mind when we get to the next section...

Next: Guns don't kill people, they just torture them indefinitely to generate ammunition.

"Whenever one of the staff's powers is used, the pixies are subjected to incredible pain, usually accompanied by incredible screaming."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 21: Splynn Dimension Market, Part 12: "Whenever one of the staff's powers is used, the pixies are subjected to incredible pain, usually accompanied by incredible screaming."

The Art of Bio-Wizardry

Finally, rules and details on bio-wizardry-

- no?


This is just a long reminder that bio-wizardry is eeevil; we're told the thing that makes it distinct is that it involves "enslaving the living to empower the living". And this seems to be true for some elements, but not others - for example, there were the treatments that make you mega-damage, super-strong, or breathe fire from Rifts World Book 2: Atlantis that didn't seem to be sacrificing a living being to perform, but maybe there are mega-puppies being turned inside-out behind the scenes for their mega-organs. We just don't know.

In any case, we're told it's different from mystic herbology in that the herbs are not "permanently" damaged, and that Biomancy is like a pact with other living beings for mutual protection, but that Bio-Wizardry is about turning living things into weapons, mutilating them, or enslaving them. You may remember, once again, there are guys like the Powerlords that mostly just seem buffer thanks to Bio-Wizardry, but we're told there are psychological scars that always remain. Somewhere. Look, it's time to roll on the insanity charts. Or, in other words, Tuesday.

Rifts World Book 21: Splynn Dimensional Market posted:

So without any further rhetoric, here are more products of this dark craft.

So we can move on.

Rifts World Book 21: Splynn Dimensional Market posted:

Remember, only the truly evil or the truly ignorant will desire these tainted weapons, since they draw upon the energy of enslaved creatures.

So we can move on.

Rifts World Book 21: Splynn Dimensional Market posted:

And only the Splugorth, their High Lords, and a scant few others know the secrets behind their creation.

Moving on any day now.

Rifts World Book 21: Splynn Dimensional Market posted:

Anyone else wishing to learn their secrets will be hunted down and slain by the Minions of Splugorth or given the opportunity to experience the Bio-Wizardry conversion process firsthand!

New Bio-Wizard Weapons

So, we start with weapons using Faerie Folk Components. And we're not talking about something like the Zembahk, where they're lobotomized and attached to a magic item. Or something like the Eyes of Eylor, where a magic eye is removed and plugged into a device. No, this is taking a tiny, naked, magic humanoid, putting them in a bottle, and using them as a clip for a magic gun, and generally traumatizing them. Careful that you don't cut yourself on the edge here, because it's wicked.

Naturally, faeries view this very dimly.

The only people that sell new ones are the Splugorth, because nobody really knows how to make them. Images have been spoilered for mild nudity and bondage.

There's also a Faerie P.P.E. Battery that gives a reasonable extra P.P.E. source, but the Splugorth are loathe to sell them because they consider a spellcaster with 57 extra P.P.E. an unreasonable threat... yeah... 'kay, sure, blobbies.

Entity Bio-Wizard Weapons

These are eeevil weapons that use poor, innocent supernatural entities as their power source. A possessing entity, for example, in its natural state, only wants to control people to create torment and anguish, feeding on the suffering and fear of others. It is, in short, a living force of malignance. And yet, this gentle creature is enslaved by Bio-Wizardry into a weapon! Witness the terrible villainy of the Splugorth as they twist biology of nonbiological creatures or... wait. I'm confused... well... anyway... spirit guns?

Unlike faerie weapons, which have unlimited payloads, these drain energy (I.S.P. or P.P.E.) from those around them. But who? It says it can be fueled by somebody it's touching (willing or otherwise), or drain somebody within 20 feet. But is that directed randomly, or by the wielder? Well, it's a mystery. If the weapon is destroyed, the entity will be free, probably in a pretty vengeful state.

Fires scary bullets.


As a reminder, ghosts in Rifts generally aren't human souls, but just parasites that mimic the psychic resonance of an area. It's hard to say if they're even sentient or self-aware as we think of it. In general, the smarter they are, the more malevolent entities seem to become. So handwringing over their fate just puzzles me.

Next: Sinister whittling.

"Also, the sword has a Horror Factor of 15 to Millennium Druids, since they can recognize its twisted power."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 21: Splynn Dimension Market, Part 13: "Also, the sword has a Horror Factor of 15 to Millennium Druids, since they can recognize its twisted power."

Corrupted Millennium Weapons

So we got some of these back in Rifts World Book 3: England, but here are some more. For those who may have missed or forgotten, Millennium Trees are big, magical, benevolent trees. So, naturally, the Splugorth love to inflict suffering on them. Like you do. The eeevil Phoenix Empire (Rifts World Book 4: Africa) had one they tortured and stripped for material, and so most of these come from that, but are twisted into evil by Bio-Wizardry. How do you make magic wood turn to evil, anyway? Are they put in the hands of an demonic whittler? Are they given the darkest of wood finishing treatments? Is it tortured with a cursed sander? If only I knew a professional corruptologist like Chris Metzen who could explain...

Honed for eliminating herbalists- sometimes I can't make this stuff up.

The Millennium Slayer is a sword that does triple damage to millennium tree items, just in case you're fighting British druids. Or Shinto priests. Useless against nearly anybody else. Also, it inflicts a Horror Factor of 15 against Millennium Druids (from Rifts World Book 3: England) because one of the authors wanted to dictate their reaction, even though no other corrupted Millennium weapon has that effect. The Serpent-Slayer is a spear that stuns dragons and interferes with their ability to teleport, like some kind of dragon-lance. Illegal in Atlantis on account of their pro-dragon stance, which makes me wonder who makes these...? Especially if they require Bio-Wizardry to make. The Executioner's Blade has a death strike (double damage on a failed magic save) and strength of the dead (drain S.D.C. / H.P. / M.D.C. into yourself) based off of necromancer spells, though the death strike works differently from Rifts World Book 4: Africa... even though it refers us to that book. Mantle of Power is a cloak made from a leaf dyed black and red that grants a variety of disguise and charisma-enhancing powers.

Rifts World Book 21: Splynn Dimensional Market posted:

Note: All of these weapons are made from the wood of the fabled Millennium Tree.

Evil leaf.

Emphasis theirs, and this is the very first sentence of the section. I feel bad sometimes for nitpicking tiny bits like this, but it's one of those errors that litters Palladium books and- I'm not upset by it, but it just baffles. Why did they decide this needed an opening aside, especially when they'd go on to contradict it? Did they worry that somebody would forget what trees are generally made out of, and think they'd be metal based on the vague illustrations? We just don't know.

