Forward to Excess Page count!

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It's that time again! Time for MORE RIFTS. I know you're excited!

Rifts Dimension Book 3: Phase World Sourcebook Part 1: Forward to Excess Page count!

Phase World was the ambitious beginning of a large addition to the Megaverse, an entire space setting spanning the Three Galaxies. That was pretty massive, and the first Dimension Book really didn’t have room to cover it in anything but very superficial detail. The fact that there was a lot of wasted space in Phase World is kind of secondary to the fact that there really is just a lot to cover. So we get a separate sourcebook as Dimension Book 3. This is not to be confused with the other Rifts Sourcebooks which are a separate line.

The intro says that this book is intended to cover the cultures and civilizations of Phase World in more detail, as well as give out more equipment. And uh, cover rules for large-ship combat, though if they’re anything like the dogfighting ‘rule’ in Phase World, they could skip it again and I wouldn’t complain. The introduction is by Carella, states what was mentioned above, and is extremely brief.

The book jumps straight into material after that. First up we’re going to talk a bit about star travel and maps. The Consortium of Civilized Worlds (CCW) divides space into sectors of about 500 by 500 light years. The book repeats the assertion that there’s a ‘galactic biosphere’ about 10 light years thick at the ‘edges and corners’ of galaxies which ‘makes two-dimensional representations of space viable.’ Firstly, that’s stupid. as. hell. Secondly, this is space opera, where are the neat holographic displays?!

The Transgalactic Empire divides its territory into dominions which vary in size from 100x100 light years to much larger. The Kreeghor Dominion is the biggest and most influential at 1,000 x 100 for whatever reason.

FTL travel is discussed in Phase World proper but they go into it a little bit more here. Most ships do 1-5 light years an hour so they can cross a pretty good chunk of territory in a day. Rift drives of course open a magical portal in space but here it states their ‘effective range’ is ‘5-20’ light years per jump, at 6-7 jumps a day, for :reasons: to make sure that magic doesn’t ever outstrip technology.

Travel between galaxies is faster than travel within because the lack of massive objects reduces “gravity drag” and not because it’s just easier to plot a course with nothing in the way. FTL travel works at 500% efficiency between galaxies; the Three Galaxies are very close, downright neighborly on the galactic scale.

Still, while star travel is eminently practical, it is not something to do lightly. The Corkscrew galaxy is 90,000 light years long, for instance, and it takes ‘1d6’ months to make a trip from end to end. Most residents of the Three Galaxies never set foot on a starship, having perfectly good planets to live on and probably no money with which to escape. Even most star travelers venture along familiar routes in relatively small areas. Most planets have to be relatively self-sufficient because Amazon Prime has not yet reached light speed, and imports can take a long time to arrive. Also there are space pirates and cosmic anomalies along the way. Space is cool but full of peril. Given the largeness of space, direct patrolling of all areas is impossible and a lot of travel is done with armed escort of one sort or another.

Next we talk about communication, which is good because they didn’t mention that in the first book and it sounded like they just used conventional radio. Now they tell us that messages are sent via <technobabble> transmitters that can send data at 100 light years per hour in-galaxy and five times that out-galaxy (relays seem like they’d be a good investment) making it hard to have real-time space internet arguments on forums as has limited capabilities. Again, it means that communities have to be somewhat self-sufficient. It also backhandedly makes Cosmo-Knights a bit more powerful, as they are some of the fastest things in existence. Not more powerful in a way that allows them to necessarily stop an army, but they can at least arrive.

Now that we know how fast they can talk and fly, let’s see what it’s like living in a little bubble of civilization across vast space. Life in the CCW is highly technological as one might expect, and tends towards being heavily urban. The standard of living is high overall, and with most of their production being automated, their society still somehow manages to maintain a large middle class of largely service-sector workers. Must be magic* (unions). Even the poorest citizens have a safety net and this includes regular old internet most of the time, as it’s a utility. Why, “Magazines and movies can be purchased and printed out or stored on CDs for easy access!” Truly a blessed age.

too many words, time for a mech break

A lot of folks telecommute via the extensive interwebs and has created a certain degree of agoraphobic shut-in syndrome, up to 15% in densely populated areas--but honestly a bunch of telecommuting WoW-addicts are not nearly the urban blight that regular commuters are now.

The CCW is a ‘loose federation’ of worlds rather than the top-down hierarchy of the Empire. This means that various local laws differ, sometimes widely, from planet to planet--the CCW only deals in planetary governments apparently. To cope with this, individuals are dual citizens--of their chosen/home planet, and of the CCW itself. Taxes are apparently favorable for home planet citizenship, so only rootless spacefarers only have Consortium citizenship. I really do not understand how that would work. Generally speaking, local laws precede CCW laws which is probably awesome for all concerned. The example they give is Motherhome, the home world of the space wolfen, where starting unauthorized campfires has a 5,000 credit fine because they are very concerned about the environment there.

The CCW has a Civilization Compact that gives the Three Laws that all members must abide by to be members--no slavery, no wars of conquest, and planetary governments only. There are a lot of other CCW laws but they apply in areas that are specifically government territory. Given the very Articles of Confederation-like feel of the government, that’s mostly open space. None of this Admiralty law stuff here! The next section is a list of common crimes and punishments and it’s a really dumb list since it nearly always says ‘varies from place to place’. They also define a standard year as 360 24-hour days which is good to know but tacked into crime & punishment. The death penalty exists on most worlds though the frequency of administration varies, and the most common method is lethal injection or firing squad for those who can’t be poisoned. The ‘T’zee’ specifically like the electric chair, because certainly in a high-tech society, no other methods would be contrived.

Crime tends to be focused on the poor, by the poor, much as in our own society though on most CCW worlds the rates are quite low, “As low as Japan in the late 20th century.” Frontier and isolated worlds have more crime, and of course some worlds define crimes in unique ways I am sure. Also there are crime rings and families and what have you, we’re going to hear about some of those now.

yo boss what you want we should do with this guy, we spent a lot of time learning intimidating Jersey-esque accents

The Linchpins are the basic Mafia-esque crime alliance of five families who deal in predatory lending and extortion, as well as sale of what’s illegal where it’s illegal. A lot of their members are related to the families directly at least by marriage which is supposed to minimize betrayals and they hate snitches. They also launder a lot of money through legit fronts.

The Gun Brothers are not some kind of neocon performance art but instead are a mystical secret society of assassins and and spies based on a 90s midwestern white guy’s perception of the tongs/triads of Asia. They kidnap and indoctrinate children in the hopes of creating Lady Shivas but these guys also come up with Bio-wizard enhancement in a grand show of suboptimal character choices, which also signals that the splugorth have their tentacles in the organization.

The Merchants of Freedom feel that governments engage only in unfair trade restrictions and vow to circumvent them because freedom. They are smugglers, obviously, but also slavers. The CCW is fairly sure they’re also a front for Naruni Enterprises but they haven’t been able to prove this.

Lastly, each planet has an Independent Defense Force to serve as a planetary guard since the CAF just can’t be big enough to be everywhere at once. The IDFs can be placed under CAF command in emergencies but are generally independent as their name states. Civilized core worlds tend to have nearly vestigial defenders, while frontier areas buy the best gear they can afford, even Naruni pieces sometimes. Naruni stuff isn’t actually illegal (aside from specific laws about weapons) but it is expensive and the payment plans involve killer robots so a lot of folks opt for local military surplus. The CAF proper is prone to viewing the IDFs as provincial bumpkins while the IDFs often see the CAF as high-handed meddlers. Still, they can work together in a pinch.

Next time: CCW planets of note, like the mysterious Bushi Federation!

Off to the robo-jockey races

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Rifts Dimension Book 3: Phase World Sourcebook Part 2: Off to the robo-jockey races

Last time we discussed the CCW in some fairly broad strokes. It mostly sounds like modern ‘murica, but with more holograms. It isn’t generally a bad place to live, but it isn’t tightly organized and regulations are subject to planetary government whims. Let’s hear about some of those planets specifically.

In’Val is an Earth-like planet but still a planet of mystery, a former homeworld to an advanced race. It’s mostly empty now because scientists opened a rift several decades ago and a godlike entity came out and cursed them. Everybody is totes scared of a repeat so the only folks living there are cultists and yet more scientists, now with military backup.

The Bushi Federation Oh, this is going to be good I’m sure. So this is a group of five planets populated by the oni race, a species of tall red-skinned humanoids. Amazingly their culture is based upon medieval Japan. Each of the planets is ruled by a daimyo subject to the shogun with a religious figurehead emperor. Their armies are made up of “cybernetically enhanced “cyberai” and they have a rigid caste system. In order to join the CCW they had to change some of their laws like the right of the warrior class to behead disrespectful commoners. You know, like real world samurai totally did all the time.

Being a provincial gang of warlords, they have managed to chump the rest of the galaxy in cybernetics and a bunch of daimyo have managed to become heads of zaibatsu because that is how Japanese history worked, there was no interstitial period between samurai-->industrialists. They manufacture the katana-class fighters for the CAF fleets. No mention is made of the status of women or the lingering threat of capitalism upon warrior caste societies or anything like that.

Jesus fucking christ.

Malthus’s World (Dellian-4) is named for Malthusian principles. Yes, that Malthus. It is inhabited by the t’zee, who basically populated every square inch of space on that planet, even ocean floors. 50 billion people were packed into its tight confines. The t’zee are...very fertile apparently and they just didn’t care much about massive plagues and starvation cycles. Being packed in like space sardines, they learned to miniaturize, all the way down to the nanoscale, something the rest of the CCW had not achieved.

The t’zee are run by a military-industrial dictatorship that monopolizes all resources and ruthlessly exploits their overpopulation. The t’zee are seen as dirty poors who will move in and overbreed anywhere they go and there are motions to try and expel them that have thus far been rebuffed. Being a hardscrabble opportunistic culture, there’s a lot of smuggling and other illegal stuff passing through Dellian-4, and the CCW trade regulators have recently uncovered evidence that some of the leaders of industry actually DO want to take over the CCW. The investigation is still ongoing. Probably just waiting for PCs to get involved and bust it wide open.

Those are our new planets of note. Next we get new OCCs and RCCs because that is what Rifts players bought the book to see. First we get the In’Valian Robo-Jockeys which sounds like fun.

what? no fun? oh, okay

The In’Valians are masters of prosthetics and robotics. They have to be. They were once tall and blue-skinned humanoids but they decided to tinker with rift experiments. A 500’ tall gelatinous tentacle cube came through and they killed it. Then its mommy looked through the rift and gave a scream that instantly killed basically all the psychics on the planet. And then they got the Wasting Disease. There was no cure, quarantine didn’t help, the In’Valians all just started showing basically the effects of prolonged weightlessness and radiation exposure. Magic and science availed them not, but they were able to build robot exoskeletons to tote their twisted remains around, basically becoming Mechanoids without the two-legs-bad obsession. They tend towards bad behavior because they are all bitter jerks now.

They get really poor physical attributes but +4 IQ. They have 1d6+6 SDC . They live longer than ever, up to 300 years, but usually suicide before the end just to be depressing. When exoskeletoned they get +1 init, +2 to strike/parry/dodge, and +3 to roll with punch. Without it, they’re screwed. They have a -30% to all physical skills and they can’t take any of the good ones. They’re at -10% even to skills that require manual dexterity like computers.

The exoskeletons are a lifesaver (literally) and the In’Valians get so attached to them that they give them names and sometimes even AI personalities to feel a little more cheerful about their body dysphoria. Most of these exoskeletons have open cockpits to allow Kuato-like visibility.

lady exoskeletons have to watch their girlish figures!

The Light Exoskeleton has 60 MDC in the body and can basically move like a normally-aspected creature. It has a PS equivalent of 22. It costs 100,000 credits and the RCC stats don’t say they automatically get one. Have fun with that!

The Armored Exoskeleton is like the first one but 120 MDC with 75 MDC in the cockpit. It has a robot PS of 26 which means it can do MD with punches. 1 mill-yun credits for something much shittier than power armor.

Combat Exoskeletons are used by soldiers or adventurers and is supposed to equal power armor. 300 main body, 200 cockpit glass. Typically has a built in energy weapon of some kind, robot PS 32 and sensor systems like laser targeting and radar. Strangely the speed capabilities are not listed and it probably can’t fly. 8 million credits to get a basic model, 12 million for a nice loadout with missiles and stuff.

