1 "Meanwhile, the war at Free Quebec is effectively 'The Coalition vs The Coalition!'"
2 "Although this war will fall into place 'by the numbers,' its end will come at a high price and will not be as easy as anticipated."
3 "CS leaders also questioned and condemned Free Quebec's sudden increase in the number of Glitter Boys, having learned (through spies at Lazlo via Erin Tarn's reports) that several hundred (perhaps thousands) of new style (and old?) Glitter Boys had been commissioned by the State."
4 "Cold justice for dangerous times."
5 "Note: These professional 'soldiers' have different training than the 'independent' or "freelance" Glitter Boy O.C.C. presented in the Rifts® RPG, even though half of those are also 'descended' from generations of GB pilots (such 'Descended Independents' get the following bonuses: +1 on initiative, +1 to strike, +2 to pull punch, +3 to save vs Horror Factor, +20 S.D.C., and +1 additional melee attack when using a GB, but these bonuses only apply to those with a long family tradition, not those who have recently acquired a GB)."
6 "In fact, an old joke has it that, 'Every Loader, man or woman, feels incomplete without their RHV and loves it more than any flesh and blood spouse.'"
7 "They just want the opposition to know they just got their ass kicked by a girl."
8 "They can be seen gliding on updrafts or cruising the skies, weaving through the skyscrapers of the cities, streaking toward combat to answer a threat and locked in a brutal ballet of light, thunder and death against Coalition SAMAS and aircraft."
9 "In the first six months of occupation and combat, the CS Navy will lose 1D4x10%+25% of its Naval ships, power armor and supplies at the hands of the Quebec Navy, setting it back years!"
10 "He is somewhat knowledgeable of an obelisk in the northern tundra, but clueless as to its purpose or origin."
11 "Readers might think of it as a combination of 'Dodge City' from the old American West, World War II's Casablanca and the Star Wars cantina."
12 "At that point, suicide might be a good option if some way can't be found of battling their way through."

"Meanwhile, the war at Free Quebec is effectively 'The Coalition vs The Coalition!'"

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 22: Free Quebec posted:


I was going to do a parody of "O Canada" but about fascism, but it turns out it's surprisingly hard to find decent online translation of Canadian French. And it didn't feel right to do it in English.

Rifts World Book 22: Free Quebec posted:

Violence and the Supernatural

Similarly, autotranslating the opening blurb didn't seem to be an option.

Rifts World Book 22: Free Quebec posted:

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

There are pretty notable differences between Quebecois French and French French, as it turns out.

Rifts World Book 22: Free Quebec 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.

Still, it's probably easier than Palladium English.

Rifts World Book 22, Part 1: "Meanwhile, the war at Free Quebec is effectively 'The Coalition vs The Coalition!'"

Yes, it's begun.

The motherfucking Coalition Wars start here. Now, this isn't an official Coalition Wars book. We'll have time enough for those, believe me. But it says it right here:

Rifts World Book 22: Free Quebec posted:

You hold in your hands the launching point for Coalition Wars! The first of a series of books that will follow the military campaign of the Coalition States. A methodical plot to eliminate its enemies, subjugate lands, unite its allies and extract bloody revenge.

This is listed as written by "Kevin Siembieda and Francois DesRochers", which I can only presume is Siembieda doing is usual rough ride over a freelancer's script. The introduction is entirely by Siembieda, and is just talking up the book in a factual but very enthusiastic tone.

Rifts World Book 22: Free Quebec posted:

To make good on this goal, Free Quebec has met with delay after delay (which we are very sorry about), but we hope the end result will have made it worth the wait. Enjoy.

Let's have some Erin Tarn .

Danger Signs
A letter to Plato on Free Quebec from Erin Tarn - Spring 104 P.A.

This letter is dated to have been written before the metaplot events of Rifts World Book 11: Coalition War Campaign in 105 P.A. - and more notably, the secession of Free Quebec and the Coalition's declaration of war against them.

Erin Tarn has been traveling through the (North) "Eastern Wilderness of the American Empire", and been enjoying a relatively peaceful journey, but she's heard of political strife between Free Quebec and the Coalition leadership at Chi-Town. There's rumors that Quebec might secede (we already know they will, of course), and Tarn is fretting over it.

Traveling through the former New York State, they're accosted by scouts from the Longhouse Preserve, a previously mentioned Native American community (of an undetailed "dozen different tribes") located where Albany was. They have war paint on despite there being no apparent war, and guide Tarn to meet one of their tribal elders. There they meet a shaman named Julie Rivermind, 30-year old shaman, "elder", and unabashed Erin Tarn fan (because Everybody Loves Erin). Julie reports that there have been low-intensity skirmishes between Quebec and the Coalition, including the use of new Glitter Boy variants used by Quebec, including the Triax Glitter Boy variants. It seems the Coalition's accusations that Quebec has been building up a Glitter Boy arsenal are perfectly on the money.

Rifts World Book 22: Free Quebec posted:

According to the Shaman, there have been many acts of open disobedience and armed skirmishes. So far, few have resulted in bloodshed, but there has been some bloodletting.

I... that's... I... bloodshed is different from bloodletting...?

"Neck massage!"

Rifts World Book 22: Free Quebec posted:

As if this were not enough, our Longhouse friends reported witnessing two battles between Coalition Reconnaissance squads from the west and Glitter Boy troops they are certain originate from Free Quebec! It seems when the CS squads were discovered, the Free Quebec troops obliterated them, making a point not to allow any survivors.

That sounds an awful lot like bloodshed? Or is that bloodletting? Well, whatever. So it seems Free Quebec has been doing secret operations to test their new, shinier Glitter Boys, and trying to make sure all witnesses are eliminated. Though, however, it seems they're not successful because Native Americans are pros at sneaking missions.

Aiming is for greenhorns.

War at Free Quebec
Erin Tarn's Perspective

We kick forward to 105 P.A., where Erin Tarn is writing a book on the Coalition conflicts entitled War of Unity, War of Revenge on the Free Quebec conflict. She announces that even though the conflict between Tolkeen and the Coalition is more relevant to her personally, she feels she already knows how it's going to turn out: that the Coalition will be triumphant. Yes, this is the line author mouthpiece telling us this. Also, she fears she couldn't be "objective" about Tolkeen... uh, do you really need to be? Coalition bad. Tolkeen less bad. Coalition invader. Tolkeen defender.

In any case, though the Coalition might otherwise overwhelm Quebec with their far larger force, they're divided between Tolkeen, Quebec, and a variety of less pressing threats. In addition, Free Quebec has an (arguably) superior Navy and an alliance with Triax, which gives them some edges beyond just having a bunch of Glitter Boys. Tarn handwrings about the cost to the average Coalition or Quebecois citizen, and worries that if the Coalition falls, it could be a "new dark age". Yes, as noted in Rifts Sourcebook, fascism is the necessary lynchpin for human survival, despite numerous examples of that not being the case elsewhere in the setting. But sure. She hopes that the idea of fighting other humans will get them to hesitate before total war ensues, but worries Emperor Prosek can't be swayed.

Rifts World Book 22: Free Quebec posted:

No war has yet begun. No real war, anyway. Only minor skirmishes, intelligence gathering and acts of sabotage. All of which have produced 20 casualties on the side of Free Quebec and six for the Coalition (and they, I am told, two of them accidentally blew themselves up).

Wait, didn't you talk about Free Quebec annihilating at least two whole Coalition recon squads? Maybe that was just bloodletting. Lethal bloodletting.

Editing is for lesser publishers.

Erin Tarn frets, but takes a moment to explain some history. Originally, the Coalition formed from a number of independent states, but as many of them looked more and more to Chi-Town for military support and protection, they became subservient client states. Moreover, Arkansas and Fort El Dorado may be brought in as a new Coalition State, and if they do, they'll effectively be just another client state. However, Free Quebec has never really needed to depend on Chi-Town, seeing them as equals and allies. Chi-Town, though, never really returned the favor, demanding that they dismantle their Glitter Boy forces (and thusly become dependent on the main Coalition army), incorporate CS Psi-Hounds, etc. Quebec eventually and recently seceded, but offered an alliance. Emperor Prosek instead pulled a how dare they:

Rifts World Book 22: Free Quebec posted:

I imagine the discussion between the Emperor and his High Command involved a lot of shouting and screaming. Ending with fist-pounding and words like, "Nobody quits the Coalition States. Nobody! It's insane ... and treasonous! How will our enemies see us now? Weak. Divided. Vulnerable. How do we know Quebec hasn't allied themselves with one of them? Or are they just cowards who are glad to enjoy the fruits of our victories, but are unwilling to join in our fights."

"Shit, did I crack a nail?"

Chi-Town hopes threats will get Free Quebec to capitulate. They will not. Though there's a small minority of Coalition loyalists, Quebecois intelligence is watching them closely. They also have, as mentioned like, three times by now, a secret force of secret Glitter Boys that is secret in addition to the publicly known Glitter Boys. This includes Glitter Boys from Triax, but also the- uh- Glitter Girl. But there'll be time for that can of worms later.

Next: When Brownshirts fight Blueshirts... we lose? Really?

"Although this war will fall into place 'by the numbers,' its end will come at a high price and will not be as easy as anticipated."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 22, Part 2: "Although this war will fall into place 'by the numbers,' its end will come at a high price and will not be as easy as anticipated."

Coalition Fronts

First, we have a description of the Western Front, which is the Coalition siege on Tolkeen. Right now they're just trying to encircle them and cut off their supply lines, but they're running into resistance from Native Americans and Cyber-Knights. We're reassured that the Coalition will win- no, seriously, they've giving away the metaplot and we've barely started- but that it'll be more costly than they expect. However, the Coalition is managing to cut off Tolkeen's trade pretty well in preparation for their main invasion.

