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Platonicsolid
Nov 17, 2008



(Removed by the Department of Redundancy Department)

Platonicsolid fucked around with this message at 05:12 on Aug 24, 2013

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Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Rifts® Space Part 2: "This power can be given to ALL mutant insects if so desired; kinda nasty (I like it)."

Rifts characters in space are done slightly differently than normal. Instead of picking from a list of classes, first you pick an origin, mostly referring to your station of birth. It's recommended that PC groups come form the same origin, since all of the stations are engaged in a cold conflict with each other. It notes that you can't come from the Moon, Mars, or asteroids, because... reasons? This will make increasingly less sense as time goes on. It also notes that if you roll a Physical Beauty of 3 or 4, you automatically come from Outcast Station and get to roll once on the mutation tables for an unusual characteristics. Nobody is ugly naturally anymore!

Origins can be rolled randomly or selected, but it recommends letting folks select them instead. The origins are:
  • Laika Station: Aka Russia station. You get to be poor, but get a bonus on a ton of skills like mechanical, piloting, and espionage skills. You also have a 50% chance of being allowed to "borrow" a vessel (each according to his need and all that).
  • Freedom Station: Aka America + Canada. YOu get zero gravity and oxygen conservation skills for free. and a bonus on computer and electrical skills. You're also relatively rich.
  • Yuro Station: Aka EU Station. You get zero gravity and oxygen conservation skills, and a big bonus on communications, science, and technical skills.
  • Outcast Station: Aka Mutant Station. You get zero gravity combat, vacuum survival, and one weapon skill of your choice, and get a bonus on rogue skills.
  • Moon Base: Wait, didn't it just say you couldn't come from here? Confusing! Anyway, this means you work with the Cyberworks corporation (which you may remember from the Rifts Sourcebook). You get zero gravity and mining skills for free, and a bonus on physical skills (actually often irrelevant, because most physical skills aren't rolled). However, you have a 40% chance of getting a suit of Samurai or Mikado power armor! Yet, they are not Japanese-themed.
  • Freebooter: You come from nowhere, man! Zero gravity and basic mechanics as bonus skills, and then you get a bonus on pilot and spatial skills. Also you have a 50% chance of owning a small spaceship. It notes here that it's a good idea for a group of characters to have access to a spaceship. (But getting a spaceship is random, so... eh? Eh!)
Surprisingly, the ubiquitious "Credit" (used from Coalition to Atlantis to England) is not represented here; the orbital folk seem to use a currency entitled "IOUs" (cute).

We're referred to a list of occupations used in After the Bomb character creation as well. This is a random table, but it recommends players be allowed to select instead. I get the impression Wallis didn't want tables, but Palladium is as Palladium does...
  • Astrologer O.C.C.: Basically, a vagabond with less skills, but automatic minor psionics and a small I.S.P. boost. They also get the new Astrology skill, which is hinkey, unreliable, and not the best thing to hang a character concept on. We'll get to it in a bit.
  • Cyberjack O.C.C.: A city rat with considerably fewer skills who specializes in computers. They get the new cyberjacking skill, which lets them directly plug into computers.
  • Defense Officer O.C.C.: A really stripped-down version of the CS Military Specialist, but they're experts in zero gravity combat and using colony defense weapons.
  • Energy Specialist O.C.C.: Somebody who works with power generation systems; apparently this gets you a fair amount of status on stations. Otherwise, they're operators with less skills.
  • Guard O.C.C.: Basically just local muscle for freebooters (space truckers) or bodyguards for high-ups. Like the vagabond, only with fewer skills.
  • Jack Of All Trades: Also known as "JOATs" (no, really), these folks are drifters, and not well-liked because of their percieved unreliability. Still, they do a lot of crap work. They're considered "a version of a vagabond operator or scientist", which makes no sense, since that could be any one of three classes. :(
  • Medic O.C.C.: You get to play the Body Doc O.C.C. with its normal skills, which is... uh, a ridiculous number of skills compared to all the O.C.C.s we've seen so far. Yes, :eng101: we have balance issues already.
  • Miner O.C.C.: A vagabond with less skills, but the new mining and zero-g skills. They're not well liked because they're gruff dwarfy types, but they're necessary to the colonies' survival.
  • Space Pilot O.C.C.: Another vagabond-based class with fewer skills, this time focusing on spaceship piloting. Every kid wants to grow up to be these guys, but they're just working schmoes like everybody else.
  • Research Scientist O.C.C.: People really respect science... in space! They're treated just like rogue scientists, which gives the same issue as the Medic O.C.C. - you get a lot more skills than everybody else.
  • Salvage Expert O.C.C.: A crummier version of the rogue scientist, but with a focus on salvaging, recycling, and zero gravity activities. They also get a free spacesuit and a 35% chance to own a ship.
  • Freebooter O.C.C.: A mercenary or adventurer (or both). You can pick from the city rat, "wilderness space scout", headhunter, operator, or vagabond O.C.C. from Rifts, only you get a small bonus to the new contact skills. You also get a free spacesuit, laser pistol, and 25% chance to own a "small shuttle".
  • Ship Engineer O.C.C.: A crummy version of the engineer who gets a free spacesuit and tool kit. They focus on fixing and building spaceships, and get a fair amount of status.
  • Survival Systems Technician O.C.C.: Another high-status occupation, on account of keeping everybody alive. They get to be operators with reduced skills, but an emphasis on new skills like hydropnics, recycle, oxygen systems, etc. Also, free suit.
  • Trader O.C.C.: Hated and loved, because most stations hate admitting they aren't self-sufficient, but also rely on these folks. Space truckers. They get to be operators with less skills but with a pilot emphasis, a free energy weapon, space suit, and a 58% chance of getting a medium shuttle.
Okay, with that through, let's confront the first issue of the book. It's clear Wallis wants the game to be more about collections of specialists doing tough space work - a ban on R.C.C.s is recommended, and no magic or psychic classes are included. What's more, the amount of skills classes get are drastically reduced... unless you're playing a base Rifts class. So you end up with an essential imbalance between the new classes - which are designed mostly for the more skill-starved Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Other Strangeness, making the Rifts classes much, much more competent. What's worse, almost all the Rifts classes referenced are those without special powers - and Rifts compensates generally by giving those characters more skills. To complicate matters, a lot of new skills are added, and often more than one skill is needed for a given task... but we'll get to that more in a bit. And if all that wasn't goofy enough, the later sections written by Siembieda seem to assume people would just be picking classes from Rifts as normal, including psychic classes. :doh:


Satellite? Space station? Sex aid? You decide!

Most other character options are like in Rifts, but there is one other difference: mutations, on account of cosmic rays or whatever. This (presumably) replaces the human psionic tables from the corebook.
  • You have a 33% chance to have no mutations. If you have no mutations and are from Outcast Station, you get to be a mutant genius... so much for not being a mutant! Mutant genii can take classes from other games to represent being a genius, including: hardware training (Heroes Unlimited), genius or psi-mechanic (Beyond the Supernatural), or a gizmoteer or "gizoid" (Ninjas & Superspies). If you only own Rifts, well, screw you, cheapskate! You also get four (4!) rolls on the unusual characteristic table as a genius, and a 90% chance of getting a few brainy psionic powers.
  • You have a 33% chance to have psionics. These are actually pretty buff selections of psychic powers, with over half the table rolls including super psionic powers. At the top end it lets you select the Burster R.C.C. if you want from the Rifts core, which seems like a bad talent to develop in space, since that makes you the oxygen destroyer, though it could be useful to be a living bomb. (Didn't it just say we couldn't take that class? Oh well...) It's also possible to start with more super psionic powers than even a mind melter (you just don't get more as you level)... and be a rogue scientist or wilderness scout on top of that! Yeesh. Game balance - it's what's for dinner! If you're from Outcast Station you get extra psionic powers.
  • The final 34% is left for characters to get superpowers! You get 2-5 minor abilities, or 1-2 minor powers and 1-2 major powers. Unfortunately, you need a copy of Heroes Unlimited and the Rifts Conversion Book to really make use of this. Alternately, they have a quickie list of superpowers for mutant animals listed earlier, and you can roll twice on that. If you're from Outcast Station you get a bonus power.


Super-constipation is not a listed power, however.