For something called a ‘robo jockey’ this is all pretty awful. Both statwise and also conceptually, it just seems to dismiss a race that got a really tragic fate as a bunch of jerks now that they need wider parking spaces and the statblock is incomplete--it doesn’t give normal equipment or money, or even list skills you can take. I guess you can add an OCC on top of the RCC but no OCC has the exoskeletons as default equipment. The text strongly implies that all PCs should get one but it never says which, and they’re all kinda crap anyway.

Ninjas and Cyberais

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Rifts Dimension Book 3: Phase World Sourcebook Part 3: Ninjas and Cyberais

The Oni RCC is named for the Japanese mythological entities and they resemble them, of course. They’re big and strong and fast, but they are not naturally MDC creatures. Mysteriously they are patterned after “medieval Japan” (presumably Tokugawa) and have equally mysteriously not deviated from this pattern for far longer than Japan itself held it. Their myths claim Amaterasu led them to this planet and taught them arts and science and then left. Despite having the capability they almost never ever learn magic. They’re obsessed with honor and losing face and being obedient and racist and all the other dumb stereotypes about Japanese culture we got in the 80s and 90s before otaku weirdness became the dominant meme. Also they can become cyberai , which is way up there for dumbest Rifts name in a very tough field of competition.

Being amalgamated Japanese, they have mega-corporate zaibatsu alongside their medieval hierarchy. Bushido Industries is the largest, and that name would be amusing if the writers had any idea how Bushido was in fact a manufactured thing but they do not and it’s dumb. The only good thing about them is that they are probably engaged in a secret war with the Naruni because they’re both underhanded, tricky orientals.

i kill my enemies and take their abs to gain their power

Statwise the Oni are 7 to 9 feet tall, have 3d6x10 SDC plus OCC stuff. This would be a lot in an SDC setting, here it’s just kind of dickwaving. Horror Factor 8 for ninjas and cyberai. 200 year lifespan. 200ft nightvision. Same potential for psionics as humans. They can take Ninjas and Superspies martial arts, or Mystic China stuff. +1 init due to acute hearing, +1 strike/parry/dodge no reason given, +2 to roll with punch. Their only downside is that they lose their RCC bonuses if the temperature is over 80 degrees, they prefer it cold and probably their offices are cardigan-central.

Cyberai have to be statted now since I’ve had to type that word like five times already. For the last two hundred years these noble warriors have used their metallic talents to serve warlords and CEOs of their people. “Although the CCW dislikes cyborgs in general,” (first we’ve heard of this and it’s d-u-m dum) they make an exception for the cyberai because they are just so badass. Also some of the cyberai are ronin who work for themselves because of course they are. Since the oni are bigger, they can have bigger cybernetic bodies, therefore more organs equals more cyborg. Really though, their special power is to reshape the liquid metal of their hands into mono-molecular blades that can slice through anything.

so this?

They also apparently lose even more of their individuality, becoming even more honorable and inflexible and prone to ritual suicide. Only rogues and villains would turn away. Attribute requirements are ME of 14 or higher.

this bit of art would be cool if it were in Five Rings

As full conversion cyborgs, they’re like 9 feet tall. Robot PS 50, PP 22 and spd 88 (60mph because the speed attribute is stupid). They have special scary face masks with a horror factor of 9 to 12 (I guess ignore where it says 8 in the race writeup)

Their bodies have 420 main body MDC with no special vulnerable cockpits and they also get 480 MDC body armor to really tank it up. This is a non-’optional’ OCC by the way. They have nano-machine regeneration that works to slowly repair damage to their bodies. It’s only 2D6 per hour but that’s a lot better than ‘several million in repairs after a weeks long space trip’. And of course there’s the katanahands that do 5d6 single handedly or 1d4x10 for two-handed, or 1d6x10 for a power attack. Among many other hand to hand damage attacks, they can also do 1d6 MDC with ‘judo-style throw/flip’ which would be hilarious to use on a tank.

They get +2 init, +6 to strike, +4 to parry and ddoge, +2 to roll with punch, +4 to save versus horror factor and one extra attack. These are without any physical skill additions. They have all the fancy sensory enhancers and gas filters and oxygen cells and a language translator (something the main book thinks is expensive and rare) and a loudspeaker so they can be samurai jamboxes.

They get a selection of other skills which includes open access to all the stat-boosting ones and depending on their allegiance they get toys: corporate cyberai (ugh I will never stop hating that name) get three energy weapons of choice, a personal vehicle that is anything smaller than a spaceship and a fancy apartment so the 9 foot roided out war machine can flop on the couch to watch some football. Military cyberai get whatever standard issue weapons and equipment are (this varies BY OCC in the main book), a pair of swords, a computer and a backpack. Ronin get the standard armor 2d6x100 credits. Oh, and the armor has an attachment for a jetpack (sold separately) which the crippled In’Valians do not seem to be able to receive.

These guys are tanky tank tank tanks. If they managed to get hold of a decent weapon (see the corporate option above) they could be pretty dangerous. They don’t have built-in energy weapon options for unlimited ammo but they do have their sword hands if nothing else.

Since we have samurai, we have to have the Oni Ninja RCC. Yes, it says RCC, I guess there’s a psionic component. Secret martial arts warriors hide away in remote villages and form up into assassination clans and are hated and feared, so they must be the heroes they deserve. There’s a lot of about how secretive they are and how they have to be hired anonymously and how their training is super tough from a young age. It’s really not very interesting. A few of the ninja (and this book actually knows that the plural of ninja is ninja, good job) break loose and go off to do their own thing and are hunted and persecuted for betrayal. This is so they can include one of those pass-agg GM notes about punishing players who want to be a hero ninja working with PCs. Really though, how sneaky can an 8-ft tall red-skinned humanoid be? I ask you.

Given their intense training and ninja magic, they are MDC creatures and can turn invisible and whatever. Some clans are even rumored to be training non-oni. They fight a lot with the Gun Brothers and the Society of the Knife mentioned briefly in Phase World. Ninja and Cyberai are natural enemies of course.

completely innocuous, who would guess that guy is a ninja?

Statwise they are considered supernatural creatures so they do MDC damage with hand to hand attacks which is somehow referred to the Conversion book instead of spelled out as with the cyberai. They get +6 PS, PE and Spd and +3 to PP, plus physical skills. Their MDC is PE x 5 so not immense but at an average of 80 they have an equivalent to regular body armor.

They get to select three Oni Ninja Techniques (to follow) at level one and they also get three sensitive psionic powers. They have 3d6x10 ISP which is decent. They can use that ISP to heal themselves for 1d6x10 MDC per hour as well. They get slightly fewer skills than the Cyberai and a special ninja suit with 65 MDC and no prowl penalties plus 1d4x1000 credits.

Let’s take a look at these Nina Techniques now.

The ninja call their ISP ‘ki’ because ISP is a dorky thing to say in-character and of course they do.

Automatic Dodge: Costs 5 permanent ISP but grants free dodge. Buy this IMMEDIATELY.

Art of Defense: +4 to all defensive moves for 5 ISP a round, -1 to init, -2 to strike and 10% to skills while active.

Art of Offense: +3 init, +2 to strike, +2 to pull punch, extra melee attack, +1d6 to hand to hand strikes. -2 to parry/dodge/roll while active, 5 ISP a round.

Art of Stealth: 5 ISP a round, +25% prowl and even thermal sensors are at -50%. Spooooky.

Aura of Defense: Create personal forcefield with 50 MDC +10 per level, costs 10 permanent and then costs 10 per minute when in use. Pretty handy once discovered. Has a prerequisite which sounds like a tax: Inner Strength.

Body Hardening: +2d4x10 MDC, impervious to normal fire and cold, half damage from mega-fire and cold. Adds 1d4 to punches and 1d6 to kicks, plus other supernatural bonii. 15 permanent ISP plus Art of Defense prereq.

Combat: Death Strike: Uses all ISP to auto-hit for 2d4x100 MDC/SDC, and if the target survives it is paralyzed for 2d4 minutes, then at half bonuses and speed for 1d4x10 minutes. The ninja needs a minimum of 30 remaining ISP and loses all their techniques for 12 hours and they’re super-weak afterwards. It doesn’t say this explicitly but it seems to only be usable on living creatures. It’s strong, but definitely situational and it has Dragon Leap Kick and Aura of Defense as prereqs, and those have their own prereqs, so 1st-level scrub will not be taking this.

Combat: Dragon Fist: Adds 1d4x10 MDC to a punch that only works on supernatural creatures like dragons and demons and other ninja, requires Art of Offense. 5 ISP and counts as two attacks but can be combined with a power punch.

Combat: Dragon Kick: Adds 1d6x10 to a kick as above, 8 ISP and counts as two attacks but can be combined with a power punch kick, and I can’t tell if that’s an editing error or just some sweet karate. Also requires Dragon Fist to be learned first.

Combat: Dragon Leap Kick: 3d6x10 MDC, uses all attacks but can defend normally, 10 ISP per hit. Really? Kinda lame. I mean it’s fun to dropkick dragons but mostly this feels like a tax to get Death Strike if one wants that, and all these hits being limited to beings of magic in a setting that tries to sideline those as much as possible makes them just fancy show pieces.

Combat: Fast Hands: Hands so fast they can block/parry every attack simultaneously without using up a melee attack. This has a prerequisite of Automatic Dodge, which is actually completely better than this is already. Like, completely.

Combat: Spirit Fist: Normal MDC punch damage but with a range of 5 ft per level! Woo! Not compatible with power punch or dragon fist.

somebody is having a bad day of opium

Face of a Friend: A psychic illusion that causes the target to believe the ninja is someone they trust. Mind block automatically blocks this. 20 ISP per minute, can be handy though Mind Block is basically everywhere that’s psychic.

Inner Strength: No fatigue, PS and Spd increase by 6 points, +4 to save vs poison, +10% vs coma, +2 vs mind control, +1 vs. magic. 5 per melee. Enh, it adds some to damage, so less taxy than some of the others.

Unnoticed Walker: Fools sentient beings and animals into thinking the ninja is nobody important as long as they stay out of the way. So basically ‘The Art of the Waiter’. This ability does not fool electronic sensors but psychic senses are baffled and cannot find the user as long as they stay cloaked. +1 to save ‘even when a save is not normally possible’. That’ll make figuring out the target number easy.

Vanishing Act: Psychic smoke bomb, save vs psionics or lose track of the ninja who must then use Unnoticed Walker or some other means to get away. 15 ISP to vanish, 15 ISP per minute to stay vanished.

That’s all the ninja stuff. Honestly if it were refluffed a bit away from the dumb weeaboo shit these powers would be decent for a psychic assassin kinda class. The class itself isn’t too overpowered, their abilities are nice but not overwhelming. The real downsides are that they're basically a big feat-chain where you might as well just say 'at X level they get Y' and a ninja PC will want to go on stealth missions the rest of the party is likely not able to participate in.

Next: The t’zee RCC.

T’zee what I did there

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Rifts Dimension Book 3: Phase World Sourcebook Part 4: T’zee what I did there

The t’zee were mentioned last post as a heavily overpopulated race of libertarians that the rest of the CCW thinks of as dirty immigrants who will outbreed everyone else to take over the galaxy. Also, and the text says this, they are untrustworthy because they are ugly.

meanwhile the eight foot fanged redskins are bee-ootiful

Apparently the t’zee evolved from marsupials on their homeworld, so they are like space opossums I guess. That’s the only non-cute marsupial I can think of. The females gestate for like 3-4 months and then have 4d4 babies, which then have to fight to be fed and cared for because mama only got so much titty. This has lead to their dominant cultures being very competitive and treacherous, today’s ally being tomorrow’s force reduction consultant. As they developed technology their child mortality rate fell and they rapidly overpopulated their world completely. They shed no tears for all the tigers and owls they destroyed, if the other life forms couldn’t compete, they didn’t deserve to live. They destroyed their ecosystem so thoroughly that they have to use ‘nanomachines’ to do stuff like restore oxygen to the atmosphere because there are no forests left.

Despite being blighted by overpopulation, the t’zee sciences were able to develop nanotechnology far in advance of most of the Three Galaxies. The wealthy few exploit this knowledge. The rest live in slums and crimes against property are considered as heinous as crimes against people. The rich buy their way free, the poor die. The wealthy class of the t’zee have even worked with the Naruni, and two t’zee sit on the NE board of directors.