Like the bumblebee, science cannot answer how the SAMAS flies.*

Secondly, we have the Eastern Front where they've got over a half-million troops and a million skelebots (try not to think about how expensive that many robots would be, it's insane) ready to begin the campaign against Free Quebec. However, they've run into issues with non-Coalition irregulars striking out against them, as well as the occasional supernatural monster. Well- look, just try and parse this text:

Rifts World Book 22: Free Quebec posted:

Although officially refuted by the CS, approximately 4,400 CS soldiers have been slain by "unallied" wilderness monsters, raiders and assailants. An additional 30,000 troops have suffered injury or illness, and over 37,000 Skelebots have been lost in combat outside the borders of Free Quebec. A full third of these injuries are the result of large scale attacks by Shemarrian Warriors along the Pennsylvania-New York border. Another 10% fell to a "robot" legion of unknown origin. (Note: ARCHIE Three and Hagan Lonovich are responsible for these conflicts and casualties. They launched the attacks for two reasons: One, to keep the CS north of their secret base and operations in Aberdeen, Maryland; and two, to test their robots against the mighty CS in open combat, the results of which Archie and Hagan are pleased with). Another 10% of these casualties came from a terribly brief but devastating battle with Splugorth Traders along the coast of Nova Scotia. Much to the CS Navy's embarrassment, (they lost half their ships in this chance encounter). Meanwhile, property damage, sabotage and theft also plague military operations in the east, with small platoons and base camps away from the main armies being the most vulnerable to such trouble (these small groups make for easier targets).

Yes, the Coalition lost half their ships in a battle that cost them only 440 people out of a 700,000+ army? I... okay, maybe they meant "half the ships in the battle"? We just don't know. Also, in case you were wondering how well the Coalition Navy that was built up to fight Atlantis actually stacks up against Atlantis? The answer is, apparently from the above, "very badly".

Rifts World Book 22: Free Quebec posted:

The same basic strategies and tactics used against Tolkeen are planned against Free Quebec, at least initially to test the "enemy." However, there are some serious barriers and flaws to this approach.

Seriously? You think? Anyway, it turns out using the same strategies you use to fight wizards on dragonback against the Glitter Boy Parade might it be a mistake! How about that! It turns out Quebec has the advantage of knowing Coalition procedure and tactics, a Quebecois Navy that can (and, we're told, will) wreck the Coalition Navy, and surprise technology. The Coalition also thinks they can blockade Quebec (they can't) and that they can cause Quebec to capitulate (they can't). The first major skirmishes have been at sea, where the Quebecois Navy has successfully foiled attempts by the Coalition Navy to blockade them, making the Coalition Navy a nonissue in the long run.

Spikes vs Skeletons.

Oh, did you buy Rifts Sourcebook 4: Coalition Navy? Sorry, the fighting's over with that and it hardly matters, just forget about using any of it. Maybe you'll get to use it next war! For some reason the narrative switches over to the Tolkeen fight, the main point here being that it's costly enough to impact the Eastern Front. And also there are Dragon Kings fighting for Tolkeen, which is news. What are those? Wait for the Coalition Wars®!

It turns out most of the Quebecois public is for independence, and the Coalition's offensive has only bolstered their resolve and justified their actions. However, the people of the Coalition States are generally against a war fighting Free Quebec, the constant pro-human propaganda working against Chi-Town's attempt to stir up anger. While most do see Free Quebec as a pack of traitors, they still don't want to fight other human beans. Though the Emperor's son, Joseph Prosek II, has questioned the war, Emperor Karl demanded that he A) shut up and B) fix the people's obviously wrong ideas about this. That hasn't worked either! Even the military is, apparently, only about halfway enthused about the whole thing.

The only people that do seem wholly behind the whole thing are in the Coalition State of Iron Heart, which is generally tired of playing second fiddle to Free Quebec and their shiny robot asses. Too bad, Iron Heart! The writers here barely care about you, so good luck with getting any coverage. Though the Triax corporation of Germany is nominally allied with Free Quebec, they have no interest in seeing the Coalition and Quebec go to war - not that they have the resources to commit to anything other than Germany's war against the Gargoyle Empire in Europe.

* Yes, I know we've worked out how bumblebees flumble, don't @ me.

Next: Is that reference to "Birth of a Nation" intentional?

"CS leaders also questioned and condemned Free Quebec's sudden increase in the number of Glitter Boys, having learned (through spies at Lazlo via Erin Tarn's reports) that several hundred (perhaps thousands) of new style (and old?) Glitter Boys had been commissioned by the State."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 22, Part 3: "CS leaders also questioned and condemned Free Quebec's sudden increase in the number of Glitter Boys, having learned (through spies at Lazlo via Erin Tarn's reports) that several hundred (perhaps thousands) of new style (and old?) Glitter Boys had been commissioned by the State."

I'm only a tenth of the way (perhaps halfway) through this review (commentary?) and I'm already starting to feel a little tired (exhausted).

Free Quebec
Re-Birth of a Nation

Did they really non-ironically name the chapter that? Ooof. So, the city of Quebec survived the cataclysm because... they did? Luck, I guess. Still, it got wrecked a lot in the "Dark Ages", and people eventually built a new city nearby called Quebec City, while the old city of Quebec became a hive of villainous scum known as Old Bones. Though Quebec City dealt with many attacks from otherdimensional forces, they survived and decided they deserved the adjective "Free" in their name, with the battle cry of "Forever free!" Then they found Glitter Boys around that time! 288 is apparently the legendary number of those discovered, though there are historical debates on that. The practice of handing down Glitter Boys to descendants apparently started in Quebec, and spread out from there. However, they also managed to uncover how to build new Glitter Boys (somehow), but tried to hide that by generally only keeping a force of several hundred GBs live at any given time.

Smoke and mirrors.

We're told they have a "strong democratic government", but it'll be a long while before anything that doesn't involve battles or guns will get discussed regarding Free Quebec. They joined the Coalition thinking it would be largely just an alliance of sorts, but Emperor Prosek's rise resulted in Chi-Town treating them as lessers and making broad demands like ending the Quebecois use of cyborgs and juicers, and introducing Psi-Hounds to their forces. The only one of those three they ever honored was ceasing their cyborg construction, though it was a hollow gesture, as they already had a bunch of cyborg troops and the facilities to make more. As for juicers, they just took their creation processes underground instead. When Free Quebec created an independent alliance with Triax, that was apparently the last straw, as Chi-Town discovered they were importing parts from Triax to create a Glitter Boy force of thousands. At that point, Chi-Town demanded that Free Quebec dismantle all their Glitter Boys, convert their equipment and vehicles to the Coalition standard, that Dog Pack troops and Skelebots be adopted, and a variety of less important changes. Free Quebec refused, and that eventually led to their succession.

Now, there's a contradiction here - it's said that Quebec never employed Psi-Hounds. But back in World Book 20: Canada, the origin of the "Rogue Dog Boys" in that book was that they were employed by Quebec at Chi-Town's request and then exiled during the succession. Well, it's probably a bit much for them to remember a whole section they wrote a few books ago.

Some slight scale issues in this pic.

In anticipation of the Coalition invasion, Free Quebec has begun a process of rapid expansion in order to try and draw battle lines away from their communities and people. Ironically, in this process they're opting to avoid molesting or attacking D-Bee communities, hoping they'll serve as a distraction for incoming Coalition forces. They've been setting up a variety of concealed observation posts so they can start a guerrilla war, as well as trying to find ways to incite locals and monsters against the Coalition.

Oh, hey, it's time for another contradiction. Here, there's a Quebecois naval base set up to watch the St. Lawrence River, and we're given a breakdown of forces, including 144 Skelebots... and we were just told New Quebec never trusted or used Skelebots (given they were produced by Chi-Town, this makes sense). Well, it's probably a bit much for them to remember what they wrote in this very chapter.

Lastly, Free Quebec is aiming to only take a defensive posture, because... I'm not sure why. I guess they don't want to fight the Coalition or fellow humans if they don't have to, and enjoy their moral high ground. Because I guess when you're fighting superior numbers, the only thing to do is hunker down and wait for them to attack. Sound military strategy, I'm sure.

Next: Canada Jack-boots.

"Cold justice for dangerous times."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 22, Part 4: "Cold justice for dangerous times."

Quebec Military
By Francois Desrochers & Kevin Siembieda

In general, the Quebec Military previously utilized the same equipment and vehicles as other Coalition States save for the addition of Glitter Boys, but never used Psi-Hounds, Psi-Stalkers, or psychics. Which makes me wonder how they faced the supernatural at all, since they have practically no defenses against an invisible demon, malevolent entity, or a subtle psychic, but that's not a question that will be answered. While it could justify that it's more isolated as an excuse, it specifically says "much of the region claimed by Free Quebec is very much a wild and untamed wilderness rife with D-Bee squatters, monsters, and supernatural horrors." I guess they just throw Glitter Boys at problems and hope that works. Which probably does work the majority of the time, but... when it doesn't, it doesn't.

Note the varied crest patterns of the Northeastern Canadian Fascist.

Unlike Chi-Town, Quebec has never been particularly expansionistic, instead focusing on consolidation and fortification. For the past five years, they've been planning for the possibility of war, and pushing propaganda and jingoism as part of their military buildup. While not advanced overall as the Coalition, they do have Glitter Boys and a much superior navy.

We get a breakdown of troop levels, and it's hilariously high at points - the standard veteran Glitter Boy pilot is 7th-9th level and the average Commissioned Officer is 7th-12th level. As some many remember, the expectation in the corebook for Rifts is that characters will be at 7th-9th level after two years of real-life play. That means your average Glitter Boy pilot is going to be equal to some of the most experienced PCs, to say nothing of officers. Most are just 1st-5th level, though. Most.

Viva la fascisme!

Components of the Quebec Military

Though nominally useful for a wartime scenario, this section is drier than a desert at noontime.

The Regular Army is their main force, mainly resembling that of the Coalition save for the inclusion of Glitter Boys, Juicers, and "Cyborg Shock Troopers".

"Talk while I'm choking you, dammit!"

