“So holster your laser pistol, hop into your phase ship, and visit the Three Galaxies.”

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Rifts Dimension Book 2: Phase World Part 1: “So holster your laser pistol, hop into your phase ship, and visit the Three Galaxies.”

It is now time for more exciting Rifts adventures! We've just left the steamy wilds of South America, let's go for a change of scene. Something a little more...austere. Away from anything to do with core Rifts, which is to say Earth. Rifts Earth pretty specifically won’t let anything come or go into space, so if you want to have space operatic Rifts adventures, you have to go to another dimension! Thus, we get Phase World. I am doing this one back to back (ish) with the first Source Book since the latter is basically excess page count from the main dimension book.

Phase World didn’t really thrill my heart when I first read it, and it surprised me that it’s gone on to have several other supplements in later years given the way Wormwood was more or less created and dropped with a wet parasitic thud and abandoned. Phase World is a mish-mash of space operatic tropes--you have large fleets and some vague vehicular combat rules for them, aliens both menacing and...sultry (just you wait) as well as more mysterious varieties of biped. The titular Phase World is a central location for this space operatic setting, but there are also good democratic orders of planets and bad legions of empire types about. It is in many ways a generic space opera setting, and the parts that give it the most individual flair are the (somewhat grudging) bits that include the use of magic on a civilized and even interstellar scale.

The Wolfen make a prominent appearance again here, being apparently a race that the Palladium Games people think is very important and unique and--well, I guess we got like five different kinds of (awesome crazy) cat people in South America, the dogs can have a moment. There are shining space knights and dastardly space Splugorths (you knew that was coming) and so, so, so many lasers.

seriously, they sort of vaguely mumble about rail guns before going back on about awesome lasers

KS introduces Phase World more briefly than his usual rambling, basically talking about space adventure goodness, and then launches us directly into some intro fiction. It’s a brief bit about a bounter hunter, Cray, and his newbie partner Slick. They’re hunting Duke, in a game of monosyllabic name calling. The writing is bad and does little to tell us about the world, aside from describing some typical space cantina-scenes and mentioning D-gates . Magic exists here, as Duke uses it to blindside Cray, only to then find out that Slick is a Cosmo-Knight, some kind of cyborg who is going to totally wreck Cray’s chance at the bounty. So far so comma-spliced.

the full cover, it’s not bad

Phase World is a planet in the Three Galaxies , one of millions of inhabited world.” The next section is a more normal introduction, talking about ultra-tech spaceships exchanging broadsides with enchanted vessels (unfortunately, this predates Saga by about twenty years and is not nearly as good) and mentions setting elements briefly, along with the notion that “neither the planet nor the Three Galaxies are what most people would consider normal.” I’m assuming Rifts-Earth normal, since to the billions of residents of those places it’s probably pretty regular.

Phase World itself is a transdimensional nexus point, perhaps a bit like Earth in that regard, but it’s well-populated and not an unstable mess of warlords like Earth. The main city on Phase World is Center, with a population of 600 million people, though it is a heavily cosmopolitan mix of peoples. The natives of the planet are prometheans but not the shambling golem-mummy kind, they’re ancient masters of phase technology. This will be explained after we talk about the Cosmic Forge.

There was an ancient ur-race as there often is in star-spanning settings, called the First. They built a great and massive civilization and kept expanding upon it and were generally pretty cool and enlightened guys. They built this Cosmic Forge thing, that when ignited could create and modify massive swaths of reality. This was cool and all, but one among the First was evil, and turned this tool to madness. The Forge was sentient, however, and realized what it had done and cast down the evil one. It then hid itself and only occasionally touches those worthy of its power. It should be noted in the intro fiction that the bounty target had stolen something from this thing, so it may not be hidden very well. The Forge is blamed for all sorts of inexplicable phenomena, including ley lines that extend all through space. Despite magic existing freely in the universe, most civilizations remain ignorant of it for <reasons>

Having introduced us to their god-engine, we get some more about the planet Phase World. Pop 5 billion, 71% Prometheans. It’s a huge trading center and metropolis, “located near the core of the oldest known galaxy.” Fifth planet of an aging red star. This isn’t really sounding like a hospitable place to live. At least they don’t have to fear lost Kryptonians. It has a 22.3 hour day, and a 53-year orbital cycle. Its temperature and climate are very tightly controlled and the method is a secret. In general, non-citizens are confined to Center, a mile high arcology of a city. It has a bunch of ley line nexuses throughout its structure, making it very magically active. I imagine the giant arcology acts a bit like a pyramid in keeping those calm.

There are a bunch of space stations in orbit for docking, and a lot of trade happens there. The city itself is still where a lot of the extradimensional goods start out, however, and the lower levels apparently have issues with lack of security and maintenance, and active rift activity. Phase World is unique, but not above petty material concerns apparently. Also, everyone who has tried to conquer it has failed and it has remained stubbornly independent.

Also in orbit are sixty-four “spacegates.” These are rings ten miles in diameter powered by mysterious phase technology . A ship with a “phase transceiver” can teleport instantly to a spacegate, and the gate technicians can scan it before letting it through. These are one-way teleports, the ship has to find its own way back home. Some merchants just fill a ship with cargo, teleport it to Phase World, and sell off everything including the ship, then fly home some other way. It certainly does centralize the importance of Phase World to the economy of this universe. Nobody else can build these gates obviously, and they haven’t been exported.

this is actually from the ‘violence and supernatural warning’ page

Phase World is home to the prometheans, as mentioned. They have a two-stage evolution, the first stage being more hominid, the second stage being more alien and space-goddish. The planet is ruled by second-stagers, called the Elders, and they don’t have any transparency about their governing process. Diplomacy and other outside contacts are done by first-stagers who then go back for confirmation with the Elders, which offends some races at having “children” come talk to them. Wars over the subject have been unsuccessful, so everyone just lives with it. Phase World tends to stay neutral anyway.

The society of the planet outside Center is mostly described as “harmonious,” with dissident or rebellious individuals moving to Center or leaving entirely. Other space-nations like the Transgalactic Empire and United Worlds of Warlock (I hope they mean the band) help check each other, since nobody wants aggression to get out of hand. Basically, this one den of libertarian iniquity is tolerated by all as a wealth-bringing nexus, but living there probably sucks.

That’s quite long enough really. Next, we’ll talk more about Center and go on with not having a lot of pictures.

“A city where one can find incredible wealth and comfort, as well as rifts-infested hellholes.”

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Rifts Dimension Book 2: Phase World Part 2: “A city where one can find incredible wealth and comfort, as well as rifts-infested hellholes.”

Center’s racial breakdown is 73% ‘other’, which is to say that huge numbers of races have a representation in the city and are scattered liberally about. Even the Promethean natives are not dominant within the city proper. Basically any race with the technology to get to Center has representation there, and probably even some who don’t, who were brought or otherwise found passage.

The city houses 600 million people and is a mile high. It’s also the oldest known building in the Three Galaxies which...is impressive. Supposedly it’s an artifact of the First. Shuttles approaching it “will see a white mountain, roughly square in shape.” Getting closer, it’s ridged and curved, balconies and windows cut into its surface. Runes and artificial constructions dot it all over. Thousands of shuttles and flying vehicles make their way around its mass. Once in a while a flare of rift activity livens up the skyscape.

Center is generally a 24-7 operation with three shifts a ‘day’. Rift-travelers will find themselves transported into a crowded waystation serving thousands of other comers and goers. An official behind a desk will demand an entry fee (probably the ubiquitous ‘credit’) and they’re on their way. Once in a while a flurry of violence kicks up, is put down, and the bustle continues.

People who arrive in Center against their will could be sent back home if they arrived at the gates, but they usually arrive in the bad parts of town, the muck-covered streets and limbs poking out of piles of garbage in the alleyways. Apparently a lot of victims of the Bermuda Triangle wind up in Center, which seems like it might be a problem if people are flying planes out of rifts into buildings. If these unwilling travelers survive, they might prosper in the seething mass of the city.

i don’t...even

According to scientists, Center’s exterior wall materials are at least five million years old, which predates every known civilization in the galaxy. That’s actually...kinda young in general, at least in theory. Like something wiped out all the other precursors in all the galaxies. The prometheans admit they didn’t build it, and so everyone assumes the First did it. The city is built on a massive supernexus that is largely contained by the structure of the city itself. Rift activity still happens, but a lot of it is controlled and deliberate--except at the lower levels, because apparently even godlike precursor races like their filthy slums.

The promethean Elders keep enough administrators and forces in the Center to keep it under control if things got really hairy, but they largely don’t interfere. Some say it’s because they can’t, that the city is not truly under their control, others say it’s a longer term plan to trap evil in a single place, mostly the city just keeps going. Its geography is massive and labyrinthine, with large five-hundred foot ceilings and periodic dividing walls to allow cultures to exist side by side. There are ten total levels and the top four are fairly orderly; the bottom six get progressively worse.

Getting around inside the city is accomplished via monorails, roads, and sidewalks. Intra-level transport works with elevators, staircases and ladders. Sounds like a confusing jumble eh? Moving between levels generally requires passing a checkpoint, some of which are to keep people in the lower sectors more than anything else. The promethean forces only concern themselves with threats to the integrity of the city or to the planet beyond, anything else up to full-scale war between sections is tolerated and considered a problem of the individual areas. Of course, the city itself is indestructible, but ruining large sections of it would likely get some ire. The spaceports and gates are also heavily guarded.

Law enforcement then, is spotty. Bounty hunting is common and meets no interference--any “official papers” will allow a hunter to carry off a captive, and holy Fugitive Slave Act is that abusable. Mostly the problem is dealing with any friends the fugitive may have.

The other problem with a massive super-arcology of course is shit . Literally the waste of 600 million sentients plus their pets and spawn. Also, food, air, and water for a lot of them. Supposedly a sentient computer runs a bunch of secret systems that keep the city operating--there are no massive air vents, air seems to be rifted in from elsewhere. Likewise fires are extinguished extradimensionally. Food dispensers seem to teleport food in and sell it vending-machine style; nobody knows where the money goes or where they get stocked. Mobs try to control the machines in some areas, charging inflated prices for the products. And the waste--is teleported away. Again.

please don't throw your trash into our dimension

Next: The individual levels of the city.

The City and only the City

posted by occamsnailfile Original SA post

Unknown Armies is an interesting contrast to the WoD as both deal with horror but in...different ways. I always liked that UA's skill check system was 'number while under stress' rather than something you had to roll for mundane tasks. You'd still have a bunch of wimp-slapping flailers in combat generally, but given that PCs were relatively normal humans that wasn't so bad. Plus, the game itself emphasized ways to not default to combat, a novel approach.

Speaking of games that default to combat though...

Rifts Dimension Book 2: Phase World Part 3: The City and only the City

Today we shall tour some of Center’s levels and highlight locations, and if there’s time, meet some notable citizens. As it has been noted, the city is divided up into ten ‘levels’ approximately 500 feet high. The city is listed as being about a mile high, so that’s correct, and each level is further subdivided into sections and built into complex warrens by residents.

The top level is the Manors, which is for the rich jerks. Entering the level requires passing a checkpoint with a valid reason. It’s filled with opulent and beautiful palaces, carefully tended boulevards, and a huge heap of classism and aristocratic backbiting. Assassinations are common. The general lack of governance of the city means that some ad-hoc structures have emerged, and the first level is run by The Compact. Sadly not a makeup accessory, it is instead the most violent homeowners’ association ever. It’s a contract that basically says what happens in the house, stays in the house--don’t be embarrassing in public. Given the weird morality of a lot of powerful entities in the Rifts universe, what is publicly embarrassing seems like it’d be up for debate, but it’s not addressed here.

Points of Interest:

Checkpoints: You will have to cross them, they are run by private security teams from Naruni Enterprises. They fine people or enforce labor contracts for folks caught lying their way in.

Thraxus’ White Tower: Thraxus is the mysterious leader of The Compact, and his house is a featureless ivory-colored tower that runs from floor to ceiling of the level. It is “some sort of dimensional gateway or some sort of dimensional pocket” and changes with the master’s whims. Powerful people sometimes meet there.

The Embassy Buildings: Given the lack of actual government bodies, it’s kind of weird to have embassies present. I guess for factions that want an official representation, but Thraxus owns these apartments and rents them out which makes them not ‘embassy ground.’ Obviously, after paying exorbitant rental fees, the tenants spend their time playing spy games.

Level 2-A is Gateland, the west half of the level. It’s sort of grand central station for dimensional arrivals. There are a lot of soldiers here, and it notes they once destroyed a supernatural intelligence that was trying to break in, a nearly impossible feat given their escape powers, so good on them. There are semi-permanent gates to all sorts of places, including a lot of evil-dominated places on Rifts Earth and a couple useful ones on Wormwood. Apparently the prometheans keep the Wormwood gates kind of secret.

Other gates lead to a ‘Plain of Mist’ which is a weird flat Silent Hill-misty dimension full of rifts, bandits, and Millennium Trees and is another trading route. Another leads to a city called ‘Megalopolis’ which worships the Greek pantheon from Pantheons. There’s also the Scorched Lands, which are sort of a staging area leading to various hell dimensions like Hades. The Ugakwa Underworld is also connected, which is from a class explained in Mindwerks. Also there’s some gates to Palladium Fantasy and other versions of Earth, and wherever else you need to go. They’ve mentioned more specific other dimensions here than in most of the supplements to the line so far.

Points of Interest on 2A:

Dimensional Checkpoints: Border guards check those who come in, fair enough.

Central Station: Between 2A and 2B, major monorail depot and station for other transit methods.

Warehouse Sector: You gotta have one if you’re a trading hub, and this one is on a well-guarded and heavily trafficked level. All of these entries talk about how many guards there are and how hostile intruders are going to die.

Level 2-B is the spaceport. Or rather, it’s where all the ‘walkways’ from the landing pads around the city lead into. They couldn’t invest in a shuttle bus or two?

Points of Interest in 2B:

Spacetown: a place for space people to space drink but on the ground.

The Shipyards: They do ship stuff here, building, refitting, and decommissioning. Much espionage, because if there’s one place you want to build your super-secret prototype, it’s a large heavily-trafficked public port.

3-A is the Splugorth trading post. The ruler of this area is ‘Klynncryth’ and I am just going to assume he is an evil(er) clone of Splynncryth refusing to believe he is a copy. Just re-read the section of Atlantis about Splynn and you get the idea, it’s pretty much identical, down to the prominent arena and the marketplace full of fuck-yous. Oh, apparently they don’t get a lot of business from the Three Galaxies, you know, the rest of their own universe, because people think the Splugorth are jerks. This makes 3G collectively smarter than basically anyplace else we’ve reviewed so far.

Level 3-B actually has a picture in it! Oh, yeah, it’s the Open Market. Small-to-medium sized businesses can rent out space and there’s a giant arcade guys, it’s called Wonderworld . Oh grandpa, your stories are always so funny. There’s no such thing as arcades. Also features the “Hy’werth Jah’Shum Inns.”

the promised picture. look at it LOOK AT IT

Level 4-A is the FTZ or “Free Trade Zone” run by Naruni Enterprises. The name is a misnomer, as only Naruni products and services are available .They sell primarily weaponry, everything has a sort of military theme. Also, the Naruni apparently will feed arms into a conflict in return for exclusive media rights to that conflict, and they do a lot of dealing in war-themed entertainments. Also they play eSports, which are a real thing that we should treat seriously. They also sell war-themed toys to the surprise of no one, and there is a sinister note about how they deliberately sell toy guns to kids to make them want real guns when they grow up.

Points of Interest include the Demo Rooms where people can go to check out the functionality of various bits of equipment, the Mechaboy Arena where people can play ‘Space Wars’, some kind of ‘vidcon’ that uses ‘holograms’ and ‘virtual reality’.

Level 4-B is the Warlock Market, since we just had the technology war market, and we are apparently not done shopping yet. This area is run by the United Worlds of Warlock which is kind of an interesting name, I hope they are interesting when they are actually explained. The Warlock Market specializes in techno-wizardry because why not? All other sorts of magic that are permitted to be sold to plebes may be found here as well. Supposedly it’s not as well-stocked as Splynn or other Splugorth markets, but it’s also less prone to killing and eating humanoids. Also, despite the enormous amount of magic present, ley line storms have only occurred three times. There is still a problem with elementals “running wild in the streets” though. The major individual point of interest is The Institute of Magical Arts which is what it sounds like, down to a lot of the staff being former students still paying off their loans.

Levels 5-8: enh, we’re not talking about rich people or ways to spend money anymore, these are all just progressively worse-off housing areas. The constables (run by...someone) tend to focus on the people who “deserve” protection and crime becomes ever more rampant as one descends. There is another black market called the Rat’s Nest on level eight, but it just sounds like a low-rent version of a Splugorth market, maybe run by humans.

9-10 are outright slums. The prometheans, in all their wisdom, permit the lowest and lost to suffer here below. These two levels are all dark twisty passages whose original purpose is unknown but now they create a suitably oppressive atmosphere for the worst versions of 1960s New York that midwestern white guys from the 90s could imagine, plus random entries from the monster manual.

That’s it for the general outline of the city, some ‘Notable Citizens’ come next.

Some Notable Citizens

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Rifts Dimension Book 2: Phase World Part 4: Some Notable Citizens

We’ve been droning on about Center for a while, and good news! We’re totally not done yet. Today we look at some of the city’s notables, and will perhaps receive cryptic hints about their past and Center’s true nature.

Firstly there is Thraxus , mysterious ruler of the Manors and believed to be Center’s oldest resident--the records that exist go back 5,000 years and he is present in every year. He sits on the Board of Naruni’s 3G franchise, and owns a shitload of properties all over the Megaverse. He is a Godling who apparently amassed his fortune after long adventures, and refers to his old “dungeon crawling” life. This is sounding more and more like somebody’s old D&D PC. These days he’s retired and amuses himself being a petty dick to everyone based on what amuses him most at the time.

note everyone’s favorite, the impaler rune sword

He’s “anarchist with leanings towards miscreant,” hey, no fair, you’re not supposed to inject nuance into those! He has assorted unrollable attributes and a piddling 684 MDC. Oh alright, that’s not bad, but the last book I wrote on was Pantheons. 15th level godling, which is at least actually a class. He actually doesn’t have any spells or psionics, which is refreshing until you get to his magic items section which gives him multiple ‘1,000 MDC forcefield’ items, invulnerability to magic, most energy, psionics, and an escape teleport. Oh, and his retinue of various bodyguards and personal army of 500 soldiers. On the one hand, I am fully aware of how groups of PCs will go out of their way to execute powerful NPCs to show they can. On the other, old retired D&D guy can suck it, those are some bullshit powers.

Anshurr is a Splugorth High Lord who likes to watch. No, seriously, he has a massive spy network and installs cameras and drones and probably listens to your private phone calls without a warrant. Anshurr doesn’t despise humanoids the way most High Lords do, but not because he’s aware that he is a two-legs, no, he just thinks they’re useful. He and Thraxus hate each other quietly.

prying…eye...is watching you

Anshurr is a 10th level High Lord with a ton of spells, some useful psionics and a best friend Rakshasa named Zabranas. No really, it says that. Has three rune weapons and 300 MDC. He’d be tough and since he isn’t a supernatural intelligence he can actually be meaningfully combatted. Though he runs a private military and all that.

Next up is Trader Smythers who does not get his own portrait, so we’ll go with this:

fanart, the gift that keeps on giving

Smythers is a member of the Uteni race from Mercenaries and is in charge of the Free Trade Zone. He’s a suit, just an alien suit. His only interests are business interests, and since he is willing to sell anything to anyone, he deals with the Society of the Knife that run the Rat’s Nest as well as normal aboveboard business. He’s not very interesting and PCs are unlikely to run across him casually. He dislikes Thraxus for his constant power plays.

Statwise he’s a non-MDC being who just owns top-of-the-line Naruni equipment and has hired thugs. He’s also very rich.

The Knife Master gets his name headlined like a section break so he must be extra-badass.

or just a refugee from Wormwood

The Society of the Knife is an underground crime syndicate that combines elements from “The Thieves’ Guild ( ), an assassin cult, the Mob, and the black market.” Way to stay focused and mix your generic crime stereotypes. They are sworn to secrecy and law enforcement is powerless to stop them.

The actual Knife Master is an enigmatic humanoid figure who rarely shows his face. He is not an Apok, despite art to the contrary, just a witch--see Conversion 1 I think? Anyway he made a deal with an alien intelligence and got powers, though he is from Wormwood. He isn’t super-tuff for all that, has several hundred total MDC but no really stupid abilities or anything, no magic or psionics. He does have uh...’50,000 full-time members’ in the Knife Society so that’s something, but mostly a lot of SDC humans so mostly red mist if push came to shove.