The CCW investigates the t’zee and Dellian-4 constantly. They’ve found some evidence of plots to overthrow the CCW and other galactic powers (a tall order for one planet, no matter how many opossums are on it) to eliminate all those competing races and make living space for the t’zee. This conspiracy calls itself the Survival Society and I don’t recall it ever being mentioned again. Anyway, the t’zee are mostly self-serving jerks and the nice ones who manage to escape for a better life face relentless prejudice.

Statwise they only get 2d6 MA but 3d6+6 PP which more than makes up for it, and 4d6 PE. They have normal psi-abilities and magical capability, but as usual they mostly don’t learn magic because why bother with a useful, limitless source of energy. They aren’t naturally MDC creatures and can take any OCC for which they qualify.

The Gun Brother OCC is next. These are competitors for the Oni Ninjas in the realm of super-assassin brotherhoods. They are totes evil because they use magic tattoos and bio-wizardry which implicates splugorth involvement. Their true purpose is undermining all truth and justice in the Three Galaxies and their order is secretly sponsored by a sixth splugorth intelligence working from another dimension. It’s named Lord Norrek which is by far the simplest and least-dumb splugorth name we’ve seen so far.

Most gun brothers don’t know about the high-level agenda though. They’re mostly poor orphans raised by the order and turned into superbeings with immense power and access to money and stuff so they aren’t too stuffed about some stupid extradimensional plan. Others do get pissed about being manipulated to do...assassin work? But with an agenda I guess. Anyway they betray the order and help the CCW, and there’s also a third group of those who just wanted to work independently and wander around freely, presumably with a sign that says ‘assassin for hire’. Gun Brothers tend to have extensive tattooing on torsos and arms which seems like it’d make hiding difficult.


Statistically, they have 75 MDC if they were squishies to start with, or +50 MDC if they weren’t. Supernatural PS with +6, +2 PP and +30 to Spd. 20% of them get 1d4 extra bio-borg appendages (which generally suck and/or are traps IIRC), 20% of others get 3-6 magic tattoos, and 10% get a symbiote (again, suck), and 6% get genetic reconstruction as detailed in Mindwerks, some kind of Kreeghor engineering, or just good old radioactive-spider experimentation to create mutants . So like, 56% of them get something besides natural MDC, the rest are just told to fuck off I guess. They get a smattering of bonii and a fair number of skills, body armor with 60+ MDC, an energy weapon (usually Kittani), a computer/radio, a vibro-sword and 2d4x1000 credits. Take on the world, kid!

It also suggests that again you might consider using Ninjas and Superspies martial arts for these guys but I am not sure that is a good headache to have. That’s it for that crew, next we’ll look more closely at the Transgalactic Empire.

Imperial Theme Song Redux

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Rifts Dimension Book 3: Phase World Sourcebook Part 5: Imperial Theme Song Redux

The Transgalactic Empire is our evil authoritarian space-nation. They continue to expand through military conquest and are right jerks most of the time. They have only one legal system, brutally enforced from the top down. Wealth and status matter to sentencing, and death or lengthy imprisonment on a hellworld are common. Of course, all this cruelty has about as much deterrent effect as one expects, which is to say none. Crime still exists. Since people are scared of the cops they won’t talk to them. As long as criminals avoid preying on persons of importance, they often go unmolested.

Smuggling is extremely common as one might expect. High tariffs are meant to preserve local monopolies and so the enterprising try to get around these. Given the description of how stardrives work, blockading smugglers seems very difficult--much easier to just control who is able to land on populated worlds. The Imperial Army is also the regular police so they are militarized obviously.

Military personnel answer only to military courts. Propaganda portrays them as heroes, but even enlisted soldiers can get away with murder at the lowest classes. Even more pampered and special are the Invincible Guard, who were mentioned in the last book but are probably detailed more here. There isn’t much else to be said--Imperial culture isn’t really explained outside of officially being very militaristic and crushing its people under its boot.

Planets of Note in the Empire:

Axis-5 : Not a complicated calculus problem, but the oldest ongoing battle in the known history of the 3G. For the last 75 years this world has been at war between the Empire and the Free World Council. The Empire can send larger forces but cannot overcommit, as running a military government means that when the military is elsewhere, the government is gone, so a lot more forces are stuck where they are. The FWC has closer bases to the planet and can keep their forces better supplied. The planet itself has changed sides nine times already but it never stays took. The world is pretty much a devastated wasteland with nobody actually living there anymore. Scavengers make a decent living hauling away ‘gently used’ military equipment.

there’s a repeat image in this section so have a stock image instead

Monro-tet : Home of the monro race, which are ugly amphibians who serve an important role in the Empire. This role appears to be passively sitting on their jungle world while Imperial archaeologists crawl over the million year old ruins hidden throughout the steaming forests. The unknown builder race vanished hundreds of thousands of years ago but sometimes working artifacts are still found. Occasionally wealthy individuals charter private scoundrels to go a-tomb robbin’, that could be you!

Ghostworld : Every ten years, this planet vanishes for three days though its gravity is still detectable. When it goes, all sentient creatures on its surface vanish when it returns. Nobody knows why or where they go. The Kreeghor sometimes leave condemned prisoners on the planet to let the phenomenon take care of them, and refugees sometimes also hide there since anywhere might be better than what they came from.

Lots of people try to investigate the world, and it is called Ghostworld in part because it attracts various ghost entities (from Conversion One) but mostly it’s just inexplicable. There’s a note that specifically says the answer is not currently defined as of Sourcebook, so make up what you want.

That’s it for planets, now we get to the secret alien intelligence running the Empire. What, you thought they just had an evil emperor and were running a mundane military dictatorship? Oh you sweet summer child. No no no, they have a secret endboss. The Kreeghor attained independence from the splugorth through its manipulations, it secretly guided the formation of the Empire, it chooses and empowers the Emprah. It doesn’t possess the Emperor outright because it ‘enjoys the unpredictability of an agent with some limited free will’. The Dweller Beneath (that’s its name) also suspects the Free World Council of being pawns of a rival intelligence, no way could mortals outmaneuver it.

criminal mastermind thumb

Basically it looks like a pillar of flesh with weird hair along the top and an eye at the end. How such a thing could evolve and have any useful function ever is unclear, it feeds on souls and--well basically everything. Its master plan is to devour the whole megaverse and it’s worked on this plan for a million years and won’t be finished for a million more.

Equivalent to a 12th level line walker, stone master and necromancer; fragments are 4th level equivalents in those areas. 120,000 MDC, putting it on the level of the highest gods. It’s immune to all heat and fire, ignores diseases, half damage from poison, regen 3d6x10 per minute, 1000 ft of nightvision straight upwards and can telepathically communicate with its essences and the Emperor at up to 100,000 light years’ distance. It has to feed on suffering and pain and if it lost the conduits of sacrifice in the name of the Empire, it would be reduced to 20,000 MDC and would lose 1d4x10 per day before being destroyed--so it takes a while for it to starve to death. It has all the psi powers and all the spells up to 12th level with 7 attacks per round. It has pretty beefy combat bonuses like +9 to strike and parry (with its head?) and can apparently snake itself around to ‘body butt’ people for 1d4x10 MDC, though it prefers more dignified magic and psi. It also takes double damage from Millennium Tree and rune weapons.

I hate this thing. The picture is stupid and I dislike that the evil Empire has a supernatural origin. It was perfectly fine as a generic evil faction completely on its own, this is unnecessary. The only good mark I will give it is that this guy doesn’t have the old dimensional-teleport bullshit for escaping when cornered. Fortunately, it would be extremely easy just to draw a red X over it and change nothing about the rest of the Empire’s concept.

The Kreeghor Witch is one of those NPC villain classes they like to throw in now and then. These characters exist to serve the Dweller directly in return for great power. It usually picks those who feel their great talents have been neglected by society. They have special secret authority and even the Emperor doesn’t entirely know what they do. What they do is kill people to feed the Dweller of course. They do this both within and without the Empire’s territory, and are very often responsible for senseless-seeming acts of terrorism or mass murder. There’s a special extra note that these shouldn’t be player characters.

So, for our villain-class we get tougher than average Kreeghor with 200 extra MDC on top of their already-beefy personal plating. They get some psi powers and spells, which if the witch is a Royal Kreeghor, is a lot of spells. They also get all the supplies they can eat from the Empire, so they’re pretty tuff villains who somehow engineer terrible acts despite the tendency of people outside the Empire to point at the nearest Kreeghor whenever that kind of thing happens.

they keep repeating this picture in whole or in part and I don’t know why, it is boring as shit

Next we get the Invincible Guardsman OCC, which we may remember as the special elite soldiers of the Empire. The Kreeghor admired the splugorth arts of bio-wizardry and wanted to imitate it. They didn’t quite get there but the can mutate people of various species into powerful killing machines. Most volunteers die; those that don’t get superpowers and a bunch of imperial privilege. Most of the Guard is super loyal, 50% Kreeghor, 20% human, 20% wolfen and 10% the ever-popular ‘other’.

Guardsmen are deployed against strong enemies like Cosmo-Knights. They wear bright-colored costumes and are basically one of the super-teams Norman Osborne made in the Marvel Universe during Dark Reign, all bad guys exploiting official sanction. A few of these super-soldiers break away either to become freebooters, or to turn good after one too many war crimes.

doesn’t look like a very interesting comic

Invincible Guardsmen gain natural MDC. SDC creatures get their PE in MDC plus 1d6 which is pathetic. Natural MDC races gain 40 on top of whatever they had, which completely leaves the former-SDC teammates in the dust. They get supernatural PS and regen slowly. They also get superpowers from a special table not reprinted from Heroes Unlimited! Basically they call get some kind of alternate form, be it Metal, Stone, Electricity, Fire, Crystal or whatever. The forms are all pretty buff--the stone form gets 350 MDC, +8 PS and fast regen, but half speed for instance. The Flame Form adds 120 MDC and does 2d6 + 1d6 per level with blasts.

They also get a minor power such as an enhanced attribute, psionics, or invulnerability to psionics which is quite useful. They get a goodly selection of skills, but not acrobatics for some reason, plus 120 MDC armor, energy rifle, mess kit (a lot of equipment sections leave stuff like this out, including other entries in this book--Palladium! ), some grenades, a knife, a utility belt for maximum batman, a uniform, 2d6x1000 credits and a possible salary depending on what they do.

There is no warning label on these guys as being ‘too powerful’ for regular PCs. There isn’t even a snide paragraph about how they would be hunted down relentlessly if they defect. It’s just a way to play space Avengers for evil, or not, as one prefers.

Lastly for this section, we get another of those random pointless inclusions, the Monro RCC. I feel like they were bored with this thing before they even finished giving it a name. These guys are native to their jungle planet studded with various ruins. They’re pretty ugly even for space amphibians, here.

looks trustworthy, we should pet it

They have some minor supernatural abilities, which could either be the result of Monro-Tet’s high magic environment or them being remnant minion populations from some previous intelligence-dweller. Despite the magic of their planet, they never developed a magic-using culture because :reasons: The Monro are respected members of the empire and serve mostly as scientists, technicians and administrators. They remain afraid of magic because everything in this book is averse to magic. It’s the only interesting thing about Phase World, godduh, magic in space! Stop running from it! “It might be possible (Game Master’s choice) that they were once beholden to the Dweller Beneath and that one day the intelligence may reclaim the whole species!” Even if that’s true, frantic fear of magic is dumb.

Statwise they have better-than-human stats, higher IQ, PS, and PE but lower MA. 2d6x10 MDC, naturally see invisible, see infrared, sense heat, regen 1d4x10 per minute, and half damage from heat and fire. +3 to save vs psionics, +4 vs. horror factor. These little space-otyughs are pretty buff man. Slap an overpowered OCC on there and you’re rollin’.

That’s it for the Empire section, next we will move on to the United Worlds of Warlock.

