Rifts World Book 7: Underseas by Alien Rope Burn
"There are so many cool and bizarre things one can put in the underwater realm of Rifts© that we could easily fill three books and still have more ideas."Original SA post
Rifts World Book Seven: Underseas posted:
You know, I just realized I don't just copy and paste these intros. I copy them down by hand every time.
Rifts World Book Seven: Underseas posted:
Violence and the Supernatural
Granted, sometimes these warnings are slightly different, too. They're not always exactly the same.
Rifts World Book Seven: Underseas 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 aliens life forms, monsters, gods and demigod, as well as magic, insanity and war are all elements in this book.
I wonder what a Rifts book really has to warn people about, though?
Rifts World Book Seven: Underseas posted:
Some parents may find the violence and supernatural elements of the game inappropriate for young readers/players. We suggest parental discretion.
I guess "Warning! Faulty mechanics and grammatical errors" might not have the same ring about it.
Rifts World Book Seven: Underseas 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.
Things they do condone and encourage: bad editing, using 1981-era rules, and an excess of skulls in mecha design.
Part 1: "There are so many cool and bizarre things one can put in the underwater realm of Rifts© that we could easily fill three books and still have more ideas."
So! This is Rifts World Book Seven: Underseas . It's actually the sixteenth book in the game line, and was the fourth book C.J. Carella worked on for the line. No book goes without Siembieda's two cents, of course, and there are some notable concepts from Steve Sheiring (Lemuria, Gene-Splicers), Kevin Long (the Triax Navy), and Julius Rosenstein (???). We get an introduction apologizing for delays, claiming that they were going to do this in 1993 when they handed it to unnamed writers, but that "The ideas seemed pedestrian and didn't have the flavor or magic of Rifts."
The magic of Rifts .
This book later claims this vehicle is used by a particular race, only the guy in front clearly isn't of that race, so he's just a convenient D-Bee ally. Rifts!
So, as Kevin is wont to do, he rolled up his sleeves to write the book himself!... which he didn't have the time to manage, so CJ comes up and is like "hey, I could contribute and take some of the weight off your shoulders". And, then, a real insight into the writing process at Palladium:
Rifts World Book Seven: Underseas posted:
As it approached my designated time to write Rifts Underseas , Kevin Long started to submit concept drawings for various submarines, ships and armor. "Do you think you might include Triax and the NGR in this book?" he asked. "I might ... yeah, probably;" I mumbled. "Good," he said with a grin, "what do you think of these?" and he laid before me a pile of incredible sketches.
Granted, letting Long draw whatever he wanted was probably a good policy for Siembieda to maintain. Similarly, there's a real artist-leading-the-writer feel to parts of this book, with Vince Martin and Randy Post playing a big part in the concepts tying this book together.
A critter not actually statted in this book.
He notes that there will be a follow-up book called Rifts Lemuria written by Steve Sheiring in 1996. Sheiring would go on to not only fail to write the book, but to rob Palladium, and the project would lie fallow until finally seeing release in 2012, sixteen years after its projected release, and eighteen years and twenty-five World Books after Underseas .
A slight delay!
Next: Return of the Tarn.
"I imagine talking to beings like the legendary Whale Singers and riding on the back of a playful dolphin."Original SA post
Part 2: "I imagine talking to beings like the legendary Whale Singers and riding on the back of a playful dolphin."
Mysteries of the Sea
Ponderings by Erin Tarn
Erin Tarn wonders what the fuck might be in the sea. Because it's big and scary. OoooOooooOoooo.
She wants to talk to a whale singer (whatever they are) and ride a dolphin but worries about the Lord of the Deep (whoever he is) and other monsters. Once, she was magically enchanted to breathe underwater! It's different from flying, or so she tells us, because the sea is dark and spooky. Also people get the bends. And she's worried about the Lord of the Deep again! She says she doesn't want to visit the Abyss, it's the one place she has no interest in. Fine! It's not like the Abyss wanted her around anyway.
Pretty much everything she says here is repeated elsewhere. Erin Tarn, folks! She'll be back later on.
Get back in the box, Erin.
Ocean Depth Zones
A visual primer for the Rifts review process
This is a series of factoids about the sea, how far light penetrates, where the sea floor is, what a tsunami is, what percentage of the Earth is covered in salt water - the kind of factoids you'd expect to see in a children's book about the Sea. We then get details on how far people or various vehicles can dive, the various strata of the ocean, all of it is pretty factual except for comments on how far a deep-sea cyborg can descend safely. We also get the return of the Gene-Splicers because it's noted sometimes they hide out on the sea floor, because:
< (Come and get us, PCs!)
Also the ocean trenches have deepened by two miles in some areas, which is an interesting note for a setting where the oceans have risen. Geologists can tell me if it's important. Also, there are ley lines on the ocean floor and across the sea, in case you're a deep sea wizard. (It'll be a thing later on.) They also tell us what guyots and atolls are. You can wikipedia if it you're curious.
aka Sea Triangles
aka love triangles
The Bermuda Triangle... is not alone. It's always been a curious choice for Rifts to double down on the Bermuda Triangle myth, given that it was fairly well debunked by the 1970s, to say nothing of the 1990s. Wait, what's this?
Oh, they don't double down on it. They sextuple down on it. (Who doesn't like a good reason to type 'sextuple'?) It turns out there are six magic triangles which are intersections of ley lines that become magical hot zones of random rifts and nonsense phenomena. Of course, the Bermuda Triangle or "Demon Sea" was already covered in Rifts World Book Two: Atlantis , but it turns out it there are also triangles near South America, Africa, Japan, Australia, and emcompassing most of the Mediterreanean. There's also a "mini-triangle" in Lake Michigan, which may be the only freshwater triangle. Oh, magic Michigan.
We get the Demon Sea tables repeated from Rifts World Book Two: Atlantis , from rains of snails to lethal, murderous fogs, and devil sharks which I guess are sharks that are also devils. It's been mildly updated to encompass the new material but still makes references specifically to Atlantis. Well, you know, "professional" and "editor" are not words that collide at the Palladium office. There's also the tables for ley line storms again, also repeated from the main book.
Underwater Ley Lines
Ley Lines, under the sea.
Rifts World Six: Underseas posted:
The only thing different about sea ley lines is that the lines of mystic energy may be covered by thousands of feet of water.
Oh, so that's all, then, I- no, it goes on for three more paragraphs.
Rifts World Six: Underseas posted:
However, most (90%) sea ley lines seem to be located in the deep oceans. Roughly 40% of the ley lines in the Atlantic Ocean poke above the waves, while less than 10% radiate from the Pacific (many are miles below the surface).
I dare you to try fucking interpreting that set of statistics without getting a headache. Anyway, we're told they're more influenced by the positions of the moon and planets, and that sometimes creatures are attracted to their light. We also get an additional effect of ley line storms where 1d4 "Storm Riders", whatever those are, show up. And then we get a nearly page-length table dedicated to random events of ley line storms, from electrical bolts to euphoria to null zones that wreck navigation and ESP. So much for the "only thing being different".
These are glowing patches of water that cause people to fall into a trance and lose track of time, distance, or direction. You also can't detect them save by sight, and can't be tracked or seen while in them. So, what are they?
"I'll menace you as soon as they write up a statblock for me!"
And we get a table of their effects. It's very random, including: becoming younger or older, getting extra magic power, be transported off-course from a short distance to across the word, shrinking temporarily, going to the future or the past, go to an alien world temporarily, healing the crew, confront you with your greatest fears, gives clairovoyant visions, transports an unknown stranger into their midst, grants people the ability to sense magic...
... basically whatever random plot nonsense they could shove onto a table with no rhyme or reason behind it all, with no explanation as to what these things are. In the end of things, the sea in Rifts seems to include a shit-ton of randomly rolled fuckery.
aka Deadman's Sea
"What? No! I found this just lying around!"
These are areas near a ley line nexus where random rifts open, and often extradimensional travelers will come through a rift right into open sea or underwater, apparently. I guess they must be one-way so you can't just swim back...? As a result, you end up with a lot of dead people and debris around these areas. Of course, this also attracts scavengers by nature and scavengers by trade, and also things like ghosts and entities. Basically, these can serve as underwater dungeons, with stuff to find and monsters to fight and hazards to have. They also bring up the Sargasso Sea, which is apparently also a dead pool, and supposedly there's some place in the Indian Ocean where undead have built an "domain of the damned" underwater, but two sentences is all it gets, and we move on.
Next: Fuck you, Cousteau: how marine biology is wrong and the sea was full of monsters all along.
"Before any of us knew what happened, blood was flying!"Original SA post
Part 3: "Before any of us knew what happened, blood was flying!"
Creatures of the Deep
blah blah rare creatures blah blah sea mysteries blah blah be monsters
Not every Pokémon ended up in Pokémon.
True to its name, this is one part dragon, one part ray, but can also fly or slither around. They're not real dragons, tho, just posers. They're sentient and speaking, and are generally good critters that help out local communities and who are apparently obsessed with telling stories because eh, because. Some are evil and conquer because, you know, what else are you going to do with that alignment on their sheet?
And it says here you can play one.
They have ridiculous charisma, good willpower, and generally high physical stats. They're M.D.C. and tough, but nothing to shout about, swim perfectly, ignore cold, heal fast and regenerate limbs, sense direction, take some underwater pressure, and hold their breath for an hour or so. For some reason they get a list of special moves including special bonuses with their tail, maneuvering rules (even though nothing else has maneuvering rules at this point), and speed bursts. They get a bunch of combat bonuses and a smattering of basic psionics (including psi-hands for doing stuff). Most get a bunch of sea skills and modest skill picks, though you can take up a magic O.C.C. with this race, but your available skills are cut in half. This seems to be really focused to be a playable PC race, which makes it a little odd to have at the start of the monster
To be fair, Moby Dick was a dick. I mean, it's in the name.
Rifts World Book Seven: Underseas posted:
This is a real life creature that lives in the deepest parts of the ocean
Rifts World Book Seven: Underseas posted:
Size: 50 to 60 feet (15.2 to 18.3 m) long.
Weight: One ton
Hit Points: Mega-damage
Sure, that sounds plausible, I mean, nobody's ever reported one above around 300-600 pounds, and even that's dubious, and there are no reports of them being cannonproof monsters that slice through boat hulls like butter, but, you know. I'm sure Rifts knows better.
So, they actually have pitiful M.D.C. for a creature their size (less than most humans in armor), but get just about every ability attributed to any species of octopus, including chameleon powers, and some I'm not so sure about (can they really sense magnetic north?). They get a "power punch", which seems like a comical thing to do with a tentacle. They also apparently live around a century, or about twenty times longer than any real octopus.
I'm starting to wonder if this was fact-checked as stringently as a GURPS supplement.
So, this time the size figures are accurate, but-
Rifts World Book Seven: Underseas posted:
However, according to sea druids and Whale Singers, giant squid who have fed on humans or other humanoids can acquire a taste for them and become "man-eaters". Some have even been known to crack open mini-subs to get at their favored prey.
- science , everyone.
So they're tougher than giant octopi, but not by much. They're also immune to cold, have color vision, see the invisible ahahaha what, bio-regenerate, sense true north and can climb at 85%. All just like real squids! Squids are just magical . And of course they get eight attacks, lawl. Once again the lifespan is way off, and they... yeah. It's pretty silly. It should be noted that both the giant octopus pale before the giant cephalopod called the trelque-huecuve presented in South America , which has five to ten times the M.D.C. and about 10 more points of strength, despite being a river-dwelling monster that gives no fucks about the deep sea.
the eye-bone's connected to the- wait what the fuck-
Oh, good, I can stop fact-checking this shit.
This is a 40' fish-skull thing with spinal-column limbs and tail or whatever. It has no eyes, but uses "chemoreceptors, psionics, and ultrasonic abilities". Sure. Most people think it's just a dumb predator, but it turns out to be eeevil and likes killing its prey sadistically and cleverly, like an '80s slasher villain. Also sometimes they work for big villains, but are about as loyal as a shark with trust issues.
And then, shit, Erin Tarn breaks in for half a page , telling this about a carnival which claimed to have "Deep Sea Wonders" despite being several hundred miles inland. Then it turns out to be a trap set by slavers who are working for a lorica wraith, and a fight breaks out when the locals fight back, and then the Coalition shows up out of nowhere and blows the hell out of it. And so Erin sneaks away, stumbling away with her life out of sheer blind luck once again.
So, uh, their M.D.C. is listed as 4d6x100, what the hell? They're nearly as tough as adult dragons or vampire superblobs?! They ignore cold, regenerate, can swim, echo-locate, talk-
Rifts World Book Seven: Underseas posted:
The Lorica wraith can learn to speak in a similar way as the dolphin, except it has a hoarse, rasping voice befitting of a wraith.
- so dolphins can talk. Hm.
They can survive on land for about a week before starting to lose M.D.C., have "dolphin ley line abilities" which we don't know about yet, but apparently dolphins - regular dolphins, not mutants or anything - are magical, and they can sense ley lines like a wizard. They also get some modest psionics. There are also rules where you can make them into crappy weapons if that's your thing.
Picasso Magic Fish
This is a normal fish that, no shit, does not eat humans, it isn't evil or sadistic, and it isn't a misunderstood good guy. It's just a fish that eats magic and makes itself look weird and big to scare off predators with illusions, or can turn invisible. It's also faster and is a minor mega-damage creature when juiced on magic. They're mainly used as P.P.E. batteries by wizards to manage to catch them, particularly in techno-wizard or bio-wizard devices.
Kinda neat to see. A bit overwrought with detail, but actually neat enough to have an animal PCs might want to hunt. Except it get an automatic dodge, just to make doing that annoying.
Ah, zee sphincter of zee sea.
This is a giant extra-dimensional 100' deep sea monster (fish? alien? doesn't say) that'll just try and swallow up anything, even small vehicles. It even starts out with rules on how to blow a hole out of its stomach to escape, as it does mild M.D.C. damage every turn you're in the stomach. It also has eyes along its side so it can see in all directions, if badly. Still, it's supposedly really persistent and has attacked boats or lunged after leaping dolphins.
It turns out its M.D.C. is "P.E. number x 1000!", which is, uh, 21,000-26,000. Seems like a typo? I'm not sure it's supposed to be tougher than many gods. Anyway, it's immune to cold (seems to be a common trait so far) and pressure and poisons, regenerates, senses magnetic north, etc. It also gets an automatic dodge despite being a 100' long, 80+ ton fish , which is weird. It can swallow stuff whole, which just occurs automatically, and that attack lists a different damage value than before (2d6 Mega-Damage instead of 1d6), because editing. It also only does Structural-Damage to those without Mega-Damage, which is convenient enough for them. There are rules for those who want to make its skin into a wetsuit or armor, provided you can be bothered to do fucking 21,000+ points of damage to earn a 60 M.D.C. wetsuit . That armor also doesn't protect against blunt or explosive attacks, which means any tail-slap from a mega-damage creatures will reduce the human to jelly.
Sure, seems worth it.
We get a broad description of sharks, including their stereotypical blood scent, electroreception, and night vision, which is all accurate enough. We also get percentages for them flying into a frenzy when exposed to bloooood.
Great White Shark
I'll just go over the fallacies in bullet point form at this point.
Let's see, listed as "20-40 feet". The longest known great white in reality is 26 feet. It says "ancient ones" and mutants can go up to 70 feet. This is apparently because sharks never stop growing. And "ancient ones"? Well, I guess they live to be around 70 years old, but I don't know if I'd call that "ancient".
Most just have 1d6 x 100 hit points (i.e. 1d6 M.D.C.) but mutants and "ancient ones" have 1d6 x 10 M.D.C.
They're impervious to cold (nope), sense magnetic north (nope), and echolocate (nope nope nope).
Most just do bites with an average of 21 S.D.C., but "ancient ones" do 2d6 M.D.C. (or 700 M.D.C.). Yes, it turns out age increases a shark's biting power by
. (Mutants can do 5d6 M.D.C.)
- They are listed to live 150 to 300 years, though in real life it's more like 70.
Like a great white with slightly lower stats and all the same inaccuracies.
"Shadow" meant 25% more crosshatching, apparently.
These are evil extradimensional sharks that prefer their prey sentient and adorable. They have modestly decent M.D.C., can turn invisible in shadow, regenerates, can talk, but is vulnerable to sunlight and light or fire damage. It also gets some "ocean magic" to be detailed later, including a sonic blast. As with many assholes, they live forever. Despite being sentient, you can't play one because they're evil. Eeevil.
aka Ley Line Beasts
Like many RPG monsters, it closes its mouth basically never.
So these are "murderous supernatural monsters who feed upon the P.P.E. energy of living beings and who enjoy inflicting terror and pain." Sigh. They apparently can spontaneously appear during ley line storms, though half of those who do return to whence they came once it's over. They come from another dimension but not through a rift, somehow coming over on ley line storms, but nobody knows how. (Considering how many storms there must be and how many nexuses there are, you'd think these things would start to dominate the seas entirely after centuries given that they don't die of age. Then again, seas are still pretty big.) Some think they're spontaneous creatures born of destructive magical energy, though a few think they're the "living nightmares of the Old Ones".
Naturally they're - sigh - sadistic and love to spread terror and are smart and cunning and disloyal and ugh boiler plate slap the description of a hundred fucking Rifts monsters here. They're about 10' long, have modest M.D.C. (which is tripled during ley line storms, actually making them really fucking annoying), they can see the invisible, have a bunch of senses, do extra damage on a ley line or nexus, but take double damage from fire, rune weapons, holy weapons, Millennium Tree weapons, and other creatures of magic. Still, when their bite does 18d6 damage on a ley line nexus and they appear at a rate of 1-12 every 10 minutes, these things seem born to TPK any poor PCs to get stuck in a seaborne ley line storm... especially when, they get a shit-ton of magic and an average of 1000 P.P.E. to throw around.
Oh, and they're immune to most mind-affecting psionics, so forget about trying to learn the mystery of their existence and just accept them trying to bite your face off (and then showing it to your friends, because eeevil).
The class that started the dance-fitness revolution and changed the way we look at a workout forever. It’s fun, effective and best of all? Made for everyone!
aka Silicon Sea Snake
Everybody Loves Bitey!
Oh, Nevermind that.
This is a stony, eyeless snake thing. Despite being stony, it swims perfectly, and can crawl up on to ship surfaces (somehow) to feed. However, they're just animals and will flee if hurt badly enough. That being said, they get dragon hatchling-level M.D.C., regenerate, somehow see from "three tiny eyes", get an automatic dodge (despite being a 15', 800 lb. worm), can leap out through the water, and actually do decent damage on a bit (but nothing else). There's not much to them otherwise, they're just generic biting machines. Oh, and Atlanteans and "Horune pirates" like them as pets, but they're pretty stupid and may get into their master's food or screw with them because stupid.
So, now that I'm to Z in this section, that's the end, right?
Bill Coffin posted:
Once Kevin's ready for layout, he prints out the whole mess and fires up his wax machine because he still puts these damned things together by hand. What's that? Desktop publishing software? Naw, he's faster without it! To his credit, he lays out the book in fairly decent time, but he also illustrates why all Palladium books have a simple two-column format. Kevin isn't going to cut columns to shape or deviate from formula because he might have to reflow a section of the book, and when he does, all those columns have to be standard or else none of it works. Where this really makes you want to bang your head against the tip of an artillery shell is when he lays out 80% of the book, discovers that he'd like to rename an alphabetically ordered item on page 5 and decides that it would be too much work to reflow the rest of the list. You know how every so often in a Palladium book you'll have a series of NPCs or OCCs or something and one of them is grossly out of alphabetical order? That's why. I used to think it was because Kevin couldn't read the alphabet. Now I know it's because he's truly, madly, deeply in love with putting books together in ways that even Monty Burns would decry as old-fashioned.
"Are you sure I have enough claws? I was thinking of having some implanted all over my belly. It's not clawsome enough."
This is a extradimensional deep sea horror that loves to hunt for pleasure as well as food and can be malicious and cruel and- look, you know the drill by now. It's basically designed to be Alien at sea. Well, if the alien was about 30' long and kept sharks as pets. They're blind, but have echo-location that works on both sea and land. Though they have a glowy angler, it doesn't have any supernatural effects other than being a tentacle that can pull folks into its maw. It also lets you know you can't play one, which I'm sure disappoints everybody.
They have modest M.D.C. and a bunch of locational damage locations, regenerations, gets a bunch of underwater wilderness skills, a bunch of ESP powers, and bitey teeth.