Eye of Eylor Weapons

Shield's eye view.

We get more staves with eyeballs atop them. The Eylor Assault Staff has a bunch of evocation-type spells (call lightning, fire ball, etc.) it can cast. "Suffice to say, the standard users of this powerful weapon are powerful, higher level Minions who are very unlikely to part with the staff without a deadly battle." The Eylor Exploration Staff can grant an variety of environmental spells for protection, but it's very-short term (effects are 15-80 minutes, depending on the immunity, yes, is it vital they all have varying duration so you can never fully predict how long it'll be safe...?). So you better have an exit strategy if, say, the atmosphere of the place you're visiting is poisonous or full of lightning, since those immunities have a very short duration. The Mace of Eylor will defend you against unwanted assaults by crushing heads in. Unlike most melee weapons, the damage is pretty good, and it has some evocation-style effects it can drop. The Shield of Invincibility has "the main empowering device is a small Eye of Eylor disguised as the centerpiece of the shield design". Wait, wouldn't that literally be... wait, how is it disguised as the thing that it is...? Anyway, it lets you deflect attacks back at attackers, but parries against ranged attacks are done without any bonuses... including the bonus to parry the shield grants. Seems like another dog of a design, given it'll run you 8-12 million credits.

Other Notable Weapons

Devil dagger.

How... we're not done? Okay, well, I'm just focusing on the notable ones here. The Demon Claw Blade is made from a demon claw and you can see the eyes of a demon within it. Well, not much creativity in naming there. In any case, it does double damage to supernatural creatures with good alignment, but that's the only time it'll do great damage. The Dragonfire Sword is made from demons, in an example of false advertising; it shoots fire. The Venom Blade comes in a variety of types that release a magical poison on a successful strike; paralysis is hilariously better than the others, with a duration of 1d4 rounds on a failed save, and that duration is cumulative. That'll be fun for PCs to face.

Magic Restraints

Obviously designed to just be too complicated to break out of.

We get some new rules for super-strong people breaking out of shackles - basically your maximum punch damage has to equal the S.D.C. or M.D.C. of them to break out in a melee round, but if you're significantly stronger, it's just one action. Two or three people can combine their damage; mind, this only really counts for mega-damage beings, the durability of most S.D.C. manacles is going to be beyond the practical strength limits of non-mega-strength folks. We have Conventional Shackles (not magical), Living Shackles that are hard to escape artist from because... grabby bio-hands? I dunno. Strength Neutralizers are another living shackle that can't be broken by the bound character's strength (though outside people can try to do so). The Microbe Injector is another grabby tentacle binding that injects a continuous flow of microbes into a creature (taken from Rifts World Book 2: Atlantis). D-Shackles block teleportation and dimensional travel, even from outside powers (but presumably they can still go through a rift?). Mouth Wrap is just to keep people silent - "Other types of gags and muzzles can serve the same purpose, but only the Bio-Wizard Mouth Wrap adheres tightly to the mouth, keeping it shut." That may be, but a ball gag will save you about 24,980 credits. Wait, why am I giving financial advice to slaveholders? Techno-Wizard Shackles are just better shackles because of... techno... wizardry? It's not clear what makes them better, but rolls to break out of them are harder. And another techno-wizard item is Energy Bonds, which disrupt folks with laser eyes or plasma hands as well as psionic "eruptors" (bursters, zappers... pretty much just those two for now).


Atlantean items vary from hilariously overpowered (Dark Lightning Pistol, Paralysis Rifle) to hilariously niche or useless (Windstream Pistol, Millennium Slayer). But more than that, I have the question of who these items are for. Given it's emphasized how eeevil they are, I guess they're not for PCs, since Rifts generally assumes a non-evil group (though there's no real restriction against being evil except when there is). Moreover, even if you care little for the moral implications of a faerie-torturing device, there's the issue that the price of most of these items run in the 100,000+ credit range, with a good number running into millions or tens of millions of credits. Which means if you really want that screaming Blizzard Staff, you'll probably have to practically sell your soul to get there. Given this book is Splynn Dimensional Market, and the early parts of the book angle for ways to PCs to shop there, there hasn't been that much PCs will want to practically shop for...

Next: Big Bad Bio-Borgs.

"No matter what, the fate of the Bio-Borg slave will invariably be a cruel and lonely one."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 21: Splynn Dimension Market, Part 14: "No matter what, the fate of the Bio-Borg slave will invariably be a cruel and lonely one."

Just makes you want to play one right away, yeah? Image spoilered for heavy tentacle groping and mild nudity.

The Bio-Borgs

So, we've already seen Bio-Wizardry used by the Splugorth to enhance their minions (the Conservations, Powerlords, and Slavers from Rifts World Book 2: Atlantis being examples). However, they experiment a lot with other life forms, typically non-supernatural slaves. And that's what these are supposed to be - empowered slaves of the Splugorth who have had a bunch of Bio-Wizard treatments, parasites, or symbiotes crammed into them. This inevitably drives them at least somewhat insane, because Palladium loves its insanity tables in an impure manner - either from the treatment or the conditioning. Most of these are sold off on the market.

Rifts World Book 21: Splynn Dimensional Market posted:

Game Masters should feel free to create their own Bio-Borgs using the augmentations listed in the Atlantis book, those listed here, or entirely new ones. Just don't imbalance your game when doing so. You might also take a look at the Children of Amon in Rifts® Africa or the Gun Brothers in the Phase World™ Sourcebook for even more Bio-Borg R.C.C.s. The possibilities are endless.

Remember, in Palladium Books, imposing imbalance is a game designer's job, not a gamemaster's. It's hilarious to bring that even up before the actual rules for bio-borgs... we also get a reference to the plural term "R.C.C.s" even though there's really only one in this book - the Bio-Borg. This is because there were intended to be five or so bio-borg classes, but most were cut in favor of equipment; they later were published in The Rifter #9 as official overflow material, so we'll be covering them later as part of this review- but they aren't in this book, nor is there are pointer to The Rifter #9. In fact, it was only by chance - when I accidentally pulled out the wrong issue of The Rifter - that I even noticed them at all.

More organs means more human.

So, what's the most important thing to cover first about bio-borgs? Why, it's the Bio-Borg Insanity Table! Yes, you can go into violent rages over "provocations", whatever those might be, become obsessed with fighting or danger, hate or fear Bio-Wizardry, or... become obsessed with cleaniness? Because apparently Bio-Borgs are created in messy conditions, and that can be traumatic. I guess having them die of a simple infection isn't a concern for the eeevil Splugorth... anyway, there's myriad others you can roll, including going back to the original insanity tables. So though exceedingly small, there's a chance your trauma could make you "Become a psychiatrist and try to cure everyone around (they're all sick, even if only you have the perspicacity to tell); be sure to demand stiff fees." Or you could get a fear of cats, or become obsessed with crimefighting, etc. Random insanity can definitely be... random.

