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Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

I think the best bit is how the super-powerful Three Letter Acronym agency with far-reaching discretionary powers couldn't confiscate an unknown power source that was leaking blood. Whoops, sorry Mr. CIAFIBNSA agents, but I think you'll find that your probable cause is no match for our intellectual property laws. Just ignore that crying sound coming from the murder-cube, nothing to see here.

In a better written game, i.e. not Cthulhutech, the Chrysalis Corporation would be a blackly-comic object lesson in why you don't let crazy cultists run a multi-gazillion dollar megacorporation when their dead-baby battery and EULA where you sign your eternal soul over to the "Nameless Ones From Beyond The Veil (the party of the third part)" results in everybody involved going to superjail, the Ashcroft Foundation buying out the gutted remnants for pennies on the dollar, and releasing their own better, non-baby-powered magic battery six months later.

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GimmickMan
Dec 27, 2011



So apart from the fact that Ctech has engines that run on dead babies, I would like to remind everyone that you can canonically go mad from learning that a vegetable hates you.

MadDogMike
Apr 9, 2008

Can I come out and play?

TK-31 posted:

So apart from the fact that Ctech has engines that run on dead babies, I would like to remind everyone that you can canonically go mad from learning that a vegetable hates you.

I dunno, if I felt sheer hatred from a plant, "I've gone crazy" would be MY first assumption about the subject.

Too bad about Cthullutech really; the idea of "Mecha vs. Great Old Ones" is crazy enough to make a good game, but apparently they decided not to.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Rifts World Book 4: Part Sixteen: "These bold and proud people sometimes see this as a reason to take cattle away from other people, especially those not indigenous to Africa (like the white man and D-Bees)."

Ethiopia

Though a forgotten wilderness, there aren't many humans here on account of all the monsters. There are peaceful tribes of adarok flying mountains (it refers us to Rifts® World Book Two: Atlantis for those).



We got a lot of detail on the Lalibela churches built into a mountain, though nobody seems to live there, they're mysteriously kept clean by an unknown force. They're said to contain portals to hell and Wormwood, which is presented as DUN DUN DUN moment, but since we don't know what Wormwood is yet, it falls a bit flat. We also get a short bit on the river Omo; It's a big river and has lots of animals etc.

The East African Plateau

Bushlands, highlands, savanna, and wastelands. There's a lot of talk of rain, but we keep going.

Uganda

There are people here, and there's a low-tech city of Kampala, which is nice to hear about a city that isn't filled with monsters. But we don't get much detail.

The Great Rift Valley
Kenya & Tanzania


First, it points out the Great Rift Valley has nothing to do with dimensional rifts. Oh, good. That's something of a relief. I was really worried Kevin was going to turn into a super-rift. It's a really big fissure, pretty neat, look it up. Bunch of Volcanoes around here.

The Serengeti & Masai Mara
Tanzania & Kenya


Huge plains, lots of talk about animals, the Masai raise cattle and hunt here. Also homo habilis was found here, "A cousin to the red haired Agogwe." :rolleyes: We get some details on Mount Kenya as well (mole rats! mole shrew!).

Tanzania
East Africa


All the cities here were destroyed. Instead, there are tribes and tree people and agogwe. There's a large down named Mahenge in the coast.

The Swahili live on the coast and use traditional boats to fish, but towns tend to be small to avoid the notice of slavers from Atlantis and the Phoenix Empire. It's these raiders that apparently prevent modern cities or factories from being built, since they attract too much attention and get blowed up. :(

We get some details on lakes:
  • Lake Tanganyika: It's a really huge lake. The book goes on about how big it is, but the chemistry makes it slim on life. Still, locals fish here.
  • Lake Natron: It has a lot of soda in the water, so it'll burn you, but flamingoes don't mind.
  • Lake Victoria: Another big lake. It's big!
The Tribes of East Africa



We get a long list of tribal names, and then-

Rifts® World Book Four: Africa posted:

All in all, most of the east African tribes don't mind living off the land as they have thousands of years.

Just like the wild Kevin Siembieda is content to live as his ancestors have on manufactured foods and piped water like his predecessors have for decades, as many of the small tribes inhabiting the American Midwest do.

Apparently most tribes raise cattle, including the Masai. There's some unironic discussion about how they use every part of the cow or something like that. It notes that the Masai think that cattle are gifts from their god to them, so sometimes they'll take yours because they think it's theirs.

Other tribes fish, others trade with pirates and adventurers, etc.

Post Cataclysm Legends -
"The Great Change &
"Time of Spirits


Rifts® World Book Four: Africa posted:

Most people indigenous to Lower Africa prefer the old ways, or as they say, "the way it has always been." They feel a spiritual closeness to nature, the land and their ancestors.

See, they haven't regressed, they like things this way!

:sigh:

It notes how the tribes avoided the destruction of the world because they don't live in cities, and they see magic as a blessing, but monsters as a curse.

Rifts® World Book Four: Africa posted:

The legend goes on to tell how "the people" were never really happy with the big cities and the ways of the Europeans that damaged and scarred the land. The Great Change allowed them to go back to the ways of their forefathers and they have lived in peace and contentment for many generations since.

Ugh, white guilt + hippie fandom = double augh. :( This is hardly new; Palladium books like Erick Wujick's Mutants Down Under and Mutants of the Yucatan similarly fetishized local populations, forgetting that people are people and trouble is trouble no matter where you go or however much you'd like to idealize it.

How boring huge sections of Rifts® Africa must be to adventure in! "Oh, look, another happy tribe that's self-sufficient and content and doesn't need any help from anyone ever. Screw this adventuring crap, I'm just going to set down here and raise a cow." No wonder the Four Horsemen were added; without them and the Phoenix Empire, there'd practically be no conflict at all in the setting!

My objections aside, Mombasa and Zanzibar got swallowed up by the sea for the most part, and what remains has a bunch of bird-themed monsters perched all over it.

Strange Creatures of Uganda,
Keyana & Tanzania


It brings up the tsetse fly, which carries disease, and it suggests using the same disease rules as uh, the Pestilence Horseman. :shobon: And there's the honeyguides, birds that are used to help locate beehives and honey. They're a thing.

Southern Zaire, Zambia & Angola

Most of these are uninhabited, but there are still a lot of people about. For some reason it goes on and on about the mineral deposits here, even though there are no mines here. Also, there are gorillas, who are protected by the adorak flying mountains (Rifts® World Book Two: Atlantis, again).

The City of Taunak

Then we have the City of Taunak, which is a city maded up of renegade tautons, crocodilians, and other non-humans, and "Kongamato bat-people", whatever those are. (They are not detailed in the book - see later.) They try and keep themselves secret because they're really worried about the Gods of Darkness. Theu generally force visitors into slavery or death, but they might allow travelers that somehow prove themselves worthy.

Southern Africa
Namibia & Botswana


There aren't many people here! Then we get some specific places.

Pyramid of Mystery

This is a mysterious new pyramid build after the cataclysm in Namibia, and it's defended by the undead and has a throne in the center with jackal-headed statues. Otherwise, it is as titled :iiam:

The Kalahari Desert

Yep, It's a desert.

The Kalahari Oasis

This is a oasis inhabited by the Buntu, though it's a greedy rain maker named Iulus who rules as its king (with a dar'ota / succubus wife). He's a jerk who robs travelers and fucks with the locals because he can.

South Africa

Most of this place got wrecked, but there are some cattle herders and fishermen. There are also a number of supernatural predators here.

And that's all! We have the Phoenix Empire coming up, but even counting that, of a 160-page book, only 15 are dedicated to discussing Africa as a region.

Wildlife of Africa



There's a long list of Africa's fauna, but it mostly just refers us to Monsters & Animals for the Palladium RPG for stats. We get full stats for wildebeests, cape buffalo, lions, leopards, and crocodiles.

It notes that a wildebeest "may even attack a vehicle or giant robot". Mind, according to the the rules, the wildebeest can't harm or even nudge either, so not really seeing any reason to be concerned for your average gang of misfit murderhobos.

Monsters of Africa

Sphinxes like the deserts, worms of taut are all over the north, manticores sometimes team up with lions for hunting, madagascar has gryphons and harpies, and dragons are everywhere and sometimes take over a village or nation. Then we finally get some Africa-specific monsters instead of mostly just raiding Europe's monster closet for fauna:

Mokele-mbembe

This is treated as two monsters: the erythrusuchus (erythrosuchus, actually, if spelled right), which is a 16' lizard-like reptile, and massospondylus, a 15' prosauropod (ancestors to brontosaurus, etc.). The former is a mild mega-damage predator, the latter is mostly harmless.

Kongamato Giant Bat People

This is a legend of a giant bat, which is due to a vampire intelligence trying to settle down in Africa a long time ago. Which contradicts what we read about them living in the the City of Taunak, but hell, I'm sure with three editors there's something I'm missing that explains it all. :v:

Buti-fas



These are small, dark-skinned humanoids with big noses, white eyes, white hair, and white beards. They're friends to the animals but hate humans, and often do all sorts of things to gently caress with humans or revenge what people have done to animals, but they're timid and act indirectly.

They're actually pretty tough mega-damage creatures, can change into owls, and have psionic powers (tending towards empathic powers). Oh, and they live for 2000 years, in case it ever comes up.

Demonic Cannibals



They look kind of like people, only with sharp teeth and mouths on their fingertips. They can morph into various humanoid shapes, though, as well as vultures, and they're evil and eat people, of course. They also often kidnap children and trick them into becoming its minions.

Though they're mega-damage, they're only barely so (they have an average of 22 M.D.C.), and can speak any language and see in the dark. Oh, and they live for 1000 years, in case it ever matters.

Next: The Phoenix Empire and :siren: Rama-Set :siren:.

GimmickMan
Dec 27, 2011



Now all we need is a Fields game and we're going to hit a singularity of lazy and awful RPG writing.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

I'm somewhat accustomed to cringing whenever I read about 'native peoples' in an RPG, but I forgot how bad this one was--I mean in a way England is similar with everyone living in pastoral splendor + monsters but of course white people don't understand the healing power of low-tech living (despite giant section on herbs) and so have not set all their guns aside, they just...mostly don't have them for some reason.

And I realize that mineral resources are not the most interesting part of a gameworld and diamonds are not even all that rare but 'Africa' (being a large area) actually has a lot of (various) mining that is less dangerous/annoying to get to than say, stuff in the Andes, assuming all those nettlesome civil wars and monopolies were wiped out by enlightened primitivism. Tons about lakes! Nothing about mines! Because technology bad. Ugh.

I can even forgive them leaving out oil production since that doesn't really seem to be a thing in Rifts with all those portable nuclear power packs.

Ettin
Oct 2, 2010


TK-31 posted:

So apart from the fact that Ctech has engines that run on dead babies, I would like to remind everyone that you can canonically go mad from learning that a vegetable hates you.

It's cool, she only nearly went mad.

Also apples are a fruit.