Rurlel Eel People
Can never touch the tip of his own tail.
Like it says on the tin. These aren't monsters, but are a "warrior race of D-bees" who live in harmony with the sea and don't like to cause trouble and apparently only fight in self-defense. And you can play one! If your GM allows it.
They're physically quite capable but ugly, and swim pretty fast (around 30 MPH), are resistant to cold, can regenerate limbs, sense direction, survive up to a 1.5 miles down, but can't breathe air for more than about 10 minutes without "special breathing equipment". They have mild M.D.C. and get a bunch of undersea wilderness skills and crappy free skill selections. They can also choose to be ocean mages instead, which is wayyyy better as far as choice go. Kind of dull, but if you want merfolk, here you have them.
"It will neither attack or defend the subject of its attraction, although it may leave him or her tiny gifts (food) like eyeballs, entrails, fish, occasionally stolen items and knickknacks, shiny stones (rarely valuable), and similar worthless (and smelly) items."Original SA post
I better keep up the daily posts, then!
Part 4: "It will neither attack or defend the subject of its attraction, although it may leave him or her tiny gifts (food) like eyeballs, entrails, fish, occasionally stolen items and knickknacks, shiny stones (rarely valuable), and similar worthless (and smelly) items."
Gene Splicers & Sea Monsters
By Steve Sheiring & Kevin Siembieda
Yep, the interdimensional trolls (as in internet, not Norse) known as the gene splicers are back, making terrible sea monsters in the interest of
being annoying fucks
science. (Also, it's the return of Sheiring, the treacherous one.) Apparently "Captain Nemo-2, his New Navy, Tritonia and Lemuria" and "Whale Singers, aquatic D-Bees, and sailors" destroy the gene-splicers work wherever they find it, whoever they are, but the gene-splicers can just hide in ocean trenches and moon good guys through their portholes because their ships are immune to pesky pressure.
Random Creation of Gene-Splicer Monsters
So the gene-splicers make monsters for unknown reasons and then discard them for unknown reasons.
Rifts World Book Six: Underseas posted:
Imagine a giant penguin coming towards the characters. At first, the sight might invoke a few chortles of laughter. Then, all of a sudden, their amusement turns to horror as the penguin grabs a character with its tentacles and bites his head off. Only then do the other characters realize the true peril they face.
(Sometimes I wonder if the sadistic, evil monsters that populate these bestiaries are modeled after a certain RPG writer.)
This is actually in the Whale Singer section but I'll put here where it actually fits the text.
We have charts that randomly generate sea monsters! Because the gene-splicers are basically just doing the superadvanced interdimensional asshole version of Monster Rancher to get their creations, apparently. So, I'm gonna randomly roll up some gene-splicer monsters!
A giant squid with a crocodile head with low animal intelligence that can survive up to 500' below the water's surface with two antennae that can analyze the chemical quality of water that can fire a sonic blast and can absorb electricity from a boat by clinging to it.
A dwarf with two heads, one is a dwarf head and the other is a shark head, with very low human intelligence, can survive up to 500' below the water's surface, has six tentacle tongues in the shark head that add three attacks, is silent and can sneak really well (and gets a special backstab attack), and has a bad luck aura that infects people with -2 on all die rolls for several hours. (Given a literal reading of that, it makes your combat rolls worse, but makes skill rolls actually
- A generic 6' humanoid body with two heads, one is a lamprey head and the other is a turtle head, is a "very aggressive and cruel predator" that kills for kicks as well as food, can survive up to 4000' below sea level, has a spiked, prehensive tail, both heads have shark teeth (the lamprey head gets more teeth I guess), and it will obsess upon and stalk a PC and just hang around them and give gifts and be creepy without being dangerous. Unless it's hungry. Which is basically all the time.
Ley Line Mutations
So, some creatures are mutated by magic underwater, but it doesn't seem to affect sea mammals, so there are no mutant sea lions just asking questions after their sudden sentience. Mostly it's just scary creatures like sharks or crabs or squids. Most of the results are pretty forgettable - the creature is huge or is M.D.C. or gets meaner or is magic resistant, though there are some weirder results like being able to teleport through a ley line or severed parts grow back into a whole creature within one minute.
Of course, this means you could roll up a creature that still ends up being mundane but weird, like a particularly smart shrimp that can cast a few spells and is resistant to magic but is still tiny and can be crushed with a human's bare hands. Not that they mention shrimp, so pistol shrimp enthusiasts are out of luck until later. In any case, I guess not every mutant is a winner, no matter what Magneto says.
Next: Rifts gets a serious case of tentacle envy.
"I almost used my rail gun to put an end to his horror!"Original SA post
Part 5: "I almost used my rail gun to put an end to his horror!"
The Lord of the Deep
By C.J. Carella & Kevin Siembieda
A Sailor's Tale of Horror
So there's a sailor who tells a tale of a giant tentacle attacking their boat and taking away one of his shipmates, and he doesn't stop it because he's afraid if he stops it, it'll take him instead. He doesn't stop it, though, fearing that if he saves his fellow crew member, it might take him away instead. And so he then retired from the sea (or lakes, even) and works on a farm and drinks a lot.
And it's the Lord... of the Deep! (I keep envisioning it in my head being said like "The Lord... of the Dance!")
The Lord of the Deep
The Lord of the Deep isn't Cthulhu! I mean, he's a octopoid, giant-sized monster living in the bottom of the Pacific, but, you know. Let's make it clear right now. Not Cthulhu.
Though it is a bit like B'wana Beast.
So it lives in the Marianas Trench, and can streeeetch its tentacles up to 2000 miles away. The issues with that aren't really covered (like, in theory, it might do a lot of damage to the sea floor that way), so just take that at face value. It generally does this to feed off the psychic energy of its victims or to take them underwater and fuse them with another animal or creature, like Disney's The Wuzzles + tentacles.
It's theorized that the Lord of the Deep actually lived on Earth for millennia, and the lack of magical energy made it sleep. But not like Cthulhu! Because it isn't Cthulhu! Occasionally it'd sleep-eat somebody and so it made the legends of the kraken. And then the magic of the rifts made it wake up again! But not like... you know! Big C!
Or maybe it just came through a rift the boring way. It any case, it's been operating since then and has consumed or transformed a lot of folks.
Allies and Enemies
The main foes of the Lord are the Whale Singers , a group founded by those transformed by it but who broke free from its influence. Groups like Tritonia , Lemuria , and the New Navy have fought off its attacks for the most part, and are looking for a way to kil it for good. The Naut'Yll have suffered the greatest losses and even though they're bad guys, they might team up with good guys to fight it. The Splugorth know about it but consider it a minor concern. Zazshan , aka M'r'r'l'y'n or whatever, he knows the Lord of the Deep personally and seems to know a lot about it for mysterious reasons. Most other groups are ignorant.
Who are all these factions? We don't know! None of them have been introduced yet! I mean I know, but I've read ahead. Still, context!
Then there's The Cult of the Deep , which is a death cult that worships guess who , and do eeevil things for it. More on them later. They're mainly big on the Pacific coast in North America, Central America, and South America. There's also a small cult in the Great Lakes but they're mostly posers and have no actual connection to the Lord or supernatural abilities from him. Columbia, Maga Island, and Bahia all outlaw the cult, though most other nations are still ignorant of its existence. Oh, and the Horune Pirates might worship the Lord of the Deep, since it never seems to attack them, but it's not clear. Mind, that isn't mentioned here, but a few pages later.
The Lord of the Deep
"See how I don't have an ass? Or toes? Totally not Cthulhu."
So, now we get a statblock dropped on our heads. The creature itself is only about 700 feet wide, so I guess that means it's mostly just those 2000 mile tentacles. The base creature can barely move without magic (it literally can't dodge, according to the rules), and is mostly sessile. However, it has 500,000 M.D.C. and regenerates roughly 1,000 M.D.C. per minute. That makes it the toughest thing in the game... so far. They also list it having stats for it on the astral plane to battle it there too when it opts to astrally project, not that we have any great idea what the astral plane is or how to fight anything there. It's impervious to fire, cold, heat, disease, radiation, and pressure, can climb about half the time, and automatically understands languages. Also, it can drain P.P.E. from those it kills, automatically senses everything around it no matter what (including invisible and "4D" beings), and can merge two living beings together into a hybrid (which can breed true with other hybrids). However, magic does double damage against it and it regenerates slower, and holy or Millennium Tree weapons do ten times damage.
So if you have a Millennium Tree staff that does like 2d6 damage at base, that's like 70 damage on average, so... only 7,143 successful attacks to kill the Lord of the Deep! Well, thankfully, unlike every other supernatural intelligence, it can't just teleport away naturally. Of course, it lives in a trench where nearly everything dies from plain old pressure, so good luck! Oh, and skip what I just said, because it can cast a spell to teleport to Chi-Town or another dimension. It' just can't teleport naturally .
We're not done! It has all the ESP psychic powers, has all spells up to level 10 (yes, it can cast Carpet of Adhesion, fuck it all), and do some higher-level dimensional or weather magic. It explictly doesn't get any of the new magic from this book, like ocean magic or whale songs.
Oh, and it might be able to chat up the Old Ones or the beings in the god prison from Rifts Conversion Book Two: Pantheons of the Megaverse , despite them being asleep or imprisoned. Oh, and it can call "1d4x100 diverse monsters" an hour for "1d4+1 hours", or ten times that number if it has several days.
We get a map of where it can reach!
And it notes that there's a dead pool where it resides, which occasionally opens portals to other worlds where people fall through and are killed and eaten by the Lord or its minions. Fuck hope!
We're not done yet!
Its tentacles get a statblock all their own . They have "1d4x1000" M.D.C. - wait, why is it random? - and a bunch of sub-tentacles as well. It notes that the Lord doesn't know what's happening on its limb for 1d6 minutes, though it's not clear if the tentacles have their own sub-brains or what. It's not like they have any obvious sensory organs, but I guess they magically know what's up because magic.
Generally they do solid damage with the sub-tentacles, and each "reacher of the deep" gets 12-30 attacks a round, which may seem retarded and like it would slow the game down! And it does! But it's not much different than any Rifts combat involving more than one monster. It does great damage (between 1d6x10 to 3d6x10), but it has a special attack against boats and buildings that does 1d4x100 damage. Whee!
And that's all the numbers. Time for some monsters you can actually fight and not just run like fuck from!
Devil Shark R.C.C.
Minion of the Lord of the Deep
This is what you get when a shark and a human are mashed together by the Lord of the Deep. It apparently doesn't need to eat, but is driven by hunger because, you know, evil. It prefers intelligent creatures because it's evil. And apparently they keep treasure troves because ev- well, that's not that evil. But it is a convenient reason to kill them. Aside from the evil.
They're middle-of-the-road for toughness, but they get all of the senses of a shark (including, as you'll recall, echolocation), regeneration, and cold immunity. They're decent in melee combat but not fantastic, but they get a body slam that can knock people back and rob them of their attacks. And they take double damage from rune and Millennium Tree weapons, which would be great if - once again - most of those weapons didn't do absolute shit for damage. All of the minions here have the same weakness to magic trees that grow on land. Makes sense!
Minion of the Lord of the Deep
This is what happens when you cross a naut'yll an a barracuda. "What's a naut'yll?", you say? Well, we won't find out for another hundred pages. Enjoy the mystery! Anyway, they're humanoids with long tentacles on their face, gnashy claws, and sharp bitey teeth. They also love to eat other naut'yll, because when you're crossed with a barracuda, the immediate result is an evil cannibal. Magic!
They have "triple normal M.D.C." which I'm not looking up. They can regen, gain sharp senses, and have "magic facial antennae", i.e. stretchy tentacles. They can resist all mind intrusions and automatically sense things around them no matter what. They do crummy melee damage, and despite their tentacles being sold as terrifying, do the least damage of all their attacks. They also get their skills reduced from what they were before the transformation, which means you have to stat them pre transformation, then modify that, because GMs have all the free time in the world.
Also this notes they can entangle, which are the grappling rules from the corebook that are almost never referenced. And I'm not going to go over them again. It's just interesting that this is the first time I've seen a monster entry actually use them rather than having an arbitrary automatic or percentile grab attack.
Why, no, they don't get a bonus to entangle, hilariously, it just notes that they can. A human baby can entangle at an equal level of proficiency, it turns out. It's just harder to get them to try.
Minion of the Lord of the Deep
Minimum Physical Beauty: 21
This is what you get when the Lord crosses a human with a fish or seal. And 90% are female! Because only women can be sexy, no sausage in our seas, amirite? And they're supposed to be "strangely attractive" except when they open their mouths to reveal sharp teeth. They basically get some of the normal empathic mind control powers with a boosted range to enable this, and try and lure people off ships to munch on them. Sometimes they're touched by the selflessness of others and might show mercy, or they might become stalkers of the sea when they fall in love.
So, their M.D.C. is meh-ish, and they're pretty reliant on making you save-or-suck with their psychic powers. Oh, and they can make a psi-sword or shoot mind bullets, just like the mermaids of legend. Naturally they can swim super well and see the dark and all that. Oh, and despite the fact that they eat people, they do "not need to breathe or eat to survive". I guess they just do it because they like the taste of manflesh. They have the same skill reduction like the monster naut'yll, I'm bored, moving on.
Oh, and it refers to languages as "tongues", as if it was 1978.
Sea Doppelganger R.C.C.
Minion of the Lord of the Deep
This is what you get when you mash up a jellyfish and a human. Generally it looks like a giant jellyfish, but can copy human forms by either eating people or reading people's minds and taking on a form from their thoughts. However, though they can copy people, they can't talk and look like happy dappy drunks. Some sailors have caught onto this, which has resulted in some innocent folks being shot for looking too happy and/or drunk.
So it attacks by stinging people with mega-damage poison, so humans don't stand a chance without armor in the way - it's insta-death even to juicers and crazies. Or they can envelop people and do automatic acid damage until the person breaks free (taking a modest amount of damage to do so). They need to eat about three people every two days, and unlike the other minions, they actually need to each. Naturally, they have a swath of powers - regeneration, special limited telepathy to read forms, and the ability to sense anything around them (but not target it, necessarily). It has the weaknesses of the others, plus it's vulnerable to fire.
"These creatures have about as much in common with humans as real jellyfish; they are simply supernatural predators." As a final note, it says they're not created by the Lord of the Deep and are actually another monster from the rifts , in total contradiction to their earlier backstory. Apparently it's just that some of them choose to serve the Lord of the Deep, even though they're about as smart as a particularly cunning sponge. This book had four editors listed and two authors, folks. A dozen eyes had a chance to catch a very basic error like this. Perhaps some of them are jellymen, walking amongst us with drunk smiles on their faces, pretending to edit RPG books until their chance to strike.
The Cult of the Deep
We start with a prayer of the cult, which is pretty generic but works, and then discussion of how the Lord of the Deep sends out his mind astrally, which appears to people in dreams along coastlines or in psychic visions. But it's not Cthulhu! Some who survive with their minds intact become obsessed with foiling the Lord of the Deep, but we're not talking about them. We're talking about those who become obsessed with serving the Lord of the Deep. They're big on ritual sacrifice, mostly of other people, either through ritual murder or by handing people over to the reachers of the deep. The heads of the cult are psychics, since apparently only they can have a true link to the Lord of the Deep. (See also: Warhammer 40,000 .) Those who are psychic servants also slowly mutate into Servants of the Deep. Which aren't deep ones!
The Lord of the Deep puts out this "call" to people once a year for a period of a week, but it can't control exactly where it appears because eh who knows, which is usually a 1000 mile strip of coast close to here it already has influence. It notes a saving throw is required of any character with psionics, but the results of failing that saving throw aren't clear. It also points out - unusually for Rifts - that GMs can elect for PCs or key NPCs to automatically save. Well, that's handy, since we don't know what the saving throw is for, once again.
Servants of the Deep
NPC Villain R.C.C.
So, this is for human and d-bee psychics who become connected to the Lord of the Deep and choose to serve it. They're "gifted" with supernatural power and supernatural ugly, and are given power over years until - if they survive that long - the Lord of the Deep brings them home for eating. Eating your most powerful servants? Well, that's a notion, I suppose.
Their powers are dribbled out over a period of years and decades, and mostly they get M.D.C. and P.P.E. boosts every two years or so, along with some modest spellcasting. By around five years they start getting the ugly, and around seven years they're pretty unsubtle raspy-voice wartfaces. In ten years, you become an outright tentacle monster that has to eat souls to survive, and you stop talking and start groaning and growling instead. And if the servant gets to twenty years, the Lord of the Deep takes the servant into its nommy embrace.
Yes, their reward is to get et. Still, you get a longer life than a juicer, so there's that.
Next: I dedicate a full update to one of Rifts' most broken classes.
"A sea inquisitor shooting a .45 pistol (normally 4D6 S.D.C. damage) will inflict 4d6x2 M.D. to a creation of the Lord of the Deep, demon, or evil dragon."Original SA post
Part 6: "A sea inquisitor shooting a .45 pistol (normally 4D6 S.D.C. damage) will inflict 4d6x2 M.D. to a creation of the Lord of the Deep, demon, or evil dragon."
Sea Inquisitor O.C.C.
Enemies of the Cult of the Deep
Sadly, no, they are not attempting to boil a pot of seawater to have it tell them about the conspiracy of waves. "Talk, you fluid bastard! Talk!"
Sometimes when the Lord of the Deep makes a calling, those who survive with their lives and sanity are inspired to murder it. Ooops. Also, they get superpowers as a result of the calling. Somehow. Double ooops. Some of them have even joined together to work in small bands, but there's no actual inquisition or organization. Some think a higher power of some sort empowers them, but for some reason the powers they get don't set off supernatural or magic senses. It could be that their supernatural powers are, in fact, so badass they can't be detected, or that they somehow come from Sea Inquisitors being so willful they get powers .
So. They're a bit ridiculous. So ridiculous, I'm actually going to go over everything they get. Their powers are:
They get a ridiculous bonus to Mental Endurance (+8) with a minimum of 18. On top of that, they get a +8 to saves against Horror Factor. In addition, they get a small bonus to save against magic.
They get a special aura that disrupts all magical and psychic powers that target them, where they can dispel a spells and powers with an I.S.P. and P.P.E. each round equal to
10 x their level
. If this doesn't cancel the spell entirely, they only suffer half effect. This includes area effects that include them, though other people still suffer the full effect.
A magic shield that absorbs 100 + (10 x level) M.D.C. of damage. This can be summoned once per level per day, so if you have it wrecked, you can just just call it back up if you've above first level.
They can sense the supernatural within 1000 ft., and have a 35% (+5% per level) of being able to tell if a supernatural creature is evil.
Any attacks they make against evil supernatural creatures do double damage. That isn't the big deal. The big deal is that any
S.D.C. attacks they do against supernatural evil are converted to M.D.C, then doubled
. We'll be getting to just how game-breaking this is in just a bit.
- They get a variety of small, meaningless physical bonuses. Also they can hold their breath longer than normal. Yay!
In addition, though the Sea Inquisitor gets its own set of O.C.C. skills, it then has to select a different O.C.C. it gets all the rest of its skills from. This can be any psychic or adventurer O.C.C., sailor, pirate, grunt/foot-soldier (do they mean Coalition Grunt?), simple warrior (no such class exists), or mystic. I'm going to point out that if you choose a mystic or psychic class, you get all the powers they get .
The Sea Inquisitor is, at the time this book was published, probably the most broken O.C.C. in the game. So let's examine:
How to Break Rifts With the Sea Inquisitor Class
Getting all those awesome powers and slapping a psychic class on top of that is just the starter here. The key to breaking Rifts comes from their ability to use S.D.C. weapons to inflict M.D.C. So what we want is the highest S.D.C. damage we can find without any possibility of having it inflict M.D.C. . Because, let's examine some of the weirdness that results because of their ability.
Rifts Sourcebook tells us explosive arrows do 1d6, 2d6, or 3d6 mega-damage for medium, heavy, and "high" explosives, respectively, which becomes 2d6, 4d6, or 6d6 damage in the hands of a Sea Inquisitor. But a light explosive arrow does 1d6 x 10 S.D.C., which becomes 2d6 x 10 M.D.C. in the hands of a Sea Inquisitor. Which is pretty damn nice - that's closing in on the damage of a boom gun, one of the highest damage weapons in the game without using missile barrages. And, bizarrely, that's over three times the damage they'd do with "high" explosives, 6d6 M.D.C. But we can do better.