We also get rules for Partial Bio-Borgs; like how if you get a sufficient amount of cyborg parts you can be forced to start your character over as the Borg O.C.C., getting four or more Bio-Wizard enhancements forces you to switch your class to the Bio-Borg R.C.C. Mind, you're a shitty bio-borg compared to somebody that started as one, but presumably you don't have to roll for Palladium's beloved insanities.

As always, the % is your chance to actually roll the attributes to play a class as a human.

True Bio-Borg R.C.C. (100%)

So, if you actually bite the bio-bullet play one of these, first you decide your orientation - a sort of sub-class that decides what type of purpose you were enhanced for- "Hunter/Thief" (sneaking), "Warrior/Killer" (combat), "Gladiator" (melee combat), "Guardian" (strength), "Freak" (random), or "Burn-Out" (suicide soldier). These determines what augmentation tables you roll on - or can pick from if your gamemaster allows. Usually there are about 4-6 augementations for a given type There are some caveats - the Burn-Out is largely intended as an NPC given a bunch of parasites that'll cause them to implode, and the Freak... is phrased poorly. I get the impression they're supposed to get five random parasites, but RAW they roll on the following table for random bio-borgs five times, which will give them 3-7 enhancements per roll, meaning they'd have 15-35 enhancements. Obviously not intentional, but... hey, the book says it, it's up to your GM to realize otherwise.

Alternately, you can roll randomly on the table for Determination of Bio-Wizard Augmentation for True Bio-Borgs "for quick and easy creation", but since that doesn't give you the skill bonuses the orientations get, you probably wouldn't want to. Then again, if you get lucky, you can get more augmentations (7) than the orientations get, but he odds are pretty high of getting less (3). Thankfully, we get a note that organisms implanted are given enhancements to last for the life of the bio-borg, and to ignore any incompatibilities (normally, some symbiotes or parasites may get into an ugly fight over your innards in certain combinations, but not here). Wait, if they can modify parasites to not fuck people over as bad, then why are the parasites the way they are? Well, I guess the Splugorth are just eeevil. Mind, random creation also has other issues - you could end up not being mega-damage, for example, or have no particular offensive capabilities. Once again, the GM can let the player pick, but that's up to them.

Insanitywatch: Automatically gets an insanity at 1st level. At 3rd, 6th, 10th, and 14th level, has a 40% chance gain to another insanity. Save vs. Insanity? Yeah, that's a mechanic in this game, but naturally, it doesn't apply here.

So, let's roll up some random bio-borgs, shall we? Let's skip orientation and instead do it the "quick and easy" way.

First we have Evets. He's a human slave. He goes onto the Bio-Borg assembly line, and Raymond Scott's "Powerhouse" starts to play. We roll... 28, which gives us one roll on table #1, "Enhanced Physical Structure", two rolls on table #2, "Natural Offensive Body Weapon", one roll on table #3, "Long-Range Offensive Ability", and lastly, one roll on table #5, "Physical Enhancement". That gives us:So that's our first bio-borg. I'll give him an electric guitar he can self-power, and the codename of Sting in the Tail.

Next we have Gutt. She's an ogre slave. She goes down the assembly line, and we get some... changes. Roll is 59: table #2 gets three rolls, table #3 gets one roll, then one last roll on table #1 or #5. I'll be nice and say we get to decide the table by the end.Our second bio-borg will get the name of Thunderstruck.

Next we have Dnorle. He's an elf slave. He goes into the cartoon squick machine, and we get 86: three rolls each on two tables, and a single roll on another table. We choose the tables, so...I don't think our poor giant Michelin Pan is long for this world, but he can fly at the sun without eye protection, so we'll call him Flight of the Icarus.

Of course, all of the heavy metal bio-borgs we just rolled are going to be pretty weak compared to an metal cyborg, who is likely to have 300-700 M.D.C., rail guns, plasma blasters, etc. As my old cyberpunk gaming table used to say, "meat is murder"; that is, being meat gets you murdered. We actually got workable concepts out of the first two bio-borgs, but the third is just ready to die in a hail of Coalition laser fire.

Next: Biodegraded.

"The dangers in purchasing a Kill Crazy are immediately apparent — they are insane killers."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 21: Splynn Dimension Market, Part 15: "The dangers in purchasing a Kill Crazy are immediately apparent — they are insane killers."

And now, let's switch over to The Rifter #9, as it had a variety of Bio-Borgs cut from Splynn Dimensional Market so they could throw more pixie peashooters in.

Rifter #9: New Type Bio-Borgs

So, we get four added R.C.C.s for bio-borgs. Which is really more of an O.C.C., because you can already have an Elf R.C.C. and become a bio-borg... but... nevermind. Unlike before, these are very specific "designs" using a fixed combination of symbiotes that's apparently designed for stability. Well. Relative stability, given that all of them likely go some level of insane. As always, the % is the chance of a human character qualifying to play one.

Not so much leeching as munching.

The Bio-Leech R.C.C. (38%) uses a combo of parasites and symbiotes to become a modest mega-damage being with pretty much every visual enhancement it could have. It can regenerate even up to -50 M.D.C., so it'll often survive fights... but doesn't have a lot to win them with if its psychic powers don't land. In addition, it gets psionic powers including bio-manipulation, but it's major ability is to drain P.P.E. on a touch. It can weaken spell effects by touch, but only does so at 10% per touch, so it feels more like flavor than effect, though it's a strong anti-psi stalker effect in that it makes the mutants hungry with just two hits. They also have to eat 100 pounds of humanoid flesh and a whole humanoid brain every 48 hours or start suffering penalties. The Splugorth generally consider this one kind of pathetic and sell it off like an attack dog. There's a lot of words on how their genetically programmed diet makes them evil; yes, they could eat other things, but the Splugorth have programmed them to only eat people. But you can play one anyway if the GM allows it. "Don't worry, I only eat fascist brains?"

Insanitywatch: 25% chance to get an insanity per level. Does that include 1st level? We just don't know.

It's hard staying out of every "no smoking" business.

The Fire Eater R.C.C. (100%) is bonded with a parasite that generates fire called... the fire eater. "The primal and spectacular nature of the Fire Eater's powers make him a "hot seller" in the Splugorth slave markets (pun intended)." Palladium: dad-aged dad-jokes from the maker of dad RPGs.