Le Surete du Quebec gets a lot of detail, including on their O.C.C.s, as the book gets a bit ahead of itself. Most of their agents are equivalent of the Coalition cops (the ISS) from Rifts World Book 11: Coalition War Campaign. However, we get a quick class, the Le Surete du Quebec Deep (undercover) Intel Agent, a highlight of pithy class naming. The chance of playing one is 29%, and they have a weird thing where they have to have an average or low Beauty of 12 or less to qualify- if you're too pretty, you get rejected because they want "average looking people". But, RAW, you can have Beauty of 3, be the most ugly person imaginable, and still qualify. Also, they get the Seduction skill with a bonus: "Hey, hon, you ever fuck somebody... average?" They do get a 1d4 bonus to Affinity, though, which is a rarity. Otherwise, they have an unexceptional smattering of spy skills.

O.C.C.s Common To Free Quebec
By Kevin Siembieda

We're largely directed to Rifts Mercenaries, Rifts World Book 11: Coalition War Campaign, Rifts Sourcebook 4: Coalition Navy, and Rifts World Book 20: Canada for O.C.C.s. For some reason, we're directed to Rifts World Book 23: Xiticix Invasion for Psi-Stalkers, even though they're in the core book and also got reprinted in Rifts World Book 13: Lone Star.

In any case, magic is illegal in Free Quebec. Crazies are sometimes employed as mercenaries but the actual conversion process is banned. Mutant animals and D-Bees are banned, and some "good ol' boys" go out to hunt D-Bees for sport. Ironic use of the word "good", Siembieda. Psi-Stalkers are tolerated in the wild but not allowed into Quebecois society or their military. Similarly, Skelebots are banned even though they were being used by the Quebec military in the last chapter. Well, maybe it's just a sometimes ban.

swing batta batta swing batta batta swiiing

We get percentage breakdowns of the army, with the corebook Coalition classes being the most common. They also use cyborgs, which we'll get a class for later, using the same decommission and service guidelines from Coalition War Campaign. Juicers are part of the Quebecois military and generally have two categories - civilian treatments are illegal, but do exist. Most are forced to detox after three years of service and go back to other military service. However there is a "Juicer Maturation Program" where a soldier volunteers to run their course to death as a "Jimmy Juicer" (JM = Jimmy), and either die on the field of battle or are given euthanasia if their burnout becomes unbearable. They get to select a beneficiary to gets money from a "death bonus" upon their passing.

Headhunters are used by the military as mercenaries on both sides of the Coalition / Quebec war.

Rifts World Book 22: Free Quebec posted:

They are often hired by large armies as cannon fodder — expendable troops — to send ahead of the regular armor as scouts or front-line fighting troops to soften up the enemy. Headhunters are pros who know this and take no offense by it. Being treated as a second-rate and/or expendable soldier comes with the job.

Uh, you do know being a mercenary involves surviving to spend your pay, right, Siembieda? Mercenaries are notorious cowards; if you want somebody that'll die for a cause, you want a soldier. But this is genre fiction, and in genre fiction most mercenaries exist to give villains hordes of scumbags to throw at our heroes.

Psychics are treated as extreme second-class citizens and can't join the military in Quebec, and are tagged with ID chips like they are in the Coalition. They have a "relocation venture" where psychics can choose exile and are given money, a vehicle, and a slap on the rear. The consequences of treating a bunch of people who can read minds, crush bodies, or make tool-free lightsabers very, very badly is never explored, especially given that Quebec employs no countermeasures. Somebody with hypnotic suggestion could run roughshod through their society- there are no Psi-Hounds or Psi-Stalkers to identify or counter them. Say what you want about the Coalition characterization, but having a supernatural detection force was at least thought through in the Rifts corebook. Here, there's just nothing to stop a psychic who can keep their powers quiet from wreaking havoc in Quebec, to say nothing of wizards, shapeshifting dragons, or possessing demons. An unscrupulous Coalition officer (like the recurring baddie Colonel Lyboc) could change the course of the war by paying a wizard to teleport a group of assassins into the office of Quebec's Prime Minister. But that won't happen.

Rifts World Book 22: Free Quebec posted:

Consequently, those who discover they possess psionic abilities either try hard to keep it a secret and rarely use their powers (thus, they rarely progress beyond 2nd or 3rd level even when at an advanced age), or leave Free Quebec to make their life elsewhere.

Things that earn you XP in Palladium games: Overcoming challenges. Using skills. Roleplaying well. Things that don't earn you XP in Palladium games: Using your psychic powers. You wrote these rules, Siembieda, and then reprint them in every game you publish. I don't get what you're trying to say.

Next: Glitter Buffs.

"Note: These professional 'soldiers' have different training than the 'independent' or "freelance" Glitter Boy O.C.C. presented in the Rifts® RPG, even though half of those are also 'descended' from generations of GB pilots (such 'Descended Independents' get the following bonuses: +1 on initiative, +1 to strike, +2 to pull punch, +3 to save vs Horror Factor, +20 S.D.C., and +1 additional melee attack when using a GB, but these bonuses only apply to those with a long family tradition, not those who have recently acquired a GB)."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 22, Part 5: "Note: These professional 'soldiers' have different training than the 'independent' or "freelance" Glitter Boy O.C.C. presented in the Rifts® RPG, even though half of those are also 'descended' from generations of GB pilots (such 'Descended Independents' get the following bonuses: +1 on initiative, +1 to strike, +2 to pull punch, +3 to save vs Horror Factor, +20 S.D.C., and +1 additional melee attack when using a GB, but these bonuses only apply to those with a long family tradition, not those who have recently acquired a GB)."

The Special Duty Combat Unit Shinesman.

Now, I know what you're thinking: "Glitter Boys are cool, but they just aren't powerful enough." I kid, of course; nobody has ever thought that, save for, perhaps, these authors.

New O.C.C.s

As always, the % is your chance to qualify for these with a human character; mind, all of the people with these classes will likely be human anyway.

"Your butt checks out and is ready to go, ma'am."

Not invulnerable while he's blastin'.

* Since I've said that, feel free to post "I played a reloader for a Glitter Boy and it was awesome", I feel that it's probably inevitable whenever I say a thing like that..

Action-packed inaction.

"Wow, they must really need those reload guys for them to be so elite!", you may say, but your average Boom Gun - the rail gun of the Glitter Boy - holds 100 rounds. A highly experienced Glitter Boy pilot can fire a shot about every 2.14 seconds, so it can take about three and a half minutes to run out of ammo if they're just firing continuously and doing nothing else (like dodging). If they only hit half the time, that's over 5,000 total mega-damage. If whatever you're firing at isn't dead at that point, you've got bigger problems. Even an experienced crew takes about 45-50 seconds to reload the gun, which means your Glitter Boy will be sitting out for 3-4 rounds of combat (or about 15 to 28 actions depending on your level) if you actually need this done, at which point you're probably out of the combat... and out for most of the game night.

Worst gun.

Weapons & Equipment of the Quebec Military

I don't know why they chose a Tales From the Crypt-style font for this. Maybe they're spooky guns. In any case, most of this just references Coalition weapons from the corebook and some Triax weapons from Rifts World Book 5: Triax & the NGR. We also have a computerized Mini-HUD System helmet interface that combines the typical swath of visual enhancements that Palladium thinks every future soldier will have, much like the Predator had from Predator. It also gives a bonus to hit with "long-range weapons".

Best gun.

Unsurprisingly, we get new Quebecois guns. The Q1-01 Laser Pistol, Q1-02 "Stopper" Ion Pistol, and Q2-10 Laser Pulse Rifle are all notably better than their Coalition equivalents, with higher damage values. However, the Q2-20 LLG "Infantry Standard" Light Laser & Grenade Launcher may as well be a carbon copy of the current Coalition main assault rifle, save for a crappy optional Vibro-Bayonet. The Q2-30 Rapid-Fire Heavy Laser is questionably broken, able to dump its clip for inaccurate more-than-Boom-Gun-damage, though it requires high strength to use. The Q4-40 "Mule" Assault Rifle has a high strength requirement and doesn't do any more damage than any of the other rifles, so why bother ever touching it? (The answer is "you're fighting Glitter Boys"- Quebec isn't.) The Q4-44 "Drummer" Double-Barreled Shotgun is hilariously trash, doing a mere 2d6 mega-damage on a double-barreled blast. Ditto for the Q5-50 Light Rail Gun, which somehow does less damage than even the "Mule". The QN-Laser Harpoon Gun is a near-copy of the existing Coalition speargun from Rifts Sourcebook 4: Coalition Navy.

For all you underwater Hawkeyes.

The Free Quebec Body Armor (80 M.D.C.) is roughly equivalent to the old Coalition Heavy Body Armor from the corebook, but with more features and replacing the skull with spikes. Similarly, the TX-J50 Juicer EBA (90 M.D.C. is a solid suit that reduces is penalties for Juicers, and comes with art cut right out of Rifts World Book 20: Canada. Apparently Quebec still has old Coalition suits they only use for covert ops (because redoing the equipment for your entire military in 5 years is necessary to phase out the last wave of the toy line, or something) and sometimes the police use widely-produced armor.

Also, in an object lesson on how to waste valuable printing space, here's an excerpt of one of the Free Quebec Body Armor's features.

Rifts World Book 22: Free Quebec posted:

2. Video camera and long-range transmitter. This is a tube-like appendage that is most notable from the back of the armor. When in storage mode, it is locked down against the back and looks like nothing more than an air vent, or meaningless bit of tubing. When activated the tube slides up, and flips to the right or left shoulder in a horizontal position, jutting over the shoulder from behind the neck collar. In this position it is now ready to film and record or transmit pictures and sound.

Recordings are made on one of three, self-loading video discs with nine hours of available footage. If desired, the video disc can be recorded over again, although usually only after it has been viewed by the soldier's superiors and wiped clean to avoid confusing past events with current ones.

The images and sounds can also be transmitted to a communications or Mission Command Post, which can be a fixed outpost or base, or a mobile command or platoon center located in a vehicle such as an APC, Death's Head Transport, giant robot or aircraft. Standard range is ten miles (16 km), although field operations in the wilderness, away from cities, mountains and other types of interference have been successful up to 25 miles (40 km) away. Bouncing the digital transmission from relay stations (mobile or stationary) can increase the transmission to hundreds of miles, although typically about 50 miles (80 km) from station to station.