:colbert:

Ettin
Oct 2, 2010


I guess you could say she almost went...


( •_•)


( •_•)>⌐■-■


(⌐■_■)



fruity

Tasoth
Dec 12, 2011


Someone asked who CTech was marketed towards. My guess is anime aficionados, internet spergs and those people who read HPL and thought his horror was about gribbly monsters and BAD THINGS. Because that is pretty much all the information in the books boils down to. The baby cubes could have been terrifying if people were cracking them open, realizing what was inside and either shrugging and carrying on (which doesn't seem too far out there from the way the rest of the setting is painted) or they were made to disappear by Chrysalis and put towards a bigger project. Maybe people power cubes.

Although, I do like the concept behind ISEE. It actually makes for a neat idea and is terrifying in a way that would have made Lovecraft uncomfortable. Selling out your humanity (especially as White Anglo Saxon New Englanders) for a quick leg up and not even thinking twice about it the negatives.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

Tasoth posted:

Someone asked who CTech was marketed towards. My guess is anime aficionados, internet spergs and those people who read HPL and thought his horror was about gribbly monsters and BAD THINGS. Because that is pretty much all the information in the books boils down to. The baby cubes could have been terrifying if people were cracking them open, realizing what was inside and either shrugging and carrying on (which doesn't seem too far out there from the way the rest of the setting is painted) or they were made to disappear by Chrysalis and put towards a bigger project. Maybe people power cubes.

Thinking about how the Ashcroft Foundation is portrayed, in-setting, as one of the most powerful corporations in the world and yet apparently they're afraid to blow the whistle on Chrysalis for selling literal baby-murdering batteries to evil wizards despite A). not really liking Chrysalis, B). being at least AS powerful as them if not moreso and C). on the verge of releasing their own non-baby-murdering magic battery made me think of a (slightly) more interesting take on things where the Ashcroft Foundation is aware of stuff like the Chrysalis Corporation because they discreetly sponsor crazy cult-run corporations like that to basically outsource their mad science.

They start up these "competitors" who do all sorts of insane, horrific stuff and Ashcroft keeps tabs on all of it, and then when someone like Chrysalis comes up with a halfway-decent idea Ashcroft steps in, steals it and removes all the heinous bits like dead babies, reworks it into something more palatable for general consumption, then "exposes" the other corporation to the authorities. They get to offload all the insanity-inducing R&D and awful ideas ("You know what we could do? Use babies as a power source!") that occasionally bear useful fruit and they get to reinforce their image as the "good" corporation with humanity's best interests in mind.

Hipster Occultist
Aug 16, 2008

He's an ancient, obscure god. You probably haven't heard of him.




Ettin posted:

I guess you could say she almost went...


( •_•)


( •_•)>⌐■-■


(⌐■_■)



fruity

That is the greatest thing I have ever seen, they should have sent a poet.

unseenlibrarian
Jun 4, 2012

There's only one thing in the mountains that leaves a track like this. The creature of legend that roams the Timberline. My people named him Sasquatch. You call him... Bigfoot.

Two updates in one week! One day I may keep up the relatively breakneck pace of the Rifts reviews!

(That day will be sometime in 2025.)

Yes, it's time for more:




The First Nation: Uldholm

The chapter opens with the tale of Criff the Clever, an Uldish culture hero who managed, in the course of the tales about him, to function as a member of all 15 of the Uldish guilds, thwart the Imperial invasion, make himself rich, and get laid with as much variety and as little repetition as possible. He's the sort of self-made man the modern forward-thinking Uldholm admires, since they don't have kings, nobility, or a state religion, unlike most of their (As they see it) less advanced neighbors. They're the most egalitarian nation in the world! Which is true as far as it goes, since well, on one side you've got an expansionistic empire ruled by a hereditary empress, on another you've got Dindarva, a country rules by a noble class that believes those not born noble are literally like children and should be treated as such. (More on them later.) And of course, there's the Truils, but the Truils barely have culture at all, do they. (Spoilers: They do. They are the next country writeup in the book.

Anyway, the big split in Uldholm isn't between noble and commoner, it's between Guilded and guildless. The guilded believe themselves to be a meritocracy where anyone can advance, and thus feel justified in taking advantage of non-guilded, because obviously if they weren't so lazy and applied themselves they'd be in a guild, wouldn't they? (Except for immigrants, who can't join a guild. Or folks who practice a trade without an associated guild. Or because they pissed off the wrong farmer and got blackballed by guild politics.)

Basically the Uldish have a chunk of Prosperity Gospel republican in their makeup. Which still makes them less jerky than their enemies in a lot of ways. (And bigger jerks in others, obviously. The Dindarvan noble attitude towards the less fortunate is patronizing as all hell but at least they try to care for the poor out of a sense of noblesse oblige as opposed to "You wouldn't be poor if you weren't so lazy")

The guilds have two major political schools of thought- traditionalist and and visionary. Traditionalists are big on doing things the way they've always been done, obviously, and are big fans of "Anyone can do it if they just work hard enough." Visionaries are always looking for a better and easier way to do the job, preferably by getting someone else to do it for you.

So how'd it get all early modern there? Well, it's the empire's fault. Uld back before the invasion, generations back, was a fairly traditional kingdom, with a noble class, a king ruling by divine mandate, and all the other bits. Then the Empire invaded, and brought their Blood-cutters with them. The Bloodcutters are a school of sorcerers that were concerned with the bonds of family and lineage, but their big important power was the ability to use one member of a family to strike at any other relation, no matter how distant. And when your noble class is as inbred as your typical noble class is, with everyone being more or less related to the king, well, capture one member of a noble family and his whole line is gone inside a week. They pursued a royal heir, and got one, and so the royal line was wiped out. This worked pretty well to cow the empire's other conquests, and would have worked on Uldholm too, except for a guy known as general Rolf, a common-born trooper who'd risen through the ranks. As the nobles got decimated, he found himself more and more free to wage war as he liked, and had better results. (How true this actually is open to question, but Rolf -did- exist.) The war turned to messy guerilla war affair, and eventually the empire decided Uldholm wasn't worth taking, with there being organized groups of orphans the Bloodcutters couldn't hurt. (Other things were also involved, but we'll get to that in the section on Imperials.)

In any case, the guild council already existed at that time to settle disputes, but since the soldiers were their own guild, it became a sort of defacto government, eventually adding a legislative senate, with the council as executive. Guilds have the right to trial over their own members over the civil authorities. Local governments. Who are, of course- appointed by the Guilds. And the lawyers have their own guild, but you might rather be judged by a bunch of other bakers. Maybe.

Culturally the Ulds are aggressively modern- "Classic" art, music and literature from the old Kingdom is a guilty pleasure at best. Modern Uldish music is shallow and light. Medieval Pop, and most plays are either slapstick comedies or, well, blockbusters- military special effect shows, sometimes with real wizards on stage to cast spells. Actors and playwrights aren't guilded, except for musical theater, but they're pushing to become one because a lot of them are making a lot of money, especially the ones who feature in the specialty plays for rich audiences.

See, there's an undercurrent of conspicuous consumption in Uldish culture. If you're reach, you should be -eating- rich, and dining on poo poo like sparrow's tongues, monkey livers, and fried snake from the lightless jungle. You can't just be seen going to the latest Rolf's Battle adaptation, you have to go to special plays- tragedy-drenched romances or anguish plays where everyone suffers, including the audience. The Uldish belief is that moral rightness, working hard, being clever in your dealings, and so on leads to material success. So it follows that looking rich is as important as being rich, or at least can't hurt. They also tend to dress like idiots to show off their wealth- even the very poor will have one or two fancy outfits. Uldish fashion is described in other countries as "Wear your heart on your sleeve! And try to find room for anything else that might fit."

As mentioned, the Ulds are ruled by 15 guilds:

The Cultivators: Farmers, though most of the political cultivators are only technically farmers and may have never seen a plow in their lives. The largest and most fractious section of the senate.

Merchants: The second largest guild- traders and shopkeepers. They are isolationist, because every time Uld goes and conquers new territory the guild that grows the most is the Cultivators.

Miners and gemcutters: Nearly as rich as the bankers and with more guildmembers, but ideologically opposed to the merchants, as they always need new territory to expand their mines.

Weavers and Woodcarvers: A unified block of votes and about as politically neutral as you can be and still be in an organization that calls itself a senate. (This means they're good at taking bribes and concessions before they vote.)

Masons and Builders: The tax and spend block- because public works means more work for their guild members. But they also pay the highest dues and taxes of any guild, so they're honest about it.

Butchers, Teamsters, and Tanners: Animal handling and animal products. Also expansionistic, but only against the Truils.

Bakers: The only reason they aren't the most fractious guild is because there are more Cultivators.

Bankers, Lawyers, and Mercenaries: Rich out of proportion with their numbers, and lender of private armies to other guilds.

Blacksmiths: Split into those who are proud about traditional uldish craftsmanship and those who want to steal the smithing secrets of the Dindarvans.

Soldiers: The enforcement arm of the law, and with more men under arms than the mercenaries, they are in favor of spending on defense but not on aggressive military campaigns.

Traffickers: Importers and exporters of goods. Somehow a separate guild from the merchants. Big on peace.

Physicians: Influential on health matters, but fractured on every other issue.

Enchanters, Sages, and Lifelong students.: NEEERDS. Natural allies of the soldiers, though, because the native schools of Uldish magic are very combat oriented.

Musicians and translators: Big fans of foreign adventures, either peaceful or warlike, because it gives them songs to write about and work for the translators. Not well-trusted.

Brewers, Innkeepers, and Givers of Hospitality: They have one senator and one council member, and basically get nothing done because they're too busy fighting internally.

The chapter wraps up with Uldholm at war: They rely heavily on wizards: Uld is home to both the Flamedancer school (Fireproof dancers who can blow up battlefields) and the Stormtongue school (Winged, can call lightning.) So they can get there fast and do a lot of damage. They have pretty good grunts, but no real elite troops other than the wizards. Currently, they're only at war with the Truils, who are proving annoyingly hard to actually be effective against, as the scattered truilish tribes tend to fade away after a few raids, and can cross land the Ulds consider 'conquered' in small groups. If they get too successful they're going to run into the Mammoth-riders and they may be in for a surprise. Dindarva's on the other side of heavily fortified mountains from Uldholm, but the east, the border with the empire, is less well defended because it's almost all broad open plains. They're hoping their improved combat sorcery and regular army will deter future imperial invasions. The Empire, in turn, is more worried about Dindarva and the war on other end of the country to even think about Uldholm.

Next time: Truils! and then? :siren: COMPANY RULES. :siren:

Cardiovorax
Jun 5, 2011

I mean, if you're a successful actress and you go out of the house in a skirt and without underwear, knowing that paparazzi are just waiting for opportunities like this and that it has happened many times before, then there's really nobody you can blame for it but yourself.