In the core book, the most powerful S.D.C. weapon is the 90mm recoiless rifle, which does 1d10 x 100 S.D.C. or 1d10 M.D.C. Now, if we're a jerk, we can get into an argument with the GM and insist that it's the player's choice to do S.D.C. with the weapon instead of M.D.C., which would let us do 2d10 x 100 M.D.C., for an average of 1100 M.D.C. of damage with each shot. But for the sake of argument, I'm going to assume that the GM puts that kibosh on this, that any weapon that can do M.D.C. uses its M.D.C. damage value - a measly, forgettable 2d10 for the 90mm recoilless rifle.
So the best weapon S.D.C. weapon in the core book is a .50 or 14mm heavy machinegun. It has no strength requirement, and does 7d6 damage per round. For the purposes of this argument, I'm assuming we have the Rifts Conversion Book and the nerfed burst damage rules from that. That means a short burst does 14d6 x 3 in a Sea Inquisitor's hands, or an average of 147 damage with an single attack, 40% more than the boom gun of a glitter boy. With a long burst we can use two attacks to do 14d6 x 7 or 343 points of damage, or 63% more than a boom gun of the same level. But we can do better than that, to borrow a phrase from LightWarden.
Rifts Mercenaries introduced Wellington Industries, an arms manufacturer that makes high-quality S.D.C. firearms. So, an MP-23 caseless SMG does 2d6 x 10 S.D.C. with regular ammo, or 140 average M.D.C. damage in the hands of a Sea Inquisitor. Which is awesome, but we can do better than that. Larger weapons do piddly amounts of M.D.C., so those are no good to us. So we pick up Wellington Industries smallest weapon, the MP-10 caseless pistol. The key point is that we'll be loading it with explosive rounds, which do M.D.C. when loaded into any weapon heavier than a pistol . Otherwise, it inflicts triple S.D.C. damage. So an MP-10 does 1d6 x 10 bursts, 3d6 x 10 with explosive rounds, which translates to 6d6 x 10 damage in the hands of a Sea Inquisitor, twice that of a Glitter Boy . And the ammo is cheap as hell, only costing you 60 credits per 30 round clip, far cheaper than an E-clip recharge, which costs you 1500 credits.
But we can do one better than that.
I don't usually reference "future" books, but this is too good to pass up. Rifts World Book 14: New West gives us a new psychic class, the Psi-Slinger. He's a psychic gunslinger and has a lot of abilities we mostly don't care about, save for the fact get gets to dual-wield pistols . So a Sea-Inquisitor Psi-Slinger can pick up two MP10s and do 420 points of damage with each attack , or do 210 to two different targets. This will is flat-out kill most monsters, and even gives adult dragons cause for worry. They also automatically can't parry your attack, even if they normally could. In addition, a Psi-Slinger converts up to 30 points of energy damage to S.D.C. when shot with an energy weapon or halves the damage of anything higher. Combined with our mega-damage shield of pure fucking will, the Sea Inquisitor Psi-Slinger can ignore all energy attacks under 30 points of damage, and take half damage from those that do anything over that. In addition, you get all the proficiency bonuses and cool gunslinging tricks that the Psi-Slinger gets in addition. If that's not enough, you get a bonus attack every round. Or you can be a mind melter or the like and just be happy with having a variety of neat utility powers.
Bear in mind there is a big caveat for this horrendous damage output: your enemy has to be an evil supernatural being . But that's most foes in Rifts outside of the Coalition, bandits, and the Kittani. And, to be fair, missile barrages can still do thousands of points of damage from certain vehicles, so a lot of robot pilots can outpace the Sea Inquisitor. But bear in mind those missile barrages will cost tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of credits to replenish at the (still nebulous) Black Market, whereas the Sea Inquisitor can reload for a several hundred credits. In addition, missile barrages can be shot down by savvy foes, while gunfire is still gunfire. But we're not quite done yet.
If you're not interested in maximizing damage and are fine with merely outpacing glitter boy damage output, you can instead become nigh-immune to magic and psionics. In Rifts World Book 12: Psyscape you have the Psi-Nullifer psychic class. In addition to auto-negating 10 times your of P.P.E. or I.S.P. a round, the Psi-Nullifier gets to spend 1d6 I.S.P. when targeted by a spell or power, which negates three times that amount of P.P.E. or I.S.P. If the mage or psychic doesn't "overspend" to cancel out that amount you roll (and they have no idea how much they need to spend), the power is weakened or cancelled. The main drawback is that you negate even positive spells with that ability, but you can at least voluntarily bring down the Sea Inquisitor shield for friendly mages.
Here's a bonus trick: a Sea Inquisitor doesn't have to be human! If you're playing a race or class with supernatural or enhanced strength, you can do more damage to a evil supernatural being by doing a restrained punch instead of a normal punch. See, a restrained punch does S.D.C. damage, which is normally what you'd use to love tap a normal human into unconsciousness, but due to the sea inquisitor's damage boost, it greatly enhances the damage your punches do. Let's say you have a Physical Strength of 30, which lets you do 3d6 M.D.C. with a punch. Now, once you graduate to Sea Inquisitor and punch a demon, you do 6d6 M.D.C. Better than nothing, but not great. But your restrained punch does 5d6 S.D., so it does 10d6 M.D.C. with your damage boost - but that's not all. See, high strength gives you bonus damage that only applies to S.D. attacks - so a Physical Strength of 30 gives +15. So you're actually doing 10d6 + 30 (the actual example in the class is explicit about this). If you somehow got a Physical Strength of 50, you'd be doing 2d6 x 10 + 70, which is 33% more damage than a boom gun, and a lot more than the the 12d6 damage your normal punches would do to a demon. The key is that you never, ever want your strength to exceed 50, because then your restrained punch turns into 1d6 M.D.C. and the trick is lost.
There have been some really broken R.C.C.s - the norse giant, the demigod, the phoenixi - but hands down, the Sea Inquisitor wins my newly-christened Palladium Mega-Turd Award for the most broken O.C.C. at this point in the game. About the only competition is the far more infamous Cosmic Knight, but that mainly has superlative travel and toughness. But the Sea Inquisitor, with the right gun, can murder just about any supernatural evil short of a god or supernatural intelligence, and they can do it with just a pair of cheap, throwaway automatic pistols. At low levels they may lack in durability, but a mid-level one is also as tough as a glitter boy under the right circumstances, and with far lower repair costs (like, zero). And you can give them broad skills, psychic powers, or even attach the class to the already-overpowered true atlantean or demigod.
And when you murder an adult dragon with some of the dinkiest weapons in the game, tell 'em Alien Rope Burn sent you.
Next: Pneuma Pneuma.
"Only rogue PB-killer whales continue to feed on their smaller cousins."Original SA post
Part 7: "Only rogue PB-killer whales continue to feed on their smaller cousins."
The Whale Singers
By C.J. Carella & Kevin Siembieda
Mystical Undersea Society
Rifts World Book Seven: Underseas posted:
A Band of Warriors, brave and strong.
A Circle of Wizards, wise and clever.
The One Eye of Eylor.
The Eternal Flame Blade.
The Fires of the Cosmic Forge.
The Largest War Machine.
The Strength of an Unbeliever.
And a Hundred Years' War.
All these Must Be, and the Lord Shall Fall.
- The Prophecy of Blind Current-Rider
So we have a prophecy from Blind Current-Rider, who was a human who was mashed up with a blue whale by the Lord of the Deep. He discovered a way for cetaceans to do magic called "spellsongs", and also invented on called the Song of Prophecy, which produced the prophecy above and killed all the other spellsingers in his vicinity. It's not sure whether the Lord of the Deep is to blame or if they saw something that struck them dead, but either way - ooopsie . Still, there are those known as "Seekers" that try and find out what the prophecy's about. The Lord is pretty obviously the Lord of the Deep, the USS Ticonderoga (nope, not described yet) is probably the Largest War Machine, the Eylor relates to the world enslaved by the Splugorth (as rumored in Atlantis ), and though the Singers don't know it, the Cosmic Forge relates to the Cosmo-Knights ( Phase World ). The rest is a mystery for GMs to hack out, given this isn't referenced in later books like the Plato prophecy from Rifts Sourcebook Two: The Mechanoids .
Whale Singers & Pneuma-Biforms
I'm sorry, I can't stop laughing. Pneuma-biforms. I- wow, Rifts , raising the bar on goofy names for things.
So these are humans that have been mashed up with dolphins, orcas, or whales by the Lord fo the Deep, but unlike other creations of the Lord, it turns out because humans are good guys (just ignore the Coalition and New German Republic) and that dolphins are good guys (just ignore dolphins murdering baby porpoises) that they become super good guys . And knowing this, since sirens can be half-human, half seal, that means seals are evil .
The morality of aquatic mammals aside, the pneuma-bi-
- I'm sorry, I seriously am laughing-
- the pneuma-biforms escaped the Lord of the Deep and joined together to oppose UnCthulhu with their magic marine mammal melodies . And so they formed the Whale Singers, which now encompasses a goodly number of mundane dolphins and whales, a small number of humans, d-bees, and Lemurians. (The Lemurians will continually be mentioned in this book without ever being detailed.) They generally do good things because dolphins is good people and have never done anything bad like murder or rape .
Allies and Enemies
So, a lot of dolphins and whales shun the pneuma-biforms because they're weird and magical , and so they protect a world that hates and fears them (sometimes). Of course, jerks like the Splugorth, naut'yll, or horune (to be explained later) murder them because go team evil , amirite? Most seafaring people see them as tenative allies, but don't invite them over for tea & tray bakes or allow them in their seayards, because they're weird . They're also allied with the New Navy (more on them later) and Tritonia (ditto) and Lemurians ( sir not appearing in this book ). They also ally with the kreel-lok sometimes, but nobody cares.
Also we get a throwaway note on how the Whale Singers hate pollution. Except. Nobody's polluting? We don't have a lot of industrial powers on the coast. Maybe the Splugorth. I imagine they deliberately manufacture garbage to throw away, that strikes me as their flavor of evil.
Dolphin Pneuma-Biform R.C.C.
What, no spikes... or missiles? Are we still in Rifts?
This statblock refers a lot to the dolphin statblock, which is a pain because they don't get stats for another 26 pages. But I'm going to detail a lot of the dolphin stuff here because it's important to the writeup, even though it technically isn't listed for convenience's sake.
So these are cheery magic dolphins that can turn into humans and also into a metallic battle form that can can take the shape of either form, but battlier. They can mate true with other dolphin pneuma-biforms, or can mate true with dolphins or humans 11% of the time, and 90% of those (so 9.9%) are pnuema-biform babies. We get gestation periods and birth rates and okay, I'm bored and skipping to the numbers .
We get a note first that if the Lord of the Deep is defeated, pneuma-biforms will have a choice whether or not to stay as pneuma-biforms, but that the grand majority of them prefer to stay as they are... even though they're hated and feared? Well, I guess they are magical and rad. Of course, there's also the unwritten notion that a pneuma splitting into a dolphin and human in the middle of the sea is probably a pretty harsh situation for the human, or vice versa for the dolphin on land. So, they get superhuman attributes on all axes, with their top abilities being willpower and strength. But yes, they're even prettier and more likeable than humans in either form. Their M.D.C. is average to low, and only slowly grows with experience, though they get decent P.P.E. They get all the natural abilities of a dolphin, which includes:
They can dive up to four miles underwater and hold their breath.
They can always sense magnetic north, unless you punch them in the head (I guess that knocks their gyroscope off balance).
Like all dolphins, they can sense... electromagnetic... energy? What? No, that's not right. That's actually really wrong. But this is
, so they can. Apparently they can even sense brain illnesses, the pain of others (which is part of what makes dolphins nice, it says), brain implants, or even psionic powers. It also apparently lets them track ships, because I guess ships leave... trails... of electromagnetic energy? I... what the fuckity fuck? Then there's a throwaway line that dolphins can read the trails of
at three times normal range. What flying saucers? We don't know, and this will not be mentioned again. It also notes that though sharks have the same ability, it doesn't make them any nicer because they're jerks.
Sonic echo-location, like real dolphins. You have a 40% chance + 5% per level, which means most dolphins can't see shit with this sense, I suppose.
Ultrasonic probe, which works like x-ray vision, only with the shitty odds above. It also lets them detect things like cybernetics and some shapeshangers by reading people's organs, whee.
Then they get... a sonic blast, because fuck science. To be fair, there is a study that supports this, but nothing definitive. Given it only does 1d6 S.D.C., and half damage against anything man-sized or bigger, it's useful to punk sardines and eels but not really useful on a fight. They also get a fuckin'
, but given humans can save on it with 3 or better and supernatural creatures are impervious, it's not great in a fight, only really useful against small and medium-sized fish, for GMs that actually make you use the combat rules to catch your dinner.
A starting dolphin gets a 50/50 shot of recognizing their relatives. That's right, you can only recognize mom half the time.
Geez. Dolphins even get their own
, even though jet fighters and other fancy movey things never have. They get bonus attacks as they level up, an
just like a Juicer, a speedy dive, leaping, somersaults, a roll to quickly turn or brake, double their speed for brief periods, skip over the surface of the water, swim backwards or backflip, and make tight turns (wait, didn't it already cover this?). Also they can bite and jab and ram and tail slap for (for minor M.D.C., because they're pneumas, but regular dolphins do normal S.D.C.). And they can do a "power strike" to stun a foe or disarm them.
- Dolphins dehydrate rapidly out of water. In real life, it takes hours for a dolphin to die this way, but in Rifts it takes 33-42 minutes . Maybe the magic makes things dry faster? Of course, Pneumas can just shift to human form.
They can roll for psionics just like humans do. They can also psychically recognize family members automatically, so just forget that 50/50 stuff from earlier.
They can absort ley-line energy and transform into mega-damage beings. For pneumas, who already have mega-damage capacity, this means they just get a boost to swimming speed and their ability to hold their breath. For dolphics, they double their hit points and structural damage capacity and gain that as M.D.C., but it only lasts a minute or three after they leave the ley line. It also reduces their attacks and their sonic abilities slightly.
They can shoot energy blasts when on a ley line! It does shitty damage unless they're really high level, though.
In addition, they can
create small rifts
to teleport themselves and a passenger along a ley line for a mile per level. They also move twice as fast on a ley line.
They can sense ley lines and magic, read information from a ley line, send messages down a ley line, and heal themselves on a ley line, just like ley line walkers do.
- They get dolphin magic spells automatically, which are magic spells only certain cetaceans can get, and dolphins pick any two to start. They also get ocean magic or spellsongs as they level op. Dolphin magic allows them to: increase the amount of time they can hold their breath, shoot EMP pulses that can stun or KO aquatic vehicles, send psychic warnings up to thousand miles away, ignore the need to breathe while on a ley line, detect the nearest food and predators (relevant to dolphins only), predict the weather, stun creatures with sonic blasts, and double their speed (again). It notes porpoises don't get these spells, but since this book doesn't contain any statblocks or rules for porpoises, I guess that's just one big fuck you to porpoises.
Changing from a dolphin to a human twice a day.
Turning into a battle form that gives them combat bonuses, extra damage and M.D.C. across the board.
Getting a free spellsong a third level and every level after that.
An ocean magic spell every level.
A spell strength boost at later levels to increase the saving throws to resist their magic.
- They're impervious to all cold.
It's crazy, I don't know who wrote the dolphin section, but it just goes on and on without stopping for about 13 pages , 15 if you count the pneuma-biforms. As such, we aren't stopping with dolphins, this is just the section directly relevant to playing a dolphin pneuma-biform. There'll be more. Much more.
Killer Whale Pneuma-Biform R.C.C.
More like a puckish rogue.
So it notes right off the that even though killer whales even eat other whales, most pneuma-biform orcas have gotten over that and are less murderous than most, though there are " rogue PB-killer whales" who are eeevil and apparently "have kept the worst traits of humans and orcas". Most of them are still good. Once again, we get a note that most of them don't want to return to normal humanity and orcahood. And then it's number time.
So, they're not as smart, willful, or charming as dolphin pneuma-biforms, they are much stronger and tougher, with M.D.C comparable to a dragon hatchling. They get many of the same powers as the dolphin, only instead of dolphin magic, they can choose a few spells from dolphin magic, ocean magic, or spellsongs. They also get spellsongs, and it confusingly notes they don't get dolphin magic when the killer whale writeup clearly says they do. Editing! It's bad! They have more attacks and damage than dolphins, but are slower and get less magical power.
Whale Pneuma-Biform R.C.C.
These are the thoughtful, lazy giants of the pneuma-biform worked. They don't a lot of detail before be go on to numbers, other than once again noting that most of them don't want to stop being pneuma-biforms.
So, they're actually not as strong as killer whales, surprisingly, and are the ugliest pneuma-biforms in that they have average looks, but have strong mental attributes. They also get M.D.C. that's dependent on the type of whale - blue whales are very tough, sperm whales are modestly tougher than killer whales, and beaked whales are only as tough as killer whales. They get the most magic power, generally including a ton of spellsongs and a bit of ocean magic, and sperm whales and blue whales get automatic psionics, though it's mostly just the basic powers. Naturally, they do more damage with their attacks, and with their power strike, they can actually do 1d4 x 100 M.D.C., giving them one of the strongest non-missile attacks in the game!... though it costs two attacks. Still, when they're in the sea, they're ship-sinking badasses, as it turns out.
Whale Singer O.C.C.
Uh, that's now how eyes are drawn.
So, this class, confusingly enough, applies not to whales, but to humanoids that learn to sing like whales! Apparently they get a lot of respect from seagoers, who often give these spellsingers discounted passage. But never for free! That would be crazy. It also notes that simvan and dog boys can become Whale Singers, except for the fact they can't take O.C.C.s keeps them from doing just that. Most are humans, undersea races, dolphins, or whales, though. Porpoises? Fuck those guys. Those guys are assholes.
They can sense other whale singers automatically, tell the purity level of water, navigate underwater (but no better than having a mundane skill), hold their breath and go a whopping 200 feet underwater, sense ley line and magic energy, read information from ley lines, transfer messages on a ley line, heal faster on a ley line, and get a modest amount of spellsongs and ocean magic. They can't learn dolphin magic or regular spells, so they're really niche. But unlike a lot of magic classes from Rifts supplements, they can at least aren't limited by their level when learning new spells. Predictably, they get a bunch of sailing and miscellaneous skills, with limited free skill picks. Ultimately, they're a variant ley line walker that focuses on the sea, and but since they have a smaller spell selection with a more niche focus, they're pretty forgettable.
Whale Singer Spellsongs
By Siembieda, Carella, & Conder
Who's Val Conder? Well, they aren't in the credits, making their inclusion a total mystery . I can't find out too much about them other than having volunteered for Palladium in the past and being a gamer from Detroit. So, it turns out cetacean songs were magical all along, but Current-Rider discovered how to awaken that magic. It sure is convenient when animals turn out to be secret occultists all along, huh? It turns out they can only be used underwater for the most part, though they can be cast as ritual magic on land with 10% of the range. Also, non-cetaceans have reduced range on them all-around, which really sucks if it applies to whale singers. So, let's get some magical highlights from the spell list! A lot of these are things like basic communication or mind or emotion-affecting spells, but let's find some more interesting ones.
Song of Life:
It requires 750 P.P.E., but gives you a roughly fifty-fifty chance of bringing back the recently dead.
Song of Protection:
This gives some mild M.D.C. protection and shields against any hazards short of a star's corona, for those who are looking to swim through lava.
Song of Reversal:
Another 500 P.P.E. or so spell that lets you seperate out two creatures combined by the Lord of the Deep, but it doesn't work on pneuma-biforms because it doesn't say why. It can also seperate people from magic symbiotes in a pinch.
Song of Severing:
This takes 45-90 seconds to cast, but it does 2d6 x 1000 damage to the Lord of the Deep, which is useful for severing tentacles, but even that ridiculous damage amount is piddly against the Lord of the Deep's 500K M.D.C.
Song of Weaving:
This lets you create a 90 M.D.C. suit of kelp armor! Kelp!
Cause there is no circumstance | That you can't handle | When you use your mind
- Sound Spike: Though this does mild M.D.C. damage, it can slow a target or wreck radio signals.
Next: Finally, become the fiercest creature of the sea: a shrimp.
"The mage can transform himself into any variety of crab, lobster, or shrimp that is no smaller than a half inch (12.7 mm) and no longer than three feet (0.9 m)."Original SA post
Part 8: "The mage can transform himself into any variety of crab, lobster, or shrimp that is no smaller than a half inch (12.7 mm) and no longer than three feet (0.9 m)."
Ocean Wizard O.C.C.