They can breathe fire, punch with flaming fists, create a field of fire that... protects them like armor? Is that how fire works? In any case, it also burns off anything they're wearing that isn't explicitly fireproof. They can also touch people and inflict a "Hellfire Scourge" to make the target "suffer from incredible angst and inner pain". Also they can heal people by mouth-to-mouthing flames into them. I think we might be stretching the definition of fire more than the Human Torch does, and he catches villains with a non-igniting fire lasso. They have to eat a lot to maintain their flames, though, have flame and smoke coming out of their mouth and nose constantly (slavemasters often use a special muzzle), and they explode for serious damage (100+ mega-damage on average) when they die. They're not bad, but aren't going to amaze, much like bursters. Unlike bursters, though, they can't stop the fire.

Insanitywatch: 40% chance to start with an insanity, and rolls that 40% again every four levels and also at 15th level because fuck you, 15th level bio-borg, you played for years and years and years and this is your reward.

No pants, no problem?

Predictably, the Kill Crazy (38%) is the Splugorth equivalent of a Crazy, though they use a symbiote called the "Brain Scrambler-Enhancer" instead of nanotech. However, they're specifically driven for higher aggression, "predatory instincts", and paranoia. Exactly what you need in a slave warrior, I'm sure. Granted, they tend to use the process as a means to increase the value of low-quality slaves for sale. Otherwise, they're similar to Crazies with the same powers, except they get an Eye of Eylor implanted in their head for a ridiculous number of visual enhancements. They can also create a mega-damage Telekinetic Field for protection and get Super Telekinesis, but generally speaking they're going to need weapons to do serious mega-damage. And, of course...

Insanitywatch: Rolls for one obsession and one phobia, and "All Kill Crazies are psychotics who suffer from mild paranoia, aggression, and a lust to hurt and kill." They roll on the Crazy Hero Table at level 4, get vague "delusions and schizophrenia" at level 9, and roll on the Bio-Borg Insanity Table every 5 levels.

They're not supposed to be dicks, FYI, they're... tentacle... ... dicks?

Lastly, whe have the Sym-Killer (14%), which is a killer with symbiotes, not a killer of symbiotes. They're supposed to be the Bio-Borg equivalent of the (snerk) Maxi-Man, having been selected and indoctrinated at an early age, and after a few centuries of service - they have an enhanced lifespan - can even graduate from slave to minion, after which they presumably star in their own animated movie. They become M.D.C., farcical strength and overall high physical traits, an elom symbiote (the electric zappy one mentioned above), a chest amalgamate symbiote (from Atlantis, a giant head on their chest with a stretchy mouth-tongue), a hilariously low-grade poison (1d4 mega-damage with a saving throw to reduce to 1), spikes and blades, a poison stinger tail that can inflict much more useful poisons (like paralysis), and lastly a facewrap that provides nightvision and replaces breathing. Not at all bad, if you're into being an extreme '90s symbiote monster.

The weird note is because they can live for centuries to possibly a millennium, they have an experience chart that goes to level 25, where most characters can only advance to level 15. While we've had some extended charts before, I just want to highlight there are plenty of immortal characters (godlings or faeries, for example) that haven't gotten this treatment, so somebody must have really loved the idea of a player running a Sym-Killer. But how long would it take to hit level 25?

Well, it's hard to say. Rifts, at this point, has given no indication of what the "average" XP award should be. However, we can make a guess based on an example from the corebook. Siembieda brings up that, after two years of play, once a week, with sessions around nine hours, characters in his game ranged from 7th to 9th level. Taking an average of levels 7-9 gives us a value of about 65,000, or 32,500 XP per year of play. XP gains don't increase with level in any significant respect, so we can presume there isn't any curve intended for XP gain. So, with all that in mind, the 4,000,001 XP it takes for a Sym-Killer to hit 25th level, at 32,500 a year, gives us... 123 years and 9 months. Now, granted, you could play more often than that, but maxing it would be a literal full-time job if you wanted to get there in 20 years.

Insanitywatch: 20% chance to start with an insanity, and rolls that 20% at 4th, 9th, and 13th level, on account of their conditioning. Yes, a life of Splugorth slavery makes you more stable, not less?

If you handed a newborn baby fresh from the womb a Sym-Killer character sheet, they would not finish leveling by the time they died. If you started out at level 15, it'd be over three years before you hit 16. It'd still be 107 years and 8 months before you hit 25, presuming you started by childhood. Hitting level 25 is a practical impossibility unless you inflate the existing XP awards by 10, and even then it'd take over a decade.

Why, Palladium? Just... why? Why? I mean, maybe you're future-proofing your game for immortality technology. Or, more likely, it's a hideous abomination of math. And, as mentioned by astute reader The Skeep, "Bio-Borg" is just a silly term. After all, Cyborg is short for "Cybernetic Organism", so a Bio-Borg is a... Biological... Borganism?

Next: Guns of El Pulpo.

"Still, the few vampires who have gotten their grubby hands on the harness have become near-invincible warriors."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 21: Splynn Dimension Market, Part 16: "Still, the few vampires who have gotten their grubby hands on the harness have become near-invincible warriors."

It's time for the gun section. Well. The other gun section. The stuff that doesn't use Bio-Wizardry, except for the stuff that does, and... and let's just get started.

Special Weapons of D-Squad

These are weapons designed to capture or at least halt dimensional raiders. Line Lockers lock people in place unless they can get free of the bola. Ironically, though, it doesn't stop ley line phasing (as in Ley Line Walkers). False advertising! Time-Lock is another gooey bio-bola that prevents Temporal Magic and time travel, and makes teleporting less accurate. Barrier Projectors are basically designed to look like the Phantom Zone Projector, being these bulky two-handle deals, this makes a force field around targets that prevents teleportation and phase powers (as seen in Rifts Dimension Book 2: Phase World.

Kittani Weapons

A chainsaw without... a chain?

Have you ever used a plasma gun and been like "Man, this is great melting people into goo, but could I get something that requires me to get close enough for them to punch me first?" Well, then you'll love the Kittani Plasma Chainsaw, which does the same damage as most plasma rifles, but is bulkier and requires melee range. Sure, makes sense. Conversely, the Kittani Plasma Net is pretty busted; a successful toss of it will lock down anybody without a strength of 30 for 1d4+1 rounds, and force them to take 1d6 x 10 M.D.C. per turn. That'll melt most forms of body armor and their wearers down to slag easily. The Kittani Plasma Whip is worse than the Kittani Plasma Axe, worse than the Kittani Plasma Sword, worse than the Kittani Energy Lance- it's just worse, in summary.