Next is the Promethean RCC, with no break in topic. I assume they are not notable citizens one and all. Having scanned how freaking long the promethean section is, I will leave it for its own post.

Prometheans, Prometheans, Prometheansssss!

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Rifts Dimension Book 2: Phase World Part 5: Prometheans, Prometheans, Prometheansssss!

As a race, prometheans are big and bulky with stone-like hides. They seem brutish and intimidating, but this is a lie as they are really one of the smartest races in the universe. They are also the only race that knows how to use phase technology and can “step out of phase” naturally.

They also have a two-stage development process--the big blocky humanoids are actually phase one. Phase two are gigantic (30 ft) and rarely seen in public. They’re completely alien even to all these others aliens, and can supposedly project their consciousness into several universes at once. The first stage is an optional PC race, because who doesn’t want to play a 10 ft-tall grayish-purple humanoid?

Prometheans can survive in a vacuum and don’t need to breathe. They’re genderless and don’t know a lot about their elders, but instead of fretting over that, they learn all they can about the rest of the universe. Apparently by maintaining a pressure cooker of an artifact city for observation. Stage one prometheans are therefore very prone to adventuring in their quest to explore and learn about the universe. This sort of clashes with the earlier presentation of the prometheans as enigmatic homebodies, but I won’t quibble too hard. They tolerate even very evil behavior as a part of the learning process, so they pretty much never kill their own kind--and only principled or scrupulous ones get to grow up to second stage. They have to reach 10th level and pass some kind of obscure quest, and this could be a cool campaign seed right?

Anyway, statwise they get...pretty good numbers, 3D6+10 IQ for instance--a lot of their attributes are +10. They are SDC, 1D6x100 and add 2D6 hit points per level. Oh, but they’re special SDC--their unique ‘phase powers’ protects them from MDC attacks, so MDC attacks are converted to SDC, and SDC attacks do half damage. Wouldn’t it be nice if everybody just used SDC?

Their bodies are permanently in a state of “phase,” giving the damage protection mentioned, and they can “phase teleport” one mile per level of experience with a 50% chance of success. They can also sense dimensional anomalies, fourth- and two-dimensional beings, astral travelers and the invisible essences of alien intelligences, and they can ley line phase like a walker. They get several useful psionics, and they can take temporal magic spells or “phase powers” (TBD) in place of some of their secondary skills which, wow. This is before applying any OCC templates mind. They also often get MDC armor (I don’t really see why) and some decent equipment money.

i can’t say there’s anything wrong with this appearance, but it isn’t really very striking for their signature special race

Promethean Phase Adepts are the first of three special OCCs only available to promethean characters. They are mystical guardians who have devoted themselves to the mastery of their natural phase powers for racial defense purposes. They are listed as being able to walk through walls, make themselves intangible, alter weight and momentum of objects, and teleport. They follow a strict code of honor and mostly stay at home guarding the home planet, but a customary period of journeying and exploration is expected, cue PC.

The OCC template explicitly states that they get all the cool stuff of a normal promethean plus extra physical attribute points and SDC, plus more phase powers and psionics. They also get a personal anti-magic field that negates spells directly targeting them, though it doesn’t stop energies called by a spell (call lightning, for instance) and says that those spells and rune weapons do full damage. They get some decent starting equipment and their only limitation is the usual ‘never uses cybernetics’ that gets slapped on anything superhuman. Honestly, even without knowing what the ‘phase powers’ do, this class is pretty beefy given all the racial bonii plus anti-magic plus psionics.

The Time Master is next! A small (1%) number of prometheans devote themselves to the study of temporal magic. They get a special class for this apparently, one that doesn’t require enslavement by for seven years. Though you can be one of those if you want. Instead of learning spells, time masters undergo rituals of advancement “like a mystic or warlock.” I am p. sure those classes also learn spells. Some people say time masters are the equivalent of a warlock but with the element of time, and also only prometheans can manage this special temporal connection.

They get temporal magic spells and when they level up they meditate to enter some chaotic ur-dimension where they get new spells. They also get to roll once on the phobia or obsession tables starting out, just in case they seemed too good. This class is basically a temporal wizard, but explained differently and without as many spells, though the promethean racial selections can fill in those gaps.

Non-prometheans get thrown a bone next, with the Phase Mystic OCC. These are basically pared-down Phase Adepts, suitable for the lesser races and requiring an IQ and ME of 15 or higher so almost no one will qualify. Most mystics are good, like the adepts are good, and apparently the racial selection is pretty narrow actually. They get a smaller selection of phase and psionic powers, and the phase adept magic-shield. The shield costs 5 ISP per spell blocked, and for the adept this is a trivial cost but the mystic has a lot less ISP--2D6x10 + ME, so minimum 35 but still if you roll badly you can’t really use any of the other psi powers or your shield will breach. Still not sure how good phase powers are, but this class could be applied to a lot of regular PC races pretty easily and not overpower anything.

this feels like a sad-montage scene where the hero thinks on his failures as he walks off

Second stage prometheans are next, since we had already changed subjects to not-Promethean stuff. They’re explicitly NPCs, prometheans who entered the Initiation Temples and were forever changed. Being ineffable alien overgods, they tolerate all the sins of Center for unknown reasons, even though they keep their own society free of such ills. They’re toughened by their ordeals, and looking at them is unsettling because they’re always a bit out of phase. The splugorth completely hate the prometheans for being unconquerable and mysterious, most other races just sort of think they’re creepy.

Having reached adulthood, the promethean gains +2 to all mental attributes and loses some agility. They have 4D6x10 MDC and their phased body protections are explained a bit later, but SDC weapons are ignored and all other attacks do 1/4th damage, even magic and psionics do ½. That is some good resistance. They can also phase teleport much farther, dimensional teleport, and sense anomalies and such at greater range. They keep all their previous 10th level abilities, then gain second-stage RCC levels that use the dragon XP table. They know all the lesser psionics and pick up the super ones pretty fast. They’re good buddies with Zurvan (see Pantheons) and Brahma (likewise) and they may be involved in some of those frequent ‘containments’ of evil entities that folks have going on.

Having some mysterious advanced space-race is not really surprising but these are so vaguely described that they’d be really hard to use in RP. Fortunately they’re reclusive.

Overall not wowed by how awesome and mysterious the prometheans are, they get some pretty hefty stats and are tailor-made for the young twink-adventurer but their general lack of motivation or clear culture just makes them as generic as their appearance. At the least I am glad they are not a clear force for good or evil, mostly just puttering about with their strange machinery. However, a substantial amount of tech and powers in this book are only accessible to prometheans and I mean in that other races are physically incapable of interacting with the 'phased' parts of their devices and none of the many great powers we have encountered has ever puzzled out a way of dealing with phase tech. Only prometheans.

Next: The actual promised Phase Powers.

It’s just a Phase Power, man

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Rifts Dimension Book 2: Phase World Part 6: It’s just a Phase Power, man

Phase powers! They’re basically psionics and use ISP rather than PPE. They come with a big warning text about how teleportation can totally wreck your game, man, and forcefields block phase teleports completely, which makes them substantially shittier than all other types of teleportation in the game previously. Finally noticed that might be a problem eh Kevin?

It also states that magic barriers will block phase powers; fine, but it further states that magic spells and weapons do full damage against first-stage prometheans, which, okay, we knew that already, what? The conclusion of this dire warning about game balance in a Rifts book says that phase powers should be limited to high-powered or “cosmic” campaigns, we shall see if they actually merit this sudden caution. It advises GMs to slap down cocky PCs by giving countermeasures to enemies and actions have consequences and everybody hates phase power people because they cheat, yeesh.

The powers, in order:

Anti-Phase : cancels any phase power it touches, technological, temporal wizard spells that mimic phase powers, or anything else that uses the word phase I expect.

Close Rift : just like the spell in the core, but a save vs. psionics instead of magic.

D-Phase : Very much like the temporal magic spell, far less useful than the natural phase teleport ability of a promethean PC since it costs ISP to use and takes a full round and requires breathing--but prometheans don’t gotta breathe.

D-Shift Distance : Costs 20 ISP to use, twists distance around so strikes seem to warp space and occur at lightning speed, giving a +10 to hit or dodge but not parry. For phase adepts, the cost is fairly affordable, but non-promethean mystics would have to save this for when it counted.

if i were an SDC creature wearing no armor, i’d phase around corners too

D-Shift Ghost :Basically noclip mode, very slow moving but completely undetectable. Costly but superior to D-Phase, still stopped by listed means.

Dimensional Leap : Costs one melee action and 10 ISP, +6 to dodge. Basically a quick line-of-sight teleport.

Fast Draw : Summons an attuned object weighing less than 100lbs from absolutely anywhere (not in a forcefield obviously) so characters are never truly unarmed. Cost varies by distance, may attune one object per level.

Multi-Phase : Creates several duplicate images of the character, only one of which is real. Can switch between duplicates with a melee action, and this can be done as a dodge to avoid being hit. It gives no bonuses to dodging, however, assuming the foe can tell which is real. Phase weapons, ley line storms, magic circles all disperse duplicates, and several spells, psionic powers and sensing dimensional anomalies will see through it. Also, several gameplay examples peppered through this section use ‘kreeghor’ as their targets, I wonder if they’re going to be an evil enemy race.

Phase Blast : Does 3D6 MD or SDC damage depending on the target, ignores armor--but not magic armor! Suck it, glitter boy. +4 to strike, but for 10 extra ISP it can be +8. Honestly that makes it 25 per shot for fairly crap damage, so mostly only useful against SDC squishies inside big cans.

Phase Field : Blocks incoming energy attacks, including kinetic energy from guns. Specifically that, in fact, divide non-magical energy attacks divide by 10 before striking armor or character. Does not work against Phase Blast or phase weapons, magic, or punching and kicking. Weirdly arbitrary but unsmugging rail gun people is a good cause.

Phase Warp: Confuse : If the target fails a save vs. psionics, they get -6 to all combat rolls, -40% to most skills, -60% for skills that require ‘precise spatial measurements’ so I guess don’t do any surveying under this effect. Twisting space around a character to make them mess up. One of the best powers.

Phase Warp: Displacement : Allows teleportation of 100 pounds + 50 per level of any person or thing to any other location in 100ft per level range. Save vs. psionics for unwilling targets, can’t put people in walls but over the open lava pit nearby is fine.

Phase Warp: Split Persona Sorry, I know it was only Persona 3 that did that. This power allows a character to separate their limbs and cause them to reappear some distance away. Uh, okay. This is -3 to strike by default but might be tactically useful, or good for push the extend bridge button or otherwise manipulating things in line of sight. If a character is hit by anti-phase they get a save at 12 with PE bonuses to not have the body part severed . Don’t use this power.

Spacial Distortion: Self : Creates a distortion field around the user that gives enemies -4 to hit and allows 10x speed, 4-D beings and a lot of temporal spells neutralize this power.

Spacial Distortion: Others : Works like Self, but on others. If the target is not a phase-person or temporal class, they get some penalties for the distortion to their senses.

This is not a wide selection of powers, and their ISP costs would make frequent use prohibitive for most non-promethean casters. Promethean phase adepts get several hundred ISP however, and they might be unbalanced with these as a result, especially coupled with their native abilities. As a whole though, they don’t really merit the dire warnings attached to the power section here, especially given everything else that’s already roaming around. Phase powers at least have several listed clear ways to counter them. I can’t tell if this is Carella giving a shit or Kevin freaking out that somebody else made something powerful.

Other Races & OCCs of Note Common to Phase World

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Rifts Dimension Book 2: Phase World Part 7: Other Races & OCCs of Note Common to Phase World

The Phase Powers section terminates more or less with a whimper, and we move on to other races and classes that have been tossed in because somebody drew a picture of a cool lizard guy and they aren’t gonna let that pass without some stats.

Draconid RCC is first in that vein: false reptilian humanoids, actually mammals who bear live young. They’re creatures of magic like dragons, but they walk like a man. Maybe somebody’s twisted experiment to merge dragons and humans or something. They have spread widely but thinly around the Megaverse and may be found in numerous points of interest mentioned in other books. They are presented here in the space book where magic is specifically called out as rare because this is where they had a spot to put them, gosh darnit.

sorry, when i said lizard guy, i meant like, broadly

Numbers-wise, they get better-than-human (+3) attributes and 4D6x10 MDC. Can regenerate slowly. They can subconsciously choose (not sure how that works) to become magicians or psychics at birth. Magicians get ley line walker powers and extra PPE, psychics get mind melter powers and extra ISP. They use their own XP table and are vulnerable to things that specifically hurt dragons. Playing one of these is a fairly generous edge over human versions of the same class though their stat block does not have an Equipment section, so have fun with being an impoverished space-lizard wizard.

Phantoms are the next random race selection. These are immaterial beings of light and electromagnetics. They’re often mistaken for ghosts or other psychic entities, but really they’re neither of those things--they’re one of the few races that evolved in deep space. Most of them are pretty alien as a result, but a “large percentage” of them are attracted to the energetic patterns of material life and technology. They can read people and machines in a limited way, so they’re sort of telepathic, and some of them stow away on ships and form their own weird cultures based on themselves and the squishy things around them. They are a bit like fae in enjoying a good time, but a lot more concerned about the welfare of others around them. They often build a solid shell to travel in for normal corporeal interaction purposes.

i imagine this with like a bionic man transformation noise

Their attributes are a bit strange as they have separate stats for their walking-shells which are superior to humans, but otherwise unstatted. They have 3D4x10 MDC and 1D4x10 PPE. They can see all wavelengths and “read” radio transmissions, detecting magic and other activity as normal vision. They can shoot energy beams at 2D6+1D6 per level, and have a 50% base chance to read minds at will.

Their energy form is immune to all physical attacks and takes half damage from other “energy” attacks including magic, and can become invisible at will. In that form they can generate blinding light that damages vampires, create illusions that can even fool sensors illusions normally miss, shift their shape, and convert their bodies into laser-form, doing 1D6x10 damage, adding another D6x10 at some later experience levels--which is good because using that power injures it for 3D6 MD and takes two attacks.

Building a physical shell requires 1D4 hours of work. The energy form is intangible but special “phantom catchers” sell for 20K credits. These guys are weird but not super-powerful, and most of their talents are baked-in and not subject to a lot of change over time.

We shift gears a bit then and get to the Spacer OCC. We seem to be getting away from alien races to space classes for a bit. The Spacer is specifically an independent space-person, often with a shady past, sailing among the stars.

regulation fatty suit, check

The spacer class gets some various spacy skills and some minimal equipment and money. This is kind of in the City Rat realm of OCCs, having some useful skills for spaceship but not really much to lend them to adventuring.

Next is the Galactic Tracer, your space bounty hunter. They’re viewed as extremely untrustworthy since they dive in and drag people off on whatever pretext they’re offered. Center in particular tolerates this. They’re also noted in bold font to be “Available as a player character.” in case there was any doubt, or any possibility that players wouldn’t want to be Boba Fett until they read up on what the class actually has, which is not a lot. They get slightly better equipment than the spacers, and at the GM’s discretion may own a small spaceship. They have a fair number of skills but ultimately again this is a really basic class.

i suppose this is what we would have to expect

After the semi-villainous Tracer we go to the Space Pirate, just to get to full-on criminality. These are not romanticized pirates, they’re murderers and scum who aren’t welcome in most gated communities. They get pretty similar stuff to the tracer, plus some cybernetics since what’s the fun of being a space-pirate without a cyber-hookhand.

The Runner is next, which is just a smuggler. Some of them have hearts of gold and only trespass the evil Empire but a lot of them are willing to traffick in things that are illegal for some fairly good reasons. Since their business relies so heavily on personal contacts, they would specifically just about die before snitching. Spacers and runners look very similar both in stats and concept, runners just smuggle exclusively while spacers will actually do respectable work. Again a fairly typical spread of space-skills, though they don’t get a weapon by default. Also they mostly avoid cybernetics for...reasons.

Enough with the romantic shipboard classes! You want to be a Colonist right?! Time to farm some alien dirt! Apparently two of the major space-powers have programs to train and equip colonists so they may not all die at once. Unfortunately for those hopefuls, this class is crap, don’t take it, just play Space Engineers or Kerbals or something. Colonist is meant to represent some kind of trained space-traveler but it comes off closer to space-commoner than any other class to date. KS seems to draw the line at assigning ‘peasant’ levels but he is happy to list off every crap occupation that might get shot at.

There follow some rules for converting some pre-existing Rifts classes to Phase World, since things like Borgs and Cyber-Docs can exist anywhere. Most of the classes just need ‘change drive to pilot spaceship’ since Phase World doesn’t have any screwjob for psionics or whatever. It also points out that playing Coalition soldiers in an alien-filled starry sky may be unsustainable long-term. Glitter Boys exist for some reason. There is also a plug for Aliens Unlimited as a possible source book for further inspiration on bumpy-headed races to play.

Next: Naruni Enterprises

Naruni Enterprises, arms merchants to the stars

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Rifts Dimension Book 2: Phase World Part 8: Naruni Enterprises, arms merchants to the stars

These guys were introduced in Mercenaries, and they appear here in larger, spacefaring form. They are not native to the Three Galaxies, but they have a strong presence there. They sell top-notch equipments, at top-notch prices. They are generous with their credit plans and payment options as well. Many people, armies, even entire planets have gone into debt to try and pay off the Naruni pipers, who will use legal methods for collection first, accepting any and all forms of tender including slaves and other questionable goods. If legal methods fail, however, then they send their feared Debt Collectors into action.

The Debt Collectors are apparently a massive super-army that can be brought down on nearly anything to extract payments owed. They have equipment that isn’t sold to the regular public and there’s lots of them, whole space navies apparently. This is kind of silly, much as I understand why the Naruni would want to collect their payments. I guess everybody wants their But really, if they have that much firepower and are already engaged in military logistics, you rapidly start reaching that point where the public/government divide becomes invisible and you might as well call a state a state.

Being a corporation, the Naruni are run by a mysterious board of directors. Two-thirds of their seats are held by True Naruni and Uteni traders, holding 60% of the total stock. Thraxus is another one, holding 5%, and the rest of the board is varied, including a demon lord and alien intelligence. They have the usual corporate goal of expanding their sales, including maintaining an atmosphere of war in the Megaverse so people will keep buying guns. They don’t do forcible conquest themselves despite making all the weapons and see it as a wasteful activity that they nonetheless profit from tremendously. (?!) They even have a special Social Studies Branch that does things like that Facebook experiment with spreading depression and conflict around, though they don’t directly instigate wars.

this walking stick cost the output of a small farming province and is kind of rickety, but it can fire plasma bolts!

They also have an R&D branch, though they’ve hit some kind of technological plateau and have struggled to develop anything new or radically innovative in the last several decades. This...is weird but I guess we’ll just have to run with itI guess we can just run with that, though 'decades' is a long time. Of course, being written in 1995 by a guy doing layout with a wax machine, a lot of the super-futuristic technology looks fairly tame and outdated now. Naruni Enterprises has notably been unable to crack the secrets of Phase Technology and aren’t much good at techno-wizardry, for I guess reasons. Rifts Earth has Triax and the Coalition who are...nearly on-par with a lot of Naruni toys already and this worries them because clearly no other species has come close to this?

NE has had issues with trying to expand into Rifts Earth given the often very xenophobic competition, and now they’re stepping up the activities of the Social Studies Branch to try and provoke the Coalition to war with its magicky neighbors or co-opting rival companies. This is actually several paragraphs of potential scheming and that’s all well and good but why is it in here? Like all this stuff about the Naruni on Rifts Earth seems like it should have either gone in Mercenaries or saved for later.

We’ve talked a bit about the company and their schemes, so the next thing we need is a way to take an active role in some of these enterprises. This brings us to the Naruni Repo-Bot RCC. I admit, the idea of playing a repo-bot by itself sounds amusing to me, but ultimately might be kind of limited. They are robots, sadly not designed to look like Emilio Estevez, with organic brains--so full-conversion cyborgs or mechanoids really. Nobody knows where they get the brains, nobody’s asking. They always have the best interests of the company in mind, and are very versatile and ruthless. They are described as individually being ‘as tough as a squad of power-armored soldiers’ and can operate in any environment.

Let’s see how the stats hold up: Individual parts with hundreds of MDC, main body 600 + 300 MDC forcefield, 200 MDC head. Inhumanly strong and fast, built-in particle beam cannon at 1D4x10, 2000ft range, plasma flamethrower at 5D6, 4D6 finger-laser, and they can use regular handheld weaponry as needed, energy weapons can plug into their nuclear power supply for unlimited payload. So that is fairly tuff.

do these robots reproduce sexually in a way that requires dimorphism? does bad credit get them hot in the coils?