"So, what do you think of my swimsuit?"
So these are like whale singers, only they use ocean magic and only ocean magic. Seagoers like to hire them for various reasons. And that's all the details we get! :V:
They're another ley line walker variant, and can hold their breath, swim faster on ley lines, and get a lot of the basic ley line powers just like the whale singers. They get a decent selection of ocean magic spells, and aren't limited by their level when learning them. They get sailing skills, and slightly more free picks than whale singers.
Sea Druid O.C.C.
By Steve Sheiring and Kevin Siembieda
Yep, this is from the great betrayer again. (I'll never get tired of bringing that up, sorry, Kevin.) There's no real information on exactly what they are or how you become one, other than they're at tune with the watery world and have to pick a (non-sentient) totem animal, because this is the nineties and it's important to know what your spirit animal is. "Slide."
So they can sense water from afar, tell you pure water is, detect elementals, get a danger sense that only works when the danger is underwater, and can hold their breath well like every other watery class here. I know, you wouldn't wnat people to straight-up just breathe water, that would be too powerful for these classes that need to be underwater to use a lot of their effects . They can also summon their totem animal and control one of them, most of which are dinky S.D.C. creatures, though you can also summon some mutants or monsters, like giant squids. So it can be useful if you pick the right critter, and the GM lets you. They can also learn ocean magic, dolphin spells, or a spellsong, but only get one or two per level so they're basically the worst spellcasters of this lot. With their average sailing and wilderness skills, they're entirely depending on picking a utility animal to do things for them, but even then they're very one-note.
By Steve Sheiring and Kevin Siembieda
Special thanks to Val Conder for his spell suggestions.
Out of nowhere, we get notes on using any magic underwater, so ocean magic has to wait a moment. It notes that using normal magic words to cast spells underwater is hard and takes three melee actions for each spell, and can only do one spell a turn. It notes that spellcasters in vehicles need a porthole or window to cast spells through (even fire bolt?), and it notes some magic aren't usable underwater like flight spells or air spells.
Which gives the odd effect that non-cetacean aquatic spellcaster - because ocean magic requires the spoken word - is completely hobbled in their primary element . Why the fuck? Did they not pay attention to the rules when they were laying them out paragraph by paragraph? Unless you're specifically an aquatic creature that can talk without trouble underwater, ocean magic becomes a joke! Well, okay, you can get around it by casting magic from inside sealed environmental armor, but still. It's quite odd.
Congrats, you turned into a lobster, gain +4 to roll with butter.
Let's have some magical highlights! There's a lot of stuff like swimming well or mucking with ocean currents, I'm skipping that and going right to the goofy spells.
Abilities of a Snail:
That's fucking right, you have antennae and the ability to stick to surfaces, double carry weight, survive deeper depths, and sneak better, thanks to snail power!
Lets you swim through air, which is useful, but you totally look like a doofus.
This allows you get tentacles that give you bonus attacks!... with no damage value.
You're a shrimp! Or you can become a giant crab with shitty M.D.C. that will get murdered by nearly anything. No need for massive damage, even.
Mystic Sea Horse:
You summon a giant sea horse! And you can ride it!
Ride the Waves:
Surf without a surfboard.
Senses of the Shark:
Allows you to sense blood, electromagnetic power, and see in the dark. Oh, and it makes you roll to keep from going berserk in the presence of blood. Yeah, you aren't geared for going berserk, most likely, being a wizard. Good luck with that!
For a P.P.E. and spell slot tax, you can be a human who casts your ocean magic underwater without penalties! Whoooo.
Strength of the Whale:
Ironically, this spell is best for whales, who can use it to bump up their power strike to do 1d4 x 100 M.D.C., or just double their already impressive strength.
Summon Sea Friend:
This lets you summon a sea creature randomly! If you're lucky, you get a friendly killer whale. Or you could end up with far less useful sea turtle. "Get them, Leonardo!" *nip*
Walk Like a Humanoid:
This lets you give an aquatic creature legs which... not only looks goofy, doesn't prevent them from suffocating or dehydrating on land. Ooops.
- Whirlpool: Gives a 90% chance of sinking any vessels, so if you don't know how to defeat those enormous Splugorth vessels, 50 P.P.E. will do it, apparently.
Kinda short this time, but need to save space, because...
Next: Everything you wanted to know about cetaceans. Except porpoises, because fuck those assholes.
"Thus, a playful dolphin who doesn't want his human playmate to leave, might say, 'No ... go. Play ... fun.' or string together words and phrases like, 'Go home.' 'Give ... more fish' 'Shark bad ... kill you.' 'Come ... now. Land people ... trouble. Bad. Go now.'"Original SA post
Part 9: "Thus, a playful dolphin who doesn't want his human playmate to leave, might say, 'No ... go. Play ... fun.' or string together words and phrases like, 'Go home.' 'Give ... more fish' 'Shark bad ... kill you.' 'Come ... now. Land people ... trouble. Bad. Go now.'"
Dolphins & Cetaceans
Finally, a character class that looks like a missile.
Dolphins and cetaceans, in precisely that order of importance.
Rifts World Book Seven: Underseas posted:
Design Note: FOr those readers to look to our books for factual data, please be aware that much of this material is fictional, even though it may sound factual. The text is inspired by real world scientific evidence and research, but applied to the fictional world of Rifts where we can adjust reality any way we desire. Consequently, the degree of intelligence, subjective reasoning and natural abilities of cetacean RPG characters have been extrapolate on and taken to the extreme, with magic and psionic powers thrown into the mix. Still playing such a character makes you wonder about these amazing mammals and what their life in the ocean must be like.
Well, fair enough, that starts to explain why the dolphin abilities delve into nonsense about flying saucers! Wait, not quite. But it's a start, I suppose.
Background: Before the Rifts
Boy, there sure are a lot of cetaceans! We get a lot of deal on pre-rifts human research into trying to learn to communicate and train dolphins, including:
Rifts World Book Seven: Underseas posted:
Task training was an attempt to teach dolphins to perform simple tasks and routines. If successful, the animals could be used in a way similar to training dogs helping the blind, sniffing out drugs and bombs, herding sheep, etc.
I don't think dolphins are going to have much luck herding sheep.
It also notes that they discovered dolphins could use their senses to detect illness and were extraordinarily kind ot ill patients, and even somehow mysteriously healed some people. It was also believed that they could help doctors identify diseases, if only they could talk. Also the military tried to train dolphins, but they turned out be be bad soldiers, since they didn't want to hurt humans and were too smart to be tricked into it. Because dolphins are innately good , you see. Still, they tried giving dolphins cybernetics or power armor, and they found out genetic engineering could make them into aggressive, loyal, warriors, but if any lived past the rifts, they're a mystery the book just doesn't have time for.
It also notes that porpoises exist, but that they avoid humans, so fuck 'em, they get no more mentions.
The Dolphins of Rifts Earth
So, the rifts made dolphins smart and *magical* . And without humans around, they were able to replenish their diminishing numbers. Despite the fact that humans tore up their ecosystem and hunted their brethren, most dolphins are glad to see humans again when they take to the sea, apparently having learned no lessons.
The Dolphin Community
It notes dolphins are social creatures and work together as teams and families to hunt, though they often split and separate for extended periods of times. Thanks to *magic* , killer whales are now smart enough to see hunting dolphins was wrong and now don't hunt dolphins very often, though there are still a few assholes hunting for dolphin treats.
Dolphins & Conflict
War is apparentlky unknown to dolphins, but they will gang up to defeat a predator or danger to the group, though they're inclined to let foes run, on account of magical, good, and gentle. They don't often fight amongst themselves and only a few are poisoned by bitterness or evil. Even evil dolphins generally don't kill or lead people to their deaths, though, because dolphins are, once again, innately good. The book even terms then "The Paladins of the Sea", a title for which killer whales don't qualify because they actually have a mortal grey area. However, some dolphins are racist against non-humans because they're strange and unfamiliar, and echolocation lets them tell a difference in people's innards.
In related news, dolphins apparently have no respect for privacy if they go around vibrating people's gutsnakes.
They're at one with nature, and so don't see a need for belongings or technology. They understand they're useful but see them as "dangerous toys". Of course, the lack of thumbs might prejudice them, but the book doesn't bring that up.
This is laid out like the South America books, so I guess Rifts likes it as a format. Also, it's the '90s and so you have to have every faction be super-opinionated about all other factions in the game. Fact!
The Splugorth actually like dolphins even though they don't like much of anything, because dolphins are that likeable . Granted, their idea of "liking" something is "experimenting on something and then throwing into arena combat", which dolphins are less keen on. The Naut'yll see dolphins as a threat to their continued expansion, and so there's a sort of cold war there. Naturally, dolphins, being innately good, oppose the Lord of the Deep at every turn. Triax is looking to try and militarize and train dolphins, but not very seriously. Dolphins get along fine with the Lemurians , whoever they are. They're also staunch allies with Tritonia and the New Navy .
Dolphins & The Human Language
Dolphins apparently are visual thinkers, and just refer to humans as "land people", cetaceans are "ocean people", and Lemurians are "good people". But D-bees are "the other" or "bad others", because even amongst innately good sea creatures, racism to D-bees lives on. They can learn human languages, but their vocal cords and visual brains apparently limit them to single words or three-to-four word sentences at most. Those with cybernetic vocal implants or telepathy can manage longer, but simple sentences. They're bad at reading, since they're bad at symbols, and not hot at math or anything involving precision measurements. They can learn the cardinal directions, though.
Yes, dolphins can talk now, because of *magic* . Unfortunately, they talk in child / imbecile chatter, as mentioned at the top of this article. Because:
Rifts World Book Seven: Underseas posted:
Proper use of grammar, tenses, and sentence structure are beyond them; either that or they just don't care to learn them.
Dolphin language is something humans can't learn outside of the occasional single word. We also get a lot of details on dolphin body language, so in case you want to know what a know what a dolphin wiggling means, consult this book. Wait, no, don't!
"So, how many skull robots do I get to draw-" "None, you'll draw fucking dolphins and like it, Long."
Rifts World Seven: Underseas posted:
Playing a dolphin or killer whale as a player character can be a blast! There's something magical about such an alien, yet so familiar (also see bi-form Whale Singers). The character can be specially dynamic and interesting if the player tries to portray the dolphin in character, with their different view of life, thinking in pictures rather than words, high morals, innocence, and broken speech patterns.
You know, I've read a lot of R.C.C. writeups, and they often come with warnings like "this race is normally bad guys, so if you want to realllly play one, you can, but everybody will hate you, and GMs, don't forget to give them a hard time at every turn!" But for the most part, those character types generally can speak and walk with other PCs normally. Meanwhile, you have dolphins that require a special environment, can't communicate well, require technology or magic to function with most parties at all, and are likely to turn away from standard Rifts missilehobo operating procedure, and Rifts is like "hey, these guys you should super-play!" I don't get it.
So dolphins are pretty much tops over humans in every way - yes even Physical Beauty - except intelligence and, of course, thumbs or walking. Still, they have the big issue of only being S.D.C. creatures, so they have to rely on armor or magic just like humans, only with far fewer choices. Not that they start with armor of any sort, which is an issue. Their skill selections are barely worth mentioning; where most classes get around 15-30 skills, dolphins start with about 10. (They also, contrary to earlier, can't learn medical skills other than "Sea Holistic Medicine".)
However, they do get all their abilities I covered under pneuma-biforms - sensing electromagnetic energy, echolocation, sonic bursts, dolphin combat and maneuvering, a variety of small combat bonuses, their ley line magic, dolphin magic and other sea magic. They also have a small chance of psionic powers. Honestly, they're just missing a character ability that literally says "kitchen sink".
Next: Ecco gets mini-missiles.
"Since dolphins are the speed demons of the ocean's mammals, they love going fast!"Original SA post
Part 10: "Since dolphins are the speed demons of the ocean's mammals, they love going fast!"
Dolphin and Orca Power Armor
So, you know all that talk about dolphins not needing technology? Fuck all that, it's time for dolphin power armor, because it's rad.
Fast Scout Power Armor
"The armor protects 90% of the character's body..."
So, Tritonia and the New Navy have started crafting special suits for dolphins that work or fight at their side. After working with them for a few years, they usually let the dolphin keep the suit. Apparently it uses "sonic signals" to let the dolphin unclamp and clamp the armor, and though it's not sealed, it does have an extra oxygen supply. Apparently, the dolphins are delighted that it lets them zoom around at 70 MPH, but aren't so thrilled with its laser arsenal, mainly using it to try and scare foes of rather than murder them, because dolphins are innately good, aside from the occasional bout of speciesism.
Their M.D.C. is very modest, and since it's not full-body, there are special rules where you can shoot the soft, squishy S.D.C. dolphin within if you get it from behind ( Rifts has no positioning rules, tho) at a -5 penalty. The lasers are notably shitty, but it may be outfitted with torpedoes, but most dolphins won't bother using them except against supernatural evil (and the naut'yll, because fuck those foreigners).
Dolphin & Orca Combat Armor
Power armor, or a ray gun?
Most dolphins don't like this suit because it's too war-ish, except against the Lord of the Deep, but killer whales give no shits and load all the torpedoes.
The dolphin version is kinda low on M.D.C., but the killer whale version is average for power armor. Like before, you can shoot the operator if you have the right angle. This only goes 45 MPH, but can shoot lasers or rail guns for light damage, and its fin blades do about the same. It can also be kitted out with mini-torpedoes, but most dolphins are still too good for those.
Sea Tiger Class
Orca Combat Armor
It has rules for power armor bites. Tiny, pathetic power armor bites.
Orcas like guns, and they like this suit. Orca not think hard, orca shoot! This is near-identical to the Man-O-War, only with a bit more M.D.C. and melee damage, but it's a bit slower. And that's all!
Unicorn Scout Class
Killer Whale Combat Armor
It's not so good to be the spear when you get stuck, I bet.
This is based off the narwhal, but not for the narwhal, because fuck those guys, amirite? And, unlike a narwhal, it really can stab folks. It's much like the Sea Tiger, only with an ion blaster instead of rail guns, and a big horn that looks badass but is actually a worse, lower-damage weapon. Ooops. Well, at least it gives bonus damage for point-blank enemies you've impaled, a bonus no other weapon in the game gets. (It's still not worth it, though.)
Next: Whale PCs. I don't need to add a joke to that.
"While a Killer whale has never slain a human, they often bite and kill aquatic humanoids, D-bees, aliens, and mutants."Original SA post
Part 10: "While a Killer whale has never slain a human, they often bite and kill aquatic humanoids, D-bees, aliens, and mutants."
Killer Whale R.C.C.
Also Known as the Orca
As produced by Dino De Laurentiis.
So, firstly, even though they use it as the class name, they pick apart the name "killer whale" as a misnomer, explaining that though killer whales can be savage hunters, they almost never attack - and certainly never kill - humans. I'm sure seals are thrilled with that anthropocentric hair-splitting.
Orca organize into pods and apparently hunt as a group tactically and are more vicious than dolphins. Though they'll readily befriend humans, they're extra racist against D-bees and most aquatic humanoids. And sometimes eat them, because fuck you, bumpy heads. That being said, though they aren't the "paladins" dolphins are, they don't often fight amongst themselves and live in harmony with nature etc. But they're still "the only cetacean that prey on warm-blooded animals". This isn't true in real life, but they can use their illusions, let it take them where it may.
So orcas are, like dolphins, superior to humans in all but smarts (including, once again, beauty). Similarly, their skills are utterly anemic, but unlike dolphins, they can start with a suit of power armor if they're working with Tritonia or the New Navy. They have pretty much all the abilities dolphins have, save of the fact that they get to pick which type of magic (dolphin, ocean, or spellsong) they want to learn.
Sperm Whale R.C.C.
The smuggo of the sea.
Yes, in case you didn't think dolphins or orca were impractical enough, here's a class that'll leave your GM scratching their head. The book calls them the "king of mammals" and notes that sperm whales can fuck up giant squids. Except. They actually can't, unless they're on a ley line, since squids are M.D.C. and whales aren't. Granted, with magic a Rifts whale will destroy that squid, but without it a whale is squid food, just like in the illustration of the giant octopus.
That hair-splitting aside, we are reminded that [sigh]whales are gentle to humans and never attack us unprovoked[/sigh] and that they organize into "clans" of families or a "harem" around a single male. Naturally, their strength , but they're ugly unlike other cetaceans. Their S.D.C. is bizarrely low for their size, though, and even a human juicer will outpace them by far in toughness. They're sightly more skilled than their smaller cousins, and oddly enough, they get automatic psionics? Sperm whales are naturally psychic, though most just get a bit of ESP and mental defenses. The get most of the powers of a dolphin, plus a keen taste sense. They can do (pitful) M.D.C. with their strength, but when pumped up by magic, they can deal a ridiculous 1d4 x 100 M.D.C. with a ram and actually become effective combatants - though their M.D.C. is still surprisingly low. They don't get as much magic power, though, and can only use ley lines to become M.D.C., shoot bolts, double speed, and heal. They also only can learn spellsongs, generally to their detriment, unlike their more flexible and wee cousins.
Humpback Whale R.C.C.
Look out, baddies! They'll filter you with their baleen!
They have pretty songs! And baleen plates! Facts are over, time for Rifts to work its magic. So, they're slightly weaker than sperm whales, get more spellsongs, but have weaker psionics. If this seems short it's that Rifts often makes a statblock and just repeats it with minor variations, and this is another variation. Another two and a half pages filled, and that's it!
Since this is a little short, have a pocket murphy's: whales actually get a bonus to sneaking, and are better at sneaking than many humans .
The Tail End of the Conversation
So, like the fact that we have dolphin PCs and a big focus on dolphins is cool, but the book loves them to the point I'm just completely worn out on dolphins now. I mean, the fact that dolphins are straight-up prettier and more charming than humans makes my eyes roll back into my skull until I can see my own brains. It's a neat idea, Rifts just approaches it like a six-year old that just read a book on dinosaurs and wants to tell you all that they've learned at excurciating length, plus one or two things from a children's story where a dinosaur fought aliens with lasers. It's a neat idea beaten well past death.
It also just makes me think of how anti-technology Rifts is, strangely enough, despite all of its mecha shows and gun parades. The most happy, peaceful, and good people are invariably those combine a reverence for nature with magic spells. We saw it in England , Africa , South America , and now Underseas . Oh, and it isn't nearly over. We'll see that theme again and again in future books, and it will not get any fresher . Siembieda likes to idealize native peoples and animals, and the dolphin section is a perfect storm of the two.
Next: fish heads, fish heads, roly-poly fish heads.
"To dolphins, the mutants are great friends and playmates who are closer to them than normal humans, able to swim at their side, and still keep all the best traits of humans."Original SA post
Part 11: "To dolphins, the mutants are great friends and playmates who are closer to them than normal humans, able to swim at their side, and still keep all the best traits of humans."
By C.J. Carella and Kevin Siembieda
So, Tritonia is actually a pre-rifts barge city that was built to float on the water and drift along the currents of the Pacific, much of it built to hang underwater. Though it doesn't come close to any continents, it does have a number of island bases it comes near that are mainly used for farming and mining. However, it's largely self-sufficient, relying on the sea for most things, through farming, fishing, undersea mining, or salvaging. In addition, about one in ten inhabitants is an "amphib", a human who was genetically manipulated to be able to survive underwater. Contrary to most human-dominated settings in Rifts , amphibs are fully accepted and even have held the highest political offices.
So, Tritonia was built as an experimental community by a company known creatively as OceanTech, Inc. It was very successful and expanded. Hurray!
Far away in South America, a company known ShaperCorp had been developing into experiments on modifying humans for underwater survival. However, most of the test subjects died due to them having more enthusiasm than ethics, and the company was shut down due to public outcry. The surviving and successful subjects were sent to live in Tritonia, and apparently they were cool with leaving their homes and families, but this may have something to do with at least some of them ending up with goldfish heads or whale butts.
The Coming of the Rifts
Not being near any ley lines, Tritonia weathered the coming of the rifts really well, save for some panic and monster attacks. However, they had some military forces present and were able to fight off attackers, as well as take on what refugees they could. Though they approached land at times, they only ran into disasters there, and soon gave it up. They worked to become self-sufficient, despite threats like the Lord of the Deep inflicing severe casualties. Still, that's practically idyllic for Rifts .
"Our president, the Creature From the Black Lagoon."