There's so much implied nudity in this book that it's not fun anymore.

Then we have the Kittani Plasma Harness, which creates a burning plasma field around the user, but has the slight issue of burning anything one carries, and then burning the wielder. As such, it's only been marketed to those immune to fire, though even most of those (aside from bursters, who extend the immunity to their clothing) end up being naked flaming warriors because this has no nether coverage and minimal chest coverage. Granted, if you can survive with your nethers aflame, you can grapple to do 1d6 x 10 M.D. every 2-3 seconds, which means if you can successfully "entangle" a foe for a melee round, they're taking ridiculous amounts of damage. This is has gotten fairly limited distribution because the Splugorth have also become aware it can be used by vampires to avoid damage from squirt guns and stakes (hunters can't catch you while you're on fire), though some magical stakes can still penetrate the mega-plasma.

New Kittani Power Armor

One of those one-off designs because nobody else gonna draw that.

The Kittani Centipede (375 M.D.C.) was inspired by the Yahzing Multipede, but it's called the centipede. Makes sense? It can dump some of its segments, mainly if they've been damaged, so you can play Centipede with the Kittani Centipede if you can fight it on a field of giant mushrooms, I suppose. We're told it's weak in close combat, but its Energy Lance is perfectly sufficient for that. Other than that, it's got short-range missiles, mini-missiles, eye lasers, and a shield with a missile that it fires because clearly, it didn't already have enough missiles, shove another in the shield. Thematically cool-looking, but nothing too special about its actual numbers. No reason to fire at those segments, either, when you can just concentrate fire on the main body at no penalty.

"A flying fox! It's an omen! I will become... a flying fox!"

Presumably the Kittani Flying Fox (350 M.D.C.) is actually inspired by flying foxes... wait, no, it's inspired by bats. But it turned out that the Splugorth, because they hate vampires, decided bats were off-brand. So it was named after flying foxes instead. I swear that is text in the book. It's the Atlantean SAMAS-equivalent, though at 600 MPH, it goes practically twice as fast as most of its Coalition cousins. It has a plasma axe, mini-missiles, another shield with a missile in it, and wing lasers. It can do fly-bys where it uses sharpened wings to slash targets, but it requires a successful Pilot skill roll or it takes more damage that it would actually inflict. Or it could just use the plasma axe, which does more damage and can shoot plasma at a distance... it's not bad, but unholy fuck have we seen a lot of SAMAS-style power armors at this point. And there'll be more coming up! :hehstonk:

Also available at Splynn
By Wayne Breaux Jr.

We have weaponry made by the Octurill, an other-dimensional octopoid race not seen in this or any other book preceding it. Yes, we have the octomen, turns out those are different. Getting the impression this wasn't really coordinated with the other writers, for some reason. In any case, there's a Octurill Vibro-Axe and the Octuril Charged Particle Ejector; the vibro axe does more damage than usual, but that's about all that's notable here. These are designed to be used by tentacles - you can get them specially made for human hands at extremely high costs, but why would you?

Ready to probe all mysteries.

Similarly, the Kizh don't show up here, but their weapons do, and they're aquatic-themed (but no details on whether or not they work proper underwater, it's just implied). In typical goofy fashion, the Kizh Plasma Pistol actually does more damage than the Kizh Ion Rifle, and both have choppy vibro-fins to keep them on-brand. The Kizh Sensor Gauntlet is more of a bracer with various spikes that come off of it, it turns out they're probes, not stabby bits. It has a variety of mundane sensory equipment and can cast a variety of detection spells.

Miscellaneous Items

The Power Jaw Helmet may be made by Titan (i.e. the mad AI Archie-3), or maybe not? Either way, hopefully having a vibro-jaw in your helmet fits your theme or style, because it sure as hell won't do enough damage to rate being used over a vibro-sword.

Mega-Blades are attachments to normal melee weapons that magically let them do mega-damage on a straight 1-to-1 conversion. The "bird-like" Qua-Teek, also not in this book, make the most elegant and showy mega-blades.

Well, that felt like filler. I looked through Aliens Unlimited to see if these races were from that (as that was also written by Breaux), but as far as I know the races referred to don't exist in any Palladium book? Kind of interesting to have niche weapons like these, but they're appro of nothing in this particular book, it's not like we've had any aquatic emphasis, but at least Octomen get guns, I suppose.

Next: Mega-Taxis.

"Very confident, very charming, and very masculine."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 21: Splynn Dimension Market, Part 17: "Very confident, very charming, and very masculine."

"Look, everybody knows the Splugorth couldn't have built advanced pyramids. It was humans."

Skyborne Excursions
By Mark Sumimoto & Kevin Siembieda

The main source of transportation and tours, Skybourne Excursions also sells aircraft as part of a "multi-trillion" business due to... that's... really? They haven't expanded beyond Atlantis and a single outlet on Phase World, yet they're around ten times more profitable than American Airlines, Lockheed-Martin, and Uber mashed together? Palladium numbers! They have a deal with the Kittani to get exclusive rights to sell Kittani aircraft, which... why? I'm not sure what the Kittani get out of it, though maybe they're just like "Well, we'd rather just conquer anyway than worry about dumb business!... wait, we're not getting to do that either? Splynncryth, when are we gonna conquer stuff again? We're bored."

We get a long list of Skybourne's prices, from a 40 credit two hour tour to a 40,000 credit daily air yacht rental (with a 250,000 credit deposit). In addition to flying machines they also have trained flying animals, slave flying sentients, and paid flying sentients that are used as mounts. So, in case you were worried they might not be dickbags, don't worry. They're slave-owning dickbags. But we can move on to the dickbag owners.

Miles Sky is a hatchling Kukulcan dragon - the Quetzalcoatl-inspired serpents from Rifts Conversion Book - who has learned techno-magic in defiance of, well, dragon hatchling rules. Unlike his goody-goody rainbow serpent kin, he's greedy and selfish because that's what it says on his sheet. There's a note that he's considering secretly dealing with Tolkeen to sell them flight systems. However, they don't have enough money, he won't take credit, and they aren't willing to deal with the Splugorth anyway. Wait, what the hell was this note for, then? I get the impression there's some authorial conflict going on! If the fact he's a dragon hatchling with an O.C.C. wasn't odd enough, it's an O.C.C. from The Rifter #2 (the "Techno-Wizard Aviator")... wait, I thought that was "unofficial"? Well, I guess not anymore. Sumimoto got to write an official book, so now he can retcon his old articles into the setting... granted, that isn't the only example of that, with him referencing the Murder-Mage O.C.C. from another unofficial article he wrote earlier in the book. Whups. Of course, the class isn't reprinted here or in any other Rifts book, so good luck knowing what Miles can do without it!