So, we have some superpower lists. Very grab-baggy. Here's my top ten examples:
  • Increased (Attribute): Adds 1d6 to a single attribute. Useful at high levels, pointless if your attribute is low to begin with.
  • Double-Jointed: Yup. This counts as a superpower. Really. THere's an improved version later own called "Plastic Bones".
  • Body Freeze: There's a chance equal to (Physical Endurance x 5%) that you can be frozen (including in space) and not die. Woo! That means you only don't die half the time. It suggests this power be given to all mutant insects.
  • Increase Size: Can double size. No idea what happens if you do this in a spacesuit.
  • Low Oxygen Use: You only use a third of the normal oxygen - one of a series of space-specific powers like Oxygen Retention or Hibernation.
  • Invulnerability: You're immune to damage. Period. You can take a boom gun bullet to the nethers and come up smiling. Poisons and toxins do half damage, but you can still be suffocated. Magic and psionics affect you normally... though you can also have the Mind Block power, and blow off a lot of psionic effects...
  • Peripheral Vision: You have bug eyes and everybody envies you because you can see your own rear end.
  • See the Unseen: You get bonus colors ("30% more than the average human"), ultraviolet, infrared, and "polarized vision". You can also see auras and invisible stuff. Bet you wish you could see your own rear end, though!
  • Fur Armor: It's fur! It gives minor S.D.C. armor, repels water, and reduces cold and radiation (?!) damage by half.
  • Sucker Feet: If you're not lucky enough to roll Adhesion, you could end up with Adhesion 1that only works with your shoes off (i.e. not in space, where you need it the most).


The art is space furries all book long, really.

Oh, and there's conventional stuff like bio-manipulation (a Palladium favorite), laser eyes, flight, etc. Then, we have unusual characteristics like:
  • Blotchy skin!
  • Gorilla arms!
  • No body hair!
  • Huge ears!
  • A walrus face!
If you have psionics, you roll for one unusual characteristic, if you have superpowers, you roll for two. If you're from Outcast Station, you roll for four. It's like Gamma World... in space! :cthulhu:


There are no tentacled monsters in this book, as it turns out.

Lastly, for character creation, we get new skills... which is a real issue, because that means skill list bloat - already an issue of most Palladium games - is in full effect. Here's some examples:
  • Astrology: You can get vague answers about the future! Your chance of success is very low, though (11-32% to start, generally), and increases very slowly. Mostly just flavor.
  • Combat, Zero Gravity or Combat, Gravity: Yes, this makes you buy hand-to-hand skills twice, once for zero-g and once in gravity. (This does not include moving in zero-g, either - that's the Movement: Zero Gravity skill!) :rolleyes:
  • Contacts: You can roll to see if you've heard of somebody!... only the base skill percentage is 6% + 2% per level. Oh, and if you roll under ten percent of that percentage, you've met them personally. So by 15th level, you have a 3% chance of knowing a stranger personally. Whee!
  • Drive Repair: There are four space drives: chemical drive, ion drive, plasma drive, and traction drive. They all require different repair skills. Enjoy!
  • Jury-Rig: Lets you get equipment back into working order. It doesn't let you reuse old components, that's the Recycle skill...
  • Pilot Spacecraft: Lets you fly a spacecraft. Doesn't cover flying in combat or stunts - that's Pilot Spacecraft: Advanced! Or navigation - that's Interplanetary Navigation. Or using weapons - that's Ship-to-Ship Combat. Or flying a solar vehicle, that's Pilot Yacht...
  • Vacuum Survival: Lets you survive longer in space unaided, normally a number of seconds equal to your Physical Endurance. Once this skill maxes out at 15th level, you can last... oh... a minute and a half in space! :v:
And that's it for character creation, save for equipment. But that's at the back of the book, so next we start on the setting itself.

Next: Space, and why it sucks.

HitTheTargets
Mar 3, 2006

I came here to laugh at you.


Alien Rope Burn posted:

It's like Gamma World... in space! :cthulhu:

So just Gamma then?

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Rifts® Space Part 3: "The Coalition's last attempt to enter space was 76 years ago. They too have forsaken space and took great delight in Triax's subsequent failure."

Now, here we start to get into background. Though I usually present a book page-by-page, there's an issue where the After the Bomb material is presented first, then the Rifts adaptation is done after. Instead, I'm merging the two - bear in mind this is a lot harder to absorb from the book itself because you have to flip back and forth to get all the setting bits. A sane layout person would put them next to each other, but there's even a full chapter's worth of material (roughly speaking, Palladium doesn't do chapters, as you may recall) separating the two.

So, to the folks stuck on Earth, space is now a mystery. Both the Coalition and Triax have tried to send stuff into orbit, only to have it vanish. There are three theories:
  • There are Pre-Rifts killer satellities that blow up anything that reaches orbit.
  • There's a ring of debris in counter-orbit that shreds anything flying up.
  • There's a dimensional envelope that surrounds that planet that sends anything leaving it to another dimension.
In case you're wondering, the first and second are accurate; the third isn't, as we later find out. Before the rifts appeared, Earth had a number of space stations, as well as bases on Mars and the Moon. Then the arrival of the rifts they shot generic magic plot energy into space that blew up a lot of satellites and stations. Furthermore, military satellites went haywire, thinking the disasters on the surface were signs of war (apparently they were programmed by idiots that gave them autonomy). And so the series of disasters created a debris ring around Earth, particularly in an area known as the "Graveyard". However, four stations survived - Freedom, Laika, Yuro, and Outcast.


"Of course, an sluggish, bipedal tank: the perfect space weapon!"

Most of the survivors figured the world had basically ended after all the disasters that hit. One in five (really?) committed :emo: the night of the disaster. Another one in five died from injuries relating to the cataclysm. And finally, one in ten died from pure apathy and ennui. Bummer! Then some more people committed suicide or gave up as the weeks wore on. Finally, the survivors started rebuilding, and after the stations got back in contact with each other, they cooperated to get back into business.

Some tried to return to Earth. They were never heard from again. Dun dun dun! :eek:

Life in Orbit

Things are busy in orbit, as people mine asteroids for ice, rely on jury-rigged equipment (they use every piece of the toaster), and most stations have very fixed roles for people they are expected to stick to and live up to, and work is very hard. Shirkers or parasites get "spaced" or exiled. There are occasional short conflicts and the like that take lives, as well.

Space, in general, sucks, and is so big there are plenty of uncharted objects, and anything lost out in space is basically lost forever. Solar winds can bombard the stations with radiation, micro-meteroids can punch through things, unprotected life can mutate, and so on, and you can't predict for anything. The space stations which are the core of the setting are beyond the safety of the Van Allen Belt, so radiation is a real issue.


I'm just... struggling to find art to include here, okay?

Adapting to life in space

Zero gravity is an issue! It makes you weak, and the book gets into the science of it relatively well, except-

Mutants in Orbit posted:

Radiation and other things aside, a zero gravity environment as found in space and on the moon...

- whups. I think Wallis meant "low" gravity there. Not the last time the book will make that mistake, either. Anyway, you get muscle atrophy, fluid pooling, oxygen deprivation in the bloodstream, clotting, etc. It's noted that juicer and crazy technology can counteract the degeneration of zero gravity to some extent (if you don't mind having a chow hound or a crazy person aboard your ship, I guess...), and sometimes cybernetics are used to repair damage caused by long-term explosure. Also mutant animals - mainly dogs and chimps - are used in zero-g because gently caress'em, they ain't got rights.

Anyway, if you only spend a few months or years in zero gravity, you can recover through physical therapy. However, the rules give you a 9% chance of dying per day for the first week, and your Physical Endurance does not help. That's a 48% chance of sudden death. They... may have wanted to read the science on this one a bit more, because nobody I can find of in the history of space flight has died from a few months in zero gravity. :rolleyes:

Sigh. Anyway, humans can completely adapt to zero low gravity, like the moon men. The folks on the moon are a bit stuck there because they can't adapt to normal gravity (0.6 Gs or higher). And that is a reason the moon men hate other people! Because gravity! Oh, and those who have fully adapted have a 50% chance of unstoppable death per hour of being in normal gravity. That means they have roughly a 99.999996% chance of death after a single day, after which they only have to make the 50/50 roll every day. :rolleyes: Moon juicers and moon crazies, as well most mega-damage folks don't have to worry about this. Cyborgs or folks supported by power armor, though, have improved 99.9% chance of dying in their first day of normal gravity!

Rifts: MATH IS HARD.:argh:

Decompression sickness can occur, especially for non-natives used to the variations in orbital environs. People can be penalized or in severe cases put into a coma, and then have to make a standard death save. Also, people can be bummed out by being too lonely in space or never being lonely, one of the two.

Various sections about resources summed up

Anyway, space people are horrendous environmentalists in that they try and conserve and recycle everything. (Yes, pee and poop counts, I'm sure.) Oxygen is created through hydroponics, chemical systems that extract oxygen from water, and various means of recirculation. Other materials are often melted down and reused or re-crafted (like with clothing). In manufacturing, just about every byproduct is saved and used somewhere.