The camera is most commonly used as a means of communications, monitoring and recording troop operations, and intelligence by small units (squads and platoons). This enables officers at a main or mobile base, other teams, and rescue units to remain in unbroken contact with their teammates and constantly monitor the situation.

So many words to say: "It has a recording camera that can transmit wirelessly." Then again, not every section is quite that long.

Rifts World Book 22: Free Quebec posted:

3. Protective Neck and Shoulder Collar: This raised, padded and armored collar helps to protect the neck and shoulders.

Obvious from the illustration, irrelevant in text.

Next: All skullbots big and small.

"In fact, an old joke has it that, 'Every Loader, man or woman, feels incomplete without their RHV and loves it more than any flesh and blood spouse.'"

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 22, Part 6: "In fact, an old joke has it that, 'Every Loader, man or woman, feels incomplete without their RHV and loves it more than any flesh and blood spouse.'"

Let's see your Reloader Hover Vehicle remember your anniversary, though.

Combat Vehicles

We get a laundry list of civilian vehicles used there; most notably all the Coalition vehicles from the corebook find a home in Quebec. In case you're wondering if there are any mix-ups, Quebec uses a sky-blue paint job in comparison to the Coalition's blue-black. But...

Rifts World Book 22: Free Quebec posted:

Other Aircraft: Limited imports. Free Quebec has never had much use for fighter jets or even helicopters, and SAMAS, Sky Cycles and light hovercrafts fit their needs much better.

Picture a Quebecois general staring at jet fighter, scratching his head. He doesn't understand. How can flying past the speed of sound with enough firepower to level a mountain help his cause? What tactical use could that possibly be? "I don't get it. This isn't shiny or spiked at all. Let's just build more Glitter Boys and SAMAS suits."

Hot roddin' fascism.

There are some vehicles unique to Quebec:
Is it just me, or is the scale way off here?

Robot Vehicles

I don't usually include reused art, but I wanted to point out: this still has the Coalition croch-flag.

We get a note over what robot vehicles from previous books are used by Quebec, even though that was noted earlier. It's a bit redundant, don't you think? I think it's redundant. Did I mention there's a lot of redundancy here? Speaking of which, the UAR-1 Enforcer Coalition 'mech from the corebook is reprinted as the QR-1 Enforcer Prime with slightly more M.D.C. to try and justify it. Even the art is the same!

Rifts World Book 22: Free Quebec posted:

The complete stats are reprinted here, from the pages of the Rifts® RPG, for the gamer's convenience.

But we all already own that if we play Rifts! How is it convenient?!

Cock cannons or goatee guns? You be the judge.

In fact, "convenience" is a funny thing to say, given it's followed by the QR-2 Abolisher Prime, which is just the IAR-2 Abolisher from Rifts Sourcebook or Rifts World Book 11: Coalition War Campaign. But it refers us there. Why reprint the robot that's in the corebook but not the one that's only in supplements? This is supposed to be some kind of fucking gamer koan?

It's important to draw the eye to your flag.

The only one that isn't from another book is the QR-3 Guardian Robot (560 M.D.C.), credited to Francois DesRochers, with a pretty neat design from Breaux. "Free Quebec has not been completely asleep at the wheel when it comes to giant combat robots". Well, good, because DesRochers seems to have been, given how typical and uninspired the statblock is. It has a decent particle beam rifle, a ton of missiles, and a smattering of other less important weapons. It also maintains the tradition of being 24' tall and still being crap compared to a Glitter Boy which is a fraction of the size, save when it comes to dumping a shit-ton of missiles at something. Yes, they have Glitter Boy technology, yes, they can build Glitter Boys, but upsize it? Woah now, that's too much of a quantum leap for Canuckopfs. Basically just the Enforcer Prime but way more Prime. Optimally prime, maybe.

Next: Ready or not, here comes the boys from the North.

"They just want the opposition to know they just got their ass kicked by a girl."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 22, Part 7: "They just want the opposition to know they just got their ass kicked by a girl."

Glitter Boys of Free Quebec
By Kevin Siembieda, inspired by concepts from Ryan Beres. Some additional text and ideas by Francois DesRochers.

Look out, it's Erin Tarn!

Rifts World Book 22: Free Quebec posted:

There is an old pre-Cataclysm saying that goes something like this, "All that glitters is not gold." For the Army of Free Quebec, all that glitters among their mechanized forces are their Glitter Boys.

I- that's not what that means- well, I guess misunderstanding a pre-Cataclysm saying would make sense, but I'm not sure that's intentional. In any case, Erin reminds us that the Glitter Boy predates the rifts as a creation of the "American Empire", making it over three centuries old. And though other suits may be more advanced (they really aren't, but okay), they don't have the Glitter Boy's fame built from that history, being used to defend human communities. Erin has at least 500 stories catalogued about GBs defending communities or defeating monsters. Of course, there are also rare stories about people using Glitter Boys for eeevil.

Glitter Boy vs. Glitter Boy Killers, who will win?! (Hint, the winner is on the Rifts logo.)

Both Chi-Town and Free Quebec discovered and used Glitter Boys during their early years. Erin then goes on to reiterate the Rifts theory that a single suit of mega-damage armor can stand in for an platoon of normal troops. This is, of course ignoring the fact that a single person, no matter how big their gun, is going have a hard time holding an area or patrolling a wide region or the like. However, granted, she is correct in that having that sort of visible force might dissuade bandits and other predators... though it also might attract more daring ones to steal the suit.

Getting away from Tarn, it's revealed Chi-Town abandoned their Glitter Boy force due to having an inability to replace and rebuild them. Instead, they focused on systems they did have the technology for, like the SAMAS. Because of the danger they presented, they outlawed Glitter Boys. Is this a new note...? I've lost track. Free Quebec was given a waiver from it, of course, but the main reason to outlaw them was that the Coalition's foes have them, and the Coalition don't.

It turns out Free Quebec, on the other hand, had access to the technology for the suits but had difficulty building the miniature nuclear power supplies used by GBs. So they made a deal with Triax to provide GB technology, and in return receive thousands of power supplies and Triax-built GBs. In addition, getting Triax to produce GBs more cheaply allowed them to experiment more with GB technology on their end and produce new suits that have been kept secret so far.

Quebec's Glitter Boy force turns out have been built on a Glitter Boy factory located south of Quebec City with 864 suits (literally three times the number of the originally reported of 288). They've also created a second top-secret factory in the middle of Quebec City itself. Their full extent of their GB technology has been kept super-secret for 300 years because that seems pretty likely, doesn't it?

Goose-stepping Glitters.

Glitter Boys of Today

In any case, New Quebec has the greatest experience in the use and implementation of Glitter Boys of any place on Earth, and is essentially the symbol of the nation. However, they have drawbacks- or, um. Supposed drawbacks. Let's go over them one-by-one.Quebec likes to use "firing line" tactics, having a set of Glitter Boys blazing away while a rear line switches out, and maintaining a barrage that way. Others are given the task of watching for aerial assaults and missiles and engaging those. In addition, they're supported by rest of the army. The used of them in large groups helps them overcome their *cough* weaknesses. Though the Coalition will likely beat them in a sustained conflict, it'll be at heavy cost. We get a lot of numbers where GBs are considered as far as their deployments and percentages go (they have about 15,000 total), but we can move on to the meat of this section: Glitter Boy numbers.

Take that, right side of the page!

We start with the Classic Glitter Boy (770 M.D.C.), which is largely just a reprint of corebook material. The only change is the "Rimouski Weapon Package", a Quebec-exclusive extra set of hilariously pointless backup weapons added. I usually gloss over the actual weapon damages because who has the time, but let's sum this up:Also, there are those that might remember a few reviews ago I went over what I called Gratitious Guns, referring to Siembieda's habit of adding weapons to vehicle designs that aren't in the actual illustration. Well, everything in the Rimouski Weapon Package applies - none of it is remotely illustrated here.

The other new addition is Glitter Boy "Elite" Combat Training as a skill. Previously, Glitter Boy Pilots instead used the generic Power Armor Elite Training, but GB Elite Training, of course, provides better bonuses on top of the improved bonuses elsewhere. However, we're told:

Rifts World Book 22: Free Quebec posted:

Note: The GB Elite Combat Training skill is exclusive to Free Quebec Glitter Boy Pilot O.C.C.s and The Descended GB Pilot O.C.C. (which can apply to those outside Quebec).

Wait, aren't those are the same class? Were two different classes planned at some point? I'm confused. Can non-Quebec pilots take the class and get the different bonuses listed? Or do they get the same bonuses? Or is it that the old Glitter Boy Pilot O.C.C. can take the different bonuses? Or is it that...

Y'know what? Nevermind. It's a mystery. Point is, Quebecois Glitter Boy pilots can be hilariously busted from a damage-dealing standpoint; an 11th level pilot will have 12 attacks a round at +10 or more to hit. Most characters that don't have an automatic dodge will be taking serious damage from them; as they can just focus-fire until a target runs out of dodges, at which point they hit on anything but a natural 1. While they can still be fairly vulnerable to immaterial entities, invulnerable monsters, or other rule-breakers, anything that takes damage normally and doesn't have a deep well of M.D.C. will be in trouble.

Light just bounces off of surfaces as random blobs, that's science.

The Triax Glitter Boy (660 M.D.C.) is reprinted from Rifts World Book 5: Triax & the NGR. It's basically a model that trades out durability for a secondary weapons package, the only one which is of note are mini-missiles that can fire in sets of four, so four plasma warheads can do an average of 140 mega-damage. It'll largely be relying on the same old Boom Gun, though.

Power Posterior.

Then, we get to the Glitter Girl (650 M.D.C.), so brace yourself up for

Rifts World Book 22: Free Quebec posted:

Advanced technology and robotics shattered the barriers between the sexes. The greater physical strength and speed of the male warrior no longer played a vital role in the modern army. A woman could capably pilot a hover tank, robot or suit of power armor as well as any male — the gender of the pilot makes no difference. All that is required is a better than average hand-eye coordination, reflex response and a mind for combat. While good physical conditioning is still a requirement, women have taken on a larger and more aggressive role in front-line combat, particularly in the Quebec Military.