The repo-bots also have a bunch of sensory systems, a bunch of combat bonuses, a bunch of skills, a standard plasma hand-cannon that does 2D6x10 MDC (!), and probably a ship to go get their targets with. Also they get 1D4 additional cybernetic implants as part of their robot bodies. Finally, it notes that repo-bots are better NPCs than player characters since they have loyalty chips and all. If you give one of these a gun that shoots bullets instead of lasers they can give the Cosmo-Knight a run for their money--more on those later.

Next, in case you didn’t want to play an overpowered super-cyborg with a glitch in the personality matrix, you can play a squat tentacleface True Naruni. Most people think the Uteni from Mercenaries are the real Naruni but they’re just front-men. True Naruni are ugly even by interdimensional monster standards so they try to stay out of the spotlight. Their supernatural presence also disturbs psychics and sensitive people, leading to sinister speculation about their origin and goals for the Megaverse. I didn’t realize that ‘supernatural’ was a specific state of being rather than just an origin outside of Earth. Also, I mean, they're not pretty by human standards but given the number of writhing eye-tentacles roaming the universe, this seems pretty tame. I guess the compromise is that they don't just have a massive horror factor.

at least this is probably not a racial stereotype

Their attributes range from good (IQ) to human-average, except for PB which is 1D6 because, you know, squat hideous. They have some natural MDC and some automatic psionic powers but no listed ISP score, well rats. They take double damage from rune and holy weapons like an evil monster so clearly they are. Also, they are described as ‘squat’ and then listed as 6 to 8 feet tall. The RCC doesn’t say they have to be NPCs but it seems to clearly imply this, since they will be feared and hated pretty quickly if they go outside around people. They also have no listed equipment or moneys.

Also, since we didn’t get enough Gene-Splicers in Mindwerks, they’re presented here in the last corner of the NE section. Their genetic engineering abilities are better than anybody else’s you guys, only ancient gods are their equals when it comes to makin’ monsters. Some people think they’re actually the tattered remnants of the First, or perhaps the One, the bad one who turned the Forge on people. All of this is conjecture though, since they travel in small groups and don’t have a home planet.

have some generic stars

Next: The Three Galaxies, at last.

The actual Three Galaxies

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Rifts Dimension Book 2: Phase World Part 9: The actual Three Galaxies

Now that we’ve wandered off on a couple of class- and race-related tangents, maybe we can hear more about the rest of this expansive universe. The text states that there are over a hundred thousand spacefaring races, with maybe two or three times that number at a lesser stage of development. The two biggest space-nations are the Consortium of Civilized Worlds and the Transgalactic Empire, and the latter is the more warlike and expansionist.

The Three Galaxies themselves are commonly called the Corkscrew, the Thundercloud, and the Anvil; alright. These three galaxies are within 20-30 thousand light years of each other, and the next-nearest neighboring galaxies are 300,000 light years away. I honestly don’t know if those are reasonably realistic figures and it doesn’t matter much, ship drives would take three months or so to make a 30K light year trip in-setting. Most sentient populations seem to be clustered around the borders of the galaxies and away from the “cores” which are full of black holes and other nasty cosmic phenomena. Travel between the galaxies is faster than travel within as a result of all the mysterious bullshit clustered around the interiors, or so they say--this is not actually given numerical support under the drive stats.

The political layout of the 3G resembles a political map of a planet, because that is much simpler to deal with--err, because people mostly live on the “surface” of the galaxies. Rebellion against the Transgalactic Empire has produced the Free World Council and the United Worlds of Warlock dominate about one-fifth of the Anvil. Lots of smaller space-nations rule single systems or groups of systems. Lots of habitable space remains largely unoccupied.

As mentioned, there’s a plethora of races scattered around the Galaxies, some native, some imported. Since rift activity occurs naturally in the Phase World universe, evolution may have taken some strange turns and some races colonized by accident. Humans are about 12% of the total population, which is a lot, but not a dominating force. Where all the humans came from is a subject of debate, some postulating a mythical Earth and others saying some other dimension. The humans primarily speak a “Galactic Trade Tongue Four” which is so similar to English/American that characters with that language automatically understand it. Standard days for humans are 24 hours, and years 365 days. I’m willing to just take that for convenience, the language thing seems like something technology or narrative handwaving could deal with.

how ‘bout a repeat of them stars from earlier, with some baffling spaceboob?

You know what else is in space besides humans? Wolfen . 10% of the 3G is wolfen, originating from an Ancient Wolfen Empire and Galactic Trade Tongue Three is identical to the
wolfen language. They formed a space republic (of wolfen) and joined the CCW after losing a long war with the Empire. Many wolfen still live in there.

The Kreeghor dominate the Transgalactic Empire and will be detailed soon I hope. They seem to be dominated by ‘chieftains’ and are probably mean aliens. They clock in at about 8%.

No other race makes up more than 3% of the total population of the 3G, though even very small percentiles still represents billions of members of a particular species. Likewise, there are a crap ton of languages and dialects but there are six major trade tongues used by a lot of spacefarers. Trade One is space-latin or something, believed to have been one of the languages of the First, very old, easy to learn (okay, so not Latin) and gives a 10% bonus to learning by being easy and everywhere. Trade Two is a telepathic language and requires psi-powers to speak. Three is Wolfen. Four is Human-English. Five is all hisses and whistles and clicks, aimed at reptilian or insectoid races with awful mouthparts. Six is a constructed language made by the CCW intended to be a truly universal language, with all words having multiple variants intended to be available to any sentient being dependent on method.

Also, they still call money the Credit or Universal Trade Credit--other currencies exist but everyone takes Credits. Just not credits from other dimensions and planets. Phase World has exchange centers for a lot of offworld currencies but in general this universe does not use the same currency as everywhere else in the known universe. Honestly the strangely ubiquitous ‘credits’ in every other setting were sort of weird, especially when they were being used by civilizations that evolved separately and virulently hated each other.

I know it was meant as a convenience and I’m not sure now is the time to fix it, but well, in Phase World you need Three Galaxies credits instead of a Rifts Earth ones. It also specifies that Splugorth credits are separate things, with a more favorable exchange rate since Splugorth traders are interdimensionally known. It seems weird to start worrying about currency now, and finding this tidbit can be hard when you are going back and forth looking for info.

That’s the major overview of the very broad galactic structure. The Consortium of Civilized Worlds is next, and then probably the Empire and a sidequest into Kreeghor classes.

Also known as “The Consortium”

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Rifts Dimension Book 2: Phase World Part 10: Also known as “The Consortium”

So, here we go with the mostly-good space nation. In a surprise move, the goodish guys are not on the verge of being overrun by evil and darkness, nor are they nazi-analogues or just fucking idiots. They are a light-touch sort of government that pretty much does peacekeeping/self-defense though, so kind of a libertarian federal ideal. Individual planets have a lot of leeway in self-governance so long as certain basic rights are preserved. I’d be harder on this but it’s more or less how most generally positive space governments are written. There are some basic rights, they still get infringed sometimes, space is vast and communication is fast but not instant or total.

Of course, they go on to erode my charitable goodwill by saying “...in some ways, it is similar to the American Confederacy during the Civil War, a loose alliance of “states…” Like seriously, they couldn’t think of any better example of this phenomenon, even within US history? I mean in the very next paragraph they proceed to explain that slavery is super-double illegal. The Civilization Compact has three main clauses, one is no slaves, one is no war of conquest without winning at model UN, and all signatories must have a full planetary government--they don’t deal with nation states. That last is actually kind of an interesting wrinkle, though it states that occasionally they’ll grant membership to one section of a planet. There’s also a bill of rights that more or less mimic American law.

Humans and Noro are 21 and 20% of the population, followed by Catyr (sounds promising), Wolfen, and whatever race they are thinking ‘Seljuks’ are. 24% are ‘Other’ because again this is a diverse alien-filled realm. “Associated” races are under a “noninterference” policy that forbids more than very limited contacts. This is presented as a basic fact of CCW law but no justification is given--and guys, the Federation’s Prime Directive can be kind of shitty, so you do need to examine that a bit or at least show some understanding of its full effects.

CCW law is very vague and broad for any number of reasons, though I imagine they have a lot of “standards laws” that are way too boring to get into, stuff like the standard size of a docking ring or what is a pound, etc. They have a congress that rarely accomplishes anything and a bunch of ministries that are actually elected and include a Prime Minister with some degree of executive and emergency power. Lastly, they have a judicial branch which enforces and reviews. Sure, sure.

CCW Armed Forces are closer in role to the Coast Guard, being limited to keeping spaceways clear and some defensive capabilities, and are not an expeditionary force. The Galactic Security Agency acts as a ‘planetary police force’, hey didn’t we just discuss how they have highly varied local government? Also they’re listed as being equivalent to the CIA which means they shouldn’t operate on CCW territory but w’ev. Then there’s the Treaty Violation Investigation Agency which--man do these people not bother with a State Department? Anyway the TVIA is riddled with corruption and has had to spend a lot of time on IA stuff rather than policing exploitation of natives. Also, the CCW officially recognizes legal status for cosmo-knights to enforce CCW law.

CCW society is varied and vast, but the biggest single divide is spacers and groundsiders. Spacers are not to be confused with the shitty class in this case, it’s anyone who primarily lives and works in space travel, and groundsiders don’t. Spacers are a minority at about 10% of the population but their work is pretty important to starfaring trade. There is little love lost between the two as groundsiders see spacers as shiftless and untrustworthy and spacers see groundies as provincial and backward. All these CCW folk share a generalized dislike for war though, so ultimately they get along.

Their main enemy is the obvious one, the Transgalactic Empire but they ain’t fans of the Splugorth either. The United Worlds of Warlock are pally, as is the Paradise Federation, that sounds like a nice place to live.

Major Worlds of the CCW:

Terra Prime: Sadly not Primate. Not even Earth really, archeology suggests that human ships crashlanded there about 10,000 years ago. Capital of the Human Alliance segment of the CCW, densely populated and other planets in system are being terraformed.

Noro-Gor: Don’t think they thought the name of this one through all the way. Homeworld of the noro race, TBD. Actually evolved there, and is preserved now as a vacation home for the noro race, they like to make pilgrimages.

Motherhome: Home planet of the Wolfen, not a part of natural evolution of the planet but they seem to have been rifted in a very long while back and that weakened magical energies on the planet considerably ever since. After developing space travel the Wolfen shut down all their major industries on planet and moved them offworld, because that totally makes sense.

Gemini One and Two: Two planets locked in a “freak binary orbit” that should have decayed and hasn’t. One is home to the seljuk, the second is a “chaotic madhouse!” It’s battered by constant ley line activity and it has more PPE than even Rifts Earth. Must be a lot of people died there, but archeology suggests this state of affairs has lasted sixty million years, versus the three hundred or so that Earth’s chaos period lasted. Anyway it’s not a nice place to live.

The Utopias: The CCW’s oldest and wealthiest planets, basically the Hamptons and Westchesters of space. Non-planetary citizens have much lower standards of living and the rich live in gated sections of the planet. There’s apparently 20 of these.

Here we have the next selection of wildly power-mismatched OCCs. I may be a bit unfair, they may all be crap, the last group mostly was.

The first is the CAF Trooper. They’re soldiers. They do war and stuff. They get some military issue armor and rifle, and those might be passably okay but mostly this is a really basic, really boring class. Also: “Most cultures in the Three Galaxies view cybernetic and bionic replacements with distaste and avoid them if possible.” Seriously? First they say magic is rare, then they say we shouldn’t be cyborgs. It’s like they don’t want us to play Rifts at all!

i thought kevin long had left the company by now, but perhaps this was just saved

CAF Fleet Officer: Supposed to be resourceful and diligent multi-talented officers who have to perform a wide variety of operations under less than ideal conditions. They get some combat bonuses to reward them for having rolled well in CG (IQ and ME 12, MA 11) and more skills than the soldier. Same basic general equipment but with mission-available grenades, and practically no money.

fire up the clone vats boys

TVIA Inspector: If you ever wanted to play Intergalactic Customs Officer, now is your chance. Really though these guys are supposed to be anti-slavery enforcers and normal citizens fear and hate them for enforcing their rights. Also some of them are corrupt and they have an image problem. They get almost nothing, character-wise, and since Rifts doesn’t really have systems for handling ‘broad enforcement powers’ it’d be up to the GM.

looks legit, bet we can trust him

Next we have the CAF Scientist. They science things. They have about the same armor and weaponry as the Soldier but some extra science gadgets, but they’re still another generic class that doesn’t have a lot going for it.

Cybernetics: None.

Now we go to the Noro RCC. Since they are a major core race of the Consortium, we shall receive their racial data as a set of class statistics. The noro developed psionics early and so rapidly developed a lot of technologies, and knew there were other races in the galaxy long before they left their home planet. A nearby world, Ironee, had its own civilization that had not developed quite as far or as fast. The noro began launching colonization attacks. The ironees ( ) responded with nukes, that the noro had abandoned centuries previously as unsafe. This ended up destroying all life on the planet and made the noro very upset with their governments. Now Ironee is a monument to hubris and all noro have to make a pilgrimage there at least once in their lives. They also have a lot of cultishness about the First because being heavily psychic, they’re prone to having visions.

those are psychic headspikes

They get pretty good mental stat numbers, though those don’t matter a lot aside from giving them ISP. They get several psi-powers naturally and have OCCs with more, and can take most regular classes. As an RCC they’re oddly incomplete, lacking skills and other similar elements--I guess the assumption is that they’ll get that from the OCC.

OCCs like the Noro Psychic. These are also called the ghost-makers, which sounds ominous. Basically, the noro are a psychic race. Some of them develop this ability further, and as a race they have developed the unique power to summon and control ghosts with their minds. This makes them big hits at war memorials like that entire planet that got nuked. Theoretically the class is limited to noro-only, and the ME requirement of 14 or higher makes them much more likely to qualify, but in a rare show of inclusion it suggests that other races might develop an equivalent class or be trained as honorary ghost-makers.

i’m starting to feel like i’m in a sci-fi mmo cg screen

They get a fixed selection of non-super psi-powers and can select supers at higher levels, with some exceptions. They also get the aforementioned ghost-summoning power which is no-save for haunting/syphon and every 4 minutes for tectonic and possessing. I’m not going to look up the specifics on these again but the latter two were much scarier. They can also cause the ghosts to be imprinted with memories of a victim of traumatic events and talk to them about it. That sounds sort of mean. If they make the entities fight in a potentially lethal battle, the entities save at +3, though for some reason they’re more than willing to force ghosts to relive traumatic memories, but won’t endanger them.

They get a fair bit of ISP plus some other psionic bonii, a broad swath of doctor-y skills and some limited combat. Some basic equipment and money. The ghost-summoning ability is kinda neat and not overpowered, though I recall a lot of the nastier bads out there being basically immune to some of the nastier attacks the ghosts can do.
The noro mystic warrior is our next contender. These are the select few that keep the noro’s warrior heritage alive. Honestly, a race this compassionately psychic seems like it’d have little space for warriors ever, but I’m not really gonna quibble. These are combat psychics and shunned by most other noro. They start getting fierce as adolescents and have to deal with repression and discouragement from their families but that only makes them more eager. Then if they find a teacher they hone their special talents.

The special abilities they get include the ability to drastically increase their SDC yeah that’ll be a lifesaver. They can also do a mega-damage mind blast that costs a lot of ISP to make significant (5 per 1D6, level +2D6 max) and they get a lot of psionics as they level. They have more ISP than the psychic, and better combat stuff, because they’re warriors and all.

apparently those are ‘psi-guns’ so i suppose we can excuse the triangular barrels

Enough about those little big-head guys, now we’re onto the Space Wolves. Sorry, Wolfen. The Space Wolfen RCC is the basic template for...apparently heavily-Roman influenced space wolf people. Sure, okay. Well, they declare them to be romanesque but they don’t have a senate and aren’t expansionist, they just maybe speak space latin. They’re very loyal to their species, sometimes to the point of xenophobia, and honorable and honest. They live in CCW and Empire space, the latter being more ‘supremacist’. They get less charisma in return for more strength, neither attribute mattering much except that a lot of psi classes need MA 12 or higher and they get 2D6. They can take pretty much any OCC they can qualify for, and apparently there are a lot of wolfen cosmo-knights.

The Wolfen Quatoria aka Star Marshals are an OCC paired with the RCC. They were circuit court enforcer types, Dogs long before the Vineyard. Nowadays in the age of space travel they are nearly full-conversion cyber-wolfen. If ever there was a class that needed a robot horse, if you feel like digging through Vampire Kingdoms for the random page where they buried those. These lawmen can sometimes be overzealous and tend to prefer ‘dead’ in ‘dead or alive’ type situations, but they stick within the law, and are willing to pursue fugitives outside CCW space. They also work undercover...somehow.

the first one sez rin tin tin anything gets it

They’re super cyborgy, like better than anything but Atlantis and never mind about--you know this whole tech thing is just weird. Anyway they get 350 MDC bodies, they have wolf-terminator living skin (thanks for the full paragraph of detail about that, Phase World) and have ‘nano-machine regeneration’. I guess this came out around the time ‘nano’ was replacing ‘radiation’ as the magical future power maker. Anyway they self-repair, slowly, which is handy for a cyborg PC. +6 save to psionics through SCIENCE!, and a bunch of super bionic senses, cyber-lungs and other parts I recognize from the same laundry list they’ve printed over and over since whichever of Heroes Unlimited or Ninjas and Superspies came out. They have some good combat bonuses even before skills, mega-damage hand to hand, lots of fitey skills, and some decent weapons and armor to go with it. This is a pretty buff class, but I don’t feel like it’s overpowered. The MDC is high but not unbeatable and they don’t have a built-in endless plasma cannon or anything. Though they might be able to get one, who knows. ‘space terminator sherriff wolf’ is the kind of gonzo concept I come to Rifts for though, so go for it.

So now we have dogs, let’s have some with the Catyr RCC. Huh, this is actually pretty tame, I was expecting something really awful. They’re basically radioactive human-looking-oids. They have metallic hair and will slowly sterilize their friends if they are not careful. Their origins are shrouded in mystery because who would do this on purpose?! but they’re mostly like people. They have much, much better physical stats than humans at 4D6+6 PP and PE and 6D6+6 PS without significant downside other than They also have a decent bit of natural MDC. They can’t learn psionics but otherwise can be what they want, they’re barred from magic classes that ‘require mystic knowledge’ but it says they can learn so

Lastly we have the Seljuk RCC. These are spaze-lizard people from a planet where dinosaurs never got et by a meteor. Why they thought ‘seljuk’ was a good name I don’t know. Their parallel evolution is very baffling to all the science and archeology suggests there was a bunch of PPE radiation around fifty million years ago which made all the dino-peoples MDC. So instead of a meteor, the dinosaurs that couldn’t become MDC all died, probably from the light breezes generated by their supernatural-PS cousins. We are promised a space T-Rex for later, and these fellas here. They claim dragons taught them science, and they had to cast a super-gigantic spell to banish terrible rift activity from their world and as a consequence their entire species has lost access to magic. The Cosmic Forge somehow helped this ceremony along and is now a major part of Seljuk religion. Later they were discovered by the noro while they were fiddling with their primitive atom-weapons and such, and eventually joined the CCW. Their culture is ‘chivalric’ because that’s not a tired trope and they value bravery and conviction and keeping one’s word.

Their stats are...better than humans again, by a lot even. They’re minimum 9 feet tall being space-dino-people and they have a good bit of MDC, and can be psionic. They can be any non-caster OCC, which leaves a wide selection. The Catyr and Seljuk are kinda comparable statwise, better than regular humans by a longshot, just limited from one or the other sort of supernatural profession. Their cultures are not very interesting but individuals have range at least.

And that’s the CCW writeup, the Transgalactic Empire is next. There look to be at least four new RCCs in this next section, which is reasonably fitting since they want a lot of aliens. Unsure how cartoonishly evil the Empire will be.

Required Evil Empire

posted by occamsnailfile Original SA post

Rifts Dimension Book 2: Phase World Part 11: Required Evil Empire

The Transgalactic Empire is ruled with an iron fist by the kreeghor though they are not the only race with power and influence. They ARE the result of Splugorth bio-engineering, bet they’re happy how that turned out when they rebelled. Of course, they rebelled by being even more bloodthirsty and crazy than their masters so the cartoonish evil-o-meter is getting high. They have actually lightened up a little over time, having respect for wolfen they conquered, and slowly letting other races into their hearts and ‘elected offices’.

finally! a picture of a spaceship

The Empire makes a lot of war, particularly with the CCW, which is bigger, but less well-organized. They’re still both big enough to grind both of them to dust if they fought, so there’s an uneasy peace going on. Empire planets rebel frequently against their oppressive yoke and the CCW is sympathetic if not outright responsible.