Originally run by Oceantech's appointed director and administrative board as per OceanTech, but the original director, Rodney Wilzem, committed suicide. Apparently to this day, acting in a cowardly or dishonorable way has becoming known as "pulling a Wilzem". Nowadays there's still a director and an administrative board, which serve until death or resignation, but there's also a representative board elected by the populace. The representative board doesn't have any official power, but acts as a good means for the administrative board to judge popular opinion, which is important, since Tritonians have seemingly overthrown the director more than once. (Despite this, they seem alright with just letting the company appoint another director and board, in defiance of how revolts generally work .)
Things are fairly regimented, with fear of the outside and others generally keeping people in line. Most have some level of combat or technical training to fill in for emergencies, though actual security is handled by the "Sea Wolves", who are a paramilitary police force, but also have power to conduct salvage operations. Unlike most human communities, they don't necessarily hate D-bees, and have taken on D-bee refugees now and then. While they don't necessarily trust or care or magic, they don't hate its practitioners, and are willing to let them stay on the island as long as they don't endanger anyone.
(A thoughtful human community with an even hand? This has got to be Carella's doing.)
Places of Note
Monorails or small electric cars allow travel outside during calm seas, though during rough seas, sections of the city are often parted to allow the city to sway, and can often trap people indoors as a result.
The Control Center:
A large tower at the center of the complex, this is the best-defended portion of the island, since it contains the board's meeting halls and the main sensor systems. Apparently they even have a squad of magic users here to help with the defense, despite their distaste for such.
The Visitor's Quarters & Harbor Area:
This is the wild 'n crazy part of town, where sailors and outsiders are allowed to visit and stay, and where boats can be outfitted or repaired.
- The Medical Center: Since it pre-dates the rifts, Tritonia has some of the best medical facilities, and since it's CJ writing this, it's backed up by an actual bonus to recover from comas or avoid death. There's also a throwaway chunk of statistics that points out half of Tritonians have some form of cybernetic or artificial augmentation or organ replacement, and ten percent of the population are borgs of varying degree.
Generally, Tritonia is defined by a fierce independence and a superiority complex born of nationality rather than race. They're open-minded about D-bees and the like, and might ally against other humans if necessary. Their primary allies are the New Navy , since the two groups are very much alike, and only their respective independent streaks keep them from uniting formally. Though they are enemies with the naut'yll nation as a whole, they have accepted naut'yll turncoats and refugees. Their greatest enemy, of course, is the Lord of the Deep , since Tritonia floats right around its sphere of influence. They've had some conflicts with Lemuria , but don't know much about them. Though Japan is nearby, Tritonia hasn't actually come into conflict. It reminds us to look forward to Rifts World Book Eight: Japan for that one! Which would actually come on time, so at least it's not hot air.
Tritonian O.C.C.s & R.C.C.s
We're told the Sailor O.C.C. (from South America ) or the scholar and adventurer classes are appropriate, as are cyborgs and various D-bee races. It even points us to Aliens Unlimited for additional aquatic D-bees, because certainly that's compatible, right? Well, I'm not going to check, I have my hands full with one Palladium game line, thanks. It's kind of odd to realize the Sailor and Pirate classes weren't reprinted in this book, but I guess they just got released in South America , so I guess there's no winning that particular bit of misorganization.
Tritonian "Sea Wolf" O.C.C.
As mentioned above, these are the paramilitary soldiers and security for Tritonia, as well as salvage experts (presumably because they have the guns to shoot aquatic baddies). A lot of them have cybernetics, often owing to realistic battle damage they've sustained.
Hilariously, they get a meager +1 to dodge, but only underwater. Man, that's what being an elite underwater-trained commando gets you? 5% better than your average civilian chub on defense, but only if you happen to be all wet. Still, they're skilled pilots, swimmers, and combatants otherwise, and get a solid spread of other skill picks. They also get 1d4 cybernetic implants. Their attribute requirements mean you have 50/50 shot of playing one, naturally. Nothing too special, but they fit the bill they're given.
Tritonian Scientist O.C.C.
If you're looking for me | You better check under the sea
Apparently, scientists are extremely respected in Tritonia for their skills. However, bear in mind these are action scientists that are often involved in exploration, repair, rescue, or other adventures. I think there's some confusion here about what scientist does, since they seem to be general technical experts, but eh, it's about as accurate as Rifts ever gets.
Effectively they're just a variant of the Rogue Scientist O.C.C. from the core, only with less science skills and more boat skills. As such, they get a crazy amount of skills compared to most of the supplement O.C.C.s we've seen, and they even come with that venerable 1d4 cybernetic implant roll. You have about a 65% chance of playing one of these, due to a middling intelligence requirement.
The results of the "smashing blocks together" school of genetic experimentation.
So, as mentioned before, these are fish-people that came out of illegal genetic experiements before the rifts. They can actually breed true amongst themselves, despite the fact that they're widely varied in phenotype. "Fuck genetics, let's fuck!" They're seen as having great powers and great responsibilities in Tritonia.
Rifts World Book Seven: Underseas posted:
As children, they are often teased and called "fish face" or "froggie" and similar names, but such teasing is given and accepted good-naturedly, without either contempt or hatred or any "politically correct" attempts to "protect" the amphibs from the teasing and jokes. As a result, amphibs never feel like outsiders at Tritonia.
Wait. What? What the fucking fuck? That's one hell of a leap of logic, a hammy fist-shake at political correctness that flies in the face of human behavior as a whole. Yeah, make them feel different... to feel accepted? Then again, maybe their fish-faced frog brains work differently than ours! Ha ha! I'm just kidding, though, you hideous abominations of science! Wink wink!
Seriously though, you look like a trout, put a bag on it or something.
seriously who could make fun of this
As a result of nobody being prejudiced against amphibs ever in Tritonia, sometimes their fish faces are shocked when they find out how cruel the rest of the world can be to them. Not that you can tell how shocked they are, because fish don't really show shock. Ha ha, those poor mudscampers! Still, this means most don't leave Tritonia, because the outside world is full of racists and, worse, SJWs. They do a lot of undersea work, naturally, and pal around with dolphins because dolphins are awesome nice guys. In case that hasn't been mentioned yet.
Numbers: They're generally physically superior to humans, particularly in regards to strength, and move quickly underwater. There's a table of different looks: plain human, webbed appendages, frog-skinned, a fish head , scaly skin, scaly skin and a fish head , oversized werefish, or oversized werefrog. Well, not really were-s, but it's the best way to to describe them. The less human they look, the more their beauty drops, but generally the more speed and durability they get. They're still just S.D.C. features, but can get custom armor built in Tritonia. Most can breath underwater, though some like the frogfolk or humans can only hold their breath for about 45 minutes or so. They can pick the Sea Wolf or Tritonian Scientist O.C.C.s for free, or choose any other O.C.C... and get a couple fewer skills. They also get minor defensive bonuses, but only underwater. Overall, they're not exceptional, but if you want to play a distaff Mon Calamari, this is how you get it done.
Next: Lasers! Underwater! This somehow works!
"This 'beach stormer' allows the wielder to engage any enemy, from tanks to infantrymen to monsters, at any range, including close combat."Original SA post
Part 12: "This 'beach stormer' allows the wielder to engage any enemy, from tanks to infantrymen to monsters, at any range, including close combat."
Weapons & Equipment of Tritonia
Blue-green lasers, do they really work? I mean, all the '90s-era RPGs taught us that if you make a laser blue-green, you can fire it underwater! But the reality is that those are just the frequencies you use for communication lasers underwater, like for real-life submarines. But water is a really bad thing to fire lasers in, as it turns out, since it disperses light pretty damn well, and even low-energy communications lasers tend to have a range between 10 and 100 meters. I mean, if you have a weapon that can fire enough light to make people sorry, it can probably have an effect underwater (presuming it's fluidproofed), but the range is going to be hilariously short, like an energetic shotgun. And you'll probably boil yourself, if you care, given the energy levels "mega-damage" would require. Of course, that boiling might reduce the range further, but there hasn't been any real-life testing of such a weapon.
This has been your Rifts science check. Because unlike all that, blue-green lasers work in water "unimpeded" just like they do in air! And, of course, lasers are somehow silent, if you'll recall. (How much regular lasers are limited in water is not detailed.) Mind, you're likely to be unable to see underwater as far as these weapons shoot, but that's forgotten, too. And so, with reality aside, it's time for Tritonia's blue-green lasers! Pew pew.
Keeps calling me its master, but I feel like its slave.
BG-15 Blue-Green Laser Pistol:
Does garbage damage, but it can do garbage damage underwater! It looks like the Wilk's pistol from the corebook, so they don't need to draw new art for it.
BG-20 Blue-Green Laser Rifle:
Pretty average, but it's average under the sea.
- M-80 "Stormbringer" Multi-Weapon Assault System (MWAS): A weapon with too many names. It shoots meh ion pulses, solid mini-missiles, and the Worst Bayonet Ever (does 1d6 mega-damage, which is good for murdering mackerel but not monsters). It requires a high strength for some inane reason.
Redefining the term "frogman".
SCUBA Body Armor:
A fairly heavy suit for armor, but apparently it uses "ballast compartments" with its oxygen supply to enable the wearer to sink or rise. Despite that, it offers no benefit to Swim checks, waterhobos.
- Amphib Body Armor: A heavier version of the above armor designed for the Amphibs' greater strength. Sometimes they often have no air supply or environmental protection, on the other hand. It's very handwavey.
Merbot Power Armor
Where the legs go, nobody knows.
Merbots? Weren't those the Autobots that combined into a giant merm... no? Oh. Well, this is a power armor designed for underwater use, like you're a beautiful mermaid (or merbutler?). You can go up to 50 MPH underwater, a boring blue-green wrist laser, mini-torpedoes, and a M-90 "Beach Stormer" that's a bigger version of the M-80 that actually does serious damage, unlike it's smaller counterpart. However, it requires an insane amount of strength (40) to use, which this power armor somehow has. Lastly, it has a tail assembly you can eject to climb up on land with, just like the Tom Hanks mega-hit Splash!
"Bottom Feeder" T-23 Mini-Sub
Submarine or balsa wood flyer, your call.
This is a sub crewed by 4-10 (2d4+2)... wait, do they roll randomly to determine how many crew members they need? Weird. Anyway, it has several variants, like the T-23CS (military), T-23BS (science), and T-23AS (salvage). And of course, the science vessel is "BS", amirite?
It has a solid amount of M.D.C., but it's no Glitter Boy. It has passable laser pod and ion guns, and mini-torpedoes. The military version has medium-range torpedoes, in case you need to hit foes ten miles away. Underwater, they can putter about 34 MPH, or 58 MPH on the surface.
Sea "Fin" combat Sled
Yes, this looks like a human design.
This looks more like something weird and asymmetrical the Kittani would come up with, but nope, it's a human design made for exploration. It only offers modest defense, but lets you jet at 65 MPH, despite being as hydrodynamic as a chicken leg. The whole thing looks like a phone handset for the Lord of the Deep . And, like the dolphin armors, the pilot is exposed and can be targeted from behind. It's got mini-torpedoes, terrible lasers, an S.D.C. harpoon gun, and fancy cameras... because, I guess.
"We thought about armoring the legs, but, you know, that sounded like effort."
No, you can't ride this and explode at the enemy. It doesn't even carry any weapons . So much for naming your aquasleds sensibly. It can go 50 MPH, has only modest defense (once again, exposing the rider), and... sensors... and that's all. Nothing shooty, just big goofy turbines with your ass hanging out the back.
And that's Tritonia! They're pretty decent as far as factions go, and even the fishmen are pretty alright, but when the dumb comes (the jab at political correctness, their weaksauce "revolts") it comes on strong.
Next: In the Navy.
"Even so, a number of 'normal' humans are resentful towards the 'super jarheads'."Original SA post
Part 13: "Even so, a number of 'normal' humans are resentful towards the 'super jarheads'."
Nemo-2 & The New Navy: Defenders of Humankind
By C.J. Carella and Kevin Siembieda
So, we get a fiction chunk where a Coalition crew "in patrol in the North Atlantic"... wait, the Coalition patrols out thousands of miles from its actual territory? Maybe New Quebec, but that'd be weird considering what follows, given they're the most practical of the Coalition States. In any case, it turns out to be a bad move, because they get attacked by a monster, but a giant submarine shows up and blows the hell out of it. The Coalition guys are shocked and nearly get court-martialed when they get home. Why? Well, apparently their higher-ups are angry that they didn't try and catch a submersible vessel fifteen times their size, because the Coalition apparently has grade-A dunces in charge. What were they going to capture it with- a net ?
The New Navy is centered around the USS Ticonderoga, a pre-rifts stealth submersible carrier (slightly more conceivable than a stealth helicarrier, I guess), complete with landing forces and sub-submarines attached to it. It was built during the vaguely titled "New Cold War", and had a number of automated island factories in the Pacific that could be used for repairs. When the rifts happpened, first though thought it was a nuclear war, but then they were attacked by hordes of monsters, but they were able to fight them off and survive with minor casualties. Though morale was hit hard, a Captain Karl Dobson gave a totally rad speech, or so we're told, that held most of the crews and survivors at various bases together. Though they sailed around, they could only find barbarism, disaster, and... Lemuria. (To be detailed in a future book. A far future book.)
Captain Karl Dobson's son, Nemo Dobson, was scavenging a wreck when suddenly, a magic rift opened up and bathed him in
"You know I'm not even aquatic, right?"
Life in the New Navy
So, the majority of the New Navy is, unshockingly, in the Navy . Most children join the Junior Navy at age 5; no idea if they retire into the Senior Navy at 65. Most civilians work in things like agriculture or trade, but are effectively in service to the military if not literally, and we're reminded most Navy members perform noncombatant functions. Communities are treated as if under indefinite martial law and that goes triple for actual Naval vessels. Life aboard actual ships is dangerous, to say the least, though those who serve aboard are given a great degree of respect regardless of their rank or position.
There are also two bases called Refuge and Salvation, as a demonstration in the height of subtlety.
The New Navy is "roughly as advanced as the Coalition States", which seems surprising that the Coalition could really compete, given that the New Navy never lost any of the old technology and actually - shock of shocks - has a literate and well-educated populace. I bet it's Private Snafu's fault, always goofing off on deck when he could be inventing the blue-green turbolaser that will win the New Navy the war! However, they're bad at bionics, magic, and don't even have access to crazy or juicer technology. I know, you're thinking, "how can they make it in Rifts without boats full of roided-out mental cases with nothing to lose?" I have no idea, friends. I have no idea.
They suck at it and get actual cyborg technology from Tritonia when necessary. They don't like it! Why?
Generally due to bad experiences with scummy humans, the New Navy don't trust much of anybody. They fight the Splugorth a little and the Lord of the Deep a lot, due to obvious evil, and have an ongoing war with the naut'yll as they try and push that empire out of Earth's oceans. They don't particularly hate the Coalition , but they don't trust the Coalition due to their ambition and aggressiveness. Still, they've come to the aid of seaborne Coalition forces against monsters, as well as aiding the New German Republic once. Lemuria and the New Navy are too distrustful to ally. It notes a Lemuria / Navy alliance could seize the Pacific if only they trusted each other!... and Lemuria was detailed even slightly in this book. Also Japan is a thing, I guess? Not that either really know each other exists, but maybe someday they will!
Now that we're done covering crap that doesn't appear in the game line yet, let's see...
As played by David Hasselhoff.
So Nemo-2 is three centuries old, which may explain why he thinks mullets are still cool and wears an "N" on his belt. Because of the terrible responsibility he holds, he has no personal life to speak of, but is a great tactician who can no doubt solve any problems in under an hour, including commercial breaks. Though he's a serious dude, he does have a sense of humor, though he holds his men to a very high standard. Also he's a little racist against D-bees due to fighting aliens a lot.
Even for a Sea Titan, his stats are ridiculous NPC fappery, and he's 14th level. He knows "several magic countermeasures" which are mysterious and undetailed, and mostly just has a ton of very high skills and high combat bonuses. Also, he's literate! Amazing! It notes, out of nowhere, that he considers himself an American along with the rest of New Navy, and that they still wave that flag. Which is fair enough, but it's a strange thing to only note at the end of a statblock.
And without any transition, it's time for some new classes!
Navy Seaman O.C.C.
"So, I get badass M.D.C. armor, right?" "No, you get a cap."
So it's noted that these are highly trained professionals who are amongst the best educated humans on Earth (tough luck, New German Republic), and that there is no gender bias; women are allowed to serve in the same positions men can. It notes that all Naval crew are trained in combat, since they know well that monsters can teleport or sneak on board. Bizarrely forward thinking, but most of these guys would still serve as extras in Bloodsea IV: Crab Battle .
Oddly for an O.C.C., this is less of a occupational character class and almost more of an organizational character class. When you take it, you choose a specialty that gives you a choice from a selection of skills - for example, the artilleryman gets a choice of weapons or demolitions skill, while SEAL gets a variety of intelligence or wilderness skills. Did you know SEAL team members are often expert forgers or disguise experts? Well, I learned it here. Otherwise, they get a basic spread of technical and weapon skills, and get a solid selection of other skills. Not sure they're that well educated given that two out of three Coalition classes get more skills than they do, and thanks to attribute requirement, only 54% of Rifts humans can qualify for it, despite the book claiming 65% of the New Navy is in the, well, Navy.
But this is Rifts and math is hard.
Of course, if that isn't enough, there's an issue with this class. See, this book later introduces an "underwater" version of different skills you have to buy to do shit underwater. And the navy class... doesn't fully incorporate them. So a Navy SEAL Underwater Specialist can get demolitions skills, but since they don't have underwater demolition, they actually get a penalty when using it underwater! Similarly, some of them get land navigation (seems like an obvious gaffe) or tracking (see those tracks on the surface of the water?!), etc.
Wait, I thought the only marines in RPGs were in space?
These are the US Marines of the Rifts era, and are ubiquitous in the New Navy. Yes, though the Navy may be new, the Marines are still old. It notes that their training includes monster identification (true) and resistance to mind control (false; they get no such bonus) in addition to combat and technical skills.
They get a measly +1 on initiative, and rolling with impact or pulling their punch, and are generally trained as seaborne power armor pilots, not that they get to start with power armor. Their skill selection is only average, but thanks to attribute requirements, you only have a 24% chance to play one. But since they don't have the I.Q. requirement the Navy has, maybe this is the other 10% of the military population. Oh, and you only get 1 in 10 chance of getting a rocket launcher, try not to get too excited, marine!
Sea Titan R.C.C.
Is that a regulation speedo?
"Hey," you may say "Why would I want to play a super-strong, bulletproof Namor expy when the book already lets me play exciting classes like a Navy MP or a Sensors Specialist?" Well, in addition to being a super-strong, bulletproof Namor expy, you get to be immortal, survive the ocean depths, never have to stuff your face with hideous food or drink, and all of your babies will be immortal water babies. Sadly, unlike an Amphib, you can't end up with a giant fish head, but nobody's perfect.
Not be confused with the Titans from either Conversion Book , the Sea Titans are mostly members of the New Navy, but some have left to
Numbers-wise, they are a good deal stronger, more agile, fast, and healthy than normal humans. Their M.D.C. is pretty light, and they shouldn't pass on a suit of armor, are immune to mundane poisons, can regenerate their limbs in a day, and have a boosted chance of getting psychic powers. They get a variety of Naval technical skills, and a light smattering of others skills. Because they're immortal, it details the rules for them going up to level 24, but given the oldest Sea Titans in existence don't seem to have gotten beyond level 15, it seems like an academic distinction. Oh, and they can't get cybernetics, their bodies just spit the metal out.
Oddly, they're one of the few classes to have "dual-classing" rules, where if you get to 250 years of age, you can pick a different class and start leveling up. Though you don't get secondary skills for that class and it takes double the XP, bear in mind since you're starting over with 1st level, it's actually going to level you far faster than whatever class you were in previously. Of course, given any conventional PCs aren't going to get anywhere near that, it's a weird mechanic to throw in.
Lastly there's a footnote that the Sea Titans origin was due to a Lemurian ley line experiment that went wrong!... that would have been better to have that in the history than in the class notes, but feh, organization is hard! It, of course, notes that it was a fluke and that it can't be recreated, this means you, clever PCs .
Next: Hovercrafts and helicopters: the weapons of the future?
"Don't forget that the USS Ticonderoga carries a complement of Manta Ray attack ships, tanks, troop transports, jet fighters, helicopters, power armor (see troop capacity listing described earlier in the stat block), 50 small boats, and the two detachable submarines (and their 100 man crews)."Original SA post
Part 13: "Don't forget that the USS Ticonderoga carries a complement of Manta Ray attack ships, tanks, troop transports, jet fighters, helicopters, power armor (see troop capacity listing described earlier in the stat block), 50 small boats, and the two detachable submarines (and their 100 man crews)."