Water is the big deal, though, and mining Mars' ice caps and asteroids is the main source, which leads to occasional skirmishes over prime mining spots, or just ice piracy in general. Yes. Ice pirates. :pirate: Also, it's not stated directly, but orbitals drink their own filtered pee pretty much all the time. Also, a lot of stations store water in walls to protect against heat and radiation, but that seems dependent on the romantic assumption nobody's going to poke holes in your walls...

Oh, and IOU refers to "Ice-Oxygen Units", so that's what the currency is based on. A pint of frozen water is worth 1 IOU, though nickel coins are used to represent them with a "forgery-proof hologram". Look, if you can make them, they can be forged. Emergencies tend to see a rush on the ice reserves, tho.

Power isn't a big deal, thanks to large solar collections and nuclear reactors.

Mining is mainly done on chondrite asteroids, and metallic asteroids provide iron and silicates. There's the moon which also has minerals, and the asteroid belt and mars can be mined as well, but they're more distant. Thanks to a surplus of energy, extraction and refining is relatively easy to do.


I think there's only one picture of a human in this book, period.

Crimes & Penalties

gently caress with resources and you get the horns. Most things having to do with ice, oxygen, or water is likely to get you spaced (the traditional form of execution) or put into hard labor camps on mars or the like.

Orbits

Most low earth orbit material is wrecked. Blame the rifts. Garbage and wreckage tends to congregate to the two main geosynchronous orbit points, creating "graveyards". Space stations are generally at the various Lagrange points or in geosynchronous orbit.

Whew! Honestly, this section is pretty factual and functional. The goofiness will start to really insert in the next section, where Siembieda is contributing more material.

Next: Stereotypes... in... spaaaace.
Yeah that reference never gets old for me, sorry!

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

WE HAVE TO CONTROL OUR ENVIRONMENT
IF YOU SEE ME POSTING OUTSIDE OF THE AUSPOL THREAD PLEASE TELL ME THAT I'M MISSED AND TO START POSTING AGAIN


Finally, a system to let me run Bucky O'hare!

HitTheTargets
Mar 3, 2006

I came here to laugh at you.


You'd think instead of spacing dudes they'd go full on Fremen and recycle their water. But who cares if we lose a little water getting rid of that jerk, he stole our water.

Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers, stern and wild ones, and they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss.


Clapping Larry

Count Chocula posted:

Finally, a system to let me run Bucky O'hare!

Actually you probably want the Albedo system for that.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Humbug Scoolbus posted:

Actually you probably want the Albedo system for that.

Yeah, even putting aside the utter mess that Palladium has for a system - one of the weird things about Mutants in Orbit is that it wants to be a hard sci-fi setting where you struggle for water and where there is no sound in space. But, on the other hand, it's a setting where cosmic radiation gives ordinary people superpowers or turns rabbits into furries. Even without considering the setting split, it's a bizarre dichotomy of a book.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



HitTheTargets posted:

You'd think instead of spacing dudes they'd go full on Fremen and recycle their water. But who cares if we lose a little water getting rid of that jerk, he stole our water.

I've always thought this about those long-term space survival scenarios, especially since the new Battlestar Galactica was always keen on spacing folks (and especially after the reveal that the Cylons have evolved into essentially humans) despite the Twelve Colonies survivors having limited resources and a desperate situation. Suck out their water, throw them into the garbage compactor and recycle them as biomass for the agriculture pods, that's what I say. Who gives a poo poo what their origins are and if they're carrying possible bioweapons, the intense heat from thermal depolymerization can destroy even the hardiest prion and cause them to separate into their basic molecular forms.

Benagain
Oct 10, 2007

Can you see that I am serious?


Fun Shoe

Tank Girl had those badass sucker thingies, that'd be about as satisfying as blowing someone out the airlock.

Xelkelvos
Dec 19, 2012


Young Freud posted:

I've always thought this about those long-term space survival scenarios, especially since the new Battlestar Galactica was always keen on spacing folks (and especially after the reveal that the Cylons have evolved into essentially humans) despite the Twelve Colonies survivors having limited resources and a desperate situation. Suck out their water, throw them into the garbage compactor and recycle them as biomass for the agriculture pods, that's what I say. Who gives a poo poo what their origins are and if they're carrying possible bioweapons, the intense heat from thermal depolymerization can destroy even the hardiest prion and cause them to separate into their basic molecular forms.

There's probably some argument about dignity and what have you and most of the biomass will still be there floating anyways. Also, what's stopping someone from coming around and picking up the body later to recycle?

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Xelkelvos posted:

There's probably some argument about dignity and what have you and most of the biomass will still be there floating anyways. Also, what's stopping someone from coming around and picking up the body later to recycle?

Space is a big place, and finding a tiny body in it is going to be a needle-in-haystack dilemma barring having some beacon attached to it or some ridiculously advanced sensors.

Bitchtits McGee
Jul 1, 2011


Alien Rope Burn posted:

Oh, and those who have fully adapted have a 50% chance of unstoppable death per hour of being in normal gravity. That means they have roughly a 99.999996% chance of death after a single day, after which they only have to make the 50/50 roll every day. :rolleyes:

This is why they don't want to let you make a character from the Moon, because anyone from there who tries to go anywhere else crumples like a punctured bathysphere.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Xelkelvos posted:

There's probably some argument about dignity and what have you and most of the biomass will still be there floating anyways. Also, what's stopping someone from coming around and picking up the body later to recycle?

There's two things to remember out space and that is space is almost inconceivably huge and reaction mass is finite.

There's a third one and that is space is a vacuum and vacuums insulate heat. This is great if you get tossed out a habitat wearing nothing save a space helmet and an oxygen source because you'll last a while before you succumb to hypothermia, since the human body doesn't bleed heat very well. However, at about 120 Celsius around Earth orbit, sunlight would burn the flesh off a human being in short order. And, since the human body isn't a good heat radiator, it continues to absorb that heat. A human in orbital sunlight would completely burn up within a few hours.

In short, retrieving a body in space would be like asking to find a body in the Atlantic Ocean before the sharks get to it. You better hope you're nearby and that it's still floating on the surface because it's all bets off once it goes under.

In closing, I'll leave this trailer for Alfonso Curaon's Gravity, which should illustrate some of my points...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0ijEEivCbg


Alien Rope Burn posted:

Space is a big place, and finding a tiny body in it is going to be a needle-in-haystack dilemma barring having some beacon attached to it or some ridiculously advanced sensors.

e:fb

Sensors aren't that big of a deal, since radar can track most large objects, like a human body. It's just that they won't stay that for long and the cost to retrieve the body is going to be too great, since, if you're using a personal EVA maneuver unit, you'll need reaction mass (i.e. fuel) to get to the body, an equal amount of reaction mass to intercept the body, then twice as much to bring it back, and twice as much to stop yourself from impacting with the habitat. If it goes too far out, you're never retrieving it unless it whips back around in orbit. If it and you go too far out while getting it, then you're screwed.

Also, in every spacing scenario, you have to flood the airlock with atmosphere to propel them out of the airlock, otherwise they just die inside your airlock, which can get messy if they do something reflexive and stupid like hold their breath. If you vacuum take your breath, you can survive for a few seconds before you asphyxiate, lose consciousness, and die. If you hold your breath, the waste nitrogen builds up in your respiratory system and the pressure imbalance causes your face, neck, and upper chest to explosively decompress to achieve equilibrium. And, while the human body is remarkably pressure-resistant, that's not counting what vacuum would do to some of the more pressure-sensitive tissues like the eyes and ears.

And if you're using air to get them out of the airlock, you're wasting oxygen, precious oxygen that you have no chance of ever getting back.

So, yeah, don't space, recycle. :colbert:

Young Freud fucked around with this message at 05:39 on Aug 26, 2013

Asimo
Sep 23, 2007




HitTheTargets posted:

So just Gamma then?
Metamorphosis Alpha, obviously. :v:

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Rifts® Space Part 4: "Another reason to side with the more genetically pure, fellow isolationists on the moon."

The Zone

This is a where orbital space stations are located! There are about 180,000 people out in space, including four space stations, the moonbase, and many small mining and observations outposts on the moon. Deimos, one of Mars' moons, is frequently mined for water. Most of the stations have 18,000 - 30,000 people in the Rifts version of the setting. Most stations get nearly 23 hours of daytime, so they fall into artificial day/night cycles. The other 70 minutes or so, known as "Shadow Fall", are when stations fall into Earth's shadow and the solar generators power down. None of the stations have means of propulsion - in a worst case scenario they could be tugged into a new location.