TK-31 posted:

So apart from the fact that Ctech has engines that run on dead babies, I would like to remind everyone that you can canonically go mad from learning that a vegetable hates you.
I kinda wonder what Hate Apples taste like, now. Angrylicious, probably.

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



Well it'd certainly drive any Vegans mad, and probably to starve to death. It certainly apply something I personally find fairly annoying - the Tryhard shock and awe style of edginess. Human Sacrifices? Psh, let's make a battery that runs off of babies!

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Rifts World Book 4: Part Seventeen: "Even he can not envision what incredible advancement and enlightenment might result from the destruction of a thousand worlds. All he knows is that he must make it happen."

The Phoenix Empire

Finally.

It's literally been mentioned dozens of times, but what is it? Well, it's full of evil evilness, mostly. It covers Egypt, Libya, Chad, and Sudan. And then, we get a listing of percentages which are supposed to give us some idea of the population (the biggest populations are generic D-Bees, Gargoyles/Gurgoyles, Orcs, and Tautons). It also has a bunch of slaves, which are chiefly D-Bees, humans, orcs, and goblins.

Remember Rama-Set? It turns out he's a pharaoh and necromancer, and he founded the Empire 132 years ago. Most of the free population is monsters, and most humans are enslaved, continuing the (seemingly arbitrary) pro-monster, anti-human sentiment we saw back in Rifts® World Book Two: Atlantis. Most of the slaves do all the labor, while the monsters... well, it's not clear what the monsters do. Presumably they busy themselves with whatever.


Who in Africa can stop the Phoenix Empire? Oh, Noone.

The Phoenix Empire has trade relations with "monster kingdoms in Arabia, the Middle East, the blood druids of France (even though they are predominantly humanoids), Atlantis, and even supply weapons and equipment to the monsters in Europe against the New German Republic." But why? Well, they're all monsters, duh. In Rifts, for whatever reason, even though they're a bunch of backstabbing, selfish gits, evil monsters find reason to team up like the Injustice League.

To be fair, Atlanteans tend to find the Phoenix Empire kind of overly focused on the whole "death and destruction" bit, and even Splynncryth thinks Rama-Set is cuckoo, but is glad he rallies similar nutjobs to his flag and "keeps all the madmen in one, easy to observe, area." It turns out Splynncryth is actually all sorts of against the whole "let the Four Horsemen destroy the world" plan that Rama-Set seems well, set on. But he only is helping secretly so he can keep good relations with the nutjob.

The Empire is full of necromancy, and often skeletons and zombies are used as manual labor and servants. There are all sorts of evil monsters who love it here, and they also have domesticated some of the worms o' Taut to serve as their pets.

The Law in the Phoenix Empire

Basically, it mostly goes on about how humans (and human-like races) are treated as secondary citizens... because. No real justification is given, much like Atlantis. What's more, you get sentences like:

Rifts® World Book Four: Africa posted:

Handsome humanoids learn quickly that is is better to not agravate a situation by going to the law.

Why would a mind slug or gremlin consider a human "handsome"? Wouldn't they have a standard of beauty all their own? And in a community where you have ogres, goblins, lizard men, ghouls, gargoyles, orcs, giants, and other humanoids, why would humans be singled out? Because they're natives to Earth? Are they blamed for the general asshattery of the Atlanteans? Do they because they have the "adventurer gene"? It's not really explained, and really betrays just how Saturday Morning the thinking behind Rifts® is at times. After all, we get lines like:

Rifts® World Book Four: Africa posted:

Non-humans of a good alignment are only one step above humans.

How would they even know what alignment somebody is? There's the Sense Evil spell, at least, but that only detects supernatural evil like demons and their ilk. It won't necessarily let you know what alignment a dragon or gargoyle is.

In any case, sometimes monsters hire themselves as representatives to secondary citizens who can can then act as go-betweens and bribe-presenters for a price, of course. Corruption is rampant, and these reps are often just another layer of such.

Rama The City of Doom
City Highlights


Why is it called the the "City of Doom"? :iiam:

Anyway, it's a scummy place with all sorts of slaaaves and druuugs and criiime. Humans are sold like cattle and also et. It has "totem poles" and ledges for flying monsters to land on, because they like that.

Stockade Street

This is full of business that provide "representative" businesses to humanoids, and then there's a bunch of stockades for human prisoners to be tormented and mocked. There's also the Halls of Set, which are courts which mainly seem to proscribe torture a lot.

The Tree of Sorrows

It's a Millennium Tree that they've tortured and wrecked... because! Why not. I mean, it's beneficial and full of magic, but they destroy it because it's gooood. They make corrupted items out of it, but it is deliberately refusing to heal itself to try and spite them.

Rifts® World Book Four: Africa posted:

The Pharaoh believes the tree to be near death's door which pleases him despite losing its magic resources.

"Bwahahahaha!"

Rifts® World Book Four: Africa posted:

Pharaoh Rama-Set sees the giant tree as a monument to chaos, death, and his indomitable power. Human slaves see it as a symbol of their captivity and defeat. The tree's name was given to it by the millions of slaves who suffer under the yoke of oppression. The Pharaoh thought it was a very fitting name and made it official.

"Bwahahahahahahahaaaa!"

Demons guard it so that nobody who is goooood gets near it, though they've gotten so lazy that there is a secret sect of Millennium Druids who sneak in to show it kindness. It can still use its powers, but it's weak and keeps it a secret.

And that's all we get on the City of Doom. Amount of dooms actually located at the City of Doom: 0.

Troops and Defenders of the Phoenix Empire

There are 7,488 troops in the Phoenix army. No more, no less, apparently. But apparently this can be bolstered by citzen soldiers, bandit allies, "minions of the dark god", mercenaries, animated dead, etc. So it's really more like 30,000. So why have that specific number to start with?

:iiam:

It refers us to Rifts® Conversion Book.

Demon Troops

Yeah, somehow they get the most backstabbing, unloyal creatures in the Megaverse to line up and form an army. Yeah, I dunno how. They all get 100 M.D.C. body armor from eh, somewhere.

Then we get:

Rifts® World Book Four: Africa posted:

Typical Division of Legion
Each division has 144 troops with the following breakdown:

5% Alu
5% Dar'ota (succubus)
5% Dybbuk ...

Wait. If we know there are 144 troops to a legion, then why does it use percentiles? Wouldn't that just be a number? Why the gently caress? What's 5% of 144? Does that mean there's 7.2 Dar'ota in every legion? How does that make any bit of loving sense-

Okay, okay, I know it's a stupid nitpick. Siembieda loves throwing in percentile numbers to the point of farce. So there are there are 28.8 magots in each legion. Each has 1d4 x 1000 M.D.C.! That's like 72,000 M.D.C. of monster per legion. Somehow they get elementals to sign up in their army, even though they're supposed to be alien true neutral fuckers who don't give a gently caress about fuckin' anything, and NnnnENNNNGHhhhennnnnGHHHHH-

Monster Slave Troops

This is a smaller army of 2016 slave troops who are about as loyal as their feet can take them. We get a bunch of percentages and small unit layouts and you do not care.

The Legion of Ghouls

This is an army of forcibly conscripted ghouls and undead zombies.

"Stop chewing on that bone! You're in this man's army now!" "Buwuh?"

It has 2016 troops, just like the monster slaves. Why? 14 divisions of 144 troops is why! Apparently none of them ever fall under or over that number. For being all about death and chaos, Rama-Set does like a tidy line of zombies.

The Legion of Worms

Yep. Worm armies. Apparently they use serpent beasts to keep the rest in line, but mostly it's worms they throw at people and watch them go berzerk.

No idea how many, though. There is three "legions" of troops, apparently. That's confusing. Wouldn't that make it Legions of Worms? Editing! :(

The Legion of Dead

These are animated dead. It's not clear how many or who commands them. Jerks, probably.

The Weapons of the Phoenix Empire

Phoenix Power Armor

This is basically the T-21 Hopper Power Armor from Rifts® Sourcebook (see my review for that), only upsized in a variety of sizes for ogres, trolls, gurgoyles, etc. It's made by the Kittani of Atlantis and sold as a second-rate power armor, and the Phoenix Empire has built a factory to make more.

It notes that human-sized minions just use the T-21 Hopper Power Armor. I'm curious how the Phoenix Armor is buying Triax power armor, given that the New German Republic and the Phoenix Empire are complete enemies, but an answer will never come.

Phoenix Sand Skimmer & Sand Crawler


Is it coming or going?

It skims as it crawls? Geez, just settle on a name.

This is a mysterious design produced by the Phoenix Empire that may be a pre-Rifts Triax design or a pre-Rifts Israeli design. Their big notable feature is that they have nanotech that... cleans sand out of the machine.

It goes nearly MACH 1, has a pulse laser that does average damage, mini-missles (of course), a utility arm that can do punches, and it can ram people. It also gives some pretty big combat bonuses, including a bonus attack (?) and +6 to dodge.

The Phoenix Sand Crawler

You're sure this isn't a very lost Mechanoid?

Wait, wasn't that last one the Sand Crawler, too? Nomenclature is confusing. And editing is harrrd. No flavor text, so let's go straight to the stats.

It's a bit tougher than the Skimmer/Crawler. "Travelling at two feet above the ground makes the craft invisible to most radar systems (85%)." Man, you can make a gun that can shoot through a mountain but can't make radar that can notice a 15' vehicle going 200 MPH in a desert? Figures. Also it can use its little fin on the bottom to dig into the sand and hide from radar (?!). It comes with a plethora of weapons, including a double-barrel pulse cannon that does solid damage, lasers that do dinky damage, and an ion blaster that does average damage. It can also ram and poke with its little claw. In addition, it has a sensor system including fancy seismic sensors.

Robot Spy Wing


Robot cameras are essential to dystopian states.

A fragile little flying bot that goes up to 140 MPH and takes pictures. No flavor text or details.

Weapons of Note

These are a bunch of Kittani weapons reprinted from Rifts® World Book Two: Atlantis, you can check my review there if you're dying for the (boring) details.

Pharaoh Rama-Set


Get them, my mummy minions!... any day now...

You know a character is going to have a dull demeanor when the first sentence starts out like this.

Rifts® World Book Four: Africa posted:

The Pharaoh is quite insane.

Well, poo poo, no need to give him character. As you may have guessed by now, he's obsessed with:
  • Chaos
  • Mass suffering
  • Death
He worships Anubis and Set and so they help him out with his "generic villainry" hobby. He's constantly trying to "start the fire", unlike Billy Joel, and so supports a lot of monster groups in the region to go and fite them some humans. Alternately, sometimes he supports two different sides of a conflict, like Destro.

On account of him, Set is trying to take control the Gargoyle Empire in Europe (more on them in Rifts® World Book Five: Triax and the NGR), and he's the main reason the Gods of Darkness have set up shop here.

Also he's a Chiang-Ku dragon! (Sigh- Rifts® World Book Three: England) You may wonder why he walks around looking like a human, especially since most folks close to him know he's a dragon. We'll get to that in a bit.