Andruu Realm is a demigod "reputed to be the offspring of some alien, Air Elemental god". Not alien enough if they're commingling their nethers with a mortal, I think. He used to have a cult, but got into business because it's more exploitative profitable. He's apparently super-buff and charismatic and makes a good salesman (as opposed to the more technical Miles), no doubt with an open shirt struttin' around.

Rifts World Book 21: Splynn Dimensional Market posted:

Except for the circle of clouds that follow him and the electric energy that illuminate his eyes, he would look like a normal eight foot (2.4 m) tall human with rippling muscles and light blonde hair.

A perfectly normal eight foot tall human. Ah, yes, that is perfectly ordinary for a human ... okay, okay, it's probably just meant to be "normal but eight feet" but still.

Sky is pondering betraying Realm, and Realm is afraid Sky is going to betray him... oh, and you may have noticed. Sky and Realm.

Rifts World Book 21: Splynn Dimensional Market posted:

Note: The owners changed the name of their business from "Skyrealm" to "Skyborne" because they thought is sounded better, loftier and less like one specific place (after all, they do want to expand to other worlds).

I get the impression - just the impression - that Sumimoto named it "Skyrealm", and Siembieda scrambled to rename it, lest the notoriously ligitious Skyrealms Publishing, publishers of Skyrealms of Jorune, come knocking at his door. You know, those guys who sue people all the time, and oh- sorry. You can't hear my sarcastic tone through the written word. But it's there all the same!

"I love flying whatzits!"

Skyborne, Kittani, & Other Vehicles of Note

No, not more equipment, I beg of you, no, please, please-

So we get a variety of Techno-Wizard magic geegaws to put on your magic plane, like a Fireball Blaster, Lightning Blaster, or... P-Beam cannon? Particle Beams? That can't be right... oh, it fires "magically created particle beams". I see. We have a "Gatling-style" machinegun that fires telekinetic bolts, but why does... I mean.. why would it be a gatling if it doesn't generate heat... well, I guess it looks cool? We also have a magic laser, oh, come on, you guys aren't even trying to stay on-theme! Also there's ectoplasm tentacles, even though ectoplasm is psionic, not magic, and whups, I just imploded into black hole of picked nits!

Time for a section on Tech-Flying Platform, standing-room only, sitting down is for "luxury models", so you can feel free to catch bugs in your teeth at 60 MPH. They use the carpet of adhesion spell to keep pilots and passengers from flying off. We get stats for an Average Flying Platform "Taxi" (120 M.D.C.) and the Seaside Hover Platform "Boat" (100-200 M.D.C.). The latter can float on water, the former does not. We also have the the Splugorth Hover Platform, which is the thing that comes swooping down on you when you're on the run. It has an Eye of Eylor for the usual Palladium laundry list of sensor types, as well as a number of debuff spells.

"Look, we'll go outside and I can show you this is a jet pack!"

Then, we get the Splugorth Eylor Jet Pack, which flies through the power of an Eye of Eylor - they do all sorts of unthematic nonsense, I guess! It also has a Haardeon attached, which is not a Splugorth-issue strap-on, but a creature tied to it that can leap out and claw people or eyebeam them. (Okay, I presume it's only there because it's in the art.) Also the Haardeon has a variety of psionic sensitive powers including sense time, in case you need a slave that doubles as a pocket watch. Haardeon.... haardeon... there's a joke there, it's like it's on the tip of my... hm.

How to just fill space, Palladium-style

Let's see, how do you fill out the rest of a book like this? Well, you take a miscellaneous illustration, take the star-shape vehicle somebody's riding, and call it the Splugorth Eylor Hovercycle (200 M.D.C.). Then you cut out the vehicle out of the illustration, then blow it up on the same page, so you're using the same illustration twice on the same page. Bam, pro layout skills! Oh, I'm sure somebody's worried about what it does, right? I assure you nobody is. It flies and has magic powers drawn off a dartboard. Why the fuck does a flying vehicle need mystic portal? Moving on.

Please do not ram.

Kittani Hover Pods
By Wayne Breaux Jr.

Since flying platforms and flying barges and flying foxes wasn't enough, we get some hover pods from the writer that gave us such Palladium classics as Rifts World Book 15: Spirit West and Aliens Unlimited. Oh, have I not reviewed Alien Unlimited? Do you need seven different alien species that can all be summed up as "fish guy"? Seven different types of bird guy (including two parrotmens)? Seven different types of cat alien (including such creative names as "Pume", "Panteran", and "Lynx")? And on and on for ape aliens, plant aliens, etc. It's like looking into the event horizon of creativity. Dog aliens called the "wulf"? I don't want to review it and you don't want to read a review of it. I'm just establishing that.

Speaking of which, we have these pods. But, I know, you're wondering, what is a pod? The mystery will be uncovered by Wayne Breaux, professional game writer:

Rifts World Book 21: Splynn Dimensional Market posted:

The term "pod" comes from the fact that these vehicles are pod shaped, rounded and bulb-like with very few or very slim protrusions.

Wait, they're not named that because all Kittani are fans of Payable On Death, the classic '90s Christian nu-metal band? Racing pods, though... where have I heard of... it's just on the tip of my... hm.

"The best thing about this is just flying as much as you like, because it can't actually land."

There's a One-Man Speed Pod (95 M.D.C., a Two-Man War Pod 100 M.D.C., and the Kittani Patrol Flyer (220 M.D.C.). Their ability to break the speed of sound will come in handy when you crash thanks to their low M.D.C. and take double damage since you're right in front. Gives a new meaning to the term "suicide door". Also, they get a bonus to automatic dodges at cruising speed or slower, but need to go above cruising speed to perform an automatic dodge... but are denied any bonuses when using it. No, seriously, I can't make a lack of editing like this up. Thanks, Breaux. It's always a treat.

The rest of the book is filled up with extremely wishy-washy numbers for TW Sky-Flyer Compact (Two-Man) (100 M.D.C.), TW Sky-Flyer Sedan/Taxi/Bus (120 / 130 / 200 M.D.C.), (TW?) Airships (150-1,000 M.D.C.), we get Splugorth Flying Ships & Barges (250-4,000 M.D.C.) despite them being prominent in other books. The filler is so blatant that they may as well have lorem ipsumed the rest of the book.

But I've got a few more things left to say.

Next: Welcome to Palladium! Here's your introductory pink slip.