Overpopulation is a big issue... in theory. One of the problems with Rifts Space is Siembieda wanted the Rifts versions of the station to be more grandiose. So he multiplied the populations of the After the Bomb stations by three... and then multiplied the size of the stations by three. The problem is, we only have dimensions for the stations, which would expand the space available roughly twenty-seven times! What Kevin probably wanted to do is increase the volume of the stations, though that isn't clear. Otherwise, things get really roomy!

All of the stations also have their own security forces and small fleets with which to defend themselves and enforce their respective laws.

There are also freebooters and traders that serve as independent travelers and transporters in the zone, and get treated like crap, but most stick with it on account of the high potential profits.

Most of the stations speak English, though Laika station still speaks a lot of Russian, and Yuro speaks various European languages. The language barrier is often used as a fake excuse to blow people off in inter-station diplomacy.

Freedom Station


Apparently their station design largely borrows from Duck Dodgers.

This is the oldest of the stations, originally founded by the American and Canadian governments. Now, though, it's largely been taken over by the private sector, most notably the robotics firm known as the KLS Corporation. Freedom is the station most open to outsiders, and has become the premier trading hub and refuelling station in orbit. However, it doesn't have a proper police force, and has a rep as being wild and lawless, though the Committee (the local governing body) looks after major breaches along with the local station defense. A lot of the station is heavily computerized, and cybernetics are relatively common. This station has bioware technology largely cornered, and their computer systems also make them a center for communication.

It's sometimes called "Yankers", is located at L-5, has artificial gravity (through rotation). People have surnames based on the # of the module they live in, and lower numbers are more prestigious. The various modules are, well, modular, and can be moved around for repairs or the like. The station is run by a democratically-elected and fractious Committee that also doubles as the station's main court.

The KLS Corporation is the dominant economic force, controlling about a third of the economy and three-fourths of the station defenses. They used to be a major military contractor for the US of A, and are basically a pack of Eighties corporate sharks who hate people and love money, though not necessarily in that order. They're rivals for the Cyberworks corporation, who are honorable, nice military contractors. Because Cyberworks showed them up all the time KLS Corporation is super obsessed with finishing of that goody-two shoes Cyberworks once and for all! They're getting ready to make war on the Moon because that's where Cyberworks is.

KLS has two families - the Longven family and the Sims family - who work together all the time and are functionally identical so who gives a gently caress that are two families? They "get along famously and think of themselves as one big family." The Committee is somehow completely unaware that KLS is trying to manipulate them into war. :jerkbag:

Time for number porn! It has 42,000 people. 10,500 of those have superpowers. There are 4,250 Glitter Boys; if they're all manned, then 1 in 10 citizens is a Glitter Boy pilot. If you only count humans, that means 1 in 6 humans are Glitter Boy pilots. They produce an average of 50 Glitter Boys a month (well, 20-100, varying based on ???).

Anyway, KLS is leaking weapons to space pirates to basically privateer the moon. Also, they might get Laika or Outcasts to ally with them because ???.

USA! USA!

Laika Station


Communists breed like rabbits?

Named for the dead Russian space dog, this is Russia Station (with a backwards "R", no doubt). They're really nationalist and insular and generally hate everybody who isn't them. They only trade as a reluctant necessity. Everybody only gets a 7' x 7' x 7' cube to live in except for administrators and officers, who get two whole rooms to entertain visitors.

Laika's big deal is that they're the only ones who can still build new spaceships, as they're the only ones with major spaceship construction facilties. They also have decent refineries as well. Their command structure is military, with Commanders overseeing various departments, and the current military head is Comrade General Algonov. They also have a dilemma where they're running out of fissionable material, but don't have enough solar panels yet to keep up with their energy demands. Laika also keeps a secret network of observation satellites in Earth and lunar orbit. They also have some old Glitter Boys, but none of the newer models presented later.

They deal closely with Yuro Station for energy and electronics, since the see them as harmless. Naturally, in keeping with their Soviet-era stereotype, they are paranoid about the machinations of Freedom Station because they have too much freedom and let in all sorts of dangerous undesirables. They also tend to be allied with the CAN Republic (THE MOON) as they see them as victims of persecuition by Freedom Station. Siembieda takes this further than Wallis, making them into outright racists against mutants of various sorts. :ussr:

Yuro Station


"Lab monkey" takes on a whole new meaning, apparently.

See, it has a Y instead of an E because the future. This station was created by the "European Community" - i.e. Britain, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Sweden, Denmark and Norway. There's a lot of paranoia and bickering between the various national forces there, and sometimes bodies hit the floor as a result. They're supposed to be part of the same council, but there's so much disagreement it only meets in dire emergencies.

The French are largely in charge, as they have control of most of the Yuro ship fleet, and do most of the trading and diplomacy as a result. The massive solar sail gives the the station a major economic edge (but also a serious vulnerability), and they export a lot of power. They have also the best refinement facilities (using nanotech) and medical facilities. The Scandinavians are the primary experts in medical technology.

Yes, that means they have the technology to make juicers and crazies (though they do so only sparingly). They once experimented with juicer technology as a means to deal with atrophy from low or zero gravity, but the main result is just plain juicers with reduced reflexes but greater ability to survive for extended periods in zero gravity... and becomes immune to mental attacks! Why? No reason. There's also rules for mutant animal juicers, who get the same benefits but become more feral. Why? Because... um... anyway, they lose Intelligence and Affinity, and can't get above-average in either stat. Mutant animal crazies get supernatural sensitivity like dog boys and added psionic powers, but basically can't have even average Intelligence or Affinity, and are more vulnerable to psionics than your average crazy. Also, mutant animal crazies that last over a decade "frequently develop a taste for blood and 40% become cannibals". Wait, I don't think they understand what "cannibal" means - does a mutant mouse crazy feed exclusively on other mutant mice all of a sudden?... no, I don't think think that's what Kevin meant.

Bad numbers time! 22% of the Yuro human population (about 30,600) are juicers. Juicers last about six years since the start of their treatment. There's 6,732. This means to maintain that level of juicer treatment over two decades, they'd lose half their population, because Kevin Siembieda can't ever be bothered to do math. These horrible abuses of statistics come from Kevin's side of the book; James Wallis generally can actually handle numbers responsibly. Generally.

Each wing / faction has its own government - most are democratic, but the Brits have a monarch, King Phillip (loving seriously?), and Sweden & Denmark are socialist republics. Surnames are based on your country of alliegance, so you'll have folks like Brian Britain or Francis France.

Britain and France handle most of the station defenses, but there are rumors that Italy is inventing an x-ray laser (yes, powered by a nuclear explosion). The French are also the ones to blame for the M.O.M. (crrraaaazy) technology. The Germans invented juicers, but also has old-fashioned Glitter Boys, special secret armaments, and power armors comparable to Titan power armor.

The station itself is called "King Angel" sometimes on account of is massive, wing-like solar sails. Of course, these are really vulnerable, which adds to the infighting and paranoia on the station. They have good relations with Laika, and heavily distrust moon colonists and freebooters. In fact, they're secretly preparing for a war against the moon colonists and a liberation of its resources. To this end, they might create suicide squads of freebooters and Outcasts boosted with juicer or crazy technology.

Outcast Station


This is Outcast Station, maybe?

Mutants in Orbit posted:

The Outcast Station is the home of all the dregs, subhuman mutants, the disadvantaged, unconventional, retarded, and hideously mutated in the orbital community. Although most of the other stations and moon colony refuse to have anything to do with the Outcasts, they frequently send children, badly mutated by radiation, to the station, where they hope that they will be looked after by their own kind, subhuman mutants.

"Subhuman" and "retarded". No, not the most politic way to put things, Wallis. Anyway, this is a wild and wooly place where gangs rule and people get thrown out of airlocks pretty much all the time. And people send their babies here! Way to go, people. "He has an extra toe, time to throw him to the wolves." Unlike other stations, people can carry guns, including ones that can shoot holes in the station because whythefucknot. They constantly need new supplies of oxygen and repair parts because they're a pack of loving lunatics. Seriously, they're sometimes called the "Nihilist Metas" and exist in "near total anarchy".

They support a lot of scavengers and pirates, though, because they don't have great industry to otherwise support heir station. Sometimes they outright raid other stations, which usually results on a lot of outcasts dying. However, a lot of independents turn to the Outcasts because the Outcasts have zero standards.

A lot of the station has issues, like radioactive areas, decompression, and zero gravity. However, it has more superhumand and mad geniuses than others. In addition, the criminal organization known as the Network tends to use the Outcasts as tools. However, when they're attacked, they bust out like killer bees and just murder the gently caress out of people.