The History of Rama-Set


Yes, this is a psuedo-Chinese dragon in psuedo-pharaoh gear.

Rifts® World Book Four: Africa posted:

Rama-Set came to Earth 8000 years ago during its second magic epoch (this is Earth's third and greatest epoch of magic).

EDITING. I know what they mean, but... it took me a moment...

When Rama-Set first arrived he was known as Lo Li. He settled in China with his "casual friend", Lo Fung, another Chiang-Ku dragon. Presumably they settled there out of the amazing coincidence that they didn't have to change their names there, lawl. One day Lo Fung noticed that Lo Li was getting all bummed out about war and death, and then seven centuries later, he vanished!

Then, around WWII, Lo Fung hears that Lo Li is involved with the Nazis, but he's like "that's ridiculous". Then Fung runs into Li a little while later who is like "hey, did you hear about that Nazi thing? That was great." Lo Li is obsessed with how fast technology advanced during the war, and came to the conclusion that human advancement is tied to chaos and destruction and is like "THIS ATOM BOMB THING IS GONNA BE... THE BOMB!" :D

Well, he didn't exactly say that, but I'm trying to spice poo poo up a bit here. To be fair I actually kind of like an immortal being trying to drive human advancement by heaping disasters on them. That would be kind of neat! But that's where not where this is headed. No. It's time to get... boring.

Lo Fung, of course, thought he was nuts, but Lo Li became a "voyeur of violence". When Lo Li predicted the cataclysm and the coming of the Rifts, he was like "you gotta come to my end of the world party bro" and so Lo Fung goes to his party and Lo Li is all delighted to see the world semi-ending and Lo Fung is horrified-

- and then, only then, like, after centuries of having Lo Fung argue with him over this poo poo, Lo Li is like "Oh poo poo, Lo Fung really isn't down with this whole apocalypse thing, I'm gonna have to kill him someday." Lo Li, good at apocalypses, bad at reading people.

Anyway they survive the Rifts, and Lo Li goes and comes to the realization that the multiverse will SUPER ADVANCE once he kills a THOUSAND WORLDS. It's an underpants gnome kinda plan. Speaking of which, he builds the Phoenix Empire sometime after that. Somehow. Presumably he takes out a loan or something, I don't know.

:iiam:

It's Rama-Set who has summoned the Four Horsemen, though he knows they're not team players and so he can't help them directly, since they'll just kill anybody. He thinks the Phoenix Empire will be spared (it won't), but he's sending his thugs after anybody that tries to stop them. He's also put out rewards for the heads of Fang-Lo or Abkii the Defiant, who are other Chiang-Ku dragons that had passing mentions in Rifts World Book Three: England.

Oh, and he takes human form because humans are the ones that inspired him on his "blow up a thousand worlds" plan. Thanks, Rama-Set, you enormous poo poo dragon. Oh, and his real name turns out to be "Tor Li".

We have numbers! He's surprisingly reserved for an NPC so far, with only 2000 M.D.C. as an adult dragon. He can also turn into any animal of cat-size or bigger... or mist. Which he can stay indefinitely. "Ha ha, bet you thought you could kill me, now I am mist forever, get them minions!" He has magic tattoos (Atlantis), minor psionics, is a 7th Level Necromancer, and... he has access to the "Elixir of Power and Deceit".

Combat-wise he's a bit of a dork. His action figure comes with a sand skimmer, and here's the last word on him:

Rifts® World Book Four: Africa posted:

Note: Rama-Set is a master of disguise (metamorphosis and alter aura). He is an excellent strategist and tactician, alert, cunning, quick thinking, resourceful, merciless, deadly and a masterful liar. He's become crazier, meaner, and more maniacal with every passing year!

:rolleyes:

Next: The Gathering of (foreign) Heroes!

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Alien Rope Burn posted:

The Tree of Sorrows

It's a Millennium Tree that they've tortured and wrecked... because! Why not. I mean, it's beneficial and full of magic, but they destroy it because it's gooood. They make corrupted items out of it, but it is deliberately refusing to heal itself to try and spite them.

Eh, I'm half and half on this one. It's self-aware, produces big, stonking explosions if you break the beneficial bits off without asking, and can summon ley-line storms, so leaving a living bastion of Good sitting around unmolested seems like it would be a bad tactical decision. On the other hand, torturing something that can produce big, stonking explosions when you cut bits off or conjure ley-line storms has got to have caused a lot more damage to the surrounding area over time than just nuking it down to a faintly glowing stump when they found it.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


wiegieman posted:

How are the CTech guys still in business? Who in their right mind eagerly awaits the release of these products?

One thing that doesn't come across in an F&F - though I can't speak for all the supplements - is that Cthulhutech is a set of very pretty books with attractive layout, a rarity in the RPG industry. And frankly, a lot of folks throw their books on a shelf and never read them that deeply, or just don't think about the grosser bits in light of the cumulative output of the whole game line. And the art is the heart of what will drive an impulse purchase.

One of the reasons I got into the habit of including pictures in my Rifts reviews is that if I did a plain-text review, it'd be impossible to see the appeal at all. The art was always much of Rifts appeal, without it, it's hard to imagine it would ever be as popular as it was. If you see a copy of Cthulhutech, pick it up and flip though it - most of your answer will be in that.

Bieeardo posted:

Eh, I'm half and half on this one. It's self-aware, produces big, stonking explosions if you break the beneficial bits off without asking, and can summon ley-line storms, so leaving a living bastion of Good sitting around unmolested seems like it would be a bad tactical decision. On the other hand, torturing something that can produce big, stonking explosions when you cut bits off or conjure ley-line storms has got to have caused a lot more damage to the surrounding area over time than just nuking it down to a faintly glowing stump when they found it.

I could understand if Rama-Set might want to blow it up, I understand that Rama-Set might want to exploit it, but that he wants it to suffer and have it be a symbol to mock his victims with, which puts it out of "evil" and into EEEEEVIL, as Stolze put it in Better Angels.

Of course, the question of "what does a magical tree that values good consider good, and why?" and other questions with possibly interesting answers are never asked, anyway.

Safety Biscuits
Oct 21, 2010



Alien Rope Burn posted:

Why is it called the the "City of Doom"? :iiam:

Anyway, it's a scummy place with all sorts of slaaaves and druuugs and criiime. Humans are sold like cattle and also et. It has "totem poles" and ledges for flying monsters to land on, because they like that.

This is the least bad thing in the review so far. At least there's a tiny speck of thought in there. Which just goes to show how low the bars are.

Bitchtits McGee
Jul 1, 2011



Cynical-Pop Meikyuu Kingdom Dungeon Theater

Chapter 2.1: Filling Out Forms and Standing In Lines

First thing you're gonna need for making a character is a Character Sheet. Well, you don't need one, I guess, but it sure makes the process go a lot easier.



Helpful notations, go!!

① - Character Name. Self-explanatory.
② - Level. Starts at 1, goes up by one every time your Character successfully completes a Scenario. Since the PCs will generally be completing Scenarios as a group, this system keeps everyone even.
③ - Gender. There are a few scattered effects that specify one or the other, but this remains largely an ornamental decision.
④ - Age. Even more ornamental than the last one.
⑤ - Background. Self-explanatory. New players, please use the Background Table. Yes, there's a Background Table coming up. The reason for this is...
⑥ - Mission. Determined by your Background. Complete your Mission, gain a Level.
⑦ - Class. Determines your role within the Court. Ideally, by the time you've been handed one of these sheets, you'll have already figured out between the other players which one you'll be taking.
⑧ - Job. Sort of a sub-Class. Grants one unique Skill and determines which Skill Groups you can choose from when gaining a Level.
⑨ - IdiotKingdom Name. Guess they needed something to fill up this space.
⑩ - Stats. Your stats. Determined by your Class. There's four of 'em, from top to bottom: Wit (mental acuity), Charisma (charisma), Adventure (reflexes and perception), and Valor (fightin').
⑪ - Sub-Stats. Other Stats calculated by your other Stats. From top to bottom:
  • HP - Hit Points, ye ken. Maximum is equal to [(Valor) + (Adventure) + 5 + current Level].
  • Capacity - Approximates the depth of your Character's mind. Now ain't that a thing? Mechanically, marks the maximum value of your <Drive>. Calculated by [(Wit) + (Charisma) ÷ 2].
  • Evasion - Dodging poo poo, yo. Base is equal to [(Adventure) + 7].
  • Staff - Public service is a big thing in the Million Dungeons, and every good citizen stands ready to brave the world outside in service to their Landmakers. :patriot: Maximum is equal to [(Charisma) * 5 + current Level].
⑫ - Portrait. I'm guessing you'd be hard-pressed to get a gaming group together in Japan without at least one of you being an amateur manga artist. :v:
⑬ - Skills. List the names here, and keep the cards handy. Start out with one Class Skill and your Job Skill.
⑭ - Equipment. You can only carry six items at a time, including anything you find out in the dungeon that you might want to bring back, so choose carefully. Your <Staff> can't help with this because
⑮ - Materials. Component loot from the dungeon, bring back home and craft into useful items. One Equipment slot can hold 10 Materials.
⑯ - Empathy. Tracks your relation with other Characters. Split into two types, which are in turn split between three values each: <Sympathy> (Loyalty, Friendship, Affection) and <Antipathy> (Anger, Mistrust, Contempt). Each value has a hard maximum value of 5. The values are mostly flavor, but the totals have mechanical benefits which will show up later.
⑰ - Likes. These are a few of your favorite things. For RP purposes only.
⑱ - Dislikes. These are a few of your least favorite things. For RP purposes only.
⑲ - Skill Groups. Mark down which Groups are available to your Character here.
⑳ - Medals. At the end of each Session, award one Medal to one Character. How you choose a Character and why are left entirely to the group. Used to qualify for Advanced Jobs. (There wasn't any room on the sheet to actually put the number, but really, there's only one place left :v:)

There's a flipside to this sheet, too, but it's pretty much packed solid with notes and reminders of rules to be covered in later posts, so I'm omitting it here for clarity. Here's a notation-free one, too, for those what might want one.

The next post's probably gonna be pretty long, so this one's gonna be short. Next time: class in session! I can't wait!

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!





Rifts World Book 4: Part Eighteen: "It is possible that Isis' affiliation with the characters will make the entire group the enemies of Set and his minions. Who knows, they may end up fighting gods!"

The Gathering of Heroes
Non-Player Characters of Note


Begin the pet NPC parade!

Katrina Sun - Line Walker &
Worshipper of the Gods of Light


She's superhumanly good-looking because, uh, she's Isis, but Set made a microbe with the help of a Splugorth, and this microbe infects gods, and she has amnesia, because of a microbe, and thinks she's Katrina Sun, because of a microbe! So now she thinks she's a mundane wizard and worshipper of, um, herself.