Weapons & Equipment of the New Navy
Well, there's affordable and stylish jeans - wait, shit, that's the Old Navy. This is the New Navy, not the best place to shop for this season's delightful fleece jackets!
Why does a pistol have a foregrip?
So, yeah. Armor and guns. It notes that other groups have stolen or copied the New Navy's designs, but that most of these weapons are only found in the New Navy. The Navy also might use weapons from the corebook, Rifts Mercenaries , Rifts World Book Six: South America , Rifts World Book Nine: South America 2 , or Rifts Shill Book Ten: Buy This For Four More Guns, Obviously We Have Not Published Enough Of Them .
M-2011 Energy Pistol:
The standard sidearm of the New Navy does more damage than the Coalition's heavy plasma projector. About as much as a rail gun, really. I don't complain much about stat bloating, because
is inconsistent as hell, but
M-160 Assault Rifle:
See, it's not a M-16; they added a zero! It's an ion weapon, which apparently are good underwater. Somehow. It fires "energy packets" that explode. Just like a real ion gun!
They do great damage for a plain old rifle, and decently more than the pistol.
Rapid-Fire LAWS-3 Rocket Launcher:
So, this rocket launcher can file three-rocket bursts for the same damage as a boom gun, holy crap. The ammo will cost you a lot more, though, at 3,000 credits for two bursts, but hell, the Navy's paying for this shit if you work for them, right?
- M-20 Assault Rifle: This is a mundane rifle that fires old-fashioned bullets for hilariously small amounts of M.D.C., or grenades for similarly dinky damage. Hilariously crap compared to the other weapons that just preceded it.
M-16 x 10 = M-160
We also get stats for depth charges and torpedoes, which are roughly on the same level as missiles, only without the intercontinental range. Then we get into armor. There's the normal navy body armor, which is a bit crap and low M.D.C., buat least gives you floaters that give you a whopping 5% bonus to swimming. The marine stuit is pretty buff, it's not as good as the Triax suits, but it's better than anything in the corebook.
How to make armor badass: fake pecs.
APA-15 Amphibious Assault Power Armor
Cannot unsee monkey face.
So this a power armor designed for water and oh my fuck I am so bored with these . It has average power armor toughness, a crappy ion gun, mini-missiles, and the "M-90 Multi-Weapon Assault System" which is just a buffer version of the M-160, and it can rocket around in water at 40 MPH.
Merovingian Amphibious Tank
This is a French tank which for some reason the US adopted, like a lost, ugly puppy. Look, this is a tank with no art, I can't do too much to yuck it up. Blah blah make fun of the French, something about frogs and amphibious tanks do you get it? Balloon tires with rubber tougher than an armored trooper, drives at 70 MPH, floats at 50 MPH, has a special combo laser / cannon that can compete with glitter boys, their armor is solid but not impressive, long-range missiles in case you need to shoot baddies in India, mini-missiles, a "laser machinegun" which is trash, and a "bow-mounted laser gun" which does low damage for a tank.
Iwo-Jima Class MIFV
Combat Troop Transport
I think G.I. Joe called it the "Whale".
Actually, it's a hovercraft. In a setting where people have flying hover troop carriers and hover bikes, apparently cutting-edge military technology circa 1960 is still in vogue. So, this a fuckin' death trap, at 225 M.D.C., carrying ten marines to their doom at about 100 MPH. This can carry power armor troops with individually more M.D.C. than it has . What was this, made by IKEA? Well, its guns are decent, with a powerful ion cannon, the traditional intercontinental ballistic missiles, light missiles, and a pulse gun which you only fire if it's your last thing to fire.
But holy shit, this can't take more than ten hits from the small arms it'll be facing. You're better off swimming to wherever you're going, at least you'll be a smaller target.
S-14 Sea Hawk
VTOL Jet Fighter
"We actually fly it sideways, it makes as much sense as most of this section."
So, this is a VTOL... somehow... that is the main air power of the New Navy. Why do they need a big aircraft carrier with a huge deck, then? None of their vehicles require a runaway! In any case, it really just looks like a variation of the real-life F/A-18 Hornet. It also has a fancy ejection system that ejects the whole pilot compartment as a floating lifeboat. It doesn't have much the way of M.D.C., which fits a jet fighter to some extent, but it still has less M.D.C. than the "Semper Fi", somehow.
It jets around at Mach 3.2, has long-range missiles, mini-missiles, bombs which are like missiles you drop, lasers which are good for letting foes know they're being fired at without significantly hurting them, and a "belly gun" which is even worse. There's a stealth variant that replaces the belly gun with an advanced sensor system, and reduces the top speed to Mach 2.2, which still outspeeds most damn things in the setting.
Striker Attack Helicopter
"A Hind D? Colonel, what's a Russian gunship doing here?"
If you can hit the rotor, the blades only have 23 M.D.C. each, so this thing can be taken down by a mega-damage slingshot with good enough aim. It's supposed to be a good all-rounder, but rotorcraft are just the worst idea in this setting, since any modestly intelligent creature will take a potshot at either rotor and send this thing spiraling to its doom. Well: 300 MPH, medium missiles, mini-missiles, meh lasers, junk belly gun, but it can carry troops or depth charges or sky hooks or whatever.
And once again, in a setting where VTOLs and airborne hover vehicles are commonplace, rotorcraft are still a thing. The thing is, the Navy is supposed to be really advanced since they never "lost" technology. And it's been two hundred years for them to continue advancing tech after the apocalypse! But nope. Helicopters.
Multi-Environment Attack Ship
You're sure this isn't a Triax design? They're the ones that love triangles.
It's a "air sub" that is part jet, part sub, all rejected '80s toy. Also it's a VTOL because fuck it, why not throw that in. It can go Mach 1.5 out of water, 58 MPH in water, has decent ion pulse guns, missile pods that let it carry a variety of missiles, a stealth system that gives penalities to sense it with sensor rolls, and a fancy laser communication system that also doubles as a targeting system and triples as a shitty weapon!
Trident Submersible Carrier
Is that a propeller? Well, it doesn't have an M.D.C. value, so you can't shoot it.
1,500 M.D.C., weapons 'n shit, a great vehicle to base a campaign out of, can carry Manta Rays in launch tubes, special long-range sensors, and anal sex! Well, the latter is inevitable. This isn't SeaQuest or some shit. This is real .
Oh, and "If the vessel sinks below two and a half miles (4 km), the pressure will crush it, killing everyone inside - no survivors!" Not even in a world of mega-damage , folks.
Cool but not practical: it's the Rifts way.
This is SeaQuest or some shit. Well, it was on the air when this book was published. Hopefully the acting is at least better around your gaming table... I'm sorry. Of course your acting is better than SeaQuest.
Now that I'm done making fun of mid-1990s sci-fi, the lowest-hanging fruit, this was a big ol' ship made before the rifts before big ol' wars, but it was made late enough that only one was built before the world semi-ended. It's about half-mile long and is a floating city with all sorts of amenities. But mostly, it's about war. It also has sub-submarines that can detach from it. And it's always having cool adventures that don't involve the PCs, who are stuck on a lousy Trident.
20,000 M.D.C., 7,320 troops, 200,000 tons, 2,000 feet long, 200,000 tons, 2 ion pulse cannons, 6 laser CIWS turrets, 6 torpedo tubes, 8 cruise missile turrets, 8 cruise missile batteries, 4 depth charge launchers, 480 Merovingian amphibious tanks, 1120 "Semper Fi" suits, 120 Manta Ray subs, 400 Iwo-Jima transports, 40 Glitter Boys, 40 unspecified "transport vehicles", 50 unspecified "small patrol / transport boats", 60 Sea Hawk jets, 10 Sea Hawk stealth jets, 30 Striker helicopters, 10 undetailed "large transport helicopters", 80 doctors, 50 knots per hour surface, 30 knots per hour underwater, 18,000 tons of cargo, 25 year fusion power plant (refueled 10 times), 1200 sea sleds-
ALSO GOING TO REEMPHASIZE THEY HAVE NO AIRCRAFT THAT REQUIRE A RUNWAY, INCLUDING THOSE AIRCRAFT DEPICTED AS SITTING ON RUNWAYS IN THE PICTURE, OR DISCUSSED BEING LAUNCHED FROM RUNWAYS.
USS Stingray & Seadragon Attack Submarines
These are the sub-submarines that attach to the Ticonderoga. Why do they do this? Because it's cool, I guess? One is shown in the pic above. Useless numbers!: 100 sailors, 3,200 M.D.C., 52 MPH, "Cargo: Minimal; can carry up to 150 tons of additional cargo.", 360 feet, 4,500 tons, 1 ion pulse cannon, 2 torpedo tubes, 6 mini-torp tubes, 1 surface to air missile launcher, 6 blue-green lasers, 1 deck laser, and 40 "Semper Fi" power armor.
After awhile this just blurs into numerically divided stacks of weapons with an M.D.C. value and fuck it all.
Next: More stuff that keeps the water out.
"The seas are vast and virgin territories."Original SA post
Part 14: "The seas are vast and virgin territories."
Human Info & Equipment
Nooo not more equipment- oh, it's an O.C.C.
Salvage Expert O.C.C.
So, you're a garbageman of the sea! Wait, no, that's mean. Sanitation official of the sea?
Rifts World Book Six: Underseas posted:
The salvage expert can be a likeable rogue who pulls sunken reature from the sea, an privateer/mercenary for hire, adventurer, pirate, or a foul-hearted villain who takes what he wants and crushes anybody who gets in his way, including the opposition and any innocent aquatic life forms.
It goes on about how some salvage experts will punch a baby mermaid and strangle a sea hobo for a rusty doubloon and how horrible that is, boo hoo. Fried Christ at the county fair , can we have a simple "picks shit off the sea floor" class without turning it into some moral handwringing, Siembieda? In any case this probably has the most intensive stack of underwater skills we've seen (mainly because it accounts for them, unlike other classes), making them the strongest underwater expert in the game... for what skills are worth in this system. 74% chance to play one, since they're easy to qualify for, if profoundly dull. Bizarrely, though, they get shat on for other skills, but at least you get a boat or any power armor you want . If you're employed by a group like the Navy, you get a bigger boat! What sort of boat? All it says is "large". Well, let's talk about boats.
Human Ocean Equipment
We get it reiterated that most of the coastal communities were hard hit by the rifts either due to tidal waves or swallowed by the sea, so most seaside communities have been hammered together using widely available S.D.C. materials, even though that means a mutant shark could blow it up with a particularly long stare. The skills of boat-building have apparently really regressed and proper M.D.C. vessels are rare. Which, once again, is an issue since there are probably laser barracudas lying in wait. I just made those up, but it's hardly a stretch. It notes that Triax, Japan, Atlantis, Naruni, and Iron Heart are the main forces in actually building seagoing ships and equipment, though the Coalition is getting into it, as we'll see in Coalition Navy , a horribly niche book of skullboats I'm dreading. But it's a long ways out. Hooray!
So we get extremely brief statblocks for boats like Canoe (standard), Pacific Twin Canoe, Pacific War Canoe, Rowboat, Sailboat (small), Sailboat (large), Sailing Corsair, Sailing Schooner, Sailing Brigantine, Sailing Frigate, Sail & Oar War Galley, Sailing Cutter-
A boat without guns? Well, it's of no interest to anyone.
There are two things key to these boat descriptions. Once again, most are S.D.C., so a pixie could probably explode your boat with a tiny punch. Secondly, they're horrendously overpriced . For example, a tugboat will have 40-50 M.D.C. and cost as much as a 300 M.D.C. power armor suit. Now, one of the things is that they give is the notion that some of these have been converted to M.D.C., but they don't give a cost for that. So we don't know how much it takes to create an M.D.C. war canoe. If you do manage that, though, most military vessels get horribly powerful, being listed with cannons that do 1d6 x 100 M.D.C. or more and 10,000+ M.D.C. So we do have stats for a battleship or aircraft carrier, though it's not clear who might be refurbishing or fielding the things. Also, for some reason they feel inclined to have stats for the most primitive of vessels, so if you want to convert a war galley circa 500 B.C. to M.D.C. and sail the seas with your slave crew, well, you can do that, you big jerk. Just be prepared to take a long, long time getting anywhere and pay a lot of money to do so.
We get some more random equipment designed by Who Knows, Who Cares Inc. . I guess some of it was designed by "AquaTech", a company that is only hinted at by these product names. (Tritonia was founded by "OceanTech", so it may be an editing oversight instead.)
Blue-Green Laser Rifle:
It looks like a Wilk's rifle, which is the standard
description for any weapon they don't have art for. Shitty gun, but it fires shittily underwater!
You know what helps underwater? Giant weights on your legs!
LEWS-09 Light Environmental Wet Suit:
A wet suit with fancy digital displays in the helmet, air supply, aqua-jet boots that fire you like a cannon through the water at
, and token M.D.C. protection.
"The seashell underboob just exudes class."
Aqua-Tech LEA-50 Deep Sea Power Armor:
Apparently this is also known as "Mermaid" armor, probably on account of the seashell breastplate. It has a jet pack, wrist lasers, mini-missiles, and light M.D.C. We're told this made by Triax, Iron Heart, Northern Gun, Atlantis, and the Black Market, so I can only presume the plans for these were leaked out of a box of
. Wait, I'm sorry, this is
- make those
. Or maybe
Yeah, uh, I'm sure this design makes sense... to someone...?
MEWS-10 Medium Environment Suit:
Like the LEWs-09, only better in every way!... okay, it gives you a -5% to sneaking. Whoop-dee shit. I guess it costs a lot more, too. But for the most part it's the deluxe version.
"Look, just never move your arms more than 30 degrees and you should be okay."
Aqua-Tech Orca-50 Deep Sea Power Armor:
This is called the "orca" because it's black and silver and also
fatbulky. It's tougher than the LEA-50., but not vastly so. It can also fly around with a jet pack, has laser fingers, and ion blasters attached to the swordy bits, which look perfectly placed for the pilot to lop their own arms off with if they swing the arm the wrong way. It's built by Triax, Atlantis, or the Black Market, even though none of those have much, if any, contact or trade with each other.
Aqua-Tech Orca-100 Deep Sea Power Armor:
This is called the "orca" because it's black and silver and also
fatbulky. It's actually pretty tough but slow, and can't attach a jetpack. It has a variety of weapons but the only ones you really need are the triple barrel particle beam, which does as much as a glitter boy (!) or mini-torpedoes. Triax / Atlantis / Black Market, once again.
We also have vehicles! I'm doing these quick because I'm sick of 'em, but there's a UB-300 Mini Sub , a tuff sub unless you target the huge canopy in front, which takes a measly 60 M.D.C. to break. It looks like it's a rejected Triax design, given the Kevin Long art and all the triangular shapes in its design. It has lasers, mini-torpedoes, and lots of sensors. There's also the thrillingly named Basic Underwater Sled , but I think you can work that one out on your own. It doesn't have any art.
And that's all for human equipment! Except for the stuff made by Atlantis. Or Naruni. Well, I guess it's still human even if they stole it. Man, the Naruni are fucking slumming it if they're building this stuff, compared to the rest of their product line.
Next: The Klingons of the sea.
"All other life forms are considered to be inferior or feared, and meant to be used or conquered by the amphibians."Original SA post
Part 15: "All other life forms are considered to be inferior or feared, and meant to be used or conquered by the amphibians."
Any race with a tentacle face really just has a hyper-evolved evilstache.
Get it? Naut'yll? Get it? Oh, it is to laugh.
So these are militaristic, imperialist slavers from another dimension. Stop me if you've heard this one before... well, it is a little different from all the others in Rifts . These guys are under the sea. That's different. In any case, they are technologically and magically advanced, but mostly want to just attack Earth and take our people and stuff. Though they have face tentacles, they aren't particularly illithidesque. They're more like humans with cuttlefish for heads.
Having evolved on a watery planet, the naut'yll mainly got civilization together when they discovered land and so could invent fire and metalworking and things like that. Also they discovered magic, though not because of land, and started shaping a mollusk into a super-tough chitin called korallyte. Then time passed, and they became jerks. Seriously, that's all we get.
Of course, developing dimensional travel only worsened those tendencies, but they're basically Klingons of the Sea. After conquering a few dozen worlds, they discovered Earth and have put together about seven cities under the sea, but have had serious issues with fighting the Lemurians, and yes, we're 145 pages into this book and still don't have a clear picture of who the Lemurians are . It says here that they're an "ancient races that has secretly thrived in the oceans of Earth for over million years!", even though "secretly" and "thrived" seem to be two notions at odds. Ultimately, nearly every seagoing force on Earth hates these guys for being slaving invaders. The New Navy hates them. Tritonia hates them. Lemuria hates them. Atlantis hates them. Etc. About the only folks who don't hate them are the Horune pirates, but the Horune are great team players as far as generic evil goes.
Culture & Government
It turns out they became warlike by fighting with each other over valuable, dry land, and those became nations, and then those became a planetary government! Naturally. Literally, that's the explanation. I guess at no point did they settle down and get peacey. In any case, they're taught racial superiority from an early age, though some renegades have come to accept humans as "fellow superiors".
They are pretty fecund, but 85% of them go to serve in the military... really? Granted, a good chunk die (in training or combat) or leave at an early age, but supposedly 70% at any time are members of the military. Predictably, they're a militocracy, and rely heavily on ranks to organize and exult blind obedience as a virtue. On Earth, there are those who try and escape this brutal culture, and settle in with Tritonia or the New Navy. Slaves handle all labor, while the remaining 30% of naut'yll handle skilled occupations like medicine or engineering. They also like to capture surface-dwellers and trap them in undersea domes where there is no escape for non-protagonists.
Naut-Yll Magic & Techno-Wizardry
So, kids that show an aptitude for magic are sent to special magic schools, which are probably more Kobra Kai than Miyagi, though some of them become free thinkers because magic opens their minds too much. As a result, the magic schools tend to be more liberal than most of the society, giving them enough freedom that they don't chafe too much while still keeping them loyal. It works, usually.
Mostly, the naut'yll are located in the southern Atlantic, since the Lemurians have kept them out of the Pacific and kicked their ass. The New Navy sees them as alien invaders and opposes them at every turn, and has roundly kicked their asses. Tritonia is a common target of the naut'yll, but they've failed to seriously do damage, and gotten their ass kicked. The naut'yll are terrified of the Lord of the Deep and its monster naut'yll minions, because it regularly kicks their ass. For the most part, the naut'yll are the whipping boys of Atlantis (which - no shit - hunts naut'yll for sport ), but they're really hoping to change that. The naut'yll have actually considered getting into the Germany / Gargoyle conflict, but see Germany as too paranoid and the gargoyles as being Splugorth tools. However, they might team up with the Brodkil Empire to gain their aid in pushing into the Baltic and North seas. They trade a bit with Lagarto , but only because they don't know Atlantis isn't involved there.
One of the weird things is that for a group set up as a threat, the naut'yll are really on the beating end of every stick they come across. That isn't to say they don't seem dangerous, but they're much more of a paper tiger than many conquering factions in the Rifts setting.
Optional Player Characters
With the casual white tee of the sea.
So, looking like three-eyed cuttleflayers, the naut'yll are amphibious and have both lungs and gills, like Aquaman. They're also mildly supernatural due to coming from a world with a bit more magic, and... yeah. Most of what there's to say has already been covered... except numbers!
They're smarter, stronger, and tougher than humans, but uglier. Their M.D.C. is pretty token, though they also have nightvision, slight regeneration, and resistance to cold. However, they require immersion in water roughly every half-day or they start taking penalties, and can easily die in a few days to a week of being waterless. They're also vulnerable to magic weapons and fire / heat. Oddly for a conquest-oriented race, 20% get the psionic/magic class "mystic"; its unclear whether or not you roll that on their psionics table that you have to play a mystic, or if you have to roll it to play a mystic. Later, it says 5% of the race are mystics... ugh, make up your mind...
Also half of them are honorably evil! They did a poll!
Did you know the naut'yll word "h'keezh" means outsider, foreigner, enemy, and evil? Well, the book just told me, and they're indoctrinated to be monstrous xenophobes, and sing songs while beating up human villagers, or at least they would if they weren't such monstrous squares . These are your goose-stepping, goose-swimming fascist cthulhumen of the sea.