The flag of this space nation is best represented by airbrushing on the side of a van

posted by occamsnailfile Original SA post

Rifts Dimension Book 3: Phase World Sourcebook Part 6: The flag of this space nation is best represented by airbrushing on the side of a van

The United Worlds of Warlock is where the space-elves and space-dwarves live in untrademarked bliss. The UWW is an even looser coalition than the CCW, ranging from “enlightened democracies to savage dictatorships.” Sure, so the United Nations of Warlock. Alien Rope Burn has mentioned before about the missing Dimensional Book 9 which was supposed to focus on this part of Phase World space and it’s a shame, it’s the most interesting I think. From the perspective of uniqueness, rifts and magic are the only things that set Phase World stuff apart from a hundred other space opera settings, and it’s disappointing how hard it tries to run away from that.

This Rifts Wiki entry talks about some of what was being planned at one point for the UWW book, but obviously that never got off the ground. It sounds kind of interesting at least, and ties into the overall themes of how rifts work and the downsides to magic (other than sucking half the time) while giving it some pretty great advantages.

But we don’t have that book, we have this one, and in this book we learn that the Parliament of Worlds only has jurisdiction in interplanetary affairs, and then only when a planet requests aid. Supposedly this magical UN has a Navy that will just stand by if nobody requests its aid during a conflict. I wonder how it is funded.

There are two main rules that bind the UWW together: No declaring war on outsiders, lest the whole UWW be drawn in. If a planet does this, the rest of the UWW will disavow its actions. And 2: No worship of ‘supernatural intelligences’, which includes basically any entity that feeds on the life of other sentient beings. ‘Gods’ who don’t require human sacrifice are okay so long as they don’t directly bite the heads off chickens. There are a lot of chaos cults in the UWW nonetheless.

The two biggest entities are the Elven Star Kingdom and the Dwarven Guildmasters who have bodies of law that are fairly similar to the CCW’s though they’re more prison-happy than rehab-inclined.

The Warlock Navy (man what a thing to serve) is an all-volunteer force funded by dues paid by member planets. Their elite marines are equipped with a new type of techno-wizard armor. Still, the Navy is pretty much a defensive entity and spends as much of its time rooting out cultists as it does fighting external threats.

Incidentally, they refer to these various intelligence-worshipping groups as the Dark Covens though they are for once not a unified front of evil. They are just a bunch of squabbling entities and servants of entities and they’re more common in the UWW because of rift activity but they can be found anywhere, really. Fear the mutant, the heretic, and the traitor.

Worlds of note include Alexandria , a True Atlantean colony. 50,000 TAs live here, run by a Clan Acherean that has given up being megaversal hobos in favor of trying to build a new safe place to live. Good...good idea guys. The resulting riftport is a major dimensional nexus (nowhere near as big as Center but still substantial) thanks to Atlantean Stone Mastery taming the wild ley lines of the world into something stable. The beneficial effects of the pyramids meant that other people came to live around them and everyone was completely surprised somehow. Anyway it’s a nice place to live, very cosmopolitan, you can probably get like, any kind of food there.

The Asteroid Eaters are not real planets but huge not-moons that hang around asteroid fields. They’re big dwarvish mining phages that basically strip rocks of any useful bits and then make stuff. Not that big a deal except that now we have to hear about how one of them is ruled by an evil NPC.

Inglix the Mad

prepping hadouken

So way back at the beginning of Phase World, we heard about Thraxus, an ancient and powerful human who seemed like somebody’s retired D&D (Palladium) character. This seems to be one of his ex-marching buddies. Inglix is an ancient and powerful dwarf, far older than dwarfs should live to be, and a founding member of the Guildmaster. Of course, his bouts of crazy made him unfit to rule, so he stuck to making ship-based magic weapons instead. A lot of people think he’s guilty of war crimes and should face trial, but he’s too powerful and sly to have been caught out yet. He’s Aberrant, has dumb attributes, 400 MDC and 1500 PPE. 15th level earth warlock, 14th level techno-wizard, 12th level shifter, 10th level necromancer and alchemist (is that even a class? I cannot remember) and 6th level rune smith. That’s more levels than they usually even pile on gods.

Anyway duder is loaded down with magic plus mind block power. He’s totes crazy, listing ‘obsession with magic power’, plus paranoid, sadistic, and manic-depressive. He’s also very famous and influential and has 200,000 bodyguards to protect his vast hoard of credits, magical items, technology and ships. Retired adventurers know how dangerous murderhobos are.

That’s all they have for ‘interesting planets’ in an alliance of space-magic races. The best they could do was a crazy dwarf. I mean I guess he’s worth listing but he got a full block, which took up as much space as the planets.

The Warlock Marine OCC is next. They get to use Warlock Combat Armor which is apparently a new set, described in this book. I hope it’s better than the original TW power armor. The Warlock Marines are elite, heroic, honorable and proud. They have a strong esprit de corps and face danger constantly. They admit any species from a member world of warlock and only volunteers with high physical qualifications are accepted. So no exo-suited bitter aliens.

needs more cape and/or rank runes

After a year of training each recruit steps into their special magic armor, and a team of magic-technicians does a ritual that links the soldier mind and soul with their armor. The marines develop a strong bond with the armor, even giving it pet names and talking to it. Weirdos. There are a lot of stories about the suits acting to defend their wearers in ways that shouldn’t be possible.

Then there’s a bunch of about their missions (all. all of the missions.), their standard vehicle (the Greataxe IFV, to be described), and says they’re divided into a military structure with squads, platoons, etc, etc. The term of service is ten years, after which they get a choice: keep the armor or get 150,000 credits. Given what power armor of any kind costs, the 150K is kind of piddling. If they keep the armor (and most do) they have to swear a magical oath never to act against the UWW. If they do, the armor explodes, killing them instantly, even if they aren’t wearing it presumably.

Warlock Marines need PS, PE, and PP of 13 or higher and ME and IQ 10 or higher. That’s going to restrict a lot of regular rolled characters from play in a class that may not be equal to the Invincible Guard, who had no attribute requirements. If they pass that first bar, they get a bunch of additions to attributes from training: 2d4 PS, 1d6 PP, 1d4 PE, 2d6 Spd, and some extra SDC or MDC. Some combat bonuses, and thanks to the regimens of drugs, potions and training they get they have +3 versus mind control, +3 versus magic, +2 versus poisons/disease. They are also famous for being able to drink almost anything under the table.

They get a pretty big list of skills, and then the Warlock Combat Armor. The class at its base is pretty good with the attribute bonuses, the armor is what would make or break it overall. Unfortunately it’s not explained in this section. They also get a non-powered suit of armor with 85 MDC, and an EB-85 rifle. 1d6x1000 in savings and their salary in the military is 4000 a month in a rare moment of telling us how much people make. It looks like marines don’t save much though. Also no cybernetics. It makes some sense for the UWW to view them with some distaste given their disruption of magics. Overall I am surprised by how much ‘these guys are awesome, you should like them’ the book has for this class.

Anyway that was the regular version of the Warlock Marine. There’s also the Warlock Marine Magic Specialist for the spellcasters in the army. These guys are hybrids with a foot in both the warrior and magical worlds and therefore aren’t as good as dedicated specialists in either. In particular, their armor reduces the range of spells by half. I know mage classes don’t usually get easy access to power armor piloting in regular Rifts but I do not recall them being penalized if they did so.

PS, PP, ME and IQ 13 or higher. PE 14 or higher. Ain’t nobody making this job. They get vastly reduced bonuses to their attributes and rolls, but a better +4 save vs. magic, plus a very small selection of pretty mundane (ha ha it’s MAGIC) spells like ‘globe of daylight’. Some of them are definitely useful but it’d be nice to have some discretionary selections.

i find this picture interesting because it's kind of a girl pose on man-armor

They have an even bigger list of skills since they get demon lore and stuff. Same equipment and pay scale, which seems odd, they’re pretty rare. The magic they get is weak, they get several spells but they don’t get to choose and they only gain one per level. The power armor definitely will help but mostly it feels like you lose a lot more than you gain for being in this super-elite unit.

Turbo-Jockeys are naturals at piloting who are in the United Worlds of Warlock section since we were doing random OCCs anyway. They really are not in any way linked with UWW material though, they’re just natural hotshot pilots of any vehicle. They’re born rather than made, though obviously they need training in anything they need to steer. All races have them. The CAF likes them, the Empire only tolerates Kreeghor Turbo-Jockeys and there aren’t a lot of those.

They get +1d4 PP and +2d6 Spd. +2 Init, +3 while operating a vehicle, +2 to strike and dodge with a vehicle. They have a base percentile of 40% to fly anything, even something they’ve never touched before. I don’t know if that 40% is ‘to start it up’ or ‘every round you roll’ or what, Palladium, we need to have a discussion about when to do Tests.

i am going to punch the heck out of this air show

They have a bunch of pilot and pilot-related skills. They get a flight suit plus body armor, a pistol and personal stuff. Their affiliation may get them more gear + an actual vehicle. They might have cybernetics but you know, people frown on those. Because.

It’s a really boring class that got shoehorned in a weird spot. The Fighter Combat rules from the last book were terrible and I definitely would not want to frame a character concept around them.

Next: Organizations within the 3G.

More organizations!

posted by occamsnailfile Original SA post

Sadly I have fewer wrasslin' examples but it's still moar Palladium!

Rifts Dimension Book 3: Phase World Sourcebook Part 7: More organizations!

This is a listing of companies and organizations that exist in the Three Galaxies. They are using some of the stat systems presented in Rifts: Mercenaries. They are a 552 point org, which is obscene as I recall. The first of these is Tri-Galactic Military Services (TMS) which is the largest single merc outfit in the area. They have 500,000 soldiers, vehicles, fighters, and space ships. It’s funded by the planet Glory which makes up a lot of its economy with various war services. They buy the best gear they can get from all over, and hire the best soldiers, likewise.

The origin of the company lies in the last conventional war between the CCW and the Empire: About twenty years ago, a four year conflict ended, with the CCW having a huge military it no longer needed or wanted to actively maintain (okayyy) and all the returning soldiers were nothing but problems, competing for scarce jobs or coming back to ravaged homeworlds. They might turn savage! Some members of congress wanted to herd them all into camps!

One general managed to create an alternate solution by using up a bunch of prize money plus some loans and help from contacts. He founded a mercenary company on the planey of Norriego-5 which is distinctly not called Glory. Editing! A bunch of vets went there, got employed, and now TMS is a massive merc service. The TMS is strictly professional, engages in all types of missions that do not violate their codes of war, and rebuffs attempts at stockholding--they will buy Naruni equipment but will not permit NE to hold an interest in their company.

The mercs themselves train and compete constantly when not on an active mission. The three major cities on Norriego-5 are virtually identical military base cities, filled with entertainments for off-duty soldiers. The MPs patrol the cities to keep things somewhat in-line. When not on leave, discipline is strict and abusing locals while on mission is not tolerated. They’re paid 1200 credits a week for enlisteds, which is considerably more than other pay listings we’ve seen, all the way up to 12,000 a week for higher officers. They also receive room and board plus bonuses. The company even offers a space-401K.

modern pecnology

They go into specific troop numbers but these aren’t very interesting. Well-known units include the 3rd Light Infantry Division which is also known as the supernatural division . Spooooky. It’s made up of a bunch of beings with magical abilities obviously. Magicians and dragons and mind melters, oh my. They’re classified ‘light infantry’ because I guess their admins are dumb, but also because they aren’t issued a lot of equipment, though some other soldiers like full-conversion borgs get super-heavy cannons or whatever. They’re perceived as arrogant and people brawl with them, which seems like a mistake when most of them are naturally MDC.

The 5th Armored Division is ‘The Golden Horde’ which is made up of...Glitter Boys. Yes, somehow a division of Glitter Boys made it into space. There are more Glitter Boys in this unit than anywhere else in the Three Galaxies or on Earth itself. Where they come from is unknown. People think they are 3G-made replicas but still, seriously? Anyway they exist.

The next ‘organization’ is The Intruders, a mysterious new alien menace that started out by disappearing colonies and ships and avoided detection for a while simply by leaving no witnesses. When they were found, they were super-duper weird apparently, with ships that flashed bright colors and spun around like little fascinators. When destroyed, the ships would dissolve entirely, leaving only the bodies of the pilots behind. They weren’t talkative.