They tend to have names "Zero" or "Ripper" or name themselves after pre-Apocalypse products so you get names like "Dave Teletext" or "Ian Twinkie" (these are actual examples). Gangs handle what organization there is, with the head gang being the Solar Rogues. The Solar Rogues are led by "Fire Brand", who can turn into fire and shoot fire. Not the best power to have aboard a space station, I suppose, but there you have it.

Most of the station is built up out of the Japan Station, a supply ship, part of an asteroid, etc. It's similar to a "Rifts 'Burb'" (ugh, Rifts slang. Basically they're a bunch of mutated, superpowered fuckups and it's not clear why the station didn't blow up decades ago. It's noted that player characters somehow arrive from Earth, this is a good place for them to settle in, since Earthen player characters are invariably going to be freakish.

Speaking of which, it's time for the Siembiedan bad number parade: of about the (roughly) 20,000 inhabitants, about 6,666 of them are deformed mad scientists. loving seriously. Half of those are insane. There's no dire outcome of this, but seriously. A third of the station A) loves science and B) hates mirrors. It's like Oolong Island only not on purpose.

Bonus Kevin Siembieda trope: the Outcasts hate the Moon people because the Moon people are still largely pure human extraction and pretty. Yes, another foul nest of uglies that hates them pretties, hates them so much with their smooth skin and perfect teeth and uncircumcised cocks... which makes no loving sense, since the Moon colony has no gravity, so the Moon people would be all gaunt and creepy and poo poo. These folks have a 50% chance of instant death under at any location over 0.5 g under the rules. They're not healthy, and Kevin should know that. It's pretty clear in Wallis' material.

Oh, and somebody recently left some Martian mutant insects here to work as slave laborers. This is clearly a great plan and certainly life will not find a way and chaos theory is just a bunch of nonsense. (Yes, mutant bugs. We'll get to those in an update or two.)
must drive faster

Next: Aliens, asteroids, and THE MOON.

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 16:26 on Aug 27, 2013

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

I got the feeling early on in my RIFTS playing that Siembieda adapted the term 'cannibal' to mean 'intelligent being that eats other intelligent beings', because the write-up on the 'cannibal' Simvan in Sourcebook One got weird otherwise. I think the idea works, for settings like RIFTS where intelligent beings come in all kinds of configurations, but changing the definition without comment is all kinds of confusing.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Rifts® Space Part 5: "They are so powerful that they distort gravity, light and the fabric of time and space, drawing everything near them into their hungry dimensional maws."

The Graveyard
Sino-Japanese Station


This is the rest of the Japanese station that got blowed up that didn't become part of Outcast Station. All of it gravitated to the L-4 zone, where it mixed up with old satellites and debris, including old defense satellites and mines. There are rumors of ghosts, aliens, pirates, monsters, etc.

This being Rifts, there really are aliens and monsters here, of course, largely attracted to the "emotions and deaths of the Graveyard's victims". Sometimes desperate scavengers and pirates will come here. However, it turns out there's a ley line nexus (wait what how-) here that occasionally opens up a rift. In response, Cyberworks and Yuro have fired killer satellites into the area that will just kill anything.

So, there are ley lines in space? How does that even work? We don't get to find out, mind, it's already time to move on.

Little Green Mutants?


Not an actual alien, but a mutant human from another Palladium book.

Also, as an art direction thought, if they're going to reuse a piece of art, they should at least do it on different pages maybe, and not just have the same piece twice on the same page.

Yeah, aliens. There's is strange phenomena and odd lights in space that stay just out of weapon range, missing time and mysteriously rescued ships, or strange artifacts meant for three or seven fingers. Most people are really paranoid about aliens, and generally take a shoot-first-and-ask-questions-never attitude.

Basically, it's up to the GM whether or not there are real aliens. The book directs us to other Palladium games, like Beyond the Supernatural with its energy being UFOs. Or Robotech! That's a crafty mile-long Zentraedi battleship, it is!

Independents


That helmet and that head do not go together.

There are about a hundred small satellites and spacecraft that serve as homes and small businesses. Most are in "the Zone", but some are in the asteroid belt. They are generally just spaaaace hiiicks, but about a third are wealthy private enterprises.

There's freebooters, who are independent ships and crew members who do charter, supply, trading, and chaffeur work, largely. Others work in recovery and rescue, and some resort to piracy. There's also "snowballing", where you pilot a big ice cluster from the asteroid belt to Earth orbit. Most freebooters center around Freedom or Outcast station, as well as an asteroid belt outpost called the Belt Way.

Next is the Network, an organized crime family. They mainly provide a black market, but also do protection rackets... that actually do provide protection. And also racketteering. They also try and corner organized crime, and are pretty good at doing so (since the orbital community isn't that big). Their head is "Baron Dioxin", who lives on the Inside Joke, a yacht stowed away in Earth orbit. About one in four freebooters pay protection to the Network.

Miners generally work the asteroid belt or Deimos (a Martian moon), generally mining iron or ice. They tend to be close-knit and help each other out quite a bit, as the margin of survival in the places they work are slim. However, there are conflicts over claims, and lethal claim jumping is not unknown (but deeply frowned upon amongst most miners). Loads are either dragged back by ship normally or slingshotted from Jupiter, or more rarely actual engines are attached to the load and the whole thing is piloted back. It should be noted that space speeds are relatively realistic, so you're looking at an eight month trip back and forth.

The Asteroid Belt is, as mentioned, home to a lot of mining. There's a lot of :words: on asteroid compisition which I'll spare you. There are rumors of solid gold rocks and a great white asteroid that's a giant diamond called "Maybe Dick", but no real credence is put in those sorts of stories. In addition to miners, there are also belters, who maintain small homesteads based on ample supplies of ice and sophisticated hydroponics systems.

People don't go further out just because it's not practical in terms of fuel and time. There are rumors of old bases established further out, and there certainly are unclaimed riches, but survival is difficult enough in the asteroid belt to venture beyond.

The Belt Way Station is a small outpost that basically serves as the main rest stop for the asteroid community. It's owned and operated by the Wintels, "a family of tough wilderness space scouts". They offer meals, alcohol, gambling and games, basic supplies and treats. They also do subsistence mining here as well.

Comets aren't of much consequence, but can very, very rarely be a hazard for ships or stations.

The Containment of Earth

The colonies are afeared of Earth somethin' proper, and have agreed on one thing and one thing only: blow anything that comes into orbit to kingdom come. Well, except Outcast Station, which doesn't give a good goddamn. Cyberworks in particular contributes "dozens of ships, satellites, and robots on patrol".

Yep. Dozens. For the entire Earth orbit. "... nothing has been able to slip through the containment network in centuries." This assertion is on the level of "and then I emptied Lake Superior with a spoon." It's such a misunderstanding of scale that it boggles the mind. And it's all Siembieda. Wallis actually seems to have some grasp of what he's writing about. Kevin is just... :effort:

The Moon


Humans?! Well, the guy is a little debatable...

We get a lot of Moon Facts, and then some description of the colony's power source - they use solar satellites to beam down power, but also use nuclear and hydrogen gas power systems as well. Most of the colony is underground, using hydroponics, and there's rich mineral resources to be found. They an even convert regolith (they use the term "sand") into oxygen, though they need to import water.

Moon Colony: Mare Imbrium
The Near Side of the Moon


This Colony, unlike the stations, is largely run by a single company: the Cyberworks Aerospace Network (CAN), and was originally built as a self-sufficient manufacturing facility. After the apocalypse, they recovered quickly and renamed themselves the CAN Republic as an independent nation. Ultimately, they've become one of the most technologically advanced forces in space or even compared to Earth (though later supplements will make that assertion into a lie, particularly when it comes to forces like actual aliens with FTL technology). Their pressurized domes are storage and docking bays; most of the colony is entirely underground, along with mining. However, there's a rift between them and the other colonies because the Moon people feel that they can never go home because they're all atrophied with no low gravity.

They allow some outside mining, but ban all colonization of the moon, and are willing to fight for it. The moonfolk give no shits about any of the colonies save for their ability to import water and basically make no friends by saying as much. They're populous and highly militarized, and have an extremely well-defended colony.

There's rules for being a zero-gravity adaptee where you get physical penalities and no benefits to offset them. Whee! Some have resorted to cybernetics to offset this, but moon colonists don't touch Juicer or Crazy technology. They are only mildly touched by radiation and have a distinct minority of psychic and superpowered residents.