"Special Thanks to Mark for expanding upon my original ideas and breathing life into the famed Splynn Dimensional Market."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 21: Splynn Dimension Market, Part 18: "Special Thanks to Mark for expanding upon my original ideas and breathing life into the famed Splynn Dimensional Market."

In Conclusion

Hopefully Mark Sumimoto enjoyed his trip through the Palladium rotating door, much like Ben Lucas, Kevin Krueger, and Chris Kornmann did. Watch it spin! Apparently he's now an editorial manager for the Society of Nuclear Medicine, so it seems he came out the other end okay. Apparently he was originally going to also contribute to Powers Unlimited, but that never happened.

Kevin Siembieda, The Rifter #8 posted:

1999 has been especially good for Palladium. We have built a network of amazing artists, writers and creators — many of whom have become friends rather than just distant, machine-like freelancers. Some of these folks are only beginning to stretch their wings and be seen. New guys like Bill Coffin, Ben Lucas, Steve Edwards, Mark Sumimoto, Steve Trustrum, Mike Wilson, Apollo Okamura, Ryan Beres, and others. Together, we plan on making the next 20 years better than the first! There is an excitement and energy at Palladium Books that reverberates through the stalwart staff and freelancers alike. An energy that we hope will carry us to new heights. To boldly go where no man has ... um ... well you get the idea.

Kevin Siembieda, The Rifter #8 posted:

We had a lot of fun with this book, filled it with great artwork, and Mark Sumimoto did a fantastic job writing it (I only pitched in here and there)!

Kevin Siembieda, The Rifter #9 posted:

Mark Sumimoto leaves Palladium

Yes, people are coming and going at Palladium. Due to strong creative differences, Mark Sumimoto and Palladium Books have mutually agreed it is best to go our separate ways. Mark is a freelance writer who wrote Splynn Dimensional Market™ (a cool world book full of Bio-Wizard items, magical stuff, and a companion to Rifts® Atlantis) and frequent contributor to The Rifter™. The Bio-Borgs that appear in this issue were cut from the Splynn manuscript due to space limitations. Palladium promised these monstrous characters would appear in The Rifter™, so here they are. Enjoy 'em.

We wish Mark continued success in all of his endeavors and hope he fulfills his dreams.

Mark Sumimoto, sumocat.blogspot.com posted:

My first paid piece of writing appeared in The Rifter #2, a periodical published by pen and paper gaming company Palladium Books. This was followed by more minor pieces and a full-length supplement for the Rifts series, The Splynn Dimensional Market. Fortunately, our relationship soured before I became as emotionally involved as Bill Coffin, although I vouch for everything he has said about PB.

You know, I have a soft spot for the Atlantis books and their ability to throw seemingly random ideas in a blender, but they're just not terribly playable save for generating slavers for the PCs to lob missiles at. Sumimoto does his best to give us some hooks and a rebel group to give us reasons to actually go to monster island, but the cartoonish evil of the Splugorth at this point is so amplified that I'm starting to think it's less cunning or malevolent and more just dumb.

I can only express this in narrative form.

Not Rifts World Book 21: Splynn Dimensional Market posted:

Splynncryth the Splugorth: Okay, I'm not high on megaopiates for about five minutes, it's a rare time, let's do some governing. Right, so, if you've got a problem, look, I'll solve it.

High Lord S'ffr: So, we're having trouble with vampires-

Splynncryth the Splugorth: Oh, I hate those guys, no class, no class at all. When I was a young interdimensional collection of tentacles, when we drank the blood of the innocent, we did it with respect for the innocent-

High Lord S'ffr: - there are probably vampires in the Kii-Kyl mountain-

Splynncryth the Splugorth: Kill-Kill Mountains? Did I seriously name a set of mountains the Kill-Kill Mountains?

High Lord S'ffr: Just one, the Kii-Kyl mountain. Or is it plural? It's where Mount Doom is? Page 25 of Rifts World Book Two uses both tenses.

Splynncryth the Splugorth: Mount Doom? Aren't we going to get sued by somebody for that? Like... I swear, somebody already has the rights to that? Wasn't it in Willow?

High Lord S'ffr: Why do you hate vampires so much, sir? Aren't we one big evil family? Demons, gargoyles, whatever those giant psionic conch shells are... metzla...? United under the flags from Miscreant to Diabolic?

Splynncryth the Splugorth: Well, see, I'm at this party, and I meet this hot and steamy vampire intelligence, and I throw a tentacle over it, and I'm like "So, how about I take this Staff of Eylor and show you how to activate its fire magic-" and by the end of the night, I'm getting arrested by Horus and have to do like 200 millennia of community service, and it wasn't even that good-looking anyway, so it shouldn't be a crime, you know-

High Lord S'ffr: Anyway, I was thinking we could use magic stone pyramids to create mass storms, just flood the whole mountain range. Vampires are water-soluble! Just melt them out.

Splynncryth the Splugorth: Wait, seriously, water- melts vampires? Nobody told me that! Arm everybody with squirt guns! Actually, could we use ice guns? Stabbing is more evil than squirting.

High Lord S'ffr: They're only harmed by running water, sir?

Splynncryth the Splugorth: But isn't moving ice like, a form of running water? In fact, there's water in the air the whole time! Always moving! They've already melted! Ha! My genius has undone them.

High Lord S'ffr: It doesn't work that way- and I don't know why either- I was just thinking we could flood-

Splynncryth the Splugorth: - flood, yes, how many sacrifices will that take? Blood! Blood! Hahahahahaha!

High Lord S'ffr: None, we can just put in an order with the Stone Masters to use their Pyramid Power to summon up some storms.

Splynncryth the Splugorth: Wait, can we still do some blood sacrifices and say it's for the storms?

High Lord S'ffr: I... sure. Sure. I'll send the orde-

Splynncryth the Splugorth: Actually I think I'm sick of that hippie bullcrap! Who builds giant pyramids? Pyramid power? How high was I? What, do we do fucking crystals next? Forget that! Tear down the pyramids! Away with the tyranny of bricks!

High Lord S'ffr: We're in a pyramid right now, sir. It's your home and place of power. Everybody is in awe of your big-ass pyramid. We do magic crystals all the goddamn time. It's a perversion of something or other, I think? Hippies, I guess. We're like evil hippies.

Splynncryth the Splugorth: Oh, well, keep the pyramid. Oh, I've got it! How about a squirt gun... that tortures somebody every time you pull the trigger? It's just the right amount of evil! Not too much, not too little. Just enough.

High Lord S'ffr: That's- we can just flood-

Splynncryth the Splugorth: I can't flood nature! I love nature! And evil!

High Lord S'ffr: But we're evil, what do you care?