Rifts World Book 22: Free Quebec posted:

Having proven their skill and battle willingness for decades among the traditional Glitter "Boy" troops, the female GB pilots began to lobby for their own division and distinctive appearance. They just want the opposition to know they just got their ass kicked by a girl. High Command liked this idea and the women had earned it.

Rifts World Book 22: Free Quebec posted:

Much of the change has been cosmetic making the Glitter "Girl" more shapely and "feminine" in its appearance. Ironically, the "breasts" actually provide for greater protection with heavy armor plating for the upper torso.

Boob power armor: even sillier than boob armor.

No, no, it doesn't. 650 < 770. So, their main weapon isn't a Boom Gun, but is the QST-104 "Double-Up" Assault Cannon that fires plasma or explosive bullets. It has a special swivel tripod where it can be set down and remotely operated and fired, which would be a neat feature if it didn't do relatively the sad, sad damage of 33 Mega-Damage (plasma) or 7 Mega-Damage (bullet). It can use a missile launcher (140 Mega-Damage) or Boom Gun (105 Mega-Damage) instead, both of which are superior choices. It'll start the tradition of every new weapon for the new Glitter Boy models being comparatively weaker than the Boom Gun, regardless of their flavor text or role. The "Gigi" is faster and gets extra combat bonuses, so if they get a decent weapon, it's probably a straight tradeoff compared to the original GB.

Perfectly balanced for flight.

The Glitter Boy Side Kick (280 M.D.C.) is a speed-jumping power armor somewhere between a Triax "Hopper" and the Coalition SAMAS, able to bunny-hop around at 150 MPH or do short-term flight up to 120 MPH. It gets the QST-98 "Kicker" Grenade Launcher that can fire bursts of grenades for 50 Mega-Damage in a 6' burst radius (no, really, it's only 6'), but gets no attack bonus when doing so. They can do aimed shots for 17-18 Mega-Damage instead, mind. They get a big bonus to dodge (+6) when doing their bunny-hop but it's otherwise an unexceptional power armor aside from getting the same laser-reflective coat as the original GB.

The art isn't off-model!... it's a "variant".

The Tarantula Glitter Boy (850 M.D.C.) is an attempt to design a GB without the traditional system of bracing pylons and recoil-cancelling jets. Instead, it relies on "tiny jets" and... the wind resistance from fins on its back. Unsurprisingly to anybody with a basic grasp of physics, this doesn't work. Though it can fire a Boom Gun, it causes it to stumble back and can only fire a Boom Gun once per round at its normal Strike bonuses; all other shots are just flat d20 rolls.

But that's okay, because it's designed to use the Boom Gun's intended successor, the QST-333 "Shaker" Cannon. It combines a plasma blaster, rail gun, and laser rifle, not that they can be fired together. "It is the pinnacle of Free Quebec weapon technology and a devastating multi-purpose infantry weapon." Well, you may as well climb back down from that peak, because it does 41 Mega-Damage (plasma), 35 Mega-Damage (rail gun), or 14 Mega-Damage (laser). Supposedly it has so much of a kick that 'Borgs that try and use it have massive penalties and it damages vehicles it's mounted on due to the kick and heat, and even penalizes other GBs that try to use it, but... why? The damage is respectable for a power armor, but comparatively awful for GB. It has secondary weapons, of which its mini-missile pod is the only exceptional one (once again, 140 Mega-Damage with plasma). The Tarantula has increased durability, but trades off more than half the GB's damage output for a bizarre boondoggle of a weapon.

Two guns are lesser than one?

The Taurus Glitter Boy (800 M.D.C.) is designed as a experimental artillery variant, with heavier "cleats" that fire double the number of anti-recoil pylons than a normal GB. Instead of a Boom Gun, it uses two "High-Powered Mortars" (70 Mega-Damage from a double shot in a 20' radius) or "Optional High-Powered Laser Cannons" (50 Mega-Damage from a double-shot). The only real use I can see for this thing is to do indirect fire with the mortars, but it takes penalties firing at anything not in line-of-sight, or something small or moving fast. Reload Teams supposedly act as spotters, but there's no obvious mechanics or guidelines for such. "Certainly,", a straw person might say, "... the mortars must have a higher range than the Boom Gun?" And indeed they do. The mortars have a range of 12,000 feet. A Boom Gun has a range of 11,000 feet. We're told it "tears troops to shreds" but the damage isn't enough to punch through the new Coalition body armor on any sort of average roll. Another chance for me to use the word "boondoggle", I suppose.

But why do the guns have fins?

Lastly and certainly leastly, we have the Silver Wolf Glitter Boy (420 M.D.C.), which looks a bit like a Gundam. This is intended to be a more infantry-scaled GB, and definitely moves faster, but so does the Glitter Girl, and this takes a massive hit to durability. It uses a QST-188 Particle Beam Assault Cannon, which is supposed to be super-secret and super-advanced, and right now that seems to be code for "does less than half damage compared to the original GB". It does 41 Mega-Damage. Also, if used continuously for 10 minutes, it shuts down for 1d6 damage. It has mini-missiles in its arm shield that are superior (70 Mega-Damage from two plasma missiles), but generally feels like the poor cousin of the Glitter Girl. It can't even use a Boom Gun; it's the only GB so far other than the Side Kick that can't.

And so, for all the worries about "power creep", only the Glitter Girl and Taurus Glitter Boy are really competitive with the basic Glitter Boy - and only if they discard their unique weapon packages for a Boom Gun. The boosts to Glitter Boy pilots and their power armor skill do a lot to exacerbate the already-existing power imbalance between the Glitter Boy and other power armor models, and I can't imagine why. Maybe they thought that the Glitter Boy needed a boost with the improvements to the Coalition in Rifts World Book 11: Coalition War Machine, but it really didn't. It really, really didn't.

Next: The rest of the robots.

"They can be seen gliding on updrafts or cruising the skies, weaving through the skyscrapers of the cities, streaking toward combat to answer a threat and locked in a brutal ballet of light, thunder and death against Coalition SAMAS and aircraft."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 22, Part 8: "They can be seen gliding on updrafts or cruising the skies, weaving through the skyscrapers of the cities, streaking toward combat to answer a threat and locked in a brutal ballet of light, thunder and death against Coalition SAMAS and aircraft."

Looks like it was designed by algorithm.

The Glitter Boy section segues into other forms of power armor without missing a beat.
Really like this flying tin can, tho.

One thing worth pointing out is the numbers groups like the Coalition and Quebec have in terms of these flying and armored vehicles, dwarfing that of the modern day American military despite being smaller countries with far more limited access to resources.

Rifts World Book 22: Free Quebec posted:

In short, the Power Trooper is an interesting experiment, and would have tremendous appeal to mercenaries, adventurers and manufacturers such as Northern Gun or the Black Market, but it falls short of its expectations. As a result, it has been made in short supply (about 1440) and is typically deployed on Recce and other long-range, long-term wilderness operations and outposts.

Rifts World Book 22: Free Quebec posted:

Note: Approximately 1200 unmodified "Death's Head" SAMAS are in storage.

I like how this tiny, post-collapse nation can have more of one rejected or outmoded vehicle than some of our armed forces have of combat aircraft total.

Cyborgs of Free Quebec
By Kevin Siembieda & Francois DesRochers

As mentioned way, way back in Rifts World Book 10: Juicer Uprising, Quebec had a secret project known as "The Liberty Reserve". Though they were banned from fielding Juicers and cyborgs by the rest of the Coalition States, they secretly kept Juicer and cyborg conversion facilities at the ready with soldier volunteers at the ready. In the past few years, they've been activated, giving them active cyborg and Juicer forces. We're mainly just talking about cyborgs right now, though. They're used to support Glitter Boys, of course, and are designed with buffers to ignore the sonic booms of the Boom Guns.

"No cheap shots in my exposed guts, please."

And so, we get the Free Quebec Cyborg Soldier O.C.C. (9%). Despite it saying "Any human with the spirit to fight and that is in good mental health may choose to become a cyborg soldier.", a hefty Mental Endurance requirement of 15 reduces your chance to ever play one significantly. This is pretty much the same as the Cyborg Shock Trooper for the Coalition, but with Quebecois cyborg models available, and specific skill packages depending on the model taken. The M.D.C. values vary based on their armor worn. I'm not going to go into the weapons used too much - they usually have concealed lasers, leg rods, carry rail guns, etc. - but most of them aren't really distinct from the dozens of cyborgs we've already seen. These are:
Cybernetic thigh-highs.

Exposed guts and thigh-highs, now together at last.

At this point, these cyborg sections are always dull because most of them just use "off-the-shelf" parts with rare exceptions. As such, you just see the same general M.D.C. values, weapon systems, features, etc. They're even more generic than most forms of power armor or giant robots tend to be at this point, and that's saying something.

Next: Fascist boats, revisited.

"In the first six months of occupation and combat, the CS Navy will lose 1D4x10%+25% of its Naval ships, power armor and supplies at the hands of the Quebec Navy, setting it back years!"

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 22, Part 9: "In the first six months of occupation and combat, the CS Navy will lose 1D4x10%+25% of its Naval ships, power armor and supplies at the hands of the Quebec Navy, setting it back years!"

The Quebec Navy
By Kevin Siembieda with Francois DesRochers

We get a lot of talk regarding how many lakes and rivers Quebec has (a lot) and how people love skinning beavers again (a lot) and canoeing-

Rifts World Book 22: Free Quebec posted:

Trapper-Woodsman O.C.C.: Why, that's my cue!

Alien Rope Burn: Oh, crap, no.

Trapper-Woodsman O.C.C.: Sez here: "Canoes and kayaks are the favorites of Wilderness Scouts, Trapper-Woodsmen, Tundra Rangers, Psi-Stalkers, Inuit tribes and other Native Americans, as well as nomadic D-Bees." Trapper-Woodsmen?! I'm one of those!

Alien Rope Burn: That's cool. We know. We're cool, right, I can go on?