So far they’ve stuck to small scale raids and the wider public in the CCW doesn’t think much of them compared to the Empire or the Star Hives. The governments of the CCW and the Empire are more concerned, however. They think the invaders are from another galaxy outside the 3G, which means they managed to cross the 300,000+ light years in a relatively rapid span. Or, you know, were just willing to make the equivalent of a transatlantic voyage. Assuming 12.5 light years per hour (an average intergalactic ship speed) they could have made the crossing in 1000 days which is a breezy little jaunt in sci-fi terms. The fact that they can make that jaunt and then do the cosmic equivalent of panty raids suggests some more rapid means, however, along with the other weaponry and capabilities they’ve shown.

Their technology is described as “solid energy” which is basically using forcefield technology to skip the step of building a ship and just making the whole thing out of forcefield. Brilliant! This “solid energy” does not block phase beams, however, nor do the intruders understand magic--though they’re very resistant to magic and psionics.

Intruders destroy every sign of sentient life in locations they hit, buildings and all. The CCW desperately wants to try and talk to them to get them to stop, to see if there’s some reason to this madness. The Empire just wants to kill them and take their stuff. There are unconfirmed reports that the Free World Council has been spotted fighting alongside the Intruders. The actual Council hasn’t had any direct contact with the Intruders but they’re willing to let the rumors continue. The UWW has been left alone, probably because they’re freaky magic hippies. The Splugorth are pretty alarmed since this is something entirely new to them as well, and that doesn’t happen often. Phase World has had an uptick in sales of phase tech systems since they work on the aliens. Cosmo-Knights report that they are not immune to the Intruders’ energy weapons--the damage is only divided by ten, rather than a hundred. Not cool, mysterious aliens. Naruni Enterprises has magical superspy webs that have gotten them every scrap of info that everyone else has, which isn’t much, and the Naruni are jealous of people with better stuff than they have.

envision this section with the cut-rate version of Morgan Freeman voiceover I guess

There is no one single answer to the Intruders given in this section. Several possible theories are presented.

Now we shall have some stats and pictures of various Intruder types. The first is The Beast which are big, furry, with three eyes running up the middle of their face like a Sowki. Xenobiologists who have examined them think their species wouldn’t have reached intelligence by natural means and so were probably engineered.

furry sowki, seriously. anyone made this connection yet? no?

They have pretty good stats, small MDC (PE+1d6x10), can do minor damage with claws, +4 vs magic and psionics so have fun with that. They have a full block including skills but no language skill, since presumably they speak a currently untranslated gobbledygook I guess. Oh, and they get a suit of War Beast power armor with 400 MDC and built in weapons, that’s thrown in at the end.

Type two is the Mind Creature which is sort of like the war beast, but much, much sillier looking. Behold:

every time i look at this picture i just start giggling. look at his big ole head!

40% of their body weight is in their ginormous heads. No mind creature has ever been captured alive (and nothing about what happens if/when the beasts are) though at least one was killed by the beast subordinates when capture threatened, so it’s really unclear if they’re synapse creatures or what. They get smrt attributes, +4 vs magic/psi again, all sensitive and several defensive psi powers including a super-telepathy that lets them speak to the beasts at up to one light year per level of distance. 4d6x10 ISP. They get 150 MDC armor that can fire 1d4x10 blasts.

And that’s it! The War Beast power armor is not explained in this section; it’s off in the power armor section which would make sense if any other beings could ever use it. I suppose every sci-fi setting needs its ineffable invaders but we don’t have much to go on here and the GM just supposed to make stuff up. On the other hand, statwise, these guys are not super-threatening as written. Like, they’d be reasonable opposition in small numbers, depending.

Back in Phase World main they occasionally referenced Aliens Unlimited as something you should totally buy, for real, buy it and make alienz. Here we get a section specifically for converting or importing elements of the galactic setting described in AI to Phase World. You can also just make them another dimension linked to Phase World because why not, shrug.

brodkil? in space?

These are mentioned in all caps as OPTIONAL guidelines and suggestions and that GMs get to choose what makes the cut.

From Aliens Unlimited first we get the Atorian Empire, ruthless and expansionist. This text assumes you have Aliens Unlimited, which I don’t, and suggests that the Atorians could be a rising power getting ready to compete with the existing powers in 3G. This is listed as Option #1. The Federation of Alien Races is suggested as a small indie cluster trying to fend off hungry powers in the form of the Atorians and the Transgalactic Empire. The Niamese Coalition is sort of the Atorian Empire’s version of the Free World Council and the two feel friendly as a result. The Tagoniglomerate is a megacorporate competitor to the Naruni. The Thissera-Micean Cooperative (what a name) is a law-enforcement organization that presides over another smallish space nation. Cosmo-knights would like ‘em so I’m going to envision a Bravestarr kinda scenario.

have a robit

Option #2 is to have the Atorians as Kreeghor vassals. They would have been conquered slightly before the Wolfen Empire was destroyed. Of course, the Atorians are not ones to lie down and accept feudal domination, and they nurture betrayal in their hearts for their Kreeghor masters. The FAR could just be part of the Consortium in this case (why?) and the Niamese Coalition would just be part of the FCW. I sort of like this option better since an empire like the TE should be kind of fractious, even if I don’t have the book with the Atorians in it.

That’s it for ‘other organizations’. The Gun Show is next: Technology and Weapons. Time for all the toys to come out of the box!

What you’ve been waiting for...the guns!

posted by occamsnailfile Original SA post

Rifts Dimension Book 3: Phase World Sourcebook Part 8: What you’ve been waiting for...the guns!

Every Rifts book has a catalog section where you get a long list of toys you can buy. Mostly weapons, and generally there’s one or two that are clearly superior choices to the others given the way stats are handled. Phase World has tried to insert a little more interest with the way that beams/plasma/shields/phase tech all interact though it’s kind of a bandaid on an arterial geyser.

They also gave each of the weapon types distinct visual themes and descriptions of their effects so you can tell good guy lasers from bad guy ion pulses or whatnot.

We open with more Naruni guns: expensive and heavy, but good damage if you like having to buy your ammo from a corporation evil enough to put off the splugorth.

The NE-6 “Magnum” is--well I’ll just quote it.


The NE-6 uses a revolver cylinder instead of a magazine for this popular plasma cartridge weapon. The revolver action is easier to maintain and fix, so this “magnum” is popular among colonists, spacers, runners, outlaws and pirates. These guns also appeal to some romantic humans who still remember the legends of the “Old West” from a time when humans still dwelt on the mythical planet Earth.

The core book stated pretty forthrightly that humans don’t know their origin in Phase World. The NE-6 does 1d4x10 damage per shot, has 6 shots, takes a melee round to reload unless a 200 credit speed loader is used and regular ammo costs 20 credits. Oh, and it weighs six pounds.

ayup, just like back out on the range

I don’t do the other guns individually but that one was special. This section suffers a bit from being written half exclusively for Phase World and half for the potential Earth Market so you get mixed references like that, or guns made to use ‘standard e-clips’.

we’re not nearly done yet

That’s it for the guns themselves. Now we get explosives.

K-HEX explosives are a new thing made from “Killaryte”, these are Killaryte High Explosives. Apparently it’s a super-rare crystal created by the same geological process as those which create oil and coal, only this makes an organic compound that EXPLODES. The crystals are ten times more unstable than nitroglycerin so have fun with that. Somehow Naruni Enterprises have stabilized this mess enough to make something transportable.

K-HEX products include plastique cubes, explosive ammo, an entire line of missiles and a new micro-missile (italics theirs). Killaryte used to be a local liability but now it’s valuable. Shortly before revealing their new discovery, NE acquired mining rights to a bunch of it on the cheap. Thus far, nobody else has managed to stabilize it. One pound of the natural crystal does 2D4x10 MDC to a 50ft radius and even a loud noise has a 20% chance of setting it off.

When you make it into bombs though, it’s all nice and stable and useful. K-HEX plastique cubes do 1d6x10 to a 20 foot area (note: the killaryte crystal said radius, this one says area.) They do half damage then thrown, but double when shaped to focus the blast on a target. 1000 credits a pound. I wonder if space cocaine is cheaper?

NE-10G Grenades do 4d6 frag or 6d6 HE and since there’re no rules about armor penetration or whatever there’s no reason to take frag unless you really can’t afford the 500 versus 400 credit price tag for each. NE-20G microgrenades are fun-sized versions of the above that do 3d6/4d6.

not trying to be suggestive but...if i saw this out in the wild, missile would not be my first guess

Naruni Enterprises has also developed superior missile guidance systems. These missiles are +5 to strike and +4 to dodge and can attack twice per melee. These guidance systems at 15,000 credits to the cost of each missile. Let’s hear it for military procurement.

Micro-missiles are roughly the size of a magic marker and can be bought in ‘smart’ versions that are +4 to strike instead of +5 as above but they can track through crowds and other nastiness. Armor-piercing only, 6d6 damage, 1600 credits for a normal missile or 8000 for the smart kind. Compatible with the NE-28R wrist-mounted micro-launcher. 50,000 credits to carry around two of those tiny missiles.

fisto would like his glove back

The NE-800R is their Missile Assault System. More with the micro-missiles, so 6d6 MDC with a 16 missile payload for 80,000 credits. Can do volleys of up to four missiles. These micro-missiles would be an interesting touch, especially for urban combat with explosives that evade obstacles and hopefully civilians. They’re very expensive though.

There’s also all the other regular missile grades done in K-HEX, with mini-missiles starting at 1d4x10 MDC all the way up to long range Armor Piercing or Heavy HE doing 4d6x10, and all of these cost twice as much as their conventional kin. They don’t really do much more damage, if any, honestly--1d4x10 is more or less the ‘minimum’ an explosive usually does in Rifts.

So the Naruni have some new guns and bombs. Some of them are sort of interesting like the crowdpleasing micromissiles, others are just another listing of damage numbers. I’ll cover other weapons-makers in the next post.

Not-Naruni Guns

posted by occamsnailfile Original SA post

Ack, I got really distracted for a bit! I even have stuff written and just haven't posted it!

Rifts Dimension Book 3: Phase World Sourcebook Part 9: Not-Naruni Guns

So, despite what you may have been lead to believe, the Naruni are NOT the only weapons manufacturers in the Three Galaxies. There’s Kreeghor Foundries, state munitions cartel of the Empire, and Wolfpack Weapons (wolfen are just not good at naming things I guess) which is a wolfen-controlled CCW corporation responsible for some ships in the core book, and Malkovitch Armaments which does gravity stuff and Bushido Industries ( ) which is an oni-run corp and The Galactic Armory which is a large contracting firm while the UWW has the Smithy. I guess dwarves are even worse at names than wolfen.

What follows is a long list of guns from various sources with a lot more descriptive text than what feels like Rifts-normal. It must be Carella’s gentle guiding hand trying to give us some fluff to back up the comparison of 4d6/5d6 rifles. They also seem to be trying to give the guns some various sci-fi visuals or descriptions to make them seem cooler, which I appreciate, though the stats remain a boring parade of sameness.

”Slicer” GR-Gun : A Malkovitch Armaments offering, this gun fires ultra-sharp spinning darts (“similar to Japanese shurikens,” you know, Rifts Japan is not far down the pipe here and I think they’ve got it on the brain huh?) 4d6 damage which is good for a pistol.

”Death Disk” Weapons System : Ohh, I hope it’s Ultimate Frisbee! Oh, no, no, just fires superpowered buzzsaws. It has the unique capability of hitting one target repeatedly or even several targets in succession via a targeting laser system. Targeting counts as a melee attack so painting a whole crew can take up valuable economy resources. +4 to strike +2 to dodge. 5d6 per strike, 3 times a round. One disk per unit; it can’t coordinate more than one. Two spare disks can be kept in a pouch attached to a belt, and ONLY THAT NOWHERE ELSE. I’m being hyperbolic of course, it’s just weird to specify. The damage isn’t high enough to be broken but it does basically give a user 2 bonus attacks a round.

for all that text it looks pretty innocuous

Web Gun : Nonlethal capture weapon. Makes MDC foam bonds and are ‘bulky and heavy’. Each shot places 4d6 MDC worth of foam on a target, without specific rules about how much strength is needed to break free--it says only robots or powered armor ‘can hope to’ but doesn’t give mechanics. It can fire solvent to break its own webs. This is in theory extremely handy though it depends heavily on how many humanoid grunts you're fighting versus space chimeras and etc.

i don’t know why we needed a front view or why you’d label the solvent barrel

”Colonial” HI-Laser Rifle : A rifle designed for people who don’t always have regular access to e-clips. It has unfoldable solar cells that require 10 ft of space and recharge the gun in an hour. It can also plug into a power system and recharge in five minutes or so. Really, e-clips requiring special expensive charging is dumb and overpriced? You don’t say. 30 shot clip, 4d6 single shot, can be modded to three shot burst at 1d6x10+10. Basically, if you run out of ammo, the gun is a fancy club until you get a rest, but I like the idea of it. Galactic Armory product.