Even though every time she looks in the mirror she's staring at somebody with a Physical Beauty of 27. Or when she gets shot she has thousands of M.D.C. Or occasionally she'll activate her psionic powers and is like "oh it must have been the gods". She is absolutely insufferable with this amnesia crap, and comes across as the most obnoxious and special GMPC.

Rifts® World Book Four: Africa posted:

In the heat of battle Katrina might even start to say things like, "By the gods! Now you shall feel the might of ..." Her words trail off without a name. After these strange and frightening events happen, she may burst into tears and run off to be alone for awhile.

:rolleyes:

To be fair, it does come with a reminder to not let her dominate the action, but drat, it sure seems hard for her not to. It does suggest you can further reduce her powers if necessary, but... then goes on how she might be affected by the "anti-god microbe" for centuries or decades and that she could be a regular supporting NPC for your group and what great adventures you could have with Katrina Sun and :fap:

Oh, and the Gods of Light will take a year of Isis being missing before searching for her. Some pals, huh? It points out Set has considered just killing her while she's weak, but hopes that the Four Horsemen will win and that she'll be traumatized. "A far sweeter revenge than simple murder." Revenge for what? Isis is the one that wants revenge on Set, not the other way around.

Stat-wise, she has literally half the numbers of her godly form, and is a "mere" 15th level ley line walker with 6,000 M.D.C. Oh, and she has a special rare pegasus she can fly around on, whee.

Erin Tarn


If Kevin can reuse art, I can too.

Aw, gently caress.

Erin Tarn is genuinely kind of interesting in that she represents Kevin Siembieda's more highfalutin' desire for Rifts® to be more than its toyetic, powergamey surface. Instead of being some ridiculous asskicker, the core hero he first puts forth as the voice of the setting is an elderly woman in her sixties who just knows stuff.

Rifts® World Book Four: Africa posted:

She is intelligent, inquisitive, observant, quick thinking, resourceful, modest, gentle, compassionate, selfless, and always concerned about others. She is a dynamic and strong-willed woman driven by an insatiable curiosity and indomitable lust for life.

The problem is that she's described often in a "tell, don't show" sort of way. We're repeatedly told how respected, clever, and knowledgeable she is, but her wanderings are a litany of obviously bad decisions in the earlier introductions to other books. Frankly, if you pay attention to her actual actions and not the descriptions, she often comes off as a bit daft.

And, of course, the fact she's an old lady is supposed to surprise people so she can be :smug:

She's a 14th level Rogue Scholar, and has a M.E. of 24 and an M.A. of 24; even excepting her other high attributes, only 0.006% of human PCs would be able to roll such a combination. She can also use magic scrolls, even though she's not a spellcaster, which is odd, because even most Rifts® mages suck at it, with only a 10-40% chance of success. (Hell, Rifts® mentions magic scrolls, but never gives clear rules for them anyway.) A tree gave her a special healing wand to use too!... mostly, though, she's completely hapless in a fight, and is maximized towards knowing stuff and impressing people.

Not honestly as bad as I was fearing, but still fairly self-indulgent.

Sir Winslow Thorpe
Erin Tarn's Cyber-Knight Protector



Your usual native companion.

It's Erin Tarn's Native American bodyguard. He may be a descendant of James Thorpe? Maybe. He sees their stumbling fumbling adventures as the "work of fate". He's trying to be a good face for the Cyber-Knights abroad, and has been a big strategist in fighting monsters, but he's mostly concerned with Erin Tarn. In fact, he's more concerned about protecting her than saving the world, which I suppose is stupidly sweet. Emphasis on "stupid".

He's a 9th level Cyber-Knight, and like Erin Tarn, has a ridiculously unrollable collection of stats. He has a bunch of anti-vampire stuff, a bionic horse given to him by King Arr'thuu, and a "rune flail named Isabart Wind." given to him by Lord Coake. It's a magic flail that does more damage against the undead and can cast a few air spells.

He's just a dull guy who's supposed to be a big hero type, mostly. :geno:

Victor Lazlo


The parapsychologist that doesn't play by the rules!

poo poo. This is the guy that gave us lovely in-world terms like P.P.E. (Potential Psychic Energy) and I.S.P. (Inner Strength Points). He (re)discovered ley lines and magic in the 1980s, as well as psychic powers, and then he found out about monsters! And then they laughed him out of the university. It should also be noted writeup was missing from the first printing of Rifts Africa, so it got put into future editions in teeny-weeny eyestrain print like the Tree People. He also gets reprinted only a few books later in Rifts® Sourcebook Three: Mindwerks.

However, he got a bunch of fringe folks that formed a society around his findings. When he vanished through a rift Indian mound Native American mound (?), his society then become The Lazlo Agency, who fought monsters for 50 years, and then the rifts killed them all, so why are we talking about them?! I dunno! Apparently they were a big deal. :v:

Rifts® World Book Four: Africa posted:

DISCLAIMER: Victor Lazlo is not a real person. His life, ley lines, monsters, magic and theories presented in this and other Palladium titles are all fictional. References to magic and the supernatural as being "real" are elements of the fictional world of Rifts. Victor Lazlo was first introduced in the role-playing game Beyond the Supernatural.

Oh, shut up.

The Victor Lazlo of Rifts Earth

From a serpent mound in Ohio, Lazlo was sent to FUTURE GERMANY. He found out his books were a big deal now that magic was out there, but believed this was his homeworld until he met his old friend, Lo Fung. Remember him? I guess they knew each other back in the 80s and popped their collars all the time.

He has a love-hate relationship with the New German Republic. He's all for their "protect all humans" policies but against their "beat all non-humans" policies. So he goes up to the NGR government offices and winks and says like, "Hey, I'm that famous guy who wrote all those books four hundred years ago." and they promptly throw him in the looney bin. It looks like he hasn't gotten much smarter since the corebook.

So he escaped and joined an underground organization of subversives who educate and protect D-Bees, psychics, and wizards from the evil New German Republic. And now he's in Africa, ready to fight monsters that are like ten thousand times out of his weight class!... not the smartest, no.

He's a 12th level Parapsychologist, which isn't a class in Rifts®, but is from Beyond® the® Supernatural®. He has some dinky psionic sensitive powers he can't control, special skills to recognize and identify supernatural stuff that nobody else in Rifts® gets. Supposedly he can do ritual magic, but with his P.P.E. of 19, he's not going to be slinging many spells. Though he's just a dinky combatant, and he's a knowing-stuff machine.

Rifts® World Book Four: Africa posted:

Note: See Beyond the Supernatural for 20th Century skills or fake it.

Well, this book has already referred to mechanics in the core rules,
Rifts® World Book One: Vampire Kingdoms, Rifts® World Book Two: Atlantis, Rifts® World Book Three: England, Rifts® Sourcebook, Rifts® Conversion Book, Villains Unlimited, Monsters & Animals, and the Palladium RPG. So why not throw in a tenth book? Why not just throw in Beyond the Supernatural? At this rate I'm waiting for it to require fuckin'... Truckin' Turtles.

He has an Ulti-Max power armor, so he's just your average parapsychologist mecha pilot.

For some reason it goes on for quite some length that the NGR really wants him dead and will gently caress up any PCs that are seen with him. They won't help against the Four Horsemen, though, so gently caress the NGR, aka Reich Lite.

Lo Fung


Of course he knows martial arts!

Yeah, it's that guy from Rama-Set's background, who was friends with Lazlo, and tried to find our occult investigator after he vanished, but never did.

Rifts® World Book Four: Africa posted:

When that failed, The Dragon became a key force in helping to maintain the underground network of psychics and arcanists founded by Victor, the infamous Lazlo Agency (see the Beyond the Supernatural supplement of the same name, available late 1993 or early '94).

Twenty years later and Lazlo Agency has never emerged, and thank goodness for that, lest we have an eleventh book to add to the list above.

Lo Fung likes humans, but feels responsible for Lo Li / Rama-Set being such tremendous dick and is seeking to stop him and the Four Horsemen. It points out even after the Four Horsemen are dealt with he'll be trying to stop Rama-Set, and the PCs can help him out with that! He'll want to be the one who kills Rama-Set once and for all. Much like Katrina Sun, there's a strange desire to force this NPC on PC groups, even though he's an adult dragon that outclasses PCs in every respect.

Speaking of which! He's got 2000 M.D.C., is a 15th level tattoo master (this is not an actual class), can shapeshift into a crazy number of crazy animals, some basic healing psionics, a ton of magic tattoos, knowledge of the Elixir of Power and Deceit, and some basic skills.

Also he is inscrutably and insufferably "oriental", as you may recall from the opening fiction... even though he's really from another dimension. Which makes him a poser, most likely.

Fang-Lo

Another Chiang-Ku dragon who has had visions of the Horsemen destroying everything and neeennnngh ho hum. She's just a hatchling, so she's much weaker than Lo Fung. She's a "5th level tattoo master", but has no magic tattoos (?), though she knows how to make them. Her statblock is so abbreviated it just lists "Standard R.C.C. Skills". There is no such thing.

Abkii The Defiant

He's supposed to be a big deal, and he's a swingin' Chiang-Ku dragon hatchling who likes fights and loving. Well. The book says "make love", but I get the picture. He likes defending the weak and having epic adventures which are not detailed. He's a "6th level tattoo master and warrior", and has "standard R.C.C." skills. If Siembieda didn't care enough to stat him out, why would I care to read about him?

Sebek
The Crocodile God



A croc of poo poo.

And it's the last of the Egyptian gods tucked in at the back of the book. He's mostly just a selfish, smug jerk who's always out to get the upper hand. Both the Gods of Light and Gods of Darkness hate him pretty well, on account of his general dickishness.

He's mostly just in this section because he's trying to get back at the Gods of Darkness and their "let the Four Horsemen blow up the world" plan. He's got all the deific crap, but is a lower-tier god, he gets mind-whammy psionic powers, and a lot of counterspell and travel kinda magic. He also has a crocodile staff (natch) that's a greatest rune weapon that's also a soul drinker. Oh, and he has a Boom Gun. "He got himself one because Anhur has one." Cute. :rolleyes:

Oh, and have you noticed what I noticed? Three Americans (one from another god). Three "Oriental" dragons (actually from another dimension). Two Egyptian gods (actually from another dimension). Ten or less English knights. Yes, that means there are no African representatives detailed at the "Gathering of Heroes". But that's not surprising. Only one African has been detailed so far in the course of this book, Iulus Nemen, and he's a villain without aa statblock. For the most part, Africans are left faceless and nameless, idealized but never actually allowed to be important.

:dawkins101:

Next: The End of Africa.

Bitchtits McGee
Jul 1, 2011



Cynical-Pop Meikyuu Kingdom Dungeon Theater

Chapter 2.2: Meet the Court!

First thing you do when making a Character is deciding on a Class. Since each Class has a different role to play in running the Kingdom, this should be done as a group. The only restriction here is that there has to be at least one player with the Royalty Class; aside from that, it's up to what everybody wants to play / what everybody thinks could be fun to try.