Trapper-Woodsman O.C.C.: "The more modern traveler and CS and Quebec Military may also use canoes, but often lean toward small motorboats, hydrofoils and water sleds."

Alien Rope Burn: Wait. Did it just say the military uses canoes?

Trapper-Woodsman O.C.C.: Sure did. "However, small, light watercraft, like canoes, are still the most versatile means of water travel, especially inland."

Alien Rope Burn: Some kind of mega-canoe? Glitter canoe? SAMAS canoe?

Trapper-Woodsman O.C.C.: Nope. Just canoes. Fragile canoes of the brave men of Free Quebec! Forever free!

Alien Rope Burn: Well, I think that's all we can get out of thi-

Trapper-Woodsman O.C.C.: Now, let me tell you how to murder a mega-moose!

Alien Rope Burn: A- wait, this has a mega-moose? I don't remember seeing that in my flip-through.

Trapper-Woodsman O.C.C.: I just wanted your attention... a little bit longer. Sorry. This is my last chance...

Alien Rope Burn: Well, good having you, we have to go to commercial break like right the fuck now.

Join the Free Quebec Navy! Enjoy fighting pirates! Sea serpents! Coalition warships! And the most dangerous duty in the military - amphibious landings! You know, maybe we shouldn't be advertising that part-

Not sure what this has to do with the Navy, but feels like some oddly loaded imagery.

As aforementioned, Quebec was first amongst the Coalition States to develop a Navy (despite Chi-Town being within spitting distance of the Great Lakes). And then we get into... boxing analogies, one of Siembieda's favorite pastimes.

Rifts World Book 22: Free Quebec posted:

Consequently, they have taken to strong defense and countermeasures. They strike like a boxer who is a counterpuncher. Such a boxer peppers his opponent with jabs to frustrate and make him keep his distance. The heavy fighting comes in the form of counterpunching — a tactic in which the boxer lures his opponent in close, often after making his opponent believe he is hurt and on the ropes. It is at that moment, when the opponent strikes at last in frustration or anger, or carelessly because he believes his enemy is hurt, that the counterpuncher strikes with startling fury and power.

Staying with the boxing analogy, Free Quebec is not looking for a "knockout" win. They are simply trying to hold their own against a more powerful foe who outnumbers them by at least three to one — a real heavyweight.

Rifts World Book 22: Free Quebec posted:

Meanwhile the Quebec Military watches carefully, dancing elusively just out of range or taking only minor damage while making small tactical strikes (like the jab) and waiting for the CS to commit to an attack. When the Coalition Army does, the Quebec Military tries to avoid the full brunt of it by either slipping out of harm's way (adding to the enemy's frustration) or ambushing their opponent and dancing away. Moreover, because of the constant dancing around (i.e. hit and run attacks, crippling blows, acts of sabotage, etc.), when the Quebec Navy or Army does stand and fight, they surprise the enemy who is not expecting or prepared for a pitched battle where the Quebecois hold their ground. In any case, it is the CS who must be the aggressor while Free Quebec is able to conserve its energy and resources. The attacks that come from the Quebec Navy (and Army) are jabs, small squad attacks and acts of sabotage designed to confuse, frustrate, breakdown and divide their opponent — "to take him out of his game," which makes the enemy anxious, careless and vulnerable to counterattack or a carefully planned ambush.

"Guerilla warfare" is the set of elusive words you're looking for between boxing lessons, author. In any case, you can go back and get your copy of Rifts Sourcebook 4: Coalition Navy (you do have a copy of that most essential book, right?) and note down the CS Naval Infantryman and Nautical Commando Specialist as having Quebecois equivalents, only the latter gets more skills because the Quebec Navy is just better. In fact, it continues to rub that in again but I can't get into that, we don't have time.

LeFevre? But his nametag reads "Breaux".

The head of the Quebec Navy is First Fleet Commodore Jacques LeFevre, an ex-privateer (12th level Sailor) who was fighting pirates on behalf of Free Quebec. When his captain was killed by Storm Riders (evil sea monsters from wayyy back in Rifts World Book 7: Underseas), he took over the boat and dove his boat until a whirlpool created by a Maelstrom Maker (another sea monster, I forget which book) and rode it through while the pursuing monsters drowned. He was a super cool privateer captain after that and so Free Quebec offered him an admiralty, because that's an entry-level position, yeah? He was retired, but has unretired for the war. And because he's the first NPC in the book, let's introduce CHARMWATCH.

CHARMWATCH: LeFevre has a Mental Affinity of 22 and a Physical Beauty of 10. The text helpfully informs us he had a Physical Beauty of 14 in his youth. This has been CHARMWATCH.

It's time to cyberdive.

Lastly, we get a laundry list of what equipment they can use from Rifts Sourcebook 4: Coalition Navy, and ot helpfully informs us they don't have nukes. Yes, this means the Coalition has full-scale city-obliterating nukes and Quebec does not. You'd think this would make the war a fair deal shorter, but no. Also they don't have aircraft carriers. You'd think these would be drawbacks. But no. We also get some new goodies:
Torpedo pecs.

Next: Free Quebec, an oxymoron.

"He is somewhat knowledgeable of an obelisk in the northern tundra, but clueless as to its purpose or origin."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 22, Part 10: "He is somewhat knowledgeable of an obelisk in the northern tundra, but clueless as to its purpose or origin."

Free Quebec
By Francois DesRochers & Kevin Siembieda

A lot of reiteration starts out this section - Free Quebec is fiercely independent and that led to their breakup with the Coalition States. Oh, I thought they were going to be sweethearts forever!

"Our city was built on the cutting edge of dildonics."

One big difference between Free Quebec and other Coalition States is that Quebec has a much stronger public education system as well as public literacy. However, it also has a strong sense of nationalism and a powerful propaganda engine. Despite its apparent openness, it's a rigid society driven by its fear of The Other, and is relatively isolationist. While they're slightly less advanced than Chi-Town, they do have a "information superhighway". Though mostly used by education and business, there has been a new breed of- their words- "cyber-punk" jacking in to the web, man. They've had to develop new cops to police the "cyber-systems".

welcome to the '90s now the internet exists in the future

They're infected the hyperbase! Engage the icetray before they gleam the cube!

Speaking of a different sort of cyber, non-combat cybernetics are common, and "40%" of the population has them (mostly ex-military sorts). Retired cyborgs are downgraded to civilian standards. Most people don't see cybernetics as anything too special, save for radical human purists who think it violates human "sanctity". Juicer technology is only available to civilians by special waiver, generally for those with work that takes them outside Quebec proper (like mercenaries). However, the need to keep Juicer facilities open for the Liberty Reserve left a good deal of illegal Juicer operations cropping up. Rogue Juicers are looked upon dimly; it's generally seen by most civilians as the province of the military.

Watch your step, spider-skull.

We then get some details on Quebecois Worldview & Diplomatic Relations:
"I want you for glam fascism!"

The Prime Minister for the last 15 years has been James Lorne, a generically charismatic Quebecois nationalist. Though he comes across as idealistic populist who deals out hardball rhetoric, but behind the scenes he's deeply ruthless, willing to make sure he has no rivals, and is inclined to engage in morally questionable skullduggery against the Coalition States. He's also a human supremacist zealot, in case you were wondering if he wasn't just a figurative Nazi. Though Chi-Town has attempted to assassinate him, he's a secret badass and has foiled every attempt.

CHARMWATCH: Lorne has a essentially superhuman Mental Affinity of 26 and a Physical Beauty of 15. The former is only possible if his class gives a bonus to M.A., which exceedingly few do. however, we don't exactly know his class; he's listed as a "10th level Scholar/Politician/Leader". None of which are classes. if they mean Rogue Scholar or a Coalition Officer, neither of those get an M.A. bonus. This has been CHARMWATCH.

We get sparse details on the The National Assembly, which is a group of Ministers that basically serve as the Prime Minister's cabinet. It's not clear of they're elected or appointed or what, so don't get too curious. They get a variety of names and duties, but none are too important. We do have the Minister of Defense and Five-Star General Patrick O'Neill, who somehow maintains a Scrupulous alignment despite leading a military that'll shoot D-Bee babies right out of their mother's arms. Similarly puzzling is Prince Gerard Dupuis, the official representative from the "Kingdom of the Saguenay and son of King Robert Depuis", which - huh? Okay, I guess that's an undetailed thing.

CHARMWATCH: The Mental Affinities of The National Assembly: 18, 21, 22, 18, undetailed "average", 17, "average", "average", "average", 19, 15. Average attribute amongst the assembly borders into exceptional: about 16. This has been CHARMWATCH.

You can't just light a mega-cigarette normally.

The C.F.Q.C., "Radio Free Quebec", is the national radio station and "voice of the public". Though it preached for independence from the Coalition States, it was subtly encouraged and allowed by Lorne and the government to speak its message.... much to the chagrin of their would-be Coalition allies. They're a willing propaganda shill that's corruptly intertwined with the government, but still think of themselves as independent. But that could never happen, could it? I can't think of any real-life analogues that this predicted. Their primary radio personality and owner is Sylvain Richard, who was all too happy to sell out to the government for his own gain. He's on Chi-Town's most wanted list for encouraging secession and anti-Chi-Town rhetoric, for what it's worth. But most Quebecois see him as a straight-talking hero. Oh, and he's a anti-D-Bee racist, isolationist, and self-important egotist. The Public Relations Officer for the government is Julie Tremblay, who was planted to look out for subversives by Lorne, but nowadays has her own popular talk show. She's also wanted by the Coalition States and has had failed attempts on her life that only boosted her popularity. She's generally seen as the voice of patriotism, and is one of the few that can influence Sylvain. She actually wishes she could help in the military cause, as she was apparently in the top 5% of her infantry class, but Military High Command has refused her because they think she's more suited to the airwaves.

Rifts World Book 22: Free Quebec posted:

Sylvain is smitten by Julie but he is a married man and there is no hankypanky going on between them. Personally, Julie finds Sylvain too full of himself to be attracted to him.

I feel like there was a Siembieda edit there of some sort; I'm not sure "hankypanky" would be in anybody else's vocabulary.