V-81 Volcano Mark-I Plasma Discharger : A UWW product, it is sized to be easy for big things like robots, power armor, and ogres to use. Requires PS 24. It can fire a focused jet (1d6x10) or a wide blast (4d6 in a 30ft area but the range is listed as 2000 ft which makes no sense at all) and it can’t fire bursts.

honestly only sort of sure which end of this is forward

Daisho-10 Multiweapon : Guess who made this one. Using nanotechnology they produced a doofy-looking gun that can turn into a doofy-looking sword. It takes a full melee round to do this. There’s a “ninja” version that can also take the shape of something innocuous, “like a video camera.” 4d6 as a laser, 3d6 as a vibro-blade, 20 shots or 20 minutes.

PB-60 Blast Pistol : UWW’s answer to the Kreeghor pulse pistol, but uses a steady stream of particles instead of pulses. So, a laser. 2d6 damage.

PB-85 Blast Rifle : Like the pistol, 3d6 MDC single shot or 1d4x10 three shot burst. An extra 8,000 credits gets you a sniper version with a scope that adds +2 to aimed shots.

HW-19 Stun Pistol : HW is short for “Humane Weapon.” The beams cause temporary loss of muscle control, causing victims hit to lose 3d6 speed and PP plus one melee attack and -3 to all actions per hit . Last for 2d6 minutes, less for extremely high PE values. You have to be wearing fully sealed armor to even get a save (as if against poison) and MDC creatures need a 12 or better and still only take half effect. Supernatural things like dragons and demons are unaffected. Well, phooey. Still, this is a really powerful weapon.

and it’s adorable

T’zee Piranha Gun : The t’zee have power over nanotechnology which was sort of the ‘’cosmic rays” of the 90s for granting superpowers and having magical properties. The gun fires some gray goo at an enemy and eat through whatever they contact for 1d6 rounds and then die off. This could never go wrong. Does 4d6 per round to armor and MDC, 3d6 SDC to beings of that nature. Fire or vacuum (for some reason) will kill them. Also fires 3d6 MD mini grenades, but why? Oh, because the grenade ammo is 50 credits per while the nano is 1,000 per shot. Yeesh.

T’zee Piranha Rifle : Like the pistol, but higher range and ammo capacity. Same damage. It notes in the rifle description that CCW law prohibits these weapons (so in space basically) but the t’zee sell them freely since CCW law doesn’t apply on planets.

also, totally inconspicuous.

Next we’ll get into power armor. I appreciate that they’re trying to give the guns here a little bit more flavor than just another random weapon picture with a damage listing though they’re still mired in the clunky mess of Palladium’s combat system. The Death Disk and Piranha guns also give de facto extra attacks--the Piranha in particular sounds like it could stack some really messy DoT on people. Trying to use money to balance the cost of using the gun might work if there were any kind of ‘standard’ economic levels--PCs start with variable (generally low) amounts of money and finding more is almost completely up to the GM. The mercenary company in this book listing salaries is an anomaly; most classes don’t have a ‘standard’ service cost.

Immature Radioactive Cyberai Slugs

posted by occamsnailfile Original SA post

Rifts Dimension Book 3: Phase World Sourcebook Part 10: Immature Radioactive Cyberai Slugs

This section begins with a picture of a fellow in a very elaborate headdress charging off the page with action.

very elaborate

It is unfortunately not related to the first model discussed in this section, which is the Warlock Combat Armor mentioned way back in the Warlock Marines OCC. That class was an okay fighting class, but the stats of the armor will really make or break it in terms of game utility.

These suits are magically linked to their wearers and the process is so involved and expensive that it’s almost cheaper to make a new suit if the wearer is killed without also destroying the armor. Despite being bulky and scary looking, it is very agile and responsive. It has a bunch of magical senses and mundane sensors so IR and see the invisible, sense evil and UV. It also has Robocop rules where it can’t damage people or property of the UWW (do they all wear magical RFID tags?) unless they’ve been declared criminals by the ‘authorities’. Violating this prohibition causes the armor to self destruct so basically just trick them into shooting a teammate I guess. It also grants +3 to save versus hostile spells, including anti-magic cloud.

It has very little in the way of built-in weaponry, just a wrist blaster and a shoulder-mounted mini-missile launcher. Normally it carries a Volcano Rifle plasma projector which does 1d6x10 to a single target or 4d6 to a 30 ft area. This is an ongoing theme in Phase World, weapons with variable firing areas. It’s a nice idea though trying to juggle combat movement and area measurements in Palladium rules would not be great fun. Anyway the rifle is about average for power armor main-weapon damage.

The armor has 400 MDC in its normal version or 320 if it’s the flying set. SAMAS doesn’t lose 20% of its durability to fly man. It also has a 100 MDC Armor of Ithan field that can be activated 3 times a day, which is basically 300 extra MDC. It has an ‘anti-matter and magic’ power plant with a 50 year lifespan, and costs 5 million credits to make. So when you muster out, take the suit.

The mini-missile launchers have six total missiles, it comes with a vibro-sword and can carry other guns if you want, basically any energy weapon can be plugged into the suit to have unlimited ammo.

it’s not a bad design for invoking ‘warlock’ with the hood-like helmet but it doesn’t knock my socks off either. sort of has the sigmarine problem of looking faceless and stiff.

It grants a few other combat bonuses to its wearer and there are persistent rumors that the suits are sentient and act independently to protect their owners. Overall it actually compares pretty favorably with a lot of other power armors in the Rifts main book but is slightly less good than the technological stuff presented in the main Phase World book. The Silverhawk has less MDC (if we count the Ithan field) but does 3d6x10 with its rifle and can cut through forcefields with a special weapon and has more missiles. And it can fly. And it gets a special combat skill just for itself. Granted, no OCC gets the skill or that armor by default but supposedly these Warlock armors are a major part of the UWW’s security force. They are good, certainly better than the usual extremely shitty techno-wizard offerings, but remains not quite on par.

For comparison, our next entry is the Enforcer Power Armor from Naruni Enterprises. It’s advertised as an urban combat model for law-enforcement, and it has several non-lethal weapons systems. That is an interesting idea, since law enforcement in Phase World is going to have to cope with some very unusual threats and military response is not always correct outside of the Empire. It also has advanced sensors that let it see through walls and detect invisible enemies. So the Warlock’s magical combat senses can suck it. It also has little ribcage-mounted weapon arms that are aimed with the pilot’s gaze.

300 main body MDC, main weapon array are quick-hardening foam dispensers that completely cover a target, any target, on a 12 or higher. Supernatural PS 40 or higher required to escape in 1d6 rounds. 60 MDC and if you go over you hit the person inside. Cripes that is unbalanced. Even though a target is enclosed in a protective candy shell they can be hit with psionics/magic and are also just out of the combat until you’re ready to deal with them unless they’re quite strong. It mentions you can also use the chemical sprays mentioned in Rifts core or if you’re a dumbass who spends their time fighting the most boring vampires ever, ordinary water.

Martin seems to have a problem with drawing his power armor looking at the floor like all power armor naturally gazes broodingly downwards

The two little weapon limbs fire lasors that inflict 1d6x10 or a stunning attack that subtracts 3d6 from speed and physical prowess and is cumulative. This is identical to the stun weapon mentioned previously and remains quite powerful against anything short of an actual dragon.

It also has grenade launchers (varies by grenade), eight mini-missiles, which since this is Naruni you could use those fancy-schmancy seekers if you hate money, and it can see through walls (but not force or phase fields) up to 2000 ft away. And it can be used against its makers. One million credits! A bargain. Really, it’s pretty good at not just what it does, but incapacitating almost anything long enough to beat it down.

Now, something for the munchkins to beg and plead for and make a life goal. The A-1 “Avenger” Power Armor is supposedly the super bestest power armor ever made ever and fewer than two thousand sets exist. A former Naruni Enterprises engineer broke his non-compete and formed his own company, M’Kri Hardware. NE was not about to face competition from one of their own and so lawsuit-harassed the company into bankruptcy and the designer committed suicide, with Naruni managing to take most of his IP. Unfortunately, when trying to follow the schematic for the Avengers they keep somehow not being able to do it. Even assuming vital secrets of the production went with the creator it seems like they could iron that out. But, enh.

So here’s a special collector’s item suit. Originally in gold, silver, or metallic red, and it’s considered declasse to repaint them. Avenger pilots are regarded much like Glitter Boy pilots: highly elite smugholes.

They have 825 MDC with a 200 MDC forcefield, and I’m not sure how long the field needs to recharge if depleted. Its main weapon is an arm-mounted HI-laser that does 2d6x10 (not enough to unseat king Glitter) plus a 2d4x10 railgun, a mini-missile launcher with 16 ammo, and plinky helmet lasers. It also has a camo system that makes it harder to detect ambush and even makes the armor invisible to heat/thermal optics--I am not sure how this interacts with the Enforcer’s super sensors above. Lastly, there’s a radar jammer that completely fucks with any and all targeting systems and radar or gravity-wave sensors in a one mile area--20% chance of even being able to find a target for missiles. Even if they can’t reproduce the armor, I am amazed something like this jammer isn’t fairly standard in all armed forces in the Three Galaxies.

okay i take it back, THIS one has sigmarine problems

The War Beast Combat Armor is for the Intruders, those zany extragalactic menaces now raiding civilized space. It is supposedly far in advance of anything the 3G can put together, having a semi-transparent crystalline appearance, showing the pilot within. It seems to be much like their ships, being mostly some kind of supertech force field. We don’t have a picture of this one sadly.

It has 300 MDC with 100 MDC on the ‘power generator’ which is a -2 to hit and the explanatory text specifies that 200 MDC is actually required to destroy it, but the armor will continue regenerating unless it is destroyed. Nobody has managed to capture one of these generators from the wearer somehow except maybe the Free World Council.

They fire 1d6x10 energy blasts and that’s it. Not so great for ‘advanced beyond all recognition’ though the beast pilots are pretty ferocious on their own.

That’s all the power armor for this book. Two of these (The Enforcer, the Avenger) are kind of wildly unbalanced--the Enforcer’s trap and stun abilities are just wildly strong and the Avenger is really tanky and buff and also invisible and screws with the ubiquitous missiles of the Three Galaxies. I would not be surprised to see a mini-missile battery listed on a skateboard.

Next we’ll deal with Robot Vehicles which are different from power armor by being taller. Seriously.

First up: Nanny and Orphanmaker

posted by occamsnailfile Original SA post

Rifts Dimension Book 3: Phase World Sourcebook Part 11: First up: Nanny and Orphanmaker

We have done power armor, so now we do robot vehicles. First up is the Ovoid Combat Robot from Naruni Enterprises.

The Ovoid is commonly known as the “death egg” (take that faberge?) and originates from another dimension. It has a different design aesthetic than a lot of other Naruni Enterprises equipment and it’s unknown where they got the blueprints. Maybe it resembles the egg-shaped offspring of the originating species?

These little eggs are basically the Easter veritech, having limbs and the ability to walk around and shoot but also a flight mode where these draw up into the body. Most of its weapons and systems are also drawn up into the hull, making them difficult to target and shoot off. -4 to strike individual weapons instead no penalty/-2.

The main body has 650 MDC and it has a 320 MDC forcefield on top of that. It can run at 70 mph but fly at Mach One in an atmosphere.

like kinder eggs, in that it’s illegal to import

Primary weapons are a set of plasma cartridge machine guns that do 2d6x10. Secondary weapons are a pair of railguns with three times the range that also do 2d6x10. Short and long range missiles, a lot of each actually, and some piddly little lasers. Sadly does not list an “egg butt” maneuver in the close combat section.

Now it is time for a big stompy evil robot! Rarr! Behold the Imperator Assault Robot . It has a sword and an axe and a loudspeaker that can roar loudly enough to shatter glass! Seriously the Transgalactic Empire’s design department is entirely staffed by MDC-plated teenagers doodling on binders. Just look at this thing:

as usually, every available orifice is a missile launcher

The description specifically mentions that it’s easy for the crews of these robots to mutiny. Hm.