Royalty


"Aaall right, just leave it to me!" "...do I have to decide it right now?"

Class Stats: 4, 4, 1, 0 free-assignable
Starting Items: {Blade}, {Flag}, {Outfit}

The Big Cheese. Not necessarily actual royalty, just like your Kingdom might not be an actual kingdom, but whatever they are, they're where the buck stops. It's not an autocracy, though (unless it is :v:), every other Class has their own little domain where they're in charge, but Royalty has the final say in case of disputes. They're also tasked with managing the Court's joint resources, like <Vox Populi> and the National Budget. With free-assignable Stats and a variety of Class Skills, you can pretty much write your own game role, too. Note also that while one Royalty Character is required, it's not a limit. If you've got an idea of why your Kingdom might have more than one (succession dispute, for example), figure out which one is responsible for what and run with it.

Class Skills:
  • Royal Command - (Interrupt, Single) - no Check
    Use this Interrupt when another Character spends <Hope> for any reason. Reduce your <HP> by 1 to reduce that <Hope> cost by 1. Cannot be stacked.
  • Hegemony - (Permanent, Self) - no Check
    Use this Skill during the Kingdom Phase. Gain a bonus equal to [the Kingdom's total <Population> ÷ 50], free-assignable to any of your Stats. Recalculate any affected Sub-Stats. This bonus lasts for the remainder of the Session.
  • Royal Guard - (Permanent, Self) - no Check
    While in your Encampment, any allied Characters present have any damage received reduced by [your <Staff> ÷ 5] (minimum of 1).
  • Storm Bringer - (Permanent, Self) - no Check
    Whenever you make a Total Success on an Attack Check, you may add a bonus equal to your <Staff> to your Weapon Strength instead of rolling on the Critical Hit table.
  • Regal Spirit - (Support, Self) - no Check
    Use this Skill when making a Check. Spend 1 <Vox Populi> to substitute your Kingdom's National Power for the Stat being checked.
  • Irresponsible - (Aid, Special) - (Wit) / 10
    Roll against the Kingdom Disaster Table, then make the above Check. If successful, revert any one Spent Character to Ready.

Knight


"Stand back, sire, I shall teach these creatures their place!" "This is it...you shall go no further."

Class Stats: 4 Valor; 2, 2, 1 free-assignable
Starting Items: {Blade}, {Armor}, {Mount}

The Kingdom's sword and shield, a Knight's domain is battle. It's up to them who charges forward and who stays back, distribution of equipment, and other such tactical decisions. Accordingly, whoever plays this should have a strong familiarity with the Combat Rules. Also, have a mind for what sort of army you're leading with your <Staff>.

Class Skills:
  • Distinguished Service - (Permanent, Self) - no Check
    At the start of each battle, choose any one Major NPC or Monster. Add 1D6 to your Weapon Strength whenever attacking that Character.
  • Carnage - (Permanent, Self) - no Check
    Use this Skill whenever one of your attacks renders another Character either Unconscious or Dead. You may immediately take another Full Action.
  • Lord of War - (Permanent, Self) - no Check
    Your <Staff> is added to your maximum <HP> (using the <Staff> value as of the last Kingdom Phase, but adding to your current <HP>.)
  • To The Last - (Interrupt, Single) - no Check
    Use this Interrupt whenever any Character takes damage from any source. Subtract 1D6 from your <Staff>. The damage is nullified.
  • Force of Arms - (Permanent, Self) - no Check
    Your Weapon Strength is increased by [<Staff> ÷ 4] points.
  • Guardian - (Interrupt, Self) - no Check
    Use this Interrupt whenever a Character's <Staff> is depleted by any means other than the Character themselves (i.e., for a Skill effect). The effect on the <Staff> is nullified, and you take damage equal to the number of <Staff> that would have otherwise been lost.

Vizier


"These orders come direct from His Majesty. See they are carried out at once." "Hrm...the princess' wasteful spending is still a concern.

Class Stats: 4 Wit; 2, 2, 1 free-assignable
Starting Items: {Dagger}, {Census Book}, {Mobile Phone}

The Kingdom's chief administrator. Matters of diplomacy and finance are their domain. Not the flashiest of roles, if we're honest, but an indispensable one.

Class Skills:
  • Levy - (Interrupt, Court) - no Check
    Use this Interrupt after a Total Failure is made on a Check roll. The target may spend any number of <Vox Populi>, then reroll the Check using the same number of dice.
  • Domestic Politics - (Support, Self) - no Check
    Use this Skill when using your Kingdom's National Power as part of a Check. Spend 1 <Hope> to substitute one of your Stats in place of the National Power.
  • Diplomacy - (Interrupt, Special) - see text for Check
    Use this Interrupt at any time. On a successful (Wit) Check, one of your Kingdom's existing Relations becomes Friendly. The Check Difficulty is determined by the target's current Relation level: Friendly, 10; Neutral, 13; Strained, 16. For each point of difficulty, 1 MG must be spent out of the Kingdom's Budget. This effect is permanent, and does not expire at the end of the game.
  • Resupply - (Aid, Special) - (Wit) / 9
    Use this Skill while in your Encampment. Discard any 1D6 Materials, and select 3 Characters. On a successful Check, each of those Characters regains <HP> equal to [your current <Staff> ÷ 4].
  • Messenger - (Permanent, Court) - no Check
    Use this Skill while in your Encampment. Subtract 1D6 from your <Staff>, and add that number to the AV of your next Tactical Check.
  • Rescue - (Plan, Court) - (Wit) / 11
    Use this Skill during the Dungeon Phase. On a successful Check, you can spend 1 <Hope> to acquire a number of <Citizens> equal to [your current <Staff> ÷ 4]. These <Citizens> may be organized freely.

Priest


"All are as one in the eyes of God." "Murmur... chant... pray... invoke!"1

Class Stats: Charisma 4; 2, 2, 1 free-assignable
Starting Items: {Hammer}, {Liquor}, {Amulet}

The Kingdom's soul. State Religion may not have any mechanical use, but it's one big source of flavor. What sort of god or gods are being followed sets the tone for the whole rest of the kingdom. In-game, they are, as you would expect, the Court's major source of healing in the dungeon. What you probably didn't expect is that they're also about the only way to expand your Kingdom beyond the Grand Zero, so while it's not required to have one around, it's a pretty drat good idea.

Class Skills:
  • Prayer - (Interrupt, Any) - no Check
    This Skill may be used at any time. Select any present Characters you wish. Spend any number of <Hope> points, then divide the spent points between the selected Characters. For each assigned <Hope> point, each selected Character regains [1D6 + total <Sympathy> with target] <HP>.
  • Turn Undead - (Aid, Single) - (Charisma) / 7 + target Monster's Level
    Spend 1 <Hope> and select an Undead-type Monster. On a successful Check, this Monster takes 2D6 damage.
  • Sermon - (Aid, Court) - no Check
    Spend any number of <Hope> points. For each spent <Hope> point, each member of your Court regains [1D6 + your current <Staff> ÷ 5] <HP>.
  • Sacrifice - (Aid, Self) - no Check
    Reduce your <Staff> by 1D6, and remove one Common Item in your possession from the game. Your Court can now use an {Elevator} if one is present in the room.
  • Divine Wrath - (Aid, Self) - (Charisma) / 10
    Spend 1 <Hope>, and make the above Check. If successful, select any 1 Character in the same Area. That Character takes [3D6 + your current <Staff> ÷ 5] damage.
  • Enlightenment - (Permanent, Self) - no Check
    Add a bonus equal to [your current <Staff> ÷ 5] to the AV of any Negotiation Skill Check being made by another Character.

Ninja


"My very life is at your command." "--VANISH!!

Class Stats: Adventure 4; 2, 2, 1 free-assignable
Starting Items: {Shuriken}, {Star Fragment}, {Pet}

The Kingdom's secret eyes. :ninja: Scouting ahead in the dungeon and disarming Traps are their primary roles, but their high <Evasion> also suits penetrating the enemy's line in combat. The book makes another "what sort of <Staff> have you got" suggestion, but the example given is between Koga and Neguro ninja, which... doesn't help me at all, anyway.

Class Skills:
  • Shadow Clone - (Interrupt, Self) - no Check
    This Skill may be used at any time. Reduce your <HP> by 1D6. You can reuse any one Aid or Interrupt Skill you've already used this Cycle.
  • Shinobi Army - (Interrupt, Self) - no Check
    Use this Skill when a Trap or Base effect is triggered. Subtract 1D6 from your <Staff>. The Trap or Base's effect is nullified (if it's a Permanent effect, it is only nullified for the current Cycle).
  • Disruption - (Interrupt, Single) - no Check
    Use this Skill when any other Character takes damage. Spend 1 <Hope>. All damage taken by that Character is reduced by [1D6 + your total <Sympathy> for them] for the remainder of this Cycle.
  • Spy - (Support, Self) - no Check
    Use this Skill alongside a Command Check to Gather Information. Increase the Difficulty by as many levels as you like. If the Check passes, learn a number of Monster names and/or Traps in the room equal to the number of chosen levels (which Monsters and/or Traps are revealed is left to the GM's discretion).
  • Puppet Master - (Aid, Self) - no Check
    Subtract 1D6 from your <Staff>, and select a Character. Any one Permanent-type Skill that Character possesses has no effect until the beginning of the next Cycle.
  • Phantasma - (Permanent, Self) - no Check
    While in combat, if there are no allied Characters in the same Area as you, your <Evasion> is increased by [your current <Staff> ÷ 5].

Servant


"I always worry I've left something behind when setting off." "Anything I can do for you, then?"

Class Stats: All 2
Starting Items: {Spear}, {Backpack}, {Box Lunch}, {Instrument}

The Court's backbone. You can choose who is your actual master/mistress (it doesn't even necessarily have to be one of the other players, either), but at the end of the day, your role is to bolster the Court as a whole. Also, while the basic template is one of butler/maid, there are other sorts of Servants: squires to a Knight, secretaries to a Vizier, acolytes to a Priest, chuunin to a Ninja. Use your imagination, dammit.

Class Skills:
  • Assist - (Support, Single) - no Check
    Use this Skill at any time. Transfer 1 <Drive> from yourself to any other Character.
  • Preparation - (Interrupt, Single) - no Check
    Select any one Character from your Court. This Character can spend 1 <Hope> to perform a single Kingdom Phase action. This effect can only be used once per Session.
  • Cheerleading Squad - (Aid, Single) - no Check
    Use this Skill while in your Encampment. Spend 1 <Hope> and select a Character. That Character gains a bonus to their next Check equal to [your current <Staff> ÷ 5].
  • Devotion - (Support, Self) - no Check
    Use this Skill when making a Co-Operative Action. The bonus added to the target's AV is equal to [your total <Sympathy> for them + 2].
  • Master - (Permanent, Self) - no Check
    When taking this Skill, select any one Character from your Court. Whenever this Character makes a Total Success, gain 1 <Drive>.
  • Suicide Run - (Support, Self) - no Check
    Use this Skill when attacking. Subtract 2D6 from your <HP>, and add that same number to your Weapon Strength.