A democracy, their head is President Evarcha, though the Lane family has a great deal of authority. Who are the Lanes? Who cares! Much of the day-to-day management is handled by A.R.C.H.I.E. Seven. A.R.C.H.I.E. Seven is a descendant of A.R.C.H.I.E. Four, their original orbital AI. And yes, that makes it another in the same series as A.R.C.H.I.E. Three, the psychotic AI from Rifts Sourcebook and Rifts Sourcebook Two: The Mechanoids, but the book notes that Seven is a pure logic AI and is not sentient (and can be overridden by the President and his closest staff). Surprisingly, there's not even the slightest hint it might go berserk and start killing all the humans. Outwardly, the CAN Republic is largely allied with Laika, and have only tense relations with anyone else.

Virtual Reality Robot Defense System (VRRDS)

Also known as "Verds", this is a special remote-control technology unique to THE MOON. With a VR suit and helmet, this is basically a interface where the user controls a robot perfectly with their very mind, though there's input delays if the signal becomes distant (there are no rules for this, though). The robot is preprogrammed to keep fighting or retreat once the signal is lost, though they're crummy robot fighters on their own. They also make power armor that looks just like the robots in order to confuse their foes. I'm not sure how this confuses their foes, but is supposed to be quite cunning.

However, some people get addicted to Verds, and become "adventure junkies" as they try and replicate their feats from VR or seek out more Verds time. Apparently 15% of operators become adventure junkies, which seems like an alarmingly high number from a military standpoint. 4% become "Verds Schizoids" who lose connection with reality and go into dangerous flashbacks and hear voices telling them to kill and stuff, in basically total defiance of psychological cause and effect. Of course, being a Verds Junkie is actually a stat advantage as you get bonuses to just about everything. The Verds Schizoid gets the same bonuses, but also has a 50% chance to flip out and kill everything. The lesson is: a little insanity helps a lot.

Fun with numbers: there are about 100,000 citizens, and 18,448 robots requiring a total crew compliment of 22,944 pilots. That makes one in five people robot pilots. In addition, assuming half their pilots are VRRDS units, that means about 1,722 Verds Junkies exist and about 456 Verds Schizoids are around.

They may want to reconsider Verds technology given that it's driven roughly 1 in 200 people criminally and homicidally insane. :(

War for the Moon

Things seem to be headed towards Moon War I, but the Moon could be convinced to allow some ongoing mining outposts if diplomacy wins out, though they never give up technology or ultimate control of the moon. If war breaks out, the CAN Republic has a major weakness in that they get their water from Deimos, which is easily disrupted, but most of the workers there are just civilians.

Oh, and we get to find out a clear answer to the who the bad guys are (the KLS Corporation, Yuro Station, and Outcast Station) and who the good guys are (Laika Station and Freedom Station) by their "willingness to drop atrocities". The Yuros and Outcasts will even make literal deals with demons. The KLS Corporation, though, being evil but not eeeevil, likely would turn on anybody making deals with monsters.

Ley Lines on the Moon

It turns out there are ley lines on all planets, which is "why planetary alignments increase the power of ley lines and nexus centers". Fair enough. Also there are ley lines in space? In space. "Black holes are ley line nexuses on a cosmic scale."

Ooookay. gently caress science, I guess! :eng101:

Anyway the Earth lighting up triggered the ley lines of other planets, too. There are about twenty ley lines on the moon, creating nine ley line nexuses, and two super ley line nexuses. The moon people have satellites watching the big two, along with killsats designed to kill anything that steps out of them. In addition, they have a scientific and military outpost near one to study and contain it.

Next: Nothing but bug-eyed Martians.

goatface
Dec 5, 2007

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

I remember it being shit.




Grimey Drawer

They've got enough hydrogen to use it as a power source, they've got a method for oxygen extraction from regolith, and they import water?

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

goatface posted:

They've got enough hydrogen to use it as a power source, they've got a method for oxygen extraction from regolith, and they import water?

I was thinking the same thing. Not to mention that they've suspected that water ice exists in permanently shadowed bits of the surface, and adsorbed into the regolith itself, since the Sixties.

Eh, it's probably freeze-dried drama. If the CAN could make its own water, it'd be an even harder nut to crack. Hold them hostage to thirst, or do something terrible to the innocent civilians on Deimos, and you've got a recipe for 'who are the real monsters?!'

Alien Rope Burn posted:

Next: Nothing but bug-eyed Martians.

Ow.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Bieeardo posted:

I got the feeling early on in my RIFTS playing that Siembieda adapted the term 'cannibal' to mean 'intelligent being that eats other intelligent beings', because the write-up on the 'cannibal' Simvan in Sourcebook One got weird otherwise.

It's repeatedly used in Rifts books to mean "things what eat people", yeah, they just need a better term. Of course, the number of creatures that seem to prefer human meat - with rarely an explanation as to why - gets a bit farcical.

goatface posted:

They've got enough hydrogen to use it as a power source, they've got a method for oxygen extraction from regolith, and they import water?

Yeah, it doesn't really work, and thanks for pointing it out - I missed that. It's to enforce Siembieda's war plot, but it doesn't make much sense. Granted, it's not clear where they're getting their hydrogen from, but if they can get oxygen, they probably could get hydrogen just fine from lunar soil, as there have been theoretical methods to do so since the '80s.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



I hope I'm not getting too head of ourselves, but, in recent years, hasn't the Rifts line pretty much spun off into space opera territory with the introduction of the Naruni and the Three Galaxies stuff?

JohnnyCanuck
May 28, 2004

Strong And/Or Free


Young Freud posted:

I hope I'm not getting too head of ourselves, but, in recent years, hasn't the Rifts line pretty much spun off into space opera territory with the introduction of the Naruni and the Three Galaxies stuff?

Kinda, but the Three Galaxies was always presented as a Dimension Book: meaning a setting you can get to from Rifts Earth, and uses the Rifts rules, but where Earth isn't anyhwere near the setting, nor at all that important to the setting.

The Naruni on Rifts Earth are a tiny part of the whole, and too freaked out about the Splugorth to get ore active than they are now.

WHY DO I REMEMBER THIS poo poo

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



Young Freud posted:

I hope I'm not getting too head of ourselves, but, in recent years, hasn't the Rifts line pretty much spun off into space opera territory with the introduction of the Naruni and the Three Galaxies stuff?

This is going to disappoint me by not being a sci fi Three Kingdoms, isn't it.

Note to self, sci fi Three Kingdoms.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Young Freud posted:

I hope I'm not getting too head of ourselves, but, in recent years, hasn't the Rifts line pretty much spun off into space opera territory with the introduction of the Naruni and the Three Galaxies stuff?

They definitely had a space-opera thing going, I was surprised at how like...all the Dimensional Books started being expansions on Phase World, which I was never super-impressed with. It did have ley lines in space! Which sure is...something. Still, the majority of the line is about Earth, even if they're running a little low on places to write ethnic stereotypes about.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Mors Rattus posted:

This is going to disappoint me by not being a sci fi Three Kingdoms, isn't it.

Probably.

I misinterpreted the title, the actual sub-line within Rifts is Phase World, but it's very much high space opera with space ships and the like. Naruni Wave Two introduces transatmopsheric faster-than-light-capable space fighters, with the small caveat that they don't sell the boosters or FTL drive on Rifts Earth near the end of its description.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Alien Rope Burn posted:

It's repeatedly used in Rifts books to mean "things what eat people", yeah, they just need a better term. Of course, the number of creatures that seem to prefer human meat - with rarely an explanation as to why - gets a bit farcical.

That and all the things that hate people because we're so darn pretty. It'd be interesting if there was an in-universe reason why the whole of creation seems to be so anthropocentric, but it's probably just a side-effect of cutting and pasting from the Palladium Fantasy books where most of the good guys are human or very close to it.

JohnnyCanuck posted:

The Naruni on Rifts Earth are a tiny part of the whole, and too freaked out about the Splugorth to get ore active than they are now.

There's one fighter jet they sell in Mercenaries that's described as being spaceflight worthy, but would also be ripped to poo poo by the debris field. One of the (what, dozen by then?) dimensional conquering armies detailed in one of the South America books has its recent background described as roughly 'folded into LEO, got ripped to shreds by the horrified locals, crashed in the Andes'. So at that point at least RIFTS space was still the Great No-Go outside of really unfortunately connected rifts.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Bieeardo posted:

There's one fighter jet they sell in Mercenaries that's described as being spaceflight worthy, but would also be ripped to poo poo by the debris field. One of the (what, dozen by then?) dimensional conquering armies detailed in one of the South America books has its recent background described as roughly 'folded into LEO, got ripped to shreds by the horrified locals, crashed in the Andes'. So at that point at least RIFTS space was still the Great No-Go outside of really unfortunately connected rifts.