They have 655 main body and their annoying loudspeaker has 200 all by itself. The two guns on the torso are the main weapons, gravity autocannons that do 2d6x10+20 damage. Only 16 medium missiles which is paltry compared to most of the explosive-packed pillboxes in this setting. The energy sword/axe and power claw does 2d4x10 when powered and 3d6 when not. There’s no reason to not power it, and it also fires energy blasts with the same damage. This seems to be an important part of its offense and I guess I can’t fault them for trying.

We heard earlier that the Warlock Marines like to deploy from the Greataxe IFV . It’s a hovertank with a sweet cannon that can also fire “two missiles out of the same barrel.” That just sounds like a recipe for disaster. The turret only has 200 MDC so aim for that, it has all the weapons. The main body has 420 which seems low for a tank, also it’s a pretty shitty transport vehicle, can only hold four crew. It also states that the belly plates of the vehicle are vulnerable when it flies too high but gives no mechanical support for this.


The cannon does 2d4x10 single-shot or 4d4x10 double, if you like to keep your loader busy I guess. The missiles are the Bottled Demon missiles that chase targets and can very occasionally turn a demon loose back at the user. 3d4x10. It also has a rail gun, and a plasma gun with unlimited ammo that does 2d4x10 or 5d6 over a wide area. A regular mini-missiles and we’ve got a tank. It’s mostly purely technological so it doesn’t suck, the demon missiles are nice but they can only carry a very few and they are absurdly expensive in the way of technowizard items.

Since there aren’t a lot of robot vehicles and there are a lot of starships, we’ll also cover the new fighters presented here in this section. They explain a little bit about the multiple roles that ships are supposed to serve like fighters being for close combat with other small craft and for escort and defense of larger craft, etc. The way Rifts damage tends to come out, having a ton of little guns is better than a few big ones in many cases, though they may have inflated the numbers enough to make capital weaponry worthwhile here.

That said, onto the ships themselves.

Black Eagle Medium Fighter : Another fighter for the CAF, “new” in that it’s only been in service 20 years. They have three main configurations, bomber, interceptor, and long-range which has its own FTL drive. They have 800 main body MDC and 1200 in their forcefield which does put them in the ‘medium’ range of fighter durability.

Primary guns do 4D4x10 which is average, 5 mile range. The bomber version carries 2 2 or 4D6x100 missiles and all of them carry 24 mini missiles. The Long Range variant doesn’t seem to sacrifice anything for its drive.

The Katana is predictably manufactured by Bushido Industries of the Bushi Federation. At least it doesn’t actually look like a sword. Instead it looks like an arrowhead! 600 main body and 1800 force field MDC.

no prominent ports in the art means no missiles right?

The main particle beam cannons do 2D6x10 at 2 miles, and there are missile racks on the underside that can carry four total missiles from cruise, long- or medium-range. They can also attach two weapon pods with the choice of a gravity gun (3D6x10), more missiles (two extra) or 48 mini missiles. Two anti matter cruise missiles would do 8d6x100 or 2400 average MDC, which is not insubstantial. 48 plasma mini-missiles would do 48d6x10 or 1440 average so the cruise missiles actually are a better bet. Lastly there’s the plasma ejection pod which does 1d4x100 with a 600 ft range. They’re also listed as “very maneuverable” which means they probably get an advantage in the very vague dogfighting rules, though honestly almost all the fighters are listed as “very maneuverable.”

Naruni checks in with the Fire-Eater attack ship. It’s supposed to do bombing runs or something and has “plasma cartridge twin-miniguns” for when the bombs run out. They have 550 main body and 1200 total forcefield MDC. Their plasma cannons do 2d4x10 MDC. Can carry 16 missiles or 32 of whatever in space counts as a “bomb.” They are not noted as being specially maneuverable.

something something for the greater good

Lastly we get a ship for the Intruders, whom they really want you to include and take seriously. The Spinnerette Interceptor looks like a big diamond in the sky. They are called “spinnerette” because they are constantly spinning, not because they make webs. They flash and change colors in an entirely trippy way and they fly without noticeable drag through any medium. They also tend to recover damage naturally and quickly as all Intruder creations do. A few of these ships have been captured by the CAF when phase weaponry killed the pilots--all other types of forcefield stop phase weaponry dead but not these super-advanced hard-light babies!

’it’s just a big gem.’ ‘yeah, maybe put some vague energy around it or something?’ ‘yeah, we’re good, let’s hit the bar’

450 main body MDC, regens 1d6x10 per round. 100 MDC pilot cage that is what you actually have to destroy. Energy blaster does 2d4x10 per blast and it self-destructs for 4d6x10 after the pilot is killed, exactly one hour and fifteen minutes later and the system is impossible to disarm so nyah nyah nyah. Also they’re very hard to detect, being visually detectable from “only” 1,000 miles away.

CAF gets two ships, the Empire gets none, I am surprised. They fit more or less within the damage ratings given previously but I guess I don’t see that much need for them at all since we already had fighters last time. More frigates come next.

Friggin’ Frigates

posted by occamsnailfile Original SA post

Rifts Dimension Book 3: Phase World Sourcebook Part 12: Friggin’ Frigates

We’re getting towards the end of the book and I must finish nnngh! The starship writeups get kinda repetitive, in a lot of ways they’re just an ascending series of numbers as each class gets a little bigger. I appreciate parts of this book for trying to shake things up somewhat with weird guns but the ships are all really similar. They have some MDC, a forcefield, a main gun/laser/etc, some missiles, another gun, maybe mini-missiles or bombs or something to shake it up.

So now we’re at frigates, which was where the last book left off. First off is the Hunter-Class Destroyer which--isn’t ‘destroyer’ a different class than a frigate? Ugh, who cares. The ship is an older Wolfen Empire model that still serves the CCW. It’s described as being “flat, with the bridge seeming to form the body of a flat butterfly.” The picture accompanying this text is completely not that. Look:

unless this is its ‘pupa’ mode

The main body has 4,500 MDC which as we have noted before is as much as some of the smaller gods. Of course, the bridge is exposed and vulnerable at 1,200 MDC, though that won’t disable the ship. It might kill crew though. The CCW has about 8,000 of these in service. Its market cost in a decommissioned ‘surplus’ form is 90 to 150 million credits, and that’s without all its armor, weapons, and ‘stealth system’ (there is no stealth system). I mention this because the prices on all these ships, even the cargo vessels mentioned, are absurd when weighed against the money PCs expect to have. I think the Bounty Hunter class from Phase World main was listed as ‘possibly’ having their own ship, which would automatically make them wealthier on paper than any other class in any book. I realize that buying shipping vessels has never been cheap and expecting sense from the Rifts economy is hopeless but basically the books are pushing the PCs to go space pirate ASAP if they want to fly.

Anyway, for weapons, the Hunter has 3 particle beam cannons which are in the nose and both sides. Firing all three into the same target (somehow) would inflict 6d4x100 MDC. It also has some railguns and lasers for fending off fighters and power armor and a pretty big pile of missiles--50 of the ‘cruise’ category even if it can only fire them one at a time, plus 320 medium-range missiles. It is listed as carrying a fighter wing--4 fighters. If they’re Black Eagles, those are 45 ft long and 32 feet wide. The Hunter is 300 ft long and 80 ft wide. That’s a pretty big chunk of space devoted to the fighters--good thing they don’t need runway I guess.
The Warlocks get a frigate next. It’s techno-wizard enhanced. Its special “death cloud” cannon rifts in a bunch of water in front of ships moving at high speeds, which is kind of destructive to the moving object. We’ll see how the stats for that play out but as a weapon that seeks to alter the topography of the battlefield I find it interesting. It’s also useful to stop fleeing pirates and such.

The main body has 3,500 MDC plus a 2,000 MDC field that can be activated three times per day but isn’t variable like other ships. It comes out to about the same total. The special death cloud cannon only has 400 MDC and again the bridge is vulnerable at 800.

The death cloud itself has a range of 10 miles, creating a 500ft cloud. A ‘ship’ will take 4d6 times its Mach number ( ) which is kinda sad, though some fighters get up to Mach 14 or so in Rifts’ crazy version of space physics. The damage increases by 10 for ships weighing 10,000 tons or more so firing at a max-speed hunter would do 4d6x9.5x10 or 1140, which is respectable. We haven’t gotten to the expanded ship combat rules in this book yet but previously (and in general) Palladium doesn’t have much in the way of movement-based rules so there isn’t much reason to go full speed in combat. You get no bonuses for it. You do get a -6 to dodge the death cloud at any speed, but we don’t know how fast these ships accelerate or decelerate so maybe just plunk down and fire if you’re fighting one of these guys. Also, it can only fire 10 times a day versus the hunter class’s unlimited times per day. Because fuck magicians. Palladium hates them so much. The cannon is an interesting idea but with the shitty ruleset I am not sure it works outside of heavily narrative situations I guess.

i can’t even think what to caption this with, it feels like Breaux just sort of scrounged this from his sketchpad with a shrug

It also has some fighter-swatting lasers and short range missiles and dumb lightning rods that do bad damage--basically it has no other anti-ship weapons besides the death cloud which is a...huge design oversight. To fight these, just park your frigate and ignore their point defense weaponry. It does carry 48 Warlock marines but those can’t fly by default, and 4 Shadow Bolt fighters which can (again the size data doesn’t really work with that) but it is still heavily under-armed for its stated role.

Now we have the UFO Attack Ship from the Intruders. It’s a big angry trapezoid. It has three ‘sections’ with 1,000 MDC that can be overwhelmed to shut down, exposing the bridge which is powering all the hard light forcefield. Its main gun does 1d6x100 and its secondary blasters do 1d6x10 and that’s all it has. Honestly pretty weak for a super-advanced space menace.

That’s it for frigates. Now we do cruisers. These are classed as 20,000 to 200,000 tons. They’re supposed to lead small battlegroups and form the main elements of larger fleets. They have five to ten times the MDC of frigates plus more guns and missiles and fighters and etc.

The first is the Warshield-Class Cruiser for the CAF. They’re a common sight in CCW spaceports and sort of the symbol of the fleet in general. They have 45,000 main body MDC, plus 10,000 in the bridge amd 12,000 main engines.

this is actually by kevin long and it’s a decent piece though i feel like it’s from something

The main laser battery does 2d4x1,000 for a double blast. This is both in scale with the ship numbers and such we have been seeing and completely off any meaningful chart for damage we have seen anywhere else. Gods, demons, monsters--none of them can match this for output. The Coalition has nothing that can even come close (as of this book). We don’t actually know how much MDC buildings are supposed to have (if any) but with a 100 mile range it’s not a bad weapon for ‘shore’ bombardment. This is intended for ship-to-ship fighting using the scale they’ve been working from, but unless you just narratively refuse to use it elsewhere, the starship stuff just breaks the Palladium system even further.

The Warshield has some other guns and missiles--pretty formidable armament really, multiple x100 guns and lasers and 640 cruise missiles which can be fired at a rate of 64 per round. Yeesh. Mini-missiles, 12 fighters, 10 Silverhawks, and 2 Battlerams. Basically, yes, a fearsome weapon.

That’s was the good guy cruiser, let’s see the bad guy. The Smasher-Class ? Really? That was the best name they could come up with? I mean the picture looks like something you would delicately place on your mantle and glare at your cat not to brush against.

like just look at those delicate little frills

Oh well, it’s the Smasher. These usually travel in groups of three with six Berserkers (see Phase World) as escort. These are less ship-of-the-line than the Warshield and so only have 18,000 main body MDC. Their cannons do 1d6x1000 though, which comes out to a lot with three of them firing together at a single target. Also, that’s damage to a 40ft area (same with the Warshield) plus 1d6x10 to 100ft around the impact as heat damage. They have secondary lasers that do a pretty respectable damage and 20 cruise missiles per round with 100 in the magazine. They also supposedly have a complement of 36 Flying Fang fighters each which is nuts. There’s just no way, that simply would not fit. It’s also vastly overpowered on the fighter front since each of those Fangs is comparable to an enemy fighter and not just a disposable mob you can shoot down in one round. Riiiiiifts!