For simplicity's sake, I'm making the example Court from one of each Class. However, I didn't realize until after I'd done it that the randomizer I used to match up the Audience Participation rolls didn't actually save the output at all, so you're just going to have to take my word for it that it came up like this:
    JohnOfOrdo3 - Royalty
    dereku - Knight
    Everything Counts - Vizier
    Ryuujin - Priest
    Mr. Maltose - Ninja
    goatface - Servant

Next time: obscure sayings and troubled pasts! I can't wait!

1 - In case you were wondering, no, this is not the last reference to Wizardry we're going to see in this game. As a bonus, the original English name for "Suicide Run" was "Ogg". If you get that joke without Googling it, well, you're a goonier man than I, Goonga Din.

goatface
Dec 5, 2007

I had a video of that when I was about 6.

I remember it being shit.




Grimey Drawer

Yes! I will be the greatest goon cheerleader.

Ryuujin
Sep 26, 2007
Dragon God

Man Staff, and thus Charisma, seems really important for a lot of characters. Definitely for Royalty but I can see trying to put a 2 into Charisma for the Knight as well.

For Staff I am a little confused on how it is actually calculated. [(Charisma) * 5 + current Level] Is that Charisma times 5 then add the current Level to the total. Or is it 5 plus current Level then multiply that total by Charisma?

Ratoslov
Feb 15, 2012

Now prepare yourselves! You're the guests of honor at the Greatest Kung Fu Cannibal BBQ Ever!



Viziers get mobile phones, Priests get liquor, and Servants get a box lunch. I like this game.

What the heck is a 'star fragment'?

JohnOfOrdo3
Nov 7, 2011

My other car is an asteroid
:black101:


Yes! Get in! I am the king of kitties. Bow before your Meowjesty. :colbert:

Also you all can have the day off while I consume copious amounts of catni-I mean... do the kingdoms taxes. Yes... That it.

Bitchtits McGee
Jul 1, 2011


Ryuujin posted:

Man Staff, and thus Charisma, seems really important for a lot of characters.

Well, it depends on the Skills you take and how you intend to play the character. Remember that you only get one of the Class Skills listed at creation, and you're not required to take any of the others as you level up.

Ryuujin posted:

For Staff I am a little confused on how it is actually calculated. [(Charisma) * 5 + current Level] Is that Charisma times 5 then add the current Level to the total. Or is it 5 plus current Level then multiply that total by Charisma?

(CHA * 5) + Level. So your basic Priest would start out with a maximum <Staff> of 21.

Ratoslov posted:

What the heck is a 'star fragment'?

Exactly what it sounds like: a broken-off piece of a star. They're commonly used as light sources while in the dungeons. :science:

Ryuujin
Sep 26, 2007
Dragon God

True that we only start with one of the skills, which makes me real curious about the available Jobs. Still a lot of skills seemed focused on Staff. I could see a Knight with Force of Arms wanting to be rather Charismatic for the high Staff. Out of curiosity do the stats improve at any point? Other than from things like Hegemony.

And a broken off piece of a star sounds like an awesome portable light source.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Rifts World Book 4: Part Nineteen: "Even those on Earth don't know about the arrival of the Four Horsemen, but you can bet your bottom dollar that there are some True Atlanteans counted among the heroes."

Encounter and Adventure Ideas

The book provides some ideas for encounters.
  • You run into a necromancer and his assistants. No hook here, just a necromancer on the road, what do you do.
  • Caravan of the Dead! Like above, but more necromancers. They attack! But if you beat or intimidate them they might give up stuff in surrender. Blah.
  • A wagon driven by a lone driver. If the PCs investigate (why would they?) they find the wagon has thirty corpses. (Wait, wouldn't that stink badly enough to notice?) Why are they there? :iiam:
  • Pirates attack! It doesn't say what sort of pirates. It gives locations of pirate bases, a random table of what they're looking to steal, and that's that.
  • Bandits! That's all you get, make up your own encounter. Wow, evil wizard, pirates, and bandit encounters? I could never had come up with those ideas on my own. New ground, being broken, right here.
  • "Witch looking of trouble for the fun of it." Typo is in the original, a witch with some supernatural backup. It notes that "one-third" of witches know about bounties offered by the Phoenix Empire, not that PCs would be on that list for any reason, I'm sure.
  • Taboo shrine: There's a taboo place with a valuable item inside, but there's a warning. Is it a trap?! (It is a trap.) Also tribes might attack you for violating the taboo.
  • City Ruins. They have monsters in them, or maybe a "man-eating lion".
  • Nightmare Zombies created by Death. These are crazy mixed-up zombies made by stitching a bunch of body parts together. "Wait.", you may be thinking, "I thought Death's zombies can't attack anyone?" Well, technically if he lets them free they can attack somebody, he just can't control them again, though. Yeah, it's a cheap loophole.
  • "There are many other possibilities." These will not be detailed, however.


But what about the core plot of the book? I mean, it's never been covered - you can only really intuit it. Oh, here it is! In the very back!

The Four Horsemen
of the Apocalypse

Where did the Four Horsemen
appear in Africa?


It says you can put them wherever, but suggests:
  • Famine: Northern Ethiopia
  • Pestilence: South Africa
  • War: The Congo or Ivory Coast
  • Death: Southern Tanzania
It points out that the Four Horsemen are drawn to Giza because it's full of magic and because their best bud and summoner Rama-Set is there. It also points out that they might meander around just causing trouble for awhile and won't beeline for Giza.

Also, their presence will cause a lot of disasters and troublemakers to spring up, and Rama-Set will specifically be sending thugs after any heroes trying to stop them.

Some Specific Elements
  • Other Heroes: It notes this can be an possibility for other heroes to show up, even from other settings (Rifts!) and whatnot. It also notes that if you want to have the PCs play some of these heroes temporarily for a lark, or even play the GODS OF LIGHT that's cool, too.

    Wait, was that decent advice from a Palladium Book? I... :raise:
  • Gods of Light: It points out the Gods of Light might help out but mostly indirectly to avoid just butting heads with the Gods of Darkness. But the Gods of Darkness might get involved anyway! That's just how they roll. Or you could end up with full-on Godwar.
  • Mrr'lyn & New Camelot: Mrr'lyn basically doesn't want to get any knights killed outside of his Grand Plan, so he's going to try and get Arr'thuu to try and blow off the conflict. Arr'thuu, on the other hand, will likely send too few knights too late. Mrr'lyn might try and help out personally or send some of his Nexus Knights, however, on account of "everything in the world dying" putting a kibosh on his Grand Plan.
  • Atlantis & The Minions of Splugorth: Splynncryth will waffle back and forth on what to do, but will probably send some elite agents to help out against the Horsemen. The True Atlanteans as a whole aren't aware of the events going on, but some are likely to find out and help out.
  • The Americas: Nobody in the Americas is really aware of what's happening, and the Coalition wouldn't believe it even if they heard. Only Lazlo is aware due to their... uh... letters... they somehow got... from Ms. Tarn. :confused:
  • Europe & Asia: They don't know poo poo about this.
Story ideas for the Pharaoh

In case you haven't gotten your fill of him yet. More Rama-Set!

Armageddon Lost

If the Four Horsemen lose out, Rama-Set is going to go into a deep funk for months, and then he'll seek revenge against whomever responsible.

Rifts® World Book Four: Africa posted:

His quest for cosmic enlightenment ruined, he will become even more cruel and dangerous than ever!

:rolleyes:

Demons from the Past

Lo Fang is likely to try and foil Rama-Set, though Victor Lazlo is likely to go back to the NGR and foil monster plots there.

A Great Returning Villain

Rifts® World Book Four: Africa posted:

Pharaoh Rama-Set can be a marvelous, continuing or reoccurring villain

Ugh, no thanks, I've had enough. We get XP tables for the classes and we're done.



Rifts® World Book Four: Africa may indeed be the worst book for the line, though I say that not having looked over all 80+ books in the game line. Why?
  • Overpowered Opposition: All of the villains in this book are litanies of powers and "get out of consquences" cards. Having fights against them is going to be nothing short of miserable without a deus ex machina. (Yes, there are weapons that will certainly help fight them... in much later books.)
  • Bad Mythology: Rifts Africa plays fast and loose with mythology, but that isn't the problem. The problem is that it alters it almost always to its detriment. Worse yet, they're near-homongenous in personality, with the majority of them being in on the "destroy the world" plot even when it's to their detriment.
  • Romantic Racism: Though hardly intentional, there's just such an ignorance regarding the African people that it boggles the mind. Even if you could wind the clock four hundred or five hundred years, it wasn't idyllic. There's an overwhelming amount of terrible things and issues wrought by colonialism, but pretending people will return to some utopian tribalism without it is insulting. (Also, what happened to the numberous descendants of European settlers and colonials in Africa? Did they spontaneously implode?)
  • The Phoenix Empire: It's basically just Atlantis but more boring and one-note. What's more, there are no signs of conflict between the African natives and the monstrous immigrants, which makes the African tribes look like a bunch of hapless pushovers. Rama-Set's madness is dull, reducing him to a scheming nihilist with no actual personality behind it. Their technology is even really dull, being a dull echo of the Kittani's more imaginative devices.
  • Africa Without Faces or Names: Speaking of which, the locals take a back seat to the metaplot, hardly ever showing up save as victims in descriptions. If you have an entire social class - the medicine men and priests - dedicated to fighting supernatural evil, they need to matter. They don't. There are very few major communities noted, no local rulers outside of Rama-set. We don't get any serious discussion of African cultures, lifestyles, or communities. It's populated by caricatures, not people.
  • Bad Classes: Classes like the Rain Maker and Priest are too one-note and dull to be taken up by PCs, and the African Witch is a paper tiger, the Pygmy classes are even more horrid and incapable... what's more, it has four added forms of magic or psionics, which eat up page space on material players aren't likely to use. The minions of the gods aren't deeply exciting either, with only the Phoenixi really standing out.
  • The Gathering of Heroes: ... is self-indulgent as gently caress. Most of the heroes are pet characters without interesting foibles, flaws, or agendas to bring to the table, but are mostly just fan service, Siembieda being the main one being serviced.
  • Kevin Siembieda: ... should never have primary art duties. He just wasn't that great yet. He thankfully gets better over time, but I sense the powerful force of photo reference all over his art, and rough copies of photos just makes me cringe.
Are there good things? Well...
  • Kevin Long: Though not his best work, his designs for the Four Horsemen stand out as strong and imaginative. They're not terribly deep, but if you want a bunch of monster men to fight, you can't go wrong with that art.
  • Mind Bleeders: Aside from the silly concept, their powers fill an unfilled niche and it seems like they'd be fun to play.
  • Medicine Men: Though not fantastic, they're solid enough to fill a role as a shamanistic casting class.
  • Phoenixi: Powergamers, this is a gem in the rough. You get free casting levels over 1st and the ability to totally regenerate. Keep an eye on this one.
And that's it. Here, enjoy this musical palate cleanser.