The Empire is ruled by an Emperor with a Royal Family and stuff. They sometimes adopt heroic subjects, even non-Kreeghor, into this enclave of privilege. Large estates worked by slaves labor to bring them all the best in life, and they make war to keep the gravy train running. Below that is a large selection of Ministries that do government stuff, plus a lot of corruption. Military governors rule individual planets and answer to the Royals.

Society-wise, the Empire is a lot like the CCW honestly: Subjects do what they want as long as they don’t interfere with the Imperial government or break important laws or annoy someone more important. The major difference is a constant, visible military and propaganda presence, as those are the only hallmarks of an oppressive regime. Dissidents may be jailed or intimidated and free speech is more limited, though the CCW didn’t actually talk a lot about that, it seemed to be sort of assumed. The Royal Family can do anything they want, legally, even if they don’t spend all their time kicking puppies and evicting people. A lot of industry is run with slaves--which is actually kind of hard at high technological levels.

There’s also racism in the Empire, the Kreeghor, Wolfen, Silhouette and machine people all get more privileges than others. It’s not like ‘apartheid’ racism, more like ‘federally subsidized housing and biased jury selection’ racism. The only way around this is being a warrior of some kind.

Here we break off from talking about the Empire to hear the story of an ongoing rebellion that has turned into a bit of a sore spot for the Empire. The Free World Council formed when a human/wolfen world rebelled and a ‘Michael Klass’ ended up leading a big revolt on a planet called “Good Hope” A bunch of independents, rabble-rousers, and Splugorth-provided assistance helped keep the Empire off and now there’s a Free World Council run by “Rachel Klass,” granddaughter of the original revolution. They’ve taken a couple dozen worlds and are not very big, but they annoy the shit out of their former oppressors by existing.

Anyway back to the Empire after that little digression: Their foreign affairs interactions always have the ultimate goal of conquest, keeping enemy fears allayed until they can strike, and then striking. They do some trade because...well, you have to. But mostly they are waiting for the right moment.

Major worlds: Kreeghor-Tet is the capital planet, where most of the Royal Family lives, etc. The Splugorth still want their former slave race back and have repeatedly attacked the capital world to make their point, so it has big defenses.

Good Hope was already covered, it’s basically space-Cuba at this point, a giant military camp for all them anti-Imperial commies

Hellholes: These are what people call the Kreeghor prison worlds, because of course those exist.

So, now we have learned that the kreeghor are a former Splugorth slave race that reached independence. Or at least the ones in Phase World did. They’re spiny and have a perpetually crouched posture, ready to spring. Totally trustworthy. They’re a savage warrior race who never should have managed technological advancement given their poor cooperation skills. Too bad the Splugorth gave them guns and ships. This allowed them to develop a working social structure and revolt, much to the Splugorth’s chagrin. I’m always happy to see the Splugorth take a loss so that gives the kreeghor one notch. Apparently they were led by “secret race of super-kreeghor” who might have been the work of Gene-Splicer infiltration or maybe the Cosmic Forge, which is the explanation for every single weird race thus far. We’ll see the royal kreeghor later.

Apparently this kreeghor rebellion managed to kill an actual Splugorth, which is quite the feat. It’s constantly suspected that some other power was involved in manipulating the rebellion, but nobody knows and the end result is a massive space empire of former rebels turned conquerors. Most kreeghor are warriors or something really closely related to war, like weaponsmiths. Hippie layabouts are treated with extreme suspicion by regular kreeghor and by outside races should they leave the Empire to not get hassled allatime. They are optional player characters, basically you’d have to be an expat.

They have heavily superior-to-human stats, a good bit of natural MDC (2D6x10 +20 + 3D6/level), regenerate slowly, have mega-damage hand to hand attacks, and are +2 to save versus psionics or magic but take double damage from magic weapons including techno-wizard items. They tend to go warrior OCC but are not actually limited from anything.

The Royal Kreeghor RCC is specifically an NPC block. They can be born from the union of any kreeghor (1% chance which is still a lot honestly) or more frequently from two royals (50%) and get a lot of extra stuff on top of being spiny asshole monsters already. Supposedly, there are only 10 million of these, but that doesn’t match the population chances given above unless these guys die constantly in fights. They are all totally devoted to war and the Empire and so not very good at anything not one of those things. However, people are “too afraid of their wrath to try and trick them.” Every thousand years, one of them is selected to be the Emperor. The old and new go somewhere underground, the new one comes out, having been granted god-like powers. Nobody knows what happens.

The royal kreeghor lack the free will of the regular kreeghor and are just dicks. They are much, much more powerful in attributes, MDC, and everything else. They regenerate about 7 MDC a round, they have a bunch of psionic powers, they get magic, MDC claws and bites, combat bonuses and a pile of skills--and of course, being privileged members of a ruling class of tyrants, they have guns and stuff.

The Kreeghor Emperor also gets a general block for shits and giggles I guess. They’re...strong, but not invulnerable, a couple thousand MDC with a lot of magic and psionics. Has a unique rune sword, the Sword of Kreeghor, which is not statted, and a staff of pacification, along with all the other goodies a military ruler would possess. They’re tough but they take 10X damage from any Millennium Tree weapons the party thought to bring from England. Uh...you did right? Also extra damage from magic and rune weapons, the real problem would be fighting through the rest of the kreeghor to get to the end boss here.

Now we’re on to the machine people . Long ago, there was a graceful race of monkey-like people called the machinists who developed a lot of wondrous technology. Their peaceful civilization was attacked and largely destroyed by a race called the Star Hunters. All their technological marvels were lost, the Star Hunters were themselves destroyed by galactic vengeance, and the last enclave of machinist scientists put their minds to work solely upon revenge. This did not result in Mechanoids this time, but in a race of liquid metal people who had two genders because it is very important for machines to be gendered, and who, upon awakening, refused to exterminate the entire galaxy that had stood by while the machinists were destroyed.

This last bastion of the machinists was a little flummoxed by that response. They had created living machines with reason and morals apparently. This shamed them, and they retreated into obscurity, never to return again. Seriously, that’s where their narrative ends, and all the cool stuff the machinists had is gone forever except these guys. The machine people proceeded to re-enact the traits of life they were given, colonizing and spreading. People (this includes radioactive humanoids, dinosaur people, glowing waves of sentient radiation that build people-shaped shells, Splugorth, and others) were terrified of these strange living machines, that just weren’t natural!

The kreeghor tried to conquer them and then changed their minds--they might be useful. The CCW got deadlocked on their membership application because maybe they weren’t ‘true’ life-forms, being machines. The text here says they were forced to surrender to the kreeghor, but earlier it says they’re treated with greater respect in the Empire than other races. A bunch of the machine people have joined the Free World Council, while others still fight for the Empire that took them in when no one else would. It uh...I can almost see Siembieda and Carella fighting over the pen here. It goes back and forth almost sentence by sentence.

also silver surfer need to eat a sandwich

These are listed as optional PCs, I guess because hated and feared. They have good attributes and decent MDC. They die after 200 years in what appears to be a deliberate termination routine, something they haven’t been able to eliminate. They also have a bunch of T-1000 powers.

Morphing: They can take on properties from other nearby materials. This takes 1D6 rounds and they can do a variety of things like adding 1D4x100 MDC, add +10 to PS, alter their shape in various grotesque ways, make swords and stuff.

Machine melding: They can link with machines and get bonuses to piloting and vehicle maneuvers and automatically gain the benefits of several skills it already said they get bonuses to. Likewise, this applies to computers. There are apparently anti-machine people security systems that require them to make a save or take some damage and never be able to penetrate .

Power Source: Since these guys are advanced, they don’t have a piddly little nuke plant. They have fusion . This becomes inert when they die. Well that was exciting. They also list “Regeneration of Power and Energy” separately but it should be here, they get unlimited ammo with energy weapons.

Reproduction: This is a special power because they are machines. Basically when a mommy robot and a daddy robot love each other very much, they can produce a baby. This baby will have 1D4X10 MDC. Thanks Rifts, I was just waiting to find out how much MDC a baby robot has.

Regeneration and Nutrition: They eat metal to heal themselves.

Invulnerabilities: They’re immune to a lot of that stuff that kills meatbags. They can survive being reduced unconscious to -99 MDC, but -100 kills them.

This RCC has RCC skills and it’s a semi-wide spread, with a lot of beep-boop robot stuff and then almost anything else so you can customize your robofriend a little. They don’t get any other gear but their robot bodies, but those might be enough. They are a little bit powerful and versatile but by default not combat monsters aside from being kinda tanky.

From there we go to the Silhouette RCC. These are a race of jet-black humanoids who had better not be fucking space drow . Solid-white eyes, graceful and naturally able to shadow-meld. Alright, not space drow. They are noted spies and assassins and come from a magic-heavy planet sort of like Rifts Earth. They were conquered by the kreeghor several thousand years ago but not eliminated, assimilated instead. They’re established as upper-level subordinates now, and some few enclaves even exist outside the Empire. They’re great spies, as mentioned, and good at magic which is not all that common--honestly it’s a little surprising the kreeghor would keep them around given their vulnerability but I guess they do need some support.

they also consume 80% of the galaxy’s hair gel
Optional PCs, better-than-human stats--Carella seems to give all his races stat rolls that might let them actually qualify for some of the cooler classes out there. A bit of natural MDC, a lot of PPE, and naturally know six spells at CG. They can shadow-meld as per the spell at will, and make areas darker around themselves, gaining some stealth powers and increased MDC while this is active. In normal light they lose their bonii, and sunlight leaves them at -2, -10 MDC. This RCC is another one not intended to add an OCC template, so they just get to choose 18 skills basically of any type, allowing a flexible character. Really not overpowered IMO. The only reason they’d be ‘optional’ PCs is that Siembieda slaps that label on all things primarily serving the badguys I guess.

The Imperial Legionnaire OCC is available if you want to play an evil space trooper. Their harsh training “makes marine boot camp look like a boy scout camping trip.” They are supposed to obey orders and kill on command, deserters are shot on sight but there are a lot of deserters for some reason.

There’s not much to this one, as with many of the ‘soldier’ classes. They get 90 MDC armor, a couple guns, and some other misc war equipment. Even if you went really wild with the gun/grenade choice, there’s not a lot to this class.

Next is the Imperial Security Agent. These are the space-gestapo of this particular evil empire. Being spies, they don’t usually go around proclaiming themselves as spies. They have a decent spread of skills and get spy stuff like fake papers and disguises, but their equipment is specifically mission-related, and I doubt anyone ever wanted to play a kreeghor empire loyalist campaign.

the flattop detects lies

And of course, the Freedom Fighter OCC. Space-Che awaits. These guys have been “taught since childhood to hate the Empire” and are fanatically dedicated to destroying their enemy. Make of that what you will. They get pretty much the same stuff as the Legionnaire which is more a reflection of the sameness of a lot of character builds versus any deliberate irony, except that the Freedom Fighter gets a Naruni rifle and suit of armor versus mil issue, and a couple more guns of choice.

That’s it for now, there are more aliens to come.

United Worlds of Warlock & Splugorth

posted by occamsnailfile Original SA post

Rifts Dimension Book 2: Phase World Part 12: United Worlds of Warlock & Splugorth

Alright, so we’ve done the Federation and the Empire. Now we get to the space wizards. Basically a bunch of elves figured out how to open rifts from one planet to another and used this to build a star kingdom without ever leaving the ground. One wonders a little while rifts Earth hasn’t figured this out, but then most of the nations that use magic professionally are either dinky or dominated by utter evil. The space elf king is named Silverlight, which is funny now but was just typically elfy back when this was written, and has ruled for several thousand years.

The elves met a coalition calling themselves the Warlocks who were sadly not the band but a bunch of other wizards of varying stripe who puzzled out ways to make magic work with space. The elves and warlocks came to a friendly agreement and exchanged tricks, so everybody got rift drives and learned to follow ley lines in space.

insufficiently even if warlock

This fragile alliance began expanding cautiously further into the space around them. They pretty much met the inevitable waiting doom and ran into the Splugorth, who started a nasty war and were proceeding to win it. The elves sent out a plea for help “through the ley lines” and...someone came. It was space dwarves in riveted iron ships with cannons that shot mini-rifts into enemy vessels. With their new allies, the United Worlds of Warlock were able to toss the Splugorth back into smaller borders and drive out an intelligence entirely, and proceeded to adopt strays of all magical kinds, including a planet full of the supposedly super-rare True Atlanteans.

As much as I am not a super-fan Tolkien In Space, this whole origin series fits reasonably well with the tropes it is following, obeys some Rifty class/race assumptions in the fiction without seeming dumb, and the description of the dwarven fleet is actually pretty cool.

The current UWW is a fusion of a monarchy (the Elven High King and his “Star Chamber” ), a bunch of techno-anarchists (“Warlock”) and a capitalist meritocracy (Dwarven Guilds). This required some maneuvering to create a workable governing body and they ended up with a Parliament. The Parliament has a lead Consul who has coincidentally been the Elven King Silverlight for the past one hundred elections because he is just a cool dude. Each member world gets two reps and how the world chooses them is up to that world.

The UWW is very open to magic obviously, but they also use tech because they are not idiots and only a relatively small slice of any given population can actually enter a magical OCC. There isn’t much more rivalry than the occasional bit of trash talk. They trade freely with the Consortium, rattle sabers back at the Empire, and aid the Free World Council. Their major enemies are the Splugorth of course, pirates (everyone’s enemy) and the “Star Hives” to be described shortly.

Major Worlds:

Alfheim: Where the elfs come from. It’s full of universities and observatories and other pursuits of the mind. It’s also home to the Palace of Diamonds which is in fact literally covered with jewels and home to the Parliament.

Tempest: A planet full of elementals. The Warlocks used this as a base planet since its natural violence made it a useful shooting ground and ready source of elementals to enslave into their giant trai--I mean, uh, a good place to study that stuff.

The Smithy: Dwarf home planet, basically a forge world in the most literal way possible.

New Midgard: This is that weird planet mentioned briefly in Pantheons and is ruled by the actual Asgardians and connects to the World Tree in a weird way. The actual pantheon doesn’t come by often, but it is connected to their realm and sells a crapton of magical stuff.

A fairly brief writeup for these guys. Most of the magic stuff is in other books already, with a few bits here in this one and the sourcebook. For these relatively 'good' space nations, the government is always some kind of blandly described coalition among disparate entities, which I suppose is somewhat reasonable given travel times. However it would make sense then if the Empire and splugorth had trouble managing their own disparate little planets--but nope, evil is always doggedly loyal except for occasional rebellion.

Lastly for today, we’ll touch on the splugorth in space. Somehow I envision a big tentacled horror with bubble helmets around each horrible eye. The Splugorth space presence considerably smaller than the other star nations around it, and dwarfed completely by their rebelled-slave kreeghor. The UWW is 500 billion people, for instance. The splugorth have 80 billion. That is still a lot of people, and we get one of their usual percentile race breakdowns (20% Overlords, the fuck?). They’re split into four “kingdoms” though they work together overall, plus the trading sector in Center.

They’ve made several unsuccessful attempts to take Center, which is mysteriously well defended. Rifts would go to the wrong place, taking battle fleets into the heart of a sun, and so on. They ended up just paying rent and biding their time. The four splugorth space kingdoms are ruled by their individual absolutist intelligences and they’re not friends, but they hate others more than each other. We’re spared long loving writeups of how each one individually prefers torture or whatever. They’re villains, worse than the Empire, but not poised to take over everything.

The last section covers the Paradise Federation and “Other.” It’s a big galaxy and not fully inhabited a dozen times over from the sound of things, so there’s a lot of space and a lot of races. Despite describing the galaxies as being settled mostly at their peripheries in an easy-to-draw-a-map way, it also sounds a bit like some of these star nations are discontinuous.

Anyway, the Paradise Federation is a very small alliance of worlds, just 26 total, 21 billion people total--that’s a pretty sparse population. The worlds are all big vacation spots catering to all manner of vice and indulgence. They have a relatively small permanent population as a result, and a large transient tourist population churning through constantly. All of these worlds are owned by the Paradise Foundation, a giant entertainment corporation, and all permanent citizens are employed by them. They make a lot of profit and so employ a lot of naruni guards to protect their special destinations.

Since these are all giant company towns, the security is pretty tight. Crime is still common, but usually more “petty theft and grifting” rather than murder in the streets. Employees are on contract and have no recourse against mistreatment by management. Their salaries are supposed to be high, but it sounds like a pretty oppressive work situation, especially for the dishwashers and other low-level staff.

Being a giant theme-park corporation, the Foundation wants to do business with everyone and avoid controversy. The CCW has caught on to the idea that maybe some of their “employees” are not employees at all, but trafficked, and tried to boycott their worlds. This is about as effective as a sieve in a situation with space and rift travel. Two members of the Paradise board are also members of the Naruni Enterprises board, no conflict of interest.

Since we’re talking about giant sex-worlds (in oblique terms) we have to have a courtesan class right? Rifts, being the mature examination of sexuality that it is, gives us the Pleasurer RCC.

i am at least relieved the picture is of a male-ish being

They are pleasurers because they can empathically feel what a customer desires and transform themselves to meet that desire. Then they also feel pleasure by giving pleasure. Yes, they went that route. Pleasurers can go overboard with their seeking other’s pleasure thing though, goading victims into taking reckless chances and chasing their dragons further and further in pursuit of their own feedback. So yeah. Also, in boldface, Available as a player character . Subject to the approval of the game master. Of course.

They have good attributes, as most of these alien races do. They’re SDC creatures so not difficult to eradicate should one hate “fun”. They are limited to shapeshifting into humanoid forms, at 70% +2% per level, which is better than a Rakshasa. They also have their natural empathy which is always on and costs no ISP. A very few can reverse the charge and feel pleasure from other’s pain, with predictable results. They also have a 60% chance of “losing themselves to emotion” when “emotions are very high” or a crowd gets caught up in a single emotion. This is not mechanically defined and so is either weird flavor text or totally crippling depending on how the GM runs it.

They get some psionics, and most above 7th level get some rolls on the phobias and obsessions tables due to how feeding on others’ mind juice can warp one. Their skills are kind of crap, being entertainment-oriented, but that would probably be overlaid by an OCC template choice. Should one feel this is the best way one can spend one’s RP time.

Aside from the Paradise folks, there’re a few other disparate bands that aren’t quite up to the level of being space nations but are still significant. The first is the Galactic Pirates. This isn’t really a “group” as such, more just “pirates exist basically everywhere and are a huge pain” sort of a statement. I am honestly glad there isn’t some “pirate guild” or something, we’ve had quite enough ubiquitous evil networks.

There are also “Entity-Controlled Planets” which is basically anything under the ever-awkward heading of “Alien Intelligence.” demon lords, gods, or any other sort of extremely-powerful single entity that rules the place. A lot of these entities aren’t really up on all the modern technology but can still punch a starship out of orbit* so explorers tread with caution.

*They can't actually, having looked at a lot of starship stats--oh, proper 'Gods' with their full MDC probably could but the damage output the starships are capable of is vastly greater. Gods have a lot of spell abilities which might affect the conflict but--well, we'll see later. Most demons or other lesser entities wouldn't have much chance.

Also listed here are the Star Hives which exist somewhere outside the Three Galaxies. The hive spawn then invade from wherever the hell it is they are from, another dimension or the vast void between galaxies. These hives are each independent “nations” of a sort, with individual members shaped and bred to serve specific purposes for the community. They are basically Tyranids, yes, but with more directly insectoid forms and individual members who get separated from the hive sometimes show freedom of thought and individual personality that was suppressed by a controlling intelligence, rather than standing around and drooling like Tyranids without a synapse creature. There are rumors of a big super-hive floating around somewhere that has caused the frequency of raids to increase.

this is above the heading ‘killer beetle’

Individual species of Hive Spawn follow, starting with the Killer Beetle. These are well, giant beetles with mega-damage claws, made to protect hives. They’re mindless killing machines and can’t be used as PCs. As such they have a full stat range like all mindless things. Their body is mecha-tuff and they have psionic powers for busting invisibility and otherwise detecting intruders, plus psionic (rather than pheromonal) recognition of hive members. Their bite only does 5D6 MD though so they can be annoyingly whittled down, also take double damage from psionics due to having to always be on I guess.