The UWW gets an entry with the Dwarven Iron Ship .

this looks like the cover of ‘das spaceboot’

It even acknowledges in the text that it looks like a sub. For no reason at all. Literally none, it just does. I suppose that’s sort of better than yet another ‘were inspired by Earth somehow’. Apparently this was the result of early magicians trying to figure out space travel from first principles with magic. The ship itself is heavily enchanted to protect it from harm, making it cruiser-tough. Since they defeated the Splugorth in the battle that created the UWW, they haven’t built any more--because of course it’s built with magic and costs as much as a dozen technological ships. Apparently each of them is as complex to enchant as a greatest rune weapon. Come on, I know you hate magicians so much but can we lay off a minute? Despite these immense hurdles they managed to make 4,000 of these, of which 3,137 remain. Supposedly they are a match for any other kind of cruiser out there. Let’s see if that’s backed up by the numbers.

30,000 main body, magical force field, 10,000 bridge. They have a rift projector cannon from Phase World main, which is a fierce weapon but has a limited number of shots per day because again fuck mages. It also has two flame cannons that do 1d4x1,000 each, so it can match the Warshield’s main guns for damage. It just needs 1,000 PPE per day to keep them running. :eyeroll:

It also has some lasers and turrets based on technology so they work perfectly and forever, and some of the Bottled Demon missiles which are nice but not at all comparable to technological cruise missiles. Lastly they have 36 (again, this will not fit) Shadow Bolt fighters which are fun but underpowered and then for kicks, 12 Broadsword or Fire-Eater fighters. I might be willing to excuse this ship being overfull of support craft because ~magic~ but that isn’t explained and they really just didn’t even look at how big they said these ships are when saying one was inside another.

So, the Iron Ships are decent but a little underpowered. They don’t have the MDC of the Warshield but their damage output is close at the capital level. Their missiles are weak however, and this is a serious disadvantage in given how volleys work. Assuming one sticks with their fighter complement, they have a lot of backup firepower and I cringe at how many dice would have to be rolled to run all that, but ultimately a trio of Smashers would eat one of these in three rounds. Since they aren’t making any more, that might be a problem.

After this we have battleships and carriers, and then the expanded space combat rules.

Pew pew space combat

posted by occamsnailfile Original SA post

Rifts Dimension Book 3: Phase World Sourcebook Part 13: Pew pew space combat

So, we have dealt with cruisers, which are very easily a match for anything else ever printed in the line to date plus a crap ton of additional support vehicles to make a mess out of combat. Now we shall address their even bigger siblings, the Battleships, Carriers, & Dreadnoughts. Gigantic space vehicles are a mainstay of space opera and so these are expected to be here, and they’re all as gigantic as advertised, some apparently clocking it at up to ‘two miles’ in length. Additionally, since space fighters are all VTOL, the role of ‘carrier’ is often mingled with the battleship, especially since the authors didn’t take relative sizes of any of these ships into account.

The first is the Protector Class of the CAF. It’s a flagship class. The CAF has eight active fleets with 1 or 2 of these, so there aren’t a lot of these around. This is in contrast to the ‘thousands’ of cruisers they have in service. In addition to its fighter complement, it has 2500 troops, 48 tanks, 60 IFVs, and 240 power armor or robot vehicle units.

this is so unlike Long’s usual style that it has to be from reference, but I don’t know what.

Its main body has 250,000 MDC. At this point you might as well wrap back around to ‘hit points’ as a unit of ship armor and complete the time loop, it’s not a number with much meaning in actual play. Its weapons are a lot weaker though, focus on those. Said weapons include the main guns, ‘40 inch laser cannons’, which can do 4d6x1,000 damage. They have a succession of smaller guns but only the G-Cannon railguns give small (fighter-sized) targets +2 to dodge. It can also fire 128 cruise missiles per round with 2560 in payload, and then there are long-range missiles which apparently can be reloaded from the cargo hold in ‘1d6 minutes’. It also carries 42 fighters and 48 Silverhawks (separate from the ground forces I guess), 6 Battleram robots, and 4 CAF assault shuttles. It is stuffed to the gills with things to roll a million dice for.

If you feel like the Protector’s complement wasn’t enough, you’re in luck. The Packmaster ‘carriership’ is here for you. About a mile long, they carry 500 fighters, 350 power armor/robot vehicle units, and an armored division with shuttle support. There are apparently 90 of these in service, total. Being basically a thin candy shell wrapped around a huge number of other crunchy little units, it only has 80,000 MDC and relatively limited weaponry. Its force comes from making your slowly starve to death at the table while you work on completing a single combat round. It carries supplies for a full year, two in a pinch.

packmaster is one mile long, hunter destroyer is 300 ft, i guess this is reasonably to scale?

So the CAF has some suitably large vessels to defend truth and liberty. The Empire has the Doombringer Dreadnought . It’s like, three miles long man! It doubles as a carrier with over 800 fighter ships and there’s 23 of these in Imperial service and 1 that was taken by the Free World Council that has permanently lost 10% of its MDC. Because the Empire is ever-paranoid of putting too much power in the hands of a single commander, these dreadnoughts are never attached to normal fleets, but instead are sent out alone, or with an escort commanded separately. I’m sure that causes no problems of organization for them. Also, anyone who wants to fight the Empire tends to aim straight for these huge, obnoxiously-shaped targets.

this was a two-page spread and i think a bit got cut out of the middle, this is the best i can do to merge it

The main body has 350,000 MDC--the guns on the Protector will do an average of 12,000 a round, which is impressive, but this thing can take a long-term beating from those. Its weapons are also a bit more beefy than the good guy counterparts but are still a lot more vulnerable than the body. Unless the ship combat rules change it up substantially, there is zero reason not to shoot your enemy’s guns off first.

The main guns of this ship do 8d4x1,000 damage. Yeah, shoot these off. They again have a succession of smaller guns, slightly fewer than the Protector. They also have cruise missiles, but only 200 total though they can supposedly also reload these from the cargo hold in ‘1d4 minutes’. In addition to guns and missiles, they have 900 fucking fighters and 6 troop transports. So this is the end boss of the ship levels, have fun.

After this we get into the much-touted Ship Combat rules. I think these should have been before the ships, rather than after, but that’s Rifts for you. It acknowledges that the massive stats and numbers involved in capital ship fights require something besides regular resolution, and states that this is not meant to be a complex wargame, but a genre emulation of things like “Star Wars, Japanimation, and other cinematic settings.” There’s also a specific note that Robotech stuff has different stats and penalties because their stuff tends to be even larger still and the GM should either choose one system for both, or just use Phase World for Phase World and Robotech for Robotech and mash the two together, this could not cause problems.

Firstly, we talk a bit about the weapons systems on ships. The main guns are not meant to be used against single fighters. These weapons give very little in the way of targeting bonuses: +1 from the weapon systems skill and +2 from computer targeting. For another, it’s apparently very easy to see a giant laser coming towards you and get out of its way.

Volley attacks are addressed next. Since there are so many dang guns, it’s easier to roll them as single volleys (which is also ‘realistic’, it says.) which hit or miss as a group. I feel like a little more granularity would be good without needing to model each individual gun. Then, you roll the damage for one blast and multiply it to avoid rolling handfuls of d6s or whatever. Another way is to take the maximum damage and apply 60% of the total. And of course, if the damage involved would destroy a ship no matter what, just destroy it, skip the rolling.

Also, under the volley rules, we learn how many attacks per round most of these ship guns get: one. It’s good to have this stated somewhere, since it wasn’t entirely clear if it was based on the gunner (as fighter weapons are) or not. For some reason, you also can’t do more volleys per melee than ‘the total number of weapon systems divided by three’.

Targets larger than 400 ft give +3 to hit with big guns. Then there’s a table listing by size that ranges from +11 to hit (20,000 ft or larger) down to -12 (man-sized or smaller) with energy weapons. Also, all entities smaller than 150 ft gain an automatic dodge against ‘large’ weapons, though the cutoff for that is not explained.

Large vessels also cannot really fatdodge very effectively. They can make a normal dodge roll (Do they spend an attack? Who has to do that? The pilot(s)? Is that separate from the gunners?) and if they succeed they negate one-half of the damage by maneuvering to take a glancing blow. Given the bonuses to hit large ships, it seems unlikely there’d be much successful dodging going on. Also, bonuses to dodge traditionally come from physical skills which...seem less applicable here, aside from it not being clear who’s doing the rolling.

i feel like this would be improved if the robot were holding a guitar instead of a gun

Missile combat is next. This is an important inclusion since missiles are an overwhelming alpha strike for a lot of vehicles. Missiles cannot be dodged or maneuvered against since they’ll just loop back around for another go, they have to be shot down by point defenses. Nevermind ECM or whatever, space people don’t use that.

Missiles get their own table with +14 to hit 10,000 ft or larger down to +3 for ships as teeny as 200ft, +5 if the missile is a ‘smart bomb’. (No missiles are listed as being smart bombs.) 200 ft or smaller ships simply cannot be hit by a volley of ten or more missiles, unless again it is a ‘smart bomb’ or point-defense system like mini missiles. But 9 is okay? Okay.

Another tactic described is the Random Missile Assault, where a bunch of guided missiles are just launched and their targeting systems figure out the rest. This requires at least 10 missiles to be fired at once, and 1d4 per ‘10 or 20’ will home in on each single target. The example is a barrage of 40 missiles at 6 Silverhawks; 2d4 is rolled for each, giving 2 on the first, 6 on the second and third, 8 on the unlucky fourth, and 4 and 3 for the last two. That accounts for 29 missiles, the other 11 are considered ‘stray’. The Silverhawks can then try to dodge or shoot down the missiles as normal, this seems like a waste of a lot of missiles when it doesn’t cost anything to target them individually.

Missiles also have an optional rule against forcefields of large ships: Since these vessels are so large, their fields are 20 to 40 feet clear of the hull, which means that even if a missile strike defeats the field the hull is left relatively undamaged. Ships 200 ft and smaller don’t get this benefit. If a strike penetrates a field, divide the damage by ten, and this does apply to the whole volley rather than just individual missiles. This rule lets forcefields reduce the immense alpha-striking capability of missiles against larger ships quite a bit.

fire carefully calculated volley of torpedoes!

Now we get to variable force fields and how they recharge. Finally! A normally functioning ship can restore about 5% of its field per round--if you are using this with the missile rule above that just about negates the value of missiles entirely since they just splat out the field each round unless you shoot it with something else first. If the field is knocked down, it doesn’t regen till the next round.

Crew damage is another consideration. The bridge of the Enterprise must shake. Fighters use the Impact Rule in Rifts. Crew in ships under 1,000 tons have a cumulative 10% chance per round of taking 1d6 SDC for every 100 MDC that directly impacts the hull. 1,000 to 10,000 ton ships do this at 500 MDC, and the largest at 1,000. There’s no mention of killing crew by destroying the bridge which is suggested in the damage headings on the larger ship classes but doing that still reduces the ship’s responsiveness overall.

Lastly, there’s an optional “Random Damage and Effects” table. These are various bad things that can go wrong. That’s all fine but there’s no indication of when you should use this. When a ship takes a certain percentage of its total hull capacity? When the enemy crits? When they fumble a dodge? Fail a piloting skill check? Just kidding, skill checks are never specifically called for.

Those the entirety of the starship combat rules. They’re extremely barebones and some of them are just the common sense basic solutions that a lot of tables will come up with to preserve sanity (roll a few dice and multiply, etc) in the face of hundreds of combat entities. These rules are slightly better than the fighter combat rules but there’s still a lot of stuff unexplained, like how many attacks per round smaller weapon systems are supposed to get, how many dodges ships can attempt, what qualifies as a ‘large’ weapon for hitting purposes and when you are supposed to use their random damage table.

The Sourcebook ends there, fairly abruptly, leading to the experience tables and in-house promos. There’s some helpful material in this book if you’re going to run Phase World, and some dross. The endless listings of ships and weapons systems were really starting to make my eyes glaze over but I know some people really get into that kind of thing. It’s just that a lot of the stats are so useless. But anyway, at least they listed out some big ships if you’re into that kind of thing. The fact that these ships work on a completely new scale from anything else in the line is a separate problem, but a very Palladium-ish one. Previously we did some blank staring at the immense MDC numbers for gods, now we have battleships with even more--and much more massive damage capacity. It’s just more crazy on the pile that is the Megaversal system.