CHARMWATCH: Both Sylvain and Tremblay have a Mental Affinity of 24, the maximum possible M.A. without a class bonus. This has been CHARMWATCH.

The Charmin Juicer O.C.C. seems to have been cut from the final draft of this book.

Next we have the les Soldats de St. Jean, aka the Soldiers of St. John, who are a radical nationalist group (yes, even more radical than the folks in charge of Quebec, which says something). This mainly translates to either calling for a purge of all nonhumans from Quebecois land, for the more moderate members. More dedicated "patriots" actively hunt down D-Bees and sorcerers or kill them in vigilante mobs. (Cue plasma torches and vibro-pitchforks.) They also will lash out at anybody they see as being a "D-Bee lover", and sometimes just use that as a mask for outright criminal violence against those awful tolerant people. They have some surplus military equipment as well, so don't worry about them being able to mega-damage you. They can do that. Though some allow psi-stalkers in their ranks, others consider the mutants just as worthy of purging.

Nice guys.

Mind, this is actually that far from the official line. A decade ago, a group of sorcerers too extreme for the Federation of Magic sought to see if they could conquer Quebec were discovered, and that led to the Northern Dynamo Campaign, which defeated them and led to a new revival of anti-D-Bee sentiment. The main difference between the Coalition States and Free Quebec is that Quebec's more isolationist policies (as opposed to Chi-Town's expansion) means they often ignore D-Bee communities around them... but are perfectly willing to exterminate them when convenient. Naturally, many local D-Bee communities loathe humans as a result.

As for les Soldats de St. Jean, they were founded by the mysterious "Franko", who is a hardline secessionist (really, who isn't so far...?) who often relies on his followers to pass on his speeches and messages second-hand, or disguises himself before speeches. He's convinced D-Bees will gather together as a threat during the distraction of the war, and is trying to build militias on the fringe of Quebec to wipe them out. The government wants to stop him. This isn't because they're too concerned about murdering D-Bees, but because he's arming citizens and spreading troublesome conspiracy theories. While he is the founder, he actually only runs the most extreme elements of the group. Though referred to as a "lunatic" and "mild schizophrenic", I'm having a hard time seeing him as any more scummy than the "kill 'em all" attitude of Quebec itself. We also get details on "Colonel" Robert Miller, who leads border militias who try and drive D-Bees out of the country or keep them from arriving. He's not as bloodthirsty, preferring to try and "rehabilitate" psychics and D-Bee sympathizers, though he views romantic relationships between humans and D-Bees extremely dimly. Though he knows Franko, he considers him a dangerous lunatic - not that he'll turn him into the authorities. His group has been raiding Coalition forces for equipment and have captured two Spider-Skull Walkers because the Coalition States have been fucking napping this whole book, I swear.

Also, some fucking reason Miller - despite being a "merciful" racist nationalist who seeks to purge all nonhumans from the country, believes in tolerance conversion therapy, and gives a genocidal lunatic a pass - is considered "Scrupulous (albeit a bit deluded)". Fuck off on that, Palladium. Seriously. There is no fucking way a xenophobic, paramilitary nationalist gets to be the Palladium equivalent of Neutral Good.

*deep breath*

CHARMWATCH: Both Franko and Miller have Mental Affinities of 21. This has been CHARMWATCH.

Next: Oh yeah, I'd like to do it again.

"Readers might think of it as a combination of 'Dodge City' from the old American West, World War II's Casablanca and the Star Wars cantina."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 22: Free Quebec, Part 11: "Readers might think of it as a combination of 'Dodge City' from the old American West, World War II's Casablanca and the Star Wars cantina."

Old Bones
The ruins of old Quebec
By Kevin Siembieda

Built on the original site of the city of Quebec, this has been destroyed and rebuilt multiple times-

- this is where a Futurama clip of New York getting blown up would go if Fox weren't huge jerks.

Nowadays, it's a lawless trade-and-crime 'burg allowed its independence by New Quebec. It's essentially a wild-and-wooly Wild West sort of place where people are flying through bar windows all the time, when they aren't drinking, gambling, or shooting their six-laser-guns in the air. It's one of the few places where D-Bees aren't openly prosecuted, but they have a tendency to vanish if they cause a fuss or "trouble". The Northern part of town is more settled, as the locals self-police the area for their own benefit, and keep the wilder part of the town segregated.

The reason Free Quebec turns a blind eye to Old Bones is because... they don't, actually. It turns out they maintain a quiet influence over the whole thing as an information honeypot, so they can keep an eye on illicit affairs and undesirable folk in their borders. Most of the local politicians are, as a result, entirely in Free Quebec's pocket. Which raises the question of when and how they took it over - after all, it's been around for centuries. Has it been this way for centuries? Decades? We just don't know. In any case, many of the established criminal groups at least suspect or know this, they're willing to play along as the whole arrangement still largely benefits them. Sometimes government agents will capture those they find overly dangerous - which includes any mage and many D-Bees. The whole situation often casts doubt on who is or isn't an agent of the government or a criminal organization, and there is a local tradition of trade in rumors and conspiracy theories.


As such, this is one of the few places in Quebec you can trade in illicit goods or include in illegal vices. However, outsiders have a tendency to dissapear, fall victim to "accidents", commit suicide with somebody else's gun from thirty feet away, etc. Locals who have established themselves are generally free from scrutiny, but both local criminal groups and government agents can be the cause of such vanishings. Sometimes Free Quebec does crackdowns with SAMAS or Glitter Boy units. Most locals are aware that if Free Quebec wanted Old Bones gone, they could easily wipe them out.

The Northtown District and New Town are where the local government, police, and many of the residents are settled. The local police are no-nonsense and brutal, particularly towards outsiders, and fairly corrupt, effectively robbing those they arrest. As such, they're generally looking for an excuse. The Southside Factory District is a industrial shithole with low-income workers just trying to make it by. Eastruins is the worst area, essentially a shanty down of wrecked buildings, squatters, and gangs. There are some attractions for outsiders here, though, like bloodsports, "disease-ridden brothels", ask-no-questions pawnshops, etc. The kind of thing that really brings in the tourism crowd.

Most of the attention here is on the Trade Center District, which gives us a 23-entry chart along with an associated map of boxes. It's apparently iwhere the grand majority of crime and disappearances occur, but we'll just cover some of the businesses. Some of them have rumors associated with them, some accurate, some not, but it's an ongoing gimmick of this section.CHARMWATCH: Pierre Champlain has a Mental Affinity of 22 and a Physical Beauty of 19. "Age 44, but looks 30, has a full head of light brown hair, sparkling blue eyes and a smile that makes women swoon." This has been CHARMWATCH.

"Now you face El Cráneo de la Vaca!"CHARMWATCH: Sylvette Jirojan has a Mental Affinity of 23 and a Physical Beauty of 20. "She is a sultry 40 year old beauty who looks like she's 28 thanks to modern science." This has been CHARMWATCH.

Guns on glasses may be going too far.

CHARMWATCH: Roland Desjardin has no exceptional social traits. This has been CHARMWATCH.CHARMWATCH: Cyrean Hoist has a Physical Beauty of 18. This has been CHARMWATCH.
At least Siembieda doesn't think the Coalition are gonna be on his side! (Yes, that is supposed to be him on the right.)

Old Bones Rumor Mill
Conspiracy Theory Generator
By Bill Coffin

Bill Coffin! A name that will live in Palladium infamy for his rpg.net rants against the company following him being fired. He's been working on other game lines at this point in time, and this is the first time seeing him write something for Rifts. As a regular Palladium writer at this point, he's being brought onto the Rifts line at his chagrin- Coffin was largely a fan of Palladium Fantasy, and will be writing on a number of upcoming books despite his ambivalence on the line. Kevin saw him as a best-ish bud at the time.

The generator is actually a neat little toy, offering basically a random plot hook generator for GMs. It notes that sometimes GMs may have to modify the rumor to be a little more coherent, but that they need not be entirely sensible- they are conspiracy theories, after all. In general, you're supposed to roll a few and then try and figure out how they tie together. They consist of rolling for who is involved, what is involved, where it's happening, when it's going on, why it's happening, and how it's occurring. There's also a "accuracy" roll you can make to determine how many elements are true. So let's try it out!This doesn't make a lot of sense on its face, but I can try and tied it all together. See, Atlantis is trying to drive the Coalition and Free Quebec to war to keep both too weak to conceivably trouble them. Joseph Prosek II has found out the Emperor has been secretly implanted with a Atlantean parasite that will kill the Emperor on the Splugorth's whim, and so he's forced to put aside his misgivings and support the war- including taking in a secret weapon through the Coalition Navy left behind on the island by the Atlanteans. This weapon will make things even worse, but he has no choice. However, a Quebecois spy has found this out and informed Sean Oulette, who thinks he can undo the scheme. Meanwhile, on the other side, Sylvain Richard has become the pawn of Atlantean spies in Lazlo, using his rhetoric to fuel the war. They have blackmailed him thanks to an ancient curse put on his family by a wizard, and he's had to rely on them for rare ingredients to keep it at bay. If he finds out what Oulette knows, there'll be trouble...

... not perfect, but it's at least a neat way to set up plot hooks for PCs.

mmmmm yessss very gooood yessss

Next: A day that will live in metaplot.

"At that point, suicide might be a good option if some way can't be found of battling their way through."

posted by Alien Rope Burn Original SA post

Rifts World Book 22: Free Quebec, Part 12: "At that point, suicide might be a good option if some way can't be found of battling their way through."

By Kevin Siembieda

The metaplot is all primed, and it's time for the main event: the Coalition vs. Free Quebec war. You may ask: "which are the good guys?", but let's be frank: neither are the good guys. Even though this book goes on about the bravery and skill of the Glitter Boys, trying to paint Quebec as relative moderates, using all sorts of positive adjectives, they're still genocidal fascists. Though the Coalition can easily be demonized as invaders, Quebec is willing to do things like use D-Bee villages as speedbumps to distract the Coalition. There aren't good guys here. But they clearly want us to think of Quebec as the lesser of two evils, even though they're actually more ruthless and kill-happy when it comes to D-Bees. Chi-Town grudgingly allows D-Bees on its doorstep.