The whole "debris field" would make sense if they were making spacecraft out of tinfoil to save weight (an exaggeration, of course), like how real-life space programs have done it because they have to work around things like thrust-to-weight ratios and specific impulse in order to get poo poo into orbit. But Rifts people not only live in an era of lightweight Mega-Damage Capacity materials but nuclear-powered engines that have tremendous amount of efficiency. A Whipple shield make of MDC fabric would probably stop just about any space debris, but the Coalition and the NGR could still easily put space stations made out of goddamn OGRE cybertanks with 3 meter thick armored plating if they wanted to.

Edit: and where not even getting to poo poo like force fields and defense lasers. If they were really concerned about getting something up there, they'd have a laser pistol firing firing constantly in a cone the moment it enter the stratosphere, which would vaporize any paint chips and the like.

BTW, since I :spergin: about RPG stuff, I remember finding out how much MDC is really worth in real life. Extrapolating from what a .50 caliber machine gun does in RAW 1D6 M.D. per 10 round burst, one point of MDC is equal to about 33kJ.

Young Freud fucked around with this message at 21:04 on Aug 27, 2013

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Got so much good chatter, I'm "rewarding" you with a second post for the day.



Rifts® Space Part 6: "Kill or be killed and they are killing machines - super predators."

Mars Base

We get a bunch of Mars facts - dust storms, light gravity, freezing nights, etc. It's main appeal for visitors is the ice trapped in the caps.

There was a base here, and the only serious attempt at terraforming in the setting. Satellites reflected heat down on the surface, which was irrigated and seeded with algae. Particularly after the Rifts, it began to prosper. The ley lines, apparently connected to the old canals of Mars nonsense, formed a Bermuda Triangle-like zone around the Mars colony and made it a warm, Earthish jungle because *MAGIC*. There have been other pockets around ley line nexuses that form liveable pockets, but most of the planet is still a wasteland.

Oh, and on the Mars base, a crazy scientist called Dr. Matthew Walters decided bugs were better than humans (because um science? I dunno) genetically changed them to grow big, breathe both oxygen and carbon dioxide, and picked species which could burrow underground to avoid the Martian winter. And then he released them! Everybody else was like oh poo poo, giant bugs, in our beds. Dr. Walters pretty soon was up against the wall.

Then Dr. Walter is like "Okay, I hosed up, but I got a plan. Also, not crazy anymore. So, we take the Bluebottle Bristle Fly, make it big, and it'll kill all the other bugs, and then die a few weeks later. Done in one, sons!" So they, in a fit of idiocy, believed him, and then Dr. Walters was like "Oh maybe I forgot to mention their preferred food is human blood." Suffice to say, a lot of colonists got exsanguinated. The Doctor busted loose then and controlled a bunch of bugs with chemical pheremones. But it didn't work out and the bugs loving killed him anyway.

The humans held out for generations, but the bugs eventually ate them all, and the last humans died around two decades ago. Now Mars is populated by "giant insect cannibals" (yes, they eat humans, but they do eat each other as well). The bugs live on, but their growth is limited by the scarcity of food (and seriously, where the hell does a 300-pound bee find pollen?). Other colonies know the place is overrun and avoid it, but left the terraforming equipment as an experiment (in letting bugs overrun mars, I guess). Sometimes daring freebooters will try and scavenge things from the base, but mostly just die buggy deaths.

Mars has the moons of Phobos and Deimos, but only Deimos is visited regularly for ice mining.

Mutant Insects


I don't even know - what the gently caress?

We get a bunch of bug facts! There's a fair amount of detail, but I'll skip them, there's nothing egrigiously wrong here, you can check wikipedia. Here's some of the odder facts about mutant bugs!
  • Mutant bugs are M.D.C. Why? Not because of magic. Or technology. So basically no reason. They also get M.D.C. attacks, of course, despite not having supernatural or robotic strength.
  • They can only make animal-like cries (including ultrasonic), but can learn spoken human languages. They can never learn to read, however.
  • They reach maturity in 30-120 days and live 20-50 years (?!).
  • Mutant bugs have no feelings and basically are "super predators" that will kill and eat anything.
  • Mutant ants can use military tactics like a real army. Or, at least, armies as Kevin Siembieda understands them, which means discrete units with focused purposes.
  • Despite being mute kiling machines that see all mammals as "food or enemies, or both", you can play one as a player character. :wtc:
  • Though they're dumb and operate mostly on instinct, they aren't suicidal and can sensibly avoid harm and retreat, unless defending a hive or queen, in which case they swarm attack.
  • They can learn now to open door and use basic devices (they can shoot a gun, but not reload it).
  • They also have various warning, attraction, death scents, and other pheremone shenanigans.
After the Bomb, for some reason, has full PC design rules for these bugs. Rifts doesn't, and it's entirely unclear as to whether or not they're intended as potential PC material. But for now - on to the bugs!

Common Mutant Ants


No word on where the bug-sized helmet comes from.

These are some kinda "smart" bugs. They have an organized society, use weapons, and at times war between colonies. They're one of the most dangerous varieties, on account of being numerous and cunning. They get a ton of powers from After the Bomb I'm not going to go over in detail. Did you know ants can apparently identify temperature at 80% within 1d6 degrees? Females can squirt gently caress-me juice at males and males are like durrr must fuuuck. They can run at 60 MPH - zoom zoom goes the swarm. Some get wings, some don't. They also, on account of their compound eyes, all get automatic dodge / parry along with a high dodge bonus, which would make them intensely annoying to fight in swarms (not that it makes much sense anyway, ever seen an ant sidestep?). They get solid M.D.C. (130-240) and get special rules to pound on people with boulders for extra M.D.C. damage. They can also be used to make above-average M.D.C. armor.

Oh, and they can fire guns and reload them. And they're as strong as many adult dragons! :toot:

Bee

More hive bugs. These ones feed off of nectar - somehow - despite being 4 1/2 feet tall. How they extract it is left as a exercise for the reader, I suppose. Likewise, they have a ridiculous number of powers, like automatic dodges. Their unique abilities include wax glands to excrete wax, leg sacs to carry pollen, and a dreaded stinger that does... 1d6+2 M.D. No poison, for some reason. Nor does stinging harm them.

:shrug:

They can learn to open doors, push buttons, and pull triggers, but do much in the way of complex tasks. Oh, and they get "Sing (buzz and vibrations" as a skill. But no bee dance! Also they can swim, you know. Like bees do. You can also make armor out of them. Finally, there are also rules for wasps, which are just like bees, only faster (150 MPH instead of 60 MPH).

Beetles


heeeeyyyy hooooo

We get told there are many types of beetles - over 300,000 species! Then we get one statblock for them all. :v:

They're super-tough (about as tough as a dragon hatchling or gargoyle), and some get the ability to squirt toxins "from the spraying oriface" that blind and burn on a failed save vs. poison. They're stronger than even most adult dragons (even though they're only 8 to 10 feet tall). Like bees, they can operate simple tools and machines, and apparently are "very aggressive". You can also make their shells into body armor that has poor mobility, but provides a relatively impressive 100 M.D.C.

Cockroaches


This one's a cannibal for bread!

Unlike their reputation as survivors, cockroaches get the least M.D.C. we've seen out of the critters so far. They get the chemical spray some beetles do, can use simple tools and devices, and... are cowards. Their butts can be used to make stink bombs. They're "garbage cans with legs". Next bug, please.

Earwig


Has had enough of your fascist "chairs".

They have butt pincers can can pinch you with their butts. It does 2d4+2 and automatically pins whatever they hit. Human? Pinned! Dragon? Pinned! Battleship? Motherfucking pinned! Also once they pinned you you're helpless and they can bite you forever unless somebody else offs them. They also get the stench squirt and automatic dodge too, if you weren't sick of either already. Also they can use tools etc. Boring!

Fly: Common


Baxter Stockman is statted in a different Palladium book, actually.

Yep. Flies.

They go 300 MPH and uh, they get a stabbing mouth to drink blood or nectar. Given the absence of 6' flowers, presumably this makes them Martian vampires. (They even get iridescent bodies.) They're as tough as bees, and really have just similar statblocks. You can make armor out of them, they can use tools, auto dodge, etc. Pretty much by the numbers here. One point of confusion is that it gives details for bluebottle flies as a variant here, and then gives an entirely different statblock following them.

Bluebottle Bristle Fly


"gently caress, I need a shave."