Goofily, since they have a Physical Strength requirement of 12 and Physical Endurance of 12, and their base attributes are 3d6 + 8 and 3d6 + 4 respectively, only 0.5% of them will fail the strength requirement and about 16% will fail the strength requirement, which gives us a 85% chance of playing one of these. They actually get a really solid combat bonus - their M.D.C. nearly doubles and they get an extra attack - but other than that they mainly have fightin', pilotin', and undersea skills. They get some decent skill picks, some standard naut'yll armor and weapons, and they're on their way to fascist glory.
Soldier: Special Forces
The "stormtroopers", these are like the soldiers, only better. I mean, they get slightly fewer skills, but even better combat bonuses and they can select a magic or psionic class and get all the powers of that and get all their normal trooper skills. This is the pro naut'yll maximization sweet spot - they're not broken per se, but it's a pretty strong option to be a wizard that can pilot power armor. They also get a great suit of korallyte armor. However, given naut'yll base stats and a high Physical Prowess requirement, you only have a 9% chance of playing one. Good luck!
Naut'Yll Koral Shaper
Bringing a knife to a torpedo fight.
So, these are naut'yll wizards that specialize in using magic to shape korallyte, which is both a mollusk and a substance. They use it to make into all sorts of weapons and armor and... weapons and armor. And due to a modest I.Q. requirement and high racial I.Q., you have a 74% chance of playing one.
So they get the ability shape korallyte, though it's not clear if they do it by hand or with mind powers at a range, or what. It also notes they can make living armor and give themselves all sorts of spiky bits and weapons, bonus attacks from living, symbiotic armor, shoot koral lasers (my name, not theirs) by converting the korallite to energy, or regenerate their armor. They can also sense korallyte, but it starts at downright sad 30%, can summon korallytes to gather their sweet sweet shells, and they get a number of spells, but can't get spells of a level higher than their level, putting them firmly in the 2nd-tier spellcaster category. They do get a number of minor psionic powers, though, like a low-class version of the mystic. They do get a respectable spread of skills in combat and sea stuff, and a decent number of spell picks. Bizarrely, they don't get a suit of korallyte armor, they have to make their own.
Two issues, though: korallyte is never described - they call it a "mollusk" but with no more detail. Is it a snail? A nautilus? A geoduck? What? It's unspecific. Worse, korallytes apparently can't survive on their own on any other world but the naut'yll homeworld . So that ability to shape or sense or gather it? Useless in like 95% of Rifts games. In fact, if your korallyte armor gets killed off, which can happen if you take too much damage, you're stuck having to get some from the naut'yll themselves, it's not like anybody else is going to have the stuff. You only start with 20 lbs. of it, even, which is only 40 M.D.C. worth, so it's easily wrecked. Which isn't an issue if you're playing a game where you're all fascist loser cthulhus, but I'm pretty sure nobody has played or will play such a game.
Kreel-Lok Nomad R.C.C.
Optional Player Character
"This is the only expression I have, sorry."
This is a kind of a shark with arms that are largely enslaved or employed by the naut'yll, which is tragic because they're really good people and sometimes people mistake them for sharks and then there's a kreel-lok crying by the shore because somebody's littering-
- I may have gotten off track there, so let's get the stats! They're strong, tough, ugly, fast, have only minor M.D.C. but a high horror factor, heal fast in water, resist cold, have excellent smell or see in the dark, but they can't breathe on land and can only crawl. Also they dehydrate. Basically, don't include them in your rad adventures fighting the Phoenix Empire in the desert. They get a number of bonus sea skills - plus math - and are mostly vagabonds (boooo) or wilderness scouts (mehhh) but can be spellcasters (alright!). They don't like technology because reasons. And they don't get any armor. Mostly, they kinda suck, but if you want to play part of the oppressed armshark minority, go for it.
"Each naut'yll city has over a hundred of these vessels."Original SA post
Part 16: "Each naut'yll city has over a hundred of these vessels."
Naut'Yll Weapons & Technology
You'd think with this being the fourth equipment section in the book, I'd be a little sick of gun and armor lists.
And you'd be right.
They use techno-wizard stuff, so you can borrow the numbers for that from other books. And then on to guns and armor!
Can they squint into a sight with three eyes?
- Sonic Wand: As a weapon that does damage, this is terrible. It does extremely low damage, and does you P.P.E. or I.S.P.! I guess that helps save on e-clip costs, but you probably have better uses for your magic or psionic. However, it can cast the sonic stun spell, which is an amazing save-or-suck spell that has a 65% chance of knocking your foe out outright. Which will you use?
Like the pistol, only it does more damage and you get a lot more mileage out of the power you invest in recharging it. Same saving throw and range for the stun, though.
Particle Wave Pistol:
Boring, does damage, fires underwater, I'm done.
Particle Wave Rifle:
Boring, does more damage, fires underwater, about equivalent to plasma rifles from other books.
Fires harpoons using rail gun principles, which allows it to do small amounts of mega-damage. You can get barbed spears (actually do surprisingly little damage to yank out), explosive spears (ennnh damage), or poison spears (great save-or-suck if the target is actually vulnerable to poison). There are also smoke and flare rounds, if for some reason you want to do something other than just shoot things.
This can stab or shoot "particle waves", whatever those are, for middling damage.
This is a regular net that can be used to entangle and then delivers an electric shock, which has a small chance (no save) of stunning its target, making this potentially really nasty with a bit of luck.
Dual-Purpose Self-Propelled Explosives (DPSE):
These are hybrid torpedo/missiles that can be used in water or on land. There's some handwaving about launchers they can use that aren't fully detailed.
There are two, a Black Water Grenade that creates... black water, or a sonic one that does mild damage.
Shell Body Armor:
This is an armor suit designed to look like shells, because clams and sand dollars strike fear into the hearts of their foes. It does have a water circulation system designed to keep them wet on land, and really great M.D.C. for armor with the traditional modest sneaking penalty.
- Korallyte Armor: Armor made from that stuff, it actually has fantastic protection with no penalties.
Big frowny armor.
Shit, not done yet, time for power armor and vehicles!
APAL-10 Naut'Yll Torpedo Power Armor
Yes, even alien conquerors use meaningless acronyms like "APAL-10" (Amphibious Power Armor Light? It's not clear.), because Palladium loves everything sounding like some fake-ass military desig. So. This is indeed light and doesn't give a lot of protection, but there's a model made of korallyte with roughly twice the M.D.C. It can swim up to 69 MPH, leap high and run fast, is filled with hydrating water, and gives superhuman strength. Black Market versions might be modified for landlubbers to use. No guns! BYOG.
APTW-20 Naut'Yll Techno-Wizard Power Armor
Amphibious Power (armor) Techno-Wizard? This is much like the APAL-10, except always made of korallyte and that it can cast a shit-ton of spells through techno-wizardry, like chameleon, fly as the eager, sense magic, "speed doubler" (is that a spell? I don't think it is...), tongues, or shooting shitty attack spells except for sonic stun, which is awful stunny. My favorite spell it has is "sense evil", since most naut'yll are supernatural evil. "I sense evil! Wait, no, it's just my friend, Ph'ysh."
Sea Hunter Robot Vehicle
It's a robo-crab mainly designed to scuttle and fight on the sea floor. And, yes, it gets "SH-7", which makes me wonder about SH 1 through SH 6. It's inspired by "a predator that haunts the shallow waters in the naut'yll's homeworld". It's cool, Rifts , you could have just said "giant crabs". Nobody would have hated you for it.
So! it's MDC is a little dinky for its size unless it's loaded down with korallyte, not having any more than the APTW-20, and it's not real fast except on dry land. It has a particle wave gun that does decent damage, medium missile / torpedo laungers, mini-missiles, and a "concealed laser" that does middling damage. It also, since it's a robo crab, can burrow into sand at the bottom of the sea floor and hide itself. It also gets a 60% prowl ability despite being a 12' crab loaded down with guns.
Deathbringer Combat Robot
The bigger combat robot version of the Sea Hunter. It's a classic Rifts tactic - get one piece of art and use it for two vehicles, and just say one "looks bigger!" Instant page count. This one has some decent M.D.C. that becomes great M.D.C. if it's fitted with korallyte, a fantastic "triple barrelled particle wave cannon turret", heavy missiles, medium missiles, mini-missiles, concealed laser, and yeah, that's all.
Leaper Submersible Fighter
Is it coming or going or flipped or fine or what?
Inpisred by a flying fish, this is a sub that can fly, but isn't a sophisticated enough flyer to cope with forces like New Navy or Coalition jets, and has gotten trashed in any air-to-air fight against other vehicles. The naut'yll are thinking of going back to the drawing board with this one, really.
It has awful M.D.C., and no, there's no korallyte upgrade here. It has particle wave guns that do good damage and medium missiles, so it's got a decent offense but no defense. A squad of Coalition grunts could gun this down with their sidearms. It's pretty sad.
Red Trident Attack Submarine
Yes. It looks like a giant trident.
Speaking of sad, this is one of their big guns, a large sub designed to hold a large cargo of slaves, but the New Navy has destroyed dozens of them - lucky for the naut'yll, each city apparently has more than a hundred of these things, which is pretty fuckin' ridiculous, but I guess it's one way to discourage PCs from actually rooting the naut'yll out and making a major difference.
So, 30 crew, 200 slaves, 160 troops, 24 deathbringers, 32 sea hunters, 24 power armored troops, 1,200 M.D.C., 52 MPH, 300 feet, 2,000 tons, 400 tons of cargo, 2 particle wave cannons, 2 heavy torpedo launchers, 4 blue-green lasers, 4 medium torpedo launchers, and it's done.
Is there any villain group in the setting more hapless than the naut'yll? Any conflict they're described in having describes them not only losing, but losing badly . It's a distinct difference from most of the other villains which are clear and overwhelming threats. Granted, the people who get enslaved by the naut'yll probably don't appreciate the difference, but at the same time they really are like Klingons, built up to be terrible and warlike but destined to always fail when it matters.
Next: The banality of piracy.
"They rob, rape, pillage, and murder, taking what and whom they please with impunity."Original SA post
Part 17: "They rob, rape, pillage, and murder, taking what and whom they please with impunity."
Five-eyed dog not appearing in this book.
This is a group of worldwide pirates led by the horune, which is a mysterious aquatic race who ravage Earth's coast because uh, it doesn't really say. Did I mention they're mysterious? There are 1.4 million of them on Earth, but none of them have a story to tell.
The Horune arrived on Earth about two centuries ago and started attacking ships and coast for their stuff. Oh, and sometimes they just rape or murder people just because. Yup. Rape. Their only ally is Atlantis, because Atlantis appreciates some good generic evil. Apparently they come from what they call the "Mothersea", but nobody knows what is. Because they're mysterious!
Culture & Government
Though they seem like crazy, orc-ish anarchists, but they shape up to military rank and file when on the job. How? Well. It's a mystery. They respect their captains and may squabble, but are ultimately loyal to the death when it comes to their own kind. It's possible for non-horune to become captains, but not to command horune fleet. They see other people as a resource to be conquered or consumed, and live by the "law of the sea", whatever the hell that is. Even the Splugorth are viewed as an alliance of convenience, and they only respect power or brutality. Why?
Magic & Technology
Stealing most of their technology, the horune generally learn to maintain their equipment, but generally intimidate or enslave people into doing repairs when necessary. They use magic to make their ships, but we'll get around to that in a bit.
Let's see, they have fights with the New Navy, Tritonia, Japan, and the naut'yll . A small number of them worship the Lord of the Deep to ward off its wrath, though a tiny percentage are actual Cult of the Deep members. This actually works to keep the Lord from attacking them directly, but its minions generally give no shits and attacks them anyway. They sometimes trade or ally with the Gene-Splicers or Splurgorth as part of the interdimensional evil union. And they like to hunt and kill whale singers and other cetaceans because evil and sadism etc.
Horune Pirate R.C.C.
Optional Player Characters
So, horune are "minor supernatural creatures", which is really just an excuse to make them mega-damage beings. Though they look reptilian, they're "closer to birds", which means they're dino-ish, I guess? Their eyestalk-like eyes are divided by role, with some being farsighted and others nearsighted, which is a neat idea but mostly just flavor. Let's see, they can regenerate, get minor psionic powers + hydrokinesis, have supernatural strength, and naturally can swim and hold their breath. Their default skill list gives then a lot of pilot, underwater, and weapon skills, but not much else. They get shit for skill picks. They can choose to be a Mystic instead as per the core book only with the skill package listed here minus four skills (so barely any skills at all).
Kind of just generic strong water baddies.
So there's a rare kind of Horune that live their entire lives where they just float in midair in a lotus position (the book says "like the ancient Earth Hindu Indians") and have a giant magic eye appear above their head. Magic keeps them from having to eat or drink or sleep, and they can apparently cast any spell of 13th level or lower. How?
Their big deal - as if being natural archmages wasn't enough - is that they can somehow manifest seagoing ships from their dreams once or twice a year. In fact, most of the Horune ships used are created from these dreams. Somehow all these ships look alike. How is this done?
Rifts World Book Seven: Underseas posted:
Psychics who have tried to probe the minds of Ship Dreams, and survived, all report the same thing. First, they are lost in an ocean of swirling colors, mostly reds, blues, and purples. The psychic feels a sense of disembodiment similar to astral projection and floats aimlessly above the colors. After what seems to be a few moments, the psychic's ears begin to ring and the mumbling of a thousand voices can be heard, although no words can be recognized. The sound and pressure builds. Numbers and equations flash before their eyse although the too cannot be recognized or later remember. The head begins to throb and feels like it's going to explode. Try as he might, the psychic cannot break the connection! He screams and keeps screaming as the sounds and images intensify. Suddenly, the grinning or laughing face of the Ship Dreamer fills the sky. Sometimes he appears to be speaking but his words cannot be heard over the din. There is a blinding blue flash and the ordeal is over.
Yep, bet you wanted to find out the answer behind all these mysteries, well, fuck you, PC, and make a roll against psionic attack or die, though it says if you want to be nice, you can roll two out of three or just have the PC survive anyway. However, PCs are automatically disuaded from ever trying again. How?
It lists their attributes as "Unknown!" though they only have middling MDC, they have a ridiculous Horror Factor (19 if attacking, more than most gods or demon lords), though their pathetic two attacks per round make them a bit of a pager tiger. Still, they have ridiculous magical power and could just open a rift or whatever to suck PCs away. They're utterly immune to psionic attacks and apparently can't be forced to make ships for people. It's like a tremendous amount of passive-aggressive NUH-UH in NPC format, and though it's the most interesting idea in the horune writeup, it's oddly obsessed with protecting a mystery of no major importance whatsoever.
Horune Weapons & Technology
Most of their weapons are made by Atlantis. They have a harpoon gun that can shoot explosive harpoons (crap), electric or plasma magic harpoons (slightly less crap), or magic nets (totally not crap). There's a rare sonic rifle made by the Ship Dreamers that does middling damage. And lastly the have a knockoff of the naut'yll's energy trident , because you can't be an undersea baddie without your standard issue tridents and nets. Lastly, they steal a lot of guns.
Horune Sea-Horse Sled & Speeder
These are made by the Ship Dreamers, and come in two models: one looks like a seahorse-shaped sled and the other looks like a speeder with a horse's head. Apparently these are based on the cover and the guys on it are horune with helmets on, and certainly not a completely unrelated piece of art that's being shamelessly shoehorned in .
They have a weirdly specific 223 MDC, and the sled can pull stuff but is slow, while the speeder can't pull stuff but is faster. They're powered by *magic* and get special piloting and dodge bonuses. The heads can spit fireballs or ram people, and apparently start to shriek if they're being stolen. Also, they only work for horune because magic, so don't try and steal these, PCs! Unless you're a horune PCs, I suppose.
Horune Dolphin Combat Drone
More spikes means more evil.
So the Ship Dreamers kidnap dolphins and use their to turn them into cyborg shock troopers. Apparently most of them have their minds wrecked into obedience, but 2% retain their mind and bust free, though they can't turn back. So they become rogue drones, living by no code but their own, which seems like a easy hook for a PC, but it's not clear if you could play one of these things.
They have average power armor MDC, legs to run with, magical flight, jump jets, swift swimming, magical swimming if they somehow lose their fins or something, a crap sonic rifle, some pretty badass plasma ejectors, crap hip lasters, and tragically, their mouth is just a painting and they can't cyber-bite people. Lame. Even though they're living beings, no details on what skills or attributes they retain, if any. Presumably you'd just slot in a dolphin statblock where necessary, but it's unclear.
Horune Land Shark Drone
Not quite as creepy as Gyo.
Like the dolphin, but they use a shark instead, decreasing tragedy and increasing awesome. They're twice as tough, can fly, run, or swim, have a weaker single plasma ejector, crappy lasers and blasters, but it does have "chest lights" that can do save-or-sucks like blinding flash or wisps of confusion. Oh, and they can bite people, too, and are generally more buff, but strangely have a weaker arsenal than the dolphins. And unlike the dolphins, these never rebel and bust out on their own, so you certainly can't play them.
Horune Dream Ship
Attack of the whalebutts.
So, these are the big ships the Ship Dreamers make, and are sometimes called "whale ships" after the fact they look kinda like whale tails. In any case, these are huge 90K ton ships with 20,000 MDC and regenerate, so back off, PCs! They're swift on the surface at 90 MPH, but can submerge at a tremendous hit to their speed. They have "storm cannons" that shoot lightning and plasma cannons that do alright damage, plasma turrets that do a crazy 250 average damage apiece, laser cannons more powerful than boom guns, heavy torpedoes, medium-range missiles, "1d4 x 100" mini-missiles, and crazy damage from rams (up to around 300 MDC).
These are designed to make the horune near-friggin' unstoppable, I guess. I mean, let's do the math. There are 1400 ship dreamers on Earth. They can make one of these a year. They've been here on Earth for 230 years. That's like... let's see, cut the number in half because they probably haven't all been here all this time... about 161,000 of these ships. We have 1.4 million of the horune and about 1.4 million other pirates they command. They can crew one of these things with as few as 112 crew, so they can field about only 25,000 of these or so, though. Still. That number means they should be attacking every coast on Rifts Earth constantly, because math. Most historical pirates were terrors of the sea if they could field three dozen ships, let alone enough to destroy most navies.
Ugh. Well, let's look at their "light" ships, shall we?
Horune Strike Ships
These are basically smaller versions of the dream ship (reuse art, whee), and only have mere 6,500 MDC. Bizarrely, they have about the same crew requirement as the big ones. They're only 30k tons, and get a plasma cannon that does 250 MDC, and two plasma turrets that do 250 MDC apiece... wow, missiles aside, they actually have more basic firepower than the big versions. They also have the boom-gun-plus laser turrets, heavy torpedoes, medium-range missiles, and "100" mini-missiles. Their rams aren't as buff.
And these are the horune's light, regular workhorse ships, and they have more than they could possibly crew. The New Navy has one big ship and several dozen submarines. Numbers-wise, the horune should be wiping the floor with other supposed sea powers like the New Navy, but well. Rifts is bad at math.
Next: Atlantis Undersea. I mean, like, their ships, it didn't sink again or anything.
"Sea Skimmer Warships will have 10 High Lords and 10 Conservators as officers, 2d4 air or water warlocks (all 1d4+4th level), 1d4+1 ley line walkers or an adult dragon (all 1d4+5 level), 1d4x10+40 Overlords, 2d6+20 Powerlords, 1d4x10+40 Altara warrior women, 1d4x100 gurgoyles, 1d4x100 gargoyles, 1d4x10 Destroyer power armor, 2d4x10 War Urchin power armor, 1d4x10 War Fish power armor, 1d4x100 Serpent and/or Equestrian power armor, 1d4x10 Kittani ATV hover Jets and 1d4x10 War Crab robots, Insecton land rovers or K-GTRV land skimmers."Original SA post
Part 18: " Sea Skimmer Warships will have 10 High Lords and 10 Conservators as officers, 2d4 air or water warlocks (all 1d4+4th level), 1d4+1 ley line walkers or an adult dragon (all 1d4+5 level), 1d4x10+40 Overlords, 2d6+20 Powerlords, 1d4x10+40 Altara warrior women, 1d4x100 gurgoyles, 1d4x100 gargoyles, 1d4x10 Destroyer power armor, 2d4x10 War Urchin power armor, 1d4x10 War Fish power armor, 1d4x100 Serpent and/or Equestrian power armor, 1d4x10 Kittani ATV hover Jets and 1d4x10 War Crab robots, Insecton land rovers or K-GTRV land skimmers."