Vacuum Wasps actually have kind of a cool name and are living fighter ships that can travel at “super-sonic” speeds which is very helpful in space I am sure. They are usually mindless assault drones but they can break free of hive control and become independent, and thus are available as a PC option.

pre-Contents of Space Wasp's Stomach

They get decent stats, a few hundred MDC, complicated vision modes and natural 3D6 + 1D6 per level energy blasts. A few useful psionics plus MDC claws and a relatively small selection of skills. No equipment section, but that’s actually deliberate this time. Kind of one-trick ponies since they don’t really have hands and can’t use most other equipment or magic, and probably can’t get many cybernetic systems designed for completely different species, but on the other hand you get to be a giant space wasp with laser eyes.

Termite Engineers are next and they are also available as optional player characters. They secrete a glue-like substance and build stuff in the hive proper. They’re smart enough to understand what they’re building, and means they’re more likely to break free. Of course, once they do they face immense levels of space racism against killer bugs and often end up associating with scruffy-looking adventurers.

i like this guy’s arms-crossed ‘all is going according to plan’ posture

They have fairly minimal MDC at 1D6x10 but they can make 10 MDC per level in chitin per round as a single melee action. That could be pretty handy for making cover. They can also use it as an entrapping attack and form it into fairly intricate shapes like manacles for prisoners but “cannot use it to repair body armor” for :reasons: They have decent skills for being a technical class, and might be amusing with their stupid glue tricks, certainly not madly overpowered. Suffer from the same equipment problems as the wasps though.

Worker Ants just have a picture of an ant, I’ll skip it. They are...worker ants of the hive. They can’t be PCs, too dumb. 2D6X10 MDC, so they are capable of resistance but not invincible, and only do 3D6 a round. Intended for being mowed down by flamethrowers, clearly.

The Hive Queens get a notation here because of course they do. They’re thousands of years old and count as alien intelligences with massive psionic controls over their legions of minions. They have 1D6x1000 MDC which is about what’s expected and they can’t dimensional teleport so they’re a boss that could be beaten. They have a bunch of psionics and fairly dangerous melee, but they’re nothing that a determined mechanized division couldn’t bring down.

Finally, we get the Dominators as a last entry in the ‘generic space-villains’ section here. These are ancient god-like beings whom some mistake for the First Race but 50,000 years ago they launched a genocidal war against everybody that reduced a lot of budding civilizations to rubble. The Dominators lost their own planet to a black hole projector, a lost weapon now. Until somebody finds Orion. The Dominators still exist in smaller numbers and occasionally come out to bother people.

i suppose the kirby space-gods gotta be somewhere

Dominators are giant 30-foot bleached-white guys. They honestly look a bit like the prometheans, but a different color. They conquer stuff and make themselves petty warlords, or just wreck places because they’re mean I guess. They have super-high tech that they won’t share, but fortunately that mostly means “they won’t share with each other” either. They have more MDC than a Hive Queen at 2D4x1000 but they also lack the legions of loyal minions. They have some heavy resistance to psionics and take double damage from magic. They get special giant ships and special weapons like the Starsplitter, a giant hand to hand weapon (like an axe, pictured) and do Boom Gun damage in melee, or just shoot 4D6X10 energy bolts which is better than boom gun. Their nova gun “pistol” does either 2D6x10 or 1D4x100 (!) MDC. Lastly, they have “collector spheres” for their pervy slave-girl kidnapping needs, which form a 500 MDC bubble that takes 1/10th damage from energy attacks. Oh, and 1000 MDC armor as well. They can’t magically d-teleport but they can certainly rough things up pretty good.

That’s kind of a long post but it’s done! Next we get to the Cosmo-Knights which is basically what this book has been giddily waiting to tell us about since page one.


posted by occamsnailfile Original SA post

Rifts Dimension Book 2: Phase World Part 13: Cosmo-Knights!!!!

The Cosmo-Knights are the latest iteration of how Siembieda wants knights to be in everything. And I don’t even mind that, it’s a fantasy thing, sure. The downside is that he keeps making really clueless historical references to knighthood and re-printing modified versions of that damn chivalric code from England. Anyway, the Cosmo-Knights are believed to be direct creations of the Cosmic Forge, and that is true though they don’t directly admit to it. They get super-duper powers, enough to “go toe-to-toe with a starship!” and are expected to uphold good and righteousness in the Three Galaxies. A few of these granted such power fail the test and become Fallen Knights which are very dangerous, though some of them retire to lives of contemplation to try and purify themselves again.

they don’t get a two-page color spread but it’ll do

Cosmo-Knights seem to be chosen fairly randomly from among the sentient beings of the Galaxies. Already-supernatural races like dragons and prometheans aren’t chosen, though the line on what is “supernatural” is sort of up for debate. The Forge contacts the chosen candidate, and its appearance varies to each individual. They are asked to become one with the Forge and given time to think about it, as the path of being a freaking space knight may be fraught with peril. If they accept, they get summonable super-armor and a special weapon and lots of powers. It doesn’t specify if the Forge chooses races from non-starfaring planets--suddenly giving a space-god to a bunch of stone-tool users seems like it’d be a startling change.

The code of honor for Cosmo-Knights is again a slight edit-transposing of the “chivalric code” from England. It’s mercifully a bit shorter, but includes things like “Live to defend the Cosmic Forge and all that’s good.” Cosmo-knights are told never to seek power directly. Some become “powers behind the throne” and risk falling, because obviously a perfect space knight can’t rule directly. They’re also told to hide themselves unless needed, and follow local laws unless they must be broken, which is reasonable enough. One reason they’re tolerated in the “good” space nations is that they don’t just stomp all over whatever local governments have to say. They have specific rights in the CCW, including declaring a state of emergency on a planet, and other assistive powers. The Empire doesn’t like them for obvious reasons, and pit their “Invincible Guard” not otherwise mentioned against them. The UWW treats Cosmo-Knights differently from world to world, as they aren’t really highly unified. They are dirty mages though so they are more likely to be bad people.

These are available as optional PCs, and there’s a warning note that they may not be appropriate for all campaigns because of their super-powerful nature. That seems reasonable enough except for how Rifts hasn’t really taken much notice of such issues before.

Cosmo-Knights have to be Principled or Scrupulous. They get pretty excellent attribute rolls, natural MDC of 4D6x10 plus more per level, and 500 MDC from their armor. Their armor is described as having a “kink” in that it takes full damage from magic, as well as psionics and all physical attacks and--you know that’s not like a specific vulnerability at all. What they actually have is a resistance to “energy” attacks, which means they resist lasers, plasma, non-magical fire, etc. Those do no damage at all, including things like flying close to stars. Most guns listed in this book are lasers in one form or another, but there are also a crap ton of missiles which would render these guys into a pile of glowing ash in one round, plus a lot of secondary autocannons and of course items from other worlds which renders that energy resistance pretty piddling.

They can also fly over “one light year per level of experience” and have to meditate ten minutes to activate this, and seem not to know that a light year is a measure of distance rather than speed. In an atmosphere they can fly at “mach one per level of experience.” Assuming they can fly one light year and then have to meditate again at first level, that’s about 6 light years per hour. A fairly typical ship is 8 light years per hour. So, comparable-to-much-faster as they level but they can’t carry passengers.

Offensively, they can fire energy blasts that inflict 1D6x10 MDC and in space they can spend 50 PPE to double damage, or 100 to do x5 for a full round. That’s a lot of PPE and starships would sort of shrug, if they’re meant to fight those.

They also have “Galactic Awareness” so they never get lost, well, 89% never get lost, or 92% on land, for some reason. They regenerate though not at combat speeds, and of course there’s the armor. They don’t have physical needs (ever? while wearing it?) so they don’t technically ever have to remove it.

They can also choose to create a Cosmic Weapon for the cost of 50 permanent MDC or PPE (or combination thereof) and gain a summonable returning weapon of any design they like, which can do melee (with bonuses for PPE spending but not as good as the blasts) or energy blasts (gaining +10 and +1 to strike for 40 PPE), and also generates a force field for 10 MDC per 1 PPE spent. The force field ability makes this a reasonably good deal as you can substantially increase the character’s durability for a reasonable price, the melee/shooting stuff is enh, less good than their default energy blast. They get 1D6x100 PPE to start so they have a pool to power this stuff with.

Cosmo-Knights are beings reborn and so get their own set of skills that forgets their former life expertise. Mostly. They get a few choices of their own. They can’t have cybernetics of course, and generally they don’t keep much in the way of material possessions--they don’t really need them.

So yes, this is a pretty powerful class, but not so game-unbalancing as to require a special warning label. They can resist capital ship laser weapons but there are so many things that would just rip these apart that I am really not impressed. Like even the smallest fighter in the game has enough missiles to destroy one of these in a single round. They’re fairly comparable to some of the suits of power armor presented later, but better able to self-repair and can travel independently in space which is nice but hardly game-breaking.

And since there is a cosmic force for good, there must also be one for evil. Also, Paladins must Fall. This is the laws of the universe and just how genre works not something cargo-culted from past games. Fallen knights are exactly that: Cosmo Knights who have somehow betrayed their code of honor somehow, egregiously enough that they lose most but not all of their powers. These are also available as optional PCs, or can work as villains, etc.

Most Cosmo-Knights who lose their powers commit suicide or become hermits or something, apparently this happens a lot. They still have very long lives and a certain amount of their lingering power, so some of them of course become the opposite evil of the good they once were, rather than a nuanced in-between. “Neutral” is not a permissible alignment in Palladium games! They can try to regain their powers, but “only one in a thousand ever succeeds.” That seems harsh. Especially when the ‘fall’ thing is really poorly defined to start with--but w’ev, you can be questing to regain your lost might. Fallen knights start at 1st-3rd level, meaning they were ‘beginner’ Cosmo-Knights who fell early on, and goes on to say that the player should explain how they lost their powers. This is way, way more background detail than is asked of any other class--want to play a Hydra? Sure! No hooks needed. This is honestly something that all classes could use, especially some of the weirder ones. It has some suggested paths and everything.

switching to this class also requires walking forward menacingly at all times or risk losing still more powers

For stats, they get seriously torn down: -2 to -6 across the board except for PS, which loses 22 from the original 3D6+32. This does more or less put them at normal human attribute levels though their PS is still supernatural, because that distinction is useful and not confusing. They lose half their MDC, their cool-looking armor, their weapon gets reduced power, PPE is halved, they lose 20% from skills--which is too much honestly, CKs did not have huge skills. Half-damage from energy weapons instead of none. They do get first level spells/powers of a magic or psionic OCC for...reasons, but not the full OCC. It’s confusing but supposed to make the Fallen Knight more unpredictable I guess.

The listing is truncated a little bit there like, abruptly. If you are making a Fallen Knight as a new PC it doesn’t tell you what equipment you get, since you now need it again, or even what XP table to use--presumably not Cosmo-Knight again? Plus the weirdly bolted-on magic/psionic powers make it to your advantage to have fallen at 1st level, like basically out the gate and flat on your face, or else you gimp your advancement. The class is more balanced than a base Cosmo-Knight with a built-in arc, and comes with an angsty redemption storyline. Even though it originates from the stupid fall mechanics it comes out as a more fleshed-out option than a lot of offerings.

Next: Aaaaaaaaaaliens!

Aliens, Animals, and Alien Animals

posted by occamsnailfile Original SA post

Rifts Dimension Book 2: Phase World Part 14: Aliens, Animals, and Alien Animals

Straight from the Fallen Knights we get “Creating More Alien Races.” This is a chance for Siembieda to include one of his favorites: Random percentile tables. These are “loosely based” on the rules from Heroes Unlimited, though these are for entire races rather than individuals. First, you roll for what dice you get for attributes. Yes, this is a roll to determine what dice to roll. It is possible to end up with a below-human attribute level but only on a 20% or less. This isn’t rolling up a new PC race either though it certainly could be in the hands of an evil GM. The second roll is for “Damage Capacity” where the new race has a 40% chance of being naturally MD, and only a 20% chance of being sturdy as a basic suit of armor or better.

Then you get to the type. Fifty percent of all races will be human-like or bumpy-head Star Trek type races, and all the options are humanoid except for insects or vegetation. To this, you roll for physiological modifications with 66% chance of nothing, the remainder being things like “Low Gravity” which carries a 1D4x10 MDC/SDC bonus for some reason, or being slightly radioactive and slowly killing everyone around you.

somehow this picture really conveys the ‘uncomfortable costume’ aspect of Star Trek aliens.

Then there’s a table to roll on for weird colors/antennae/head bumps and one (optional; 20% it says) table for special racial powers like the ability to fire MDC energy blasts which would be awkward for an SDC race. Then you roll for tech level, then magic level, and never the twain shall meet. Then General Attitude which is sort of like using Random Leaders in Civ: A good chance of them being dicks. It’s not a great set of tables but if you’re doing space adventure you’ll need some aliens here and there.

Next comes the ‘Monsters and Animals’ section. These are some less-intelligent mobs you will encounter. Obviously they only scratch the surface of possible alien biodiversity, but ideally this should give the artists a chance to draw some cool critters.

First up is the Arboreal Wailer. These are “monkey-like reptilians” who live on the Seljuk homeworld. They’re tougher than chimpanzees but fortunately better-tempered and can be trained. They’ve escaped and become invasive on several worlds with compatible climates. Aside from being scaly monkeys they get their name from being able to focus ultrasonic howls that can inflict MDC. I am amazed the Seljuk ever developed space travel. They’re not super durable and the wails only inflict 2D6 MDC--oh but wait, they also cause ringing ears and anyone within 50 ft loses initiative, one melee attack (!) and -10% on all skills. These things travel in packs of 8 to 60. Even the minimum size can easily stunlock an entire party, AVOID AT ALL COSTS. Unless you want to get et by screaming scalemonkeys.

(The babies sell for 3d6X10,000 and even adults go for 1d6x10,000, so if you don’t mind trafficking in beings slightly smarter than dolphins and able to scream you to death, they’re worth bank)

i kinda like this picture

Next up we get Kreeghor Bloodhounds. The Splugorth created these as punishment for the Kreeghor rebellion and they wreaked a lot of havoc on the local ecology before most of them were exterminated and the remainder tamed in captivity. These are large plated reptilian predators that look a lot like the Kreeghor themselves. They are used as weapons and often released on target worlds to soften them up--they will rampage through small settlements and destroy enormous amounts of foodstock, and they can locate enemies hidden in rough environments. They have 1d4x100 MDC with five attacks per round. Pretty tough, definitely a challenge for a group of PCs, mostly in trying to wear down all that MDC.

this is on one page

Lesser Ugglies aka “Space Rats” are next. These look like tiny octopuses or squids (choose one) and infest space ships all over the galaxies. Some spacers, noting their vague resemblance to the Splugorth, also call them “Splugorth babies.” These critters can live in a vacuum, they eat anything even vaguely carbon-based (including most plastics) including a lot of MDC materials. The only way to get rid of them is to periodically irradiate the whole ship. Can’t psionics sense living things like that? It seems like it might be easier.

They have 100 SDC so it’s really hard to kill them with a shoe (unless it’s a big shoe) but anything strong enough to cut through the ship’s hull will splort them instantly. Individually they do 1d4x10 SDC or 1 MDC (math...hard…) per round, but a swarm of ten or more can do 1d4 MDC (or x100 SDC). They’re pests and their only value is very occasional bounties.

...and this is on the next.

Of course those little squidlings are bad enough, there are also Vampire Ugglies which look exactly like them but are far tougher and immune to radiation. The Vampire ones feed slowly on ISP or PPE, causing losses that don’t regenerate naturally until one can leave the environment of the Ugglie. Psionic powers explicitly CAN sense these and are the leading method for locating and destroying them. Fortunately this variant is solitary.

“Killer Apes” exist for lack of a better name. They’re also called Forsaken Ones and they’re hairy like apes. They are found primarily in the Corkscrew Galaxy, mostly around long-forgotten ruins. This has led to speculation that they are children of the First Race or non-techie Jokaero or whatever. Unlike the supposedly benign First Race, these guys like to swarm down on colonies and eat people while they are sleeping. They’re as tough as the bloodhounds but less damaging, but they travel in packs supposedly. They’re worth a lot of money as zoo animals because everybody likes to gaze at the large predators.

i guess you’ve made a monkey out of me?

Next: Weapons and Technology, aka the Giant List of Guns

So many goddamn plasma weapons

posted by occamsnailfile Original SA post

Rifts Dimension Book 2: Phase World Part 15: So many goddamn plasma weapons

It’s not a Rifts™ book if it doesn’t have a list of guns or robots in it somewhere. Given the material, I’m expecting a bit of both, and then some more when I do the sourcebook. There’s a big block of text here that talks about how most technology in the Three Galaxies is at least a century ahead of most Earth culture, except the amazing gun stuff Earth has come up with that flummoxes the super-advanced Naruni. Still, Rifts Earth can’t make spaceships at all and aren’t as advanced in medicine, force fields, artificial gravity, etc. Even listing ‘medicine’ as a technology is more than most areas of Rifts even acknowledges before getting to the guns. It suggests Mutants in Orbit for more primitive/not space-ready civs.

The reason the weaponry in Phase World is not just amazingly advanced beyond Rifts Earth is waved away as “the cultures of Rifts Earth have to fight for their very survival constantly against terrifying enemies.” But the Splugorth are also in space. I really just would have ignored that as a problem not worth ‘solving.’ There’s a lot of about how weapon things from Earth compare with Three Galaxies stuff. Hint: pretty favorably. Aliens Unlimited is recommended as a source of additional weaponry. You can just turn the SDC values into MDC! It’s so easy ! But only for this one time, do not make that a rule!

gun, generic model B

High Intensity or HI laser guns are very common. They fire laser beams on a “higher wavelength” ( ) than normal lasers for “greater penetration.” This results in them costing about the same and doing slightly (about 1d6ish more) better damage than basic Rifts guns. They range from 2d6 to 4d6+6; serviceable weapons, available all over.

despite the shotgun grip, a rifle

Next we get to Energy Pulse (EP) weapons. These weapons seem to spit balls of white fire at enemies that explode on contact--hey, at least they’re differentiating their space visuals. These weapons are both slightly better than the lasers just mentioned and also almost exclusively used by the repressive Transgalactic Empire. The pistol is 3d6, the rifle is 5d6.

a rifle

The Power Halberd is next--there’s a picture of it, but it’s awkwardly-sized, and really what this is is statting a thing that showed up in pictures in Wormwood but wasn’t statted, so that is being corrected here. It requires PS 24 or higher, or power armor or something. 1d6x10 MD for 2 hours of continual use on one E-clip. Bring a glaive to a gunfight kids.

also a rifle

Next we start getting into the Naruni weapons. The Plasma Cartridge pistol is a little snub-looking toy that does 1d4x10, or as much as some railguns. It is noted that characters with a PS of less than 17 are -2 to hit even on aimed shots which is--why would a huge profit-driven arms dealer sell something most of their consumers can’t lift or handle properly as their primary personal armament? The rifle also does 1d4x10 but without the -2 to hit. It’s baffling. Oh, and “The gun’s bore is two inches wide -- having it pointed your way is very intimidating.”

The ammo for both must be bought exclusively from Naruni Enterprises or authorized resellers. Each round for one of these costs 40 credits, giving the guns a distinctive pew-ching noise. There’s also an even more expensive tripod-mounted machine gun that does 1d4x10 single shot or 2d6x10 for a burst of 10 shots. The cost of the ammo is less than recharging an E-clip (2000 credits flat) but still way, way more than comparable railgun models which have no listed ammo cost. Though, if one were doing a Phase World game ammo scarcity might be an issue for those.

Lastly, there is a Particle Beam Rifle that has been modified to use Earth-style E-clips; 1d4x10 again. The ‘unmodified’ version is noted at the bottom of the ‘modified’ version which is an odd choice: Apparently Naruni and Earth E-clips are different and this is the only time in this book where this is mentioned. It appears to likewise be sort of casually passed off in Mercenaries as well, from which this rifle is reprinted. Oh, so that’s why it lists the Earth stats first instead of the ones for the game world the gun is actually from. It’s extra-good editing since it specifically mentions that this gun has not been offered to Earth markets yet. The ‘standard’ version has a longer range and better clip size. All the other laser or energy pulse or whatever guns up there make no bones about different ammo.

it’s nerf...or nothin’

That thing there is a “repeating rocket launcher” that uses the standard missile types from Rifts Main, which IIRC means ‘use HE and nothing else, forever’. The missiles do between 1d4 to 1d6x10 (again, IIRC) and cost about 400 per. We also don’t get a standard gun for CAF troopers (the good guys, the not-Federation) which probably means the wimpier lasers above.

That’s it for the immediate gun section and hoo boy, aside from the expense the Naruni weapons just destroy the competition. I suppose that’s the point but it’s sort of anyway. It’s shorter than I expected, but that might be why we have a Source Book waiting in the wings.