"We have the superior technology! We have the superior skulls!"

In any case, the war starts when the pro-Coalition town of Riverbend, is attacked by Quebecois troops. They'll later turn out to be a rogue unit, but we'll get to that. When Coalition troops move in to defend the civilians, it turns out to be a trap and they're gunned down by V-SAMS and Glitter Boys firing right through the local town and buildings, slaughtering the civilians along with the troops. Enraged, the Coalition mobilizes, and attacks the nearby Quebecois city of New Pembroke with overwhelming force. However, New Pembroke is curiously unprepared, and easily defeated. The Coalition would drive out the surviving civilians out of the city with a message to Quebec that it was time for war.

At first, Quebec leadership believed the Riverbend attack to be just Coalition propaganda, but soon enough a Quebec terrorist group announced themselves via a pirate video signal. Calling themselves the Children of Freedom, they were made up of rogue, extremist Quebois soldiers who justified the slaughter of Riverbend as due punishment for Coalition loyalists. In addition, they claimed that it was necessary due to the lack of action from Quebecois leadership that a firm statement be made against the Coalition. Though Quebec did not want to enter the war on behalf of terrorists, the Coalition would give them no choice.

Inspiring leadership.

Of course, the narrative reason for this is to give any Coalition or Quebecois PCs a scapegoat for the war, so it's "nobody's fault" save a small group of nuts, diverting attention from the brinkmanship of Lorne and Prosek that has brought things to this point. Either way, we get details on the The Children of Freedom, formerly known as Viper Delta Squad... or Platoon, depending on the paragraph... who are run by Captain Elaine Jeunet.

Rifts World Book 22: Free Quebec posted:

The leader of Viper Delta Squad is Captain Elaine Jeunet, a strong-willed misanthrope diagnosed as a mild sociopath with psychotic and paranoid tendencies. Ironically, these traits made her a ruthless and outstanding Special Operations Commando.

I'm not sure that's how commando qualification or mental illness works, Palladium.

"I'm alive, my heart's big! It's got hot blood, going through it fast. I like to fight too!"

The power-behind-the-beret is Robert Carlye, a former professor and "radical dissident", who is a... even more extreme nationalist than the existing Quebec leadership. What that entails or how he actually differs from them is unclear to me - he just seems to be ambiguously more evil, but doesn't actually seem to have any views that are even vaguely different from the Quebecois mainstream. Jeunet used to be his student and was enticed into his radical agenda of being vaguely more evil than the evil Quebec leadership. He wants to overthrow the current government and replace it with his own leadership, which... well, I guess he's a generic megalomaniac that doesn't need any particular ethos, that might threaten to make this group interesting!

CHARMWATCH: Elaine Jeunet has a merely above-average Mental Affinity and Physical Beauty of 14. Robert Carlye has a Mental Affinity of 20. This has been CHARMWATCH.

Rifts World Book 22: Free Quebec posted:

The problem is nobody knows where any of these individuals might be, or where their secret headquarters may be located. If Viper Delta doesn't want to be found, they won't be.

Yes, player characters, don't bother looking them up in the phone book. Only the GM can say when you get to fight the bad guys!They'll be focusing on trying to spur the war through propaganda actions, instigating conflicts, etc., as they try and run membership drives to have enough thugs for PCs to gun down.

CS vs Quebec Military

As mentioned before numerous times, it's clear how this will turn out if there aren't any twists: the Coalition will win based on numbers. (We'll have twists.) As such, Quebec is focusing on guerrilla tactics and trying to avoid major battles. The Coalition apparently doesn't want to just annihilate Quebec (presumably, this is why they aren't just dropping nukes, but it doesn't mention those), but preserve its infrastructure for their own use. As such, the Coalition is stuck trying to engage Quebec on the Canuckopf's terms, which is making the war potentially years or decades long. Similarly, Quebecois are content to try and attack the Coalition's supplies and equipment rather than slaughter the invaders. While this is working well for now, eventually the Coalition will be able to lay siege to Quebec City itself.


Situation Critical
By Bill Coffin
Based on suggestions by Kevin Siembieda
Additional text and ideas by Kevin Siembieda

Coffin walks into the room, sets down the coffee. "Thanks!", Marciniszyn says, "I'm glad you made the coffee." Coffin shrugs. "Oh, it was nothing-"

"Actually it was my coffee maker!", Siembieda busts in with, "And I brought the cream. So it's really like I made it, when you think about it."

So first, we deal with The Privateers of Montreal, based out of the Island Kingdom of Montreal (from Rifts World Book 20: Canada). They're being hired and supplied by the Coalition to harass and raid Coalition vessels, which is a tremendous opportunity for them - when they survive. Surprisingly, their experience lets them do better than the actual Coalition Navy, which so far seems to have come across as a pack of incompetent boobs.

Next, we get some adventure hooks. These are put in the "Hook, Line, Sinker" format beloved by Palladium, but we'll just sum them up quickly when we get to them, because we'll have a lot of them. Unlike previous adventure books, a lot of these are... perfectly decent hooks? Strange, but true.

The Triax Witch Hunt

Then, it turns out Coalition is concerned that Triax may be shipping arms to Free Quebec. They aren't, as we know, but the Coalition doesn't, and they're obsessed with finding a link between Triax and Free Quebec militarily - or perhaps self-convinced that it's really a thing. As such, they've been making a big intelligence push on this front. Quebec doesn't know that they're on a wild goose chase- they just know there are enough spies to make them worry.

Sometimes I just have to include a piece just because of how hard it was to extract.

Open Season

Once again, we're reminded of how the Quebecois are using guerrilla tactics to tie up and sabotage the Coalition, which uh... yeah, we know that by now, but we're told again, at length. Coalition troops are starting to get PTSD from Quebecois' sudden attacks, and it's concerning the Coalition that they may not have the will for this long war. It's like Vietnam do you get that?... except also Germany vs. Russia a la World War II, I suppose.

Rifts World Book 22: Free Quebec posted:

More likely than not, the player characters are adventurers who get embroiled in this because they dislike the CS and nobly try to help the Free Quebec soldiers on the run. This has two bad results; primarily it gets them permanently branded as members of Les Jureaux Rouge, something members of Eager Brigade will NEVER forget, and marks them for death. Even if they should abandon their efforts to help the fleeing soldiers, they will be hunted down by Eager Brigade and killed! If they escape, members of Eager Brigade will try to kill them if they are ever encountered again!
Other Adventures
By Kevin Siembieda & Francois DesRochers

Maybe there are other things going on like opportunists and a lot of vague stuff! Imagination! Note the sudden and bizarre drop in adventure hook quality!

"This is mega-damage armor, you dinguses!"

Rifts World Book 22: Free Quebec posted:

All are masters of surprise and guerrilla warfare, making them difficult to track down and capture or kill. All are deranged and beyond rehabilitation. They must be destroyed. Good luck, 'cuz killing even one will bring the wrath of the entire group on the perpetrators' heads.

Rifts World Book 22: Free Quebec posted:

Please help us, please

Hook: A town or village is being terrorized by bandits, a gang of mercenaries or D-Bees.

Line: They beg the player characters to liberate or save them from these cruel marauders.

Sinker: Walk away and innocent people, including families, will suffer terribly from these brigands. Time to take a stand?
This isn't even the first time we've seen this absolute bottom-effort adventure hook.

Rifts World Book 22: Free Quebec posted:

D-Bee Warpath

Hook: With the Quebec Military spread out thin, there aren't enough defenders to adequately protect the wilderness settlements.

Line: A small army of 1D4x100 evil D-Bees, divided into squads and platoons, have decided it is payback time and are raiding and burning down human farms and villages (they aren't bold enough to attack Quebec soldiers and avoid them). Innocent people are being raped, tortured, enslaved and butchered.

Sinker: Our heroes happen to stumble across such a raid leveled against a small village, town or farm. The D-Bees are winning but showing no mercy. People will die unless somebody intervenes. The problem is, while these brutes can probably be easily surprised and frightened into running away, they will return in 1D4 days with twice as many warriors. Worse, if they identify any members of the player characters' group, they will be remembered and marked for revenge. If things go badly, the player characters could find themselves on the run from the D-Bees' vengeful comrades and family members. Note: Most of the D-Bees are half the level of the player characters and poorly equipped.

imgur embed

The Exciting Conclusion

I kid. There is no conclusion. That's right. The Coalition States / Free Quebec war is not resolved here. That's in later books. And like, it's not that isn't an interesting idea. It in theory would present some interesting choices to make, and give PCs an opportunity to maybe save refugees, encounter various schemes from all the myriad factions, change things, etc. Thank goodness Coffin was around to make some lemonade out of it, because for all I pick on him, I could take any of the adventure hooks written by the other authors and blow my nose with them.

Free Quebec also just isn't... well-defined. We have no idea how they deal with supernatural threats, as previously noted, and they just come across as the Coalition Lite. Which is too bad, because they could have some clear ideological difference other than Quebec saying "we like our Glitter Boys and trading with Germany, and hate dogs". The main difference is that they're more isolationist, and that makes them less "bad" in the eyes of the book because they're defenders rather than offenders, but it feels to me like the difference is a bit academic when you're dealing with genetic supremacist fascists. They're rivals, not opposites in any sense, and it just boils down to who gets to run Quebec. Sure, Free Quebec is better to its own citizens and isn't as expansionistic. But, ironically, the Coalition is actually more tolerant and is only sometimes genocidal and allows some mutants. The Glitter Boy forces are described in roundly glowing terms, as if we're supposed to be in mild awe of these brave and stalwart soldiers, but then it talks about Quebec gunning down a village because it's within their borders and the people there have bumpy heads. Ultimately, the differences between the two is hair-splitting and they're both collective monsters when it comes to innocent broccoli people.

I have a lot more to say about how the Coalition is represented in general, but we'll get to that in the Coalition Wars. In that, we'll finally see an end to this war. Look forward to it!... actually, no, don't look forward to it. I know how it ends. Don't worry about it. It'll end. Don't get your hopes up, though.