Oh, that's not all. Welcome to just part of the farce we have in store below:
Rifts World Book Seven: Underseas posted:
There are also likely to be a handful of specialists including practitioners of magic, creatures of magic, dragons, demons, Sunaj assassins, Metztla, tattooed men of all kind, warrior slaves and beings from other worlds (see Rifts Atlantis for armor, vehicles, and characters not described in this book).
Speaking of ridiculous bullshit overpowered villain factions, it's time to have a look at the Atlantis Navy! No, the insane, continent-bombarding slave ships from Rifts World Book Six: South America weren't enough. It's time to up that ante. It notes they can be found slaving all over the world, but their numbers are sparse at sea and that they don't have a lot of accurate data since most of their reports are from pirates and scalliwags and the like. Mainly kydians and kittani can be found at sea using technology to survive, but it notes the water is where the splugorth slavers, the cover monster of Rifts , can exit its barge and move around normally.
We get a lot of details on how different monsters and mecha can submerge and-
Weapons of Atlantis
It notes here kittani laser and plasma weapons can be used underwater with a small damage reduction. They also have an underwater rail gun that works like any other lame rail gun, only underwater. It also has kittani rocket grenades that, despite the name, are really torpedoes. There are He explosive ones (high damage, low blast radius), fragmetation (low damge, hich blast radius), concussion (middling damage, chance to stun), gill clog (saving throw for waterbreathers not to suffocate). There's a kittani energy trident , in case you thought I was kidding about tridents being mandatory for waterborne villainry. No art for any of this, mind. And they make knock-offs of naut'yll weapons, because why not bloat their weapon list further?
Rune Weapons & Magic Notes
It notes here, in an obscure little section in the middle of the Splugorth Emporium, that magic heat and fire attacks are reduced underwater, electrical attacks do double damage but with shorter range, and air spells may not work.
Enough of that, on to weapons! No art for these things either.
Spiked Sea Helm
This is a spiked roman-style helm that lets you breathe underwater and headbutt people with the spikes, because if one thing's true of Rifts , it's that spikes and blades are never ornamental . They shoot off, are used for headbutts, fire lightning, whatever. If WWI was fought by Palladium, the Germans would have used their spiked helmets to charge enemy lines and try and impale-
- actually that sounds pretty cool, nevermind. Stupid, but cool.
Sea Slayer - Rune Sword
Sadly, this does not slay seas. Instead, it's a modest-damage rune weapon that's a drinker of souls , making it one of the most deadly god-killing weapons in the game. Also you can command it to dance and fight for you, in case you're lazy.
This is a thing you wear on your wrist that looks like a fist and blades come out of its mouth. Not much of a claw, really. What do you get for this fashion disaster? Crap damage, but it shoots bolts of force for decent damage. And that's all.
Mandatory magic trident. Does good damage, gives you psychic powers like hydrokinesis (useful underwater) and pyrokinesis (not so useful underwater). It's also intelligent and cursed so it makes aquatic creatures fear the sea, and if you fail a save, it's permanent, enjoy. Yes, this is a weapon that locks out out of the entire Underseas setting for a character, in a book called Underseas . Go figure.
It does meh damage but can be used to cast some useful spells that let one disguise oneself or fly (???). And yes, it does return back to your hand.
War Urchin Power Armor
Butt and boobs pose, minus butt or boobs.
Ah, yes, the feared urchin of the sea. So this is a collaboration between the kittani and some unnamed Splugorth techno-wizards. It has two different jet packs you can wear, one for the sea and one for air. Remember what I just said about spikes and blades never being ornamental. Yes, the spikes on this suit are actually grenade launchers.
It's of average toughness, fly or swim depending on what pack you have, has magical and normal sensors, and a "chest environmental multi-system" where you press buttons on your chest to activate a shit-ton of different spells which I'm not going to list. It makes me wonder why they have these jet packs when it comes with magic swimming and flying anyway , though. Its gauntlets can fire a variety of damaging or dehibiliating spells, and it has those grenade launchers on its calves, which I'm sure it easy to aim. Especially the ones that aim backwards .
Kittani Destroyer Power Armor
Guns don't have to be pointed at the enemy, you just slap them all over the shoulder however.
This is the jumbo shrimp version of the War Urchin, and despite being called "kittani", this is actually for the kydians to use. Confusion! It's got some solid MDC, even has more spells for some reason, it mentions both using a jet pack to fly or not using a jet pack and flying, make up your mind, zooms around underwater, more grenade launchers, and a shoulder plasma/laser gun that does pretty great damage.
With the number of contingency spells these things have, it feels like they were built by the most annoying GM ever. "I blow off its aquajets so it can't swim!" "Oh it casts swim as a fish and swims around anyway." "I hold it down with my massive strength!" "It casts escape to get away." "We shoot our lasers at it!" "It casts impervious to energy ." It makes it so the only thing you can do to these villains is just pound them to death. If they don't just get away with invisibility .
Kittani War Fish Power Armor
That's one nasty robo-penis, Ewell.
Other than the ill-placed gun, thing is pretty cool looking, like a lot of the other kittani animal-inspired designs. Like another mer-power-armor earlier, the fish section can detach and the user can walk around, but you have to leave behind most of the weapons on this thing to do so. The tail has a computer that can be set to do automated defense and shoot at people. "Sir, we're under fire... by a giant fish tail!" Rifts.
It has decent MDC, swims at 100 MPH underwater or 140 MPH on the surface (!), has magic and normal sensors, craplasers, a mehgun, mini-torpedoes, and totally non-decorative fin blades.
Kittani War Crab
At least this one is called a crab. Honesty in gaming mecha.
So this is a giant robot crab mech, which is rad enough. It's pretty tough but slow as hell. The weapon list is split into two halves: the lower half includes the usual crap lasers, two "quad-plasma cannon turrets" that do great damage, more craplasers, average rail guns, and non-decorative leg spikes. The upper half has heat beams from the eyes which are just... the worst, seriously, who has time for 1d6 damage? Shoulder spikes, also the worst, 1d6 damage. However, its claws can grab stuff and lift PCs in the air and all that, so the top half isn't a total wash.
Kittani War Shark Submarine Mk 4
Yes, it can robo-bite.
So this is a huge 360' shark-sub with 3,000 MDC, 1 laser cannon turret, heavy torpedoes, mini-torpedoes, all of which do great damage. But the big deal is the bite (does 2d6x100 MDC) and the "100 gun Laser Battery" in the mouth that does 4d6x100, or 1d6x100 to four different targets. Also the mouth can disgorge troops, and hopefully they remember to stop biting or shooting while they do that. And yes, it carries dozens of mechs, making this another huge big fuckoff watercraft for the Splugorth. It can also barf up smaller shark subs, seen below. But we're not done with big fuckoff watercraft. Nooope.
It also says "The humanoid upper torso is actually a robot controlled by the pilot.", which I don't know what the fuck they mean by that.
Kittani War Shark Submarine Mk 5
As above, but smaller at 60', smaller weapons and a lot less damage, the bite does crap damage for a 26' diameter bite and it has no 100 gun ridiculousness. It also has no art in the usual Rifts "say two vehicles have the same art at different sizes[/i] because Palladium.
Splugorth Sea Skimmer
Also known as The Ark
The shields on the side are supposed to be bio-organic eyes, because fuck the artist's intentions.
Those that remember my writeup of Rifts World Book Six: South America may recall the Splugorth Slaver Mothership, a ridiculous seaborne death star thing that there are only four of that can hardly be stopped by anyone?
This is tougher and bigger than those. Yes, one book later and the Splugorth are already getting something more badass than the last, it's like I can feel murderous GM impulses just radiating off the page. Oh, and only though there were four of those motherships, the splugorth have three hundred of these. Sometimes they travel in groups up to a half-dozen .
So this is like those Hutt skimmers from Return of the Jedi only on water, huge, and ridiculously magical. It has 30K MDC, is a half-mile long, has laser and plasma cannons with damage in the hundreds, smaller decent laser turrets, heavy torpedoes... but that's not all. It has an energy prow that does damage in the hundreds and shoots off fire and lightning every which way, grants the three top crew members the ability to cast any spell up to 8th level with thousands of magic points to draw on, a force field that basically gives it another 13K MDC, magical sensors, and it can fucking cloak . And no, the fins aren't ornamental or for maneuvering. Of course! They're for attacking! It has dozens to over a thousand of powerful supernatural critters and mecha on board as listed at the top of this post, depending if it's prepped for war or peacetime. And if you're really unlucky, it has metztla sidekicks (psychic monsters with thousands of M.D.C. apiece) and/or a splugorth on board .
Don't you dare try and win, PCs. Don't you dare .
Splugorth Sea Fin
"Just keep putting turrets on it, I'll tell you when to stop."
What, we're not done yet?
This is another huge warship, which to their credit, is somehow not huger than the last, with a mere godlike 15K MDC. It is 1000' long, has lasers and plasma turrets that once again do damage in the hundreds, deck lasers with average damage, heavy torpedoes, a compliment of mecha, magic force fields (tack on about another 3K MDC), magic sensors, and this one can cloak too. Of course. It's also notable as a 1000' long seagoing vessel that "moves silently" because water doesn't make sound, right, and has an 80% prowl rating. It is literally sneakier than most ninjas.
And I think we're done seeing the author wank numbers all over the page. Seriously, after seeing the USS Ticonderoga sold as an unstoppable war machine, it turns out the Splugorth have hundreds of vessels that outclass it in nearly every respect. Bad writing? It's in here!
Next: A secret navy. Sure, that sounds plausible.
"Even if a submarine is sighted, it is assumed to be one of Captain Nemo-2's vessels."Original SA post
Part 19: "Even if a submarine is sighted, it is assumed to be one of Captain Nemo-2's vessels."
Top Secret - NGR Military Data
... is for some reason in 48 point font or so, here, it's more like:
So, Triax, despite being a coastal nation, has no known naval presence. Really? They don't... ship things? Ever? Aren't they supposed to be like a mammoth corporation? Isn't that a basic thing they would do? At least for cyberfishing? I mean, I understand that Rifts is written in a world where there's no need for infrastructure to build a million billion robots, but this is like... an extremely basic function of a modern nation.
Oh, and if you don't know what I'm talking about, see the F&F review of Rifts World Book Five: Triax & the NGR . I did a whole thing where I pointed out how none of their fiction works by their own rules. It's swell.
Anyway. The NGR doesn't have a Navy. Officially. Somehow. But they're working on a secret Navy to try and initiate "Operation Sea Storm" where they attack the gargoyles from the Mediterranean and try and pincer them in. Which is a good plan! Though I'm still not sure how you would keep a whole Navy secret. In any case, should it go off as planned, the NGR could defeat the Gargoyle Empire in a decade.
And yes, this means it's time for another catalog of equipment and weapons, right on the heels of the horune and splugorth sections. I'm a little tired of reading about boats. A little. So tired. Boats.
Triax Underwater Weapons and Vessels
So we start with cyborg equipment here, like undersea body armor, depth gauges, artificial gills, sonar, and echo-location.
Then we have TXT-10 Ultra-mini Torpedoes , which you I guess aim by hand, which seems like a bad idea but I'm obviously not a Triax armsgineer. They do crap damage. There's the TXD-01 Deep-Sea Sonic Beam Rifle , which does awful damage out of water, bad damage in water, but can stun seaborne creatures. There's the TXD02 Deep-Sea Laser/Harpoon Rifle , which is pretty meh, even with exploding harpoons. Doesn't that defeat the purpose of a harpoon, though, to harpoon things? There's the TXD-03 Deep-Sea Laser Assault Rifle , which does pretty decent damage with laser pulses and comes with a dinky vibro-bayonet. No illustrations except for the 03 and torpedoes, which are supposedly what the guy below is holding.
Protect the head, forget the crotch.
It's armor time after that, and we get the basic rundown on features like air supply, lights, radio, etc., and both armors come with exoskeletons that boost strength and speed and reduce the fatigue from extended swimming... though no idea what power source they run on or if they can run out of power and become leg weights. There's the TXD-6, shown above, which has pretty decent protection, and the TXD-8, which has great protection. Both come with "Ultra-Mini-Missiles" and vibro-blades that do terrible damage.
TXD-100 Ultra Deep-Sea Power armor
"What, I can aim with one eye! You just don't understand technology!"
From TXD-8 to TXD-100! That's quite the leap. Also it's ultra. That's some strict military designation there, and not something that sounds at all toyetic.
So this is a flying suit like the SAMAS, though it's designed to double as an undersea suit at the cost of speed. It's a lot tougher than the Coalition suits, tough. It has a lot of awful lasers, mini-missiles, and a "TXT-10 Ultra-mini Torpedo Drum Launcher" which is only saved by the fact it can fire eight of its crappy grenades at a time for some pretty great damage, but it'll eat up that clip in about a single turn or two of firing. It does what ti does and seems to be pretty alright, except for those shitty low-damage lasers Rifts vehicle designers insist on plastering all over every vehicle.
This isn't a vehicle, but here it is anyway. It's a cyborg body designed for "deep-sea reconnaissance and combat". I can imagine those reports now. "Reporting things are still dark, also there are glowy fish. Beginning assault on the fish. Bastards won't glow much longer!" Like many cyborgs, they're ridiculously tough, about as tough as a glitter boy. Except it can float! Somehow.
It has a "TXP Quad Rifle" which can fire lasers, depleted uranium rail run rounds, both of which suck. It has a TXD-02 as listed under the weapons above, and it still sucks. It has a particle beam weapon rod in its leg, standard issue with all Siembieda cyborg designs, which sucks. A vibro-blade, which sucks. A selection of other sucky weapons. And mini-missiles.
I've made this point before, but when you have vehicles that can take 23 shots from their own main gun, you may have some bad rules at play. And the same goes for cyborgs.
X-6000 Transformable Sub
Subs are pretty much just underwater jets, right?
This is actually in the sub section but I'm post-balancing here.
So, this is a sub that turns into a mech, using the old Macross -style foldover transformation. (Unshocking, given that Kevin Long started out on the Robotech line.) It has decent MDC, dinky rail guns, and mini-torpedoes. Also it has a special holster on the underside so it can use a handheld weapon while transformed, of course. Also like Macross . Basically with this thing you better get your pop stars in order and then get ready to fight.
Next: die Boote
"The Sea Mite is incredibly fast, maneuverable and deadly!"Original SA post
Part 20: "The Sea Mite is incredibly fast, maneuverable and deadly!"
Triax Submarines & Navy Sea Craft
XS-20 Sea Mite Mini-Submarine
Point weak spot directly towards enemy.
So, this is a one-man sub that is "incredibly fast, maneuverable, and deadly!" It isn't, however, durable, and has less MDC than most power armor, and a 50 MDC front window that can be broken pretty easily to get at the soft, squishy Tootsie Pilot center. It is actually given combat bonuses to represent its agility, including an extra attack, and has heavy torpedoes, a big surprise for a small ship. Otherwise it's mini-torpedoes and rail guns that do average damage. Mostly, though, it looks and feels like a death trap.
XS-24 Sea Bat Mini-Submarine
Focusing once again on single-crew subs, this has a vulnerable cockpit just as above, but has a blast shield that goes over it if broken and the system switches to cameras. Wait, why does this have a cockpit at all, then...? In any case, it's slightly tougher than the XS-20, and has slightly better rail guns, mini-torpedoes, and tiny robo arms. It also is "very silent" and enables use of the prowl skill, in one of those "I didn't know you couldn't do that in a vehicle until you just mentioned it" rulings.
XS-30 Torpedo Attack Sub
"Only a thin pane of mega-glass between me and watery doom, just the way I like it!"
Going to point out in italics here that this is the third vehicle named "torpedo" in this book.
This has 1,200 MDC. It has a cockpit with 80 MDC. Breaching the cockpit renders the crew vulnerable. Heavy torps, rail guns, and lasers, but who cares? You gonna die. And this thing cost your military 28 million credits! Hopefully they can at least salvage it, put on a new cockpit, and send some new sap to their doom.
Yeah, just put the turret on the bottom, it's not like hydrofoils ever slow down, right?
So, this is a 100' hydrofoil intended as a patrol boat, with 1400 MDC, light torpedoes, lasers, particle beams, and mini-missiles, which is a decent array of light weapons, but once again, it hilariously could never fight itself. Also it notes this has been tested publicly, so I guess not all of the navy is secret, after all? I'm confused. Goes 180 MPH, seats 20, and that's that.
XS-400 Escort Battleship
Designed to fuck sea monsters. Er. Fuck up. That's what I meant.
200 enlisted men
1 XM-270 Mosquito or XM-275 Lightning
40 X-2700 Dragonwings
48 XM-140 Infantry Support Weapon Platforms
48 TXD-100 Ultras
24 X-10A Predators
24 T-C20 Terrain Hopper Power Armor
24 X-5335 Hunters with TX-862FC Anti-aircraft gun
12 X-60 Flankers
12 T-550 Glitter Boys
12 T-31 Super Troopers
12 Sea Bat Mini-subs
And a partridge in a pear tree.
The NGR Poseidon
"Launch whatever the hell those things are!"
It's a second-class USS Ticonderoga.
Which makes it a third-class Splugorth Slaver Mothership.
And that's all I have left to say.
Next: A few mistakes in the end.
"The standard skill does NOT include medicines derived from the oceans and seas, likewise, the sea holistic knowledge does NOT include most of the land herbs and plants (only a handful of the very most basic and common items)."Original SA post
Part 21: "The standard skill does NOT include medicines derived from the oceans and seas, likewise, the sea holistic knowledge does NOT include most of the land herbs and plants (only a handful of the very most basic and common items)."
Let's compare and contrast:
Submersible Vehicle Mechanics
Sea Holistic Medicine
Track & Hunt Sea Animals
Undersea and Sea Survival
Boat: Motor and Hydrofoil
Boat: Warships/Patrol Boats
Worse, there's "Undersea Farming" even though there's no "Farming" skill. There's "Undersea Salvage" but no "Salvage" skill. We're now told that even though buying "Fishing" twice increases it to a professional level in the core, it turns out you need the "Advanced Fishing" skill to fish commerically. That's right. If you want to know all about fishing, that's three skill picks . You have Marine Biology, which requires three other skills as well, making it effectively four skill picks to take.
Fuck the skill section.
Some XP tables and house ads wrap up the page count. It's interesting to note that they advertise for the upcoming Rifts World Book 12: Psyscape by CJ Carella, but it turns out he would leave Palladium long before that book was released. As a result, it would actually be delayed by roughly a year as they got another writer and manuscript, not coming out until after World Book 16 . Yes, 12 came after 16 .This means the summary provided is highly inaccurate.
It promises the hidden community of Psyscape (yup) and a danger moving them to act (yup). However, the advert for Psyscape also promises classes like the Astral Warrior (nope), Psi-Filer (nope), Mirage Weaver (nope), Gate Maker (nope), and Psyche Killer (nope). It talks about pushing forward a plot with the Federation of Magic (nope) and Coalition States (nope). It promises art by RK Post (nope), Wayne Breaux (yup), and Vince Martin (nope). Finally, it says it'll be 160 pages (yup) and $16.95 (yup). Most of their other ads are for existing books at the time of this printing, but it's amusing to see what they originally intended for that book.
What is a "Psi-Filer", anyway? Would they bring the powers of the mind to bureaucracy? The world will almost certainly never know.
"Where are we now?" "I don't know, I don't think this place is in the book!"
The Bottom of the Sea
There are a few things missing in this book. First, Lemuria is referenced constantly, but as mentioned before, won't be described for nearly two decades. Second, it's heavily implied the Coalition have a navy, but not described. That'll come in Rifts Sourcebook Four: Coalition Navy two years later, and it has all the skullboats your little heart desires. If your heart desires those things, anyway. Also, it has crab men, but tells us we can't play them because it'd be too hard to play them because they can't stay on land forever. In a game where you can play a whale .
This is a fun setting on the surface, but the problem with reading Rifts books is that actually going in depth will often take all the enthusiasm out of your sails. Playing dolphins helping out an ancient US submarine fight noncanonthulu seems like it could definite make for a rad game, but it requires you to discard a lot of the details to make it work. A lot of the vehicles honestly have cool designs but then Siembieda's formulaic design work makes them very similar and dull mechanically. The deeper you go, the less stuff makes sense. This is honestly one of the more intriguing and original Rifts books, but it doesn't have a lot of deep thought to the implementation.
Hope you enjoyed the review! If I ever get to Coalition Navy , though, I may require an intervention.
Next: We're comin' up to shore and I have to get all this indexed on the wiki. Next book? Weeaboos rejoice.