Now we get body armor and spacesuits. Body armor described here is assumed to be vacuum-proof and have reasonable protection against immediate dangers of space like radiation, come with limited air supply or an ‘air purification system (25,000 credits)’ if you want to add substantially to the cost of your paper-thin armor. Speaking of said armor:

are they just re-using long art with some redrawing? yes

Light Combat Armor has 80 MDC which is respectable for a humanoid non-power suit but shitty for facing any kind of actual danger and still weighs 18 lbs. If are noticing any similarities to the Plastic Man suit from Rifts Earth, stop! This one is from space! See? It has little fins.

c’mon, it’s even got the Triax thing on it still

CAF Jumpsuit. It can go into space, it weighs 12 lbs, it costs 20,000 credits and has 25 MDC. The Not-Plastic-Man up there costs 30K. Military-industrial acquisitions at work. These suits are modular and can even fit Wolfen (though they complain often about the ‘tail pockets’) and if I were a GM I’d let the helmetless version fit inside the standard battle armor which has 100 MDC. The heavy armor has 120 MDC.

fins! therefore from space!

Ordinary “spacer suits” are 20K credits which is...actually pretty freaking expensive for a basic necessity of space life. I suppose indentured space servitude is pretty common until one can pay off the space clothes. The ‘hard suit’ version intended for more hazardous conditions (like in FTL when you fly into an asteroid belt or an electrical storm) with 50 MDC a full week of rations, two weeks of air. The “increased radiation shielding” is not documented in game terms, nor do we have rules for radiation exposure generally. Mutants in Orbit might but who bought a Rifts supplement expecting to need that?

Kreeghor Battle Armor is next, and it has 110 MDC just in case those squishy humans with non-natural MDC bodies thought they might have an advantage in fighting the forces of evil. Legionnaire Armor has only 90 MDC and is cheaper, also issued to non-Kreeghor members of the Empire’s military.

Naruni Enterprises is has a lock on personal force fields, which are the new hotness in personal defense. Attacks that move very slowly (at -6 to hit) are able to penetrate these and the fields offer no protection from environmental hazards. The fields have an MDC value that, when overloaded, must cool off for 12 hours. That’s still superior to the ‘shredded your 50K investment’ problem of armor, assuming the owner is still alive. Force fields are powered by E-clips (the Naruni kind I assume, these actually haven’t been mentioned until that particle beam gun) and last between 12 and two hours depending on field power. And of course, you can be any size of humanoid (apparently) but you cannot wear armor under a forcefield unless you pay extra for the “integrated” version that “taps directly into the nuclear power unit of the suit” of “any armor”, even the kinds that don’t actually have those. 45 MDC for the light version, 75 for the medium, 110 the heavy, and 160 for the super-heavy. The “robot” versions of these fields cost a...lot more. Like twenty times as much because I guess. Unbalancing to let robots have armor that can heal? Seriously the super-heavy model is 170K which is a lot, 280,000 to have it work with ONE suit of armor, and five million credits if we’re talking robots.

I’ll stop there. Next is Phase Technology which is the unique specialty of the setting so it’ll be super-rare and somehow evil I bet.

Phase Technology and friends

posted by occamsnailfile Original SA post

Rifts Dimension Book 2: Phase World Part 16: Phase Technology and friends

Today we shall deal with phase technology, which is the special art understood only by the prometheans. It sends targets “out of phase” with the three-dimensional world. Nobody else has figured out how these doohickeys work, or mastered the physics behind their operation. Nobody . This isn’t one of those ‘well but Chiang-Ku dragons do actually still exist and know tattoo magic’ situations, no, this is a true total secret. It is believed that the prometheans’ natural phase field is what lets them work with these technologies since nobody else can, and folks more or less have to take their word for it. This means you have to take your gun back to the dealer for service, none of this third party stuff. As a result, despite being billed as the coolest, phase technology is relatively uncommon.

i suppose this is sufficiently gun-like to be recognizeable

The first and most obvious and probably only really important application of phase technology is ‘phase beamers’, the guns of course. It projects a phase field onto a target which disrupts vital functions. Since they’re noclip guns they ignore armor, and inflict the same damage on MDC and SDC targets. Damage from phase beamers is regenerated more slowly than normal--normal healing done in rounds instead takes hours. Magic et alles healing still works normally.

Unfortunately, this ability to scramble your organs does not work on robots or vehicles. It can disrupt the internal structure of beings with organs stronger than steel (MDC vs. SDC) but ‘can’t disrupt metals’. Of course, living creatures made of metal are still affected.

They’re also stopped by force fields which only the Naruni seem to sell. The beam damages the field but doesn’t penetrate. They are further also stopped by ‘phase fields’ which I suppose makes sense. Lastly, they are stopped by magical barriers as if they were armor. The magic/forcefield thing I can dig, it changes up the usual ‘pile on as much plating as possible’ method being most efficient, but leaves a lot of characters pretty defenseless--and personal forcefields seem to be monopolized by one faction.

Damage-wise, after all that lead-up, the pistol does...3d6 SDC. or 4d6 MDC. 10 shot payload, presumably uses whatever e-clips actually are at this point. Not bad for a pistol. The heavy phase beamer does 4d6 to a 10-ft square, or 6d6 to a creature filling more than 10-ft of space. Not real impressive flat damage, bypassing armor is nice but so many creatures have natural MDC, and a lot of it, that going for the high raw is usually a superior choice. Basically, bring these to fight the Coalition--everything inside the skulls is so squishy.

at what point do mounts stop being ‘tripods’?

Then we have phase swords. 4d6 plus PS bonus which can be substantial--normally MDC weapons don’t use PS adds except for some of the weirder magical ones, so this is actually reasonably powerful in the right hands.

the hilt appears to be slightly out of phase with the handle though

Phase fields come in two types. The P-Field is similar to a forcefield, which reduces the energy of incoming attacks. There is also the OP-Field (heh heh) which just Kitty Prydes the wearer right on out of phase with everything. Magic and Psionics go straight through both of these.

P-fields are worn with a harness with front and back projectors. Each projector has ten MDC. The harness can be worn over light body armor (MDC up to 50 and 50 only! More than that and you hulk out of the field I guess) or can be built into a suit of armor for double cost. What these fields then do is disperse ALL ‘energy attack’ damage--all those lasers, plasma projectiles, whatever, completely. Conventional arms, railguns or whatever, divide by 10. I imagine hitting the phase projectors requires a called shot but good grief. They require special batteries that cost 1,000 credits each but having a few of those seems totally worth it.

The OP-field removes one from the field of battle entirely. The user can pass harmlessly through walls, though not forcefields or magical wards, nor are they protected from magical or psionic attacks. Phase beamers also affect them. These can even be turned on as a normal “dodge” action, but at +1. The batteries for these last 1 hour or through 20 ‘phase dodges’. Batteries for these cost 5,000 credits and it is very explicit that no other kind of battery can work. Building one of these into power armor is very very expensive (600K credits) and doesn’t allow unlimited function--it’ll overload after 24 hours/40 switches and have to cool off. Honestly, this reads a lot like Siembieda was just really terrified of people being able to walk through walls.

There’s also a phase-tech med kit that does surgery by turning part of the patient’s body insubstantial so that foreign objects just fall through, etc. This doesn’t separate people from their cybernetics because “those are attached to the target’s nervous system.” okay. Mostly I guess they shouldn’t try to explain things. I’m really just glad it occurred to anyone that a technology could be used for something besides guns. Oh yeah, in game terms, a full kit gives a Recovery Ratio (see Rifts main) of 80% even in the field. I don’t remember what that means but it sounds promising if not miraculous.

Gravitonic Technology

We’ve done Phase, now let’s do another nonsense ‘energy’, this time ‘the energies of gravity’ which has allowed science to ‘defeat the light barrier’ among many other achievements. Artificial gravity comes from this buzzword of course, but they can also make guns with it!

somewhere, a space nazi officer is looking for their sidearm

Gravity rail guns are similar to normal rail guns but they use ‘gravitonic energy’. In game terms this means they do more damage and are smaller, but have a shorter range in environments with gravity. In zero-gravity situations they never lose their velocity, and this is presented as a quality that differs from the behavior of a normal object given propulsion in a vacuum. Really though, what these guns are for, is for bad guys to shoot Cosmo-Knights who are immune to all their fussy lasers. Independent armies also use them. The rifle in the picture above is actually unstatted. The pistol does 2d4. The heavy pistol does 2d6 or a 5d6 burst. The assault rifle looks like an M-16 made from weaponized tetris pieces and does 3d4 single-shot or 1d4x10 bursts. A full magazine for the rifle costs 2,000 credits, making it much more expensive to fire than a Naruni rifle, to roughly equal effect. Mostly it’s just weird they start listing ammo costs now .

i am the man who arranges...the blocks

Then we get grav packs. They nullify gravity so a single user can fly, at up to 200mph, or “Mach One” in space. I suppose this is where I should comment that Mach numbers don’t really exist in a vacuum and objects in space don’t have a top speed besides “light speed.” Anyway, they work for 12 hours before needing a replacement battery or jury-rigged e-clip. For this amazing ability to fly you can be prepared to spend 150K credits. Or 550k for one of them fancy nukular kinds. Why this costs so much compared to say, a suit of power armor that can fly much faster, I do not know. Man was not meant to fly unless he is a mech pilot OCC I guess?

That’s it for Gravitonics. Next we get Psionic Crystal Technology.

The Noro (from back...earlier...the peaceful spiky-head guys) have a special crystal called Psylite with which they make guns. They use special psychic crystal power packs for ammo. The packs cost 4,000 credits and 8 ISP per charge to recharge. If one is tracking ammo costs now that’s kind of a bargain since ISP is a renewable resource, though it can take quite some time for a ‘normal’ psychic to be able to recharge them fully.

These weapons are called crystal weapons because they use crystal for their ammo thingies, not because they are cool rock candy guns.

instead they’re just dorky as hell

The pistol and rifle do pretty standard damage (2d6/4d6). The pistol can be fired directly for 5 ISP per shot which is superior to the charging cost, but obviously uses one’s immediate reserves. The little snub-gun above is a Crystal Paralyzer which forces a save vs. psionics or collapse for 1d4 melees. If the save is 5 or less their heart stops and they have to save vs. coma/death. Bet you’ll enjoy looking up THAT bit of attribute table. The Phase Medkit mentioned previously probably helps with bad rolls here. This gun is awesome and you should equip any psychic you know with one. It doesn’t mention armor so presumably it just goes through it!

Oh, here’s an accessory to help with the crystal guns! An Augmenting Helmet.

downside: must wear this in public

Each ISP spent counts double which is frickin’ awesome. 50K credits, it costs as much as a suit of armor but is totally worth it. Has 30 MDC of its own, which is respectable for just a helmet. The only problem is that I have no idea how taking the helmet off most regular suits of armor would affect their general MDC. I think we have a breakdown for Dead Boy armor somewhere, Sourcebook one?

There’s also a telepathic communicator which allows telepathy to work up to 10 whole miles away. It costs more than the helmet. Psionic Crystal Armor has 35 MDC with a 70 MDC forcefield. It activates 4 times a day (so, if we’re using healing surge math, 280 MDC) without charge and then costs 20 ISP to activate after that. It seems to recharge its ‘uses’ on its own. 100K credits, again pretty cool. Also adds +2 to psi-saves when the field is up.

this is how i envision it shut up

The noro are a generally peaceful race who weren’t super-keen on developing weapons but they live in the real three galaxies and so built some power armor for defense. These suits are mega-damage of course, but since they’re psychic they’re extra graceful and lightweight, easy to wear and difficult to fit with mechanical upgrades because they are so artfully designed. The original “V” model didn’t work in space, and this was a problem, so they made an “X” model that does. Supposedly the X model has been phased out of active CCW service as being inferior to other battlesuits. That’s disappointing. They have big blocky shoulder-thingies that have some missile launchers in them. If the head is destroyed, the armor will be rendered useless. It should be mentioned that these suits are 9 feet tall I guess. The head has 100 MDC, the body 210, and the psionic force field has 200. That’s...respectable. The suit costs 1 ISP per hour to operate which is astonishing both in efficiency and in having a piece of psychically powered equipment that doesn’t suck. The suit has a 2,000 ISP crystal reserve, and the operator can power it directly.

Weapons-wise it can fire mind bolts at 2 ISP which do 4d6, fire up to 16 missiles that do missile damage, and comes with a gravitonic rifle that has a 2,000 round drum (!). It can also shoot a “Fear Beam” forces a save vs psionics or be -3 to strike, parry and dodge and a 50% chance of them simply turning and running for 1d4 minutes. That’s not a bad debuff. The suits also have the standard sensors of most power armor as well as See Invisible and Telepathic Communication built in.

Whatever the CCW has will have to work hard to make these suits “inferior.” They cost a shitload of money (4 million for nonflying, 8mil for flying. Really, 4 million for a 550,000 credit grav harness? You guys are getting ripped off) but the fear beam and general capacity make this a pretty good unit. There is no OCC that specifically gets this as a pilot suit, so you’d have to do some wrangling with a GM to have one, but it’s not that different from having a SAMAS in the party. It has a much lower damage output (having no massive rail gun) but it has a lot of other advantages.

I like the crystal stuff even with its uninspiring illustrations. Mostly because it’s different, it’s psychic or techno-wizard weaponry that doesn’t suck, and doesn’t somehow destroy the wielder. Carella’s fingerprints are all over it, KS probably just wasn’t interested in it at all to have let this get through.

Next: Robots and Powered Armor! We’re done with personal weaponry!

Robots and Powered Armors of Phase World

posted by occamsnailfile Original SA post

Rifts Dimension Book 2: Phase World Part 17: Robots and Powered Armors of Phase World

“Although giant robots and power armor are not quite as common as they are on Rifts Earth” -- why not? Because space I guess. -- “they play an important part of military operations of the Three Galaxies.” Given the overt anime-influence on Rifts in its art and development I am kind of amazed that they didn’t shove a whole list of Gundams in here. I mean that psychic power armor was phased out on the second model for being “inferior,” what’ve they got that’s better for killing zakus?!

See Rifts: Mercenaries for Naruni stuff that is also available sold separately in the Three Galaxies. The United Worlds of Warlock mass produces Mystic Power Armor from Rifts Core and I’m going to re-review that now. Let’s see: Can use Call Lightning for 6d6 and Fire Bolt for 4d6, each twice per round. I’m assuming the fire bolt is for when you have more than two attacks. It can cast Magic Net, Fly as the Eagle, Globe of Daylight, and Superhuman Speed and Strength at will. It only has 150 MDC though, which the Armor of Ithan spell and 100 PPE can fix back up. That’s cheaper than buying a new suit but really not a lot of MDC on the power armor scale. It can also Breathe Without Air, has Eyes of the Wolf and See Invisible, and has Impervious to Fire which IIRC is of somewhat limited utility but not bad to have. It can also cast Chameleon, which is probably handy for those times you need to sneak in power armor.

okay yes there are times

You can have all this for the low, low price of two million credits. Or 3800 PPE and 50,000 credits of clear quartz and a diamond “worth 20,000 credits.” Rifts doesn’t even have the Elemental Plane of Earth explanation for why gem prices are stable. Oh, and nine months of constant labor. That comes out to about 7,400 credits a day for a Techno-Wizard’s work--and here your parents said you were wasting your potential going into magic sword design. Oh, wait, the UWW sells it for 500K, a bargain . It’s not a bad suit but not very competitive damage and durability-wise with more robust sets, and not quick to produce. The ease of repair and lack of ammo costs make it handy if it survives a conflict, though 100 PPE is more than most human magic-classes will have readily available, and power armor pilot OCCs tend not to have much PPE at all. It’s nice that Carella remembered this exists but it rests at a weird juncture in the rules.

After that--and the whole Mystic Power Armor thing was a one-sentence offhand mention actually--we get to the real power armors. The first is the Silverhawk Attack Exoskeleton used by the CCW’s CAF. It is normally silver-colored to match the name but it has a stealth system that lets it blend in with surrounding terrain, or even ‘starry sky’ to go with space. The Silverhawk is used in combination with fighters to make combined assaults on larger vessels--if fighters and powered suits can take out capital ships, those capital ships are a pretty shitty investment. But it’s genre I guess, and these guys try to break through hulls and attack from the inside out. They even have a disruptor to get through force fields.

crotch first apparently

The ‘wings’ on the suit are just housing for missile launchers, they don’t affect flight. The main body has 420 MDC which is about on par with the psychic power armor but doesn’t split the totals into a force field. It’s much faster and the contragravity system apparently never runs out of juice until the reactor does, which is 20 years. The “Multi-rifle” weapon system has a Hi-laser setting that nobody will ever use that does 2d4x10, a particle beam cannon setting that does 3d6x10 (Boom gun damage, for those in the audience who might not know), can fire grenades that do damage by grenade type, and you can dual-fire both the cannon settings for 4d6x10+20 and this doesn’t even take two melee attacks to do. For comparison, a Cosmo-Knight can spend 100 PPE out of an average 300 at first level to do 5d6x10 for one round.

The suit can also fire missiles and they have little bitty ‘gravity guns’ that do 5d6 mounted on each wrist. The force field disrupter (sic) creates “a momentary hole that the character can step through”, which doesn’t explain how well it would work on a personal force field--it has a very short range but would still work. The stealth system causes all attacks to be at -1 to hit. There’s also a list of bonuses for “Silverhawk combat training” but there are no classes in the book that receive this by default--you’d have to take it as an extra skill and hope you were able to get the armor at some point. This is probably a good thing for balance but it isn’t explained as something you need to not give PCs immediately (and you might have Veritech pilots in the party depending on GM permissiveness) nor does it carry a huge warning label like the Cosmo-Knight does.

The first actual robot in the selection is the Battleram Attack Robot which is a ship-breacher plain and simple. Ships must carry a lot of marines to deal with these problems. This robot is 70 feet tall and can carry up to ten passengers, but still counts as a small target for ship weapons (apparently we get ship-to-ship combat later) and has 2,500 MDC + a 500 MDC force field. For weapons it has a gravity cannon that does 4d6x10, a 3d6x10 laser cannon, has one missile that can do “2d6x100 or 4d6x100” I guess depending on whether your loaders hate you, and several smaller missile launchers that come out to a lot of missiles altogether. There is again a combat training skill explained which nobody can use. This ship-breaching robot does not have a force-field disrupter.

the text assures me that this can fly

The PA-10 “Ground Pounder” is up next, and it is a non-flying support suit as the name suggests. 450 main body MDC and particle beam cannon that can do 2d4x10 MDC. Missiles in the shoulders (obviously, if there’re little round rivets in a Rifts design, they’re missile ports) and mortars on the back which do 4D6 to a 30ft radius. That big staring chest gun does 4d6 also.

comes with a free pair of robo-chucks

There’s some good guy equipment! Now for some bad guys! The Warlord Mk I Combat Suit is power armor made to fit the Kreeghor, who are already naturally MDC and faster and meaner than humans. Fortunately, this armor is generally only issued to elite squads. It has 400 MDC main body, an autocannon that can do 1d6x10+10, a particle beam cannon that does 2d4x10, missile launchers with fewer missiles than the Silverhawk, and forearm blades. This...is actually slightly less good than the good-guy elite armor. That’s unusual for Rifts. It’s comparable mind, and after you got through the armor you’d still have the pilot’s MDC to deal with (an average of 80) but at that point they wouldn’t be using the weapon systems and/or would be in space unaided.

to me it looks like some kind of hunchback combat chicken

There’s also the Warlord Mk II which is designed to fit humanoids and has 320 MDC in the main body. It has the same autocannon and missiles as the Mk I but no particle cannon, and some little head lasers because why not. That’s all the Empire power armor.

The Splugorth have the Transformable Robot Fighter which sure, yeah, you do need a robot that can change into a plane or something, it is required. But the robot transforms from this:

this looks like Breaux trying to imitate Ewell and it doesn’t quite work

To this:

somehow the little plasma utility knife makes it

Its class is robot-fighter-vehicle which sounds like exactly what the planning meeting guy tried to describe it as to a skeptical acquisitions committee. It flies faster in the...not-robot form. It has 450 main body MDC and twin pulse cannons that inflict 2d4x10, can be fired singly for half that if one is feeling sub-optimal. 16 missiles, a little head laser, and the forearm energy blade shown. It’s not bad but again does not outclass the good-guy weaponry which is unusual for Rifts. There’s also some notes and page numbers about things in Buy Rifts Atlantis you can use.

That’s all of the robots oddly. They’re running low on space at this point and we haven’t even touched ships. This is why the Sourcebook came out so fast. Next there’s cybernetic and other misc equipment, some tanks (really) and then space ships.