Next: I bury this book back on the shelf for a good long time.

homerlaw
Sep 21, 2008

Plants are the best ergo Sylvari=Best


What percentage of Rifts: Africa is actually talking about Africa?

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


homerlaw posted:

What percentage of Rifts: Africa is actually talking about Africa?

Ignoring character class material, about 20 pages, or about 13% of the book (rounding up).

Drakyn
Dec 26, 2012



Things that exist on the second largest continent in the world with the oldest history of modern humans, in a setting where almost anything is possible.
-Four aimlessly rampaging NotBiblical monsters.
-The NotChinese dragon rping an egyptian pharoah that summoned them and his pointlessly evil mini-empire.
-Uh bandits or something.
-Some lions.
-Wildebeest???

PleasingFungus
Oct 10, 2012

in my pope game,



I really like the idea of this game, but lord, the art for the female characters. These two are the worst, but none of them are good.

(On the plus side: the female Priest's hat is fantastic.)

Probad
Feb 24, 2013

I want to believe!


PleasingFungus posted:

I really like the idea of this game, but lord, the art for the female characters. These two are the worst, but none of them are good.

(On the plus side: the female Priest's hat is fantastic.)

I realize this is a popular opinion to have about everything, but come on man. What's wrong with the female Vizier or King or Servant or Oracle?

(USER WAS PUT ON PROBATION FOR THIS POST)

Nostalgia4ColdWar
May 7, 2007

Good people deserve good things.

Till someone lets the winter in and the dying begins, because Old Dark Places attract Old Dark Things.


That "total number of troops" thing hosed one of my old Rifts GMs when he was running Africa and we got tired of the Gods of Light dicking us, treating us like poo poo (Honestly, we were treated better in Atlantis than by the Gods of Light, mainly because we had lots of cash to buy poo poo, big guns, and cool poo poo to sell), and having us act like errand boys and having Thoth & Assholes Inc. constantly order us around and flex their muscles about how we weren't poo poo. We had to sit through a 30 minute "briefing" by Thoth & Assholes Inc about the Pheonix Empire and my mind went "Wait, 7K, spread out over Africa and the Middle East? With only 22K irregulars? Mostly a human slave army? Ooooh..." and we all got together and plotted when he threw in details like how they were a coordinated military and had bar codes and all that poo poo and we even more powerful than the CS because of... umm... monsters?

He didn't figure out what we were doing until too late, luring in patrols and letting them get off a radio message before jamming them and slaughtering them. Getting the medicine men and shaman armed and ready to fight, and playing Rambo against the Pheonix Empire. We kept careful track of their numbers, playing hit and run, ambushing them, blowing up vehicles.

We'd killed War, Pestilence, and Famine by the time we rolled into the Pheonix Empire, and spent five months real time blowing up every loving military base and convoy in the Pheonix Empire we found. Artillery strikes on barracks, destroying training facilities, destroying stockpiles, just basically tearing poo poo up like Sherman through Georgia.

He was one of those rules lawyering fucks as a player and we'd discovered he was even worse as a GM (we rotated with various GM's claiming world books) or we wouldn't have made a huge issue out of it when he started gloating that the whole Pheonix Empire military was going to come down on us like a hammer. He'd also just whipped out some bullshit about "The Ghosts of the Four Horsemen!" to invalidate everything we'd done, and how the medicine men and shamans had just gone "Whelp, the Pheonix Empire is just too big to fight, let's go home!" and how the Gods of Light said we weren't helping against the Four Horsemen and told the rest of the Forces of Light that we shouldn't be helped by anyone any more. (Because we told Thoth & Assholes Inc. to take his plans and go gently caress himself)

We responded with "What army?" and whipped out the numbers. We'd asked him repeatedly if they were recruiting (making it seems like we were trying to infiltrate) and he'd said "No. They don't see the need to!" and laughed at us for "wasting ammunition and time" when we were blowing up the factories that produced Pheonix Empire war material.

He kind of threw a fit and quit GMing (thank loving God, we were SICK of Africa), so we rotated to a new GM and invaded the Gargoyle Empire to help out Triax and had a blast replaying Rifts Anzio MDC Firefight and Rifts D-Day Landing With Big loving Robots! so gently caress Africa all to hell.

Seriously, if you have a new GM or a temp GM and he wants to do Rifts Africa, beat his loving skull in with a copy of Conversion Book One and move on.

Barudak
May 7, 2007



Alien Rope Burn posted:

Demons from the Past

Lo Fang is likely to try and foil Rama-Set, though Victor Lazlo is likely to go back to the NGR and foil monster plots there.

I know I came in late but is there seriously a major Rifts character named after the character from Casablanca? To defeat Rama-Set do I need to convince Death to shoot him so we can start a beautiful friendship? What is the P.P.E necessary to only remember Paris? What is the damage roll for being shot in my least vulnerable spot?

Barudak fucked around with this message at 05:31 on Jun 17, 2013

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Barudak posted:

I know I came in late but is there seriously a major Rifts character named after the character from Casablanca? To defeat Rama-Set do I need to convince Death to shoot him so we can start a beautiful friendship? What is the P.P.E necessary to only remember Paris? What is the damage roll for being shot in my least vulnerable spot?

If you end up rolling a Rogue Scholar, Vagabond or a Wilderness Scout, you'll regret it. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of the campaign.

Erebro
Apr 28, 2013


50 Foot Ant posted:

That "total number of troops" thing hosed one of my old Rifts GMs when he was running Africa and we got tired of the Gods of Light dicking us, treating us like poo poo (Honestly, we were treated better in Atlantis than by the Gods of Light, mainly because we had lots of cash to buy poo poo, big guns, and cool poo poo to sell), and having us act like errand boys and having Thoth & Assholes Inc. constantly order us around and flex their muscles about how we weren't poo poo. We had to sit through a 30 minute "briefing" by Thoth & Assholes Inc about the Pheonix Empire and my mind went "Wait, 7K, spread out over Africa and the Middle East? With only 22K irregulars? Mostly a human slave army? Ooooh..." and we all got together and plotted when he threw in details like how they were a coordinated military and had bar codes and all that poo poo and we even more powerful than the CS because of... umm... monsters?

He didn't figure out what we were doing until too late, luring in patrols and letting them get off a radio message before jamming them and slaughtering them. Getting the medicine men and shaman armed and ready to fight, and playing Rambo against the Pheonix Empire. We kept careful track of their numbers, playing hit and run, ambushing them, blowing up vehicles.

We'd killed War, Pestilence, and Famine by the time we rolled into the Pheonix Empire, and spent five months real time blowing up every loving military base and convoy in the Pheonix Empire we found. Artillery strikes on barracks, destroying training facilities, destroying stockpiles, just basically tearing poo poo up like Sherman through Georgia.

He was one of those rules lawyering fucks as a player and we'd discovered he was even worse as a GM (we rotated with various GM's claiming world books) or we wouldn't have made a huge issue out of it when he started gloating that the whole Pheonix Empire military was going to come down on us like a hammer. He'd also just whipped out some bullshit about "The Ghosts of the Four Horsemen!" to invalidate everything we'd done, and how the medicine men and shamans had just gone "Whelp, the Pheonix Empire is just too big to fight, let's go home!" and how the Gods of Light said we weren't helping against the Four Horsemen and told the rest of the Forces of Light that we shouldn't be helped by anyone any more. (Because we told Thoth & Assholes Inc. to take his plans and go gently caress himself)

We responded with "What army?" and whipped out the numbers. We'd asked him repeatedly if they were recruiting (making it seems like we were trying to infiltrate) and he'd said "No. They don't see the need to!" and laughed at us for "wasting ammunition and time" when we were blowing up the factories that produced Pheonix Empire war material.

He kind of threw a fit and quit GMing (thank loving God, we were SICK of Africa), so we rotated to a new GM and invaded the Gargoyle Empire to help out Triax and had a blast replaying Rifts Anzio MDC Firefight and Rifts D-Day Landing With Big loving Robots! so gently caress Africa all to hell.

Fare thee well, Great One. May your long journey bring you other, halfway competent GMs, where your insane genius will be appreciated.

In the name of Thrawn, all gamers salute the Slayer of Killer Dungeon Masters, 50 Foot Ant the (Tomb of) Horrorsbane.

:worship:

Nostalgia4ColdWar
May 7, 2007

Good people deserve good things.

Till someone lets the winter in and the dying begins, because Old Dark Places attract Old Dark Things.


Erebro posted:

Fare thee well, Great One. May your long journey bring you other, halfway competent GMs, where your insane genius will be appreciated.

In the name of Thrawn, all gamers salute the Slayer of Killer Dungeon Masters, 50 Foot Ant the (Tomb of) Horrorsbane.

:worship:

Wasn't my plan. I was just part of it. I was playing a Rogue Scholar, not one of the combaticons. I've been handed my rear end more than once as a GM, which is always pretty cool. As you can tell from that Rifts Africa writeup, that book is just the loadout for a perfect storm of wankery, stupidity, half-assed ideas, colonialism myopicness, and just plain piss poor writing. I think I've seen one good Rifts game come from the Africa book, and that was modded so heavy it wasn't even funny (I think all that got used was the word Africa). From the overpowered Thoth & Assholes Inc. to the dumb rear end Four Horseman to the loving Pheonix Empire, the book is something any GM can skip, since about all they get out of it is a Rifts Earth map of Africa that's worth a poo poo.

Christ, any time you see that Africa book being used, loving run. That writeup does a good job of showing just how hosed up and stupid it is. Everything falls flat, like Alien Rope Burn said: most of the Pheonix Empire tech is just Kittani knock-offs and the African people are just kind of there to be victimized and saved by the all mighty whitey.

Bitchtits McGee
Jul 1, 2011


Ryuujin posted:

Out of curiosity do the stats improve at any point? Other than from things like Hegemony.

You get one point from your Job, and another two from taking an Advanced Job. It doesn't seem like much advancement, but remember that, as Landmakers, you're already pretty much the best humanity has to offer, plus the core game really isn't built for high numbers. There's a supplement by the impossibly metal name of :black101: Overkill Paradise :black101: the reported purpose of which is making everything in the game bigger - I may or may not recall someone mentioning the 3x3 dungeon maps being expanded to 20x20 - but I haven't got that one myself, so I can't really say much about it.

PleasingFungus posted:

I really like the idea of this game, but lord, the art for the female characters. These two are the worst, but none of them are good.

Forget it, Jake. It's Animetown.

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Ryuujin
Sep 26, 2007
Dragon God

Really looking forward to future installments. Also really wishing someone would run this in PbP. Though there I would be more likely to choose Knight.

Right now I am really curious about these Jobs, and eventually Advanced Jobs.

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