This is "For Rifts Only" but at the same time they're part of the same backstory as Mutants In Orbit. What's more, they're presented as hyperaggressive super killers, when in reality the fly in question is... a relatively normal scavenger fly. For some reason, these are presented as berserker killamajigs. The irony, though, is that it's hardly the toughest bug - it's about average - and actually does less damage than ants due to its lower strength. It's a "cunning and ferocious hunter" but is less dangerous by far because it's so savage. Even with special bonus damage from flying strikes (wings not pictured for some reason), they're not really capable of doing serious damage.

Praying Mantis


Draw a regular bug, call it a mutant: the Gustovich method.

This goes on and on about how mantises eat each other up. Only the strongest survive; mantis derby! Stat-wise, they have a 75% pin attack that does 1d6 M.D. a round (and it can chomp down at the same time). They're one of the toughest monsters - about as tough as beetles - but barely grasp doors. You can make armor out of them like beetles. Not much else to say.

And that's all about bugs on Mars.

Next: Back in concert - The Glitter Boys!

DNA Cowboys
Feb 22, 2012

BOYS I KNOW


Alien Rope Burn posted:

It's repeatedly used in Rifts books to mean "things what eat people", yeah, they just need a better term. Of course, the number of creatures that seem to prefer human meat - with rarely an explanation as to why - gets a bit farcical.

Humans in Rifts aren't just the neutral baseline by which all other races are measured. They're delicious!

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

This pin attack business shows up again--constantly--in Wormwood and is a huge exception rule that has no countermeasure. Not that I want Pathfinder grappling or anything but the 'you be pinned, no escape sucka' is super lame. Also how did they make mutant bugs so dull? The ant picture reminds me of the Dog Boy picture or the canine races picture from Conversion, but with ants. Who sidestep apparently.

Also the bees should dance, this is a grave injustice.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer


Wasn't trying to imply that I agree with what they wrote, just noting that they kept it as a going excuse for at least a good portion of the line.

It brings to mind a bit of Megadamage rules that I've always been baffled by: SDC weapons can supposedly never deal MD, even if you roll over 100 damage with them... but explosives do. I failed physics in high school, so I don't know if these are supposed to be two different flavours of kinetic energy or what. Which leads me to wonder just what kind of crud the field is supposed to be made of, and exactly how drat fast it's supposed to be going.

I always figured that the 'poo poo comes apart, game over' handwave meant that the Mooninites and the stations were dumping all kinds of spent lunar regolith and asteroid powder, but now I'm imagining them tossing canister after canister worth of boom gun shot out to really confuse anyone with access to a telescope.

Alien Rope Burn posted:

Mutant bugs are M.D.C. Why? Not because of magic. Or technology. So basically no reason. They also get M.D.C. attacks, of course, despite not having supernatural or robotic strength.

I blame this one on someone remembering that stuff about ants and whatnot being extraordinarily strong for their size, but not remembering the square-cube law.

Asimo
Sep 23, 2007




Blast from the Past - TSR Catalog, 1979

Hey, it's been a while since I posted anything. I actually have a few thoughts to do reviews for old games that haven't come up yet, but today we're doing something simple and one-shot. Something very familiar... in fact, the oldest RPG item in my collection. :toot:



Okay, no, not the Basic Set itself. To be perfectly honest, the copy I have isn't very exciting... it's the third printing of the box set from 1979, and by then there had been plenty of the prior editions, AD&D had been released, and basically it isn't all that rare at all. It's probably about worth the four dollars or so I paid at a second hand bookstore in the 90's, and itself of limited historical curiosity; you're better off looking at reviews for the original release. Although I don't think anyone's covered Keep on the Borderlands yet, have they?

Whoever owned it before did send in the postcard for the crappy dice though. So brittle and sharp. :ohdear:

But what is of interest is something else that came in the box - advertising! See, there's been scans and PDFs and all that of a lot of ancient games, boxes, and accessories... but I don't think I've ever seen catalogs and similar pamphlets really put up online. I want to change this - there's no reason for history of the industry to be lost just because it isn't part of the game. Catalogs like this are doubly important since back in the pre-internet era gamers were limited to whatever was available at their local hobby shop or bookstore, so something like this was important for showing the breadth of the company's product, and to help encourage sales by making people ask for their games.

First off, a gallery link: http://imgur.com/a/FlSSF
And a gallery of the higher-quality scans... the ones I'm linking here are still legible, but I imagine anyone who wants an actual archive would want these instead. Be sure to view full resolution: http://imgur.com/a/tHDHI

And with that said... let's go to the scans themselves!



All ready and waiting to be painted on to the side of the van. In case the signature isn't legible the art was done by David C. Sutherland III, one of the old classic TSR artists, famously responsible for the cover of the original AD&D DMG.



Here we see a reminder that TSR didn't actually start by making tabletop RPGs. It had a history as a wargaming company, and even as late as 1979 there was still a focus on wargames and board games. You can also see the four big "classic" RPGs... Top Secret was just released and Gamma World wasn't much older, but right now the only one anyone actually really remembers or plays is D&D itself.

Reminds me, someone definitely needs to review Boot Hill. Not me though, I don't own a copy. :smith:



The then-new AD&D was of course a main focus here, taking the center spread of the catalog. Of particular and amusing note are the OUTDOOR & DUNGEON GEOMORPHS and the fact Greyhawk is the only official published D&D setting in existence. Also note the high focus on adventures and modules, easily outnumbering the corebooks and setting material.



Here's the board games that were being published by TSR. Lots of them, and again important enough to take up multiple pages. Most of these were actually owned by their creators and just published by TSR and while a lot have been out of print for decades, a few like Snit's Revenge and The Awful Green Things from Outer Space were later picked up by SJG. Fight in the Skies, later renamed and maybe better known as Dawn Patrol, has the honor of being the only game played at every GenCon to date.



The back cover, showing the decline of wargaming as a major TSR focus... although even here things like Chainmail, Valley Forge, and Cordite and Steel were still being sold and published. Books of character sheets are another thing that stopped years ago, but back in the 70's photocopiers were a bit harder to get a hand of, so it wasn't quite as silly a product as it sounded if you didn't feel like using graph paper. You can see the note at the bottom mentioning (well, begging) players to ask retailers to carry their products too.

And... well, that's the whole thing! Hey, I said this would be an easy post. Still, I'm curious if anyone has knowledge of (or better yet, actual copies of) some of the games shown here, many of which predate my own experience in the hobby. More importantly, I encourage folks who have similar sorts of fliers, posters, advertising, and all that from the 70's and 80's and even the 90's to scan them and put them up. Archival is important, and every bit of art and information posted helps to flesh out the history of the hobby. :patriot:

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Man, I wonder if any of my original 2nd Ed record sheets are blank. I'm not sure if it was a printer's error or a lovely attempt at copy protection, but the various blocks --basic vital statistics, attributes, weapons and their statistics, etc-- were each coloured in a different and occasionally very dark shade of green. Friend got a pack later, because we were both young, stupid and a bit lazy, and the only green bits on his sheets were between the frames.

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007





Asimo posted:

And... well, that's the whole thing! Hey, I said this would be an easy post. Still, I'm curious if anyone has knowledge of (or better yet, actual copies of) some of the games shown here, many of which predate my own experience in the hobby.

My dad has a bunch of old TSR stuff from that epoch. I'll go through his collection next time I'm at my parents' house.

Synthbuttrange
May 6, 2007



Wait, maybe I missed it, but since all the space colonies are in low/zero-g, why the hell are the moon people more upset about it than anyone else?

edit:
Jesus christ those D&D layouts.

Everything Counts
Oct 10, 2012

Don't "shhh!" me, you rich bastard!


Midjack posted:

My dad has a bunch of old TSR stuff from that epoch. I'll go through his collection next time I'm at my parents' house.

I would love to see a report on Top Secret. My uncles had that along with a bunch of old AD&D stuff--although I think theirs might have been a second edition because I remember the cover looking different. I wish I knew what had happened to those; I'm pretty sure my uncles don't have them now.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


SynthOrange posted:

Wait, maybe I missed it, but since all the space colonies are in low/zero-g, why the hell are the moon people more upset about it than anyone else?

Most of the space colonies generate gravity through rotation, actually, though the book doesn't go out of its way to make that clear.

langurmonkey
Oct 29, 2011

Getting healthy by posting on the Internet

Asimo posted:

Blast from the Past - TSR Catalog, 1979


Reminds me, someone definitely needs to review Boot Hill. Not me though, I don't own a copy. :smith:


If there is some interest in this, I have a copy lurking around in my games room. I haven't looked at it for a while, so I am not sure it is still intact.

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Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

I'd definitely like to see a Boot Hill review. I can't remember if they were still producing it when I got into D&D or not, but I do remember being really confused at the prospect of modeling firearms fairly in an RPG, when I first heard about it.

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