Cybernetics and Tanks but not cyber-tanks

posted by occamsnailfile Original SA post

Rifts Dimension Book 2: Phase World Part 18: Cybernetics and Tanks but not cyber-tanks

This next section doesn’t have a lot of pictures in it, it’s almost as bad as the intro section. Oh well, we’ll soldier on. This is space, stuff is advanced, and any of the kit mentioned in Rifts core or other books can be had for 1/3rd to 1/10th of the normal price. The benefits of a stable economy I guess. Weapons and armor remain the same price because PCs gotta get gouged. Oh, here, under a heading marked “Other Equipment”, it explains that Earth e-clips and Phase World e-clips are not compatible. The modification to the weapon to use Phase World costs 1-2K, to modify the clip is 150 per--and the clips themselves are only 250 credits instead of 2,000. That changes the cost ratio of some of the weapons mentioned further back a lot, it would really have been good to include this information much earlier, and not tucked under a random heading.

Cybernetics described in Rifts main are all available and cheaper than they are back home as well. The Universal Headjack is very commonly used and costs 2,000 credits and takes half an hour to install in a decent medical facility. There are no new implants described here, but they are running out of space.

Other equipment includes a Blood and Tissue Builder (BTB) injector or spray, which is sci-fi healing potion that costs 1,000 credits and heals...2d6 SDC or hit points. Watch me twirl a finger in the air. They also decrease in effectiveness when used successively, they are species specific, and will heal toxins that do direct damage to organs but not muscle relaxing/paralytic toxins so your GM has to know how the poison works to decide if you can treat it with these. They’re a waste of money. There’s a Universal Anti-Toxin for one’s poison problems that gives a +10 save and has no listed price.

Let’s see...there’s a ‘holographic personal computer’ with a storage capacity of 5,000 gigabytes. Taking shots at outdated tech specs is low-hanging fruit but their example of how much storage it has is ‘fifty Encyclopedia Britannica databases’. Oh, paper encyclopedias, that is adorable . You have to buy a separate proprietary headjack cord if you use the cybernetic thing above, good to know the power cord mafia made it into space.

Metal Spray ( ) sadly does not allow you to thrash--it’s the opposite really. It will repair 1d4x10 MDC to big things (more than 140 MDC) or 4d6 to smaller things and you can only restore up to the maximum die roll even with multiple applications, only that far and no farther. 4,000 credits.

VR goggles/helmet that runs on micro CDs and just displays passive entertainments. You need a VR Game Dude™ to fully interact with VR environments. Addiction is a problem on civilized worlds, backwaters don’t have time to waste on stupid games.

There’s a multitool that can serve as a weapon and so costs 25K, and a restraint dispenser which drops long sticky wire and costs 5K. Honestly, are MDC zip-snaps that pricey?

Okay, now tanks. ”Bombard” Infantry Robot is a CAF support vehicle that is a robot but has no noticeable ‘head’ and is less humanoid than most robots made on Earth or by Naruni. There’s no picture of this though. It has 600 MDC, is 30 feet high and seems to have limbs but they’re less important than having a 4d4x10 twin plasma cannon array, a rail gun array referred to as the “accordion” which can shoot a 30 foot cone in front of the robot, doing 1d4x10 to targets smaller than 12ft and double that to larger. They have eight missiles in each arm and 16 in each leg for a pretty good missile payload. In place of the head, there’s a choice of optional weapon pods: 22 more missiles, or a mortar pod that fires 20 foot bursts of 1d4x10.

The Phalanx Main Battle Tank is an old Wolfen design that has continued in service to the present day. It sounds like one of those GI Joe vehicles where you’d stick a different action figure in five different spots on its top, aiming a different weapon. And while they call it a tank, it actually flies with a limited contragravity system. It can only go 120 mph to 1000ft high; it can’t aim its weapons downwards however so it’s a good idea to keep the belly close to Earth. The main body has 950 MDC, the ‘turret’ has 600 and controls all the weapons, and the forcefield that protects the front has 700. If the turret doesn’t require a called shot the tank basically has 600 useful MDC, plus possible forcefield. Rifts has rules for movement speed and such but a lot of vehicles and such are going to be fast enough to make a directional barrier kind of crap.

Maniple IFV APC : This is another Wolfen hover design, intended to carry a power-armor platoon into combat. The main body of the vehicle has 380 MDC, which is about as much as the average power armor suit you’d put inside it, and it flies at 200mph, again about as fast as a lot of power armor. Rifts. It’d also be fairly tight quarters for a full platoon--they’re 30 ft long and 12 ft wide with “five 3’ by 3’ compartments” for cargo. They have a laser cannon as good as the Phalanx’s secondary plus missiles and mini-missiles and superfluous gravity cannon as well.

The Imperial forces get vehicles too, so you have things to stick your villain figures in. The Dark Slayer Main Battle Tank is a tank that sounds like it needs an airbrushed viking on the side to function properly. It has less MDC than the Phalanx, a lot less--650 main body/320 turret and no force field. This tank uses a “standard” air-cushion hover system which is better than treads because space. Its main gun does boom gun damage, which is 1d6x10 less than the good guys’ tank. This is unusual for Rifts. I also has missiles and additional guns, the missiles being the alpha strike you really need to fear from any enemy.

Oh, but see, that was just the dinky run-of-the-mill tank. The real collector’s item is here. The Kartuhm-Terek , the “Doomsday Machine” is the real king of the tanks. It’s 80 feet high and 120 feet long, and it flies. Well, hovers a few inches off the ground. The main guns have a 60,000 ft range, which is good because the enemy can also see and fire back at them at similar ranges. The main body has 3,000 MDC which is dragon-tough but not god-tough. This is reasonable (sort of) from a balance perspective, but it has a long list of how its weapons are more vulnerable, so you could cripple all its things and then get out the jackhammers.

The main gun does 1d6x100 per single blast or double that per double blast. Since a double blast is still one attack, there’s no reason to ever use single, especially since they can only fire once per round. In space (in case you were using your tanks in space) it can fire 2,000 miles. It also has a crapload of missiles--96 main battery plus a backup 64 heavy missiles, 152 + 120 medium missiles, some boom gun equivalent gravity cannons, lasers, mortars, and it can also ram for 3d6x10 +10 MDC per 20mph of speed. So this is pretty fearsome, mostly for its ability to blanket a target in missile fire but the guns are pretty nasty too. It only goes about 80 mph but explicitly can just bust through anything less than a ton and it can fly at 300ft for up to an hour before its contragrav system runs out, so you basically can’t outrun it short of the pilots needing to stop and pee. On the other hand, with all those weapon systems, this thing has to look ridiculous. It’s no wonder it has no art.

Next: Starships! And space skills.


posted by occamsnailfile Original SA post

Rifts Dimension Book 2: Phase World Part 19: Spaaaaaaaaace!

So, firstly there’s a list of space skills that a lot of OCCs and such have. These are under the heading for ‘starships’ and might’ve fit better at the front of the book or somewhere more obvious. They’re things space people might need like spaceship mechanics, zero-G movement, a separate skill for piloting contragrav packs (versus ‘jet pack’) because fuck you, etc. Also Law: CCW & Alien Lore skills and a suggestion to look at Mutants in Orbit for more optional skills, in case you really wanted more shit to write down.

And now we get dog-fighting rules. Oh, and a note that combat rules for BIG starships will be included in Phase World Sourcebook. There’ve been several times that this book said it was gonna do space combat and now they’ve yanked that rug.


Space and air combat really only has three possible states. Vehicles can be coming together for combat, jockeying for an advantage, or the vehicles are so far apart that no combat is possible.

So no guided missiles I guess. Also: “The most common position in aerial combat is where one vehicle, the Dog Tail, is following another vehicle, the Dog.” Sure, maybe in WWI or in Wing Commander games but--oh nevermind.

To become a dog tail, each pilot rolls a 20-sided die and adds their “dog-fighting” bonus which is--explained below. The ‘faster or more maneuverable’ of the two vehicles gets +2 to the roll, which is basically going to be ‘the faster’ since we don’t actually have maneuverability statistics. As far as I know everything including that super-tank can turn on a dime. Once you are the tail you are in a good position, the dog has -3 to dodge.

Bonuses to dog-fighting come from space fighter combat and elite training, skills offered by a very few OCCs. Basic adds +1 to dog-fight, Elite adds +3, and basic also adds an extra attack with fighter weapons and elite adds two.

have some stars

And...that’s it. Like, a paragraph that basically boils down to 'roll some contested d20s' and gives very few ways to modify it. It's also not clear how you shake a tail once you have one.

Now we get some chatter about FTL propulsion. There are a few options for FTL drives: phase drives, gravitonic drives, and Rift drives. There’s also “space-fold drives” which are apparently risky. I am quite generally fine with FTL being magical in its function and having a certain amount of arbitrary space rules attached to it, but as we shall see, Rifts cannot leave things unexplained where they should be, and loves random consequences.

Phase Drives or P-drives are very common and average one light year per hour. The most powerful P-drives reach about 10 light years per hour. This is great but only the prometheans can fix and maintain these drives, being mysterious and phase-y. The drives are generally made with modular replacement in mind but running out of spares pretty much leaves you stranded. Also: The drives can only run for about 12 hours at a time before ‘the guidance system must be recalibrated’. They need to get some better compass software. Every hour past 12 that the ship runs, there’s a 10% chance the ship veers off course by 3d6x1000 light years. 1000 light years being a distance that it takes 100 hours to travel in even the fastest P-drive ship. So stray even ONE hour over the maintenance window and you may discover new and amazing vistas of amazing speed! ...in a random direction. While you presumably starve to death trying to stop the ship from traveling. Lastly, P-drives don’t work in an atmosphere and if they’re activated before “10 or 20 thousand miles away” there’s a 70% chance (the same for all ships and drives I guess) the ship will plunge into the planet’s atmosphere and explode, no save.

Contra-Gravitonic Drives are basically the same thing as those super-expensive jetpacks, except for space. We are informed that gravitons are sub-atomic particles that travel in waves (okay...not...exactly…) and their interactions determine the force of gravity. (Maybe, if they exist?) Opposing graviton waves cancel each other out, therefore contra-gravity. Sure, okay. “If an object was freed from the bonds of gravity, it was also no longer limited to the speed of light.” Wait, what? Jesus. Moving on. “In practical terms, however, most CG-drive starships have reached a roof of about eight light years per hour.” Again, 10K imperial away from a planet. These drives have a lower top speed than P-drives but require less mysterious alien maintenance and don’t seem to have the 12-hour limitation so are vastly superior.

Last we get Rift Drives . Rift Drives travel through the “Flux Dimension” of swirling lights and colors and similar PPE costs are high, so large batteries and magicians are required. Close proximity to a planet again somehow makes costs and trajectories impossible to calculate, despite the existence of rifts ON planets, but they can be closer: five thousand minimum. These drives are too bulky to install on anything but medium and larger vessels. Smaller vessels can “piggyback” but have a 10% chance per hour (not cumulative) of falling off and being lost. Since the rift travel is listed as being instantaneous, this seems to be a non-risk. We also don’t get specific PPE costs for drive operations, and assuming those are not utterly prohibitive, this is actually the best system.

Lastly there are the spacegate systems which were mentioned at the beginning of the book. These systems will immediately teleport a ship to one of the phase gates around Phase World, one-way only. The so-called risky “space-fold” systems from the intro are not explained.

Sublight propulsion! ...gets its own heading despite contragravity being the only one listed. It can do Mach 8 in atmosphere, Mach 25 in space, and then goes on to say that in an atmosphere, maximum speed ranges from Mach 4 to Mach 10. Three times maximum speed is possible but there’s an 18% (really? exactly?) chance of burning out the propulsion system, a chance of damaging the ship (with SDC materials of the planet!) or overshooting by 2d6x1000 miles. Siembieda is not great at rules but he is really really super not great at vehicle rules.

Oh, other methods of sublight propulsion include “chemical, ion, plasma, solar, and traction” which are all in Mutants in Orbit blah blah buy stuff, 80% of all ships have contragravity unless otherwise listed. Way to save space and plug guys.

Sensor Systems get a little nod, giving a (long) list of standard sensor systems and noting that military ships get +10% for being extra-sensitive. These include: Radar, sonar (really, they list this), thermographic (kay), motion and gravity-wave sensors which can detect ships as far as 200K miles away. Gravity and P-drive emissions are detectable at one light year. Military systems can see things at ten light years. So like, an hour or so of warning. “Stealth” systems reduce radar signatures so all those other fancy systems fail as well and then at 5,000 miles away they can be seen by “visual scans.” There's no discussion of light-lag and they don't seem to have anything but basic radio to talk with.

Next: before we get actual starships, we get starship weapons.

Weapons for ships, and then some ships

posted by occamsnailfile Original SA post

Rifts Dimension Book 2: Phase World Part 20: Weapons for ships, and then some ships

So here we get Spaceship weapon systems but not the ships themselves yet, or the combat rules for non-fighters. I’m going to kind of summarize these unless something jumps out because there are a lot of them in huge solid chunks of text.

Point defense lasers for leetle things: between 3d6 and 3d6x10 MD depending on fanciness, cost between 50 and 500K. Range 2000 to 12,000 ft.

HI-Lasers: Light is 1d4x10-2d6x10, optional attached power plant adds 1 mill to the 4-8 million base cost. Range one to three miles. Medium is 1d4x100 to 2d6x100. Always a dedicated power plant to keep firing independently. 80 million credits. Heavy: 1d4x1000 to 4d6x1000. 180-220 million credits, range 100 miles in space. 16 in atmosphere. Christ, you can’t even orbital bombard with this thing.

Particle Beams: Shorter ranges, more powar. Slightly more dice on average, slightly shorter range, same comment about lack of orbital bombarding capability.

Phase Cannons: Must be manufactured by prometheans, do kind of shitty damage but ignore armor as noted previously. Strangely, the medium does 1d6x10 to creatures 10 ft or larger or force fields while the heavy does 6d6. Oops. Shittastic range, 2 miles on heavy.

Gravity Railguns: Are listed with a ‘maximum range’ after which I guess it’s just hard to be accurate or something? 16 miles. The ‘regular’ autocannon does 4d6x10 which is complete shit compared to the other weapon types, it’s mostly used on fighters for some reason?

just pretend he has a bubble helmet

Missiles: Again, use the missiles described in the Rifts core, but now they’re on spaceships. Additionally there is the cruise missile which is 2d6x100 for nuclear or 4d6x100 for anti-matter. This is kinda meh damage individually (on a ship scale) but I imagine capital ships have large volleys that we can spend several pages meticulously describing in each phase of their deployment.

Wizards get a Rift Projector Cannon option. Only the United Worlds of Warlock uses this. These guns make uncontrolled dimensional anomalies which fuck up their enemy’s shit. Or would, if they didn’t have a .5% cumulative chance of backfiring and damaging their own ship every time they’re used. Range of ‘50 miles’ which is not great for a weapon that is inevitably going to fail. 1,000 PPE per shot, so get those human sacrifices lined up. Damage is ‘roll on a table’ that varies between 1d4x100 with no additional effects to 1d4x1000 with additional effects.

This is crap damage on the capital scale, what are the 60% likely additional effects? 10% no effect, otherwise things that vary from ‘temporary power failure’ for 1d4 rounds, taking out all weapon and propulsion systems (even the ones with those expensive power plants I guess) or creating a plasma cloud that does 1d4x100 per round and blocks all sensors, or a ley line storm inside the ship, monsters appearing on board, or a time jump: the ship reappears days later. Most of these are pretty nasty side effects. The cost of firing the gun is substantial however, and the cumulative failure chance (does it decrease with time? With maintance? Never?) makes it kinda dicey to use. Also, very expensive and heavy (200 tons).

We don’t have capital ship combat rules but all of these weapons require fighting practically on top of each other in space terms, long after the ships have detected each other coming. I get that having close-together space battles is all dramatic and stuff but still it’s kinda weird.

Force fields: Most ships have them for all kinds of good reasons. Military and large ships have six different field values because they can all power to front shields. The example shield has 6,000 total MDC which can be divided among six sectors of the ship--front, back, top, bottom, left, right. It says the power can be shifted around etc but not whether this takes an action to do--I am assuming yes but

That’s it for weapons and sensors and shields I guess--nothing wrong with having that in a section except that they go on to list all of them again in every single ship writeup.

you can have your own flying box for just several million credits! call today!

Now some actual ships. Light fighters first: The Scorpion Class is meant to operate from a carrier like the Pack Master (sold separately). It has no forcefield and 550 main body MDC, so it can poof in a hurry though not from its own weapon which is one of those Gravity Autocannons mentioned before, listed separately, sigh. Also some missiles. The same missiles as everything else plus 2 of the cruise ones. +2 to dodge but only in space. This thing could shred the heck out of a Cosmo-Knight but would lose hard to the basic Empire fighter below, even with a +2 for being 'more maneuverable' in the weird little dogfight rules.

Proctor-class is another good-guy fighter, tuffer but less “fast” than the smaller one. 1450 main body and a 2400 MDC forcefield. I’m listing the total value here. They also have to say that it’s not possible to drive this ship on the ground. Thanks for wasting layout on that, Kev. Lasers, missiles, redundant gravity autocannon.

Now on to bad guy ships.

The Flying Fang interceptor is the basic enemy fighter. Supposedly resembles an ancient Kreeghor weapon called the “Fang” which is two animal horns on a central handle like a cut-rate batleth. The fighter is described as having enough firepower to take out a frigate...which sort of makes frigates a bad investment if so. They are default designed for Kreeghor with very rare exception, so human or other non-- pilots are at -2 and -15% to use them. That’s reasonable from a game perspective but it never mentions how the more human-shaped stuff in much of the galaxy might inconvenience the Kreeghor--an oversight I guess.

Numbers-wise the Fang has 480 main body MDC and 1200 in force field. The big lasers do 1d6x10 or 2d6x10 if you do a double blast, which you always should. These are the primary weapon systems on these guys and they do half what the autocannons on the good guy fighters do. Frigates must be made of space-grade cardboard. They also have autocannons that do 2d6x10 to ward off cosmo-knights and some missiles because everybody has those. These would eat Scorpions but be on slightly lesser footing to a Proctor.

Naruni Enterprises wouldn’t be complete without spaceship offerings in their catalog, so we get the Broadsword Delta-Wing Multi-Environment Fighter , available to any purchaser and apparently a favorite of the Free World Council.

do a barrel roll!

The main body on these has 550 MDC with 1200 total forcefield. They carry plasma weapons of course, and do 3d6x10. They also have twin rail guns that do 4d6x10 because why stick to lasers when you have all these nice bullets. And missiles; a lot of missiles, 64 mini missiles total. Fairly unremarkable in this list, but has a picture.

Also pictured: Star Ghost-Class Fighter from Phase World.

i am not sure what i’m looking at but i bet it requires a three-zone rng quest to get

These crystalline ships look weird and that’s deliberate. They glow and seem to shift and change under the eye--and while flying they turn into a space-ghost outline invisible ship, thus the ‘ghost’ moniker. They’re apparently very scary, being ghosts. These ships and larger frigate-class versions (not pictured) are the only ships known to rely entirely on Phase Technology. The prometheans haven’t made larger vessels because they haven’t seen the need for them yet. The Ghost fighters are scary because they can phase in and out in combat and do a series of short-term jumps that almost seem to be firing from multiple angles at once. Of course, the phase generator only has short term power, and you have to take a separate piloting skill for Star Ghosts that’s at -20%, just in case.

The main body has 440 MDC and they don’t bother with any of that forcefield nonsense. The only way to get one of these is buying them for 280 million credits. The student loans for Star Ghost school must be killer. Its primary weapon is a phase cannon that does a 30ft burst of 3d6 to all living targets, or 1d6x10 to force fields or targets bigger than a bread box, that being the intergalactic standard name for ‘10 feet’. That is shit damage--ignoring armor is fantastic for cases where you’re fighting humans but any normal fighting human class is going to have over 100 SDC from loading up on all the physical skills they can. If you aren’t fighting humans, you’re plinking off a tiny bit of MDC from something that probably has a fair bit--1d6x10 isn’t much for the starships presented. They also have two laser turrets that can do 3d6x10 which is more respectable. Then there’s the usual array of missiles.

The special phase fields work on a generator with 200 charges and each use of the phase powers drains one; drain them all and one hour of recharging is needed. The first use is a phase deflector field that divides damage from all attacks by ten, except magic, psionics and other phase weapons. While deflecting, the phase cannon and missiles can’t fire, only the lasers. The second use is “Ghost Mode” which just drags the ship out of phase completely, making it so invisible that even See the Invisible can’t find it. Its speed is reduced by 25% but it can still maneuver in “any direction, including up and down” and it can fly through physical objects, though not things that block normal phase travel. The deflector fields last 8 minutes per charge, which is 32 melee rounds and having to fight through even a quarter of that in Palladium combat is so you probably won’t need that long. The phase field is 1 minute per charge.