Splynncryth the Splugorth: Oh, no, I "enjoy serenity and nature untarnished by the encroachment of civilization." Page 22, Rifts World Book 2: Atlantis. Checkmate, mein freundo.

High Lord S'ffr: Fine, I guess we'll... make some kind of squirt gun... that tortures a very tiny person, or... something. And issue them.

Splynncryth the Splugorth: Done! Hit me with your best shot! Next!

High Lord S'ffr: Some stuffy humans have been freeing our slaves from a nearby island, some kind of... knights?

Splynncryth the Splugorth: Cyber-Knights?

High Lord S'ffr: No, just knights.

Splynncryth the Splugorth: Mystic Knights?

High Lord S'ffr: Just regular knights, sir.

Splynncryth the Splugorth: Ah-ha! Cosmo-Knights.

High Lord S'ffr: No! Just... knights. In armor. With swords. Regular-ass knights.

Splynncryth the Splugorth: I don't understand. That doesn't make any sense.

High Lord S'ffr: Anyway, their home islands, some place they call... Eng Land? I was thinking we could just send over some slave barges and scour the isles clean of all life.

Splynncryth the Splugorth: But I love nature! Page 22!

High Lord S'ffr: Fine. Humanoid life. We'll capture some for the slave markets. You love slavery. It's part of our proud Southern-dimensional heritage.

Splynncryth the Splugorth: That's better. But... won't that reveal our might to the world? Drive them to act against us? It's too soon, no, we need something more cunning.

High Lord S'ffr: Everybody knows about us, sir.

Splynncryth the Splugorth: Nonsense! Nobody knows our true might!

High Lord S'ffr: Actually, it turns out hundreds of thousands of our slaves have escaped and know all about our *cough* "hidden" might. England knows. Lazlo knows. The Coalition knows.

Splynncryth the Splugorth: Those insufferable numbskulls! They don't know anything! My fifth-dimensional chess has outthoughtted them!

High Lord S'ffr: It turns out they captured our spies before they could suicide and they gave up everything under human torture. Page 15, Rifts Sourcebook 4: Coalition Navy.

Splynncryth the Splugorth: Really?

High Lord S'ffr: Truly.

Splynncryth the Splugorth: Still, I mean... annihilating a nation instantly, what if people decide to fight back?

High Lord S'ffr: Literally nobody can oppose us on this planet. Have you seen the statblocks, sir? We have hive creatures with thousands of M.D.C. Slave barges with the power of gods! The ability to mold flesh to make an unstoppable army of billions!

Splynncryth the Splugorth: Yeah, but where's the art? The suffering? Oh, I've got it! They love trees there, don't they?

High Lord S'ffr: They have some very big trees they're quite fond of, but I'm confident we can destroy all trees that oppose us. I mean, they're trees.

Splynncryth the Splugorth: What, no! We steal a piece of their tree, like, a branch, and make it... evil. That'll throw them for a loop!

High Lord S'ffr: No, let's- are you- no-

Splynncryth the Splugorth: Yeah, make it into a something... like... a sword to cut down trees... with trees. Hahahahah! I love it! It's so deliciously evil!

High Lord S'ffr: An evil wooden sword is your sole act against knights that are freeing thousands of our slaves?

Splynncryth the Splugorth: Well, we can make evil staves, evil shields, evil capes-

High Lord S'ffr: Evil capes?

Splynncryth the Splugorth: Yes, I can be like "See this cape made out of leaves? It's an evil cape! Despair, Knight-Knights!"

High Lord S'ffr: I... okay. Fine. We'll get right on erecting some evil wood.

Splynncryth the Splugorth: Was that joke at my expense?

High Lord S'ffr: I promise you it didn't cost you a thing.

Splynncryth the Splugorth: Oh, well, workshop it until it's far more expensive, I demand the most luxurious things.

High Lord S'ffr: One last thing. We have these new parasites, but one just... we're having real trouble clearing our stock of it. The Para-Sym Transformer. Nobody wants it.

Splynncryth the Splugorth: Ahhh, I remember that one. "More than meets the eye!" And it is! It makes people explode bloodily 48 hours after implantation! Oh, hahahaha, pure gold. *sniff* It was beautiful.

High Lord S'ffr: Yes, well, now that the word is out about people exploding- which didn't take long, incidentally, 48 hours as it turned out- I was thinking we could drop the cost to like, 4,000 credits. We could claim a 99.9% off sale. Put a banner on a flying metzla, have them do a few loops around the city hypnotic suggesting the rubes.

Splynncryth the Splugorth: But... how will we make a profit? I can't go below 1.8 million! Do you know how much it costs to produce?

High Lord S'ffr: About 400 credits, sir.

Splynncryth the Splugorth: That's- what?

High Lord S'ffr: Look, we take a low-value slave, we implant them with the parasite, throw them in a mega-damage cage, and within 48 hours they explode and the Para-Sym Symbiote splits in two. One 800 credit slave nets two Para-Sym Symbiotes. It's canon.

Splynncryth the Splugorth: Stop, are you... are you trying to pull math on me? How will we make money? What do you know about finances, anyway? I'm the business blob around there!

High Lord S'ffr: I know a 900% markup isn't bad and that they're not selling because they make people explode and cost two million credits. I did have another idea if we wanted to maintain the price, though.

Splynncryth the Splugorth: If you're done trying to bankrupt every tentacle I have, let's hear it.

High Lord S'ffr: Now, I don't want you to get upset, but... we tested it on bio-borgs, it's canon, we could modify the Para-Sym Symbiote... so it doesn't make people... explode...

Splynncryth the Splugorth: Is... is that a hint of Unprincipled I hear in your voice?

High Lord S'ffr: No, sir, I swear I'm just greedy-

[Sounds of a horrific beating can be heard for 17 minutes.]

Splynncryth the Splugorth: Ugh, I feel dirty. That sounded merely selfish. Get me another High Lord, one with the decency to betray me this time. A real Starscream, okay? And clean up this mess... evily. I don't know how, just get it done! Do it while you're high or something! And while I'm high! Fuck it, it's time for the most evil of my hobbies...

Splynncryth the Splugorth: ...

Splynncryth the Splugorth: THE NATURE WALK!!!

Altantis is ultimately dumb and I feel dumber for having summarized two books about it. Rad bio-borgs and cool psychic conch art just can't get me past the pre-adolescent, dull, "do evil for evil's sake because you were born evil in an evil dimension" gibberish that infests this chunk of the setting from the core. Real evil is way more chilling and subtle, and might even involve motivations. What would this book be like if you didn't have one big circular Lovecraftian fart at the center?

We just don't know.