The Star Ghost can also phase jump, a tactical teleport that counts as a melee attack, and gain +2 to dodge and initiative and +1 to strike. Each jump uses a charge. The bonuses there are frankly not worth losing melee attacks over generally, though you apparently only need to give up one to get the bonii for the full round.

So that is the super-special phase attack ship. It’s actually less likely that you would encounter magic/psi in space combat, given the ranges involved and the relative scarcity of magic, so the deflector field is pretty ace. Still, its damage is so bad that you'd be spending quite a long time trying to get through the forcefields of most of these ships. The Scorpion is the only one that's really vulnerable to a few hits on its squishy pilot.

Speaking of magic, the UWW get a ship, the Shadow Bolt Strike Ship. If you think this sounds like a title proudly emblazoned over the doodling on a kid’s trapper keeper, you are not wrong. It even looks kinda like that:

i know the teeth are a WWII reference that is wildly out of place, but they just make it look so happy to be a Batjet.

The Shadow Bolt is a techno-wizard spaceship, which is a cool idea. It apparently has a Bottled Demon weapon system. All of these ships are enchanted with Impervious to Energy so they get the cosmo-knight power without the fall from grace, and they have a ship-based Armor of Ithan spell. Their main body MDC is 400 which is the weakest yet, and their forcefield has 180 MDC 3/day which is substantially crappier than the variable fields of the other ships. Given that the space combat rules have really no mechanics for calculating positioning (and we are NOT using starfleet battles) the variable field is basically ‘one giant pool of MDC’ while this field is all-around, it has crappy value. It would have low value even if it were a modular pool, 180 versus 200 for the others. So already the magic version of a tech thing is crippled.

The main weapon is a Lightning Rod that does 1d6x10 MDC and half the range of the vastly-superior laser weapons of its enemies. It is also listed as needing its enchantment renewed every two months for 400 PPE and 20K credits. I know aircraft maintenance is time-consuming and expensive but this is the only time they mention it.

The “Bottled Demon” missile launcher is apparently controversial as the missiles are demons bound into missile form, and the bound demons can steer the missile until it is destroyed, (50 MDC) making rebound attacks until it hits. Striking or destroying the missile sends the demon back home. They require special launchers that won’t fit standard missile frames because magic. They’re +4 to hit and +5 to dodge. They get three attacks per round to hit, and if the target manages to get away the missile disappears. There’s a 3% chance that the demon will be released upon impact, either continuing the attack, fleeing, or turning on the UWW--no random table for that reaction. They inflict 3d4x10 MDC which is...okay. The ship only carries 16 of them.

They also have TK-Machineguns because that’s going to be useful. 6d6 MDC. They’re listed as anti-ship weapons which is hilarious.

So, the description and ideas here are alright, the demon-missiles are a cool idea, but as usual they tone down and hobble magical stuff to be inferior to technological stuff in fairly important ways. It has very little ammo on its good weapon, and very little armor to keep this expensive hand-crafted artisan ship alive.

A few bigger ships to come!

Bigger Ships

posted by occamsnailfile Original SA post

Rifts Dimension Book 2: Phase World Part 21: Bigger Ships

So we’ve covered all the little plinky fighters. Now we’re going to deal with some larger vessels. Firstly we get troop tansports, which are included to sell more models ferry troops around in larger numbers. We start with the CAF Assault Shuttle which can carry two platoons of soldiers and ‘a dozen support vehicles’ or a company of soldiers or 300 cramped refugees. It is armed and armored well enough to challenge a frigate which--seems weird. Also they seem to be bigger on the inside than the outside. They’re listed at 70 ft high by 50 ft wide by 240 long.
One of the listed troop loadouts is

40 power-prmor soldiers (any)
30 soldiers in standard armor
2 Maniple IFVs
4 Shield-Bearer Missile Tanks (not included in this book)
6 Phalanx main battle tanks

The Phalanxes alone are 30’x40’ so you couldn’t even fit two of them side by side. You might be able to stack them but then you have 6 other vehicles to pack into less than half the remaining space, plus soldiers in bulky armor. It’s a minor point but really.

MDC-wise they have 2200 main body, no force field. The 4 lasers do 1d4x10 and can be left on automatic (+2 to strike!) though that doesn’t say how many attacks the computer gets. The twin particle beam cannons do 4d6x10 or 5d6 to a 50-ft diameter area. They have 128 mini-missiles and can fire 32 of them per round for about 1d6x10. They’re also sluggish to fly, and give a -2 to dodge and dodging takes a melee attack from ALL gunners on the ship as apparently the sudden motion jerks them out of position. Maybe invest in better seatbelts?

the ship seems to be afflicted with a severe care of turretitis

The Empire continues with its dramatic evil naming with the ”Rain of Death” Troop Transport painted gray-and-black and used to barrage a planet from orbit before dropping enemy soldiers to the attack. Since these serve the forces of evil, they have 3,700 MDC and 7,200 force field, making them substantially superior to their CAF counterpart. Supposedly this is offset by not being able to carry as many troops, only 60 soldiers (power armored or otherwise) or 8 tanks. 4d6x10 main gravity cannons, of which there are 4. 12 laser batteries do 1d4x10 and can be left on automatic. 12 mini-missile launchers that can fire 6 per round, 384 total missiles and 4 bomb/missile bays that can fire 16 missiles or 32 bombs per round. Sheesh. Oh, and the bombs have a ‘200 mile range’, which makes these the first weapons that can hit a planet’s surface from orbit. The “Rain of Death” shares the -2 to dodge/gunners lose attack penalty of the other shuttle but it can power through a few hits and annihilate a lot of opposition.

"Show me a place that is ready to receive the gift of the Eldar."

Now we’re into the actual frigate section. Apparently the Kreeghor used to like to build zillions of these which they would use to swarm enemies, but this got prohibitively expensive. Now they just have a lot of them.

The Scimitar (Wing Commander much?) light patrol ship serves the CAF. The main body has 5,000 MDC and a 6,000 point total forcefield, so not actually stronger than the Empire assault shuttle. The CAF may be at a disadvantage guys. Though if you reduce the ship to -1,000 MDC (I don’t know why you would, it shuts down at 0) it does 4d6x1000 to anything within 300 ft.

described as lithe and graceful

The main laser batteries do 2d6x100 separately or 4d6x100 fired together and can only fire twice per melee. The two main G cannons do 1d4x100 and use the gunner’s hand to hand attacks. 4 particle beam cannons, 8 mini-missile launchers, complement of 6 Scorpions, 10 Silverhawks and an infantry company sweating nervously. -2 to dodge attacks from closer than 3 miles, which is to say, all fighter attacks. Yeesh.

Berserker Class Warship is the evil equivalent of the Scimitar and is described as the ultra-tech version of a torpedo boat. They try to close in on capital ships and wreck their shit with a missile barrage--hey, an official acknowledgement of the obvious tactic! They rush the enemy with their forcefields concentrated in front, like you clearly should do in these rules. Their body is only 3,000 MDC with 6,000 total forcefield but as we’ve observed above, large ship weapons would not be able to crack that easily. Though, reading the weapon descriptions, their cruise missiles have an ‘over 1,000 mile range’ with an ‘optimum range’ of 1 to 3 miles and no mechanical definition of what ‘optimum’ means, do they get range penalties for firing farther? Really no need to zerg rush when you can fire 20 4d6x100 missiles over 1K away. Oh, they also have 2 1d6x100 lasers and some mini missile batteries and no combat penalties.

"The laughing god's faithful have arrived."

That’s all the time we have for frigates in this book. Merchant and Transport Ships are next as they frantically run against page limits after wasting a lot of space throughout.

A Typical Runner Ship is now the official model/class name for this vessel, no take-backsies. It’s lightweight and stealthy to smuggle stuff. 2,000 MDC with 1,800 total force field. 3 2d6x10 laser turrets, 48 long range missiles (500 mile range), 100 tons of cargo space which can also be missiles.

"Vypers will bring quick death to the enemy."

A Typical Merchantman has 5,000 MDC, 7,200 in forcefield--this is more than the CAF Frigate just mentioned. It just doesn’t explode for as much damage if reduced to total cinders. Can carry up to 5,000 tons of cargo. I realize that what we actually need is a unit of volume, not weight, but weight is what you get. 4 laser batteries at 3d6x10, 96 medium (40 mile) missiles. Can be modified to carry more weapons depending on how much you are willing to spend and how much cargo space you are willing to lose. Though waaaaaay back where we were listing starship weapon systems, most of the small anti-fighter level guns took up 2 tons or less. We don’t have listings for separate installations of any larger weapon systems, perhaps that’s forbidden by space law.

"Shuriken Cannons, FIRE!"

That’s all of the ship stats in this book. The next section is some campaign ideas and a couple of adventure seeds, then XP tables and a huge number of different kinds of character sheets. Seriously it’s fun to have a sheet with your class’s default art on it and all but they wasted a lot of pages on that.

There’s one last note, like a couple sentences about larger ships. They have between ‘12,000 and 40,000 MDC’ and two to ten times as many weapons as smaller vessels, plus space fighters, power armor, shuttles, etc. For those keeping score, that’s equivalent MDC to the majority of gods from Pantheons, with more actual damage potential from all those weapons going off. The gods might be able to seriously disrupt a space fleet with size-changing and magic and such but they would not be a toe-to-toe match for what’s described here, which is at odds with Pantheons and parts of Phase World suggesting that gods can take on starships. Of course, they also said cosmo-knights could take on starships. Mostly it’s just more weird power creep.

To Infinity, and Beyond!

posted by occamsnailfile Original SA post

Rifts Dimension Book 2: Phase World Part 22: To Infinity, and Beyond!

The very last section of Phase World is devoted to some Campaign Ideas and a couple of adventure seeds. Rifts campaign and adventure materials are usually fairly anemic and also often extremely bad. Like having to fight a magic fuck-you table in England, or ask it questions about carpentry, whichever. Or Africa, where the Biblical four horsemen appeared to completely ruin a continent whose residents and cultures were largely dismissed in a few paragraphs no noble savagery.

But this isn’t either of those, this is Phase World! Where we’ve had bullet points about several vaguely hominid cultures! Also it’s space adventure and a lot of that material really just writes itself. This section is credited to both CJ and KS which makes me look forward to some erratic tone.

Anyway, it starts off suggesting that the type of the campaign should influence what characters people play. Well, we’ve gone straight off the Rifts script right there. Suggesting that a cosmo-knight might not be suitable for a dirt-lugging colonization campaign, pff. Not unless there are some “hidden danger’s.” (sic) But it actually acknowledges the inherent balance and focus problems in Rifts, and looks at ways to organize the party, even if only to have a common goal. They list types of campaigns as follows:

Exploring the Unknown : My personal favorite thing in RPGs is exploring mysteries, but that requires a mystery worth exploring and it’s hard to get the setup and payoff right with those. Still, ‘let’s play Star Trek but with HI-Lasers’ sounds like a good campaign idea, you can use random planet/system generators from Traveller or something! Or maybe just play Traveller. I don’t even like Traveller but the suggested OCCs are like Colonists and Spacers and those are all shitty and boring. Still, a general exploration theme is not a bad one but it doesn’t give many suggestions for mandate (‘seek out new worlds but don’t fuck with them’/’ready them for conquest’/’open new trade vistas’), it just says ‘go ‘splorin!’

The Freedom Fighter Campaign : The Transgalactic Empire is Evil and some Rebels are going to be needed. This is more straightforward, suggesting any number of adventurous classes as being suitable and mentioning the many ways one has to oppose an Empire--running blockades, sabotage, outright resistance, etc. It also suggests covert funding from the CCW and conflicting loyalties between the Free World Council and the CCW sponsors. It actually reads a bit like a potential Space-Vietnam thing with dueling superpowers not wanting to come right out and fight each other.

The Cosmic Campaign : This is a ‘high-powered’ campaign with lots of ‘action, travel and danger’. Okay, with you so far... “temporal raiders, cosmo-knights, True Atlanteans, zembahk and even superheroes!” Some of these things are not...high-powered. Like True Atlanteans. Zembahk...are those worms that the splugorth use as psionic weapons like in the staff on the cover of Atlantis. Exciting space action! The GM and players are encouraged to decide on some things ahead of time, like why did a brainworm, a tattoo freak, Silver Surfer and Dr. Doom walk into a bar? Why are they fighting evil? Because they are obviously fighting evil You can discuss these things ahead of time! It’s revolutionary! Phase World might be a good setup point for this, hint, hint. It suggests using very powerful enemies like splugorth or Mechanoids or gene-splicers or whatever though even a level one cosmo-knight is going to need to grind through their requisite amount of pirate scrub to buff their powers.

This type of campaign honestly sounds like ‘default’ mode for Rifts, as players who read the books with any detail or even just looked at the picture are going to want to play the cool, powerful classes.

The Phase World Campaign : This is a campaign focused on the Phase World setting itself. It’s more or less about bumming around the fragrant megalopolis, as residents, merchants, members of security forces--whatever really. Rifts happen and the city is a crazy kitchen sink-pressure cooker (your kitchen may be different than mine) and “Any type of adventure is possible!” Old enemies may return seeking revenge or hire bounty hunters to attack, monsters may menace the PCs, debt collectors may chase the party--no mention of helping family or building a business or whatever but pfff, that is not what Rifts people do. I have a soft spot for playing beleaguered public servants in weird settings so that might appeal to me, though it isn't mentioned as a suggestion within the text.

The Trader/Runner Campaign : Okay, maybe I spoke too soon. But seriously that thing about playing Traveller? Play Traveller.

The Merc Campaign : Already covered in Rifts: Mercenaries, repeated a bit here, with some reference to starships.

Colonization/Marooned Campaigns : This one’s a bit trickier because magic/travel powers can really void the premise in a hurry. But if you can control for that, it’s time for wacky Gilligan-in-Space-Adventures.

The Spy Campaign : I feel like this was already covered somewhat under ‘freedom fighter’ and Rifts doesn’t really do ‘stealth play’ that well. It suggests Sunaj Assassins as potential PCs.

i guess this is what happens when the eldar get into the mosquito business

Transdimensional Campaigns : For all that Rifts brags on its Megaverse a lot, the setting(s) are often very self-contained, with other dimensions being only sort of hinted at and a sort of handwavey assumption that you COULD go to another world if you wanted but there’s so much RIGHT HERE. There are at least two transdimensional playboy clubs described in Rifts books to date (The Olympians from Pantheons, the Fraternity of the Stars coming up shortly) so palling around with them is a possibility.

Rifts Earth and Phase World : Rifts Earth and Phase World are connected by several permanent gates. Splugorth and Naruni Enterprise are the big transdimensional entities that are aware of Rifts Earth which have a presence in this book but clearly the links are there and can only expand as long as Earth keeps pumping out that delicious ley line energy.

Other Palladium Settings : Nobody cares about the Palladium RPG, even the authors of this book. Wormwood is connected through a portal in Worldgate, a neutral city, but most Wormwood powers cease to function off Wormwood at best and actively cripple the user when they die at worst. You can go there, but then you’re playing a Wormwood game. The Mechanoids: Since they’re a spacefaring menace, they could be out there waiting and lurking. Robotech/Macross: You want to play your Valkyries in Rifts, you know you do. And you can! Heroes & Aliens Unlimited: Superheroes totally exist in setting it says, there’s a few other superpowereds like those unstatted Elite Guards of the Empire. Aliens...well, up to you if you want aliens in space.

So those are the general campaign ideas. It’s mostly kinda bland, generalized advice, but it has some minimal thought put into tone and direction, something previous Rifts entries have often lacked.

There’s also some adventure seedlets collectively called The Stick in Your Eye which is the name of a ship, a “common sight in the seedier ports of the Three Galaxies.” The Stick is a Runner ship that treats customs laws and such fairly creatively. It’s piloted by a crew who ‘only care about their freedom’ and the ship is owned cooperatively by each member, with varying levels of share. Contracts are put to a vote, then once a contract is taken the Captain is in charge. They have two overarching rules: No slavery, and no assassinations. Everything else is fair game.

The Captain is Bill Borshenko, a Runner who was born on a utopian world where crime and poverty were things of the past. Being one of those people who just can’t stay in the Culture, he was settling down to have lived a normal grumbly life of a privileged wealthy white dude when the mysterious “Ravagers” attacked and burned his planet. The Ravagers have not previously been mentioned and they’re giant aliens with planetoid-sized ships and somehow these giant aliens attacking and destroying a world went completely unnoticed by the larger CCW. They just enslaved the planet and nobody noticed, whup. Borshenko and others formed a resistance that somehow, somehow managed to communicate with the CCW who sent a fleet and destroyed the aliens. Good grief. I mean we haven’t really touched on communication speeds a lot, it mostly seems to be actual radio and ships have to physically carry messages but not having any emergency systems in place to shout for help is just dumb.

Anyway the former slaves were totally ungrateful and blamed Borshenko and his friends for getting their planet destroyed, they had all been happily enslaved just a few minutes ago! Nobody appreciates a good libertarian ubermensch like they should. Borshenko tried his hand at the military but somehow didn’t get on with the discipline there, and with a dishonorable discharge, he joined a bunch of runners. His OCC is listed as ‘CAF Fleet Officer’ rather than Runner, mind, since he apparently stayed in the military long enough to amass the 50,000 XP needed for 8th level. He has absolutely impossible attributes--IQ 17, ME 14, MA 20, PS 17, PP 19, PE 17, PB 17, SPD 21. Seriously, that’s just dumb. He’s a normal human. He has 100 MDC body armor, a million credits in cash plus his ship, and some laser guns. He’s basically the blonde, blue-eyed space-hunk painted on the cover of a pulp rag.

Auntie is a machine people computer. She’s been crippled out of her normal shapeshifting body by some kinda crazy pirate juju and locked into a computer form. That ship is of course the Stick, and she is the resident AI. Sort of. She’s a 10th level Machine People RCC but she’s been altered a bit past where that has much meaning, basically read the Ship Who Sang.

if i were a space captain i would want a lizardman first mate, in fairness

Murray is the seljuk first mate. He’s a reformed criminal, though his crime was murdering a Transgalactic Empire agent. Of course, he killed the guy because he thought he was cheating at cards. C’est la vie. Anyway Borshenko was nice to Murray while they were in jail together, they busted out, and now he’s a 7th level Headhunter with 270 MDC. He’s Anarchist and has trouble with trust and friendship, likes long walks in the jungle full of screaming death monkeys.

“Bug” is the pilot and it’s a Vacuum Wasp. Bug’s fleet had been destroyed by the Kittanni, it was desperate, and the Stick was in a bad way too. They formed an alliance and now they fight commit crime.

Laurana is an ‘exotically beautiful alien’ because no species has females of any other kind. She’s a Temporal Warrior and she and Borshenko had a brief affair which was broken up by Auntie’s meddling but they’re still super attracted to each other and oh, sorry, she doesn’t have any other motivation or history. She’s 8th level, human, secretly despises violence which is why she got into the arms trade.

“Tiny Tim” is the promethean science officer. Get it, Prometheans are tall. He hired the Stick once to ship some artifacts for him, asked to join the crew afterwards, they accepted. Prometheans aren’t very interesting but they get very good attribute rolls and the science officer is breaking the mold by being tougher than the rest of the crew put together.

The Stick in Your Eye itself has 4,000 MDC with a 1200 total forcefield. It can carry 100 tons of cargo, and its main guns do 2d4x100, with 192 mini-missiles and 48 heavy missiles, and a stealth system. Reasonably good at its job in other words.

The story ideas are presented after all these statblocks. You could be stowaways for some reason, or Tiny Tim has to take his promethean adulthood test and they have to hire some extra help (the Test is so vague it could be anything, good luck with that chief) or Borshenko’s ship got sucked into a Rift and hello what’s this then. Good lord those are the weakest seeds ever, and they are very clearly crammed in to fit the end of the page before we can get to the XP tables.

And that’s it, that’s Phase World. The Stick in Your Eye is not very interesting and could have been cut. Phase World itself is perhaps a passable space adventure setting hobbled by trying to fit the Palladium RPG system onto it. I’m going to review the Phase World Sourcebook next and I hope it is slightly faster going, but I really have no memory of what it is in it. A lot of stats for bigger ships I think, plus some other equipment and more guns and such that they just couldn’t fit in the main book. And I’ll admit, trying to describe a whole trans-galactic setting in the size of a World Book is hard. That’s why Underseas was double-sized!